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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The least among us

The Changing Association Among Marriage, Work, and Child Poverty in the United States, 1974–2010

Regina Baker
Journal of Marriage and Family, October 2015, Pages 1166–1178

Abstract:
Marriage and work have long been central to debates regarding poverty and the family. Although ample research has demonstrated their negative association with child poverty, both marriage and work have undergone major transformations over recent decades. Consequently, it is plausible that their association with child poverty may have also changed. Using 10 waves of U.S. Census Current Population Survey data from the Luxembourg Income Study, this study examined the relationships among marriage, work, and relative measures of child poverty from 1974 to 2010. The results indicated that both marriage and work still decrease the odds of child poverty. However, time interactions showed marriage's negative association with child poverty has declined in magnitude, whereas work's negative association with child poverty has increased in magnitude. These findings underscore the historically varying influence of demographic characteristics for poverty. They also suggest the limitations of overemphasizing marriage and the growing importance of work for reducing child poverty in America.

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The Deserving Poor, the Family, and the U.S. Welfare System

Robert Moffitt
Demography, June 2015, Pages 729-749

Abstract:
Contrary to the popular view that the U.S. welfare system has been in a contractionary phase after the expansions of the welfare state in the 1960s, welfare spending resumed steady growth after a pause in the 1970s. However, although aggregate spending is higher than ever, there have been redistributions away from non-elderly and nondisabled families to families with older adults and to families with recipients of disability programs; from non-elderly, nondisabled single-parent families to married-parent families; and from the poorest families to those with higher incomes. These redistributions likely reflect long-standing, and perhaps increasing, conceptualizations by U.S. society of which poor are deserving and which are not.

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How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors?

Randall Akee et al.
NBER Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
Existing research has investigated the effect of early childhood educational interventions on the child’s later-life outcomes. These studies have found limited impact of supplementary programs on children’s cognitive skills, but sustained effects on personality traits. We examine how a positive change in unearned household income affects children’s emotional and behavioral health and personality traits. Our results indicate that there are large beneficial effects of improved household financial wellbeing on children’s emotional and behavioral health and positive personality trait development. Moreover, we find that these effects are most pronounced for children who are lagging behind their peers in these measures before the intervention. Increasing household incomes reduce differences across adolescents with different levels of initial emotional-behavioral symptoms and personality traits. We also examine potential channels through which the increased household income may contribute to these positive changes. Parenting and relationships within the family appear to be an important mechanism. We also find evidence that a sub-sample of the population moves to census tracts with better income levels and educational attainment.

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The Effects of Minimum Wages on Food Stamp Enrollment and Expenditures

Michael Reich & Rachel West
Industrial Relations, October 2015, Pages 668–694

Abstract:
We provide the first causal analysis of how minimum wages affects enrollments and expenditures in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Exploiting state- and federal-level variation in minimum-wage policy between 1990 and 2012, and incorporating local controls in our specifications, we find that a 10 percent minimum wage increase reduces SNAP enrollment between 2.4 and 3.2 percent, and reduces program expenditures an estimated 1.9 percent. If the federal minimum wage were increased from $7.25 to $10.10, enrollment would fall between 7.5 and 8.7 percent (3.1 to 3.6 million persons) relative to 2012 levels, and annual expenditures would decrease 6 percent ($4.6 billion).

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The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages

Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
Prior literature has documented a positive association between income and cognitive function at older ages, however, the extent to which this association represents causal effects is unknown. In this study, we use an exogenous change in Social Security income due to amendments to the Social Security Act in the 1970s to identify the causal impact of Social Security income on cognitive function of elderly individuals. We find that higher benefits led to significant improvements in cognitive function and that these improvements in cognition were clinically meaningful. Our results suggest that interventions even at advanced ages can slow the rate of decline in cognitive function.

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From Need to Hope: The American Family and Poverty in Partisan Discourse, 1900–2012

Gwendoline Alphonso
Journal of Policy History, October 2015, Pages 592 - 635

"The Republican and Democratic Parties in the last three decades have increasingly directed their policy discourse away from issues of material need and poverty. Whereas Republicans in the late 1970s and 1980s previously committed 7 to 8 percent of their platforms to discuss issues of poverty, by the 2000s that percentage had fallen to under 2 percent; similarly, in the heyday of their Great Society agenda, Democrats addressed poverty issues in 8 to 9 percent of their platforms, but by 2012 that percentage too fell to 2.5 percent. Since 2004 the levels at which both parties now discuss poverty in their platforms are thus at historic lows, similar only to the period before the Great Depression. What explains the diminishing salience of poverty within the parties’ policy agendas? To account for this, this article highlights a concurrent development: the parties’ references to family within poverty planks increased dramatically just as partisan attention to poverty ebbed."

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Did the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act affect Dietary Intake of Low-Income Individuals?

Geetha Waehrer, Partha Deb & Sandra Decker
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between increased Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits following the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the diet quality of individuals from SNAP-eligible compared to ineligible (those with somewhat higher income) households using data from the 2007-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The ARRA increased SNAP monthly benefits by 13.6% of the maximum allotment for a given household size, equivalent to an increase of $24 to $144 for one-to-eight person households respectively. In the full sample, we find that these increases in SNAP benefits are not associated with changes in nutrient intake and diet quality. However, among those with no more than a high school education, higher SNAP benefits are associated with a 46% increase in the mean caloric share from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and a decrease in overall diet quality especially for those at the lower end of the diet quality distribution, amounting to a 9 percent decline at the 25th percentile.

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Effective Policy for Reducing Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income

Hilary Hoynes & Ankur Patel
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
In this paper, we examine the effect of the EITC on the employment and income of single mothers with children. We provide the first comprehensive estimates of this central safety net policy on the full distribution of after-tax and transfer income. We use a quasi-experiment approach, using variation in generosity due to policy expansions across tax years and family sizes. Our results show that a policy-induced $1000 increase in the EITC leads to a 7.3 percentage point increase in employment and a 9.4 percentage point reduction in the share of families with after-tax and transfer income below 100% poverty. Event study estimates show no evidence of differential pre-trends, providing strong evidence in support of our research design. We find that the income increasing effects of the EITC are concentrated between 75% and 150% of income-to-poverty with little effect at the lowest income levels (50% poverty and below) and at levels of 250% of poverty and higher. By capturing the indirect effects of the credit on earnings, our results show that static calculations of the anti-poverty effects of the EITC (such as those released based on the Supplemental Poverty Measure, Short 2014) may be underestimated by as much as 50 percent.

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Estimating Neighborhood Choice Models: Lessons from a Housing Assistance Experiment

Sebastian Galiani, Alvin Murphy & Juan Pantano
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use data from a housing assistance experiment to estimate a model of neighborhood choice. The experimental variation, which effectively randomizes the rents that households face, helps us to identify a key structural parameter of the model. Access to two randomly-selected treatment groups, in addition to a control group, allows for the out-of-sample validation of the model using a group of households who were not used in estimation and who faced a separate set of incentives. We use our estimated model to simulate the effects of changing the subsidy-use constraints implemented in the actual experiment and find that restricting subsidies to even lower poverty neighborhoods substantially reduces take-up. As a result, average exposure to poverty actually increases under these more restrictive subsidies. We also simulate the effect of adding additional subsidy restrictions based on neighborhood racial composition and find that this policy does not change the average household exposure to either neighborhood racial composition or poverty.

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Assisted Housing and Income Segregation among Neighborhoods in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Ann Owens
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2015, Pages 98-116

Abstract:
Over the past 40 years, assisted housing in the United States has undergone a dramatic geographic deconcentration, with at least one unit of assisted housing now located in most metropolitan neighborhoods. The location of assisted housing shapes where low-income assisted renters live, and it may also affect the residential choices of nonassisted residents. This article examines whether the deconcentration of assisted housing has reduced the segregation of families by income among neighborhoods in metropolitan areas from 1980 to 2005–9. I find that the deconcentration of assisted housing resulted in modest economic residential integration for very low-income families. However, high-income families became even more segregated, as assisted housing was deconcentrated, potentially offsetting the economic integration gains and ensuring that very low-income families are living in neighborhoods with only slightly higher-income neighbors. I conclude by discussing features of housing policies that might promote greater income integration among neighborhoods.

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Inter-generational effects of disability benefits: Evidence from Canadian social assistance programs

Kelly Chen, Lars Osberg & Shelley Phipps
Journal of Population Economics, October 2015, Pages 873-910

Abstract:
Individuals with disabilities face greater challenges in the labor market than able-bodied individuals, and a growing body of research is finding that their children also tend to have more developmental problems than the children of able-bodied parents. Can transfer payments help reduce this gap? In this paper, we present the first evidence on how parental disability benefits affect the well-being of children. Using changes in real benefits under ten disability benefit programs in Canada as an identification strategy and Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) as the data source on child outcomes, we find strong evidence that higher benefits lead to improvements in children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development, as measured by math scores in standardized tests, hyperactive symptoms, and emotional anxiety behavior. The effect is larger on children with a disabled mother than on those with a disabled father.

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Does Wal-Mart Cause an Increase in Anti-Poverty Expenditures?

Michael Hicks
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This article addresses the role of Wal-Mart Store entrance in changing expenditures on federal and state anti-poverty transfers in the United States.

Methods: Using a panel of the conterminous 48 states, correcting for time and spatial autocorrelation and local government mix and policy changes.

Results: I find that the number of Wal-Marts and their employment share in the retail sector have no impact on food stamps or AFDC/TANF expenditures. In models that account for retail employment share a 1 percent increase in the Wal-Mart's share reduced AFDC/TANF expenditures by 3.3 percent.

Conclusions: I find that Wal-Mart does increase Medicaid expenditures by roughly $898 per worker, which is consistent with other studies of the Medicaid costs per low-wage worker across the United States.

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The Impact of Mothers’ Earnings on Health Inputs and Infant Health

Naci Mocan, Christian Raschke & Bulent Unel
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of mothers’ earnings on birth weight and gestational age of infants in the U.S. It also analyzes the impact of earnings on mothers’ consumption of prenatal medical care, and their propensity to smoke and drink during pregnancy. The paper uses census division- year-specific skill-biased technology shocks as an instrument for mothers’ earnings and employs a two-sample instrumental variables strategy. About 14 million records of births between 1989 and 2004 are used from the Natality Detail files along with the CPS Annual Demographic Files from the same period. The results reveal that an increase in weekly earnings prompts an increase in prenatal care of low-skill mothers (those who have at most a high school degree) who are not likely to be on Medicaid, and that earnings have a small positive impact on birth weight and gestational age of the newborns of these mothers. Specifically, if a mother's earnings double, this produces a weight gain of the newborn by about 100 grams and an increase in gestational age by 0.7 weeks. An increase in earnings does not influence the health of newborns of high-skill mothers (those with at least some college education). Variations in earnings have no impact on birth weight for mothers who are likely to be on Medicaid.

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Low-Income Housing Development, Poverty Concentration, and Neighborhood Inequality

Matthew Freedman & Tamara McGavock
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Fall 2015, Pages 805–834

Abstract:
Considerable debate exists about the merits of place-based programs that steer new development, and particularly affordable housing development, into low-income neighborhoods. Exploiting quasi-experimental variation in incentives to construct and rehabilitate rental housing across neighborhoods generated by Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program rules, we explore the impacts of subsidized development on local housing construction, poverty concentration, and neighborhood inequality. While a large fraction of rental housing development spurred by the program is offset by a reduction in the number of new unsubsidized units, housing investment under the LIHTC has measurable effects on the distribution of income within and across communities. However, there is little evidence the program contributes meaningfully to poverty concentration or residential segregation.

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Revisiting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cycle of food intake: Investigating heterogeneity, diet quality, and a large boost in benefit amounts

Jessica Todd
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, September 2015, Pages 437-458

Abstract:
The monthly cycle of daily food intake among adult participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is examined using data from the 2007–10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Exogenous variation in interview and benefit receipt dates provides means for identification, and a difference-in-differences specification is used to account for the large boost in benefits that began in April 2009 via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Caloric intake declined as much as 25% at the end of the month prior to ARRA, but not after implementation. Few differences were observed for diet quality measures or among subgroups. Increases in SNAP benefit amounts may help smooth food intake over the benefit month.

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The not-very-rich and the very poor: Poverty persistence and poverty concentration in Sweden

Carina Mood
Journal of European Social Policy, July 2015, Pages 316-330

Abstract:
We question the common description of poverty in Western countries as largely brief and transient and show that the spell-based analyses from which this view stems diverts attention from the bulk of poverty, which is persistent rather than transient. Measures of poverty concentration are suggested. Using Swedish population data spanning 18 years (1990–2007, N (persons*years) = 102,754,809), we can avoid problems that plague poverty research using survey data and can give precise calculations of completed durations without relying on questionable assumptions. The majority of poverty years were experienced by people in long-term poverty: 69 percent of all poverty years over the 18-year period fell on people with 5 years or more in poverty. Half of all poverty years were borne by only 5 percent of the population, meaning that poverty was highly concentrated. This speaks in favour of the social policy efficiency in targeting a small group of long-term poor.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tied down

What Explains the Gender Gap in Schlepping? Testing Various Explanations for Gender Differences in Household-Serving Travel

Brian Taylor, Kelcie Ralph & Michael Smart
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Many gender differences in travel have begun to converge. Has convergence occurred for household-serving travel, which constitutes a very large and growing share of all trips? Moreover, what explains the division of household-serving travel in heterosexual couples? In answering these questions, we test the salience of three theories about the gendered division of household labor: (1) time availability, (2) microeconomic, and (3) gender socialization.

Methods: Using data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from 2003 to 2012, we calculated the female-to-male ratio of household-serving trips in several types of households (i.e., singles vs. couples and male vs. female breadwinner households).

Results: There was some empirical support for each theory, but we find the most consistent and compelling evidence for gender socialization. We observe substantial gender differences in child- and household-serving trips apart from household formation; even in households where women earn more, are better educated, or work more hours than their partners, women still make about half again as many child-serving and grocery-shopping trips as their male partners.

Conclusion: Despite dramatic changes in women's labor force participation over the past half-century, the gender division of household-serving travel remains strong.

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Some Men Earn More, Some Men Earn Less; Which Men Earn More When They Marry?

Jonathan Bearak
NYU Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This article investigates the effect of marriage on male earnings through an analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979-2010). Unlike prior research, this article does not assume that marriage affects men who earn a lot the same way that it affects men who earn little. The analysis shows that low-earning men marry around a time in their lives when they do particularly well: their earnings rise before they marry, peak around the fourth year, and then decline. In contrast, among high-earning men, earnings grow after and not before they marry. Recent scholarship questions the direction of causation between marriage and earnings because the average man’s earnings begin to rise shortly before marriage. However, the evidence that selection into marriage rather than effects of marriage explain men’s marriage premium pertains not to all but a subset of men – those at the bottom of the earnings distribution – a group of men also less likely to marry and remain married. For men higher in the distribution, marriage elevates earnings. Thus, ironically, marriage may have a causal effect on male earnings – just not on the earnings of the poor men on whom social scientists and policymakers focus most of their concern about the retreat from marriage. Marriage reinforces preexisting male earnings inequality, by increasing the distance between men at the bottom and top of the distribution. Thus, decreasing socioeconomic disparities in marriage rates will not decrease male earnings inequality — unless by a process which discourages high-earning men from marrying.

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The Gender of Breakup in Heterosexual Couples

Michael Rosenfeld
Stanford Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
Women initiate most divorces in the US, yet the reasons why women are more likely to initiate divorce are poorly understood. All of the prior literature on the gendered nature of breakup has been limited to analysis of heterosexual marriages and divorces. Prior literature has therefore been unable to distinguish the gendered nature of relationship breakup, versus the gendered roles of breakup specific to the institution of marriage itself. In this paper, I use a new longitudinal study of relationships and breakups in the US, the How Couples Meet and Stay Together surveys. The data examine the gender of breakup for both marital and nonmarital relationships for the first time. The results show that women’s initiation of breakup is specific to heterosexual marriage. Men and women in nonmarital heterosexual relationships in the US are equally likely to initiate breakup. The results are consistent with a feminist critique of heterosexual marriage as an institution that benefits men more than women.

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Grandmothering life histories and human pair bonding

James Coxworth et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

"We call attention to evidence that connects the evolution of human pair bonds to the male-biased sex ratios in fertile ages that characterize human populations. As in mammals generally, age-specific mortality is higher in males than in females. However, this difference is overshadowed by a distinctive feature of human life history: Oldest ages at parturition are about the same in humans as in other living hominids, the great apes, whereas longevity is substantially greater and male fertility continues to older ages. Exceptional longevity with a distinctive postmenopausal life stage may have evolved in our lineage when grandmothers’ subsidies for weaned dependents allowed mothers to have next babies sooner. According to this grandmother hypothesis, longevity increased as longer-lived grandmothers could help more and so left more longer-lived descendants of both sexes. Women’s postfertile life stage produces a bias in the sex ratio of fertile adults with repercussions for male strategies. As longevity increased, older-aged males expanded the pool of competitors for the still-fertile females. With more competitors for each paternity, males’ average success in finding new mates inevitably declined until defending a current mate became the better option. Our distinctive life history thus supplies previously unrecognized support for a mate-guarding hypothesis for the evolution of human pair bonds."

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Facebook or Memory — Which Is the Real Threat to Your Relationship?

Michelle Drouin, Daniel Miller & Jayson Dibble
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the role of Facebook friends lists in identifying potential sexual and committed relationship alternatives and the effects this had on relationship investment in a sample of 371 young adult undergraduates. A Facebook versus memory experimental protocol was developed to test whether Facebook friends lists act as primers for recognition of potential sexual and committed relationship partners and whether identifying these potential partners (either from Facebook or from memory) caused lower relationship investment. Facebook friends lists did act as memory primers for potential partners, but only for sexual partners, and the effect was stronger for men than it was for women. However, identifying potential partners through Facebook actually lowered a person's perceptions of the quality of their alternatives. In contrast, merely thinking about potential alternatives from one's social sphere lowered relationship satisfaction and commitment with one's current committed partner. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to current work on the negative effects of Facebook use on relationship outcomes.

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Battle of the Sexes: How Sex Ratios Affect Female Bargaining Power

Erwin Bulte, Qin Tu & John List
Economic Development and Cultural Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
A vibrant literature has emerged that explores the economic implications of the sex ratio (the ratio of men to women in the population), including changes in fertility rates, educational outcomes, labor supply, and household purchases. Previous empirical efforts, however, have paid less attention to the underlying channel via which changes in the sex ratio affect economic decisions. This study combines evidence from a field experiment and a survey to document that the sex ratio importantly influences female bargaining power: as the sex ratio increases, female bargaining power increases.

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(Mis)matching in physical attractiveness and women's resistance to mate guarding

Madeleine Fugère, Alita Cousins & Stephanie MacLaren
Personality and Individual Differences, December 2015, Pages 190–195

Abstract:
Women (N = 692) in romantic relationships (average duration approximately two years) responded to an online survey. The women self-reported their own as well as their partners' physical attractiveness, revealing significant perceived matching in physical attractiveness, as well as a tendency to rate their partners as more attractive than themselves. The women completed the Resistance to Mate Guarding Scale as well as other measures of relationship attitudes and behaviors. Women who perceived themselves as more attractive than their mates more strongly resisted mate guarding; the strongest relationships were with the subscales of Covert Resistance Behaviors, Resisting Public Displays of Affection, and Avoiding Partner Contact. When women perceived themselves as more attractive than their mates, they also reported less commitment, more flirting with other men, more appealing dating alternatives, and more frequent thoughts about breaking up.

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The co-movement of couples’ incomes

Stephen Shore
Review of Economics of the Household, September 2015, Pages 569-588

Abstract:
While there is a large literature on how individual incomes move over time, we know much less about couples’ joint income dynamics. Current research on individual income dynamics has increasingly considered heterogeneity — do all individuals’ incomes evolve in the same way, or does a particular individual’s income evolve in the same way throughout their life? This paper considers the analogous questions for couples — do all couples’ incomes move together in the same way, or does a particular couple’s incomes move together in the same way throughout their marriage? In particular, I find evidence of correlated volatility; husbands with volatile incomes tend to have wives with volatile ones. I find weaker evidence for heterogeneity in the correlation of husbands’ and wives’ income changes, with some couples incomes moving together while others moving in opposite directions. Couples’ income changes are negatively correlated early in marriage, particularly when young children are present, and become more positively correlated over time.

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Stress, Relationship Satisfaction, and Health Among African American Women: Genetic Moderation of Effects

Man-Kit Lei et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether romantic relationship satisfaction would serve as a link between early and later stressors which in turn would influence the thyroid function index (TFI), an indicator of physiological stress response. Using the framework of genetic susceptibility theory combined with hypotheses derived from the vulnerability-stress-adaptation and stress-generation models, we tested whether the hypothesized mediational model would be conditioned by 5-HTTLPR genotype, with greater effects and stronger evidence of mediation among carriers of the “s” allele. In a sample of African American women in romantic relationships (n = 270), we found that 5-HTTLPR moderated each stage of the hypothesized mediational model in a “for better or for worse” manner. That is genetic polymorphisms function to exacerbate not only the detrimental impact of negative environments (i.e., “for worse effects”) but also the beneficial impact of positive environments (i.e., “for better effects”). The effect of early stress on relationship satisfaction was greater among carriers of the “short” allele than among those who did not carry the short allele, and was significantly different in both the “for better” and “for worse” direction. Likewise, the effect of relationship satisfaction on later stressors was moderated in a “for better “or “for worse” manner. Finally, impact on physiological stress, indexed using TFI level, indicated that the impact of later stressors on TFI level was greater in the presence of the short allele, and also followed a “for better” or “for worse” pattern. As expected, the proposed mediational model provided a better fit for “s” allele carriers.

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Putting laughter in context: Shared laughter as behavioral indicator of relationship well-being

Laura Kurtz & Sara Algoe
Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laughter is a pervasive human behavior that most frequently happens in a social context. However, data linking the behavior of laughter with psychological or social outcomes are exceptionally rare. Here, the authors draw attention to shared laughter as a useful objective marker of relationship well-being. Spontaneously generated laughs of 71 heterosexual romantic couples were coded from a videorecorded conversation about how the couple first met. Multilevel models revealed that while controlling for all other laughter present, the proportion of the conversation spent laughing simultaneously with the romantic partner was uniquely positively associated with global evaluations of relationship quality, closeness, and social support. Results are discussed with respect to methodological considerations and theoretical implications for relationships and behavioral research more broadly.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, September 21, 2015

Power structure

Who Democratizes? Western-educated Leaders and Regime Transitions

Thomas Gift & Daniel Krcmaric
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many theories attempt to explain why some countries democratize and others do not. Existing accounts, however, focus almost exclusively on structural factors and ignore individual leaders. In this article, we argue that leaders educated at Western universities are more likely to democratize than other leaders because Western education socializes leaders to prefer democracy and creates transnational linkages that alter the strategic calculus of democratization. Utilizing an original data set on the specific colleges and universities world leaders attended, we show that Western-educated leaders significantly and substantively improve a country’s democratization prospects.

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Dirty Hands: Government Torture and Terrorism

Ursula Daxecker
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research suggests that the use of harsh repression can exacerbate the incidence and duration of terrorism. Micro- and macro-level analyses have shown that coercive government responses to terrorism can radicalize sympathizers, increase recruitment, and undermine community support for counterterrorism policies, leading to backlash and increased terrorist activity. Focusing on torture techniques, this article aims to establish mechanisms implicit in the backlash hypothesis. These arguments imply that information about government transgressions is available to potential group sympathizers, but have not examined whether and how variation in the visibility of different torture techniques affects the likelihood of backlash. Scarring torture, a technique that is both more visible and less plausibly deniable than other forms of torture, is expected to produce higher volumes of terrorism. Using disaggregated data on allegations of torture from the Ill-Treatment and Torture project for 1995 to 2005, the analysis shows that scarring torture is consistently associated with increases in terrorism, whereas stealth torture has no statistically discernable effect on terrorism.

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When Talk Trumps Text: The Democratizing Effects of Deliberation during Constitution-Making, 1974–2011

Todd Eisenstadt, Carl LeVan & Tofigh Maboudi
American Political Science Review, August 2015, Pages 592-612

Abstract:
Under what circumstances do new constitutions promote democracy? Between 1974 and 2011, the level of democracy increased in 62 countries following the adoption of a new constitution, but decreased or stayed the same in 70 others. Using data covering all 138 new constitutions in 118 countries during that period, we explain this divergence through empirical tests showing that overall increased participation during the process of making the constitution positively impacts postpromulgation levels of democracy. Then, after disaggregating constitution-making into three stages (drafting, debating, and ratification) we find compelling evidence through robust statistical tests that the degree of citizen participation in the drafting stage has a much greater impact on the resulting regime. This lends support to some core principles of “deliberative” theories of democracy. We conclude that constitutional reformers should focus more on generating public “buy in” at the front end of the constitution-making process, rather than concentrating on ratification and referendums at the “back end” that are unlikely to correct for an “original sin” of limited citizen deliberation during drafting.

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IMF Programs and the Risk of a Coup d’état

Brett Casper
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Leaders use the distribution of economic rents to maintain the political support of regime elites. When countries join International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs, they are often required to implement a variety of free market-inspired reforms — such as privatization, reductions in government spending, and the restructuring of financial institutions — as a condition for receiving program funds. These types of reforms can diminish a leader’s capacity to redistribute wealth, which ultimately increases the risk of a coup. More specifically, when a leader begins the implementation of an IMF arrangement, the leader’s action provides public information about the leader’s weakened ability to redistribute wealth in the future. Thus, the act of implementing an IMF program provides each individual elite with information about his or her expected value of rents in the future, and this information gives elites who stand to be harmed by a reform an incentive to launch a coup.

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Informally Governing Information: How Criminal Rivalry Leads to Violence against the Press in Mexico

Bradley Holland & Viridiana Rios
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
A well-functioning press is crucial for sustaining a healthy democracy. While attacks on journalists occur regularly in many developing countries, previous work has largely ignored where and why journalists are attacked. Focusing on violence by criminal organizations (COs) in Mexico, we offer the first systematic, micro-level analysis of the conditions under which journalists are more likely to be violently targeted. Contrary to popular belief, our evidence reveals that the presence of large, profitable COs does not necessarily lead to fatal attacks against the press. Rather, the likelihood of journalists being killed only increases when rival criminal groups inhabit territories. Rivalry inhibits COs’ ability to control information leaks to the press, instead creating incentives for such leaks to be used as weapons to intensify official enforcement operations against rivals. Without the capacity to informally govern press content, rival criminals affected by such press coverage are more likely to target journalists.

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Language, Religion, and Ethnic Civil War

Nils-Christian Bormann, Lars-Erik Cederman & Manuel Vogt
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are certain ethnic cleavages more conflict-prone than others? While only few scholars focus on the contents of ethnicity, most of those who do argue that political violence is more likely to occur along religious divisions than linguistic ones. We challenge this claim by analyzing the path from linguistic differences to ethnic civil war along three theoretical steps: (1) the perception of grievances by group members, (2) rebel mobilization, and (3) government accommodation of rebel demands. Our argument is tested with a new data set of ethnic cleavages that records multiple linguistic and religious segments for ethnic groups from 1946 to 2009. Adopting a relational perspective, we assess ethnic differences between potential challengers and the politically dominant group in each country. Our findings indicate that intrastate conflict is more likely within linguistic dyads than among religious ones. Moreover, we find no support for the thesis that Muslim groups are particularly conflict-prone.

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Successful or Counterproductive Coercion? The Effect of International Sanctions on Conflict Intensity

Lisa Hultman & Dursun Peksen
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the frequent use of economic and military-specific sanctions against countries affected by civil conflicts, little is known about the possible impact that these coercive tools have on conflict dynamics. This article examines how threats and imposition of international sanctions affect the intensity of civil conflict violence. We formulate and test two competing views on the possible effect of economic and military-specific sanctions on conflict dynamics by combining data on fatalities in battle-related violence in all internal armed conflicts in Africa from 1989 to 2005 with data on economic sanctions and arms embargoes. The results indicate that threats of economic sanction and arms embargo are likely to increase the intensity of conflict violence. Similarly, imposed economic sanctions are likely to contribute to the escalation of conflict violence. Imposed arms embargoes, on the other hand, are likely to reduce conflict violence. We conclude that international sanctions appear to be counterproductive policy tools in mitigating the human cost of civil conflicts unless they are in the form of imposed arms embargoes attempting to limit the military capacity of the warring parties.

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The Political Economy of Liberal Democracy

Sharun Mukand & Dani Rodrik
NBER Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
We distinguish between three sets of rights – property rights, political rights, and civil rights – and provide a taxonomy of political regimes. The distinctive nature of liberal democracy is that it protects civil rights (equality before the law for minorities) in addition to the other two. Democratic transitions are typically the product of a settlement between the elite (who care mostly about property rights) and the majority (who care mostly about political rights). Such settlements rarely produce liberal democracy, as the minority has neither the resources nor the numbers to make a contribution at the bargaining table. We develop a formal model to sharpen the contrast between electoral and liberal democracies and highlight circumstances under which liberal democracy can emerge. We discuss informally the difference between social mobilizations sparked by industrialization and decolonization. Since the latter revolve around identity cleavages rather than class cleavages, they are less conducive to liberal politics.

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Political Succession: A Model of Coups, Revolution, Purges, and Everyday Politics

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita & Alastair Smith
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
In addition to everyday political threats, leaders risk removal from office through coups and mass movements such as rebellion. Further, all leaders face threats from shocks such as downturns in their health, their country’s economy, or their government’s revenue. By integrating these risks into the selectorate theory, we characterize the conditions under which each threat is pertinent and the countermoves (purges, democratization, expansion of public goods, and expansion of private benefits) that best enable the leader to survive in office. The model identifies new insights into the nature of assassins; the relative risk of different types of leader removal as a function of the extant institutions of government; and the endogenous factors driving better or worse public policy and decisions to democratize or become more autocratic. Importantly, the results highlight how an increase in the risk of deposition via one means intensifies other removal risks.

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No Taxation of Elites, No Representation: State Capacity and the Origins of Representation

Deborah Boucoyannis
Politics & Society, September 2015, Pages 303-332

Abstract:
Does state weakness lead to representation via taxation? A distinguished body of scholarship assumes that fiscal need forced weak(ened) states to grant rights and build institutions. The logic is traced to pre-modern Europe. However, the literature has misunderstood the link between state strength and the origins of representation. Representation emerged where the state was already strong. In pre-modern Europe, representation originally was a legal obligation, not a right. It became the organizing principle of central institutions where rulers could oblige communities to send representatives authorized to commit to decisions taken at the center. Representation thus presupposed strong state capacity, especially to tax. The revision amends our understanding of the historical paradigms guiding the literature, as well as the application of these paradigms to policies in the developing world. It suggests that societal demands for accountability and better governance (the assumed aims of representation) are more likely to emerge in response to taxation already effectively applied.

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Predicting Revolt: Fragility Indexes and the Level of Violence and Instability in the Arab Spring

Kevin Neil Buterbaugh, Costel Calin & Theresa Marchant-Shapiro
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article is one of the first to systematically assess the ability of state fragility measures to predict violent protests and adverse regime changes in countries. We focus on the Arab Spring as an example of a situation that such measures ought to predict. Through a variety of analyses, we find that none of the measures are predictive. We then create a simple model using the literature of protest and revolts to predict both the level of violence and the extent of regime change in the Arab Spring countries. This simpler model does a better job of predicting the level of involvement in the Arab Spring than any of the complex State Fragility Indexes. Thus, the goal of this article is not to explain the causes of the Arab Spring, but to add to the discussion of the predictive value of measures of instability.

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Resource Windfalls, Political Regimes, and Political Stability

Francesco Caselli & Andrea Tesei
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study theoretically and empirically whether natural resource windfalls affect political regimes. We show that windfalls have no effect on democracies, while they have heterogeneous political consequences in autocracies: in deeply entrenched autocracies the effect of windfalls is virtually nil, while in moderately entrenched autocracies windfalls significantly exacerbate the autocratic nature of the political system. To frame the empirical work we present a simple model in which political incumbents choose the degree of political contestability and potential challengers decide whether or not to try to unseat the incumbents. The model uncovers a mechanism for the asymmetric impact of resource windfalls on democracies and autocracies, as well as the the differential impact within autocracies.

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Lincoln's Gamble: Fear of Intervention and the Onset of the American Civil War

Paul Poast
Security Studies, Summer 2015, Pages 502-527

Abstract:
Few studies consider how civil war onset can be influenced by third parties and by the belligerents’ perceptions of third party actions. I show that the American Civil War, a war largely ignored by civil war scholars, sheds insights into how anticipation of third party intervention influences the decision-making process within the target state and how the possibility of third party intervention can influence the onset and escalation of civil war. The American Civil War is an especially interesting case for exploring the role of third parties in civil war initiation since, unlike most cases considered by the existing civil war literature, the American Civil War is an instance of nonintervention: the third parties (the European powers in this case) mattered despite staying out of the conflict. Specifically, I argue that fear of foreign recognition (particularly by the British) played an underappreciated (if not the decisive) role in the earliest stages of the American Civil War by influencing Lincoln's decision to authorize the first major battle of the war at Manassas Junction, Virginia.

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How Free Media Protects Energy Infrastructure?

Oleg Polivin
Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Modern warfare is often indirect: rebel groups are normally too weak to fight the state’s army in an open conflict, while the main problem of the government is to find the hideout of the rebels or identify their supporters. In this paper, I argue that if communication channels like free media are missing, rebel groups choose to attack the energy infrastructure. Empirical evidence reveals that countries with freer media experience less attacks against their energy infrastructure.

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Ethnopolitical demography and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa

Andy Baker, James Scarritt & Shaheen Mozaffar
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ethnic fragmentation is largely presumed to be bad for democracy. However, many African countries belie this claim, as democracy has recently sprouted in several of its multiethnic states. We argue that African countries that have demographic patterns where the largest ethnopolitical group is at least a near-majority and is simultaneously divided into nested subgroups produce Africa's most democratic multiethnic societies. This large-divided-group pattern, which has gone largely unnoticed by previous scholars, facilitates transitions to democracy from authoritarian rule. The large group's size foments the broad-based multiethnic social agitation needed to pose a genuine threat to a ruling autocrat, while its internal divisions reassure minorities that they will not suffer permanent exclusion via ethnic dominance under an eventual democracy. We support our claim with cross-national quantitative evidence on ethnic fragmentation and regime type.

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Demography and Democracy: A Global, District-level Analysis of Electoral Contestation

John Gerring et al.
American Political Science Review, August 2015, Pages 574-591

Abstract:
According to the classical perspective, polity size and democracy are inversely related. In this article, we argue that there is an important exception that manifests itself at the district level in settings where multiparty competition is allowed. Specifically, we find that larger districts encourage greater contestation. This results from a little-noticed mechanical effect as well as from several features of constituencies that are affected by size and have direct repercussions for contestation. To demonstrate this thesis we assembled a unique dataset, the Multi-level Election Archive (MLEA), which unites electoral contests across a variety of districts (national, regional, and local) and elective offices from the eighteenth century to the present, including a total of 88 countries, 2,344 elections, 79,658 districts, and more than 400,000 contests. With this evidence we were able to conduct a broad array of statistical tests, some global and others focused on particular countries or election types, all of which support our general argument.

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The Long-term Effects of Political Violence on Political Attitudes: Evidence from the Spanish Civil War

Daniel Oto-Peralías
Kyklos, August 2015, Pages 412–442

Abstract:
This article investigates whether political violence has long-term effects on attitudes toward political participation. This is an interesting topic because public engagement and social capital play a crucial role in shaping the economy and democracy. We exploit a recent survey on the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War to shed light on this question. Our findings indicate that being a member of a family that suffered violence during the Civil War is related to a higher interest, knowledge and engagement in politics. These results stand in stark contrast to the common expectation that political violence leads to lower public engagement, while they are consistent with other studies focusing on the short-term consequences of civil conflicts. Therefore, the legacy of political violence, far from creating political apathy, may be the higher involvement of citizens in politics.

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Responding to Catastrophe: Repression Dynamics Following Rapid-onset Natural Disasters

Reed Wood & Thorin Wright
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Natural disasters often cause significant human suffering. They may also provide incentives for states to escalate repression against their citizens. We argue that state authorities escalate repression in the wake of natural disasters because the combination of increased grievances and declining state control produced by disasters creates windows of opportunity for dissident mobilization and challenges to state authority. We also investigate the impact of the post-disaster humanitarian aid on this relationship. Specifically, we argue that inflows of aid in the immediate aftermath of disasters are likely to dampen the impact of disasters on repression. However, we expect that this effect is greater when aid flows to more democratic states. We examine these interrelated hypotheses using cross-national data on immediate-onset natural disasters and state violations of physical integrity rights between 1977 and 2009 as well as newly collected foreign aid data disaggregated by sector. The results provide support for both our general argument and the corollary hypotheses.

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A War of (Mis)Information: The Political Effects of Rumors and Rumor Rebuttals in an Authoritarian Country

Haifeng Huang
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the prevalence of anti-government rumors in authoritarian countries, little is currently known about their effects on citizens’ attitudes toward the government, and whether the authorities can effectively combat rumors. With an experimental procedure embedded in two surveys about Chinese internet users’ information exposure, this study finds that rumors decrease citizens’ trust in the government and support of the regime. Moreover, individuals from diverse socio-economic and political backgrounds are similarly susceptible to thinly evidenced rumors. Rebuttals generally reduce people’s belief in the specific content of rumors, but often do not recover political trust unless the government brings forth solid and vivid evidence to back its refutation or win the endorsement of public figures broadly perceived to be independent. But because such high-quality and strong rebuttals are hard to come by, rumors will erode political support in an authoritarian state. These findings have rich implications for studies of rumors and misinformation in general, and authoritarian information politics in particular.

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Negotiating with Rebels: The Effect of Rebel Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations

Lindsay Heger & Danielle Jung
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating the terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure. We argue that these features deter potential spoilers from breaking away from the organization during negotiation processes. This, in turn, makes governments more willing to enter negotiations since the threat from spoilers is smaller. Thus, compared to nonproviders, service-providing rebels are more likely to engage in negotiations and these processes are likely to be more stable. This article analyzes these propositions by gathering service provision data on nearly 400 rebel groups and their involvement in and behavior during peace talks. It also serves as an introduction to a larger project about the implications of rebel service provision on conflict outcomes.

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On Education and Democratic Preferences

Alberto Chong & Mark Gradstein
Economics & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We make the point that preferences for democracy are positively correlated with level of education. This correlation is robust even after controlling for a range of personal characteristics, including country of residence, income, age, or using different definitions of preferences for democracy or using instrumental variables. Interestingly, the results hold across countries with different level of democracy. We use data from World Values Surveys and show that our results are consistent with a simple theoretical model in which education makes political accountability easier.

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Dependence Networks and the Diffusion of Domestic Political Institutions

Jay Goodliffe & Darren Hawkins
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
How and to what extent do states influence the level of democracy and autocracy in other states? We argue that states exist internationally in dependence networks with each other and that those networks provide pathways for influence on a state’s domestic institutions. For any given state, a dependence network is a set of partner states with whom it regularly engages in exchanges of valued goods, where those exchanges would be costly to break. We find that an index of three such networks – trade, security and shared international organization membership – significantly influences the domestic political institutions in a given state. These changes are substantively large in the long run, similar in size to regional and global levels of democracy. State capabilities figure heavily in our network measures, thus emphasizing the role of power in the diffusion of domestic political institutions. We also find that network-influenced change works both ways: states can become more autocratic or more democratic.

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Does Information Lead to Emulation? Spatial Dependence in Anti-Government Violence

Blake Garcia & Cameron Wimpy
Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether acts of anti-government violence exhibit spatial dependence across state boundaries. In other words, to what extent can acts of anti-government violence in one country be attributed to violence in neighboring countries? Past research, which has largely focused on civil war or large-scale conflict contagion, finds that geographically proximate states are more likely to experience the cross-boundary diffusion of conflict due to action emulation. However, this assumes that actors are fully aware of conflicts occurring in neighboring countries. To address this, the article argues that the proliferation of communication technology increases access to information about events in neighboring states, thereby allowing emulation to occur and subsequently conditioning the potential for violence to spread. It tests this expectation by modeling the effects of a unique spatial connectivity matrix that incorporates both state contiguity and access to communication technology. An analysis of all acts of anti-government violence in 44 African countries from 2000 to 2011 supports the argument.

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Disruptive Democratization: Contentious Events and Liberalizing Outcomes Globally, 1990–2004

Mohammad Ali Kadivar & Neal Caren
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does contentious collective action matter? Whereas most social movement literature has addressed this question in the US context for policy change outcomes, this paper takes a different approach by bringing the question to a global context and examines democratization as a structural outcome. Accordingly, we test several hypotheses about the ephemeral, positive, and negative influences of contentious collective action on the democratization process in a given country, as well as the cross-border effect of the contention. To go beyond the limitations of previous studies, this paper uses a monthly time-series, cross-national model to examine potential liberalizing or deliberalizing effects of protest activities. Using data from 103 non-democratic countries from 1990 to 2004, we find that protests and riots increase the probability that a country will liberalize in a given month. We find that while contentious events in other countries do not directly increase the risk of liberalization, external contentious events, especially those that lead to political liberalization, increase the count of contentious events, thus indirectly boosting liberalization. We find no evidence that protest significantly increases the chances of deliberalization. Together, our findings show a key role for non-elite political actors to influence political liberalization.

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Donor Fragmentation, Aid Shocks, and Violent Political Conflict

Raynee Gutting & Martin Steinwand
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent debates have focused on the negative role of the proliferation of foreign aid facilities and donor fragmentation for development outcomes and recipient country institutions. This article investigates an overlooked positive side effect of donor proliferation. With an increasing number of donors, exposure to negative aid shocks decreases, as well as the impact of such shocks on violent political conflict. Using data on 106 recipient countries for the years 1970 to 2008 and employing event history and mediation analysis, we find strong evidence that fragmentation significantly reduces the risk for political destabilization associated with aid shocks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, September 20, 2015

On the same team

Emergence of Leadership in a Group of Autonomous Robots

Francesco Pugliese, Alberto Acerbi & Davide Marocco
PLoS ONE, September 2015

Abstract:
In this paper we examine the factors contributing to the emergence of leadership in a group, and we explore the relationship between the role of the leader and the behavioural capabilities of other individuals. We use a simulation technique where a group of foraging robots must coordinate to choose between two identical food zones in order to forage collectively. Behavioural and quantitative analysis indicate that a form of leadership emerges, and that groups with a leader are more effective than groups without. Moreover, we show that the most skilled individuals in a group tend to be the ones that assume a leadership role, supporting biological findings. Further analysis reveals the emergence of different “styles” of leadership (active and passive).

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On the Psychology of Scarcity: When Reminders of Resource Scarcity Promote Selfish (and Generous) Behavior

Caroline Roux, Kelly Goldsmith & Andrea Bonezzi
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often encounter reminders of resource scarcity. However, relatively little is known about the psychological processes that such reminders instantiate. In this article, we posit that reminders of resource scarcity activate a competitive orientation, which guides consumers’ decision making towards advancing their own welfare. Further, we reveal that this tendency can manifest in behaviors that appear selfish, but also in behaviors that appear generous, in conditions where generosity allows for personal gains. The current research thus offers a more nuanced understanding of why resource scarcity may promote behaviors that appear either selfish or generous in different contexts, and provides one way to reconcile seemingly conflicting prior findings.

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Economic freedom and social capital

Jeremy Jackson, Art Carden & Ryan Compton
Applied Economics, Fall 2015, Pages 5853-5867

Abstract:
This article brings together two growing literatures, social capital and economic freedom, to examine whether economic freedom contributes to social capital. More specifically, using US state-level data from 1986 to 2004 and both OLS and System GMM dynamic panel estimation, we find that there is no clear trade-off between economic freedom and either the level or growth of social capital.

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Social Bonds and Exercise: Evidence for a Reciprocal Relationship

Arran Davis, Jacob Taylor & Emma Cohen
PLoS ONE, August 2015

Abstract:
In two experimental studies, we investigated mechanisms hypothesized to underpin two pervasive and interrelated phenomena: that certain forms of group movement and exercise lead to social bonding and that social bonding can lead to enhanced exercise performance. In Study 1, we manipulated synchrony and exercise intensity among rowers and found that, compared with low intensity exercise, moderate intensity exercise led to significantly higher levels of cooperation in an economic game; no effect of synchrony vs. non-synchrony was found. In Study 2, we investigated the effects of bonding on performance, using synchrony as a cue of existing supportive social bonds among participants. An elite, highly bonded team of rugby players participated in solo, synchronized, and non-synchronized warm-up sessions; participants' anaerobic performance significantly improved after the brief synchronous warm-up relative to the non-synchronous warm-up. The findings substantiate claims concerning the reciprocal links between group exercise and social bonding, and may help to explain the ubiquity of collective physical activity across cultural domains as varied as play, ritual, sport, and dance.

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Cooperative preferences fluctuate across the menstrual cycle

Christine Anderl et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, September 2015, Pages 400–406

Abstract:
Social Value Orientation (SVO) refers to an individual’s preference for the division of resources between the self and another person. Since evidence suggests that hormones influence several facets of human social behavior, we asked whether SVO might fluctuate across the female menstrual cycle. Using self-report data obtained in two independent online studies, we show that cooperative preferences, as indexed by SVO, are indeed significantly more prosocial in the early follicular compared to the midluteal phase in naturally ovulating women. Furthermore, when estimating hormonal variations from norm data, we found estradiol, but not progesterone or testosterone, to be a significant predictor of SVO across the menstrual cycle in both studies, with a negative correlation. Our findings provide evidence that the willingness to cooperate varies across the natural female menstrual cycle and highlight the potential of investigating psychological effects of ovarian sex hormones.

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Birth Weight and Social Trust in Adulthood: Evidence for Early Calibration of Social Cognition

Michael Bang Petersen & Lene Aarøe
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social trust forms the fundamental basis for social interaction within societies. Understanding the cognitive architecture of trust and the roots of individual differences in trust is of key importance. We predicted that one of the factors calibrating individual levels of trust is the intrauterine flow of nutrients from mother to child as indexed by birth weight. Birth weight forecasts both the future external environment and the internal condition of the individual in multiple ways relevant for social cognition. Specifically, we predicted that low birth weight is utilized as a forecast of a harsh environment, vulnerable condition, or both and, consequently, reduces social trust. The results of the study reported here are consistent with this prediction. Controlling for many confounds through sibling and panel designs, we found that lower birth weight reduced social trust in adulthood. Furthermore, we obtained tentative evidence that this effect is mitigated if adult environments do not induce stress.

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Ritual increases children’s affiliation with in-group members

Nicole Wen, Patricia Herrmann & Cristine Legare
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the impact of ritual participation on children’s in-group affiliation (N = 71, 4-11-year-old children). A novel social group paradigm was used in an afterschool program to test the influence of a ritual versus a control task on a measure of affiliation with in-group versus out-group members. The data support the hypothesis that the experience of participating in a ritual increases in-group affiliation to a greater degree than group activity alone. The results provide insight into the early-developing preference for in-group members and are consistent with the proposal that rituals facilitate in-group cohesion. We propose that humans are psychologically prepared to engage in ritual as a means of in-group affiliation.

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The Evolution of Power and the Divergence of Cooperative Norms

Michael Makowsky & Paul Smaldino
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider a model of multilevel selection and the evolution of institutions that distribute power in the form of influence in a group's collective interactions with other groups. In the absence of direct group-level interactions, groups with the most cooperative members will outcompete less cooperative groups, while within any group the least cooperative members will be the most successful. Introducing group-level interactions, however, such as raiding or warfare, changes the selective landscape for groups. Our model suggests that as the global population becomes more integrated and the rate of intergroup conflict increases, selection increasingly favors unequally distributed power structures, where individual influence is weighted by acquired resources. The advantage to less democratic groups rests in their ability to facilitate selection for cooperative strategies – involving cooperation both among themselves and with outsiders – in order to produce the resources necessary to fuel their success in inter-group conflicts, while simultaneously selecting for leaders (and corresponding collective behavior) who are unburdened with those same prosocial norms. The coevolution of cooperative social norms and institutions of power facilitates the emergence of a leadership class of the selfish and has implications for theories of inequality, structures of governance, non-cooperative personality traits, and hierarchy. Our findings suggest an amendment to the well-known doctrine of multilevel selection that “Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups.” In an interconnected world, altruistic groups led by selfish individuals can beat them both.

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Effect of Solicitor's Suntanned Face on Compliance with a Face-To-Face Helping Request: A Brief Examination in a Field Setting

Nicolas Guéguen
Psychological Reports, August 2015, Pages 245-250

Abstract:
Psychologists have investigated why people want to have a tanned skin and how to prevent people's exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation. However, the effect of suntan on social behavior has not been investigated. In this experiment, conducted in France, a female confederate wearing, or not wearing, a self-tanning cream on her face asked 104 male and 111 female passersby (approximate ages 30 to 60 yr.) to participate in a survey. It was found that more passersby agreed with the request when the interviewer had a suntanned face (52%) than in the control condition (39%). Theoretical and practical interests are discussed.

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Habits of Virtue: Creating Norms of Cooperation and Defection in the Laboratory

Alexander Peysakhovich & David Rand
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract
What explains variability in norms of cooperation across organizations and cultures? One answer comes from the tendency of individuals to internalize typically successful behaviors as norms. Different institutional structures can cause different behavioral norms to be internalized. These norms are then carried over into atypical situations beyond the reach of the institution. Here, we experimentally demonstrate such spillovers. First, we immerse subjects in environments that do or do not support cooperation using repeated prisoner’s dilemmas. Afterwards, we measure their intrinsic prosociality in one-shot games. Subjects from environments that support cooperation are more prosocial, more likely to punish selfishness, and more trusting in general. Furthermore, these effects are most pronounced among subjects who use heuristics, suggesting that intuitive processes play a key role in the spillovers we observe. Our findings help to explain variation in one-shot anonymous cooperation, linking this intrinsically motivated prosociality to the externally imposed institutional rules experienced in other settings.

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How does the effect of pre-play suggestions vary with group size? Experimental evidence from a threshold public-good game

Nick Feltovich & Philip Grossman
European Economic Review, October 2015, Pages 263–280

Abstract:
Numerous studies have examined factors influencing the likelihood of cooperative outcomes in nonzero-sum games, but there has been little study of the interaction between two of the most important: group size and pre-play cheap talk. We report results from an experiment in which groups of size between 2 and 15 play a one-shot multi-player threshold public-good game. In our random leader treatment, all group members select a suggestion (e.g., “Everyone should choose X”), with one randomly chosen to be broadcast to the group. In a choice only treatment, subjects choose suggestions but none is sent, and in a baseline treatment, there are no suggestions at all. We find a negative interaction between group size and this kind of communication: the beneficial effect of both suggestions overall and cooperative suggestions on cooperation, cooperative outcomes, and payoffs decreases sharply as the group size increases. We find a similar negative interaction in a follow-up treatment in which all group members’ suggestions are broadcast to the group. Our results suggest that care should be taken in generalising conclusions from small-group experiments to large groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sexy smart

(Psychological) Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Effects of Psychological Distance and Relative Intelligence on Men's Attraction to Women

Lora Park, Ariana Young & Paul Eastwick
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal attraction may be shaped by (a) one's psychological distance from a target (the subjective experience that a target is close to or far from the self) and (b) the perceived standing of a target on a trait relative to the self (as better or worse than the self). We propose that when evaluating a psychologically distant target, individuals may rely on abstract schemas (e.g., the desirability of a partner's traits) and prefer targets who possess more (vs. less) desirable qualities than themselves. However, when evaluating psychologically near targets, concrete contextual details of the environment (e.g., how a target's behavior affects self-evaluations in the moment) may determine individuals' attraction toward targets. Six studies revealed that when evaluating psychologically distant targets, men showed greater attraction toward women who displayed more (vs. less) intelligence than themselves. In contrast, when targets were psychologically near, men showed less attraction toward women who outsmarted them.

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Evidence for the Lipstick Effect at the Level of Automatic Visual Attention

Donald Sacco, Aaron Bermond & Steven Young
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated that women concerned with economic recessions (i.e., resource scarcity) display an increased explicit preference to purchase products capable of enhancing physical beauty (the lipstick effect). Such preference shifts are hypothesized to be the manifestation of a female mating adaptation to increase attractiveness to potential male partners, thereby increasing access to high quality male mates (i.e., those with resources to invest in potential offspring). The current study tested whether the lipstick effect operates at the level of automaticity (i.e., automatic visual attention). Female participants were randomly assigned to a recession prime (an article about a recent recession) or a control prime condition (an article about architecture). Participants then completed a reaction time (RT) task (i.e., dot-probe task) that assessed automatic attentional bias toward beauty and nonbeauty products. The results demonstrated that women in the recession prime condition demonstrated a stronger automatic visual attentional bias for beauty relative to control products; control prime participants displayed a marginally stronger automatic attentional bias for control products. These findings provide additional evidence that the lipstick effect may be a female adaptation by demonstrating its operation at the level of automatic visual attention.

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The Double Standard at Sexual Debut: Gender, Sexual Behavior and Early Adolescent Peer Acceptance

Derek Kreager et al.
Pennsylvania State University Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
A sexual double standard in early adolescence has important implications for sexual development and gender inequality. This study uses longitudinal social network data (N= 921; 11-16 years of age) to test if gender moderates associations between early adolescent sexual behaviors and peer acceptance. Consistent with a sexual double standard, early adolescent girls reporting sex had statistically significant decreases in peer acceptance over time, whereas early adolescent boys reporting the same behavior had significant increases in peer acceptance. This pattern was observed net of respondents' own perceived friendships, further suggesting that the social responses to sex vary by gender of the sexual actor. However, findings for "making out" showed the opposite pattern, such that girls reporting this behavior had increases in peer acceptance and boys reporting the same behavior had decreases in peer acceptance over time. Results thus suggest that peers enforce traditional sexual scripts for both "heavy" and "light" sexual behaviors during early adolescence.

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Cool Guys and Warm Husbands: The Effect of Smiling on Male Facial Attractiveness for Short- and Long-Term Relationships

Matia Okubo et al.
Evolutionary Psychology, September 2015

Abstract:
While smiling enhances women's facial attractiveness, the findings are inconclusive for men. The present study investigated the effect of smiling on male facial attractiveness for short- and long-term prospective partners using East Asian and European samples. In Experiment 1 (N = 218), where female participants rated male facial attractiveness, the facilitative effect of smiling was present when judging long-term partners but absent for short-term partners. This pattern was observed for East Asians as well as for Europeans. Experiment 2 (N = 71) demonstrated that smiling male faces engendered an impression suitable for long-term partnership (e.g., high ratings of trustworthiness) while neutral faces produced an impression suitable for short-term partnership (e.g., high ratings of masculinity). We discuss these results in terms of opposing evolutionary strategies in mate choice: heritable benefit versus paternal investment.

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The Impact of Exposure to Sexually Oriented Media on the Endorsement of Hookup Culture: A Panel Study of First-Year College Students

Jennifer Stevens Aubrey & Siobhan Smith
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
The "hookup culture" is prevalent, both in the media (Garcia, Reiber, Massey, & Merriwether, 2012) and on college campuses (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). The purpose of the present study was to examine the longitudinal relations between sexually oriented media exposure and emerging adults' endorsement of the hookup culture (EHC). To study this issue, a panel study of first-year college students was conducted. Participants completed a questionnaire on their media habits and EHC at the beginning of their first year of college and again at the end of the year. Among male first-year students, Time-1 exposure to both sexually oriented television and magazines predicted Time-2 EHC. Among female first-year students, sexually oriented media exposure was not related to EHC. Findings are discussed in light of gender differences in scripts-based theories of sexual development (e.g., Gagnon & Simon, 1973; Huesmann, 1997).

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The relationship of female physical attractiveness to body fatness

Guanlin Wang et al.
PeerJ, August 2015

Abstract:
Aspects of the female body may be attractive because they signal evolutionary fitness. Greater body fatness might reflect greater potential to survive famines, but individuals carrying larger fat stores may have poor health and lower fertility in non-famine conditions. A mathematical statistical model using epidemiological data linking fatness to fitness traits, predicted a peaked relationship between fatness and attractiveness (maximum at body mass index (BMI) = 22.8 to 24.8 depending on ethnicity and assumptions). Participants from three Caucasian populations (Austria, Lithuania and the UK), three Asian populations (China, Iran and Mauritius) and four African populations (Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Senegal) rated attractiveness of a series of female images varying in fatness (BMI) and waist to hip ratio (WHR). There was an inverse linear relationship between physical attractiveness and body fatness or BMI in all populations. Lower body fat was more attractive, down to at least BMI = 19. There was no peak in the relationship over the range we studied in any population. WHR was a significant independent but less important factor, which was more important (greater r2) in African populations. Predictions based on the fitness model were not supported. Raters appeared to use body fat percentage (BF%) and BMI as markers of age. The covariance of BF% and BMI with age indicates that the role of body fatness alone, as a marker of attractiveness, has been overestimated.

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Relationship Involvement Among Young Adults: Are Asian American Men an Exceptional Case?

Kelly Stamper Balistreri, Kara Joyner & Grace Kao
Population Research and Policy Review, October 2015, Pages 709-732

Abstract:
Asian American men and women have been largely neglected in previous studies of romantic relationship formation and status. Using data from the first and fourth waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), we examine romantic and sexual involvement among young adults, most of whom were between the ages of 25 and 32 (N = 11,555). Drawing from explanations that focus on structural and cultural elements as well as racial hierarchies, we examine the factors that promote and impede involvement in romantic/sexual relationships. We use logistic regression to model current involvement of men and women separately and find, with the exception of Filipino men, Asian men are significantly less likely than white men to be currently involved with a romantic partner, even after controlling for a wide array of characteristics. Our results suggest that the racial hierarchy framework best explains lower likelihood of involvement among Asian American men.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fair share

Support for Redistribution in an Age of Rising Inequality: New Stylized Facts and Some Tentative Explanations

Vivekinan Ashok, Ilyana Kuziemko & Ebonya Washington
NBER Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
Despite the large increases in economic inequality since 1970, American survey respondents exhibit no increase in support for redistribution, in contrast to the predictions from standard theories of redistributive preferences. We replicate these results but further demonstrate substantial heterogeneity by demographic groups. In particular, the two groups who have most moved against income redistribution are the elderly and African-Americans. We find little evidence that these subgroup trends are explained by relative economic gains or growing cultural conservatism, two common explanations. We further show that the elderly trend is uniquely American, at least relative to other developed countries with comparable survey data. While we are unable to provide definitive evidence on the cause of these two groups' declining redistributive support, we offer additional correlations which may offer fruitful directions for future research on the topic. One story consistent with the data on elderly trends is that older Americans worry that redistribution will come at their expense, in particular via cuts to Medicare. We find that the elderly have grown increasingly opposed to government provision of health insurance and that controlling for this tendency explains about 40% of their declining support for redistribution. For blacks, controlling for their declining support of race-targeted aid explains nearly 45% of their differential decline in redistributive preferences (raising the question of why support for race-targeted aid has fallen during a period when black economic catch-up to whites has stalled).

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Income Inequality Explains Why Economic Growth Does Not Always Translate to an Increase in Happiness

Shigehiro Oishi & Selin Kesebir
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of the most puzzling social science findings in the past half century is the Easterlin paradox: Economic growth within a country does not always translate into an increase in happiness. We provide evidence that this paradox can be partly explained by income inequality. In two different data sets covering 34 countries, economic growth was not associated with increases in happiness when it was accompanied by growing income inequality. Earlier instances of the Easterlin paradox (i.e., economic growth not being associated with increasing happiness) can thus be explained by the frequent concurrence of economic growth and growing income inequality. These findings suggest that a more even distribution of growth in national wealth may be a precondition for raising nationwide happiness.

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An Early-Emerging Explanatory Heuristic Promotes Support for the Status Quo

Larisa Hussak & Andrei Cimpian
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often view their sociopolitical systems as fair and natural despite indisputable biases in their structure. Current theories of this phenomenon trace its roots to a motivation to alleviate anxiety and uncertainty. Here, we propose a complementary cognitive pathway for these system-endorsing attitudes. Specifically, we propose that the fundamental mechanisms through which people explain the world around them may also be a source of such attitudes. These explanatory processes are inadvertently biased to yield inherent or internal facts as explanations for a wide variety of social and natural phenomena, including sociopolitical patterns (e.g., Why are some people rich? Because they are really smart). In turn, this bias toward inherent attributions makes it seem that the observations being explained (such as the societal status quo) are legitimate and thus worthy of support. Four studies with participants as young as 4 years of age provided correlational and experimental evidence for the hypothesized link between explanatory processes and support for the status quo. These findings suggest that the tendency to endorse existing sociopolitical arrangements emerges partly on a foundation laid early in life by a basic component of human cognition.

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Personal Relative Deprivation Boosts Materialism

Hong Zhang et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five studies investigated the relationship between personal relative deprivation and materialism. Study 1 was a cross-sectional survey that revealed a positive association between trait relative deprivation and materialism. In Studies 2a and 2b, we found that relative deprivation, as induced by unjust government policies in an imaginary scenario, increased individuals' preferences for making more profit than others. Individuals may experience relative deprivation due to unjust treatment or other factors. Study 3 manifested that sense of relative deprivation, resulting from either being treated unjustly or not, gave rise to materialistic desires. In Study 4, we found that relative deprivation influenced materialistic aspirations, above and beyond negative outcomes. Moreover, the impact of relative deprivation could be generalized to aspirations for fame.

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What Money Doesn't Buy: Class Resources and Children's Participation in Organized Extracurricular Activities

Elliot Weininger, Annette Lareau & Dalton Conley
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that participation in organized extracurricular activities by children and adolescents can have educational and occupational payoffs. This research also establishes that participation is strongly associated with social class. However, debate has ensued - primarily among qualitative researchers - over whether the association between class and activities stems exclusively from inequalities in objective resources and constraints or whether differing cultural orientations have a role. We address this debate using a nationally representative sample of children's time diaries, merged with extensive information on their families, to model participation in, and expenditures on, organized activities. While we cannot directly observe cultural orientations, we account for a substantially wider array of resources and constraints than previous studies. We find that, above and beyond these factors, maternal education has a consistently large effect on the outcomes we study. We discuss the plausibility of a cultural interpretation of this result, as well as alternative interpretations.

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The Externalities of Inequality: Fear of Crime and Preferences for Redistribution in Western Europe

David Rueda & Daniel Stegmueller
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why is the difference in redistribution preferences between the rich and the poor high in some countries and low in others? In this article, we argue that it has a lot to do with the rich and very little to do with the poor. We contend that while there is a general relative income effect on redistribution preferences, the preferences of the rich are highly dependent on the macrolevel of inequality. The reason for this effect is not related to immediate tax and transfer considerations but to a negative externality of inequality: crime. We will show that the rich in more unequal regions in Western Europe are more supportive of redistribution than the rich in more equal regions because of their concern with crime. In making these distinctions between the poor and the rich, the arguments in this article challenge some influential approaches to the politics of inequality.

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A Theory of Intergenerational Mobility

Gary Becker et al.
University of Chicago Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We develop a model of intergenerational resource transmission that emphasizes the link between cross-sectional inequality and intergenerational mobility. By drawing on first principles of human capital theory, we derive several novel results. In particular, we show that, even in a world with perfect capital markets and without differences in innate ability, wealthy parents invest, on average, more in their offspring than poorer ones. As a result, persistence of economic status is higher at the top of the income distribution than in the middle. Successive generations of the same family may even cease to regress towards the mean. Moreover, we demonstrate that government interventions intended to ameliorate inequality may in fact lower intergenerational mobility - even when they do not directly favor the rich. Lastly, we consider how mobility is affected by changes in the marketplace.

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Inequality and visibility of wealth in experimental social networks

Akihiro Nishi et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans prefer relatively equal distributions of resources, yet societies have varying degrees of economic inequality. To investigate some of the possible determinants and consequences of inequality, here we perform experiments involving a networked public goods game in which subjects interact and gain or lose wealth. Subjects (n = 1,462) were randomly assigned to have higher or lower initial endowments, and were embedded within social networks with three levels of economic inequality (Gini coefficient = 0.0, 0.2, and 0.4). In addition, we manipulated the visibility of the wealth of network neighbours. We show that wealth visibility facilitates the downstream consequences of initial inequality - in initially more unequal situations, wealth visibility leads to greater inequality than when wealth is invisible. This result reflects a heterogeneous response to visibility in richer versus poorer subjects. We also find that making wealth visible has adverse welfare consequences, yielding lower levels of overall cooperation, inter-connectedness, and wealth. High initial levels of economic inequality alone, however, have relatively few deleterious welfare effects.

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The rich - love them or hate them? Divergent implicit and explicit attitudes toward the wealthy

Suzanne Horwitz & John Dovidio
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adding to a growing body of work on the psychology of social class, the present research examined implicit and explicit attitudes toward rich people, standing out from much previous work that has focused on negative evaluations of people with low socioeconomic status (SES). Across three studies, we found that participants (who typically identified as middle class) implicitly, but not explicitly, favored the rich over the middle class. Although financial resources represent a continuum objectively, attitudes toward the rich seem to be conceptually distinct from evaluations of low-SES people. Additionally, we demonstrated that implicit prorich attitudes uniquely predict leniency on a rich driver who causes a car accident, while explicit attitudes do not predict such judgments. This work expands and clarifies knowledge of implicit wealth attitudes and suggests that implicit prorich attitudes are an important factor in understanding how social class influences daily life.

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Elementary School Children's Reasoning About Social Class: A Mixed-Methods Study

Rashmita Mistry et al.
Child Development, September/October 2015, Pages 1653-1671

Abstract:
The current study examined children's identification and reasoning about their subjective social status (SSS), their beliefs about social class groups (i.e., the poor, middle class, and rich), and the associations between the two. Study participants were 117 10- to 12-year-old children of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds attending a laboratory elementary school in Southern California. Results indicated that children's SSS ratings correlated with indicators of family socioeconomic status and were informed by material possessions, lifestyle characteristics, and social and societal comparisons. Children rated the poor as having fewer positive attributes and more negative attributes than the middle class, and fewer positive attributes than the rich. Lower SSS children held less positive attitudes toward the poor than children with middle SSS ratings.

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Income Inequality in the United States in the Late 1860s

Mark Stelzner
Journal of Economic History, September 2015, Pages 889-900

Abstract:
I utilize data from the Civil War income tax to calculate the income shares of the top 1 and 0.1 percent of the population in the United States in the late 1860s - extending Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez's series back in time. As we will see, income inequality during this period represents a low comparable to the late 1970s.

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Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession

Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present an improved panel database of national household surveys between 1988 and 2008. In 2008, the global Gini index is around 70.5%, having declined by approximately 2 Gini points. China graduated from the bottom ranks, changing a twin-peaked global income distribution to a single-peaked one and creating an important global "median" class. 90% of the fastest growing country-deciles are from Asia, while almost 90% of the worst performers are from mature economies. Another "winner" was the global top 1%. Hence the global growth incidence curve has a distinct supine S shape, with gains highest around the median and top.

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Why are there so few working-class people in political office? Evidence from state legislatures

Nicholas Carnes
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do so few working-class Americans go on to hold political office? This paper uses data on state legislatures to assess several common (and often untested) explanations. Contrary to the widespread view that workers are less likely to hold office because they are less qualified, I find no relationship between the qualifications of workers in a given state and their representation in the state legislature. The shortage of the working class in office appears to have far more to do with structural characteristics of the political landscape such as parties, interest groups, and institutions. Scholars who want to understand why there are so few working-class Americans in political office - and people who want to do something about it - should probably focus on these kinds of "demand-side" forces, not on the supposed "supply-side" shortcomings of the working class.

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The distributional preferences of an elite

Raymond Fisman et al.
Science, 18 September 2015

Abstract:
We studied the distributional preferences of an elite cadre of Yale Law School students, a group that will assume positions of power in U.S. society. Our experimental design allows us to test whether redistributive decisions are consistent with utility maximization and to decompose underlying preferences into two qualitatively different tradeoffs: fair-mindedness versus self-interest, and equality versus efficiency. Yale Law School subjects are more consistent than subjects drawn from the American Life Panel, a diverse sample of Americans. Relative to the American Life Panel, Yale Law School subjects are also less fair-minded and substantially more efficiency-focused. We further show that our measure of equality-efficiency tradeoffs predicts Yale Law School students' career choices: Equality-minded subjects are more likely to be employed at nonprofit organizations.

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Asymmetric Interest Group Mobilization and Party Coalitions in U.S. Tax Politics

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez & Theda Skocpol
Studies in American Political Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Arguments about national tax policy have taken center stage in U.S. politics in recent times, creating acute dilemmas for Democrats. With Republicans locked into antitax agendas for some time, Democrats have recently begun to push back, arguing for maintaining or even increasing taxes on the very wealthy in the name of deficit reduction and the need to sustain funding for public programs. But the Democratic Party as a whole has not been able to find a consistent voice on tax issues. It experienced key defections when large, upward-tilting tax cuts were enacted under President George W. Bush, and the Democratic Party could not control the agenda on debates over continuing those tax cuts even when it enjoyed unified control in Washington, DC, in 2009 and 2010. To explain these cleavages among Democrats, we examine growing pressures from small business owners, a key antitax constituency. We show that organizations claiming to speak for small business have become more active in tax politics in recent decades, and we track the ways in which constituency pressures have been enhanced by feedbacks from federal tax rules that encourage individuals to pass high incomes through legal preferences for the self-employed. Comparing debates over the inception and renewal of the Bush tax cuts, we show how small business organizations and constituencies have divided Democrats on tax issues. Our findings pinpoint the mechanisms that have propelled tax resistance in contemporary U.S. politics, and our analysis contributes to theoretical understandings of the ways in which political parties are influenced by policy feedbacks and by coalitions of policy-driven organized economic interests.

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Public education financing, earnings inequality, and intergenerational mobility

Christopher Herrington
Review of Economic Dynamics, October 2015, Pages 822-842

Abstract:
Among developed countries there are large differences in earnings inequality and intergenerational earnings persistence. This paper investigates public education and tax policies as a possible source for these differences. Empirical and quantitative policy experiments focus on the case of the U.S. and Norway. An overlapping generations model is developed and calibrated to match U.S. data. Functions for labor taxes and public education spending are estimated for each country and incorporated into the model. The benchmark exercise finds that taxes and public education spending account for about one-third of differences in earnings inequality and 14 percent of differences in intergenerational earnings persistence between the U.S. and Norway. Furthermore, public intervention in early childhood education more than doubles the impact of these policy changes.

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Democratic Redistribution and Rule of the Majority

Giacomo Corneo & Frank Neher
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does redistribution in democracies cater to the will of the majority? We propose a direct empirical strategy based on survey data that needs not assume that voters are guided by pecuniary motives alone. We find that most democracies implement the median voter's preferred amount of redistribution and the probability to serve the median voter increases with the quality of democracy. However, there is a non-negligible share of democracies that implement a minority-backed amount of redistribution. Political absenteeism of the poor cannot explain such outcomes. Rather, they can be explained by the electoral bundling of redistribution with values and rights issues.

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Economic Inequality and Nonviolent Protest

Frederick Solt
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: Despite substantial theorizing, the relationship between economic inequality and participation in nonviolent protests has not been satisfactorily examined empirically.

Methods: Using multilevel models of data from four waves of the European Social Survey, this article examines whether differences in inequality across countries and over time help explain people's engagement in peaceful protest.

Results: It finds that greater inequality reduces protest participation for all those with incomes below the top quintile.

Conclusions: This result provides strong support for the relative power theory of political participation; the predictions of grievance and resource theories regarding inequality's effects on protest are not supported.

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Equilibrium Tax Rates and Income Redistribution: A Laboratory Study

Marina Agranov & Thomas Palfrey
Journal of Public Economics, October 2015, Pages 45-58

Abstract:
This paper reports results from a laboratory experiment that investigates the Meltzer-Richard model of equilibrium tax rates, inequality, and income redistribution. The experiment varies the amount of wage inequality and the political process used to determine tax rates. We find that higher inequality leads to higher tax rates; the effect is significant and large in magnitude. The tax rates and labor supply functions are both quantitatively close to the theory. The result is robust to the political institution. The theoretical model of Meltzer-Richard is extended to incorporate social preferences in the form of altruism and inequity aversion, which are found to have negligible effects in the data.

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Accounting for Changes in Income Inequality: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1978-2008

Mike Brewer & Liam Wren-Lewis
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyse income inequality in the UK from 1978 to 2009 in order to understand why income inequality rose very rapidly from 1978 to 1991 but then remained broadly unchanged. We find that inequality in earnings among employees has risen fairly steadily since 1978, but other factors that caused income inequality to rise before 1991 have since gone into reverse. Inequality in investment and pension income has fallen since 1991, as has inequality between those with and without employment. Furthermore, certain household types - notably the elderly and those with young children - which had relatively low incomes in the period to 1991 have seen their incomes converge with others.

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The distributive politics of tax expenditures: How parties use policy tools to distribute federal money to the rich and the poor

Christopher Faricy
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, I theorize and show that Democrats and Republicans both distribute money to their core class consistencies through the selection of different types of tax breaks, formally referred to as tax expenditures. The popularity of tax expenditures allows each political party to distribute federal money to unpopular constituencies in ways that reflect the economic ideology of their members. I expect and find that Democratic Party control of the White House results in an increase in the generosity of tax credits that target the working poor, and Republican Party power produces a large expansion of tax deductions, which disproportionately benefit the rich. These results have implications for distributive politics and the partisan politics of income inequality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Impaired

Association Between Use of Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones and Semen Quality: A Study Among 1,215 Healthy Young Men

Tina Djernis Gundersen et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 September 2015, Pages 473-481

Abstract:
A total of 1,215 young Danish men aged 18–28 years were recruited between 2008 and 2012 when they attended a compulsory medical examination to determine their fitness for military service. The participants delivered a semen sample, had a blood sample drawn, and underwent a physical examination. They responded to questionnaires including information on marijuana and recreational drug use during the past 3 months (no use, use once per week or less, or use more than once per week). A total of 45% had smoked marijuana within the last 3 months. Regular marijuana smoking more than once per week was associated with a 28% (95% confidence interval (CI): −48, −1) lower sperm concentration and a 29% (95% CI: −46, −1) lower total sperm count after adjustment for confounders. The combined use of marijuana more than once per week and other recreational drugs reduced the sperm concentration by 52% (95% CI: −68, −27) and total sperm count by 55% (95% CI: −71, −31). Marijuana smokers had higher levels of testosterone within the same range as cigarette smokers. Our findings are of public interest as marijuana use is common and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality.

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The Prospective Association Between Sipping Alcohol by the Sixth Grade and Later Substance Use

Kristina Jackson et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2015, Pages 212–221

Objective: Although there is a clear association between early use of alcohol and short- and long-term adverse outcomes, it is unclear whether consumption of minor amounts of alcohol (less than a full drink) at a young age is prognostic of risk behaviors in later adolescence.

Method: Data were taken from 561 students enrolled in an ongoing prospective web-based study on alcohol initiation and progression (55% female; 25% White non-Hispanic). Based on a combination of monthly and semiannual surveys, we coded whether participants sipped alcohol before sixth grade and examined associations between early sipping and alcohol consumption by fall of ninth grade, as well as other indices of problem behavior. Participants also reported on the context of the first sipping event.

Results: The prevalence of sipping alcohol by fall of sixth grade was 29.5%. Most participants indicated that their first sip took place at their own home, and the primary source of alcohol was an adult, usually a parent. Youth who sipped alcohol by sixth grade had significantly greater odds of consuming a full drink, getting drunk, and drinking heavily by ninth grade than nonsippers. These associations held even when we controlled for temperamental, behavioral, and environmental factors that contribute to proneness for problem behavior, which suggests that sipping is not simply a marker of underlying risk.

Conclusions: Our findings that early sipping is associated with elevated odds of risky behaviors at high school entry dispute the idea of sipping as a protective factor. Offering even just a sip of alcohol may undermine messages about the unacceptability of alcohol consumption for youth.

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Breaking Bad: Are Meth Labs Justified in Dry Counties?

Jose Fernandez, Stephan Gohmann & Joshua Pinkston
University of Louisville Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This paper examines the influence of local alcohol prohibition on the prevalence of methamphetamine labs. Using multiple sources of data for counties in Kentucky, we compare various measures of meth manufacturing in wet, moist, and dry counties. Our preferred estimates address the endogeneity of local alcohol policies by using as instrumental variables data on religious affiliations in the 1930s, when most local-option votes took place. Alcohol prohibition status is influenced by the percentage of the population that is Baptist, consistent with the “bootleggers and Baptists” model. Our results suggest that the number of meth lab seizures in Kentucky would decrease by 24.4 percent if all counties became wet.

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Poor Body Image and Alcohol Use in Women

Cathryn Glanton Holzhauer, Ashley Zenner & Edelgard Wulfert
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies were conducted to examine the association between body image and alcohol use. Of interest was the extent to which alcohol outcome expectancies act as a moderator in this relationship, particularly in women. In Study 1, 421 college students (175 men, 246 women) provided self-report data on body image, social expressiveness expectancies, and average weekly alcohol use; the data were examined using a moderation model. Results showed that women with poor body image and high social expressiveness expectancies reported a significantly greater amount of average weekly alcohol consumption, whereas no such interaction was observed for men. Study 2 tested the same moderation model with 67 female participants; however, this second study utilized an in-lab behavioral measure of alcohol consumption as the outcome variable. The second study replicated results from Study 1, showing that women with overweight body image and alcohol-related high social expressiveness expectancies consumed significantly more beer during a taste rating task than women with other combinations of these variables. Taken together, the results of Studies 1 and 2 indicate that, specifically for women, an overweight body image and positive expectancies about the social, confidence-enhancing benefits of alcohol act as risk factors for excessive drinking.

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Initiation of Alcohol, Marijuana, and Inhalant Use by American-Indian and White Youth Living On or Near Reservations

Linda Stanley & Randall Swaim
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Early initiation of drinking, intoxication, marijuana, and inhalant use is associated with negative outcomes and substance use trajectories. Using national datasets, American Indian (AI) youth have been found to initiate substance use earlier than other youth. This study uses a population-based sample of youth living on or near reservations to compare substance use onset for AI and white youth where socioeconomic conditions may be similar for these youth.

Methods: Student survey data were gathered from 32 schools in 3 regions from 2009-2012. A retrospective person-period data set was constructed using reported age of initiation of intoxication and marijuana and inhalant use. Multi-level modeling and event history analysis were used to estimate initiation as a function of age, gender, ethnicity, and region.

Results: The results provide further evidence that AI youth living on or near reservations initiate substance use significantly earlier than white youth who attend the same schools and live in the same communities. Differences between the two cultural groups were most evident for marijuana initiation where the odds of initiating marijuana use ranged from seven to 10 times greater for nine vs. eight-year-old AI compared to white youth.

Conclusions: Prevention efforts targeted to AI youth must begin earlier than for non-AI youth in order to delay or prevent initiation. In addition, better understanding about the differences in the psychosocial environments of AI and white youth living in these communities is of paramount importance in designing prevention efforts.

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Life Events, Genetic Susceptibility, and Smoking among Adolescents

Fred Pampel et al.
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 221–232

Abstract:
Although stressful life events during adolescence are associated with the adoption of unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, both social circumstances and physical traits can moderate the relationship. This study builds on the stress paradigm and gene-environment approach to social behavior by examining how a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR moderates the effect of life events on adolescent smoking. Tests of interaction hypotheses use data from the Family Transitions Project, a longitudinal study of 7th graders followed for 5 years. A sibling-pair design with separate models for the gender composition of pairs (brothers, sisters, or brother/sister) controls for unmeasured family background. The results show that negative life events are significantly and positively associated with smoking. Among brother pairs but not other pairs, the results provide evidence of gene-environment interaction by showing that life events more strongly influence smoking behavior for those with more copies of the 5-HTTLPR S allele.

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Differential Susceptibility: The Genetic Moderation of Peer Pressure on Alcohol Use

Amanda Griffin et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, October 2015, Pages 1841-1853

Abstract:
Although peer pressure can influence adolescents’ alcohol use, individual susceptibility to these pressures varies across individuals. The dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4) is a potential candidate gene that may influence adolescents’ susceptibility to their peer environment due to the role dopamine plays in reward sensation during social interaction. We hypothesized that DRD4 genotype status would moderate the impact of 7th-grade antisocial peer pressure on 12th-grade lifetime alcohol use (n = 414; 58.7 % female; 92.8 % White). The results revealed significant main effects for antisocial peer pressure, but no main effects for DRD4 genotype on lifetime alcohol use. Adolescent DRD4 genotype moderated the association between peer pressure and lifetime alcohol use. For individuals who carried at least one copy of the DRD4 7-repeat allele (7+), antisocial peer pressure was associated with increased lifetime alcohol use. These findings indicate that genetic sensitivity to peer pressure confers increased alcohol use in late adolescence.

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Humanizing Machines: Anthropomorphization of Slot Machines Increases Gambling

Paolo Riva, Simona Sacchi & Marco Brambilla
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do people gamble more on slot machines if they think that they are playing against humanlike minds rather than mathematical algorithms? Research has shown that people have a strong cognitive tendency to imbue humanlike mental states to nonhuman entities (i.e., anthropomorphism). The present research tested whether anthropomorphizing slot machines would increase gambling. Four studies manipulated slot machine anthropomorphization and found that exposing people to an anthropomorphized description of a slot machine increased gambling behavior and reduced gambling outcomes. Such findings emerged using tasks that focused on gambling behavior (Studies 1 to 3) as well as in experimental paradigms that included gambling outcomes (Studies 2 to 4). We found that gambling outcomes decrease because participants primed with the anthropomorphic slot machine gambled more (Study 4). Furthermore, we found that high-arousal positive emotions (e.g., feeling excited) played a role in the effect of anthropomorphism on gambling behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Our research indicates that the psychological process of gambling-machine anthropomorphism can be advantageous for the gaming industry; however, this may come at great expense for gamblers’ (and their families’) economic resources and psychological well-being.

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Single-session interventions for problem gambling may be as effective as longer treatments: Results of a randomized control trial

Tony Toneatto
Addictive Behaviors, January 2016, Pages 58–65

Abstract:
Empirically supported treatments for problem gambling tend to be multimodal combining cognitive, behavior and motivational interventions. Since problem gamblers often prefer briefer treatments it is important that interventions adopt strategies that are optimally effective. In this study, 99 community-recruited problem gamblers (74% male, mean age: 47.5 years) were randomized to one of four treatments: six sessions of cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, and motivational therapy or a single-session intervention. The sample was followed up for 12 months post-treatment. In both the Intent-to-Treat and Completer statistical analyses, no significant group differences on key gambling variables (i.e., frequency, expenditures, severity) were found. All four treatments showed significant improvement as a result of treatment that endured throughout the follow-up period. These results, although preliminary, suggest that very brief, single-session interventions may be as effective as longer treatments.

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Alcohol Use and Caloric Intake From Alcohol in a National Cohort of U.S. Career Firefighters

Christopher Keith Haddock et al.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, May 2015, Pages 360–366

Objective: Both media reports and preliminary research suggest that problem drinking is a concern in the U.S. fire service. However, no national epidemiological research has been conducted. This study presents the first national data on alcohol consumption patterns among firefighters.

Method: Data are from 954 male firefighters at 20 career fire departments. The departments covered 14 U.S. states, commonwealths, and/or territories and each of the four major U.S. Census Bureau Regions. Alcohol use was assessed through both surveys and, in a subsample, 24-hour dietary recall interviews from an off-duty day.

Results: More than 85% of participants consumed alcohol, nearly half reported excessive drinking, and approximately one third reported episodic heavy use when off duty. Firefighters (in comparison with officers or chiefs) and those with fewer years of service had particularly high levels of alcohol intake. Among firefighters who drank, the energy derived from alcohol averaged 539 kcals, or nearly 18% of total energy. Twenty five percent of firefighters consumed more than 770 kcals from alcohol in a single day.

Conclusions: Given the high prevalence of excessive and episodic heavy drinking and the impact of alcohol on energy intake in this population, national surveillance programs and targeted prevention interventions for problem drinking in the U.S. fire service are critically needed.

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Divergent marijuana trajectories among men: Socioeconomic, relationship, and life satisfaction outcomes in the mid-30s

Helene White et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Given recent changes in marijuana policy in the United States, it is important to understand the long-term effects of marijuana use on adult functioning. We examined whether men who displayed different trajectories of marijuana use from adolescence through emerging adulthood (age ∼15–26) differed in terms of socioeconomic, social, and life satisfaction outcomes in their mid-30s.

Methods: Data came from a longitudinal sample of men who were recruited in early adolescence (N = 506) and followed into adulthood. Four trajectory groups based on patterns of marijuana use from adolescence into emerging adulthood were compared on adult outcomes (age ∼36) before and after controlling for co-occurring use of other substances and several pre-existing confounding factors in early adolescence. The potential moderating effect of race was also examined.

Results: Although there were initially group differences across all domains, once pre-existing confounds and co-occurring other substance use were included in the model, groups only differed in terms of partner and friend marijuana use. Chronic marijuana users reported the highest proportions of both. Frequent and persistent marijuana use was associated with lower socioeconomic status (SES) for Black men only.

Conclusions: After statistically accounting for confounding variables, chronic marijuana users were not at a heightened risk for maladjustment in adulthood except for lower SES among Black men. Chronic users were more likely to have friends and partners who also used marijuana. Future studies should take into account pre-existing differences when examining outcomes of marijuana use.

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A comprehensive examination of U.S. laws enacted to reduce alcohol-related crashes among underage drivers

Eduardo Romano et al.
Journal of Safety Research, forthcoming

Introduction: To effectively address concerns associated with alcohol-related traffic laws, communities must apply comprehensive and well-coordinated interventions that account for as many factors as possible. The goal of the current research article is to examine and evaluate the simultaneous contribution of 20 underage drinking laws and 3 general driving safety laws, while accounting for demographic, economic, and environmental variables.

Methods: Annual fatal crash data (1982 to 2010), policies, and demographic, economic, and environmental information were collected and applied to each of the 51 jurisdictions (50 states and the District of Columbia). A structural equation model was fit to estimate the relative contribution of the variables of interest to alcohol-related crashes.

Results: As expected, economic factors (e.g., unemployment rate, cost of alcohol) and alcohol outlet density were found highly relevant to the amount of alcohol teens consume and therefore to teens' impaired driving. Policies such as those regulating the age of bartenders, sellers, or servers; social host civil liability laws; dram shop laws; internal possession of alcohol laws; and fake identification laws do not appear to have the same impact on teens' alcohol-related crash ratios as other types of policies such as those regulating alcohol consumption or alcohol outlet density.

Conclusions: This effort illustrates the need for comprehensive models of teens' impaired driving. After simultaneously accounting for as many factors as possible, we found that in general (for most communities) further reductions in alcohol-related crashes among teens might be more rapidly achieved from efforts focused on reducing teens' drinking rather than on reducing teens' driving. Future efforts should be made to develop models that represent specific communities. Practical applications: Based on this and community-specific models, simulation programs can be developed to help communities understand and visualize the impact of various policy alternatives.

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Gambling and Problem Gambling in the United States: Changes Between 1999 and 2013

John Welte et al.
Journal of Gambling Studies, September 2015, Pages 695-715

Abstract:
Telephone surveys of US adults were conducted in 1999–2000 and again in 2011–2013. The same questions and methods were used so as to make the surveys comparable. There was a reduction in percentage of past-year gambling and in frequency of gambling. Rates of problem gambling remained stable. Lottery was included among the specific types of gambling for which past year participation and frequency of play declined. Internet gambling was the only form of gambling for which the past-year participation rate increased. The average win/loss increased for several forms of gambling, providing a modest indication that gamblers were betting more, albeit less frequently. Between the two surveys, the rates of past-year participation in gambling declined markedly for young adults. In both surveys, rates of problem gambling were higher for males than females, and this difference increased markedly between surveys as problem gambling rates increased for males and decreased for females. For the combined surveys, rates of problem gambling were highest for blacks and Hispanics and lowest for whites and Asians. In both surveys, the rates of problem gambling declined as socio-economic status became higher. Possible explanations for these trends are discussed.

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Effect of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Pill Mill Laws on Opioid Prescribing and Use

Lainie Rutkow et al.
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To quantify the effect of Florida’s PDMP and pill mill laws on overall and high-risk opioid prescribing and use.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We applied comparative interrupted time-series analyses to IMS Health LifeLink LRx data to characterize the effect of PDMP and pill mill law implementation on a closed cohort of prescribers, retail pharmacies, and patients from July 2010 through September 2012 in Florida (intervention state) compared with Georgia (control state). We conducted sensitivity analyses, including varying length of observation and modifying requirements for continuous observation of individuals throughout the study period.

Results: From July 2010 through September 2012, a cohort of 2.6 million patients, 431 890 prescribers, and 2829 pharmacies was associated with approximately 480 million prescriptions in Florida and Georgia, 7.7% of which were for opioids. Total monthly opioid volume, MME per transaction, days’ supply, and prescriptions dispensed were higher in Florida than Georgia before implementation. Florida’s laws were associated with statistically significant declines in opioid volume (2.5 kg/mo, P < .05; equivalent to approximately 500 000 5-mg tablets of hydrocodone bitartrate per month) and MME per transaction (0.45 mg/mo, P < .05), without any change in days’ supply. Twelve months after implementation, the policies were associated with approximately a 1.4% decrease in opioid prescriptions, 2.5% decrease in opioid volume, and 5.6% decrease in MME per transaction. Reductions were limited to prescribers and patients with the highest baseline opioid prescribing and use. Sensitivity analyses, varying time windows, and enrollment criteria supported the main results.

Conclusions and Relevance: Florida’s PDMP and pill mill laws were associated with modest decreases in opioid prescribing and use. Decreases were greatest among prescribers and patients with the highest baseline opioid prescribing and use.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Unnatural

Enforcing the Clean Water Act: The Effect of State-level Corruption on Compliance

Katherine Grooms
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses an event study to examine the transition from federal to state management of the Clean Water Act (CWA). I find that, overall, the transition from federal to state control has little effect on facility compliance, measured by the violation rate. However, states with a long run prevalence of corruption see a large decrease in the violation rate after authorization relative to states without corruption. Alternative specifications support these findings. I explore whether the response to transition to state control differs across political ideology, GDP and income per capita, government size, environmental preferences and government management performance. None of these alternative state level characteristics seem to account for the observed difference.

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“No Fracking Way!” Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity, and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010 to 2013

Ion Bogdan Vasi et al.
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent scholarship highlights the importance of public discourse for the mobilization and impact of social movements, but it neglects how cultural products may shift discourse and thereby influence mobilization and political outcomes. This study investigates how activism against hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) utilized cultural artifacts to influence public perceptions and effect change. A systematic analysis of Internet search data, social media postings, and newspaper articles allows us to identify how the documentary Gasland reshaped public discourse. We find that Gasland contributed not only to greater online searching about fracking, but also to increased social media chatter and heightened mass media coverage. Local screenings of Gasland contributed to anti-fracking mobilizations, which, in turn, affected the passage of local fracking moratoria in the Marcellus Shale states. These results have implications not only for understanding movement outcomes, but also for theory and research on media, the environment, and energy.

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U.S. housing prices and the Fukushima nuclear accident

Alexander Fink & Thomas Stratmann
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2015, Pages 309–326

Abstract:
Did the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima in March 2011 cause individuals to reappraise the risks they attach to nuclear power plants? We investigate the change in home prices in the U.S. after the Fukushima event to test the hypothesis that home prices in the proximity of power plants fell due to an updated nuclear risk perception. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we do not find evidence in support of the hypothesis that individuals reappraised the risks associated with nuclear power plants. According to our results home prices close to nuclear reactor sites did not fall relative to home prices at other locations in the U.S.

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Is tree loss associated with cardiovascular-disease risk in the Women's Health Initiative? A natural experiment

Geoffrey Donovan et al.
Health & Place, November 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
Data from the Women's Health Initiative were used to quantify the relationship between the loss of trees to an invasive forest pest — the emerald ash borer — and cardiovascular disease. We estimated a semi-parametric Cox proportional hazards model of time to cardiovascular disease, adjusting for confounders. We defined the incidence of cardiovascular disease as acute myocardial infarction requiring overnight hospitalization, silent MI determined from serial electrocardiograms, ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, or death from coronary heart disease. Women living in a county infested with emerald ash borer had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (HR=1.25, 95% CI: 1.20–1.31).

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Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates

Thomas Jemielita et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
Over the past ten years, unconventional gas and oil drilling (UGOD) has markedly expanded in the United States. Despite substantial increases in well drilling, the health consequences of UGOD toxicant exposure remain unclear. This study examines an association between wells and healthcare use by zip code from 2007 to 2011 in Pennsylvania. Inpatient discharge databases from the Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council were correlated with active wells by zip code in three counties in Pennsylvania. For overall inpatient prevalence rates and 25 specific medical categories, the association of inpatient prevalence rates with number of wells per zip code and, separately, with wells per km2 (separated into quantiles and defined as well density) were estimated using fixed-effects Poisson models. To account for multiple comparisons, a Bonferroni correction with associations of p<0.00096 was considered statistically significant. Cardiology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with number of wells per zip code (p<0.00096) and wells per km2 (p<0.00096) while neurology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with wells per km2 (p<0.00096). Furthermore, evidence also supported an association between well density and inpatient prevalence rates for the medical categories of dermatology, neurology, oncology, and urology. These data suggest that UGOD wells, which dramatically increased in the past decade, were associated with increased inpatient prevalence rates within specific medical categories in Pennsylvania. Further studies are necessary to address healthcare costs of UGOD and determine whether specific toxicants or combinations are associated with organ-specific responses.

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Fracking and environmental (in)justice in a Texas city

Matthew Fry, Adam Briggle & Jordan Kincaid
Ecological Economics, September 2015, Pages 97–107

Abstract:
Shale gas development (SGD) via horizontal drilling and fracking is touted for economic benefits and spurned for health and environmental impacts. Despite SGD's socioecological salience, few peer-reviewed, empirical studies document the distribution of positive and negative effects. The City of Denton, Texas has ~ 280 active gas wells and over a decade of SGD. Here we use an environmental justice framework to analyze the distribution of SGD's costs and benefits within Denton. Using data on mineral property values from 2002 to 2013 and gas well locations, we ask: who owns Denton's mineral rights (i.e. the greatest financial beneficiaries) and how does this ownership pattern relate to who lives near gas wells (i.e. those who shoulder the nuisances and health impacts)? Our results show that Denton's mineral wealth is widely distributed around the U.S., residents own 1% of the total value extracted, and the city government is a large financial beneficiary. In addition to distributional inequities, our analysis demonstrates that split estate doctrine, legal deference to mineral owners, and SGD's uniqueness in urban centers create disparities in municipal SGD decision-making processes. The environmental justice issues associated with fracking in Denton also provide one possible explanation for residents' November 2014 vote to ban hydraulic fracturing.

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Trends in Exposure to Industrial Air Toxins for Different Racial and Socioeconomic Groups: A Spatial and Temporal Examination of Environmental Inequality in the U.S. from 1995 to 2004

Kerry Ard
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 375–390

Abstract:
In recent decades there have been dramatic declines in industrial air toxins. However, there has yet to be a national study investigating if the drop has mitigated the unequal exposure to industrial toxins by race and social class. This paper addresses this by developing a unique dataset of air pollution exposure estimates, by aggregating the annual fall-out location of 415 air toxins, from 17,604 facilities, for the years 1995 to 2004 up to Census block groups (N=216,159/year). These annual estimates of exposure were matched with census data to calculate trends in exposure for different racial and socioeconomic groups. Results show that exposure to air toxins has decreased for everyone, but African-Americans are consistently more exposed than Whites and Hispanics and socioeconomic status is not as protective for African-Americans. These results by race were further explored using spatially specified multilevel models which examine trends over time and across institutional boundaries.

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Race, Deprivation, and Immigrant Isolation: The Spatial Demography of Air-Toxic Clusters in the Continental United States

Raoul Liévanos
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 50–67

Abstract:
This article contributes to environmental inequality outcomes research on the spatial and demographic factors associated with cumulative air-toxic health risks at multiple geographic scales across the United States. It employs a rigorous spatial cluster analysis of census tract-level 2005 estimated lifetime cancer risk (LCR) of ambient air-toxic emissions from stationary (e.g., facility) and mobile (e.g., vehicular) sources to locate spatial clusters of air-toxic LCR risk in the continental United States. It then tests intersectional environmental inequality hypotheses on the predictors of tract presence in air-toxic LCR clusters with tract-level principal component factor measures of economic deprivation by race and immigrant status. Logistic regression analyses show that net of controls, isolated Latino immigrant-economic deprivation is the strongest positive demographic predictor of tract presence in air-toxic LCR clusters, followed by black-economic deprivation and isolated Asian/Pacific Islander immigrant-economic deprivation. Findings suggest scholarly and practical implications for future research, advocacy, and policy.

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Do Consumers Recognize the Value of Fuel Economy? Evidence from Used Car Prices and Gasoline Price Fluctuations

James Sallee, Sarah West & Wei Fan
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Debate about the appropriate design of energy policy hinges critically on whether consumers might undervalue energy efficiency, due to myopia or some other manifestation of limited rationality. We contribute to this debate by measuring consumers' willingness to pay for fuel economy using a novel identification strategy and high quality microdata from wholesale used car auctions. We leverage differences in future fuel costs across otherwise identical vehicles that have different current mileage, and therefore different remaining lifetimes. By seeing how price differences across high and low mileage vehicles of different fuel economies change in response to shocks to the price of gasoline, we estimate the relationship between vehicle prices and future fuel costs. Our data suggest that used automobile prices move one for one with changes in present discounted future fuel costs, which implies that consumers fully value fuel economy.

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Crop Prices, Agricultural Revenues, and the Rural Economy

Jeremy Weber et al.
Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, September 2015, Pages 459-476

Abstract:
Policy makers in the United States often justify agricultural subsidies by stressing that agriculture is the engine of the rural economy. We use the increase in crop prices in the late 2000s to estimate the marginal effect of increased agricultural revenues on local economies in the U.S. Heartland. We find that $1 more in crop revenue generated 64¢ in personal income, with most going to farm proprietors and workers (59%) or nonfarmers who own farm assets (36%). The evidence suggests a weak link between revenues and nonfarm income or employment, or on population. Cuts to agricultural subsidies are therefore likely to have little effect on the broader rural economy in regions like the Heartland.

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The potential of alternative fuel vehicles: A cost-benefit analysis

Yutaka Ito & Shunsuke Managi
Research in Transportation Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the economic validity of the diffusion of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and all-electric vehicles (EVs), employing a cost-benefit analysis from the social point of view. This research assumes the amount of NOx and tank-to-wheel CO2 emissions and gasoline use reduction as the benefits and the purchase costs, infrastructure expenses, and maintenance costs of alternative vehicles as the costs of switching internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to alternative energy vehicles. In addition, this study conducts a sensitivity analysis considering cost reductions in FCV and EV production and increasing costs for CO2 abatement as well as increasing gasoline prices. In summary, the results show that the diffusion of FCVs is not economically beneficial until 2110, even if the FCV purchase cost decreases to that of an ICE vehicle. EV diffusion might be beneficial by 2060 depending on increases in gasoline prices and CO2 abatement costs.

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When top predators become prey: Black bears alter movement behaviour in response to hunting pressure

Milena Stillfried et al.
Behavioural Processes, November 2015, Pages 30–39

Abstract:
The trade-off between predator avoidance and foraging is a key decision making factor that shapes an organism's adaptive behaviour and movement patterns. Human hunters act as top predators to influence the behaviour of free-ranging mammals, including large carnivorous species such as black bears (Ursus americanus). Analysing the effects of hunting on animal behavioural patterns is essential for understanding the extent to which animals detect and respond to human-induced disturbances. To this end, we assessed whether black bear movement behaviour changed with varying risk from spatially and temporally heterogeneous human predation. Levels of risk were categorized as either low (disturbance from dog training; n = 19 bears) or high (disturbance from hunting activities; n = 11 bears). Road types were either paved (risk due to vehicles) or non-paved (risk due to hunters) and were used as proxies for hunting effort and amount of disturbance. We began by testing the null hypothesis that bears’ distribution before the onset of human disturbance is spatially random. Next, to test temporal movement adjustment between the low and high risk levels, we measured the distance to the nearest road and the road crossing frequency using mixed effects models with risk level, time of day and sex as predictor variables. As disturbance near non-paved roads increased due to the start of the hunting activity, the mean distances of bears to non-paved roads increased while the mean distances of bears to paved roads decreased, despite the continual risk of vehicle collision. These behavioural responses were observed during day and night, with the frequency of crossing paved roads at night five times greater than in daytime during the hunting season. Our findings demonstrate that black bears are able to detect risky places and adjust their spatial movements accordingly. More specifically, bears can perceive changes in the level of risk from human hunting activities on a fine temporal scale.

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A phantom road experiment reveals traffic noise is an invisible source of habitat degradation

Heidi Ware et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decades of research demonstrate that roads impact wildlife and suggest traffic noise as a primary cause of population declines near roads. We created a “phantom road” using an array of speakers to apply traffic noise to a roadless landscape, directly testing the effect of noise alone on an entire songbird community during autumn migration. Thirty-one percent of the bird community avoided the phantom road. For individuals that stayed despite the noise, overall body condition decreased by a full SD and some species showed a change in ability to gain body condition when exposed to traffic noise during migratory stopover. We conducted complementary laboratory experiments that implicate foraging-vigilance behavior as one mechanism driving this pattern. Our results suggest that noise degrades habitat that is otherwise suitable, and that the presence of a species does not indicate the absence of an impact.

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How Much Can We Expect the Rise in U.S. Domestic Energy Production to Suppress Net Energy Imports?

Richard York
Social Currents, September 2015, Pages 222-230

Abstract:
A reason commonly stated by policymakers in the United States for increasing domestic energy production is to reduce energy imports. However, the degree to which domestic production actually displaces imports is an open question. To help provide an answer to this question, I analyze data for the United States from 1960 to 2011 to assess how many units of imported energy are suppressed by each unit of domestic production, controlling for economic activity and energy prices. I show that the pattern is one where domestic energy production spurs energy use, so that the effect of production on net imports is less than one-for-one. This finding has important implications, which I discuss, about the ease with which reliance on foreign energy sources can be overcome and about the environmental consequences of rising domestic production.

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Changes in Public and Private Environmentally Responsible Behaviors by Gender: Findings from the 1994 and 2010 General Social Survey

Adam Yates et al.
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine gender differences in public and private environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs) and whether and how these differences changed between 1994 and 2010. We consider how political attitudes and environmental concern influence the relationship between gender and ERBs. Ordinary least squares regression models were estimated using the 1994 and 2010 General Social Survey. The study results indicate that women had higher levels of private ERBs than men in 1994 and 2010. Political ideology and environmental concern partially explain gender differences in private ERBs in 1994 and fully explain them in 2010. Men and women have similar levels of public ERBs in 1994; in 2010, men's level of public ERBs is significantly higher than women's, after controlling for political ideology and environmental concern. In addition, there are some gender differences in the effects of political orientation and environmental concern on ERBs. Our study indicates that the relationship between gender and environmentalism is complex and that concern and political orientation should be considered when designing strategies to enhance ERBs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Heads of households

Parental Incentives and Early Childhood Achievement: A Field Experiment in Chicago Heights

Roland Fryer, Steven Levitt & John List
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This article describes a randomized field experiment in which parents were provided financial incentives to engage in behaviors designed to increase early childhood cognitive and executive function skills through a parent academy. Parents were rewarded for attendance at early childhood sessions, completing homework assignments with their children, and for their child’s demonstration of mastery on interim assessments. This intervention had large and statistically significant positive impacts on both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores of Hispanics and Whites, but no impact on Blacks. These differential outcomes across races are not attributable to differences in observable characteristics (e.g. family size, mother’s age, mother’s education) or to the intensity of engagement with the program. Children with above median (pre-treatment) non cognitive scores accrue the most benefits from treatment.

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Does the Gender of Offspring Affect Parental Political Orientation?

Byungkyu Lee & Dalton Conley
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recently, offspring sex has been widely used as a natural experiment and argued to induce changes in political orientation among parents. However, prior results have been contradictory: in the UK, researchers found that having daughters led to parents favoring left-wing political parties and to holding more liberal views on family/gender roles, whereas in the United States scholars found that daughters were associated with more Republican (rightist) party identification and more conservative views on teen sexuality. We propose and examine three plausible explanations to account for these puzzling results using data from the General Social Survey and the European Social Survey; contextual (period/country) differences, heterogeneous treatment effects, and publication bias. In an analysis of thirty-six countries, we obtain null effects of the sex of the first child on party identification as well as on political ideology while ruling out country heterogeneity. Further, we observe no evidence of other heterogeneous treatment effects based on the analysis of Bayesian Additive Regression Tree models. As a corrective to the source of publication bias, we here add comprehensive null findings to the polarized canon of significant results.

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Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades: 1990–2010

Karen Kramer et al.
Gender Issues, forthcoming

Abstract:
As the potential for more children being raised by single parents increases, so does the societal need to examine this phenomena of single parent earnings and the impact it will have on the ability to support a family above the poverty line. Research suggests a substantial pay gap between men and women, but most research is limited to individuals in traditional families. This study explores income disparity and poverty between single mothers and single fathers across three decades (1990–2010), using a US nationally representative sample. Based on human capital theory, our analysis reveals that single mothers were more likely to be in poverty at far greater rates than single fathers, after controlling for a host of demographic, human capital, and work related variables. We also found that a contributing factor to this disparity is that single mothers were penalized for having more children while single fathers were not. We find that gendered poverty and the gender pay gap narrowed between 1990 and 2000, but have stayed stable since. Overall, human capital decreases the gender income and poverty gap, but a substantial gap still remains. Implications for policy-makers are discussed.

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Effects of an Attachment-Based Intervention on Child Protective Services–Referred Mothers' Event-Related Potentials to Children's Emotions

Kristin Bernard, Robert Simons & Mary Dozier
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the neurobiology of maternal sensitivity to children's emotions among mothers involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) and low-risk comparison mothers (Mage = 31.6 years). CPS-referred mothers participated in the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention or a control intervention. Mothers' event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured while they categorized images of children with crying, laughing, and neutral expressions. CPS-referred ABC mothers (n = 19) and low-risk comparison mothers (n = 30) showed a larger enhancement of ERP responses for emotional faces relative to neutral faces than CPS-referred control mothers (n = 21). Additionally, the magnitude of ERP responses to emotional faces was associated with observed maternal sensitivity. Findings add to the understanding of the neurobiology of deficits in parenting and suggest that these deficits are changeable through a parenting intervention.

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Family Spillovers of Long-Term Care Insurance

Norma Coe, Gopi Shah Goda & Courtney Harold Van Houtven
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We examine how long-term care insurance (LTCI) affects family outcomes expected to be sensitive to LTCI, including utilization of informal care and spillover effects on children. An instrumental variables approach allows us to address the endogeneity of LTCI coverage. LTCI coverage induces less informal caregiving, suggesting the presence of intra-family moral hazard. We also find that children are less likely to co-reside or live nearby parents with LTCI and more likely to work full-time, suggesting that significant economic gains from private LTCI could accrue to the younger generation.

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Intergenerational Effects of Parents’ Math Anxiety on Children’s Math Achievement and Anxiety

Erin Maloney et al.
Psychological Science, September 2015, Pages 1480-1488

Abstract:
A large field study of children in first and second grade explored how parents’ anxiety about math relates to their children’s math achievement. The goal of the study was to better understand why some students perform worse in math than others. We tested whether parents’ math anxiety predicts their children’s math achievement across the school year. We found that when parents are more math anxious, their children learn significantly less math over the school year and have more math anxiety by the school year’s end — but only if math-anxious parents report providing frequent help with math homework. Notably, when parents reported helping with math homework less often, children’s math achievement and attitudes were not related to parents’ math anxiety. Parents’ math anxiety did not predict children’s reading achievement, which suggests that the effects of parents’ math anxiety are specific to children’s math achievement. These findings provide evidence of a mechanism for intergenerational transmission of low math achievement and high math anxiety.

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The relationship between genetic attributions, appraisals of birth mothers' health, and the parenting of adoptive mothers and fathers

Carla Smith Stover et al.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, November–December 2015, Pages 19–27

Abstract:
Parenting beliefs and attributions can influence parenting behavior. We used an adoption design to examine the associations among perinatal risk and poor birth mother health, adoptive parent appraisals of birth mothers' mental health, and genetic attributions to adoptive parents' feelings and behaviors toward their adopted infants. A sample of 361 pairs of adoptive parents and birth mothers were interviewed using standardized measures when infants were between 4 and 9 months old. Adoptive mothers and fathers were observed during play tasks when their infants were 9 months old. We found that adoptive mothers' and fathers' appraisals of birth mothers' health were associated with perinatal risk and poor birth mother health. Adoptive mothers' appraisals were linked to hostile parenting, after accounting for characteristics of the child that may influence her appraisals and attributions. These associations were not present for adoptive fathers. Genetic attributions were associated with both adoptive mother and fathers' feelings of daily hassles in parenting. These findings have implications for prevention and intervention.

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Has there been a recent increase in adolescent narcissism? Evidence from a sample of at-risk adolescents (2005–2014)

Christopher Barry & Lauren Lee-Rowland
Personality and Individual Differences, December 2015, Pages 153–157

Abstract:
The present study examined the level of overall self-reported narcissism in cohorts of 16–19 year olds (N = 2696; 2272 males) attending the same 22-week residential program from 2005 to 2014. Fourteen cohorts completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory for Children (NPIC; Barry, Frick, & Killian, 2003), and 10 of these cohorts completed the Narcissism Scale of the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD; Frick & Hare, 2001). Two approaches to analyze scores in relation to year of data collection were employed. There were no significant changes in narcissism from either measure across the study time period. The implications of these findings for considering current generational trends in narcissism and the need for further research on developmental influences of narcissism are discussed.

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Sharing the Burden: The Interpersonal Regulation of Emotional Arousal in Mother−Daughter Dyads

Jessica Lougheed, Peter Koval & Tom Hollenstein
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to social baseline theory (Beckes & Coan, 2011), load sharing is a feature of close relationships whereby the burden of emotional distress is distributed across relationship partners. Load sharing varies by physical closeness and relationship quality. We investigated the effect of load sharing on emotional arousal via galvanic skin response, an indicator of sympathetic nervous system arousal, during a social stressor. Social stress was elicited in 66 adolescent girls (Mage = 15 years) using a spontaneous public-speaking task. Mother−daughter dyads reported their relationship quality, and physical closeness was manipulated by having mothers either touch or not touch their daughter’s hand during the performance. We found evidence of load sharing among dyads who held hands, independent of relationship quality. However, without physical contact, load sharing was only evident among dyads with higher relationship quality. Thus, high relationship quality buffers against threat in a similar way to the physical comfort of a loved one.

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Early Social Deprivation and the Social Buffering of Cortisol Stress Reponses in Late Childhood: An Experimental Study

Camelia Hostinar, Anna Johnson & Megan Gunnar
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of early social deprivation in shaping the effectiveness of parent support to alleviate hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA)-axis-stress responses of children (ages 8.9–11, M = 9.83 years, SD = .55). The sample was equally divided between children who had been adopted internationally from orphanage care by age 5 (n = 40) and an age- and gender-matched group of nonadopted (NA) children (n = 40). On average, internationally adopted children were invited to the laboratory 7.6 years postadoption (SD = 1.45). We experimentally manipulated the provision of parent support during the 5-min speech preparation period before a modified Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) and examined its effect on levels of salivary cortisol secreted in response to this laboratory stressor. All participants were randomly assigned to receive support from their parent or a stranger. Analyses revealed a significant interaction of support condition and group such that parent support significantly dampened the cortisol-stress response in NA children compared with support from a stranger, whereas the cortisol response curves of postinstitutionalized (PI) children did not differ between the parent- and stranger-support conditions. Cortisol reactivity for PI children in both conditions was lower than that of NA children in the stranger-support condition. Social deprivation during the first few years of life may shape neurobehavioral development in ways that reduce selective responses to caregivers versus strangers.

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Early Psychosocial Neglect Adversely Impacts Developmental Trajectories of Brain Oscillations and Their Interactions

Catherine Stamoulis et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rhythmicity is a fundamental property of neural activity at multiple spatiotemporal scales, and associated oscillations represent a critical mechanism for communication and transmission of information across brain regions. During development, these oscillations evolve dynamically as a function of neural maturation and may be modulated by early experiences, positive and/or negative. This study investigated the impact of psychosocial deprivation associated with institutional rearing in early life and the effects of subsequent foster care intervention on developmental trajectories of neural oscillations and their cross-frequency correlations. Longitudinally acquired nontask EEGs from three cohorts of children from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project were analyzed. These included abandoned children initially reared in institutions and subsequently randomized to be placed in foster care or receive care as usual (prolonged institutional rearing) and a group of never-institutionalized children. Oscillation trajectories were estimated from 42 to 96 months, that is, 1–3 years after all children in the intervention arm of the study had been placed in foster care. Significant differences between groups were estimated for the amplitude trajectories of cognitive-related gamma, beta, alpha, and theta oscillations. Similar differences were identified as a function of time spent in institutions, suggesting that increased time spent in psychosocial neglect may have profound and widespread effects on brain activity. Significant group differences in cross-frequency coupling were estimated longitudinally between gamma and lower frequencies as well as alpha and lower frequencies. Lower cross-gamma coupling was estimated at 96 months in the group of children that remained in institutions at that age compared to the other two groups, suggesting potentially impaired communication between local and long-distance brain networks in these children. In contrast, higher cross-alpha coupling was estimated in this group compared to the other two groups at 96 months, suggesting impaired suppression of alpha–theta and alpha–delta activity, which has been associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Age at foster care placement had a significant positive modulatory effect on alpha and beta trajectories and their mutual coupling, although by 96 months these trajectories remained distinct from those of never-institutionalized children. Overall, these findings suggest that early psychosocial neglect may profoundly impact neural maturation, particularly the evolution of neural oscillations and their interactions across a broad frequency range. These differences may result in widespread deficits across multiple cognitive domains.

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Links between family gender socialization experiences in childhood and gendered occupational attainment in young adulthood

Katie Lawson, Ann Crouter & Susan McHale
Journal of Vocational Behavior, October 2015, Pages 26–35

Abstract:
Gendered occupational segregation remains prevalent across the world. Although research has examined factors contributing to the low number of women in male-typed occupations – namely science, technology, engineering, and math – little longitudinal research has examined the role of childhood experiences in both young women's and men's later gendered occupational attainment. This study addressed this gap in the literature by examining family gender socialization experiences in middle childhood – namely parents' attitudes and work and family life – as contributors to the gender typicality of occupational attainment in young adulthood. Using data collected from mothers, fathers, and children over approximately 15 years, the results revealed that the associations between childhood socialization experiences (~ 10 years old) and occupational attainment (~ 26 years old) depended on the sex of the child. For sons but not daughters, mothers' more traditional attitudes toward women's roles predicted attaining more gender-typed occupations. In addition, spending more time with fathers in childhood predicted daughters attaining less and sons acquiring more gender-typed occupations in young adulthood. Overall, evidence supports the idea that childhood socialization experiences help to shape individuals' career attainment and thus contribute to gender segregation in the labor market.

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Better for Baby? The Retreat From Mid-Pregnancy Marriage and Implications for Parenting and Child Well-being

Jessica Houston Su, Rachel Dunifon & Sharon Sassler
Demography, August 2015, Pages 1167-1194

Abstract:
Recent decades have seen a significant decline in mid-pregnancy (“shotgun”) marriage, particularly among disadvantaged groups, which has contributed to increasing nonmarital birth rates. Despite public and political concern about this shift, the implications for parenting and child well-being are not known. Drawing on a sample of U.S. black and white mothers with nonmarital conceptions from the NLSY79, our study fills this gap. Using propensity score techniques to address concerns about selection bias, we found that mid-pregnancy marriages were associated with slightly better parenting quality relative to remaining single, although effect sizes were small and limited to marriages that remained intact at the time of child assessment. Mid-pregnancy marriages were not associated with improved children’s behavior or cognitive ability. These findings suggest that the retreat from mid-pregnancy marriage may contribute to increasing inequality in parenting resources for children.

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Sibling Genes as Environment: Sibling Dopamine Genotypes and Adolescent Health Support Frequency Dependent Selection

Emily Rauscher, Dalton Conley & Mark Siegal
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 209–220

Abstract:
While research consistently suggests siblings matter for individual outcomes, it remains unclear why. At the same time, studies of genetic effects on health typically correlate variants of a gene with the average level of behavioral or health measures, ignoring more complicated genetic dynamics. Using National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data, we investigate whether sibling genes moderate individual genetic expression. We compare twin variation in health-related absences and self-rated health by genetic differences at three locations related to dopamine regulation and transport to test sibship-level cross-person gene-gene interactions. Results suggest effects of variation at these genetic locations are moderated by sibling genes. Although the mechanism remains unclear, this evidence is consistent with frequency dependent selection and suggests much genetic research may violate the stable unit treatment value assumption.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, September 14, 2015

Great idea

Does the Technological Content of Government Demand Matter for Private R&D? Evidence from US States

Viktor Slavtchev & Simon Wiederhold
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Governments purchase everything from airplanes to zucchini. This paper investigates the role of the technological content of government procurement in innovation. In a theoretical model, we first show that a shift in the composition of public purchases toward high-tech products translates into higher economy-wide returns to innovation, leading to an increase in the aggregate level of private R&D. Using unique data on federal procurement in US states and performing panel fixed-effects estimations, we find support for the model's prediction of a positive R&D effect of the technological content of government procurement. Instrumental-variable estimations suggest a causal interpretation of our findings.

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Inventing Prizes: A Historical Perspective on Innovation Awards and Technology Policy

Zorina Khan
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Prizes for innovations are currently experiencing a renaissance, following their marked decline during the nineteenth century. However, Daguerre’s “patent buyout,” the longitude prize, inducement prizes for butter substitutes and billiard balls, the activities of the Royal Society of Arts and other “encouragement” institutions, all comprise historically inaccurate and potentially misleading case studies. Daguerre, for instance, never obtained a patent in France and, instead, lobbied for government support in a classic example of rent-seeking. This paper surveys empirical research using more representative samples drawn from Britain, France, and the United States, including “great inventors” and their ordinary counterparts, and prizes at industrial exhibitions. The results suggest that administered systems of rewards to innovators suffered from a number of disadvantages in design and practice, some of which might be inherent to their non-market orientation. These findings in part explain why innovation prizes lost favour as a technology policy instrument in both the United States and Europe in the period of industrialization and economic growth.

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Shielded Innovation

Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun & Scott Kominers
Harvard Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We show that increased litigation risk has driven innovators to shield themselves by shifting innovation out of industry and into universities. We show both theoretically and empirically that litigation by Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) pushes innovation to spaces with reduced litigation threat. Innovation has shifted into universities (and away from public and private firms) in exactly those industries with the most aggressive NPE litigation, precisely following extensive NPE litigation. The extent of innovation shielding is large and significant. An increase of 100 NPE lawsuits in an industry shifts up the university share of innovation by roughly 70% in subsequent years (t=5.34).

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Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science

Brian Nosek et al.
Science, 28 August 2015

Abstract:
We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available. There is no single standard for evaluating replication success. Here, we evaluated reproducibility using significance and P values, effect sizes, subjective assessments of replication teams, and meta-analysis of effect sizes. The mean effect size (r) of the replication effects (Mr = 0.197, SD = 0.257) was half the magnitude of the mean effect size of the original effects (Mr = 0.403, SD = 0.188), representing a substantial decline. Ninety-seven percent of original studies had significant results (P < .05). Thirty-six percent of replications had significant results; 47% of original effect sizes were in the 95% confidence interval of the replication effect size; 39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result; and if no bias in original results is assumed, combining original and replication results left 68% with statistically significant effects. Correlational tests suggest that replication success was better predicted by the strength of original evidence than by characteristics of the original and replication teams.

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Underreporting in Psychology Experiments: Evidence From a Study Registry

Annie Franco, Neil Malhotra & Gabor Simonovits
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many scholars have raised concerns about the credibility of empirical findings in psychology, arguing that the proportion of false positives reported in the published literature dramatically exceeds the rate implied by standard significance levels. A major contributor of false positives is the practice of reporting a subset of the potentially relevant statistical analyses pertaining to a research project. This study is the first to provide direct evidence of selective underreporting in psychology experiments. To overcome the problem that the complete experimental design and full set of measured variables are not accessible for most published research, we identify a population of published psychology experiments from a competitive grant program for which questionnaires and data are made publicly available because of an institutional rule. We find that about 40% of studies fail to fully report all experimental conditions and about 70% of studies do not report all outcome variables included in the questionnaire. Reported effect sizes are about twice as large as unreported effect sizes and are about 3 times more likely to be statistically significant.

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Misconduct Policies, Academic Culture and Career Stage, Not Gender or Pressures to Publish, Affect Scientific Integrity

Daniele Fanelli, Rodrigo Costas & Vincent Larivière
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Abstract:
The honesty and integrity of scientists is widely believed to be threatened by pressures to publish, unsupportive research environments, and other structural, sociological and psychological factors. Belief in the importance of these factors has inspired major policy initiatives, but evidence to support them is either non-existent or derived from self-reports and other sources that have known limitations. We used a retrospective study design to verify whether risk factors for scientific misconduct could predict the occurrence of retractions, which are usually the consequence of research misconduct, or corrections, which are honest rectifications of minor mistakes. Bibliographic and personal information were collected on all co-authors of papers that have been retracted or corrected in 2010-2011 (N=611 and N=2226 papers, respectively) and authors of control papers matched by journal and issue (N=1181 and N=4285 papers, respectively), and were analysed with conditional logistic regression. Results, which avoided several limitations of past studies and are robust to different sampling strategies, support the notion that scientific misconduct is more likely in countries that lack research integrity policies, in countries where individual publication performance is rewarded with cash, in cultures and situations were mutual criticism is hampered, and in the earliest phases of a researcher’s career. The hypothesis that males might be prone to scientific misconduct was not supported, and the widespread belief that pressures to publish are a major driver of misconduct was largely contradicted: high-impact and productive researchers, and those working in countries in which pressures to publish are believed to be higher, are less-likely to produce retracted papers, and more likely to correct them. Efforts to reduce and prevent misconduct, therefore, might be most effective if focused on promoting research integrity policies, improving mentoring and training, and encouraging transparent communication amongst researchers.

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Insider Trading and Innovation

Ross Levine, Chen Lin & Lai Wei
University of California Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
This paper assesses whether the enforcement of insider trading laws increases or decreases patent-based measures of technological innovation. Based on about 75,000 industry-country-year observations across 94 economies from 1976 to 2006, we find evidence consistent with the view that enforcing insider trading laws spurs innovation — as measured by patent intensity, scope, impact, generality, and originality — after controlling for country-year and industry-year fixed effects. Consistent with theories that insider trading slows innovation by impeding the valuation of innovative activities, the relationship between enforcing insider trading laws and innovation is much larger in industries that are naturally innovative and opaque, where we use the U.S. to benchmark industries.

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Does Compulsory Licensing Discourage Invention? Evidence From German Patents After WWI

Joerg Baten, Nicola Bianchi & Petra Moser
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether compulsory licensing – which allows governments to license patents without the consent of patent-owners – discourages invention. Our analysis exploits new historical data on German patents to examine the effects of compulsory licensing under the US Trading-with-the-Enemy Act on invention in Germany. We find that compulsory licensing was associated with a 28 percent increase in invention. Historical evidence indicates that, as a result of war-related demands, fields with licensing were negatively selected, so OLS estimates may underestimate the positive effects of compulsory licensing on future inventions.

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Patent Publication and the Market for Ideas

Deepak Hegde & Hong Luo
Harvard Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
In this paper, we study the effect of invention disclosure — through patent publication — on the market for ideas. We do so by analyzing the effects of the American Inventor’s Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA), which required US patent applications be published 18 months after their filing date rather than at patent grant, on the timing of licensing deals in the biomedical industry. We find that post-AIPA US patent applications are significantly more likely to be licensed before patent grant and shortly after 18-month publication. Licensing delays are reduced by about ten months, on average, after AIPA’s enactment. These findings suggest a hitherto unexplored benefit of the patent system: by requiring inventions to be published through a credible, standardized, and centralized repository, it mitigates information costs for buyers and sellers and thus facilitates transactions in the market for ideas.

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Patent Pools, Competition, and Innovation — Evidence from 20 US Industries under the New Deal

Ryan Lampe & Petra Moser
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Patent pools have become a prominent mechanism to reduce litigation risks and facilitate the commercialization of new technologies. This article takes advantage of a window of regulatory tolerance under the New Deal to investigate the effects of pools that would form in the absence of effective antitrust. Difference-in-differences regressions of patents and patent citations across 20 industries imply a 14% decline in patenting for each additional patent that is included in a pool. An analysis of the mechanism by which pools discourage innovation indicates that this decline is driven by technologies for which the creation of a pool weakened competition in R&D.

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Thriving innovation amidst manufacturing decline: The Detroit auto cluster and the resilience of local knowledge production

Thomas Hannigan, Marcelo Cano-Kollmann & Ram Mudambi
Industrial and Corporate Change, June 2015, Pages 613-634

Abstract:
Analyzing the comprehensive 35-year patent data set associated with the Detroit auto cluster we confirm that innovation in clusters can increase in spite of a long-term decline in manufacturing activity. The “stickiness” of local knowledge is sustained by: (i) increasing technological specialization at the local level and (ii) growing connectedness to global centers of excellence. The very forces that bring about the decline in manufacturing in a cluster sustain their position as a global center of innovative excellence.

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Pricing Genius: The Market Evaluation of Innovation

David Galenson & Simone Lenzu
University of Chicago Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
Economists have neglected a key issue for understanding and increasing technological change, in failing to study how talented individuals produce innovations. This paper takes a quantitative approach to this problem. Regression analysis of auction data from 1965-2015 reveals that the age-price profiles of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol – the two greatest painters born in the 20th century – closely resemble the age profiles of the two artists derived both from textbooks of art history and from retrospective exhibitions. The agreement of these sources confirms that the auction market assigns the highest prices to the most important art, and examination of the artists’ careers reveals that this art is the most important because it is the most innovative. These results lend strong support to our understanding of creativity at the individual level, with a sharp contrast between the extended experimental innovation of Pollock and the sudden conceptual innovation of Warhol.

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Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies

Jacob Foster, Andrey Rzhetsky & James Evans
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
What factors affect a scientist’s choice of research problem? Qualitative research in the history and sociology of science suggests that this choice is patterned by an “essential tension” between productive tradition and risky innovation. We examine this tension through Bourdieu’s field theory of science, and we explore it empirically by analyzing millions of biomedical abstracts from MEDLINE. We represent the evolving state of chemical knowledge with networks extracted from these abstracts. We then develop a typology of research strategies on these networks. Scientists can introduce novel chemicals and chemical relationships (innovation) or delve deeper into known ones (tradition). They can consolidate knowledge clusters or bridge them. The aggregate distribution of published strategies remains remarkably stable. High-risk innovation strategies are rare and reflect a growing focus on established knowledge. An innovative publication is more likely to achieve high impact than a conservative one, but the additional reward does not compensate for the risk of failing to publish. By studying prizewinners in biomedicine and chemistry, we show that occasional gambles for extraordinary impact are a compelling explanation for observed levels of risky innovation. Our analysis of the essential tension identifies institutional forces that sustain tradition and suggests policy interventions to foster innovation.

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Understanding the Changing Structure of Scientific Inquiry

Ajay Agrawal, Avi Goldfarb & Florenta Teodoridis
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The fall of the Iron Curtain led to an influx of new mathematical ideas into Western science. We show that research teams grew disproportionately in size in subfields of mathematics in which the Soviets were strongest. This is consistent with the knowledge burden hypothesis that an outward shift in the knowledge frontier increases the returns to collaboration. We also report additional evidence consistent with this interpretation: (1) The effect is present in countries outside the US and is not correlated with the local population of Soviet scholars, (2) Researchers in Soviet-rich subfields disproportionately increased their level of specialization.

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Do Economic Downturns Dampen Patent Litigation?

Alan Marco, Shawn Miller & Ted Sichelman
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2015, Pages 481–536

Abstract:
Recent studies estimate that the economic impact of U.S. patent litigation may be as large as $80 billion per year and that the overall rate of U.S. patent litigation has been growing rapidly over the past 20 years. And yet, the relationship of the macroeconomy to patent litigation rates has never been studied in any rigorous fashion. This lacuna is notable given that there are two opposing theories among lawyers regarding the effect of economic downturns on patent litigation. One camp argues for a substitution theory, holding that patent litigation should increase in a downturn because potential plaintiffs have a greater incentive to exploit patent assets relative to other investments. The other camp posits a capital constraint theory that holds that the decrease in cash flow and available capital disincentivizes litigation. Analyzing quarterly patent infringement suit filing data from 1971–2009 using a time-series vector autoregression (VAR) model, we show that economic downturns have significantly affected patent litigation rates. (To aid other researchers in testing and extending our analyses, we have made our entire data set available online.) Importantly, we find that these effects have changed over time. In particular, patent litigation has become more dependent on credit availability in a downturn. We hypothesize that such changes resulted from an increase in use of contingent-fee attorneys by patent plaintiffs and the rise of nonpracticing entities (NPEs), which, unlike most operating companies, generally fund their lawsuits directly from outside capital sources. Over roughly the last 20 years, we find that macroeconomic conditions have affected patent litigation in contrasting ways. Decreases in GDP (particularly economy-wide investment) are correlated with significant increases in patent litigation and countercyclical economic trends. On the other hand, increases in T-bill and real interest rates as well as increases in economy-wide financial risk are generally correlated with significant decreases in patent suits, leading to procyclical trends. Thus, the specific nature of a downturn predicts whether patent litigation rates will tend to rise or fall.

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Law and Innovation: Evidence from State Trade Secrets Laws

I.P.L. Png
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Here, I study the effect of state enactment of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) on R&D among U.S. businesses between 1979-98. Using a new index of the legal protection of trade secrets, I find that the UTSA was associated with higher R&D among larger companies and those in high-tech industries. For the average company in the respective industry, the UTSA was associated with 3.2 percent more R&D in pharmaceuticals and 3.1 percent more R&D in computers and office equipment, as contrasted with no significant change in soaps and cleaners, and industrial machinery and equipment.

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Technology Entry in the Presence of Patent Thickets

Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers & Georg von Graevenitz
NBER Working Paper, August 2015

Abstract:
We analyze the effect of patent thickets on entry into technology areas by firms in the UK. We present a model that describes incentives to enter technology areas characterized by varying technological opportunity, complexity of technology, and the potential for hold-up in patent thickets. We show empirically that our measure of patent thickets is associated with a reduction of first time patenting in a given technology area controlling for the level of technological complexity and opportunity. Technological areas characterized by more technological complexity and opportunity, in contrast, see more entry. Our evidence indicates that patent thickets raise entry costs, which leads to less entry into technologies regardless of a firm’s size.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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