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Monday, December 1, 2014

The next election

The Effect of Fact-Checking on Elites: A Field Experiment on U.S. State Legislators

Brendan Nyhan & Jason Reifler
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does external monitoring improve democratic performance? Fact-checking has come to play an increasingly important role in political coverage in the United States, but some research suggests it may be ineffective at reducing public misperceptions about controversial issues. However, fact-checking might instead help improve political discourse by increasing the reputational costs or risks of spreading misinformation for political elites. To evaluate this deterrent hypothesis, we conducted a field experiment on a diverse group of state legislators from nine U.S. states in the months before the November 2012 election. In the experiment, a randomly assigned subset of state legislators was sent a series of letters about the risks to their reputation and electoral security if they were caught making questionable statements. The legislators who were sent these letters were substantially less likely to receive a negative fact-checking rating or to have their accuracy questioned publicly, suggesting that fact-checking can reduce inaccuracy when it poses a salient threat.

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A Principle or a Strategy? Voter Identification Laws and Partisan Competition in the American States

William Hicks et al.
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We undertake a comprehensive examination of restrictive voter ID legislation in the American states from 2001 through 2012. With a dataset containing approximately one thousand introduced and nearly one hundred adopted voter ID laws, we evaluate the likelihood that a state legislature introduces a restrictive voter ID bill, as well as the likelihood that a state government adopts such a law. Voter ID laws have evolved from a valence issue into a partisan battle, where Republicans defend them as a safeguard against fraud while Democrats indict them as a mechanism of voter suppression. However, voter ID legislation is not uniform across the states; not all Republican-controlled legislatures have pushed for more restrictive voter ID laws. Instead, our findings show it is a combination of partisan control and the electoral context that drives enactment of such measures. While the prevalence of Republican lawmakers strongly and positively influences the adoption of voter ID laws in electorally competitive states, its effect is significantly weaker in electorally uncompetitive states. Republicans preside over an electoral coalition that is declining in size; where elections are competitive, the furtherance of restrictive voter ID laws is a means of maintaining Republican support while curtailing Democratic electoral gains.

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Differing Paths to the Top: Gender, Ambition, and Running for Governor

Jason Windett
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Fall 2014, Pages 287-314

Abstract:
This research aims to bridge together the work between ambition formation and progressive ambition through an analysis of current and former US governors and gubernatorial candidates' political careers through in-depth interviews. Much like earlier scholarship on women's political ambition, I conclude that women tend to be self-starters, begin their careers much later in life, and receive little party recruitment. Women, however, are more likely to take electoral risks when moving up the political career ladder, challenging incumbents at higher rates than their male counterparts, and entering races with greater levels of electoral uncertainty.

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Racial Imagery and Support for Voter ID Laws

David Wilson, Paul Brewer & Phoebe Theodora Rosenbluth
Race and Social Problems, December 2014, Pages 365-371

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that calls for voter ID laws include racialized appeals and that racial attitudes influence support for such laws. This study uses an experiment to test whether exposure to racial imagery also affects support for voter ID laws. The data come from a survey experiment embedded in the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (N = 1,436) randomizing the race of a voter and poll worker shown to respondents (African American voter and poll worker, white voter and poll worker, or no image). The results show that white respondents who saw an image of an African American voter and poll worker expressed greater support for voter ID laws than those in the no image condition, even after controlling for the significant effects of racial resentment and political ideology. Exposure to an image of a white voter and poll worker did not produce a similar effect. The findings provide new evidence that public opinion about voter ID laws is racialized.

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From Black and White to Left and Right: Race, Perceptions of Candidates' Ideologies, and Voting Behavior in U.S. House Elections

Matthew Jacobsmeier
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
While there is a strong scholarly consensus that race continues to play a central role in American politics, research on the effects of the race of candidates on electoral behavior has produced decidedly mixed results. Using American National Election Studies data, Cooperative Congressional Election Studies data, and a non-linear systems of equations approach to estimation, I show that race-based misperceptions of candidates' ideologies have a significant indirect impact on voting decisions in elections to the U.S. House of Representatives. The indirect effects of race on voting behavior outweigh any direct effects of racial prejudice by a substantial margin. More specifically, the results suggest that white citizens will tend to perceive black candidates to be more liberal than white candidates who adopt similar policy positions, and that these race-based misperceptions disadvantage black candidates at the ballot box.

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Presidential Coattails versus the Median Voter: Senator Selection in US Elections

Yosh Halberstam & Pablo Montagnes
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that senators elected in presidential elections are more ideologically extreme than in midterm elections. This finding is in contrast to the literature suggesting that voters in presidential elections are more ideologically moderate than voters in midterm elections. To explain this incongruence, we propose a theory of spillover effects in which party labels enable voters to update their beliefs about candidates across contemporaneous races for office: unexpected support for a candidate in one race carries marginal candidates from the same party in other races. Our theory implies that presidential coattails may skew representative government away from the median-voter ideal.

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Risk Attitudes and the Incumbency Advantage

David Eckles et al.
Political Behavior, December 2014, Pages 731-749

Abstract:
Explanations for the incumbency advantage in American elections have typically pointed to the institutional advantages that incumbents enjoy over challengers but overlook the role of individual traits that reinforce this bias. The institutional advantages enjoyed by incumbents give voters more certainty about who incumbents are and what they might do when (and if) they assume office. We argue that these institutional advantages make incumbents particularly attractive to risk-averse individuals, who shy away from uncertainty and embrace choices that provide more certainty. Using data from 2008 and 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we show that citizens who are more risk averse are more likely to support incumbent candidates, while citizens who are more risk accepting are more likely to vote for challengers. The foundations of the incumbency advantage, we find, lie not only in the institutional perks of office but also in the individual minds of voters.

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Losing to Win: How Partisan Candidates Help Parties Win in the Future

Kai Steverson
Princeton Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We study an infinite horizon model of political competition where parties face a trade-off between winning today and winning tomorrow. Parties choose between nominating moderates, who are more viable, or partisans, who can energize the base and draw in new voters which helps win future elections. Only moderates can win in equilibrium and so the winning party fails to invest in its base and has a weaker future. Hence the longer a party is in power the more likely they are to lose, a pattern that finds strong support in the data. This dynamic also creates an electoral cycle where parties regularly take turns in power.

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Candidate Age and Youth Voter Turnout

Michael Pomante & Scot Schraufnagel
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The research addresses youth voter turnout in the United States and, specifically, tests the relationship between candidate age and a commitment to vote by young people in a controlled experiment. We learn that potential young voters are more willing to commit to vote when they view pictures of younger candidates running. This is the case after controlling for the age and partisanship of respondents. In a real-world test of our experimental results, we examine state-level variation in youth voter turnout in midterm governor and Senate races (1994-2010). In the state-level analysis, we find a larger candidate age gap in governor and Senate races associates with higher levels of youth mobilization. In all, the research affirms the value of candidate characteristics as a predictor of voting behavior.

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Political Scandal and Bias in Survey Responses

Nicholas Goedert
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2014, Pages 813-818

Abstract:
This article provides evidence for bias in the polling of American political candidates who are accused of personal or financial scandal, wherein the support of the accused candidate is understated. Evidence for this phenomenon is found in the analysis of a dataset of district-level polls of US House elections during the 2002-2012 election cycles. This bias helps to explain several unanticipated outcomes in recent American legislative elections, in which scandal-tarred incumbents unexpectedly were reelected or defeated by surprisingly narrow margins. The article also finds evidence of a smaller bias, previously observed by practitioners, wherein support is overstated for incumbents who are not accused of scandal.

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Do Charitable Subsidies Crowd Out Political Giving? The Missing Link between Charitable and Political Contributions

Bariş Yörük
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the United States, charitable contributions can be deducted from taxable income making the price of giving inversely related to the marginal tax rate. However, several other types of contributions such as donations to political organizations are not tax deductible. This paper investigates the spillover effects of charitable subsidies on political giving using five cross-sectional surveys of charitable and political giving in the United States conducted from 1990 to 2001. The results show that charitable and political giving are complements. Compared with non-donors, charitable donors are more likely to donate and give more to political organizations. Increasing the price of charitable giving decreases not only charitable giving but also the probability of giving and the amount of donations to political organizations. This effect is robust under different specifications and highlights the externalities created by charitable subsidies.

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Representation without Parties: Reconsidering the One-Party South, 1930-62

Devin Caughey
MIT Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Political scientists have long viewed the one-party South as exemplifying the impossibility of democracy in the absence of partisan competition. I argue that this view conflates the effects of disfranchisement and one-partyism. Despite the lack of partisan competition, Democratic primaries induced a qualified but real electoral connection between Southern members of Congress and the (white) eligible electorate. I show that Southern representatives exhibited strong responsiveness to the economic policy preferences of their median voter. I also demonstrate that Southern MCs' collective shift from New Deal liberals to pivotal centrists in the 1930s and 1940s mirrored shifts in white public opinion in the South. These findings suggest important qualifications to the view of the one-party South as an "authoritarian" regime and to the conventional wisdom that that representation requires partisan competition.

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Baby Boomers

Michael Delli Carpini
The Forum, October 2014, Pages 417-445

Abstract:
Born between 1946 and 1964, "baby boomers" represent the largest 20-year age cohort in US history and still account for over 30% of the adult population. Drawing on over half a century of survey data from the American National Election Studies I explore the political legacy of this generational cohort as measured by 16 indicators of political engagement. The results suggest that while evidence of lasting generational differences in political attitudes and behaviors between boomers and those who preceded or followed them exist, they are generally small to modest, with variation over time driven more by the times in which people live than the times in which they were socialized.

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Raising Hope: Hope Inducement and Voter Turnout

Costas Panagopoulos
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2014, Pages 494-501

Abstract:
Politicians routinely invoke hope on the campaign trail, presumably because they believe that inducements of hope attract supporters and impel citizens to the polls. Social psychologists and political scientists similarly posit that activating positive emotions like hope and other powerful psychological mechanisms has the capacity to stimulate prosocial behavior, like voting in elections. In this study, I subject these claims to empirical scrutiny by designing and implementing a series of randomized field experiments to examine whether inducing hope raises electoral participation. Overall, I find little evidence that hope affects voting behavior, but I acknowledge the null effects may reflect the [im]potency of the treatment.

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What Happens When Extremists Win Primaries?

Andrew Hall
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article studies the interplay of U.S. primary and general elections. I examine how the nomination of an extremist changes general-election outcomes and legislative behavior in the U.S. House, 1980-2010, using a regression discontinuity design in primary elections. When an extremist -- as measured by primary-election campaign receipt patterns -- wins a "coin-flip" election over a more moderate candidate, the party's general-election vote share decreases by approximately 9-13 percentage points, and the probability that the party wins the seat decreases by 35-54 percentage points. This electoral penalty is so large that nominating the more extreme primary candidate causes the district's subsequent roll-call representation to reverse, becoming more liberal when an extreme Republican is nominated and more conservative when an extreme Democrat is nominated. Overall, the findings show how general-election voters act as a moderating filter in response to primary nominations.

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The Effects of Voting Costs on the Democratic Process and Public Finances

Roland Hodler, Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increasing the attractiveness of voting is often seen as a remedy for unequal participation and the influence of special-interest groups on public policy. However, lower voting costs may also bring less informed citizens to the poll, thereby inviting efforts to sway these voters. We substantiate this argument in a probabilistic voting model with campaign contributions. In an empirical analysis for the 26 Swiss cantons, we find that lower voting costs due to postal voting are related to higher turnout, lower average education and political knowledge of participants as well as lower government welfare expenditures and lower business taxation.

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There Can Be Only One (Woman on the Ticket): Gender in Candidate Nominations

Valerie Hennings & Robert Urbatsch
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Party elites and voters are reluctant to cede multiple ballot positions to women simultaneously, so that men are able to have running mates of either gender but women tend to have male running mates. Evidence from American gubernatorial elections, state legislative caucuses, and presidential tickets from around the world confirms this: nominating a woman for the top position reduces a party's likelihood of nominating a woman for the second position by half or more.

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Deliberative Democracy and the American Civil Jury

Valerie Hans, John Gastil & Traci Feller
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2014, Pages 697-717

Abstract:
Civil jury service should be a potent form of deliberative democracy, creating greater civic engagement. However, a 2010 seven-state study of jury service and voting records found no overall boost in civic engagement following service on civil juries, whereas jurors who served on criminal cases did show increased civic engagement following their jury service. This article reports a project that augments the civil jury data set with information about jury decision rule, jury size, defendant identity, and case type and examines whether specific types of civil jury service influence postservice voting. Taking into account preservice voting records, jurors who serve on a civil jury that is required to reach unanimity or a civil jury of 12 are significantly more likely to vote after their service. Jurors who decide cases with organizational, as opposed to individual, defendants likewise show a boost in voting behavior, as do jurors deciding contract or nonautomotive torts cases compared to automotive torts. Limitations and implications of these findings for deliberative democracy theory and jury practice are discussed.

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Strategic Mobilization: Why Proportional Representation Decreases Voter Mobilization

Carlisle Rainey
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many scholars suggest that proportional representation increases party mobilization by creating nationally competitive districts that give parties an incentive to mobilize everywhere. This paper provides theoretical and empirical arguments that bring this claim into question. I propose, unlike earlier scholars, that the positive effect of district competitiveness on party mobilization efforts increases as electoral districts become more disproportional, arguing that disproportionality itself encourages mobilization by exaggerating the impact of competitiveness on mobilization. Individual-level survey data from national legislative elections show that competitiveness has a much larger positive effect on parties' mobilization efforts in single-member districts than in proportional districts. Contrary to prior literature, these results suggest proportional electoral rules give parties no strong incentive to mobilize anywhere.

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Campaigns and the Mitigation of Framing Effects on Voting Behavior: A Natural and Field Experiment

Michael Binder, Matthew Childers & Natalie Johnson
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is a widely held belief that the way a ballot proposition title is framed (the way the issue is presented) has an effect on its eventual success or failure on Election Day. Prior to California's 2010 General Election, the ballot language for two propositions was disputed and challenged in court. For both Proposition 22, intended to change the allocation of state and local tax revenues, and Proposition 23, intended to overturn California's landmark global-warming law, Fresno County failed to make the court ordered changes. The election proceeded with the unchanged ballot language in Fresno County and the newly adjusted ballot language throughout the rest of the state. This paper takes advantage of this natural experiment to evaluate the potency of framing effects in direct democracy elections, as well as, the role that campaigns (high salience versus low salience) can play in limiting those effects. As a further test, survey data using identical language collected in an area where neither issue was of high salience is used as a comparison. This additional test serves as a mechanism to isolate any potential framing effect of campaigns. We conclude that the way a ballot measure is framed has an impact on its Election Day success so long as it is a relatively low-salience measure. For initiatives with vigorous campaign activity, such as Proposition 23, framing effects are less effective and not statistically significant in this instance.

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Ballot (and voter) "exhaustion" under Instant Runoff Voting: An examination of four ranked-choice elections

Craig Burnett & Vladimir Kogan
Electoral Studies, March 2015, Pages 41-49

Abstract:
Some proponents of municipal election reform advocate for the adoption of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), a method that allows voters to rank multiple candidates according to their preferences. Although supporters claim that IRV is superior to the traditional primary-runoff election system, research on IRV is limited. We analyze data taken from images of more than 600,000 ballots cast by voters in four recent local elections. We document a problem known as ballot "exhaustion," which results in a substantial number of votes being discarded in each election. As a result of ballot exhaustion, the winner in all four of our cases receives less than a majority of the total votes cast, a finding that raises serious concerns about IRV and challenges a key argument made by the system's proponents.

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Political Participation and Civic Courage: The Negative Effect of Transparency on Making Small Campaign Contributions

Raymond La Raja
Political Behavior, December 2014, Pages 753-776

Abstract:
This study assesses whether public disclosure of campaign contributions affects citizens' willingness to give money to candidates. In the American states, campaign finance laws require disclosure of private information for contributors at relatively low thresholds ranging from $1 to $300. The Internet has made it relatively easy to publicize such information in a way that changes the social context for political participation. Drawing on social influence theory, the analysis suggests that citizens are sensitive to divulging private information, especially those who are surrounded by people with different political views. Using experimental data from the 2011 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies, it demonstrates how individuals refrain from making small campaign contributions or reduce their donations to avoid disclosing their identities. The conclusion discusses the implications of transparency laws for political participation, especially for small donors.

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Mecro-Economic Voting: Local Information and Micro-Perceptions of the Macro-Economy

Stephen Ansolabehere, Marc Meredith & Erik Snowberg
Economics & Politics, November 2014, Pages 380-410

Abstract:
We develop an incomplete information theory of economic voting, where voters' information about macro-economic performance is determined by the economic conditions of people similar to themselves. We test our theory using both cross-sectional and time-series survey data. A novel survey instrument that asks respondents their numerical assessment of the unemployment rate confirms that individuals' economic information responds to the economic conditions of people similar to themselves. Furthermore, these assessments are correlated with individuals' vote choices. We also show in time-series data that state unemployment robustly correlates with evaluations of national economic conditions, and presidential support.

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Comparative determinants of horse-race coverage

Susan Banducci & Chris Hanretty
European Political Science Review, November 2014, Pages 621-640

Abstract:
We investigate the levels of horse-race coverage in 160 different European print and broadcast outlets in 27 different countries at three different points in time. We match information on outlets' content to survey-based information on the average levels of interest in politics and education of outlets' audiences. We formulate hypotheses concerning journalists' and citizens' preferences over the ideal level of horse-race coverage, as well as hypotheses concerning the information content of horse-race coverage in different party systems. After controlling for the composition of each outlet's audience, we find that horse-race coverage is most frequent in polarized party systems with close electoral contests, and in large markets with professional journalists. These findings challenge the traditional view of horse-race journalism as a 'low-quality' form of news.

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Remembering to Forget: A Note on the Duration of Campaign Advertising Effects

Larry Bartels
Political Communication, Fall 2014, Pages 532-544

Abstract:
Exposure to an Obama campaign ad as part of an Internet survey conducted during the final weeks of the 2012 presidential race produced a substantial 2.8-point increase in intentions to vote for Obama. A post-election follow-up survey found an increase in reported votes for Obama that was only half as large, consistent with the notion that ad effects decay over time. However, a closer look at the pattern of decay indicates that the effect of ad exposure remained virtually constant among people who were undecided or predisposed to support Obama. The reduced aggregate effect was almost entirely attributable to Romney supporters who moved toward Obama in the immediate wake of ad exposure but returned to Romney by Election Day. This divergence is inconsistent with an interpretation of decay as reflecting simple forgetting. Rather, it suggests an active process of motivated reasoning in which short-term persuasive effects are gradually eroded or even reversed by counterarguing among people predisposed to resist them.

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Overvoting and the Equality of Voice under Instant-Runoff Voting in San Francisco

Francis Neely & Jason McDaniel
California Journal of Politics and Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2004 San Francisco began using instant-runoff voting for local elections. Early analyses revealed that after its inaugural use the rate at which voters ranked candidates dropped dramatically, and disqualifying errors on the ballots were more common in neighborhoods where more African-American and foreign-born citizens reside [Neely, Francis and Corey Cook (2008) "Whose Votes Count? Undervotes, Overvotes, and Ranking in San Francisco's Instant-Runoff Elections," American Politics Research, 36(4):530-554]. We extend the inquiry over time, examine other types of elections, and refine the methodology. Are some voters more than others able to exercise the franchise in these elections and, if so, what does that imply for the equality of political voice? We find no evidence that ranking candidates is in decline. Overvotes are more common in IRV than plurality contests, but such errors appear to be a function of complexity in general and not IRV per se. While they occur disproportionately in precincts with more African-American residents, and are often more likely where Latino, elderly, foreign-born, and less wealthy citizens reside, the pattern of overvoting is similar in both IRV and non-IRV contests. We discuss what these results imply for San Francisco and other jurisdictions using or considering similar election systems.

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Keeping Up with the Congressmen: Evaluating Constituents' Awareness of Redistricting

Christopher Lawrence & Scott Huffmon
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We seek to understand how voters respond to being drawn into a new congressional district: specifically, the new Seventh District of South Carolina created in 2012.

Methods: We employ data from a survey of voters in the new district, and employ descriptive statistics and logistic regression models to identify whether voters are aware of the new district, whether they expect better representation as a result, and to explain their likely vote choice.

Results: We find limited awareness of the new district among voters, despite a competitive election campaign, but nonetheless a broad public understanding that redistricting may lead to more local influence in Congress.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that redistricting efforts that ensure the maintenance of communities of interest to preserve voter-representative links, even if that means deviation from a strict "one person, one vote" standard, may be superior from a representational standpoint.

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The Demand for Bad Policy when Voters Underappreciate Equilibrium Effects

Ernesto Dal Bó, Pedro Dal Bó & Erik Eyster
University of California Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We study errors in equilibrium thinking that may lead people to choose inefficient policies and institutions. More precisely, we show in an experiment that a majority of subjects vote against policies that would help them overcome social dilemmas. We explain this behavior through subjects' failure to fully anticipate the equilibrium effects of new policy. By eliciting their beliefs about how others will behave under different policies, we show that subjects systematically underappreciate the extent to which policy changes alter other people's behavior, and that those who underappreciate equilibrium effects more are also more likely to demand bad policy. In addition we estimate that one-third of subjects do not appreciate how their own behavior will adapt to the new policy. To the extent that voter opinion affects policy, the underappreciation of equilibrium effects by voters can be a cause of political failure.

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Personality, Negativity, and Political Participation

Aaron Weinschenk & Costas Panagopoulos
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 164-182

Abstract:
Scholars have recently started to integrate personality traits into models of political participation. In this paper, we present the results of a survey experiment (N = 724) designed to test whether negative political messages differentially impact people with different personality traits. We found evidence that individuals with high scores on agreeableness were less likely, and individuals with high scores on extraversion were more likely, to report intending to participate in politics than their counterparts after being exposed to negative political messages. Agreeableness and extraversion also interacted with negative messages to influence specific intentions to make a political donation, attend a meeting, rally, or event, and volunteer for a political campaign. We also found suggestive evidence that agreeableness interacted with negativity to influence turnout intentions. The results of this study have important implications for the study of political engagement, the ways in which people interact with political information, and the practice of democratic politics.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Good works

Harm to others outweighs harm to self in moral decision making

Molly Crockett et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Concern for the suffering of others is central to moral decision making. How humans evaluate others’ suffering, relative to their own suffering, is unknown. We investigated this question by inviting subjects to trade off profits for themselves against pain experienced either by themselves or an anonymous other person. Subjects made choices between different amounts of money and different numbers of painful electric shocks. We independently varied the recipient of the shocks (self vs. other) and whether the choice involved paying to decrease pain or profiting by increasing pain. We built computational models to quantify the relative values subjects ascribed to pain for themselves and others in this setting. In two studies we show that most people valued others’ pain more than their own pain. This was evident in a willingness to pay more to reduce others’ pain than their own and a requirement for more compensation to increase others’ pain relative to their own. This ‟hyperaltruistic” valuation of others’ pain was linked to slower responding when making decisions that affected others, consistent with an engagement of deliberative processes in moral decision making. Subclinical psychopathic traits correlated negatively with aversion to pain for both self and others, in line with reports of aversive processing deficits in psychopathy. Our results provide evidence for a circumstance in which people care more for others than themselves. Determining the precise boundaries of this surprisingly prosocial disposition has implications for understanding human moral decision making and its disturbance in antisocial behavior.

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Pain reduces discrimination in helping

Esther van Leeuwen, Claire Ashton-James & Ruben Hamaker
European Journal of Social Psychology, October 2014, Pages 602–611

Abstract:
Because of their shared neurobiological underpinnings, factors increasing physical pain can also increase feelings of social disconnection (“social pain”). Feelings of connection with a social group are reflected in the term social identification, and social identity is commonly associated with intergroup discrimination. In two experiments, we examined the notion that physical pain would reduce social identification and subsequently inhibit intergroup discrimination in helping. By using a pain memory manipulation and a support measure of helping in Study 1 (N = 173), and an actual pain manipulation combined with a behavioural measure of helping in Study 2 (N = 72), results from both studies confirmed the predictions. As expected, physical pain eliminated ingroup favouritism in helping, and identification mediated this effect in the ingroup condition but not in the outgroup condition. We discuss these findings in light of the apparently paradoxical relationship between social support and pain.

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The topography of generosity: Asymmetric evaluations of prosocial actions

Nadav Klein & Nicholas Epley
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, December 2014, Pages 2366-2379

Abstract:
Prosociality is considered a virtue. Those who care for others are admired, whereas those who care only for themselves are despised. For one’s reputation, it pays to be nice. Does it pay to be even nicer? Four experiments assess reputational inferences across the entire range of prosocial outcomes in zero-sum interactions, from completely selfish to completely selfless actions. We observed consistent nonlinear evaluations: Participants evaluated selfish actions more negatively than equitable actions, but they did not evaluate selfless actions markedly more favorably than equitable actions. This asymptotic pattern reflected monotonic evaluations for increasingly selfish actions and insensitivity to increasingly selfless actions. It pays to be nice but not to be really nice. Additional experiments suggest that this pattern stems partly from failing to make spontaneous comparisons between varying degrees of selflessness. We suggest that these reputational incentives could guide social norms, encouraging equitable actions but discouraging extremely selfless actions.

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Avoiding overhead aversion in charity

Uri Gneezy, Elizabeth Keenan & Ayelet Gneezy
Science, 31 October 2014, Pages 632-635

Abstract:
Donors tend to avoid charities that dedicate a high percentage of expenses to administrative and fundraising costs, limiting the ability of nonprofits to be effective. We propose a solution to this problem: Use donations from major philanthropists to cover overhead expenses and offer potential donors an overhead-free donation opportunity. A laboratory experiment testing this solution confirms that donations decrease when overhead increases, but only when donors pay for overhead themselves. In a field experiment with 40,000 potential donors, we compared the overhead-free solution with other common uses of initial donations. Consistent with prior research, informing donors that seed money has already been raised increases donations, as does a $1:$1 matching campaign. Our main result, however, clearly shows that informing potential donors that overhead costs are covered by an initial donation significantly increases the donation rate by 80% (or 94%) and total donations by 75% (or 89%) compared with the seed (or matching) approach.

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Charitable donations by the self-employed

Matthias Tietz & Simon Parker
Small Business Economics, December 2014, Pages 899-916

Abstract:
This article analyzes an important aspect of the social behavior of the self-employed in America. We ask whether the self-employed express their social responsibility to society by giving more to charity than the general population, and if so which charitable causes they give to. We use social identity theory to generate hypotheses about the determinants and objectives of charitable giving among members of this socially and economically important group. Testing these hypotheses with nationally representative, longitudinal US data, we find that the American self-employed are indeed more likely to exhibit social responsibility toward their community by giving to charities than the general population. While the self-employed support broadly similar charities to the general population, they give substantially more to organizations which: address issues in the local community; provide health care; and serve the needy. We trace out implications of our findings for scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers.

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Commitment, crime, and the responsive bystander: Effect of the commitment form and conformism

Nicolas Guéguen et al.
Psychology, Crime & Law, Winter 2015, Pages 1-8

Abstract:
Research has shown that eliciting commitment is a valuable way of inciting people to act, even in emergencies and dangerous situations. The purpose of the two studies presented here was to explore the relation between the form of commitment used to prevent a crime and the moderating effect exerted by the number of passive observers of this crime. At a bus stop, a first confederate put a bag down on the ground upon arriving and immediately left to withdraw money from an automated teller machine near the bus stop. Two male participants were present at the bus stop. In Study 1, the confederate said nothing (control), directly asked one participant to watch his bag (direct commitment), or asked all present to watch his bag (indirect commitment). About 30 seconds later, a male confederate walked up to the victim's bag, picked it up, and quickly walked away in the opposite direction of the victim. A total of 150 participants (50 per condition) were observed. It was found that 34% intervened in the control condition, 88% in the direct commitment condition, and 56% in the indirect commitment condition. In Study 2, 150 participants (50 per condition) were observed while two male confederates were present at the bus stop with the instruction not to react to the theft. It was found that more intervention was found in the direct commitment condition (88%) than in the control condition (18%). However, the indirect commitment condition did not elicit higher intervention (22%). Variation in the level of personal responsibility to help the victim is used to explain these differences.

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The Emotional Consequences of Donation Opportunities

Lara Aknin, Guy Mayraz & John Helliwell
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Charities often circulate widespread donation appeals to garner support for campaigns, but what impact do these campaigns have on the well-being of individuals who choose to donate, those who choose not to donate, and the entire group exposed to the campaign? Here we investigate these questions by exploring the changes in affect reported by individuals who donate in response to a charitable request and those who do not. We also look at the change in affect reported by the entire sample to measure the net impact of the donation request. Results reveal that large donors experience hedonic boosts from their charitable actions, and the substantial fraction of large donors translates to a net positive influence on the well-being of the entire sample. Thus, under certain conditions, donation opportunities can enable people to help others while also increasing the overall well-being of the population of potential donors.

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Doing good by doing nothing? The role of social norms in explaining default effects in altruistic contexts

Jim Everett et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore whether the known preference for default options in choice contexts — default effects — occur in altruistic contexts and the extent to which this can be explained through appeal to social norms. In four experiments, we found that (i) participants were more likely to donate money to charity when this was the default option in an altruistic choice context; (ii) participants perceived the default option to be the socially normative option; (iii) perceptions of social norms mediated the relationship between default status and charitable donations; and (iv) a transfer effect, whereby participants translated social norms they inferred from the default option in one domain into behavior in a second, related domain. Theoretically, our analysis situates default effects within a comprehensive body of social psychological research concerning social norms and the attitude-behavior relationship, providing novel empirical predictions. Practically, these findings highlight that the way donation policies are framed can have an important impact on donation behavior: in our third study, we found that 81% donated half of their earnings for taking part in the experiment to charity when this was the default option, compared with only 19% when keeping the money was the default. Our work suggests that making use of default effects could be an effective tool to increase altruistic behavior without compromising freedom.

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Rethinking natural altruism: Simple reciprocal interactions trigger children’s benevolence

Rodolfo Cortes Barragan & Carol Dweck
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
A very simple reciprocal activity elicited high degrees of altruism in 1- and 2-y-old children, whereas friendly but nonreciprocal activity yielded little subsequent altruism. In a second study, reciprocity with one adult led 1- and 2-y-olds to provide help to a new person. These results question the current dominant claim that social experiences cannot account for early occurring altruistic behavior. A third study, with preschool-age children, showed that subtle reciprocal cues remain potent elicitors of altruism, whereas a fourth study with preschoolers showed that even a brief reciprocal experience fostered children’s expectation of altruism from others. Collectively, the studies suggest that simple reciprocal interactions are a potent trigger of altruism for young children, and that these interactions lead children to believe that their relationships are characterized by mutual care and commitment.

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Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Indirectly Predict Prosocial Behavior through Perspective Taking and Empathic Concern

Christa Christ, Gustavo Carlo & Scott Stoltenberg
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objective: Engaging in prosocial behavior can provide positive outcomes for self and others. Prosocial tendencies contribute to the propensity to engage in prosocial behavior. The oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) has also been associated with prosocial tendencies and behaviors. There has been little research however, investigating whether the relationship between OXTR and prosocial behaviors is mediated by prosocial tendencies. This relationship may also vary among different types of prosocial behavior. The current study, examines the relationship between OXTR, gender, prosocial tendencies and both altruistic and public prosocial behavior endorsement.

Methods: Students at a Midwestern university (N=398; 89.2% Caucasian; age M=20.76; 26.6% male) provided self-report measures of prosocial tendencies and behaviors and buccal cells for genotyping OXTR polymorphisms.

Results: Results indicated that OXTR SNP rs2268498 genotype significantly predicted empathic concern while gender moderated the association between several other OXTR SNPs and prosocial tendencies. Increased prosocial tendencies predicted increased altruistic prosocial behavior endorsement and decreased public prosocial behavior endorsement.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest an association between genetic variation in OXTR and endorsement of prosocial behavior indirectly through prosocial tendencies, and that the pathway is dependent on the type of prosocial behavior and gender.

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Chill-inducing music enhances altruism in humans

Hajime Fukui & Kumiko Toyoshima
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2014

Abstract:
Music is a universal feature of human cultures, and it has both fascinated and troubled many researchers. In this paper we show through the dictator game (DG) that an individual’s listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music may promote altruistic behavior that extends beyond the bounds of kin selection or reciprocal altruism. Participants were 22 undergraduate and postgraduate students who were divided into two groups, the in-group and the out-group, and they acted as dictators. The dictators listened to their own preferred “chill-inducing” music, to music they disliked, or to silence, and then played the DG. In this hypothetical experiment, the dictators were given real money (which they did not keep) and were asked to distribute it to the recipients, who were presented as stylized images of men and women displayed on a computer screen. The dictators played the DG both before and after listening to the music. Both male and female dictators gave more money after listening to their preferred music and less after listening to the music they disliked, whereas silence had no effect on the allocated amounts. The group to which the recipient belonged did not influence these trends. The results suggest that listening to preferred “chill-inducing” music promotes altruistic behavior.

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Feeling like a group after a natural disaster: Common ingroup identity and relations with outgroup victims among majority and minority young children

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

Abstract:
We conducted a field study to test whether the common ingroup identity model (Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000, reducing intergroup bias: The common ingroup identity model. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press) could be a useful tool to improve intergroup relations in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Participants were majority (Italian) and minority (immigrant) elementary school children (N = 517) living in the area struck by powerful earthquakes in May 2012. Results revealed that, among majority children, the perceived external threat represented by the earthquake was associated with greater perceptions of belonging to a common ingroup including both ingroup and outgroup. In turn, heightened one-group perceptions were associated with greater willingness to meet and help outgroup victims, both directly and indirectly via more positive outgroup attitudes. Among immigrant children, perceived disaster threat was not associated with any of the dependent variables; one-group perceptions were positively associated with outgroup attitudes, helping and contact intentions towards outgroup victims. Thus, one-group perceptions after a natural disaster may promote more positive and supporting relations between the majority and the minority group. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 28, 2014

Getting together

Do Men Overperceive Women’s Sexual Interest?

Carin Perilloux & Robert Kurzban
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Substantial evidence comparing men’s perceptions of women’s sexual intentions with women’s own reports of their sexual intentions has shown a systematic pattern of results that has been interpreted as support for the idea that men overestimate women’s true sexual intentions. However, because women’s true sexual intentions cannot be directly measured, an alternative interpretation of the existing data is that women understate their sexual intentions and that men’s assessments of women’s intentions are generally accurate. In three studies, we (a) replicated the typical sex difference in sexual-intent ratings, (b) showed that men maintain their ratings of women’s sexual intentions even when incentivized to tell the truth, and (c) showed that women believe that other women are understating their sexual intentions in self-report measures. Taken together, these results imply that men might be accurate in perceiving and reporting women’s sexual intentions and that men might be managing errors through biased behavior rather than biased beliefs.

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Do American States with More Religious or Conservative Populations Search More for Sexual Content on Google?

Cara MacInnis & Gordon Hodson
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In America, religiosity and conservatism are generally associated with opposition to non-traditional sexual behavior, but prominent political scandals and recent research suggest a paradoxical private attraction to sexual content on the political and religious right. We examined associations between state-level religiosity/conservatism and anonymized interest in searching for sexual content online using Google Trends (which calculates within-state search volumes for search terms). Across two separate years, and controlling for demographic variables, we observed moderate-to-large positive associations between: (1) greater proportions of state-level religiosity and general web searching for sexual content and (2) greater proportions of state-level conservatism and image-specific searching for sex. These findings were interpreted in terms of the paradoxical hypothesis that a greater preponderance of right-leaning ideologies is associated with greater preoccupation with sexual content in private internet activity. Alternative explanations (e.g., that opposition to non-traditional sex in right-leaning states leads liberals to rely on private internet sexual activity) are discussed, as are limitations to inference posed by aggregate data more generally.

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Scarcity of female mates predicts regional variation in men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation across US states

Michal Kandrik, Benedict Jones & Lisa DeBruine
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have linked regional variation in willingness to engage in uncommitted sexual relationships (i.e., sociosexual orientation) to many different socio-ecological measures, such as adult sex ratio, life expectancy, and gross domestic product. However, these studies share a number of potentially serious limitations, including reliance on a single dataset of responses aggregated by country and a failure to properly consider intercorrelations among different socio-ecological measures. We address these limitations by (1) collecting a new dataset of 4,453 American men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation scores, (2) using multilevel analyses to avoid aggregation, and (3) deriving orthogonal factors reflecting US state-level differences in the scarcity of female mates, environmental demands, and wealth. Analyses showed that the scarcity of female mates factor, but not the environmental demand or wealth factors, predicted men’s and women’s sociosexual orientation. Participants reported being less willing to engage in uncommitted sexual relationships when female mates were scarce. These results highlight the importance of scarcity of female mates for regional differences in men’s and women’s mating strategies. They also suggest that effects of wealth-related measures and environmental demands reported in previous research may be artifacts of intercorrelations among socio-ecological measures or, alternatively, do not necessarily generalize well to new datasets.

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The association between discontinuing hormonal contraceptives and wives’ marital satisfaction depends on husbands’ facial attractiveness

Michelle Russell et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
How are hormonal contraceptives (HCs) related to marital well-being? Some work suggests HCs suppress biological processes associated with women’s preferences for partner qualities reflective of genetic fitness, qualities that may be summarized by facial attractiveness. Given that realizing such interpersonal preferences positively predicts relationship satisfaction, any changes in women’s preferences associated with changes in their HC use may interact with partner facial attractiveness to predict women’s relationship satisfaction. We tested this possibility using two longitudinal studies of 118 newlywed couples. Trained observers objectively rated husbands’ facial attractiveness in both studies. In study 1, wives reported their marital satisfaction every 6 mo for 4 y and then reported the history of their HC use for their relationship. In study 2, wives reported whether they were using HCs when they met their husbands and then their marital satisfaction and HC use every 4 mo for up to three waves. In both studies, and in an analysis that combined the data from both studies, wives who were using HCs when they formed their relationship with their husband were less satisfied with their marriage when they discontinued HCs if their husband had a relatively less attractive face, but more satisfied if their husband had a relatively more attractive face. Beginning HCs demonstrated no consistent associations with marital satisfaction. Incongruency between HC use at relationship formation and current HC use was negatively associated with sexual satisfaction, regardless of husbands’ facial attractiveness. These findings suggest that HC use may have unintended implications for women’s close relationships.

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The Power of the Little Blue Pill: Innovations and Implications of Lifestyle Drugs in an Aging Population

Jacob LaRiviere & Hendrik Wolff
Economic Inquiry, January 2015, Pages 540–556

Abstract:
The launch of Viagra in April 1998 led to a historically unprecedented high usage of erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. We test whether Viagra's introduction significantly influenced outcomes for its target population such as sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates of older men, as well as its nontarget populations, such as divorces, natality, the distribution of the age spread within couples, female STDs, and sexual assault rates. We find causal evidence that Viagra's introduction increased gonorrhea rates in older men by 15%–28%. We find no significant evidence of any effects on other variables. We take this as evidence that this lifestyle drug causes significant changes in choices only which affect short-term outcomes, while long-term planned decisions are unaffected. Overall, we find that the welfare impacts of Viagra with respect to our outcomes of interest are positive and large.

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Physiological changes in response to hearing female voices recorded at high fertility

Melanie Shoup-Knox & Nathan Pipitone
Physiology & Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The human voice transmits pertinent information regarding health status and age, with recent evidence suggesting that it plays an important role in mate selection. However, the mechanism that drives preferences for voices of fertile females has yet to be elucidated. The current study examined the physiological changes that occur when listening to voices recorded from naturally cycling females at high and low fertility phases of the menstrual cycle, as well as from females using hormonal contraception. We found the voices of naturally cycling females recorded during a high fertility phase were rated as more attractive and produced the greatest increase in galvanic skin response (GSR). Heart rate (HR) also showed a trend towards the highest increase when listening to naturally cycling, high fertility female voices. There were no differences in ratings of voice attractiveness, GSR, or HR between the voices recorded from females using hormonal contraception. Analyzed separately, male and female listeners both showed a preference for naturally cycling high fertility voices. Female listeners additionally showed increased GSR and HR responses to naturally cycling, high fertility voices. We discuss the adaptive benefits of detecting vocal changes for male as well as female listeners, and also discuss the role that the nervous system plays during human mate assessments.

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The sound of female shape: A redundant signal of vocal and facial attractiveness

Peter Abend et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is more to female attractiveness than a pretty face. Human mate choice decisions are guided by different cues, which in combination may give a better estimate of a general condition. We hypothesized that such signal redundancy might be true for vocal and visual cues of human female attractiveness. To test this we used photographs of women's faces, recorded their voices and asked men to rate both types of stimuli on attractiveness. We found a significant relationship between males' ratings of female faces and voices. Moreover, low levels of fluctuating asymmetry of women's bodies and faces were associated with high ratings on facial and vocal attractiveness. Applying the Geometric Morphometric Methodology we performed a multivariate regression analysis of attractiveness ratings with landmark data obtained from women's faces. We found similar facial shape changes for ratings of facial and vocal attractiveness that are both negatively related to facial and body FA. Findings suggest that females with an attractive face also tend to have an attractive voice and that this redundant information is reflected in female facial shape.

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People Overestimate Their Willingness to Reject Potential Romantic Partners by Overlooking Their Concern for Other People

Samantha Joel, Rimma Teper & Geoff MacDonald
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mate preferences often fail to correspond with actual mate choices. We present a novel explanation for this phenomenon: People overestimate their willingness to reject unsuitable romantic partners. In two studies, single people were given the opportunity to accept or decline advances from potential dates who were physically unattractive (Study 1) or incompatible with their dating preferences (Study 2). We found that participants were significantly less willing to reject these unsuitable potential dates when they believed the situation to be real rather than hypothetical. This effect was partially explained by other-focused motives: Participants for whom the scenario was hypothetical anticipated less motivation to avoid hurting the potential date’s feelings than participants actually felt when they believed the situation to be real. Thus, other-focused motives appear to exert an influence on mate choice that has been overlooked by researchers and laypeople alike.

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The impact of dominance on partner’s height preferences and height-related mate choices

Piotr Sorokowski, Agnieszka Sabiniewicz & Agnieszka Sorokowska
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 220–224

Abstract:
Several lines of evidence suggest that sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS) is an important variable in human mating. However, few studies have addressed the topic of differentiation of mate preferences in relation to individual attributes. Furthermore, no study has examined the influence of an individual’s dominance on actual and/or preferred partner’s height. Here, the first of two studies (N = 210) provides evidence that dominance significantly influences individual height preferences of women, but not of men. Specifically, less dominant women tended to prefer taller male partners, and more dominant women preferred shorter men relative to their own height. However, the second study, conducted among actual couples (N = 230), indicated that the influence of dominance on mate preferences does not generalize to real mate choices, as we observed no association between men or women’s dominance and actual partner height. Thus, it appears that although various mate characteristics (like SDS) may be preferred in a mate, there are many additional factors related to the choice of an actual partner that determine mate choice.

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Pubic Hair Preferences, Reasons for Removal, and Associated Genital Symptoms: Comparisons Between Men and Women

Scott Butler et al.
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

Methods: Data were gathered from 1,110 participants (671 women and 439 men) at a large public Midwestern university and a small Southern public university.

Results: Most (95%) participants had removed their pubic hair on at least one occasion in the past 4 weeks with shaving being the most commonly reported hair removal technique by women (82%) and men (49%). Women were significantly more likely to report their typical status as hair-free (50% vs. 19%; χ2 = 165.528, P < 0.001) and men were significantly more likely to prefer a hair-free sexual partner (60% vs. 24%; χ2 = 211.712, P < 0.001). Genital itching was experienced on at least one occasion by 80.3% of pubic hair groomers and was the most commonly reported side effect.

Conclusion: Genital grooming and pubic hair removal are common practices among both men and women of college-age. Women are likely to report stronger associations with feelings of cleanliness, comfort, sex appeal, social norms of their peer group, and affordability as reasons for their chosen pubic hair style. Women also report more experiences with genital side effects of pubic hair removal, an expected result as women are removing pubic hair more frequently and more completely than their male counterparts.

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High Heels Increase Women’s Attractiveness

Nicolas Guéguen
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found that the appearance of women’s apparel helps increase their attractiveness as rated by men and that men care more about physical features in potential opposite-sex mates. However, the effect of sartorial appearance has received little interest from scientists. In a series of studies, the length of women’s shoe heels was examined. A woman confederate wearing black shoes with 0, 5, or 9 cm heels asked men for help in various circumstances. In Study 1, she asked men to respond to a short survey on gender equality. In Study 2, the confederate asked men and women to participate in a survey on local food habit consumption. In Study 3, men and women in the street were observed while walking in back of the female confederate who dropped a glove apparently unaware of her loss. It was found that men’s helping behavior increased as soon as heel length increased. However, heel length had no effect on women’s helping behavior. It was also found that men spontaneously approached women more quickly when they wore high-heeled shoes (Study 4). Change in gait, foot-size judgment, and misattribution of sexiness and sexual intent were used as possible explanations.

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Mating Strategy and Disgust

Laith Al-Shawaf, David Lewis & David Buss
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
An evolutionary task analysis predicts a connection between disgust and human mating, two important but currently disconnected areas of psychology. Because short-term mating strategies involve sex with multiple partners after brief temporal durations, such a strategy should be difficult to pursue in conjunction with high levels of sexual disgust. On this basis, we hypothesized that individuals with a stronger proclivity for short-term mating would exhibit dispositionally lower levels of sexual disgust. Two independent studies provided strong support for this hypothesis: among both men and women, an orientation toward short-term mating was associated with reduced levels of sexual disgust, but not with suppressed moral or pathogen disgust. Our discussion highlights an unexpected finding and suggests important questions for future research.

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Affection, speed dating and heartbreaking

Kai Konrad
Journal of Population Economics, January 2015, Pages 159-172

Abstract:
Love and other emotional rents play an important role for marriage decisions. A mutually happy marriage often ends a long series of emotionally disappointing matches. This paper analyses the role of “speed daters”, that is, individuals who are matched more frequently with new possible marriage partners. Speed daters change the equilibrium in a marriage matching model. Speed daters reject quite good matches, leading to a high rate of rejections and failed matches. Speed daters appear to be “heart-breakers”. This imposes a welfare loss on other individuals who meet new candidates less frequently. Hence, finding out that the next matched partner is a speed dater is actually bad news for an unmarried person.

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Genomic Assortative Mating in Marriages in the United States

Guang Guo et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2014

Abstract:
Assortative mating in phenotype in human marriages has been widely observed. Using genome-wide genotype data from the Framingham Heart study (FHS; number of married couples = 989) and Health Retirement Survey (HRS; number of married couples = 3,474), this study investigates genomic assortative mating in human marriages. Two types of genomic marital correlations are calculated. The first is a correlation specific to a single married couple “averaged” over all available autosomal single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). In FHS, the average married-couple correlation is 0.0018 with p = 3×10−5; in HRS, it is 0.0017 with p = 7.13×10−13. The marital correlation among the positively assorting SNPs is 0.001 (p = .0043) in FHS and 0.015 (p = 1.66×10−24) in HRS. The sizes of these estimates in FHS and HRS are consistent with what are suggested by the distribution of the allelic combination. The study also estimated SNP-specific correlation “averaged” over all married couples. Suggestive evidence is reported. Future studies need to consider a more general form of genomic assortment, in which different allelic forms in homologous genes and non-homologous genes result in the same phenotype.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 28, 2014

Know your customer

Managerial Empathy Facilitates Egocentric Predictions of Consumer Preferences

Johannes Hattula et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Common wisdom suggests that managerial empathy (i.e., the mental process of taking a consumer perspective) helps executives to separate their personal consumption preferences from those of consumers, thereby preventing egocentric preference predictions. The results of the present investigation, however, show exactly the opposite. First, the authors find that managerial empathy ironically accelerates self-reference in predictions of consumer preferences. Second, managers' self-referential tendencies increase with empathy because taking a consumer perspective activates managers' private consumer identity and thus their personal consumption preferences. Third, empathic managers are less likely to use market research results as a consequence of their self-referential preference predictions. Finally, the findings imply that when explicitly instructed to do so, managers are capable of suppressing their private consumer identity in the process of perspective taking which helps them to reduce self-referential preference predictions. To support their conclusions, the authors present four empirical studies with 480 experienced marketing managers and show that incautiously taking the perspective of consumers causes self-referential decisions in four contexts: product development, communication management, pricing, and celebrity endorsement.

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Lower Buffet Prices Lead to Less Taste Satisfaction

David Just, Özge Sığırcı & Brian Wansink
Journal of Sensory Studies, October 2014, Pages 362–370

Abstract:
A field experiment was conducted to assess how diners' taste evaluations change based on how much they paid for an all-you-can-eat (AYCE) buffet. Diners at an AYCE restaurant were either charged $4 or $8 for an Italian lunch buffet. Their taste evaluation of each piece of pizza consumed was taken along with other measures of behavior and self-perceptions. Their ratings were analyzed using 2 × 3 mixed design analysis of variance (ANOVA). Diners who paid $4 for their buffet rated their initial piece of pizza as less tasty, less satisfactory and less enjoyable. A downward trend was exhibited for each of these measures with each additional piece (P = 0.02). Those who paid $8 did not experience the same decrement in taste, satisfaction and enjoyment. Paying less for an AYCE experience may face the unintended consequence of food that is both less enjoyable and rapidly declining in taste and enjoyability. In a sense, AYCE customers get what they pay for.

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Car Mechanics in the Lab: Investigating the Behavior of Real Experts on Experimental Markets for Credence Goods

Adrian Beck et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Credence goods, such as car repairs or medical services, are characterized by severe informational asymmetries between sellers and consumers, leading to fraud in the form of provision of insufficient service (undertreatment), provision of unnecessary service (overtreatment) and charging too much for a given service (overcharging). Recent experimental research involving a standard (student) subject pool has examined the influence of informational and market conditions on the type and level of fraud. We investigate whether professional car mechanics – as real sellers of credence goods – react in the same way to changes in informational and institutional constraints. While we find qualitatively similar effects in the fraud dimensions of undertreatment and overcharging for both subject pools, car mechanics are significantly more prone to supplying unnecessary services in all conditions, which could be a result of decision heuristics they learned in their professional training.

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Does Conflict of Interest Lead to Biased Coverage? Evidence from Movie Reviews

Stefano DellaVigna & Johannes Hermle
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Media outlets are increasingly owned by conglomerates, inducing a conflict of interest: a media outlet can bias its coverage to benefit companies in the same group. We test for bias by examining movie reviews by media outlets owned by News Corp. — such as the Wall Street Journal — and by Time Warner — such as Time. We use a matching procedure based on reported preferences to disentangle bias due to conflict of interest from correlated tastes. We find no evidence of bias in the reviews for 20th Century Fox movies in the News Corp. outlets, nor for the reviews of Warner Bros. movies in the Time Warner outlets. We can reject even small effects, such as biasing the review by one extra star (out of four) every 13 movies. We test for differential bias when the return to bias is plausibly higher, examine bias by media outlet and by journalist, as well as editorial bias. We also consider bias by omission: whether the media at conflict of interest are more likely to review highly-rated movies by affiliated studios. In none of these dimensions do we find systematic evidence of bias. Lastly, we document that conflict of interest within a movie aggregator does not lead to bias either. We conclude that media reputation in this competitive industry acts as a powerful disciplining force.

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Monochrome Forests and Colorful Trees: The Effect of Black-and-White versus Color Imagery on Construal Level

Hyojin Lee et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, December 2014, Pages 1015-1032

Abstract:
Marketing communications (e.g., advertising, packaging) can be either colorful or black and white. This research investigates how presence or absence of color affects consumer information processing. Drawing from construal-level and visual perception theory, five experiments test the hypothesis that black-and-white (BW) versus color imagery is cognitively associated with high-level versus low-level construal, respectively. Experiment 1 establishes this association via an Implicit Association Test. On the basis of this association, experiments 2 and 3 show that BW (vs. color) imagery promotes high-level (vs. low-level) construal, leading to sorting objects on the basis of high-level (vs. low-level) features, segmenting behaviors into broader (vs. narrower) units, and interpreting actions as ends (vs. means). Extending this effect into consumer decision making, experiments 4 and 5 further show that consumers presented with BW (vs. color) product pictures weight primary and essential (vs. secondary and superficial) product features more and prefer an option that excels on those features.

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A Rose by Any Other Name: Are Family Firms Named After Their Founding Families Rewarded More for Their New Product Introductions?

Saim Kashmiri & Vijay Mahajan
Journal of Business Ethics, September 2014, Pages 81-99

Abstract:
The authors explore the relation between the way different family firms are named, and the shareholder value impact of these firms’ new product introductions. Using an event study of 1,294 product introduction announcements of 107 publicly listed U.S. family firms, the authors find that the presence of the founding family’s name as part of a family firm’s name acts as a valuable firm resource, increasing the abnormal stock returns surrounding the firm’s new product introductions. Superior returns to family-named firms’ new product introductions are partially mediated by these firms’ history of ethical product-related behavior: family-named firms, particularly those with corporate branding, and those wherein a founding family member holds the CEO or chairman position, are more likely to exhibit a history of avoiding such product-related controversies as product safety issues, and deceptive advertising. The authors highlight the managerial and theoretical contributions of this research.

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Why are Wal-Mart and Target Next-Door Neighbors?

Jenny Schuetz
Federal Reserve Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
One of the most notable changes in the U.S. retail market over the past twenty years has been the rise of Big Box stores, retail chains characterized by physically large stores selling a wide range of consumer goods at discount prices. A growing literature has examined the impacts of Big Box stores on other retailers and consumers, but relatively little is known about how Big Box stores choose locations. Because Big Box stores offer highly standardized products and compete primarily on price, it is likely that they will seek to establish spatial monopolies, far from competitor stores. In this paper, I examine where new Big Box stores locate with respect to three types of existing establishments: own-firm stores, other retailers in the same product space (competitors), and retailers in other product spaces (complements). Results indicate that new Big Box stores tend to avoid existing own-firm stores and locate near complementary Big Box stores. However, there is little evidence that new Big Boxes avoid competitors. Firms in the same product space may not be perfect substitutes, or firms may prefer to share consumers in a desirable location rather than cede the entire market to competitor firms.

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Crime, Punishment and the Halo Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility

Harrison Hong & Inessa Liskovich
Princeton Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
Three reasons are often cited for why corporate social responsibility is valuable: product quality signalling, delegated giving, and the halo effect. Previous tests focus on consumers and cannot easily separate these channels because consumers are affected by all three. We focus on prosecutors, who are only susceptible to the halo effect. Using prosecutions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), we find that more socially responsible firms pay $2.3 million or 40% less than the median fine for bribery. We use the FCPA's unexpected increase in enforcement to address reverse causality and text-mining of case files to reveal prosecutorial sentiment.

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Two birds, one stone? Positive mood makes products seem less useful for multiple-goal pursuit

Anastasiya Pocheptsova, Francine Espinoza Petersen & Jordan Etkin
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Negotiating the pursuit of multiple goals often requires making difficult trade-offs between goals. In these situations, consumers can benefit from using products that help them pursue several goals at the same time. But do consumers always prefer these multipurpose products? We propose that consumers’ incidental mood state alters perceptions of products in a multiple-goals context. Four studies demonstrate that being in a positive mood amplifies perceptions of differences between multiple conflicting goals. As a consequence, consumers are less likely to evaluate multipurpose products as being able to serve multiple distinct goals simultaneously. We conclude by discussing implications of these findings for marketers of multipurpose products.

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When Consistency Matters: The Effect of Valence Consistency on Review Helpfulness

Simon Quaschning, Mario Pandelaere & Iris Vermeir
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
When evaluating the helpfulness of online reviews, review valence is a particularly relevant factor. This research argues that the influence of review valence is highly dependent on its consistency with the valence of other available reviews. Using both field and experimental data, this paper show that consistent reviews are perceived as more helpful than inconsistent reviews, independent of them being positive or negative. Experiments show that this valence consistency effect is driven by causal attributions, such that consistent reviews are more likely to be attributed to the actual product experience, while inconsistent reviews are more likely to be attributed to some reviewer idiosyncrasy. Supporting the attribution theory framework, reviewer expertise moderates the effect of consumers' causal attributions on review helpfulness.

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Flowers and an honour box: Evidence on framing effects

Achim Schlüter & Björn Vollan
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyses the behaviour of customers in a flower field, where payment is made into an honour box. There is a price indicated for the flowers. However, as no monitoring takes place and the farmer has never enforced formal law, people can decide how much they want to pay. If people were to make a narrow rational choice they would simply take the unattended flowers without paying. The market would collapse. However, payments were and are in general high enough to make considerable profits. The business is flourishing. In the experiment we left several different messages next to the cashbox to influence payments. Legal threats and moral appeals have been studied in similar field settings with mixed results. We hypothesize that legal threats and moral appeals are less important than the context in which people make their decision. Once we indicated that the flower field belongs to a family, turnover and payment rate per customer increased substantially. We also observed a switch to less but more expensive flowers. However, we did not get significant results for other treatments: business framing, moral appeal and legal threats. The results show that for understanding market success of a business, we have to investigate the expectations and meanings of people they associate to the particular business context.

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The Economic and Cognitive Costs of Annoying Display Advertisements

Daniel Goldstein et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some online display advertisements are annoying. While publishers know the payment they receive to run annoying ads, little is known about the cost such ads incur, for instance, by causing website abandonment. Across three empirical studies, we address two primary questions. What is the economic cost of annoying ads to publishers? What is the cognitive impact of annoying ads? First we conduct a preliminary study to identify sets of more and less annoying ads. Second, in a field experiment, we calculate the compensating differential, the amount of money one would need to pay users to generate the same number of impressions in the presence of annoying ads as they would generate in their absence. Third, we conduct a mouse-tracking study to investigate how annoying ads may affect reading processes. We conclude that in plausible scenarios the practice of running annoying ads can cost more money than it earns.

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The Reach and Persuasiveness of Viral Video Ads

Catherine Tucker
Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many video ads are designed to go viral so that the total number of views they receive depends on customers sharing the ads with their friends. This paper explores the relationship between the number of views and how persuasive the ad is at convincing consumers to purchase or to adopt a favorable attitude towards the product. The analysis combines data on the total views of 400 video ads, and crowd-sourced measurement of advertising persuasiveness among 24,000 survey responses. Persuasiveness is measured by randomly exposing half of these consumers to a video ad and half to a similar placebo video ad, and then surveying their attitudes towards the focal product. Relative ad persuasiveness is on average 10% lower for every one million views that the video ad achieves. The exceptions to this pattern were ads that generated views and large numbers of comments, and video ads that attracted comments that mentioned the product by name. Evidence suggests that such ads remained effective because they attracted views due to humor rather than because they were outrageous.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Parental time

Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies

Daniel Romer et al.
Pediatrics, November 2014, Pages 877-884

Objectives: To assess desensitization in parents’ repeated exposure to violence and sex in movies.

Methods: A national US sample of 1000 parents living with at least 1 target child in 1 of 3 age groups (6 to 17 years old) viewed a random sequence of 3 pairs of short scenes with either violent or sexual content from popular movies that were unrestricted to youth audiences (rated PG-13 or unrated) or restricted to those under age 17 years without adult supervision (rated R). Parents indicated the minimum age they would consider appropriate to view each film. Predictors included order of presentation, parent and child characteristics, and parent movie viewing history.

Results: As exposure to successive clips progressed, parents supported younger ages of appropriate exposure, starting at age 16.9 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.8 to 17.0) for violence and age 17.2 years (95% CI, 17.0 to 17.4) for sex, and declining to age 13.9 years (95% CI, 13.7 to 14.1) for violence and 14.0 years (95% CI, 13.7 to 14.3) for sex. Parents also reported increasing willingness to allow their target child to view the movies as exposures progressed. Desensitization was observed across parent and child characteristics, violence toward both human and non-human victims, and movie rating. Those who frequently watched movies were more readily desensitized to violence.

Conclusions: Parents become desensitized to both violence and sex in movies, which may contribute to the increasing acceptance of both types of content by both parents and the raters employed by the film industry.

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A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long Run Outcomes of Children

Pedro Carneiro, Katrine Løken & Kjell Salvanes
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the impact of increasing maternity leave benefits on long run outcomes of children, by examining a reform that increased paid and unpaid maternity leave in Norway as of July 1st 1977. Mothers giving birth before this date were eligible only for 12 weeks of unpaid leave, while those giving birth after were entitled to four months of paid leave and 12 months of unpaid leave. This increased time with the child led to a two percentage points decline in high school dropout rates and a 5% increase in wages at age 30. These effects are especially large for children of those mothers who, prior to the reform, would take very low levels of unpaid leave.

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A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design

Kevin Beaver et al.
Intelligence, September–October 2014, Pages 179–187

Abstract:
The association between family/parenting and offspring IQ remains the matter of debate because of threats related to genetic confounding. The current study is designed to shed some light on this association by examining the influence of parenting influences on adolescent and young adult IQ scores. To do so, a nationally representative sample of youth is analyzed along with a sample of adoptees. The sample of adoptees is able to more fully control for genetic confounding. The results of the study revealed that there is only a marginal and inconsistent influence of parenting on offspring IQ in adolescence and young adulthood. These weak associations were detected in both the nationally representative sample and the adoptee subsample. Sensitivity analyses that focused only on monozygotic twins also revealed no consistent associations between parenting/family measures and verbal intelligence. Taken together, the results of these statistical models indicate that family and parenting characteristics are not significant contributors to variation in IQ scores. The implications of this study are discussed in relation to research examining the effects of family/parenting on offspring IQ scores.

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The Child Adoption Marketplace: Parental Preferences and Adoption Outcomes

Mark Skidmore, Gary Anderson & Mark Eiswerth
Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the United States, child adoption costs vary considerably, ranging from no out-of-pocket expense to US$50,000 or more. What are the causes for the variability in adoption expenses? We administered a survey to a sample of Michigan adoptive families to link adoptive parent characteristics, child characteristics, and adoption-related expenses and subsidies. We then estimated “hedonic” regressions in which adoption cost is a function of child characteristics. The analysis shows that up to 74 percent of the variation in adoption costs is explained by child characteristics. In particular, costs are lower for older children, children of African descent, and special needs children. Findings inform policies regarding the transition of children from foster care to adoptive families.

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Are Parental Welfare Work Requirements Good for Disadvantaged Children? Evidence from Age-of-Youngest-Child Exemptions

Chris Herbst
Arizona State University Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
This paper assesses the short-run impact of first-year maternal employment on low-income children's cognitive development. The identification strategy exploits an important feature of the U.S.'s welfare work requirement rules – namely, age-of-youngest-child exemptions – as a source of quasi-experimental variation in maternal employment. The 1996 welfare reform law empowered states to exempt adult recipients from the work requirements until the youngest child reaches a certain age. This led to substantial variation in the amount of time that mothers can remain home with a newborn child. I use this variation to estimate local average treatment effects of work-requirement-induced increases in maternal employment. Using a sample of infants from the Birth cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the OLS results show that children of working mothers score higher on a test of cognitive ability. However, the IV estimates reveal sizable negative effects of early maternal employment. An auxiliary analysis of mechanisms finds that working mothers experience an increase in depressive symptoms, and are less likely to breast-feed and read to their children. In addition, such children are exposed to non-parental child care arrangements at a younger age, and they spend more time in these settings throughout the first year of life.

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Evaluating Workplace Mandates with Flows Versus Stocks: An Application to California Paid Family Leave

Mark Curtis, Barry Hirsch & Mary Schroeder
Georgia State University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Employer mandates and other labor demand/supply shocks typically have small effects on wages and employment. These effects should be more discernible using data on employment transitions and wages among new hires rather than incumbents. The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) dataset provides county by quarter by demographic group data on the number and earnings of new hires, separations, and recalls (i.e., extended leaves). We use the QWI to examine the labor market effects of California's paid family leave (CPFL) policy. Implemented in July 2004, it was the first such policy mandated in the U.S. The analysis compares outcomes for young women in California to those for other workers in California and to workers throughout the U.S. Relative earnings for young female new hires were largely unaffected by CPFL. We find strong evidence that separations (of at least three months) and hiring of young women increased substantively. Many young women who separated later returned to the same firm. CPFL appears to have led not only to increased time with children, but also to a decline in job lock, enhanced mobility, and increased worker flows following universal paid family leave.

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When Does Time Matter? Maternal Employment, Children’s Time With Parents, and Child Development

Amy Hsin & Christina Felfe
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1867-1894

Abstract:
This study tests the two assumptions underlying popularly held notions that maternal employment negatively affects children because it reduces time spent with parents: (1) that maternal employment reduces children’s time with parents, and (2) that time with parents affects child outcomes. We analyze children’s time-diary data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and use child fixed-effects and IV estimations to account for unobserved heterogeneity. We find that working mothers trade quantity of time for better “quality” of time. On average, maternal work has no effect on time in activities that positively influence children’s development, but it reduces time in types of activities that may be detrimental to children’s development. Stratification by mothers’ education reveals that although all children, regardless of mother’s education, benefit from spending educational and structured time with their mothers, mothers who are high school graduates have the greatest difficulty balancing work and childcare. We find some evidence that fathers compensate for maternal employment by increasing types of activities that can foster child development as well as types of activities that may be detrimental. Overall, we find that the effects of maternal employment are ambiguous because (1) employment does not necessarily reduce children’s time with parents, and (2) not all types of parental time benefit child development.

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Will daughters walk mom’s talk? The effects of maternal communication about sex on the sexual behavior of female adolescents

Susan Averett & Sarah Estelle
Review of Economics of the Household, December 2014, Pages 613-639

Abstract:
Numerous social marketing campaigns exhort parents to talk to their children about sexual abstinence, pregnancy risk, and sexually transmitted disease prevention. The effectiveness of these conversations is difficult to ascertain if parents are more likely to broach discussions related to sexual activity with adolescents who have greater propensities to engage in these risky behaviors. Our baseline empirical results indicate that female adolescents whose mothers communicate more about sex are more likely to have sexual intercourse, practice unsafe sex, and engage in casual sex. However, once we control for the adolescent’s environment and peers through the use of school fixed effects and for the daughter’s own propensity to engage in such behaviors through a rich set of adolescent-specific covariates, the effect of a mother’s talk on her daughter’s behavior is reduced dramatically indicating that mother’s talk is endogenous to the daughter’s sexual behavior. Models employing sister fixed effects to control for family-level unobservables, although imprecisely estimated, confirm this finding.

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Paternal Antisocial Behavior and Sons’ Cognitive Ability: A Population-Based Quasiexperimental Study

Antti Latvala et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Parents’ antisocial behavior is associated with developmental risks for their offspring, but its effects on their children’s cognitive ability are unknown. We used linked Swedish register data for a large sample of adolescent men (N = 1,177,173) and their parents to estimate associations between fathers’ criminal-conviction status and sons’ cognitive ability assessed at compulsory military conscription. Mechanisms behind the association were tested in children-of-siblings models across three types of sibling fathers with increasing genetic relatedness (half-siblings, full siblings, and monozygotic twins) and in quantitative genetic models. Sons whose fathers had a criminal conviction had lower cognitive ability than sons whose fathers had no conviction (any crime: Cohen’s d = −0.28; violent crime: Cohen’s d = −0.49). As models adjusted for more genetic factors, the association was gradually reduced and eventually eliminated. Nuclear-family environmental factors did not contribute to the association. Our results suggest that the association between men’s antisocial behavior and their children’s cognitive ability is not causal but is due mostly to underlying genetic factors.

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A Constructive Replication of the Association Between the Oxytocin Receptor Genotype and Parenting

Ashlea Klahr, Kelly Klump & Alexandra Burt
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Behavioral genetic studies have robustly indicated that parenting behaviors are heritable — that is, individual differences in parenting are at least partially a function of genetic differences between persons. Few studies, however, have sought to identify the specific genetic variants that are associated with individual differences in parenting. Genes that influence the oxytocin system are of particular interest, given the growing body of evidence that points to the role of oxytocin for social behaviors, including parenting. The current study conducted examinations of associations between a variant in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR rs53576) and parental warmth, control, and negativity in a sample of 1,000 twin children and their parents (N = 500 families) from the Michigan State University Twin Registry to constructively replicate and extend prior work (Bakermans-Kranenburg & van IJzendoorn, 2008; Michalska et al., 2014). Analyses were conducted both at the level of the child and the level of the parent, allowing us to examine both child-driven (via evocative gene-environment correlation) and parent-driven genetic effects on parenting. Mothers’ OXTR genotype predicted her warmth toward her children, even after controlling for child genotype. This association was not found for fathers. These findings add to the growing body of evidence linking oxytocin functioning to parental behavior and also highlight potential etiological differences in parenting across mothers and fathers.

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Adults with siblings like children’s faces more than those without

Lizhu Luo et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, January 2015, Pages 148–156

Abstract:
Humans cross-culturally find infant faces both cute and highly likeable. Their so-called “baby schema” features have clear adaptive value by likely serving as an innate releasing mechanism that elicits caretaking behaviors from adults. However, we do not know whether experience with young children during social development might act to further facilitate this. Here we investigated the potential impact of having siblings on adult likeability judgments of children’s faces. In this study, 73 adult men and women (40 with siblings and 33 without) were shown 148 different face pictures of young children (1 month to 6.5 years) and judged them for likeability. Results showed that both groups found faces of infants (<7 months) as equally likeable. However, for faces more than 7 months of age, whereas the no-sibling group showed a reduced liking for faces with increasing age, the sibling group found faces of all ages as equally likeable. Furthermore, for adults with siblings, the closer in age they were to their siblings, the stronger their likeability was for young children’s faces. Our results are the first to show that having siblings can extend the influence of baby schema to children as well as infants.

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Early social exposure in wild chimpanzees: Mothers with sons are more gregarious than mothers with daughters

Carson Murray et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In many mammals, early social experience is critical to developing species-appropriate adult behaviors. Although mother–infant interactions play an undeniably significant role in social development, other individuals in the social milieu may also influence infant outcomes. Additionally, the social skills necessary for adult success may differ between the sexes. In chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), adult males are more gregarious than females and rely on a suite of competitive and cooperative relationships to obtain access to females. In fission–fusion species, including humans and chimpanzees, subgroup composition is labile and individuals can vary the number of individuals with whom they associate. Thus, mothers in these species have a variety of social options. In this study, we investigated whether wild chimpanzee maternal subgrouping patterns differed based on infant sex. Our results show that mothers of sons were more gregarious than mothers of daughters; differences were especially pronounced during the first 6 mo of life, when infant behavior is unlikely to influence maternal subgrouping. Furthermore, mothers with sons spent significantly more time in parties containing males during the first 6 mo. These early differences foreshadow the well-documented sex differences in adult social behavior, and maternal gregariousness may provide sons with important observational learning experiences and social exposure early in life. The presence of these patterns in chimpanzees raises questions concerning the evolutionary history of differential social exposure and its role in shaping sex-typical behavior in humans.

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A Life-Changing Event: First Births and Men's and Women's Attitudes to Mothering and Gender Divisions of Labor

Janeen Baxter et al.
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that the transition to parenthood is a critical life-course stage. Using data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and fixed-effects panel regression models, we investigate changes in men's and women's attitudes to mothering and gender divisions of labor following the transition to parenthood. Key findings indicate that attitudes become more traditional after individuals experience the birth of their first child, with both men and women becoming more likely to support mothering as women's most important role in life. We argue that these changes are due to both changes in identity and cognitive beliefs associated with the experience of becoming a parent, as well as institutional arrangements that support traditional gender divisions. More broadly, our results can be taken as strong evidence that attitudes are not stable over the life course and change with the experience of life events.

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Does Placing Children in Foster Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?

Matthew Lindquist & Torsten Santavirta
Labour Economics, December 2014, Pages 72–83

Abstract:
We evaluate the association between foster care placement during childhood and adult criminality. In contrast to previous studies, we allow associations to vary by gender and age at initial placement. We find that foster care predicts higher adult criminality for males first placed during adolescence (age 13–18). We find no significant association for boys who were placed in foster care before age 13 and no significant association on the adult criminality of girls. These null findings stand in stark contrast to the poor outcomes reported in earlier work concerning the long-run effects of foster care.

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Validating the Voodoo Doll Task as a Proxy for Aggressive Parenting Behavior

Randy McCarthy et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Six studies (N = 1,081 general population parents) assessed the validity of the voodoo doll task (VDT) as a proxy for aggressive parenting behaviors.

Method: Participants were given an opportunity to symbolically inflict harm by choosing to stick “pins” into a doll representing their child.

Results: Individual differences in parents’ trait aggression (Studies 1, 2, and 6), state hostility (Study 3), attitudes toward the corporal punishment of children (Study 4), self-control (Study 6), depression (Study 6), and child physical abuse risk (Study 6) were associated with increased pin usage. Further, parents used more pins after imagining their child performing negative behaviors compared to after imagining their child perform positive behaviors (Study 5). A number of demographic variables also were associated with pin usage: Fathers used pins more than mothers and parents’ education level was inversely related to pin usage. Finally, on average, parents viewed the VDT as slightly uncomfortable, but not objectionable, to complete (Study 6).

Conclusions: Our evidence suggests that the VDT may serve as a useful proxy for parent-to-child aggression.

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Socioeconomic Strain, Family Ties, and Adolescent Health in a Rural Northeastern County

Karen Van Gundy et al.
Rural Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In adolescence, vital sources of support come from family relationships; however, research that considers the health-related impact of ties to both parents and siblings is sparse, and the utility of such ties among at-risk teens is not well understood. Here we use two waves of panel data from the population of 8th and 12th grade students in a geographically isolated, rural, northeastern U.S. county to assess whether socioeconomic status (SES) moderates the effects of parental and sibling attachments on three indicators of adolescent health: obesity, depression, and problem substance use. Our findings indicate that, net of stressful life events, prior health, and sociodemographic controls, increases in parental and sibling attachment correspond with reduced odds of obesity for low-SES adolescents, reduced odds of depression for high-SES adolescents, and reduced odds of problem substance use for low-SES adolescents. Results suggest also that sibling and maternal ties are more influential than paternal ties, at least with regard to the outcomes considered. Overall, the findings highlight the value of strong family ties for the physical, psychological, and behavioral health of socioeconomically strained rural teens, and reveal the explanatory potential of both sibling and parental ties for adolescent health.

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Birth order and physical fitness in early adulthood: Evidence from Swedish military conscription data

Kieron Barclay & Mikko Myrskylä
Social Science & Medicine, December 2014, Pages 141–148

Abstract:
Physical fitness at young adult ages is an important determinant of physical health, cognitive ability, and mortality. However, few studies have addressed the relationship between early life conditions and physical fitness in adulthood. An important potential factor influencing physical fitness is birth order, which prior studies associate with several early- and later-life outcomes such as height and mortality. This is the first study to analyse the association between birth order and physical fitness in late adolescence. We use military conscription data on 218,873 Swedish males born between 1965 and 1977. Physical fitness is measured by a test of maximal working capacity, a measure of cardiovascular fitness closely related to V02max. We use linear regression with sibling fixed effects, meaning a within-family comparison, to eliminate the confounding influence of unobserved factors that vary between siblings. To understand the mechanism we further analyse whether the association between birth order and physical fitness varies by sibship size, parental socioeconomic status, birth cohort or length of the birth interval. We find a strong, negative and monotonic relationship between birth order and physical fitness. For example, third-born children have a maximal working capacity approximately 0.1 (p<0.000) standard deviations lower than first-born children. The association exists both in small (3 or less children) and large families (4 or more children), in high and low socioeconomic status families, and amongst cohorts born in the 1960s and the 1970s. While in the whole population the birth order effect does not depend on the length of the birth intervals, in two-child families a longer birth interval strengthens the advantage of the first-born. Our results illustrate the importance of birth order on physical fitness, and suggest that the first-born advantage already arises in late adolescence.

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Income, Neighborhood Stressors, and Harsh Parenting: Test of Moderation by Ethnicity, Age, and Gender

Gabriela Barajas-Gonzalez & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Family and neighborhood influences related to low-income were examined to understand their association with harsh parenting among an ethnically diverse sample of families. Specifically, a path model linking household income to harsh parenting via neighborhood disorder, fear for safety, maternal depressive symptoms, and family conflict was evaluated using cross-sectional data from 2,132 families with children ages 5–16 years from Chicago. The sample was 42% Mexican American, 41% African American, and 17% European American. Results provide support for a family process model where a lower income-to-needs ratio is associated with higher reports of neighborhood disorder, greater fear for safety, and more family conflict, which is in turn, associated with greater frequency of harsh parenting. Our tests for moderation by ethnicity/immigrant status, child gender, and child age (younger child vs. adolescent) indicate that although paths are similar for families of boys and girls, as well as for families of young children and adolescents, there are some differences by ethnic group. Specifically, we find the path from neighborhood disorder to fear for safety is stronger for Mexican American (United States born and immigrant) and European American families in comparison with African American families. We also find that the path from fear for safety to harsh parenting is significant for European American and African American families only. Possible reasons for such moderated effects are considered.

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The Manipulation of Children's Preferences, Old Age Support, and Investment in Children's Human Capital

Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy & Jörg Spenkuch
University of Chicago Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We consider the link between parents' influence over the preferences of children, parental investments in children's human capital, and children's support of elderly parents. It may pay for parents to spend resources to "manipulate" children's preferences in order to induce them to support their parents in old age. Since parents invest more in children when they expect greater support, manipulation of child preferences may end up helping children and parents. A new result, that we call the "Rotten Parent Theorem," demonstrates that if children are altruistic, then even selfish parents will make the optimal investment in kids' human capital.

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Child Characteristics and Parental Educational Expectations: Evidence for Transmission With Transaction

Daniel Briley, Paige Harden & Elliot Tucker-Drob
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Parents’ expectations for their children’s ultimate educational attainment have been hypothesized to play an instrumental role in socializing academically relevant child behaviors, beliefs, and abilities. In addition to social transmission of educationally relevant values from parents to children, parental expectations and child characteristics may transact bidirectionally. We explore this hypothesis using both longitudinal and genetically informative twin data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth and Kindergarten cohorts. Our behavior genetic results indicate that parental expectations partly reflect child genetic variation, even as early as 4 years of age. Two classes of child characteristics were hypothesized to contribute to these child-to-parent effects: behavioral tendencies (approaches toward learning and problem behaviors) and achievement (math and reading). Using behavior genetic models, we find within-twin-pair associations between these child characteristics and parental expectations. Using longitudinal cross-lagged models, we find that initial variation in child characteristics predicts future educational expectations above and beyond previous educational expectations. These results are consistent with transactional frameworks in which parent-to-child and child-to-parent effects co-occur.

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Are boys more sensitive to sensitivity? Parenting and executive function in preschoolers

Viara Mileva-Seitz et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, February 2015, Pages 193–208

Abstract:
During early childhood, girls outperform boys on key dimensions of cognitive functions, including inhibitory control, sustained attention, and working memory. The role of parenting in these sex differences is unknown despite evidence that boys are more sensitive to the effects of the early environment. In this study, we measured parental sensitivity at 14 and 36 months of age, and children’s cognitive and executive functions (sustained attention, inhibitory control, and forward/backward memory) at 52 months of age, in a longitudinal cohort (N = 752). Boys scored significantly lower than girls on inhibitory control (more Go/NoGo “commission errors”) and short-term memory (forward color recall task), but boys did not differ from girls on attention (Go/NoGo “omission errors”) or working memory (backward color recall task). In stratified analyses, parental sensitivity at 36 months of age was negatively associated with number of errors of commission (p = .05) and omission (p = .02) in boys, whereas child’s age was the only significant predictor of commission and omission errors in girls. A combined analysis of both sexes confirmed an interaction between sex and parenting for omission errors (p = .03). The results indicate that sex differences in cognitive functions are evident in preschoolers, although not across all dimensions we assessed. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to early parenting effects, but only in association with omission errors (attention) and not with the other cognitive function dimensions.

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Fathers’ Sensitive Parenting and the Development of Early Executive Functioning

Nissa Towe-Goodman et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from a diverse sample of 620 families residing in rural, predominately low-income communities, this study examined longitudinal links between fathers’ sensitive parenting in infancy and toddlerhood and children’s early executive functioning, as well as the contribution of maternal sensitive parenting. After accounting for the quality of concurrent and prior parental care, children’s early cognitive ability, and other child and family factors, fathers’ and mothers’ sensitive and supportive parenting during play at 24 months predicted children’s executive functioning at 3 years of age. In contrast, paternal parenting quality during play at 7 months did not make an independent contribution above that of maternal care, but the links between maternal sensitive and supportive parenting and executive functioning seemed to operate in similar ways during infancy and toddlerhood. These findings add to prior work on early experience and children’s executive functioning, suggesting that both fathers and mothers play a distinct and complementary role in the development of these self-regulatory skills.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stuff

Subjective Status Shapes Political Preferences

Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic inequality in America is at historically high levels. Although most Americans indicate that they would prefer greater equality, redistributive policies aimed at reducing inequality are frequently unpopular. Traditional accounts posit that attitudes toward redistribution are driven by economic self-interest or ideological principles. From a social psychological perspective, however, we expected that subjective comparisons with other people may be a more relevant basis for self-interest than is material wealth. We hypothesized that participants would support redistribution more when they felt low than when they felt high in subjective status, even when actual resources and self-interest were held constant. Moreover, we predicted that people would legitimize these shifts in policy attitudes by appealing selectively to ideological principles concerning fairness. In four studies, we found correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Studies 2–4) evidence that subjective status motivates shifts in support for redistributive policies along with the ideological principles that justify them.

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False Consciousness or Class Awareness? Local Income Inequality, Personal Economic Position, and Belief in American Meritocracy

Benjamin Newman, Christopher Johnston & Patrick Lown
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research analyzes the effects of cross-national and temporal variation in income inequality on public opinion; however, research has failed to explore the impact of variation in inequality across citizens’ local residential context. This article analyzes the impact of local inequality on citizens’ belief in a core facet of the American ethos — meritocracy. We advance conditional effects hypotheses that collectively argue that the effect of residing in a high-inequality context will be moderated by individual income. Utilizing national survey data, we demonstrate that residing in more unequal counties heightens rejection of meritocracy among low-income residents and bolsters adherence among high-income residents. In relatively equal counties, we find no significant differences between high- and low-income citizens. We conclude by discussing the implications of class-based polarization found in response to local inequality with respect to current debates over the consequences of income inequality for American democracy.

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Who Wants to Get to the Top? Class and Lay Theories About Power

Peter Belmi
Stanford Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We investigate class-based differences in the propensity to seek positions of power. We first propose that people’s lay theories suggest that acquiring power requires exercising political dominance — manipulating one’s way through the social world, relying on a pragmatic and Machiavellian approach to impression management and social relationships to get ahead. Then, drawing on empirical work showing that members of the lower class are oriented toward interdependence and community, we hypothesize that relative to their upper class counterparts, members of the lower class will show less interest in seeking positions of power because they feel less comfortable engaging in political dominance. We test these ideas in six studies. Our findings indicate that, even though members of the lower class see political dominance as a necessary and effective strategy for acquiring positions of power, and report that they have the competence to execute this strategy, they are reluctant to do so; as a result, they have a weaker tendency to seek positions of power. Consistent with our theorizing, we also find that members of the lower class have a stronger desire to seek positions of power when organizations provide an alternative route to power – power through prestige – and when they reconstrue power as a superordinate goal that suits their identity. These findings suggest that current institutional norms that reward political dominance may help explain why class inequalities persist and why creating class-based diversity in upper-level positions poses a serious challenge.

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Income Inequality and Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States

Deirdre Bloome
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is there a relationship between family income inequality and income mobility across generations in the United States? As family income inequality rose in the United States, parental resources available for improving children's health, education, and care diverged. The amount and rate of divergence also varied across US states. Researchers and policy analysts have expressed concern that relatively high inequality might be accompanied by relatively low mobility, tightening the connection between individuals' incomes during childhood and adulthood. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and various government sources, this paper exploits state and cohort variation to estimate the relationship between inequality and mobility. Results provide very little support for the hypothesis that inequality shapes mobility in the United States. The inequality children experienced during youth had no robust association with their economic mobility as adults. Formal analysis reveals that offsetting effects could underlie this result. In theory, mobility-enhancing forces may counterbalance mobility-reducing effects. In practice, the results suggest that in the US context, the intergenerational transmission of income may not be very responsive to changes in inequality.

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How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?

Henrik Jacobsen Kleven
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2014, Pages 77-98

Abstract:
American visitors to Scandinavian countries are often puzzled by what they observe: despite large income redistribution through distortionary taxes and transfers, these are very high-income countries. They rank among the highest in the world in terms of income per capita, as well as most other economic and social outcomes. The economic and social success of Scandinavia poses important questions for economics and for those arguing against large redistribution based on its supposedly detrimental effect on economic growth and welfare. How can Scandinavian countries raise large amounts of tax revenue for redistribution and social insurance while maintaining some of the strongest economic outcomes in the world? Combining micro and macro evidence, this paper identifies three policies that can help explain this apparent anomaly: the coverage of third-party information reporting (ensuring a low level of tax evasion), the broadness of tax bases (ensuring a low level of tax avoidance), and the strong subsidization of goods that are complementary to working (ensuring a high level of labor force participation). The paper also presents descriptive evidence on a variety of social and cultural indicators that may help in explaining the economic and social success of Scandinavia.

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Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data

Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper combines income tax returns with Flow of Funds data to estimate the distribution of household wealth in the United States since 1913. We estimate wealth by capitalizing the incomes reported by individual taxpayers, accounting for assets that do not generate taxable income. We successfully test our capitalization method in three micro datasets where we can observe both income and wealth: the Survey of Consumer Finance, linked estate and income tax returns, and foundations' tax records. Wealth concentration has followed a U-shaped evolution over the last 100 years: It was high in the beginning of the twentieth century, fell from 1929 to 1978, and has continuously increased since then. The rise of wealth inequality is almost entirely due to the rise of the top 0.1% wealth share, from 7% in 1979 to 22% in 2012 -- a level almost as high as in 1929. The bottom 90% wealth share first increased up to the mid-1980s and then steadily declined. The increase in wealth concentration is due to the surge of top incomes combined with an increase in saving rate inequality. Top wealth-holders are younger today than in the 1960s and earn a higher fraction of total labor income in the economy. We explain how our findings can be reconciled with Survey of Consumer Finances and estate tax data.

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How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay

Sorapop Kiatpongsan & Michael Norton
Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2014, Pages 587-593

Abstract:
Do people from different countries and different backgrounds have similar preferences for how much more the rich should earn than the poor? Using survey data from 40 countries (N = 55,238), we compare respondents’ estimates of the wages of people in different occupations — chief executive officers, cabinet ministers, and unskilled workers — to their ideals for what those wages should be. We show that ideal pay gaps between skilled and unskilled workers are significantly smaller than estimated pay gaps and that there is consensus across countries, socioeconomic status, and political beliefs. Moreover, data from 16 countries reveals that people dramatically underestimate actual pay inequality. In the United States — where underestimation was particularly pronounced — the actual pay ratio of CEOs to unskilled workers (354:1) far exceeded the estimated ratio (30:1), which in turn far exceeded the ideal ratio (7:1). In sum, respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates.

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Geographic Effects on Intergenerational Income Mobility

Jonathan Rothwell & Douglas Massey
Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on intergenerational economic mobility often ignores the geographic context of childhood, including neighborhood quality and local purchasing power. We hypothesize that individual variation in intergenerational mobility is partly attributable to regional and neighborhood conditions — most notably access to high-quality schools. Using restricted Panel Study of Income Dynamics and census data, we find that neighborhood income has roughly half the effect on future earnings as parental income. We estimate that lifetime household income would be $635,000 dollars higher if people born into a bottom-quartile neighborhood would have been raised in a top-quartile neighborhood. When incomes are adjusted to regional purchasing power, these effects become even larger. The neighborhood effect is two-thirds as large as the parental income effect, and the lifetime earnings difference increases to $910,000. We test the robustness of these findings to various assumptions and alternative models, and replicate the basic results using aggregated metropolitan-level statistics of intergenerational income elasticities based on millions of Internal Revenue Service records.

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Can Personality Traits and Intelligence Compensate for Background Disadvantage? Predicting Status Attainment in Adulthood

Rodica Damian et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated the interplay of family background and individual differences, such as personality traits and intelligence (measured in a large U.S. representative sample of high school students; N = 81,000) in predicting educational attainment, annual income, and occupational prestige 11 years later. Specifically, we tested whether individual differences followed 1 of 3 patterns in relation to parental socioeconomic status (SES) when predicting attained status: (a) the independent effects hypothesis (i.e., individual differences predict attainments independent of parental SES level), (b) the resource substitution hypothesis (i.e., individual differences are stronger predictors of attainments at lower levels of parental SES), and (c) the Matthew effect hypothesis (i.e., “the rich get richer”; individual differences are stronger predictors of attainments at higher levels of parental SES). We found that personality traits and intelligence in adolescence predicted later attained status above and beyond parental SES. A standard deviation increase in individual differences translated to up to 8 additional months of education, $4,233 annually, and more prestigious occupations. Furthermore, although we did find some evidence for both the resource substitution and the Matthew effect hypotheses, the most robust pattern across all models supported the independent effects hypothesis. Intelligence was the exception, the interaction models being more robust. Finally, we found that although personality traits may help compensate for background disadvantage to a small extent, they do not usually lead to a “full catch-up” effect, unlike intelligence. This was the first longitudinal study of status attainment to test interactive models of individual differences and background factors.

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High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%? Lessons from a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Income Risk

Fabian Kindermann & Dirk Krueger
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
In this paper we argue that very high marginal labor income tax rates are an effective tool for social insurance even when households have preferences with high labor supply elasticity, make dynamic savings decisions, and policies have general equilibrium effects. To make this point we construct a large scale Overlapping Generations Model with uninsurable labor productivity risk, show that it has a wealth distribution that matches the data well, and then use it to characterize fiscal policies that achieve a desired degree of redistribution in society. We find that marginal tax rates on the top 1% of the earnings distribution of close to 90% are optimal. We document that this result is robust to plausible variation in the labor supply elasticity and holds regardless of whether social welfare is measured at the steady state only or includes transitional generations.

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The effects of social origins and cognitive ability on educational attainment: Evidence from Britain and Sweden

Erzsébet Bukodi, Robert Erikson & John Goldthorpe
Acta Sociologica, November 2014, Pages 293-310

Abstract:
In previous work we have shown that in Britain and Sweden alike parental class, parental status and parental education have independent effects on individuals’ educational attainment. In this paper we extend our analyses, first by also including measures of individuals’ early-life cognitive ability, and second by bringing our results for Britain and Sweden into direct comparative form. On the basis of extensive birth-cohort data for both countries, we find that when cognitive ability is introduced into our analyses, parental class, status and education continue to have significant, and in fact only moderately reduced and largely persisting, effects on the educational attainment of members of successive cohorts. There is some limited evidence for Britain, but not for Sweden, that cognitive ability has a declining effect on educational attainment, and a further cross-national difference is that in Britain, but not in Sweden, some positive interaction effects occur between advantaged social origins and high cognitive ability in relation to educational success. Overall, though, cross-national similarities are most apparent, and especially in the extent to which parental class, status and education, when taken together, create wide disparities in the eventual educational attainment of individuals who in early life were placed at similar levels of cognitive ability. Some wider implications of these findings are considered.

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The mobility problem in Britain: New findings from the analysis of birth cohort data

Erzsébet Bukodi et al.
British Journal of Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social mobility is now a matter of greater political concern in Britain than at any time previously. However, the data available for the determination of mobility trends are less adequate today than two or three decades ago. It is widely believed in political and in media circles that social mobility is in decline. But the evidence so far available from sociological research, focused on intergenerational class mobility, is not supportive of this view. We present results based on a newly-constructed dataset covering four birth cohorts that provides improved data for the study of trends in class mobility and that also allows analyses to move from the twentieth into the twenty-first century. These results confirm that there has been no decline in mobility, whether considered in absolute or relative terms. In the case of women, there is in fact evidence of mobility increasing. However, the better quality and extended range of our data enable us to identify other ‘mobility problems’ than the supposed decline. Among the members of successive cohorts, the experience of absolute upward mobility is becoming less common and that of absolute downward mobility more common; and class-linked inequalities in relative chances of mobility and immobility appear wider than previously thought.

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A Schumpeterian Model of Top Income Inequality

Charles Jones & Jihee Kim
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Top income inequality rose sharply in the United States over the last 35 years but increased only slightly in economies like France and Japan. Why? This paper explores a model in which heterogeneous entrepreneurs, broadly interpreted, exert effort to generate exponential growth in their incomes. On its own, this force leads to rising inequality. Creative destruction by outside innovators restrains this expansion and induces top incomes to obey a Pareto distribution. The development of the world wide web, a reduction in top tax rates, and a decline in misallocation are examples of changes that raise the growth rate of entrepreneurial incomes and therefore increase Pareto inequality. In contrast, policies that stimulate creative destruction reduce top inequality. Examples include research subsidies or a decline in the extent to which incumbent firms can block new innovation. Differences in these considerations across countries and over time, perhaps associated with globalization, may explain the varied patterns of top income inequality that we see in the data.

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Family Socioeconomic Status, Peers, and the Path to College

Robert Crosnoe & Chandra Muller
Social Problems, November 2014, Pages 602-624

Abstract:
Drawing on the primary/secondary effects perspective of educational inequality, this mixed methods study investigated connections between high school students’ trajectories through college preparatory course work and their relationships with parents and peers as a channel in the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic inequality. Growth curve and multilevel analyses of national survey and transcript data revealed that having college-educated parents differentiated students’ enrollment in advanced course work at the start of high school and that this initial disparity was stably maintained over subsequent years. During this starting period of high school, exposure to school-based peer groups characterized by higher levels of parent education appeared to amplify these course work disparities between students with and without college-educated parents. Ethnographic data from a single high school pointed to possible mechanisms for these patterns, including the tendency for students with college-educated parents to have more information about the relative weight of grades, core courses, and electives in college going and for academically relevant information from school peers with college-educated parents to matter most to students’ course work when it matched what was coming from their own parents.

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Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?

Edward Wolff & Maury Gittleman
Journal of Economic Inequality, December 2014, Pages 439-468

Abstract:
Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), we found that on average over the period from 1989 to 2007, about one fifth of American households at a given point of time reported a wealth transfer and these accounted for quite a sizeable figure, about a quarter of their net worth. Over the lifetime, about 30 percent of households could expect to receive a wealth transfer and these would account for close to 40 % of their net worth near time of death. However, there is little evidence of an inheritance “boom.” In fact, from 1989 to 2007, the share of households reporting a wealth transfer fell by 2.5 percentage points, a time trend statistically significant at the one percent level. The average value of inheritances received among all households did increase but at a slow pace, by 10 %; the time trend is not statistically significant. Wealth transfers as a proportion of current net worth fell sharply over this period, from 29 to 19 %, though the time trend once again is not statistically significant. We also found that inheritances and other wealth transfers tend to be equalizing in terms of the distribution of household wealth, though a number of caveats apply to this result.

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The Effect of Product Demand on Inequality: Evidence from the US and the UK

Marco Leonardi
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data this paper shows that more educated workers demand more high-skill-intensive services and, to a lower extent, more very low-skill-intensive services (such as personal services). Additional evidence at the MSA level shows that this "education elasticity of demand" mechanism can explain part of the correlation between the share of college-educated workers in a city and the employment share of service industries. The parametrization of a simple model suggests that this induced demand shift can explain around 6.5% of the relative demand shift in the US between 1984 and 2002. Similar results are provided for the UK.

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Keeping up with the Joneses: Who loses out?

David Ulph
Economics Letters, December 2014, Pages 400–403

Abstract:
When individuals compare themselves to those with the same wage-rate, status concerns – Keeping up with the Joneses – lead individuals to work who otherwise would have chosen not to, and, for them, well-being is a decreasing function of the wage rate.

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Do People with Specific Skills Want More Social Insurance? Not in the United States

Jeffrey Timmons & Jerry Nickelsburg
Economics & Politics, November 2014, Pages 457–482

Abstract:
Skill specificity is thought to increase preferences for social insurance (Iversen and Soskice, 2001, American Political Science Review 95,875), especially where employment protections are low, notably the United States (Gingrich and Ansell, 2012, Comparative Political Studies 45, 1624). The compensating differentials literature, by contrast, suggests that neither skill specificity, nor labor market protections affect preferences when wages adjust for differences in risks and investment costs. We examine these competing predictions using U.S. data on general and specific skills. Absolute and relative skill specificity have a robust positive correlation with income, but are negatively correlated with preferences for social protection. Our results strongly support the compensating differentials approach.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Code of ethics

Business culture and dishonesty in the banking industry

Alain Cohn, Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust in others’ honesty is a key component of the long-term performance of firms, industries, and even whole countries. However, in recent years, numerous scandals involving fraud have undermined confidence in the financial industry. Contemporary commentators have attributed these scandals to the financial sector’s business culture, but no scientific evidence supports this claim. Here we show that employees of a large, international bank behave, on average, honestly in a control condition. However, when their professional identity as bank employees is rendered salient, a significant proportion of them become dishonest. This effect is specific to bank employees because control experiments with employees from other industries and with students show that they do not become more dishonest when their professional identity or bank-related items are rendered salient. Our results thus suggest that the prevailing business culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important.

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The drunk utilitarian: Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas

Aaron Duke & Laurent Bègue
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 121–127

Abstract:
The hypothetical moral dilemma known as the trolley problem has become a methodological cornerstone in the psychological study of moral reasoning and yet, there remains considerable debate as to the meaning of utilitarian responding in these scenarios. It is unclear whether utilitarian responding results primarily from increased deliberative reasoning capacity or from decreased aversion to harming others. In order to clarify this question, we conducted two field studies to examine the effects of alcohol intoxication on utilitarian responding. Alcohol holds promise in clarifying the above debate because it impairs both social cognition (i.e., empathy) and higher-order executive functioning. Hence, the direction of the association between alcohol and utilitarian vs. non-utilitarian responding should inform the relative importance of both deliberative and social processing systems in influencing utilitarian preference. In two field studies with a combined sample of 103 men and women recruited at two bars in Grenoble, France, participants were presented with a moral dilemma assessing their willingness to sacrifice one life to save five others. Participants’ blood alcohol concentrations were found to positively correlate with utilitarian preferences (r = .31, p < .001) suggesting a stronger role for impaired social cognition than intact deliberative reasoning in predicting utilitarian responses in the trolley dilemma. Implications for Greene’s dual-process model of moral reasoning are discussed.

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Poker-faced morality: Concealing emotions leads to utilitarian decision making

Jooa Julia Lee & Francesca Gino
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 49–64

Abstract:
This paper examines how making deliberate efforts to regulate aversive affective responses influences people’s decisions in moral dilemmas. We hypothesize that emotion regulation — mainly suppression and reappraisal — will encourage utilitarian choices in emotionally charged contexts and that this effect will be mediated by the decision maker’s decreased deontological inclinations. In Study 1, we find that individuals who endorsed the utilitarian option (vs. the deontological option) were more likely to suppress their emotional expressions. In Studies 2a, 2b, and 3, we instruct participants to either regulate their emotions, using one of two different strategies (reappraisal vs. suppression), or not to regulate, and we collect data through the concurrent monitoring of psycho-physiological measures. We find that participants are more likely to make utilitarian decisions when asked to suppress their emotions rather than when they do not regulate their affect. In Study 4, we show that one’s reduced deontological inclinations mediate the relationship between emotion regulation and utilitarian decision making.

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Why So Serious? Experimental and Field Evidence that Morality and a Sense of Humor are Psychologically Incompatible

Kai Chi Yam
University of Washington Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Many of the jokes people enjoy carry a certain degree of moral violation. Since displaying humor often requires committing benign moral violations, we hypothesize that 1) a moral mindset stifles humor and 2) morally-focused people are less humorous, and are therefore less liked by their workplace peers. Participants primed with a moral mindset were less likely to appreciate humor that involved benign moral violations (Study 1) and less likely to generate jokes others found funny (Study 2) compared to participants in the control condition. Additional field studies demonstrated that morally-focused employees are seen as lacking a sense of humor by their coworkers and are therefore less liked and less socially popular (Studies 3 and 4). We further demonstrate that this mediational effect is stronger for targets who strongly endorse the purity/sanctity moral foundation (Study 4). These results suggest that morality and humor are to some degree psychologically incompatible, helping to explain why morally-focused individuals are often socially marginalized in organizations.

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What’s wrong? Moral understanding in psychopathic offenders

Eyal Aharoni, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Kent Kiehl
Journal of Research in Personality, December 2014, Pages 175–181

Abstract:
A prominent explanation for antisocial behavior in psychopathic offenders is that they cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Using a modified version of the classic Moral/Conventional Transgressions task that minimizes strategic responding, this study evaluated the hypothesis that psychopathic traits are negatively associated with moral classification accuracy. The task, which presents moral and non-moral hypothetical violations, was administered to 139 incarcerated offenders from three U.S. correctional facilities, 41 of whom met clinical criteria for psychopathy. No associations for classification accuracy were found as a function of psychopathy total score or its facets, controlling for age, gender, and race. This finding supports the argument that psychopathic offenders can demonstrate normal knowledge of wrongfulness. Implications for criminal responsibility are discussed.

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Dishonesty and charitable behavior

Doru Cojoc & Adrian Stoian
Experimental Economics, December 2014, Pages 717-732

Abstract:
We examine in the laboratory how having the opportunity to donate to a charity in the future affects the likelihood of engaging in dishonest behavior in the present. We also examine how charitable donations are affected by past ethical choices. First, subjects self-report their performance on a task, which provides them with an opportunity for undetected cheating. In the second stage they can donate some of the money earned in the first stage to a charity. Only subjects in the treatment group know about the opportunity to donate in the second stage. We find that more subjects cheat if they know they can donate some of the money to charity. We also find that subjects in treatment end up donating less to charity and that both honest and dishonest subjects donate less in treatment. We propose a new hypothesis that explains these results: past violations of social norms numb one’s conscience, leading to more antisocial behavior.

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‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial moral dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good

Guy Kahane et al.
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 193–209

Abstract:
A growing body of research has focused on so-called ‘utilitarian’ judgments in moral dilemmas in which participants have to choose whether to sacrifice one person in order to save the lives of a greater number. However, the relation between such ‘utilitarian’ judgments and genuine utilitarian impartial concern for the greater good remains unclear. Across four studies, we investigated the relationship between ‘utilitarian’ judgment in such sacrificial dilemmas and a range of traits, attitudes, judgments and behaviors that either reflect or reject an impartial concern for the greater good of all. In Study 1, we found that rates of ‘utilitarian’ judgment were associated with a broadly immoral outlook concerning clear ethical transgressions in a business context, as well as with sub-clinical psychopathy. In Study 2, we found that ‘utilitarian’ judgment was associated with greater endorsement of rational egoism, less donation of money to a charity, and less identification with the whole of humanity, a core feature of classical utilitarianism. In Studies 3 and 4, we found no association between ‘utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial dilemmas and characteristic utilitarian judgments relating to assistance to distant people in need, self-sacrifice and impartiality, even when the utilitarian justification for these judgments was made explicit and unequivocal. This lack of association remained even when we controlled for the antisocial element in ‘utilitarian’ judgment. Taken together, these results suggest that there is very little relation between sacrificial judgments in the hypothetical dilemmas that dominate current research, and a genuine utilitarian approach to ethics.

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Corporations are Cyborgs: Organizations elicit anger but not sympathy when they can think but cannot feel

Tage Rai & Daniel Diermeier
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 18–26

Abstract:
Across four experiments, participants saw companies as capable of having ‘agentic’ mental states, such as having intentions, but incapable of having ‘experiential’ mental states, such as feeling pain. This difference in mental state ascription caused companies to elicit anger as villains, but not sympathy as victims. Differences in sympathy were mediated by perceived capacities for experience. When participants had a background leading companies (i.e. senior executives) or when a recognizable brand (i.e. Google) was anthropomorphized, perceptions of experience increased and the sympathy gap disappeared. An organization seen as high in experience and low in agency (i.e. sports team) elicited more sympathy and less anger than companies. Our findings elucidate the mechanisms underlying the link between mental state ascription and moral judgment; the tendency to ascribe some mental states to organizations more easily than others; and the phenomenon whereby companies elicit anger as villains but fail to elicit sympathy as victims.

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Equity or equality? Moral judgments follow the money

Peter DeScioli et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 December 2014

Abstract:
Previous research emphasizes people's dispositions as a source of differences in moral views. We investigate another source of moral disagreement, self-interest. In three experiments, participants played a simple economic game in which one player divides money with a partner according to the principle of equality (same payoffs) or the principle of equity (payoffs proportional to effort expended). We find, first, that people's moral judgment of an allocation rule depends on their role in the game. People not only prefer the rule that most benefits them but also judge it to be more fair and moral. Second, we find that participants' views about equality and equity change in a matter of minutes as they learn where their interests lie. Finally, we find limits to self-interest: when the justification for equity is removed, participants no longer show strategic advocacy of the unequal division. We discuss implications for understanding moral debate and disagreement.

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Cold-hearted or cool-headed: Physical coldness promotes utilitarian moral judgment

Hiroko Nakamura et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2014

Abstract:
In the current study, we examine the effect of physical coldness on personal moral dilemma judgment. Previous studies have indicated that utilitarian moral judgment — sacrificing a few people to achieve the greater good for others — was facilitated when: (1) participants suppressed an initial emotional response and deliberately thought about the utility of outcomes; (2) participants had a high-level construal mindset and focused on abstract goals (e.g., save many); or (3) there was a decreasing emotional response to sacrificing a few. In two experiments, we exposed participants to extreme cold or typical room temperature and then asked them to make personal moral dilemma judgments. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that coldness prompted utilitarian judgment, but the effect of coldness was independent from deliberate thought or abstract high-level construal mindset. As Experiment 2 revealed, coldness facilitated utilitarian judgment via reduced empathic feelings. Therefore, physical coldness did not affect the “cool-headed” deliberate process or the abstract high-level construal mindset. Rather, coldness biased people toward being “cold-hearted,” reduced empathetic concern, and facilitated utilitarian moral judgments.

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Do Political Attitudes and Religiosity Share a Genetic Path?

Amanda Friesen & Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social scientists have long recognized and sought to explain a connection between religious and political beliefs. Our research challenges the prevalent view that religion and politics constitute separate but related belief sets with a conceptual model that suggests the correlation between the two may be partially explained by an underlying psychological construct reflecting first principle beliefs on social organization. Moreover, we also push this challenge further by considering whether part of the relationship between political and religious beliefs is the result of shared genetic influences, which would suggest that a shared biological predisposition, or set of biological predispositions, underlies these attitudes. Using a classic twin design on a sample of American adults, we demonstrate that certain religious, political, and first principle beliefs can be explained by genetic and unique environmental components, and that the correlation between these three trait structures is primarily due to a common genetic path. As predicted, this relationship is found to hold for social ideology, but not for economic ideology. These findings provide evidence that the overlap between the religious and the political in the American context may in part be due to underlying principles regarding how to understand and organize society and that these principles may be adopted to satisfy biologically-influenced psychological needs.

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Forced to Be Bad: The Positive Impact of Low-Autonomy Vice Consumption on Consumer Vitality

Fangyuan Chen & Jaideep Sengupta
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the vitality produced by vices — products that offer immediate gratification at the cost of long-term adversity. While vices are intrinsically enjoyable, they also induce guilt. Our conceptualization incorporates these opposing forces to argue that vice consumption is unique in that lowering the consumer’s sense of autonomy actually results in higher vitality — in contrast to the positive relationship between autonomy and vitality that has been robustly documented in the literature. An examination of the vitality construct further suggests that low-autonomy vice consumption should consequently result in improved creativity as well as self-regulation. A set of four studies provides support for these and related implications. The obtained findings advance knowledge regarding vitality and its consequences, while they also provide insights into when and why vice consumption might actually be beneficial.

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Taking Punishment into Your Own Hands: An Experiment

Peter Duersch & Julia Müller
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a punishment experiment, we separate the demand for punishment in general from the demand to conduct punishment personally. Subjects experience an unfair split of their earnings from a real effort task and have to decide on the punishment of the person who determines the distribution. First, it is established whether the allocator’s payoff is reduced and, afterwards, subjects take part in a second price auction for the right to (physically) carry out the act of payoff reduction themselves. Subjects bid positive amounts and are happier if they get to punish personally.

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Manipulating Morality: Third-Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning

Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral judgments when the agent's actions precisely match the third party's intention. Study 3 shows that this effect arises from changes in participants' causal perception that the third party was controlling the agent. Studies 4 and 5, respectively, show that the effect cannot be explained by changes in the distribution of blame or perceived differences in situational constraint faced by the agent.

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The Social Power of Regret: The Effect of Social Appraisal and Anticipated Emotions on Fair and Unfair Allocations in Resource Dilemmas

Job van der Schalk et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated how another person’s emotions about resource allocation decisions influence observers’ resource allocations by influencing the emotions that observers anticipate feeling if they were to act in the same way. Participants were exposed to an exemplar who made a fair or unfair division in an economic game and expressed pride or regret about this decision. Participants then made their own resource allocation decisions. Exemplar regret about acting fairly decreased the incidence of fair behavior (Studies 1A and 1B). Likewise, exemplar regret about acting unfairly increased the incidence of fair behavior (Study 2). The effect of others’ emotions on observers’ behavior was mediated by the observers’ anticipated emotions. We discuss our findings in light of the view that social appraisal and anticipated emotions are important tools for social learning and may contribute to the formation and maintenance of social norms about greed and fairness.

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Do Beliefs Justify Actions or Do Actions Justify Beliefs? An Experiment on Stated Beliefs, Revealed Beliefs, and Social-Image Manipulation

James Andreoni & Alison Sanchez
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We study whether actions are justified by beliefs, as is usually assumed, or whether beliefs are justified by actions. In our experiment, subjects participate in a trust game, after which they have an opportunity to state their beliefs about their opponent's actions. Subsequently, subjects participate in a task designed to "reveal" their true beliefs. We find that subjects who make selfish choices and show strategic sophistication falsely state their beliefs in order to project a more favorable social image. By contrast, their "revealed" beliefs were significantly more accurate, which betrayed these subjects as knowing that their selfishness was not justifiable by their opponent's behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fear factor

Sex Offender Law and the Geography of Victimization

Amanda Agan & J.J. Prescott
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2014, Pages 786-828

Abstract:
Sex offender laws that target recidivism (e.g., community notification and residency restriction regimes) are premised - at least in part - on the idea that sex offender proximity and victimization risk are positively correlated. We examine this relationship by combining past and current address information of registered sex offenders (RSOs) with crime data from Baltimore County, Maryland, to study how crime rates vary across neighborhoods with different concentrations of resident RSOs. Contrary to the assumptions of policymakers and the public, we find that, all else equal, reported sex offense victimization risk is generally (although not uniformly) lower in neighborhoods where more RSOs live. To further probe the relationship between where RSOs live and where sex crime occurs, we consider whether public knowledge of the identity and proximity of RSOs may make offending in those areas more difficult for (or less attractive to) all potential sex offenders. We exploit the fact that Maryland's registry became searchable via the Internet during our sample period to investigate how laws that publicly identify RSOs may change the relationship between the residential concentration of RSOs and neighborhood victimization risk. Surprisingly, for some categories of sex crime, notification appears to increase the relative risk of victimization in neighborhoods with greater concentrations of RSOs.

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Registered Sex Offenders and Reported Sex Offenses

Thomas Stucky & John Ottensmann
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Geographic restrictions on registered sex offenders (RSOs) have become commonplace. Such policies generally assume that sex offenses are likely to be higher near RSOs. Yet, few ecological studies have examined this question empirically. The current study examines whether incidences of reported sex offenses are higher in proximity to the addresses of RSOs. Specifically, we examine whether there is a relationship between the number of reported sex offenses and the number of RSOs living in square grid cells (and in 1,000, 1,500, and 2,500 ft radii of the cell centroid) in Indianapolis. Count models indicate that the number of RSOs in an area is not a robust predictor of reported sex offenses, net of controls.

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A Study of African American Serial Killers

David Lester & John White
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Fall 2014, Pages 308-316

Abstract:
A comparison of 57 African American serial killers since 1900 with 205 Euro-American serial killers on 83 variables revealed that African American serial killers killed fewer victims, committed fewer sexually deviant and violent acts in their crimes (such as less often torturing victims or committing bizarre sexual acts such as necrophilia), and seemed more normal in childhood.

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The Effect of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Use on Crime: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions and Health Insurance Parity Mandates

Hefei Wen, Jason Hockenberry & Janet Cummings
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effect of increasing the substance use disorder (SUD) treatment rate on reducing violent and property crime rates, based on county-level panels of SUD treatment and crime data between 2001 and 2008 across the United States. To address the potential endogeneity of the SUD treatment rate with respect to crime rate, we exploit the exogenous variation in the SUD treatment rate induced by two state-level policies, namely insurance expansions under the Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability (HIFA) waivers and parity mandates for SUD treatment. Once we address the endogeneity issue, we are able to demonstrate an economically meaningful reduction in the rates of robbery, aggravated assault and larceny theft attributable to an increased SUD treatment rate. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that a 10 percent relative increase in the SUD treatment rate at an average cost of $1.6 billion yields a crime reduction benefit of $2.5 billion to $4.8 billion. Our findings suggest that expanding insurance coverage and benefits for SUD treatment is an effective policy lever to improve treatment use, and the improved SUD treatment use can effectively and cost-effectively promote public safety through crime reduction.

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Your Friends and Neighbors: Localized Economic Development and Criminal Activity

Matthew Freedman & Emily Owens
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit a sudden shock to demand for a subset of low-wage workers generated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program in San Antonio, Texas to identify the effects of localized economic development on crime. We use a difference-in-differences methodology that takes advantage of variation in BRAC's impact over time and across neighborhoods. We find that appropriative criminal behavior increases in neighborhoods where a fraction of residents experienced increases in earnings. This effect is driven by residents who were unlikely to be BRAC beneficiaries, implying that criminal opportunities are important in explaining patterns of crime.

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Assessing the Relationship Between Police Use of Force and Inmate Offending (Rule Violations)

Charles Klahm, Benjamin Steiner & Benjamin Meade
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess the effects of exposure to police use of force on inmates' odds of offending in prison using survey data collected from a national sample of inmates. We found, net of relevant controls, prisoners subjected to police violence were more likely to engage in assaultive and other rule violating behavior, especially those who did not resist police authority. Consistent with the cycle of violence hypothesis, our findings suggest violence perpetrated by legal authorities produces similar effects to exposure to violence in general. Moreover, the consequences of police use of force are especially problematic when the recipient fails to perceive his or her treatment was fair, which supports the theoretical perspective on procedural fairness and legitimacy. Policy implications are discussed.

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Blowing it Up and Knocking it Down: The Local and Citywide Effects of Demolishing High-Concentration Public Housing on Crime

Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel Hartley
Federal Reserve Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect that the closure and demolition of roughly 20,000 units of geographically concentrated high-rise public housing had on crime in Chicago. We estimate local effects of closures on crime in the neighborhoods where high-rises stood and in proximate neighborhoods. We also estimate the impact that households displaced from high-rises had on crime in the neighborhoods to which they moved and neighborhoods close to those. Overall, reductions in violent crime in and near the areas where high-rises were demolished greatly outweighed increases in violent crime associated with the arrival of displaced residents in new neighborhoods.

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How Do Mafias Organize? Conflict and Violence in Three Mafia Organizations

Maurizio Catino
European Journal of Sociology, August 2014, Pages 177-220

Abstract:
This article looks at three Italian mafia organizations (Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and 'Ndrangheta). It applies an organizational approach to the understanding of violence in mafia organizations by studying the relationship between their organizational orders and their criminal behavior. The article identifies two different organizational orders, vertical and horizontal, and demonstrates that Italian mafias, although operating in similar environments, can greatly differ from each other, and over time, in terms of their organizational model. Findings suggest that mafias with a vertical organizational order, due to the presence of higher levels of coordination, (1) have greater control over conflict, as proved by the lower number of "ordinary" murders; and (2) have greater capacity to fight state repression, as testified by the greater number of "high-profile" assassinations (e.g. politicians, magistrates, and other institutional members) that they carry out. Evidence is provided using a mixed-methods approach that combines a qualitative, organizational analysis of historical and judiciary sources, in order to reconstruct the organizational models and their evolution over time, with a quantitative analysis of assassination trends, in order to relate organizational orders to the use of violence.

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An Experimental Evaluation of the Impact of Intensive Supervision on the Recidivism of High-Risk Probationers

Jordan Hyatt & Geoffrey Barnes
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article reports the results of an experimental evaluation of the impact of Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) on probationer recidivism. Participants, who were assessed at an increased likelihood of committing serious crimes and not ordered to specialized supervision, were randomly assigned to ISP (n = 447) or standard probation (n = 385). ISP probationers received more restrictive supervision and experienced more office contacts, home visitations, and drug screenings. After 12 months, there was no difference in offending. This equivalence holds across multiple types of crimes, including violent, non-violent, property, and drug offenses, as well as in a survival analysis conducted for each offense type. ISP probationers absconded from supervision, were charged with technical violations, and were incarcerated at significantly higher rates. Policy implications for these results are discussed.

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Shackled labor markets: Bounding the causal effects of criminal convictions in the U.S.

Jeremiah Richey
International Review of Law and Economics, March 2015, Pages 17-24

Abstract:
This paper examines the causal effects of criminal convictions on labor market outcomes in young men using U.S. data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort. Unlike previous research in this area which relies on assumptions strong enough to obtain point identification, this paper imposes relatively weak nonparametric assumptions that provide tight bounds on treatment effects. Even in the absence of a parametric model, under certain specifications, a zero effect can be ruled out, though after a bias correction this result is lost. In general the results for the effect on yearly earnings align well with previous findings, though the estimated effect on weeks worked are smaller than in previous findings which focused on the effects of incarceration. The bounds here indicate the penalty from convictions, but not incarceration, lowers weeks worked by at most 1.55 weeks for white men and at most 4 weeks for black men. Interestingly, when those ever incarcerated are removed from the treatment group for black men, there does not appear to be any effect of convictions on earnings or wages but only on weeks worked.

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Citizen Information, Electoral Incentives, and Provision of Counter-Terrorism: An Experimental Approach

Andrew Bausch & Thomas Zeitzoff
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does incomplete information about counter-terror provisions influence the strategic interaction between a government, terrorist groups, and the citizenry? We investigate this research question using a laboratory experiment and present two key findings. (1) Public counter-terror spending leads citizens to overly frequent "protected" targets such that it makes them easier targets for terrorists. (2) Additionally, we show that citizens over-estimate government counter-terror spending when they are unable to observe it. These findings suggest that asymmetric information and the small probability of a successful terrorist attack may lead to the inefficient provision of counter-terror. We also connect the findings to the larger literature on the principal-agent relationship between citizens and elected officials.

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Law enforcement duties and sudden cardiac death among police officers in United States: Case distribution study

Vasileia Varvarigou et al.
British Medical Journal, November 2014

Objective: To assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.

Participants: Summaries of deaths of over 4500 US police officers provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Officer Down Memorial Page from 1984 to 2010.

Results: 441 sudden cardiac deaths were observed during the study period. Sudden cardiac death was associated with restraints/altercations (25%, n=108), physical training (20%, n=88), pursuits of suspects (12%, n=53), medical/rescue operations (8%, n=34), routine duties (23%, n=101), and other activities (11%, n=57). Compared with routine/non-emergency activities, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 34-69 times higher during restraints/altercations, 32-51 times higher during pursuits, 20-23 times higher during physical training, and 6-9 times higher during medical/rescue operations. Results were robust to all sensitivity and stability analyses.

Conclusions: Stressful law enforcement duties are associated with a risk of sudden cardiac death that is markedly higher than the risk during routine/non-emergency duties. Restraints/altercations and pursuits are associated with the greatest risk. Our findings have public health implications and suggest that primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention efforts are needed among law enforcement officers.

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Assessing Urban African American Youths' Exposure to Community Violence Through a Daily Sampling Method

Maryse Richards et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: The traditional use of retrospective self-report to measure exposure to community violence over long periods of time has limitations overcome by an approach described here. This article explores an innovative approach in assessing community violence exposure with time-sampling methodology, where reporting occurs within daily accounts to provide a more immediate measure of community violence exposure.

Method: Data were collected over 1 week from 169 urban African American young adolescents (M age = 11.7 years, SD = .70, 62% female) using questionnaires and the Daily Sampling Method, a diary technique that captures a child's daily accounts of community violence exposure (DCVE).

Results: Analyses revealed youth experienced 841 total violent incidents, or close to 1 daily incident per youth for the week. As expected, the majority of incidents occurred between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and in public settings. Unexpectedly, higher rates of both victimization and witnessing occurred during weekdays compared with weekend days, and girls reported significantly more DCVE than boys. The DCVE provide a unique glimpse into the more immediate experience of life in high-risk neighborhoods.

Conclusion: This study underscores the need to measure DCVE in ways that address the daily experience of youth living in high-risk environments. By identifying timing and location of exposure, we can develop interventions to keep youth safer from violence exposure.

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Playing Politics with Sex Offender Laws: An Event History Analysis of the Initial Community Notification Laws across American States

Bianca Easterly
Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite a decline in crime rates, the 1990s witnessed extensive media coverage of several high-profile stranger abductions and murders of children. State legislators' swift response to the public's growing fear of sex offenders with the adoption of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws raises questions about the role of politics. Punctuated equilibrium theory and the diffusion of innovation jointly provide a context to conduct an event history analysis to assess the extent to which politics enhanced legislative responsiveness to public opinion in SORN policymaking. Contrary to the commonly held belief that attributes legislative interest in SORN to salient crimes against children, the results suggest that factors such as the percentage of a conservative population, district-level competition, and state innovativeness accelerated the diffusion of innovation of the laws.

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Foreclosure, Vacancy and Crime

Lin Cui & Randall Walsh
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of residential foreclosures and vacancies on violent and property crime. To overcome confounding factors, a difference-in-difference research design is applied to a unique data set containing geocoded foreclosure and crime data from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Results indicate that while foreclosure alone has no effect on crime, violent crime rates increase by roughly 19% once the foreclosed home becomes vacant - an effect that increases with length of vacancy. We find weak evidence suggesting a potential vacancy effect for property crime that is much lower in magnitude.

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The Effects of Prison-Based Educational Programming on Recidivism and Employment

Grant Duwe & Valerie Clark
Prison Journal, December 2014, Pages 454-478

Abstract:
This study evaluated the effectiveness of prison-based educational programming by examining the effects of obtaining secondary and post-secondary degrees on recidivism and post-release employment outcomes among offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2007 and 2008. Obtaining a secondary degree in prison significantly increased the odds of securing post-release employment but did not have a significant effect on recidivism or other employment measures such as hourly wage, total hours worked, or total wages earned. Earning a post-secondary degree in prison, however, was associated with greater number of hours worked, higher overall wages, and less recidivism.

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The National Football League: Does Crime Increase on Game Day?

David Kalist & Daniel Lee
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates the effects of National Football League (NFL) games on crime. Using a panel data set that includes daily crime incidences in eight large cities with NFL teams, we examine how various measurements of criminal activities change on game day compared with nongame days. Our findings from both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regressions indicate that NFL home games are associated with a 2.6% increase in total crimes, while financially motivated crimes such as larceny and motor vehicle theft increase by 4.1% and 6.7%, respectively, on game days. However, we observe that play-off games are associated with a decrease in financially motivated crimes. The effects of game time (afternoon vs. evening) and upset wins and losses on crime are also considered.

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Predicting Two Types of Recidivism Among Newly Released Prisoners: First Addresses as "Launch Pads" for Recidivism or Reentry Success

Valerie Clark
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Separate studies have shown that a variety of postrelease housing placements for returning prisoners can significantly influence recidivism. Research has also found that contextual factors such as economic disadvantage can also significantly predict recidivism. This study combines those lines of research by examining the effects of five categories of postrelease housing placements as well as contextual measures of economic disadvantage on recidivism for newly released Minnesota state prisoners. Using multilevel analysis techniques, this research found that with one exception, certain postrelease housing situations, along with several other individual-level control variables, were more robust predictors of recidivism than contextual measures of disadvantage and poverty. This study highlights the significant impact that postrelease housing placements can have on the reentry process.

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Foreclosures and crime: A city-level analysis in Southern California of a dynamic process

John Hipp & Alyssa Chamberlain
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although a growing body of research has examined and found a positive relationship between neighborhood crime and home foreclosures, some research suggests this relationship may not hold in all cities. This study uses city-level data to assess the relationship between foreclosures and crime by estimating longitudinal models with lags for monthly foreclosure and crime data in 128 cities from 1996 to 2011 in Southern California. We test whether these effects are stronger in cities with a combination of high economic inequality and high economic segregation; and whether they are stronger in cities with high racial/ethnic heterogeneity and high racial segregation. One month, and cumulative three month, six month, and 12-month lags of foreclosures are found to increase city level crime for all crimes except motor vehicle theft. The effect of foreclosures on these crime types is stronger in cities with simultaneously high levels of inequality but low levels of economic segregation. The effect of foreclosures on aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary is stronger in cities with simultaneously high levels of racial heterogeneity and low levels of racial segregation. On the other hand, foreclosures had a stronger effect on larceny and motor vehicle theft when they occurred in a city with simultaneously high levels of racial heterogeneity and high levels of racial segregation. There is evidence that the foreclosure crisis had large scale impacts on cities, leading to higher crime rates in cities hit harder by foreclosures. Nonetheless, the economic and racial characteristics of the city altered this effect.

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The Effectiveness of Enhanced Parole Supervision and Community Services: New Jersey's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

Bonita Veysey, Michael Ostermann & Jennifer Lanterman
Prison Journal, December 2014, Pages 435-453

Abstract:
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, in collaboration with other federal partner agencies provided approximately US$110 million in funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to develop and/or fill gaps in reentry strategies through the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). This article describes the New Jersey SVORI intervention approach and evaluates its relative impacts on participants' rearrest rates. SVORI participants are compared with randomly selected parolees (n = 100) and unconditional releases (n = 100) that did not receive services through SVORI but otherwise met the inclusion criteria of the New Jersey SVORI intervention. Results indicate that SVORI participants were rearrested at a significantly lower rate during the follow-up period when compared with both of the non-SVORI groups. Policy issues are discussed by the authors.

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Is the 'Shadow of Sexual Assault' Responsible for Women's Higher Fear of Burglary?

Helmut Hirtenlehner & Stephen Farrall
British Journal of Criminology, November 2014, Pages 1167-1185

Abstract:
This article examines the 'shadow of sexual assault hypothesis' which posits that women's higher fear of crime, compared to males, can be attributed to their elevated fear of sexual victimization. We argue that the previous, overwhelmingly supportive, research on this issue is incomplete in three ways: (1) the thesis has not yet been extensively tested outside of North America, (2) competing, possibly overlaying, shadow effects of physical violence have widely been ignored and (3) perceptually contemporaneous offences have always been measured in an indirect manner. Drawing on the example of fear of burglary, this work tackles the aforementioned deficiencies. Results from a crime survey conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that, when relying on a rather traditional test strategy, the 'shadow of sexual assault hypothesis' is supported. However, the findings are highly contingent on the employed methodology. When utilizing direct measures of perceptually contemporaneous offences, only physical, not sexual, assault turns out to cast a shadow over fear of burglary. The impact of fear of rape would appear to be reduced considerably once fear of broader physical harm is taken into account. We conclude that much of the existing evidence for the shadow thesis can be challenged on the grounds of failing to control for the effects of non-sexual physical assault and drawing on an inadequate operationalization of perceptually contemporaneous offences.

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Economic Dominance, the "American Dream," and Homicide: A Cross-National Test of Institutional Anomie Theory

Lorine Hughes, Lonnie Schaible & Benjamin Gibbs
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article presents a cross-national test of Messner and Rosenfeld's (1994) institutional anomie theory. Drawing on multiple data sources, including the United Nations, World Bank, World Values Survey, and Heritage Foundation, we examine relationships between economic dominance, indicators of culture, and homicide among a sample of 50 nations. Additionally, we assess the thesis of "American exceptionalism," a unique cultural complex implicated by Messner and Rosenfeld as a cause of high rates of serious crime in the United States. Results from OLS regression models provide mixed support for the theory. While none of the theoretical predictors exhibits a statistically significant direct effect on homicide, findings suggest that homicide occurs most often in countries where free-market principles and practices drive the economy and where core cultural commitments are oriented toward achievement, individualism, fetishism of money, and universalism. However, contrary to expectations, the impact of a market-driven economy is not more pronounced in countries with weakened non-economic institutions, and results provide only limited evidence in support of the American exceptionalism thesis. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Get a life

People search for meaning when they approach a new decade in chronological age

Adam Alter & Hal Hershfield
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although humans measure time using a continuous scale, certain numerical ages inspire greater self-reflection than others. Six studies show that adults undertake a search for existential meaning when they approach a new decade in age (e.g., at ages 29, 39, 49, etc.) or imagine entering a new epoch, which leads them to behave in ways that suggest an ongoing or failed search for meaning (e.g., by exercising more vigorously, seeking extramarital affairs, or choosing to end their lives).

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Availability of Outpatient Care From Psychiatrists: A Simulated-Patient Study in Three U.S. Cities

Monica Malowney et al.
Psychiatric Services, forthcoming

Objectives: The study examined availability of psychiatrists for outpatient appointments in three U.S. cities.

Methods: Posing as patients, investigators called 360 psychiatrists listed in a major insurer’s database in Boston, Houston, and Chicago (N=120 per city) and attempted to make appointments. Callers claimed to have Blue Cross Blue Shield or Medicare or said they would pay out of pocket (N=120 per payer type, divided evenly across cities).

Results: In round 1 of calling, investigators were able to reach 119 of the 360 psychiatrists (33%). Of 216 unanswered calls, 35 were returned. After two calling rounds, appointments were made with 93 psychiatrists (26%). Significant differences were noted between cities but not between payer type.

Conclusions: Obtaining outpatient appointments with psychiatrists in three cities was difficult, irrespective of payer. Results suggest that expanding insurance coverage alone may do little to improve access to psychiatrists — or worse, expansion might further overwhelm the capacity of available services.

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Associations Between Subjective Social Status and DSM-IV Mental Disorders: Results From the World Mental Health Surveys

Kate Scott et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Importance: The inverse social gradient in mental disorders is a well-established research finding with important implications for causal models and policy. This research has used traditional objective social status (OSS) measures, such as educational level, income, and occupation. Recently, subjective social status (SSS) measurement has been advocated to capture the perception of relative social status, but to our knowledge, there have been no studies of associations between SSS and mental disorders.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Face-to-face cross-sectional household surveys of community-dwelling adults in 18 countries in Asia, South Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East (N = 56 085). Subjective social status was assessed with a self-anchoring scale reflecting respondent evaluations of their place in the social hierarchies of their countries in terms of income, educational level, and occupation. Scores on the 1 to 10 SSS scale were categorized into 4 categories: low (scores 1-3), low-mid (scores 4-5), high-mid (scores 6-7), and high (scores 8-10). Objective social status was assessed with a wide range of fine-grained objective indicators of income, educational level, and occupation.

Results: The weighted mean survey response rate was 75.2% (range, 55.1%-97.2%). Graded inverse associations were found between SSS and all 16 mental disorders. Gross odds ratios (lowest vs highest SSS categories) in the range of 1.8 to 9.0 were attenuated but remained significant for all 16 disorders (odds ratio, 1.4-4.9) after adjusting for OSS indicators. This pattern of inverse association between SSS and mental disorders was significant in 14 of 18 individual countries, and in low-, middle-, and high-income country groups but was significantly stronger in high- vs lower-income countries.

Conclusions and Relevance: Significant inverse associations between SSS and numerous DSM-IV mental disorders exist across a wide range of countries even after comprehensive adjustment for OSS. Although it is unclear whether these associations are the result of social selection, social causation, or both, these results document clearly that research relying exclusively on standard OSS measures underestimates the steepness of the social gradient in mental disorders.

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Psychiatric disorders and left-handedness in children living in an urban environment

Dora Due Logue et al.
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The objective of this study was to conduct an analysis of left-handed children treated in an urban mental health clinic to investigate the frequency and severity of psychiatric disorders compared to right-handed peers. Data on handedness, diagnoses, hospitalizations and severity of mental disorders were collected on 692 consecutive children, 4–18 years old (M = 10.1, SD = 3.2), referred for psychiatric evaluation. Left-handed children were 18.2% of patients in the study, a rate significantly higher than left-hand dominance in the USA (p < .05). Compared to children with right-handedness, logistic regression analysis yielded 31% [odds ratio (OR) = 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15–1.50] higher odds of having more psychiatric diagnosis, 70% (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.10–2.62) increased odds of anxiety, 53% (OR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.03–2.27) increased odds of depression and 78% (OR = 1.78, 95% CI: 1.21–2.62) increased odds of oppositional defiant disorder for children who were left-handed. Left-handed children had increased odds of being prescribed antipsychotic and anxiolytic medication uses, 53% and 86% increased odds, respectively, and 66% (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.08–2.55) increased odds of psychiatric hospitalizations. Left-handedness was a phenotypic risk factor for psychiatric disorders and increased severity of psychiatric disorders.

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So what if the clock strikes? Scheduling style, control, and well-being

Anne-Laure Sellier & Tamar Avnet
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 791-808

Abstract:
Individuals vary in the way they schedule their daily tasks and activities. In particular, 2 scheduling styles are commonly followed: clock-time (where tasks are organized based on a clock) and event-time (where tasks are organized based on their order of completion). This research shows that adopting a clock-time or an event-time scheduling style has consequences that go beyond the direct effect on task organization. In particular, adopting 1 scheduling style versus the other is shown to potentially influence personal control and well-being. We demonstrate that the reliance on clock- versus event-time affects individuals’ perception of the causal relationship between events in the social world (Experiments 1 and 2). Specifically, we show that individuals following clock-time rather than event-time discriminate less between causally related and causally unrelated events, which in turn increases their belief that the world is controlled by chance or fate. In contrast, individuals following event-time (vs. clock-time) appear to believe that things happen more as a result of their own actions. We further show that this difference in internal locus of control compromises the ability of individuals following clock-time to savor positive emotions (Experiments 3a–5). We discuss the implications of these findings for future research in social and cognitive psychology.

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The Great Recession, unemployment and suicide

Thor Norström & Hans Grönqvist
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: How have suicide rates responded to the marked increase in unemployment spurred by the Great Recession? Our paper puts this issue into a wider perspective by assessing (1) whether the unemployment-suicide link is modified by the degree of unemployment protection, and (2) whether the effect on suicide of the present crisis differs from the effects of previous economic downturns.

Methods: We analysed the unemployment-suicide link using time-series data for 30 countries spanning the period 1960–2012. Separate fixed-effects models were estimated for each of five welfare state regimes with different levels of unemployment protection (Eastern, Southern, Anglo-Saxon, Bismarckian and Scandinavian). We included an interaction term to capture the possible excess effect of unemployment during the Great Recession.

Results: The largest unemployment increases occurred in the welfare state regimes with the least generous unemployment protection. The unemployment effect on male suicides was statistically significant in all welfare regimes, except the Scandinavian one. The effect on female suicides was significant only in the eastern European country group. There was a significant gradient in the effects, being stronger the less generous the unemployment protection. The interaction term capturing the possible excess effect of unemployment during the financial crisis was not significant.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the more generous the unemployment protection the weaker the detrimental impact on suicide of the increasing unemployment during the Great Recession.

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Sick in the head? Pathogen concerns bias implicit perceptions of mental illness

Erik Lund & Ian Boggero
Evolutionary Psychology, Fall 2014, Pages 706-718

Abstract:
Biases against the mentally ill are historically and cross-culturally pervasive, suggesting they may have an evolutionary basis. The prevailing view is that people seek to distance themselves from the mentally ill because they are perceived as dangerous, violent, and incompetent. However, because of similarities between sickness behaviors and symptoms of some mental disorders, it was hypothesized that mental illness stigma could be partially explained as a function of behavioral immune system biases designed to avoid potential sources of contagion. In two experiments, it was found that mental illness was implicitly associated more with disease than danger. In Experiment 1, this implicit association was exacerbated among people who have had their biological immune system activated by a recent illness. In Experiment 2, experimentally priming disease salience increased implicit association between mental illness and disease. Implications for the evolutionary origins of prejudice and the prevention of mental illness stigma are discussed.

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Suicide and the Creative Class

Matthew Moore, Nicholas Recker & Mark Heirigs
Social Indicators Research, December 2014, Pages 1613-1626

Abstract:
The tenth leading cause of death in the United States in 2009 was suicide. Emile Durkheim demonstrated that suicide can be studied as a social phenomenon. However, sociologists have been oddly silent on the subject in recent years. Research that has been done by sociologists on suicide has examined the role social capital plays in reducing suicide. However, Richard Florida has argued that today communities are not developing around social capital, but instead moving toward his creative capital model. No study has been done examining the association between creative capital and suicide. This analysis examined what developing around a creative capital model means for suicide. The findings demonstrate that there is a positive association between creative capital and suicide. The current analysis should give pause to communities attempting to develop around the creative capital model.

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Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys

Paul Frijters, David Johnston & Michael Shields
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F688–F719

Abstract:
We investigate the extent to which childhood characteristics are predictive of adult life satisfaction using data from two British cohort studies. In total, variables observed up to age 16 predict around 7% of the variation in average adult life satisfaction. Adding contemporaneous adulthood variables increases the predictive power to 15.6%, while adding long lags of life satisfaction increases it to 35.5%. Overall, we estimate that around 30–45% of adult life satisfaction is fixed, suggesting that 55–70% is transitory in nature, and that a wide range of observed childhood circumstances capture about 15% of the fixed component.

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What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-course Model of Well-being

Richard Layard et al.
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F720–F738

Abstract:
Policy makers who care about well-being need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). We show that the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child's emotional health, followed by the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This may have implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

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Automatic control of negative emotions: Evidence that structured practice increases the efficiency of emotion regulation

Spyros Christou-Champi, Tom Farrow & Thomas Webb
Cognition and Emotion, Winter 2014, Pages 319-331

Abstract:
Emotion regulation (ER) is vital to everyday functioning. However, the effortful nature of many forms of ER may lead to regulation being inefficient and potentially ineffective. The present research examined whether structured practice could increase the efficiency of ER. During three training sessions, comprising a total of 150 training trials, participants were presented with negatively valenced images and asked either to “attend” (control condition) or “reappraise” (ER condition). A further group of participants did not participate in training but only completed follow-up measures. Practice increased the efficiency of ER as indexed by decreased time required to regulate emotions and increased heart rate variability (HRV). Furthermore, participants in the ER condition spontaneously regulated their negative emotions two weeks later and reported being more habitual in their use of ER. These findings indicate that structured practice can facilitate the automatic control of negative emotions and that these effects persist beyond training.

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Prevalence rates for depression by industry: A claims database analysis

Lawson Wulsin et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, November 2014, Pages 1805-1821

Purpose: To estimate and interpret differences in depression prevalence rates among industries, using a large, group medical claims database.

Methods: Depression cases were identified by ICD-9 diagnosis code in a population of 214,413 individuals employed during 2002–2005 by employers based in western Pennsylvania. Data were provided by Highmark, Inc. (Pittsburgh and Camp Hill, PA). Rates were adjusted for age, gender, and employee share of health care costs. National industry measures of psychological distress, work stress, and physical activity at work were also compiled from other data sources.

Results: Rates for clinical depression in 55 industries ranged from 6.9 to 16.2 %, (population rate = 10.45 %). Industries with the highest rates tended to be those which, on the national level, require frequent or difficult interactions with the public or clients, and have high levels of stress and low levels of physical activity.

Conclusions: Additional research is needed to help identify industries with relatively high rates of depression in other regions and on the national level, and to determine whether these differences are due in part to specific work stress exposures and physical inactivity at work.

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Neural and genetic markers of vulnerability to posttraumatic stress symptoms among survivors of the World Trade Center attacks

Andreas Olsson et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although recent research has begun to describe the neural and genetic processes underlying variability in responses to trauma, less is known about how these processes interact. We addressed this issue by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the relationship between post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS), a common genetic polymorphism of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene, and neural activity in response to viewing images associated with the 9/11 terrorist attack among a rare sample of high-exposure 9/11 survivors (n=17). Participants varied in whether they carried a copy of the short allele in the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene. During scanning, participants viewed images of the 9/11 attack, non-9/11 negative, and neutral images. Three key findings are reported. First, carriers of the short allele displayed higher levels of PTSS. Second, both PTSS and the presence of the short allele correlated negatively with activity in a network of cortical midline regions (e.g. the retrosplenal and more posterior cingulate corticies [PCC]) implicated in episodic memories and self-reflection when viewing 9/11 versus non-9/11 negative control images. Finally, exploratory analyses indicated that PCC activity mediated the relationship between genotype and PTSS. These results highlight the role of PCC in distress following trauma.

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Understanding the POW Experience: Stress Research and the Implementation of the 1955 U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct

Robert Genter
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Facing accusations about weak military discipline following the supposedly poor behavior of American soldiers held captive during the Korean War, President Dwight Eisenhower instituted a Code of Conduct for the Armed Services in 1955. In response, military leaders hired numerous social and behavioral scientists to investigate the nature of the prisoner-of-war (POW) experience. These researchers not only challenged official government accounts of POW activities but opened up a new field of study — stress research. They also changed military training policy, which soon focused more on stress inoculation training, and, in so doing, helped lead the shift in psychology away from behaviorism to ego and cognitive psychology. In this sense, my article ties shifts within the social and behavioral sciences in the 1950s to the military history of the early Cold War, a connection generally missing from most accounts of this period.

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Working memory training improves emotional states of healthy individuals

Hikaru Takeuchi et al.
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, October 2014

Abstract:
Working memory (WM) capacity is associated with various emotional aspects, including states of depression and stress, reactions to emotional stimuli, and regulatory behaviors. We have previously investigated the effects of WM training (WMT) on cognitive functions and brain structures. However, the effects of WMT on emotional states and related neural mechanisms among healthy young adults remain unknown. In the present study, we investigated these effects in young adults who underwent WMT or received no intervention for 4 weeks. Before and after the intervention, subjects completed self-report questionnaires related to their emotional states and underwent scanning sessions in which brain activities related to negative emotions were measured. Compared with controls, subjects who underwent WMT showed reduced anger, fatigue, and depression. Furthermore, WMT reduced activity in the left posterior insula during tasks evoking negative emotion, which was related to anger. It also reduced activity in the left frontoparietal area. These findings show that WMT can reduce negative mood and provide new insight into the clinical applications of WMT, at least among subjects with preclinical-level conditions.

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A Pilot Examination of the Use of Narrative Therapy With Individuals Diagnosed With PTSD

Christopher Erbes et al.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narrative therapy is a postmodern, collaborative therapy approach based on the elaboration of personal narratives for lived experiences. Many aspects of narrative therapy suggest it may have great potential for helping people who are negatively affected by traumatic experiences, including those diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The potential notwithstanding, narrative therapy is relatively untested in any population, and has yet to receive empirical support for treatment among survivors of trauma. A pilot investigation of the use of narrative therapy with 14 veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD (11 treatment completers) is described. Participants completed structured diagnostic interviews and self-report assessments of symptoms prior to and following 11 to 12 sessions of narrative therapy. After treatment, 3 of 11 treatment completers no longer met criteria for PTSD and 7 of 11 had clinically significant decreases in PTSD symptoms as measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale. Pre- to posttreatment effect sizes on outcomes ranged from 0.57 to 0.88. These preliminary results, in conjunction with low rates of treatment dropout (21.4%) and a high level of reported satisfaction with the treatment, suggest that further study of narrative therapy is warranted as a potential alternative to existing treatments for PTSD.

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Free Will, Counterfactual Reflection, and the Meaningfulness of Life Events

Elizabeth Seto et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found that counterfactual reflection, the act of mentally undoing past events, imbues major life experiences with meaning. The current studies examined whether individual differences in free will beliefs moderate this relationship. Participants described a significant event in their lives, were randomly assigned to counterfactual or factual reflection about the event, and completed measures of meaning and free will. Two studies found that counterfactual reflection enhanced the meaningfulness of life events for people with high belief in free will but not for people with low belief in free will. These studies suggest that beliefs in free will are an important factor in meaning-making processes.

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Spillover Effects in Health Service Use: Evidence from Mental Health Care Using First-Year College Housing Assignments

Ezra Golberstein, Daniel Eisenberg & Marilyn Downs
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spillover effects in health service use may represent an important externality of individual treatment decisions and are important for understanding the consequences of interventions to improve access to health care. This study is the first to our knowledge to examine causal spillover effects for mental health service use. We exploit the natural experiment of first-year student housing assignments at two universities using survey data that we collected. When the peer group is defined at the roommate level, we do not find any spillover effects on service use. When the peer group is defined at the hall level, we find positive spillover effects — peers' service use increases one's own service use — and this effect is driven by individuals with prior experience with mental health services. We also find some evidence that the mechanism behind this effect is improved beliefs about treatment effectiveness.

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Do (Even) Depressed Individuals Believe That Life Gets Better and Better? The Link Between Depression and Subjective Trajectories for Life Satisfaction

Michael Busseri & Emily Peck
Clinical Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the widespread belief that life gets better and better over time — as revealed in individuals’ “subjective trajectories” for life satisfaction (LS) derived from their ratings of recollected past, current, and anticipated future LS — among depressed (i.e., current major depressive disorder, fully remitted, partially remitted) and nondepressed groups using a two-wave longitudinal sample of American adults. Linear and inclining subjective trajectories (past LS < current LS < future LS) were normative among nondepressed individuals, as were nonlinear but inclining subjective trajectories (past LS ~ current LS < future LS) among depressed individuals. Furthermore, Wave 1 temporal-perspective LS ratings uniquely predicted risk of depression 10 years later (Wave 2), even after we controlled for baseline depression status. Thus, the use of a novel temporally expanded perspective revealed that even depressed individuals view their lives as improving over time and that such beliefs predict heightened (rather than less) risk of future depression.

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Control in the Face of Uncertainty: Is Job Insecurity a Challenge to the Mental Health Benefits of Control Beliefs?

Paul Glavin & Scott Schieman
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The mental health benefits of the sense of personal control are well documented, but do these benefits persist in social contexts of powerlessness and uncertainty? Drawing from two national panel surveys of American and Canadian workers, we examine whether the association between perceived control and reduced distress is undermined by the uncertainty of threatened employment. While we find evidence that higher levels of perceived control are associated with reduced distress, the association is curvilinear among insecure workers, such that subsequent increases in control produce diminishing reductions in distress for workers reporting the threat of job loss. This curvilinear pattern is particularly prominent among American insecure workers, with higher than moderate levels of control associated with more rather than less distress for this group. We draw from Mirowsky and Ross’s “instrumental realism” model to interpret these patterns and suggest that high control beliefs may be less beneficial for mental health in uncertain role contexts.

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Genomic predictors of combat stress vulnerability and resilience in U.S. Marines: A genome-wide association study across multiple ancestries implicates PRTFDC1 as a potential PTSD gene

Caroline Nievergelt et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Background: Research on the etiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has rapidly matured, moving from candidate gene studies to interrogation of the entire human genome in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Here we present the results of a GWAS performed on samples from combat-exposed US Marines and Sailors from the Marine Resiliency study (MRS) scheduled for deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The MRS is a large, prospective study with longitudinal follow-up designed to identify risk and resiliency factors for combat-induced stress-related symptoms. Previously implicated PTSD risk loci from the literature and polygenic risk scores across psychiatric disorders were also evaluated in the MRS cohort.

Methods: Participants (N = 3,494) were assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale and diagnosed using the DSM-IV diagnostic criterion. Subjects with partial and/or full PTSD diagnosis were called cases, all other subjects were designated controls, and study-wide maximum CAPS scores were used for longitudinal assessments. Genomic DNA was genotyped on the Illumina HumanOmniExpressExome array. Individual genetic ancestry was determined by supervised cluster analysis for subjects of European, African, Hispanic/Native American, and other descent. To test for association of SNPs with PTSD, logistic regressions were performed within each ancestry group and results were combined in meta-analyses. Measures of childhood and adult trauma were included to test for gene-by-environment (GxE) interactions. Polygenic risk scores from the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium were used for major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BPD), and schizophrenia (SCZ).

Results: The array produced >800 K directly genotyped and >21 M imputed markers in 3,494 unrelated, trauma-exposed males, of which 940 were diagnosed with partial or full PTSD. The GWAS meta-analysis identified the phosphoribosyl transferase domain containing 1 gene (PRTFDC1) as a genome-wide significant PTSD locus (rs6482463; OR = 1.47, SE = 0.06, p = 2.04 × 10−9), with a similar effect across ancestry groups. Association of PRTFDC1 with PTSD in an independent military cohort showed some evidence for replication. Loci with suggestive evidence of association (n = 25 genes, p < 5 × 10−6) further implicated genes related to immune response and the ubiquitin system, but these findings remain to be replicated in larger GWASs. A replication analysis of 25 putative PTSD genes from the literature found nominally significant SNPs for the majority of these genes, but associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple comparison. A cross-disorder analysis of polygenic risk scores from GWASs of BPD, MDD, and SCZ found that PTSD diagnosis was associated with risk sores of BPD, but not with MDD or SCZ.

Conclusions: This first multi-ethnic/racial GWAS of PTSD highlights the potential to increase power through meta-analyses across ancestry groups. We found evidence for PRTFDC1 as a potential novel PTSD gene, a finding that awaits further replication. Our findings indicate that the genetic architecture of PTSD may be determined by many SNPs with small effects, and overlap with other neuropsychiatric disorders, consistent with current findings from large GWAS of other psychiatric disorders.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gender preference

Resource Effects on In-Group Boundary Formation With Regard to Sexual Identity

Allison Vaughn, Sierra Cronan & Adam Beavers
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that resource scarcity decreases inclusiveness of racially ambiguous individuals when categorizing racial in-group members. Given that sexual identity can be visually ambiguous, the present studies sought to test this effect on in-group boundary formation for sexual identity in-groups. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to view a slideshow representing resource scarcity or abundance (i.e., priming procedure). Next, participants categorized 24 photographs into sexual identity groups. As predicted, participants in the scarcity condition categorized fewer faces as in-group members compared to those in the abundance condition. In Study 3, a no-prime control group revealed that for straight participants, in-group overexclusion was due to a perceived resource scarcity, while for sexual minority participants, this effect was due to perceived resource abundance. Implications are discussed in terms of real-world applications of the findings as well as the methodology utilized in this study.

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Formal Rights and Informal Privileges for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment

Long Doan, Annalise Loehr & Lisa Miller
American Sociological Review, December 2014, Pages 1172-1195

Abstract:
Attitudes toward gay rights have liberalized over the past few decades, but scholars know less about the extent to which individuals in the United States exhibit subtle forms of prejudice toward lesbians and gays. To help address this issue, we offer a conceptualization of formal rights and informal privileges. Using original data from a nationally representative survey experiment, we examine whether people distinguish between formal rights (e.g., partnership benefits) and informal privileges (e.g., public displays of affection) in their attitudes toward same-sex couples. Results show that heterosexuals are as willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples as they are to unmarried heterosexual couples. However, they are less willing to grant informal privileges. Lesbians and gays are more willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples, but they too are sometimes more supportive of informal privileges for heterosexual couples. We also find that heterosexuals’ attitudes toward marriage more closely align with their attitudes toward informal privileges than formal rights, whereas lesbians and gays view marriage similarly to both formal rights and informal privileges. Our findings highlight the need to examine multiple dimensions of sexual prejudice to help understand how informal types of prejudice persist as minority groups receive formal rights.

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Sexual Minority Women and Depressive Symptoms Throughout Adulthood

Maria Pyra et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2014, Pages e83-e90

Objectives: We examined the associations between depressive symptoms and sexual identity and behavior among women with or at risk for HIV.

Methods: We analyzed longitudinal data from 1811 participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) from 1994 to 2013 in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, by comparing depressive symptoms by baseline sexual identity and ongoing sexual behavior. We controlled for age, socioeconomic status, violence history, and substance use.

Results: In separate analyses, bisexual women and women who reported having sex with both men and women during follow-up had higher unadjusted odds of depressive symptoms compared with heterosexuals and women who reported only having male sexual partners (adjusted odd ratio [AOR] = 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI]  = 1.10, 1.69 and AOR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.06, 1.37, respectively). Age was a significant effect modifier in multivariable analysis; sexual minority women had increased odds of depressive symptoms in early adulthood, but they did not have these odds at midlife. Odds of depressive symptoms were lower among some sexual minority women at older ages.

Conclusions: Patterns of depressive symptoms over the life course of sexual minority women with or at risk for HIV might differ from heterosexual women and from patterns observed in the general aging population.

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Challenging Gender Stereotypes: Resistance and Exclusion

Kelly Lynn Mulvey & Melanie Killen
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
The likelihood of resisting gender-stereotypic peer group norms, along with expectations about personal resistance, was investigated in 9- to 10-year-olds and 13- to 14-year-olds (N = 292). Participants were told about a stereotype conforming group (boys playing football; girls doing ballet) and a stereotype nonconforming group (boys doing ballet; girls playing football). Contrary to expectations from gender-stereotyping research, participants stated that they would personally resist gender-stereotypic norms, and more so than they would expect their peers to resist. However, expecting peers to resist declined with age. Participants expected that exclusion from the group was a consequence for challenging the peer group, and understood the asymmetrical status of gender stereotypes with an expectation that it would be more difficult for boys to challenge stereotypes than for girls.

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Birth weight and two possible types of maternal effects on male sexual orientation: A clinical study of children and adolescents referred to a Gender Identity Service

Doug VanderLaan et al.
Developmental Psychobiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested predictions regarding two hypothesized maternal immune responses influencing sexual orientation: one affecting homosexual males with high fraternal birth order and another affecting firstborn homosexual individuals whose mothers experience repeated miscarriage after the birth of the first child. Low birth weight was treated as a marker of possible exposure to a maternal immune response during gestation. Birth weight was examined relative to sibship characteristics in a clinical sample of youth (N = 1,722) classified as heterosexual or homosexual based on self-reported or probable sexual orientation. No female sexual orientation differences in birth weight were found. Homosexual, compared to heterosexual, males showed lower birth weight if they had one or more older brothers — and especially two or more older brothers — or if they were an only-child. These findings support the existence of two maternal immune responses influencing male sexual orientation and possibly also cross-gender behavior and identity.

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Labelling and discrimination: Do homophobic epithets undermine fair distribution of resources?

Fabio Fasoli, Anne Maass & Andrea Carnaghi
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigated the behavioural consequences of homophobic epithets. After exposure to either a category or a homophobic label, heterosexual participants allocated fictitious resources to two different prevention programmes: one mainly relevant to heterosexuals (sterility prevention), the other to homosexuals (AIDS-HIV prevention). Responses on allocation matrices served to identify strategies that favoured the ingroup over the outgroup. Results indicated stronger ingroup-favouritism in the homophobic than in the category label condition. This study shows that discriminatory group labels have tangible effects on people's monetary behaviours in intergroup contexts, increasing their tendency to favour the ingroup when distributing resources.

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Does Knowing Why Someone is Gay Influence Tolerance? Genetic, Environmental, Choice, and “Reparative” Explanations

Robert Mitchell & Lana Dezarn
Sexuality & Culture, December 2014, Pages 994-1009

Abstract:
In the U.S., belief that sexual orientation is genetically based is tied to greater tolerance toward gay men and lesbians and a belief that they deserve rights equal to those of other citizens. This study explores whether evidence for a particular causal explanation of sexual orientation influences participants’ tolerance toward gay men and lesbians. Participants were 224 heterosexual college students provided with scientific evidence that sexual orientation is genetically caused, environmentally caused, or a choice, who then answered questionnaires assessing their attitudes toward science, their tolerance toward gay men and lesbians, their selection of the best explanation for sexual orientation, and their assessments of statements about an imagined gay man (which, together, comprised their level of support for a “reparative” explanation of gay male sexuality viewed as the result of trauma, poor father–son relations, and immorality). Participants who were male, black, religious, or believed that the environmental or choice explanation of sexual orientation was the best, were less tolerant and more supportive of the reparative explanation than, respectively, participants who were female, white, nonreligious, or believed that the genetic explanation was the best. By contrast, participants were less tolerant when they read that scientific findings support a genetic explanation than when they read that scientific findings support choice as an explanation. Participants’ level of support for the reparative explanation correlated positively with their level of intolerance, suggesting that increasing tolerance toward gay men and lesbians may be more dependent on diminishing support for tenets of the reparative explanation than in convincing heterosexuals that sexual desires are under genetic control, which may influence some heterosexuals who believe otherwise to feel more intolerant.

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Explaining Attitudes about Homosexuality in Confucian and non-Confucian Nations: Is there a ‘Cultural’ Influence?

Amy Adamczyk & Yen-hsin Alice Cheng
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of research on attitudes about homosexuality has concentrated on the global North and on Christian and Muslim majority nations. Little research attention has been given to the factors that shape tolerance in societies with a Confucian heritage. Residents of Confucian counties are less tolerant than Europeans and Americans. One reason given for this difference is the emphasis on Confucian values in many Asian societies. Using data from the World Values Survey, we examine whether values that could be described as Confucian influence attitudes in Confucian and non-Confucian nations. We find a unique Confucian cultural effect, which can partially be explained with concerns about keeping the family intact. Conversely, in Confucian societies values related to obedience, conformity, and filial piety are unrelated to attitudes. There is also a small Buddhist contextual effect, resulting in more tolerant attitudes, and the Confucian influence cannot be reduced to an Asian regional effect.

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Sex difference in travel is concentrated in adolescence and tracks reproductive interests

Emily Miner et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 December 2014

Abstract:
Sexual selection theory suggests that the sex with a higher potential reproductive rate will compete more strongly for access to mates. Stronger intra-sexual competition for mates may explain why males travel more extensively than females in many terrestrial vertebrates. A male-bias in lifetime distance travelled is a purported human universal, although this claim is based primarily on anecdotes. Following sexual maturity, motivation to travel outside the natal territory may vary over the life course for both sexes. Here, we test whether travel behaviour among Tsimane forager–horticulturalists is associated with shifting reproductive priorities across the lifespan. Using structured interviews, we find that sex differences in travel peak during adolescence when men and women are most intensively searching for mates. Among married adults, we find that greater offspring dependency load is associated with reduced travel among women, but not men. Married men are more likely to travel alone than women, but only to the nearest market town and not to other Tsimane villages. We conclude that men's and women's travel behaviour reflects differential gains from mate search and parenting across the life course.

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A Test of Biological and Behavioral Explanations for Gender Differences in Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Belinda Needham et al.
Biodemography and Social Biology, Fall 2014, Pages 156-173

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine biological and behavioral explanations for gender differences in leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a biomarker of cell aging that has been hypothesized to contribute to women’s greater longevity. Data are from a subsample (n = 851) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based study of women and men aged 45 to 84. Mediation models were used to examine study hypotheses. We found that women had longer LTL than men, but the gender difference was smaller at older ages. Gender differences in smoking and processed meat consumption partially mediated gender differences in telomere length, whereas gender differences in estradiol, total testosterone, oxidative stress, and body mass index did not. Neither behavioral nor biological factors explained why the gender difference in LTL was smaller at older ages. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess gender differences in the rate of change in LTL over time; to identify the biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors that contribute to these differences throughout the life course; and to determine whether gender differences in LTL explain the gender gap in longevity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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