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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fitting the mold

The Red Sneakers Effect: Inferring Status and Competence From Signals of Nonconformity

Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino & Anat Keinan
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how people react to nonconforming behaviors, such as entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes rather than an elegant outfit or wearing red sneakers in a professional setting. Nonconforming behaviors, as costly and visible signals, can act as a particular form of conspicuous consumption and lead to positive inferences of status and competence in the eyes of others. A series of studies demonstrates that people confer higher status and competence to nonconforming rather than conforming individuals. These positive inferences derived from signals of nonconformity are mediated by perceived autonomy and moderated by individual differences in need for uniqueness in the observers. An investigation of boundary conditions demonstrates that the positive inferences disappear when the observer is unfamiliar with the environment, when the nonconforming behavior is depicted as unintentional, and in the absence of expected norms and shared standards of formal conduct.

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Choice-Based Discrimination: Labor-Force-Type Discrimination Against Gay Men, the Obese, and Mothers

Tamar Kricheli-Katz
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2013, Pages 670–695

Abstract:
Do perceptions of controllability and choice affect the nature and magnitude of discrimination? Many groups of people, who hold seemingly controllable devalued traits, including gay men, the obese, and mothers, are discriminated against both in the labor force and in other areas of life. In this article, I show that perceptions of choice and controllability generate discrimination against individuals with seemingly controllable stigmatized traits. I use a hiring experiment in a highly controlled setting to assess this argument. The results provide strong evidence for a causal relationship between perceptions of choice and labor-force-type discrimination against gay men, obese men, and mothers. When the traits were presented as voluntary, gay men, obese men, and mothers were penalized when compared to their equally qualified counterparts in terms of hiring, salary recommendations, and competence evaluations.

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Placing Racial Stereotypes in Context: Social Desirability and the Politics of Racial Hostility

Christopher Weber et al.
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research indicates that diversity at the level of larger geographic units (e.g., counties) is linked to white racial hostility. However, research has not addressed whether diverse local contexts may strengthen or weaken the relationship between racial stereotypes and policy attitudes. In a statewide opinion survey, we find that black-white racial diversity at the zip-code level strengthens the connection between racial stereotypes and race-related policy attitudes among whites. Moreover, this effect is most pronounced among low self-monitors, individuals who are relatively immune to the effects of egalitarian social norms likely to develop within a racially diverse local area. We find that this racializing effect is most evident for stereotypes (e.g., African Americans are “violent”) that are “relevant” to a given policy (e.g., capital punishment). Our findings lend nuance to research on the political effects of racial attitudes and confirm the racializing political effects of diverse residential settings on white Americans.

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A Comparison of Skin Tone Discrimination Among African American Men: 1995 and 2003

Ekeoma Uzogara et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated perceptions of skin tone discrimination among adult African American men. Research has suggested that through negative African American stereotypes, out-group members (Whites) perceive light-skinned African Americans favorably and dark-skinned African Americans unfavorably. However, it is unclear how treatment by in-group members (other African Americans) uniquely affects men. Using data from the 1995 Detroit Area Study and the 2003 National Survey of American Life, we investigated these relationships among African American men representing a wide range of socioeconomic groups. We found that African American men’s perceptions of out-group and in-group treatment, respectively, were similar across time. Light-skinned men perceived the least out-group discrimination while dark-skinned men perceived the most out-group discrimination. In appraisals of skin tone discrimination from in-group members, medium-skinned men perceived the least discrimination, while both light- and dark-skinned men perceived more in-group discrimination. Additionally, men of lower social economic groups were more affected by skin tone bias than others. Future research should explore the influence of these out- and in-group experiences of skin tone discrimination on social and psychological functioning of African American men.

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The Criminal Justice System and the Racialization of Perceptions

Aliya Saperstein, Andrew Penner & Jessica Kizer
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2014, Pages 104-121

Abstract:
Recent research on how contact with the criminal justice system shapes racial perceptions in the United States has shown that incarceration increases the likelihood that people are racially classified by others as black, and decreases the likelihood that they are classified as white. We extend this work, using longitudinal data with information on whether respondents have been arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, and details about their most recent arrest. This allows us to ask whether any contact with the criminal justice system triggers racialization, or only certain types of contact. Additional racial categories allow us to explore the racialization of crime beyond the black-white divide. Results indicate even one arrest significantly increases the odds of subsequently being classified as black, and decreases the odds of being classified as white or Asian. This implies a broader impact of increased policing and mass incarceration on racialization and stereotyping, with consequences for social interactions, political attitudes, and research on inequality.

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White public regard: Associations among eating disorder symptomatology, guilt, and White guilt in young adult women

Janet Lydecker et al.
Eating Behaviors, January 2014, Pages 76–82

Objective: As a novel investigation of the role of White racial identity, the current study explored the link between White guilt and disordered eating.

Participants: Young adult women (N = 375), 200 of whom self-identified as White.

Methods: Measures assessed disordered eating, trait guilt, White guilt, and affect.

Results: White guilt is interrelated with disordered eating, particularly bulimic symptomatology. Distress tolerance and tendency to experience negative affect moderated the relation between White guilt and several disordered eating variables.

Conclusions: Exploration of White guilt in clinical and research settings can inform understanding and treatment of disordered eating.

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Negative Exposure: Watching Another Woman Subjected to Dominant Male Behavior During a Math Interaction Can Induce Stereotype Threat

Katie Van Loo & Robert Rydell
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined whether simply watching videos of a man behaving dominantly toward a woman during a math-related interaction hurts women’s math performance. Men and women watched videos of male–female interactions related to math (stereotype-relevant) or studying (stereotype-neutral) in which the male was dominant, the female was dominant, or the two were equally dominant. Women who watched a video of a dominant male in a math interaction showed reduced math performance and had greater worries about confirming negative in-group math stereotypes than when the video showed a studying interaction; however, women who watched a video of a man and woman equal in dominance or a dominant female did not show such performance decrements and worries. These effects did not occur for men. This work suggests that brief video exposure to male dominant behavior aimed at a female in a math context can lead women to experience stereotype threat and underperform.

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The risk of male success and failure: How performance outcomes along with a high-status identity affect gender identification, risk behavior, and self-esteem

Marc-André Reinhard, Simon Schindler & Dagmar Stahlberg
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated that failure on a task may at times increase self-esteem, known as the failure-as-an-asset effect. This effect is observed when high-status group members (e.g., referring to management positions: men) show poor performance in a domain that is seen as a low-status domain — one in which the low-status group (e.g., referring to management positions: women) typically outperforms the high-status group. In line with social identity theory, in this case the poor performance leads high-status group members to a strong identification with the high-status ingroup, resulting in higher state self-esteem. However, social identity theory originally refers not only to self-evaluation, but also to the influence on individual behavior. Building on that, we predicted that if high-status group members show higher ingroup identification after negative individual feedback in a low-status domain, they should also show stronger ingroup prototypical behavior. A great deal of research has indicated that women’s behavior is more risk-averse than is men’s behavior. Thus, men should show riskier behavior after a poor performance on a test in which women outperform men. Two studies support our hypothesis. Men with an alleged individual low performance on a fictitious test reported riskier behavioral intentions (Experiment 1), and actually showed riskier behavior in an investment game (Experiment 2), when men were outperformed by women rather than when women were outperformed by men. The opposite pattern was found for men with an individual positive performance. As predicted, these effects were mediated by men’s gender identification. Practical implications are discussed.

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The effects of system-justifying motives on endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences

Victoria Brescoll, Eric Luis Uhlmann & George Newman
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2013, Pages 891-908

Abstract:
People have a fundamental motive to view their social system as just, fair, and good and will engage in a number of strategies to rationalize the status quo (Jost & Banaji, 1994). We propose that one way in which individuals may “justify the system” is through endorsement of essentialist explanations, which attribute group differences to deep, essential causes. We suggest that system-justifying motives lead to greater endorsement of essentialist explanations because those explanations portray group differences as immutable. Study 1 employed an established system threat manipulation. We found that activating system-justifying motives increases both male and female participants’ endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences and that this effect is mediated by beliefs in immutability. In Study 2, we used a goal contagion manipulation and found that both male and female participants primed with a system-justifying goal are significantly more likely to agree with essentialist explanations for gender differences. Study 3 demonstrated that providing an opportunity to explicitly reject a system threat (an alternative means of satisfying the goal to defend the system) attenuates system threat effects on endorsement of essentialist explanations, further suggesting that this process is motivated. Finally, Studies 4a and 4b dissociated the type of cause (biological vs. social) from whether group differences are portrayed as mutable versus immutable and found that system threat increases endorsement of immutable explanations, independent of the type of cause.

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Competition in stereotyped domains: Competition, social comparison, and stereotype threat

Katie Van Loo et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, December 2013, Pages 648–660

Abstract:
The current work examines a novel and specific way in which competition can hurt the performance of negatively stereotyped individuals: by evoking stereotype threat. In four experiments, we demonstrate that women's underperformance in math when primed with competition was due to feeling worried about confirming negative stereotypes about women's math ability (i.e., stereotype threat), that the activation of negative performance stereotypes for women primed with competition was due to increased group-level social comparisons (i.e., comparing the self with men and women), and that priming competition led men to perform more poorly than women in a domain where they are negatively stereotyped (i.e., verbal ability). This research suggests that priming people with competition in contexts where they are negatively stereotyped leads to greater social comparison, activation of negative stereotypes, and concern about confirming these stereotypes, thereby decreasing stereotyped individuals' performance in the stereotyped domain.

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Embodying an outgroup: The role of racial bias and the effect of multisensory processing in somatosensory remapping

Chiara Fini et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, November 2013

Abstract:
We come to understand other people's physical and mental states by re-mapping their bodily states onto our sensorimotor system. This process, also called somatosensory resonance, is an essential ability for social cognition and is stronger when observing ingroup than outgroup members. Here we investigated, first, whether implicit racial bias constrains somatosensory resonance, and second, whether increasing the ingroup/outgroup perceived physical similarity results in an increase in the somatosensory resonance for outgroup members. We used the Visual Remapping of Touch effect as an index of individuals' ability in resonating with the others, and the Implicit Association Test to measure racial bias. In Experiment 1, participants were asked to detect near-threshold tactile stimuli delivered to their own face while viewing either an ingroup or an outgroup face receiving a similar stimulation. Our results showed that individuals' tactile accuracy when viewing an outgroup face being touched was negatively correlated to their implicit racial bias. In Experiment 2, participants received the interpersonal multisensory stimulation (IMS) while observing an outgroup member. IMS has been found to increase the perceived physical similarity between the observer's and the observed body. We tested whether such increase in ingroup/outgroup perceived physical similarity increased the remapping ability for outgroup members. We found that after sharing IMS experience with an outgroup member, tactile accuracy when viewing touch on outgroup faces increased. Interestingly, participants with stronger implicit bias against the outgroup showed larger positive change in the remapping. We conclude that shared multisensory experiences might represent one key way to improve our ability to resonate with others by overcoming the boundaries between ingroup and outgroup categories.

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Awareness of Implicit Attitudes

Adam Hahn et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on implicit attitudes has raised questions about how well people know their own attitudes. Most research on this question has focused on the correspondence between measures of implicit attitudes and measures of explicit attitudes, with low correspondence interpreted as showing that people have little awareness of their implicit attitudes. We took a different approach and directly asked participants to predict their results on upcoming Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures of implicit attitudes toward 5 social groups. We found that participants were surprisingly accurate in their predictions. Across 4 studies, predictions were accurate regardless of whether implicit attitudes were described as true attitudes or culturally learned associations (Studies 1 and 2), regardless of whether predictions were made as specific response patterns (Study 1) or as conceptual responses (Studies 2–4), and regardless of how much experience or explanation participants received before making their predictions (Study 4). Study 3 further suggested that participants’ predictions reflected unique insight into their own implicit responses, beyond intuitions about how people in general might respond. Prediction accuracy occurred despite generally low correspondence between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes, as found in prior research. Altogether, the research findings cast doubt on the belief that attitudes or evaluations measured by the IAT necessarily reflect unconscious attitudes.

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Fluid Movement and Fluid Social Cognition: Bodily Movement Influences Essentialist Thought

Michael Slepian et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rigid social categorization can lead to negative social consequences such as stereotyping and prejudice. The authors hypothesized that bodily experiences of fluidity would promote fluidity in social-categorical thinking. Across a series of experiments, fluid movements compared with nonfluid movements led to more fluid lay theories of social categories, more fluidity in social categorization, and consequences of fluid social-categorical thinking, decreased stereotype endorsement, and increased concern for social inequalities. The role of sensorimotor states in fluid social cognition, with consequences for social judgment and behavior, is discussed.

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It Pays to Be Herr Kaiser: Germans With Noble-Sounding Surnames More Often Work as Managers Than as Employees

Raphael Silberzahn & Eric Luis Uhlmann
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the field study reported here (N = 222,924), we found that Germans with noble-sounding surnames, such as Kaiser (“emperor”), König (“king”), and Fürst (“prince”), more frequently hold managerial positions than Germans with last names that either refer to common everyday occupations, such as Koch (“cook”), Bauer (“farmer”), and Becker/Bäcker (“baker”), or do not refer to any social role. This phenomenon occurs despite the fact that noble-sounding surnames never indicated that the person actually held a noble title. Because of basic properties of associative cognition, the status linked to a name may spill over to its bearer and influence his or her occupational outcomes.

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Innocuous Ignorance?: Perceptions of the American Jewish Population Size

Daniel Herda
Contemporary Jewry, October 2013, Pages 241-255

Abstract:
The current study examines the extent and correlates of ignorance regarding the size of the American Jewish population. Using the 2000 General Social Survey, I examine how large the non-Jewish respondents perceive the Jewish population to be in both the country as a whole and in their local community. Individuals of all backgrounds are found to express high levels of Jewish population innumeracy, with the vast majority overestimating. I then attempt to understand variation in estimates using hypotheses based on heuristic decision-making. Larger size estimates at the country level are most often associated with media exposure, gender, and education. At the community level, larger estimates are related most strongly to interpersonal contact with Jews. Surprisingly, size estimates are largely unrelated to stereotypes or negative attitudes toward Jews. This unique finding suggests that, contrary to the existing literature, inflated perceptions are not uniformly problematic for intergroup relations. Rather, innumeracy regarding US Jews appears to be largely innocuous and without basis in anti-Semitism.

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Distinct Heritable Influences Underpin In-Group Love and Out-Group Derogation

G.J. Lewis, C. Kandler & R. Riemann
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In-group favoritism has often been conceptualized as the flip side of out-group derogation. Whereas research has dissociated these attitudes at the phenotypic level, it is currently unknown whether such dissociation is also evident at the biological level. Here, using an adult German twin sample, which provided ratings on patriotism, nationalism, and prejudice, we tested whether common or distinct heritable influences best explained variation in in-group love and out-group derogation. Results indicated that independent genetic effects accounted for individual differences in in-group love (i.e., patriotism) and out-group derogation (i.e., prejudice). In addition, we observed that nationalism showed common genetic links to both patriotism and prejudice, albeit through distinct pathways. These findings suggest that in-group sentiment is complex at the genetic level as well as at the behavioral level. Future work is recommended to further delineate the specific biological processes underlying these heritable effects.

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Embodying the Moral Code? Thirty Years of Final Girls in Slasher Films

Angela Weaver et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
The slasher film is a subgenre of horror characterized by suspenseful scenes emphasizing victims’ fear of an antagonist and depicting graphic violence. A well-recognized characteristic of the slasher formula is the potential for viewers to quickly predict the fate of each character. Slasher films are thought to include a character known as the Final Girl who, by virtue of her refusal to engage in licentious behavior, is rewarded with survival. Although books and essays have advanced hypotheses regarding the characteristics of the Final Girl, empirical analysis has been lacking. We predicted that Final Girls would be more likely than other female characters to adhere to the traditional sexual script (e.g., less likely to engage in sexual behavior or wear revealing clothing), to exhibit prosocial behavior (i.e., the Just World Theory), and to demonstrate agency (e.g., fight behaviors). A quantitative content analysis of the 10 highest-grossing slasher films of each of the past three decades (i.e., 30 films with 226 primary characters) was performed. Relative to other female characters, Final Girls were more likely to be rated as attractive, were less likely to be shown nude or engaging in significant onscreen sexual behavior, demonstrated more prosocial behaviors as well as more agentic survival-oriented behaviors against the antagonist, and were more likely to demonstrate an androgynous gender role. Exploratory analyses of the characteristics of surviving male characters (Final Boys) are also presented. Implications of these findings for widespread cultural beliefs about women, men, and the traditional sexual script are considered.

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Their pain, our pleasure: Stereotype content and schadenfreude

Mina Cikara & Susan Fiske
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, September 2013, Pages 52–59

Abstract:
People often fail to empathize with others, and sometimes even experience schadenfreude — pleasure at others’ misfortunes. One potent predictor of schadenfreude is envy, which, according to the stereotype content model, is elicited by high-status, competitive targets. Here we review our recent research program investigating the relationships among stereotypes, envy, schadenfreude, and harm. Experiment 1 demonstrates that stereotypes are sufficient to influence affective responses to targets’ misfortunes; participants not only report feeling less negative when misfortunes befall high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets, they also smile more (assessed with facial EMG). Experiment 2 replicates the self-report findings from Experiment 1 and assesses behavioral tendencies toward envied targets; participants are more willing to endorse harming high-status, competitive targets as compared to other targets. Experiment 3 turns off the schadenfreude response by manipulating status and competition-relevant information regarding envied targets. Finally, Experiment 4 investigates affective and neural markers of intergroup envy and schadenfreude in the context of a long-standing sports rivalry and the extent to which neurophysiological correlates of schadenfreude are related to self-reported likelihood of harming rival team fans. We conclude with implications and future directions.

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Implicit Bias and the Illusion of Conscious Ill Will.

Erin Cooley, Keith Payne & Jean Phillips
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Implicit bias is defined, in part, by a lack of intent. Yet the implicit attitudes literature has made little contact with research on the experience of conscious will, which suggests that the feeling of conscious intent is an inference rather than a direct report of how actions are caused. We tested the hypothesis that inferences about one’s intentions shape whether an automatically activated attitude is endorsed explicitly. In a first study, individuals who perceived their attitudes toward gay men to be intended showed stronger implicit–explicit correspondence. In a second study, we manipulated perceptions of intent. Inferences that implicit bias was intended caused participants to express those biases on an explicit measure. A third study replicated the experimental effects and found that metacognitions of intent were especially influential among individuals who were motivated to be unprejudiced. Results suggest that metacognitive inferences about intent can shape whether automatically activated bias becomes explicitly endorsed prejudice.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tax and spend

Tax Expenditure Salience

Jacob Goldin & Yair Listokin
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate taxpayer perceptions of two tax expenditures: the charitable deduction (CD) and the home mortgage interest deduction (HMID). Our survey evidence suggests widespread misperceptions regarding both programs' incentives. Almost half of eligible taxpayers are unaware of the CD's availability. Regarding the HMID, taxpayers err in both directions: many eligible taxpayers falsely believe themselves to be ineligible while even more ineligible taxpayers falsely believe themselves to be eligible. Eligible taxpayers tend to underestimate the magnitude of both tax subsidies. Our results provide important context for evaluating the effectiveness of the CD and HMID and shed light on potential reforms.

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State Fiscal Rules and Composition Changes in Public Spending before the Election

Pi-Han Tsai
Public Finance Review, January 2014, Pages 58-91

Abstract:
Political budget cycle models have been widely tested, but few studies consider different institutional contexts and different categories of public spending. This article uses data on disaggregated expenditures to estimate the effects of balanced budget requirements on electoral cycles. Using data of American states from 1977 to 2008, the analysis finds that prior to gubernatorial elections, politicians are likely to shift public spending toward more salient categories, such as corrections, security, and welfare expenditure, and away from education expenditure. This finding is consistent with the prediction of Rogoff’s signaling model. Yet, such effects are only significant in states with weak and medium carryover restrictions and are dampened as carryover restrictions become more stringent. Thus, balanced budget requirements constrain politicians’ ability to shift spending across different categories. Without considering the balanced budget requirements, the effects of political budget cycles may be overstated.

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Four facts about dividend payouts and the 2003 tax cut

Jesse Edgerton
International Tax and Public Finance, October 2013, Pages 769-784

Abstract:
Recent literature has claimed that the 2003 U.S. dividend tax cut caused a large increase in aggregate dividend payouts. I document four simple facts that call this claim into question. First, the post-tax cut increase in dividend payouts coincided with a surge in corporate profits, such that the dividend payout ratio did not rise. Second, share repurchases increased even more rapidly than dividend payouts. Third, dividend payouts by Real Estate Investment Trusts also rose sharply, even though they did not qualify for reduced taxation. Finally, the stock market was forecasting an increase in dividend initiations by mid-2002, before the tax cut had been proposed.

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The State and Local Pay Penalty: The Effect of Skill and College Major

Max Schanzenbach
Northwestern University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Most studies of public sector compensation find that state and local workers face a pay penalty relative to private sector workers. This result is obtained via OLS wage regressions comparing workers across sectors after controlling for a variety of factors, such as age, education, establishment size, race and sex. However, this non-experimental approach is fraught with concerns over selection into state and local employment and what controls are appropriate to reduce selection issues. This paper tests for the direction and magnitude of selection in the public sector by employing two measures of ability, test scores and undergraduate major, provided in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) and the American Community Survey (ACS) respectively. Consistent with prior work, standard wage and earnings regressions in both datasets find that state and local workers with college degrees or more earn less than observationally equivalent private sector workers. However, the public sector pay penalty dramatically attenuates when proxies for skill are included in the regressions. In the NLSY, college-educated public sector workers are both less skilled and less compensated for skill compared to their private sector counterparts. Indeed, the public sector pay penalty in the NLSY can be fully explained by lower skill and, more importantly, lower returns to skill in the public sector. Similarly, the ACS analysis reveals that one-half to two-thirds of the public sector pay penalty can be explained by crude controls for undergraduate major. Undergraduate major is a strong proxy for both skill and outside options available to employees. Further analysis of the ACS data reveals that (1) state and local workers enjoy a pay premium relative to non-profit employees, and (2) there is dramatic regional variation in the state and local pay penalty, suggesting the importance of institutional factors.

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The Curious Case of the Post-9-11 Boost in Government Job Satisfaction

Gregg Van Ryzin
American Review of Public Administration, January 2014, Pages 59-74

Abstract:
Government job satisfaction has been shown to reflect individual, job and organizational characteristics, but important national crises or events that dramatically alter the image of public service in society and the meaning of work in the public sector may also play a role. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, are an important example, yet it is not known how the attacks and their aftermath may have influenced the everyday job satisfaction of government workers in the United States. Using a difference-in-difference regression strategy and data from the General Social Survey, this study compares change in job satisfaction of government workers to that of private sector workers before and after the attacks. The findings indicate that 9-11 may have boosted government job satisfaction 5 to 10 percentage points, representing 1 to 2 million additional satisfied government workers in the United States. Thus important national crises may causally influence government job satisfaction in nontrivial ways.

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Reevaluating the Effect of Tax and Expenditure Limitations: An Instrumental Variable Approach

Rui Sun
Public Finance Review, January 2014, Pages 92-116

Abstract:
This article evaluates the effect of tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) on municipal general own-source revenue in the United States. Using an instrumental variable approach, this study addresses the endogeneity problem of TELs that has been largely overlooked in previous research. Data are collected on 724 US cities with populations of at least 25,000 from 1970 to 2006. Results indicate that when the endogeneity of TELs is taken into account, TELs lead to considerable reductions in property taxes but substantial increases in sales taxes, income taxes, and user charges per capita. The increases in the latter forms of revenue not only offset the loss in property taxes but also generate a supplemental revenue effect, resulting in a net gain of total municipal general own-source revenue per capita. The study provides important policy implications and suggests that TELs may have unintended consequences and lead to bigger government.

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Too Good to Be True? How State Charitable Tax Credits Could Increase Federal Funding for California

Phillip Blackman & Kirk Stark
University of California Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
An IRS chief counsel memorandum published in 2010 found that a taxpayer was permitted to claim a charitable contribution deduction for the full amount of a gift, even though a substantial portion of the gift was effectively refunded to the taxpayer through a charitable state tax credit. In this article, Blackman and Stark explain that the IRS memorandum permits states to adopt charitable tax credits that effectively enable taxpayers to convert state taxes to charitable gifts — a strategy that would be attractive to alternative minimum taxpayers. Those state charitable tax credits (some with extraordinarily high credit percentages) appear to be on the rise, perhaps in part because they effectively enable a transfer of revenue from the federal government to the states. The authors believe the memorandum should be repudiated (as a matter of appropriate federal tax policy), but if it is not, states should consider taking advantage of it. The article discusses how the strategy applies in the case of proposed California legislation that would permit a 60 percent tax credit for contributions to a state fund designed to increase financial support for low- and middle-income students to pursue secondary education.

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Taxpayer Confusion Over Predictable Tax Liability Changes: Evidence from the Child Tax Credit

Naomi Feldman, Peter Katuscak & Laura Kawano
Federal Reserve Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
We develop a model of how taxpayers update beliefs over their tax rates when they encounter a non-salient tax liability change. We test the model's hypotheses using the loss of the Child Tax Credit when a child turns 17. Because this tax liability change is lump-sum and predictable, there should be no reaction in labor income if taxpayers are fully informed. Using this age discontinuity, we find, however, that losing the credit reduces household labor income. This finding suggests that taxpayers misperceive the source of tax liability changes, leading to under- or over-reactions to changes in marginal tax rates.

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To Starve or Not to Starve the Beast?

Michael Kumhof, Douglas Laxton & Daniel Leigh
Journal of Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
For thirty years, prominent voices have advocated a policy of starving the beast-cutting taxes to force government spending cuts. This paper analyzes the macroeconomic and welfare consequences of this policy using a two-country general equilibrium model. Under several strong assumptions, the policy, if fully implemented, produces domestic output and welfare gains accompanied by losses elsewhere. But negative effects can easily arise in the presence of longer policy implementation lags, utility-enhancing government spending, and productive government capital. Overall, the analysis finds no support for the idea that starving the beast is a foolproof way towards higher output and welfare.

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Strategic Planning and the Fiscal Performance of City Governments during the Great Recession

Benedict Jimenez
American Review of Public Administration, September 2013, Pages 581-601

Abstract:
Strategic planning has the potential to enable cities to weather the effects of fiscal crises. City officials can use the information gathered though internal and external scanning to implement fiscal policy changes that can minimize their governments’ exposure to external fiscal shocks, and to experiment with alternative service delivery arrangements that generate cost savings. Linking strategic plans to budgets allows cities to focus on core services, and reduce expenditures for nonessential programs. Strategic plans can also provide a framework for operations, facilitating closer cooperation and coordination among managers and workers in preventing the further deterioration in the fiscal condition of their organization. Can cities that implement comprehensive strategic planning adjust better to the current fiscal crisis and minimize their budget deficits? The results of advanced econometric analysis are inconclusive. Adjusting for selection bias and endogeneity, strategic planning is associated with the perception of improving city government fiscal health. Planning, however, has no effect on actual deficits.

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Tax multipliers and monetary policy: Evidence from a threshold model

Paul Jones & Eric Olson
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Romer and Romer (2010) use the narrative record to generate a time series of exogenous shocks to fiscal policy. They report a tax multiplier of 3.0. We extend their analysis and allow for nonlinearities between their shocks and the effects on output by estimating a Threshold Regression Model. Using Hansen’s (1997) procedure, we find the best fitting threshold is changes in the federal funds rate with a delay of two quarters. Moreover, we find that the tax multiplier is approximately 4.3 if accompanied by accommodative monetary policy and approximately 1.2 under tight monetary policy.

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Roads and Trade: Evidence from the US

Gilles Duranton, Peter Morrow & Matthew Turner
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of interstate highways on the level and composition of trade for us cities. Highways within cities have a large effect on the weight of city exports with an elasticity of approximately 0.5. We find little effect of highways on the total value of exports. Consistent with this, we find that cities with more highways specialize in sectors producing heavy goods.

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The Impact of Late Budgets on State Government Borrowing Costs

Asger Lau Andersen, David Dreyer Lassen & Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen
Journal of Public Economics, January 2014, Pages 27–35

Abstract:
We analyze how a key component of fiscal governance, the ability of governments to pass a budget on time, affects government bond yield spreads. Based on a sample of 36 US states from 1988 to 1997, and using an original data set on budget enactment dates, we estimate that a 30 day budget delay has a cumulative impact that is equivalent to a one-time increase in the yield spread of around 10 basis points. States with sufficient liquidity incur no costs from late budgets, while unified governments face large penalties from not finishing a budget on time.

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A Spoonful of Choice: How Allocation Increases Satisfaction with Tax Payments

Cait Lamberton
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Fall 2013, Pages 223-238

Abstract:
How can tax payment be made more satisfying? The author focuses on the low volition and collective nature of tax-funded benefits as primary causes of low satisfaction with tax payment. Three studies suggest that allowing people to allocate a small portion (in the present research, 10%) of their payment across budgets provided by the billing party both introduces an element of volition into the payment process and increases the perceived benefit associated with tax payment. As a result, the author concludes that taxpayers are significantly more satisfied with paying taxes when they allocate their payments, even if their payment amount remains completely unchanged. In addition to enhancing taxpayer satisfaction, an allocation program, if well implemented, could provide some hope for correcting existing lack of voice, address disconnects between spending and taxpayers' priorities, and increase civic engagement in general.

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The Impact of Headquarter and Subsidiary Locations on Multinationals' Effective Tax Rates

Kevin Markle & Douglas Shackelford
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
We examine effective tax rates (ETRs) for 9,022 multinationals from 87 countries from 2006 to 2011. We find that, despite extensive investments in international tax avoidance, multinationals headquartered in Japan, the U.S., and some high-tax European countries continue to face substantially higher worldwide taxes than their counterparts in havens and other less heavily taxed locations. Other findings include: (a) Effective tax rates remained steady over the investigation period; (b) Entering a tax haven country for the first time results in a slight reduction in the firm’s ETR; (c) ETR changes vary depending on whether the subsidiary is a financial conduit or an operating subsidiary. These results should aid ongoing international tax policy debates and expand scholars’ understanding about the taxation of multinationals.

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Did Cuts in State Aid During the Great Recession Lead to Changes in Local Property Taxes?

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Max Livingston & Joydeep Roy
Federal Reserve Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
During the Great Recession and its aftermath, state and local governments’ revenue streams dried up due to diminished taxes. Budget cuts affected many aspects of government; in this paper, we investigate whether (and how) local school districts modified their funding and taxing decisions in response to changes in state aid in the post-recession period. Using detailed district-level panel data from New York and a fixed effects as well as an instrumental variables strategy, we find strong evidence that school districts did indeed respond to state aid cuts in the post-recession period by countering the cuts. In comparison with the pre-recession period, a unit decrease in state aid was associated with a relative increase in local funding per pupil. To further probe the school district role, we explore whether the property tax rate, which districts set each year in response to budgetary needs, also responded to state aid cuts. Indeed, we find that relative to the pre-recession period, the post-recession period was characterized by a strong negative relationship between the property tax rate and state aid per pupil. In other words, after the recession a unit decrease in state aid was associated with a relative increase in the property tax rate in the post-recession period (in comparison with the pre-recession period).

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The Effect of National Revenues on Sub-National Revenues: Evidence from the U.S.

Brian Galle
International Review of Law and Economics, March 2014, Pages 147–155

Abstract:
I present for the first time an empirical examination of the impact of total federal revenues on total sub-national proceeds. Prior theory recognizes that the effects of national revenues on sub-national revenue-raising are ambiguous. Earlier studies have focused on vertical relationships between particular tax bases, such as the impact of federal commodity taxes on state or provincial commodity tax rates. Using a panel of data from U.S. states over the recent decade, I find an economically and statistically significant degree of federal crowding in of state revenues. Also, employing a difference-in-differences design to study the impact of a 2004 change in the federal deductibility of state general sales taxes, I find modest evidence that deductibility increased state revenues in states more dependent on the sales tax. I note the potential implications of these results for fiscal federalism theory and legal controversies over federal conditional spending.

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Balancing Demands: The World Economy and the Composition of Policy Preferences

Timothy Hellwig
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Researchers remain divided on the consequences of market integration. Some argue that openness increases pressures for social protection; others claim that liberalization constrains policy makers. These debates gloss over a key link between globalization and domestic politics: the preferences of the electorate. This article argues that exposure to flows of goods, services, and capital matters for policy attitudes. However, the extent to which signals from the world economy affect preferences depends on issue domain. Voters respond to signals from the world economy by demanding less in areas where constrained governments can no longer deliver but more where they still can. The implication is that while globalization has no consistent influence on general support for government action, it does matter for the composition of policy preferences. A range of data analyses supports these claims. Results shed new light on arguments about the effect of globalization on domestic politics.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Term of endearment

Though They May Be Unaware, Newlyweds Implicitly Know Whether Their Marriage Will Be Satisfying

James McNulty et al.
Science, 29 November 2013, Pages 1119-1120

Abstract:
For decades, social psychological theories have posited that the automatic processes captured by implicit measures have implications for social outcomes. Yet few studies have demonstrated any long-term implications of automatic processes, and some scholars have begun to question the relevance and even the validity of these theories. At baseline of our longitudinal study, 135 newlywed couples (270 individuals) completed an explicit measure of their conscious attitudes toward their relationship and an implicit measure of their automatic attitudes toward their partner. They then reported their marital satisfaction every 6 months for the next 4 years. We found no correlation between spouses’ automatic and conscious attitudes, which suggests that spouses were unaware of their automatic attitudes. Further, spouses’ automatic attitudes, not their conscious ones, predicted changes in their marital satisfaction, such that spouses with more positive automatic attitudes were less likely to experience declines in marital satisfaction over time.

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Oxytocin enhances brain reward system responses in men viewing the face of their female partner

Dirk Scheele et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The biological mechanisms underlying long-term partner bonds in humans are unclear. The evolutionarily conserved neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is associated with the formation of partner bonds in some species via interactions with brain dopamine reward systems. However, whether it plays a similar role in humans has as yet not been established. Here, we report the results of a discovery and a replication study, each involving a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject, pharmaco-functional MRI experiment with 20 heterosexual pair-bonded male volunteers. In both experiments, intranasal OXT treatment (24 IU) made subjects perceive their female partner's face as more attractive compared with unfamiliar women but had no effect on the attractiveness of other familiar women. This enhanced positive partner bias was paralleled by an increased response to partner stimuli compared with unfamiliar women in brain reward regions including the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). In the left NAcc, OXT even augmented the neural response to the partner compared with a familiar woman, indicating that this finding is partner-bond specific rather than due to familiarity. Taken together, our results suggest that OXT could contribute to romantic bonds in men by enhancing their partner's attractiveness and reward value compared with other women.

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The 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism in the Serotonin Transporter Gene Moderates the Association Between Emotional Behavior and Changes in Marital Satisfaction Over Time

Claudia Haase et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some individuals become dissatisfied with their marriages when levels of negative emotion are high and levels of positive emotions are low, whereas others remain unaffected? Using data from a 13-year longitudinal study of middle-aged and older adults in long-term marriages, we examined whether the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene moderates the association between negative and positive emotional behavior (objectively measured during marital conflict) and changes in marital satisfaction over time. For individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR, higher negative and lower positive emotional behavior at Time 1 predicted declines in marital satisfaction over time (even after controlling for depression and other covariates). For individuals with one or two long alleles, emotional behavior did not predict changes in marital satisfaction. We also found evidence for a crossover interaction (individuals with two short alleles of 5-HTTLPR and low levels of negative or high levels of positive emotion had the highest levels of marital satisfaction). These findings provide the first evidence of a specific genetic polymorphism that moderates the association between emotional behavior and changes in marital satisfaction over time and are consistent with increasing evidence that the short allele of this polymorphism serves as a susceptibility factor that amplifies sensitivity to both negative and positive emotional influences.

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Sex Differences in the Implications of Partner Physical Attractiveness for the Trajectory of Marital Satisfaction

Andrea Meltzer et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do men value physical attractiveness in a mate more than women? Scientists in numerous disciplines believe that they do, but recent research using speed-dating paradigms suggests that males and females are equally influenced by physical attractiveness when choosing potential mates. Nevertheless, the premise of the current work is that sex differences in the importance of physical attractiveness are most likely to emerge in research on long-term relationships. Accordingly, the current work drew from 4 independent, longitudinal studies to examine sex differences in the implications of partner physical attractiveness for trajectories of marital satisfaction. In all 4 studies, both partners’ physical attractiveness was objectively rated at baseline, and both partners reported their marital satisfaction up to 8 times over the first 4 years of marriage. Whereas husbands were more satisfied at the beginning of the marriage and remained more satisfied over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive wife, wives were no more or less satisfied initially or over the next 4 years to the extent that they had an attractive husband. Most importantly, a direct test indicated that partner physical attractiveness played a larger role in predicting husbands’ satisfaction than predicting wives’ satisfaction. These findings strengthen support for the idea that sex differences in self-reported preferences for physical attractiveness do have implications for long-term relationship outcomes.

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Divorce laws and divorce rate in the US

Stefania Marcassa
B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, August 2013

Abstract:
At the end of the 1960s, the US divorce law underwent major changes and the divorce rate almost doubled in all of the states. This paper shows that changes in property division, alimony transfers, and child custody assignments account for a substantial share of the increase in the divorce rate, especially for young, college educated couples with children. I solve and calibrate a model where agents make decisions on their marital status, savings, and labor supply. Under the new financial settlements, divorced men gain from a higher share of property, while women gain from an increase in alimony and child support transfers. The introduction of the unilateral decision to divorce has limited effects.

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Emotion Regulation Predicts Marital Satisfaction: More Than a Wives’ Tale

Lian Bloch, Claudia Haase & Robert Levenson
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotion regulation is generally thought to be a critical ingredient for successful interpersonal relationships. Ironically, few studies have investigated the link between how well spouses regulate emotion and how satisfied they are with their marriages. We utilized data from a 13-year, 3-wave longitudinal study of middle-aged (40–50 years old) and older (60–70 years old) long-term married couples, focusing on the associations between downregulation of negative emotion (measured during discussions of an area of marital conflict at Wave 1) and marital satisfaction (measured at all 3 waves). Downregulation of negative emotion was assessed by determining how quickly spouses reduced signs of negative emotion (in emotional experience, emotional behavior, and physiological arousal) after negative emotion events. Data were analyzed using actor-partner interdependence modeling. Findings showed that (a) greater downregulation of wives’ negative experience and behavior predicted greater marital satisfaction for wives and husbands concurrently and (b) greater downregulation of wives’ negative behavior predicted increases in wives’ marital satisfaction longitudinally. Wives’ use of constructive communication (measured between Waves 1 and 2) mediated the longitudinal associations. These results show the benefits of wives’ downregulation of negative emotion during conflict for marital satisfaction and point to wives’ constructive communication as a mediating pathway.

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Determinants of Long-Term Unions: Who Survives the “Seven Year Itch”?

Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori
Population Research and Policy Review, December 2013, Pages 851-891

Abstract:
Most studies of union formation focus on short-term probabilities of marrying, cohabiting, or divorcing in the next year. In this study, we take a long-term perspective by considering joint probabilities of marrying or cohabiting by certain ages and maintaining the unions for at least 8, 12, or even 24 years. We use data for female respondents in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to estimate choice models for multiple stages of the union-forming process. We then use the estimated parameters to simulate each woman’s sequence of union transitions from ages 18–46, and use the simulated outcomes to predict probabilities that women with given characteristics follow a variety of long-term paths. We find that a typical, 18 year-old woman with no prior unions has a 22 % chance of cohabiting or marrying within 4 years and maintaining the union for 12+ years; this predicted probability remains steady until the woman nears age 30, when it falls to 17 %. We also find that unions entered via cohabitation contribute significantly to the likelihood of experiencing a long-term union, and that this contribution grows with age and (with age held constant) as women move from first to second unions. This finding reflects the fact that the high probability of entering a cohabiting union more than offsets the relatively low probability of maintaining it for the long-term. Third, the likelihood of forming a union and maintaining it for the long-term is highly sensitive to race, but is largely invariant to factors that can be manipulated by public policy such as divorce laws, welfare benefits, and income tax laws.

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Go Long! Predictors of Positive Relationship Outcomes in Long Distance Dating Relationships

Emma Dargie et al.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little is known about one common relationship type: long distance dating relationships (LDDRs). The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between LDDRs and geographically close relationships (GCRs) and to explore predictors of relationship quality. In total, 474 females and 243 males in LDDRs, and 314 females and 111 males in GCRs participated in an online study. Few differences existed between LDDRs and GCRs, while individual and relationship characteristics predicted relationship quality. These results indicate that those in LDDRs are not at a disadvantage, and that relationship and individual characteristics predict relationship quality. This knowledge could be a powerful tool for helping those in LDDRs.

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Perceived gender inequality in the couple relationship and musculoskeletal pain in middle-aged women and men

Anna Bohlin et al.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, December 2013, Pages 825-831

Aims: Musculoskeletal pain is a major health problem, especially in women, and is partially determined by psychosocial factors. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether gender inequality in the couple relationship was related to musculoskeletal pain.

Methods: Participants (n=721; 364 women and 357 men) were all individuals living in a couple relationship in the Northern Swedish Cohort, a 26-year Swedish cohort study. Self-administered questionnaire data at age 42 years comprised perceived gender inequality in the couple relationship and musculoskeletal pain (in three locations, summarised into one score and median-split), concurrent demographic factors, psychological distress, and previous musculoskeletal pain at age 30 years. Associations were examined using logistic regression.

Results: Gender inequality was positively associated with symptoms of musculoskeletal pain in the total sample, remaining significant after addition of possible confounders and of previous musculoskeletal pain. Separate adjustment for concurrent psychological distress attenuated the association but not below significance. The association was present and of comparable strength in both women and men.

Conclusions: Gender inequality in the couple relationship might contribute to the experience of musculoskeletal pain in both women and men. The results highlight the potential adverse bodily consequences of living in unequal relationships.

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The Relationship Between Objective Sperm Competition Risk and Men’s Copulatory Interest Is Moderated by Partner’s Time Spent with Other Men

Michael Pham & Todd Shackelford
Human Nature, December 2013, Pages 476-485

Abstract:
Men who spend a greater proportion of time apart from their female partner since the couple’s last copulation are at greater “objective” sperm competition risk. We propose a novel cue to sperm competition risk: the time she spends with her male friends. Four hundred and twenty men in a committed, heterosexual, sexual relationship completed a questionnaire. The results indicate that men at greater objective sperm competition risk report less time desired until the couple’s next copulation, greater interest in copulating with their partner, and greater anger, frustration, and upset in response to their partner’s sexual rejection, but only among men whose partner spends more time with her male friends. These results remain after controlling statistically for the participant’s age and their partner’s age. We discuss limitations of the current research, and discuss how research in human sperm competition can inform social issues, including men’s partner-directed sexual coercion.

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Valuable Vows? Same-Sex Marriage Legalization and an Examination of the Marriage Premium

Ian Burn & Osborne Jackson
Northeastern University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between legalized same-sex marriage and the wage differential between homosexual and heterosexual men. Theory suggests that higher wages observed for heterosexual married men may or may not be productivity-driven. Using 1990 U.S. Census data, we confirm that homosexual men earned lower wages than comparable heterosexual men primarily due to the marriage premium. Adding 2011 ACS data, we find that same-sex marriage legalization in several states is associated with significant increases in the wages of gay males compared to heterosexual males. We detect little evidence of productivity-related explanations, suggesting that employer discrimination may be the primary cause of the marriage premium.

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Jealousy in a small-scale, natural fertility population: The roles of paternity, investment and love in jealous response

Brooke Scelza
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evolutionary scientists have predicted a universal sex difference in response to different forms of infidelity, with men expected to be more upset than women by a sexual infidelity when both a sexual and an emotional transgression occur. Although this finding has proven to be robust, the vast majority of studies have occurred in industrialized countries and student populations. Here I present the first test of the jealousy hypothesis among a small-scale, natural fertility population, the Himba of Namibia. In this population, the majority of both men and women report greater distress over a sexual infidelity, with men reaching an almost unanimous consensus (96%). Despite the skew for both men and women, there is a significant sex difference in the direction predicted by the evolutionary hypothesis, providing further support for this view. The increased risks of both pregnancy and paternity loss that occur in this natural fertility population may help to explain why these results differ from previously studied populations. More broadly, these data suggest that both the type and the intensity of jealousy expressed may be facultative responses and that further investigation of correlates related to life history trade-offs, forms of investment, and the sexual division of labor can help us to understand the inter-cultural variation in jealous response.

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Secure attachment and material reward both attenuate romantic jealousy

Dylan Selterman & Markus Maier
Motivation and Emotion, December 2013, Pages 765-775

Abstract:
Research has shown that social support and materialism can both serve as coping mechanisms, reducing individuals’ experiences of physical and social pain (Zhou and Gao in Psychol Inq 19(3–4):127–144, 2008). We extend this paradigm by testing the buffering effects of secure attachment and material reward on a specific form of social psychological pain: romantic jealousy. Two studies examined the effects of these variables after an imagined relational threat. Participants were primed with (a) secure attachment, (b) material reward, or (c) neutral control, and then responded to a hypothetical scenario involving their romantic partners behaving flirtatiously with a rival. Results from both studies showed that the secure attachment and material reward primes both attenuated jealous responses to the provoking stimuli, relative to the neutral control prime. Neither trait attachment styles nor chronic jealousy moderated the priming effects in Study 1, but attachment styles did slightly moderate the priming effects in Study 2.

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Repackaging the “Package Deal”: Promoting Marriage for Low-Income Families by Targeting Paternal Identity and Reframing Marital Masculinity

Jennifer Randles
Gender & Society, December 2013, Pages 864-888

Abstract:
In the 1996 overhaul of federal welfare legislation, Congress included provisions to promote employment, marriage, and responsible fatherhood to prevent poverty among low-income families. Little previous research has focused on how marriage promotion policies construct paternal identity. Drawing on data from an 18-month study of a federally funded relationship skills program for low-income, unmarried parents, I analyze how responsible fatherhood policies attempt to shape ideas of successful fatherhood and masculinity in the service of the government’s pro-marriage, antipoverty agenda. The program promoted a class-specific version of what I call marital masculinity, one that seeks to redefine marriageability for low-income men by claiming that marriage comes before financial success and encourages fathers to earn more. It did this by targeting fathers’ masculine identities in two ways: first, by emasculating fathers who only provide financially for their children, and second, by promoting a highly gendered conception of paternal caregiving. By analyzing how this strategy can be understood as both empowering and controlling for low-income men, this research adds to the sociological literature on how welfare policies shape paternal identity and gendered family practices.

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Marital distress prospectively predicts poorer cellular immune function

Lisa Jaremka et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, November 2013, Pages 2713–2719

Objective: Distressed marriages enhance risk for a variety of health problems. Immune dysregulation is one potential mechanism; cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that marital distress is linked to maladaptive immune alterations. The current study filled an important gap in the literature by examining the ability of marital distress to prospectively predict immune alterations over a two-year period.

Method: Participants were 90 couples (N = 180 individuals; Mage = 25.67) married less than a year at the time of their first study visit. Both members of a couple completed a baseline assessment of marital quality and provided blood samples at baseline and two years later. 63 couples (N = 123 individuals) completed the follow-up assessment.

Results: Spouses in more distressed marriages had larger declines in cellular immune function over time than spouses in less distressed marriages. Furthermore, the results were highly consistent across two different indices, proliferative responses to two mitogens, concanavalin A (Con A) and phytohemagglutinin (PHA).

Conclusions: Marital distress has a variety of negative health consequences. The current study provided important evidence that marital distress has longer-term immune consequences. Accordingly, the present results provide a glimpse into the pathways through which marital distress may impact health over time.

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Childhood Family Structure and Romantic Relationships During the Transition to Adulthood

Giuseppina Valle & Kathryn Harker Tillman
Journal of Family Issues, January 2014, Pages 97-124

Abstract:
We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine whether childhood family structure experiences influence the development of romantic relationships during adolescence and whether adolescent relationships, in turn, help to shape long-term relationship trajectories. Young people who live in “nontraditional” families during their childhood are more likely than their peers to engage in romantic relationships during adolescence. Family-related mechanisms are significant mediators of this association. Individuals who were raised in stepparent and single-parent families are also more likely to cohabit during adulthood, and those who were raised in single-parent families are less likely to have ever married. Childhood family structure is not associated with serious relationship conflict during adolescence or adulthood, however. Moreover, although adolescent relationship experiences have long-term effects on relationship trajectories, they do not significantly mediate the associations between childhood family structure and relationship outcomes in adulthood.

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Weighty Dynamics: Exploring Couples' Perceptions of Post-Weight-Loss Interaction

Lynsey Kluever Romo & René Dailey
Health Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although romantic couples can use communication to help one another lose weight and maintain weight loss, the effect of weight loss on partner interaction is less understood. However, an examination of the interpersonal context in which partners manage their weight is important to help partners negotiate their weight, their relationship, and the U.S. obesity epidemic. Guided by systems theory, this study explored partners’ perceptions of post-weight-loss interaction in relationships in which one partner lost weight and the other did not. Through qualitative questionnaires of 42 adults (21 romantic couples), the dyadic investigation revealed that while losing weight resulted in positive interaction for many partners (e.g., engaging in a shared healthy lifestyle), shedding weight also yielded some negative consequences (e.g., non-weight-loss partner criticism). The extent to which partners embraced new weight management rules and patterns largely influenced post-weight-loss communication and behavior.

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It did not mean anything (about me): Cognitive dissonance theory and the cognitive and affective consequences of romantic infidelity

Joshua Foster & Tiffany Misra
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, November 2013, Pages 835-857

Abstract:
Perpetrating romantic infidelity is discrepant with how most individuals see themselves and theoretically should produce cognitive dissonance. Accordingly, perpetrators of infidelity should experience symptoms of dissonance (e.g. self-concept discrepancy, psychological discomfort, poor affect) and employ tactics that reduce these symptoms (e.g. trivialization). These hypotheses were tested in four experiments. In each experiment, participants were given bogus feedback indicating that they had acted either faithfully or unfaithfully during a prior romantic relationship (this manipulation was evaluated in experiment 1). Participants who received unfaithful feedback reported higher levels of self-concept discrepancy, psychological discomfort, and poor affect (experiments 2 and 4) and trivialized to a greater extent the importance of their ostensive infidelities (experiments 3 and 4). Experiment 4 further showed that trivialization significantly reduced self-concept discrepancy and psychological discomfort but not poor affect. These results are generally consistent with the view that infidelity is a dissonance arousing behavior and that perpetrators of infidelity respond in ways that reduce cognitive dissonance.

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Soothing the Threatened Brain: Leveraging Contact Comfort with Emotionally Focused Therapy

Susan Johnson et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2013

Abstract:
Social relationships are tightly linked to health and well-being. Recent work suggests that social relationships can even serve vital emotion regulation functions by minimizing threat-related neural activity. But relationship distress remains a significant public health problem in North America and elsewhere. A promising approach to helping couples both resolve relationship distress and nurture effective interpersonal functioning is Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT), a manualized, empirically supported therapy that is strongly focused on repairing adult attachment bonds. We sought to examine a neural index of social emotion regulation as a potential mediator of the effects of EFT. Specifically, we examined the effectiveness of EFT for modifying the social regulation of neural threat responding using an fMRI-based handholding procedure. Results suggest that EFT altered the brain's representation of threat cues in the presence of a romantic partner. EFT-related changes during stranger handholding were also observed, but stranger effects were dependent upon self-reported relationship quality. EFT also appeared to increase threat-related brain activity in regions associated with self-regulation during the no-handholding condition. These findings provide a critical window into the regulatory mechanisms of close relationships in general and EFT in particular.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 2, 2013

Divided against itself

The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness

Chadly Stern, Tessa West & Peter Schmitt
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies, we demonstrated that liberals underestimate their similarity to other liberals (i.e., display truly false uniqueness), whereas moderates and conservatives overestimate their similarity to other moderates and conservatives (i.e., display truly false consensus; Studies 1 and 2). We further demonstrated that a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives in the motivation to feel unique explains this ideological distinction in the accuracy of estimating similarity (Study 2). Implications of the accuracy of consensus estimates for mobilizing liberal and conservative political movements are discussed.

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Electoral Choice, Ideological Conflict, and Political Participation

Jon Rogowski
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Generations of democratic theorists argue that democratic systems should present citizens with clear and distinct electoral choices. Responsible party theorists further argued that political participation increases with greater ideological conflict between competing electoral options. Empirical evidence on this question, however, remains deeply ambiguous. This article introduces new joint estimates of citizen preferences and the campaign platforms chosen by pairs of candidates in U.S. House and Senate races. The results show that increasing levels of ideological conflict reduce voter turnout, and are robust across a wide range of empirical specifications. Furthermore, the findings provide no support for existing accounts that emphasize how ideology or partisanship explains the relationship between ideological conflict and turnout. Instead, I find that increasing levels of candidate divergence reduce turnout primarily among citizens with lower levels of political sophistication. These findings provide the strongest evidence to date for how mass political behavior is conditioned by electoral choice.

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Ideological Change and the Economics of Voting Behavior in the US, 1920-2008

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper tests the proposition that voters advance a more liberal agenda in prosperous times and turn more conservative in dire economic times. A reference-dependent utility model suggests that, with income growth, the relative demand for public goods increases and the median voter is more likely to vote Democrat. With slowing income growth, the median voter derives increased marginal utility from personal income — making taxation more painful — and is more likely to vote Republican. Ordinary and instrumented analyses of a new time series for the US median voter are encouraging of this income growth model. This work links voting behavior to economic business cycles and shows that ideological change is endogenous to income growth rates.

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The impact of place? A reassessment of the importance of the South in affecting beliefs about racial inequality

Scott Carter et al.
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research shows that individuals living in the southern part of the United States express more negative racial attitudes than those living outside the South. Using data from The American National Election Study (NES), the purpose of this paper is to assess whether key factors often associated with the Southern attitude distinction are indeed more potent in the South than elsewhere. Drawing data from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, we further assess whether the impact of the South has increased or decreased over time. Results indicate that the impact of the South is negligible at best. Findings do show that place does matter for conservatives. However, in this case, non-South location matters more than the South. Relative to their liberal counterparts, conservatives in the non-South espouse more individualistic beliefs than do their Southern counterparts. These findings are discussed within the dominant theoretical framework in this area.

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New Support for the Big Sort Hypothesis: An Assessment of Partisan Geographic Sorting in California, 1992–2010

Jesse Sussell
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2013, Pages 768-773

Abstract:
This article empirically examines the “Big Sort hypothesis” — the notion that, in recent years, liberal and conservative Americans have become increasingly spatially isolated from one another. Using block group-, tract-, and county-level party registration data and presidential election returns, I construct two formal indices of segregation for 1992–2010 in California and evaluate those indices for evidence of growth in the segregation of Californians along ideological lines. Evidence of rising geographic segregation between Democrats and Republicans for measures generated from both party registration and presidential vote data is found. This growth is statistically significant for 10 of the 12 segregation measures analyzed. In addition, many of the increases are practically significant, with estimates of growth in segregation during the observation period ranging from 2% to 23%.

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How Ideological Migration Geographically Segregates Groups

Matt Motyl et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2014, Pages 1–14

Abstract:
Here, we advance the ideological migration hypothesis — individuals choose to live in communities with ideologies similar to their own to satisfy their need to belong. In Study 1, incongruity between personal and community ideology predicted greater residential mobility and attraction to more ideologically-congruent communities. In Study 2, participants who perceived their ideology to be at odds with their community’s displayed a decreased sense of belonging and an increased desire to migrate. In Studies 3 and 4, participants induced to view their current community as growing more incongruent with their own ideology expressed a decreased sense of belonging and an increased desire to migrate. Ideological migration may contribute to the rise in cultural, moral, and ideological segregation and polarization of the American electorate.

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Policy Information and the Polarization of American Social Policy Preferences

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez & Jeffrey Wenger
University of Georgia Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
A burgeoning literature has found that “submerged” social policies – those delivered through non-state actors or the tax code – are less visible to citizens, meaning that citizens are less capable of forming informed preferences about those policies. But even non-submerged policies provided directly by the state can be highly complex. In these cases, how does the provision of policy-specific information change individuals’ opinions about the social program? We examine how the provision of information about the rules governing unemployment insurance affects individuals’ preferences for, and perceptions of, unemployment insurance benefits using a survey experiment. We find that policy-specific information produces a moderating effect on individuals’ opinions, making conservatives more likely to hold more liberal attitudes about program features and beneficiaries while making liberals hold more conservative attitudes. Our results are strongest for those individuals who were less knowledgeable about the program before our experiment. We thus argue that the polarization of public opinion regarding social programs like unemployment insurance is shaped, in part, by the availability of policy-specific information disseminated by the state and other actors, such as interest groups and the media.

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The Wished-For Always Wins Until the Winner Was Inevitable All Along: Motivated Reasoning and Belief Bias Regulate Emotion during Elections

Paul Thibodeau et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do biases affect political information processing? A variant of the Wason selection task, which tests for confirmation bias, was used to characterize how the dynamics of the recent U.S. presidential election affected how people reasoned about political information. Participants were asked to evaluate pundit-style conditional claims like “The incumbent always wins in a year when unemployment drops” either immediately before or immediately after the 2012 presidential election. A three-way interaction between ideology, predicted winner (whether the proposition predicted that Obama or Romney would win), and the time of test indicated complex effects of bias on reasoning. Before the election, there was partial evidence of motivated reasoning — liberals performed especially well at looking for falsifying information when the pundit's claim predicted Romney would win. After the election, once the outcome was known, there was evidence of a belief bias — people sought to falsify claims that were inconsistent with the real-world outcome rather than their ideology. These results suggest that people seek to implicitly regulate emotion when reasoning about political predictions. Before elections, people like to think their preferred candidate will win. After elections, people like to think the winner was inevitable all along.

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The Electoral Roots of America's Dysfunctional Government

Alan Abramowitz
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2013, Pages 709–731

Abstract:
Since the 2010 midterm election, a combination of ideologically polarized parties and divided government has resulted in gridlock in Washington. Neither party can implement its own policy agenda, but bipartisan compromise appears to be almost impossible to achieve. In this article, I present evidence that the deep ideological divide between the parties in Washington is itself rooted in divisions that have been developing in American society for decades. Democratic and Republican voters are much more divided along geographic, racial, cultural, and ideological lines than in the past. Polarization in Washington reflects polarization within the American electorate. The result has been gridlock in Washington along with increasing divergence of social and economic policies at the state level with red states and blue states moving in opposing directions. I argue that the only way to end gridlock in Washington is party democracy, which would require, at a minimum, ending the Senate filibuster but, ideally, major constitutional reforms such as eliminating midterm elections.

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Support at Any Distance? The Role of Location and Prejudice in Public Opposition to the “Ground Zero Mosque”

Brian Schaffner
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2013, Pages 753-759

Abstract:
In 2010, a debate erupted about plans to construct a mosque (as part of a larger multicultural center) approximately two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. The main justification given by those who opposed the mosque was that building it so close to Ground Zero would appear to be insensitive. Public opinion appeared to support this notion, as large majorities of Americans registered their opposition to the mosque in surveys conducted at the time. In this article, I examine whether distance was, in fact, an important factor influencing citizens' opposition to the mosque. Using a survey experiment, I asked for opinions on the building of a mosque while randomizing how far the mosque was located from Ground Zero. Results from the experiment indicate that opposition to the mosque was unaffected by how far the mosque would be located from Ground Zero, but strongly influenced by factors such as partisanship, ideology, and tolerance for out groups.

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A Broken Public? Americans’ Responses to the Great Recession

Clem Brooks & Jeff Manza
American Sociological Review, October 2013, Pages 727-748

Abstract:
Did Americans respond to the recent Great Recession by demanding that government provide policy solutions to rising income insecurity, an expectation of state-of-the-art theorizing on the dynamics of mass opinion? Or did the recession erode support for government activism, in line with alternative scholarship pointing to economic factors having the reverse effect? We find that public support for government social programs declined sharply between 2008 and 2010, yet both fixed-effects and repeated survey analyses suggest economic change had little impact on policy-attitude formation. What accounts for these surprising developments? We consider alternative microfoundations emphasizing the importance of prior beliefs and biases to the formation of policy attitudes. Analyzing the General Social Surveys panel, our results suggest political partisanship has been central. Gallup and Evaluations of Government and Society surveys provide further evidence against the potentially confounding scenario of government overreach, in which federal programs adopted during the recession and the Obama presidency propelled voters away from government. We note implications for theoretical models of opinion formation, as well as directions for partisanship scholarship and interdisciplinary research on the Great Recession.

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“What's the Matter With Kansas?” A Sociological Answer

Frank Young
Sociological Forum, December 2013, Pages 864–872

Abstract:
Thomas Frank's book poses a question: Why do working people in Kansas vote for Republican candidates when supporting them is antithetical to their economic interests? This article analyzes the statistical evidence for such alleged deviant voting and finds support for his thesis that the working class does vote Republican. Also supported is his principal causal suggestion for this hypothesized “backlash,” the decline in average county population. But both variables lack a supporting theory. A “structural ecological” explanation for both facts is introduced that claims that the fear that whites experience as the white population shrinks causes the backlash reaction and the Republican vote that Frank describes. Statistical tests support the alternative explanation and illustrate the difference between Frank's ethnography-based arguments and the approach that most sociologists use.

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System Justification and Electrophysiological Responses to Feedback: Support for a Positivity Bias

Shona Tritt et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conservatives, compared to liberals, are consistently found to exhibit physiological sensitivity to aversive stimuli. However, it remains unknown whether conservatives are also sensitive to salient positively valenced stimuli. We therefore used event-related potentials to determine the relationship between system justification (SJ), a fundamental component of conservative political ideology, and neural processing of negative and positive feedback. Participants (N = 29) filled out questionnaire assessments of SJ. Feedback-related negativity (FRN), an event-related potential component thought to index activity in neural regions associated with reward processing, was assessed in response to positive and negative feedback on a time estimation task. A significant interaction was noted between SJ and feedback type in predicting FRN. Simple effects tests suggested that SJ predicted greater FRN in response to positive but not to negative feedback. Conservatives may experience salient positive information with a heightened intensity.

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The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science

Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles Gignac & Klaus Oberauer
PLoS ONE, October 2013

Background: Among American Conservatives, but not Liberals, trust in science has been declining since the 1970's. Climate science has become particularly polarized, with Conservatives being more likely than Liberals to reject the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are warming the globe. Conversely, opposition to genetically-modified (GM) foods and vaccinations is often ascribed to the political Left although reliable data are lacking. There are also growing indications that rejection of science is suffused by conspiracist ideation, that is the general tendency to endorse conspiracy theories including the specific beliefs that inconvenient scientific findings constitute a “hoax.”

Methodology/Principal findings: We conducted a propensity weighted internet-panel survey of the U.S. population and show that conservatism and free-market worldview strongly predict rejection of climate science, in contrast to their weaker and opposing effects on acceptance of vaccinations. The two worldview variables do not predict opposition to GM. Conspiracist ideation, by contrast, predicts rejection of all three scientific propositions, albeit to greatly varying extents. Greater endorsement of a diverse set of conspiracy theories predicts opposition to GM foods, vaccinations, and climate science.

Conclusions: Free-market worldviews are an important predictor of the rejection of scientific findings that have potential regulatory implications, such as climate science, but not necessarily of other scientific issues. Conspiracist ideation, by contrast, is associated with the rejection of all scientific propositions tested. We highlight the manifold cognitive reasons why conspiracist ideation would stand in opposition to the scientific method. The involvement of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science has implications for science communicators.

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Extreme Voices: Interest Groups and the Misrepresentation of Issue Publics

Ryan Claassen & Stephen Nicholson
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies of issue publics suggest that widespread political ignorance does not matter because those affected by specific issues are involved and well informed, and can meaningfully shape policy in their policy area. However, research on civic participation raises important questions about whether the opinions of the active are representative of the less active. To examine whether meaningful differences in policy attitudes exist between the politically active and inactive within issue publics, we compare the policy attitudes of interest group members to nonmembers. Across ten interest groups we find uniformly consistent evidence of policy distinctiveness among group members and show that party identification and ideology largely account for the difference. We also find that the policy differences between members and nonmembers vary according to the primary incentive offered by an interest group. Groups primarily offering expressive benefits exhibit the greatest opinion differences within an issue public, whereas opinion differences are muted for groups emphasizing solidary or material incentives. Finally, we find evidence of attitude extremism among group members. Taken together, our study suggests that the voices of non-active citizens are not well represented within issue publics.

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Exposure to Ideological News and Perceived Opinion Climate: Testing the Media Effects Component of Spiral-Of-Silence in a Fragmented Media Landscape

Yariv Tsfati, Natalie Jomini Stroud & Adi Chotiner
International Journal of Press/Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spiral-of-silence theory assumes that a monolithic stream of messages from mainstream media, leaving little ability for audiences to seek ideologically congruent news, affects people’s perceptions of the distribution of opinion in society. While these assumptions may have been valid when Noelle-Neumann developed her theory forty years ago, the new media landscape, characterized by the proliferation of ideological media outlets, makes them seem outdated. Do audiences of conservative-leaning media perceive a conservative opinion climate while audiences of liberal-leaning media perceive a more liberal distribution of opinion? And if so, what are the consequences? We examine these questions using two data sets collected in extremely different contexts (Study 1 in the context of the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza, n = 519; Study 2, in the context of the 2004 U.S. presidential elections using the National Annenberg Election Survey, n = 9,058). In both studies, selective exposure to ideological media outlets was associated with opinion climate perceptions that were biased in the direction of the media outlets’ ideologies. In Study 2, we also demonstrated that partisan selective exposure indirectly contributes to political polarization, and that this effect is mediated by opinion climate perceptions.

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Further to the right: Uncertainty, political polarization and the American “Tea Party” movement

Amber Gaffney et al.
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Tea Party entered U.S. politics in a time of economic uncertainty, positioning itself far to the right of the conservative movement. Its highly conservative position has allowed it to provide a clear self-definition that contrasts with more moderate and liberal political views. To examine the Tea Party's influence on American political prototypes, we manipulated the comparative context in which participants received an extreme pro-normative message from a Tea Party group. Conservatives (N = 47), primed with self-uncertainty, supported the extreme position, indicating more conservative views for both themselves and similar others when primed with an intergroup versus an intragroup context. Results are discussed in terms of the ability for extreme ingroup factions to polarize prototypes under self-conceptual uncertainty.

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Selective Exposure for Better or Worse: Its Mediating Role for Online News' Impact on Political Participation

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick & Benjamin Johnson
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of selective exposure in the relationship between online news use and political participation is examined. American adults (N = 205) completed a 2-session online study that measured political interest and online news use, unobtrusively observed selective exposure, and finally measured political participation likelihood. Online news use and selective exposure to attitude-consistent information were modeled as sequential mediators between political interest and participation likelihood. While greater political interest increased both participation likelihood and online news use, online news use ultimately depressed participation likelihood by reducing selective exposure to attitude-consistent news. The findings demonstrate that selective exposure is a fundamental process that must be considered when testing the effect of Internet use on political participation.

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Moving Pictures? Experimental Evidence of Cinematic Influence on Political Attitudes

Todd Adkins & Jeremiah Castle
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Media effects research has generally ignored the possibility that popular films can affect political attitudes. This omission is puzzling for two reasons. First, research on public opinion finds the potential for persuasion is highest when respondents are unaware that political messages are being communicated. Second, multiple studies have found that entertainment media can alter public opinion. Together, this suggests that popular films containing political messages should possess the potential to influence attitudes.

Methods: We develop a laboratory experiment where subjects were randomly assigned to watch a control movie with no political messages, a movie with subtle political messages, or a movie with strong and explicit political messages.

Results: We find that popular movies possess the ability to change political attitudes, especially on issues that are unframed by the media. Furthermore, we show such influence persists over time and is not moderated by partisanship, ideology, or political knowledge.

Conclusions: Our key findings suggest that a renewed scholarly interest in the political influence of popular movies is clearly warranted.

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The Influence of Partisan Motivated Reasoning on Public Opinion

Toby Bolsen, James Druckman & Fay Lomax Cook
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political parties play a vital role in democracies by linking citizens to their representatives. Nonetheless, a longstanding concern is that partisan identification slants decision-making. Citizens may support (oppose) policies that they would otherwise oppose (support) in the absence of an endorsement from a political party — this is due in large part to what is called partisan motivated reasoning where individuals interpret information through the lens of their party commitment. We explore partisan motivated reasoning in a survey experiment focusing on support for an energy law. We identify two politically relevant factors that condition partisan motivated reasoning: (1) an explicit inducement to form an “accurate” opinion, and (2) cross-partisan, but not consensus, bipartisan support for the law. We further provide evidence of how partisan motivated reasoning works psychologically and affects opinion strength. We conclude by discussing the implications of our results for understanding opinion formation and the overall quality of citizens’ opinions.

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The Foundations of Public Opinion on Voter ID Laws: Political Predispositions, Racial Resentment, and Information Effects

David Wilson & Paul Brewer
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Voter ID laws require individuals to show government-endorsed identification when casting their ballots on Election Day. Whereas some see these laws as necessary to prevent voting fraud, others argue that fraud is extremely rare and that voter ID laws can suppress voting. The relative newness of the laws, along with variance in their substance, suggests that the public may possess low information about voter ID laws; thus, opinions on the issue may be influenced by political information, group predispositions, and the media. Using data from a national poll (n = 906), this study investigates what underlies opinion on voter ID laws. The results indicate that political predispositions, including ideology, party identification, and racial attitudes, influence support for such laws. The results also yield evidence of several types of information effects. A question-wording experiment shows that exposure to an anti–voter ID law argument framing voter ID laws as preventing eligible people from voting reduced support, whereas other framing treatments (pro and con) had no discernible impact on opinion. A “polarization effect” emerges, with issue familiarity magnifying the gap in opinion between liberals and conservatives. Fox News viewers are particularly likely to support voter ID laws, though no other forms of media use are significantly related to support. Finally, perceptions of voting fraud as “common” are associated with support for voter ID laws.

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Position toward the status quo: Explaining differences in intergroup perceptions between left- and right-wing affiliates

Emma Bäck
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, October 2013, Pages 2073–2082

Abstract:
Challengers, as opposed to defenders, of the status quo ascribe more negative motives for the attitudes of their opponents and more positive motives to their allies. This may be associated with a heightened social cost involved in challenging the generally considered good and true. Most social issues are associated with ideology, and conservatives display more prejudices than liberals. Hence, it is unclear whether ideology or position toward the status quo per se drives these attributions. In two studies, position showed to be a stronger predictor of biased intergroup perceptions than ideology. Both left- and right-wing affiliates displayed stronger biases when in opposition. This supports the notion that the challenging position per se, elicits group differentiation. Results are important for understanding of negative campaigning and political action.

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A method for computing political preference among Twitter followers

Jennifer Golbeck & Derek Hansen
Social Networks, January 2014, Pages 177–184

Abstract:
There is great interest in understanding media bias and political information seeking preferences. As many media outlets create online personas, we seek to automatically estimate the political preferences of their audience, rather than examining the bias of the media source. In this paper, we present a novel method for computing the political preferences of an organization's Twitter followers. We present an application of this technique to estimate the political preferences of the audiences of U.S. media outlets, government agencies, and interest groups and think tanks. We also discuss how these results may be used and extended.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pumped

Implicit energy loss: Embodied dryness cues influence vitality and depletion

Idit Shalev
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers have long recognized that thirst motivates beverage consumption, however little is known of the consequences of dryness-related cues and experienced energy. Based on the embodied cognition view (Landau et al., 2010; Meier et al., 2012) and motivational perspective for energy (Clarkson, 2010; Inzlicht & Schmeichel, 2012), four studies examined the idea that activation of different levels of the dryness-thirst metaphor (e.g., semantic primes, visual images, or physical thirst) will influence perceived energy. In Study 1, participants primed with dryness-related concepts reported greater physical thirst and tiredness and lower subjective vitality. In Study 2, participants who were physically thirsty were less persistent in investing effort in an unsolvable anagrams task. In Study 3, images of arid land influenced time preference regarding when to begin preparation to make a monetary investment. Finally, in Studies 4a and 4b, exposure to the names of dryness-related products influenced impressions of the vitality of a target person. Overall, the findings suggest that physical or conceptual dryness-related cues influence perceived energy and may have consequences on consumer behavior.

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Behavioral Sensitivity to Reward Is Reduced for Far Objects

David O'Connor et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many studies have demonstrated that people will adjust their behavioral response to a reward on the basis of the time taken to receive the reward. Yet despite growing evidence that time and space are not mentally independent, there has been no examination of whether spatial distance may also affect the way people respond to rewarding objects. We examined speeded binary decisions about objects associated with high, low, or no reward for correct responses. Using a 3-D display, we varied perceived spatial distance so that objects appeared at distances near to or far from participants. Both the speed and the accuracy of responses were better for high-reward objects compared with low- and no-reward objects, but this difference occurred only when the objects appeared at near distance to participants. These results demonstrate that when people respond to rewarding objects, they show sensitivity to spatial-distance information even if the information is irrelevant to the task.

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Inflating and deflating the self: Sustaining motivational concerns through self-evaluation

Abigail Scholer, Yuka Ozaki & Tory Higgins
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ways in which individuals think and feel about themselves play a significant role in guiding behavior across many domains in life. The current studies investigate how individuals may shift the positivity of self-evaluations in order to sustain their chronic or momentary motivational concerns. Specifically, we propose that more positive self-evaluations support eagerness that sustains promotion-focused concerns with advancement, whereas less positive self-evaluations support vigilance that sustains prevention-focused concerns with safety. The current studies provide evidence that self-evaluation inflation is associated with promotion concerns whereas self-evaluation deflation is associated with prevention concerns, whether regulatory focus is situationally manipulated (Studies 1, 2b, and 3) or measured as a chronic individual difference (Study 2a). Following regulatory focus primes, individuals in a promotion focus showed relatively greater accessibility of positive versus negative self-knowledge compared to individuals in a prevention focus (Study 1). In an ongoing performance situation, participants in a promotion focus reported higher self-esteem than participants in a prevention focus (Studies 2a and 2b). Finally, individuals in a promotion focus persisted longer on an anagram task when given an opportunity to focus on their strengths versus weaknesses, which was not the case for individuals in a prevention focus (Study 3). Across studies, the predicted interactions were consistently obtained, although sometimes the effects were stronger for promotion or prevention motivation. We discuss implications for existing models of the motives underlying self-evaluation.

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Too much of a good thing: Curvilinear effect of positive affect on proactive behaviors

Chak Fu Lam, Gretchen Spreitzer & Charlotte Fritz
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Current organizational theory and research affirm the beneficial effects of experiencing positive affect at work. In recent years, researchers have begun to question the popular notion that the more positive affect at work, the better - that more positive affect is desirable for work-related outcomes. In this article, we propose a rationale for why more positive affect may not be better for proactive behaviors at work. Findings from two field studies using two unique data sources demonstrate support for our hypothesis, suggesting that intermediate levels of positive affect are most beneficial for proactive behaviors.

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The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior

Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman & Jason Riis
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
The popularity of New Year's resolutions suggests that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately following salient temporal landmarks. If true, this little-researched phenomenon has the potential to help people overcome important willpower problems that often limit goal attainment. Across three archival field studies, we provide evidence of a "fresh start effect". We show that Google searches for the term "diet" (Study 1), gym visits (Study 2), and commitments to pursue goals (Study 3) all increase following temporal landmarks (e.g., the outset of a new week, month, year, or semester; a birthday; a holiday). We propose that these landmarks demarcate the passage of time, creating many new mental accounting periods each year, which relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.

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Stereotype threat can reduce older adults' memory errors

Sarah Barber & Mara Mather
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, October 2013, Pages 1888-1895

Abstract:
Stereotype threat often incurs the cost of reducing the amount of information that older adults accurately recall. In the current research, we tested whether stereotype threat can also benefit memory. According to the regulatory focus account of stereotype threat, threat induces a prevention focus in which people become concerned with avoiding errors of commission and are sensitive to the presence or absence of losses within their environment. Because of this, we predicted that stereotype threat might reduce older adults' memory errors. Results were consistent with this prediction. Older adults under stereotype threat had lower intrusion rates during free-recall tests (Experiments 1 and 2). They also reduced their false alarms and adopted more conservative response criteria during a recognition test (Experiment 2). Thus, stereotype threat can decrease older adults' false memories, albeit at the cost of fewer veridical memories, as well.

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Musical agency reduces perceived exertion during strenuous physical performance

Thomas Hans Fritz et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 29 October 2013, Pages 17784-17789

Abstract:
Music is known to be capable of reducing perceived exertion during strenuous physical activity. The current interpretation of this modulating effect of music is that music may be perceived as a diversion from unpleasant proprioceptive sensations that go along with exhaustion. Here we investigated the effects of music on perceived exertion during a physically strenuous task, varying musical agency, a task that relies on the experience of body proprioception, rather than simply diverting from it. For this we measured psychologically indicated exertion during physical workout with and without musical agency while simultaneously acquiring metabolic values with spirometry. Results showed that musical agency significantly decreased perceived exertion during workout, indicating that musical agency may actually facilitate physically strenuous activities. This indicates that the positive effect of music on perceived exertion cannot always be explained by an effect of diversion from proprioceptive feedback. Furthermore, this finding suggests that the down-modulating effect of musical agency on perceived exertion may be a previously unacknowledged driving force for the development of music in humans: making music makes strenuous physical activities less exhausting.

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How Far to the Road Not Taken? The Effect of Psychological Distance on Counterfactual Direction

SoYon Rim & Amy Summerville
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Upward and downward counterfactuals serve the distinct motivational functions of self-improvement and self-enhancement, respectively. Drawing on construal level theory, which contends that increasing psychological distance from an event leads people to focus on high-level, self-improvement versus low-level, self-enhancement goals, we propose that distance will alter counterfactual direction in a way that satisfies these distinct motives. We found that people generated more downward counterfactuals about recent versus distant past events, while they tended to generate more upward counterfactuals about distant versus recent past events (Experiment 1). Consistent results were obtained for social distance (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 demonstrated that distance affects the direction of open-ended counterfactual thoughts. Finally, Experiment 4 explored a potential mechanism, demonstrating that manipulating temporal distance produced changes in participants' self-improvement versus self-enhancement motivations when responding to negative events. Future directions and broader implications for self-control, social support, empathy, and learning are discussed.

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Implicit need for achievement predicts attenuated cortisol responses to difficult tasks

Oliver Schultheiss, Uta Wiemers & Oliver Wolf
Journal of Research in Personality, February 2014, Pages 84-92

Abstract:
The present research tested the hypothesis that the implicit need for achievement (n Achievement) predicts attenuated cortisol (C) responses to difficult tasks, because it represents a propensity to view difficulty as a cue to mastery reward. In two studies, n Achievement was assessed through content-coding of imaginative stories and salivary C was assessed both at baseline and post-task. In Study 1 (N = 108 US students), n Achievement predicted an attenuated C response to a one-on-one competition in the laboratory, regardless of whether participants won or lost. In Study 2 (N = 62 German students), n Achievement predicted an attenuated C response to the Trier Social Stress Test (Kirschbaum, Pirke, & Hellhammer, 1993), but not to a non-stressful control task. In Study 2 only, the attenuating effect of n Achievement was moderated by gender, with only men showing the effect. Across both studies, the average effect size of the association between n Achievement and C responses to difficult tasks was r = -.28. These findings point to a role of n Achievement in emotion regulation.

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Daytime light exposure and feelings of vitality: Results of a field study during regular weekdays

K.C.H.J. Smolders, Y.A.W. de Kort & S.M. van den Berg
Journal of Environmental Psychology, December 2013, Pages 270-279

Abstract:
In the current study, we investigated daily light exposure and its relation with vitality in everyday settings on an hour-to-hour basis. The method consisted of experience sampling combined with continuous light measurement and a sleep diary during three consecutive days. Data collection was distributed over a full year. Results revealed substantial inter- and intra-individual differences in hourly light exposure. The amount of light experienced was significantly related to vitality, indicating that persons who were exposed to more light experienced more vitality, over and above the variance explained by person characteristics, time of day, activity patterns and sleep duration during the previous night. This relationship was more pronounced in the morning, during the darker months of the year and when participants had experienced relatively low vitality during the previous hour. Overall, the results provide support for acute effects of light exposure on feelings of vitality during daytime, even in everyday life.

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Latent Toxoplasma gondii infection leads to improved action control

Ann-Kathrin Stock et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been found to manipulate the behavior of its secondary hosts to increase its own dissemination which is commonly believed to be to the detriment of the host (manipulation hypothesis). The manipulation correlates with an up-regulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission. In humans, different pathologies have been associated with Toxoplasma gondii infections but most latently infected humans do not seem to display overt impairments. Since a dopamine plus does not necessarily bear exclusively negative consequences in humans, we investigated potential positive consequences of latent toxoplasmosis (and the presumed boosting of dopaminergic neurotransmission) on human cognition and behavior. For this purpose, we focused on action cascading which has been shown to be modulated by dopamine. Based on behavioral and neurophysiological (EEG) data obtained by means of a stop-change paradigm, we were able to demonstrate that healthy young humans can actually benefit from latent Toxoplasma gondii infection as regards their performance in this task (as indicated by faster response times and a smaller P3 component). The data shows that a latent infection which is assumed to affect the dopaminergic system can lead to paradoxical improvements of cognitive control processes in humans.

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Effort denial in self-deception

Philip Fernbach, York Hagmayer & Steven Sloman Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2014, Pages 1-8

Abstract:
We propose a mixed belief model of self-deception. According to the theory, people distribute belief over two possible causal paths to an action, one where the action is freely chosen and one where it is due to factors outside of conscious control. Self-deceivers take advantage of uncertainty about the influence of each path on their behavior, and shift weight between them in a self-serving way. This allows them to change their behavior to provide positive evidence and deny doing so, enabling diagnostic inference to a desired trait. In Experiment 1, women changed their pain tolerance to provide positive evidence about the future quality of their skin, but judgments of effort claimed the opposite. This "effort denial" suggests that participants' mental representation of their behavior was dissociated from their actual behavior, facilitating self-deception. Experiment 2 replicated the pattern in a hidden picture task where search performance was purportedly linked to self-control.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's a date

Money, Status, and the Ovulatory Cycle

Kristina Durante et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Each month, millions of women experience an ovulatory cycle that regulates fertility. Past consumer research has found that the cycle influences women's clothing and food preferences. But we propose that the ovulatory cycle has a much broader effect on women's economic behavior. Drawing on theory in evolutionary psychology, we hypothesize that the week-long period near ovulation should boost women's desire for relative status, which should alter women's economic decisions. Findings from three studies show that near ovulation women sought positional goods to improve their social standing. Additional findings revealed that ovulation led women to seek positional goods when doing so improved relative standing compared to other women, but not compared to other men. When playing the dictator game, for example, ovulating women gave smaller offers to a woman, but not to a man. Overall, women's monthly hormonal fluctuations appear to have a substantial effect on consumer behavior by systematically altering women's positional concerns, which has important implications for marketers, consumers, and researchers.

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Menstrual Cycle Effects on Attitudes toward Romantic Kissing

Rafael Wlodarski & Robin Dunbar
Human Nature, December 2013, Pages 402-413

Abstract:
Hormonal changes associated with the human menstrual cycle have been previously found to affect female mate preference, whereby women in the late follicular phase of their cycle (i.e., at higher risk of conception) prefer males displaying putative signals of underlying genetic fitness. Past research also suggests that romantic kissing is utilized in human mating contexts to assess potential mating partners. The current study examined whether women in their late follicular cycle phase place greater value on kissing at times when it might help serve mate assessment functions. Using an international online questionnaire, results showed that women in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle felt that kissing was more important at initial stages of a relationship than women in the luteal phase of their cycle. Furthermore, it was found that estimated progesterone levels were a significant negative predictor for these ratings.

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The Price Had Better Be Right: Women’s Reactions to Sexual Stimuli Vary With Market Factors

Kathleen Vohs, Jaideep Sengupta & Darren Dahl
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments tested when and why women’s typically negative, spontaneous reactions to sexual imagery would soften. Sexual economics theory predicts that women want sex to be seen as rare and special. We reasoned that this outlook would translate to women tolerating sexual images more when those images are linked to high worth as opposed to low worth. We manipulated whether an ad promoted an expensive or a cheap product using a sexually charged or a neutral scene. As predicted, women found sexual imagery distasteful when it was used to promote a cheap product, but this reaction to sexual imagery was mitigated if the product promoted was expensive. This pattern was not observed among men. Furthermore, we predicted and found that sexual ads promoting cheap products heightened feelings of being upset and angry among women. These findings suggest that women’s reactions to sexual images can reveal deep-seated preferences about how sex should be used and understood.

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The Effects of Facial Attractiveness and Perceiver's Mate Value on Adaptive Allocation of Central Processing Resources

Laura Morgan & Michael Kisley
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Faces capture cognitive resources, and more attractive faces capture more resources. But to be of adaptive value this proportionality should be modulated by properties of the perceiver, including their own level of attractiveness. Here we investigated the allocation of central processing resources for perceivers at different levels of mating market value (high, low) in response to target faces of different levels of attractiveness (attractive, unattractive). We tracked attention allocation by measuring event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from the scalp of men while they viewed and rated images of women’s faces. As expected, a main effect of attractiveness was found such that attractive faces garnered the largest brain responses. However, perceiver’s market value and target face attractiveness interacted, as brain responses to unattractive faces were significantly larger in the low market value condition compared to the high market value condition, whereas responses to attractive faces were stable across market values. Thus, for men at least, allocation of attention is adaptively modulated by both the attractiveness of a target face and by their own market value. The more attractive an individual perceives themselves to be, the less processing resources they appear to devote to the unattractive faces in their environment.

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Examining the Possible Functions of Kissing in Romantic Relationships

Rafael Wlodarski & Robin Dunbar
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that romantic kissing may be utilized in human sexual relationships to evaluate aspects of a potential mate’s suitability, to mediate feelings of attachment between pair-bonded individuals, or to facilitate arousal and initiate sexual relations. This study explored these potential functions of romantic kissing by examining attitudes towards the importance of kissing in the context of various human mating situations. The study involved an international online questionnaire, which was completed by 308 male and 594 female participants aged 18–63 years. Support was found for the hypothesis that kissing serves a useful mate-assessment function: women, high mate-value participants, and participants high in sociosexual orientation placed greater importance on kissing in romantic relationships and stated that an initial kiss was more likely to affect their attraction to a potential mate than did men, low-mate value participants or low sociosexual orientation participants. Kissing also seemed to be utilized in the mediation of pair-bond attachments: kissing was seen to be more important at established stages of relationships by low sociosexual participants, kissing was generally seen as more important in long-term relationship contexts (but particularly so by women), and kissing frequency was found to be related to relationship satisfaction. The findings of this research showed very little evidence to support the hypothesis that the primary function of kissing is to elevate levels of arousal.

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Reduced cognitive control in passionate lovers

Henk van Steenbergen et al.
Motivation and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Passionate love is associated with intense changes in emotion and attention which are thought to play an important role in the early stages of romantic relationship formation. Although passionate love usually involves enhanced, near-obsessive attention to the beloved, anecdotal evidence suggest that the lover’s concentration for daily tasks like study and work may actually be impaired, suggesting reduced cognitive control. Affect might also contribute to changes in cognitive control. We examined the link between passionate love and cognitive control in a sample of students who had recently become involved in a romantic relationship. Intensity of passionate love as measured by the Passionate Love Scale was shown to correlate with decreased individual efficiency in cognitive control as measured in Stroop and flanker task performance. There was no evidence that affective changes mediate this effect. This study provides the first empirical evidence that passionate love in the early stages of romantic relationship is characterized by impaired cognitive control.

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Do assortative preferences contribute to assortative mating for adiposity?

Claire Fisher et al.
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Assortative mating for adiposity, whereby levels of adiposity in romantic partners tend to be positively correlated, has implications for population health due to the combined effects of partners' levels of adiposity on fertility and/or offspring health. Although assortative preferences for cues of adiposity, whereby leaner people are inherently more attracted to leaner individuals, have been proposed as a factor in assortative mating for adiposity, there have been no direct tests of this issue. Because of this, and because of recent work suggesting that facial cues of adiposity convey information about others' health that may be particularly important for mate preferences, we tested the contribution of assortative preferences for facial cues of adiposity to assortative mating for adiposity (assessed from body mass index, BMI) in a sample of romantic couples. Romantic partners' BMIs were positively correlated and this correlation was not due to the effects of age or relationship duration. However, although men and women with leaner partners showed stronger preferences for cues of low levels of adiposity, controlling for these preferences did not weaken the correlation between partners' BMIs. Indeed, own BMI and preferences were uncorrelated. These results suggest that assortative preferences for facial cues of adiposity contribute little (if at all) to assortative mating for adiposity.

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Who is the fairest of them all? The independent effect of attractive features and self-perceived attractiveness on cooperation among women

Jose Muñoz-Reyes et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present paper analyzes the extent to which attractiveness-related variables affect cooperative behavior in women. Cooperativeness is evaluated through a Prisoner’s Dilemma Game (PDG). We consider several morphometric variables related to attractiveness: Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA),Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR), Body Mass Index (BMI) and Facial Femininity (FF). These variables have been shown to predict human behavior. We also include as a control variable a score for Self-Perceived Attractiveness (SPA). We test differences in these variables according to behavior in the PDG. Our results reveal that low FA women cooperate less frequently in the PDG. We also find that women with lower WHR are more cooperative. This result contradicts the expected relation between WHR and behavior in the PDG. We show that this effect of WHR on cooperation operates through its influence on the expectation that participants hold on the cooperative intent of their counterpart. In addition, we show that the effect of attractive features on cooperation occurs independently of the participants’ perception of their own appeal. Finally, we discuss our results in the context of the evolution of cooperative behavior and under the hypothesis that attractiveness is a reliable indicator of phenotypic quality.

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Low-Cut Shirts and High-Heeled Shoes: Increased Sexualization Across Time in Magazine Depictions of Girls

Kaitlin Graff, Sarah Murnen & Anna Krause
Sex Roles, December 2013, Pages 571-582

Abstract:
Theory and past research predict an increase in the sexualization of girls in United States culture. We used content analysis to examine change in the number of sexualizing characteristics (e.g., low cut shirts, high-heeled shoes) and childlike characteristics (e.g., polka-dot print, Mary-Jane style shoes) present in depictions of girls across time in the magazines Seventeen (N = 1649 images from issues in selected issues from 1971 through 2011) and Girls’ Life (N = 763 images from selected issues from 1994 to 2011). One-way ANOVAS revealed increases in the total number of sexualizing characteristics across time in both magazines. In particular, depictions of low-cut tops and tight fitting clothing increased in both magazines. There was also a decrease in the number of childlike characteristics in Girls’ Life across time. Possible reasons for increased sexualization as well as possible consequences are discussed.

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Activating the Centerfold Syndrome: Recency of Exposure, Sexual Explicitness, Past Exposure to Objectifying Media

Paul Wright & Robert Tokunaga
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This experimental study tested whether exposure to female centerfold images causes young adult males to believe more strongly in a set of beliefs clinical psychologist Gary Brooks terms “the centerfold syndrome.” The centerfold syndrome consists of five beliefs: voyeurism, sexual reductionism, masculinity validation, trophyism, and nonrelational sex. Past exposure to objectifying media was positively correlated with all five centerfold syndrome beliefs. Recent exposure to centerfolds interacted with past exposure to predict three of the five centerfold syndrome beliefs. Recent exposure to centerfolds had immediate strengthening effects on the sexual reductionism, masculinity validation, and nonrelational sex beliefs of males who view objectifying media less frequently. These effects persisted for approximately 48 hours.

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The Effect of Facial Makeup on the Frequency of Drivers Stopping for Hitchhikers

Nicolas Guéguen & Lubomir Lamy
Psychological Reports, August 2013, Pages 1109-1113

Abstract:
Judgments of photographs have shown that makeup enhances ratings of women's facial attractiveness. The present study assessed whether makeup affects the stopping behavior of drivers in response to a hitchhiker's signal. Four 20- to 22-year-old female confederates wore facial makeup, or not, while pretending to be hitchhiking. Frequency of stopping was compared in 1,600 male and female drivers. Facial makeup was associated with an increase in the number of male drivers who stopped to offer a ride. Makeup did not affect frequency of stopping by female drivers.

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My Eyes Are Up Here: The Nature of the Objectifying Gaze Toward Women

Sarah Gervais, Arianne Holland & Michael Dodd
Sex Roles, December 2013, Pages 557-570

Abstract:
Although objectification theory suggests that women frequently experience the objectifying gaze with many adverse consequences, there is scant research examining the nature and causes of the objectifying gaze for perceivers. The main purpose of this work was to examine the objectifying gaze toward women via eye tracking technology. A secondary purpose was to examine the impact of body shape on this objectifying gaze. To elicit the gaze, we asked participants (29 women, 36 men from a large Midwestern University in the U.S.), to focus on the appearance (vs. personality) of women and presented women with body shapes that fit cultural ideals of feminine attractiveness to varying degrees, including high ideal (i.e., hourglass-shaped women with large breasts and small waist-to-hip ratios), average ideal (with average breasts and average waist-to-hip ratios), and low ideal (i.e., with small breasts and large waist-to-hip ratios). Consistent with our main hypothesis, we found that participants focused on women’s chests and waists more and faces less when they were appearance-focused (vs. personality-focused). Moreover, we found that this effect was particularly pronounced for women with high (vs. average and low) ideal body shapes in line with hypotheses. Finally, compared to female participants, male participants showed an increased tendency to initially exhibit the objectifying gaze and they regarded women with high (vs. average and low) ideal body shapes more positively, regardless of whether they were appearance-focused or personality-focused. Implications for objectification and person perception theories are discussed.

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Cutting Words: Priming Self-Objectification Increases Women’s Intention to Pursue Cosmetic Surgery

Rachel Calogero, Afroditi Pina & Robbie Sutton
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether subtle exposure to sexually objectifying cues increases women’s intentions to have cosmetic surgery. Undergraduate women (N = 116) were randomly assigned to a condition in which they unscrambled sentences containing words associated with sexual objectification, non-self-objectifying physicality, or neutral content. Following a manipulation check of these primes, participants reported their body shame and intentions to have cosmetic surgery in the future. Results revealed that priming a state of self-objectification, compared to the two non-self-objectifying conditions, increased both body shame and intentions to have cosmetic surgery. In a mediational model, the link between self-objectification and intentions to have cosmetic surgery was partially mediated by body shame. Controlling for other key intrapersonal and social motives linked to interest in cosmetic surgery did not alter these patterns. These findings highlight the potential for the consumption of cosmetic surgery to stand as another harmful micro-level consequence of self-objectification that may be perpetuated via subtle exposure to sexually objectifying words, even in the absence of visual depictions or more explicit encounters of sexual objectification.

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Sexting, Catcalls, and Butt Slaps: How Gender Stereotypes and Perceived Group Norms Predict Sexualized Behavior

Jennifer Jewell & Christia Spears Brown
Sex Roles, December 2013, Pages 594-604

Abstract:
The current study examined the role of endorsed stereotypes about men and women and perceived peer norms in predicting three distinct types of stereotypical sexualized behaviors (verbal, physical, and indirect) among late adolescents. Two hundred and fifty U.S. college students from the mid-South (178 females, 72 males) between the ages of 17 and 19 completed a number of surveys regarding sexual gender stereotypes (e.g., men are sex-focused and women are sexual objects), perceived peer norms about the acceptability of stereotypical sexualized behaviors (SSB), and their own SSBs. Results revealed that most college students have perpetrated these SSBs at least once, and that the most common form of sexualized behavior was verbal SSB, such as rating someone’s body. Results also showed that, although the young men and women did not differ in their perpetration of indirect SSBs (e.g., sending pictures via text), young men perpetrated more verbal and physical SSB than women. For young women, endorsing the idea that men are sex-focused predicted all three types of SSB. For young men, endorsing the stereotype that men are sex-focused predicted verbal and physical SSB, and endorsing the stereotype that women are sex objects predicted physical SSB. Importantly, perceived peer group norms were a significant predictor of all three types of SSB for both women and men. Thus, the current study suggests that distinct types of stereotypical sexualized behaviors are common among college students, and are predicted by an individual’s stereotypes about men and women and perceived peer norms.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 29, 2013

Right on

The Morning Morality Effect: The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior

Maryam Kouchaki & Isaac Smith
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are people more moral in the morning than in the afternoon? We propose that the normal, unremarkable experiences associated with everyday living can deplete one’s capacity to resist moral temptations. In a series of four experiments, both undergraduate students and a sample of U.S. adults engaged in less unethical behavior (e.g., less lying and cheating) on tasks performed in the morning than on the same tasks performed in the afternoon. This morning morality effect was mediated by decreases in moral awareness and self-control in the afternoon. Furthermore, the effect of time of day on unethical behavior was found to be stronger for people with a lower propensity to morally disengage. These findings highlight a simple yet pervasive factor (i.e., the time of day) that has important implications for moral behavior.

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The Construction of Morals

Daniel Chen & Susan Yeh
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laws may have indirect social effects that can either strengthen or attenuate the formal sanctions they impose. Recent theoretical advances argue that in communities where a proscribed activity is prevalent, permissive laws liberalize attitudes towards partakers and increase utility, thereby amplifying the direct effect of the law. The opposite occurs in communities where the proscribed activity is rare. Indirect social effects arise as laws cause individuals to update their beliefs about the prevalence of the proscribed activity. To test these predictions, we randomized data entry workers to transcribe newspaper summaries of liberal or conservative court decisions about obscenity and then randomly assigned one group to report their standards of morality and another group to estimate community standards with incentive pay for accuracy. Liberal decisions liberalize individual and perceived community standards of morality, yet frequent attendees of religious services become more conservative and perceive community standards becoming more liberal. Workers update beliefs about the prevalence of proscribed sexual activities differently in response to liberal or conservative decisions. Liberal obscenity decisions increase worker satisfaction overall, but decrease satisfaction among religious workers, who also identify more as Republican. These results provide causal evidence for a model predicting when law has backlash or expressive effects and suggests that legitimacy of law can affect utility and self-identification.

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Honest on Mondays: Honesty and the temporal separation between decisions and payoffs

Bradley Ruffle & Yossef Tobol
European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that temporally distancing the decision task from the payment of the reward increases honest behavior. Each of 427 Israeli soldiers fulfilling their mandatory military service rolled a six-sided die in private and reported the outcome to the unit's cadet coordinator. For every point reported, the soldier received an additional half-hour early release from the army base on Thursday afternoon. Soldiers who participated on Sunday (the first work day of the week) are significantly more honest than those who participated later in the week. We derive practical implications for eliciting honesty.

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Financial Deprivation Selectively Shifts Moral Standards and Compromises Moral Decisions

Eesha Sharma et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research suggests people firmly value moral standards. However, research has also shown that various factors can compromise moral behavior. Inspired by the recent financial turmoil, we investigate whether financial deprivation might shift people’s moral standards and consequently compromise their moral decisions. Across one pilot survey and five experiments, we find that people believe financial deprivation should not excuse immoral conduct; yet when people actually experience deprivation they seem to apply their moral standards more leniently. Thus, people who feel deprived tend to cheat more for financial gains and judge deprived moral offenders who cheat for financial gains less harshly. These effects are mediated by shifts in people’s moral standards: beliefs in whether deprivation is an acceptable reason for immorality. The effect of deprivation on immoral conduct diminishes when it is explicit that immoral conduct cannot help alleviate imbalances in deprived actors’ financial states, when financial deprivation seems fair or deserved, and when acting immorally seems unfair.

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Does the Behavioral Immune System Prepare Females to Be Religiously Conservative and Collectivistic?

John Terrizzi, Russ Clay & Natalie Shook
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has indicated that females are more likely than males to endorse collectivistic values and religious conservatism. The present research investigated an evolutionary explanation for these sex differences. More specifically, the sex differences in social conservatism may be due to variation in the behavioral immune system (BIS). The BIS is a set of psychological mechanisms that are proposed to be evolved solutions to disease threat. Four studies were conducted to examine this evolutionary explanation. In Study 1, BIS measures (e.g., disgust sensitivity) fully mediated sex differences in collectivism. This effect was specific to sexual disgust (Study 2). In Studies 3 and 4, the effect was extended to other forms of social conservatism (i.e., religious conservatism) and measures of the BIS. Together, these results suggest that sex differences in collectivism and religious conservatism may be explained in part by sex differences in the BIS.

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Moral Character Predominates in Person Perception and Evaluation

Geoffrey Goodwin, Jared Piazza & Paul Rozin
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
What sorts of trait information do people most care about when forming impressions of others? Recent research in social cognition suggests that “warmth,” broadly construed, should be of prime importance in impression formation. Yet, some prior research suggests that information about others’ specifically moral traits — their moral “character” — may be a primary dimension. Although warmth and character have sometimes been conceived of as interchangeable, we argue that they are separable, and that across a wide variety of contexts, character is usually more important than warmth in impression formation. We first showed that moral character and social warmth traits are indeed separable (Studies 1 and 2). Further studies that used correlational and experimental methods showed that, as predicted, in most contexts, moral character information is more important in impression formation than is warmth information (Studies 2–6). Character information was also more important than warmth information with respect to judgments of traits’ perceived fundamentalness to identity, their uniquely human quality, their context-independence, and their controllability (Study 2). Finally, Study 7 used an archival method to show that moral character information appears more prominently than warmth information in obituaries, and more strongly determines the impressions people form of the individuals described in those obituaries. We discuss implications for current theories of person perception and social cognition.

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Withstanding moral disengagement: Attachment security as an ethical intervention

Dolly Chugh et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose an ethical intervention leading to improved ethical decision-making. Moral disengagement has long been related to unethical decision-making. We test an ethical intervention in which this relationship is broken. Our ethical intervention consisted of priming individuals to be securely-attached, in which they recalled a past instance of relational support and acceptance. We predicted and found an interaction between attachment state and moral disengagement, in which individuals primed with attachment security were able to withstand moral disengagement. In Study 1, we demonstrate the securely attached behave more ethically than the anxiously attached in an achievement context. In Study 2, we show that secure attachment overrides one’s natural propensity to morally disengage. In Study 3, we find that secure attachment minimizes the impact of the propensity to morally disengage through the mechanism of threat construal. Within both student and working adult samples and using both judgment and behavioral dependent variables, we show that the priming of secure attachment is a relatively simple and effective intervention that managers, educators, and organizations can use to reduce unethical behavior.

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How Power States Influence Consumers’ Perceptions of Price Unfairness

Liyin Jin, Yanqun He & Ying Zhang
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research explores how the power state interacts with comparative references in shaping consumer perceptions of price unfairness. Five experiments found that high-power consumers perceive stronger price unfairness when paying more than other consumers do, whereas low-power consumers perceive stronger unfairness when paying more than they themselves paid in previous transactions. The distinction occurs because consumers experience a threat to their self-importance from different types of disadvantaged comparisons depending on their power states. These results show that the state of power determines consumers’ respective channels for maintaining their self-importance and alters the relevance of different comparative standards.

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Interactive Effect of Moral Disengagement and Violent Video Games on Self-Control, Cheating, and Aggression

Alessandro Gabbiadini et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Violent video games glorify and reward immoral behaviors (e.g., murder, assault, rape, robbery, arson, motor vehicle theft). Based on the moral disengagement theory, we predicted that violent games would increase multiple immoral behaviors (i.e., lack of self-control, cheating, aggression), especially for people low in moral disengagement. High school students (N = 172) who had completed a measure of moral disengagement were randomly assigned to play one of the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) violent video games, or a nonviolent game. Self-control was measured using the weight of uneaten chocolates (i.e., M&M’s) in a bowl by the computer. After gameplay, participants could cheat on a test to win raffle tickets for attractive prizes (e.g., iPad). Aggression was measured using a competitive task in which participants could give an ostensible partner unpleasant noise blasts through headphones. Results showed that violent video games decreased self-control and increased cheating and aggression, especially for people high in moral disengagement.

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Rejecting Victims of Misfortune Reduces Delay Discounting

Mitchell Callan, Annelie Harvey & Robbie Sutton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The derogation of innocent victims may bolster perceivers’ implicit faith that the world is a just place. A key theoretical outcome of this faith is the ability to put aside smaller, short-term rewards for larger, long-term rewards. The empirical relation between victim derogation and participants’ preferences for small-sooner versus larger-later rewards was examined in two studies using delay-discounting paradigms. In Study 1 (n = 381), the more college students and Internet users derogated a victim of misfortune, the less they subsequently discounted larger-later rewards, but only when their faith in justice was threatened (perpetrators of the misfortune were unpunished). In Study 2 (n = 238), informing Internet users that a victim was of bad (versus good) moral character decreased delay discounting. These results demonstrate that derogating victims of misfortune, although damaging to others, yields an important psychological benefit for the self by putting aside smaller-sooner rewards for larger-later rewards.

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The Role of Forgetting in Undermining Good Intentions

Kristina Olson et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2013

Abstract:
Evaluating others is a fundamental feature of human social interaction – we like those who help more than those who hinder. In the present research, we examined social evaluation of those who not only intentionally performed good and bad actions but also those to whom good things have happened (the lucky) and those to whom bad things have happened (the unlucky). In Experiment 1a, subjects demonstrated a sympathetic preference for the unlucky. However, under cognitive load (Experiment 1b), no such preference was expressed. Further, in Experiments 2a and 2b, when a time delay between impression formation (learning) and evaluation (memory test) was introduced, results showed that younger (Experiment 2a) and older adults (Experiment 2b) showed a significant preference for the lucky. Together these experiments show that a consciously motivated sympathetic preference for those who are unlucky dissolves when memory is disrupted. The observed dissociation provides evidence for the presence of conscious good intentions (favoring the unlucky) and the cognitive compromising of such intentions when memory fails.

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Relational Utility as a Moderator of Guilt in Social Interactions

Rob Nelissen
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The capacity to experience guilt is assumed to benefit individuals, as the rewards of repeated, cooperative interactions are likely to exceed the rewards of acting selfishly. If that assumption is true, the extent to which people experience guilt over interpersonal transgressions should at least partly depend on the utility of another person for the attainment of personal goal(s) through social interaction (relational utility). Three experiments confirmed the relational utility hypothesis by showing that people felt guiltier (a) over excluding someone from a fun game if this person could subsequently distribute more money in a dictator game, (b) over hypothetical social transgressions toward a person who was instrumental to the attainment of a salient goal than toward a person who was not instrumental to the attainment of that goal and toward the same person when no goal was salient, and (c) over a low contribution in a social dilemma game if they were more dependent on their group members for performing well in a subsequent debating contest. Closeness with the other person, differences in severity of the transgression, and strategic motives for expressing guilt were consistently excluded as alternative accounts of the effects. By showing that relational utility may affect guilt, these findings (a) provide support for the individual level function of guilt; (b) extend research on the antecedents of guilt in social interactions, which mainly focused on retrospective appraisals; and (c) bear implications for the status of guilt as a moral emotion.

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Bad Boys: The Effect of Criminal Identity on Dishonesty

Alain Cohn, Michel André Maréchal & Thomas Noll
University of Zurich Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We conducted an experiment with 182 inmates from a maximum-security prison to analyze the impact of criminal identity on dishonest behavior. We randomly primed half of the prisoners to increase the mental saliency of their criminal identity, while treating the others as the control group. The results demonstrate that prisoners become more dishonest when we render their criminal identity more salient in their minds. An additional placebo experiment with regular citizens shows that the effect is specific to individuals with a criminal identity. Moreover, our experimental measure of dishonesty correlates with inmates’ offenses against in-prison regulation. Altogether, these findings suggest that criminal identity plays a crucial role in rule violating behavior.

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Are Ethicists Any More Likely to Pay Their Registration Fees at Professional Meetings?

Eric Schwitzgebel
Economics and Philosophy, November 2013, Pages 371-380

Abstract:
Lists of paid registrants at Pacific Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association from 2006–2008 were compared with lists of people appearing as presenters, commentators or chairs on the meeting programme those same years. These were years in which fee payment depended primarily on an honour system rather than on enforcement. Seventy-four per cent of ethicist participants and 76% of non-ethicist participants appear to have paid their meeting registration fees: not a statistically significant difference. This finding of no difference survives scrutiny for several possible confounds. Thus, professional ethicists seem no less likely to free-ride in this context than do philosophers not specializing in ethics. These data fit with other recent findings suggesting that on average professional ethicists behave no morally better than do professors not specializing in ethics.

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Power and Retributive Justice: How Trait Information Influences the Fairness of Punishment among Power Holders

Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Jennifer Coffeng & Marjolijn Vermeer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2014, Pages 190–201

Abstract:
In four studies, we investigated the effects of power on retributive justice judgments (i.e., the severity of punishment that people consider being fair). In Study 1, results revealed that participants who were primed with high power recommended more severe punishment than participants who were primed with low power, but only when the offender possessed negative character traits. In Study 2, these effects were replicated in an applied setting. In Study 3, we found that the inclination of power holders to base retributive justice judgments on negative traits only materialized when the power position was acquired legitimately. In Study 4, no trait information was given. Power again increased punishment, and this effect was mediated by trait appraisal ratings. It is concluded that legitimate power holders are more punitive due to their tendency to base retributive justice judgments on information or assumptions of negative traits that are stereotypically associated with offenders.

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Individual differences in personality as a function of degree of handedness: Consistent-handers are less sensation seeking, more authoritarian, and more sensitive to disgust

Stephen Christman
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research indicates that consistent-handedness is associated with decreased access to right hemisphere processing and consequent decreased cognitive flexibility. Handedness differences on three dimensions of personality related to cognitive flexibility were investigated. Experiment 1 found that consistent-handedness was associated with decreased sensation seeking. Experiment 2 found that consistent-handedness was associated with increased Right Wing Authoritarianism. Experiment 3 found that consistent-handedness was associated with increased sensitivity to disgust. Prior research has shown associations between decreased sensation seeking, increased authoritarianism, and increased disgust sensitivity, and consistent-handedness appears to underlie all of these associations. Personality researchers are encouraged to include handedness as a factor in analyses, as failure to do so can lead to systematic mis-estimation of sex differences due to the over-representation of females among consistent-handers.

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Individual differences in posterior cortical volume correlate with proneness to pride and gratitude

Roland Zahn et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Proneness to specific moral sentiments (e.g. pride, gratitude, guilt, indignation) has been linked with individual variations in fMRI response within anterior brain regions whose lesion leads to inappropriate behaviour. However, the role of structural anatomical differences in rendering individuals prone to particular moral sentiments relative to others is unknown. Here, we investigated grey-matter volumes (VBM8) and proneness to specific moral sentiments on a well-controlled experimental task in healthy individuals. Individuals with smaller cuneus, and precuneus volumes were more pride-prone while those with larger right inferior temporal volumes experienced gratitude more readily. Although, the primary analysis detected no associations with guilt- or indignation-proneness, subgenual cingulate fMRI responses to guilt were negatively correlated with grey-matter volumes in the left superior temporal sulcus and anterior dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (right < left). This shows that individual variations in functional activations within critical areas for moral sentiments were not due to grey matter volume differences in the same areas. Grey matter volume differences between healthy individuals may nevertheless play an important role by affecting posterior cortical brain systems that are non-critical but supportive for the experience of specific moral sentiments. This may be of particular relevance when their experience depends on visuo-spatial elaboration.

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Value Judgments and the True Self

George Newman, Paul Bloom & Joshua Knobe
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The belief that individuals have a “true self” plays an important role in many areas of psychology as well as everyday life. The present studies demonstrate that people have a general tendency to conclude that the true self is fundamentally good — that is, that deep inside every individual, there is something motivating him or her to behave in ways that are virtuous. Study 1 finds that observers are more likely to see a person’s true self reflected in behaviors they deem to be morally good than in behaviors they deem to be bad. Study 2 replicates this effect and demonstrates observers’ own moral values influence what they judge to be another person’s true self. Finally, Study 3 finds that this normative view of the true self is independent of the particular type of mental state (beliefs vs. feelings) that is seen as responsible for an agent’s behavior.

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Cheating to win: Dishonesty and the intensity of competition

Edward Cartwright & Matheus Menez
Economics Letters, January 2014, Pages 55–58

Abstract:
We argue that the intensity of competition within a group or organization can have an important influence on whether or not people cheat. To make this point we first work through a simple model of strategic misreporting in the workplace. For low and high levels of competition we show that, in equilibrium, few are predicted to misreport. It is for medium levels of competition that misreporting is predicted to be highest. We test this prediction experimentally and find good support for it. This finding has implications for the design of incentive structures within groups and organizations.

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Belief Updating in Moral Dilemmas

Zachary Horne, Derek Powell & Joseph Spino
Review of Philosophy and Psychology, December 2013, Pages 705-714

Abstract:
Moral psychologists have shown that people’s past moral experiences can affect their subsequent moral decisions. One prominent finding in this line of research is that when people make a judgment about the Trolley dilemma after considering the Footbridge dilemma, they are significantly less likely to decide it is acceptable to redirect a train to save five people. Additionally, this ordering effect is asymmetrical, as making a judgment about the Trolley dilemma has little to no effect on people’s judgments about the Footbridge dilemma. We argue that this asymmetry is the result of a difference in how each dilemma affects people’s beliefs about the importance of saving lives. In two experiments, we show that considering the Footbridge dilemma disconfirms these beliefs, while considering the Trolley dilemma does not significantly affect them. Consistent with predictions of sequential learning models, our findings offer a clear and parsimonious account of the asymmetry in the ordering effect.

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Witnessing hateful people in pain modulates brain activity in regions associated with physical pain and reward

Glenn Fox, Mona Sobhani & Lisa Aziz-zadeh
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2013

Abstract:
How does witnessing a hateful person in pain compare to witnessing a likable person in pain? The current study compared the brain bases for how we perceive likable people in pain with those of viewing hateful people in pain. While social bonds are built through sharing the plight and pain of others in the name of empathy, viewing a hateful person in pain also has many potential ramifications. In this functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study, Caucasian Jewish male participants viewed videos of (1) disliked, hateful, anti-Semitic individuals, and (2) liked, non-hateful, tolerant individuals in pain. The results showed that, compared with viewing liked people, viewing hateful people in pain elicited increased responses in regions associated with observation of physical pain (the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the somatosensory cortex), reward processing (the striatum), and frontal regions associated with emotion regulation. Functional connectivity analyses revealed connections between seed regions in the left anterior cingulate cortex and right insular cortex with reward regions, the amygdala, and frontal regions associated with emotion regulation. These data indicate that regions of the brain active while viewing someone in pain may be more active in response to the danger or threat posed by witnessing the pain of a hateful individual more so than the desire to empathize with a likable person’s pain.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Charity Case

The Number of Fatalities Drives Disaster Aid: Increasing Sensitivity to People in Need

Ioannis Evangelidis & Bram Van den Bergh
Psychological Science, November 2013, Pages 2226-2234

Abstract:
In the studies reported here, an analysis of financial donations in response to natural disasters showed that the amount of money allocated for humanitarian aid depends on the number of fatalities but not on the number of survivors who are affected by the disaster (i.e., the actual beneficiaries of the aid). On the basis of the experimental evidence, we discuss the underlying cause and provide guidelines to increase sensitivity to people in need.

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Does Facebook Promote Self-Interest? Enactment of Indiscriminate One-to-Many Communication on Online Social Networking Sites Decreases Prosocial Behavior

Wen-Bin Chiou, Szu-Wei Chen & Da-Chi Liao
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, forthcoming

Abstract:
Communication tools on social networking sites (SNSs) provide users with an efficient way to distribute information to the public and/or their friends simultaneously. In this article, we show that this kind of indiscriminate one-to-many (i.e., monologue) communication, in which the diverse interests of recipients are not considered, may induce a tendency toward egocentrism that interferes with other-oriented concerns, resulting in a reduced inclination to display prosocial behavior. In Experiment 1, participants induced to post a public communication subsequently allocated less money to anonymous strangers in the dictator game than did control participants. In Experiment 2, participants directing a post about participation in an experiment to their Facebook friends volunteered to help code fewer data sheets than did controls. Moreover, an egocentric state was shown to mediate the relationship between indiscriminate one-to-many communication and helping behavior. We provide the first demonstration that indiscriminate one-to-many communication on online social networks may be associated with a tendency toward self-interest. Our results suggest that the prevalence of monologue communication on SNSs may induce an egocentric tendency that undermines the likelihood of prosocial behavior.

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The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action

Kirk Kristofferson, Katherine White & John Peloza
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research offers competing predictions regarding whether an initial token display of support for a cause (such as wearing a ribbon, signing a petition, or joining a Facebook group) subsequently leads to increased and otherwise more meaningful contributions to the cause. The present research proposes a conceptual framework elucidating two primary motivations that underlie subsequent helping behavior: a desire to present a positive image to others and a desire to be consistent with one’s own values. Importantly, the socially observable nature (public vs. private) of initial token support is identified as a key moderator that influences when and why token support does or does not lead to meaningful support for the cause. Consumers exhibit greater helping on a subsequent, more meaningful task after providing an initial private (vs. public) display of token support for a cause. Finally, the authors demonstrate how value alignment and connection to the cause moderate the observed effects.

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Facial Attractiveness and Helping Behavior Beliefs: Both Attractive and Unattractive Targets Are Believed to Be Unhelpful Relative to Moderately Attractive Targets

Donald Sacco, Kurt Hugenberg & Elizabeth Kiel
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
On a between-subjects (Experiment 1A) and within-subjects (Experiment 1B) basis, participants indicated a belief that attractive and unattractive targets engage in less actual helping behavior than moderately attractive targets. In Experiment 2, attractive and moderately attractive targets were seen as more capable of helping than unattractive targets; attractive and unattractive targets were seen as less willing to help than moderately attractive targets. Multilevel modeling indicated that perceptions of helping capability and willingness mediated perceptions of how much targets actually help and should help. Whereas unattractive targets are seen as unhelpful due to both a lack of ability and motivation to help (negativity halo), attractive targets are also seen as unhelpful, but due uniquely to a perceived unwillingness to help.

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Helping Fellow Beings: Anthropomorphized Social Causes and the Role of Anticipatory Guilt

Hee-Kyung Ahn, Hae Joo Kim & Pankaj Aggarwal
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People are often reluctant to comply with social causes because doing so may involve personal sacrifices of time, money, and effort for benefits that are shared by other members of society. In an effort to increase compliance, government agencies and public institutions sometimes employ financial tools to promote social causes. However, employing financial tools to induce prosocial behavior is expensive and often ineffective. We propose that anthropomorphizing a social cause is a practical and inexpensive tool for increasing compliance with it. Across three prosocial contexts, we found that individuals exposed to a message from an anthropomorphized social cause, compared with individuals exposed to a message relating to a nonanthropomorphized social cause, were more willing to comply with the message. This effect was mediated by feelings of anticipatory guilt experienced when they considered the likely consequences of not complying with the cause. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Toward an Understanding of why Suggestions Work in Charitable Fundraising: Theory and Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

James Edwards & John List
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
People respond to those who ask. Within the charitable fundraising community, the power of the ask represents the backbone of most fundraising strategies. Despite this, the optimal design of communication strategies has received less formal attention. For their part, economists have recently explored how communication affects empathy, altruism, and giving rates to charities. Our study takes a step back from this literature to examine how suggestions – a direct ask for a certain amount of money – affect giving rates. We find that our suggestion amounts affect both the intensive and extensive margins: more people give and they tend to give the suggested amount. Resulting insights help us understand why people give, why messages work, and deepen practitioners’ understanding of how to use messages to leverage more giving.

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Charity Art Auctions

Jose Canals-Cerda
Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a unique panel data set of art auctions on eBay, we conduct an empirical analysis of the impact of charity status on the outcome of an auction and find it to be substantial. Charity status increases the probability of sale by 46%, the observed number of bidders by 111% and the sale price by 45%. In addition, charity status substantially lowers the auction's opening price. Interestingly, the effect of charity status declines over time indicating that charity auctions may be susceptible to donor fatigue.

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Age-Related Differences in Altruism Across Adulthood: Making Personal Financial Gain Versus Contributing to the Public Good

Alexandra Freund & Fredda Blanchard-Fields
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies utilizing different methodological approaches investigated adult age-related differences in altruism (i.e., contributions to the public good) and the self-centered value of increasing personal wealth. In Study 1, data from the World Values Survey (World Values Survey Association, 2009) provided 1st evidence of a negative association between age and the self-reported wish to be rich. Ecological concerns, a form of contributing to the public good, were positively related to age. Study 2 investigated whether these values are expressed behaviorally when participants solved a complex problem that allowed striving for monetary gains or contributing to a public good. Confirming hypotheses, young adults’ strategies were consistent with the aim of optimizing personal financial gain, and older adults’ strategies with the aim to contribute to the public good. Studies 3 and 4 showed that older adults were more likely than younger and middle-aged adults to donate money to a good cause than to keep it for themselves. Study 4 manipulated participants’ future time perspective as a factor potentially contributing to age-related differences. Partly confirming hypotheses, a longer time perspective reduced donations by older adults, but a shorter time perspective did not increase donations by younger adults. These studies suggest that older adults not only report valuing contributions to the public good more highly but also are more likely to behave altruistically than younger adults. All studies used cross-sectional designs that prevent a strict test of developmental trajectories but rather provide age-related differences at 1 point in time, representing a 1st step in investigating adult age-related differences in altruism.

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Intervene to be Seen: The Power of a Camera in Attenuating the Bystander Effect

Marco van Bommel et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Security cameras became such a part of everyday life that their presence may escape from our conscious attention. The present research examines the impact of cameras on intervening in crime, a situation in which the classic bystander effect has been uncovered. In our experimental set up, participants witnessed how another participant (a confederate) stole money, in the presence of either two or no other bystanders. Moreover, we used a security camera to make people feel watched. We expected to replicate the bystander effect without security camera’s presence and an attenuation of the bystander effect with a security camera present. As expected, the findings revealed that without a camera, participants were less likely to stop our confederate from stealing money when other bystanders were present. However, when there was a camera present this effect was attenuated: The camera increased intervention when people are otherwise least likely to help — when other bystanders are present.

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Working for “Warm Glow”: On the Benefits and Limits of Prosocial Incentives

Alex Imas
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study whether using prosocial incentives, where effort is tied directly to charitable contributions, may lead to better performance than standard incentive schemes. In a real-effort task, individuals indeed work harder for charity than for themselves, but only when incentive stakes are low. When stakes are raised, effort increases when individuals work for themselves but not when they work for others and, as a result, the difference in provided effort disappears. Individuals correctly anticipate these effects, choosing to work for charity at low incentives and for themselves at high incentives. The results are consistent with warm glow giving and have implications for optimal incentive design.

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Accepting zero in the ultimatum game does not reflect selfish preferences

Gianandrea Staffiero, Filippos Exadaktylos & Antonio Espín
Economics Letters, November 2013, Pages 236–238

Abstract:
We show that subjects who set their minimum acceptable offer to zero in an ultimatum game are the most generous players in a dictator game. This finding challenges the interpretation of the acceptance of low offers as payoff-maximizing behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Marketing plan

The Strategic Value of High-Cost Customers

Upender Subramanian, Jagmohan Raju & John Zhang
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many firms today manage their existing customers differentially based on profit potential, providing fewer incentives to less profitable customers and firing unprofitable customers. Although researchers and industry experts advocate this practice, results have been mixed. We examine this practice explicitly accounting for competition and find that some conventional prescriptions may not always hold. We analyze a setting where customers differ in their cost to serve. We find that when a firm can discriminate among its customers but the rival cannot, customer base composition influences the rival's poaching behavior. Consequently, even though a low-cost customer is more profitable when viewed in isolation, a high-cost customer may be strategically more valuable by discouraging poaching. Therefore, contrary to conventional advice, it can be profitable for a firm to retain unprofitable customers. Moreover, some customers may become more valuable to retain and receive better incentives when they are less profitable. We further show that, in competitive settings, traditional customer lifetime value metrics may lead to poor retention decisions because they do not account for the competitive externality that actions toward some customers impose on the cash flows from other customers. Our results suggest that firms may need to evolve from a segmentation mindset, which views each customer in isolation, to a customer portfolio mindset, which recognizes that the value of different customers is interlinked.

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Explicit Evidence of an Implicit Contract

Andrew Young & Daniel Levy
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We offer the first direct evidence of an implicit contract in a goods market. The evidence comes from the market for Coca-Cola. Since implicit contracts are unobservable, we adopt a narrative approach to demonstrate that the Coca-Cola Company left a written evidence of the implicit contract with its customers — a very explicit form of an implicit contract. The implicit contract promised a 6.5oz Coca-Cola of a constant quality, the “secret formula,” at a constant price, 5¢. We show that Coca-Cola attributes and market structure made it a suitable candidate for an implicit contract. Focusing on the observable implications of such an implicit contract, we offer evidence of the Company both acknowledging and acting on this implicit contract, which was valued by consumers. During a period of 74 years, we find evidence of only a single case of true quality change. We demonstrate that the company perceived itself as vulnerable to consumer backlash by reneging on the pledge, and conclude that the perceived costs of breaking the implicit contract were large.

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An Experimental Test of the Effectiveness of Terms & Conditions

Zev Eigen
Northwestern University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Requiring individuals to consent to “terms & conditions” is the overwhelmingly dominant strategy used to try to curb unauthorized use of products like motion pictures and music. This study is the first to employ a randomized controlled behavioral experiment testing whether this strategy is as effective as other means of achieving this goal. Individuals randomly assigned to either a “terms and condition” (“T&C”) frame or alternative frames (promise-keeping, trust, threat, naked request, and a control) were presented an opportunity to take an online presidential election poll more than once (and receive additional remuneration each time they did), even though they were made aware that they were not authorized to do so. The T&C frame was the least effective at keeping subjects from taking the poll more than once. Asking individuals to promise not to behave in the undesirable way, or signaling trust that they would not behave in the undesirable way were the best frames for curbing unauthorized multiple poll-taking.

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Should Event Organizers Prevent Resale of Tickets?

Yao Cui, Izak Duenyas & Ozge Sahin
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We are interested in whether preventing resale of tickets benefits the capacity providers for sporting and entertainment events. Common wisdom suggests that ticket resale is harmful to event organizers' revenues and event organizers have tried to prevent resale of tickets. For instance, Ticketmaster has recently proposed paperless (non-transferrable) ticketing which would severely limit the opportunity to resell tickets. We consider a model that allows resale from both consumers and speculators with different transaction costs for each party. Surprisingly, we find that this wisdom is incorrect when event organizers use fixed pricing policies, in fact event organizers benefit from reductions in consumers' (and speculators') transaction costs of resale. Even when multiperiod pricing policies are used, we find that an event organizer may still benefit from ticket resale if his capacity is small. While paperless ticketing is suggested as a way to reduce ticket resale and prevent speculators from buying tickets, our results suggest that it may reduce the capacity providers' revenues in many situations. Instead, we propose ticket options as a novel ticket pricing mechanism. We show that ticket options (where consumers would initially buy an option to buy a ticket and then exercise at a later date) naturally reduce ticket resale significantly and result in significant increases in event organizers' revenues. Furthermore, since a consumer only risks the option price (and not the whole ticket price) if she cannot attend the event, options may face less consumer resistance than paperless tickets.

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The Intergenerational Transmission of Automobile Brand Preferences: Empirical Evidence and Implications for Firm Strategy

Soren Anderson et al.
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We document a strong correlation in the brand of automobile chosen by parents and their adult children, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. This correlation could represent transmission of brand preferences across generations, or it could result from correlation in family characteristics that determine brand choice. We present a variety of empirical specifications that lend support to the former interpretation and to a mechanism that relies at least in part on state dependence. We then discuss implications of intergenerational brand preference transmission for automakers’ product-line strategies and for the strategic pricing of vehicles to different age groups.

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How Firms Can Go Wrong by Offering the Right Service Contract: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Eva Ascarza, Raghuram Iyengar & Martin Schleicher
Columbia University Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
Past evidence reveals that customers make ex-post mistakes when choosing service plans. Fearing a negative impact from customers’ overspending mistakes on long-term profits, some firms are becoming proactive and now recommend optimal tariffs to their existing customers. In this paper, we use a randomized field experiment to examine the profitability of encouraging existing customers to switch to better plans. We find that encouraging customers to switch to cost-minimizing plans can actually harm the firm. The primary source for this negative effect is the change in behavior among customers who decide to reject the firm’s recommendation. For this set of customers, churn notably increases, resulting in substantial losses. We propose two mechanisms for such increase in churn, namely lower inertia and customer regret. Our data provide empirical evidence for both drivers in the context we study. We also explore the impact of hypothetical targeted campaigns. The results suggest that selecting the right customers to target has a higher impact on profitability than allocating customers into optimal tariffs.

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Celebrity Endorsements, Firm Value, and Reputation Risk: Evidence from the Tiger Woods Scandal

Christopher Knittel & Victor Stango
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the stock market effects of the Tiger Woods scandal on his sponsors and sponsors' competitors. In the 10–15 trading days after the onset of the scandal, the full portfolio of sponsors lost more than 2% of market value, with losses concentrated among the core three sponsors: Electronic Arts, Nike, and PepsiCo (Gatorade). Sponsors' day-by-day losses correlate strongly with Google search intensity regarding the endorsement-related impact of the scandal, as well as with qualitative indicators of “endorsement-related news.” At least some sponsors' losses were competitors' gains, suggesting that endorsement deals are partially a business-stealing strategy. However, competitors who were themselves celebrity endorsement intensive fared relatively worse than those who were not endorsement intensive, and that difference also correlates day by day with news/search intensity regarding the scandal. It appears that the scandal sent a negative marketwide signal about the reputation risk associated with celebrity endorsements.

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League-Level Attendance and Outcome Uncertainty in U.S. Pro Sports Leagues

Brian Mills & Rodney Fort
Economic Inquiry, January 2014, Pages 205–218

Abstract:
We extend the breakpoint literature regarding annual league-level attendance and the impact of outcome uncertainty to the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League. As our measures are different than past work on baseball, we also apply our model to the American and National Leagues. Attendance series for each league under consideration are not stationary overall, but are stationary with break points. No form of outcome uncertainty (game, play-off, or across seasons) matters for attendance in hockey or baseball regardless of which game uncertainty variable is used. Under the measure of game uncertainty that recommends itself for football, only play-off uncertainty matters for attendance. Whether outcome uncertainty matters for basketball depends on the measure of game uncertainty. Situational similarities in the break points across leagues suggest general areas for future research.

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Repertoire Conventionality in Major US Symphony Orchestras: Factors Influencing Management's Programming Choices

Lawrence Tamburri, Johnathan Munn & Jeffrey Pompe
Managerial and Decision Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the relationship between funding sources and programming for major US symphony orchestras for the 2001 through 2007 seasons. We find that increased levels of funding from the federal government and businesses encourage more nonconventional programming, and increased levels of funding from local government and endowments encourage more conventional programming. In addition, yearly events such as a composer's anniversary and higher unemployment influence programming decisions. Given the challenging financial environment for symphony orchestras, we discussed programming choices that managers could implement to reduce budget deficits.

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Do Non-socially Responsible Companies Achieve Legitimacy Through Socially Responsible Actions? The Mediating Effect of Innovation

Belen Blanco, Encarna Guillamón-Saorín & Andrés Guiral
Journal of Business Ethics, September 2013, Pages 67-83

Abstract:
This study investigates the effects on organization’s financial performances of, first, the extent to which the organizations are involved in controversial business activities, and second, their level of social performance. These companies can be considered non-socially responsible given the harmful nature of the activities they are involved in. Managers of these companies may still have incentives to pursue socially responsible actions if they believe that engaging on those actions will help them to achieve legitimacy and improve investors’ perception about them. We develop a comprehensive methodology to investigate these corporate social performance (CSP)-related effects in a complex but specific setting. To this end, we analyze a sample of 202 US firms for the period 2005–2008 using a novel method in this area: partial least squares. Our results indicate that, contrary to the general findings in prior literature, companies involved in controversial business activities which engage in CSP do not directly reduce the negative perception that stakeholders have about them. Instead, we found evidence of a positive mediation effect of CSP on financial market-based performance through innovation.

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How Video Rental Patterns Change as Consumers Move Online

Alejandro Zentner, Michael Smith & Cuneyd Kaya
Management Science, November 2013, Pages 2622–2634

Abstract:
How will consumption patterns for popular and “long-tail” products change when consumers move from brick-and-mortar to Internet markets? We address this question using customer-level panel data obtained from a national video rental chain as it was closing many of its local stores. These data allow us to use the closure of a consumer's local video store as an instrument, breaking the inherent endogeneity between channel choice and product choice. Our results suggest that when consumers move from brick-and-mortar to online channels, they are significantly more likely to rent “niche” titles relative to “blockbusters.” This suggests that a significant amount of niche product consumption online is due to the direct influence of the channel on consumer behavior, not just due to selection effects from the types of consumers who decide to use the Internet channel or the types of products that consumers decide to purchase online.

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When a Reputation for Innovativeness Confers Negative Consequences for Brands

Jeffrey Larson, Kelly Goldsmith & Bradley Allen
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
Both the academic and business practitioner literatures agree that a brand reputation for innovativeness is beneficial. To the contrary, we find that such a reputation can confer negative consequences for brands. Specifically, we find that when a brand is associated with a reputation for innovativeness, consumers perceive new products from the brand to be of lower quality, as compared to when the same brand is associated with other reputations (e.g., excitement). We show that this outcome occurs because consumers believe that new products are more prone to malfunction when they come from a brand with a reputation for innovativeness. Further, we provide evidence suggesting that the negative effects of a brand reputation for innovativeness have consequences for purchase interest. We discuss our findings in light of past research demonstrating the positive consequences of a brand reputation for innovativeness as well as the managerial and theoretical implications of this work.

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Endogenous Market Structures and Innovation by Leaders: An Empirical Test

Dirk Czarnitzki, Federico Etro & Kornelius Kraft
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
Models of competition for the market with endogenous market structures show that, contrary to the Arrow view, an endogenous entry threat induces the average firm to invest less in R&D and the incumbent leader to invest more. We test these predictions using a unique dataset for the German manufacturing sector (the Mannheim Innovation Panel). In line with our predictions, endogenous entry threats as perceived by the firms (in survey data) reduce R&D intensity for an average firm, but they increase it for an incumbent leader. These results hold after a number of robustness tests with instrumental variable regressions.

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Change at the Checkout: Tracing the Impact of a Process Innovation

Emek Basker
University of Missouri Working Paper, June 2013

Abstract:
Barcode scanners, introduced in the early 1970s, were a foundational process innovation in the grocery supply chain. By 1984 scanners had been installed in 10% of food stores in the U.S. Difference-in-difference analysis of city-level price data shows that scanners reduced prices of groceries by about 1.4% in their first decade. The results are consistent with prior estimates of labor saving by scanners and better information available to stores. Early adopters and adopters in states that imposed fewer restrictions on complementary process innovations contributed disproportionately to the price decreases.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Roots

The Degree of Disadvantage: Incarceration and Inequality in Education

Stephanie Ewert, Bryan Sykes & Becky Pettit
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2014, Pages 24-43

Abstract:
This article examines how the rise in incarceration and its disproportionate concentration among low-skill, young African American men influences estimates of educational attainment in the United States. We focus on high school graduation rates and the persistent gap in attainment that exists between young black and white Americans. Although official statistics show a declining racial gap in high school dropout in recent years, conventional data sources exclude the incarcerated population from sample data. We show how those exclusions underestimate the extent of racial inequality in high school graduation and underestimate the dropout rate among young black men by as much as 40 percent. America’s prisons and jails have become repositories for high school dropouts, thereby obscuring the degree of disadvantage faced by black men in the contemporary United States and the relative competitiveness of the U.S. workforce.

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The Internet and Hate Crime: Offline Spillovers from Online Access

Jason Chan, Anindya Ghose & Robert Seamans
New York University Working Paper, September 2013

Abstract:
The Internet has had profound effects on society, both positive and negative. In this paper we examine the effect of the Internet on a negative spillover: hate crime. In order to better understand the link, we study the extent to which broadband availability affects racial hate crimes in the US from 1999-2008. To address measurement error, we instrument for broadband availability using slope of terrain. We find strong evidence that broadband availability increases racial hate crimes. The results are stronger in areas with greater racial segregation and with more online searches for racist words, suggesting that the direct effect of the Internet on hate crime is primarily due to a heightening of pre-existing propensities to engage in hate activity. We find no evidence that the Internet has affected crime reporting. The results are robust to alternative specifications and falsification tests. These results shed light on one of the many offline spillovers from increased online access, and suggest that governmental and private regulation of online content may help reduce hate crime.

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Has Social Security Redistributed to Whites from People of Color?

Caleb Quakenbush, Karen Smith & Eugene Steuerle
Urban Institute Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
This brief considers how Social Security’s many benefit and tax features have redistributed across groups over time. Using Current Population Survey data from 1970 through 1994 and microsimulation projections from the Urban Institute’s DYNASIM3 model, we find that for many decades, Social Security redistributed from blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color, to whites. These transfers will likely to continue in future decades. Our findings suggest that future reforms that place the burden of Social Security reform solely on younger, more diverse generations may have undesired distributional consequences if the aim of the program is to provide greater relative protections to more vulnerable groups.

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The Heterogeneity of Southern White Distinctiveness

Steven White
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article documents and assesses subregional variation among white southerners in presidential voting behavior and a variety of issue attitudes. I demonstrate that whites in the South remain consistently distinct from those in the rest of the nation, but heterogeneously so: whites in the Deep South are generally far more conservative than their Peripheral South neighbors. I also assess how the region’s disproportionate concentration of born-again Christians can confound assessments of regional and state coefficients when properly accounted for in regression models. By demonstrating the continuing distinctiveness of the white South, the significant variation present within the region, and the interrelationship of region and religion, these results have theoretical and methodological implications for the study of American politics.

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Amidst Poverty and Prejudice: Black and Irish Civil War Veterans

Hoyt Bleakley, Louis Cain & Joseph Ferrie
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This study examines a wide range of health and economic outcomes in a sample of Irish- and African-American Civil War veterans during the postbellum period. The information in our data is from a variety of circumstances across an individual’s life span, and we use that to attempt to explain whether the disparities in mortality are related to disparities in life experiences. We find evidence of disparities between Irish and blacks and others in such variables as occupation and wealth, morbidity, and mortality. The data do not reveal disparate outcomes for all blacks and Irish; they only reveal inferior outcomes for slave-born blacks and foreign-born Irish. For the freeborn blacks and native-born Irish, for whom the historical tradition suggests discrimination and prejudice, the data only hint at such problems.

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“The Dusky Doughboys”: Interaction between African American Soldiers and the Population of Northern Ireland during the Second World War

Simon Topping
Journal of American Studies, November 2013, Pages 1131-1154

Abstract:
This article will examine the ways in which the people of Northern Ireland and African American troops stationed there during the Second World War reacted to each other. It will also consider the effect of institutional racism in the American military on this relationship, concluding that, for the most part, the population welcomed black soldiers and refused to endorse American racial attitudes or enforce Jim Crow segregation. This piece argues that, bearing in mind the latent racism of the time, the response of the Northern Irish to African Americans was essentially colour-blind, and this was true in both the Protestant and Catholic communities.

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The human capital of black soldiers during the American civil war

Kitae Sohn
Economics Letters, January 2014, Pages 40–43

Abstract:
Analyzing three datasets on black and white soldiers and the black and white populations from the same birth years, this paper finds that black soldiers had much higher human capital than the black population as a whole.

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Betting on Secession: Quantifying Political Events Surrounding Slavery and the Civil War

Charles Calomiris & Jonathan Pritchett
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Abraham Lincoln’s election produced Southern secession, Civil War, and abolition. Using a new database of slave sales from New Orleans, we examine the connections between political news and the prices of slaves for 1856-1861. We find that slave prices declined by roughly a third from their 1860 peak, reflecting increased southern pessimism regarding the possibility of war and the war’s possible outcome. The South’s decision to secede reflected the beliefs that the North would not invade to oppose secession, and that emancipation of slaves without compensation was unlikely, both of which were subsequently dashed by Lincoln’s actions.

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First to the Party: The Group Origins of the Partisan Transformation on Civil Rights, 1940–1960

Christopher Baylor
Studies in American Political Development, October 2013, Pages 111-141

Abstract:
One of the most momentous shifts in twentieth-century party politics was the Democratic Party's embrace of civil rights. Recent scholarship finds that this realignment began as early as the 1940s and traces it to pressure groups, especially organized labor. But such scholarship does not explain why labor, which was traditionally hostile to African Americans, began to work with them. Nor does it ascribe agency to the efforts of African American pressure groups. Focusing on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), this article attempts to fill these gaps in the literature. It explains why civil rights and labor leaders reassessed their traditional animosities and began to work as allies in the Democratic Party. It further shows how pressure from the new black-blue alliance forced the national Democratic Party to stop straddling civil rights issues and to become instead the vehicle for promoting civil rights. NAACP and CIO leaders consciously sought to remake the Democratic Party by marginalizing conservative Southerners, and eventually succeeded.

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Parental Incarceration, Child Homelessness, and the Invisible Consequences of Mass Imprisonment

Christopher Wildeman
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2014, Pages 74-96

Abstract:
This article presents research on the consequences of mass imprisonment for childhood inequality. I investigate average and race-specific effects of paternal and maternal incarceration on the risk of child homelessness, using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. The results suggest that (1) recent paternal but not maternal incarceration substantially increases the risk of child homelessness, (2) effects are concentrated among African American children, and (3) increases in familial economic hardship and decreases in access to institutional support explain some of the relationship. Taken together, the findings indicate the prison boom was likely a key driver of the growing racial disparities in child homelessness, increasing black-white inequality in this risk by 65 percent since the 1970s. When coupled with the other effects of mass imprisonment on childhood inequality, these results suggest that the prison boom will likely lead to far greater black-white inequality in civic and political participation, as the children of the prison boom come of age.

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A silver lining to white flight? White suburbanization and African–American homeownership, 1940–1980

Leah Boustan & Robert Margo
Journal of Urban Economics, November 2013, Pages 71–80

Abstract:
Between 1940 and 1980, the homeownership rate among metropolitan African–American households increased by 27 percentage points. Nearly three-quarters of this increase occurred in central cities. We show that rising black homeownership in central cities was facilitated by the movement of white households to the suburban ring, which reduced the price of urban housing units conducive to owner-occupancy. Our OLS and IV estimates imply that 26 percent of the national increase in black homeownership over the period is explained by white suburbanization.

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Black and white homebuyer, homeowner, and household segregation in the United States, 1990–2010

Mary Fischer
Social Science Research, November 2013, Pages 1726–1736

Abstract:
As homeownership has been expanding in the United States over the past several decades, residential segregation between blacks and whites has been declining in most metropolitan areas. However, the degree to which the residential patterns of new homebuyers have mirrored these overall trends in segregation and how the massive increase in home buying has related to changes in segregation has remained largely unexplored. This paper examines the segregation of new black homebuyers from white households, new white homebuyers from black households, and black and white households from each other using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data from 1992 to 2010 merged with data from the Census and ACS. I find that black homebuyers are less segregated from white households than black homeowners overall and black households in general, providing evidence in support of the spatial assimilation model that would predict better outcomes for homeowners. Also consistent with the spatial assimilation perspective, I found in the multivariate models that increased income parity between blacks and whites and growth in black lending are associated with average declines in black/white household segregation from 1990 to 2010. Although subprime lending was not associated with overall changes in segregation, metropolitan areas with higher percentages of loans to blacks from subprime lenders experienced increases in segregation of both black homeowners from white households as well as white owners from black households.

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Submersed in Social Segregation: The (Re)Production of Social Capital Through Swim Club Membership

Jaime DeLuca
Journal of Sport and Social Issues, November 2013, Pages 340-363

Abstract:
This article examines the ways in which upper middle class families acquire, transmit, and preserve their social and cultural capitals through membership at the Pine View Swim and Tennis Club, a semiprivate facility located near a major mid-Atlantic city in the United States. Drawing on Cultural theorist Pierre Bourdieu’s theorizing on sport participation and social class position, as well as 4 years of ethnographic investigation, I argue that the pool, as a cultural field, maintains socially segregated boundaries offering members a significant, yet hidden vehicle through which they can facilitate their class and race-based privilege. Specifically, Pine View fosters an important sense of community and belonging in and through members, as well as an exclusive social learning opportunity, thus contributing to the (re)production of their White, privileged habitus.

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The Unique Impact of Abolition of Jim Crow Laws on Reducing Inequities in Infant Death Rates and Implications for Choice of Comparison Groups in Analyzing Societal Determinants of Health

Nancy Krieger et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2013, Pages 2234-2244

Objectives: We explored associations between the abolition of Jim Crow laws (i.e., state laws legalizing racial discrimination overturned by the 1964 US Civil Rights Act) and birth cohort trends in infant death rates.

Methods: We analyzed 1959 to 2006 US Black and White infant death rates within and across sets of states (polities) with and without Jim Crow laws.

Results: Between 1965 and 1969, a unique convergence of Black infant death rates occurred across polities; in 1960 to 1964, the Black infant death rate was 1.19 times higher (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18, 1.20) in the Jim Crow polity than in the non–Jim Crow polity, whereas in 1970 to 1974 the rate ratio shrank to and remained at approximately 1 (with the 95% CI including 1) until 2000, when it rose to 1.10 (95% CI = 1.08, 1.12). No such convergence occurred for Black–White differences in infant death rates or for White infants.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that abolition of Jim Crow laws affected US Black infant death rates and that valid analysis of societal determinants of health requires appropriate comparison groups.

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Are We There Yet? The Voting Rights Act and Black Representation on City Councils, 1981–2006

Paru Shah, Melissa Marschall & Anirudh Ruhil
Journal of Politics, October 2013, Pages 993-1008

Abstract:
Sound evidence demonstrating what, if any, role the Voting Rights Act (VRA) has played in the impressive gains minorities have made in local office holding over the last 45 years remains in short supply. The present study is motivated by three crucial questions. First, where are gains in minority office holding most apparent, and how are these gains related to the VRA? Second, while studies have noted gains in black representation over time, the question of how the VRA in particular has contributed to these gains remains unclear. Finally, given claims made by opponents of the 2006 legislation reauthorizing the VRA that it was no longer needed, the question of when the VRA has been most efficacious, and if it continues to be relevant, is also salient. Our findings suggest that the VRA has been and continues to be an important tool in ensuring black descriptive representation, particularly in places with a legacy of racial intimidation and discrimination.

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Keeping People in Their Place? Young-Adult Mobility and Persistence of Residential Segregation in US Metropolitan Areas

Marcus Britton, Pat Rubio Goldsmith & Marcus Britton
Urban Studies, November 2013, Pages 2886-2903

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that neighbourhood racial and income contexts remain similar across generations within White, Black and Latino families in the US. This article builds on this research by examining the extent to which geographical mobility during the transition to adulthood attenuates the perpetuation of residential segregation from Whites among Asians, Blacks and Latinos. Data from the National Education Longitudinal Study linked to 1990 and 2000 US census data were analysed. Results suggest that residential exposure to Whites is similar during youth and adulthood among young adults who live in the same metropolitan area where they lived as adolescents, regardless of race/ethnicity. Among those who migrate to another metropolitan area, adolescent exposure predicts exposure among Asian, Black and Latino young adults, but not among Whites themselves. Thus, limited experience with integrated neighbourhoods during adolescence among non-Whites and limited geographical mobility among all young adults help to perpetuate segregation.

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Race and neighborhoods in the 21st century: What does segregation mean today?

Jorge De la Roca, Ingrid Gould Ellen & Katherine O’Regan
Regional Science and Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Noting the decline in segregation between blacks and whites over the past several decades, some recent work argues that racial segregation is no longer a concern in the 21st century. In response, this paper revisits some of the concerns that John Quigley raised about racial segregation and neighborhoods to assess their relevance today. We note that while segregation levels between blacks and whites have certainly declined, they remain quite high; Hispanic and Asian segregation have meanwhile remained unchanged. Further, our analysis shows that the neighborhood environments of minorities continue to be highly unequal to those enjoyed by whites. Blacks and Hispanics continue to live among more disadvantaged neighbors, to have access to lower performing schools, and to be exposed to more violent crime. Further, these differences are amplified in more segregated metropolitan areas.

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Are Minority Areas Disproportionately Targeted for Halfway House Placement?

S.E. Costanza, John Kilburn & Susan Vendetti-Koski
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Fall 2013, Pages 256-276

Abstract:
The geographic placement of halfway houses is an important issue in the field of community corrections. Much research has underscored the social justice issues involved with the subsidization and placement of halfway houses within certain communities. A commonly held belief is that state and local governments actively target lower socioeconomic status, minority communities for the placement of houses, as residents have little power to resist. This article uses data collected on Connecticut towns from 2000 to 2008 and reveals that state-subsidized halfway houses are significantly more likely to be sited in non-White communities with high index crime rates.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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