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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dictatorial

Media Disruption and Revolutionary Unrest: Evidence From Mubarak's Quasi-Experiment

Navid Hassanpour
Political Communication, Winter 2014, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom suggests that universal lapses in media connectivity — for example, disruption of Internet and cell phone access — have a negative effect on political mobilization. On the contrary, I argue that sudden and ubiquitous interruption of mass communication can facilitate revolutionary mobilization and proliferate decentralized contention. A dynamic threshold model for participation in network collective action is used to demonstrate that full connectivity in a social network can hinder revolutionary action. I exploit a decision by Mubarak's regime to disrupt Internet and mobile communication during the 2011 Egyptian uprising to provide an empirical test for the hypothesis. An interrupted time series inference strategy is used to gauge the impact of media disruption on the dispersion of the protests. The evidence is corroborated using historical, anecdotal, and statistical accounts. In line with the theory, the results of a survey among Egyptian protesters show a significant decline in the percentage of participation in Tahrir Square as a fraction of total participation across Cairo on the first day of media disruption.

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Aid and democracy redux

Erasmus Kersting & Christopher Kilby
European Economic Review, April 2014, Pages 125–143

Abstract:
This paper uses Freedom House ratings to assess the impact of foreign aid on democracy. We employ an interval regression to account for Freedom House's method of rating countries. A cross-sectional analysis examining the long run effect of aid on democracy in 122 countries between 1972 and 2011 finds a significant positive relationship that survives various tests for endogeneity. A short run annual panel analysis of 156 countries between 1985 and 2011 explores whether aid operates through leverage and conditionality. We present evidence that i) donors allocate aid in response to democratization and ii) recipient countries respond to this incentive for democratic reform. Our identification strategy relies on the reduced importance of democratization in the allocation of aid to geopolitically important countries.

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Income, inequality, and the stability of democracy – Another look at the Lipset hypothesis

Florian Jung & Uwe Sunde
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the endogenous emergence of political regimes, in particular democracy, oligarchy and mass dictatorship, in societies in which productive resources are distributed unequally and institutions do not ensure political commitments. The political regime is shown to depend not only on income levels, but, in particular, on resource inequality. The main results imply that under any economic environment a distribution of resources exists such that democracy is the political outcome. This distribution is independent of the particular income level if the income share generated by the poor is sufficiently large. On the other hand, there are distributions of resources for which democracy is infeasible in equilibrium regardless of the level of economic development. The model also delivers results on the stability of democracy. Variations in inequality across several dimensions due to unbalanced technological change, immigration or changes in the demographic structure affect the scope for democracy or may even lead to its breakdown. Among other historical examples, the results are consistent with the different political regimes that emerged in Germany after its unification in 1871.

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Perverse Complementarity: Political Connections and the Use of Courts among Private Firms in China

Yuen Yuen Ang & Nan Jia
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 318-332

Abstract:
Using survey data of over 3,900 private firms in China, we examine whether — and how — political connections promote or undermine the use of formal legal institutions. We find that politically connected firms are more inclined than nonconnected firms to use courts over informal avenues of dispute resolution. Furthermore, by comparing the effects of political connections on dispute-resolution patterns across regional institutional environments, we find that “know-who” (political influence over adjudication) dominates “know-how” (knowledge of navigating courts) in linking political connections to the use of courts. Contrary to canonical theories that predict the declining significance of connections following the expansion of courts, our study suggests that informal networks and formal laws are more likely to share a relationship of perverse complementarity in transitional and authoritarian contexts. Political connections are positively linked to the use of legal procedures, and the primary mechanism behind the link is “know-who” over “know-how.”

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Maintaining Stability by Law: Protest-Supported Housing Demolition Litigation and Social Change in China

Xin He
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Housing demolition has been one of the major sources of social conflict in contemporary China. Drawing on evidence collected in fieldwork investigations, this article examines the pressure of protest-supported housing demolition litigation and its impacts. It finds that under the pressure of litigation, the courts have devised coping mechanisms to constrain the housing demolition authorities, and that social change angling toward more transparency and accountability has occurred. The article argues that this change is made possible as the maintenance of social stability has become not only the paramount concern of the regime, but also the performance assessment criterion for local officials and judges. The findings deepen our understanding of the causes and consequences of judicial empowerment in China and shed light on the dynamics of judicial politics in other regimes.

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Ecology, Trade, and States in Pre-Colonial Africa

James Fenske
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
State capacity matters for growth. I test Bates' explanation of pre-colonial African states. He argues that trade across ecological boundaries promoted states. I find that African societies in ecologically diverse environments had more centralized states. This is robust to reverse causation, omitted heterogeneity, and alternative interpretations of the link between diversity and states. The result survives including non-African societies. I test mechanisms connecting trade to states, and find that trade supported class stratification between rulers and ruled. I underscore the importance of ethnic institutions and inform our knowledge of the effects of trade on institutions.

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Are democratic sanctions really counterproductive?

Christian von Soest & Michael Wahman
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that sanctions have a negative impact on the level of democracy in targeted authoritarian countries. This runs counter to substantive comparative literature on democratization which finds that economic stress is connected with regime collapse and democratic liberalization. To solve this puzzle, we focus on the effects of “democratic sanctions” (those that explicitly aim to promote democracy) which have become the most common type of sanction issued against authoritarian states. We introduce a new data set of imposed sanctions in the period 1990–2010 that clearly separates sanctions according to the explicit goal of the sender. Our cross-sectional time-series analysis demonstrates that although sanctions as a whole do not generally increase the level of democracy, there is in fact a significant correlation between democratic sanctions and increased levels of democracy in targeted authoritarian countries. A fundamental mechanism leading to this outcome is the increased instability of authoritarian rule as democratic sanctions are significantly associated with a higher probability of regime and leadership change.

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How Aid Targets Votes: The Impact of Electoral Incentives on Foreign Aid Distribution

Ryan Jablonski
World Politics, April 2014, Pages 293-330

Abstract:
Despite allegations that foreign aid promotes corruption and patronage, little is known about how recipient governments' electoral incentives influence aid spending. This article proposes a distributional politics model of aid spending in which governments use their informational advantages over donors in order to allocate a disproportionate share of aid to electorally strategic supporters, allowing governments to translate aid into votes. To evaluate this argument, the author codes data on the spatial distribution of multilateral donor projects in Kenya from 1992 to 2010 and shows that Kenyan governments have consistently influenced the aid allocation process in favor of copartisan and coethnic voters, a bias that holds for each of Kenya's last three regimes. He confirms that aid distribution increases incumbent vote share. This evidence suggests that electoral motivations play a significant role in aid allocation and that distributional politics may help explain the gap between donor intentions and outcomes.

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Improving Models of Democracy: The Example of Lagged Effects of Economic Development, Education, and Gender Equality

Mikhail Balaev
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The author examines how time delayed effects of economic development, education, and gender equality influence political democracy. Literature review shows inadequate understanding of lagged effects, which raises methodological and theoretical issues with the current quantitative studies of democracy. Using country-years as a unit of analysis, the author estimates a series of OLS PCSE models for each predictor with a systematic analysis of the distributions of the lagged effects. The second set of multiple OLS PCSE regressions are estimated including all three independent variables. The results show that economic development, education, and gender have three unique trajectories of the time-delayed effects: Economic development has long-term effects, Education produces continuous effects regardless of the timing, and Gender equality has the most prominent immediate and short-term effects. The results call for the reassessment of model specifications and theoretical setups in the quantitative studies of democracy.

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The Political Origins of Transparency

Daniel Berliner
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 479-491

Abstract:
Transparency has been hailed as the key to better governance, yet political actors have many reasons to resist transparency. This article studies one prominent transparency policy, Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, which have been passed by over 80 countries. By institutionalizing transparency, FOI laws increase the costs for political actors to use public office — and public information — for private gain. Why have so many states passed FOI laws despite this? I argue that, in competitive political environments, FOI laws can create benefits for political actors as well as costs. Uncertainty over future control creates incentives for incumbents to pass FOI laws in order to ensure their own future access to government information and to credibly commit to future transparency. Event-history-model results show that FOI law passage is more likely when opposition parties pose more credible challenges to incumbents and when recent turnover in executive office has been frequent.

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Election Fairness and Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan

Eli Berman et al.
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
International development agencies invest heavily in institution building in fragile states, including expensive interventions to support democratic elections. Yet little evidence exists on whether elections enhance the domestic legitimacy of governments. Using the random assignment of an innovative election fraud-reducing intervention in Afghanistan, we find that decreasing electoral misconduct improves multiple survey measures of attitudes toward government, including: (1) whether Afghanistan is a democracy; (2) whether the police should resolve disputes; (3) whether members of parliament provide services; and (4) willingness to report insurgent behavior to security forces.

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Political Devolution and Resistance to Foreign Rule: A Natural Experiment

Jeremy Ferwerda & Nicholas Miller
MIT Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Do foreign occupiers face less resistance when they increase the level of native governing authority? Although this is a central question within the literature on foreign occupation and insurgency, it is difficult to answer because the relationship between resistance and political devolution is typically endogenous. To address this issue, we identify a natural experiment based on the locally arbitrary assignment of French municipalities into German or Vichy-governed zones during World War Two. Using a regression discontinuity design, we conclude that devolving governing authority significantly lowered levels of resistance. We argue that this effect is driven by a process of political cooptation: domestic groups that were granted governing authority were less likely to engage in resistance activity, while violent resistance was heightened in regions dominated by groups excluded from the governing regime. This finding stands in contrast to work that primarily emphasizes structural factors or nationalist motivations for resistance.

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Economic Origins of Democratic Breakdown?

Dan Slater, Gautam Nair & Benjamin Smith
Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
From Aristotle to Acemoglu and Robinson, scholars have argued that democracy possesses powerful redistributive impulses, and imperils itself accordingly. This article challenges the validity of the redistributive model of democratic breakdown in the postcolonial world – the only cases where democracies have collapsed since World War II – because its assumptions regarding state power are questionable or even inapplicable in postcolonial settings. Our correlative analysis of cross-sectional time series data from 139 countries between 1972 and 2007 indicates that, contrary to the expectations of the redistributive model, redistributive taxation is negatively associated with the incidence of military coups and the likelihood of democratic breakdown. Furthermore, authoritarian takeovers do not appear systematically to result in reduced redistribution from the rich. More fine-grained historical evidence from Southeast Asia – a region where the redistributive model should be especially likely to hold true – further affirms that authoritarian seizures of power are neither inspired by successful redistributive policies nor followed by their reversal. Taken together, these quantitative and qualitative data offer significant support for our central theoretical claim: contemporary democratic breakdowns have political origins in weak states, not economic origins in class conflict.

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The Provision of Insurance? Judicial Independence and the Post-tenure Fate of Leaders

Brad Epperly
Journal of Law and Courts, Fall 2013, Pages 247-278

Abstract:
Leading explanations of judicial independence argue political competition incentivizes those in power to create independent courts as insurance against uncertain futures. While much work addresses the role competition plays, little analyzes the fundamental assumption that courts provide political insurance. I offer an original hypothesis as to how independent courts provide insurance against post-tenure punishment and test this using data on the post-tenure fate of leaders from 1960 to 2004. Results show independence is associated with significantly higher probabilities of unpunished post-tenure fate. The article builds on and extends existing political insurance explanations and offers the first test of one of their critical assumptions.

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Regional Favoritism

Roland Hodler & Paul Raschky
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We complement the literature on distributive politics by taking a systematic look at regional favoritism in a large and diverse sample of countries, and by employing a broad measure that captures the aggregate distributive effect of many different policies. In particular, we use satellite data on nighttime light intensity and information about the birthplaces of the countries' political leaders. In our panel of 38,427 subnational regions from 126 countries with yearly observations from 1992 to 2009, we find that subnational regions have more intense nighttime light when being the birth region of the current political leader. We argue that this finding provides evidence for regional favoritism. We explore the dynamics and the geographical extent of regional favoritism, and show that regional favoritism is most prevalent in countries with weak political institutions and poorly educated citizens. Further, foreign aid inflows and oil rents tend to fuel regional favoritism in weakly institutionalized countries, but not elsewhere.

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The Primacy of the Local: Identifying Terrorist Hot Spots Using Geographic Information Systems

Stephen Nemeth, Jacob Mauslein & Craig Stapley
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 304-317

Abstract:
Despite the wide range of studies focused on the causes of terrorism, most use the state as the unit of analysis. Doing so, however, overlooks important variation that occurs within the state. Our research seeks to determine the causes of domestic terrorism through a more refined unit of analysis. We do this by using the PRIO-GRID cell structure spatially merged with a geocoded version of the GTD dataset. We then perform a Getis-Ord Gi* hot spot analysis to uncover those local areas most prone to domestic terrorism. Our results indicate the following attributes increase the likelihood of terrorism: mountainous terrain, close proximity to a state capital, large population, high population density, and poor economic conditions. When testing between regime types, we find that factors such as population, economic conditions, and the number of ethnic groups are significant only in democracies, while distance to capital is significant only in autocracies.

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Defending democracy with international law: Preventing coup attempts with democracy clauses

Jacob Wobig
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent decades many regional inter-governmental organizations have adopted agreements committing all member states to maintain democratic governments, and specifying punishments to be levied against member states that revert to authoritarianism. These treaties have a surprisingly high enforcement rate – nearly all states subject to them that have experienced governmental succession by coup have been suspended by the relevant IGO(s). However, relatively little is known about whether these treaties are deterring coups. This article offers an original theory of how these international agreements could deter coups d’état, focusing on the way that a predictably adverse international reaction complicates the incentives of potential coup participants. An analysis of the likelihood of coups for the period of 1991–2008 shows that states subject to democracy were on average less likely to experience coups, but that this finding was not statistically significant in most models. However, when restricting the analysis to democracies, middle-income states with democracy clauses were significantly less likely to experience coup attempts. Moreover, the African democracy regime appears to be particularly effective, significantly reducing the likelihood of coup attempts for middle-income states regardless of regime type.

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Revisiting Economic Shocks and Coups

Nam Kyu Kim
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article revisits the oft-cited relationship between economic shocks and coups. According to conventional wisdom, economic recessions trigger coups. However, existing empirical studies have not consistently produced supporting evidence for that relationship. This article claims that this is partly because existing studies have not differentiated transitory from permanent shocks to the economy. Two different economic shocks could have different effects on coups. Moreover, existing studies have not sufficiently addressed measurement error in gross domestic product (GDP) data. To overcome these problems, I use exogenous rainfall and temperature variation to instrument for economic growth. Instrumental estimates demonstrate, consistently across four different GDP per capita growth measures, that a decrease in GDP per capita growth rates, induced by short-run weather shocks, significantly increases the probability of a coup attempt. Conversely, noninstrumental variable estimates vary according to different GDP measures, and are close to zero, consistent with previous findings.

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The inequality–conflict nexus re-examined: Income, education and popular rebellions

Henrikas Bartusevičius
Journal of Peace Research, January 2014, Pages 35-50

Abstract:
The impact of inequality on the outbreak of intrastate armed conflicts or civil wars has recently attracted considerable interest in conflict research. In contrast to previous studies that have focused on inequality in the total population (vertical inequality), recent studies have analysed inequality between certain groups of people (horizontal inequality), and found that inequality significantly increases the likelihood of conflict onset. However, most of the recent studies on the inequality–conflict nexus have focused on conflicts fought between ethnic groups. The relation between inequality and other (non-ethnic) categories of conflicts has attracted less attention. The present study aims to address this gap: it implements a theoretical and empirical analysis of the relation between inequality and popular rebellions, a subset of conflicts where mobilization transcends ethnic boundaries and hostilities involve popular participation. Based on a sample of 77 popular rebellions and new global data on vertical inequality in income and education, this study shows that inequality significantly increases the likelihood of popular rebellion onset. In addition, the study reveals that inequality proxies (income and education Gini indices) outperform proxies of the absolute level of income (GDP per capita) in the model of popular rebellion onset, suggesting that it is relative, not absolute, well-being that ultimately motivates people to rise up in arms.

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Buying War Not Peace: The Influence of Corruption on the Risk of Ethnic War

Natascha Neudorfer & Ulrike Theuerkauf
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article presents robust findings for the positive effect of corruption on the risk of ethnic civil war, using binary time-series-cross-section data that cover 87 to 121 countries (per year) between 1984 and 2007. Following a grievance-based explanation of violent intrastate conflict, we argue that corruption increases the risk of large-scale ethnic violence, as it creates distortions in the political decision-making process which lead to a deepening of political and economic inequalities between different ethnic groups. The positive effect of corruption on the risk of ethnic civil war is robust to various model specifications, including the interaction between corruption and natural resource wealth.

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Geography, Outcome, and Casualties: A Unified Model of Insurgency

Sebastian Schutte
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study introduces a theoretical model of how insurgency develops as a function of reactive mobilization. The theory extends a classic distance-decay model by incorporating Kalyvas’ typology of violence. It implies that geographic conditions crucially determine the accuracy of applied violence and thereby its public perception, which in turn determines the actors’ ability to mobilize. As a first test of these effects, I propose a new geographic indicator that expresses the spatial accessibility of a country’s population for both central governments and peripheral insurgent movements. Two empirical implications of the theory are tested with a large-N data set on outcomes and casualties in insurgencies. The new indicator is significantly associated with both military outcomes and the number of casualties in insurgencies since 1970 and strengthens statistical predictions.

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Which Democracies Will Last? Coups, Incumbent Takeovers, and the Dynamic of Democratic Consolidation

Milan Svolik
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article develops a change-point model of democratic consolidation that conceives of consolidation as a latent quality to be inferred rather than measured directly. Consolidation is hypothesized to occur when a large, durable, and statistically significant decline in the risk of democratic breakdowns occurs at a well-defined point during a democracy's lifetime. This approach is applied to new data on democratic survival that distinguish between breakdowns due to military coups and incumbent takeovers. We find that the risk of an authoritarian reversal by either process differs both in its temporal dynamic and determinants. Crucially, new democracies consolidate against the risk of coups but not incumbent takeovers, suggesting that distinct mechanisms account for the vulnerability of new democracies to these alternative modes of breakdown.

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Popular Protest and Elite Coordination in a Coup d’état

Brett Allen Casper & Scott Tyson
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 548-564

Abstract:
Elites face a daunting coordination problem when contemplating a coup. Citizens, who desire political reform, face a similar coordination problem when contemplating protest. Since elites and citizens interact with the same leadership, these coordination problems are invariably linked. We develop a model which exploits this link to isolate an informational mechanism connecting popular protests and coups. Protests aggregate citizen information and provide elites with a public signal which helps them coordinate in a coup. We show that elites “overreact” to protest as a consequence of its publicity, and we provide a microfounded explanation as to why elites use protests to facilitate coordination. Our model also suggests that protests in countries with media freedom better facilitate elite coordination. To test this, we examine how media freedom affects the relationship between protests and coups. The empirical analysis shows the effect of protests on coups is exacerbated in countries where media is free.

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How does political trust affect social trust? An analysis of survey data from rural China using an instrumental variables approach

Ran Tao et al.
International Political Science Review, March 2014, Pages 237-253

Abstract:
Using an instrumental variable approach, we analyze survey data to untangle the relationship between social and political trust in contemporary China. We find strong evidence that political trust enhances social trust in China and the results are robust to a range of measures, including the generalized social trust question, as well as three contextualized trust questions. We also shed light on the impact of economic modernization on social trust. Our findings contribute to the general literature on trust and provide a better understanding of the complicated relationship between political trust and social trust. They also offer insight into the dynamics of trust production and reproduction in China and thus into China’s socio-political development.

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Do return migrants transfer political norms to their origin country? Evidence from Mali

Lisa Chauvet & Marion Mercier
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explores the link between return migration and political outcomes in the origin country, using the case study of Mali. We use electoral and census data at the locality level to investigate the role of return migration on participation rates and electoral competitiveness. First, we run OLS and IV estimations for the 2009 municipal election, controlling for current emigration and using historical and distance variables as instruments for return migration and current emigration. Second, we build a panel dataset combining the 1998 and 2009 censuses and the electoral results for the municipal ballots of those two years to control for the potential time-invariant unobservable characteristics of the localities. We find a positive impact of the stock of return migrants on participation rates and on electoral competitiveness, which mainly stems from returnees from non-African countries. Finally, we show that the impact of returnees on turnout goes beyond their own participation, and that they affect more electoral outcomes in areas where non-migrants are poorly educated, which we interpret as evidence of a diffusion of political norms from returnees to non-migrants.

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Why Are Women Less Democratic Than Men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries

Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Maty Konte
World Development, July 2014, Pages 104–119

Abstract:
A substantial literature has examined the determinants of support for democracy and although existing work has found a gender gap in democratic attitudes, there have been no attempts to explain it. In this paper we try to understand why females are less supportive of democracy than males in a number of countries. Using data for 20 Sub-Saharan African countries, we test whether the gap is due to individual differences previously ignored or to country-wide characteristics. We find that controlling for individual characteristics does not offset the gender gap, but our results indicate that the gap is eroded by high levels of human development and political rights.

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Not by the Sword Alone: Soft Power, Mass Media, and the Production of State Sovereignty

Camber Warren
International Organization, January 2014, Pages 111-141

Abstract:
Scholars of civil conflict have long recognized the importance of state strength in the suppression of nascent insurgencies. However, previous empirical investigations have generally focused on the material and coercive dimensions of state power, obscuring the critical role played by the generation of widespread voluntary compliance through processes of political communication, that is, the production of “soft power.” In contrast, in this article I focus on a factor — mass communication technology — that can enhance state capacity only by strengthening the state's ability to broadly and publicly disseminate political messages. I argue that the enhanced capacities for large-scale normative influence generated by mass communication technologies can be expected to produce substantial barriers to the mobilization of militarized challenges to state rule, by strengthening economies of scale in the marketplace of ideas. Utilizing newly compiled cross-national data on mass media accessibility in the post–World War II period, I show that densely constituted mass media systems dramatically reduce the probability of large-scale civil violence, thereby providing new evidence for the fundamental importance of nonmaterial state capacities in the suppression of internal armed conflicts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Misconception

Advanced paternal age is associated with lower facial attractiveness

Susanne Huber & Martin Fieder
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In view of disease risk, Kong et al. (2012) demonstrated that most of the new mutations are explained by the age of the father at conception. Accordingly, paternal age effects have been found for a variety of offspring traits, from physical and mental health to intelligence. Here, we investigated whether facial attractiveness is significantly associated with paternal age. We used the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (n = 4018 male and 4416 female high school graduates) to analyze the association between an individual’s father’s age at birth and that individual’s facial attractiveness (estimated by rating the high school yearbook photographs from 1957), controlling for sex, age as well as mother’s age. We find that subject’s facial attractiveness decreased with advancing paternal but not maternal age, suggesting that facial attractiveness might be a cue of an individual’s new mutation load.

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Divorce laws and fertility

Héctor Bellido & Miriam Marcén
Labour Economics, April 2014, Pages 56–70

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of divorce law reforms on fertility using the history of legislation on divorce across Europe. Because the introduction of more liberal divorce laws permanently reduces the value of marriage relative to divorce, these permanent shocks should also affect the fertility decisions of individuals, to the extent that children are considered marriage-specific capital. Our results suggest that divorce liberalization has a negative and permanent effect on fertility. Divorce reforms have decreased the Total Fertility Rate by about 0.2. The magnitude of the effect is sizable, taking into account that the average Total Fertility Rate declined from 2.84 in 1960 to 1.66 in 2006. These findings are robust to alternative specifications and controls for observed (the liberalization of abortion and the availability of the birth-control pill, among others) and unobserved country-specific factors, as well as time-varying factors at the country level. Supplemental analysis, developed to understand the mechanisms through which divorce law reforms affect fertility, shows that both marital and out-of-wedlock fertility decline, but that the impact on marital fertility varies, depending on whether couples are married prior to or after the divorce law reforms, pointing to a selection effect on the composition of marriages.

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AIDing contraception: HIV and recent trends in abortion

Andrew Hussey, Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy & Jay Walker
Applied Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 1788-1803

Abstract:
Using a difference-in-differences estimation framework and state-level data, we investigate the potential role of HIV/AIDS in contributing to declining abortion utilization in the United States. Our results suggest that the perceived risk of HIV contraction negatively affected unwanted pregnancies. Specifically, a 10% increase in HIV incidence is associated with 0.34–1.1% fewer abortions per live births, an effect that can account for at least one-tenth of the sharp decline in abortions observed from the early 1980s to mid-1990s.

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Change in Sexual Behavior With Provision of No-Cost Contraception

Gina Secura et al.
Obstetrics & Gynecology, April 2014, Pages 771–776

Objective: To estimate whether providing no-cost contraception is associated with the number of sexual partners and frequency of intercourse over time.

Methods: This was an analysis of the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a prospective cohort study of 9,256 adolescents and women at risk for unintended pregnancy. Participants were provided reversible contraception of their choice at no cost and were followed-up with telephone interviews at 6 and 12 months. We examined the number of male sexual partners and coital frequency reported during the previous 30 days at baseline compared with 6-month and 12-month time points.

Results: From our total cohort, 7,751 (84%) women and adolescents completed both 6-month and 12-month surveys and were included in this analysis. We observed a statistically significant decrease in the fraction of women and adolescents who reported more than one sexual partner during the past 30 days from baseline to 12 months (5.2% to 3.3%; P<.01). Most participants (70-71%) reported no change in their number of sexual partners at 6 and 12 months, whereas 13% reported a decrease and 16% reported an increase (P<.01). More than 80% of participants who reported an increase in the number of partners experienced an increase from zero to one partner. Frequency of intercourse increased during the past 30 days from baseline (median, 4) to 6 and 12 months (median, 6; P<.01). However, greater coital frequency did not result in greater sexually transmitted infection incidence at 12 months.

Conclusions: We found little evidence to support concerns of increased sexual risk-taking behavior subsequent to greater access to no-cost contraception.

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Assessing the Impact of the Maternity Capital Policy in Russia

Fabián Slonimczyk & Anna Yurko
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
With declining population and fertility rates below replacement levels, Russia is currently facing a demographic crisis. Starting in 2007, the federal government has pursued an ambitious pro-natalist policy. Women who give birth to at least two children are entitled to “maternity capital” assistance ($11,000). In this paper we estimate a structural dynamic programming model of fertility and labor force participation in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. We find that the program increased long-run fertility by about 0.15 children per woman.

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Does grief transfer across generations? In-utero deaths and child outcomes

Sandra Black, Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
While much is now known about the effects of physical health shocks to pregnant women on the outcomes of the in-utero child, we know little about the effects of psychological stresses. One clear form of stress to the mother comes from the death of a parent. We examine the effects of the death of the mother’s parent during pregnancy on both the short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Our primary specification involves using mother fixed effects — comparing the outcomes of two children with the same mother but where a parent of the mother died during one of the pregnancies — augmented with a control for whether there is a death around the time of the pregnancy in order to isolate true causal effects of a bereavement during pregnancy. We find small negative effects on birth outcomes, and these effects are bigger for boys than for girls. The effects on birth outcomes seems to be driven by deaths due to cardiovascular causes suggesting that sudden deaths are more difficult to deal with. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult outcomes. The results are robust to alternative specifications.

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Very Low Birthweight: Dysregulated gestation versus evolutionary adaptation

Ralph Catalano et al.
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much medical literature attributes persistently high rates of very low birthweight (VLBW) to "dysregulated" gestation. We offer the alternative view that natural selection conserved well-regulated, though nonconscious, decisional biology that protects the reproductive fitness of women by spontaneously aborting gestations that would otherwise yield frail infants, particularly small males. Modern obstetric practice, however, converts some fraction of these erstwhile spontaneous abortions into live births of very small infants. We further propose that the nonconscious decisional biology of gestation exhibits preferences also seen in consciously made decisions. We hypothesize that the incidence of VLBW among male infants should vary with the population’s self-reported intentions to assume financial risk. We apply time-series modeling to monthly birth counts by sex and weight from the Swedish Medical Birth Registry between January 1993 and December 2010. We gauge risk aversion with monthly data from the Micro Index of the Swedish Consumer Tendency Survey (MISCT). Consistent with our argument that nonconscious decisional biology shares risk aversion with conscious decisions, we find that the incidence of VLBW among male infants in Sweden varies with the population’s self-reported intentions to assume financial risk. We find increases above expected odds of a very low weight infant among males born 1 month after increases above expected levels of self-reported risk aversion in the Swedish population. We offer this finding as support for the argument that persistently high rates of VLBW arise, at least in part, from a combination of medical interventions and mechanisms conserved by natural selection to protect reproductive fitness.

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Family Planning: Fertility and Parenting Ideals in Urban Adolescents

Abigail Chipman & Edward Morrison
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research on contemporary childbearing has identified a strong relationship between environmental conditions, such as economic deprivation, and early fertility. Less is known, however, about the social-psychological mechanisms that mediate these environmental predictors of early fertility at the individual level and the extent to which they are consistent with life history theory. The aim of this research was to determine how kin networks, mating and reproductive risk taking, discount preference, and perceptions of environmental risk predict individual differences in fertility preferences in a socioeconomically diverse sample of adolescents. Questionnaires were administered to 333 adolescents (245 female) between the ages of 13 and 19 years, attending schools in urban neighborhoods in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Individuals’ subjective life expectancy and perception of their environment better predicted fertility intentions than did structural measures of environmental quality. This suggests that by the time individuals reach adolescence they are monitoring the morbidity and mortality risk of their environment and are adjusting their reproductive ideals accordingly. Levels of grandparental investment also predicted parenting preferences, suggesting cooperative breeding may play a role in reproductive decision making. There was also evidence that patterns of risk taking behaviors could be adaptive to environmental conditions and some evidence that pro-natal attitudes, as opposed to knowledge of safe sexual practice, predict adolescents’ reproductive strategies. These findings suggest that studying individuals’ psychology from a life history perspective adds to my understanding of the persistently high rates of early reproduction within developed countries, such as the United Kingdom.

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Attitudes Toward Over-the-Counter Access To Oral Contraceptives Among a Sample Of Abortion Clients in the United States

ByKate Grindlay, Diana Greene Foster & Daniel Grossman
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: Women having abortions are at high risk for future unintended pregnancy, and removing the prescription requirement for oral contraceptives may increase continuation and adoption of this effective method.

Methods: A survey fielded from May to July 2011 collected information from 651 women aged 15–46 seeking abortion services at six urban clinics from across the United States. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate women's interest in over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives.

Results: Eighty-one percent of respondents supported over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives; while 42% of women planned to use the pill after their abortion, 61% said they would likely use this method if it were available over the counter. Thirty-three percent of women who planned to use no contraceptive following their abortion said they would use an over-the-counter pill, as did 38% who planned to use condoms afterward. In multivariable analysis, several subgroups had increased odds of likely over-the-counter use: women who were older than 19 (odds ratios, 1.8 for those aged 20–29 and 1.6 for those aged 30–46), were uninsured (1.5), had ever used the pill (1.4), had had difficulty obtaining a prescription refill for hormonal contraceptives (2.7) or planned to use the pill postabortion (13.0). By contrast, compared with white respondents, women of other races or ethnicities were less likely to say they would use over-the-counter pills (0.4–0.7).

Conclusions: Interest in a hypothetical over-the-counter oral contraceptive was high in this sample, and this delivery model has the potential to reduce unintended pregnancy among abortion patients.

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Hidden consequences of a first-born boy for mothers

Andrea Ichino, Elly-Ann Lindström & Eliana Viviano
Economics Letters, June 2014, Pages 274–278

Abstract:
Women whose first child is a boy work less than women with first-born girls. After a first-born boy the probability that women have more children increases. Higher fertility is a possible explanation for the lower labor supply of mothers.

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Empowering Women: The Effect of Schooling on Young Women's Knowledge and Use of Contraception

Mabel Andalón, Jenny Williams & Michael Grossman
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Large differences in fertility between women with high and low levels of education suggest that schooling may have a direct impact on knowledge and use of contraception. We investigate this issue using information on women in Mexico. In order to identify the causal effect of schooling, we exploit temporal and geographic variation in the number of lower secondary schools built following the extension of compulsory education in Mexico from 6th to 9th grade in 1993. We show that raising females' schooling beyond 6th grade increases their knowledge of contraception during their reproductive years and increases their propensity to use contraception at sexual debut. This indicates that the impact of schooling on women's wellbeing extends beyond improved labor market outcomes and includes greater autonomy over their fertility.

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Early Motherhood and Long-Term Economic Outcomes: Findings From a 30-Year Longitudinal Study

Sheree Gibb et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined linkages between early motherhood (before age 20) and long-term economic disadvantage, using data from a birth cohort of 509 New Zealand-born women followed to age 30. Associations between early motherhood and economic outcomes were examined using linear and logistic regression models and were adjusted for a range of prepregnancy factors. The findings suggested that early motherhood was associated with several indicators of economic disadvantage at age 30, including working fewer hours, welfare dependence, lower personal incomes, and exposure to economic hardship. These associations remained statistically significant even after extensive adjustment for confounding factors. These findings suggest that having a child before age 20 leads to long-term economic disadvantage that persists for at least a decade.

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Prime Time: Long-Term Sexual Health Outcomes Of a Clinic-Linked Intervention

Renee Sieving et al.
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, forthcoming

Context: Evidence about long-term effects of preventive health services for youth with complex needs is lacking. Prime Time, a youth development intervention, aims to reduce pregnancy risk among vulnerable adolescent females seeking clinic services.

Methods: In a randomized trial, 253 sexually active females aged 13–17 who were at high risk for pregnancy were assigned to the Prime Time intervention or usual clinic services. The 18-month intervention, initiated in 2007–2008, comprised regular meetings with case managers and participation in youth leadership groups. Trial participants completed surveys at baseline and 30 months. Regression analyses were used to evaluate differences between groups in sexual and psychosocial outcomes at follow-up.

Results: At 30 months, the intervention group reported more months of consistent condom use (adjusted means, 1.8 vs. 1.1) and dual contraceptive use (0.9 vs. 0.3) in the past seven months than did controls. The intervention was most effective in promoting consistent use among participants with relatively high levels of connectedness to family or school. Fifteen percent of intervention participants, but only 6% of controls, reported having abstained from sex in the past six months (adjusted odds ratio, 2.9). Moreover, among high school graduates, those in the intervention group were more likely than those in the control group to have enrolled in college or technical school (72% vs. 37%; odds ratio, 4.5).

Conclusion: Health services grounded in a youth development framework can lead to reductions in sexual risk among vulnerable youth that are evident one year following conclusion of services.

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Trans fatty acid intake is inversely related to total sperm count in young healthy men

Jorge Chavarro et al.
Human Reproduction, March 2014, Pages 429-440

Study question: Is intake of fatty acids related to semen quality among young men?

Study design, size, duration: Cross-sectional study of 209 men recruited between October 2010 and November 2011.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: A group of 209 healthy young university students 18–23 years of age provided a semen sample and completed a previously validated food frequency questionnaire. The association between intake of fatty acids with semen quality parameters (sperm concentration, motility, morphology and total count) was assessed using multivariate linear regression.

Main results and the role of the chance: Trans fatty acid intake was inversely related to total sperm count after adjusting for potential confounders (P, trend = 0.03). The multivariate adjusted mean (95% confidence interval) total sperm count in increasing quartiles of trans fat intake was 144 (110–190), 113 (87–148), 100 (18–130) and 89 (69–117). There also was an inverse association between cholesterol intake and ejaculate volume (P, trend = 0.04). No other statistically significant relations were observed.

Wider implications of the findings: The results of this study, together with previous experimental work in rodents and biomarker studies among infertility patients, suggest that intake of trans fatty acids may be related to lower semen quality. Although the data provide further evidence that diet is a modifiable factor that could impact male fertility, it is not known whether the observed differences in sperm count translate into differences in fertility.

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IVF culture medium affects post-natal weight in humans during the first 2 years of life

Sander Kleijkers et al.
Human Reproduction, April 2014, Pages 661-669

Study question: Is post-natal growth during the first 2 years of life in IVF singletons affected by type of medium used for culturing human embryos during an IVF treatment?

Study design, size, duration: From July 2003 to December 2006, a total of 1432 IVF treatment cycles with fresh embryo transfer were randomly allocated to have all embryos cultured in medium from Vitrolife AB (n = 715) or from Cook (n = 717). Two years after delivery, questionnaires were sent to the parents of all children requesting data about weight, height and head circumference around 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7.5, 9, 11, 14, 18 and 24 months of age. These measurements were collected as part of the children's health programme at municipal infant welfare centres in the Netherlands by health professionals unaware of this study.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Patients requiring donor oocytes or applying for PGD were excluded from the study. From the 294 live born singletons that fulfilled our inclusion criteria, 29 were lost to follow-up. The remaining 265 singletons (Cook group: 117, Vitrolife group: 148) were included in the analysis. Data analysis included linear regression, to compare cross-sectionally weight standard deviation score (SDS), height SDS and head circumference, and the first order Berkey-Reed model for a longitudinal analysis of the growth data.

Main results and the role of chance: Singletons in the Vitrolife group were heavier during the first 2 years of life compared with singletons in the Cook group. Cross-sectional analyses showed that adjusted weight SDS differed between groups at 1 (0.35 ± 0.14, P = 0.010), 2 (0.39 ± 0.14, P = 0.006), 3 (0.35 ± 0.14, P = 0.011), 4 (0.30 ± 0.13, P = 0.020), 11 (0.28 ± 0.13, P = 0.036), 14 (0.32 ± 0.13, P = 0.014) and 24 (0.39 ± 0.15, P = 0.011) months of age, while adjusted height SDS was only significantly different at 1 (0.21 ± 0.11, P = 0.048) month of age. Head circumference was similar between the two groups at all ages. Longitudinal analyses showed that both post-natal weight (P = 0.005) and height (P = 0.031) differed between the groups throughout the first 2 years of life, while the growth velocity was not significantly different between the two groups.

Wider implications of the findings: The effect of culture medium during the first few days after fertilization on prenatal growth and birthweight persists during the first 2 years of life. This suggests that the human embryo is sensitive to its very early environment, and that the culture medium used in IVF may have lasting consequences. Further monitoring of the long-term growth, development and health of IVF children is therefore warranted.

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Large baby syndrome in singletons born after frozen embryo transfer (FET): Is it due to maternal factors or the cryotechnique?

A. Pinborg et al.
Human Reproduction, March 2014, Pages 618-627

Study question: Are singletons born after frozen embryo transfer (FET) at increased risk of being born large for gestational age (LGA) and if so, is this caused by intrinsic maternal factors or related to the freezing/thawing procedures?

Study design, size, duration: The national register–based controlled cohort study involves two populations of FET singletons. The first population (A: total FET cohort) consisted of all FET singletons (n = 896) compared with singletons born after Fresh embryo transfer (Fresh) (n = 9480) and also with that born after natural conception (NC; n = 4510) in Denmark from 1997 to 2006. The second population (B: Sibling FET cohort) included all sibling pairs, where one singleton was born after FET and the consecutive sibling born after Fresh embryo transfer or vice versa from 1994 to 2008 (n = 666). The sibling cohort included n = 550 children with the sibling combination first child Fresh/second child FET and n = 116 children with the combination first child FET/second child Fresh.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: Main outcome measures were LGA defined as birthweight of >2 SD from the population mean (z-score >2) according to Marsáls curves. Macrosomia was defined as birthweight of >4500 g. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of LGA and macrosomia were calculated for FET versus Fresh and versus NC singletons in the total FET cohort. Similarly, AOR was calculated for FET versus Fresh in the sibling cohort. Adjustments were made for maternal age, parity, child sex, year of birth and birth order in the sibling analyses. Meta-analyses were performed by pooling our data with the previously published cohort studies on LGA and macrosomia.

Main results and the role of chance: The AORs of LGA (z-score >2) and macrosomia in FET singletons versus singletons conceived after Fresh embryo transfer were 1.34 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.98–1.80] and 1.91 (95% CI 1.40–2.62), respectively. The corresponding risks for FET versus NC singletons were 1.41 (95% CI 1.01–1.98) for LGA and 1.67 (95% CI 1.18–2.37) for macrosomia. The increased risk of LGA and macrosomia in FET singletons was confirmed in the sibling cohort also after adjustment for birth order. Hence, the increased risk of LGA in FET singletons cannot solely be explained by being the second born or by intrinsic maternal factors, but may also partly be related to freezing/thawing procedures per se. In the meta-analysis, the summary effects of LGA and macrosomia in FET versus singletons conceived after Fresh embryo transfer were AOR 1.54 (95% CI 1.31–1.81) and AOR 1.64 (95% CI 1.26–2.12), respectively. The corresponding figures for FET versus NC singletons were for LGA AOR 1.32 (95% CI 1.07–1.61) and macrosomia AOR 1.41 (95% CI 1.11–1.80), respectively.

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Hospital utilization, costs and mortality rates during the first 5 years of life: A population study of ART and non-ART singletons

G.M. Chambers et al.
Human Reproduction, March 2014, Pages 601-610

Study question: Do singletons conceived following assisted reproduction technologies (ARTs) have significantly different hospital utilization, and therefore costs, compared with non-ART children during the first 5 years of life?

Study design, size, duration: A population cohort study using linked birth, hospital and death records. Perinatal outcomes, hospital utilization and costs, and mortality rates were compared for non-ART and ART singletons to 5 years. Adjustments were made for maternal age, parity, sex, birth year, socioeconomic status and funding source. Australian Diagnosis Related Groups cost-weights were used to derive costs. All costs are reported in 2009/2010 Australian dollars.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: All babies born in Western Australia between 1994 and 2003 were included; 224 425 non-ART singletons and 2199 ART conceived singletons. Hospital admission and death records in Western Australia linked to 2008 were used.

Main results and the role of chance: Overall, ART singletons had a significantly longer length of stay during the birth-admission (mean difference 1.8 days, P < 0.001) and a 20% increased risk of being admitted during the first 5 years of life. The average adjusted difference in hospital admission costs up to 5 years of age was $2490, with most of the additional cost occurring during the birth-admission ($1473). The independent residual cost associated with ART conception was $342 during the birth-admission and an additional $548 up to 5 years of age, indicating that being conceived as an ART child predicts not only higher birth-admission costs but excess costs to at least 5 years of age.

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Randomized Trial of Harp Therapy During In Vitro Fertilization–Embryo Transfer

Erin Murphy et al.
Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, April 2014, Pages 93-98

Objective: This study evaluated whether harp therapy reduces levels of stress and improves clinical outcomes in patients undergoing embryo transfer.

Design: This prospective randomized trial enrolled 181 women undergoing embryo transfer, who were randomized to harp therapy during embryo transfer or standard treatment. Patients underwent standardized psychological testing and physiologic assessment of stress.

Results: No statistically significant differences were found in the heart and respiratory rates, nor was there a significant difference in event-based anxiety at baseline. Harp therapy had a significantly larger decrease in state anxiety from pre– to post–embryo transfer. Clinical pregnancy was 53% versus 48% for the harp therapy and standard treatment groups, respectively.

Conclusion: Harp therapy decreases state, or event-based, anxiety, significantly lowering state scores posttransfer and having a positive effect on acute levels of stress. There was an increased pregnancy rate, but larger sample sizes are needed to evaluate whether harp therapy has an effect on clinical outcomes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hacks

The Forgotten Law of Lobbying

Zephyr Teachout
Election Law Journal, March 2014, Pages 4-26

Abstract:
For most of American history, until the 1950s, courts treated paid lobbying as a civic wrong, not a protected First Amendment right. Lobbying was presumptively against public policy, and lobbying contracts were not enforced. Paid lobbying threatened the integrity of individuals, legislators, lobbyists, and the integrity of society as a whole. Inasmuch as there was a personal right to either petition the government, or share views with officers of the government, this right was not something one could sell - it was not, in the term used by one court, a "vendible." Line-drawing between illegitimate paid lobbying and legitimate legal services was not easy, but in general courts enforced contracts where the thing being sold was expertise to be shared in a public forum, while refusing to enforce contracts where the thing being sold was personal influence to be shared in private meetings. This article tells the history of this earlier approach toward lobbying. It explores the lobbying cases of the nineteenth and early twentieth century courts, looking at the logic underpinning them and how courts distinguished between illegitimate lobbying and legitimate hiring of professional lawyers.

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Scandal Potential: How Political Context and News Congestion Affect the President's Vulnerability to Media Scandal

Brendan Nyhan
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite its importance in contemporary American politics, presidential scandal is poorly understood within political science. Scholars typically interpret scandals as resulting from the disclosure of official misbehavior, but the likelihood and intensity of media scandals is also influenced by the political and news context. This article provides a theoretical argument for two independent factors that should increase the president's vulnerability to scandal: low approval among opposition party identifiers and a lack of congestion in the news agenda. Using new data and statistical approaches, I find strong support for both claims. These results suggest that contextual factors shape the occurrence of political events and how such events are interpreted.

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Surviving Scandal: The Institutional and Political Dynamics of National and State Executive Scandals

Brandon Rottinghaus
PS: Political Science & Politics, January 2014, Pages 131-140

Abstract:
Which factors shorten or lengthen the survival of a scandal involving a chief executive? Using new data tracking scandals involving presidents and governors from 1972 to 2011, I chart the duration of each political, personal, and financial scandal faced by an elected official, their staff, or nominees. I specifically examine institutional, political, and economic factors to investigate what factors quicken a "negative" end to a scandal. National chief executives and their staff are more likely to survive a scandal when they have more partisans in the legislature but are less likely when there is greater political opposition, however there is no comparative effect at the state level. Positive economic growth and public approval have no effect on survival of a scandal at either the national or state levels. These findings clarify how the political environment shapes the duration of executive scandal.

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Public relations tactics and methods in early 1800s America: An examination of an American anti-slavery movement

Tyler Page & Ed Adams
Public Relations Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Traditional public relations histories begin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This study expands public relations history to the early 1800s by analyzing the use of public relations methods and tactics in an American anti-slavery movement, The American Colonization Society. In focusing on the American Colonization Society and backlash against it from abolitionist groups, this paper finds the use of newspapers to promote a cause, promotion of high profile endorsements, attempts to persuade a key public, creation of publications, efforts to lobby legislatures, and hired agents to found auxiliaries, all beginning in the early 1800s.

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Optimal Agency Bias and Regulatory Review

Ryan Bubb & Patrick Warren
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2014, Pages 95-135

Abstract:
Why do bureaucratic principals appoint agents who hold different policy views from themselves? We posit an explanation based on the interplay between two types of agency costs: shirking on information production and policy bias. Principals employ biased agents because they shirk less. This creates an incentive for the principal to use review mechanisms that mitigate the resulting bias in the agents' decisions. The availability of such review mechanisms encourages principals to employ more extreme agents. We apply the theory to explain various features of the administrative state. In contrast to existing accounts, in our model the use by the president of ideological bureaucrats at regulatory agencies and centralized regulatory review are complements. The use of bias to mitigate shirking results in an amplification of the swings of regulatory policy and heightens the role of regulatory policy in partisan politics.

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PACking a punch: Political Action Committees and corruption

Rajeev Goel
Applied Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 1161-1169

Abstract:
Political Action Committees (PACs) are unique and prominent players in American politics. Yet, formal research on some aspects of PACs is lacking. Using US data over the period 1970 to 2009, this research demonstrates that the growth in PACs is positively associated with greater corruption. A 10% increase in the number of PACs per capita would increase corruption by about 8%. Upon disaggregation, corporate PACs, rather than labour PACs, are positively associated with corruption. The effects of economic prosperity, government size and population on US corruption are generally in line with the literature.

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Investigating the President: Committee Probes and Presidential Approval, 1953-2006

Douglas Kriner & Eric Schickler
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 521-534

Abstract:
Members of Congress have long sought to combat assertions of presidential power and alleged executive misconduct through committee investigations. But are such investigations mere political theater, or do they have systematic effects on the course of politics? We argue that congressional investigations of the executive branch damage the president's support among the public, making investigations a useful tool in interbranch battles. Marshaling an original data set of more than 3,500 investigative hearings and over 50 years of public opinion data, we show that increased investigative activity in the hearing room significantly decreases the president's job approval rating. A survey experiment both confirms our assertion that investigations decrease public support for the White House and shows that committee-led charges of misconduct have a greater influence on public opinion than identical charges not attributed to a congressional actor.

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Labor Union Political Strategy in an Era of Decline and Revitalization

Kyle Albert
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
U.S. labor unions faced sharp membership losses over the last few decades, and some responded by ushering in a new, revitalized model of organizing. Yet we know little about how these forces may be shaping the political activities of the labor movement. Has crisis prompted unions to take aim at public policies inhibiting union vitality, or have unions turned outward to embrace broader social causes? This paper uses an original dataset of union appearances in congressional hearings to analyze unions' legislative advocacy activities. Findings suggest substantial differences between those unions that are likely to appear in hearings on core labor-related topics and those that appear in hearings on broad social issues: AFL-CIO unions are more likely to participate in hearings on core labor issues, while unions commonly cited as "revitalized" and public sector unions are more likely to appear in hearings on broad social issues.

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Presidents and Patronage

Gary Hollibaugh, Gabriel Horton & David Lewis
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
To what extent do presidents select appointees based upon campaign experience and connections? The answer to this question has important implications for our understanding of presidential management and political leadership. This paper presents a theory explaining where presidents place different types of appointees and why, focusing on differences in ideology, competence, and non-policy patronage benefits among potential appointees. We develop a formal model and test its implications with new data on 1,307 persons appointed in the first six months of the Obama Administration. The empirical results broadly support the theory, suggesting that President Obama was more likely to place appointees selected for nonpolicy patronage reasons in agencies off his agenda, in agencies that shared his policy views, and where appointees are least able to affect agency performance. We conclude that patronage continues to play an important role in American politics with important consequences for campaigns, presidential politics, and governance.

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Voting suffrage and the political budget cycle: Evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937

Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney
Journal of Public Economics, April 2014, Pages 53-71

Abstract:
We study the opportunistic political budget cycle in the London Metropolitan Boroughs between 1902 and 1937 under two different suffrage regimes: taxpayer suffrage (1902-1914) and universal suffrage (1921-1937). We argue and find supporting evidence that the political budget cycle operates differently under the two types of suffrage. Taxpayer suffrage, where the right to vote and the obligation to pay local taxes are linked, encourages demands for retrenchment and the political budget cycle manifests itself in election year tax cuts and savings on administration costs. Universal suffrage, where all adult residents can vote irrespective of their taxpayer status, creates demands for productive public services and the political budget cycle manifests itself in election year hikes in capital spending and a reduction in current spending.

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Local Logrolling? Assessing the Impact of Legislative Districting in Los Angeles

Craig Burnett & Vladimir Kogan
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the past three decades, a number of U.S. cities have shifted from at-large to district-based elections. Some observers argue that this institutional change encourages elected officials to focus on district priorities while ignoring - and perhaps even sacrificing - broader municipal needs. Must district elections bring parochialism and logrolling to city councils? Using seven years' worth of roll call data from the Los Angeles City Council, we examine the hypothesis that district elections result in vote-trading among its members. Overall, voting behavior on the council appears inconsistent with conventional logrolling accounts and instead points to a strategy of conditional deference on the part of elected officials. The results suggest that district-based elections do not always push elected officials to ignore the general interests of their city.

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Governance, bureaucratic rents, and well-being differentials across US states

Simon Luechinger, Mark Schelker & Alois Stutzer
Oxford Economic Papers, April 2014, Pages 443-464

Abstract:
We analyse the influence of institutional restrictions on bureaucratic rents. As a measure for these rents, we propose subjective well-being differentials between workers in the public administration and workers in other industries. Based on data for the US states, we estimate the extent to which institutional efforts to strengthen bureaucratic accountability affect differences in well-being. We find that well-being differences are smaller in states with high transparency, elected auditors, and legal deficit carryover restrictions. These findings are consistent with limited rent extraction under these institutional conditions. No or weak effects are found for performance audits and regulatory review.

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Congressional Staff and the Revolving Door: The Impact of Regulatory Change

Bruce Cain & Lee Drutman
Election Law Journal, March 2014, Pages 27-44

Abstract:
In 2007, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) in an attempt to slow the revolving door between Congress and the Washington lobbying industry with one year bans on contacts between the ex-staffers and their former colleagues in the Congress. The variation in the Senate and House rules and a complete set of congressional staff panel data between 2001 and 2011 allow us to assess the effectiveness of the revolving door provisions of HLOGA and the relative importance of different factors that contribute to congressional staffers' employability as lobbyists. Using a difference-in-differences quasi-experimental design on data from Legistorm, we find evidence that the HLOGA realized some of its intended effect. As compared to "high-level" staff earning between 60% and 75% of a member's salary, the share of "covered" staff (i.e., those making 75% and above of a member's salary) becoming lobbyists within a year declined at a greater rate. This decline, however, was much more notable in the Senate, which had enacted much tougher contacting rules. The effects of HLOGA were stronger on committee staff than personal office staff, and strongest of all on Senate committee staff. They were also stronger on majority party than minority party staff. Additionally, we found some substitution effects in the lobbying market. Demand for high-level but uncovered Senate committee staffers actually rose in the wake of the reforms, as did the demand for covered House committee staffers.

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The Elusive Search for Presidential Power

Fang-Yi Chiou & Lawrence Rothenberg
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Unilateral presidential actions, such as executive orders, are widely cited as a key strategic tool for presidential power. However, is unilateral action evidence of unilateralism or might it represent executive acquiescence? We answer this by (1) specifying three competing models, each with a different presidential discretion assumption and generating alternative hypotheses; (2) extending the canonical item-response model to best measure executive-order significance; and (3) comparing competing theoretical models to data for 1947-2002. Theoretically, we show that legislative preferences may impact unilateral actions differently than previously thought and indicate how parties may be influential. Empirically, a model where the president is responsive to the chamber's majority-party median fits the data better than models assuming responsiveness to the chamber median or no presidential acquiescence. Unilateral action appears not tantamount to presidential power, as evidence implies that legislative parties, or the judicial actors enforcing their will, are key conditioning factors.

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Boundaries, Redistricting Criteria, and Representation in the U.S. House of Representatives

Daniel Bowen
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many U.S. states require redistricting authorities to follow traditional districting principles (TDPs) like the creation of compact districts and respecting the integrity of county and town boundaries. Reformers, academics, and other redistricting experts have long suggested that following such districting principles may enhance representation. Yet, very few academic studies have empirically examined these expectations. Using two measures of geographical compactness and a new measure of respect for political subdivisions (referred to as coterminosity) created with a geographic information system (GIS), the connection between district boundaries and representation is tested. The results show strong evidence that the use of geographic districting principles can enhance dyadic representation, as more compact and more coterminous districts are associated with more positive evaluations of legislative responsiveness and greater citizen-representative communication. Violating TDPs to advance other goals in redistricting like strict population equality between districts thus comes with a clear representational cost.

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The Political Coase Theorem: Experimental Evidence

Sebastian Galiani, Gustavo Torrens & Maria Lucia Yanguas
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
The Political Coase Theorem (PCT) states that, in the absence of transaction costs, agents should agree to implement efficient policies regardless of the distribution of bargaining power among them. This paper uses a laboratory experiment to explore how commitment problems undermine the validity of the PCT. Overall, the results support theoretical predictions. In particular, commitment issues matter, and the existence of more commitment possibilities leads to better social outcomes. Moreover, we find that the link is valid when commitment possibilities are asymmetrically distributed between players and even when a redistribution of political power is required to take advantage of those possibilities. However, we also find that at low levels of commitment there is more cooperation than strictly predicted by our parameterized model while the opposite is true at high levels of commitment, and only large improvements in commitment opportunities have a significant effect on the social surplus, while small changes do not.

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Dimensions of Public Meeting Participation: Evidence from Florida's Truth-in-Millage Act

Anne Williamson & Michael Scicchitano
Urban Affairs Review, January 2014, Pages 134-146

Abstract:
The literature contains a wealth of theorizing and prescription regarding citizen participation, but little in the way of systematic evidence. We seek to increase empirical knowledge of participation through examination of public meeting participation associated with Florida's Truth-in-Millage Act requirements for local government tax and budget decisions. Unlike existing evidence on public meetings, this research is based on statistical analysis of a random-sample survey (N = 601) and qualitative analysis of focus group results. In a departure from the standard socioeconomic explanation for citizen participation - which tends to ignore public meetings as a method of participation - we find no statistical difference in public meeting attendance based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, or income. Furthermore, we find that although state information requirements likely fulfill a needed purpose in providing transparency and accountability in local government tax and budget matters, they do not motivate public meeting attendance. Finally, our findings reinforce earlier contributions to the literature that emphasize the importance of citizen beliefs regarding political efficacy as a critical component of participation.

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Organizational History and Budgetary Punctuation

Scott Robinson, Carla Flink & Chad King
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, April 2014, Pages 459-471

Abstract:
The basic dynamics of punctuated policy change have been found to be present in a wide variety of political institutions from a range of countries. The presence - even commonality - of punctuated change has been clearly and persuasively demonstrated. A key challenge in the literature is now to identify the conditions and institutional arrangements that make punctuated change more likely. This article investigates the role of organizational history in punctuated budgetary change. An error-accumulation model of punctuation suggested by the institutional friction framework contends that budgetary punctuation results from a built-up need for budgetary change that had been prevented by slow-moving institutions. The need builds up until the institutions give way in the form of a budgetary punctuation. This explanation suggests that the probability of a punctuation in a given year is negatively related to having experienced such a punctuation in previous years. An alternative model - which we will call the institutional model - contends that the propensity for budgetary punctuation is endemic to specific organizations. These organizations possess inherent characteristics that predispose them to punctuated change. The institutional model suggests that the probability of a punctuation occurring in a given year is positively related to the organization having experienced such a punctuation in previous years. The article uses data from Texas public school districts during an 18-year period to test these competing models of policy punctuation. The results indicate that recent punctuated changes raise the probability of additional punctuated changes, supporting the institutional hypothesis.

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An experimental study of the efficiency of unanimity rule and majority rule

Keith Dougherty et al.
Public Choice, March 2014, Pages 359-382

Abstract:
Scholars traditionally claim that unanimity rule is more capable of producing Pareto optimal outcomes than majority rule. Dougherty and Edward (Public Choice 151(3):655-678, 2012) make the opposite claim assuming proposals are either random, sincere, or strategic. We test these competing hypotheses in a two-dimensional framework using laboratory experiments. Our primary results suggest: (1) majority rule enters the Pareto set more quickly than unanimity rule, (2) majority rule leaves the Pareto set at the same rate as unanimity rule, and (3) majority rule is more likely to select a Pareto optimal outcome than unanimity rule at the end of the game.

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All In: An Empirical Analysis of Legislative Voting on Internet Gambling Restrictions in the United States

Dennis Halcoussis & Anton Lowenberg
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which prohibited financial institutions from processing transactions arising from online gaming activities, thereby severely hindering U.S. residents from participating in online casino games, primarily poker. Enactment of this legislation followed lobbying and political pressure from a variety of interest groups. By examining House roll call votes, we identify empirically the sources of political influence that resulted in passage of the internet gambling legislation. We find that party affiliation was of primary importance, with Republicans more likely to vote in favor of the bill. The percentage of constituents who are Evangelical Christians and also the number of gambling establishments in the district were positively associated with votes for the bill. However, contributions from the gaming industry decreased the probability a congressman would vote for the bill.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Handout

Accepting Inequality Deters Responsibility: How Power Distance Decreases Charitable Behavior

Karen Page Winterich & Yinlong Zhang
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Could power distance, which is the extent that inequality is expected and accepted, explain why some countries and consumers are more likely to engage in prosocial behavior, including donations of both money and time? This research proposes that higher power distance results in weaker perceptions of responsibility to aid others, which decreases charitable behavior. Both correlational and causal evidence is provided in a series of five studies that examine country-level power distance as well as individual and temporarily salient power distance belief. Consistent with the mediating role of perceived responsibility, results reveal that uncontrollable needs and communal relationship norms are boundary conditions that overcome the negative effect of power distance on charitable behavior. These results explain differences in charitable giving across cultures and provide implications for nonprofit organizations soliciting donations.

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Washing the guilt away: Effects of personal versus vicarious cleansing on guilty feelings and prosocial behavior

Hanyi Xu, Laurent Bègue & Brad Bushman
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, February 2014

Abstract:
For centuries people have washed away their guilt by washing their hands. Do people need to wash their own hands, or is it enough to watch other people wash their hands? To induce guilt, we had participants write about a past wrong they had committed. Next, they washed their hands, watched a washing-hands video, or watched a typing-hands video. After the study was over, participants could help a Ph.D. student complete her dissertation by taking some questionnaires home and returning them within 3 weeks. Results showed that guilt and helping behavior were lowest among participants who washed their hands, followed by participants who watched a washing-hands video, followed by participants who watched a typing-hands video. Guilt mediated the effects of cleansing on helping. These findings suggest that washing one’s own hands, or even watching someone else wash their hands, can wash away one’s guilt and lead to less helpful behavior.

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Human-itarian aid? Two forms of dehumanization and willingness to help after natural disasters

Luca Andrighetto et al.
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research explores the distinct effects of animalistic and mechanistic dehumanization on willingness to help natural disaster victims. We examined Japanese and Haitians, two national groups recently struck by earthquakes. We showed that Italian participants differently dehumanized the two outgroups: Japanese were attributed low human nature (dehumanized as automata), whereas Haitians were attributed low human uniqueness (dehumanized as animal-like). Ninety participants were then randomly assigned to the Japanese or Haitian target group condition. Mediation analyses showed that animalistic dehumanization decreased willingness to help Haitians, whereas mechanistic dehumanization decreased willingness to help Japanese, even when controlling for attitudes. Importantly, reduced empathy explained the effects of both forms of dehumanization on intergroup helping.

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Are liars ethical? On the tension between benevolence and honesty

Emma Levine & Maurice Schweitzer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We demonstrate that some lies are perceived to be more ethical than honest statements. Across three studies, we find that individuals who tell prosocial lies, lies told with the intention of benefitting others, are perceived to be more moral than individuals who tell the truth. In Study 1, we compare altruistic lies to selfish truths. In Study 2, we introduce a stochastic deception game to disentangle the influence of deception, outcomes, and intentions on perceptions of moral character. In Study 3, we demonstrate that moral judgments of lies are sensitive to the consequences of lying for the deceived party, but insensitive to the consequences of lying for the liar. Both honesty and benevolence are essential components of moral character. We find that when these values conflict, benevolence may be more important than honesty. More broadly, our findings suggest that the moral foundation of care may be more important than the moral foundation of justice.

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Ethical ends: Effect of abstract mindsets in ethical decisions for the greater social good

Jessica Rixom & Himanshu Mishra
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, July 2014, Pages 110–121

Abstract:
We explore the impact of construal level on decisions involving conflicts between multiple ethical principles. Whereas abstract mindsets are associated with a focus on ethical issues and superordinate concerns, concrete mindsets are associated with financial self-interest. With abstract mindsets, we find that people abide by rather than violate ethical principles when only the self would benefit (single principle) but they violate ethical principles when doing so is a conduit for a greater social good (multiple principles). With concrete mindsets, people violate ethical principles for personal gain with less concern for the impact on the greater social good. Specifically, with abstract mindsets, people were dishonest to secure larger donations (Study 1) and dishonest to make larger (smaller) donations to charities that supported (threatened) the greater social good (Study 2a, Study 2b) whereas with concrete mindsets, people focused more on dishonesty for personal gain (Study 1, Study 2a, Study 2b).

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Beware of Popular Kids Bearing Gifts: A Framed Field Experiment

Jingnan Chen et al.
George Mason University Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
The literature on pro-social behavior shows that older children are more generous than younger children; however, the level of individual generosity is heterogeneous even between children of the same age. This paper investigates whether a child’s popularity affects a child’s generosity. Our participants – 231 children, six to twelve years old – decide how many of their four colored wristbands they want to share with another anonymous child. We manipulate the visibility of this decision: in treatment Public, the decisions are revealed to the entire class at the end of the game, whereas in treatment Private children’s decisions remain secret. In addition, we elicited each child’s network of friends using an innovative “seating map” mechanism. Our results reveal that more popular children are more generous in Public than Private decision environments, while less popular children behave similarly in both cases. Moreover, older children in Public display greater generosity than (i) older children in Private and (ii) younger children in either Public or Private. Finally, in Public, older and more popular children share more than less popular older children, and more than younger children regardless of popularity; whereas, in Private there is no effect of popularity on children of any age.

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Can third-party observers detect the emotional rewards of generous spending?

Lara Aknin, Alice Fleerackers & Kiley Hamlin
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can others detect the emotional consequences of our personal choices? Here, we investigate whether third-party observers can detect the emotional benefits of two factors shown to influence self-reported happiness: the speed with which people make decisions and the generosity of spending choices. Participants were randomly assigned to purchase a goody bag either for themselves or for a sick child, and to choose the contents of this goody bag either as quickly as possible, or by taking as much time as needed. Then, participants reported their current emotional state and were rated for happiness by a research assistant blind to their spending condition. Analyses revealed that purchasing a gift for someone else not only improved participants’ self-reported mood, but that observers could detect these affective differences as well. Observers also rated participants who made their spending decision more quickly as happier, although participants did not report these emotional differences.

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Episodic simulation and episodic memory can increase intentions to help others

Brendan Gaesser & Daniel Schacter
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 March 2014, Pages 4415–4420

Abstract:
Empathy plays an important role in human social interaction. A multifaceted construct, empathy includes a prosocial motivation or intention to help others in need. Although humans are often willing to help others in need, at times (e.g., during intergroup conflict), empathic responses are diminished or absent. Research examining the cognitive mechanisms underlying prosocial tendencies has focused on the facilitating roles of perspective taking and emotion sharing but has not previously elucidated the contributions of episodic simulation and memory to facilitating prosocial intentions. Here, we investigated whether humans’ ability to construct episodes by vividly imagining (episodic simulation) or remembering (episodic memory) specific events also supports a willingness to help others. Three experiments provide evidence that, when participants were presented with a situation depicting another person’s plight, the act of imagining an event of helping the person or remembering a related past event of helping others increased prosocial intentions to help the present person in need, compared with various control conditions. We also report evidence suggesting that the vividness of constructed episodes — rather than simply heightened emotional reactions or degree of perspective taking — supports this effect. Our results shed light on a role that episodic simulation and memory can play in fostering empathy and begin to offer insight into the underlying mechanisms.

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Brief cognitive intervention can modulate neuroendocrine stress responses to the Trier Social Stress Test: Buffering effects of a compassionate goal orientation

James Abelson et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2014, Pages 60–70

Background: The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a critical mediator linking stress to health. Understanding how to modulate its reactivity could potentially help reduce the detrimental health effects of HPA axis activation. Social evaluative threat is a potent activator of this system. Access to control and coping responses can reduce its reactivity to pharmacological activation. Compassionate or affiliative behaviors may also moderate stress reactivity. Impact of these moderators on social evaluative threat is unknown. Here, we tested the hypotheses that interventions to increase control, coping, or compassionate (versus competitive) goals could reduce HPA-axis response to social evaluative threat.

Methods: Healthy participants (n = 54) were exposed to social evaluative threat using the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). They were randomly assigned to receive one of four different instructions prior to the stressor: Standard TSST instructions (SI), standard instructions with access to “control” (SI Control), or one of two cognitive interventions (CI) that (1) increased familiarity and helped participants prepare coping strategies (CI Coping), or (2) shifted goal orientation from self-promotion to helping others (CI Compassionate Goals). ACTH and cortisol were obtained before and after stress exposure via intravenous catheter.

Results: Control alone had no effect. CI Compassionate Goals significantly reduced ACTH and cortisol responses to the TSST; CI Coping raised baseline levels. Compassionate Goals reduced hormonal responses without reducing subjective anxiety, stress or fear, while increasing expression of pro-social intentions and focus on helping others.

Conclusions: Brief intervention to shift focus from competitive self-promotion to a goal orientation of helping-others can reduce HPA-axis activation to a potent psychosocial stressor. This supports the potential for developing brief interventions as inoculation tools to reduce the impact of predictable stressors and lends support to growing evidence that compassion and altruistic goals can moderate the effects of stress.

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Service job lawyers are happier than money job lawyers, despite their lower income

Kennon Sheldon & Lawrence Krieger
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Giving too much emphasis to extrinsic values and too little emphasis to intrinsic values is known to depress well-being. But is simply working in an extrinsic job also risky, even if that job delivers the money? We compared 1414 ‘Money’ (extrinsic) lawyers, 1145 ‘Service’ (intrinsic) lawyers, and 3415 ‘Other’ lawyers as to their income, values, well-being, and drinking behavior. Although service lawyers had much lower incomes, they also experienced more well-being and less negative affect compared to money lawyers, and drank less and less often. ANCOVAs showed that the intrinsic vs. extrinsic job-type effects were independent of rated intrinsic vs. extrinsic values, current income, years of work experience, and class rank at graduation, suggesting that the job-contexts themselves were operative. We discuss the difficult choice that pre-professional students face, between two versions of the American dream: one emphasizing wealth and status, and the other, service and personal development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I like your chances

Risk Propensity Among Liberals and Conservatives: The Effect of Risk Perception, Expected Benefits, and Risk Domain

Becky Choma et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political conservatives, compared to liberals, are commonly thought to be more threat-sensitive and risk-averse. Using an American sample of community adults (n = 397), we investigated when conservatives and liberals might be risk-taking or risk-averse. Participants completed measures of political orientation, and perceptions of risk, expected benefits (EB) of risk, and risk-propensity, across five domains (financial, recreational, ethical, social, and health). The relation between perceptions of risk and EB and risk-propensity differed as a function of political conservatism and varied across risk domains. For example, with regard to new business ventures, conservatives were generally willing to take risks unless perceived risk was high and expected benefit was low, whereas liberals were generally unwilling to take risks unless perceived risk was low and expected benefit was high. Implications for understanding risk-taking are considered.

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Gambling Increases Self-Control Strength in Problem Gamblers

Anne Bergen, Ian Newby-Clark & Andrea Brown
Journal of Gambling Studies, March 2014, Pages 153-162

Abstract:
In two studies it is demonstrated that, in the short-term, slot machine gambling increases self-control strength in problem gamblers. In Study 1 (N = 180), participants were randomly assigned to either play slot machines or engage in a control task (word anagrams) for 15 min. Subsequent self-control strength was measured via persistence on an impossible tracing task. Replicating Bergen et al. (J Gambl Stud, doi:10.1007/s10899-011-9274-9, 2011), control condition participants categorized as problem gamblers persisted for less time than did lower gambling risk participants. However, in the slot machine condition, there were no significant differences in persistence amongst participants as a function of their gambling classification. Moreover, problem gambling participants in the slot machine condition persisted at the impossible tracing task longer than did problem gambling participants in the control condition. Study 2 (N = 209) systematically replicated Study 1. All participants initially completed two tasks known to deplete self-control strength and a different control condition (math problems) was used. Study 2 results were highly similar to those of Study 1. The results of the studies have implications for the helping professions. Specifically, helping professionals should be aware that problem gamblers might seek out gambling as a means of increasing self-control strength.

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Illusionary pattern detection in habitual gamblers

Andreas Wilke et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does problem gambling arise from an illusion that patterns exist where there are none? Our prior research suggested that “hot hand,” a tendency to perceive illusory streaks in sequences, may be a human universal, tied to an evolutionary history of foraging for clumpy resources. Like other evolved propensities, this tendency might be expressed more strongly in some people than others, leading them to see luck where others see only chance. If the desire to gamble is enhanced by illusory pattern detection, such individual differences could be predictive of gambling risk. While previous research has suggested a potential link between cognitive strategies and propensity to gamble, no prior study has directly measured gamblers’ cognitive strategies using behavioral choice tasks, and linked them to risk-taking or gambling propensities. Using a computerized sequential decision-making paradigm that directly measured subjects’ predictions of sequences, we found evidence that subjects who have a greater tendency to gamble also have a higher tendency to perceive illusionary patterns, as measured by their preferences for a random slot machine over a negatively autocorrelated one. Casino gamblers played the random slot machine significantly more often even though a training phase and a history of outcomes was provided. Additionally, we found a marginally significant group difference between gamblers and matched community members in their slot-machine choice proportions. Performance on our behavioral choice task correlated with subjects’ risk attitudes towards gambling and their frequency of play, as well as the selection of choice strategies in gambling activities.

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Problem gamblers are hyposensitive to wins: An analysis of skin conductance responses during actual gambling on electronic gaming machines

Lisa Lole et al.
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Physiological arousal is purportedly a key determinant in the development and maintenance of gambling behaviors, with problem gambling conceptualized in terms of abnormal autonomic responses. Theoretical conceptualizations of problem gambling are discordant regarding the nature of deficit in this disorder; some accounts posit that problem gamblers are hypersensitive to reward, and others that they are hyposensitive to reward and/or punishment. Previous research examining phasic electrodermal responses in gamblers has been limited to laboratory settings, and reactions to real gaming situations need to be examined. Skin conductance responses (SCRs) to losses, wins, and losses disguised as wins (LDWs) were recorded from 15 problem gamblers (PGs) and 15 nonproblem gamblers (NPGs) while they wagered their own money during electronic gaming machine play. PGs demonstrated significantly reduced SCRs to reward. SCRs to losses and LDWs did not differ for either PGs or NPGs. This hyposensitivity to wins may reflect abnormalities in incentive processing, and may represent a potential biological marker for problem gambling.

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Using aesthetics and self-affirmation to encourage openness to risky (and safe) choices

Suzanne Shu & Claudia Townsend
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, March 2014, Pages 22-39

Abstract:
Research has shown self-affirmation to be a powerful tool for increasing openness to arguments. However, prior examinations of its effects involved manipulations with limited applicability outside the laboratory. Building on recent work suggesting that choice of highly aesthetic products can be a form of affirmation, we proposed and tested whether merely affiliating people with high aesthetics can affirm their sense of self and thus encourage openness to arguments advocating selection of one option over another. In 3 experiments we examined this effect in financial and consumer decisions in which choices varied in their inherent risk. Across the experiments, after affiliating people with high (vs. low) aesthetics, they were more likely to select the advocated option — whether that option was the riskier or less risky option. This occurred using actual annual reports and a sample of experienced investors (Experiment 1), when the aesthetic affiliation and the choice tasks were in entirely unrelated areas (Experiment 2) and was driven by greater openness to arguments (Experiment 3). Together these studies offer a self-affirmation manipulation that is relevant and easily used by practitioners in a variety of fields. They also provide novel insights on the link between aesthetics, self-affirmation, openness, and risk taking.

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Gene Effects and G × E Interactions in the Differential Prediction of Three Aspects of Impulsiveness

Charles Carver et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several polymorphisms relevant to dopamine and serotonin have been identified as potential contributors to individual differences in impulsivity versus self-control. Because impulsivity is a multifaceted construct, a need remains to examine more closely how various genes relate to different aspects of impulsivity. We examined four dopamine-related polymorphisms and the serotonin transporter as predictors of three aspects of impulsivity, two bearing on impulsive reactions to emotions and one on difficulty in completing intended actions. Early adversity was also examined as a potentiator of genetic effects. Undergraduates completed measures of impulsivity and early adversity and were genotyped. COMT, BDNF, DRD4, and 5HTTLPR (the latter two in interaction with early adversity) made independent contributions to prediction of Pervasive Influence of Feelings. BDNF made a contribution to Lack of Follow-Through. ANKK1 and 5HTTLPR (both in interaction with early adversity) made independent contributions to Feelings Trigger Action. Thus, five polymorphisms contributed to predicting impulsivity, but different polymorphisms related to different aspects.

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Preference on Cash-Choice Task Predicts Externalizing Outcomes in 17-Year-Olds

Jordan Sparks, Joshua Isen & William Iacono
Behavior Genetics, March 2014, Pages 102-112

Abstract:
Delay-discounting, the tendency to prefer a smaller-sooner reward to a larger-later reward, has been associated with a range of externalizing behaviors. Laboratory delay-discounting tasks have emerged as a useful measure to index impulsivity and a proclivity towards externalizing pyschopathology. While many studies demonstrate the existence of a latent externalizing factor that is heritable, there have been few genetic studies of delay-discounting. Further, the increased vulnerability for risky behavior in adolescence makes adolescent samples an attractive target for future research, and expeditious, ecologically-valid delay-discounting measures are helpful in this regard. The primary goal of this study was to help validate the utility of a “cash-choice” measure for use in a sample of older adolescents. We used a sample of 17-year-old twins (n = 791) from the Minnesota Twin Family Enrichment study. Individuals who chose the smaller-sooner reward were more likely to have used a range of addictive substances, engaged in sexual intercourse, and earned lower GPAs. Best fitting biometric models from univariate analyses supported the heritability of cash-choice and externalizing, but bivariate modeling results indicated that the correlation between cash-choice and externalizing was determined largely by shared environmental influences, thus failing to support cash-choice as a possible endophenotype for externalizing in this age group. Our findings lend further support to the utility of cash-choice as a measure of individual differences in decision making and suggest that, by late adolescence, this task indexes shared environmental risk for externalizing behavior.

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Personality Correlates of Risky Health Outcomes: Findings from a Large Internet Study

Olivia Atherton et al.
Journal of Research in Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies have documented the effects of personality on health outcomes. However, which traits are most relevant to health, and the precise magnitude of their effects, is inconsistent across studies. The present study used a large sample (N=460,172) to replicate and extend the relations between the Big Five and three health-related outcomes: self-reported health, body mass index, and substance use. Low Conscientiousness predicted all outcomes, indicating that individuals who are less responsible and less self-controlled tend to report poorer health, be more overweight, and engage in more substance use. In addition, individuals who were more emotionally unstable (high Neuroticism) reported poorer health, and individuals prone to seek out social experiences and rewards (high Extraversion) engaged in more frequent substance use.

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Knowing Where to Draw the Line: Perceptual Differences between Risk-takers and Non-Risk-Takers

Adam Biggs et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
There are a variety of reasons someone might engage in risky behaviors, such as perceived invulnerability to harm or a belief that negative outcomes are more likely for others than for oneself. However, these risk-taking biases are often measured at a decision-making level or from the developmental perspective. Here we assessed whether or not risk-taking influenced perceptual judgments associated with risk. Participants were provided an objective task to measure individual differences in the perception of physical dimensions (i.e., actual size of a balloon) versus the perception of risk (i.e., size at which the balloon would explode). Our results show that specific differences in risk-taking personalities produce specific differences in perceptual judgments about risk, but do not affect perception of the actual dimensions. Thus, risk-takers differ from non-risk-takers in the perceptual estimations they make about risks, and therefore may be more likely to engage in dangerous or uncertain behaviors because they perceive risks differently.

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When Do I Wear Me Out? Mental Simulation and the Diminution of Self-Control

Neil Macrae et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Exerting self-control can diminish people’s capacity to engage in subsequent acts of behavioral regulation, a phenomenon termed ego depletion. But what of imaginary regulatory experiences—does simulated restraint elicit comparable lapses in self-control? Here we demonstrate such effects under theoretically tractable imagery conditions. Across 3 experiments, temporal, structural, and spatial components of mental simulation were observed to drive the efficacy of imaginary self-control. In Experiment 1, lapses in restraint (i.e., financial impulsivity) were more pronounced when imaginary regulation (i.e., dietary restraint) focused on an event in the near versus distant future. In Experiment 2, comparable effects (i.e., increased stereotyping) emerged when simulated self-control (i.e., emotional suppression) was imagined from a first-person (cf. third-person) visual perspective. In Experiment 3, restraint was diminished (i.e., increased risk taking) when self-regulation (i.e., action control) centered on an event at a near versus distant location. These findings further delineate the conditions under which mental simulation impacts core aspects of social–cognitive functioning.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 28, 2014

Party crashers

Conspiracy Theories and the Paranoid Style(s) of Mass Opinion

Eric Oliver & Thomas Wood
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although conspiracy theories have long been a staple of American political culture, no research has systematically examined the nature of their support in the mass public. Using four nationally representative surveys, sampled between 2006 and 2011, we find that half of the American public consistently endorses at least one conspiracy theory and that many popular conspiracy theories are differentiated along ideological and anomic dimensions. In contrast with many theoretical speculations, we do not find conspiracism to be a product of greater authoritarianism, ignorance, or political conservatism. Rather, the likelihood of supporting conspiracy theories is strongly predicted by a willingness to believe in other unseen, intentional forces and an attraction to Manichean narratives. These findings both demonstrate the widespread allure of conspiracy theories as political explanations and offer new perspectives on the forces that shape mass opinion and American political culture.

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The Blended Language of Partisanship in the 2012 Presidential Campaign

Roderick Hart & Colene Lind
American Behavioral Scientist, April 2014, Pages 591-616

Abstract:
Here, we track the language patterns of Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates during 2008 and 2012 and contrast them with their Democratic counterparts to better understand the language of partisanship in the U.S. We employ DICTION (www.dictionsoftware.com), an automated text-analysis tool, to process some 8,000 campaign documents. We find (a) that Mitt Romney was an unconventional Republican in 2012 (but not in 2008); (b) that Romney employed both “Republican” and “Democratic” language and did so to good effect (both in the primaries and in the general election); (c) that Barack Obama matched Romney in these ways, departing sharply from his own 2008 campaign style; and (d) that the candidates increasingly resembled one another as election day approached. We conclude that, no matter what their party of origin, all national politicians must be versed in the Democratic/Republican lexicon, a requirement that distinguishes the American political ethos.

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Who Let the (Attack) Dogs Out? New Evidence for Partisan Media Effects

Glen Smith & Kathleen Searles
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most research examining partisan media effects uses individual differences in exposure to news sources to predict attitude change. In this paper, we improve upon this approach by using variations in cable news coverage to predict subsequent changes in viewer impressions of the candidates. This approach allows us to examine the distinct effects of in-party and out-party candidate coverage. Content analyses and survey data show that partisan media effects result from coverage of the opposition candidate, and not from coverage of the like-minded candidate. Specifically, during the 2008 presidential election, increased coverage of Obama (McCain) on Fox News (MSNBC) made viewers less favorable toward Obama (McCain). Meanwhile, coverage of McCain (Obama) on Fox News (MSNBC) had minimal effects on viewer impressions. These results suggest that media effects persist even during an era dominated by selective exposure.

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Strong Candidate, Nurturant Candidate: Moral Language in Presidential Television Advertisements

Jennifer Filson Moses & Marti Hope Gonzales
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Presidential television advertisements from 1980 through 2012 were examined to test empirically George Lakoff's descriptions of American moral ideology. Advertisements were coded for instantiations of the moral themes that Lakoff asserts underlie liberal and conservative ideology (Strict Father versus Nurturant Parent). Candidates' political-party affiliation, election year, and policy issue(s) addressed in the television advertisement were assessed for their covariance with the use of these moral-metaphorical instantiations. Findings support many of Lakoff's arguments. Republicans and Democrats generally differed in their use of these moral themes, both Strict Father and Nurturant Parent. There were no significant associations between election years (1980–2012) and instantiations of moral metaphors, with the exception of 2008, an anomalous year. Of particular import, we found that although Republicans rely on Strict Father dimensions, and Democrats rely more on Nurturant Parent, the most pronounced difference between parties was on the Nurturant Parent dimension. Implications for Lakoff's work and current moral psychology are discussed.

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The Effect of Redistricting Commissions on District Bipartisanship and Member Ideology

Josh Ryan & Jeffrey Lyons
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
Reformers advocate the use of commissions rather than legislatures to redistrict as a way of promoting less partisan districts and ideologically moderate congressional members. Much of the evidence in political science suggests that gerrymandering is not a cause of congressional polarization, but whether or not commissions produce different types of districts or members remains an important and unanswered question, especially now that many states have adopted reforms. This article examines whether commissions reduce district partisanship or ideological extremity using time-series-cross-sectional data. We find that bipartisan districts promote member moderation, but there is no evidence that commissions have distinct effects on districts or members as compared to districts drawn by legislatures, consistent with the notion that limiting gerrymandering is not a solution for polarization. These conclusions call into question the appropriateness of redistricting reform, especially when one considers the undemocratic nature of commissions.

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“Taking Back Our Country”: Tea Party Membership and Support for Punitive Crime Control Policies

Justin Pickett, Daniel Tope & Rose Bellandi
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Tea Party Movement (TPM) emerged shortly after the 2008 election, with members rallying behind the call to “take back our country.” Many observers suggest that the movement represents, in part, a racialized backlash against the election of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, motivated by perceived threats to the racial hierarchy. Racial threat theory predicts that if the TPM is motivated by and reinforces racial concerns, racialized support for punitive crime policies that disproportionately impact blacks should be higher among Tea Partiers. Drawing on recent national survey data, this study tests this prediction. The results show that TPM membership is positively associated with punitiveness and that this relationship is mediated, in part, by Tea Partiers’ animus toward blacks. We discuss the import of these findings for competing accounts of the TPM, racial threat theory, and the argument that the United States has become a “post-racial society.”

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Consumer Demand for Cynical and Negative News Frames

Marc Trussler & Stuart Soroka
International Journal of Press/Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Commentators regularly lament the proliferation of both negative and/or strategic (“horse race”) coverage in political news content. The most frequent account for this trend focuses on news norms and/or the priorities of news journalists. Here, we build on recent work arguing for the importance of demand-side, rather than supply-side, explanations of news content. In short, news may be negative and/or strategy-focused because that is the kind of news that people are interested in. We use a lab study to capture participants’ news-selection biases, alongside a survey capturing their stated news preferences. Politically interested participants are more likely to select negative stories. Interest is associated with a greater preference for strategic frames as well. And results suggest that behavioral results do not conform to attitudinal ones. That is, regardless of what participants say, they exhibit a preference for negative news content.

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The Informational Basis for Mass Polarization

Thomas Leeper
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
If nothing else, democratic politics requires compromise. Mass polarization, where citizens disagree strongly and those disagreements magnify over time, presents obvious threats to democratic well-being. The overwhelming presumption is that if polarization is occurring, a substantial portion of it is attributable to the fragmentation attendant an increasingly choice-laden media environment where individuals expose themselves only to opinion-reinforcing information. Under what conditions does mass opinion polarization occur? Through two over-time laboratory experiments involving information choice behavior, this paper considers, first, the effects of slant in one’s information environment on over-time opinion dynamics and, second, the moderating role of attitude importance on those effects. The experiments reveal that, despite similar information search behavior, those with strong attitudes are dogmatic, resisting even substantial contrary evidence; those with weak attitudes, by contrast, hear opposing arguments and develop moderate opinions regardless of the prevalence of those arguments in their environment. Evaluations of information, rather than information search behavior per se, explain why individuals with strong attitudes polarize and those with weak attitudes do not. Polarization therefore seems to require more than media fragmentation and, in fact, a more important factor may be the strength of citizens’ prior attitudes on particular issues.

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“Do Something” Politics and Double-Peaked Policy Preferences

Patrick Egan
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 333-349

Abstract:
When a public problem is perceived to be poorly addressed by current policy, it is often the case that credible alternative policies are proposed to both the status quo’s left and right. Specially designed national surveys show that in circumstances like these, many Americans’ preferences are not single-peaked on the standard left-right dimension. Rather, they simply want the government to “do something” about the problem and therefore prefer both liberal and conservative policies to the moderate status quo. This produces individual and collective preferences that are double-peaked with respect to the left-right dimension. Double-peakedness is less prevalent on issues where no consensus exists regarding policy goals, and it increases when exogenous events raise the public’s concern about the seriousness of a policy problem.

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How moderates and extremists find happiness: Ideological orientation, citizen–government proximity, and life satisfaction

Luigi Curini, Willy Jou & Vincenzo Memoli
International Political Science Review, March 2014, Pages 129-152

Abstract:
While the topic of life satisfaction and its determinants has drawn increasing attention among political scientists, most studies have focused mainly on macro-level variables, and often overlooked the role of individuals’ attitudes vis-à-vis their governments. The present article attempts to fill this gap by examining whether citizens’ left–right self-placement and ideological distance from their governments exert an independent effect on life satisfaction. Utilizing a dataset spanning a quarter century and containing nearly 70,000 respondents, we demonstrate a curvilinear relationship between ideological orientations and happiness, with self-identified radicals on both ends of the spectrum happier than moderate citizens. Moreover, we show that while propinquity between self-position and government position contributes to happiness, this effect is highly mediated by individual locations along the left–right spectrum: centrists report higher levels of happiness the closer they are to their government, while the opposite is true for radicals. The normative implication of our findings is that moderate governments may present a comparative advantage in enhancing the overall level of happiness of their citizens.

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Priming under Fire: Reverse Causality and the Classic Media Priming Hypothesis

Austin Hart & Joel Middleton
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 581-592

Abstract:
This study reevaluates the classic “media priming” hypothesis, which argues that, when news coverage raises an issue’s salience, voters align their overall evaluation of the president with their assessment of him on that issue. Conventional studies typically show greater correspondence between issue approval and overall approval among individuals exposed to issue-related news. Although this is taken as evidence of media priming, this phenomenon is also consistent with another explanation. Precisely the opposite, the “projection” hypothesis argues that voters exposed to issue news align their approval of the president on that issue with their prior approval of his overall performance. Existing studies cannot rule out this alternative, so we conduct a survey experiment to evaluate the priming and projection hypotheses jointly. Despite recent evidence in support of projection, we show that the causal arrow runs from issue approval to overall approval (media priming), not the reverse (projection).

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The Macro Sort of the State Electorates

Gerald Wright & Nathaniel Birkhead
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individual-level studies of partisan and ideological change find that individuals generally adjust their ideological preferences to match their partisan affiliation. In examining this process among the state electorates, we find that contrary to these studies, states have adjusted their partisanship to match their ideology. In addition, we use a measure of state elite ideology to show that state parties have a role in the character of the partisan sort of the states. These results are consistent with political explanations of party strategy and rational mass responses for the character of macro-political change in the states over the last half century.

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Party Cues in Elections under Multilevel Governance: Theory and Evidence from US States

Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
In federal countries, voters’ ability to evaluate the performance of their leaders might be reduced when different levels of government shape policy outcomes. This can blur political accountability. In this article, we analyze how party cues (i.e., politicians’ party membership acting as a cue towards their characteristics) affect voters’ incomplete information in a federal setting. We theoretically show that party cues allow indirect inference regarding politicians using observed policy outcomes, and can alleviate the accountability problem. Empirical evidence from US presidential election results across all 50 US states over the period 1972–2008 supports this proposition. However, party cues also have a downside in that they may reduce politicians’ effort, particularly when politicians at different levels of government are from different parties.

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Self-stereotyping as “Evangelical Republican”: An Empirical Test

Stratos Patrikios
Politics and Religion, December 2013, Pages 800-822

Abstract:
The prominence of evangelical Christians in the electoral base of the Republican Party is a noted feature of recent American elections. This prominence is linked to a key stereotype that saturates public discourse: “born-again/evangelical Republicanism.” The stereotype fuses religious and partisan social group membership to create a composite social label. Using a social categorization approach, which challenges the assumptions and methods of existing research, the present analysis asks whether voters embrace this stereotype in their definitions of self. The article employs confirmatory factor analysis of religious and partisan identity constructs from a national internet survey, the 2008 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, and finds evidence of the presence of this religious-partisan stereotype in individual self-views, and of the backlash that it has produced, particularly among citizens that are exposed to public discourse on American elections.

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Polarization and Ideology: Partisan Sources of Low Dimensionality in Scaled Roll Call Analyses

John Aldrich, Jacob Montgomery & David Sparks
Political Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we challenge the conclusion that the preferences of members of Congress are best represented as existing in a low-dimensional space. We conduct Monte Carlo simulations altering assumptions regarding the dimensionality and distribution of member preferences and scale the resulting roll call matrices. Our simulations show that party polarization generates misleading evidence in favor of low dimensionality. This suggests that the increasing levels of party polarization in recent Congresses may have produced false evidence in favor of a low-dimensional policy space. However, we show that focusing more narrowly on each party caucus in isolation can help researchers discern the true dimensionality of the policy space in the context of significant party polarization. We re-examine the historical roll call record and find evidence suggesting that the low dimensionality of the contemporary Congress may reflect party polarization rather than changes in the dimensionality of policy conflict.

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Third-party threat and the dimensionality of major-party roll call voting

Daniel Lee
Public Choice, June 2014, Pages 515-531

Abstract:
This paper assesses the influence of the electoral threat of third parties on major-party roll call voting in the US House. Although low-dimensionality of voting is a feature of strong two-party politics, which describes the contemporary era, there is significant variation across members. I hypothesize that major-party incumbents in districts under a high threat from third-party House candidates cast votes that do not fit neatly onto the dominant ideological dimension. This hypothesis is driven by (1) third party interests in orthogonal issues, and (2) incumbents accounting for those interests when casting votes in order to minimize the impact of third parties. An empirical test using data from the 105th to 109th Congresses provides evidence of this effect.

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Echo Chamber or Public Sphere? Predicting Political Orientation and Measuring Political Homophily in Twitter Using Big Data

Elanor Colleoni, Alessandro Rozza & Adam Arvidsson
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates political homophily on Twitter. Using a combination of machine learning and social network analysis we classify users as Democrats or as Republicans based on the political content shared. We then investigate political homophily both in the network of reciprocated and nonreciprocated ties. We find that structures of political homophily differ strongly between Democrats and Republicans. In general, Democrats exhibit higher levels of political homophily. But Republicans who follow official Republican accounts exhibit higher levels of homophily than Democrats. In addition, levels of homophily are higher in the network of reciprocated followers than in the nonreciprocated network. We suggest that research on political homophily on the Internet should take the political culture and practices of users seriously.

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Explaining Group Influence: The Role of Identity and Emotion in Political Conformity and Polarization

Elizabeth Suhay
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence has accumulated that people often conform to political norms. However, we know little about the mechanisms underlying political conformity. Whose norms are people likely to follow, and why? This article discusses two phenomena — social identity and “self-conscious” emotions — that are key to understanding when and why people follow the crowd. It argues that adherence to in-group norms is a critical basis of status among in-group peers. Conformity generates peer approval and leads to personal pride. Deviance generates disapproval and causes embarrassment or shame. These emotional reactions color an individual’s political perspectives, typically generating conformity. These same mechanisms can spur between-group polarization. In this case, differentiation from the norms of disliked out-groups results in peer approval and pride, and conformity to out-group norms disapproval and embarrassment or shame. This framework is supported by the results of two experiments that examine the influence of group opinion norms over economic and social aspects of citizens’ political ideologies. One exogenously varies the social identity of attitudinal majorities; the other primes the relevant emotions. In addition to contributing to the study of political conformity and polarization, this article adds to our growing understanding of the relevance of social identity and emotion to political life.

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Effects of Verbal Aggression and Party Identification Bias on Perceptions of Political Speakers

Charlotte Nau & Craig Stewart
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments investigated the effects of verbal aggression, specifically character and competence attacks, on perceptions of political speakers. Verbally aggressive political speakers were perceived as less communicatively appropriate and credible than nonaggressive speakers, and were less likely to win agreement with their messages. Some evidence was found that perceptions were biased in favor of those who share a political party identification with the message recipient, and that more strongly Republican Party–identified participants perceived more verbal aggression in messages with no character and competence attacks and considered verbally aggressive Republicans more tactful.

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Filmed in Front of a Live Studio Audience: Laughter and Aggression in Political Entertainment Programming

Emily Vraga et al.
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2014, Pages 131-150

Abstract:
Shows blending humor and information are on the rise, and many such shows incorporate live studio audiences. Using two separate experimental studies, we test whether audience laughter on humorous political talk shows affects audience perceptions. We find that the effects of audience laughter depend on context, boosting perceptions of host and program credibility when a host is unknown, while reminding viewers of the comedic intentions and appeal of a known comedic host. If humor allows the hosts of comedic political talk shows more freedom to pointedly question their guests without turning off viewers, it may better engage and inform audiences.

http://poq.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/02/27/poq.nft082.short?rss=1

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Underrepresented

Racial Segregation Patterns in Selective Universities

Peter Arcidiacono et al.
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2013, Pages 1039-1060

Abstract:
This paper examines sorting into interracial friendships at selective universities. We show significant friendship segregation, particularly for blacks. Indeed, blacks’ friendships are no more diverse in college than in high school, despite the fact that the colleges that blacks attend have substantially smaller black populations. We demonstrate that the segregation patterns occur in part because affirmative action results in large differences in the academic backgrounds of students of different races, with students preferring to form friendships with those of similar academic backgrounds. Within a school, stronger academic backgrounds make whites’ friendships with blacks less likely and friendships with Asians more likely. These results suggest that affirmative action admission policies at selective universities, which drive a wedge between the academic characteristics of different racial groups, may result in increased within-school segregation.

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The Implications of Marriage Structure for Men’s Workplace Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors toward Women

Sreedhari Desai, Dolly Chugh & Arthur Brief
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on five studies with a total of 993 married, heterosexual male participants, we found that marriage structure has important implications for attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to gender among heterosexual married men in the workplace. Specifically, men in traditional marriages — married to women who are not employed — disfavor women in the workplace and are more likely than the average of all married men to make decisions that prevent the advancement of qualified women. Results show that employed men in traditional marriages tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) perceive organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny qualified female employees opportunities for promotions more frequently than do other married male employees. Moreover, our final study suggests that men who are single and then marry women who are not employed may change their attitudes toward women in the workplace, becoming less positive. The consistent pattern of results across multiple studies employing multiple methods (lab, longitudinal, archival) and samples (U.S., U.K., undergraduates, managers) demonstrates the robustness of our findings that the structure of a man’s marriage influences his gender ideology in the workplace, presenting an important challenge to workplace egalitarianism.

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How Judicial Qualification Ratings May Disadvantage Minority and Female Candidates

Maya Sen
Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2014, Pages 33-65

Abstract:
This article uses two newly collected data sets to investigate the reliance by political actors on the external vetting of judicial candidates, in particular vetting conducted by the nation’s largest legal organization, the American Bar Association (ABA). Using these data, I show that minority and female nominees are more likely than whites and males to receive lower ratings, even after controlling for education, experience, and partisanship via matching. These discrepancies are important for two reasons. First, as I show, receiving poor ABA ratings is correlated with confirmation failure. Second, I demonstrate that ABA ratings do not actually predict whether judges will be “better” in terms of reversal rates. Taken together, these findings complicate the ABA’s influential role in judicial nominations, both in terms of setting up possible barriers against minority and female candidates and also in terms of its actual utility in predicting judicial performance.

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The Positive Consequences of Negative Stereotypes: Race, Sexual Orientation, and the Job Application Process

David Pedulla
Social Psychology Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 75-94

Abstract:
How do marginalized social categories, such as being black and gay, combine with one another in the production of discrimination? While much extant research assumes that combining marginalized social categories results in a “double disadvantage,” I argue that in the case of race and sexual orientation the opposite may be true. This article posits that stereotypes about gay men as effeminate and weak will counteract common negative stereotypes held by whites that black men are threatening and criminal. Thus, I argue that being gay will have negative consequences for white men in the job application process, but that being gay will actually have positive consequences for black men in this realm. This hypothesis is tested using data from a survey experiment in which respondents were asked to evaluate resumes for a job opening where the race and sexual orientation of the applicants were experimentally manipulated. The findings contribute to important theoretical debates about stereotypes, discrimination, and intersecting social identities.

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“Boys Can Be Anything”: Effect of Barbie Play on Girls’ Career Cognitions

Aurora Sherman & Eileen Zurbriggen
Sex Roles, March 2014, Pages 195-208

Abstract:
Play with Barbie dolls is an understudied source of gendered socialization that may convey a sexualized adult world to young girls. Early exposure to sexualized images may have unintended consequences in the form of perceived limitations on future selves. We investigated perceptions of careers girls felt they could do in the future as compared to the number of careers they felt boys could do as a function of condition (playing with a Barbie or Mrs. Potato Head doll) and type of career (male dominated or female dominated) in a sample of 37 U.S. girls aged 4–7 years old residing in the Pacific Northwest. After a randomly assigned 5-min exposure to condition, children were asked how many of ten different occupations they themselves could do in the future and how many of those occupations a boy could do. Data were analyzed with a 2 × 2 × 2 mixed factorial ANOVA. Averaged across condition, girls reported that boys could do significantly more occupations than they could themselves, especially when considering male-dominated careers. In addition, girls’ ideas about careers for themselves compared to careers for boys interacted with condition, such that girls who played with Barbie indicated that they had fewer future career options than boys, whereas girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported a smaller difference between future possible careers for themselves as compared to boys. Results support predictions from gender socialization and objectification theories.

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Reconciling Family Roles with Political Ambition: The New Normal for Women in Twenty-First Century U.S. Politics

Richard Fox & Jennifer Lawless
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 398-414

Abstract:
Based on data from the 2011 Citizen Political Ambition Study — a national survey of nearly 4,000 “potential candidates” for all levels of office — we provide the first thorough analysis of the manner in which traditional family arrangements affect the initial decision to run for office. Our findings reveal that traditional family dynamics do not account for the gender gap in political ambition. Neither marital and parental status, nor the division of labor pertaining to household tasks and child care, predicts potential candidates’ political ambition. This is not to downplay the fact that the gender gap in political ambition remains substantial and static or that traditional family roles affect whether women make it into the candidate eligibility pool in the first place. But it is to suggest that family arrangements are not a primary factor explaining why female potential candidates exhibit lower levels of political ambition than do men. Because women remain less likely than men to exhibit political ambition even in the face of stringent controls, the lack of explanatory power conferred by family arrangements highlights that other barriers to women’s emergence as candidates clearly merit continued investigation.

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Investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men

Alison Wood Brooks et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 March 2014, Pages 4427–4431

Abstract:
Entrepreneurship is a central path to job creation, economic growth, and prosperity. In the earliest stages of start-up business creation, the matching of entrepreneurial ventures to investors is critically important. The entrepreneur’s business proposition and previous experience are regarded as the main criteria for investment decisions. Our research, however, documents other critical criteria that investors use to make these decisions: the gender and physical attractiveness of the entrepreneurs themselves. Across a field setting (three entrepreneurial pitch competitions in the United States) and two experiments, we identify a profound and consistent gender gap in entrepreneur persuasiveness. Investors prefer pitches presented by male entrepreneurs compared with pitches made by female entrepreneurs, even when the content of the pitch is the same. This effect is moderated by male physical attractiveness: attractive males were particularly persuasive, whereas physical attractiveness did not matter among female entrepreneurs.

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Facial Attractiveness and Lifetime Earnings: Evidence from a Cohort Study

John Karl Scholz & Kamil Sicinski
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use unique longitudinal data to document an economically and statistically significant positive correlation between the facial attractiveness of male high school graduates and their subsequent labor market earnings. There are only weak links between facial attractiveness and direct measures of cognitive skills and no link between facial attractiveness and mortality. Even after including a lengthy set of characteristics, including IQ, high school activities, proxy measures for confidence and personality, family background and additional respondent characteristics in an empirical model of earnings, the attractiveness premium is present in the respondents' mid-30s and early-50s. Our findings are consistent with attractiveness being an enduring, positive labor market characteristic.

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Rank influences human sex differences in dyadic cooperation

Joyce Benenson, Henry Markovits & Richard Wrangham
Current Biology, 3 March 2014, Pages R190-R191

Abstract:
Unrelated human males regularly interact in groups, which can include higher and lower ranked individuals. In contrast, from early childhood through adulthood, females often reduce group size in order to interact with only one individual of equal rank. In many species, when either sex maintains a group structure, unrelated individuals must cooperate with those differing in rank. Given that human males interact more than females in groups, we hypothesized that dyadic cooperation between individuals of differing rank should occur more frequently between human males than females. We examined this hypothesis in academic psychology. Numbers of co-authored peer-reviewed publications were used as an objective measure of cooperation, and professorial status as a measure of rank. We compiled all publications co-authored by full professors with same-sex departmental colleagues over four years in 50 North American universities, and calculated the likelihood of co-authorship in relation to the number of available professors in the same department. Among those of equal status (full professors) there was no gender difference for likelihood of co-authorship: women and men were equally likely to co-author publications with another full professor of the same gender. In contrast, male full professors were more likely than female full professors to co-author publications with a same-gender assistant professor. This is consistent with a tendency for men to cooperate more than women with same-sex individuals of differing rank.

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Gender Differences in Leadership Role Occupancy: The Mediating Role of Power Motivation

Sebastian Schuh et al.
Journal of Business Ethics, March 2014, Pages 363-379

Abstract:
Although the proportion of women in leadership positions has grown over the past decades, women are still underrepresented in leadership roles, which poses an ethical challenge to society at large but business in particular. Accordingly, a growing body of research has attempted to unravel the reasons for this inequality. Besides theoretical progress, a central goal of these studies is to inform measures targeted at increasing the share of women in leadership positions. Striving to contribute to these efforts and drawing on several theoretical approaches, the present study provides a contemporary examination of (a) whether women and men differ in their levels of power motivation and (b) whether potential gender differences in this motivation contribute to the unequal distribution of women and men in leadership positions. Results from four studies provide converging support for these assumptions. Specifically, we found that women consistently reported lower power motivation than men. This in turn mediated the link between gender and leadership role occupancy. These results were robust to several methodological variations including samples from different populations (i.e., student samples and large heterogeneous samples of employee), diverse operationalizations of power motivation and leadership role occupancy (self- and other ratings), and study design (cross-sectional and time-lagged designs). Implications for theory and practice, including ways to contribute to a more equal gender distribution in leadership positions, are discussed.

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The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Group Versus Individual Performance

Nicholas Aramovich
Small Group Research, April 2014, Pages 176-197

Abstract:
Stereotype threat has been one of the most studied topics in social psychology in recent years. This research shows that subtle reminders of stereotypes about one’s social category hurt task performance — an effect replicated across several stereotypes and performance domains. Despite extensive research on individual performance, it is unknown how stereotype threat affects group performance. A question of theoretical and practical importance is whether people who face a common stereotype can overcome it by working together. To answer this question, an experiment was conducted comparing the performance of individual women and groups of women on a math/logic problem when faced with a stereotype threat. Results indicated that when facing a stereotype threat, groups outperformed the best individuals and performed just as well as non-threatened groups. This effect was due to threatened groups avoiding problem-solving errors. The implications for understanding group versus individual performance when facing stereotype threats are discussed.

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How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science

Ernesto Reuben, Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 March 2014, Pages 4403–4408

Abstract:
Women outnumber men in undergraduate enrollments, but they are much less likely than men to major in mathematics or science or to choose a profession in these fields. This outcome often is attributed to the effects of negative sex-based stereotypes. We studied the effect of such stereotypes in an experimental market, where subjects were hired to perform an arithmetic task that, on average, both genders perform equally well. We find that without any information other than a candidate’s appearance (which makes sex clear), both male and female subjects are twice more likely to hire a man than a woman. The discrimination survives if performance on the arithmetic task is self-reported, because men tend to boast about their performance, whereas women generally underreport it. The discrimination is reduced, but not eliminated, by providing full information about previous performance on the task. By using the Implicit Association Test, we show that implicit stereotypes are responsible for the initial average bias in sex-related beliefs and for a bias in updating expectations when performance information is self-reported. That is, employers biased against women are less likely to take into account the fact that men, on average, boast more than women about their future performance, leading to suboptimal hiring choices that remain biased in favor of men.

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Cross-Assignment Discrimination in Pay: A Test Case of Major League Baseball

Őrn Bodvarsson, Kerry Papps & John Sessions
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The traditional Becker/Arrow style model of discrimination depicts majority and minority workers as perfectly substitutable inputs, implying that all workers have the same job assignment. The model is only appropriate for determining whether pay differences between, for example, whites and non-whites doing job assignment A are attributable to prejudice (‘within-assignment discrimination’); It is inappropriate, however, for determining whether pay differences between whites in job assignment A and non-whites in job assignment B reflect discriminatory behaviour (‘cross-assignment discrimination’). We test the model of such cross assignment discrimination developed by Bodvarsson and Sessions (2011) using data on Major League Baseball hitters and pitchers for four different seasons during the 1990s, a decade during which monopsony power fell. We find strong evidence of ceteris paribus racial pay differences between hitters and pitchers, as well as evidence that cross-assignment discrimination varies with labour market structure.

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Sexist Behavior Undermines Women’s Performance in a Job Application Situation

Sabine Koch, Stefan Konigorski & Monika Sieverding
Sex Roles, February 2014, Pages 79-87

Abstract:
Can sexist behavior in a job application context threaten women and cause them to underperform on a subsequent cognitive ability test? In a simulated job interview, 46 women and 46 men -- undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Heidelberg, Germany -- were confronted with either sexist (dominant and physically close) behavior by a male interviewer or non-sexist (friendly and neutral) behavior by the same confederate. Participants then solved math items and language-related items from a German standard intelligence test. In accordance with our hypothesis, the results indicated that female participants in the sexist condition performed significantly worse on the mathematical test than female participants in the control condition. The performance of female participants on the language-related test and male participants on both the math and language-related tests did not differ by experimental condition. After the sexist job interview, women’s impaired performance, occurring on the math items only (i.e., specific to the domain in which women are negatively stereotyped), suggests an influence of psychological and interpersonal processes on seemingly objective test outcomes.

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Attributional gender bias: Teachers’ ability and effort explanations for students’ math performance

Penelope Espinoza, Ana Arêas da Luz Fontes & Clarissa Arms-Chavez
Social Psychology of Education, March 2014, Pages 105-126

Abstract:
Research is presented on the attributional gender bias: the tendency to generate different attributions (explanations) for female versus male students’ performance in math. Whereas boys’ successes in math are attributed to ability, girls’ successes are attributed to effort; conversely, boys’ failures in math are attributed to a lack of effort and girls’ failures to a lack of ability. This bias has been shown in previous research to be committed by teachers, parents, and students themselves. The present work sought to investigate whether this bias among secondary school math teachers might be reduced over time through adoption of an incremental theory of intelligence. Findings revealed at baseline, teachers committed the expected bias in reference to their high-achieving students’ math performance. Following exposure to stimuli, teachers in both experimental and control conditions reduced this bias. Unexpectedly, teachers across conditions showed a type of compensation for the bias by reversing stereotypical attributions for girls’ and boys’ successes and failures in math. Further, participants relapsed to the original bias nearly a year later. Findings indicate the potential to modify attributional gender bias, but also the challenges for achieving long-term changes within school contexts and for emphasizing effort beyond ability in math performance.

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Threat in Context: School Moderation of the Impact of Social Identity Threat on Racial/Ethnic Achievement Gaps

Paul Hanselman et al.
Sociology of Education, April 2014, Pages 106-124

Abstract:
Schools with very few and relatively low-performing marginalized students may be most likely to trigger social identity threats (including stereotype threats) that contribute to racial disparities. We test this hypothesis by assessing variation in the benefits of a self-affirmation intervention designed to counteract social identity threat in a randomized trial in all 11 middle schools in Madison, Wisconsin. We find that school context moderates the benefits of self-affirmation for black and Hispanic students’ grades, with partial support among standardized achievement outcomes. Self-affirmation reduced the very large racial achievement gap in overall grade point average by 12.5 percent in high-threat school contexts and had no effect in low-threat contexts. These self-affirmation activities have the potential to help close some of the largest racial/ethnic achievement gaps, though only in specific school contexts.

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The Impact of Israel's Class-Based Affirmative Action Policy on Admission and Academic Outcomes

Sigal Alon & Ofer Malamud
Economics of Education Review, June 2014, Pages 123–139

Abstract:
In the early to mid-2000s, four flagship Israeli selective universities introduced a voluntary need-blind and color-blind affirmative action policy for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program allowed departments to offer admission to academically borderline applicants who were above a certain threshold of disadvantage. We examine the effect of eligibility for affirmative action on admission and enrollment outcomes as well as on academic achievement using a regression discontinuity (RD) design. We show that students who were just barely eligible for this voluntary policy had a significantly higher probability of admission and enrollment, as compared to otherwise similar students. The affirmative action program also led to higher rates of admission to the most selective majors. Moreover, after enrollment, AA-eligible students are not falling behind academically, even at the most selective majors. Our results suggest the potential for a long-lasting impact of class-based preferences in admission on social and economic mobility.

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Height and Earnings: The Role of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills

Petter Lundborg, Paul Nystedt & Dan-Olof Rooth
Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2014, Pages 141-166

Abstract:
We use large-scale register data on 450,000 Swedish males who underwent mandatory military enlistment at age 18, and a subsample of 150,000 siblings, to examine why tall people earn more. We show the importance of both cognitive and noncognitive skills, as well as family background and muscular strength for the height-earnings relationship. In addition, we show that a substantial height premium remains after these factors have been accounted for, which originates from very short people having low earnings. This is mostly explained by the sorting of short people into low-paid occupations, which may indicate discrimination by stature.

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Testosterone is associated with self-employment among Australian men

Francis Greene et al.
Economics & Human Biology, March 2014, Pages 76–84

Abstract:
Testosterone has pronounced effects on men's physiological development and smaller, more nuanced, impacts on their economic behavior. In this study of 1199 Australian adult males, we investigate the relationship between the self-employed and their serum testosterone levels. Because prior studies have identified that testosterone is a hormone that is responsive to external factors (e.g. competition, risk-taking), we explicitly control for omitted variable bias and reverse causality by using an instrumental variable approach. We use insulin as our primary instrument to account for endogeneity between testosterone and self-employment. This is because prior research has identified a relationship between insulin and testosterone but not between insulin and self-employment. Our results show that there is a positive association between total testosterone and self-employment. Robustness checks using bioavailable testosterone and another similar instrument (daily alcohol consumption) confirm this positive finding.

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Gender Differences in Experimental Wage Negotiations

Marcus Dittrich, Andreas Knabe & Kristina Leipold
Economic Inquiry, April 2014, Pages 862–873

Abstract:
We examine behavioral gender differences and gender pairing effects in a laboratory experiment with face-to-face alternating-offers wage bargaining. Our results suggest that gender differences in bargaining behavior are role-dependent. We find that women obtain worse bargaining outcomes than men when they take on the role of employees, but not when they act as employers. Differences in bargaining outcomes can be explained by the bargaining parties' initial offers and counteroffers. We do not find evidence for behavioral differences between men and women in the process of alternating offers after first offers and counteroffers are made.

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When Civic Virtue isn’t Seen as Virtuous: The Effect of Gender Stereotyping on Civic Virtue Expectations for Women

Dan Chiaburu et al.
Sex Roles, March 2014, Pages 183-194

Abstract:
We examined the extent to which observers’ expectations of target employees’ civic virtue organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) are a function of both observer- (gender stereotype activation, threat) and target-related (gender) influences. Consistent with a role congruity perspective, we proposed that civic virtue (constructive involvement in the political governance process of the organization) will be expected to a lesser extent of women, but only when gender stereotypes are activated. We confirm this hypothesis across two studies. In Study 1, based on a sample of 187 U.S. undergraduate students (101 women, 86 men), we show that less civic virtue is expected of women when observers’ gender stereotypes are experimentally activated (vs. the non-activated condition). Using an additional sample of 197 U.S. undergraduate students (Study 2; 118 women, 79 men), we extend our findings by demonstrating that less civic virtue was expected of women in a high (vs. low) threat (manipulated) condition. Findings for men are included for comparative and general informational purposes only. We observed no significant changes in civic virtue expectations for men due to our study manipulations. Our research extends prior studies by showing that expectations for civic virtue are diminished for women, but only when gender stereotypes and threat are activated.

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Gender Structure and the Effects of Management Citizenship Behavior

Charles Brody, Beth Rubin & David Maume
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
We draw on gender structure theory, along with ideas about stereotyping and status characteristics, to develop hypotheses about how the gendered behaviors of male and female managers differentially impact the organizational commitment and mental health of their employees. We predict that the generally positive effects of management citizenship behaviors (Hodson 1999) will be less so in the case of female managers, especially for their male employees. Analyses of the 2002 National Survey of the Changing Workforce provide substantial support for our hypotheses despite the fact that we find no significant differences in the perceived management citizenship behaviors of male and female managers. We discuss the importance of these findings for organizational inequality and their relevance to ongoing discussion of the “stalled revolution” in gender equality.

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Gendering Abbottabad: Agency and Hegemonic Masculinity in an Age of Global Terrorism

Lori Poloni-Staudinger & Candice Ortbals
Gender Issues, March 2014, Pages 34-57

Abstract:
During the week after the United States’ raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011, the media discussed women associated with the raid. Media reported that bin Laden hid “behind a woman” during the raid, describing bin Laden’s wife as a human shield. The press also discussed a photo of the Situation Room during the raid, calling attention to Hillary Clinton, who was thought to be gasping out of emotion in the photo. The narratives surrounding Amal Ahmed al-Sadah (married to bin Laden) and Secretary Clinton elicit insights into the place of gender vis-à-vis terrorism. In this paper, we content analyze non-op-ed newswires, debating how/whether the media framed al-Sadah and Clinton as political agents, feminine representations, and/or as superfluous to terrorism. We find that the press described Clinton as emotional and largely saw al-Sadah as passive and generically as a wife. Women were portrayed differently than men, who are considered active, but unemotional. Additionally, articles critiqued President Obama’s posture and clothing in the Situation Room and disparaged Osama bin Laden for unmanliness. We therefore conclude that the mainstream, print media press prioritizes hegemonic masculinity when discussing terrorism, overlooking women’s agency and ascribing feminine identities to women and marginalized masculinities to certain men.

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By Whom and When Is Women’s Expertise Recognized? The Interactive Effects of Gender and Education in Science and Engineering Teams

Aparna Joshi
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a round-robin data set assembled from over 60 teams of more than 500 scientists and engineers across a variety of science and engineering disciplines, as well as longitudinal research productivity data, this study examines differences in how men and women in science and engineering teams evaluate their colleagues’ expertise and how that affects team performance. Because these teams are assembled to enhance innovations, they are most productive if they fully utilize the expertise of all team members. Applying a social relations modeling approach, two studies conducted in multidisciplinary research centers in a large public U.S. university test whether a team’s gender composition predicts how well women’s expertise is used within the team, based on peer evaluations of male and female team members with varying education levels. A third study returns to the same two research centers to examine whether the larger context in which the team operates affects the use of expertise and the team’s productivity. An important finding is that the gender and educational attributes of the person being evaluated are less critical to the recognition of expertise than the attributes of the person conducting the evaluation and the relationship between these two team members. In addition, context matters: gender-integrated teams with a higher proportion of highly educated women are more productive in disciplines with a greater female faculty representation.

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“You're in the Army Now:” The Impact of World War II on Women's Education, Work, and Family

Taylor Jaworski
Journal of Economic History, March 2014, Pages 169-195

Abstract:
World War II temporarily halted the rise in high school and college graduation rates. This article shows that manpower mobilization for World War II decreased educational attainment among high school-age females during the early 1940s, reduced employment and earnings, and altered decisions regarding family formation. I then provide evidence that women in this cohort returned to school in later life and relate these findings to the “quiet revolution” taking place as women learned about the benefits of school and work over the second half of the twentieth century.

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Men’s Mobility into Management From Blue Collar and White Collar Jobs: Race Differences Across the Early Career Years

George Wilson & David Maume
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Within the context of the “particularistic mobility thesis” we examine racial differences in the incidence, and determinants of, as well as timing to, mobility into management across the critical early career years at a refined level, namely, when groups share similar white collar and blue collar jobs. Findings from a Panel Study of Income Dynamics sample of men support theory and indicate that from both job levels a racial hierarchy exists: African Americans have the lowest rate of mobility, reach management through a route that is relatively formal and structured by a traditional range of stratification-based causal factors and take longest to reach management. Whites, in contrast, have the highest mobility rate, reach management through a relatively informal path that is less structured by traditional stratification-based factors, and reach management the quickest, and, across all three issues Latinos occupy an intermediate ground between African Americans and Latinos. Further, as predicted by theory, racial differences, particularly, relative to whites, are greater among those tracked from blue collar jobs than white collar jobs. Discussed are implications of the findings for understanding racial disadvantage in the American labor market across the work-career and on an inter-generational basis.

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Student Portfolios and the College Admissions Problem

Hector Chade, Gregory Lewis & Lones Smith
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a decentralized Bayesian model of college admissions with two ranked colleges, heterogeneous students and two realistic match frictions: students find it costly to apply to college, and college evaluations of their applications are uncertain. Students thus face a portfolio choice problem in their application decision, while colleges choose admissions standards that act like market-clearing prices. Enrollment at each college is affected by the standards at the other college through student portfolio reallocation. In equilibrium, student-college sorting may fail: weaker students sometimes apply more aggressively, and the weaker college might impose higher standards. Applying our framework, we analyze affirmative action, showing how it induces minority applicants to construct their application portfolios as if they were majority students of higher caliber.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Profit and loss

Management Practices, Relational Contracts, and the Decline of General Motors

Susan Helper & Rebecca Henderson
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2014, Pages 49-72

Abstract:
General Motors was once regarded as the best-managed and most successful firm in the world. However, between 1980 and 2009, GM's US market share fell from 46 to 20 percent, and in 2009 the firm went bankrupt. We argue that the conventional explanation for this decline — namely high legacy labor and healthcare costs — is seriously incomplete, and that GM's share collapsed for many of the same reasons that many highly successful American firms of the 1960s were forced from the market, including a failure to understand the nature of the competition they faced and an inability to respond effectively once they did. We focus particularly on the problems GM encountered in developing the relational contracts essential to modern design and manufacturing, and we discuss a number of possible causes for these difficulties. We suggest that GM's experience may have important implications for our understanding of the role of management in the modern, knowledge-based firm and for the potential revival of manufacturing in the United States.

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A Day in the Saddle Can Take its Toll: The Impact of Accumulated Time, Work Intensity, and Work Breaks on Hand Hygiene Compliance

Hengchen Dai et al.
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
In order to deliver high quality, reliable, and consistent services safely, organizations develop professional standards. These standards may be adopted from external agencies (e.g., professional industry groups, external regulators) or developed through the internal documentation and proliferation of best practices. Despite the communication and reinforcement of these standards, they are often not followed consistently. Although previous research suggests that high job demands are associated with declines in compliance over lengthy intervals, we argue that the impact of job demands might accumulate more quickly – even within the course of a single day. We tested this hypothesis using longitudinal field observations of over 4,157 caregivers in the healthcare industry whose compliance with hand hygiene guidelines was recorded in 35 hospitals on 13.7 million separate occasions. Consistent with our theoretical arguments focused on depletion and fatigue, we found that hand hygiene compliance rates dropped on average by 7.2 percentage points from the beginning to the end of a typical, 12-hour work shift. This decline in compliance was magnified by increased work intensity. Further, longer breaks between work shifts increased subsequent compliance rates, and such benefits were more significant for individuals when they had ended the preceding shift with lower compliance rates. The implications of these findings for patient safety and job design are discussed.

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A study of expressive choice and strikes

Christa Brunnschweiler, Colin Jennings & Ian MacKenzie
European Journal of Political Economy, June 2014, Pages 111–125

Abstract:
The conventional explanation for strikes is that they are caused by an asymmetry of information about the profitability of the firm – union members are uninformed whereas management are informed. Instead, this paper builds a model of strikes where a perception of unfairness provides an expressive benefit to vote for a strike. The asymmetry of information is now reversed such that management are uninformed about the emotionality of union members. The model predicts that larger union size increases both wage offers and the incidence of strikes. An empirical test using UK data provides support for the predictions. In particular, union size is positively correlated with the incidence of strikes and other industrial actions, even when asymmetric information regarding profitability is controlled for.

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Volume Flexibility in Services: The Costs and Benefits of Flexible Labor Resources

Saravanan Kesavan, Bradley Staats & Wendell Gilland
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organizations can create volume flexibility — the ability to increase capacity up or down to meet demand for a single service — through the use of flexible labor resources (e.g., part-time and temporary workers, as compared to full-time workers). Although organizations are increasingly using these resources, the relationship between flexible labor resources and financial performance has not been examined empirically in the service setting. We use two years of archival data from 445 stores of a large retailer to study this relationship. We hypothesize and find that increasing the labor mix of temporary or part-time workers shows an inverted U-shaped relationship with sales and profit while temporary labor mix has a U-shaped relationship with expenses. Thus, although flexible labor resources can create volume flexibility for a firm along multiple dimensions, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

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Dynamic Incentive Effects of Relative Performance Pay: A Field Experiment

Josse Delfgaauw et al.
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct a field experiment among 189 stores of a retail chain to study dynamic incentive effects of relative performance pay. Employees in the randomly selected treatment stores could win a bonus by outperforming three comparable stores from the control group over the course of four weeks. Treatment stores received weekly feedback on relative performance. Control stores were kept unaware of their involvement, so that their performance generates exogenous variation in the relative performance of the treatment stores. As predicted by theory, we find that treatment stores that lag far behind do not respond to the incentives, while the responsiveness of treatment stores close to winning a bonus increases in relative performance. On average, the introduction of the relative performance pay scheme does not lead to higher performance.

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Lighting The Way Or Stealing The Shine? An Examination Of The Duality In Star Scientists’ Effects On Firm Innovative Performance

Rebecca Kehoe & Daniel Tzabbar
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do star employees enhance or constrain the innovative performance of an organization? Using data from 456 biotechnology firms between 1973 and 2003, we highlight the duality of the effects that stars have on firm performance. We show that while stars positively affect firms’ productivity, their presence constrains the emergence of other innovative leaders in an organization. We find that firm productivity and innovative leadership among non-stars in a firm are greatest when a star has broad expertise and collaborates frequently. We offer cross-disciplinary insights into the role of human capital as a source of competitive advantage, suggesting that the value of human capital in a firm is contingent on the mutual dependence inherent in high-status employees’ relationships with other individuals in a firm.

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Better not look too nice? Employees' preferences towards (un)likeable managers

Benny Geys
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research shows that, all else equal, most people prefer likeable colleagues. In this article, two experiments are employed to analyze preferences with respect to (un)likeable superiors. We thereby focus on perceptions of likeability based on appearance rather than as a behavioral characteristic, which allows us to concentrate on the impact of quick, unconscious evaluations in zero-acquaintance situations. The results indicate that, all else equal, managers of higher perceived likeability are less preferred than managers of lower perceived likeability. Such likeability-aversion emerges among male and female respondents, affects male and female managers, and holds both for preferences expressed from the perspective of employees (Experiment 1) or a HR department (Experiment 2).

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Does Performance Consistency Pay Off Financially for Players? Evidence From the Bundesliga

Christian Deutscher & Arne Büschemann
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of the current study is to investigate how consistency of professional soccer players’ performance affects salaries in the German Bundesliga. Using game-level data for five consecutive seasons (n = 34,413 player–match day observations), we find empirical evidence for a salary premium to players showing volatility in performance. Applying ordinary least squares, fixed-effects as well as quantile regression analyses, this effect remains robust.

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Are two interviewers better than one?

Mario Fifić & Gerd Gigerenzer
Journal of Business Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How many interviewers per job applicant are necessary for a company to achieve the highest hit rate? Are two better than one? Condorcet's Jury Theorem and the “wisdom of the crowd” suggest that more is better. Under quite general conditions this study shows, surprisingly, that two interviewers are on average not superior to the best interviewer. Adding further interviewers will also not increase the expected collective hit rate when interviewers are homogeneous (i.e., their hits are nested), only doing so when interviewers are heterogeneous (i.e., their hits are not nested). The current study shows how these results depend on the number of interviewers, their expertise, and the chance of free riding, and specify the conditions when “less is more”. This analysis suggests that the best policy is to invest resources into improving the quality of the best interviewer rather than distribute these to improve the quality of many interviewers.

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The Effect of High-Performing Mentors on Junior Officer Promotion in the US Army

David Lyle & John Smith
Journal of Labor Economics, April 2014, Pages 229-258

Abstract:
Military assignment mechanisms provide a unique opportunity to estimate the impact of high-performing mentors on job advancement of their subordinates. Combining US Army administrative data with officer evaluation reports, we find that high-performing mentors positively affect early junior officer promotion and that early promotion probabilities rise as the duration of the high-quality mentorship increases. These effects are largest for high-ability protégés. Junior officers who were exposed to multiple high-performing mentors did not experience an additional increase in promotion rates.

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Beginning the workday yet already depleted? Consequences of late-night smartphone use and sleep

Klodiana Lanaj, Russell Johnson & Christopher Barnes
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2014, Pages 11–23

Abstract:
Smartphones have become a prevalent technology as they provide employees with instant access to work-related information and communications outside of the office. Despite these advantages, there may be some costs of smartphone use for work at night. Drawing from ego depletion theory, we examined whether smartphone use depletes employees’ regulatory resources and impairs their engagement at work the following day. Across two studies using experience sampling methodology, we found that smartphone use for work at night increased depletion the next morning via its effects on sleep. Morning depletion in turn diminished daily work engagement. The indirect effects of smartphone use on depletion and engagement the next day were incremental to the effects of other electronic devices (e.g., computer, tablet, and television use). We also found some support that the negative effects of morning depletion on daily work engagement may be buffered by job control, such that depletion impairs work engagement only for employees who experience low job control.

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Experimental evidence for the effects of task repetitiveness on mental strain and objective work performance

Jan Alexander Häusser et al.
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
People frequently have to work in high repetitive jobs. Previous research has focused exclusively on the effects of task repetitiveness on well-being, while neglecting effects on work performance. In the present study, we aimed to fill this void by conducting two workplace simulations with experimental manipulations of task repetitiveness. Participants worked for about 5 hours at either a computer workstation, compiling computer hardware packages according to customer requests (Experiment 1, N = 160), or at an assembly line, piecing together equipment sets for furniture (Experiment 2, N = 213). Both experiments provide consistent evidence that high repetitiveness has a detrimental effect on well-being, whereas work performance increases under conditions of high repetitiveness. On a practical level, our study hence shows that high task repetitiveness is a double-edged sword for both employees and organizations. On a conceptual level, our findings emphasize the necessity to account for both mental strain and work performance when examining the effects of task repetitiveness.

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Social Comparison and Effort Provision: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Alain Cohn et al.
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social comparison has potentially far reaching consequences in many economic domains. We conducted a field experiment to examine how social comparison affects workers' effort provision if their own wage or that of a co-worker is cut. Workers were assigned to groups of two, performed identical individual tasks, and received the same performance-independent hourly wage. Cutting both group members' wages caused a decrease in performance. But when only one group member's wage was cut, the affected workers decreased their performance more than twice as much as when both workers' wages were cut. This finding indicates that social comparison among workers affects effort provision because the only difference between the two wage-cut treatments is the other group member's wage level. In contrast, workers whose wage was not cut but who witnessed their group member's pay being cut displayed no change in performance relative to the baseline treatment in which both workers' wages remained unchanged. This indicates that social comparison exerts asymmetric effects on effort.

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Supercenters, Unionized Labor, and Performance in Food Retail

Richard Volpe
Industrial Relations, April 2014, Pages 325–355

Abstract:
This study examines the impact of unionized labor on supermarket performance, as measured by profit and sales, accounting for the competitive presence of supercenters. The results confirm prior research that shows that supercenters have negative effects on supermarket performance. Unionized supermarkets generally outperform nonunionized supermarkets. However this effect disappears when accounting for supercenters, largely because unionized stores are less likely to compete with supercenters. I find no evidence for a significant union effect on supermarket performance. The deleterious effects of supercenters are stronger for unionized stores. Unionized supermarkets utilize less full-time labor and more labor-saving technology than do nonunionized ones.

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Span of Control and Span of Attention

Oriana Bandiera et al.
Harvard Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Using novel data on CEO time use, we document the relationship between the size and composition of the executive team and the attention of the CEO. We combine information about CEO span of control for a sample of 65 companies with detailed data on how CEOs allocate their time, which we define as their span of attention. CEOs with larger executive teams do not save time for personal use, or to cultivate external constituencies. Instead, CEOs with broader spans of control invest more in a “team” model of interaction. They spend more time internally, specifically in pre-planned meetings that have more participants from different functions. The complementarity between span of control and the team model of interaction is more prevalent in larger firms.

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Working Harder or Hardly Working? Posting Performance Eliminates Social Loafing and Promotes Social Laboring in Workgroups

Robert Lount & Steffanie Wilk
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current paper examines how posting performance — an act that triggers increased social comparisons between workers — influences employees' motivation when working in groups. In the study, posting employee performance moderated the relationship between groupwork and employee motivation. When individual performance was publicly posted in the workplace, employees working in a group performed better than when working alone (i.e., social laboring); however, when individual performance was not posted, employees working in a group performed worse than when working alone (i.e., social loafing). The findings shed light on how social comparisons can have positive implications for employee performance in groups.

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Are Referrals More Productive or More Likeable? Social Networks and the Evaluation of Merit

Uri Shwed & Alexandra Kalev
American Behavioral Scientist, February 2014, Pages 288-308

Abstract:
Scholars and practitioners agree that referrals provide firms with better workers. Economists and sociologists debate whether the underlying mechanism behind such relations is a better match between workers and firms or an advantage conferred by social relations. Building on insights from network theory and cognitive psychology, we offer a new approach to the debate, arguing that network relations can also create evaluative bias. We reexamine the connection between social ties and workers’ performance using unique data on the actual productivity of sales employees and their evaluations in a large global firm. Results suggest that the preexistence of ties between an incoming employee and insiders in the firm creates an evaluative advantage — an advantage that is unrelated to workers’ concrete performance. We discuss the implications of these results for a relational approach to social stratification, organizations and work, as well as social networks.

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Signaling in Secret: Pay for Performance and the Incentive and Sorting Effects of Pay Secrecy

Elena Belogolovsky & Peter Bamberger
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the vast majority of U.S. firms follow a policy of pay secrecy, research provides a limited understanding of its overall utility to organizations. Building on signaling theory, we develop and test a model of the incentive and sorting effects of pay secrecy -- a pay communication policy that limits employees' access to pay-related information and discourages the discussion of pay issues - under varying pay-for-performance (PFP) system characteristics. Results of a multi-round laboratory simulation largely support the proposed moderated-mediation model. They indicate that pay secrecy has an adverse impact on individual task performance that is mediated by PFP perceptions and amplified when pay determination criteria are relative (as opposed to absolute) and attenuated when performance assessment is objective (as opposed to subjective). They also indicate that pay secrecy has a similar adverse effect on participant continuation intentions (mediated through PFP perceptions, amplified when pay determination criteria are relative and attenuated when performance assessment is objective), particularly among high performers. These findings suggest that weak signals associated with a particular managerial practice may become salient when interpreted in the context of other practice-based signals, and that under such conditions, even weak signals may drive negative-oriented inferences having important behavioral implications.

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More Stars Stay, But The Brightest Ones Still Leave: Job Hopping In The Shadow Of Patent Enforcement

Martin Ganco, Rosemarie Ziedonis & Rajshree Agarwal
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Competitive advantage often rests on the skills and expertise of individuals that may leave for rival organizations. Although institutional factors like non-compete regimes shape intra-industry mobility patterns, far less is known about firm-specific reputations built through patent enforcement. This study formally models and empirically tests how a firm's prior litigiousness over patents (i.e., its reputation for IP toughness) influences employee mobility. Based on inventor data from the U.S. semiconductor industry, we find that litigiousness not only diminishes the proclivity of inventive workers to ‘job hop’ to others in the industry, it also shifts the distribution of talent released to the market. The study contributes new insights linking firm-level reputations as tough legal enforcers to the ‘stay versus exit’ calculus of knowledge workers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Outsiders

MLK Day and Racial Attitudes: Liking the Group More but Its Members Less

William Chopik et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Intuition suggests that the Martin Luther King holiday (MLK Day) should improve racial attitudes toward African Americans. However, its influence may depend on whether African Americans are evaluated as a group or individually. In two studies, we assessed racial attitudes either on MLK Day or on a control day. As might be expected, participants had more sympathetic attitudes towards African Americans as a group on MLK Day compared to control days; however, they evaluated individual African American exemplars more negatively on MLK Day compared to control days, who presumably seemed worse by comparison to the eminent political figure.

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Children's racial bias in perceptions of others' pain

Rebecca Dore et al.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research indicates that American adults, both Black and White, assume a priori that Black people feel less pain than do White people (Trawalter, Hoffman, & Waytz, 2012, PLoS One, 7[11], 1–8). The present work investigates when in development this bias emerges. Five-, 7-, and 10-year-olds first rated the amount of pain they themselves would feel in 10 situations such as biting their tongue or hitting their head. They then rated the amount of pain they believed two other children – a Black child and a White child, matched to the child's gender – would feel in response to the same events. We found that by age 7, children show a weak racial bias and that by age 10, they show a strong and reliable racial bias. Consistent with research on adults, this bias was not moderated by race-related attitudes or interracial contact. This finding is important because knowing the age of emergence can inform the timing of interventions to prevent this bias.

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The Effect of Belief in Free Will on Prejudice

Xian Zhao et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
The current research examined the role of the belief in free will on prejudice across Han Chinese and white samples. Belief in free will refers to the extent to which people believe human beings truly have free will. In Study 1, the beliefs of Han Chinese people in free will were measured, and their social distances from the Tibetan Chinese were used as an index of ethnic prejudice. The results showed that the more that Han Chinese endorsed the belief in free will, the less that they showed prejudice against the Tibetan Chinese. In Study 2, the belief of the Han Chinese in free will was manipulated, and their explicit feelings towards the Uyghur Chinese were used as an indicator of ethnic prejudice. The results showed that the participants in the condition of belief in free will reported less prejudice towards Uyghur Chinese compared to their counterparts in the condition of disbelief in free will. In Study 3, white peoples’ belief in free will was manipulated, and their pro-black attitudes were measured as an indirect indicator of racial prejudice. The results showed that, compared to the condition of disbelief in free will, the participants who were primed by a belief in free will reported stronger pro-black attitudes. These three studies suggest that endorsement of the belief in free will can lead to decreased ethnic/racial prejudice compared to denial of the belief in free will. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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The Sins of Their Fathers: When Current Generations Are Held to Account for the Transgressions of Previous Generations

Nobuhiko Goto et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When are current generations held accountable for transgressions committed by previous generations? In two studies, we test the prediction that current generations will only be assigned guilt for past atrocities when victim group members perceive high levels of cultural continuity between historical perpetrators and the current generation within the perpetrator group. Japanese participants were presented with information describing the current generation of Americans as either similar or dissimilar in personality to the Americans who were implicated in dropping the atomic bomb on Japan during World War II. The results of both studies revealed that victim group members assigned more guilt to current Americans when they perceived high (compared to low) outgroup continuity, and they did so relatively independently of the transgressor group's guilt expressions.

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Reach Out and Reduce Prejudice: The Impact of Interpersonal Touch on Intergroup Liking

Charles Seger et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, January/February 2014, Pages 51-58

Abstract:
A brief, casual interpersonal touch results in positive behavior toward the toucher, presumably because touch is a cue to friendship. Research on intergroup contact shows that feelings of friendship toward an individual outgroup member reduce prejudice toward that entire group. Integrating these areas, we examined whether interpersonal touch by an outgroup member could reduce prejudice. In three replications in two studies, interpersonal touch decreased implicit, though not explicit, prejudice toward the toucher's group. Effects of interpersonal touch can extend beyond the toucher to others sharing the toucher's ethnicity, and findings suggest that such effects are automatic and outside conscious awareness.

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The Ontogeny of the Motivation That Underlies In-Group Bias

David Buttelmann & Robert Böhm
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans demonstrate a clear bias toward members of their own group over members of other groups in a variety of ways. It has been argued that the motivation underlying this in-group bias in adults may be favoritism toward one’s own group (in-group love), derogation of the out-group (out-group hate), or both. Although some studies have demonstrated in-group bias among children and infants, nothing is known about the underlying motivations of this bias. Using a novel game, we found that in-group love is already present in children of preschool age and can motivate in-group-biased behavior across childhood. In contrast, out-group hate develops only after a child’s sixth birthday and is a sufficient motivation for in-group-biased behavior from school age onward. These results help to better identify the motivation that underlies in-group-biased behavior in children.

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Beyond Deserving More: Psychological Entitlement Also Predicts Negative Attitudes Toward Personally Relevant Out-Groups

Phyllis Anastasio & Karen Rose
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological entitlement is defined as the “stable and pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others.” Research has shown those high in entitlement tend to behave selfishly, experience greater workplace conflict, and are low on the Big Five trait of Agreeableness. In a series of four studies, we demonstrate that psychological entitlement also predicts negative views of out-groups: It predicted lower liking for a rival student body, prejudice toward lesbians and gay men, negative attitudes toward female equality among male participants, and modern racism toward African Americans. Given that entitlement was unrelated to in-group identification or favoritism, these results suggest that it may be possible for those higher in entitlement to hold more negative views of out-groups without stronger in-group identification. Combined with previous findings, these studies suggest that the role of “others” in entitlement goes beyond merely believing that one deserves more than them.

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The Content of Our Cooperation, Not the Color of Our Skin: An Alliance Detection System Regulates Categorization by Coalition and Race, but Not Sex

David Pietraszewski, Leda Cosmides & John Tooby
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
Humans in all societies form and participate in cooperative alliances. To successfully navigate an alliance-laced world, the human mind needs to detect new coalitions and alliances as they emerge, and predict which of many potential alliance categories are currently organizing an interaction. We propose that evolution has equipped the mind with cognitive machinery that is specialized for performing these functions: an alliance detection system. In this view, racial categories do not exist because skin color is perceptually salient; they are constructed and regulated by the alliance system in environments where race predicts social alliances and divisions. Early tests using adversarial alliances showed that the mind spontaneously detects which individuals are cooperating against a common enemy, implicitly assigning people to rival alliance categories based on patterns of cooperation and competition. But is social antagonism necessary to trigger the categorization of people by alliance—that is, do we cognitively link A and B into an alliance category only because they are jointly in conflict with C and D? We report new studies demonstrating that peaceful cooperation can trigger the detection of new coalitional alliances and make race fade in relevance. Alliances did not need to be marked by team colors or other perceptually salient cues. When race did not predict the ongoing alliance structure, behavioral cues about cooperative activities up-regulated categorization by coalition and down-regulated categorization by race, sometimes eliminating it. Alliance cues that sensitively regulated categorization by coalition and race had no effect on categorization by sex, eliminating many alternative explanations for the results. The results support the hypothesis that categorizing people by their race is a reversible product of a cognitive system specialized for detecting alliance categories and regulating their use. Common enemies are not necessary to erase important social boundaries; peaceful cooperation can have the same effect.

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“I pick you”: The impact of fairness and race on infants’ selection of social partners

Monica Burns & Jessica Sommerville
Frontiers in Psychology, February 2014

Abstract:
By 15 months of age infants are sensitive to violations of fairness norms as assessed via their enhanced visual attention to unfair versus fair outcomes in violation-of-expectation paradigms. The current study investigated whether 15-month-old infants select social partners on the basis of prior fair versus unfair behavior, and whether infants integrate social selections on the basis of fairness with the race of the distributors and recipients involved in the exchange. Experiment 1 demonstrated that after witnessing one adult distribute toys to two recipients fairly (2:2 distribution), and another adult distribute toys to two recipients unfairly (1:3 distribution), Caucasian infants selected fair over unfair distributors when both distributors were Caucasian; however, this preference was not present when the fair actor was Asian and the unfair actor was Caucasian. In Experiment 2, when fairness, the race of the distributor, and the race of the recipients were fully crossed, Caucasian infants’ social selections varied as a function of the race of the recipient advantaged by the unfair distributor. Specifically, infants were more likely to select the fair distributor when the unfair recipient advantaged the Asian (versus the Caucasian) recipient. These findings provide evidence that infants select social partners on the basis of prior fair behavior and that infants also take into account the race of distributors and recipients when making their social selections.

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Exposure to Outgroup Members Criticizing Their Own Group Facilitates Intergroup Openness

Tamar Saguy & Eran Halperin
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
A major barrier to conflict resolution is group members’ tendency to hold on to the ingroup’s narrative of the conflict and reject the outgroup’s perspective. In the current research, we propose that voicing internal criticism to an outgroup crowd can undermine such orientations and foster intergroup openness. Across four experiments, Israeli Jews who were exposed to a Palestinian criticizing Palestinians were more open to the Palestinians’ perspective of the conflict, than those not exposed to the criticism. This effect was obtained when the criticism was related (Study 1) and unrelated (Study 2) to the conflict, and was consistently mediated by increased hope about the future relations between the groups. Study 3 showed that the effect is more pronounced among those who believe that groups can change. Study 4 established that perceptions about the outgroup as open-minded underlie the effect of ingroup criticism on hope, and further demonstrated downstream effects of openness.

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Changing Race Boundary Perception by Reading Narrative Fiction

Dan Johnson, Brandie Huffman & Danny Jasper
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, January/February 2014, Pages 83-90

Abstract:
Participants read a story about a counterstereotypical Muslim woman and were then asked to determine the race of ambiguous-race Arab-Caucasian faces. Compared to a content-matched control condition, participants who read the narrative exhibited lower categorical race bias by making fewer categorical race judgments and perceiving greater genetic overlap between Arabs and Caucasians (Experiment 1). In Experiment 2, participants determined the race of ambiguous-race Arab-Caucasian faces depicting low and moderate anger. Emotion-related perceptual race bias was observed in the control conditions where higher intensity anger expressions led participants to disproportionately categorize faces as Arab. This bias was eliminated in the narrative condition.

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Creating positive out-group attitudes through intergroup couple friendships and implications for compassionate love

Keith Welker et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Building personal relationships with out-group members is an important catalyst of positive intergroup attitudes. In a 2 × 2 experimental design, Caucasian and African American individuals and couples were randomly assigned to interact in either cross-race or same-race individual dyads and couple pairs. Participants completed pretest measures of race attitudes and engaged in a high self-disclosure closeness-induction task with an in-group or out-group race member in pairs of couples or individuals and completed measures of self-disclosure and intergroup attitudes. These results suggest that intergroup contact in the presence of romantic partners may be particularly effective for improving intergroup attitudes. We explore the implications of these results for developing compassionate love toward out-groups.

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The Emergence of “Us and Them” in 80 Lines of Code: Modeling Group Genesis in Homogeneous Populations

Kurt Gray et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological explanations of group genesis often require population heterogeneity in identity or other characteristics, whether deep (e.g., religion) or superficial (e.g., eye color). We used agent-based models to explore group genesis in homogeneous populations and found robust group formation with just two basic principles: reciprocity and transitivity. These emergent groups demonstrated in-group cooperation and out-group defection, even though agents lacked common identity. Group formation increased individual payoffs, and group number and size were robust to varying levels of reciprocity and transitivity. Increasing population size increased group size more than group number, and manipulating baseline trust in a population had predictable effects on group genesis. An interactive demonstration of the parameter space and source code for implementing the model are available online.

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Contextual effect of positive intergroup contact on outgroup prejudice

Oliver Christ et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 March 2014, Pages 3996–4000

Abstract:
We assessed evidence for a contextual effect of positive intergroup contact, whereby the effect of intergroup contact between social contexts (the between-level effect) on outgroup prejudice is greater than the effect of individual-level contact within contexts (the within-level effect). Across seven large-scale surveys (five cross-sectional and two longitudinal), using multilevel analyses, we found a reliable contextual effect. This effect was found in multiple countries, operationalizing context at multiple levels (regions, districts, and neighborhoods), and with and without controlling for a range of demographic and context variables. In four studies (three cross-sectional and one longitudinal) we showed that the association between context-level contact and prejudice was largely mediated by more tolerant norms. In social contexts where positive contact with outgroups was more commonplace, norms supported such positive interactions between members of different groups. Thus, positive contact reduces prejudice on a macrolevel, whereby people are influenced by the behavior of others in their social context, not merely on a microscale, via individuals’ direct experience of positive contact with outgroup members. These findings reinforce the view that contact has a significant role to play in prejudice reduction, and has great policy potential as a means to improve intergroup relations, because it can simultaneously impact large numbers of people.

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Why are all the White (Asian) kids sitting together in the cafeteria? Resegregation and the role of intergroup attributions and norms

Ananthi Al Ramiah et al.
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over three studies, we identified the phenomenon of ethnic ‘resegregation’ and assessed the extent to which it was predicted by attributions and norms, among other variables. Study 1, an observational study, showed extensive resegregation between White and Asian students in the cafeteria of a highly mixed school. In Study 2, we found evidence of attributional correspondence for White students, who attributed both their own and the outgroup's contact avoidance more to a lack of interest than fear of rejection, whereas Asian students attributed the outgroup's contact avoidance more to lack of interest, but preferred neither explanation of their own avoidance. In Study 3, we observed a pattern of attributional correspondence among both White and Asian students who attributed both their own and the outgroup's inaction in a hypothetical intergroup cafeteria scenario more to a lack of interest than fear of rejection. Study 3 also demonstrated longitudinally, for both groups, that own lack of interest in the outgroup reduced likelihood of cafeteria contact, whereas having outgroup friends and perceiving positive ingroup norms promoted it. In addition, positive outgroup norms promoted likelihood of cafeteria contact only for Asian students. We discuss how an understanding of the factors driving resegregation is critical to effectively realizing the potential of desegregated settings.

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Differences in Anticipated Interaction Drive Own Group Biases in Face Memory

John Paul Wilson et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2014

Abstract:
According to much research, the Own Group Bias (OGB) in face memory occurs as a consequence of social categorization – ingroup members are more likely than outgroup members to be encoded as individuals and remembered well. The current work is an examination of the role of anticipated future interaction in the OGB. We conducted two studies showing that anticipated interaction influences group-based face memory. In Study 1, we provided correlational evidence that beliefs about the amount and importance of future interaction one will have with racial outgroup members is associated with the OGB, such that people expecting more interaction with outgroup members show a reduced OGB. In Study 2, we manipulated expectations about future interactions with lab-created groups and observed that high levels of anticipated future interaction with the outgroup eliminated the OGB. Thus, social group categorization drives face memory biases to the extent that group membership affords the expectation of interpersonal interaction.

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Motivation to Control Prejudice Predicts Categorization of Multiracials

Jacqueline Chen et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Multiracial individuals often do not easily fit into existing racial categories. Perceivers may adopt a novel racial category to categorize multiracial targets, but their willingness to do so may depend on their motivations. We investigated whether perceivers’ levels of internal motivation to control prejudice (IMS) and external motivation to control prejudice (EMS) predicted their likelihood of categorizing Black–White multiracial faces as Multiracial. Across four studies, IMS positively predicted perceivers’ categorizations of multiracial faces as Multiracial. The association between IMS and Multiracial categorizations was strongest when faces were most racially ambiguous. Explicit prejudice, implicit prejudice, and interracial contact were ruled out as explanations for the relationship between IMS and Multiracial categorizations. EMS may be negatively associated with the use of the Multiracial category. Therefore, perceivers’ motivations to control prejudice have important implications for racial categorization processes.

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Of Affect and Ambiguity: The Emergence of Preference for Arbitrary Ingroups

Yarrow Dunham & Jason Emory
Journal of Social Issues, March 2014, Pages 81–98

Abstract:
What cognitive and affective processes underlie the all-too-human tendency toward group-based affiliation and exclusion? Using a paradigm in which children are randomly assigned to previously unfamiliar and meaningless “minimal” social groups, we investigate the developmental origins of the tendency to prefer and positively evaluate the actions of social ingroup members. Using a procedure derived from evaluative priming as well as children's verbal descriptions of intergroup encounters, we show that 6-year olds but not 3-year olds manifest robust ingroup preference. These results suggest that the mechanisms underlying the wide range of human social group affiliations undergoes a striking increase in generality between ages 3 and 6, perhaps driven by a shift from an individual-level to a group-level or “sociocentric” orientation.

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Stereotype Associations and Emotion Recognition

Gijsbert Bijlstra et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated whether stereotype associations between specific emotional expressions and social categories underlie stereotypic emotion recognition biases. Across two studies, we replicated previously documented stereotype biases in emotion recognition using both dynamic (Study 1) and static (Study 2) expression displays. Stereotype consistent expressions were more quickly decoded than stereotype inconsistent expression on Moroccan and White male faces. Importantly, we found consistent and novel evidence that participants’ associations between ethnicities and emotions, as measured with a newly developed emotion Implicit Association Test (eIAT), predicted the strength of their ethnicity-based stereotype biases in expression recognition. In both studies, as perceivers’ level of Moroccan-anger and Dutch-sadness associations (compared with the opposite) increased, so did perceivers’ tendency to decode anger more readily on Moroccan faces and sadness on White faces. The observed stereotype effect seemed to be independent of implicit prejudice (Study 2), suggesting dissociable effects of prejudices and stereotypes in expression perception.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fire away

Minimum Wage Effects on Permanent Versus Temporary Minimum Wage Employment

Michele Campolieti, Morley Gunderson & Byron Lee
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of minimum wages on employment using the Master Files of the Canadian Labour Force Survey over the recent period 1997–2008. Particular attention is paid to the differences between permanent and temporary minimum wage workers — an important distinction not made in the existing literature. Our estimates for permanent and temporary minimum wage workers combined are at the lower end of estimates based on Canadian studies estimated over earlier time periods, suggesting that the adverse employment effects are declining over time for reasons discussed. Importantly, the adverse employment effects are substantially larger for permanent compared to temporary minimum wage workers; in fact they fall almost exclusively on permanent minimum wage workers.

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Labor Laws and Innovation

Viral Acharya, Ramin Baghai & Krishnamurthy Subramanian
Journal of Law and Economics, November 2013, Pages 997-1037

Abstract:
When contracts are incomplete, dismissal laws prevent employers from arbitrarily discharging employees and thereby limit employers’ ability to hold up innovating employees after an innovation is successful. Therefore, dismissal laws can enhance employees’ innovative efforts and encourage firms to invest in risky but potentially groundbreaking projects. Other forms of labor laws that do not affect dismissal of employees do not have this bright side. We find support for these predictions in empirical tests that exploit country-level changes in dismissal laws in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany: more stringent dismissal laws foster innovation, particularly in innovation-intensive industries, but other labor laws do not.

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Do Labour Laws Increase Equality at the Expense of Higher Unemployment? The Experience of Six OECD Countries, 1970-2010

Simon Deakin, Jonas Malmberg & Prabirjit Sarkar
University of Cambridge Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Using longitudinal data on labour law in France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the UK and the USA for the four decades after 1970, we estimate the impact of labour regulation on unemployment and equality, using labour’s share of national income as a proxy for the latter. We employ a dynamic panel data analysis which distinguishes between short-run and long-run effects of legal change. We find that worker-protective labour laws in general have no consistent relationship to unemployment but are positively correlated with equality. Laws relating to working time and employee representation are found to have beneficial impacts on both efficiency and distribution.

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Technology Adoption, Turbulence, and the Dynamics of Unemployment

Georg Duernecker
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
Starting in the late 1970s, European unemployment began to increase while US unemployment remained constant. At the same time, capital-embodied technical change began to accelerate, and the United States adopted the new capital much faster than Europe. I argue that these two facts are related. The main idea is that if there is capital-embodied technical change, then the unemployment rate depends critically on how obsolete the installed capital stock is compared to the frontier. In particular, European workers initially worked with relatively obsolete capital, and so they lacked the skills required to work with frontier capital. When they lost their jobs they therefore stayed unemployed for longer than their American counterparts. I find that this channel accounts for about 70% of the discrepancy between the behavior of unemployment rates in Europe and the United States.

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International trade, risk taking and welfare

G. Vannoorenberghe
Journal of International Economics, March 2014, Pages 363–374

Abstract:
This paper shows that the gains from opening up to international trade are smaller when firms do not fully internalize downward risk. I develop a general equilibrium model with two key assumptions. First, when faced with adverse productivity shocks, employers can lay off workers without fully paying the social costs of their layoff decisions, a common feature of many institutions. Second, when opening to international trade, the elasticity of demand perceived by an industry increases. In this setup, I show that international trade induces firms to take more risk and (i) raises the equilibrium unemployment rate, (ii) increases the volatility of sectoral sales and (iii) increases welfare proportionately less than in the absence of the externality. Inducing firms to internalize the costs of layoff (Blanchard and Tirole, 2003) therefore appears even more important in a globalized world.

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Fit-for-Work – or Work Fit for Disabled People? The Role of Changing Job Demands and Control in Incapacity Claims

Ben Baumberg
Journal of Social Policy, April 2014, Pages 289-310

Abstract:
It remains a puzzle as to why incapacity claims rose in many OECD countries when life expectancy was increasing. While potentially due to hidden unemployment and policy failure, this paper tests a further explanation: that work has become more difficult for disabled workers. It focuses on the UK as a ‘most likely’ case, given evidence of intensification and declining control at work. To get a more objective measure of working conditions, the models use average working conditions in particular occupations, and impute this into the British Household Panel Survey. The results show that people in low-control (but not high-demands) jobs are more likely to claim incapacity benefits in the following year, a result that is robust to a number of sensitivity analyses. Deteriorating job control seems to be a part of the explanation for rising incapacity, and strategies to cut the number of incapacity claimants should therefore consider ways to improve job control. Given the challenges in changing job characteristics, however, an equally important implication is that high levels of incapacity should not just be seen as a result of poor policies and a lack of jobs, but also as a result of the changing nature of work.

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Real Options Approach to Inter-Sectoral Migration of U.S. Farm Labor

Gülcan Önel & Barry Goodwin
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The core of the literature on inter-sectoral labor migration is based on net present value models of investment in which individuals are assumed to migrate to take advantage of positive wage differentials. In this article, we argue that a real options approach, taken together with the adjustment costs associated with sectoral relocation, may provide a basis for explaining the migration of farm labor out of the agricultural sector. Given the irreversibility of migration decisions and uncertainty in the economy, potential migrants might choose to postpone migration, even in the face of positive wage differentials. Using annual U.S. employment data from between 1948 and 2009, our results indicate that large elasticities between economic incentives and out-farm migration are observed after a high threshold of wage differentials between farm and off-farm sectors is surpassed.

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Who Works for Startups? The Relation between Firm Age, Employee Age, and Growth

Paige Ouimet & Rebecca Zarutskie
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young firms disproportionately employ and hire young workers. On average, young employees in young firms earn higher wages than young employees in older firms. Young employees disproportionately join young firms with greater innovation potential and that exhibit higher growth, conditional on survival. We argue that the skills, risk tolerance, and joint dynamics of young workers contribute to their disproportionate share of employment in young firms. Moreover, an increase in the supply of young workers is positively related to new firm creation in high-tech industries, supporting a causal link between the supply of young workers and new firm creation.

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The Role of Health in Retirement

Alan Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper constructs and estimates a dynamic model of the evolution of health for those over the age of 50 and then embeds that model of health dynamics in a structural, econometric model of retirement and saving. The health model traces the effects of smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, depression and other proclivities on medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart problems, stroke, psychiatric problems and arthritis. These in turn influence an overall index of health status based on self-reported health, work limitations and ADLs, which is used to classify the population into good, fair, poor or terrible health. Compared to a situation where the entire population is in good health, the current health status of the population reduces the retirement age of the entire population by an average of about one year. While poor health or terrible health have a great impact on the disutility of work and thus on retirement, fair health as opposed to good health has a relatively minor effect. Smoking depresses full-time work effort by up to 3.5 percentage points by those in the early sixties, reducing the average retirement age by four to five months. Effects of trends in health care and health policies on retirement are also analyzed. Including detailed measurement of health dynamics in a retirement model improves understanding of the effects of health on retirement. It does not, however, influence estimates of the marginal effects of economic incentives on retirement.

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The Effect of 21st Century Military Service on Civilian Labor and Educational Outcomes

Wesley Routon
Journal of Labor Research, March 2014, Pages 15-38

Abstract:
I estimate the effect of military service during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on civilian labor and educational outcomes using several empirical methodologies including sibling fixed effects and propensity score matching. Since military occupations and training have changed significantly in the past few decades, these effects may be different than those found in previous studies on veterans of earlier theaters. I find that veteran status increases civilian wages by approximately ten percent for minorities but has little or no effect on whites in this regard. Veterans of all demographic groups are found to be equally employable and equally as satisfied with their civilian occupation as non-veterans. For females and minorities, veteran status substantially increases the likelihood one attempts college. These veterans are found to be more apt to pursue and obtain a two year (associate’s) degree instead of a four year (bachelor’s) degree. Lastly, I find mixed evidence that veteran status increases the likelihood of public sector employment.

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A search for evidence of skill mismatch in the aftermath of the great recession

J. Hotchkiss, M. Pitts & F. Rios-Avila
Applied Economics Letters, Spring 2014, Pages 587-592

Abstract:
Using matched individual-level data from the Current Population Survey, this article identifies a significant trend shift upwards in schooling among prime-age labour force leavers following the 2008–2009 recession. However, further evidence discredits skill mismatch as an explanation for that trend shift.

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Do Workers Profit from the Nonprofit Tax Exemption? The Impact of State Tax Exemption on the Nonprofit Wage Differential of Hospital Workers

Paul Byrne
Public Finance Review, March 2014, Pages 199-221

Abstract:
Previous studies on the impact of nonprofit status on employee compensation view nonprofit status as yielding a fixed benefit attributable to the legal prohibition against distributing profits. However, nonprofit status also exempts firms from many federal, state, and local taxes resulting in the size of economic rents varying by the jurisdiction. This study examines how differences in the implied subsidy of state and local tax exemption impact the nonprofit wage differential in the hospital industry. The study also takes advantage of the fact that a significant proportion of nonprofit hospitals are religiously affiliated to control for worker self-selection into the nonprofit sector. Results indicate that nonprofit hospital workers receive a wage premium; however, the wage premium decreases as state tax burden increases. This finding suggests that the nonprofit wage differential is not accentuated by a hospital’s tax-exempt status but is instead a byproduct of the nondistribution constraint.

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College Graduates, Local Retailers, and Community Belonging in the United States

Samuel Stroope et al.
Sociological Spectrum, March/April 2014, Pages 143-162

Abstract:
How do communities retain their highly educated residents? Do local retailers play a role? This study addresses these questions using confidential U.S. census data on locally-oriented retail employment and county-level public-use files. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to test hypotheses derived from prior research on civic community and migration. The results confirm that state-level local retail employment buffers the extent to which county-level college graduation is associated with county nonmigration. This finding is consistent with civic community theory, suggesting that locally-oriented retailers are a valuable resource for promoting residential stability.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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