TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Big government

Taxation, Corruption, and Growth

Philippe Aghion et al.

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We build an endogenous growth model to analyze the relationships between taxation, corruption, and economic growth. Entrepreneurs lie at the center of the model and face disincentive effects from taxation but acquire positive benefits from public infrastructure. Political corruption governs the efficiency with which tax revenues are translated into infrastructure. The model predicts an inverted-U relationship between taxation and growth, with corruption reducing the optimal taxation level. We find evidence consistent with these predictions and the entrepreneurial channel using data from the Longitudinal Business Database of the US Census Bureau. The marginal effect of taxation for growth for a state at the 10th or 25th percentile of corruption is significantly positive; on the other hand, the marginal effects of taxation for growth for a state at the 90th percentile of corruption are much lower across the board. We make progress towards causality through Granger-style tests and by considering periphery counties where effective tax policy is largely driven by bordering states. Finally, we calibrate our model and find that the calibrated taxation rate of 37% is fairly close to the model's estimated welfare maximizing taxation rate of 42%. Reducing corruption provides the largest potential impact for welfare gain through its impact on the uses of tax revenues.

---------------------

How Income Taxes Should Change during Recessions

Zachary Liscow & William Woolston

Yale Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper offers recommendations for how the design of labor income taxes should change during recessions, based on a simple model of a recessionary economy in which jobs are rationed and some employees value working more than others do. The paper draws two counter-intuitive conclusions for maximizing social welfare. First, subsidize non-employment. This draws marginal workers out of the labor force, creating “space” for those who really need jobs. Second, subsidize employers for hiring, not the employees themselves. The problem during recessions is having too few jobs; subsidizing employers creates more jobs, while subsidizing employees confers benefits on those who already won the job lottery. Tax policy in the recent recession has done a poor job of following these recommendations.

---------------------

Do State Business Climate Indicators Explain Relative Economic Growth at State Borders?

Georgeanne Artz et al.

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study submits 11 business climate indexes to tests of their ability to predict relative economic performance on either side of state borders. Our results show that most business climate indexes have no ability to predict relative economic growth regardless of how growth is measured. Some are negatively correlated with relative growth. Many are better at reporting past growth than at predicting the future. In the end, the most predictive business climate index is the Grant Thornton Index which was discontinued in 1989.

---------------------

The political economy of public investment when population is aging: A panel cointegration analysis

Philipp Jäger & Torsten Schmidt

European Journal of Political Economy, June 2016, Pages 145–158

Abstract:
Time preferences vary by age. Notably, according to experimental studies, senior citizens tend to discount future payoffs more heavily than working-age individuals. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that demographic change has contributed to the cut-back in government-financed investment that many advanced economies experienced over the last four decades. We demonstrate for a panel of 19 OECD countries between 1971 and 2007 that the share of elderly people and public investment rates are cointegrated, indicating a long-run relationship between them. Estimating this cointegration relationship via dynamic OLS (DOLS) we find a negative and significant effect of population aging on public investment. Moreover, the estimation of an error correction model reveals long-run Granger causality running exclusively from aging to investment. Our results are robust to the inclusion of additional control variables typically considered in the literature on the determinants of public investment.

---------------------

Fiscal Sentiment and the Weak Recovery from the Great Recession: A Quantitative Exploration

Finn Kydland & Carlos Zarazaga

Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The US economy hasn't recovered from the Great Recession as strongly as predicted by the neoclassical growth model, even after incorporating a variety of frictions to it. The paper explores quantitatively the hypothesis that the counterfactual predictions are mostly the result of ignoring the expectations of higher taxes prompted by unprecedented fiscal challenges faced by that country in peacetime. The main finding is that this fiscal sentiment hypothesis can account for a substantial fraction of the decline in investment and labor input in the aftermath of the Great Recession, provided the perceived higher taxes fall almost exclusively on capital income.

---------------------

Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach to Heterogeneous Firms

Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato & Owen Zidar

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper estimates the incidence of state corporate taxes on the welfare of workers, landowners, and firm owners using variation in state corporate tax rates and apportionment rules. We develop a spatial equilibrium model with imperfectly mobile firms and workers. Firm owners may earn profits and be inframarginal in their location choices due to differences in location-specific productivities. We use the reduced-form effects of tax changes to identify and estimate incidence as well as the structural parameters governing these impacts. In contrast to standard open economy models, firm owners bear roughly 40 percent of the incidence, while workers and landowners bear 30-35 percent and 25-30 percent, respectively.

---------------------

Inattention to Deferred Increases in Tax Bases: How Michigan Homebuyers are Paying for Assessment Limits

Sebastien Bradley

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Michigan's implementation of assessment limits gives rise to wide variation in taxable basis across comparable homes. Exploiting the fact that the resulting differences in property tax liability are temporarily inherited by new homebuyers, I estimate the degree of capitalization of these largely-idiosyncratic tax differences to evaluate whether homebuyers understand the tax implications of their home purchases. Consistent with anecdotal evidence — but in stark contrast to the traditional view of rational consumer behavior — I find that homebuyers are woefully inattentive to the temporary nature of their initial tax obligations, resulting in an overpayment of nearly $10,000 for the average home.

---------------------

Decentralized Governance, Expenditure Composition, and Preferences for Public Goods

Javier Arze del Granado, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Robert McNab

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The literature on decentralization has long asserted that decentralized governance increases public sector allocative efficiency. We offer an indirect test of this hypothesis by examining how decentralized governance affects revealed preferences for public goods. Specifically, we examine the relationship between expenditure decentralization and the functional composition of public expenditures. We hypothesize that higher levels of expenditure decentralization induce agents to demand increased production of publicly provided private goods. We test this hypothesis using an unbalanced panel data set of forty-two developed and developing countries over twenty-two years. Using system Generalized Methods of Moments and Quasi-Maximum Likelihood estimators, we find that expenditure decentralization positively, significantly, and robustly influences the share of education expenditures in consolidated government budgets. We also find evidence to suggest that expenditure decentralization positively influences the share of health expenditures in consolidated government budgets. Decentralized governance appears to alter the composition of public expenditures toward publicly provided private goods.

---------------------

The impacts of fiscal policy shocks on the US housing market

Isabel Ruiz & Carlos Vargas-Silva

Empirical Economics, May 2016, Pages 777-800

Abstract:
We explore empirically the impact of fiscal policy shocks on the US housing market using a vector autoregressive model. Identification is achieved through sign restrictions. Accounting for announcement effects, a revenue shock has a short-lived positive impact on house prices and indicators of housing activity. The impact of a spending shock on housing activity is negative and more persistent, but there is no substantial response from house prices. A balanced budget spending expansion (i.e. 1 % increases in spending and revenue) has a short-lived negative impact on housing activity and a very persistent negative impact on house prices. The paper presents results from other combinations of the two shocks. Results are generally robust to only using data for the post-financial liberalization period (i.e. since 1983).

---------------------

Performance Management and Deficit Adjustment in U.S. Cities: An Exploratory Study

Benedict Jimenez

International Journal of Public Administration, forthcoming

Abstract:
Performance management or PM has been promoted as a tool to transform government. Claims that PM will enable governments to “do more with less,” “increase efficiency,” provide “value for money,” and make “rational budget decisions” abound. Has PM helped city governments in the United States cope with the effects of the 2007–2009 Great Recession? Theory suggests that PM can provide the informational and analytical foundation necessary for city officials to implement comprehensive but conflictive budget-cutting and revenue-raising strategies. By facilitating deep expenditure cuts and tax increases, PM can indirectly influence budget deficits. Using data from a national survey of city governments and multiyear audited financial reports, the empirical analysis shows that PM cities favored what are essentially decremental responses to fiscal crises that lead to marginal changes in revenues and expenditures. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence that PM influences the size and change in budget shortfalls.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Minority representative

Whitened Résumés: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market

Sonia Kang et al.

Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using interviews, a laboratory experiment, and a résumé audit study, we examine racial minorities’ attempts to avoid anticipated discrimination in labor markets by concealing or downplaying racial cues in job applications, a practice known as “résumé whitening.” Interviews with racial minority university students reveal that while some minority job seekers reject this practice, others view it as essential and use a variety of whitening techniques. Building on the qualitative findings, we conduct a lab study to examine how racial minority job seekers change their résumés in response to different job postings. Results show that when targeting an employer that presents itself as valuing diversity, minority job applicants engage in relatively little résumé whitening and thus submit more racially transparent résumés. Yet our audit study of how employers respond to whitened and unwhitened résumés shows that organizational diversity statements are not actually associated with reduced discrimination against unwhitened résumés. Taken together, these findings suggest a paradox: minorities may be particularly likely to experience disadvantage when they apply to ostensibly pro-diversity employers. These findings illuminate the role of racial concealment and transparency in modern labor markets and point to an important interplay between the self-presentation of employers and the self-presentation of job seekers in shaping economic inequality.

---------------------

Can Tracking Raise the Test Scores of High-Ability Minority Students?

David Card & Laura Giuliano

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We study the impacts of a tracking program in a large urban school district that establishes separate “gifted/high achiever” (GHA) classrooms for fourth and fifth graders whenever there is at least one gifted student in a school-wide cohort. Since most schools have only a handful of gifted students per cohort, the majority of seats are filled by high achievers ranked by their scores in the previous year’s statewide tests. We use a rank-based regression discontinuity design, together with between-cohort comparisons of students at schools with small numbers of gifted children per cohort, to evaluate the effects of the tracking program. We find that participation in a GHA class leads to significant achievement gains for non-gifted participants, concentrated among black and Hispanic students, who gain 0.5 standard deviation units in fourth grade reading and math scores, with persistent effects to at least sixth grade. Importantly, we find no evidence of spillovers on non-participants. We also investigate a variety of channels that can explain these effects, including teacher quality and peer effects, but conclude that these features explain only a small fraction (10%) of the test score gains of minority participants in GHA classes. Instead we attribute the effects to a combination of factors like teacher expectations and negative peer pressure that lead high-ability minority students to under-perform in regular classes but are reduced in a GHA classroom environment.

---------------------

Credit Reports as Résumés: The Incidence of Pre-Employment Credit Screening

Alexander Wickman Bartik & Scott Nelson

MIT Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We study recent bans on employers' use of credit reports to screen job applicants – a practice that has been popular among employers, but controversial for its perceived disparate impact on racial minorities. Exploiting geographic, temporal, and job-level variation in which workers are covered by these bans, we analyze these bans' effects in two datasets: the panel dimension of the Current Population Survey (CPS); and data aggregated from state unemployment insurance records. We find that the bans reduced job-finding rates for blacks by 7 to 16 log points, and increased subsequent separation rates for black new hires by 3 percentage points, arguably contrary to the bans' intended effects. Results for Hispanics and whites are less conclusive. We interpret these findings in a statistical discrimination model in which credit report data, more so for blacks than for other groups, send a high-precision signal relative to the precision of employers' priors.

---------------------

Blaming the Customer: The Effect of Cast Racial Diversity on the Performance of Hollywood Films

Venkat Kuppuswamy & Peter Younkin

University of North Carolina Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Is employment discrimination driven by consumer bias rather than employer bias? One explanation for the persistence of employment discrimination, despite considerable legal and social pressure, is that unbiased employers are penalized by biased customers. An equitable employer is therefore a less profitable one, and apparent employer bias is more accurately described as reflected consumer antipathy. The empirical challenge of relating consumer behavior to employee composition has limited prior tests of this hypothesis and focused attention largely on employer behavior. We provide a rare direct test of the claim that consumers change their spending patterns in relation to employee composition by evaluating the commercial and artistic performance of all films released theatrically within the United States between 2011-2015 as a function of the racial diversity of their cast. We find that employing black actors for less prominent roles has no effect on either outcome. However, we find that films employing multiple black actors in leading roles achieve significantly higher domestic box-office revenues (149% higher) than films with no black actors. Moreover, this higher commercial performance domestically does not occur at the expense of artistic success or international box-office appeal. Specifically, we find no evidence of a penalty with respect to Academy Award nominations or international film revenues for films with more black actors. These results indicate that the persistent underemployment of minorities in Hollywood is not the product of consumer discrimination.

---------------------

Successful black immigrants narrow black-white achievement gaps

Alison Rauh

Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Foreign-born blacks have become a large part of the American black population. Compared to native-born blacks, they are more likely to be high-earning, employed, educated, and not institutionalized. The systematic outcome differences have masked the widening of black-white achievement gaps.

---------------------

Being smart or getting smarter: Implicit theory of intelligence moderates stereotype threat and stereotype lift effects

Laura Froehlich et al.

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research explores implicit theory of intelligence (TOI) as a moderator of stereotype activation effects on test performance for members of negatively stereotyped and of favourably stereotyped groups. In Germany, Turkish-origin migrants are stereotyped as low in verbal ability. We predicted that on a test diagnostic of verbal intelligence, endorsement of an entity TOI predicts stereotype threat effects for Turkish-origin students and stereotype lift effects for German students. This effect could account for some of the performance gap between immigrants and host society members after stereotype activation. Study 1 (N = 107) established structural equivalence of implicit theories across the ethnic groups. In two experimental studies (Study 2: N = 182, Study 3: N = 190), we tested the moderating effect of TOI in a 2 (stereotype activation: diagnostic vs. non-diagnostic test) × 2 (ethnicity: German vs. Turkish migration background) experimental design. The results showed that when the test was described as diagnostic of verbal intelligence, higher entity theory endorsement predicted stereotype threat effects for Turkish-origin students (Study 2 and Study 3) and stereotype lift effects for German students (Study 3). The results are discussed in terms of practical implications for educational settings and theoretical implications for processes underlying stereotype activation effects.

---------------------

Context Moderates Affirmation Effects on the Ethnic Achievement Gap

John Protzko & Joshua Aronson

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We attempted to replicate a self-affirmation intervention that produced a 40% reduction in the academic achievement gap among at-risk students. The intervention was designed as a protection against stereotype threat, which creates stress and suppresses the performance, engagement, and learning of students stereotyped as intellectually inferior. In previous research, Black and Hispanic students who engaged in a values-affirmation exercise significantly improved their academic performance over the course of a school semester. We attempted to replicate these salutary effects in both an inner-city school and a more wealthy suburban school — contexts not tested in the original research. Despite employing the same materials, we found no effect of the affirmation on academic performance. We discuss these results in terms of the possibility that negatively stereotyped students benefit most from self-affirmations in environments where their numbers portray them neither as clearly “majority” nor minority.

---------------------

Racial disparities in education debt burden among low- and moderate-income households

Michal Grinstein-Weiss et al.

Children and Youth Services Review, June 2016, Pages 166–174

Abstract:
Evidence now demonstrates significant variation in education-debt levels by race and household income, with Black and lower-income students accumulating higher levels of education debt compared to their White and upper-income peers. This study is one of the first to evaluate whether racial disparities in education debt extend to a low- and moderate-income (LMI) population. With data from a national sample of LMI households in the Refund to Savings study (N = 17.684), we employ a two-part modeling approach with a matching-estimator robustness check to estimate racial and ethnic variation in education debt. We find that significant disparities in education debt remain: the odds of student loan indebtedness are twice as high for LMI Black students as for White counterparts. In all, LMI Black students are estimated to incur $7721 more in education debt than LMI Whites, with disparities persisting after graduation. These findings suggest that LMI Black and White students, who face similar liquidity constraints and borrowing risks, are at unequal risk of accumulating education debt. We conclude by discussing the implications of this research for asset-building policies and student loan repayment efforts, both of which offer promise in bolstering college affordability and easing the burden of education debt.

---------------------

Social Dominance Orientation, Nonnative Accents, and Hiring Recommendations

Karolina Hansen & John Dovidio

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Discrimination against nonnative speakers is widespread and largely socially acceptable. Nonnative speakers are evaluated negatively because accent is a sign that they belong to an outgroup and because understanding their speech requires unusual effort from listeners. The present research investigated intergroup bias, based on stronger support for hierarchical relations between groups (social dominance orientation [SDO]), as a predictor of hiring recommendations of nonnative speakers.

Method: In an online experiment using an adaptation of the thin-slices methodology, 65 U.S. adults (54% women; 80% White; Mage = 35.91, range = 18–67) heard a recording of a job applicant speaking with an Asian (Mandarin Chinese) or a Latino (Spanish) accent. Participants indicated how likely they would be to recommend hiring the speaker, answered questions about the text, and indicated how difficult it was to understand the applicant.

Results: Independent of objective comprehension, participants high in SDO reported that it was more difficult to understand a Latino speaker than an Asian speaker. SDO predicted hiring recommendations of the speakers, but this relationship was mediated by the perception that nonnative speakers were difficult to understand. This effect was stronger for speakers from lower status groups (Latinos relative to Asians) and was not related to objective comprehension.

Conclusions: These findings suggest a cycle of prejudice toward nonnative speakers: Not only do perceptions of difficulty in understanding cause prejudice toward them, but also prejudice toward low-status groups can lead to perceived difficulty in understanding members of these groups.

---------------------

Young, Black, and (Still) in the Red: Parental Wealth, Race, and Student Loan Debt

Fenaba Addo, Jason Houle & Daniel Simon

Race and Social Problems, March 2016, Pages 64-76

Abstract:
Taking out student loans to assist with the costs of postsecondary schooling in the US has become the norm in recent decades. The debt burden young adults acquire during the higher education process, however, is increasingly stratified with black young adults holding greater debt burden than whites. Using data from the NLSY 1997 cohort, we examine racial differences in student loan debt acquisition and parental net wealth as a predictor contributing to this growing divide. We have four main results. First, confirming prior research, black young adults have substantially more debt than their white counterparts. Second, we find that this difference is partially explained by differences in wealth, family background, postsecondary educational differences, and family contributions to college. Third, young adults’ net worth explain a portion of the black–white disparity in debt, suggesting that both differences in accumulation of debt and ability to repay debt in young adulthood explain racial disparities in debt. Fourth, the black–white disparity in debt is greatest at the highest levels of parents’ net worth. Our findings show that while social and economic experiences can help explain racial disparities in debt, the situation is more precarious for black youth, who are not protected by their parents’ wealth. This suggests that the increasing costs of higher education and corresponding rise in student loan debt are creating a new form of stratification for recent cohorts of young adults, and that student loan debt may be a new mechanism by which racial economic disparities are inherited across generations.

---------------------

Racial/Ethnic Pay Disparities among Registered Nurses (RNs) in U.S. Hospitals: An Econometric Regression Decomposition

Jean Moore & Tracey Continelli

Health Services Research, April 2016, Pages 511–529

Data Sources/Study Setting: The National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, 2008, which is representative at both the state and national level.

Study Design: Cross-sectional data were analyzed using multivariate regression and regression decomposition. Differences between groups were decomposed into differences in the possession of characteristics and differences in the value of the same characteristic between different groups, the latter being a commonly used measure of wage discrimination.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: As the majority of minority hospital RNs are employed within the most densely populated (central) counties of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), only hospital RNs employed in the central counties of MSAs were selected.

Principal Findings: Regression decomposition found that black and Hispanic RNs earned less than whites and Asians, while Asian RNs earned more than white RNs. The majority of pay variation between white RNs, versus Asian, black, or Hispanic RNs was due to unexplained differences in the value of the same characteristic between groups.

Conclusions: Differences in earnings between underrepresented and overrepresented hospital RNs is suggestive of discrimination.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tested

Brief intervention to encourage empathic discipline cuts suspension rates in half among adolescents

Jason Okonofua, David Paunesku & Gregory Walton

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Growing suspension rates predict major negative life outcomes, including adult incarceration and unemployment. Experiment 1 tested whether teachers (n = 39) could be encouraged to adopt an empathic rather than punitive mindset about discipline — to value students’ perspectives and sustain positive relationships while encouraging better behavior. Experiment 2 tested whether an empathic response to misbehavior would sustain students’ (n = 302) respect for teachers and motivation to behave well in class. These hypotheses were confirmed. Finally, a randomized field experiment tested a brief, online intervention to encourage teachers to adopt an empathic mindset about discipline. Evaluated at five middle schools in three districts (Nteachers = 31; Nstudents = 1,682), this intervention halved year-long student suspension rates from 9.6% to 4.8%. It also bolstered respect the most at-risk students, previously suspended students, perceived from teachers. Teachers’ mindsets about discipline directly affect the quality of teacher–student relationships and student suspensions and, moreover, can be changed through scalable intervention.

---------------------

Academics vs. Athletics: Career Concerns for NCAA Division I Coaches

Christopher Avery, Brian Cadman & Gavin Cassar

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We analyze the promotions and firings of NCAA Division 1 college basketball and college football coaches to assess whether these coaches are rewarded for the academic performance of their players in promotion and retention decisions. We find that an increase in Academic Progress Rate, as measured by the NCAA, for a college team in either sport significantly reduces the probability that the coach is fired at the end of the season. We find little to no evidence that an increase in the Academic Progress Rate enhances the chances of advancement (in the form of outside job offers) for these coaches.

---------------------

Labor Market Returns to the GED Using Regression Discontinuity Analysis

Christopher Jepsen, Peter Mueser & Kenneth Troske

Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate returns to General Educational Development (GED) certification for high school dropouts using state administrative data. We apply a fuzzy regression discontinuity method to account for test takers retaking the test. For women we find that GED certification has no statistically significant effect on either employment or earnings. For men we find a significant increase in earnings in the second year after taking the test but no impact in subsequent years. GED certification increases postsecondary school enrollment by 4–8 percentage points. Our results differ from regression discontinuity approaches that fail to account for test retaking.

---------------------

Explaining the Evolution of Education Attainment in the US

Rui Castro & Daniele Coen-Pirani

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the evolution of educational attainment of the 1932–1972 cohorts using a human capital investment model with heterogeneous learning ability. Inter-cohort variation in schooling is driven by changes in skill prices, tuition, and education quality over time, and average learning ability across cohorts. Under static expectations the model accounts for the main empirical patterns. Rising skill prices for college explain the rapid increase in college graduation till the 1948 cohort. The decline in average learning ability, calibrated to match the evolution of test scores, explains half of the stagnation in college graduation between the 1948 and 1972 cohorts.

---------------------

Student Loans or Marriage? A Look at the Highly Educated

Dora Gicheva

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
I examine the relationship between student loans and marital status among individuals considering or pursuing graduate management education. Using data from a panel survey of registrants for the Graduate Management Admission Test, I show that the amount of accumulated student debt is negatively related to the probability of first marriage. The strength of the relationship diminishes with age, more so for women than for men. At the median age for the sample (24 years at test registration), the estimated decrease over a seven-year period is between 3 and 4 percentage points per $10,000 in student debt for men and a percentage point lower in absolute value for women. I use information on reported marriage expectations to show evidence that education expenditures and the amount of debt are correlated with anticipated marital status, but borrowers may not have perfect foresight about the long-term consequences of accumulating student debt.

---------------------

The 'Pupil' Factory: Specialization and the Production of Human Capital in Schools

Roland Fryer

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, I conducted a randomized field experiment in fifty traditional public elementary schools in Houston, Texas designed to test the potential productivity benefits of teacher specialization in schools. Treatment schools altered their schedules to have teachers specialize in a subset of subjects in which they have demonstrated relative strength (based on value-add measures and principal observations). The average impact of teacher specialization on student achievement is -0.042 standard deviations in math and -0.034 standard deviations in reading, per year. Students enrolled in special education and those with younger teachers demonstrated marked negative results. I argue that the results are consistent with a model in which the benefits of specialization driven by sorting teachers into a subset of subjects based on comparative advantage is outweighed by inefficient pedagogy due to having fewer interactions with each student. Consistent with this, specialized teachers report providing less attention to individual students (relative to non-specialized teachers), though other mechanisms are possible.

---------------------

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? Investigating Rates and Patterns of Financial Aid Renewal Among College Freshmen

Kelli Bird & Benjamin Castleman

Research in Higher Education, June 2016, Pages 395-422

Abstract:
College affordability continues to be a top concern among prospective students, their families, and policy makers. Prior work has demonstrated that a significant share of prospective students forgo financial aid because they did not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); recent federal policy efforts have focused on supporting students and their families to successfully file the FAFSA. Despite the fact that students must refile the FAFSA every year to maintain their aid eligibility, there are many fewer efforts to help college students renew their financial aid each year. While prior research has documented the positive effect of financial aid on persistence, we are not aware of previous studies that have documented the rate at which freshman year financial aid recipients successfully refile the FAFSA, particularly students who are in good academic standing and appear well-poised to succeed in college. The goal of our paper is to address this gap in the literature by documenting the rates and patterns of FAFSA renewal. Using the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, we find that roughly 16 % of freshmen Pell Grant recipients in good academic standing do not refile a FAFSA for their sophomore year. Even among Pell Grant recipients in good academic standing who return for sophomore year, nearly 10 % do not refile a FAFSA. Consequently, we estimate that these non-refilers are forfeiting $3,550 in federal student aid that they would have received upon successful FAFSA refiling. Failure to refile a FAFSA is strongly associated with students dropping out later in college and not earning a degree within six years. These results suggest that interventions designed to increase FAFSA refiling may be an effective way to improve college persistence for low-income students.

---------------------

Freshman Year Financial Aid Nudges: An Experiment to Increase FAFSA Renewal and College Persistence

Benjamin Castleman & Lindsay Page

Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2016, Pages 389-415

Abstract:
In this paper we investigate, through a randomized controlled trial design, the impact of a personalized text messaging intervention designed to encourage college freshmen to refile their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and maintain their financial aid for sophomore year. The intervention produced large and positive effects among freshmen at community colleges where text recipients were almost 14 percentage points more likely to remain continuously enrolled through the Spring of sophomore year. By contrast, the intervention did not improve sophomore year persistence among freshmen at four-year institutions among whom the rate of persistence was already high.

---------------------

Do School Report Cards Produce Accountability Through the Ballot Box?

Vladimir Kogan, Stéphane Lavertu & Zachary Peskowitz

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public education has been transformed by the widespread adoption of accountability systems that involve the dissemination of school district performance information. Using data from Ohio, we examine if elections serve as one channel through which these accountability systems might lead to improvements in educational quality. We find little evidence that poor performance on widely disseminated state and federal indicators has an impact on school board turnover, the vote share of sitting school board members, or superintendent tenure, suggesting that the dissemination of district performance information puts little (if any) electoral pressure on elected officials to improve student achievement.

---------------------

Are All Schools Created Equal? Learning Environments in Small and Large Public High Schools in New York City

Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel & Matthew Wiswall

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the past two decades, high school reform has been characterized by a belief that “smaller is better.” Much of the expected academic benefit from attending small schools has been credited to their better learning environments. There is little empirical support for this claim, however, and the existing research fails to provide causal evidence. Moreover, recent studies in New York City have shown that students attending newly created small schools do better academically relative to students attending both large and older established small schools. Are these differences in academic outcomes also mirrored by differences in learning environments? In this paper, we address this question by exploring the impact of attending large compared to small high schools on students’ learning environments, considering the differences between small high schools formed in two different eras with different missions and resources. We use a unique data set of school and student-level data from New York City public high school students entering 9th grade in 2008-09 and 2009-10 to examine students’ attitudes about school learning environments along three dimensions: interpersonal relationships, academic expectations and support, and social behavior and safety. While OLS results show that students attending small schools (new and old) perceive better learning environments, instrumenting for selection into these schools challenges those results. In general, it is not clear that small schools provide better learning environments than large schools. Our results challenge the conventional wisdom that the higher academic performance of students in small schools is driven by a better learning environment.

---------------------

The Causes and Consequences of Test Score Manipulation: Evidence from the New York Regents Examinations

Thomas Dee et al.

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
In this paper, we show that the design and decentralized, school-based scoring of New York’s high school exit exams – the Regents Examinations – led to the systematic manipulation of test sores just below important proficiency cutoffs. Our estimates suggest that teachers inflate approximately 40 percent of test scores near the proficiency cutoffs. Teachers are more likely to inflate the scores of high-achieving students on the margin, but low-achieving students benefit more from manipulation in aggregate due to the greater density of these students near the proficiency cutoffs. Exploiting a series of reforms that eliminated score manipulation, we find that inflating a student’s score to fall just above a cutoff increases his or her probability of graduating from high school by 27 percent. These results have important implications for educational attainment of marginal high school graduates. For example, we estimate that the black-white graduation gap is about 5 percent larger in the absence of test score manipulation.

---------------------

What Does It Mean to Be Ranked a “High” or “Low” Value-Added Teacher? Observing Differences in Instructional Quality Across Districts

David Blazar, Erica Litke & Johanna Barmore

American Educational Research Journal, April 2016, Pages 324-359

Abstract:
Education agencies are evaluating teachers using student achievement data. However, very little is known about the comparability of test-based or “value-added” metrics across districts and the extent to which they capture variability in classroom practices. Drawing on data from four urban districts, we found that teachers were categorized differently when compared within versus across districts. In addition, analyses of scores from two observation instruments, as well as qualitative viewing of lesson videos, identified stark differences in instructional practices across districts among teachers who received similar within-district value-added rankings. These patterns were not explained by observable background characteristics of teachers, suggesting that factors beyond labor market sorting likely played a key role.

---------------------

How Schools Structure Opportunity: The Role of Curriculum and Placement in Math Attainment

Will Tyson & Josipa Roksa

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, June 2016, Pages 124–135

Abstract:
Most of the research on math attainment focuses on whether students begin the 9th grade in algebra 1, geometry, or algebra 2, and how that affects their subsequent progression through math sequences. While providing valuable insights, this focus on vertical differentiation among math courses fails to consider the horizontal differentiation existing at the same math level (e.g., remedial, general, and honors version of the same course). This study uses statewide longitudinal administrative transcript data to examine the consequences of horizontal differentiation in algebra 1, the most common ninth grade math course. Analyses reveal that many students were placed into remedial or honors algebra 1 despite not having corresponding low or high eighth grade math standardized test scores. The consequences of placement into less rigorous math courses were very difficult to overcome, even accounting for eighth grade test scores and ninth grade achievement. In addition, school algebra 1 curriculum was associated with attainment beyond students’ own course placement. These findings offer important insights into how school curricula structure opportunities, with implications for both theory and practice.

---------------------

Faculty Preferences over Unionization: Evidence from Open Letters at Two Research Universities

Joel Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
What determines employee preferences for unionizing their workplaces? A substantial literature addresses this question with surveys on worker attitudes and pay. Unionization drives at the Universities of Minnesota and Washington have given rise to open letters of support or opposition from over 1,000 faculty at Washington and support from over 200 at Minnesota. Combining these expressions with publicly available data on salary, job titles, department affiliation, research productivity, teaching success, and political contributions from over 5,000 faculty, we provide new estimates of the determinants of faculty preferences for unionization at research universities. We find that faculty with higher pay and greater research productivity are less supportive of unionization, even after controlling for job title and department. Attitudes matter as well: after accounting for pay and productivity, faculty in fields documented elsewhere to have more politically liberal participants are more likely to support unionization.

---------------------

Child Temperamental Regulation and Classroom Quality in Head Start: Considering the Role of Cumulative Economic Risk

Kathleen Moritz Rudasill et al.

Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is growing recognition that cumulative economic risk places children at higher risk for depressed academic competencies (Crosnoe & Cooper, 2010; NCCP, 2008; Sameroff, 2000). Yet, children’s temperamental regulation and the quality of the early childhood classroom environment have been associated with better academic skills. This study is an examination of prekindergarten classroom quality (instructional support, emotional support, organization) as a moderator between temperamental regulation and early math and literacy skills for children at varying levels of cumulative economic risk. The sample includes children enrolled in Head Start programs drawn from the FACES 2009 study. Three main findings emerged. First, for lower and highest risk children, more instructional support was associated with better math performance when children had high levels of temperamental regulation but poorer performance when children had low temperamental regulation. Second, among highest risk children, low instructional support was protective for math performance for children with low temperamental regulation and detrimental for those with high temperamental regulation. Third, for highest risk children, high classroom organization predicted better literacy scores for those with high temperamental regulation. Children with low temperamental regulation were expected to perform about the same, regardless of the level of classroom organization. Implications are discussed.

---------------------

A Bargain Half Fulfilled: Teacher Autonomy and Accountability in Traditional Public Schools and Public Charter Schools

Zachary Oberfield

American Educational Research Journal, April 2016, Pages 296-323

Abstract:
Public charter schools (PCS) are thought to succeed because they have greater autonomy and are held more accountable than traditional public schools (TPS). Though teachers are central to this expectation, there is little evidence about whether teachers in PCS enjoy more autonomy and are held more accountable than teachers in TPS. Also, it is unclear what the franchising of the PCS sector — the growth of schools run by educational management organizations (EMOs) — means for teacher autonomy and accountability. Using nationally representative survey data, this article compares teachers’ perceptions of autonomy and accountability in PCS and TPS and in EMO-run and non-EMO-run PCS. It shows that teachers in PCS reported greater autonomy than teachers in TPS; similarly, teachers in non-EMO-run schools indicated greater autonomy than teachers in EMO-run schools. However, there were no differences in perceptions of accountability across these different school types.

---------------------

The Effect of Performance-Based Incentives on Educational Achievement: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Steven Levitt, John List & Sally Sadoff

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We test the effect of performance-based incentives on educational achievement in a low-performing school district using a randomized field experiment. High school freshmen were provided monthly financial incentives for meeting an achievement standard based on multiple measures of performance including attendance, behavior, grades and standardized test scores. Within the design, we compare the effectiveness of varying the recipient of the reward (students or parents) and the incentive structure (fixed rate or lottery). While the overall effects of the incentives are modest, the program has a large and significant impact among students on the threshold of meeting the achievement standard. These students continue to outperform their control group peers a year after the financial incentives end. However, the program effects fade in longer term follow up, highlighting the importance of longer term tracking of incentive programs.

---------------------

Political Determinants of Philanthropic Funding for Urban Schools

Jeffrey Snyder & Sarah Reckhow

Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
K-12 education philanthropy has grown rapidly since 2000, with major funders like the Gates and Walton foundations expanding their grant portfolios. We examine whether and to what degree place-based characteristics help explain funding for local school districts. Using an original database of grants from the 15 largest K-12 education foundations to the largest school districts in 2000, 2005, and 2010, we present three main findings. First, the set of districts receiving the most funds varies over time. Second, foundations tended to give to sites with capacity for reform in 2000; yet by 2010, funders increasingly targeted places embracing philanthropic priorities, including charter schools and Teach for America. Finally, major foundations increasingly gave grants to same districts as other major funders — producing a convergent pattern of funding. These rapid and dramatic changes introduce questions about how foundations and districts interact and whether these funds will produce sustained reforms.

---------------------

Inconvenient Truth? Do Collective Bargaining Agreements Help Explain the Mobility of Teachers within School Districts?

Dan Goldhaber, Lesley Lavery & Roddy Theobald

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We utilize detailed teacher-level longitudinal data from Washington State to investigate patterns of teacher mobility in districts with different collective bargaining agreement (CBA) transfer provisions. Specifically, we estimate the log odds that teachers of varying experience and effectiveness levels transfer out of their schools to other schools in the district in Washington kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public schools. We find little consistent evidence relating voluntary transfer provisions in CBAs to patterns in teacher mobility, but do find evidence that patterns in within-district mobility by teacher experience and effectiveness vary between districts that do not use seniority in involuntary transfer decisions and those that use seniority as a tiebreaker or the only factor in these moves. In models that consider teacher experience, the interaction between teacher experience and school disadvantage in teacher transfer decisions is more extreme in districts with strong involuntary seniority transfer protections; novice teachers are even more likely to stay in disadvantaged schools, and veteran teachers are even more likely to leave disadvantaged schools. On the other hand, models that consider value-added measures of teacher effectiveness suggest that more effective teachers are less likely to leave disadvantaged schools in districts that do use seniority in involuntary transfer decisions, that is, seniority transfer provisions could actually make the distribution of output-based measures of quality more equitable. Taken together, these results suggest that seniority transfer provisions may have differential impacts on the distributions of teacher experience and effectiveness.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Teamwork

Echoes of our upbringing: How growing up wealthy or poor relates to narcissism, leader behavior, and leader effectiveness

Sean Martin, Stéphane Côté & Todd Woodruff

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate how parental income during one's upbringing relates to his or her effectiveness as a leader after entering an organization. Drawing on research on the psychological effects of income, social learning theory, and the integrative trait-behavioral model of leadership effectiveness, we propose a negative, serially mediated association between higher parental income and lower future leader effectiveness via high levels of narcissism and, in turn, reduced engagement in behaviors that are viewed as central to the leadership role. We test our model using multisource data collected from active soldiers in the United States Army. Results reveal that parental income exerts indirect effects on leadership effectiveness criteria because a) parental income is positively related to narcissism as an adult, b) narcissism relates negatively to engaging in task-, relational-, and change-oriented leadership behaviors, and c) reduced engagement in these behaviors relates to lower leader effectiveness. Our investigation advances theory by identifying pathways through which parental income relates to the effectiveness of leaders in organizations, and by illuminating the origins of a trait (narcissism) that predicts the behavior and effectiveness of leaders.

---------------------

Listen, Follow Me: Dynamic Vocal Signals of Dominance Predict Emergent Social Rank in Humans

Joey Cheng et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, May 2016, Pages 536-547

Abstract:
Similar to the nonverbal signals shown by many nonhuman animals during aggressive conflicts, humans display a broad range of behavioral signals to advertise and augment their apparent size, strength, and fighting prowess when competing for social dominance. Favored by natural selection, these signals communicate the displayer’s capacity and willingness to inflict harm, and increase responders’ likelihood of detecting and establishing a rank asymmetry, and thus avoiding costly physical conflicts. Included among this suite of adaptations are vocal changes, which occur in a wide range of nonhuman animals (e.g., chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys) prior to aggression, but have not been systematically examined in humans. The present research tests whether and how humans use vocal pitch modulations to communicate information about their intention to dominate or submit. Results from Study 1 demonstrate that in the context of face-to-face group interactions, individuals spontaneously alter their vocal pitch in a manner consistent with rank signaling. Raising one’s pitch early in the course of an interaction predicted lower emergent rank, whereas deepening one’s pitch predicted higher emergent rank. Results from Study 2 provide causal evidence that these vocal shifts influence perceptions of rank and formidability. Together, findings suggest that humans use transient vocal changes to track, signal, and coordinate status relationships.

---------------------

Are the Powerful Really Blind to the Feelings of Others? How Hierarchical Concerns Shape Attention to Emotions

Eftychia Stamkou et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2016, Pages 755-768

Abstract:
Paying attention to others’ emotions is essential to successful social interactions. Integrating social-functional approaches to emotion with theorizing on the reciprocal nature of power, we propose that attention to others’ emotions depends on concerns over one’s power position and the social signal conveyed by the emotion. Others’ anger signals attack — information relevant to high-power individuals who are concerned about the legitimacy or suitability of their position. On the contrary, others’ fear signals vulnerability — information relevant to low-power individuals who are concerned about their unfair treatment within an illegitimate hierarchy. Accordingly, when power roles were illegitimately assigned or mismatched with one’s trait power, leaders were faster at detecting the appearance of anger (Studies 1 and 2), slower at judging the disappearance of anger (Study 2), and more accurate in recognizing subordinates’ anger, whereas subordinates were more accurate in recognizing leaders’ fear (Study 3). Implications for theorizing about emotion and social hierarchy are discussed.

---------------------

For a dollar, would you…? How (we think) money affects compliance with our requests

Vanessa Bohns, Daniel Newark & Amy Xu

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2016, Pages 45–62

Abstract:
Research has shown a robust tendency for people to underestimate their ability to get others to comply with their requests. In five studies, we demonstrate that this underestimation-of-compliance effect is reduced when requesters offer money in exchange for compliance. In Studies 1 and 2, participants assigned to a no-incentive or monetary-incentive condition made actual requests of others. In both studies, requesters who offered no incentives underestimated the likelihood that those they approached would grant their requests; however, when requesters offered monetary incentives, this prediction error was mitigated. In Studies 3–5, we present evidence in support of a model to explain the underlying mechanism for this attenuation effect. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrate that offering monetary incentives activates a money-market frame. In Study 5, we find that this activation reduces the discomfort associated with asking, allowing requesters to more accurately assess the size of their request and, consequently, the likelihood of compliance.

---------------------

Looking Out From the Top: Differential Effects of Status and Power on Perspective Taking

Steven Blader, Aiwa Shirako & Yaru Chen

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2016, Pages 723-737

Abstract:
The impact of hierarchical rank on perspective taking is both practically and theoretically important, prompting considerable research attention to this issue. However, prior research has primarily examined how power affects perspective taking, and has neglected to investigate the impact of status (i.e., the respect and esteem that an individual holds in the eyes of others). Yet status represents a distinct and ubiquitous basis of hierarchical differentiation, one that may profoundly affect perspective taking. The current research addresses this gap, theorizing and testing the prediction that high status enhances perspective taking, in contrast to prior research that has generally found that high power diminishes perspective taking. Five studies, examining various forms of perspective taking across diverse paradigms, provide converging evidence that status and power exert differential effects on perspective taking. Moreover, these studies provide insight regarding the distinction between status and power, as well as the distinct psychology associated with status.

---------------------

The Information-Anchoring Model of First Offers: When Moving First Helps Versus Hurts Negotiators

David Loschelder et al.

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does making the first offer increase or impair a negotiator’s outcomes? Past research has found evidence supporting both claims. To reconcile these contradictory findings, we developed and tested an integrative model — the Information-Anchoring Model of First Offers. The model predicts when and why making the first offer helps versus hurts. We suggest that first offers have 2 effects. First, they serve as anchors that pull final settlements toward the initial first-offer value; this anchor function often produces a first-mover advantage. Second, first offers can convey information on the senders’ priorities, which makes the sender vulnerable to exploitation and increases the risk of a first-mover disadvantage. To test this model, 3 experiments manipulated the information that senders communicated in their first offer. When senders did not reveal their priorities, the first-mover advantage was replicated. However, when first offers revealed senders’ priorities explicitly, implicitly, or both, a first-mover disadvantage emerged. Negotiators’ social value orientation moderated this effect: A first-mover disadvantage occurred when senders faced proself recipients who exploited priority information, but not with prosocial recipients. Moderated mediation analyses supported the model assumptions: Proself recipients used their integrative insight to feign priorities in their low-priority issues and thereby claimed more individual value than senders. The final discussion reviews theoretical and applied implications of the Information-Anchoring Model of First Offers.

---------------------

Preparing the Self for Team Entry: How Relational Affirmation Improves Team Performance

Julia Lee et al.

Harvard Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Working in teams often leads to productivity loss because the need to feel accepted prevents individual members from making a unique contribution to the team in terms of the information or perspective they can offer. Drawing on self-affirmation theory, we propose that pre-team relational self-affirmation can prepare individuals to contribute to team creative performance more effectively. We theorize that relationally-affirming one's self-views increases general feelings of being socially valued by others, leading to better information exchange and creative performance. In a first study, we found that teams in which members affirmed their best selves prior to team formation (i.e., by soliciting and receiving narratives that highlight one's positive impact on close others) outperformed teams that did not do so on a creative problem-solving task. In the second experiment, conducted using virtual teams, we show that pre-team relational self-affirmation leads to heightened feelings of social worth, which in turn explains the effect of the treatment on the team's ability to exchange information.

---------------------

Laughter conveys status

Christopher Oveis et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that status influences individuals' use of dominant versus submissive laughter, and that individuals are conferred status based on the way they laugh. In Study 1, naturally occurring laughter was observed while low- and high-status individuals teased one another. The use of dominant and submissive laughter corresponded to hierarchical variables: High-status individuals and teasers displayed more dominant, disinhibited laughs, whereas low-status individuals and targets of teases displayed more submissive, inhibited laughs. Further, low-status individuals were more likely to vary the form of their laughter between contexts than high-status individuals. Study 2 demonstrated that laughter influences perceptions of status by naïve observers. Individuals who laughed dominantly were afforded higher status than individuals who laughed submissively, regardless of their actual status. Moreover, low-status laughers were perceived to be significantly higher in status, and to have as much status as high-status laughers, when laughing dominantly versus submissively. Finally, exploratory analyses suggest that the positive emotional reactions of observers of laughter can help explain the link between laugh type and status perceptions.

---------------------

Optimal Distinctiveness Signals Membership Trust

Geoffrey Leonardelli & Denise Lewin Loyd

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to optimal distinctiveness theory, sufficiently small minority groups are associated with greater membership trust, even among members otherwise unknown, because the groups are seen as optimally distinctive. This article elaborates on the prediction’s motivational and cognitive processes and tests whether sufficiently small minorities (defined by relative size; for example, 20%) are associated with greater membership trust relative to mere minorities (45%), and whether such trust is a function of optimal distinctiveness. Two experiments, examining observers’ perceptions of minority and majority groups and using minimal groups and (in Experiment 2) a trust game, revealed greater membership trust in minorities than majorities. In Experiment 2, participants also preferred joining minorities over more powerful majorities. Both effects occurred only when minorities were 20% rather than 45%. In both studies, perceptions of optimal distinctiveness mediated effects. Discussion focuses on the value of relative size and optimal distinctiveness, and when membership trust manifests.

---------------------

Oxytocin Effect on Collective Decision Making: A Randomized Placebo Controlled Study

Uri Hertz et al.

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Collective decision making often benefits both the individuals and the group in a variety of contexts. However, for the group to be successful, individuals should be able to strike a balance between their level of competence and their influence on the collective decisions. The hormone oxytocin has been shown to promote trust, conformism and attention to social cues. We wondered if this hormone may increase participants’ (unwarranted) reliance on their partners’ opinion, resulting in a reduction in collective benefit by disturbing the balance between influence and competence. To test this hypothesis we employed a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled design in which male dyads self-administered intranasal oxytocin or placebo and then performed a visual search task together. Compared to placebo, collective benefit did not decrease under oxytocin. Using an exploratory time dependent analysis, we observed increase in collective benefit over time under oxytocin. Moreover, trial-by-trial analysis showed that under oxytocin the more competent member of each dyad was less likely to change his mind during disagreements, while the less competent member showed a greater willingness to change his mind and conform to the opinion of his more reliable partner. This role-dependent effect may be mediated by enhanced monitoring of own and other’s performance level under oxytocin. Such enhanced social learning could improve the balance between influence and competence and lead to efficient and beneficial collaboration.

---------------------

Followers Are Not Followed: Observed Group Interactions Modulate Subsequent Social Attention

Francesca Capozzi et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, May 2016, Pages 531-535

Abstract:
We asked whether previous observations of group interactions modulate subsequent social attention episodes. Participants first completed a learning phase with 2 conditions. In the “leader” condition 1 of 3 identities turned her gaze first, followed by the 2 other faces. In the “follower” condition, 1 of the identities turned her gaze after the 2 other faces had first shifted their gaze. Thus, participants observed that some individuals were consistently leaders and others followers of others’ attention. In the test phase, the faces of leaders and followers were presented in a gaze cueing paradigm. Remarkably, the followers did not elicit gaze cueing. Our data demonstrate that individuals who do not guide group attention in exploring the environment are ineffective social attention directors in later encounters. Thus, the role played in previous group social attention interactions modulates the relative weight assigned to others’ gaze: we ignore the gaze of group followers.

---------------------

Money or Friends: Social Identity and Deception in Networks

Rong Rong, Daniel Houser & Anovia Yifan Dai

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Strategic communication occurs in virtually all committee decision environments. Theory suggests that small differences in monetary incentives between committee members can leave deception a strategically optimal decision (Crawford and Sobel, 1982; Galeotti et al., 2013). At the same time, in natural environments social incentives can also play an important role in determining the way people share or withhold truthful information. Unfortunately, little is known about how monetary and social incentives interact to determine truth-telling. We investigate this issue by first building a novel model and then testing its equilibrium predictions using laboratory data. In the absence of social identity, the model's predictions are supported: there is more truthful communication between those who share monetary incentives than those who do not. We find that the effect of identity is asymmetric: sharing the same identity does not promote truth-telling but holding different identities reduces truthfulness. Overall, as compared to environments lacking social identity, committees with both monetary and social incentives exhibit truthful communication substantially less frequently.

---------------------

(Please Don't) Say It to My Face! The Interaction of Feedback and Distance: Experiments with Vulgar Language

David Blake Johnson

Kyklos, May 2016, Pages 336–368

Abstract:
I extend current understanding of non-monetary punishments by introducing one-way unrestricted feedback (vulgar language) from responders in laboratory and online ultimatum games. Feedback changes in the expected direction. Negative feedback is returned in the event of low offers while higher offers receive positive feedback. Additionally, the possibility of unrestricted feedback significantly increases amounts sent by proposers, but only in the lab. This effect is statistically significant and large in magnitude but is not present in the online experiments. These results illustrate that increases in social distance and/or physical proximity can weaken the effectiveness of non-monetary punishments.

---------------------

Ostracism and Forgiveness

Nageeb Ali & David Miller

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many communities rely upon ostracism to enforce cooperation: if an individual shirks in one relationship, her innocent neighbors share information about her guilt in order to shun her, while continuing to cooperate among themselves. However, a strategic victim may herself prefer to shirk, rather than report her victimization truthfully. If guilty players are to be permanently ostracized, then such deviations are so tempting that cooperation in any relationship is bounded by what the partners could obtain through bilateral enforcement. Ostracism can improve upon bilateral enforcement if tempered by forgiveness, through which guilty players are eventually readmitted to cooperative society.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bed, bath, and beyond

Examining the Nuance in Public Opinion of Pro-LGB Policies in a “Red State”

Mathew Stange & Emily Kazyak

Sexuality Research and Social Policy, June 2016, Pages 142-157

Abstract:
The red-blue state and urban–rural narratives — which depict that people living in red states and rural areas oppose pro-LGB policies — are popular frames for describing variation in public opinion of LGB policies by geographic region. In a test case of a red state, we examine public opinion of pro-LGB policies to assess the accuracy of the red–blue and urban–rural narratives. Using data from a survey of Nebraskans (n = 1608), we found that public opinion was more nuanced than the red state narrative allows but that urban and rural respondents reported significantly different opinions of pro-LGB policies. Rural people, however, were not unsupportive of all pro-LGB policies. Among all Nebraskans, support was higher for policies to protect LGB people from housing and job discrimination while support was lower for marriage and adoption rights. We discuss what these findings mean for public policy, urban and rural LGB individuals, and future public opinion studies of LGB issues.

---------------------

Transgender Adults’ Access to College Bathrooms and Housing and the Relationship to Suicidality

Kristie Seelman

Journal of Homosexuality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Transgender and gender non-conforming people frequently experience discrimination, harassment, and marginalization across college and university campuses (Bilodeau, 2007; Finger, 2010; Rankin et al., 2010; Seelman et al., 2012). The minority stress model (Meyer, 2007) posits that experiences of discrimination often negatively impact the psychological wellbeing of minority groups. However, few scholars have examined whether college institutional climate factors — such as being denied access to bathrooms or gender-appropriate campus housing — are significantly associated with detrimental psychological outcomes for transgender people. Using the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, this study analyzes whether being denied access to these spaces is associated with lifetime suicide attempts, after controlling for interpersonal victimization by students or teachers. Findings from sequential logistic regression (N = 2,316) indicate that denial of access to either space had a significant relationship to suicidality, even after controlling for interpersonal victimization. This article discusses implications for higher education professionals and researchers.

---------------------

Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing

David Broockman & Joshua Kalla

Science, 8 April 2016, Pages 220-224

Abstract:
Existing research depicts intergroup prejudices as deeply ingrained, requiring intense intervention to lastingly reduce. Here, we show that a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months. We illustrate this potential with a door-to-door canvassing intervention in South Florida targeting antitransgender prejudice. Despite declines in homophobia, transphobia remains pervasive. For the intervention, 56 canvassers went door to door encouraging active perspective-taking with 501 voters at voters’ doorsteps. A randomized trial found that these conversations substantially reduced transphobia, with decreases greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012. These effects persisted for 3 months, and both transgender and nontransgender canvassers were effective. The intervention also increased support for a nondiscrimination law, even after exposing voters to counterarguments.

---------------------

Stereotypes of Bisexual People: What Do Bisexual People Themselves Think?

Sara Burke & Marianne LaFrance

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little is known about how bisexual people see themselves as a group or the extent to which they agree with the stereotypes that others have of them. We randomly assigned bisexual participants (N = 346) to rate heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual targets on a variety of traits. Results suggested that bisexual participants do hold stereotypes about sexual orientation groups (including their own group), but not the same stereotypes that heterosexual and gay/lesbian people hold. Specifically, bisexual participants perceived bisexual targets as similar to heterosexual targets on the dimension of masculinity/femininity, rather than “in the middle” between heterosexual and homosexual targets. Further distinguishing their views from those of heterosexual and gay/lesbian participants, bisexual participants did not rate bisexual targets as especially indecisive, prone to nonmonogamy, focused on sex, or likely to cheat. These results help clarify the literature on stereotypes of sexual orientation groups. Prior work left open the possibility that stereotypes of bisexual people reflected a consensus view, including the opinions of bisexual people themselves, but our findings suggest otherwise. Addressing the often-overlooked point of view of bisexual people can reveal patterns of social attitudes that would otherwise escape notice.

---------------------

The Evolution of Female Same-Sex Attractions: The Weak Selection Pressures Hypothesis

Menelaos Apostolou

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Divergence from exclusive heterosexual orientation is commonly observed in women. Understanding this phenomenon requires exploring it from an evolutionary perspective, which in turn entails knowledge of human evolutionary history, particularly with respect to mating patterns. The anthropological and historical records indicate that during most of the human evolutionary time, mate choice was regulated, with parental and social control being directed predominantly toward women. Strong control over mating, along with less emphasis placed on intimacy, male–male competition, and male tolerance toward female same-sex attractions, result in weak selection pressures exercised on alleles that predispose for deviations from exclusive heterosexual orientation. These pressures are weak over small deviations, but become increasingly stronger when such deviations tend toward exclusive homosexual orientation. As a consequence, a distribution of sexual orientation arises with many women having nonexclusive heterosexual orientation, and few women having bisexual and homosexual orientation. Further predictions are derived from this hypothesis, which are matched to available evidence.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 6, 2016

Legal problems

Resource Constraints and the Criminal Justice System: Evidence from Judicial Vacancies

Crystal Yang

American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ten percent of federal judgeships are currently vacant, yet little is known on the impact of these vacancies on criminal justice outcomes. Using judge deaths and pension eligibility as instruments for vacancies, I find that prosecutors dismiss more cases during vacancies. Prosecuted defendants are more likely to plead guilty and less likely to be incarcerated, with defendants who were detained pretrial more likely to be incarcerated. The current rate of vacancies has resulted in 1000 fewer prison inmates annually compared to a fully-staffed court system, a 1.5 percent decrease.

---------------------

Will Putting Cameras on Police Reduce Polarization?

Roseanna Sommers

Yale Law Journal, March 2016, Pages 1304-1362

Abstract:
In the wake of national outrage and polarization over several high-profile police shootings of unarmed citizens, reformers have called for police officers to wear body cameras. This Note argues that, despite the seeming objectivity of the camera, video footage remains susceptible to biased interpretation by observers such as grand jurors. Reporting empirical findings based on mock jurors' perceptions of real police footage, this Note observes that viewers' prior attitudes toward the police color their interpretations of the events caught on tape, resulting in considerable polarization on a variety of dimensions. Further, this Note finds that video evidence does not conclusively outperform nonvideo testimony in minimizing mock jurors' reliance on their prior attitudes. Study participants learned about an incident involving a police officer and a citizen in one of four ways. Some participants watched a video of the altercation, others read dueling accounts of the altercation written from the perspectives of the police officer and of the citizen, a third group read a single account from the perspective of a disinterested third party, and a final group read only the police officer's version of events. Participants' prior attitudes toward police significantly affected their judgments of the officer's conduct in all four conditions, and the degree of bias did not differ significantly across the different types of evidence. Furthermore, people who identified strongly with the police - but not those who identified weakly-became more confident in their judgments when presented with video evidence. This Note discusses the implications of these findings for the policy debate over body-worn cameras, cautioning against the assumption that body cameras will reduce polarization and societal conflict following instances of use of deadly force by police. It concludes that we should be more skeptical of the widely held belief that video footage tells us unambiguously and definitively what happened.

---------------------

The Long Shadow of Bush v. Gore: Judicial Partisanship in Election Cases

Michael Kang & Joanna Shepherd

Stanford Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election and is still the most dramatic election case of our lifetime, but cases like it are decided every year at the state level. American law leaves it to ordinary common-law courts to regularly decide questions of election rules and administration that effectively decide electoral outcomes hanging immediately in the balance. Election cases like Bush v. Gore embody a fundamental worry with judicial determination of these cases: outcome-driven, partisan judicial decisionmaking. This Article investigates whether judges decide cases, particularly political sensitive ones, based on their partisan loyalties. It presents a novel method to isolate the raw partisan motivations of judges and identifies their partisan loyalty, as opposed to their ideology, by studying decisions in a special category of cases almost entirely about partisan loyalty - candidate-litigated election disputes. The Article finds that Republican judges display greater partisan loyalty than Democratic judges in election cases where ideology is not a significant consideration. This result is not a function of selection methods, with both elected and appointed judges behaving similarly, but it is partially a function of party campaign finance for elected Republican judges, with party loyalty increasing with party money received. However, the effect of party campaign finance disappears for more visible election cases and largely disappears for retiring judges in their final term. What is more, partisan loyalty is reduced when state supreme court elections have recently featured more campaign attack advertising. These findings give reason to re-think judicial resolution of election disputes that require impartial, nonpartisan settlement and offer new insight into judicial partisanship as a more general matter.

---------------------

The Performance of Elected Officials: Evidence from State Supreme Courts

Elliott Ash & Bentley MacLeod

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper provides evidence on the effect of electoral institutions on the performance of public officials. Using panel data on state supreme courts between 1947 and 1994, we measure the effects of changes in judicial electoral processes on judge work quality - as measured by citations by later judges. Judges selected by non-partisan elections write higher-quality opinions than judges selected by partisan elections. Judges selected by technocratic merit commissions write higher-quality opinions than either partisan-elected judges or non-partisan-elected judges. Election-year politics reduces judicial performance in both partisan and non-partisan election systems. Giving stronger tenure to non-partisan-selected judges improves performance, while giving stronger tenure to partisan-selected judges has no effect. These results are consistent with the view that technocratic merit commissions have better information about the quality of candidates than voters, and that political bias can reduce the quality of elected officials.

---------------------

Victims' Race and Sex Leads to Eyewitness Misidentification of Perpetrator's Phenotypic Stereotypicality

Paul Davies et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Eyewitness misidentification is the primary cause of wrongful convictions in North America. Discovering a discernible pattern to these errors is a critical step toward creating procedures that reduce the occurrence of these tragic mistakes. To these ends, we hypothesized that both the victims' race and the victims' sex may impact eyewitness identification for perpetrators of certain crime types. In two experiments, we demonstrated that a Black male drive-by shooter's level of phenotypic stereotypicality is accurately identified by eyewitnesses only when the victims are Black males. Specifically, when eyewitnesses believe the victims are White or female, the drive-by shooter's level of Black phenotypic stereotypicality is falsely elevated. In contrast, when a Black male perpetrator is suspected of committing a stereotypically non-Black crime (i.e., serial killing), the perpetrator's level of phenotypic stereotypicality is accurately identified regardless of the victims' race or sex.

---------------------

Empirically Evaluating the Countermajoritarian Difficulty: Public Opinion, State Policy, and Judicial Review before Roe v. Wade

Jonathan Kastellec

Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2016, Pages 1-42

Abstract:
I conduct a quantitative evaluation of the "countermajoritarian difficulty" by examining the relationship between public opinion, state policy, and judicial review in constitutional challenges to state abortion statutes in the period before Roe v. Wade. I find that state and lower federal court judges tended to invalidate statutes in states with high levels of public support for moving policy away from the status quo, and judges did not strike down statutes in states where majorities firmly supported the status quo. These results suggest the importance of creating a role for state and lower federal courts in evaluating the countermajoritarian difficulty.

---------------------

Opening the Door for More: Assessing the Impact of Sentencing Reforms on Commitments to Prison Over Time

Mark Harmon

American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2016, Pages 296-320

Abstract:
Since the early 1970s, U.S. states have adopted a series of sentencing reforms that have substantially altered sentencing and release policies by limiting discretion of judges, parole boards, and/or prison administrators. The current study assesses shifts in year-to-year changes in new commitments and parolees returned to prison within all 50 states from the years 1972 to 2008. The study tests the theory that sentencing reforms resulted in increased commitments to prison due to changes in the structures of sentencing and not due to increased crime. Data was analyzed using panel regression with robust standard errors, fixed effects, and conditional change scores. By treating six main sentencing reforms as dynamically interacting, the results suggest that certain combinations of sentencing reforms significantly increase new commitments while the number of parolees returned to prison was not meaningfully affected. The analysis further indicates that the combinations that the reforms appear in at the state-level influence the magnitude of the impacts of reforms.

---------------------

Working Themselves Impure: A Life-Cycle Theory of Legal Theories

Jeremy Kessler & David Pozen

University of Chicago Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prescriptive legal theories have a tendency to cannibalize themselves. As they develop into schools of thought, they become not only increasingly complicated but also increasingly compromised, by their own normative lights. Maturation breeds adulteration. The theories work themselves impure. This Article identifies and diagnoses this evolutionary phenomenon. We develop a stylized model to explain the life cycle of certain particularly influential legal theories. We illustrate this life cycle through case studies of originalism, textualism, popular constitutionalism, and cost-benefit analysis, as well as a comparison with leading accounts of organizational and theoretical change in politics and science. And we argue that an appreciation of the life cycle requires a reorientation of legal advocacy and critique. The most significant threats posed by a new legal theory do not come from its neglect of significant first-order values -- the usual focus of criticism -- for those values are apt to be incorporated into the theory. Rather, the deeper threats lie in the second- and third-order social, political, and ideological effects that the adulterated theory's persistence may foster, down the line.

---------------------

Trial by Machine

Andrea Roth

Georgetown Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This Article explores the rise of "machines" in criminal adjudication. Human witnesses now often give way to gadgets and interpretive software, juries' complex judgments about moral blameworthiness give way to mechanical proxies for criminality, and judges' complex judgments give way to sentencing guidelines and actuarial instruments. Although mechanization holds much promise for enhancing objectivity and accuracy in criminal justice, that promise remains unrealized because of the uneven, unsystematic manner in which mechanized justice has been developed and deployed. The current landscape of mechanized proof, liability, and punishment suffers from predictable but underscrutinized automation pathologies: hidden subjectivities and errors in "black box" processes; distorted decision-making through oversimplified - and often dramatically inaccurate - proxies for blameworthiness; the compromise of values protected by human safety valves, such as dignity, equity, and mercy; and even too little mechanization where machines might be a powerful debiasing tool but where little political incentive exists for its development or deployment. For example, the state promotes the objectivity of interpretive DNA software that typically renders match statistics more inculpatory, but lionizes the subjective human judgment of its fingerprint and toolmark analysts, whose grandiose claims of identity might be diluted by such software. Likewise, the state attacks the polygraph as an unreliable lie detector at trial, where results are typically offered only by defendants, but routinely wields them in probation revocation hearings, capitalizing in that context on their cultural status as "truth machines." The Article ultimately proposes a systems approach - "trial by cyborg" - that safeguards against automation pathologies while interrogating conspicuous absences in mechanization through "equitable surveillance" and other means.

---------------------

Jeremiad or Weapon of Words?: The Power of Emotive Language in Supreme Court Dissents

Amanda Bryan & Eve Ringsmuth

Journal of Law and Courts, Spring 2016, Pages 159-185

Abstract:
Unable to directly control the policy articulated by the Supreme Court, dissenting justices are faced with the challenge of finding alternative ways to pursue their policy goals. We argue that one strategy available to them is to use their power over the language of a dissenting opinion to increase the media attention paid to a case. Our results show that cases with negative dissents attract more media coverage, which creates a variety of mechanisms through which a dissenter's policy preferences could be realized, such as inducing Congress to take action, influencing public debate on the issue, and provoking further litigation. This finding ultimately suggests that dissenters, while disadvantaged, are not powerless to affect legal policy.

---------------------

The Cycles of Separation-of-Powers Jurisprudence

Aziz Huq & Jon Michaels

Yale Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Supreme Court's approach to the Constitution's separation of powers is a puzzle. Although all Justices appear to agree on the doctrine's goals, in almost every important line of cases the Court oscillates between two basic approaches of hard-edged rules and open-textured standards. Its seemingly erratic shifts cannot be wholly explained by changes in the bench's personnel or methodological fads. This Article isolates and analyzes pervasive doctrinal cycling between rules and standards as a distinctive element of separation-of-powers jurisprudence. Breaking from previous scholarship critical of the Court's zigzagging, we consider whether purposeful cycling between rules and standards might be justified as a judicial strategy for implementing the separation of powers. We develop a new theoretical account of the separation of powers in which doctrinal cycling can be justified on two key assumptions: First, the separation of powers promotes a plurality of normative ends, and second, it does so in the context of a more heterogeneous institutional environment than a focus on the three branches alone would suggest. Doctrinal cycling between rules and standards could be used, at least in theory, to manage normative pluralism and police this "thick political surround" when simpler, more straightforward regulatory strategies would fail. This rational reconstruction of the feasible judicial role in the separation-of-powers context provides a benchmark for evaluating observed doctrinal oscillations, and, more generally, determining whether courts possess the necessary institutional resources to promote separation-of-powers values.

---------------------

Sound the Alarm? Judicial Decisions Regarding Publication and Dissent

Morgan Hazelton, Rachael Hinkle & Jee Seon Jeon

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judges sitting on three-judge panels in the U.S. Courts of Appeals make decisions under the shadow of potential review by supervising courts, the full circuit sitting en banc and the Supreme Court. Review is more likely for published decisions, particularly when a dissent is present. Unpublished decisions do not have binding precedential status. These factors create the potential for judges to be strategic in deciding whether to publish a decision or write a dissent. We develop a formal model of decision aggregation that takes the possibility of negotiating a tradeoff between the ideological location of a rule and its precedential value into account. Implications of our model are tested empirically using an original data set of search and seizure cases. Our model and results indicate that preferences within the panel and judicial hierarchy coupled with discretionary review influence judges' decisions regarding publication and dissent, and that these choices have important consequences.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My impression

Does Race Affect Access to Government Services? An Experiment Exploring Street-Level Bureaucrats and Access to Public Housing

Katherine Levine Einstein & David Glick

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
While experimental studies of local election officials have found evidence of racial discrimination, we know little about whether these biases manifest in bureaucracies that provide access to valuable government programs and are less tied to politics. We address these issues in the context of affordable housing programs using a randomized field experiment. We explore responsiveness to putative white, black, and Hispanic requests for aid in the housing application process. In contrast to prior findings, public housing officials respond at equal rates to black and white email requests. We do, however, find limited evidence of responsiveness discrimination toward Hispanics. Moreover, we observe substantial differences in email tone. Hispanic housing applicants were 20 percentage points less likely to be greeted by name than were their black and white counterparts. This disparity in tone is somewhat more muted in more diverse locations, but it does not depend on whether a housing official is Hispanic.

---------------------

Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites

Kelly Hoffman et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 19 April 2016, Pages 4296-4301

Abstract:
Black Americans are systematically undertreated for pain relative to white Americans. We examine whether this racial bias is related to false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites (e.g., "black people's skin is thicker than white people's skin"). Study 1 documented these beliefs among white laypersons and revealed that participants who more strongly endorsed false beliefs about biological differences reported lower pain ratings for a black (vs. white) target. Study 2 extended these findings to the medical context and found that half of a sample of white medical students and residents endorsed these beliefs. Moreover, participants who endorsed these beliefs rated the black (vs. white) patient's pain as lower and made less accurate treatment recommendations. Participants who did not endorse these beliefs rated the black (vs. white) patient's pain as higher, but showed no bias in treatment recommendations. These findings suggest that individuals with at least some medical training hold and may use false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites to inform medical judgments, which may contribute to racial disparities in pain assessment and treatment.

---------------------

Are Blondes Really Dumb?

Jay Zagorsky

Economics Bulletin, Winter 2016, Pages 401-410

Abstract:
Discrimination based on appearance has serious economic consequences. Women with blonde hair are often considered beautiful, but dumb, which is a potentially harmful stereotype since many employers seek intelligent workers. Using the NLSY79, a large nationally representative survey tracking young baby boomers, this research analyzes the IQ of white women and men according to hair color. Blonde women have a higher mean IQ than women with brown, red and black hair. Blondes are more likely classified as geniuses and less likely to have extremely low IQ than women with other hair colors, suggesting the dumb blonde stereotype is a myth.

---------------------

Activating Stereotypes with Brand Imagery: The Role of Viewer Political Identity

Justin Angle et al.

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The use of ethnic imagery in visual identities of brands, such as those used by professional sports franchises, has long been a contentious issue in American society. This research investigates the oft-voiced argument that ethnic brand imagery perpetuates negative stereotypes (a claim that has been subject to very little empirical scrutiny) and identifies conditions under which encountering such brand imagery strengthens both positive and negative implicit stereotypes. Within the context of American Indian brand imagery, two laboratory experiments (Studies 1 and 2) and a quasi-experimental field study (Study 3) revealed that the effects of ethnic brand imagery on stereotypes depend on the viewer's political identity. Exposure to ethnic brand imagery strengthened implicit stereotypes only among more liberal individuals, consistent with the idea that liberals tend to hold more malleable views. These findings demonstrate measurable negative effects of ethnic brand imagery on implicit stereotypes and support the view that the use of such imagery can carry detrimental societal consequences.

---------------------

Mars, Venus, or Earth? Sexism and the Exaggeration of Psychological Gender Differences

Ethan Zell et al.

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few studies have examined how people perceive psychological gender differences despite the practical importance of these perceptions for everyday life. In three studies, we examined whether there is a positive association between sexism and the tendency to exaggerate psychological gender differences. Study 1 demonstrated that the more strongly men endorsed hostile sexism and the more strongly women endorsed hostile or benevolent sexism, the larger they perceived gender differences to be across a broad range of psychological traits. Study 2 documented that the more strongly people endorsed hostile or benevolent sexism, the more likely they were to exaggerate the size of gender differences. In Studies 1 and 2, women perceived gender differences to be larger than did men, after accounting for sexism. Finally, Study 3 showed that increasing (decreasing) the perceived size of gender differences predicts corresponding increases (decreases) in sexism. These results support relevant theory, which argues that differentiation between genders underlies sexist ideologies, and they may inform future intervention studies that aim to reduce sexism by targeting exaggerated gender beliefs. Discussion highlights the proposed connection between sexism and the belief that "men are from Mars and women are from Venus".

---------------------

The Enduring Significance of Skin Tone: Linking Skin Tone, Attitudes Toward Marriage and Cohabitation, and Sexual Behavior

Antoinette Landor & Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Journal of Youth and Adolescence, May 2016, Pages 986-1002

Abstract:
Past evidence has documented that attitudes toward marriage and cohabitation are related to sexual behavior in adolescence and young adulthood. This study extends prior research by longitudinally testing these associations across racial/ethnic groups and investigating whether culturally relevant variations within racial/ethnic minority groups, such as skin tone (i.e., lightness/darkness of skin color), are linked to attitudes toward marriage and cohabitation and sex. Drawing on family and public health literatures and theories, as well as burgeoning skin tone literature, it was hypothesized that more positive attitudes toward marriage and negative attitudes toward cohabitation would be associated with less risky sex, and that links differed for lighter and darker skin individuals. The sample included 6872 respondents (49.6 % female; 70.0 % White; 15.8 % African American; 3.3 % Asian; 10.9 % Hispanic) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. The results revealed that marital attitudes had a significantly stronger dampening effect on risky sexual behavior of lighter skin African Americans and Asians compared with their darker skin counterparts. Skin tone also directly predicted number of partners and concurrent partners among African American males and Asian females. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings for adolescence and young adulthood.

---------------------

From Bodies to Blame: Exposure to Sexually Objectifying Media Increases Tolerance Toward Sexual Harassment

Philippe Bernard, Sabine Legrand & Olivier Klein

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether exposure to sexually objectifying media leads to more tolerance toward sexual harassment of women in the context of a real-life scenario. Moreover, given that self-objectification reflects the internalization of gender-based inequalities, we also tested whether self-objectification was associated with greater tolerance toward sexual harassment of women. Two hundred and ten undergraduate students (112 men) were asked to watch sexually objectifying (vs. neutral) video clips before completing a questionnaire assessing tolerance toward sexual harassment. As expected, we found that watching sexually objectifying video clips led to more victim blame when evaluating a real-life scenario of sexual harassment, but it did not affect general attitudes toward sexual harassment. Moreover, trait self-objectification was associated with general attitudes toward sexual harassment of women, with more tolerance toward sexual harassment among people with high trait self-objectification. In contrast, neither exposure to sexually objectifying video clips nor trait self-objectification affected perpetrator blame. These findings suggest that even short exposure to sexually objectifying media contributes to shifting attitudes toward sexual harassment of nonsexualized women in the real world, and they also illuminate the role of self-objectification in maintaining gender-based inequalities.

---------------------

"Date someone your own size": Prejudice and discrimination toward mixed-weight relationships

Brian Collisson et al.

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assessed whether people express more prejudice and discrimination toward mixed-weight couples (i.e., romantic partners with dissimilar body mass indexes [BMIs]) than matched-weight couples. In Study 1, people rated mixed-weight couples less favorably than matched-weight couples. In Study 2, people acted as matchmakers; they chose to pair potential relationship partners on the basis of similar BMI and body size. Mixed-weight couples were perceived as poorer matches than matched-weight couples. In Study 3, people offered advice to a person dating a mixed-weight or matched-weight partner. Men and women dating a mixed-weight, rather than matched-weight, partner were advised to go on less active, public, and expensive dates, display less physical affection, and delay introductions to close others. In Study 4, perceived relational inequity, prejudice toward mixed-status relationships, in general, and system justification motives moderated mixed-weight prejudice. Implications for couples are discussed.

---------------------

Parenthood as a Moral Imperative? Moral Outrage and the Stigmatization of Voluntarily Childfree Women and Men

Leslie Ashburn-Nardo

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nationally representative data indicate that adults in the United States are increasingly delaying the decision to have children or are forgoing parenthood entirely. Although some empirical research has examined the social consequences of adults' decision to be childfree, few studies have identified explanatory mechanisms for the stigma this population experiences. Based on the logic of backlash theory and research on retributive justice, the present research examined moral outrage as a mechanism through which voluntarily childfree targets are perceived less favorably than are targets with children for violating the prescribed social role of parenthood. In a between-subjects experiment, 197 undergraduates (147 women, 49 men, 1 participant with missing gender data) from a large U.S. Midwestern urban university were randomly assigned to evaluate a male or female married target who had chosen to have zero or two children. Participants completed measures of the target's perceived psychological fulfillment and their affective reactions to the target. Consistent with earlier studies, voluntarily childfree targets were perceived as significantly less psychologically fulfilled than targets with two children. Extending past research, voluntarily childfree targets elicited significantly greater moral outrage than did targets with two children. My findings were not qualified by targets' gender. Moral outrage mediated the effect of target parenthood status on perceived fulfillment. Collectively, these findings offer the first known empirical evidence of perceptions of parenthood as a moral imperative.

---------------------

Sexist Attitudes Among Emerging Adult Women Readers of Fifty Shades Fiction

Lauren Altenburger et al.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Stereotypical sexist representations of men and women in popular culture reinforce rigid views of masculinity (e.g., males as being strong, in control, masterful, and aggressive) and femininity (e.g., women as being fragile and weak, unassertive, peaceful, irrational, and driven by emotions). The present study examined associations between the fictional series Fifty Shades - one popular culture mechanism that includes pervasive traditional gender role representations - and underlying sexist beliefs among a sample of 715 women ages 18-24 years. Analyses revealed associations between Fifty Shades readership and sexism, as measured through the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory. Namely women who reported reading Fifty Shades had higher levels of ambivalent, benevolent, and hostile sexism. Further, those who interpreted Fifty Shades as "romantic" had higher levels of ambivalent and benevolent sexism. Our findings support prior empirical studies noting associations between interacting with aspects of popular culture, such as television and video games, and individual beliefs and behaviors.

---------------------

Attentional Biases Toward Latinos

Steffanie Guillermo & Joshua Correll

Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, May 2016, Pages 264-278

Abstract:
The current research examined attention allocation to assess whether people preferentially attend to Latino versus White faces. The current work also tested whether this attentional bias depended on whether the task involved a bi-ethnic context (only Latino and White faces) or a multi-ethnic context (Black, Latino, and White faces). Attention was measured with an exogenous cueing task that assessed attentional capture and holding toward faces of each racial group. Results showed that Latino faces captured attention faster and held attention longer than White faces. This attentional bias was evident in both bi-ethnic and multi-ethnic racial contexts.

---------------------

The Social Context of Racial Boundary Negotiations: Segregation, Hate Crime, and Hispanic Racial Identification in Metropolitan America

Michael Light & John Iceland

Sociological Science, February 2016

Abstract:
How the influx of Hispanics is reshaping the U.S. racial landscape is a paramount question in sociology. While previous research has noted the significant differences in Hispanics' racial identifications from place to place, there are comparatively few empirical investigations explaining these contextual differences. We attempt to fill this gap by arguing that residential context sets the stage for racial boundary negotiations and that certain environments heighten the salience of inter-group boundaries. We test this argument by examining whether Hispanics who live in highly segregated areas and areas that experience greater levels of anti-Hispanic prejudice are more likely to opt out of the U.S. racial order by choosing the "other race" category in surveys. Using data from the American Community Survey and information on anti-Hispanic hate crimes from the FBI, we find support for these hypotheses. These findings widen the theoretical scope of the roles segregation and prejudice play in negotiating racial identifications, and have implications for the extent to which Hispanics may redefine the U.S. racial order.

---------------------

Discrimination in Lending Markets: Status and the Intersections of Gender and Race

Sarah Harkness

Social Psychology Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 81-93

Abstract:
Research documents that lenders discriminate between loan applicants in traditional and peer-to-peer lending markets, yet we lack knowledge about the mechanisms driving lenders' behavior. I offer one possible mechanism: When lenders assess borrowers, they are implicitly guided by cultural stereotypes about the borrowers' status. This systematically steers lenders toward funding higher status groups even when applicants have the same financial histories. In an experimental test, I examine how applicants' demographic characteristics combine to alter lenders' status assessments and, thereby, lenders' decisions in an artificial peer-to-peer lending market. Participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk evaluated a series of loan applicants whose gender (female or male) and race (black or white) were manipulated. The results demonstrate that applicants' gender and race significantly affect lenders' funding decisions because they alter lenders' status beliefs about the applicants. This study provides experimental evidence that status is a likely mechanism driving lending discrimination.

---------------------

The Influence of Physical Appearance and Personality on the Exhibition of the Sexual Double Standard

Yuliana Zaikman & Michael Marks

Sexuality & Culture, June 2016, Pages 255-276

Abstract:
The sexual double standard is the phenomenon whereby men are evaluated positively and women are evaluated negatively for engaging in identical sexual behavior. Although people can hold conflicting information (e.g., stereotypical vs. counterstereotypical individuating information) about other individuals, they attempt to form a consistent impression of individuals by inhibiting inconsistent information. The goal of the present study was to investigate whether individuating information about physical appearance and personality could mitigate the exhibition of the evaluations stereotypically associated with the sexual double standard. A sample of 596 participants evaluated a target person who reported having 1 or 12 sexual partners. Overall, participants evaluated highly sexually active female targets more positively than their male counterparts when the targets were either attractive and had a pleasant personality, or were unattractive and had an unpleasant personality. Results highlight the importance of the consistency of individuating information for evaluations of highly sexually active women.

---------------------

Dating out is intercultural: Experience and perceived parent disapproval by ethnicity and immigrant generation

Sharon Shenhav, Belinda Campos & Wendy Goldberg

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Romantic relationships are situated within broader cultural and family contexts, and this may be particularly salient to those in intergroup relationships. This study examined variations in young adults' experiences with intercultural romantic relationships by ethnicity and immigrant generation. A sample of ethnically diverse young adults (N = 628; Asian, Latino, and European background) reported on self and parent attitudes toward dating outside of one's own culture, own current dating status, and disapproval and conflict with parents over current and past dating status. Analyses revealed three key findings. First, intercultural relationships were evenly distributed across ethnic and immigrant generation groups. Second, participants of Asian background perceived greater attitudinal discrepancies with their parents toward intercultural dating than did participants of Latino and European background and were more likely to report intercultural dating conflict with their parents than Latino participants. Third, first-generation and second-generation participants were more likely to report intercultural dating conflict with parents than third-generation participants. Altogether, the findings show the importance of (a) incorporating culture into the conceptualization of intergroup relationships, particularly for ethnic minority and recent immigrant groups, and (b) considering the family context of intercultural dating relationships. Implications for the study of intergroup romantic relationships are discussed.

---------------------

The Political Behavior of "Unhyphenated Americans": An Individual-Level Analysis of Causes and Consequences

Benjamin Knoll

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This analysis seeks to assess the findings of previous research that "unhyphenated Americans" have distinct voting patterns. This analysis also provides an empirical test for various hypotheses about the determinants of unhyphenated self-identification that have previously been advanced, but not definitely tested, by scholars.

Methods: Multivariate quantitative analysis of a nationally representative public opinion survey fielded in 2015.

Results: The results of previous research are not confirmed. Unhyphenated Americans are no more or less likely to vote for either Obama in 2012 or Democratic congressional candidates in 2014 once important demographic and political control variables are accounted for. Also, contrary to most previous research, unhyphenated self-identification is driven to a large extent by race-related factors.

Conclusion: Unhyphenated Americans appear to have distinct political voting patterns at the aggregate level, but this pattern disappears at the individual level of analysis. Further research is called for to better understand the behavior of unhyphenated Americans.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Corporate masters

Earnings Pressure and Long-Term Corporate Governance: Can Long-Term-Oriented Investors and Managers Reduce the Quarterly Earnings Obsession?

Yu Zhang & Javier Gimeno

Organization Science, March-April 2016, Pages 354-372

Abstract:
Recent research has shown that managers in publicly traded companies facing earnings pressure - the pressure to meet or beat securities analysts' earnings forecasts - may make business decisions to improve short-term earnings. Analysts' forward-looking performance forecasts can serve as powerful motivation for managers, but may also encourage them to undertake short-term actions detrimental to future competitiveness and performance. To identify whether managerial reactions to earnings pressure suggest evidence of intertemporal trade-offs, we explored how companies respond to earnings pressure under different conditions of corporate governance that shape the temporal orientations of managers. Using data on competitive decisions made by U.S. airlines under quarterly earnings pressure, we examined the effect of earnings pressure on competitive behavior under different ownership structures (ownership by long-term dedicated investors versus transient investors) and CEO incentives (unvested incentives that are restricted or unexercisable in the short term, versus vested incentives). The results suggest that companies with more long-term-oriented investors and long-term-aligned CEOs with unvested incentives are less likely to soften competitive behavior in response to earnings pressure, relative to companies with transient investors and CEOs with vested, immediately exercisable stock-based incentives. Using a difference-in-differences (DiD) specification for stronger identification, we also found that firms respond to their rivals' earnings pressure shocks by increasing capacity and prices, particularly when those rivals do not have long-term-oriented investors and CEO incentives. The evidence is more aligned with the view that the pursuit of short-term earnings as a result of earnings pressure may be detrimental to long-term competitiveness.

---------------------

CEO Political Preference and Corporate Tax Sheltering

Bill Francis et al.

Journal of Corporate Finance, June 2016, Pages 37-53

Abstract:
We show that firms led by politically partisan CEOs are associated with a higher level of corporate tax sheltering than firms led by nonpartisan CEOs. Specifically, Republican CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering even when their wealth is not tied with that of shareholders and when corporate governance is weak, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions could be driven by idiosyncratic factors such as their political ideology. We also show that Democratic CEOs are associated with more corporate tax sheltering only when their stock-based incentives are high, suggesting that their tax sheltering decisions are more likely to be driven by economic incentives. In sum, our results support the political connection hypothesis in general but highlight that the specific factors driving partisan CEOs' tax sheltering behaviors differ. Our results imply that it may cost firms more to motivate Democratic CEOs to engage in more tax sheltering activities because such decisions go against their political beliefs regarding tax policies.

---------------------

Do Executives Behave Better When Dishonesty is More Salient?

David Cicero & Mi Shen

University of Alabama Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
In behavioral experiments, individuals are less likely to cheat at a task when the saliency of dishonesty is increased [Mazar, Amir, and Ariely (2008), Gino, Ayal, and Ariely (2009)]. We test a similar hypothesis in a real world setting by treating news about high-profile political scandals as shocks to the salience of unethical/illegal behavior and its consequences. We find that local corporate insiders engage in fewer suspect behaviors in the year after a political scandal is revealed. Their stock sales are less profitable and they are less likely to sell stock ahead of large price declines, suggesting less illegal insider trading. These patterns vary predictably with the level of media attention to scandal-related events during the scandal years. Locally headquartered firms also appear to engage in less earnings management following the revelation of a political scandal. However, these changes in executives' behaviors appear to be largely transitory and the evidence of suspect behaviors resumes in following years.

---------------------

The Role of Managerial Ability in Corporate Tax Avoidance

Allison Koester, Terry Shevlin & Daniel Wangerin

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most prior studies model tax avoidance as a function of firm-level characteristics and do not consider how individual executive characteristics affect tax avoidance. This paper investigates whether executives with superior ability to efficiently manage corporate resources engage in greater tax avoidance. Our results show that moving from the lower to upper quartile of managerial ability is associated with a 3.15 (2.50) percent reduction in a firm's one-year (five-year) cash effective tax rate (ETR). We examine how higher ability managers reduce income tax payments and find they engage in greater state tax planning activities, shift more income to foreign tax havens, make more R&D credit claims, and make greater investments in assets that generate accelerated depreciation deductions. Identifying a manager characteristic related to firms' tax policy decisions adds to our understanding of the factors that explain the substantial variation in corporate income tax payments across firms.

---------------------

Industry Window Dressing

Huaizhi Chen, Lauren Cohen & Dong Lou

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore a new mechanism by which investors take correlated shortcuts and present evidence that managers - using sales management - take advantage of these shortcuts. Specifically, we exploit a regulatory provision wherein a firm's primary industry is determined by the highest sales segment. Exploiting this regulation, we provide evidence that investors classify operationally nearly identical firms as starkly different depending on their placement around this sales cutoff. Moreover, managers appear to exploit this by manipulating sales to be just over the cutoff in favorable industries. Further evidence suggests that managers engage in activities to realize large, tangible benefits from this opportunistic action.

---------------------

CEO confidence and stock returns

Rakesh Bharati, Thomas Doellman & Xudong Fu

Journal of Contemporary Accounting & Economics, April 2016, Pages 89-110

Abstract:
Consistent with the theoretical predictions of Goel and Thakor (2008), we find that overconfident CEOs create significant value for the firm through superior stock return performance and take more risk, compared to their non-overconfident counterparts. We also differentiate between innovative and non-innovative industries and find for each subsample that overconfident CEOs create firm value. We find these results even when we control for founder CEOs as they add value and make similar corporate policy decisions as overconfident CEOs. Finally, consistent with the predictions of Goel and Thakor (2008), we find that overconfident CEOs are hired less frequently, take less risk, and add less value after the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, which put in place strict penalties for poor quality information disclosures by corporations. This finding has significant implications for empirical study as this paper provides evidence of the important impact the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has on the relation between CEO overconfidence and firm policies.

---------------------

Excess Pay and Deficient Performance

Mary Ellen Carter et al.

Review of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the link between abnormal CEO compensation and firm performance, asking whether high unexplained compensation relative to several benchmarks is a sign of hard-to-measure but desirable executive attributes or is instead a symptom of unsolved agency problems. We find that abnormally high CEO pay predicts worse future firm performance. Abnormally high compensation that is performance contingent is a less ominous signal about the future success of the firm. But abnormal levels of even performance-contingent compensation predict worse future performance. We conclude that abnormally high CEO pay can be useful as an independent indicator of agency problems.

---------------------

Ending Executive Manipulations of Incentive Compensation

Sureyya Burcu Avci, Cindy Schipani & Nejat Seyhun

Journal of Corporation Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we analyze whether the manipulation of stock options still continues to this day. Our evidence shows that executives continue to employ a variety of manipulative devices to increase their compensation, including backdating, bullet-dodging, and spring-loading. Overall, we find that as a result of these manipulative devices executives are able to increase their compensation by about 6%. We suggest a simple new rule to end all dating games in executive compensation. We propose that all grants of stock options in executive compensation be awarded on a daily pro-rata basis and priced accordingly. This proposal would leave no incentive to game option grant dates or manipulate information flow.

---------------------

Can Changes in the Cost of Carry Explain the Dynamics of Corporate "Cash" Holdings?

José Azar, Jean-François Kagy & Martin Schmalz

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Firms until recently were effectively constrained to hold liquid assets in non-interest-bearing accounts. As a result, the cost of capital of firms' liquid-assets portfolios exceeded the return, especially when the risk-free interest rate was high. The spread between cost and return is the cost of carry. Changes in the cost of carry explain the dynamics of corporate "cash" holdings both in the United States and abroad, and the level of cost of carry explains the level of liquid-asset holdings across countries. We conclude that current US corporate cash holdings are not abnormal in a historical or international comparison.

---------------------

Does Corporate Governance Matter More for High Financial Slack Firms?

Kose John, Yuanzhi Li & Jiaren Pang

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effect of corporate governance may depend on a firm's financial slack. On one hand, financial slack may be spent by managers for their private benefits; a high level is likely associated with severe agency conflicts. Thus corporate governance matters more for high financial slack firms (i.e., the wasteful spending hypothesis). On the other hand, financial slack provides insurance against future uncertainties; a low level may signal deviations from the best interests of shareholders. Then corporate governance is more effective for low financial slack firms (i.e., the precautionary needs hypothesis). We differentiate the two hypotheses using the passage of antitakeover laws to identify exogenous variation in governance. Consistent with the wasteful spending hypothesis, the laws' passage has a larger negative impact on the operating and stock market performance of high financial slack firms. Further analysis shows that these firms do not invest more but become less efficient at cost management after the laws' passage.

---------------------

Proxy Advisory Firms: The Economics of Selling Information to Voters

Andrey Malenko & Nadya Malenko

MIT Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Proxy advisors play an important role by providing investors with research and recommendations on how to vote their shares. This paper examines how proxy advisors affect the quality of corporate decision-making. We analyze a model in which a monopolistic advisor offers to sell information to shareholders, who decide whether to acquire private information and/or buy the advisor's recommendation, and how to cast their votes. We show that the proxy advisor's presence can decrease the quality of decision-making, even if its information is more precise than shareholders' information and no party has a conflict of interest. This is because there is a wedge between privately optimal and socially optimal information acquisition decisions, leading to inefficient crowding out of private information production. We also evaluate several existing proposals on regulating proxy advisors and show that some suggested policies, such as reducing proxy advisors' market power or increasing the transparency of their methodologies, can have a negative effect.

---------------------

CEO Narcissism and the Takeover Process: From Private Initiation to Deal Completion

Nihat Aktas et al.

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, February 2016, Pages 113-137

Abstract:
Chief executive officer (CEO) narcissism affects the takeover process. Acquirer shareholders react less favorably to a takeover announcement when the target CEO is more narcissistic. Narcissistic acquiring CEOs negotiate faster. They are also marginally more likely to initiate deals. Acquirer CEO narcissism and target CEO narcissism are associated with a lower probability of deal completion and reduce the likelihood that the target CEO will be employed by the merged firm. Our findings highlight the importance of both acquirer and target CEO psychological characteristics throughout the takeover process.

---------------------

Are Founder CEOs more Overconfident than Professional CEOs? Evidence from S&P 1500 Companies

Joon Mahn Lee, Byoung-Hyoun Hwang & Hailiang Chen

Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence that founder CEOs of large S&P 1500 companies are more overconfident than their non-founder counterparts ("professional CEOs"). We measure overconfidence via tone of CEO tweets, tone of CEO statements during earnings conference calls, management earnings forecasts, and CEO option-exercise behavior. Compared with professional CEOs, founder CEOs use more optimistic language on Twitter and during earnings conference calls. In addition, founder CEOs are more likely to issue earnings forecasts that are too high; they are also more likely to perceive their firms to be undervalued, as implied by their option-exercise behavior. We provide evidence that, to date, investors appear unaware of this "overconfidence bias" among founders.

---------------------

Passive Investors, Not Passive Owners

Ian Appel, Todd Gormley & Donald Keim

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Passive institutional investors are an increasingly important component of U.S. stock ownership. To examine whether and by which mechanisms passive investors influence firms' governance, we exploit variation in ownership by passive mutual funds associated with stock assignments to the Russell 1000 and 2000 indexes. Our findings suggest that passive mutual funds influence firms' governance choices, resulting in more independent directors, removal of takeover defenses, and more equal voting rights. Passive investors appear to exert influence through their large voting blocs, and consistent with the observed governance differences increasing firm value, passive ownership is associated with improvements in firms' longer-term performance.

---------------------

Extreme CEO pay cuts and audit fees

David Bryan & Terry Mason

Advances in Accounting, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates whether sudden and severe reductions in total CEO compensation affect auditor perceptions of risk. We argue that extreme CEO pay cuts can incentivize the CEO to manipulate the financial reports or make risky operational decisions in a desperate attempt to improve firm performance. This incentive, in turn, is likely to impact auditor assessments of audit risk and auditor business risk, leading to higher audit fees. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find evidence of a positive and highly significant association between extreme CEO pay cuts and audit fees. The results suggest that audit fees are 4.6% higher when there is an extreme CEO pay cut, which corresponds to an audit fee that is $111,458 higher for the average firm-year observation in our sample.

---------------------

Economic Uncertainty and Earnings Management

Luke Stein & Charles Wang

Harvard Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We document that firms report more negative discretionary accruals when financial markets are less certain about their future prospects. Stock-price responses to earnings surprises are moderated when firm-level uncertainty is high, consistent with performance being attributed more to luck, which can create incentives to shift earnings toward lower-uncertainty periods. We show that the resulting opportunistic earnings management is concentrated in CEOs, firms, and periods where such incentives are likely to be strongest: (1) where CEO wealth is sensitive to change in the share price, (2) where announced earnings are particularly likely to be an important source of information about managerial ability and effort, and (3) before implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley made opportunistic earnings management more challenging. Our evidence highlights a novel channel through which firm-level uncertainty affects managerial decision making.

---------------------

Credit risk and governance: Evidence from credit default swap spreads

Evrim Akdoğu & Aysun Alp

Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we examine the effect of shareholder governance mechanisms on the firms' credit risk through credit default swap spreads. Our results suggest that higher antitakeover provisions decrease the price of debt. We find that on average, addition of one antitakeover provision lowers the CDS spread by 3.46 basis points. In addition, we find that this effect is more pronounced for smaller, highly levered, low-rated, and less profitable firms. Since these firms arguably carry a higher financial distress risk, it appears that bondholders favor weaker shareholder governance when the conflict of interest between the shareholders and the bondholders peak.

---------------------

The Disciplinary Effects of Proxy Contests

Vyacheslav Fos

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a manually collected data set of all proxy contests from 1994 through 2012, I show that proxy contests play an important role in hostile corporate governance. Target shareholders benefit from proxy contests: the average abnormal returns reach 6.5% around proxy contest announcements. Proxy contests that address firms' business strategies and undervaluation are most beneficial for shareholders. By contrast, proxy contests that aim at changing capital structure and governance do not lead to higher firm values. Relative to matching firms, future targets are smaller, they have higher stock liquidity, higher institutional and activist ownership, lower leverage and market valuation, and higher investments. Whereas most of these characteristics predict proxy contests in time series, prior to proxy contests, targets also experience poor stock performance, decreases in investments, increases in cash reserves and payouts to shareholders, and increases in management's entrenchment. These changes in corporate policies are consistent with targets' attempts to affect the probability of a proxy contest.

---------------------

The Labor Market for Directors and Externalities in Corporate Governance

Doron Levit & Nadya Malenko

Journal of Finance, April 2016, Pages 775-808

Abstract:
This paper studies how directors' reputational concerns affect board structure, corporate governance, and firm value. In our setting, directors affect their firms' governance, and governance in turn affects firms' demand for new directors. Whether the labor market rewards a shareholder-friendly or management-friendly reputation is determined in equilibrium and depends on aggregate governance. We show that directors' desire to be invited to other boards creates strategic complementarity of corporate governance across firms. Directors' reputational concerns amplify the governance system: strong systems become stronger and weak systems become weaker. We derive implications for multiple directorships, board size, transparency, and board independence.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Parenting

Saving Children, Controlling Families: Punishment, Redistribution, and Child Protection

Frank Edwards

American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study shows that state efforts at child protection are structured by the policy regimes in which they are enmeshed. Using administrative data on child protection, criminal justice, and social welfare interventions, I show that children are separated from their families and placed into foster care far more frequently in states with extensive and punitive criminal justice systems than in states with broad and generous welfare programs. However, large welfare bureaucracies interact with welfare program enrollment to create opportunities for the surveillance of families, suggesting that extensive and administratively complex welfare states engage in "soft" social control through the surveillance and regulation of family behavior. The article further shows that institutionalization, a particularly restrictive form of foster care placement, is least common in states with broad and generous welfare regimes and generally more common under punitive regimes. Taken together, these findings show that policy regimes influence the interaction between families and the state through their proximate effects on family structure and well-being and through institutional effects that delimit the routines and scripts through which policymakers and street-level bureaucrats intervene to protect children.

---------------------

Can parents detect 8- to 16-year-olds' lies? Parental biases, confidence, and accuracy

Angela Evans, Jasmine Bender & Kang Lee

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, July 2016, Pages 152-158

Abstract:
Honesty is a crucial aspect of a trusting parent-child relationship. Given that close relationships often impair our ability to detect lies and are related to a truth bias, parents may have difficulty with detecting their own children's lies. The current investigation examined the lie detection abilities (accuracy, biases, and confidence) of three groups of participants: non-parent group (undergraduates), parent-other group (parents who evaluated other peoples' children's statements), and parent-own group (parents who evaluated their own children's statements). Participants were presented with videos of 8- to 16-year-olds telling either the truth or a lie about having peeked at the answers to a test and were asked to evaluate the veracity of the statement along with their confidence in their judgment. All groups performed at chance in the accuracy of their veracity judgments. Furthermore, although all groups tended to hold a truth bias for 8- to 16-year-olds, the parent-own group held a much stronger truth bias than the other two groups. All groups were also highly confident in their judgments (70%-76%), but confidence ratings failed to predict accuracy. These findings, taken together, suggest that the close relationship that parents share with their own children may be related to a bias toward believing their children's statements and, hence, a failure to detect their lies.

---------------------

Parental Job Loss and Children's Long-Term Outcomes: Evidence from 7 Million Fathers' Layoffs

Nathaniel Hilger

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do parental layoffs and their large attendant income losses affect children's long-term outcomes? This question has proven difficult to answer due to the endogeneity of parental layoffs. I overcome this problem by exploiting the timing of 7 million fathers' layoffs when children are age 12-29 in administrative data for the United States. Layoffs dramatically reduce family income but only slightly reduce college enrollment, college quality and early career earnings. These effects are consistent with a weak estimated propensity to spend on college out of marginal parental income. I find that larger effects based on firm closures stem from selection.

---------------------

Parent gender and child removal in physical abuse and neglect cases

Brandon Crawford & Mindy Bradley

Children and Youth Services Review, June 2016, Pages 224-230

Abstract:
Criminal justice research frequently investigates relationships between punishment decisions and demographic characteristics of the accused, such as gender, race, and age. While there are many similarities between criminal justice and child welfare cases, research on child maltreatment has yet to examine potential demographic influences on case outcomes. The current study examines relationships between parent gender, type of maltreatment, and child removal among agency responses to child maltreatment cases. Using data collected by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), we identify differences in the likelihood of child removal from the parental home across type of maltreatment and perpetrator gender. Our results indicate that mother perpetrators of physical abuse not only face significantly higher likelihood of removal than mother perpetrators of neglect, but are more at risk for losing their children than father perpetrators of both physical abuse and neglect. Findings suggest that gendered attributions and stereotypes regarding parenting can shape assessments of parents' blameworthiness, dangerousness, and rehabilitative potential. We propose that future research on child maltreatment cases adapt and apply justice concepts and frameworks to uncover potential unwarranted demographic disparities in agency decision-making.

---------------------

Sex stereotypes influence adults' perception of babies' cries

David Reby et al.

BMC Psychology, April 2016

Methods: We used playback experiments combining natural and re-synthesised cries of 3 month-old babies to investigate whether the interindividual variation in the fundamental frequency (pitch) of cries affected adult listeners' identification of the baby's sex, their perception the baby's femininity and masculinity, and whether these biases interacted with their perception of the level of discomfort expressed by the cry.

Results: We show that low-pitched cries are more likely to be attributed to boys and high-pitched cries to girls, despite the absence of sex differences in pitch. Moreover, low-pitched boys are perceived as more masculine and high-pitched girls are perceived as more feminine. Finally, adult men rate relatively low-pitched cries as expressing more discomfort when presented as belonging to boys than to girls.

Conclusion: Such biases in caregivers' responses to babies' cries may have implications on children's immediate welfare and on the development of their gender identity.

---------------------

What Predicts Children's Fixed and Growth Intelligence Mind-Sets? Not Their Parents' Views of Intelligence but Their Parents' Views of Failure

Kyla Haimovitz & Carol Dweck

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Children's intelligence mind-sets (i.e., their beliefs about whether intelligence is fixed or malleable) robustly influence their motivation and learning. Yet, surprisingly, research has not linked parents' intelligence mind-sets to their children's. We tested the hypothesis that a different belief of parents - their failure mind-sets - may be more visible to children and therefore more prominent in shaping their beliefs. In Study 1, we found that parents can view failure as debilitating or enhancing, and that these failure mind-sets predict parenting practices and, in turn, children's intelligence mind-sets. Study 2 probed more deeply into how parents display failure mind-sets. In Study 3a, we found that children can indeed accurately perceive their parents' failure mind-sets but not their parents' intelligence mind-sets. Study 3b showed that children's perceptions of their parents' failure mind-sets also predicted their own intelligence mind-sets. Finally, Study 4 showed a causal effect of parents' failure mind-sets on their responses to their children's hypothetical failure. Overall, parents who see failure as debilitating focus on their children's performance and ability rather than on their children's learning, and their children, in turn, tend to believe that intelligence is fixed rather than malleable.

---------------------

Targeted or Universal Coverage? Assessing Heterogeneity in the Effects of Universal Childcare

Michael Kottelenberg & Steven Lehrer

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We extend earlier research evaluating the Quebec Family Policy by providing the first evidence on the distributional effects of universal child care on two specific developmental outcomes. Our analysis uncovers substantial policy relevant heterogeneity in the estimated effect of access to subsidized child care across two developmental score distributions for children from two-parent families. Whereas past research reported findings of negative effects on mothers and children from these families, igniting controversy, our estimates reveal a more nuanced image that formal child care can indeed boost developmental outcomes for children from some households: particularly disadvantaged single-parent households. In addition, we document significant heterogeneity that differs by child gender. We present suggestive evidence that the heterogeneity in policy effects that emerges across child gender and family type is consistent with differences in the home learning environments generated by parents behaviors that are previously present and are shaped by responses to the policy.

---------------------

To trust or not to trust: Social decision-making in post-institutionalized, internationally adopted youth

Clio Pitula et al.

Developmental Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Chronic parental maltreatment has been associated with lower levels of interpersonal trust, and depriving environments have been shown to predict short-sighted, risk-averse decision-making. The present study examined whether a circumscribed period of adverse care occurring only early in life was associated with biases in trust behavior. Fifty-three post-institutionalized (PI) youth, adopted internationally on average by 1 year of age, and 33 never-institutionalized, non-adopted youth (Mage = 12.9 years) played a trust game. Participants decided whether or not to share coins with a different anonymous peer in each trial with the potential to receive a larger number of coins in return. Trials were presented in blocks that varied in the degree to which the peers behaved in a trustworthy (reciprocal) or untrustworthy (non-reciprocal) manner. A comparison condition consisted of a computerized lottery with the same choices and probabilistic risk as the peer trials. Non-adopted comparison youth showed a tendency to share more with peers than to invest in the lottery and tended to maintain their level of sharing across trials despite experiencing trials in which peers failed to reciprocate. In contrast, PI children, particularly those who were adopted over 1 year of age, shared less with peers than they invested in the lottery and quickly adapted their sharing behavior to peers' responses. These results suggest that PI youth were more mistrusting, more sensitive to both defection and reciprocation, and potentially more accurate in their trusting decisions than comparison youth. Results support the presence of a sensitive period for the development of trust in others, whereby conditions early in life may set long-term biases in decision-making.

---------------------

Improved Child Problem Behavior Enhances the Parents' Relationship Quality: A Randomized Trial

Martina Zemp et al.

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although a large body of literature indicates that interparental discord is a primary risk factor for child maladjustment, less research has examined children's behavior as a predictor of the parents' relationship quality. The goal of this randomized trial intervention study was to examine the effects of improved problem behavior in children on the parents' relationship quality 1 year later in a community sample. One hundred couples were randomly assigned to (a) a parenting training (Triple P) or (b) an untreated control group. Interparental relationship quality, parenting behavior, and child problem behavior were assessed by means of questionnaires completed by the parents before and 2 weeks after completion of the treatment and at 6-month and 1-year follow-ups. Mother-report of improved child problem behavior and father-report of improved parenting skills predicted both partners' relationship quality at the 1-year follow-up for the Triple P group only. The findings suggest that programs aimed at reducing child problem behavior hold promise to also enhance the couple's relationship quality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ruling party

The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore the consequences of ethnic partitioning, a neglected aspect of the Scramble for Africa, and uncover the following. First, apart from the land mass and water bodies, split and nonsplit groups are similar across several dimensions. Second, the incidence, severity and duration of political violence are all higher for partitioned homelands which also experience frequent military interventions from neighboring countries. Third, split groups are often entangled in a vicious circle of government-led discrimination and ethnic wars. Fourth, respondents from survey data identifying with split ethnicities are economically disadvantaged. The evidence highlights the detrimental repercussions of the colonial border design.

---------------------

With a little help from my friends: Global electioneering and World Bank lending

Erasmus Kersting & Christopher Kilby

Journal of Development Economics, July 2016, Pages 153–165

Abstract:
This paper investigates how World Bank lending responds to upcoming elections in borrowing countries. We find that investment project loans disburse faster when countries are aligned with the United States in the UN. Moreover, disbursement accelerates in the run-up to competitive executive elections if the government is geopolitically aligned with the U.S. but decelerates if the government is not. These disbursement patterns are consistent with global electioneering that serves U.S. foreign policy interests but jeopardizes the development effectiveness of multilateral lending.

---------------------

The Diverse Effects of Diversity on Democracy

John Gerring, Michael Hoffman & Dominic Zarecki

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Diverse identities coexisting within the same society are often viewed as problematic for economic and political development. This article argues that different types of social diversity have differential effects on regime type. Specifically, ethno-linguistic diversity increases prospects for democracy while religious diversity decreases prospects for democracy. The article presents a variety of reasons why diversity might have divergent causal effects on regime type. Cross-national regressions in a variety of econometric formats – including instrumental variables – provide corroborating evidence for the argument.

---------------------

In the Shadow of the International Criminal Court: Does the ICC Deter Human Rights Violations?

Benjamin Appel

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is responsible for prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Despite the potential for the ICC to deter human rights abuses, scholars and policy makers are divided on the effectiveness of it. This debate, however, is plagued by some important theoretical and empirical limitations. I address the problems in the literature and evaluate whether the ICC can prevent human rights abuses. I argue that the ICC can deter governments from committing human rights violations by imposing a variety of costs on them throughout their investigations that decrease their expected payoffs for engaging in human rights abuses. Across a variety of statistical estimators that account for standard threats to inference and several anecdotes, I find strong support for my theoretical expectations; leaders from states that have ratified the Rome Statute commit lower levels of human rights abuses than nonratifier leaders.

---------------------

Pollution and Regime Support: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Beijing

Meir Alkon & Erik Haixiao Wang

Princeton University Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Using an eight-week long original survey conducted day-by-day in Beijing in 2015, we leverage daily variation in air quality to estimate the causal effects of pollution on support for the Chinese regime. Our results show that pollution undermines the regime's performance legitimacy: it decreases satisfaction with both central and local governments, increases demand for oversight of government, and negatively affects perceptions of economic performance. Additionally, we time our survey to partially coincide with a period during which the government intentionally reduced air pollution, allowing us to exploit a unique instance of authoritarian environmental engineering. We show that government efforts to reduce pollution do successfully improve citizens' evaluations of the regime. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first causal estimates of the challenges to popular support posed by environmental issues in a developing country, and also illustrates the specific ways that public opinion under authoritarian governance is affected by pollution.

---------------------

Does Oil Hinder Democratic Development? A Time-Series Analysis

Kelsey O'Connor, Luisa Blanco & Jeffrey Nugent

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
The resource curse is a topic studied intensively in both economics and political science. Much of the focus is now on whether oil affects democratic institutions. We further the debate through the use of additional measures of democracy and multiple time-series estimation strategies. We find no robust long-run effect of oil rents per capita on Polity, Civil Liberties, or Political Rights. Many comparable studies were restricted to Polity. We also use different country and period samples to respond to the findings that the effects of oil abundance may differ in Latin America, the Middle East, in mature oil producers, or that the effects become significantly negative post-1980. In each case we do not find a significant relationship. Long-run effects are well placed to address this question because they are estimated separately from short-run fluctuations (important given the slow pace of institutional change), and are consistent even in the presence of reverse causality.

---------------------

The Effects of Authoritarian Iconography: An Experimental Test

Sarah Sunn Bush et al.

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do public images of state leaders affect individuals’ political attitudes and behaviors? If so, why do they have that effect and among whom? Authoritarian iconography could increase compliance with and support for the state via three causal mechanisms: legitimacy, self-interest, and coercion. This article uses a laboratory experiment in the United Arab Emirates to evaluate the effect of public images of state leaders on individuals’ compliance with and support for an authoritarian regime. Using a pre-registered research design, it finds no meaningful evidence that authoritarian iconography increases political compliance or support for the Emirati regime. Although these null results may be due to a number of factors, the findings have important implications for the future research agenda on how and why authoritarian leaders use political culture to maintain power.

---------------------

Child soldiers as time bombs? Adolescents’ participation in rebel groups and the recurrence of armed conflict

Roos Haer & Tobias Böhmelt

European Journal of International Relations, June 2016, Pages 408-436

Abstract:
The existent work on child soldiering began only recently to systematically study its consequences, both theoretically and empirically. The following article seeks to contribute to this by examining the impact of rebels’ child soldier recruitment practices during war on the risk of armed conflict recurrence in post-conflict societies. We argue that child soldiering in a previous dispute may increase both the willingness and opportunity to resume fighting in the post-conflict period, while disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes could decrease these aspects of conflict recurrence. Empirically, we analyse time-series cross-section data on post-conflict country-years between 1989 and 2005. The findings highlight that the risk of conflict recurrence does, indeed, increase with child soldiers who fought in an earlier dispute, but — counter-intuitively — is unlikely to be affected by the presence of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in post-conflict societies. This research has important implications for the study of armed conflicts, child soldiering and research on post-conflict stability.

---------------------

Left Behind but Doing Good? Civic Engagement in Two Post-Socialist Countries

Milena Nikolova, Monica Roman & Klaus Zimmermann

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The fall of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe restored ordinary citizens’ rights and freedoms and ended their political and social isolation. While the freedom of movement was quickly embraced, civil society revival lagged due to the eroded civic norms, declining social capital, and worsening economic conditions. In this paper, we examine the link between the out-migration of relatives and friends and the pro-social behavior of the left behinds in two post-socialist countries — Bulgaria and Romania — the EU's poorest, and among the least happy and most corrupt member states. We show that having close contacts abroad is consistently positively associated with civic engagement and that the cultural transmission of norms from abroad could be driving the results. Specifically, the strength of the civic engagement culture of the family or friend's destination matters for the pro-social behavior of respondents in the home countries. Our results imply that the emigration of family and friends may have positive but previously undocumented consequences for the individuals and communities left behind in Bulgaria and Romania. Given civil society's role for development in post-socialist Europe and the socio-economic and institutional challenges that Bulgaria and Romania face compared with the rest of the EU, understanding the channels fostering civil society and well-being are important for national and EU policymakers.

---------------------

Repression and Activism among the Arab Spring’s First Movers: Evidence from Morocco’s February 20th Movement

Adria Lawrence

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why are some people willing to initiate protest against authoritarian regimes? How does repression affect their willingness to act? Drawing on data from the Arab Spring protests in Morocco, this article argues first that activism is passed down from one generation to the next: first movers often came from families that had been punished for opposing the regime in the past. Secondly, repression during the Arab Spring was also counterproductive: those connected to first movers via Facebook supported renewed pro-democracy protests when informed of the regime’s use of repression in 2011. A regime that jails and beats political dissidents creates incentives for its citizens to oppose it; these abuses can come back to haunt the regime long after repression occurs.

---------------------

Preventing and Responding to Dissent: The Observational Challenges of Explaining Strategic Repression

Emily Hencken Ritter & Courtenay Conrad

American Political Science Review, February 2016, Pages 85-99

Abstract:
Although scholarly consensus suggests that dissent causes repression, the behaviors are endogenous: governments and dissidents act in expectation of each other’s behavior. Empirical studies have not accounted well for this endogeneity. We argue that preventive aspects of repression meaningfully affect the relationship between observed dissent and repression. When governments use preventive repression, the best response to dissent that does occur is unclear; observed dissent does not meaningfully predict responsive repression. By contrast, governments that do not engage in ex ante repression will be more likely to do it ex post. We follow U.S. voting scholarship and propose a new instrument to model the endogeneity: rainfall. We couple rainfall data in African provinces and U.S. states with data on dissent and repression and find that dissent fails to have a significant effect on responsive repression in states that engage in preventive repression.

---------------------

From a perpetrator’s perspective: International election observers and post-electoral violence

Hannah Smidt

Journal of Peace Research, March 2016, Pages 226-241

Abstract:
Do international election observers deter or spur violence after election day? This article argues that only when conceptually and empirically distinguishing between violence by governments and opposition groups, can we assess the impact of international election observation. Disaggregating post-electoral violence uncovers that observers can deter governments from using force, but they have the opposite effect on opposition groups. When expecting criticism from observers, opposition leaders can easily deny their responsibility for violence by individual party militants, while weaponry and official insignia betray police and military involvement in violence and force the government to bear command responsibility. Governments also anticipate higher international costs for engaging in post-electoral violence than opposition groups, which are not usually targets of international punishment. On the other hand, international election observers unintentionally incite opposition groups to organize violence, as opposition groups seek to benefit from international attention and support that come with the presence of observers. Observers’ exposure of fraud reverses this differential effect: because governments expect international costs for election rigging anyway, observers cannot deter repression after highly fraudulent elections. But their alertness to electoral malpractice alleviates opposition groups’ incentives for post-electoral violence. Using data on 230 state-wide elections in Africa from 1990 to 2009, the analysis supports the observable implications of this argument. The findings of this article imply that international election observation missions make the post-electoral environment more peaceful when it comes to government repression after non-fraudulent elections. But observers ought to develop greater local expertise to identify opposition grievances before these groups resort to violence and be attentive to the possibility of increased repression after exposing cheating.

---------------------

The Homegrown Threat: State Strength, Grievance, and Domestic Terrorism

Sambuddha Ghatak & Brandon Prins

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars maintain that, similar to insurgency, terrorist violence is precipitated by both relative deprivation and state weakness. Yet aggrieved minority groups within a country should turn to terrorism when they are weak relative to the state rather than strong. Empirical evidence shows minority group discrimination and fragile political institutions to independently increase domestic terror attacks. But it remains unclear whether grievances drive domestic terrorism in both strong and weak states. Using data from 172 countries between 1998 and 2007, we find that for strong states the presence of minority discrimination leads to increased domestic terrorism, while for weak states the presence of minority discrimination actually leads to less domestic terrorism. Consequently, increasing state capacity may not be a panacea for antistate violence, as nonstate actors may simply change their strategy from insurgency or guerrilla warfare to terrorism. Efforts to reduce terrorist violence must focus on reducing grievance by eliminating discriminatory policies at the same time that measures to improve state capacity are enacted.

---------------------

Incentivized Obedience: How a Gentler Israeli Military Prevents Organized Resistance

Erica Weiss

American Anthropologist, March 2016, Pages 91–103

Abstract:
In this article, I offer an ethnographic examination of neoliberal techniques of control through absence by the Israeli military, the state institution most associated with discipline, indoctrination, and direct coercion. I highlight the ways that the apparent withdrawal of the state from practices of indoctrination and the punishment of conscientious objectors are accompanied by a shift in recruitment and training that emphasizes self-advancement and social mobility above national and ideological commitments. While in the past the Israeli state and military focused exclusively on shaping self-sacrificing citizens, today it invests a great deal of its effort in structuring the calculated choices of self-interested individuals toward favorable outcomes. I explore the uneven but strategic deployment of incentivized governance and consider some of the effects of these techniques for the meaning of engaged citizenship and the politics of state violence in a militarized society. Further, I demonstrate that the lightening of disciplinary sanctions in favor of individual freedom is an effective form of weakening dissent and that it confounds efforts to constitute organized resistance to militarism, leaving activists floundering to find effective ways to express their political concerns.

---------------------

Long-Term Exposure to Political Violence: The Particular Injury of Persistent Humiliation

Brian Barber et al.

Social Science & Medicine, May 2016, Pages 154–166

Abstract:
This study assessed the association between exposure to political violence over a 25-year period and adult functioning among a population that has experienced protracted and severe political conflict. Instead of aggregating exposure to political violence across time and type of exposure, as is commonly done, the event history calendar pioneered in this study assessed exposure to five forms of political violence annually from 1987 to 2011 in a representative sample of 1,788 adults, aged 37 on average, in the occupied Palestinian territories (West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip). This method allowed for the identification of trajectories of exposure to political violence from childhood to adulthood using latent profile analysis. We then correlated the trajectories of exposure to measures of economic, political, community, family, psychological, and health functioning. As expected, being shot at, having one’s home raided, being hit or kicked, being verbally abused, and witnessing someone close being humiliated were all elevated during periods of heightened political conflict (the first intifada (1987-1993) and, less so, the second intifada (2000-2005)). In addition, 12% of women and men reported high and persistent levels of exposure to humiliation (being verbally abused and/or witnessing someone close being humiliated) across the entire 25-year period. These individuals lived predominantly in neighborhoods with a high Israeli military presence. Compared to those who experienced periodic exposure to political violence, persistently humiliated men and women reported significantly lower health, economic, political, and psychological functioning, as well as higher social cohesion and political expression. Relevant literatures are reviewed when concluding that persistent humiliation is a neglected form of political violence that is best represented as a direct (versus structural), acute (versus chronic), macro (versus micro), and high-grade (versus low-grade) stressor whose particular injury is due to the violation of individual and collective identity, rights, justice and dignity.

---------------------

Hands Off My Regime! Governments’ Restrictions on Foreign Aid to Non-Governmental Organizations in Poor and Middle-Income Countries

Kendra Dupuy, James Ron & Aseem Prakash

World Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many resource-strapped developing country governments seek international aid, but when that assistance is channeled through domestic civil society, it can threaten their political control. As a result, in the last two decades, 39 of the world’s 153 low- and middle-income countries have adopted laws restricting the inflow of foreign aid to domestically operating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Governments recognize that such laws harm their international reputations for supporting democracy and may invite donor punishment in terms of aid reductions. Yet, they perceive foreign aid to NGOs as supporting political opponents and threatening their grip on power. In the aftermath of competitive electoral victories, governments often take new legal steps to limit these groups’ funding. We test this argument on an original dataset of laws detailing the regulation of foreign aid inflows to domestically operating NGOs in 153 low- and middle-income countries for the period 1993–2012. Using an event history approach, we find that foreign aid flows are associated with an increased risk of restrictive law adoption; a log unit increase in foreign aid raises the probability of adoption by 6.7%. This risk is exacerbated after the holding of competitive elections: the interaction of foreign aid and competitive elections increases the probability of adoption by 11%.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25   Next