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Monday, November 28, 2016

Toppling

When Dictators Die

Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Erica Frantz

Journal of Democracy, October 2016, Pages 159-171

Abstract:
Eleven of the world’s 55 dictators are 69 years old or older and are in varying stages of declining health. At first blush, this paints a hopeful picture for democracy scholars who have documented a slow but steady authoritarian resurgence. Yet this article reveals that the advanced age of 20 percent of the world’s autocrats offers little hope for a reversal of this trend. Rather than creating a space for change, the passing of these leaders will likely leave in place the resilient autocratic systems they created and reinforced. While most leadership transitions generate opportunities for regime change, this article demonstrates that death in office is not one of them.

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Did the Creation of the United Nations Human Rights Council Produce a Better 'Jury'?

Adam Chilton & Robert Golan-Vilella

University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
In 1946, the United Nations (UN) created a body comprised of member states known as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to promote international human rights. The CHR was consistently plagued with accusations that it was a bad “jury” because its members frequently had abhorrent human rights records. To remedy this problem, in 2006 a reform eliminated the CHR and replaced it with a new body with modified membership rules known as the Human Rights Council (HRC). It is not clear, however, whether the 2006 reform was effective. Using data on the human rights practices of all members of the UN and the relevant bodies from 1998 to 2013, we evaluate whether the 2006 reform helped fix the CHR’s membership problem. We find that the human rights records of the members of the HRC are better on average than the records of the CHR’s members were, but that the human rights records of the members of the HRC still are worse than the average UN member not on the HRC.

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Economic Threats or Societal Turmoil? Understanding Preferences for Authoritarian Political Systems

Steven Miller

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some individuals prefer to be governed in an authoritarian political system? One intuitive answer is that citizens prefer authoritarian rule when the economy and society are in turmoil. These are common explanations for democratic backsliding, and the emergence and success of authoritarian leaders in the twentieth century. Which of these explanations better explains preferences for authoritarian rule? Both types of threat coincide in small samples and high-profile cases, creating inferential problems. I address this by using three waves of World Values Survey data to look at individual-level preferences for different forms of authoritarian government. Using multiple macroeconomic and societal indicators, I find that economic threats, especially increasing income inequality, better explain preferences for authoritarian government. I conclude with implications for understanding the emergence of support for authoritarianism in fledgling democracies.

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Why Not Taxation and Representation? A Note on the American Revolution

Sebastian Galiani & Gustavo Torrens

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Why did the most prosperous colonies in the British Empire mount a rebellion? Even more puzzling, why didn't the British agree to have American representation in Parliament and quickly settle the dispute peacefully? At first glance, it would appear that a deal could have been reached to share the costs of the global public goods provided by the Empire in exchange for political power and representation for the colonies. (At least, this was the view of men of the time such as Lord Chapman, Thomas Pownall and Adam Smith.) We argue, however, that the incumbent government in Great Britain, controlled by the landed gentry, feared that allowing Americans to be represented in Parliament would undermine the position of the dominant coalition, strengthen the incipient democratic movement, and intensify social pressures for the reform of a political system based on land ownership. Since American elites could not credibly commit to refuse to form a coalition with the British opposition, the only realistic options were to maintain the original colonial status or fight a full-scale war of independence.

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National Personality Traits and Regime Type: A Cross-National Study of 47 Countries

Joan Barceló

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Domestic theories of democratization emphasize the role of values, interests, and mobilization/opportunities as determinants of regime change. This article takes a step back and develops a model of national personality and democratization to ascertain the indirect effect of national personality traits on worldwide variation of regime type. In particular, I theorize that personality traits influence a country’s regime type by shaping citizens’ traditional and self-expression values, which, in turn, influence the establishment and consolidation of democratic institutions. Data from McCrae and Terracciano’s assessment of the five-factor model from 47 countries allow me to assess this hypothesis empirically. Results reveal that countries whose societies are high in Openness to experience tend to have more democratic institutions, even after adjusting for relevant confounders: economic inequalities, economic development, technological advancement, disease stress, climate demands, and methodological characteristics of the national sample. Although the effect of Extraversion on a country’s democratic institutions is also significantly positive, the inclusion of confounders weakens the reliability of this association. In an exploration of the mechanisms of these associations, a mediation analysis shows that the relationship between national Openness and democratic institutions is channeled through secular and especially self-expression national values. The same analysis with the effect of Extraversion on democracy indicates that the association between this trait and democracy is only channeled through national self-expression values but not national secular values. In short, this article constitutes a first step toward a more complete understanding of the cross-cultural psychological roots of political institutions.

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Human Rights and the Individual: Cross-Cultural Variation in Human Rights Scores, 1980 to 2010

Wade Cole

Social Forces, December 2016, Pages 721-752

Abstract:
This study analyzes patterns of cross-cultural variability and convergence in two categories of human rights: bodily integrity (protection from torture, extrajudicial killing, and other forms of physical repression) and civil liberties (the freedoms of expression, assembly, movement, and religion). Countries are delineated into twelve cultural zones based primarily on predominant religious tradition and secondarily on geographical region. The core hypothesis predicts that respect for bodily integrity rights, which seeks to protect biological beings from physical harm, will vary less across cultures than respect for civil liberties, which empowers social and cultural entities to be self-determining agents. Individuals’ capacity for pain and suffering is thought to be universal, but conceptions of the bounded and autonomous actor are culturally constructed and hence variable across cultures. Statistical analyses support this hypothesis: compared with civil liberties scores, cross-cultural variation in bodily integrity scores is much lower and also less durable in the presence of control variables. Moreover, whereas civil liberties scores are substantially higher in Western countries than in the rest of the world, cross-cultural variability in bodily integrity scores is gradational rather than polarized.

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Guns and Butter? Fighting Violence with the Promise of Development

Gaurav Khanna & Laura Zimmermann

Journal of Development Economics, January 2017, Pages 120–141

Abstract:
There is growing awareness that development-oriented government policies may be an important counterinsurgency strategy, but existing papers are usually unable to disentangle various mechanisms. Using a regression-discontinuity design, we analyze the impact of one of the world's largest anti-poverty programs, India's NREGS, on the intensity of Maoist conflict. We find short-run increases of insurgency-related violence, police-initiated attacks, and insurgent attacks on civilians. We discuss how these results relate to established theories in the literature. One mechanism consistent with the empirical patterns is that NREGS induces civilians to share more information with the state, improving police effectiveness.

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Political Philosophy, Executive Constraint and Electoral Rules

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explains the choice of electoral rule by the difference in the ease of implementing targeted transfer. By modeling the choice of electoral rule as a decision by the ruling rich-elite party before universal suffrage is enacted, this paper predicts that a loose constitutional constraint on targeted transfers is conducive to the adoption of proportional representation. To complete the theory, this work argues that the British empiricism and the Continental rationalism have their own views concerning the role and the power of a state, leading to differential levels of constraints on redistribution. Thus the theory explains why Anglo-Saxon countries tend to maintain majoritarian electoral rule. Employing the event history analysis with the two-stage-residual-inclusion approach, this work shows that countries with poorer executive constraints are more likely to adopt proportional representation. Meanwhile, we find evidence supporting that countries with British origin have been associated with tighter constraint upon the executive.

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The democratic dividend of nonviolent resistance

Markus Bayer, Felix Bethke & Daniel Lambach

Journal of Peace Research, November 2016, Pages 758-771

Abstract:
Research suggests that nonviolent resistance (NVR) campaigns are more successful in deposing dictators than armed rebellions. However, ousting dictators is only the first step in the process of democratization. After deposing an autocratic regime, societies enter a transition phase where they must learn to consolidate the gains of democracy and bargain about the new rules of the democratic regime. But even if free, fair, and competitive elections are held, indicating a successful transition to democratic rule, uncertainty about its stability remains salient. In the period that follows, either democracy survives and proves to be resilient, or an autocratic backslide occurs. In this article, we analyze the effect of NVR campaigns on the survival of democratic regimes. Building on the literature on modes of transitions and nonviolent resistance, we argue that those democratic regimes that come into being as a result of a NVR campaign are less prone to democratic breakdown. The main mechanism which produces this effect is that the organizational culture of NVR campaigns spills over to the subsequent democratic regime fostering conditions favorable for democratic survival. We test the effect of NVR campaigns on democratic regime survival using survival analysis and propensity score matching. The results show that democratic regimes that experience NVR during the transition phase survive substantially longer than regimes without NVR.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Acquainted

Avoiding Extraverts: Pathogen Concern Downregulates Preferences for Extraverted Faces

Mitch Brown & Donald Sacco

Evolutionary Psychological Science, December 2016, Pages 278-286

Abstract:
Past research indicates that salient concerns with infectious disease reduce individuals' self-reporting of extraverted personality trait characteristics, an adaptive response to mitigate exposure to pathogenically threatening conspecifics. Additionally, individuals are capable of accurately inferring another person's level of extraversion from facial cues alone. Extending these findings, we hypothesized that disease concerns should result in a reduced preference for extraverts, as indexed by facial cues, given that such persons may comprise a greater disease threat due to increased contact with a greater number of conspecifics. To test this hypothesis, participants were randomly assigned to either disease or control prime conditions, reported face preferences among face pairs containing target faces manipulated to communicate extraversion or introversion, and indicated dispositional pathogen concerns. Contrary to hypotheses, acute disease activation did not influence face preferences. However, men with dispositionally higher perceived infectability (PI) demonstrated reduced preferences for extraverted female faces, whereas higher PI in women predicted a reduced preference for extraverted male faces. This relationship between higher PI and reduced preferences for extraverted faces provides partial support for the hypothesis that pathogen concerns facilitate stronger preferences for reticent individuals, an adaptive response to mitigate contact with disease vectors.

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Reminders of Social Connection Can Attenuate Anthropomorphism: A Replication and Extension of Epley, Akalis, Waytz, and Cacioppo (2008)

Jennifer Bartz, Kristina Tchalova & Can Fenerci

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is a fundamental human need to secure and sustain a sense of social belonging. Previous research has shown that individuals who are lonely are more likely than people who are not lonely to attribute humanlike traits (e.g., free will) to nonhuman agents (e.g., an alarm clock that makes people get up by moving away from the sleeper), presumably in an attempt to fulfill unmet needs for belongingness. We directly replicated the association between loneliness and anthropomorphism in a larger sample (N = 178); furthermore, we showed that reminding people of a close, supportive relationship reduces their tendency to anthropomorphize. This finding provides support for the idea that the need for belonging has causal effects on anthropomorphism. Last, we showed that attachment anxiety - characterized by intense desire for and preoccupation with closeness, fear of abandonment, and hypervigilance to social cues - was a stronger predictor of anthropomorphism than loneliness was. This finding helps clarify the mechanisms underlying anthropomorphism and supports the idea that anthropomorphism is a motivated process reflecting the active search for potential sources of connection.

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Instantaneous Conventions: The Emergence of Flexible Communicative Signals

Jennifer Misyak, Takao Noguchi & Nick Chater

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans can communicate even with few existing conventions in common (e.g., when they lack a shared language). We explored what makes this phenomenon possible with a nonlinguistic experimental task requiring participants to coordinate toward a common goal. We observed participants creating new communicative conventions using the most minimal possible signals. These conventions, furthermore, changed on a trial-by-trial basis in response to shared environmental and task constraints. Strikingly, as a result, signals of the same form successfully conveyed contradictory messages from trial to trial. Such behavior is evidence for the involvement of what we term joint inference, in which social interactants spontaneously infer the most sensible communicative convention in light of the common ground between them. Joint inference may help to elucidate how communicative conventions emerge instantaneously and how they are modified and reshaped into the elaborate systems of conventions involved in human communication, including natural languages.

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The roles of testosterone and cortisol in friendship formation

Sarah Ketay, Keith Welker & Richard Slatcher

Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research has investigated the neuroendocrine correlates of romantic relationships, the neuroendocrine correlates of friendship formation are largely unexplored. In two conditions, participants' salivary testosterone and cortisol were measured before and after a high versus low closeness activity with another same-sex participant. In the high closeness task, participants took turns answering questions that fostered increases in self-disclosure. The low closeness task fostered low levels of self-disclosure. Dyadic multilevel models indicated that lower basal testosterone and decreases in testosterone were associated with increased closeness between recently acquainted strangers. Our results suggest that people high in testosterone felt less close to others and desired less closeness. Further, lower basal cortisol and dynamic cortisol decreases were associated with greater closeness and desired closeness in the high closeness-induction task. Finally, we found that the partners of those who had lower cortisol desired more closeness. These findings suggest that lower testosterone and cortisol are linked to the facilitation of initial social bonds and that these social bonds may, in turn, are associated with changes in these hormones.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Who you love

Why attractive women want gay male friends: A previously undiscovered strategy to prevent mating deception and sexual exploitation

Eric Russell et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research has begun to elucidate why women form close friendships with homosexual males, little research has investigated individual differences in women's tendency to befriend gay men. Because (1) gay men do not have the motive to mate with women or to compete with them for straight male partners and (2) attractive women are more likely to be sexually and competitively targeted by heterosexual individuals, we hypothesized that attractive women place greater value on gay's men mating advice and are more likely to befriend them. In Study 1, participants indicated their likelihood of deceiving female targets. Results revealed that more attractive targets were more likely to be both sexually deceived by straight men and competitively deceived by women. In Study 2, women created their ideal group of friends by allocating “friend dollars” to individuals of different genders and sexual orientations. More attractive women allocated more dollars to gay male friends, and this outcome was mediated by their perception that gay men would value them beyond sex and could offer them valuable mating advice. These findings suggest that befriending gay men may be an important feature of women's mating strategies, especially among attractive women who face greater mating threats from heterosexual individuals.

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Category Specificity of Self-Reported Sexual Attraction and Viewing Times to Male and Female Models in a Large U.S. Sample: Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Demographic Effects

Richard Lippa

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has documented large and robust sex differences in the category specificity of self-reported sexual attraction and viewing times to men and women, with men showing more polarized responses to the two sexes than women. However, this research has been limited by the use of small and restricted samples. To address this, the current study assessed a representative sample of more than 2800 U.S. adults on demographic and attitudinal variables and on two measures of category specificity: one based on self-reported sexual attraction and the other based on viewing times to male and female swimsuit models. Key findings were replicated. On average, men were considerably more category specific in self-reported sexual attraction and viewing times than women, and this was true for both heterosexual and homosexual participants. Self-identified bisexual and asexual participants tended to be lower on category specificity than other groups. Although demographic and attitudinal factors such as age, ethnicity, state and region of residence, social class, political liberalism-conservatism, and religiousness were sometimes weakly related to category specificity, sex differences in category specificity remained robust despite demographic and attitudinal variation.

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Sexual Orientation in the Labor Market

Trenton Mize

American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most analyses of sexual orientation and earnings find that gay men face a wage gap, whereas lesbian women earn higher wages than similar heterosexual women. However, analyses rarely consider bisexual men and women as a unique group separate from other sexual minorities. I argue that such binary views of sexual orientation — treating sexual minorities as a homogenous non-heterosexual group — have obscured understandings of the impact of sexual orientation on labor market outcomes. Specifically, I predict that unequal outcomes for gay men and lesbian women are partly due to the influence of family arrangements and their effects on earnings. In contrast, I argue that bisexual men and women should be the most disadvantaged in the labor market, due to particularly disadvantaging stereotypes, perceptions of choice to their sexual orientation, and prejudicial treatment. Using data from the General Social Survey (N = 13,554) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 14,714), I show that family arrangements explain some of the observed earnings differentials for gay men and lesbian women. Bisexual men and women, in contrast, face wage penalties that are not explained by human capital differences or occupational characteristics. Perceptions of prejudicial treatment partially explain the observed wage gaps.

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Changes in Reported Sexual Orientation Following US States Recognition of Same-Sex Couples

Brittany Charlton et al.

American Journal of Public Health, December 2016, Pages 2202-2204

Objectives: To compare changes in self-reported sexual orientation of women living in states with any recognition of same-sex relationships (e.g., hospital visitation, domestic partnerships) with those of women living in states without such recognition.

Methods: We calculated the likelihood of women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (n = 69 790) changing their reported sexual orientation between 1995 and 2009.

Results: We used data from the Nurses’ Health Study II and found that living in a state with same-sex relationship recognition was associated with changing one’s reported sexual orientation, particularly from heterosexual to sexual minority. Individuals who reported being heterosexual in 1995 were 30% more likely to report a minority orientation (i.e., bisexual or lesbian) in 2009 (risk ratio = 1.30; 95% confidence interval = 1.05, 1.61) if they lived in a state with any recognition of same-sex relationships compared with those who lived in a state without such recognition.

Conclusions: Policies recognizing same-sex relationships may encourage women to report a sexual minority orientation. Future research is needed to clarify how other social and legal policies may affect sexual orientation self-reports.

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Self-employment, earnings, and sexual orientation

Christopher Jepsen & Lisa Jepsen

Review of Economics of the Household, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although many studies document differences by sexual orientation in earnings and other labor-market outcomes, little is known about differences in self-employment. Our study contributes to both the self-employment literature and sexual-orientation literature by analyzing differences in self-employment rates and earnings by sexual orientation. Gay men are less likely to be self-employed than married men, whereas lesbians are equally likely to be self-employed as married women. We find that gay men earn less than married men. We do find, however, that for those gay men who are self-employed, there is little evidence of a further earnings penalty, at least among full-time workers. Lesbians earn at least as much as married women, but receive no further earnings premium — or penalty — by being self-employed, again among full-time workers.

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Gender differences in recognition of toy faces suggest a contribution of experience

Kaitlin Ryan & Isabel Gauthier

Vision Research, December 2016, Pages 69–76

Abstract:
When there is a gender effect, women perform better than men in face recognition tasks. Prior work has not documented a male advantage on a face recognition task, suggesting that women may outperform men at face recognition generally either due to evolutionary reasons or the influence of social roles. Here, we question the idea that women excel at all face recognition and provide a proof of concept based on a face category for which men outperform women. We developed a test of face learning to measure individual differences with face categories for which men and women may differ in experience, using the faces of Barbie dolls and of Transformers. The results show a crossover interaction between subject gender and category, where men outperform women with Transformers’ faces. We demonstrate that men can outperform women with some categories of faces, suggesting that explanations for a general face recognition advantage for women are in fact not needed.

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Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex With Men

Tony Silva

Gender & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study draws on semistructured interviews with 19 white, rural, straight-identified men who have sex with men to understand how they perceive their gender and sexuality. It is among the first to use straight men’s own narratives, and helps address the underrepresentation of rural masculinities research. Through complex interpretive processes, participants reworked non-normative sexual practices — those usually antithetical to rural masculinities — to construct normative masculinity. Most chose other masculine, white, and straight or secretly bisexual men as partners for secretive sex without romantic involvement. By choosing these partners and having this type of sex, the participants normalized and authenticated their sexual encounters as straight and normatively masculine. The participants engaged in bud-sex, a specific type of male–male sex that reinforced their rural masculinity and heterosexuality. The married men framed sex with men as less threatening to marriage than extramarital sex with women, helping to preserve a part of their lives that they described as central to their straightness. The results highlight the flexibility of heterosexuality; the centrality of heterosexuality to normative rural masculinity; how similar sexual practices carry different meanings across contexts and populations; and the social construction of masculinities and sexualities by age, race, gender, time period, and place.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sales

When It Could Have Been Worse, It Gets Better: How Favorable Uncertainty Resolution Slows Hedonic Adaptation

Yang Yang, Yangjie Gu & Jeff Galak

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Thankfully, most product consumption experiences are positive. Unfortunately, however, those positive experiences are not always guaranteed to occur, and defects creep into the consumer experience. Though its assertion runs counter to most prescriptions, the current research proposes that exposing consumers to the mere possibility of these negative experiences, occurring in a consumption sequence increases consumers' happiness with those experiences overtime. Six studies demonstrate this effect and further show that this effect is driven by hedonic responses as a result of favorable uncertainty resolution. That is, with the mere possibility of a negative experience, a consumer, who actually experiences a positive outcome, is likely to feel relief or pleasantness from not having to experience the negative experience. This research enriches existing literature on hedonic adaptation and uncertainty and has significant implications for consumer behavior.

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Intellectual Property Strategy and the Long Tail: Evidence from the Recorded Music Industry

Laurina Zhang

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Digitization has impacted firm profitability in many media industries by lowering the cost of copying and sharing creative works. I examine the impact of digital rights management (DRM), a prevalent strategy used by firms in media industries to address piracy concerns, on music sales. I exploit a natural experiment, where different labels remove DRM from their entire catalogue of music at different times, to examine whether relaxing an album's sharing restrictions increases sales. Using a large sample of albums from all four major record labels, I find that removing DRM increases digital music sales by 10%, but relaxing sharing restrictions does not impact all albums equally. It increases the sales of lower-selling albums (i.e., the "long tail") significantly (40%) but does not benefit top-selling albums. These results suggest that reducing search costs facilitates the discovery of niche products.

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Keeping an Enemy, Happily!

Mushegh Harutyunyan & Baojun Jiang

Washington University in Saint Louis Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom suggests that more intense competition will lower firms' profits and that a firm will prefer no competition in the market if possible. We consider a market with two quality-differentiated manufacturers selling through independent exclusive retailers. Our analysis shows that a manufacturer and its retailer can actually both become worse off if their competing manufacturer and retailer exit the market. Put differently, more intense competition in the market can be all-win for the manufacturers, the retailers, and the consumers. Interestingly, the high-quality manufacturer can benefit from an increase in its competitor's quality, even if that increase is costless; in other words, a firm may prefer a strong rather than weak enemy. These results suggest that a manufacturer's profit may increase when the perceived quality of its competitor's product increases, e.g., due to favorable product reviews from consumers or third-party rating agencies, and that the manufacturer may have an incentive to help its competitor to improve product quality or to remain in the market.

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Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?

Mathew Isaac & Kent Grayson

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
As defined by Friestad and Wright (1994), persuasion knowledge is personal knowledge about persuasion attempts that consumers develop and use whenever they believe they are targets of persuasion. A significant majority of research on persuasion knowledge has suggested that persuasion knowledge and skepticism invariably go hand in hand, and that accessing persuasion knowledge therefore leads consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering less favorably. Across four studies, the authors demonstrate the novel effect that persuasion knowledge access can lead to greater credibility (rather than greater skepticism), a finding that they argue is theoretically consistent with Friestad and Wright's (1994) Persuasion Knowledge Model. Further, the authors demonstrate that when a persuasive agent uses a credible tactic, persuasion knowledge access can lead consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering more (rather than less) favorably. They also develop and test a new approach for increasing persuasion knowledge access in lab experiments, which can facilitate the investigation of other occasions where persuasion knowledge access increases trust and belief in a persuasive message.

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Can offline stores drive online sales?

Kitty Wang & Avi Goldfarb

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use evidence from store openings by a bricks-and-clicks retailer to examine the drivers of substitution and complementarity between online and offline retail channels. Our evidence supports the coexistence of substitution across channels and complementarity in demand. In places where the retailer has a strong presence, the opening of an offline store is associated with a decrease in online sales and search; however, in places where the retailer does not have a strong presence, the opening of an offline store is associated with an increase in online sales and search. Our evidence suggests that while online and offline may be substitutes in distribution, they are complements in marketing communications. Specifically, the type of marketing communication driving complementarity seems to be information about the existence of the brand. For example, we see a large increase in new customer acquisition and sales, and little difference between fit and feel products and other products. Thus, it is the presence of the store, rather than information about the attributes of the particular products in the store, that drives complementarity.

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Social Learning and Social Spillovers: Evidence from Movie Sales

Ryan Lampe

California State University Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
This paper uses data on exit polling during a movie's opening weekend to test for the presence of both social spillovers and social learning in movie consumption. In the presence of social spillovers, agents will see a movie if a sufficient number of their peers have seen the movie since agents derive utility from sharing the same experiences. In the presence of social learning, agents will see a movie if good word-of-mouth convinces them it is of high-enough quality. Data on 1,875 wide-release movies between 1995 and 2014 reveal evidence of social spillovers for consumers of movies appealing to younger and more mature audiences. However, these data only reveal evidence of social learning for consumers of movies aimed at mature audiences. These findings help to explain the weak relationship between movie quality and advertising expenditures, particularly for movies aimed at younger audiences.

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Phonetic Symbolism and Memory for Advertisements

Marilyn Boltz, Grace Mangigian & Molly Allen

Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated whether phonetic symbolism within brand names influences the memory of advertisements. Participants both saw and heard brand names with front vs. back vowels paired with small vs. large products in a congruent vs. incongruent fashion. When later given several unexpected memory tasks, it was found that congruent (vs. incongruent) pairings led to enhanced brand name and product recall as well as the efficiency of both brand name and paired recognition. These findings are consistent with a theory of cross-modal processing involving perceptual unification.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Here's to your health

Consumers Prefer “Natural” More for Preventatives than for Curatives

Sydney Scott, Paul Rozin & Deborah Small

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Consumers value “naturalness” in some contexts more than others. For example, genetically engineered foods and vaccines are avoided in part due to their perceived unnaturalness, but genetically engineered insulin and synthetic antibiotics are widely accepted. We propose a systematic explanation for variation in the preference for naturalness. Across multiple product categories, we find that natural is more strongly preferred when it is used to prevent a problem than when it is used to cure a problem. This increased preference for natural occurs because natural is perceived as safer and less potent, and when preventing, consumers prefer safer, less potent alternatives. Consistent with this explanation, when natural alternatives are viewed as more risky and more potent, then natural alternatives are more preferred for curing than for preventing. This research sheds light on when the marketing of “natural” can be most appealing to consumers.

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A Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012

Kenneth Langa et al.

JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: We used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative, population-based longitudinal survey of individuals in the United States 65 years or older from the 2000 (n = 10 546) and 2012 (n = 10 511) waves of the HRS.

Results: The study cohorts had an average age of 75.0 years (95% CI, 74.8-75.2 years) in 2000 and 74.8 years (95% CI, 74.5-75.1 years) in 2012 (P = .24); 58.4% (95% CI, 57.3%-59.4%) of the 2000 cohort was female compared with 56.3% (95% CI, 55.5%-57.0%) of the 2012 cohort (P < .001). Dementia prevalence among those 65 years or older decreased from 11.6% (95% CI, 10.7%-12.7%) in 2000 to 8.8% (95% CI, 8.2%-9.4%) (8.6% with age- and sex-standardization) in 2012 (P < .001). More years of education was associated with a lower risk for dementia, and average years of education increased significantly (from 11.8 years [95% CI, 11.6-11.9 years] to 12.7 years [95% CI, 12.6-12.9 years]; P < .001) between 2000 and 2012. The decline in dementia prevalence occurred even though there was a significant age- and sex-adjusted increase between years in the cardiovascular risk profile (eg, prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) among older US adults.

Conclusions and Relevance: The prevalence of dementia in the United States declined significantly between 2000 and 2012. An increase in educational attainment was associated with some of the decline in dementia prevalence, but the full set of social, behavioral, and medical factors contributing to the decline is still uncertain. Continued monitoring of trends in dementia incidence and prevalence will be important for better gauging the full future societal impact of dementia as the number of older adults increases in the decades ahead.

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Shorter lives in stingier states: Social policy shortcomings help explain the US mortality disadvantage

Jason Beckfield & Clare Bambra

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 30–38

Abstract:
The United States has a mortality disadvantage relative to its political and economic peer group of other “rich democracies”. Recently it has been suggested that there could be a role for social policy in explaining this disadvantage. In this paper, we test this ‘social policy’ hypothesis by presenting a time trend analysis from 1970 to 2011 of the association between welfare state generosity (for unemployment insurance, sickness benefits, and pensions) and life expectancy, for the US and 17 other high-income countries. Fixed-effects estimation with autocorrelation-corrected standard errors (robust to unmeasured between-country differences and serial autocorrelation of repeated measures) found strong associations between welfare generosity and life expectancy. A unit increase in overall welfare generosity yields a 0.17 year increase in life expectancy at birth (p < 0.001), and a 0.07 year increase in life expectancy at age 65 (p < 0.001). The strongest effects of the welfare state are in the domain of pension benefits (b = 0.439 for life expectancy at birth, p < 0.001; b = 0.199 for life expectancy at age 65, p < 0.001). Models that lag the measures of social policy by ten years produce similar results, suggesting that the results are not driven by endogeneity bias. There is evidence that the US mortality disadvantage is, in part, a welfare-state disadvantage. We estimate that life expectancy in the US would be approximately 3.77 years longer, if it had just the average social policy generosity of the other 17 OECD nations.

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Can Paid Sick Leave Mandates Reduce Leave-Taking?

Jenna Stearns & Corey White

University of California Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Since 2006, several cities and states have implemented paid sick leave mandates. We examine the effects of paid sick leave mandates in Washington, D.C. (2008) and Connecticut (2011) on leave-taking behavior. After these policies are implemented, there are significant decreases in the aggregate rate of illness-related leave taking, relative to control groups, for both those directly affected and those not directly affected by the policy. Our results suggest that such policies can provide large positive public health externalities by allowing sick workers to stay home rather than coming to work and spreading their illness to customers and coworkers.

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Patterns of allergen sensitization and self-reported allergic disease in parents of food allergic children

Melanie Makhija et al.

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, October 2016, Pages 382–386

Methods: A total of 1,252 mothers and 1,225 fathers of food allergic children answered standardized questionnaires about demographics, home environment, history of atopic diseases, and food allergy. Skin prick testing and sIgE serum tests were performed to 9 foods and 5 aeroallergens.

Results: A total of 66.1% of parents were sensitized to either a food or aeroallergen. Mean sIgE levels were low for all foods tested. A total of 14.5% of mothers and 12.7% of fathers reported current food allergy. Only 28.4% had sensitization to their reported allergen. Fathers had significantly higher rates of sensitization to both foods and aeroallergens (P < .01) than mothers. Logistic regression evaluating predictors of self-reported food allergy revealed statistically significant positive associations in fathers with self-reported asthma, environmental allergy, and eczema. For mothers, significant positive associations were found with environmental allergy and having more than 1 food allergic child.

Conclusion: This cohort of parents of food allergic children found higher rates of sensitization to foods and aeroallergens compared with the general population. However, food sIgE levels were low and correlated poorly with self-reported food allergy. Sex differences in sensitization to foods and aeroallergens were seen.

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Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the USA: A population-based disease burden and cost analysis

Teresa Attina et al.

Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, December 2016, Pages 996–1003

Background: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contribute to disease and dysfunction and incur high associated costs (>1% of the gross domestic product [GDP] in the European Union). Exposure to EDCs varies widely between the USA and Europe because of differences in regulations and, therefore, we aimed to quantify disease burdens and related economic costs to allow comparison.

Methods: We used existing models for assessing epidemiological and toxicological studies to reach consensus on probabilities of causation for 15 exposure–response relations between substances and disorders. We used Monte Carlo methods to produce realistic probability ranges for costs across the exposure–response relation, taking into account uncertainties. Estimates were made based on population and costs in the USA in 2010. Costs for the European Union were converted to US$ (€1=$1.33).

Findings: The disease costs of EDCs were much higher in the USA than in Europe ($340 billion [2.33% of GDP] vs $217 billion [1.28%]). The difference was driven mainly by intelligence quotient (IQ) points loss and intellectual disability due to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (11 million IQ points lost and 43 000 cases costing $266 billion in the USA vs 873 000 IQ points lost and 3290 cases costing $12.6 billion in the European Union). Accounting for probability of causation, in the European Union, organophosphate pesticides were the largest contributor to costs associated with EDC exposure ($121 billion), whereas in the USA costs due to pesticides were much lower ($42 billion).

Interpretation: EDC exposure in the USA contributes to disease and dysfunction, with annual costs taking up more than 2% of the GDP. Differences from the European Union suggest the need for improved screening for chemical disruption to endocrine systems and proactive prevention.

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Misplaced Paternalism and other Mistakes in the Debate over Kidney Sales

Luke Semrau

Bioethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Erik Malmqvist defends the prohibition on kidney sales as a justifiable measure to protect individuals from harms they have not autonomously chosen. This appeal to ‘group soft paternalism’ requires that three conditions be met. It must be shown that some vendors will be harmed, that some will be subject to undue pressure to vend, and that we cannot feasibly distinguish between the autonomous and the non-autonomous. I argue that Malmqvist fails to demonstrate that any of these conditions are likely to obtain. His argument involves two common errors. First, he, like many, proceeds on a mistaken understanding of how to assess harm. What matters is not the balance of costs and benefits of vending, but a comparison of potential vendors’ welfare across two possible courses of action. Second, Malmqvist's concerns about third-party pressure are predicated on an empirically unrealistic understanding of the operation of a regulated market. A widely underappreciated fact is that kidney sales will be relatively rare, and most who try to vend will be unable to. Because pressure on another to vend will not result in the desired outcome, few will exert it.

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Modeling The Economic Burden Of Adult Vaccine-Preventable Diseases In The United States

Sachiko Ozawa et al.

Health Affairs, November 2016, Pages 2124-2132

Abstract:
Vaccines save thousands of lives in the United States every year, but many adults remain unvaccinated. Low rates of vaccine uptake lead to costs to individuals and society in terms of deaths and disabilities, which are avoidable, and they create economic losses from doctor visits, hospitalizations, and lost income. To identify the magnitude of this problem, we calculated the current economic burden that is attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases among US adults. We estimated the total remaining economic burden at approximately $9 billion (plausibility range: $4.7–$15.2 billion) in a single year, 2015, from vaccine-preventable diseases related to ten vaccines recommended for adults ages nineteen and older. Unvaccinated individuals are responsible for almost 80 percent, or $7.1 billion, of the financial burden. These results not only indicate the potential economic benefit of increasing adult immunization uptake but also highlight the value of vaccines. Policies should focus on minimizing the negative externalities or spillover effects from the choice not to be vaccinated, while preserving patient autonomy.

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Evidence for a limit to human lifespan

Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland & Jan Vijg

Nature, 13 October 2016, Pages 257–259

Abstract:
Driven by technological progress, human life expectancy has increased greatly since the nineteenth century. Demographic evidence has revealed an ongoing reduction in old-age mortality and a rise of the maximum age at death, which may gradually extend human longevity1, 2. Together with observations that lifespan in various animal species is flexible and can be increased by genetic or pharmaceutical intervention, these results have led to suggestions that longevity may not be subject to strict, species-specific genetic constraints. Here, by analysing global demographic data, we show that improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100, and that the age at death of the world’s oldest person has not increased since the 1990s. Our results strongly suggest that the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints.

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1970s and ‘Patient 0’ HIV-1 genomes illuminate early HIV/AIDS history in North America

Michael Worobey et al.

Nature, 3 November 2016, Pages 98–101

Abstract:
The emergence of HIV-1 group M subtype B in North American men who have sex with men was a key turning point in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Phylogenetic studies have suggested cryptic subtype B circulation in the United States (US) throughout the 1970s and an even older presence in the Caribbean. However, these temporal and geographical inferences, based upon partial HIV-1 genomes that postdate the recognition of AIDS in 1981, remain contentious and the earliest movements of the virus within the US are unknown. We serologically screened >2,000 1970s serum samples and developed a highly sensitive approach for recovering viral RNA from degraded archival samples. Here, we report eight coding-complete genomes from US serum samples from 1978–1979—eight of the nine oldest HIV-1 group M genomes to date. This early, full-genome ‘snapshot’ reveals that the US HIV-1 epidemic exhibited extensive genetic diversity in the 1970s but also provides strong evidence for its emergence from a pre-existing Caribbean epidemic. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses estimate the jump to the US at around 1970 and place the ancestral US virus in New York City with 0.99 posterior probability support, strongly suggesting this was the crucial hub of early US HIV/AIDS diversification. Logistic growth coalescent models reveal epidemic doubling times of 0.86 and 1.12 years for the US and Caribbean, respectively, suggesting rapid early expansion in each location. Comparisons with more recent data reveal many of these insights to be unattainable without archival, full-genome sequences. We also recovered the HIV-1 genome from the individual known as ‘Patient 0’ and found neither biological nor historical evidence that he was the primary case in the US or for subtype B as a whole. We discuss the genesis and persistence of this belief in the light of these evolutionary insights.

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Eradicating infectious disease using weakly transmissible vaccines

Scott Nuismer et al.

Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 26 October 2016

Abstract:
Viral vaccines have had remarkable positive impacts on human health as well as the health of domestic animal populations. Despite impressive vaccine successes, however, many infectious diseases cannot yet be efficiently controlled or eradicated through vaccination, often because it is impossible to vaccinate a sufficient proportion of the population. Recent advances in molecular biology suggest that the centuries-old method of individual-based vaccine delivery may be on the cusp of a major revolution. Specifically, genetic engineering brings to life the possibility of a live, transmissible vaccine. Unfortunately, releasing a highly transmissible vaccine poses substantial evolutionary risks, including reversion to high virulence as has been documented for the oral polio vaccine. An alternative, and far safer approach, is to rely on genetically engineered and weakly transmissible vaccines that have reduced scope for evolutionary reversion. Here, we use mathematical models to evaluate the potential efficacy of such weakly transmissible vaccines. Our results demonstrate that vaccines with even a modest ability to transmit can significantly lower the incidence of infectious disease and facilitate eradication efforts. Consequently, weakly transmissible vaccines could provide an important tool for controlling infectious disease in wild and domestic animal populations and for reducing the risks of emerging infectious disease in humans.

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Prenatal paracetamol exposure is associated with shorter anogenital distance in male infants

B.G. Fisher et al.

Human Reproduction, November 2016, Pages 2642-2650

Study question: What is the relationship between maternal paracetamol intake during the masculinisation programming window (MPW, 8–14 weeks of gestation) and male infant anogenital distance (AGD), a biomarker for androgen action during the MPW?

Study design, size, duration: Prospective cohort study (Cambridge Baby Growth Study), with recruitment of pregnant women at ~12 post-menstrual weeks of gestation from a single UK maternity unit between 2001 and 2009, and 24 months of infant follow-up. Of 2229 recruited women, 1640 continued with the infancy study after delivery, of whom 676 delivered male infants and completed a medicine consumption questionnaire.

Participants/materials, setting, method: Mothers self-reported medicine consumption during pregnancy by a questionnaire administered during the perinatal period. Infant AGD (measured from 2006 onwards), penile length and testicular descent were assessed at 0, 3, 12, 18 and 24 months of age, and age-specific Z scores were calculated. Associations between paracetamol intake during three gestational periods (<8 weeks, 8–14 weeks and >14 weeks) and these outcomes were tested by linear mixed models. Two hundred and twenty-five (33%) of six hundred and eighty-one male infants were exposed to paracetamol during pregnancy, of whom sixty-eight were reported to be exposed during 8–14 weeks. AGD measurements were available for 434 male infants.

Main results and the role of chance: Paracetamol exposure during 8–14 weeks of gestation, but not any other period, was associated with shorter AGD (by 0.27 SD, 95% CI 0.06–0.48, P = 0.014) from birth to 24 months of age. This reduction was independent of body size. Paracetamol exposure was not related to penile length or testicular descent.

Wider implications of the findings: Our observational findings support experimental evidence that intrauterine paracetamol exposure during the MPW may adversely affect male reproductive development.

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Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial

Elise Labonte-Lemoyne, Daniel Curnier & Dave Ellemberg

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accumulating research indicates that the regular practice of physical exercise is beneficial to the human brain. From the improvement of academic achievement in children to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly, exercise appears beneficial across the developmental spectrum. Recent work from animal studies also indicates that a pregnant mother can transfer the benefits of exercise during gestation to her offspring’s brain. Exercising pregnant rats give birth to pups that have better memory and spatial learning as well as increased synaptic density. To investigate whether this transfer from the pregnant mother to her child also occurs in humans, we conducted a randomized controlled trial (n = 18) and measured the impact of exercise during pregnancy on the neuroelectric response of the neonatal brain with electroencephalography (EEG). Here we show that, compared to the newborns of mothers who were inactive during their pregnancy, the children of exercising pregnant women are born with more mature brains. This was measured with the infant slow positive mismatch response (SPMMR), an electroencephalographic potential known to decrease in amplitude with age. The SPMMR reflects processes associated with brain maturation via its response to sound discrimination and auditory memory. In this study, the children of the mothers who exercised throughout their pregnancy have a smaller SPMMR than the children of mothers who remained sedentary (p = .019). Our results demonstrate the impact regular exercise during pregnancy can have on the development of the human fetal brain.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What a mess

The political roots of domestic environmental sabotage

Benjamin Farrer & Graig Klein

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we demonstrate that when environmentalist niche parties compete in a given constituency over a number of elections, but continually fail to win seats, then environmental sabotage becomes more frequent in that constituency. When mainstream tactics fail, radical tactics are used more frequently. Using a new data-set on the success rates of all Green Party candidates in US states, we show that environmental sabotage occurs more often when Green Party candidates fail to win even minor offices. This is true even when we control for other political expressions of environmentalism, such as interest group activity, and when we define ‘success’ through votes not seats. We discuss the implications of this for environmental politics, for social movements and democracy, and for political violence in the US.

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The Effect of Air Pollution on Investor Behavior: Evidence from the S&P 500

Anthony Heyes, Matthew Neidell & Soodeh Saberian

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We provide detailed empirical evidence of a direct effect of air pollution on the efficient operation of the New York Stock Exchange, linking short-term variations in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Manhattan to movements in the S&P 500. The effects are substantial – a one standard deviation increases in ambient PM2.5 reduces same-day returns by 11.9% in our preferred specification – and remarkably robust to a variety of specifications and a battery of robustness and falsification checks. Furthermore, the intra-day effects that we observe are difficult to reconcile with competing hypotheses. Despite investors being dispersed geographically we find strong evidence that the effect is strictly local in nature, consistent with the high concentration of market influencers in New York. While we are agnostic as to the underlying mechanism, we provide evidence suggestive of the role of decreased risk tolerance operating through pollution-induced changes in mood or cognitive function.

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Coal Mining and the Resource Curse in the Eastern United States

Stratford Douglas & Anne Walker

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We measure the effect of resource-sector dependence on long-run income growth using the natural experiment of coal mining in 409 Appalachian counties selected for homogeneity. Using a panel data set (1970–2010), we find a one standard deviation increase in resource dependence is associated with 0.5–1 percentage point long-run and a 0.2 percentage point short-run decline in the annual growth rate of per capita personal income. We also measure the extent to which the resource curse operates through disincentives to education, and find significant effects, but this “education channel” explains less than 15 percent of the apparent curse.

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Does Craigslist Reduce Waste? Evidence from California and Florida

Anders Fremstad

Ecological Economics, February 2017, Pages 135–143

Abstract:
There is much discussion but little research on the environmental impacts of online platforms associated with the sharing economy. Economic theory suggests that falling transaction costs in secondhand markets increase incentives for people to exchange rather than discard used goods. This paper uses difference-in-difference methods to estimate Craigslist's effect on solid waste by exploiting a natural experiment in how the platform expanded across California and Florida. The econometric results suggest that Craigslist reduced daily per capita solid waste generation by about one third of a pound, though the estimates are not very precise. A plausibility analysis of the weight of items posted on Craigslist concludes that the 200 million annual for-sale posts created by Californians and Floridians can reasonably account for waste reductions of roughly this magnitude.

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Vehicle miles (not) traveled: Fuel economy requirements, vehicle characteristics, and household driving

Jeremy West et al.

Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A major concern with addressing the negative externalities of gasoline consumption by regulating fuel economy, rather than increasing fuel taxes, is that households respond by driving more. This paper exploits a discrete threshold in the eligibility for Cash for Clunkers to show that fuel economy restrictions lead households to purchase vehicles that have lower cost-per-mile, but are also smaller and lower-performance. Whereas the former effect can increase driving, the latter effect can reduce it. Results indicate that these households do not drive more, suggesting that behavioral responses do not necessarily undermine the effectiveness of fuel economy restrictions at reducing gasoline consumption.

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The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction

Tatyana Deryugina et al.

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of acute air pollution exposure on mortality, life-years lost, and health care utilization among the US elderly. We address endogeneity and measurement error using a novel instrument for air pollution that strongly predicts changes in fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentrations: changes in the local wind direction. Using detailed administrative data on the universe of Medicare beneficiaries, we find that an increase in daily PM 2.5 concentrations increases three-day county-level mortality, hospitalizations, and inpatient spending, and that these effects are not explained by co-transported pollutants like ozone and carbon monoxide. We then develop a new methodology to estimate the number of life-years lost due to PM 2.5. Our estimate is much smaller than one calculated using traditional methods, which do not adequately account for the relatively low life expectancy of those killed by pollution. Heterogeneity analysis reveals that life-years lost due to PM 2.5 varies inversely with individual life expectancy, indicating that unhealthy individuals are disproportionately vulnerable to air pollution. However, the largest aggregate burden is borne by those with medium life expectancy, who are both vulnerable and comprise a large share of the elderly population.

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Family Structure, Residential Mobility, and Environmental Inequality

Liam Downey, Kyle Crowder & Robert Kemp

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study combines micro-level data on families with children from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with neighborhood-level census and industrial hazard data to examine the association between family structure and residential proximity to neighborhood pollution. Results indicate the existence of significant family structure differences in household proximity to industrial pollution in U.S. metropolitan areas between 1990 and 1999, with single mother and single-father families experiencing neighborhood pollution levels that are on average 46% and 26% greater, respectively, than those experienced by two-parent families. Moreover, the pollution gap between single mother and two-parent families persists with controls for household and neighborhood race, ethnic, socioeconomic, and sociodemographic characteristics. Examination of underlying migration patterns reveals that single-mother, single-father, and two-parent families are equally likely to move in response to pollution but that mobile single-parent families move into neighborhoods with significantly higher pollution levels than do mobile two parent families.

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U.S. Environmental Policy Implementation on Tribal Lands: Trust, Neglect, and Justice

Manuel Teodoro, Mellie Haider & David Switzer

Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the implementation of U.S. environmental protection laws under American Indian tribal governance. The landmark laws of the 1970s that form the core of America's environmental policy regime made no mention of American Indian tribal lands, and the subsequent research literature on environmental policy has given them little attention. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has primary implementation responsibility for environmental protection laws on tribal lands, which offers a unique opportunity to study direct federal implementation apart from typical joint state–federal implementation. Further, because Indian reservations are homes to a disproportionately poor, historically subjugated racial group, analysis of environmental programs on tribal lands offers a unique perspective on environmental justice. We analyze enforcement of and compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to compare the implementation of environmental policy on tribal lands with nontribal facilities. Analysis reveals that, compared with nontribal facilities, tribal facilities experience less rigorous CWA and SDWA enforcement and are more likely to violate these laws.

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Potentially Induced Earthquakes during the Early Twentieth Century in the Los Angeles Basin

Susan Hough & Morgan Page

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies have presented evidence that early to mid‐twentieth‐century earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas were likely induced by fossil fuel production and/or injection of wastewater (Hough and Page, 2015; Frohlich et al., 2016). Considering seismicity from 1935 onward, Hauksson et al. (2015) concluded that there is no evidence for significant induced activity in the greater Los Angeles region between 1935 and the present. To explore a possible association between earthquakes prior to 1935 and oil and gas production, we first revisit the historical catalog and then review contemporary oil industry activities. Although early industry activities did not induce large numbers of earthquakes, we present evidence for an association between the initial oil boom in the greater Los Angeles area and earthquakes between 1915 and 1932, including the damaging 22 June 1920 Inglewood and 8 July 1929 Whittier earthquakes. We further consider whether the 1933 Mw 6.4 Long Beach earthquake might have been induced, and show some evidence that points to a causative relationship between the earthquake and activities in the Huntington Beach oil field. The hypothesis that the Long Beach earthquake was either induced or triggered by an foreshock cannot be ruled out. Our results suggest that significant earthquakes in southern California during the early twentieth century might have been associated with industry practices that are no longer employed (i.e., production without water reinjection), and do not necessarily imply a high likelihood of induced earthquakes at the present time.

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Large numbers of vertebrates began rapid population decline in the late 19th century

Haipeng Li et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accelerated losses of biodiversity are a hallmark of the current era. Large declines of population size have been widely observed and currently 22,176 species are threatened by extinction. The time at which a threatened species began rapid population decline (RPD) and the rate of RPD provide important clues about the driving forces of population decline and anticipated extinction time. However, these parameters remain unknown for the vast majority of threatened species. Here we analyzed the genetic diversity data of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 2,764 vertebrate species and found that the mean genetic diversity is lower in threatened species than in related nonthreatened species. Our coalescence-based modeling suggests that in many threatened species the RPD began ∼123 y ago (a 95% confidence interval of 20–260 y). This estimated date coincides with widespread industrialization and a profound change in global living ecosystems over the past two centuries. On average the population size declined by ∼25% every 10 y in a threatened species, and the population size was reduced to ∼5% of its ancestral size. Moreover, the ancestral size of threatened species was, on average, ∼22% smaller than that of nonthreatened species. Because the time period of RPD is short, the cumulative effect of RPD on genetic diversity is still not strong, so that the smaller ancestral size of threatened species may be the major cause of their reduced genetic diversity; RPD explains 24.1–37.5% of the difference in genetic diversity between threatened and nonthreatened species.

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Accounting For Heterogeneous Private Risks In The Provision Of Collective Goods: Controversial Compulsory Contracting Institutions In Horizontal Hydrofracturing

Benjamin Farrer, Robert Holahan & Olga Shvetsova

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2017, Pages 138–150

Abstract:
Common pool resources are frequently analyzed with a simple template: the problem is the tragedy of the commons, and the solution is political institutions. Thus the tragedy of the commons is resolved by governing the commons. In this paper we argue that there is also the possibility of a tragedy of governing the commons. If political institutions lock participants into a certain pattern of resource use, and then there is an exogenous shock − say, a technological change − that increases the risks to one group, then the situation may no longer be a classic common-pool situation and institutions may actually exacerbate, rather than ameliorate distributional conflict. We develop a general model showing that whenever there is heterogeneity in private risks, some technological innovation could potentially turn a previously stable institution into a source of conflict. We take the compelling recent example of horizontal hydrofracturing changing the welfare implications of the institution of compulsory pooling, and use a new individual-level dataset of landowners affected by compulsory pooling in New York to demonstrate the empirical support for our model.

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Is Decoupling GDP Growth from Environmental Impact Possible?

James Ward et al.

PLoS ONE, October 2016

Abstract:
The argument that human society can decouple economic growth — defined as growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — from growth in environmental impacts is appealing. If such decoupling is possible, it means that GDP growth is a sustainable societal goal. Here we show that the decoupling concept can be interpreted using an easily understood model of economic growth and environmental impact. The simple model is compared to historical data and modelled projections to demonstrate that growth in GDP ultimately cannot be decoupled from growth in material and energy use. It is therefore misleading to develop growth-oriented policy around the expectation that decoupling is possible. We also note that GDP is increasingly seen as a poor proxy for societal wellbeing. GDP growth is therefore a questionable societal goal. Society can sustainably improve wellbeing, including the wellbeing of its natural assets, but only by discarding GDP growth as the goal in favor of more comprehensive measures of societal wellbeing.

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Environmental Jobs and Growth in the United States

Robert Elliott & Joanne Lindley

Ecological Economics, February 2017, Pages 232–244

Abstract:
Green growth is increasingly being seen as a means of simultaneously meeting current and future climate change obligations and reducing unemployment. This paper uses detailed industry-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Green Goods and Services survey to examine how the provision of so-called green goods and services has affected various aspects of the US economy. Our descriptive results reveal that those states and industries that were relatively green in 2010 became even greener in 2011. To investigate further we include green goods and services in a production function. The results show that between 2010 and 2011 industries that have increased their share of green employment have reduced their productivity although this negative correlation was only for the manufacture of green goods and not for the supply of green services. In further analysis we investigate skill-technology complementarities in the production of green goods and services and show that industries that increased their provision of green goods and services grew more slowly, reduced their expenditure on technology inputs and increased their demand for medium educated workers, whilst simultaneously reducing their demand for lower skilled workers.

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Egregiousness and Boycott Intensity: Evidence from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Zhongmin Wang, Alvin Lee & Michael Polonsky

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumer boycotts are triggered by egregious events, but the literature has not distinguished the level of egregiousness from consumers’ preferences or disutility associated with a given level of egregiousness, nor has the literature studied how these two components of egregiousness affect boycott intensity. We provide a model of market-level boycotts that distinguishes the two egregiousness components. Consistent with the predictions of our model, the market-level intensity of consumer boycotting of BP-branded gasoline, which was triggered by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, increased with the spill’s egregiousness level, approximated by the officially reported daily amount of oil leaked into the ocean and by other measures (i.e., the duration of the spill and the intensity of media coverage), and with consumers’ disutility from egregiousness, approximated by an area’s environmentalism and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Regulation of Combination: The Implications of Combining Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection

JoyAnna Hopper

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 15 American states, environmental protection agencies perform both pollution-control and natural resource conservation functions. In this study, I examine how this combination of functions affects the regulatory style embraced by these agencies. I find, through interviews with environmental agency workers and empirical analyses using enforcement data from 2010 to 2014, that the cooperation and flexibility with industry inherent to natural resource conservation efforts is a fundamental part of the regulatory process within these combined agencies. Great efforts are made to garner voluntary or negotiated compliance without the possible economic consequences of punitive actions. Enforcements are less frequent and less severe. The effect of this agency design choice is powerful, maintaining its effect even when controlling for political, ideological, and economical pressures. In a time where environmental protection agencies are increasingly interested in incorporating management-based regulation and voluntary compliance to supplement command and control regulation, it is more important than ever to understand the regulation that emerges from this combination.

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Temporal displacement of environmental crime. Evidence from marine oil pollution

Ben Vollaard

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence for temporal displacement of illegal discharges of oil from shipping, a major source of ocean pollution, in response to a monitoring technology that features variation in the probability of conviction by time of day. During the nighttime, evidence collected by Coast Guard aircraft using radar becomes contestable in court because the nature of an identified spot cannot be verified visually by an observer on board of the aircraft. Seasonal variation in time of sunset is used to distinguish evasive behavior from daily routines on board. Using data from surveillance flights above the Dutch part of the North Sea during 1992–2011, we provide evidence for a sudden increase in illegal discharges right after sunset across the year. Our results show that even a tiny chance of getting caught and a mild punishment can have a major impact on behavior.

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Too Burdensome to Bid: Transaction Costs and Pay-for-Performance Conservation

Leah Palm-Forster et al.

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, October 2016, Pages 1314-1333

Abstract:
In a world free of transaction costs, reverse auctions have the potential to cost-effectively allocate payment for environmental service contracts by targeting projects that provide the most benefit per dollar spent. However, auctions only succeed if enough farmers choose to bid so that the auctioneer can evaluate numerous projects for targeted funding. A 2014 conservation auction to allocate payments for practices that reduce phosphorus runoff in Northwest Ohio experienced very thin bidding. According to a follow-up survey, auction participation was deterred by the perceived complexity of the bidding process and the need to negotiate with renters. Due to low participation, the actual conservation auction made payments for phosphorus reduction that were surprisingly costly at the margin. Applying a farmer behavioral model to the Western Lake Erie Basin, we simulate participation choice and cost-effectiveness of environmental outcomes in reverse auctions and uniform payment conservation programs. Results reveal that when perceived transaction costs of bid preparation are high, reverse auctions can be less cost-effective than spatially targeted, uniform payment programs that attract higher participation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Race problems

Segregation by race and income in the United States 1970-2010

Jake Intrator, Jonathan Tannen & Douglas Massey

Social Science Research, November 2016, Pages 45-60

Abstract:
A systematic analysis of residential segregation and spatial interaction by income reveals that as income rises, minority access to integrated neighborhoods, higher levels of interaction with whites, and more affluent neighbors also increase. However, the income payoffs are much lower for African Americans than other groups, especially Asians. Although Hispanics and Asians have always displayed declining levels of minority-white dissimilarity and rising levels of minority-white interaction with rising income, income differentials on these outcomes for blacks did not appear until 1990 and since then have improved at a very slow pace. Given their higher overall levels of segregation and income's limited effect on residential attainment, African Americans experience less integration, more neighborhood poverty at all levels of income compared to other minority groups. The degree of black spatial disadvantage is especially acute in the nation's 21 hypersegregated metropolitan areas.

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The Race Gap in Wait Times: Why Minority Precincts are Underserved by Local Election Officials

Stephen Pettigrew

Political Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper I demonstrate that voting precincts in mostly minority neighborhoods have an average wait time that is twice as long as the wait in a mostly white neighborhood. Minority voters are also six times more likely than whites to wait longer than 60 minutes to vote. I show that most of this racial gap can be explained by how local election officials handle white and non-white precincts differently. The biggest of these differences is that, within an election administration jurisdiction (either county or town), white precincts tend to receive more resources - like voting machines and poll workers - per voter than minority ones. White precincts tend to have 20 fewer voters per voting machine and 90 fewer voters per poll worker than minority precincts. The findings of this paper suggest way forward for improving the voting experience for the 3.5 million voters who waited more than an hour in 2012.

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Far From Fairness: Prejudice, Skin Color, and Psychological Functioning in Asian Americans

Alisia Tran et al.

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objectives: We explored the moderating role of observed skin color in the association between prejudice and concurrent and lagged psychological functioning (i.e., depression, ingroup/outgroup psychological connectedness). We further aimed to understand gender differences in these processes.

Method: Data from 821 Asian American undergraduate students (57.5% female and 42.5% male) were drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshman. Cross-sectional and longitudinal regression-based moderation models were conducted with PROCESS 2.13 for SPSS.

Results: Lighter skin color nullified the association between prejudice and recent depression for Asian American females. This moderating effect did not hold over time with regards to depression symptoms 1 year later. Additionally, prejudice predicted psychological distance to other Asian students 1 year later among females rated as lighter in skin color, whereas prejudice was tied to psychological closeness for females with darker skin ratings.

Conclusions: Results highlight skin color as a pertinent factor relevant to the short-term and long-term mental health and social experiences of Asian American women in particular.

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Blacks' Death Rate Due to Circulatory Diseases Is Positively Related to Whites' Explicit Racial Bias: A Nationwide Investigation Using Project Implicit

Jordan Leitner et al.

Psychological Science, October 2016, Pages 1299-1311

Abstract:
Perceptions of racial bias have been linked to poorer circulatory health among Blacks compared with Whites. However, little is known about whether Whites' actual racial bias contributes to this racial disparity in health. We compiled racial-bias data from 1,391,632 Whites and examined whether racial bias in a given county predicted Black-White disparities in circulatory-disease risk (access to health care, diagnosis of a circulatory disease; Study 1) and circulatory-disease-related death rate (Study 2) in the same county. Results revealed that in counties where Whites reported greater racial bias, Blacks (but not Whites) reported decreased access to health care (Study 1). Furthermore, in counties where Whites reported greater racial bias, both Blacks and Whites showed increased death rates due to circulatory diseases, but this relationship was stronger for Blacks than for Whites (Study 2). These results indicate that racial disparities in risk of circulatory disease and in circulatory-disease-related death rate are more pronounced in communities where Whites harbor more explicit racial bias.

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Racial bias is associated with ingroup death rate for Blacks and Whites: Insights from Project Implicit

Jordan Leitner et al.

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 220-227

Method: We compiled racial bias responses from 250,665 Blacks and 1,391,632 Whites to generate county-level estimates of Blacks' and Whites' implicit and explicit biases towards each other. We then examined the degree to which these biases predicted ingroup death rate from circulatory-related diseases.

Results: In counties where Blacks harbored more implicit bias towards Whites, Blacks died at a higher rate. Additionally, consistent with previous research, in counties where Whites harbored more explicit bias towards Blacks, Whites died at a higher rate. These links between racial bias and ingroup death rate were independent of county-level socio-demographic characteristics, and racial biases from the outgroup in the same county.

Conclusion: Findings indicate that racial bias is related to negative ingroup health outcomes for both Blacks and Whites, though this relationship is driven by implicit bias for Blacks, and explicit bias for Whites.

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Moving Toward Integration? Effects of Migration on Ethnoracial Segregation Across the Rural-Urban Continuum

Richelle Winkler & Kenneth Johnson

Demography, August 2016, Pages 1027-1049

Abstract:
This study analyzes the impact of migration on ethnoracial segregation among U.S. counties. Using county-level net migration estimates by age, race, and Hispanic origin from 1990-2000 and 2000-2010, we estimate migration's impact on segregation by age and across space. Overall, migration served to integrate ethnoracial groups in both decades, whereas differences in natural population change (increase/decrease) would have increased segregation. Age differences, however, are stark. Net migration of the population under age 40 reduced segregation, while net migration of people over age 60 further segregated people. Migration up and down the rural-urban continuum (including suburbanization among people of color) did most to decrease segregation, while interregional migration had only a small impact. People of color tended to move toward more predominantly white counties and regions at all ages. Migration among white young adults (aged 20-39) also decreased segregation. Whites aged 40 and older, however, showed tendencies toward white flight. Moderate spatial variation suggests that segregation is diminishing the most in suburban and fringe areas of several metropolitan areas in the Northeast and Midwest, while parts of the South, Southwest, and Appalachia show little evidence of integration.

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Reconsidering residential mobility: Differential effects on child wellbeing by race and ethnicity

Kristin Perkins

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Residential mobility is a common experience among Americans, especially children. Most previous research finds residential mobility has negative effects on children's educational attainment, delinquency, substance abuse, and physical and mental health. Previous research, however, does not fully explore whether the effect of mobility differs by child race/ethnicity, in part because many of the samples used for these studies were majority white or exclusively non-white or disadvantaged. In addition, previous research rarely fully accounts for factors that predict selection into mobility and that may also be related to the outcome of interest. This study simultaneously addresses both of these limitations by estimating the effect of moving homes on children's emotional and behavioral wellbeing using first difference models and a diverse longitudinal sample from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. I find that, after controlling for a wide range of individual, caregiver, household and neighborhood characteristics, the effects of moving among African American and Latino children are significantly worse than among white children.

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Symbolic Racism, Institutional Bias, and Welfare Drug Testing Legislation: Racial Biases Matter

Chris Ledford

Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the devolution of welfare policymaking to the states after the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, there has been contentious debate about drug testing welfare applicants. Beyond elite rhetoric and debate points about the implications of welfare drug testing, extant research remains limited insofar as providing theoretical understanding about what factors influence state proposal of legislation requiring welfare applicants to submit to drug tests. I develop and test expectations that derive from research on welfare attitudes, social construction theory, and policy design - specifically, hypotheses that the proportion of blacks on state temporary assistance for needy families caseloads, as well as state-aggregate levels of symbolic racism, significantly influence state proposal of drug testing legislation. My multilevel analysis of every state proposal of welfare drug testing legislation from 2008 to 2014 yields strong evidence in support of these hypotheses and paints a more complete picture of the influence of racial attitudes on state welfare policymaking. Specifically, while much research finds evidence of institutional racial biases in the implementation of welfare policy, the evidence presented herein shows that these biases, as well as public biases, influence policymaking at the proposal stage. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of recent significant electoral gains made by Republicans in state legislatures.

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Differences in placental telomere length suggest a link between racial disparities in birth outcomes and cellular aging

Christopher Jones et al.

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, forthcoming

Background: Health disparities begin early in life and persist across the life course. Despite current efforts Black women exhibit greater risk for pregnancy complications and negative perinatal outcomes compared to White women. The placenta, a complex multi-tissue organ, serves as the primary transducer of bidirectional information between the mother and fetus. Altered placental function is linked to multiple racially disparate pregnancy complications, however little is known about racial differences in molecular factors within the placenta. Several pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction, exhibit racial disparities and are associated with shorter placental telomere length, an indicator of cellular stress and aging. Cellular senescence and telomere dynamics are linked to the molecular mechanisms associated with the onset of labor and parturition. Further, racial differences in telomere length are found in a range of different peripheral tissues. Together these factors suggest that exploration of racial differences in telomere length of the placenta may provide novel mechanistic insight into racial disparities in birth outcomes.

Study Design: In a prospective study, placental tissue samples were collected from the amnion, chorion, villus, and umbilical cord from Black and White singleton pregnancies (N=46). Telomere length was determined using monochrome multiplex quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in each placental tissue. Demographic and pregnancy-related data were also collected. Descriptive statistics characterized the sample overall and among Black and White women separately. The overall impact of race was assessed by multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models that included empirically relevant covariates.

Results: Telomere length was significantly correlated across all placental tissues. Pairwise analyses of placental tissue telomere length revealed significantly longer telomere length in the amnion compared to the chorion (t=-2.06, p=0.043). Overall telomere length measured in placenta samples from Black mothers were significantly shorter than those from White mothers (β=-0.09, p=0.04). Controlling for relevant maternal and infant characteristics strengthened the significance of the observed racial differences (β=-0.12, p=0.02). Within tissue analyses revealed that the greatest difference by race was found in chorionic telomere length (t=-2.81, p=0.007).

Conclusion: These findings provide the first evidence of racial differences in placental telomere length. Telomere length was significantly shorter in placental samples derived from Black mothers compared to White. Given previous studies reporting that telomere length, cellular senescence, and telomere dynamics are molecular factors contributing to the rupture of the amniotic sac, onset of labor, and parturition, our findings of shorter telomere length in placentas from Black mothers suggests that accelerated cellular aging across placental tissues may be relevant to the increased risk of preterm delivery in Blacks. Our results suggest that racial differences in cellular aging in the placenta contribute to the earliest roots of health disparities.

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The interplay of race, socioeconomic status and neighborhood residence upon birth outcomes in a high black infant mortality community

Catherine Kothari et al.

SSM - Population Health, December 2016, Pages 859-867

Abstract:
This study examined the interrelationship of race and socioeconomic status (SES) upon infant birthweight at the individual and neighborhood levels within a Midwestern US county marked by high Black infant mortality. The study conducted a multi-level analysis utilizing individual birth records and census tract datasets from 2010, linked through a spatial join with ArcGIS 10.0. The maternal population of 2,861 Black and White women delivering infants in 2010, residing in 57 census tracts within the county, constituted the study samples. The main outcome was infant birthweight. The predictors, race and SES were dichotomized into Black and White, low-SES and higher-SES, at both the individual and census tract levels. A two-part Bayesian model demonstrated that individual-level race and SES were more influential birthweight predictors than community-level factors. Specifically, Black women had 1.6 higher odds of delivering a low birthweight (LBW) infant than White women, and low-SES women had 1.7 higher odds of delivering a LBW infant than higher-SES women. Moderate support was found for a three-way interaction between individual-level race, SES and community-level race, such that Black women achieved equity with White women (4.0% Black LBW and 4.1% White LBW) when they each had higher-SES and lived in a racially congruous neighborhood (e.g., Black women lived in disproportionately Black neighborhood and White women lived in disproportionately White neighborhood). In sharp contrast, Black women with higher-SES who lived in a racially incongruous neighborhood (e.g., disproportionately White) had the worst outcomes (14.5% LBW). Demonstrating the layered influence of personal and community circumstances upon health, in a community with substantial racial disparities, personal race and SES independently contribute to birth outcomes, while environmental context, specifically neighborhood racial congruity, is associated with mitigated health risk.

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Racial Discrimination and Statistical Discrimination: MLB Rookie Card Values and Performance Uncertainty

Gregory Burge & Arthur Zillante

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: While previous studies document racial discrimination in Major League Baseball, few have considered statistical discrimination, and how racial bias may spill over into related markets. Investigating rookie card (RC) values at their initial release, we exploit the role of information uncertainty to separately identify the influence of racial discrimination and statistical discrimination.

Methods: Using ordinary least squares (OLS) and Tobit models, we examine 6,026 cards released from 1986 to 1993. After documenting race-based differentials in MLB achievement, we explore the determinants of prices in certain and uncertain environments.

Results: RCs of black players carry a 14-20 percent premium at their initial release. Race does not influence card values once careers are finished. Finally, given comparable career performance, prices for black players decline significantly more over time. Collectively, this suggests statistical discrimination influences consumers in this market.

Conclusion: Racial discrimination in an upstream market can lead to spillover effects on related downstream markets.

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Beyond Disasters: A Longitudinal Analysis of Natural Hazards' Unequal Impacts on Residential Instability

James Elliott & Junia Howell

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the unequal impact of natural hazard damage on people's residential instability over time by shifting analyses from an event-centered design common in disaster studies to a longitudinal, population-centered approach. To demonstrate this approach, we link annual data on property damages from natural hazards at the county level to geocoded data on nationally representative samples of men and women from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Results indicate that the average US household lives in a county that experiences five documented hazards per year, totaling $20 million in direct property damage. Findings also indicate that as local damages accrue over time, so does residential instability, net of other factors. This pattern is particularly strong for Black and Latina women, for whom measurable differences in personal and social resources interact with hazard damages to significantly increase residential instability over time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 21, 2016

Collateral damage

Political Borders and Bank Lending in Post-Crisis America

Matthieu Chavaz & Andrew Rose

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We use spatial discontinuities associated with congressional district borders to identify the effect of political influences on American banks' lending. We show that recipients of the 2008 public capital injection program (TARP) increased mortgage and small business lending by 23% to 60% more in areas located inside their home-representative's district than elsewhere. The impact is stronger if the representative supported the TARP in Congress, was subsequently re-elected, and received more political contributions from the financial industry. Together, these results suggest that political considerations influence credit allocation in a politically mature system like the United States without the formal possibility of political interference in lending decisions, and that this influence is larger if the flows between banks and politicians are reciprocal.

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Differential Access to Capital from Financial Institutions by Minority Entrepreneurs

Darius Palia

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2016, Pages 756-785

Abstract:
This article examines whether minority small business borrowers have the same access to loans from financial institutions as similar white borrowers. Using matching methods, I find that African-American borrowers are rejected at an approximately 30 percent higher probability than similar white borrowers. I also find that the impact of unobservable variables has to be greater than 85 percent the impact of observable variables to show no discrimination. This bound seems to be a high number given that I have controlled for a large number of borrower, firm, and lender characteristics. No such differential effect is found for Asian and other minority borrowers. I also find equal expected default losses between African-American and white borrowers. These results are consistent with the information-based, laissez faire, and group hoarding theories of discrimination, and against the taste-based theory of discrimination.

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The Making of Hawks and Doves: Inflation Experiences and Voting on the FOMC

Ulrike Malmendier, Stefan Nagel & Zhen Yan

University of California Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We show that personal lifetime experiences of inflation significantly affect the hawkish or dovish leanings of central bankers. We link experience-based inflation expectations to the desired level of nominal interest rates using a forward-looking formulation of the Taylor rule. Using data of the FOMC voting history from March 1951 to January 2014, we estimate that a one standard-deviation increase in experience-based forecasts increases the unconditional probability of a hawkish dissent by about one third, and decreases the unconditional probability of a dovish dissent also by about one third. FOMC members also use a significantly more hawkish tone in their speeches if they have experienced high inflation in their lives so far. Aggregating over all FOMC members present at a meeting, we establish a significantly positive relationship between their average inflation experience and the Fed Funds Rate target decided at the meeting. Finally, inflation experiences have a strong direct impact on FOMC members' inflation forecasts as reported in their semiannual Monetary Policy Reports to Congress, suggesting that experiences affect beliefs. Our findings imply that even professionals are affected by their lifetime experiences of macroeconomic outcomes and shed new light on the importance of FOMC appointments.

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The Stock Market and Bank Risk-Taking

Antonio Falato & David Scharfstein

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We present evidence that pressure to maximize short-term stock prices and earnings leads banks to increase risk. We start by showing that banks increase risk when they transition from private to public ownership through a public listing or an acquisition. The increase in risk is greater than for a control group of banks that intended but failed to transition from private to public ownership, a result that is robust to using a plausibly exogenous instrument for failed transitions. The increase in risk is also greater than for a control group of banks that were acquired but did not change their listing status. We establish that pressure to maximize short-term stock prices helps to explain these findings by showing that the increase in risk is larger for newly public banks that are more focused on short-term stock prices and performance.

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The effect of "sunshine" on policy deliberation: The case of the Federal Open Market Committee

John Woolley & Joseph Gardner

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does an increase in transparency affect policy deliberation? Increased government transparency is commonly advocated as beneficial to democracy. Others argue that transparency can undermine democratic deliberation by, for example, causing poorer reasoning. We analyze the effect of increased transparency in the case of a rare natural experiment involving the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). In 1994 the FOMC began the delayed public release of verbatim meeting transcripts and announced it would release all transcripts of earlier, secret, meetings back into the 1970s. To assess the effect of this change in transparency on deliberation, we develop a measure of an essential aspect of deliberation, the use of reasoned arguments. Our contributions are twofold: we demonstrate a method for measuring deliberative reasoning and we assess how a particular form of transparency affected ongoing deliberation. In a regression model with a variety of controls, we find increased transparency had no independent effect on the use of deliberative reasoning in the FOMC. Of particular interest to deliberative scholars, our model also demonstrates a powerful role for leaders in facilitating deliberation. Further, both increasing participant equality and more frequent expressions of disagreement were associated with greater use of deliberative language.

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Government as Borrower of First Resort

Gilles Chemla & Christopher Hennessy

Journal of Monetary Economics, December 2016, Pages 1-16

Abstract:
Optimal government bond supply is examined under asymmetric information and safe asset scarcity. Corporations issue junk debt when demand for safe debt is high since uninformed investors then migrate to risky overheated debt markets. Uninformed demand stimulates informed speculation, driving debt prices toward fundamentals, encouraging pooling at high leverage. As borrower of first resort, government can issue bonds, siphoning off uninformed demand for risky corporate debt, reducing wasteful informed speculation. Government bonds eliminate pooling at high leverage or improve risk sharing in such equilibria. Optimal government bond supply is increasing in demand for safe assets and non-monotonic in marginal Q.

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Much Ado About Nothing? New Evidence on the Effects of Payday Lending on Military Members

Susan Payne Carter & William Skimmyhorn

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate the effect that payday loan access has on credit and labor market outcomes of individuals in the U.S. Army. Using the conditional random assignment of servicemembers to different locations, we employ three identification strategies: cross-sectional variation in state policies, within-term variation in payday lending access, and a difference-in-difference analysis using the national Military Lending Act. We find few adverse effects of payday loan access on servicemembers when using any of these methods even when we examine dozens of subsamples that explore potential differential treatment effects.

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Deposit Insurance: Theories and Facts

Charles Calomiris & Matthew Jaremski

Annual Review of Financial Economics, 2016, Pages 97-120

Abstract:
Economic theories posit that bank liability insurance is designed to serve the public interest by mitigating systemic risk in the banking system through the reduction of liquidity risk. Political theories, however, see liability insurance as serving the private interests of banks, bank borrowers, and depositors, potentially at the expense of the public interest. Empirical evidence - both historical and contemporary - supports the private-interest approach, as liability insurance has been associated with increases, rather than decreases, in systemic risk. Exceptions to this rule are rare and reflect design features that prevent moral hazard and adverse selection. Prudential regulation of insured banks has generally not been a very effective tool in limiting the systemic risk increases associated with liability insurance. This likely reflects purposeful failures in regulation; if liability insurance is motivated by private interests, then there would be little point to removing the subsidies it creates through strict regulation. The same logic explains why more effective policies for addressing systemic risk are not employed in place of liability insurance. The politics of liability insurance thus should not be narrowly construed to encompass only the vested interests of bankers. Indeed, in many countries, liability insurance has been installed as a pass-through subsidy targeted to particular classes of bank borrowers.

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An Evaluation of Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis

Joshua Hendrickson

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, I examine what I call Milton Friedman's Monetary Instability Hypothesis. Drawing on Friedman's work, I argue that there are two main components to this view. The first component is the idea that deviations between the public's demand for money and the supply of money are an important source of economic fluctuations. The second component of this view is that these deviations are primarily caused by fluctuations in the supply of money rather than the demand for money. Each of these components can be tested independently. To do so, I estimate an otherwise standard New Keynesian model, amended to include a money demand function consistent with Friedman's work and a money growth rule, for a period from 1875 to 1963. This structural model allows me to separately identify shocks to the money supply and shocks to money demand. I then use variance decompositions to assess the relative importance of shocks to the supply and demand for money. I find that shocks to the monetary base can account for up to 28% of the fluctuations in output whereas money demand shocks can account for less than 1% of such fluctuations. This provides support for Friedman's view.

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Rushing into the American Dream? House Prices Growth and the Timing of Homeownership

Sumit Agarwal, Luojia Hu & Xing Huang

Review of Finance, October 2016, Pages 2183-2218

Abstract:
We use the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel data set to empirically examine how past house price growth influences the timing of homeownership. We find that the median individual in metropolitan areas with the highest quartile house price growth becomes a homeowner 5 years earlier than that in areas with the lowest quartile house price growth. The result is consistent with a life cycle housing-demand model in which high past price growth increases expectations of future price growth thus accelerating home purchases at young ages. We show that extrapolative expectations formed by homebuyers are a necessary channel to explain the result.

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The Shifting Demand for Housing by American Renters and Its Impact on Household Budgets: 1940-2010

Denise DiPasquale & Michael Murray

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
From 1940 to 1960 across 20 large U.S. cities, rental housing's price fell, renters' incomes rose, rent's share in household budgets fell, and, as expected, renters' real housing consumption increased. From 1970 to 2010, rental housing's price increased, renters' incomes decreased, but, unexpectedly, renters' real housing consumption increased. We find neither demographics nor housing supply factors account for the anomalous post-1970 increase in renters' housing consumption. We conclude that after 1970 there was a nationwide increase in renters' preferences for housing consumption. With incomes falling, renters increased housing consumption by decreasing consumption of other necessities including food, clothing, and transportation.

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Minimum Payments and Debt Paydown in Consumer Credit Cards

Benjamin Keys & Jialan Wang

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Using a dataset covering one quarter of the U.S. general-purpose credit card market, we document that 29% of accounts regularly make payments at or near the minimum payment. We exploit changes in issuers' minimum payment formulas to distinguish between liquidity constraints and anchoring as explanations for the prevalence of near-minimum payments. Nine to twenty percent of all accounts respond more to the formula changes than expected based on liquidity constraints alone, representing a lower bound on the role of anchoring. Disclosures implemented by the CARD Act, an example of one potential policy solution to anchoring, resulted in fewer than 1% of accounts adopting an alternative suggested payment. Based on back-of-envelope calculations, the disclosures led to $62 million in interest savings per year, but would have saved over $2 billion per year if all anchoring consumers had adopted the new suggested payment. Our results show that anchoring to a salient contractual term has a significant impact on household debt.

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The Price of Homeowners: An Examination of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

Erik Hembre

University of Illinois Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
A major policy response to the 2008 housing crisis was the First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit, worth up to $8,000. To estimate the tax credit effects on homeownership, I construct a quarterly first-time homebuyer time-series using American Housing Survey data. Using both an event-study and a difference-in-difference framework, I estimate the tax credit induced 301,900 first-time homeowners and calculate the government paid $24,180 per additional homeowner. I find no evidence that first-time homebuyers bought more expensive houses or increased default rates. Estimating state and MSA-level effects I find a strong correlation between effect size and average home values, with a doubling in average home values implying a drop in effect size by 19.7 percentage points. These local effects also reveal larger effects in areas with smaller housing busts, had lower mortgage delinquency rates, and have higher housing supply elasticity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bummed

National Trends in the Prevalence and Treatment of Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults

Ramin Mojtabai, Mark Olfson & Beth Han

Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objectives: This study examined national trends in 12-month prevalence of major depressive episodes (MDEs) in adolescents and young adults overall and in different sociodemographic groups, as well as trends in depression treatment between 2005 and 2014.

Methods: Data were drawn from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health for 2005 to 2014, which are annual cross-sectional surveys of the US general population. Participants included 172 495 adolescents aged 12 to 17 and 178 755 adults aged 18 to 25. Time trends in 12-month prevalence of MDEs were examined overall and in different subgroups, as were time trends in the use of treatment services.

Results: The 12-month prevalence of MDEs increased from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014 in adolescents and from 8.8% to 9.6% in young adults (both P < .001). The increase was larger and statistically significant only in the age range of 12 to 20 years. The trends remained significant after adjustment for substance use disorders and sociodemographic factors. Mental health care contacts overall did not change over time; however, the use of specialty mental health providers increased in adolescents and young adults, and the use of prescription medications and inpatient hospitalizations increased in adolescents.

Conclusions: The prevalence of depression in adolescents and young adults has increased in recent years. In the context of little change in mental health treatments, trends in prevalence translate into a growing number of young people with untreated depression. The findings call for renewed efforts to expand service capacity to best meet the mental health care needs of this age group.

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Narcissism on the Jersey Shore: Exposure to Narcissistic Reality TV Characters Can Increase Narcissism Levels in Viewers

Bryan Gibson et al.

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research documents an increase in narcissism in the United States. Little research, however, has explored mechanisms that could cause higher narcissism. In 2 studies, we test the hypothesis that exposure to narcissistic reality TV characters is related to greater narcissism for those engaging in experience taking (Kaufman & Libby, 2012). Study 1 is a correlational study showing that greater exposure to narcissistic reality TV while engaged in experience taking is related to higher levels of narcissism. Study 2 is an experimental study showing that participants randomly assigned to watch a narcissistic reality TV show, under conditions that encouraged experience taking, were more narcissistic. These results suggest that media can shape trait narcissism levels that are generally assumed to be stable.

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Relative verbal intelligence and happiness

Boris Nikolaev & Jennifer Juergensen McGee

Intelligence, November–December 2016, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
Even though higher intelligence (IQ) is often associated with many positive outcomes in life, it has become a stylized fact in the happiness literature that smarter people are not happier than their less intelligent counterparts. In this paper, we examine how relative verbal intelligence correlates with happiness and present two main findings. First, our estimations from the General Social Survey for a large representative sample of Americans suggest a small, but positive and significant correlation between verbal intelligence and happiness. Second, we find that verbal intelligence has a strong positional effect on happiness, i.e., people who have greater verbal proficiency relative to their peers in their reference group are more likely to report higher levels of happiness. The positional effect of happiness holds even when we control for a large set of socio-economic characteristics as well as relative income.

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Seeing our self reflected in the world around us: The role of identity in making (natural) environments restorative

Thomas Morton, Anne Marthe van der Bles & Alexander Haslam

Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Exposure to nature has been shown to restore cognitive capacities and activate intrinsic motivational states. The present research considered the role of salient identities in determining these effects. Three studies demonstrated that salient identities modify how people respond to natural environments. Exposure to images of natural environments increased the strength of intrinsic over extrinsic aspirations, and improved cognitive capacity, only when nature was central to a salient identity (Studies 1 & 2), or when the specific nature portrayed was connected to the salient identity (Study 3). Conversely, when nature was inconsistent with a salient identity, exposure had deleterious effects on aspiration and cognition. Together these studies suggest that the restorative potential of environments is determined, at least in part, by social and psychological processes connected to identity. These findings invite a more nuanced approach to understanding the possible psychological benefits of exposure to nature, and suggest that a variety of environments (natural and urban) can have restorative potential.

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Psychosocial distress and inflammation: Which way does causality flow?

Aniruddha Das

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 1–8

Methods: Data were from the 2005–2006 and 2010–2011 waves of the U.S. National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Inflammation was indicated by C-reactive protein, and distress by depression, anxiety, as well as stress. Autoregressive cross-lagged panel models were used to examine causal direction.

Results: Rather than being an outcome of psychosocial distress, inflammation was a predictor of it. Linkages were gender differentiated, with inflammation seeming to induce depression among men but stress among women.

Discussion: Contrary to previous literature, inflammation may not be a mechanism through which psychosocial distress gets “under the skin” to cause cardiovascular and metabolic issues. Rather, it may be a node through which social pathologies and life events influence both mental health and physiological problems.

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Even Optimists Get the Blues: Inter-Individual Consistency in the Tendency to Brace for the Worst

Kate Sweeny & Angelica Falkenstein

Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Method: Across 9 studies in laboratory and field settings, we examined the roles of dispositional optimism and defensive pessimism in the propensity to brace for the worst when awaiting uncertain news. The studies used a variety of paradigms, including predictions about performance on the bar exam, peer ratings of attractiveness, and feedback on an intelligence test.

Results: Results from these studies consistently failed to support individual differences in the tendency to brace for the worst.

Conclusions: Trait-like differences in future outlooks seem to influence only the level and not trajectories of outcome predictions, pointing to relative commonalities in the development of the tendency to brace for the worst.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Impulse control

Winning and Losing: Effects on Impulsive Action

Frederick Verbruggen et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present study, we examined the effect of wins and losses on impulsive action in gambling (Experiments 1-3) and nongambling tasks (Experiments 4-5). In each experiment, subjects performed a simple task in which they had to win points. On each trial, they had to choose between a gamble and a nongamble. The gamble was always associated with a higher amount but a lower probability of winning than the nongamble. After subjects indicated their choice (i.e., gamble or not), feedback was presented. They had to press a key to start the next trial. Experiments 1-3 showed that, compared to the nongambling baseline, subjects were faster to initiate the next trial after a gambled loss, indicating that losses can induce impulsive actions. In Experiments 4 and 5, subjects alternated between the gambling task and a neutral decision-making task in which they could not win or lose points. Subjects were faster in the neutral decision-making task if they had just lost in the gambling task, suggesting that losses have a general effect on action. Our results challenge the dominant idea that humans become more cautious after suboptimal outcomes. Instead, they indicate that losses in the context of potential rewards are emotional events that increase impulsivity.

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Adaptive Adolescent Flexibility: Neurodevelopment of Decision-making and Learning in a Risky Context

Ethan McCormick & Eva Telzer

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on adolescence has largely focused on the particular biological and neural changes that place teens at risk for negative outcomes linked to increases in sensation-seeking and risky behavior. However, there is a growing interest in the adaptive function of adolescence, with work highlighting the dual nature of adolescence as a period of potential risk and opportunity. We examined how behavioral and neural sensitivity to risk and reward varies as a function of age using the Balloon Analog Risk Task. Seventy-seven children and adolescents (ages 8-17 years) completed the Balloon Analog Risk Task during an fMRI session. Results indicate that adolescents show greater learning throughout the task. Furthermore, older participants showed increased neural responses to reward in the OFC and ventral striatum, increased activation to risk in the mid-cingulate cortex, as well as increased functional OFC-medial PFC coupling in both risk and reward contexts. Age-related changes in regional activity and interregional connectivity explain the link between age and increases in flexible learning. These results support the idea that adolescents' sensitivity to risk and reward supports adaptive learning and behavioral approaches for reward acquisition.

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Association of Early Stress and BDNF Genotype With Response Inhibition During Emotional Distraction in Adolescence

Julia Cohen-Gilbert et al.

Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated whether brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) genotype moderated inhibitory control during an emotionally valenced task in a sample of internationally adopted adolescents (N = 109, ages 12-13 years) who spent their early years in institutional care. Participants were genotyped for the Val66Met polymorphism of the BDNF gene. Inhibitory control in different emotional contexts was assessed via a Go-NoGo task where letters appeared at the center of positive, negative, neutral, or scrambled images. Carriers of one or more methionine (Met) alleles demonstrated a significant association between poorer performance and increased adversity, indexed by age at adoption, while valine/valine (Val/Val) carriers did not. Thus, Val/Val genotype was associated with resilience to increased impulsivity with more prolonged deprivation. These results do not converge with research suggesting differential susceptibility effects for this polymorphism, but more closely reflect a diathesis-stress model for the impact of BDNF genotype on a behavioral measure of impulsivity during emotional distraction.

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Influences of Fertility Status on Risky Driving Behaviour

Federica Biassoni et al.

Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effects of hormones on human behaviour have been extensively studied, but little attention has been paid to the influence of ovarian hormones on risky driving. Twenty-five normally cycling women took part in three sessions, including an ovulatory phase estimation session and two experimental sessions: high vs low fertile phases. These two phases were monitored through a urine-based luteinizing hormone predictor test. In the two experimental sessions, participants were administered the Driving Behaviour Questionnaire and the Vienna Risk-Taking Test. Results showed that women are more risk-averse in their driving behaviour during their high-fertile phase. The influence of hormonal fluctuations on self-perception of risk attitude when driving was non-significant. Findings are discussed from an evolutionary perspective.

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Authentic and Hubristic Pride: Differential Effects on Delay of Gratification

Shi-Yun Ho, Eddie Tong & Lile Jia

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research demonstrates that there are 2 distinct facets of pride: the prosocial, achievement-oriented form of pride known as authentic pride, and the self-aggrandizing, egotistical form of pride known as hubristic pride. This research examined whether authentic pride and hubristic pride have divergent effects on delay of gratification. Support was found for the prediction that authentic pride would facilitate the ability to delay gratification, whereas hubristic pride would undermine it. Also, self-transcendent value affirmation was demonstrated to moderate the effects of pride on delayed gratification. Specifically, when people feeling hubristic pride had an opportunity to affirm a self-transcendent value that was important to them, their tendency to seek immediate gratification was attenuated. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Noninvasive Stimulation Over the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Facilitates the Inhibition of Motivated Responding

Nicholas Kelley & Brandon Schmeichel

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-control involves the inhibition of dominant response tendencies. Most research on self-control has examined the inhibition of appetitive tendencies, and recent evidence suggests that stimulation to increase right frontal cortical activity helps to inhibit approach-motivated responses. The current experiment paired an approach-avoidance joystick task with transcranial DC stimulation to test the effects of brain stimulation on the inhibition of both approach and avoidance response tendencies. Anodal stimulation over the right/cathodal stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (compared to the opposite pattern of stimulation or sham stimulation) caused participants to initiate motive-incongruent movements more quickly, thereby suggesting a shared neural mechanism for the self-control of both approach- and avoidance-motivated impulses.

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Episodic social media impact on users

Samuel Doss, Deborah Carstens & Stephen Kies

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, Summer 2016, Pages 273-286

Abstract:
With the abundance of technological devices, an increasing number of users of all ages rely on social media. There is a growing concern of the impact that technology has on the user community. This research study was conducted to explore these concerns and specifically whether individuals' characteristics are impacted from the use of social media. A total of 209 respondents from a private university in the southeast participated in the study. Self-administered questionnaires were implemented with the survey instrument developed by the researchers. Five hypotheses were tested on the relationships of social media technologies with attention span, time pressure, long-term orientation, polychromic attitude index, and sociability. The research findings suggest that there is no difference in attention spans or sociability in frequent or infrequent users of social media. Furthermore, the research findings suggest that episodic social media usage is not positively correlated to the long-term orientation, time pressure scale, and polychromic attitude index. Future areas of research are also discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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