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Monday, May 18, 2015

Shoot first, aim later

Explaining Terrorism: Leadership Deficits and Militant Group Tactics

Max Abrahms & Philip Potter
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 311-342

Abstract:
Certain types of militant groups - those suffering from leadership deficits - are more likely to attack civilians. Their leadership deficits exacerbate the principal-agent problem between leaders and foot soldiers, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians. We establish the validity of this proposition with a tripartite research strategy that balances generalizability and identification. First, we demonstrate in a sample of militant organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa that those lacking centralized leadership are prone to targeting civilians. Second, we show that when the leaderships of militant groups are degraded from drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal regions, the selectivity of organizational violence plummets. Third, we elucidate the mechanism with a detailed case study of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian group that turned to terrorism during the Second Intifada because pressure on leadership allowed low-level members to act on their preexisting incentives to attack civilians. These findings indicate that a lack of principal control is an important, underappreciated cause of militant group violence against civilians.

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Revisiting Reputation: How Past Actions Matter in International Politics

Alex Weisiger & Keren Yarhi-Milo
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 473-495

Abstract:
Policy-makers and political scientists have long believed that states must make policy with an eye to maintaining a good reputation, especially a good reputation for resolve. Recent work, however, has argued that reputations for resolve do not form, and hence that past actions do not influence observers' behavior in subsequent interactions. This conclusion is theoretically problematic and unsupported by the evidence offered by reputation critics. In particular, juxtaposing reputation for resolve to power and interests is misleading when past actions influence observers' beliefs about interests, while the common approach of looking at crisis decision making misses the impact of reputation on general deterrence. We thus derive hypotheses about conflict onset from both the arguments of reputation critics and the logic of more standard reputation arguments, which we put to statistical test. We find that past action is closely connected to subsequent dispute initiation and that the effects of reputation generalize beyond the immediate circumstances of the past dispute. Although reputation is not all-important, leaders are well advised to consider the reputational implications of policy decisions in international conflict.

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Nation-Building through War

Nicholas Sambanis, Stergios Skaperdas & William Wohlforth
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 279-296

Abstract:
How do the outcomes of international wars affect domestic social change? In turn, how do changing patterns of social identification and domestic conflict affect a nation's military capability? We propose a "second image reversed" theory of war that links structural variables, power politics, and the individuals that constitute states. Drawing on experimental results in social psychology, we recapture a lost building block of the classical realist theory of statecraft: the connections between the outcomes of international wars, patterns of social identification and domestic conflict, and the nation's future war-fighting capability. When interstate war can significantly increase a state's international status, peace is less likely to prevail in equilibrium because, by winning a war and raising the nation's status, leaders induce individuals to identify nationally, thereby reducing internal conflict by increasing investments in state capacity. In certain settings, it is only through the anticipated social change that victory can generate that leaders can unify their nation, and the higher anticipated payoffs to national unification makes leaders fight international wars that they would otherwise choose not to fight. We use the case of German unification after the Franco-Prussian war to demonstrate the model's value-added and illustrate the interaction between social identification, nationalism, state-building, and the power politics of interstate war.

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Foreign Military Interventions and Suicide Attacks

Seung-Whan Choi & James Piazza
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the effect of foreign military interventions on the incidence of suicide attacks. It presents three theoretical explanations. Foreign military interventions may boost insurgent use of suicide attacks by (a) fomenting a nationalist backlash that sanctions the use of more extreme and unconventional tactics like suicide attacks, (b) providing more and better targets against which suicide attacks can be launched, or (c) prompting insurgents to use suicide tactics in order to overcome their power asymmetries and to confront better defended targets that are enhanced by interventions. We test these competing explanations using a battery of statistical tests on cross-national, time-series data for 138 countries during the period from 1981 to 2005. We find that only foreign interventions with specific features - pro-government interventions involving larger numbers of ground troops - boost suicide attacks in countries experiencing interventions. This finding suggests that by tipping the balance of power against insurgents and hardening targets in the context of assisting a local government, foreign military interventions are likely to increase the use of suicide attacks by regime challengers.

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The limits of autocracy promotion: The case of Russia in the 'near abroad'

Lucan Way
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, observers have raised concerns about threats to democracy posed by external support for authoritarianism coming from regional powers such as Russia, China and Venezuela. This article assesses the efficacy of autocracy promotion through a close examination of Russian efforts to shape regime outcomes in the former Soviet Union. It finds that while Russian actions have periodically promoted instability and secessionist conflict, there is little evidence that such intervention has made post-Soviet countries less democratic than they would have been otherwise. First, the Russian government has been inconsistent in its support for autocracy - supporting opposition and greater pluralism in countries where anti-Russian governments are in power, and incumbent autocrats in cases where pro-Russian politicians dominate. At the same time, the Russian government's narrow concentration on its own economic and geopolitical interests has significantly limited the country's influence, fostering a strong counter-reaction in countries with strong anti-Russian national identities. Finally, Russia's impact on democracy in the region has been restricted by the fact that post-Soviet countries already have weak democratic prerequisites. This analysis suggests that, despite increasingly aggressive foreign policies by autocratic regional powers, autocracy promotion does not present a particularly serious threat to democracy in the world today.

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Measuring hard power: China's economic growth and military capacity

Peter Robertson & Adrian Sin
Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
China's rapid economic growth is facilitating massive increases in its military spending and causing increased security concerns in Asia and the Western Pacific. But there is uncertainty over how large China's military spending is relative to other countries, or how fast it is growing in real terms. We address this issue by deriving a relative military cost price index based on the relative unit costs of inputs. We find that China's real military spending is much larger than suggested by exchange rate comparisons, and even larger than standard purchasing power parity comparisons. We also find, however, that the real growth of China's military spending has been smaller than conventionally thought. This is due to rapidly growing wages in China and the large share of personnel in China's military budget.

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Economic Stress and International Cooperation: Evidence from International Rivalries

Christopher Clary
MIT Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Do economic downturns generate pressure for diversionary conflict? Or might downturns encourage austerity and economizing behavior in foreign policy? This paper provides new evidence that economic stress is associated with conciliatory policies between strategic rivals. For states that view each other as military threats, the biggest step possible toward bilateral cooperation is to terminate the rivalry by taking political steps to manage the competition. Drawing on data from 109 distinct rival dyads since 1950, 67 of which terminated, the evidence suggests rivalries were approximately twice as likely to terminate during economic downturns than they were during periods of economic normalcy. This is true controlling for all of the main alternative explanations for peaceful relations between foes (democratic status, nuclear weapons possession, capability imbalance, common enemies, and international systemic changes), as well as many other possible confounding variables. This research questions existing theories claiming that economic downturns are associated with diversionary war, and instead argues that in certain circumstances peace may result from economic troubles.

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One Shield, Two Responses: Anti-U.S. Missile Defense Shield Protests in the Czech Republic and Poland

Yelena Biberman & Feryaz Ocakli
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 197-214

Abstract:
What is the role of civil society in geopolitical conflict? The crisis in Ukraine has, once again, raised questions over security in the post-communist world. This article examines the puzzling variation in the antimissile defense shield protests in the Czech Republic and Poland (2007-09) to elucidate the conditions under which civil society emerges as a significant actor in international politics. Activists in the Czech Republic staged seven times as many antishield protests as their Polish counterparts despite the two countries' similar levels of popular opposition to the project. The variation in the responses of the Polish and Czech activists resulted from the different material and legacy-driven ideological constraints faced by the civil society organizations. The findings suggest that the scholarship on contentious civic activism should take organization-level opportunities and constraints seriously when analyzing the impact of civil society on political processes.

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Are Economic Development and Education Improvement Associated with Participation in Transnational Terrorism?

L. Elbakidze & Y.H. Jin
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using transnational terrorism data from 1980 to 2000, this study empirically examines the relationships between frequency of participation in transnational terrorism acts and economic development and education improvement. We find an inverse U-shaped association between the frequency of various nationals acting as perpetrators in transnational terrorism acts and per capita income in their respective home countries. As per capita incomes increase from relatively low levels, frequencies of participation in transnational terrorism increase. However, at sufficiently higher levels of per capita income, further increase in per capita income is negatively associated with the rate of participation in transnational terrorism. Education improvement from elementary to secondary is positively correlated with frequency of participation in transnational terrorism events, whereas further improvement from secondary to tertiary level is negatively correlated with participation in transnational terrorism. We also find that citizens of countries with greater openness to international trade, lower degree of income inequality, greater economic freedom, larger proportion of population with tertiary education, and less religious prevalence participate in transnational terrorism events less frequently.

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Gender perceptions and support for compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yossi David & Ifat Maoz
Journal of Peace Psychology, May 2015, Pages 295-298

Abstract:
The goal of our study was to explore factors that underlie public support for compromise in protracted, asymmetrical conflict. We introduce a gendering for compromise model in which, in line with previous studies (Maoz & McCauley, 2008), support for compromise is determined by perception of threat from the opponent. However, innovatively, our model also presents perception of the opponent as having stereotypical feminine traits as an important predictor of willingness to compromise in conflict. This model was tested in the context of the asymmetrical, protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict using representative of Jewish-Israeli public opinion polling data (N = 511). In line with our expectations, the findings indicated that Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as threatening and Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as having stereotypical feminine traits both made significant contributions to predicting attitudes toward compromise.

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Does Membership on the UN Security Council Influence Voting in the UN General Assembly?

Wonjae Hwang, Amanda Sanford & Junhan Lee
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies report that temporary members of the UN Security Council receive favorable treatment from the IMF, the World Bank, or in US foreign aid in exchange for their political support for permanent members. Nevertheless, few studies have examined whether this favorable treatment and these benefits have actually made any significant changes in the member states' voting behavior in the United Nations. To explore this question, we investigate whether membership on the UN Security Council influences a state's voting in the UN General Assembly. In the analysis of panel data for 197 countries over the period from 1946 to 2008, the empirical results show that elected members of the UN Security Council tend to behave similarly with permanent members, especially with the United States, as the number of loan programs signed with the IMF and the World Bank increases. Also, US foreign aid significantly increases temporary members' vote coincidence with the United States and other permanent members. In this regard, this article contributes to our understanding of state voting behavior and power politics in international organizations.

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Mehdi Hashemi and the Iran-Contra-Affair

Ulrich von Schwerin
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In November 1986 a Lebanese newspaper revealed the secret arms-for-hostages deal between Tehran and Washington that subsequently became known as the Iran-Contra-Affair. The newspaper had been tipped off by friends of the Iranian radical Mehdi Hashemi who had been arrested shortly before in Iran. This article explores the link between the arrest of the ardent supporter of the then deputy leader Hossein-Ali Montazeri and the secret talks with the US government. The article will show that his arrest was not only an attempt of the then dominant faction around Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to bring the future leader Montazeri under its control, but also an attempt to eliminate a rival actor opposing the rapprochement with the USA and threatening to disrupt the arms-for-hostages deal.

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The Showdown That Wasn't: U.S.-Israeli Relations and American Domestic Politics, 1973-75

Galen Jackson
International Security, Spring 2015, Pages 130-169

Abstract:
How influential are domestic politics on U.S. foreign affairs? With regard to Middle East policy, how important a role do ethnic lobbies, Congress, and public opinion play in influencing U.S. strategy? Answering these questions requires the use of archival records and other primary documents, which provide an undistorted view of U.S. policymakers' motivations. The Ford administration's 1975 reassessment of its approach to Arab-Israeli statecraft offers an excellent case for the examination of these issues in light of this type of historical evidence. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided, in large part because of the looming 1976 presidential election, to avoid a confrontation with Israel in the spring and summer of 1975 by choosing to negotiate a second disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel rather than a comprehensive settlement. Nevertheless, domestic constraints on the White House's freedom of action were not insurmountable and, had they had no other option, Ford and Kissinger would have been willing to engage in a showdown with Israel over the Middle East conflict's most fundamental aspects. The administration's concern that a major clash with Israel might stoke an outbreak of anti-Semitism in the United States likely contributed to its decision to back down.

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The Compellence Dilemma: International Disputes with Violent Groups

David Carter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article introduces the idea of a compellence dilemma. This dilemma arises when the domestic policies of adversaries - such as hosting violent groups - threaten states' security. Such states often consider coercive instruments to compel their adversary to change those policies. The problem? The prospect of costly punishment makes cooperation more attractive for the adversary. However, if they fail to coerce policy change, harsh punishments can reduce the adversary's capacity to enact policy change and induce harmful domestic instability. These problems are compounded by the fact that both the threatened states' incentive to use costly punishments and the costs of failed compellence increase with the severity of the security threat. The logic of the compellence dilemma applies whenever a state uses damaging coercive instruments but risks failing to achieve its immediate objectives. I analyze the compellence dilemma with a dynamic game-theoretic model of interaction among a target state, host state, and violent group, and show that it is pervasive in equilibrium. I show that the compellence dilemma causes states to refrain from using harsh punishments even when they would compel the host state to cooperate. Concerns about decreasing future host-state capacity and increasing group power drive this result.

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Estimating the Severity of the WikiLeaks U.S. Diplomatic Cables Disclosure

Michael Gill & Arthur Spirling
Political Analysis, Spring 2015, Pages 299-305

Abstract:
In November 2010, the WikiLeaks organization began the release of over 250,000 diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies to the U.S. State Department, uploaded to its website by (then) Private Manning, an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army. This leak was widely condemned, including by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We assess the severity of the leak by considering the size of the disclosure relative to all diplomatic cables that were in existence at the time - a quantity that is not known outside official sources. We rely on the fact that the cables that were leaked are internally indexed in such a way that they may be treated as a sample from a discrete uniform distribution with unknown maximum; this is a version of the well-known "German Tank Problem." We consider three estimators that rely on discrete uniformity - maximum likelihood, Bayesian, and frequentist unbiased minimum variance - and demonstrate that the results are very similar in all cases. To supplement these estimators, we employ a regression-based procedure that incorporates the timing of cables' release in addition to their observed serial numbers. We estimate that, overall, approximately 5% of all cables from this timeframe were leaked, but that this number varies considerably at the embassy-year level. Our work provides a useful characterization of the sample of documents available to international relations scholars interested in testing theories of "private information," while helping inform the public debate surrounding Manning's trial and 35-year prison sentence.

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The supply side of United Nations peacekeeping operations: Trade ties and United Nations-led deployments to civil war states

Szymon Stojek & Jaroslav Tir
European Journal of International Relations, June 2015, Pages 352-376

Abstract:
Peacekeeping operations have been identified as the most effective and efficient solution to the highly intractable problem of civil war recurrence; yet, only about 38% of civil wars receive peacekeeping assistance. To explain what determines whether an intrastate conflict receives a deployment of peacekeepers, we note that peacekeeping operations are costly endeavors requiring significant material investments. Focusing on the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations, we argue that because a relatively small group of states decides about (and funds) possible deployments, the supply of United Nations peacekeeping operations likely reflects the interests of these states. Specifically, we hypothesize that trade ties between the five permanent members of the Security Council and civil war states are among the factors that influence the decision to authorize United Nations peacekeeping operations. Testing the argument over the post-World War II and post-Cold War periods reveals that the economic interests of the permanent five members of the Security Council play a key role in explaining which civil wars receive United Nations peacekeepers.

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The Limits of Foreign Aid Diplomacy: How Bureaucratic Design Shapes Aid Distribution

Vincent Arel-Bundock, James Atkinson & Rachel Augustine Potter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does the institutional design of a state's bureaucracy affect foreign policy? We argue that institutions can moderate bureaucrats' incentives to act in accordance with an Executive's diplomatic preferences. Where the Executive can influence budgets or career paths, bureaucrats face incentives to adopt her diplomatic goals as their own. Where agencies are shielded from Executive influence, bureaucrats are free to act independently in a bid to enhance their autonomy and their reputation for competence. To test these expectations, we develop a new measure of bureaucratic independence for the 15 aid-giving agencies in the US government. We analyze how independence affects foreign aid allocation patterns over the 1999-2010 period. We find that in "dependent" agencies, foreign aid flows track the diplomatic objectives of the president. In "independent" agencies, aid flows appear less responsive to presidential priorities and more responsive to indicators of need in the recipient country. Our results highlight limits on the diplomatic use of foreign aid and emphasize the importance of domestic institutional design. Our findings yield insight into a broad range of policy domains - including international finance, immigration, and the application of economic sanctions - where multiple government agencies are in charge of implementing foreign policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 17, 2015

In it together

Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context

Peter Thisted Dinesen & Kim Mannemar Sønderskov
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We argue that residential exposure to ethnic diversity reduces social trust. Previous within-country analyses of the relationship between contextual ethnic diversity and trust have been conducted at higher levels of aggregation, thus ignoring substantial variation in actual exposure to ethnic diversity. In contrast, we analyze how ethnic diversity of the immediate micro-context — where interethnic exposure is inevitable — affects trust. We do this using Danish survey data linked with register-based data, which enables us to obtain precise measures of the ethnic diversity of each individual’s residential surroundings. We focus on contextual diversity within a radius of 80 meters of a given individual, but we also compare the effect in the micro-context to the impact of diversity in more aggregate contexts. Our results show that ethnic diversity in the micro-context affects trust negatively, whereas the effect vanishes in larger contextual units. This supports the conjecture that interethnic exposure underlies the negative relationship between ethnic diversity in residential contexts and social trust.

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Dopamine Modulates Egalitarian Behavior in Humans

Ignacio Sáez et al.
Current Biology, 30 March 2015, Pages 912–919

Abstract:
Egalitarian motives form a powerful force in promoting prosocial behavior and enabling large-scale cooperation in the human species. At the neural level, there is substantial, albeit correlational, evidence suggesting a link between dopamine and such behavior. However, important questions remain about the specific role of dopamine in setting or modulating behavioral sensitivity to prosocial concerns. Here, using a combination of pharmacological tools and economic games, we provide critical evidence for a causal involvement of dopamine in human egalitarian tendencies. Specifically, using the brain penetrant catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor tolcapone, we investigated the causal relationship between dopaminergic mechanisms and two prosocial concerns at the core of a number of widely used economic games: (1) the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others, i.e., generosity, and (2) the extent to which they are averse to differences between their own payoffs and those of others, i.e., inequity. We found that dopaminergic augmentation via COMT inhibition increased egalitarian tendencies in participants who played an extended version of the dictator game. Strikingly, computational modeling of choice behavior revealed that tolcapone exerted selective effects on inequity aversion, and not on other computational components such as the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others. Together, these data shed light on the causal relationship between neurochemical systems and human prosocial behavior and have potential implications for our understanding of the complex array of social impairments accompanying neuropsychiatric disorders involving dopaminergic dysregulation.

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Power and Legitimacy Influence Conformity

Nicholas Hays & Noah Goldstein
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 17–26

Abstract:
Although prior research indicates that power and hierarchy illegitimacy independently decrease conformity to social norms, we demonstrate that the two interact. In five studies, we find that legitimate power decreases conformity, whereas illegitimate power increases conformity. We conducted Study 1 in a business organization and found that power was negatively related to employees’ conformity with organizational values when the power hierarchy was seen as legitimate, but positively related to conformity when the hierarchy was seen as illegitimate. In Study 2, we manipulated power and legitimacy via a recall task and found the same pattern of effects. Study 3 replicates this finding by manipulating role-based power and legitimacy and examining conformity to norms ostensibly established by others in the context of the study. In Study 4, we find that these effects are driven by increases in conformity among those who are in a state of legitimate powerlessness or illegitimate power. Finally, Study 5 demonstrates that legitimacy moderates the experience of power in part because of its effect on hierarchy stability. Our studies suggest that attributes of a power hierarchy, such as its legitimacy, can be as important in determining behavior as one’s hierarchical position.

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Leader emergence through interpersonal neural synchronization

Jing Jiang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 April 2015, Pages 4274–4279

Abstract:
The neural mechanism of leader emergence is not well understood. This study investigated (i) whether interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) plays an important role in leader emergence, and (ii) whether INS and leader emergence are associated with the frequency or the quality of communications. Eleven three-member groups were asked to perform a leaderless group discussion (LGD) task, and their brain activities were recorded via functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Video recordings of the discussions were coded for leadership and communication. Results showed that the INS for the leader–follower (LF) pairs was higher than that for the follower–follower (FF) pairs in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), an area important for social mentalizing. Although communication frequency was higher for the LF pairs than for the FF pairs, the frequency of leader-initiated and follower-initiated communication did not differ significantly. Moreover, INS for the LF pairs was significantly higher during leader-initiated communication than during follower-initiated communications. In addition, INS for the LF pairs during leader-initiated communication was significantly correlated with the leaders’ communication skills and competence, but not their communication frequency. Finally, leadership could be successfully predicted based on INS as well as communication frequency early during the LGD (before half a minute into the task). In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.

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The monetary value of social capital

Johannes Orlowski & Pamela Wicker
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 26–36

Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to estimate the monetary value of social capital by considering its multidimensional nature. Four dimensions are conceptualized: Interpersonal trust, institutional trust, trustworthiness, and participation in civil society (formal and informal). The monetary value is obtained by including social capital in a well-being function and estimating the shadow price of social capital. The empirical analysis is based on data from the European Values Survey covering 45 European countries. A generalized ordered response model is estimated to account for possible heterogeneity of social capital indicators among the ten different subjective well-being levels. The results show that on average a one standard deviation increase in interpersonal trust (people's fairness) is worth an extra € 7,913 per year in terms of foregone income, the same increase in institutional trust is worth € 7,405, and the same increase in the importance of family is worth € 7,312. The findings indicate that social capital has significant monetary value to individuals. This should be considered when designing government policies aiming at e.g., labor market mobility that are accompanied by a decreasing social capital stock that, in turn, may negatively affect economic and political development.

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"Ingroup love" and "outgroup hate" in intergroup conflict between natural groups

Ori Weisel & Robert Böhm
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report on two studies investigating the motivations (“ingroup love” and “outgroup hate”) underlying individual participation in intergroup conflict between natural groups (fans of football clubs, supporters of political parties), by employing the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma Maximizing-Difference game (IPD-MD). In this game group members can contribute to the ingroup (at a personal cost) and benefit ingroup members with or without harming members of an outgroup. Additionally, we devised a novel version of the IPD-MD in which the choice is between benefiting ingroup members with or without helping members of the outgroup. Our results show an overall reluctance to display outgroup hate by actively harming outgroup members, except when the outgroup was morality-based. More enmity between groups induced more outgroup hate only when it was operationalized as refraining from help.

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National identification as a function of perceived social control: A subjective group dynamics analysis

Isabel Pinto, José Marques & Dario Paez
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on subjective group dynamics theory (SGDT; e.g., Marques, Paez, & Abrams, 1998), we examine the effects of a group’s ability to effectively control its deviant members on participants’ ingroup identification. In Studies 1 and 2 (N = 79 and N = 173) participants were informed that the ingroup (vs. outgroup) dealt with deviant occurrences in an effective (vs. ineffective) way. As predicted, induced ingroup effectiveness generated higher ingroup identification, trust in the ingroup’s social control system, and more positive emotional climate, whereas induced ingroup ineffectiveness generated more negative emotional climate or anomie and weaker ingroup identification as compared to outgroup conditions. In Study 3 (N = 115), perceived ingroup effectiveness predicted ingroup identification, via emotional climate, ingroup anomie, confidence in the group’s social control system, and ingroup emotions. We discuss the results in light of SGDT and the role of perceived ingroup social control in promoting ingroup identification.

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Substitute or stepping stone? Assessing the impact of low-threshold online collective actions on offline participation

Sandy Schumann & Olivier Klein
European Journal of Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 308–322

Abstract:
Anecdotes of past social movements suggest that Internet-enabled technologies, especially social media platforms, can facilitate collective actions. Recently, however, it has been argued that the participatory Internet encourages low-cost and low-risk activism — slacktivism — which may have detrimental consequences for groups that aim to achieve a collective purpose. More precisely, low-threshold digital practices such as signing online petitions or “liking” the Facebook page of a group are thought to derail subsequent engagement offline. We assessed this postulation in three experiments (N = 76, N = 59, and N = 48) and showed that so-called slacktivist actions indeed reduce the willingness to join a panel discussion and demonstration as well as the likelihood to sign a petition. This demobilizing effect was mediated by the satisfaction of group-enhancing motives; members considered low-threshold online collective actions as a substantial contribution to the group's success. The findings highlight that behavior that is belittled as slacktivism addresses needs that pertain to individuals' sense of group membership. Rather than hedonistic motives or personal interests, concerns for the ingroup's welfare and viability influenced the decision to join future collective actions offline.

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When Treatments are Tweets: A Network Mobilization Experiment over Twitter

Alexander Coppock, Andrew Guess & John Ternovski
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study rigorously compares the effectiveness of online mobilization appeals via two randomized field experiments conducted over the social microblogging service Twitter. In the process, we demonstrate a methodological innovation designed to capture social effects by exogenously inducing network behavior. In both experiments, we find that direct, private messages to followers of a nonprofit advocacy organization’s Twitter account are highly effective at increasing support for an online petition. Surprisingly, public tweets have no effect at all. We additionally randomize the private messages to prime subjects with either a “follower” or an “organizer” identity but find no evidence that this affects the likelihood of signing the petition. Finally, in the second experiment, followers of subjects induced to tweet a link to the petition are more likely to sign it — evidence of a campaign gone “viral.” In presenting these results, we contribute to a nascent body of experimental literature exploring political behavior in online social media.

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Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics

Kevin Kniffin, Brian Wansink & Mitsuru Shimizu
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, May 2015, Pages 217-230

Abstract:
Do former high school athletes make better employees than nonathletes? Two studies examine how participation in competitive youth sports appears to be relevant for early-career job prospects as well as late-in-life outcomes. In the short run, Study 1 shows that people expect former student-athletes to display significantly more leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect than those who were active outside of sports — such as being in the band or on the yearbook staff. In the long run, Study 2 uses biodata to discover that men who participated in varsity-level high school sports an average of 60 years earlier appeared to demonstrate higher levels of leadership and enjoyed higher-status careers. Surprisingly, these ex-athletes also exhibited more prosocial behavior than nonathletes — they more frequently volunteered time and donated to charity. These findings open a wide range of possibilities regarding how one’s participation in competitive youth sports might influence the development of important skills and values beyond simply signaling the specific traits examined here. Moreover, this contributes to theoretical debates about the traits of students involved in competitive athletics, and it highlights the need for closer attention to the relevance of sports in the workplace and beyond — including late-in-life charitable giving and voluntarism.

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Mechanisms of Social Avoidance Learning Can Explain the Emergence of Adaptive and Arbitrary Behavioral Traditions in Humans

Björn Lindström & Andreas Olsson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many nonhuman animals preferentially copy the actions of others when the environment contains predation risk or other types of danger. In humans, the role of social learning in avoidance of danger is still unknown, despite the fundamental importance of social learning for complex social behaviors. Critically, many social behaviors, such as cooperation and adherence to religious taboos, are maintained by threat of punishment. However, the psychological mechanisms allowing threat of punishment to generate such behaviors, even when actual punishment is rare or absent, are largely unknown. To address this, we used both computer simulations and behavioral experiments. First, we constructed a model where simulated agents interacted under threat of punishment and showed that mechanisms’ (a) tendency to copy the actions of others through social learning, together with (b) the rewarding properties of avoiding a threatening punishment, could explain the emergence, maintenance, and transmission of large-scale behavioral traditions, both when punishment is common and when it is rare or nonexistent. To provide empirical support for our model, including the 2 mechanisms, we conducted 4 experiments, showing that humans, if threatened with punishment, are exceptionally prone to copy and transmit the behavior observed in others. Our results show that humans, similar to many nonhuman animals, use social learning if the environment is perceived as dangerous. We provide a novel psychological and computational basis for a range of human behaviors characterized by the threat of punishment, such as the adherence to cultural norms and religious taboos.

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Operationalizations of the “but you are free” technique with the word liberty and the Statue of Liberty symbol on clothes: Effects on compliance-gaining

Alexandre Pascual et al.
Social Influence, Summer 2015, Pages 149-156

Abstract:
The “but you are free” (BYAF) technique is a verbal compliance procedure which solicits people to comply with a request by telling them that they are free to accept or to refuse the request. This technique is based on the semantic evocation of freedom. In two studies, we explored another operationalization of this paradigm: the word “liberty” or a “Statue of Liberty” picture on the experimenter's clothes. The data showed that the word liberty printed on a t-shirt produced the BYAF effect whereas the Statue of Liberty picture did not. These results provide some evidence consistent with using reactance and commitment theories to explain the paradigm, contrary to other theoretical interpretations proposed in the literature such as politeness and reciprocity theories.

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Dual-Hormone Changes Are Related to Bargaining Performance

Pranjal Mehta et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies show that endogenous testosterone and cortisol changes interactively track bargaining outcomes. In a face-to-face competitive negotiation (Study 1) and a laboratory-based bargaining game (Study 2), testosterone rises were related to greater earnings and high relationship quality only if cortisol dropped. If cortisol rose, testosterone rises were related to lower earnings and poor relationship quality. Conflict between financial and social goals was associated with the financially costly hormone profile, whereas the absence of such conflict was associated with the financially adaptive hormone profile. The findings suggest that when cortisol decreases, rising testosterone is implicated in adaptive bargaining behavior that maximizes earnings and relationship quality. But when cortisol increases, rising testosterone is related to conflict between social and financial motives, lower earnings, and lower relationship quality. These results imply that there are “bright” and “dark” sides to rising testosterone in economic social interactions that depend on fluctuations in cortisol.

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How does leader humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus

Bradley Owens & David Hekman
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from 607 subjects organized in 161 teams (84 laboratory teams and 77 organizational field teams), we examined how leader humility influences team interaction patterns, emergent states, and team performance. We developed and tested a theoretical model arguing that when leaders behave humbly, followers emulate their humble behaviors, creating a shared interpersonal team process (collective humility). This collective humility in turn creates a team emergent state focused on progressively striving toward achieving the team's highest potential (collective promotion focus), which ultimately enhances team performance. We tested our model across three studies wherein we manipulated leader humility to test the social contagion hypothesis (Study 1), examined the impact of humility on team processes and performance in a longitudinal team simulation (Study 2), and tested the full model in a multistage field study in a health services context (Study 3). The findings from these lab and field studies collectively supported our theoretical model, demonstrating that leader behavior can spread via social contagion to followers, producing an emergent state that ultimately affects team performance. Our findings contribute to the leadership literature by suggesting the need for leaders to lead by example, and showing precisely how a specific set of leader behaviors influence team performance, which may provide a useful template for future leadership research on a wide variety of leader behaviors.

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Damage to the insula is associated with abnormal interpersonal trust

Amy Belfi, Timothy Koscik & Daniel Tranel
Neuropsychologia, May 2015, Pages 165–172

Abstract:
Reciprocal trust is a crucial component of cooperative, mutually beneficial social relationships. Previous research using tasks that require judging and developing interpersonal trust has suggested that the insula may be an important brain region underlying these processes (King-Casas et al., 2008). Here, using a neuropsychological approach, we investigated the role of the insula in reciprocal trust during the Trust Game (TG), an interpersonal economic exchange. Consistent with previous research, we found that neurologically normal adults reciprocate trust in kind, i.e., they increase trust in response to increases from their partners, and decrease trust in response to decreases. In contrast, individuals with damage to the insula displayed abnormal expressions of trust. Specifically, these individuals behaved benevolently (expressing misplaced trust) when playing the role of investor, and malevolently (violating their partner's trust) when playing the role of the trustee. Our findings lend further support to the idea that the insula is important for expressing normal interpersonal trust, perhaps because the insula helps to recognize risk during decision-making and to identify social norm violations.

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The undermining effect of facial attractiveness on brain responses to fairness in the Ultimatum Game: An ERP study

Qingguo Ma et al.
Frontiers in Neuroscience, March 2015

Abstract:
To investigate the time course of the neural processing of facial attractiveness and its influence on fairness consideration during social interactions, event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded from 21 male subjects performing a two-person Ultimatum Game (UG). During this bargaining game, the male subjects played responders who decided whether to accept offers from female proposers, whose facial images (grouped as “attractive” and “unattractive”) were presented prior to the offer presentation. The behavioral data demonstrated that the acceptance ratio increased with the fairness level of the offers and, more importantly, the subjects were more likely to accept unfair offers when presented with the attractive-face condition compared with the unattractive-face condition. The reaction times (RTs) for five offers (1:9, 2:8, 3:7, 4:6, and 5:5) in the unattractive-face condition were not significantly different. In contrast, the subjects reacted slower to the attractive proposers' unfair offers and quicker to fair offers. The ERP analysis of the face presentation demonstrated a decreased early negativity (N2) and enhanced late positive potentials (LPPs) elicited by the attractive faces compared with the unattractive faces. In addition, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) in response to an offer presentation was not significantly different for the unfair (1:9 and 2:8) and fair (4:6 and 5:5) offers in the attractive-face condition. However, the unfair offers generated larger FRNs compared with the fair offers in the unattractive-face condition (consistent with prior studies). A similar effect was identified for P300. The present study demonstrated an undermining effect of proposer facial attractiveness on responder consideration of offer fairness during the UG.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Can't help myself

The burden of responsibility: Interpersonal costs of high self-control

Christy Zhou Koval et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 750-766

Abstract:
The psychological literature on self-control has illustrated the many benefits experienced by people with high self-control, who are more successful both personally and interpersonally. In the current research, we explore the possibility that having high self-control also may have some interpersonal costs, leading individuals to become burdened by others’ reliance. In Studies 1 and 2, we examined the effects of actors’ self-control on observers’ performance expectations and found that observers had higher performance expectations for actors with high (vs. low) self-control. In Study 3, we tested the effect of actors’ self-control on work assigned to actors and found that observers assigned greater workloads to actors with high (vs. low) self-control. In Study 4, we examined how actors and observers differed in their assessments of the effort expended by high and low self-control actors and found that observers (but not actors) reported that high self-control actors expended less effort than low self-control actors. Finally, we found that people high (vs. low) in self-control reported greater burden from the reliance of coworkers (Study 5) and romantic partners (Study 6), and this tendency led them to feel less satisfied with their relationships (Study 6). Together, results from these studies provide novel evidence that individuals’ self-control affects others’ attitudes and behaviors toward them, and suggest that these interpersonal dynamics can have negative consequences for high self-control individuals.

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When Temptations Come Alive: How Anthropomorphism Undermines Self-Control

Julia Hur, Minjung Koo & Wilhelm Hofmann
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how anthropomorphizing a temptation impacts consumer self-control. Six studies show that anthropomorphizing a tempting product impairs self-control not by boosting desire strength but by decreasing consumers’ experience of conflict toward consuming the product — an alarm that signals a need for self-control. As a result, consumers are less likely to initiate self-control and more likely to indulge in the product. This process occurs because an anthropomorphized product acts as another agent in the self-control dilemma, which decreases the extent to which consumers attribute the cause of and responsibility for their consumption to themselves (i.e., internal attribution).

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The Effect of Self-Control on the Construction of Risk Perceptions

Jayson Jia, Uzma Khan & Ab Litt
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that the way decision makers construct risk perceptions is systematically influenced by their level of self-control: low self-control results in greater weighting of probability and reduced weighting of consequences of negative outcomes in formulating overall threat perceptions. Seven studies demonstrate such distorted risk construction in wide-ranging risk domains. The effects hold for both chronic and manipulated levels of perceived self-control and are observed only for risks involving high personal agency (e.g., overeating, smoking, drinking). As an important implication of our results, we also demonstrate that those lower (higher) in self-control show relatively less (more) interest in products and lifestyle changes reducing consequences (e.g., a pill that heals liver damage from drinking) than those reducing likelihood of risks (e.g., a pill that prevents liver damage from drinking). We also explore several possible underlying processes for the observed effect and discuss the theoretical and managerial relevance of our findings.

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Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies

Michael Daly et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The capacity for self-control may underlie successful labor-force entry and job retention, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Analyzing unemployment data from two nationally representative British cohorts (N = 16,780), we found that low self-control in childhood was associated with the emergence and persistence of unemployment across four decades. On average, a 1-SD increase in self-control was associated with a reduction in the probability of unemployment of 1.4 percentage points after adjustment for intelligence, social class, and gender. From labor-market entry to middle age, individuals with low self-control experienced 1.6 times as many months of unemployment as those with high self-control. Analysis of monthly unemployment data before and during the 1980s recession showed that individuals with low self-control experienced the greatest increases in unemployment during the recession. Our results underscore the critical role of self-control in shaping life-span trajectories of occupational success and in affecting how macroeconomic conditions affect unemployment levels in the population.

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Decision-making under uncertainty and demand for health insurance: A multidisciplinary study

Cristina Ottaviani & Daniela Vandone
Journal of Psychophysiology, Spring 2015, Pages 80-85

Abstract:
This study empirically estimated the role played by attitudes toward risk in insurance decision-making. Four hundred forty-five participants underwent the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) coupled with skin conductance recording and demographic/socio-economic questionnaires. The multiple regression model showed a higher probability of holding health insurance for people who are more risk seeking (bad performance at the IGT) but are adaptively able to feel the risk (normal anticipatory skin conductance responses to disadvantageous decks). The role played by traditional socio-economic explanatory variables (age and work status) was confirmed. Results are discussed in light of the need for interdisciplinary research.

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Tangible Temptation in the Social Dilemma: Cash, Cooperation, and Self-Control

Kristian Ove Myrseth, Gerhard Riener & Conny Wollbrant
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The social dilemma may involve a within-person conflict, between urges to act selfishly and better judgment to cooperate. Examining the proposition from the perspective of temptation, we pair the public good game with treatments that vary the degree to which money is abstract (numbers on-screen) or tangible (tokens or cash). We also include psychometric measures of self-control and impulsivity. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found in the treatments that render money more tangible a stronger positive association between cooperation and self-control and a stronger negative association between cooperation and impulsivity. Our results show that the representation of the endowment in the public good game matters for the role of self-control and, hence, cooperation.

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COMT Genotype, Gambling Activity, and Cognition

Jon Grant et al.
Journal of Psychiatric Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neuropsychological studies of adults with problem gambling indicate impairments across multiple cognitive domains. Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) plays a unique role in the regulation of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, and has been implicated in the cognitive dysfunction evident in problem gambling. This study examined adults with varying levels of gambling behavior to determine whether COMT genotype was associated with differences in gambling symptoms and cognitive functioning. 260 non-treatment-seeking adults aged 18-29 years with varying degrees of gambling behavior provided saliva samples for genotyping COMT val158met (rs4680). All subjects underwent clinical evaluations and neurocognitive assessment of decision-making, working memory, and impulsivity. The Val/Val COMT genotype was associated with the largest percentage of subjects with gambling disorder (31.8%), a rate significantly different from the Val/Met (13.2%) group (p=0.001). The Val/Val COMT group was also associated with significantly more gambling disorder diagnostic criteria being met, greater frequency of gambling behavior, and significantly worse cognitive performance on the Cambridge Gamble Task (risk adjustment and delay aversion) and the Spatial Working Memory task (total errors). This study adds to the growing literature on the role of COMT in impulsive behaviors by showing that the Val/Val genotype was associated with specific clinical and cognitive elements among young adults who gamble, in the absence of differences on demographic measures and other cognitive domains. Future work should consider using genotyping to explore whether certain polymorphisms predict subsequent development of impulsive behaviors including gambling disorder, and treatment outcomes.

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Hyperactivity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Impairing Deficit or Compensatory Behavior?

Dustin Sarver et al.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Excess gross motor activity (hyperactivity) is considered a core diagnostic feature of childhood ADHD that impedes learning. This view has been challenged, however, by recent models that conceptualize excess motor activity as a compensatory mechanism that facilitates neurocognitive functioning in children with ADHD. The current study investigated competing model predictions regarding activity level’s relation with working memory (WM) performance and attention in boys aged 8–12 years (M = 9.64, SD = 1.26) with ADHD (n = 29) and typically developing children (TD; n = 23). Children’s phonological WM and attentive behavior were objectively assessed during four counterbalanced WM tasks administered across four separate sessions. These data were then sequenced hierarchically based on behavioral observations of each child’s gross motor activity during each task. Analysis of the relations among intra-individual changes in observed activity level, attention, and performance revealed that higher rates of activity level predicted significantly better, but not normalized WM performance for children with ADHD. Conversely, higher rates of activity level predicted somewhat lower WM performance for TD children. Variations in movement did not predict changes in attention for either group. At the individual level, children with ADHD and TD children were more likely to be classified as reliably Improved and Deteriorated, respectively, when comparing their WM performance at their highest versus lowest observed activity level. These findings appear most consistent with models ascribing a functional role to hyperactivity in ADHD, with implications for selecting behavioral treatment targets to avoid overcorrecting gross motor activity during academic tasks that rely on phonological WM.

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Plasticity of risky decision making among maltreated adolescents: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Joshua Weller et al.
Development and Psychopathology, May 2015, Pages 535-551

Abstract:
Childhood maltreatment has lasting negative effects throughout the life span. Early intervention research has demonstrated that these effects can be remediated through skill-based, family-centered interventions. However, less is known about plasticity during adolescence, and whether interventions are effective many years after children experience maltreatment. This study investigated this question by examining adolescent girls' ability to make advantageous decisions in the face of risk using a validated decision-making task; performance on this task has been associated with key neural regions involved in affective processing and executive functioning. Maltreated foster girls (n = 92), randomly assigned at age 11 to either an intervention designed to prevent risk-taking behaviors or services as usual (SAU), and nonmaltreated age and socioeconomic status matched girls living with their biological parent(s) (n = 80) completed a decision-making task (at age 15–17) that assessed risk taking and sensitivity to expected value, an index of advantageous decision making. Girls in the SAU condition demonstrated the greatest decision-making difficulties, primarily for risks to avoid losses. In the SAU group, frequency of neglect was related to greater difficulties in this area. Girls in the intervention condition with less neglect performed similarly to nonmaltreated peers. This research suggests that early maltreatment may impact decision-making abilities into adolescence and that enriched environments during early adolescence provide a window of plasticity that may ameliorate these negative effects.

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A Comparison of Two Models of Risky Sexual Behavior During Late Adolescence

Sopagna Eap Braje, Mark Eddy & Gordon Hall
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two models of risky sexual behavior (RSB) were compared in a community sample of late adolescents (N = 223). For the traumagenic model, early negative sexual experiences were posited to lead to an association between negative affect with sexual relationships. For the cognitive escape model, depressive affect was posited to lead to engagement in RSB as a way to avoid negative emotions. The current study examined whether depression explained the relationship between sexual trauma and RSB, supporting the cognitive escape model, or whether it was sexual trauma that led specifically to RSB, supporting the traumagenic model. Physical trauma experiences were also examined to disentangle the effects of sexual trauma compared to other emotionally distressing events. The study examined whether the results would be moderated by participant sex. For males, support was found for the cognitive escape model but not the traumagenic model. Among males, physical trauma and depression predicted engagement in RSB but sexual trauma did not. For females, support was found for the traumagenic and cognitive escape model. Among females, depression and sexual trauma both uniquely predicted RSB. There was an additional suppressor effect of socioeconomic status in predicting RSB among females. Results suggest that the association of trauma type with RSB depends on participant sex. Implications of the current study for RSB prevention efforts are discussed.

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A depleted mind feels inefficacious: Ego-depletion reduces self-efficacy to exert further self-control

Jason Chow, Chin Ming Hui & Shun Lau
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has found that ego-depletion undermines self-control by motivating cognition that justifies conservation of mental resource. One potential cognitive mechanism is reduction of self-efficacy. Specifically, we propose that ego-depletion might demotivate self-control by making people believe that they are inefficacious in exerting self-control in subsequent tasks. Three experiments support the proposal. First, we demonstrated that (a) ego-depletion can reduce self-efficacy to exert further control (Experiments 1 to 3) and (b) the temporary reduction of self-efficacy mediates the effect of depletion on self-control performance (Experiment 2). Finally, we found that (c) these effects are only observed among participants who endorse a limited (versus non-limited) theory of willpower and are, hence, more motivated to conserve mental resources (Experiment 3). Taken together, the present findings show that decrease in self-efficacy to exert further self-control is an important cognitive process that explains how ego-depletion demotivates self-control. This research also contributes to the recent discussion of the psychological processes underlying ego-depletion.

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40-second green roof views sustain attention: The role of micro-breaks in attention restoration

Kate Lee et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 182–189

Abstract:
Based on attention restoration theory we proposed that micro-breaks spent viewing a city scene with a flowering meadow green roof would boost sustained attention. Sustained attention is crucial in daily life and underlies successful cognitive functioning. We compared the effects of 40-second views of two different city scenes on 150 university students’ sustained attention. Participants completed the task at baseline, were randomly assigned to view a flowering meadow green roof or a bare concrete roof, and completed the task again at post-treatment. Participants who briefly viewed the green roof made significantly lower omission errors, and showed more consistent responding to the task compared to participants who viewed the concrete roof. We argue that this reflects boosts to sub-cortical arousal and cortical attention control. Our results extend attention restoration theory by providing direct experimental evidence for the benefits of micro-breaks and for city green roofs.

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Higher impulsivity after exposure to the internet for individuals with high but not low levels of self-reported problematic internet behaviours

Phil Reed et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, August 2015, Pages 512–516

Abstract:
The current study explored the impact of internet exposure on the impulsivity of individuals who reported higher or lower levels of problematic internet behaviours. Levels of problematic internet use in 60 individuals were measured using the Internet Addiction Test. Participants were exposed to a choice assessment, in which they could choose between a small immediately-delivered outcome (impulsive), a medium-sized outcome with a medium delay (optimal), and a larger longer-delayed outcome (self-controlled). They were given 15 min access to the internet, and finally were presented with the choice test again. Of the sample, 28% (17/60) had internet-problems, with no difference being found between male and female rates of problematic internet use. Those reporting higher levels of internet-problems displayed no greater impulsive behaviours, prior to internet exposure, than those reporting fewer problems. After internet exposure, higher-problem users displayed greater impulsivity, reflected by a move from self-controlled to impulsive choices. These findings suggest that individuals reporting internet-related problems become more impulsive after exposure to the internet.

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Adolescents’ and Young Adults’ Online Risk Taking: The Role of Gist and Verbatim Representations

Claire White, Michaela Gummerum & Yaniv Hanoch
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young people are exposed to and engage in online risky activities, such as disclosing personal information and making unknown friends online. Little research has examined the psychological mechanisms underlying young people's online risk taking. Drawing on fuzzy trace theory, we examined developmental differences in adolescents’ and young adults’ online risk taking and assessed whether differential reliance on gist representations (based on vague, intuitive knowledge) or verbatim representations (based on specific, factual knowledge) could explain online risk taking. One hundred and twenty two adolescents (ages 13–17) and 172 young adults (ages 18–24) were asked about their past online risk-taking behavior, intentions to engage in future risky online behavior, and gist and verbatim representations. Adolescents had significantly higher intentions to take online risks than young adults. Past risky online behaviors were positively associated with future intentions to take online risks for adolescents and negatively for young adults. Gist representations about risk negatively correlated with intentions to take risks online in both age groups, while verbatim representations positively correlated with online risk intentions, particularly among adolescents. Our results provide novel insights about the underlying mechanisms involved in adolescent and young adults’ online risk taking, suggesting the need to tailor the representation of online risk information to different age groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 15, 2015

Rising up

A multifaceted program causes lasting progress for the very poor: Evidence from six countries

Abhijit Banerjee et al.
Science, 15 May 2015

Introduction: Working in six countries with an international consortium, we investigate whether a multifaceted Graduation program can help the extreme poor establish sustainable self-employment activities and generate lasting improvements in their well-being. The program targets the poorest members in a village and provides a productive asset grant, training and support, life skills coaching, temporary cash consumption support, and typically access to savings accounts and health information or services. In each country, the program was adjusted to suit different contexts and cultures, while staying true to the same overall principles. This multipronged approach is relatively expensive, but the theory of change is that the combination of these activities is necessary and sufficient to obtain a persistent impact. We do not test whether each of the program dimensions is individually necessary. Instead, we examine the “sufficiency” claim: A year after the conclusion of the program, and 3 years after the asset transfer, are program participants earning more income and achieving stable improvements in their well-being?

Rationale: We conducted six randomized trials in Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and Peru with a total of 10,495 participants. In each site, our implementing partners selected eligible villages based on being in geographies associated with extreme poverty, and then identified the poorest of the poor in these villages through a participatory wealth-ranking process. About half the eligible participants were assigned to treatment, and half to control. In three of the sites, to measure within village spillovers, we also randomized half of villages to treatment and half to control. We conducted a baseline survey on all eligible participants, as well as an endline at the end of the intervention (typically 24 months after the start of the intervention) and a second endline 1 year after the first endline. We measure impacts on consumption, food security, productive and household assets, financial inclusion, time use, income and revenues, physical health, mental health, political involvement, and women’s empowerment.

Results: At the end of the intervention, we found statistically significant impacts on all 10 key outcomes or indices. One year after the end of the intervention, 36 months after the productive asset transfer, 8 out of 10 indices still showed statistically significant gains, and there was very little or no decline in the impact of the program on the key variables (consumption, household assets, and food security). Income and revenues were significantly higher in the treatment group in every country. Household consumption was significantly higher in every country except one (Honduras). In most countries, the (discounted) extra earnings exceeded the program cost.

Conclusion: The Graduation program’s primary goal, to substantially increase consumption of the very poor, is achieved by the conclusion of the program and maintained 1 year later. The estimated benefits are higher than the costs in five out of six sites. Although more can be learned about how to optimize the design and implementation of the program, we establish that a multifaceted approach to increasing income and well-being for the ultrapoor is sustainable and cost-effective.

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Family Values and the Regulation of Labor

Alberto Alesina et al.
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
To be efficient, flexible labor markets require geographically mobile workers. Otherwise firms can take advantage of workers' immobility and extract rents at their expense. In cultures with strong family ties, moving away from home is costly. Thus, to limit the rents of firms and to avoid moving, individuals with strong family ties rationally choose regulated labor markets, even though regulation generates higher unemployment and lower incomes. Empirically, we find that individuals who inherit stronger family ties are less mobile, have lower wages and higher unemployment, and support more stringent labor market regulations. We find a positive association between labor market rigidities at the beginning of the 21st century and family values prevailing before World War II, and between family structures in the Middle Ages and current desire for labor market regulation. Both results suggest that labor market regulations have deep cultural roots.

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The Geography of Development: Evaluating Migration Restrictions and Coastal Flooding

Klaus Desmet, Dávid Krisztián Nagy & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We study the relationship between geography and growth. To do so, we first develop a dynamic spatial growth theory with realistic geography. We characterize the model and its balanced growth path and propose a methodology to analyze equilibria with different levels of migration frictions. We bring the model to the data for the whole world economy at a 1°×1° geographic resolution. We then use the model to quantify the gains from relaxing migration restrictions as well as to describe the evolution of the distribution of economic activity in the different migration scenarios. Our results indicate that fully liberalizing migration would increase welfare more than three-fold and would significantly affect the evolution of particular regions in the world. We then use the model to study the effect of a spatial shock. We focus on the example of a rise in the sea level and find that coastal flooding can have an important impact on welfare by changing the geographic-dynamic path of the world economy.

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The Resource Curse Exorcised: Evidence from a Panel of Countries

Brock Smith
Journal of Development Economics, September 2015, Pages 57–73

Abstract:
This paper evaluates the impact of major natural resource discoveries since 1950 on GDP per capita. Using panel fixed-effects estimation and resource discoveries in countries that were not previously resource-rich as a plausibly exogenous source of variation, I find a positive effect on GDP per capita levels following resource exploitation that persists in the long term. Results vary significantly between OECD and non-OECD treatment countries, with effects concentrated within the non-OECD group. I further test GDP effects with synthetic control analysis on each individual treated country, yielding results consistent with the average effects found with the fixed-effects model.

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The Aggregate Effect of School Choice: Evidence from a two-stage experiment in India

Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present experimental evidence on the impact of a school choice program in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) that provided students with a voucher to finance attending a private school of their choice. The study design featured a unique two-stage lottery-based allocation of vouchers that created both a student-level and a market-level experiment, which allows us to study both the individual and the aggregate effects of school choice (including spillovers). After two and four years of the program, we find no difference between test scores of lottery winners and losers on Telugu (native language), math, English, and science/social studies, suggesting that the large cross-sectional differences in test scores across public and private schools mostly reflect omitted variables. However, private schools also teach Hindi, which is not taught by the public schools, and lottery winners have much higher test scores in Hindi. Further, the mean cost per student in the private schools in our sample was less than one-third of the cost in public schools. Thus, private schools in this setting deliver slightly better test score gains than their public counterparts (better on Hindi and same in other subjects), and do so at a substantially lower cost per student. Finally, we find no evidence of spillovers on public-school students who do not apply for the voucher, or on private school students, suggesting that the positive impacts on voucher winners did not come at the expense of other students.

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The Half-Life of Happiness: Hedonic Adaptation in the Subjective Well-Being of Poor Slum Dwellers to a Large Improvement in Housing

Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler & Raimundo Undurraga
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
A fundamental question in economics is whether happiness increases pari passu with improvements in material conditions or whether humans grow accustomed to better conditions over time. We rely on a large-scale experiment to examine what kind of impact the provision of housing to extremely poor populations in Latin America has on subjective measures of well-being over time. The objective is to determine whether poor populations exhibit hedonic adaptation in happiness derived from reducing the shortfall in the satisfaction of their basic needs. Our results are conclusive. We find that subjective perceptions of well-being improve substantially for recipients of better housing but that after, on average, eight months, 60% of that gain disappears.

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Has China’s fast industrial growth been efficient? An industry-level investigation with a newly constructed data set

Harry Wu, Esther Shea & Alice Shiu
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We adopt contemporaneous, nonradial and variable returns to scale assumptions in a data envelopment analysis (DEA) exercise to address the inefficiency problem in Chinese industries in different policy regimes using a newly constructed data set for 24 Chinese manufacturing industries in 1952–2008. While confirming that the central planning period was indeed a ‘graveyard’ for productivity that entailed severe technical regress and efficiency losses, we do not find a steady improvement in efficiency during the reform period despite strong technical progress. We argue that the resurgent prominence of the government and the state sector since the late 1990s, especially following China’s World Trade Organization accession, has obstructed the efficiency improvement.

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Institutionalizing a global anti-corruption regime: Perverse effects on country outcomes, 1984–2012

Wade Cole
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, February 2015, Pages 53-80

Abstract:
A global anti-corruption movement rapidly mobilized and institutionalized during the mid-1990s. Using data for 119 countries between 1984 and 2012, I examine the effects of this movement on rated levels of perceived corruption. Results from multivariate regression analyses show that the global surge in anti-corruption organizing, monitoring, and legalization was paradoxically associated with an increase in rated levels of corruption, over and above a host of political, economic, social, and cultural factors shown in previous research to explain perceived corruption. With the international standardization, scrutinization, and stigmatization of corruption, activities once hidden from view or previously regarded as ‘standard operating procedure’ came to be denominated, detected, and decried as illegitimate. In turn, these processes gave the impression that corruption worsened, when in fact it may have remained stable or even improved. These findings lend support to institutional approaches in sociology and the ‘information paradox’ concept in political science.

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Social Ties and Economic Development

José Anchorena & Fernando Anjos
Journal of Macroeconomics, September 2015, Pages 63–84

Abstract:
We develop a parsimonious general equilibrium model where agents allocate time across three activities: production, trade, and leisure. Leisure includes time spent socializing, which economizes transaction costs. Our framework yields multiple equilibria in terms of the number of social ties and predicts that the number of social ties is positively associated with development. We calibrate our model using an empirical measure of country-level social ties and are able to quantitatively match the cross-country relationship between social ties and income per capita. Our calibration also captures additional dimensions of cross-country data: (i) increasing income inequality, but converging growth rates; (ii) an association between weak social ties and development; and (iii) an association between number of social ties and size of the transaction sector.

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Gold and Silver Mining in the 16th and 17th Centuries, Land Titles and Agricultural Productivity

Rabiul Islam, Jakob Madsen & Paul Raschky
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although agricultural productivity is critical for economic development very little is known about the causes of the large dispersion in agricultural productivity across the world. Microeconomic studies increasingly stress the lack of land rights in many poor countries as an important source of low productivity. This paper examines the role played by land titles in explaining differences in agricultural productivity for 93 countries. Using the per capita accumulated value of gold and silver production in the 16th and 17th centuries as instruments for land rights it is shown that enforcement of land titles is a significant source of agricultural productivity inequality across the world.

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Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France

Noel Johnson
George Mason University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
What is the relationship between state capacity, national identity, and economic development? This paper argues that increases in state capacity can lower the collective action costs associated with political and economic exchange by encouraging the formation of a common identity. This hypothesis is tested by exploiting the fact that the French Monarchy was more successful in substituting its fiscal and legal institutions for those of the medieval seigneurial regime within an area of the country known as the Cinq Grosses Fermes (CGF). Highly disaggregated data on regional self-identification from the 1789 Cahiers de Doléances confirm that regions just inside the CGF were more likely than regions just outside the CGF to identify themselves with national, as opposed to local, institutions. We also show that regions inside the CGF that affiliated with national identity were more economically developed during the first half of the nineteenth century and more likely to contribute towards local public goods.

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The Persistence of (Subnational) Fortune

William Maloney & Felipe Valencia Caicedo
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using newly collected subnational data, this paper establishes the within country persistence of economic activity in the New World over the last half millennium, a period including the trauma of European colonization, the decimation of native populations, and the imposition of potentially growth inhibiting institutions. High pre-colonial density areas tend to be denser today due to locational fundamentals and agglomeration effects: colonialists established settlements near existing native populations for reasons of labour, trade, knowledge and defence. These areas, identified with pre-colonial prosperity, also tend to have higher incomes today suggesting that at the subnational level, fortune persists.

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What Underlies Weak States? The Role of Terrain Ruggedness

Pablo Jimenez-Ayora & Mehmet Ali Ulubaşoğlu
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article documents terrain ruggedness as an underlying cause of lack of state capacity. The paper contends that rugged topography poses significant costs to cooperation among the constituent groups within the state. This problem then translates into inability to commit to policies and under-provision of public goods, leading to such outcomes as poor protection of rule of law, limited tax revenue, civil violence, and ultimately, a weak state apparatus. Using several indicators capturing different dimensions of state capacity, the paper econometrically tests its argument in a sample of 187 independent countries and finds robust and clear evidence in favor of its reasoning. Further, the paper documents that delayed urbanization constitutes an important transmission mechanism for the significant role of terrain ruggedness in reduced state capacity.

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Does Agricultural Growth Cause Manufacturing Growth?

Abdulaziz Shifa
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of agricultural development for industrialization is central to several theories of economic development and policy. However, empirically assessing the impact of agricultural growth on manufacturing growth is challenging because of endogeneity concerns. To address the identification challenge, I use random weather variations to instrument agricultural growth. The instrumental variable estimations show that agricultural growth has a significant positive impact on manufacturing growth. I discuss the empirical implications for efficiency of the manufacturing sector and the role of agriculture in Africa's industrialization.

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Aspire

Marcel Fafchamps & Simon Quinn
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We gave US$1,000 cash prizes to winners of a business plan competition in Africa. The competition, entitled ‘Aspire’, was intended to attract young individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Participants were ranked by committees of judges composed of established entrepreneurs. Each committee selected one winner among twelve candidates; that winner was awarded a prize of US$1,000 to spend at his or her discretion. Six months after the competition, we compare winners with the two runners-up in each committee: winners are about 33 percentage points more likely to be self-employed. We estimate an average effect on monthly profits of about US$150: an annual profit of 80% on initial investment. Our findings imply that access to start-up capital constitutes a sizable barrier to entry into entrepreneurship for the kind of young motivated individual most likely to succeed in business.

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Catastrophes and Time Preference: Evidence From the Indian Ocean Earthquake

Michael Callen
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence suggesting that exposure to the Indian Ocean Earthquake tsunami increased patience in a sample of Sri Lankan wage workers. We develop a framework to characterize the various channels through which disaster exposure could affect measures of patience. Drawing on this framework, we show that a battery of empirical tests support the argument that the increase in measured patience reflects a change in time preference and not selective exposure to the event, migration related to the tsunami, or other changes in the economic environment which affect experimental patience measures. The results have implications for policies aimed at disaster recovery and for the literature linking life events to economic preferences.

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The Impact of IMF and World Bank Programs on Labor Rights

Robert Blanton, Shannon Lindsey Blanton & Dursun Peksen
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
What effect do International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank programs have on collective labor rights? Labor rights advocacy networks and organized labor groups have long been critical of neoliberal policy prescriptions attached to loans by international financial institutions (IFIs), claiming that they harm the interests of workers. IFIs dispute these claims, noting that they work with relevant labor organizations and that many of their arrangements call for compliance with core labor standards. Yet very little research has been devoted to whether IFI programs affect labor laws and the actual labor practices of recipient countries. We argue that IFI programs undermine collective labor rights. Specifically, recommended policy reforms, as well as the broader signals connoted by participation in the programs, undermine labor organizations and the adoption of protective laws. To substantiate these claims, we use time-series cross-national data for a sample of 123 low- and middle-income countries for the years 1985 to 2002. Our findings suggest that programs from both IFIs are negatively and significantly related to labor rights, including laws designed to guarantee basic collective labor rights as well as the protection of these rights in practice.

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The (Non-) Effect of Violence on Education: Evidence from the "War on Drugs" in Mexico

Fernanda Márquez-Padilla, Francisco Pérez-Arce & Carlos Rodríguez-Castelán
World Bank Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This paper studies the sharp increase in violence experienced in Mexico after 2006, known as "The War on Drugs," and its effects on human capital accumulation. The upsurge in violence is expected to have direct effects on individuals'schooling decisions, but not indirect effects, because there was no severe destruction of infrastructure. The fact that the marked increases in violence were concentrated in some municipalities (and not in others) allows for implementation of a fixed-effects methodology to study the effects of violence on educational outcomes. Different from several recent studies that have found significant negative effects of violence on economic outcomes in Mexico, the paper finds evidence that this is not the case, at least for human capital accumulation. The paper uses several sources of data on homicides and educational outcomes and shows that, at most, there are very small effects on total enrollment. These small effects may be driven by some students being displaced from high-violence municipalities to low-violence municipalities; but the education decisions of individuals do not seem to be highly impacted. The analysis discards the possibility that the effects on enrollment of young adults appear small because of a counteracting effect from ex-workers returning to school. The results stand in contrast with recent evidence of the negative effects of violence on short-term economic growth, since minimal to null effects on human capital accumulation today should have little to no adverse effects on long-term growth outcomes in Mexico.

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Education and Human Capital Externalities: Evidence from Colonial Benin

Leonard Wantchekon, Marko Klašnja & Natalija Novta
Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2015, Pages 703-757

Abstract:
Using a unique data set on students from the first regional schools in colonial Benin, we investigate the effect of education on living standards, occupation, and political participation. Since both school locations and student cohorts were selected with very little information, treatment and control groups are balanced on observables. We can therefore estimate the effect of education by comparing the treated to the untreated living in the same village, as well as those living in villages where no schools were set up. We find a significant positive treatment effect of education for the first generation of students, as well as their descendants: they have higher living standards, are less likely to be farmers, and are more likely to be politically active. We find large village-level externalities — descendants of the uneducated in villages with schools do better than those in control villages. We also find extended family externalities — nephews and nieces directly benefit from their uncle’s education — and show that this represents a “family tax,” as educated uncles transfer resources to the extended family.

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Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial

Raymond Guiteras, James Levinsohn & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poor sanitation contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world, but there is disagreement on what policies can increase sanitation coverage. To measure the effects of alternative policies on investment in hygienic latrines, we assigned 380 communities in rural Bangladesh to different marketing treatments — community motivation and information; subsidies; a supply-side market access intervention; and a control — in a cluster-randomized trial. Community motivation alone did not increase hygienic latrine ownership (+1.6 percentage points, p=0.43), nor did the supply-side intervention (+0.3 percentage points, p=.90). Subsidies to the majority of the landless poor increased ownership among subsidized households (+22.0 percentage points, p<.001) and their unsubsidized neighbors (+8.5 percentage points, p=.001), which suggests investment decisions are interlinked across neighbors. Subsidies also reduced open defecation by 14 percentage points (p<.001).

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Fiscal Incentives and Policy Choices of Local Governments: Evidence from China

Li Han & James Kai-Sing Kung
Journal of Development Economics, September 2015, Pages 89–104

Abstract:
This paper examines how fiscal incentives affect the policy choices of local governments in the context of China. Based on exogenous changes in the intergovernmental revenue-sharing scheme, we construct a simulated instrumental variable to resolve the endogeneity problem. We find evidence that local governments shifted their efforts from fostering industrial growth to “urbanizing” China, i.e., to developing the real estate and construction sectors, when their retention rate of enterprise tax revenue was reduced. The increase from the new revenue source compensated for half of the losses in revenue that resulted from the reassignment of fiscal rights. The reassignment had also the effect of retarding the industrial growth of domestically-owned firms in particular.

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Living standards and plague in London, 1560–1665

Neil Cummins, Morgan Kelly & Cormac Ó Gráda
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses individual records of 930,000 burials and 630,000 baptisms to reconstruct the spatial and temporal patterns of birth and death in London from 1560 to 1665, a period dominated by recurrent plague. The plagues of 1563, 1603, 1625, and 1665 appear of roughly equal magnitude, with deaths running at five to six times their usual rate, but the impact on wealthier central parishes falls markedly through time. Tracking the weekly spread of plague, we find no evidence that plague emerged first in the docks, and in many cases elevated mortality emerges first in the poor northern suburbs. Looking at the seasonal pattern of mortality, we find that the characteristic autumn spike associated with plague continued into the early 1700s. Natural increase improved as smaller crises disappeared after 1590, but fewer than half of those born survived childhood.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Your kind

Some evidence for the nonverbal contagion of racial bias

Greg Willard, Kyonne-Joy Isaac & Dana Carney
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four experiments provide evidence for the hypothesis that we can “catch” racial bias from others by merely observing subtle nonverbal cues. Video recordings were made of white participants (with varying levels of racial bias) interacting with a neutral black confederate. Videos contained subtle expressions of positivity or negativity, corresponding to white participants’ levels of bias. Participants randomly assigned to observe the subtle anti-black bias videos (vs. pro-black) formed more negative impressions of the black person (Experiment 1), adopted more negative racial stereotypes (Experiment 2), and demonstrated greater anti-black bias themselves (Experiment 3). Participants only demonstrated increased bias when they knew that a black person was the target (vs. white; Experiment 4). Results suggest that nonverbal expressions of racial bias affect more than simply the actor and target — they affect passive, naïve observers. The good news, however, is that the same is true of pro-black bias. Implications for organizations are discussed.

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Imagining oneself in a stereotyped role may stifle generalized tendencies to support social change

Laura Di Bella & Richard Crisp
Social Influence, Summer 2015, Pages 157-167

Abstract:
Imagining oneself in a stereotyped role may not only increase women's endorsement of stereotypes about women and science, but also stifle broader concerns about social change. In the experiment, 81 women imagined themselves on a stereotypical or a counter-stereotypical career path (vs. a control condition). Participants in the stereotypical imagery condition endorsed to a higher extent the stereotypes about women and science, and crucially, were more resistant to social change in general. Stereotype endorsement mediated the relationship between exposure to stereotypes and resistance to social change. Results imply that tackling occupational gender stereotypes is crucial not only because they exclude women from male-dominated careers, but also because of a potentially pervasive negative impact on broader egalitarian concerns.

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The effect of intergroup contact on secondary group attitudes and social dominance orientation

Natalie Shook, Patricia Hopkins & Jasmine Koech
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study tested the extent to which intergroup contact reduces social dominance orientation (SDO), producing secondary transfer effects. Participants were first-year undergraduate students randomly assigned to live with either a same-race roommate or a roommate of a different race in university housing. Participants completed a feeling thermometer and a measure of SDO at the beginning and end of the fall semester. Participants in interracial rooms reported lower levels of SDO and more positive attitudes toward secondary groups (i.e., racial/ethnic groups other than their roommates’ group) than participants in same-race rooms at the end of the semester. Those in interracial rooms exhibited a significant change in SDO levels and attitudes across time, whereas those in same-race rooms exhibited no change. Furthermore, SDO fully mediated the effect of intergroup contact on attitudes toward secondary groups. These findings provide causal evidence of secondary transfer effects and indicate SDO as an underlying mechanism.

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Sounding Black or White: Priming identity and biracial speech

Sarah Gaither et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
Research has shown that priming one’s racial identity can alter a biracial individuals’ social behavior, but can such priming also influence their speech? Language is often used as a marker of one’s social group membership and studies have shown that social context can affect the style of language that a person chooses to use, but this work has yet to be extended to the biracial population. Audio clips were extracted from a previous study involving biracial Black/White participants who had either their Black or White racial identity primed. Condition-blind coders rated Black-primed biracial participants as sounding significantly more Black and White-primed biracial participants as sounding significantly more White, both when listening to whole (Study 1a) and thin-sliced (Study 1b) clips. Further linguistic analyses (Studies 2a–c) were inconclusive regarding the features that differed between the two groups. Future directions regarding the need to investigate the intersections between social identity priming and language behavior with a biracial lens are discussed.

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It’s just a (sexist) joke: Comparing reactions to sexist versus racist communications

Julie Woodzicka et al.
Humor, May 2015, Pages 289–309

Abstract:
Two experiments test whether using humor moderates the effect of the type of prejudice (racist or sexist) on evaluations of discriminatory communications. Experiment 1 examined a) the offensiveness of sexist and racist humor and b) whether jokes were judged as confrontation-worthy compared to statements expressing the same prejudicial sentiment. Racist jokes and statements were rated as more offensive and confrontation-worthy than sexist statements and jokes, respectively. Additionally, sexist jokes were rated as less offensive than sexist statements. Experiment 2 examined a) the perceived appropriateness of three responses (ignoring, saying “that’s not funny,” or labeling as discrimination) to sexist or racist jokes and b) the likeability of the confronter. Saying “that’s not funny” was the most acceptable response to jokes, but labeling a racist joke as racism was perceived as more appropriate than labeling a sexist joke as sexism. Finally, confronters of racism were liked more than those who confronted sexism.

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Mourning Mayberry: Guns, Masculinity, and Socioeconomic Decline

Jennifer Carlson
Gender & Society, June 2015, Pages 386-409

Abstract:
This study uses in-depth interviews and participant observation with gun carriers in Michigan to examine how socioeconomic decline shapes the appropriation of guns by men of diverse class and race backgrounds. Gun carriers nostalgically referenced the decline of Mayberry America — a version of America characterized by the stable employment of male breadwinners and low crime rates. While men of color and poor and working-class men bear the material brunt of these transformations, this narrative of decline impacts how both privileged and marginalized men think of themselves as men because of the ideological centrality of breadwinning to American masculinity. Using Young’s (2003) “masculine protectionism” framework, I argue that against this backdrop of decline, men use guns not simply to instrumentally address the threat of crime but also to negotiate their own position within a context of socioeconomic decline by emphasizing their role as protector.

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Reducing prejudice through brain stimulation

Roberta Sellaro et al.
Brain Stimulation, forthcoming

Background: Social categorization and group identification are essential ingredients for maintaining a positive self-image that often lead to negative, implicit stereotypes toward members of an out-group. The medial Prefrontal Cortex (mPFC) may be a critical component in counteracting stereotypes activation.

Objective: Here, we assessed the causal role of the mPFC in these processes by non-invasive brain stimulation via transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

Method: Participants (n=60) were randomly and equally assigned to receive anodal, cathodal, or sham stimulation over the mPFC while performing an Implicit Association Test (IAT): They were instructed to categorize in-group and out-group names and positive and negative attributes.

Results: Anodal excitability-enhancing stimulation decreased implicit biased attitudes toward out-group members compared to excitability-diminishing cathodal and sham stimulation.

Conclusions: These results provide evidence for a critical role of the mPFC in counteracting stereotypes activation. Furthermore, our results are consistent with previous findings showing that increasing cognitive control may overcome negative bias toward members of social out-groups.

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Folk beliefs about genetic variation predict avoidance of biracial individuals

Sonia Kang, Jason Plaks & Jessica Remedios
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
People give widely varying estimates for the amount of genetic overlap that exists between humans. While some laypeople believe that humans are highly genetically similar to one another, others believe that humans share very little genetic overlap. These studies examine how beliefs about genetic overlap affect neural and evaluative reactions to racially-ambiguous and biracial targets. In Study 1, we found that lower genetic overlap estimates predicted a stronger neural avoidance response to biracial compared to monoracial targets. In Study 2, we found that lower genetic overlap estimates predicted longer response times to classify biracial (vs. monoracial) faces into racial categories. In Study 3, we manipulated genetic overlap beliefs and found that participants in the low overlap condition explicitly rated biracial targets more negatively than those in the high overlap condition. Taken together, these data suggest that genetic overlap beliefs influence perceivers’ processing fluency and evaluation of biracial and racially-ambiguous individuals.

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Good Guys Are Still Always in White? Positive Change and Continued Misrepresentation of Race and Crime on Local Television News

Travis Dixon
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A content analysis of a random sample of Los Angeles television news programs was used to assess racial representations of perpetrators, victims, and officers. A series of comparisons were used to assess whether local news depictions differed from outside indicators of social reality. In a significant departure from prior research, they revealed that perpetration was accurately depicted on local TV news. Blacks, in particular, were accurately depicted as perpetrators, victims, and officers. However, although Latinos were accurately depicted as perpetrators, they continued to be underrepresented as victims and officers. Conversely, Whites remained significantly overrepresented as victims and officers. The implications of these findings are discussed in light of incognizant racism, ethnic blame discourse, structural limitations, and the guard dog perspective of news media.

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Can pejorative terms ever lead to positive social consequences? The case of SlutWalk

Danielle Gaucher, Brianna Hunt & Lisa Sinclair
Language Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Critics of SlutWalk social movements claim that the term slut can never be empowering and that it is inherently derogatory. However, recent research suggests that the in-group can re-appropriate slurs successfully (e.g., Croom, 2013, Galinsky et al., 2013). In two experiments, we investigated whether the typically pejorative term slut can lead to positive social consequences when used in the context of a social justice movement. We exposed participants to the term slut and systematically varied the sex of the speaker (Study 1) and the context in which the slur was used (Studies 1 and 2). Women were less likely to endorse common rape myths after being exposed to slut in a supportive (i.e., SlutWalk march) relative to a nondescript context (i.e., yelled in the street), regardless of the sex of speaker (Study 1), and even when compared to baseline (i.e., absence of any mention of the term; Study 2). Moreover, within a supportive march context the use of the slur slut did not significantly lower women's feelings of empowerment relative to a slur-free women's march (Study 2). Taken together, results demonstrate that the slur slut is not inherently derogatory and can be re-appropriated under supportive march contexts. Implications for language re-appropriation in social demonstrations are discussed.

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Sexist humor as a trigger of state self-objectification in women

Thomas Ford et al.
Humor, May 2015, Pages 253–269

Abstract:
We conducted two experiments to test the possibility that sexist humor triggers a state of self-objectification in women. Our findings supported two hypotheses derived from self-objectification theory. In Experiment 1, we found that women (but not men) reported greater state self-objectification following exposure to sexist comedy clips than neutral comedy clips. Experiment 2 replicated this finding for women and further demonstrated that sexist humor causes women to engage in more body surveillance compared to neutral humor.

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The Empowering (Super) Heroine? The Effects of Sexualized Female Characters in Superhero Films on Women

Hillary Pennell & Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz
Sex Roles, March 2015, Pages 211-220

Abstract:
The present study was conducted with female undergraduates in the Midwestern region of U.S. to examine the potential positive and negative influences of the gendered depictions of women in superhero films. This study utilized social cognitive and objectification theory frameworks to experimentally examine the short-term effects of exposure to sexualized female characters in superhero films on 83 female viewers’ gender role beliefs, body esteem, and self-objectification. Results show that exposure to the sexualized-victim images of women in superhero films decreased egalitarian gender role beliefs. Exposure to the sexualized-heroine images resulted in lower body esteem. Additionally, a positive effect emerged with a greater belief in the importance of body competence to the self-concept for women who were exposed to the superheroine characters. This study demonstrates short-term effects from viewing sexualized images of women in superhero films and provides a significant understanding of how sexualized female representations may impact gender related beliefs as well as perceptions of one’s self-esteem and body objectification.

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Flash fire and slow burn: Women’s cardiovascular reactivity and recovery following hostile and benevolent sexism

Kristen Salomon, Kaleena Burgess & Jennifer Bosson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, April 2015, Pages 469-479

Abstract:
Women’s cardiovascular responses to sexist treatment are documented, but researchers have yet to consider these responses separately as a function of sexism type (hostile vs. benevolent). This study demonstrates distinct effects of hostile and benevolent sexism for women’s cardiovascular responses that indicate increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Female participants performed a demanding insight task after exposure to a male researcher who offered them a hostilely sexist, benevolently sexist, or nonsexist comment. Women displayed heightened cardiovascular reactivity (increases from baseline) during the task following hostile sexism, and they displayed impaired cardiovascular recovery (return to baseline after the task) following benevolent sexism. The effects seen in the hostile condition were mediated by self-reported anger. These findings indicate that women’s affective responses to hostile and benevolent sexism differ but that exposure to both forms of sexism may have negative cardiovascular consequences.

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It's Not Easy Trying to be One of the Guys: The Effect of Avatar Attractiveness, Avatar Sex, and User Sex on the Success of Help-Seeking Requests in an Online Game

Franklin Waddell & James Ivory
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2015, Pages 112-129

Abstract:
Interactions in online environments are influenced by many of the same gender and sex-role stereotypes that people use in offline interactions. However, less research has examined systematically how the traits of an avatar and the avatar's user interact to influence stereotypical responses in virtual spaces. A field experiment manipulated avatar attractiveness, avatar sex, user sex, and favor difficulty to measure responses to a requested favor across 2,300 interactions in an online game. Attractive avatars received more help than less attractive avatars, but female users received less help than male users when represented by avatars that were less attractive or male.

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The Woman Next to Me: Pairing Powerful and Objectifying Representations of Women

Deborah Schooler
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has documented negative effects of exposure to sexually objectifying media and positive effects of viewing women with more power and agency. The current study evaluates the effects of pairing these two types of representations of women on gender attitudes. Experimental stimuli were based on actual images from a student newspaper, where a statement from the new, female university president ran on the front page adjacent to a sexually objectifying ad. The experiment used a 2 (type of article) X 2 (type of ad) X 2 (gender) design to evaluate the independent and combined effects of viewing the statement from the president and the objectifying ad. Exposure to the objectifying ad was related to more attributional bias and marginally more stereotype production but was not related to hostile or benevolent sexism. Men who saw the objectifying ad alongside the president's statement rated the president as significantly less competent than other groups. Implications for the professional advancement of women are discussed, including the importance of context for media attention paid to female political figures.

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Understanding the Selection Bias: Social Network Processes and the Effect of Prejudice on the Avoidance of Outgroup Friends

Tobias Stark
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found that prejudiced people avoid friendships with members of ethnic outgroups. Results of this study suggest that this effect is mediated by a social network process. Longitudinal network analysis of a three-wave panel study of 12- to 13-year-olds (N = 453) found that more prejudiced majority group members formed fewer intergroup friendships than less prejudiced majority group members. This was caused indirectly by the preference to become friends of one’s friends’ friends (triadic closure). More prejudiced majority members did not have a preference for actively avoiding minority group members. Rather, they had the tendency to avoid friends who already had minority group friends and thus could not be introduced to potential minority group friends. Instead they became friends with the majority group friends of their friends. This research shows how a social networks perspective can further our understanding of the processes underlying intergroup contact.

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Asian American Phenotypicality and Experiences of Psychological Distress: More Than Meets the Eyes

Matthew Lee & Christina Thai
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on Asian Americans’ experiences of racism has examined the impact of generation status and ethnicity. This study investigates how phenotypic and physical appearance characteristics are implicated in self-reports of racialization and social anxiety in Asian American college students (n = 170) who completed measures of psychological distress, well-being, and racialization (e.g., Subtle and Blatant Racism Scale; Yoo, Steger, & Lee, 2010). Participants’ digital photographs were analyzed to test whether specific physical characteristics correlated with self-reported distress. Results suggest eyeglasses and darker skin tone are strongly associated with greater reports of racialization and psychological distress in Asian American college students.

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When threat matters: Self-regulation, threat salience, and stereotyping

Steven Stroessner et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 77–89

Abstract:
Four experiments examined whether information implying imminent threat to safety would interact with regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997) to affect the utilization of threat-relevant stereotypes. Because information suggesting imminent danger is more relevant to the safety goals of prevention-focused individuals than the advancement goals of promotion-focused individuals,, utilization of threat-relevant stereotypes was expected to increase under such conditions only under prevention focus. Support for this prediction was obtained in four distinct and socially important domains. Using scenarios describing a violent crime committed by an African-American male (Experiment 1) or a petty crime committed by an undocumented immigrant (Experiment 2), prevention-focused individuals made judgments consistent with stereotypes when threat was perceived to be high rather than low. In studies that manipulated the stereotypicality of the target in a terrorism scenario (Experiments 3 & 4), prevention-focused individuals were more likely to endorse scrutinizing a stereotypical compared with a non-stereotypical target when terrorism was described as an increasing problem. Implications for models of stereotyping, self-regulation, and responding to threat are discussed.

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Effect of neighborhood stigma on economic transactions

Max Besbris et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 April 2015, Pages 4994–4998

Abstract:
The hypothesis of neighborhood stigma predicts that individuals who reside in areas known for high crime, poverty, disorder, and/or racial isolation embody the negative characteristics attributed to their communities and experience suspicion and mistrust in their interactions with strangers. This article provides an experimental test of whether neighborhood stigma affects individuals in one domain of social life: economic transactions. To evaluate the neighborhood stigma hypothesis, this study adopts an audit design in a locally organized, online classified market, using advertisements for used iPhones and randomly manipulating the neighborhood of the seller. The primary outcome under study is the number of responses generated by sellers from disadvantaged relative to advantaged neighborhoods. Advertisements from disadvantaged neighborhoods received significantly fewer responses than advertisements from advantaged neighborhoods. Results provide robust evidence that individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods bear a stigma that influences their prospects in economic exchanges. The stigma is greater for advertisements originating from disadvantaged neighborhoods where the majority of residents are black. This evidence reveals that residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood not only affects individuals through mechanisms involving economic resources, institutional quality, and social networks but also affects residents through the perceptions of others.

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Sexist Games=Sexist Gamers? A Longitudinal Study on the Relationship Between Video Game Use and Sexist Attitudes

Johannes Breuer et al.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, April 2015, Pages 197-202

Abstract:
From the oversexualized characters in fighting games, such as Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden, to the overuse of the damsel in distress trope in popular titles, such as the Super Mario series, the under- and misrepresentation of females in video games has been well documented in several content analyses. Cultivation theory suggests that long-term exposure to media content can affect perceptions of social realities in a way that they become more similar to the representations in the media and, in turn, impact one's beliefs and attitudes. Previous studies on video games and cultivation have often been cross-sectional or experimental, and the limited longitudinal work in this area has only considered time intervals of up to 1 month. Additionally, previous work in this area has focused on the effects of violent content and relied on self-selected or convenience samples composed mostly of adolescents or college students. Enlisting a 3 year longitudinal design, the present study assessed the relationship between video game use and sexist attitudes, using data from a representative sample of German players aged 14 and older (N=824). Controlling for age and education, it was found that sexist attitudes — measured with a brief scale assessing beliefs about gender roles in society — were not related to the amount of daily video game use or preference for specific genres for both female and male players. Implications for research on sexism in video games and cultivation effects of video games in general are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dirty work

Employment trends in the U.S. Electricity Sector, 2008–2012

Drew Haerer & Lincoln Pratson
Energy Policy, July 2015, Pages 85–98

Abstract:
Between 2008–2012, electricity generated (GWh) from coal, the longtime dominant fuel for electric power in the US, declined 24%, while electricity generated from natural gas, wind and solar grew by 39%, 154%, and 400%, respectively. These shifts had major effects on domestic employment in those sectors of the coal, natural gas, wind and solar industries involved in operations and maintenance (O&M) activities for electricity generation. Using an economic input–output model, we estimate that the coal industry lost more than 49,000 jobs (12%) nationally over the five-year period, while in the natural gas, solar, and wind industries, employment increased by nearly 220,000 jobs (21%). We also combine published ratios for jobs per unit of fuel production and per megawatt of power plant capacity with site-specific data on fuel production and power plant retirements, additions and capacity changes to estimate and map direct job changes at the county level. The maps show that job increases in the natural gas, solar and wind industries generally did not occur where there were significant job losses in the coal industry, particularly in West Virginia and Kentucky.

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Does perception of automation undermine pro-environmental behaviour? Findings from three everyday settings

Niamh Murtagh et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, June 2015, Pages 139–148

Abstract:
The global deployment of technology to aid mitigation of climate change has great potential but the realisation of much of this potential depends on behavioural response. A culturally pervasive reliance on and belief in technology raises the risk that dependence on technology will hamper human actions of mitigation. Theory suggests that ‘green’ behaviour may be undermined by automated technology but empirical investigation has been lacking. We examined the effect of the prospect of automation on three everyday behaviours with environmental impact. Based on evidence from observational and experimental studies, we demonstrated that the prospect of automation can undermine even simple actions for sustainability. Further, we examined the process by which automated technology influences behaviour and suggest that automation may impair personal responsibility for action.

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Consumer’s Surplus with a Racial Apology? Black Relative to Non-Black Inequality in the Welfare Gains of Fuel-Efficient Cars and Trucks

Juliet Elu & Gregory Price
Review of Black Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 135-154

Abstract:
This paper considers whether race conditions the welfare gains associated with the purchase of cars and trucks that comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards . We utilize data from the General Social Survey on respondent stated preferences for the extent to which they value fuel-efficient cars and trucks to estimate the maximum market price they are willing to pay for fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Multinomial and Binary Logit parameter estimates from an inverse demand maximum price valuation specification reveal that relative to non-black Americans, black Americans place less value on fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Our results suggest that federal Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards policy is a source of inegalitarian and racially stratified welfare outcomes as relative to non-black Americans, black Americans gain less consumer’s surplus from fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

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Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure

Elissa Wilker et al.
Stroke, forthcoming

Background and Purpose: Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment, but whether it is related to structural changes in the brain is not clear. We examined the associations between residential long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and markers of brain aging using magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods: Framingham Offspring Study participants who attended the seventh examination were at least 60 years old and free of dementia and stroke were included. We evaluated associations between exposures (fine particulate matter [PM2.5] and residential proximity to major roadways) and measures of total cerebral brain volume, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensity volume (log-transformed and extensive white matter hyperintensity volume for age), and covert brain infarcts. Models were adjusted for age, clinical covariates, indicators of socioeconomic position, and temporal trends.

Results: A 2-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with −0.32% (95% confidence interval, −0.59 to −0.05) smaller total cerebral brain volume and 1.46 (95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.94) higher odds of covert brain infarcts. Living further away from a major roadway was associated with 0.10 (95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.19) greater log-transformed white matter hyperintensity volume for an interquartile range difference in distance, but no clear pattern of association was observed for extensive white matter.

Conclusions: Exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy, and with higher odds of covert brain infarcts. These findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging even in dementia- and stroke-free persons.

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Differences in Birth Weight Associated with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Air Pollution Reduction: Results from a Natural Experiment

David Rich et al.
Environmental Health Perspectives, forthcoming

Objectives: Using the natural experiment of air pollution declines during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we evaluated whether having specific months of pregnancy (i.e. 1st…8th) during the 2008 Olympic period was associated with larger birth weights, compared with pregnancies during the same dates in 2007 or 2009.

Methods: Using n=83,672 term births to mothers residing in 4 urban districts of Beijing, we estimated the difference in birth weight associated with having individual months of pregnancy during the 2008 Olympics (8/8/08–9/24/08) compared to the same dates in 2007/2009. We also estimated the difference in birth weight associated with interquartile range (IQR) increases in mean ambient particulate matter <2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations during each pregnancy month.

Results: Babies with their 8th month of pregnancy during the 2008 Olympics were, on average, 23g larger (95% CI: 5g, 40g) than babies having their 8th month in 2007 or 2009. IQR increases in PM2.5 (19.8 µg/m3), CO (0.3 ppm), SO2 (1.8 ppb), and NO2 (13.6 ppb) concentrations during the 8th month of pregnancy were associated with 18g (-32g, -3g), 17g (95% CI: -28g, -6g), 23g (95% CI: -36g, -10g), and 34g (95% CI: -70g, 3g) decreases in birth weight, respectively. We did not see significant associations for months 1-7.

Conclusions: Short-term decreases in air pollution late in pregnancy in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, a normally heavily polluted city, were associated with higher birth weight.

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Combined effects of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and material hardship on child IQ

Julia Vishnevetsky et al.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology, forthcoming

Objectives: We examined whether the association between child IQ and prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons differed between groups of children whose mothers reported high vs. low material hardship during their pregnancy and through child age 5. We tested statistical interactions between hardships and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as measured by DNA adducts in cord blood, to determine whether material hardship exacerbated the association between adducts and IQ scores.

Design: Prospective cohort. Participants were recruited from 1998 to 2006 and followed from gestation through age 7 years.

Setting: Urban community (New York City)

Participants: A community-based sample of 276 minority urban youth

Results: Significant inverse effects of high cord PAH–DNA adducts on full scale IQ, perceptual reasoning and working memory scores were observed in the groups whose mothers reported a high level of material hardship during pregnancy or recurring high hardship into the child's early years, and not in those without reported high hardship. Significant interactions were observed between high cord adducts and prenatal hardship on working memory scores (β = − 8.07, 95% CI (− 14.48, − 1.66)) and between high cord adducts and recurrent material hardship (β = − 9.82, 95% CI (− 16.22, − 3.42)).

Conclusion: The findings add to other evidence that socioeconomic disadvantage can increase the adverse effects of toxic physical “stressors” like air pollutants. Observed associations between high cord adducts and reduced IQ were significant only among the group of children whose mothers reported high material hardship. These results indicate the need for a multifaceted approach to prevention.

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The U.S. Electricity Industry After 20 Years of Restructuring

Severin Borenstein & James Bushnell
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Prior to the 1990s, most electricity customers in the U.S. were served by regulated, vertically-integrated, monopoly utilities that handled electricity generation, transmission, local distribution and billing/collections. Regulators set retail electricity prices to allow the utility to recover its prudently incurred costs, a process known as cost-of-service regulation. During the 1990s, this model was disrupted in many states by "electricity restructuring," a term used to describe legal changes that allowed both non-utility generators to sell electricity to utilities — displacing the utility generation function — and/or "retail service providers" to buy electricity from generators and sell to end-use customers — displacing the utility procurement and billing functions. We review the original economic arguments for electricity restructuring, the potential winners and losers from these changes, and what has actually happened in the subsequent years. We argue that the greatest political motivation for restructuring was rent shifting, not efficiency improvements, and that this explanation is supported by observed waxing and waning of political enthusiasm for electricity reform. While electricity restructuring has brought significant efficiency improvements in generation, it has generally been viewed as a disappointment because the price-reduction promises made by some advocates were based on politically-unsustainable rent transfers. In reality, the electricity rate changes since restructuring have been driven more by exogenous factors — such as generation technology advances and natural gas price fluctuations — than by the effects of restructuring. We argue that a similar dynamic underpins the current political momentum behind distributed generation (primarily rooftop solar PV) which remains costly from a societal viewpoint, but privately economic due to the rent transfers it enables.

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A new approach to measuring the rebound effect associated to energy efficiency improvements: An application to the US residential energy demand

Luis Orea, Manuel Llorca & Massimo Filippini
Energy Economics, May 2015, Pages 599–609

Abstract:
This paper brings attention to the fact that the energy demand frontier model introduced by Filippini and Hunt (2011, 2012) is closely connected to the measurement of the so-called rebound effect associated with improvements in energy efficiency. In particular, we show that their model implicitly imposes a zero rebound effect, which contradicts most of the available empirical evidence on this issue. We relax this restrictive assumption through the modelling of a rebound-effect function that mitigates or intensifies the effect of an efficiency improvement on energy consumption. We illustrate our model with an empirical application that aims to estimate a US frontier residential aggregate energy demand function using panel data for 48 states over the period 1995 to 2011. Average values of the rebound effect in the range of 56-80% are found. Therefore, policymakers should be aware that most of the expected energy reduction from efficiency improvements may not be achieved.

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Adopting Clean Fuels and Technologies on School Buses: Pollution and Health Impacts in Children

Sara Adar et al.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, forthcoming

Background: Over 25 million American children breathe polluted air on diesel school buses. Emission reduction policies exist but the health impacts to individual children have not been evaluated.

Methods: Using a natural experiment, we characterized the exposures and health of 275 school bus riders before, during, and after the adoption of clean technologies and fuels between 2005 and 2009. Air pollution was measured during 597 trips on 188 school buses. Repeated measures of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), lung function (forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC)) and absenteeism were also collected monthly (1,768 visits). Mixed-effects models longitudinally related the adoption of diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), closed crankcase ventilation systems (CCV), ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD), or biodiesel with exposures and health.

Results: Fine and ultrafine particle concentrations were 10-50% lower on buses using ULSD, DOCs, and/or CCVs. ULSD adoption was also associated with -16% (95% CI: -10, -21%) reduced FENO, 0.02 (95% CI: 0.003, 0.05) and 0.01 (95% CI: -0.006, 0.03) L/year greater changes in FVC and FEV1, respectively, and -8% (95% CI: -16.0, -0.7%) lower absenteeism with stronger associations among asthmatics. DOCs and, to a lesser extent CCVs, also were associated with improved FENO, FVC growth, and absenteeism, but these findings were primarily restricted to persistent asthmatics and were often sensitive to control for ULSD. No health benefits were noted for biodiesel. Extrapolating to the US population, changed fuel/technologies likely reduced absenteeism by >14 million/year.

Conclusions: National and local diesel policies appear to have reduced children’s exposures and improved health.

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Politics, proximity and the pipeline: Mapping public attitudes toward Keystone XL

Timothy Gravelle & Erick Lachapelle
Energy Policy, August 2015, Pages 99–108

Abstract:
The politics of oil pipelines have become increasingly salient in American politics in recent years. In particular, debates about economic benefits, energy security and environmental impact have been provoked by the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion intended to take bitumen from northern Alberta in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Drawing on data from recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, this article asks a series of questions. What levels of support for (and opposition to) the pipeline exist among the American public? What are the roles of political factors (such as party identification and ideology), economic attitudes, environmental attitudes and proximity to the proposed pipeline route in shaping attitudes toward the pipeline? And how do political factors and proximity to the pipeline interact? We find that partisanship and ideology drive attitudes toward the Keystone XL pipeline, and that the effect of ideology is attenuated by proximity to the proposed route. The policy implications of these findings for energy infrastructure siting controversies are discussed.

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Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas

Catherine Hausman & Ryan Kellogg
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Technological innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enabled tremendous amounts of natural gas to be extracted profitably from underground shale formations that were long thought to be uneconomical. In this paper, we provide the first estimates of broad-scale welfare and distributional implications of this supply boom. We provide new estimates of supply and demand elasticities, which we use to estimate the drop in natural gas prices that is attributable to the supply expansion. We calculate large, positive welfare impacts for four broad sectors of gas consumption (residential, commercial, industrial, and electric power), and a negative impact for producers, with variation across regions. We then examine the evidence for a gas-led "manufacturing renaissance" and for pass-through to prices of products such as retail natural gas, retail electricity, and commodity chemicals. We conclude with a discussion of environmental externalities from unconventional natural gas, including limitations of the current regulatory environment. Overall, we find that between 2007 and 2013 the shale gas revolution led to an increase in welfare for natural gas consumers and producers of $48 billion per year, but more data are needed on the extent and valuation of the environmental impacts of shale gas production.

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Soft Transport Policies and Ground-Level Ozone: An Evaluation of the “Clear the Air Challenge” in Salt Lake City

William Seth Teague, Cathleen Zick & Ken Smith
Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, communities have begun to implement both “soft” and mandatory policies designed to address worsening air quality. Voluntary or soft transportation policies have included air quality alert systems that encourage people not to drive on days when the air quality index is above a specified threshold and public education/action campaigns that focus on reducing automobile related travel. In this article, we evaluate the effectiveness of one such soft policy, the Clear the Air Challenge (CAC), in reducing ground-level ozone during the Wasatch Front's summer ozone season. Using daily ozone data and color-coded daily air quality designations from 2006 through 2012, we estimate a range of nonequivalent control group models. In only one of the models does the CAC generate a statistically significant but small reduction in ground-level ozone. Future research should assess the full range of costs and benefits to the public associated with such soft transport policies.

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Neighbors, Knowledge, and Nuggets: Two Natural Field Experiments on the Role of Incentives on Energy Conservation

Paul Dolan & Robert Metcalfe
University of Chicago Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
There is increasing research on the impact of social norms on economic behavior. The research to date has a number of limitations: 1) it has not de-coupled the impact of the norm and the knowledge required to understand how to change behavior based upon it; and 2) it has not understood the impact of social norms under different incentive structures. We address these limitations using two natural field experiments. We find, firstly, that norms change energy consumption irrespective of whether information is provided or not. We find that social norms reduce consumption by around 6% (0.2 standard deviations). Secondly, we find that large financial rewards for targeted consumption reductions work very well in reducing consumption, with a 8% reduction (0.35 standard deviations) in energy consumption. The effect persists even when the financial incentive has been removed, suggesting no crowding out of financial incentives. Perhaps most interestingly, we find that the large effect of financial incentives completely disappears when information on social norms is included.

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Global, regional and local health impacts of civil aviation emissions

Steve Yim et al.
Environmental Research Letters, March 2015

Abstract:
Aviation emissions impact surface air quality at multiple scales — from near-airport pollution peaks associated with airport landing and take off (LTO) emissions, to intercontinental pollution attributable to aircraft cruise emissions. Previous studies have quantified aviation's air quality impacts around a specific airport, in a specific region, or at the global scale. However, no study has assessed the air quality and human health impacts of aviation, capturing effects on all aforementioned scales. This study uses a multi-scale modeling approach to quantify and monetize the air quality impact of civil aviation emissions, approximating effects of aircraft plume dynamics-related local dispersion (~1 km), near-airport dispersion (~10 km), regional (~1000 km) and global (~10 000 km) scale chemistry and transport. We use concentration-response functions to estimate premature deaths due to population exposure to aviation-attributable PM2.5 and ozone, finding that aviation emissions cause ~16 000 (90% CI: 8300–24 000) premature deaths per year. Of these, LTO emissions contribute a quarter. Our estimate shows that premature deaths due to long-term exposure to aviation-attributable PM2.5 and O3 lead to costs of ~$21 bn per year. We compare these costs to other societal costs of aviation and find that they are on the same order of magnitude as global aviation-attributable climate costs, and one order of magnitude larger than aviation-attributable accident and noise costs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

By design

The divided mind of a disbeliever: Intuitive beliefs about nature as purposefully created among different groups of non-religious adults

Elisa Järnefelt, Caitlin Canfield & Deborah Kelemen
Cognition, July 2015, Pages 72–88

Abstract:
Do non-religious adults – despite their explicit disavowal of religious beliefs – have a tacit tendency to view nature as purposefully created by some being? This question was explored in three online studies using a speeded judgment procedure, which assessed disbelievers in two different Western cultures (United States and Finland). Despite strong performance on control trials, across all three studies non-religious individuals displayed a default bias to increasingly judge pictures of natural phenomena as “purposefully made by some being” under processing constraints. Personal beliefs in the supernatural agency of nature (“Gaia beliefs”) consistently predicted this tendency. However, beliefs in nature as purposefully made by some being persisted even when such secular agency beliefs were controlled. These results suggest that the tendency to view nature as designed is rooted in evolved cognitive biases as well as cultural socialization.

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What If They’re Right About the Afterlife? Evidence of the Role of Existential Threat on Anti-Atheist Prejudice

Corey Cook, Florette Cohen & Sheldon Solomon
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Terror management theory posits that the uniquely human awareness of death gives rise to potentially paralyzing terror that is assuaged by embracing cultural worldviews that provide a sense that one is a valuable participant in a meaningful universe. We propose that pervasive and pronounced anti-atheist prejudices stem, in part, from the existential threat posed by conflicting worldview beliefs. Two studies were conducted to establish that existential concerns contribute to anti-atheist sentiments. Experiment 1 found that a subtle reminder of death increased disparagement, social distancing, and distrust of atheists. Experiment 2 found that asking people to think about atheism increased the accessibility of implicit death thoughts. These studies provide the first empirical link between existential concerns and anti-atheist prejudices.

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Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth

Roland Bénabou, Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We analyze the joint dynamics of religious beliefs, scientific progress and coalitional politics along both religious and economic lines. History offers many examples of the recurring tensions between science and organized religion, but as part of the paper's motivating evidence we also uncover a new fact: in both international and cross-state U.S. data, there is a significant and robust negative relationship between religiosity and patents per capita. The political-economy model we develop has three main features: (i) the recurrent arrival of scientific discoveries that generate productivity gains but sometimes erode religious beliefs; (ii) a government, endogenously in power, that can allow such innovations to spread or instead censor them; (iii) a religious organization or sector that may invest in adapting the doctrine to new knowledge. Three long-term outcomes emerge. First, a "Secularization" or "Western-European" regime with declining religiosity, unimpeded science, a passive Church and high levels of taxes and transfers. Second, a "Theocratic" regime with knowledge stagnation, extreme religiosity with no modernization effort, and high public spending on religious public goods. In-between is a third, "American" regime that generally (not always) combines scientific progress and stable religiosity within a range where religious institutions engage in doctrinal adaptation. It features low overall taxes, together with fiscal advantages or societal laws benefiting religious citizens. Rising income inequality can, however, lead some of the rich to form a successful Religious-Right alliance with the religious poor and start blocking belief-eroding discoveries and ideas.

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Perceived Openness to Experience Accounts for Religious Homogamy

Joshua Jackson et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies tested the hypothesis that religious homogamy — assortative mating on the basis of religion — can be partly explained by inferences about religious individuals’ openness to experience, rather than attitudes toward religion per se. Results of Study 1 indicated that non-religious participants perceived non-religious targets to be higher in openness and more appealing as romantic partners, with the first effect statistically accounting for the second. Study 2, which manipulated “religious” and “open” behaviors independently, showed that openness guided dating judgments for both non-religious and religious participants, albeit in opposite directions. Thus, regardless of their own religious beliefs, individuals appear to infer the same kind of behaviors from others’ religiosity, behaviors that are seen positively by religious individuals, but negatively by non-religious individuals. These inferences, in turn, partially explain all individuals’ preferences for partners of the same religious orientation.

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Religion and Innovation

Roland Bénabou, Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni
NBER Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
In earlier work (Bénabou, Ticchi and Vindigni 2013) we uncovered a robust negative association between religiosity and patents per capita, holding across countries as well as US states, with and without controls. In this paper we turn to the individual level, examining the relationship between religiosity and a broad set of pro- or anti-innovation attitudes in all five waves of the World Values Survey (1980 to 2005). We thus relate eleven indicators of individual openness to innovation, broadly defined (e.g., attitudes toward science and technology, new versus old ideas, change, risk taking, personal agency, imagination and independence in children) to five different measures of religiosity, including beliefs and attendance. We control for all standard socio-demographics as well as country, year and denomination fixed effects. Across the fifty-two estimated specifications, greater religiosity is almost uniformly and very significantly associated to less favorable views of innovation.

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A re-examination of religious fundamentalism: Positive implications for coping

Russell Phillips & Gene Ano
Mental Health, Religion & Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of the research on religious fundamentalism explores its negative implications. Religious coping theory provides an opportunity to examine both positive and negative implications of fundamentalism. The present study incorporated various advanced methodologies utilised in the religious coping literature (mediation analyses, hierarchical regression procedures, and longitudinal design) to assess the relationship between religious fundamentalism and religious coping in 723 American college students. Religious fundamentalism was associated with a number of religious coping strategies that have positive implications and inversely related to religious coping with negative associations. Fundamentalism predicted religious coping over and above right-wing authoritarianism and religious orthodoxy. The religious coping methods mediated the relationship between religious fundamentalism and adjustment to stress both concurrently and over time. Limitations of the current study and suggestions for future research are offered.

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Nonreligious Group Factors Versus Religious Belief in the Prediction of Prosociality

Luke Galen, Michael Sharp & Alison McNulty
Social Indicators Research, June 2015, Pages 411-432

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that religious belief is associated with a range of prosocial behaviors such as social embeddedness and generosity. However, this literature has often conflated belief in God with group involvement and failed to control for demographic and social network effects. Rather than assessing prosociality by comparing religious group members with the unaffiliated, the present study also includes secular/nonreligious group members. Multiple regression analyses controlling for confounds diminishes many of the apparent differences between religious and nonreligious individuals. Belief in God itself accounts for approximately 1–2 % of the variance in social embeddedness domains and <1 % of the variance in the domains of outside-group charity and community volunteering. Belief in God is associated with homophily and parochial behavior such as within-group charitable donations and constrained contact with different others. These findings indicate that prosocial benefits are more related to general group membership equally available to religious and secular group members alike than they are to specifically religious content. Religious beliefs are related to within-group prosociality as well as homophily and parochialism directed to those outside the group.

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Explanations of changes in church attendance between 1970 and 2009

Erik van Ingen & Nienke Moor
Social Science Research, July 2015, Pages 558–569

Abstract:
We deduce hypotheses from theories on religious change to explain changes in church attendance rates. Using a new dataset with 51 countries across a long period we apply panel regression models, which enable us to test well-known theories in a more strict and dynamic fashion than do cross-sectional studies. Our results provide new evidence for a few old ideas, but also show striking lack of evidence for ideas that appear well-accepted. Tertiary education proved to be a strong predictor of changes in church attendance. Theories about individualization were also supported. The evidence of existential insecurity as a cause of change was ambiguous: economic development and life expectancy showed significant effects but income inequality did not. We found no support for theories on social globalization and social benefit policy. Finally, we found that income inequality and urbanization were driving forces of change during the 70s and 80s, but not since 1990.

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Examining the psychological separation of church and state: The American–Christian effect

David Butz & Jayson Carvalho
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, May 2015, Pages 109-119

Abstract:
Although religious diversity is increasing in the United States, there is strong evidence that many Americans perceive America to be a Christian nation. The present work provides insight into the extent to which American–Christian associations are deeply embedded in the American psyche by exploring implicit and explicit associations between the American identity and Christianity. Additionally, the present work examines the implications of American–Christian associations for behavioral intentions concerning Christian and non-Christian religious groups. In support of strong American–Christian associations, in Study 1 participants from across the United States (N = 100) associated Christian groups with the American identity more strongly than non-Christian groups. In Study 2 (N = 95), a modified Implicit Association Test (IAT) revealed strong implicit American–Christian associations, particularly among self-identified Christian participants. Moreover, strong explicit American–Christian associations were associated with allocating greater resources to Christian groups and fewer resources to non-Christian groups. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the intersection of national and religious identities and furthering research on American–Christian associations.

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Religious Social Identity, Religious Belief, and Anti-Immigration Sentiment

Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Gizem Arikan & Marie Courtemanche
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 203-221

Abstract:
Somewhat paradoxically, numerous scholars in various disciplines have found that religion induces negative attitudes towards immigrants, while others find that it fuels feelings of compassion. We offer a framework that accounts for this discrepancy. Using two priming experiments conducted among American Catholics, Turkish Muslims, and Israeli Jews, we disentangle the role of religious social identity and religious belief, and differentiate among types of immigrants based on their ethnic and religious similarity to, or difference from, members of the host society. We find that religious social identity increases opposition to immigrants who are dissimilar to in-group members in religion or ethnicity, while religious belief engenders welcoming attitudes toward immigrants of the same religion and ethnicity, particularly among the less conservative devout. These results suggest that different elements of the religious experience exert distinct and even contrasting effects on immigration attitudes, manifested in both the citizenry's considerations of beliefs and identity and its sensitivity to cues regarding the religion of the target group.

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Stereotypes and Madrassas: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

Adeline Delavande & Basit Zafar
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little is known about the behavior of Madrassa (Islamic religious seminaries) students, and how other groups in their communities interact with them. To investigate this, we use data from economic decision-making experiments embedded in a survey that we collected from students pursuing bachelors-equivalent degrees in Madrassas and other educational institutions of distinct religious tendencies and socioeconomic background in Pakistan. First, we do not find that Madrassa students are less trusting of others; in fact, they exhibit the highest level of other-regarding behavior, and expect others to be the most trustworthy. Second, there is a high level of trust among all groups. Third, within each institution group, we fail to find evidence of in-group bias or systematic out-group bias either in trust or tastes. Fourth, we find that students from certain backgrounds under-estimate the trustworthiness of Madrassa students.

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Dogmatism and Mental Health: A Comparison of the Religious and Secular

Jon Moore & Mark Leach
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Religiousness has frequently been found to be associated with higher reported mental health levels than those found in individuals lower in reported religiousness. These results have often been inferred by scholars to mean that secular groups have poorer levels of mental health despite the fact that secular populations have rarely been included in studies. In this study, an ideologically diverse sample of 4,667 respondents was included to determine the relationships among general dogmatism levels, existential dogmatism, religiousness, and 5 indicators of mental health. The sample mainly comprised agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and spiritual nonreligious participants. Statistical analyses indicated that atheistic and theistic groups showed no significant differences on 4 of the 5 mental health indicators. Existential dogmatism and religiousness had similar positive relationships with mental health, but each had weak predictive strengths. The implications of the current study are that secular and religious adherents have similar levels of mental health, which is contrary to expectations based on the previous literature.

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When Heterodoxy Becomes Heresy: Using Bourdieu's Concept of Doxa to Describe State-Sanctioned Exclusion in Pakistan

Ali Qadir
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper employs and adapts Bourdieu's concept of doxa to describe the declaration of heresy against the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan. The Ahmadiyya, avowedly Muslim, were declared heretics by constitutional amendment in 1974, leading to their widespread persecution and bans on their use of Islamic symbols. Most analyses of this event — from a statehood and authority/“Othering” perspective — tend to overlook why the Ahmadi were singled out for this unusual exclusion and why emphasis was placed on symbolic violence. It discursively analyzes the recently declassified transcript of parliamentary proceedings to reveal three interlinked theological and political elements of Ahmadi heterodoxy that challenged the sociopolitical order. The analysis also shows how orthodoxy emerged and was institutionalized in a dialectical relationship with that heterodoxy. Further, the discussion focuses on the continuity of symbolic capital inherent in institutionalization and the implications of this for Ahmadis and other religious “heretics” in Pakistan. By exploring how heterodoxy becomes heresy, this case highlights the utility of Bourdieu's schema and proposes some adjustments to it to better understand modern religious heresy and then export lessons into other analytical domains.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 11, 2015

In open court

Free at Last? Judicial Discretion and Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing

Crystal Yang
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages 75-111

Abstract:
The federal sentencing guidelines were created to reduce unwarranted sentencing disparities among similar defendants. This paper explores the impact of increased judicial discretion on racial disparities in sentencing after the guidelines were struck down in United States v. Booker (543 U.S. 220 [2005]). Using data on the universe of federal defendants, I find that black defendants received 2 months more in prison compared with their white counterparts after Booker, a 4 percent increase in average sentence length. To identify the sources of racial disparities, I construct a data set linking judges to defendants. Exploiting the random assignment of cases to judges, I find that racial disparities after Booker were greater among judges appointed after Booker, which suggests acculturation to the guidelines by judges with experience sentencing under a mandatory-guidelines regime. Prosecutors also responded to increased judicial discretion after Booker by charging black defendants with binding mandatory minimum sentences.

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Race, Context and Judging on the Courts of Appeals: Race-Based Panel Effects in Death Penalty Cases

Jonathan Kastellec
Princeton Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
I examine how the identities of judges on multimember courts interact with case context to influence judicial decision making. Specifically, I leverage the variation in both panel composition and defendant race to examine race-based panel effects in death penalty cases on the Courts of Appeals. Using a dataset that accounts for several characteristics of a defendant and his crime, I find that the random assignment of a black judge to an otherwise all-non-black panel substantially increases the probability that the panel will grant relief to a defendant on death row - but only in cases where the defendant is black. The size of the increase is substantially large: conditional on the defendant being black, a panel composed of a single African-American judge is 15 percentage points more likely to grant relief than an all-non-black panel. These results have important implications for assessing the role of minority judges in generating substantive representation on the federal courts and contribute to the empirical literature on the application of the death penalty in the United States.

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The Economic Origins of Entrenched Judicial Review

Anna Harvey
Studies in American Political Development, April 2015, Pages 1-22

Abstract:
This article proposes a new explanation for the origins of entrenched judicial review, or judicial review supported by supermajority constitutional amendment requirements. The explanation is based on ex ante levels of economic inequality: Where economic inequality is higher, economic elites have more to lose from the advent of majority rule. These elites will have both greater incentives and greater ability to resist or check institutions responsive to popular majorities. We may then be more likely to see the adoption of less democratically responsive institutions, like entrenched judicial review, where more unequal wealth and income distributions are threatened by majority rule. The theory is consistent with the qualitative historical record from several former British colonies, including that of the United States. It also finds considerable support in an econometric analysis of the presence of entrenched judicial review in the first year of continuous democracy for those former European colonies that had become democracies by 2008, where pre-independence European mortality rates are used as a proxy for pre-independence economic inequality. These findings suggest that the adoption of entrenched judicial review in democracies may have been motivated at least in part because of its anticipated protection for higher levels of economic inequality.

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Trial and Error: Decision Reversal and Panel Size in State Courts

Yosh Halberstam
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using cross-state and within-court variation, I show that lower court decisions are reversed more frequently by larger, rather than smaller, panels of high court judges. Overall, conditional on being reviewed, the probability that a case is reversed by a high court judicial panel is less than one half. To understand these findings, I develop a simple framework that connects reversals and panel size with the extent to which judicial decision-making is congruent with the law. Assuming the high court rules correctly more often than not, my empirical results suggest that increasing judicial panel size erodes the quality of decision-making in high courts. These results are consistent with a large literature investigating small group size effects on productivity and output.

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Descriptive Representation and Judicial Outcomes in Multiethnic Societies

Guy Grossman et al.
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The extent to which judicial outcomes depend on judges' identities is a central question in multiethnic societies. Past work on the impact of the racial composition of appellate courts has narrowly focused on civil rights cases in the United States. We expand this literature by testing for ethnicity-based panel effects in criminal appeals in Israel. Using randomness in the assignment of cases to panels, we find that appeal outcomes for Jewish defendants are independent of panels' ethnic composition. By contrast, panel composition is highly consequential for Arab defendants, who receive more lenient punishments when their case is heard by a panel that includes at least one Arab judge, compared to all-Jewish panels. The magnitude of these effects is sizable: a 14–20% reduction in incarceration and a 15–26% reduction in prison sentencing. These findings contribute to recent debates on the relationship between descriptive representation and substantive outcomes in judicial bodies.

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Representation on the Courts? The Effects of Trial Judges' Sex and Race

Christina Boyd
University of Georgia Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Scholars have long sought to resolve whether and to what degree political actor diversity influences the outputs of political institutions like legislatures, administrative agencies, and courts. When it comes to the judiciary, diverse judges may greatly affect outcomes. Despite this potential, no consensus exists for whether judicial diversity affects behavior in trial courts -- i.e., the stage where the vast majority of litigants interact with the judicial branch. After addressing the research design limitations in previous trial court-diversity studies, the statistical results here indicate that a trial judge's sex and race have very large effects on his or her decision making. These results have important implications for how we view diversity throughout the judiciary and are particularly timely given the Obama Administration's nearly 200 female and minority appointments to the federal trial courts.

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After the Override: An Empirical Analysis of Shadow Precedent

Brian Broughman & Deborah Widiss
Indiana University Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
The ability of Congress to override judicial interpretations of statutory language is central to legislative supremacy. Both political science and legal scholarship assume, often implicitly, that enactment of a legislative override will effectively replace the pre-existing precedent, akin to a judicial overruling of a prior decision. Yet, because the superseding language comes from Congress rather than the courts, it is often unclear precisely how an override interacts with the pre-existing precedent. Our study is the first to empirically address this issue. We built an original dataset of annual citations to three different groups of Supreme Court decisions: (i) cases overridden by Congress (ii) cases subsequently overruled by the Court, and (iii) a matched control group of Supreme Court decisions that were neither overridden nor overruled. Using fixed effect regression analysis, we find that, on average, citation levels to cases that have been at least partially superseded — what we call “shadow precedents” — decrease only minimally after an override, while they decrease dramatically after a judicial overruling. Our results suggest that when faced with competing signals from Congress and the courts above them, trial courts look for interpretive guidance from other judicial actors, and that courts often continue to rely extensively on overridden precedents.

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Bias in Open Peer-Review: Evidence from the English Superior Courts

Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Clare Leaver
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explores possible biases in open peer-review using data from the English superior courts. Exploiting the random timing of on-the-job interaction between reviewers and reviewees, we find evidence that reviewers are reluctant to reverse the judgments of reviewees with whom they are about to interact, and that this effect is stronger when reviewer and reviewee share the same rank. The average bias is substantial: the proportion of reviewer affirmances is 30% points higher in the group where reviewers know they will soon work with their reviewee, relative to groups where such interaction is absent. Our results suggest reforms for the judicial listing process, and caution against recent trends in performance appraisal techniques and scientific publishing.

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Understanding the Length of State Supreme Court Opinions

Meghan Leonard & Joseph Ross
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The writing of a majority opinion is the most important task for judges and justices on collegial courts because they must be able to explain and justify the court’s decision in a way that will be understood by other legal and political actors. For state supreme court justices, we argue that the opinion-writing process is driven by the information the opinion author has as well as internal institutional constraints. In this article, we examine the length of opinions produced by state supreme courts to determine whether there are differences in the opinion-writing process between elected and appointed courts. Using an original dataset comprising all education cases decided by state supreme courts from 1995 to 2005, we find, consistent with our expectations, that elected justices appear to be more concerned with audiences external to the court in writing opinions, whereas appointed justices are more likely to respond to internal constraints and conditions.

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#BlackLivesDon'tMatter: Race-of-victim effects in US executions, 1976–2013

Frank Baumgartner, Amanda Grigg & Alisa Mastro
Politics, Groups and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the role of racial bias in the implementation of capital punishment. First, our analysis of existing literature confirms higher rates of capital punishment for those who kill Whites, particularly for Blacks who kill Whites. Second, we compare homicide victim data with a newly collected data set including information on the victims of every inmate executed in the USA from 1976 through 2013, some 1369 executions. These data reveal that Black males have been the primary victims of homicides, but their killers are much less likely to be put to death. While previous scholars have emphasized the over-representation of killers of White women, we shed additional light on another aspect of the racial and gender biases of the US death penalty. Capital punishment is very rarely used where the victim is a Black male, despite the fact that this is the category most likely to be the victim of homicide.

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When "Best Practices" Win, Employees Lose: Symbolic Compliance and Judicial Inference in Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Cases

Linda Hamilton Krieger, Rachel Kahn Best & Lauren Edelman
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article provides a new account of employers' advantages over employees in federal employment discrimination cases. We analyze the effects of judicial deference, in which judges use institutionalized employment structures to infer nondiscrimination without scrutinizing those structures in any meaningful way. Using logistic regression to analyze a representative sample of judicial opinions in federal EEO cases during the first thirty-five years after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we find that when judges uncritically use the presence of organizational structures to reason about whether discrimination occurred, employers are much more likely to prevail. This pattern is especially pronounced in opinions written by liberal judges. In light of these findings, we offer recommendations for judges, lawyers, and policy makers — including legal academics — who seek to improve the accuracy and efficacy of employment discrimination adjudications.

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Is the Impact of Cumulative Disadvantage on Sentencing Greater for Black Defendants?

John Wooldredge et al.
Criminology & Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined race-group differences in the effects of how felony defendants are treated at earlier decision points in case processing on case outcomes. Multilevel analyses of 3,459 defendants nested within 123 prosecutors and 34 judges in a large, northern U.S. jurisdiction revealed significant main and interaction effects of a defendant's race on bond amounts, pretrial detention, and nonsuspended prison sentences, but no significant effects on charge reductions and prison sentence length. Evidence of greater “cumulative disadvantages” for Black defendants in general and young Black men in particular was revealed by significant indirect race effects on the odds of pretrial detention via type of attorney, prior imprisonment, and bond amounts, as well as by indirect race effects on prison sentences via pretrial detention and prior imprisonment.

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Testing for Racial Prejudice in the Parole Board Release Process: Theory and Evidence

Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages 1-37

Abstract:
We develop a model of a parole board contemplating whether to grant parole release to a prisoner who has finished serving his minimum sentence. The model implies a simple outcome test for racial prejudice that is based on the released inmate’s rate of recidivism and is robust to the inframarginality problem. Our model has several testable implications for which we show empirical support. Applying our test to data on all prison releases in Pennsylvania between 1999 and 2003, we find no evidence of racial prejudice.

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Assessing Racial Disparities in Parole Release

Stéphane Mechoulan & Nicolas Sahuguet
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages 39-74

Abstract:
In a rational choice model of parole release, a color-blind parole board seeking to minimize violations would release all prisoners below a certain risk threshold. To test this prediction, we extend the outcome-test methodology used in assessing discrimination in police searches. We overcome the inframarginality critique by taking advantage of strategic timing of release: within each racial group, violation rates are equalized for a given sentence length. We use the National Corrections Reporting Program data, which record all parole-release decisions in the United States. We find that violation rates are consistently higher for African American parolees, a result not consistent with a parole board bias against African Americans. This conclusion is robust to a variety of tests, including ruling out postrelease discrimination. Evidence on the timing of release suggests a policy aimed at limiting racial disparities in time served rather than in violation rates, which favors fairness over efficiency.

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The Effect of Race/Ethnicity on Sentencing: Examining Sentence Type, Jail Length, and Prison Length

Kareem Jordan & Tina Freiburger
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Summer 2015, Pages 179-196

Abstract:
The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of race/ethnicity on criminal sentencing outcomes. The findings from prior studies tend to be mixed on this issue. Using 4 years of data from the State Court Processing Statistics (2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006) and propensity score matching, we examined the impact of race/ethnicity on sentencing outcomes among Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. The findings suggest that racial/ethnic biases occur in the sentence type (community sanction, jail, or prison) and jail length decisions though not in the prison length decision. It is important to separate jail length and prison length when examining incarceration time. Combining the 2 distinct sentences may confound the true impact of factors on these outcomes.

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Encouraging eyewitnesses to falsely corroborate allegations: Effects of rapport-building and incriminating evidence

Deborah Wright, Robert Nash & Kimberley Wade
Psychology, Crime & Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Building rapport involves developing a harmonious relationship with another person and conveying understanding and acceptance towards that person. Law enforcement officers use rapport-building to help gather information from witnesses. But could rapport-building, in some situations, work to contaminate eyewitness testimony? Research shows that compelling incriminating evidence can lead people to corroborate false accusations made against another person. We investigated whether rapport-building – when combined with either Verbal or Verbal+Visual false evidence – might boost these corroboration rates. Subjects took part in a pseudo-gambling task, in which their counterpart was falsely accused of cheating. Using a 2 (Rapport: Rapport vs. No-rapport) × 2 (Incriminating Evidence: Verbal vs. Verbal+Visual) between-subjects design, we persuaded subjects to corroborate the accusation. We found that both rapport and verbal+visual incriminating evidence increased the compliance rate. Even when the incriminating evidence was only presented verbally, rapport-building subjects were almost three times as likely to corroborate a false accusation compared to subjects who did not undergo rapport-building. Our results suggest that although there is widespread and strong support for using rapport-building in interviews, doing so also has the potential to aggravate the contaminating power of suggestive interview techniques.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Head case

Association Between Altitude and Regional Variation of ADHD in Youth

Rebekah Huber et al.
Journal of Attention Disorders, forthcoming

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of altitude on rates of ADHD. As decreased dopamine (DA) activity has been reported with ADHD and hypoxia has shown to be associated with increased DA, we hypothesized that states at higher altitudes would have lower rates of ADHD.

Method: State estimates from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) report and 2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) report were used to extract the percentages of youth ages 4 to 17 diagnosed with ADHD.

Results: Both the datasets independently revealed that the prevalence of ADHD decreases with increasing altitude (R 2 = .38, p < .001; R 2 = .31, p < .001), respectively. This study controlled for potential confounds (e.g., low birth weight, ethnicity, and household size).

Conclusion: These findings suggest a need for further investigation into the extent by which altitude may serve as a protective factor for ADHD.

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Risk of Suicide Among US Military Service Members Following Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom Deployment and Separation From the US Military

Mark Reger et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the association between deployment and suicide among all 3.9 million US military personnel who served during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, including suicides that occurred after separation.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort design used administrative data to identify dates of deployment for all service members (October 7, 2001, to December 31, 2007) and suicide data (October 7, 2001, to December 31, 2009) to estimate rates of suicide-specific mortality. Hazard ratios were estimated from time-dependent Cox proportional hazards regression models to compare deployed service members with those who did not deploy.

Results: Deployment was not associated with the rate of suicide (hazard ratio, 0.96; 99% CI, 0.87-1.05). There was an increased rate of suicide associated with separation from military service (hazard ratio, 1.63; 99% CI, 1.50-1.77), regardless of whether service members had deployed or not. Rates of suicide were also elevated for service members who separated with less than 4 years of military service or who did not separate with an honorable discharge.

Conclusions and Relevance: Findings do not support an association between deployment and suicide mortality in this cohort. Early military separation (<4 years) and discharge that is not honorable were suicide risk factors.

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Urban vs Rural Residence and the Prevalence of Depression and Mood Disorder Among African American Women and Non-Hispanic White Women

Addie Weaver et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the interaction of urbanicity and race/ethnicity on lifetime and 12-month major depressive disorder (MDD) and mood disorder prevalence for African American women and non-Hispanic white women.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The US National Survey of American Life data were used to examine the interaction of urbanicity and race/ethnicity on lifetime and 12-month diagnoses of DSM-IV MDD and mood disorder among female respondents, who included noninstitutionalized African American, Caribbean black, and non-Hispanic white women in the United States between February 2001 and June 2003. Participants included 1462 African American women and 341 non-Hispanic white women recruited from the South because all suburban and rural National Survey of American Life respondents resided in this region. Bivariate multiple logistic regression and adjusted prevalence analyses were performed. Urban, suburban, or rural location (assessed via Rural-Urban Continuum Codes), self-reported race/ethnicity, and sociodemographic factors (age, education, household income, and marital status) were included in the analysis.

Results: Compared with urban African American women, rural African American women had a significantly lower odds of meeting criteria for lifetime (odds ratio [OR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.23-0.65) and 12-month (OR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.18-0.46) MDD and for lifetime (F = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29-0.73) and 12-month (F = 0.42; 95% CI, 0.26-0.66) mood disorder. However, the interaction of urbanicity and race/ethnicity suggested that rural non-Hispanic white women had a significantly higher odds of meeting criteria for lifetime (OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 1.22-6.24) and 12-month (OR, 9.48; 95% CI, 4.65-19.34) MDD and for lifetime (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.06-4.87) and 12-month (OR, 5.99; 95% CI, 3.01-11.94) mood disorder than rural African American women. Adjusted prevalence analyses revealed significantly lower rates of lifetime (4.2%) and 12-month (1.5%) MDD among rural African American women than their urban counterparts (10.4% vs 5.3%; P ≤ .01). The same pattern was found for mood disorder, with rural African American women experiencing significantly lower rates of lifetime (6.7%) and 12-month (3.3%) mood disorder when compared to urban African American women (13.9% vs 7.6%; P ≤ .01) Conversely, rural non-Hispanic white women had significantly higher rates of 12-month MDD (10.3%) and mood disorder (10.3%) than their urban counterparts (3.7% vs 3.8%; P ≤ .01).

Conclusions and Relevance: Rural residence differentially influences MDD and mood disorder prevalence among African American women and non-Hispanic white women. These findings offer a first step toward understanding the cumulative effect of rural residence and race/ethnicity on women’s depression prevalence, suggesting the need for further research in this area.

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The Effect of Grounding the Human Body on Mood

Gaétan Chevalier
Psychological Reports, April 2015, Pages 534-543

Abstract:
Earthing (grounding) refers to bringing the body in contact with the Earth. Health benefits were previously reported, but no study exists about mood. This study was conducted to assess if Earthing improves mood. 40 adult participants were either grounded or sham-grounded (no grounding) for 1 hr. while relaxing in a comfortable recliner chair equipped with a conductive pillow, mat, and patches connecting them to the ground. This pilot project was double-blinded and the Brief Mood Introspection Scale (comprising 4 mood scales) was used. Pleasant and positive moods statistically significantly improved among grounded — but not sham-grounded — participants. It is concluded that the 1-hr. contact with the Earth improved mood more than expected by relaxation alone. More extensive studies are, therefore, warranted.

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A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood

Laura Steenbergen et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Objective: Heightened cognitive reactivity to normal, transient changes in sad mood is an established marker of vulnerability to depression and is considered an important target for interventions. The present study aimed to test if a multispecies probiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Lactobacillus acidophilus W37, Lactobacillus brevis W63, Lactobacillus casei W56, Lactobacillus salivarius W24, and Lactococcus lactis (W19 and W58) may reduce cognitive reactivity in non-depressed individuals.

Design: In a triple-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, pre- and post-intervention assessment design, 20 healthy participants without current mood disorder received a 4-week probiotic food-supplement intervention with the multispecies probiotics, while 20 control participants received an inert placebo for the same period. In the pre- and post-intervention assessment, cognitive reactivity to sad mood was assessed using the revised Leiden index of depression sensitivity scale.

Results: Compared to participants who received the placebo intervention, participants who received the 4-week multispecies probiotics intervention showed a significantly reduced overall cognitive reactivity to sad mood, which was largely accounted for by reduced rumination and aggressive thoughts.

Conclusion: These results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. Probiotics supplementation warrants further research as a potential preventive strategy for depression.

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Associations of the Ratios of n-3 to n-6 Dietary Fatty Acids With Longitudinal Changes in Depressive Symptoms Among US Women

May Beydoun et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 May 2015, Pages 691-705

Abstract:
In the present study, we examined longitudinal changes in self-reported depressive symptoms (and related domains) in relation to baseline intakes of n-3 fatty acids (absolute and relative to n-6 fatty acids). Sex-specific associations were evaluated in a prospective cohort of adults (n = 2,053) from Baltimore, Maryland, who were 30–64 years of age at baseline and were followed for a mean of 4.65 (standard deviation, 0.93) years (2004–2013). Using mean intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids reported on two 24-hour dietary recalls, we estimated the ratios of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids for both highly unsaturated fatty acids (≥20 carbon atoms) (HUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (≥18 carbon atoms) (PUFAs). Outcomes included total and domain-specific scores on the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale. Based on mixed-effects regression models, among women, both higher n-3 HUFA:n-6 PUFA and n-3 PUFA:n-6 PUFA ratios were associated with a slower rate of increase in total Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scores over time. Higher n-3 HUFA:n-6 HUFA ratios were associated with slower increases in somatic complaints in men, whereas among women, higher n-3 HUFA:n-6 PUFA and n-3 PUFA:n-6 PUFA ratios were both linked to putative longitudinal improvement in positive affect over time. Among US adults, n-3:n-6 dietary fatty acid ratio was associated with longitudinal changes in depressive symptoms, with a higher ratio linked to a slower increase in depressive symptoms over time, particularly among women.

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Why Bother? Death, Failure, and Fatalistic Withdrawal From Life

Joseph Hayes, Cindy Ward & Ian McGregor
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research examines the conditions under which death contemplation will reduce, rather than increase, goal directed activity. By employing a goal-regulation perspective on the problem of death, we hypothesized that death awareness precipitates withdrawal from the goal for continued life when life is experienced as dissatisfying and hope for the future appears bleak. In Study 1, participants with low life satisfaction who contemplated goal failure responded to mortality salience with reduced desire for continued life. Studies 2–4 examined general goal motivation. Consistent with the idea that withdrawal from life precipitates a general state of reduced goal motivation, parallel effects were observed on the willingness to delay gratification for future outcomes (Study 2), orientation toward the future (Study 3), and behavioral activation system (BAS) sensitivity (Study 4). Moreover, Study 3 showed that these effects were mediated by a generally pessimistic attitude toward life. Finally, Study 5 assessed felt uncertainty and state depression, revealing that withdrawal from life was associated with reduced uncertainty but increased depression. Discussion is focused on implications for theories of threat and defense, and applications for understanding depression and suicide.

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Cumulative Exposure to Prior Collective Trauma and Acute Stress Responses to the Boston Marathon Bombings

Dana Rose Garfin, Alison Holman & Roxane Cohen Silver
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of repeated exposure to collective trauma in explaining response to subsequent community-wide trauma is poorly understood. We examined the relationship between acute stress response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and prior direct and indirect media-based exposure to three collective traumatic events: the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks, Superstorm Sandy, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Representative samples of residents of metropolitan Boston (n = 846) and New York City (n = 941) completed Internet-based surveys shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings. Cumulative direct exposure and indirect exposure to prior community trauma and acute stress symptoms were assessed. Acute stress levels did not differ between Boston and New York metropolitan residents. Cumulative direct and indirect, live-media-based exposure to 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, and the Sandy Hook shooting were positively associated with acute stress responses in the covariate-adjusted model. People who experience multiple community-based traumas may be sensitized to the negative impact of subsequent events, especially in communities previously exposed to similar disasters.

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Emotional and Physiological Desensitization to Real-Life and Movie Violence

Sylvie Mrug et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, May 2015, Pages 1092-1108

Abstract:
Youth are exposed to large amounts of violence in real life and media, which may lead to desensitization. Given evidence of curvilinear associations between exposure to violence and emotional distress, we examined linear and curvilinear associations of exposure to real-life and movie violence with PTSD symptoms, empathy, and physiological arousal, as well emotional and physiological reactivity to movie violence. College students (N = 209; mean age = 18.74) reported on their exposure to real-life and televised violence, PTSD symptoms, and empathy. Then, students were randomly assigned to view a series of violent or nonviolent high-action movie scenes, providing ratings of emotional distress after each clip. Blood pressure was measured at rest and during video viewing. Results showed that with increasing exposure to real-life violence, youth reported more PTSD symptoms and greater identification with fictional characters. Cognitive and emotional empathy increased from low to medium levels of exposure to violence, but declined at higher levels. For males, exposure to higher levels of real-life violence was associated with diminishing (vs. increasing) emotional distress when viewing violent videos. Exposure to televised violence was generally unrelated to emotional functioning. However, those with medium levels of exposure to TV/movie violence experienced lower elevations of blood pressure when viewing violent videos compared to those with low exposure, and those with higher levels of exposure evidenced rapid increase in blood pressure that quickly declined over time. The results point to diminished empathy and reduced emotional reactivity to violence as key aspects of desensitization to real-life violence, and more limited evidence of physiological desensitization to movie violence among those exposed to high levels of televised violence.

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Placebo ‘serotonin’ increases heart rate variability in recovery from psychosocial stress

Margot Darragh et al.
Physiology & Behavior, 1 June 2015, Pages 45–49

Objective: To investigate placebo effects on heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in recovery from a psychosocial stressor.

Methods: A healthy sample underwent two mental arithmetic stress tests in one experimental session. After undergoing the baseline test, participants were randomized into control or placebo groups. Prior to the second stress test, the placebo group received an intranasal dose of ‘serotonin’ (placebo) with the suggestion that it would enhance recovery. HR and HRV were assessed throughout procedures.

Results: There was an increase in vagally-mediated HRV in the placebo group. The change in HR did not differ between groups.

Conclusions: Placebo suggestion can enhance autonomic recovery after psychosocial stress. Findings are consistent with the notion of top-down mechanisms of placebo effects, but further research would need to specifically examine the role of top-down regulatory pathways as possible mediators of placebo-induced changes in autonomic function.

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The Use of Painting for Short-Term Mood and Arousal Improvement

Kristen Diliberto-Macaluso & Briana Lyn Stubblefield
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined the use of painting for short-term mood and arousal improvement following an angry mood. Participants’ changes in mood and arousal were measured after viewing 2 short film clips and again after participating in 1 of 4 conditions: painting their current mood (venting), painting something that makes them feel happy (positive distraction), painting a still life (neutral distraction), or completing a word search puzzle (nonart-making control). Results revealed a significant improvement in mood in the positive and neutral distraction conditions as compared with the venting and nonart control conditions, which did not differ from 1 another. There was also a reduction in arousal across conditions. As predicted by broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson, 2001), participants in the positive distraction condition used a greater number of colors and more positive mood-tone colors than those in the venting condition. These results are the first to experimentally investigate strategies for short-term mood improvement using painting following an angry mood.

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Personality disorders and physical comorbidities in adults from the United States: Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Shae Quirk et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, May 2015, Pages 807-820

Purpose: There is a paucity of research examining the relationship between personality disorders (PDs) and chronic physical comorbidities. Consequently, we investigated associations between individual PDs and PD Clusters, and various common disease groups [cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, arthritis and gastrointestinal disease (GI)] in a nationally representative survey of adults from the United States.

Methods: This study utilized pooled data (n = 34,653; ≥20 years) from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. PDs were assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Physical conditions were based on self-reports of being diagnosed by a health professional. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regressions examined the relationship between PDs and physical conditions.

Results: After adjustment (sociodemographic factors, past-year mood, anxiety and substance use disorders), Clusters A, B and C PDs were each associated with physical conditions (all p ≤ 0.01). Of the individual PDs, schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, borderline and obsessive–compulsive PDs were associated with CVD (all p ≤ 0.01) among younger adults. Paranoid, antisocial, borderline and avoidant PDs and younger adults with schizoid, schizotypal and obsessive–compulsive PDs were each associated with arthritis (all p ≤ 0.01). Significant associations were seen between paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal PDs and diabetes (all p ≤ 0.01). Finally, schizotypal, antisocial, borderline and narcissistic PDs were associated with GI conditions (all p ≤ 0.01).

Conclusions: PDs were consistently associated with physical conditions. Investigation of PDs and their relationship with physical health outcomes warrant further research attention as these findings have important clinical implications.

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Individual differences in resting heart rate variability moderate thought suppression success

Brandon Gillie, Michael Vasey & Julian Thayer
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individual differences in heart rate variability (HRV) at rest are thought to represent an individual's capacity for self-regulation, but it remains unclear whether HRV predicts control over unwanted thoughts. The current study used a thought suppression paradigm in which participants recorded occurrences of a personally relevant intrusive thought over three monitoring periods. Among those instructed to suppress, higher levels of HRV were associated with greater declines in intrusions across the monitoring periods; no such relationship was found among those assigned to a control condition. Resting HRV also interacted with spontaneous thought suppression effort to predict intrusive thought frequency. In both cases, these HRV-related differences in thought suppression success predicted the generalized distress symptoms common to depression and anxiety. These findings enhance understanding of the relationships between HRV and cognitive control and highlight how individual differences in self-regulatory capacity impact thought suppression success and emotion regulation.

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Preliminary evidence of neuropathology in nonhuman primates prenatally exposed to maternal immune activation

Ruth Weir et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Maternal infection during pregnancy increases the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring. Rodent models have played a critical role in establishing maternal immune activation (MIA) as a causal factor for altered brain and behavioral development in offspring. We recently extended these findings to a species more closely related to humans by demonstrating that rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) prenatally exposed to MIA also develop abnormal behaviors. Here, for the first time, we present initial evidence of underlying brain pathology in this novel nonhuman primate MIA model. Pregnant rhesus monkeys were injected with a modified form of the viral mimic polyI:C (poly ICLC) or saline at the end of the first trimester. Brain tissue was collected from the offspring at 3.5 years and blocks of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA46) were used to analyze neuronal dendritic morphology and spine density using the Golgi-Cox impregnation method. For each case, 10 layer III pyramidal cells were traced in their entirety, including all apical, oblique and basal dendrites, and their spines. We further analyzed somal size and apical dendrite trunk morphology in 30 cells per case over a 30 μm section located 100 ± 10 μm from the soma. Compared to controls, apical dendrites of MIA-treated offspring were smaller in diameter and exhibited a greater number of oblique dendrites. These data provide the first evidence that prenatal exposure to MIA alters dendritic morphology in a nonhuman primate MIA model, which may have profound implications for revealing the underlying neuropathology of neurodevelopmental disorders related to maternal infection.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stand by your man

Let's Not, and Say We Would: Imagined and Actual Responses to Witnessing Homophobia

Jennifer Randall Crosby & Johannes Wilson
Journal of Homosexuality, July 2015, Pages 957-970

Abstract:
We compared imagined versus actual affective and behavioral responses to witnessing a homophobic slur. Participants (N = 72) witnessed a confederate using a homophobic slur, imagined the same scenario, or were not exposed to the slur. Those who imagined hearing the slur reported significantly higher levels of negative affect than those who actually witnessed the slur, and nearly one half of them reported that they would confront the slur, whereas no participants who actually heard the slur confronted it. These findings reveal a discrepancy between imagined and real responses to homophobic remarks, and they have implications for the likelihood that heterosexuals will actually confront homophobic remarks.

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Opinion Backlash and Public Attitudes: Are Political Advances in Gay Rights Counterproductive?

Benjamin Bishin et al.
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
One long-recognized consequence of the tension between popular sovereignty and democratic values like liberty and equality is public opinion backlash, which occurs when individuals recoil in response to some salient event. For decades, scholars have suggested that opinion backlash impedes policy gains by marginalized groups. Public opinion research, however, suggests that widespread attitude change that backlash proponents theorize is likely to be rare. Examining backlash against gays and lesbians using a series of online and natural experiments about marriage equality, and large-sample survey data, we find no evidence of opinion backlash among the general public, by members of groups predisposed to dislike gays and lesbians, or from those with psychological traits that may predispose them to lash back. The important implication is that groups pursuing rights should not be dissuaded by threats of backlash that will set their movement back in the court of public opinion.

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A Research Note on Time With Children in Different- and Same-Sex Two-Parent Families

Kate Prickett, Alexa Martin-Storey & Robert Crosnoe
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public debate on same-sex marriage often focuses on the disadvantages that children raised by same-sex couples may face. On one hand, little evidence suggests any difference in the outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents and different-sex parents. On the other hand, most studies are limited by problems of sample selection and size, and few directly measure the parenting practices thought to influence child development. This research note demonstrates how the 2003-2013 American Time Use Survey (n = 44,188) may help to address these limitations. Two-tier Cragg's Tobit alternative models estimated the amount of time that parents in different-sex and same-sex couples engaged in child-focused time. Women in same-sex couples were more likely than either women or men in different-sex couples to spend such time with children. Overall, women (regardless of the gender of their partners) and men coupled with other men spent significantly more time with children than men coupled with women, conditional on spending any child-focused time. These results support prior research that different-sex couples do not invest in children at appreciably different levels than same-sex couples. We highlight the potential for existing nationally representative data sets to provide preliminary insights into the developmental experiences of children in nontraditional families.

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Sexual Orientation Disparities in Psychiatric and Drug Use Disorders among a Nationally Representative Sample of Women with Alcohol Use Disorders

Ethan Mereish et al.
Addictive Behaviors, August 2015, Pages 80-85

Background and Aims: Sexual minority women (SMW) are at greater risk for alcohol use disorders (AUDs) compared to heterosexual women. However, there is a dearth of research on sexual orientation disparities in co-occurring disorders among women with AUDs. We examined disparities in lifetime co-occurring psychiatric and drug use disorders among a nationally representative sample of women with lifetime AUDs.

Methods: Data were analyzed from the 2004-2005 (Wave 2) of the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Condition (NESARC), which was collected in structured diagnostic face-to-face interviews. Adult women with AUDs (N = 4,342) were included in the analyses and approximately 191 of those women self-identified as SMW. Lifetime alcohol and drug use disorders and psychiatric disorders were assessed using DSM-IV criteria. We conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to compare SMW and heterosexual women with lifetime AUDs on lifetime psychiatric disorders and drug use disorders, while adjusting for sociodemographic variables.

Findings: While accounting for several covariates, SMW with lifetime AUDs were more likely than heterosexual women with lifetime AUDs to have lifetime psychiatric disorders (e.g., mood, anxiety, panic disorders) and drug use disorders (e.g., prescription drugs, cannabis use disorders).

Conclusions: Sexual minority women with lifetime alcohol use disorders are at heightened risk for co-occurring psychiatric and drug use disorders than heterosexual women with lifetime alcohol use disorders. The findings warrant the need for more research and empirically based interventions for the comprehensive treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders among sexual minority women.

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Young Men Who Have Sex With Men's Experiences With Intimate Partner Violence

Katrina Kubicek, Miles McNeeley & Shardae Collins
Journal of Adolescent Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research estimating the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and other sexual minority populations is limited. However, existing research indicates rates similar to heterosexual women. This mixed-methods study was designed to inform intervention development and provides a description of the types of IPV experienced by young MSM (YMSM) within their dating and intimate relationships. Data collected include 101 surveys with YMSM aged 18 to 25 and 26 semi-structured qualitative interviews. YMSM experienced high levels of psychological aggression, physical assault, and sexual coercion both as victims and perpetrators. The study also found that there were high rates of mutual perpetration, young men reporting being both victim and perpetrator of partner violence. Qualitative data provide context and descriptions of these incidents to provide more information about the circumstances and perceptions of these incidents. The findings indicate that interventions should be multifaceted and include schools, communities, and families to address anger management, conflict resolution, and communication skills within young men's relationships.

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"The Cooties Effect": Amygdala Reactivity to Opposite- versus Same-sex Faces Declines from Childhood to Adolescence

Eva Telzer et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of the most important social identities that children learn to define themselves and others by is sex, becoming a salient social category by early childhood. Although older children begin to show greater flexibility in their gendered behaviors and attitudes, gender rigidity intensifies again around the time of puberty. In the current study, we assessed behavioral and neural biases to sex across a wide age group. Ninety-three youth (ages 7-17 years) provided behavioral rating of same- and opposite-sex attitudes, and 52 youth (ages 4-18 years) underwent an fMRI scan as they matched the emotion of same- and opposite-sex faces. We demonstrate significant age-related behavioral biases of sex that are mediated by differential amygdala response to opposite-sex relative to same-sex faces in children, an effect that completely attenuates by the teenage years. Moreover, we find a second peak in amygdala sensitivity to opposite-sex faces around the time of puberty. Thus, the amygdala codes for developmentally dependent and motivationally relevant social identification across development.

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"Little Girls Unwilling to Do What's Best for Them": Resurrecting Patriarchy in an LGBT Christian Church

Edward Sumerau, Irene Padavic & Douglas Schrock
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, June 2015, Pages 306-334

Abstract:
This paper examines how a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Christians resurrected patriarchal patterns of gender inequality in their local church. On the basis of more than 450 hours of fieldwork, we analyze how a group of lesbian and gay members collaborated with a new pastor to transform an egalitarian, inclusive, and democratic organization into one characterized by the elevation of men and the subordination of women via restricting leadership to men, instituting a gendered division of labor, and discrediting women dissidents. In so doing, the pastor and his supporters, regardless of their intentions, collaboratively reproduced patriarchal practices that facilitated the subordination of women. We conclude by suggesting that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between gains for LGBT organizations and gains for women, and we outline implications for understanding how retrenchment from egalitarian practice can undo gender-equality gains.

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Understanding the Educational Attainment of Sexual Minority Women and Men

Stefanie Mollborn & Bethany Everett
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
National studies have not analyzed sexual identity disparities in high school completion, college enrollment, or college completion in the United States. Using Add Health data, we document the relationship between adult sexual orientation and each of these outcomes. Many sexual minority respondents experienced disadvantages in adolescent academic achievement, school experiences, and social environments. This translates into educational attainment in complex, gendered ways. We find that the socially privileged completely heterosexual identity predicts higher educational attainment for women, while for men it is often a liability. Mostly heterosexual and gay identities are educationally beneficial for men but not women. There are college completion disparities between gay and mostly heterosexual women and their completely heterosexual counterparts. Bisexual respondents, especially women, have particularly problematic outcomes. Adolescent experiences, attitudes, and social contexts explain some of these differences. From adolescence through college, sexual minority groups, but especially females, need intervention to reduce substantial educational disparities.

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Morality Politics and Municipal LGBT Policy Adoption: A Rare-event Analysis

Royal Cravens
State and Local Government Review, March 2015, Pages 15-25

Abstract:
Why do municipal governments adopt lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusive policies? The preponderance of literature suggests urbanism and social diversity are the most likely explanations for LGBT municipal policies. This research tests these assumptions using the morality politics model. Using rare-events logistic regression, municipalities in the state of Florida with LGBT antidiscrimination ordinances are compared with municipalities that do not have such policies. The results contradict theories of urbanism and highlight the shortcomings of the morality politics model. Specifically, the results indicate that even under highly salient conditions, LGBT advocacy resources play an important role in the policy adoption process.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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