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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bed, bath, and beyond

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

Mathew Stange & Emily Kazyak

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

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

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

Kristie Seelman

Journal of Homosexuality, forthcoming

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

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

David Broockman & Joshua Kalla

Science, 8 April 2016, Pages 220-224

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

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

Sara Burke & Marianne LaFrance

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

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

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

Menelaos Apostolou

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 6, 2016

Legal problems

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

Crystal Yang

American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

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

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Will Putting Cameras on Police Reduce Polarization?

Roseanna Sommers

Yale Law Journal, March 2016, Pages 1304-1362

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

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

Michael Kang & Joanna Shepherd

Stanford Law Review, forthcoming

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

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The Performance of Elected Officials: Evidence from State Supreme Courts

Elliott Ash & Bentley MacLeod

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

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

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

Paul Davies et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

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

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

Jonathan Kastellec

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

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

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

Mark Harmon

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

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

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

Jeremy Kessler & David Pozen

University of Chicago Law Review, forthcoming

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

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Trial by Machine

Andrea Roth

Georgetown Law Journal, forthcoming

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

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

Amanda Bryan & Eve Ringsmuth

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

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

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The Cycles of Separation-of-Powers Jurisprudence

Aziz Huq & Jon Michaels

Yale Law Journal, forthcoming

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

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Sound the Alarm? Judicial Decisions Regarding Publication and Dissent

Morgan Hazelton, Rachael Hinkle & Jee Seon Jeon

American Politics Research, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My impression

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

Katherine Levine Einstein & David Glick

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

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

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

Kelly Hoffman et al.

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

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

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Are Blondes Really Dumb?

Jay Zagorsky

Economics Bulletin, Winter 2016, Pages 401-410

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

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

Justin Angle et al.

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

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

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

Ethan Zell et al.

Sex Roles, forthcoming

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

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

Antoinette Landor & Carolyn Tucker Halpern

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

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

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

Philippe Bernard, Sabine Legrand & Olivier Klein

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

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

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

Brian Collisson et al.

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

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

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

Leslie Ashburn-Nardo

Sex Roles, forthcoming

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

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Sexist Attitudes Among Emerging Adult Women Readers of Fifty Shades Fiction

Lauren Altenburger et al.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

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

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Attentional Biases Toward Latinos

Steffanie Guillermo & Joshua Correll

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

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

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

Michael Light & John Iceland

Sociological Science, February 2016

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

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

Sarah Harkness

Social Psychology Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 81-93

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

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

Yuliana Zaikman & Michael Marks

Sexuality & Culture, June 2016, Pages 255-276

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

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

Sharon Shenhav, Belinda Campos & Wendy Goldberg

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

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

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

Benjamin Knoll

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Corporate masters

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

Yu Zhang & Javier Gimeno

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

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

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CEO Political Preference and Corporate Tax Sheltering

Bill Francis et al.

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

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

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Do Executives Behave Better When Dishonesty is More Salient?

David Cicero & Mi Shen

University of Alabama Working Paper, March 2016

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

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The Role of Managerial Ability in Corporate Tax Avoidance

Allison Koester, Terry Shevlin & Daniel Wangerin

Management Science, forthcoming

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

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Industry Window Dressing

Huaizhi Chen, Lauren Cohen & Dong Lou

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

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

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CEO confidence and stock returns

Rakesh Bharati, Thomas Doellman & Xudong Fu

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

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

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Excess Pay and Deficient Performance

Mary Ellen Carter et al.

Review of Financial Economics, forthcoming

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

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Ending Executive Manipulations of Incentive Compensation

Sureyya Burcu Avci, Cindy Schipani & Nejat Seyhun

Journal of Corporation Law, forthcoming

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

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

José Azar, Jean-François Kagy & Martin Schmalz

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

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

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Does Corporate Governance Matter More for High Financial Slack Firms?

Kose John, Yuanzhi Li & Jiaren Pang

Management Science, forthcoming

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

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Proxy Advisory Firms: The Economics of Selling Information to Voters

Andrey Malenko & Nadya Malenko

MIT Working Paper, March 2016

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

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

Nihat Aktas et al.

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

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

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

Joon Mahn Lee, Byoung-Hyoun Hwang & Hailiang Chen

Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

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

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Passive Investors, Not Passive Owners

Ian Appel, Todd Gormley & Donald Keim

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

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

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Extreme CEO pay cuts and audit fees

David Bryan & Terry Mason

Advances in Accounting, forthcoming

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

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Economic Uncertainty and Earnings Management

Luke Stein & Charles Wang

Harvard Working Paper, March 2016

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

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Credit risk and governance: Evidence from credit default swap spreads

Evrim Akdoğu & Aysun Alp

Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

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

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The Disciplinary Effects of Proxy Contests

Vyacheslav Fos

Management Science, forthcoming

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

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The Labor Market for Directors and Externalities in Corporate Governance

Doron Levit & Nadya Malenko

Journal of Finance, April 2016, Pages 775-808

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Parenting

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

Frank Edwards

American Sociological Review, forthcoming

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

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

Angela Evans, Jasmine Bender & Kang Lee

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

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

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

Nathaniel Hilger

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

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

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Parent gender and child removal in physical abuse and neglect cases

Brandon Crawford & Mindy Bradley

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

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

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Sex stereotypes influence adults' perception of babies' cries

David Reby et al.

BMC Psychology, April 2016

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

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

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

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

Kyla Haimovitz & Carol Dweck

Psychological Science, forthcoming

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

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

Michael Kottelenberg & Steven Lehrer

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

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

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

Clio Pitula et al.

Developmental Science, forthcoming

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

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

Martina Zemp et al.

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ruling party

The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou

American Economic Review, forthcoming

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

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

Erasmus Kersting & Christopher Kilby

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

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

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The Diverse Effects of Diversity on Democracy

John Gerring, Michael Hoffman & Dominic Zarecki

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

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

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

Benjamin Appel

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

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

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Pollution and Regime Support: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Beijing

Meir Alkon & Erik Haixiao Wang

Princeton University Working Paper, April 2016

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

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Does Oil Hinder Democratic Development? A Time-Series Analysis

Kelsey O'Connor, Luisa Blanco & Jeffrey Nugent

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

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

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The Effects of Authoritarian Iconography: An Experimental Test

Sarah Sunn Bush et al.

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

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

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

Roos Haer & Tobias Böhmelt

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

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

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

Milena Nikolova, Monica Roman & Klaus Zimmermann

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

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

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

Adria Lawrence

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

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

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

Emily Hencken Ritter & Courtenay Conrad

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

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

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

Hannah Smidt

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

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

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

Sambuddha Ghatak & Brandon Prins

International Interactions, forthcoming

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

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Incentivized Obedience: How a Gentler Israeli Military Prevents Organized Resistance

Erica Weiss

American Anthropologist, March 2016, Pages 91–103

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

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

Brian Barber et al.

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

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

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

Kendra Dupuy, James Ron & Aseem Prakash

World Development, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sparing a dime

"Wrong place to get help": A field experiment on luxury stores and helping behavior

Lubomir Lamy et al.

Social Influence, Spring 2016, Pages 130-139

Abstract:
Three experiments were conducted in field settings. It was hypothesized that luxury stores may act as environmental reminders of materialism and that helpfulness would vary according to the presence or absence of such cues. Study 1 (N = 80) indicated that consumers coming out of famous brand stores displayed less helpfulness, as compared to mere passersby. Study 2 (N = 112) showed passersby were less helpful near a luxury brand store than in an ordinary street with no shops. In Study 3 (N = 360), passersby were less helpful when walking down a street lined with highly exclusive stores, as compared to streets with ordinary stores or no stores. Results, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

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Impact of episodic thinking on altruism

Richard Yi et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Episodic future thinking, which refers to the use of prospective imagery to concretely imagine oneself in future scenarios, has been shown to reduce delay discounting (enhance self-control). A parallel approach, in which prospective imagery is used to concretely imagine other's scenarios, may similarly reduce social discounting (i.e., enhance altruism). In study 1, participants engaged in episodic thinking about the self or others, in a repeated-measures design, while completing a social discounting task. Reductions in social discounting were observed as a function of episodic thinking about others, though an interaction with order was also observed. Using an independent-measures design in study 2, the effect of episodic thinking about others was replicated. Study 3 addressed a limitation of studies 1 and 2, the possibility that simply thinking about others decreased social discounting. Capitalizing on Construal Level Theory, which specifies that social distance and time in the future are both dimensions of a common psychological distance, we hypothesized that episodic future thinking should also decrease social discounting. Participants engaged in episodic future thinking or episodic present thinking, in a repeated-measures design, while completing a social discounting task. The pattern of results was similar to study 1, providing support for the notion that episodic thinking about psychologically distant outcomes (for others or in the future) reduces social discounting. Application of similar episodic thinking approaches may enhance altruism.

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Sharing One's Fortune? An Experimental Study on Earned Income and Giving

Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate the relationship between earnings and charitable giving, in an environment in which earnings depend on luck but not in a manner that makes its contribution obvious. We set up a real effort experiment, in which subjects enter data in four one-hour occasions and are paid a piece rate. From the second occasion onwards, we randomly assign half of the subjects to a treatment with higher piece rates, without the subjects being explicitly made aware of the random assignment into the two groups. At the end we ask subjects whether they want to donate a share of their earnings to a charity of their choice. We find that, despite large differences in earnings due to the different piece rates, subjects receiving the higher piece rate are actually less likely to give, and that givers in the two groups give the same share of their total earnings. Charities receive the same average donation from members of the two groups, indicating that charitable giving by subjects in this experiment does not increase with income. We discuss how these results can be explained by self-serving attribution bias.

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Generosity and Guilt: The Role of Beliefs and Moral Standards of Others

Karen Evelyn Hauge

Journal of Economic Psychology, June 2016, Pages 35-43

Abstract:
Why are people generous? One reason may be to avoid feeling guilt - in terms of failing to meet others' expectations or in terms of failing to meet others' moral standards. The present article reports an experiment using the 'dictator game' while manipulating the dictators' beliefs about the receivers' expectations and moral standards. The results indicate that generosity is indeed driven by guilt-aversion: Dictators are more generous when the receiver expects more, and also when the receiver considers that dictators should, morally speaking, give more. If dictators were motivated by pure altruism or equity concerns, the receiver's expectations or moral beliefs should not matter.

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Do People Donate More When They Perceive A Single Beneficiary Whom They Know? A Field Experimental Test of the Identifiability Effect

Omar Al-Ubaydli & Mike Yeomans

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to the identifiability effect, people will donate more to a single beneficiary rather than to many beneficiaries, holding constant what the donations are actually used for. We test the identifiability effect for two novel subject pools (the suppliers and beneficiaries of volunteer labor). We also test a refinement of the identifiability effect where we vary whether or not the single beneficiary is personally known to the solicitees. While the behavior of volunteers is consistent with the identifiability effect, we find that the identifiability effect is reversed for beneficiaries of volunteer labor. Moreover, we find that making the single beneficiary personally known to the solicitees lowers donations by a statistically insignificant amount, suggesting that it does not enhance donations.

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When Should the Ask Be a Nudge? The Effect of Default Amounts on Charitable Donations

Indranil Goswami & Oleg Urminsky

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does setting a donation option as the default in a charitable appeal affect people's decisions? In eight studies, comprising 11,508 participants making 2,423 donation decisions in both experimental settings and a large-scale natural field experiment, we investigate the effect of "choice-option" defaults on the donation rate, average donation amount, and the resulting revenue. We find (1) a "lower-bar" effect, where defaulting a low amount increases donation rate, (2) a "scale-back" effect where low defaults reduce average donation amounts and (3) a "default-distraction" effect, where introducing any defaults reduces the effect of other cues, such as positive charity information. Contrary to the view that setting defaults will backfire, defaults increased revenue in our field study. However, our findings suggest that defaults can sometimes be a "self-cancelling" intervention, with countervailing effects of default option magnitude on decisions and resulting in no net effect on revenue. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on fundraising specifically, for choice architecture and behavioral interventions more generally, as well as for the use of "nudges" in policy decisions.

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A Glimpse into the World of High Capacity Givers: Experimental Evidence from a University Capital Campaign

Tova Levin, Steven Levitt & John List

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
The wealthiest 10% of donors now give 90% of charitable dollars in the U.S., but little is known about what motivates them. Using a natural field experiment on over 5,000 high capacity donors, we find persistence in giving patterns, that signals of program quality influence giving, and that the price of giving is not unduly important. Unlike typical small donors, our givers respond only on the intensive margin, and often with a longer time lag. Our study highlights the value to practitioners of partnering with academics, as our intervention has generated $30 million in incremental donations to the University.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Unrestrained

Safety in Numbers: Why the Mere Physical Presence of Others Affects Risk-taking Behaviors

Eileen Chou & Loran Nordgren

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
As social mammals, being in a group signals a state of relative security. Risk-taking behavior in other social mammals formed the basis for our prediction that the mere physical presence of others, absent any social interaction, would create a psychological state of security that, in turn, would promote greater risk-taking behavior. We investigated whether, why, and when the mere physical presence of others affects risk-taking behaviors in three contexts: acceptance of greater financial volatility, attitudes toward risky gambles, and actual gambling behaviors. Results indicate that people in the mere physical presence of others make riskier decisions than people making identical decisions alone, and that feelings of security were the psychological mechanism behind this effect. Our results also suggest that the effect is contingent on whether people are surrounded by others who belong to the same social group. A meta-analysis across all studies presented in this research reveals a highly reliable mere-presence effect. Together, these results demonstrate that the mere physical presence of others can have a potent impact on risk-taking behaviors.

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Vagal Tone and Children's Delay of Gratification: Differential Sensitivity in Resource-Poor and Resource-Rich Environments

Melissa Sturge-Apple et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Children from different socioeconomic backgrounds have differing abilities to delay gratification, and impoverished children have the greatest difficulties in doing so. In the present study, we examined the role of vagal tone in predicting the ability to delay gratification in both resource-rich and resource-poor environments. We derived hypotheses from evolutionary models of children's conditional adaptation to proximal rearing contexts. In Study 1, we tested whether elevated vagal tone was associated with shorter delay of gratification in impoverished children. In Study 2, we compared the relative role of vagal tone across two groups of children, one that had experienced greater impoverishment and one that was relatively middle-class. Results indicated that in resource-rich environments, higher vagal tone was associated with longer delay of gratification. In contrast, high vagal tone in children living in resource-poor environments was associated with reduced delay of gratification. We interpret the results with an eye to evolutionary-developmental models of the function of children's stress-response system and adaptive behavior across varying contexts of economic risk.

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Self-Esteem, Financial Knowledge and Financial Behavior

Ning Tang & Andrew Baker

Journal of Economic Psychology, June 2016, Pages 164-176

Abstract:
Financial knowledge is an important but insufficient driver of responsible financial behavior. Having a positive evaluation of oneself may also be essential for individuals to initiate and persist with the daunting process of financial management. In this study, we distinguish subjective financial knowledge from objective financial knowledge, and we propose that self-esteem relates to financial behavior both directly as well as indirectly through subjective financial knowledge. Results based on a nationally representative dataset of U.S. adults suggest that self-esteem significantly relates to individual financial behavior after controlling for financial knowledge and other socioeconomic factors. The association between self-esteem and financial behavior could be both direct and indirect through subjective financial knowledge. These findings highlight the importance of psychological traits such as self-esteem in explaining financial behavior difference. Its implications are discussed.

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The Effect of Negative Affect on Cognition: Anxiety, Not Anger, Impairs Executive Function

Grant Shields et al.

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is often assumed that negative affect impairs the executive functions that underlie our ability to control and focus our thoughts. However, support for this claim has been mixed. Recent work has suggested that different negative affective states like anxiety and anger may reflect physiologically separable states with distinct effects on cognition. However, the effects of these 2 affective states on executive function have never been assessed. As such, we induced anxiety or anger in participants and examined the effects on executive function. We found that anger did not impair executive function relative to a neutral mood, whereas anxiety did. In addition, self-reports of induced anxiety, but not anger, predicted impairments in executive function. These results support functional models of affect and cognition, and highlight the need to consider differences between anxiety and anger when investigating the influence of negative affect on fundamental cognitive processes such as memory and executive function.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 29, 2016

Election daze

The Mythical Swing Voter

Andrew Gelman et al.

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2016, Pages 103-130

Abstract:
Most surveys conducted during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign showed large swings in support for the Democratic and Republican candidates, especially before and after the first presidential debate. Using a combination of traditional cross-sectional surveys, a unique panel survey (in terms of scale, frequency, and source), and a high response rate panel, we find that daily sample composition varied more in response to campaign events than did vote intentions. Multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) is used to correct for this selection bias. Demographic post-stratification, similar to that used in most academic and media polls, is inadequate, but the addition of attitudinal variables (party identification, ideological self-placement, and past vote) appears to make selection ignorable in our data. We conclude that vote swings in 2012 were mostly sample artifacts and that real swings were quite small. While this account is at odds with most contemporaneous analyses, it better corresponds with our understanding of partisan polarization in modern American politics.

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Political Quid Pro Quo and the Impact of Perceptions of Corruption on Democratic Behavior

Kristin Kelly

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since its 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, the U.S. Supreme Court has voiced concern with corruption and the appearance of corruption stemming from political quid pro quo arrangements-particularly the deleterious consequences either could have on citizens' democratic behavior. Given the vagueness in the Court's definition of the “appearance of corruption,” campaign finance cases since Buckley have relied on survey data to measure perceptions of corruption. These data indicate high levels of perceived governmental corruption among the public but are silent on the question of whether these perceptions influence behavior. This study investigates the actual impact that perceptions of corruption have on individuals' levels of political participation. Adapting the socioeconomic status model developed most fully by Verba and Nie (1972), I estimate extended beta-binomial regressions using maximum likelihood techniques on data from the 2009 University of Texas Money in Politics survey and the 2012 American National Election Studies Time Series survey. The results indicate that individuals who perceive higher levels of corruption participate more in politics, on average, than those who perceive lower levels of corruption. This suggests that at least a few of the assumptions underlying the Court's rationale for upholding contribution limits in Buckley should be revisited, and that the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission may not negatively impact participation as suggested by critics.

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The Power of an Hour: Effects of Candidate Time Expenditure in State Legislative Elections

Michael Miller

Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2016, Pages 327-359

Abstract:
Using survey data from more than 500 legislative candidates in 17 states during the 2008 election, I examine whether state house candidates who devote more time to their campaign win a larger share of the major-party vote. Consistent with previous work studying campaign spending in state legislative elections, I find a positive and significant association between campaign time and vote percentage for challengers - but not incumbents - in incumbent-contested elections.

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Economic Performance and Presidential Trait Evaluations: A Longitudinal Analysis

Lisa Argyle et al.

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Presidential traits (i.e. morality, intelligence, leadership) have generally been assumed to be idiosyncratic personal characteristics of the individual and are treated as exogenous from other political and economic factors. Prior literature has shown that presidential characteristics and economic performance are important elements of vote choice and approval. Using ANES data from 1984-2008, we demonstrate an important link between these factors, showing that objective and subjective indicators of economic performance are significant predictors of trait evaluations. Specifically, evaluations of the incumbent president at election time are directly related to changes in economic performance earlier in the year. The effects of economic performance are not isolated to retrospective policy evaluations, but also influence the overall evaluation of the president as a person.

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Conditioned by Race: How Race and Religion Intersect to Affect Candidate Evaluations

Bryan McLaughlin & Bailey Thompson

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
While it is becoming increasingly clear that religious cues influence voter evaluations in the United States, work examining religious cues has largely overlooked the conditioning role of race. We employed a 2 × 2 (White candidate vs. Black candidate) × (racial cues vs. no racial cues) online experiment with a national sample (N = 397; 56% white, 46% black) where participants were exposed to a fictitious congressional candidate's webpage. Results show that White participants expected the religious candidate to be more conservative, regardless of race, while Black participants did not perceive a difference in ideology between the religious and non-religious Black candidates. Additionally, when it comes to candidate favorability, religious cues matter more to White participants, while racial cues are most important to Black participants. These findings provide evidence that religious and racial cues activate different assumptions among White and Black citizens.

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Time Discounting in Political Behavior: Delayed Gratification Predicts Turnout and Donations

Jerome Pablo Schafer

Yale Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Recent Get-out-the-Vote experiments suggest that political participation involves delayed gratification. The transaction costs of voting are immediate. Its expressive benefits, however, are realized after the election, when others ask. In this article, I draw on a vast literature in psychology and economics to propose a model and a measure of how voters discount future pay-offs. The ability to delay gratification moderates the effects of political stimuli with deferred rewards such as the social norm to vote and the instrumental benefits of donating to a campaign. Therefore, less patient individuals are less willing to participate in politics, and to pretend that they do. In the empirical analysis, I use multiple incentivized measures from a representative US panel (N=1,820). I demonstrate that monetary discount rates provide reliable elicitations of time preferences, and show that they predict self-reported turnout and donor status. I suspend alternative explanations focusing on resources and risk.

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Why Aren't There More Republican Women in Congress? Gender, Partisanship, and Fundraising Support in the 2010 and 2012 Elections

Karin Kitchens & Michele Swers

Politics & Gender, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research indicates that fundraising is not an impediment to women candidates because women raise just as much money as men after accounting for seat status. However, previous research focuses solely on general election candidates. By examining both primary and general election candidates, we find both gender and partisan differences in fundraising. While incumbency, competitiveness, and candidate quality predict fundraising in the general election, we show that Democratic women raise more money than their male counterparts in the primary election. However, Republican women do not enjoy greater fundraising success compared with their male counterparts, and in limited cases, being a Republican woman can be an obstacle to fundraising in the primary election.

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Coethnic Endorsements, Out-Group Candidate Preferences, and Perceptions in Local Elections

Andrea Benjamin

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Black and Latino voters support coethnic candidates at high rates in local elections. What is less clear is how Black and Latino voters respond to out-group candidates when they do not have the option to support a coethnic candidate. I posit that when race and ethnicity become salient in a campaign, endorsements from Black and Latino leaders and organizations increase support of out-group candidates among Blacks and Latinos. I find that this hypothesis is strongly supported among Blacks. However, the same is not true for Latinos, most likely because of the political heterogeneity of the group. Using data from a survey experiment, I show that Black endorsements of minority out-group candidates are persuasive for Blacks, while comparable endorsements from Latinos are not as influential among Latinos.

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The Dynamic Election: Patterns of Early Voting Across Time, State, Party, and Age

Ashok Vivekinan et al.

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The nature of turnout has changed in the United States: a shift in state policies has transformed a singular Election Day into a multi-week voting period. During the 2012 election, we assembled daily snapshots of early voting records across the U.S. We observe where and when individuals with key demographic characteristics voted. By measuring the timing of voting by demographic subgroups within small geographic areas, we assess how the early voting period may differentially affect various politically relevant subsets of the electorate. We find that partisans and older voters disproportionately take advantage of early voting, and that political independents and younger individuals who vote early do so much later in the early-voting window. We discuss policy implications, and we also conduct an exploratory analysis of the relationship between early vote timing and campaign events.

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Potential follow-up increases private contributions to public goods

Todd Rogers, John Ternovski & Erez Yoeli

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
People contribute more to public goods when their contributions are made more observable to others. We report an intervention that subtly increases the observability of public goods contributions when people are solicited privately and impersonally (e.g., mail, email, social media). This intervention is tested in a large-scale field experiment (n = 770,946) in which people are encouraged to vote through get-out-the-vote letters. We vary whether the letters include the message, “We may call you after the election to ask about your voting experience.” Increasing the perceived observability of whether people vote by including that message increased the impact of the get-out-the-vote letters by more than the entire effect of a typical get-out-the-vote letter. This technique for increasing perceived observability can be replicated whenever public goods solicitations are made in private.

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Electoral Competition and Gender Differences in Political Careers

Olle Folke & Johanna Rickne

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2016, Pages 59-102

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the role of competition between political parties for the promotion and turnover of social minorities in party organizations. We collect extensive and reliable panel data for the career trajectories of all Swedish politicians in 290 municipal councils over 20 years (N=35,000). We argue that political competition pushes local parties to promote the best individual, which in turn improves gender equality at the top. This finds strong support in the empirical analysis. Heightened competition is associated with smaller gender gaps in re-election, retention on the electoral ballot, and promotions to top positions. An extended analysis shows that variation in the qualifications and family structures of male and female politicians cannot account for these results. As a more plausible mechanism, the analysis suggests that parties have nomination processes that are less centralized and more focused on competence as a selection criteria when competition is fierce.

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Complex Contagion of Campaign Donations

Vincent Traag

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Money is central in US politics, and most campaign contributions stem from a tiny, wealthy elite. Like other political acts, campaign donations are known to be socially contagious. We study how campaign donations diffuse through a network of more than 50000 elites and examine how connectivity among previous donors reinforces contagion. We find that the diffusion of donations is driven by independent reinforcement contagion: people are more likely to donate when exposed to donors from different social groups than when they are exposed to equally many donors from the same group. Counter-intuitively, being exposed to one side may increase donations to the other side. Although the effect is weak, simultaneous cross-cutting exposure makes donation somewhat less likely. Finally, the independence of donors in the beginning of a campaign predicts the amount of money that is raised throughout a campaign. We theorize that people infer population-wide estimates from their local observations, with elites assessing the viability of candidates, possibly opposing candidates in response to local support. Our findings suggest that theories of complex contagions need refinement and that political campaigns should target multiple communities.

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Ballot Position, Choice Fatigue, and Voter Behaviour

Ned Augenblick & Scott Nicholson

Review of Economic Studies, April 2016, Pages 460-480

Abstract:
In this article, we examine the effect of “choice fatigue” on decision making. We exploit a natural experiment in which voters face the same contest at different ballot positions due to differences in the number of local issues on their ballot. Facing more decisions before a given contest significantly increases the tendency to abstain or rely on decision shortcuts, such as voting for the status quo or the first-listed candidate. We estimate that, without choice fatigue, abstentions would decrease by 8%, and 6% of the propositions in our data set would have passed rather than failed.

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Get Out the (Costly) Vote: Institutional Design for Greater Participation

Dino Gerardi et al.

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine two commonly discussed institutions inducing turnout: abstention penalties (used in 32 countries) and lotteries rewarding one randomly chosen participant (as proposed on the 2006 Arizona ballot). We analyze a benchmark model in which voters vary in their information quality and participation is costly. We illustrate that both institutions can improve collective outcomes, though lotteries are a more effective instrument asymptotically. Experimentally, we provide strong evidence for selective participation: lab voters participate more when better informed or when institutionally induced. Lotteries fare better than fines, suggesting that they may be a useful alternative to commonly used compulsory voting schemes.

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From Posting to Voting: The Effects of Political Competition on Online Political Engagement

Jaime Settle et al.

Political Science Research and Methods, May 2016, Pages 361-378

Abstract:
How does living in a battleground state during a presidential election affect an individual’s political engagement? We utilize a unique collection of 113 million Facebook status updates to compare users’ political discussion during the 2008 election. “Battleground” state users are significantly more likely to discuss politics in the campaign season than are users in uncompetitive “blackout” states. Posting a political status update - a form of day-to-day engagement with politics - mediates ∼20 percent of the relationship between exposure to political competition and self-reported voter turnout. This paper is among the first to use a massive quantity of social media data to explain the microfoundations of how people think, feel, and act on a daily basis in response to their political environment.

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Compulsory Voting and Dissatisfaction with Democracy

Shane Singh

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Compulsory voting is often linked to pro-democracy orientations in the public. However, there is reason to question the strength and universality of this link. Engaging research on the effects of coercion and punishment, this article argues that forced participation inflates the tendency of those with negative orientations towards democracy to see the democratic system as illegitimate, and to be dissatisfied with democracy. The study finds support for these expectations in analyses of three separate cross-national surveys and a natural experiment. Compulsory voting heightens dissatisfaction with democracy within key segments of the population.

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Can Credit Rating Agencies Affect Election Outcomes?

Igor Cunha, Miguel Ferreira & Rui Silva

London Business School Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We show that credit rating agencies can have a significant effect on election outcomes in the United States. Specifically, we find that incumbent politicians receive significantly more votes in upgraded municipalities relative to non-upgraded municipalities. This incumbent effect is due to an expansion of local governments’ debt capacity that allows them to increase spending. The effects are stronger among democratic incumbents. We identify these effects by exploiting the exogenous variation in municipal bond ratings due to Moody’s recalibration of its scale in 2010.

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Compulsory Voting Can Increase Political Inequality: Evidence from Brazil

Gabriel Cepaluni & Daniel Hidalgo

Political Analysis, Spring 2016, Pages 273-280

Abstract:
One of the most robust findings on political institutions is that compulsory voting (CV) reduces the participation gap between poorer and wealthier voters. We present evidence that in Brazil, the largest country to use such a rule, CV increases inequality in turnout. We use individual-level data on 140 million Brazilian citizens and two age-based discontinuities to estimate the heterogeneous effects of CV by educational achievement, a strong proxy for socioeconomic status. Evidence from both thresholds shows that the causal effect of CV on turnout among the more educated is at least twice the size of the effect among those with less education. To explain this result, which is the opposite of what is predicted by the existing literature, we argue that nonmonetary penalties for abstention primarily affect middle- and upper-class voters and thus increase their turnout disproportionately. Survey evidence from a national sample provides evidence for the mechanism. Our results show that studies of CV should consider nonmonetary sanctions, as their effects can reverse standard predictions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 28, 2016

For the love of God

Congregational Diversity and Attendance in a Mainline Protestant Denomination

Kevin Dougherty, Brandon Martinez & Gerardo Martí

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 668–683

Abstract:
One of the surprising oversights of existing research on racially/ethnically diverse congregations is the inattention to how racial composition relates to patterns of attendance. Is diversity associated with attendance growth, stability, or decline? A popular assumption from the Church Growth Movement is that cultural homogeneity is a foundation for growth, but recent research challenges this long-standing belief. We test these competing views with longitudinal data from over 10,000 congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We examine the relationship between changes in racial/ethnic diversity and changes in average weekly attendance over a 19-year time period (1993–2012). In spite of the ELCA's denominational push for racial diversity in its local churches, our analysis finds increasing racial diversity associated with decreasing average attendance, most notably during the 1990s. To conclude, we discuss the implications of our findings for congregations and denominations.

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Religious Origins of Democracy & Dictatorship

Theocharis Grigoriadis

Journal of Policy Modeling, forthcoming

Abstract:
Weber considered the Protestant work ethic the foundation of modern capitalism. I extend Weber's theory by arguing that states with predominantly Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslim populations have had a stronger inclination toward underdevelopment and dictatorship than states with Protestant or Jewish majorities. This is the case because their respective religious collectives (monastery, tariqa) promote the hierarchical provision of common goods at the expense of market incentives. I define the aforementioned three religions as collectivist, in contrast to Protestantism and Judaism, which I define as individualist. I provide a historical overview that designates the Jewish kibbutz as the collective of democracy and the Eastern Orthodox monastery as the collective of dictatorship. Focusing on collectivist economies, I find that modernization, as a credible commitment to the improved future provision of public goods, occurs when the threat of a radical government is imminent and when the leader has high extraction of rents from the economy. The emergence of radical governments is more likely in collectivist than in individualist economies. Historical illustrations from collectivist economies include the Russian Revolution, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the postwar welfare state in Western Europe.

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Pre-Reformation Roots of the Protestant Ethic

Thomas Barnebeck Andersen et al.

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We hypothesize that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift, the Protestant ethic according to Max Weber, had a pre-Reformation origin: the Catholic Order of Cistercians. In support, we document an impact from the Order on growth within the epicenter of the industrial revolution; English counties that were more exposed to Cistercian monasteries experienced faster productivity growth from the 13th century onwards. Consistent with a cultural influence, this impact is also found after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s. Moreover, the values emphasized by Weber are relatively more pervasive in European regions where Cistercian monasteries were located historically.

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The Protestant Reading Ethic and Variation in Its Effects

James Mosher

Sociological Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
Max Weber's thesis that a “Protestant ethic” in a subset of Protestant sects created a “spirit of capitalism” is often interpreted as an explanation for the increase in economic growth in the Protestant parts of the West before and during the industrial revolution. One alternative pathway through which Protestantism might have contributed to high economic performance is that it was Protestantism's promotion of literacy that led to higher economic growth and not behavioral changes due to a Protestant ethic as suggested by Weber. To evaluate the “Protestant reading ethic” thesis, this study examines historical events for the period from 1500 up to the 1800s in nine countries. The study also explores available cross-national quantitative data on economic development and literacy for the same period. The qualitative and quantitative evidence supports the overall thesis that Protestantism promoted literacy and rises in literacy likely contributed to the economic development. The evidence also suggests that the impact of Protestantism on literacy varied depending on what actions were taken by Protestant states and Protestant national churches to promote literacy.

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Hell to pay: Religion and punitive ideology among the American public

Joseph Baker & Alexis Booth

Punishment & Society, April 2016, Pages 151-176

Abstract:
Historically, religious frameworks — particularly conceptions of evil — have been tied to attitudes about criminal behavior and its corresponding punishment, yet views of transcendent evil have not been explored in the empirical literature on religion and punitive ideology. We examine whether and how different aspects of religiosity shape punitive attitudes, using a national sample of Americans. For both general punitiveness and views of capital punishment, belief in the existence and power of transcendent religious evil (e.g. Satan and hell) is strongly associated with greater punitiveness, while higher levels of religious practice (service attendance, prayer, and reading sacred scriptures) reduces punitiveness. The effects of other aspects of religiosity on punitiveness such as self-identified fundamentalism, scriptural literalism, and images of God are rendered spurious by accounting for perceptions of evil. We discuss these findings in light of cultural and comparative approaches to penology, arguing for the inclusion of conceptions of the “transgressive” sacred in studies of, and theories about, penal populism.

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Using the Qur’ān to Empower Arab Women? Theory and Experimental Evidence From Egypt

Tarek Masoud, Amaney Jamal & Elizabeth Nugent

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of scholarship on the political and economic subordination of women in the Muslim world has argued that widespread patriarchal attitudes toward women’s roles in public life can be ameliorated by offering progressive reinterpretations of Islamic scriptures. In this article, we explore this hypothesis with a large-scale survey experiment conducted among adult Egyptians in late 2013. In the study, a subset of respondents were exposed to an argument in favor of women’s political equality that was grounded in the Qur’ān, Islam’s holiest text. We found that this group was significantly more willing to express approval of female political leadership than those exposed to a non-religious argument in favor of women’s eligibility for political leadership. A further analysis of conditional treatment effects suggests that the religious justification for female political leadership was more likely to elicit agreement among less educated and less pious respondents, and when delivered by women and targeted at men. Our findings suggest that Islamic discourse, so often used to justify the political exclusion of women, can also be used to help empower them.

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Sacred violence or strategic faith? Disentangling the relationship between religion and violence in armed conflict

Matthew Isaacs

Journal of Peace Research, March 2016, Pages 211-225

Abstract:
Why are religious conflicts more violent than non-religious conflicts? Research has argued that religion pushes partisans toward violence. However, existing research suffers from widespread problems of measurement validity and fails to confront the possibility of endogeneity in the relationship between religion and violence. This article develops a more precise measure of the relevance of religion to conflict based on the use of religious rhetoric by political organizations. With this approach in mind, this article disentangles the causal sequence linking religious rhetoric and violence using annually coded data on the rhetoric of 495 organizations worldwide from 1970 through 2012. The analysis finds a strong general correlation between religious rhetoric and violence. However, past use of religious rhetoric does not increase the likelihood that an organization will participate in violence or the overall intensity of conflict. On the contrary, previous participation in violence makes an organization more likely to adopt religious rhetoric for mobilization. Indeed, religious rhetoric becomes more likely as violence increases in intensity and conflict continues for longer periods of time. These findings suggest that violent actors adopt religious rhetoric to solve the logistical challenges associated with violence, including access to mobilizing resources and recruitment and retention of members. This article contributes to the study of religious conflict by providing evidence of endogeneity in the relationship between religion and violence and highlighting the need for temporally sensitive measures of religious mobilization.

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War, Worries, and Religiousness

Hongfei Du & Peilian Chi

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Terror management theory posits that death-related threats increase people’s investment in religious activity, dedication, and belief. Given that war usually results in deaths, the authors hypothesized that war, as a death-related threat, would be associated with greater religiousness. The present research assessed this hypothesis with a large worldwide sample (N = 86,272). Using the Global Peace Index and World Value Survey, the authors found that people were more religious (i.e., religious practice, religious identity, and belief in God) when their countries and districts suffered from more wars/conflicts. The positive relationship between war and religiousness was partially explained by worries about war. That is, people in countries with existing war/conflict experienced higher levels of worries about war and, in turn, showed increased religiousness.

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The Evolution of Gods’ Minds in the Tyva Republic

Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Current Anthropology, forthcoming

Abstract:
As appeals to what gods know and care about often motivate and rationalize human behavior, understanding shared models of gods’ minds is crucial for understanding religion’s contributions to human sociality. If religious systems function to minimize the effects of social and ecological problems, then models of gods’ concerns should coevolve with these problems. The present work assesses this prediction using data collected in the Tyva Republic. After briefly introducing the social and ecological history of ritual cairn piety in Inner Asia, I examine explicit representational models of morality, virtue, and gods’ concerns in Tyva. I show that (a) there is very little conceptual overlap between Tyvans’ models of morality and virtue and the things about which spirits care, (b) Tyvan spirit masters are primarily concerned with ritual and breaches of resource maintenance, and (c) among the emerging, salient factors that anger spirit masters are alcohol abuse and littering, very recent social problems in the region. This report provides support for the hypothesis that representational models of gods’ minds will evolve in accordance with ever-shifting local problems and offers the first formal treatment of empirically determining what constitutes a “moralistic” deity among living people.

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Health and Well-Being Among the Non-religious: Atheists, Agnostics, and No Preference Compared with Religious Group Members

David Hayward et al.

Journal of Religion and Health, June 2016, Pages 1024-1037

Abstract:
Although recent research suggests that the proportion of the US population identifying as non-religious has been rapidly expanding over the course of the last decade, relatively little research has examined the implications of this development for health and well-being. This study uses data from a large representative survey study of religion and health in the adult US population (N = 3010) to examine group differences among religious group members (N = 2401) and three categories of non-religious individuals: atheists (N = 83), agnostics (N = 189), and those stating no religious preference (N = 329). MANCOVA was used to analyze group differences on five outcome dimensions, incorporating 27 outcome variables. Religious non-affiliates did not differ overall from affiliates in terms of physical health outcomes (although atheists and agnostics did have better health on some individual measures including BMI, number of chronic conditions, and physical limitations), but had worse positive psychological functioning characteristics, social support relationships, and health behaviors. On dimensions related to psychological well-being, atheists and agnostics tended to have worse outcomes than either those with religious affiliation or those with no religious preference. If current trends in the religious composition of the population continue, these results have implications for its future healthcare needs.

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Religious Pluralism and Civic Rights in a “Muslim Nation”: An Analysis of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians

Craig Considine

Religions, February 2016

Abstract:
This article examines the roles that religious pluralism and civic rights played in Prophet Muhammad’s vision of a “Muslim nation”. I demonstrate how Muhammad desired a pluralistic society in which citizenship and equal rights were granted to all people regardless of religious beliefs and practices. The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time are used as a framework for analysis. These documents have received little attention in our time, but their messages are crucial in light of current debates about Muslim-Christian relations. The article campaigns for reviving the egalitarian spirit of the Covenants by refocusing our understanding of the ummah as a site for religious freedom and civil rights. Ultimately, I argue that the Covenants of Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of his time can be used to develop a stronger narrative of democratic partnership between Muslims and Christians in the “Islamic world” and beyond.

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Human Capital and the Supply of Religion

Joseph Engelberg et al.

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the role of labor inputs in religious attendance using data on Oklahoma Methodist congregations during 1961-2003. Pastors play a significant role in church growth: replacing a 25th percentile pastor with a 75th percentile one increases annual attendance growth by three percent. A pastor's performance in his first church (largely the result of random assignment) predicts future performance, suggesting a causal effect of pastors on growth. The deployment of pastors by the church indicates efficient use of labor: low-performing pastors are more likely to be rotated or exit the sample, and high-performing pastors are moved to larger congregations.

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Mixed Reactions: How Religious Motivation Explains Responses to Religious Rhetoric in Politics

Jay Jennings

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article hypothesizes that religious motivation can explain varied responses to the political use of religious rhetoric. Religious motivation — religion’s place in an individual’s life — is an important determinant of individual behavior and attitude formation, and variation in religious motivation can explain why some religious citizens are attracted to candidates using religious appeals while others are clearly not. Using a survey experiment, this article tests the effect of Judeo-Christian religious language and attempts to isolate differences among the religious in how they respond to religious rhetoric in the American political environment. The goal of this article then becomes twofold. First, it introduces a measure of religious motivation and demonstrates that it is a unique measure of individual difference with independent effects beyond traditional measures of religiosity, personality, and conservatism. The second goal is to demonstrate that religious motivation can explain variance in reactions to religious rhetoric within a campaign environment. Religious individuals respond differently to religious appeals, with some evaluating candidates higher when religious words were used while others rated candidates lower. The types of religious motivation (extrinsic, intrinsic, and quest) are shown to be much better predictors of responses to religious rhetoric than traditional measures of religiosity.

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Does a Nation's Religious Composition Affect Generalized Trust? The Role of Religious Heterogeneity and the Percent Religious

Daniel Olson & Miao Li

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 756–773

Abstract:
Is religion more of an integrative or a divisive force in contemporary societies? We use multilevel analyses of World Values Survey data from 77,409 individuals in 69 countries to examine how both the percent of the population that is religious and the religious heterogeneity of a country are related to generalized social trust, the willingness of individuals to trust “most people.” When we first examine the main effects of the percent religious and religious heterogeneity we find no evidence that either variable is related to trust in the ways predicted by major theories. However, the combination of these two variables has a huge negative relationship with trust. Countries that are both highly religious and religiously heterogeneous (diverse) have, on average, levels of trust that are only half the average levels of countries with other combinations of these two variables. The results have important implications for understanding the role of religion in modern societies.

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Atheists and Agnostics Are More Reflective than Religious Believers: Four Empirical Studies and a Meta-Analysis

Gordon Pennycook et al.

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Individual differences in the mere willingness to think analytically has been shown to predict religious disbelief. Recently, however, it has been argued that analytic thinkers are not actually less religious; rather, the putative association may be a result of religiosity typically being measured after analytic thinking (an order effect). In light of this possibility, we report four studies in which a negative correlation between religious belief and performance on analytic thinking measures is found when religious belief is measured in a separate session. We also performed a meta-analysis on all previously published studies on the topic along with our four new studies (N = 15,078, k = 31), focusing specifically on the association between performance on the Cognitive Reflection Test (the most widely used individual difference measure of analytic thinking) and religious belief. This meta-analysis revealed an overall negative correlation (r) of -.18, 95% CI [-.21, -.16]. Although this correlation is modest, self-identified atheists (N = 133) scored 18.7% higher than religiously affiliated individuals (N = 597) on a composite measure of analytic thinking administered across our four new studies (d = .72). Our results indicate that the association between analytic thinking and religious disbelief is not caused by a simple order effect. There is good evidence that atheists and agnostics are more reflective than religious believers.

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Making and Unmaking Prejudice: Religious Affiliation Mitigates the Impact of Mortality Salience on Out-Group Attitudes

Anna-Kaisa Newheiser et al.

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2015, Pages 774–791

Abstract:
Research inspired by terror management theory has established that being reminded of the inevitability of death (i.e., “mortality salience”) leads people to express more negative attitudes toward out-groups. We examined the hypothesis that being affiliated with a religion may buffer individuals against this negative impact of mortality salience. Two studies, conducted in two cultures that differ in their emphasis on religiosity (the United Kingdom and Italy), supported this hypothesis. Specifically, we found that mortality salience resulted in more negative out-group attitudes only among participants not affiliated with any religion. Further, this buffering effect of religious affiliation was not moderated by participants’ specific religious orientations or by their levels of social dominance orientation. In addition, the buffering effect did not hold when prejudice against the target out-group was not proscribed by religious authorities. Implications for research on religion, prejudice, and terror management are discussed.

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On God-Belief and Feeling Clean: Daily Experiences Are Related to Feeling Clean, Particularly for Those High in God-Belief

Adam Fetterman

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work has shown robust associations between morality and cleanliness. However, it is not known whether this association is equally consequential for everyone. I predicted that individuals high (vs. low) in God-belief would be more likely to draw upon feelings of cleanliness to represent their moral concerns. To test this hypothesis, I used a 2-week daily sampling protocol. In an initial session, I measured participants’ (N = 135) level of God-belief. I then measured participants’ levels of daily cleanliness, neuroticism, impulsivity, and prosocial behaviors every evening. Daily feelings of cleanliness predicted lower levels of neuroticism but only for those high in God-belief. Daily impulsive behaviors predicted lower feelings of cleanliness, and daily prosocial behaviors predicted higher feelings of cleanliness. God-belief moderated these effects such that they were stronger for those higher, than lower, in God-belief. In closing, I discuss potential reasons for these moderation effects and other theoretical considerations.

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The Exit-Voice Choice: Religious Cleavages, Public Aid, and America's Private Schools

Ursula Hackett

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
In America's culture wars denominations increasingly ally with one another despite differences in theology, church organization, and membership. But these developments are not reflected in America's private K-12 school system or in patterns of public aid for children who attend them where divisions between religious traditions remain stark. I demonstrate, by means of an analysis of critical junctures in American political development supported by statistical analysis, that Catholics who desire a religious education for their children have historically tended to exit for the parochial sector while Evangelicals having similar desires lobbied for reform of the public school system. These differential group responses stem from differing conceptions of identity and belonging, theological understanding, and institutional structure. In American education policy, differences between religious groups are surprisingly tenacious.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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