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Thursday, December 29, 2016

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Gulliver's Politics: Conservatives Envision Potential Enemies as Readily Vanquished and Physically Small

Colin Holbrook et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political conservatives have been widely documented to regard out-group members as hostile, perceive individuals of ambiguous intent as malevolent, and favor aggressive solutions to intergroup conflict. A growing literature indicates that potential violent adversaries are represented using the dimensions of envisioned physical size/strength to summarize opponents' fighting capacities relative to the self or in-group. Integrating these programs, we hypothesized that, compared to liberals, conservatives would envision an ambiguous out-group target as more likely to pose a threat, yet as vanquishable through force, and thus as less formidable. Participants from the United States (Study 1) and Spain (Study 2) assessed Syrian refugees, a group that the public widely suspects includes terrorists. As predicted, in both societies, conservatives envisioned refugees as more likely to be terrorists and as less physically formidable. As hypothesized, this "Gulliver effect" was mediated by confidence in each society's capacity to thwart terrorism via aggressive military or police measures.

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The "Bad Is Black" Effect: Why People Believe Evildoers Have Darker Skin Than Do-Gooders

Adam Alter et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, December 2016, Pages 1653-1665

Abstract:
Across six studies, people used a "bad is black" heuristic in social judgment and assumed that immoral acts were committed by people with darker skin tones, regardless of the racial background of those immoral actors. In archival studies of news articles written about Black and White celebrities in popular culture magazines (Study 1a) and American politicians (Study 1b), the more critical rather than complimentary the stories, the darker the skin tone of the photographs printed with the article. In the remaining four studies, participants associated immoral acts with darker skinned people when examining surveillance footage (Studies 2 and 4), and when matching headshots to good and bad actions (Studies 3 and 5). We additionally found that both race-based (Studies 2, 3, and 5) and shade-based (Studies 4 and 5) associations between badness and darkness determine whether people demonstrate the "bad is black" effect. We discuss implications for social perception and eyewitness identification.

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Beliefs about Gender

Pedro Bordalo et al.

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We conduct a laboratory experiment on the determinants of beliefs about own and others' ability across different domains. A preliminary look at the data points to two distinct forces: miscalibration in estimating performance depending on the difficulty of tasks and gender stereotypes. We develop a theoretical model that separates these forces and apply it to analyze a large laboratory dataset in which participants estimate their own and a partner's performance on questions across six subjects: arts and literature, emotion recognition, business, verbal reasoning, mathematics, and sports. We find that participants greatly overestimate not only their own ability but also that of others, suggesting that miscalibration is a substantial, first order factor in stated beliefs. Women are better calibrated than men, providing more accurate estimates of ability both for themselves and for others. Gender stereotypes also have strong predictive power for beliefs, particularly for men's beliefs about themselves and others' beliefs about the ability of men. Our findings help interpret evidence on gender gaps in self-confidence.

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A Content Analytic Study of Appearance Standards for Women of Color in Magazines

Leah Boepple & Kevin Thompson

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Media portrayals of Caucasian women have received a great deal of research attention. However, substantially less research exists examining media portrayals of women of color. This content analytic study examined appearance messages and standards for women of color present in popular magazines. The 17 magazines (aimed for female audiences) with the highest circulation ratings were rated. All images and text of the magazines were coded. Cohen's Kappa for all variables was .86. Ninety-six percent of Black women, 91.67% of Asian women, and 96.61% of Latina women had either light- or medium-toned skin. Sixty-three percent of Black women, 100% of Asian women, and 98.59% of Latina women had long, straight hair. Forty-two percent of Black women, 100% of Asian women, and 54% of Latina women had smaller facial features consistent with Caucasian norms. The current study is the first of its kind to examine media-based appearance standards for Asian and Latina women in magazines.

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Ingroups, outgroups, and the gateway groups between: The potential of dual identities to improve intergroup relations

Aharon Levy et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on dual identity focuses mainly on how dual identifiers feel and behave, and on the reactions they elicit from others. In this article we test an unexplored aspect of dual identity: the dual identity group's potential to act as a possible gateway between the groups that represent the respective sources of the dual identity (e.g., Israeli Arabs as a gateway between Israelis and Palestinians). We predicted that to the extent that a group is perceived to have a dual identity, intergroup attitudes and behavior of the groups comprising that dual identity will be improved. This idea was tested across four studies. Study 1a and b were real-world correlational studies which revealed positive correlations between the perception of a dual identity and attitudes towards the outgroup. In Studies 2 and 3 we demonstrated experimentally that the mere presence of a group with a dual identity leads to improved outgroup orientations. In Study 4 we demonstrated how the manipulation of perceived dual identity can help improve attitudes towards the outgroup, and also provided initial indications regarding the mechanisms underlying the process at hand. We discuss the implications of the findings for the improvement of intergroup relations, and offer an outline for future research.

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"Catching" Social Bias: Exposure to Biased Nonverbal Signals Creates Social Biases in Preschool Children

Allison Skinner, Andrew Meltzoff & Kristina Olson

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Identifying the origins of social bias is critical to devising strategies to overcome prejudice. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that young children can catch novel social biases from brief exposure to biased nonverbal signals demonstrated by adults. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found that children who were exposed to a brief video depicting nonverbal bias in favor of one individual over another subsequently explicitly preferred, and were more prone to behave prosocially toward, the target of positive nonverbal signals. Moreover, in Experiment 2, preschoolers generalized such bias to other individuals. The spread of bias observed in these experiments lays a critical foundation for understanding the way that social biases may develop and spread early in childhood.

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Social projection to liked and disliked targets: The role of perceived similarity

Mark Davis

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some accounts of social projection view it as an essentially cognitive phenomenon, prompted by the need for a relatively low-effort way to arrive at inferences about others. Other accounts argue that projection is motivated by self-enhancement and self-protection concerns. This investigation evaluates these accounts by having participants make inferences about liked and disliked real-world targets. In Studies 1 and 2, participants projected more to liked than disliked targets, supporting a motivational account; however, when perceived similarity was accounted for, this difference disappeared, supporting the cognitive account. In Study 3 participants made inferences about targets who varied along both the valence and similarity dimensions; there was greater projection to all similar targets, but target valence only influenced projection if the targets were also seen as similar. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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Face-Blind for Other-Race Faces: Individual Differences in Other-Race Recognition Impairments

Lulu Wan et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report the existence of a previously undescribed group of people, namely individuals who are so poor at recognition of other-race faces that they meet criteria for clinical-level impairment (i.e., they are "face-blind" for other-race faces). Testing 550 participants, and using the well-validated Cambridge Face Memory Test for diagnosing face blindness, results show the rate of other-race face blindness to be nontrivial, specifically 8.1% of Caucasians and Asians raised in majority own-race countries. Results also show risk factors for other-race face blindness to include: a lack of interracial contact; and being at the lower end of the normal range of general face recognition ability (i.e., even for own-race faces); but not applying less individuating effort to other-race than own-race faces. Findings provide a potential resolution of contradictory evidence concerning the importance of the other-race effect (ORE), by explaining how it is possible for the mean ORE to be modest in size (suggesting a genuine but minor problem), and simultaneously for individuals to suffer major functional consequences in the real world (e.g., eyewitness misidentification of other-race offenders leading to wrongful imprisonment). Findings imply that, in legal settings, evaluating an eyewitness's chance of having made an other-race misidentification requires information about the underlying face recognition abilities of the individual witness. Additionally, analogy with prosopagnosia (inability to recognize even own-race faces) suggests everyday social interactions with other-race people, such as those between colleagues in the workplace, will be seriously impacted by the ORE in some people.

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Persuasive message scrutiny as a function of implicit-explicit discrepancies in racial attitudes

India Johnson et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that individuals low in prejudice think more carefully when information is from or about stigmatized individuals than non-stigmatized individuals. One explanation for this effect is that the heightened scrutiny stems from a motivation to guard against potential prejudice toward stigmatized others (i.e. "watchdog motivation"). The present research tested a variation of the watchdog hypothesis based on the idea of implicit ambivalence. Specifically, we argue that among individuals low in explicit (i.e., deliberative) prejudice, it is those who are also relatively high in implicit (i.e., automatic) prejudice who will do the most processing in prejudice relevant contexts. The implicit ambivalence framework also makes a novel prediction that individuals who are relatively high in explicit prejudice but low in implicit prejudice would also engage in enhanced information processing. As predicted, people with racial implicit-explicit attitude discrepancies, regardless of the direction of discrepancy, were found to engage in greater of scrutiny of a message about the hiring of Black faculty (study 1), a message about a Black job candidate (study 2), and even when the Black concept was merely primed subliminally prior to reading a race-irrelevant message (study 3).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Coming and going

The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis

Ryan Edwards & Francesc Ortega

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
This paper provides a quantitative assessment of the economic contribution of unauthorized workers to the U.S. economy, and the potential gains from legalization. We employ a theoretical framework that allows for multiple industries and a heterogeneous workforce in terms of skills and productivity. Capital and labor are the inputs in production and the different types of labor are combined in a multi-nest CES framework that builds on Borjas (2003) and Ottaviano and Peri (2012). The model is calibrated using data on the characteristics of the workforce, including an indicator for imputed unauthorized status (Center for Migration Studies, 2014), and industry output from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Our results show that the economic contribution of unauthorized workers to the U.S. economy is substantial, at approximately 3% of private-sector GDP annually, which amounts to close to $5 trillion over a 10-year period. These effects on production are smaller than the share of unauthorized workers in employment, which is close to 5%. The reason is that unauthorized workers are less skilled and appear to be less productive, on average, than natives and legal immigrants with the same observable skills. We also find that legalization of unauthorized workers would increase their contribution to 3.6% of private-sector GDP. The source of these gains stems from the productivity increase arising from the expanded labor market opportunities for these workers which, in turn, would lead to an increase in capital investment by employers.

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The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Native Workers: Evidence Using Longitudinal Data from the LEHD

Ted Mouw

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Empirical estimates of the effect of immigration on native workers that rely on spatial comparisons have generally found small effects, but have been subject to the criticism that out-migration by native workers dampens the observed effect by spreading it over a larger area. In contrast, studies that rely on variation in immigration across industries, occupations, or education-based skill-levels often report large negative effects, but rely primarily on repeated cross-sectional data sets which also cannot account for the adjustment of native workers over time. In this paper, we use a newly available data set, the Longitudinal Employer Household Data (LEHD), which provides quarterly earnings records, geographic location, and firm and industry identifiers for 97% of all privately employed workers in 29 states. We use this data to analyze the impact of immigration on earnings changes and the mobility response of native workers. Overall, we find that although immigration has a negative effect on the earnings and employment of native workers, and positive effects on their firm, industry, and cross-state mobility, the overall size of the effects is small.

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The Dynamics of State and Local Contexts and Immigration Asylum Hearing Decisions

Daniel Chand, William Schreckhise & Marianne Bowers

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, January 2017, Pages 182-196

Abstract:
Immigration judges (IJs) preside over cases related to immigration law, determining whether an individual should be granted asylum. The few prior studies of IJs have focused on factors of interest to judicial politics scholars, such as characteristics of the judge or applicant in a case. Drawing from public administration literature, we add a new set of factors related to local and state context in which the IJ works. Using multilevel regression analysis, we examine the decisions of 245 IJs made from fiscal years 2009 through 2014. Indeed, it appears context is important. We find IJs grant asylum less often in communities where citizens more often vote Republican and where the local economy is poor. Judges in states where statewide agencies have opted to participate in the restrictive immigration program 287(g) also granted significantly lower percentages of asylum applications. States with Democratic governors and state legislative majorities granted asylum more often, as do IJs working in United States-Mexico border communities. With respect to traditional factors, judges with more experience and those that hear higher percentages of cases involving individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, grant significantly fewer petitions for asylum. Judges who hear high percentages of petitions from applicants with attorneys grant significantly more asylums.

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Immigrant Chinese Mothers’ Socialization of Achievement in Children: A Strategic Adaptation to the Host Society

Florrie Fei-Yin Ng et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Academic socialization by low-income immigrant mothers from Mainland China was investigated in two studies. Immigrant Chinese mothers of first graders (n = 52; Mage = 38.69) in the United States (Study 1) and kindergartners (n = 86; Mage = 36.81) in Hong Kong (Study 2) tell stories that emphasized achieving the best grade through effort more than did African American (n = 39; Mage = 31.44) and native Hong Kong (n = 76; Mage = 36.64) mothers, respectively. The emphasis on achievement was associated with mothers' heightened discussion on discrimination (Study 1) and beliefs that education promotes upward mobility (Study 2), as well as children's expectations that a story protagonist would receive maternal criticism for being nonpersistent in learning (Study 2).

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Immigration concern and the white/non-white difference in smoking: Group position theory and health

Frank Samson

SSM - Population Health, 2017, Pages 111–120

Abstract:
National data indicate that U.S. whites have a higher prevalence of smoking compared to non-whites. Group position theory and public opinion data suggest racial differences in immigration concern. This study examines whether immigration concern mediates the racial difference in smoking. Drawing on the 2012 General Social Survey, the 2012 American National Election Study, and the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study, immigration concern was associated with smoking, controlling for covariates across all three nationally representative surveys. Mediation analysis indicated that immigration concern partially mediated the higher odds of smoking among whites across all surveys. Immigration concern also presents a possible explanation for the healthy immigrant advantage and Hispanic paradox as they pertain to smoking differences.

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New Trends and Patterns in Western European Immigration to the United States: Linking European and American Databases

Elyakim Kislev

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2017, Pages 168-189

Abstract:
This study explores the latest changes in Western European immigration to the United States by integrating several large databases: the U.S. census, the American Community Surveys, the European Social Survey, as well as the Human Development Index and Gini index. Findings show that the number of individuals born in Western Europe but with family origins elsewhere who have been immigrating to and settling in the United States is increasing. I divide the Western European population that immigrates to the United States into seven different subpopulations by their ancestries and explore the characteristics of these populations before and after immigrating to the United States. I also examine their relative success in terms of economic and labor outcomes in America, finding, for example, that some of the least advantaged immigrant groups have some of the best economic outcomes in the United States. The different self-selection and assimilation patterns among these immigrants have implications for U.S. public policy, which we identify and begin to explore.

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Changes in the Transnational Family Structures of Mexican Farm Workers in the Era of Border Militarization

Erin Hamilton & Jo Mhairi Hale

Demography, October 2016, Pages 1429–1451

Abstract:
Historically, undocumented Mexican farm workers migrated circularly, leaving family behind in Mexico on short trips to the United States. Scholars have argued that border militarization has disrupted circular migration as the costs of crossing the border lead to longer stays, increased settlement, and changing transnational family practices. Yet, no study has explored changes in the transnational family structures of Mexico-U.S. migrants that span the era of border militarization. Using data from the National Agricultural Workers Survey, we document a dramatic shift away from transnational family life (as measured by location of residence of dependent children) among undocumented Mexican farm workers and a less dramatic shift among documented Mexican farm workers in the United States between 1993 and 2012. These trends are not explained by changes in the sociodemographic characteristics of farm workers or by changing demographic conditions or rising violence in Mexico. One-half of the trend can be accounted for by lengthened duration of stay and increased connections to the United States among the undocumented, but none of the trend is explained by these measures of settlement among the documented, suggesting that some Mexican farm workers adopt new family migration strategies at first migration. Increases in border control are associated with lower likelihood that children reside in Mexico — a finding that holds up to instrumental variable techniques. Our findings confirm the argument that U.S. border militarization — a policy designed to deter undocumented migration — is instead disrupting transnational family life between Mexico and the United States and, in doing so, is creating a permanent population of undocumented migrants and their children in the United States.

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The immigration–unemployment nexus: Do education and Protestantism matter?

Jakob Madsen & Stojanka Andric

Oxford Economic Papers, January 2017, Pages 165-188

Abstract:
Using annual data from 1850 to 2010 for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA, this paper examines the impact of immigration and the immigrants’ educational and cultural background on unemployment. Instruments for 27 emigrating countries are used to deal with the feedback effects from unemployment to immigration. The results show that educated immigrants, in particular, and immigrants from Protestant countries significantly reduce unemployment, while poorly educated and non-Protestant immigrants enhance unemployment.

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All Politics Is Local? County Sheriffs and Localized Policies of Immigration Enforcement

Emily Farris & Mirya Holman

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigration enforcement and policy making has increasingly devolved to the local level in the United States. American sheriffs present a unique opportunity to evaluate decisions made about immigration policies in the local context. In dealing with immigration concerns in their counties, sheriffs act both within the confines of federal and state mandates and as local policymakers. However, little research comprehensively assesses the role sheriffs play in immigration policy making. Using data from an original, national survey of more than five hundred elected sheriffs in the United States, we provide a broad account of sheriffs’ roles in immigration enforcement and policy making. Our research demonstrates that sheriffs’ ideology and personal characteristics shape their personal attitudes about immigrants. In turn, these attitudes play a key role in influencing local enforcement decisions. Sheriffs’ immigration attitudes relate strongest to checks of the immigration status of witnesses and victims and those stopped for traffic violations or arrested for non-violent crimes. Our results demonstrate the important role of the sheriff in understanding local variation in immigration policy and the connection between the personal preferences of representatives and policy making that can emerge across policy environments and levels of government.

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The second shift: Assimilation in housework time among immigrants

Jisoo Hwang

Review of Economics of the Household, December 2016, Pages 941–959

Abstract:
Using the 2003–2014 American Time Use Survey, this paper studies the assimilation in housework time among married US immigrants. The gender gap in housework time narrows from first to one-point-five to second generation, where assimilation is driven by a decrease in housework time of women, particularly of those from countries with low female labor supply. The findings are robust to including couple’s working hours and number of children, indicating that there is assimilation in the burden of the second shift — household work — in addition to that in immigrants’ labor market outcomes and fertility rates.

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United We Stand? The Role of Ethnic Heterogeneity in the Immigration and Violent Crime Relationship at the Neighborhood Level

Feodor Gostjev

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study makes several contributions to the extant literature on the relationship between immigration and neighborhood crime. I review classical and contemporary theories and argue that these theories make contradictory predictions regarding the moderating effects of ethnic heterogeneity on the immigration and crime relationship. Previous immigration and crime studies cannot help adjudicate between these positions because they have only considered diversity as a mediator or a control variable. I use multiple measures of diversity to conduct the first comprehensive study of the moderating effects of ethnic heterogeneity on the immigration and violent crime relationship at the neighborhood level. The results indicate that greater diversity strengthens the protective effect of immigrant residential concentration. These findings contradict the assumptions of classical theories and support the more recent immigration and crime perspectives.

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Association of Skin Color and Generation on Arrests Among Mexican-Origin Latinos

Héctor Alcalá & Mónica Montoya

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Arrest and interaction with the criminal justice system can have negative impacts to health and socioeconomic status. In the United States, Latinos are disproportionately arrested and jailed, when compared to their non-Latino peers. However, Latinos are not a homogeneous group. For example, generation and skin color are two factors that impact the social standing of Latinos in the United States. As a result, the present study tested if the effects of skin color on odds of arrest depended on generation among Mexican-origin Latinos living in the Greater Los Angeles County Area using data from the Immigration and International Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (IIMMLA) survey (N = 1,226). Unadjusted analyses showed that arrest rates increased with generation. Multivariate results revealed that darker skin color was associated with higher odds of arrest, but only for the second generation. These findings suggest that the likelihood of being arrested for Mexican-origin Latinos is not uniform. Observed differences could set the stage for disparities in health and socio-economic status.

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Physical-psychiatric comorbidity: Implications for health measurement and the Hispanic Epidemiological Paradox

Christy Erving

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few studies examine the co-occurrence of physical and psychiatric health problems (physical-psychiatric comorbidity), and whether these patterns differ across social groups. Using the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication and National Latino and Asian American Study, the current study asks: what are the patterns of physical-psychiatric comorbidity (PPC) between non-Hispanic Whites and Latino subgroups, further differentiated by gender and nativity? Does the PPC measurement approach reveal different patterns across groups compared to when only physical or only psychiatric health problems are the health outcomes of interest? To what extent do sociodemographic characteristics (SES, stress exposure, social support, immigration-related factors) explain PPC differences between groups? Results reveal that compared to U.S.-born non-Hispanic White men, island-born Puerto Rican men experience elevated PPC risk. Mexican and Other Latino women and men experience relatively lower risk of PPC relative to their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Social factors explain some of the health disadvantage of island-born Puerto Rican men, but do not explain the health advantage of Mexicans and Other Latinos.

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Self-Selection and Host Country Context in the Economic Assimilation of Political Refugees in the United States, Sweden, and Israel

Debora Pricila Birgier et al.

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the interplay between host countries' characteristics and self-selection patterns in relation to refugees' economic assimilation using a natural experiment in which immigrants from one region migrated to three destinations under similar circumstances. We focus on emigrants fleeing from Argentina and Chile during the military regimes there to the United States, Sweden, and Israel. We find that those refugees show patterns of selection and assimilation similar to those of economic immigrants. Immigrants to the United States and Israel exhibit better selection patterns and consequently faster assimilation than immigrants to Sweden even considering the positive effect of the Swedish market structure.

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For You Were Strangers in the Land of Egypt: Clergy, Religiosity, and Public Opinion toward Immigration Reform in the United States

Kevin Wallsten & Tatishe Nteta

Politics and Religion, September 2016, Pages 566-604

Abstract:
Recently, a number of influential clergy leaders have declared their support for liberal immigration reforms. Do the pronouncements of religious leaders influence public opinion on immigration? Using data from a survey experiment embedded in the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we find that exposure to the arguments from high profile religious leaders can compel some individuals to reconsider their views on the immigration. To be more precise, we find that Methodists, Southern Baptists, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America leaders successfully persuaded respondents who identify with these religious denominations to think differently about a path to citizenship and about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Interestingly, we also uncovered that religiosity matters in different ways for how parishioners from different religious faiths react to messages from their leaders. These findings force us to reconsider the impact that an increasingly strident clergy may be having on public opinion in general and on support for immigration reform in particular.

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Welcoming Cities: Immigration Policy at the Local Government Level

Xi Huang & Cathy Yang Liu

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the face of continued immigration to the United States and federal policy inertia, many local governments have started to adopt their own immigrant-related policies to cope with the newcomers. Among them, welcoming cities represent a new wave of inclusive local government responses that seeks to incorporate immigrants socially and economically and deviates from the previous policies that focus on law enforcement and legal status. In this article, we explore the rationales behind these cities’ commitment to immigrant integration by examining the effect of theory-based local demographic, economic, political, fiscal, and institutional characteristics and national network organization on local governments’ policy adoption. Our results indicate that cities that have an educated, diverse, and liberal population, are more economically troubled but fiscally sound are more likely to become welcoming cities. The Welcoming America as an umbrella organization also plays an important role in facilitating the welcoming movement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Smart money

Hedge fund politics and portfolios

Luke DeVault & Richard Sias

Journal of Banking & Finance, February 2017, Pages 80–97

Abstract:
Consistent with the well-documented relation between political orientation and psychological traits, hedge funds’ political orientations are related to their portfolio decisions. Relative to politically conservative hedge funds, politically liberal hedge funds exhibit a preference for smaller stocks, less mature companies, volatile stocks, unprofitable companies, non-dividend paying companies, and lottery-type securities. Politically liberal hedge funds are also more likely to enter new positions or fully exit existing positions, and make larger adjustments to their U.S. equity market exposure. Our results suggest that psychological characteristics can influence the portfolio decisions of even those at the very top of the financial sophistication ladder.

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WSJ Category Kings - The impact of media attention on consumer and mutual fund investment decisions

Ron Kaniel & Robert Parham

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit a novel natural experiment to establish a causal relation between media attention and consumer investment behavior, independent of the conveyed information. Our findings indicate a 31% local average increase in quarterly capital flows into mutual funds mentioned in a prominent Wall Street Journal “Category Kings” ranking list, compared to those funds which just missed making the list. This flow increase is about seven times larger than extra flows due to the well-documented performance-flow relation. Other funds in the same fund complex receive substantial extra flows as well, especially in smaller complexes. There is no increase in flows when the Wall Street Journal publishes similar lists absent the prominence of the Category Kings labeling. We show mutual fund managers react to the incentive created by the media effect in a strategic way predicted by theory, and present evidence for the existence of propagation mechanisms including increased fund complex advertising subsequent to having a Category King and increased efficacy of subsequent fund media mentions.

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Discrimination, Social Risk, and Portfolio Choice

Yosef Bonaparte et al.

University of Miami Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
This study examines whether social discrimination affects the risk perceptions and, subsequently, the investment decisions of individual investors. We conjecture that minority groups such as gays/lesbians, African Americans, and women, who are more likely to experience discrimination, over-estimate their risk exposures (i.e., they experience social risk) and invest more cautiously. Consistent with our conjecture, we find that minorities with high social risk participate less in the stock market and allocate a lower proportion of their wealth to risky assets. These results indicate that non-financial risks, such as social risk, influence financial risk-taking behavior of U.S. households.

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Does Local Religiosity Affect Organizational Risk-Taking? Evidence from the Hedge Fund Industry

Lei Gao

Iowa State University Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We examine the impact of local religious beliefs on organizational risk-taking behaviors using hedge funds as a new and unique setting. We find that local religiosity is significantly negatively related to both total and idiosyncratic volatilities of hedge funds during 1996-2013, even after controlling for endogeneity using managers’ college-location religiosity. Consistent with the local preference channel, the impact of local religiosity on risk-taking is only pronounced among funds for which local managers and investors are more important, namely semi-directional, young, and small funds. Further, hedge funds located in more religious counties tend to hold less risky stocks and diversify their stock portfolios across industries, thus contributing to lower hedge fund risk-taking. Overall, our evidence suggests that local religiosity may motivate hedge fund managers to reduce risk.

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Sensation Seeking, Sports Cars, and Hedge Funds

Stephen Brown et al.

NYU Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We find that hedge fund managers who own powerful sports cars take on more investment risk. Conversely, managers who own practical but unexciting cars take on less investment risk. The incremental risk taking by performance car buyers does not translate to higher returns. Consequently, they deliver lower Sharpe ratios than do car buyers who eschew performance. In addition, performance car owners are more likely to terminate their funds, engage in fraudulent behavior, load up on non-index stocks, exhibit lower R-squareds with respect to systematic factors, and succumb to overconfidence. We consider several alternative explanations and conclude that manager revealed preference in the automobile market captures the personality trait of sensation seeking, which in turn drives manager behavior in the investment arena.

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Why Does Capital No Longer Flow More to the Industries with the Best Growth Opportunities?

Dong Lee, Han Shin & René Stulz

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
With functionally efficient capital markets, we expect capital to flow more to the industries with the best growth opportunities. As a result, these industries should invest more and see their assets grow more relative to industries with the worst growth opportunities. We find that industries that receive more funds have a higher industry Tobin’s q until the mid-1990s, but not since then. Since industries with a higher funding rate grow more, there is a negative correlation not only between an industry’s funding rate and industry q but also between capital expenditures and industry q since the mid-1990s. We show that capital no longer flows more to the industries with the best growth opportunities because, since the middle of the 1990s, firms in high q industries increasingly repurchase shares rather than raise more funding from the capital markets.

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Global Economic Growth and Expected Returns Around the World: The End-of-the-Year Effect

Stig Møller & Jesper Rangvid

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Global economic growth at the end of the year strongly predicts returns from a wide spectrum of international assets, such as global, regional, and individual-country stocks, FX, and commodities. Global economic growth at other times of the year does not predict international returns. Low growth in the global economy at the end of the year predicts higher returns over the following year. It also predicts the global business cycle. When global economic growth at the end of the year is low, investors expect a worsening of the global business cycle and increase their required returns.

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A Proposal to Limit the Anti-Competitive Power of Institutional Investors

Eric Posner, Fiona Scott Morton & Glen Weyl

University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has shown that mutual funds and other institutional investors may cause softer competition among product market rivals because of their significant ownership stakes in competing firms in concentrated industries. While recent calls for litigation against them under Section 7 of the Clayton Act are understandable, private or indiscriminate government litigation could also cause significant disruption to equity markets because of its inherent unpredictability and would fail to eliminate most of the harms from common ownership. To minimize this disruption while achieving competitive conditions in oligopolistic markets, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should take the lead by adopting a public enforcement policy of the Clayton Act against institutional investors. We outline such a policy in this article. Investors in firms in well-defined oligopolistic industries must choose either to limit their holdings of an industry to a small stake (no more than 1% of the total size of the industry) or to hold the shares of only a single “effective firm” per industry. Investors that violate this rule face government litigation. Using simulations based on empirical evidence, we show that under broad assumptions this rule would generate large competitive gains while having minimal negative effects on diversification and other values. The rule would also improve corporate governance by institutional investors.

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The Relevance of Broker Networks for Information Diffusion in the Stock Market

Marco Di Maggio et al.

Harvard Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
This paper shows that the network of relationships between brokers and institutional investors shapes the information diffusion in the stock market. We exploit trade-level data to show that trades channeled through central brokers earn significantly positive abnormal returns. This result is not due to differences in the investors that trade through central brokers or to stocks characteristics, as we control for this heterogeneity; nor is it the result of better trading execution. We find that a key driver of these excess returns is the information that central brokers gather by executing informed trades, which is then leaked to their best clients. We show that after large informed trades, a significantly higher volume of other investors execute similar trades through the same central broker, allowing them to capture higher returns in the first few days after the initial trade. The best clients of the broker executing the informed trade, and the asset managers affiliated with the broker, are among the first to benefit from the information about order flow. This evidence also suggests that an important source of alpha for fund managers is the access to better connections rather than superior skill.

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Robo-Journalism and Capital Markets

Elizabeth Blankespoor, Ed deHaan & Christina Zhu

Stanford Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
In 2014, the Associated Press (AP) began using algorithms to write media articles about firms’ earnings announcements. These “robo-journalism” articles synthesize information from firms’ press releases, analyst reports, and stock performance, and are widely disseminated by major news outlets a few hours after the earnings release. The articles are available for thousands of firms on a quarterly basis, many of which previously received little or no media attention. We use AP’s staggered implementation of robo-journalism to examine the effects of media synthesis and dissemination, in a setting where the articles are devoid of private information and are largely exogenous to the firm’s earnings news and disclosure choices. We find compelling evidence that automated articles increase firms’ trading volume and liquidity. We find no evidence that the articles improve or impede the speed of price discovery. Our study provides novel evidence on the impact of pure synthesis and dissemination of public information in capital markets, and initial insights on the implications of automated journalism for market efficiency.

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Did Government Regulations Lead to Inflated Credit Ratings?

Patrick Behr, Darren Kisgen & Jérôme Taillard

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations in 1975 gave select rating agencies increased market power by increasing both barriers to entry and the reliance on ratings for regulations. We test whether these regulations led to ratings inflation. We find that defaults and negative financial changes are more likely for firms given the same rating if the rating was assigned after the SEC action. Furthermore, firms initially rated Baa in the post-regulation period are 19% more likely to be negatively downgraded to speculative grade than firms rated Baa in the pre-regulation period. These results indicate that the market power derived from the SEC led to ratings inflation.

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The Dividend Disconnect

Samuel Hartzmark & David Solomon

University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We show that investors trade as if they consider dividends and capital gains in separate mental accounts, without fully appreciating that dividends come at the expense of price decreases. Investors trade differently in response to each component - trading patterns such as the disposition effect are driven by price changes, with dividends being ignored or downweighted. Investors hold dividend-paying stocks longer, and are less sensitive to price changes, consistent with dividends being valued as a separate desirable attribute of stocks. The demand for dividend-paying stocks is higher when interest rates and recent market returns are lower, consistent with investors comparing dividends to other income streams and capital gains. Investors spend the proceeds of each component differently - mutual funds and institutions rarely reinvest dividends into the stocks from which they came, but instead purchase other stocks. This leads to predictable marketwide price increases on days of large aggregate dividend payouts, including stocks not paying dividends.

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Stock Market Overvaluation, Moon Shots, and Corporate Innovation

Ming Dong, David Hirshleifer & Siew Hong Teoh

University of California Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We test how market overvaluation affects corporate innovative activities and success. We find that estimated stock overvaluation is very strongly associated with R&D spending, innovative output, and measures of innovation originality, generality and novelty. R&D spending is much more sensitive than capital investment to overvaluation. Although both channels operate, the effects of misvaluation on R&D spending come more from direct catering of firms to investor optimism than via equity issuance. The sensitivity of R&D and innovative output to misvaluation is greater among growth, overvalued, and high turnover firms. This evidence suggests that market overvaluation may have social value by increasing innovative output and by encouraging firms to engage in ambitious ‘moon shots.’

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Retail Short Selling and Stock Prices

Eric Kelley & Paul Tetlock

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using proprietary data on millions of trades by retail investors, we provide the first large-scale evidence that retail short selling predicts negative stock returns. A portfolio that mimics weekly retail shorting earns an annualized risk-adjusted return of 9%. The predictive ability of retail short selling lasts for one year and is not subsumed by institutional short selling. In contrast to institutional shorting, retail shorting best predicts returns in small stocks and those that are heavily bought by other retail investors. Our findings are consistent with retail short sellers having unique insights into the retail investor community and small firms’ fundamentals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 26, 2016

More to eat

Mere experience of low subjective socioeconomic status stimulates appetite and food intake

Bobby Cheon & Ying-Yi Hong

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among social animals, subordinate status or low social rank is associated with increased caloric intake and weight gain. This may reflect an adaptive behavioral pattern that promotes acquisition of caloric resources to compensate for low social resources that may otherwise serve as a buffer against environmental demands. Similarly, diet-related health risks like obesity and diabetes are disproportionately more prevalent among people of low socioeconomic resources. Whereas this relationship may be associated with reduced financial and material resources to support healthier lifestyles, it remains unclear whether the subjective experience of low socioeconomic status may alone be sufficient to stimulate consumption of greater calories. Here we show that the mere feeling of lower socioeconomic status relative to others stimulates appetite and food intake. Across four studies, we found that participants who were experimentally induced to feel low (vs. high or neutral) socioeconomic status subsequently exhibited greater automatic preferences for high-calorie foods (e.g., pizza, hamburgers), as well as intake of greater calories from snack and meal contexts. Moreover, these results were observed even in the absence of differences in access to financial resources. Our results demonstrate that among humans, the experience of low social class may contribute to preferences and behaviors that risk excess energy intake. These findings suggest that psychological and physiological systems regulating appetite may also be sensitive to subjective feelings of deprivation for critical nonfood resources (e.g., social standing). Importantly, efforts to mitigate the socioeconomic gradient in obesity may also need to address the psychological experience of low social status.

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Childhood Bullying Victimization and Overweight in Young Adulthood: A Cohort Study

Jessie Baldwin et al.

Psychosomatic Medicine, November/December 2016, Pages 1094-1103

Objective: To test whether bullied children have an elevated risk of being overweight in young adulthood and whether this association is: (1) consistent with a dose-response relationship, namely, its strength increases with the chronicity of victimization; (2) consistent across different measures of overweight; (3) specific to bullying and not explained by co-occurring maltreatment; (4) independent of key potential confounders; and (5) consistent with the temporal sequence of bullying preceding overweight.

Method: A representative birth cohort of 2,232 children was followed to age 18 years as part of the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study. Childhood bullying victimization was reported by mothers and children during primary school and early secondary school. At the age-18 follow-up, we assessed a categorical measure of overweight, body mass index, and waist-hip ratio. Indicators of overweight were also collected at ages 10 and 12. Co-twin body mass and birth weight were used to index genetic and fetal liability to overweight, respectively.

Results: Bullied children were more likely to be overweight than non-bullied children at age 18, and this association was (1) strongest in chronically bullied children (odds ratio = 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.21-2.35); (2) consistent across measures of overweight (body mass index: b = 1.12; 95% CI = 0.37-1.87; waist-hip ratio: b = 1.76; 95% CI = 0.84-2.69); (3) specific to bullying and not explained by co-occurring maltreatment; (4) independent of child socioeconomic status, food insecurity, mental health, and cognition, and pubertal development; and (5) not present at the time of bullying victimization, and independent of childhood weight and genetic and fetal liability.

Conclusion: Childhood bullying victimization predicts overweight in young adulthood.

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Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: A randomized controlled trial

Vivian Veum et al.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, forthcoming

Design: Forty-six men (aged 30-50 y) with body mass index (in kg/m2) >29 and waist circumference >98 cm were randomly assigned to a very high-fat, low-carbohydrate (VHFLC; 73% of energy fat and 10% of energy carbohydrate) or low-fat, high-carbohydrate (LFHC; 30% of energy fat and 53% of energy carbohydrate) diet for 12 wk. The diets were equal in energy (8750 kJ/d), protein (17% of energy), and food profile, emphasizing low-processed, lower-glycemic foods. Fat mass was quantified with computed tomography imaging.

Results: Recorded intake of carbohydrate and total and saturated fat in the LFHC and VHFLC groups were 51% and 11% of energy, 29% and 71% of energy, and 12% and 34% of energy, respectively, with no difference in protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mean energy intake decreased by 22% and 14% in the LFHC and VHFLC groups. The diets similarly reduced waist circumference (11-13 cm), abdominal subcutaneous fat mass (1650-1850 cm3), visceral fat mass (1350-1650 cm3), and total body weight (11-12 kg). Both groups improved dyslipidemia, with reduced circulating triglycerides, but showed differential responses in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (decreased in LFHC group only), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (increased in VHFLC group only). The groups showed similar reductions in insulin, insulin C-peptide, glycated hemoglobin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance. Notably, improvements in circulating metabolic markers in the VHFLC group mainly were observed first after 8 wk, in contrast to more acute and gradual effects in the LFHC group.

Conclusions: Consuming energy primarily as carbohydrate or fat for 3 mo did not differentially influence visceral fat and metabolic syndrome in a low-processed, lower-glycemic dietary context. Our data do not support the idea that dietary fat per se promotes ectopic adiposity and cardiometabolic syndrome in humans.

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How Strongly Does Appetite Counter Weight Loss? Quantification of the Feedback Control of Human Energy Intake

David Polidori et al.

Obesity, November 2016, Pages 2289-2295

Methods: A validated mathematical method was used to calculate energy intake changes during a 52-week placebo-controlled trial in 153 patients treated with canagliflozin, a sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitor that increases urinary glucose excretion, thereby resulting in weight loss without patients being directly aware of the energy deficit. The relationship between the body weight time course and the calculated energy intake changes was analyzed using principles from engineering control theory.

Results: It was discovered that weight loss leads to a proportional increase in appetite resulting in eating above baseline by ∼100 kcal/day per kilogram of lost weight - an amount more than threefold larger than the corresponding energy expenditure adaptations.

Conclusions: While energy expenditure adaptations have often been considered the main reason for slowing of weight loss and subsequent regain, feedback control of energy intake plays an even larger role and helps explain why long-term maintenance of a reduced body weight is so difficult.

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Body Weight Can Change How Your Emotions Are Perceived

Yujung Oh, Norah Hass & Seung-Lark Lim

PLoS ONE, November 2016

Abstract:
Accurately interpreting other’s emotions through facial expressions has important adaptive values for social interactions. However, due to the stereotypical social perception of overweight individuals as carefree, humorous, and light-hearted, the body weight of those with whom we interact may have a systematic influence on our emotion judgment even though it has no relevance to the expressed emotion itself. In this experimental study, we examined the role of body weight in faces on the affective perception of facial expressions. We hypothesized that the weight perceived in a face would bias the assessment of an emotional expression, with overweight faces generally more likely to be perceived as having more positive and less negative expressions than healthy weight faces. Using two-alternative forced-choice perceptual decision tasks, participants were asked to sort the emotional expressions of overweight and healthy weight facial stimuli that had been gradually morphed across six emotional intensity levels into one of two categories - “neutral vs. happy” (Experiment 1) and “neutral vs. sad” (Experiment 2). As predicted, our results demonstrated that overweight faces were more likely to be categorized as happy (i.e., lower happy decision threshold) and less likely to be categorized as sad (i.e., higher sad decision threshold) compared to healthy weight faces that had the same levels of emotional intensity. The neutral-sad decision threshold shift was negatively correlated with participant’s own fear of becoming fat, that is, those without a fear of becoming fat more strongly perceived overweight faces as sad relative to those with a higher fear. These findings demonstrate that the weight of the face systematically influences how its emotional expression is interpreted, suggesting that being overweight may make emotional expressions appear more happy and less sad than they really are.

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Economic preferences and fast food consumption in US adults: Insights from behavioral economics

Kerem Shuval et al.

Preventive Medicine, December 2016, Pages 204-210

Objective: To examine the relationship between economic time preferences and frequency of fast food and full-service restaurant consumption among U.S. adults.

Methods: Participants included 5871 U.S. adults who responded to a survey conducted in 2011 pertaining to the lifestyle behaviors of families and the social context of these behaviors. The primary independent variable was a measure of time preferences, an intertemporal choice assessing delay discounting. This was elicited via responses to preferences for an immediate dollar amount or a larger sum in 30 (30-day time horizon) or 60 days (60-day time horizon). Outcomes were the frequency of fast food and full-service restaurant consumption. Ordered logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship between time preferences and food consumption while adjusting for covariates (e.g. socio-demographics).

Results: Multivariable analysis revealed that higher future time preferences were significantly related to less frequent fast food intake for both the 30- and 60-day time horizon variables (P for linear trend < 0.05; both). Notably, participants with the highest future time preference were significantly less likely to consume fast food than those with very low future time preferences (30-day: OR = 0.74, 95%CI: 0.62-0.89; and 60-day: OR = 0.86, 95%CI: 0.74-1.00). In comparison, higher future time preferences were not significantly associated with full-service restaurant intake (30-day: p for linear trend = 0.73; 60-day: p for linear trend = 0.83).

Conclusions: Higher future time preferences were related to a lower frequency of fast food consumption. Utilizing concepts from behavioral economics (e.g. pre-commitment contracts) to facilitate more healthful eating is warranted using experimental studies.

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The Effects of the Graduated Driver Licensing Restrictions on Teenage Obesity

Qihua Qiu

Georgia State University Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Little evidence exists on the association between driving and obesity among teenagers. In this paper, I estimate the effects of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) restrictions on obesity prevalence among adolescents aged 14 to 17 in the U.S. My findings suggest that a mandatory holding period, nighttime restriction, or passenger restriction significantly raises adolescents’ probability of being obese by 1.57, 1.04, and 0.94 percentage points respectively, corresponding to increases in obesity rate of 12.6%, 8.3%, and 7.5%. These effects are generally stronger among male or white teenagers. Overall, I estimate that nearly 24% of the rise in obesity among teenagers aged 14 to 17 in the U.S from 1999 to 2015 can be explained by less driving due to the GDL restrictions. In addition, I find that the restrictions reduce teenagers’ exercise frequency while increasing their time spent watching TV, which may help to explain the adverse effects on obesity.

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Beyond Supermarkets: Food Outlet Location Selection in Four U.S. Cities Over Time

Pasquale Rummo et al.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, forthcoming

Methods: Neighborhood-level data from four U.S. cities (Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Oakland, CA) from 1986, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011 were used with two-step econometric models to estimate longitudinal associations between neighborhood-level characteristics (z-scores) and the log-transformed count/km2 (density) of food outlets within real estate-derived neighborhoods. Associations were examined with lagged neighborhood-level sociodemographics and lagged density of food outlets, with interaction terms for neighborhood-level income. Data were analyzed in 2016.

Results: Neighborhood-level income at earlier years was negatively associated with the current density of convenience stores (β= -0.27, 95% CI= -0.16, -0.38, p<0.001). The percentage of neighborhood white population was negatively associated with fast food restaurant density in low-income neighborhoods (10th percentile of income: β= -0.17, 95% CI= -0.34, -0.002, p=0.05), and the density of smaller grocery stores across all income levels (β= -0.27, 95% CI= -0.45, -0.09, p=0.003). There was a lack of policy-relevant associations between the pre-existing food environment and the current density of food outlet types, including supermarkets.

Conclusions: Socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations may attract “unhealthy” food outlets over time. To support equal access to healthy food outlets, the availability of “less healthy” food outlets types may be relatively more important than the potential lack of supermarkets or full-service restaurants.

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Food insecurity as a driver of obesity in humans: The insurance hypothesis

Daniel Nettle, Clare Andrews & Melissa Bateson

Behavioral and Brain Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Integrative explanations of why obesity is more prevalent in some sectors of the human population than others are lacking. Here, we outline and evaluate one candidate explanation, the insurance hypothesis (IH). The IH is rooted in adaptive evolutionary thinking: the function of storing fat is to provide a buffer against shortfall in the food supply. Thus, individuals should store more fat when they receive cues that access to food is uncertain. Applied to humans, this implies that an important proximate driver of obesity should be food insecurity rather than food abundance per se. We integrate several distinct lines of theory and evidence that bear on this hypothesis. We present a theoretical model that shows it is optimal to store more fat when food access is uncertain, and we review the experimental literature from non-human animals showing that fat reserves increase when access to food is restricted. We provide a meta-analysis of 125 epidemiological studies of the association between perceived food insecurity and high body weight in humans. There is a robust positive association, but it is restricted to adult women in high-income countries. We explore why this could be in light of the IH and our theoretical model. We conclude that whilst the IH alone cannot explain the distribution of obesity in the human population, it may represent a very important component of a pluralistic explanation. We also discuss insights it may offer into the developmental origins of obesity, dieting-induced weight gain, and Anorexia Nervosa.

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Parental Misclassification of Child Overweight/Obese Status: The Role of Parental Education and Parental Weight Status

John Cullinan & John Cawley

Economics & Human Biology, February 2017, Pages 92-103

Abstract:
Childhood overweight and obesity is a major public health challenge for policymakers in many countries. As the most common supervisors of children’s activities, parents have a potentially important role to play in obesity prevention. However, a precondition for parents to improve their children’s diets, encourage them to be more physically active, or take them to see a doctor about their weight is for the parent to first recognize that their child is overweight or obese. This paper examines the extent of parental misclassification of child weight status, and its correlates, focusing on the role of parental education and the parent’s own obesity status. We find evidence that, among non-obese parents, those who are better-educated report their child’s weight status more accurately, but among obese parents, the better-educated are 45.18% more likely than parents with lower secondary education to give a false negative report of their child’s overweight/obesity; this may reflect social desirability bias.

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Social Norms Shift Preferences for Healthy and Unhealthy Foods

Emma Templeton, Michael Stanton & Jamil Zaki

PLoS ONE, November 2016

Abstract:
This research investigated whether people change their food preferences and eating behavior in response to health-based social norms. One hundred twenty participants rated a series of healthy and unhealthy food images. After each rating, participants sometimes viewed a rating that ostensibly represented the average rating of previous participants. In fact, these average ratings were manipulated to convey a particular social norm. Participants either saw average ratings that favored healthy foods, favored unhealthy foods, or did not see any average ratings. Participants then re-rated those same food images after approximately ten minutes and again three days later. After the norm manipulation, participants were given the chance to take as many M&Ms as they wanted. Participants exposed to a healthy social norm consistently reported lower preferences for unhealthy foods as compared to participants in the other two conditions. This preference difference persisted three days after the social norm manipulation. However, health-based social norm manipulations did not influence the amount of M&Ms participants took. Although health-based social norm manipulations can influence stated food preferences, in this case they did not influence subsequent eating behavior.

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From Kindergarten Through Second Grade, U.S. Children's Obesity Prevalence Grows Only During Summer Vacations

Paul von Hippel & Joseph Workman

Obesity, November 2016, Pages 2296-2300

Methods: In the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, a nationally representative complex random sample of 18,170 U.S. children was followed from the fall of kindergarten in 2010 through the spring of second grade in 2013. Children's weight and heights were measured in schools each fall and spring. A multilevel growth model was used to estimate growth in mean BMI, overweight prevalence, and obesity prevalence during each summer and each school year.

Results: From the fall of kindergarten to the spring of second grade, the prevalence of obesity increased from 8.9% to 11.5%, and the prevalence of overweight increased from 23.3% to 28.7%. All of the increase in prevalence occurred during the two summer vacations; no increase occurred during any of the three school years.

Conclusions: The risk of obesity is higher when children are out of school than when they are in school.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Something for someone

Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships than Material Gifts

Cindy Chan & Cassie Mogilner

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal relationships are essential to well-being, and gifts are often given to cultivate these relationships. To inform gift givers of what to give and to gain insight into the connecting function of gifts, this research investigates what type of gift is better at strengthening relationships according to gift recipients - material gifts (objects for recipients to keep) or experiential gifts (events for recipients to live through). Experiments examining actual gift exchanges in real-life relationships reveal that experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts, regardless of whether the gift giver and recipient consume the gift together. The relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the intensity of emotion that is evoked when they consume the gifts, rather than when the gifts are received. Giving experiential gifts is thus identified as a highly effective form of prosocial spending.

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Both selfishness and selflessness start with the self: How wealth shapes responses to charitable appeals

Ashley Whillans, Eugene Caruso & Elizabeth Dunn

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Wealth is associated with differences in people's self-concepts. We propose that these self-concepts should define the types of appeals that are most effective at motivating generosity. Across three field studies, we randomly assigned participants to view an appeal for a charitable organization that emphasized agency (the pursuit of personal goals) or communion (the pursuit of shared goals). When the appeal emphasized agency, wealthier individuals reported greater willingness to give and donated more money to charity. In contrast, when the appeal emphasized communion, less wealthy individuals reported greater willingness to give. These findings could not be explained by relevant demographic characteristics such as age, ethnicity, or gender. This work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that wealth does not inherently result in selfishness or generosity. By tailoring messages to fit with people's self-concepts, it is possible to catalyze giving across the socioeconomic spectrum.

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The Great Recession and Charitable Giving

Jonathan Meer, David Miller & Elisa Wulfsberg

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We examine the impact of the Great Recession on charitable giving. We find sharp declines in overall donative behavior that is not accounted for by shocks to income or wealth. These results suggest that overall attitudes towards giving changed over this time period.

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Identity in Charitable Giving

Judd Kessler & Katherine Milkman

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does priming identity affect charitable giving? We show that individuals are more likely to donate when a facet of their identity associated with a norm of generosity is primed in an appeal. In large charitable giving field experiments run by the American Red Cross, appeals that prime an individual's identity as a previous donor to the charity or as a member of a local community generate more donations. The primes are more effective when they highlight a facet of the potential donor's identity that we hypothesize to be more relevant to his sense of self: priming identity as a previous donor is more effective for more regular donors and priming identity as a local community member is more effective for people in smaller communities. Together, these results elucidate the impact of identity on behavior and demonstrate how identity primes can be implemented in practice to encourage public good provision.

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No thanks! Autonomous interpersonal style is associated with less experience and valuing of gratitude

Suzanne Parker et al.

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gratitude has been promoted as a beneficial emotional experience. However, gratitude is not universally experienced as positive. The current work examines whether an autonomous interpersonal style is associated with differential experience of gratitude. Study 1 found an inverse relationship between trait autonomy and both trait gratitude and positivity of response to receiving a hypothetical benefit from a friend. Study 2 replicated the finding that those higher in autonomy report less trait gratitude, and also demonstrated an inverse relationship between autonomy and valuing gratitude. Study 3 found that those higher in autonomy had more self-image goals and reduced compassionate goals in relationships, and that valuing gratitude mediated the relationship between autonomy and relationship goals. These results show a consistent inverse relationship between autonomy and the experience and valuing of gratitude, suggesting that degree of autonomy is one determinant of whether gratitude is experienced as positive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yuletide gay

Ethnic Identity as a Predictor of Microaggressions Toward Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic LGBs by Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics

Troy Elias, Alyssa Jaisle & Cynthia Morton-Padovano

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 1-31

Abstract:
Results of the study suggest racial differences still exist when it comes to attitudes toward homosexuality in the United States. Findings indicate Black individuals hold significantly less favorable attitudes toward lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) individuals than non-Hispanic White individuals but not Hispanics, after controlling for demographics. Hispanic individuals’ attitudes toward LGBs were not significantly different from those of non-Hispanic Whites. Despite less favorable attitudes toward LGBs, however, Black Americans display a significantly lower likelihood of engaging in LGB-directed microaggressions than both non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. Finally, the results of the study indicate that as non-Hispanic White individuals’ ethnic identity gets stronger, their likelihood of engaging in microaggressions toward LGBs increases, more so than Black or Hispanic individuals.

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Should Mary and Jane Be Legal?: Americans’ Attitudes toward Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, 1988–2014

Landon Schnabel & Eric Sevell

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marijuana and same-sex marriage are two of the fastest changing and most widely debated opinion and policy issues in the United States. Research has examined public opinion on marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage legalization individually, but has neglected to examine these two issues together. We use General Social Survey data from 1988 to 2014 to compare four groups: (1) those who support neither; (2) those who support marijuana but not same-sex marriage legalization; (3) those who support marriage but not marijuana legalization; and (4) those who support both. This study provides four key findings: (1) marijuana and same-sex marriage attitudes have changed simultaneously; (2) most people hold these attitudes in tandem, and there has been a precipitous decline in the percentage of people who support legalizing neither and a remarkable increase in the percentage who support legalizing both; (3) attitudes toward both issues are liberalizing across all social and ideological groups, suggesting a society-wide redefinition of both behaviors as publicly accepted issues of individual autonomy; and (4) the support bases for marijuana and marriage legalization vary systematically by sociodemographic characteristics. We conclude that notions of individual autonomy may be increasingly important to the American public and their beliefs about what the government should regulate.

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Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men)

Paula England, Emma Mishel & Mónica Caudillo

Sociological Science, November 2016

Abstract:
We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.

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The Sexuality of Malcolm X

Christopher Phelps

Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article engages the controversy over whether Malcolm Little, who would become Malcolm X, had same-sexual encounters. A minute sifting of all evidence and claims, augmented by new findings, yields strong indication that Malcolm Little did take part in sex acts with male counterparts. If set in the context of the 1930s and 1940s, these acts position him not as a “homosexual lover,” as has been asserted, but in the pattern of “straight trade” – heterosexual men open to sex with homosexuals – an understanding that in turn affords insights into the black revolutionary's mature masculinity.

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The Detrimental Effect of Affirming Masculinity on Judgments of Gay Men

Luis Rivera & Nilanjana Dasgupta

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
A group-based affirmation reminds individuals of important ingroup attributes and highlights positive distinctiveness. Because nonprototypical ingroup members threaten the distinctiveness of the ingroup, group-affirmed individuals may be motivated to derogate fellow nonprototypical ingroup members. Four experiments test this hypothesis by affirming masculinity in heterosexual men and examining its effect on their judgments of gay men, who are often considered nonprototypical of their gender. Consistent with the main hypothesis, heterosexual men whose masculinity was affirmed via feedback or a values writing task expressed more prejudice against gay men relative to heterosexual men who were not affirmed (Experiments 1–4). Second, affirming masculinity and threatening masculinity had the same effect—both increased antigay prejudice (Experiment 2). Third, antigay prejudice increased in response to a masculinity affirmation only when the affirmed attribute was in a domain in which gay men are considered nonprototypical (masculine toughness), but not in a domain irrelevant to gay men’s prototypicality as men (professional ambition; Experiment 3). Finally, affirming masculinity by targeting masculine characteristics important to individual male participants versus the group as a whole both increased antigay prejudice, which was mediated by social categorization (Experiment 4). Together, these findings suggest that a group-based affirmation can sometimes paradoxically increase prejudice.

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Evaluation of the Acceptance Journeys Social Marketing Campaign to Reduce Homophobia

Shawnika Hull et al.

American Journal of Public Health, January 2017, Pages 173-179

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Acceptance Journeys social marketing campaign to reduce homophobia in the Black community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Methods: We assessed the campaign’s effectiveness using a rolling cross-sectional survey. Data were collected annually online between 2011 and 2015. Each year, a unique sample of Black and White adults, aged 30 years and older, were surveyed in the treatment city (Milwaukee) and in 2 comparison cities that did not have antihomophobia campaigns (St. Louis, MO, and Cleveland, OH; for total sample, n = 3592).

Results: Black self-identification and Milwaukee residence were significantly associated with exposure to the campaign, suggesting successful message targeting. The relationship between exposure and acceptance of gay men was significantly mediated through attitudes toward gay men, perceptions of community acceptance, and perceptions of the impact of stigma on gay men, but not through rejection of stereotypes. This model accounted for 39% of variance in acceptance.

Conclusions: This evidence suggests that the Acceptance Journeys model of social marketing may be a promising strategy for addressing homophobia in US Black communities.

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“Under the Same Quilt”: The Paradoxes of Sex Between Men in the Cultural Revolution

Heather Worth et al.

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 61-74

Abstract:
This article describes the paradoxes experienced by homosexual men during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Interviews with 31 elderly Chinese gay men were carried out in four cities in China in 2011. Although homosexual men were terribly persecuted, chaotic situations and dislocations of youth from their families provided young homosexual men with a remarkable degree of personal freedom and the opportunity to explore same-sex relations. Analysis of this seemingly contradictory conflation of persecution and freedom will allow us to explore the conditions and effects of the coming of age of homosexual men in a unique epoch in Chinese history.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yuletide gay

Ethnic Identity as a Predictor of Microaggressions Toward Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic LGBs by Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics

Troy Elias, Alyssa Jaisle & Cynthia Morton-Padovano

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 1-31

Abstract:
Results of the study suggest racial differences still exist when it comes to attitudes toward homosexuality in the United States. Findings indicate Black individuals hold significantly less favorable attitudes toward lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) individuals than non-Hispanic White individuals but not Hispanics, after controlling for demographics. Hispanic individuals’ attitudes toward LGBs were not significantly different from those of non-Hispanic Whites. Despite less favorable attitudes toward LGBs, however, Black Americans display a significantly lower likelihood of engaging in LGB-directed microaggressions than both non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. Finally, the results of the study indicate that as non-Hispanic White individuals’ ethnic identity gets stronger, their likelihood of engaging in microaggressions toward LGBs increases, more so than Black or Hispanic individuals.

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Should Mary and Jane Be Legal?: Americans’ Attitudes toward Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, 1988–2014

Landon Schnabel & Eric Sevell

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marijuana and same-sex marriage are two of the fastest changing and most widely debated opinion and policy issues in the United States. Research has examined public opinion on marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage legalization individually, but has neglected to examine these two issues together. We use General Social Survey data from 1988 to 2014 to compare four groups: (1) those who support neither; (2) those who support marijuana but not same-sex marriage legalization; (3) those who support marriage but not marijuana legalization; and (4) those who support both. This study provides four key findings: (1) marijuana and same-sex marriage attitudes have changed simultaneously; (2) most people hold these attitudes in tandem, and there has been a precipitous decline in the percentage of people who support legalizing neither and a remarkable increase in the percentage who support legalizing both; (3) attitudes toward both issues are liberalizing across all social and ideological groups, suggesting a society-wide redefinition of both behaviors as publicly accepted issues of individual autonomy; and (4) the support bases for marijuana and marriage legalization vary systematically by sociodemographic characteristics. We conclude that notions of individual autonomy may be increasingly important to the American public and their beliefs about what the government should regulate.

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Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men)

Paula England, Emma Mishel & Mónica Caudillo

Sociological Science, November 2016

Abstract:
We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.

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The Sexuality of Malcolm X

Christopher Phelps

Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article engages the controversy over whether Malcolm Little, who would become Malcolm X, had same-sexual encounters. A minute sifting of all evidence and claims, augmented by new findings, yields strong indication that Malcolm Little did take part in sex acts with male counterparts. If set in the context of the 1930s and 1940s, these acts position him not as a “homosexual lover,” as has been asserted, but in the pattern of “straight trade” – heterosexual men open to sex with homosexuals – an understanding that in turn affords insights into the black revolutionary's mature masculinity.

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The Detrimental Effect of Affirming Masculinity on Judgments of Gay Men

Luis Rivera & Nilanjana Dasgupta

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
A group-based affirmation reminds individuals of important ingroup attributes and highlights positive distinctiveness. Because nonprototypical ingroup members threaten the distinctiveness of the ingroup, group-affirmed individuals may be motivated to derogate fellow nonprototypical ingroup members. Four experiments test this hypothesis by affirming masculinity in heterosexual men and examining its effect on their judgments of gay men, who are often considered nonprototypical of their gender. Consistent with the main hypothesis, heterosexual men whose masculinity was affirmed via feedback or a values writing task expressed more prejudice against gay men relative to heterosexual men who were not affirmed (Experiments 1–4). Second, affirming masculinity and threatening masculinity had the same effect—both increased antigay prejudice (Experiment 2). Third, antigay prejudice increased in response to a masculinity affirmation only when the affirmed attribute was in a domain in which gay men are considered nonprototypical (masculine toughness), but not in a domain irrelevant to gay men’s prototypicality as men (professional ambition; Experiment 3). Finally, affirming masculinity by targeting masculine characteristics important to individual male participants versus the group as a whole both increased antigay prejudice, which was mediated by social categorization (Experiment 4). Together, these findings suggest that a group-based affirmation can sometimes paradoxically increase prejudice.

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Evaluation of the Acceptance Journeys Social Marketing Campaign to Reduce Homophobia

Shawnika Hull et al.

American Journal of Public Health, January 2017, Pages 173-179

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Acceptance Journeys social marketing campaign to reduce homophobia in the Black community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Methods: We assessed the campaign’s effectiveness using a rolling cross-sectional survey. Data were collected annually online between 2011 and 2015. Each year, a unique sample of Black and White adults, aged 30 years and older, were surveyed in the treatment city (Milwaukee) and in 2 comparison cities that did not have antihomophobia campaigns (St. Louis, MO, and Cleveland, OH; for total sample, n = 3592).

Results: Black self-identification and Milwaukee residence were significantly associated with exposure to the campaign, suggesting successful message targeting. The relationship between exposure and acceptance of gay men was significantly mediated through attitudes toward gay men, perceptions of community acceptance, and perceptions of the impact of stigma on gay men, but not through rejection of stereotypes. This model accounted for 39% of variance in acceptance.

Conclusions: This evidence suggests that the Acceptance Journeys model of social marketing may be a promising strategy for addressing homophobia in US Black communities.

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“Under the Same Quilt”: The Paradoxes of Sex Between Men in the Cultural Revolution

Heather Worth et al.

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 61-74

Abstract:
This article describes the paradoxes experienced by homosexual men during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Interviews with 31 elderly Chinese gay men were carried out in four cities in China in 2011. Although homosexual men were terribly persecuted, chaotic situations and dislocations of youth from their families provided young homosexual men with a remarkable degree of personal freedom and the opportunity to explore same-sex relations. Analysis of this seemingly contradictory conflation of persecution and freedom will allow us to explore the conditions and effects of the coming of age of homosexual men in a unique epoch in Chinese history.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 23, 2016

The weather outside is frightful

Past-focused environmental comparisons promote proenvironmental outcomes for conservatives

Matthew Baldwin & Joris Lammers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conservatives appear more skeptical about climate change and global warming and less willing to act against it than liberals. We propose that this unwillingness could result from fundamental differences in conservatives’ and liberals’ temporal focus. Conservatives tend to focus more on the past than do liberals. Across six studies, we rely on this notion to demonstrate that conservatives are positively affected by past- but not by future-focused environmental comparisons. Past comparisons largely eliminated the political divide that separated liberal and conservative respondents’ attitudes toward and behavior regarding climate change, so that across these studies conservatives and liberals were nearly equally likely to fight climate change. This research demonstrates how psychological processes, such as temporal comparison, underlie the prevalent ideological gap in addressing climate change. It opens up a promising avenue to convince conservatives effectively of the need to address climate change and global warming.

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Population Growth and Carbon Emissions

Gregory Casey & Oded Galor

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We provide evidence that lower fertility can simultaneously increase income per capita and lower carbon emissions, eliminating a trade-off central to most policies aimed at slowing global climate change. We estimate the effect of lower fertility on carbon emissions accounting for the fact that changes in fertility patterns affect carbon emissions through three channels: total population, the age structure of the population, and economic output. Our analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we estimate a version of the STIRPAT equation on an unbalanced yearly panel of cross-country data from 1950-2010. We demonstrate that the coefficient on population is nearly seven times larger than the coefficient on income per capita and that this difference is statistically significant. Thus, regression results imply that 1% slower population growth could be accompanied by an increase in income per capita of nearly 7% while still lowering carbon emissions. In the second part of our analysis, we use a recently constructed economic-demographic model of Nigeria to estimate the effect of lower fertility on carbon emissions accounting for the impacts of fertility on population growth, population age structure, and income per capita. The model was constructed to estimate the effect of lower fertility on economic growth, making it well-suited for this application. We find that by 2100 C.E., moving from the medium to the low variant of the UN fertility projection leads to 35% lower yearly emissions and 15% higher income per capita. These results suggest that population policies could be a part of the approach to combating global climate change.

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Political environment and voluntary disclosure in the U.S.: Evidence from the Carbon Disclosure Project

Scott Hoover & Stephan Fafatas

Journal of Public Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether the political leaning of the state where a given firm is headquartered is related to that firm's decision to voluntarily disclose climate change information. We study S&P 500 firms that were surveyed by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and find that firms headquartered in more Democratic states are more likely to disclose carbon emissions information to the CDP. Furthermore, firms in more Democratic states are more likely to permit public disclosure of their survey responses and tend to receive higher disclosure scores. We consider two political variables, one based on political power and one based on public political preference. Our results are consistent with political power driving the firm's willingness to voluntarily disclose information about climate change. These results suggest that the relation between the political environment and disclosure is more closely linked to concerns over regulatory threats as opposed to acquiescence to social norms.

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How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies?

David Coady et al.

World Development, March 2017, Pages 11–27

Abstract:
This paper estimates fossil fuel subsidies and the economic and environmental benefits from reforming them, focusing mostly on a broad notion of subsidies arising when consumer prices are below supply costs plus environmental costs and general consumption taxes. Estimated subsidies are $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2013 and $5.3 trillion in 2015 (6.5% of global GDP in both years). Undercharging for global warming accounts for 22% of the subsidy in 2013, air pollution 46%, broader vehicle externalities 13%, supply costs 11%, and general consumer taxes 8%. China was the biggest subsidizer in 2013 ($1.8 trillion), followed by the United States ($0.6 trillion), and Russia, the European Union, and India (each with about $0.3 trillion). Eliminating subsidies would have reduced global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths 55%, while raising revenue of 4%, and social welfare by 2.2%, of global GDP.

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Projections and Uncertainties About Climate Change in an Era of Minimal Climate Policies

William Nordhaus

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Climate change remains one of the major international environmental challenges facing nations. Yet nations have to date taken minimal policies to slow climate change. Moreover, there has been no major improvement in emissions trends as of the latest data. The current study uses the updated DICE model to present new projections and the impacts of alternative climate policies. It also presents a new set of estimates of the uncertainties about future climate change and compares the results will those of other integrated assessment models. The study confirms past estimates of likely rapid climate change over the next century if there are not major climate-change policies. It suggests that it will be extremely difficult to achieve the 2°C target of international agreements even if ambitious policies are introduced in the near term. The required carbon price needed to achieve current targets has risen over time as policies have been delayed.

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Spatial heterogeneity of climate change as an experiential basis for skepticism

Robert Kaufmann et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We postulate that skepticism about climate change is partially caused by the spatial heterogeneity of climate change, which exposes experiential learners to climate heuristics that differ from the global average. This hypothesis is tested by formalizing an index that measures local changes in climate using station data and comparing this index with survey-based model estimates of county-level opinion about whether global warming is happening. Results indicate that more stations exhibit cooling and warming than predicted by random chance and that spatial variations in these changes can account for spatial variations in the percentage of the population that believes that “global warming is happening.” This effect is diminished in areas that have experienced more record low temperatures than record highs since 2005. Together, these results suggest that skepticism about climate change is driven partially by personal experiences; an accurate heuristic for local changes in climate identifies obstacles to communicating ongoing changes in climate to the public and how these communications might be improved.

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Overcoming endpoint bias in climate change communication: The case of Arctic sea ice trends

Bruce Hardy & Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Environmental Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Unusually cold winters, a slowing in upward global temperatures, or an increase in Arctic sea ice extent are often falsely cast as here-and-now disconfirmation of the scientific consensus on climate change. Such conclusions are examples of “end point bias,” the well documented psychological tendency to interpret a recent short-term fluctuation as a reversal of a long-term trend. End point bias poses a challenge to those trying to communicate cross-decade climate warming trends. In this study, we demonstrate that exposure to misleading scientific information on FoxNews.com that evokes end point bias can affect the beliefs of liberals and moderates as well as conservatives. We also show that the leveraging-involving-visualizing-analogizing communication model can reduce the effects of endpoint bias among moderates and liberals at the same time as it dampens both the ideological and endpoint biasing of conservatives.

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Global risk model for vector-borne transmission of Zika virus reveals the role of El Niño 2015

Cyril Caminade et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Zika, a mosquito-borne viral disease that emerged in South America in 2015, was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO in February of 2016. We developed a climate-driven R0 mathematical model for the transmission risk of Zika virus (ZIKV) that explicitly includes two key mosquito vector species: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The model was parameterized and calibrated using the most up to date information from the available literature. It was then driven by observed gridded temperature and rainfall datasets for the period 1950–2015. We find that the transmission risk in South America in 2015 was the highest since 1950. This maximum is related to favoring temperature conditions that caused the simulated biting rates to be largest and mosquito mortality rates and extrinsic incubation periods to be smallest in 2015. This event followed the suspected introduction of ZIKV in Brazil in 2013. The ZIKV outbreak in Latin America has very likely been fueled by the 2015–2016 El Niño climate phenomenon affecting the region. The highest transmission risk globally is in South America and tropical countries where Ae. aegypti is abundant. Transmission risk is strongly seasonal in temperate regions where Ae. albopictus is present, with significant risk of ZIKV transmission in the southeastern states of the United States, in southern China, and to a lesser extent, over southern Europe during the boreal summer season.

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Impact of Electricity Pricing Policies on Renewable Energy Investments and Carbon Emissions

Gürhan Kök, Kevin Shang & Şafak Yücel

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the impact of pricing policies (i.e., flat pricing versus peak pricing) on the investment levels of a utility firm in two competing energy sources (renewable and conventional), with a focus on the renewable investment level. We consider generation patterns and intermittency of solar and wind energy in relation to the electricity demand throughout a day. Industry experts generally promote peak pricing policy as it smoothens the demand and reduces inefficiencies in the supply system. We find that the same pricing policy may lead to distinct outcomes for different renewable energy sources due to their generation patterns. Specifically, flat pricing leads to a higher investment level for solar energy, and it can lead to still more investments in wind energy if a considerable amount of wind energy is generated throughout the day. We validate these results by using electricity generation and demand data of the state of Texas. We also show that flat pricing can lead to substantially lower carbon emissions and a higher consumer surplus. Finally, we explore the effect of direct (e.g., tax credit) and indirect (e.g., carbon tax) subsidies on investment levels and carbon emissions. We show that both types of subsidies generally lead to a lower emission level but that indirect subsidies may result in lower renewable energy investments. Our study suggests that reducing carbon emissions through increasing renewable energy investments requires careful attention to the pricing policy and the market characteristics of each region.

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US daily temperature records past, present, and future

Gerald Meehl, Claudia Tebaldi & Dennis Adams-Smith

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 6 December 2016, Pages 13977–13982

Abstract:
Observed temperature extremes over the continental United States can be represented by the ratio of daily record high temperatures to daily record low minimum temperatures, and this ratio has increased to a value of about 2 to 1, averaged over the first decade of the 21st century, albeit with large interannual variability. Two different versions of a global coupled climate model (CCSM4), as well as 23 other coupled model intercomparison project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, show larger values of this ratio than observations, mainly as a result of greater numbers of record highs since the 1980s compared with observations. This is partly because of the “warm 1930s” in the observations, which made it more difficult to set record highs later in the century, and partly because of a trend toward less rainfall and reduced evapotranspiration in the model versions compared with observations. We compute future projections of this ratio on the basis of its estimated dependence on mean temperature increase, which we find robustly at play in both observations and simulations. The use of this relation also has the advantage of removing dependence of a projection on a specific scenario. An empirical projection of the ratio of record highs to record lows is obtained from the nonlinear relationship in observations from 1930 to 2015, thus correcting downward the likely biased future projections of the model. For example, for a 3 °C warming in US temperatures, the ratio of record highs to lows is projected to be ∼15 ± 8 compared to the present average ratio of just over 2.

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More tornadoes in the most extreme U.S. tornado outbreaks

Michael Tippett, Chiara Lepore & Joel Cohen

Science, 16 December 2016, Pages 1419-1423

Abstract:
Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were 8.5 billion USD. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, which are sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. Here, using extreme value analysis, we find that the frequency of U.S. outbreaks with many tornadoes is increasing and is increasing faster for more extreme outbreaks. We model this behavior by extreme value distributions with parameters that are linear functions of time or of some indicators of multidecadal climatic variability. Extreme meteorological environments associated with severe thunderstorms show consistent upward trends, but the trends do not resemble those currently expected to result from global warming.

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The future intensification of hourly precipitation extremes

Andreas Prein et al.

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extreme precipitation intensities have increased in all regions of the Contiguous United States (CONUS) and are expected to further increase with warming at scaling rates of about 7% per degree Celsius, suggesting a significant increase of flash flood hazards due to climate change. However, the scaling rates between extreme precipitation and temperature are strongly dependent on the region, temperature, and moisture availability, which inhibits simple extrapolation of the scaling rate from past climate data into the future. Here we study observed and simulated changes in local precipitation extremes over the CONUS by analysing a very high resolution (4 km horizontal grid spacing) current and high-end climate scenario that realistically simulates hourly precipitation extremes. We show that extreme precipitation is increasing with temperature in moist, energy-limited, environments and decreases abruptly in dry, moisture-limited, environments. This novel framework explains the large variability in the observed and modelled scaling rates and helps with understanding the significant frequency and intensity increases in future hourly extreme precipitation events and their interaction with larger scales.

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Persistent northward North Atlantic tropical cyclone track migration over the past five centuries

Lisa Baldini et al.

Scientific Reports, November 2016

Abstract:
Accurately predicting future tropical cyclone risk requires understanding the fundamental controls on tropical cyclone dynamics. Here we present an annually-resolved 450-year reconstruction of western Caribbean tropical cyclone activity developed using a new coupled carbon and oxygen isotope ratio technique in an exceptionally well-dated stalagmite from Belize. Western Caribbean tropical cyclone activity peaked at 1650 A.D., coincident with maximum Little Ice Age cooling, and decreased gradually until the end of the record in 1983. Considered with other reconstructions, the new record suggests that the mean track of Cape Verde tropical cyclones shifted gradually north-eastward from the western Caribbean toward the North American east coast over the last 450 years. Since ~1870 A.D., these shifts were largely driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas and sulphate aerosol emissions. Our results strongly suggest that future emission scenarios will result in more frequent tropical cyclone impacts on the financial and population centres of the northeastern United States.

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Climate-Related Local Extinctions Are Already Widespread among Plant and Animal Species

John Wiens

PLoS Biology, December 2016

Abstract:
Current climate change may be a major threat to global biodiversity, but the extent of species loss will depend on the details of how species respond to changing climates. For example, if most species can undergo rapid change in their climatic niches, then extinctions may be limited. Numerous studies have now documented shifts in the geographic ranges of species that were inferred to be related to climate change, especially shifts towards higher mean elevations and latitudes. Many of these studies contain valuable data on extinctions of local populations that have not yet been thoroughly explored. Specifically, overall range shifts can include range contractions at the “warm edges” of species’ ranges (i.e., lower latitudes and elevations), contractions which occur through local extinctions. Here, data on climate-related range shifts were used to test the frequency of local extinctions related to recent climate change. The results show that climate-related local extinctions have already occurred in hundreds of species, including 47% of the 976 species surveyed. This frequency of local extinctions was broadly similar across climatic zones, clades, and habitats but was significantly higher in tropical species than in temperate species (55% versus 39%), in animals than in plants (50% versus 39%), and in freshwater habitats relative to terrestrial and marine habitats (74% versus 46% versus 51%). Overall, these results suggest that local extinctions related to climate change are already widespread, even though levels of climate change so far are modest relative to those predicted in the next 100 years. These extinctions will presumably become much more prevalent as global warming increases further by roughly 2-fold to 5-fold over the coming decades.

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Greenland was nearly ice-free for extended periods during the Pleistocene

Joerg Schaefer et al.

Nature, 8 December 2016, Pages 252–255

Abstract:
The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) contains the equivalent of 7.4 metres of global sea-level rise1. Its stability in our warming climate is therefore a pressing concern. However, the sparse proxy evidence of the palaeo-stability of the GIS means that its history is controversial (compare refs 2 and 3 to ref. 4). Here we show that Greenland was deglaciated for extended periods during the Pleistocene epoch (from 2.6 million years ago to 11,700 years ago), based on new measurements of cosmic-ray-produced beryllium and aluminium isotopes (10Be and 26Al) in a bedrock core from beneath an ice core near the GIS summit. Models indicate that when this bedrock site is ice-free, any remaining ice is concentrated in the eastern Greenland highlands and the GIS is reduced to less than ten per cent of its current volume. Our results narrow the spectrum of possible GIS histories: the longest period of stability of the present ice sheet that is consistent with the measurements is 1.1 million years, assuming that this was preceded by more than 280,000 years of ice-free conditions. Other scenarios, in which Greenland was ice-free during any or all Pleistocene interglacials, may be more realistic. Our observations are incompatible with most existing model simulations that present a continuously existing Pleistocene GIS. Future simulations of the GIS should take into account that Greenland was nearly ice-free for extended periods under Pleistocene climate forcing.

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The EU effect: Does trade with the EU reduce CO2 emissions in the developing world?

Aseem Prakash & Matthew Potoski

Environmental Politics, January/February 2017, Pages 27-48

Abstract:
The European Union (EU) is an important destination for developing country exports. Has the EU’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol induced developing countries to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions? Our analyses of 136 developing countries from 1981 through 2007 suggests that: developing countries’ export dependence on the EU is associated with CO2 emission reductions post-Kyoto in relation to the pre-Kyoto time period; this also holds for SO2, which, while not covered under Kyoto, is linked with CO2 emission levels; this does not hold for PM10, a pollutant which is not covered under Kyoto and is not directly associated with CO2 emissions related to industrial activities; developing countries’ export dependence on non-EU developed countries and on the rest of the world is not associated with significant reductions in emissions between pre- and post-Kyoto for these pollutants. In sum, even in the absence of binding regulatory mandates, the EU appears to exert market leverage to project its regulatory preferences abroad.

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The role of capital costs in decarbonizing the electricity sector

Lion Hirth & Jan Christoph Steckel

Environmental Research Letters, November 2016

Abstract:
Low-carbon electricity generation, i.e. renewable energy, nuclear power and carbon capture and storage, is more capital intensive than electricity generation through carbon emitting fossil fuel power stations. High capital costs, expressed as high weighted average cost of capital (WACC), thus tend to encourage the use of fossil fuels. To achieve the same degree of decarbonization, countries with high capital costs therefore need to impose a higher price on carbon emissions than countries with low capital costs. This is particularly relevant for developing and emerging economies, where capital costs tend to be higher than in rich countries. In this paper we quantitatively evaluate how high capital costs impact the transformation of the energy system under climate policy, applying a numerical techno-economic model of the power system. We find that high capital costs can significantly reduce the effectiveness of carbon prices: if carbon emissions are priced at USD 50 per ton and the WACC is 3%, the cost-optimal electricity mix comprises 40% renewable energy. At the same carbon price and a WACC of 15%, the cost-optimal mix comprises almost no renewable energy. At 15% WACC, there is no significant emission mitigation with carbon pricing up to USD 50 per ton, but at 3% WACC and the same carbon price, emissions are reduced by almost half. These results have implications for climate policy; carbon pricing might need to be combined with policies to reduce capital costs of low-carbon options in order to decarbonize power systems.

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Changes in Spatiotemporal Precipitation Patterns in Changing Climate Conditions

Won Chang et al.

Journal of Climate, December 2016, Pages 8355–8376

Abstract:
Climate models robustly imply that some significant change in precipitation patterns will occur. Models consistently project that the intensity of individual precipitation events increases by approximately 6%–7% K−1, following the increase in atmospheric water content, but that total precipitation increases by a lesser amount (1%–2% K−1 in the global average in transient runs). Some other aspect of precipitation events must then change to compensate for this difference. The authors develop a new methodology for identifying individual rainstorms and studying their physical characteristics — including starting location, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and trajectory — that allows identifying that compensating mechanism. This technique is applied to precipitation over the contiguous United States from both radar-based data products and high-resolution model runs simulating 80 years of business-as-usual warming. In the model study the dominant compensating mechanism is a reduction of storm size. In summer, rainstorms become more intense but smaller; in winter, rainstorm shrinkage still dominates, but storms also become less numerous and shorter duration. These results imply that flood impacts from climate change will be less severe than would be expected from changes in precipitation intensity alone. However, these projected changes are smaller than model–observation biases, implying that the best means of incorporating them into impact assessments is via “data-driven simulations” that apply model-projected changes to observational data. The authors therefore develop a simulation algorithm that statistically describes model changes in precipitation characteristics and adjusts data accordingly, and they show that, especially for summertime precipitation, it outperforms simulation approaches that do not include spatial information.

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Delay-induced rebounds in CO2 emissions and critical time-scales to meet global warming targets

Gabriele Manoli, Gabriel Katul & Marco Marani

Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
While climate science debates are focused on the attainment of peak anthropogenic CO2 emissions and policy tools to reduce peak temperatures, the human-energy-climate system can hold “rebound" surprises beyond this peak. Following the second industrial revolution, global per-capita CO2 emissions (cc) experienced a punctuated growth of about 100% every 60 years, mainly attributable to technological development and its global spread. A model of the human-energy-climate system capable of reproducing past punctuated dynamics shows that rebounds in global CO2 emissions emerge due to delays intrinsic to the diffusion of innovations. Such intrinsic delays in the adoption and spread of low-carbon emitting technologies, together with projected population growth, upset the warming target set by the Paris Agreement. To avoid rebounds and their negative climate effects, model calculations show that the diffusion of climate-friendly technologies must occur with lags one-order of magnitude shorter (i.e. ~6 years) than the characteristic time-scale of past punctuated growth in cc. Radically new strategies to globally implement technological advances at unprecedented rates are needed if current emission goals are to be achieved.

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Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture: The Importance of Additional Climatic Variables Other than Temperature and Precipitation

Peng Zhang, Junjie Zhang & Minpeng Chen

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Climate change shifts the distributions of a set of climatic variables, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind speed, sunshine duration, and evaporation. This paper explores the importance of those additional climatic variables other than temperature and precipitation. Using the county-level agricultural data from 1980 to 2010 in China, we find that those additional climatic variables, especially humidity and wind speed, are critical for crop growth. Therefore, omitting those variables is likely to bias the predicted impacts of climate change on crop yields. In particular, omitting humidity tends to overpredict the cost of climate change on crop yields, while ignoring wind speed is likely to underpredict the effect. Our preferred specification indicates that climate change is likely to decrease the yields of rice, wheat, and corn in China by 36.25%, 18.26%, and 45.10%, respectively, by the end of this century.

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Impacts of rising air temperatures on electric transmission ampacity and peak electricity load in the United States

Matthew Bartos et al.

Environmental Research Letters, November 2016

Abstract:
Climate change may constrain future electricity supply adequacy by reducing electric transmission capacity and increasing electricity demand. The carrying capacity of electric power cables decreases as ambient air temperatures rise; similarly, during the summer peak period, electricity loads typically increase with hotter air temperatures due to increased air conditioning usage. As atmospheric carbon concentrations increase, higher ambient air temperatures may strain power infrastructure by simultaneously reducing transmission capacity and increasing peak electricity load. We estimate the impacts of rising ambient air temperatures on electric transmission ampacity and peak per-capita electricity load for 121 planning areas in the United States using downscaled global climate model projections. Together, these planning areas account for roughly 80% of current peak summertime load. We estimate climate-attributable capacity reductions to transmission lines by constructing thermal models of representative conductors, then forcing these models with future temperature projections to determine the percent change in rated ampacity. Next, we assess the impact of climate change on electricity load by using historical relationships between ambient temperature and utility-scale summertime peak load to estimate the extent to which climate change will incur additional peak load increases. We find that by mid-century (2040–2060), increases in ambient air temperature may reduce average summertime transmission capacity by 1.9%–5.8% relative to the 1990–2010 reference period. At the same time, peak per-capita summertime loads may rise by 4.2%–15% on average due to increases in ambient air temperature. In the absence of energy efficiency gains, demand-side management programs and transmission infrastructure upgrades, these load increases have the potential to upset current assumptions about future electricity supply adequacy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Divine intervention

Forgive Us Our Trespasses: Priming a Forgiving (But Not a Punishing) God Increases Unethical Behavior

Amber DeBono et al.

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Religious people differ in how punishing or forgiving they see their Gods. Such different beliefs may have distinct consequences in encouraging people to act in normative ways. Though a number of priming studies have shown a positive causal relationship between religion and normative behavior, few have primed different aspects of religion, and none has examined the punishing/forgiving dimension. In 3 experiments, Christians instructed to read and write about a forgiving God stole more money (Experiments 1 and 2) and cheated more on a math assignment (Experiment 3) than those who read and wrote about a punishing God, a forgiving human, a punishing human, or those in a control condition. These studies present a more complex and nuanced picture of the important relationship between religion and normative behavior.

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Belief in miracles and attitudes towards voluntary euthanasia

Shane Sharp

Death Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Results of logistic regression analysis of data from the General Social Survey (N = 1,799) finds that those who have a strong belief in miracles are more likely to say that a person with an incurable illness should not be allowed to accept medical treatments that painlessly hasten death than those who have a less strong belief in miracles or do not believe in miracles, net of respondents’ religious affiliations, frequency of religious attendance, views of the Bible, and other sociodemographic controls. Results highlight the need to consider specific religious beliefs when predicting individuals’ attitudes towards voluntary euthanasia.

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A Comparison Between Self-Identified Evangelical Christians’ and Nonreligious Persons’ Attitudes Toward Transgender Persons

Yasuko Kanamori et al.

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study provides the 1st descriptive survey study to date that reports attitudes and beliefs toward transgender persons with a sample of the U.S. evangelical Christian population. Data were collected from 483 participants (nonreligious n = 253, evangelical Christian n = 230) recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. The study employed the Transgender Attitudes and Beliefs Scale — a psychometrically sound and culturally sensitive, 3-factor (interpersonal comfort, sex/gender beliefs, and human value) 29-item scale — to assess attitudes and beliefs toward transgender. Data were analyzed using two-way analyses of variance, item analyses, independent samples t tests, and Pearson’s correlations. Findings indicated that evangelical Christians showed significantly lower attitude scores and a more dichotomous or fixed view of gender compared to their nonreligious counterparts. At the same time, evangelical Christians displayed greater variability in their attitudes toward transgender persons and had high ratings on the human value factor overall (measuring the extent to which a person affirms transgender persons’ intrinsic value as a person), which was, in turn, less correlated with the other factors — interpersonal comfort and sex/gender beliefs — than for their secular reference group. On questions pertaining to civil rights, evangelical Christians, on average, gave significantly lower ratings than did nonreligious persons, though the effect size was small on the issue of access to housing.

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Longitudinal Effects of Religious Media on Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

Samuel Perry & Kara Snawder

Sexuality & Culture, December 2016, Pages 785–804

Abstract:
Religion and anti-gay prejudice in the United States are closely connected. Yet we still know little about the specific mechanisms through which religious subcultures may shape adherents’ attitudes toward gays and lesbians. This study considers religious media consumption as a unique mechanism through which religious Americans are socialized and embedded within an anti-gay religious subculture. Drawing on panel data from the nationally-representative Portraits of American Life Study, and focusing on opposition to same-sex marriage as a measure of anti-gay prejudice, analyses show that more frequent consumption of religious radio and TV (but not internet) is associated with higher levels of opposition to same-sex marriage over time. These effects remain significant with different model specifications as well as controls for previous attitudes toward same-sex marriage, general media use, sociodemographic and religious characteristics, and intimate contact with gays and lesbians. We propose that consuming religious media over time may influence Americans’ views toward LGBT issues directly through explicit messages about homosexuality and indirectly by embedding Americans within a broader religious subculture (largely, conservative Protestantism) that opposes homosexuality.

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Censor Morum? The 17th Amendment, Religious Diversity, and Ideological Extremism in the Senate

Jacob Neiheisel & Paul Djupe

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Madisonian formulation suggests that (religious) pluralism is linked to moderate representation when filtered through republican selection. We leverage the quasi-experiment afforded by the ratification of the 17th Amendment to explore whether religious diversity shapes how senators vote. The shift from indirect to direct elections, coupled with roll-call and religious Census data, allows us to test hypotheses derived from differing conceptions of pluralism and the literature on constituency effects in Congress. We find that religious diversity is linked to ideological moderation, but that link weakens considerably in the immediate aftermath of the amendment’s passage.

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Religiosity and income: A panel cointegration and causality analysis

Dierk Herzer & Holger Strulik

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we examine the long-run relationship between religiosity and income using retrospective data on church attendance rates for a panel of countries from 1930 to 1990. We employ panel cointegration and causality techniques to control for omitted variable and endogeneity bias and test for the direction of causality. We show that there exists a negative long-run relationship between the level of religiosity, measured by church attendance, and the level of income, measured by the log of GDP per capita. The result is robust to alternative estimation methods, potential outliers, different samples, different measures of church attendance and alternative specifications of the income variable. Long-run causality runs in both directions, higher income leads to declining religiosity and declining religiosity leads to higher income.

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Core Intuitions About Persons Coexist and Interfere With Acquired Christian Beliefs About God

Michael Barlev, Spencer Mermelstein & Tamsin German

Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested the hypothesis that in the minds of adult religious adherents, acquired beliefs about the extraordinary characteristics of God coexist with, rather than replace, an initial representation of God formed by co-option of the evolved person concept. In three experiments, Christian religious adherents were asked to evaluate a series of statements for which core intuitions about persons and acquired Christian beliefs about God were consistent (i.e., true according to both [e.g., “God has beliefs that are true”] or false according to both [e.g., “All beliefs God has are false”]) or inconsistent (i.e., true on intuition but false theologically [e.g., “God has beliefs that are false”] or false on intuition but true theologically [e.g., “All beliefs God has are true”]). Participants were less accurate and slower to respond to inconsistent versus consistent statements, suggesting that the core intuitions both coexisted alongside and interfered with the acquired beliefs (Experiments 1 and 2). In Experiment 2 when responding under time pressure participants were disproportionately more likely to make errors on inconsistent versus consistent statements than when responding with no time pressure, suggesting that the resolution of interference requires cognitive resources the functioning of which decreases under cognitive load. In Experiment 3 a plausible alternative interpretation of these findings was ruled out by demonstrating that the response accuracy and time differences on consistent versus inconsistent statements occur for God — a supernatural religious entity — but not for a natural religious entity (a priest).

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Religion and mergers and acquisitions contracting: The case of earnout agreements

Ahmed Elnahas, Kabir Hassan & Ghada Ismail

Journal of Corporate Finance, February 2017, Pages 221–246

Abstract:
This paper contributes to the growing literature on the effect of religion on corporate decision making. We posit that contingent payment in mergers and acquisitions not only violates Islamic law but also results in several agency issues by creating an incentive for managers to participate in long-term value-destroying behavior during earnout periods. Our empirical results, using regression as well as difference-in-difference estimation, show that target managers significantly manage earnings upward by cutting discretionary expenses during earnout periods. As compared to a sample of matched non-earnout M&A, acquisitions with earnout clauses are followed by significantly lower long-term abnormal returns. Our arguments and results have significant economic and legal consequences on cross-border M&A and could be used to facilitate worldwide economic integration.

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Reward, salience, and attentional networks are activated by religious experience in devout Mormons

Michael Ferguson et al.

Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
High-level cognitive and emotional experience arises from brain activity, but the specific brain substrates for religious and spiritual euphoria remain unclear. We demonstrate using functional magnetic resonance imaging scans in 19 devout Mormons that a recognizable feeling central to their devotional practice was reproducibly associated with activation in nucleus accumbens, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and frontal attentional regions. Nucleus accumbens activation preceded peak spiritual feelings by 1–3 s and was replicated in four separate tasks. Attentional activation in the anterior cingulate and frontal eye fields was greater in the right hemisphere. The association of abstract ideas and brain reward circuitry may interact with frontal attentional and emotive salience processing, suggesting a mechanism whereby doctrinal concepts may come to be intrinsically rewarding and motivate behavior in religious individuals.

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Effects of oxytocin administration on spirituality and emotional responses to meditation

Patty Van Cappellen et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, October 2016, Pages 1579-1587

Abstract:
The oxytocin (OT) system, critically involved in social bonding, may also impinge on spirituality, which is the belief in a meaningful life imbued with a sense of connection to a Higher Power and/or the world. Midlife male participants (N = 83) were randomly assigned to receive intranasal OT or placebo. In exploratory analyses, participants were also genotyped for polymorphisms in two genes critical for OT signaling, the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR rs53576) and CD38 (rs6449182 and rs3796863). Results showed that intranasal OT increased self-reported spirituality on two separate measures and this effect remained significant a week later. It also boosted participants’ experience of specific positive emotions during meditation, at both explicit and implicit levels. Furthermore, the effect of OT on spirituality was moderated by OT-related genotypes. These results provide the first experimental evidence that spirituality, endorsed by millions worldwide, appears to be supported by OT.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Where it was made

A Note on the Effect of Rising Trade Exposure on the 2016 Presidential Election

David Autor et al.

MIT Working Paper, November 2016

"This research note examines whether the exposure of local labor markets to increased import competition from China effected voting in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. It relates the change in the county-level Republican two-party vote share between 2000 and 2016 to the growth in local labor markets' exposure to Chinese import penetration. We find a robust positive effect of rising import competition on Republican vote share gains. The magnitude of the Republican gains is non-trivial. A counterfactual study of closely contested states suggests that Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina would have elected the Democrat instead of the Republican candidate if, ceteris paribus, the growth in Chinese import penetration had been 50 percent lower than the actual growth during the period of analysis. The Democrat candidate would also have obtained a majority in the electoral college in this counterfactual scenario."

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Foreign Competition and Domestic Innovation: Evidence from U.S. Patents

David Autor et al.

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Manufacturing is the locus of U.S. innovation, accounting for more than three quarters of U.S. corporate patents. The rise of import competition from China has represented a major competitive shock to the sector, which in theory could benefit or stifle innovation. In this paper we empirically examine how rising import competition from China has affected U.S. innovation. We confront two empirical challenges in assessing the impact. We map all U.S. utility patents granted by March 2013 to firm-level data using a novel internet-based matching algorithm that corrects for a preponderance of false negatives when using firm names alone. And we contend with the fact that patenting is highly concentrated in certain product categories and that this concentration has been shifting over time. Accounting for secular trends in innovative activities, we find that the impact of the change in import exposure on the change in patents produced is strongly negative. It remains so once we add an extensive set of further industry- and firm-level controls. Rising import exposure also reduces global employment, global sales, and global R&D expenditure at the firm level. It would appear that a simple mechanism in which greater foreign competition induces U.S. manufacturing firms to contract their operations along multiple margins of activity goes a long way toward explaining the response of U.S. innovation to the China trade shock.

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Party Competition and the Inter-Industry Structure of US Trade Protection

Su-Hyun Lee

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some declining industries receive more compensation through protectionist policies than others, even without actively engaging in lobbying? How does the political representation of industries affect their chances for protectionist relief? This paper argues that political parties seek to optimize electoral returns through the strategic allocation of distributive benefits generated by trade barriers. The inter-industry structure of protection is thus explained by the interaction between industries' trade preferences and political characteristics. Using data on protection and subnational employment for US industries and district-level election outcomes in the 1990s, this paper finds that the concentration of industries in competitive constituencies not only increases their chances of receiving higher tariffs, but also magnifies the marginal effect of comparative disadvantage on tariff and nontariff protection.

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The Breakdown of Industrial Opposition to Trade: Firms, Product Variety, and Reciprocal Liberalization

Iain Osgood

World Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article documents systematic deviations from standard models of trade politics, each of which has the effect of undermining sustained efforts at coherent industrial opposition to trade. Industries have internal disagreements about liberalization, support for trade liberalization extends bilaterally across borders in the same industry, and comparative disadvantage industries feature convincing expressions of public support for liberalization. These surprising outcomes are explained by a model of trade politics that emphasizes three factors: firm heterogeneity in export performance, product differentiation, and reciprocal liberalization. The author uses a new data set of industry attitudes about fifteen US trade agreements to show that product differentiation is strongly correlated with these outcomes, even conditional on plausible alternatives. The author concludes that public position-taking and lobbying on trade politics have been fundamentally altered by the rise of product variety; trade's opponents and indifferents have been overwhelmed by pro-globalization firms breaking out to support trade on their own.

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Effects of the Great Recession on American Attitudes Toward Trade

Edward Mansfield, Diana Mutz & Devon Brackbill

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Did the American public become more protectionist during the Great Recession of 2007-09? If so, why? During this period, many observers expressed concern that rising unemployment would stimulate protectionist pressures. The results of this study indicate that although increased unemployment did not affect the trade preferences of most Americans, individuals working in import-competing industries who lost their jobs during the Great Recession did grow more hostile to trade. However, even greater hostility to trade stemmed from a variety of non-material factors. Increasing ethnocentrism and opposition to involvement in world affairs between 2007 and 2009 help account for growing antipathy toward trade. But most importantly, increasing anxiety that foreign commerce would harm people in the future, even if it had not done so thus far, contributed to mounting opposition to trade among the American public.

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WTO Accession and Tariff Evasion

Beata Javorcik & Gaia Narciso

Journal of Development Economics, March 2017, Pages 59-69

Abstract:
This study documents some unintended consequences of the World Trade Organization (WTO) membership by providing evidence on displacement of tariff evasion driven by the WTO accession process. The analysis focuses on the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement (CVA) which limits the discretion of customs officials when it comes to assessing the price of imports. While prior to the WTO accession customs officials are free to use their own judgment or apply minimum or reference prices, after their country joined the WTO they are mandated to accept the invoice price issued by the exporter. If customs officials enjoy discretion with respect to assessing the import price, they may assist importers with tariff evasion in exchange for bribes. Removing such discretion limits their ability to facilitate misrepresentation of import prices. Using data on 15 countries which joined the WTO between 1996 and 2008, we find a positive relationship between underreporting of import prices and the tariff rate, which is expected as the incentive to evade increases with the tariff rate. Importantly, this relationship disappears after a country joins the WTO. This result is consistent with the CVA closing one channel for corrupt behavior. However, we also find that changes to customs valuation procedures induce importers to seek alternative ways of tariff evasion, such as underreporting of quantities and product misclassification. The overall level of evasion remains unchanged.

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Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from U.S. Counties

Justin Pierce & Peter Schott

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We investigate the impact of a large economic shock on mortality. We find that counties more exposed to a plausibly exogenous trade liberalization exhibit higher rates of suicide and related causes of death, concentrated among whites, especially white males. These trends are consistent with our finding that more-exposed counties experience relative declines in manufacturing employment, a sector in which whites and males are disproportionately employed. We also examine other causes of death that might be related to labor market disruption and find both positive and negative relationships. More-exposed counties, for example, exhibit lower rates of fatal heart attacks.

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Trade to Aid: EU's Temporary Tariff Waivers for Flood-hit Pakistan

Juyoung Cheong, Do Won Kwak & Haishan Yuan

Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we study the effectiveness of the first large-scale unilateral trade concessions as foreign aid for disaster relief, i.e., EU tariff waivers on goods heavily exported by Pakistan, which was severely hit by the 2010 floods. Using a triple-difference approach and a synthetic control approach, we find that the tariff waivers substantially increased Pakistan's exports to the EU. The export hike occurred within a few months after the waivers became effective, and did not significantly depress exports by competing countries. While the export boost brought greater employment opportunities in the tariff-waived industries, we find little evidence that the greater labor demands from trade were particularly beneficial to the areas most affected by the floods. Our findings suggest that trade policy may complement traditional means of foreign aid - but trade concessions alone may be inadequate, as the areas most affected by natural disasters may be poorly targeted.

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Don't Cry for Argentina (or Other Sovereign Borrowers): Lessons from a Previous Era of Sovereign Debt Contract Enforcement

Benjamin Remy Chabot & Veronica Santarosa

Federal Reserve Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Recent court rulings effectively barred Argentina from international capital markets until she honored previous sovereign debt contracts. These rulings have been criticized by some in the legal community for possibly harming New York's standing as a preeminent capital market and hindering developing countries' ability to borrow. This article asks whether such criticism is warranted and notes that a similar enforcement mechanism was employed by the London Stock Exchange before World War I to deny sovereign borrowers in breach of their contracts access to international capital markets. The pre-World War I era provides us with clues into how the sovereign debt market could evolve in the wake of the Argentina rulings. In contrast to the dire warnings, capital markets have historically worked well when sovereign borrowers face sanctions. The existence of sanctions gave sovereign borrowers the means to credibly signal their intent to repay. By including contract clauses that made default costly, historical sovereign borrowers of less than pristine reputation were able to signal their good intentions and enjoy the benefits of cheap access to world capital markets.

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Does China's trade defy cultural barriers?

Bedassa Tadesse, Roger White & Huang Zhongwen

International Review of Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using annual data for China and 88 trading partners that span the period 1995-2011, we estimate whether cross-societal cultural differences influence China's external trade flows. Our results, obtained from the estimation of a series of multi-level mixed effect random intercepts and coefficients models, indicate that China's aggregate exports and imports are largely unaffected by the cultural distance between China and its trading partners. Examination of disaggregate trade measures and consideration of the underlying dimensions of our composite cultural distance variable produces a largely similar result. Taken collectively, our results suggest that China's trade is less affected by cultural distance than has been reported for other countries in similar studies.

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Do International Rulings Have Spillover Effects?: The View from Financial Markets

Jeffrey Kucik & Krzysztof Pelc

World Politics, October 2016, Pages 713-751

Abstract:
How influential are international courts? Can their rulings reach beyond a given case and affect the behavior of countries not party to the dispute? International law is clear on the matter: rulings have no formal authority beyond the case at hand. This tenet is consistent with the incentives of sovereign states wary of delegating too much authority to courts. By contrast, the authors claim that even in the absence of formal authority, the rulings of international courts can affect behavior by mobilizing pro-compliance groups in countries not party to a dispute. They test these beliefs in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO) through a novel approach. Because WTO rulings have implications for the fortunes of publicly traded firms, they examine whether financial markets bet on there being spillover effects beyond the case at hand. They rely on two quantitative case studies to test for a cross-border and a cross-industry spillover effect: can rulings have effects in countries and on industries other than those at issue in the initial dispute? The results suggest that the answer is a tentative yes. The spillover effects of international rulings may be a matter of scholarly contention, but their existence is something that financial markets appear willing to bet on.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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