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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Parental time

Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies

Daniel Romer et al.
Pediatrics, November 2014, Pages 877-884

Objectives: To assess desensitization in parents’ repeated exposure to violence and sex in movies.

Methods: A national US sample of 1000 parents living with at least 1 target child in 1 of 3 age groups (6 to 17 years old) viewed a random sequence of 3 pairs of short scenes with either violent or sexual content from popular movies that were unrestricted to youth audiences (rated PG-13 or unrated) or restricted to those under age 17 years without adult supervision (rated R). Parents indicated the minimum age they would consider appropriate to view each film. Predictors included order of presentation, parent and child characteristics, and parent movie viewing history.

Results: As exposure to successive clips progressed, parents supported younger ages of appropriate exposure, starting at age 16.9 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.8 to 17.0) for violence and age 17.2 years (95% CI, 17.0 to 17.4) for sex, and declining to age 13.9 years (95% CI, 13.7 to 14.1) for violence and 14.0 years (95% CI, 13.7 to 14.3) for sex. Parents also reported increasing willingness to allow their target child to view the movies as exposures progressed. Desensitization was observed across parent and child characteristics, violence toward both human and non-human victims, and movie rating. Those who frequently watched movies were more readily desensitized to violence.

Conclusions: Parents become desensitized to both violence and sex in movies, which may contribute to the increasing acceptance of both types of content by both parents and the raters employed by the film industry.

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A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long Run Outcomes of Children

Pedro Carneiro, Katrine Løken & Kjell Salvanes
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the impact of increasing maternity leave benefits on long run outcomes of children, by examining a reform that increased paid and unpaid maternity leave in Norway as of July 1st 1977. Mothers giving birth before this date were eligible only for 12 weeks of unpaid leave, while those giving birth after were entitled to four months of paid leave and 12 months of unpaid leave. This increased time with the child led to a two percentage points decline in high school dropout rates and a 5% increase in wages at age 30. These effects are especially large for children of those mothers who, prior to the reform, would take very low levels of unpaid leave.

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A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design

Kevin Beaver et al.
Intelligence, September–October 2014, Pages 179–187

Abstract:
The association between family/parenting and offspring IQ remains the matter of debate because of threats related to genetic confounding. The current study is designed to shed some light on this association by examining the influence of parenting influences on adolescent and young adult IQ scores. To do so, a nationally representative sample of youth is analyzed along with a sample of adoptees. The sample of adoptees is able to more fully control for genetic confounding. The results of the study revealed that there is only a marginal and inconsistent influence of parenting on offspring IQ in adolescence and young adulthood. These weak associations were detected in both the nationally representative sample and the adoptee subsample. Sensitivity analyses that focused only on monozygotic twins also revealed no consistent associations between parenting/family measures and verbal intelligence. Taken together, the results of these statistical models indicate that family and parenting characteristics are not significant contributors to variation in IQ scores. The implications of this study are discussed in relation to research examining the effects of family/parenting on offspring IQ scores.

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The Child Adoption Marketplace: Parental Preferences and Adoption Outcomes

Mark Skidmore, Gary Anderson & Mark Eiswerth
Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the United States, child adoption costs vary considerably, ranging from no out-of-pocket expense to US$50,000 or more. What are the causes for the variability in adoption expenses? We administered a survey to a sample of Michigan adoptive families to link adoptive parent characteristics, child characteristics, and adoption-related expenses and subsidies. We then estimated “hedonic” regressions in which adoption cost is a function of child characteristics. The analysis shows that up to 74 percent of the variation in adoption costs is explained by child characteristics. In particular, costs are lower for older children, children of African descent, and special needs children. Findings inform policies regarding the transition of children from foster care to adoptive families.

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Are Parental Welfare Work Requirements Good for Disadvantaged Children? Evidence from Age-of-Youngest-Child Exemptions

Chris Herbst
Arizona State University Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
This paper assesses the short-run impact of first-year maternal employment on low-income children's cognitive development. The identification strategy exploits an important feature of the U.S.'s welfare work requirement rules – namely, age-of-youngest-child exemptions – as a source of quasi-experimental variation in maternal employment. The 1996 welfare reform law empowered states to exempt adult recipients from the work requirements until the youngest child reaches a certain age. This led to substantial variation in the amount of time that mothers can remain home with a newborn child. I use this variation to estimate local average treatment effects of work-requirement-induced increases in maternal employment. Using a sample of infants from the Birth cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the OLS results show that children of working mothers score higher on a test of cognitive ability. However, the IV estimates reveal sizable negative effects of early maternal employment. An auxiliary analysis of mechanisms finds that working mothers experience an increase in depressive symptoms, and are less likely to breast-feed and read to their children. In addition, such children are exposed to non-parental child care arrangements at a younger age, and they spend more time in these settings throughout the first year of life.

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Evaluating Workplace Mandates with Flows Versus Stocks: An Application to California Paid Family Leave

Mark Curtis, Barry Hirsch & Mary Schroeder
Georgia State University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Employer mandates and other labor demand/supply shocks typically have small effects on wages and employment. These effects should be more discernible using data on employment transitions and wages among new hires rather than incumbents. The Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) dataset provides county by quarter by demographic group data on the number and earnings of new hires, separations, and recalls (i.e., extended leaves). We use the QWI to examine the labor market effects of California's paid family leave (CPFL) policy. Implemented in July 2004, it was the first such policy mandated in the U.S. The analysis compares outcomes for young women in California to those for other workers in California and to workers throughout the U.S. Relative earnings for young female new hires were largely unaffected by CPFL. We find strong evidence that separations (of at least three months) and hiring of young women increased substantively. Many young women who separated later returned to the same firm. CPFL appears to have led not only to increased time with children, but also to a decline in job lock, enhanced mobility, and increased worker flows following universal paid family leave.

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When Does Time Matter? Maternal Employment, Children’s Time With Parents, and Child Development

Amy Hsin & Christina Felfe
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1867-1894

Abstract:
This study tests the two assumptions underlying popularly held notions that maternal employment negatively affects children because it reduces time spent with parents: (1) that maternal employment reduces children’s time with parents, and (2) that time with parents affects child outcomes. We analyze children’s time-diary data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and use child fixed-effects and IV estimations to account for unobserved heterogeneity. We find that working mothers trade quantity of time for better “quality” of time. On average, maternal work has no effect on time in activities that positively influence children’s development, but it reduces time in types of activities that may be detrimental to children’s development. Stratification by mothers’ education reveals that although all children, regardless of mother’s education, benefit from spending educational and structured time with their mothers, mothers who are high school graduates have the greatest difficulty balancing work and childcare. We find some evidence that fathers compensate for maternal employment by increasing types of activities that can foster child development as well as types of activities that may be detrimental. Overall, we find that the effects of maternal employment are ambiguous because (1) employment does not necessarily reduce children’s time with parents, and (2) not all types of parental time benefit child development.

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Will daughters walk mom’s talk? The effects of maternal communication about sex on the sexual behavior of female adolescents

Susan Averett & Sarah Estelle
Review of Economics of the Household, December 2014, Pages 613-639

Abstract:
Numerous social marketing campaigns exhort parents to talk to their children about sexual abstinence, pregnancy risk, and sexually transmitted disease prevention. The effectiveness of these conversations is difficult to ascertain if parents are more likely to broach discussions related to sexual activity with adolescents who have greater propensities to engage in these risky behaviors. Our baseline empirical results indicate that female adolescents whose mothers communicate more about sex are more likely to have sexual intercourse, practice unsafe sex, and engage in casual sex. However, once we control for the adolescent’s environment and peers through the use of school fixed effects and for the daughter’s own propensity to engage in such behaviors through a rich set of adolescent-specific covariates, the effect of a mother’s talk on her daughter’s behavior is reduced dramatically indicating that mother’s talk is endogenous to the daughter’s sexual behavior. Models employing sister fixed effects to control for family-level unobservables, although imprecisely estimated, confirm this finding.

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Paternal Antisocial Behavior and Sons’ Cognitive Ability: A Population-Based Quasiexperimental Study

Antti Latvala et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Parents’ antisocial behavior is associated with developmental risks for their offspring, but its effects on their children’s cognitive ability are unknown. We used linked Swedish register data for a large sample of adolescent men (N = 1,177,173) and their parents to estimate associations between fathers’ criminal-conviction status and sons’ cognitive ability assessed at compulsory military conscription. Mechanisms behind the association were tested in children-of-siblings models across three types of sibling fathers with increasing genetic relatedness (half-siblings, full siblings, and monozygotic twins) and in quantitative genetic models. Sons whose fathers had a criminal conviction had lower cognitive ability than sons whose fathers had no conviction (any crime: Cohen’s d = −0.28; violent crime: Cohen’s d = −0.49). As models adjusted for more genetic factors, the association was gradually reduced and eventually eliminated. Nuclear-family environmental factors did not contribute to the association. Our results suggest that the association between men’s antisocial behavior and their children’s cognitive ability is not causal but is due mostly to underlying genetic factors.

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A Constructive Replication of the Association Between the Oxytocin Receptor Genotype and Parenting

Ashlea Klahr, Kelly Klump & Alexandra Burt
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Behavioral genetic studies have robustly indicated that parenting behaviors are heritable — that is, individual differences in parenting are at least partially a function of genetic differences between persons. Few studies, however, have sought to identify the specific genetic variants that are associated with individual differences in parenting. Genes that influence the oxytocin system are of particular interest, given the growing body of evidence that points to the role of oxytocin for social behaviors, including parenting. The current study conducted examinations of associations between a variant in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR rs53576) and parental warmth, control, and negativity in a sample of 1,000 twin children and their parents (N = 500 families) from the Michigan State University Twin Registry to constructively replicate and extend prior work (Bakermans-Kranenburg & van IJzendoorn, 2008; Michalska et al., 2014). Analyses were conducted both at the level of the child and the level of the parent, allowing us to examine both child-driven (via evocative gene-environment correlation) and parent-driven genetic effects on parenting. Mothers’ OXTR genotype predicted her warmth toward her children, even after controlling for child genotype. This association was not found for fathers. These findings add to the growing body of evidence linking oxytocin functioning to parental behavior and also highlight potential etiological differences in parenting across mothers and fathers.

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Adults with siblings like children’s faces more than those without

Lizhu Luo et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, January 2015, Pages 148–156

Abstract:
Humans cross-culturally find infant faces both cute and highly likeable. Their so-called “baby schema” features have clear adaptive value by likely serving as an innate releasing mechanism that elicits caretaking behaviors from adults. However, we do not know whether experience with young children during social development might act to further facilitate this. Here we investigated the potential impact of having siblings on adult likeability judgments of children’s faces. In this study, 73 adult men and women (40 with siblings and 33 without) were shown 148 different face pictures of young children (1 month to 6.5 years) and judged them for likeability. Results showed that both groups found faces of infants (<7 months) as equally likeable. However, for faces more than 7 months of age, whereas the no-sibling group showed a reduced liking for faces with increasing age, the sibling group found faces of all ages as equally likeable. Furthermore, for adults with siblings, the closer in age they were to their siblings, the stronger their likeability was for young children’s faces. Our results are the first to show that having siblings can extend the influence of baby schema to children as well as infants.

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Early social exposure in wild chimpanzees: Mothers with sons are more gregarious than mothers with daughters

Carson Murray et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In many mammals, early social experience is critical to developing species-appropriate adult behaviors. Although mother–infant interactions play an undeniably significant role in social development, other individuals in the social milieu may also influence infant outcomes. Additionally, the social skills necessary for adult success may differ between the sexes. In chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), adult males are more gregarious than females and rely on a suite of competitive and cooperative relationships to obtain access to females. In fission–fusion species, including humans and chimpanzees, subgroup composition is labile and individuals can vary the number of individuals with whom they associate. Thus, mothers in these species have a variety of social options. In this study, we investigated whether wild chimpanzee maternal subgrouping patterns differed based on infant sex. Our results show that mothers of sons were more gregarious than mothers of daughters; differences were especially pronounced during the first 6 mo of life, when infant behavior is unlikely to influence maternal subgrouping. Furthermore, mothers with sons spent significantly more time in parties containing males during the first 6 mo. These early differences foreshadow the well-documented sex differences in adult social behavior, and maternal gregariousness may provide sons with important observational learning experiences and social exposure early in life. The presence of these patterns in chimpanzees raises questions concerning the evolutionary history of differential social exposure and its role in shaping sex-typical behavior in humans.

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A Life-Changing Event: First Births and Men's and Women's Attitudes to Mothering and Gender Divisions of Labor

Janeen Baxter et al.
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that the transition to parenthood is a critical life-course stage. Using data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey and fixed-effects panel regression models, we investigate changes in men's and women's attitudes to mothering and gender divisions of labor following the transition to parenthood. Key findings indicate that attitudes become more traditional after individuals experience the birth of their first child, with both men and women becoming more likely to support mothering as women's most important role in life. We argue that these changes are due to both changes in identity and cognitive beliefs associated with the experience of becoming a parent, as well as institutional arrangements that support traditional gender divisions. More broadly, our results can be taken as strong evidence that attitudes are not stable over the life course and change with the experience of life events.

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Does Placing Children in Foster Care Increase Their Adult Criminality?

Matthew Lindquist & Torsten Santavirta
Labour Economics, December 2014, Pages 72–83

Abstract:
We evaluate the association between foster care placement during childhood and adult criminality. In contrast to previous studies, we allow associations to vary by gender and age at initial placement. We find that foster care predicts higher adult criminality for males first placed during adolescence (age 13–18). We find no significant association for boys who were placed in foster care before age 13 and no significant association on the adult criminality of girls. These null findings stand in stark contrast to the poor outcomes reported in earlier work concerning the long-run effects of foster care.

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Validating the Voodoo Doll Task as a Proxy for Aggressive Parenting Behavior

Randy McCarthy et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Six studies (N = 1,081 general population parents) assessed the validity of the voodoo doll task (VDT) as a proxy for aggressive parenting behaviors.

Method: Participants were given an opportunity to symbolically inflict harm by choosing to stick “pins” into a doll representing their child.

Results: Individual differences in parents’ trait aggression (Studies 1, 2, and 6), state hostility (Study 3), attitudes toward the corporal punishment of children (Study 4), self-control (Study 6), depression (Study 6), and child physical abuse risk (Study 6) were associated with increased pin usage. Further, parents used more pins after imagining their child performing negative behaviors compared to after imagining their child perform positive behaviors (Study 5). A number of demographic variables also were associated with pin usage: Fathers used pins more than mothers and parents’ education level was inversely related to pin usage. Finally, on average, parents viewed the VDT as slightly uncomfortable, but not objectionable, to complete (Study 6).

Conclusions: Our evidence suggests that the VDT may serve as a useful proxy for parent-to-child aggression.

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Socioeconomic Strain, Family Ties, and Adolescent Health in a Rural Northeastern County

Karen Van Gundy et al.
Rural Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In adolescence, vital sources of support come from family relationships; however, research that considers the health-related impact of ties to both parents and siblings is sparse, and the utility of such ties among at-risk teens is not well understood. Here we use two waves of panel data from the population of 8th and 12th grade students in a geographically isolated, rural, northeastern U.S. county to assess whether socioeconomic status (SES) moderates the effects of parental and sibling attachments on three indicators of adolescent health: obesity, depression, and problem substance use. Our findings indicate that, net of stressful life events, prior health, and sociodemographic controls, increases in parental and sibling attachment correspond with reduced odds of obesity for low-SES adolescents, reduced odds of depression for high-SES adolescents, and reduced odds of problem substance use for low-SES adolescents. Results suggest also that sibling and maternal ties are more influential than paternal ties, at least with regard to the outcomes considered. Overall, the findings highlight the value of strong family ties for the physical, psychological, and behavioral health of socioeconomically strained rural teens, and reveal the explanatory potential of both sibling and parental ties for adolescent health.

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Birth order and physical fitness in early adulthood: Evidence from Swedish military conscription data

Kieron Barclay & Mikko Myrskylä
Social Science & Medicine, December 2014, Pages 141–148

Abstract:
Physical fitness at young adult ages is an important determinant of physical health, cognitive ability, and mortality. However, few studies have addressed the relationship between early life conditions and physical fitness in adulthood. An important potential factor influencing physical fitness is birth order, which prior studies associate with several early- and later-life outcomes such as height and mortality. This is the first study to analyse the association between birth order and physical fitness in late adolescence. We use military conscription data on 218,873 Swedish males born between 1965 and 1977. Physical fitness is measured by a test of maximal working capacity, a measure of cardiovascular fitness closely related to V02max. We use linear regression with sibling fixed effects, meaning a within-family comparison, to eliminate the confounding influence of unobserved factors that vary between siblings. To understand the mechanism we further analyse whether the association between birth order and physical fitness varies by sibship size, parental socioeconomic status, birth cohort or length of the birth interval. We find a strong, negative and monotonic relationship between birth order and physical fitness. For example, third-born children have a maximal working capacity approximately 0.1 (p<0.000) standard deviations lower than first-born children. The association exists both in small (3 or less children) and large families (4 or more children), in high and low socioeconomic status families, and amongst cohorts born in the 1960s and the 1970s. While in the whole population the birth order effect does not depend on the length of the birth intervals, in two-child families a longer birth interval strengthens the advantage of the first-born. Our results illustrate the importance of birth order on physical fitness, and suggest that the first-born advantage already arises in late adolescence.

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Income, Neighborhood Stressors, and Harsh Parenting: Test of Moderation by Ethnicity, Age, and Gender

Gabriela Barajas-Gonzalez & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Family and neighborhood influences related to low-income were examined to understand their association with harsh parenting among an ethnically diverse sample of families. Specifically, a path model linking household income to harsh parenting via neighborhood disorder, fear for safety, maternal depressive symptoms, and family conflict was evaluated using cross-sectional data from 2,132 families with children ages 5–16 years from Chicago. The sample was 42% Mexican American, 41% African American, and 17% European American. Results provide support for a family process model where a lower income-to-needs ratio is associated with higher reports of neighborhood disorder, greater fear for safety, and more family conflict, which is in turn, associated with greater frequency of harsh parenting. Our tests for moderation by ethnicity/immigrant status, child gender, and child age (younger child vs. adolescent) indicate that although paths are similar for families of boys and girls, as well as for families of young children and adolescents, there are some differences by ethnic group. Specifically, we find the path from neighborhood disorder to fear for safety is stronger for Mexican American (United States born and immigrant) and European American families in comparison with African American families. We also find that the path from fear for safety to harsh parenting is significant for European American and African American families only. Possible reasons for such moderated effects are considered.

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The Manipulation of Children's Preferences, Old Age Support, and Investment in Children's Human Capital

Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy & Jörg Spenkuch
University of Chicago Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We consider the link between parents' influence over the preferences of children, parental investments in children's human capital, and children's support of elderly parents. It may pay for parents to spend resources to "manipulate" children's preferences in order to induce them to support their parents in old age. Since parents invest more in children when they expect greater support, manipulation of child preferences may end up helping children and parents. A new result, that we call the "Rotten Parent Theorem," demonstrates that if children are altruistic, then even selfish parents will make the optimal investment in kids' human capital.

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Child Characteristics and Parental Educational Expectations: Evidence for Transmission With Transaction

Daniel Briley, Paige Harden & Elliot Tucker-Drob
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Parents’ expectations for their children’s ultimate educational attainment have been hypothesized to play an instrumental role in socializing academically relevant child behaviors, beliefs, and abilities. In addition to social transmission of educationally relevant values from parents to children, parental expectations and child characteristics may transact bidirectionally. We explore this hypothesis using both longitudinal and genetically informative twin data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth and Kindergarten cohorts. Our behavior genetic results indicate that parental expectations partly reflect child genetic variation, even as early as 4 years of age. Two classes of child characteristics were hypothesized to contribute to these child-to-parent effects: behavioral tendencies (approaches toward learning and problem behaviors) and achievement (math and reading). Using behavior genetic models, we find within-twin-pair associations between these child characteristics and parental expectations. Using longitudinal cross-lagged models, we find that initial variation in child characteristics predicts future educational expectations above and beyond previous educational expectations. These results are consistent with transactional frameworks in which parent-to-child and child-to-parent effects co-occur.

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Are boys more sensitive to sensitivity? Parenting and executive function in preschoolers

Viara Mileva-Seitz et al.
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, February 2015, Pages 193–208

Abstract:
During early childhood, girls outperform boys on key dimensions of cognitive functions, including inhibitory control, sustained attention, and working memory. The role of parenting in these sex differences is unknown despite evidence that boys are more sensitive to the effects of the early environment. In this study, we measured parental sensitivity at 14 and 36 months of age, and children’s cognitive and executive functions (sustained attention, inhibitory control, and forward/backward memory) at 52 months of age, in a longitudinal cohort (N = 752). Boys scored significantly lower than girls on inhibitory control (more Go/NoGo “commission errors”) and short-term memory (forward color recall task), but boys did not differ from girls on attention (Go/NoGo “omission errors”) or working memory (backward color recall task). In stratified analyses, parental sensitivity at 36 months of age was negatively associated with number of errors of commission (p = .05) and omission (p = .02) in boys, whereas child’s age was the only significant predictor of commission and omission errors in girls. A combined analysis of both sexes confirmed an interaction between sex and parenting for omission errors (p = .03). The results indicate that sex differences in cognitive functions are evident in preschoolers, although not across all dimensions we assessed. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to early parenting effects, but only in association with omission errors (attention) and not with the other cognitive function dimensions.

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Fathers’ Sensitive Parenting and the Development of Early Executive Functioning

Nissa Towe-Goodman et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from a diverse sample of 620 families residing in rural, predominately low-income communities, this study examined longitudinal links between fathers’ sensitive parenting in infancy and toddlerhood and children’s early executive functioning, as well as the contribution of maternal sensitive parenting. After accounting for the quality of concurrent and prior parental care, children’s early cognitive ability, and other child and family factors, fathers’ and mothers’ sensitive and supportive parenting during play at 24 months predicted children’s executive functioning at 3 years of age. In contrast, paternal parenting quality during play at 7 months did not make an independent contribution above that of maternal care, but the links between maternal sensitive and supportive parenting and executive functioning seemed to operate in similar ways during infancy and toddlerhood. These findings add to prior work on early experience and children’s executive functioning, suggesting that both fathers and mothers play a distinct and complementary role in the development of these self-regulatory skills.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stuff

Subjective Status Shapes Political Preferences

Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic inequality in America is at historically high levels. Although most Americans indicate that they would prefer greater equality, redistributive policies aimed at reducing inequality are frequently unpopular. Traditional accounts posit that attitudes toward redistribution are driven by economic self-interest or ideological principles. From a social psychological perspective, however, we expected that subjective comparisons with other people may be a more relevant basis for self-interest than is material wealth. We hypothesized that participants would support redistribution more when they felt low than when they felt high in subjective status, even when actual resources and self-interest were held constant. Moreover, we predicted that people would legitimize these shifts in policy attitudes by appealing selectively to ideological principles concerning fairness. In four studies, we found correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Studies 2–4) evidence that subjective status motivates shifts in support for redistributive policies along with the ideological principles that justify them.

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False Consciousness or Class Awareness? Local Income Inequality, Personal Economic Position, and Belief in American Meritocracy

Benjamin Newman, Christopher Johnston & Patrick Lown
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research analyzes the effects of cross-national and temporal variation in income inequality on public opinion; however, research has failed to explore the impact of variation in inequality across citizens’ local residential context. This article analyzes the impact of local inequality on citizens’ belief in a core facet of the American ethos — meritocracy. We advance conditional effects hypotheses that collectively argue that the effect of residing in a high-inequality context will be moderated by individual income. Utilizing national survey data, we demonstrate that residing in more unequal counties heightens rejection of meritocracy among low-income residents and bolsters adherence among high-income residents. In relatively equal counties, we find no significant differences between high- and low-income citizens. We conclude by discussing the implications of class-based polarization found in response to local inequality with respect to current debates over the consequences of income inequality for American democracy.

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Who Wants to Get to the Top? Class and Lay Theories About Power

Peter Belmi
Stanford Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We investigate class-based differences in the propensity to seek positions of power. We first propose that people’s lay theories suggest that acquiring power requires exercising political dominance — manipulating one’s way through the social world, relying on a pragmatic and Machiavellian approach to impression management and social relationships to get ahead. Then, drawing on empirical work showing that members of the lower class are oriented toward interdependence and community, we hypothesize that relative to their upper class counterparts, members of the lower class will show less interest in seeking positions of power because they feel less comfortable engaging in political dominance. We test these ideas in six studies. Our findings indicate that, even though members of the lower class see political dominance as a necessary and effective strategy for acquiring positions of power, and report that they have the competence to execute this strategy, they are reluctant to do so; as a result, they have a weaker tendency to seek positions of power. Consistent with our theorizing, we also find that members of the lower class have a stronger desire to seek positions of power when organizations provide an alternative route to power – power through prestige – and when they reconstrue power as a superordinate goal that suits their identity. These findings suggest that current institutional norms that reward political dominance may help explain why class inequalities persist and why creating class-based diversity in upper-level positions poses a serious challenge.

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Income Inequality and Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States

Deirdre Bloome
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is there a relationship between family income inequality and income mobility across generations in the United States? As family income inequality rose in the United States, parental resources available for improving children's health, education, and care diverged. The amount and rate of divergence also varied across US states. Researchers and policy analysts have expressed concern that relatively high inequality might be accompanied by relatively low mobility, tightening the connection between individuals' incomes during childhood and adulthood. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and various government sources, this paper exploits state and cohort variation to estimate the relationship between inequality and mobility. Results provide very little support for the hypothesis that inequality shapes mobility in the United States. The inequality children experienced during youth had no robust association with their economic mobility as adults. Formal analysis reveals that offsetting effects could underlie this result. In theory, mobility-enhancing forces may counterbalance mobility-reducing effects. In practice, the results suggest that in the US context, the intergenerational transmission of income may not be very responsive to changes in inequality.

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How Can Scandinavians Tax So Much?

Henrik Jacobsen Kleven
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2014, Pages 77-98

Abstract:
American visitors to Scandinavian countries are often puzzled by what they observe: despite large income redistribution through distortionary taxes and transfers, these are very high-income countries. They rank among the highest in the world in terms of income per capita, as well as most other economic and social outcomes. The economic and social success of Scandinavia poses important questions for economics and for those arguing against large redistribution based on its supposedly detrimental effect on economic growth and welfare. How can Scandinavian countries raise large amounts of tax revenue for redistribution and social insurance while maintaining some of the strongest economic outcomes in the world? Combining micro and macro evidence, this paper identifies three policies that can help explain this apparent anomaly: the coverage of third-party information reporting (ensuring a low level of tax evasion), the broadness of tax bases (ensuring a low level of tax avoidance), and the strong subsidization of goods that are complementary to working (ensuring a high level of labor force participation). The paper also presents descriptive evidence on a variety of social and cultural indicators that may help in explaining the economic and social success of Scandinavia.

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Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data

Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper combines income tax returns with Flow of Funds data to estimate the distribution of household wealth in the United States since 1913. We estimate wealth by capitalizing the incomes reported by individual taxpayers, accounting for assets that do not generate taxable income. We successfully test our capitalization method in three micro datasets where we can observe both income and wealth: the Survey of Consumer Finance, linked estate and income tax returns, and foundations' tax records. Wealth concentration has followed a U-shaped evolution over the last 100 years: It was high in the beginning of the twentieth century, fell from 1929 to 1978, and has continuously increased since then. The rise of wealth inequality is almost entirely due to the rise of the top 0.1% wealth share, from 7% in 1979 to 22% in 2012 -- a level almost as high as in 1929. The bottom 90% wealth share first increased up to the mid-1980s and then steadily declined. The increase in wealth concentration is due to the surge of top incomes combined with an increase in saving rate inequality. Top wealth-holders are younger today than in the 1960s and earn a higher fraction of total labor income in the economy. We explain how our findings can be reconciled with Survey of Consumer Finances and estate tax data.

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How Much (More) Should CEOs Make? A Universal Desire for More Equal Pay

Sorapop Kiatpongsan & Michael Norton
Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2014, Pages 587-593

Abstract:
Do people from different countries and different backgrounds have similar preferences for how much more the rich should earn than the poor? Using survey data from 40 countries (N = 55,238), we compare respondents’ estimates of the wages of people in different occupations — chief executive officers, cabinet ministers, and unskilled workers — to their ideals for what those wages should be. We show that ideal pay gaps between skilled and unskilled workers are significantly smaller than estimated pay gaps and that there is consensus across countries, socioeconomic status, and political beliefs. Moreover, data from 16 countries reveals that people dramatically underestimate actual pay inequality. In the United States — where underestimation was particularly pronounced — the actual pay ratio of CEOs to unskilled workers (354:1) far exceeded the estimated ratio (30:1), which in turn far exceeded the ideal ratio (7:1). In sum, respondents underestimate actual pay gaps, and their ideal pay gaps are even further from reality than those underestimates.

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Geographic Effects on Intergenerational Income Mobility

Jonathan Rothwell & Douglas Massey
Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on intergenerational economic mobility often ignores the geographic context of childhood, including neighborhood quality and local purchasing power. We hypothesize that individual variation in intergenerational mobility is partly attributable to regional and neighborhood conditions — most notably access to high-quality schools. Using restricted Panel Study of Income Dynamics and census data, we find that neighborhood income has roughly half the effect on future earnings as parental income. We estimate that lifetime household income would be $635,000 dollars higher if people born into a bottom-quartile neighborhood would have been raised in a top-quartile neighborhood. When incomes are adjusted to regional purchasing power, these effects become even larger. The neighborhood effect is two-thirds as large as the parental income effect, and the lifetime earnings difference increases to $910,000. We test the robustness of these findings to various assumptions and alternative models, and replicate the basic results using aggregated metropolitan-level statistics of intergenerational income elasticities based on millions of Internal Revenue Service records.

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Can Personality Traits and Intelligence Compensate for Background Disadvantage? Predicting Status Attainment in Adulthood

Rodica Damian et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated the interplay of family background and individual differences, such as personality traits and intelligence (measured in a large U.S. representative sample of high school students; N = 81,000) in predicting educational attainment, annual income, and occupational prestige 11 years later. Specifically, we tested whether individual differences followed 1 of 3 patterns in relation to parental socioeconomic status (SES) when predicting attained status: (a) the independent effects hypothesis (i.e., individual differences predict attainments independent of parental SES level), (b) the resource substitution hypothesis (i.e., individual differences are stronger predictors of attainments at lower levels of parental SES), and (c) the Matthew effect hypothesis (i.e., “the rich get richer”; individual differences are stronger predictors of attainments at higher levels of parental SES). We found that personality traits and intelligence in adolescence predicted later attained status above and beyond parental SES. A standard deviation increase in individual differences translated to up to 8 additional months of education, $4,233 annually, and more prestigious occupations. Furthermore, although we did find some evidence for both the resource substitution and the Matthew effect hypotheses, the most robust pattern across all models supported the independent effects hypothesis. Intelligence was the exception, the interaction models being more robust. Finally, we found that although personality traits may help compensate for background disadvantage to a small extent, they do not usually lead to a “full catch-up” effect, unlike intelligence. This was the first longitudinal study of status attainment to test interactive models of individual differences and background factors.

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High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%? Lessons from a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Income Risk

Fabian Kindermann & Dirk Krueger
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
In this paper we argue that very high marginal labor income tax rates are an effective tool for social insurance even when households have preferences with high labor supply elasticity, make dynamic savings decisions, and policies have general equilibrium effects. To make this point we construct a large scale Overlapping Generations Model with uninsurable labor productivity risk, show that it has a wealth distribution that matches the data well, and then use it to characterize fiscal policies that achieve a desired degree of redistribution in society. We find that marginal tax rates on the top 1% of the earnings distribution of close to 90% are optimal. We document that this result is robust to plausible variation in the labor supply elasticity and holds regardless of whether social welfare is measured at the steady state only or includes transitional generations.

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The effects of social origins and cognitive ability on educational attainment: Evidence from Britain and Sweden

Erzsébet Bukodi, Robert Erikson & John Goldthorpe
Acta Sociologica, November 2014, Pages 293-310

Abstract:
In previous work we have shown that in Britain and Sweden alike parental class, parental status and parental education have independent effects on individuals’ educational attainment. In this paper we extend our analyses, first by also including measures of individuals’ early-life cognitive ability, and second by bringing our results for Britain and Sweden into direct comparative form. On the basis of extensive birth-cohort data for both countries, we find that when cognitive ability is introduced into our analyses, parental class, status and education continue to have significant, and in fact only moderately reduced and largely persisting, effects on the educational attainment of members of successive cohorts. There is some limited evidence for Britain, but not for Sweden, that cognitive ability has a declining effect on educational attainment, and a further cross-national difference is that in Britain, but not in Sweden, some positive interaction effects occur between advantaged social origins and high cognitive ability in relation to educational success. Overall, though, cross-national similarities are most apparent, and especially in the extent to which parental class, status and education, when taken together, create wide disparities in the eventual educational attainment of individuals who in early life were placed at similar levels of cognitive ability. Some wider implications of these findings are considered.

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The mobility problem in Britain: New findings from the analysis of birth cohort data

Erzsébet Bukodi et al.
British Journal of Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social mobility is now a matter of greater political concern in Britain than at any time previously. However, the data available for the determination of mobility trends are less adequate today than two or three decades ago. It is widely believed in political and in media circles that social mobility is in decline. But the evidence so far available from sociological research, focused on intergenerational class mobility, is not supportive of this view. We present results based on a newly-constructed dataset covering four birth cohorts that provides improved data for the study of trends in class mobility and that also allows analyses to move from the twentieth into the twenty-first century. These results confirm that there has been no decline in mobility, whether considered in absolute or relative terms. In the case of women, there is in fact evidence of mobility increasing. However, the better quality and extended range of our data enable us to identify other ‘mobility problems’ than the supposed decline. Among the members of successive cohorts, the experience of absolute upward mobility is becoming less common and that of absolute downward mobility more common; and class-linked inequalities in relative chances of mobility and immobility appear wider than previously thought.

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A Schumpeterian Model of Top Income Inequality

Charles Jones & Jihee Kim
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Top income inequality rose sharply in the United States over the last 35 years but increased only slightly in economies like France and Japan. Why? This paper explores a model in which heterogeneous entrepreneurs, broadly interpreted, exert effort to generate exponential growth in their incomes. On its own, this force leads to rising inequality. Creative destruction by outside innovators restrains this expansion and induces top incomes to obey a Pareto distribution. The development of the world wide web, a reduction in top tax rates, and a decline in misallocation are examples of changes that raise the growth rate of entrepreneurial incomes and therefore increase Pareto inequality. In contrast, policies that stimulate creative destruction reduce top inequality. Examples include research subsidies or a decline in the extent to which incumbent firms can block new innovation. Differences in these considerations across countries and over time, perhaps associated with globalization, may explain the varied patterns of top income inequality that we see in the data.

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Family Socioeconomic Status, Peers, and the Path to College

Robert Crosnoe & Chandra Muller
Social Problems, November 2014, Pages 602-624

Abstract:
Drawing on the primary/secondary effects perspective of educational inequality, this mixed methods study investigated connections between high school students’ trajectories through college preparatory course work and their relationships with parents and peers as a channel in the intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic inequality. Growth curve and multilevel analyses of national survey and transcript data revealed that having college-educated parents differentiated students’ enrollment in advanced course work at the start of high school and that this initial disparity was stably maintained over subsequent years. During this starting period of high school, exposure to school-based peer groups characterized by higher levels of parent education appeared to amplify these course work disparities between students with and without college-educated parents. Ethnographic data from a single high school pointed to possible mechanisms for these patterns, including the tendency for students with college-educated parents to have more information about the relative weight of grades, core courses, and electives in college going and for academically relevant information from school peers with college-educated parents to matter most to students’ course work when it matched what was coming from their own parents.

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Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?

Edward Wolff & Maury Gittleman
Journal of Economic Inequality, December 2014, Pages 439-468

Abstract:
Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), we found that on average over the period from 1989 to 2007, about one fifth of American households at a given point of time reported a wealth transfer and these accounted for quite a sizeable figure, about a quarter of their net worth. Over the lifetime, about 30 percent of households could expect to receive a wealth transfer and these would account for close to 40 % of their net worth near time of death. However, there is little evidence of an inheritance “boom.” In fact, from 1989 to 2007, the share of households reporting a wealth transfer fell by 2.5 percentage points, a time trend statistically significant at the one percent level. The average value of inheritances received among all households did increase but at a slow pace, by 10 %; the time trend is not statistically significant. Wealth transfers as a proportion of current net worth fell sharply over this period, from 29 to 19 %, though the time trend once again is not statistically significant. We also found that inheritances and other wealth transfers tend to be equalizing in terms of the distribution of household wealth, though a number of caveats apply to this result.

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The Effect of Product Demand on Inequality: Evidence from the US and the UK

Marco Leonardi
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data this paper shows that more educated workers demand more high-skill-intensive services and, to a lower extent, more very low-skill-intensive services (such as personal services). Additional evidence at the MSA level shows that this "education elasticity of demand" mechanism can explain part of the correlation between the share of college-educated workers in a city and the employment share of service industries. The parametrization of a simple model suggests that this induced demand shift can explain around 6.5% of the relative demand shift in the US between 1984 and 2002. Similar results are provided for the UK.

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Keeping up with the Joneses: Who loses out?

David Ulph
Economics Letters, December 2014, Pages 400–403

Abstract:
When individuals compare themselves to those with the same wage-rate, status concerns – Keeping up with the Joneses – lead individuals to work who otherwise would have chosen not to, and, for them, well-being is a decreasing function of the wage rate.

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Do People with Specific Skills Want More Social Insurance? Not in the United States

Jeffrey Timmons & Jerry Nickelsburg
Economics & Politics, November 2014, Pages 457–482

Abstract:
Skill specificity is thought to increase preferences for social insurance (Iversen and Soskice, 2001, American Political Science Review 95,875), especially where employment protections are low, notably the United States (Gingrich and Ansell, 2012, Comparative Political Studies 45, 1624). The compensating differentials literature, by contrast, suggests that neither skill specificity, nor labor market protections affect preferences when wages adjust for differences in risks and investment costs. We examine these competing predictions using U.S. data on general and specific skills. Absolute and relative skill specificity have a robust positive correlation with income, but are negatively correlated with preferences for social protection. Our results strongly support the compensating differentials approach.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Code of ethics

Business culture and dishonesty in the banking industry

Alain Cohn, Ernst Fehr & Michel André Maréchal
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust in others’ honesty is a key component of the long-term performance of firms, industries, and even whole countries. However, in recent years, numerous scandals involving fraud have undermined confidence in the financial industry. Contemporary commentators have attributed these scandals to the financial sector’s business culture, but no scientific evidence supports this claim. Here we show that employees of a large, international bank behave, on average, honestly in a control condition. However, when their professional identity as bank employees is rendered salient, a significant proportion of them become dishonest. This effect is specific to bank employees because control experiments with employees from other industries and with students show that they do not become more dishonest when their professional identity or bank-related items are rendered salient. Our results thus suggest that the prevailing business culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important.

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The drunk utilitarian: Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas

Aaron Duke & Laurent Bègue
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 121–127

Abstract:
The hypothetical moral dilemma known as the trolley problem has become a methodological cornerstone in the psychological study of moral reasoning and yet, there remains considerable debate as to the meaning of utilitarian responding in these scenarios. It is unclear whether utilitarian responding results primarily from increased deliberative reasoning capacity or from decreased aversion to harming others. In order to clarify this question, we conducted two field studies to examine the effects of alcohol intoxication on utilitarian responding. Alcohol holds promise in clarifying the above debate because it impairs both social cognition (i.e., empathy) and higher-order executive functioning. Hence, the direction of the association between alcohol and utilitarian vs. non-utilitarian responding should inform the relative importance of both deliberative and social processing systems in influencing utilitarian preference. In two field studies with a combined sample of 103 men and women recruited at two bars in Grenoble, France, participants were presented with a moral dilemma assessing their willingness to sacrifice one life to save five others. Participants’ blood alcohol concentrations were found to positively correlate with utilitarian preferences (r = .31, p < .001) suggesting a stronger role for impaired social cognition than intact deliberative reasoning in predicting utilitarian responses in the trolley dilemma. Implications for Greene’s dual-process model of moral reasoning are discussed.

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Poker-faced morality: Concealing emotions leads to utilitarian decision making

Jooa Julia Lee & Francesca Gino
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 49–64

Abstract:
This paper examines how making deliberate efforts to regulate aversive affective responses influences people’s decisions in moral dilemmas. We hypothesize that emotion regulation — mainly suppression and reappraisal — will encourage utilitarian choices in emotionally charged contexts and that this effect will be mediated by the decision maker’s decreased deontological inclinations. In Study 1, we find that individuals who endorsed the utilitarian option (vs. the deontological option) were more likely to suppress their emotional expressions. In Studies 2a, 2b, and 3, we instruct participants to either regulate their emotions, using one of two different strategies (reappraisal vs. suppression), or not to regulate, and we collect data through the concurrent monitoring of psycho-physiological measures. We find that participants are more likely to make utilitarian decisions when asked to suppress their emotions rather than when they do not regulate their affect. In Study 4, we show that one’s reduced deontological inclinations mediate the relationship between emotion regulation and utilitarian decision making.

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Why So Serious? Experimental and Field Evidence that Morality and a Sense of Humor are Psychologically Incompatible

Kai Chi Yam
University of Washington Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Many of the jokes people enjoy carry a certain degree of moral violation. Since displaying humor often requires committing benign moral violations, we hypothesize that 1) a moral mindset stifles humor and 2) morally-focused people are less humorous, and are therefore less liked by their workplace peers. Participants primed with a moral mindset were less likely to appreciate humor that involved benign moral violations (Study 1) and less likely to generate jokes others found funny (Study 2) compared to participants in the control condition. Additional field studies demonstrated that morally-focused employees are seen as lacking a sense of humor by their coworkers and are therefore less liked and less socially popular (Studies 3 and 4). We further demonstrate that this mediational effect is stronger for targets who strongly endorse the purity/sanctity moral foundation (Study 4). These results suggest that morality and humor are to some degree psychologically incompatible, helping to explain why morally-focused individuals are often socially marginalized in organizations.

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What’s wrong? Moral understanding in psychopathic offenders

Eyal Aharoni, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Kent Kiehl
Journal of Research in Personality, December 2014, Pages 175–181

Abstract:
A prominent explanation for antisocial behavior in psychopathic offenders is that they cannot distinguish between right and wrong. Using a modified version of the classic Moral/Conventional Transgressions task that minimizes strategic responding, this study evaluated the hypothesis that psychopathic traits are negatively associated with moral classification accuracy. The task, which presents moral and non-moral hypothetical violations, was administered to 139 incarcerated offenders from three U.S. correctional facilities, 41 of whom met clinical criteria for psychopathy. No associations for classification accuracy were found as a function of psychopathy total score or its facets, controlling for age, gender, and race. This finding supports the argument that psychopathic offenders can demonstrate normal knowledge of wrongfulness. Implications for criminal responsibility are discussed.

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Dishonesty and charitable behavior

Doru Cojoc & Adrian Stoian
Experimental Economics, December 2014, Pages 717-732

Abstract:
We examine in the laboratory how having the opportunity to donate to a charity in the future affects the likelihood of engaging in dishonest behavior in the present. We also examine how charitable donations are affected by past ethical choices. First, subjects self-report their performance on a task, which provides them with an opportunity for undetected cheating. In the second stage they can donate some of the money earned in the first stage to a charity. Only subjects in the treatment group know about the opportunity to donate in the second stage. We find that more subjects cheat if they know they can donate some of the money to charity. We also find that subjects in treatment end up donating less to charity and that both honest and dishonest subjects donate less in treatment. We propose a new hypothesis that explains these results: past violations of social norms numb one’s conscience, leading to more antisocial behavior.

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‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial moral dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good

Guy Kahane et al.
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 193–209

Abstract:
A growing body of research has focused on so-called ‘utilitarian’ judgments in moral dilemmas in which participants have to choose whether to sacrifice one person in order to save the lives of a greater number. However, the relation between such ‘utilitarian’ judgments and genuine utilitarian impartial concern for the greater good remains unclear. Across four studies, we investigated the relationship between ‘utilitarian’ judgment in such sacrificial dilemmas and a range of traits, attitudes, judgments and behaviors that either reflect or reject an impartial concern for the greater good of all. In Study 1, we found that rates of ‘utilitarian’ judgment were associated with a broadly immoral outlook concerning clear ethical transgressions in a business context, as well as with sub-clinical psychopathy. In Study 2, we found that ‘utilitarian’ judgment was associated with greater endorsement of rational egoism, less donation of money to a charity, and less identification with the whole of humanity, a core feature of classical utilitarianism. In Studies 3 and 4, we found no association between ‘utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial dilemmas and characteristic utilitarian judgments relating to assistance to distant people in need, self-sacrifice and impartiality, even when the utilitarian justification for these judgments was made explicit and unequivocal. This lack of association remained even when we controlled for the antisocial element in ‘utilitarian’ judgment. Taken together, these results suggest that there is very little relation between sacrificial judgments in the hypothetical dilemmas that dominate current research, and a genuine utilitarian approach to ethics.

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Corporations are Cyborgs: Organizations elicit anger but not sympathy when they can think but cannot feel

Tage Rai & Daniel Diermeier
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 18–26

Abstract:
Across four experiments, participants saw companies as capable of having ‘agentic’ mental states, such as having intentions, but incapable of having ‘experiential’ mental states, such as feeling pain. This difference in mental state ascription caused companies to elicit anger as villains, but not sympathy as victims. Differences in sympathy were mediated by perceived capacities for experience. When participants had a background leading companies (i.e. senior executives) or when a recognizable brand (i.e. Google) was anthropomorphized, perceptions of experience increased and the sympathy gap disappeared. An organization seen as high in experience and low in agency (i.e. sports team) elicited more sympathy and less anger than companies. Our findings elucidate the mechanisms underlying the link between mental state ascription and moral judgment; the tendency to ascribe some mental states to organizations more easily than others; and the phenomenon whereby companies elicit anger as villains but fail to elicit sympathy as victims.

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Equity or equality? Moral judgments follow the money

Peter DeScioli et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 December 2014

Abstract:
Previous research emphasizes people's dispositions as a source of differences in moral views. We investigate another source of moral disagreement, self-interest. In three experiments, participants played a simple economic game in which one player divides money with a partner according to the principle of equality (same payoffs) or the principle of equity (payoffs proportional to effort expended). We find, first, that people's moral judgment of an allocation rule depends on their role in the game. People not only prefer the rule that most benefits them but also judge it to be more fair and moral. Second, we find that participants' views about equality and equity change in a matter of minutes as they learn where their interests lie. Finally, we find limits to self-interest: when the justification for equity is removed, participants no longer show strategic advocacy of the unequal division. We discuss implications for understanding moral debate and disagreement.

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Cold-hearted or cool-headed: Physical coldness promotes utilitarian moral judgment

Hiroko Nakamura et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2014

Abstract:
In the current study, we examine the effect of physical coldness on personal moral dilemma judgment. Previous studies have indicated that utilitarian moral judgment — sacrificing a few people to achieve the greater good for others — was facilitated when: (1) participants suppressed an initial emotional response and deliberately thought about the utility of outcomes; (2) participants had a high-level construal mindset and focused on abstract goals (e.g., save many); or (3) there was a decreasing emotional response to sacrificing a few. In two experiments, we exposed participants to extreme cold or typical room temperature and then asked them to make personal moral dilemma judgments. The results of Experiment 1 indicated that coldness prompted utilitarian judgment, but the effect of coldness was independent from deliberate thought or abstract high-level construal mindset. As Experiment 2 revealed, coldness facilitated utilitarian judgment via reduced empathic feelings. Therefore, physical coldness did not affect the “cool-headed” deliberate process or the abstract high-level construal mindset. Rather, coldness biased people toward being “cold-hearted,” reduced empathetic concern, and facilitated utilitarian moral judgments.

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Do Political Attitudes and Religiosity Share a Genetic Path?

Amanda Friesen & Aleksander Ksiazkiewicz
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social scientists have long recognized and sought to explain a connection between religious and political beliefs. Our research challenges the prevalent view that religion and politics constitute separate but related belief sets with a conceptual model that suggests the correlation between the two may be partially explained by an underlying psychological construct reflecting first principle beliefs on social organization. Moreover, we also push this challenge further by considering whether part of the relationship between political and religious beliefs is the result of shared genetic influences, which would suggest that a shared biological predisposition, or set of biological predispositions, underlies these attitudes. Using a classic twin design on a sample of American adults, we demonstrate that certain religious, political, and first principle beliefs can be explained by genetic and unique environmental components, and that the correlation between these three trait structures is primarily due to a common genetic path. As predicted, this relationship is found to hold for social ideology, but not for economic ideology. These findings provide evidence that the overlap between the religious and the political in the American context may in part be due to underlying principles regarding how to understand and organize society and that these principles may be adopted to satisfy biologically-influenced psychological needs.

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Forced to Be Bad: The Positive Impact of Low-Autonomy Vice Consumption on Consumer Vitality

Fangyuan Chen & Jaideep Sengupta
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the vitality produced by vices — products that offer immediate gratification at the cost of long-term adversity. While vices are intrinsically enjoyable, they also induce guilt. Our conceptualization incorporates these opposing forces to argue that vice consumption is unique in that lowering the consumer’s sense of autonomy actually results in higher vitality — in contrast to the positive relationship between autonomy and vitality that has been robustly documented in the literature. An examination of the vitality construct further suggests that low-autonomy vice consumption should consequently result in improved creativity as well as self-regulation. A set of four studies provides support for these and related implications. The obtained findings advance knowledge regarding vitality and its consequences, while they also provide insights into when and why vice consumption might actually be beneficial.

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Taking Punishment into Your Own Hands: An Experiment

Peter Duersch & Julia Müller
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a punishment experiment, we separate the demand for punishment in general from the demand to conduct punishment personally. Subjects experience an unfair split of their earnings from a real effort task and have to decide on the punishment of the person who determines the distribution. First, it is established whether the allocator’s payoff is reduced and, afterwards, subjects take part in a second price auction for the right to (physically) carry out the act of payoff reduction themselves. Subjects bid positive amounts and are happier if they get to punish personally.

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Manipulating Morality: Third-Party Intentions Alter Moral Judgments by Changing Causal Reasoning

Jonathan Phillips & Alex Shaw
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies investigate how the intentions of third parties influence judgments of moral responsibility for other agents who commit immoral acts. Using cases in which an agent acts under some situational constraint brought about by a third party, we ask whether the agent is blamed less for the immoral act when the third party intended for that act to occur. Study 1 demonstrates that third-party intentions do influence judgments of blame. Study 2 finds that third-party intentions only influence moral judgments when the agent's actions precisely match the third party's intention. Study 3 shows that this effect arises from changes in participants' causal perception that the third party was controlling the agent. Studies 4 and 5, respectively, show that the effect cannot be explained by changes in the distribution of blame or perceived differences in situational constraint faced by the agent.

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The Social Power of Regret: The Effect of Social Appraisal and Anticipated Emotions on Fair and Unfair Allocations in Resource Dilemmas

Job van der Schalk et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated how another person’s emotions about resource allocation decisions influence observers’ resource allocations by influencing the emotions that observers anticipate feeling if they were to act in the same way. Participants were exposed to an exemplar who made a fair or unfair division in an economic game and expressed pride or regret about this decision. Participants then made their own resource allocation decisions. Exemplar regret about acting fairly decreased the incidence of fair behavior (Studies 1A and 1B). Likewise, exemplar regret about acting unfairly increased the incidence of fair behavior (Study 2). The effect of others’ emotions on observers’ behavior was mediated by the observers’ anticipated emotions. We discuss our findings in light of the view that social appraisal and anticipated emotions are important tools for social learning and may contribute to the formation and maintenance of social norms about greed and fairness.

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Do Beliefs Justify Actions or Do Actions Justify Beliefs? An Experiment on Stated Beliefs, Revealed Beliefs, and Social-Image Manipulation

James Andreoni & Alison Sanchez
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We study whether actions are justified by beliefs, as is usually assumed, or whether beliefs are justified by actions. In our experiment, subjects participate in a trust game, after which they have an opportunity to state their beliefs about their opponent's actions. Subsequently, subjects participate in a task designed to "reveal" their true beliefs. We find that subjects who make selfish choices and show strategic sophistication falsely state their beliefs in order to project a more favorable social image. By contrast, their "revealed" beliefs were significantly more accurate, which betrayed these subjects as knowing that their selfishness was not justifiable by their opponent's behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fear factor

Sex Offender Law and the Geography of Victimization

Amanda Agan & J.J. Prescott
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2014, Pages 786-828

Abstract:
Sex offender laws that target recidivism (e.g., community notification and residency restriction regimes) are premised - at least in part - on the idea that sex offender proximity and victimization risk are positively correlated. We examine this relationship by combining past and current address information of registered sex offenders (RSOs) with crime data from Baltimore County, Maryland, to study how crime rates vary across neighborhoods with different concentrations of resident RSOs. Contrary to the assumptions of policymakers and the public, we find that, all else equal, reported sex offense victimization risk is generally (although not uniformly) lower in neighborhoods where more RSOs live. To further probe the relationship between where RSOs live and where sex crime occurs, we consider whether public knowledge of the identity and proximity of RSOs may make offending in those areas more difficult for (or less attractive to) all potential sex offenders. We exploit the fact that Maryland's registry became searchable via the Internet during our sample period to investigate how laws that publicly identify RSOs may change the relationship between the residential concentration of RSOs and neighborhood victimization risk. Surprisingly, for some categories of sex crime, notification appears to increase the relative risk of victimization in neighborhoods with greater concentrations of RSOs.

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Registered Sex Offenders and Reported Sex Offenses

Thomas Stucky & John Ottensmann
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Geographic restrictions on registered sex offenders (RSOs) have become commonplace. Such policies generally assume that sex offenses are likely to be higher near RSOs. Yet, few ecological studies have examined this question empirically. The current study examines whether incidences of reported sex offenses are higher in proximity to the addresses of RSOs. Specifically, we examine whether there is a relationship between the number of reported sex offenses and the number of RSOs living in square grid cells (and in 1,000, 1,500, and 2,500 ft radii of the cell centroid) in Indianapolis. Count models indicate that the number of RSOs in an area is not a robust predictor of reported sex offenses, net of controls.

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A Study of African American Serial Killers

David Lester & John White
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Fall 2014, Pages 308-316

Abstract:
A comparison of 57 African American serial killers since 1900 with 205 Euro-American serial killers on 83 variables revealed that African American serial killers killed fewer victims, committed fewer sexually deviant and violent acts in their crimes (such as less often torturing victims or committing bizarre sexual acts such as necrophilia), and seemed more normal in childhood.

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The Effect of Substance Use Disorder Treatment Use on Crime: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions and Health Insurance Parity Mandates

Hefei Wen, Jason Hockenberry & Janet Cummings
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effect of increasing the substance use disorder (SUD) treatment rate on reducing violent and property crime rates, based on county-level panels of SUD treatment and crime data between 2001 and 2008 across the United States. To address the potential endogeneity of the SUD treatment rate with respect to crime rate, we exploit the exogenous variation in the SUD treatment rate induced by two state-level policies, namely insurance expansions under the Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability (HIFA) waivers and parity mandates for SUD treatment. Once we address the endogeneity issue, we are able to demonstrate an economically meaningful reduction in the rates of robbery, aggravated assault and larceny theft attributable to an increased SUD treatment rate. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that a 10 percent relative increase in the SUD treatment rate at an average cost of $1.6 billion yields a crime reduction benefit of $2.5 billion to $4.8 billion. Our findings suggest that expanding insurance coverage and benefits for SUD treatment is an effective policy lever to improve treatment use, and the improved SUD treatment use can effectively and cost-effectively promote public safety through crime reduction.

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Your Friends and Neighbors: Localized Economic Development and Criminal Activity

Matthew Freedman & Emily Owens
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit a sudden shock to demand for a subset of low-wage workers generated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program in San Antonio, Texas to identify the effects of localized economic development on crime. We use a difference-in-differences methodology that takes advantage of variation in BRAC's impact over time and across neighborhoods. We find that appropriative criminal behavior increases in neighborhoods where a fraction of residents experienced increases in earnings. This effect is driven by residents who were unlikely to be BRAC beneficiaries, implying that criminal opportunities are important in explaining patterns of crime.

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Assessing the Relationship Between Police Use of Force and Inmate Offending (Rule Violations)

Charles Klahm, Benjamin Steiner & Benjamin Meade
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess the effects of exposure to police use of force on inmates' odds of offending in prison using survey data collected from a national sample of inmates. We found, net of relevant controls, prisoners subjected to police violence were more likely to engage in assaultive and other rule violating behavior, especially those who did not resist police authority. Consistent with the cycle of violence hypothesis, our findings suggest violence perpetrated by legal authorities produces similar effects to exposure to violence in general. Moreover, the consequences of police use of force are especially problematic when the recipient fails to perceive his or her treatment was fair, which supports the theoretical perspective on procedural fairness and legitimacy. Policy implications are discussed.

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Blowing it Up and Knocking it Down: The Local and Citywide Effects of Demolishing High-Concentration Public Housing on Crime

Dionissi Aliprantis & Daniel Hartley
Federal Reserve Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect that the closure and demolition of roughly 20,000 units of geographically concentrated high-rise public housing had on crime in Chicago. We estimate local effects of closures on crime in the neighborhoods where high-rises stood and in proximate neighborhoods. We also estimate the impact that households displaced from high-rises had on crime in the neighborhoods to which they moved and neighborhoods close to those. Overall, reductions in violent crime in and near the areas where high-rises were demolished greatly outweighed increases in violent crime associated with the arrival of displaced residents in new neighborhoods.

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How Do Mafias Organize? Conflict and Violence in Three Mafia Organizations

Maurizio Catino
European Journal of Sociology, August 2014, Pages 177-220

Abstract:
This article looks at three Italian mafia organizations (Cosa Nostra, Camorra, and 'Ndrangheta). It applies an organizational approach to the understanding of violence in mafia organizations by studying the relationship between their organizational orders and their criminal behavior. The article identifies two different organizational orders, vertical and horizontal, and demonstrates that Italian mafias, although operating in similar environments, can greatly differ from each other, and over time, in terms of their organizational model. Findings suggest that mafias with a vertical organizational order, due to the presence of higher levels of coordination, (1) have greater control over conflict, as proved by the lower number of "ordinary" murders; and (2) have greater capacity to fight state repression, as testified by the greater number of "high-profile" assassinations (e.g. politicians, magistrates, and other institutional members) that they carry out. Evidence is provided using a mixed-methods approach that combines a qualitative, organizational analysis of historical and judiciary sources, in order to reconstruct the organizational models and their evolution over time, with a quantitative analysis of assassination trends, in order to relate organizational orders to the use of violence.

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An Experimental Evaluation of the Impact of Intensive Supervision on the Recidivism of High-Risk Probationers

Jordan Hyatt & Geoffrey Barnes
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article reports the results of an experimental evaluation of the impact of Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) on probationer recidivism. Participants, who were assessed at an increased likelihood of committing serious crimes and not ordered to specialized supervision, were randomly assigned to ISP (n = 447) or standard probation (n = 385). ISP probationers received more restrictive supervision and experienced more office contacts, home visitations, and drug screenings. After 12 months, there was no difference in offending. This equivalence holds across multiple types of crimes, including violent, non-violent, property, and drug offenses, as well as in a survival analysis conducted for each offense type. ISP probationers absconded from supervision, were charged with technical violations, and were incarcerated at significantly higher rates. Policy implications for these results are discussed.

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Shackled labor markets: Bounding the causal effects of criminal convictions in the U.S.

Jeremiah Richey
International Review of Law and Economics, March 2015, Pages 17-24

Abstract:
This paper examines the causal effects of criminal convictions on labor market outcomes in young men using U.S. data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort. Unlike previous research in this area which relies on assumptions strong enough to obtain point identification, this paper imposes relatively weak nonparametric assumptions that provide tight bounds on treatment effects. Even in the absence of a parametric model, under certain specifications, a zero effect can be ruled out, though after a bias correction this result is lost. In general the results for the effect on yearly earnings align well with previous findings, though the estimated effect on weeks worked are smaller than in previous findings which focused on the effects of incarceration. The bounds here indicate the penalty from convictions, but not incarceration, lowers weeks worked by at most 1.55 weeks for white men and at most 4 weeks for black men. Interestingly, when those ever incarcerated are removed from the treatment group for black men, there does not appear to be any effect of convictions on earnings or wages but only on weeks worked.

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Citizen Information, Electoral Incentives, and Provision of Counter-Terrorism: An Experimental Approach

Andrew Bausch & Thomas Zeitzoff
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does incomplete information about counter-terror provisions influence the strategic interaction between a government, terrorist groups, and the citizenry? We investigate this research question using a laboratory experiment and present two key findings. (1) Public counter-terror spending leads citizens to overly frequent "protected" targets such that it makes them easier targets for terrorists. (2) Additionally, we show that citizens over-estimate government counter-terror spending when they are unable to observe it. These findings suggest that asymmetric information and the small probability of a successful terrorist attack may lead to the inefficient provision of counter-terror. We also connect the findings to the larger literature on the principal-agent relationship between citizens and elected officials.

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Law enforcement duties and sudden cardiac death among police officers in United States: Case distribution study

Vasileia Varvarigou et al.
British Medical Journal, November 2014

Objective: To assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.

Participants: Summaries of deaths of over 4500 US police officers provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Officer Down Memorial Page from 1984 to 2010.

Results: 441 sudden cardiac deaths were observed during the study period. Sudden cardiac death was associated with restraints/altercations (25%, n=108), physical training (20%, n=88), pursuits of suspects (12%, n=53), medical/rescue operations (8%, n=34), routine duties (23%, n=101), and other activities (11%, n=57). Compared with routine/non-emergency activities, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 34-69 times higher during restraints/altercations, 32-51 times higher during pursuits, 20-23 times higher during physical training, and 6-9 times higher during medical/rescue operations. Results were robust to all sensitivity and stability analyses.

Conclusions: Stressful law enforcement duties are associated with a risk of sudden cardiac death that is markedly higher than the risk during routine/non-emergency duties. Restraints/altercations and pursuits are associated with the greatest risk. Our findings have public health implications and suggest that primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention efforts are needed among law enforcement officers.

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Assessing Urban African American Youths' Exposure to Community Violence Through a Daily Sampling Method

Maryse Richards et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: The traditional use of retrospective self-report to measure exposure to community violence over long periods of time has limitations overcome by an approach described here. This article explores an innovative approach in assessing community violence exposure with time-sampling methodology, where reporting occurs within daily accounts to provide a more immediate measure of community violence exposure.

Method: Data were collected over 1 week from 169 urban African American young adolescents (M age = 11.7 years, SD = .70, 62% female) using questionnaires and the Daily Sampling Method, a diary technique that captures a child's daily accounts of community violence exposure (DCVE).

Results: Analyses revealed youth experienced 841 total violent incidents, or close to 1 daily incident per youth for the week. As expected, the majority of incidents occurred between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and in public settings. Unexpectedly, higher rates of both victimization and witnessing occurred during weekdays compared with weekend days, and girls reported significantly more DCVE than boys. The DCVE provide a unique glimpse into the more immediate experience of life in high-risk neighborhoods.

Conclusion: This study underscores the need to measure DCVE in ways that address the daily experience of youth living in high-risk environments. By identifying timing and location of exposure, we can develop interventions to keep youth safer from violence exposure.

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Playing Politics with Sex Offender Laws: An Event History Analysis of the Initial Community Notification Laws across American States

Bianca Easterly
Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite a decline in crime rates, the 1990s witnessed extensive media coverage of several high-profile stranger abductions and murders of children. State legislators' swift response to the public's growing fear of sex offenders with the adoption of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws raises questions about the role of politics. Punctuated equilibrium theory and the diffusion of innovation jointly provide a context to conduct an event history analysis to assess the extent to which politics enhanced legislative responsiveness to public opinion in SORN policymaking. Contrary to the commonly held belief that attributes legislative interest in SORN to salient crimes against children, the results suggest that factors such as the percentage of a conservative population, district-level competition, and state innovativeness accelerated the diffusion of innovation of the laws.

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Foreclosure, Vacancy and Crime

Lin Cui & Randall Walsh
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of residential foreclosures and vacancies on violent and property crime. To overcome confounding factors, a difference-in-difference research design is applied to a unique data set containing geocoded foreclosure and crime data from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Results indicate that while foreclosure alone has no effect on crime, violent crime rates increase by roughly 19% once the foreclosed home becomes vacant - an effect that increases with length of vacancy. We find weak evidence suggesting a potential vacancy effect for property crime that is much lower in magnitude.

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The Effects of Prison-Based Educational Programming on Recidivism and Employment

Grant Duwe & Valerie Clark
Prison Journal, December 2014, Pages 454-478

Abstract:
This study evaluated the effectiveness of prison-based educational programming by examining the effects of obtaining secondary and post-secondary degrees on recidivism and post-release employment outcomes among offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2007 and 2008. Obtaining a secondary degree in prison significantly increased the odds of securing post-release employment but did not have a significant effect on recidivism or other employment measures such as hourly wage, total hours worked, or total wages earned. Earning a post-secondary degree in prison, however, was associated with greater number of hours worked, higher overall wages, and less recidivism.

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The National Football League: Does Crime Increase on Game Day?

David Kalist & Daniel Lee
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates the effects of National Football League (NFL) games on crime. Using a panel data set that includes daily crime incidences in eight large cities with NFL teams, we examine how various measurements of criminal activities change on game day compared with nongame days. Our findings from both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regressions indicate that NFL home games are associated with a 2.6% increase in total crimes, while financially motivated crimes such as larceny and motor vehicle theft increase by 4.1% and 6.7%, respectively, on game days. However, we observe that play-off games are associated with a decrease in financially motivated crimes. The effects of game time (afternoon vs. evening) and upset wins and losses on crime are also considered.

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Predicting Two Types of Recidivism Among Newly Released Prisoners: First Addresses as "Launch Pads" for Recidivism or Reentry Success

Valerie Clark
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Separate studies have shown that a variety of postrelease housing placements for returning prisoners can significantly influence recidivism. Research has also found that contextual factors such as economic disadvantage can also significantly predict recidivism. This study combines those lines of research by examining the effects of five categories of postrelease housing placements as well as contextual measures of economic disadvantage on recidivism for newly released Minnesota state prisoners. Using multilevel analysis techniques, this research found that with one exception, certain postrelease housing situations, along with several other individual-level control variables, were more robust predictors of recidivism than contextual measures of disadvantage and poverty. This study highlights the significant impact that postrelease housing placements can have on the reentry process.

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Foreclosures and crime: A city-level analysis in Southern California of a dynamic process

John Hipp & Alyssa Chamberlain
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although a growing body of research has examined and found a positive relationship between neighborhood crime and home foreclosures, some research suggests this relationship may not hold in all cities. This study uses city-level data to assess the relationship between foreclosures and crime by estimating longitudinal models with lags for monthly foreclosure and crime data in 128 cities from 1996 to 2011 in Southern California. We test whether these effects are stronger in cities with a combination of high economic inequality and high economic segregation; and whether they are stronger in cities with high racial/ethnic heterogeneity and high racial segregation. One month, and cumulative three month, six month, and 12-month lags of foreclosures are found to increase city level crime for all crimes except motor vehicle theft. The effect of foreclosures on these crime types is stronger in cities with simultaneously high levels of inequality but low levels of economic segregation. The effect of foreclosures on aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary is stronger in cities with simultaneously high levels of racial heterogeneity and low levels of racial segregation. On the other hand, foreclosures had a stronger effect on larceny and motor vehicle theft when they occurred in a city with simultaneously high levels of racial heterogeneity and high levels of racial segregation. There is evidence that the foreclosure crisis had large scale impacts on cities, leading to higher crime rates in cities hit harder by foreclosures. Nonetheless, the economic and racial characteristics of the city altered this effect.

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The Effectiveness of Enhanced Parole Supervision and Community Services: New Jersey's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative

Bonita Veysey, Michael Ostermann & Jennifer Lanterman
Prison Journal, December 2014, Pages 435-453

Abstract:
In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, in collaboration with other federal partner agencies provided approximately US$110 million in funding to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to develop and/or fill gaps in reentry strategies through the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). This article describes the New Jersey SVORI intervention approach and evaluates its relative impacts on participants' rearrest rates. SVORI participants are compared with randomly selected parolees (n = 100) and unconditional releases (n = 100) that did not receive services through SVORI but otherwise met the inclusion criteria of the New Jersey SVORI intervention. Results indicate that SVORI participants were rearrested at a significantly lower rate during the follow-up period when compared with both of the non-SVORI groups. Policy issues are discussed by the authors.

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Is the 'Shadow of Sexual Assault' Responsible for Women's Higher Fear of Burglary?

Helmut Hirtenlehner & Stephen Farrall
British Journal of Criminology, November 2014, Pages 1167-1185

Abstract:
This article examines the 'shadow of sexual assault hypothesis' which posits that women's higher fear of crime, compared to males, can be attributed to their elevated fear of sexual victimization. We argue that the previous, overwhelmingly supportive, research on this issue is incomplete in three ways: (1) the thesis has not yet been extensively tested outside of North America, (2) competing, possibly overlaying, shadow effects of physical violence have widely been ignored and (3) perceptually contemporaneous offences have always been measured in an indirect manner. Drawing on the example of fear of burglary, this work tackles the aforementioned deficiencies. Results from a crime survey conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that, when relying on a rather traditional test strategy, the 'shadow of sexual assault hypothesis' is supported. However, the findings are highly contingent on the employed methodology. When utilizing direct measures of perceptually contemporaneous offences, only physical, not sexual, assault turns out to cast a shadow over fear of burglary. The impact of fear of rape would appear to be reduced considerably once fear of broader physical harm is taken into account. We conclude that much of the existing evidence for the shadow thesis can be challenged on the grounds of failing to control for the effects of non-sexual physical assault and drawing on an inadequate operationalization of perceptually contemporaneous offences.

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Economic Dominance, the "American Dream," and Homicide: A Cross-National Test of Institutional Anomie Theory

Lorine Hughes, Lonnie Schaible & Benjamin Gibbs
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article presents a cross-national test of Messner and Rosenfeld's (1994) institutional anomie theory. Drawing on multiple data sources, including the United Nations, World Bank, World Values Survey, and Heritage Foundation, we examine relationships between economic dominance, indicators of culture, and homicide among a sample of 50 nations. Additionally, we assess the thesis of "American exceptionalism," a unique cultural complex implicated by Messner and Rosenfeld as a cause of high rates of serious crime in the United States. Results from OLS regression models provide mixed support for the theory. While none of the theoretical predictors exhibits a statistically significant direct effect on homicide, findings suggest that homicide occurs most often in countries where free-market principles and practices drive the economy and where core cultural commitments are oriented toward achievement, individualism, fetishism of money, and universalism. However, contrary to expectations, the impact of a market-driven economy is not more pronounced in countries with weakened non-economic institutions, and results provide only limited evidence in support of the American exceptionalism thesis. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Get a life

People search for meaning when they approach a new decade in chronological age

Adam Alter & Hal Hershfield
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although humans measure time using a continuous scale, certain numerical ages inspire greater self-reflection than others. Six studies show that adults undertake a search for existential meaning when they approach a new decade in age (e.g., at ages 29, 39, 49, etc.) or imagine entering a new epoch, which leads them to behave in ways that suggest an ongoing or failed search for meaning (e.g., by exercising more vigorously, seeking extramarital affairs, or choosing to end their lives).

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Availability of Outpatient Care From Psychiatrists: A Simulated-Patient Study in Three U.S. Cities

Monica Malowney et al.
Psychiatric Services, forthcoming

Objectives: The study examined availability of psychiatrists for outpatient appointments in three U.S. cities.

Methods: Posing as patients, investigators called 360 psychiatrists listed in a major insurer’s database in Boston, Houston, and Chicago (N=120 per city) and attempted to make appointments. Callers claimed to have Blue Cross Blue Shield or Medicare or said they would pay out of pocket (N=120 per payer type, divided evenly across cities).

Results: In round 1 of calling, investigators were able to reach 119 of the 360 psychiatrists (33%). Of 216 unanswered calls, 35 were returned. After two calling rounds, appointments were made with 93 psychiatrists (26%). Significant differences were noted between cities but not between payer type.

Conclusions: Obtaining outpatient appointments with psychiatrists in three cities was difficult, irrespective of payer. Results suggest that expanding insurance coverage alone may do little to improve access to psychiatrists — or worse, expansion might further overwhelm the capacity of available services.

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Associations Between Subjective Social Status and DSM-IV Mental Disorders: Results From the World Mental Health Surveys

Kate Scott et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Importance: The inverse social gradient in mental disorders is a well-established research finding with important implications for causal models and policy. This research has used traditional objective social status (OSS) measures, such as educational level, income, and occupation. Recently, subjective social status (SSS) measurement has been advocated to capture the perception of relative social status, but to our knowledge, there have been no studies of associations between SSS and mental disorders.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Face-to-face cross-sectional household surveys of community-dwelling adults in 18 countries in Asia, South Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East (N = 56 085). Subjective social status was assessed with a self-anchoring scale reflecting respondent evaluations of their place in the social hierarchies of their countries in terms of income, educational level, and occupation. Scores on the 1 to 10 SSS scale were categorized into 4 categories: low (scores 1-3), low-mid (scores 4-5), high-mid (scores 6-7), and high (scores 8-10). Objective social status was assessed with a wide range of fine-grained objective indicators of income, educational level, and occupation.

Results: The weighted mean survey response rate was 75.2% (range, 55.1%-97.2%). Graded inverse associations were found between SSS and all 16 mental disorders. Gross odds ratios (lowest vs highest SSS categories) in the range of 1.8 to 9.0 were attenuated but remained significant for all 16 disorders (odds ratio, 1.4-4.9) after adjusting for OSS indicators. This pattern of inverse association between SSS and mental disorders was significant in 14 of 18 individual countries, and in low-, middle-, and high-income country groups but was significantly stronger in high- vs lower-income countries.

Conclusions and Relevance: Significant inverse associations between SSS and numerous DSM-IV mental disorders exist across a wide range of countries even after comprehensive adjustment for OSS. Although it is unclear whether these associations are the result of social selection, social causation, or both, these results document clearly that research relying exclusively on standard OSS measures underestimates the steepness of the social gradient in mental disorders.

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Psychiatric disorders and left-handedness in children living in an urban environment

Dora Due Logue et al.
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The objective of this study was to conduct an analysis of left-handed children treated in an urban mental health clinic to investigate the frequency and severity of psychiatric disorders compared to right-handed peers. Data on handedness, diagnoses, hospitalizations and severity of mental disorders were collected on 692 consecutive children, 4–18 years old (M = 10.1, SD = 3.2), referred for psychiatric evaluation. Left-handed children were 18.2% of patients in the study, a rate significantly higher than left-hand dominance in the USA (p < .05). Compared to children with right-handedness, logistic regression analysis yielded 31% [odds ratio (OR) = 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15–1.50] higher odds of having more psychiatric diagnosis, 70% (OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.10–2.62) increased odds of anxiety, 53% (OR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.03–2.27) increased odds of depression and 78% (OR = 1.78, 95% CI: 1.21–2.62) increased odds of oppositional defiant disorder for children who were left-handed. Left-handed children had increased odds of being prescribed antipsychotic and anxiolytic medication uses, 53% and 86% increased odds, respectively, and 66% (OR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.08–2.55) increased odds of psychiatric hospitalizations. Left-handedness was a phenotypic risk factor for psychiatric disorders and increased severity of psychiatric disorders.

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So what if the clock strikes? Scheduling style, control, and well-being

Anne-Laure Sellier & Tamar Avnet
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 791-808

Abstract:
Individuals vary in the way they schedule their daily tasks and activities. In particular, 2 scheduling styles are commonly followed: clock-time (where tasks are organized based on a clock) and event-time (where tasks are organized based on their order of completion). This research shows that adopting a clock-time or an event-time scheduling style has consequences that go beyond the direct effect on task organization. In particular, adopting 1 scheduling style versus the other is shown to potentially influence personal control and well-being. We demonstrate that the reliance on clock- versus event-time affects individuals’ perception of the causal relationship between events in the social world (Experiments 1 and 2). Specifically, we show that individuals following clock-time rather than event-time discriminate less between causally related and causally unrelated events, which in turn increases their belief that the world is controlled by chance or fate. In contrast, individuals following event-time (vs. clock-time) appear to believe that things happen more as a result of their own actions. We further show that this difference in internal locus of control compromises the ability of individuals following clock-time to savor positive emotions (Experiments 3a–5). We discuss the implications of these findings for future research in social and cognitive psychology.

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The Great Recession, unemployment and suicide

Thor Norström & Hans Grönqvist
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: How have suicide rates responded to the marked increase in unemployment spurred by the Great Recession? Our paper puts this issue into a wider perspective by assessing (1) whether the unemployment-suicide link is modified by the degree of unemployment protection, and (2) whether the effect on suicide of the present crisis differs from the effects of previous economic downturns.

Methods: We analysed the unemployment-suicide link using time-series data for 30 countries spanning the period 1960–2012. Separate fixed-effects models were estimated for each of five welfare state regimes with different levels of unemployment protection (Eastern, Southern, Anglo-Saxon, Bismarckian and Scandinavian). We included an interaction term to capture the possible excess effect of unemployment during the Great Recession.

Results: The largest unemployment increases occurred in the welfare state regimes with the least generous unemployment protection. The unemployment effect on male suicides was statistically significant in all welfare regimes, except the Scandinavian one. The effect on female suicides was significant only in the eastern European country group. There was a significant gradient in the effects, being stronger the less generous the unemployment protection. The interaction term capturing the possible excess effect of unemployment during the financial crisis was not significant.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the more generous the unemployment protection the weaker the detrimental impact on suicide of the increasing unemployment during the Great Recession.

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Sick in the head? Pathogen concerns bias implicit perceptions of mental illness

Erik Lund & Ian Boggero
Evolutionary Psychology, Fall 2014, Pages 706-718

Abstract:
Biases against the mentally ill are historically and cross-culturally pervasive, suggesting they may have an evolutionary basis. The prevailing view is that people seek to distance themselves from the mentally ill because they are perceived as dangerous, violent, and incompetent. However, because of similarities between sickness behaviors and symptoms of some mental disorders, it was hypothesized that mental illness stigma could be partially explained as a function of behavioral immune system biases designed to avoid potential sources of contagion. In two experiments, it was found that mental illness was implicitly associated more with disease than danger. In Experiment 1, this implicit association was exacerbated among people who have had their biological immune system activated by a recent illness. In Experiment 2, experimentally priming disease salience increased implicit association between mental illness and disease. Implications for the evolutionary origins of prejudice and the prevention of mental illness stigma are discussed.

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Suicide and the Creative Class

Matthew Moore, Nicholas Recker & Mark Heirigs
Social Indicators Research, December 2014, Pages 1613-1626

Abstract:
The tenth leading cause of death in the United States in 2009 was suicide. Emile Durkheim demonstrated that suicide can be studied as a social phenomenon. However, sociologists have been oddly silent on the subject in recent years. Research that has been done by sociologists on suicide has examined the role social capital plays in reducing suicide. However, Richard Florida has argued that today communities are not developing around social capital, but instead moving toward his creative capital model. No study has been done examining the association between creative capital and suicide. This analysis examined what developing around a creative capital model means for suicide. The findings demonstrate that there is a positive association between creative capital and suicide. The current analysis should give pause to communities attempting to develop around the creative capital model.

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Does Childhood Predict Adult Life Satisfaction? Evidence from British Cohort Surveys

Paul Frijters, David Johnston & Michael Shields
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F688–F719

Abstract:
We investigate the extent to which childhood characteristics are predictive of adult life satisfaction using data from two British cohort studies. In total, variables observed up to age 16 predict around 7% of the variation in average adult life satisfaction. Adding contemporaneous adulthood variables increases the predictive power to 15.6%, while adding long lags of life satisfaction increases it to 35.5%. Overall, we estimate that around 30–45% of adult life satisfaction is fixed, suggesting that 55–70% is transitory in nature, and that a wide range of observed childhood circumstances capture about 15% of the fixed component.

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What Predicts a Successful Life? A Life-course Model of Well-being

Richard Layard et al.
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F720–F738

Abstract:
Policy makers who care about well-being need a recursive model of how adult life-satisfaction is predicted by childhood influences, acting both directly and (indirectly) through adult circumstances. We estimate such a model using the British Cohort Study (1970). We show that the most powerful childhood predictor of adult life-satisfaction is the child's emotional health, followed by the child's conduct. The least powerful predictor is the child's intellectual development. This may have implications for educational policy. Among adult circumstances, family income accounts for only 0.5% of the variance of life-satisfaction. Mental and physical health are much more important.

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Automatic control of negative emotions: Evidence that structured practice increases the efficiency of emotion regulation

Spyros Christou-Champi, Tom Farrow & Thomas Webb
Cognition and Emotion, Winter 2014, Pages 319-331

Abstract:
Emotion regulation (ER) is vital to everyday functioning. However, the effortful nature of many forms of ER may lead to regulation being inefficient and potentially ineffective. The present research examined whether structured practice could increase the efficiency of ER. During three training sessions, comprising a total of 150 training trials, participants were presented with negatively valenced images and asked either to “attend” (control condition) or “reappraise” (ER condition). A further group of participants did not participate in training but only completed follow-up measures. Practice increased the efficiency of ER as indexed by decreased time required to regulate emotions and increased heart rate variability (HRV). Furthermore, participants in the ER condition spontaneously regulated their negative emotions two weeks later and reported being more habitual in their use of ER. These findings indicate that structured practice can facilitate the automatic control of negative emotions and that these effects persist beyond training.

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Prevalence rates for depression by industry: A claims database analysis

Lawson Wulsin et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, November 2014, Pages 1805-1821

Purpose: To estimate and interpret differences in depression prevalence rates among industries, using a large, group medical claims database.

Methods: Depression cases were identified by ICD-9 diagnosis code in a population of 214,413 individuals employed during 2002–2005 by employers based in western Pennsylvania. Data were provided by Highmark, Inc. (Pittsburgh and Camp Hill, PA). Rates were adjusted for age, gender, and employee share of health care costs. National industry measures of psychological distress, work stress, and physical activity at work were also compiled from other data sources.

Results: Rates for clinical depression in 55 industries ranged from 6.9 to 16.2 %, (population rate = 10.45 %). Industries with the highest rates tended to be those which, on the national level, require frequent or difficult interactions with the public or clients, and have high levels of stress and low levels of physical activity.

Conclusions: Additional research is needed to help identify industries with relatively high rates of depression in other regions and on the national level, and to determine whether these differences are due in part to specific work stress exposures and physical inactivity at work.

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Neural and genetic markers of vulnerability to posttraumatic stress symptoms among survivors of the World Trade Center attacks

Andreas Olsson et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although recent research has begun to describe the neural and genetic processes underlying variability in responses to trauma, less is known about how these processes interact. We addressed this issue by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the relationship between post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS), a common genetic polymorphism of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene, and neural activity in response to viewing images associated with the 9/11 terrorist attack among a rare sample of high-exposure 9/11 survivors (n=17). Participants varied in whether they carried a copy of the short allele in the promoter region of the 5-HTT gene. During scanning, participants viewed images of the 9/11 attack, non-9/11 negative, and neutral images. Three key findings are reported. First, carriers of the short allele displayed higher levels of PTSS. Second, both PTSS and the presence of the short allele correlated negatively with activity in a network of cortical midline regions (e.g. the retrosplenal and more posterior cingulate corticies [PCC]) implicated in episodic memories and self-reflection when viewing 9/11 versus non-9/11 negative control images. Finally, exploratory analyses indicated that PCC activity mediated the relationship between genotype and PTSS. These results highlight the role of PCC in distress following trauma.

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Understanding the POW Experience: Stress Research and the Implementation of the 1955 U.S. Armed Forces Code of Conduct

Robert Genter
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Facing accusations about weak military discipline following the supposedly poor behavior of American soldiers held captive during the Korean War, President Dwight Eisenhower instituted a Code of Conduct for the Armed Services in 1955. In response, military leaders hired numerous social and behavioral scientists to investigate the nature of the prisoner-of-war (POW) experience. These researchers not only challenged official government accounts of POW activities but opened up a new field of study — stress research. They also changed military training policy, which soon focused more on stress inoculation training, and, in so doing, helped lead the shift in psychology away from behaviorism to ego and cognitive psychology. In this sense, my article ties shifts within the social and behavioral sciences in the 1950s to the military history of the early Cold War, a connection generally missing from most accounts of this period.

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Working memory training improves emotional states of healthy individuals

Hikaru Takeuchi et al.
Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, October 2014

Abstract:
Working memory (WM) capacity is associated with various emotional aspects, including states of depression and stress, reactions to emotional stimuli, and regulatory behaviors. We have previously investigated the effects of WM training (WMT) on cognitive functions and brain structures. However, the effects of WMT on emotional states and related neural mechanisms among healthy young adults remain unknown. In the present study, we investigated these effects in young adults who underwent WMT or received no intervention for 4 weeks. Before and after the intervention, subjects completed self-report questionnaires related to their emotional states and underwent scanning sessions in which brain activities related to negative emotions were measured. Compared with controls, subjects who underwent WMT showed reduced anger, fatigue, and depression. Furthermore, WMT reduced activity in the left posterior insula during tasks evoking negative emotion, which was related to anger. It also reduced activity in the left frontoparietal area. These findings show that WMT can reduce negative mood and provide new insight into the clinical applications of WMT, at least among subjects with preclinical-level conditions.

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A Pilot Examination of the Use of Narrative Therapy With Individuals Diagnosed With PTSD

Christopher Erbes et al.
Journal of Traumatic Stress, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narrative therapy is a postmodern, collaborative therapy approach based on the elaboration of personal narratives for lived experiences. Many aspects of narrative therapy suggest it may have great potential for helping people who are negatively affected by traumatic experiences, including those diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The potential notwithstanding, narrative therapy is relatively untested in any population, and has yet to receive empirical support for treatment among survivors of trauma. A pilot investigation of the use of narrative therapy with 14 veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD (11 treatment completers) is described. Participants completed structured diagnostic interviews and self-report assessments of symptoms prior to and following 11 to 12 sessions of narrative therapy. After treatment, 3 of 11 treatment completers no longer met criteria for PTSD and 7 of 11 had clinically significant decreases in PTSD symptoms as measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale. Pre- to posttreatment effect sizes on outcomes ranged from 0.57 to 0.88. These preliminary results, in conjunction with low rates of treatment dropout (21.4%) and a high level of reported satisfaction with the treatment, suggest that further study of narrative therapy is warranted as a potential alternative to existing treatments for PTSD.

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Free Will, Counterfactual Reflection, and the Meaningfulness of Life Events

Elizabeth Seto et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found that counterfactual reflection, the act of mentally undoing past events, imbues major life experiences with meaning. The current studies examined whether individual differences in free will beliefs moderate this relationship. Participants described a significant event in their lives, were randomly assigned to counterfactual or factual reflection about the event, and completed measures of meaning and free will. Two studies found that counterfactual reflection enhanced the meaningfulness of life events for people with high belief in free will but not for people with low belief in free will. These studies suggest that beliefs in free will are an important factor in meaning-making processes.

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Spillover Effects in Health Service Use: Evidence from Mental Health Care Using First-Year College Housing Assignments

Ezra Golberstein, Daniel Eisenberg & Marilyn Downs
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spillover effects in health service use may represent an important externality of individual treatment decisions and are important for understanding the consequences of interventions to improve access to health care. This study is the first to our knowledge to examine causal spillover effects for mental health service use. We exploit the natural experiment of first-year student housing assignments at two universities using survey data that we collected. When the peer group is defined at the roommate level, we do not find any spillover effects on service use. When the peer group is defined at the hall level, we find positive spillover effects — peers' service use increases one's own service use — and this effect is driven by individuals with prior experience with mental health services. We also find some evidence that the mechanism behind this effect is improved beliefs about treatment effectiveness.

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Do (Even) Depressed Individuals Believe That Life Gets Better and Better? The Link Between Depression and Subjective Trajectories for Life Satisfaction

Michael Busseri & Emily Peck
Clinical Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the widespread belief that life gets better and better over time — as revealed in individuals’ “subjective trajectories” for life satisfaction (LS) derived from their ratings of recollected past, current, and anticipated future LS — among depressed (i.e., current major depressive disorder, fully remitted, partially remitted) and nondepressed groups using a two-wave longitudinal sample of American adults. Linear and inclining subjective trajectories (past LS < current LS < future LS) were normative among nondepressed individuals, as were nonlinear but inclining subjective trajectories (past LS ~ current LS < future LS) among depressed individuals. Furthermore, Wave 1 temporal-perspective LS ratings uniquely predicted risk of depression 10 years later (Wave 2), even after we controlled for baseline depression status. Thus, the use of a novel temporally expanded perspective revealed that even depressed individuals view their lives as improving over time and that such beliefs predict heightened (rather than less) risk of future depression.

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Control in the Face of Uncertainty: Is Job Insecurity a Challenge to the Mental Health Benefits of Control Beliefs?

Paul Glavin & Scott Schieman
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The mental health benefits of the sense of personal control are well documented, but do these benefits persist in social contexts of powerlessness and uncertainty? Drawing from two national panel surveys of American and Canadian workers, we examine whether the association between perceived control and reduced distress is undermined by the uncertainty of threatened employment. While we find evidence that higher levels of perceived control are associated with reduced distress, the association is curvilinear among insecure workers, such that subsequent increases in control produce diminishing reductions in distress for workers reporting the threat of job loss. This curvilinear pattern is particularly prominent among American insecure workers, with higher than moderate levels of control associated with more rather than less distress for this group. We draw from Mirowsky and Ross’s “instrumental realism” model to interpret these patterns and suggest that high control beliefs may be less beneficial for mental health in uncertain role contexts.

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Genomic predictors of combat stress vulnerability and resilience in U.S. Marines: A genome-wide association study across multiple ancestries implicates PRTFDC1 as a potential PTSD gene

Caroline Nievergelt et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Background: Research on the etiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has rapidly matured, moving from candidate gene studies to interrogation of the entire human genome in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Here we present the results of a GWAS performed on samples from combat-exposed US Marines and Sailors from the Marine Resiliency study (MRS) scheduled for deployment to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The MRS is a large, prospective study with longitudinal follow-up designed to identify risk and resiliency factors for combat-induced stress-related symptoms. Previously implicated PTSD risk loci from the literature and polygenic risk scores across psychiatric disorders were also evaluated in the MRS cohort.

Methods: Participants (N = 3,494) were assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale and diagnosed using the DSM-IV diagnostic criterion. Subjects with partial and/or full PTSD diagnosis were called cases, all other subjects were designated controls, and study-wide maximum CAPS scores were used for longitudinal assessments. Genomic DNA was genotyped on the Illumina HumanOmniExpressExome array. Individual genetic ancestry was determined by supervised cluster analysis for subjects of European, African, Hispanic/Native American, and other descent. To test for association of SNPs with PTSD, logistic regressions were performed within each ancestry group and results were combined in meta-analyses. Measures of childhood and adult trauma were included to test for gene-by-environment (GxE) interactions. Polygenic risk scores from the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium were used for major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BPD), and schizophrenia (SCZ).

Results: The array produced >800 K directly genotyped and >21 M imputed markers in 3,494 unrelated, trauma-exposed males, of which 940 were diagnosed with partial or full PTSD. The GWAS meta-analysis identified the phosphoribosyl transferase domain containing 1 gene (PRTFDC1) as a genome-wide significant PTSD locus (rs6482463; OR = 1.47, SE = 0.06, p = 2.04 × 10−9), with a similar effect across ancestry groups. Association of PRTFDC1 with PTSD in an independent military cohort showed some evidence for replication. Loci with suggestive evidence of association (n = 25 genes, p < 5 × 10−6) further implicated genes related to immune response and the ubiquitin system, but these findings remain to be replicated in larger GWASs. A replication analysis of 25 putative PTSD genes from the literature found nominally significant SNPs for the majority of these genes, but associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple comparison. A cross-disorder analysis of polygenic risk scores from GWASs of BPD, MDD, and SCZ found that PTSD diagnosis was associated with risk sores of BPD, but not with MDD or SCZ.

Conclusions: This first multi-ethnic/racial GWAS of PTSD highlights the potential to increase power through meta-analyses across ancestry groups. We found evidence for PRTFDC1 as a potential novel PTSD gene, a finding that awaits further replication. Our findings indicate that the genetic architecture of PTSD may be determined by many SNPs with small effects, and overlap with other neuropsychiatric disorders, consistent with current findings from large GWAS of other psychiatric disorders.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gender preference

Resource Effects on In-Group Boundary Formation With Regard to Sexual Identity

Allison Vaughn, Sierra Cronan & Adam Beavers
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that resource scarcity decreases inclusiveness of racially ambiguous individuals when categorizing racial in-group members. Given that sexual identity can be visually ambiguous, the present studies sought to test this effect on in-group boundary formation for sexual identity in-groups. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to view a slideshow representing resource scarcity or abundance (i.e., priming procedure). Next, participants categorized 24 photographs into sexual identity groups. As predicted, participants in the scarcity condition categorized fewer faces as in-group members compared to those in the abundance condition. In Study 3, a no-prime control group revealed that for straight participants, in-group overexclusion was due to a perceived resource scarcity, while for sexual minority participants, this effect was due to perceived resource abundance. Implications are discussed in terms of real-world applications of the findings as well as the methodology utilized in this study.

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Formal Rights and Informal Privileges for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment

Long Doan, Annalise Loehr & Lisa Miller
American Sociological Review, December 2014, Pages 1172-1195

Abstract:
Attitudes toward gay rights have liberalized over the past few decades, but scholars know less about the extent to which individuals in the United States exhibit subtle forms of prejudice toward lesbians and gays. To help address this issue, we offer a conceptualization of formal rights and informal privileges. Using original data from a nationally representative survey experiment, we examine whether people distinguish between formal rights (e.g., partnership benefits) and informal privileges (e.g., public displays of affection) in their attitudes toward same-sex couples. Results show that heterosexuals are as willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples as they are to unmarried heterosexual couples. However, they are less willing to grant informal privileges. Lesbians and gays are more willing to extend formal rights to same-sex couples, but they too are sometimes more supportive of informal privileges for heterosexual couples. We also find that heterosexuals’ attitudes toward marriage more closely align with their attitudes toward informal privileges than formal rights, whereas lesbians and gays view marriage similarly to both formal rights and informal privileges. Our findings highlight the need to examine multiple dimensions of sexual prejudice to help understand how informal types of prejudice persist as minority groups receive formal rights.

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Sexual Minority Women and Depressive Symptoms Throughout Adulthood

Maria Pyra et al.
American Journal of Public Health, December 2014, Pages e83-e90

Objectives: We examined the associations between depressive symptoms and sexual identity and behavior among women with or at risk for HIV.

Methods: We analyzed longitudinal data from 1811 participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) from 1994 to 2013 in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, by comparing depressive symptoms by baseline sexual identity and ongoing sexual behavior. We controlled for age, socioeconomic status, violence history, and substance use.

Results: In separate analyses, bisexual women and women who reported having sex with both men and women during follow-up had higher unadjusted odds of depressive symptoms compared with heterosexuals and women who reported only having male sexual partners (adjusted odd ratio [AOR] = 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI]  = 1.10, 1.69 and AOR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.06, 1.37, respectively). Age was a significant effect modifier in multivariable analysis; sexual minority women had increased odds of depressive symptoms in early adulthood, but they did not have these odds at midlife. Odds of depressive symptoms were lower among some sexual minority women at older ages.

Conclusions: Patterns of depressive symptoms over the life course of sexual minority women with or at risk for HIV might differ from heterosexual women and from patterns observed in the general aging population.

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Challenging Gender Stereotypes: Resistance and Exclusion

Kelly Lynn Mulvey & Melanie Killen
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
The likelihood of resisting gender-stereotypic peer group norms, along with expectations about personal resistance, was investigated in 9- to 10-year-olds and 13- to 14-year-olds (N = 292). Participants were told about a stereotype conforming group (boys playing football; girls doing ballet) and a stereotype nonconforming group (boys doing ballet; girls playing football). Contrary to expectations from gender-stereotyping research, participants stated that they would personally resist gender-stereotypic norms, and more so than they would expect their peers to resist. However, expecting peers to resist declined with age. Participants expected that exclusion from the group was a consequence for challenging the peer group, and understood the asymmetrical status of gender stereotypes with an expectation that it would be more difficult for boys to challenge stereotypes than for girls.

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Birth weight and two possible types of maternal effects on male sexual orientation: A clinical study of children and adolescents referred to a Gender Identity Service

Doug VanderLaan et al.
Developmental Psychobiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested predictions regarding two hypothesized maternal immune responses influencing sexual orientation: one affecting homosexual males with high fraternal birth order and another affecting firstborn homosexual individuals whose mothers experience repeated miscarriage after the birth of the first child. Low birth weight was treated as a marker of possible exposure to a maternal immune response during gestation. Birth weight was examined relative to sibship characteristics in a clinical sample of youth (N = 1,722) classified as heterosexual or homosexual based on self-reported or probable sexual orientation. No female sexual orientation differences in birth weight were found. Homosexual, compared to heterosexual, males showed lower birth weight if they had one or more older brothers — and especially two or more older brothers — or if they were an only-child. These findings support the existence of two maternal immune responses influencing male sexual orientation and possibly also cross-gender behavior and identity.

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Labelling and discrimination: Do homophobic epithets undermine fair distribution of resources?

Fabio Fasoli, Anne Maass & Andrea Carnaghi
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigated the behavioural consequences of homophobic epithets. After exposure to either a category or a homophobic label, heterosexual participants allocated fictitious resources to two different prevention programmes: one mainly relevant to heterosexuals (sterility prevention), the other to homosexuals (AIDS-HIV prevention). Responses on allocation matrices served to identify strategies that favoured the ingroup over the outgroup. Results indicated stronger ingroup-favouritism in the homophobic than in the category label condition. This study shows that discriminatory group labels have tangible effects on people's monetary behaviours in intergroup contexts, increasing their tendency to favour the ingroup when distributing resources.

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Does Knowing Why Someone is Gay Influence Tolerance? Genetic, Environmental, Choice, and “Reparative” Explanations

Robert Mitchell & Lana Dezarn
Sexuality & Culture, December 2014, Pages 994-1009

Abstract:
In the U.S., belief that sexual orientation is genetically based is tied to greater tolerance toward gay men and lesbians and a belief that they deserve rights equal to those of other citizens. This study explores whether evidence for a particular causal explanation of sexual orientation influences participants’ tolerance toward gay men and lesbians. Participants were 224 heterosexual college students provided with scientific evidence that sexual orientation is genetically caused, environmentally caused, or a choice, who then answered questionnaires assessing their attitudes toward science, their tolerance toward gay men and lesbians, their selection of the best explanation for sexual orientation, and their assessments of statements about an imagined gay man (which, together, comprised their level of support for a “reparative” explanation of gay male sexuality viewed as the result of trauma, poor father–son relations, and immorality). Participants who were male, black, religious, or believed that the environmental or choice explanation of sexual orientation was the best, were less tolerant and more supportive of the reparative explanation than, respectively, participants who were female, white, nonreligious, or believed that the genetic explanation was the best. By contrast, participants were less tolerant when they read that scientific findings support a genetic explanation than when they read that scientific findings support choice as an explanation. Participants’ level of support for the reparative explanation correlated positively with their level of intolerance, suggesting that increasing tolerance toward gay men and lesbians may be more dependent on diminishing support for tenets of the reparative explanation than in convincing heterosexuals that sexual desires are under genetic control, which may influence some heterosexuals who believe otherwise to feel more intolerant.

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Explaining Attitudes about Homosexuality in Confucian and non-Confucian Nations: Is there a ‘Cultural’ Influence?

Amy Adamczyk & Yen-hsin Alice Cheng
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of research on attitudes about homosexuality has concentrated on the global North and on Christian and Muslim majority nations. Little research attention has been given to the factors that shape tolerance in societies with a Confucian heritage. Residents of Confucian counties are less tolerant than Europeans and Americans. One reason given for this difference is the emphasis on Confucian values in many Asian societies. Using data from the World Values Survey, we examine whether values that could be described as Confucian influence attitudes in Confucian and non-Confucian nations. We find a unique Confucian cultural effect, which can partially be explained with concerns about keeping the family intact. Conversely, in Confucian societies values related to obedience, conformity, and filial piety are unrelated to attitudes. There is also a small Buddhist contextual effect, resulting in more tolerant attitudes, and the Confucian influence cannot be reduced to an Asian regional effect.

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Sex difference in travel is concentrated in adolescence and tracks reproductive interests

Emily Miner et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 December 2014

Abstract:
Sexual selection theory suggests that the sex with a higher potential reproductive rate will compete more strongly for access to mates. Stronger intra-sexual competition for mates may explain why males travel more extensively than females in many terrestrial vertebrates. A male-bias in lifetime distance travelled is a purported human universal, although this claim is based primarily on anecdotes. Following sexual maturity, motivation to travel outside the natal territory may vary over the life course for both sexes. Here, we test whether travel behaviour among Tsimane forager–horticulturalists is associated with shifting reproductive priorities across the lifespan. Using structured interviews, we find that sex differences in travel peak during adolescence when men and women are most intensively searching for mates. Among married adults, we find that greater offspring dependency load is associated with reduced travel among women, but not men. Married men are more likely to travel alone than women, but only to the nearest market town and not to other Tsimane villages. We conclude that men's and women's travel behaviour reflects differential gains from mate search and parenting across the life course.

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A Test of Biological and Behavioral Explanations for Gender Differences in Telomere Length: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Belinda Needham et al.
Biodemography and Social Biology, Fall 2014, Pages 156-173

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine biological and behavioral explanations for gender differences in leukocyte telomere length (LTL), a biomarker of cell aging that has been hypothesized to contribute to women’s greater longevity. Data are from a subsample (n = 851) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based study of women and men aged 45 to 84. Mediation models were used to examine study hypotheses. We found that women had longer LTL than men, but the gender difference was smaller at older ages. Gender differences in smoking and processed meat consumption partially mediated gender differences in telomere length, whereas gender differences in estradiol, total testosterone, oxidative stress, and body mass index did not. Neither behavioral nor biological factors explained why the gender difference in LTL was smaller at older ages. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess gender differences in the rate of change in LTL over time; to identify the biological, behavioral, and psychosocial factors that contribute to these differences throughout the life course; and to determine whether gender differences in LTL explain the gender gap in longevity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 21, 2014

Passing judgment

Intrinsic Motivation in Public Service: Theory and Evidence from State Supreme Courts

Elliott Ash & Bentley MacLeod
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
This paper provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of the intrinsic preferences of state appellate court judges. We construct a panel data set using published decisions from state supreme court cases merged with institutional and biographical information on all (1,700) state supreme court judges for the 50 states of the United States from 1947 to 1994. We exploit variation in the employment conditions of judges over this period of time to measure the effect of these changes on a number of measures of judicial performance. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that judges are intrinsically motivated to provide high-quality decisions, and that at the margin they prefer quality over quantity. When judges face less time pressure, they write more well-researched opinions that are cited more often by later judges. When judges are up for election then performance falls, consistent with the hypothesis that election politics is time-consuming. These effects are strongest when judges have more discretion to select their case portfolio, consistent with psychological theories that posit a negative effect of contingency on motivation (e.g. Deci, 1971). Finally, the intrinsic preference for quality appears to be higher among judges selected by non-partisan elections than among those selected by partisan elections.

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Race and the Construction of Evidence in Homicide Cases

Glenn Pierce et al.
American Journal of Criminal Justice, December 2014, Pages 771-786

Abstract:
Research that attempts to document racial or gender disparities in the criminal justice system inevitably paints a distorted picture if only one point in the criminal justice process is examined. For example, studies that look at who is sentenced to death among a group convicted of first-degree murder will miss exposure of biases that occur at earlier stages of the criminal justice process. In this paper, we looked at prosecutorial files on over 400 homicide cases from Caddo Parish, Louisiana (the Shreveport area). Results indicate that even after controlling for aggravating factors, cases with White female victims result in thicker files than other homicides, indicating more prosecutorial effort in attempting to secure convictions in such cases. This, in turn, was related to more severe sentencing of offenders convicted of killing whites and women. On the other hand, cases with black victims resulted in the thinnest case files and the least severe sentences.

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Losing, but Accepting: Legitimacy, Positivity Theory, and the Symbols of Judicial Authority

James Gibson, Milton Lodge & Benjamin Woodson
Law & Society Review, December 2014, Pages 837–866

Abstract:
How is it that the U.S. Supreme Court is capable of getting most citizens to accept rulings with which they disagree? This analysis addresses the role of the symbols of judicial authority and legitimacy — the robe, the gavel, the cathedral-like court building — in contributing to this willingness of ordinary people to acquiesce to disagreeable court decisions. Using an experimental design and a nationally representative sample, we show that exposure to judicial symbols (1) strengthens the link between institutional support and acquiescence among those with relatively low prior awareness of the Supreme Court, (2) has differing effects depending upon levels of preexisting institutional support, and (3) severs the link between disappointment with a disagreeable Court decision and willingness to challenge the ruling. Since symbols influence citizens in ways that reinforce the legitimacy of courts, the connection between institutional attitudes and acquiescence posited by Legitimacy Theory is both supported and explained.

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Loopholes

Kim-Sau Chung & Lance Fortnow
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We formalize the argument of those American founding fathers who opposed the inclusion of the Bill of Rights into the Constitution. For some parameter values, the legislator, who is not sure whether or not there are any rights that he is unaware of, optimally chooses not to enumerate even those rights that he is aware of. We also show that, even if the legislator adds the sentence “this Bill should not be interpreted as suggesting that any unlisted rights can be impaired by the government” to the Bill, the equilibrium outcome will stay the same.

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Putting Justice Kagan’s “Hobbyhorse” Through Its Paces: An Examination of the Criminal Defense Advocacy Gap at the U.S. Supreme Court

William Kinder
Georgetown Law Journal, Fall 2014, Pages 227-258

"Since her appointment in 2010, Justice Elena Kagan has remarked on multiple occasions that although the overall quality of advocacy before the U.S. Supreme Court today is high, the same cannot be said of the advocacy for criminal defendants...I argue that the criminal defense advocacy gap observed by Justice Kagan does exist; that the advocacy gap places criminal defendants at a distinct disadvantage before the Court; and that to close this advocacy gap, more criminal defense attorneys should accept assistance from Supreme Court specialists once a case reaches the merits stage of Supreme Court litigation."

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Legal Institutions and Social Values: Theory and Evidence from Plea Bargaining Regimes

Yehonatan Givati
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2014, Pages 867–893

Abstract:
How do social values shape legal institutions across countries? To address this question I focus on one important legal institution — the use of plea bargaining in criminal cases. I develop a model in which the optimal scope of plea bargaining depends on social values. Specifically, a lower social emphasis on ensuring that innocent individuals are not punished, and a greater social emphasis on ensuring that guilty individuals are punished, lead to a greater use of plea bargaining. Using unique cross-country data on social preferences for punishing the innocent versus letting the guilty go free, as well as an original coding of plea bargaining regimes across countries, I obtain results that are consistent with the model.

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The Legitimacy of the US Supreme Court: Conventional Wisdoms and Recent Challenges Thereto

James Gibson & Michael Nelson
Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2014, Pages 201-219

Abstract:
Research on the legitimacy of the US Supreme Court has blossomed of late, with scholars investigating many different hypotheses derived from legitimacy theory. As the theory has been pushed, a number of new controversies have emerged. Here, we identify four such debates: (a) whether the Court's legitimacy rests on satisfaction with its performance, (b) whether support for the Supreme Court reflects the polarization of politics in the contemporary United States, (c) whether the Court's legitimacy requires belief in the “myth of legality”, and (d) whether judicial decisions can change public opinion. Our analysis of these issues generally concludes that the Supreme Court's legitimacy is reasonably secure, in part because individual rulings have little impact on support for the institution, in part because the Court has access to powerful and influential symbols of judicial authority, and in part because the current Supreme Court issues roughly equal numbers of conservative and liberal decisions.

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Institutionalizing the Culture of Control: Modeling the Changing Dynamics of U.S. Supreme Court Death Penalty Decisions

Simon Zschirnt & Blake Randol
International Criminal Justice Review, December 2014, Pages 319-344

Abstract:
The turn away from “penal welfarism” and toward a more punitive approach to crime control policy that began in the late 1960s has been the product of a deeply rooted social and political transformation, one giving rise to what Garland (2001) has termed a “culture of control.” Perhaps the most emblematic manifestation of this culture has been the reemergence of the death penalty as a crime control tool, a reemergence facilitated by a Supreme Court that has generally acted to limit or remove constitutional and legal obstacles to carrying out death sentences. This article analyzes the Court’s role in deregulating the death penalty from a “political regimes” perspective. Using a data set of all of the votes cast in every death penalty case decided by the Court since 1969, it demonstrates the importance of regime cohort in understanding death penalty jurisprudence. Specifically, it demonstrates that the construction of the “New Right” political regime, which spearheaded the punitive trend in crime control policy, represents the critical turning point in terms of justices’ attitudes toward the death penalty. Justices appointed after 1968, even when controlling for background, ideology, partisanship, public opinion, and a variety of legal factors, were significantly more likely to vote to affirm death sentences than justices appointed prior to 1968. Moreover, this turning point also marked a reversal in the relationship between partisanship and death penalty jurisprudence. While post-1968 Republican appointees were more supportive of the death penalty than post-1968 Democratic appointees, this pattern was notably reversed among pre-1968 appointees.

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The Influence of Congressional Preferences on Legislative Overrides of Supreme Court Decisions

Alicia Uribe, James Spriggs & Thomas Hansford
Law & Society Review, December 2014, Pages 921–945

Abstract:
Studies of Court–Congress relations assume that Congress overrides Court decisions based on legislative preferences, but no empirical evidence supports this claim. Our first goal is to show that Congress is more likely to pass override legislation the further ideologically removed a decision is from pivotal legislative actors. Second, we seek to determine whether Congress rationally anticipates Court rejection of override legislation, avoiding legislation when the current Court is likely to strike it down. Third, most studies argue that Congress only overrides statutory decisions. We contend that Congress has an incentive to override all Court decisions with which it disagrees, regardless of their legal basis. Using data on congressional overrides of Supreme Court decisions between 1946 and 1990, we show that Congress overrides Court decisions with which it ideologically disagrees, is not less likely to override when it anticipates that the Court will reject override legislation, and acts on preferences regardless of the legal basis of a decision. We therefore empirically substantiate a core part of separation-of-powers models of Court–Congress relations, as well as speak to the relative power of Congress and the Court on the ultimate content of policy.

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A Field Evaluation of the Eye-Closure Interview With Witnesses of Serious Crimes

Annelies Vredeveldt et al.
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laboratory research shows that eye-closure during memory retrieval improves both the amount and the factual accuracy of memory reports about witnessed events. Based on these findings, we developed the Eye-Closure Interview, and examined its feasibility (in terms of compliance with the instructions) and effectiveness (in terms of the quantity and quality of reported information) in eyewitness interviews conducted by the South African Police Service. Police interviewers from the Facial Identification Unit were randomly assigned to receive Eye-Closure Interview training or no training. We analyzed 95 interviews with witnesses of serious crimes (including robbery, rape, and murder), some of whom were instructed to close their eyes during salient parts of the interview. Witnesses in the control condition rarely spontaneously closed their eyes, but witnesses in the Eye-Closure Interview condition kept their eyes closed during 97% of their descriptions, suggesting that the Eye-Closure Interview would be easy to implement in a field setting. Although witnesses who closed their eyes did not remember more information overall, the information they provided was considered to be of significantly greater forensic relevance (as reflected in 2 independent blind assessments, 1 by a senior police expert and 1 by a senior researcher). Thus, based on the findings from this field study and from previous laboratory research, we conclude that implementation of the Eye-Closure Interview in witness interviews would help police interviewers to elicit more valuable information from witnesses, which could be relevant to the police investigation and/or in court.

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Ideology, The Affordable Care Act Ruling, and Supreme Court Legitimacy

Christopher Johnston, Sunshine Hillygus & Brandon Bartels
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The received wisdom in the scholarly literature on the US Supreme Court is that the perceived legitimacy of the institution is largely independent of the Court’s policy output. Legitimacy is thought to be rooted in more stable factors, such as support for democratic values, and thus to be immune from ideological discontent with any particular decision. While recent research has demonstrated a general association between political predispositions and legitimacy, questions remain about the extent to which the specific decisions of the Court might shape legitimacy judgments in the mass public. In this paper, we examine the relationship between ideology, political sophistication, and evaluations of Supreme Court legitimacy in the aftermath of the recent decision on the Affordable Care Act. Our findings suggest a substantial role for Court policymaking in shaping perceptions of legitimacy in the mass public, but the nature of the relationship is conditional on political sophistication.

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Chief Justice Roberts's Health Care Decision Disrobed: The Microfoundations of the Supreme Court's Legitimacy

Dino Christenson & David Glick
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The 2012 challenge to the Affordable Care Act was an unusual opportunity for people to form or reassess opinions about the Supreme Court. We utilize panel data coupled with as-if random assignment to reports that Chief Justice Roberts's decision was politically motivated to investigate the microfoundations of the Court's legitimacy. Specifically, we test the effects of changes in individuals' ideological congruence with the Court and exposure to the nonlegalistic account of the decision. We find that both affect perceptions of the Court's legitimacy. Moreover, we show that these mechanisms interact in important ways and that prior beliefs that the Court is a legalistic institution magnify the effect of updating one's ideological proximity to the Court. While we demonstrate that individuals can and did update their views for multiple reasons, we also highlight constraints that allow for aggregate stability in spite of individual-level change.

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The Impact of United States v. Booker and Gall/Kimbrough v. United States on Sentence Severity: Assessing Social Context and Judicial Discretion

Byungbae Kim et al.
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the wake of United States v. Booker and Gall/Kimbrough v. United States, sentencing researchers and legal scholars conducted research designed to identify their impact on the federal sentencing process, with a focus on determining whether the decisions increased unwarranted disparity. In this article, we extend this body of research. Using 10 years of data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission and data from other sources, we assess whether and how these decisions influence sentence severity. Results indicate that sentence severity declined following Booker and, especially, Gall/Kimbrough, but that the decisions’ effects on sentence severity varied significantly across U.S. District Courts. Most importantly, the impact of Gall/Kimbrough sentence severity was conditioned by districts’ percent Black population, level of socioeconomic disadvantage, and degree of political conservatism; each of these factors moderated the decisions’ effects on the harshness of the sentences imposed by the districts’ judges.

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Judicial Narratives of Ideal and Deviant Victims in Judges’ Capital Sentencing Decisions

Heather Zaykowski, Ross Kleinstuber & Caitlin McDonough
American Journal of Criminal Justice, December 2014, Pages 716-731

Abstract:
Although the Victim’s Rights Movement has led to advances for victims of crime, the use of victim impact evidence in criminal trials remains controversial due to the suspicion that such evidence enhances punitive attitudes and arbitrariness in capital sentencing outcomes. Despite a growing body of literature in this area, it remains unclear if some victims are viewed more favorably than others, particularly from the perspective of judges. The current study examines the construction of victims by judges in capital cases and how this portrayal impacts sentencing outcomes in Delaware, which vests the final capital sentencing authority in judges rather than juries. In examining this gap in the literature, we consider if judges make distinctions between ideal and deviant victims, if these distinctions are associated with victim and offender characteristics, and if the construction of victims impacts offender sentencing. Findings from this study lend support to the idea that judges describe some victims as more “worthy” than others, that victims described in ideal ways are more likely to be white and female, and that “ideal victims” are more likely to result in death sentences.

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Are All Cases Treated Equal?: Using Goffman’s Frame Analysis to Understand How Homicide Detectives Orient to Their Work

Shila Hawk & Dean Dabney
British Journal of Criminology, November 2014, Pages 1129-1147

Abstract:
Drawing upon ethnographic data from one US metropolitan police department’s homicide unit, this study employs Goffman’s frame analysis to explore two questions: (1) What types of cases are prioritized in homicide investigations? and (2) How are those prioritizations operationalized and justified? Themes within the data suggest that although detectives struggle to ‘work every case the same’, their approach and effort on cases is nonetheless influenced largely by unit culture and perceptions of victim deservedness. Furthermore, we demonstrate that framing techniques enable investigators to compartmentalize and manage the emotional strain of deprioritizing some homicides while rigorously investigating other cases. These findings add to our understanding of the administration of homicide work, theorize the moral complexities of said work and point to frame analysis as a potentially useful framework for crime researchers.

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Interviewing High Value Detainees: Securing Cooperation and Disclosures

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Natalie Martschuk & Mandeep Dhami
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four types of coercive and noncoercive interview strategies (legalistic, physical, cognitive and social) used to facilitate disclosure by high value detainees were examined in an international sample of practitioners and detainees (N = 64). Predictive analyses confirmed that the accusatorial approach was positively correlated with physically coercive strategies (rs = .58) and negatively with forms of social persuasion (rs = −.31). In response to social strategies, detainees were more likely to disclose meaningful information [odds ratio (OR) = 4.2] and earlier in the interview when rapport-building techniques were used (OR = 14.17). They were less likely to cooperate when confronted with evidence (OR = 4.8). Disclosures were more complete in response to noncoercive strategies, especially rapport-building and procedural fairness elements of respect and voice. These findings augmented past theory on interactional processes and the evidence-base of international best practices in suspect interviews.

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Challenging the Randomness of Panel Assignment in the Federal Courts of Appeals

Adam Chilton & Marin Levy
University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
A fundamental academic assumption about the federal courts of appeals is that the three-judge panels that hear cases have been randomly configured. Scores of scholarly articles have noted this “fact,” and it has been relied on heavily by empirical researchers. Even though there are practical reasons to doubt that judges would always be randomly assigned to panels, this assumption has never been tested. This Article fill this void by doing so. To determine whether the circuit courts utilize random assignment, we have created what we believe to be the largest dataset of panel assignments of those courts constructed to date. Using this dataset, we tested whether panel assignments are, in fact, random by comparing the actual assignments to truly random panels generated by code that we have created to simulate the panel generation process. Our results show evidence of non-randomness in the federal courts of appeals. To be sure, the analysis here is descriptive, not explanatory or normative. We do not ourselves mean to suggest that “perfect randomness” is a desirable goal. We are simply testing an existing assumption and believe these findings will have implications for empirical researchers and court scholars more generally.

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Breaking Stereotypes and School Punishment: Family Socioeconomic Status, Test Scores, Academic and Sport Activities, Backlash, and Racial and Ethnic Discipline Disparities

Anthony Peguero, Ann Marie Popp & Zahra Shekarkhar
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
The disproportionate punishment of racial and ethnic minority adolescents is a serious problem within schools. Few studies, however, consider factors outside of school misbehavior that may moderate this relationship. This study extends research on this topic by considering whether stereotypes moderate the school punishment of racial and ethnic minorities. This study utilizes multilevel modeling techniques to examine if and how stereotypes based on family socioeconomic status, test scores, and school-based activities moderate racial and ethnic minority adolescents’ odds of being punished. Adolescents who do not conform to racial and ethnic stereotypes are more likely to be punished. The findings that suggest that stereotypes may be linked to increased school punishment for racial and ethnic minorities are discussed.

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Can Equitable Punishment Be Mandated? Estimating Impacts of Sentencing Guidelines on Disciplinary Disparities

Anton Bekkerman & Gregory Gilpin
International Review of Law and Economics, October 2014, Pages 51–61

Abstract:
This study empirically investigates the potentially unintended effects of state laws that seek to improve safety in U.S. public school by mandating standardized student punishment. We estimate the effects of exogenous state-level variation in the quantity and type of such mandates on disciplinary disparities across students who commit serious offenses. Estimation results indicate that more severe punishments are imposed in schools with higher proportions of black or Hispanic students, but such disparities are significantly dampened in states that mandate a higher number of guidelines for serious offenses. However, more guidelines for less severe misconduct tend to increase race-based disciplinary disparities and increase the severity of punishments administered for serious offenses. These outcomes extend the existing sentencing guidelines literature and provide empirical implications for considering marginal deterrence effects when crafting future policies.

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Capital Sentencing In Kentucky, 2000–2010

Gennaro Vito, George Higgins & Anthony Vito
American Journal of Criminal Justice, December 2014, Pages 753-770

Abstract:
The current study attempts to build upon previous analyses of capital sentencing in Kentucky and other states. Using data compiled from official court records compiled by the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, we examined death eligible homicide cases for the years 2000–2010 for the state (N = 359). Multivariate analysis determined that the death penalty in Kentucky was sought 3.17 times or 217 % more when the victim is female. It also found that cases featuring a black defendant and a white victim were 56 % less likely to result in a plea than cases featuring other defendant/victim racial combinations. Despite legal requirements, Kentucky fails to collect data to assess the factors that influence the seeking and imposition of the death penalty.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A time and place

Facial Feature Assessment of Popular U.S. Country Music Singers Across Social and Economic Conditions

Terry Pettijohn et al.
Current Psychology, December 2014, Pages 451-459

Abstract:
The facial features of the artists of the top Country Billboard song for each year from 1946 to 2010 were investigated across changes in U.S. socioeconomic conditions. When conditions were relatively poor, country music artists with more mature facial features of smaller eyes and larger chins were popular, and when conditions were more prosperous, country music artists with more baby-faced features of larger eyes and smaller chins were popular. Results extend previous findings with pop singers, movie actresses, and Playboy Playmates, and suggest the social and economic environment influences preferences for country singers across time.

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Cancer and the Plow

David Fielding
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that the invention of the plow played a key role in human social evolution. The physical strength required to drive a plow gave men a comparative advantage in economically productive activity; this created gender norms that have persisted to the present day. However, there is an additional channel through which the invention of the plow could have influenced modern human societies: the creation of an economic environment favoring not only the sexual division of labor but also the selection of men with more upper-body strength. In this case, modern populations descended from plow-using communities should exhibit greater sexual dimorphism than others, and greater dimorphism should be associated with higher androgen levels in males. This has a direct epidemiological implication, because the incidence of many cancers is correlated with androgen levels. Using international data on cancer incidence, we show that there is a strong association between the magnitude of sex differences in cancer risk and the proportion of the population descended from plow-using communities. Although both of these characteristics are correlated with other socio-economic factors (such as the level of economic development), controlling for such correlations does not diminish estimates of the magnitude of the association between cancer risk and plow ancestry. In addition to their implications for cancer epidemiology, the results suggest that the international variation in gender norms might also be associated with variation in androgen levels.

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Proximity of Paired Nations Reveals Correlation of Masculinity With Individualism

Herbert Barry
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hofstede measured four dimensions of national differences: Masculinity, Individualism, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Power Distance. The information was obtained from IBM employees in more than 60 nations. Correlations applied to the national scores were close to zero for Masculinity with each of the three other dimensions. Correlations can be misleading because of regional and other variations in a world sample of nations. Undesirable effects of regional variations can be minimized by correlating differences between paired nearby nations in their scores on the two dimensions. Differences between pair members revealed that the nation with a higher score on Masculinity usually had a higher score on Individualism. A wide range of quantitative scores enabled large differences between the pair members and minimized omissions of data because of the same score for both members on either of the correlated dimensions. National Masculinity is highly correlated with national Individualism when regional differences are controlled.

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American and Chinese Students' Calibration of Comprehension and Performance

Nannette Evans Commander et al.
Current Psychology, December 2014, Pages 655-671

Abstract:
In the present study we examined the ability of American and Chinese undergraduate students to calibrate their understanding of textbook passages translated into their native languages. Students read a series of texts and made predictions of their understanding of each text as well as the number of questions they would be able to answer correctly. Students also made postdictions of their test performance. Chinese students were significantly better than American students in calibrating their understanding of passages and predicting how many comprehension items they would answer correctly. Chinese students also outperformed American students on comprehension tests. All students were able to make more accurate postdictions of comprehension test scores than predictions. Results are related to possible instructional differences between American and Chinese students. Several possible directions for future research are discussed.

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Astronomics in Action: The Graduate Earnings Premium and the Dragon Effect in Singapore

Nicholas Sim
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the return to university education in Singapore using a new estimation strategy related to Chinese traditions where children born in the Year of the Dragon are believed to be superior. Because parents might time the arrival of their offspring on a Dragon year, this causes the Dragon cohort to be larger and university entry to be more competitive. First, we find evidence of a negative "Dragon effect" on university educational attainment. Then, using it as an estimation strategy, we find that university education has a ceteris paribus effect of raising earnings by at least 50% on average.

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Regulatory Focus as an Explanatory Variable for Cross-Cultural Differences in Achievement-Related Behavior

Jenny Kurman et al.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The main claim of the present study is that regulatory focus (i.e., promotion vs. prevention orientations) is an important explanatory variable of cross-cultural differences in actual and self-reported achievement-related behaviors and preferences, which include a component of autonomy. It adds explained variance in behavior above and beyond that of individualism/collectivism (I/C), and mediates the relations between I/C and behavior. Three studies are reported. The first compared Israeli Jews and Arabs on minimal initiation (n = 255), the second compared Israeli Jews and Japanese on creativity (n = 92), and the third compared Swiss, Mexican, and Indonesian samples on preference for mastery goals in education (n = 488). All three studies demonstrated the ability of regulatory focus scales to distinguish between cultures and to serve as meaningful predictors of actual and self-reported achievement-related behaviors. The measured I/C scales were found to be less relevant to behavior prediction than was regulatory focus. In most studies, regulatory focus scales mediated the relations between some of the I/C scales and behavior. The diversity of the measured behaviors and cultures supports the ecological validity of the findings.

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Social Capital and Health: Evidence that Ancestral Trust Promotes Health Among Children of Immigrants

Martin Ljunge
Economics & Human Biology, December 2014, Pages 165-186

Abstract:
This paper presents evidence that generalized trust promotes health. Children of immigrants in a broad set of European countries with ancestry from across the world are studied. Individuals are examined within country of residence using variation in trust across countries of ancestry. The approach addresses reverse causality and concerns that the trust measure picks up institutional factors in the individual's contextual setting. There is a significant positive estimate of ancestral trust in explaining self-assessed health. The finding is robust to accounting for individual, parental, and extensive ancestral country characteristics. Individuals with higher ancestral trust are also less likely to be hampered by health problems in their daily life, providing evidence of trust influencing real life outcomes. Individuals with high trust feel and act healthier, enabling a more productive life.

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Mothers' Goals for Adolescents in the United States and China: Content and Transmission

Yang Qu, Eva Pomerantz & Ciping Deng
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined children's socialization toward culturally valued goals during adolescence in the United States and China. Two hundred and twenty-three mothers listed and ranked their five most important goals for their children (mean age = 12.85 years). Children ranked the importance of the goals listed by their mothers and explained why they were or were not important to them. American mothers placed heightened emphasis on their children maintaining feelings of worth and pursuing what they enjoy. Chinese mothers stressed their children achieving outcomes, as did African American mothers. European American children's rankings of importance were the least similar to those of their mothers, and they gave the fewest autonomous reasons for importance, suggesting that their adoption of mothers' goals was weakest.

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Urbanization increases left-bias in line-bisection: An expression of elevated levels of intrinsic alertness?

Karina Linnell, Serge Caparos & Jules Davidoff
Frontiers in Psychology, October 2014

Abstract:
Urbanization impairs attentional selection and increases distraction from task-irrelevant contextual information, consistent with a reduction in attentional engagement with the task in hand. Previously, we proposed an attentional-state account of these findings, suggesting that urbanization increases intrinsic alertness and with it exploration of the wider environment at the cost of engagement with the task in hand. Here, we compare urbanized people with a remote people on a line-bisection paradigm. We show that urbanized people have a left spatial bias where remote people have no significant bias. These findings are consistent with the alertness account and provide the first test of why remote peoples have such an extraordinary capacity to concentrate.

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When Should We Disagree? The Effect of Relationship Conflict on Team Identity in East Asian and North American Teams

Lindie Liang, Wendi Adair & Ivona Hideg
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, November 2014, Pages 282-289

Abstract:
Along with recent research uncovering distinctly Asian approaches to conflict management, we examine the experience and effect of relationship conflict on team identity in culturally homogeneous North American versus East Asian teams. In a longitudinal field experiment with student teams, we found that East Asian teams, compared to North American teams, experienced more relationship conflict at later stages of team tenure. We further found that, while relationship conflict undermined team identity in North American teams, relationship conflict did not influence team identity in East Asian teams. Our study counterintuitively finds that East Asian teams may be less influenced by relationship conflict than North American teams, despite their relationship maintenance orientation. We present several possible future avenues to unpack the psychological mechanisms underlying the distinct temporal patterns and outcome effects of relationship conflict in East Asian teams and implications for cross-cultural East Asian and North American teams.

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Cultural Variations in Global Versus Local Processing: A Developmental Perspective

Shigehiro Oishi et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted 3 studies to explore cultural differences in global versus local processing and their developmental trajectories. In Study 1 (N = 363), we found that Japanese college students were less globally oriented in their processing than American or Argentine participants. We replicated this effect in Study 2 (N = 1,843) using a nationally representative sample of Japanese and American adults ages 20 to 69, and found further that adults in both cultures became more globally oriented with age. In Study 3 (N = 133), we investigated the developmental course of the cultural difference using Japanese and American children, and found it was evident by 4 years of age. Cultural variations in global versus local processing emerge by early childhood, and remain throughout adulthood. At the same time, both Japanese and Americans become increasingly global processors with age.

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Trust, Cohesion, and Cooperation After Early Versus Late Trust Violations in Two-Person Exchange: The Role of Generalized Trust in the United States and Japan

Ko Kuwabara et al.
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how the timing of trust violations affects cooperation and solidarity, including trust and relational cohesion. Past studies that used repeated Prisoner's Dilemmas suggest that trust violations are more harmful when they occur in early rather than later interactions. We argue that this effect of early trust violations depends on cultural and individual differences in generalized trust. A laboratory study from high- and low-trust cultures (the United States vs. Japan) supported our claim. First, early trust violations were more harmful than late trust violations, but only for Americans; the pattern reversed for Japanese. Second, these patterns were mediated by individual differences in generalized trust. Finally, generalized trust also moderated the effect of trust violations in the United States but not Japan. By demonstrating that generalized trust is not only lower but also less important in low-trust cultures, our research advances our understanding of how culture affects the development of solidarity in exchange relations.

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Impartial Institutions, Pathogen Stress and the Expanding Social Network

Daniel Hruschka et al.
Human Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Anthropologists have documented substantial cross-society variation in people's willingness to treat strangers with impartial, universal norms versus favoring members of their local community. Researchers have proposed several adaptive accounts for these differences. One variant of the pathogen stress hypothesis predicts that people will be more likely to favor local in-group members when they are under greater infectious disease threat. The material security hypothesis instead proposes that institutions that permit people to meet their basic needs through impartial interactions with strangers reinforce a tendency toward impartiality, whereas people lacking such institutions must rely on local community members to meet their basic needs. Some studies have examined these hypotheses using self-reported preferences, but not with behavioral measures. We conducted behavioral experiments in eight diverse societies that measure individuals' willingness to favor in-group members by ignoring an impartial rule. Consistent with the material security hypothesis, members of societies enjoying better-quality government services and food security show a stronger preference for following an impartial rule over investing in their local in-group. Our data show no support for the pathogen stress hypothesis as applied to favoring in-groups and instead suggest that favoring in-group members more closely reflects a general adaptive fit with social institutions that have arisen in each society.

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Happiness, economic freedom and culture

Ayse Evrensel
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
The cultural dimension of the subjective well-being (SWB)-economic freedom relationship has been largely absent from the current literature. This article's argument for the inclusion of culture is twofold. First, culturally distinct groups may view the desirability of freedom in general and economic freedom in particular differently. Second, the inclusion of culture may explain some of the results presented in the existing research, such as positive contributions of freedom to SWB being confined to mostly developed countries. In this article, the respondent-based results use the World Values Survey (WVS) data with over 180 000 subjects in 86 countries and indicate that freedom of choice felt by individuals is an important determinant of SWB along with health and satisfaction with finances. While the respondent-based estimations do not show any variation in the effect of freedom of choice on SWB among different religious affiliations, the cross-section data-set that contains the same countries as in the WVS data yields different results. When the latter data-set is used, the interaction terms between economic freedom and religious affiliations indicate that higher economic freedom increases SWB in mainly Christian countries, while this effect is negative for mainly Muslim and Buddhist/Hindu countries.

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Evolution of cultural traits occurs at similar relative rates in different world regions

Thomas Currie & Ruth Mace
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 November 2014

Abstract:
A fundamental issue in understanding human diversity is whether or not there are regular patterns and processes involved in cultural change. Theoretical and mathematical models of cultural evolution have been developed and are increasingly being used and assessed in empirical analyses. Here, we test the hypothesis that the rates of change of features of human socio-cultural organization are governed by general rules. One prediction of this hypothesis is that different cultural traits will tend to evolve at similar relative rates in different world regions, despite the unique historical backgrounds of groups inhabiting these regions. We used phylogenetic comparative methods and systematic cross-cultural data to assess how different socio-cultural traits changed in (i) island southeast Asia and the Pacific, and (ii) sub-Saharan Africa. The relative rates of change in these two regions are significantly correlated. Furthermore, cultural traits that are more directly related to external environmental conditions evolve more slowly than traits related to social structures. This is consistent with the idea that a form of purifying selection is acting with greater strength on these more environmentally linked traits. These results suggest that despite contingent historical events and the role of humans as active agents in the historical process, culture does indeed evolve in ways that can be predicted from general principles.

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Do Individualists Complain More than Collectivists? A Four-Country Analysis on Consumer Complaint Behavior

Olga Chapa et al.
Journal of International Consumer Marketing, Fall 2014, Pages 373-390

Abstract:
Understanding the consumer complaint patterns of response and the cultural underpinnings of their characteristics may facilitate the customization and timing of response to such consumer demands. We investigated complaint behavior differences between collectivist and individualist societies. Specifically, our study compared three consumer complaint patterns of response (voice, private response, and third party) across the individualism/collectivism continuum. We opted for the mall intercept technique in surveying our participants in four countries (United States, Egypt, Mexico, and Turkey). Our most salient findings revealed that the individualist consumer is very likely to demand redress and very likely practice speaking to others about their dissatisfaction. Collectivists would avoid the product before switching companies. All participants who voiced their dissatisfaction privately showed significant exit intentions. Interesting differences were also found among collectivist countries. Managerial implications are annotated.

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Social representations of European integration as narrated by school textbooks in five European nations

Inari Sakki
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social representations of European integration in the school textbooks of five European countries (France, England, Germany, Finland and Sweden) are analyzed. By analyzing the history and civics textbooks of major educational publishers and by presenting a double content analysis of textbooks of five European countries, this study aims to demonstrate what is written on European integration and how it is portrayed. The study shows how textbooks function to shape the identity space through articulations of the symbology of history and identity. The results show how European identity is only very rarely portrayed as an end in itself, but dominantly as an instrument for the nations to gain power in the globalizing world or even as a threat. Despite the efforts to Europeanize educational systems in the EU-countries, the story of European integration is told from a national perspective in each country and textbooks are used as vehicles of nationalism.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bottom line

What Death Can Tell: Are Executives Paid for Their Contributions to Firm Value?

Bang Dang Nguyen & Kasper Meisner Nielsen
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using stock price reactions to sudden deaths of top executives as a measure of expected contribution to shareholder value, we examine the relationship between executive pay and managerial contribution to shareholder value. We find, first, that the managerial labor market is characterized by positive sorting: managers with high perceived contributions to shareholder value obtain higher pay. The executive pay-contribution relationship is stronger for professional executives and for executives with high compensation. We estimate, second, that an average top executive (chief executive officer) appears to retain 71% (65%) of the marginal rent from the firm-manager relationship. We examine, third, how the executive pay-contribution relationship varies with individual, firm, and industry characteristics. Overall, our results are informative for the ongoing discussion about the level of executive compensation.

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Making the Numbers? 'Short Termism' & the Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster

Hazhir Rahmandad, Nelson Repenning & Rebecca Henderson
Harvard Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Much recent work in strategy and popular discussion suggests that an excessive focus on "managing the numbers" ― delivering quarterly earnings at the expense of longer term investments ― makes it difficult for firms to make the investments necessary to build competitive advantage. "Short termism" has been blamed for everything from the decline of the US automobile industry to the low penetration of techniques such as TQM and continuous improvement. Yet a vigorous tradition in the accounting literature establishes that firms routinely sacrifice long-term investment to manage earnings and are rewarded for doing so. This paper presents a model that reconciles these apparently contradictory perspectives. We show that if the source of long-term advantage is modeled as a stock of capability that accumulates over time, a firm’s proclivity to manage short-term earnings at the expense of long-term investment can have very different consequences depending on whether the firm's capability is close to a critical "tipping threshold". When the firm operates above this threshold, managing earnings smoothes revenue and cash flow with few long-term consequences. Below it, managing earnings can tip the firm into a vicious cycle of accelerating decline. Our results have important implications for understanding managerial incentives and the internal processes that create sustained advantage.

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Impression Management and the Biasing of Executive Pay Benchmarks: A Dynamic Analysis

Mathijs De Vaan & Thomas DiPrete
Columbia University Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We study the selection of peers into compensation peer groups reported by U.S. corporations. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation requires firms to report these peer groups which are used by investors and shareholders to benchmark the compensation of CEOs. Building on a novel, dynamic analysis of more than 1,400 compensation peer groups since 2006, this paper presents new evidence that compensation peer groups are biased upwards relative to neutrally chosen “natural” peer groups. This upward bias is masked by several factors including normative selection on other criteria than compensation and the strong negative relationship between bias and the percentile at the named peer group at which the CEO is compensated. We find that adjustments to compensation peer groups are often better explained as bias-maintaining impression management than as structural adjustments to align peer groups more closely with the normative principles for peer group selection. We also find that peer group bias cannot generally be explained away as a reward for CEO talent. Our research suggests that although the SEC regulation was intended to minimize rent extraction, it has given firms a tool to manage impressions of shareholders and justify excessive pay.

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Dark Side of CEO Ability: CEO General Managerial Skills and Cost of Equity Capital

Dev Mishra
Journal of Corporate Finance, December 2014, Pages 390–409

Abstract:
CEOs with substantial general managerial ability (generalist CEOs) possess a substantial share of organization (human) capital and have different risk-taking incentives than do their counterpart specialist CEOs. Using an index increasing in CEO general managerial skills as a proxy for general managerial ability, we find that investors require higher returns from firms featuring CEOs who have profuse general managerial ability. Furthermore, expected returns are significantly increasing with CEO general managerial ability in firms with high organization capital, that belong to M&A-intensive industries and that have complex operations, high agency problems and high anti-takeover provisions. These findings are consistent with arguments that organization (human) capital has significant expected return implications and that CEOs with higher general managerial skills may lead to higher agency problems, feature different risk-taking incentives and be more costly to retain in times of need.

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Yesterday's Heroes: Compensation and Risk at Financial Firms

Ing-Haw Cheng, Harrison Hong & José Scheinkman
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many believe that compensation, misaligned from shareholders’ value due to managerial entrenchment, caused financial firms to take creative risks before the financial crisis of 2008. We argue that even in a classical principal-agent setting without entrenchment and with exogenous firm risk, riskier firms may offer higher total pay as compensation for the extra risk in equity stakes born by risk-averse managers. Using long lags of stock price risk to capture exogenous firm risk, we confirm our conjecture and show that riskier firms are also more productive and more likely to be held by institutional investors, who are most able to influence compensation.

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Corporate Social Responsibility or CEO Narcissism? CSR Motivations and Organizational Performance

Oleg Petrenko et al.
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study builds on insights from both upper echelons and agency perspectives to examine the effects on corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices of CEO’s narcissism. Drawing on prior theory about CEO narcissism, we argue that CSR can be a response to leaders’ personal needs for attention and image reinforcement and hypothesize that CEO narcissism has positive effects on levels and profile of organizational CSR; additionally, CEO narcissism will reduce the effect of CSR on performance. We find support for our ideas with a sample of Fortune 500 CEOs, operationalizing CEO narcissism with a novel media-based measurement technique that uses third-party ratings of CEO characteristics with validated psychometric scales.

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Investment Banks as Corporate Monitors in the Early 20th Century United States

Eric Hilt & Carola Frydman
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
We use the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 to study the effect of bankers on corporate boards in facilitating access to external finance. In the early twentieth century, securities underwriters commonly held directorships with American corporations; this was especially true for railroads, which were the largest enterprises of the era. Section 10 of the Clayton Act prohibited investment bankers from serving on the boards of railroads for which they underwrote securities. Following the implementation of Section 10 in 1921, we find that railroads that had maintained strong affiliations with their underwriters saw declines in their valuations, investment rates and leverage ratios, and increases in their costs of external funds. We perform falsification tests using data for industrial corporations, which were not subject to the prohibitions of Section 10, and find no differential effect of relationships with underwriters on these firms following 1921. Our results are consistent with the predictions of a simple model of underwriters on corporate boards acting as delegated monitors. Our findings also highlight the potential risks of unintended consequences from financial regulations.

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Do Compensation Consultants Enable Higher CEO Pay? New Evidence from Recent Disclosure Rule Changes

Jenny Chu, Jonathan Faasse & Raghavendra Rau
University of Cambridge Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
In July 2009, the SEC announced additional disclosure rules requiring firms that purchase other services from their compensation consultants to disclose fees paid for both compensation consulting and other services. This exogenous requirement dramatically increased both the turnover of compensation consultants and the number of specialist firms in the industry solely providing executive compensation consulting services. After the rule change, client firms that switched to specialist consultants paid their chief executive officers (CEOs) 9.7% more in median total compensation than a matched sample of firms that remained with multi-service consultants. Compensation consultants retained solely by the board are associated with 12.9% lower median pay levels than a propensity-score matched sample of firms with additional management-retained consultants. Finally, CEOs at firms that start hiring compensation consultants experience a 7.5% increase in median pay relative to a propensity-score matched sample. Overall, our study finds strong empirical evidence for the hiring of compensation consultants as a justification device for higher executive pay.

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Short Selling Pressure, Stock Price Behavior, and Management Forecast Precision: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Yinghua Li & Liandong Zhang
Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a natural experiment (Regulation SHO), we show that short selling pressure and consequent stock price behavior have a causal effect on managers’ voluntary disclosure choices. Specifically, we find that managers respond to a positive exogenous shock to short selling pressure and price sensitivity to bad news by reducing the precision of bad news forecasts. This finding on management forecasts appears to be generalizable to other corporate disclosures. In particular, we find that, in response to increased short selling pressure, managers also reduce the readability (or increase the fuzziness) of bad news annual reports. Overall, our results suggest that maintaining the current level of stock prices is an important consideration in managers’ strategic disclosure decisions.

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You don't forget your roots: The influence of CEO social class background on strategic risk taking

Jennifer Kish-Gephart & Joanna Tochman Campbell
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social class is increasingly recognized as a powerful force in people's lives. Yet, despite the long and extensive stream of research on the upper echelons of organizations, we know little about how executives' formative childhood experiences with social class influence strategic choices. In this study, we investigate the influence of CEO social class origins on firm risk taking. We also explore the moderating influences of other important career experiences, including elite education and diverse functional background. Our theory and findings highlight that one's social class origins have a lasting and varying impact on individual preferences, affecting executives' tendency to take risks. By examining this novel managerial characteristic, we offer important implications for social class and upper echelons theorizing.

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'I Do': Does Marital Status Affect How Much CEOs 'Do'?

Gina Nicolosi & Adam Yore
Financial Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explores whether a CEO's marital status reveals unobservable risk preferences which influence their firm’s investment and compensation policies. Using biographical data for CEOs of large domestic companies, we find that corporate deal-making activity (e.g., mergers, joint ventures, major capital expenditures, etc.) and overall firm riskiness both increase significantly with personal life restructuring (e.g., marriages and divorces). This relation is supported by an instrumental variables analysis and also an investigation surrounding CEO turnover. Finally, the link between a CEO’s marital status and preference for option-based compensation further suggests that personal restructuring may be an indicator of executive risk appetites.

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CEO Narcissism and the Impact of Prior Board Experience on Corporate Strategy

David Zhu & Guoli Chen
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how chief executive officer (CEO) narcissism influences the interorganizational imitation of corporate strategy. We theorize that narcissistic CEOs are influenced more by the corporate strategies they experienced on other boards and less by the corporate strategies experienced by other directors. These effects are strengthened if the other firms to which the CEO has interlock ties have high status and if the CEO is powerful. Through longitudinal analyses of Fortune 500 companies’ decisions (from 1997 to 2006) related to the acquisition emphasis of a firm’s growth strategy and the firm’s level of international diversification, we show that narcissistic CEOs are influenced by corporate strategies that they witnessed at other firms much more than other CEOs. In addition, relatively narcissistic CEOs not only strongly resist the influence of other directors’ prior experience but also tend to demonstrate their superiority by adopting corporate strategies that are the opposite of what fellow directors’ prior experience would suggest. Our theory and results highlight how CEO narcissism limits directors’ influence over corporate strategy and influences CEOs’ learning and information processing in making strategic decisions.

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The Impact of Prior Stock Market Reactions On Risk Taking in Acquisitions

Shyam Kumar, Jaya Dixit & Bill Francis
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the relationship between the stock market's reaction to a prior acquisition and the risk associated with a subsequent acquisition. Using a sample of 823 acquisitions over the period 1990–2006 we find that acquirers buy increasingly volatile targets both as the abnormal dollar gains from the previous acquisition announcement increase, and as the abnormal dollar losses increase (i.e. a V shaped relationship). Our findings are consistent with psychological theories of decision making, including prospect theory and the house money effect. In addition, they highlight that the stock market reaction to the prior acquisition announcement acts as an important reference point in acquisition decisions.

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Are the Benefits of Debt Declining? The Decreasing Propensity of Firms to be Adequately Levered

Ranjan D’Mello & Mark Gruskin
Journal of Corporate Finance, December 2014, Pages 327–350

Abstract:
We observe a persistent increase in the percentage of firms with little or no debt in their capital structure over the last three decades. The fraction of firms with less than five percent debt in their capital structure increases from 14.01 percent in 1977 to 34.42 percent in 2010 while the percentage of all-equity firms increases 200 percent over the same period. We find that even after controlling for firm- and industry-specific variables that are relevant to capital structure policy, there is a deficiency in firms’ propensity to be levered. Additionally, the deficiency is increasing over time and by 2010 the percent of firms that are nearly all-equity is twice the predicted level. Our findings are robust to different methodologies, specifications, and time periods. Overall, these results suggest that the well-documented benefits of leverage are less valuable over the sample period and that the determinants of firms’ capital structure decisions have evolved since the 1970s.

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Does Uncertainty about Management Affect Firms' Costs of Borrowing?

Yihui Pan, Tracy Yue Wang & Michael Weisbach
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Uncertainty about management appears to affect firms’ cost of borrowing and financial policies. In a sample of S&P 1500 firms between 1987 and 2010, CDS spreads, loan spreads and bond yield spreads all decline over the first three years of CEO tenure, holding other macroeconomic, firm, and security level factors constant. This decline occurs regardless of the reason for the prior CEO’s departure. Similar but smaller declines occur following turnovers of CFOs. The spreads are more sensitive to CEO tenure when the prior uncertainty about the CEO’s ability is likely to be higher: when he is not an heir apparent, is an outsider, is younger, and when he does not have a prior relationship with the lender. The spread- tenure sensitivity is also higher when the firm has a higher default risk and when the debt claim is riskier. These patterns are consistent with the view that the decline in spreads in a manager’s first three years of tenure reflects the resolution of uncertainty about management. Firms adjust their propensities to issue external debt, precautionary cash holding, and reliance on internal funds in response to these short-term increases in borrowing costs early in their CEOs’ tenure.

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Paying the price? The impact of controversial governance practices on managerial reputation

Michael Bednar, Geoffrey Love & Matthew Kraatz
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study directly examines the reputational penalties that managers pay when they engage in controversial governance practices that raise questions about managerial self-interest. These penalties should deter questionable behavior and enable reputation to serve a social control function, yet we know little about how and when these penalties are actually imposed. Unlike prior research in this vein, we account for the fact that reputational penalties associated with such practices may differ across audiences because of differences in interpretations of the practice and differences in causal attributions about its use. Specifically, we develop theory to explain how and when stock analysts and peer executives applied reputational penalties to managers when firms used a poison pill. We find that the reputational penalties associated with poison pills differed substantially between these two groups and that these groups applied different penalties depending on the media coverage that the poison pill received, the performance of the firm, and the extent to which the practice had already been adopted. The findings suggest that reputational penalties for questionable behaviors may be more contingent and harder to sustain than previously thought.

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Do analysts matter for governance? Evidence from natural experiments

Tao Chen, Jarrad Harford & Chen Lin
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Building on two sources of exogenous shocks to analyst coverage (broker closures and mergers), we explore the causal effects of analyst coverage on mitigating managerial expropriation of outside shareholders. We find that as a firm experiences an exogenous decrease in analyst coverage, shareholders value internal cash holdings less, its CEO receives higher excess compensation, its management is more likely to make value-destroying acquisitions, and its managers are more likely to engage in earnings management activities. Importantly, we find that most of these effects are mainly driven by the firms with smaller initial analyst coverage and less product market competition. We further find that after exogenous brokerage exits, a CEO's total and excess compensation become less sensitive to firm performance in firms with low initial analyst coverage. These findings are consistent with the monitoring hypothesis, specifically that financial analysts play an important governance role in scrutinizing management behavior, and the market is pricing an increase in expected agency problems after the loss in analyst coverage.

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Explicit Employment Contracts and CEO Compensation

Wei-Ling Song & Kam-Ming Wan
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the relation between the use of explicit employment agreements (EA) and CEO compensation. Overall, our findings are broadly consistent with the predictions of Klein, Crawford, and Alchian (1978) that an EA is used to induce CEOs to make firm-specific human capital investments that are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior. We determine that compensation is higher when CEOs have employment agreements that are written, longer in duration, or more explicit in terms. Additionally, such employment agreements are more likely to occur when firms have (i) externally hired CEOs, (ii) CEOs with large abnormal compensation, (iii) low investment intensity, (iv) low growth opportunities, and (v) CEOs with a short employment history with the firm.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Race past

When Canvassers Became Activists: Antislavery Petitioning and the Political Mobilization of American Women

Daniel Carpenter & Colin Moore
American Political Science Review, August 2014, Pages 479-498

Abstract:
Examining an original dataset of more than 8,500 antislavery petitions sent to Congress (1833–1845), we argue that American women's petition canvassing conferred skills and contacts that empowered their later activism. We find that women canvassers gathered 50% or more signatures (absolute and per capita) than men while circulating the same petition requests in the same locales. Supplementary evidence (mainly qualitative) points to women's persuasive capacity and network building as the most plausible mechanisms for this increased efficacy. We then present evidence that leaders in the women's rights and reform campaigns of the nineteenth century were previously active in antislavery canvassing. Pivotal signers of the Seneca Falls Declaration were antislavery petition canvassers, and in an independent sample of post–Civil War activists, women were four times more likely than men to have served as identifiable antislavery canvassers. For American women, petition canvassing — with its patterns of persuasion and networking — shaped legacies in political argument, network formation, and organizing.

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Pathways From Racial Discrimination to Multiple Sexual Partners Among Male African American Adolescents

Steven Kogan et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
African American male adolescents’ involvement with multiple sexual partners has important implications for public health as well as for their development of ideas regarding masculinity and sexuality. The purpose of this study was to test hypotheses regarding the pathways through which racial discrimination affects African American adolescents’ involvement with multiple sexual partners. We hypothesized that racial discrimination would engender psychological distress, which would promote attitudes and peer affiliations conducive to multiple sexual partnerships. The study also examined the protective influence of parenting practices in buffering the influence of contextual stressors. Participants were 221 African American male youth who provided data at ages 16 and 18 years; their parents provided data on family socioeconomic disadvantages. Of these young men, 18.5% reported having 3 or more sexual partners during the past 3 months. Structural equation models indicated that racial discrimination contributed to sexual activity with multiple partners by inducing psychological distress, which, in turn, affected attitudes and peer affiliations conducive to multiple partners. The experience of protective parenting, which included racial socialization, closeness and harmony in parent–child relationships, and parental monitoring, buffered the influence of racial discrimination on psychological distress. These findings suggest targets for prevention programming and underscore the importance of efforts to reduce young men’s experience with racial discrimination.

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Political Polarization as a Social Movement Outcome: 1960s Klan Activism and Its Enduring Impact on Political Realignment in Southern Counties, 1960 to 2000

Rory McVeigh, David Cunningham & Justin Farrell
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Radical social movements can exacerbate tensions in local settings while drawing attention to how movement goals align with political party agendas. Short-term movement influence on voting outcomes can endure when orientations toward the movement disrupt social ties, embedding individuals within new discussion networks that reinforce new partisan loyalties. To demonstrate this dynamic, we employ longitudinal data to show that increases in Republican voting, across several different time intervals, were most pronounced in southern counties where the Ku Klux Klan had been active in the 1960s. In an individual-level analysis of voting intent, we show that decades after the Klan declined, racial attitudes map onto party voting among southern voters, but only in counties where the Klan had been active.

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Early Life Environment and Racial Inequality in Education and Earnings in the United States

Kenneth Chay, Jonathan Guryan & Bhashkar Mazumder
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Chay, Guryan and Mazumder (2009) found substantial racial convergence in AFQT and NAEP scores across cohorts born in the 1960’s and early 1970’s that was concentrated among blacks in the South. We demonstrated a close tracking between variation in the test score convergence across states and racial convergence in measures of health and hospital access in the years immediately after birth. This study analyzes whether the across-cohort patterns in the black-white education and earnings gaps match those in early life health and test scores already established. It also addresses caveats in the earlier study, such as unobserved selection into taking the AFQT and potential discrepancies between state-of-birth and state-of-test taking. With Census data, we find: i) a significant narrowing across the same cohorts in education gaps driven primarily by a relative increase in the probability of blacks going to college; and ii) a similar convergence in relative earnings that is insensitive to adjustments for employment selection, as well as time and age effects that vary by race and state-of-residence. The variation in racial convergence across birth states matches the patterns in the earlier study. The magnitude of the earnings gains is greater than can be explained by only the black gains in education and test scores for reasonable estimates of the returns to human capital. This suggests that other pre-market, productivity factors also improved across successive cohorts of blacks born in the South between the early 1960’s and early 1970’s. Finally, our cohort-based hypothesis provides a cohesive explanation for the aggregate patterns in several, previously disconnected literatures.

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“Racism Still Exists”: A Public Health Intervention Using Racism “Countermarketing” Outdoor Advertising in a Black Neighborhood

Naa Oyo Kwate
Journal of Urban Health, October 2014, Pages 851-872

Abstract:
The negative health effects of racism have been well documented, but how to intervene to redress these effects has been little studied. This study reports on RISE (Racism Still Exists), a high-risk, high-reward public health intervention that used outdoor advertising to disseminate a “countermarketing” campaign in New York City (NYC). Over 6 months, the campaign advertised stark facts about the persistence of racism in the USA. A probability sample of N = 144 participants from two predominantly Black NYC neighborhoods completed measures of health status, health behaviors, and social attitudes. Three months postintervention, statistically significant declines in psychological distress were seen among study participants who were exposed to the campaign compared to those who were not. There were no changes in other hypothesized outcomes. The campaign also generated significant public discourse, particularly in social media. The results suggest that racism countermarketing campaigns may have promise as a community-based intervention to address health inequalities.

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Caste-based Crimes and Economic Status: Evidence from India

Smriti Sharma
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Crimes against the historically marginalized Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC and ST) by the upper castes in India represent an extreme form of prejudice and discrimination. In this paper, we investigate whether changes in relative material standards of living between the SCs/STs and upper castes - as measured by the ratio of consumption expenditures of SCs/STs to that of upper castes - are associated with changes in the incidence of crimes against SCs/STs. Based on the hierarchical social structure implied by the caste system, we posit that an increase in the expenditure ratio is positively correlated with the incidence of crimes committed by the upper castes against the lower castes. Using official district level crime data for the period 2001-10, we find a positive association between crimes and expenditure of SC/ST vis-á-vis the upper castes. Further, distinguishing between violent and non-violent crimes, we find it is the violent crimes that are responsive to changes in economic gaps. Moreover, this relationship is on account of changes in the upper castes’ economic well-being rather than changes in the economic position of the SCs and STs.

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Racial and Spatial Targeting: Segregation and Subprime Lending within and across Metropolitan Areas

Jackelyn Hwang, Michael Hankinson & Kreg Steven Brown
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies find that high levels of black-white segregation increased rates of foreclosures and subprime lending across US metropolitan areas during the housing crisis. These studies speculate that segregation created distinct geographic markets that enabled subprime lenders and brokers to leverage the spatial proximity of minorities to disproportionately target minority neighborhoods. Yet, the studies do not explicitly test whether the concentration of subprime loans in minority neighborhoods varied by segregation levels. We address this shortcoming by integrating neighborhood-level data and spatial measures of segregation to examine the relationship between segregation and subprime lending across the 100 largest US metropolitan areas. Controlling for alternative explanations of the housing crisis, we find that segregation is strongly associated with higher concentrations of subprime loans in clusters of minority census tracts but find no evidence of unequal lending patterns when we examine minority census tracts in an aspatial way. Moreover, residents of minority census tracts in segregated metropolitan areas had higher likelihoods of receiving subprime loans than their counterparts in less segregated metropolitan areas. Our findings demonstrate that segregation played a pivotal role in the housing crisis by creating relatively larger areas of concentrated minorities into which subprime loans could be efficiently and effectively channeled. These results are consistent with existing but untested theories on the relationship between segregation and the housing crisis in metropolitan areas.

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Racial Discrimination, Fear of Crime, and Variability in Blacks’ Preferences for Punitive and Preventative Anti-crime Policies

Mark Ramirez
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of research recognizes that people’s policy opinions are not simply positive or negative, but instead derive from a variety of positive and negative beliefs related to a political issue. This research expands this insight by explaining the variability in support for punitive anti-crime policies among black Americans. Data from a nationally representative survey of black Americans (n = 515) are used to show that a majority of blacks are conflicted between a strong desire to reduce crime and perceptions of widespread racial discrimination within the criminal justice system. Using a heteroskedastic item response theory model, I demonstrate that conflict between these beliefs results in far greater variability around their support for punitive, but not preventative policies. Both the conflict and variability of many black Americans’ preferences on punitive anti-crime policies complicates their ability to clearly voice their support for or opposition toward punitive policies and likely limits the ability of elected officials to represent members of this community.

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Racial Microaggressions and Asian Americans: An Exploratory Study on Within-Group Differences and Mental Health

Kevin Nadal et al.
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial microaggressions are subtle forms of discrimination that have been found to have negative effects on the mental health of people of color. Due to the dearth of quantitative research that has examined the influence of racial microaggressions on Asian Americans, we recruited an Asian American sample (N = 157) for the current study to investigate the relationship between racial microaggressions with depression and other mental health symptoms. Recruited from both community and college populations, the sample consisted of 107 Asian American women and 50 men, with varying educational backgrounds, immigration statuses, and geographic locations in the U.S. Using the Racial and Ethnic Microaggressions Scales (REMS; Nadal, 2011b) and the Mental Health Inventory (MHI; McHorney, Ware, Rogers, Raczek, & Lu, 1992), there were 2 major findings. First, after controlling for education, hierarchical regression analyses indicated that racial microaggressions predicted general mental health problems: F(2, 91) = 11.37, p <.00, with the model explaining approximately 20% of the variance (R2 = .20, adjusted R2 = .09). Second, although comparative t tests did not yield significant differences based on gender or immigration status, t tests did reveal that Asian Americans experience various types of microaggression, based on geographic location, education, and age. Research implications for Asian American psychology and recommendations for clinical practice will be discussed.

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White Flight and the Presence of Neighborhood Nonprofit Organizations: Ethno-racial Transition, Poverty, and Organizational Resources

Eve Garrow & Samuel Garrow
Race and Social Problems, December 2014, Pages 328-341

Abstract:
A growing body of evidence suggests that urban neighborhoods of color experience a dearth of institutional resources, including parks and social services. Yet, little is known of how a key process in the creation and maintenance of racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods — the flight of whites from integrating neighborhoods — influences the availability of nonprofit human services. Drawing insights from the place stratification perspective and the sociological study of residential segregation by race and ethnicity, we develop hypotheses on the relationship between white flight and nonprofit presence, and test them with a dataset that combines census tract data with data on all nonprofit human service organizations in Los Angeles County in 2001 and 2011. Consistent with the place stratification perspective, we find that white flight is negatively associated with the presence of nonprofit human services after controlling for neighborhood structural characteristics. However, the expectation that the negative effect of white flight on organizational numbers is stronger in poor neighborhoods than in nonpoor neighborhoods is not supported. The negative association between white flight and the presence of nonprofits is equally as pronounced in neighborhoods with low and high levels of poverty.

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Race, Sovereignty, and Civil Rights: Understanding the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy

Circe Sturm
Cultural Anthropology, August 2014, Pages 575–598

Abstract:
Despite a treaty in 1866 between the Cherokee Nation and the federal government granting them full tribal citizenship, Cherokee Freedmen — the descendants of African American slaves to the Cherokee, as well as of children born from unions between African Americans and Cherokee tribal members — continue to be one of the most marginalized communities within Indian Country. Any time Freedmen have sought the full rights and benefits given other Cherokee citizens, they have encountered intense opposition, including a 2007 vote that effectively ousted them from the tribe. The debates surrounding this recent decision provide an excellent case study for exploring the intersections of race and sovereignty. In this article, I use the most recent Cherokee Freedmen controversy to examine how racial discourse both empowers and diminishes tribal sovereignty, and what happens in settler-colonial contexts when the exercise of tribal rights comes into conflict with civil rights. I also explore how settler colonialism as an analytic can obscure the racialized power dynamics that undermine Freedmen claims to an indigenous identity and tribal citizenship.

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Double Jeopardy: Why Latinos Were Hit Hardest by the US Foreclosure Crisis

Jacob Rugh
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has demonstrated that Latinos have been hit hardest by the US foreclosure crisis. In this article, I combine place stratification and spatial assimilation theory to explain why Latinos suffered a devastating double blow during the foreclosure crisis. Using a national sample of borrowers who received risky mortgage loans during the boom and following them through the crisis, I find that Latinos were most likely subject to high-cost subprime lending and especially risky low-/no-documentation lending as Latino suburbanization and immigration peaked along with national home prices. As a result, while Latino borrowers were no less likely to lose their homes to foreclosure than blacks prior to the crisis or in the Rust Belt, they were significantly more likely to lose their homes after the crisis began and in the Sand States of Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada. Taken together, the results demonstrate the risk of rising Latino immigration, suburbanization, and homeownership during the stages of the housing boom and foreclosure crisis.

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Racial Segregation and Quality of Care Disparity in US Nursing Homes

Momotazur Rahman & Andrew Foster
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper we examine the contributions of travel distance and preferences for racial homogeneity as sources of nursing home segregation and racial disparities in nursing home quality. We first theoretically characterize the distinctive implications of these mechanisms for nursing home racial segregation. We then use this model to structure an empirical analysis of nursing home sorting. We find little evidence of differential willingness to pay for quality by race among first-time nursing home entrants, but do find significant distance and race-based preference effects. Simulation exercises suggest that both effects contribute importantly to racial disparities in nursing home quality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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