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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tough day at the office

Moral Suspicion Trickles Down

Takuya Sawaoka & Benoît Monin
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In social hierarchies, moral stigma spreads down more than up. Across four vignette studies, exposure to the immoral behaviors of higher (vs. lower) ranking group members led online participants to report greater moral suspicion toward other group members (moral spillover). A higher ranking organization member’s deceptive practices were perceived as more prototypical, resulting in more negative moral impressions of the organization (Study 1). This more negative moral impression led people to rate ambiguous behavior by another organization member as more suspicious — even when the prior transgression was purely self-serving (Study 2). These effects generalized across several types of moral transgressions (Study 3). Finally, a higher ranking organization member’s unethical behavior led other organization members to receive more negative job-hiring recommendations (Study 4). Thus, a higher ranking group member’s ethical violations result in greater moral spillover, affecting not only other group members’ moral reputations but their career prospects as well.

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Self-Control at Work

Supreet Kaur, Michael Kremer & Sendhil Mullainathan
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Workers with self-control problems do not work as hard as they would like. This changes the logic of agency theory by partly aligning the interests of the firm and worker: both now value contracts that elicit more effort in the future. Three findings from a year-long field experiment with data entry workers suggest the quantitative importance of self control at work. First, workers choose dominated contracts — which penalize low output but provide no greater reward for high output — 36% of the time to motivate their future selves; use of these contracts increases output by the same amount as an 18% increase in the piece-rate. Second, effort increases as the (randomly assigned) payday gets closer: output rises 8% over the pay week; calibrations show that justifying this would require a 4% daily exponential discount rate. Third, for both findings there is significant and correlated heterogeneity: workers with larger payday effects are both more likely to choose dominated contracts and show greater output increases under them. This correlation grows with experience, consistent with the hypothesis that workers learn about their self-control problems over time. Self-control problems among workers could potentially lead firms to either adopt high-powered incentives or impose work rules to allow monitoring of worker effort.

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Bargaining Ability and Competitive Advantage: Empirical Evidence from Medical Devices

Matthew Grennan
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In markets where buyers and suppliers negotiate, supplier costs, buyer willingness to pay, and competition determine only a range of potential prices, leaving the final price dependent on other factors (e.g., negotiating skill), which I call bargaining ability. I use a model of buyer demand and buyer–supplier bargaining, combined with detailed data on prices and quantities at the buyer–supplier relationship level, to estimate firm-bargaining abilities in the context of the coronary stent industry where different hospitals (buyers) pay different prices for the exact same product from the same supplier. I estimate that (1) variation in bargaining abilities explains 79% of this price variation, (2) bargaining ability has a large firm-specific component, and (3) changes in the distribution of bargaining abilities over time suggest learning as an important channel influencing bargaining ability.

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Imprint–environment Fit and Performance: How Organizational Munificence at the Time of Hire Affects Subsequent Job Performance

András Tilcsik
Administrative Science Quarterly, December 2014, Pages 639-668

Abstract:
Using a longitudinal study of professionals in two information technology services firms, as well as interview data, this paper illuminates how organizational fortunes influence individual performance over time, examining how the economic situation of an organization leaves a lasting imprint on new employees and how that imprint affects subsequent job performance. The core hypothesis, supported by the results, is that the more similar the initially experienced level of organizational munificence is to the level of munificence in a subsequent period, the higher an individual’s job performance. This relationship between what I call “imprint–environment fit” and performance is contingent on the individual’s career stage when entering the organization and the influence of secondhand imprinting resulting from the social transmission of others’ imprints. A possible implication of the core hypothesis may be a “curse of extremes,” whereby both very high and very low levels of initial munificence are associated with lower average performance during a person’s subsequent tenure. One mechanism underlying these patterns is that employees socialized in different resource environments develop distinct approaches to problem solving and client interactions, which then lead to varying levels of imprint–environment fit in subsequent resource environments.

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Expert leaders in a fast-moving environment

Amanda Goodall & Ganna Pogrebna
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This longitudinal study explores the influence of leaders on performance in the iconic, high-technology, turbulent industry of Formula One. The evidence is evaluated through the emerging theory of expert leadership which proposes the existence of a first-order requirement: it is that leaders should have expert knowledge in the core-business of the organizations they are to lead (holding constant management and leadership experience). The study's findings provide strong support for the ‘expert leader’ hypothesis. The most successful F1 principals are disproportionately those who started their careers as drivers. Moreover, within the sub-sample of former drivers, it is those who had the longest driving careers who went on to become the most effective leaders. The study's expert-leader findings are consistent with the hypothesis that longitudinal performance improves when a leader's knowledge and expertise correlate with an organization's core-business activity.

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Do Star Performers Produce More Stars? Peer Effects and Learning in Elite Teams

Casey Ichniowski & Anne Preston
NBER Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
This study investigates the professional soccer industry to ask whether the talent of an individual’s co-workers helps explain differences in the rate of human capital accumulation on the job. Data tracking national soccer team performance and the professional leagues their members play for are particularly well suited for developing convincing non-experimental evidence about these kinds of peer effects. The empirical results consistently show that performance improves more after an individual has been a member of an elite team than when he has been a member of lower level teams. The conclusion is borne out by a rich set of complementary data on: national team performance, player-level performance, performance of foreign players who joined elite teams after an exogenous shift in the number of foreign players participating on top club teams, performance of players on national teams in the year just before and the year just after they join an elite club team, and experiences of several national team players obtained through personal interviews.

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Who's In Charge Here? Co-CEOs, Power Gaps, And Firm Performance

Ryan Krause, Richard Priem & Leonard Love
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
At the pinnacles of organizations, comparative tests of unity of command and shared command are nearly impossible because only one individual sits atop most organizations. In organizations led by co-CEOs, however, such a test is possible because co-CEOs can truly share power. But do they? Our research pits the unity-of-command principle against the shared-command principle and finds overall support for the former, even within the co-CEO context. Our sample of 71 co-CEO pairs at publicly traded U.S. firms shows that increasing power gaps between co-CEOs are positively associated with firm performance. This positive association wanes and turns negative, however, as power gaps become very large. We conclude that whatever benefits the co-CEO structure might offer likely lie outside the shared command paradigm.

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Selecting the Best? Spillover and Shadows in Elimination Tournaments

Jennifer Brown & Dylan Minor
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider how past, current, and future competition within an elimination tournament affect the probability that the stronger player wins. We present a two-stage model that yields the following main results: (1) a shadow effect wherein the stronger the expected future competitor, the lower the probability that the stronger player wins in the current stage; and (2) an effort spillover effect wherein previous effort reduces the probability that the stronger player wins in the current stage. We test our theory predictions using data from high-stakes tournaments. Empirical results suggest that shadow and spillover effects influence match outcomes and have already been priced into betting markets.

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“Give us your social networking site passwords”: Implications for personnel selection and personality

Travis Schneider, Richard Goffin & Kabir Daljeet
Personality and Individual Differences, January 2015, Pages 78–83

Abstract:
Recently, employers have begun asking applicants for their social networking site (SNS) password to access private information that could be job-relevant. However, the effect that this request can have on an organization’s selection process and its selection of individual applicant traits has not been previously examined. Findings from the current study of 892 employed or previously-employed participants suggested that 57.87% of the sample would refuse the password request, thereby removing themselves from the applicant pool. Such a large reduction in the applicant pool could necessitate a drastic decrease in cutoff scores on subsequent pre-employment tests, which would lower workforce productivity and personnel selection utility. In addition, the SNS password request caused adverse impact for several minority groups, and affected the personality scores of the remaining applicant pool.

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Trust and Financial Reporting Quality

Jace Garrett, Rani Hoitash & Douglas Prawitt
Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using unique survey data from Great Place to Work® Institute, we investigate the association of intra-organizational trust (i.e., employees’ trust in management) with three aspects of financial reporting: accruals quality, misstatements, and internal control quality. We find that trust is associated with better accrual quality, lower likelihood of financial statement misstatements, and lower likelihood of internal control material weakness disclosures. However, these effects are not uniform across all companies. Consistent with trust improving financial reporting quality through improved information production and information sharing, we find that trust is significantly associated with financial reporting quality in relatively decentralized firms, but not in firms that are relatively centralized. Our results are robust to several analyses that attempt to control for potential alternative explanations.

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Paradoxical Leader Behavior in People Management: Antecedents and Consequences

Yan Zhang et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
As organizational environments become increasingly dynamic, complex, and competitive, leaders are likely to face intensified contradictory or seemingly paradoxical demands. We develop the construct of paradoxical leader behavior in people management, which refers to seemingly competing yet interrelated behaviors to simultaneously and over time meet structural and follower demands. In Study 1, we develop a measure of paradoxical leader behavior using five samples from China. Confirmatory factor analyses support a multidimensional measure of paradoxical leader behavior with five dimensions: combining self-centeredness with other-centeredness, maintaining both distance and closeness, treating subordinates uniformly while allowing individualization, enforcing work requirements while allowing flexibility, and maintaining decision control while allowing autonomy. In Study 2, we examine the antecedents and consequences of such leader behavior with a field sample of 76 supervisors and 516 subordinates from six firms. We find that the extent to which supervisors engage in holistic thinking and have integrative complexity is positively related to their paradoxical behavior in managing people, which in turn, is associated with increased proficiency, adaptivity, and proactivity in subordinates. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.

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Expert Workers, Performance Standards, and On-the-Job Training: Evaluating Major League Baseball Umpires

Brian Mills
University of Florida Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines the role of changes in monitoring, technological innovation, performance standards, and collective bargaining as they relate to performance improvements among Major League Baseball umpires from 1988 through 2013. I find structural changes in performance concurrent with known bargaining struggles, and substantial improvements in performance after implementation of incentive pay and new technological monitoring and training. Not only do umpires improve performance in expected ways, but the variability in umpire performance has also decreased substantially. These changes have reduced offensive output often attributed to a crackdown on performance enhancing drug use in MLB.

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Superstar Salaries and Soccer Success: The Impact of Designated Players in Major League Soccer

Dennis Coates, Bernd Frick & Todd Jewell
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study estimates the relationship between production and salary structure in Major League Soccer (MLS), the highest level of professional soccer (association football) in North America. Soccer production, measured as league points per game, is modeled as a function of a team’s total wage bill, the distribution of the team’s wage bill, and goals per game. Both the Gini coefficient and the coefficient of variation are utilized to measure salary inequality. The results indicate that production in MLS is negatively responsive to increases in the salary inequality; the estimation model with the best fit uses the coefficient of variation to measure dispersion. Furthermore, MLS teams appear to be constrained in their choices of salary inequality by the salary cap and other regulations.

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Talent Recruitment and Firm Performance: The Business of Major League Sports

Daniel Weinberg
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Firms rely heavily on their investments in human capital to achieve profits. This research takes advantage of detailed information on worker performance and confidential information on firm revenue and operating costs to investigate the relationship between talent migration and firm profitability in major league sports, one of the few industries in which detailed information about the past performance of each individual worker (athlete) is known to all potential employers. I use confidential microdata from the 2007 Economic Censuses, and from the 2007 and 2008 Service Annual Surveys to investigate the link between individual worker performance and team profitability, controlling for many other aspects of the sports business, specifically taking account of the mobility of athletic “stars” and “superstars” from one team to another. The investigations in this article provide limited support for the hypothesis that hiring talented individuals (stars) will increase a firm’s profit. However, there is no convincing support for the incremental benefit of hiring superstars. The peculiar characteristics of major league sports suggest that these results are probably not generalizable.

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You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Sleepy: Leader Sleep, Daily Abusive Supervision, and Work Unit Engagement

Christopher Barnes et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine daily leader sleep as an antecedent to daily abusive supervisory behavior and work unit engagement. Drawing from ego depletion theory, our theoretical extension includes a serial mediation model of nightly sleep quantity and quality as predictors of abusive supervision. We argue that poor nightly sleep influences leaders to enact daily abusive behaviors via ego depletion, and these abusive behaviors ultimately result in decreased daily subordinate unit work engagement. We test this model through an experience sampling study spread over ten work days with data from both supervisors and their subordinates. Our study supports the role of the indirect effects of sleep quality (but not sleep quantity) via leader ego depletion and daily abusive supervisor behavior on daily subordinate unit work engagement.

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Organizational Constraints to Adaptation: Intrafirm Asymmetry in the Locus of Coordination

Vikas Aggarwal & Brian Wu
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assemble a panel data set of firms in the U.S. defense industry between 1996 and 2006 to examine the drivers of heterogeneous incumbent firm adaptation following the industry-wide demand shock of September 11, 2001. This shock entailed not only an increase in aggregate demand but, more importantly, a shift in the relative attractiveness of individual product areas, resulting in the need for firms to reshuffle their product portfolios in response to changing demand conditions. The exogenous nature of the shock allows us to empirically identify the effect of preshock interdependence structures on postshock adaptation outcomes. We find that the locus of coordination inside a firm can explain differential postshock adaptation performance: because interdependencies spanning organizational boundaries are more difficult to manage than those contained within such boundaries, coordination across product areas creates greater adaptation challenges compared with coordination within product areas. We further investigate the moderating effects of product complementarity and organizational grouping, finding results consistent with our hypothesized mechanisms. As one of the first studies to empirically link a firm’s locus of coordination with its adaptation performance, this study contributes to our understanding of the role of interdependence and organization design in dynamic environments.

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Brokerage Professions and Implementing Reform in an Age of Experts

Katherine Kellogg
American Sociological Review, October 2014, Pages 912-941

Abstract:
In this comparative ethnographic case study of the implementation of a reform related to the Affordable Care Act in two community health centers, I find that professionals may not compete to claim new tasks (and thereby not implement reform) if these tasks require them to acquire information unrelated to their professional expertise, use work practices that conflict with their professional identity, or do impure or low-value tasks that threaten their professional interests. In such cases, reform may be implemented if lower-status workers fill in the gaps in the division of labor between the professions targeted by the reform, playing a brokerage role by protecting each profession’s information, meanings, and tasks in everyday work. When the new tasks represent professionally ill-defined problems, brokers can be more effective if they use buffering practices rather than connecting practices — managing information rather than transferring it, matching meanings rather than translating them, and maintaining interests rather than transforming them — to accomplish reform. By playing a buffering role in the interstices between existing professional jurisdictions, lower-status workers can carve out their own jurisdiction, becoming a brokerage profession between existing professions that need to collaborate with one another for reform to occur.

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The octopus approach in time management: Polychronicity and creativity

Alper Kayaalp
Military Psychology, March 2014, Pages 67-76

Abstract:
The current study examined the associations among polychronicity, creativity and perceived time pressure in a military context. Polychronicity refers to an individual’s preference for working on many tasks simultaneously as opposed to 1 at a time. As hypothesized, polychronicity was negatively related to creativity. In addition, perceived time pressure moderated this relationship. Specifically, polychronic individuals exhibited less creativity when their perceived time pressure was high. The results underscore that, although today’s work environment encourages polychronic approach, it, when reinforced with perceived high time pressure, runs the risk of reducing creativity, which is a critical driver for the survival of organizations.

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Urban Vibrancy and Corporate Growth

Casey Dougal, Christopher Parsons & Sheridan Titman
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that a firm's investment is highly sensitive to the investments of other firms headquartered nearby, even those in very different industries. A firm's investment also responds to fluctuations in the cash flows and stock prices (q) of local firms outside its sector. These patterns do not appear to reflect exogenous area shocks such as local shocks to labor or real estate values, but rather suggest that local agglomeration economies are important determinants of firm investment and growth.

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Money Left on the Table: An Analysis of Participation in Employee Stock Purchase Plans

Ilona Babenko & Rik Sen
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyze participation decisions in employee stock purchase plans. These plans allow employees to buy company stock at a discount from the market price and resell it immediately for a sure profit. Although an average employee stands to gain $3,079 annually, only 30% of individuals take advantage of this risk-free opportunity. Participation is more likely among employees who are familiar with stocks, are more educated, are less financially unconstrained, and make fewer errors in valuing financial securities. Our results suggest that compensation plans requiring active decisions by individuals can result in poor financial outcomes for employees of lower socioeconomic status.

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Crowdsourcing contest dilemma

Victor Naroditskiy et al.
Journal of the Royal Society: Interface, October 2014

Abstract:
Crowdsourcing offers unprecedented potential for solving tasks efficiently by tapping into the skills of large groups of people. A salient feature of crowdsourcing — its openness of entry — makes it vulnerable to malicious behaviour. Such behaviour took place in a number of recent popular crowdsourcing competitions. We provide game-theoretic analysis of a fundamental trade-off between the potential for increased productivity and the possibility of being set back by malicious behaviour. Our results show that in crowdsourcing competitions malicious behaviour is the norm, not the anomaly — a result contrary to the conventional wisdom in the area. Counterintuitively, making the attacks more costly does not deter them but leads to a less desirable outcome. These findings have cautionary implications for the design of crowdsourcing competitions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Family planner

Short- and long-term effects of unemployment on fertility

Janet Currie & Hannes Schwandt
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 October 2014, Pages 14734–14739

Abstract:
Scholars have been examining the relationship between fertility and unemployment for more than a century. Most studies find that fertility falls with unemployment in the short run, but it is not known whether these negative effects persist, because women simply may postpone childbearing to better economic times. Using more than 140 million US birth records for the period 1975–2010, we analyze both the short- and long-run effects of unemployment on fertility. We follow fixed cohorts of US-born women defined by their own state and year of birth, and relate their fertility to the unemployment rate experienced by each cohort at different ages. We focus on conceptions that result in a live birth. We find that women in their early 20s are most affected by high unemployment rates in the short run and that the negative effects on fertility grow over time. A one percentage point increase in the average unemployment rate experienced between the ages of 20 and 24 reduces the short-run fertility of women in this age range by six conceptions per 1,000 women. When we follow these women to age 40, we find that a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate experienced at ages 20–24 leads to an overall loss of 14.2 conceptions. This long-run effect is driven largely by women who remain childless and thus do not have either first births or higher-order births.

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Sex differences in the relationship between status and number of offspring in the contemporary U.S.

Rosemary Hopcroft
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sociobiology predicts that among social species individual social status will be positively correlated with reproductive success, yet in modern societies the opposite appears to be true. However, in the last five to ten years, a sex difference in the association between some measures of personal status on number of children has been documented in many countries, such that status is positively associated with number of children for men only. Much of this research utilizes European data and there has been little use of data from the U.S. In this paper, analysis of U.S. data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth shows that personal income is positively associated with number of offspring for men, and this is true for men at all levels of education. This is mostly because of increased childlessness among low income men. For women, personal income is negatively associated with number of offspring, and this is true for women at all levels of education. Other measures of status (intelligence and education) are negatively associated with number of offspring for men and women, although the negative association is less for men.

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Fertility Transitions Along the Extensive and Intensive Margins

Daniel Aaronson, Fabian Lange & Bhashkar Mazumder
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
By allowing for an extensive margin in the standard quantity-quality model, we generate new insights into fertility transitions. We test the model on Southern black women affected by a large-scale school construction program. Consistent with our model, women facing improved schooling opportunities for their children were more likely to have at least one child but chose to have smaller families overall. By contrast, women who themselves obtained more schooling due to the program delayed childbearing along both the extensive and intensive margins and entered higher quality occupations, consistent with education raising opportunity costs of child rearing.

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Childbearing Postponement and Child Well-being: A Complex and Varied Relationship?

Alice Goisis & Wendy Sigle-Rushton
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1821-1841

Abstract:
Over the past several decades, U.S. fertility has followed a trend toward the postponement of motherhood. The socioeconomic causes and consequences of this trend have been the focus of attention in the demographic literature. Given the socioeconomic advantages of those who postpone having children, some authors have argued that the disadvantage experienced by certain groups would be reduced if they postponed their births. The weathering hypothesis literature, by integrating a biosocial perspective, complicates this argument and posits that the costs and benefits of postponement may vary systematically across population subgroups. In particular, the literature on the weathering hypothesis argues that, as a consequence of their unique experiences of racism and disadvantage, African American women may experience a more rapid deterioration of their health which could offset or eventually reverse any socioeconomic benefit of postponement. But because very few African American women postpone motherhood, efforts to find compelling evidence to support the arguments of this perspective rely on a strategy of comparison that is problematic because a potentially selected group of older black mothers are used to represent the costs of postponement. This might explain why the weathering hypothesis has played a rather limited role in the way demographers conceptualize postponement and its consequences for well-being. In order to explore the potential utility of this perspective, we turn our attention to the UK context. Because first-birth fertility schedules are similar for black and white women, we can observe (rather than assume) whether the meaning and consequences of postponement vary across these population subgroups. The results, obtained using linked UK census and birth record data, reveal evidence consistent with the weathering hypothesis in the United Kingdom and lend support to the arguments that the demographic literature would benefit from integrating insights from this biosocial perspective.

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Paternal age predicts offspring chances of marriage and reproduction

Martin Fieder & Susanne Huber
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Mutation-selection balance theory proposes that a balance of forces between constantly arising mildly harmful mutations and selection causes variation in genetic configuration and phenotypic condition. As mutations are predominantly deleterious, the entry of variation due to mutations is kept at low frequencies by selection. It has recently been demonstrated that nearly all de novo mutation are caused by paternal age.

Methods: We examined on basis of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (n = 6,182) whether a subject's probability of having ever married as well as having ever reproduced is associated with that subject's father's age at subject's birth.

Results: We find that advanced paternal but not maternal age at subject's birth predicts a lower chance of ever being married and a higher chance of childlessness, even controlling for various confounders.

Conclusions: As marriage is a prerequisite of reproduction in this sample, we discuss that mate choice may provide a mechanism to prevent too high mutation load in the progeny.

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Association between Increased Emergency Contraception Availability and Risky Sexual Practices

Danielle Atkins & David Bradford
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: We studied whether increased emergency contraception availability for women over age 18 was associated with a higher probability of risky sexual practices.

Data: A total of 34,030 individual/year observations on 3,786 women aged 18 and older were extracted from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 from October 1999 through November 2009.

Study Design: We modeled three binary outcome variables: any sexual activity; sexual activity with more than one partner; and any sex without a condom for women with multiple partners for women in states with state-level policy changes (prior to the 2006 FDA ruling) and for women in states subject to only the national policy change both jointly and separately.

Findings: We found different results when estimating the state and federal changes separately. The national change was associated with a reduction in the probability of sexual activity, a reduction in the likelihood of reporting multiple partnerships, and there was no relationship between the national policy change and unprotected sexual activity. There was no relationship between the probability of sexual activity or multiple partnerships for women in states with their own policy changes, but we did find that women in these states were more likely to report unprotected sex.

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Does abortion reduce self-esteem and life satisfaction?

M.A. Biggs et al.
Quality of Life Research, November 2014, Pages 2505-2513

Purpose: This study aims to assess the effects of obtaining an abortion versus being denied an abortion on self-esteem and life satisfaction.

Methods: We present the first 2.5 years of a 5-year longitudinal telephone-interview study that follows 956 women who sought an abortion from 30 facilities across the USA. We examine the self-esteem and life satisfaction trajectories of women who sought and received abortions just under the facility’s gestational age limit, of women who sought and received abortions in their first trimester of pregnancy, and of women who sought abortions just beyond the facility gestational limit and were denied an abortion. We use adjusted mixed effects linear regression analyses to assess whether the trajectories of women who sought and obtained an abortion differ from those who were denied one.

Results: Women denied an abortion initially reported lower self-esteem and life satisfaction than women who sought and obtained an abortion. For all study groups, except those who obtained first trimester abortions, self-esteem and life satisfaction improved over time. The initially lower levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction among women denied an abortion improved more rapidly reaching similar levels as those obtaining abortions at 6 months to one year after abortion seeking. For women obtaining first trimester abortions, initially higher levels of life satisfaction remained steady over time.

Conclusions: There is no evidence that abortion harms women’s self-esteem or life satisfaction in the short term.

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“It just happens”: A qualitative study exploring low-income women’s perspectives on pregnancy intention and planning

Sonya Borrero et al.
Contraception, forthcoming

Objective: Unintended pregnancy is common and disproportionately occurs among low-income women. We conducted a qualitative study with low-income women to better typologize pregnancy intention, understand the relationship between pregnancy intention and contraceptive use, and identify the contextual factors that shape pregnancy intention and contraceptive behavior.

Study design: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with low-income, African-American and white women aged 18-45 recruited from reproductive health clinics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to explore factors that influence women’s pregnancy-related behaviors. Narratives were analyzed using content analysis and the constant comparison method.

Results: Among the 66 participants (36 African-American and 30 white), we identified several factors that may impede our public health goal of increasing the proportion of pregnancies that are consciously desired and planned. First, women do not always perceive that they have reproductive control and therefore do not necessarily formulate clear pregnancy intentions. Second, the benefits of a planned pregnancy may not be evident. Third, because preconception intention and planning do not necessarily occur, decisions about the acceptability of a pregnancy are often determined after the pregnancy has already occurred. Finally, even when women express a desire to avoid pregnancy, their contraceptive behaviors are not necessarily congruent with their desires. We also identified several clinically relevant and potentially modifiable factors that help to explain this intention-behavior discrepancy, including women’s perceptions of low fecundity and their experiences with male partner contraceptive sabotage.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the current conceptual framework that views pregnancy-related behaviors from a strict planned behavior perspective may be limited, particularly among low-income populations.

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Is low fertility really a problem? Population aging, dependency, and consumption

Ronald Lee, Andrew Mason & members of the NTA Network
Science, 10 October 2014, Pages 229-234

Abstract:
Longer lives and fertility far below the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman are leading to rapid population aging in many countries. Many observers are concerned that aging will adversely affect public finances and standards of living. Analysis of newly available National Transfer Accounts data for 40 countries shows that fertility well above replacement would typically be most beneficial for government budgets. However, fertility near replacement would be most beneficial for standards of living when the analysis includes the effects of age structure on families as well as governments. And fertility below replacement would maximize per capita consumption when the cost of providing capital for a growing labor force is taken into account. Although low fertility will indeed challenge government programs and very low fertility undermines living standards, we find that moderately low fertility and population decline favor the broader material standard of living.

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Intergenerational Transfers And The Fertility-Income Relationship

Juan Carlos Córdoba & Marla Ripoll
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence from cross-sectional data reveals a negative relationship between family income and fertility. This paper argues that constraints to intergenerational transfers are crucial for understanding this relationship. If parents could legally impose debt obligations on their children to recover the costs incurred in raising them, then fertility would be independent of parental income. A relationship between fertility and income arises when parents are unable to leave debts because of legal, enforcement, or moral constraints. This relationship is negative when the intergenerational elasticity of substitution is larger than one, case in which parental consumption is a good substitute for children's consumption.

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Babies in waiting: Why increasing the IVF age cut-off might lead to fewer wanted pregnancies in the presence of procrastination

Paul Dolan & Caroline Rudisill
Health Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the best of intentions, we often act at the last minute when we are faced with a deadline. A recent recommendation by the English National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to make In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) available to women up to 42 years of age instead of 39 intends to offer more women the chance of pregnancy. Given what we know about behavioural responses to what is, in essence, a deadline, the policy could lead to procrastination and fewer wanted pregnancies. We examine how many women it would take to delay trying for a baby for this policy to result in fewer pregnancies. We take a cohort of 1,000 women from age 34. If no women delay trying, the increased age on access to IVF results in 31 more pregnancies. Because of declining fertility with age, it would take only about a third of these women to delay trying for a baby until age 35 for there to be zero net benefits of increased IVF availability. If all women delayed by a year, the new policy will lead to 59 fewer pregnancies. We also estimate the implications for IVF treatment numbers as this has psychological and personal consequences. Our findings highlight how no policy sits in a behavioural vacuum and all policy decisions should consider the likely behavioural responses and incorporate them into their design and evaluation.

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The expression and adaptive significance of pregnancy-related nausea, vomiting, and aversions on Yasawa Island, Fiji

Luseadra Mckerracher, Mark Collard & Joseph Henrich
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report a study on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) and pregnancy-related food aversions in a small-scale society from Yasawa Island, Fiji. Because NVP has rarely been studied quantitatively in small-scale populations, we begin with a detailed description of its expression among the women of Yasawa. We found that 66% of these women experience nausea and/or vomiting in tandem with the development of aversions to certain foods. This pattern of expression is similar to what has been documented for industrialized populations, and the prevalence of 66% is close to the industrialized mean prevalence of 69%. We then use the data from the women of Yasawa to evaluate the three main hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the evolution and ecological function of NVP. We show that food aversions of pregnancy focus preferentially on food types that are more likely to carry pathogens or contain chemical toxins. Such aversions do not focus on nutrient-dense foods or on frequently encountered foods. These findings are most consistent with a hypothesis that NVP, along with pregnancy-related aversions, evolved to motivate women to avoid exposure to diseases and other toxins when they are immune-compromised by pregnancy and during a critical period of embryo development. These findings contribute to a growing body of theoretical and empirical literature that suggests that NVP symptoms represent a series of adaptations rather than pathological responses to the physiological demands of pregnancy.

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Ecological variation in wealth–fertility relationships in Mongolia: The ‘central theoretical problem of sociobiology’ not a problem after all?

Alexandra Alvergne & Virpi Lummaa
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 December 2014

Abstract:
The negative wealth–fertility relationship brought about by market integration remains a puzzle to classic evolutionary models. Evolutionary ecologists have argued that this phenomenon results from both stronger trade-offs between reproductive and socioeconomic success in the highest social classes and the comparison of groups rather than individuals. Indeed, studies in contemporary low fertility settings have typically used aggregated samples that may mask positive wealth–fertility relationships. Furthermore, while much evidence attests to trade-offs between reproductive and socioeconomic success, few studies have explicitly tested the idea that such constraints are intensified by market integration. Using data from Mongolia, a post-socialist nation that underwent mass privatization, we examine wealth–fertility relationships over time and across a rural–urban gradient. Among post-reproductive women, reproductive fitness is the lowest in urban areas, but increases with wealth in all regions. After liberalization, a demographic–economic paradox emerges in urban areas: while educational attainment negatively impacts female fertility in all regions, education uniquely provides socioeconomic benefits in urban contexts. As market integration progresses, socio-economic returns to education increase and women who limit their reproduction to pursue education get wealthier. The results support the view that selection favoured mechanisms that respond to opportunities for status enhancement rather than fertility maximization.

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Perinatal Complications and Aging Indicators by Midlife

Idan Shalev et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Background: Perinatal complications predict increased risk for morbidity and early mortality. Evidence of perinatal programming of adult mortality raises the question of what mechanisms embed this long-term effect. We tested a hypothesis related to the theory of developmental origins of health and disease: that perinatal complications assessed at birth predict indicators of accelerated aging by midlife.

Methods: Perinatal complications, including both maternal and neonatal complications, were assessed in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study cohort (N = 1037), a 38-year, prospective longitudinal study of a representative birth cohort. Two aging indicators were assessed at age 38 years, objectively by leukocyte telomere length (TL) and subjectively by perceived facial age.

Results: Perinatal complications predicted both leukocyte TL (β = −0.101; 95% confidence interval, −0.169 to −0.033; P = .004) and perceived age (β = 0.097; 95% confidence interval, 0.029 to 0.165; P = .005) by midlife. We repeated analyses with controls for measures of family history and social risk that could predispose to perinatal complications and accelerated aging, and for measures of poor health taken in between birth and the age-38 follow-up. These covariates attenuated, but did not fully explain the associations observed between perinatal complications and aging indicators.

Conclusions: Our findings provide support for early-life developmental programming by linking newborns’ perinatal complications to accelerated aging at midlife. We observed indications of accelerated aging “inside,” as measured by leukocyte TL, an indicator of cellular aging, and “outside,” as measured by perceived age, an indicator of declining tissue integrity. A better understanding of mechanisms underlying perinatal programming of adult aging is needed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 3, 2014

Affordable caring

National Health Expenditure Projections, 2013–23: Faster Growth Expected With Expanded Coverage And Improving Economy

Andrea Sisko et al.
Health Affairs, October 2014, Pages 1841-1850

Abstract:
In 2013 health spending growth is expected to have remained slow, at 3.6 percent, as a result of the sluggish economic recovery, the effects of sequestration, and continued increases in private health insurance cost-sharing requirements. The combined effects of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions, faster economic growth, and population aging are expected to fuel health spending growth this year and thereafter (5.6 percent in 2014 and 6.0 percent per year for 2015–23). However, the average rate of increase through 2023 is projected to be slower than the 7.2 percent average growth experienced during 1990–2008. Because health spending is projected to grow 1.1 percentage points faster than the average economic growth during 2013–23, the health share of the gross domestic product is expected to rise from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 19.3 percent in 2023.

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The Effect of Malpractice Reform on Emergency Department Care

Daniel Waxman et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 16 October 2014, Pages 1518-1525

Background: Many believe that fear of malpractice lawsuits drives physicians to order otherwise unnecessary care and that legal reforms could reduce such wasteful spending. Emergency physicians practice in an information-poor, resource-rich environment that may lend itself to costly defensive practice. Three states, Texas (in 2003), Georgia (in 2005), and South Carolina (in 2005), enacted legislation that changed the malpractice standard for emergency care to gross negligence. We investigated whether these substantial reforms changed practice.

Methods: Using a 5% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, we identified all emergency department visits to hospitals in the three reform states and in neighboring (control) states from 1997 through 2011. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared patient-level outcomes, before and after legislation, in reform states and control states. We controlled for characteristics of the patients, time-invariant hospital characteristics, and temporal trends. Outcomes were policy-attributable changes in the use of computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), per-visit emergency department charges, and the rate of hospital admissions.

Results: For eight of the nine state–outcome combinations tested, no policy-attributable reduction in the intensity of care was detected. We found no reduction in the rates of CT or MRI utilization or hospital admission in any of the three reform states and no reduction in charges in Texas or South Carolina. In Georgia, reform was associated with a 3.6% reduction (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 6.2) in per-visit emergency department charges.

Conclusions: Legislation that substantially changed the malpractice standard for emergency physicians in three states had little effect on the intensity of practice, as measured by imaging rates, average charges, or hospital admission rates.

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Sharing in Childhood as a Precursor to Support for National Health Insurance

Curtis Dunkel
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relationship between sharing in childhood and political identity and opinions on national health insurance in adulthood were examined. It was found that sharing at age 5 was positively associated with a liberal political identity and endorsement of national health insurance at ages 23 and 32. These results remained after controlling for sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ego-control, ego-resiliency, maternal egalitarian parenting attitudes, and paternal egalitarian parenting attitudes. In addition, analyses showed that the relationship between sharing and endorsement of national health insurance was independent of political identity.

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Is Medicaid Crowding Out Other State Government Expenditure? Internal Financing and Cross-Program Substitution

Steven Craig & Larry Howard
Regional Science and Urban Economics, November 2014, Pages 164–178

Abstract:
We examine whether state government responses to rising Medicaid costs cause reduced low income assistance, overall state budget cuts, or higher taxes. We segment Medicaid recipient groups into families, the disabled, and the elderly. Using GMM estimation, we instrument for endogenous program participation using federally directed program recipients in a panel of 47 states from 1976-2004. We find half of cost increases for elderly recipients are financed by own benefit decreases. We find that the disabled increase Medicaid for all through cuts in other government expenditure, family recipients erode Medicaid benefits and cash assistance, Medicaid only for families is increased because of AFDC matching elimination, and taxpayers fund no cost increases.

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Health Benefits In 2014: Stability In Premiums And Coverage For Employer-Sponsored Plans

Gary Claxton et al.
Health Affairs, October 2014, Pages 1851-1860

Abstract:
The annual Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust Employer Health Benefits Survey found that in 2014 the average annual premium (employer and worker contributions combined) for single coverage was $6,025, similar to 2013. The premium for family coverage was $16,834—3 percent higher than a year ago. Average deductibles and most other cost-sharing amounts were similar to those in 2013. On average, in 2014 covered workers paid nearly $5,000 per year for family health insurance premiums, and 18 percent of covered workers were in a plan with an annual single coverage deductible of $2,000 or more. Fifty-five percent of employers offered health benefits in 2014, similar to 2013. The Affordable Care Act has not yet led to substantial changes in the employer-based market. However, the next few years could present a different picture as delayed provisions and other changes take effect. This year’s survey included new questions on firms’ policies related to enrolling spouses and dependents, enrollment in private exchanges, and the use of narrow networks and financial incentives for wellness programs.

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The Early Impact of the Affordable Care Act State-By-State

Amanda Kowalski
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
I examine the impact of state policy decisions on the early impact of the ACA using data through the first half of 2014. I focus on the individual health insurance market, which includes plans purchased through exchanges as well as plans purchased directly from insurers. In this market, at least 13.2 million people were covered in the second quarter of 2014, representing an increase of at least 4.2 million beyond pre-ACA state-level trends. I use data on coverage, premiums, and costs and a model developed by Hackmann, Kolstad, and Kowalski (2013) to calculate changes in selection and markups, which allow me to estimate the welfare impact of the ACA on participants in the individual health insurance market in each state. I then focus on comparisons across groups of states. The estimates from my model imply that market participants in the five “direct enforcement” states that ceded all enforcement of the ACA to the federal government are experiencing welfare losses of approximately $245 per participant on an annualized basis, relative to participants in all other states. They also imply that the impact of setting up a state exchange depends meaningfully on how well it functions. Market participants in the six states that had severe exchange glitches are experiencing welfare losses of approximately $750 per participant on an annualized basis, relative to participants in other states with their own exchanges. Although the national impact of the ACA is likely to change over the course of 2014 as coverage, costs, and premiums evolve, I expect that the differential impacts that we observe across states will persist through the rest of 2014.

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Measuring Returns to Hospital Care: Evidence from Ambulance Referral Patterns

Joseph Doyle et al.
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider whether hospitals that receive higher payments from Medicare improve patient outcomes, using exogenous variation in ambulance-company assignment among patients who live near one another. Using Medicare data from 2002-2010 on assignment across ambulance companies and New York State date from 2002-2006 on assignment across area boundaries, we find that patients who are brought to higher cost hospitals achieve better outcomes. Our estimates imply that a one standard deviation increase in Medicare reimbursement leads to a 4 percentage point (or 10 percent) reduction in mortality; the implied cost per at least one year of life saved is approximately $80,000.

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Medicare Part D: Are Insurers Gaming the Low Income Subsidy Design?

Francesco Decarolis
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows how in Medicare Part D insurers’ gaming of the subsidy paid to low income enrollees distorts premiums and raises the program cost. Using plan level data from the first five years of the program, I find multiple instances of pricing strategy distortions for the largest insurers. Instrumental variable estimates indicate that the changes in a concentration index measuring the manipulability of the subsidy can explain a large share of the premium growth observed between 2006 and 2011. Removing this distortion could reduce the cost of the program without worsening consumer welfare.

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The Empirics of Learning from Failure

Victor Bennett & Jason Snyder
University of Southern California Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
The ability to learn from experience is central to an organization’s performance. A recent literature has attempted to disentangle organizations’ and individuals’ learning from success and from failure. Using the strategy literature’s standard empirical approach to identifying learning from failure, we find strong evidence of learning from failure on randomly generated placebo data sets where there should be none, implying that the results in the literature may be driven mechanically by the specification rather than by real effects. We explain why the standard specification produces these results and propose alternate specifications for testing the effects of past failure on future performance that do not generate results mechanically. We implement our improved specifications using data on liver transplantation and find no direct evidence of learning from failure, though we do find evidence of administrative response to failure, in the form of delaying future procedures, and patterns consistent with failure increasing a transplant center’s risk-aversion.

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Persistent Medication Affordability Problems Among Disabled Medicare Beneficiaries After Part D, 2006–2011

Huseyin Naci et al.
Medical Care, November 2014, Pages 951-956

Background: Disabled Americans who qualify for Medicare coverage typically have multiple chronic conditions, are highly dependent on effective drug therapy, and have limited financial resources, putting them at risk for cost-related medication nonadherence (CRN). Since 2006, the Part D benefit has helped Medicare beneficiaries afford medications.

Design and Subjects: We estimated annual rates of medication affordability among nonelderly disabled participants in a nationally representative survey (2006–2011, n=14,091 person-years) using multivariate logistic regression analyses.

Results: In the 6 years following Part D implementation, the proportion of disabled Medicare beneficiaries reporting CRN ranged from 31.6% to 35.6%, while the reported prevalence of spending less on other basic needs to afford medicines ranged from 17.7% to 21.8%. Across study years, those with multiple chronic conditions had consistently worse affordability problems. In 2011, the prevalence of CRN was 37.3% among disabled beneficiaries with ≥3 morbidities as compared with 28.1% among those with fewer morbidities; for spending less on basic needs, the prevalence was 25.4% versus 15.7%, respectively. There were no statistically detectable changes in either measure when comparing 2011 with 2007.

Conclusions: Disabled Medicare beneficiaries continue to struggle to afford prescription medications. There is an urgent need for focused policy attention on this vulnerable population, which has inadequate financial access to drug treatments, despite having drug coverage under Medicare Part D.

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Physician Practice Competition and Prices Paid by Private Insurers for Office Visits

Laurence Baker et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 22/29 October 2014, Pages 1653-1662

Objective: To assess the relationship between physician competition and prices paid by private preferred provider organizations (PPOs) for 10 types of office visits in 10 prominent specialties.

Design and Setting: Retrospective study in 1058 US counties in urbanized areas, representing all 50 states, examining the relationship between measured physician competition and prices paid for office visits in 2010 and the relationship between changes in competition and prices between 2003 and 2010, using regression analysis to control for possible confounding factors.

Exposures: Variation in the mean Hirschman-Herfindahl Index (HHI) of physician practices within a county by specialty (HHIs range from 0, representing maximally competitive markets, to 10 000 in markets served by a single [monopoly] practice).

Main Outcomes and Measures: Mean price paid by county to physicians in each specialty by private PPOs for intermediate office visits with established patients (Current Procedural Terminology [CPT] code 99213) and a price index measuring the county-weighted mean price for 10 types of office visits with new and established patients (CPT codes 99201-99205, 99211-99215) relative to national mean prices.

Results: In 2010, across all specialties studied, HHIs were 3 to 4 times higher in the 90th-percentile county than the 10th-percentile county (eg, for family practice: 10th percentile HHI = 1023 and 90th percentile HHI = 3629). Depending on specialty, mean price for a CPT code 99213 visit was between $70 and $75. After adjustment for potential confounders, depending on specialty, prices at the 90th-percentile HHI were between $5.85 (orthopedics; 95% CI, $3.46-$8.24) and $11.67 (internal medicine; 95% CI, $9.13-$14.21) higher than at the 10th percentile. Including all types of office visits, price indexes at the 90th-percentile HHI were 8.3% (orthopedics; 95% CI, 5.0%-11.6%) to 16.1% (internal medicine; 95% CI, 12.8%-19.5%) higher. Between 2003 and 2010, there were larger price increases in areas that were less competitive in 2002 than in initially more competitive areas.

Conclusions and Relevance: More competition among physicians is related to lower prices paid by private PPOs for office visits. These results may inform work on policies that influence practice competition.

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Saving Patient Ryan — Can Advanced Electronic Medical Records Make Patient Care Safer?

Muhammad Zia Hydari, Rahul Telang & William Marella
Carnegie Mellon University Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
Patient safety is one of the foremost problems in US healthcare, affecting hundreds of thousands of patients and costing tens of billions of dollars every year. Advanced electronic medical records (EMRs) are widely expected to improve patient safety, but the evidence of advanced EMRs' impact on patient safety is inconclusive. A key challenge to evaluating EMRs' impact on safety has been the lack of reliable and comprehensive data. We overcome this challenge by constructing a panel of Pennsylvania hospitals over 2005-2012 using data from several sources. In particular, we source confidential patient safety data from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority (PSA). Since mid-2004, Pennsylvania state law has mandated that hospitals report a broad range of patient safety events to the PSA. Using a differences-in-differences identification strategy, we find that advanced EMRs lead to a 27 percent decline in patient safety events. This overall decline is driven by declines in several important subcategories — 30 percent decline in events due to medication errors and 25 percent decline in events due to complications. Our results hold against a number of robustness checks, including, but not limited to, falsification test with non-clinical IT and falsification test with a subcategory of events that is not expected to benefit from advanced EMRs. Overall, we provide evidence to policy makers, hospital administrators, and other stakeholders that hospitals' adoption of advanced EMRs improves patient safety.

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Does the Market for Ideas Influence the Rate and Direction of Innovative Activity? Evidence from the Medical Device Industry

Aaron Chatterji & Kira Fabrizio
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior work argues that the “market for ideas” supports an open system of innovation, allowing for efficient development of technology across firms. Although this literature has described important features of this market, how it influences the rate and direction of innovation remains an open question. We exploit an exogenous shock to a subset of U.S. medical device firms to study this question. We first document the breakdown in the market for ideas after a federal investigation made it more difficult for the leading orthopedic firms to work with physician-inventors. We then present evidence of a dramatic decline in the rate of innovation for these firms. Further, a marked shift in direction occurs toward lower-quality inventions and away from product categories where physician knowledge is critical.

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Investment Subsidies and the Adoption of Electronic Medical Records in Hospitals

David Dranove et al.
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
In February 2009 the U.S. Congress unexpectedly passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). HITECH provides up to $27 billion to promote adoption and appropriate use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) by hospitals. We measure the extent to which HITECH incentive payments spurred EMR adoption by independent hospitals. Adoption rates for all independent hospitals grew from 48 percent in 2008 to 77 percent by 2011. Absent HITECH incentives, we estimate that the adoption rate would have instead been 67 percent in 2011. When we consider that HITECH funds were available for all hospitals and not just marginal adopters, we estimate that the cost of generating an additional adoption was $48 million. We also estimate that in the absence of HITECH incentives, the 77 percent adoption rate would have been realized by 2013, just 2 years after the date achieved due to HITECH.

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Association Between Availability of Health Service Prices and Payments for These Services

Christopher Whaley et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 22/29 October 2014, Pages 1670-1676

Objective: To determine whether the use of an employer-sponsored private price transparency platform was associated with lower claims payments for 3 common medical services.

Design: Payments for clinical services provided were compared between patients who searched a pricing website before using the service with patients who had not researched prior to receiving this service. Multivariable generalized linear model regressions with propensity score adjustment controlled for demographic, geographic, and procedure differences. To test for selection bias, payments for individuals who used the platform to search for services (searchers) were compared with those who did not use the platform to search for services (nonsearchers) in the period before the platform was available. The exposure was the use of the price transparency platform to search for laboratory tests, advanced imaging services, or clinician office visits before receiving care for that service.

Setting and Participants: Medical claims from 2010-2013 of 502 949 patients who were insured in the United States by 18 employers who provided a price transparency platform to their employees.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was total claims payments (the sum of employer and employee spending for each claim) for laboratory tests, advanced imaging services, and clinician office visits.

Results: Following access to the platform, 5.9% of 2 988 663 laboratory test claims, 6.9% of 76 768 advanced imaging claims, and 26.8% of 2 653 227 clinician office visit claims were associated with a prior search on the price transparency platform. Before having access to the price transparency platform, searchers had higher claims payments than nonsearchers for laboratory tests (4.11%; 95% CI, 1.87%-6.41%), higher payments for advanced imaging services (5.57%; 95% CI, 1.83%-9.44%), and no difference in payments for clinician office visits (0.26%; 95% CI; 0.53%-0.005%). Following access to the price transparency platform, relative claim payments for searchers were lower for searchers than nonsearchers by 13.93% (95% CI, 10.28%-17.43%) for laboratory tests, 13.15% (95% CI, 9.49%-16.66%) for advanced imaging, and 1.02% (95% CI, 0.57%-1.47%) for clinician office visits. The absolute payment differences were $3.45 (95% CI, $1.78-$5.12) for laboratory tests, $124.74 (95% CI, $83.06-$166.42) for advanced imaging services, and $1.18 (95% CI, $0.66-$1.70) for clinician office visits.

Conclusions and Relevance: Use of price transparency information was associated with lower total claims payments for common medical services. The magnitude of the difference was largest for advanced imaging services and smallest for clinical office visits. Patient access to pricing information before obtaining clinical services may result in lower overall payments made for clinical care.

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Talking About Health Care: News Framing of Who Is Responsible for Rising Health Care Costs in the United States

Sei-Hill Kim et al.
Journal of Health Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This content analysis examines how the American news media have presented the problem of high and rising health care costs, looking particularly at the question of who is responsible. More specifically, the authors examine how often the media have discussed the 5 major causes of the problem: (a) patients, (b) health care providers, (c) insurance companies, (d) the government, and (d) pharmaceutical companies. Results revealed that patients were most often mentioned as the cause of increasing health care costs. The authors also found that the media's attribution of responsibility to patients has increased over the years. Overall, media coverage of rising health care costs peaked in 1993, 2004, and 2009, suggesting that coverage was influenced by newsworthy events (e.g., the president endorsing legislation or signing a bill into law) that draw the public's attention.

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Expanding Patients' Property Rights In Their Medical Records

Laurence Baker, Kate Bundorf & Daniel Kessler
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Although doctors and hospitals own their patients' medical records, state and federal laws require that they provide patients with a copy at "reasonable cost." We examine the effects of state laws that cap the fees that doctors and hospitals are allowed to charge patients for a copy of their records. We test whether these laws affected patients' propensity to switch doctors and the prices of new- and existing-patient visits. We also examine the effect of laws on hospitals' adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems. We find that patients from states adopting caps on copy fees were significantly more likely to switch doctors, and that hospitals in states adopting caps were significantly more likely to install an EMR. We also find that laws did not have a systematic, significant effect on prices.

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The Effects of Price Transparency Regulation on Prices in the Healthcare Industry

Hans Bonde Christensen, Eric Floyd & Mark Maffett
University of Chicago Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We provide empirical evidence on the causal effects of price transparency regulation (PTR) in the healthcare industry. Using micro data on actual healthcare purchases, and exploiting both between- and within-state variation to address endogeneity concerns, we find that PTR reduces the price charged for common, elective medical procedures by approximately 5% and increases the sensitivity of demand to a 1% change in charge prices by 0.5%. However, the effect of PTR on the actual prices paid by insured patients is limited to the relatively small fraction of patients that have the greatest incentives to directly consider the costs of care.

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Total Expenditures per Patient in Hospital-Owned and Physician-Owned Physician Organizations in California

James Robinson & Kelly Miller
Journal of the American Medical Association, 22/29 October 2014, Pages 1663-1669

Objective: To determine whether total expenditures per patient were higher in physician organizations (integrated medical groups and independent practice associations) owned by local hospitals or multihospital systems compared with groups owned by participating physicians.

Design and Setting: Data were obtained on total expenditures for the care provided to 4.5 million patients treated by integrated medical groups and independent practice associations in California between 2009 and 2012. The patients were covered by commercial health maintenance organization (HMO) insurance and the data did not include patients covered by commercial preferred provider organization (PPO) insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Total expenditures per patient annually, measured in terms of what insurers paid to the physician organizations for professional services, to hospitals for inpatient and outpatient procedures, to clinical laboratories for diagnostic tests, and to pharmaceutical manufacturers for drugs and biologics.

Exposures: Annual expenditures per patient were compared after adjusting for patient illness burden, geographic input costs, and organizational characteristics.

Results: Of the 158 organizations, 118 physician organizations (75%) were physician-owned and provided care for 3 065 551 patients, 19 organizations (12%) were owned by local hospitals and provided care for 728 608 patients, and 21 organizations (13%) were owned by multihospital systems and provided care for 693 254 patients. In 2012, physician-owned physician organizations had mean expenditures of $3066 per patient (95% CI, $2892 to $3240), hospital-owned physician organizations had mean expenditures of $4312 per patient (95% CI, $3768 to $4857), and physician organizations owned by multihospital systems had mean expenditures of $4776 (95% CI, $4349 to $5202) per patient. After adjusting for patient severity and other factors over the period, local hospital–owned physician organizations incurred expenditures per patient 10.3% (95% CI, 1.7% to 19.7%) higher than did physician-owned organizations (adjusted difference, $435 [95% CI, $105 to $766], P = .02). Organizations owned by multihospital systems incurred expenditures 19.8% (95% CI, 13.9% to 26.0%) higher (adjusted difference, $704 [95% CI,$512 to $895], P < .001) than physician-owned organizations. The largest physician organizations incurred expenditures per patient 9.2% (95% CI, 3.8% to 15.0%, P = .001) higher than the smallest organizations (adjusted difference, $130 [95% CI, $−32 to $292]).

Conclusions and Relevance: From the perspective of the insurers and patients, between 2009 and 2012, hospital-owned physician organizations in California incurred higher expenditures for commercial HMO enrollees for professional, hospital, laboratory, pharmaceutical, and ancillary services than physician-owned organizations. Although organizational consolidation may increase some forms of care coordination, it may be associated with higher total expenditures.

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Value Based Purchasing and Hospital Acquired Conditions: Are We Seeing Improvement?

Aaron Spaulding, Rob Haley & Mei Zhao
Health Policy, forthcoming

Objective: To determine if the Value-Based Purchasing Performance Scoring system correlates with hospital acquired condition quality indicators.

Data Sources/Study Setting: This study utilizes the following secondary data sources: the American Hospital Association (AHA) annual survey, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Value-Based Purchasing and Hospital Acquired Conditions databases.

Study Design: Zero-inflated negative binomial regression was used to examine the effect of CMS total performance score on counts of hospital acquired conditions. Hospital structure variables including size, ownership, teaching status, payer mix, case mix, and location were utilized as control variables.

Principal Findings: Total performance scores, which are used to determine if hospitals should receive incentive money, do not correlate well with quality outcome in the form of hospital acquired conditions.

Conclusions: Value-based purchasing does not appear to correlate with improved quality and patient safety as indicated by Hospital Acquired Condition (HAC) scores. This leads us to believe that either the total performance score does not measure what it should, or the quality outcome measurements do not reflect the quality the total performance scores measure.

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Improvement in Preventive Care of Young Adults After the Affordable Care Act: The Affordable Care Act Is Helping

Josephine Lau et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the ACA’s initial effects on young adults’ receipt of preventive care.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Secondary data analysis using a pre-post design that compared health care use by young adults (aged 18 to 25 years) from 2009 and 2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys. Data were collected through computer-assisted personal interviews of a nationally representative sample of the noninstitutionalized US population.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Differences by year in rates of receiving a routine examination in the past year, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, influenza vaccination, and annual dental visit. Three logistic regression models were developed to (1) compare pre-ACA (2009) and post-ACA (2011) rates of receiving preventive care and (2) determine if post-ACA increases in insurance coverage accounted for changes in preventive care rates. Model 1 was a bivariate model to determine differences in preventive care rates by year; model 2, a multivariable model adding insurance status (full-year private, full-year public, partial-year uninsured, and full-year uninsured) to determine whether insurance accounted for survey year differences; and model 3, a multivariable model adding covariates (usual source of care and sociodemographic variables) to determine whether they further accounted for differences by survey year or insurance status.

Results: After ACA, young adults had significantly higher rates of receiving a routine examination (47.8% vs 44.1%; P < .05), blood pressure screening (68.3% vs 65.2%; P < .05), cholesterol screening (29.1% vs 24.3%; P < .001), and annual dental visit (60.9% vs 55.2%; P < .001) but not an influenza vaccination (22.1% vs 21.5%; P = .70). Full-year private insurance coverage increased (50.1% vs 43.4%; P < .001), and rates of lacking insurance decreased (partial-year uninsured, 18.4% vs 20.7%; P = .03; and full-year uninsured, 22.2% vs 27.1%; P < .001). Full-year public insurance rates remained stable (9.4% vs 8.8%; P = .53). Insurance status fully accounted for the pre- and post-ACA differences in routine examination and blood pressure screening and partially accounted for year differences for cholesterol screening and annual dental visits. Covariate adjustment did not affect year differences.

Conclusions and Relevance: The ACA provisions appear to increase insurance coverage and receipt of preventive services among young adults. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings as other ACA provisions are implemented.

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Population-Level Cost-Effectiveness of Implementing Evidence-Based Practices into Routine Care

John Fortney, Jeffrey Pyne & James Burgess
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: The objective of this research was to apply a new methodology (population-level cost-effectiveness analysis) to determine the value of implementing an evidence-based practice in routine care.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Data are from sequentially conducted studies: a randomized controlled trial and an implementation trial of collaborative care for depression. Both trials were conducted in the same practice setting and population (primary care patients prescribed antidepressants).

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: The randomized controlled trial collected quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) from survey and medication possession ratios (MPRs) from administrative data. The implementation trial collected MPRs and intervention costs from administrative data and implementation costs from survey.

Principal Findings: In the randomized controlled trial, MPRs were significantly correlated with QALYs (p = .03). In the implementation trial, patients at implementation sites had significantly higher MPRs (p = .01) than patients at control sites, and by extrapolation higher QALYs (0.00188). Total costs (implementation, intervention) were nonsignificantly higher ($63.76) at implementation sites. The incremental population-level cost-effectiveness ratio was $33,905.92/QALY (bootstrap interquartile range −$45,343.10/QALY to $99,260.90/QALY).

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The Effect of Employer Health Insurance Offering on the Growth and Survival of Small Business Prior to the Affordable Care Act

C.J. Krizan, Adela Luque & Alice Zawacki
U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Whether or not small businesses offer health insurance to their employees is a critical factor in the health care coverage of many Americans, yet many entrepreneurs and decision makers fear that the cost of offering health care coverage to their employees will diminish the growth and survival of small firms. While there is an emerging consensus among economists that small businesses both create and destroy a disproportionately large number of jobs, less is known about the relationship between health care costs and business growth. We examine this latter issue prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. We first review information on the relationship between small employers’ decisions to offer health insurance prior to 2010 and i) financial factors (including premium variability and tax advantages), ii) labor markets with a focus on employee characteristics and the demand for employer's health insurance, iii) insurance markets and products, discussing access and insurance options with lower premium costs, and iv) the health insurance regulatory environment with an examination of state-level reform and health insurance mandates. We then discuss employer reactions to rising health care costs, followed by a review of factors other than rising health care costs that often affect the growth and survival of a small business. In the remaining sections, we describe our longitudinal analysis of how health insurance offering (HIO) affected the expansion and survival of small businesses. Using 2001-05 linked data from the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) and the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-IC), we look at how HIO affected four measures of business performance (growth in employment, growth in payroll, growth in average wage, and survival) – after controlling for business characteristics and relevant state-level variables. We employ instrumental variable two-stage least squares estimation to address the endogeneity that permeates the question at hand. We find that young businesses (both large and small) that offer health insurance grow at not significantly different rates as those that do not, possibly due to selection effects. Older businesses offering health insurance – both small and large – seem to have higher employment and payroll growth. Survival is strongly and positively correlated with HIO for older establishments at both large and small firms. However, these results should be interpreted with extreme caution due the concerns we raise about the available testing methodology for our context.

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The Impact of Continuous Medicaid Enrollment on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Survival in Six Surgical Cancers

Aaron Dawes et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the effect of Medicaid enrollment on the diagnosis, treatment, and survival of six surgically relevant cancers among poor and underserved Californians.

Data Sources: California Cancer Registry (CCR), California's Patient Discharge Database (PDD), and state Medicaid enrollment files between 2002 and 2008.

Study Design: We linked clinical and administrative records to differentiate patients continuously enrolled in Medicaid from those receiving coverage at the time of their cancer diagnosis. We developed multivariate logistic regression models to predict death within 1 year for each cancer after controlling for sociodemographic and clinical variables.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: All incident cases of six cancers (colon, esophageal, lung, pancreas, stomach, and ovarian) were identified from CCR. CCR records were linked to hospitalizations (PDD) and monthly Medicaid enrollment.

Principal Findings: Continuous enrollment in Medicaid for at least 6 months prior to diagnosis improves survival in three surgically relevant cancers. Discontinuous Medicaid patients have higher stage tumors, undergo fewer definitive operations, and are more likely to die even after risk adjustment.

Conclusions: Expansion of continuous insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act is likely to improve both access and clinical outcomes for cancer patients in California.

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Estimating the Value Added of Attending Physicians on Patient Outcomes

Jason Fletcher, Leora Horwitz & Elizabeth Bradley
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Despite increasing calls for value-based payments, existing methodologies for determining physicians’ “value added” to patient health outcomes have important limitations. We incorporate methods from the value added literature in education research into a health care setting to present the first value added estimates of health care providers in the literature. Like teacher value added measures that calculate student test score gains, we estimate physician value added based on changes in health status during the course of a hospitalization. We then tie our measures of physician value added to patient outcomes, including length of hospital stay, total charges, health status at discharge, and readmission. The estimated value added varied substantially across physicians and was highly stable for individual physicians. Patients of physicians in the 75th versus 25th percentile of value added had, on average, shorter length of stay (4.76 vs 5.08 days), lower total costs ($17,811 vs $19,822) and higher discharge health status (8% of a standard deviation). Our findings provide evidence to support a new method of determining physician value added in the context of inpatient care that could have wide applicability across health care setting and in estimating value added of other health care providers (nurses, staff, etc).

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Exposing Physicians To Reduced Residency Work Hours Did Not Adversely Affect Patient Outcomes After Residency

Anupam Jena, Lena Schoemaker & Jay Bhattacharya
Health Affairs, October 2014, Pages 1832-1840

Abstract:
In 2003, work hours for physicians-in-training (residents) were capped by regulation at eighty hours per week, leading to the hotly debated but unexplored issue of whether physicians today are less well trained as a result of these work-hour reforms. Using a unique database of nearly all hospitalizations in Florida during 2000–09 that were linked to detailed information on the medical training history of the physician of record for each hospitalization, we studied whether hospital mortality and patients’ length-of-stay varied according to the number of years a physician was exposed to the 2003 duty-hour regulations during his or her residency. We examined this database of practicing Florida physicians, using a difference-in-differences analysis that compared trends in outcomes of junior physicians (those with one-year post-residency experience) pre- and post-2003 to a control group of senior physicians (those with ten or more years of post-residency experience) who were not exposed to these reforms during their residency. We found that the duty-hour reforms did not adversely affect hospital mortality and length-of-stay of patients cared for by new attending physicians who were partly or fully exposed to reduced duty hours during their own residency. However, assessment of the impact of the duty-hour reforms on other clinical outcomes is needed.

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Nurse Value-Added and Patient Outcomes in Acute Care

Olga Yakusheva, Richard Lindrooth & Marianne Weiss
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: The aims of the study were to (1) estimate the relative nurse effectiveness, or individual nurse value-added (NVA), to patients’ clinical condition change during hospitalization; (2) examine nurse characteristics contributing to NVA; and (3) estimate the contribution of value-added nursing care to patient outcomes.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Electronic data on 1,203 staff nurses matched with 7,318 adult medical–surgical patients discharged between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 from an urban Magnet-designated, 854-bed teaching hospital.

Study Design: Retrospective observational longitudinal analysis using a covariate-adjustment value-added model with nurse fixed effects.

Principal Findings: Nurse effects were jointly significant and explained 7.9 percent of variance in patient clinical condition change during hospitalization. NVA was positively associated with having a baccalaureate degree or higher (0.55, p = .04) and expertise level (0.66, p = .03). NVA contributed to patient outcomes of shorter length of stay and lower costs.

Conclusions: Nurses differ in their value-added to patient outcomes. The ability to measure individual nurse relative value-added opens the possibility for development of performance metrics, performance-based rankings, and merit-based salary schemes to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.

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Association Between Hospital Conversions to For-Profit Status and Clinical and Economic Outcomes

Karen Joynt, John Orav & Ashish Jha
Journal of the American Medical Association, 22/29 October 2014, Pages 1644-1652

Objective: To examine characteristics of US acute care hospitals associated with conversion to for-profit status and changes following conversion.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study conducted among 237 converting hospitals and 631 matched control hospitals. Participants were 1 843 764 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries at converting hospitals and 4 828 138 at control hospitals.

Exposures: Conversion to for-profit status, 2003-2010.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Financial performance measures, quality process measures, mortality rates, Medicare volume, and patient population for the 2 years prior and the 2 years after conversion, excluding the conversion year, assessed using difference-in-difference models.

Results: Hospitals that converted to for-profit status were more often small or medium in size, located in the south, in an urban or suburban location, and were less often teaching institutions. Converting hospitals improved their total margins (ratio of net income to net revenue plus other income) more than controls (2.2% vs 0.4% improvement; difference in differences, 1.8% [ 95% CI, 0.5% to 3.1%]; P = .007). Converting hospitals and controls both improved their process quality metrics (6.0% vs 5.6%; difference in differences, 0.4% [95% CI, −1.1% to 2.0%]; P = .59). Mortality rates did not change at converting hospitals relative to controls for Medicare patients overall (increase of 0.1% vs 0.2%; difference in differences, −0.2% [95% CI, −0.5% to 0.2%], P = .42) or for dual-eligible or disabled patients. There was no change in converting hospitals relative to controls in annual Medicare volume (−111 vs −74 patients; difference in differences, −37 [95% CI, −224 to 150]; P = .70), Disproportionate Share Hospital Index (1.7% vs 0.4%; difference in differences, 1.3% [95% CI, −0.9% to 3.4%], P = .26), the proportion of patients with Medicaid (−0.2% vs 0.4%; difference in differences, −0.6% [95% CI, −2.0% to 0.8%]; P = .38) or the proportion of patients who were black (−0.4% vs −0.1%; difference in differences, −0.3% [95% CI, −1.9% to 1.3%]; P = .72) or Hispanic (0.1% vs −0.1%; difference in differences, 0.2% [95% CI, −0.3% to 0.7%]; P = .50).

Conclusions and Relevance: Hospital conversion to for-profit status was associated with improvements in financial margins but not associated with differences in quality or mortality rates or with the proportion of poor or minority patients receiving care.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 2, 2014

We can do it

Sartorial Symbols of Social Class Elicit Class-Consistent Behavioral and Physiological Responses: A Dyadic Approach

Michael Kraus & Wendy Berry Mendes
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social rank in human and nonhuman animals is signaled by a variety of behaviors and phenotypes. In this research, we examined whether a sartorial manipulation of social class would engender class-consistent behavior and physiology during dyadic interactions. Male participants donned clothing that signaled either upper-class (business-suit) or lower-class (sweatpants) rank prior to engaging in a modified negotiation task with another participant unaware of the clothing manipulation. Wearing upper-class, compared to lower-class, clothing induced dominance - measured in terms of negotiation profits and concessions, and testosterone levels - in participants. Upper-class clothing also elicited increased vigilance in perceivers of these symbols: Relative to perceiving lower-class symbols, perceiving upper-class symbols increased vagal withdrawal, reduced perceptions of social power, and catalyzed physiological contagion such that perceivers' sympathetic nervous system activation followed that of the upper-class target. Discussion focuses on the dyadic process of social class signaling within social interactions.

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Gender differences in trust dynamics: Women trust more than men following a trust violation

Michael Haselhuhn et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 104-109

Abstract:
Despite the importance of trust for efficient social and organizational functioning, transgressions that betray trust are common. We know little about the personal characteristics that affect the extent to which transgressions actually harm trust. In this research, we examine how gender moderates responses to trust violations. Across three studies, we demonstrate that following a violation, women are both less likely to lose trust and more likely to restore trust in a transgressor than men. Women care more about maintaining relationships than men, and this greater relational investment mediates the relationship between gender and trust dynamics.

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Positive, Proactive, and Committed: The Surprising Connection Between Good Citizens and Expressed (vs. Suppressed) Anger at Work

Lisa Stickney & Deanna Geddes
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, November 2014, Pages 243-264

Abstract:
In two studies, we examine the relationship of positive and negative trait affectivity (PA/NA), organizational commitment, and emotional exhaustion with organizational member anger. Utilizing the dual threshold model (DTM) constructs of expressed and suppressed anger (Geddes & Callister, 2007), we find employees with high organizational commitment express anger to relevant others, that is, to management or to those responsible for the anger-provoking situation. In contrast, emotionally exhausted employees and those with high NA tend to suppress their anger, venting only to uninvolved parties or remaining silent. Findings also indicate a positive relationship with PA and anger expression - a connection rarely considered or examined in anger research. Further, expressed anger was predictive of perceived improvement with problematic situations, while suppressed anger forms led to perceptions that the situation at work deteriorated.

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Humorous Complaining

Peter McGraw, Caleb Warren & Christina Kan
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although complaints document dissatisfaction, some are also humorous. The article introduces the concept of humorous complaining and draws on the benign violation theory - which proposes that humor arises from things that seem simultaneously wrong yet okay - to examine how being humorous helps and hinders complainers. Six studies, which use social media and online reviews as stimuli, show that humorous complaints benefit people who want to warn, entertain, and make a favorable impression on others. Further, in contrast to the belief that humor is beneficial but consistent with the benign violation theory, humor makes complaints seem more positive (by making an expression of dissatisfaction seem okay), but makes praise seem more negative (by making an expression of satisfaction seem wrong in some way). Finally, a benign violation approach perspective also reveals that complaining humorously has costs. Because being humorous suggests that a dissatisfying situation is okay, humorous complaints are less likely to elicit redress or sympathy from others than nonhumorous complaints.

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A Field Experiment on Search Costs and the Formation of Scientific Collaborations

Kevin Boudreau et al.
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Scientists typically self-organize into teams, matching with others to collaborate in the production of new knowledge. We present the results of a field experiment conducted at Harvard Medical School to understand the extent to which search costs affect matching among scientific collaborators. We generated exogenous variation in search costs for pairs of potential collaborators by randomly assigning individuals to 90-minute structured information-sharing sessions as part of a grant funding opportunity for biomedical researchers. We estimate that the treatment increases the baseline probability of grant co-application of a given pair of researchers by 75% (increasing the likelihood of a pair collaborating from 0.16 percent to 0.28 percent), with effects higher among those in the same specialization. The findings indicate that matching between scientists is subject to considerable frictions, even in the case of geographically-proximate scientists working in the same institutional context with ample access to common information and funding opportunities.

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Competition vs. Communication: An Experimental Study on Restoring Trust

Vivian Lei, David Masclet & Filip Vesely
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust is fragile. It is hard to build but easy to destroy. In this paper, we explore the fragility of trust in a stylized laboratory environment. We ask whether transgression outside a direct send-and-return relationship destroys trust and, if so, whether a competition against outsiders or an apology for misdeeds helps restore it. We find that transgression significantly reduces trust and that the broken trust can be greatly restored by group competition. Communication via an apology, impersonal or not, has an insignificant impact. By contrast, offering explanations for misbehavior is as effective as group competition.

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The primacy of agency over competence in status perception

Antonin Carrier et al.
Social Psychology, Fall 2014, Pages 347-356

Abstract:
A great deal of recent work has found that two fundamental dimensions underlie social judgment. The most common labels used to denote these dimensions are agency versus communion, and competence versus warmth. The present work aimed to disentangle agency understood as the motivation to promote the self from competence understood as ability, and to address their distinctive role in status perception. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were presented with a high- versus low-status target and asked to rate this target on agency, competence and warmth. In Study 3, participants were presented with an agentic, competent, and warm target and asked to rate their social status. Overall, our findings indicated that agency and competence operate as distinct dimensions in social judgment, and that agency is more related to social status than competence.

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Time Pressure Increases Cooperation in Competitively Framed Social Dilemmas: A Successful Replication

Jeremy Cone & David Rand
Yale Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
What makes people willing to pay costs to benefit others? Does such cooperation require effortful self-control, or do automatic, intuitive processes favor cooperation? Time pressure has been shown to increase cooperative behavior in Public Goods Games, implying a predisposition towards cooperation. Consistent with the hypothesis that this predisposition results from the fact that cooperation is typically advantageous outside the lab, it has further been shown that the time pressure effect is undermined by prior experience playing lab games (where selfishness is the more advantageous strategy). Furthermore, a recent study (Rand, Newman, & Wurzbacher, 2014) has found that time pressure increases cooperation even in a game framed as a competition, suggesting that the time pressure effect is not the result of social norm compliance. Here, we successfully replicate this study's findings, again observing a positive effect of time pressure on cooperation in a competitively framed game, but not when using the standard cooperative framing. These results suggest that participants' intuitions favor cooperation rather than norm compliance, and also that simply changing the framing of the Public Goods Game is enough to make it appear novel to participants and thus to restore the time pressure effect.

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Social Context and the Dynamics of Cooperative Choice

David Rand, George Newman & Owen Wurzbacher
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work using decontextualized economic games suggests that cooperation is a dynamic decision-making process: Automatic responses typically support cooperation on average, while deliberation leads to increased selfishness. Here, we performed two studies examining how these temporal effects generalize to games with richer social context cues. Study 1 found that time pressure increased cooperation to a similar extent in games played with in-group members and out-group members. Study 2 found that time pressure increased cooperation to a similar extent in games described as competitions and games described as collaborations. These results show that previous positive effects of time pressure on cooperation are not unique to neutrally framed games devoid of social context and are not driven by implicit assumptions of shared group membership or cooperative norms. In doing so, our findings provide further insight into the cognitive underpinnings of cooperative decision making.

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Epistemic motivation and perpetuation of group culture: Effects of need for cognitive closure on trans-generational norm transmission

Stefano Livi et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
The role of need for cognitive closure (NFCC, Kruglanski, 2004) in the transmission of a group norm is examined in three studies carried out in both experimental and natural settings. It was hypothesized that for persons high in NFCC a greater resistance to change is produced both via the urgency tendency of newcomers and the permanence tendency of old-timers; accordingly, groups composed of high need for closure individuals should exhibit greater cultural stability than groups composed of low NFCC. The first study investigated that hypothesis in a natural setting where young adults rated their health behavior and that of their parents. Consistent with our hypothesis, results of a moderated regression analysis showed that for participants high (vs. low) in dispositional NFCC the relation between parents' and offspring behavior is stronger, implying normative continuity. The remaining two studies applied Jacobs and Campbell's (1961) paradigm wherein group norms are induced and transmitted across generations of a laboratory microculture. In the first study, NFCC was induced by means of environmental noise whereas in the second study it was varied via group composition, consisting of participants with High vs. Low scores on the NFCC Scale. Results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that cultures under high need for closure show a greater normative stability across generations. Moreover, the experimental studies clarify that the observed, need for closure based, stability was promoted by newcomers' greater tendency to seize to the group norms in condition of high (versus low) NFCC.

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Punishment and the potency of group selection

Richard Povey
Journal of Evolutionary Economics, September 2014, Pages 799-816

Abstract:
It is known that altruism can be sustained in an evolving population by a process of group selection. There is also existing research on the role that punishment can play in inducing selfish agents to behave more co-operatively or in preventing selfish agents from evolving, and the limitations upon this mechanism. This paper embeds a simple model of a punishment system within an indirect cultural evolution framework. The use of punishment is shown to reduce the potency of the group selection mechanism, and thus the level of evolved altruism. This presents a novel reason why the use of punishment may have negative dynamic welfare implications.

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Reputation based on punishment rather than generosity allows for evolution of cooperation in sizable groups

Miguel Dos Santos & Claus Wedekind
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cooperation among unrelated individuals can arise if decisions to help others can be based on reputation. While working for dyadic interactions, reputation-use in social dilemmas involving many individuals (e.g. public goods games) becomes increasingly difficult as groups become larger and errors more frequent. Reputation is therefore believed to have played a minor role for the evolution of cooperation in collective action dilemmas such as those faced by early humans. Here, we show in computer simulations that a reputation system based on punitive actions can overcome these problems and, compared to reputation system based on generous actions, (i) is more likely to lead to the evolution of cooperation in sizable groups, (ii) more effectively sustains cooperation within larger groups, and (iii) is more robust to errors in reputation assessment. Punishment and punishment reputation could therefore have played crucial roles in the evolution of cooperation within larger groups of humans.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 1, 2014

You can do it

Subliminal Strengthening: Improving Older Individuals' Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention

Becca Levy et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Negative age stereotypes that older individuals assimilate from their culture predict detrimental outcomes, including worse physical function. We examined, for the first time, whether positive age stereotypes, presented subliminally across multiple sessions in the community, would lead to improved outcomes. Each of 100 older individuals (age = 61-99 years, M = 81) was randomly assigned to an implicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, an explicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, a combined implicit- and explicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, or a control group. Interventions occurred at four 1-week intervals. The implicit intervention strengthened positive age stereotypes, which strengthened positive self-perceptions of aging, which, in turn, improved physical function. The improvement in these outcomes continued for 3 weeks after the last intervention session. Further, negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened. For all outcomes, the implicit intervention's impact was greater than the explicit intervention's impact. The physical-function effect of the implicit intervention surpassed a previous study's 6-month-exercise-intervention's effect with participants of similar ages. The current study's findings demonstrate the potential of directing implicit processes toward physical-function enhancement over time.

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The War on Prevention: Bellicose Cancer Metaphors Hurt (Some) Prevention Intentions

David Hauser & Norbert Schwarz
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cancer health information is dominated by enemy and war metaphors intended to motivate the public to "fight" cancer. However, enemy metaphoric framing may influence understanding of, and responses to, cancer. Cancer prevention benefits from avoiding risk increasing behaviors, yet self-limitation is not closely associated with fighting enemies. If so, the metaphor may hurt prevention intentions involving self-limitation. Participants read messages with minute wording variations that established different metaphoric frames. Results show that metaphorically framing cancer as an enemy lessens the conceptual accessibility of (Study 1) and intention for self-limiting prevention behaviors while not increasing intention for monitoring and treatment behaviors (Studies 2 and 3). Framing self-limiting prevention behaviors in terms of fighting an enemy increases their appeal, illustrating the benefits of metaphor matching (Study 3). Overall, these results suggest that enemy metaphors in cancer information reduce some prevention intentions without increasing others, making their use potentially harmful for public health.

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The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect: Uncertainty Increases Resource Investment in the Process of Reward Pursuit

Luxi Shen, Ayelet Fishbach & Christopher Hsee
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can a reward of an uncertain magnitude be more motivating than a reward of a certain magnitude? This research documents the motivating-uncertainty effect and specifies when this effect occurs. People invest more effort, time, and money to qualify for an uncertain reward (e.g., a 50% chance at $2 and a 50% chance at $1) than a certain reward of a higher expected value (e.g., a 100% chance at $2). This effect arises only when people focus on the process of pursuing a reward, but not when they focus on the outcome (the reward itself). When the focus is on the process of reward pursuit, uncertainty generates positive experience such as excitement and hence increases motivation. Four studies involving real rewards lend support to the motivating-uncertainty effect. This research carries theoretical implications for research on risk preference and motivation and practical implications for how to devise cost-efficient consumer incentive systems.

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Rationalizing Delinquency: A Longitudinal Test of the Reciprocal Relationship Between Delinquent Attitudes and Behavior

Cesar Rebellon et al.
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Multiple criminological theories predict that attitudes toward delinquency should affect an individual's delinquent behavior. Criminological research, however, has not sufficiently incorporated social psychological theory predicting the reverse causal relationship, and tends to suffer from important methodological limitations. The present study addresses these issues using longitudinal data from the New Hampshire Youth Study (N = 626). After using latent variable models to demonstrate the discriminant validity of attitudinal and behavioral measures, it uses structural equation models to examine whether attitudes are stronger predictors of behavior or vice versa. Net of controls, results provide qualified support for a reciprocal relationship but suggest that behavior affects attitudes much more than attitudes affect behavior. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for future research and for interventions aimed at controlling delinquency.

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Region-Urbanicity Differences in Locus of Control: Social Disadvantage, Structure, or Cultural Exceptionalism?

Dara Shifrer & April Sutton
Sociological Inquiry, November 2014, Pages 570-600

Abstract:
People with internal rather than external locus of control experience better outcomes in multiple domains. Previous studies on spatial differences in control within America only focused on the South, relied on aggregate level data or historical evidence, or did not account for other confounding regional distinctions (such as variation in urbanicity). Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, we find differences in adolescents' loci of control depending on their region and urbanicity are largely attributable to differences in their social background, and only minimally to structural differences (i.e., differences in the qualities of adolescents' schools). Differences that persist net of differences across adolescents and their schools suggest the less internal control of rural Southern adolescents, and the more internal control of rural and urban Northeastern adolescents, may be due to cultural distinctions in those areas. Results indicate region is more closely associated than urbanicity with differences in locus of control, with Western and Northeastern cultures seemingly fostering more internal control than Midwestern and Southern cultures. These findings contribute to research on spatial variation in a variety of psychological traits.

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Predicting Health Behaviors with Economic Preferences & Locus of Control

Lynn Conell-Price & Julian Jamison
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present new results on the relationship between health behaviors and experimental measures of time and risk preferences. In contrast to recent findings in the economics literature, we find no evidence of a link between time preference and self-reported health behaviors and outcomes such as smoking and BMI. We also introduce evidence that internal locus of control - a psychological construct that refers to the tendency to attribute to oneself control over outcomes - explains significant variation in health behaviors, in models that also include traditional measures of risk and time preference.

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High fives motivate: The effects of gestural and ambiguous verbal praise on motivation

Bradley Morris & Shannon Zentall
Frontiers in Psychology, August 2014

Abstract:
The type of praise children receive influences whether children choose to persist after failure. One mechanism through which praise affects motivation is through the causal attributions inferred from language. For example, telling a child "You got an A on the test because you're smart," provides an explicit link between possessing a trait and an outcome, specifically that intelligence causes success. Nonetheless, most praise given to children is ambiguous, or lacks explicit attributions (e.g., "yea" or a thumbs up). To investigate the effects of ambiguous praise on motivation, we randomly assigned 95 5-6-year-old children to a praise condition (verbal trait; verbal effort; verbal ambiguous; or gestural) and measured motivation using task persistence, self-evaluations, and eye fixations on errors. Ambiguous praise, similar to verbal effort praise, produced higher persistence and self-evaluations, and fewer fixations on error after failure compared to verbal trait praise. Interestingly, gestures produced the highest self-evaluations. Thus, praise without explicit attributions motivated as well or better than praise explicitly focused on effort, which may suggest that children interpret ambiguous praise in the most beneficial manner.

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Will students pass a competitive exam that they failed in their dreams?

Isabelle Arnulf et al.
Consciousness and Cognition, October 2014, Pages 36-47

Abstract:
We tested whether dreams can anticipate a stressful exam and how failure/success in dreams affect next-day performance. We collected information on students' dreams during the night preceding the medical school entrance exam. Demographic, academic, sleep and dream characteristics were compared to the students' grades on the exam. Of the 719 respondents to the questionnaire (of 2324 total students), 60.4% dreamt of the exam during the night preceding it. Problems with the exam appeared in 78% of dreams and primarily involved being late and forgetting answers. Reporting a dream about the exam on the pre-exam night was associated with better performance on the exam (p = .01). The frequency of dreams concerning the exam during the first term predicted proportionally higher performance on the exam (R = 0.1, p = .01). These results suggest that the negative anticipation of a stressful event in dreams is common and that this episodic simulation provides a cognitive gain.

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Self-Affirmation Before Exposure to Health Communications Promotes Intentions and Health Behavior Change by Increasing Anticipated Regret

Guido van Koningsbruggen et al.
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Health-risk information can elicit negative emotions like anticipated regret that may positively affect health persuasion. The beneficial impact of such emotions is undermined when target audiences respond defensively to the threatening information. We tested whether self-affirming (reflecting on cherished attributes) before message exposure can be used as strategy to enhance the experience of anticipated regret. Women were self-affirmed or not before exposure to a message promoting fruit and vegetable consumption. Self-affirmation increased anticipated regret and intentions reported following message exposure and consumption in the week after the intervention; regret mediated the affirmation effect on intentions. Moreover, results suggest that anticipated regret and intentions are serial mediators linking self-affirmation and behavior. By demonstrating the mediating role of anticipated regret, we provide insights into how self-affirmation may promote healthy intentions and behavior following health message exposure. Self-affirmation techniques could thus potentially be used to increase the effectiveness of health communication efforts.

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Learned Helplessness and Learned Prevalence: Exploring the Causal Relations Among Perceived Controllability, Reward Prevalence, and Exploration

Kinneret Teodorescu & Ido Erev
Psychological Science, October 2014, Pages 1861-1869

Abstract:
Exposure to uncontrollable outcomes has been found to trigger learned helplessness, a state in which the agent, because of lack of exploration, fails to take advantage of regained control. Although the implications of this phenomenon have been widely studied, its underlying cause remains undetermined. One can learn not to explore because the environment is uncontrollable, because the average reinforcement for exploring is low, or because rewards for exploring are rare. In the current research, we tested a simple experimental paradigm that contrasts the predictions of these three contributors and offers a unified psychological mechanism that underlies the observed phenomena. Our results demonstrate that learned helplessness is not correlated with either the perceived controllability of one's environment or the average reward, which suggests that reward prevalence is a better predictor of exploratory behavior than the other two factors. A simple computational model in which exploration decisions were based on small samples of past experiences captured the empirical phenomena while also providing a cognitive basis for feelings of uncontrollability.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, October 31, 2014

Party foul

Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization

Shanto Iyengar & Sean Westwood
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
When defined in terms of social identity and affect toward co-partisans and opposing partisans, the polarization of the American electorate has dramatically increased. We document the scope and consequences of affective polarization of partisans using implicit, explicit and behavioral indicators. Our evidence demonstrates that hostile feelings for the opposing party are ingrained or automatic in voters' minds, and that affective polarization based on party is just as strong as polarization based on race. We further show that party cues exert powerful effects on non-political judgments and behaviors. Partisans discriminate against opposing partisans, and do so to a degree that exceeds discrimination based on race. We note that the willingness of partisans to display open animus for opposing partisans can be attributed to the absence of norms governing the expression of negative sentiment and that increased partisan affect provides an incentive for elites to engage in confrontation rather than cooperation.

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Does Politics Influence Hiring? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Karen Gift & Thomas Gift
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do resumes with political “signals” make job applicants more or less likely to get hired? To test our theory that employers are more likely to hire like-minded partisans (and less likely to hire those of opposing partisan bents), we conduct a randomized experiment, sending out 1,200 politically branded resumes in response to help-wanted ads in two U.S. counties — one highly conservative and the other, highly liberal. In our pooled sample, we find that job seekers with minority partisan affiliations are statistically less likely to obtain a callback than candidates without any partisan affiliation. Meanwhile, applicants sharing the majority partisan affiliation are not significantly more likely to receive a callback than non-partisan candidates. These results suggest that individuals may sometimes place themselves at a disadvantage by including partisan cues on their resumes.

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Motive attribution asymmetry for love vs. hate drives intractable conflict

Adam Waytz, Liane Young & Jeremy Ginges
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five studies across cultures involving 661 American Democrats and Republicans, 995 Israelis, and 1,266 Palestinians provide previously unidentified evidence of a fundamental bias, what we term the “motive attribution asymmetry,” driving seemingly intractable human conflict. These studies show that in political and ethnoreligious intergroup conflict, adversaries tend to attribute their own group’s aggression to ingroup love more than outgroup hate and to attribute their outgroup’s aggression to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. Study 1 demonstrates that American Democrats and Republicans attribute their own party’s involvement in conflict to ingroup love more than outgroup hate but attribute the opposing party’s involvement to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. Studies 2 and 3 demonstrate this biased attributional pattern for Israelis and Palestinians evaluating their own group and the opposing group’s involvement in the current regional conflict. Study 4 demonstrates in an Israeli population that this bias increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability toward Palestinians. Finally, study 5 demonstrates, in the context of American political conflict, that offering Democrats and Republicans financial incentives for accuracy in evaluating the opposing party can mitigate this bias and its consequences. Although people find it difficult to explain their adversaries’ actions in terms of love and affiliation, we suggest that recognizing this attributional bias and how to reduce it can contribute to reducing human conflict on a global scale.

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Overcoming the Barrier of Narrative Adherence in Conflicts Through Awareness of the Psychological Bias of Naïve Realism

Meytal Nasie et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, November 2014, Pages 1543-1556

Abstract:
One significant socio-psychological barrier for peaceful resolution of conflicts is each party’s adherence to its own collective narrative. We hypothesized that raising awareness to the psychological bias of naïve realism and its identification in oneself would provide a path to overcoming this barrier, thus increasing openness to the adversary’s narrative. We conducted three experimental studies in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Studies 1 and 2, conducted among Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Israelis, respectively, revealed that participants with hawkish political ideology reported greater openness to the adversary’s narrative when they were made aware of naïve realism bias. Study 3 revealed that hawkish participants at the baseline adhered to the ingroup narrative and resisted the adversary’s narrative more than dovish participants. They were also more able to identify the bias in themselves upon learning about it. This identification may explain why the manipulation led to bias correction only among hawkish participants.

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The tea party and the 2012 presidential election

Leigh Bradberry & Gary Jacobson
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using both the 2012 American National Election Study and the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we examine the Tea Party movement’s role in crystallizing attitudes and shaping voting behavior in the 2012 elections. The data show that, compared to other Republicans, Tea Party sympathizers were notably more hostile to Obama, more receptive to bogus notions about his origins and religion, and more conservative across a broad range of issues and issue dimensions — including those related to racial and ethnic minorities. Voters’ opinions of the Tea Party were linked to their presidential vote choice directly as well as through their association with the core values, opinions, and attitudes that underlie opinions of the Tea Party. Tea Party sympathizers form the Republican coalition’s largest, most loyal, and most active component, so their opinions and beliefs help to explain why national politics in the United States is currently stalemated on so many major issues.

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Do Extremists Encourage Extremism? Election Results and the Ideology of the Candidate Pool in U.S. House Races

Andrew Hall
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
The power of voters to select representatives is limited by the pool of candidates who run for office. In recent times, many observers of American politics have worried that those who run for office hold extreme views, at the same time as primary voters have exhibited a marked preference for more extreme candidates. Despite these trends, we have little understanding of the factors that determine the ideological composition of the candidate pool, or of the broader consequences stemming from primary voters’ choice to nominate more extreme candidates. In this paper, I link these two phenomena together. Using data on the ideological positioning of U.S. House primary and general-election candidates, 1980–2010, I show that the decision of primary voters to nominate an extremist candidate in one election causes the pool of candidates that party fields in future elections to become more extreme. I show that this effect is the result of at least two notable mechanisms: first, extremist nominations are “self-perpetuating”; and second, incumbents “scare off” moderate challengers. The results show how the decisions of primary and general-election voters constrain the future pool of candidates who run for office and are relevant for understanding the advantage of incumbents as well as the high levels of polarization in U.S. legislatures.

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Has the Tea Party Era Radicalized the Republican Party? Evidence from Text Analysis of the 2008 and 2012 Republican Primary Debates

Juraj Medzihorsky, Levente Littvay & Erin Jenne
PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2014, Pages 806-812

Abstract:
Much ink has been spilled to describe the emergence and likely influence of the Tea Party on the American political landscape. Pundits and journalists declared that the emergence of the Tea Party movement pushed the Republican Party to a more extreme ideological position, which is generally anti-Washington. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the ideological positions taken by candidates in the 2008 and 2012 pre-Iowa caucus Republican presidential-primary debates. To establish the positions, we used the debate transcripts and a text-analytic technique that placed the candidates on a single dimension. Findings show that, overall, the 2012 candidates moved closer to an anti-Washington ideology — associated with the Tea Party movement — and away from the more traditional social conservative Republican ideology, which was more salient in the 2008 debates. Both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the two candidates who ran in both elections, shifted significantly in the ideological direction associated with the Tea Party.

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Solution aversion: On the relation between ideology and motivated disbelief

Troy Campbell & Aaron Kay
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 809-824

Abstract:
There is often a curious distinction between what the scientific community and the general population believe to be true of dire scientific issues, and this skepticism tends to vary markedly across groups. For instance, in the case of climate change, Republicans (conservatives) are especially skeptical of the relevant science, particularly when they are compared with Democrats (liberals). What causes such radical group differences? We suggest, as have previous accounts, that this phenomenon is often motivated. However, the source of this motivation is not necessarily an aversion to the problem, per se, but an aversion to the solutions associated with the problem. This difference in underlying process holds important implications for understanding, predicting, and influencing motivated skepticism. In 4 studies, we tested this solution aversion explanation for why people are often so divided over evidence and why this divide often occurs so saliently across political party lines. Studies 1, 2, and 3 — using correlational and experimental methodologies — demonstrated that Republicans’ increased skepticism toward environmental sciences may be partly attributable to a conflict between specific ideological values and the most popularly discussed environmental solutions. Study 4 found that, in a different domain (crime), those holding a more liberal ideology (support for gun control) also show skepticism motivated by solution aversion.

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Inequality, Participation, and Polarization

Razvan Vlaicu
Northwestern University Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
The strong co-movement of economic inequality and partisan polarization in the U.S. is typically explained as the result of increased citizen polarization into economic classes or through the presence of a wealth bias in the political process. This paper formalizes an alternative, class-less, theory of political polarization under income inequality where citizen ideology is fixed and orthogonal to income. Instead income affects political competition through changing patterns of political participation, i.e., voting vs. giving. Income inequality depresses turnout and bolsters giving, reducing the electoral penalty for radicalization and causing candidates' electoral priorities to shift from seeking votes to seeking partisan policy goals. Party competition for candidates to form a majority policy coalition can exacerbate candidate polarization by increasing intra-party ideological homogeneity and the prevalence of safe seats. The model captures polarization data features beyond between-party mean differences.

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How The Public Funding Of Elections Increases Candidate Polarization

Andrew Hall
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
I show that the public funding of elections produces a large decrease in the financial and electoral advantage of incumbents. Despite these effects on electoral competition, I demonstrate that public funding produces more polarization and candidate divergence -- not less. Finally, I establish that this effect is at least in part due to the fact that public funding disproportionately affects the contribution behavior of access-oriented interest groups, groups who, I show, systematically support moderate incumbents. Access-oriented interest groups therefore help generate the incumbency advantage and mitigate polarization by supporting moderate legislators.

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Information and Extremism in Elections

Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We model an election in which parties nominate candidates with observable policy preferences prior to a campaign that produces information about candidate quality, a characteristic independent of policy. Informative campaigns lead to greater differentiation in expected candidate quality, which undermines policy competition. In equilibrium, as campaigns become more informative, candidates become more extreme. We identify conditions under which the costs associated with extremism dominate the benefits of campaign information. Informative political campaigns increase political extremism and can decrease voter welfare. Our results have implications for media coverage, the number of debates, and campaign finance reform.

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On Cooperation in Open Communities

Özgür Gürerk, Bernd Irlenbusch & Bettina Rockenbach
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic interactions often take place in open communities, where agents are free to leave in order to join a more preferred community. Tiebout (1956) conjectured that “voting with feet” might generate considerable efficiency gains, since individuals with different preferences sort themselves into those communities that suit them most. We provide new empirical insights into Tiebout’s intuition by showing that self-selection in open heterogeneous communities can significantly foster communities’ success. Voting with feet improves cooperation by facilitating the right initial match between individuals and institutions and by establishing a cooperative environment that is attractive for others to join.

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Why Does the Apple Fall Far from the Tree? How Early Political Socialization Prompts Parent-Child Dissimilarity

Elias Dinas
British Journal of Political Science, October 2014, Pages 827-852

Abstract:
Children are more likely to adopt their family's political views when politics is important to their parents, and the children of politically engaged parents tend to become politically engaged adults. When these transmission dynamics are considered together, an important hypothesis follows: the children who are most likely to initially acquire the political views of their parents are also most likely to later abandon them as a result of their own engagement with the political world. Data from the Political Socialisation Panel Study provide support for this hypothesis, illuminate its observational implications and shed light on the mechanisms, pointing to the role of new social contexts, political issues and salient political events. Replications using different data from the US and the UK confirm that this dynamic is generalizable to different cohorts and political periods.

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The interactive effects of mortality salience and political orientation on moral judgments

Jonathan Bassett et al.
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies, the authors examined how threat induced by reminders of mortality would moderate the effect of political orientation on moral judgments. In Study 1, university students (n = 113) categorized their political orientation, were randomly assigned to complete a fear of death or public speaking scale, and then completed a moral foundations questionnaire. In Study 2, university students (n = 123) rated their political orientations, were randomly assigned to write about their own death or dental pain, and then completed a moral foundations questionnaire. In both studies, mortality salience intensified the moral differences between liberals and conservatives. These findings were primarily the result of the reactions of liberals, who responded to mortality salience with increased ratings of the fairness/cheating virtue in Study 1 and the care/harm virtue in Study 2.

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Shifting Liberal and Conservative Attitudes Using Moral Foundations Theory

Martin Day et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
People’s social and political opinions are grounded in their moral concerns about right and wrong. We examine whether five moral foundations — harm, fairness, ingroup, authority, and purity — can influence political attitudes of liberals and conservatives across a variety of issues. Framing issues using moral foundations may change political attitudes in at least two possible ways: (a) Entrenching: Relevant moral foundations will strengthen existing political attitudes when framing pro-attitudinal issues (e.g., conservatives exposed to a free-market economic stance) and (b) Persuasion: Mere presence of relevant moral foundations may also alter political attitudes in counter-attitudinal directions (e.g., conservatives exposed to an economic regulation stance). Studies 1 and 2 support the entrenching hypothesis. Relevant moral foundation-based frames bolstered political attitudes for conservatives (Study 1) and liberals (Study 2). Only Study 2 partially supports the persuasion hypothesis. Conservative-relevant moral frames of liberal issues increased conservatives’ liberal attitudes.

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Modeling the electoral dynamics of party polarization in two-party legislatures

Samuel Merrill, Bernard Grofman & Thomas Brunell
Journal of Theoretical Politics, October 2014, Pages 548-572

Abstract:
While there are many formal models that generate predictions about polarization, only a handful address the question of how, with no change in electoral rules, levels of polarization can dramatically vary over time, as they have in the US House during 150 years of two-party competition. We propose a model that emphasizes national party constraints on district candidates’ ability to locate at positions far from the national party stance. The model predicts a close relation between tight tethers maintained by the national parties and congressional polarization, suggests implications for political competition, and generates the empirically accurate prediction that partisan polarization and within-party differentiation are negatively correlated. When the tethers of the two parties are not equally strong, the model suggests modifications to the conditional party governance approach and helps explain ideological shift/drift affecting both parties, with the party with the tighter tether moving the other party toward its ideological wake.

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Revisiting The Dark Side of Political Deliberation: The Effects of Media and Political Discussion on Political Interest

Mariano Torcal & Gerardo Maldonado
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citizens’ deliberation and interest in politics are crucial to democracy and have always been understood as positively related. We argue here that political discussion, one of the most common mechanisms of deliberation, might lead to citizens’ political disengagement or lack of interest. Using the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP), an innovative data set of postelection national surveys, we attempt to ascertain and shed light on these apparently contradictory effects on citizen engagement. The results indicate that political discussions, specifically those involving disagreements, can produce a lower level of interest when citizens are less informed, are strongly partisan, or hold strong social ties with those they disagree with.

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The Fate of Obamacare: Racial Resentment, Ethnocentrism and Attitudes about Healthcare Reform

Angie Maxwell & Todd Shields
Race and Social Problems, December 2014, Pages 293-304

Abstract:
Health care has been a contentious issue in American politics for decades, and scholars are beginning to understand the reasons behind public support for, and opposition to, healthcare reform. Using national survey data, we measure the impact of various racial attitudes, including Racial Resentment and Ethnocentrism, on white support for healthcare reform. We measure participants’ attitudes across a range of important dimensions of healthcare reform and examine a randomized experiment with a control group that frames legislation as “recent” healthcare reform and a treatment condition that frames legislation as “President Obama’s” healthcare reform. The findings demonstrate that racial attitudes and Ethnocentrism continue to play a role in both support and opposition to healthcare reform.

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Forging Bonds and Burning Bridges: Polarization and Incivility in Blog Discussions About Occupy Wall Street

Elizabeth Suhay et al.
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Putnam warned over a decade ago that the urge to associate with similar others online may lead to “cyberbalkanization,” fostering bonding capital at the expense of bridging capital. This study examines balkanization with respect to political blogs, investigating to what extent opinions in posts and comment sections on blogs associated with the left and right are ideologically polarized. We also investigate whether extreme opinions tend to co-occur with uncivil discourse aimed at political opponents. Finally, this study compares political blogs with a newer information source that bridges the gap between old and new media — newspaper blogs — asking whether polarization and incivility are reduced on that platform. A content analysis was conducted of blog discussions about a salient political event—Occupy Wall Street. In both posts and comments, political blogs were highly polarized and opinion extremity and incivility were correlated. However, content on newspaper blogs was largely unpolarized and civil.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Marriageable

Marrying Ain't Hard When You Got A Union Card? Labor Union Membership and First Marriage

Daniel Schneider & Adam Reich
Social Problems, November 2014, Pages 625-643

Abstract:
Over the past five decades, marriage has changed dramatically, as young people began marrying later or never getting married at all. Scholars have shown how this decline is less a result of changing cultural definitions of marriage, and more a result of men's changing access to social and economic prerequisites for marriage. Specifically, men's current economic standing and men's future economic security have been shown to affect their marriageability. Traditionally, labor unions provided economic standing and security to male workers. Yet during the same period that marriage has declined among young people, membership in labor unions has declined precipitously, particularly for men. In this article, we examine the relationship between union membership and first marriage and discuss the possible mechanisms by which union membership might lead to first marriage. We draw on longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-79 to estimate discrete time event-history models of first marriage entry and find that, controlling for many factors, union membership is positively and significantly associated with marriage. We show then that this relationship is largely explained by the increased income, regularity and stability of employment, and fringe benefits that come with union membership.

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Sperm Competition in Humans: Mate Guarding Behavior Negatively Correlates with Ejaculate Quality

Samantha Leivers, Gillian Rhodes & Leigh Simmons
PLoS ONE, September 2014

Abstract:
In species where females mate with multiple males, the sperm from these males must compete to fertilise available ova. Sexual selection from sperm competition is expected to favor opposing adaptations in males that function either in the avoidance of sperm competition (by guarding females from rival males) or in the engagement in sperm competition (by increased expenditure on the ejaculate). The extent to which males may adjust the relative use of these opposing tactics has been relatively neglected. Where males can successfully avoid sperm competition from rivals, one might expect a decrease in their expenditure on tactics for the engagement in sperm competition and vice versa. In this study, we examine the relationship between mate guarding and ejaculate quality using humans as an empirical model. We found that men who performed fewer mate guarding behaviors produced higher quality ejaculates, having a greater concentration of sperm, a higher percentage of motile sperm and sperm that swam faster and less erratically. These effects were found independent of lifestyle factors or factors related to male quality. Our findings suggest that male expenditure on mate guarding and on the ejaculate may represent alternative routes to paternity assurance in humans.

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'A Diamond is Forever' and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration

Andrew Francis & Hugo Mialon
Emory University Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
In this paper, we evaluate the association between wedding spending and marriage duration using data from a survey of over 3,000 ever-married persons in the United States. Controlling for a number of demographic and relationship characteristics, we find evidence that marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.

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Debt, Cohabitation, and Marriage in Young Adulthood

Fenaba Addo
Demography, October 2014, Pages 1677-1701

Abstract:
Despite growing evidence that debt influences pivotal life events in early and young adulthood, the role of debt in the familial lives of young adults has received relatively little attention. Using data from the NLSY 1997 cohort (N = 6,749) and a discrete-time competing risks hazard model framework, I test whether the transition to first union is influenced by a young adult's credit card and education loan debt above and beyond traditional educational and labor market characteristics. I find that credit card debt is positively associated with cohabitation for men and women, and that women with education loan debt are more likely than women without such debt to delay marriage and transition into cohabitation. Single life may be difficult to afford, but marital life is unaffordable as well. Cohabitation presents an alternative to single life, but not necessarily a marital substitute for these young adults.

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The Long Reach of One's Spouse: Spouses' Personality Influences Occupational Success

Brittany Solomon & Joshua Jackson
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
You marry your spouse "for better, for worse" and "for richer, for poorer," but does your choice of partner make you richer or poorer? It is unknown whether people's dispositional characteristics can seep into their spouses' workplace. Using a representative, longitudinal sample of married individuals (N = 4,544), we examined whether Big Five personality traits of participants' spouses related to three measures of participants' occupational success: job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of being promoted. For both male and female participants, partner conscientiousness predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion, even after accounting for participants' conscientiousness. These associations occurred because more conscientious partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life, enabling their spouses to focus more on work. These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one's professional life.

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Stalking and Psychosocial Distress Following the Termination of an Abusive Dating Relationship: A Prospective Analysis

Katie Edwards & Christine Gidycz
Violence Against Women, November 2014, Pages 1383-1397

Abstract:
The purpose of the current study was to utilize a prospective methodology to better understand the extent to which women report stalking behaviors perpetrated by their abusive ex-partners and how these stalking experiences affect women's psychological adjustment. Participants included 56 college women who completed measures of partner abuse and psychological adjustment prior to and after terminating an abusive dating relationship. A little over half of the women (51.8%) reported some type of stalking victimization following the termination of the abusive relationship. After controlling for baseline levels of psychological distress and partner abuse variables, experiences of post-relationship stalking victimization predicted greater levels of posttraumatic stress symptomatology and interpersonal sensitivity, whereas post-relationship stalking victimization was unrelated to depression and personal empowerment.

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Thin slices of infidelity: Determining whether observers can pick out cheaters from a video clip interaction and what tips them off

Nathaniel Lambert, Seth Mulder & Frank Fincham
Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
The viability of using brief observations of behavior (thin slicing) to identify infidelity in romantic relationships was examined. Two studies supported the hypothesis that observers can accuratelsy identify people who are cheating on their romantic dating partner based on thin slices of observed behavior. In Study 1, raters were able to accurately identify people who were cheating on their romantic dating partner after viewing a short 3- to 4-min video of the couple interacting. Study 2 replicated this finding and identified possible variables that may mediate the relation between coder's ratings and participants' actual reported infidelity. Commitment and trustworthiness were found to be mediators of this relation. These results are discussed in terms of application and future research.

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Concordant and discordant alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use as predictors of marital dissolution

Kenneth Leonard, Philip Smith & Gregory Homish
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, September 2014, Pages 780-789

Abstract:
This study examined concordant and discrepant alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use among couples to determine whether they predicted marital separation or divorce over 9 years. The study recruited 634 couples as they applied for their marriage licenses; we assessed them at that time and reassessed them with mailed questionnaires at their first, second, fourth, seventh, and ninth wedding anniversaries. Approximately 60% of the men and women were European American, and approximately 33% were African American. The frequency of drinking to intoxication and binge drinking (more than 5 drinks in an occasion) was assessed, as was the use of cigarettes and marijuana. At each assessment, each member of the couple was asked about the occurrence of marital separations and divorce. Bivariate analyses indicated that tobacco and marijuana use, whether discrepant or concordant, were associated with marital disruptions. However, discrepant heavy drinking was associated with disruptions, but concordant heavy drinking was not. Concordant and discordant marijuana use were not associated with divorce when analyses controlled for alcohol and tobacco use. Concordant and discordant tobacco use was not associated with divorce when analyses controlled for sociodemographic and personality factors. However, discrepant alcohol use was related to divorce after controlling for the other substances in 1 analysis and after controlling for the sociodemographic factors in a separate analysis. Tobacco and marijuana use were related to divorce through their associations with other variables. However, results suggest that discrepant alcohol use may lead to marital disruptions and should be addressed with couples seeking marital treatment.

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Do women perform fellatio as a mate retention behavior?

Yael Sela et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, January 2015, Pages 61-66

Abstract:
Men who report performing more mate retention behaviors, in general, and more benefit-provisioning mate retention behaviors, in particular, also report greater interest in, and spend more time, performing oral sex on their female partner. We extended these findings to a female sample to investigate whether women's oral sex behaviors are related to their mate retention behaviors. We secured self-report data from 410 women residing in the United States or in Germany in a committed, sexual, heterosexual relationship. The results indicate that women who report performing more benefit-provisioning mate retention behaviors also report greater interest in, and spend more time, performing oral sex on their partner. Further, there are no sex differences in the magnitudes or directions of these relationships. The results suggest that both men and women are more interested in, and spend more time, performing oral sex on their partner as part of a benefit-provisioning strategy to increase their partner's relationship satisfaction. We address limitations of this research, and discuss explanations for the results.

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Holding on to What Might Have Been May Loosen (or Tighten) the Ties that Bind Us: A Counterfactual Potency Analysis of Previous Dating Alternatives

John Petrocelli et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 50-59

Abstract:
Existing research shows that people who have good current alternatives to their romantic partner are less committed to the relationship. The present research indicates that relationship committment also depends on perceptions of high quality forgone alternatives. The current research investigates the role of counterfactual potency (i.e., perceived likelihood of a mentally simulated alternative to reality) concerning potential dating partners from the past. Data from three studies revealed that as the perceived potency of a past romantic alternative increased, regret associated with forgone dating alternatives increased and commitment to the current partner decreased. Regret associated with forgone alternatives mediated the relationship between counterfactual potency and commitment. However, the link between counterfactual potency and commitment was further moderated by investment size; among the highly invested, as the perceived potency of a past romantic alternative increased, commitment to the current partner increased. Results are discussed in light of the investment model of relationship commitment.

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Knowing Who You Are and Adding to It: Reduced Self-Concept Clarity Predicts Reduced Self-Expansion

Lydia Emery, Courtney Walsh & Erica Slotter
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People are generally motivated to increase the diversity of their self-concepts, within their relationships and outside of them. Self-expansion enhances both individual and relationship well-being; however, almost no research has investigated what circumstances attenuate people's desire for self-expansion. The present research addressed this question by testing the central hypothesis that experiencing lower self-concept clarity would predict less interest in self-expansion. Across three studies, the present research demonstrated that individuals primed with low self-concept clarity expressed less interest in self-expansion outside of romantic relationships (Studies 1-2) and were less likely to actually self-expand by incorporating attributes from a potential romantic partner into the self (Study 3). Despite the benefits of self-expansion, certain situations may reduce people's desire to add content to the self.

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Can You Tell That I'm in a Relationship? Attachment and Relationship Visibility on Facebook

Lydia Emery et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, November 2014, Pages 1466-1479

Abstract:
People often attempt to shape others' perceptions of them, but the role of romantic relationships in this process is unknown. The present set of studies investigates relationship visibility, the centrality of relationships in the self-images that people convey to others. We propose that attachment underlies relationship visibility and test this hypothesis across three studies in the context of Facebook. Avoidant individuals showed low desire for relationship visibility, whereas anxious individuals reported high desired visibility (Studies 1 and 2); however, similar motives drove both groups' actual relationship visibility (Study 1). Moreover, both avoidant individuals and their partners were less likely to make their relationships visible (Studies 1 and 3). On a daily basis, when people felt more insecure about their partner's feelings, they tended to make their relationships visible (Study 3). These studies highlight the role of relationships in how people portray themselves to others.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Force protection

US Covert Operations toward Iran, February–November 1979: Was the CIA Trying to Overthrow the Islamic Regime?

Mark Gasiorowski
Middle Eastern Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines US covert operations toward Iran from February until November 1979. It focuses especially on whether the CIA was trying to undermine or overthrow Iran's nascent Islamic regime, as many Iranians believed. The article details the extensive covert contacts the CIA and other US personnel established in this period with Iranian officials and various Iranian opposition factions. Its main conclusion is that US officials established these contacts for the purpose of gathering intelligence about the rapidly changing situation in Iran, rather than to undermine the Islamic regime. Indeed, US personnel never encouraged these Iranian contacts to plot against the regime and often explicitly discouraged them from doing so.

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The Clash of Brothers

Akos Lada
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
How does shared identity affect interstate war-proneness and hostility? This paper argues that shared identity in the form of cultural similarity is a source of wars, but only in the presence of differences in domestic political institutions. When shared identity is based on visible cultural markers, identity ties facilitate the spread of democratization. Elites in repressive regimes are threatened by a culturally-similar country where citizens are empowered. Thus a dictator uses force against the culturally-similar democracy to ensure that his or her citizens see their empowered brothers as an enemy rather than a model. Using a new dataset on cultural similarity, coupled with the Correlates of War Militarized Interstate Dispute (1816-2008) dataset, I show that the most war-prone and the most hostile country pairs share culture, but differ in their political institutions. The cultural similarity variables are based on race, religion, and civilization, all of which are positively correlated with questions about political culture in the World Values Survey. Through the analysis of articles written by the North Korean Central News Agency, I also show that Pyongyang began to describe life in South Korea in more negative terms after South Korea democratized in 1987.

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Dead Wrong?: Battle Deaths, Military Medicine, and Exaggerated Reports of War's Demise

Tanisha Fazal
International Security, Summer 2014, Pages 95-125

Abstract:
Is war in decline? Recent scholarship suggests that it is. The empirical basis for this argument is a decline in battle deaths over the past several centuries, a standard metric for counting wars and armed conflicts. Dramatic improvements in medical care in conflict zones — in preventive medicine, battlefield medicine, evacuation, and protective equipment — have raised the likelihood of surviving battle wounds today compared with past eras. Thus the fact that war has become less fatal does not necessarily mean that it has become less frequent. Original data on wounded-to-killed ratios, supplemented by medical research and interviews with physicians from the military and nongovernmental communities, is used to advance this claim. The results show that the decline in war is likely not as dramatic as some scholars have argued. These findings question the foundation of existing datasets on war and armed conflict. They also highlight the growing need for policy focused on the battle wounded.

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The Case of William Yale: Cairo’s Syrians and the Arab Origins of American Influence in the Post-Ottoman Middle East, 1917–19

Max Reibman
International Journal of Middle East Studies, November 2014, Pages 681-702

Abstract:
This article explores the American role in the Syrian political scene in Cairo toward the end of World War I and in its immediate aftermath. It challenges the absence of the United States and of American actors as primary players in much of the historical writing on the Middle East in this period. It illuminates a neglected episode of regional American diplomacy, argues that the United States was not relegated to the periphery in local debates surrounding the dismemberment of Ottoman Syria, and emphasizes the broader uncertainties that characterized the competition for Mandate territories in the Middle East prior to 1920. In doing so, it takes a close look at the long-forgotten reports of William Yale, the U.S. State Department's “Special Agent” in Cairo in late 1917, and situates them within evolving trends in Syrian-Arab politics. Yale, who surfaced in Egypt after serving with Standard Oil in Palestine, was the key Arabic-speaking American “on the spot” and proved to be an astute if imperfect observer of the diversity of Syrian national sentiment. A survey of his reports allows for a new perspective on Cairo's Syrians and their pragmatic and ideological turn toward the United States as World War I unfolded. Alienated from Britain and France, they looked increasingly to the United States, and the appeal of a postwar American trusteeship over Syria gained currency among émigré intellectuals and aspiring powerbrokers.

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Foreign policies or culture: What shapes Muslim public opinion on political violence against the United States?

Lars Berger
Journal of Peace Research, November 2014, Pages 782-796

Abstract:
This analysis uses survey data representing three of the world’s most populous Muslim majority countries to challenge conventional wisdom on what shapes Muslim public opinion on political violence against the United States. It improves previous analysis by clearly distinguishing support for violence against civilians from support for violence against military targets and by featuring independent variables that clearly separate views on US foreign policies from views on US culture. Logistic regression shows that, among Egyptian, Pakistani and Indonesian Muslims, perceptions of controversial US policies toward Israel, Middle Eastern oil, or the perceived attempt to weaken and divide the Muslim world are not related to support for attacks on civilians in the United States, but only to support for attacks on US military targets. Approval of attacks on US civilians is shaped, instead, by negative views of US freedom of expression, culture, and people, disapproval of the domestic political status quo and the notion of general US hostility toward democracy in the Middle East. This last finding has important implications for US and Western policies toward the post-Arab Spring Middle East in particular and the broader relationship with the Muslim World in general.

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Saudi Arabia’s Soft Power

Giulio Gallarotti & Isam Yahia Al-Filali
International Studies, July & October 2014, Pages 233-261

Abstract:
When people are asked the question, what is the source of Saudi Arabia’s power, who would cite factors other than oil? This equation of Saudi power exclusively with its oil wealth is mistaken. Historically, a principal and the most consistent source of Saudi power at the domestic, regional and global levels has not been revenues from oil, but the cultural power that inheres in a nation that is both the capital of the Muslim and Arab worlds. This soft power accounts for as much, if not more, of Saudi influence than even oil itself. To a large extent, this power explains why Saudi Arabia has remained stout in the face of the shock waves of the Arab Spring. Saudi soft power also accounts for much of the leverage that the Kingdom enjoys in its region and the world at large. This article assesses the principal sources of Saudi Arabia’s soft power, discusses the modern day international, regional and domestic challenges facing Saudi Arabia, and finally analyzes how Saudi soft power can effectively deal with those challenges.

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The Localized and Spatial Effects of US Troop Deployments on Host-State Defense Spending

Michael Allen, Julie VanDusky-Allen & Michael Flynn
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyze how the deployment of US troops affects host-state defense spending. We test this relationship, from 1951 to 2003, by examining how the deployment of US military forces impacts defense spending in different types of states, including US allies, NATO members, non-allies of the United States, and all states. We also utilize spatial measures of US troop deployments to analyze how regional and neighborhood concentrations of forces shape host-state policies. Using both traditional panel methodology, and incorporating a simultaneous equation model for the deployment of troops, we find that non-allied states tend to decrease their defense burden when the United States places troops within their borders. However, NATO allies consistently increase their defense burden in response to the presence of US troops within their borders. Additionally, most states tend to increase spending when the United States places troops near their borders.

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Beyond Emboldenment: The Effects of Nuclear Weapons on State Foreign Policy

Mark Bell
MIT Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
What happens to the foreign policies of states when they acquire nuclear weapons? Despite its critical importance, this question has been understudied. This paper offers a new typology of the effects of nuclear weapons on foreign policy that allows us to move beyond predictions of "emboldenment," and hypothesizes the circumstances in which these effects might be observed. The paper demonstrates the utility of this typology by using it to shed light on a "hard" case: the United Kingdom. In contrast to the expectations of existing theories, the acquisition of a deliverable nuclear capability in 1955 significantly affected British foreign policy. Britain used its nuclear weapons to maintain its forward conventional posture at lower cost, bolster its junior allies in the Middle East, Far East and Europe, delay retrenchment, and respond more independently of the United States and with greater steadfastness to challenges to its position - most dramatically during the 1956 Suez crisis.

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Hidden Diplomacy: The German–American Dispute over Iran

Matthias Küntzel
American Foreign Policy Interests, July/August 2014, Pages 225-233

Abstract:
From as early as the 1920s, Germany has developed a special relationship with Iran. After the Islamic Revolution, it remained the only Western country that continued to have friendly relations with Tehran. As regards technology transfer, Germany remains to this day Iran's most important partner. As a result, the public dispute between the West and Iran over the latter's nuclear program has been accompanied by a mostly non-public dispute between Washington and Berlin over the West's overall approach to Iran. This dispute began more than 20 years ago. Germany has played the role of a “protective shield” (Joschka Fischer) for Tehran by watering down the sanctions policy and rejecting the use of the threat of military force. The latter position is supported by Moscow and Peking and rejected by London, Washington, and Paris. Germany's inclination to make the most of its geopolitical middle position has been reinforced by a semi-official German foreign policy position paper from 2013 that downgrades the principle of Western integration in favor of a strategy of multipolarity.

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Unpacking Territorial Disputes: Domestic Political Influences and War

Thorin Wright & Paul Diehl
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
What distinguishes the militarized territorial disputes that escalate to war from those that do not? Although research has clearly established that territorial conflicts are especially war-prone, the understanding as to why this is the case is less developed when compared to domestic factors such as joint democracy. We explain that territorial conflicts are especially war-prone when democratic and autocratic states are engaged in conflict against one another. Because of domestic concerns, democracies and autocracies value territory differently, generating a smaller bargaining space. Democracies will tend to be more resistant to settlement when territory is of a “public,” symbolic, or intangible value. Autocracies, on the other hand, are more likely to value the tangible qualities of territory, such as its resource value. This disparity in territorial goals makes mixed regime dyads more war-prone when territory is disputed. We further believe that the smaller the winning coalition in autocracies, the more war-prone they are against democracies. We test these propositions among all dyads as well as interstate rivals and find support for our theoretical framework.

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The terror of ‘terrorists’: An investigation in experimental applied ethics

Adam Feltz & Edward Cokely
Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, Fall 2014, Pages 195-211

Abstract:
Some theorists argue that appropriate responses to terrorism are in part shaped by popular sentiment. In two experiments, using representative design and ecological stimuli (e.g. actual news reports), we present evidence for some of the ways popular sentiment about terrorism tracks theory and can be constructed. In Experiment 1, we document that using the word ‘terrorist’ to describe a group of people decreases willingness to understand the group's grievances, decreases willingness to negotiate with the group, increases perceived permissibility of violence against the group, and decreases the perceived rationality of the group. In Experiment 2, we demonstrate that judgment about the permissibility of the use of force against terrorist groups can be biased by simple memory-priming manipulations. Results are interpreted in terms of (1) implications for philosophical theories about terrorism and (2) the role that experimental investigation can play in applied ethics.

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US foreign aid, interstate rivalry, and incentives for counterterrorism cooperation

Andrew Boutton
Journal of Peace Research, November 2014, Pages 741-754

Abstract:
A common strategy pursued by states targeted by international terrorism is to provide economic and military assistance to the states that host this activity. This is thought to increase their willingness and capacity to crack down on terrorism, but very little work to date has looked at whether this strategy actually leads to desirable outcomes. This article offers an explanation for why a strategy of foreign aid-for-counterterrorism can be successful in some contexts, but counterproductive in situations in which recipients have more pressing strategic priorities. Specifically, I argue that host states receiving US foreign aid that are involved in an ongoing interstate rivalry will use the aid to arm against their rival, rather than to undertake counterterrorism. These states thus have an incentive not to disarm terrorist groups, but rather to play-up the threat from terrorism in order to continue receiving aid concessions. Using data on US foreign aid and terrorist activity in recipient countries, I employ a series of duration and count models to demonstrate that, while US foreign aid can help to decrease terrorist activity in non-rivalrous states, the opposite is true in states with at least one rival.

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Does Nation Building Spur Economic Growth?

Ellyn Creasey, Ahmed Rahman & Katherine Smith
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nation building, the allocation of economic aid conditional on military assistance in conflict and post-conflict environments, has cost the world trillions of dollars over the last half century. Yet few attempts have been made to quantify the potential economic growth effects for the recipient country from the provision of this aid. Using a 45-year panel dataset, we construct a measure of nation building using a three-way interaction term between military assistance, economic aid, and conflict regime. Considering that slow growing and problem-prone countries may be less likely to receive aid, we instrument for economic aid by estimating donor-to-donee aid flows in a first-stage procedure. Using this approach, we find that spending on nation building has positive growth effects during conflict periods, but that these effects disappear after conflict.

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Collective Punishment Depends on Collective Responsibility and Political Organization of the Target Group

Andrea Pereira et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 4–17

Abstract:
What factors determine the willingness to inflict collective punishment upon a group for a misdeed committed by individual group members? This research investigates the effect of collective responsibility shared among group members and the moderating effect of the group’s political organization (democratic vs. nondemocratic). Hypothesizing that moral accountability should be greater for democratic offender groups compared to nondemocratic groups, five experiments showed that the positive effect of collective responsibility on support for collective punishment (experiment 1) was stronger for democratic groups than for nondemocratic groups (experiment 2-5). A sixth experiment revealed that the moral and social value ascribed to democracy led to higher expectations towards democratic groups, resulting in negative perceptions of the democratic offender group and ultimately in increased collective punishment. The results are discussed in terms of defense strategies of democratic values.

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Who Runs the International System? Power and the Staffing of the United Nations Secretariat

Paul Novosad & Eric Werker
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
National governments frequently pull strings to get their citizens appointed to senior positions in international institutions. We examine, over a 60 year period, the nationalities of the most senior positions in the United Nations Secretariat, ostensibly the world's most representative international institution. The results indicate which nations are successful in this zero-sum game, and what national characteristics correlate with power in international institutions. The most overrepresented countries are small, rich democracies like the Nordic countries. Statistically, democracy, investment in diplomacy, and economic/military power are predictors of senior positions ― even after controlling for the U.N. staffing mandate of competence and integrity. National control over the United Nations is remarkably sticky; however the influence of the United States has diminished as U.S. ideology has shifted away from its early allies. In spite of the decline in U.S. influence, the Secretariat remains pro-American relative to the world at large.

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Motivated and Displaced Revenge: Remembering 9/11 Suppresses Opposition to Military Intervention in Syria (for Some)

Anthony Washburn & Linda Skitka
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted an experimental test of the displaced international punishment hypothesis by testing whether reminding people about 9/11 would increase support for U.S. military intervention in Syria. A community sample of Americans were reminded of 9/11, the terrorist attacks in London in 2005, or were given no reminder before being asked their support for military intervention in Syria. Results indicated that there was a significant suppression effect of desired revenge for the 9/11 attacks on support for military intervention for liberals and moderates, but not conservatives. Liberal and moderate participants reminded of 9/11 supported military intervention because reminders of 9/11 primed strong desires for vengeance. These findings suggest that reminding people of a severe offense to their country triggers a desire for revenge, which increases the desire to punish a target symbolically similar to the original perpetrator, but only when doing so is politically expedient.

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Strategic taboos: Chemical weapons and US foreign policy

Michelle Bentley
International Affairs, September 2014, Pages 1033–1048

Abstract:
This article examines US President Barack Obama's foreign policy rhetoric on Syria, specifically in relation to the threat of chemical weapons and the prohibitionary taboo surrounding their use. It contends that Obama's rhetorical construction of the taboo is not simply a commitment to the control of these horrific weapons (where such arms have been comprehended as so extensively vile as to preclude their employment), but that this also represents the strategic linguistic exploitation of these normative ideals in order to directly shape policy. By analysing of presidential speeches made during the conflict, it demonstrates that Obama has manipulated pre-existing conceptions of chemical weapons as taboo, and also as forms of weapons of mass destruction, to deliberately construct policy in line with his own political ambitions — most notably as a way of forcing a multilateral solution to the situation in Syria. This article challenges existing perceptions of the chemical weapons taboo as an inherently normative constraint, arguing that this instead comprises a more agency-driven construct. Static notions of the taboo must be abandoned and subsequently replaced with a framework of understanding that recognizes how the taboo can be used as a deliberate driver of foreign policy.

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The PLA and National Security Decisionmaking: Insights from China's Behavior in its Territorial Disputes

Taylor Fravel
MIT Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
A central question in the study of China’s foreign policy is the role of the PLA in national security decisionmaking. This paper seeks to illuminate this question by examining one specific issue area, territorial disputes. The role of the PLA in decisionmaking in China’s territorial disputes has been limited to bureaucratic influence within existing policymaking structures and processes. With the partial exception of China’s interpretation of the rights of coastal states under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the PLA has not played a significant role influencing the initiation of China’s territorial disputes, in the content of these claims or in how China has chosen to defend these claims. Instead, China’s behavior in territorial disputes, including its recent assertiveness in the South China Sea and East China Sea, reflects the consensus of China’s top party leaders to respond to what are seen as challenges and provocations from other states. Little evidence exists to support the view that the PLA has escalated these disputes against the wishes of top leaders.

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Hunger games: Or how the Allied blockade in the First World War deprived German children of nutrition, and Allied food aid subsequently saved them

Mary Elisabeth Cox
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
At the onset of the First World War, Germany was subject to a shipping embargo by the Allied forces. Ostensibly military in nature, the blockade prevented not only armaments but also food and fertilizers from entering Germany. The impact of that blockade on civilian populations has been debated ever since. Germans protested that the Allies had wielded hunger as a weapon against women and children with devastating results, a claim that was hotly denied by the Allies. The impact of what the Germans termed the Hungerblockade on childhood nutrition can now be assessed using a newly discovered dataset based on heights and weights of nearly 600,000 German schoolchildren measured between 1914 and 1924. Statistical analysis reveals a grim truth: German children suffered severe malnutrition due to the blockade. Social class impacted risk of deprivation, with working-class children suffering the most. Surprisingly, they were the quickest to recover after the war. Their rescue was fuelled by massive food aid organized by the former enemies of Germany, and delivered cooperatively with both government and civil society. The ability of former belligerents to work together after an exceptionally bitter war to feed impoverished children may hold hope for the future.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sick of it

Recessions, Job Loss, and Mortality Among Older US Adults

Clemens Noelke & Jason Beckfield
American Journal of Public Health, November 2014, Pages e126-e134

Objectives: We analyzed how recessions and job loss jointly shape mortality risks among older US adults.

Methods: We used data for 50 states from the Health and Retirement Study and selected individuals who were employed at ages 45 to 66 years during 1992 to 2011. We assessed whether job loss affects mortality risks, whether recessions moderate the effect of job loss on mortality, and whether individuals who do and do not experience job loss are differentially affected by recessions.

Results: Compared with individuals not experiencing job loss, mortality risks among individuals losing their job in a recession were strongly elevated (hazard ratio = 1.6; 95% confidence interval = 1.1, 2.3). Job loss during normal times or booms is not associated with mortality. For employed workers, we found a reduction in mortality risks if local labor market conditions were depressed, but this result was not consistent across different model specifications.

Conclusions: Recessions increase mortality risks among older US adults who experience job loss. Health professionals and policymakers should target resources to this group during recessions. Future research should clarify which health conditions are affected by job loss during recessions and whether access to health care following job loss moderates this relation.

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Is There a Link Between Foreclosure and Health?

Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the relationship between foreclosures and hospital visits using data on all foreclosures and all hospital and emergency room visits from four states that were among the hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. We find that living in a neighborhood with a spike in foreclosures is associated with significant increases in urgent unscheduled visits, including increases in visits for preventable conditions. The estimated relationships cannot be accounted for by increasing unemployment, declines in housing prices, migration, or by people switching from out-patient providers to hospitals.

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A hidden cost of war: The impact of mobilizing reserve troops on emergency response times

Christopher Coyne et al.
Public Choice, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes a hidden cost of war: the effect of the mass mobilization of reserve troops on the response times of domestic emergency services to accidents. We provide a statistical examination of this linkage following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and find that mobilization significantly increases response times to accidents in the United States. These mobilization-related costs are exacerbated by both legal restrictions and issues of replacing highly specialized human capital.

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Maternal Intake of Supplemental Iron and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Rebecca Schmidt et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 November 2014, Pages 890-900

Abstract:
Iron deficiency affects 40%–50% of pregnancies. Iron is critical for early neurodevelopmental processes that are dysregulated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We examined maternal iron intake in relation to ASD risk in California-born children enrolled in a population-based case-control study (the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study) from 2003 to 2009 with a diagnosis of ASD (n = 520) or typical development (n = 346) that was clinically confirmed using standardized assessments. Mean maternal daily iron intake was quantified on the basis of frequency, dose, and brands of supplements and cereals consumed each month from 3 months before pregnancy through the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding (the index period), as reported in parental interviews. Mothers of cases were less likely to report taking iron-specific supplements during the index period (adjusted odds ratio = 0.63, 95% confidence interval: 0.44, 0.91), and they had a lower mean daily iron intake (51.7 (standard deviation, 34.0) mg/day) than mothers of controls (57.1 (standard deviation, 36.6) mg/day; P = 0.03). The highest quintile of iron intake during the index period was associated with reduced ASD risk compared with the lowest (adjusted odds ratio = 0.49, 95% confidence interval: 0.29, 0.82), especially during breastfeeding. Low iron intake significantly interacted with advanced maternal age and metabolic conditions; combined exposures were associated with a 5-fold increased ASD risk. Further studies of this link between maternal supplemental iron and ASD are needed to inform ASD prevention strategies.

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Second Trimester Sunlight and Asthma: Evidence from Two Independent Studies

Nils Wernerfelt, David Slusky & Richard Zeckhauser
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
One in twelve Americans suffers from asthma and its annual costs are estimated to exceed $50 billion. Simultaneously, the root causes of the disease remain unknown. A recent hypothesis speculates that maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy affect the probability the fetus later develops asthma. In two large-scale studies, we test this hypothesis using a natural experiment afforded by historical variation in sunlight, a major source of vitamin D. Specifically, holding the birth location and month fixed, we see how exogenous within-location variation in sunlight across birth years affects the probability of asthma onset. We show that this measurement of sunlight correlates with actual exposure, and consistent with pre-existing results from the fetal development literature, we find substantial and highly significant evidence in both datasets that increased sunlight during the second trimester lowers the subsequent probability of asthma. Our results suggest policies designed to augment vitamin D levels in pregnant women, the large majority of whom are vitamin D insufficient, could be very cost-effective.

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Artificial sweeteners induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut microbiota

Jotham Suez et al.
Nature, 9 October 2014, Pages 181–186

Abstract:
Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.

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The prevalence of periodontal disease in a Romano-British population c. 200-400 AD

T. Raitapuro-Murray, T.I. Molleson & F.J. Hughes
British Dental Journal, October 2014, Pages 459-466

Subjects and methods: 303 skulls from a Romano-British burial site in Poundbury, Dorset were examined for evidence of dental disease.

Results: The overall prevalence of moderate to severe periodontitis was just greater than 5%. The prevalence rate remained nearly constant between ages 20 to 60, after which it rose to around 10%. The number of affected teeth increased with age. Horizontal bone loss was generally minor. Caries was seen in around 50% of the cohort, and evidence of pulpal and apical pathology was seen in around 25%.

Conclusions: The prevalence of moderate to severe periodontitis was markedly decreased when compared to the prevalence in modern populations, underlining the potential importance of risk factors such as smoking and diabetes in determining susceptibility to progressive periodontitis in modern populations.

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Geographic variations in sleep duration: A multilevel analysis from the Boston Area Community Health (BACH) Survey

Shona Fang et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Sleep plays an important role in health and varies by social determinants. Little is known, however, about geographic variations in sleep and the role of individual-level and neighbourhood-level factors.

Methods: We used a multilevel modelling approach to quantify neighbourhood variation in self-reported sleep duration (very short <5 h; short 5–6.9 h; normative 7–8.9 h; long ≥9 h) among 3591 participants of the Boston Area Community Health Survey. We determined whether geographic variations persisted with control for individual-level demographic, socioeconomic status (SES) and lifestyle factors. We then determined the role of neighbourhood SES (nSES) in geographic variations. Additional models considered individual health factors.

Results: Between neighbourhood differences accounted for a substantial portion of total variability in sleep duration. Neighbourhood variation persisted with control for demographics, SES and lifestyle factors. These characteristics accounted for a portion (6–20%) of between-neighbourhood variance in very short, short and long sleep, while nSES accounted for the majority of the remaining between-neighbourhood variances. Low and medium nSES were associated with very short and short sleep (eg, very short sleep OR=2.08; 95% CI 1.38 to 3.14 for low vs high nSES), but not long sleep. Further inclusion of health factors did not appreciably increase the amount of between-neighbourhood variance explained nor did it alter associations.

Conclusions: Sleep duration varied by neighbourhood in a diverse urban setting in the northeastern USA. Individual-level demographics, SES and lifestyle factors explained some geographic variability, while nSES explained a substantial amount. Mechanisms associated with nSES should be examined in future studies to help understand and reduce geographic variations in sleep.

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The Socioeconomic Gradient in Physical Inactivity: Evidence from One Million Adults in England

Lisa Farrell et al.
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Understanding the socioeconomic gradient in physical inactivity is essential for effective health promotion. This paper exploits data on over one million individuals (1,002,216 people aged 16 and over) in England drawn from the Active People Survey (2004-11). We identify the separate associations between a variety of measures of physical inactivity with education and household income. We find high levels of physical inactivity. Further, both education and household income are strongly associated with inactivity even when controlling for local area deprivation, the availability of physical recreation and sporting facilities, the local weather and regional geography. Moreover, the gap in inactivity between those living in high and low income households is already evident in early adult life and increases up until about age 85. Overall, these results suggest that England is building up a large future health problem and one that is heavily socially graded.

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Are Neighborhood Health Associations Causal? A 10-Year Prospective Cohort Study With Repeated Measurements

Markus Jokela
American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 October 2014, Pages 776-784

Abstract:
People who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to have poor physical and mental health, but this might be due to selective residential mobility rather than causal neighborhood effects. As a test of social causation, I examined whether persons were less healthy when they were living in disadvantaged neighborhoods than at other times when they were living in more advantaged neighborhoods. Data were taken from the 10-year Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) prospective cohort study, which had annual follow-up waves between 2001 and 2010 (n = 112,503 person-observations from 20,012 persons). Neighborhood disadvantage was associated with poorer self-rated health, mental health, and physical functioning, higher probability of smoking, and less frequent physical activity. However, these associations were almost completely due to between-person differences; the associations were not replicated in within-person analyses that compared the same persons living in different neighborhoods over time. Results were similar when using neighborhood remoteness as the exposure and when focusing only on long-term residence. In contrast, poor health predicted selective residential mobility to less advantaged neighborhoods, which provided evidence of social selection. These findings provide little support for social causation in neighborhood health associations and suggest that correlations between neighborhoods and health may develop via selective residential mobility.

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Alternating antibiotic treatments constrain evolutionary paths to multidrug resistance

Seungsoo Kim, Tami Lieberman & Roy Kishony
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 October 2014, Pages 14494–14499

Abstract:
Alternating antibiotic therapy, in which pairs of drugs are cycled during treatment, has been suggested as a means to inhibit the evolution of de novo resistance while avoiding the toxicity associated with more traditional combination therapy. However, it remains unclear under which conditions and by what means such alternating treatments impede the evolution of resistance. Here, we tracked multistep evolution of resistance in replicate populations of Staphylococcus aureus during 22 d of continuously increasing single-, mixed-, and alternating-drug treatment. In all three tested drug pairs, the alternating treatment reduced the overall rate of resistance by slowing the acquisition of resistance to one of the two component drugs, sometimes as effectively as mixed treatment. This slower rate of evolution is reflected in the genome-wide mutational profiles; under alternating treatments, bacteria acquire mutations in different genes than under corresponding single-drug treatments. To test whether this observed constraint on adaptive paths reflects trade-offs in which resistance to one drug is accompanied by sensitivity to a second drug, we profiled many single-step mutants for cross-resistance. Indeed, the average cross-resistance of single-step mutants can help predict whether or not evolution was slower in alternating drugs. Together, these results show that despite the complex evolutionary landscape of multidrug resistance, alternating-drug therapy can slow evolution by constraining the mutational paths toward resistance.

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Community, Family, and Subjective Socioeconomic Status: Relative Status and Adolescent Health

Elizabeth Quon & Jennifer McGrath
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Relative socioeconomic status (SES) may be an important social determinant of health. The current study aimed to examine how relative SES, as measured by subjective SES, income inequality, and individual SES relative to others in the community, is associated with a wide range of adolescent health outcomes, after controlling for objective family SES.

Method: Adolescents (13–16 years; N = 2,199) from the Quebec Child and Adolescent Health and Social Survey were included. Socioeconomic measures included adolescents’ subjective SES; parental education and household income; community education/employment, income, and poverty rate; and community income inequality. Health outcomes included self-rated health, mental health problems, dietary and exercise health behaviors, substance-related health behaviors, reported physical health, and biomarkers of health. Best-fitting multilevel regression models (participants nested within schools) were used to test associations.

Results: Findings indicated that lower subjective SES was associated with poorer health outcomes. After accounting for family SES, lower community education/employment had an additional negative effect on health, while lower community income had a protective effect for certain health outcomes. There was less evidence for an independent effect of income inequality.

Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of measures of relative SES that span across a number of levels and contexts, and provide further understanding into the socioeconomic gradient in adolescence.

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Associations between Acetaminophen Use during Pregnancy and ADHD Symptoms Measured at Ages 7 and 11 Years

John Thompson et al.
PLoS ONE, September 2014

Objective: Our aim was to replicate and extend the recently found association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD symptoms in school-age children.

Methods: Participants were members of the Auckland Birthweight Collaborative Study, a longitudinal study of 871 infants of European descent sampled disproportionately for small for gestational age. Drug use during pregnancy (acetaminophen, aspirin, antacids, and antibiotics) were analysed in relation to behavioural difficulties and ADHD symptoms measured by parent report at age 7 and both parent- and child-report at 11 years of age. The analyses included multiple covariates including birthweight, socioeconomic status and antenatal maternal perceived stress.

Results: Acetaminophen was used by 49.8% of the study mothers during pregnancy. We found significantly higher total difficulty scores (Strengths and Difficulty Questionnaire parent report at age 7 and child report at age 11) if acetaminophen was used during pregnancy, but there were no significant differences associated with any of the other drugs. Children of mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy were also at increased risk of ADHD at 7 and 11 years of age (Conners’ Parent Rating Scale-Revised).

Conclusions: These findings strengthen the contention that acetaminophen exposure in pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD-like behaviours. Our study also supports earlier claims that findings are specific to acetaminophen.

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Disparities in cancer incidence and mortality by area-level socioeconomic status: A multilevel analysis

Theresa Hastert et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Disparities in cancer incidence and mortality have been observed by measures of area-level socioeconomic status (SES); however, the extent to which these disparities are explained by individual SES is unclear.

Methods: Participants included 60 756 men and women in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) study cohort, aged 50–76 years at baseline (2000–2002) and followed through 2010. We constructed a block group SES index using the 2000 US Census and fit Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the association between area-level SES (by quintile) and total and site-specific cancer incidence and total cancer mortality, with and without household income and individual education in the models.

Results: Lower area-level SES was weakly associated with higher total cancer incidence and lower prostate cancer risk, but was not associated with risk of breast cancer. Compared with the highest-SES areas, living in the lowest-SES areas was associated with higher lung (HR: 2.21, 95% CI 1.69 to 2.90) and colorectal cancer incidence (HR: 1.52, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.09) and total cancer mortality (HR: 1.68, 95% CI 1.47 to 1.93). Controlling for individual education and household income weakened the observed associations, but did not eliminate them (lung cancer HR: 1.43, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.91; colorectal cancer HR: 1.35, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.88; cancer mortality HR: 1.28, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.48).

Conclusions: Area-level socioeconomic disparities exist for several cancer outcomes. These differences are not fully explained by individual SES, suggesting area-level factors may play a role.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pass or fail

The Faculty Flutie Factor: Does Football Performance Affect a University's US News and World Report Peer Assessment Score?

Sean Mulholland, Aleksandar (Sasha) Tomic & Samuel Sholander
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analyzing the peer assessment category of the US News and World Report's America's Best Colleges rankings, we find that universities fielding a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team are more highly rated by administrators and faculty at peer institutions. Universities are also more highly rated if their football team receives a greater number of votes in either the final Associated Press or Coaches' Poll. Controlling for unobserved heterogeneity, our estimates suggest that a one standard deviation increase in votes from one season to the next is associated with a peer score increase that is about equal (in absolute value terms) to the mean year-over-year peer score decline witnessed by the institutions in our sample. Performance matters even if we only focus on FBS schools.

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The Economic Value of Breaking Bad Misbehavior, Schooling and the Labor Market

Nicholas Papageorge, Victor Ronda & Yu Zheng
Johns Hopkins University Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Prevailing research argues that childhood misbehavior in the classroom is bad for schooling and, presumably, bad overall. In contrast, we argue that childhood misbehavior reflects underlying traits that are potentially valuable in the labor market. We follow work from psychology and treat measured classroom misbehavior as reflecting two underlying non-cognitive traits. Next, we estimate a model of education decisions and labor market outcomes, allowing the impact of each of the two traits to vary by outcome. We show the first evidence that one of the traits capturing childhood misbehavior, discussed in psychological literature as the externalizing trait (and linked, for example, to aggression), does indeed reduce educational attainment, but also increases earnings. This finding highlights a broader point: non-cognition is not well summarized as a single underlying trait that is either good or bad per se. Using the estimated model, we assess competing pedagogical policies. For males, we find that policies aimed at eliminating the externalizing trait increase schooling attainment, but also reduce earnings. In comparison, policies that decrease the schooling penalty of the externalizing trait increase both schooling and earnings.

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Long-Term Impacts of Compensatory Preschool on Health and Behavior: Evidence from Head Start

Pedro Carneiro & Rita Ginja
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper provides new estimates of the medium and long-term impacts of Head Start on health and behavioral problems. We identify these impacts using discontinuities in the probability of participation induced by program eligibility rules. Our strategy allows us to identify the effect of Head Start for the individuals in the neighborhoods of multiple discontinuities. Participation in the program reduces the incidence of behavioral problems, health problems, and obesity of male children at ages 12 and 13. It lowers depression and obesity among adolescents, and it reduces engagement in criminal activities and idleness for young adults.

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Intensive College Counseling and the College Enrollment Choices of Low Income Students

Benjamin Castleman & Joshua Goodman
Harvard Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Low income high school graduates are less likely to enroll in four-year colleges than their more advantaged peers. When they do enroll, they are more likely to choose colleges with low graduation rates and higher costs, increasing their risk of leaving college without a degree and with substantial debt. Such decision-making may be driven in part by a lack of information about the full range of college options that are available to students. We study the potential for intensive college counseling to remedy this informational barrier and improve students' college choices. Capitalizing on an arbitrary cut-off in the admissions criteria for Bottom Line, an college advising program in Massachusetts, we use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of intensive advising on students' college choices as well as on their overall enrollment and persistence in college. We find that intensive college advising substantially shifts towards one of the four-year colleges encouraged by the program and away from institutions the program discourages. This effect is particularly strong for students from families where English is not the first language, and for whom the informational barriers may be particularly constraining. This shift in enrollment reduces the average net price of the institutions students are attending, likely lowering their financial burden. Finally, we see suggestive evidence of increases in overall four-year college enrollment and persistence through the first two years of college. We argue that this evidence indicates that intensive college advising can generate large impacts on college enrollment decisions and may improve persistence and, ultimately, degree completion.

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Educational Vouchers and Social Cohesion: A Statistical Analysis of Student Civic Attitudes in Sweden, 1999-2009

Najeeb Shafiq & John Myers
American Journal of Education, November 2014, Pages 111-136

Abstract:
This study examines the Swedish national educational voucher scheme and changes in social cohesion. We conduct a statistical analysis using data from the 1999 and 2009 rounds of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's civic education study of 14-year-old students and their attitudes toward the rights of ethnic minorities and immigrants. Using regression models, we do not find evidence of a decline in civic attitudes and therefore social cohesion. We attribute the results to Sweden's voucher design and context that minimized segregation and preserved civics curricula in all schools.

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College Selectivity and Degree Completion

Scott Heil, Liza Reisel & Paul Attewell
American Educational Research Journal, October 2014, Pages 913-935

Abstract:
How much of a difference does it make whether a student of a given academic ability enters a more or a less selective four-year college? Some studies claim that attending a more academically selective college markedly improves one's graduation prospects. Others report the reverse: an advantage from attending an institution where one's own skills exceed most other students. Using multilevel models and propensity score matching methods to reduce selection bias, we find that selectivity does not have an independent effect on graduation. Instead, we find relatively small positive effects on graduation from attending a college with higher tuition costs. We also find no evidence that students not attending highly selective colleges suffer reduced chances of graduation, all else being equal.

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Merit Aid, College Quality, and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy

Sarah Cohodes & Joshua Goodman
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, October 2014, Pages 251-285

Abstract:
We analyze a Massachusetts merit aid program that gives high-scoring students tuition waivers at in-state public colleges with lower graduation rates than available alternative colleges. A regression discontinuity design comparing students just above and below the eligibility threshold finds that students are remarkably willing to forgo college quality and that scholarship use actually lowered college completion rates. These results suggest that college quality affects college completion rates. The theoretical prediction that in-kind subsidies of public institutions can reduce consumption of the subsidized good is shown to be empirically important.

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The Bridge and the Troll Underneath: Summer Bridge Programs and Degree Completion

Daniel Douglas & Paul Attewell
American Journal of Education, November 2014, Pages 87-109

Abstract:
College graduation rates in the United States are low in both real and relative terms. This has left all stakeholders looking for novel solutions while perhaps ignoring extant but underused programs. This article examines the effect of "summer bridge" programs, which have students enroll in coursework prior to beginning their first full academic year, on associate's and bachelor's degree completion. We make use of the Beyond Postsecondary (BPS) transcript data as well as data from one large university system. Our analysis utilizes propensity score matching to account for selection effects among students. We find that at community colleges and less selective 4-year colleges, students who attend bridge programs are 10 percentage points more likely to finish within 6 years. We discuss our findings in the context of how colleges might better use their existing initiatives to improve student outcomes, and in light of recent findings from a randomized controlled trial study.

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The General Equilibrium Effects of Educational Expansion

Nicola Bianchi
Stanford Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
In an effort to raise skills or promote equality, states sometimes engage in sweeping reforms that rapidly increase access to education for a significant share of their population. Such reforms are hard to evaluate because they may alter more than the outcomes of marginal students induced to enroll. They may change returns to skill, school quality, peer effects, and the educational choices of apparently inframarginal students (those who would have enrolled in the absence of the reform). I identify such general equilibrium effects by examining a dramatic 1961 Italian reform that increased university enrollment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields by more than 200 percent in a few years. The peculiar features of the reform allow me to identify students who were unaffected, directly affected, and indirectly affected. They also allow me to identify key channels through which the effects ran. Using data I collected from tax returns and hand-written transcripts on more than 27,000 students, I show that the direct effects of the reform were as intended: many more students enrolled and many more obtained degrees. However, I also find that those induced to enroll earned no more than students in earlier cohorts who were denied access to university. I reconcile these surprising results by showing that the education expansion reduced returns to skill and lowered university learning through congestion and peer effects. I also demonstrate that apparently inframarginal students were significantly affected: the most able of them abandoned STEM majors rather than accept lower returns and lower human capital.

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Birthdays, schooling, and crime: Regression-discontinuity analysis of school performance, delinquency, dropout, and crime initiation

Philip Cook & Songman Kang
Duke University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Dropouts have high crime rates, but is there a direct causal link? This study, utilizing administrative data for 6 cohorts of public school children in North Carolina, demonstrates that those born just after the cut date for enrolling in public kindergarten are more likely to drop out of high school before graduation and to commit a felony offense by age 19. We present suggestive evidence that dropout mediates criminal involvement. Paradoxically, these late-entry students outperform their grade peers academically while still in school, which helps account for the fact that they are less likely to become juvenile delinquents.

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Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For-Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Rajeev Darolia et al.
RAND Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
This paper reports results from a resume-based field experiment designed to examine employer preferences for job applicants who attended for-profit colleges. For-profit colleges have seen sharp increases in enrollment in recent years despite alternatives such as public community colleges being much cheaper. We sent almost 9,000 fictitious resumes of young applicants who recently completed their schooling to online job postings in six occupational categories and tracked employer callback rates. We find no evidence that employers prefer applicants with resumes listing a for-profit college relative to those whose resumes list either a community college or no college at all.

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The Costs of Failure: Negative Externalities in High School Course Repetition

Andrew Hill
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Failure in US high school courses is common, but little is known about its effects. This paper investigates the extent to which course repeaters in high school mathematics courses exert negative externalities on their course-mates. Using individual and school-specific course fixed effects to control for ability and course selection, it shows that increasing the share of repeaters in a given course results in a moderate, significant increase in the probability of course failure for first-time course-takers. Results suggest that the negative effect is only evident when the share of repeaters reaches a threshold of five to ten percent of the total number of course-takers. The possibility that grading to a curve generates the effect cannot be ruled out, but is not fully supported in the data. Evidence is also presented that course repetition externalities may be distinct from low-ability peer effects.

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The Scarring Effects of Primary-Grade Retention? A Study of Cumulative Advantage in the Educational Career

Megan Andrew
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Triggering events and the scarring, or status-dependence, process they induce are an important cornerstone of social stratification theory that is rarely studied in the context of the educational career. However, the decades-old high-stakes environment that ties many educational outcomes to a test score or other singular achievement underscores the potential importance of scarring in the contemporary educational career. In this paper, I study scarring in the educational career in the case of primary-grade retention. Using propensity score matching and sibling fixed-effects models, I evaluate evidence for primary-grade retention effects on high school completion and college entry and completion. I find consistent evidence of a causal effect of early primary school grade retention on high school completion. These effects operate largely through middle school academic achievements and expectations, suggesting that students who recover from the scar of grade retention on high school completion largely do so earlier rather than later in the educational career. Students can continue to recover from the effects of grade retention through early high school, not only through their academic achievements but through their expectations of high school completion as well. Models suggest that early primary grade retention scars the educational career mainly at high school completion, though there are important, unconditional effects on college entry and completion as a result. I conclude by placing these findings in the larger grade-retention literature and discussing future research on heterogeneities in and mechanisms of retention effects.

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Head Start's Impact Is Contingent on Alternative Type of Care in Comparison Group

Fuhua Zhai, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Jane Waldfogel
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data (n = 3,790 with 2,119 in the 3-year-old cohort and 1,671 in the 4-year-old cohort) from 353 Head Start centers in the Head Start Impact Study, the only large-scale randomized experiment in Head Start history, this article examined the impact of Head Start on children's cognitive and parent-reported social-behavioral outcomes through first grade contingent on the child care arrangements used by children who were randomly assigned to the control group (i.e., parental care, relative/nonrelative care, another Head Start program, or other center-based care). A principal score matching approach was adopted to identify children assigned to Head Start who were similar to children in the control group with a specific care arrangement. Overall, the results showed that the effects of Head Start varied substantially contingent on the alternative child care arrangements. Compared with children in parental care and relative/nonrelative care, Head Start participants generally had better cognitive and parent-reported behavioral development, with some benefits of Head Start persisting through first grade; in contrast, few differences were found between Head Start and other center-based care. The results have implications regarding the children for whom Head Start is most beneficial as well as how well Head Start compares with other center-based programs.

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Are Football Coaches Overpaid? Evidence from Their Employment Contracts

Randall Thomas & Lawrence Van Horn
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
The commentators and the media pay particular attention to the compensation of high profile individuals. Whether these are corporate CEOs, or college football coaches, many critics question whether their levels of remuneration are appropriate. In contrast, corporate governance scholarship has asserted that as long as the compensation is tied to shareholder interests, it is the employment contract and incentives therein which should be the source of scrutiny, not the absolute level of pay itself. We employ this logic to study the compensation contracts of Division I FBS college football coaches during the period 2005-2013. Our analysis finds many commonalities between the structure and incentives of the employment contracts of CEOs and these football coaches. These contracts' features are consistent with what economic theory would predict. As such we find no evidence that the structure of college football coach contracts is misaligned, or that they are overpaid.

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How Much Are Public School Teachers Willing to Pay for Their Retirement Benefits?

Maria Donovan Fitzpatrick
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Public sector employees receive large fractions of their lifetime income in the form of deferred compensation. The introduction of the opportunity provided to Illinois public school employees to purchase additional pension benefits allows me to estimate employees' willingness-to-pay for benefits relative to the cost of providing them. The results show employees are willing to pay 20 cents on average for a dollar increase in the present value of expected retirement benefits. The findings suggest substantial inefficiency in compensation and cast doubt on the ability of deferred compensation schemes to attract employees.

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Credit Status and College Investment: Implications for Student Loan Policies

Anamaria Felicia Ionescu & Nicole Simpson
Federal Reserve Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
The private market for student loans has become an important source of college financing in the United States. Unlike government student loans, the terms on student loans in the private market are based on credit status. We quantify the importance of the private market for student loans and of credit status for college investment in a general equilibrium heterogeneous life-cycle economy. We find that students with good credit status invest in more college education (compared to those with bad credit status) and that this effect is more pronounced for low-income students. Furthermore, results suggest that the relationship between credit status and college investment has important policy implications. Specifically, when borrowing limits in the government student loan program are relaxed (as implemented in 2008), college investment increases, but so does the riskiness of the pool of borrowers, leading to higher default rates in the private market for student loans. When general equilibrium effects are accounted for, the welfare gains experienced from a more generous government student loan program are negated. This compares to budget-neutral tuition subsidies that increase college investment and welfare.

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Creating Cultural Consumers: The Dynamics of Cultural Capital Acquisition

Brian Kisida, Jay Greene & Daniel Bowen
Sociology of Education, October 2014, Pages 281-295

Abstract:
The theories of cultural reproduction and cultural mobility have largely shaped the study of the effects of cultural capital on academic outcomes. Missing in this debate has been a rigorous examination of how children actually acquire cultural capital when it is not provided by their families. Drawing on data from a large-scale experimental study of schools participating in an art museum's educational program, we show that students' exposure to a cultural institution has the effect of creating ''cultural consumers'' motivated to acquire new cultural capital. We find that the experience has the strongest impact on students from more disadvantaged backgrounds. As such, our analysis reveals important aspects about the nature of cultural capital acquisition. To the extent that the evidence supporting cultural mobility is accurate, it may be because disadvantaged children can be activated to acquire cultural capital, thus compensating for family background characteristics and changing their habitus.

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Third-Party Governance and Performance Measurement: A Case Study of Publicly Funded Private School Vouchers

Deven Carlson, Joshua Cowen & David Fleming
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, October 2014, Pages 897-922

Abstract:
This article considers the introduction of a performance measurement reform for private schools serving students who receive state-provided vouchers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Drawing on unique panel data collected both before and after the reform, we show that private sector performance increased significantly when outcomes were publicly reported. We frame these results in the context of third-party provision of public services and argue that our evidence suggests that market-based competition alone may not drive nongovernmental providers to perform at optimal levels. Instead, such vendors may require performance-monitoring schemes similar to those faced by their governmental counterparts.

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Temporal effects of antecedent exercise on students' disruptive behaviors: An exploratory study

Anthony Folino, Joseph Ducharme & Naomi Greenwald
Journal of School Psychology, October 2014, Pages 447-462

Abstract:
Although a growing body of literature indicates that antecedent exercise is effective at reducing disruptive behaviors, there is a paucity of research examining the temporal effects of antecedent exercise. The present investigation involved 4 students (age range 11 to 14 years) enrolled in a self-contained special education behavior classroom due to severe aggressive, disruptive, and oppositional behaviors. In an alternating treatment design with baseline, students were first exposed to baseline conditions and then to 2 experimental conditions (i.e., an antecedent exercise condition and a control condition) in a randomized fashion. Results indicated that 30 min of moderate to intense aerobic exercise resulted in approximately 90 min of behavioral improvements. In addition, there appeared to be an inverse relation between arousal levels and behavioral difficulties. The potential utility of antecedent exercise as a treatment alternative in schools for students with severe disruptive behavior is discussed.

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Does higher peer socio-economic status predict children's language and executive function skills gains in prekindergarten?

Christina Weiland & Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, September-October 2014, Pages 422-432

Abstract:
Because most public preschool programs are means tested, children enrolled in these programs accordingly have peers from predominantly low-income families who present lower cognitive skills and more behavioral problems, on average. The present study examined the role of having a higher percentage of peers from higher-SES families on gains in children's receptive vocabulary and executive function skills at the end of prekindergarten. Participants included 417 children attending a prekindergarten program that is not means tested. Findings indicated that having a higher percentage of peers from higher-SES families showed small, positive associations with greater gains in end-of-prekindergarten receptive vocabulary and executive function skills. Results are discussed in the context of current proposals to increase access to publicly funded preschool for higher-income families.

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Linking Student Performance in Massachusetts Elementary Schools with the "Greenness" of School Surroundings Using Remote Sensing

Chih-Da Wu et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2014

Abstract:
Various studies have reported the physical and mental health benefits from exposure to "green" neighborhoods, such as proximity to neighborhoods with trees and vegetation. However, no studies have explicitly assessed the association between exposure to "green" surroundings and cognitive function in terms of student academic performance. This study investigated the association between the "greenness" of the area surrounding a Massachusetts public elementary school and the academic achievement of the school's student body based on standardized tests with an ecological setting. Researchers used the composite school-based performance scores generated by the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) to measure the percentage of 3rd-grade students (the first year of standardized testing for 8-9 years-old children in public school), who scored "Above Proficient" (AP) in English and Mathematics tests (Note: Individual student scores are not publically available). The MCAS results are comparable year to year thanks to an equating process. Researchers included test results from 2006 through 2012 in 905 public schools and adjusted for differences between schools in the final analysis according to race, gender, English as a second language (proxy for ethnicity and language facility), parent income, student-teacher ratio, and school attendance. Surrounding greenness of each school was measured using satellite images converted into the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in March, July and October of each year according to a 250-meter, 500-meter, 1,000-meter, and 2000-meter circular buffer around each school. Spatial Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMMs) estimated the impacts of surrounding greenness on school-based performance. Overall the study results supported a relationship between the "greenness" of the school area and the school-wide academic performance. Interestingly, the results showed a consistently positive significant association between the greenness of the school in the Spring (when most Massachusetts students take the MCAS tests) and school-wide performance on both English and Math tests, even after adjustment for socio-economic factors and urban residency.

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The Impact of No Child Left Behind's Accountability Sanctions on School Performance: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from North Carolina

Thomas Ahn & Jacob Vigdor
NBER Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
Comparisons of schools that barely meet or miss criteria for adequate yearly progress (AYP) reveal that some sanctions built into the No Child Left Behind accountability regime exert positive impacts on students. Estimates indicate that the strongest positive effects associate with the ultimate sanction: leadership and management changes associated with school restructuring. We find suggestive incentive effects in schools first entering the NCLB sanction regime, but no significant effects of intermediate sanctions. Further analysis shows that gains in sanctioned schools are concentrated among low-performing students, with the exception of gains from restructuring which are pervasive. We find no evidence that schools achieve gains among low-performing students by depriving high-performing students of resources.

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Resisting Charters: A Comparative Policy Development Analysis of Washington and Kentucky, 2002-2012

Joseph Johnston
Sociology of Education, October 2014, Pages 223-240

Abstract:
Over the past two decades, most states have adopted laws enabling charter schools, as charter advocates successfully presented charters as the solution to core problems in urban public education. Yet some states with large urban centers, notably Washington and Kentucky, resisted this seemingly inexorable trend for years. What explains their resistance? Furthermore, why did Washington - a state with a strong teachers' union and long-standing Democratic political control (resources for charter resistance identified in prior research) - ultimately adopt charters in 2012 while Kentucky has not? I use comparative-historical narrative analysis to trace differences in charter battles in the urban centers of the two states. I find that supporters framed charters as the solution in both cases but varied in their ability to name public schools as the problem in the first place. I identify the source of the discursive resources used by opponents of charter schools in state-level ''educational ecosystems'': the cultural and institutional legacies of a range of state educational policies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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