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Monday, November 7, 2016

The Manchurian candidate

Asian Candidates in America: The Surprising Effects of Positive Racial Stereotyping

Neil Visalvanich

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial stereotyping has been found to handicap African American and Latino candidates in negative ways. It is less clear how racial stereotypes may change the fortunes of Asian candidates. This paper explores the candidacies of Asian Americans with an experiment run through Amazon Mechanical Turk as well as real-world evaluations of Asian American candidates using the Cooperative Congressional Elections Study. In my experiments, I find that Asian candidates do significantly better than white candidates across different biographical scenarios (conservative, liberal, and foreign). I find that, contrary to expectations, Asian candidates are not significantly disadvantaged from being immigrant and foreign born. My experimental results mirror my observational results, which show that Asian Democrats are significantly advantaged even when compared with whites. These results indicate that Asian candidates in America face a set of racial-political stereotypes that are unique to their racial subgroup.

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The threat of increasing diversity: Why many White Americans support Trump in the 2016 presidential election

Brenda Major, Alison Blodorn & Gregory Major Blascovich

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
What accounts for the widespread support for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential race? This experiment demonstrates that the changing racial demographics of America contribute to Trump's success as a presidential candidate among White Americans whose race/ethnicity is central to their identity. Reminding White Americans high in ethnic identification that non-White racial groups will outnumber Whites in the United States by 2042 caused them to become more concerned about the declining status and influence of White Americans as a group (i.e., experience group status threat), and caused them to report increased support for Trump and anti-immigrant policies, as well as greater opposition to political correctness. Increased group status threat mediated the effects of the racial shift condition on candidate support, anti-immigrant policy support, and opposition to political correctness. Among Whites low in ethnic identification, in contrast, the racial shift condition had no effect on group status threat or support for anti-immigrant policies, but did cause decreased positivity toward Trump and decreased opposition to political correctness. Group status threat did not mediate these effects. Reminders of the changing racial demographics had comparable effects for Democrats and Republicans. Results illustrate the importance of changing racial demographics and White ethnic identification in voter preferences and how social psychological theory can illuminate voter preferences.

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Social Desirability, Hidden Biases, and Support for Hillary Clinton

Ryan Claassen & John Barry Ryan

PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2016, Pages 730-735

Abstract:
An emerging consensus suggests that women are underrepresented in government because of biases in the recruitment process instead of biases at the ballot box. These results, however, are largely for legislative offices, and research suggests that "male" characteristics are generally associated with executive positions like the presidency. At the same time, some research demonstrates social desirability masks gender biases against women who seek the highest office in the land. We use the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton to examine if she faces hidden biases in either the primaries or the general election. Two different methods for uncovering hidden biases embedded in national surveys demonstrate small hidden biases that are likely electorally inconsequential.

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Unity for Democrats But Not Republicans: The Temporal Dynamics of Intra-Party Bias in U.S. Electoral Politics

Yarrow Dunham, Antonio Arechar & David Rand

Yale Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Political identification is strong, stable, and the basis of enduring conflict, suggesting that attitudes towards candidates and their supporters will be difficult to change. Here, however, we show that the shift from party primaries (characterized by intra-party conflict) to the general election (characterized by inter-party conflict) can cause identities to be reconfigured - animosities between supporters of rival primary candidates can attenuate as superordinate goals (defeat rival party) and superordinate identities (Democrat/Republican) come to the fore. We provide a fine-grained account of these temporal dynamics by collecting data weekly from mid-June to early September 2016 (total N = 2,183), examining prosocial giving between supporters of competing primary candidates recruited from the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk. At the outset of our study, both Democrats and Republicans showed intra-party bias: that is, they shared more money with people from their own party who supported the same primary candidate compared to members of their own party who supported a different primary candidate. This in-group bias among Democrats remained high until the Democratic National Convention, and then disappeared entirely shortly thereafter. Bias among Republicans, conversely, existed at a high level both before and after, but not during, the conventions. These findings emphasize both the discontinuity and contingency of changing identities. The abrupt elimination of bias among Democrats, but resurgence of bias among Republicans, suggests that a superordinate goal of defeating the other party (which was salient for both sides during the shift to the general election and was particularly emphasized during party conventions) was not sufficient to bring supporters of different primary candidates together for a sustained period. Rather, sustained change may require successful efforts to emphasize shared (superordinate) party-based identity - a task which our data suggest the Democratic National Convention succeeded in achieving.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald

Diana Mutz

PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2016, Pages 722-729

Abstract:
Few empirical studies suggest that fictional stories can influence political opinions. Nonetheless, in this study I demonstrate the relevance of Harry Potter consumption to oppositional attitudes toward Donald Trump and his worldview. Using multivariate observational models and panel data from 2014 to 2016, results suggest that the lessons of the Harry Potter series have influenced levels of opposition to punitive policies and support for tolerance of groups considered outside the American mainstream. Further, they predict public reactions to Donald Trump above and beyond their influence on policies consistent with his views.

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What Explains Incumbent Success? Disentangling Selection on Party, Selection on Candidate Characteristics, and Office-Holding Benefits

Anthony Fowler

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2016, Pages 313-338

Abstract:
Incumbents significantly outperform challengers in American elections, but the implications of this phenomenon are ambiguous. Do otherwise unpopular incumbents exploit the political system to stay in power, or do open elections effectively select good candidates who will naturally win reelection? To address this question, I estimate the extent of incumbent success that can be attributed three factors - party match, characteristic selection, and officeholder benefit. Across numerous settings in the U.S., a significant portion of incumbent success can be attributed to the tendency of previous elections to select popular candidates that match the partisan preferences of voters. On average, party match explains about five-eighths of incumbent success and characteristic selection explains one-eighth, leaving only one quarter to be explained by the effects of holding office. These results also vary in meaningful ways across time periods, settings, and electoral institutions.

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A Reexamination of Women's Electoral Success in Open Seat Elections: The Conditioning Effect of Electoral Competition

Tiffany Barnes, Regina Branton & Erin Cassese

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article reexamines gender differences in electoral outcomes. We consider whether electoral competition has a differential impact on the electoral fortunes of male and female quality candidates. This study uses an original data set containing detailed candidate information for US House open seat primary and general elections between 1994 and 2004. The results indicate that when multiple quality candidates enter the race, female quality candidates are at a greater disadvantage than their male counterparts. The results suggest that null findings from previous work are a product of the way the relationship between gender and electoral outcomes is typically modeled.

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Debunking Nixon's radio victory in the 1960 election: Re-analyzing the historical record and considering currently unexamined polling data

Jon Bruschke & Laura Divine

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is widely reported that Nixon won the first of the 1960 presidential debates among radio audiences while Kennedy carried television viewers, and further that Kennedy's victory translated to an electoral victory. It is thus assumed that style trumped substance when politics entered the television age. However, the Nixon radio victory emerged in only a single poll conducted by Sindlinger and Company. Considering other polling data reveals Sindlinger's finding is likely the result of a Republican bias in the sample and not a mass defection of Democrats swayed by Nixon's substantive arguments. Voters found Kennedy ahead on substance as well as style. Considering the full historical context of the election, there is little evidence that television worked to the advantage of Kennedy and the disadvantage of Nixon, nor even much evidence that Kennedy was considered more attractive. We find no evidence that the first debate was decisive; we find it dubious that the debates overall produced a 2-million vote swing for Kennedy; we find it implausible that the first debate can be linked in any meaningful way to the outcome of the election. We find it more meaningful that Nixon turned a 5-to-3 Republican disadvantage into a razor-thin contest and that he largely did so using television during the final two weeks of the contest. The 1960 election should not be read as a triumph of style over substance. Correcting the misguided dismissal of substantive argument is crucial work scholars can contribute to the broader democratic project.

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Are You My Mentor? An Experiment on Gender and Political Encouragement

Joshua Kalla, Frances McCall Rosenbluth & Dawn Teele

University of California Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Do electoral gatekeepers routinely discourage women from running for office? Through an audit experiment with 8,189 public officials, we examine whether (hypothetical) male and female students who express interest in political careers receive differential encouragement from electoral gatekeepers. We report three striking findings. First, emails sent by female students were more likely to receive a response than those sent by male students, especially when the official was male. Second, the responses women received were as likely to be long, thoughtful, and contain an offer of help as those to men. Third, there were no partisan differences in responsiveness to male or female senders. Examining senders with Hispanic last names bolsters the credibility of the results: Hispanic senders, especially men, were less likely to receive a quality response than non-Hispanic senders. These findings suggest that unequal encouragement by public officials is not a likely culprit of women's under-representation in politics.

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In the Shadows of Sunlight: The Effects of Transparency on State Political Campaigns

Abby Wood & Douglas Spencer

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, the courts have invalidated a variety of campaign finance laws while simultaneously upholding disclosure requirements. Courts view disclosure as a less-restrictive means to root out corruption while critics claim that disclosure chills speech and deters political participation. Using individual-level contribution data from state elections between 2000 and 2008, we find that the speech-chilling effects of disclosure are negligible. On average, less than one donor per candidate is likely to stop contributing when the public visibility of campaign contributions increases. Moreover, we do not observe heterogeneous effects for small donors or ideological outliers despite an assumption in First Amendment jurisprudence that these donors are disproportionately affected by campaign finance regulations. In short, the argument that disclosure chills speech is not strongly supported by the data.

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Does State Online Voter Registration Increase Voter Turnout?

Jinhai Yu

University of Kentucky Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
More and more states have been adopting online voter registration in recent years. Investigating the impact of the policy on voter turnout can inform policy-making and contribute to our knowledge of political behavior. Using the Current Population Survey (CPS) data between 2000 and 2014, I conduct a difference-in-difference analysis at the state level and then an instrumental variable regression at the individual level. The difference-in-difference analysis shows that online voter registration has no impact on voter turnout for the general population but does increase the turnout for young voters by about 1 percentage point. The effects of online registration on turnout for the younger voters are stronger in states with earlier registration closing dates and without same day registration. The user identification requirements of state online registration systems have heterogeneous impacts for the voters of different age groups. The instrumental variable regression shows that the upper limit of the impact of online registration on voter turnout is about 7 to 12 percentage points. This study contributes to the existing literature on electoral regulations by estimating the causal effect of a new, important election reform.

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Reducing the Cost of Voting: An Empirical Evaluation of Internet Voting's Effect on Local Elections

Nicole Goodman & Leah Stokes

University of Toronto Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Voting models assume that voting costs impact turnout. As turnout declined across advanced democracies, reformers cycled through a series of electoral changes aimed at reducing costs to increase participation. Internet voting, used in elections across a dozen countries, promises to reduce voting costs dramatically, to a level most citizens incur numerous times daily. Yet, identifying its effect on turnout has proven difficult due to data limitations. We use an original panel data set of local elections in Ontario, Canada and fixed effects estimators. Results show internet voting can increase turnout by 3%, an amount comparable to other convenience reforms' effects. More citizens use internet voting when registration is not required, suggesting relative costs matter to the methods citizens choose to vote. Our estimates suggest that internet voting is unlikely to solve the low turnout crisis, indicating that cost arguments do not fully account for voting declines across advanced democracies.

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Accountability and Information in Elections

Scott Ashworth, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita & Amanda Friedenberg

American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Elections are thought to improve voter welfare through two channels: effective accountability (i.e., providing incentives for politicians to take costly effort) and electoral selection (i.e., retaining politicians with characteristics voters value). We show that there may be a trade-off between these two channels. Higher levels of effective accountability may hinder the voters' ability to learn about the politicians. In turn, this may hinder electoral selection and be detrimental to voter welfare. This is because increasing effective accountability directly impacts how informative governance outcomes are about an incumbent's type. We show that, if politicians' effort and type are local substitutes (resp. complements) in the production of governance outcomes, an increase in effective accountability corresponds to a decrease (resp. increase) in Blackwell (1951) informativeness. We also show that effective accountability can vary even absent institutional variation. In particular, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions for there to be multiple equilibria that differ in terms of both effective accountability and electoral selection. Overall, our findings have implications for voter behavior, the efficacy of institutional reforms, and voter welfare.

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Voluntary Taxation and Beyond - The Promise of Social-Contracting Voting Mechanisms

Ian Ayres

Yale Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Would you volunteer to pay a carbon tax if 99% of other Americans also volunteered to pay such a tax? Instead of traditional referenda, it is possible to structure plebiscites which would only bind a subset of the population (for example, to be subject to a carbon tax) if that subset's individually chosen conditions for participation are met. While provision-point mechanisms with exogenously set provision points have garnered billions of dollars in private contributions, a broader class of "social contracting" mechanisms exist that allow individuals to bid on their preferred provision points. This article shows how both partial and probabilistic bidding schemes might foster voluntary subpopulation participation in a range of public good applications, and reports results from a series of randomized surveys of Internet respondents assessing the potential support for such subgroup "social contracting." The respondent bids would, for example, support an equilibrium in which approximately 25% of the public would voluntarily commit to pay an additional 10% tax on electricity. Provision-point bidding and probability-bidding mechanisms are shown to increase willingness to participate both in voluntary taxation and in civil disobedience experiments. A probability-bidding mechanism increases the expected number of civil disobedience volunteers more than 9-fold relative to a mechanism where the probability of participation is exogenously given. In a separate sexual assault reporting experiment, subgroup social contracting is shown to shift 10% of subjects from informal reporting to matching escrows without cannibalizing the proportion of subjects who report formally - thus enhancing the expected number of sexual assault complaints that will ultimately be investigated.

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Do Moderate Voters Weigh Candidates' Ideologies? Voters' Decision Rules in the 2010 Congressional Elections

James Adams et al.

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Models of voting behavior typically specify that all voters employ identical criteria to evaluate candidates. We argue that moderate voters weigh candidates' policy/ideological positions far less than non-moderate voters, and we report analyses of survey data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study that substantiate these arguments. Across a wide range of models and measurement strategies, we find consistent evidence that liberal and conservative voters are substantially more responsive to candidate ideology than more centrist voters. Simply put, moderate voters appear qualitatively different from liberals and conservatives, a finding that has important implications for candidate strategies and for political representation.

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Spoilers? Evaluating the Logic Behind Partisan Disaffiliation Requirements for Independent and Third-Party Candidates

Adam Chamberlain & Carl Klarner

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we evaluate the rationale behind partisan disaffiliation laws, which prevent a candidate from running as an independent or from switching parties if they have not adequately severed their ties to an existing party. One prominent justification for these laws is that they help prevent voter confusion, which may result in the most preferred candidate losing. Utilizing a database of state legislative elections from 1968 to 2014, we categorize independent and third-party candidates into two groups: those who have run in the past as a Democrat or Republican, whom we refer to as former major-party candidates (FMPs), and those who have always run as a non-major party candidate (ANMs). The findings reveal that the latter appear less strategic about where to run, and they are unlikely to run again. In contrast, FMPs are much more likely to have held state legislative office and are more likely to have run multiple times; they are also more strategic, running under conditions that are advantageous for non-major party candidates. Voters react to this, giving ANMs far fewer votes than FMPs and being more apt to vote for them when "spoiling" an election is less likely. As a result, ANMs rarely deny winning candidates majorities, while FMPs who have won office in the past do so more than half the time. Our findings regarding "vote stealing" do not indicate a systematic tendency for FMPs to take substantially more votes from the party they recently left in comparison to the other major party. Overall, our findings indicate that partisan disaffiliation laws achieve the objectives they are designed to promote.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tags: Lable1, Lable2, Lable3

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Human sacrifice

Are Empathy and Concern Psychologically Distinct?

Matthew Jordan, Dorsa Amir & Paul Bloom

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between feeling what you believe others feel - often described as empathy - and caring about the welfare of others - often described as compassion or concern. Many propose that empathy is a prerequisite for concern and is therefore the ultimate motivator of prosocial actions. To assess this hypothesis, the authors developed the Empathy Index, which consists of 2 novel scales, and explored their relationship to a measure of concern as well as to measures of cooperative and altruistic behavior. A series of factor analyses reveal that empathy and concern consistently load on different factors. Furthermore, they show that empathy and concern motivate different behaviors: concern for others is a uniquely positive predictor of prosocial action whereas empathy is either not predictive or negatively predictive of prosocial actions. Together these studies suggest that empathy and concern are psychologically distinct and empathy plays a more limited role in our moral lives than many believe.

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Selfishly benevolent or benevolently selfish: When self-interest undermines versus promotes prosocial behavior

Julian Zlatev & Dale Miller

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 112-122

Abstract:
Existing research shows that appeals to self-interest sometimes increase and sometimes decrease prosocial behavior. We propose that this inconsistency is in part due to the framings of these appeals. Different framings generate different salient reference points, leading to different assessments of the appeal. Study 1 demonstrates that buying an item with the proceeds going to charity evokes a different set of alternative behaviors than donating and receiving an item in return. Studies 2 and 3a-g establish that people are more willing to act, and give more when they do, when reading the former framing than the latter. Study 4 establishes ecological validity by replicating the effect in a field experiment assessing participants' actual charitable contributions. Finally, Study 5 provides additional process evidence via moderation for the proposed mechanism. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings and suggest avenues for future research.

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Endowments, Perceived Similarity, and Dictator Giving

Sebastian Goerg, David Johnson & Jonathan Rogers

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
A common assumption of money is that it is fungible. An implication of this assumption is that the source of money does not affect economic decision making. We find evidence contradicting this fungibility assumption. Specifically, we explore how the perception of an endowment source influences amounts sent in a dictator game. We find perceived similarity to the endowment provider to be negatively correlated with dictator offers. Dictators who consider themselves relatively more similar to their endowment provider send significantly smaller amounts to their partners. Our results demonstrate that economic decision making can be influenced by the provider of income shocks.

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Cultivating Gratitude and Giving Through Experiential Consumption

Jesse Walker, Amit Kumar & Thomas Gilovich

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gratitude promotes well-being and prompts prosocial behavior. Here, we examine a novel way to cultivate this beneficial emotion. We demonstrate that 2 different types of consumption - material consumption (buying for the sake of having) and experiential consumption (buying for the sake of doing) - differentially foster gratitude and giving. In 6 studies we show that reflecting on experiential purchases (e.g., travel, meals out, tickets to events) inspires more gratitude than reflecting on material purchases (e.g., clothing, jewelry, furniture), and that thinking about experiences leads to more subsequent altruistic behavior than thinking about possessions. In Studies 1-2b, we use within-subject and between-subjects designs to test our main hypothesis: that people are more grateful for what they've done than what they have. Study 3 finds evidence for this effect in the real-world setting of online customer reviews: Consumers are more likely to spontaneously mention feeling grateful for experiences they have bought than for material goods they have bought. In our final 2 studies, we show that experiential consumption also makes people more likely to be generous to others. Participants who contemplated a significant experiential purchase behaved more generously toward anonymous others in an economic game than those who contemplated a significant material purchase. It thus appears that shifting spending toward experiential consumption can improve people's everyday lives as well as the lives of those around them.

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Does empathy predict altruism in the wild?

Richard Bethlehem et al.

Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do people act altruistically? One theory is that empathy is a driver of morality. Experimental studies of this are often confined to laboratory settings, which often lack ecological validity. In the present study we investigated whether empathy traits predict if people will act altruistically in a real-world setting, "in the wild". We staged a situation in public that was designed to elicit helping, and subsequently measured empathic traits in those who either stopped to help or walked past and did not help. Results show that a higher number of empathic traits are a significant and positive predictor for altruistic behavior in a real-life situation. This supports the theory that the act of doing good is correlated with empathy.

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Collective synchrony increases prosociality towards non-performers and outgroup members

Paul Reddish et al.

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that behavioural synchrony between people leads to greater prosocial tendencies towards co-performers. In this study, we investigated the scope of this prosocial effect: does it extend beyond the performance group to an extended ingroup (extended parochial prosociality) or even to other people in general (generalized prosociality)? Participants performed a simple rhythmic movement either in time (synchrony condition) or out of time (asynchrony condition) with each other. Before and during the rhythmic movement, participants were exposed to a prime that made salient an extended ingroup identity. After the task, half of the participants had the opportunity to help an extended ingroup member; the other half had the opportunity to help an outgroup member. We found a main effect of our synchrony manipulation across both help targets suggesting that the prosocial effects of synchrony extend to non-performers. Furthermore, there was a significantly higher proportion of participants willing to help an outgroup member after moving collectively in synchrony. This study shows that under certain intergroup contexts synchrony can lead to generalized prosociality with performers displaying greater prosociality even towards outgroup members.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wanting it badly

Do Costly Options Lead to Better Outcomes? How the Protestant Work Ethic Influences the Cost-Benefit Heuristic in Goal Pursuit

Yimin Cheng, Anirban Mukhopadhyay & Rom Schrift

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often assume that costlier means lead to better outcomes, even in the absence of an objective relationship in the specific context. Such cost-benefit heuristics in goal pursuit have been observed across several domains but their antecedents have not been fully explored. In this research, we propose that a person's tendency to use cost-benefit heuristics depends on the extent to which that person subscribes to the Protestant Work Ethic (PWE), an influential concept originally introduced to explain the rise of capitalism. The Protestant Work Ethic is a core value predicated on the work-specific belief that hard work leads to success, but people who subscribe strongly to it tend to over-generalize and align other work-unrelated cognitions to be consistent. Across ten studies (N=1,917) measuring and manipulating PWE, we robustly find that people who are high (vs. low) in PWE are more likely to use cost-benefit heuristics, and are more likely to choose costlier means in pursuit of superior outcomes. We suggest how marketers may identify consumers high versus low in PWE and tailor their offerings accordingly.

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He Dies, He Scores: Evidence that Reminders of Death Motivate Improved Performance in Basketball

Colin Zestcott et al.

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research applied insights from terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) to the world of sport. According to TMT, self-esteem buffers against the potential for death anxiety. Because sport allows people to attain self-esteem, reminders of death may improve performance in sport. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction led to improved performance in a “one-on-one” basketball game. In Study 2, a subtle death prime led to higher scores on a basketball shooting task, which was associated with increased task related self-esteem. These results may promote our understanding of sport and provide a novel potential way to improve athletic performance.

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Testosterone and androgen receptor gene polymorphism are associated with confidence and competitiveness in men

Christoph Eisenegger et al.

Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies in non-human animals and humans have demonstrated the important role of testosterone in competitive interactions. Here, we investigated whether endogenous testosterone levels predict the decision to compete, in a design excluding spite as a motive underlying competitiveness. In a laboratory experiment with real monetary incentives, 181 men solved arithmetic problems, first under a noncompetitive piece rate, followed by a competition incentive scheme. We also assessed several parameters relevant to competition, such as risk taking, performance, and confidence in one's own performance. Salivary testosterone levels were measured before and 20 min after the competition task using mass spectrometry. Participants were also genotyped for the CAG repeat polymorphism of the androgen receptor gene, known to influence the efficacy of testosterone signaling in a reciprocal relationship to the number of CAG repeats. We observed a significant positive association between basal testosterone levels and the decision to compete, and that higher testosterone levels were related to greater confidence in one's own performance. Whereas the number of CAG repeats was not associated with the choice to compete, a lower number of CAG repeats was related to greater confidence in those who chose to compete, but this effect was attributable to the polymorphism's effect on actual performance. An increase in testosterone levels was observed following the experiment, and this increase varied with self-reported high-school math grades. We expand upon the latest research by documenting effects of the androgen system in confidence in one's own ability, and conclude that testosterone promotes competitiveness without spite.

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The Self-Expressive Customization of a Product Can Improve Your Performance

Ulrike Kaiser, Martin Schreier & Chris Janiszewski

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research demonstrates that the self-expressive customization of a product can improve performance on tasks performed using the customized product. Five studies show that the effect is robust across different types of tasks (e.g., persistence tasks, concentration tasks, agility tasks). The evidence further shows that the effect is not due to changes in product efficacy beliefs, feelings of competence, feelings of accomplishment, mood, task desirability, goal activation, or goal attainability. Instead, the self-expressive customization of a product extends an identity (e.g., personal identity, group identity) into the product. When the product is subsequently used to pursue a goal whose desired outcome can affirm the extended identity, performance improves.

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Wanting to Be Different Predicts Nonmotivated Change: Actual–Desired Self-Discrepancies and Susceptibility to Subtle Change Inductions

Kenneth DeMarree et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Actual–desired discrepancies in people’s self-concepts represent structural incongruities in their self-representations that can lead people to experience subjective conflict. Theory and research suggest that structural incongruities predict susceptibility to subtle influences like priming and conditioning. Although typically examined for their motivational properties, we hypothesized that because self-discrepancies represent structural incongruities in people’s self-concepts, they should also predict susceptibility to subtle influences on people’s active self-views. Across three studies, we found that subtle change inductions (self-evaluative conditioning and priming) exerted greater impact on active self-perceptions and behavior as actual–desired self-discrepancies increased in magnitude. Exploratory analyses suggested that these changes occurred regardless of the compatibility of the change induction with individuals’ desired self-views.

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Grit Is Associated with Structure of Nucleus Accumbens and Gains in Cognitive Training

Federico Nemmi et al.

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, November 2016, Pages 1688-1699

Abstract:
There is a long-standing interest in the determinants of successful learning in children. “Grit” is an individual trait, reflecting the ability to pursue long-term goals despite temporary setbacks. Although grit is known to be predictive of future success in real-world learning situations, an understanding of the underlying neural basis and mechanisms is still lacking. Here we show that grit in a sample of 6-year-old children (n = 55) predicts the working memory improvement during 8 weeks of training on working memory tasks (p = .009). In a separate neuroimaging analysis performed on a partially overlapping sample (n = 27), we show that interindividual differences in grit were associated with differences in the volume of nucleus accumbens (peak voxel p = .021, x = 12, y = 11, z = −11). This was also confirmed in a leave-one-out analysis of gray matter density in the nucleus accumbens (p = .018). The results can be related to previous animal research showing the role of the nucleus accumbens to search out rewards regardless of delays or obstacles. The results provide a putative neural basis for grit and could contribute a cross-disciplinary connection of animal neuroscience to child psychology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 4, 2016

Danger zone

How Suspect Race Affects Police Use of Force in an Interaction Over Time

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although studies often find racial disparities in policing outcomes, less is known about how suspect race biases police interactions as they unfold. This study examines what is differentially occurring during police-suspect interactions for White, Black, and Latino suspects across time. It is hypothesized that racial bias may be more evident earlier in interactions, when less information about the situation is available. One hundred thirty-nine (62 White, 42 Black, and 35 Latino) use-of-force case files and associated written narratives from a medium to large size urban police department in the United States were analyzed. Trained coders broke down the interaction narratives into discrete “sequences,” or dyadic action-reaction steps involving a suspect action (level of resistance) and an officer response (level of force). A linear mixed-effects model was run on amount of police use of force by suspect race and time, with suspect resistance and suspect actions toward third-party/self as controls. Results demonstrated that Black and Latino suspects receive more force in the beginning stages of the interaction, whereas Whites escalated in level of force faster after initial levels. By breaking down police-suspect interactions into discrete sequences, the current study reveals a better understanding of when bias originates in police use of force and informs how to focus policing interventions.

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Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community

Matthew Desmond, Andrew Papachristos & David Kirk

American Sociological Review, October 2016, Pages 857-876

Abstract:
High-profile cases of police violence — disproportionately experienced by black men — may present a serious threat to public safety if they lower citizen crime reporting. Using an interrupted time series design, this study analyzes how one of Milwaukee’s most publicized cases of police violence against an unarmed black man, the beating of Frank Jude, affected police-related 911 calls. Controlling for crime, prior call patterns, and several neighborhood characteristics, we find that residents of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, especially residents of black neighborhoods, were far less likely to report crime after Jude’s beating was broadcast. The effect lasted for over a year and resulted in a total net loss of approximately 22,200 calls for service. Other local and national cases of police violence against unarmed black men also had a significant impact on citizen crime reporting in Milwaukee. Police misconduct can powerfully suppress one of the most basic forms of civic engagement: calling 911 for matters of personal and public safety.

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A War on Cops? The Effects of Ferguson on the Number of U.S. Police Officers Murdered in the Line of Duty

Edward Maguire, Justin Nix & Bradley Campbell

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Police agencies in the U.S. are currently facing a major legitimacy crisis resulting from a spate of high-profile use of force incidents, many involving minority citizens. Recent headlines emphasize that there is now a “war on cops” and that police officers are facing increasing levels of hostility and violence fueled by a growing anti-police sentiment. In the aftermath of events in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, some commentators claim that the number of police officers feloniously assaulted and killed in the line of duty has increased sharply. Using time series analysis of data from the Officer Down Memorial Page, we test whether events in Ferguson were associated with an increase in the number of police officers murdered in the line of duty. Our results provide no evidence for a “Ferguson Effect” on the number of U.S. police officers murdered in the line of duty as of March 2016.

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Not an ‘iron pipeline’, but many capillaries: Regulating passive transactions in Los Angeles' secondary, illegal gun market

Kelsie Chesnut et al.

Injury Prevention, forthcoming

Setting: Los Angeles County Jail (LACJ) system (four facilities).

Methods: Random sampling from a screened pool of eligible participants was used to conduct qualitative semistructured interviews with 140 incarcerated gun offenders in one of four (LACJ) facilities. Researchers collected data on firearm acquisition, experiences related to gun violence, and other topics, using a validated survey instrument. Grounded theory guided the collection and analysis of data.

Results: Respondents reported possession of 77 specific guns (79.2% handguns) collectively. Social networks facilitate access to illegal guns; the majority of interviewees acquired their illegal guns through a social connection (85.7%) versus an outside broker/unregulated retailer (8.5%). Most guns were obtained through illegal purchase (n=51) or gift (n=15). A quarter of gun purchasers report engaging in a passive transaction, or one initiated by another party. Passive gun buyers were motivated by concerns for personal safety and/or economic opportunity.

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Deterring Spammers: Impact Assessment of the CAN SPAM Act on Email Spam Rates

Alex Kigerl

Criminal Justice Policy Review, December 2016, Pages 791-811

Abstract:
This study sought to evaluate the deterrent impact the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN SPAM) Act has had on email spam rates over time. A sample of 5,490,905 spam emails was collected and aggregated into a monthly time series. Thirteen measures of CAN SPAM Act enforcement were coded from news articles and included in a time-series regression. The results suggest a possible deterrent effect of prosecutions, convictions, and lengthy jail sentences for spammers, but an emboldening effect of short jail sentences. The penalties under the CAN SPAM Act focus on fines more than prison terms. The results find no deterrent effect for fines, as spammers tend to earn a large income from sending spam. The Act might be revised to include prison sentences, especially longer ones to avoid the emboldening effect found. A deterrent impact was found for prosecutions, even though the CAN SPAM Act is under-enforced. Expanding enforcement might also be advisable.

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Devolution, not decarceration: The limits of juvenile justice reform in Texas

Sarah Cate

Punishment & Society, December 2016, Pages 578-609

Abstract:
Across the USA, a number of states have been reducing the number of juveniles sent to state-run corrections institutions. Findings from a case study on juvenile justice in Texas indicate that the effort to reduce the number of juveniles sent to large state institutions and to invest in “community-based corrections” has entrenched rather than challenged the role of the justice system in the lives of thousands of juveniles. Texas has cut the number of juveniles sent to state-run facilities, but has bolstered and expanded county probation and county detention, which is where the vast majority of juveniles have always been handled. Youth who continue to be sent to state-run facilities or who are housed in county-run institutions experience a high level of violence and are routinely subjected to solitary confinement. The popularity of deinstitutionalizing juveniles from state-run corrections institutions and increasing programming and control of offenders at the local level are animating the landscape of criminal justice policy across the country. The Texas case suggests that this narrow approach further consolidates the extensive role of the justice system in U.S. society.

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Examining Specific Deterrence Effects on DWI Among Serious Offenders

Jeff Bouffard, Nicole Niebuhr & Lyn Exum

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deterrence research supports the idea that punishment curbs offending; however, results for the specific deterrent effects of drunk driving are more nuanced. This research is often limited in its use of non-offender samples, its failure to examine links between past sanctions and subsequent risk perceptions, and in its use of aggregate-level data, thereby precluding any exploration of individuals’ perceived sanction risks. The current study examines the relationship between 824 felony inmates’ experiences with formal legal sanctions for drunk driving and their risk perceptions for driving drunk as well as their hypothetical intentions to drive drunk. Results generally fail to support deterrence theory’s propositions, and instead uncover some positive punishment effects (higher drunk driving intentions among those sanctioned previously) net of important theoretical controls. Implications for subsequent research and policy making are presented.

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Arrest and the Amplification of Deviance: Does Gang Membership Moderate the Relationship?

Stephanie Wiley, Dena Carson & Finn-Aage Esbensen

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research has found that gang suppression efforts are largely ineffective, these policies have been responsible for the arrests of many gang youth. Prior research indicates that arrest is associated with deleterious consequences, but we know less about how arrest uniquely affects gang members. Using longitudinal data from a school-based sample, this study explores the effects of arrest for both gang and nongang youth. Propensity score matching and matched outcome analyses allow us to determine whether gang membership moderates the effect of arrest on later deviant outcomes. Our results indicate that the consequences of arrest are inconsistent with the goals of suppression tactics, with gang members reporting little to no change in deviant attitudes and peers and modest increases in delinquency. Meanwhile, nongang youth experience a range of consequences associated with arrest, including increased odds of gang-joining.

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Snapping Back: Food Stamp Bans and Criminal Recidivism

Cody Tuttle

University of Maryland Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
I estimate the effect of access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps) on the probability that a criminal returns to prison after being released. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) was signed into law drastically changing America's safety net programs. One little discussed piece of PRWORA is a provision which imposes a lifetime ban from SNAP on people who commit drug felonies. The Florida state legislature modified this ban so that it only applies to drug traffickers who commit their offense on or after August 23, 1996. Using inmate-level data from Florida, I exploit this sharp cutoff date, and find that the SNAP ban increases recidivism among released drug traffickers. The increase is primarily driven by crimes that are financially motivated suggesting that the cut in SNAP benefits causes ex-convicts to increase their illegal labor supply. This result speaks to an ongoing policy discussion about these bans and contributes to the empirical literature on the myriad benefits of safety net programs.

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Losing by Less? Import Competition, Unemployment Insurance Generosity, and Crime

Brian Beach & John Lopresti

College of William and Mary Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We explore the extent to which increased Chinese import competition affects crime in US labor markets and whether access to more generous unemployment insurance attenuates this relationship. An interquartile increase in import competition increases crime by approximately 3 percent in the average labor market; however, a one standard deviation increase in unemployment insurance generosity mitigates approximately two-thirds of the increase. A simple cost-benefit analysis indicates that 2-6.5 percent of the costs of increasing unemployment insurance generosity are recovered by society in the form of lower crime rates. This highlights a new and important positive externality of unemployment insurance.

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Criminal Background and Job Performance

Dylan Minor, Nicola Persico & Deborah Weiss

Northwestern University Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Job applicants with criminal records are much less likely than others to obtain legitimate employment, a problem that recent legislation, including Ban the Box, has attempted to address. The success of any remedial strategy depends on why hiring firms impose a hiring penalty and whether their concerns are founded on an accurate view of how ex-offenders behave on the job if hired. Little empirical evidence now exists to answer these questions. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining firm-level hiring practices and worker-level performance outcomes. Our data indicate that the typical employee with a criminal record has a psychological profile different from other employees, with fewer characteristics that are associated with good job performance outcomes. Despite these differences, individuals with criminal records have an involuntary separation rate that is no higher than that of other employees and a voluntary separation rate that is much lower. Employees with a criminal record do have a slightly higher overall rate of discharge for misconduct than do employees without a record, although we find increased misconduct only for sales positions. We also find that firms that do not use information about criminal backgrounds seem to compensate by placing more weight on qualifications that are correlated with a criminal record, such as low educational attainment.

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Urban Blight Remediation as a Cost-Beneficial Solution to Firearm Violence

Charles Branas et al.

American Journal of Public Health, forthcoming

Methods: We performed quasi-experimental analyses of the impacts and economic returns on investment of urban blight remediation programs involving 5112 abandoned buildings and vacant lots on the occurrence of firearm and nonfirearm violence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1999 to 2013. We adjusted before–after percent changes and returns on investment in treated versus control groups for sociodemographic factors.

Results: Abandoned building remediation significantly reduced firearm violence −39% (95% confidence interval [CI] = −28%, −50%; P < .05) as did vacant lot remediation (−4.6%; 95% CI = −4.2%, −5.0%; P < .001). Neither program significantly affected nonfirearm violence. Respectively, taxpayer and societal returns on investment for the prevention of firearm violence were $5 and $79 for every dollar spent on abandoned building remediation and $26 and $333 for every dollar spent on vacant lot remediation.

Conclusions: Abandoned buildings and vacant lots are blighted structures seen daily by urban residents that may create physical opportunities for violence by sheltering illegal activity and illegal firearms. Urban blight remediation programs can be cost-beneficial strategies that significantly and sustainably reduce firearm violence.

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The effect of institutional educational programming on prisoner misconduct

Kyleigh Clark & Jason Rydberg

Criminal Justice Studies, Fall 2016, Pages 325-344

Abstract:
Relative to studies of recidivism, past research on prison educational programming has largely neglected to examine the relationship, if any, between participation in these programs and institutional misconduct. Using data from the National Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities (N = 6957), we assess the relationship between participation in prison educational programming and instances of prisoner misconduct, considering the types and completion of such programs. Utilizing a recently developed propensity score weighting procedure to adjust for selection into programming, our findings indicate that, contrary to research on educational participation and recidivism, those involved in prison educational programming are more likely to commit misconduct infractions than those who are not involved in these programs. Practical implications and directions for future research are explored.

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Temporary Absences From Prison in Canada Reduce Unemployment and Reoffending: Evidence for Dosage Effects From an Exploratory Study

Maaike Helmus & Marguerite Ternes

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Temporary absences (TAs) from prison are intended to assist gradual reintegration. TAs can be either escorted (ETA) or unescorted (UTA). This exploratory study examined who received TAs, ETAs, and UTAs in Canadian federal prisons and the impact of these absences on community outcomes. The sample included 27,098 offenders released to the community between April 1, 2005 and March 31, 2011. Propensity scores for receiving TAs were used to control for group differences in outcome analyses. Participation rates were 22% for ETAs and 4% for UTAs. The strongest predictor was sentence length: Offenders with longer prison sentences were more likely to receive TAs. Other key predictors included moderate risk, higher motivation level, and fewer problems with institutional adjustment and on prior periods of community supervision. Participation was related to significantly lower levels of unemployment, returns to custody for any reason, and returns to custody for a new offense. Furthermore, a significant dosage effect was found for all TAs and ETAs: The more TAs the offender received, the less likely they were to return to custody. Absences from prison play an important role in gradual reintegration to the community, and the more the offenders participate in, the better the outcomes.

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Macro Implementation: Testing the Causal Paths from U.S. Macro Policy to Federal Incarceration

Matthew Hall

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policy implementation is usually studied at the micro level by testing the short-term effects of a specific policy on the behavior of government actors and policy outcomes. This study adopts an alternative approach by examining macro implementation — the cumulative effect of aggregate public policies over time. I employ a variety of methodological techniques to test the influence of macro criminal justice policy on new admissions to federal prison via three mediators: case filings by federal prosecutors, conviction rates in federal district courts, and plea bargaining behavior. I find that cumulative Supreme Court rulings influence the incarceration rate by altering conviction rates in district courts; however, I find only mixed evidence of congressional and presidential influence. The results suggest that U.S. macro policy influences bureaucratic outputs by altering the behavior of subordinate policy implementers; however, the Supreme Court may enjoy an advantage in shaping criminal justice policy.

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The Effect of Police Slowdowns on Crime

Andrea Cann Chandrasekher

American Law and Economics Review, Fall 2016, Pages 385-437

Abstract:
Though police strikes have been well studied, there are almost no articles written on the public safety consequences of police work slowdowns — labor actions where police officers reduce their ticket-writing and/or arrest productivity for a temporary period. This article fills the current void by presenting evidence on the 1997 New York City Police Department work slowdown, to my knowledge the longest documented police slowdown in U.S. history. Drawing on several, originally collected data sources from the NYPD and other city agencies, the article assesses the impact of the slowdown on ticket enforcement, arrest enforcement, and crime. The findings indicate that, at least in the context of contract-motivated slowdowns where the union may be motivated to garner public support for pay increases, the effects on public safety may be limited. Specifically, in the case of the 1997 slowdown, ticket-writing for all categories of tickets fell dramatically but arrest enforcement for all types of serious crime stayed the same or increased. Accordingly, the crime effects were mostly concentrated in the area of minor criminal disorder (misdemeanors and violations). Only two categories of serious crime (larcenies and assaults) were affected and those crime increases were minimal.

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Highway Robbery: Testing the Impact of Interstate Highways on Robbery

James McCutcheon et al.

Justice Quarterly, Fall 2016, Pages 1292-1310

Abstract:
Research has shown that the occurrence of crime is based on multiple factors including a variety of geographical characteristics. Previous researchers have suggested that the environmental feature of the interstate system has an influence on crime. For this study, we test for a relationship between interstate presence and robbery at the county-level in Georgia. Additionally, we test whether or not urban/rural differences affect this relationship. Findings are consistent with previous research showing that the number of interstate exits in a county significantly increases crime; in this case the robbery rate.

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“Contagious Accountability”: A Global Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Citizens’ Complaints Against the Police

Barak Ariel et al.

Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) by the police is rising. One proposed effect of BWCs is reducing complaints against police, which assumes that BWCs reduce officer noncompliance with procedures, improve suspects’ demeanor, or both, leading to fewer complaints. We report results from a global, multisite randomized controlled trial on whether BWC use reduces citizens’ complaints. Seven discrete tests (N = 1,847 officers), with police shifts as the unit of analysis (N = 4,264), were randomly assigned into treatment and control conditions. Using a prospective meta-analytic approach, we found a 93% before–after reduction in complaint incidence (Z = −3.234; p < .001), but no significant differences between trial arms in the studies (d = .053, SE = .11; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [−.163, .269]), and little between-site variation (Q = 4.905; p = .428). We discuss these results in terms of an “observer effect” that influences both officers’ and citizens’ behavior and assess what we interpret as treatment diffusion between experimental and control conditions within the framework of “contagious accountability.”

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Intersystem return on investment in public mental health: Positive externality of public mental health expenditure for the jail system in the U.S.

Jangho Yoon & Jeff Luck

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 133–142

Abstract:
This study examines the extent to which increased public mental health expenditures lead to a reduction in jail populations and computes the associated intersystem return on investment (ROI). We analyze unique panel data on 44 U.S. states and D.C. for years 2001–2009. To isolate the intersystem spillover effect, we exploit variations across states and over time within states in per capita public mental health expenditures and average daily jail inmates. Regression models control for a comprehensive set of determinants of jail incarcerations as well as unobserved determinants specific to state and year. Findings show a positive spillover benefit of increased public mental health spending on the jail system: a 10% increase in per capita public inpatient mental health expenditure on average leads to a 1.5% reduction in jail inmates. We also find that the positive intersystem externality of increased public inpatient mental health expenditure is greater when the level of community mental health spending is lower. Similarly, the intersystem spillover effect of community mental health expenditure is larger when inpatient mental health spending is lower. We compute that overall an extra dollar in public inpatient mental health expenditure by a state would yield an intersystem ROI of a quarter dollar for the jail system. There is significant cross-state variation in the intersystem ROI in both public inpatient and community mental health expenditures, and the ROI overall is greater for inpatient mental health spending than for community mental health spending.

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Deterring Rearrests for Drinking and Driving

Frank Sloan et al.

Southern Economic Journal, October 2016, Pages 416–436

Abstract:
This study assesses why some individuals are rearrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Using longitudinal data from North Carolina containing information on arrests and arrest outcomes, we test hypotheses that individuals prosecuted and convicted of DWI are less likely to be rearrested for DWI. We allow for possible endogeneity of prosecution and conviction outcomes by using instrumental variables for the prosecutor's prosecution rate and the judge's conviction rate. With a three-year follow-up, the probability of DWI rearrest was reduced by 6.6% if the person was prosecuted for DWI and, for those prosecuted, by 24.5% if convicted on this charge. Prosecution and conviction for DWI deters rearrest for DWI.

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The Implications of Arrest for College Enrollment: An Analysis Of Long‐Term Effects and Mediating Mechanisms

Alex Widdowson, Sonja Siennick & Carter Hay

Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study draws on labeling theory and education research on the steps to college enrollment to examine 1) whether and for how long arrest reduces the likelihood that high-school graduates will enroll in postsecondary education and 2) whether any observed relationships are mediated by key steps in the college enrollment process. With 17 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) and propensity score matching, we derived matched samples of arrested and nonarrested but equivalent youth (N = 1,761) and conducted logistic regression and survival analyses among the matched samples to examine the short- and long-term postsecondary consequences of arrest. The results revealed that arrest reduced the odds of 4-year college enrollment directly after high school, as well as that high-school grade point average and advanced coursework accounted for 58 percent of this relationship. The results also revealed that arrest had an enduring impact on 4-year college attendance that extended into and beyond emerging adulthood. Two-year college prospects were largely unaffected by arrest. These findings imply that being arrested during high school represents a negative turning point in youths’ educational trajectory that is, in part, a result of having a less competitive college application. Implications are discussed.

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A Statewide Study of Gang Membership in California Secondary Schools

Joey Nuñez Estrada et al.

Youth & Society, September 2016, Pages 720-736

Abstract:
To date, there is a paucity of empirical evidence that examines gang membership in schools. Using statewide data of 7th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students from California, this study focuses on the prevalence of gang membership by county, region, ethnicity, and grade level. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed with gang membership as the outcome of interest. Approximately 8.4% of the student sample reported that they consider themselves to be a member of a gang. Regional-level rates of gang membership across six geographical areas are all in a relatively narrow range and gang members are fairly evenly distributed across California schools. The findings imply that schools are a good place to focus on gang prevention and intervention, and educators need to be aware of the possible gang activity in their schools to provide the appropriate resources, programs, and support for these students.

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Incarceration and Household Asset Ownership

Kristin Turney & Daniel Schneider

Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
A considerable literature documents the deleterious economic consequences of incarceration. However, little is known about the consequences of incarceration for household assets — a distinct indicator of economic well-being that may be especially valuable to the survival of low-income families — or about the spillover economic consequences of incarceration for families. In this article, we use longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine how incarceration is associated with asset ownership among formerly incarcerated men and their romantic partners. Results, which pay careful attention to the social forces that select individuals into incarceration, show that incarceration is negatively associated with ownership of a bank account, vehicle, and home among men and that these consequences for asset ownership extend to the romantic partners of these men. These associations are concentrated among men who previously held assets. Results also show that post-incarceration changes in romantic relationships are an important pathway by which even short-term incarceration depletes assets.

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The Use of Social Media by Alleged Members of Mexican Cartels and Affiliated Drug Trafficking Organizations

Justin Nix et al.

Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Focusing on Mexican cartels and affiliated drug trafficking organizations, this article examines how self-proclaimed cartel members use social media to further the criminal activities of their organizations. Employing an open-source, intelligence-driven methodology, the authors identified, followed, and mapped the connections between and among 75 alleged cartel members over a period of 4 months. Results indicated that cartel members actively use Facebook to plan, organize, and communicate in real-time. These findings provide tentative validation to the utility of using open-source social media platforms to study the social structure and operations of Mexican drug cartels. Implications for law enforcement, homeland security, and the intelligence enterprise are discussed.

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It’s Not Technically a Crime: Investigating the Relationship Between Technical Violations and New Crime

Christopher Campbell

Criminal Justice Policy Review, November 2016, Pages 643-667

Abstract:
A long-held assumption in corrections is that parole technical violations (TVs) serve as a proxy of an offender’s potential of committing a new crime. Considering this notion has yet to be empirically tested coupled with recent research indicating a patterned difference between violators and recidivists, a test of this foundational assumption of community corrections is warranted. The current study aims to test this assumption using male and female offender samples from Washington State. Receiver operating characteristic curves are used to test the predictive validity of a generic risk–needs scale designed for felony recidivism on TV outcomes. Results suggest that the male-specific scale performs significantly worse when predicting nonserious and serious violations among the male sample. A female-specific scale, however, showed no significant difference in predicting female violations. The findings provide evidence that violations are not necessarily a proxy of new crime, and therefore offer wide implications for community corrections policy.

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American crime drops: Investigating the breaks, dips and drops in temporal homicide

Karen Parker, Ashley Mancik & Richard Stansfield

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Objectives: While a great deal of attention has been given to the 1990s crime drop, less is known about the more recent decline in homicide rates that occurred in several large U.S. cities. This paper aims to explore whether these represent two distinct drops via statistical evidence of structural breaks in longitudinal homicide trends and explore potentially differing explanations for the two declines.

Methods: Using homicide data on a large sample of U.S. cities from 1990 to 2011, we test for structural breaks in temporal homicide rates. Combining census data and a time series approach, we also examine the role structural features, demographic shifts, and crime control strategies played in the changes in homicide rates over time.

Results: Statistical evidence demonstrates two structural breaks in homicide trends, with one trend reflecting the 1990s crime drop (1994–2002) and another trend capturing a second decline (2007–2011). Time series analysis confirms previous research findings about the contributions of structural conditions (e.g., disadvantage) and crime control strategies (e.g., police force size) to the crime drop of the 1990s, but these factors cannot account for the more recent drop with the exception of police presence.

Conclusions: Although both structural conditions and crime control strategies are critical to the longitudinal trends in homicide rates over the entire span from 1990 to 2011, different factors account for these two distinct temporal trends.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Looking out for the kids

The Great Recession and risk for child abuse and neglect

William Schneider, Jane Waldfogel & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn

Children and Youth Services Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the association between the Great Recession and four measures of the risk for maternal child abuse and neglect: (1) maternal physical aggression; (2) maternal psychological aggression; (3) physical neglect by mothers; and (4) supervisory/exposure neglect by mothers. It draws on rich longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study of families in 20 U.S. cities (N = 3177; 50% African American, 25% Hispanic; 22% non-Hispanic white; 3% other). The study collected information for the 9-year follow-up survey before, during, and after the Great Recession (2007–2010). Interview dates were linked to two macroeconomic measures of the Great Recession: the national Consumer Sentiment Index and the local unemployment rate. Also included are a wide range of socio-demographic controls, as well as city fixed effects and controls for prior parenting. Results indicate that the Great Recession was associated with increased risk of child abuse but decreased risk of child neglect. Households with social fathers present may have been particularly adversely affected. Results also indicate that economic uncertainty during the Great Recession, as measured by the Consumer Sentiment Index and the unemployment rate, had direct effects on the risk of abuse or neglect, which were not mediated by individual-level measures of economic hardship or poor mental health.

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Casting doubt on the causal link between intelligence and age at first intercourse: A cross-generational sibling comparison design using the NLSY

Mason Garrison & Joseph Lee Rodgers

Intelligence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Halpern et al. (2000) published a study based on early Add Health data with the provocative title “Smart Teens Don’t Have Sex (or Kiss Much Either).” Several following papers reported the same result, a positive correlation between the intelligence of adolescent girls and age at first intercourse (AFI). However, the causal mechanism has not been carefully investigated. Harden and Mendle (2011) used Add Health data within a biometrical design and found that the relationship between intelligence and AFI was fully accounted for by shared environmental differences, suggesting at least the location of the causal mechanism — the part of the household environment shared by siblings that influences both child intelligence and AFI. In this study, we use an intergenerational sibling comparison design to investigate the causal link between intelligence and AFI, using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and the NLSY-Children/Young Adult data. We measured maternal IQ using the AFQT, child IQ using PPVT, PIAT, and Digit Span, and AFI, using respondent self-report. Our analytic method used Kenny's (2001) reciprocal standard dyad model. This model supported analyses treating the data as only between-family data (as in most past studies), and also allowed us to include both between- and within-family comparisons. These analyses included two forms, first a comparison of offspring of mothers in relation to maternal IQ, then a comparison of offspring themselves in relation to offspring IQ. When we evaluated the relationship between maternal/child intelligence and AFI, using a between-family design, we replicated earlier results; smart teens do appear to delay sex. In the within-family analyses, the relationship between intelligence and AFI vanishes for both maternal intelligence and child intelligence. The finding is robust across gender and age. These results suggest that the cause of the intelligence-AFI link is not intelligence per se, but rather differences between families (parental education, SES, etc.) that correlate with family-level (but not individual-level) intelligence.

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Money matters: Does the minimum wage affect child maltreatment rates?

Kerri Raissian & Lindsey Rose Bullinger

Children and Youth Services Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has consistently demonstrated that children living in low-income families, particularly those in poverty, are at a greater risk of child maltreatment; however, causal evidence for this relationship is sparse. We use child maltreatment reports from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System: Child File from 2004 to 2013 to investigate the relationship between changes in a state's minimum wage and changes in child maltreatment rates. We find that increases in the minimum wage lead to a decline in overall child maltreatment reports, particularly neglect reports. Specifically, a $1 increase in the minimum wage implies a statistically significant 9.6% decline in neglect reports. This decline is concentrated among young children (ages 0–5) and school-aged children (ages 6–12); the effect diminishes among adolescents and is not significant. We do not find that the effect of increases in the minimum wage varies based on the child's race. These findings are robust to a number of specifications. Our results suggest that policies that increase incomes of the working poor can improve children's welfare, especially younger children, quite substantially.

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Early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school: Results from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development

Deborah Lowe Vandell, Margaret Burchinal & Kim Pierce

Developmental Psychology, October 2016, Pages 1634-1645

Abstract:
Relations between early child care and adolescent functioning at the end of high school (EOHS; M age = 18.3 years) were examined in a prospective longitudinal study of 1,214 children. Controlling for extensive measures of family background, early child care was associated with academic standing and behavioral adjustment at the EOHS. More experience in center-type care was linked to higher class rank and admission to more selective colleges, and for females to less risk taking and greater impulse control. Higher quality child care predicted higher academic grades and admission to more selective colleges. Fewer hours in child care was related to admission to more selective colleges. These findings suggest long-term benefits of higher quality child care, center-type care, and lower child-care hours for measures of academic standing at the EOHS.

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Beyond Boys’ Bad Behavior: Paternal Incarceration and Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood

Anna Haskins

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing number of American school-aged children have incarcerated or formally incarcerated parents, necessitating a more comprehensive understanding of the intergenerational effects of mass imprisonment. Using the Fragile Families Study, I assess whether having an incarcerated father impacts children's cognitive skill development into middle childhood. While previous studies have primarily found effects for boys’ behavior problems, matching models and sensitivity analyses demonstrate that experiencing paternal incarceration by age nine is associated with lower cognitive skills for both boys and girls, and these negative effects hold net of a pre-paternal incarceration measure of child cognitive ability. Moreover, I estimate that paternal incarceration explains between 2 and 15 percent of the Black–White achievement gap at age nine. These findings represent new outcomes of importance and suggest that paternal incarceration may play an even larger role in the production of intergenerational inequalities for American children than previously documented.

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Making parents pay: The unintended consequences of charging parents for foster care

Maria Cancian et al.

Children and Youth Services Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement. We find evidence of this unintended effect, which is important not only because longer foster care spells are expensive for taxpayers, but also because extended placements in foster care may have consequences for child well-being. Our results highlight the potential importance of cross-systems analysis and the potential consequences when the policies and fundamental objectives of public systems are inconsistently coordinated. We discuss the implications of our findings for child support and child protective services policy.

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How does the personal become political? Assessing the impact of mothers' employment on daughters' participation in political organizations

Mónica Caudillo

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The “Millennial” generation grew up in a period of changing gender roles, when labor force participation of mothers of young children was rapidly increasing. Past research has found that daughters of employed mothers are more likely to defy traditional gender scripts by seeking employment and authority positions. Building on this literature, I assess whether exposure to a full-time employed mother has an impact on Millennial women's participation in political organizations. I use prospective data on childhood context from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and apply propensity score weighting and a matching technique based on covariates. Evidence suggests that exposure to a full-time employed mother increases participation in political organizations for low-SES daughters. According to sensitivity tests, these findings are reasonably robust to unobserved confounders. In contrast, exposure to a full-time employed mother does not have a significant effect on the participation of sons or high-SES daughters.

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Reading intervention with a growth mindset approach improves children’s skills

Simon Calmar Andersen & Helena Skyt Nielsen

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 October 2016, Pages 12111–12113

Abstract:
Laboratory experiments have shown that parents who believe their child’s abilities are fixed engage with their child in unconstructive, performance-oriented ways. We show that children of parents with such “fixed mindsets” have lower reading skills, even after controlling for the child’s previous abilities and the parents’ socioeconomic status. In a large-scale randomized field trial (Nclassrooms = 72; Nchildren = 1,587) conducted by public authorities, parents receiving a reading intervention were told about the malleability of their child’s reading abilities and how to support their child by praising his/her effort rather than his/her performance. This low-cost intervention increased the reading and writing achievements of all participating children — not least immigrant children with non-Western backgrounds and children with low-educated mothers. As expected, effects were even bigger for parents who before the intervention had a fixed mindset.

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Genetic and Environmental Contributions to the Development of Positive Affect in Infancy

Elizabeth Planalp et al.

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
We studied developmental changes in infant positive affect from 6 to 12 months of age, a time marked by increasing use of positive vocalizations, laughter, and social smiles. We estimated the magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on observed and parent reported infant positive affect across development. Participants were drawn from a longitudinal twin study of infancy and toddlerhood (N = 536 twin pairs). Mothers and fathers reported on infant temperament and infants were videotaped during 2 observational tasks assessing positive affect. Parents also reported on their own affect and emotional expression within the family. Biometric models examined genetic and environmental influences that contribute to the developmental continuity of positive affect. Infant positive affect was associated with increased parent positive affect and family expressions of positive affect although not with family expressions of negative affect. In addition, the shared environment accounted for a large portion of variation in infant positive affect and continuity over time. These findings highlight the importance of the family environment in relation to infant positive emotional development.

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The role of testosterone in coordinating male life history strategies: The moderating effects of the androgen receptor CAG repeat polymorphism

Lee Gettler et al.

Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Partnered fathers often have lower testosterone than single non-parents, which is theorized to relate to elevated testosterone (T) facilitating competitive behaviors and lower T contributing to nurturing. Cultural- and individual-factors moderate the expression of such psychobiological profiles. Less is known about genetic variation's role in individual psychobiological responses to partnering and fathering, particularly as related to T. We examined the exon 1 CAG (polyglutamine) repeat (CAGn) within the androgen receptor (AR) gene. AR CAGn shapes T's effects after it binds to AR by affecting AR transcriptional activity. Thus, this polymorphism is a strong candidate to influence individual-level profiles of “androgenicity.” While males with a highly androgenic profile are expected to engage in a more competitive-oriented life history strategy, low androgenic men are at increased risk of depression, which could lead to similar outcomes for certain familial dynamics, such as marriage stability and parenting. Here, in a large longitudinal study of Filipino men (n = 683), we found that men who had high androgenicity (elevated T and shorter CAGn) or low androgenicity (lower T and longer CAGn) showed elevated likelihood of relationship instability over the 4.5-year study period and were also more likely be relatively uninvolved with childcare as fathers. We did not find that CAGn moderated men's T responses to the fatherhood transition. In total, our results provide evidence for invested fathering and relationship stability at intermediate levels of androgenicity and help inform our understanding of variation in male reproductive strategies and the individual hormonal and genetic differences that underlie it.

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Indebted Relationships: Child Support Arrears and Nonresident Fathers' Involvement With Children

Kimberly Turner & Maureen Waller

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Low-income, nonresident fathers owe a disproportionate amount of child support arrears, creating potential challenges for these fathers and their family relationships. This article uses mediation analysis to provide new evidence about how and why child support debt is related to paternal involvement using information from 1,017 nonresident fathers in the Fragile Families Study. Results show that child support arrears are associated with nonresident fathers having significantly less contact with children, being less engaged with them in daily activities, and providing less frequent in-kind support 9 years after the birth. This negative association between child support debt and father involvement is most strongly and consistently mediated by the quality of the relationship between the biological parents. Although child support policies are designed to facilitate fathers' economic and emotional support, these results suggest that the accruement of child support debt may serve as an important barrier to father involvement.

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Socioeconomic disadvantages and neural sensitivity to infant cry: Role of maternal distress

Pilyoung Kim, Christian Capistrano & Christina Congleton

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, October 2016, Pages 1597-1607

Abstract:
Socioeconomic disadvantage such as poverty can increase distress levels, which may further make low-income mothers more vulnerable to difficulties in the transition to parenthood. However, little is known about the neurobiological processes by which poverty and maternal distress are associated with risks for adaptations to motherhood. Thus, the current study examined the associations between income and neural responses to infant cry sounds among first-time new mothers (N = 28) during the early postpartum period. Lower income was associated with reduced responses to infant cry in the medial prefrontal gyrus (involved in evaluating emotional values of stimuli), middle prefrontal gyrus (involved in affective regulation) and superior temporal gyrus (involved in sensory information processing). When examining the role of maternal distress, we found a mediating role of perceived stress, but not depressive symptoms, in the links between income and prefrontal responses to infant cry. Reduced neural responses to infant cry in the right middle frontal gyrus and superior temporal gyrus were further associated with less positive perceptions of parenting. The results demonstrate that perceived stress associated with socioeconomic disadvantages may contribute to reduced neural responses to infant cry, which is further associated with less positive perceptions of motherhood.

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Single-parent households and mortality among children and youth

Paul Amato & Sarah Patterson

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although many studies have examined associations between family structure and child outcomes, few have considered how the increase in single-parent households since the 1960s may have affected child mortality rates. We examined state-level changes in the percentage of children living with single parents between 1968 and 2010 and state-level trends in mortality among children and youth (age 19 or younger) in the United States. Regression models with state and year fixed effects revealed that increases in single parenthood were associated with small increments in accidental deaths and homicides.

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Effects of the interparental relationship on adolescents’ emotional security and adjustment: The important role of fathers

Go Woon Suh et al.

Developmental Psychology, October 2016, Pages 1666-1678

Abstract:
We examined the mediational roles of multiple types of adolescents’ emotional security in relations between multiple aspects of the interparental relationship and adolescents’ mental health from ages 13 to 16 (N = 392). General marital quality, nonviolent parent conflict, and physical intimate partner violence independently predicted mental health. Security in the father–adolescent relationship, over and above security with the mother and security in regard to parent conflict, mediated the link from general marital quality to adolescents’ mental health. With 2 exceptions, paths were stable for boys and girls, biological- and stepfathers, and Anglo- and Mexican Americans. The findings reveal the need to expand the traditional foci on parent conflict and relationships with mothers to include general marital quality and relationships with fathers.

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Sibling Additions, Resource Dilution, and Cognitive Development During Early Childhood

Joseph Workman

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
A sizable literature found an inverse association between number of siblings and developmental outcomes. Little is known about this relationship during the earliest years of children's lives, a period when parental attention and resources matter greatly for cognitive development. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort, a nationally representative sample of American children born in 2001, this study investigates the inter-relationships between siblings, home resources, and cognitive development during the years before formal schooling. To address unobserved differences between families, child fixed effects models were used to assess children's experiences before and after the birth of a sibling. The birth of a sibling was not significantly associated with lower cognitive development, even when the age spacing between the siblings was small. Concerning home resources, interpersonal resources mattered a great deal for young children's cognitive development, but interpersonal resources were not shaped by the presence of siblings.

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Warm and Supportive Parenting Can Discourage Offspring’s Civic Engagement in the Transition to Adulthood

Maria Pavlova et al.

Journal of Youth and Adolescence, November 2016, Pages 2197–2217

Abstract:
It is widely believed that warm and supportive parenting fosters all kinds of prosocial behaviors in the offspring, including civic engagement. However, accumulating international evidence suggests that the effects of family support on civic engagement may sometimes be negative. To address this apparent controversy, we identified several scenarios for the negative effects of supportive parenting on youth civic engagement and tested them using four waves of data from the Finnish Educational Transitions Studies. They followed 1549 students (55 % female) from late adolescence into young adulthood, included both maternal (n = 231) and offspring reports of parental support, and assessed civic engagement in young adulthood. Control variables included socioeconomic status, other sociodemographic indicators, church belonging, personality traits, and earlier civic engagement. Higher maternal warmth and support and a stronger identification with the parental family in adolescence predicted offspring’s lower political activism up to 10 years later. Perceived parental support in young adulthood predicted lower volunteering 2 years later. There were no significant effects on general organizational involvement (e.g., in student and hobby associations). None of the a priori scenarios that we identified from the literature appeared to explain the pattern of results satisfactorily. We put forth cultural and life stage explanations of our findings.

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Birth and Adoptive Parent Antisocial Behavior and Parenting: A Study of Evocative Gene–Environment Correlation

Ashlea Klahr et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Negative parenting is shaped by the genetically influenced characteristics of children (via evocative rGE) and by parental antisocial behavior; however, it is unclear how these factors jointly impact parenting. This study examined the effects of birth parent and adoptive parent antisocial behavior on negative parenting. Participants included 546 families within a prospective adoption study. Adoptive parent antisocial behavior emerged as a small but significant predictor of negative parenting at 18 months and of change in parenting from 18 to 27 months. Birth parent antisocial behavior predicted change in adoptive father's (but not mother's) parenting over time. These findings highlight the role of parent characteristics and suggest that evocative rGE effects on parenting may be small in magnitude in early childhood.

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Emotional compensation in parents

Amit Goldenberg et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much of what is currently known about the emotional dimension of parental interactions concerns the role of congruent processes, in which partners experience similar emotions. Far less is known about non-congruent processes, in which partners regulate their emotions to balance out their partner's emotional responses. We define such “balancing out” processes as emotional compensation, and examine them in a series of four studies (N = 895). In Study 1, we show that emotional compensation occurs in situations in which there is high certainty regarding the “correct” emotional response. In Studies 2 and 3, we show that the value placed on parental unity moderates the tendency to compensate. In Study 4, we show that compensation for high-intensity negative responses positively predicts relationship quality. This work brings to light processes that previously have not been examined in partners' emotional interactions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

In the poorhouse

Childhood Housing and Adult Earnings: A Between-Siblings Analysis of Housing Vouchers and Public Housing

Fredrik Andersson et al.

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
To date, research on the long-term effects of childhood participation in voucher-assisted and public housing has been limited by the lack of data and suitable identification strategies. We create a national-level longitudinal data set that enables us to analyze how children's housing experiences affect adult earnings and incarceration rates. While naive estimates suggest there are substantial negative consequences to childhood participation in voucher-assisted and public housing, this result appears to be driven largely by selection of households into housing assistance programs. To mitigate this source of bias, we employ household fixed-effects specifications that use only within-household (across-sibling) variation for identification. Compared to naive specifications, household fixed-effects estimates for earnings are universally more positive, and they suggest that there are positive and statistically significant benefits from childhood residence in assisted housing on young adult earnings for nearly all demographic groups. Childhood participation in assisted housing also reduces the likelihood of incarceration across all household race/ethnicity groups. Time spent in voucher-assisted or public housing is especially beneficial for females from non-Hispanic Black households, who experience substantial increases in expected earnings and lower incarceration rates.

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The Long-Term Effects of Cash Assistance

David Price & Jae Song

Stanford Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We investigate the long-term effect of cash assistance for beneficiaries and their children by following up, after four decades, with participants in the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment. Treated families in this randomized experiment received thousands of dollars per year in extra government benefits for three or five years in the 1970s. Using administrative data from the Social Security Administration and the Washington State Department of Health, we find that treatment caused adults to earn an average of $1,800 less per year after the experiment ended. Most of this effect on earned income is concentrated between ages 50 and 60, suggesting that it is related to retirement. Treated adults were also 6.3 percentage points more likely to apply for disability benefits, but were not significantly more likely to receive them, or to have died. These effects on parents, however, do not appear to be passed down to their children: children in treated families experienced no significant effects in any of the main variables studied. These results for children are estimated precisely enough to rule out effects found in other contexts and inform the literature on intergenerational mobility. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that policymakers should consider the long-term effects of cash assistance as they formulate policies to combat poverty.

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The Good Intention Gap: Poverty, Anxiety, and Implications for Political Action

Elaine Denny

University of California Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
At least 2 in 5 U.S. citizens live in high financial insecurity, leaving them vulnerable to economic shocks and stress. This paper identifies a mechanism linking poverty to turnout, showing that financial stress influences political behavior by influencing cognition and decision-making. I provide foundational evidence for a Good Intention Gap in political participation: Poor people want to take political action, but, consistent with the broader psychological effects of stress, financial anxiety taxes the brain's cognitive resources. Taxed mental bandwidth and short-sighted decision-making reduce one's capacity to follow through on intentions to participate. I show that experimentally-induced financial anxiety decreases long-term strategic thinking in ways that are increasingly at odds with policy preferences. When political action is easy and immediate, financial anxiety increases participation due to increased issue salience; however, when action is delayed, financial anxiety mediates decreased turnout, especially among the poor. Nationally representative data show that financial stress correlates with the Good Intention Gap via a mechanism of forgetting, while competing explanations for lower participation among the poor find little support.

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Explaining Public Support for Counterproductive Homelessness Policy: The Role of Disgust

Scott Clifford & Spencer Piston

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Federal, state, and city governments spend substantial funds on programs intended to aid homeless people, and such programs attract widespread public support. In recent years, however, state and local governments have increasingly enacted policies, such as bans on panhandling and sleeping in public, that are counterproductive to alleviating homelessness. Yet these policies also garner substantial support from the public. Given that programs aiding the homeless are so popular, why are these counterproductive policies also popular? We argue that disgust plays a key role in the resolution of this puzzle. While disgust does not decrease support for aid policies or even generate negative affect towards homeless people, it motivates the desire for physical distance, leading to support for policies that exclude homeless people from public life. We test this argument using survey data, including a national sample with an embedded experiment. Consistent with these expectations, our findings indicate that those respondents who are dispositionally sensitive to disgust are more likely to support exclusionary policies, such as banning panhandling, but no less likely to support policies intended to aid homeless people. Furthermore, media depictions of the homeless that include disease cues activate disgust, increasing its impact on support for banning panhandling. These results help explain the popularity of exclusionary homelessness policies and challenge common perspectives on the role of group attitudes in public life.

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Trends in Cumulative Marginal Tax Rates Facing Low-Income Families, 1997-2007

Gizem Kosar & Robert Moffitt

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We present new calculations of cumulative marginal tax rates (MTRs) facing low income families participating in multiple welfare programs over the period 1997-2007, the period after 1996 welfare reform but before the program expansions of the Great Recession. Our calculations are for nondisabled, nonelderly families who pay federal and state income taxes and the payroll tax but receive benefits from up to four different transfer programs - Medicaid, Food Stamps, subsidized housing, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The results show enormous variation in MTRs across families who participate in different combinations of welfare programs, who have different family structures, and who have earnings in different ranges. For families who participate in either no or fewer than two welfare programs, which constitutes the large majority of low income families, MTRs are either negative or positive but modest in magnitude. But families participating in two or more programs, while still facing negative or modest positive rates at low earnings, usually face considerably higher MTRs at higher earnings ranges, often up to 80 percent and even occasionally over 100 percent. While the fraction of families in this category is not large, they constitute about one-fifth of single parent families.

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The Timing of Welfare Payments and Intimate Partner Violence

Lin-Chi Hsu

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
I examine transfer schedules for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and find a causal relationship between the time directly after welfare payments and intimate partner violence against women. This study supports the hypothesis that the husband uses threats of violence as an instrument to gain control over the allocation of household resources, and suggests that the increased incidence in physical violence after welfare payments is associated with alcohol use. Additionally, I find that states that pay TANF recipients twice a month do not have this effect on threats of violence. This suggests that smaller, more frequent payments may reduce the husband's incentive to use verbal violence as a bargaining tool.

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Gentrification and Residential Mobility in Philadelphia

Lei Ding, Jackelyn Hwang & Eileen Divringi

Regional Science and Urban Economics, November 2016, Pages 38-51

Abstract:
Gentrification has provoked considerable controversy surrounding its effects on residential displacement. Using a unique individual-level, longitudinal data set, this study examines mobility rates and residential destinations of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods during the recent housing boom and bust in Philadelphia for various strata of residents and different types of gentrification. We find that vulnerable residents, those with low credit scores and without mortgages, are generally no more likely to move from gentrifying neighborhoods compared with their counterparts in nongentrifying neighborhoods. When they do move, however, they are more likely to move to lower-income neighborhoods. Residents in gentrifying neighborhoods at the aggregate level have slightly higher mobility rates, but these rates are largely driven by more advantaged residents. These findings shed new light on the heterogeneity in mobility patterns across residents in gentrifying neighborhoods and suggest that researchers should focus more attention on the quality of residential moves and nonmoves for less advantaged residents, rather than mobility rates alone.

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Does Homeownership Prolong the Duration of Unemployment?

Ahmet Ali Taşkın & Fırat Yaman

Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the effects of homeownership on individuals' unemployment durations. An unemployment spell can terminate with a job or with nonparticipation. The endogeneity of homeownership is addressed by estimating a full maximum likelihood function jointly modeling the competing hazards and the probability of being a homeowner. Unobserved factors contributing to the probability of being a homeowner are allowed to be correlated with unobservable heterogeneity in the hazard rates. Not controlling for ownership selection, there is neither a significant difference in the job-finding hazard nor in the nonparticipation hazard of unemployed owners and renters. If we jointly model the ownership selection, we find that unemployed homeowners are more likely to find a job than renters.

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The Impact of SNAP on Material Hardships: Evidence From Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility Expansions

Jeehoon Han

Southern Economic Journal, October 2016, Pages 464-486

Abstract:
This article examines whether expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility reduces material hardships of low-income households. During the Great Recession, many states expanded the income threshold of eligibility for SNAP. I show that expansions in eligibility increased the SNAP participation rate by 3-5 percentage points. I also find that the expansion leads to a modest decrease in nonfood hardships, such as rent and utility delinquencies. However, the increase in SNAP enrollment does not lead to greater food spending or a reduction in food insecurity except for households with children.

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Relationship of Childhood Adversity and Neighborhood Violence to a Proinflammatory Phenotype in Emerging Adult African American Men: An Epigenetic Link

Linda Witek Janusek et al.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
African American men (AAM) who are exposed to trauma and adversity during their early life are at greater risk for poor health over their lifespan. Exposure to adversity during critical developmental windows may embed an epigenetic signature that alters expression of genes that regulate stress response systems, including those genes that regulate the inflammatory response to stress. Such an epigenetic signature may increase risk for diseases exacerbated by inflammation, and may contribute to health disparity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent to which exposure to early life adversity influences the psychological, cortisol, and proinflammatory response to acute stress (Trier Social Stress Test - TSST) in emerging adult AAM, ages 18-25 years (N= 34). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine the cortisol and IL-6 pattern of response to the TSST with respect to childhood adversity factors and DNA methylation of the IL-6 promoter. Findings revealed that in response to the TSST, greater levels of childhood trauma and indirect exposure to neighborhood violence were associated with a greater TSST-induced IL-6 response, and a blunted cortisol response. Reduced methylation of the IL6 promoter was related to increased exposure to childhood trauma and greater TSST-induced IL-6 levels. These results support the concept that exposure to childhood adversity amplifies the adult proinflammatory response to stress, which is related to epigenetic signature.

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Assessing the benefits of a rising tide: Educational attainment and increases in neighborhood socioeconomic advantage

William Johnston

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
An emerging approach to studying associations between neighborhood contexts and educational outcomes is to estimate the outcomes of adolescents growing up in neighborhoods that are experiencing economic growth in comparison to peers that reside in economically stable or declining communities. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), I examine the association between education attainment and changes in socioeconomic advantage in urban neighborhoods between 1990 and 2000. I find that residing in a neighborhood that experiences economic improvements has a positive association with educational attainment for urban adolescents. Furthermore, race-based analyses suggest consistently positive associations for all race subgroups, lending support to protective models of neighborhood effects that argue high neighborhood SES supports positive outcomes for adolescents residing in these contexts.

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Does the Timing of Food Stamp Distribution Matter? A Panel-Data Analysis of Monthly Purchasing Patterns of US Households

Elena Castellari et al.

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we examine the relationship between the timing of food stamp receipt and purchasing patterns. We combine data on state distribution dates of food stamps with scanner data on a panel of households purchases tracked between 2004 and 2011. We find that purchases of a variety of goods are meaningfully higher on receipt days, consistent with previous work that suggests that recipients are very impatient. Additionally, and importantly, estimates indicate that when food stamp receipt days fall on weekends, total monthly purchases within the same households are affected. In particular, monthly purchases of beer are higher when food stamps are distributed on a weekend rather than in months where benefits are distributed on weekdays. For these households, total beer purchases are between 4 and 5% higher in those months. Among households ineligible for food stamps, no effect is identified. These results demonstrate that the 'day-of-the-week' of SNAP treatment may have important impacts on household purchase habits.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Show some love

An evolutionary theory of monogamy

Marco Francesconi, Christian Ghiglino & Motty Perry

Journal of Economic Theory, November 2016, Pages 605-628

Abstract:
This paper presents a non-cooperative evolutionary model to explain the widespread diffusion of lifelong monogamous families. The essential condition, unique to humans, is the overlap of children of different ages. Under this condition, together with the salience of paternal investment and fatherhood uncertainty, monogamy attains a greater survivorship than serial monogamy and polygyny. This result is robust to a number of extensions, including the presence of kin ties, resource inequality, group marriage, and the risk of adult mortality.

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Exposure to Sexual Economics Theory Promotes a Hostile View of Heterosexual Relationships

Janell Fetterolf & Laurie Rudman

Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Proponents of sexual economics theory argue that women exchange sex for men's resources. This idea is likely to promote a competitive view of gender relationships that undermines gender equality by characterizing women as manipulative and financially dependent on men. Heterosexual college students (N = 474) who were randomly exposed to a popular YouTube video describing sexual economics theory increased their (1) behavioral support for sexual exchange concepts, (2) endorsement of the theory, and (3) adversarial views of heterosexual relationships, compared with a control group of students. Sexual exchange theory endorsement and adversarial heterosexual beliefs positively covaried, and both attitudes were related to participants' sexism. Reading a critique of sexual exchange theory, that emphasized mutual respect and affection as precursors to heterosexual intimacy, counteracted the consequences of exposure to the theory. The findings provide evidence that disseminating sexual exchange theory via video on the Internet negatively affects young adults' views of gender relationships. Educators, and others who wish to explore sexual economics theory through the use of this video, should also include a discussion of the countervailing evidence available.

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Number of Siblings During Childhood and the Likelihood of Divorce in Adulthood

Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, Douglas Downey & Joseph Merry

Journal of Family Issues, November 2016, Pages 2075-2094

Abstract:
Despite fertility decline across economically developed countries, relatively little is known about the social consequences of children being raised with fewer siblings. Much research suggests that growing up with fewer siblings is probably positive, as children tend to do better in school when sibship size is small. Less scholarship, however, has explored how growing up with few siblings influences children's ability to get along with peers and develop long-term meaningful relationships. If siblings serve as important social practice partners during childhood, individuals with few or no siblings may struggle to develop successful social lives later in adulthood. With data from the General Social Surveys 1972-2012, we explore this possibility by testing whether sibship size during childhood predicts the probability of divorce in adulthood. We find that, among those who ever marry, each additional sibling is associated with a 3% decline in the likelihood of divorce, net of covariates.

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Wives With Masculine Husbands Report Increased Marital Satisfaction Near Peak Fertility

Andrea Meltzer

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although masculine men offer good genes, they tend to be less willing to invest in long-term relationships. Perhaps for this reason, women demonstrate a shift in their preference for partner masculinity near peak fertility - when they are best able to capitalize on such genetic benefits. Nevertheless, little is known about the extent to which such shifts interact with the masculinity of one's partner in the context of a long-term relationship. Given that relationship satisfaction may act as a barometer that gauges the extent to which people meet the evolved needs of their long-term relationships, the current study of 70 newlywed couples tested the notion that the association between wives' conception risk and their marital satisfaction would depend on their husbands' self-reported masculinity. Consistent with predictions, conception risk was positively associated with marital satisfaction among normally cycling wives with relatively more masculine husbands but unassociated with marital satisfaction among normally cycling wives with relatively less masculine husbands. These findings demonstrate that women's short-term mating strategies interact with their partners' genetic qualities to impact women's satisfaction with even their most long-term relationships - their marriages.

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Hormonal Contraceptive Use During Relationship Formation and Sexual Desire During Pregnancy

Kelly Cobey et al.

Archives of Sexual Behavior, November 2016, Pages 2117-2122

Abstract:
Women who are regularly cycling exhibit different partner preferences than those who use hormonal contraception. Preliminary evidence appears to suggest that during pregnancy women's partner preferences also diverge from those prevalent while regularly cycling. This is consistent with the general assertion that women's mate preferences are impacted by hormonal variation. During pregnancy, women's preferences are thought to closely resemble those displayed by women who are using hormonal contraception. Here, based on this literature, we compared levels of sexual desire among pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception and pregnant women who met their partner while regularly cycling. We predicted that women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception would experience higher levels of in-pair sexual desire during pregnancy since these women will have partner preferences that more closely match those prevalent at the time of their partner choice. Our results provided support for the idea that previous contraceptive use/non-use may impact subsequent sexual desire for the partner during pregnancy. Pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception (N = 37) were shown to have higher levels of in-pair sexual desire than those who met while regularly cycling (N = 47). In contrast, levels of extra-pair desire were not related to previous use/non-use of hormonal contraception. These findings were robust when controlling for a number of relevant individual difference variables known to impact sexual desire. Our results contribute to our understanding of factors affecting relationship functioning during pregnancy.

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Sexual intercourse, romantic relationship inauthenticity, and adolescent mental health

Brian Soller, Dana Haynie & Alena Kuhlemeier

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies indicate sexual intercourse, especially when it occurs early in adolescence, increases youths' risk of mental health problems. However, no research has examined whether the association between sexual intercourse and mental health varies by romantic relationship inauthenticity, or the level of incongruence between thoughts/feelings and actions within romantic relationships. Using data from a subset of romantically-involved Add Health respondents, we measured sexual involvement in romantic relationships and applied sequence analysis to reports of ideal and actual romantic relationship to measure inauthenticity within adolescent romances. Regressions of depression symptoms indicate that the magnitude of the positive associations between sexual intercourse and girls' mental health is most pronounced in relationships characterized by high levels of relationship inauthenticity and that there is no association between sexual intercourse and girls' depression at low levels of relationship inauthenticity. Having sexual intercourse is positively associated with depression symptoms among boys, but relationship inauthenticity does not alter this association. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on adolescent sexuality and programs aimed at enhancing youth sexuality development.

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Psychological Well-being Among Older Adults: The Role of Partnership Status

Matthew Wright & Susan Brown

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Today's older adults are increasingly unmarried. Some are in cohabiting unions, others are dating, and many remain unpartnered. Unmarried older adults are at risk of poorer well-being than married older adults, but it is unclear whether older cohabitors fare worse than or similar to their married counterparts; nor have well-being differences among cohabitors, daters, and unpartnered persons been considered. Conceptualizing marital status as a continuum of social attachment, data from Waves I and II of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project are used to examine how older married, cohabiting, dating, and unpartnered individuals differ across multiple indicators of psychological well-being. Among men, cohabitors appear to fare similarly to the married, and better than daters and the unpartnered. In contrast, there are few differences in psychological well-being by partnership status for women.

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Marital history and survival after a heart attack

Matthew Dupre & Alicia Nelson

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 114-123

Abstract:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and nearly one million Americans will have a heart attack this year. Although the risks associated with a heart attack are well established, we know surprisingly little about how marital factors contribute to survival in adults afflicted with heart disease. This study uses a life course perspective and longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine how various dimensions of marital life influence survival in U.S. older adults who suffered a heart attack (n = 2197). We found that adults who were never married (odds ratio [OR] = 1.73), currently divorced (OR = 1.70), or widowed (OR = 1.34) were at significantly greater risk of dying after a heart attack than adults who were continuously married; and the risks were not uniform over time. We also found that the risk of dying increased by 12% for every additional marital loss and decreased by 7% for every one-tenth increase in the proportion of years married. After accounting for more than a dozen socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioral, and physiological factors, we found that current marital status remained the most robust indicator of survival following a heart attack. The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of life course inequalities in chronic disease and directions for future research.

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Temporary Life Changes and the Timing of Divorce

Peter Fallesen & Richard Breen

Demography, October 2016, Pages 1377-1398

Abstract:
Marriage is a risky undertaking that people enter with incomplete information about their partner and their future life circumstances. A large literature has shown how new information gained from unforeseen but long-lasting or permanent changes in life circumstances may trigger a divorce. We extend this literature by considering how information gained from a temporary change in life circumstances - in our case, a couple having a child with infantile colic - may affect divorce behavior. Although persistent life changes are known to induce divorce, we argue that a temporary stressful situation allows couples more quickly to discern the quality of their relationship, in some cases leading them to divorce sooner than they otherwise would have. We formalize this argument in a model of Bayesian updating and test it using data from Denmark. We find that the incidence of infantile colic shortens the time to divorce or disruption among couples who would have split up anyway.

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The consequences of having a dominant romantic partner on testosterone responses during a social interaction

Brett Peters et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, December 2016, Pages 308-315

Abstract:
Testosterone reactivity has been conceptualized as a marker of social submission at low levels and social dominance at high levels. However, hormonal fluctuations in response to romantic partners remain largely unknown. Towards this end, 88 couples (N = 176) discussed an emotional video. Prior to the conversation, one member of the dyad (the "agent") was instructed to regulate affective displays in a specific way (express or suppress). The other dyad member (the "partner") was given no special instruction and was unaware of regulation instructions given to the agent. Agents who regulated affective displays were expected to exhibit decreased testosterone from baseline because they were prevented from tuning their emotional responses to their partners. Furthermore, we expected declines in testosterone would be moderated by partners' authoritativeness: People would be particularly submissive to more dominant partners. Predictions were supported for females and partially supported for males. Agents exhibited decreases in testosterone from baseline relative to partners. For females, this main effect was moderated by partners' trait-level authoritativeness: Females interacting with partners higher in authority exhibited larger decreases in testosterone when instructed to restrict their emotion regulation strategies. This research is the first to document testosterone reactivity in existing romantic relationships and underscores the importance of taking into account social and relational contexts when examining hormonal regulation.

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Oppositional Brand Choice: Using Brands to Respond to Relationship Frustration

Danielle Brick & Gavan Fitzsimons

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Within close relationships individuals feel a variety of emotions toward their partner, often including frustration. In the present research we suggest a novel way in which individuals respond to frustration with their partner is through their choice of brands. Specifically, we introduce the concept of oppositional brand choice, which we define as occurring when individuals choose a brand for themselves that is in opposition to the one they believe their partner prefers. Importantly, we posit that this effect is specific to individuals who are low in relationship power. Across several studies, including a subliminal priming lab study, we find that people who are lower in relationship power and are frustrated with their partner make significantly more oppositional brand choices. Further, we find that this effect is not due to a shift in underlying brand preferences. The current research has implications for theory in brand choice, close relationships, emotions, and social power.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, October 31, 2016

Class clowns

How You Pay Affects How You Do: Financial Aid Type and Student Performance in College

Peter Cappelli & Shinjae Won

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Students receiving financial aid pay different amounts for equivalent education and do so in different ways: Grants, which do not have to be repaid, loans, which are paid back in the future, and work-study, pay-as-you-go. We examine the effects of need-based aid independent of study ability on student outcomes – grade point average in particular – controlling for student background and attributes they had prior to college. We also analyze grades within colleges. The results suggest that students receiving need-based grants do significantly better in college than those not receiving financial aid while those paying for college with loans perform significantly worse than students receiving other forms of aid.

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Berkeley or Bust? Estimating the Causal Effect of College Selectivity on Bachelor’s Degree Completion

Shomon Shamsuddin

Research in Higher Education, November 2016, Pages 795–822

Abstract:
Many students enroll in less selective colleges than they are qualified to attend, despite low graduation rates at these institutions. Some scholars have argued that qualified students should enroll in the most selective colleges because they have greater resources to support student success. However, selective college attendance is endogenous, so student outcomes could be due to individual ability, not institutional characteristics. Previous work on college selectivity has focused on the earnings effects of attending elite private universities, overlooking both college graduation impacts and the public institutions that educate most students. I estimate the effect of selective colleges on the probability of bachelor’s degree completion using a restricted-access national dataset and an instrumental variables approach to address the endogeneity of college choice. I find that a 100-point increase in the average SAT score for admitted students is associated with an increase in the probability of graduation by 13 percentage points. In addition, I find suggestive evidence that enrolling in a selective public college has a positive effect on degree completion. The results are robust to a series of sensitivity tests and alternate specifications. The findings suggest strong benefits to enrolling in the most selective colleges that students are qualified to attend and have important implications for decisions to pursue postsecondary education in the face of high student loan debt.

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Feeling left out, but affirmed: Protecting against the negative effects of low belonging in college

Kristin Layous et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evaluative domains such as work and school present daily threats to self-integrity that can undermine performance. Self-affirmation theory asserts that, when threatened, people can perform small but meaningful acts to reaffirm their sense of competency. For instance, brief self-affirmation writing interventions have been shown in numerous studies to boost the academic achievement of those contending with negative stereotypes in school because of their race, gender, or generational status. The current paper tested the protective effects of self-affirmation for students who have the subjective sense that they do not belong in college. Such a feeling is not as visible as race or gender but, as a pervasive part of the students' inner world, might still be as debilitating to the students' academic performance. Among a predominantly White sample of college undergraduates, students who felt a low sense of belonging declined in grade point average (GPA) over three semesters. In contrast, students who reported low belonging, but affirmed their core values in a lab-administered self-affirmation writing activity, gained in GPA over time, with the effect of affirmation sufficiently strong to yield a main effect among the sample as a whole. The affirmation intervention mitigated — and even reversed — the decline in GPA among students with a low sense of belonging in college, providing support for self-affirmation theory's contention that affirmations of personal integrity can lessen psychological threat regardless of its source.

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Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins

George Bulman et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We examine more than one million children whose parents won a state lottery to trace out the effect of additional household resources on college outcomes. The analysis draws on the universe of federal tax records linked to federal financial aid records and leverages substantial variation in the size and timing of wins. The results reveal modest, increasing, and only weakly concave effects of resources: wins less than $100,000 have little influence on college-going (i.e., effects greater than 0.3 percentage point can be ruled out) while very large wins that exceed the cost of college imply a high upper bound (e.g., wins over $1,000,000 increase attendance by 10 percentage points). The effects are smaller among low-SES households. Further, while lottery wins reduce financial aid, attendance patterns are not moderated by this crowd-out. Overall, the results suggest that households derive consumption value from college and, in the current policy environment, do not generally face binding borrowing constraints.

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Will more higher education improve economic growth?

Eric Hanushek

Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Winter 2016, Pages 538-552

Abstract:
Calls for expanded university education are frequently based on arguments that more graduates will lead to faster growth. Empirical analysis does not, however, support this general proposition. Differences in cognitive skills — the knowledge capital of countries — can explain most of the differences in growth rates across countries, but just adding more years of schooling without increasing cognitive skills historically has had little systematic influence on growth.

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Supplying Disadvantaged Schools with Effective Teachers: Experimental Evidence on Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America

Hanley Chiang, Melissa Clark & Sheena McConnell

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Teach For America (TFA) is an important but controversial source of teachers for hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty U.S. schools. We present findings from the first large-scale experimental study of secondary math teachers from TFA. We find that TFA teachers are more effective than other math teachers in the same schools, increasing student math achievement by 0.07 standard deviations over one school year. Addressing concerns about the fact that TFA requires only a two-year commitment, we find that TFA teachers in their first two years of teaching are more effective than more experienced non-TFA teachers in the same schools.

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School Size and Student Achievement: Does One Size Fit All?

Laura Crispin

Eastern Economic Journal, September 2016, Pages 630–662

Abstract:
I estimate value-added education production functions and control for a wide range of educational inputs associated with school size in order to establish the role of school size in the educational process. I estimate separately for urban, suburban, and rural schools to account for the distinct differences in the educational process by location. I find that for urban and rural schools, the size–achievement relationship is U-shaped, indicating that achievement is highest in the smallest and largest schools. My findings suggest that one size does not fit all, but that relatively small and relatively large schools may benefit students in most locations.

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Do high school STEM courses prepare non-college bound youth for jobs in the STEM economy?

Robert Bozick, Sinduja Srinivasan & Michael Gottfried

Education Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our study assesses whether high school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses provide non-college bound youth with the skills and training necessary to successfully transition from high school into the STEM economy. Specifically, our study estimates the effects that advanced math, advanced science, engineering, and computer science courses in high school have on the probability that non-college bound youth will obtain employment in the STEM economy and on wages within two years of graduating from high school. Our findings indicate that STEM coursework is unrelated with the probability of securing a job in the STEM economy and is unrelated with wages two years post high school graduation.

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Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education?

Joshua Goodman, Julia Melkers & Amanda Pallais

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Though online technology has generated excitement about its potential to increase access to education, most research has focused on comparing student performance across online and in-person formats. We provide the first evidence that online education affects the number of people pursuing formal education. We study the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Online M.S. in Computer Science, the earliest model to combine the inexpensive nature of online education with a highly-ranked degree program. Regression discontinuity estimates exploiting an admissions threshold unknown to applicants show that access to this online option substantially increases overall enrollment in formal education, expanding the pool of students rather than substituting for existing educational options. Demand for the online option is driven by mid-career Americans. By satisfying large, previously unmet demand for mid-career training, this single program will boost annual production of American computer science master’s degrees by about seven percent. More generally, these results suggest that low-cost, high-quality online options may open opportunities for populations who would not otherwise pursue education.

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Examining the Impact of Early Childhood School Investments on Neighborhood Crime

Arelys Madero-Hernandez et al.

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested the hypothesis that investments in early childhood schools have short-term crime reducing effects in neighborhoods. Time series data from the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were analyzed to evaluate the effects of an early childhood school built in the neighborhood of Kendall-Whittier as part of a larger neighborhood revitalization plan, on violent and property crime. Results revealed that after controlling for city-wide crime trends and monthly fluctuations, violent crime declined significantly in Kendall-Whittier. Further analysis indicated that the possible crime-reducing effects of school investments on violent crime spread beyond Kendall-Whittier, and no displacement was found. The results for property crime were mixed. The study demonstrates the use of clustering analysis, a useful tool in neighborhood-level research to identify comparison neighborhoods. The findings shed light on the possibility that investments in early childhood schools can yield results in a shorter term than anticipated, making them a desirable component of urban revitalization.

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Public School Quality Valuation Over the Business Cycle

Stuart Gabriel et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Over the years 2000 to 2013, the Los Angeles real estate market featured a boom, a bust, and then another boom. We use this variation to test how the hedonic valuation of school quality varies over the business cycle. Following Black (1999), we exploit a regression discontinuity design at elementary school attendance boundaries to test for how the implicit price of school quality changes. We find that the capitalization of school quality is counter-cyclical. While good schools always command a price premium, this premium grows during the bust. Possible mechanisms for these findings include consumers "trading down" from private to public schools during contractions as well as the effects of reduced household mobility during downturns in raising the value of the public school option.

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Born on the wrong day? School entry age and juvenile crime

Briggs Depew & Ozkan Eren

Journal of Urban Economics, November 2016, Pages 73–90

Abstract:
Kindergarten entry age is known to impact schooling outcomes. Less is known, however, about the role of school starting age on economic outcomes outside of the classroom. In this paper we use administrative data from Louisiana to analyze the effect of school starting age on juvenile crime. We find that late school entry by one year reduces the incidence of juvenile crime for young black females, particularly in high crime areas. The mediating effects of late school entry for this subgroup appear to be driven by reductions in non-felony offenses. We propose age related differences in human capital accumulation as a potential explanation for our findings.

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Weighing the Military Option: The Effects of Wartime Conditions on Investments in Human Capital

Brian Duncan, Hani Mansour & Bryson Rintala

University of Colorado Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Military service is an important vehicle through which young Americans invest in their human capital. Using internal military data, we show that county-level exposure to U.S. combat casualties during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars decreased the supply of new soldiers in that county, and changed the observable characteristics of soldiers who enlisted in that county. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that exposure to casualties at a young age (17-18) increases the probability of dropping out from high school, and decreases the probability of attaining a college degree. The results suggest that increasing access to higher education and skill training positively impacts the human capital investments of marginal students.

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The Effects of Head Start Duration on the Behavioral Competence of Socially Disadvantaged Children

Minjong Youn

Journal of Community Psychology, November 2016, Pages 980–996

Abstract:
This study examined the influence of Head Start duration on teacher-reported children's approaches to learning, behavioral problems, and cooperative classroom behaviors at the end of kindergarten. Propensity score matching was used to create comparable samples of children who experienced different durations of Head Start. Analysis of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey showed that children who attended 2 years of Head Start showed a higher level of approaches to learning (effect size [ES] = .53), cooperative classroom behaviors (ES = .35), and fewer problematic behaviors (ES = -.43) in kindergarten. The effects of 2 years of attendance of Head Start were most prominent for children raised in families with high-risk factors and for Black children, particularly with improvement in approaches to learning. This finding supports the argument that a longer exposure from an earlier age to a preschool program may contribute to improving school readiness for children from economically disadvantaged families.

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The Competitive Effects of Online Education

David Deming, Michael Lovenheim & Richard Patterson

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We study the impact of online degree programs on the market for U.S. higher education. Online degree programs increase the competitiveness of local education markets by providing additional options in areas that previously only had a small number of brick-and-mortar schools. We show that local postsecondary institutions in less competitive markets experienced relative enrollment declines following a regulatory change in 2006 that increased the market entry and enrollment of online institutions. Impacts on enrollment were concentrated among private non-selective institutions, which are likely to be the closest competitors to online degree programs. We also find increases in per-student instructional spending among public institutions. Our results suggest that by increasing competitive pressure on local schools, online education can be an important driver of innovation and productivity in U.S. higher education.

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Performance Standards in Need-Based Student Aid

Judith Scott-Clayton & Lauren Schudde

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
College attendance is a risky investment. But students may not recognize when they are at risk for failure, and financial aid introduces the possibility for moral hazard. Academic performance standards can serve three roles in this context: signaling expectations for success, providing incentives for increased student effort, and limiting financial losses. Such standards have existed in federal need-based aid programs for nearly 40 years in the form of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, yet have received virtually no academic attention. In this paper, we sketch a simple model to illustrate not only student responses to standards but also the tradeoffs faced by a social planner weighing whether to set performance standards in the context of need-based aid. We then use regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference designs to examine the consequences of SAP failure. In line with theoretical predictions, we find heterogeneous effects in the short term, with negative impacts on persistence but positive effects on grades for students who remain enrolled. After three years, the negative effects appear to dominate. Effects on credits attempted are 2–3 times as large as effects on credits earned, suggesting that standards increase the efficiency of aid expenditures. But it also appears to exacerbate inequality in higher education by pushing out low-performing low-income students faster than their equally low-performing, but higher-income peers.

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Cognitive Priming and Cognitive Training: Immediate and Far Transfer to Academic Skills in Children

Bruce Wexler et al.

Scientific Reports, September 2016

Abstract:
Cognitive operations are supported by dynamically reconfiguring neural systems that integrate processing components widely distributed throughout the brain. The inter-neuronal connections that constitute these systems are powerfully shaped by environmental input. We evaluated the ability of computer-presented brain training games done in school to harness this neuroplastic potential and improve learning in an overall study sample of 583 second-grade children. Doing a 5-minute brain-training game immediately before math or reading curricular content games increased performance on the curricular content games. Doing three 20-minute brain training sessions per week for four months increased gains on school-administered math and reading achievement tests compared to control classes tested at the same times without intervening brain training. These results provide evidence of cognitive priming with immediate effects on learning, and longer-term brain training with far-transfer or generalized effects on academic achievement.

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Effects of ParentCorps in Prekindergarten on Child Mental Health and Academic Performance: Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Through 8 Years of Age

Laurie Miller Brotman et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Importance: Low-income minority children living in urban neighborhoods are at high risk for mental health problems and underachievement. ParentCorps, a family-centered, school-based intervention in prekindergarten, improves parenting and school readiness (ie, self-regulation and preacademic skills) in 2 randomized clinical trials. The longer-term effect on child mental health and academic performance is not known.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This is a 3-year follow-up study of a cluster randomized clinical trial of ParentCorps in public schools with prekindergarten programs in New York City. Ten elementary schools serving a primarily low-income, black student population were randomized in 2005, and 4 consecutive cohorts of prekindergarten students were enrolled from September 12, 2005, through December 31, 2008. We report follow-up for the 3 cohorts enrolled after the initial year of implementation. Data analysis was performed from September 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015.

Interventions: ParentCorps included professional development for prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers and a program for parents and prekindergarten students (13 two-hour group sessions delivered after school by teachers and mental health professionals).

Results: A total of 1050 children (4 years old; 518 boys [49.3%] and 532 girls [50.7%]) in 99 prekindergarten classrooms participated in the trial (88.1% of the prekindergarten population), with 792 students enrolled from 2006 to 2008. Most families in the follow-up study (421 [69.6%]) were low income; 680 (85.9%) identified as non-Latino black, 78 (9.8%) as Latino, and 34 (4.3%) as other. Relative to their peers in prekindergarten programs, children in ParentCorps-enhanced prekindergarten programs had lower levels of mental health problems (Cohen d = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.08-0.81) and higher teacher-rated academic performance (Cohen d = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.02-0.39) in second grade.

Conclusions and Relevance: Intervention in prekindergarten led to better mental health and academic performance 3 years later. Family-centered early intervention has the potential to prevent problems and reduce disparities for low-income minority children.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Team members

A Laughing Matter: Patterns of Laughter and the Effectiveness of Working Dyads

Lu Wang et al.

Organization Science, September-October 2016, Pages 1142-1160

Abstract:
Poor communication in teams has been found to result in disappointing team performance. Integrating research on team communication and laughter, we tested hypotheses about the relationship between working dyads’ patterns of laughter and their open communication and effectiveness. We examined two patterns of laughter: shared laughter occurs when both individuals laugh frequently in a dyad, and unshared laughter occurs when one individual in a dyad laughs frequently, but the other does not. Using data collected from 93 flight simulations in two aviation courses, we found that dyads engage in more open communication and are more effective when one member laughs frequently, but the other member does not. In addition, we found that the agreeableness of a dyad member reduces team effectiveness by increasing the likelihood of shared laughter. These results highlight the important role of laughter in team interactions and expand the growing literature on the role of emotions in teams.

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Making Intergroup Contact More Fruitful: Enhancing Cooperation Between Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli Adolescents by Fostering Beliefs About Group Malleability

Amit Goldenberg et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
For decades, increasing intergroup contact has been the preferred method for improving cooperation between groups. However, even proponents of this approach acknowledge that intergroup contact may not be effective in the context of intractable conflicts. One question is whether anything can be done to increase the impact of intergroup contact on cooperation. In the present study, we tested whether changing perceptions of group malleability in a pre-encounter intervention could increase the degree of cooperation during contact encounters. Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli adolescents (N = 141) were randomly assigned either to a condition that taught that groups are malleable or to a coping, control condition. During a subsequent intergroup encounter, we used two behavioral tasks to estimate the levels of cooperation. Results indicated that relative to controls, participants in the group malleability condition showed enhanced cooperation. These findings suggest new avenues for enhancing the impact of contact in the context of intractable conflicts.

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An intra-group perspective on leader preferences: Different risks of exploitation shape preferences for leader facial dominance

Troels Bøggild & Lasse Laustsen

Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that followers' preferences for dominant leadership vary according to two types of exploitation risks from other individuals within the group. Previous work demonstrates that contexts of inter-group war and peace make followers prefer dominant- and non-dominant-looking leaders, respectively. We add an intra-group perspective to this literature. Four original studies demonstrate that contexts with high risks of free-riding and criminal behavior from other group members (i.e., horizontal exploitation) increase preferences for dominant-looking leaders, whereas contexts with high risks of unresponsive, self-interested behavior from leaders themselves (i.e., vertical exploitation) decrease preferences for dominant-looking leaders. Moreover, within this framework of intra-group exploitation risks we show that followers prefer leaders from another vis-à-vis their own ethnic coalition to look less dominant, and that this difference is driven by enhanced concerns for vertical exploitation from ethnically different leaders. The findings add new insights on appearance-based voting and electoral difficulties facing minority candidates.

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Ask in person: You're less persuasive than you think over email

Mahdi Roghanizad & Vanessa Bohns

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found people underestimate the likelihood strangers will comply with their direct requests (Bohns, 2016; Flynn & Lake (Bohns), 2008). Here we argue this “underestimation-of-compliance effect” may be limited to requests made face-to-face. We find when making direct requests over email, requesters instead overestimate compliance. In two studies, participants asked strangers to comply with requests either face-to-face or over email. Before making these requests, requesters estimated the number of people they expected to say “yes”. While requesters underestimated compliance in face-to-face contexts, replicating previous research, they overestimated compliance in email contexts. Analyses of several theorized mechanisms for this finding suggest that requesters, anchored on their own perspectives, fail to appreciate the suspicion, and resulting lack of empathy, with which targets view email requests from strangers. Given the prevalence of email and text-based communication, this is an extremely important moderator of the underestimation-of-compliance effect.

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Competing While Cooperating With the Same Others: The Consequences of Conflicting Demands in Co-Opetition

Florian Landkammer & Kai Sassenberg

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies comparing the effects of competition and cooperation demonstrated that competition is detrimental on the social level. However, instead of purely competing, many social contexts require competing while cooperating with the same social target. The current work examined the consequences of such “co-opetition” situations between individuals. Because having to compete and to cooperate with the same social target constitutes conflicting demands, co-opetition should lead to more flexibility, such as (a) less rigid transfer effects of competitive behavior and (b) less rigidity/more flexibility in general. Supporting these predictions, Studies 1a and 1b demonstrated that co-opetition did not elicit competitive behavior in a subsequent task (here: enhanced deceiving of uninvolved others). Study 2 showed that adding conflicting demands (independent of social interdependence) to competition likewise elicits less competitive transfer than competition without such conflicting demands. Beyond that, co-opetition reduced rigid response tendencies during a classification task in Studies 3a and 3b and enhanced flexibility during brainstorming in Study 4, compared with other forms of interdependence. Together, these results suggest that co-opetition leads to more flexible behavior when individuals have to reconcile conflicting demands. Implications for research on social priming, interdependence and competition in everyday life are discussed.

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Bliss is ignorance: How the magnitude of expressed happiness influences perceived naiveté and interpersonal exploitation

Alixandra Barasch, Emma Levine & Maurice Schweitzer

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 184–206

Abstract:
Across six studies, we examine how the magnitude of expressed happiness influences social perception and interpersonal behavior. We find that happiness evokes different judgments when expressed at high levels than when expressed at moderate levels, and that these judgments influence opportunistic behavior. Specifically, people perceive very happy individuals to be more naïve than moderately happy individuals. These perceptions reflect the belief that very happy individuals shelter themselves from negative information about the world. As a result of these inferences, very happy people, relative to moderately happy people, are more likely to receive biased advice from advisors with a conflict of interest and are more likely to be chosen as negotiation partners when the opportunity for exploitation is salient. Our findings challenge existing assumptions in organizational behavior and psychology by identifying a significant disadvantage of expressing happiness, and underscore the importance of examining emotional expressions at different magnitudes. We call for future work to explore how the same emotion, experienced or expressed at different levels, influences judgment and behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Loving differences

The impact of sexuality concerns on teenage pregnancy: A consequence of heteronormativity?

Thomas Farrell et al.

Culture, Health & Sexuality, forthcoming

Abstract:
In countries such as the USA, a substantial percentage of teenage pregnancies are intentional, and desire for pregnancy increases risk. Black US Americans have been found to be less accepting of homosexuality than their non-Black peers, which may result in minority ethnic teenagers demonstrating heterosexual orientation through attempting pregnancy. Young, socioeconomically disadvantaged African Americans were surveyed longitudinally regarding attitudes about their sexuality, pregnancy intentions and other psychosocial factors. Young people who reported being somewhat concerned about their sexual orientation were nearly four times more likely to report attempting pregnancy compared to those who were not at all concerned. This relationship held true while accounting for the significant effect of religion, sense of community, hopelessness and numerous demographic factors. The current study suggests that uncertainty regarding sexual orientation, potentially due to social stigma, may impact pregnancy attempts among young Black people from disadvantaged communities.

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More Than a Game: Football Fans and Marriage Equality

Brian Harrison & Melissa Michelson

PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2016, Pages 782-787

Abstract:
Public opinion tends to be stable. Once formed, attitudes are persistent and endure over time at both the individual and the aggregate levels. Attitudes toward marriage equality, however, have changed rapidly in recent years. This article posits that this is partly due to people learning that other members of their in-groups are supporters; they then alter their own opinions to be consistent with those of other in-group members. The authors tested this theory using a set of randomized survey experiments that shared identities as fans of professional football. When fans learn - sometimes unexpectedly - that other fans or athletes are supporters of marriage equality, they are motivated to agree in order to further normalize their membership in those sports-fan groups.

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Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?

Corinne Reczek et al.

Demography, October 2016, Pages 1605-1630

Abstract:
The children of different-sex married couples appear to be advantaged on a range of outcomes relative to the children of different-sex cohabiting couples. Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, whether and how this general pattern extends to the children of same-sex married and cohabiting couples is unknown. This study examines this question with nationally representative data from the 2004-2013 pooled National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Results reveal that children in cohabiting households have poorer health outcomes than children in married households regardless of the sex composition of their parents. Children in same-sex and different-sex married households are relatively similar to each other on health outcomes, as are children in same-sex and different-sex cohabiting households. These patterns are not fully explained by socioeconomic differences among the four different types of families. This evidence can inform general debates about family structure and child health as well as policy interventions aiming to reduce child health disparities.

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No Differences? Meta-Analytic Comparisons of Psychological Adjustment in Children of Gay Fathers and Heterosexual Parents

Benjamin Graham Miller, Stephanie Kors & Jenny Macfie

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The field of literature on gay male parenting is small, especially compared to the number of studies on lesbian parenting. No meta-analysis has specifically compared the children of gay fathers to the children of heterosexual parents nor has any meta-analysis applied the newly developed quality-effects model to this field of research. The current study applied the fixed effects, random effects, and quality-effects models of meta-analysis to 10 studies (35 standardized mean differences) from the past 10 years to evaluate child psychological adjustment by parent sexual orientation. Studies both within and outside of the United States with a range of child ages and sample sizes were included. The quality-effects model of meta-analysis helps mitigate error caused by methodological differences in studies in addition to random error attributed to small sample sizes, making it the most appropriate model for this study. Although the quality-effects model provided results closest to our hypothesis that there would be no difference, results indicated that children of gay fathers had significantly better outcomes than did children of heterosexual parents in all 3 models of meta-analysis. These results may be attributable to potential higher socioeconomic status for gay fathers traditionally associated with dual earner households, better preparedness for fatherhood in the face of strong antigay stigma directed at same-sex families, and more egalitarian parenting roles. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.

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The impact of civil union legislation on minority stress, depression, and hazardous drinking in a diverse sample of sexual-minority women: A quasi-natural experiment

Bethany Everett, Mark Hatzenbuehler & Tonda Hughes

Social Science & Medicine, November 2016, Pages 180-190

Objective: To determine the effect of civil union legalization on sexual minority women's perceived discrimination, stigma consciousness, depressive symptoms, and four indicators of hazardous drinking (heavy episodic drinking, intoxication, alcohol dependence symptoms, adverse drinking consequences) and to evaluate whether such effects are moderated by race/ethnicity or education.

Methods: During the third wave of data collection in the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women study (N = 517), Illinois passed the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, legalizing civil unions in Illinois and resulting in a quasi-natural experiment wherein some participants were interviewed before and some after the new legislation. Generalized linear models and interactions were used to test the effects of the new legislation on stigma consciousness, perceived discrimination, depression, and hazardous drinking indicators. Interactions were used to assess whether the effects of policy change were moderated by race/ethnicity or education.

Results: Civil union legislation was associated with lower levels of stigma consciousness, perceived discrimination, depressive symptoms, and one indicator of hazardous drinking (adverse drinking consequences) for all sexual minority women. For several other outcomes, the benefits of this supportive social policy were largely concentrated among racial/ethnic minority women and women with lower levels of education.

Conclusions: Results suggest that policies supportive of the civil rights of sexual minorities improve the health of all sexual minority women, and may be most beneficial for women with multiply marginalized statuses.

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LGBT Novel Drug Use as Contextualized Through Control, Strain, and Learning Theories

Joseph Rukus, John Stogner & Bryan Miller

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examine novel drug use in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the context of social learning, self-control, and strain theories.

Methods: Based on a sample of 2,349 college students, we examine novel drug use rates of LGBT participants. We then perform a series of logistic regression models to examine factors correlated with LGBT novel drug use.

Results: We find LGBT individuals have higher rates of use for novel drugs. We find that social learning constructs partially mediate the relationship between sexual orientation and novel drug use. The data did not support the hypotheses that strain or self-control mediated or acted as a moderator in this relationship.

Conclusion: We hypothesize higher LGBT novel drug use may be related to unique cultural definitions surrounding LGBT drug use and LGBT individuals being less likely to stigmatize substance use. This finding may have implications for LGBT substance use messaging and education programs.

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Peer influence on gender identity development in adolescence

Olga Kornienko et al.

Developmental Psychology, October 2016, Pages 1578-1592

Abstract:
During adolescence, gender identity (GI) develops through a dialectic process of personal reflection and with input from the social environment. Peers play an important role in the socialization of gendered behavior, but no studies to-date have assessed peer influences on GI. Thus, the goal of the present study was to examine peer influences on four aspects of adolescents' GI in racially and ethnically diverse 7th- and 8th-grade students (N = 670; 49.5% boys, M age = 12.64) using a longitudinal social network modeling approach. We hypothesized stronger peer influence effects on between-gender dimensions of GI (intergroup bias and felt pressure for gender conformity) than on within-gender dimensions of GI (typicality and contentedness). Consistent with expectations, we found significant peer influence on between-gender components of GI-intergroup bias among 7th and 8th graders as well as felt pressure for gender conformity among 8th graders. In contrast, within-gender components of GI showed no evidence of peer influence. Importantly, these peer socialization effects were evident even when controlling for tendencies to select friends who were similar on gender, gender typicality, and contentedness (8th graders only). Employing longitudinal social network analyses provides insights into and clarity about the roles of peers in gender development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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