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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Head strong

The Wages of Sinistrality: Handedness, Brain Structure, and Human Capital Accumulation

Joshua Goodman, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2014, Pages 193-212

Abstract:
Left- and right-handed individuals have different neurological wiring, particularly with regard to language processing. Multiple datasets from the United States and the United Kingdom show that lefties exhibit significant human capital deficits relative to righties. Lefties score 0.1 standard deviations lower on cognitive skill measures, have more behavioral problems, have more learning disabilities such as dyslexia, complete less schooling, and work in occupations requiring less cognitive skill. Most strikingly, lefties have 10-12 percent lower annual earnings than righties, much of which can be explained by observable differences in cognitive skills and behavioral problems. Lefties work in more manually intensive occupations than do righties, further suggesting their primary labor market disadvantage is cognitive rather than physical. I argue here that handedness can be used to explore the long-run impacts of differential brain structure generated in part by genetics and in part by poor infant health.

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No Relationship Between Intelligence and Facial Attractiveness in a Large, Genetically Informative Sample

Dorian Mitchem et al., Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theories in both evolutionary and social psychology suggest that a positive correlation should exist between facial attractiveness and general intelligence, and several empirical observations appear to corroborate this expectation. Using highly reliable measures of facial attractiveness and IQ in a large sample of identical and fraternal twins and their siblings, we found no evidence for a phenotypic correlation between these traits. Likewise, neither the genetic nor the environmental latent factor correlations were statistically significant. We supplemented our analyses of new data with a simple meta-analysis that found evidence of publication bias among past studies of the relationship between facial attractiveness and intelligence. In view of these results, we suggest that previously published reports may have overestimated the strength of the relationship and that the theoretical bases for the predicted attractiveness-intelligence correlation may need to be reconsidered.

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Saving-Enhanced Memory: The Benefits of Saving on the Learning and Remembering of New Information

Benjamin Storm & Sean Stone, Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
With the continued integration of technology into people’s lives, saving digital information has become an everyday facet of human behavior. In the present research, we examined the consequences of saving certain information on the ability to learn and remember other information. Results from three experiments showed that saving one file before studying a new file significantly improved memory for the contents of the new file. Notably, this effect was not observed when the saving process was deemed unreliable or when the contents of the to-be-saved file were not substantial enough to interfere with memory for the new file. These results suggest that saving provides a means to strategically off-load memory onto the environment in order to reduce the extent to which currently unneeded to-be-remembered information interferes with the learning and remembering of other information.

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How fragile is our intellect? Estimating losses in general intelligence due to both selection and mutation accumulation

Michael Woodley, Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015, Pages 80–84

Abstract:
Two dysgenic models of declining general intelligence have been proposed. The first posits that since the Industrial Revolution those with low g have had a reproductive advantage over those with high g. The second posits that relaxed purifying selection against deleterious mutations in modern populations has led to g declining due to mutation accumulation. Here, a meta-analytic estimate of the decline due to selection is computed across nine US and UK studies, revealing a loss of .39 points per decade (combined N = 202,924). By combining findings from a high-precision study of the effects of paternal age on offspring g with a study of paternal age and offspring de novo mutation numbers, it is proposed that, 70 de novo mutations per familial generation should reduce offspring g by 2.94 points, or .84 points per decade. Combining the selection and mutation accumulation losses yields a potential overall dysgenic loss of 1.23 points per decade, with upper and lower bound values ranging from 1.92 to .53 points per decade. This estimate is close to those from studies employing the secular slowing of simple reaction time as a potential indicator of declining g, consistent with predictions that mutation accumulation may play a role in these findings.

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Selection and the Age-Productivity Profile. Evidence from Chess Players

Marco Bertoni, Giorgio Brunello & Lorenzo Rocco, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, February 2015, Pages 45–58

Abstract:
We use data on professional chess tournaments to study how endogenous selection affects the relationship between age and mental productivity in a brain-intensive profession. We show that less talented players are more likely to drop out, and that the age-productivity gradient is heterogeneous by ability, making fixed effects estimators inconsistent. Since we do not observe the players who dropped out of chess before the beginning of our sampling period, we cannot exploit the standard Heckman sample selection correction procedure. Therefore, we correct for selection by using an imputation method that repopulates the sample by applying to older cohorts the self-selection patterns observed in younger cohorts. We estimate the age-productivity profile on the repopulated sample using median regressions, and find that median productivity increases by close to 5 percent from initial age (15) to peak age (21.6), and declines substantially after the peak. At age 50, it is about 10 percent lower than at age 15. We compare profiles in the unadjusted and in the repopulated sample and show that failure to adequately address endogenous selection in the former leads to substantially over-estimating productivity at any age relative to initial age.

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Mapping the unconscious maintenance of a lost first language

Lara Pierce et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 December 2014, Pages 17314–17319

Abstract:
Optimal periods during early development facilitate the formation of perceptual representations, laying the framework for future learning. A crucial question is whether such early representations are maintained in the brain over time without continued input. Using functional MRI, we show that internationally adopted (IA) children from China, exposed exclusively to French since adoption (mean age of adoption, 12.8 mo), maintained neural representations of their birth language despite functionally losing that language and having no conscious recollection of it. Their neural patterns during a Chinese lexical tone discrimination task matched those observed in Chinese/French bilinguals who have had continual exposure to Chinese since birth and differed from monolingual French speakers who had never been exposed to Chinese. They processed lexical tone as linguistically relevant, despite having no Chinese exposure for 12.6 y, on average, and no conscious recollection of that language. More specifically, IA participants recruited left superior temporal gyrus/planum temporale, matching the pattern observed in Chinese/French bilinguals. In contrast, French speakers who had never been exposed to Chinese did not recruit this region and instead activated right superior temporal gyrus. We show that neural representations are not overwritten and suggest a special status for language input obtained during the first year of development.

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Using Participant Choice to Enhance Memory Performance

Ulrich Weger & Stephen Loughnan, Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When patients are involved in deciding the course of treatment for their ailment and are given a chance to choose between different treatment options, the success of the intervention typically increases. In our study we transferred this approach to a cognitive psychology task and investigated whether treatment choice can enhance participants' memory performance. Participants who were free to choose one out of a selection of alleged cognitive enhancers showed better performance than those who were assigned an enhancer. We also found that performance-expectations have a stronger impact when triggered prior to the encoding as opposed to the retrieval stage and thus appear to be more effective at a point when participants exercise a greater degree of cognitive control. The findings are of relevance in contexts where it can be assumed that participants have knowledge about their own needs and can in turn capitalize on this knowledge when given the opportunity.

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Noninvasive stimulation of prefrontal cortex strengthens existing episodic memories and reduces forgetting in the elderly

Marco Sandrini et al., Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, October 2014

Abstract:
Memory consolidation is a dynamic process. Reactivation of consolidated memories by a reminder triggers reconsolidation, a time-limited period during which existing memories can be modified (i.e., weakened or strengthened). Episodic memory refers to our ability to recall specific past events about what happened, including where and when. Difficulties in this form of long-term memory commonly occur in healthy aging. Because episodic memory is critical for daily life functioning, the development of effective interventions to reduce memory loss in elderly individuals is of great importance. Previous studies in young adults showed that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a causal role in strengthening of verbal episodic memories through reconsolidation. The aim of the present study was to explore the extent to which facilitatory transcranial direct current stimulation (anodal tDCS) over the left DLPFC would strengthen existing episodic memories through reconsolidation in elderly individuals. On Day 1, older adults learned a list of 20 words. On Day 2 (24 h later), they received a reminder or not, and after 10 min tDCS was applied over the left DLPFC. Memory recall was tested on Day 3 (48 h later) and Day 30 (1 month later). Surprisingly, anodal tDCS over the left DLPFC (i.e., with or without the reminder) strengthened existing verbal episodic memories and reduced forgetting compared to sham stimulation. These results provide a framework for testing the hypothesis that facilitatory tDCS of left DLPFC might strengthen existing episodic memories and reduce memory loss in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

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Chinese sex differences in intelligence: Some new evidence

Jianghong Liu & Richard Lynn, Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015, Pages 90–93

Abstract:
Sex differences on the WISC-R in Chinese children were examined in a sample of 788 aged 12 years. Boys obtained a higher mean full scale IQ than girls of 3.75 IQ points, a higher performance IQ of 4.20 IQ points, and a higher verbal IQ of 2.40 IQ points. Boys obtained significantly higher means on the information, picture arrangement, picture completion, block design, and object assembly subtests, while girls obtained a significantly higher mean on coding. The results were in general similar to the sex differences in the United States standardisation sample of the WISC-R. Boys showed greater variability than girls.

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The Smarter, the Stronger: Intelligence Level Correlates With Brain Resilience To Systematic Insults

Emiliano Santarnecchi, Simone Rossi & Alessandro Rossi Cortex, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neuroimaging evidences posit human intelligence as tightly coupled with several structural and functional brain properties, also suggesting its potential protective role against aging and neurodegenerative conditions. However, whether higher-order cognition might in fact lead to a more resilient brain has not been quantitatively demonstrated yet. Here we document a relationship between individual intelligence quotient (IQ) and brain resilience to targeted and random attacks, as measured through resting-state fMRI graph-theoretical analysis in 102 healthy individuals. In this modeling context, enhanced brain robustness to targeted attacks in individuals with higher IQ is supported by an increased distributed processing capacity despite the systematic loss of the most important node(s) of the system. Moreover, brain resilience in individuals with higher IQ is supported by a set of neocortical regions mainly belonging to language and memory processing network(s), whereas regions related to emotional processing are mostly responsible for lower IQ individuals. Results suggest intelligence level among the predictors of post-lesional or neurodegenerative recovery, also promoting the evolutionary role of higher order cognition, and simultaneously suggesting a new framework for brain stimulation interventions aimed at counteract brain deterioration over time.

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Induced mild systemic inflammation is associated with impaired ability to improve cognitive task performance by practice

Nicola Paine et al., Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Elevated inflammatory levels are linked to poorer cognition, but experimental confirmation is lacking. This report examined associations between cognitive performance and inflammation induced by exercise and vaccination. Thirty-six (exercise N = 18, vaccination N = 18) healthy males completed a paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT), which is a multifaceted measure of cognitive function. The task was completed in placebo and elevated inflammation states. Improvements in PASAT performance were related to inflammation. In the exercise study, IL-6 during the first PASAT negatively correlated with PASAT improvement (p = .022). In the vaccination study, increases in C-reactive protein between PASATs correlated with reduced PASAT improvement (p < .001). Inflammation was linked to reduced improvements in cognitive performance. Further research should identify the specific cognitive functions affects and the underlying mechanisms.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Within reach

Holding a Silver Lining Theory: When Negative Attributes Heighten Performance

Alexandra Wesnousky, Gabriele Oettingen & Peter Gollwitzer, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 15-22

Abstract:
Holding a lay theory that a negative personal attribute is associated with a positive attribute (i.e., a silver lining theory), may increase effortful performance in the domain of the positive attribute. In Study 1, individuals readily generated personal silver lining theories when prompted to consider a negative attribute, and the majority of individuals endorsed them for themselves. In Studies 2 and 3, we investigated how believing in a silver lining theory affected performance using the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was associated with creativity. In both a college (Study 2) and an online sample (Study 3), individuals induced to believe that they were impulsive and then given the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was related to creativity showed greater effort-based creativity than those for whom the silver lining theory was refuted. In Study 4, individuals made to believe that they were impulsive and given the silver lining theory performed more creatively than those who received no information about a silver lining theory, indicating that the silver lining theory increased performance relative to baseline. Silver lining lay theories may allow people to compensate for a negative attribute by promoting effortful behavior in the domain of a positive attribute believed to be linked to that negative attribute.

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Eating and inflicting pain out of boredom

Remco Havermans et al., Appetite, February 2015, Pages 52-57

Abstract:
In the present study it was investigated whether boredom promotes eating and if so, whether this effect likely reflects an increased drive for rewarding stimulation (positive reinforcement) or more plainly the drive to escape boredom (negative reinforcement). In the latter case, the valence of the stimulation should not matter and people might even be willing to look for negative stimulation, for instance to hurt oneself, just to escape boredom. In two parallel experiments, it was tested whether induced boredom promotes the consumption of chocolate (Experiment 1) and whether participants likewise are more inclined to self-administer electrocutaneous stimuli (Experiment 2). In both experiments, a total of 30 participants attended two separate sessions watching a documentary for 1 hour (neutral condition) and a monotonous repetition of a single clip from the same documentary for 1 hour (boring condition), in balanced order. During Experiment 1, participants had free access to M&Ms and during Experiment 2 participants could freely self-administer brief electrical shocks. It was found that participants ate more M&Ms when bored but also that they more readily self-administered electrical shocks when bored. It is concluded that eating when bored is not driven by an increased desire for satisfying incentive stimulation, but mainly by the drive to escape monotony.

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Pardon the Interruption: Goal Proximity, Perceived Spare Time, and Impatience

Ji Hoon Jhang & John Lynch, Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is no worse time to be interrupted than right now. Being close to attaining a goal to complete a focal task increases the attractiveness of that task compared to an interrupting task (study 1), makes people less willing to take on some otherwise attractive interruption than if they were farther away from completion (studies 2, 3, and 4), and causes them to perceive that in that moment they have little spare time (studies 3 and 4). Consumers immersed in goal pursuit are affected by local progress on an individual subgoal that supports an overarching goal even if this has no effect on the timing of attaining the overarching goal. Observers do not appreciate the motivating power of proximity to completing subgoals, and this leads them to mispredict the behavior of others (study 5).

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The Effects of Incentive Framing on Performance Decrements for Large Monetary Outcomes: Behavioral and Neural Mechanisms

Vikram Chib, Shinsuke Shimojo & John O'Doherty, Journal of Neuroscience, 5 November 2014, Pages 14833-14844

Abstract:
There is a nuanced interplay between the provision of monetary incentives and behavioral performance. Individuals' performance typically increases with increasing incentives only up to a point, after which larger incentives may result in decreases in performance, a phenomenon known as "choking." We investigated the influence of incentive framing on choking effects in humans: in one condition, participants performed a skilled motor task to obtain potential monetary gains; in another, participants performed the same task to avoid losing a monetary amount. In both the gain and loss frame, the degree of participants' behavioral loss aversion was correlated with their susceptibility to choking effects. However, the effects were markedly different in the gain and loss frames: individuals with higher loss aversion were susceptible to choking for large prospective gains and not susceptible to choking for large prospective losses, whereas individuals with low loss aversion choked for large prospective losses but not for large prospective gains. Activity in the ventral striatum was predictive of performance decrements in both the gain and loss frames. Moreover, a mediation analysis revealed that behavioral loss aversion hindered performance via the influence of ventral striatal activity on motor performance. Our findings indicate that the framing of an incentive has a profound effect on an individual's susceptibility to choking effects, which is contingent on their loss aversion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the ventral striatum serves as an interface between incentive-driven motivation and instrumental action, regardless of whether incentives are framed in terms of potential losses or gains.

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Purpose in life and use of preventive health care services

Eric Kim, Victor Strecher & Carol Ryff, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 November 2014, Pages 16331-16336

Abstract:
Purpose in life has been linked with better health (mental and physical) and health behaviors, but its link with patterns of health care use are understudied. We hypothesized that people with higher purpose would be more proactive in taking care of their health, as indicated by a higher likelihood of using preventive health care services. We also hypothesized that people with higher purpose would spend fewer nights in the hospital. Participants (n = 7,168) were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of American adults over the age of 50, and tracked for 6 y. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, each unit increase in purpose (on a six-point scale) was associated with a higher likelihood that people would obtain a cholesterol test [odds ratio (OR) = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08-1.29] or colonoscopy (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 0.99-1.14). Furthermore, females were more likely to receive a mammogram/X-ray (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.16-1.39) or pap smear (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.06-1.28), and males were more likely to receive a prostate examination (OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.18-1.45). Each unit increase in purpose was also associated with 17% fewer nights spent in the hospital (rate ratio = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.77-0.89). An increasing number of randomized controlled trials show that purpose in life can be raised. Therefore, with additional research, findings from this study may inform the development of new strategies that increase the use of preventive health care services, offset the burden of rising health care costs, and enhance the quality of life among people moving into the ranks of our aging society.

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Loss of Control Stimulates Approach Motivation

Katharine Greenaway et al., Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 235-241

Abstract:
The present research introduces a framework for understanding motivational reactions to control deprivation. Two experiments demonstrated that loss of control can stimulate approach motivation. Loss of control led to greater approach motivation in terms of enhanced motivation to achieve goals (Experiment 1) and greater self-reported high approach affect (Experiment 1 & 2). Experiment 2 additionally revealed that the effect of control deprivation on approach motivation was eliminated when participants misattributed their arousal to an external source. Overall, the findings demonstrate that loss of control can stimulate approach motivation as part of an adaptive motivational system aimed at coping with perceived lack of control.

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Asymmetric frontal cortical activity predicts effort expenditure for reward

David Hughes et al., Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
An extensive literature shows that greater left, relative to right, frontal cortical activity (LFA) is involved in approach-motivated affective states, and reflects stable individual differences in approach motivation. However, relatively few studies have linked LFA to behavioral indices of approach motivation. In this study, we examine the relation between LFA and effort expenditure for reward, a behavioral index of approach motivation. LFA was calculated for 51 right-handed participants (55% female) using power spectral analysis of electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded at rest. Participants also completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT; Treadway, Buckholtz, Schwartzman, Lambert, & Zald, 2009), which presents a series of trials requiring a choice between a low-reward low-effort task and a high-reward high-effort task. We found that individuals with greater resting LFA were more willing to expend greater effort in the pursuit of larger rewards, particularly when reward delivery was less likely. Our findings offer a more nuanced understanding of the motivational significance of LFA, in terms of processes that mitigate the effort- and uncertainty- related costs of pursuing rewarding goals.

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The Progress Bias in Goal Pursuit: When One Step Forward Seems Larger than One Step Back

Margaret Campbell & Caleb Warren, Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often pursue goals (e.g., losing weight) where the chance of attaining the goal increases with some behaviors (e.g., exercise) but decreases with others (e.g., eating). Although goal monitoring is known to be a critical step in self-control for successful goal pursuit, little research investigates whether consumers accurately monitor goal progress. Seven experiments demonstrate that consumers tend to show a progress bias in goal monitoring, perceiving that goal-consistent behaviors (e.g., saving $45) help progress more than goal-inconsistent behaviors of the equivalent size (e.g., spending $45) hurt it. Expectations of goal attainment moderate the progress bias; reducing the expectation that the goal will be reached reduces the tendency to perceive goal-consistent behaviors to have a larger impact on goal progress than equivalent goal-inconsistent behaviors. A study on exercise and eating shows that although the progress bias can increase initial goal persistence, it can also lead to premature goal release due to poor calibration of overall progress.

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The Interactive Effect of Positive Inequity and Regulatory Focus on Work Performance

Zhi Liu & Joel Brockner, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 111-116

Abstract:
The present study examined how the work performance of promotion-focused people and prevention-focused people was affected by two different forms of positive inequity: overpayment and having a job. After completing an initial task, participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: (1) an Overpayment condition in which participants were told that they would receive greater payment than the other participant (who was actually a confederate) for doing the same work, (2) a Having a Job condition in which participants were assigned to have a job while the other participant (the confederate) was dismissed prematurely without compensation, and (3) a control condition in which participants and the confederate were treated equitably. Relative to their prevention-focused counterparts, promotion-focused participants performed better in both the Overpayment and the Having a Job conditions than in the control condition. Theoretical implications are discussed.

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Talking About Behaviors in the Passive Voice Increases Task Performance

Ibrahim Senay, Muhammet Usak & Pavol Prokop, Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-talk can help people redirect their attention focused on themselves to the tasks they are working on with important consequences for their task performance. Across four experiments and two different types of languages, Turkish and Slovak, people describing their own behaviors to themselves, as well as merely reading or writing sentences depicting some fictitious events, in the passive (vs. the active) voice performed better on various tasks of motor and verbal performance. The effect was present to the extent that people maintained their control over task-distracting thoughts or felt more responsible for their task success/failure. In sum, talking about task behaviors in the passive voice may increase the perceived role of task-related factors while decreasing the role of agent-related factors in achieving task success, whereby the task focus, hence performance, increases. The results are important for understanding the role of self-talk in performance with implications for changing important outcomes.

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Follow Your Heart or Your Head? A Longitudinal Study of the Facilitating Role of Calling and Ability in the Pursuit of a Challenging Career

Shoshana Dobrow Riza & Daniel Heller, Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While making early career decisions in which pursuing what one loves and earning a secure living are at odds with one another, when and why will the intrinsic considerations prevail over the extrinsic considerations? We posit that a key factor in resolving this dilemma in favor of the intrinsic side of the career is the sense of calling, a consuming, meaningful passion people experience toward the domain. We test the connection between early callings (in adolescence) and later career pursuit (in adulthood) and the mediating role of perceived and actual abilities (in young adulthood) in a career context in which the intrinsic and extrinsic sides of a career can clash: the path to become a professional musician. In an 11-year 5-wave longitudinal study of 450 amateur high school musicians progressing from adolescence to adulthood, we found that regardless of their actual musical ability, people with stronger early callings were likely to perceive their abilities more favorably, which led them to pursue music professionally. Our findings thus indicate an intriguing pattern in which the experience of stronger early callings led to greater perceived ability that was not reflected in greater actual ability. Perceived ability, rather than objective ability as assessed by awards won in music competitions, led to subsequent career pursuit. We discuss implications for theory and research on the nature and consequences of calling, as well as for career decision making, both in general and in challenging career contexts in particular.

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Social exclusion causes a shift toward prevention motivation

Jina Park & Roy Baumeister, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2015, Pages 153-159

Abstract:
Four studies demonstrated that social exclusion caused a shift from promotion toward prevention motivation. Lonely individuals reported stronger prevention motivation and weaker promotion motivation than non-lonely individuals (Study 1). Those who either recalled an experience of social exclusion or were ostracized during an on-line ball tossing game reported stronger prevention motivation and generated fewer goal-promoting strategies (Studies 2 and 3) than those who were not excluded. Last, a hypothetical scenario of social exclusion caused a conservative response bias, whereas a scenario of social acceptance yielded a risky response bias in a recognition task (Study 4).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 19, 2014

Paid time off

The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence of Effects on the Employment and Income Trajectories of Low-Skilled Workers

Jeffrey Clemens & Michael Wither
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We estimate the minimum wage’s effects on low-skilled workers’ employment and income trajectories. Our approach exploits two dimensions of the data we analyze. First, we compare workers in states that were bound by recent increases in the federal minimum wage to workers in states that were not. Second, we use 12 months of baseline data to divide low-skilled workers into a “target” group, whose baseline wage rates were directly affected, and a “within-state control” group with slightly higher baseline wage rates. Over three subsequent years, we find that binding minimum wage increases had significant, negative effects on the employment and income growth of targeted workers. Lost income reflects contributions from employment declines, increased probabilities of working without pay (i.e., an “internship” effect), and lost wage growth associated with reductions in experience accumulation. Methodologically, we show that our approach identifies targeted workers more precisely than the demographic and industrial proxies used regularly in the literature. Additionally, because we identify targeted workers on a population-wide basis, our approach is relatively well suited for extrapolating to estimates of the minimum wage’s effects on aggregate employment. Over the late 2000s, the average effective minimum wage rose by 30 percent across the United States. We estimate that these minimum wage increases reduced the national employment-to-population ratio by 0.7 percentage point.

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Are State Workers Overpaid? Survey Evidence from Liquor Privatization in Washington State

Andrew Chamberlain
University of California Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Industry privatizations that result in exogenous job displacement of public employees can be exploited to estimate public sector wage rents. I report the findings of an original survey I administered to examine how wages of displaced government workers were affected by a 2012 privatization of liquor retailing in Washington State. Based on a panel difference-in-differences estimator I find that privatization reduced wages by $2.51 per hour or 17 percent compared to a counterfactual group of nearly identical non-displaced workers, with larger effects for women. I decompose wage losses into three rents identified in the literature: public sector rents, union premiums, and industry-specific human capital. Public sector wage premiums separately account for 85 to 90 percent of overall wage losses, while union premiums and industry-specific human capital account for just 10 to 15 percent. The results are consistent with a roughly 16 percent public sector wage premium.

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Performance pay and unemployment during the great recession

Daniel Parent
Economics Letters, January 2015, Pages 31–34

Abstract:
With data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics I show that individuals in performance pay jobs were much less likely to be unemployed at the time of the interview than those in “fixed” wage jobs during the 2008 recession. While their unemployment rate is always lower in non-recession years, there is little evidence that this association was any weaker during the recession. Additional evidence shows that performance pay has a similar effect on the incidence of layoffs vs quits in both non-recession and recession years.

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The $10.10 Minimum Wage Proposal: An Evaluation across States

Andrew Hanson & Zackary Hawley
Journal of Labor Research, December 2014, Pages 323-345

Abstract:
This paper offers state-level estimates of job loss from increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in 2016. Given the vast differences in nominal wages across geography, a federal increase in minimum wage that is not indexed to local wage levels will have a differential impacts across states. The proposed minimum wage would be binding for between 17 and 18 % of workers nationally. We estimate coverage rates ranging from just 4 % in Washington D.C. to as high as 51 % in Puerto Rico, with 13 states having at least 20 % of the employed population covered by the proposal. Using labor demand elasticities from previous empirical work, these coverage rates imply national employment losses between 550,000 and 1.5 million workers. The range of state estimates shows that states are differentially impacted, with high-end loss estimates ranging between 2.8 % of covered employees in Arkansas to over 41 % in Puerto Rico. Sensitivity analysis highlights that using even a simple methodology with relatively few assumptions for estimating employment loss from minimum wage changes is subject to a high degree of uncertainty.

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Competitive Pressure and the Decline of the Rust Belt: A Macroeconomic Analysis

Simeon Alder, David Lagakos & Lee Ohanian
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
No region of the United States fared worse over the postwar period than the “Rust Belt,” the heavy manufacturing region bordering the Great Lakes. This paper hypothesizes that the Rust Belt declined in large part due to a lack of competitive pressure in its labor and output markets. We formalize this thesis in a two-region dynamic general equilibrium model, in which productivity growth and regional employment shares are determined by the extent of competition. Quantitatively, the model accounts for much of the large secular decline in the Rust Belt’s employment share before the 1980s, and the relative stabilization of the Rust Belt since then, as competitive pressure increased.

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Debt, Jobs, or Housing: What's Keeping Millennials at Home?

Zachary Bleemer et al.
Federal Reserve Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Young Americans’ residence choices have changed markedly over the past fifteen years, with recent cohorts entering the housing market at lower rates, and lingering much longer in parents’ households. This paper begins with descriptive evidence on the residence choices of 1 percent of young Americans with credit reports, observed quarterly for fifteen years in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Equifax-sourced Consumer Credit Panel (CCP). Steep increases in the rate of living with parents or other substantially older household members have emerged as youth increasingly forsake living alone or with groups of roommates. Coupledom, however, appears stable. Homeownership at age thirty shows a precipitous drop following the recession, particularly for student borrowers. In an effort to decompose the contributions of housing market, labor market, and student debt changes to the observed changes in young Americans’ living arrangements, we model flows into and out of co-residence with parents. Estimates suggest countervailing influences of local economic growth on co-residence: strengthening youth labor markets support moves away from home, but rising local house prices send independent youth back to parents. Finally, we find that student loans deter independence: state-cohort groups who were more heavily reliant on student debt while in school are significantly and substantially more likely to move home to parents when living independently, and are significantly and substantially less likely to move away from parents when living at home.

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Job Referral Networks and the Determination of Earnings in Local Labor Markets

Ian Schmutte
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2015, Pages 1-32

Abstract:
Despite their documented importance in the labor market, little is known about how workers use social networks to find jobs and their resulting effect on earnings. I use geographically detailed US employer-employee data to infer the role of social networks in connecting workers to jobs in high-paying firms. To identify social interactions in job search, I exploit variation in social network quality within small neighborhoods. Workers are more likely to change jobs, and more likely to move to a higher-paying firm, when their neighbors are employed in high-paying firms. Furthermore, local referral networks help match high-ability workers to high-paying firms.

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Can Unemployment Insurance Spur Entrepreneurial Activity?

David Sraer et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We study a large-scale French reform that provided generous downside insurance for unemployed individuals starting a business. We study whether this reform affects the composition of people who are drawn into entrepreneurship. New firms started in response to the reform are, on average, smaller, but have similar growth expectations and education levels compared to start-ups before the reform. They are also as likely to survive or to hire. In aggregate, the effect of the reform on employment is largely offset by large crowd-out effects. However, because new firms are more productive, the reform has the impact of raising aggregate productivity. These results suggest that the dispersion of entrepreneurial abilities is small in the data, so that the facilitation of entry leads to sizable Schumpeterian dynamics at the firm-level.

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Government Ideology and Unemployment in the U.S. States

Nathan Kelly & Christopher Witko
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, December 2014, Pages 389-413

Abstract:
Research shows that when the more liberal Democratic Party controls the national government, unemployment is lower, but whether liberal state governments are associated with lower unemployment has not been examined. We argue that more left-leaning governments in the U.S. states have the same preference for and willingness to use government to reduce unemployment, but that the greater resource and policymaking constraints that the states face during economic downturns limit their ability to shape unemployment to economic growth periods. We find evidence for these arguments in an analysis of the U.S. states for the period of 1975–2010. Specifically, when economic growth is low, liberal state governments are associated with increases in unemployment rates similar to or even somewhat higher than conservative governments, but when growth is moderate to high, liberal state governments are associated with greater-than-expected reductions in unemployment. We also provide some evidence that different state spending decisions between liberal and conservative state governments may explain these patterns.

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Are Public Sector Jobs Recession-Proof? Were They Ever?

Jason Kopelman & Harvey Rosen
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We use data from the Displaced Worker Survey supplements of the Current Population Survey from 1984 to 2012 to investigate the differences in job loss rates between workers in the public and private sectors. Our focus is on the extent to which recessions affect the differential between job loss rates in the two sectors. Our main findings include the following: First, taking into account differences in characteristics among workers does not eliminate sectoral differences in the likelihood of losing one’s job. After accounting for worker characteristics, during both recessionary and non-recessionary periods, the probability of job loss is higher for private sector workers than for public sector workers at all levels of government. Second, the probability of displacement for private sector workers increased during both the Great Recession and earlier recessions during our sample period. Third, it is less straightforward to characterize the experience of public sector workers during recessions. Job loss rates sometimes increased and sometimes decreased, depending on whether the employer was the federal, state, or local government. The impact of the Great Recession on displacement rates for public sector employees was somewhat different from that in previous recessions. Fourth, the advantage of public sector employment in terms of job loss rates generally increased during recessions for all groups of public sector workers. Thus, the answer to the question posed in the title is that public sector jobs, while not generally recession-proof, do offer more security than private sector jobs, and the advantage widens during recessions. These patterns are present across genders, races, and educational groups.

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Labor's Enduring Divide: The Distinct Path of Public Sector Unions in the United States

Alexis Walker
Studies in American Political Development, October 2014, Pages 175-200

Abstract:
Why did public sector unionization rise so dramatically and then plateau at the same time as private sector unionization underwent a precipitous decline? The exclusion of public sector employees from the centerpiece of private sector labor law — the 1935 Wagner Act — divided U.S. labor law and relegated public sector demand-making to the states. Consequently, public sector employees' collective bargaining rights were slow to develop and remain geographically concentrated, unequal and vulnerable. Further, divided labor law put the two movements out of alignment; private sector union density peaked nearly a decade before the first major statutes granting public sector collective bargaining rights passed. As a result of this incongruent timing and sequencing, the United States has never had a strong union movement comprised of both sectors at the height of their membership and influence.

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Regional disadvantage? Employee non-compete agreements and brain drain

Matt Marx, Jasjit Singh & Lee Fleming
Research Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of research has documented the local impact of employee non-compete agreements, but their effect on interstate migration patterns remains unexplored. Exploiting an inadvertent policy reversal in Michigan as a natural experiment, we show that non-compete agreements are responsible for a “brain drain” of knowledge workers out of states that enforce such contracts to states where they are not enforceable. Importantly, this effect is felt most strongly on the margin of workers who are more collaborative and whose work is more impactful.

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Unemployment in the Great Recession: A Comparison of Germany, Canada and the United States

Florian Hoffmann & Thomas Lemieux
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
This paper investigates the potential reasons for the surprisingly different labor market performance of the United States, Canada, Germany, and several other OECD countries during and after the Great Recession of 2008-09. Unemployment rates did not change substantially in Germany, increased and remained at relatively high levels in the United States, and increased moderately in Canada. More recent data also show that, unlike Germany and Canada, the U.S. unemployment rate remains largely above its pre-recession level. We find two main explanations for these differences. First, the large employment swings in the construction sector linked to the boom and bust in U.S. housing markets can account for a large fraction of the cross-country differences in aggregate labor market outcomes for the three countries. Second, cross-country differences are consistent with a conventional Okun relationship linking GDP growth to employment performance. In particular, relative to pre-recession trends there has been a much larger drop in GDP in the United States than Germany between 2008 and 2012. In light of these facts, the strong performance of the German labor market is consistent with other aggregate outcomes of the economy.

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Individual Experience of Positive and Negative Growth is Asymmetric: Global Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data

Jan‐Emmanuel De Neve et al.
Harvard Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Are individuals more sensitive to losses than gains in macroeconomic growth? Using subjective well-being measures across three large data sets, we observe an asymmetry in the way positive and negative economic growth are experienced, with losses having more than twice as much impact on individual happiness as compared to equivalent gains. We use Gallup World Poll data drawn from 151 countries, BRFSS data taken from a representative sample of 2.5 million US respondents, and Eurobarometer data that cover multiple business cycles over four decades. This research provides a new perspective on the welfare cost of business cycles with implications for growth policy and our understanding of the long-run relationship between GDP and subjective well-being.

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Just the Facts: Demographic and Cross-Country Dimensions of the Employment Slump

Jeffrey Clemens & Michael Wither
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We present data characterizing the U.S. labor market during the Great Recession and subsequent recovery. U.S. employment declines were dramatic among young adults, substantial among prime-aged adults, and modest among those near retirement. The decline in employment among working-age adults generally exceeded those that occurred in other advanced economies. We assess the potential explanatory power of population aging and increases in educational attainment as factors underlying these developments. Recent analyses suggest that population aging can explain nearly one half of the decline in the labor force participation rate and one third of the decline in the employment to population ratio from 2007 to 2013. Our comparisons of employment developments across age groups and countries provide reason to view this one third as an upper bound on aging's plausible contribution. We conduct a more detailed analysis of changes in employment and school attendance across demographic sub-groups of the young adult population. Across sub-groups defined by age, gender, and race/ethnicity, changes in school enrollment predict very little of the variation in this period's employment changes. Taken together, aging and enrollment trends thus appear to underlie a modest to moderate fraction of the aggregate employment decline. We conclude by discussing a range of non-demographic factors that may have contributed to the decline, but on which existing research has yet to arrive at a consensus.

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The Long Reach of Education: Early Retirement

Steven Venti & David Wise
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The goal of this paper is to draw attention to the long lasting effect of education on economic outcomes. We use the relationship between education and two routes to early retirement – the receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and the early claiming of Social Security retirement benefits – to illustrate the long-lasting influence of education. We find that for both men and women with less than a high school degree the median DI participation rate is 6.6 times the participation rate for those with a college degree or more. Similarly, men and women with less than a high school education are over 25 percentage points more likely to claim Social Security benefits early than those with a college degree or more. We focus on four critical “pathways” through which education may indirectly influence early retirement – health, employment, earnings, and the accumulation of assets. We find that for women health is the dominant pathway through which education influences DI participation. For men, the health, earnings, and wealth pathways are of roughly equal magnitude. For both men and women the principal channel through which education influences early Social Security claiming decisions is the earnings pathway. We also consider the direct effect of education that does not operate through these pathways. The direct effect of education is much greater for early claiming of Social Security benefits than for DI participation, accounting for 72 percent of the effect of education for men and 67 percent for women. For women the direct effect of education on DI participation is not statistically significant, suggesting that the total effect may be through the four pathways.

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US union revival, minority unionism and inter-union conflict

Mark Harcourt, Helen Lam & Geoffrey Wood
Journal of Industrial Relations, November 2014, Pages 653-671

Abstract:
One option for reversing US union decline, requiring no legislative change, would involve re-legitimizing non-majority or minority union representation, allowing unions to organize without running the gauntlet of union certification. Such minority representation, applicable only to workplaces without majority union support on a members-only basis, could run in parallel with the existing system of exclusive representation in workplaces where majority support is achieved. The increased representation in the currently unrepresented workplaces would inevitably promote workers’ collective voice and contribute to union revival. However, minority unionism has been criticized for breeding union competition because it is non-exclusive. In this paper, the nature and extent of inter-union conflict under minority unionism are re-examined, using survey data from unions in New Zealand which already has non-exclusive, minority union representation. The low levels and consequences of conflict suggest that the benefits of minority unionism far outweigh any potentially unfavourable effects.

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Returns to Skills around the World: Evidence from PIAAC

Eric Hanushek et al.
European Economic Review, January 2015, Pages 103–130

Abstract:
Existing estimates of the labor-market returns to human capital give a distorted picture of the role of skills across different economies. International comparisons of earnings analyses rely almost exclusively on school attainment measures of human capital, and evidence incorporating direct measures of cognitive skills is mostly restricted to early-career workers in the United States. Analysis of the new PIAAC survey of adult skills over the full lifecycle in 23 countries shows that the focus on early-career earnings leads to underestimating the lifetime returns to skills by about one quarter. On average, a one-standard-deviation increase in numeracy skills is associated with an 18 percent wage increase among prime-age workers. But this masks considerable heterogeneity across countries. Eight countries, including all Nordic countries, have returns between 12 and 15 percent, while six are above 21 percent with the largest return being 28 percent in the United States. Estimates are remarkably robust to different earnings and skill measures, additional controls, and various subgroups. Instrumental-variable models that use skill variation stemming from school attainment, parental education, or compulsory-schooling laws provide even higher estimates. Intriguingly, returns to skills are systematically lower in countries with higher union density, stricter employment protection, and larger public-sector shares.

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Employment Cyclicality and Firm Quality

Lisa Kahn & Erika McEntarfer
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Who fares worse in an economic downturn, low- or high-paying firms? Different answers to this question imply very different consequences for the costs of recessions. Using U.S. employer-employee data, we find that employment growth at low-paying firms is less cyclically sensitive. High-paying firms grow more quickly in booms and shrink more quickly in busts. We show that while during recessions separations fall in both high-paying and low-paying firms, the decline is stronger among low-paying firms. This is particularly true for separations that are likely voluntary. Our findings thus suggest that downturns hinder upward progression of workers toward higher paying firms - the job ladder partially collapses. Workers at the lowest paying firms are 20% less likely to advance in firm quality (as measured by average pay in a firm) in a bust compared to a boom. Furthermore, workers that join firms in busts compared to booms will on average advance only half as far up the job ladder within the first year, due to both an increased likelihood of matching to a lower paying firm and a reduced probability of moving up once matched. Thus our findings can account for some of the lasting negative impacts on workers forced to search for a job in a downturn, such as displaced workers and recent college graduates.

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Repurposing American Labor Law: Immigrant Workers, Worker Centers, and the National Labor Relations Act

Jessica Garrick
Politics & Society, December 2014, Pages 489-512

Abstract:
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 has been widely portrayed as an anachronistic piece of legislation that needs to be reformed or abandoned. In the absence of reform, many US labor unions try to avoid the NLRA process altogether by organizing workers outside the confines of the law. But Somos un Pueblo Unido, or “Somos,” a worker center in New Mexico, has been using a novel interpretation of the NLRA less to boost union density than to develop an alternative to contract unionism. By helping nonunionized workers use Section 7 of the NLRA to act concertedly in their own defense, I argue, Somos is combating employer abuse, in the short run, and demonstrating that worker centers and their memberships may be transforming the US labor movement, in the long run. Their experiences illustrate the ability of organizations to redeploy existing institutional resources with potentially transformative results.

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The Opportunity Costs of Informal Elder-Care in the United States: New Estimates from the American Time Use Survey

Amalavoyal Chari et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objectives: To provide nationally representative estimates of the opportunity costs of informal elder-care in the United States.

Data Sources: Data from the 2011 and 2012 American Time Use Survey.

Study Design: Wage is used as the measure of an individual's value of time (opportunity cost), with wages being imputed for nonworking individuals using a selection-corrected regression methodology.

Principal Findings: The total opportunity costs of informal elder-care amount to $522 billion annually, while the costs of replacing this care by unskilled and skilled paid care are $221 billion and $642 billion, respectively.

Conclusions: Informal caregiving remains a significant phenomenon in the United States with a high opportunity cost, although it remains more economical (in the aggregate) than skilled paid care.

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The Effects of Conscription on Education and Earnings: Regression Discontinuity Evidence

Pierre Mouganie
Texas A&M University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
In 1997, the French government put into effect a law that permanently exempted young French male citizens born after Jan 1, 1979 from mandatory military service while still requiring those born before that cutoff date to serve. This paper uses a regression discontinuity design to identify the effect of peacetime conscription on education and labor market outcomes. Results indicate that conscription eligibility induces a significant increase in years of education, which is consistent with conscription avoidance behavior. However, this increased education does not result in either an increase in graduation rates, or in employment and wages. Additional evidence shows conscription has no direct effect on earnings, suggesting that the returns to education induced by this policy was zero.

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Estimating the returns to schooling using cohort-level maternal education as an instrument

John Winters
Economics Letters, January 2015, Pages 25–27

Abstract:
This paper examines effects of schooling on wages instrumenting for individual schooling using cohort-level maternal schooling from previous censuses. Results suggest that an additional year of schooling increases hourly wages by 10 percent for men and 12.6 percent for women.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2014

One of a kind

Ethnic diversity deflates price bubbles

Sheen Levine et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Markets are central to modern society, so their failures can be devastating. Here, we examine a prominent failure: price bubbles. Bubbles emerge when traders err collectively in pricing, causing misfit between market prices and the true values of assets. The causes of such collective errors remain elusive. We propose that bubbles are affected by ethnic homogeneity in the market and can be thwarted by diversity. In homogenous markets, traders place undue confidence in the decisions of others. Less likely to scrutinize others’ decisions, traders are more likely to accept prices that deviate from true values. To test this, we constructed experimental markets in Southeast Asia and North America, where participants traded stocks to earn money. We randomly assigned participants to ethnically homogeneous or diverse markets. We find a marked difference: Across markets and locations, market prices fit true values 58% better in diverse markets. The effect is similar across sites, despite sizeable differences in culture and ethnic composition. Specifically, in homogenous markets, overpricing is higher as traders are more likely to accept speculative prices. Their pricing errors are more correlated than in diverse markets. In addition, when bubbles burst, homogenous markets crash more severely. The findings suggest that price bubbles arise not only from individual errors or financial conditions, but also from the social context of decision making. The evidence may inform public discussion on ethnic diversity: it may be beneficial not only for providing variety in perspectives and skills, but also because diversity facilitates friction that enhances deliberation and upends conformity.

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Condoning Stereotyping?: How Awareness of Stereotyping Prevalence Impacts Expression of Stereotypes

Michelle Duguid & Melissa Thomas-Hunt
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The deleterious effects of stereotyping on individual and group outcomes have prompted a search for solutions. One approach has been to increase awareness of the prevalence of stereotyping in the hope of motivating individuals to resist natural inclinations. However, it could be that this strategy creates a norm for stereotyping, which paradoxically undermines desired effects. The present research demonstrates that individuals who received a high prevalence of stereotyping message expressed more stereotypes than those who received a low prevalence of stereotyping message (Studies 1a, 1b, 1c, and 2) or no message (Study 2). Furthermore, working professionals who received a high prevalence of stereotyping message were less willing to work with an individual who violated stereotypical norms than those who received no message, a low prevalence of stereotyping message, or a high prevalence of counter-stereotyping effort message (Study 3). Also, in a competitive task, individuals who received a high prevalence of stereotyping message treated their opponents in more stereotype-consistent ways than those who received a low prevalence of stereotyping message or those who received a high prevalence of counter-stereotyping effort message (Study 4).

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Looking Black or looking back? Using phenotype and ancestry to make racial categorizations

Allison Skinner & Gandalf Nicolas
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 55–63

Abstract:
When it comes to the racial categorization of biracial individuals, do people look at phenotypicality (i.e., a race consistent appearance) for clues, or do they look back at racial ancestry? We manipulated racial ancestry and racial phenotypicality (using morphed photos) to investigate their influence on race categorizations. Results indicated that while ancestry and phenotypicality information both influenced deliberate racial categorization, phenotypicality had a substantially larger effect. We also investigated how these factors influenced perceptions of warmth and competence, and racial discrimination. We found that Black–White biracials with low Black phenotypicality were perceived as warmer and more competent than biracial targets with moderate and high Black phenotypicality. Moreover, given identical instances of racially discriminatory treatment, low Black racial phenotypicality targets were significantly less likely to be perceived as victims of racial discrimination. Our findings shed light on how ancestry and phenotype influence perceptions of race and real world social judgments such as perceptions of discrimination. Previous studies have shown that low minority ancestry biracials are presumed to have experienced less discrimination; our findings indicate that racial cues impact perceptions of discrimination even in incidences of known racial discrimination.

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Caught in the Middle: Defensive Responses to IAT Feedback Among Whites, Blacks, and Biracial Black/Whites

Jennifer Howell, Sarah Gaither & Kate Ratliff
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study used archival data to examine how White, Black, and biracial Black/White people respond to implicit attitude feedback suggesting that they harbor racial bias that does not align with their self-reported attitudes. The results suggested that people are generally defensive in response to feedback indicating that their implicit attitudes differ from their explicit attitudes. Among monoracial White and Black individuals, this effect was particularly strong when they learned that they were implicitly more pro-White than they indicated explicitly. By contrast, biracial Black/White individuals were defensive about large discrepancies in either direction (more pro-Black or more pro-White implicit attitudes). These results pinpoint one distinct difference between monoracial and biracial populations and pave the way for future research to further explore how monoracial majority, minority, and biracial populations compare in other types of attitudes and responses to personal feedback.

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The role of attachment style in women’s recognition of sexism

Tara Van Bommel, Amy Sheehy & Janet Ruscher
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 235–240

Abstract:
The present research examined how differences in attachment style might impact women’s awareness of sexism. Identity threat models of stigma emphasize the role of individual differences in responding to social identity threats, however little is known about what factors lead to avoidance versus vigilance for such threats. Furthermore, research shows that insecure attachment is related to avoidant responses to blatantly threatening cues, but vigilance when such cues are ambiguous. Thus, insecurely attached women should acknowledge less sexism toward women when faced with instances of blatant sexism, whereas their awareness should be heightened by instances of ambiguous sexism. Conversely, securely attached women should acknowledge sexism when encountering blatant rather than ambiguous instances of sexism. In a test of these hypotheses, 155 women were exposed to either a male verbally rejecting a women’s opinion for blatantly sexist or ambiguously sexist reasons. The data confirm predictions. The findings suggest interventions to improve outcomes for stigmatized groups should consider impacts of attachment style, and further, that attachment style might partially explain women’s divergent responses to sexism.

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Old and New Forms of Racial Bias in Mediated Sports Commentary: The Case of the National Football League Draft

Anthony Schmidt & Kevin Coe
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Fall 2014, Pages 655-670

Abstract:
Applying Social Identity Theory and Linguistic Intergroup Bias to the analysis of mediated sports commentary, this study examines racial bias surrounding the National Football League draft. A content analysis of 41 mock drafts — amounting to more than 1,300 descriptions of individual athletes — revealed significant differences in how commentators discussed White and non-White athletes. In particular, commentators more often described White athletes and in-group athletes in terms of mental traits, but described non-White athletes and out-group athletes in terms of physical traits. Additionally, in-group athletes were talked about in more abstract terms, consistent with Linguistic Intergroup Bias.

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Old Glass Ceilings are Hard to Break: Gender Usage Trends in Annual Reports

Tim Loughran & Bill McDonald
University of Notre Dame Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We examine gender usage in a sample of 89,195 annual reports filed with the SEC during 1996-2013. We find that, after adjusting for other effects, annual reports by younger firms use proportionally more female-linked words than documents created by older, more mature companies. This finding likely reflects gender-related cultural differences between young and old firms. We also report that gender usage differs dramatically across both industry and market values of equity. Historically male dominated industries and industries that do not sell directly to retail customers have lower ratios of female/male word usage while industries characterized as business-to-consumer have substantially higher relative female counts. Larger companies have higher public accountability and thus, as expected, have annual report language that more frequently uses female titles and personal pronouns.

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Memory of an outgroup: (Mis)identification of Middle Eastern-looking men in news stories about crime

Jennifer Hoewe
Journal of Media Psychology, Fall 2014, Pages 161-175

Abstract:
This study examined White individuals’ ability to recall non-White criminal perpetrators, specifically Middle Eastern-looking men, as portrayed in news stories. Considering social identity theory and the Arab/Muslim/Middle Eastern terrorist stereotype, White participants were expected to correctly identify White European-looking men and misidentify Middle Eastern-looking men as the perpetrators in news stories. A 2 (race/ethnicity of the perpetrator: White European- or Middle Eastern-looking) × 2 (story type: violent or nonviolent) experiment revealed that correct recall of the perpetrator for Middle Eastern-looking men was lower than that of White European-looking men. However, White individuals were not significantly more likely to incorrectly recall Middle Eastern-looking men than White European-looking men as perpetrators. Regardless of condition, more negative attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims predicted the incorrect recall of both Middle Eastern- and White European-looking men as perpetrators. These results are explained in light of their contradiction of existing theory. Also, a new measure of attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims is recommended.

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Reducing Prejudice Across Cultures via Social Tuning

Jeanine Skorinko et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines whether culture influences the extent to which people’s attitudes tune toward others’ egalitarian beliefs. Hong Kong Chinese, but not American, participants were less prejudiced, explicitly and implicitly, toward homosexuals when they interacted with a person who appeared to hold egalitarian views as opposed to neutral views (Experiment 1). In Experiments 2 and 3, cultural concepts were manipulated. Americans and Hong Kong Chinese who were primed with a collectivist mind-set showed less explicit and implicit prejudice when the experimenter was thought to endorse egalitarian views than when no views were conveyed. Such differences were not found when both cultural groups were primed with an individualist mind-set. These findings suggest that cultural value orientations can help mitigate prejudice.

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When threats foreign turn domestic: Two ways for distant realistic intergroup threats to carry over into local intolerance

Thijs Bouman, Martijn van Zomeren & Sabine Otten
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In times of economic downturn, perceived realistic intergroup threats (e.g., labour competition) often dominate political and media discourse. Although local outgroups (e.g., local immigrants) can be experienced as sources of realistic threats, we propose that such threats can also be perceived to be caused by distant outgroups (e.g., European Union members perceiving Greece to threaten their economies) and that such distant threats can carry over into local intolerance (e.g., increasing intolerance towards local immigrant groups). We predicted and found in two studies that perceived distant realistic threats carried over into local intolerance via two different pathways. First, direct reactions towards the distant outgroup can generalize to culturally similar local outgroups (the group-based association pathway). Secondly, Study 2 indicated that when the distant threat was attributed to stereotypical outgroup traits (e.g., being lazy), distant realistic threats activated local realistic threats, which subsequently influenced local intolerance (the threat-based association pathway). Taken together, our studies indicate that perceived realistic threats foreign can turn domestic, but in two different ways.

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Which Jews dislike contemporary Germans: Range and determinants of German aversion in Czech and U.S. Holocaust survivors and young American Jews

Paul Rozin et al.
Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, Nov 2014, Pages 412-429

Abstract:
We assessed the degree of discomfort reported by U.S. and Czech Holocaust survivors (Study 1) and Jewish American college students (Study 2) to the prospect of physical proximity to a wide range of contemporary Germans with varying linkages to Nazi Germany, and a range of objects or activities associated with Germany (e.g., riding in a Volkswagen). On both measures, there was a very wide range of aversions, from almost absent to almost complete. A substantial number of participants were uncomfortable with Germans born after World War II. The Czech survivors showed the least aversion, less than the students, probably because the Czechs had a great deal of experience with Germans and German culture prior to and following World War II. Trait forgiveness did not predict aversion. Degree of blame for Germans and Jewish identity predicted current aversion. German essentialism — the idea that “Germanness” is inherent, indelible, uniform, and transmitted across generations — may be the best predictor of total German person aversion and is the only predictor that can easily explain the fact that that many individuals are uncomfortable living near Germans who were born after World War II.

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Telling Women That Men Desire Women With Bodies Larger Than the Thin-Ideal Improves Women’s Body Satisfaction

Andrea Meltzer & James McNulty
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
One source of women’s body dissatisfaction appears to be the media’s suggestion that men desire extremely thin women. Thus, three independent experiments examined whether reversing this suggestion would improve women’s weight satisfaction. In all three studies, women viewed images of female models with bodies larger than the thin-ideal. Women who were randomly assigned to be told that men found those models attractive experienced increased weight satisfaction compared to women who were not given any information (Studies 1 and 2) and women who were told that men preferred ultra-thin women (Study 2). Study 3 (a) provided evidence for the theoretical mechanism — internalization of the thin-ideal — and (b) revealed that telling women that other women find larger models attractive does not yield similar benefits. These findings extend the tripartite influence model by demonstrating that women’s beliefs about men’s body preferences are an important moderator of the association between media influence and women’s body satisfaction.

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A Preliminary Investigation into Effects of Linguistic Abstraction on the Perception of Gender in Spoken Language

A.B. Siegling, Michelle Eskritt & Mary Delaney
Current Psychology, December 2014, Pages 479-500

Abstract:
We investigated the role that linguistic abstraction may play in people’s perceptions of gender in spoken language. In the first experiment, participants told stories about their best friend and romantic partner. Variations in linguistic abstraction and gender-linked adjectives for describing their close others were examined. Participants used significantly more abstract language to describe men compared to women, possibly reflecting a gender stereotype associated with the dispositionality factor of linguistic abstraction. In a second experiment, a new group of participants judged the gender of the protagonists from the stories generated in Experiment 1, after the explicit linguistic gender cues were removed. Consistent with the dispositionality factor, linguistic abstraction moderated the effects of the gender stereotypicality of the context (masculine, feminine, or neutral) on participants’ gender judgments. Discussion focuses on the implications of the results for the communication of gender stereotypes and the effects of linguistic abstraction in more naturalistic language.

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Who Owns Implicit Attitudes? Testing a Metacognitive Perspective

Erin Cooley et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2015, Pages 103-115

Abstract:
Metacognitive inferences about ownership for one’s implicit attitudes have the power to turn implicit bias into explicit prejudice. In Study 1, participants were assigned to construe their implicit attitudes toward gay men as belonging to themselves (owned) or as unrelated to the self (disowned). Construing one’s implicit responses as owned led to greater implicit-explicit attitude correspondence. In Study 2, we measured ownership for implicit attitudes as well as self-esteem. We predicted that ownership inferences would dictate explicit attitudes to the degree that people had positive views of the self. Indeed, higher ownership for implicit bias was associated with greater implicit-explicit attitude correspondence, and this effect was driven by participants high in self-esteem. Finally, in Study 3, we manipulated inferences of ownership and measured self-esteem. Metacognitions of ownership affected implicit-explicit attitude correspondence but only among those with relatively high self-esteem. We conclude that subjective inferences about implicit bias affect explicit prejudice.

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Effects of News Stereotypes on the Perception of Facial Threat

Florian Arendt, Nina Steindl & Peter Vitouch
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The human face is central to social interactions and therefore of primary importance in social perception. Two recent discoveries have contributed to a more thorough understanding of the role of news stereotypes in the perception of facial threat: First, social-cognition research has revealed that automatically activated stereotypes influence the perception of facial threat. Individuals holding hostile stereotypes toward dark-skinned outgroup members perceive ambiguous dark-skinned faces as more hostile than similar light-skinned faces. Second, media-stereotyping research has found that the media can influence individuals’ automatically activated stereotypes. Combining these two findings, it was hypothesized that reading tabloid articles about crimes committed by dark-skinned offenders would increase the perceived facial threat of meeting dark-skinned strangers in a subsequent situation. This hypothesis was tested in a laboratory experiment. Participants read crime articles where cues indicating (dark) skin color were mentioned or not. The results showed that reading about dark-skinned criminals increases the perceived facial threat of dark-skinned strangers compared with light-skinned strangers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tricks of the trade

Temporary Payoffs or Trade Policy Priorities? Congressional Support for Trade Adjustment Assistance

Robert Galantucci
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trade adjustment assistance (“TAA”) programs provide financial benefits and training to workers who have suffered job loss due to foreign competition. Existing research identifies a host of reasons why legislators of different stripes would be willing to support TAA. However, in practice, TAA implementation often does not reflect a broad consensus and is a highly contentious issue. I argue that we can better identify who supports TAA by focusing on the extent to which a legislator will see immediate payoffs from the policy proposal under consideration. Legislators who represent workers vulnerable to trade competition will support such policies to dampen globalization's adverse consequences. Many legislators who prefer greater trade, however, will often not want to bear the budgetary costs of such programs. For this latter group of legislators, even if TAA might potentially have favorable long-term implications — by reducing opposition to trade liberalization, for example — they will only support adjustment assistance when it is paired with other policies that deliver immediate and tangible benefits. A statistical analysis of several recent Congressional votes, as well as a discussion of legislative wrangling during a number of high-profile TAA implementation episodes, yields results consistent with my hypotheses.

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Monopoly Money: Foreign Investment and Bribery in Vietnam, a Survey Experiment

Edmund Malesky, Dimitar Gueorguiev & Nathan Jensen
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prevailing work argues that foreign investment reduces corruption, either by competing down monopoly rents or diffusing best practices of corporate governance. We argue that the mechanisms generating this relationship are not clear because the extant empirical work is too heavily drawn from aggregations of total foreign investment entering an economy. Alternatively, we suggest that openness to foreign investment has differential effects on corruption even within the same country and under the same domestic institutions over time. We argue that foreign firms use bribes to enter protected industries in search of rents, and therefore we expect variation in bribe propensity across sectors according to expected profitability. We test this effect using a list experiment embedded in three waves of a nationally representative survey of 20,000 foreign and domestic businesses in Vietnam, finding that the effect of economic openness on the probability to engage in bribes is conditional on policies that restrict investment.

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Measuring the Unequal Gains from Trade

Pablo Fajgelbaum & Amit Khandelwal
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Individuals that consume different baskets of goods are differentially affected by relative price changes caused by international trade. We develop a methodology to measure the unequal gains from trade across consumers within countries that is applicable across countries and time. The approach uses data on aggregate expenditures across goods with different income elasticities and parameters estimated from a non-homothetic gravity equation. We find considerable variation in the pro-poor bias of trade depending on the income elasticity of each country's exports and imports. Non-homotheticities across sectors imply that trade typically favors the poor, who concentrate spending in more traded sectors.

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Coercion and the Global Spread of Securities Regulation

Johannes Kleibl
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Securities laws, overseen by independent regulatory agencies, have spread around the world. This article argues that coercion has played a more critical role in the spread of regulatory models than previously acknowledged. In particular, I argue that globally integrated markets can provide powerful regulators and governments with strong incentives to actively promote the export of their regulatory models. Case study evidence and the analysis of a global data set on the establishment of US-style securities regulatory regimes between 1973 and 2007 lend support to the crucial role of the US government and the US Securities and Exchange Commission in spreading the US securities regulatory model around the world.

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How Important Are Exports for Job Growth in China? A Demand Side Analysis

Bart Los, Marcel Timmer & Gaaitzen de Vries
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We analyze the impact of foreign demand on Chinese employment creation by extending the global input-output methodology introduced by Johnson and Noguera (2012). We find that between 1995 and 2001, fast growth in foreign demand was offset by strong increases in labor productivity and the net effect on employment was nil. Between 2001 and 2006, booming foreign demand added about 70 million jobs. These jobs were overridingly for workers with only primary education. Since 2006 growth in domestic demand for non-tradables has become more important for job creation than foreign demand, signaling a rebalancing of the Chinese economy.

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Media slant against foreign owners: Downsizing

Guido Friebel & Matthias Heinz
Journal of Public Economics, December 2014, Pages 97–106

Abstract:
Using a unique data set from nationally distributed quality newspapers in Germany, we find evidence for both quantitative and qualitative media slant against foreign firms. A downsizing foreign firm receives almost twice as much attention as a domestic firm, and the tone of media reports is more negative. Media slant is a measure for economic xenophobia directed against foreign owners, which constitutes an obstacle to foreign direct investment.

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Trade Costs, Conflicts, and Defense Spending

Michael Seitz, Alexander Tarasov & Roman Zakharenko
Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper develops a quantitative model of trade, military conflicts, and defense spending. Lowering trade costs between two countries reduces probability of an armed conflict between them, causing both to cut defense spending. This in turn causes a domino effect on defense spending by other countries. As a result, both countries and the rest of the world are better off. We estimate the model using data on trade, conflicts, and military spending. We find that, after reduction of costs of trade between a pair of hostile countries, the welfare effect of worldwide defense spending cuts is comparable in magnitude to the direct welfare gains from trade.

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Causes of Noncompliance with International Law: A Field Experiment on Anonymous Incorporation

Michael Findley, Daniel Nielson & J.C. Sharman
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using two field experiments, we probe the efficacy of international rules mandating that incorporation services establish their customers’ true identities. The standards were designed to prevent anonymous “shell” corporations central to money laundering, corruption, and other crimes. Posing as consultants seeking confidential incorporation, we randomly assigned six experimental conditions in emails varying information about monetary reward, international and domestic law, and customer risk to 1,793 incorporation services in 177 countries and 1,722 U.S. firms. Firms in tax havens obey the rules significantly more often than in OECD countries, whereas services in poor nations sometimes prove more compliant than those in rich countries. Only the risk of terrorism and specter of the Internal Revenue Service decrease offers for anonymous incorporation, but they also lower compliance. Offers to “pay a premium” reduce compliance. The risk of corruption decreases response rates but, alarmingly, also decreases compliance rates. Raising international law has no significant effect.

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Waves in Ship Prices and Investment

Robin Greenwood & Samuel Hanson
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the link between investment boom and bust cycles and returns on capital in the dry bulk shipping industry. We show that high current ship earnings are associated with high used ship prices and heightened industry investment in new ships, but forecast low future returns. We propose and estimate a behavioral model of industry cycles that can account for the evidence. In our model, firms over-extrapolate exogenous demand shocks and partially neglect the endogenous investment response of their competitors. As a result, firms overpay for ships and overinvest in booms and are disappointed by the subsequent low returns. Formal estimation of the model suggests that modest expectational errors can result in dramatic excess volatility in prices and investment.

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Exports, HIV incidence and the Baltic Dry Index: Further evidence from sub-Saharan Africa

Faqin Lin & Nicholas Sim
Economics Letters, January 2015, Pages 35–39

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of exports on HIV incidence for sub-Saharan African countries, using an instrument related to the Baltic Dry Index. We find that a doubling of exports per capita could increase HIV incidence by about 55% on average.

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Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA

Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We build into a Ricardian model sectoral linkages, trade in intermediate goods, and sectoral heterogeneity in production to quantify the trade and welfare effects from tariff changes. We also propose a new method to estimate sectoral trade elasticities consistent with any trade model that delivers a multiplicative gravity equation. We apply our model and use our estimated elasticities to identify the impact of NAFTA's tariff reductions. We find that Mexico's welfare increases by 1.31%, U.S.'s welfare increases by 0.08%, and Canada's welfare declines by 0.06%. We find that intra-bloc trade increases by 118% for Mexico, 11% for Canada and 41% for the U.S. We show that welfare effects from tariff reductions are reduced when the structure of production does not take into account intermediate goods or input-output linkages. Our results highlight the importance of sectoral heterogeneity, intermediate goods and sectoral linkages for the quantification of the welfare gains from tariffs reductions.

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An alternative mode of international order: The international administrative union in the nineteenth century

Douglas Howland
Review of International Studies, January 2015, Pages 161-183

Abstract:
A novel form of international order was developed in the nineteenth century by international administrative unions such as the International Telegraph Union and the Universal Postal Union. This administrative internationalism posed a striking alternative to the international society of great powers, sovereignty, and forms of imperial domination, for the members of administrative unions included not only sovereign states but also semi-sovereigns, vassals, and colonies. Members were equal and bound identically to the union treaty and its international administrative law. This article examines the structure of unions and their politics of membership in the nineteenth century, and engages theories of global governance to argue that early administrative unions present a mode of international order different from theories of both global networks and the international system of neorealism.

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Impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on China’s Textiles and Apparel Exports: A Quantitative Analysis

Sheng Lu
International Trade Journal, Winter 2015, Pages 19-38

Abstract:
This study intends to quantify the potential effect of the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on China’s textiles and apparel exports. Results show that, first, China’s apparel exports to the United States, Japan, and the NAFTA region will significantly decline after the TPP. Second, trade diversion effect caused by Japan will negatively offset the potential expansion of China’s textile exports to Vietnam and other Asian TPP members after the TPP. Third, Japan’s accession to the TPP will impose substantial negative impact on China’s textile and apparel exports in the TPP era.

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Foreign Aid, Time Horizons, and Trade Policy

Daniel Yuichi Kono & Gabriella Montinola
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there are theoretical reasons to expect foreign aid to promote trade liberalization, empirical research has found no relationship. Without disputing this general nonresult, we argue that foreign aid can incentivize liberalization under certain conditions. In the absence of aid, the incentive to liberalize trade depends on government time horizons: Far-sighted governments have incentives to do so, whereas short-sighted governments do not. It follows that foreign aid should not encourage far-sighted governments to liberalize, as they do so in any case. Foreign aid can, however, induce short-sighted governments to liberalize by ameliorating short-term adjustment costs. We thus hypothesize that aid is more likely to promote trade liberalization when given to governments with short time horizons. We support this hypothesis with an analysis of aid, time horizons, and two measures of trade policy. Our results contribute to the growing debate about the conditions under which foreign aid encourages growth-enhancing policies.

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The Comparative Effects of Independence on Trade

Emmanuelle Lavallée & Julie Lochard
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empirical evidence suggests that belonging to an empire favours trade by lowering transaction costs and establishing preferential trade agreements. Does the end of an empire invert this effect, and if so, through which channels? This paper uses an original dataset to explore the impact of independence on former colonies’ bilateral trade over the 1948-2007 period. We show large differences across empires. Whereas independence reduces the trade (imports and exports) between former French colonies and their coloniser, as well as with other colonies of the same empire, we do not find any comparable effect for former British colonies. We attribute this finding to the particularly protectionist trade policy implemented by France during the colonial era, and we are able to rule out alternative explanations related to transaction costs. We also find that after independence, all former colonies trade more with third countries, and we relate this result to the geographical diversification of trade.

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Tariff Incidence: Evidence from U.S. Sugar Duties, 1890-1930

Douglas Irwin
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Direct empirical evidence on whether domestic consumers or foreign exporters bear the burden of a country's import duties is scarce. This paper examines the incidence of U.S. sugar duties using a unique set of high-frequency (weekly, and sometimes daily) data on the landed and the duty-inclusive price of raw sugar in New York City from 1890 to 1930, a time when the United States consumed more than 20 percent of world sugar production and was therefore plausibly a "large" country. The results reveal a striking asymmetry: a tariff reduction is immediately passed through to consumer prices with no impact on the import price, whereas about 40 percent of a tariff increase is passed through to consumer prices and 60 percent borne by foreign exporters. The apparent explanation for the asymmetric response is the asymmetric response of demand: imports collapse upon a tariff increase, but do not surge after a tariff reduction.

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International trade, the gender wage gap and female labor force participation

Philip Sauré & Hosny Zoabi
Journal of Development Economics, November 2014, Pages 17–33

Abstract:
Recent work in gender economics has identified trade as a potential determinant of female labor force participation (FLFP). It is usually suggested that FLFP rises whenever trade expands those sectors which use female labor intensively. This paper develops a theoretical model to argue that, quite surprisingly, the opposite effects can occur. Distinguishing between female intensive sectors (FIS) and male intensive sectors (MIS), we show that FLFP may actually fall if trade expands FIS. When FIS are capital intensive, trade integration of a capital-abundant economy expands FIS and contracts MIS. Consequently, male workers migrate from MIS to FIS, diluting the capital labor ratio in the FIS. Under a high complementarity between capital and female labor, the marginal productivity of women drops more than that of men. Thus, the gender wage gap widens and FLFP falls. Employment patterns in the U.S. following NAFTA are broadly consistent with our theory.

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International Negotiations in the Shadow of National Elections

Stephanie Rickard & Teri Caraway
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 701-720

Abstract:
This study examines the role elections play in negotiations between states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Although loans made by the IMF often require countries to introduce painful austerity measures that provoke a backlash from angry citizens, some governments are able to negotiate more favorable terms than others. Original data on the substantive content of IMF loans show that governments leverage imminent elections to obtain more lenient loan terms. Conditions that require labor market reforms in exchange for IMF financing are relatively less stringent in loans negotiated within six months before a pending democratic election, all else equal. The further away elections are from loan negotiations, the more stringent the labor conditions included in countries’ loan programs. Elections give governments leverage in their international negotiations and this leverage is effective even when states negotiate with unelected bureaucrats during times of economic crisis.

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The long-run effect of trade on life expectancy in the United States: An empirical note

Dierk Herzer
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2015, Pages 416-420

Abstract:
This note analyses the long-run impact of trade on population health by applying cointegration techniques to US time series data for the period 1960 to 2011. Despite the concerns of many commentators and observers, it is found that trade has a positive and significant long-run impact on population health, as measured by life expectancy.

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Feeding humanity through global food trade

Paolo D'Odorico et al.
Earth's Future, September 2014, Pages 458–469

Abstract:
The recent intensification of international trade has led to a globalization of food commodities and to an increased disconnection between human populations and the land and water resources that support them through crop and livestock production. Several countries are not self-sufficient and depend on imports from other regions. Despite the recognized importance of the role of trade in global and regional food security, the societal reliance on domestic production and international trade remains poorly quantified. Here we investigate the global patterns of food trade and evaluate the dependency of food security on imports. We investigate the relationship existing between the trade of food calories and the virtual transfer of water used for their production. We show how the amount of food calories traded in the international market has more than doubled between 1986 and 2009, while the number of links in the trade network has increased by more than 50%. Likewise, global food production has increased by more than 50% in the same period, providing an amount of food that is overall sufficient to support the global population at a rate of 2700-3000 kcal per person per day. About 23% of the food produced for human consumption is traded internationally. The Water Use Efficiency of food trade (i.e., food calories produced per unit volume of water used) has declined in the last few decades. The water use efficiency of food production overall increases with the countries’ affluence; this trend is likely due to the use of more advanced technology.

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Does FDI Bring Good Jobs to Host Countries?

Beata Javorcik
World Bank Research Observer, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are jobs created by foreign investors good jobs? The evidence reviewed in this article is consistent with the view that jobs created by foreign direct investment (FDI) are good jobs, both from the worker’s and the country’s perspective. From the worker’s perspective, this is because such jobs are likely to pay higher wages than jobs in domestic firms, at least in developing countries, and because foreign employers tend to offer more training than local firms do. From the country’s perspective, jobs in foreign affiliates are good jobs because FDI inflows boost the aggregate productivity of the host country.

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Book Translations as Idea Flows: The Effects of the Collapse of Communism on the Diffusion of Knowledge

Ran Abramitzky & Isabelle Sin
Journal of the European Economic Association, December 2014, Pages 1453–1520

Abstract:
We use book translations as a new measure of international idea flows and study the effects of Communism's collapse in Eastern Europe on these flows. Using novel data on 800,000 translations and difference-in-differences approaches, we show that while translations between Communist languages decreased by two thirds with the collapse, Western-to-Communist translations increased by a factor of 4 and quickly converged to Western levels. Convergence was more pronounced in the fields of applied and social sciences, and was more complete in Satellite and Baltic than in Soviet countries. We discuss how these patterns help us understand how repressive institutions and preferences towards Western European ideas shaped the international diffusion of knowledge.

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Who Gets to Be In the Room? Manipulating Participation in WTO Disputes

Leslie Johns & Krzysztof Pelc
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 663-699

Abstract:
Third parties complicate World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement by adding voices and issues to a dispute. However, complainants can limit third parties by filing cases under Article XXIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), rather than Article XXII. We argue that third parties create “insurance” by lowering the benefit of winning and the cost of losing a dispute. We construct a formal model in which third parties make settlement less likely. The weaker the complainant's case, the more likely the complainant is to promote third party participation and to settle. Article XXII cases are therefore more likely to settle, controlling for the realized number of third parties, and a complainant who files under Article XXIII is more likely to win a ruling and less likely to see that ruling appealed by the defendant. We provide empirical support using WTO disputes from 1995 to 2011.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Misrepresentation

Women Don't Run? Election Aversion and Candidate Entry

Kristin Kanthak & Jonathan Woon
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
To study gender differences in candidate emergence, we conduct a laboratory experiment in which we control the incentives potential candidates face, manipulate features of the electoral environment, and measure beliefs and preferences. We find that men and women are equally likely to volunteer when the representative is chosen randomly, but that women are less likely to become candidates when the representative is chosen by an election. This difference does not arise from disparities in abilities, risk aversion, or beliefs, but rather from the specific competitive and strategic context of campaigns and elections. Thus, we find evidence that women are election averse, whereas men are not. Election aversion persists with variations in the electoral environment, disappearing only when campaigns are both costless and completely truthful.

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(Still) Waiting in the Wings: Group-Based Biases in Leaders' Decisions about To Whom Power is Relinquished

Nathaniel Ratcliff, Theresa Vescio & Julia Dahl
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 23-30

Abstract:
This research examined whether leaders exhibit race-based and gender-based biases in decisions about to whom to relinquish power. Across three studies, participants were placed in leadership roles in a simulated, online competition with either White male and/or Black male co-workers (Study 1a/1b) or White male and White female co-workers (Study 2). Results showed that after learning of their poor performance as leaders, participants relinquished more power to White male co-workers than Black male co-worker and more power to White male co-workers than White female co-workers. Together, the findings offer a novel examination of when and to whom power is given which can further inform our understanding of the underrepresentation of disadvantaged groups in leadership domains.

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Physical Appearance and Earnings, Hair Color Matters

Evgenia Dechter
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the relationship between physical appearance and labor market outcomes. It focuses on hair color and addresses the effects of the "blonde myth", a series of perceptions about personality characteristics of blonde women. Inexperienced blonde women earn significantly less than their non-blonde counterparts. This wage gap declines over time, and blonde women with more work experience earn higher wages. The relationship between earnings and hair color is not explained by personal or family characteristics. I argue that employer or customer tastes drive the initial blonde hair penalty; job sorting and mobility allow blonde women to close the gap.

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You're Fired!: The Impact of Race on the Firing of Black Head Coaches in Major College Football

Nolan Kopkin
Review of Black Political Economy, December 2014, Pages 373-392

Abstract:
It is well known that the hiring rate of black head coaches in major college football is not representative of the number of student-athletes that are black. However, less obvious is the fact that black head coaches may be treated unfairly when decision-makers decide whether to retain or fire their institution's current head coach. In this paper, I use a rich dataset of National Collegiate Athletic Associate football coaches from 1990 to 2012, containing measures of coaching performance and school expectations, as well as information on each coach's race and whether he was fired or retained in each season. Using this data, I estimate a discrete-time hazard model of the probability that a head coach is fired, allowing the hazard rate of black head coaches and white head coaches to differ, and find that black head coaches are 5.28 percentage points more likely to be fired than their white counterparts. Additionally, I find that black head coaches are more likely to be fired in the initial 3 years of tenure, and again in their seventh and eighth years, but that the difference in the probability of release between black and white head coaches in the fourth through sixth years of tenure is small and statistically insignificant.

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Gender, Job Authority, and Depression

Tetyana Pudrovska & Amelia Karraker
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, December 2014, Pages 424-441

Abstract:
Using the 1957-2004 data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we explore the effect of job authority in 1993 (at age 54) on the change in depressive symptoms between 1993 and 2004 (age 65) among white men and women. Within-gender comparisons indicate that women with job authority (defined as control over others' work) exhibit more depressive symptoms than women without job authority, whereas men in authority positions are overall less depressed than men without job authority. Between-gender comparisons reveal that although women have higher depression than men, women's disadvantage in depression is significantly greater among individuals with job authority than without job authority. We argue that macro- and meso-processes of gender stratification create a workplace in which exercising job authority exposes women to interpersonal stressors that undermine health benefits of job authority. Our study highlights how the cultural meanings of masculinities and femininities attenuate or amplify health-promoting resources of socioeconomic advantage.

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The polarising effect of female leaders: Interest in politics and perceived leadership capability after a reminder of Australia's first female prime minister

Christopher Hunt, Karen Gonsalkorale & Lisa Zadro
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study examined the impact of observing successful women being attacked on gender lines through reactions to gender-based criticism directed towards Australia's first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Australian undergraduate students completed a measure of conformity to gender norms and then read statements about either: (a) generic difficulties for leaders; or (b) statements about gender-based difficulties experienced by Gillard. Results showed that, relative to those who read the generic article, female participants high on conformity to feminine norms displayed lower desire to be involved in politics after reading about Gillard's gender-based difficulties, while low conformers showed greater desire to be involved in politics. For male participants, those high on conformity to masculine norms showed greater belief in their own leadership capabilities after reading about Gillard's gender-based difficulties than when reading about generic difficulties, while low conforming men showed the opposite pattern. Implications for achieving gender equality are discussed.

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It's Fair for Us: Diversity Structures Cause Women to Legitimize Discrimination

Laura Brady et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 100-110

Abstract:
Three experiments tested the hypothesis that the mere presence (vs. absence) of diversity structures makes it more difficult for women to detect sexism. In Experiment 1, even when a company's hiring decisions disadvantaged women, women perceived the company as more procedurally just for women and were less supportive of sexism litigation when the company offered diversity training, compared to when it did not. In Experiment 2, women perceived a company as more procedurally just for women and as less likely to have engaged in sexism when the company offered diversity training, compared to when it did not. This effect was not moderated by women's endorsement of status legitimizing beliefs. In Experiment 3, women perceived a company as more procedurally just and less discriminatory when the company had been recognized for positive gender diversity practices compared to when it had not. Additionally, these effects were most pronounced among women who endorsed benevolent sexist beliefs and mitigated among those who rejected benevolent sexist beliefs. Together, these experiments demonstrate that diversity structures can make it difficult for women to detect and remedy discrimination, especially women who hold benevolent sexist beliefs.

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"Coercive Cooperation"? Ontario's Pay Equity Act of 1988 and the Gender Pay Gap

Judith McDonald & Robert Thornton
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evaluating the effect of pay-equity laws is important and yet difficult as one needs to deduce what would have occurred without the policy intervention. We use a new tool, synthetic-control method, to examine the effects of Ontario's Pay Equity Act on the gender pay gap. This tool enables us to create a "Synthetic" Ontario, which resembles Ontario more closely than does any other single province. Using Synthetic Ontario to compare what actually happened in Ontario to what would have happened, we find that the act has had little or no effect on the female-male wage gap in Ontario.

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Beyond the Numbers: Institutional Influences on Experiences With Diversity on Elite College Campuses

Natasha Warikoo & Sherry Deckman
Sociological Forum, December 2014, Pages 959-981

Abstract:
In this article we bring together the burgeoning qualitative literature on the socializing influence of residential colleges, the survey-based literature on campus racial climate, and the literature on diversity work in organizations to analyze how two elite universities' approaches to diversity shape students' experiences with and feelings about diversity. We employ 77 in-depth interviews with undergraduates at two elite universities. While the universities appear comparable on measures of student demographics and overall diversity infrastructure, they take different approaches. These varying approaches lead to important differences in student perspectives. At the university that takes a power analysis and minority support approach, students who participate in minority-oriented activities develop a critical race theory perspective, while their white and nonparticipating minority peers frequently feel alienated from that programming. At the university that takes an integration and celebration approach, most students embrace a cosmopolitan perspective, celebrating diversity while paying less attention to power and resource differences between racial groups. The findings suggest that higher education institutions can influence the race frames of students as well as their approaches to multiculturalism, with implications for their views on a variety of important diversity-related issues on campus and beyond.

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Gender Differences in Competitiveness: The Role of Prizes

Ragan Petrie & Carmit Segal
George Mason University Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Gender differences in competitiveness have been suggested as an explanation for the observed dearth of women in highly-ranked positions within firms. In this paper we ask: could a price mechanism be used to achieve gender balance? Our results show that if the rewards to competition are sufficiently large, women are willing to compete as much as men and will win as many competitions as men. Nonetheless, while entry increases, it is not enough to reduce average wage cost. Given the proportion of men and women willing to enter the competition at various prizes, firms whose objective is to minimize their costs would not voluntarily chose prizes which allow them to attract a balanced workforce. Hence markets forces would not be sufficient to achieve gender parity. Our experimental design also allows us to propose a new measure for competitiveness that incorporates the fact that incentives change participants' willingness to compete, namely the minimum prize at which participants chose to enter a tournament. We find that women choose to enter at significantly higher minimum prizes and that only a small fraction of the initial gender gap can be attributed to performance, beliefs, and general factors such as risk and feedback aversion. Thus, even though for some prizes women behave as competitively as men, women nevertheless are less competitive than men.

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Ethnic matching in the U.S. venture capital market

Ola Bengtsson & David Hsu
Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document the role of entrepreneurial founder and venture capital (VC) partner co-ethnicity in shaping investment relationships. Co-ethnicity increases the likelihood that a VC firm invests in a company. Conditional on investment, co-ethnicity strengthens the degree of involvement by raising the likelihood of VC board of director involvement and increasing the size and scope of investment. These results are consistent with trust and social-network based mechanisms. Shared ethnicity in our sample is associated with worse investment outcomes as measured by investment liquidity, however, which our results suggest might stem from looser screening and/or corporate governance.

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The Effect of Teacher Gender on Student Achievement in Primary School

Heather Antecol, Ozkan Eren & Serkan Ozbeklik
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2015, Pages 63-89

Abstract:
Using data from a randomized experiment, we find that having a female teacher lowers the math test scores of female primary school students in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Moreover, we do not find any effect of having a female teacher on male students' test scores (math or reading) or female students' reading test scores, which seems to rule out explanations pertaining to the unobserved quality differences between male and female teachers. Finally, this negative effect seems to persist only for female students who were assigned to a female teacher with a limited math background.

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What's in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching

Lillian MacNell, Adam Driscoll & Andrea Hunt
Innovative Higher Education, forthcoming

Abstract:
Student ratings of teaching play a significant role in career outcomes for higher education instructors. Although instructor gender has been shown to play an important role in influencing student ratings, the extent and nature of that role remains contested. While difficult to separate gender from teaching practices in person, it is possible to disguise an instructor's gender identity online. In our experiment, assistant instructors in an online class each operated under two different gender identities. Students rated the male identity significantly higher than the female identity, regardless of the instructor's actual gender, demonstrating gender bias. Given the vital role that student ratings play in academic career trajectories, this finding warrants considerable attention.

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You can win but I can't lose: Bias against high-status groups increases their zero-sum beliefs about discrimination

Clara Wilkins et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2015, Pages 1-14

Abstract:
What leads people to espouse zero-sum beliefs (ZSBs) - the perspective that gains for one social group come at the cost of another group - and what are the consequences of those beliefs? We hypothesized that high-status groups (Whites and men) would be more likely than low-status groups (Blacks and women) to endorse ZSBs, particularly in response to increasing perceptions of discrimination against their own groups. We found that high-status groups endorsed ZSBs more when they contemplated increasing bias against their group than when they contemplated decreasing bias against their low-status counterparts. Furthermore, we demonstrated that greater ZSB endorsement corresponded with efforts to decrease outgroups' ability to compete in society and efforts to increase the ingroup's ability to compete. We discuss how this pattern may perpetuate social inequality.

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"Your Honor" is a Female: A Multistage Electoral Analysis of Women's Successes at Securing State Trial Court Judgeships

Charles Bullock et al.
Social Science Quarterly, December 2014, Pages 1322-1345

Objectives: Using a multistage gender-focused analysis of candidates for trial court judgeships, we seek answers to these leading questions: (1) Are women as strategic as men in choosing the conditions under which they run for an open seat or against an incumbent and against a male opponent or against another female? (2) Are women winning at the same rates as men under the same conditions at the primary election stage and at the runoff stage? (3) Are women as likely as men to move into a vacant trial court judgeship via a gubernatorial appointment? (4) Are women more likely to be appointed than to win election to the bench?

Methods: This research represents the first use of an "all-stage" analysis of the relative success of female versus male candidates for trial court judge in nonpartisan settings. The three stages analyzed are (1) candidacy, (2) the initial primary round (outright victory or progression to the runoff), and (3) the end stage-victory in a runoff, if necessary. The study is based on longitudinal data from Florida and Georgia-two of the nation's 10 largest states, each with higher contestation rates than the national average for nonpartisan trial court judicial races-and gubernatorial appointments to new or vacant judgeships.

Results: Women behave strategically, more often seeking open seats than challenging incumbents and more often competing against men than women. Women participated in the candidate pools for most seats having contested primaries and when women run, they win more often than they lose, usually by defeating men. While women fare less well in runoffs than initial primaries, they win more runoffs than they lose. Women more often come to the bench by winning an election than securing a gubernatorial appointment, with female appointees disproportionately serving in newly created judgeships.

Conclusions: Women frequently compete for trial court judgeships and when they run, they usually succeed. Open seats rather than challenging incumbents or hoping for a gubernatorial appointment provide the best way to increase gender equality on the bench.

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Marines, medics, and machismo: Lack of fit with masculine occupational stereotypes discourages men's participation

Kim Peters, Michelle Ryan & Alexander Haslam
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women have made substantial inroads into some traditionally masculine occupations (e.g., accounting, journalism) but not into others (e.g., military, surgery). Evidence suggests the latter group of occupations is characterized by hyper-masculine 'macho' stereotypes that are especially disadvantageous to women. Here, we explore whether such macho occupational stereotypes may be especially tenacious, not just because of their impact on women, but also because of their impact on men. We examined whether macho stereotypes associated with marine commandos and surgeons discourage men who feel that they are 'not man enough'. Study 1 demonstrates that male new recruits' (N = 218) perceived lack of fit with masculine commandos was associated with reduced occupational identification and motivation. Study 2 demonstrates that male surgical trainees' (N = 117) perceived lack of fit with masculine surgeons was associated with reduced identification and increased psychological exit a year later. Together, this suggests that macho occupational stereotypes may discourage the very men who may challenge them.

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Leadership over-emergence in self-managing teams: The role of gender and countervailing biases

Klodiana Lanaj & John Hollenbeck
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine leadership over-emergence, defined as instances when the level of one's leadership emergence is higher than the level of one's leadership effectiveness, in a sample of intact self-managing teams who worked together for a period of seven months. We draw from Gender Role Theory and Expectancy Violation Theory to examine the role of gender in predicting leadership over-emergence. Building on arguments from Gender Role Theory, we find that all else equal, men over-emerge as leaders. However, Expectancy Violation Theory suggests that women are likely to benefit from a countervailing bias. Specifically, women are attributed with higher levels of leadership emergence than men when they engage in agentic leadership behaviors - even if the level of the behaviors exhibited by men is exactly the same. Because the impact of these behaviors on leadership effectiveness is not contingent on gender, however, women who engage in more task behaviors and boundary spanning behaviors in self-managing teams also over-emerge as leaders. We discuss the implications of this study for Gender Role Theory and Expectancy Violation Theory, along with practical implications for managing the problem of leadership over-emergence in work groups.

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Gender and the Emotional Experience of Relationship Conflict: The Differential Effectiveness of Avoidant Conflict Management

Julia Bear, Laurie Weingart & Gergana Todorova
Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, November 2014, Pages 213-231

Abstract:
Conflict research has shown that managing relationship conflict via avoidance is beneficial for team performance, but it is unclear whether avoidant conflict management benefits individuals on an affective level. Drawing on theories of gender roles, we proposed that gender is an important factor that influences whether avoidant conflict management mitigates the negative affective effects of relationship conflict. In a field study of a healthcare organization, we found that relationship conflict resulted in negative emotions, which, in turn, were positively associated with emotional exhaustion two months later. Avoidant conflict management attenuated the relationship between negative emotions engendered by relationship conflict and emotional exhaustion, but this effect depended on gender. Among men, the extent to which they used an avoidant conflict management style mitigated the association between negative emotions and emotional exhaustion, whereas among women, avoidant conflict management did not attenuate this relationship. Findings are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 15, 2014

In network

Party Politics, Governors, and Healthcare Expenditures

Nayan Krishna Joshi
Economics & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the impact of gubernatorial partisanship on the growth of healthcare expenditures (HCE) for a panel dataset of 50 U.S. states over the 1991–2009 period. Using the parametric regression discontinuity design, I find no partisan effect on the growth of state's per capita real total personal HCE. However, an analysis of the growth rates of the components of HCE suggests that there is a causal effect of party affiliation on the “prescription drugs” component. These findings are robust to the inclusion of additional covariates in the parametric approach as well to the use of the non-parametric regression discontinuity approach. The results further suggest that the impact of gubernatorial partisanship does not depend on the length of the governor's term in office.

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Professional Societies, Political Action Committees, and Party Preferences

Steven Bernstein, Carol Barsky & Eleanor Powell
American Journal of Public Health, January 2015, Pages e11-e14

Abstract:
Societies representing physician specialties and other health care personnel commonly have political action committees (PACs). These PACs seek to advance their members’ interests through advocacy and campaign contributions. We examined contribution data for health care workers’ PACs from the 2010 to 2012 election cycles and found that higher annual income was strongly associated with greater giving to Republican candidates. Patterns of giving may offer insights into various medical workers’ party preferences, political leanings, and views of health care reform.

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Low-Income Residents In Three States View Medicaid As Equal To Or Better Than Private Coverage, Support Expansion

Arnold Epstein et al.
Health Affairs, November 2014, Pages 2041-2047

Abstract:
Expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to millions of low-income adults has been controversial, yet little is known about what these Americans themselves think about Medicaid. We conducted a telephone survey in late 2013 of nearly 3,000 low-income adults in three Southern states — Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas — that have adopted different approaches to the options for expansion. Nearly 80 percent of our sample in all three states favored Medicaid expansion, and approximately two-thirds of uninsured respondents said that they planned to apply for either Medicaid or subsidized private coverage in 2014. Yet awareness of their state’s actual expansion plans was low. Most viewed having Medicaid as better than being uninsured and at least as good as private insurance in overall quality and affordability. While the debate over Medicaid expansion continues, support for expansion is strong among low-income adults, and the perceived quality of Medicaid coverage is high.

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People respond better to robots than computer tablets delivering healthcare instructions

Jordan Mann et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, February 2015, Pages 112–117

Abstract:
The population of the world is ageing, particularly in developed countries. As the population’s age increases, the healthcare workforce is becoming progressively unable to meet the high healthcare demands of the elderly population. Increasingly, technology is being used to solve this dilemma. Using a sample from the general population (n = 65), this study examined how people interacted with either a robot or a tablet computer delivering healthcare instructions. During this interaction, the robot/tablet asked them several health-related questions, and to perform limited physical tests and a relaxation exercise. Results showed participants had more positive interactions with the robot compared to the computer tablet, including increased speech and positive emotion (smiling), and participation in the relaxation exercise. Further results showed the robot was rated higher on scales of trust, enjoyment, and desire for future interaction. This suggests that robots may offer benefits over and above computer tablets in delivering healthcare. These results further demonstrate that the physical nature of technology is important in determining responses to healthcare interactions.

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The Relationship between Commercial Health Care Prices and Medicare Spending and Utilization

John Romley et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To explore the relationship between commercial health care prices and Medicare spending/utilization across U.S. regions.

Data Sources: Claims from large employers and Medicare Parts A/B/D over 2007–2009.

Study Design: We compared prices paid by commercial health plans to Medicare spending and utilization, adjusted for beneficiary health and the cost of care, across 301 hospital referral regions.

Principal Findings: A 10 percent lower commercial price (around the average level) is associated with 3.0 percent higher Medicare spending per member per year, and 4.3 percent more specialist visits (p < .01).

Conclusions: Commercial health care prices are negatively associated with Medicare spending across regions. Providers may respond to low commercial prices by shifting service volume into Medicare. Further investigation is needed to establish causality.

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Quality and Equity of Care in U.S. Hospitals

Amal Trivedi et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 11 December 2014, Pages 2298-2308

Background: Nearly every U.S. hospital publicly reports its performance on quality measures for patients who are hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia. Because performance rates are not reported according to race or ethnic group, it is unclear whether improvements in equity of care have accompanied aggregate improvements in health care quality over time.

Methods: We assessed performance rates for quality measures covering three conditions (six measures for acute myocardial infarction, four for heart failure, and seven for pneumonia). These rates, adjusted for patient- and hospital-level covariates, were compared among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic patients who received care between 2005 and 2010 in acute care hospitals throughout the United States.

Results: Adjusted performance rates for the 17 quality measures improved by 3.4 to 57.6 percentage points between 2005 and 2010 for white, black, and Hispanic adults (P<0.001 for all comparisons). In 2005, as compared with adjusted performance rates for white patients, adjusted performance rates were more than 5 percentage points lower for black patients on 3 measures (range of differences, 12.3 to 14.2) and for Hispanic patients on 6 measures (5.6 to 14.5). Gaps decreased significantly on all 9 of these measures between 2005 and 2010, with adjusted changes for differences between white patients and black patients ranging from −8.5 to −11.8 percentage points and from −6.2 to −15.1 percentage points for differences between white patients and Hispanic patients. Decreasing differences according to race or ethnic group were attributable to more equitable care for white patients and minority patients treated in the same hospital, as well as to greater performance improvements among hospitals that disproportionately serve minority patients.

Conclusions: Improved performance on quality measures for white, black, and Hispanic adults hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or pneumonia was accompanied by increased racial and ethnic equity in performance rates both within and among U.S. hospitals.

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Physician payments under health care reform

Abe Dunn & Adam Hale Shapiro
Journal of Health Economics, January 2015, Pages 89–105

Abstract:
This study examines the impact of major health insurance reform on payments made in the health care sector. We study the prices of services paid to physicians in the privately insured market during the Massachusetts health care reform. The reform increased the number of insured individuals as well as introduced an online marketplace where insurers compete. We estimate that, over the reform period, physician payments increased at least 11 percentage points relative to control areas. Payment increases began around the time legislation passed the House and Senate — the period in which their was a high probability of the bill eventually becoming law. This result is consistent with fixed-duration payment contracts being negotiated in anticipation of future demand and competition.

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Minority Primary Care Patients With Depression: Outcome Disparities Improve With Collaborative Care Management

Kurt Angstman et al.
Medical Care, January 2015, Pages 32-37

Background/Objectives: Racial and ethnic disparities in depression incidence, prevalence, treatment, and outcomes still persist. The hypothesis of this study was that use of collaborative care management (CCM) in treating depressed primary care patients would decrease racial disparities in 6-month clinical outcomes compared with those patients treated with usual primary care (UC).

Research Design/Subjects: In a retrospective chart review analysis, 3588 (51.2%) patients received UC and 3422 (48.8%) patients were enrolled in CCM. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine disparities in 6-month outcomes.

Results: Minority patients enrolled in CCM were more likely to be participating in depression care at 6 months than minority patients in UC (61.8% vs. 14.4%; P≤0.001). After adjustment for demographic and clinical covariates, this difference remained statistically significant (odds ratio=9.929; 95% CI, 6.539–15.077, P≤0.001). The 568 minority UC patients with 6-month follow-up PHQ-9 data demonstrated a much lower odds ratio of a PHQ-9 score of <5 (0.220; 95% CI, 0.085–0.570; P=0.002) and a much higher odds ratio of PHQ-9 score of ≥10 (3.068; 95% CI, 1.622–5.804; P<0.001) when compared with the white, non-Hispanic patients. In contrast, the 2329 patients treated with CCM, the odds ratio for a PHQ-9 score of <5 or ≥10 after 6 months, demonstrated no significance of minority status.

Conclusions: Utilization of CCM for depression was associated with a significant reduction of the disparities for outcomes of compliance, remission, or persistence of depressive symptoms for minority patients with depression versus those treated with UC.

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Spending Patterns in Region of Residency Training and Subsequent Expenditures for Care Provided by Practicing Physicians for Medicare Beneficiaries

Candice Chen et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 December 2014, Pages 2385-2393

Importance: Graduate medical education training may imprint young physicians with skills and experiences, but few studies have evaluated imprinting on physician spending patterns.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Secondary multilevel multivariable analysis of 2011 Medicare claims data (Part A hospital and Part B physician) for a random, nationally representative sample of family medicine and internal medicine physicians completing residency between 1992 and 2010 with Medicare patient panels of 40 or more patients (2851 physicians providing care to 491 948 Medicare beneficiaries).

Exposures: Locations of practice and residency training were matched with Dartmouth Atlas Hospital Referral Region (HRR) files. Training and practice HRRs were categorized into low-, average-, and high-spending groups, with approximately equal distribution of beneficiary numbers. There were 674 physicians in low-spending training and low-spending practice HRRs, 180 in average-spending training/low-spending practice, 178 in high-spending training/low-spending practice, 253 in low-spending training/average-spending practice, 417 in average-spending training/average-spending practice, 210 in high-spending training/average-spending practice, 97 in low-spending training/high-spending practice, 275 in average-spending training/high-spending practice, and 567 in high-spending training/high-spending practice.

Results: For physicians practicing in high-spending regions, those trained in high-spending regions had a mean spending per beneficiary per year $1926 higher (95% CI, $889-$2963) than those trained in low-spending regions. For practice in average-spending HRRs, mean spending was $897 higher (95% CI, $71-$1723) for physicians trained in high- vs low-spending regions. For practice in low-spending HRRs, the difference across training HRR levels was not significant ($533; 95% CI, –$46 to $1112). After controlling for patient, community, and physician characteristics, there was a 7% difference (95% CI, 2%-12%) in patient expenditures between low- and high-spending training HRRs. Across all practice HRRs, this corresponded to an estimated $522 difference (95% CI, $146-$919) between low- and high-spending training regions. For physicians 1 to 7 years in practice, there was a 29% difference ($2434; 95% CI, $1004-$4111) in spending between those trained in low- and high-spending regions; however, after 16 to 19 years, there was no significant difference.

Conclusions and Relevance: Among general internists and family physicians who completed residency training between 1992 and 2010, the spending patterns in the HRR in which their residency program was located were associated with expenditures for subsequent care they provided as practicing physicians for Medicare beneficiaries. Interventions during residency training may have the potential to help control future health care spending.

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Spillover Effects of the Affordable Care Act? Exploring the Impact on Young Adult Dental Insurance Coverage

Dan Shane & Padmaja Ayyagari
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objectives: To assess whether the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) dependent coverage health insurance mandate had a spillover impact on young adult dental insurance coverage and whether any observed effects varied by household income.

Data: Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys from 2006 through 2011.

Study Design: We employed a difference-in-difference regression approach comparing changes in insurance rates for young adults ages 19–25 years to changes in insurance rates for adults ages 27–30 years. Separate regressions were estimated by categories of household income as a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to understand whether the mandate had heterogeneous spillover effects.

Results: Private dental insurance increased by 6.7 percentage points among young adults compared to a control group of 27–30-year olds. Increases were concentrated at middle-income levels (125–400 percent FPL).

Conclusions: The dependent coverage mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act has not only increased health insurance rates among young adults but also dental insurance coverage rates.

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Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Surgical Checklist in Medicare Patients

Bradley Reames et al.
Medical Care, January 2015, Pages 87-94

Background: Surgical checklists are increasingly used to improve compliance with evidence-based processes in the perioperative period. Although enthusiasm exists for using checklists to improve outcomes, recent studies have questioned their effectiveness in large populations.

Objective: We sought to examine the association of Keystone Surgery, a statewide implementation of an evidence-based checklist and Comprehensive Unit–based Safety Program, on surgical outcomes and health care costs.

Methods: We performed a study using national Medicare claims data for patients undergoing general and vascular surgery (n=1,002,241) from 2006 to 2011. A difference-in-differences approach was used to evaluate whether implementation was associated with improved surgical outcomes and decreased costs when compared with a national cohort of nonparticipating hospitals. Propensity score matching was used to select 10 control hospitals for each participating hospital. Costs were assessed using price-standardized 30-day Medicare payments for acute hospitalizations, readmissions, and high-cost outliers.

Results: Keystone Surgery implementation in participating centers (N=95 hospitals) was not associated with improved outcomes. Difference-in-differences analysis accounting for trends in nonparticipating hospitals (N=950 hospitals) revealed no differences in adjusted rates of 30-day mortality [relative risk (RR)=1.03; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 0.97–1.10], any complication (RR=1.03; 95% CI, 0.99–1.07), reoperations (RR=0.89; 95% CI, 0.56–1.22), or readmissions (RR=1.01; 95% CI, 0.97–1.05). Medicare payments for the index admission increased following implementation ($516 average increase in payments; 95% CI, $210–$823 increase), as did readmission payments ($564 increase; 95% CI, $89–$1040 increase). High-outlier payments ($965 increase; 95% CI, $974decrease to $2904 increase) did not change.

Conclusions: Implementation of Keystone Surgery in Michigan was not associated with improved outcomes or decreased costs in Medicare patients.

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The Accuracy of Dermatology Network Physician Directories Posted by Medicare Advantage Health Plans in an Era of Narrow Networks

Jack Resneck et al.
JAMA Dermatology, December 2014, Pages 1290-1297

Objective: To determine the accuracy of MA plan directories of participating dermatologists, and the appointment availability of listed physicians.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Scripted telephone calls were placed to every dermatologist listed in directories for the largest MA plans in 12 US metropolitan areas. The caller sought an appointment on behalf of his fictitious father who had severe itch for several months, asked whether the dermatologist accepted the relevant plan, and asked for the next available appointment date.

Results: Among 4754 total physician listings, 45.5% represented duplicates in the same plan directory. Among the remaining unique listings, 48.9% of physicians were reachable, accepted the listed plan, and offered an appointment for our fictitious patient. Many of the dermatologists listed had incorrect contact information, were deceased, retired, or had moved, were not accepting new patients, did not accept the insurance plan, or were subspecialized. The mean (range) wait time for appointments among the remaining listings was 45.5 (1-414) days. Both the accuracy of network directories and the appointment wait times varied substantially by health plan and metropolitan area. For 1 plan, our caller was unable to obtain an appointment with any listed dermatologist.

Conclusions and Relevance: Medicare Advantage physician directories for dermatology in many areas substantially overestimate the number of in-network physicians available to treat patients with medical skin conditions. These inaccuracies occurred in areas with long appointment wait times and where plans are terminating selected physician contracts. This suggests a lack of capacity that would be exacerbated by further network narrowing. Accurate physician directories are essential for proper oversight of network adequacy, and for patients who rely on these listings to evaluate health plan options during open enrollment.

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Medical Malpractice Reform: Noneconomic Damages Caps Reduced Payments 15 Percent, With Varied Effects By Specialty

Seth Seabury, Eric Helland & Anupam Jena
Health Affairs, November 2014, Pages 2048-2056

Abstract:
The impact of medical malpractice reforms on the average size of malpractice payments in specific physician specialties is unknown and subject to debate. We analyzed a national sample of malpractice claims for the period 1985–2010, merged with information on state liability reforms, to estimate the impact of state noneconomic damages caps on average malpractice payment size for physicians overall and for ten different specialty categories. We then compared how the effects differed according to the restrictiveness of the cap ($250,000 versus $500,000). We found that, overall, noneconomic damages caps reduced average payments by $42,980 (15 percent), compared to having no cap at all. A more restrictive $250,000 cap reduced average payments by $59,331 (20 percent), and a less restrictive $500,000 cap had no significant effect, compared to no cap at all. The effect of the caps overall varied according to specialty, with the largest impact being on claims involving pediatricians and the smallest on claims involving surgical subspecialties and ophthalmologists.

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Impact of Subsidized Health Insurance Coverage on Emergency Department Utilization by Low-income Adults in Massachusetts

Jennifer Lee et al.
Medical Care, January 2015, Pages 38-44

Objectives: This study aimed to estimate the change in emergency department (ED) utilization per individual among a cohort who qualified for subsidized health insurance following the Massachusetts health care reform.

Research Design: We obtained Massachusetts public health insurance enrollment data for the fiscal years 2004–2008 and identified 353,515 adults who enrolled in Commonwealth Care, a program that subsidizes insurance for low-income adults. We merged the enrollment data with statewide ED visit claims and created a longitudinal file that indicated each enrollee’s ED visits and insurance status each month during the preenrollment and postenrollment periods.

Results: Among the 112,146 CommCare enrollees who made at least 1 ED visit during the study period, an individual’s odds of an ED visit decreased 4% [odds ratio (OR)=0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.94, 0.98] postenrollment. However, it varied significantly depending on preenrollment insurance status. A person’s odds of an ED visit was 12% higher in the postperiod among enrollees not publicly insured prior (OR=1.12; 95% CI, 1.10, 1.25), but was 18% lower among enrollees who transitioned from the Health Safety Net, a program that pays for limited services for low-income individuals (OR=0.82; 95% CI, 0.78, 0.85).

Conclusions: Expanding subsidized health insurance did not uniformly change ED utilization for all newly insured low-income adults in Massachusetts.

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Public Health Insurance Expansions and Hospital Technology Adoption

Seth Freedman, Haizhen Lin & Kosali Simon
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explores the effects of public health insurance expansions on hospitals’ decisions to adopt medical technology. Specifically, we test whether the expansion of Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women during the 1980s and 1990s affects hospitals’ decisions to adopt neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). While Medicaid expansion provided new insurance to a substantial number of pregnant women, prior literature also finds that some newly insured women would otherwise have been covered by more generously reimbursed private sources. Such crowd-out, combined with Medicaid’s low reimbursement rats, leads to a theoretically ambiguous net effect of Medicaid expansion on a hospital’s incentive to invest in technology. Using American Hospital Association data, we find that on average, Medicaid expansion has no statistically significant effect on NICU adoption. However, we also find that in geographic areas where more of the newly Medicaid-insured may have come from the privately insured population, Medicaid expansion slows NICU adoption. This holds true particularly when Medicaid payment rates are very low relative to private payment rates. Our findings are consistent with prior evidence on reduced NICU adoption from increased managed-care penetration. We conclude by discussing the policy implications of our work for insurance expansions associated with the Affordable Care Act.

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The effect of state dependent mandate laws on the labor supply decisions of young adults

Briggs Depew
Journal of Health Economics, January 2015, Pages 123–134

Abstract:
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, the majority of states in the U.S. had already implemented state laws that extended the age that young adults could enroll as dependents on their parent's employer-based health insurance plans. Because of the fundamental link between health insurance and employment in the U.S., such policies may affect the labor supply decisions of young adults. Although the interaction between labor supply and health insurance has been extensively studied for other subpopulations, little is known about the role of health insurance in the labor supply decisions of young adults. I use the variation from the implementation and changes in state policies that expanded dependent health insurance coverage to examine how young adults adjusted their labor supply when they were able to be covered as a dependent on their parent's plan. I find that these state mandates led to a decrease in labor supply on the intensive margin.

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What Is the Cost of Quality for Diabetes Care?

Jean Abraham et al.
Medical Care Research and Review, December 2014, Pages 580-598

Abstract:
Increasing the quality of care and reducing cost growth are core objectives of numerous private- and public-sector performance improvement initiatives. Using a unique panel data set for a commercially insured population and multivariate regression analysis, this study examines the relationship between medical care spending and diabetes-related quality measures, including provider-initiated processes of care and patient-dependent quality activities. Empirical evidence generated from this analysis of the relationship between a comprehensive set of diabetes quality measures and diabetes-related spending does not lend support for the assumption that high-quality preventive and primary care combined with effective patient self-management can lead to lower costs in the near term. Finally, we find no relationship between adjusted spending and intermediate clinical outcomes (e.g., HbA1c level) measured at the clinic level.

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The War on Poverty's Experiment in Public Medicine: Community Health Centers and the Mortality of Older Americans

Martha Bailey & Andrew Goodman-Bacon
NBER Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
This paper uses the rollout of the first Community Health Centers (CHCs) to study the longer-term health effects of increasing access to primary care. Within ten years, CHCs are associated with a reduction in age-adjusted mortality rates of 2 percent among those 50 and older. The implied 7 to 13 percent decrease in one-year mortality risk among beneficiaries amounts to 20 to 40 percent of the 1966 poor/non-poor mortality gap for this age group. Large effects for those 65 and older suggest that increased access to primary care has longer-term benefits, even for populations with near universal health insurance.

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Hennepin Health: A Safety-Net Accountable Care Organization For The Expanded Medicaid Population

Shana Sandberg et al.
Health Affairs, November 2014, Pages 1975-1984

Abstract:
Health care payment and delivery models that challenge providers to be accountable for outcomes have fueled interest in community-level partnerships that address the behavioral, social, and economic determinants of health. We describe how Hennepin Health — a county-based safety-net accountable care organization in Minnesota — has forged such a partnership to redesign the health care workforce and improve the coordination of the physical, behavioral, social, and economic dimensions of care for an expanded community of Medicaid beneficiaries. Early outcomes suggest that the program has had an impact in shifting care from hospitals to outpatient settings. For example, emergency department visits decreased 9.1 percent between 2012 and 2013, while outpatient visits increased 3.3 percent. An increasing percentage of patients have received diabetes, vascular, and asthma care at optimal levels. At the same time, Hennepin Health has realized savings and reinvested them in future improvements. Hennepin Health offers lessons for counties, states, and public hospitals grappling with the problem of how to make the best use of public funds in serving expanded Medicaid populations and other communities with high needs.

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Public insurance expansions and the health of immigrant and native children

Erin Todd Bronchetti
Journal of Public Economics, December 2014, Pages 205–219

Abstract:
The costs of public insurance expansions are ordinarily justified by the claim that increased eligibility causes gains in insurance coverage, which translate into improved health care and health. This paper studies dramatic changes in public health insurance eligibility for immigrant and native children from 1998 to 2009 and finds that children's nativity status is crucial to understanding the impacts of recent eligibility expansions. I document a significantly higher degree of take-up (and less crowding out of private insurance) among first- and second-generation immigrant children than among children of U.S. natives. Eligibility expansions increased immigrant children's use of preventive and ambulatory care and decreased emergency care in hospitals, while estimated effects for children of natives are negligible. My results also suggest improvements in some health measures that would be expected to respond to preventive and ambulatory care.

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Eliminating Health Care Disparities With Mandatory Clinical Decision Support: The Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Example

Brandyn Lau et al.
Medical Care, January 2015, Pages 18-24

Background: All hospitalized patients should be assessed for venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk factors and prescribed appropriate prophylaxis. To improve best-practice VTE prophylaxis prescription for all hospitalized patients, we implemented a mandatory computerized clinical decision support (CCDS) tool. The tool requires completion of checklists to evaluate VTE risk factors and contraindications to pharmacological prophylaxis, and then recommends the risk-appropriate VTE prophylaxis regimen.

Subjects: The study included 1942 hospitalized medical patients and 1599 hospitalized adult trauma patients.

Results: Racial disparities existed in prescription of best-practice VTE prophylaxis in the preimplementation period between black and white patients on both the trauma (70.1% vs. 56.6%, P=0.025) and medicine (69.5% vs. 61.7%, P=0.015) services. After implementation of the CCDS tool, compliance improved for all patients, and disparities in best-practice prophylaxis prescription between black and white patients were eliminated on both services: trauma (84.5% vs. 85.5%, P=0.99) and medicine (91.8% vs. 88.0%, P=0.082). Similar findings were noted for sex disparities in the trauma cohort.

Conclusions: Despite the fact that risk-appropriate prophylaxis should be prescribed equally to all hospitalized patients regardless of race and sex, practice varied widely before our quality improvement intervention. Our CCDS tool eliminated racial disparities in VTE prophylaxis prescription across 2 distinct clinical services. Health information technology approaches to care standardization are effective to eliminate health care disparities.

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State tax subsidies to bolster the long-term care insurance market

David Nixon
Journal of Public Policy, December 2014, Pages 415-436

Abstract:
This paper examines long-term care insurance sales to assess whether state income tax subsidies are effective in encouraging the private purchase of long-term care insurance. Drawing from the most comprehensive available sales data on long-term care insurance policies, cross-state and over-time variation in sales data during the late 1990s and early 2000s are analysed. This analysis uses a panel model with fixed effects controls for potential endogeneity between state provision of tax subsidies and actual sales of long-term care insurance policies. Income, health and family support factors are significant determinants in the sale of long-term care insurance, but the tax incentives provided by many state governments do not induce any more sales of long-term care insurance than could be expected without such incentives. These costly subsidies have not been prudent uses of public dollars, and have not helped states cope with the challenge of long-term care costs.

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Early Elective Deliveries Accounted For Nearly 9 Percent Of Births Paid For By Medicaid

Tara Trudnak Fowler et al.
Health Affairs, December 2014, Pages 2170-2178

Abstract:
Reducing early elective deliveries has become a priority for Medicaid medical directors and their state partners. Such deliveries lead to poor health outcomes for newborns and their mothers and generate additional costs for patients, providers, and Medicaid, which pays for up to 48 percent of all births in the United States each year. Early elective deliveries are non–medically indicated labor inductions or cesarean deliveries of infants with a confirmed gestational age of less than thirty-nine weeks. This retrospective descriptive study reports the results of a perinatal project, led by the state Medicaid medical directors, that sought to coordinate quality improvement efforts related to early elective deliveries for the Medicaid population. Twenty-two states participated in the project and provided data on elective deliveries in the period 2010–12. We found that 75,131 (8.9 percent) of 839,688 Medicaid singleton births were early elective deliveries. Thus, we estimate that there are 160,000 early elective Medicaid deliveries nationwide each year. In twelve states, early-term elective deliveries declined 32 percent between 2007 and 2011. Our study offers additional evidence and new tools for policy makers pursuing strategies to further reduce the number of such deliveries.

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Association Between Imposition of a Maintenance of Certification Requirement and Ambulatory Care–Sensitive Hospitalizations and Health Care Costs

Bradley Gray et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 December 2014, Pages 2348-2357

Importance: In 1990, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) ended lifelong certification by initiating a 10-year Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program that first took effect in 2000. Despite the importance of this change, there has been limited research examining associations between the MOC requirement and patient outcomes.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Quasi-experimental comparison between outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries treated in 2001 by 2 groups of ABIM-certified internal medicine physicians (general internists). One group (n = 956), initially certified in 1991, was required to fulfill the MOC program in 2001 (MOC-required) and treated 84 215 beneficiaries in the sample; the other group (n = 974), initially certified in 1989, was grandfathered out of the MOC requirement (MOC-grandfathered) and treated 69 830 similar beneficiaries in the sample. We compared differences in outcomes for the beneficiary cohort treated by the MOC-required general internists before (1999-2000) and after (2002-2005) they were required to complete MOC, using the beneficiary cohort treated by the MOC-grandfathered general internists as the control.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Quality measures were ambulatory care–sensitive hospitalizations (ACSHs), measured using prevention quality indicators. Ambulatory care–sensitive hospitalizations are hospitalizations triggered by conditions thought to be potentially preventable through better access to and quality of outpatient care. Other outcomes included health care cost measures (adjusted to 2013 dollars).

Results: Annual incidence of ACSHs (per 1000 beneficiaries) increased from the pre-MOC period (37.9 for MOC-required beneficiaries vs 37.0 for MOC-grandfathered beneficiaries) to the post-MOC period (61.8 for MOC-required beneficiaries vs 61.4 for MOC-grandfathered beneficiaries) for both cohorts, as did annual per-beneficiary health care costs (pre-MOC period, $5157 for MOC-required beneficiaries vs $5133 for MOC-grandfathered beneficiaries; post-MOC period, $7633 for MOC-required beneficiaries vs $7793 for MOC-grandfathered beneficiaries). The MOC requirement was not statistically associated with cohort differences in the growth of the annual ACSH rate (per 1000 beneficiaries, 0.1 [95% CI, −1.7 to 1.9]; P = .92), but was associated with a cohort difference in the annual, per-beneficiary cost growth of −$167 (95% CI, −$270.5 to −$63.5; P = .002; 2.5% of overall mean cost).

Conclusion and Relevance: Imposition of the MOC requirement was not associated with a difference in the increase in ACSHs but was associated with a small reduction in the growth differences of costs for a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries.

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Association Between Physician Time-Unlimited vs Time-Limited Internal Medicine Board Certification and Ambulatory Patient Care Quality

John Hayes et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 December 2014, Pages 2358-2363

Importance: American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) initiatives encourage internists with time-unlimited certificates to recertify. However, there are limited data evaluating differences in performance between internists with time-limited or time-unlimited board certification.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective analysis of performance data from 1 year (2012-2013) at 4 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers. Participants were internists with time-limited (n = 71) or time-unlimited (n = 34) ABIM certification providing primary care to 68 213 patients. Median physician panel size was 610 patients (range, 19-1316), with no differences between groups (P = .90).

Main Outcomes and Measures: Ten primary care performance measures: colorectal screening rates; diabetes with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c level) less than 9.0%; diabetes with blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg; diabetes with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level less than 100 mg/dL; hypertension with blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg; thiazide diuretics used in multidrug hypertensive regimen; atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and LDL-C level less than 100 mg/dL; post–myocardial infarction use of aspirin; post–myocardial infarction use of β-blockers; congestive heart failure (CHF) with use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.

Results: After adjustment for practice site, panel size, years since certification, and clustering by physician, there were no differences in outcomes for patients cared for by internists with time-limited or time-unlimited certification for any performance measure: colorectal screening (odds ratio [OR], 0.95 [95% CI, 0.89-1.01]); diabetes with HbA1c level less than 9.0% (OR, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.74-1.2]); blood pressure control (OR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.69-1.4]); LDL-C level less than 100 mg/dL (OR, 1.1 [95% CI, 0.79-1.5]); hypertension with blood pressure less than 140/90 mm Hg (OR, 1.0 [95% CI, 0.92-1.2]); thiazide use (OR, 1.0 [95% CI, 0.8-1.3]); atherosclerotic coronary artery disease with LDL-C level less than 100 mg/dL (OR, 1.1 [95% CI, 0.75-1.7]); post–myocardial infarction use of aspirin (OR, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.58-1.68]) or β-blockers (OR, 1.0 [95% CI, 0.57-1.9]); CHF with use of ACE inhibitor (OR, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.61-1.6]).

Conclusions and Relevance: Among internists providing primary care at 4 VA medical centers, there were no significant differences between those with time-limited ABIM certification and those with time-unlimited ABIM certification on 10 primary care performance measures. Additional research to examine the difference in patient outcomes among holders of time-limited and time-unlimited certificates in non-VA and nonacademic settings and the association with other ABIM goals may help clarify the potential benefit of Maintenance of Certification participation.

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Access to Health Insurance and the Use of Inpatient Medical Care: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act Young Adult Mandate

Yaa Akosa Antwi, Asako Moriya & Kosali Simon
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 expanded coverage to young adults by allowing them to remain on their parent's private health insurance until they turn 26 years old. While there is evidence on insurance effects, we know very little about use of general or specific forms of medical care. We study the implications of the expansion for the use of inpatient hospitalizations. Given the prevalence of mental health needs for young adults, we also specifically study mental health related inpatient care. We find evidence that compared to those aged 27–29 years, treated young adults aged 19–25 years increased their inpatient visits by 3.5 percent while mental illness visits increased 9.0 percent. The prevalence of uninsurance among hospitalized young adults decreased by 12.5 percent; however, it does not appear that the intensity of inpatient treatment changed despite the change in reimbursement composition of patients.

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The Impact of Health Insurance Expansion on Physician Treatment Choice: Medicare Part D and Physician Prescribing

Tianyan Hu, Sandra Decker & Shin-Yi Chou
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We test the effect of the introduction of Medicare Part D on physician prescribing behavior by using data on physician visits from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) 2002-2004 and 2006-2009 for patients aged 60-69. We use a combined DD-RD specification that is an improvement over either the difference-in-difference (DD) or regression discontinuity (RD) designs. Comparing the discrete jump in outcomes at age 65 before and after 2006, we find a 35% increase in the number of prescription drugs prescribed or continued per visit and a 55% increase in the number of generic drugs prescribed or continued, providing evidence of physician response to changes in patient out-of-pocket costs.

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Does health reform affect self-employment? Evidence from Massachusetts

Bradley Heim & Ithai Lurie
Small Business Economics, December 2014, Pages 917-930

Abstract:
This paper evaluates whether the implementation of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law affected the decision of taxpayers to be self-employed, using both difference-in-differences and synthetic control methods on a panel of tax returns that spans 1999–2010. Though tenuous, our results suggest that the reform led to a decline in the rate of taxpayers earning a majority of income from self-employment. In addition, it appears to have had a positive impact on earning some self-employment income among joint filers and earning the majority of income from self-employment among older taxpayers, but these were offset by negative impacts on single filers and taxpayers age 35–49.

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Organization of Hospital Nursing and 30-Day Readmissions in Medicare Patients Undergoing Surgery

Chenjuan Ma, Matthew McHugh & Linda Aiken
Medical Care, January 2015, Pages 65-70

Objectives: To determine the relationships between hospital nursing factors — nurse work environment, nurse staffing, and nurse education — and 30-day readmissions among Medicare patients undergoing general, orthopedic, and vascular surgery.

Method and Design: We linked Medicare patient discharge data, multistate nurse survey data, and American Hospital Association Annual Survey data. Our sample included 220,914 Medicare surgical patients and 25,082 nurses from 528 hospitals in 4 states (California, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania). Risk-adjusted robust logistic regressions were used for analyses.

Results: The average 30-day readmission rate was 10% in our sample (general surgery: 11%; orthopedic surgery: 8%; vascular surgery: 12%). Readmission rates varied widely across surgical procedures and could be as high as 26% (upper limb and toe amputation for circulatory system disorders). Each additional patient per nurse increased the odds of readmission by 3% (OR=1.03; 95% CI, 1.00–1.05). Patients cared in hospitals with better nurse work environments had lower odds of readmission (OR=0.97; 95% CI, 0.95–0.99). Administrative support to nursing practice (OR=0.96; 95% CI, 0.94–0.99) and nurse-physician relations (OR=0.97; 95% CI, 0.95–0.99) were 2 main attributes of the work environment that were associated with readmissions.

Conclusions: Better nurse staffing and work environment were significantly associated with 30-day readmission, and can be considered as system-level interventions to reduce readmissions and associated financial penalties.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Team effort

The Sound of Power: Conveying and Detecting Hierarchical Rank Through Voice

Sei Jin Ko, Melody Sadler & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research examined the relationship between hierarchy and vocal acoustic cues. Using Brunswik’s lens model as a framework, we explored how hierarchical rank influences the acoustic properties of a speaker’s voice and how these hierarchy-based acoustic cues affect perceivers’ inferences of a speaker’s rank. By using objective measurements of speakers’ acoustic cues and controlling for baseline cue levels, we were able to precisely capture the relationship between acoustic cues and hierarchical rank, as well as the covariation among the cues. In Experiment 1, analyses controlling for speakers’ baseline cue levels found that the voices of individuals in the high-rank condition were higher in pitch and loudness variability but lower in pitch variability, compared with the voices of individuals in the low-rank condition. In Experiment 2, perceivers used higher pitch, greater loudness, and greater loudness variability to make accurate inferences of speakers’ hierarchical rank. These experiments demonstrate that acoustic cues are systematically used to reflect and detect hierarchy.

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Shared Identity Is Key to Effective Communication

Katharine Greenaway et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to communicate with others is one of the most important human social functions, yet communication is not always investigated from a social perspective. This research examined the role that shared social identity plays in communication effectiveness using a minimal group paradigm. In two experiments, participants constructed a model using instructions that were said to be created by an ingroup or an outgroup member. Participants made models of objectively better quality when working from communications ostensibly created by an ingroup member (Experiments 1 and 2). However, this effect was attenuated when participants were made aware of a shared superordinate identity that included both the ingroup and the outgroup (Experiment 2). These findings point to the importance of shared social identity for effective communication and provide novel insights into the social psychology of communication.

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(Dis)Placing Trust: The Long-term Effects of Job Displacement on Generalised Trust over the Adult Lifecourse

James Laurence
Social Science Research, March 2015, Pages 46–59

Abstract:
Increasing rates of job displacement (i.e. involuntary job loss from redundancy, downsizing, restructuring) have been suggested to be a key driver of declining macro-levels of generalised trust. This article undertakes the first test of how job displacement affects individuals’ tendencies to (dis)trust over the adult lifecourse, using two-waves of the Great Britain National Child Development Study cohort data, on a sample of n=6,840 individuals. Applying lagged dependent variable logistic regression models, experiencing job displacement between the ages of 33 and 50 appears to significantly scar individuals’ generalised trust, with depressed trust observable at least nine years after the event occurred. However, this effect appears dependent on the value an individual places on work: the greater the attachment to employment the stronger the negative effect of displacement. A range of mediators, such as physical health, mental well-being, and personal efficacy, do not appear to account for the effect.

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Anchors Weigh More Than Power: Why Absolute Powerlessness Liberates Negotiators to Achieve Better Outcomes

Michael Schaerer, Roderick Swaab & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research shows that having no power can be better than having a little power. Negotiators prefer having some power (weak negotiation alternatives) to having no power (no alternatives). We challenge this belief that having any alternative is beneficial by demonstrating that weak alternatives create low anchors that reduce the value of first offers. In contrast, having no alternatives is liberating because there is no anchor to weigh down first offers. In our experiments, negotiators with no alternatives felt less powerful but made higher first offers and secured superior outcomes compared with negotiators who had weak alternatives. We established the role of anchoring through mediation by first offers and through moderation by showing that weak alternatives no longer led to worse outcomes when negotiators focused on a countervailing anchor or when negotiators faced an opponent with a strong alternative. These results demonstrate that anchors can have larger effects than feelings of power. Absolute powerlessness can be psychologically liberating.

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Unlocking integrative potential: Expressed emotional ambivalence and negotiation outcomes

Naomi Rothman & Gregory Northcraft
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 65–76

Abstract:
This paper examines how one negotiator’s expressed emotional ambivalence can foster integrative outcomes. Study 1 demonstrated that observing a negotiation partner’s emotional ambivalence leads negotiators to come up with more integrative agreements. Study 2 examined a proposed mechanism: Expressed ambivalence leads to an increased perceived ability to influence the ambivalent negotiator because it suggests submissiveness. Study 3 demonstrated that perceived submissiveness mediates the effects of observed emotional ambivalence on integrative agreements. Implications of these findings for negotiation and emotions research, and directions for future research, are discussed.

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The Leader Ship is Sinking: A Temporal Investigation of Narcissistic Leadership

Chin Wei Ong et al.
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objectives: Individuals higher in narcissism have leader emergent tendencies. The characteristics of their personality suggest, however, that their leadership qualities will decrease over time as a function of group acquaintance. We present data from two studies that provide the first empirical support for this theoretical position within a transformational leadership framework.

Methods: In Study 1 (n = 112) we tested narcissistic leadership qualities in groups of unacquainted individuals over a 12-week period. In Study 2 (n = 152) we adopted the same protocol with groups of acquainted individuals.

Results: In Study 1, narcissism was positively associated with peer-rated leadership during initial group formation but not later. In Study 2, narcissism was not significantly associated with peer-rated leadership during initial group formation and was negatively associated with peer-rated leadership later. In Study 1, transformational leadership mediated the relationship between narcissism and leadership initially but not later on. In Study 2, transformational leadership failed to mediate the relationship between narcissism and leadership throughout the study.

Conclusions: Despite enjoying a honeymoon period of leadership, the appeal and attractiveness of the narcissistic leader rapidly wanes. This decline is explained in part by their changing transformational leadership qualities.

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Divide and conquer: When and why leaders undermine the cohesive fabric of their group

Charleen Case & Jon Maner
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2014, Pages 1033-1050

Abstract:
Cohesion, cooperation, and the formation of positive bonds among group members are key processes that facilitate effective group functioning. Consequently, group leaders usually work to enhance the positive social bonds among group members to facilitate cooperation and group cohesion. The present research suggests, however, that leaders sometimes are motivated to generate divisions — not cooperation — among their subordinates. Although such divisions may undermine group functioning, they can also serve as a means of protecting the leader’s own power. Four experiments supported the hypothesis that, when they perceive their power to be threatened, leaders create divisions among their subordinates in order to protect their power and reduce threats posed by potential alliances among those subordinates. Leaders restricted the amount of communication among subordinates (Experiment 1), physically sequestered subordinates (Experiment 2), and prevented subordinates from bonding with one another interpersonally (Experiments 3 and 4). Those behaviors were observed only among dominance-motivated leaders (not prestige-motivated leaders), and were directed only toward highly skilled (and thus highly threatening) subordinates. Consistent with the hypothesis that leaders’ behavior was driven by a desire to protect their power, the tendency to prevent in-group bonding was eliminated when leaders were assured that their power could not be lost (Experiment 4). These results shed light on factors that may undermine positive social processes within groups.

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Lay Personality Theories in Interactive Decisions: Strongly Held, Weakly Supported

Dylan Cooper, Terry Connolly & Tamar Kugler
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
In interactive decisions, cues to what others will do are important in forming a strategy. Information about others' personalities appears to be potentially valuable for this purpose. We report a series of four studies examining how information about another actor's personality influences people's own choices in interactive decisions. The studies found widespread beliefs that others' personality characteristics are strongly predictive both of broad classes of decision behavior (competition/cooperation, risk-seeking/risk-aversion) (Study 1) and of specific choices (Study 2) in single-agent settings. These beliefs extended to predicting others' choices in interactive decisions (Study 3) and to shaping the predictor's own decisions in interactive play in Chicken and Assurance games (Study 4). Overall, we found extensive evidence that laypeople believe that the personality traits we selected (angry-hostility, anxiety, assertiveness, excitement-seeking, and warmth) have substantial effects on behavior in interactive decisions and they act on those beliefs when making their own decisions. The empirical evidence supporting the predictive validity of these traits was, however, quite weak.

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From body motion to cheers: Speakers’ body movements as predictors of applause

Markus Koppensteiner, Pia Stephan & Johannes Paul Michael Jäschke
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 182–185

Abstract:
Appearance cues and brief displays of behavior are related to people’s personality, to their performance at work and to the outcomes of elections. Thus, people present themselves to others on different communication channels, while their interaction partners form first impressions on the basis of the displayed cues. In the current study we examined whether people are able to read information from politicians’ body motion. For a rating experiment we translated short video clips of politicians giving a speech into animated stick-figures and had these animations rated on trustworthiness, dominance, competence and the Big Five personality dimensions. Afterwards we correlated the ratings with the applause and the hecklings that the speakers received throughout their entire speech. This revealed that speakers whose body movements were perceived as high on dominance, as high on extraversion and as low on agreeableness received more applause. Although the results obtained need support from additional studies they indicate that body motion is an informative cue in real life settings.

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A face for all seasons: Searching for context-specific leadership traits and discovering a general preference for perceived health

Brian Spisak et al.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, November 2014

Abstract:
Previous research indicates that followers tend to contingently match particular leader qualities to evolutionarily consistent situations requiring collective action (i.e., context-specific cognitive leadership prototypes) and information processing undergoes categorization which ranks certain qualities as first-order context-general and others as second-order context-specific. To further investigate this contingent categorization phenomenon we examined the “attractiveness halo” — a first-order facial cue which significantly biases leadership preferences. While controlling for facial attractiveness, we independently manipulated the underlying facial cues of health and intelligence and then primed participants with four distinct organizational dynamics requiring leadership (i.e., competition vs. cooperation between groups and exploratory change vs. stable exploitation). It was expected that the differing requirements of the four dynamics would contingently select for relatively healthier- or intelligent-looking leaders. We found perceived facial intelligence to be a second-order context-specific trait — for instance, in times requiring a leader to address between-group cooperation — whereas perceived health is significantly preferred across all contexts (i.e., a first-order trait). The results also indicate that facial health positively affects perceived masculinity while facial intelligence negatively affects perceived masculinity, which may partially explain leader choice in some of the environmental contexts. The limitations and a number of implications regarding leadership biases are discussed.

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Insult versus accident: A study of the effect of cultural construals on learning to coordinate

Benjamin Brooks, Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey
Princeton Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
High-caste and low-caste men in India repeatedly played a coordination game. Compared to low-caste men, high-caste men coordinated far less efficently. They were also 29 percentage points less likely to keep trying for efficient coordination after getting the "loser's payoff" -- the payoff to a player who attempts efficient coordination when his partner does not. We explain both findings in a model of learning where high-caste, but not low-caste men, see the loser's payoff as an insult rather than an accident. These findings provide evidence that cultural construals can impede coordination and society's ability to adapt to change.

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Prosocial lies: When deception breeds trust

Emma Levine & Maurice Schweitzer
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 88–106

Abstract:
Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have long asserted that deception harms trust. We challenge this claim. Across four studies, we demonstrate that deception can increase trust. Specifically, prosocial lies increase the willingness to pass money in the trust game, a behavioral measure of benevolence-based trust. In Studies 1a and 1b, we find that altruistic lies increase trust when deception is directly experienced and when it is merely observed. In Study 2, we demonstrate that mutually beneficial lies also increase trust. In Study 3, we disentangle the effects of intentions and deception; intentions are far more important than deception for building benevolence-based trust. In Study 4, we examine how prosocial lies influence integrity-based trust. We introduce a new economic game, the Rely-or-Verify game, to measure integrity-based trust. Prosocial lies increase benevolence-based trust, but harm integrity-based trust. Our findings expand our understanding of deception and deepen our insight into the mechanics of trust.

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Finance education and social preferences: Experimental evidence

Bryan McCannon
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, December 2014, Pages 57–62

Abstract:
What impact does a finance education have on the social preferences and the resulting behaviors of individuals? Experiments of a free riding game are conducted where a wealth-creating investment decision is made. The contribution benefits the group, but the incentives are such that an individual, lacking social preferences, would rather make no contribution and free ride off others. It is shown that as one’s education in finance increases, less free riding occurs and more wealth is generated. Thus, education provided in finance promotes pro-social choices that generate wealth even when external incentives are absent.

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The joint emergence of group competition and within-group cooperation

Mikael Puurtinen, Stephen Heap & Tapio Mappes
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between-group conflict and within-group cooperation can be seen as two sides of the same coin, coevolving in a group-structured population. There is strong support for between-group competition facilitating the evolution of human cooperative tendencies, yet our understanding of how competition arises is less clear. We show that groups of randomly assembled individuals spontaneously engage in costly group competition, and that decisions promoting between-group conflict are associated with high levels of within-group cooperation. Remarkably, when groups were given the possibility to compete against other groups, net earnings for individuals were higher than when groups were not allowed to interact. The joint emergence of conflict and cooperation along even weakly defined group boundaries, and the apparent benefits of this strategy, suggest the existence of behavioral biases influencing human social behavior and organization.

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When vigilance prevails: The effect of regulatory focus and accountability on integrative negotiation outcomes

Ann Peng, Jennifer Dunn & Donald Conlon
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 77–87

Abstract:
Negotiators often bargain on behalf of constituents to whom they feel accountable. We argue that prior evidence for the superior outcomes of promotion-focused (vs. prevention-focused) negotiators may not hold when negotiators perceive high accountability to a third party. In two studies, we found that prevention-focused dyads achieved better joint financial outcomes than promotion-focused dyads in situations where high performance was expected and evaluated by a supervisor (i.e., high accountability condition). In Study 2, we found that prevention-focused individuals perceived a better regulatory fit in the high accountability condition and that the regulatory fit of both parties in a dyad was related to more integrative solutions.

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Trust Me (or Not): Regret and Disappointment in Experimental Economic Games

Luis Martinez & Marcel Zeelenberg
Decision, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotional states exert an influence on trust and the reciprocation of trust. The current research found that regret and disappointment, though both negatively valenced, have distinct effects on trust (and trustworthiness). Three experiments showed that regret decreased trust and trustworthiness, whereas disappointment increased them. Regret elicited both lower initial transfers and returns in a trust game. Conversely, disappointment gave rise to both higher initial transfers and returns in the same game. The implications of our results are discussed. The findings once again demonstrate that emotions play a crucial role on decision-making.

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Intergroup emulation: An improvement strategy for lower status groups

Diana Onu, Joanne Smith & Thomas Kessler
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The social psychological literature on social change has focused on how groups overcome oppression and inequality. In this paper, we investigate an alternative strategy that groups employ for social change — the emulation of successful outgroups. We propose that lower status group members will be likely to employ a learning strategy when they perceive the status relations as legitimate (i.e., fair system) and unstable (i.e., own position is improvable). In Study 1 (Romanian undergraduate students, N = 31), we manipulated status legitimacy, while in Study 2 (British undergraduate participants, N = 94), we manipulated legitimacy and stability orthogonally. Overall, when they perceived status hierarchies as legitimate and unstable, participants exhibited higher admiration for the higher status outgroup, higher support for learning-related help (e.g., transfer of know-how, training) from the outgroup and had the most positive attitudes toward intergroup help. We propose that social change sometimes occurs gradually, through help and learning from successful models, and this paper offers insight into such gradual social change.

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The Perpetuation of Ritualistic Actions as Revealed by Young Children’s Transmission of Normative Behavior

Mark Nielsen, Rohan Kapitány & Rosemary Elkins
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Children will comprehensively copy others’ actions despite manifest perceptual cues to their causal ineffectiveness. In Experiment 1 we demonstrate that children will overimitate in this way even when the arbitrary actions copied are used as part of a process to achieve an outcome for someone else. We subsequently show in Experiment 2 that children will omit arbitrary actions, but only if the actions are to achieve a clear, functional goal for a naïve adult. These findings highlight how readily children adopt what appear to be conventional behaviors, even when faced with a clear demonstration of their negligible functional value. We show how a child’s strong, early-emerging propensity for overimitation reveals a sensitivity for ritualistic behavior.

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Speaking Truth to Power: The Effect of Candid Feedback on How Individuals With Power Allocate Resources

Burak Oc, Michael Bashshur & Celia Moore
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Subordinates are often seen as impotent, able to react to but not affect how powerholders treat them. Instead, we conceptualize subordinate feedback as an important trigger of powerholders’ behavioral self-regulation and explore subordinates’ reciprocal influence on how powerholders allocate resources to them over time. In 2 experiments using a multiparty, multiround dictator game paradigm, we found that when subordinates provided candid feedback about whether they found prior allocations to be fair or unfair, powerholders regulated how self-interested their allocations were over time. However, when subordinates provided compliant feedback about powerholders’ prior allocation decisions (offered consistently positive feedback, regardless of the powerholders’ prior allocation), those powerholders made increasingly self-interested allocations over time. In addition, we showed that guilt partially mediates this relationship: powerholders feel more guilty after receiving negative feedback about an allocation, subsequently leading to a less self-interested allocation, whereas they feel less guilty after receiving positive feedback about an allocation, subsequently taking more for themselves. Our findings integrate the literature on upward feedback with theory about moral self-regulation to support the idea that subordinates are an important source of influence over those who hold power over them.

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Brothers in arms: Libyan revolutionaries bond like family

Harvey Whitehouse et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
What motivates ordinary civilians to sacrifice their lives for revolutionary causes? We surveyed 179 Libyan revolutionaries during the 2011 conflict in Libya. These civilians-turned-fighters rejected Gaddafi’s jamahiriyya (state of the masses) and formed highly cohesive fighting units typical of intense conflicts. Fighters reported high levels of “identity fusion” — visceral, family-like bonds between fighters and their battalions. Fusion of revolutionaries with their local battalions and their own families were extremely high, especially relative to Libyans who favored the revolution but did not join battalions. Additionally, frontline combatants were as strongly bonded to their battalion as they were to their own families, but battalion members who provided logistical support were more fused with their families than battalions. Together, these findings help illuminate the social bonds that seem to motivate combatants to risk their lives for the group during wartime.

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When status is grabbed and when status is granted: Getting ahead in dominance and prestige hierarchies

Wendy de Waal-Andrews, Aiden Gregg & Joris Lammers
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
What type of behaviour affords status, agentic, or communal? Research to date has yielded inconsistent answers. In particular, the conflict view holds that agentic behaviour permits the imperious to grab status through overt force, whereas the functional view holds that communal behaviour permits the talented to earn status through popular appeal. Here, we synthesize both views by taking into account the moderating role played by group hierarchy. Group hierarchy can range from being dominance based (where status is grabbed) to prestige based (where status is granted). In a field study (Study 1), and a laboratory experiment (Study 2), we demonstrate that in different groups, status can be achieved in different ways. Specifically, agentic behaviour promotes status regardless of hierarchy type, whereas the effect of communal behaviour on status is moderated by hierarchy type: it augments it in more prestige-based hierarchies but diminishes it in more dominance-based hierarchies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Just do it

If All Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge: The Effect of Others’ Actions on Engagement in and Recommendation of Risky Behaviors

Sarah Helfinstein, Jeanette Mumford & Russell Poldrack
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is a large gap between the types of risky behavior we recommend to others and those we engage in ourselves. In this study, we hypothesized that a source of this gap is greater reliance on information about others’ behavior when deciding whether to take a risk oneself than when deciding whether to recommend it to others. To test this hypothesis, we asked participants either to report their willingness to engage in a series of risky behaviors themselves; their willingness to recommend those behaviors to a loved one; or, how good of an idea it would be for either them or a loved one to engage in the behaviors. We then asked them to evaluate those behaviors on criteria related to the expected utility of the risk (benefits, costs, and likelihood of costs), and on engagement in the activity by people they knew. We found that, after accounting for effects of perceived benefit, cost, and likelihood of cost, perceptions of others’ behavior had a dramatically larger impact on participants’ willingness to engage in a risk than on their willingness to recommend the risk or their prescriptive evaluation of the risk. These findings indicate that the influence of others’ choices on risk-taking behavior is large, direct, cannot be explained by an economic utility model of risky decision-making, and goes against one’s own better judgment.

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Adolescent Time Preferences Predict Lifetime Outcomes

Bart Golsteyn, Hans Grönqvist & Lena Lindahl
Economic Journal, November 2014, Pages F739–F761

Abstract:
This study investigates the relationship between time preferences and lifetime social and economic outcomes. We use a Swedish longitudinal data set that links information from a large survey on children's time preferences at age 13 to administrative registers spanning over five decades. Our results indicate a substantial adverse relationship between high discount rates and school performance, health, labour supply and lifetime income. Males and high-ability children gain significantly more from being future oriented. These discrepancies are largest regarding outcomes later in life. We also show that the relationship between time preferences and long-run outcomes operates through early human capital investments.

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The Mere Presence of a Cell Phone May be Distracting: Implications for Attention and Task Performance

Bill Thornton et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research consistently demonstrates the active use of cell phones, whether talking or texting, to be distracting and contributes to diminished performance when multitasking (e.g., distracted driving or walking). Recent research also has indicated that simply the presence of a cell phone and what it might represent (i.e., social connections, broader social network, etc.) can be similarly distracting and have negative consequences in a social interaction. Results of two studies reported here provide further evidence that the “mere presence” of a cell phone may be sufficiently distracting to produce diminished attention and deficits in task-performance, especially for tasks with greater attentional and cognitive demands. The implications for such an unintended negative consequence may be quite wide-ranging (e.g., productivity in school and the work place).

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Beauty against tobacco control: Viewing photos of attractive women may induce a mating mindset, leading to reduced self-control over smoking among male smokers

Wen-Bin Chiou, Wen-Hsiung Wu & Ying-Yao Cheng
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Successful smoking cessation or reduction requires smokers to focus on the distal concerns of health and control instead of immediate impulses to smoke. Based on pioneering research demonstrating that cues inducing a mating mindset (i.e., viewing pictures of attractive women) can engender greater temporal discounting in men, we conducted a laboratory experiment to examine whether viewing faces of attractive women rendered male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking more likely to discount the future and give in to the immediate impulse to smoke by sacrificing distal health concerns during a subsequent task. Seventy-six male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking were randomly assigned to view either attractive or unattractive opposite-sex faces. Participants completed a modified Stroop task measuring their mating mindset after the attractiveness manipulation. The dependent variables were temporal discounting and actual cigarette consumption during an ostensible survey. A mating mindset mediated the connection between viewing pictures of attractive women and greater temporal discounting. Male smokers exposed to photographs of attractive compared with unattractive women were less likely to refrain from smoking and smoked more cigarettes in a subsequent survey. Attractive women may act as stimuli that increase a mating mindset among male smokers with intentions to quit or reduce smoking, leading to greater temporal discounting and reduced control over cigarette consumption. The implications for associations among mating motives, temporal discounting, and control over addictive impulses and behaviors are discussed.

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Revisiting the Restorative Effects of Positive Mood: An Expectancy-Based Approach to Self-Control Restoration

Patrick Egan, Joshua Clarkson & Edward Hirt
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research explored the empirical relation between positive mood and self-control restoration. In line with recent work on the perceptual correlates of self-control exertion, we tested whether positive mood’s restorative effects could be partly attributable to expectancies of mental energy change. Results showed that positive mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy restoration and that negative mood elicited a general expectancy of mental energy depletion. Furthermore, these expectancies were shown to alter perceptual and cognitive state in manners predictive of downstream self-control performance. Together, these results compliment emerging work on the importance of perceptual processes in the modulation of self-control performance, and warrant future work on the role of expectancies and subjective fatigue in self-regulatory pursuits.

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Eyes Wide Shopped: Shopping Situations Trigger Arousal in Impulsive Buyers

Benjamin Serfas, Oliver Büttner & Arnd Florack
PLoS ONE, December 2014

Abstract:
The present study proposes arousal as an important mechanism driving buying impulsiveness. We examined the effect of buying impulsiveness on arousal in non-shopping and shopping contexts. In an eye-tracking experiment, we measured pupil dilation while participants viewed and rated pictures of shopping scenes and non-shopping scenes. The results demonstrated that buying impulsiveness is closely associated with arousal as response to viewing pictures of shopping scenes. This pertained for hedonic shopping situations as well as for utilitarian shopping situations. Importantly, the effect did not emerge for non-shopping scenes. Furthermore, we demonstrated that arousal of impulsive buyers is independent from cognitive evaluation of scenes in the pictures.

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Driving Under the Influence of Risky Peers: An Experimental Study of Adolescent Risk Taking

Luna Muñoz Centifanti et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Both passive and active social influences may affect adolescents' dangerous driving. In this study, we used an experimental paradigm to delineate these two influences with actual peers. Adolescents completed a simulated driving task, and we measured risk preferences of each member of the peer group. We used hierarchical linear modeling to partition variance in risky decisions. Adolescents experienced many more crashes when they had “passengers” present who reported a strong preference for risk taking and who actively provided decision-making guidance. Although youth in the passive peer condition were also influenced by the riskiness of their peers, this relation was less strong relative to the active condition. We discuss the need for interventions focusing on active and passive peer influence.

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Is it random or impulsive responding? The effect of working memory load on decision-making

Maegan Hatfield-Eldred, Reid Skeel & Mark Reilly
Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Winter 2015, Pages 27-36

Abstract:
Research has suggested individuals with limited working memory (WM) capacity make more impulsive choices than individuals without such limited capacity; however, the specificity of increased impulsivity has been challenged on the grounds that limited WM may lead to an increase in random responding rather than a true increase in impulsivity. Furthermore, whereas some previous research have demonstrated sex differences in decision-making, with males tending to make a higher proportion of impulsive decisions than females, the overall results in this area have been mixed. Thus, the current study specifically controlled for the impact of sex, a potential key issue within this area. In this study, 120 subjects (60 males) were randomly assigned to a WM load or control group and completed a decision-making task requiring rapid decisions. The task utilised three probability of loss conditions. The main findings centred on an interaction between sex and WM load, with males showing increased impulsive decision-making in WM load conditions, whereas females did not show a change in decision-making patterns under WM load. Results of this study support the claim that decreased WM capacity increases impulsive decision-making rather than random responding in men, whereas WM load was unrelated to risk-taking in women.

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Credit scores, cardiovascular disease risk, and human capital

Salomon Israel et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 December 2014, Pages 17087–17092

Abstract:
Credit scores are the most widely used instruments to assess whether or not a person is a financial risk. Credit scoring has been so successful that it has expanded beyond lending and into our everyday lives, even to inform how insurers evaluate our health. The pervasive application of credit scoring has outpaced knowledge about why credit scores are such useful indicators of individual behavior. Here we test if the same factors that lead to poor credit scores also lead to poor health. Following the Dunedin (New Zealand) Longitudinal Study cohort of 1,037 study members, we examined the association between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and the underlying factors that account for this association. We find that credit scores are negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Variation in household income was not sufficient to account for this association. Rather, individual differences in human capital factors — educational attainment, cognitive ability, and self-control — predicted both credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and accounted for ∼45% of the correlation between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk. Tracing human capital factors back to their childhood antecedents revealed that the characteristic attitudes, behaviors, and competencies children develop in their first decade of life account for a significant portion (∼22%) of the link between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk at midlife. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy debates about data privacy, financial literacy, and early childhood interventions.

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Perils of Compensatory Consumption: Within-Domain Compensation Undermines Subsequent Self-Regulation

Monika Lisjak et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that psychological threat can provoke consumers to desire, seek out, and acquire products that symbolize accomplishment in the domain of the threat. Although such within-domain compensation can serve as a psychological salve to repair the self, the current research suggests that sometimes this form of compensation can have ill effects. Specifically, engaging in within-domain compensation can trigger ruminative thinking about the threat. As a consequence, performance in subsequent tasks that require self-regulation is undermined. In support of this hypothesis, multiple experiments demonstrate that within-domain compensation impairs subsequent self-regulation on behaviors ranging from resisting tempting but unhealthy food to performing cognitively taxing tasks. Evidence that within-domain compensation fosters ruminative thought, as well as documentation of boundary conditions, is provided.

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Information Architecture and Intertemporal Choice: A Randomized Field Experiment in the United States

Yaron Levi
University of California Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
In a randomized field experiment, I show that information architecture significantly affects individuals' spending and savings behavior. I present users of a large online account aggregation provider with a personalized financial index. This index represents the inflation-protected, lifetime monthly cash flow that they can obtain, given their personal financial and demographic information and current market prices. Users receiving this information tool reduce their spending by 10.7% relative to a control group. This effect is sensitive to the description of the index using a consumption frame rather than an investment frame and to the presentation of an explicit comparison between the index and historical spending levels. Further, spending reductions are primarily in large, infrequent transactions. This experiment is the first to directly affect overall spending behavior and to demonstrate the importance of information architecture in that context. It demonstrates the potential of low cost digital information tools to impact financial behavior on a large scale.

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Different Effects of Adding White Noise on Cognitive Performance of Sub-, Normal and Super-Attentive School Children

Suzannah Helps et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2014

Objectives: Noise often has detrimental effects on performance. However, because of the phenomenon of stochastic resonance (SR), auditory white noise (WN) can alter the “signal to noise” ratio and improve performance. The Moderate Brain Arousal (MBA) model postulates different levels of internal “neural noise” in individuals with different attentional capacities. This in turn determines the particular WN level most beneficial in each individual case – with one level of WN facilitating poor attenders but hindering super-attentive children. The objective of the present study is to find out if added WN affects cognitive performance differently in children that differ in attention ability.

Methods: Participants were teacher-rated super- (N = 25); normal- (N = 29) and sub-attentive (N = 36) children (aged 8 to 10 years). Two non-executive function (EF) tasks (a verbal episodic recall task and a delayed verbal recognition task) and two EF tasks (a visuo-spatial working memory test and a Go-NoGo task) were performed under three WN levels. The non-WN condition was only used to control for potential differences in background noise in the group testing situations.

Results: There were different effects of WN on performance in the three groups -- adding moderate WN worsened the performance of super-attentive children for both task types and improved EF performance in sub-attentive children. The normal-attentive children’s performance was unaffected by WN exposure. The shift from moderate to high levels of WN had little further effect on performance in any group.

Significance: The predicted differential effect of WN on performance was confirmed. However, the failure to find evidence for an inverted U function challenges current theories. Alternative explanations are discussed. We propose that WN therapy should be further investigated as a possible non-pharmacological treatment for inattention.

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Bidirectional-Compounding Effects of Rumination and Negative Emotion in Predicting Impulsive Behavior: Implications for Emotional Cascades

Edward Selby et al.
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Background: Influenced by chaos theory, the Emotional Cascade Model proposes that rumination and negative emotion may promote each other in a self-amplifying cycle that increases over time. Accordingly, exponential-compounding effects may better describe the relationship between rumination and negative emotion when they occur in impulsive persons, and predict impulsive behavior.

Methods: Participants who reported frequent engagement in impulsive behaviors monitored their ruminative thoughts and negative emotion multiple times daily for two weeks using digital recording devices. Hypotheses were tested using cross-lagged mixed model analyses.

Results: Findings indicated that rumination predicted subsequent elevations in rumination that lasted over extended periods of time. Rumination and negative emotion predicted increased levels of each other at subsequent assessments, and exponential functions for these associations were supported. Results also supported a synergistic effect between rumination and negative emotion, predicting larger elevations in subsequent rumination and negative emotion than when one variable alone was elevated. Finally, there were synergistic effects of rumination and negative emotion in predicting number of impulsive behaviors subsequently reported.

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the Emotional Cascade Model in suggesting that momentary rumination and negative emotion progressively propagate and magnify each other over time in impulsive people, promoting impulsive behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 12, 2014

Polar base

The Psychological Advantage of Unfalsifiability: The Appeal of Untestable Religious and Political Ideologies

Justin Friesen, Troy Campbell & Aaron Kay
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that people may gain certain “offensive” and “defensive” advantages for their cherished belief systems (e.g., religious and political views) by including aspects of unfalsifiability in those belief systems, such that some aspects of the beliefs cannot be tested empirically and conclusively refuted. This may seem peculiar, irrational, or at least undesirable to many people because it is assumed that the primary purpose of a belief is to know objective truth. However, past research suggests that accuracy is only one psychological motivation among many, and falsifiability or testability may be less important when the purpose of a belief serves other psychological motives (e.g., to maintain one’s worldviews, serve an identity). In Experiments 1 and 2 we demonstrate the “offensive” function of unfalsifiability: that it allows religious adherents to hold their beliefs with more conviction and political partisans to polarize and criticize their opponents more extremely. Next we demonstrate unfalsifiability’s “defensive” function: When facts threaten their worldviews, religious participants frame specific reasons for their beliefs in more unfalsifiable terms (Experiment 3) and political partisans construe political issues as more unfalsifiable (“moral opinion”) instead of falsifiable (“a matter of facts”; Experiment 4). We conclude by discussing how in a world where beliefs and ideas are becoming more easily testable by data, unfalsifiability might be an attractive aspect to include in one’s belief systems, and how unfalsifiability may contribute to polarization, intractability, and the marginalization of science in public discourse.

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Neuroticism and State Differences in Partisanship in the USA: Emotional Stability, Ideological Orientation, and Republican Preference

Stewart McCann
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 242-267

Abstract:
Relations between Neuroticism, Republican-Democrat preference, and conservative-liberal ideological orientation were examined with the states of the USA as units of analysis. State-aggregated Neuroticism scores were based on 1999-2005 responses of 619,397 residents to the 44-item Big Five Inventory. State Republican-Democrat preference was based on the 2002 occupancy of the U.S. Presidency, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, state House, state Senate, and state Governorship, as well as state-aggregated partisanship responses of 110,305 persons to 1998-2002 CBS/New York Times national polls. State conservative-liberal ideological orientation was based on 1998-2002 state-aggregated responses of 103,828 persons to CBS/New York Times national polls. Using correlation, partial correlation, and hierarchical multiple regression, it was determined that lower state resident Neuroticism is associated with Republican preference, and that both conservative-liberal ideological orientation and state resident Neuroticism account independently for variance in Republican-Democrat preference. These relations were found when 1998-2002 state socioeconomic status, white percent, and urban percent were statistically considered and controlled in partial correlation and hierarchical regression analysis. In contrast, corresponding analyses involving the other Big Five showed that only Openness and Conscientiousness showed any relation to partisanship, albeit infrequent and inconsistent. State resident Neuroticism is the primary state-level Big Five predictor of Republican/Democratic Party choice.

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Primary Systems and Candidate Ideology: Evidence From Federal and State Legislative Elections

Jon Rogowski & Stephanie Langella
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The nomination of ideologically extreme candidates in party primaries has led many scholars and observers to speculate about the role played by different kinds of primary systems. Models of candidate competition that account for the two-stage nature of the electoral process suggest that more restrictive primary systems produce more ideologically extreme candidates. In contrast with previous research that examines the relationship between primaries and legislative ideology, we focus on how primary systems affect the ideological extremity of candidates’ campaign platforms. Using data on more than 85,000 major party candidates for Congress and state legislatures from 1980-2012, we find no evidence that the restrictiveness of primary participation rules is systematically associated with candidate ideology.

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The Ideological Asymmetry of the American Party System

Yphtach Lelkes & Paul Sniderman
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most Americans support liberal policies on the social welfare agenda, the dominant policy cleavage in American politics. Yet a striking feature of the US party system is its tendency to equilibrium. How, then, does the Republican Party minimize defection on the social welfare agenda? The results of this study illustrate a deep ideological asymmetry between the parties. Republican identifiers are ideologically aware and oriented to a degree that far exceeds their Democratic counterparts. Our investigation, which utilizes cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental data, demonstrates the role of ideological awareness and involvement in the Republicans’ ability to maintain the backing of their supporters even on issues on which the position of the Democratic Party is widely popular. It also exposes two mechanisms, party branding and the use of the status quo as a focal point, that Democrats use to retain or rally support for issues on the social welfare agenda on which the Republican Party’s position is widely popular.

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How Impressionable Were the Younger Reagan Cohorts?

Zachary Cook
The Forum, October 2014, Pages 481–497

Abstract:
Younger voters today, defined as under the age of 30 and often labeled the Millennial Generation, have shown high support for Barack Obama and for certain statements about activist government. Are we witnessing some generational effect for a significant percentage of the Millennials, stemming from their growing up during impressionable years under first George W. Bush and then Obama? To study this question with a historical analogy, I use the ANES to compare under-30 cohorts under Jimmy Carter as a benchmark and then Ronald Reagan much more extensively. I find evidence consistent with categories advanced by Sears (1983). The Reagan years disproportionately shifted this age group’s symbolic attitudes, including partisanship, self-reported ideology, and approval of Reagan himself, but not most specific policy opinions. If this finding generalizes, recent events may leave a Democratic imprint on the Millennials, but their current measures of policy liberalism should not be attributed overmuch to Obama’s influence.

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Who Knows Best? Education, Partisanship, and Contested Facts

Mark Joslyn & Donald Haider-Markel
Politics & Policy, December 2014, Pages 919–947

Abstract:
An alert, informed electorate is considered vital to a robust democracy, and the main path to that electorate includes formal education. The educated citizen is politically attentive, knowledgeable, and participatory, and the uneducated citizen is not. However, this fact conceals a less favorable effect of education. Educated citizens possess the cognitive skills to reject facts inconsistent with prior dispositions. And educated citizens are among the most invested partisans. Thus education is indispensable for an ideal democratic citizen, but that same education can create a resistant, insular democratic participant. We examine this duality across several prominent empirical cases where political facts are in dispute and employ goal-oriented information processing theory to generate hypotheses. In each case, we find that the most educated partisans are furthest apart in their factual understanding. Our primary concern resides with the inability of education to overcome powerful partisan motives; education intensifies those motives.

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Political Language in Economics

Zubin Jelveh, Bruce Kogut & Suresh Naidu
NYU Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Does political ideology influence economic research? We rely upon purely inductive methods in natural language processing and machine learning to examine patterns of implicit political ideology in economic articles. Using observed political behavior of economists and the phrases from their academic articles, we construct a high-dimensional predictor of political ideology by article, economist, school, and journal. In addition to field, journal, and editor ideology, we look at the correlation of author ideology with magnitudes of reported policy relevant elasticities. Overall our results suggest that there is substantial sorting by ideology into fields, departments, and methodologies, and that political ideology influences the results of economic research.

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Incidental Disgust Increases Adherence to Left-Wing Economic Attitudes

Dragos Petrescu & Brian Parkinson
Social Justice Research, December 2014, Pages 464-486

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that disgust is associated with conservative political attitudes (Cognit Emot, 23:714–725 by Inbar et al. 2009). The present research evaluated whether disgust can also lead to more liberal attitudes, due to its relation to fairness-related violations. Across three studies, we demonstrated that inducing feelings of disgust lead participants to adopt more left-wing political attitudes with regard to economic issues. In Study 1, participants induced to experience disgust by looking at four photographs reported more left-wing economic attitudes than participants who were exposed to sadness-inducing images. In Study 2, the same effect was observed but only for participants who had greater sensitivity to their bodily sensations. Study 3 replicated Studies 1–2 and also showed that besides economic attitudes, participants’ general political orientation was also shifted toward the liberal spectrum by a disgust induction. Taken together, these results provide evidence for a relationship between feelings of disgust and the endorsement of equality-promoting political attitudes. Our results, therefore, provide a different perspectives on disgust and the first evidence that it can also lead people to adopt more liberal attitudes on economic issues.

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Things Aren't Going That Well Over There Either: Party Polarization and Election Law in Comparative Perspective

David Schleicher
University of Chicago Legal Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of, if not the, most important change in American political life over the last 30 or so years has been the rise of extreme party polarization. Our two major parties are increasingly ideological distinct and distant from one another, and increasingly willing to abandon long-standing institutional norms and short-term policy compromise in the name of achieving long-run party goals. Efforts to understand why the parties have changed largely have been parochial, largely looking for explanations in American politics, history, media and institutional arrangements. This focus has a logic to it. Politics in most other advanced democracies does not feature the same type of polarization between parties, and therefore the answers for why American politics has gone in this direction seem to lie inward rather than abroad. But it is still a mistake. This short essay argues that a common shift in voter preferences towards more radical and fundamentalist opinion among even a small slice of the electorate can explain polarization in the United States and changes in politics abroad. In many European countries with proportional representation (PR), we have seen the rise of parties so radical that established parties refuse to form coalitions with them. In “Westminster” systems, which due to their use of first-past-the-post vote counting and single-member districts are supposed to tend towards having two parties, we have seen the rise in third-and fourth party voting. Notably, in most Westminster systems, there is little intra-party democracy, leading groups of voters with more radical opinions without the ability to influence mainstream parties, which makes those with radical opinions more willing to waste votes. A plausible story about American political development is that the same voters and interest groups who would form radical parties in PR systems and support spoilers in Westminster systems use intraparty democracy to influence our two-party system and create polarization. Election laws and institutional design shape the way radicalism influences politics. If this is right, several lessons follow. Any effort to understand why American parties have changed must look at factors that are common across many western democracies. Further, the rise of radical parties in PR systems and spoilers in Westminster systems have created governance problems that are of a type with the problems created by our extreme polarization. We should thus be skeptical that there are institutional design reforms that can make American governance work easily in the face of polarization.

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Partisan sorting in the United States, 1972–2012: New evidence from a dynamic analysis

Corey Lang & Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz
Political Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whether Americans have “sorted” into politically like-minded counties and to what extent is hotly debated by academic and journalists. This paper examines whether or not geographic sorting has occurred and why it has occurred using a novel, dynamic analysis. Our findings indicate that geographic sorting is on the rise, but that it is a very recent phenomenon. In the 1970s and 1980s, counties tended to become more competitive, but by 1996 a pattern of partisan sorting had emerged and continued through the present. Results suggest this pattern is driven by Southern re-alignment and voting behavior in partisan stronghold counties. Lastly, we find evidence that migration can drive partisan sorting, but only accounts for a small portion of the change.

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Not All Education is Equally Liberal: The Effects of Science Education on Political Attitudes

Christine Ma-Kellams et al.
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 143-163

Abstract:
Education stands as a potent predictor of political attitudes; however, the underlying mechanisms and moderators of this relationship are not well-understood. We hypothesize that the liberalizing effect of education is moderated by discipline, and that the scientific ethos that serves to guide empirical inquiries facilitates the development of more liberal political attitudes via concerns about fairness and equality. As predicted, being educated in a science-related discipline, as opposed to a non-science discipline, was associated with greater political liberalism; importantly, this effect could not be accounted for by self-selection (Study 1). Furthermore, concerns about fairness and equality, as captured by an individual’s social dominance orientation, mediated the relationship between studying science and political liberalism (Study 2). Study 3 replicated these findings and attest to their generalizability. Study 4 directly assessed the underlying mechanism, endorsement of the scientific ethos, and replicated the mediational model; those who endorsed the scientific ethos more strongly reported more liberal political attitudes, and this was mediated by their lower social dominance orientation.

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Nonpolitical Images Evoke Neural Predictors of Political Ideology

Woo-Young Ahn et al.
Current Biology, 17 November 2014, Pages 2693–2699

Abstract:
Political ideologies summarize dimensions of life that define how a person organizes their public and private behavior, including their attitudes associated with sex, family, education, and personal autonomy. Despite the abstract nature of such sensibilities, fundamental features of political ideology have been found to be deeply connected to basic biological mechanisms that may serve to defend against environmental challenges like contamination and physical threat. These results invite the provocative claim that neural responses to nonpolitical stimuli (like contaminated food or physical threats) should be highly predictive of abstract political opinions (like attitudes toward gun control and abortion). We applied a machine-learning method to fMRI data to test the hypotheses that brain responses to emotionally evocative images predict individual scores on a standard political ideology assay. Disgusting images, especially those related to animal-reminder disgust (e.g., mutilated body), generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation even though these neural predictors do not agree with participants’ conscious rating of the stimuli. Images from other affective categories do not support such predictions. Remarkably, brain responses to a single disgusting stimulus were sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual subject’s political ideology. These results provide strong support for the idea that fundamental neural processing differences that emerge under the challenge of emotionally evocative stimuli may serve to structure political beliefs in ways formerly unappreciated.

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Education, Intelligence, And Attitude Extremity

Michael Makowsky & Stephen Miller
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2014, Pages 832-858

Abstract:
Education and general intelligence both serve to inform opinions, but do they lead to greater attitude extremity? The potential civic returns to education include not only the sophistication of citizen opinions, but also their moderation. We use questions on economic policy, social issues, and environmental issues from the General Social Survey to test the impact of education on attitude extremity, as measured by deviation from centrist or neutral positions, while controlling for intelligence. We use quantile regression modeling to identify effects on both the most extreme beliefs as well as the most ambivalent. We find that intelligence is a moderating force across the entire distribution in economic, social, and environmental policy beliefs. Completing high school strongly correlates to reduced extremity, particularly in the upper quantiles. College education increases attitude extremity in the lower tail, while postgraduate education increases extremity in the upper tail. Results are discussed in the context of enlightenment and motivated-reasoning theories of beliefs and education. The relevance to political party core and swing voters is briefly discussed.

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Revoking a leader's “license to fail”: Downgrading evaluations of prototypical in-group leaders following an intergroup failure

David Rast et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on the social identity theory of leadership, we examined how leadership as an identity function alters perceptions and evaluations of in- and out-group political leaders over time. Participants responded to two online questionnaires, before and after the 2012 U.S. Presidential election between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. We assessed respondents' strength of party identification, perceptions of each candidate's prototypicality, and evaluations of each candidate. Results supported the hypothesis: after his loss, Romney was presumably perceived as less prototypical of the Republican Party among strong identifiers, who symbolically revoked Romney's “license to fail.” Weakly identified Republicans were unaffected by his defeat, granting him a “license to fail.” Unexpectedly, Democrats and Republicans following his electoral success evaluated Obama more harshly.

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Parenting and Politics: Exploring Early Moral Bases of Political Orientation

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman, Nate Carnes & Sana Sheikh
Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 2014, Pages 43-60

Abstract:
Based on Lakoff’s (2002) Strict Father and Nurturant Parent metaphors for political conservatism and liberalism respectively, two studies explored parenting styles, political ideology, and the moral orientations that might link the two. Restrictive parenting (by both mother and father) predicted political conservatism, and this path was mediated by a strong Social Order orientation (Study 1) reflecting, more broadly, an inhibition-based proscriptive morality (Study 2). Political liberalism was associated with a Social Justice orientation, but was not predicted by nurturant parenting in either study. Study 1 included mothers’ reports of their own parenting, and these were correlated with the students’ responses. Findings support a restrictive moral underpinning for conservatism, but raise questions about the assumed unique association between parental nurturance and political liberalism, which is addressed in the discussion.

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How Party Affiliation Conditions the Experience of Dissonance and Explains Polarization and Selective Exposure

Emily Vraga
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Dissonance theory has been widely studied in the social sciences, especially given its implications for polarization and selective exposure. This study expands previous research by investigating how this process may differ when a foundational political identity such as party affiliation is at stake.

Methods: This study adapts a classic dissonance paradigm — writing a counterattitudinal essay under conditions of high versus low choice — to a political context by manipulating the topic of the essay to advocating membership in the opposing political party.

Results: In this context, party affiliation conditions response to writing a counterattitudinal essay: only Republican respondents demonstrate heightened dissonance, selective exposure, and polarization as a result of this task, particularly when the essay is political.

Conclusions: Dissonance may not be a universal response to potentially arousing tasks, but if only some groups experience dissonance and polarization after enumerating the benefits of an opposing party, it may bias democratic functioning.

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Stability and Change in Political Conservatism Following the Global Financial Crisis

Petar Milojev et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2015, Pages 127-139

Abstract:
The current study analyzes data from a national probability panel sample of New Zealanders (N = 5,091) to examine stability and change in political orientation over four consecutive yearly assessments (2009-2012) following the 2007/2008 global financial crisis. Bayesian Latent Growth Modeling identified systematic variation in the growth trajectory of conservatism that was predicted by age and socio-economic status. Younger people (ages 25-45) did not change in their political orientation. Older people, however, became more conservative over time. Likewise, people with lower socio-economic status showed a marked increase in political conservatism. In addition, tests of rank-order stability showed that age had a cubic relationship with the stability of political orientation over our four annual assessments. Our findings provide strong support for System Justification Theory by showing that increases in conservatism in the wake of the recent global financial crisis occurred primarily among the poorest and most disadvantaged.

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A four-party view of US environmental concern

Lawrence Hamilton & Kei Saito
Environmental Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on US public concern about environmental issues finds ideology or political party are the most consistent background predictors. Party is commonly defined by three groups: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Here, using statewide New Hampshire survey data, we elaborate this approach to distinguish a fourth group: respondents who say they support the Tea Party movement. On 8 out of 12 science- or environment-related questions, Tea Party supporters differ significantly from non–Tea Party Republicans. Tea Party supporters are less likely than non–Tea Party Republicans to trust scientists for information about environmental issues, accept human evolution, believe either the physical reality or the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, or recognise trends in Arctic ice, glaciers, or CO2. Despite factual gaps, Tea Party supporters express greater confidence in their own understanding of climate change. Independents, on the other hand, differ less from non–Tea Party Republicans on most of these questions — although Independents do more often accept the scientific consensus on climate change. On many science and environmental questions, Republicans and Tea Party supporters stand farther apart than Republicans and Independents.

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Homophily, Group Size, and the Diffusion of Political Information in Social Networks: Evidence from Twitter

Yosh Halberstam & Brian Knight
NBER Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate political communications in social networks characterized both by homophily–a tendency to associate with similar individuals–and group size. To generate testable hypotheses, we develop a simple theory of information diffusion in social networks with homophily and two groups: conservatives and liberals. The model predicts that, with homophily, members of the majority group have more network connections and are exposed to more information than the minority group. We also use the model to show that, with homophily and a tendency to produce like-minded information, groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and the information reaches like-minded individuals more quickly than it reaches individuals of opposing ideologies. To test the hypotheses of our model, we analyze nearly 500,000 communications during the 2012 US elections in a social network of 2.2 million politically-engaged Twitter users. Consistent with the model, we find that members of the majority group in each state-level network have more connections and are exposed to more tweets than members of the minority group. Likewise, we find that groups are disproportionately exposed to like-minded information and that information reaches like-minded users more quickly than users of the opposing ideology.

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Social Context and Information Seeking: Examining the Effects of Network Attitudinal Composition on Engagement with Political Information

Lindsey Levitan & Julie Wronski
Political Behavior, December 2014, Pages 793-816

Abstract:
The people we associate with everyday have an important influence on our exposure and reactions to political stimuli. Social network members in particular can have a dramatic impact on our political views and behavior. Prior research suggests that these attitudinal differences may reflect the information available in a social network: attitudinally congruent networks expose individuals to supporting positions, bolstering their views, while heterogeneous networks provide information on both sides of an issue, generating doubt and ambivalence. In contrast, the current studies examine the effects of individuals’ networks in motivating them to find and engage with new political information on their own. Using ANES panel data, a laboratory-based information board session that examines behavior in detail, and an experimental design that manipulates network composition, we find that individuals in attitudinally heterogeneous social networks are more likely to seek out and attend to political information. They spend more time looking for political information, and then (having found it) spend more time reviewing that new information compared to those whose network members are more like-minded. An experimental study further demonstrates that network composition causally determines these information-seeking preferences. Implications for democratic citizenship in light of these findings are discussed.

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The Surprised Loser: The Role of Electoral Expectations and News Media Exposure in Satisfaction with Democracy

Barry Hollander
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, December 2014, Pages 651-668

Abstract:
People tend to predict their preferred political candidate will win an election. The resulting “surprised losers” are examined as playing a role in the established gap between electoral winners and losers on such important outcomes as trust in government and satisfaction with the electoral process and democracy. Exposure to Fox News programming can increase wishful thinking among Republican candidate supporters, but among surprised losers, it does not increase negative attitudes.

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Different relational models underlie prototypical left and right positions on social issues

Ain Simpson & Simon Laham
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social issues are important dividing lines in the “culture wars” between the political left and right. Despite much research into social issue stance and ideology, little research has explored these with Relational Models Theory (RMT). RMT proposes four distinct models that people use to construe social relations, each entailing distinct moral considerations. In two studies, participants read summaries of the models, rated how relevant each was to their positions on several social issues (e.g., capital punishment), and expressed issue positions. In Study 1, Communal Sharing and Equality Matching construals predicted prototypical liberal positions across a range of issues; Authority Ranking and Market Pricing construals predicted prototypical conservative positions. By using multilevel modelling in Study 2, individual differences in average Communal Sharing and Authority Ranking construals predicted prototypical liberal and conservative positions, respectively, independent of several factors known to predict social issue stance. In issue-specific analyses (e.g., focusing on euthanasia), all models showed effects independent of self-reported ideology, while for certain issues (same-sex marriage, animal testing, gun control, and flag burning), issue construal using different models predicted opposing positions, implicating relational models in moral disagreement. This paper provides novel tests of Relationship Regulation Theory and suggests that RMT is relevant in understanding political ideology, social issue stance, and moral judgement.

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The tree to the left, the forest to the right: Political attitude and perceptual bias

Serge Caparos et al.
Cognition, January 2015, Pages 155–164

Abstract:
A prominent model suggests that individuals to the right of the political spectrum are more cognitively rigid and less tolerant of ambiguity than individuals to the left. On the basis of this model, we predicted that a psychological mechanism linked to the resolution of visual ambiguity – perceptual bias – would be linked to political attitude. Perceptual bias causes western individuals to favour a global interpretation when scrutinizing ambiguous hierarchical displays (e.g., alignment of trees) that can be perceived either in terms of their local elements (e.g., several trees) or in terms of their global structure (e.g., a forest). Using three tasks (based on Navon-like hierarchical figures or on the Ebbinghaus illusion), we demonstrate (1) that right-oriented Westerners present a stronger bias towards global perception than left-oriented Westerners and (2) that this stronger bias is linked to higher cognitive rigidity. This study establishes for the first time that political ideology, a high-level construct, is directly reflected in low-level perception. Right- and left-oriented individuals actually see the world differently.

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Losing Hurts: Partisan Happiness in the 2012 Presidential Election

Lamar Pierce, Todd Rogers & Jason Snyder
Harvard Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Partisan identity shapes social, mental, economic, and physical life. Using a novel dataset, we study the consequences of partisan identity by examining the immediate impact of electoral loss and victory on happiness and sadness. Employing a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity model we present two primary findings. First, elections strongly affect the happiness/sadness of partisan losers (for about a week), but minimally impact partisan winners. This is consistent with psychological research on the good-bad hedonic asymmetry. Second, the happiness consequences to partisan losers are intense. To illustrate, we show that partisans are affected two times more intensely by their party losing the U.S. Presidential Election than both respondents with children were to the Newtown Shootings and respondents living in Boston were to the Boston Marathon Bombings. We discuss implications regarding the centrality of partisan identity to the self and its well-being.

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Are Leftists More Emotion-Driven Than Rightists? The Interactive Influence of Ideology and Emotions on Support for Policies

Ruthie Pliskin et al,.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, December 2014, Pages 1681-1697

Abstract:
Although emotions and ideology are important factors guiding policy support in conflict, their interactive influence remains unclear. Based on prior findings that ideological leftists’ beliefs are more susceptible to change than rightists’ beliefs, we tested a somewhat counterintuitive extension that leftists would be more susceptible to influence by their emotional reactions than rightists. In three laboratory studies, inducing positive and negative emotions affected Jewish–Israeli leftists’, but not rightists’, support for conciliatory policies toward an adversarial (Studies 1 and 3) and a non-adversarial (Study 2) outgroup. Three additional field studies showed that positive and negative emotions were related to leftists’, but not rightists’, policy support in positive as well as highly negative conflict-related contexts, among both Jewish (Studies 4 and 5) and Palestinian (Study 6) citizens of Israel. Across different conflicts, emotions, conflict-related contexts, and even populations, leftists’ policy support changed in accordance with emotional reactions more than rightists’ policy support.

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Associations between parental ideology and neural sensitivity to cognitive conflict in children

Tracy Dennis, David Amodio & Laura O’Toole
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Processes through which parental ideology is transmitted to children — especially at a young age prior to the formation of political beliefs — remain poorly understood. Given recent evidence that political ideology is associated with neural responses to cognitive conflict in adults, we tested the exploratory hypothesis that children’s neurocognitive responses to conflict may also differ depending on their parents’ ideology. We assessed relations between parental political ideology and children’s neurocognitive responses to conflict, as measured by the N2 component of the event-related potential. Children aged 5–7 completed an age-appropriate flanker task while electroencephalography was recorded, and the N2 was scored to incongruent versus congruent flankers to index conflict processing. Because previous research documents heightened liberal–conservative differences in threat-relevant contexts, each trial of the task was preceded by an angry face (threat-relevant) or comparison face (happy or neutral). An effect of parental ideology on the conflict-related N2 emerged in the threat condition, such that the N2 was larger among children of liberals compared with children of moderates and conservatives. These findings suggest that individual differences in neurocognitive responses to conflict, heightened in the context of threat, may reflect a more general pattern of individual differences that, in adults, relates to political ideology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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