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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The choice is yours

Social-Class Differences in Consumer Choices: Working-Class Individuals Are More Sensitive to Choices of Others Than Middle-Class Individuals

Jinkyung Na et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2016, Pages 430-443

Abstract:
The present research shows that, when making choices, working-class Americans are more affected by others' opinions than middle-class Americans due to differences in independent versus interdependent self-construal. Experiment 1 revealed that when working-class Americans made decisions to buy products, they were more influenced by the choices of others than middle-class Americans. In contrast, middle-class Americans were more likely to misremember others' choices to be consistent with their own choices. In other words, working-class Americans adjusted their choices to the preference of others, whereas middle-class Americans distorted others' preferences to fit their choices. Supporting our prediction that this social-class effect is closely linked to the independent versus interdependent self-construal, we showed that the differences in self-construal across cultures qualified the social-class effects on choices (Experiment 2). Moreover, when we experimentally manipulated self-construal in Experiment 3, we found that it mediated the corresponding changes in choices regardless of social class.

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Going All In: Unfavorable Sex Ratios Attenuate Choice Diversification

Joshua Ackerman, Jon Maner & Stephanie Carpenter

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
When faced with risky decisions, people typically choose to diversify their choices by allocating resources across a variety of options and thus avoid putting "all their eggs in one basket." The current research revealed that this tendency is reversed when people face an important cue to mating-related risk: skew in the operational sex ratio, or the ratio of men to women in the local environment. Counter to the typical strategy of choice diversification, findings from four studies demonstrated that the presence of romantically unfavorable sex ratios (those featuring more same-sex than opposite-sex individuals) led heterosexual people to diversify financial resources less and instead concentrate investment in high-risk/high-return options when making lottery, stock-pool, retirement-account, and research-funding decisions. These studies shed light on a key process by which people manage risks to mating success implied by unfavorable interpersonal environments. These choice patterns have important implications for mating behavior as well as other everyday forms of decision making.

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Reappraising Stress Arousal Improves Performance and Reduces Evaluation Anxiety in Classroom Exam Situations

Jeremy Jamieson et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
For students to thrive in the U.S. educational system, they must successfully cope with omnipresent demands of exams. Nearly all students experience testing situations as stressful, and signs of stress (e.g., racing heart) are typically perceived negatively. This research tested the efficacy of a psychosituational intervention targeting cognitive appraisals of stress to improve classroom exam performance. Ninety-three students (across five semesters) enrolled in a community college developmental mathematics course were randomly assigned to stress reappraisal or placebo control conditions. Reappraisal instructions educated students about the adaptive benefits of stress arousal, whereas placebo materials instructed students to ignore stress. Reappraisal students reported less math evaluation anxiety and exhibited improved math exam performance relative to controls. Mediation analysis indicated reappraisal improved performance by increasing students' perceptions of their ability to cope with the stressful testing situation (resource appraisals). Implications for theory development and policy are discussed.

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The good and bad of ambivalence: Desiring ambivalence under outcome uncertainty

Taly Reich & Christian Wheeler

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2016, Pages 493-508

Abstract:
Decades of past research point to the downside of evaluative inconsistency (i.e., ambivalence), suggesting that it is an unpleasant state that can result in negative affect. Consequently, people are often motivated to resolve their ambivalence in various ways. We propose that people sometimes desire to be ambivalent as a means of strategic self-protection. Across employment, educational and consumer choice settings, we demonstrate that when people are uncertain they can obtain a desired target, they will cultivate ambivalence in order to protect their feelings in the event that they fail to get what they want. Specifically, we show that people consciously desire to cultivate ambivalence as a way to emotionally hedge and that they seek out and process information in ways to deliberately cultivate ambivalence. We find that people are most likely to generate ambivalence when they are most uncertain that they can obtain their desired target. Depending on the outcome, this cultivated ambivalence can either be useful (when the desired target is not obtained) or backfire (when the desired target is obtained).

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Social Networks and Housing Markets

Michael Bailey et al.

NYU Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We document that the recent house price experiences within an individual's social network affect her perceptions of the attractiveness of property investments, and through this channel have large effects on her housing market activity. Our data combine anonymized social network information from Facebook with housing transaction data and a survey. We first show that in the survey, individuals whose geographically-distant friends experienced larger recent house price increases consider local property a more attractive investment, with bigger effects for individuals who regularly discuss such investments with their friends. Based on these findings, we introduce a new and scalable methodology to document large effects of perceptions about the attractiveness of property investments on individual and aggregate housing market outcomes. This methodology exploits plausibly-exogenous variation in the recent house price experiences of individuals' geographically-distant friends as shifters of those individuals' local housing market perceptions. Individuals whose friends experienced a 5 percentage points larger house price increase over the previous 24 months (i) are 3.1 percentage points more likely to transition from renting to owning over a two-year period, (ii) buy a 1.7 percent larger house, and (iii) pay 3.3 percent more for a given house. Similarly, when homeowners' friends experience less positive house price changes, these homeowners are more likely to become renters, and more likely to sell their property at a lower price. A lower dispersion of friends' house price experiences has a similarly positive effect on housing market investments as higher average experiences. We also find that, at the county level, the across-population mean and dispersion of friends' house price experiences affect aggregate house prices and trading volume.

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Do as I say, not as I do: Choice-advice differences in decisions to learn information

Rachel Barkan, Shai Danziger & Yaniv Shani

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, May 2016, Pages 57-66

Abstract:
We find that people choose to learn interesting but useless information, yet advise others to resist this temptation. By contrast, when the information is boring but important people recommend others to learn it, but are less likely to learn it themselves. In five experiments participants were randomly assigned the role of chooser or adviser. Experiment 1a showed choosers paid real money for useless information, whereas advisers recommended others to resist the temptation. Experiment 1b showed this choice-advice difference persisted when participants introspected on their decisions in a hypothetical setting. Using an introspection task, Experiment 2 demonstrated choosers' decisions relied more heavily on curiosity, whereas advisers' recommendations relied on the value of the information. Next, we examined the case where information is boring but important. In a hypothetical setting, Experiment 3a revealed the vast majority of advisers recommended to learn the important information, whereas choosers were less enthusiastic about the boring information. Finally, Experiment 3b demonstrated the majority of choosers chose not to pay actual money to learn the important information, whereas the majority of advisers recommended paying to learn it. We conclude by offering ways to utilize curiosity to encourage people to learn important information.

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Meaning in life and intuition

Samantha Heintzelman & Laura King

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 477-492

Abstract:
Three correlational studies and 2 experiments examined the association between meaning in life (MIL) and reliance on intuitive information processing. In Studies 1-3 (total N = 5,079), Faith in Intuition (FI) scale and MIL were correlated positively, controlling for religiosity, positive mood, self-esteem, basic need satisfaction, and need for cognition. Two experiments manipulated processing style. In Study 4 (N = 614), participants were randomly assigned to complete the Cognitive Reflection Task (CRT; Fredrick, 2005) either immediately before (reflective/low intuitive mindset condition) or immediately after (control condition) rating MIL. Condition did not affect MIL. However, low MIL rated before the CRT predicted superior performance and greater time spent on the task. The association between reflection and MIL was curvilinear, such that MIL was strongly negatively related to CRT performance particularly at low levels of MIL. In Study 5 (N = 804), intuitive or reflective mindsets were induced and FI and MIL were measured. Induced processing style study did not affect MIL. However, those high in MIL were more responsive to the intuitive mindset induction. The relationship between FI and MIL was curvilinear (in this and the correlational studies), with intuitive processing being strongly positively related to MIL particularly at higher levels of MIL. Although often considered in the context of conscious reflection, MIL shares a positive relationship with reliance on gut feelings, and high MIL may facilitate reliance on those feelings.

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Crowd Wisdom Relies on Agents' Ability in Small Groups with a Voting Aggregation Rule

Marc Keuschnigg & Christian Ganser

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the last decade, interest in the "wisdom of crowds" effect has gained momentum in both organizational research and corporate practice. Crowd wisdom relies on the aggregation of independent judgments. The accuracy of a group's aggregate prediction rises with the number, ability, and diversity of its members. We investigate these variables' relative importance for collective prediction using agent-based simulation. We replicate the "diversity trumps ability" proposition for large groups, showing that samples of heterogeneous agents outperform same-sized homogeneous teams of high ability. In groups smaller than approximately 16 members, however, the effects of group composition depend on the social decision function employed: diversity is key only in continuous estimation tasks (averaging) and much less important in discrete choice tasks (voting), in which agents' individual abilities remain crucial. Thus, strategies to improve collective decision making must adapt to the predictive situation at hand.

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Decision Fatigue, Choosing for Others, and Self-Construal

Evan Polman & Kathleen Vohs

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that people tend to feel depleted by their decisions. In contrast, we found people report that making decisions for others (vs. the self) is less depleting because it is more enjoyable. Our investigation thus replicated a prior finding (that decision-making is depleting), moderated it by target of decision (self vs. other), and demonstrated mediation (enjoyment). We further measured chronic focus on self or others (self-construal) and established a full process model that marries prior findings with the current ones: Choosing for others is more enjoyable and less depleting to the extent that decision makers are independent, and less enjoyable and more depleting to the extent that decision makers are interdependent. That a mismatch between chronic and state orientation leads to the better outcomes for self-control indicates a special link between self-construal and decision-making.

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Measuring Intuition: Nonconscious Emotional Information Boosts Decision Accuracy and Confidence

Galang Lufityanto, Chris Donkin & Joel Pearson

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The long-held popular notion of intuition has garnered much attention both academically and popularly. Although most people agree that there is such a phenomenon as intuition, involving emotionally charged, rapid, unconscious processes, little compelling evidence supports this notion. Here, we introduce a technique in which subliminal emotional information is presented to subjects while they make fully conscious sensory decisions. Our behavioral and physiological data, along with evidence-accumulator models, show that nonconscious emotional information can boost accuracy and confidence in a concurrent emotion-free decision task, while also speeding up response times. Moreover, these effects were contingent on the specific predictive arrangement of the nonconscious emotional valence and motion direction in the decisional stimulus. A model that simultaneously accumulates evidence from both physiological skin conductance and conscious decisional information provides an accurate description of the data. These findings support the notion that nonconscious emotions can bias concurrent nonemotional behavior - a process of intuition.

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A Flexible Influence of Affective Feelings on Creative and Analytic Performance

Jeffrey Huntsinger & Cara Ray

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Considerable research shows that positive affect improves performance on creative tasks and negative affect improves performance on analytic tasks. The present research entertained the idea that affective feelings have flexible, rather than fixed, effects on cognitive performance. Consistent with the idea that positive and negative affect signal the value of accessible processing inclinations, the influence of affective feelings on performance on analytic or creative tasks was found to be flexibly responsive to the relative accessibility of different styles of processing (i.e., heuristic vs. systematic, global vs. local). When a global processing orientation was accessible happy participants generated more creative uses for a brick (Experiment 1), successfully solved more remote associates and insight problems (Experiment 2) and displayed broader categorization (Experiment 3) than those in sad moods. When a local processing orientation was accessible this pattern reversed. When a heuristic processing style was accessible happy participants were more likely to commit the conjunction fallacy (Experiment 3) and showed less pronounced anchoring effects (Experiment 4) than sad participants. When a systematic processing style was accessible this pattern reversed. Implications of these results for relevant affect-cognition models are discussed.

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When existence is not futile: The influence of mortality salience on the longer-is-better effect

Simon McCabe, Melissa Spina & Jamie Arndt

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how death reminders impact the valuation of objects of various ages. Building from the existence bias, the longer-is-better effect posits that which exists is good and that which has existed for longer is better. Integrating terror management theory, it was reasoned that mortality reminders fostering a motivation to at least symbolically transcend death would lead participants to evaluate older objects more positively as they signal robustness of existence. Participants were reminded of death (vs. control) and evaluated new, 20-, or 100-year-old objects. Results indicated death reminders resulted in greater valuation of older objects. Findings are discussed with implications for terror management theory, the longer-is-better effect, ageism, materialism, and consumer behaviour.

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A Heart and A Mind: Self-distancing Facilitates the Association Between Heart Rate Variability, and Wise Reasoning

Igor Grossmann, Baljinder Sahdra & Joseph Ciarrochi

Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, April 2016

Abstract:
Cardiac vagal tone (indexed via resting heart rate variability [HRV]) has been previously associated with superior executive functioning. Is HRV related to wiser reasoning and less biased judgments? Here we hypothesize that this will be the case when adopting a self-distanced (as opposed to a self-immersed) perspective, with self-distancing enabling individuals with higher HRV to overcome bias-promoting egocentric impulses and to reason wisely. However, higher HRV may not be associated with greater wisdom when adopting a self-immersed perspective. Participants were randomly assigned to reflect on societal issues from a self-distanced- or self-immersed perspective, with responses coded for reasoning quality. In a separate task, participants read about and evaluated a person performing morally ambiguous actions, with responses coded for dispositional vs. situational attributions. We simultaneously assessed resting cardiac recordings, obtaining six HRV indicators. As hypothesized, in the self-distanced condition, each HRV indicator was positively related to prevalence of wisdom-related reasoning (e.g., prevalence of recognition of limits of one's knowledge, recognition that the world is in flux/change, consideration of others' opinions and search for an integration of these opinions) and to balanced vs. biased attributions (recognition of situational and dispositional factors vs. focus on dispositional factors alone). In contrast, there was no relationship between these variables in the self-immersed condition. We discuss implications for research on psychophysiology, cognition, and wisdom.

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Backward planning: Effects of planning direction on predictions of task completion time

Jessica Wiese, Roger Buehler & Dale Griffin

Judgment and Decision Making, March 2016, Pages 147-167

Abstract:
People frequently underestimate the time needed to complete tasks and we examined a strategy - known as backward planning - that may counteract this optimistic bias. Backward planning involves starting a plan at the end goal and then working through required steps in reverse-chronological order, and is commonly advocated by practitioners as a tool for developing realistic plans and projections. We conducted four experiments to test effects on completion time predictions and related cognitive processes. Participants planned for a task in one of three directions (backward, forward, or unspecified) and predicted when it would be finished. As hypothesized, predicted completion times were longer (Studies 1-4) and thus less biased (Study 4) in the backward condition than in the forward and unspecified conditions. Process measures suggested that backward planning may increase attention to situational factors that delay progress (e.g., obstacles, interruptions, competing demands), elicit novel planning insights, and alter the conceptualization of time.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What the customer wants

Anticipation of Future Variety Reduces Satiation From Current Experiences

Julio Sevilla, Jiao Zhang & Barbara Kahn

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Satiation frequently occurs from repeated consumption of the same items over time. However, results from five experiments show that when people anticipate consuming something different in the future, they satiate at a slower rate in the present. We find the effect in both food and non-food consumption settings using different approaches to measure satiation. This effect is cognitive, specifically, anticipating variety in future consumption generates positive thoughts about that future experience. We find two boundary conditions: the future consumption outcome must (1) be in a related product category and (2) be at least as attractive as the present one. Potential alternative explanations including mere exposure to variety, the future experience being more attractive (rather than just different) than the current one, and perceptions of scarcity associated with the item consumed in the present are ruled out.

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An Empirical Examination of the Development and Impact of Star Power in Major League Baseball

Michael Lewis & Yeujun Yoon

Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the processes by which star power (SP) develops and the impact of SP on both consumer demand and team performance using data from Major League Baseball. First, we examine the dynamics of stardom using data based on player salaries, performance, and award recognition. We find that SP explains additional variance in salaries beyond performance measures. Also, we examine the impact of SP on consumer demand and team success. We find that a team's stock of SP positively influences consumer demand, even after controlling for various factors ranging from team success to ticket prices.

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Halo (Spillover) Effects in Social Media: Do Product Recalls of One Brand Hurt or Help Rival Brands?

Abhishek Borah & Gerard Tellis

Journal of Marketing Research, April 2016, Pages 143-160

Abstract:
Online chatter is important because it is spontaneous, passionate, information rich, granular, and live. Thus, it can forewarn and be diagnostic about potential problems with automobile models, known as nameplates. The authors define "perverse halo" (or negative spillover) as the phenomenon whereby negative chatter about one nameplate increases negative chatter for another nameplate. The authors test the existence of such a perverse halo for 48 nameplates from four different brands during a series of automobile recalls. The analysis is by individual and panel vector autoregressive models. The study finds that perverse halo is extensive. It occurs for nameplates within the same brand across segments and across brands within segments. It is strongest between brands of the same country. Perverse halo is asymmetric, being stronger from a dominant brand to a less dominant brand than vice versa. Apology advertising about recalls has harmful effects on both the recalled brand and its rivals. Furthermore, these halo effects affect downstream performance metrics such as sales and stock market performance. Online chatter amplifies the negative effect of recalls on downstream sales by about 4.5 times.

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Fare Prediction Websites and Transaction Prices: Empirical Evidence from the Airline Industry

Benny Mantin & Eran Rubin

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The marketing and operations disciplines have increasingly accounted for the presence of strategic consumer behavior. Theory suggests that such behavior exists when consumers are able to consider future distribution of prices, and that this behavior exposes firms to intertemporal competition that results with a downward pressure on prices. However, deriving future distribution of prices is not a trivial task. Online decision support tools that provide consumers with information about future distributions of prices can facilitate strategic consumer behavior. This paper studies whether the availability of such information affects transacted prices by conducting an empirical analysis in the context of the airline industry. Studying the effect at the route level, we find significant price reduction effects as such information becomes available for a route, both in fixed-effects and difference-in-differences estimation models. This effect is consistent across the different fare percentiles and amounts to a reduction of approximately 4%-6% in transactions' prices. Our results lend ample support to the notion that price prediction decision tools make a statistically significant economic impact. Presumably, consumers are able to exploit the information available online and exhibit strategic behavior.

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Mere Measurement "Plus": How Solicitation of Open-Ended Positive Feedback Influences Customer Purchase Behavior

Sterling Bone et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies (a longitudinal field experiment with an established B2C national chain, and a field experiment with a B2B software manufacturer), we demonstrate that starting a survey with an open-ended positive solicitation increases customer purchase behavior. Study 1, a longitudinal field experiment, showed that one-year following the completion of a survey that began by asking customers what went well during their purchase experience, customers spent 8.25% more than customers who completed a survey that did not include the positive solicitation. In Study 2, we utilized multiple treatment groups to assess the step-wise gains of solicitation, measurement, and solicitation frame. The results demonstrated (a) a mere solicitation effect, (b) a traditional mere measurement effect, and (c) an additional "mere measurement plus" effect of an open-ended positive solicitation; all effects increased customer spending. Specifically, starting a survey with an open-ended positive solicitation resulted in a 32.88% increase in customer spending relative to a survey with no open-ended positive solicitation. The findings suggest that firms can proactively influence the feedback process. Soliciting open-ended positive feedback can create positively biased memories of an experience; the subsequent expression of those memories in an open-ended feedback format further reinforces them, making them more salient and accessible in guiding future purchase behavior.

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Culling the Herd: Using Real-World Randomized Experiments to Measure Social Bias with Known Costly Goods

Miguel Godinho de Matos et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Peer ratings have become increasingly important sources of product information, particularly in markets for information goods. However, in spite of the increasing prevalence of this information, there are relatively few academic studies that analyze the impact of peer ratings on consumers transacting in "real-world" marketplaces. In this paper, we partner with a major telecommunications company to analyze the impact of peer ratings in a real-world video-on-demand market where consumer participation is organic and where movies are costly and well known to consumers. After experimentally changing the initial conditions of product information displayed to consumers, we find that, consistent with the prior literature, peer ratings influence consumer behavior independently from underlying product quality. However, we also find that, in contrast to the prior literature, there is little evidence of long-term bias as a result of herding effects, at least in our setting. Specifically, when movies are artificially promoted or demoted in peer rating lists, subsequent reviews cause them to return to their true quality position relatively quickly. One explanation for this difference is that consumers in our empirical setting likely had more outside information about the true quality of the products they were evaluating than did consumers in the studies reported in prior literature. Although tentative, this explanation suggests that in real-world marketplaces where consumers have sufficient access to outside information about true product quality, peer ratings may be more robust to herding effects and thus provide more reliable signals of true product quality than previously thought.

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The Cue-of-the-Cloud Effect: When Reminders of Online Information Availability Increase Purchase Intentions and Choice

Rajesh Bhargave, Antonia Mantonakis & Katherine White

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In offline purchasing settings (e.g., retail stores), consumers often encounter reminders that product information can be found on the Internet. The authors refer to a reminder of the availability of online information as a 'cue-of-the-cloud' and explore its unique consequences on offline consumer behavior. This research finds that when consumers are presented with relatively large amounts of information in offline purchasing situations, a cue-of-the-cloud can enhance purchase intentions and choice behaviors. This occurs because the cue increases consumers' confidence in being able to retain and access the information seen in-store, which engenders positive feelings about the decision to purchase. Four studies, including two experiments in real brick-and-mortar field settings, demonstrate the consequence of a cue-of-the-cloud, along with some novel moderators of these effects.

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Copyright Enforcement: Evidence from Two Field Experiments

Hong Luo & Julie Mortimer

Harvard Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Effective dispute resolution is important for reducing private and social costs. We study how resolution responds to changes in price and communication using a new, extensive dataset of copyright infringement incidences by firms. The data cover two field experiments run by a large stock-photography agency. We find that substantially reducing the requested amount generates a small increase in the settlement rate. However, for the same reduced request, a message informing infringers of the price reduction and acknowledging possible unintentionality generates a large increase in settlement; including a deadline further increases the response. The small price effect, compared to the large message effect, can be explained by two countervailing effects of a lower price: an inducement to settle early, but a lower threat of escalation. Furthermore, acknowledging possible unintentionality may encourage settlement due to the typically inadvertent nature of these incidences. The resulting higher settlement rate prevents additional legal action and reduces social costs.

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Mining Brand Perceptions from Twitter Social Networks

Aron Culotta & Jennifer Cutler

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumer perceptions are important components of brand equity and therefore marketing strategy. Segmenting these perceptions into attributes such as eco-friendliness, nutrition, and luxury enable a fine-grained understanding of the brand's strengths and weaknesses. Traditional approaches towards monitoring such perceptions (e.g., surveys) are costly and time consuming, and their results may quickly become outdated. Extant data mining methods are unsuitable for this goal, and generally require extensive hand-annotated data or context customization, which leads to many of the same limitations as direct elicitation. Here, we investigate a novel, general, and fully automated method for inferring attribute-specific brand perception ratings by mining the brand's social connections on Twitter. Using a set of over 200 brands and three perceptual attributes, we compare the method's automatic ratings estimates with directly-elicited survey data, finding a consistently strong correlation. The approach provides a reliable, flexible, and scalable method for monitoring brand perceptions, and offers a foundation for future advances in understanding brand-consumer social media relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Relationship issues

Intimate Partner Violence in the Great Recession

Daniel Schneider, Kristen Harknett & Sara McLanahan

Demography, April 2016, Pages 471-505

Abstract:
In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship.

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Physiology and pillow talk: Relations between testosterone and communication post sex

Amanda Denes, Tamara Afifi & Douglas Granger

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the association between individual differences in testosterone and communication after sexual activity. Two hundred and fifty-three young adult participants (78% women, M age = 21 years, 73% White) provided saliva samples (later assayed for testosterone) and subsequently, over a 2-week period, completed an online diary after each time they engaged in sexual activity. Individual differences in testosterone levels were inversely associated with perceived benefits of, and positively associated with perceived risks of, disclosing thoughts and feelings to one’s partner after sexual activity. When testosterone levels were higher, post sex disclosures were less intentional and less positive, and these associations were mediated by risk–benefit assessments. An interaction between testosterone and orgasm revealed that higher testosterone levels were associated with more negative post sex disclosures for those who did not orgasm, but not for those who experienced orgasm. This finding suggests that high testosterone/no orgasm individuals may be the least likely to experience the beneficial effects of post sex communication. Similar results were found both when biological sex was controlled for and when analyses were conducted separately for women and men. Implications for a biosocial model of post sex behavior and communication are discussed.

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From Bad to Worse? Pornography Consumption, Spousal Religiosity, Gender, and Marital Quality

Samuel Perry

Sociological Forum, forthcoming

Abstract:
Pornography consumption is consistently associated with lower marital quality. Scholars have theorized that embeddedness within a religious community may exacerbate the negative association between pornography use and marital quality because of greater social or psychic costs to porn viewing. As a test and extension of this theory, I examine how being married to a religiously devout spouse potentially moderates the link between respondents' reported pornography consumption and their marital satisfaction. Data are taken from the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study. In the main effects, porn consumption is negatively related to marital satisfaction, while spousal religiosity is positively related to marital satisfaction. Interaction effects reveal, however, that spousal religiosity intensifies the negative effect of porn viewing on marital satisfaction. These effects are robust whether marital satisfaction is operationalized as a scale or with individual measures and whether spousal religiosity is measured with respondents' evaluations of their spouses' religiosity or spouses' self-reported religiosity measures. The effects are also similar for both husbands and wives. I argue that for married Americans, having a religiously committed spouse increases the social and psychic costs of porn consumption such that marital satisfaction decreases more drastically as a result.

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Does Couples' Communication Predict Marital Satisfaction, or Does Marital Satisfaction Predict Communication?

Justin Lavner, Benjamin Karney & Thomas Bradbury

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
The quality of communication between spouses is widely assumed to affect their subsequent judgments of relationship satisfaction, yet this assumption is rarely tested against the alternative prediction that communication is merely a consequence of spouses' prior levels of satisfaction. To evaluate these perspectives, newlywed couples' positivity, negativity, and effectiveness were observed four times at 9-month intervals, and these behaviors were examined in relation to corresponding self-reports of relationship satisfaction. Cross-sectionally, relatively satisfied couples engaged in more positive, less negative, and more effective communication. Longitudinally, reliable communication-to-satisfaction and satisfaction-to-communication associations were identified, yet neither pathway was particularly robust. These findings raise important doubts about theories and interventions that prioritize couple communication skills as the key predictor of relationship satisfaction, while raising new questions about other factors that might predict communication and satisfaction and that strengthen or moderate their association.

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The Longitudinal Association of Relationship Satisfaction and Sexual Satisfaction in Long-Term Relationships

Erin Fallis et al.

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several prominent models of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction imply directional relationships between these constructs (e.g., attachment theory, social exchange models of relationship satisfaction, the interpersonal exchange model of sexual satisfaction). Previous research has demonstrated that sexual satisfaction and relationship satisfaction are distinct but correlated constructs, but relatively few studies have examined how they are related over time. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine this association. A sample of heterosexual couples (N = 113) completed a longitudinal study spanning 2 years. At Times 1 and 2 they completed measures of relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction. Data were analyzed according to the principles of the actor–partner interdependence model using structural equation modeling. Significant actor effects were detected such that, for both men and women, one’s own earlier sexual satisfaction predicted one’s later relationship satisfaction. In contrast, one’s own earlier relationship satisfaction did not significantly predict one’s subsequent sexual satisfaction. Sexual satisfaction was a stronger predictor of subsequent relationship satisfaction for men than women. There were no significant partner effects. These results contribute to our theoretical understanding of sexuality and sexual satisfaction in the context of long-term relationships by providing support for theories that conceptualize sexual satisfaction as one factor that contributes to relationship satisfaction.

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Capturing the Interpersonal Implications of Evolved Preferences? Frequency of Sex Shapes Automatic, but Not Explicit, Partner Evaluations

Lindsey Hicks et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A strong predisposition to engage in sexual intercourse likely evolved in humans because sex is crucial to reproduction. Given that meeting interpersonal preferences tends to promote positive relationship evaluations, sex within a relationship should be positively associated with relationship satisfaction. Nevertheless, prior research has been inconclusive in demonstrating such a link, with longitudinal and experimental studies showing no association between sexual frequency and relationship satisfaction. Crucially, though, all prior research has utilized explicit reports of satisfaction, which reflect deliberative processes that may override the more automatic implications of phylogenetically older evolved preferences. Accordingly, capturing the implications of sexual frequency for relationship evaluations may require implicit measurements that bypass deliberative reasoning. Consistent with this idea, one cross-sectional and one 3-year study of newlywed couples revealed a positive association between sexual frequency and automatic partner evaluations but not explicit satisfaction. These findings highlight the importance of automatic measurements to understanding interpersonal relationships.

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Social Security and Divorce

Marcus Dillender

B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies how the likelihood and timing of divorce are influenced by Social Security’s 10-year rule, which provides spousal benefits to divorced people if their marriages lasted at least 10 years. Bunching analysis indicates that approximately 2 % of divorces occurring in the 6 months after 10-year anniversaries would have occurred earlier if not for Social Security’s 10-year rule. For older couples, who are likely more focused on retirement and have greater earning disparities, divorces are approximately 9 % higher in the 2 years after 10-year anniversaries than would be predicted without the abrupt change in Social Security benefits. The increase in divorces after 10 years of marriage appears to come from couples with disparate earning records.

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Romantic Relationship Commitment Behavior Among Emerging Adult African American Men

Steven Kogan, Tianyi Yu & Geoffrey Brown

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contextual and intrapersonal factors affecting the development of African American men's romantic relationship commitment-related behavior were investigated. Socioeconomic disadvantage during early adolescence was hypothesized to predict harsh, unsupportive parenting practices. Harsh parenting was hypothesized to result in youths' emotion-regulation difficulties, indicated by elevated levels of anger during mid-adolescence, particularly when men were exposed to racial discrimination. Young African American men's anger during mid-adolescence, a consequence of harsh, unsupportive parenting and racial discrimination, was expected to predict commitment-related behavior. Hypotheses were tested with a sample of rural African American men participating in a panel study from the ages of 11 through 21. Data from teachers, parents, and youths were integrated into a multi-reporter measurement plan. Results confirmed the hypothesized associations. Study findings indicate that the combination of harsh parenting and racial discrimination is a powerful antecedent of young men's commitment-related behavior. Anger across mid-adolescence mediated this interaction effect.

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Marital disruption is associated with shorter salivary telomere length in a probability sample of older adults

Mark Whisman, Briana Robustelli & David Sbarra

Social Science & Medicine, May 2016, Pages 60–67

Objective: This study examines the association between marital disruption and salivary telomere length in a United States probability sample of adults ≥50 years of age.

Method: Participants were 3,526 individuals who participated in the 2008 wave of the Health and Retirement Study. Telomere length assays were performed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on DNA extracted from saliva samples. Health and lifestyle factors, traumatic and stressful life events, and neuroticism were assessed via self-report. Linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the associations between predictor variables and salivary telomere length.

Results: Based on their marital status data in the 2006 wave, people who were separated or divorced had shorter salivary telomeres than people who were continuously married or had never been married, and the association between marital disruption and salivary telomere length was not moderated by gender or neuroticism. Furthermore, the association between marital disruption and salivary telomere length remained statistically significant after adjusting for demographic and socioeconomic variables, neuroticism, cigarette use, body mass, traumatic life events, and other stressful life events. Additionally, results revealed that currently married adults with a history of divorce evidenced shorter salivary telomeres than people who were continuously married or never married.

Conclusion: Accelerated cellular aging, as indexed by telomere shortening, may be one pathway through which marital disruption is associated with morbidity and mortality.

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Intimate imitation: Automatic motor imitation in romantic relationships

Lara Maister & Manos Tsakiris

Cognition, July 2016, Pages 108–113

Abstract:
Our relationships with romantic partners are often some of the closest and most important relationships that we experience in our adult lives. Interpersonal closeness in romantic relationships is characterised by an increased overlap between cognitive representations of oneself and one’s partner. Importantly, this type of self-other overlap also occurs in the bodily domain, whereby we can represent another’s embodied experiences in the same way as we represent our own. However, as yet this bodily self-other overlap has only been investigated in individuals unfamiliar to each other. Here, we investigate bodily self-other overlap between romantic partners, using automatic imitation as an example case of bodily overlap in the motor domain. We found that participants automatically imitated romantic partners significantly more than close others with whom they had a platonic relationship. Furthermore, imitation in these relationships was related to key aspects of relationship quality, as indicated by adult attachment style.

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Perceived Acceptance From Outsiders Shapes Security in Romantic Relationships: The Overgeneralization of Extradyadic Experiences

Edward Lemay & Suad Razzak

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 2016, Pages 632-644

Abstract:
Romantic relationships unfold in the context of people’s other interpersonal relationships, and processes that occur in those other relationships have been shown to affect the functioning of romantic relationships. In accordance with this perspective, two dyadic daily report studies demonstrated that people generalize experiences of interpersonal acceptance and rejection from other people onto their romantic partners. Participants felt more confident that they were valued by their romantic partners on days they experienced acceptance, relative to rejection, from outsiders. In addition, this overgeneralization of daily extradyadic acceptance and rejection had prospective effects on romantic relationship security the following day, was independent of the romantic partner’s actual relationship evaluations on each day, was partially mediated by daily self-esteem, and predicted daily enactment of prosocial and antisocial behaviors toward romantic partners. These results suggest that overgeneralization of daily acceptance and rejection from outsiders shapes the functioning of romantic relationships.

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Theory-of-mind-related neural activity for one’s romantic partner predicts partner well-being

David Dodell-Feder et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, April 2016, Pages 593-603

Abstract:
Healthy social relationships are linked to myriad positive physical and mental health outcomes, raising the question of how to enhance relationship formation and quality. Behavioral data suggest that theory of mind (ToM) may be one such process. ToM is supported by a network of brain regions including the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus (PC). However, little research has investigated how the ToM network supports healthy social relationships. Here, we investigate whether recruitment of the ToM network when thinking about the mental states of one’s romantic partner predicts the partner’s well-being. We find that selectivity in left TPJ (LTPJ) and PC for beliefs vs physical attributes of one’s partner is positively associated with partner well-being the day of and day after a meaningful encounter. Furthermore, LTPJ and PC selectivity moderated how the partner’s perception of being understood during the encounter affected their later well-being. Finally, we find the association between ToM-related neural selectivity and well-being robust to other factors related to the relationship and the encounter. Together, these data suggest that selective engagement of the neural network supporting ToM may be a key ingredient for the development and maintenance of healthy romantic relationships.

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Are Pregnancy Intentions Associated with Transitions Into and Out of Marriage?

Isaac Maddow-Zimet et al.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, March 2016, Pages 35–43

Methods: Linked data from the 2004–2008 Oklahoma Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System and The Oklahoma Toddler Survey for 2006–2010 on 3,617 women who were married and 2,123 who were unmarried at conception were used to examine the relationship between pregnancy intention status (intended, mistimed by less than two years, mistimed by two or more years, or unwanted) and marital formation or dissolution by the time of the birth and two years later. Logistic regression analyses were conducted, and propensity score methods were used to adjust for confounding characteristics.

Results: Intention status was associated with marital transition two years after the birth, but not between conception and birth. In adjusted models, among women married at conception, those with a birth resulting from an unwanted pregnancy were more likely than those with a birth resulting from an intended pregnancy to transition out of marriage by the time their child was two years old (odds ratio, 2.2). Among women unmarried at conception, those with a birth following an unwanted pregnancy were less likely than those with a birth following an intended pregnancy to marry by the time their child was two (0.5). Births following mistimed pregnancies were not associated with marital transition.

Conclusions: The findings should motivate researchers to broaden the scope of research on the consequences of unintended childbearing. Future research should distinguish between mistimed and unwanted births.

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Childhood Abuse and Later Marital Outcomes: Do Partner Characteristics Moderate the Association?

Teresa Nguyen, Benjamin Karney & Thomas Bradbury

Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although people with a history of child abuse are known to be at elevated risk for later difficulties in relationships, there is debate over whether these effects are enduring and relatively immutable or are moderated by characteristics and behaviors of the partner. To reconcile these competing perspectives, we conducted a longitudinal study of 414 newlywed couples living in low-income neighborhoods, testing whether the association between abuse history and relationship satisfaction is dependent on the partners’ aggression, depression, substance abuse, observed communication, and other demographic risk factors. Spouses who had been abused as children (25% of husbands, 31% of wives) reported more symptoms of depression and substance abuse and, among husbands, displayed more negative communication. Spouses with a history of child abuse were also less satisfied with their marriage, even as newlyweds; abused wives also declined in satisfaction over time compared to those without this history. However, interactions between abuse history and all of the proposed moderators were not significant, indicating that partner and relationship characteristics failed to strengthen or weaken the association between abuse history and relationship satisfaction. Childhood experiences of abuse appear to have lasting and broad effects on individual and relational outcomes, and these effects are neither heightened nor mitigated by the partner’s characteristics or behaviors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 18, 2016

Big banking

The Social Costs and Benefits of Too-Big-To-Fail Banks: A “Bounding” Exercise

John Boyd & Amanda Heitz

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
While the policy of Too-Big-To-Fail has received wide attention in the literature, there is little agreement regarding economies of scale for financial firms. We take the stand that systemic risk increases when the larger players in the financial sector have a larger share of output. Calculations indicate that the cost to the macro-economy due to increased systemic risk is always much larger than the potential benefit due to scale economies. When distributional and intergenerational issues are considered, the potential benefits to economies of scale are unlikely to ever exceed the potential costs due to increased risk of a banking crisis.

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Did TARP Banks Get Competitive Advantages?

Allen Berger & Raluca Roman

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, December 2015, Pages 1199-1236

Abstract:
We investigate whether the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) gave recipients competitive advantages. Using a difference-in-difference (DID) approach, we find that: i) TARP recipients received competitive advantages and increased both their market shares and market power; ii) results may be driven primarily by the safety channel (TARP banks may be perceived as safer), which is partially offset by the cost-disadvantage channel (TARP funds may be relatively expensive); and iii) these competitive advantages are primarily or entirely due to TARP banks that repaid early. These results may help explain other findings in the literature, and yield important policy implications.

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Too-Big-To-Fail Before the Fed

Gary Gorton & Ellis Tallman

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
“Too-big-to-fail” is consistent with policies followed by private bank clearing houses during financial crises in the U.S. National Banking Era prior to the existence of the Federal Reserve System. Private bank clearing houses provided emergency lending to member banks during financial crises. This behavior strongly suggests that “too-big-to-fail” is not the problem causing modern crises. Rather it is a reasonable response to the threat posed to large banks by the vulnerability of short-term debt to runs.

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Financial Sector Reform after the Subprime Crisis: Has Anything Happened?

Alexander Schäfer, Isabel Schnabel & Beatrice Weder di Mauro

Review of Finance, March 2016, Pages 77-125

Abstract:
We analyze the reactions of stock returns and the spreads of credit default swaps (CDS) of banks from Europe and the USA to four major regulatory reforms in the aftermath of the subprime crisis, employing an event study analysis. Contrary to public perception, we find that financial markets indeed reacted to the structural reforms enacted at the national level. The reforms succeeded in reducing bail-out expectations relative to the post-bail-out period, especially for systemic banks. The strongest effects were found for the Dodd–Frank Act and in particular for the Volcker rule. Bank profitability was affected in all countries, showing up in lower equity returns.

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Did Dubious Mortgage Origination Practices Distort House Prices?

John Griffin & Gonzalo Maturana

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
ZIP codes with high concentrations of originators who misreported mortgage information experienced a 75% larger relative increase in house prices from 2003 to 2006 and a 90% larger relative decrease from 2007 to 2012 compared with other ZIP codes. Several causality tests show that high fractions of dubious originators in a ZIP code lead to large price distortions. Originators with high misreporting gave credit to borrowers with high ex ante risk, yet further understated the borrowers' true risk. Overall, excess credit facilitated through dubious origination practices explain much of the regional variation in house prices over a decade.

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Speculative Fever: Investor Contagion in the Housing Bubble

Patrick Bayer, Kyle Mangum & James Roberts

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Historical anecdotes of new investors being drawn into a booming asset market, only to suffer when the market turns, abound. While the role of investor contagion in asset bubbles has been explored extensively in the theoretical literature, causal empirical evidence on the topic is virtually non-existent. This paper studies the recent boom and bust in the U.S. housing market, establishing that many novice investors entered the market as a direct result of observing investing activity of multiple forms in their own neighborhoods and that these “infected” investors performed poorly relative to other investors along several dimensions.

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Distributional Implications of Government Guarantees in Mortgage Markets

Pedro Gete & Franco Zecchetto

Georgetown University Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We analyze the removal of the government guarantees from the mortgage market. We use a quantitative model in which mortgage spreads are endogenously related to borrowers' income. The guarantees generate credit subsidies that are heterogeneous across households. The removal of the guarantees leads to higher wealth inequality driven by uneven rises in mortgage spreads and housing costs. Leverage and housing affordability decrease for low and mid-income households while they increase for high-income households. Renters and high leveraged mortgagors with conforming loans, which are low and mid-income households, lose the most welfare from the removal of the guarantees.

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Credit Market Freedom and Cost Efficiency in US state banking

Georgios Chortareas, George Kapetanios & Alexia Ventouri

Journal of Empirical Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the dynamics between the credit market freedom counterparts of the economic freedom index drawn from the Fraser institute database and bank cost efficiency levels across the U.S. states. We consider a sample of 3,809 commercial banks per year, on average, over the period 1987-2012. After estimating cost efficiency scores using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), we develop a fractional regression model to test the implications of financial freedom for bank efficiency. Our results indicate that banks operating in states that enjoy a higher degree of economic freedom are more cost efficient. Greater independence in financial and banking markets from government controls can result in higher bank efficiency. This effect emerges in addition to the efficiency enhancing effects of interstate banking and intrastate branching deregulation.

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Capital Markets’ Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Systemically Important Financial Firms

Yu Gao, Scott Liao & Xue Wang

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine stock and bond market reactions to the key events leading to the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act to assess the markets’ expectations about the effectiveness of the Act on systemically important financial firms. Using small/medium sized domestic financial institutions as a control group, we find that large financial institutions overall had negative abnormal stock returns and positive abnormal bond returns, suggesting that the markets expect the Act to be effective in reducing these banks’ risk-taking. We further investigate the market reactions for (1) larger and more interconnected financial institutions; and (2) the Big 6 banks to evaluate the markets’ assessment about the effectiveness of the act in ending the too-big-to-fail policy. We document that larger and more interconnected financial institutions experienced more negative abnormal stock returns and more positive abnormal bond returns as compared to other banks in our sample, but these relations are not present during the final phase of the passage. Likewise, we find that both shareholders and bondholders of the Big 6 banks initially experienced significant negative returns, followed by insignificant returns during the final phase of the passage. These results appear to suggest the markets are doubtful about the effectiveness of the final version of the bill to end the too-big-to-fail status in particular for the Big 6 banks.

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Lending on hold: Regulatory uncertainty and bank lending standards

Stefan Gissler, Jeremy Oldfather & Doriana Ruffino

Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The 2011—2013 rule-making process for the regulation of qualified mortgages was correlated with a reduction in mortgage lending. In this article, we document this correlation at the bank level. Using a novel measure of banks' perception of regulatory uncertainty, we offer suggestive evidence that banks that perceived higher regulatory uncertainty (or that were more adverse to it) reduced lending more severely. Other channels that might explain banks' lending behavior – investment/securitization, putbacks by government sponsored enterprises, and general economic uncertainty – are also considered.

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Economic Policy Uncertainty and the Credit Channel: Aggregate and Bank Level U.S. Evidence over Several Decades

Michael Bordo, John Duca & Christoffer Koch

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Economic policy uncertainty affects decisions of households, businesses, policy makers and Financial intermediaries. We first examine the impact of economic policy uncertainty on aggregate bank credit growth. Then we analyze commercial bank entity level data to gauge the effects of policy uncertainty on Financial intermediaries' lending. We exploit the cross-sectional heterogeneity to back out indirect evidence of its effects on businesses and households. We ask (i) whether, conditional on standard macroeconomic controls, economic policy uncertainty affected bank level credit growth, and (ii) whether there is variation in the impact related to banks' balance sheet conditions; that is, whether the effects are attributable to loan demand or, if impact varies with bank level financial constraints, loan supply. We find that policy uncertainty has a significant negative effect on bank credit growth. Since this impact varies meaningfully with some bank characteristics – particularly the overall capital-to-assets ratio and bank asset liquidity–loan supply factors at least partially (and significantly) help determine the influence of policy uncertainty. Because other studies have found important macroeconomic effects of bank lending growth on the macroeconomy, our findings are consistent with the possibility that high economic policy uncertainty may have slowed the U.S. economic recovery from the Great Recession by restraining overall credit growth through the bank lending channel.

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Macroeconomic Effects of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Policies

Kurt Mitman

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
I study the implications of two major debt-relief policies in the US: the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). To do so, I develop a model of housing and default that includes relevant dimensions of credit-market policy and captures rich heterogeneity in household balance sheets. The model also explains the observed cross-state variation in consumer default rates. I find that BAPCPA significantly reduced bankruptcy rates, but increased foreclosure rates when house prices fell. HARP reduced foreclosures by one percentage point and provided substantial welfare gains to households with high loan-to-value mortgages.

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Bank Competition and Financial Stability: Evidence from the Financial Crisis

Brian Akins et al.

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, February 2016, Pages 1-28

Abstract:
We examine the link between bank competition and financial stability using the recent financial crisis as the setting. We utilize variation in banking competition at the state level and find that banks facing less competition are more likely to engage in risky activities, more likely to face regulatory intervention, and more likely to fail. Focusing on the real estate market, we find that states with less competition had higher rates of mortgage approval, experienced greater inflation in housing prices before the crisis, and experienced a steeper decline in housing prices during the crisis. Overall, our study is consistent with greater competition increasing financial stability.

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Bank Competition: Measurement, Decision-Making and Risk-Taking

Robert Bushman, Bradley Hendricks & Christopher Williams

Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether greater competition increases or decreases individual bank and banking system risk. Using a new text-based measure of competition, and an instrumental variables analysis that exploits exogenous variation in bank deregulation, we provide robust evidence that greater competition increases both individual bank risk and a bank's contribution to system-wide risk. Specifically, we find that higher competition is associated with lower underwriting standards, less timely loan loss recognition, and a shift towards non-interest revenue. Further, we find that higher competition is associated with higher stand-alone risk of individual banks, greater sensitivity of a bank's downside equity risk to system-wide distress, and a greater contribution by individual banks to downside risk of the banking sector.

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Elimination of systemic risk in financial networks by means of a systemic risk transaction tax

Sebastian Poledna & Stefan Thurner

Quantitative Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Financial markets are exposed to systemic risk (SR), the risk that a major fraction of the system ceases to function, and collapses. It has recently become possible to quantify SR in terms of underlying financial networks where nodes represent financial institutions, and links capture the size and maturity of assets (loans), liabilities and other obligations, such as derivatives. We demonstrate that it is possible to quantify the share of SR that individual liabilities within a financial network contribute to the overall SR. We use empirical data of nationwide interbank liabilities to show that the marginal contribution to overall SR of liabilities for a given size varies by a factor of a thousand. We propose a tax on individual transactions that is proportional to their marginal contribution to overall SR. If a transaction does not increase SR, it is tax-free. With an agent-based model (ABM) (CRISIS macro-financial model), we demonstrate that the proposed ‘Systemic Risk Tax’ (SRT) leads to a self-organized restructuring of financial networks that are practically free of SR. The SRT can be seen as an insurance for the public against costs arising from cascading failure. ABM predictions are shown to be in remarkable agreement with the empirical data and can be used to understand the relation of credit risk and SR.

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Why Does Fast Loan Growth Predict Poor Performance for Banks?

Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, Robert Prilmeier & René Stulz

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
From 1973 to 2014, the common stock of U.S. banks with loan growth in the top quartile of banks over a three-year period significantly underperforms the common stock of banks with loan growth in the bottom quartile over the next three years. The benchmark-adjusted cumulative difference in performance over three years exceeds twelve percentage points. The high growth banks also have significantly higher crash risk over the three-year period. This poor performance is explained by fast loan growth as asset growth separate from loan growth is not followed by poor performance. These banks reserve less for loan losses when their loans grow quickly than other banks. Subsequently, they have a lower return on assets and increase their loan loss reserves. The poorer performance of the fast growing banks is not explained by merger activity and loan growth through mergers is not accompanied by the same poor loan performance. The evidence is consistent with fast-growing banks, analysts, and investors failing to properly appreciate the extent to which the fast loan growth results from making riskier loans and failing to charge for these risks correctly.

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How Did Pre-Fed Banking Panics End?

Gary Gorton & Ellis Tallman

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
How did pre-Fed banking crises end? How did depositors’ beliefs change? During the National Banking Era, 1863-1914, banks responded to the severe panics by suspending convertibility, that is, they refused to exchange cash for their liabilities (checking accounts). At the start of the suspension period, the private clearing houses cut off bank-specific information. Member banks were legally united into a single entity by the issuance of emergency loan certificates, a joint liability. A new market for certified checks opened, pricing the risk of clearing house failure. Certified checks traded at a discount to cash (a currency premium) in a market that opened during the suspension period. Confidence was restored when the currency premium reached zero.

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Property tax delinquency and its spillover effects on nearby properties

James Alm et al.

Regional Science and Urban Economics, May 2016, Pages 71–77

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of property tax delinquency on the sales price of nearby residential properties, an effect that we call the “delinquency discount”. We use a sample of 34,500 home sales and the population of delinquent properties for Chicago, Illinois during the period 2010 to 2013. We focus on the delinquency discount for properties within the same census block. We also examine the effect of delinquency duration on neighboring properties, as this measures the level of their financial distress. We estimate the magnitude of the delinquency discount using several alternative estimation methods, in each case controlling for local foreclosure activity. Our preferred method is a matching estimator, as it works to eliminate the potential for omitted variable bias that is common in this type of estimation. We find large, negative, and statistically meaningful effects of delinquent properties for which the local government has placed a tax lien and has put the lien up for sale to private investors. For properties with a tax lien that are not successfully sold, we estimate a negative spillover of 5.1% ($12,872) on surrounding properties. Properties with a tax lien that are sold to private investors have a smaller, but still negative impact on surrounding property values of 2.5% ($6310).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Don't worry, be happy

Money Buys Happiness When Spending Fits Our Personality

Sandra Matz, Joe Gladstone & David Stillwell

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In contrast to decades of research reporting surprisingly weak relationships between consumption and happiness, recent findings suggest that money can indeed increase happiness if it is spent the “right way” (e.g., on experiences or on other people). Drawing on the concept of psychological fit, we extend this research by arguing that individual differences play a central role in determining the “right” type of spending to increase well-being. In a field study using more than 76,000 bank-transaction records, we found that individuals spend more on products that match their personality, and that people whose purchases better match their personality report higher levels of life satisfaction. This effect of psychological fit on happiness was stronger than the effect of individuals’ total income or the effect of their total spending. A follow-up study showed a causal effect: Personality-matched spending increased positive affect. In summary, when spending matches the buyer’s personality, it appears that money can indeed buy happiness.

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Who’s to blame? Causal attributions of the economic crisis and personal control

Marcin Bukowski et al.

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this research, we examined how people cope with threats to personal control related to the global economic crisis. Three studies (one correlational and two experimental) tested the prediction that blaming social outgroups could serve as a means to restore a threatened sense of personal control. We found that outgroup blaming attributions are related to higher levels of personal control over the effects of the economic crisis (Study 1). Further, blaming outgroups helps to restore a sense of personal control (Study 2) only when blaming attributions are related to specific versus global causes (i.e., outgroups but not the economic system; Studies 2 and 3). We discuss individual and social implications of outgroup blaming as a form of coping with lack of control in the context of economic crises.

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Association between Social Media Use and Depression among U.S. Young Adults

Liu yi Lin et al.

Depression and Anxiety, April 2016, Pages 323–331

Background: Social media (SM) use is increasing among U.S. young adults, and its association with mental well-being remains unclear. This study assessed the association between SM use and depression in a nationally representative sample of young adults.

Methods: We surveyed 1,787 adults ages 19 to 32 about SM use and depression. Participants were recruited via random digit dialing and address-based sampling. SM use was assessed by self-reported total time per day spent on SM, visits per week, and a global frequency score based on the Pew Internet Research Questionnaire. Depression was assessed using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Depression Scale Short Form. Chi-squared tests and ordered logistic regressions were performed with sample weights.

Results: The weighted sample was 50.3% female and 57.5% White. Compared to those in the lowest quartile of total time per day spent on SM, participants in the highest quartile had significantly increased odds of depression (AOR = 1.66, 95% CI = 1.14–2.42) after controlling for all covariates. Compared with those in the lowest quartile, individuals in the highest quartile of SM site visits per week and those with a higher global frequency score had significantly increased odds of depression (AOR = 2.74, 95% CI = 1.86–4.04; AOR = 3.05, 95% CI = 2.03–4.59, respectively). All associations between independent variables and depression had strong, linear, dose–response trends. Results were robust to all sensitivity analyses.

Conclusions: SM use was significantly associated with increased depression. Given the proliferation of SM, identifying the mechanisms and direction of this association is critical for informing interventions that address SM use and depression.

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How Your Bank Balance Buys Happiness: The Importance of “Cash on Hand” to Life Satisfaction

Peter Ruberton, Joe Gladstone & Sonja Lyubomirsky

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Could liquid wealth, or “cash on hand” — the balance of one’s checking and savings accounts — be a better predictor of life satisfaction than income? In a field study using 585 U.K. bank customers, we paired individual Satisfaction With Life Scale responses with anonymized account data held by the bank, including the full account balances for each respondent. Individuals with higher liquid wealth were found to have more positive perceptions of their financial well-being, which, in turn, predicted higher life satisfaction, suggesting that liquid wealth is indirectly associated with life satisfaction. This effect persisted after accounting for multiple controls, including investments, total spending, and indebtedness (which predicted financial well-being) and demographics (which predicted life satisfaction). Our results suggest that having readily accessible sources of cash is of unique importance to life satisfaction, above and beyond raw earnings, investments, or indebtedness. Therefore, to improve the well-being of citizens, policymakers should focus not just on boosting incomes but also on increasing people’s immediate access to money.

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Resilience to Major Life Stressors Is Not as Common as Thought

Frank Infurna & Suniya Luthar

Perspectives on Psychological Science, March 2016, Pages 175-194

Abstract:
We attempted to replicate findings that “most people are resilient” following three events: spousal loss, divorce, and unemployment. We applied growth mixture models to the same longitudinal data set that has previously been used to assert that resilience is ubiquitous. When using identical model specifications, as in prior studies, we found that resilient trajectories were most common, but the number of trajectories identified was different. When we relaxed two assumptions used in prior studies — that (a) all classes have similar variability in levels of postadversity adjustment and (b) there is no variability in changes within classes — we found that a resilience class was least common. Methodologically, our results show how findings on trajectories of change following major life stressors can vary substantially, depending on statistical model specifications. Conceptually, the results underscore the errors inherent in any categorical statements about “rates of resilience” among individuals confronted with major life stressors. Pragmatically, they underscore the dangers in recommending against prophylactic interventions (on the basis of one method of analyzing longitudinal data) for individuals who have experienced major life stressors.

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Acute aerobic exercise helps overcome emotion regulation deficits

Emily Bernstein & Richard McNally

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although colloquial wisdom and some studies suggest an association between regular aerobic exercise and emotional well-being, the nature of this link remains poorly understood. We hypothesised that aerobic exercise may change the way people respond to their emotions. Specifically, we tested whether individuals experiencing difficulties with emotion regulation would benefit from a previous session of exercise and show swifter recovery than their counterparts who did not exercise. Participants (N = 80) completed measures of emotion response tendencies, mood, and anxiety, and were randomly assigned to either stretch or jog for 30 minutes. All participants then underwent the same negative and positive mood inductions, and reported their emotional responses. Analyses showed that more perceived difficulty generating regulatory strategies and engaging in goal-directed behaviours after the negative mood induction predicted more intense and persistent negative affect in response to the stressor, as would be expected. Interactions revealed that aerobic exercise attenuated these effects. Moderate aerobic exercise may help attenuate negative emotions for participants initially experiencing regulatory difficulties. This study contributes to the literature on aerobic exercise’s therapeutic effects with experimental data, specifically in the realm of emotional processing.

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FKBP5 polymorphisms, childhood abuse, and PTSD symptoms: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study

Laura Watkins et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, July 2016, Pages 98–105

Abstract:
Polymorphisms in the FK506 Binding Protein 5 (FKBP5) gene may interact with childhood abuse to increase risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship of four previously identified FKBP5 putative risk SNPs (rs9296158, rs3800373, rs1360780, rs947008), childhood abuse, and lifetime PTSD symptoms, including contemporary phenotypic models of PTSD symptoms, in two nationally representative samples of European-American (EA) U.S. military veterans. The main sample included 1585 EA veterans who participated in the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study (NHRVS), and the replication sample included 577 EA veterans who participated in a second baseline cohort survey of the NHRVS. Outcome variables were lifetime PTSD symptom severity and a 4-factor phenotypic model of PTSD symptoms that included re-experiencing, avoidance, emotional numbing/negative cognitions and mood, and hyperarousal/alterations in arousal and reactivity symptoms. Results revealed that the four FKBP5 SNPs were associated with PTSD symptom severity in both samples (p values ranged from 0.001 to 0.012). Further, SNP rs9470080 in the main sample, and all four SNPs in the replication sample interacted with childhood abuse to predict PTSD severity (p values ranged from 0.002 to 0.006). In both samples, all four FKBP5 SNPs predicted hyperarousal/alterations in arousal and reactivity (p values ranged from <0.001 to 0.002). Results of this study suggest that FKBP5 polymorphisms, directly and interactively with childhood abuse, predict severity of lifetime PTSD symptoms, most notably hyperarousal symptoms, in two nationally representative samples of EA veterans. They further indicate that FKBP5 polymorphisms and childhood abuse may contribute to vulnerability for PTSD symptoms and may be most strongly associated with trauma-related hyperarousal symptoms that comprise this phenotype.

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Genetic moderation of the association between adolescent romantic involvement and depression: Contributions of serotonin transporter gene polymorphism, chronic stress, and family discord

Lisa Starr & Constance Hammen

Development and Psychopathology, May 2016, Pages 447-457

Abstract:
Studies support a link between adolescent romantic involvement and depression. Adolescent romantic relationships may increase depression risk by introducing chronic stress, and genetic vulnerability to stress reactivity/emotion dysregulation may moderate these associations. We tested genetic moderation of longitudinal associations between adolescent romantic involvement and later depressive symptoms by a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region gene (5-HTTLPR) and examined contributory roles of chronic stress and family discord. Three hundred eighty-one youth participated at ages 15 and 20. The results indicated that 5-HTTLPR moderated the association between age 15 romantic involvement and age 20 depressive symptoms, with strongest effects for short homozygotes. Conditional process analysis revealed that chronic stress functioned as a moderated mediator of this association, fully accounting for the romantic involvement–depression link among short/short genotypes. Also, romantic involvement predicted later depressive symptoms most strongly among short-allele carriers with high family discord. The results have important implications for understanding the romantic involvement–depression link and the behavioral and emotional correlates of the 5-HTTLPR genotype.

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Don’t Like What You See? Give It Time: Longer Reaction Times Associated With Increased Positive Affect

Maital Neta & Tien Tong

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Images with an ambiguous valence (e.g., surprised facial expressions) are interpreted by some people as having a negative valence, and by others, as having a more positive valence. Despite these individual differences in valence bias, the more automatic interpretation is negative, and positivity appears to require regulation. Interestingly, extant research has shown that there is an age-related positivity effect such that relative to young adults, older adults attend to and remember positive more than negative information. In this report, the authors show that this positivity effect extends to emotional ambiguity (Experiment 1). Eighty participants (aged 19–71, 42 females) rated the valence of images with a clear or ambiguous valence. They found that age correlated with valence bias, such that older adults showed a more positive bias, and they took longer to rate images, than younger adults. They also found that this increase in reaction times was sufficient to bias positivity (Experiment 2). Thirty-four participants (aged 18–28, 24 females) rated ambiguous and clear images, before and after an instruction to delay their RTs. They also found that although ratings among individuals with a positive bias did not change, those with a negative bias became more positive when encouraged to delay. Indeed, participants with the strongest negativity bias showed the greatest increase in RTs. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the valence bias, which represents a stable, trait-like difference across people, can be moved in the positive direction, at least temporarily, when participants are encouraged to take their time and consider alternatives.

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Exposure to an Inflammatory Challenge Enhances Neural Sensitivity to Negative and Positive Social Feedback

Keely Muscatell et al.

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Inflammation, part of the body’s innate immune response, can lead to “sickness behaviors,” as well as alterations in social and affective experiences. Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines have been associated with increased neural sensitivity to social rejection and social threat, but also decreased neural sensitivity to rewards. However, recent evidence suggests that inflammation may actually enhance sensitivity to certain social rewards, such as those that signal support and care. Despite a growing interest in how inflammation influences neural reactivity to positive and negative social experiences, no known studies have investigated these processes in the same participants, using a similar task. To examine this issue, 107 participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or low-dose endotoxin, which safely triggers an inflammatory response. When levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were at their peak, participants were scanned using fMRI while they received positive, negative, and neutral feedback from an “evaluator” (actually a confederate) about how they came across in an audio-recorded interview. In response to negative feedback (vs. neutral), participants in the endotoxin condition showed heightened neural activity in a number of threat-related neural regions (i.e., bilateral amygdala, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) and a key mentalizing-related region (i.e., dorsomedial PFC), compared to placebo participants. Interestingly, when receiving positive feedback (vs. neutral), endotoxin led to greater neural activity in the ventral striatum and ventromedial PFC, regions often implicated in processing reward, compared to placebo. Together, these results reveal that individuals exposed to an inflammatory challenge are more “neurally sensitive” to both negative and positive social feedback, suggesting that inflammation may lead to a greater vigilance for both social threats and social rewards.

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Predicting Stress From the Ability to Eavesdrop on Feelings: Emotional Intelligence and Testosterone Jointly Predict Cortisol Reactivity

Myriam Bechtoldt & Vanessa Schneider

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
While emotional intelligence (EI) is recognized as a resource in social interactions, we hypothesized a positive association with stress in socially evaluative contexts. In particular, we expected emotion recognition, the core component of EI, to inflict stress on individuals in negatively valenced interactions. We expected this association to be stronger for status-driven individuals, that is, for individuals scoring high on basal testosterone. In a laboratory experiment, N = 166 male participants underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (Kirschbaum, Pirke, & Hellhammer, 1993). As expected, EI measured by the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT V2.0; Mayer et al., 2003) predicted higher cortisol reactivity, including slower recovery from stress. The effect was moderated by basal testosterone, such that the association was positive when basal testosterone was high but not when it was low. On the component level of EI, the interaction was replicated for negative emotion recognition. These findings lend support to the hypothesis that EI is associated with higher activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in contexts where social status is at stake, particularly for those individuals who are more status-driven. Thus, the effects of EI are not unequivocally positive: While EI may positively affect the course of social interactions, it also inflicts stress on the emotionally intelligent individuals themselves.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The dating game

Has Virginity Lost Its Virtue? Relationship Stigma Associated With Being a Sexually Inexperienced Adult

Amanda Gesselman, Gregory Webster & Justin Garcia

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
While virginity prior to marriage has been historically valued, changing sociosexual scripts in the United States have made premarital sexual activity the norm for young adults, with sexual debut generally occurring in late adolescence. In the current research, we examined the impact of being developmentally off-time with first coitus (i.e., not yet engaging in coitus when most same-aged peers have done so). Specifically, we investigated stigma toward sexually inexperienced adults and discrimination regarding romantic relationship formation. Across three methodologically diverse studies we observed that sexually inexperienced adults perceived themselves to be stigmatized due to their inexperience and that sexually inexperienced adults were not highly desired as relationship partners. Even sexually inexperienced adults themselves did not find other inexperienced adults to be attractive relationship partners. Although abstaining from sexual activity may bestow some health advantages, our studies show that being a sexual "late bloomer" may result in negative interpersonal consequences such as limited opportunities for romantic relationships.

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Other women's fertility moderates female resource distribution across the menstrual cycle

Elizabeth Necka et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Status competition among female mammals tends to intensify near ovulation. Females compete selectively, targeting females who most threaten their own likelihood of conception. The present study explored the extent to which regularly cycling women differentially compete with other women in a behavioral economic game as a function of both women's fertility. We find evidence for an interaction between participant and target fertility, such that women withhold more resources from another woman, thereby keeping more for themselves, when both women are in the fertile (late follicular) phase of their menstrual cycle. Results expand research on women's perception of fertility cues in other women by demonstrating a possible role for such cues in modulating female social behavior.

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Strategic Sexual Signals: Women's Display versus Avoidance of the Color Red Depends on the Attractiveness of an Anticipated Interaction Partner

Daniela Niesta Kayser, Maria Agthe & Jon Maner

PLoS ONE, March 2016

Abstract:
The color red has special meaning in mating-relevant contexts. Wearing red can enhance perceptions of women's attractiveness and desirability as a potential romantic partner. Building on recent findings, the present study examined whether women's (N = 74) choice to display the color red is influenced by the attractiveness of an expected opposite-sex interaction partner. Results indicated that female participants who expected to interact with an attractive man displayed red (on clothing, accessories, and/or makeup) more often than a baseline consisting of women in a natural environment with no induced expectation. In contrast, when women expected to interact with an unattractive man, they eschewed red, displaying it less often than in the baseline condition. Findings are discussed with respect to evolutionary and cultural perspectives on mate evaluation and selection.

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Dominant, open nonverbal displays are attractive at zero-acquaintance

Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 April 2016, Pages 4009-4014

Abstract:
Across two field studies of romantic attraction, we demonstrate that postural expansiveness makes humans more romantically appealing. In a field study (n = 144 speed-dates), we coded nonverbal behaviors associated with liking, love, and dominance. Postural expansiveness - expanding the body in physical space - was most predictive of attraction, with each one-unit increase in coded behavior from the video recordings nearly doubling a person's odds of getting a "yes" response from one's speed-dating partner. In a subsequent field experiment (n = 3,000), we tested the causality of postural expansion (vs. contraction) on attraction using a popular Global Positioning System-based online-dating application. Mate-seekers rapidly flipped through photographs of potential sexual/date partners, selecting those they desired to meet for a date. Mate-seekers were significantly more likely to select partners displaying an expansive (vs. contractive) nonverbal posture. Mediation analyses demonstrate one plausible mechanism through which expansiveness is appealing: Expansiveness makes the dating candidate appear more dominant. In a dating world in which success sometimes is determined by a split-second decision rendered after a brief interaction or exposure to a static photograph, single persons have very little time to make a good impression. Our research suggests that a nonverbal dominance display increases a person's chances of being selected as a potential mate.

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A good story: Men's storytelling ability affects their attractiveness and perceived status

John Donahue & Melanie Green

Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies examined gender differences in the effect of storytelling ability on perceptions of a person's attractiveness as a short-term and long-term romantic partner. In Study 1, information about a potential partner's storytelling ability was provided. Study 2 participants read a good or poor story supposedly written by a potential partner. Results suggested that only women's attractiveness assessments of men as a long-term date increased for good storytellers. Storytelling ability did not affect men's ratings of women nor did it affect ratings of short-term partners. Study 3 suggested that the effect of storytelling ability on long-term attractiveness for male targets may be mediated by perceived status. Storytelling ability appears to increase perceived status and thus helps men attract long-term partners.

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Are Women's Mate Preferences for Altruism Also Influenced by Physical Attractiveness?

Daniel Farrelly, Paul Clemson & Melissa Guthrie

Evolutionary Psychology, January 2016

Abstract:
Altruism plays a role in mate choice, particularly in women's preferences and in long-term (LT) relationships. The current study analyzed how these preferences interacted with another important mate choice variable, physical attractiveness. Here, female participants were presented with photographs of men of varying levels of physical attractiveness, alongside descriptions of them behaving either altruistically or not in different scenarios. The results showed women preferred altruistic men, particularly in LT relationships and that this interacted with physical attractiveness such that being both attractive and altruistic made a man more desirable than just the sum of the two desirable parts. Also, being altruistic made low attractive men more desirable but only for LT relationships. Finally, men who were just altruistic were rated more desirable than men who were just attractive, especially for LT relationships. Overall, these findings are discussed in terms of the role of altruism in mate choice, particularly in LT relationships and directions of future research.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 15, 2016

Correction

Does Crime Cause Punitiveness?

Gary Kleck & Dylan Baker Jackson

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why are Americans so punitive toward criminals? Some theories of punitiveness suggest that exposure to crime makes people more supportive of punitive policies toward criminals. We analyzed national survey data and found that neither support for longer prison sentences for four different crimes nor support for the death penalty had a significant positive association with crime rates, prior victimization, vicarious victimization, higher perceived risk of victimization, or fear of crime. Instead, punitiveness was related to how often people watched local TV news, the percent Republican of the person’s county, and race. Support for harsh treatment of criminals therefore appears to be more a product of race, ideology, and news media presentations of crime than of the reality of crime.

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Is Downsizing Prisons Dangerous? The Effect of California's Realignment Act on Public Safety

Jody Sundt, Emily Salisbury & Mark Harmon

Criminology & Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent declines in imprisonment raise a critical question: Can prison populations be reduced without endangering the public? This question is examined by testing the effect of California's dramatic efforts to comply with court-mandated targets to reduce prison overcrowding using a pretest-posttest design. The results showed that California's Realignment Act had no effect on violent or property crime rates in 2012, 2013, or 2014. When crime types were disaggregated, a moderately large, statistically significant association between Realignment and auto theft rates was observed in 2012. By 2014, however, this effect had decayed and auto theft rates returned to pre-Realignment levels.

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A test of life history strategy theory as a predictor of criminal violence across 51 nations

Michael Minkov & Kevin Beaver

Personality and Individual Differences, July 2016, Pages 186–192

Abstract:
Proponents of life history strategy (LHS) theory propose that it is an explanation of intra-societal non-political violence, such as homicide and assault. Criminologists usually prefer a different explanation: variation in national violent crime rates is a function of differences in social–structural characteristics, such as absolute or relative poverty (socioeconomic inequality). We found that national homicide rates and prevalence of muggings and attacks on people define a strong single criminal violence factor at the national level. We tested the predictive properties of various plausible predictors of this factor and, separately, of national murder rates. Only the two LHS variables (paternal absenteeism and adolescent fertility) predict the complex factor independently, whereas socioeconomic inequality (Gini), IQ, GDP, infant mortality, and pathogen prevalence do not. National murder rates are predicted by the two LHS variables and inequality but not by any other variables. This supports LHS theory as an explanation of national differences in criminal violence.

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Evaluating the Effect of Project Longevity on Group-Involved Shootings and Homicides in New Haven, Connecticut

Michael Sierra-Arevalo, Yanick Charette & Andrew Papachristos

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Beginning in November 2012, New Haven, Connecticut, served as the pilot site for Project Longevity, a statewide focused deterrence gun violence reduction strategy. The intervention brings law enforcement, social services, and community members together to meet with members of violent street groups at program call-ins. Using autoregressive integrated moving average models and controlling for the possibility of a non-New Haven–specific decline in gun violence, a decrease in group offending patterns, and the limitations of police-defined group member involved (GMI) categorization of shootings and homicides, the results of our analysis show that Longevity is associated with a reduction of almost five GMI incidents per month. These findings bolster research confirming the efficacy of focused deterrence approaches to reducing gun violence.

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Externalities of Public Housing: The Effect of Public Housing Demolitions on Local Crime

Danielle Sandler

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper evaluates the potential for negative externalities from public housing by examining crime rates before and after demolition of public housing projects in Chicago between 1995 and 2010. Using data on block-level crimes by type of crime merged to detailed geographic data on individual public housing demolitions, I find evidence that Chicago's public housing imposed significant externalities on the surrounding neighborhood. Using a difference in difference approach comparing neighborhoods around public housing projects to nearby neighborhoods I find that crime decreases by 8.8% after a demolition. This decrease is concentrated in violent crime. I use an event study to show that the decrease occurs at the approximate date of the eviction of the residents and persists for at least 5 years after the demolition. Neighborhoods with large demolitions and demolitions of public housing that had been poorly maintained display the largest crime decreases.

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Explaining the Gaps in White, Black, and Hispanic Violence since 1990: Accounting for Immigration, Incarceration, and Inequality

Michael Light & Jeffery Ulmer

American Sociological Review, April 2016, Pages 290-315

Abstract:
While group differences in violence have long been a key focus of sociological inquiry, we know comparatively little about the trends in criminal violence for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in recent decades. Combining geocoded death records with multiple data sources to capture the socioeconomic, demographic, and legal context of 131 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, this article examines the trends in racial/ethnic inequality in homicide rates since 1990. In addition to exploring long-established explanations (e.g., disadvantage), we also investigate how three of the most significant societal changes over the past 20 years, namely, rapid immigration, mass incarceration, and rising wealth inequality affect racial/ethnic homicide gaps. Across all three comparisons — white-black, white-Hispanic, and black-Hispanic — we find considerable convergence in homicide rates over the past two decades. Consistent with expectations, structural disadvantage is one of the strongest predictors of levels and changes in racial/ethnic violence disparities. In contrast to predictions based on strain theory, racial/ethnic wealth inequality has not increased disparities in homicide. Immigration, on the other hand, appears to be associated with declining white-black homicide differences. Consistent with an incapacitation/deterrence perspective, greater racial/ethnic incarceration disparities are associated with smaller racial/ethnic gaps in homicide.

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To Serve and Collect: The Fiscal and Racial Determinants of Law Enforcement

Michael Makowsky, Thomas Stratmann & Alexander Tabarrok

George Mason University Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We examine the fiscal determinants of arrest rates for violent and non-violent crimes across the United States between 2002 and 2012. We find that drug arrest rates for African-Americans increase with local government deficits where state tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) allow the retention of revenues generated by arrests. We find similar effects of fiscal distress on both black and white drug arrests, as well as an increase in black DUI arrests, in a separate analysis of Colorado where municipalities have the option to exempt themselves from the nation’s strictest TELs via general referendum. Our findings support a revenue-driven model of law enforcement.

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Race, Wealth and Incarceration: Results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Khaing Zaw, Darrick Hamilton & William Darity

Race and Social Problems, March 2016, Pages 103-115

Abstract:
Using the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth to explore the interwoven links between race, wealth and incarceration, this study examines the data on race and wealth status before and after incarceration. Data indicate that although higher levels of wealth were associated with lower rates of incarceration, the likelihood of future incarceration still was higher for blacks at every level of wealth compared to the white likelihood, as well as the Hispanic likelihood, which fell below the white likelihood for some levels of wealth. Further, we find that racial wealth gaps existed among those who would be incarcerated in the future and also among the previously incarcerated.

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Altering the Life Course: Military Service and Contact with the Criminal Justice System

Jay Teachman & Lucky Tedrow

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data taken from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we examine the relationship between military service and contact with the criminal justice system. Drawing on the life course concept of a turning point, we show that military service does little to affect the risk of being arrested or being convicted of crimes involving violence or destructive behavior, while at the same time significantly reducing the risk of being arrested or being convicted of non-violent crimes. We find no evidence that service in a combat zone alters these relationships. Our results demonstrate how participation in a large-scale institution can serve as a turning point, altering the life course trajectories of young persons.

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The Political Economy of Moral Conflict: An Empirical Study of Learning and Law Enforcement Under Prohibition

Camilo García-Jimeno

Econometrica, March 2016, Pages 511–570

Abstract:
The U.S. Prohibition experience shows a remarkable policy reversal. In only 14 years, a drastic shift in public opinion required two constitutional amendments. I develop and estimate a model of endogenous law enforcement, determined by beliefs about the Prohibition-crime nexus and alcohol-related moral views. In turn, the policy outcomes shape subsequent learning about Prohibition enforcement costs. I estimate the model through maximum likelihood on Prohibition Era city-level data on police enforcement, crime, and alcohol-related legislation. The model can account for the variation in public opinion changes, and the heterogeneous responses of law enforcement and violence across cities. Results show that a 15% increase in the homicide rate can be attributed to Prohibition enforcement. The subsequent learning-driven adjustment of local law enforcement allowed for the alcohol market to rebound to 60% of its pre-Prohibition size. I conclude with counterfactual exercises exploring the welfare implications of policy learning, prior beliefs, preference polarization, and alternative political environments. Results illustrate the importance of incorporating the endogenous nature of law enforcement into our understanding of policy failure and policy success.

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Intervention time series analysis of crime rates: The case of sentence reform in Virginia

Sunčica Vujić, Jacques Commandeur & Siem Jan Koopman

Economic Modelling, forthcoming

Abstract:
We review the basic concepts of intervention analysis in the context of structural time series models and we apply this methodology to investigate the possible reduction in monthly crime rates reported from January 1984 up to and including December 2010 after Virginia abolished parole and reformed sentencing in January 1995. We find that the change in legislation has significantly reduced the burglary rates and to a lesser extent the murder rates in Virginia. The robustness of our results is investigated with an automatic detection of breaks procedure as well as with analyses of quarterly rather than monthly data.

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Is human trafficking the dark side of economic freedom?

Lauren Heller et al.

Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic freedom has increased living standards worldwide. Concurrent with such gains are rising concerns about potential human costs associated with free markets. This paper uses data on human trafficking and anti-trafficking policies, in conjunction with a measure of economic freedom, to examine whether free markets exacerbate or attenuate the incidence of human trafficking and policies designed to combat it. We do not find evidence suggesting that economic freedom is associated with human trafficking. In addition, our results suggest that economically free countries are more likely to enact and enforce policies to fight human trafficking.

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Procedural Injustice, Risky Lifestyles, and Violent Victimization

Scott Wolfe & Kyle McLean

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Participation in risky lifestyles is a well-established predictor of victimization. Several variables have been identified as key predictors of risky activities (e.g., low self-control) but there may be additional sources not considered in the literature to date. We argue that perceptions of procedural unfairness represent a break in social control, thereby opening the door for participation in risky lifestyles that are conducive to victimization. Using three waves of data from the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program, we demonstrated that police procedural injustice was positively associated with risky lifestyles, which partially mediated the relationship between procedural injustice and violent victimization. This study advances the literature by demonstrating that our understanding of victimization is enhanced by including procedural injustice into its explanation.

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“I Would Be a Bulldog”: Tracing the Spillover of Carceral Identity

Patrick Lopez-Aguado

Social Problems, forthcoming

Abstract:
The socializing power of the prison is routinely discussed as a prisonization process in which inmates learn to conform to life in the correctional facility. However, the impact that identities socialized in the prison may have outside of the institution itself remains an under-researched aspect of mass incarceration’s collateral consequences. In this article, I use ethnographic data collected over 15 months in two juvenile justice facilities and interviews with 24 probation youth to examine how the identities socialized among Latino prison inmates spill over into high-incarceration Latina/o neighborhoods. Strict segregation practices in California’s prison system categorize and separate Latino inmates as coming from either Northern, Southern, or Central California, respectively institutionalizing Norteño, Sureño, and Bulldog collective identities in the process. I argue that these identities have come to frame how criminalized Latina/o youth understand the prison’s influence on their community. As youth enter the juvenile justice system, they encounter facilities that have appropriated the prison’s sorting practices by categorizing youth and policing the boundaries between them. Carceral group identities become instrumental in young people’s daily lives in this context, mirroring what they have heard from the experiences of incarcerated loved ones and confirming where they would fit in the prison’s social order. This process not only labels youth as gang members but instills in them identities and worldviews that rationalize their own incarceration, extending the prison’s ability to categorize people as carceral subjects far beyond the penitentiary gates.

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Criminals' Response to Changing Crime Lucre

George Shoukry

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do criminals respond to changes in the benefit from committing a successful crime? This question is relevant for understanding the effectiveness of crime-fighting policies that reduce demand for illegal goods, disrupt black markets, and otherwise eliminate cheaper avenues to illicit gain. However, the literature has not sufficiently addressed this question, partly because finding a reliable measure of crime lucre is difficult. Using proprietary data on cargo theft, I match historical prices of various goods with their thefts and estimate the price elasticity of theft to be 1.225 over a cumulative 7-month horizon.

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Voluntary Organizations and Neighborhood Crime: A Dynamic Perspective

James Wo, John Hipp & Adam Boessen

Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although numerous theories suggest that voluntary organizations contribute to lower crime rates in neighborhoods, the evidence for this proposition is weak. Consequently, we propose a dynamic perspective for understanding the relationship between voluntary organizations and neighborhood crime that involves longitudinal analyses and the measurement of the age of organizations. By using longitudinal data on a sample of census blocks (N= 87,641) located across 10 cities, we test the relationship between age-graded measures of different types of voluntary organizations and neighborhood crime rates. We use fixed-effects negative binomial regression models that focus on change within neighborhoods of the relationship between voluntary organizations and neighborhood crime. Our results show that although each type of voluntary organization is found to exhibit crime-reducing behavior in neighborhoods, we find that many of them are consistent with what we refer to as the “delayed impact scenario” — there is a pronounced delay between the placement of a voluntary organization and a neighborhood subsequently experiencing a reduction in crime. With protective effects of organizations typically not demonstrated until several years after being in the neighborhood, these patterns suggest a need for long-term investment strategies when examining organizations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Something's not right

Neuromodulation of group prejudice and religious belief

Colin Holbrook et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, March 2016, Pages 387-394

Abstract:
People cleave to ideological convictions with greater intensity in the aftermath of threat. The posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) plays a key role in both detecting discrepancies between desired and current conditions and adjusting subsequent behavior to resolve such conflicts. Building on prior literature examining the role of the pMFC in shifts in relatively low-level decision processes, we demonstrate that the pMFC mediates adjustments in adherence to political and religious ideologies. We presented participants with a reminder of death and a critique of their in-group ostensibly written by a member of an out-group, then experimentally decreased both avowed belief in God and out-group derogation by downregulating pMFC activity via transcranial magnetic stimulation. The results provide the first evidence that group prejudice and religious belief are susceptible to targeted neuromodulation, and point to a shared cognitive mechanism underlying concrete and abstract decision processes. We discuss the implications of these findings for further research characterizing the cognitive and affective mechanisms at play.

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No match for money: Even in intimate relationships and collectivistic cultures, reminders of money weaken sociomoral responses

Krishna Savani et al.

Self and Identity, May/June 2016, Pages 342-355

Abstract:
The present research tested two competing hypotheses: (1) as money cues activate an exchange orientation to social relations, money cues harm prosocial responses in communal and collectivistic settings; (2) as money can be used to help close others, money cues increase helping in communal or collectivistic settings. In a culture, characterized by strong helping norms, money cues reduced the quality of help given (Experiment 1), and lowered perceived moral obligation to help (Experiment 2). In communal relationships, money reminders decreased willingness to help romantic partners (Experiment 3). This effect was attenuated among people high on communal strength, although money cues made them upset with help requests (Experiment 4). Thus, the harmful effects of money on prosocial responses appear robust.

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Moral consequences of becoming unemployed

Abigail Barr, Luis Miller & Paloma Ubeda

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test the conjecture that becoming unemployed erodes the extent to which a person acknowledges earned entitlement. We use behavioral experiments to generate incentive-compatible measures of individuals' tendencies to acknowledge earned entitlement and incorporate these experiments in a two-stage study. In the first stage, participants' acknowledgment of earned entitlement was measured by engaging them in the behavioral experiments, and their individual employment status and other relevant socioeconomic characteristics were recorded. In the second stage, a year later, the process was repeated using the same instruments. The combination of the experimentally generated data and the longitudinal design allows us to investigate our conjecture using a difference-in-difference approach, while ruling out the pure self-interest confound. We report evidence consistent with a large, negative effect of becoming unemployed on the acknowledgment of earned entitlement.

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Alteration of Political Belief by Non-invasive Brain Stimulation

Caroline Chawke & Ryota Kanai

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, January 2016

Abstract:
People generally have imperfect introspective access to the mechanisms underlying their political beliefs, yet can confidently communicate the reasoning that goes into their decision making process. An innate desire for certainty and security in ones beliefs may play an important and somewhat automatic role in motivating the maintenance or rejection of partisan support. The aim of the current study was to clarify the role of the DLPFC in the alteration of political beliefs. Recent neuroimaging studies have focused on the association between the DLPFC (a region involved in the regulation of cognitive conflict and error feedback processing) and reduced affiliation with opposing political candidates. As such, this study used a method of non-invasive brain simulation (tRNS) to enhance activity of the bilateral DLPFC during the incorporation of political campaign information. These findings indicate a crucial role for this region in political belief formation. However, enhanced activation of DLPFC does not necessarily result in the specific rejection of political beliefs. In contrast to the hypothesis the results appear to indicate a significant increase in conservative values regardless of participant's initial political orientation and the political campaign advertisement they were exposed to.

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Inference of Trustworthiness From Intuitive Moral Judgments

Jim Everett, David Pizarro & Molly Crockett

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Moral judgments play a critical role in motivating and enforcing human cooperation, and research on the proximate mechanisms of moral judgments highlights the importance of intuitive, automatic processes in forming such judgments. Intuitive moral judgments often share characteristics with deontological theories in normative ethics, which argue that certain acts (such as killing) are absolutely wrong, regardless of their consequences. Why do moral intuitions typically follow deontological prescriptions, as opposed to those of other ethical theories? Here, we test a functional explanation for this phenomenon by investigating whether agents who express deontological moral judgments are more valued as social partners. Across 5 studies, we show that people who make characteristically deontological judgments are preferred as social partners, perceived as more moral and trustworthy, and are trusted more in economic games. These findings provide empirical support for a partner choice account of moral intuitions whereby typically deontological judgments confer an adaptive function by increasing a person's likelihood of being chosen as a cooperation partner. Therefore, deontological moral intuitions may represent an evolutionarily prescribed prior that was selected for through partner choice mechanisms.

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Incomplete professional identity goals override moral concerns

Michael Marquardt et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2016, Pages 31-41

Abstract:
According to self-completion theory (SCT; Wicklund & Gollwitzer, 1982), people committed to identity goals (e.g., being a lawyer or a business manager) strive for goal attainment by collecting indicators of completeness (e.g., relevant achievements). When the completeness of an identity goal becomes threatened, people are driven to engage in self-symbolizing to compensate. In two studies, we found that committed individuals endorsed immoral behaviors displayed by professional businessmen (Study 1) and lawyers (Study 2) after having received bogus negative feedback about their aptitude for the respective profession. When high school seniors committed to pursuing a STEM profession received bogus negative (vs. positive) feedback on possessing relevant cognitive abilities (Study 3), they were observed to self-ascribe personality traits associated with professional success but also with engaging in immoral behavior. Strategies for ameliorating negative compensation behavior, differences from general self-affirmation, and implications for understanding immoral behavior are discussed.

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Bad is freer than good: Positive-negative asymmetry in attributions of free will

Gilad Feldman, Kin Fai Ellick Wong & Roy Baumeister

Consciousness and Cognition, May 2016, Pages 26-40

Abstract:
Recent findings support the idea that the belief in free will serves as the basis for moral responsibility, thus promoting the punishment of immoral agents. We theorized that free will extends beyond morality to serve as the basis for accountability and the capacity for change more broadly, not only for others but also for the self. Five experiments showed that people attributed higher freedom of will to negative than to positive valence, regardless of morality or intent, for both self and others. In recalling everyday life situations and in classical decision making paradigms, negative actions, negatives outcomes, and negative framing were attributed higher free will than positive ones. Free will attributions were mainly driven by action or outcome valence, but not intent. These findings show consistent support for the idea that free will underlies laypersons' sense-making for accountability and change under negative circumstances.

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Why controllers compromise on their fiduciary duties: EEG evidence on the role of the human mirror neuron system

Philip Eskenazi, Frank Hartmann & Wim Rietdijk

Accounting, Organizations and Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
Business unit (BU) controllers play a fiduciary role to ensure the integrity of financial reporting. However, they often face social pressure from their BU managers to misreport. Drawing on the literature on the human mirror neuron system, this paper investigates whether controllers' ability to withstand such pressure has a neurobiological basis. We expect that mirror neuron system functionality determines controllers' inclination to succumb to social pressure exerted by self-interested managers to engage in misreporting. We measure mirror neuron system functionality using electroencephalographic (EEG) data from 29 professional controllers during an emotional expressions observation task. The controllers' inclination to misreport was measured using scenarios in which controllers were being pressed by their manager to misreport. We find a positive association between controllers' mirror neuron system functionality and their inclination to yield to managerial pressure. In line with our expectation, we find that this association existed specifically for scenarios in which managers pressed their controllers out of personal rather than organizational interests. We conclude that BU controllers' neurobiological characteristics are involved in financial misreporting behavior and discuss the implications for accounting research and practice.

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Maybe Holier, But Definitely Less Evil, Than You: Bounded Self-Righteousness in Social Judgment

Nadav Klein & Nicholas Epley

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few biases in human judgment are easier to demonstrate than self-righteousness: the tendency to believe one is more moral than others. Existing research, however, has overlooked an important ambiguity in evaluations of one's own and others' moral behavior that could lead to an overly simplistic characterization of self-righteousness. In particular, moral behavior spans a broad spectrum ranging from doing good to doing bad. Self-righteousness could indicate believing that one is more likely to do good than others, less likely to do bad, or both. Based on cognitive and motivational mechanisms, we predicted an asymmetry in the degree of self-righteousness such that it would be larger when considering unethical actions (doing bad) than when considering ethical actions (doing good). A series of experiments confirmed this prediction. A final experiment suggests that this asymmetry is partly produced by the difference in perspectives that people adopt when evaluating themselves and others (Experiment 8). These results all suggest a bounded sense of self-righteousness. Believing one "less evil than thou" seems more reliable than believing one is "holier than thou."

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Judging the actions of "whistle-blowers" versus "leakers": Labels influence perceptions of dissenters who expose group misconduct

Kimberly Rios & Zig Ingraffia

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although moral and collective concerns have been found to predict expressions of dissent, little research has examined conditions under which dissenters are perceived as acting out of such concerns. Three studies tested whether judgments of dissenters who expose group misconduct can depend on subtle labeling differences. In Study 1, participants rated their actions as more morally based, and themselves as more likely to express dissent, after reading a scenario in which they were labeled a "whistle-blower" (vs. "leaker"). In Studies 2-3, participants who read a passage describing an employee of an organization (Study 2) or a well-known individual (Edward Snowden, Study 3) as a "whistle-blower," relative to "leaker," viewed these individuals as more morally and collectively concerned, which in turn mediated perceived deservingness of punishment. Implications for the factors that lead dissenters to be judged positively, for psychological effects of labels, and for generalizability across contexts are discussed.

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Normative Judgments and Individual Essence

Julian De Freitas et al.

Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of research has examined how people judge the persistence of identity over time - that is, how they decide that a particular individual is the same entity from one time to the next. While a great deal of progress has been made in understanding the types of features that people typically consider when making such judgments, to date, existing work has not explored how these judgments may be shaped by normative considerations. The present studies demonstrate that normative beliefs do appear to play an important role in people's beliefs about persistence. Specifically, people are more likely to judge that the identity of a given entity (e.g., a hypothetical nation) remains the same when its features improve (e.g., the nation becomes more egalitarian) than when its features deteriorate (e.g., the nation becomes more discriminatory). Study 1 provides a basic demonstration of this effect. Study 2 shows that this effect is moderated by individual differences in normative beliefs. Study 3 examines the underlying mechanism, which is the belief that, in general, various entities are essentially good. Study 4 directly manipulates beliefs about essence to show that the positivity bias regarding essences is causally responsible for the effect.

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Humanizing Outgroups Through Multiple Categorization: The Roles of Individuation and Threat

Francesca Prati et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2016, Pages 526-539

Abstract:
In three studies, we examined the impact of multiple categorization on intergroup dehumanization. Study 1 showed that perceiving members of a rival university along multiple versus simple categorical dimensions enhanced the tendency to attribute human traits to this group. Study 2 showed that multiple versus simple categorization of immigrants increased the attribution of uniquely human emotions to them. This effect was explained by the sequential mediation of increased individuation of the outgroup and reduced outgroup threat. Study 3 replicated this sequential mediation model and introduced a novel way of measuring humanization in which participants generated attributes corresponding to the outgroup in a free response format. Participants generated more uniquely human traits in the multiple versus simple categorization conditions. We discuss the theoretical implications of these findings and consider their role in informing and improving efforts to ameliorate contemporary forms of intergroup discrimination.

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The behavioral benefits of other people's deviance

Brian Gunia & Sun Young Kim

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Employees who violate significant organizational norms are organizational deviants engaged in organizational deviance. Yet, few acts of organizational deviance involve all members of an organization; in many cases, many people are uninvolved. The current research examined the responses of the nondeviant actors. Several literatures led us to predict that organizational deviance would cause nondeviants to experience cognitive dissonance, especially its vicarious form, and redouble their own work effort in response. Yet, we also predicted that low levels of identification with the deviant actors would weaken this effect. Three studies with multiple samples and methods supported these predictions, showing that nondeviants experience deviants' dissonance and increase their own work effort, but only when more rather than less identified with deviants. In addition to extending and connecting theories of deviance and dissonance, these findings suggest that organizational deviance may have unexpected benefits for groups and organizations.

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"I Don't Want to Be Near You, Unless...": The Interactive Effect of Unethical Behavior and Performance onto Relationship Conflict and Workplace Ostracism

Matthew Quade, Rebecca Greenbaum & Oleg Petrenko

Personnel Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Examined through the lens of moral psychology, we investigate when and why employees' unethical behaviors may be tolerated versus rejected. Specifically, we examine the interactive effect of employees' unethical behaviors and job performance onto relationship conflict, and whether such conflict eventuates in workplace ostracism. Although employees' unethical behaviors typically go against moral norms, high job performance may provide a motivated reason to ignore moral violations. In this regard, we predict that job performance will mitigate the relationship between employee unethical behavior and workplace ostracism, as mediated by relationship conflict. Study 1, a multi-source field study, tests and provides support for Hypotheses 1 and 2. Study 2, also a multi-source field study, provides support for our fully specified model. Study 3, a time-lagged field study, provides support for our theoretical model while controlling for employees' negative affectivity and ethical environment. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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The Immoral Assumption Effect: Moralization Drives Negative Trait Attributions

Peter Meindl, Kate Johnson & Jesse Graham

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April 2016, Pages 540-553

Abstract:
Jumping to negative conclusions about other people's traits is judged as morally bad by many people. Despite this, across six experiments (total N = 2,151), we find that multiple types of moral evaluations - even evaluations related to open-mindedness, tolerance, and compassion - play a causal role in these potentially pernicious trait assumptions. Our results also indicate that moralization affects negative - but not positive - trait assumptions, and that the effect of morality on negative assumptions cannot be explained merely by people's general (nonmoral) preferences or other factors that distinguish moral and nonmoral traits, such as controllability or desirability. Together, these results suggest that one of the more destructive human tendencies - making negative assumptions about others - can be caused by the better angels of our nature.

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No country for girly men: High instrumentality men express empathic concern when caring is "manly"

Christopher Burris, Kristina Schrage & John Rempel

Motivation and Emotion, April 2016, Pages 278-289

Abstract:
Two studies explored the relationship between men's gender role identity (as measured by the Bem Sex Role Inventory) and their experience of empathic concern (situational empathy). In both, participants read of a man coping with his friend's death while being exposed to one of three subliminal primes: "real men care"/"caring is strength," "girly men care"/"caring is weakness," or "people are walking." Congruent with previous research, higher femininity (expressivity) predicted greater empathic concern irrespective of prime. The real men/strength primes tended to: (1) increase empathic concern among high instrumentality men; and (2) link empathic concern to predominantly positive projected coping responses when participants thought of themselves in the survivor's situation, consistent with the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Thus, subtly framing empathic concern as a positive emotional response that is congruent with an agentic self-appraisal seems to boost traditionally masculine men's willingness to experience it.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In the neighborhood

Neighborhood Effect Heterogeneity by Family Income and Developmental Period

Geoffrey Wodtke, Felix Elwert & David Harding

American Journal of Sociology, January 2016, Pages 1168-1222

Abstract:
Effects of disadvantaged neighborhoods on child educational outcomes likely depend on a family’s economic resources and the timing of neighborhood exposures during the course of child development. This study investigates how timing of exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods during childhood versus adolescence affects high school graduation and whether these effects vary across families with different income levels. It follows 6,137 children in the PSID from childhood through adolescence and overcomes methodological problems associated with the joint endogeneity of neighborhood context and family income by adapting novel counterfactual methods — a structural nested mean model estimated via two-stage regression with residuals — for time-varying treatments and time-varying effect moderators. Results indicate that exposure to disadvantaged neighborhoods, particularly during adolescence, has a strong negative effect on high school graduation and that this negative effect is more severe for children from poor families.

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Health Behaviors, Mental Health, and Health Care Utilization Among Single Mothers After Welfare Reforms in the 1990s

Sanjay Basu et al.

American Journal of Epidemiology, 15 March 2016, Pages 531-538

Abstract:
We studied the health of low-income US women affected by the largest social policy change in recent US history: the 1996 welfare reforms. Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (1993–2012), we performed 2 types of analysis. First, we used difference-in-difference-in-differences analyses to estimate associations between welfare reforms and health outcomes among the most affected women (single mothers aged 18–64 years in 1997; n = 219,469) compared with less affected women (married mothers, single nonmothers, and married nonmothers of the same age range in 1997; n = 2,422,265). We also used a synthetic control approach in which we constructed a more ideal control group for single mothers by weighting outcomes among the less affected groups to match pre-reform outcomes among single mothers. In both specifications, the group most affected by welfare reforms (single mothers) experienced worse health outcomes than comparison groups less affected by the reforms. For example, the reforms were associated with at least a 4.0-percentage-point increase in binge drinking (95% confidence interval: 0.9, 7.0) and a 2.4-percentage-point decrease in the probability of being able to afford medical care (95% confidence interval: 0.1, 4.8) after controlling for age, educational level, and health care insurance status. Although the reforms were applauded for reducing welfare dependency, they may have adversely affected health.

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Moved to Opportunity: The Long-Run Effect of Public Housing Demolition on Labor Market Outcomes of Children

Eric Chyn

University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence on the effects of moving out of disadvantaged neighborhoods on the long-run economic outcomes of children. My empirical strategy is based on public housing demolitions in Chicago which forced households to relocate to private market housing using vouchers. Specifically, I compare adult outcomes of children displaced by demolition to their peers who lived in nearby public housing that was not demolished. Displaced children are 9 percent more likely to be employed and earn 16 percent more as adults. These results contrast with the Moving-to-Opportunity (MTO) relocation study, which detected effects only for children who were young when their families moved. To explore this discrepancy, this paper also examines a housing voucher lottery program (similar to MTO) conducted in Chicago. I find no measurable impact on labor market outcomes for children in households that won vouchers. The contrast between the lottery and demolition estimates remains even after re-weighting the demolition sample to adjust for differences in observed characteristics. Overall, this evidence suggests lottery volunteers are negatively selected on the magnitude of their children's gains from relocation. This implies that moving from disadvantaged neighborhoods may have substantially larger impact on children than what is suggested by results from voucher experiments where parents elect to participate.

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Delayed Disadvantage: Neighborhood Context and Child Development

Steven Elías Alvarado

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Neighborhood effects scholarship suggests that neighborhoods may impart different effects across the early life-course because children's interactions with neighborhood actors and institutions evolve across the stages of child development. This paper expands our understanding of neighborhood effects on cognitive and non-cognitive development across childhood and early adolescence by capitalizing on thirteen waves of restricted and never-before-used longitudinal data from the NLSY Child and Young Adult (1986–2010) sample. The findings from within-child fixed-effects interaction models suggest that while younger children are immune to neighborhood effects on their cognitive development, older children consistently suffer a steep penalty for growing up in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This neighborhood disadvantage penalty persists among older children despite alternative age constructs. Further, the results are robust to various adjustments for observed and unobserved sources of bias, model specifications, and also manifest as cumulative and lagged effects.

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Will Moving to a Better Neighborhood Help? Teenage Residential Mobility, Change of Context, and Young-Adult Educational Attainment

Pat Rubio Goldsmith et al.

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that growing up in more affluent neighborhoods improves educational attainment. But would it help adolescents to move to relatively more affluent neighborhoods, as theories of neighborhood effects anticipate? Does it depend on the magnitude of the change of context? To answer these questions, we use data from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey and the 1990 Census to estimate models using propensity score methods. We found that both upward mobility and change of context during adolescence had small effects on long-term educational attainment that varied by race, socioeconomic status, transfer status, and the social class of starting neighborhoods. Importantly, upward moves and positive changes in context reduced African-Americans’ chances of completing high school.

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Introduction of a National Minimum Wage Reduced Depressive Symptoms in Low-Wage Workers: A Quasi-Natural Experiment in the UK

Aaron Reeves et al.

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does increasing incomes improve health? In 1999, the UK government implemented minimum wage legislation, increasing hourly wages to at least £3.60. This policy experiment created intervention and control groups that can be used to assess the effects of increasing wages on health. Longitudinal data were taken from the British Household Panel Survey. We compared the health effects of higher wages on recipients of the minimum wage with otherwise similar persons who were likely unaffected because (1) their wages were between 100 and 110% of the eligibility threshold or (2) their firms did not increase wages to meet the threshold. We assessed the probability of mental ill health using the 12-item General Health Questionnaire. We also assessed changes in smoking, blood pressure, as well as hearing ability (control condition). The intervention group, whose wages rose above the minimum wage, experienced lower probability of mental ill health compared with both control group 1 and control group 2. This improvement represents 0.37 of a standard deviation, comparable with the effect of antidepressants (0.39 of a standard deviation) on depressive symptoms. The intervention group experienced no change in blood pressure, hearing ability, or smoking. Increasing wages significantly improves mental health by reducing financial strain in low-wage workers.

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Poverty and Child Development: A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit

Rita Hamad & David Rehkopf

American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although adverse socioeconomic conditions are correlated with worse child health and development, the effects of poverty-alleviation policies are less understood. We examined the associations of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on child development and used an instrumental variable approach to estimate the potential impacts of income. We used data from the US National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 8,186) during 1986–2000 to examine effects on the Behavioral Problems Index (BPI) and Home Observation Measurement of the Environment inventory (HOME) scores. We conducted 2 analyses. In the first, we used multivariate linear regressions with child-level fixed effects to examine the association of EITC payment size with BPI and HOME scores; in the second, we used EITC payment size as an instrument to estimate the associations of income with BPI and HOME scores. In linear regression models, higher EITC payments were associated with improved short-term BPI scores (per $1,000, β = −0.57; P = 0.04). In instrumental variable analyses, higher income was associated with improved short-term BPI scores (per $1,000, β = −0.47; P = 0.01) and medium-term HOME scores (per $1,000, β = 0.64; P = 0.02). Our results suggest that both EITC benefits and higher income are associated with modest but meaningful improvements in child development. These findings provide valuable information for health researchers and policymakers for improving child health and development.

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Emotionally Numb: Desensitization to Community Violence Exposure Among Urban Youth

Traci Kennedy & Rosario Ceballo

Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Community violence exposure (CVE) is associated with numerous psychosocial outcomes among youth. Although linear, cumulative effects models have typically been used to describe these relations, emerging evidence suggests the presence of curvilinear associations that may represent a pattern of emotional desensitization among youth exposed to chronic community violence. This study uses longitudinal data to investigate relations between CVE and both internalizing and externalizing symptoms among 3,480 youth ages 3 to 12 at baseline and 9 to 18 at outcome. Results support desensitization models, as evidenced by longitudinal quadratic associations between Wave 2 CVE and Wave 3 anxiety/depressive symptoms, alongside cross-sectional linear associations between Wave 3 CVE and Wave 3 aggression. Neither age nor gender moderated the associations between CVE and well-being.

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Perceived neighborhood problems are associated with shorter telomere length in African American women

Samson Gebreab et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, July 2016, Pages 90–97

Objectives: African Americans (AA) experience higher levels of stress related to living in racially segregated and poor neighborhoods. However, little is known about the associations between perceived neighborhood environments and cellular aging among adult AA. This study examined whether perceived neighborhood environments were associated with telomere length (TL) in AA after adjustment for individual-level risk factors.

Methods: The analysis included 158 women and 75 men AA aged 30 to 55 years from the Morehouse School of Medicine Study. Relative TL (T/S ratio) was measured from peripheral blood leukocytes using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the associations of perceived neighborhood social cohesion, problems, and overall unfavorable perceptions with log-TL.

Results: Women had significantly longer TL than men (0.59 vs. 0.54, p = 0.012). After controlling for sociodemographic, and biomedical and psychosocial factors, a 1-SD increase in perceived neighborhood problems was associated with 7.3% shorter TL in women (Mean Difference [MD] = –0.073 (Standard Error = 0.03), p = 0.012). Overall unfavorable perception of neighborhood was also associated with 5.9% shorter TL among women (MD = –0.059(0.03), p = 0.023). Better perceived social cohesion were associated with 2.4% longer TL, but did not reach statistical significance (MD = 0.024(0.02), p = 0.218). No association was observed between perceived neighborhood environments and TL in men.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that perceived neighborhood environments may be predictive of cellular aging in AA women even after accounting for individual-level risk factors. Additional research with a larger sample is needed to determine whether perceived neighborhood environments are causally related to TL.

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Family Composition and the Benefits of Participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Christina Robinson

Eastern Economic Journal, Spring 2016, Pages 232–251

Abstract:
WIC is designed to promote the health and nutrient consumption of pregnant (or postpartum) women, infants, and young children. Food, however, is often a communal commodity shared by all household members; thus, a family’s composition may impact the health benefits received by a WIC participant. Using data from the 2010 wave of the National Health Interview Survey, this study finds that an only child who participates in WIC receives a health benefit from their participation while the benefits received by children with siblings are dependent on the age, gender, and number of siblings with whom they share a residence.

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The Impact of SNAP Vehicle Asset Limits on Household Asset Allocation

Deokrye Baek & Christian Raschke

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Beginning in 2001, states were given the authority to formulate their own rules on how vehicles are counted toward the asset limit in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. We exploit differences in timing of the state vehicle asset policy changes to identify their effect on vehicle assets and debts, car ownership, liquid assets holdings, as well as non-housing wealth. We estimate difference-in-differences and household fixed effects specifications and find that liberalizing vehicle asset rules increases vehicle assets of households with a high ex ante probability of program participation. Households also take on more debt to finance their vehicles. The increase in car value can be attributed primarily to less educated single parents who already owned a car before the policy change buying more expensive cars.

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A Test of Outreach and Drop-in Linkage Versus Shelter Linkage for Connecting Homeless Youth to Services

Natasha Slesnick et al.

Prevention Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Outreach and service linkage are key for engaging marginalized populations, such as homeless youth, in services. Research to date has focused primarily on engaging individuals already receiving some services through emergency shelters, clinics, or other programs. Less is known about those who are not connected to services and, thus, likely the most vulnerable and in need of assistance. The current study sought to engage non-service-connected homeless youth (N = 79) into a strengths-based outreach and advocacy intervention. Youth were randomly assigned to receive 6 months of advocacy that focused on linking youth to a drop-in center (n = 40) or to a crisis shelter (n = 39). All youth were assessed at baseline and 3, 6, and 9 months post-baseline. Findings indicated that youth prefer drop-in center services to the shelter. Also, the drop-in center linkage condition was associated with more service linkage overall (B = 0.34, SE = 0.04, p < 0.01) and better alcohol-l [B = −0.39, SE = 0.09, t(75) = −4.48, p < 0.001] and HIV-related outcomes [B = 0.62, SE = 0.10, t(78) = 6.34, p < 0.001] compared to the shelter linkage condition. Findings highlight the importance of outreach and service linkage for reconnecting service-marginalized youth, and drop-in centers as a primary service option for homeless youth.

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Food Security and Teenage Labor Supply

Sarah Hamersma & Matthew Kim

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, March 2016, Pages 73-92

Abstract:
This study assesses whether teenage labor force participation may influence the food security of children in their families. We utilize the Current Population Survey annual Food Security Supplement and linked monthly core data from 2001 through 2012 to assess the year-to-year dynamics of food security status in families with teenagers. We estimate the effect of teenage employment on food security while controlling for all time-invariant individual and household characteristics using a fixed-effects model. We find that an employed teen reduces the predicted probability of a family's children having very low food security by an economically and statistically significant 50%.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Heaven's door

The Association Between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014

Raj Chetty et al.

Journal of the American Medical Association, forthcoming

Design and Setting: Income data for the US population were obtained from 1.4 billion deidentified tax records between 1999 and 2014. Mortality data were obtained from Social Security Administration death records. These data were used to estimate race- and ethnicity-adjusted life expectancy at 40 years of age by household income percentile, sex, and geographic area, and to evaluate factors associated with differences in life expectancy.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Relationship between income and life expectancy; trends in life expectancy by income group; geographic variation in life expectancy levels and trends by income group; and factors associated with differences in life expectancy across areas.

Results: The sample consisted of 1 408 287 218 person-year observations for individuals aged 40 to 76 years (mean age, 53.0 years; median household earnings among working individuals, $61 175 per year). There were 4 114 380 deaths among men (mortality rate, 596.3 per 100 000) and 2 694 808 deaths among women (mortality rate, 375.1 per 100 000). The analysis yielded 4 results. First, higher income was associated with greater longevity throughout the income distribution. The gap in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of individuals was 14.6 years (95% CI, 14.4 to 14.8 years) for men and 10.1 years (95% CI, 9.9 to 10.3 years) for women. Second, inequality in life expectancy increased over time. Between 2001 and 2014, life expectancy increased by 2.34 years for men and 2.91 years for women in the top 5% of the income distribution, but by only 0.32 years for men and 0.04 years for women in the bottom 5% (P < .001 for the differences for both sexes). Third, life expectancy for low-income individuals varied substantially across local areas. In the bottom income quartile, life expectancy differed by approximately 4.5 years between areas with the highest and lowest longevity. Changes in life expectancy between 2001 and 2014 ranged from gains of more than 4 years to losses of more than 2 years across areas. Fourth, geographic differences in life expectancy for individuals in the lowest income quartile were significantly correlated with health behaviors such as smoking (r = −0.69, P < .001), but were not significantly correlated with access to medical care, physical environmental factors, income inequality, or labor market conditions. Life expectancy for low-income individuals was positively correlated with the local area fraction of immigrants (r = 0.72, P < .001), fraction of college graduates (r = 0.42, P < .001), and government expenditures (r = 0.57, P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance: In the United States between 2001 and 2014, higher income was associated with greater longevity, and differences in life expectancy across income groups increased over time. However, the association between life expectancy and income varied substantially across areas; differences in longevity across income groups decreased in some areas and increased in others. The differences in life expectancy were correlated with health behaviors and local area characteristics.

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The associations between US state and local social spending, income inequality, and individual all-cause and cause-specific mortality: The National Longitudinal Mortality Study

Daniel Kim

Preventive Medicine, March 2016, Pages 62–68

Methods: Data on 431,637 adults aged 30–74 and 375,354 adults aged 20–44 in the 48 contiguous US states were used from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study to estimate the impacts of state and local spending and income inequality on individual risks of all-cause and cause-specific mortality for leading causes of death in younger and middle-aged adults and older adults. To reduce bias, models incorporated state fixed effects and instrumental variables.

Results: Each additional $250 per capita per year spent on welfare predicted a 3-percentage point (− 0.031, 95% CI: − 0.059, − 0.0027) lower probability of dying from any cause. Each additional $250 per capita spent on welfare and education predicted 1.6-percentage point (− 0.016, 95% CI: − 0.031, − 0.0011) and 0.8-percentage point (− 0.008, 95% CI: − 0.0156, − 0.00024) lower probabilities of dying from coronary heart disease (CHD), respectively. No associations were found for colon cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; for diabetes, external injury, and suicide, estimates were inverse but modest in magnitude. A 0.1 higher Gini coefficient (higher income inequality) predicted 1-percentage point (0.010, 95% CI: 0.0026, 0.0180) and 0.2-percentage point (0.002, 95% CI: 0.001, 0.002) higher probabilities of dying from CHD and suicide, respectively.

Conclusions: Empirical linkages were identified between state-level spending on welfare and education and lower individual risks of dying, particularly from CHD and all causes combined. State-level income inequality predicted higher risks of dying from CHD and suicide.

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Association of retirement age with mortality: A population-based longitudinal study among older adults in the USA

Chenkai Wu et al.

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Methods: On the basis of the Health and Retirement Study, 2956 participants who were working at baseline (1992) and completely retired during the follow-up period from 1992 to 2010 were included. Healthy retirees (n=1934) were defined as individuals who self-reported health was not an important reason to retire. The association of retirement age with all-cause mortality was analysed using the Cox model. Sociodemographic effect modifiers of the relation were examined.

Results: Over the study period, 234 healthy and 262 unhealthy retirees died. Among healthy retirees, a 1-year older age at retirement was associated with an 11% lower risk of all-cause mortality (95% CI 8% to 15%), independent of a wide range of sociodemographic, lifestyle and health confounders. Similarly, unhealthy retirees (n=1022) had a lower all-cause mortality risk when retiring later (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.94). None of the sociodemographic factors were found to modify the association of retirement age with all-cause mortality.

Conclusions: Early retirement may be a risk factor for mortality and prolonged working life may provide survival benefits among US adults.

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Trends in Life Expectancy and Lifespan Variation by Educational Attainment: United States, 1990–2010

Isaac Sasson

Demography, April 2016, Pages 269-293

Abstract:
The educational gradient in life expectancy is well documented in the United States and in other low-mortality countries. Highly educated Americans, on average, live longer than their low-educated counterparts, who have recently seen declines in adult life expectancy. However, limiting the discussion on lifespan inequality to mean differences alone overlooks other dimensions of inequality and particularly disparities in lifespan variation. The latter represents a unique form of inequality, with higher variation translating into greater uncertainty in the time of death from an individual standpoint, and higher group heterogeneity from a population perspective. Using data from the National Vital Statistics System from 1990 to 2010, this is the first study to document trends in both life expectancy and S25 — the standard deviation of age at death above 25 — by educational attainment. Among low-educated whites, adult life expectancy declined by 3.1 years for women and by 0.6 years for men. At the same time, S25 increased by about 1.5 years among high school–educated whites of both genders, becoming an increasingly important component of total lifespan inequality. By contrast, college-educated whites benefited from rising life expectancy and record low variation in age at death, consistent with the shifting mortality scenario. Among blacks, adult life expectancy increased, and S25 plateaued or declined in nearly all educational attainment groups, although blacks generally lagged behind whites of the same gender on both measures. Documenting trends in lifespan variation can therefore improve our understanding of lifespan inequality and point to diverging trajectories in adult mortality across socioeconomic strata.

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The influence of birth season on mortality in the United States

Kitae Sohn

American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Birth season is related to a variety of later outcomes. Among them, mortality is of great interest because it represents lifetime health outcomes. We examined the relationship between birth season and mortality in the US.

Methods: We merged the US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and NHIS public-use linked mortality files and analyzed 17,082 men and 19,075 women who were followed for 20 years from 1986 to 2006. We used the Cox proportional hazards model to relate birth quarter to mortality, controlling for birth year fixed effects.

Results: After controlling for years of schooling and birth year fixed effects, we found that, relative to men born in the first quarter, men born in the fourth quarter were 11% less likely to die. For women, the benefit was the largest for women born in the third quarter who were 14% less likely to die than women born in the first quarter. In the relationship between birth season and mortality, cardiovascular diseases played a noticeable role for men and malignant neoplasms for women.

Conclusions: These results were consistent with those for some developed countries, but not entirely with those for contemporary developing countries and developed countries of the past. Simple mechanisms based on the perinatal environment cannot account for the inconsistent results. We suggest that family background may play some, but not an exhaustive, role in the relationship between birth season and mortality.

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Of Natural Bodies and Antibodies: Parents’ Vaccine Refusal and the Dichotomies of Natural and Artificial

Jennifer Reich

Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite eliminating incidences of many diseases in the United States, parents are increasingly rejecting vaccines for their children. This article examines the reasons parents offer for doing so. It argues that parents construct a dichotomy between the natural and the artificial, in which vaccines come to be seen as unnecessary, ineffective, and potentially dangerous. Using qualitative data from interviews and observations, this article shows first, how parents view their children’s bodies, particularly from experiences of birth and with infants, as naturally perfect and in need of protection. Second, parents see vaccines as an artificial intervention that enters the body unnaturally, through injection. Third, parents perceive immunity occurring from illness to be natural and superior and immunity derived from vaccines as inferior and potentially dangerous. Finally, parents highlight the ways their own natural living serves to enhance their children’s immunity rendering vaccines unnecessary. Taken together, this dichotomy allows parents to justify rejection of vaccines as a form of protecting children’s health. These findings expose perceptions of science, technology, health, and the meanings of the body in ways that can inform public health efforts.

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Can the vaccine adverse event reporting system be used to increase vaccine acceptance and trust?

Laura Scherer et al.

Vaccine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Vaccine refusal has an impact on public health, and the human pappillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is particularly underutilized. Research suggests that it may be difficult to change vaccine-related attitudes, and there is currently no good evidence to recommend any particular intervention strategy. One reason for vaccine hesitancy is lack of trust that vaccine harms are adequately documented and reported, yet few communication strategies have explicitly attempted to improve this trust. This study tested the possibility that data from the vaccine adverse event reporting system (VAERS) can be used to increase trust that vaccine harms are adequately researched and that potential harms are disclosed to the public, and thereby improve perceptions of vaccines. In the study, participants were randomly assigned to one of three communication interventions. All participants read the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vaccine information statement (VIS) for the HPV vaccine. Two other groups were exposed to additional information about VAERS, either summary data or full detailed reports of serious adverse events from 2013. Results showed that the CDC's VIS alone significantly increased perceptions of vaccine benefits and decreased perceived risks. Participants who were also educated about VAERS and given summary data about the serious adverse events displayed more trust in the CDC and greater HPV vaccine acceptance relative to the VIS alone. However, exposure to the detailed VAERS reports significantly reduced trust in the CDC and vaccine acceptance. Hence, general information about the VAERS data slightly increased trust in the CDC and improved vaccine acceptance, but the specific VAERS reports negatively influenced both trust and acceptance. Implications for communicating about vaccines are discussed.

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Reporter nanoparticle that monitors its anticancer efficacy in real time

Ashish Kulkarni et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to monitor the efficacy of an anticancer treatment in real time can have a critical effect on the outcome. Currently, clinical readouts of efficacy rely on indirect or anatomic measurements, which occur over prolonged time scales postchemotherapy or postimmunotherapy and may not be concordant with the actual effect. Here we describe the biology-inspired engineering of a simple 2-in-1 reporter nanoparticle that not only delivers a cytotoxic or an immunotherapy payload to the tumor but also reports back on the efficacy in real time. The reporter nanoparticles are engineered from a novel two-staged stimuli-responsive polymeric material with an optimal ratio of an enzyme-cleavable drug or immunotherapy (effector elements) and a drug function-activatable reporter element. The spatiotemporally constrained delivery of the effector and the reporter elements in a single nanoparticle produces maximum signal enhancement due to the availability of the reporter element in the same cell as the drug, thereby effectively capturing the temporal apoptosis process. Using chemotherapy-sensitive and chemotherapy-resistant tumors in vivo, we show that the reporter nanoparticles can provide a real-time noninvasive readout of tumor response to chemotherapy. The reporter nanoparticle can also monitor the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibition in melanoma. The self-reporting capability, for the first time to our knowledge, captures an anticancer nanoparticle in action in vivo.

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Labor Markets in Statistics: The Subject Supply Effect in Medical R&D

Anup Malani & Tomas Philipson

University of Chicago Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Medical research and development (R&D) differs from other R&D because of a unique linkage between output and input markets for medical products: potential consumers of existing medical products are also potential subjects in clinical trials required to develop new products. Therefore, an increase in the quality or reduction in the price of an existing treatment reduces the incentive of patients to participate in trials of new treatments. We provide evidence of this linkage, which we label the “subject supply effect,” by showing that a breakthrough HIV/AIDs treatment led to a sharp drop in the supply of trial subjects after the introduction of the treatment in 1996. The subject supply effect has important positive implications for how policies such as recent insurance expansions affect the rate of medical R&D and normative implications for whether subjects ought to be compensated for enrolling in clinical trials, an ethically controversial practice.

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An Education Gradient in Health, a Health Gradient in Education, or a Confounded Gradient in Both?

Jamie Lynch & Paul von Hippel

Social Science & Medicine, April 2016, Pages 18–27

Abstract:
There is a positive gradient associating educational attainment with health, yet the explanation for this gradient is not clear. Does higher education improve health (causation)? Do the healthy become highly educated (selection)? Or do good health and high educational attainment both result from advantages established early in the life course (confounding)? This study evaluates these competing explanations by tracking changes in educational attainment and Self-rated Health (SRH) from age 15 to age 31 in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, 1997 cohort. Ordinal logistic regression confirms that high-SRH adolescents are more likely to become highly educated. This is partly because adolescent SRH is associated with early advantages including adolescents’ academic performance, college plans, and family background (confounding); however, net of these confounders adolescent SRH still predicts adult educational attainment (selection). Fixed-effects longitudinal regression shows that educational attainment has little causal effect on SRH at age 31. Completion of a high school diploma or associate’s degree has no effect on SRH, while completion of a bachelor’s or graduate degree have effects that, though significant, are quite small (less than 0.1 points on a 5-point scale). While it is possible that educational attainment would have greater effect on health at older ages, at age 31 what we see is a health gradient in education, shaped primarily by selection and confounding rather than by a causal effect of education on health.

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Long-Acting Reversible Contraception and Condom Use Among Female US High School Students: Implications for Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention

Riley Steiner et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Importance: Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), specifically intrauterine devices and implants, offers an unprecedented opportunity to reduce unintended pregnancies among adolescents because it is highly effective even with typical use. However, adolescent LARC users may be less likely to use condoms for preventing sexually transmitted infections compared with users of moderately effective contraceptive methods (ie, oral, Depo-Provera injection, patch, and ring contraceptives).

Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional analysis using data from the 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative sample of US high school students in grades 9 through 12. Descriptive analyses were conducted among sexually active female students (n = 2288); logistic regression analyses were restricted to sexually active female users of LARC and moderately effective contraception (n = 619). The analyses were conducted in July and August 2015.

Results: Among the 2288 sexually active female participants (56.7% white; 33.6% in 12th grade), 1.8% used LARC; 5.7% used Depo-Provera, patch, or ring; 22.4% used oral contraceptives; 40.8% used condoms; 11.8% used withdrawal or other method; 15.7% used no contraceptive method; and 1.9% were not sure. In adjusted analyses, LARC users were about 60% less likely to use condoms compared with oral contraceptive users (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR], 0.42; 95% CI, 0.21-0.84). No significant differences in condom use were observed between LARC users and Depo-Provera injection, patch, or ring users (aPR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.26-1.25). The LARC users were more than twice as likely to have 2 or more recent sexual partners compared with oral contraceptive users (aPR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.75-3.90) and Depo-Provera, patch, or ring users (aPR, 2.58; 95% CI, 1.17-5.67).

Conclusions and Relevance: Observed differences in condom use may reflect motivations to use condoms for backup pregnancy prevention. Users of highly effective LARC methods may no longer perceive a need for condoms even if they have multiple sexual partners, which places them at risk for sexually transmitted infections. As uptake of LARC increases among adolescents, a clear need exists to incorporate messages about condom use specifically for sexually transmitted infection prevention.

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Sex Work Regulation and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Tijuana, Mexico

Troy Quast & Fidel Gonzalez

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
While reducing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections is a common argument for regulating sex work, relatively little empirical evidence is available regarding the effectiveness of these policies. We investigate the effects of highly publicized sex work regulations introduced in 2005 in Tijuana, Mexico on the incidence of trichomoniasis. State-level, annual data for the 1995–2012 period are employed that include the incidence rates of trichomoniasis by age group and predictor variables. We find that the regulations led to a decrease in the incidence rate of trichomoniasis. Specifically, while our estimates are somewhat noisy, the all-ages incidence rate in the 2005–2012 period is roughly 37% lower than what is predicted by our synthetic control estimates and corresponds to approximately 800 fewer reported cases of trichomoniasis per year. We find that the decreases are especially pronounced for 15–24 and 25–44 age cohorts.

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One-Sided Social Media Comments Influenced Opinions And Intentions About Home Birth: An Experimental Study

Holly Witteman et al.

Health Affairs, April 2016, Pages 726-733

Abstract:
As people increasingly turn to social media to access and create health evidence, the greater availability of data and information ought to help more people make evidence-informed health decisions that align with what matters to them. However, questions remain as to whether people can be swayed in favor of or against options by polarized social media, particularly in the case of controversial topics. We created a composite mock news article about home birth from six real news articles and randomly assigned participants in an online study to view comments posted about the original six articles. We found that exposure to one-sided social media comments with one-sided opinions influenced participants’ opinions of the health topic regardless of their reported level of previous knowledge, especially when comments contained personal stories. Comments representing a breadth of views did not influence opinions, which suggests that while exposure to one-sided comments may bias opinions, exposure to balanced comments may avoid such bias.

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Investigating the effect of banning non-reduced ignition propensity cigarettes on fatal residential fires in Sweden

Carl Bonander, Anders Jonsson & Finn Nilson

European Journal of Public Health, April 2016, Pages 334-338

Background: Annually, 100 people die as a result of residential fires in Sweden and almost a third of the fatal fires are known to be caused by smoking. In an attempt to reduce the occurrence of these events, reduced ignition propensity (RIP) cigarettes have been developed. They are designed to reduce the risk of fire by preventing the cigarette from burning through the full length when left unattended. In November 2011, a ban was introduced, forbidding the production and sale of all non-RIP cigarettes in all member states of the European Union, including Sweden.

Methods: Monthly data on all recorded residential fires and associated fatalities in Sweden from January 2000 to December 2013 were analyzed using an interrupted time series design. The effect of the intervention [in relative risk (RR)] was quantified using generalised additive models for location, shape and scale.

Results: There were no statistically significant intervention effects on residential fires (RR 0.95 [95% CI: 0.89–1.01]), fatal residential fires (RR 0.99 [95% CI: 0.80–1.23]), residential fires where smoking was a known cause (RR 1.10 [95% CI: 0.95–1.28]) or fatal residential fires where smoking was a known cause (RR 0.92 [95% CI: 0.63–1.35]).

Conclusion: No evidence of an effect of the ban on all non-RIP cigarettes on the risk of residential fires in Sweden was found. The results may not be generalisable to other countries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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