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Thursday, June 19, 2014

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What Money Can Buy: Family Income and Childhood Obesity

Young Jo
Economics & Human Biology, December 2014, Pages 1–12

Abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between family income and childhood obesity. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), I report three new findings. First, family income and childhood obesity are generally negatively correlated, but for children in very low-income families, they are positively correlated. Second, the negative association between family income and Body Mass Index (BMI) is especially strong and significant among high-BMI children. Third, the difference in obesity rates between children from low- and high-income families increases as children age. This study further investigates potential factors that might contribute to a rapid increase in the obesity rate among low-income children. I find that their faster weight gain, rather than slower height growth, is a greater contributor to the rapid increase in their BMI over time. On the other hand, I also find that the faster weight gain by low-income children cannot be attributed to any single factor, such as participation in school meal programs, parental characteristics, or individual characteristics. These findings add to the current obesity debate by demonstrating that the key to curbing childhood obesity may lie in factors generating different obesity rates across income levels.

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Neighborhood Effects on Food Consumption

Tammy Leonard et al.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2014, Pages 99–113

Abstract:
Food consumption behavior is likely a result of environmental stimuli, access, and personal preferences, making policy aimed at increasing the nutritional content of food consumption challenging. We examine the dual role of the social and physical neighborhood environment as they relate to the eating behaviors of residents of a low-income minority urban neighborhood. We find that both proximity to different types of food sources (a characteristic of the physical neighborhood environment) and dietary intake of neighbors (a characteristic of the neighborhood's social environment) are related to dietary intake. The relationships are most robust for fruits and vegetables consumption. Proximity to fast food sources is related to less fruits and vegetables consumption while the opposite is found for individuals residing closer to fresh food sources. Additionally, individuals whose neighbors report increased fruits and vegetables intake also report higher fruits and vegetables consumption, while controlling for proximity to food sources. Instrumental variable and quasi-experimental robustness checks suggest that correlation in neighbors’ fruits and vegetables consumption is likely due to social interactions among neighboring residents. The results elucidate important inter-relationships between access and social norms that influence dietary behavior.

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The Behavioralist as Nutritionist: Leveraging Behavioral Economics To Improve Child Food Choice and Consumption

John List & Anya Savikhin Samek
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., with now almost a third of children ages 2-19 deemed overweight or obese. In this study, we leverage recent findings from behavioral economics to explore new approaches to tackling one aspect of childhood obesity: food choice and consumption. Using a field experiment where we include more than 1,500 children, we report several key insights. First, we find that individual incentives can have large influences: in the control, only 17% of children prefer the healthy snack, whereas the introduction of small incentives increases take-up of the healthy snack to roughly 75%, more than a four-fold increase. There is some evidence that the effects continue after the treatment period, consistent with a model of habit formation. Second, we find little evidence that the framing of incentives (loss versus gain) matters. While incentives work, we find that educational messaging alone has little influence on food choice. Yet, we do observe an important interaction effect between messaging and incentives: together they provide an important influence on food choice. For policymakers, our findings show the power of using incentives to combat childhood obesity. For academics, our approach opens up an interesting combination of theory and experiment that can lead to a better understanding of theories that explain healthy decisions and what incentives can influence them.

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Differences by mother’s education in the effect of childcare on child obesity

Zafar Nazarov & Michael Rendall
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have found adverse effects of maternal employment on child obesity for higher educated mothers. Using a quasi-structural model, we find additionally a lower risk of obesity for children of less educated mothers with increased time in non-parental childcare.

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The Relationship Between Obesity and Exposure to Light at Night: Cross-Sectional Analyses of Over 100,000 Women in the Breakthrough Generations Study

Emily McFadden et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been a worldwide epidemic of obesity in recent decades. In animal studies, there is convincing evidence that light exposure causes weight gain, even when calorie intake and physical activity are held constant. Disruption of sleep and circadian rhythms by exposure to light at night (LAN) might be one mechanism contributing to the rise in obesity, but it has not been well-investigated in humans. Using multinomial logistic regression, we examined the association between exposure to LAN and obesity in questionnaire data from over 100,000 women in the Breakthrough Generations Study, a cohort study of women aged 16 years or older who were living in the United Kingdom and recruited during 2003–2012. The odds of obesity, measured using body mass index, waist:hip ratio, waist:height ratio, and waist circumference, increased with increasing levels of LAN exposure (P < 0.001), even after adjustment for potential confounders such as sleep duration, alcohol intake, physical activity, and current smoking. We found a significant association between LAN exposure and obesity which was not explained by potential confounders we could measure. While the possibility of residual confounding cannot be excluded, the pattern is intriguing, accords with the results of animal experiments, and warrants further investigation.

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‘We’ve Got Some Underground Business Selling Junk Food’: Qualitative Evidence of the Unintended Effects of English School Food Policies

Adam Fletcher et al.
Sociology, June 2014, Pages 500-517

Abstract:
Drawing on two qualitative studies, we report evidence of pervasive black markets in confectionery, ‘junk’ food and energy drinks in English secondary schools. Data were collected at six schools through focus groups and interviews with students (n = 149) and staff (n = 36), and direct observations. Supermarkets, new technologies and teachers’ narrow focus on attainment have enabled these ‘underground businesses’ to emerge following increased state regulation of school food and drink provision. These activities represent a new form of counter-school resistance to institutional constraints within the context of enduring, although less visible, class-based stratification in British secondary schools. These black markets also appear to be partly driven by the unsafe and unsociable nature of school canteens, which was a recurring theme across all schools. These findings highlight how new school food ‘bans’ ignore the complex, ecological drivers of poor diet in youth and the potential for iatrogenic effects which exacerbate health inequalities.

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If It's Useful and You Know It, Do You Eat? Preschoolers Refrain from Instrumental Food

Michal Maimaran & Ayelet Fishbach
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marketers, educators, and caregivers often refer to instrumental benefits to convince preschoolers to eat (e.g., “this food will make you strong”). We propose that preschoolers infer that if food is instrumental to achieve a goal, it is less tasty, and therefore they consume less of it. Accordingly, preschoolers (3-5.5 years old) rated crackers as less tasty and consumed fewer of them when the crackers were presented as instrumental to achieve a health goal (studies 1-2). In addition, preschoolers consumed fewer carrots and crackers when these were presented as instrumental to knowing how to read (study 3) and count (studies 4-5). This research supports an inference account for the negative impact of certain persuasive messages on consumption: preschoolers who are exposed to one association (e.g., between eating carrots and intellectual performance) infer another association (e.g., between carrots and taste) must be weaker.

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The effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire in overweight young adults. A home-based intervention

Esra Tasali et al.
Appetite, September 2014, Pages 220–224

Introduction: Sleep curtailment is an endemic behavior in modern society. Well-controlled laboratory studies have shown that sleep loss in young adults is associated with increased desire for high-calorie food and obesity risk. However, the relevance of these laboratory findings to real life is uncertain. We conducted a 3 week, within-participant, intervention study to assess the effects of extended bedtimes on sleep duration and food desire under real life conditions in individuals who are at risk for obesity.

Methods: Ten overweight young adults reporting average habitual sleep duration of less than 6.5 h were studied in the home environment. Habitual bedtimes for 1-week (baseline) were followed by bedtimes extended to 8.5 h for 2-weeks (intervention). Participants were unaware of the intervention until after the baseline period. Participants received individualized behavioral counseling on sleep hygiene on the first day of the intervention period. Sleep duration was recorded by wrist actigraphy throughout the study. Participants rated their sleepiness, vigor and desire for various foods using visual analog scales at the end of baseline and intervention periods.

Results: On average, participants obtained 1.6 h more sleep with extended bedtimes (5.6 vs 7.1; P < 0.001) and reported being less sleepy (P = 0.004) and more vigorous (P = 0.034). Additional sleep was associated with a 14% decrease in overall appetite (P = 0.030) and a 62% decrease in desire for sweet and salty foods (P = 0.017). Desire for fruits, vegetables and protein-rich nutrients was not affected by added sleep.

Conclusions: Sleep duration can be successfully increased in real life settings and obtaining adequate sleep is associated with less desire for high calorie foods in overweight young adults who habitually curtail their sleep.

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The Short-Run Impact of the Healthy Incentives Pilot Program on Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Jacob Klerman et al.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to low consumption levels of fruits and vegetables by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service created the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) to test the efficacy of providing a 30% incentive for purchases of targeted fruits and vegetables (TFVs). Four to six months after implementation, mean daily TFV intake for adult HIP participants was 0.22 cup-equivalents higher (24% higher) than for control-group SNAP participants. These impact estimates with a random-assignment research design generally agree with previously published nonexperimental elasticity estimates, which imply that a pure price reduction of 30% would increase fruit and vegetable consumption by about 20%.

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The Effects of Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages across Different Income Groups

Anurag Sharma et al.
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) taxes on consumption, bodyweight and tax burden for low-income, middle-income and high-income groups using an Almost Ideal Demand System and 2011 Household level scanner data. A significant contribution of our paper is that we compare two types of SSB taxes recently advocated by policy makers: A 20% flat rate sales (valoric) tax and a 20 cent/L volumetric tax. Censored demand is accounted for using a two-step procedure. We find that the volumetric tax would result in a greater per capita weight loss than the valoric tax (0.41 kg vs. 0.29 kg). The difference between the change in weight is substantial for the target group of heavy purchasers of SSBs in low-income households, with a weight reduction of up to 3.20 kg for the volumetric and 2.06 kg for the valoric tax. The average yearly per capita tax burden on low-income households is $17.87 (0.21% of income) compared with $15.17 for high-income households (0.07% of income) for the valoric tax, and $13.80 (0.15%) and $10.10 (0.04%) for the volumetric tax. Thus, the tax burden is lower, and weight reduction is higher under a volumetric tax.

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Obesity and the Natural Environment Across US Counties

Paul von Hippel & Rebecca Benson
American Journal of Public Health, July 2014, Pages 1287-1293

Objectives: We estimated the association between obesity and features of the natural environment. We asked whether the association is mediated by diet or by physical activity.

Methods: Using county-level data from the contiguous United States, we regressed adult obesity prevalence on 9 measures of the natural environment. Our regression model accounted for spatial correlation, and controlled for county demographics and the built environment. We included physical activity and diet (proxied by food purchases) as potential mediators.

Results: Obesity was more prevalent in counties that are hot in July or cold in January. To a lesser degree, obesity was more prevalent in counties that are dark in January or rainy (but not snowy) year-round. Other aspects of the natural environment—including wind, trees, waterfront, and hills and mountains—had little or no association with obesity. Nearly all of the association between obesity and the natural environment was mediated by physical activity; none was mediated by diet.

Conclusions: Hot summers and cold winters appear to promote obesity by discouraging physical activity. Attempts to encourage physical activity should compensate for the effects of extreme temperatures.

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Maternal prepregnancy obesity and child neurodevelopment in the Collaborative Perinatal Project

Lisu Huang et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, June 2014, Pages 783-792

Objectives: To examine the association between maternal prepregnancy weight and child neurodevelopment, and the effect of gestational weight gain.

Methods: Using the U.S. Collaborative Perinatal Project data, 1959–76, a total of 30 212 women with a calculable prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain, and term singleton children followed up for more than 7 years were included in this study. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was measured at 7 years of age by Wechsler Intelligence Scales.

Results: Maternal prepregnancy BMI displayed inverted U-shaped associations with child IQ after adjustment for maternal age, maternal education levels, maternal race, marital status, socioeconomic status, smoking during pregnancy, parity and study center. Women with BMI at around 20 kg/m2 appeared to have the highest offspring IQ scores. After controlling for familial factors in the siblings’ sample, maternal obesity (BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2) was associated with lower Full-scale IQ (adjusted ß = −2.0, 95% confidence interval −3.5 to −0.5), and Verbal scale IQ (adjusted ß = −2.5, 95% confidence interval −4.0 to −1.0), using BMI of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2 as the reference category. Compared with children born to normal-weight women who gained 21–25 lb. during pregnancy, those born to obese women who gained more than 40 lb. had 6.5 points deficit in IQ after adjustment for potential confounders.

Conclusions: Maternal prepregnancy obesity was associated with lower child IQ, and excessive weight gain accelerated the association. With obesity rising steadily, these results appear to raise serious public health concerns.

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Stereotypes Can “Get Under the Skin”: Testing a Self-Stereotyping and Psychological Resource Model of Overweight and Obesity

Luis Rivera & Stefanie Paredez
Journal of Social Issues, June 2014, Pages 226–240

Abstract:
The authors draw upon social, personality, and health psychology to propose and test a self-stereotyping and psychological resource model of overweight and obesity. The model contends that self-stereotyping depletes psychological resources, namely self-esteem, that help to prevent overweight and obesity. In support of the model, mediation analysis demonstrates that adult Hispanics who highly self-stereotype had lower levels of self-esteem than those who self-stereotype less, which in turn predicted higher levels of body mass index (overweight and obesity levels). Furthermore, the model did not hold for the referent sample, White participants, and an alternative mediation model was not supported. These data are the first to theoretically and empirically link self-stereotyping and self-esteem (a psychological resource) with a strong physiological risk factor for morbidity and short life expectancy in stigmatized individuals. Thus, this research contributes to understanding ethnic-racial health disparities in the United States and beyond.

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Is there an influence of modern life style on skeletal build?

Christiane Scheffler & Michael Hermanussen
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Modern human life style has led to significant decrease in everyday physical activity and bipedal locomotion. It has previously been shown that skeletal robustness (relative elbow breadth) is associated with daily step counts. The aim of the study was to investigate whether also other skeletal measures, particularly pelvic breadth may have changed in recent decades.

Methods: We re-analyzed elbow breadth, pelvic breadth (bicristal), and thoracic depth and breadth, of up to 28,975 healthy females and 28,288 healthy males aged 3–18 years from cross-sectional anthropological surveys performed between 1980 and 2012 by the Universities of Potsdam and Berlin, Germany.

Results: Relative elbow breadth (Frame index) significantly decreased in both sexes since 1980 (<0.001). The trend toward slighter built was even more pronounced in absolute and relative pelvic breadth. In contrast, equivalent changes of parts of the skeletal system that are not involved in bipedal locomotion such as thoracic breadth, thoracic depth, and the thoracic index were absent.

Conclusions: The present investigation confirms the decline in relative elbow breadth in recent decades. Analogue, but even more pronounced changes were detected in pelvic breadth that coincides with the modern decline in upright locomotion. The findings underscore the phenotypic plasticity of humans while adapting to new environmental conditions.

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The effect of portion size on food intake is robust to brief education and mindfulness exercises

Karen Cavanagh et al.
Journal of Health Psychology, June 2014, Pages 730-739

Abstract:
We examined whether a brief education and a brief mindfulness exercise would reduce the effect of portion size on food intake. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three information conditions (education, mindfulness, or control) and then received a small or large portion of pasta for lunch. Neither education nor mindfulness was effective in reducing the effect of portion size: Overall, participants served a large portion consumed 34 percent more pasta than did those served a small portion. Participants in the mindfulness condition tended to eat less overall than participants did in the two other conditions, but this trend was not significant.

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Socioeconomic gradients in body mass index (BMI) in US immigrants during the transition to adulthood: Examining the roles of parental education and intergenerational educational mobility

Sandra Albrecht & Penny Gordon-Larsen
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Despite comparatively lower socioeconomic status (SES), immigrants tend to have lower body weight and weaker SES gradients relative to US-born individuals. Yet, it is unknown how changes in SES over the life-course relate to body weight in immigrants versus US-born individuals.

Methods: We used longitudinal data from a nationally representative, diverse sample of 13 701 adolescents followed into adulthood to investigate whether associations between SES mobility categories (educational attainment reported by individuals as adults and by their parents during adolescence) and body mass index (BMI) measured in adulthood varied by immigrant generation. Weighted multivariable linear regression models were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity and immigrant generation.

Results: Among first-generation immigrants, although parental education was not associated with adult BMI, an immigrant's own education attainment was inversely associated with BMI (β=−2.6 kg/m2; SE=0.9, p<0.01). In addition, upward educational mobility was associated with lower adult mean BMI than remaining low SES (β=−2.5 kg/m2; SE=1.2, p<0.05). In contrast, among US-born respondents, college education in adulthood did not attenuate the negative association between parental education and adult BMI. Although an SES gradient emerged in adulthood for immigrants, remaining low SES from adolescence to adulthood was not associated with loss of health advantage relative to US-born respondents of US-born parents of similar SES.

Conclusions: Immigrants were able to translate higher SES in adulthood into a lower adult mean BMI regardless of childhood SES, whereas the consequences of lower childhood SES had a longer reach even among the upwardly mobile US born.

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Individual differences in executive function predict distinct eating behaviours

Vanessa Allom & Barbara Mullan
Appetite, September 2014, Pages 123–130

Abstract:
Executive function has been shown to influence the performance of health behaviours. Healthy eating involves both the inhibitory behaviour of consuming low amounts of saturated fat, and the initiatory behaviour of consuming fruit and vegetables. Based on this distinction, it was hypothesised that these behaviours would have different determinants. Measures of inhibitory control and updating were administered to 115 participants across 2 days. One week later saturated fat intake and fruit and vegetable consumption were measured. Regression analyses revealed a double dissociation effect between the different executive function variables and the prediction of eating behaviours. Specifically, inhibitory control, but not updating, predict saturated fat intake, whilst updating, but not inhibitory control, was related to fruit and vegetable consumption. In both cases, better executive function capacity was associated with healthier eating behaviour. The results support the idea that behaviours that require stopping a response such as limiting saturated fat intake, have different determinants to those that require the initiation of a response such as fruit and vegetable consumption. The findings suggest that interventions aimed at improving these behaviours should address the relevant facet of executive function.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On demand

Trading Dollars for Dollars: The Price of Attention Online and Offline

Matthew Gentzkow
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 481-488

Abstract:
Popular accounts suggest that advertising revenue per unit of consumer attention is lower online than offline, and has fallen in traditional media as the Internet has made advertising markets more competitive. I assess these claims theoretically and empirically, and compare the patterns we observe for the Internet to trends in advertising around the introduction of television and radio. The evidence suggests that the price of attention for similar consumers is actually higher online than offline, and that the growth of new media is not robustly associated with a declining price of attention.

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Persuasive Puffery

Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh
Marketing Science, May-June 2014, Pages 382-400

Abstract:
Sellers often make claims about product strengths without providing evidence. Even though such claims are mere puffery, we show that they can be credible because talking up any one strength comes at the implicit trade-off of not talking up another potential strength. Puffery pulls in some buyers who value product attributes that are talked up or emphasized while pushing away other buyers who infer that the attributes they value are relative weaknesses. When the initial probability of making a sale is low, there are more potential buyers to pull in than to push away, so puffery is persuasive overall. This persuasiveness requires that buyers have some privacy about their preferences so that the seller does not completely pander to them. More generally, the results show how comparative cheap talk by an expert to a decision maker can be credible and persuasive in standard discrete choice models used throughout marketing, economics, and other disciplines.

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Harbingers of Failure

Eric Anderson et al.
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
We show that some customers systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail - the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. These customers, whom we call ‘Harbingers’ [of failure], prefer products that other customers do not want. More broadly, we document that distinguishing among the types of customers who adopt a new product can be predictive of whether a new product will succeed or fail. We discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process. Our findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success. The possibility that firms are encouraged by Harbingers’ purchases during pilot market tests may help to explain the high failure rate for new products.

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Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers' Desire for the Brand

Morgan Ward & Darren Dahl
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to consumers’ complaints that they feel rejected in and thus avoid luxury stores, retailers have encouraged sales personnel to be more friendly. However, prior research on social rejection supports the idea that rejection encourages people to elevate their perceptions of their rejecters, and strengthens their predilection to affiliate with them. Four studies examine the circumstances in which consumers increase their regard and willingness to pay after brand rejection. In a retail context, the data reveal that after threat, consumers have more positive attitudes and higher WTP when 1) the rejection comes from an aspirational (versus non-aspirational) brand, 2) the consumer relates the brand to his/her ideal self-concept, 3) s/he is unable to self-affirm prior to rejection, 4) the salesperson delivering the threat reflects the brand, and 5) the threat occurred recently. The substantive implications of these findings for retailers are discussed and opportunities for future research are identified.

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Leveraging Market Power Through Tying and Bundling: Does Google Behave Anti-Competitively?

Benjamin Edelman
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
I examine Google’s pattern and practice of tying and bundling to leverage its dominance into new sectors under antitrust law principles. In particular, I show how Google used these tactics to enter numerous markets, to compel usage of its services, and often to dominate competing offerings. I explore the technical and commercial implementations of these practices, and I identify their effects on competition. I conclude that Google’s tying and bundling tactics are suspect under antitrust law.

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Touch vs. Tech: When Technology Functions as a Barrier or a Benefit to Service Encounters

Michael Giebelhausen et al.
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal exchanges between customers and frontline service employees increasingly involve the use of technology, such as point-of-sale terminals, tablets, and kiosks. The present research draws on role and script theories to demonstrate customer reactions to technology-infused service exchanges depend on the presence of employee rapport. When rapport is present during the exchange, technology use functions as an interpersonal barrier preventing the customer from responding in kind to employee rapport-building efforts, thereby decreasing service encounter evaluations. However, during service encounters where employees are not engaging in rapport-building, technology functions as an interpersonal barrier allowing customers to retreat from the relatively unpleasant service interaction, thereby increasing service encounter evaluations. Two analyses utilizing J.D. Power Guest Satisfaction Index data support the barrier and beneficial effects of technology use during service encounters with and without rapport, respectively. A follow-up experiment replicates this data pattern and identifies psychological discomfort as a key process that governs the effect. For managers, results demonstrate the inherent incompatibility of initiatives designed to encourage employee-customer rapport with those that introduce technology into frontline service exchanges.

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“Selling Out” and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry

Joshua Gans
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
There is a puzzle arising from empirical analyses of the impact of music piracy that this has caused declines in music revenue without a consequential decline, and perhaps even an increase, in the entry of artists and the supply of high quality music. There have been numerous explanations posited and this paper adds a novel one: that artists are time inconsistent and hence, tend to underweight fame over fortune when making future choices; i.e., the degree to which they will ‘sell out.’ Regardless of whether selling out is anticipated or not, the puzzle is resolved. When selling out is not anticipated, future expectations of piracy are not a concern as these impact on monetary awards that are not driving entry. When selling out is anticipated, piracy actually constrains the degree to which artists sell out, and assured of that, raises entry returns. Implications and the role of publisher contracts are also explored.

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Internet vs. TV Advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison

Michaela Draganska, Wesley Hartmann & Gena Stanglein
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many advertisers are reluctant to shift a large proportion of their advertising budgets to the Internet because they still view television advertising as the main vehicle for building a brand. Using a unique and rich data set comprising 20 campaigns across a variety of industries, we demonstrate that Internet ads perform on par with TV ads on the brand-building metrics that advertisers use and trust. We extend traditional brand-message recall measurement to facilitate comparisons between Internet formats and television by supplementing brand-message surveys conducted during the campaign with a set of pre-campaign surveys to control for pre-existing brand knowledge. A matching procedure ensures the pre-campaign sample is comparable to the in-flight one. We find that accounting for differences in pre-existing brand knowledge is paramount in obtaining valid comparisons across advertising formats, as individuals exposed to Internet display ads have significantly lower levels of pre-existing brand knowledge than television viewers. Without considering the differences in these “initial conditions”, TV advertising appears to be more effective than advertising on the Internet, but once the pre-existing differences among media formats are taken into account, the brand recall lift measures for Internet ads are statistically indistinguishable from comparable television lift measures.

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Drive for Show and Putt for Dough? Not Anymore

Carson Baugher, Jonathan Day & Elvin Burford
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ten years ago, some golf analysts believed that “drive for show and putt for dough” may no longer be true on the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour. Scholars analyzed data from 1991 to 2002 and found that the old adage was still true since putting remained the number one skill determining earnings. We updated their models with data from 2006 to 2013 and found that driving replaced putting as the number one skill determining earnings starting in 2011. The most likely reasons for this return to skill are the lengthening of the courses and the shortening of the rough.

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Conflicting Social Codes and Organizations: Hygiene and Authenticity in Consumer Evaluations of Restaurants

David Lehman, Balázs Kovács & Glenn Carroll
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organization theory highlights the spread of norms of rationality in contemporary life. Yet rationality does not always spread without friction; individuals often act based on other beliefs and norms. We explore this problem in the context of restaurants and diners. We argue that consumers potentially apply either of two social codes when forming value judgments about restaurants: (1) an apparently rational science-based code of hygiene involving compliance with local health regulations or (2) a context-activated code of authenticity involving conformity to cultural norms. We propose that violations of the hygiene code recede in importance when the authenticity code is activated. This claim is supported by empirical analyses of 442,086 online consumer reviews and 52,740 governmental health inspections conducted from 2004 to 2011.

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Social Networks, Personalized Advertising and Privacy Controls

Catherine Tucker
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates how internet users' perception of control over their personal information affects how likely they are to click on online advertising on a social networking website. The paper uses data from a randomized field experiment that examined the effectiveness of personalizing ad text with user-posted personal information relative to generic text. The website gave users more control over their personally identifiable information in the middle of the field test. However, the website did not change how advertisers used data to target and personalize ads. Before the policy change, personalized ads did not perform particularly well. However, after this enhancement of perceived control over privacy, users were nearly twice as likely to click on personalized ads. Ads that targeted but did not use personalized text remained unchanged in effectiveness. The increase in effectiveness was larger for ads that used more unique private information to personalize their message and for target groups who were more likely to use opt-out privacy settings.

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Does It Pay to Wait? The Paths of Posted Prices and Ticket Composition for the Final Four and Super Bowl

David Harrington & Jaret Treber
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A couple of weeks before the 2012 Super Bowl, Andrew Lehren of The New York Times advised fans wanting tickets to be “patient,” because prices in secondary ticket markets tend to fall “precipitously” as the time to kickoff nears. Using data compiled from SeatGeek.com on more than 46,000 ticket postings in the two weeks prior to the 2013 Super Bowl and more than 18,000 ticket postings prior to the 2012 NCAA Final Four, we find that average prices decreased in the last few days prior to these events, reaching their lowest levels on the mornings before kickoff and first tipoff. This evidence seems to support Lehren’s recommendation that savvy fans should wait until the last minute to buy their tickets. But, we also show that savvy fans can often find similar or better bargains much earlier in the week by searching the available inventory. The greater variation in posted prices earlier in the week implies that fans can often find better bargains by searching than by being patient, especially for super-premium seats. We discuss how changes in technology have made it easier to search for bargains, while also insuring against being left ticketless if fans decide to patiently wait until the day of the game. Both strategies — patiently waiting until close to game time versus searching early and often — can produce bargains, although we suspect that changes in technology have increased the relative rewards to searching.

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Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment

Tom Blake, Steven Tadelis & Chris Nosko
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Internet advertising has been the fastest growing advertising channel in recent years with paid search ads comprising the bulk of this revenue. We present results from a series of large scale field experiments done at eBay that were designed to measure the causal effectiveness of paid search ads. Because search clicks and purchase behavior are correlated, we show that returns from paid search are a fraction of conventional non-experimental estimates. As an extreme case, we show that brand-keyword ads have no measurable short-term benefits. For non-brand keywords we find that new and infrequent users are positively influenced by ads but that more frequent users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by ads account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative.

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Substituting piracy with a pay-what-you-want option: Does it make sense?

Sana El Harbi, Gilles Grolleau & Insaf Bekir
European Journal of Law and Economics, April 2014, Pages 277-297

Abstract:
Rather than tolerating piracy or increasing sanctions, an artist can release his product directly to consumers by allowing them to download it under a ‘pay-what-you-want’ online strategy. We show analytically that this strategy can (1) be more profitable than a strategy with perfect or imperfect intellectual property rights enforcement for the artist and (2) change the organization and allocation of added value between artists and publishers along the supply chain. This higher profit result is achieved through an increased demand for live performance and positive voluntary contributions of downloaders directly pocketed by the artist. Indeed, a ‘pay-what-you-want’ strategy allows artists to reduce piracy without using sanctions while benefiting from a strategic negotiation ‘weapon’ in the relationship with record labels. Moreover, consumers draw procedural utility from the way the product is delivered. Counter-intuitively, rather than advocating for elimination of conventional releases at posted prices, pay-what-you-want strategies may need them to remain successful. A brief case study of Radiohead’s experiment and anecdotal evidence are developed to support these theoretical insights. Some implications regarding the re-organization of the supply chain and property rights regime are drawn.

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Unlikely allies: Credibility transfer during a corporate crisis

Justin Heinze, Eric Luis Uhlmann & Daniel Diermeier
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, May 2014, Pages 392–397

Abstract:
A company that faces a crisis can reestablish trust with stakeholders by announcing an independent investigation by a third party. Announcing an independent investigation, without knowing its outcome, significantly restored attitudes toward the company while an internal investigation was ineffective. Liberals responded most positively to a company that invited an independent investigation by a consumer advocacy group (Study 1). Experimentally activating liberal values using an implicit priming procedure likewise enhanced credibility transfer from a consumer advocacy group's investigation to a company in crisis (Study 2).

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Looking Innovative: Exploring the Role of Impression Management in High-Tech Product Adoption and Use

Stacy Wood & Steve Hoeffler
Journal of Product Innovation Management, November 2013, Pages 1254–1270

Abstract:
Although consumer adoption of high-tech innovations is certainly influenced by the product's functional benefits, can the use of a new product confer social benefits as well? Specifically, can the mere use of an innovative product convey the impression that the user is an innovative person? Impression management (IM) is a well-established phenomenon in social psychology that refers to the human tendency to monitor, consciously or unconsciously, the efficacy of his or her communication of self to others. This research explores the role that IM motivations, or “looking innovative,” play in consumers' use of new high-tech products, especially in the workplace — an environment in which innovativeness is clearly valued by employers and, thus, individuals have strong motivations to convey innovativeness as a personal characteristic. Data from both ethnographic and experimental methods demonstrate that (1) the use of new high-tech products can be a surprisingly effective social signal of one's “tech savvy” and personal innovativeness; (2) this impression even significantly increases positive evaluations of secondary traits such as leadership and professional success; and (3) this effect differs by gender. Intriguingly, stronger benefits accrue for women than for men — a finding that runs counter to the backlash effect typically found in IM research in business settings (i.e., female job evaluations typically suffer after engaging in the same self-promoting IM strategies that benefit their male counterparts). Further, the data show that, even for professional recruiters, a momentary observation of a job candidate using a new high-tech product versus a low-tech equivalent significantly increases the candidate's evaluation and likelihood of being hired.

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What is in a Name: Drug Names Convey Implicit Information about Their Riskiness and Efficacy

Alessandra Tasso, Teresa Gavaruzzi & Lorella Lotto
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research provides empirical evidence that drug names may entail implicit promises about their therapeutic power. We asked people to evaluate the perceived efficacy and risk associated with hypothetical drug names and other secondary related measures. We compared opaque (without meaning), functional (targeting the health issue that the drug is meant to solve) and persuasive (targeting the expected outcome of the treatment) names. Persuasive names were perceived as more efficacious and less risky than both opaque and functional names, suggesting that names that target the expected outcome of the drug may bias the perception of risk and efficacy. Implications for health-related communication are discussed in light of both the increasing use of over-the-counter drugs and the concern about people's low health literacy.

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An Examination of Social Influence on Shopper Behavior Using Video Tracking Data

Xiaoling Zhang et al.
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigates how the social elements of a retail store visit affect shoppers' product interaction and purchase likelihood. The research uses a bivariate model of the shopping process, implemented in a hierarchical Bayes framework, which models the customer and contextual factors driving product touch and purchase simultaneously. A unique video tracking database captures each shopper's path and activities during the store visit. The findings reveal that interactive social influences (salesperson contact, shopper conversations) tend to slow down the shopper, encourage a longer store visit, and increase product interaction and purchase. When shoppers are part of a larger group, they are influenced more by discussions with companions and less by third parties. Stores with customers present encourage product interaction up to a point, beyond which the density of shoppers interferes with the shopping process. The effects of social influence vary by the salesperson's demographic similarity to the shopper and the type of product category being shopped. Several behavioral cues signal when shoppers are in a potentially high need state and may be good sales prospects.

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Cannibalization and Option Value Effects of Secondary Markets: Evidence from the US Concert Industry

Victor Manuel Bennett, Robert Seamans & Feng Zhu
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how reducing search frictions in secondary markets affects the value appropriated by firms in primary markets. We characterize two effects on primary market firms caused by intermediaries entering secondary markets: the ‘cannibalization’ and ‘option value’ effects. Separation between primary and secondary markets can drive which of the two effects dominates. Firms selling valuable and scarce products are more likely to have separate primary and secondary markets, and will therefore appropriate more value when secondary markets thicken. Firms selling products that are not valuable and scarce will be hurt. Further, we hypothesize that firms have incentives to engineer scarcity by limiting supply when secondary markets thicken to separate primary and secondary markets. We find support for these hypotheses in the U.S. concert ticket industry.

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Informational Value of Social Tagging Networks

Hyoryung Nam & P.K. Kannan
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social tagging is a new way to share and categorize online content, allowing users to express their thoughts, perceptions, and feelings with respect to diverse concepts such as brands, firms, music, politics, and more. In social tagging, content is connected through user-generated keywords known as “tags” and is readily searchable through these tags. The rich associative information provided by social tagging offers marketers new opportunities to infer brand associative networks. This paper investigates how the information contained in social tags can act as a proxy measure for brand performance and can predict the financial valuation of a firm. Using the data collected from a social tagging and bookmarking website, delicious.com, we examined social tagging data for 44 firms across 14 markets. After controlling for accounting metrics, media citations, and other user-generated content, we found that social tag-based brand management metrics capturing brand familiarity, favorability of associations, and competitive overlaps of brand associations can explain unanticipated stock returns. In addition, we found that in managing brand equity, it is more important for strong brands to enhance category dominance (that is, strongly relate to primary associations in the category) while for weak brands it is more critical to enhance connectedness (that is, become more connected to competitors’ associations). These findings suggest a new way for practitioners to track, measure, and manage intangible brand equity, proactively improve brand performance, and have an impact on a firm’s financial performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historically black

Slavery, Education, and Inequality

Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico
European Economic Review, October 2014, Pages 197-209

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of slavery on the current level of income inequality across US counties. We find that a larger proportion of slaves over population in 1860 persistently increases inequality, and in particular inequality across races. We also show that a crucial channel of transmission from slavery to racial inequality is human capital accumulation, i.e., current inequality is primarily influenced by slavery through the unequal educational attainment of blacks and whites. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that the underlying links run through the political exclusion of former slaves and the resulting negative influence on the local provision of education.

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Shifting From Structural to Individual Attributions of Black Disadvantage: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Black Explanations of Racial Disparities

Candis Watts Smith
Journal of Black Studies, July 2014, Pages 432-452

Abstract:
Despite significant changes in American society, Blacks still lag behind Whites on several important socioeconomic indicators. Attributing this gap to structural reasons (e.g., racial discrimination) or to person-centered reasons (e.g., individual willpower) is highly correlated with the extent to which individuals feel that the government should implement policies to ameliorate racial disparities. Scholars have shown that Blacks have shifted their explanations of Black disadvantage from structural attributions to person-centered over the past three decades. Some suggest that this change is because all Blacks are becoming more conservative while others suggest that cohort replacement is undergirding the shift. I used a newly developed method, the intrinsic estimator, to determine whether period, age, and/or cohort effects are responsible for the shift. I find that, generally, Blacks are less inclined to suggest that discrimination is a credible explanation due to period effects, but the increase in person-centered attributions is primarily due to cohort variation.

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Divergent Pathways of Gentrification: Racial Inequality and the Social Order of Renewal in Chicago Neighborhoods

Jackelyn Hwang & Robert Sampson
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gentrification has inspired considerable debate, but direct examination of its uneven evolution across time and space is rare. We address this gap by developing a conceptual framework on the social pathways of gentrification and introducing a method of systematic social observation using Google Street View to detect visible cues of neighborhood change. We argue that a durable racial hierarchy governs residential selection and, in turn, gentrifying neighborhoods. Integrating census data, police records, prior street-level observations, community surveys, proximity to amenities, and city budget data on capital investments, we find that the pace of gentrification in Chicago from 2007 to 2009 was negatively associated with the concentration of blacks and Latinos in neighborhoods that either showed signs of gentrification or were adjacent and still disinvested in 1995. Racial composition has a threshold effect, however, attenuating gentrification when the share of blacks in a neighborhood is greater than 40 percent. Consistent with theories of neighborhood stigma, we also find that collective perceptions of disorder, which are higher in poor minority neighborhoods, deter gentrification, while observed disorder does not. These results help explain the reproduction of neighborhood racial inequality amid urban transformation.

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Separate When Equal? Racial Inequality and Residential Segregation

Patrick Bayer, Hanming Fang & Robert McMillan
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper sets out a new mechanism, involving the emergence of middle-class black neighborhoods, that can lead segregation to increase as racial inequality narrows in American cities. The formation of these neighborhoods requires a critical mass of highly educated blacks in the population and leads to an increase in segregation when those communities are attractive for blacks who otherwise would reside in middle-class white neighborhoods. To assess the empirical importance of this "neighborhood formation" mechanism, we propose a two-part research design. First, inequality and segregation should be negatively related in cross section for older blacks if our mechanism operates strongly, as we find using both the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. Second, a negative relationship should also be apparent over time, particularly for older blacks. Here, we show that increased educational attainment of blacks relative to whites in a city between 1990 and 2000 leads to a significant rise in segregation, especially for older blacks, and to a marked increase in the number of middle-class black communities. These findings draw attention to a negative feedback loop between racial inequality and segregation that has implications for the dynamics of both phenomena.

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School diversity and racial discrimination among African-American adolescents

Eleanor Seaton & Sara Douglass
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, April 2014, Pages 156-165

Abstract:
The study presented here examined school context as a moderator in the relation between daily perceptions of racial discrimination and depressive symptoms. The sample included 75 Black adolescents who completed daily surveys for 14 days. The results indicated that approximately 97% of adolescents reported experiencing at least one discriminatory experience over the 2-week period. During the daily diary period, the 2-week average was 26 discriminatory experiences with a daily average of 2.5 discriminatory events. The results indicated perceptions of racial discrimination were linked to increased depressive symptoms on the following day. This relation was apparent for Black youth attending predominantly Black and White high schools, but not for Black youth attending schools with no clear racial majority.

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Racial Winners and Losers in American Party Politics

Zoltan Hajnal & Jeremy Horowitz
Perspectives on Politics, March 2014, Pages 100-118

Abstract:
The Democratic and Republican Parties both make strong claims that their policies benefit racial and ethnic minorities. These claims have, however, received little systematic empirical assessment. This is an important omission, because democracy rests on the ability of the electorate to evaluate the responsiveness of those who govern. We assess Democrats' and Republicans' claims by compiling census data on annual changes in income, poverty, and unemployment over the last half century for each of America's racial and ethnic groups. Judged by the empirical record, it is clear which party truly benefits America's communities of color. When the nation is governed by Democrats, racial and ethnic minority well-being improves dramatically. By contrast, under Republican administrations, blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans generally suffer losses.

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Race, Ethnicity, and Discriminatory Zoning

Allison Shertzer, Tate Twinam & Randall Walsh
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Zoning has been cited as a discriminatory policy tool by critics, who argue that ordinances are used to locate manufacturing activity in minority neighborhoods (environmental racism) and deter the entry of minority residents into good neighborhoods using density restrictions (exclusionary zoning). However, empirically documenting such discriminatory behavior is complicated by the fact that zoning and land use have been co-evolving for nearly a century in most American cities, rendering discrimination and sorting observationally equivalent. We employ a novel approach to overcome this challenge, studying the introduction of comprehensive zoning in Chicago. Using fine-scale spatial data on the location of African Americans and immigrants across the city along with maps of pre-existing land use, we find strong evidence of environmental racism. Both southern black and immigrant neighborhoods appear to have been targeted for increased levels of industrial use zoning. We also find evidence of a pre-cursor to modern day exclusionary zoning.

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Do Racial Disparities in Private Transfers Help Explain the Racial Wealth Gap? New Evidence From Longitudinal Data

Signe-Mary McKernan et al.
Demography, June 2014, Pages 949-974

Abstract:
How do private transfers differ by race and ethnicity, and do such differences explain the racial and ethnic disparity in wealth? Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, this study examines private transfers by race and ethnicity in the United States and explores a causal relationship between private transfers and wealth. Panel data and a family-level fixed-effect model are used to control for the endogeneity of private transfers. Private transfers in the form of financial support received and given from extended families and friends, as well as large gifts and inheritances, are examined. We find that African Americans and Hispanics (both immigrant and nonimmigrant) receive less in both types of private transfers than whites. Large gifts and inheritances, but not net financial support received, are related to wealth increases for African American and white families. Overall, we estimate that the African American shortfall in large gifts and inheritances accounts for 12 % of the white-black racial wealth gap.

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Prisoners and Paupers: The Impact of Group Threat on Incarceration in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Cities

Susan Olzak & Suzanne Shanahan
American Sociological Review, June 2014, Pages 392-411

Abstract:
This article uses data on prisoners incarcerated for misdemeanors in late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities to assess a three-part argument that asserts that threats to white dominance prompted efforts of social control directed against African Americans and foreign-born whites: (1) For African Americans, competition with whites for jobs instigated efforts by whites to enforce the racial barrier. (2) For the foreign-born, upward mobility became associated with white identity, which allowed those who "became white" to be seen as less threatening. We thus expect the threat from foreign-born whites to be highest where their concentration in poverty was greatest. (3) We suggest that violence against a given boundary raises the salience of group threat, so a positive relationship should exist between prior violence against a group and its level of incarceration for misdemeanors. Using panel analyses of cities from 1890 through 1910, we find supporting evidence for the first two arguments and partial support for the third.

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Economic Well-being and Anti-Semitic, Xenophobic, and Racist Attitudes in Germany

Naci Mocan & Christian Raschke
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
The fear and hatred of others who are different has economic consequences because such feelings are likely to translate into discrimination in labor, credit, housing, and other markets. The implications range from earnings inequality to intergenerational mobility. Using German data from various years between 1996 and 2010, we analyze the determinants of racist and xenophobic feelings towards foreigners in general, and against specific groups such as Italians and Turks. We also analyze racist and anti-Semitic feelings towards German citizens who differ in ethnicity (Aussiedler from Eastern Europe) or in religion (German Jews). Individuals' perceived (or actual) economic well-being is negatively related to the strength of these feelings. Education, and having contact with foreigners mitigate racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic feelings. People who live in states which had provided above-median support of the Nazi party in the 1928 elections have stronger anti-Semitic feelings today. The results are not gender-driven. They are not an artifact of economic conditions triggering feelings about job priority for German males, and they are not fully driven by fears about foreigners taking away jobs. The results of the paper are consistent with the model of Glaeser (2005) on hate, and with that of Akerlof and Kranton (2000, 2005) on identity in the utility function.

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Racial Residential Segregation and Social Control: A Panel Study of the Variation in Police Strength Across U.S Cities, 1980-2010

Stephanie Kent & Jason Carmichael
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2014, Pages 228-249

Abstract:
Despite a great deal of theoretical and empirical attention given to racial residential segregation and its influence on a number of social problems in the United States, few scholars have examined the role that this persistent form of racial inequality plays in shaping the magnitude of formal social control efforts. Our study examines this relationship by assessing the potential influence that the isolation of minorities may have on efforts to control crime in urban centers across the United States. Using a pooled time-series regression technique well suited for the analysis of aggregate, longitudinal data, we assess the potential influence of racial segregation on the size of municipal police departments in 170 U.S. cities between 1980 and 2010. After accounting for minority group size, economic threat, crime, and disorganization, we find that racial residential segregation has a significant non-linear effect on police force size. Cities with the most racially integrated populations have the smallest police presence but at very high levels of segregation, police strength levels off. This finding is consistent with expectations derived from the contact hypothesis. Under such conditions, majority group members appear to be less inclined to demand greater crime control measures such as increased police protection. Period interactions with residential segregation also suggest that this relationship has grown stronger in each decade since 1980. Overall, our study provides strong support for threat theories and the contact hypothesis but offers necessary refinements.

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Socioeconomic Differences among Blacks in America: Over Time Trends

Mamadi Corra & Casey Borch
Race and Social Problems, June 2014, Pages 103-119

Abstract:
Compared to Hispanic and Asian immigrants, black immigrants in the United States have been considerably less researched, and until very recently, black African immigrants remained a relatively understudied group. Using data from three waves of the US Census (1980, 1990, and 2000), we assess differences in earnings (and related measures of socioeconomic status) among male and female African Americans and black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Results of the analysis suggest a sizeable earnings advantage for immigrants. Controlling for a host of human capital variables, however, reduced the gap between the earnings of African immigrants and native-born blacks, although the difference still remained statistically significant. No such attenuation was found for immigrants from the Caribbean. The results also indicate that for females only, the immigrant advantage has grown over time. Moreover, the findings show that additional years of work experience in the USA or in foreign countries correspond to a rather sizable increase in hourly earnings for both males and females, but, for males, this effect has grown weaker over time. Finally, men earned more than women, both overall and within comparison groups with the gap remaining relatively stable over time.

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Violence and economic activity: Evidence from African American patents, 1870-1940

Lisa Cook
Journal of Economic Growth, June 2014, Pages 221-257

Abstract:
Recent studies have examined the effect of political conflict and domestic terrorism on economic and political outcomes. This paper uses the rise in mass violence between 1870 and 1940 as an historical experiment for determining the impact of ethnic and political violence on economic activity, namely patenting. I find that violent acts account for more than 1,100 missing patents compared to 726 actual patents among African American inventors over this period. Valuable patents decline in response to major riots and segregation laws. Absence of the rule of law covaries with declines in patent productivity for white and black inventors, but this decline is significant only for African American inventors. Patenting responds positively to declines in violence. These findings imply that ethnic and political conflict may affect the level, direction, and quality of invention and economic growth over time.

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Ethnic Diversity and Neighborhood House Prices

Qiang Li
Regional Science and Urban Economics, September 2014, Pages 21-38

Abstract:
In recent decades, the large influx of immigrants to the U.S. and other developed countries has made cities in these countries more ethnically diverse. In this paper, I aim to understand whether and how ethnic diversity affects communities in these cities. A general equilibrium model is built in which people of many ethnic groups interact in the housing market through both price signals and non-market mechanisms. An endogenous correlation between neighborhood house price and the Herfindahl index of ethnic concentration arises because of social interactions. After addressing the endogeneity issue, I find that neighborhoods with more homogeneous minority populations command higher prices using a dataset of housing transactions and neighborhood socio-economic characteristics in Vancouver, Canada. This and other findings support the notion that non-market social interactions influence people's preference and behavior.

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Holocaust Survival Differentials in the Netherlands, 1942-1945: The Role of Wealth and Nationality

Marnix Croes
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Summer 2014, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
Almost all of the 140,000 Jews living in the Netherlands when the German occupation began were sent to transit camps and eventually to death camps, but not on the same timetable. According to the Jews themselves, social-economic class and (pre-war) nationality played an important role in determining when and whether people were sent to meet their death. However, data from the province of Overijssel reveal that Jews from the highest social economic class were, in general, transferred to Westerbork transit camp at a later date than were Jews from lower social-economic classes. Although the usual assumption is that Jews who had more time to find a safe hideout had a better chance to survive the Holocaust, the analysis reveals otherwise. The results for nationality are similar. German Jews from Overijssel were, in general, deported from Westerbork transit camp to the death camps in the East later than were Dutch Jews from the same province. Even though this delay reduced the likelihood that German Jews were sent to a concentration camp that had a survival rate even worse than the one at Auschwitz, German Jews did not survive the Holocaust to a greater extent than did Dutch Jews.

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Race versus Religion in the Making of the International Convention Against Racial Discrimination, 1965

Ofra Friesel
Law and History Review, May 2014, Pages 351-383

Abstract:
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965 (CERD), was negotiated at the United Nations (UN) during the years 1962-1965. At that period, the UN was an organization so highly politicized and split that it was almost paralyzed, operatively speaking. Human rights codification was a major field whose advancement came to a standstill as a result of the lack of cooperation between UN member-states. Nevertheless, the UN managed to unite around the denunciation of racial discrimination, and unanimously adopted CERD on December 21, 1965. Furthermore, the period of time that elapsed between the presentation of the initiative and the vote on the final version of the treaty was only 3 years; a rather short period of time, UN experience considered.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 16, 2014

Left behind

Injecting Charter School Best Practices into Traditional Public Schools: Evidence from Field Experiments

Roland Fryer
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the impact on student achievement of implementing a bundle of best practices from high-performing charter schools into low-performing, traditional public schools in Houston, Texas using a school-level randomized field experiment and quasi-experimental comparisons. The five practices in the bundle are increased instructional time, more-effective teachers and administrators, high-dosage tutoring, data-driven instruction, and a culture of high expectations. The findings show that injecting best practices from charter schools into traditional Houston public schools significantly increases student math achievement in treated elementary and secondary schools - by 0.15 to 0.18 standard deviations per year - and has little effect on reading achievement. Similar bundles of practices are found to significantly raise math achievement in analyses for public schools in a field experiment in Denver and program in Chicago.

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The Industrial Organization of Online Education

Tyler Cowen & Alex Tabarrok
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 519-522

Abstract:
Online education has flexibility and cost advantages over in-class teaching and these advantages will grow with improvements in information technology. We consider likely market structures given that the quality aspects of online education exhibit endogenous fixed costs. Concentration in the market for courses could be high, as it is currently in the market for textbooks. The not-for-profit sector will exhibit lower costs, lower concentration, and possibly zero price.

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Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children: When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad

Anna Fisher, Karrie Godwin & Howard Seltman
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of evidence supports the importance of focused attention for encoding and task performance. Yet young children with immature regulation of focused attention are often placed in elementary-school classrooms containing many displays that are not relevant to ongoing instruction. We investigated whether such displays can affect children's ability to maintain focused attention during instruction and to learn the lesson content. We placed kindergarten children in a laboratory classroom for six introductory science lessons, and we experimentally manipulated the visual environment in the classroom. Children were more distracted by the visual environment, spent more time off task, and demonstrated smaller learning gains when the walls were highly decorated than when the decorations were removed.

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The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma

Damon Clark & Paco Martorell
Journal of Political Economy, April 2014, Pages 282-318

Abstract:
This paper distinguishes between the human capital and signaling theories by estimating the earnings return to a high school diploma. Unlike most indicators of education (e.g., a year of school), a diploma is essentially a piece of paper and, hence, by itself cannot affect productivity. Any earnings return to holding a diploma must therefore reflect the diploma's signaling value. Using regression discontinuity methods to compare the earnings of workers who barely passed and barely failed high school exit exams - standardized tests that students must pass to earn a high school diploma - we find little evidence of diploma signaling effects.

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Compulsory Education and the Benefits of Schooling

Melvin Stephens & Dou-Yan Yang
American Economic Review, June 2014, Pages 1777-1792

Abstract:
Causal estimates of the benefits of increased schooling using U.S. state schooling laws as instruments typically rely on specifications which assume common trends across states in the factors affecting different birth cohorts. Differential changes across states during this period, such as relative school quality improvements, suggest that this assumption may fail to hold. Across a number of outcomes including wages, unemployment, and divorce, we find that statistically significant causal estimates become insignificant and, in many instances, wrong-signed when allowing year of birth effects to vary across regions.

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Do 3rd Grade Math Scores Determine Students' Futures? A Statewide Analysis of College Readiness and the Income Achievement Gap

Dorothyjean Cratty
Duke University Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This study explores the relationship between large, early income-achievement gaps and subsequent low rates of college readiness in mathematics among low-income high school students. Within-school course taking patterns in math are examined for the same students from 3rd through 12th grade, conditional on previous grade math scores and socioeconomic status, using detailed, statewide longitudinal data. The study asks the following at each grade level: i) are advanced classes identifiable within schools; ii) conditional on previous scores, do students in these classes advance faster; and iii) conditional on previous scores, are these classes more likely to be assigned to one group than another? Together, the findings indicate that, in terms of college readiness opportunities, it is better to be a low-performing high-income student than a high-performing low-income student, at every grade level, and that the share of students in each of these categories is quite large in most schools.

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Linguistic services and parental involvement among Latinos: A help or hindrance to involvement?

Michael Nino
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite being one of the most consistent predictors of achievement among youth, parental involvement among Latinos continues to be low. In an attempt to increase involvement among Latinos, schools have implemented programs that provide linguistic services for parents who face language and cultural barriers. In order to understand the effectiveness of these programs, a subset of data are used from the National Survey of Latinos: Education to examine the relationship between four linguistic services and parental involvement. Results demonstrate linguistic services play only a marginal role in parental involvement among Latinos, and in some instances, even decrease involvement. Consequently, there is minimal support for programs that provide linguistic services to Latino parents in schools, suggesting policymakers should revisit the impact these services have on the Latino parent community.

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Ability-Tracking, Instructional Time, and Better Pedagogy: The Effect of Double-Dose Algebra on Student Achievement

Kalena Cortes & Joshua Goodman
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 400-405

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence on tracking by studying an innovative curriculum implemented by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). In 2003, CPS enacted a double-dose algebra policy requiring 9th grade students with 8th grade math scores below the national median to take two periods of algebra instead of one. This policy led schools to sort students into algebra classes by math ability, so that tracking increased in all algebra classes. We show that double-dosed students are exposed to a much lower-skilled group of peers in their algebra classes but nonetheless benefit substantially from the additional instructional time and improved pedagogy.

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The effect of variable light on the fidgetiness and social behavior of pupils in school

Nino Wessolowski et al.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies on the effects of light in work environments show that specific lighting situations have different effects on human performance and social behavior. These findings suggest that beneficial lighting should also be applied in schools. The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of variable lighting on pupils' fidgetiness and their aggressive and prosocial behaviors. The variable lighting system employed was equipped with seven lighting programs featuring different varieties of illuminance and color temperature. In a controlled, quasi-experimental field study, a combination of cross-sectional and longitudinal observations was collected. The participants included n = 110 pupils of various age levels and school types and n = 11 teachers from Hamburg. Fidgetiness was measured by the changes in pixel scores in a digital recording of the students. To quantify aggressiveness and prosocial behaviors, structured behavioral observations were conducted. Self-perceived changes throughout the school year were captured using questionnaires. The findings showed a significantly stronger decline in fidgetiness and observed aggressive behaviors and a tendency toward increased prosocial behaviors within the intervention group. In the long term, the pupils did not rate themselves as being calmer or less aggressive. Overall, the findings indicated that variable light could directly reduce pupils' restlessness and improve their social behaviors. Variable lighting can thus play a part in optimizing general conditions for school learning.

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Acute aerobic exercise: An intervention for the selective visual attention and reading comprehension of low-income adolescents

Michele Tine
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2014

Abstract:
There is a need for feasible and research-based interventions that target the cognitive performance and academic achievement of low-income adolescents. In response, this study utilized a randomized experimental design and assessed the selective visual attention (SVA) and reading comprehension abilities of low-income adolescents and, for comparison purposes, high-income adolescents after they engaged in 12-min of aerobic exercise. The results suggest that 12-min of aerobic exercise improved the SVA of low- and high-income adolescents and that the benefit lasted for 45-min for both groups. The SVA improvement among the low-income adolescents was particularly large. In fact, the SVA improvement among the low-income adolescents was substantial enough to eliminate a pre-existing income gap in SVA. The mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents who engaged in 12-min of aerobic exercise was higher than the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents in the control group. However, there was no difference between the mean reading comprehension scores of the high-income adolescents who did and did not engage in 12-min of aerobic exercise. Based on the results, schools serving low-income adolescents should consider implementing brief sessions of aerobic exercise during the school day.

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Homeschooled adolescents in the United States: Developmental outcomes

Sharon Green-Hennessy
Journal of Adolescence, June 2014, Pages 441-449

Abstract:
The mission of schools has broadened beyond academics to address risk behaviors such as substance use, delinquency, and socialization problems. With an estimated 3.4% of all U.S. youth being homeschooled, this study examines how U.S. homeschoolers fare on these outcomes given their lack of access to these school services. Adolescents (ages 12-17) from the 2002 through 2011 National Surveys of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were divided based on school status (home vs. traditional schooling) and religious affiliation (stronger vs. weaker). Controlling for demographic differences, homeschoolers with weaker religious ties were three times more likely to report being behind their expected grade level and two and a half times more likely to report no extracurricular activities in the prior year than their traditionally schooled counterparts. This group was also more likely to report lax parental attitudes toward substance use. Findings suggest homeschoolers with weaker religious ties represent an at-risk group.

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State involvement in limiting textbook choice by school districts

Michelle Andrea Phillips
Public Choice, July 2014, Pages 181-203

Abstract:
Who gets to decide what textbooks are used in America's public school classrooms varies by state. States can let each school district decide, provide standards that must be followed and make available an incomplete listing of books meeting those standards, or allow schools to choose books only from a list provided by the state. I present a model that provides an explanation for state limits on textbook selection by school districts. I examine the roles played by decision making costs, effectiveness of voters, religious composition, power of teachers, and propensity of state governments to interfere with or to help districts in textbook selection policies at the state level. There has been virtually no research on this topic. My findings corroborate the extant literature that addresses interference by state governments in local affairs and extend the morality politics literature by finding a strong link between religious fundamentalism and state-level policies. I also find that state book lists are less likely (1) in more educated states, where voters are better able to select the most appropriate textbook, (2) in states with smaller school districts, where voters are more involved in the schools, and (3) in states with stronger teacher unions, giving teachers more power in textbook selection.

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What parents want: School preferences and school choice

Simon Burgess et al.
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate parents' preferences for school attributes in a unique dataset of survey, administrative, census and spatial data. Using a conditional logit, incorporating characteristics of households, schools, and home-school distance, we show that most families have strong preferences for schools' academic performance. Parents also value schools' socio-economic composition and distance, which may limit the potential of school choice to improve academic standards. Most of the variation in preferences for school quality across socio-economic groups arises from differences in the quality of accessible schools rather than differences in parents' preferences, although more advantaged parents have stronger preferences for academic performance.

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Estimating the Effects of No Child Left Behind on Teachers' Work Environments and Job Attitudes

Jason Grissom, Sean Nicholson-Crotty & James Harrington
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several recent studies have examined the impacts of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on school operations and student achievement. We complement that work by investigating the law's impacts on teachers' perceptions of their work environments and related job attitudes, including satisfaction and commitment to remain in teaching. Using four waves of the nationally representative Schools and Staffing Survey, which cover the period from 1994 to 2008, we document overall trends in teacher attitudes across this time period and take advantage of differences in the presence and strength of prior state accountability systems and differences in likely impacts on high- and low-poverty schools to isolate NCLB effects. Perhaps surprisingly, we show positive trends in many work environment measures, job satisfaction, and commitment across the time period coinciding with the implementation of NCLB. We find, however, relatively modest evidence of an impact of NCLB accountability itself. There is some evidence that the law has negatively affected perceptions of teacher cooperation but positively affected feelings of classroom control and administrator support. We find little evidence that teacher job satisfaction or commitment has changed in response to NCLB.

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No Base Left Behind: The Impact of Military Base Closures on Educational Expenditures and Outcomes

Phuong Nguyen-Hoang, Ryan Yeung & Alexander Bogin
Public Finance Review, July 2014, Pages 439-465

Abstract:
This study examines the effects of military base closures on educational expenditures and student outcomes with a national panel data set of school districts between 1990 and 2002. We adopt difference-in-differences estimation in combination with propensity score matching and instrumental variables techniques to estimate these effects. We find that per-pupil spending increases by 25.2 percent in the first year, where it remains. We also find a substantial decrease in graduation rates, but an improving trend occurs in the years after the closure.

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Grading on a Curve, and other Effects of Group Size on All-Pay Auctions

James Andreoni & Andy Brownback
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We model contests with a fixed proportion of prizes, such as a grading curve, as all-pay auctions where higher effort weakly increases the likelihood of a prize. We find theoretical predictions for the effect of contest size on effort and test our predictions in a laboratory experiment that compares two-bidder auctions with one prize and 20-bidder auctions with ten prizes. Our results demonstrate that larger contests elicit lower effort by low-skilled students, but higher effort by high-skilled. Large contests also generate more accurate rankings of students and more accurate assignment of high grades to the high-skilled.

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Changes in Implicit Theories of Ability in Biology and Dropout from STEM Majors: A Latent Growth Curve Approach

Ting Dai & Jennifer Cromley
Contemporary Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This longitudinal study was designed to investigate the associations between changes in implicit theories of ability in biology and college students' dropout from STEM majors. We modeled the one-year growth patterns of entity and incremental beliefs about ability in biology with 4 time points of self-reported data and two covariates - biology domain knowledge and inference making and gateway course grade, and predicted STEM dropout with the growth trajectories of implicit theories. Results indicated that students' entity beliefs increased, while incremental beliefs decreased over time, which provides support for the changeability of implicit beliefs over a short period of time. The growth of incremental beliefs was directly associated with STEM dropout above and beyond biology course grade and biology domain knowledge and inference making. Low intercept and negative slope of incremental beliefs predicted leaving STEM majors; however, the decline of entity beliefs did not have significant effects on dropout. Interestingly, the effect of biology domain knowledge and inference making on STEM dropout was mediated by biology course grade and incremental beliefs. The findings imply the importance of monitoring changes in students' implicit beliefs and gateway course achievement in order to better understand and promote STEM retention.

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Does private tutoring work? The effectiveness of private tutoring: A nonparametric bounds analysis

Stefanie Hof
Education Economics, July/August 2014, Pages 347-366

Abstract:
Private tutoring has become popular throughout the world. However, evidence for the effect of private tutoring on students' academic outcome is inconclusive; therefore, this paper presents an alternative framework: a nonparametric bounds method. The present examination uses, for the first time, a large representative data-set in a European setting to identify the causal effect of self-initiated private tutoring. Under relatively weak assumptions, I find some evidence that private tutoring improves students' outcome in reading. However, the results indicate a heterogeneous and nonlinear effect of private tutoring, e.g. a threshold may exist after which private tutoring becomes ineffective or even detrimental.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friends with benefits

Checkbooks in the Heartland: Change over Time in Voluntary Association Membership

Matthew Painter & Pamela Paxton
Sociological Forum, June 2014, Pages 408-428

Abstract:
Numerous scholars documented declines in America's social capital through the mid-1990s but we do not know whether the trend has continued. Further, despite warnings by Robert Putnam and Theda Skocpol that the quality of Americans' voluntary association memberships has also deteriorated - moving from active, "face-to-face" memberships to passive, "checkbook" memberships - data have not been available to test this claim. In this article, we use both the Iowa Community Survey and the General Social Survey to explore the changing nature of voluntary association membership between 1994 and 2004. We demonstrate that not only are declines in voluntary association memberships continuing in the new century but there has been a shift in the intensity of voluntary association participation over time. We observe a decline in active membership over time and an increase in checkbook membership over time. These findings provide support for Putnam's claim that checkbook membership is increasing at the expense of more active types of memberships.

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Surfing Alone? The Internet and Social Capital: Evidence from an Unforeseeable Technological Mistake

Stefan Bauernschuster, Oliver Falck & Ludger Woessmann
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the Internet undermine social capital, such as real-world inter-personal relations and civic engagement? Merging unique telecommunication data with geo-coded German individual-level data, we investigate how broadband Internet affects social capital. A first identification strategy uses first-differencing to account for unobserved time-invariant individual heterogeneity. A second identification strategy exploits a quasi-experiment in East Germany created by a mistaken technology choice of the state-owned telecommunication provider in the 1990s that hindered broadband Internet roll-out for many households. We find no evidence of negative effects of the Internet on several aspects of social capital. In fact, the effect on a composite social capital index is significantly positive.

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Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Adam Kramer, Jamie Guillory & Jeffrey Hancock
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others' positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

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Happy but unhealthy: The relationship between social ties and health in an emerging network

Jennifer Howell et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social connections are essential to health and well-being. However, when pursing social acceptance, people may sometimes engage in behavior that is detrimental to their health. Using a multi-time-point design, we examined whether the structure of an emerging network of students in an academic summer school program correlated with their physical health and mental well-being. Participants who were more central in the network typically experienced greater symptoms of illness (e.g., cold/flu symptoms), engaged in riskier health behaviors (e.g., binge drinking), and had higher physiological reactivity to a stressor. At the same time, they were happier, felt more efficacious, and perceived less stress in response to a strenuous math task. These outcomes suggest that social ties in an emerging network are associated with better mental well-being, but also with poorer physical health and health behaviors.

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The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty

Tiziana Casciaro, Francesca Gino & Maryam Kouchaki
Harvard Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
To create social ties to support their professional or personal goals, people actively engage in instrumental networking. Drawing from moral psychology research, we posit that this intentional behavior has unintended consequences for an individual's morality. Unlike personal networking in pursuit of emotional support or friendship, and unlike social ties that emerge spontaneously, instrumental networking in pursuit of professional goals can impinge on an individual's moral purity - a psychological state that results from viewing the self as clean from a moral standpoint - and make an individual feel dirty. We theorize that such feelings of dirtiness decrease the frequency of instrumental networking and, as a result, work performance. We also examine sources of variability in networking-induced feelings of dirtiness by proposing that the amount of power people have when they engage in instrumental networking influences how dirty this networking makes them feel. Three laboratory experiments and a survey study of lawyers in a large North American law firm provide support for our predictions. We call for a new direction in network research that investigates how network-related behaviors associated with building social capital influence individuals' psychological experiences and work outcomes.

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Social identification moderates the effect of crowd density on safety at the Hajj

Hani Alnabulsi & John Drury
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Crowd safety is a major concern for those attending and managing mass gatherings, such as the annual Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca (also called Makkah). One threat to crowd safety at such events is crowd density. However, recent research also suggests that psychological membership of crowds can have positive benefits. We tested the hypothesis that the effect of density on safety might vary depending on whether there is shared social identification in the crowd. We surveyed 1,194 pilgrims at the Holy Mosque, Mecca, during the 2012 Hajj. Analysis of the data showed that the negative effect of crowd density on reported safety was moderated by social identification with the crowd. Whereas low identifiers reported reduced safety with greater crowd density, high identifiers reported increased safety with greater crowd density. Mediation analysis suggested that a reason for these moderation effects was the perception that other crowd members were supportive. Differences in reported safety across national groups (Arab countries and Iran compared with the rest) were also explicable in terms of crowd identification and perceived support. These findings support a social identity account of crowd behavior and offer a novel perspective on crowd safety management.

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Moving Narcissus: Can Narcissists Be Empathic?

Erica Hepper, Claire Hart & Constantine Sedikides
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empathy plays a critical role in fostering and maintaining social relations. Narcissists lack empathy, and this may account for their interpersonal failures. But why do narcissists lack empathy? Are they incapable, or is change possible? Three studies addressed this question. Study 1 showed that the link between narcissism and low empathy generalizes to a specific target person presented in a vignette. The effect was driven by maladaptive narcissistic components (i.e., entitlement, exploitativeness, exhibitionism). Study 2 examined the effect of perspective-taking (vs. control) instructions on self-reported responses to a video. Study 3 examined the effect of the same manipulation on autonomic arousal (heart rate [HR]) during an audio-recording. Perspective-taking ameliorated negative links between maladaptive narcissism and both self-reported empathy and HR. That is, narcissists can be moved by another's suffering, if they take that person's perspective. The findings demonstrate that narcissists' low empathy does not reflect inability, implying potential for intervention.

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Narcissists' social pain seen only in the brain

Christopher Cascio, Sara Konrath & Emily Falk
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Narcissism is a complex phenomenon, involving a level of defensive self-enhancement. Narcissists have avoidant attachment styles, maintain distance in relationships, and claim not to need others. However, they are especially sensitive to others' evaluations, needing positive reflected appraisals to maintain their inflated self-views, and showing extreme responses (e.g. aggression) when rejected. The current study tested the hypothesis that narcissists also show hypersensitivity in brain systems associated with distress during exclusion. We measured individual differences in narcissism (Narcissistic Personality Inventory) and monitored neural responses to social exclusion (Cyberball). Narcissism was significantly associated with activity in an a priori anatomically defined social pain network (AI, dACC, and subACC) during social exclusion. Results suggest hypersensitivity to exclusion in narcissists may be a function of hypersensitivity in brain systems associated with distress, and suggests a potential pathway that connects narcissism to negative consequences for longer term physical and mental health - findings not apparent with self-report alone.

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Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers

Anita Vangelisti et al.
Personal Relationships, June 2014, Pages 349-363

Abstract:
There is evidence that social pain or "hurt feelings" and physical pain share the same neural system. Although researchers have found that a physical pain reliever can reduce social pain, studies suggest that sex differences may influence these findings. Our results indicate that women who took ibuprofen felt less hurt or social pain when they were excluded from a game and when they relived a painful experience than did women who took a placebo. Men who took the pain reliever, by contrast, felt more hurt in both situations than did those who took the placebo. Further, the sex difference revealed in men's and women's ratings of their social pain was reflected in their open-ended verbal descriptions of social and physical pain.

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The two sides of spontaneity: Movement onset asymmetries in facial expressions influence social judgments

Evan Carr et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 31-36

Abstract:
When forming basic social impressions, it is important to quickly and accurately classify facial expressions (including their spontaneity). Early studies on emotion perception, employing static pictures in the chimeric-face paradigm, demonstrated that expressions shown on the left hemi-face (LHF) were rated as more intense, compared to the right hemi-face (RHF). Interestingly, recent studies on emotion production, using high-speed video recordings, discovered an onset asymmetry (OAS) such that spontaneous expressions start earlier in the LHF, while posed expressions start in the RHF. Here, using highly controlled and dynamically developing video stimuli of avatar faces, we tested whether OASs in perceived faces influence the efficiency with which an expression is classified, as well as judgments of expression intensity, spontaneity, and trustworthiness. Videos of avatars making happy and angry expressions, with OASs of either 20 or 400 milliseconds, were judged on several social dimensions by 68 participants. The results highlight the importance of the LHF for emotion classifications and social judgments: Expressions with earlier LHF onsets were not only judged to be more spontaneous but were also detected more quickly and accurately (a difference that was most evident for angry expressions with a briefly presented OAS, but not for happy expressions). Generally, these findings underscore how adaptive social perception relies on subtle cues in the dynamics of emotional facial expressions.

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Consensus and stratification in the affective meaning of human sociality

Jens Ambrasat et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 June 2014, Pages 8001-8006

Abstract:
We investigate intrasocietal consensus and variation in affective meanings of concepts related to authority and community, two elementary forms of human sociality. Survey participants (n = 2,849) from different socioeconomic status (SES) groups in German society provided ratings of 909 social concepts along three basic dimensions of affective meaning. Results show widespread consensus on these meanings within society and demonstrate that a meaningful structure of socially shared knowledge emerges from organizing concepts according to their affective similarity. The consensus finding is further qualified by evidence for subtle systematic variation along SES differences. In relation to affectively neutral words, high-status individuals evaluate intimacy-related and socially desirable concepts as less positive and powerful than middle- or low-status individuals, while perceiving antisocial concepts as relatively more threatening. This systematic variation across SES groups suggests that the affective meaning of sociality is to some degree a function of social stratification.

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It's only a computer: Virtual humans increase willingness to disclose

Gale Lucas et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, August 2014, Pages 94-100

Abstract:
Research has begun to explore the use of virtual humans (VHs) in clinical interviews (Bickmore, Gruber, & Picard, 2005). When designed as supportive and "safe" interaction partners, VHs may improve such screenings by increasing willingness to disclose information (Gratch, Wang, Gerten, & Fast, 2007). In health and mental health contexts, patients are often reluctant to respond honestly. In the context of health-screening interviews, we report a study in which participants interacted with a VH interviewer and were led to believe that the VH was controlled by either humans or automation. As predicted, compared to those who believed they were interacting with a human operator, participants who believed they were interacting with a computer reported lower fear of self-disclosure, lower impression management, displayed their sadness more intensely, and were rated by observers as more willing to disclose. These results suggest that automated VHs can help overcome a significant barrier to obtaining truthful patient information.

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Creating a communication system from scratch: Gesture beats vocalization hands down

Nicolas Fay et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2014

Abstract:
How does modality affect people's ability to create a communication system from scratch? The present study experimentally tests this question by having pairs of participants communicate a range of pre-specified items (emotions, actions, objects) over a series of trials to a partner using either non-linguistic vocalization, gesture or a combination of the two. Gesture-alone outperformed vocalization-alone, both in terms of successful communication and in terms of the creation of an inventory of sign-meaning mappings shared within a dyad (i.e., sign alignment). Combining vocalization with gesture did not improve performance beyond gesture-alone. In fact, for action items, gesture-alone was a more successful means of communication than the combined modalities. When people do not share a system for communication they can quickly create one, and gesture is the best means of doing so.

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Remind Me Who I Am: Social Interaction Strategies for Maintaining the Threatened Self-Concept

Erica Slotter & Wendi Gardner
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
After failure, individuals frequently turn to others for support. The current research examined the process through which individuals utilize interpersonal relationships to stabilize threatened self-views. We may seek support to reassure us with warmth and acceptance after a self-threat, or to provide support for threatened self-knowledge. We proposed that although both types of support are likely to repair the affective consequences of a self-threat, only interacting with others who can provide evidence from the individuals' past that reconfirms a threatened self-aspect would help stabilize the self-concept. Two studies demonstrated that, for individuals who have suffered a self-threat, receiving specific evidentiary support for the threatened self-aspect was more effective at restoring confidence in both the specific self-aspect and at recovering self-concept clarity than was receiving emotional support, whether the interaction was imagined (Study 1), or offered in person (Study 2) after the threat.

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The magic of collective emotional intelligence in learning groups: No guys needed for the spell!

Petru Curşeu et al.
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a cross-lagged design, the present study tests an integrative model of emergent collective emotions in learning groups. Our results indicate that the percentage of women in the group fosters the emergence of collective emotional intelligence, which in turn stimulates social integration within groups (increases group cohesion and reduces relationship conflict) and the associated affective similarity, with beneficial effects for group effectiveness.

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Oxytocin facilitates social approach behavior in women

Katrin Preckel et al.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, May 2014

Abstract:
In challenging environments including both numerous threats and scarce resources, the survival of an organism depends on its ability to quickly escape from dangers and to seize opportunities to gain rewards. The phylogenetically ancient neurohormonal oxytocin (OXT) system has been shown to influence both approach and avoidance (AA) behavior in men, but evidence for comparable effects in women is still lacking. We thus conducted a series of pharmacological behavioral experiments in a randomized double-blind study involving 76 healthy heterosexual women treated with either OXT (24 IU) or placebo intranasally. In Experiment 1, we tested how OXT influenced the social distance subjects maintained between themselves and either a female or male experimenter. In Experiment 2, we applied a reaction time based AA task. In Experiment 3 we investigated effects on peri-personal space by measuring the lateral attentional bias in a line bisection task. We found that OXT specifically decreased the distance maintained between subjects and the male but not the female experimenter and also accelerated approach toward pleasant social stimuli in the AA task. However, OXT did not influence the size of peri-personal space, suggesting that it does not alter perception of personal space per se, but rather that a social element is necessary for OXT's effects on AA behavior to become evident. Taken together, our results point to an evolutionarily adaptive mechanism by which OXT in women selectively promotes approach behavior in positive social contexts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pleasantly disposed

Sex Differences in Wild Chimpanzee Behavior Emerge during Infancy

Elizabeth Lonsdorf et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2014

Abstract:
The role of biological and social influences on sex differences in human child development is a persistent topic of discussion and debate. Given their many similarities to humans, chimpanzees are an important study species for understanding the biological and evolutionary roots of sex differences in human development. In this study, we present the most detailed analyses of wild chimpanzee infant development to date, encompassing data from 40 infants from the long-term study of chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Our goal was to characterize age-related changes, from birth to five years of age, in the percent of observation time spent performing behaviors that represent important benchmarks in nutritional, motor, and social development, and to determine whether and in which behaviors sex differences occur. Sex differences were found for indicators of social behavior, motor development and spatial independence with males being more physically precocious and peaking in play earlier than females. These results demonstrate early sex differentiation that may reflect adult reproductive strategies. Our findings also resemble those found in humans, which suggests that biologically-based sex differences may have been present in the common ancestor and operated independently from the influences of modern sex-biased parental behavior and gender socialization.

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Sexual Orientation Change Efforts through Psychotherapy for LGBQ Individuals Affiliated With the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Kate Bradshaw et al.
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study reports the results of a comprehensive online survey of 1,612 current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) many of whom engaged in psychotherapy in an effort to cope with (understand, accept, or change) their same-sex attractions. Data obtained from written and quantitative responses showed that therapy was initiated over a very wide age range and continued for many years. However, counseling was largely ineffective; less than 4% reported any modification of core same-sex erotic attraction. Moreover, 42% reported that their change-oriented therapy was “not at all effective,” and 37% found it to be moderately to severely harmful. In contrast, affirming psychotherapeutic strategies were often found to be beneficial in reducing depression, increasing self-esteem, and improving family and other relationships. Our data suggest that the very low likelihood of a modification of sexual orientation and the ambiguous nature of any such change should be important considerations for highly religious sexual minority individuals considering reorientation therapy.

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Why Do They Have to Flaunt it? Perceptions of Communicative Intent Predict Antigay Prejudice Based Upon Brief Exposure to Nonverbal Cues

David Lick, Kerri Johnson & Simone Gill
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Perceivers use gender-atypical nonverbal cues to categorize others as lesbian/gay, and the same cues help to explain the occurrence of antigay prejudice. Although these patterns replicate across recent studies, their proximal causes have received little attention. It remains unclear, for example, why the gender-atypical appearances common among sexual minority individuals arouse negative evaluations. Here, we tested whether perceptions of communicative intent — believing that targets’ visible features are deliberately enacted in order to convey aspects of their identities — may help to explain observed links between sexual orientation categorization, gender typicality, and prejudice. In Study 1, gender-atypical body motions were associated with the perception that targets were intentionally trying to communicate their identity, and perceptions of communicative intent predicted expressions of antigay prejudice. Study 2 replicated these effects with static facial images. Collectively, these findings highlight communicative intent as an important factor predicting antigay prejudice in the early moments of social perception.

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Hands of a surgeon: Second to fourth digit ratios in the surgical profession

C.W. Joyce et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 28–31

Abstract:
Second to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) is a sexually dimorphic trait and a low ratio has been shown to be linked with a heightened visuospatial ability. Surgeons are typically renowned for good visuospatial awareness and this is now a requirement to gain access on to surgical training programmes. We hypothesized that a lower 2D:4D would be found in a cohort of surgeons compared to an age and gender matched control group. Digit ratios were measured in each group and compared. We found that male surgeons had a significantly reduced 2D:4D ratio compared to the controls. There was no difference observed between female surgeons and the female control. We have demonstrated that male surgeons have a significantly lower 2D:4D ratio compared to an age and gender matched control. This would be in keeping with published reports that a low 2D:4D ratio is associated with improved visuospatial ability.

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British colonialism and the criminalization of homosexuality

Enze Han & Joseph O'Mahoney
Cambridge Review of International Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
What explains the global variation in laws criminalizing homosexual conduct? Recent research has claimed that British colonialism is largely responsible for the criminalization of homosexuality around the world. This article utilizes a newly constructed dataset that includes up-to-date data on 185 countries to assess this claim. We find that British colonies are much more likely to have criminalization of homosexual conduct laws than other colonies or other states in general. This result holds after controlling for other variables that might be expected to influence the likelihood of repressive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights legislation. However, we also find that the evidence in favour of the claim that British imperialism ‘poisoned’ societies against homosexuality is weak. British colonies do not systematically take longer to decriminalize homosexual conduct than other European colonies.

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Sexual-Orientation Disparities in School: The Mediational Role of Indicators of Victimization in Achievement and Truancy Because of Feeling Unsafe

Michelle Birkett, Stephen Russell & Heather Corliss
American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Pages 1124-1128

Objectives: We examined sexual-orientation identity disparities in truancy and academic achievement, and the mediational role of victimization in a large high-school sample.

Methods: We utilized pooled data, measuring sexual identity, from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System Surveys. Multilevel logistic regression modeling estimated the odds of low grades and truancy because of feeling unsafe comparing lesbian/gay, bisexual, (LGB) and unsure students to heterosexuals. We stratified models by gender. Indicators of victimization were examined to mediate the relationship between identifying as a sexual minority and school achievement or truancy.

Results: LGB-identified youths reported significantly elevated odds of truancy and low grades (odds ratios = 1.6–3.2; all P < .05). Additionally, both genders noting uncertainty about their sexual identity showed increased odds of truancy. Victimization indicators mediated the relationship between identifying as a sexual minority and experiencing negative school outcomes, with greater victimization indicators being associated with increased truancy and lower grades, and the extent of mediation differed by gender.

Conclusions: As early disparities in academic achievement and school engagement have indicated a lifetime of increased health and behavioral risk factors, early intervention targeting school victimization is necessary.

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Perceptual Underpinnings of Antigay Prejudice: Negative Evaluations of Sexual Minority Women Arise on the Basis of Gendered Facial Features

David Lick & Kerri Johnson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychologists have amassed robust evidence of antigay prejudice by assessing participants’ global attitudes toward sexual minorities and their reactions to behavioral descriptions of hypothetical targets. In daily interactions, however, perceivers make decisions about others’ sexual orientations based upon visible cues alone. Does antigay prejudice arise on the basis of such visual exposure, and if so, why? Three studies revealed that perceivers evaluated women they categorized as lesbians more negatively than women they categorized as straight. Moreover, prejudice against lesbian women was strongly tethered to gendered aspects of their facial appearance: Women categorized as lesbians tended to appear gender-atypical, and women who appeared gender-atypical were perceived to be unattractive, leading to prejudice. Similar findings did not emerge for men categorized as gay. As such, we argue that gendered appearance cues lay the perceptual foundation for prejudice against women, but not men, who are categorized as sexual minorities.

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Is subjective ambivalence toward gays a modern form of bias?

Mark Hoffarth & Gordon Hodson
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 75–80

Abstract:
Theoretically, modern racism and sexism are characterized by ambivalence. We directly examined the consequence of being higher in subjective ambivalence toward gays (i.e. attitudes that feel “torn”) with regard to gay rights support. In Study 1, greater subjective ambivalence was associated with more negative attitudes (and not more positive attitudes), more ideological opposition to gays, more negative intergroup emotions, and less gay rights support. In Study 2, less opposition to gay bullying was predicted by: (a) greater subjective ambivalence (through lower intergroup empathy); and (b) experimentally-salient bullying justification norms (through lower collective guilt). These effects held controlling for Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men (i.e., traditional negative attitudes). Although not overtly negative, individual differences in subjective ambivalence tap a unique, subtle, and less objectionable form of bias, consistent with aversive racism and justification–suppression frameworks of explaining modern biases.

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Testosterone across successive competitions: Evidence for a ‘winner effect’ in humans?

Samuele Zilioli & Neil Watson
Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2014, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
In many species testosterone fluctuates in concert with outcome-dependent changes in social status, such that winning a competition leads to an increase in circulating testosterone (i.e. competition effect). Although this phenomenon has been well studied in humans, the cumulative endocrine impact of multiple successive competitions is poorly understood. Moreover, although changes in testosterone after a competition seem to predict immediate aggressive behavior, competitive motivation, risk-taking, and affiliation, whether this endocrine response also has long-term behavioral effects, as suggested by studies in non-human animals, has not been examined. In this study, salivary testosterone was collected from pairs of male participants engaging, on two consecutive days, in head-to-head competitions on a previously validated laboratory task. We found that testosterone reactivity on the first day, which was congruent with the competition effect (i.e. net testosterone increase in randomly assigned winners), predicted the task performance on the second day. Further, when looking at testosterone reactivity on the second day, those individuals that lost both competitions experienced the steepest decline in testosterone compared to those individuals who lost on the second day but won on the first day. Testosterone fluctuations on the second day were also analyzed considering the type of status hierarchy (stable vs. unstable) that emerged as a result of the combined outcomes of the two competitions. In accordance with the Challenge Hypothesis, men in unstable hierarchies (first day winners/second day losers and first day losers/second day winners) experienced an increase in testosterone compared to men in the stable hierarchies (double winners and double losers). Results are discussed within a comparative perspective, drawing parallels with the Winner Effect and the Challenge Hypothesis observed in non-human animals.

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The moderating effect of prior attitudes on intergroup face-to-face contact

Heather Graham, Mark Frame & Jared Kenworthy
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined cooperative contact as an antecedent to reducing negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians, as measured by Herek's Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale—Short Form (ATLG). In a scripted role-play, participants were paired with a confederate who declared their character's sexual orientation as either heterosexual or homosexual. Hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated that contact with homosexual individuals affected participants' attitudes toward gay men and lesbians over and above the participants' prior ATLG scores. A moderating effect for prior ATLG scores was also found. The effect of confederate's sexual orientation was stronger for participants with more negative ATLG scores compared to those with more favorable attitudes. Implications for decreasing homophobia in organizations are discussed.

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Does Menstrual Cycle Phase Influence the Gender Specificity of Heterosexual Women’s Genital and Subjective Sexual Arousal?

Jennifer Bossio et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 2014, Pages 941-952

Abstract:
Unlike men, heterosexual women’s genital arousal is gender nonspecific, such that heterosexual women show relatively similar genital arousal to sexual stimuli depicting men and women but typically report greater subjective arousal to male stimuli. Based on the ovulatory-shift hypothesis — that women show a mid-cycle shift in preferences towards more masculine features during peak fertility — we predicted that heterosexual women’s genital and subjective arousal would be gender specific (more arousal towards male stimuli) during peak fertility. Twenty-two naturally-cycling heterosexual women were assessed during the follicular and luteal phases of their menstrual cycle to examine the role of menstrual cycle phase in gender specificity of genital and subjective sexual arousal. Menstrual cycle phase was confirmed with salivary hormone assays; phase at the time of first testing was counterbalanced. Women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal patterns were gender nonspecific, irrespective of cycle phase. Cycle phase at first testing session did not influence genital or subjective arousal in the second testing session. Similar to previous research, women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal varied with cues of sexual activity, but neither genital nor subjective sexual arousal varied by gender cues, with the exception of masturbation stimuli, where women showed higher genital arousal to the stimuli depicting male compared to female actors. These data suggest that menstrual cycle phase does not influence the gender specificity of heterosexual women’s genital and subjective sexual arousal.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 13, 2014

Race for the cure

More Insurers Lower Premiums: Evidence from Initial Pricing in the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Leemore Dafny, Jonathan Gruber & Christopher Ody
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
First-year insurer participation in the Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs) established by the Affordable Care Act is limited in many areas of the country. There are 3.9 participants, on (population-weighted) average, in the 395 ratings areas spanning the 34 states with federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs). Using data on the plans offered in the FFMs, together with predicted market shares for exchange participants (estimated using 2011 insurer-state market shares in the individual insurance market), we study the impact of competition on premiums. We exploit variation in ratings-area-level competition induced by United Healthcare’s decision not to participate in any of the FFMs. We estimate that United’s nonparticipation decision raised the second-lowest-price silver premium (which is directly linked to federal subsidies) by 5.4 percent, on average. If all insurers active in each state’s individual insurance market in 2011 had participated in all ratings areas in that state’s HIM, we estimate this key premium would be 11.1% lower and 2014 federal subsidies would be reduced by $1.7 billion.

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The Political Polarization of Physicians in the United States: An Analysis of Campaign Contributions to Federal Elections, 1991 Through 2012

Adam Bonica, Howard Rosenthal & David Rothman
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To analyze campaign contributions that physicians made from the 1991 to 1992 through the 2011 to 2012 election cycles to Republican and Democratic candidates in presidential and congressional races and to partisan organizations, including party committees and super political action committees (Super PACs).

Design, Setting, and Participants: We explored partisan differences in physician contributions by sex, for-profit vs nonprofit practice setting, and specialty using multiple regression analysis. We studied the relation between the variation in the mean annual income across specialties and the mean percentage of physicians within each specialty contributing to Republicans.

Results: Between the 1991 to 1992 and the 2011 to 2012 election cycles, physician campaign contributions increased from $20 million to $189 million, and the percentage of active physicians contributing increased from 2.6% to 9.4%. Of physicians who contributed during the study period, the mean percentage contributing to Republicans was 57% for men and 31% for women. Since 1996, the percentage of physicians contributing to Republicans has decreased, to less than 50% in the 2007 to 2008 election cycle and again in the 2011 to 2012 election cycle. Contributions to Republicans in 2011 to 2012 were more prevalent among men vs women (52.3% vs 23.6%), physicians practicing in for-profit vs nonprofit organizations (53.2% vs 25.6%), and surgeons vs pediatricians (70.2% vs 22.1%). In 1991 to 1992, these contribution gaps were smaller: for sex, 54.5% vs 30.9%; for organizations, 54.2% vs 40.0%; and for specialty, 65.5% vs 32.7%. The percentage of physicians contributing to Republicans across specialties correlated 0.84 with the mean log earnings of each specialty; specialties with higher mean earnings had higher percentages of physicians contributing to Republicans.

Conclusions and Relevance: Between 1991 and 2012, the political alignment of US physicians shifted from predominantly Republican toward the Democrats. The variables driving this change, including the increasing percentage of female physicians and the decreasing percentage of physicians in solo and small practices, are likely to drive further changes.

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The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions

Sarah Cohodes et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Public health insurance programs comprise a large share of federal and state government expenditure, and these programs are due to be expanded as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Despite a large literature on the effects of these programs on health care utilization and health outcomes, little prior work has examined the long-term effects of these programs and resultant health improvements on important outcomes, such as educational attainment. We contribute to filling this gap in the literature by examining the effects of the public insurance expansions among children in the 1980s and 1990s on their future educational attainment. Our findings indicate that expanding health insurance coverage for low-income children has large effects on high school completion, college attendance and college completion. These estimates are robust to only using federal Medicaid expansions, and they are mostly due to expansions that occur when the children are older (i.e., not newborns). We present suggestive evidence that better health is one of the mechanisms driving our results by showing that Medicaid eligibility when young translated into better teen health. Overall, our results indicate that the long-run benefits of public health insurance are substantial.

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Health-Insurer Bargaining Power and Firms' Incentives to Manage Earnings

Francesco Bova, Yiwei Dou & Ole-Kristian Hope
University of Toronto Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Health-insurance premiums account for a significant portion of the cost base of U.S. corporations. A recent study in The American Economic Review (Dafny 2010) finds that health-insurance premiums increase for firms that experience positive profit shocks, suggesting that the health-insurance market is not perfectly competitive. Motivated by this finding and the economic importance of health-insurance premiums, this is the first study to examine firms’ earnings-management incentives in the face of insurance carriers with strong bargaining power. Using an innovative dataset for a large sample of U.S. firms with detailed information on insurance premiums and insurance-plan characteristics, we find that firms manage their reported earnings downward when insurance providers have strong bargaining power. This finding holds using both association tests and a natural experiment. We further show that this effect is more pronounced in settings in which there are ex-ante reasons to expect stronger incentives to manage earnings. We also provide preliminary evidence suggesting that downward earnings management has the intended effect of reducing future health-insurance premiums. Our analyses highlight an inefficient health-insurance market as an important determinant of firms’ accounting choices.

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Impacts of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Provision on Health-Related Outcomes of Young Adults

Silvia Barbaresco, Charles Courtemanche & Yanling Qi
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
The first major insurance expansion of the Affordable Care Act – a provision requiring insurers to allow dependents to remain on parents’ health insurance until turning 26 – took effect in September 2010. We estimate this mandate’s impacts on numerous health-related outcomes using a difference-in-differences approach with 23-25 year olds as the treatment group and 27-29 year olds as the control group. For the full sample, the dependent coverage provision increased the probabilities of having insurance, a primary care doctor, and excellent self-assessed health, while decreasing unmet medical needs because of cost. However, we find no evidence of improvements in preventive care utilization or health behaviors. Subsample analyses reveal particularly striking gains for college graduates, including reduced obesity. Finally, we show that the mandate’s impacts on 19-22 year olds were generally weaker than those on 23-25 year olds, although we observe a reduction in pregnancies for unmarried 19-22 year old women.

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Do Physicians Possess Market Power?

Abe Dunn & Adam Hale Shapiro
Journal of Law and Economics, February 2014, Pages 159-193

Abstract:
We study the degree to which greater physician concentration leads to higher service prices charged by physicians in the commercially insured medical care market. Using a database of physicians throughout the United States, we construct physician-firm concentration measures based on market boundaries defined by fixed driving times, which we label the fixed-travel-time Herfindahl-Hirschman index. We link these concentration measures to health insurance claims. We find that physicians in more concentrated markets charge higher service prices; a physician in the 90th percentile of market concentration will charge 14–30 percent higher fees than a physician in the 10th percentile. Our estimates imply that physician consolidation has caused about an 8 percent increase in fees on average over the last 20 years and substantially higher increases in concentrated markets.

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The Effect of Public Insurance Coverage for Childless Adults on Labor Supply

Laura Dague, Thomas DeLeire & Lindsey Leininger
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This study provides plausibly causal estimates of the effect of public insurance coverage on the employment of non-elderly, non-disabled adults without dependent children (“childless adults”). We use regression discontinuity and propensity score matching difference-in-differences methods to take advantage of the sudden imposition of an enrollment cap, comparing the labor supply of enrollees to eligible applicants on a waitlist. We find enrollment into public insurance leads to sizable and statistically meaningful reductions in employment up to at least 9 quarters later, with an estimated size of from 2 to 10 percentage points depending upon the model used.

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Payment Systems in the Healthcare Industry: An Experimental Study of Physician Incentives

Ellen Green
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policy makers and the healthcare industry have proposed changes to physician payment structures as a way to improve the quality of health care and reduce costs. Several of these proposals require healthcare providers to employ a value-based purchasing program (also known as pay-for-performance [P4P]). However, the way in which existing payment structures impact physician behavior is unclear and therefore, predicting how well P4P will perform is difficult. To understand the impact physician payment structures have on physician behavior, I approximate the physician-patient relationship in a real-effort laboratory experiment. I study several prominent physician payment structures including fee-for-service, capitation, salary, and P4P. I find that physicians are intrinsically motivated to provide high quality care and relying exclusively on extrinsic incentives to motivate physicians is detrimental to the quality of care and costly for the healthcare industry.

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Malpractice Law, Physicians’ Financial Incentives, and Medical Treatment: How Do They Interact?

Ity Shurtz
Journal of Law and Economics, February 2014, Pages 1-29

Abstract:
The effects of malpractice law and financial incentives on physicians are typically studied independently. This paper shows that to make both positive and normative statements about medical malpractice liability, one must consider physicians’ legal and financial incentives jointly. I develop a simple model to show that when treatment is unprofitable at the margin, mitigation of liability lowers treatment levels; conversely, when treatment is profitable, mitigation of liability raises them. Motivated by this simple theoretical framework, I analyze the impact of a tort reform in Texas that mitigated malpractice liability. Consistent with the theory, the rate of cesarean sections among commercially insured mothers, for whom the procedure is considered profitable, increased by 2 percentage points relative to the rate of cesarean sections among mothers covered by Medicaid, for whom the procedure is thought to be unprofitable.

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Do the Poor Benefit from More Generous Medicaid Physician Payments?

Alice Chen
University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines how changes in Medicaid physician payments affect provision of care to both Medicaid patients and the uninsured. I find that payment increases generate an increase in supply of care to Medicaid patients but a more than offsetting decrease in supply to the uninsured. Using survey data, I additionally show that physicians encourage their uninsured patients to enroll in Medicaid. Finally, I demonstrate that when Medicaid eligibility is high, physicians are less likely to substitute between caring for Medicaid patients and treating the uninsured. Because higher eligibility magnifies the Medicaid supply response to a payment change, my results suggest that payment increases should be coupled with eligibility expansions in order to improve access to care among the poor.

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Effects of Cuts in Medicaid on Dental-Related Visits and Costs at a Safety-Net Hospital

Martha Neely et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2014, Pages e13-e16

Abstract:
We used data from Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts, to determine whether dental-related emergency department (ED) visits and costs increased when Medicaid coverage for adult dental care was reduced in July 2010. In this retrospective study of existing data, we examined the safety-net hospital’s dental-related ED visits and costs for 3 years before and 2 years after Massachusetts Health Care Reform. Dental-related ED visits increased 2% the first and 14% the second year after Medicaid cuts. Percentage increases were highest among older adults, minorities, and persons receiving charity care, Medicaid, and Medicare.

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The Association Between Community-level Insurance Coverage and Emergency Department Use

Laurence Baker & Renee Hsia
Medical Care, June 2014, Pages 535-540

Background: Emergency departments (EDs) nationwide are key entry points into the health care system, and their use may reflect changes in access and need in their communities. However, no studies to date have empirically and longitudinally studied how changes in a community’s level of insurance coverage, a key determinant of access, affect ED utilization.

Objective: To determine the effects of changes in a community’s rate of insurance coverage on its population’s ED use.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal analysis of all California counties between 2005 and 2010 using comprehensive ED visit data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Using Poisson regression with county and year fixed effects, we determined how changes in the rate of insurance coverage within a given county affect ED visits per 1000 residents.

Results: We found that changes in the rate of insurance coverage within a county had a slight but significant inverse relationship with ED visits per 1000 residents for both adults and children. For example, if a county’s rate of insurance coverage among adults jumped from the 10th (73.22%) to the 90th percentile (84.93%), an estimated 2 fewer ED visits would occur per 1000 adult residents.

Conclusions: As the rate of insurance coverage increased within California counties, overall ED utilization declined only slightly. Thus, expanding insurance coverage may not lead to significant decreases in overall ED use.

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Long-Term Impact of Medicare Payment Reductions on Patient Outcomes

Vivian Wu & Yu-Chu Shen
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the long-term impact of Medicare payment reductions on patient outcomes for Medicare acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients.

Data Sources: Analysis of secondary data compiled from 100 percent Medicare Provider Analysis and Review between 1995 and 2005, Medicare hospital cost reports, Inpatient Prospective Payment System Payment Impact Files, American Hospital Association annual surveys, InterStudy, Area Resource Files, and County Business Patterns.

Study Design: We used a natural experiment — the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 — as an instrument to predict cumulative Medicare revenue loss due solely to the BBA, and basing on the predicted loss categorized hospitals into small, moderate, or large payment-cut groups and followed Medicare AMI patient outcomes in these hospitals over an 11-year panel between 1995 and 2005.

Principal Findings: We found that while Medicare AMI mortality trends remained similar across hospitals between pre-BBA and initial-BBA periods, hospitals facing large payment cuts saw smaller improvement in mortality rates relative to that of hospitals facing small cuts in the post-BBA period. Part of the relatively higher AMI mortalities among large-cut hospitals might be related to reductions in staffing levels and operating costs, and a small part might be due to patient selection.

Conclusions: We found evidence that hospitals facing large Medicare payment cuts as a result of BBA of 1997 were associated with deteriorating patient outcomes in the long run. Medicare payment reductions may have an unintended consequence of widening the gap in quality across hospitals.

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Switching To Less Expensive Blindness Drug Could Save Medicare Part B $18 Billion Over A Ten-Year Period

David Hutton et al.
Health Affairs, June 2014, Pages 931-939

Abstract:
The biologic drugs bevacizumab and ranibizumab have revolutionized treatment of diabetic macular edema and neovascular age-related macular degeneration, leading causes of blindness. Ophthalmologic use of these drugs has increased and now accounts for roughly one-sixth of the Medicare Part B drug budget. The two drugs have similar efficacy and potentially minor differences in adverse-event rates; however, at $2,023 per dose, ranibizumab costs forty times more than bevacizumab. Using modeling methods, we predict ten-year (2010–20) population-level costs and health benefits of using bevacizumab and ranibizumab. Our results show that if all patients were treated with the less expensive bevacizumab instead of current usage patterns, savings would amount to $18 billion for Medicare Part B and nearly $5 billion for patients. With an additional $6 billion savings in other health care expenses, the total savings would be almost $29 billion. Altering patterns of use with these therapies by encouraging bevacizumab use and hastening approval of biosimilar therapies would dramatically reduce spending without substantially affecting patient outcomes.

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Dominated Choices and Medicare Advantage Enrollment

Christopher Afendulis, Anna Sinaiko & Richard Frank
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Research in behavioral economics suggests that certain circumstances, such as large numbers of complex options or revisiting prior choices, can lead to decision errors. This paper explores the enrollment decisions of Medicare beneficiaries in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. During the time period we study (2007-2010), private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans offered enhanced benefits beyond those of traditional Medicare (TM) without any restrictions on physician networks or additional cost, making TM a dominated choice relative to PFFS. Yet more than three quarters of Medicare beneficiaries remained in TM during our study period. We explore two possible explanations for this behavior: status quo bias and choice overload. Our results suggest that status quo bias plays an important role; the rate of MA enrollment was significantly higher among new Medicare beneficiaries than among incumbents. Our results also provide some evidence of choice overload; while the MA enrollment rate did not decline with an increase in the number of plans, among incumbent beneficiaries it failed to increase. Our results illustrate the importance of the choice environment that is in place when enrollees first enter the Medicare program.

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The Effect of Medicaid Premiums on Enrollment: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

Laura Dague
Journal of Health Economics, September 2014, Pages 1–12

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect that premiums in Medicaid have on the length of enrollment of program beneficiaries. Whether and how low income-families will participate in the exchanges and in states’ Medicaid programs depends crucially on the structure and amounts of the premiums they will face. I take advantage of discontinuities in the structure of Wisconsin's Medicaid program to identify the effects of premiums on enrollment for low-income families. I use a three year administrative panel of enrollment data to estimate these effects. I find an increase in the premium from zero to ten dollars per month results in 1.4 fewer months enrolled and reduces the probability of remaining enrolled for a full year by 12 percentage points, but other discrete changes in premium amounts do not affect enrollment or have a much smaller effect. I find no evidence of program enrollees intentionally decreasing labor supply in order to avoid the premiums.

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Electronic Discovery and the Adoption of Information Technology

Amalia Miller & Catherine Tucker
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, May 2014, Pages 217-243

Abstract:
After firms adopt electronic information and communication technologies, their decision-making leaves a trail of electronic information that may be more extensive and accessible than a paper trail. We ask how the expected costs of litigation affect decisions to adopt technologies, such as electronic medical records (EMRs), which leave more of an electronic trail. EMRs allow hospitals to document electronically both patient symptoms and health providers’ reactions to those symptoms and may improve the quality of care that makes the net impact of their adoption on expected litigation costs ambiguous. This article studies the impact of state rules that facilitate the use of electronic records in court. We find evidence that hospitals are one-third less likely to adopt EMRs after these rules are enacted.

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A Simple Change To The Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program Could Save $5 Billion

Yuting Zhang, Chao Zhou & Seo Hyon Baik
Health Affairs, June 2014, Pages 940-945

Abstract:
Medicare Part D provides a subsidy to beneficiaries with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Enrollees with the low-income subsidy accounted for 75 percent of the $60 billion in total federal Part D spending in 2013. The government randomly assigns any new beneficiary who automatically qualifies for the subsidy, or who successfully applies for it without indicating a preferred plan, to a stand-alone Part D plan whose premium is equal to or below the average premium for the basic Part D benefit in the region. We used an intelligent reassignment algorithm and 2008–09 Part D drug use and spending data to match enrollees to available plans according to their medication needs. We found that such a reassignment approach could have saved the federal government over $5 billion in 2009, for mean government savings of $710 (median: $368) per enrollee with a low-income subsidy. Implementing that simple change to reassign beneficiaries would have also lowered the proportion of prescriptions that required utilization review from 29 percent to 20 percent, and the proportion of prescriptions with quantity limits from 27 percent to 19 percent.

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Cutting Medicare Hospital Prices Leads to a Spillover Reduction in Hospital Discharges for the Nonelderly

Chapin White
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To measure spillover effects of Medicare inpatient hospital prices on the nonelderly (under age 65).

Primary Data Sources: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases (10 states, 1995–2009) and Medicare Hospital Cost Reports.

Study Design: Outcomes include nonelderly discharges, length of stay and case mix, staffed hospital bed-days, and the share of discharges and days provided to the elderly. We use metropolitan statistical areas as our markets. We use descriptive analyses comparing 1995 and 2009 and panel data fixed-effects regressions. We instrument for Medicare prices using accumulated changes in the Medicare payment formula.

Principal Findings: Medicare price reductions are strongly associated with reductions in nonelderly discharges and hospital capacity. A 10-percent reduction in the Medicare price is estimated to reduce discharges among the nonelderly by about 5 percent. Changes in the Medicare price are not associated with changes in the share of inpatient hospital care provided to the elderly versus nonelderly.

Conclusions: Medicare price reductions appear to broadly constrain hospital operations, with significant reductions in utilization among the nonelderly. The slow Medicare price growth under the Affordable Care Act may result in a spillover slowdown in hospital utilization and spending among the nonelderly.

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Measuring the Hospital Length of Stay/Readmission Cost Trade-Off under a Bundled Payment Mechanism

Kathleen Carey
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
If patients are discharged from the hospital prematurely, many may need to return within a short period of time. This paper investigates the relationship between length of stay and readmission within 30 days of discharge from an acute care hospitalization. It applies a two-part model to data on Medicare patients treated for heart attack in New York state hospitals during 2008 to obtain the expected cost of readmission associated with length of stay. The expected cost of a readmission is compared with the marginal cost of an additional day in the initial stay to examine the cost trade-off between an extra day of care and the expected cost of readmission. The cost of an additional day of stay was offset by expected cost savings from an avoided readmission in the range of 15% to 65%. Results have implications for payment reform based on bundled payment reimbursement mechanisms.

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Physician Payment Reform and Hospital Referrals

Kate Ho & Ariel Pakes
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 200-205

Abstract:
Commercial health insurers in California use provider capitation payments to different extents. These are similar to arrangements introduced by the recent health reforms to give physicians incentives to control costs. In a previous paper we showed that patients whose insurers used capitation incentives traveled further to access lower-priced, similar-quality hospitals than other same-severity patients. This paper predicts the implied effects of a move to widespread capitation. We show that, if the introduction of capitation prompted low-capitation insurers to act like high-capitation insurers, this would generate a 4–5 percent cost saving with some reduction in patient convenience but no reduction in quality.

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Measuring Low-Value Care in Medicare

Aaron Schwartz et al.
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objectives: To develop claims-based measures of low-value services, examine service use (and associated spending) detected by these measures in Medicare, and determine whether patterns of use are related across different types of low-value services.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Drawing from evidence-based lists of services that provide minimal clinical benefit, we developed 26 claims-based measures of low-value services. Using 2009 claims for 1 360 908 Medicare beneficiaries, we assessed the proportion of beneficiaries receiving these services, mean per-beneficiary service use, and the proportion of total spending devoted to these services. We compared the amount of use and spending detected by versions of these measures with different sensitivity and specificity. We also estimated correlations between use of different services within geographic areas, adjusting for beneficiaries’ sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

Results: Services detected by more sensitive versions of measures affected 42% of beneficiaries and constituted 2.7% of overall annual spending. Services detected by more specific versions of measures affected 25% of beneficiaries and constituted 0.6% of overall spending. In adjusted analyses, low-value spending detected in geographic regions at the 5th percentile of the regional distribution of low-value spending ($227 per beneficiary) exceeded the difference in detected low-value spending between regions at the 5th and 95th percentiles ($189 per beneficiary). Adjusted regional use was positively correlated among 5 of 6 categories of low-value services (mean r for pairwise, between-category correlations, 0.33; range, 0.14-0.54; P ≤ .01).

Conclusions and Relevance: Services detected by a limited number of measures of low-value care constituted modest proportions of overall spending but affected substantial proportions of beneficiaries and may be reflective of overuse more broadly. Performance of claims-based measures in supporting targeted payment or coverage policies to reduce overuse may depend heavily on how the measures are defined.

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Doctors with borders: Occupational licensing as an implicit barrier to high skill migration

Brenton Peterson, Sonal Pandya & David Leblang
Public Choice, July 2014, Pages 45-63

Abstract:
Research on the political economy of immigration overlooks the specificity of human capital in skilled occupations and its implications for immigration preferences and policymaking. Conclusions that skilled Americans are unconcerned about labor market competition from skilled migrants build on a simple dichotomy between high and low skill migrants. In this article we show that natives turn to occupational licensing regulations as occupation-specific protectionist barriers to skilled migrant labor competition. In practice, high skill natives face labor market competition only from those high-skill migrants who share their occupation-specific skills. Licensure regulations ostensibly serve the public interest by certifying competence, but they can simultaneously be formidable barriers to entry by skilled migrants. From a collective action perspective, skilled natives can more easily secure sub-national, occupation-specific policies than influence national immigration policy. We exploit the unique structure of the American medical profession that allows us to distinguish between public interest and protectionist motives for migrant physician licensure regulations. We show that over the 1973–2010 period states with greater physician control over licensure requirements imposed more stringent requirements for migrant physician licensure and, as a consequence, received fewer new migrant physicians. By our estimates over a third of all US states could reduce their physician shortages by at least 10 percent within 5 years just by equalizing migrant and native licensure requirements. This article advances research on the political economy of immigration and highlights an overlooked dimension of international economic integration: regulatory rent-seeking as a barrier to the cross-national mobility of human capital, and the public policy implications of such barriers.

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One Pool to Insure them All?: Age, Risk and the Price(s) of Medical Insurance

Thomas Koch
International Journal of Industrial Organization, July 2014, Pages 1–11

Abstract:
Asymmetric information can lead to adverse selection and market failure. In a dynamic setting, asymmetric information also limits reclassification risk. This certainty offsets the costs of adverse selection. Using a dynamic model of endogenous insurance choice and price calibrated to the U.S. medical insurance market, I find that asymmetric information is Pareto improving when information is fully asymmetric. However, when insurers can discriminate by age group, but not within age groups, the young benefit by paying less for insurance. The insurance market for the near elderly collapses because it is no longer implicitly subsidized by the participation of the young.

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Will Health Care Reform Reduce Disparities in Insurance Coverage?: Evidence From the Dependent Coverage Mandate

Dan Shane & Padmaja Ayyagari
Medical Care, June 2014, Pages 528-534

Objectives: We used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to assess the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage mandate on disparities in health insurance coverage rates and evaluated whether non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics gained coverage at the same rates as non-Hispanic whites.

Methods: To estimate changes in insurance rates, we employed a difference-in-difference regression approach comparing 7962 young adults aged 19–25 to 9321 adults aged 27–34. Separate regressions were estimated for non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites to understand whether the mandate had differential effects by race/ethnicity. Separate regressions by income level and race/ethnicity were also estimated.

Results: Insurance rates increased by 9.3 percentage points among non-Hispanic whites, 7.2 percentage points among Hispanics, and 9.4 percentage points among non-Hispanic blacks. These changes were not significantly different from each other. Among individuals with income of <133% of the Federal Poverty Level, non-Hispanic whites experienced significantly larger gains, whereas at higher-income levels, non-Hispanic blacks experienced significantly larger gains than other racial/ethnic groups.

Conclusions: The dependent coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act increased insurance rates among all racial and ethnic groups but did not change overall disparities. Disparities may have widened among low-income populations which highlights the importance of Medicaid expansions in reducing disparities. Among higher-income populations, disparities between non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites were reduced.

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Intended and Unintended Consequences of Minimum Staffing Standards for Nursing Homes

Min Chen & David Grabowski
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Staffing is the dominant input in the production of nursing home services. Because of concerns about understaffing in many US nursing homes, a number of states have adopted minimum staffing standards. Focusing on policy changes in California and Ohio, this paper examined the effects of minimum nursing hours per resident day regulations on nursing home staffing levels and care quality. Panel data analyses of facility-level nursing inputs and quality revealed that minimum staffing standards increased total nursing hours per resident day by 5% on average. However, because the minimum staffing standards treated all direct care staff uniformly and ignored indirect care staff, the regulation had the unintended consequences of both lowering the direct care nursing skill mix (i.e., fewer professional nurses relative to nurse aides) and reducing the absolute level of indirect care staff. Overall, the staffing regulations led to a reduction in severe deficiency citations and improvement in certain health conditions that required intensive nursing care.

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Does regulating private long-term care facilities lead to better care? A study from Quebec, Canada

Gina Bravo et al.
International Journal for Quality in Health Care, June 2014, Pages 330-336

Participants: Random samples of disabled residents aged 65 years and over. In total, 451 residents from 145 care settings assessed in 1995–2000 were compared with 329 residents from 102 care settings assessed in 2010–12.

Intervention: Regulation introduced by the province in 2005, effective February 2007.

Results: After regulation, fewer small-size facilities were in operation in the private market. Between the two study periods, the proportion of residents with severe disabilities decreased in private facilities whereas it remained >80% in their public counterparts. Meanwhile, quality of care improved significantly in private facilities, while worsening in their public counterparts, even after controlling for confounding.

Conclusions: The private industry now provides better care to its residents. Improvement in care quality likely results in part from the closure of small homes and change in resident case-mix.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Love actually

Continued Pursuit of Happily Ever After: Low Barriers to Divorce and Happiness

Elizabeth Mokyr Horner
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2014, Pages 228-240

Abstract:
Throughout the 1970s, a “no-fault revolution” swept through the United States, reducing the legal and economic barriers to divorce. Previous studies have found that these legal changes did at least temporarily increase divorces, and may have been, on average, detrimental to women’s economic well-being. It has also been suggested that reducing the barriers to divorce redistributed power to spouses with better predicted outcomes on the remarriage market. In keeping with this theory, the current study examined men and women ages 25–50 as they transitioned to low-barriers to divorce regimes. My data show that reductions in the barriers to divorce were associated with reductions in women’s happiness, particularly among older women and women with children. Conversely, older men and men with children (these women’s potential partners) reported on average higher happiness after low barriers to divorce. These relationships were found even for individuals who remained married, suggesting that this redistribution of happiness was in part the result of a change in bargaining power within marriages.

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Partner Choice, Relationship Satisfaction, and Oral Contraception: The Congruency Hypothesis

Craig Roberts et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hormonal fluctuation across the menstrual cycle explains temporal variation in women’s judgment of the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex. Use of hormonal contraceptives could therefore influence both initial partner choice and, if contraceptive use subsequently changes, intrapair dynamics. Associations between hormonal contraceptive use and relationship satisfaction may thus be best understood by considering whether current use is congruent with use when relationships formed, rather than by considering current use alone. In the study reported here, we tested this congruency hypothesis in a survey of 365 couples. Controlling for potential confounds (including relationship duration, age, parenthood, and income), we found that congruency in current and previous hormonal contraceptive use, but not current use alone, predicted women’s sexual satisfaction with their partners. Congruency was not associated with women’s nonsexual satisfaction or with the satisfaction of their male partners. Our results provide empirical support for the congruency hypothesis and suggest that women’s sexual satisfaction is influenced by changes in partner preference associated with change in hormonal contraceptive use.

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For better and for worse: Genes and parenting interact to predict future behavior in romantic relationships

April Masarik et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, June 2014, Pages 357-367

Abstract:
We tested the differential susceptibility hypothesis with respect to connections between interactions in the family of origin and subsequent behaviors with romantic partners. Focal or target participants (G2) in an ongoing longitudinal study (N = 352) were observed interacting with their parents (G1) during adolescence and again with their romantic partners in adulthood. Independent observers rated positive engagement and hostility by G1 and G2 during structured interaction tasks. We created an index for hypothesized genetic plasticity by summing G2′s allelic variation for polymorphisms in 5 genes (serotonin transporter gene [linked polymorphism], 5-HTT; ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1 gene/dopamine receptor D2 gene, ANKK1/DRD2; dopamine receptor D4 gene, DRD4; dopamine active transporter gene, DAT; and catechol-O-methyltransferase gene, COMT). Consistent with the differential susceptibility hypothesis, G2s exposed to more hostile and positively engaged parenting behaviors during adolescence were more hostile or positively engaged toward a romantic partner if they had higher scores on the genetic plasticity index. In short, genetic factors moderated the connection between earlier experiences in the family of origin and future romantic relationship behaviors, for better and for worse.

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Man enough? Masculine discrepancy stress and intimate partner violence

Dennis Reidy et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 160–164

Abstract:
Research on gender roles suggests that men who strongly adhere to traditional masculine gender norms are at increased risk for the perpetration of violent and abusive acts toward their female intimate partners. Yet, gender norms alone fail to provide a comprehensive explanation of the multifaceted construct of intimate partner violence (IPV) and there is theoretical reason to suspect that men who fail to conform to masculine roles may equally be at risk for IPV. In the present study, we assessed effect of masculine discrepancy stress, a form of distress arising from perceived failure to conform to socially-prescribed masculine gender role norms, on IPV. Six-hundred men completed online surveys assessing their experience of discrepancy stress, masculine gender role norms, and history of IPV. Results indicated that masculine discrepancy stress significantly predicted men’s historical perpetration of IPV independent of other masculinity related variables. Findings are discussed in terms of potential distress engendered by masculine socialization as well as putative implications of gender role discrepancy stress for understanding and intervening in partner violence perpetrated by men.

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Romantic relationship status biases the processing of an attractive alternative's behavior

Mariko Visserman & Johan Karremans
Personal Relationships, June 2014, Pages 324–334

Abstract:
The present research examines whether romantically involved individuals process behavioral information of attractive alternatives in a biased manner. When presented with behavioral information of an attractive mate, in Study 1 involved (vs. uninvolved) participants tended to recall fewer positive behaviors of an attractive alternative. Study 2 demonstrated that involved participants recalled more negative behaviors, and also evaluated these behaviors more negatively, compared to uninvolved participants. Study 3 demonstrated that romantically involved participants recalled more negative (but also neutral) behaviors when it concerned behaviors displayed by an attractive alternative as compared to a same-sex other. These findings provide initial evidence for biased processing of behavioral information of an alternative mate, which may serve an important relationship protection function.

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Sex differences in distress from infidelity in early adulthood and in later life: A replication and meta-analysis of Shackelford et al. (2004)

Hans IJzerman et al.
Social Psychology, Summer 2014, Pages 202-208

Abstract:
Shackelford and colleagues (2004) found that men, compared to women, are more distressed by sexual than emotional infidelity, and this sex difference continued into older age. We conducted four high-powered replications (total N = 1,952) of this effect and found different results. A meta-analysis of original and replication studies finds the sex difference in younger samples (though with a smaller effect size), and no effect among older samples. Furthermore, we found attitude toward uncommitted sex to be a mediator (although not consistently in the same direction) between participant sex and relative distress between sexual and emotional infidelity. We hypothesize that the discrepancies between the original and replication studies may be due to changing cultural attitudes about sex across time. Confirming this speculative interpretation requires further investigation.

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Testing the Economic Independence Hypothesis: The Effect of an Exogenous Increase in Child Support on Subsequent Marriage and Cohabitation

Maria Cancian & Daniel Meyer
Demography, June 2014, Pages 857-880

Abstract:
We examine the effects of an increase in income on the cohabitation and marriage of single mothers. Using data from an experiment that resulted in randomly assigned differences in child support receipt for welfare-receiving single mothers, we find that exogenous income increases (as a result of receiving all child support that was paid) are associated with significantly lower cohabitation rates between mothers and men who are not the fathers of their child(ren). Overall, these results support the hypothesis that additional income increases disadvantaged women’s economic independence by reducing the need to be in the least stable type of partnerships. Our results also show the potential importance of distinguishing between biological and social fathers.

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Women's Income and Marriage Markets in the United States: Evidence from the Civil War Pension

Laura Salisbury
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Under the Civil War pension act of 1862, the widow of a Union Army soldier was entitled to a pension if her husband died as a direct result of his military service; however, she lost her right to the pension if she remarried. I analyze the effect this had on the rate of remarriage among these widows. This study fits into a modern literature on the behavioral effects of marriage penalties. In addition, it offers a unique perspective on 19th century marriage markets, which are little understood. Using a new database compiled from widows' pension files, I estimate the effect of the pension on the hazard rate of remarriage using variation in pension processing times. Taking steps to account for the potential endogeneity of processing times to marital outcomes, I find that receiving a pension lowered the hazard rate of remarriage by 25 percent, which implies an increase in the median time to remarriage of 3.5 years. Among older women and women with children, this effect is substantially greater. This indicates that women were willing to substitute away from marriage if the alternatives were favorable enough, suggesting that changes in the desirability of marriage to women may account for some of the aggregate patterns of first marriage documented for this period.

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Stated Reasons for Relationship Dissolution in Britain: Marriage and Cohabitation Compared

Richard Lampard
European Sociological Review, June 2014, Pages 315-328

Abstract:
Data from the second National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles are used to examine stated reasons for the dissolution of co-residential relationships in Britain at the end of the 20th century. The findings exhibit a degree of continuity with earlier British studies, and resonate with themes identified within a broader international literature. While the ‘serious’ issues of violence and infidelity still feature prominently, a substantial minority of stated reasons appear indicative of relationships based on relatively ‘weak bonds’. Differences between marital and cohabiting relationships persist within multivariate analyses, suggesting that neither attitudes to relationships nor socio-economic or demographic factors provide satisfactory explanations for their existence. It is speculated that an adequate explanation of these differences would need to take account of an individual’s personal commitment to a specific partner and their level of investment in that specific relationship.

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What difference does a day make? Examining temporal variations in partner maltreatment

Randy McCarthy et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, June 2014, Pages 421-428

Abstract:
Routine activities (RA) theory posits that changes in people’s typical daily activities covary with increases or decreases in criminal behaviors, including, but not limited to, partner maltreatment. Using a large clinical database, we examined temporal variations among 24,460 incidents of confirmed partner maltreatment across an 11-year period within the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Specifically, we created regression models that predicted the number of partner maltreatment incidents per day. In addition to several control variables, we coded temporal variables for days of the week, month, year, and several significant days (e.g., holidays, Super Bowl Sunday), which allowed us to examine the independent influence of these variables on partner maltreatment prevalence. While accounting for the influence of all other study variables, we observed significant increases in partner maltreatment for weekend days, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and Super Bowl Sunday. Similar results were found for partner maltreatment incidents involving offender alcohol/drug use. Furthermore, the proportion of incidents involving offender alcohol/drug use increased on New Year’s Day and Independence Day. Consistent with RA theory and data from civilian samples, the current results indicate that certain days are associated with increased incidents of partner maltreatment within the USAF. These findings should be used to inform future preventive efforts.

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Revisiting the Romeo and Juliet effect (Driscoll, Davis, & Lipetz, 1972): Reexamining the links between social network opinions and romantic relationship outcomes

Colleen Sinclair, Kristina Hood & Brittany Wright
Social Psychology, Summer 2014, Pages 170-178

Abstract:
We conducted a replication and extension of Driscoll, Davis, and Lipetz’s (1972) classic longitudinal survey of the Romeo and Juliet effect, wherein they found that increases in parental interference were linked to increases in love and commitment. Using the original measures, 396 participants were followed over a 3–4 month period wherein they reported love, commitment, trust, and criticism for their partners as well as levels of perceived interference from friends and family. Participants also completed contemporary, validated measures of the same constructs similar to those often implemented in studies of social network opinion. Repeating the analyses employed by Driscoll and colleagues, we could not find evidence for the Romeo and Juliet effect. Rather, consistent with the social network effect (Felmlee, 2001), participants reporting higher levels of interference or lower levels of approval reported poorer relationship quality regardless of outcome measured. This effect was likewise evident in a meta-analysis.

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Endorsing benevolent sexism magnifies willingness to dissolve relationships when facing partner-ideal discrepancies

Matthew Hammond & Nickola Overall
Personal Relationships, June 2014, Pages 272–287

Abstract:
Benevolent sexism (BS) contains prescriptive partner expectations that should foster an intolerance of discrepancies between partners and warmth/trustworthiness ideal standards. This longitudinal study tested whether endorsing BS magnifies the degree to which warmth/trustworthiness partner-ideal discrepancies are associated with willingness to dissolve relationships. Heterosexual couples (N = 88) reported their partner-ideal discrepancies, willingness to dissolve the relationship, and their partner's willingness to dissolve the relationship every 3 months for 1 year. Greater partner-ideal discrepancies were associated with subsequent increases in willingness to dissolve the relationship, but this was stronger for people who endorsed BS. Partners of women who endorsed BS also perceived this greater willingness to dissolve the relationship. These results demonstrate that the prescriptions within BS undermine the stability of ongoing relationships.

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Partner support for individual self-expansion opportunities: Effects on relationship satisfaction in long-term couples

Hayley Fivecoat et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research indicates that partner responsiveness and self-expansion play key roles in the creation, maintenance, and improvement of close relationships. This experiment examined the hypothesis that active (vs. passive) partner support for an individual’s opportunity for self-expansion would increase relationship satisfaction. In an experimental task manipulated to be either self-expanding or stressful, dating couple members (N = 116; 58 couples) received active or passive support messages, ostensibly from their partners. Among those in longer term (14–60 months), but not in shorter term relationships, relationship satisfaction increased significantly more for those who received active (vs. passive) support for self-expansion. This same pattern was not found when partners’ messages responded to a stressful task or for couples in short-term relationships. This study provides the first experimental evidence for effects on relationship satisfaction of partner support for individual self-expansion. In addition, the findings suggest the potential substantial importance of relationship length for moderating self-expansion processes.

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Relationship Quality Among Young Couples from an Economic and Gender Perspective

Sonya Britt & Roudi Nazarinia Roy
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2014, Pages 241-250

Abstract:
Less than a third of married couple households in the United States are composed of families with one breadwinner. This is a stark contrast to a mere 40 years ago when men were the primary breadwinner for the majority of households. The goal of this study was to determine how the perception of household chores is related to relationship quality. Specifically we wanted to determine how perception of household chores is related to relationship quality reported by partners from a traditional economic and a gender role theory perspective. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1986 cohort, results indicate that perceived unfairness in household division of chores was predictive of women’s relationship quality, but not men’s. Arguments about affection and money were predictive of relationship quality for both genders.

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Equality Is Bliss? Relationship Quality and the Gender Division of Household Labor

Anders Barstad
Journal of Family Issues, June 2014, Pages 972-992

Abstract:
How does gender equality in the division of household labor correlate with relationship quality? Earlier research has pointed to the division of routine housework as a “zero-sum game”: Women gain in terms of relationship quality when housework is shared equally, while men lose. I find weak support for a “zero-sum game” logic in the case of Norway, possibly related to the strong influence of gender egalitarian norms in Norwegian society. For men, equality in the sharing of routine housework is associated with less dissatisfaction with the division of household labor than all other sharing arrangements. Compared with taking no or little part in such housework, men who do as much routine housework as their partner score equally well on an index for relationship quality. While women’s relationship quality deteriorates the larger their share of intermittent work (doing small repairs) is, there is no clear pattern among men.

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Relationship quality and oxytocin: Influence of stable and modifiable aspects of relationships

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Wendy Birmingham & Kathleen Light
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior studies report that couples with higher relationship quality show higher oxytocin (OT) levels, yet other studies report those with higher distress have increased OT. This study investigated these competing predictions in the context of a support enhancement intervention among 34 young married couples (N = 68). Preintervention marital quality (Dyadic Adjustment Scale) was examined for associations with plasma and salivary OT levels 4 weeks apart and for changes between these time points within the intervention group. High relationship quality, not distress, was associated with higher OT in both saliva and plasma at both time points. No significant interaction was found between marital quality and intervention condition; relationship quality and support intervention were both independently associated with higher postintervention OT levels.

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The Role of Marriage in the Causal Pathway From Economic Conditions Early in Life to Mortality

Gerard Van Den Berg & Sumedha Gupta
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the interplay between early-life conditions and marital status, as determinants of adult mortality. We use individual data from Dutch registers (years 1815-2000), combined with business cycle conditions in childhood as indicators of early-life conditions. The empirical analysis estimates bivariate duration models of marriage and mortality, allowing for unobserved heterogeneity. Results show that conditions around birth and schoolgoing ages are important for marriage and mortality. Men typically enjoy a protective effect of marriage, whereas women suffer during childbearing ages. However, having been born under favorable economic conditions reduces female mortality during childbearing ages.

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Committed to us: Predicting relationship closeness following nonmarital romantic relationship breakup

Kenneth Tan et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is little research on the nature of relationships between individuals following the termination of a nonmarital romantic relationship. It is largely unknown to what extent former romantic partners remain close following breakup. The present research used the Investment Model of Commitment Processes, assessed prior to romantic breakup, to examine the closeness of post-breakup relationships. Results obtained from two waves of data collected from 143 young adults involved in romantic relationships at Time 1 and experiencing a romantic breakup by Time 2 indicated that pre-breakup romantic commitment mediated the effects of pre-breakup romantic satisfaction, investments, and alternatives on post-breakup closeness, with higher pre-breakup commitment predicting greater post-breakup closeness. Implications of these findings for understanding the underlying dynamics of ongoing interpersonal relationships and directions for future research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Make work

Comparing Federal and Private-Sector Wages without Logs

Justin Falk
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
I use Current Population Survey data from 2005 through 2010 to compare the wages of federal employees and workers in the private sector who have similar observable characteristics. The distribution of wages differed drastically between the federal and private sectors. In particular, I find that federal employees with no more than a high school diploma earned 21% more, on average, than their private-sector counterparts, whereas those with a professional degree or doctorate earned 23% less. Overall, the average of federal wages was about 2% higher than the average wage of similar private-sector workers. Other researchers have found larger differences because they used log-linearized models, which result in comparisons of geometric means. I show that arithmetic means are more relevant in the context of the relationship between a government's compensation policy and its budget. The discrepancy between differences in arithmetic and geometric means occurs because the wages of federal employees were much less dispersed than those of employees with similar characteristics in the private sector.

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Botsourcing and outsourcing: Robot, British, Chinese, and German workers are for thinking — not feeling — jobs

Adam Waytz & Michael Norton
Emotion, April 2014, Pages 434-444

Abstract:
Technological innovations have produced robots capable of jobs that, until recently, only humans could perform. The present research explores the psychology of “botsourcing” — the replacement of human jobs by robots — while examining how understanding botsourcing can inform the psychology of outsourcing — the replacement of jobs in one country by humans from other countries. We test four related hypotheses across six experiments: (1) Given people’s lay theories about the capacities for cognition and emotion for robots and humans, workers will express more discomfort with botsourcing when they consider losing jobs that require emotion versus cognition; (2) people will express more comfort with botsourcing when jobs are framed as requiring cognition versus emotion; (3) people will express more comfort with botsourcing for jobs that do require emotion if robots appear to convey more emotion; and (4) people prefer to outsource cognition- versus emotion-oriented jobs to other humans who are perceived as more versus less robotic. These results have theoretical implications for understanding social cognition about both humans and nonhumans and practical implications for the increasingly botsourced and outsourced economy.

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The Declining Fortunes of the Young since 2000

Paul Beaudry, David Green & Benjamin Sand
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 381-386

Abstract:
We document that successive cohorts of college and post-college degree graduates experienced an increase in the probability of obtaining cognitive jobs both at the start of their careers and with time in the labor market in the 1990s. However, this pattern reversed for cohorts entering after 2000; profiles of the proportion of a cohort in cognitive occupations since school completion fall and become flatter with successive cohorts. Since cohort-wage profiles display a similar pattern, these findings appear to fit with a strong increase in demand for cognitive tasks in the 1990s followed by a decline in the 2000s.

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New Measures of the Costs of Unemployment: Evidence from the Subjective Well-Being of 3.3 Million Americans

John Helliwell & Haifang Huang
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using two large U.S. surveys, we estimate the effects of unemployment on the subjective well-being (SWB) of the unemployed and the rest of the population. For the unemployed, the nonpecuniary costs of unemployment are several times as large as those resulting from lower incomes, while the indirect effect at the population level is 15 times as large. For those who are still employed, a one percentage point increase in local unemployment has an impact on well-being roughly equivalent to a 4% decline in household income. We also find evidence indicating that job security is an important channel for the indirect effects of unemployment.

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Amerisclerosis?: The Puzzle of Rising U.S. Unemployment Persistence

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Dmitri Koustas
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2013, Pages 193-260

Abstract:
The persistence of U.S. unemployment has risen with each of the last three recessions, raising the specter that future U.S. recessions might look more like the “Eurosclerosis” experience of the 1980s than like the traditional V-shaped recoveries of the past. We revisit several explanations for this rising persistence, decomposing them into three possible sources: business cycle fluctuations, changing policy responses, and propagation mechanisms. First, we find that financial shocks do not systematically lead to more persistent unemployment than monetary policy shocks, casting doubt on the hypothesis that different drivers of business cycles are the primary explanation. Second, we find that changing monetary and fiscal policy responses account for approximately one-third of the rise in unemployment persistence. Third, after examining three propagation mechanisms we find that jointly they cannot account for any rising persistence of unemployment. The three propagation mechanisms we focus on — declining labor mobility, changing age structures, and the decline in trust among Americans — are consistent with four other cyclical patterns that have evolved since the early 1980s: a rising cyclicality in long-term unemployment, lower regional convergence after downturns, rising cyclicality in disability claims, and missing disinflation. We exploit regional variation in labor market outcomes across Western Europe and North America during 1970–91 to assess the predictive capacity of each propagation mechanism for unemployment persistence. In summary, two-thirds of the rise in unemployment persistence is unexplained.

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Unemployment Benefit Extensions Caused Jobless Recoveries!?

Kurt Mitman & Stanislav Rabinovich
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
The last three recessions in the United States were followed by jobless recoveries: while labor productivity recovered, unemployment remained high. In this paper, we show that countercyclical unemployment benefit extensions lead to jobless recoveries. We augment the standard Mortensen-Pissarides model to incorporate unemployment benefits expiration and state-dependent extensions of unemployment benefits. In the model, an extension of unemployment benefits slows down the recovery of vacancy creation in the aftermath of a recession. We calibrate the model to US data and show that it is quantitatively consistent with observed labor market dynamics, in particular the emergence of jobless recoveries after 1990. Furthermore, counterfactual experiments indicate that unemployment benefits are quantitatively important in explaining jobless recoveries.

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Unhappiness and Job Finding

Anne Gielen & Jan van Ours
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is puzzling that people feel unhappy when they become unemployed, while simultaneously active labour market policies are needed to bring them back to work. We investigate this using GSOEP data. We find that nearly half of the unemployed do not experience a drop in happiness, which might explain why activation is sometimes needed. Furthermore, even though unhappy unemployed search more actively for a job, it does not speed up their job finding. Apparently, there is no link between unhappiness and job finding rate. Hence there is no contradiction between the unemployed being unhappy and the need for activation policies.

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Job Displacement and the Duration of Joblessness: The Role of Spatial Mismatch

Fredrik Andersson et al.
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
This paper presents a new approach to the measurement of the effects of spatial mismatch that takes advantage of matched employer-employee administrative data integrated with a person-specific job accessibility measure, as well as demographic and neighborhood characteristics. The basic hypothesis is that if spatial mismatch is present, then improved accessibility to appropriate jobs should shorten the duration of unemployment. We focus on lower-income workers with strong labor force attachment searching for employment after being subject to a mass layoff – thereby focusing on a group of job searchers that are plausibly searching for exogenous reasons. We construct person-specific measures of job accessibility based upon an empirical model of transport modal choice and network travel-time data, giving variation both across neighborhoods in nine metropolitan areas, as well as across neighbors. Our results support the spatial mismatch hypothesis. We find that better job accessibility significantly decreases the duration of joblessness among lower-paid displaced workers. Blacks, females, and older workers are more sensitive to job accessibility than other subpopulations.

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Free to Move? A Network Analytic Approach for Learning the Limits to Job Mobility

Ian Schmutte
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Job mobility has many overlapping determinants that are hard to characterize solely on the basis of industry or occupation transitions. Workers may match with, and move to, particular jobs on the basis of match quality, preferences, human capital, and mobility costs. This paper implements a novel method based on complex network analysis to describe how workers move from job to job. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I find first that the labor market is composed of four distinct segments between which job mobility is relatively unlikely. Second, these segments are not well-described on the basis of industry, occupation, demographic characteristics, or education. Third, mobility segments are associated with earnings heterogeneity, and there is evidence of positive assortative matching across segments. Fourth, the boundaries to job mobility are counter-cyclical: workers move more freely when unemployment is low.

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Episodes of Unemployment Reduction in Rich, Middle-Income and Transition Economies

Caroline Freund & Bob Rijkers
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the incidence and determinants of episodes of drastic unemployment reduction, defined as swift, substantial, and sustained declines in unemployment. We identify 43 episodes over a period of nearly 3 decades in 94 rich, middle-income and transition countries. Unemployment reductions often coincide with an acceleration of growth and an improvement in macroeconomic conditions. Episodes are much more prevalent in countries with higher levels of unemployment and, given unemployment, are more likely in countries with better regulation. An efficient legal system that enforces contracts expeditiously is particularly important for reducing unemployment. The results imply that while employment is largely related to the business cycle, better regulation reduces likelihood of high unemployment and facilitates a more rapid recovery in the event unemployment builds up.

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The Career Prospects of Overeducated Americans

Brian Clark, Clément Joubert & Arnaud Maurel
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
In this paper we analyze career dynamics for the large share of U.S. workers who have more schooling than their peers in the same occupation. We use data from the NLSY79 combined with the CPS to analyze transitions into and out of overeducated employment, together with the corresponding effects on wages. Overeducation is a fairly persistent phenomenon at the aggregate and individual levels, with 66% of workers remaining overeducated after one year. Overeducation is not only more common, but also more persistent among blacks and low-AFQT individuals. Further, the hazard rate out of overeducation drops by about 60% during the first 5 years spent overeducated. However, the estimation of a mixed proportional hazard model suggests that this is attributable to selection on unobservables rather than true duration dependence. Finally, overeducation is associated with lower current as well as future wages, which points to the existence of scarring effects.

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Macroeconomic policy in recessions and unemployment hysteresis

Simon Sturn
Applied Economics Letters, Summer 2014, Pages 914-917

Abstract:
I adopt Ball’s (1999) cross-sectional approach to test for unemployment hysteresis to panel data. Long-run unemployment is explained with standard institutional controls, and proxies for monetary and fiscal policy reactions in recessions. The sample consists of 20 OECD countries for the period 1985 to 2008. The results indicate that fiscal consolidation in recessions has long-lasting effects on unemployment. No significant impact of monetary policy is found. However, tentative evidence suggests that the effects of fiscal spending are stronger when accommodated by expansionary monetary policy.

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The skill bias of technological change and the evolution of the skill premium in the US since 1970

Barbara Richter
B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a two-sector model with potentially different capital shares in each sector, I show that the evolution of the skill premium from 1970 to 2005 is consistent with skill-neutrality and even a mild unskill-bias of technological change. The main channel of adjustment to changes in labor supply is instead via the reallocation of capital. New investment occurs predominantly in the skilled sector, to the detriment of the unskilled sector of the economy. This result is shown both theoretically in a simple model and in a quantitative exercise using data on the US economy.

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Competition over High-income Workers: Job Growth and Access to Labour in Atlanta

Miwa Matsuo
Urban Studies, June 2014, Pages 1634-1652

Abstract:
Access to a large labour pool (labour pooling) leads to local economic concentrations through agglomeration economies. However, these concentrations may be self-limiting by reducing labour availability through competition over high-skill workers. This paper examines whether labour pooling and labour availability of workers with different incomes account for local job growth in the Atlanta metropolitan area between 2000 and 2006. Workers’ income is employed to account for the human capital of workers, including education and skills. It is found that the availability of high-income workers is the only positive significant factor for job growth and the spatial size of the effect is larger than the traffic analysis zone (neighbourhood scale). In contrast, no labour pooling indicators show a positive association with job growth. The finding casts doubt on labour pooling effects at the intraregional level and suggests avenues for further research on local-area agglomeration economies.

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Habit persistence and the long-run labor supply

Clemens Struck
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Standard macroeconomic models possess the undesirable feature that people stop working in the long run. Assuming standard parameters, the neoclassical model predicts that 2% of annual productivity growth leads to a 99% decline in the labor supply after 624 years. Yet, this contradicts the fact that labor hours per capita are relatively stable, even over a long period of time. This paper shows how internal and external habit persistence each work to stabilize the long run labor supply, independent of key parameter choices.

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Papers, please! The effect of birth registration on child labor and education in early 20th century USA

Sonja Fagernäs
Explorations in Economic History, April 2014, Pages 63–92

Abstract:
A birth certificate establishes a child's legal identity and age, but few quantitative estimates of the significance of birth registration exist. Birth registration laws were enacted by U.S. states in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Using 1910–1930 census data, this study finds that minimum working age legislation was twice as effective in reducing under-aged employment if children had been born with a birth registration law, with positive implications for school attendance. There is some evidence that registration laws also improved the enforcement of schooling laws for younger children. A retrospective analysis with the 1960 census shows that the long-term effect of registration laws was to increase educational attainment by approximately 0.1 years.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Managing diversity

Are Good-Looking People More Employable?

Bradley Ruffle & Ze'ev Shtudiner
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the role of physical attractiveness in the hiring process. We sent 5,312 curricula vitae (CVs) in pairs to 2,656 advertised job openings. In each pair, one CV was without a picture, whereas the second, otherwise almost identical CV contained a picture of either an attractive male or female or a plain-looking male or female. Employer callbacks to attractive men are significantly higher than to men with no picture and to plain-looking men, nearly doubling the latter group. Strikingly, attractive women do not enjoy the same beauty premium. In fact, women with no picture have a significantly higher rate of callback than attractive or plain-looking women. We explore a number of explanations for this discrimination against attractive women and provide evidence that female jealousy and envy are likely reasons.

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Gender and Business Outcomes of Black and Hispanic New Entrepreneurs in the United States

Marie Mora & Alberto Dávila
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 245-249

Abstract:
In light of the growing numbers of women of color in the entrepreneurial sector in the United States, employing public-use microdata from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, this study finds that new firms owned by black and Hispanic women were more likely to cease operations than those owned by their male counterparts or by non-Hispanic whites, even when controlling for other owner- and firm-level characteristics and labor market conditions. These differences occurred despite the existence of public programs designed to help female and minority entrepreneurs, raising the question of efficiency of the current policy infrastructure in the United States.

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When “mom’s the boss”: Control over domestic decision making reduces women’s interest in workplace power

Melissa Williams & Serena Chen
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, July 2014, Pages 436-452

Abstract:
Although men are typically considered to have more power than women, women are more likely than men to be primary decision makers in the household domain. We argue that the portrayal of women’s traditional role as representing a form of power, albeit limited in scope, is widespread in popular culture, and that this power is perceived as desirable and providing a subjective sense of control (Study 1). Yet power over household decision making may also function to reduce women’s objections to a status quo in which they have less power overall, outside their traditional role. Two experiments (Studies 2 and 3) showed that power over household decisions (but not mere domestic tasks) reduced women’s interest in achieving power in the workplace. Men’s interest in workplace power, on the other hand, was unaffected by the degree to which they wielded power at home.

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What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations

Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola & Dolly Chugh
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Little is known about how discrimination against women and minorities manifests before individuals formally apply to organizations or how it varies within and between organizations. We address this knowledge gap through an audit study in academia of over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. We hypothesized that discrimination would appear at the informal “pathway” preceding entry to academia and would vary by discipline and university as a function of faculty representation and pay. In our experiment, professors were contacted by fictional prospective students seeking to discuss research opportunities prior to applying to a doctoral program. Names of students were randomly assigned to signal gender and race (Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Chinese), but messages were otherwise identical. We found that faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from Caucasian males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions. Counterintuitively, the representation of women and minorities and discrimination were uncorrelated, suggesting that greater representation cannot be assumed to reduce discrimination. This research highlights the importance of studying what happens before formal entry points into organizations and reveals that discrimination is not evenly distributed within and between organizations.

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Does Social Proximity Enhance Business Partnerships? Theory and Evidence from Ethnicity's Role in U.S. Venture Capital

Deepak Hegde & Justin Tumlinson
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a formal model to understand the selection and influence effects of social proximity (homophily) between business partners. Consistent with the model's predictions, we find that U.S. venture capitalists (VCs) are more likely to select start-ups with coethnic executives for investment, particularly when the probability of the start-up's success appears low. Ethnic proximity between VCs and the start-ups they invest in is positively related to performance, measured by the probability of the companies' successful exit through acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs) and net income after IPO. Two-stage regression estimates suggest that these positive performance outcomes are largely due to influence, that is, superior communication and coordination between coethnic VCs and start-up executives after the investment. To the extent that VCs expect to work better with coethnic start-ups, they invest in coethnic ventures that are of lower observable quality than noncoethnic ventures.

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Gender, Competitiveness and Career Choices

Thomas Buser, Muriel Niederle & Hessel Oosterbeek
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender differences in competitiveness have been hypothesized as a potential explanation for gender differences in education and labor market outcomes. We examine the predictive power of a standard laboratory experimental measure of competitiveness for the later important choice of academic track of secondary school students in the Netherlands. Although boys and girls display similar levels of academic ability, boys choose substantially more prestigious academic tracks, where more prestigious tracks are more math and science intensive. Our experimental measure shows that boys are also substantially more competitive than girls. We find that competitiveness is strongly positively correlated with choosing more prestigious academic tracks even conditional on academic ability. Most importantly, we find that the gender difference in competitiveness accounts for a substantial portion (about 20 percent) of the gender difference in track choice.

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Explaining Asian Americans’ academic advantage over whites

Amy Hsin & Yu Xie
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The superior academic achievement of Asian Americans is a well-documented phenomenon that lacks a widely accepted explanation. Asian Americans’ advantage in this respect has been attributed to three groups of factors: (i) socio-demographic characteristics, (ii) cognitive ability, and (iii) academic effort as measured by characteristics such as attentiveness and work ethic. We combine data from two nationally representative cohort longitudinal surveys to compare Asian-American and white students in their educational trajectories from kindergarten through high school. We find that the Asian-American educational advantage is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics. We test explanations for the Asian–white gap in academic effort and find that the gap can be further attributed to (i) cultural differences in beliefs regarding the connection between effort and achievement and (ii) immigration status. Finally, we highlight the potential psychological and social costs associated with Asian-American achievement success.

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Culture Shock Revisited: The Social and Cultural Contingencies to Class Marginality

Anthony Abraham Jack
Sociological Forum, June 2014, Pages 453–475

Abstract:
Existing explanations of class marginality predict similar social experiences for all lower-income undergraduates. This article extends this literature by presenting data highlighting the cultural and social contingencies that account for differences in experiences of class marginality. The degree of cultural and social dissimilarity between one's life before and during college helps explain variation in experiences. I contrast the experiences of two groups of lower-income, black undergraduates — the Doubly Disadvantaged and Privileged Poor. Although from comparable disadvantaged households and neighborhoods, they travel along divergent paths to college. Unlike the Doubly Disadvantaged, whose precollege experiences are localized, the Privileged Poor cross social boundaries for school. In college, the Doubly Disadvantaged report negative interactions with peers and professors and adopt isolationist strategies, while the Privileged Poor generally report positive interactions and adopt integrationist strategies. In addition to extending present conceptualizations of class marginality, this study advances our understanding of how and when class and culture matter in stratification processes in college.

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You, Me, or Her: Leaders’ Perceptions of Responsibility for Increasing Gender Diversity in STEM Departments

Sara McClelland & Kathryn Holland
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined how university leaders described what and who needed to change in order to increase the representation of female faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) departments. Thirty-one (28 men and 3 women) STEM departmental chairs and deans at a large, public university participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were examined using both qualitative and quantitative procedures. Analysis focused on participants’ descriptions of responsibility for changes related to gender equity. Using the distinction of high versus low responsibility, themes were examined for their qualitative characteristics as well as their frequency. Leaders who exhibited high personal responsibility most frequently saw themselves as needing to change and also named their male colleagues as concurrently responsible for diversity. Conversely, leaders who exhibited low personal responsibility most frequently described female faculty as responsible and described women’s attitudes and their “choice” to have a family as obstacles to gender diversity in STEM. We argue that the dimensions of high and low responsibility are useful additions to discussions of leadership, workplace diversity initiatives, and gender equity more broadly. To this end, we provide several methodological tools to examine these subtle, yet essential, aspects of how diversity and change efforts are imagined and discussed.

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Do Black Mayors Improve Black Relative to White Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large US Cities

John Nye, Ilia Rainer & Thomas Stratmann
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
To what extent do politicians reward voters who are members of their own ethnic or racial group? Using data from large cities in the United States, we study how black employment outcomes are affected by changes in the race of the cities’ mayors between 1973 and 2004. We find that relative to whites, black employment and labor force participation rise, and the black unemployment rate falls, during the tenure of black mayors. Black employment gains in municipal government jobs are particularly large, which suggests that our results capture causal effects of black mayors. Black mayors also lead to higher black incomes relative to white incomes. We show that our results continue to hold when we compare the treated cities to alternative control groups of cities, explicitly control for changing attitudes towards blacks or use regression discontinuity analysis to compare cities that elected black and white mayors in close elections.

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The Scarring Effect of “Women's Work”: The Determinants of Women's Attrition from Male-Dominated Occupations

Margarita Torre
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's entry into formerly male-dominated occupations has increased in recent decades, yet a significant outflow remains. This study examines the determinants of women's exits from male-dominated occupations, focusing on the effect of previous occupational trajectories. In particular, it hypothesizes that occupational trajectories in female-dominated occupations are often imbued with meanings and beliefs about the (in)appropriateness of the worker, which adversely affect women's integration and chances when they enter the male sector. Using the NLSY79 data set, the study analyzes the job histories of women employed in the United States between 1979 and 2006. The results reveal a disproportionate risk of exit among newcomers from female-dominated occupations. Also, women who reenter the male field are more likely to leave it again. Altogether, the findings challenge explanations based on deficiencies in the information available to women at the moment of hiring. The evidence points to the existence of a “scar effect” of previous work in the female field, which hinders women's opportunities in the male sector and ends up increasing the likelihood of exit.

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When Accomplishments Come Back to Haunt You: The Negative Effect of Competence Signals on Women’s Performance Evaluations

Ena Inesi & Daniel Cable
Personnel Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research explores the possibility that the very accomplishments that are critical to success during the hiring process (e.g., educational attainment, promotion history) can lead to a drop in future performance evaluations for women. We theorized that evaluators may see such competence signals as a threat to the traditional gender hierarchy, which leads to a negative bias when evaluating women's on-the-job performance. In Study 1, we examined this hypothesis among commanding officers in the United States military, who gave lower performance ratings to female subordinates whose pay-grade approached their own. The same was not true for male subordinates. Studies 2, 3a and 3b experimentally tested the boundary conditions of this effect using two additional competence signals (educational attainment and past career successes) and two different populations. Across these studies, we replicated the negative relationship between competence signal strength and performance evaluations for female subordinates, but only under conditions in which the evaluator would be particularly likely to experience gender hierarchy threat. Specifically, it emerged when the evaluator was male and high social-dominance-oriented, and when the female subordinate's objective on-the-job performance was high. Finally, Study 3a demonstrated how organizations can mitigate this negative bias by using objective (rather than subjective) performance evaluations.

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Are Female Supervisors More Female-Friendly?

Steven Bednar & Dora Gicheva
American Economic Review, May 2014, Pages 370-375

Abstract:
We introduce the idea that easily inferable demographic characteristics such as gender may not be sufficient to define type in the supervisor-employee mentoring relationship. We use longitudinal data on athletic directors at NCAA Division I programs to identify through observed mobility the propensity of top-level administrators to hire and retain female head coaches, above and beyond an organization's culture. We show that supervisor gender appears to be unrelated to female friendliness in this setting. Overall, our findings indicate that more focus should be placed on the more complex manager type defined by attitudes in addition to attributes.

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Gendered Parenthood Penalties and Premiums across the Earnings Distribution in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States

Lynn Prince Cooke
European Sociological Review, June 2014, Pages 360-372

Abstract:
Parenthood explains some of the gender earnings gap, but its effects differ among women and men and across countries. Wave 6 LIS data and regressions of the recentered influence function are used to compare effects of parenthood across the unconditional earnings distribution in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three countries are considered more liberal welfare regimes, but still differ in within- and between-gender economic inequality. Australia has slightly greater income equality than the other two countries. Results reveal that fatherhood premiums and motherhood penalties are smaller in Australia, as are differences between the highest- and lowest-earning parents. Australian and British mothers are more likely to work part-time, but controlling for work hours, motherhood penalties in those countries are smaller across the bottom half of the distribution than in the United States. Motherhood penalties across the upper half of the earnings distribution are more similar in the three countries and decrease as earnings increase. The lowest-earning men in all three countries face small but significant fatherhood penalties, whereas high-earning British and US fathers garner significant premiums as compared with childless men. Parenthood penalties and premiums therefore reflect relative socio-economic (dis)advantage among both women and men, as well as between them.

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Gender Gap in School Science: Are Single-Sex Schools Important?

Joanna Sikora
Sex Roles, May 2014, Pages 400-415

Abstract:
This paper compares science subject choices and science-related career plans of Australian adolescents in single-sex and coeducational schools. Data from the nationally representative Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth collected from students who were 15 years of age in 2009 show that, in all schools, boys are overrepresented in physical science courses and careers, while girls are overrepresented in life science. It appears that students in all-girls schools are more likely to take physical science subjects and are keener on careers in physics, computing or engineering than their counterparts in coeducational schools. However, multi-level logit regressions reveal that most apparent differences between students in single-sex and coeducational schools are brought about by differentials in academic achievement, parental characteristics, student’s science self-concept, study time and availability of qualified teachers. The only differences remaining after introducing control variables are the higher propensity of boys in single-sex schools to plan a life science career and the marginally lower propensity of girls in girls-only schools to study life science subjects. Thus, single-sex schooling fosters few non-traditional choices of science specialization. The paper discusses the likely consequences of gender segregation in science and a limited potential of single-sex schools to reduce them. The results of the current analysis are contrasted with a comparable study conducted in Australia a decade ago to illustrate the persistence of the gender gap in science field choices.

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The Impact of Advice on Women's and Men's Selection into Competition

Jordi Brandts, Valeska Groenert & Christina Rott
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct a laboratory experiment to study how advice by a more experienced and better-informed person affects an individual's entry into a real-effort tournament and the gender gap. Our experiment is motivated by the concerns raised by approaching the gender gap through affirmative action policies. Overall, advice improves the entry decision of subjects, in that forgone earnings due to wrong entry decisions go significantly down. The improvements are mainly driven by increased entry of strong-performing women, who also become more confident, and reduced entry of weak-performing men. We find that the overall gender gap persists even though it disappears among low and strong performers. The persistence is due to an emerging gender gap among intermediate performers driven by women (men) following more the advice to stay out of (enter) the tournament in this performance group.

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Affirmative Action and Other Group Tradeoff Policies: Identifiability of Those Adversely Affected

Ilana Ritov & Eyal Zamir
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
When social resources are limited, improving the lot of the underprivileged comes at the expense of others. Thus, policies such as Affirmative Action (AA) — designed to increase the representation of minority people in higher education or employment — implicitly entail tradeoffs between groups. We propose that, while aversion to person- or group-tradeoffs of this sort is widespread, the identifiability of those who stand to lose is a moderating factor. In five experiments, we compared support for several hypothetical AA procedures that are equivalent in terms of the overall harm and benefit, but differ with respect to the identifiability of those who stand to lose from its implementation. Results support the claim that the identifiability of those adversely affected reduces support for AA policies and for similar procedures that are unrelated to civil rights issues. Possible determinants and legal implications of this effect are discussed.

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Leaderboards in a Virtual Classroom: A Test of Stereotype Threat and Social Comparison Explanations for Women’s Math Performance

Katheryn Christy & Jesse Fox
Computers & Education, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gamification includes the use of gaming features, such as points or leaderboards, in non-gaming contexts, and is a frequently-discussed trend in education. One way of gamifying the classroom is to introduce leaderboards. Leaderboards allow students to see how they are performing relative to others in the same class. Little empirical research has investigated the impact of leaderboards on academic performance. In this study, 80 female undergraduates took a math test in a virtual representation of a classroom after being exposed to one of three leaderboard conditions: a leaderboard where men held the majority of the top positions, a leaderboard where women held the majority of top positions, and a no leaderboard condition. Participants in the female majority leaderboard condition performed more poorly on the math test than those in the male leaderboard condition, yet demonstrated a higher level of academic identification than those in the male and control conditions. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications that this study’s findings may have for the use of leaderboards within educational environments.

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Where do Women Stand? New Evidence on the Presence and Absence of Gender Equality in the World's Constitutions

Adèle Cassola et al.
Politics & Gender, June 2014, Pages 200-235

Abstract:
In countries around the world, constitutional protections of women's rights have provided a legal foundation to combat discriminatory laws, customs, and actions and a catalyst for advances in gender equality. This article draws on newly available data from 191 countries to analyze women's constitutional rights across the spheres of general equality and nondiscrimination, political participation, social and economic rights, family life, and customary and religious law. We examined how gender-specific and universal protections differed according to a constitution's year of adoption and last amendment, and identified regional patterns that persisted across all decades. Women were explicitly guaranteed general equality or nondiscrimination in 81% of constitutions, some aspect of political equality in 32%, marital equality in 27%, some aspect of work equality in 26%, and equal educational rights in 9% of constitutions. Protection of women's rights increased substantially between 1980 and 2011. As of June 2011, however, no constitution in the Middle East and North Africa guaranteed gender-specific protection in education, work, or marriage, and there were no guarantees of marital equality in South Asian constitutions. Of the constitutions that protected some aspect of gender equality, 5% stated that customary or religious laws could prevail over constitutional provisions.

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The Gender Gap in Academic Medicine: Comparing Results From a Multifaceted Intervention for Stanford Faculty to Peer and National Cohorts

Hannah Valantine et al.
Academic Medicine, June 2014, Pages 904–911

Purpose: To assess whether the proportion of women faculty, especially at the full professor rank, increased from 2004 to 2010 at Stanford University School of Medicine after a multifaceted intervention.

Method: The authors surveyed gender composition and faculty satisfaction five to seven years after initiating a multifaceted intervention to expand recruitment and development of women faculty. The authors assessed pre/post relative change and rates of increase in women faculty at each rank, and faculty satisfaction; and differences in pre/post change and estimated rate of increase between Stanford and comparator cohorts (nationally and at peer institutions).

Results: Post intervention, women faculty increased by 74% (234 to 408), with assistant, associate, and full professors increasing by 66% (108 to 179), 87% (74 to 138), and 75% (52 to 91), respectively. Nationally and at peer institutions, women faculty increased by about 30% (from 30,230 to 39,200 and 4,370 to 5,754 respectively), respectively, with lower percentages at each rank compared with Stanford. Estimated difference (95% CI) in annual rate of increase was larger for Stanford versus the national cohort: combined ranks 0.36 (0.17 to 0.56), P = .001; full professor 0.40 (0.18 to 0.62), P = .001; and versus the peer cohort: combined ranks 0.29 (0.07 to 0.51), P = .02; full professor 0.37 (0.14 to 0.60), P = .003. Stanford women faculty satisfaction increased from 48% (2003) to 71% (2008).

Conclusions: Increased satisfaction and proportion of women faculty, especially full professors, suggest that the intervention may ameliorate the gender gap in academic medicine.

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Nurse or Mechanic? The Role of Parental Socialization and Children's Personality in the Formation of Sex-Typed Occupational Aspirations

Javier Polavieja & Lucinda Platt
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Boys and girls with sex-typical aspirations are significantly more likely to end up in sex-typical jobs as adults. Preference formation among children is therefore relevant for subsequent occupational outcomes. This study investigates the role of parental socialization and children's agency in the formation of sex-typed occupational preferences using data for British children aged 11 to 15. We anchor agency in observable psychological attributes associated with children's capacity to act in the face of constraints. We focus on two such attributes, motivation and self-esteem. Our findings identify two main sources of parental influence: (1) parental sex-typical behaviors, from which children learn which occupations are appropriate for each sex; and (2) parental socio-economic resources, which affect children's occupational ambition. We find, additionally, that girls with high motivation and both girls and boys with high self-esteem are less likely to aspire to sex-typical occupations, net of parental characteristics. Motivation and self-esteem help girls aim higher in the occupational ladder, which automatically reduces their levels of sex-typicality. For boys, however, self-esteem reduces sex-typicality at all levels of the aspired occupational distribution. This suggests that boys with high self-esteem are better equipped to contradict the existing social norms regarding sex-typical behavior. Implications are discussed.

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Influence of Communication Partner’s Gender on Language

Adrienne Hancock & Benjamin Rubin
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Forty participants (20 male) had 3-minute conversations with trained male and female communication partners in a repeated-measures, within-subject design. Eighty 3-minute conversations were transcribed and coded for dependent clauses, fillers, tag questions, intensive adverbs, negations, hedges, personal pronouns, self-references, justifiers, and interruptions. Results suggest no significant changes in language based on speaker gender. However, when speaking with a female, participants interrupted more and used more dependent clauses than when speaking with a male. There was no significant interaction to suggest that the language differences based on communication partner was specific to one gender group. These results are discussed in context of previous research, communication accommodation theory, and general process model for gendered language.

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Vocal Fry May Undermine the Success of Young Women in the Labor Market

Rindy Anderson et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2014

Abstract:
Vocal fry is speech that is low pitched and creaky sounding, and is increasingly common among young American females. Some argue that vocal fry enhances speaker labor market perceptions while others argue that vocal fry is perceived negatively and can damage job prospects. In a large national sample of American adults we find that vocal fry is interpreted negatively. Relative to a normal speaking voice, young adult female voices exhibiting vocal fry are perceived as less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive, and less hirable. The negative perceptions of vocal fry are stronger for female voices relative to male voices. These results suggest that young American females should avoid using vocal fry speech in order to maximize labor market opportunities.

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Performance pay and ethnic earnings differences in Britain

Colin Green, John Heywood & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos
Oxford Economic Papers, July 2014, Pages 798-823

Abstract:
In the first British study, we show that the ethnic earnings gap amongst performance pay jobs is smaller than that amongst time rate jobs. This partially reflects sorting but persists with diminished magnitude in fixed effect estimates. Although varying somewhat with specification, quantile decompositions show that the smaller ethnic earnings gap is driven by bonus payments in the upper middle portion of the earnings distribution. These findings differ dramatically from those for the USA in which performance pay has been associated with larger negative racial differentials especially at the top of the earnings distribution.

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The Multiple Burdens of Foreign-Named Men — Evidence from a Field Experiment on Gendered Ethnic Hiring Discrimination in Sweden

Moa Bursell
European Sociological Review, June 2014, Pages 399-409

Abstract:
Scholars have documented ethnic and gender discrimination across labour markets since the 1970s by using field experiments (correspondence tests) in which pairs of equally qualified applications are sent to employers with job openings. In these experiments, discrimination is measured by documenting group differences in callbacks. However, the gendered nature of ethnic discrimination has been neglected thus far in this literature. Drawing on the results of a correspondence test, this study presents evidence of extensive ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labour market against applicants with Arabic and North African names but no evidence of discrimination against women. However, the findings also reveal gendered ethnic employer preferences: employers in male-dominated occupations practice gender overcompensation favouring female-named applicants, whereas employers in female-dominated occupations practice both ethnic and gender overcompensation, favouring foreign-named men in particular.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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