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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Make it happen

People underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance

Brian Lucas & Loran Nordgren
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, August 2015, Pages 232-243

Abstract:
Across 7 studies, we investigated the prediction that people underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance. Across a range of creative tasks, people consistently underestimated how productive they would be while persisting (Studies 1–3). Study 3 found that the subjectively experienced difficulty, or disfluency, of creative thought accounted for persistence undervaluation. Alternative explanations based on idea quality (Studies 1–2B) and goal setting (Study 4) were considered and ruled out and domain knowledge was explored as a boundary condition (Study 5). In Study 6, the disfluency of creative thought reduced people’s willingness to invest in an opportunity to persist, resulting in lower financial performance. This research demonstrates that persistence is a critical determinant of creative performance and that people may undervalue and underutilize persistence in everyday creative problem solving.

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It’s a Matter of Mind! Cognitive Functioning Predicts the Athletic Performance in Ultra-Marathon Runners

Giorgia Cona et al.
PLoS ONE, July 2015

Abstract:
The present study was aimed at exploring the influence of cognitive processes on performance in ultra-marathon runners, providing an overview of the cognitive aspects that characterize outstanding runners. Thirty runners were administered a battery of computerized tests right before their participation in an ultra-marathon. Then, they were split according to the race rank into two groups (i.e., faster runners and slower runners) and their cognitive performance was compared. Faster runners outperformed slower runners in trials requiring motor inhibition and were more effective at performing two tasks together, successfully suppressing the activation of the information for one of the tasks when was not relevant. Furthermore, slower runners took longer to remember to execute pre-defined actions associated with emotional stimuli when such stimuli were presented. These findings suggest that cognitive factors play a key role in running an ultra-marathon. Indeed, if compared with slower runners, faster runners seem to have a better inhibitory control, showing superior ability not only to inhibit motor response but also to suppress processing of irrelevant information. Their cognitive performance also appears to be less influenced by emotional stimuli. This research opens new directions towards understanding which kinds of cognitive and emotional factors can discriminate talented runners from less outstanding runners.

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Confidence Enhanced Performance? - The causal effects of success on future performance in professional golf tournaments

Olof Rosenqvist & Oskar Nordström Skans
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2015, Pages 281–295

Abstract:
This paper provides field evidence on the causal impact of past successes on future performances. Since persistence in success or failure is likely to be linked through potentially time-varying ability, it is intrinsically difficult to identify the causal effect of succeeding on the probability of performing well in the future. We therefore employ a regression discontinuity design on data from professional golf tournaments exploiting that almost equally skilled players are separated into successes and failures half-way into the tournaments (the “cut”). We show that players who (marginally) succeeded in making the cut substantially increased their performance in subsequent tournaments relative to players who (marginally) failed to make the cut. This success-effect is substantially larger when the subsequent (outcome) tournament involves more prize money. The results therefore suggest that past successes provide an important prerequisite when performing high-stakes tasks.

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Disordered environments prompt mere goal pursuit

Bob Fennis & Jacob Wiebenga
Journal of Environmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People have a strong need to perceive their environment as orderly and structured. Among the various strategies to defend against the aversive experience of disorder, the authors propose and test the novel hypothesis that people may reaffirm a sense of order by setting and pursuing goals that may be unrelated to the source of disorder. In a series of (lab and field) studies, the authors show that when environmental cues trigger an experience of disorder, or when people have a chronic need for order, and hence when they are motivated to restore perceptions of order, people are more attracted to clear, well-defined goals and motivated to attain them. Moreover, the authors show that the effect of a disordered environment on goal pursuit is driven by the need to reaffirm perceptions of order, and — conversely — that setting and pursuing goals is indeed functional in promoting a sense of order.

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Unskilled and Don't Want to Be Aware of It: The Effect of Self-Relevance on the Unskilled and Unaware Phenomenon

Young-Hoon Kim, Chi-Yue Chiu & Jessica Bregant
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Abstract:
Previous research found that poor performers tend to overestimate how well their performance compares to others’. This unskilled and unaware effect has been attributed to poor performers’ lack of metacognitive ability to realize their ineptitude. We contend that the unskilled are motivated to ignore (be unaware of) their poor performance so that they can feel better about themselves. We tested this idea in an experiment in which we manipulated the perceived self-relevancy of the task to men and women after they had completed a visual pun task and before they estimated their performance on the task. As predicted, the unskilled and unaware effect was attenuated when the task was perceived to have low self-relevance.

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Dissociable Effects of Salience on Attention and Goal-Directed Action

Jeff Moher, Brian Anderson & Joo-Hyun Song
Current Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Everyday behavior frequently involves encounters with multiple objects that compete for selection. For example, driving a car requires constant shifts of attention between oncoming traffic, rearview mirrors, and traffic signs and signals, among other objects. Behavioral goals often drive this selection process; however, they are not the sole determinant of selection. Physically salient objects, such as flashing, brightly colored hazard signs, or objects that are salient by virtue of learned associations with reward, such as pictures of food on a billboard, often capture attention regardless of the individual’s goals. It is typically thought that strongly salient distractor objects capture more attention and are more disruptive than weakly salient distractors. Counterintuitively, though, we found that this is true for perception, but not for goal-directed action. In a visually guided reaching task, we required participants to reach to a shape-defined target while trying to ignore salient distractors. We observed that strongly salient distractors produced less disruption in goal-directed action than weakly salient distractors. Thus, a strongly salient distractor triggers suppression during goal-directed action, resulting in enhanced efficiency and accuracy of target selection relative to when weakly salient distractors are present. In contrast, in a task requiring no goal-directed action, we found greater attentional interference from strongly salient distractors. Thus, while highly salient stimuli interfere strongly with perceptual processing, increased physical salience or associated value attenuates action-related interference.

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The Snooze of Lose: Rapid Reaching Reveals That Losses Are Processed More Slowly Than Gains

Craig Chapman et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decision making revolves around weighing potential gains and losses. Research in economic decision making has emphasized that humans exercise disproportionate caution when making explicit choices involving loss. By comparison, research in perceptual decision making has revealed a processing advantage for targets associated with potential gain, though the effects of loss have been explored less systematically. Here, we use a rapid reaching task to measure the relative sensitivity (Experiment 1) and the time course (Experiments 2 and 3) of rapid actions with regard to the reward valence and probability of targets. We show that targets linked to a high probability of gain influence actions about 100 ms earlier than targets associated with equivalent probability and value of loss. These findings are well accounted for by a model of stimulus response in which reward modulates the late, postpeak phase of the activity. We interpret our results within a neural framework of biased competition that is resolved in spatial maps of behavioral relevance. As implied by our model, all visual stimuli initially receive positive activation. Gain stimuli can build off of this initial activation when selected as a target, whereas loss stimuli have to overcome this initial activation in order to be avoided, accounting for the observed delay between valences. Our results bring clarity to the perceptual effects of losses versus gains and highlight the importance of considering the timeline of different biasing factors that influence decisions.

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The role of motivation for rewards in vicarious goal satiation

Stephanie Tobin et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 137–143

Abstract:
We examined the role of reward sensitivity and the motivation to balance ‘have-to’ and ‘want-to’ goals in vicarious goal satiation. In Experiment 1, participants who read about a target who completed an academic goal performed worse on an academic (‘have-to’) task and were more interested in engaging in inherently rewarding (‘want-to’) activities than participants who read about an incomplete goal. In Experiment 2, after reading about a target who completed a ‘have-to’ goal, participants who were more sensitive to rewards performed worse on a similar ‘have-to’ task. Furthermore, in Experiment 3, this effect was significant only when participants saw their task as more of a work (i.e., ‘have-to’) task. Together, these findings support the idea that motivation for rewards plays a role in vicarious goal satiation and that other people's goal pursuits can affect observers' perceived balance of ‘have-to’ and ‘want-to’ goals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 24, 2015

Leadership vacuum

Destined for Democracy? Labour Markets and Political Change in Colonial British America

Elena Nikolova
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article a new explanation for the emergence of democratic institutions is proposed: elites may extend the right to vote to the masses in order to attract migrant workers. It is argued that representative assemblies serve as a commitment device for any promises made to labourers by those in power, and the argument is tested on a new political and economic dataset from the thirteen British American colonies. The results suggest that colonies that relied on white migrant labour, rather than slaves, had better representative institutions. These findings are not driven by alternative factors identified in the literature, such as inequality or initial conditions, and survive a battery of validity checks.

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Aid and the Rise and Fall of Conflict in the Muslim World

Faisal Ahmed & Eric Werker
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2015, Pages 155-186

Abstract:
The conflict following the Arab Spring is not the first wave of civil war in the Muslim world in recent time. From the mid-1980s to the end of the century, an average of one in 10 predominantly-Muslim countries experienced violent civil war in any given year. We provide a partial explanation for this statistic: a foreign aid windfall to poor, non-oil producing Muslim countries during the twin oil crises of the 1970s allowed the recipient states to become more repressive and stave off rebellion. When oil prices fell in the mid-1980s, the windfall ended, and the recipient countries experienced a significant uptick in civil war. To provide a causal interpretation we leverage a quasi-natural experiment of oil price induced aid disbursements which favored Muslim countries over non-Muslim countries. Our empirical findings are consistent with existing theories that foreign aid can "buy" stability.

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Military Westernization and State Repression in the Post-Cold War Era

Ori Swed & Alex Weinreb
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 270-287

Abstract:
The waves of unrest that have shaken the Arab world since December 2010 have highlighted significant differences in the readiness of the military to intervene in political unrest by forcefully suppressing dissent. We suggest that in the Post-Cold War period, this readiness is inversely associated with the level of military westernization, which is a product of the acquisition of arms from western countries. We identify two mechanisms linking the acquisition of arms from western countries to less repressive responses: dependence and conditionality; and a longer-term diffusion of ideologies regarding the proper form of civil-military relations. Empirical support for our hypothesis is found in an analysis of 2,523 cases of government response to political unrest in 138 countries in the 1996-2005 period. We find that military westernization mitigates state repression in general, with more pronounced effects in the poorest countries. However, we also identify substantial differences between the pre- and post-9/11 periods.

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Do Terrorists Win? Rebels' Use of Terrorism and Civil War Outcomes

Virginia Page Fortna
International Organization, Summer 2015, Pages 519-556

Abstract:
How effective is terrorism? This question has generated lively scholarly debate and is of obvious importance to policy-makers. However, most existing studies of terrorism are not well equipped to answer this question because they lack an appropriate comparison. This article compares the outcomes of civil wars to assess whether rebel groups that use terrorism fare better than those who eschew this tactic. I evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of terrorism relative to other tactics used in civil war. Because terrorism is not a tactic employed at random, I first briefly explore empirically which groups use terrorism. Controlling for factors that may affect both the use of terrorism and war outcomes, I find that although civil wars involving terrorism last longer than other wars, terrorist rebel groups are generally less likely to achieve their larger political objectives than are nonterrorist groups. Terrorism may be less ineffective against democracies, but even in this context, terrorists do not win.

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Bending with the Wind: Revisiting Islamist Parties' Electoral Dilemma

Kadir Yildirim & Caroline Lancaster
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Islamist parties' electoral performance is a hotly debated question. Two arguments dominate the literature in terms of Islamist parties' performance in democratic elections. The conventional argument has been the "one man, one vote, one time" hypothesis. More recently, Kurzman and Naqvi challenge this argument and show that Islamists tend to lose in free elections rather than win them. We argue that existing arguments fall short. Specifically, we theorize that moderateness of Islamist platform plays a key role in increasing the popularity of these parties and leads to higher levels of electoral support. Using data collected by Kurzman and Naqvi, we test our hypothesis, controlling for political platform and political economic factors in a quantitative analysis. We find that there is empirical support for our theory. Islamist parties' support level is positively associated with moderateness; however, this positive effect of moderation is also conditioned by economic openness.

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Ethnic Inequality and the Dismantling of Democracy: A Global Analysis

Christian Houle
World Politics, July 2015, Pages 469-505

Abstract:
Does inequality between ethnic groups destabilize democracies? While the literature largely agrees that inequality harms democracies, previous studies typically focus on the overall level of inequality in a society, leaving unanswered questions about the effect of inequality between ethnic groups. This article fills this gap and argues that inequality between ethnic groups harms the consolidation of democracy but that its effect is strongest when inequality within groups is low. Using group- and country-level data from more than seventy-one democracies and 241 ethnic groups worldwide, the author conducts the first cross-national test to date of the effect of ethnic inequality on transitions away from democracy. Results provide support for the hypothesis: when within-ethnic-group inequality (WGI) is low, between-ethnic-group inequality (BGI) harms democracy, but when WGI is high, BGI has no discernable effect.

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A Theory of Civil Disobedience

Edward Glaeser & Cass Sunstein
NBER Working Paper, July 2015

Abstract:
From the streets of Hong Kong to Ferguson, Missouri, civil disobedience has again become newsworthy. What explains the prevalence and extremity of acts of civil disobedience? This paper presents a model in which protest planners choose the nature of the disturbance hoping to influence voters (or other decision-makers in less democratic regimes) both through the size of the unrest and by generating a response. The model suggests that protesters will either choose a mild "epsilon" protest, such as a peaceful march, which serves mainly to signal the size of the disgruntled population, or a "sweet spot" protest, which is painful enough to generate a response but not painful enough so that an aggressive response is universally applauded. Since non-epsilon protests serve primarily to signal the leaders' type, they will occur either when protesters have private information about the leader's type or when the distribution of voters' preferences are convex in a way that leads the revelation of uncertainty to increase the probability of regime change. The requirements needed for rational civil disobedience seem not to hold in many world settings, and so we explore ways in which bounded rationality by protesters, voters, and incumbent leaders can also explain civil disobedience.

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Greater Expectations: A Field Experiment to Improve Accountability in Mali

Jessica Gottlieb
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
I argue that if citizens systematically underestimate what their government can and should do for them, then they will hold politicians to a lower standard and sanction poor performers less often. A field experiment across 95 localities in Mali in which randomly assigned localities receive a civics course identifies the effect of raising voter expectations of government on their willingness to hold leaders accountable. The course provides information about local government capacity and responsibility as well as how local politicians perform relative to others, effectively raising voter expectations of what local governments can and should do. Survey experiments among individuals in treated and control communities (N = 5,560) suggest that people in treated villages are indeed more likely to sanction poor performers and vote based on performance more often. A behavioral outcome - the likelihood that villagers challenge local leaders at a town hall meeting - adds external validity to survey findings.

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Terrorism and the Fate of Dictators

Deniz Aksoy, David Carter & Joseph Wright
World Politics, July 2015, Pages 423-468

Abstract:
The authors study the influence of domestic political dissent and violence on incumbent dictators and their regimes. They argue that elite with an interest in preserving the regime hold dictators accountable when there is a significant increase in terrorism. To pinpoint the accountability of dictators to elite who are strongly invested in the current regime, the authors make a novel theoretical distinction between reshuffling coups that change the leader but leave the regime intact and regime-change coups that completely change the set of elites atop the regime. Using a new data set that distinguishes between these two coup types, the authors provide robust evidence that terrorism is a consistent predictor of reshuffling coups, whereas forms of dissent that require broader public participation and support, such as protests and insurgencies, are associated with regime-change coup attempts. This article is the first to show that incumbent dictators are held accountable for terrorist campaigns that occur on their watch.

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Lying or Believing? Measuring Preference Falsification from a Political Purge in China

Junyan Jiang & Dali Yang
University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Despite its wide usage in explaining some nontrivial dynamics in nondemocratic systems, preference falsification remains an empirical myth for students of authoritarian politics. We provide to our knowledge the first quantitative study of preference falsification in an authoritarian setting using a rare coincidence between a major political purge in Shanghai, China, and the administration of a nationwide survey in 2006. We construct two synthetic measures for expressed and actual support from a set of survey questions and track their changes before and after the purge. We find that after the purge there was a dramatic increase in expressed support among Shanghai respondents, yet the increase was paralleled by an equally evident decline in actual support. We interpret this divergence as evidence for the presence of preference falsification. We also find that variations in the degree of preference falsification are jointly predicted by one's access to alternative source of information and vulnerability to state sanctions. Using two additional surveys conducted over the span of a year, we further show that there was substantial deterioration in political trust in Shanghai six months after the purge, which suggests that falsification could not sustain public support in the long run.

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Building Legal Order in Ancient Athens

Federica Carugati, Gillian Hadfield & Barry Weingast
Journal of Legal Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do democratic societies establish and maintain order in ways that are conducive to growth? Contemporary scholarship associates order, democracy, and growth with centralized rule of law institutions. In this article, we test the robustness of modern assumptions by turning to the case of ancient Athens. Democratic Athens was remarkably stable and prosperous, but the ancient city-state never developed extensively centralized rule of law institutions. Drawing on the "what-is-law" account of legal order elaborated by Hadfield and Weingast (2012), we show that Athens' legal order relied on institutions that achieved common knowledge and incentive compatibility for enforcers in a largely decentralized system of coercion. Our approach provides fresh insights into how robust legal orders may be built in countries where centralized rule of law institutions have failed to take root.

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Can Civic Education Make a Difference for Democracy? Hungary and Poland Compared

Florin Fesnic
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Civic education can have a significant impact on democracy. This article offers evidence for this assertion by comparing the effects of the widely different choices made in the early 1990s by two post-communist countries: Poland and Hungary. Initially, the effects of civic education were confined to teenagers; later, as generational replacement started to have an effect, one can see an impact on the politics of the two countries. The success of civic education in Poland and its failure in Hungary is illustrated by the differences in young people's voting patterns: throughout the last decade, the vote of Polish youth has consistently been less authoritarian than the vote of older Poles, unlike in Hungary, where the pattern is reversed. Ultimately, these developments likely had an impact on democracy: one sees democratic progress in Poland and democratic regression in Hungary.

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Attitudes towards gender equality and perception of democracy in the Arab world

Veronica Kostenko, Pavel Kuzmuchev & Eduard Ponarin
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article analyses the relationship between support of democracy and attitudes to human rights, in particular, support for gender equality, in the countries covered by the first wave of the Arab Barometer project. We use cluster analysis and negative binomial regression modelling to show that, unlike in most countries of the world, correlation between support of democracy and gender equality is very low in the Arab countries. There is a group of people in the region who support both democracy and gender equality, but they are a small group (about 17% of the population) of elderly and middle-aged people characterized by higher education and social status. A substantial number of poorly educated males express support for democracy but not for gender equality. Many people, especially young males aged 25-35 in 2007, are against both gender equality and democracy. Younger people tend to be both better educated and more conservative, those belonging to the 25-34 age group being the most patriarchal in their gender attitudes. Yet, controlling for age, education does have a positive effect on gender equality attitudes. Nevertheless, this phenomenon may reflect two simultaneous processes going on in the Middle East. On the one hand, people are getting more educated, urbanized, etc., which means the continuation of modernization. On the other hand, the fact that older people are the most liberal age group may point to a certain retrogression of social values in the younger generations.

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The Indigenous Roots of Representative Democracy

Jeanet Bentzen, Jacob Gerner Hariri & James Robinson
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We document that rules for leadership succession in ethnic societies that antedate the modern state predict contemporary political regimes; leadership selection by election in indigenous societies is associated with contemporary representative democracy. The basic association, however, is conditioned on the relative strength of the indigenous groups within a country; stronger groups seem to have been able to shape national regime trajectories, weaker groups do not. This finding extends and qualifies a substantive qualitative literature, which has found in local democratic institutions of medieval Europe a positive impulse towards the development of representative democracy. It shows that contemporary regimes are shaped not only by colonial history and European influence; indigenous history also matters. For practitioners, our findings suggest that external reformers' capacity for regime-building should not be exaggerated.

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State Capacity and Military Conflict

Nicola Gennaioli & Hans-Joachim Voth
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Powerful, centralized states controlling a large share of national income only begin to appear in Europe after 1500. We build a model that explains their emergence in response to the increasing importance of money for military success. When fiscal resources are not crucial for winning wars, the threat of external conflict stifles state building. As finance becomes critical, internally cohesive states invest in state capacity while divided states rationally drop out of the competition, causing divergence. We emphasize the role of the "Military Revolution", a sequence of technological innovations that transformed armed conflict. Using data from 374 battles, we investigate empirically both the importance of money for military success and patterns of state building in early modern Europe. The evidence is consistent with the predictions of our model.

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The Political Geography of Nationalist Protest in China: Cities and the 2012 Anti-Japanese Protests

Jeremy Wallace & Jessica Chen Weiss
China Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 403-429

Abstract:
Why do some Chinese cities take part in waves of nationalist protest but not others? Nationalist protest remains an important but understudied topic within the study of contentious politics in China, particularly at the subnational level. Relative to other protests, nationalist mobilization is more clustered in time and geographically widespread, uniting citizens in different cities against a common target. Although the literature has debated the degree of state-led and grassroots influence on Chinese nationalism, we argue that it is important to consider both the propensity of citizens to mobilize and local government fears of instability. Analysing an original dataset of 377 anti-Japanese protests across 208 of 287 Chinese prefectural cities, we find that both state-led patriotism and the availability of collective action resources were positively associated with nationalist protest, particularly "biographically available" populations of students and migrants. In addition, the government's role was not monolithically facilitative. Fears of social unrest shaped the local political opportunity structure, with anti-Japanese protests less likely in cities with larger populations of unemployed college graduates and ethnic minorities and more likely in cities with established leaders.

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Executive Constraint, Political Stability and Economic Growth

Gary Cox & Barry Weingast
Stanford Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Previous studies have argued that democracy diminishes the extent to which contests over political leadership depress economic growth, by reducing the violence and uncertainty attendant on such contests. We reconsider the theoretical basis for this claim, highlighting the separate roles of executive constraint and electoral accountability. Exploiting panel data from 1850-2005, we show that the executive's horizontal accountability to the legislature significantly moderates the economic downturns associated with leadership turnover, while its vertical accountability to the electorate does not. These results suggest that, in terms of moderating succession-related downturns and thereby promoting steadier economic growth, the health of legislatures is more important than the health of elections.

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Leader Incentives and Civil War Outcomes

Alyssa Prorok
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the influence that rebel and state leaders have on civil war outcomes, arguing that incentives to avoid punishment influence their strategic decision making during war. Leaders in civil war face punishment from two sources: internal audiences and opponents. I hypothesize that leaders who bear responsibility for involvement in the war have a higher expectation of punishment from both sources following unfavorable war performance, and thus, have incentives to continue the fight in the hope of turning the tide and avoiding the negative consequences of defeat. These incentives, in turn, make leaders who bear responsibility more likely to fight to an extreme outcome and less likely to make concessions to end the war. These propositions are tested on an original data set identifying all rebel and state leaders in all civil conflict dyads ongoing between 1980 and 2011. Results support the hypothesized relationships between leader responsibility and war outcomes.

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Political Connections and Tariff Evasion: Evidence from Tunisia

Bob Rijkers, Leila Baghdadi & Gael Raballand
World Bank Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Are politically connected firms more likely to evade taxes? This paper presents evidence suggesting firms owned by President Ben Ali and his family were more prone to evade import tariffs. During Ben Ali's reign, evasion gaps, defined as the difference between the value of exports to Tunisia reported by partner countries and the value of imports reported at Tunisian customs, were correlated with the import share of connected firms. This association was especially strong for goods subject to high tariffs, and driven by underreporting of unit prices, which diminished after the revolution. Consistent with these product-level patterns, unit prices reported by connected firms were lower than those reported by other firms, and declined faster with tariffs than those of other firms. Moreover, privatization to the Ben Ali family was associated with a reduction in reported unit prices, whereas privatization per se was not.

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Between Dissolution and Blood: How Administrative Lines and Categories Shape Secessionist Outcomes

Ryan Griffiths
International Organization, Summer 2015, Pages 731-751

Abstract:
Common wisdom and current scholarship hold that governments need to stand firm in the face of secessionist demands, since permitting the secession of one region can set a precedent for others. For this reason governments will often choose blood rather than risk dissolution. I argue that administrative organization provides states with a third option. Those regions that represent a unique administrative type stand a much better chance of seceding peacefully. Moreover, large articulated states sometimes downsize by administrative category, which helps explain why governments will release one set of units without contest while preventing another set from doing the same. Finally, secessionist movements that do not cohere with any administrative region are the least likely to be granted independence. In sum, the administrative architecture of states provides governments with a means to discriminate between secessionist demands. I test this theory in a large-N study using original data on secessionist movements and administrative units between 1816 and 2011.

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The Rise of the Chinese Security State

Yuhua Wang & Carl Minzner
China Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 339-359

Abstract:
Over the past two decades, the Chinese domestic security apparatus has expanded dramatically. "Stability maintenance" operations have become a top priority for local Chinese authorities. We argue that this trend goes back to the early 1990s, when central Party authorities adopted new governance models that differed dramatically from those of the 1980s. They increased the bureaucratic rank of public security chiefs within the Party apparatus, expanded the reach of the Party political-legal apparatus into a broader range of governance issues, and altered cadre evaluation standards to increase the sensitivity of local authorities to social unrest. We show that the origin of these changes lies in a policy response to the developments of 1989-1991, namely the Tiananmen democracy movement and the collapse of communist political systems in Eastern Europe. Over the past twenty years, these practices have developed into an extensive stability maintenance apparatus, whereby local governance is increasingly oriented around the need to respond to social unrest, whether through concession or repression. Chinese authorities now appear to be rethinking these developments, but the direction of reform remains unclear.

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Five centuries of flooding events in the SW Netherlands, 1500-2000

A.M.J. de Kraker
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, June 2015, Pages 2673-2684

Abstract:
This paper looks into flood events of the past 500 years in the SW Netherlands, addressing the issue of what kind of flooding events have occurred and which ones have mainly natural causes and which ones are predominantly human induced. The flood events are classified into two major categories: (a) flood events that were caused during storm surges and (b) flood events which happened during warfare. From both categories a selection of flood events has been made. Each flood event is discussed in terms of time, location, extent of the flooded area and specific conditions. Among these conditions, specific weather circumstances and how long they lasted, the highest water levels reached and dike maintenance are discussed as far as flood events caused during storm surges are concerned. Flood events during warfare as both offensive and defensive strategies are relevant; the paper demonstrates that although the strategic flood events obviously were man-made, the natural feature, being the use of fresh water or sea water, of these events also played a major role. Flood events caused during storm surge may have an obvious natural cause, but the extent of the flooding and damage it caused was largely determined by man.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Unacceptable

Apologies demanded yet devalued: Normative dilution in the age of apology

Tyler Okimoto, Michael Wenzel & Matthew Hornsey
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 133-136

Abstract:
Dramatic increases in the issuance of political apologies over the last two decades mean that we now live in the "age of apology". But what does this surge in frequency mean for the effectiveness of intergroup apologies in promoting forgiveness? In the current research we propose a paradoxical "normative dilution" effect whereby behavioral norms increase the perceived appropriateness of an action while at the same time reducing its symbolic value. We experimentally manipulated the salience of the age-of-apology norm prior to assessing participant (N = 128) reactions to past unjust treatment of ingroup POWs by the Japanese during WWII. The apologetic norm increased victim group members' desire for an apology in response to the harm. However, after reading the actual apology, the invocation of the norm decreased perceived apology sincerity and subsequent willingness to forgive. Thus, although apologetic trends may suggest greater contemporary interest in seeking reconciliation and harmony, their inflationary use risks devaluing apologies and undermining their effectiveness.

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Moral Vitalism: Seeing Good and Evil as Real, Agentic Forces

Brock Bastian et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, August 2015, Pages 1069-1081

Abstract:
Moral vitalism refers to a tendency to view good and evil as actual forces that can influence people and events. We introduce a scale designed to assess the belief in moral vitalism. High scorers on the scale endorse items such as "There are underlying forces of good and evil in this world." After establishing the reliability and criterion validity of the scale (Studies 1, 2a, and 2b), we examined the predictive validity of the moral vitalism scale, showing that "moral vitalists" worry about being possessed by evil (Study 3), being contaminated through contact with evil people (Study 4), and forfeiting their own mental purity (Study 5). We discuss the nature of moral vitalism and the implications of the construct for understanding the role of metaphysical lay theories about the nature of good and evil in moral reasoning.

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Group differences in broadness of values may drive dynamics of public opinion on moral issues

Kimmo Eriksson & Pontus Strimling
Mathematical Social Sciences, September 2015, Pages 1-8

Abstract:
Here we propose the idea that the success of an argument in favor of an issue position should depend on whether the argument resonates with the audience's values. Now consider two groups, one of which has a broader set of values than the other. We develop a mathematical model to investigate how this difference in broadness of values may drive a change on the population level towards positions in line with the more narrow set of values. The model is motivated by the empirical finding that conservative morality rests equally on moral foundations that are individualizing (harm and fairness) and binding (purity, authority, and ingroup), whereas liberal morality relies mainly on the individualizing moral foundations. The model then predicts that, under certain conditions, the whole population will tend to move towards positions on moral issues (e.g., same-sex marriage) that are supported by individualizing moral foundations.

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Seeing You Fall vs Taking You Down: The Roles of Agency and Liking in Schadenfreude

Keegan Greenier
Psychological Reports, June 2015, Pages 941-953

Abstract:
People are more likely to experience schadenfreude, i.e., take pleasure in the misfortunes of another, if they do not like the person experiencing the downfall. In the current study, the roles of liking and agency (being the cause of the downfall vs a passive observer) were investigated using a live (rather than hypothetical) situation for participants to react to. Participants were exposed to a rude, neutral, or nice confederate who won a coveted prize. Participants were then put into a position to either cause the confederate to lose her prize, or to only passively observe it happen. Feelings of schadenfreude were strongest when participants were the agent of a rude other's downfall. Implications for incorporating aspects of this study into future research were discussed.

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Chimpanzees' Bystander Reactions to Infanticide

Claudia Rudolf von Rohr et al.
Human Nature, June 2015, Pages 143-160

Abstract:
Social norms - generalized expectations about how others should behave in a given context - implicitly guide human social life. However, their existence becomes explicit when they are violated because norm violations provoke negative reactions, even from personally uninvolved bystanders. To explore the evolutionary origin of human social norms, we presented chimpanzees with videos depicting a putative norm violation: unfamiliar conspecifics engaging in infanticidal attacks on an infant chimpanzee. The chimpanzees looked far longer at infanticide scenes than at control videos showing nut cracking, hunting a colobus monkey, or displays and aggression among adult males. Furthermore, several alternative explanations for this looking pattern could be ruled out. However, infanticide scenes did not generally elicit higher arousal. We propose that chimpanzees as uninvolved bystanders may detect norm violations but may restrict emotional reactions to such situations to in-group contexts. We discuss the implications for the evolution of human morality.

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Not All Fairness Is Created Equal: Fairness Perceptions of Group vs. Individual Decision Makers

Maryam Kouchaki, Isaac Smith & Ekaterina Netchaeva
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on fairness heuristic theory and literature on negative group schemas, we develop and empirically test the idea that, given the exact same decision outcome, people perceive groups to be less fair than individuals when they receive a decision outcome that is unfavorable, but not when they receive one that is favorable or neutral (Studies 1 and 2). To account for this difference in fairness perceptions following an unfavorable outcome, we show that the mere presence of a group as a decision-making body serves as a cue that increases the accessibility of negative group-related associations in a perceiver's mind (Study 3). Moreover, in a sample of recently laid-off workers - representing a broad range of organizations and demographic characteristics - we demonstrate that those who received a layoff decision made by a group of decision makers (versus an individual) are marginally more likely to perceive the decision as unfair and are marginally less likely to endorse the organization (Study 4). Taken together, the results of all four studies suggest that, in response to the same unfavorable decision outcome, a group of decision makers is often perceived to be less fair than an individual.

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Fairness requires deliberation: The primacy of economic over social considerations

Guy Hochman, Shahar Ayal & Dan Ariely
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2015

Abstract:
While both economic and social considerations of fairness and equity play an important role in financial decision-making, it is not clear which of these two motives is more primal and immediate and which one is secondary and slow. Here we used variants of the ultimatum game to examine this question. Experiment 1 shows that acceptance rate of unfair offers increases when participants are asked to base their choice on their gut-feelings, as compared to when they thoroughly consider the available information. In line with these results, Experiments 2 and 3 provide process evidence that individuals prefer to first examine economic information about their own utility rather than social information about equity and fairness, even at the price of foregoing such social information. Our results suggest that people are more economically rational at the core, but social considerations (e.g., inequality aversion) require deliberation, which under certain conditions override their self-interested impulses.

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Individual differences in the explicit power motive predict "utilitarian" choices in moral dilemmas, especially when this choice is self-beneficial

Felix Suessenbach & Adam Moore
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 297-302

Abstract:
We all face moral decisions, whether we are judges, politicians, or just riding the bus. The most well studied of these involve concerns of harming or caring for other people, which have often been researched by employing hypothetical moral dilemmas. This study investigated how the explicit power motive, more precisely the hope to gain power (h_Power), predicts decisions for these types of problems. We found that h_Power was positively related to deciding that it was morally acceptable to kill one person to save multiple others (i.e., making a utilitarian choice). In an exploratory analysis, we found that the probability of making such choices as a function of h_Power was even higher when participants' own lives were at stake as compared to only the lives of others. These findings complement previous research showing that personality variables as well as situational factors predict moral decision making. Finding biases in moral decision making is important, as only when we know these biases we can consciously counteract them.

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Dissociable Effects of Serotonin and Dopamine on the Valuation of Harm in Moral Decision Making

Molly Crockett et al.
Current Biology, 20 July 2015, Pages 1852-1859

Abstract:
An aversion to harming others is a core component of human morality and is disturbed in antisocial behavior. Deficient harm aversion may underlie instrumental and reactive aggression, which both feature in psychopathy. Past work has highlighted monoaminergic influences on aggression, but a mechanistic account of how monoamines regulate antisocial motives remains elusive. We previously observed that most people show a greater aversion to inflicting pain on others than themselves. Here, we investigated whether this hyperaltruistic disposition is susceptible to monoaminergic control. We observed dissociable effects of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor citalopram and the dopamine precursor levodopa on decisions to inflict pain on oneself and others for financial gain. Computational models of choice behavior showed that citalopram increased harm aversion for both self and others, while levodopa reduced hyperaltruism. The effects of citalopram were stronger than those of levodopa. Crucially, neither drug influenced the physical perception of pain or other components of choice such as motor impulsivity or loss aversion, suggesting a direct and specific influence of serotonin and dopamine on the valuation of harm. We also found evidence for dose dependency of these effects. Finally, the drugs had dissociable effects on response times, with citalopram enhancing behavioral inhibition and levodopa reducing slowing related to being responsible for another's fate. These distinct roles of serotonin and dopamine in modulating moral behavior have implications for potential treatments of social dysfunction that is a common feature as well as a risk factor for many psychiatric disorders.

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To Feel or Not to Feel When My Group Harms Others? The Regulation of Collective Guilt as Motivated Reasoning

Keren Sharvit et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies tested the proposition that regulation of collective guilt in the face of harmful ingroup behavior involves motivated reasoning. Cognitive energetics theory suggests that motivated reasoning is a function of goal importance, mental resource availability, and task demands. Accordingly, three studies conducted in the United States and Israel demonstrated that high importance of avoiding collective guilt, represented by group identification (Studies 1 and 3) and conservative ideological orientation (Study 2), is negatively related to collective guilt, but only when mental resources are not depleted by cognitive load. The fourth study, conducted in Italy, demonstrated that when justifications for the ingroup's harmful behavior are immediately available, the task of regulating collective guilt and shame becomes less demanding and less susceptible to resource depletion. By combining knowledge from the domains of motivated cognition, emotion regulation, and intergroup relations, these cross-cultural studies offer novel insights regarding factors underlying the regulation of collective guilt.

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Experimental philosophy of actual and counterfactual free will intuitions

Adam Feltz
Consciousness and Cognition, November 2015, Pages 113-130

Abstract:
Five experiments suggested that everyday free will and moral responsibility judgments about some hypothetical thought examples differed from free will and moral responsibility judgments about the actual world. Experiment 1 (N = 106) showed that free will intuitions about the actual world measured by the FAD-Plus poorly predicted free will intuitions about a hypothetical person performing a determined action (r = .13). Experiments 2-5 replicated this result and found the relations between actual free will judgments and free will judgments about hypothetical determined or fated actions (rs = .22-.35) were much smaller than the differences between them (ηp2 = .2-.55). These results put some pressure on theoretical accounts of everyday intuitions about freedom and moral responsibility.

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Work-report formats and overbilling: How unit-reporting vs. cost-reporting increases accountability and decreases overbilling

Sreedhari Desai & Maryam Kouchaki
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2015, Pages 79-88

Abstract:
The current paper examines how asking for a report of units of work completed versus cost of the same work can influence overbilling. We suggest that something as simple as asking for a report of units of work completed (for instance, reporting either the time spent or number of units of work completed) as opposed to the cost of the work completed can drive different unethical behaviors. We argue that unit-reporting makes providers feel accountable for their actions, and this induced accountability, in turn, impacts actual billing behaviors. We present seven studies, including a field experiment in the auto-repair industry that demonstrate the effect of different work-report formats on overbilling and provide evidence for our proposed underlying mechanism.

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The Unifying Moral Dyad: Liberals and Conservatives Share the Same Harm-Based Moral Template

Chelsea Schein & Kurt Gray
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, August 2015, Pages 1147-1163

Abstract:
Do moral disagreements regarding specific issues (e.g., patriotism, chastity) reflect deep cognitive differences (i.e., distinct cognitive mechanisms) between liberals and conservatives? Dyadic morality suggests that the answer is "no." Despite moral diversity, we reveal that moral cognition - in both liberals and conservatives - is rooted in a harm-based template. A dyadic template suggests that harm should be central within moral cognition, an idea tested - and confirmed - through six specific hypotheses. Studies suggest that moral judgment occurs via dyadic comparison, in which counter-normative acts are compared with a prototype of harm. Dyadic comparison explains why harm is the most accessible and important of moral content, why harm organizes - and overlaps with - diverse moral content, and why harm best translates across moral content. Dyadic morality suggests that various moral content (e.g., loyalty, purity) are varieties of perceived harm and that past research has substantially exaggerated moral differences between liberals and conservatives.

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Hypocrisy by association: When organizational membership increases condemnation for wrongdoing

Daniel Effron, Brian Lucas & Kieran O'Connor
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hypocrisy occurs when people fail to practice what they preach. Four experiments document the hypocrisy-by-association effect, whereby failing to practice what an organization preaches can make an employee seem hypocritical and invite moral condemnation. Participants judged employees more harshly for the same transgression when it was inconsistent with ethical values the employees' organization promoted, and ascriptions of hypocrisy mediated this effect (Studies 1-3). The results did not support the possibility that inconsistent transgressions simply seemed more harmful. In Study 4, participants were less likely to select a job candidate whose transgression did (vs. did not) contradict a value promoted by an organization where he had once interned. The results suggest that employees are seen as morally obligated to uphold the values that their organization promotes, even by people outside of the organization. We discuss how observers will judge someone against different ethical standards depending on where she or he works.

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If I close my eyes, nobody will get hurt: The effect of ignorance on performance in a real-effort experiment

Agne Kajackaite
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2015, Pages 518-524

Abstract:
This paper tests whether choosing to stay ignorant about the negative consequences of one's own actions affects performance in a real-effort experiment. In the experiment, participants' effort increased only their own payoff or also the donation to a negatively perceived charity. We introduced ignorance by letting agents decide whether to learn if the effort benefits the charity. As expected, agents exerted significantly higher efforts if they knew the negatively perceived charity would receive no benefits. Yet, when given the choice, almost a third of the agents chose to stay ignorant and exert significantly more effort than agents who knew their effort would benefit the charity. Importantly, if the uncertainty about the donation to the charity was introduced exogenously, agents exerted lower effort than ignorant agents, which suggests that not having information about the consequences of one's own actions alone does not lead to self-interested behavior, but rather, the sorting of social agents of a low type into ignorance drives self-interested behavior of ignorant agents.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I'll trade you

Men, Women, Trade, and Free Markets

Edward Mansfield, Diana Mutz & Laura Silver
International Studies Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 303-315

Abstract:
In this paper, we provide one of the first systematic analyses of gender's effect on trade attitudes. We draw on a unique representative national survey of American workers that allows us to evaluate a variety of potential explanations for gender differences in attitudes toward free trade and open markets more generally. We find that existing explanations for the gender gap, most notably differences between men and women in economic knowledge and differing material self-interests, do not explain the gap. Rather, the gender difference in trade preferences and attitudes about open markets is due to less favorable attitudes toward competition among women, less willingness to relocate for jobs among women, and more isolationist non-economic foreign policy attitudes among women.

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Trade Competition and American Decolonization

Thomas Pepinsky
World Politics, July 2015, Pages 387-422

Abstract:
This article proposes a political economy approach to decolonization. Focusing on the industrial organization of agriculture, it argues that competition between colonial and metropolitan producers creates demands for decolonization from within the metropole when colonies have broad export profiles and when export industries are controlled by colonial, as opposed to metropolitan, interests. The author applies this framework to the United States in the early 1900s, showing that different structures of the colonial sugar industries in the Philippines, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico - diverse exports with dispersed local ownership versus monocrop economies dominated by large US firms - explain why protectionist continental-agriculture interests agitated so effectively for independence for the Philippines, but not for Hawaii or Puerto Rico. A comparative historical analysis of the three colonial economies and the Philippine independence debates complemented by a statistical analysis of roll call votes in the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act supports the argument. In providing a new perspective on economic relations in the late-colonial era, the argument highlights issues of trade and empire in US history that span the subfields of American political development, comparative politics, and international political economy.

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There goes gravity: eBay and the death of distance

Andreas Lendle et al.
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We compare the effect of geographic distance on eBay and total international trade flows. We consider the same 61 countries and basket of goods for both types of transactions. We find the effect of distance to be on average 65% smaller on eBay. We argue this difference is due to a reduction of search costs; it increases with product differentiation and is higher when trade partners speak different languages, when corruption in the exporting country is high, and when uncertainty avoidance is high in the importing country. Moreover, eBay's seller-rating technology further reduces the distance effect on eBay.

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The Impact of Trade on Labor Market Dynamics

Lorenzo Caliendo, Maximiliano Dvorkin & Fernando Parro
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We develop a dynamic labor search model where production and consumption take place in spatially distinct labor markets with varying exposure to domestic and international trade. The model recognizes the role of labor mobility frictions, goods mobility frictions, geographic factors, and input-output linkages in determining equilibrium allocations. We show how to solve the equilibrium of the model without estimating productivities, reallocation frictions, or trade frictions, which are usually difficult to identify. We use the model to study the dynamic labor market outcomes of aggregate trade shocks. We calibrate the model to 38 countries, 50 U.S. states and 22 sectors and use the rise in China's import competition to quantify the aggregate and disaggregate employment and welfare effects on the U.S. economy. We find that China's import competition growth resulted in 0.6 percentage point reduction in the share of manufacturing employment, approximately 1 million jobs lost, or about 60% of the change in the manufacturing employment share not explained by a secular trend. Overall, China's shock increases U.S. welfare by 6.7% in the long-run and by 0.2% in the short-run with very heterogeneous effects across labor markets.

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The Gilded Wage: Profit-Sharing Institutions and the Political Economy of Trade

Adam Dean
International Studies Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 316-329

Abstract:
Scholars of international political economy often argue that workers automatically share the same trade policy preferences as their employers. However, this approach assumes that trade policies that increase profits necessarily lead to increases in wages. In contrast, I argue that capital and labor are more likely to share the same trade policy preference when "profit-sharing institutions" permit capital to credibly commit that an increase in profits will lead to an increase in wages. In support of my argument, I present a structured, focused comparison of the American textile and steel workers' unions during the late nineteenth century. Both unions supported the high tariffs that protected their industries when credible profit-sharing institutions were in place, but did not support high tariffs when such institutions were absent.

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Bribes and Firm Value

Stefan Zeume
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
I exploit the passage of the UK Bribery Act 2010 as an exogenous shock to UK firms' cost of doing business in corrupt regions to study whether the ability to use bribes creates firm value. First, I find that UK firms operating in high-corruption regions of the world display a drop in firm value after the Act's passage. Foreign firms subject to the Act because they (i) have a UK subsidiary and (ii) operate in high-corruption regions also exhibit negative abnormal returns. Second, relative to comparable continental European firms, UK firms expand their network of subsidiaries less into high-corruption regions and their sales in such regions grow six percentage points more slowly. Third, non-UK industry peers competing directly with UK firms in specific corrupt countries experience positive spillovers from the passage of the Act. Taken together, these results suggest that bribes are indispensable for doing business in certain regions. The consequences of unilateral anti-bribery regulation for the competitiveness of affected firms warrant attention from policy makers.

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Cross-border Acquisitions and Labor Regulations

Ross Levine, Chen Lin & Beibei Shen
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Do labor regulations influence the reaction of stock markets and firm profitability to cross-border acquisitions? We discover that acquiring firms enjoy smaller abnormal stock returns and profits when targets are in countries with stronger labor protection regulations, i.e., in countries where laws, regulations, and policies increase the costs to firms of adjusting their workforces. These effects are especially pronounced when the target is in a labor-intensive or high labor-volatility industry. Consistent with labor regulations shaping the success of cross-border deals, we find that firms make fewer and smaller cross-border acquisitions into countries with strong labor regulations.

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Resilience and reactivity of global food security

Samir Suweis et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 June 2015, Pages 6902-6907

Abstract:
The escalating food demand by a growing and increasingly affluent global population is placing unprecedented pressure on the limited land and water resources of the planet, underpinning concerns over global food security and its sensitivity to shocks arising from environmental fluctuations, trade policies, and market volatility. Here, we use country-specific demographic records along with food production and trade data for the past 25 y to evaluate the stability and reactivity of the relationship between population dynamics and food availability. We develop a framework for the assessment of the resilience and the reactivity of the coupled population-food system and suggest that over the past two decades both its sensitivity to external perturbations and susceptibility to instability have increased.

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The Political Economy of Food Price Volatility: The Case of Vietnam and Rice

Murray Fulton & Travis Reynolds
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, July 2015, Pages 1206-1226

Abstract:
This article argues that the structure of the Vietnamese rice export system is, in political economy terms, a rational response to the volatility present in the international rice market. In particular, it is argued that the Vietnamese Food Agency, along with VINAFOOD-1 and VINAFOOD-2, have been structured so that they can benefit from the domestic demands for export restrictions anticipated to occur as a consequence of international price volatility and the psychological demand of consumers for price stability. In turn, the actions of these agencies also contribute to international price volatility and the resulting demand for export restrictions. Since the political and economic elite in Vietnam obtain both political and economic power from this system, it is unlikely to be replaced with more effective and efficient policies to combat domestic price volatility. Thus, continued volatility in the price of rice can be expected.

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Effects of Renminbi Appreciation on Foreign Firms: The Role of Processing Exports

Barry Eichengreen & Hui Tong
Journal of Development Economics, September 2015, Pages 146-157

Abstract:
We examine the impact of Chinese currency (renminbi) revaluation on firm valuations, focusing on the effect of surprise announcements of changes in China's currency policy on 9,753 manufacturing firms in 44 countries. Renminbi appreciation has no significant impact on the valuation of firms in sectors exporting to China on average. But this "non-result" confounds a positive effect on firms in sectors exporting final goods to China with a negligible effect on those providing inputs for China's processing exports. We also find no significant effect on firms in sectors competing with China at home and in third markets. But again this "non-result" confounds the positive effect on firms competing with China in final goods with an insignificant effect on firms competing with China's processing exports. When evaluating the effects of renminbi appreciation on other countries, it follows, distinguishing processing trade from trade in final goods is key.

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Foreign Institutional Ownership and the Global Convergence of Financial Reporting Practices

Vivian Fang, Mark Maffett & Bohui Zhang
Journal of Accounting Research, June 2015, Pages 593-631

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether foreign institutional investors affect the global convergence of financial reporting practices. Using several measures of reporting convergence, we show that U.S. institutional ownership is positively associated with subsequent changes in emerging market firms' accounting comparability to their U.S. industry peers. We identify this association using an instrumental variable approach that exploits exogenous variation in U.S. institutional investment generated by the JGTRRA Act of 2003. Further, we provide evidence of a specific mechanism - the switch to a Big Four audit firm - through which U.S. institutional investors affect reporting convergence. Finally, we show that, for emerging market firms, an increase in comparability to U.S. firms is associated with an improvement in the properties of foreign analysts' forecasts.

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Import Competition and the Cost of Capital

Jean-Noel Barrot, Erik Loualiche & Julien Sauvagnat
MIT Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We investigate how the displacement risk associated with import competition is reflected in the cost of capital. We use shipping costs to measure the vulnerability of U.S. industries to import competition. We find that output and employment in high exposure industries is more sensitive to tariff cuts than in low exposure industries, consistent with the idea that they face a higher risk of being displaced by import competition. We then show that high exposure industries have a higher cost of capital. We confirm displacement risk of import competition is priced and covaries with the marginal utility of the representative agent.

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How Does the Entry of Large Discount Stores Increase Retail Employment? Evidence from Korea

Janghee Cho, Hyunbae Chun & Yoonsoo Lee
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Korean retail sector has undergone significant structural changes in conjunction with the rapid expansion of big-box stores since the mid-1990s. Using county-level data from Korea in 1997-2010, we examine the effects of the entry of large discount stores on local retail employment. Based on a differences-in-differences approach, our analysis shows that the entry of a large discount store leads to an increase of approximately 200 retail jobs in the county. Two thirds of this gain is attributable to the entry of the large store itself, and the other third is a result of the expansion of other retail sectors. In particular, we find that the entry of a large discount store increases employment in non-general merchandise sectors, such as bakeries, clothing stores, and electronics stores. Our finding suggests that the opening of a large discount store may have a spillover effect on the local retail sector, thereby leading to an overall increase in county employment. Such a finding of positive employment effects is in sharp contrast to previous findings on the employment effect of large retail chains, based primarily on the expansion of Wal-Mart in the U.S. While Wal-Mart competes with incumbent chain stores, large discount stores - the first nationwide large-scale chains introduced in Korea - may play the role of anchor stores. By providing modern shopping infrastructure and attracting new small stores into neighborhoods, these large discount stores have transformed local retail sectors from traditional shopping environments.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Working families

Welfare Rules, Incentives, and Family Structure

Robert Moffitt, Brian Phelan & Anne Winkler
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
In this study we provide a new examination of the incentive effects of welfare rules on family structure. Focusing on the AFDC and TANF programs, we first emphasize that the literature, by and large, has assumed that the rules of those programs make a key distinction between married women and cohabiting women, but this is not a correct interpretation. In fact, it is the biological relationship between the children and any male in the household that primarily determines how the family is treated. In an empirical analysis conducted over the period 1996 to 2004 that correctly matches family structure outcomes to welfare rules, we find significant effects of several welfare policies on family structure, both work-related policies and family-oriented policies, effects that are stronger than in most past work. Many of our significant effects show that these rules led to a decrease in single motherhood and an increase in biological partnering. For all of our results, our findings indicate that the impact of welfare rules crucially hinges on the biological relationship of the male partner to the children in the household.

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Single-Parent Households and Children's Educational Achievement: A State-Level Analysis

Paul Amato, Sarah Patterson & Brett Beattie
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 191-202

Abstract:
Although many studies have examined associations between family structure and children's educational achievement at the individual level, few studies have considered how the increase in single-parent households may have affected children's educational achievement at the population level. We examined changes in the percentage of children living with single parents between 1990 and 2011 and state mathematics and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Regression models with state and year fixed effects revealed that changes in the percentage of children living with single parents were not associated with test scores. Increases in maternal education, however, were associated with improvements in children's test scores during this period. These results do not support the notion that increases in single parenthood have had serious consequences for U.S. children's school achievement.

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Young Adult Outcomes and the Life-Course Penalties of Parental Incarceration

Daniel Mears & Sonja Siennick
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: The transition to adulthood can be challenging, especially for children of incarcerated parents. Drawing on reentry and life-course scholarship, we argue that parental incarceration may adversely affect multiple life outcomes for children as they progress from adolescence into adulthood and that such effects may persist from early young adulthood into late young adulthood.

Methods: The study uses propensity score matching analyses of National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data (N = 12,844).

Results: Analyses identified harmful effects of parental incarceration on many life domains, including criminal behavior, mental health, illegal drug use, education, earnings, and intimate relationships. These effects typically surfaced by early young adulthood and continued into late young adulthood.

Conclusions: The results suggest that parental incarceration constitutes a significant turning point in the lives of young people and underscore the importance of life-course perspectives for understanding incarceration effects. They also illustrate that formal punishment policies may create harms that potentially offset intended benefits.

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Impact of Maternal Incarceration on the Criminal Justice Involvement of Adult Offspring: A Research Note

Lisa Muftić, Leana Bouffard & Gaylene Armstrong
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: This note examines the relationship between maternal incarceration and adverse outcomes for offspring in early adulthood.

Methods: Utilizing data derived from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a series of multivariate models are conducted to examine the impact maternal incarceration has on criminal justice involvement among young adults. To control for selection effects that may be associated with maternal imprisonment, propensity score matching is utilized.

Results: Respondents whose mothers had served time in prison were significantly more likely to have an adult arrest, conviction, and incarceration, even after controlling for important demographic factors and correlates of criminal behavior. This effect persisted following matching.

Conclusions: Maternal incarceration had a substantial effect on the offspring's adult involvement in the criminal justice system. These findings bolster contentions regarding the unintended consequences of maternal incarceration that include long-term collateral damage to their children.

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Family Structure Transitions and Child Development: Instability, Selection, and Population Heterogeneity

Dohoon Lee & Sara McLanahan
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature documents the importance of family instability for child wellbeing. In this article, we use longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the impacts of family instability on children's cognitive and socioemotional development in early and middle childhood. We extend existing research in several ways: (1) by distinguishing between the number and types of family structure changes; (2) by accounting for time-varying as well as time-constant confounding; and (3) by assessing racial/ethnic and gender differences in family instability effects. Our results indicate that family instability has a causal effect on children's development, but the effect depends on the type of change, the outcome assessed, and the population examined. Generally speaking, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for children's development than transitions into a two-parent family. The effect of family instability is more pronounced for children's socioemotional development than for their cognitive achievement. For socioemotional development, transitions out of a two-parent family are more negative for white children, whereas transitions into a two-parent family are more negative for Hispanic children. These findings suggest that future research should pay more attention to the type of family structure transition and to population heterogeneity.

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What makes siblings different? The development of sibling differences in academic achievement and interests

Alexander Jensen & Susan McHale
Journal of Family Psychology, June 2015, Pages 469-478

Abstract:
To illuminate processes that contribute to the development of sibling differences, this study examined cross-lagged links between parents' beliefs about sibling differences in academic ability and differences between siblings' grade point averages (GPAs), and cross-lagged links between differences in siblings' GPAs and sibling differences in academic interests. Data were collected from mothers, fathers, firstborn youth (M age at Time 1 = 15.71, SD = 1.07), and secondborn youth (M age at Time 1 = 13.18, SD = 1.29) from 388 European American families on 3 annual occasions. Findings revealed that, after controlling for siblings' average grades and prior differences in performance, parents' beliefs about sibling differences in academic ability predicted differences in performance such that youth rated by parents as relatively more competent than their sibling earned relatively higher grades the following year. Siblings' relative school performance, however, did not predict parents' beliefs about differences between siblings' competencies. Further, after controlling for average interests and grades, sibling differences in GPA predicted differences in siblings' interests such that youth who had better grades than their siblings reported relatively stronger academic interests the following year. Differences in interest, however, did not predict sibling differences in GPA. Findings are discussed in terms the role of sibling dynamics in family socialization.

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The Intergenerational Transmission of Schooling: Are Mothers Really Less Important than Fathers?

Vikesh Amin, Petter Lundborg & Dan-Olof Rooth
Economics of Education Review, August 2015, Pages 100-117

Abstract:
There is a "puzzle" in the literature on the intergenerational transmission of schooling, where twin studies emphasize the importance of fathers' schooling, whereas IV-studies often emphasize the importance of mothers. We provide new evidence on this "puzzle" using register based Swedish data on the largest sample of twins used so far in the literature. In contrast to previous twin studies, our results confirm the importance of mothers' schooling. We also provide the first twin-based evidence of possible role model effects, where our estimates suggest that mother's schooling matters more than father's schooling for daughters schooling. One additional year of mothers' schooling raises daughter's schooling by a tenth of a year, which is similar to some of the previous IV-based estimates in the literature. Finally, we bring in new US twin data that for the first time allows a replication of previous twin-based estimates of the intergenerational transmission of schooling in the US. The results show no statistically significant effect of mothers' and fathers' schooling on children's schooling. Our results have implications for assessing the efficiency of policies that subsidize the schooling of men and women and are in contrast to most previous findings in the twin literature.

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Brothers are Better: The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Schooling, Health, Earnings, and Labor Supply

Moiz Bhai
University of Illinois Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Using a twin research design that exploits exogenous gender variation in dizygotic twins, this paper credibly identifies the effect of sibling sex composition on schooling, earnings, health, and labor supply. Women born with a male co-twin have higher earnings, schooling, labor force participation, and better health than women born with a female co-twin. Men born with a female co-twin, on the other hand, have higher rates of ever smoking but differences on all other outcomes are statistically indistinguishable from zero. Family characteristics provide a limited explanation of the sibling sex composition effect.

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Family and Housing Instability: Longitudinal Impact on Adolescent Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being

Patrick Fowler, David Henry & Katherine Marcal
Social Science Research, September 2015, Pages 364-374

Abstract:
This study investigated the longitudinal effects of family structure changes and housing instability in adolescence on functioning in the transition to adulthood. A model examined the influence of household composition changes and mobility in context of ethnic differences and sociodemographic risks. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health measured household and residential changes over a 12-month period among a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Assessments in young adulthood measured rates of depression, criminal activity, and smoking. Findings suggested housing mobility in adolescence predicted poorer functioning across outcomes in young adulthood, and youth living in multigenerational homes exhibited greater likelihood to be arrested than adolescents in single-generation homes. However, neither family structure changes nor its interaction with residential instability or ethnicity related to young adult outcomes. Findings emphasized the unique influence of housing mobility in the context of dynamic household compositions.

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Autonomy supportive fathers beget system-supporting children: The role of autonomy support on protesting behavior

Sook Ning Chua & Frédérick Philippe
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 348-353

Abstract:
In this paper we examined the influence of father autonomy support on protesting behavior. Drawing from Relational Model Theory and Self-determination Theory, we hypothesized that individuals' perception and interactions with authority figures are shaped by their experiences with their fathers. When people experience their fathers as empathetic and caring, they are more likely to view other authority figures positively and make benevolent interpretations of their actions. We found support for our hypothesis in two studies conducted in Malaysia and Canada with self-reported engagement in political causes. As expected, perceived father autonomy support was related to positive perception of the government and less protesting against the government. Overall, the present paper provides evidence that children's internalized representations of their fathers are related to intentions and behaviors to change the social systems.

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Conformity Expectations: Differential Effects on IVF Twins and Singletons' Parent-Child Relationships and Adjustment

Kayla Anderson et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increased utilization of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to treat infertility has resulted in a growing twin birthrate. Despite early childhood risks, twins have fewer psychosocial problems in middle childhood than singleton children. This study proposes that parents' conformity expectations for children have differential effects on parent-child relationships for twin and singleton children, which indirectly explains twins' more optimum psychosocial adjustment. Parental conformity expectations, parent-child relationship satisfaction, and children's emotional, behavioral, and attention problems were assessed in a sample of 288 6- to 12-year-old IVF-conceived twins and singletons. Overall, parents of twins had higher expectations for child conformity to parent rules than singleton parents. Path models demonstrate that twin status and parental expectations for child conformity interact to influence parent-child relationships, and this interaction indirectly accounted for differences in twins' and singletons' psychosocial adjustment. Findings suggest parenting constructs have differential influences on the association between twin status and parent-child relationships. Parenting research, predominantly conducted with singletons, should be reexamined before applying existing research to twin children and their families.

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The impact of early intervention on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers

Amber Brown
Journal of Early Childhood Research, June 2015, Pages 181-195

Abstract:
This study examined the effect of participation in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program on the school readiness of children born to teenage mothers versus children born to traditional-age mothers participating in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program. A 45-item survey was collected from the kindergarten teachers of both the children of teenage mothers in the Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program and a matched control group. The survey consisted of five subsections: socioemotional development, approaches to learning, physical development, language development, and general knowledge. Results of independent samples t-tests indicated no statistical difference between the two groups. These results seem to suggest that the curriculum used by the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program, which focuses on supporting parents as their child's first teacher, helps to mitigate any potential negative effects on being a child of a teenage mother.

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Housing and Household Instability

Matthew Desmond & Kristin Perkins
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research attempting to estimate the effects of residential instability typically overlooks other consequential changes within households that may be coincident with moving. Drawing on novel data of renting households in Milwaukee that recently relocated (N = 569), this article establishes the frequency at which residential or housing instability is accompanied by household instability: changes in the composition of adults living under the same roof. We find that most moves are accompanied by household instability and that households with young children are significantly more likely to experience household instability. These findings imply that researchers attempting to isolate the effects of residential instability, especially for children, should account for the possible influence of household change.

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The effect of child support on the labor supply of custodial mothers participating in TANF

Laura Cuesta & Maria Cancian
Children and Youth Services Review, July 2015, Pages 49-56

Abstract:
Child support is a critical source of income, especially for the growing proportion of children born to unmarried mothers. Current social policy supports custodial parent employment (e.g., the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] and other work supports have largely taken the place of an entitlement to cash assistance for single mothers of young children). Given many single mothers' limited earnings potential, child support from noncustodial fathers is also important. This raises questions about the effects of child support on custodial mothers' labor supply, and whether policies that increase child support receipt will thereby discourage mothers' employment. This paper addresses these questions, taking advantage of data from a statewide randomized experiment conducted in Wisconsin. Unlike previous nonexperimental research, we do not find any negative effect of child support on the likelihood to work for pay or the number of hours worked in a given week. Recent U.S. social welfare policies have focused on increasing both custodial mothers' child support collections and their labor supply. The results suggest that these may be compatible policies; the absence of a negative labor supply effect strengthens the potential antipoverty effectiveness of child support.

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Do Social Resources Protect Against Lower Quality of Life Among Diverse Young Adolescents?

Sarah Scott et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether social resources from the family and the community moderate the risk associated with low socioeconomic status (SES) for reduced quality of life (QL) among youth across racial/ethnic groups. Data were from 4,824 fifth-grade youth (age Formula = 11.1, SD = 0.6; 49% females) in the Healthy PassagesT study (2004-2006) located in Birmingham, Alabama; Los Angeles County, California; and Houston, Texas. Youth reported their QL using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Version 4.0 and the Global Self-Worth subscale of the Self-Perception Profile and their status for hypothesized protective social mechanisms. Overall, family cohesion, parental nurturance, other adult, and peer support were positively associated with QL across racial/ethnic groups. There were few significant interactions, but all suggested that higher SES youth benefited more than lower SES youth. In fact, family cohesion among African American youth and other adult support among Hispanic youth differentiated QL at higher, but not lower SES. Further research should examine other risk contexts and seek to inform targeted prevention efforts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 20, 2015

State of care

Basic versus supplementary health insurance: Moral hazard and adverse selection

Jan Boone
Journal of Public Economics, August 2015, Pages 50-58

Abstract:
This paper introduces a tractable model of health insurance with both moral hazard and adverse selection. We show that government sponsored universal basic insurance should cover treatments with the biggest adverse selection problems. Treatments not covered by basic insurance can be covered on the private supplementary insurance market. Surprisingly, the cost effectiveness of a treatment does not affect its priority to be covered by basic insurance.

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Medical Spending of the U.S. Elderly

Mariacristina De Nardi et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We use data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) to document the medical spending of Americans aged 65 and older. We find that medical expenses more than double between ages 70 and 90 and that they are very concentrated: the top 10% of all spenders are responsible for 52% of medical spending in a given year. In addition, those currently experiencing either very low or very high medical expenses are likely to find themselves in the same position in the future. We also find that the poor consume more medical goods and services than the rich and have a much larger share of their expenses covered by the government. Overall, the government pays for 65% of the elderly's medical expenses. Despite this, the expenses that remain after government transfers are even more concentrated among a small group of people. Thus, government health insurance, while potentially very valuable, is far from complete. Finally, while medical expenses before death can be large, on average they constitute only a small fraction of total spending, both in the aggregate and over the life cycle. Hence, medical expenses before death do not appear to be an important driver of the high and increasing medical spending found in the U.S.

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Did Medicare Part D Affect National Trends in Health Outcomes or Hospitalizations?: A Time-Series Analysis

Becky Briesacher et al.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 16 June 2015, Pages 825-833

Objective: To examine changes in health outcomes and medical services in the Medicare population after implementation of Part D.

Design: Population-level longitudinal time-series analysis with generalized linear models.

Patients: Nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries (n = 56 293 [unweighted and unique]) from 2000 to 2010.

Results: Five years after Part D implementation, no clinically or statistically significant reductions in the prevalence of fair or poor health status or limitations in ADLs or instrumental ADLs, relative to historical trends, were detected. Compared with trends before Part D, no changes in emergency department visits, hospital admissions or days, inpatient costs, or mortality after Part D were seen. Confirmatory analyses were consistent.

Conclusion: Five years after implementation, and contrary to previous reports, no evidence was found of Part D's effect on a range of population-level health indicators among Medicare enrollees. Further, there was no clear evidence of gains in medical care efficiencies.

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Understanding Pay Differentials Among Health Professionals, Nonprofessionals, And Their Counterparts In Other Sectors

Sherry Glied, Stephanie Ma & Ivanna Pearlstein
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 929-935

Abstract:
About half of the $2.1 trillion of US health services spending constitutes compensation to employees. We examined how the wages paid to health-sector employees compared to those paid to workers with similar qualifications in other sectors. Overall, we found that health care workers are paid only slightly more than workers elsewhere in the US economy, but the patterns are starkly different for nonprofessional and professional employees. Nonprofessional health care workers earn slightly less than their counterparts elsewhere in the economy. By contrast, the average nurse earns about 40 percent more than the median comparable worker in a different sector. The average physician earns about 50 percent more than a comparable worker in another sector of the economy, and this differential has increased sharply since 1993. Cost containment is likely to lead to reductions in the earnings of health care professionals, but it will also require using fewer or less skilled employees to produce a given service.

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The Value of Medicaid: Interpreting Results from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

Amy Finkelstein, Nathaniel Hendren & Erzo Luttmer
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We develop a set of frameworks for valuing Medicaid and apply them to welfare analysis of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, a Medicaid expansion for low-income, uninsured adults that occurred via random assignment. Our baseline estimates of Medicaid's welfare benefit to recipients per dollar of government spending range from about $0.2 to $0.4, depending on the framework, with at least two-fifths - and as much as four-fifths - of the value of Medicaid coming from a transfer component, as opposed to its ability to move resources across states of the world. In addition, we estimate that Medicaid generates a substantial transfer, of about $0.6 per dollar of government spending, to the providers of implicit insurance for the low-income uninsured. The economic incidence of these transfers is critical for assessing the social value of providing Medicaid to low-income adults relative to alternative redistributive policies.

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Examining Causes of Racial Disparities in General Surgical Mortality: Hospital Quality Versus Patient Risk

Jeffrey Silber et al.
Medical Care, July 2015, Pages 619-629

Objectives: To determine if black-white disparities in general surgery mortality for Medicare patients are attributable to poorer health status among blacks on admission or differences in the quality of care provided by the admitting hospitals.

Subjects: All black elderly Medicare general surgical patients (N=18,861) and white-matched controls within the same 6 states or within the same 838 hospitals.

Results: Matching on age, sex, year, state, and the exact same procedure, blacks had higher 30-day mortality (4.0% vs. 3.5%, P<0.01), in-hospital mortality (3.9% vs. 2.9%, P<0.0001), in-hospital complications (64.3% vs. 56.8% P<0.0001), and failure-to-rescue rates (6.1% vs. 5.1%, P<0.001), longer length of stay (7.2 vs. 5.8 d, P<0.0001), and more 30-day readmissions (15.0% vs. 12.5%, P<0.0001). Adding preoperative risk factors to the above match, there was no significant difference in mortality or failure-to-rescue, and all other outcome differences were small. Blacks matched to whites in the same hospital displayed no significant differences in mortality, failure-to-rescue, or readmissions.

Conclusions: Black and white Medicare patients undergoing the same procedures with closely matched risk factors displayed similar mortality, suggesting that racial disparities in general surgical mortality are not because of differences in hospital quality. To reduce the observed disparities in surgical outcomes, the poorer health of blacks on presentation for surgery must be addressed.

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Informational Shocks and the Effects of Physician Detailing

Bradley Shapiro
University of Chicago Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
The effects of pharmaceutical firm advertising directly to physicians using sales reps, or detailing, has been a major area of interest for both regulators and firms. As firms spend vast amounts of money on detailing activities, understanding the response of such inputs is crucial to profit maximization. Regulators, on the other hand, worry that detailing might be illegally focused on off-label prescribing. In addition there is a regulatory worry that promotion will lead to prescriptions to those who do not need the drugs. Finally, regulators worry whether detailing provides socially useful information or socially harmful quid pro quo relationships. In this paper, I estimate the effect of detailing in the anti-psychotic category, a roughly $9 billion per year category which has been hit with over $6.5 billion in regulatory fines due to promotional practices in the past fifteen years. I estimate these effects using two studies that disseminated new information that drastically changed the nature of competition. Detailing effects are significant, but modest, with the average effect of a visit being to increase prescriptions by 0.15 over the short term and 0.3 over the long term. While detailing raises both on-label and off-label prescriptions, I find evidence that it disproportionately raises on-label prescriptions. I find evidence that the effect of detailing is primarily informational: those visits that included the presentation of a clinical study were 70% more effective than those that did not and visits that included a meal were no more effective than those visits that did not. Additionally, visits do not increase the proportion of low severity patients taking anti-psychotics.

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Hospitals as Insurers of Last Resort

Craig Garthwaite, Tal Gross & Matthew Notowidigdo
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
American hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to the uninsured. We use previously confidential hospital financial data to study the resulting uncompensated care, medical care for which no payment is received. We use both panel-data methods and case studies from state-wide Medicaid disenrollments and find that the uncompensated care costs of hospitals increase in response to the size of the uninsured population. The results suggest that each additional uninsured person costs local hospitals $900 each year in uncompensated care. Similarly, the closure of a nearby hospital increases the uncompensated care costs of remaining hospitals. Increases in the uninsured population also lower hospital profit margins, which suggests that hospitals cannot simply pass along all increased costs onto privately insured patients. For-profit hospitals are less affected by these factors, suggesting that non-profit hospitals serve a unique role as part of the social insurance system.

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Misinformed About the Affordable Care Act? Leveraging Certainty to Assess the Prevalence of Misperceptions

Josh Pasek, Gaurav Sood & Jon Krosnick
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to some recent research, Americans hold a great deal of misinformation about important political issues. However, such investigations treat incorrect answers to quiz questions measuring knowledge as evidence of misinformation. This study instead defines misperceptions as incorrect answers that respondents are confident are correct. Two surveys of representative samples of American adults on the Affordable Care Act reveal that most people were uncertain about the provisions in the law. Confidently held incorrect beliefs were far less common than incorrect answers. Misperceptions were most prevalent on aspects of the law on which elites prominently and persistently made incorrect claims. Furthermore, although Americans appear to have learned about the law between 2010 and 2012, misperceptions on many provisions of the law persisted.

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Heterogeneity and the Effect of Mental Health Parity Mandates on the Labor Market

Martin Andersen
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Health insurance benefit mandates are believed to have adverse effects on the labor market, but efforts to document such effects for mental health parity mandates have had limited success. I show that one reason for this failure is that the association between parity mandates and labor market outcomes vary with mental distress. Accounting for this heterogeneity, I find adverse labor market effects for non-distressed individuals, but favorable effects for moderately distressed individuals and individuals with a moderately distressed family member. On net, I conclude that the mandates are welfare increasing for moderately distressed workers and their families, but may be welfare decreasing for non-distressed individuals.

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The Impact of Medicaid Payer Status on Hospitalizations in Nursing Homes

Shubing Cai et al.
Medical Care, July 2015, Pages 574-581

Objectives: To examine the association between payer status (Medicaid vs. private-pay) and the risk of hospitalizations among long-term stay nursing home (NH) residents who reside in the same facility.

Data and Study Population: The 2007-2010 National Medicare Claims and the Minimum Data Set were linked. We identified newly admitted NH residents who became long-stayers and then followed them for 180 days.

Results: The prevalence of all-cause hospitalization during a 180-day follow-up period was 23.3% among Medicaid residents compared with 21.6% among private-pay residents. After accounting for individual characteristics and facility effects, the probability of any all-cause hospitalization was 1.8-percentage point (P<0.01) higher for Medicaid residents than for private-pay residents within the same facility. We also found that Medicaid residents were more likely to be hospitalized for discretionary conditions (5% increase in the likelihood of discretionary hospitalizations), but not for nondiscretionary conditions. The findings from the sensitivity analyses were consistent with the main analyses.

Conclusions: We observed a higher hospitalization rate among Medicaid NH residents than private-pay residents. The difference is in part driven by the financial incentives NHs have to hospitalize Medicaid residents.

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Deficiencies In Care At Nursing Homes And Racial/Ethnic Disparities Across Homes Fell, 2006-11

Yue Li et al.
Health Affairs, July 2015, Pages 1139-1146

Abstract:
Despite the increased use of nursing homes by minority residents, nursing home care remains highly segregated. Compared to whites, racial/ethnic minorities tend to be cared for in facilities with limited clinical and financial resources, low nurse staffing levels, and a relatively high number of care deficiency citations. We assessed the trends from 2006 to 2011 in those citations and in disparities across facilities with four different concentrations of racial/ethnic minority residents. We found that the number of health care-related deficiencies and the percentage of facilities with serious deficiencies decreased over time for all four facility groups. From 2006 to 2011 the average annual number of health care-related deficiencies declined from 7.4 to 6.8 for facilities with low minority concentrations (<5 percent) and from 10.6 to 9.4 for facilities with high minority concentrations (?35 percent). In multivariable analyses, across-site disparities in health care-related deficiencies and in life-safety deficiencies narrowed over time. We also found that increasing the Medicaid payment rate might help improve both overall quality and disparities, but state case-mix payment approaches might worsen both. These results suggest the need to reevaluate quality improvement and cost containment efforts to better foster the quality and equity of nursing home care.

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Projecting Primary Care Use in the Medicaid Expansion Population: Evidence for Providers and Policy Makers

Eric Roberts & Darrell Gaskin
Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Millions of low-income adults are beginning to gain Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. To forecast the resulting need for primary care providers, we estimate the effect of Medicaid take-up on visits to office-based primary care providers, including clinics. We estimate that adults with Medicaid coverage at any point in the year have an average of 1.32 visits per year to primary care providers, 0.48 more visits than low-income adults without Medicaid. Consequently, we project a need for 2,113 additional primary care providers (range: 1,130-3,138) if all states expand Medicaid. Our estimates are somewhat lower than several recent forecasts, which may not have controlled adequately for selection bias, and which used non-representative samples for forecasting. Our findings shed light on disparities in access to care, particularly in counties with relatively few primary care providers per capita. Efforts to expand access to primary care should focus on where providers practice, rather than simply training more providers.

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Sorting Out the Health Risk in California's State-Based Marketplace

Andrew Bindman et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To characterize the health risk of enrollees in California's state-based insurance marketplace (Covered California) by metal tier, region, month of enrollment, and plan.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: Chronic Illness and Disability Payment System (CDPS) health risk scores derived from an individual's age and sex from the enrollment file and the diagnoses captured in the hospitalization and ED records. CDPS scores were standardized by setting the average to 1.00.

Principal Findings: Among the 1,286,089 enrollees, 120,573 (9.4 percent) had at least one ED visit and/or a hospitalization in 2012. Higher risk enrollees chose plans with greater actuarial value. The standardized CDPS health risk score was 11 percent higher in the first month of enrollment (1.08; 99 percent CI: 1.07-1.09) than the last month (0.97; 99 percent CI: 0.97-0.97). Four of the 12 plans enrolled 91 percent of individuals; their average health risk scores were each within 3 percent of the marketplace's statewide average.

Conclusions: Providing health plans with a means to assess the health risk of their year 1 enrollees allowed them to anticipate whether they would receive or contribute payments to a risk-adjustment pool. After receiving these findings as a part of their negotiations with Covered California, health plans covering the majority of enrollees decreased their initially proposed 2015 rates, saving consumers tens of millions of dollars in potential premiums.

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Does Defensive Medicine Reduce Health Care Spending?

Scott Barkowski
Clemson University Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
The medical community often argues that physician fear of legal liability increases health care spending. Theoretically, though, the effect could be positive or negative, and empirical evidence has supported both cases. Previous empirical work, however, has ignored the fact that physicians face risk from industry oversight groups like state-level medical licensing boards in addition to civil litigation risk. This paper addresses this omission by incorporating previously unused data on punishments by oversight groups against physicians, known as adverse actions, along with malpractice payments data to study state-level health care spending. My analysis suggests that health care spending does not rise in response to higher levels of risk. An increase in adverse actions equal to 16 (the mean, absolute value of year-to-year changes within a state) is found to be associated with statistically significant average annual spending decreases in hospital care and prescription drugs of as much as 0.25% (nearly $29 million) and 0.29% (almost $9.3 million). Malpractice payments were generally estimated to have smaller, statistically insignificant effects.

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MetroHealth Care Plus: Effects Of A Prepared Safety Net On Quality Of Care In A Medicaid Expansion Population

Randall Cebul et al.
Health Affairs, July 2015, Pages 1121-1130

Abstract:
Studies of Medicaid expansion have produced conflicting results about whether the expansion is having a positive impact on health and the cost and efficiency of care delivery. To explore the issue further, we examined MetroHealth Care Plus, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) waiver program in Ohio composed of three safety-net organizations that enrolled 28,295 uninsured poor patients in closed-panel care during 2013. All participating organizations used electronic health records and patient-centered medical homes, publicly reported performance in a regional health improvement collaborative, and accepted a budget-neutral cap approved by CMS. We compared changes between 2012 and 2013 in achieving quality standards for diabetes and hypertension among 3,437 MetroHealth Care Plus enrollees to changes among 1,150 patients with the same conditions who remained uninsured in both years. Compared to continuously uninsured patients with diabetes, MetroHealth Care Plus enrollees with diabetes improved significantly more on composite standards of care and intermediate outcomes. Among enrollees with hypertension, blood pressure control improvements were insignificantly larger than those in the continuously uninsured group with hypertension. Across all 28,295 enrollees, 2013 total costs of care were 28.7 percent below the budget cap, providing cause for optimism that a prepared safety net can meet the challenges of Medicaid expansion.

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Do Hospital Mergers Reduce Costs?

Matt Schmitt
Northwestern University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Proponents of hospital consolidation claim that mergers lead to significant cost savings, but there is little systematic evidence backing these claims. For a large sample of hospital mergers between 2000 and 2010, I estimate differences-in-differences models that compare cost trends for acquired hospitals (treatments) to a set of hospitals whose ownership did not change during the period (controls). Pre-merger, the two groups of hospitals appear to share common cost trends. Post-merger, hospitals that were acquired experience slower cost growth than controls. The results indicate that hospitals being acquired realize cost savings between 3 and 5 percent as a result of merger, on average. These results are robust to several different control strategies, such as matching treatments and controls (on the basis of observable hospital characteristics) using optimal matching methods from the statistics literature. I also find suggestive - but not conclusive - evidence that (1) hospitals of acquiring hospitals/systems experience no changes in cost and (2) cost reductions primarily occur with mergers involving multi-hospital systems.

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Beyond Statistics: The Economic Content of Risk Scores

Liran Einav et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
In recent years, the increased use of "big data" and statistical techniques to score potential transactions has transformed the operation of insurance and credit markets. In this paper, we observe that these widely-used scores are statistical objects that constitute a one-dimensional summary of a potentially much richer heterogeneity, some of which may be endogenous to the specific context in which they are applied. We demonstrate this point empirically using rich data from the Medicare Part D prescription drug insurance program. We show that the "risk scores," which are designed to predict an individual's drug spending and are used by Medicare to customize reimbursement rates to private insurers, do not distinguish between two different sources of spending: underlying health, and responsiveness of drug spending to the insurance contract. Naturally, however, these two determinants of spending have very different implications when trying to predict counterfactual spending under alternative contracts. As a result, we illustrate that once we enrich the theoretical framework to allow individuals to have heterogeneous behavioral responses to the contract, strategic incentives for cream skimming still exist, even in the presence of "perfect" risk scoring under a given contract.

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Concentration In Orthopedic Markets Was Associated With A 7 Percent Increase In Physician Fees For Total Knee Replacements

Eric Sun & Laurence Baker
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 916-921

Abstract:
Physician groups are growing larger in size and fewer in number. Although this consolidation could result in improved patient care, the resulting increase in market concentration also could allow larger groups to negotiate higher physician fees from private insurers. We examined the association between market concentration and physician fees in the case of total knee arthroplasty by calculating market concentration for orthopedic groups practicing in a given market and by analyzing administrative claims data from Marketscan. In the period 2001-10 the average professional fee for total knee arthroplasty was $2,537. During this time, in markets that moved from the bottom quartile of concentration to the top quartile, physician fees paid by private payers increased by $168 per procedure. The increase nearly offset the $261 decline in fees that we observed, absent changes in market concentration. These findings suggest that caution should be used in implementing policies designed to encourage further group concentration, which could produce similar effects.

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Does Compensating Primary Care Providers to Produce Higher Quality Make Them More or Less Patient Centric?

Judith Hibbard et al.
Medical Care Research and Review, August 2015, Pages 481-495

Abstract:
Both payment reform and patient engagement are key elements of health care reform. Yet the question of how incentivizing primary care providers (PCPs) on quality outcomes affects the degree to which PCPs are supportive of patient activation and patient self-management has received little attention. In this mixed-methods study, we use in-depth interviews and survey data from PCPs working in a Pioneer Accountable Care Organization that implemented a compensation model in which a large percentage of PCP salary is based on quality performance. We assess how much PCPs report focusing their efforts on supporting patient activation and self-management, and whether or not they become frustrated with patients who do not change their behaviors. The findings suggest that most PCPs do not see the value in investing their own efforts in supporting patient self-management and activation. Most PCPs saw patient behavior as a major obstacle to improving quality and many were frustrated that patient behaviors affected their compensation.

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Hospital Alignment with Physicians as a Bargaining Response to Commercial Insurance Markets

Sean Sheng-Hsiu Huang & Ian McCarthy
Georgetown University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The relationship between physicians and hospitals has dramatically changed over the last decade, with the employer-employee model supplanting the traditional model of private physicians with hospital admitting privileges. We examine the motivations for this increase in physician-hospital alignment, focusing on alignment as a tool to increase bargaining power with private insurers. We then investigate the subsequent effects of such alignment on efficiency and prices, as well as the extent to which a hospital's bargaining motives may influence these effects. Our results suggest that increased concentration in the private insurance market significantly increases hospital-physician alignment, with a 1% increase in health insurance concentration leading to a 0.47% increase in hospital employment of physicians and a 1.08% increase in equity arrangements between hospitals and physicians. We also find significant price increases among some (but not all) forms of physician-hospital alignment, with heterogeneous effects across hospital ownership type. Finally, we find that alignment as a bargaining response to insurance market pressures can lead to significant increases in average Medicare costs per beneficiary of between $900 and $1,350, particularly with certain forms of alignment such as equity agreements. Our results highlight the heterogeneities in the effects of alignment on prices and efficiency, with differential effects across hospital ownership type and competitiveness in the local hospital market. Broadly, we find evidence that physician-hospital alignment in the form of an employee model may improve population-level efficiency with no apparent increase in hospital prices, while some of the more loosely defined arrangements such as physician-hospital organizations are more likely to increase prices and potentially reduce efficiency.

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Risk-Adjusted In-Hospital Mortality Models for Congestive Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction: Value of Clinical Laboratory Data and Race/Ethnicity

Eunjung Lim et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the impact of key laboratory and race/ethnicity data on the prediction of in-hospital mortality for congestive heart failure (CHF) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Data Sources: Hawaii adult hospitalizations database between 2009 and 2011, linked to laboratory database.

Principal Findings: Adding a simple three-level summary measure based on the number of abnormal laboratory data observed to hospital administrative claims data significantly improved the model prediction for inpatient mortality compared with a baseline risk model using administrative data that adjusted only for age, gender, and risk of mortality (determined using 3M's All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Groups classification). The addition of race/ethnicity also improved the model.

Conclusions: The results of this study support the incorporation of a simple summary measure of laboratory data and race/ethnicity information to improve predictions of in-hospital mortality from CHF and AMI. Laboratory data provide objective evidence of a patient's condition and therefore are accurate determinants of a patient's risk of mortality. Adding race/ethnicity information helps further explain the differences in in-hospital mortality.

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Geographic variation in the demand for emergency care: A local population-level analysis

David Lee et al.
Healthcare, forthcoming

Background: Geographic variation in healthcare has been traditionally studied in large areas such as hospital referral regions or service areas. These analyses are limited by variation that exists within local communities.

Materials and methods: Using a New York claims database, we analyzed variation in emergency department use using 35 million visits from 2008 to 2012 among 4797 Census tracts, a smaller unit than usually studied. Using multivariate analysis, we studied associations between population characteristics and proximity to healthcare with rates of emergency department use. We analyzed how factors associated with emergency department utilization differed among urban, suburban, and rural regions.

Results: We found significant geographic variation in emergency department use among Census tracts. Public insurance and uninsurance were correlated with high emergency department utilization across all types of regions. We found that race, ethnicity, and poverty were only associated with high emergency department use in urban regions. In suburban and rural regions, a lower proportion of elderly residents and shorter distances to the nearest ED were correlated with high emergency department use.

Conclusions: Significant variation in emergency department use exists locally when studied within small geographic areas. Insurance type is significantly associated with variation in emergency department use across urban, suburban, and rural regions, whereas the significance of other factors depended on urbanicity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 19, 2015

None too happy

Sad as a Matter of Choice? Emotion-Regulation Goals in Depression

Yael Millgram et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on deficits in emotion regulation has devoted considerable attention to emotion-regulation strategies. We propose that deficits in emotion regulation may also be related to emotion-regulation goals. We tested this possibility by assessing the direction in which depressed people chose to regulate their emotions (i.e., toward happiness, toward sadness). In three studies, clinically depressed participants were more likely than nondepressed participants to use emotion-regulation strategies in a direction that was likely to maintain or increase their level of sadness. This pattern was found when using the regulation strategies of situation selection (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive reappraisal (Study 3). The findings demonstrate that maladaptive emotion regulation may be linked not only to the means people use to regulate their emotions, but also to the ends toward which those means are directed.

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Status- and Stigma-related Consequences of Military Service and PTSD: Evidence from a Laboratory Experiment

Crosby Hipes, Jeffrey Lucas & Meredith Kleykamp
Armed Forces & Society, July 2015, Pages 477-495

Abstract:
This article describes an experimental study that investigates the status- and stigma-related consequences of military service and of experiences in war resulting in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the study, participants interacted with fictitious partners whom they believed were real in four conditions: a control condition, a condition in which the “partner” was in the military, a condition in which the “partner” was a war veteran who had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and a condition in which the partner was a military veteran with PTSD who had been deployed. Results support predictions that military experience would advantage partners with respect to influence over participants, but that PTSD would be disadvantaging. Previous contact with veterans moderated this relationship, mitigating the loss of influence associated with PTSD. A prediction that PTSD would significantly increase social distance was not supported.

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Suicide Attempts in the US Army During the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2004 to 2009

Robert Ursano et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: To identify risk factors for suicide attempts among active-duty members of the regular Army from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2009.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal, retrospective cohort study, as part of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS), used individual-level person-month records from Army and Department of Defense administrative data systems to examine sociodemographic, service-related, and mental health predictors of medically documented suicide attempts among active-duty regular Army soldiers from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2009. We analyzed data from 9791 suicide attempters and an equal-probability sample of 183 826 control person-months using a discrete-time survival framework. Data analysis was performed from February 3 through November 12, 2014.

Results: Enlisted soldiers accounted for 98.6% of all suicide attempts (9650 attempters; overall rate, 377.0 [95% CI, 369.7-384.7] per 100 000 person-years). In multivariate models, suicide attempts among enlisted soldiers were predicted (data reported as odds ratio [95% CI]) by female sex (2.4 [2.3-2.5]), entering Army service at 25 years or older (1.6 [1.5-1.8]), current age of 29 years or younger (<21 years, 5.6 [5.1-6.2]; 21-24 years, 2.9 [2.6-3.2]; 25-29 years, 1.6 [1.5-1.8]), white race (black, 0.7 [0.6-0.7]; Hispanic, 0.7 [0.7-0.8]; Asian, 0.7 [0.6-0.8]), an educational level of less than high school (2.0 [2.0-2.1]), being in the first 4 years of service (1-2 years, 2.4 [2.2-2.6]; 3-4 years, 1.5 [1.4-1.6]), having never (2.8 [2.6-3.0]) or previously (2.6 [2.4-2.8]) been deployed, and a mental health diagnosis during the previous month (18.2 [17.4-19.1]). Attempts among officers (overall rate, 27.9 per 100 000 person-years) were predicted by female sex (2.8 [2.0-4.1]), entering Army service at 25 years or older (2.0 [1.3-3.1]), current age of 40 years or older (0.5 [0.3-0.8]), and a mental health diagnosis during the previous month (90.2 [59.5-136.7]). Discrete-time hazard models indicated risk among enlisted soldiers was highest in the second month of service (102.7 per 100 000 person-months) and declined substantially as length of service increased (mean during the second year of service, 56.0 per 100 000 person-years; after 4 years of service, 29.4 per 100 000 person-months), whereas risk among officers remained stable (overall mean, 6.1 per 100 000 person-months).

Conclusions and Relevance: Our results represent, to our knowledge, the most comprehensive accounting to date of suicide attempts in the Army. The findings reveal unique risk profiles for enlisted soldiers and officers and highlight the importance of research and prevention focused on enlisted soldiers in their first Army tour.

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Is the Suicide Rate a Random Walk?

Bijou Yang et al.
Psychological Reports, June 2015, Pages 983-985

Abstract:
The yearly suicide rates for the period 1933–2010 and the daily suicide numbers for 1990 and 1991 were examined for whether the distribution of difference scores (from year to year and from day to day) fitted a normal distribution, a characteristic of stochastic processes that follow a random walk. If the suicide rate were a random walk, then any disturbance to the suicide rate would have a permanent effect and national suicide prevention efforts would likely fail. The distribution of difference scores from day to day (but not the difference scores from year to year) fitted a normal distribution and, therefore, were consistent with a random walk.

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Psychopathic personality traits, intelligence, and economic success

Cashen Boccio & Kevin Beaver
Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, July/August 2015, Pages 551-569

Abstract:
A wealth of research has revealed that psychopathy and psychopathic personality traits are associated with criminal involvement. Comparatively less research, however, has examined whether psychopathic personality traits influence economic outcomes in adulthood. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by analyzing data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The results of the analyses indicate that psychopathic personality traits are negatively related to a number of economic outcomes, including household income and employment history measures. Individuals with high levels of psychopathic personality traits were found to have lower household incomes and to be fired more frequently than individuals with lower levels of psychopathic personality traits. Unexpectedly, psychopathic personality traits were also found to be negatively associated with household debt. There was also some evidence that the effect of psychopathic personality traits was moderated by intelligence in the prediction of household income. We discuss what these findings mean for the psychopathy and economics literatures.

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Economic downturns and suicide mortality in the USA, 1980–2010: Observational study

Sam Harper et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: Several studies have suggested strong associations between economic downturns and suicide mortality, but are at risk of bias due to unmeasured confounding. The rationale for our study was to provide more robust evidence by using a quasi- experimental design.

Methods: We analysed 955 561 suicides occurring in the USA from 1980 to 2010 and used a broad index of economic activity in each US state to measure economic conditions. We used a quasi-experimental, fixed-effects design and we also assessed whether the effects were heterogeneous by demographic group and during periods of official recession.

Results: After accounting for secular trends, seasonality and unmeasured fixed characteristics of states, we found that an economic downturn similar in magnitude to the 2007 Great Recession increased suicide mortality by 0.14 deaths per 100 000 population [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.00, 0.28] or around 350 deaths. Effects were stronger for men (0.28, 95% CI 0.07, 0.49) than women and for those with less than 12 years of education (1.22 95% CI 0.83, 1.60) compared with more than 12 years of education. The overall effect did not differ for recessionary (0.11, 95% CI −0.02, 0.25) vs non- recessionary periods (0.15, 95% CI 0.01, 0.29). The main study limitation is the potential for misclassified death certificates and we cannot definitively rule out unmeasured confounding.

Conclusions: We found limited evidence of a strong, population-wide detrimental effect of economic downturns on suicide mortality. The overall effect hides considerable heterogeneity by gender, socioeconomic position and time period.

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Word-finding impairment in veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War

Kristin Moffett et al.
Brain and Cognition, August 2015, Pages 65–73

Abstract:
Approximately one quarter of 1991 Persian Gulf War Veterans experience cognitive and physiological sequelae that continue to be unexplained by known medical or psychological conditions. Difficulty coming up with words and names, familiar before the war, is a hallmark of the illness. Three Gulf War Syndrome subtypes have been identified and linked to specific war-time chemical exposures. The most functionally impaired veterans belong to the Gulf War Syndrome 2 (Syndrome 2) group, for which subcortical damage due to toxic nerve gas exposure is the suspected cause. Subcortical damage is often associated with specific complex language impairments, and Syndrome 2 veterans have demonstrated poorer vocabulary relative to controls. 11 Syndrome 1, 16 Syndrome 2, 9 Syndrome 3, and 14 age-matched veteran controls from the Seabees Naval Construction Battalion were compared across three measures of complex language. Additionally, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was collected during a covert category generation task, and whole-brain functional activity was compared between groups. Results demonstrated that Syndrome 2 veterans performed significantly worse on letter and category fluency relative to Syndrome 1 veterans and controls. They also exhibited reduced activity in the thalamus, putamen, and amygdala, and increased activity in the right hippocampus relative to controls. Syndrome 1 and Syndrome 3 groups tended to show similar, although smaller, differences than the Syndrome 2 group. Hence, these results further demonstrate specific impairments in complex language as well as subcortical and hippocampal involvement in Syndrome 2 veterans. Further research is required to determine the extent of language impairments in this population and the significance of altered neurologic activity in the aforementioned brain regions with the purpose of better characterizing the Gulf War Syndromes.

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A Longitudinal Analysis of Changes in Job Control and Mental Health

Rebecca Bentley et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Deteriorating job control has been previously shown to predict poor mental health. The impact of improvement in job control on mental health is less well understood, yet it is of policy significance. We used fixed-effects longitudinal regression models to analyze 10 annual waves of data from a large Australian panel survey (2001–2010) to test within-person associations between change in self-reported job control and corresponding change in mental health as measured by the Mental Component Summary score of Short Form 36. We found evidence of a graded relationship; with each quintile increase in job control experienced by an individual, the person's mental health increased. The biggest improvement was a 1.55-point increase in mental health (95% confidence interval: 1.25, 1.84) for people moving from the lowest (worst) quintile of job control to the highest. Separate analyses of each of the component subscales of job control — decision authority and skill discretion — showed results consistent with those of the main analysis; both were significantly associated with mental health in the same direction, with a stronger association for decision authority. We conclude that as people's level of job control increased, so did their mental health, supporting the value of targeting improvements in job control through policy and practice interventions.

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How regional personality affects individuals’ life satisfaction: A case of emotional contagion?

Olga Stavrova
Journal of Research in Personality, October 2015, Pages 1–5

Abstract:
Recent research has shown that life satisfaction is lower in states with a high neuroticism level than in less neurotic states. The present study disentangles the effect of state- and individual-level neuroticism on life satisfaction in a multilevel regression analysis using nationally representative data from 16 German federal states. The results show that controlling for individual-level neuroticism results in a reduction of the effect of state-level neuroticism on individuals’ life satisfaction, although it remains statistically and practically significant. Hence, the ecological correlation between state-level neuroticism and state-level life satisfaction reported in prior research is not a mere reflection of individual-level associations. The process of emotional contagion is proposed as the potential mechanism of the state-level neuroticism effect.

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Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms

Ella James et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Memory of a traumatic event becomes consolidated within hours. Intrusive memories can then flash back repeatedly into the mind’s eye and cause distress. We investigated whether reconsolidation — the process during which memories become malleable when recalled—can be blocked using a cognitive task and whether such an approach can reduce these unbidden intrusions. We predicted that reconsolidation of a reactivated visual memory of experimental trauma could be disrupted by engaging in a visuospatial task that would compete for visual working memory resources. We showed that intrusive memories were virtually abolished by playing the computer game Tetris following a memory-reactivation task 24 hr after initial exposure to experimental trauma. Furthermore, both memory reactivation and playing Tetris were required to reduce subsequent intrusions (Experiment 2), consistent with reconsolidation-update mechanisms. A simple, noninvasive cognitive-task procedure administered after emotional memory has already consolidated (i.e., > 24 hours after exposure to experimental trauma) may prevent the recurrence of intrusive memories of those emotional events.

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Psychological Effect of an Analogue Traumatic Event Reduced by Sleep Deprivation

Kate Porcheret et al.
Sleep, July 2015, Pages 1017–1025

Study Objective: To examine the effect of sleep deprivation compared to sleep, immediately after experimental trauma stimuli on the development of intrusive memories to that trauma stimuli.

Design: Participants were exposed to a film with traumatic content (trauma film). The immediate response to the trauma film was assessed, followed by either total sleep deprivation (sleep deprived group, N = 20) or sleep as usual (sleep group, N = 22). Twelve hours after the film viewing the initial psychological effect of the trauma film was measured and for the subsequent 6 days intrusive emotional memories related to the trauma film were recorded in daily life.

Measurements and results: On the first day after the trauma film, the psychological effect as assessed by the Impact of Event Scale – Revised was lower in the sleep deprived group compared to the sleep group. In addition, the sleep deprived group reported fewer intrusive emotional memories (mean 2.28, standard deviation [SD] 2.91) compared to the sleep group (mean 3.76, SD 3.35). Because habitual sleep/circadian patterns, psychological health, and immediate effect of the trauma film were similar at baseline for participants of both groups, the results cannot be accounted for by pre-existing inequalities between groups.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that sleep deprivation on one night, rather than sleeping, reduces emotional effect and intrusive memories following exposure to experimental trauma.

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(Dis)connected: An Examination of Interoception in Individuals With Suicidality

Lauren Forrest et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sensing one’s internal physiological sensations is a process known as interoception. Several lines of research suggest that poor interoception may facilitate engagement in dangerous self-harm. In 2 studies, we investigated interoceptive abilities in individuals with differing degrees of suicidality. In Study 1, we compared interoception in controls (n = 27) and suicide ideators (n = 35), planners (n = 14), and attempters (n = 30). We found that those with suicidality had worse interoception than controls. Further, attempters reported worse interoception than planners or ideators. In Study 2, we compared interoception in psychiatric outpatients who had (n = 136) or had not (n = 459) attempted suicide. Again, we found that attempters reported worse interoception than nonattempters. In addition, we found that recent attempts were more strongly associated with interoceptive deficits than distant attempts. Together, our findings suggest that interoception is impaired in individuals with suicidality. Furthermore, the extent to which interoception is disturbed may differentiate not only between those who desire suicide from those who attempt suicide, but also between recent and distant suicide attempters. Impaired interoception may be important for engaging in serious self-injury; thus, reestablishing one’s connection to the body may aid in the prevention of suicidal behavior.

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Happiness and Age in European Adults: The Moderating Role of Gross Domestic Product per Capita

Jessica Morgan, Oliver Robinson & Trevor Thompson
Psychology and Aging, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies of happiness levels across the life span have found support for two rival hypotheses. The positivity effect states that as people get older, they increasingly attend to positive information, which implies that happiness remains stable or increases with age, whereas the U-shaped hypothesis posits a curvilinear shape resulting from a dip during midlife. Both have been presented as potentially universal hypotheses that relate to cognitive and/or biological causes. The current study examined the happiness-age relationship across 29 European nations (N = 46,301) to explore whether it is moderated by national wealth, as indexed by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. It was found that eudaimonic and hedonic happiness remained relatively stable across the life span only in the most affluent nations; in poorer nations, there was either a fluctuating or steady age-associated decline. These findings challenge the cultural universality of the happiness-age relationship and suggest that models of how age relates to happiness should include the socioeconomic level of analysis.

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Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation

Gregory Bratman et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 July 2015, Pages 8567–8572

Abstract:
Urbanization has many benefits, but it also is associated with increased levels of mental illness, including depression. It has been suggested that decreased nature experience may help to explain the link between urbanization and mental illness. This suggestion is supported by a growing body of correlational and experimental evidence, which raises a further question: what mechanism(s) link decreased nature experience to the development of mental illness? One such mechanism might be the impact of nature exposure on rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses. We show in healthy participants that a brief nature experience, a 90-min walk in a natural setting, decreases both self-reported rumination and neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex (sgPFC), whereas a 90-min walk in an urban setting has no such effects on self-reported rumination or neural activity. In other studies, the sgPFC has been associated with a self-focused behavioral withdrawal linked to rumination in both depressed and healthy individuals. This study reveals a pathway by which nature experience may improve mental well-being and suggests that accessible natural areas within urban contexts may be a critical resource for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

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Gender, Status, and Psychiatric Labels

Amy Kroska et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine a key modified labeling theory proposition — that a psychiatric label increases vulnerability to competence-based criticism and rejection — within task- and collectively oriented dyads comprised of same-sex individuals with equivalent education. Drawing on empirical work that approximates these conditions, we expect the proposition to hold only among men. We also expect education, operationalized with college class standing, to moderate the effects of gender by reducing men’s and increasing women’s criticism and rejection. But, we also expect the effect of education to weaken when men work with a psychiatric patient. As predicted, men reject suggestions from teammates with a psychiatric history more frequently than they reject suggestions from other teammates, while women’s resistance to influence is unaffected by their teammate’s psychiatric status. Men also rate psychiatric patient teammates as less powerful but no lower in status than other teammates, while women’s teammate assessments are unaffected by their teammate’s psychiatric status. Also as predicted, education reduces men’s resistance to influence but only when working with non-psychiatric patients. Education also increases men’s ratings of their teammate’s power, as predicted, but has no effect on women’s resistance or teammate ratings. We discuss the implications of these findings for the modified labeling theory of mental illness and status characteristics theory.

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Increased Levels of Depressive Symptoms Among Pregnant Women in The Netherlands After the Crash of Flight MH17

Sophie Truijens et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down, a tragedy that shocked the Dutch population. As part of a large longitudinal survey on mental health in pregnant women that had a study inclusion period of 19 months, we were able to evaluate the possible association of that incident with mood changes using pre- and postdisaster data. We compared mean Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) scores from a group of women (n = 126 cases) at 32 weeks’ gestation during the first month after the crash with mean scores from a control group (n = 102) with similar characteristics who completed the EDS at 32 weeks’ gestation during the same summer period in 2013. The mean EDS scores of the 126 case women in the first month after the crash were significantly higher than the scores of 102 control women. There were no differences in mean EDS scores between the 2 groups at the first and second trimesters. The present study is among the first in which perinatal mental health before and after the occurrence of a disaster has been investigated, and the results suggest that national disasters might lead to emotional responses.

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Thin Images Reflected in the Water: Narcissism and Girls' Vulnerability to the Thin-Ideal

Sander Thomaes & Constantine Sedikides
Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Objective: The purpose of this research is to test how adolescent girls' narcissistic traits ― characterized by a need to impress others and avoid ego-threat ― influence acute adverse effects of thin-ideal exposure.

Method: Participants (11-15 years; total N = 366; all female) reported their narcissistic traits. Next, in two experiments, they viewed images of either very thin or average-sized models, reported their wishful identification with the models (Experiment 2), and tasted high-calorie foods in an alleged taste test (both experiments).

Results: Narcissism kept girls from wishfully identifying with thin models, which is consistent with the view that narcissistic girls are prone to disengage from thin-ideal exposure. Moreover, narcissism protected vulnerable girls (those who experience low weight-esteem) from inhibiting their food intake, and led other girls (those who consider their appearance relatively unimportant) to increase their food intake. These effects did not generalize to conceptually related traits of self-esteem and perfectionism, and were not found for a low-calorie foods outcome, attesting to the specificity of findings.

Conclusions: These experiments demonstrate the importance of narcissism at reducing girls' thin-ideal vulnerability. Girls high in narcissism disengage self-protectively from threats to their self-images, a strategy that renders at least subsets of them less vulnerable to the thin-ideal.

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Selective Attention Toward Angry Faces and Risk for Major Depressive Disorder in Women: Converging Evidence From Retrospective and Prospective Analyses

Mary Woody et al.
Clinical Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study examined selective attention toward emotional images as a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD). Using multiple indices of attention in a dot-probe task (i.e., reaction time [RT] and eye-tracking-based measures) in a retrospective, high-risk design, we found that women with remitted MDD, compared with controls, exhibited greater selective attention toward angry faces across RT and eye-tracking indices and greater attention toward sad faces for RT measures. Second, we followed women with remitted MDD prospectively to determine if the attentional biases retrospectively associated with MDD history would predict MDD recurrence across a 2-year follow-up. We found that women who spent a greater proportion of time looking at angry faces during the dot-probe task at the baseline assessment had a significantly shorter time to MDD onset. Taken together, these findings provide converging retrospective and prospective evidence that selective attention toward angry faces may increase risk for MDD recurrence.

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Pupillary Reactivity to Sad Stimuli as a Biomarker of Depression Risk: Evidence From a Prospective Study of Children

Katie Burkhouse et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The primary aim of the current study was to examine whether physiological reactivity to depression-relevant stimuli, measured via pupil dilation, serves as a biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Participants included 47 mother–child dyads. All mothers had a history of major depressive disorder. Pupil dilation was recorded while children viewed angry, happy, and sad faces. Follow-up assessments occurred 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after the initial assessment, during which structured interviews were used to assess for children’s levels of depressive symptoms as well as the onset of depressive diagnoses. Children exhibiting relatively greater pupil dilation to sad faces experienced elevated trajectories of depressive symptoms across the follow-up as well as a shorter time to depression onset. These findings were not observed for children’s pupillary reactivity to angry or happy faces. The current findings suggest that physiological reactivity to sad stimuli, assessed using pupillometry, serves as a potential biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Notably, pupillometry is an inexpensive tool that could be administered in clinical settings, such as pediatricians’ offices, to help identify which children of depressed mothers are at highest risk for developing depression themselves.

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Relaxation training assisted by heart rate variability biofeedback: Implication for a military predeployment stress inoculation protocol

Gregory Lewis et al.
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decreased heart rate variability (HRV) is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms, but PTSD's effects on the autonomic stress response and the potential influence of HRV biofeedback in stress relaxation training on improving PTSD symptoms are not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of a predeployment stress inoculation training (PRESTINT) protocol on physiologic measures of HRV in a large sample of the military population randomly assigned to experimental HRV biofeedback-assisted relaxation training versus a control condition. PRESTINT altered the parasympathetic regulation of cardiac activity, with experimental subjects exhibiting greater HRV, that is, less arousal, during a posttraining combat simulation designed to heighten arousal. Autonomic reactivity was also found to be related to PTSD and self-reported use of mental health services. Future PRESTINT training could be appropriate for efficiently teaching self-help skills to reduce the psychological harm following trauma exposure by increasing the capacity for parasympathetically modulated reactions to stress and providing a coping tool (i.e., relaxation method) for use following a stressful situation.

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Thinking of Attachments Reduces Noradrenergic Stress Response

Richard Bryant & Lilian Chan
Psychoneuroendocrinology, October 2015, Pages 39–45

Abstract:
Although there is much evidence that activating mental representations of attachments figure is beneficial for psychological health and can reduce stress response, no research has directly investigated whether attachment activation can ameliorate hormonal stress response. This study investigated whether activating an attachment figure or a non-attachment figure following administration of a socially evaluated cold pressor test to elicit stress impacted on glucocorticoid and noradrenergic response. Participants (N = 61) provided baseline salivary samples, underwent a cold pressor test, then imagined an attachment or non-attachment figure, and finally provided subsequent saliva samples. Participants who imagined a non-attachment figure had greater noradrenergic response following the stressor than those who imagined an attachment figure. These findings highlight that activating attachment representations can ameliorate the immediate noradrenergic stress response.

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Implicit Theories of Change and Stability Moderate Effects of Subjective Distance on the Remembered Self

Cindy Ward & Anne Wilson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Temporal self-appraisal theory suggests that people can regulate current self-view by recalling former selves in ways that flatter present identity. People critique their subjectively distant (but not recent) former selves, creating the illusion of improvement over time. However, this revisionist strategy might not apply to everyone: People with fixed (entity) beliefs may not benefit from critiquing even distant selves. In three studies, we found that implicit theories of change and stability moderate the effects of subjective distance on the remembered self. In all studies, participants rated past selves portrayed as subjectively close or distant (controlling calendar time). Incremental theorists (but not entity theorists) were more critical of their subjectively distant (but not recent) past attributes. We found the same pattern when measuring existing implicit theories (Studies 1, 2) or manipulating them (Study 3). The present research is the first to integrate temporal self-appraisal theory and the implicit theories literature.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Scoring system

Positioning Multiraciality in Cyberspace: Treatment of Multiracial Daters in an Online Dating Website

Celeste Vaughan Curington, Ken-Hou Lin & Jennifer Hickes Lundquist
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. multiracial population has grown substantially in the past decades, yet little is known about how these individuals are positioned in the racial hierarchies of the dating market. Using data from one of the largest dating websites in the United States, we examine how monoracial daters respond to initial messages sent by multiracial daters with various White/non-White racial and ethnic makeups. We test four different theories: hypodescent, multiracial in-betweenness, White equivalence, and what we call a multiracial dividend effect. We find no evidence for the operation of hypodescent. Asian-White daters, in particular, are afforded a heightened status, and Black-White multiracials are treated as an in-between group. For a few specific multiracial gender groups, we find evidence for a dividend effect, where multiracial men and women are preferred above all other groups, including Whites.

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Testosterone at your fingertips: Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) as predictors of courtship-related consumption intended to acquire and retain mates

Marcelo Vinhal Nepomuceno et al.
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While hormones have been shown to impact a wide range of behaviors, little is known regarding their influence on consumer behavior. The current research examines the association between digit ratios and courtship-related consumption. Digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) are indicators of prenatal testosterone exposure and are assessed by measuring finger length. In Study 1, masculinized digit ratios (low digit ratios, high prenatal testosterone) in men were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates, and this association was stronger for men with high mating confidence. In women, feminized digit ratios (high digit ratios, low prenatal testosterone) were associated with greater courtship-related consumption to acquire mates. In Study 2, men with masculinized digit ratios engaged in greater courtship-related consumption by offering romantic gifts as a means of retaining mates. In women, feminized digit ratios were associated with greater romantic gift giving. Our findings suggest that high prenatal testosterone in men leads to greater courtship-related consumption, whereas low prenatal testosterone leads to greater courtship-related consumption in women.

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Is pornography consumption associated with condom use and intoxication during hookups?

Scott Braithwaite et al.
Culture, Health & Sexuality, forthcoming

Abstract:
In order to examine whether pornography consumption is associated with risky sexual behaviour among emerging adults, we examined two large samples of those who reported hooking up in the past 12 months (combined n = 1216). Pornography use was associated with a higher likelihood of having a penetrative hookup; a higher incidence of intoxication during hookups for men (but a lower incidence of intoxication during hookups for women); increasing levels of intoxication during hookups for men but decreasing levels of intoxication for women; and a higher likelihood of being in the riskiest category of having a penetrative hookup, without a condom, while intoxicated. For each of these outcomes, our point estimates for Study 2 fell within the 95% confidence intervals from Study 1. Controlling for trait self-control, binge drinking frequency, broader problematic patterns of alcohol use, openness to experience, and attitudes toward casual sex did not change the pattern of results. Implications for interventions to reduce sexual risk are discussed.

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Lady in Red: Hormonal Predictors of Women’s Clothing Choices

Adar Eisenbruch, Zachary Simmons & James Roney
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent evidence supports the idea that women use red clothing as a courtship tactic, and results from one study further suggested that women were more likely to wear red on days of high fertility in their menstrual cycles. Subsequent studies provided mixed support for the cycle-phase effect, although all such studies relied on counting methods of cycle-phase estimation and used between-subjects designs. By comparison, in the study reported here, we employed frequent hormone sampling to more accurately assess ovulatory timing and used a within-subjects design. We found that women were more likely to wear red during the fertile window than on other cycle days. Furthermore, within-subjects fluctuations in the ratio of estradiol to progesterone statistically mediated the within-subjects shifts in red-clothing choices. Our results appear to represent the first direct demonstration of specific hormone measurements predicting observable changes in women’s courtship-related behaviors. We also demonstrate the advantages of hormonal determination of ovulatory timing for tests of cycle-phase shifts in psychology or behavior.

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The “Cougar” Phenomenon: An Examination of the Factors That Influence Age-Hypogamous Sexual Relationships Among Middle-Aged Women

Milaine Alarie & Jason Carmichael
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the authors considered the prevalence of the “cougar” phenomenon and the characteristics of middle-aged women who reported having sexual relationships with younger men in the past 12 months. They found that roughly 13% of sexually active women between ages 35 and 44 had slept with a man who was at least 5 years younger. Contrary to conventional assumptions, the results show that women with low incomes and those who self-identify as “other race” (not White or Black) are more likely to be in an age-hypogamous sexual relationship. Relative to all other relationship statuses, previously married women are the most likely to choose younger partners. Finally, the results suggest that age-hypogamous relationships are not simply “flings”; a majority of them last at least 2 years, and a sizable share of “cougars” are married to their younger partners. These results highlight the need to reconsider our conventional understanding of women's sexual relationships at midlife.

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Experiences during specific developmental stages influence face preferences

Tamsin Saxton
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Much research has documented how people’s face preferences vary, but we do not know whether there is a specific sensitive period during development when some individual differences in face preferences become established. This study investigates which specific developmental phases may be instrumental in forming individual differences in face preferences in adulthood. The study design is based on the established finding that people tend to be attracted to facial features that resemble those of their other-sex parent, particularly if they report a close childhood relationship with that parent. Accordingly, if individual differences in adult facial preferences (specifically, preferences for faces that resemble one’s parents) are formed during specific developmental stages, then only the quality of the parental relationship in those stages should predict adult preferences for facial features that resemble one’s parents. Adult participants reported the emotional support received from their parents during three different developmental phases and at the current time, and they reported the hair and eye colour of their ideal and actual partner, and their parents and selves. The study found that a woman’s retrospectively reported greater emotional support from her mother or father after menarche predicted significantly stronger preferences for partners whose eye colour was closer to that of the parent. In contrast, emotional support prior to menarche predicted greater dissimilarity between the eye colour of the parent and a woman’s preferred partner. These results indicate a possible interplay of positive and negative sexual imprinting that may arise from adaptations to promote optimal outbreeding. The study also found that parental hair colour, and in particular maternal hair colour, predicted women’s preferences for hair colour in a partner, although this may have been driven by ethnic group matching. The results of the study suggest that experiences during specific childhood and adolescent developmental periods may have longstanding effects on individual differences in human facial preferences.

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Examining gender specificity of sexual response with concurrent thermography and plethysmography

Jackie Huberman & Meredith Chivers
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men's genital responses are significantly greater to sexual stimuli of their preferred gender compared to their nonpreferred gender (gender-specific), whereas androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) women's genital responses are similar to sexual stimuli depicting either women or men (gender-nonspecific). This gendered pattern of genital response has only been demonstrated using vaginal photoplethysmography (VPP) in women and primarily penile plethysmography (PPG) in men. These measures assess different aspects of genital vasocongestion, thereby limiting comparisons between genders. Thermography is a newer sexual psychophysiology methodology that measures genital vasocongestion via temperature change and is better suited to assess sexual response between genders because the dependent measure, change in genital temperature, is similar for women and men. Further, previous studies have assessed gender specificity of sexual response across relatively short sexual stimuli, allowing only the examination of initial phases of sexual response. We examined gender specificity of sexual arousal by measuring women's and men's genital responses to lengthier stimuli with concurrent thermography and VPP/PPG. Gynephilic men (i.e., sexually attracted to women; n = 27) and androphilic women (n = 28) viewed 10-min films depicting men masturbating, women masturbating, and a nonsexual film, and reported feelings of sexual arousal while genital responses were assessed. Across measures, men's sexual responses were gender-specific and women's responses were gender-nonspecific, indicating that the gender difference in gender specificity of arousal is robust to methodology and stimulus duration. These findings replicate previous research, extend knowledge of gendered sexual response, and highlight the utility of multimethod approaches in sexual psychophysiology.

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(Hetero)sexual Compliance with Unwanted Casual Sex: Associations with Feelings about First Sex and Sexual Self-Perceptions

Jennifer Katz & Monica Schneider
Sex Roles, May 2015, Pages 451-461

Abstract:
Sexual compliance involves willing consent to unwanted sex. The current study examined experiences and correlates of compliant sex with casual partners. Guided by sexual script theory, feelings about first partnered sex and sexual self-perceptions were identified as possible correlates of compliance. Potential moderating effects of gender also were explored. Sexually active heterosexual undergraduates (N = 258) in the northeastern U.S. responded to self-report measures of desire, pleasure, and emotional discomfort associated with first partnered sex, sexual self-awareness, sexual refusal efficacy, and compliance with vaginal and oral sex. About a third of the sample reported complying with casual sex at least once. Overall, very few participants who complied with a casual partner also complied with a committed partner. More women than men complied with giving oral sex to a casual partner; there were no gender differences in compliance with either vaginal sex or receiving oral sex. Emotional discomfort with first partnered sex was positively associated with compliant casual sex only among women. Although women reported less desire and pleasure associated with first partnered sex than men, neither desire nor pleasure from first sex were associated with casual compliance for either gender. Refusal efficacy was negatively associated with compliant casual sex for both women and men. The implications of these findings for future research and educating college students about compliance and its correlates are discussed.

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Internal consistency predicts attractiveness in biological motion walkers

Malte Klüver, Heiko Hecht, Nikolaus Troje
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some people appear attractive to us while others don't? Evolutionary psychology states that sexual attractiveness has evolved to assess the reproductive qualities of a potential mate. Past research in the field has identified a number of traits that can be linked directly to qualities such as immuno-competence, developmental stability, and fertility. The current study is motivated by the hypothesis that attractiveness is determined not just by individual, independent traits, but also by whether or not their pattern is internally consistent. Exploiting the domain of biological motion, we manipulate internal consistency between anthropometry and kinematics of a moving body. In two experiments, we varied internal consistency by using original point-light walkers (high internal consistency) and hybrid walkers, generated by combining anthropometric and kinematic data from different walkers (low internal consistency). As predicted, we found a significant link between internal consistency and sexual attractiveness, suggesting that internal consistency signals health and mate quality.

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Dark traits: Sometimes hot, and sometimes not? Female preferences for Dark Triad faces depend on sociosexuality and contraceptive use

Urszula Marcinkowska, Samuli Helle & Minna Lyons
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2015, Pages 369–373

Abstract:
Although the Dark Triad personality (i.e., Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) has been researched widely, only few studies have investigated women's preferences for men who present high and low Dark Triad features. With an on-line two-alternative forced choice questionnaire we investigated the interaction between preferences of 1962 Finnish women for facial stimuli that differed in the intensity of the Dark Triad traits, accounting for mating context, contraceptive use, and sexual openness (sociosexuality). Among non-contraceptive-using women, unrestricted sociosexuality was positively correlated with preference for high narcissistic male faces, whereas in contraceptive-using women, sociosexuality correlated negatively with preference for high Machiavellian male faces. We suggest that i) facial cues to Dark Triad traits are detectable by women, but ii) their effect on the judgments of attractiveness may vary depending on sociosexuality and contraceptive use, and that iii) preference for narcissism follows similar variation trends as masculinity preference, depending on sociosexuality and the use of hormonal contraception.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 17, 2015

The running game

Gender Roles, Work-Life Balance, and Running for Office

Rachel Silbermann
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Spring 2015, Pages 123-153

Abstract:
Political scientists have studied why so few women run for office in the United States, but explanations concerning the challenge of balancing work and life have received little empirical support. I present two forms of data to show how expectations about work-life balance affect the supply of potential women politicians. The common thread in these analyses is that time spent traveling to and from work is particularly burdensome for those who spend time caring for children. Because women do a majority of the child care and housework, commuting is particularly burdensome to women. Analyzing a novel data set, I find that women are less likely to run for state legislative office in districts further from state capitals. I validate these results with an original survey experiment run on undergraduates in the midst of choosing their own careers. I find that female students weigh proximity to home twice as heavily as male students do in a hypothetical decision of whether to run for higher office. These results suggest that equal representation of women in government would require men and women to share household responsibilities more equally.

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Objectivity and Information Bias in Campaign News

Johanna Dunaway et al.
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines whether objective campaign news stories — defined here as those with equitable tone toward 2 competing candidates — are less informative than slanted stories favoring one candidate over the other. Using a large news content dataset composed of campaign news stories from statewide elections in 2004, 2006, and 2008, we measure news story quality 6 different ways. It is modeled as a function of differences in story tone toward opposing candidates and a host of other news outlet and electoral characteristics known to influence the nature and type of information in campaign news. We find that slant is positively related to the likelihood that news articles focus on substance, issues, and include sourced content.

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Politically hyperactive? The civic participation of American Jews

Kenneth Wald
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although American Jews are often perceived as extremely active if not hyperpolitical, scholars have seldom studied the degree to which Jews in the US actually participate in public life. In a statistical sense, Jews are overrepresented in some domains that tend to favor groups with substantial socioeconomic resources (although these participation differences tend to disappear or diminish in multivariate models). This paper examines another major form of participation – civic activism – that research has suggested is less responsive to socioeconomic resources and thus might provide a more neutral venue to assess comparative Jewish engagement in the public square. Using Roper surveys from 1989–1992 with a sample of Jews and a comparison sample of non-Jews selected by propensity matching, I find that Jews are less likely to engage in civic activities than comparable non-Jews, suggesting that the reputation of Jews for political hyperactivity is considerably over-stated.

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Candy Elasticity: Halloween Experiments on Public Political Statements

Julian Jamison & Dean Karlan
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted experiments during trick-or-treating on Halloween in a predominantly liberal neighborhood in the weeks preceding the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. We decorated one side of a house porch with McCain material in 2008 (Romney material in 2012) and the other side with Obama material. Children were asked to choose a side, with half receiving the same candy on either side and half receiving more candy to go to the McCain/Romney side. This yields a “candy elasticity” of children's political support. Results vary by age: children ages nine and older were two to three times more likely to choose the Republican candidate when offered double candy for voting Republican compared to when offered equal candy, whereas children ages eight and under were particularly sticky and did not waver in their choice of candidate despite the offer of double candy.

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Political Advertising and Election Outcomes

Jörg Spenkuch & David Toniatti
Northwestern University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We propose a new approach for estimating the persuasive effects of political advertising. Our empirical strategy exploits FCC regulations that result in plausibly exogenous variation in the number of impressions across the borders of neighboring counties. Applying this approach to uniquely detailed data on television advertisement broadcasts and viewership patterns during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, our results indicate that total political advertising has virtually no impact on aggregate turnout. The point estimates are precise enough to rule out even moderately sized effects. By contrast, we find a positive and economically meaningful effect of advertising on candidates' vote shares. Evidence from a regression discontinuity design with millions of observations shows that advertising's impact on elections is largely due to compositional changes of the electorate.

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Power, Conflict, and Community: How Gendered Views of Political Power Influence Women's Political Ambition

Monica Schneider et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide a novel approach to understanding the political ambition gap between men and women by examining perceptions of the role of politician. Across three studies, we find that political careers are viewed as fulfilling power-related goals, such as self-promotion and competition. We connect these goals to a tolerance for interpersonal conflict and both of these factors to political ambition. Women's lack of interest in conflict and power-related activities mediates the relationship between gender and political ambition. In an experiment, we show that framing a political career as fulfilling communal goals — and not power-related goals — reduces the ambition gap.

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Why women don’t run: Experimental evidence on gender differences in political competition aversion

Jessica Preece & Olga Stoddard
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's underrepresentation in leadership positions has been well documented, but the reasons behind it are not well understood. We carry out a field experiment to test a prominent theory about the source of the gender gap in leadership ambition: women's higher aversion to competitive environments. Using politics as a context for our study, we employ two distinct subject pools – highly politically active individuals and workers from an online labor market. We find that priming individuals to consider the competitive nature of politics has a strong negative effect on women's interest in political office, but not on men's interest, hence significantly increasing the gender gap in leadership ambition.

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Rendering the implicit explicit: Political advertisements, partisan cues, race, and white public opinion in the 2012 presidential election

Tatishe Nteta, Rebecca Lisi & Melinda Tarsi
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
In The Race Card (2001), Tali Mendelberg claims that once the racial content of an implicit racial appeal has been exposed the appeal loses its ability to mobilize voters. In this paper, we investigate this claim by employing a survey experiment embedded in Amazon's Mechanical Turk in which respondents view Mitt Romney's “Right Choice” television ad on welfare and then read a short op-ed. The op-ed, written by a fictitious member of Congress whose partisanship was systematically varied, argues that the Romney ad (1) is racist or (2) has no racial undertones. In line with Mendelberg's predictions, we find that – regardless of the partisanship of the elite in question – exposure to an op-ed that denounces the Romney welfare advertisement as racist leads white Democrats and Republicans to more strongly perceive the advertisement as racist and express greater opposition to Romney's campaign. Our findings contribute to the literatures on racial priming and partisan motivated reasoning, and also make a strong case for further evaluating the influence of political leadership on racial attitudes.

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The Regulation of Political Finance and Corruption

Avi Ben-Bassat & Momi Dahan
Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) database on political finance regulations for 82 countries, we found that a contribution limits index increased corruption, after controlling for a standard list of explanatory variables. This result remains consistent employing an array of robustness checks intended to minimize the risk of a bias due to potential reverse causality and endogeneity. In contrast, the level of perceived corruption is lower in countries with higher indices of public funding and transparency requirements but these effects are rarely significant. Interestingly, we show that the mix of more generous public funding and less stringent regulations of private contributions is associated with lower corruption.

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Looking for Two-sided Coattail Effects: Integrated Parties and Multilevel Elections in the U.S.

Amuitz Garmendia Madariaga & Ege Ozen
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the context of the American federalism, integrated parties provide the necessary coordination mechanism for state and federal politicians to be electorally successful. This argument rests on the assumption that voters are able to observe the benefits of voting a straight ticket. We test this individual level explanation by using the CCES data. Moreover, at the aggregate level, we measure the so-called ‘two-sided’ coattail effects in concurrent multilevel elections in the U.S. since 1960. By using a simultaneous equation model, we estimate the reciprocal relationship between presidential and gubernatorial vote shares at the state level. While we find no consistent presidential coattails, we reveal robust and significant gubernatorial coattail effects on state-level presidential vote, underscoring the role of multilevel forces within parties in democratic federations.

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Razor's Edge: The Politics of Facial Hair

Rebekah Herrick, Jeanette Morehouse Mendez & Ben Pryor
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article argues that whether male candidates have facial hair has political implications. We argue that facial hair makes men appear overly masculine, having strong support for use of violence and little support for feminist views, which makes them less attractive candidates for women and feminists. Further, we argue that these perceptions are likely accurate.

Methods: Using a survey of college-age subjects, the research generally supports this theory.

Results: Men with facial hair are seen as more masculine, as well as more conservative on feminist issues, and women and feminists are less likely to vote for them. Further, we find perceptions of masculinity mediate the effects of facial hair on voters’ perceptions of them and willingness to vote for them. However, candidates with facial hair are seen as less supportive of use of force and these perceptions are not accurate based on members’ roll-call votes.

Conclusion: This article indicates that male candidates send a signal to voters about their masculinity by their choice of whether to shave.

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Deception and Political Participation: Theory and Laboratory Evidence

Daniel Houser, Sandra Ludwig & Thomas Stratmann
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We model two-candidate elections in which (1) voters are uncertain about candidates' attributes; and (2) candidates can inform voters of their attributes by sending advertisements. We compare between political campaigns with truthful advertising and campaigns in which there is a small chance of deceptive advertising. Our model predicts that voters should vote in-line with an advertisement's information. We test our model's predictions using laboratory elections. We find, in the presence of even a small probability that an advertisement is deceptive, voters become substantially more likely to elect a “low-quality” candidate. We discuss implications of this for existing models of voting decisions.

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Local Economic Gains from Primary Election Spending

Rebecca Lessem & Carly Urban
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper asks how government and private consumption spending affect earnings in service sectors. To do this, we exploit the variation across states and time in the money spent while campaigning for a party's Presidential primary nomination. We create a novel dataset combining the date each state held its primary from 1976-2008, the date in each election cycle in which only one candidate remained, and quarterly state earnings by sector. Using an instrumental variable strategy, we find that hosting a primary election increases earnings, particularly in the retail and accommodations sectors. These results remain consistent when using data on primary campaign expenditures across states in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

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Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex Links Social Impressions to Political Choices

Chenjie Xia et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, 3 June 2015, Pages 8507-8514

Abstract:
Recent studies of political behavior suggest that voting decisions can be influenced substantially by “first-impression” social attributions based on physical appearance. Separate lines of research have implicated the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in the judgment of social traits on the one hand and economic decision-making on the other, making this region a plausible candidate for linking social attributions to voting decisions. Here, we asked whether OFC lesions in humans disrupted the ability to judge traits of political candidates or affected how these judgments influenced voting decisions. Seven patients with lateral OFC damage, 18 patients with frontal damage sparing the lateral OFC, and 53 matched healthy participants took part in a simulated election paradigm, in which they voted for real-life (but unknown) candidates based only on photographs of their faces. Consistent with previous work, attributions of “competence” and “attractiveness” based on candidate appearance predicted voting behavior in the healthy control group. Frontal damage did not affect substantially the ability to make competence or attractiveness judgments, but patients with damage to the lateral OFC differed from other groups in how they applied this information when voting. Only attractiveness ratings had any predictive power for voting choices after lateral OFC damage, whereas other frontal patients and healthy controls relied on information about both competence and attractiveness in making their choice. An intact lateral OFC may not be necessary for judgment of social traits based on physical appearance, but it seems to be crucial in applying this information in political decision-making.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Someone else's shoes

Racial bias in driver yielding behavior at crosswalks

Tara Goddard, Kimberly Barsamian Kahn & Arlie Adkins
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, August 2015, Pages 1–6

Abstract:
Psychological and social identity-related factors have been shown to influence drivers’ behaviors toward pedestrians, but no previous studies have examined the potential for drivers’ racial bias to impact yielding behavior with pedestrians. If drivers’ yielding behavior results in differential behavior toward Black and White pedestrians, this may lead to disparate pedestrian crossing experiences based on race and potentially contribute to disproportionate safety outcomes for minorities. We tested the hypothesis that drivers’ yielding behavior is influenced by pedestrians’ race in a controlled field experiment at an unsignalized midblock marked crosswalk in downtown Portland, Oregon. Six trained male research team participants (3 White, 3 Black) simulated an individual pedestrian crossing, while trained observers cataloged the number of cars that passed and the time until a driver yielded. Results (88 pedestrian trials, 173 driver-subjects) revealed that Black pedestrians were passed by twice as many cars and experienced wait times that were 32% longer than White pedestrians. Results support the hypothesis that minority pedestrians experience discriminatory treatment by drivers at crosswalks.

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Emotions Facilitate the Communication of Ambiguous Group Memberships

Konstantin Tskhay & Nicholas Rule
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is well known that emotions intersect with obvious social categories (e.g., race), influencing both how targets are categorized and the emotions that are read from their faces. Here, we examined the influence of emotional expression on the perception of less obvious group memberships for which, in the absence of obvious and stable physical markers, emotion may serve as a major avenue for group categorization and identification. Specifically, we examined whether emotions are embedded in the mental representations of sexual orientation and political affiliation, and whether people may use emotional expressions to communicate these group memberships to others. Using reverse correlation methods, we found that mental representations of gay and liberal faces were characterized by more positive facial expressions than mental representations of straight and conservative faces (Study 1). Furthermore, participants were evaluated as expressing more positive emotions when enacting self-defined “gay” and “liberal” versus “straight” and “conservative” facial expressions in the lab (Study 2). In addition, neutral faces morphed with happiness were perceived as more gay than when morphed with anger, and when compared to unmorphed controls (Study 3). Finally, we found that affect facilitated perceptions of sexual orientation and political affiliation in naturalistic settings (Study 4). Together, these studies suggest that emotion is a defining characteristic of person construal that people tend to use both when signaling their group memberships and when receiving those signals to categorize others.

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The Ascent of Man: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence for Blatant Dehumanization

Nour Kteily et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dehumanization is a central concept in the study of intergroup relations. Yet although theoretical and methodological advances in subtle, “everyday” dehumanization have progressed rapidly, blatant dehumanization remains understudied. The present research attempts to refocus theoretical and empirical attention on blatant dehumanization, examining when and why it provides explanatory power beyond subtle dehumanization. To accomplish this, we introduce and validate a blatant measure of dehumanization based on the popular depiction of evolutionary progress in the “Ascent of Man.” We compare blatant dehumanization to established conceptualizations of subtle and implicit dehumanization, including infrahumanization, perceptions of human nature and human uniqueness, and implicit associations between ingroup–outgroup and human–animal concepts. Across 7 studies conducted in 3 countries, we demonstrate that blatant dehumanization is (a) more strongly associated with individual differences in support for hierarchy than subtle or implicit dehumanization, (b) uniquely predictive of numerous consequential attitudes and behaviors toward multiple outgroup targets, (c) predictive above prejudice, and (d) reliable over time. Finally, we show that blatant — but not subtle — dehumanization spikes immediately after incidents of real intergroup violence and strongly predicts support for aggressive actions like torture and retaliatory violence (after the Boston Marathon bombings and Woolwich attacks in England). This research extends theory on the role of dehumanization in intergroup relations and intergroup conflict and provides an intuitive, validated empirical tool to reliably measure blatant dehumanization.

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The Hard-Knock Life? Whites Claim Hardships in Response to Racial Inequity

Taylor Phillips & Brian Lowery
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2015, Pages 12–18

Abstract:
Racial inequality continues to plague America, yet many Whites still doubt the existence of racial advantages, limiting progress and cooperation. What happens when people are faced with evidence that their group benefits from privilege? We suggest such evidence will be threatening and that people will claim hardships to manage this threat. These claims of hardship allow individuals to deny that they personally benefit from privilege, while still accepting that group-level inequity exists. Experiments 1a and 1b show that Whites exposed to evidence of racial privilege claim to have suffered more personal life hardships than those not exposed to evidence of privilege. Experiment 2 shows that self-affirmation reverses the effect of exposure to evidence of privilege on hardship claims, implicating the motivated nature of hardship claims. Further, affirmed participants acknowledge more personal privilege, which is associated with increased support for inequity-reducing policies.

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Who Needs Individual Responsibility? Audience Race and Message Content Influence Third-Party Evaluations of Political Messages

Phia Salter et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examined the idea that people believe Black Americans think society is less fair than members of other racial groups (Study 1a), that these beliefs are out of touch with reality (Study 1b), and that Black audiences need to hear individual blame messages to bring these discrepant views more in line with reality (Study 2). We then examined a downstream consequence of these beliefs: differing third-party evaluations of speeches based on the race of the audience (Black vs. White) and the content of the message (individual vs. system blame). We found that individual blame messages were evaluated more positively when they were directed at Black audiences relative to White audiences. By comparison, evaluations did not differ for system blame messages (Studies 3a and 3b). Implications for system justification and policy endorsement are discussed.

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Threat as justification of prejudice

Angela Bahns
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
When people feel prejudice toward a group, they can justify their prejudice by perceiving the group as threatening. Three experiments tested the hypothesis that prejudice causes threat perception, using affective conditioning to create new prejudice toward unfamiliar groups. The experimentally created prejudice increased threat perception (Experiments 1–3), except when threat information was inconsistent with conditioned affect (Experiment 3). Consistency of affect and threat information is necessary in order for threat to be a plausible justification of prejudice. Mere prejudice can cause perception of threat in the absence of information about the group; this finding suggests threats are not necessarily inherent to the characteristics of the group. Threat perception can be used as a way to explain the experience of prejudice, rather than forming the source of the prejudice itself.

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People Judge Male Sexism More Leniently When Women Emasculate Men

Kenneth Michniewicz & Joseph Vandello
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While overt sexism has become less acceptable in recent years, sexism frequently goes unchallenged by observers for a variety of reasons. In the present investigation, we propose that people may excuse men’s sexist remarks when the remarks follow a manhood threat caused by a woman. In Study 1, we found that a man’s sexist remark buffered against the emasculating effect of a threat to his masculinity from an ex-girlfriend. In Study 2, we further show that observers excuse a man’s sexist remark following a competitive loss to a woman to the extent that they perceive him as less manly as a result. We replicate this finding in Study 3 while ruling out two competing explanations. We discuss the implication that sexism prevention efforts need to identify and address gender-related contexts where sexism is excused in order for efforts to move toward its prevention.

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A Localized Masculine Crisis: Local Men's Subordination within the Marcellus Shale Region's Masculine Structure

Matthew Filteau
Rural Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rural economic decline in the United States has contributed to new situational conditions under which men construct masculinity. Under these conditions, men define jobs and activities that were feminized during periods of economic stability as masculine. One exception to rural economic decline for men is economic growth associated with oil and natural gas development in geographical hot spots throughout the United States and around the world. Employment opportunities in the oil and gas industry largely favor men; however, it is unclear what effect this development has on local men because itinerant extralocal male workers complete most of the labor. This article conceptualizes masculinity as a social structure, and uses economic reports and theoretically distinct literatures on natural-resource-based masculinities and energy boomtowns to illuminate how multinational energy companies and a predominantly extralocal, male itinerant workforce in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region cause adverse situational conditions for local men's constructions of masculinity. Within the new masculine structure, extralocal men's constructions of hegemonic masculinity become more important for defining the local socially dominant masculinity, which subordinates local men's constructions of nonhegemonic masculinities in their own communities. The article concludes with a discussion of how the oil and gas industry's hegemonic masculinity impedes sustainable economic development and community well-being.

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Counter-stereotypes Reduce Emotional Intergroup Bias by Eliciting Surprise in the Face of Unexpected Category Combinations

Francesca Prati, Richard Crisp & Monica Rubini
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In three experiments we investigated the impact that exposure to counter-stereotypes has on emotional reactions to outgroups. In Experiment 1, thinking about gender counter-stereotypes attenuated stereotyped emotions towards females and males. In Experiment 2, an immigrant counterstereotype attenuated stereotyped emotions towards this outgroup and reduced dehumanization tendencies. Experiment 3 replicated these results using an alternative measure of humanization. In both Experiments 2 and 3 sequential meditational analysis revealed that counter-stereotypes produced feelings of surprise which, in turn, elicited a cognitive process of expectancy violation which resulted in attenuated stereotyped emotions and an enhanced use of uniquely human characteristics to describe the outgroup. The findings extend research supporting the usefulness of counter-stereotype exposure for reducing prejudice and highlight its positive impact on intergroup emotions.

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Gender Stereotype-Inconsistent Acts Are Seen as More Acceptable Than Stereotype-Consistent Acts, if They Are Clever

Maartje Meijs, Joris Lammers & Kate Ratliff
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies show that gender stereotype-inconsistent behavior is seen as more acceptable than gender stereotype-consistent behavior, if it is clever. Four studies found consistently that participants rated the behavior of a man who relied on attractiveness or passiveness (stereotypically female) to be more acceptable than similar behavior by a woman. The behavior of a woman who relied on dominance or aggressiveness (stereotypically male) was sometimes seen as more (Study 1A) and sometimes equally (Study 1B, Study 2, Study 3) acceptable as the behavior of a man who acted similarly. This shows that double standards might play a role: Whereas men are benefited by gender stereotype-inconsistent behavior, this is not the case for women. Across studies, these effects were driven by the interpretation of the gender stereotype-inconsistent acts as more clever and less trashy than gender stereotype-consistent acts. These results qualify the idea that people dislike stereotype-inconsistency.

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Perpetuating online sexism offline: Anonymity, interactivity, and the effects of sexist hashtags on social media

Jesse Fox, Carlos Cruz & Ji Young Lee
Computers in Human Behavior, November 2015, Pages 436–442

Abstract:
Sexism and sexual harassment are not uncommon in online environments such as social networking sites, forums, and video games. This experiment investigated whether users’ anonymity and level of interactivity with sexist content on social media influenced sexist attitudes and offline behavior. Participants (N = 172) used a Twitter account that was anonymous or had personally identifying details. They were asked to share (i.e., retweet) or write posts incorporating a sexist hashtag. After exposure, participants completed two purportedly unrelated tasks, a survey and a job hiring simulation in which they evaluated male and female candidates’ resumés. Anonymous participants reported greater hostile sexism after tweeting than nonanonymous participants. Participants who composed sexist tweets reported greater hostile sexism and ranked female job candidates as less competent than those who retweeted, although this did not significantly affect their likelihood to hire.

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Suspicion of White People’s Motives Relates to Relative Accuracy in Detecting External Motivation to Respond without Prejudice

Jennifer LaCosse et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2015, Pages 1–4

Abstract:
As a result of prevalent pressure to inhibit prejudice, racial minorities may wonder whether White people’s nonprejudiced behavior is primarily motivated by personal commitments to egalitarianism (i.e., internal motivation) or superficial efforts to appear nonprejudiced (i.e., external motivation). The present work investigated whether minority group members chronically suspicious of White people’s motives (i.e., those who believe White people are more externally than internally motivated), are more accurate than those who are less suspicious in detecting the motives behind White individuals’ pleasant behavior toward minorities. Minority participants viewed four videos of White targets engaging in dyadic interracial interactions with a Black peer and evaluated the White targets’ motivations. Compared to those low in suspicion, those high in suspicion were more accurate at assessing White targets’ actual levels of external motivation. Hence, suspicion seems to carry some functional benefit as it attunes minority-group members to Whites’ externally motivated positivity.

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Macho Nachos: The Implicit Effects of Gendered Food Packaging on Preferences for Healthy and Unhealthy Foods

Luke (Lei) Zhu et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies examine how culturally held stereotypes about gender (that women eat more healthfully than men) implicitly influence food preferences. In Study 1, priming masculinity led both male and female participants to prefer unhealthy foods, while priming femininity led both male and female participants to prefer healthy foods. Study 2 extended these effects to gendered food packaging. When the packaging and healthiness of the food were gender schema congruent (i.e., feminine packaging for a healthy food, masculine packaging for an unhealthy food) both male and female participants rated the product as more attractive, said that they would be more likely to purchase it, and even rated it as tasting better compared to when the product was stereotype incongruent. In Study 3, packaging that explicitly appealed to gender stereotypes (“The muffin for real men”) reversed the schema congruity effect, but only among participants who scored high in psychological reactance.

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Who Am I? Who Do You Think I Am? Stability of Racial/Ethnic Self-Identification among Youth in Foster Care and Concordance with Agency Categorization

Jessica Schmidt et al.
Children and Youth Services Review, September 2015, Pages 61–67

Abstract:
While it has been well documented that racial and ethnic disparities exist for children of color in child welfare, the accuracy of the race and ethnicity information collected by agencies has not been examined, nor has the concordance of this information with youth self-report. This article addresses a major gap in the literature by examining: 1) the racial and ethnic self-identification of youth in foster care, and the rate of agreement with child welfare and school categorizations; 2) the level of concordance between different agencies (school and child welfare); and 3) the stability of racial and ethnic self-identification among youth in foster care over time. Results reveal that almost 1 in 5 youth change their racial identification over a one-year period, high rates of discordance exist between the youth self-report of Native American, Hispanic and multiracial youth and how agencies categorize them, and a greater tendency for the child welfare system to classify a youth as White, as compared to school and youth themselves. Information from the study could be used to guide agencies towards a more youth-centered and flexible approach in regards to identifying, reporting and affirming youth’s evolving racial and ethnic identity.

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U.S. ethnic minorities' attitudes towards Whites: The role of shared reality theory in intergroup relations

Terri Conley, Joshua Rabinowitz & Jes Matsick
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the current research, we suggest that shared reality, the belief that one perceives the world the same way as another group, can predict attitudes towards that group. We tested shared reality theory in the context of American ethnic minority groups' (i.e. African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinas/os) attitudes towards White Americans. In surveys of two samples recruited from different geographical locations in the USA, we tested predictions derived from different theories of intergroup relations. Using mediational analysis, we defined models to assess the extent to which shared reality theory predicted — directly and indirectly — prejudicial attitudes towards Whites. We tested the model derived from shared reality theory against other theoretical alternatives. Taken together, the results of the research indicated that shared reality predicts attitudes towards White Americans among these three ethnic groups. Thus, shared reality is a relevant, though largely overlooked, factor in intergroup dynamics.

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Independent or ungrateful? Consequences of confronting patronizing help for people with disabilities

Katie Wang et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, July 2015, Pages 489-503

Abstract:
People with disabilities routinely face a dilemma in dealing with patronizing help: While accepting unsolicited assistance may be harmful for its recipients, confronting the helper can lead to negative interpersonal repercussions. Across two studies, participants were presented with a scenario depicting an interaction between a blind target and a sighted pedestrian and asked to evaluate the behaviors of the characters involved. Study 1 showed that, whereas blind participants considered both patronizing and hostile treatment as inappropriate responses to the blind target’s request for information, sighted participants saw patronizing help as significantly more appropriate than openly hostile treatment. Study 2 further demonstrated that, among sighted participants, blind targets were viewed as less warm and more rude when confronting benevolent versus hostile discrimination. These findings highlighted the difficulty of confronting patronizing treatment and have important implications for people with disabilities as well as other patronized minorities more generally.

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Manning Up: Threatened Men Compensate by Disavowing Feminine Preferences and Embracing Masculine Attributes

Sapna Cheryan et al.
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current paper investigates two basic strategies that men use to recover from masculinity threats: (i) avoiding stereotypically feminine preferences and (ii) exaggerating their masculinity. In two experiments, males were either given false feedback that threatened their masculinity (i.e., underperforming on a masculinity test in Study 1, being physically weak in Study 2) or told they were average for their gender (control). Males who had their masculinity threatened expressed lower preference for stereotypically feminine products but did not express greater preference for stereotypically masculine products (Studies 1 and 2). Additionally, threatened men claimed more stereotypically masculine attributes, such as height, number of past sexual relationships, and aggressiveness (Study 2). These findings provide insight into how people react to identity threats by deploying specific strategies that most effectively restore their questioned identities.

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Modern Prejudice: Subtle, but Unconscious? The Role of Bias Awareness in Whites’ Perceptions of Personal and Others’ Biases

Sylvia Perry, Mary Murphy & John Dovidio
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies introduced the construct of bias awareness and examined its effect on Whites' responses to evidence of personal and others' racial biases. Contemporary theories of prejudice suggest that awareness of personal bias is a critical step in reducing one's prejudice and discrimination. When bias is a cloaked in a way that people do not recognize, they are likely to continue to perpetuate their biased behaviors and unlikely to reduce their negative attitudes. However, when people become aware of their biases, they often adjust their attitudes and behavior to be more egalitarian. The present research investigated (a) individual differences in Whites' awareness of their propensity to express subtly biased behavior against Blacks in interracial contexts (Study 1), (b) the convergent and discriminant validity of a new individual difference measure of bias awareness (Studies 1, 2, and 3), (c) whether this measure uniquely predicts Whites' responses to a difficult race-related context — receiving feedback that they are high in implicit bias from an Implicit Association Test (R-IAT; Study 2), and (d) whether this measure uniquely predicts Whites' perceptions of others' racial bias, particularly subtle expressions (Study 3). Results revealed that the Bias Awareness Scale measures a distinct construct that uniquely predicts Whites' emotional and behavioral responses to information about their own bias, and their ability to detect bias in others.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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