TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Collective

Women's connectivity in extreme networks

Pedro Manrique et al.

Science Advances, 10 June 2016

Abstract:
A popular stereotype is that women will play more minor roles than men as environments become more dangerous and aggressive. Our analysis of new longitudinal data sets from offline and online operational networks [for example, ISIS (Islamic State)] shows that although men dominate numerically, women emerge with superior network connectivity that can benefit the underlying system's robustness and survival. Our observations suggest new female-centric approaches that could be used to affect such networks. They also raise questions about how individual contributions in high-pressure systems are evaluated.

---------------------

The Evolutionary Origins of Hierarchy

Henok Mengistu et al.

PLoS Computational Biology, June 2016

Abstract:
Hierarchical organization - the recursive composition of sub-modules - is ubiquitous in biological networks, including neural, metabolic, ecological, and genetic regulatory networks, and in human-made systems, such as large organizations and the Internet. To date, most research on hierarchy in networks has been limited to quantifying this property. However, an open, important question in evolutionary biology is why hierarchical organization evolves in the first place. It has recently been shown that modularity evolves because of the presence of a cost for network connections. Here we investigate whether such connection costs also tend to cause a hierarchical organization of such modules. In computational simulations, we find that networks without a connection cost do not evolve to be hierarchical, even when the task has a hierarchical structure. However, with a connection cost, networks evolve to be both modular and hierarchical, and these networks exhibit higher overall performance and evolvability (i.e. faster adaptation to new environments). Additional analyses confirm that hierarchy independently improves adaptability after controlling for modularity. Overall, our results suggest that the same force - the cost of connections - promotes the evolution of both hierarchy and modularity, and that these properties are important drivers of network performance and adaptability. In addition to shedding light on the emergence of hierarchy across the many domains in which it appears, these findings will also accelerate future research into evolving more complex, intelligent computational brains in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics.

---------------------

Synchronized Behavior Increases Assessments of the Formidability and Cohesion of Coalitions

Daniel Fessler & Colin Holbrook

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Synchronized behavior is a common feature of martial drills and military parades in many societies. Hagen and colleagues (Hagen & Bryant, 2003; Hagen & Hammerstein, 2009) hypothesized that the intentional enactment of synchronized behavior evolved as a means of signaling coalitional strength, as individuals who can synchronize are able to act in concert in agonistic contexts. Previous research has explored either the subjective consequences of synchrony for participants in synchronized behaviors or the effect of synchrony on observers' impressions of rapport among the synchronized actors. Critically, left untested is the central tenet that, by communicating that the individuals constitute a coordinated unit, synchronized behaviors signal elevated fighting capacity. We tested this prediction in two studies by asking large U.S. samples to judge the envisioned physical formidability - previously demonstrated to summarize assessments of diverse determinants of fighting capacity - of U.S. soldiers or terrorists on the basis of audio tracks of either synchronous or asynchronous footsteps. Consonant with the agonistic signaling hypothesis, participants judged the synchronized target individuals to be larger and more muscular than the unsynchronized individuals, an effect mediated by their assessment that the former collectively constitute a single unified entity. Although synchronized footsteps also enhanced listeners' perceptions of social bonding among the target individuals, this assessment did not mediate their judgments of elevated formidability, suggesting that synchrony primarily signals fighting capacity via revealed entitativity rather than inferred motivation.

---------------------

How norm violations shape social hierarchies: Those who stand on top block norm violators from rising up

Eftychia Stamkou et al.

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Norm violations engender both negative reactions and perceptions of power from observers. We addressed this paradox by examining whether observers' tendency to grant power to norm followers versus norm violators is moderated by the observer's position in the hierarchy. Because norm violations threaten the status quo, we hypothesized that individuals higher in a hierarchy (high verticality) would be less likely to grant power to norm violators compared to individuals lower in the hierarchy (low verticality). In 14 studies (Ntotal = 1,704), we measured participants' trait verticality (sense of power, socioeconomic status, testosterone) and manipulated state verticality (power position, status, dominance). A meta-analysis revealed that higher ranked participants granted less power to norm violators than lower ranked individuals, presumably because the former support social stratification. Interestingly, these effects occurred for trait but not state verticality. Overall, negative reactions to deviants may be driven by hierarchy-maintenance motives by those in privileged positions.

---------------------

Dynamics of Communicator and Audience Power: The Persuasiveness of Competence versus Warmth

David Dubois, Derek Rucker & Adam Galinsky

Journal of Consumer Research, June 2016, Pages 68-85

Abstract:
The current research offers a new theoretical perspective on the relationship between power and persuasion. An agentic-communal model of power is presented that proposes power affects both the messages generated by communicators and the messages that persuade audiences. Compared to low-power states, high-power states produce a greater emphasis on information that conveys competence. As a consequence, high-power communicators generate messages with greater competence information, and high-power audiences are persuaded more by competence information. In contrast to high-power states, low-power states produce a greater emphasis on information that conveys warmth. As a result, low-power communicators generate messages with greater warmth information, and low-power audiences are persuaded more by warmth information. Because of these two outcomes, a power-matching effect occurs between communicator and audience power: high-power communicators are more effective in persuading high-power audience members, whereas low-power communicators are more effective in persuading low-power audience members. Four experiments find support for these effects in oral and written contexts with three distinct manipulations of power. Overall, these experiments demonstrate that the persuasiveness of messages can be affected by the alignment between the psychological sense of power of the communicator and the audience.

---------------------

Unselective Overimitators: The Evolutionary Implications of Children's Indiscriminate Copying of Successful and Prestigious Models

Maciej Chudek, Andrew Baron & Susan Birch

Child Development, May/June 2016, Pages 782-794

Abstract:
Children are both shrewd about whom to copy - they selectively learn from certain adults - and overimitators - they copy adults' obviously superfluous actions. Is overimitation also selective? Does selectivity change with age? In two experiments, 161 two- to seven-year-old children saw videos of one adult receiving better payoffs or more bystander attention than another. Children then watched the adults perform unnecessary actions on novel transparent devices. Children preferred the adult who received greater payoffs or bystander attention when asked questions like "Who do you think is smarter?" but overimitated both adults' unnecessary actions equally. Although older children overimitated more, unselectivity was consistent across ages. This pattern hints at a plausible adaptive function of overimitation: acquiring rarely demonstrated behaviors by practising them immediately.

---------------------

Narcissistic Reactions to Subordinate Role Assignment: The Case of the Narcissistic Follower

Alex Benson, Christian Jordan & Amy Christie

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 985-999

Abstract:
Narcissists aspire to be leaders and consequently may react negatively to being assigned a subordinate role, even though such roles may be integral to group functioning. In the first three studies, participants were assigned to a low status role (i.e., "employee"), high status role (i.e., "project manager"), or (in Studies 2 and 3) control condition. More narcissistic participants were less satisfied and discredited the role assignment more in the employee condition than in the project manager condition. Furthermore, more narcissistic participants displayed greater self-interest in the employee condition, relative to the project manager condition (Study 2), and less willingness to engage in behaviors to benefit the group in the employee condition, relative to the project manager and control conditions (Study 3). In Study 4, these findings were replicated in sports teams. Although there is nothing inherently negative about subordinate roles, narcissists perceive them negatively and react poorly to occupying them.

---------------------

Imagined contact encourages prosocial behavior towards outgroup members

Rose Meleady & Charles Seger

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined contact is a relatively new technique designed to focus the accumulated knowledge of over 500 studies of intergroup contact into a simple and versatile prejudice-reduction intervention. While it is now clear that imagined contact can improve intergroup attitudes, its ability to change actual intergroup behavior is less well established. Some emerging findings provide cause for optimism with nonverbal, and unobtrusive measures of behavior. This paper extends this work by adopting methods from behavioral economics to examine more deliberative behavior. Participants believed they were playing a prisoner's dilemma with an outgroup member. They could choose whether to cooperate or compete with the other player. In three studies, we provide reliable evidence that imagined contact (vs. control) successfully encouraged more prosocial, cooperative choices. In the third study we show that this effect is mediated by increased trust towards the outgroup member. The findings demonstrate that imagined contact interventions can have a tangible impact on volitional intergroup behaviors.

---------------------

Oxytocin promotes intuitive rather than deliberated cooperation with the in-group

Femke Ten Velden, Katie Daughters & Carsten De Dreu

Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In intergroup settings, individuals prefer cooperating with their in-group, and sometimes derogate and punish out-groups. Here we replicate earlier work showing that such in-group bounded cooperation is conditioned by oxytocin and extend it by showing that oxytocin-motivated in-group cooperation is intuitive rather than deliberated. Healthy males (N = 65) and females (N = 129) self-administered intranasal placebo or 24 IU oxytocin in a double-blind placebo-controlled between-subjects design, were assigned to a three-person in-group (that faced a 3-person out-group), and given an endowment from which they could contribute to a within-group pool (benefitting the in-group), and/or to a between-group pool (benefitting the in-group and punishing the out-group). Prior to decision-making, participants performed a Stroop Interference task that was either cognitively taxing, or not. Cognitively taxed individuals kept less to themselves and contributed more to the within-group pool. Furthermore, participants receiving placebo contributed more to the within-group pool when they were cognitively taxed rather than not; those receiving oxytocin contributed to the within-group pool regardless of cognitive taxation. Neither taxation nor treatment influenced contributions to the between-group pool, and no significant sex differences were observed. It follows that in intergroup settings (i) oxytocin increases in-group bounded cooperation, (ii) oxytocin neither reduces nor increases out-group directed spite, and (iii) oxytocin-induced in-group cooperation is independent of cognitive taxation and, therefore, likely to be intuitive rather than consciously deliberated.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mixing it up

Changes in American Adults' Reported Same-Sex Sexual Experiences and Attitudes, 1973-2014

Jean Twenge, Ryne Sherman & Brooke Wells

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined change over time in the reported prevalence of men having sex with men and women having sex with women and acceptance of those behaviors in the nationally representative General Social Survey of U.S. adults (n's = 28,161-33,728, ages 18-96 years), 1972-2014. The number of U.S. adults who had at least one same-sex partner since age 18 doubled between the early 1990s and early 2010s (from 3.6 to 8.7 % for women and from 4.5 to 8.2 % for men). Bisexual behavior (having sex with both male and female partners) increased from 3.1 to 7.7 %, accounting for much of the rise, with little consistent change in those having sex exclusively with same-sex partners. The increase in same-sex partners was larger for women than for men, consistent with erotic plasticity theory. Attitudes toward same-sex sexual behavior also became substantially more accepting, d = .75, between the early 1970s and early 2010s. By 2014, 49 % of American adults believed that same-sex sexual activity was "not wrong at all," up from 11 % in 1973 and 13 % in 1990. Controlling for acceptance reduced, but did not eliminate, the increase in same-sex behavior over time. Mixed effects (hierarchical linear modeling) analyses separating age, time period, and cohort showed that the trends were primarily due to time period. Increases in same-sex sexual behavior were largest in the South and Midwest and among Whites, were mostly absent among Blacks, and were smaller among the religious. Overall, same-sex sexual behavior has become both more common (or at least more commonly reported) and more accepted.

---------------------

Daily exposure to negative campaign messages decreases same-sex couples' psychological and relational well-being

David Frost & Adam Fingerhut

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, July 2016, Pages 477-492

Abstract:
Throughout history, the rights of stigmatized minority group members have been subject to popular debate and voter referenda. The impact of the resulting devaluing social discourse on the well-being of minority group members remains unknown. For example, exposure to the discourse leading up to decisions on same-sex marriage may have negative consequences for sexual minority individuals and same-sex couples. We examined the impact of exposure to same-sex marriage campaign messages (e.g., commercials, billboards, yard signs) on the psychological and relational well-being of couples living in the four states that had same-sex marriage voter initiatives in the 2012 general election. Sixty-two same-sex couples (N = 124) completed a baseline survey and 10 daily diary reports during the month before the election. Daily exposure to negative campaign messages was associated with increased negative affect and decreased positive affect and relationship satisfaction. These associations persisted controlling for baseline levels of depression and daily fluctuations in general stress among both members of the couple. Exposure to a devaluing social discourse regarding the rights of same-sex couples represents a unique form of social stress resulting in negative consequences for the psychological and relational well-being of same-sex couples. Thus, the health of same-sex couples may be of particular concern in contexts where marriage policy decisions are pending and the subject of popular debate.

---------------------

When love meets hate: The relationship between state policies on gay and lesbian rights and hate crime incidence

Brian Levy & Denise Levy

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do public policies on gay and lesbian rights affect the incidence of hate crimes based on sexual orientation? We propose that legal inequalities increase hate crimes because they provide discursive opportunities for bias, discrimination, and violence. Legal equality, however, will reduce violence. Using annual panel data from 2000 to 2012, a period of substantial policy change, we analyze how three state policies affect reported hate crimes: same-sex partnerships, employment non-discrimination, and hate crime laws. Hate crime and employment non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation reduce hate crime incidence. Partnership recognition increases reported hate crimes, though it may not increase actual crime incidence. Because incidence is spatially correlated, policy changes in one state yield spillover benefits in other states. These results provide some of the first quantitative evidence that public policies affect hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Findings confirm the roles of institutional heterosexism and discursive opportunities in producing hate crimes.

---------------------

Straight until proven gay: A systematic bias toward straight categorizations in sexual orientation judgments

David Lick & Kerri Johnson

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2016, Pages 801-817

Abstract:
Perceivers achieve above chance accuracy judging others' sexual orientations, but they also exhibit a notable response bias by categorizing most targets as straight rather than gay. Although a straight categorization bias is evident in many published reports, it has never been the focus of systematic inquiry. The current studies therefore document this bias and test the mechanisms that produce it. Studies 1-3 revealed the straight categorization bias cannot be explained entirely by perceivers' attempts to match categorizations to the number of gay targets in a stimulus set. Although perceivers were somewhat sensitive to base rate information, their tendency to categorize targets as straight persisted when they believed each target had a 50% chance of being gay (Study 1), received explicit information about the base rate of gay targets in a stimulus set (Study 2), and encountered stimulus sets with varying base rates of gay targets (Study 3). The remaining studies tested an alternate mechanism for the bias based upon perceivers' use of gender heuristics when judging sexual orientation. Specifically, Study 4 revealed the range of gendered cues compelling gay judgments is smaller than the range of gendered cues compelling straight judgments despite participants' acknowledgment of equal base rates for gay and straight targets. Study 5 highlighted perceptual experience as a cause of this imbalance: Exposing perceivers to hyper-gendered faces (e.g., masculine men) expanded the range of gendered cues compelling gay categorizations. Study 6 linked this observation to our initial studies by demonstrating that visual exposure to hyper-gendered faces reduced the magnitude of the straight categorization bias. Collectively, these studies provide systematic evidence of a response bias in sexual orientation categorization and offer new insights into the mechanisms that produce it.

---------------------

Can Being Gay Provide a Boost in the Hiring Process? Maybe If the Boss is Female

Benjamin Everly, Miguel Unzueta & Margaret Shih

Journal of Business and Psychology, June 2016, Pages 293-306

Design/Methodology/Approach: Data were collected from two samples of non-student participants. Each participant evaluated the perceived hirability of an ostensibly real job applicant by reviewing the applicant's resume. In reality, all participants were randomly assigned to evaluate the same fictitious resume that differed only in the gender and sexual orientation of the applicant.

Findings: We find that men perceived gay and lesbian job applicants as less hirable, while women perceived gay and lesbian job applicants as more hirable than heterosexual job applicants. Additionally, we show perceptions of hirability are mediated by perceptions of gay and lesbian job applicants' competence.

Implications: These results show that bias against gays and lesbians is much more nuanced than previous work suggests. One implication is that placing more women in selection roles within organizations could be a catalyst for the inclusion of gay and lesbian employees. Additionally, these results could influence when and how gays and lesbians disclose their gay identities at work.

---------------------

Construal level shapes associations between political conservatism and reactions to male same-sex intimacy

Ross Rogers, Matthew Vess & Clay Routlege

Social Psychology, Spring 2016, Pages 87-97

Abstract:
This research examined how construal level and the salience of moral values affect relationships between political ideology and moral reactions to same-sex issues. In Study 1 (N = 170), political conservatism was a stronger predictor of moral reactions to physical intimacy between a male same-sex couple (vs. an opposite-sex couple). However, this was only true among participants induced to adopt an abstract (vs. concrete) construal level. Study 2 (N = 152) found political conservatism was a stronger predictor of moral negativity to physical intimacy between men when the idea of moral purity (vs. fairness) was made salient. However, this effect only occurred among participants induced to adopt an abstract (vs. concrete) level of mental construal. The implications of this research for better understanding when social-cognitive factors interact with political ideology to influence moral reactions toward same-sex social policy issues are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pushing the button

Why concessions should not be made to terrorist kidnappers

Patrick Brandt, Justin George & Todd Sandler

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the dynamic implications of making concessions to terrorist kidnappers. We apply a Bayesian Poisson changepoint model to kidnapping incidents associated with three cohorts of countries that differ in their frequency of granting concessions. Depending on the cohort of countries during 2001-2013, terrorist negotiation successes encouraged 64% to 87% more kidnappings. Our findings also hold for 1978-2013, during which these negotiation successes encouraged 26% to 57% more kidnappings. Deterrent aspects of terrorist casualties are also quantified; the dominance of religious fundamentalist terrorists meant that such casualties generally did not curb kidnappings.

---------------------

The Deterrent Effects of the International Criminal Court: Evidence from Libya

Courtney Hillebrecht

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was designed to try the worst war criminals for crimes against humanity, genocide and other instances of mass human suffering. By providing a permanent, international mechanism to hold perpetrators of mass human rights abuse accountable, the ICC is also meant to be a deterrent - to prevent potential genocidaires from committing systematic human rights abuses in the first place. But what if the effect is actually quite the opposite? While advocates of international justice have made conjectures about the effect of the ICC on stopping human rights abuses, the existing scholarship does not empirically test assumptions about the relationship between international criminal justice and violence. This article outlines the causal mechanisms by which the ICC could affect on-going violence and tests these assumptions using event count models of the relationship between the ICC and the level of violence against civilians in Libya during the 2011 crisis. These analyses suggest that the ICC's involvement in conflict does have a dampening effect on the level of mass atrocities committed. The results also call for a broad and sustained research agenda on the effect of international accountability efforts on on-going violence.

---------------------

What Explains the Flow of Foreign Fighters to ISIS?

Efraim Benmelech & Esteban Klor

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the link between economic, political, and social conditions and the global phenomenon of ISIS foreign fighters. We find that poor economic conditions do not drive participation in ISIS. In contrast, the number of ISIS foreign fighters is positively correlated with a country's GDP per capita and Human Development Index (HDI). In fact, many foreign fighters originate from countries with high levels of economic development, low income inequality, and highly developed political institutions. Other factors that explain the number of ISIS foreign fighters are the size of a country's Muslim population and its ethnic homogeneity. Although we cannot directly determine why people join ISIS, our results suggest that the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS is driven not by economic or political conditions but rather by ideology and the difficulty of assimilation into homogeneous Western countries.

---------------------

Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion

Joshua Itzkowitz Shifrinson

International Security, Spring 2016, Pages 7-44

Abstract:
Did the United States promise the Soviet Union during the 1990 negotiations on German reunification that NATO would not expand into Eastern Europe? Since the end of the Cold War, an array of Soviet/Russian policymakers have charged that NATO expansion violates a U.S. pledge advanced in 1990; in contrast, Western scholars and political leaders dispute that the United States made any such commitment. Recently declassified U.S. government documents provide evidence supporting the Soviet/Russian position. Although no non-expansion pledge was ever codified, U.S. policymakers presented their Soviet counterparts with implicit and informal assurances in 1990 strongly suggesting that NATO would not expand in post-Cold War Europe if the Soviet Union consented to German reunification. The documents also show, however, that the United States used the reunification negotiations to exploit Soviet weaknesses by depicting a mutually acceptable post-Cold War security environment, while actually seeking a system dominated by the United States and opening the door to NATO's eastward expansion. The results of this analysis carry implications for international relations theory, diplomatic history, and current U.S.-Russian relations.

---------------------

It Matters Whether Probabilities are Expressed in Numbers Versus Words: Experimental Evidence from National Security Professionals

John Friedman, Jennifer Lerner & Richard Zeckhauser

Harvard Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
National security is one of many fields where public officials offer imprecise probability assessments when evaluating high-stakes decisions. This practice is often justified with arguments about how quantifying subjective judgments would bias analysts and decision makers toward overconfident action. We translate these arguments into testable hypotheses, and evaluate their validity through survey experiments involving national security professionals. Results reveal that when decision makers receive numerals (as opposed to words) for probability assessments, they are less likely to support risky actions and more receptive to gathering additional information, disconfirming the idea of a bias toward action. Yet when respondents generate probabilities themselves, using numbers (as opposed to words) magnifies overconfidence, especially among low-performing assessors. These results hone directions for research among both proponents and skeptics of quantifying probability estimates in national security and other fields. Given that uncertainty surrounds virtually all intelligence reports, military plans, and national security decisions, understanding how national security officials form and interpret probability assessments has wide-ranging implications for theory and practice.

---------------------

Judicial Restraint and the New War Powers

Jasmine Farrier

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 387-410

Abstract:
Over the past four decades, members of Congress have filed 10 lawsuits challenging military actions abroad that were ordered or sustained by presidents without prior legislative consent. In dismissing these cases, federal courts told the plaintiffs to use their legislative tools to show disapproval of the actions already in progress. Under this logic, the House and Senate must have a veto-proof supermajority to end an existing military engagement before a case can be heard on the merits. These precedents contrast with previous war powers cases initiated by private litigants, which focused on prior simple majority legislative authority for presidential action.

---------------------

Does Social Media Influence Conflict? Evidence from the 2012 Gaza Conflict

Thomas Zeitzoff

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does international public support via social media influence conflict dynamics? To answer this question, I construct a unique, extremely disaggregated data set drawn from social media sources to examine the behavior of Israel and Hamas during the 2012 Gaza Conflict. The data set contains conflict actions and international audience behavior at the hourly level for the full 179 hours of the conflict. Notably, I also include popular support for each side from international audiences on social media. I employ a Bayesian structural vector autoregression to measure how Israel's and Hamas's actions respond to shifts in international public support. The main finding is that shifts in public support reduce conflict intensity, particularly for Israel. This effect is greater than the effect of the key international actors - United States, Egypt, and United Nations. The results provide an important insight into how information technology is changing the role of international audiences in conflict.

---------------------

The Contagion of Interstate Violence: Reminders of Historical Interstate (but Not Intrastate) Violence Increase Support for Future Violence Against Unrelated Third-Party States

Mengyao Li et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five experiments investigated the war contagion phenomenon in the context of international relations, hypothesizing that reminders of past inter- (but not intra-) state war will increase support for future, unrelated interstate violence. After being reminded of the Korean War as an interstate rather than intrastate conflict, South Koreans showed stronger support for violent responses to new, unrelated interstate tensions (Study 1). Replicating this war contagion effect among Americans, we demonstrated that it was mediated by heightened perceived threat from, and negative images of, a fictitious country unrelated to the past war (Study 2), and moderated by national glorification (Study 3). Study 4, using another international conflict in the U.S. history, provided further conceptual replication. Finally, Study 5 included a baseline in addition to the inter- versus intrastate manipulation, yielding further support for the generalized effect of past interstate war reminders on preferences for aggressive approaches to new interstate tensions.

---------------------

Terrorism and public opinion: The effects of terrorist attacks on the popularity of the president of the United States

David Randahl

Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses a large-n dataset to investigate the effect of terrorist attacks with American victims on the popularity of the U.S. president. The study uses two broad theoretical frameworks to analyze this effect, the score-keeping framework and the rally-effect framework. The findings of the study show that, when excluding the effect from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, actual terrorist attacks have no generalizable short-term impact on the popularity of the U.S. president. This indicates that even though the topics of national security, terrorism, and the president's ability to handle these issues are important in the political debate in the United States, actual terrorism has little or no short-term impact on presidential approval ratings.

---------------------

Kantian Dynamics Revisited: Time Varying Analyses of Dyadic IGO-Conflict Relationships

Christopher Anderson, Sara McLaughlin Mitchell & Emily Schilling

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
The literature on international organizations (IGOs) and interstate conflict in world politics produces a series of contradictory theoretical arguments and empirical findings about how IGOs help to prevent conflict and promote peace between member states. Empirical studies find a range of inconsistent results ranging from pacifying effects of shared IGO memberships on dyadic militarized disputes to conflict inducing effects of shared IGO memberships to null relationships. Theoretically, we consider how IGOs promote the rule of peace preservation through the mechanisms of coercion, self-interest, and legitimacy and we describe how these mechanisms help explain the time varying relationships between shared IGOs memberships and militarized conflict since WWII. Analyses of time varying parameter models of dyad-year data from 1948 to 2000 suggest that shared IGO memberships reduce the likelihood of militarized conflict in some historical periods (Cold War), but increase the chances for dyadic conflict in other periods (post-Cold War). The design of IGOs is relevant as well, with security-based, highly institutionalized IGOs best suited to prevent militarized conflict between member states. The results suggest that evolutionary dynamics in the Kantian peace vary across legs of the Kantian tripod and that we cannot understand the Kantian peace without considering dynamic relationships over time.

---------------------

Reputations and Signaling in Coercive Bargaining

Todd Sechser

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
When do states defend their reputations? States sometimes pay high costs to protect their reputations, but other times willingly tarnish them. What accounts for the difference? This article investigates reputation building in the context of coercive diplomacy. In coercive bargaining, giving in to a challenge can harm one's reputation. I argue, however, that states value their reputations less - and therefore are more willing to capitulate to coercive threats - when they do not expect future challenges. Using a data set of more than 200 coercive threats, empirical tests find support for this logic. Coercers that are constrained in their ability to initiate future challenges exhibit higher rates of coercive success in the status quo. The results shed light on the causes of reputation-building behavior and add an important element to our understanding of the dynamics of coercive diplomacy.

---------------------

Determinants of Foreign Aid: Rivalry and Domestic Instability

Gary Uzonyi & Toby Rider

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Foreign aid is usually seen as a form of international cooperation. Thus, the expectation is that states engaged in international rivalry with one another should be unlikely to provide each other aid. However, they do provide their enemies aid. We consider how situations of uncertainty influence aid transfers between states. We argue that states may provide each other aid to limit uncertainty from potential regime changes that could lead to war. Such uncertainty is particularly bad for rivals who are prone to militarized conflict. We find that rivals may provide one another foreign aid when one of the countries is experiencing regime-threatening levels of domestic instability. We compare these results to the behavior of nonrivals and find that: Rivals are likely to provide their enemies aid in times of uncertainty; rivals are no less likely to give aid to each other than are nonrivals; and rivals provide more aid during times of instability than do nonrivals.

---------------------

Al-Qaeda's propaganda decoded: A psycholinguistic system for detecting variations in terrorism ideology

Shuki Cohen et al.

Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
We describe a novel hybrid method of content analysis that combines the speed of computerized text analysis with the contextual sensitivity of human raters, and apply it to speeches that were given by major leaders of Al-Qaeda (AQ) - both in its "core" Afghanistan/Pakistan region and its affiliate group in Iraq. The proposed "Ideology Extraction using Linguistic Extremization" (IELEX) categorization method has acceptable levels of inter-rater and test-retest reliabilities. The method uncovered subtle (and potentially non-conscious) differences in the emphases that Usama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri put on the various components of their ideological justification for terrorism. We show how these differences were independently recognized as the crux of the rift in AQ, based on documents that were confiscated in Abbottabad following Usama Bin Laden's assassination. Additionally, several of the ideological discrepancies that we detected between AQ "core" and its Iraqi affiliate correspond to schisms that presumably led to the splintering of AQ Iraq and the rise of ISIS. We discuss IELEX's capability to quantify a variety of grievance-based terrorist ideologies, along with its use towards more focused and efficient counter-terrorism and counter-messaging policies.

---------------------

Recollection Bias and its Underpinnings: Lessons from Terrorism-Risk Assessments

Kip Viscusi & Richard Zeckhauser

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Recollection bias is the phenomenon whereby people, after observing a highly unexpected event, hold current risk beliefs about a similar event that are no higher than their recollection of their prior beliefs. This article explores recollection bias in relation to individuals' perceptions of the risks of terrorism attacks. Over 60% of respondents in a national U.S. sample of over 900 adults believe that the risks of a future terrorist attack by either an airplane or in a public setting are no higher than they believed respectively before the 9/11 attack and the Boston Marathon bombing. Only one-fifth of respondents are free of any type of recollection bias. Recollection bias is negatively correlated with absolute levels of risk belief. Recollection bias - basically the belief that perceived risks have not increased - dampens support for a variety of anti-terrorism measures, controlling for the level of risk beliefs and demographic factors. Public attitudes influence policy. Thus, educating the public about risk is critical.

---------------------

Going Global: Islamist Competition in Contemporary Civil Wars

Aisha Ahmad

Security Studies, Spring 2016, Pages 353-384

Abstract:
The global landscape of modern jihad is highly diverse and wrought with conflict between rival Islamist factions. Within this inter-Islamist competition, some factions prove to be more robust and durable than others. This research proposes that the adoption of a global identity allows an Islamist group to better recruit and expand their domestic political power across ethnic and tribal divisions without being constrained by local politics. Islamists that rely on an ethnic or tribal identity are more prone to group fragmentation, whereas global Islamists are better able to retain group cohesion by purging their ranks of dissenters. To examine these two processes, I present original field research and primary source analysis to examine Islamist in-fighting in Somalia from 2006-2014 and then expand my analysis to Iraq and Syria, Pakistan, and Mali.

---------------------

What Does Dabiq Do? ISIS Hermeneutics and Organizational Fractures within Dabiq Magazine

Brandon Colas

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)'s flagship English-language magazine, Dabiq, is a puzzle. The magazine is not, despite appearances, primarily designed for direct recruiting efforts or inciting violence against the West. In fact, the primary audiences of Dabiq are English-speaking second generation Muslims or converts, Western policymakers, and a third group of current or would-be members of ISIS who are not integrating with the organization itself. The third audience - those members who are failing to function within the organization - is strange to include in an English-language magazine. Why publish organizational weaknesses, in English? One possibility for this puzzle is that the fundamentalist hermeneutics of ISIS is reflected in their own media efforts. One of the assumptions that ISIS holds about their sacred texts is that each text carries a single meaning that reflects the author's original intent. There might be multiple applications of that intent, but each text can only have one intent, and therefore one meaning. Following this logic, a message meant for one person is unlikely to be of utility for another, and so this may be why ISIS exposes their weaknesses as part of the process of correcting their own members.

---------------------

The Pivot before the Pivot: U.S. Strategy to Preserve the Power Balance in Asia

Nina Silove

International Security, Spring 2016, Pages 45-88

Abstract:
American critics of the Barack Obama administration's 2011 "pivot to Asia" policy claim that, despite the lofty rhetoric, the United States has pursued an anemic strategy in Asia. Chinese critics of the pivot to Asia assert that it is a bellicose strategy aimed at containing China's rise. These two conflicting criticisms are addressed in a detailed historical narrative that traces the development and implementation of U.S. strategy, based on declassified documents, some of which have never before been made public, and extensive in-depth interviews with senior policymakers. Neither American nor Chinese critics of the pivot to Asia are correct. If this policy is properly dated and measured, the United States undertook a substantive military, diplomatic, and later economic reorientation toward Asia. That reorientation started in the mid-2000s, well before the pivot announcement. The aim of the reorientation was not to contain China's rise. Rather, the United States sought to manage China's growth through a blend of internal and external balancing combined with expanded engagement with China. These means were intended to work symbiotically to expand the combined power of the United States and its allies and partners in Asia, and to dissuade China from bidding for hegemony. The ultimate effect of the reorientation strategy - if successful - would be to preserve the existing power balance in the region, in which the United States has held the superior position.

---------------------

China in Africa: An Analysis of the Effect of Chinese Media Expansion on African Public Opinion

Catie Snow Bailard

International Journal of Press/Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2006, Chinese officials revealed an extensive plan to increase the nation's soft power in Africa through a number of initiatives to increase the presence and relevance of Chinese media in Africa. However, the question remains: Has China been successful in enhancing its soft power via its news media expansion in the African region? Although it is easy to find sweeping proclamations regarding the popularity of Chinese media throughout Africa, there have been limited efforts to systematically measure the effect of these media on African public opinion toward China. This study seeks to fill this void. Using Pew Global Attitudes Project data, I explore correlations between attitudes toward China and the extent of the Chinese media presence across six African nations in 2013. In addition, to better test for a causal effect of the post-2006 expansion, I employ a second analysis in which I compare these relationships in 2007 with these same relationships in 2013. By comparing changes in these relationships over time, this analysis provides tentative empirical support that the sweeping efforts undertaken to expand the reach and relevance of Chinese media in Africa have moved African public opinion in the desired direction.

---------------------

Crimes Committed by U.S. Soldiers in Europe, 1945-1946

Thomas Kehoe & James Kehoe

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Summer 2016, Pages 53-84

Abstract:
Accounts from victims and observers, including new research in the U.S. National Archives and the Bavarian National Archives, suggest that American soldiers committed crimes against persons - especially rape and various forms of assault - and against property in Europe after World War II more often than statistics about charges and prosecutions at the time indicated. More importantly, previously unexamined statistical summaries of crimes committed by American troops, as recorded by the U.S. Provost Marshal, provide unprecedented quantitative information about these crimes in the European Theater of Operations (eto) during the first postwar year, May 1945 to June 1946. The absolute number of crimes decreased as the number of troops declined, but the rate of crime (number per 10,000 troops) increased during the same period.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Making partner

Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing

Shelly Lundberg, Robert Pollak & Jenna Stearns

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2016, Pages 79-102

Abstract:
Popular discussions of changes in American families over the past 60 years have revolved around the "retreat from marriage." Concern has focused on increasing levels of nonmarital childbearing, as well as falling marriage rates that stem from both increases in the age at first marriage and greater marital instability. Often lost in these discussions is the fact that the decline of marriage has coincided with a rise in cohabitation. Many "single" Americans now live with a domestic partner and a substantial fraction of "single" mothers are cohabiting, often with the child's father. The share of women who have ever cohabited has nearly doubled over the past 25 years, and the majority of nonmarital births now occur to cohabiting rather than to unpartnered mothers at all levels of education. The emergence of cohabitation as an alternative to marriage has been a key feature of the post–World War II transformation of the American family. These changes in the patterns and trajectories of family structure have a strong socioeconomic gradient. The important divide is between college graduates and others: individuals who have attended college but do not have a four-year degree have family patterns and trajectories that are very similar to those of high school graduates.

---------------------

The Gendered Division of Housework and Couples' Sexual Relationships: A Reexamination

Daniel Carlson et al.

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although contemporary couples increasingly express preferences for egalitarian unions, previous research has suggested that sexual intimacy decreases when routine housework is shared. Yet this research was conducted on data that are decades old. To update this work, the authors compared data from the 2006 Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS) and Wave 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH2), collected in 1992–1994. The results indicated change in the association between housework arrangements and sexual intimacy across surveys. Although egalitarian arrangements were associated with lower sexual frequency compared to conventional arrangements in the NSFH2, no such difference was found in the MARS. In fact, reported sexual frequency increased across surveys among egalitarian couples only. In addition, how housework was arranged mattered more for sexual satisfaction among MARS couples than NSFH2 couples. These changes appear to result from the increasing role of perceived equity as a mechanism linking the division of housework to sex.

---------------------

Changing the Rules Midway: The Impact of Granting Alimony Rights on Existing and Newly-Formed Partnerships

Pierre-Andre Chiappori et al.

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyses the effect of a reform granting alimony rights to cohabiting couples in Canada. A collective household model with a matching framework predicts that changes in alimony laws would affect existing couples and couples-to-be differently. For existing couples, it benefits the intended beneficiary but, for couples not yet formed, it generates offsetting intra-household transfers and lower intra-marital allocations for her. Our empirical analyses confirm these predictions. Among couples united before the reform, obtaining the right to petition for alimony led women to lower their labor force participation but not among newly formed cohabiting couples.

---------------------

"Why Not Settle Down Already?" A Quantitative Analysis of the Delay in Marriage

Cezar Santos & David Weiss

International Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 425–452

Abstract:
A striking change in American society in the last 40 years has been the decline and delay in marriage. The fraction of young adults who have never been married increased significantly between 1970 and 2000. Idiosyncratic labor income volatility also rose. We establish a quantitatively important link between these facts. If marriage involves consumption commitments, then a rise in income volatility delays marriage. We quantitatively assess this hypothesis vis-à-vis others in the literature. Increased volatility accounts for about 20% of the observed delay in marriage and is strong relative to other mechanisms.

---------------------

Is It All About Money? Work Characteristics and Women’s and Men’s Marriage Formation in Early Adulthood

Janet Chen-Lan Kuo & Kelly Raley

Journal of Family Issues, June 2016, Pages 1046-1073

Abstract:
Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 97, this article investigates how work characteristics (earnings and autonomy) shape young adults’ transition to first marriage separately for men and women. The results suggest that earnings are positively associated with marriage and that this association is as strong for women as men in their mid to late 20s. Additionally, occupational autonomy — having the control over one’s own work structure — facilitates entry into first marriage for women in their mid to late 20s but, for men, occupational autonomy is not associated with marriage at these ages. These results suggest that even as women’s earnings are increasingly important for marriage, other aspects of work are also important for stable family formation.

---------------------

In the Eye of the Betrothed: Perceptual Downgrading of Attractive Alternative Romantic Partners

Shana Cole, Yaacov Trope & Emily Balcetis

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
People in monogamous relationships can experience a conflict when they interact with an attractive individual. They may have a desire to romantically pursue the new person, while wanting to be faithful to their partner. How do people manage the threat that attractive alternatives present to their relationship goals? We suggest that one way people defend their relationships against attractive individuals is by perceiving the individual as less attractive. In two studies, using a novel visual matching paradigm, we found support for a perceptual downgrading effect. People in relationships perceived threatening attractive individuals as less attractive than did single participants. The effect was exacerbated among participants who were highly satisfied with their current relationships. The studies provide evidence for a perceptual bias that emerges to protect long-term goals. We discuss the findings within the context of a broader theory of motivated perception in the service of self-control.

---------------------

Is Your Spouse More Likely to Divorce You if You Are the Older Partner?

Paula England, Paul Allison & Liana Sayer

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors assessed how the relative age of spouses affects whether men or women initiate a divorce, using data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Ex-spouses' reports of who left generally agreed, but not always, so the analysis used a latent class model embedded in an event-history model with competing risks that the woman leaves the man or the man leaves the woman. Support was not found for the hypothesis that age heterogamy itself increases the odds of divorce: Even large age differences did not make men more likely to leave younger wives, and women's exits were as likely when the marriage is homogamous as when she was older. The main conclusion is that both men and women are more likely to leave if their spouse is older than they are. The effects were stronger for men, but the gender difference in effect size was not statistically significant.

---------------------

Interjurisdictional competition and the Married Women’s Property Acts

Jayme Lemke

Public Choice, March 2016, Pages 291-313

Abstract:
Married women in the early nineteenth century United States were not permitted to own property, enter into contracts without their husband’s permission, or stand in court as independent persons. This severely limited married women’s ability to engage in formal business ventures, collect rents, administer estates, and manage bequests through wills. By the dawn of the twentieth century, legal reform in nearly every state had removed these restrictions by extending formal legal and economic rights to married women. Legal reform being by nature a public good with dispersed benefits, what forces impelled legislators to undertake the costs of action? In this paper, I argue that interjurisdictional competition between states and territories in the nineteenth century was instrumental in motivating these reforms. Two conditions are necessary for interjurisdictional competition to function: (1) law-makers must hold a vested interest in attracting population to their jurisdictions, and (2) residents must be able to actively choose between the products of different jurisdictions. Using evidence from the passage of the Married Women’s Property Acts, I find that legal reforms were adopted first and in the greatest strength in those regions in which there was active interjurisdictional competition.

---------------------

Not in the mood? Men under- (not over-) perceive their partner’s sexual desire in established intimate relationships

Amy Muise et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 725-742

Abstract:
Men’s sexual overperception bias — where men tend to perceive greater sexual interest in women’s behavior than actually exists — is a well-documented finding in previous research. All of the existing research, however, has tested this effect in the context of initial encounters or for fictitious or unknown targets. No research currently exists on how people perceive their romantic partner’s sexual desire in the context of ongoing, intimate relationships. In 3 dyadic studies, we provide evidence that men in established romantic relationships err in the direction of the opposite bias and underperceive their romantic partner’s sexual desire. We also demonstrate that this underperception bias is functional (particularly for men) in that it is associated with their partner feeling more satisfied and committed to the relationship. In addition, people are particularly likely to underperceive their partner’s desire on days when they are motivated to avoid sexual rejection, and men’s underperception bias is, in part, accounted for by men’s higher general levels of sexual desire than women. The current studies extend previous findings on sexual perceptual biases and demonstrate the important role of context in men’s judgments of a partner’s sexual interest.

---------------------

Women's red clothing can increase mate-guarding from their male partner

Pavol Prokop & Adam Pazda

Personality and Individual Differences, August 2016, Pages 114–117

Abstract:
Mate guarding is a common strategy that functions to prevent individuals from engaging in extra-pair copulations. For women, wearing red clothing can be perceived by men as a signal of sexual receptivity. Thus, men may guard their mate more strongly when she is wearing red, relative to other colors. We tested this hypothesis by examining the intensity of anticipated mate-guarding behaviors in conditions where women were imagined (by their partner and themselves) to wear red or black clothing in a repeated-measures design. Results showed stronger anticipated mate-guarding behaviors from men when they imagined their partner in red, relative to black. Women were unable to predict the intensity of mate-guarding from their partner with respect to color condition. Partner satisfaction did not moderate these findings in either sex.

---------------------

Hormonal contraceptives suppress oxytocin-induced brain reward responses to the partner’s face

Dirk Scheele et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, May 2016, Pages 767-774

Abstract:
The hypothalamic peptide oxytocin (OXT) has been identified as a key modulator of pair-bonding in men, but its effects in women are still elusive. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that hormonal contraception (HC) influences partner preferences and sexual satisfaction, which constitute core domains of OXT function. We thus hypothesized that OXT effects on partner-related behavioral and neural responses could be significantly altered in women using HC. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study involving 40 pair-bonded women, 21 of whom were using HC, we investigated whether a 24-IU nasal dose of OXT would modulate brain reward responses evoked by the romantic partner’s face relative to the faces of familiar and unfamiliar people. Treatment with OXT increased the perceived attractiveness of the partner relative to other men, which was paralleled by elevated responses in reward-associated regions, including the nucleus accumbens. These effects of OXT were absent in women using HC. Our results confirm and extend previous findings in men that OXT interacts with the brain reward system to reinforce partner value representations, indicating a common OXT-dependent mechanism underlying partner attraction in both sexes. This mechanism may be disturbed in women using HC, suggesting that gonadal steroids could alter partner-specific OXT effects.

---------------------

Marriage, Markets, and Money: A Coasian Theory of Household Formation

Kenneth Burdett et al.

International Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 337–368

Abstract:
This article integrates search-based models of marriage and money. We think about households as organizations, the way Coase thinks about firms, as alternatives to markets that become more attractive when transactions costs increase. In the model, individuals consume market- and home-produced goods, and home production is facilitated by marriage. Market frictions, including taxes, search, and bargaining problems, increase the marriage propensity. The inflation tax encourages marriage because being single is cash intensive. Microdata confirm singles use cash more than married people. We use macrodata over many countries to investigate how marriage responds to inflation, taxation, and other variables.

---------------------

Life Insurance Holdings and Well-Being of Surviving Spouses

Timothy Harris & Aaron Yelowitz

University of Kentucky Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Premature death of a breadwinner can have devastating financial consequences on surviving dependents. This study investigates the role of life insurance in mitigating the long-run financial consequences of spousal mortality. Using the Health and Retirement Study, we examine individuals whose spouses died during or soon after his or her peak earnings years. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that lump-sum life insurance payouts do not significantly influence spousal well-being.

---------------------

Altruism, Cooperation, and Efficiency: Agricultural Production in Polygynous Households

Richard Akresh, Joyce Chen & Charity Moore

Economic Development and Cultural Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Altruism toward others can inhibit cooperation by increasing the utility players expect to receive in a noncooperative equilibrium. To test this, we examine agricultural productivity in West African polygynous households. We find cooperation, as evidenced by more efficient production, is greater among co-wives than among husbands and wives. Using a game-theoretic model, we show that this outcome can arise because co-wives are less altruistic toward each other than toward their husbands. We present a variety of robustness checks, which suggest results are not driven by selection into polygyny, greater propensity for cooperation among women, or household heads enforcing others’ cooperative agreements.

---------------------

The Forecast Model of Relationship Commitment

Edward Lemay

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four studies tested the forecast model of relationship commitment, which posits that forecasts of future relationship satisfaction determine relationship commitment and prorelationship behavior in romantic relationships independently of other known predictors and partially explain the effects of these other predictors. This model was supported in 2 cross-sectional studies, a daily report study, and a study using behavioral observation, informant, and longitudinal methods. Across these studies, forecasts of future relationship satisfaction predicted relationship commitment and prorelationship behavior during relationship conflict and partially explained the effects of relationship satisfaction, quality of alternatives, and investment size. These results suggest that representations of the future have a prominent role in interpersonal processes.

---------------------

Seeking Connection Versus Avoiding Disappointment: An Experimental Manipulation of Approach and Avoidance Sexual Goals and the Implications for Desire and Satisfaction

Amy Muise, Gillian Boudreau & Natalie Rosen

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous correlational research has demonstrated an association between people’s reasons for having sex (i.e., their sexual goals) and their sexual desire and sexual and relationship satisfaction. Across two studies of people in romantic relationships (N = 396) we extend previous research and demonstrate, for the first time, that manipulating the salience of approach sexual goals (i.e., engaging in sex to pursue positive outcomes, such as enhanced intimacy) compared to avoidance sexual goals (i.e., engaging in sex to avert negative outcomes, such as a partner’s disappointment) or a control condition leads people to feel higher sexual desire for their romantic partners and to report higher sexual and relationship satisfaction. In addition, in Study 2 we demonstrate that focusing on approach sexual goals over the course of a week leads people to report more satisfying sexual experiences during that week, as well as higher desire and overall relationship satisfaction, compared to a control group. The current findings advance approach–avoidance theory by providing evidence that it is possible to manipulate people’s sexual goals and, in turn, impact their feelings of desire and satisfaction. Results are promising for the development of interventions to promote sexual and relational well-being.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In the extreme

The Fiscal Cost of Hurricanes: Disaster Aid Versus Social Insurance

Tatyana Deryugina

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Little is known about the fiscal costs of natural disasters, especially regarding social safety nets that do not specifically target extreme weather events. This paper shows that US hurricanes lead to substantial increases in non-disaster government transfers, such as unemployment insurance and public medical payments, in affected counties in the decade after a hurricane. The present value of this increase significantly exceeds that of direct disaster aid. This implies, among other things, that the fiscal costs of natural disasters have been significantly underestimated and that victims in developed countries are better insured against them than previously thought.

---------------------

Motivated Recall in the Service of the Economic System: The Case of Anthropogenic Climate Change

Erin Hennes et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, June 2016, Pages 755-771

Abstract:
The contemporary political landscape is characterized by numerous divisive issues. Unlike many other issues, however, much of the disagreement about climate change centers not on how best to take action to address the problem, but on whether the problem exists at all. Psychological studies indicate that, to the extent that sustainability initiatives are seen as threatening to the socioeconomic system, individuals may downplay environmental problems in order to defend and protect the status quo. In the current research, participants were presented with scientific information about climate change and later asked to recall details of what they had learned. Individuals who were experimentally induced (Study 1) or dispositionally inclined (Studies 2 and 3) to justify the economic system misremembered the evidence to be less serious, and this was associated with increased skepticism. However, when high system justifiers were led to believe that the economy was in a recovery, they recalled climate change information to be more serious than did those assigned to a control condition. When low system justifiers were led to believe that the economy was in recession, they recalled the information to be less serious (Study 3). These findings suggest that because system justification can impact information processing, simply providing the public with scientific evidence may be insufficient to inspire action to mitigate climate change. However, linking environmental information to statements about the strength of the economic system may satiate system justification needs and break the psychological link between proenvironmental initiatives and economic risk.

---------------------

Shutting Down the Thermohaline Circulation

David Anthoff, Francisco Estrada & Richard Tol

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 602-606

Abstract:
Past climatic changes were caused by a slowdown of the thermohaline circulation. We use results from experiments with three climate models to show that the expected cooling due to a slowdown of the thermohaline circulation is less in magnitude than the expected warming due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. The integrated assessment model FUND and a meta-analysis of climate impacts are used to evaluate the change in human welfare. We find modest but by and large positive effects on human welfare since a slowdown of the thermohaline circulation implies decelerated warming.

---------------------

Economic Effects of an Ocean Acidification Catastrophe

Stephen Colt & Gunnar Knapp

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 615-619

Abstract:
We assess the potential magnitude of the economic effects of an ocean acidification (OA) catastrophe by focusing on marine ecosystem services most likely to be affected. It is scientifically plausible that by 2200 OA could cause a complete collapse of marine capture fisheries, complete destruction of coral reefs, and significant rearrangement of marine ecosystems. Upper-bound values for losses from the first two effects range from 97 to 301 billion 2014 dollars per year (0.09 - 0.28% of current world GDP). We argue that aquaculture output would not be reduced, due to the high potential for adaptation by this young industry.

---------------------

Tracking global carbon revenues: A survey of carbon taxes versus cap-and-trade in the real world

Jeremy Carl & David Fedor

Energy Policy, September 2016, Pages 50–77

Abstract:
We investigate the current use of public revenues which are generated through both carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems. More than $28.3 billion in government “carbon revenues” are currently collected each year in 40 countries and another 16 states or provinces around the world. Of those revenues, 27% ($7.8 billion) are used to subsidize “green” spending in energy efficiency or renewable energy; 26% ($7.4 billion) go toward state general funds; and 36% ($10.1 billion) are returned to corporate or individual taxpayers through paired tax cuts or direct rebates. Cap-and-trade systems ($6.57 billion in total public revenue) earmark a larger share of revenues for “green” spending (70%), while carbon tax systems ($21.7 billion) more commonly refund revenues or otherwise direct them towards government general funds (72% of revenues). Drawing from an empirical dataset, we also identify various trends in systems’ use of “carbon revenues” in terms of the total revenues collected annually per capita in each jurisdiction and offer commensurate qualitative observations on carbon policy design choices.

---------------------

Greening of the Earth and its drivers

Zaichun Zhu et al.

Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

---------------------

Price Regulation and Environmental Externalities: Evidence from Methane Leaks

Catherine Hausman & Lucija Muehlenbachs

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Price regulations are widely used to reduce inefficiencies from natural monopolies, but they can introduce other inefficiencies, such as the failure to cost-minimize. We examine a previously unstudied distortion in the natural gas distribution sector that allows firms to pass the cost of lost gas on to their customers. We show that firms abate leaks below what is theoretically optimal for a private firm – expenditure on abatement is well below the cost of lost gas. Additionally, natural gas, primarily composed of methane, is both explosive and a potent greenhouse gas. Thus the climate impacts of leaked methane greatly exacerbate the inefficiencies created by imperfect price regulation.

---------------------

Global trends in wildfire and its impacts: Perceptions versus realities in a changing world

Stefan Doerr & Cristina Santín

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 5 June 2016

Abstract:
Wildfire has been an important process affecting the Earth's surface and atmosphere for over 350 million years and human societies have coexisted with fire since their emergence. Yet many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends. Instead, global area burned appears to have overall declined over past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago. Regarding fire severity, limited data are available. For the western USA, they indicate little change overall, and also that area burned at high severity has overall declined compared to pre-European settlement. Direct fatalities from fire and economic losses also show no clear trends over the past three decades. Trends in indirect impacts, such as health problems from smoke or disruption to social functioning, remain insufficiently quantified to be examined. Global predictions for increased fire under a warming climate highlight the already urgent need for a more sustainable coexistence with fire. The data evaluation presented here aims to contribute to this by reducing misconceptions and facilitating a more informed understanding of the realities of global fire.

---------------------

Electric utilities and American climate policy: Lobbying by expected winners and losers

Sung Eun Kim, Johannes Urpelainen & Joonseok Yang

Journal of Public Policy, June 2016, Pages 251-275

Abstract:
When and why do individual companies lobby on environmental policies? Given the structural strength of business interests, the answer to this question is important for explaining policy. However, evidence on the strategic lobbying behaviour of individual companies remains scarce. We use data from lobbying disclosure reports on all major climate bills introduced during the 111th Congress (2009–2010). We then link the lobbying disclosure reports to detailed data on the fuel choices of all electric utilities in the United States along with socioeconomic, institutional and political data from the states where the utilities operate. The expected winners (renewable energy, natural gas users) from climate policy are much more likely to lobby individually on federal legislation than the expected losers (coal users). We find that expected winners lobby for specific provisions and rents as a private good, whereas expected losers concentrate their efforts on collective action through trade associations and committees to prevent climate legislation. The results suggest that the supporters of climate policy believed the probability of federal climate legislation to be nontrivial.

---------------------

Poorest countries experience earlier anthropogenic emergence of daily temperature extremes

Luke Harrington et al.

Environmental Research Letters, May 2016

Abstract:
Understanding how the emergence of the anthropogenic warming signal from the noise of internal variability translates to changes in extreme event occurrence is of crucial societal importance. By utilising simulations of cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and temperature changes from eleven earth system models, we demonstrate that the inherently lower internal variability found at tropical latitudes results in large increases in the frequency of extreme daily temperatures (exceedances of the 99.9th percentile derived from pre-industrial climate simulations) occurring much earlier than for mid-to-high latitude regions. Most of the world's poorest people live at low latitudes, when considering 2010 GDP-PPP per capita; conversely the wealthiest population quintile disproportionately inhabit more variable mid-latitude climates. Consequently, the fraction of the global population in the lowest socio-economic quintile is exposed to substantially more frequent daily temperature extremes after much lower increases in both mean global warming and cumulative CO2 emissions.

---------------------

Disruption of the European climate seasonal clock in a warming world

Christophe Cassou & Julien Cattiaux

Nature Climate Change, June 2016, Pages 589–594

Abstract:
Temperatures over Europe are largely driven by the strength and inland penetration of the oceanic westerly flow. The wind influence depends on season: blocked westerlies, linked to high-pressure anomalies over Scandinavia, induce cold episodes in winter but warm conditions in summer. Here, we propose to define the onset of the two seasons as the calendar day on which the daily circulation/temperature relationship switches sign. We have assessed this meteorologically based metric using several observational data sets and we provide evidence for an earlier onset of the summer date by ~10 days between the 1960s and 2000s. Results from a climate model show that internal variability alone cannot explain this calendar advance. Rather, the earlier onset can be partly attributed to anthropogenic forcings. The modification of the zonal advection due to earlier disappearance of winter snow over Eastern Europe, which reduces the degree to which climate has continental properties, is mainly responsible for the present-day and near-future advance of the summer date in Western Europe. Our findings are in line with phenological-based trends (earlier spring events) reported for many living species over Europe for which we provide an alternative interpretation to the traditionally evoked local warming effect. Based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario, which assumes that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise throughout the twenty-first century, a summer advance of ~20 days compared with pre-industrial climate is expected by 2100, whereas no clear signal arises for winter onset.

---------------------

Will economic growth and fossil fuel scarcity help or hinder climate stabilization? Overview of the RoSE multi-model study

Elmar Kriegler et al.

Climatic Change, May 2016, Pages 7-22

Abstract:
We investigate the extent to which future energy transformation pathways meeting ambitious climate change mitigation targets depend on assumptions about economic growth and fossil fuel availability. The analysis synthesizes results from the RoSE multi-model study aiming to identify robust and sensitive features of mitigation pathways under these inherently uncertain drivers of energy and emissions developments. Based on an integrated assessment model comparison exercise, we show that economic growth and fossil resource assumptions substantially affect baseline developments, but in no case they lead to the significant greenhouse gas emission reduction that would be needed to achieve long-term climate targets without dedicated climate policy. The influence of economic growth and fossil resource assumptions on climate mitigation pathways is relatively small due to overriding requirements imposed by long-term climate targets. While baseline assumptions can have substantial effects on mitigation costs and carbon prices, we find that the effects of model differences and the stringency of the climate target are larger compared to that of baseline assumptions. We conclude that inherent uncertainties about socio-economic determinants like economic growth and fossil resource availability can be effectively dealt with in the assessment of mitigation pathways.

---------------------

Has Arctic Sea Ice Loss Contributed to Increased Surface Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet?

Jiping Liu et al.

Journal of Climate, May 2016, Pages 3373–3386

Abstract:
In recent decades, the Greenland ice sheet has experienced increased surface melt. However, the underlying cause of this increased surface melting and how it relates to cryospheric changes across the Arctic remain unclear. Here it is shown that an important contributing factor is the decreasing Arctic sea ice. Reduced summer sea ice favors stronger and more frequent occurrences of blocking-high pressure events over Greenland. Blocking highs enhance the transport of warm, moist air over Greenland, which increases downwelling infrared radiation, contributes to increased extreme heat events, and accounts for the majority of the observed warming trends. These findings are supported by analyses of observations and reanalysis data, as well as by independent atmospheric model simulations using a state-of-the-art atmospheric model that is forced by varying only the sea ice conditions. Reduced sea ice conditions in the model favor more extensive Greenland surface melting. The authors find a positive feedback between the variability in the extent of summer Arctic sea ice and melt area of the summer Greenland ice sheet, which affects the Greenland ice sheet mass balance. This linkage may improve the projections of changes in the global sea level and thermohaline circulation.

---------------------

Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions

Alexander MacDonald et al.

Nature Climate Change, May 2016, Pages 526–531

Abstract:
Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation are a major cause of anthropogenic climate change. The deployment of wind and solar power reduces these emissions, but is subject to the variability of the weather. In the present study, we calculate the cost-optimized configuration of variable electrical power generators using weather data with high spatial (13-km) and temporal (60-min) resolution over the contiguous US. Our results show that when using future anticipated costs for wind and solar, carbon dioxide emissions from the US electricity sector can be reduced by up to 80% relative to 1990 levels, without an increase in the levelized cost of electricity. The reductions are possible with current technologies and without electrical storage. Wind and solar power increase their share of electricity production as the system grows to encompass large-scale weather patterns. This reduction in carbon emissions is achieved by moving away from a regionally divided electricity sector to a national system enabled by high-voltage direct-current transmission.

---------------------

Climatic thresholds shape northern high-latitude fire regimes and imply vulnerability to future climate change

Adam Young et al.

Ecography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Boreal forests and arctic tundra cover 33% of global land surface and store an estimated 50% of total soil carbon. Because wildfire is a key driver of terrestrial carbon cycling, increasing fire activity in these ecosystems would likely have global implications. To anticipate potential spatiotemporal variability in fire-regime shifts, we modeled the spatially explicit 30-yr probability of fire occurrence as a function of climate and landscape features (i.e., vegetation and topography) across Alaska. Boosted regression tree (BRT) models captured the spatial distribution of fire across boreal forest and tundra ecoregions (AUC from 0.63-0.78 and Pearson correlations between predicted and observed data from 0.54-0.71), highlighting summer temperature and annual moisture availability as the most influential controls of historical fire regimes. Modeled fire-climate relationships revealed distinct thresholds to fire occurrence, with a nonlinear increase in the probability of fire above an average July temperature of 13.4 °C and below an annual moisture availability (i.e., P-PET) of approximately 150 mm. To anticipate potential fire-regime responses to 21st-century climate change, we informed our BRTs with Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 climate projections under the RCP 6.0 scenario. Based on these projected climatic changes alone (i.e., not accounting for potential changes in vegetation), our results suggest an increasing probability of wildfire in Alaskan boreal forest and tundra ecosystems, but of varying magnitude across space and throughout the 21st century. Regions with historically low flammability, including tundra and the forest-tundra boundary, are particularly vulnerable to climatically induced changes in fire activity, with up to a fourfold increase in the 30-yr probability of fire occurrence by 2100. Our results underscore the climatic potential for novel fire regimes to develop in these ecosystems, relative to the past 6,000-35,000 years, and spatial variability in the vulnerability of wildfire regimes and associated ecological processes to 21st-century climate change.

---------------------

Federal Coal Program Reform, the Clean Power Plan, and the Interaction of Upstream and Downstream Climate Policies

Todd Gerarden, Spencer Reeder & James Stock

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Coal mined on federally managed lands accounts for approximately 40% of U.S. coal consumption and 13% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions. The U.S. Department of the Interior is undertaking a programmatic review of federal coal leasing, including the climate effects of burning federal coal. This paper studies the interaction between a specific upstream policy, incorporating a carbon adder into federal coal royalties, and downstream emissions regulation under the Clean Power Plan (CPP). After providing some comparative statics, we present quantitative results from a detailed dynamic model of the power sector, the Integrated Planning Model (IPM). The IPM analysis indicates that, in the absence of the CPP, a royalty adder equal to the social cost of carbon could reduce emissions by roughly 3/4 of the emissions reduction that the CPP is projected to achieve. If instead the CPP is binding, the royalty adder would: reduce the price of tradeable emissions allowances, produce some additional emissions reductions by reducing leakage, and reduce wholesale power prices under a mass-based CPP but increase them under a rate-based CPP. A federal royalty adder increases mining of non-federal coal, but this substitution is limited by a shift to electricity generation by gas and renewables.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Offense and defense

Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength

Andrew Luttrell et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2016, Pages 82-93

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that self-reported moral bases of people's attitudes predict a range of important consequences, including attitude-relevant behavior and resistance in the face of social influence. Although previous studies typically rely on self-report measures of such bases, the present research tests the possibility that people can be induced to view their own attitudes as grounded in moral bases. This perception alone leads to outcomes associated with strong attitudes. In three experiments, participants were led to view their attitudes as grounded in moral or non-moral bases. Merely perceiving a moral (vs. non-moral) basis to one's attitudes led them to show greater correspondence with relevant behavioral intentions (Experiment 1) and become less susceptible to change following a persuasive message (Experiments 2 and 3). Moreover, these effects were independent of any other established indicators of attitude strength.

---------------------

Memories of unethical actions become obfuscated over time

Maryam Kouchaki & Francesca Gino

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 31 May 2016, Pages 6166-6171

Abstract:
Despite our optimistic belief that we would behave honestly when facing the temptation to act unethically, we often cross ethical boundaries. This paper explores one possibility of why people engage in unethical behavior over time by suggesting that their memory for their past unethical actions is impaired. We propose that, after engaging in unethical behavior, individuals' memories of their actions become more obfuscated over time because of the psychological distress and discomfort such misdeeds cause. In nine studies (n = 2,109), we show that engaging in unethical behavior produces changes in memory so that memories of unethical actions gradually become less clear and vivid than memories of ethical actions or other types of actions that are either positive or negative in valence. We term this memory obfuscation of one's unethical acts over time "unethical amnesia." Because of unethical amnesia, people are more likely to act dishonestly repeatedly over time.

---------------------

Evidence for Absolute Moral Opposition to Genetically Modified Food in the United States

Sydney Scott, Yoel Inbar & Paul Rozin

Perspectives on Psychological Science, May 2016, Pages 315-324

Abstract:
Public opposition to genetic modification (GM) technology in the food domain is widespread (Frewer et al., 2013). In a survey of U.S. residents representative of the population on gender, age, and income, 64% opposed GM, and 71% of GM opponents (45% of the entire sample) were "absolutely" opposed - that is, they agreed that GM should be prohibited no matter the risks and benefits. "Absolutist" opponents were more disgust sensitive in general and more disgusted by the consumption of genetically modified food than were non-absolutist opponents or supporters. Furthermore, disgust predicted support for legal restrictions on genetically modified foods, even after controlling for explicit risk-benefit assessments. This research suggests that many opponents are evidence insensitive and will not be influenced by arguments about risks and benefits.

---------------------

Caught Red-Minded: Evidence-Induced Denial of Mental Transgressions

Bethany Burum, Daniel Gilbert & Timothy Wilson

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We suggest that when confronted with evidence of their socially inappropriate thoughts and feelings, people are sometimes less likely - and not more likely - to acknowledge them because evidence can elicit psychological responses that inhibit candid self-reflection. In 3 studies, participants were induced to exhibit racial bias (Study 1) or to experience inappropriate sexual arousal (Studies 2 and 3). Some participants were then told that the researcher had collected physiological evidence of these mental transgressions. Results showed that participants who were told about the evidence were less willing to acknowledge their mental transgressions, but only if they were told before they had an opportunity to engage in self-reflection. These results suggest that under some circumstances, confronting people with public evidence of their private shortcomings can be counterproductive.

---------------------

Foreign language affects the contribution of intentions and outcomes to moral judgment

Janet Geipel, Constantinos Hadjichristidis & Luca Surian

Cognition, September 2016, Pages 34-39

Abstract:
We examine whether the use of a foreign language, as opposed to the native language, influences the relative weight intentions versus outcomes carry in moral evaluations. In Study 1, participants were presented with actions that had positive outcomes but were motivated by dubious intentions, while in Study 2 with actions that had negative outcomes but were motivated by positive intentions. Participants received the materials either in their native or a foreign language. Foreign language prompted more positive moral evaluations in Study 1 and less positive evaluations in Study 2. These results show that foreign language reduces the relative weight placed on intentions versus outcomes. We discuss several theoretical accounts that are consistent with the results such as that foreign language attenuates emotions (triggered by intentions) or it depletes cognitive resources.

---------------------

A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds

Paul Thibodeau

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Why do people self-report an aversion to words like "moist"? The present studies represent an initial scientific exploration into the phenomenon of word aversion by investigating its prevalence and cause. Results of five experiments indicate that about 10-20% of the population is averse to the word "moist." This population often speculates that phonological properties of the word are the cause of their displeasure. However, data from the current studies point to semantic features of the word - namely, associations with disgusting bodily functions - as a more prominent source of peoples' unpleasant experience. "Moist," for averse participants, was notable for its valence and personal use, rather than imagery or arousal - a finding that was confirmed by an experiment designed to induce an aversion to the word. Analyses of individual difference measures suggest that word aversion is more prevalent among younger, more educated, and more neurotic people, and is more commonly reported by females than males.

---------------------

The Valjean Effect: Visceral States and Cheating

Elanor Williams et al.

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Visceral states like thirst, hunger, and fatigue can alter motivations, predictions, and even memory. Across 3 studies, we demonstrate that such "hot" states can also shift moral standards and increase dishonest behavior. Compared to participants who had just eaten or who had not yet exercised, hungry and thirsty participants were more likely to behave dishonestly to win a prize. Consistent with the specificity of motivation that is characteristic of visceral states, participants were only more likely to cheat for a prize that could alleviate their current deprived state (such as a bottle of water). Interestingly, this increase in dishonest behavior did not seem to be driven by an increase in the perceived monetary value of the prize.

---------------------

Careful Cheating: People Cheat Groups Rather than Individuals

Amitai Amir, Tehila Kogut & Yoella Bereby-Meyer

Frontiers in Psychology, March 2016

Abstract:
Cheating for material gain is a destructive phenomenon in any society. We examine the extent to which people care about the victims of their unethical behavior - be they a group of people or an individual - and whether they are sensitive to the degree of harm or cost that they cause to these victims. The results of three studies suggest that when a group (rather than a single individual) is the victim of one's behavior, the incidence of cheating increases only if the harm to the group is presented in global terms - such that the cheating might be justified by the relatively minor harm caused to each individual in the group (Studies #1 and #3). However, when the harm or cost to each individual in the group is made explicit, the tendency to cheat the group is no longer apparent and the tendency to cheat increases when the harm caused is minor - regardless of whether the victim is an individual or a group of people (Study #2). Individual differences in rational and intuitive thinking appear to play different roles in the decision to cheat different type of opponents: individual opponents seem to trigger the subject's intuitive thinking which restrains the urge to cheat, whereas groups of opponents seem to trigger the subject's rational mode of thinking which encourage cheating.

---------------------

Effects of Culture and Gender on Judgments of Intent and Responsibility

Jason Plaks et al.

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Do different cultures hold different views of intentionality? In four studies, participants read scenarios in which the actor's distal intent (a focus on a broader goal) and proximal intent (a focus on the mechanics of the act) were manipulated. In Studies 1-2, when distal intent was more prominent in the actor's mind, North Americans rated the actor more responsible than did Chinese and South Asian participants. When proximal intent was more prominent, Chinese and South Asian participants, if anything, rated the actor more responsible. In Studies 3-4, when distal intent was more prominent, male Americans rated the actor more responsible than did female Americans. When proximal intent was more prominent, females rated the actor more responsible. The authors discuss these findings in relation to the literatures on moral reasoning and cultural psychology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 6, 2016

Following the money

Clouded Judgment: The Role of Sentiment in Credit Origination

Kristle Cortés, Ran Duchin & Denis Sosyura

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using daily fluctuations in local sunshine as an instrument for sentiment, we study its effect on day-to-day decisions of lower-level financial officers. Positive sentiment is associated with higher credit approvals, and negative sentiment has the opposite effect of a larger magnitude. These effects are stronger when financial decisions require more discretion, when reviews are less automated, and when capital constraints are less binding. The variation in approval rates affects ex post financial performance and produces significant real effects. Our analysis of the economic channels suggests that sentiment influences managers' risk tolerance and subjective judgment.

---------------------

How Do Bank Regulators Determine Capital-Adequacy Requirements?

Eric Posner

University of Chicago Law Review, Fall 2015, Pages 1853-1895

Abstract:
Regulators require banks to maintain capital above a certain level in order to correct the incentives to make excessively risky loans. However, it has never been clear how regulators determine how high or low the minimum capital–asset ratio should be. An examination of US regulators’ justifications for five regulations issued over more than thirty years reveals that regulators have never performed a serious economic analysis that would justify the levels that they have chosen. Instead, regulators appear to have followed a practice of incremental change designed to weed out a handful of outlier banks. This approach resulted in significant regulatory failures leading up to the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

---------------------

Metropolitan area home prices and the mortgage interest deduction: Estimates and simulations from policy change

Hal Martin & Andrew Hanson

Regional Science and Urban Economics, July 2016, Pages 12–23

Abstract:
We simulate changes to metropolitan area home prices from reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). Price simulations are based on an extended user cost model that incorporates two dimensions of behavioral change in home buyers: sensitivity of borrowing and the propensity to use tax deductions. We simulate prices with both inelastic and elastic supply. Our results show a wide range of price effects across metropolitan areas and prospective policies. Considering behavioral change and no supply elasticity, eliminating the MID results in average home price declines as steep as 13.5% in Washington, D.C., and as small as 3.5% in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL. Converting the MID to a 15 percent refundable credit reduces prices by as much as 1.4% in San Jose, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, D.C. and increases average price in other metropolitan areas by as much as 12.1% (Miami-Fort Lauderdale). Accounting for market elasticities produces price estimates that are on average 36% as large as standard estimates.

---------------------

The Phillips Curve: Back to the '60s?

Olivier Blanchard

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 31-34

Abstract:
This paper reexamines the behavior of inflation and unemployment and reaches four conclusions: 1) The U.S. Phillips curve is alive and well (at least as well as in the past). 2) Inflation expectations however have become steadily more anchored. 3) The slope of the curve has substantially declined. But the decline dates back to the 1980s rather than to the crisis. 4) The standard error of the residual in the relation is large, especially in comparison to the low level of inflation. Each of the four conclusions presents challenges for the conduct of monetary policy.

---------------------

Weather-Adjusting Economic Data

Michael Boldin & Jonathan Wright

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2015, Pages 227-278

Abstract:
This paper proposes and implements a statistical methodology for adjusting employment data for the effects of deviations in weather from seasonal norms. This is distinct from seasonal adjustment, which controls only for the normal variation in weather across the year. We simultaneously control for both of these effects by integrating a weather adjustment step in the seasonal adjustment process. We use several indicators of weather, including temperature and snowfall. We find that weather effects can be important, shifting the monthly payroll change number by more than 100,000 in either direction. The effects are largest in the winter and early spring months and in the construction sector. A similar methodology is constructed and applied to data in the national income and product accounts (NIPA), although the manner in which NIPA data are reported makes it impossible to integrate weather and seasonal adjustments fully.

---------------------

Reactions of Equity Markets to Recent Financial Reforms

Nonna Sorokina & John Thornton

Journal of Economics and Business, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct event studies of broad equity market reaction to the events surrounding introduction and enactment of recent financial reform initiatives. In response to the introduction of the Dodd-Frank Act, financial firms and firms from a few other industries experience a statistically significant decrease in systematic risk, while a substantial number of industries, representing a broad cross-section of the economy, experiences a statistically significant increase in systematic risk. The systematic risk in some industries does not change. The increase in risk is concentrated in industries in which firms are dependent on external capital. The initial market reaction to Dodd-Frank indicates that it may lower the risk in financial firms, but the risk for many non-financial firms simultaneously increases.

---------------------

What Was Bad for General Motors Was Bad for America: The Automobile Industry and the 1937/38 Recession

Joshua Hausman

Journal of Economic History, June 2016, Pages 427-477

Abstract:
This article shows that there were timing, geographic, and sectoral anomalies in the 1937/38 recession, none of which are easily explained by aggregate shocks. I argue that an auto industry supply shock contributed both to the recession's anomalies and to its severity. Labor-strife-induced wage increases and an increase in raw material costs led auto manufacturers to raise prices in fall 1937. Expectations of these price increases brought auto sales forward. When auto prices finally rose, sales plummeted. This shock likely reduced 1938 auto sales by roughly 600,000 units and 1938 GDP growth by 0.5–1 percentage point.

---------------------

Business Microloans for U.S. Subprime Borrowers

Cesare Fracassi et al.

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, February 2016, Pages 55-83

Abstract:
We show that business microloans to U.S. subprime borrowers have a very large impact on subsequent firm success. Using data on startup loan applicants from a lender that employed an automated algorithm in its application review, we implement a regression discontinuity design assessing the causal impact of receiving a loan on firms. Startups receiving funding are dramatically more likely to survive, enjoy higher revenues, and create more jobs. Loans are more consequential for survival among subprime business owners with more education and less managerial experience.

---------------------

Credit Rationing, Income Exaggeration, and Adverse Selection in the Mortgage Market

Brent Ambrose, James Conklin & Jiro Yoshida

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the role of borrower concerns about future credit availability in mitigating the effects of adverse selection and income misrepresentation in the mortgage market. We show that the majority of additional risk associated with “low-doc” mortgages originated prior to the Great Recession was due to adverse selection on the part of borrowers who could verify income but chose not to. We provide novel evidence that these borrowers were more likely to inflate or exaggerate their income. Our analysis suggests that recent regulatory changes that have essentially eliminated the low-doc loan product would result in credit rationing against self-employed borrowers.

---------------------

Joint Liability Lending and Credit Risk: Evidence from the Home Equity Market

Sumit Agarwal et al.

Journal of Housing Economics, June 2016, Pages 47–66

Abstract:
Using a unique dataset of home equity credit contracts, we examine the benefits of joint liability lending. Our results show that the risk of default for joint borrowers with similar risk scores is significantly lower than the risk associated with single borrowers. However, when joint borrowers have divergent risk scores, the risk of default is higher than single borrowers. Our results indicate that the lower risk associated with joint liability is largely dependent upon the similarity of risk characteristics (profiles) of the joint borrowers. Our results suggest that joint liability lending per say does not reduce credit risk.

---------------------

Will TLAC regulations fix the G-SIB too-big-to-fail problem?

Paul Kupiec

Journal of Financial Stability, forthcoming

Abstract:
The efficacy of the Financial Stability Board's proposed requirement for minimum “total loss absorbing capacity” (TLAC) at global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) is assessed using a stylized model of a bank holding company and an equilibrium asset pricing model to value financial claims. I identify a number of G-SIB strategies that satisfy minimum TLAC requirements but fail to reduce implicit safety net subsidies that accrue to G-SIB shareholders or increase the resources available to recapitalize a failing G-SIB subsidiary. To meet the FSB's stated goals, TLAC requirements must impose minimum TLAC at all subsidiaries and restrict how TLAC funds can be invested. An equivalent, but much simpler solution is to significantly increase regulatory capital requirements on systemically important bank subsidiaries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Outlook on life

The Relationship between Education and Mental Health: New Evidence from a Discordant Twin Study

Andrew Halpern-Manners et al.

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has documented a strong and positive correlation between completed education and adults' mental health. Researchers often describe this relationship using causal language: higher levels of education are thought to enhance people's skills, afford important structural advantages, and empower better coping mechanisms, all of which lead to better mental health. An alternative explanation - the social selection hypothesis - suggests that schooling is a proxy for unobserved endowments and/or preexisting conditions that confound the relationship between the two variables. In this article, we seek to adjudicate between these hypotheses using a relatively large, US-based sample of identical adult twins. By relating within-twin-pair differences in education to within-twin-pair differences in mental health, we are able to control for the influence of genetic traits and shared family characteristics that may otherwise bias the estimates associated with educational attainment. Results from our analyses suggest that the observed association between education and mental health is attributable to confounding on unobserved variables. This finding holds across mental health conditions, is robust to several sensitivity checks, and survives a falsification test. Theoretical implications for the study of educational gradients in mental health are discussed.

---------------------

Neural mechanisms linking social status and inflammatory responses to social stress

Keely Muscatell et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 915-922

Abstract:
Social stratification has important implications for health and well-being, with individuals lower in standing in a hierarchy experiencing worse outcomes than those higher up the social ladder. Separate lines of past research suggest that alterations in inflammatory processes and neural responses to threat may link lower social status with poorer outcomes. This study was designed to bridge these literatures to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms linking subjective social status and inflammation. Thirty-one participants reported their subjective social status, and underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan while they were socially evaluated. Participants also provided blood samples before and after the stressor, which were analysed for changes in inflammation. Results showed that lower subjective social status was associated with greater increases in inflammation. Neuroimaging data revealed lower subjective social status was associated with greater neural activity in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) in response to negative feedback. Finally, results indicated that activation in the DMPFC in response to negative feedback mediated the relation between social status and increases in inflammatory activity. This study provides the first evidence of a neurocognitive pathway linking subjective social status and inflammation, thus furthering our understanding of how social hierarchies shape neural and physiological responses to social interactions.

---------------------

Views of a good life and allostatic load: Physiological correlates of theories of a good life depend on the socioeconomic context

Cynthia Levine et al.

Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the relationship between one's theory of a good life and allostatic load, a marker of cumulative biological risk, and how this relationship differs by socioeconomic status. Among adults with a bachelor's degree or higher, those who saw individual characteristics (e.g. personal happiness, effort) as part of a good life had lower levels of allostatic load than those who did not. In contrast, among adults with less than a bachelor's degree, those who saw supportive relationships as part of a good life had lower levels of allostatic load than those who did not. These findings extend past research on socioeconomic differences in the emphasis on individual or relational factors and suggest that one's theory of a good life has health implications.

---------------------

Clinical neuroprediction: Amygdala reactivity predicts depressive symptoms 2 years later

Whitney Mattson et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 892-898

Abstract:
Depression is linked to increased amygdala activation to neutral and negatively valenced facial expressions. Amygdala activation may be predictive of changes in depressive symptoms over time. However, most studies in this area have focused on small, predominantly female and homogenous clinical samples. Studies are needed to examine how amygdala reactivity relates to the course of depressive symptoms dimensionally, prospectively and in populations diverse in gender, race and socioeconomic status. A total of 156 men from predominately low-income backgrounds completed an fMRI task where they viewed emotional facial expressions. Left and right amygdala reactivity to neutral, but not angry or fearful, facial expressions relative to a non-face baseline at age 20 predicted greater depressive symptoms 2 years later, controlling for age 20 depressive symptoms. Heightened bilateral amygdala reactivity to neutral facial expressions predicted increases in depressive symptoms 2 years later in a large community sample. Neutral facial expressions are affectively ambiguous and a tendency to interpret these stimuli negatively may reflect to cognitive biases that lead to increases in depressive symptoms over time. Individual differences in amygdala reactivity to neutral facial expressions appear to identify those at most risk for a more problematic course of depressive symptoms across time.

---------------------

People Who Choose Time Over Money Are Happier

Hal Hershfield, Cassie Mogilner & Uri Barnea

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Money and time are both scarce resources that people believe would bring them greater happiness. But would people prefer having more money or more time? And how does one's preference between resources relate to happiness? Across studies, we asked thousands of Americans whether they would prefer more money or more time. Although the majority of people chose more money, choosing more time was associated with greater happiness - even controlling for existing levels of available time and money. Additional studies and experiments provide insight into choosers' underlying rationale and the causal direction of the effect.

---------------------

The end is (not) near: Aging, essentialism, and future time perspective

David Weiss et al.

Developmental Psychology, June 2016, Pages 996-1009

Abstract:
Beliefs about aging influence how we interpret and respond to changes within and around us. Essentialist beliefs about aging are defined as views that link chronological age with inherent and immutable properties underlying aging-related changes. These beliefs may influence the experience of aging-related changes and shape people's outlook of the future. We hypothesized that people who endorse essentialist beliefs about aging report a more limited future time perspective. Two studies provided correlational (Study 1, N = 250; 18-77 years) and experimental (Study 2, N = 103; 20-77 years) evidence that essentialist beliefs about aging affect people's future time perspective. In addition, Study 2 and Study 3 (N = 174; 34-67 years) tested the underlying mechanism and provided evidence that perception of aging-related threat explains the effect of essentialist beliefs on a reduced future time perspective. These findings highlight the fundamental role of essentialist beliefs about aging for the perception of time horizons in the context of aging.

---------------------

Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as a predictor of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among adolescents

Madeline Wielgus et al.

International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) may function as maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. One psychophysiological index of emotion regulatory capacity is respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). The temporal course of RSA responsivity to a stressor may be characterized by basal RSA, RSA reactivity to stressor, and RSA recovery post-stressor. RSA has been linked to both internalizing and externalizing symptoms in adolescents, but little is known about the relation between RSA and SITBs. Initial research has shown a cross-sectional relation between lower basal RSA and greater RSA reactivity to a sad mood induction and self-injury. To date no prospective research on the relation between RSA and SITBs exists. The current study aims to investigate the prospective relation between RSA and SITBs in a community sample of 108 adolescents (Mage = 12.82, SDage = 0.82, 53.70% female). At the initial laboratory visit (T1), participants completed an unsolvable anagram stressor task, during which RSA (basal, reactivity, and recovery) was measured. SITBs were assessed at T1 and at the 6-month follow-up (T2). Results indicated basal RSA and RSA reactivity did not significantly predict engagement in SITBs between T1 and T2. Poorer RSA recovery from the stressor task at T1 did significantly predict engagement in SITBs between T1 and T2, over and above depressive symptoms and lifetime history of SITBs. This suggests that adolescents with poor ability to regulate physiologically following a stressor may turn to maladaptive emotion regulation strategies like SITBs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 4, 2016

You and I

Selfie Indulgence: Self-Favoring Biases in Perceptions of Selfies

Daniel Re et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others do. Here, we examined how these self-favoring biases manifest in a highly popular novel context that is particularly self-focused - selfies. Specifically, we analyzed selfie-takers' and non-selfie-takers' perceptions of their selfies versus photos taken by others and compared these to the judgments of external perceivers. Although selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers reported equal levels of narcissism, we found that the selfie-takers perceived themselves as more attractive and likable in their selfies than in others' photos, but that non-selfie-takers viewed both photos similarly. Furthermore, external judges rated the targets as less attractive, less likable, and more narcissistic in their selfies than in the photos taken by others. Thus, self-enhancing misperceptions may support selfie-takers' positive evaluations of their selfies, revealing notable biases in self-perception.

---------------------

One for You, One for Me: Humans' Unique Turn-Taking Skills

Alicia Melis et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Long-term collaborative relationships require that any jointly produced resources be shared in mutually satisfactory ways. Prototypically, this sharing involves partners dividing up simultaneously available resources, but sometimes the collaboration makes a resource available to only one individual, and any sharing of resources must take place across repeated instances over time. Here, we show that beginning at 5 years of age, human children stabilize cooperation in such cases by taking turns across instances of obtaining a resource. In contrast, chimpanzees do not take turns in this way, and so their collaboration tends to disintegrate over time. Alternating turns in obtaining a collaboratively produced resource does not necessarily require a prosocial concern for the other, but rather requires only a strategic judgment that partners need incentives to continue collaborating. These results suggest that human beings are adapted for thinking strategically in ways that sustain long-term cooperative relationships and that are absent in their nearest primate relatives.

---------------------

The Effect of Social Exclusion on Consumer Preference for Anthropomorphized Brands

Rocky Peng Chen, Echo Wen Wan & Eric Levy

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has mainly examined the effect of social exclusion on individuals' interactions with other people or on their product choices as an instrument to facilitate interpersonal connection. The current research takes a novel perspective by proposing that socially excluded consumers would be more motivated to establish a relationship with a brand (rather than using the brand to socially connect with other people) when the brand exhibits human-like features. Based on this premise, we predict and find support in three studies that socially excluded consumers, compared with non-excluded consumers, exhibit greater preference for anthropomorphized brands (studies 1-3). This effect is mediated by consumers' need for social affiliation and is moderated by the opportunity for social connection with other people (study 2). Furthermore, socially excluded consumers differ in the types of relationships they would like to build with anthropomorphized brands, depending on their attributions about the exclusion. Specifically, consumers who blame themselves (others) for being socially excluded show greater preference for anthropomorphized partner (fling) brands (study 3).

---------------------

The Power of the Like in Adolescence: Effects of Peer Influence on Neural and Behavioral Responses to Social Media

Lauren Sherman et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated a unique way in which adolescent peer influence occurs on social media. We developed a novel functional MRI (fMRI) paradigm to simulate Instagram, a popular social photo-sharing tool, and measured adolescents' behavioral and neural responses to likes, a quantifiable form of social endorsement and potential source of peer influence. Adolescents underwent fMRI while viewing photos ostensibly submitted to Instagram. They were more likely to like photos depicted with many likes than photos with few likes; this finding showed the influence of virtual peer endorsement and held for both neutral photos and photos of risky behaviors (e.g., drinking, smoking). Viewing photos with many (compared with few) likes was associated with greater activity in neural regions implicated in reward processing, social cognition, imitation, and attention. Furthermore, when adolescents viewed risky photos (as opposed to neutral photos), activation in the cognitive-control network decreased. These findings highlight possible mechanisms underlying peer influence during adolescence.

---------------------

Neural connections foster social connections: A diffusion-weighted imaging study of social networks

William Hampton et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, May 2016, Pages 721-727

Abstract:
Although we know the transition from childhood to adulthood is marked by important social and neural development, little is known about how social network size might affect neurocognitive development or vice versa. Neuroimaging research has identified several brain regions, such as the amygdala, as key to this affiliative behavior. However, white matter connectivity among these regions, and its behavioral correlates, remain unclear. Here we tested two hypotheses: that an amygdalocentric structural white matter network governs social affiliative behavior and that this network changes during adolescence and young adulthood. We measured social network size behaviorally, and white matter microstructure using probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging in a sample of neurologically normal adolescents and young adults. Our results suggest amygdala white matter microstructure is key to understanding individual differences in social network size, with connectivity to other social brain regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior temporal lobe predicting much variation. In addition, participant age correlated with both network size and white matter variation in this network. These findings suggest the transition to adulthood may constitute a critical period for the optimization of structural brain networks underlying affiliative behavior.

---------------------

Social memory associated with estrogen receptor polymorphisms in women

Sara Karlsson et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 877-883

Abstract:
The ability to recognize the identity of faces and voices is essential for social relationships. Although the heritability of social memory is high, knowledge about the contributing genes is sparse. Since sex differences and rodent studies support an influence of estrogens and androgens on social memory, polymorphisms in the estrogen and androgen receptor genes (ESR1, ESR2, AR) are candidates for this trait. Recognition of faces and vocal sounds, separately and combined, was investigated in 490 subjects, genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1, four in ESR2 and one in the AR. Four of the associations survived correction for multiple testing: women carrying rare alleles of the three ESR2 SNPs, rs928554, rs1271572 and rs1256030, in linkage disequilibrium with each other, displayed superior face recognition compared with non-carriers. Furthermore, the uncommon genotype of the ESR1 SNP rs2504063 was associated with better recognition of identity through vocal sounds, also specifically in women. This study demonstrates evidence for associations in women between face recognition and variation in ESR2, and recognition of identity through vocal sounds and variation in ESR1. These results suggest that estrogen receptors may regulate social memory function in humans, in line with what has previously been established in mice.

---------------------

Age differences in personal values: Universal or cultural specific?

Helene Fung et al.

Psychology and Aging, May 2016, Pages 274-286

Abstract:
Prior studies on value development across adulthood have generally shown that as people age, they espouse communal values more strongly and agentic values less strongly. Two studies investigated whether these age differences in personal values might differ according to cultural values. Study 1 examined whether these age differences in personal values, and their associations with subjective well-being, showed the same pattern across countries that differed in individualism-collectivism. Study 2 compared age differences in personal values in the Canadian culture that emphasized agentic values more and the Chinese culture that emphasized communal values more. Personal and cultural values of each individual were directly measured, and their congruence were calculated and compared across age and cultures. Findings revealed that across cultures, older people had lower endorsement of agentic personal values and higher endorsement of communal personal values than did younger people. These age differences, and their associations with subjective well-being, were generally not influenced by cultural values.

---------------------

A Sense of Security: Touch Promotes State Attachment Security

Brittany Jakubiak & Brooke Feeney

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adults can be made to experience state attachment security (e.g., feel calm, cared for, and trusting) when they recall experiences, in which others were accepting and responsive. In two experiments, we tested whether receiving affectionate touch in the context of a close relationship naturally promotes state attachment security. As hypothesized, participants who imagined receiving touch had greater accessibility of secure words on a memory task (Experiment 1) and participants who physically received touch from their romantic partners self-reported greater state security (Experiment 2) than participants who did not receive touch. Neither the relationship context (romantic partner or close friend) nor the attribution for the touch moderated touch's effect on state security. However, consistent with predictions, touch promoted security more for individuals low in avoidant attachment than highly avoidant individuals. By promoting state security, touch may facilitate positive relational behaviors and cognitions to improve and protect adult relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 3, 2016

Busted

Prisoner Reentry and the Reproduction of Legal Cynicism

David Kirk

Social Problems, May 2016, Pages 222-243

Abstract:
More than 600,000 prisoners are released from incarceration each year in the United States, and most end up returning to metropolitan areas, concentrated in resource-deprived neighborhoods. To the extent that convicted criminals are distrustful of the criminal justice system, the funneling of massive numbers of former prisoners back into select neighborhoods likely facilitates the reproduction of legal cynicism in those areas. Accordingly, this study tests the effect of prisoner reentry on the culture of neighborhoods, particularly with regard to legal cynicism. Using two waves of data on the geographic distribution of returning prisoners in Chicago from the Illinois Department of Corrections combined with data on neighborhood characteristics from the U.S. Census, the Chicago Police Department, the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, and the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, I conduct a cross-lagged analysis of the effect of the concentration of returning prisoners on legal cynicism as well as the effect of legal cynicism on the geographic distribution of returning prisoners. Findings reveal that a dense concentration of returning prisoners in a neighborhood facilitates the reproduction of cynical views of the law in the neighborhood. The substantial growth in the number of releases from prison and the stark concentration of the formerly incarcerated in select neighborhoods has detrimental consequences for the culture of receiving neighborhoods.

---------------------

Crime, the Criminal Justice System, and Socioeconomic Inequality

Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2016, Pages 103-126

Abstract:
Crime rates in the United States have declined to historical lows since the early 1990s. Prison and jail incarceration rates as well as community correctional populations have increased greatly since the mid-1970s. Both of these developments have disproportionately impacted poor and minority communities. In this paper, we document these trends. We then assess whether the crime declines can be attributed to the massive expansion of the US criminal justice system. We argue that the crime rate is certainly lower as a result of this expansion and in the early 1990s was likely a third lower than what it would have been absent changes in sentencing practices in the 1980s. However, there is little evidence that further stiffening of sentences during the 1990s - a period when prison and other correctional populations expanded rapidly - have had an impact. Hence, the growth in criminal justice populations since 1990s has exacerbated socioeconomic inequality in the United States without generating much benefit in terms of lower crime rates.

---------------------

Are Active Shootings Temporally Contagious? An Empirical Assessment

Jason Kissner

Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, March 2016, Pages 48-58

Abstract:
"Active Shootings," which include shootings in public, confined areas such as schools, often traumatize communities and attract intense media coverage. Proposed policy responses to the phenomenon, such as concealing information as to casualty counts and even the identities of shooters, often suppose that active shootings are "contagious," in that previous occurrences can enhance the likelihood of subsequent occurrences. This study marks the first attempt at assessment of the contagiousness of the active shooting phenomenon, and deploys a statistical model - the series hazard model - that is well-suited to the substantive issue of contagion as well as the fine-grained nature of the active shooting data. Results indicate that the hazard of observed active shootings was a function of the number of active shootings that preceded them in the previous two weeks.

---------------------

The Consequences of Knowledge about Elite Deviance

Cedric Michel, Kathleen Heide & John Cochran

American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2016, Pages 359-382

Abstract:
The present study sought to understand the consequences of knowledge about elite deviance. Four hundred and eight participants completed an online questionnaire that measured (1) their level of knowledge about white-collar crime and (2) their perceived seriousness of, and punitiveness toward, it. Results of statistical analyses suggest a positive relationship between knowledge and punitive sentiments toward crimes of the powerful. Conversely, less knowledgeable subjects, comprised disproportionately of men, politically Conservatives, Republicans, and conservative Protestants were often more lenient toward elite offenders, both in terms of perceived seriousness of the offenses and punitiveness toward them, when compared with street crime. Implications of these findings are discussed.

---------------------

Guns, laws and public shootings in the United States

Benjamin Blau, Devon Gorry & Chip Wade

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the late 1990s, there have been increasing numbers of public shootings carried out with firearms in the United States. These tragedies continually renew the regulatory debate concerning public safety while considering civil liberties. Using a unique data set, we investigate whether laws correspond to whether an event occurs and the effects of event-specific characteristics on public shooting outcomes. In particular, we analyse how state-specific gun laws, the types of firearms, the shooting venues and the mental health of the gunman impact the outcomes of public shootings. Results show that most gun laws are unrelated to whether an event occurs. In addition, common state and federal gun laws that outlaw assault weapons are unrelated to the likelihood of an assault weapon being used during a public shooting event. Moreover, results show that the use of assault weapons is not related to more victims or fatalities than other types of guns. However, the use of hand guns, shot guns and high-capacity magazines is directly related to the number of victims and fatalities in a public shooting event. Finally, the gunman's reported mental illness is often associated with an increase in the number of victims and fatalities.

---------------------

The Impact of Low-Priority Laws on Criminal Activity: Evidence from California

Amanda Ross & Anne Walker

Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the impact of low-priority initiatives on criminal activity. Low-priority initiatives mandate that minor marijuana possession offenses be the lowest enforcement priority for police. Localities pass these laws because they believe if officers devote fewer resources toward minor marijuana crimes, more resources will be available to deter more serious crimes. Using data from California, we find that jurisdictions that adopted low-priority laws experienced a reduction in arrests for misdemeanor marijuana offenses. However, we do not find evidence of a consistent effect of enacting a low-priority initiative on the crime or clearance rate of other felonies.

---------------------

When May We Kill Government Agents? In Defense of Moral Parity

Jason Brennan

Social Philosophy and Policy, Spring 2016, Pages 40-61

Abstract:
This essay argues for what may be called the parity thesis: Whenever it would be morally permissible to kill a civilian in self-defense or in defense of others against that civilian's unjust acts, it would also be permissible to kill government officials, including police officers, prison officers, generals, lawmakers, and even chief executives. I argue that in realistic circumstances, violent resistance to state injustice is permissible, even and perhaps especially in reasonably just democratic regimes. When civilians see officials about to commit certain severe injustices - such as police officers engaging in excessive violence - they may sometimes act unilaterally and kill the offending officials. I consider and rebut a wide range of objections, including objections against vigilantism, objections based on state legitimacy, and objections that violence can produce bad fallout.

---------------------

The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy

Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra & Christopher Poliquin

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the number of fatalities. Second, mass shootings account for only 0.3% of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact of mass shootings on bills introduced is about 66 times as large as the impact of individual gun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.

---------------------

What effect did the mob have on Chicago neighborhoods? Explicating the relationship between racket subcultures and informal social control

Hollianne Marshall & Robert Lombardo

Trends in Organized Crime, June 2016, Pages 125-148

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between racket subcultures and informal social control. Specifically, this paper examines the influence of traditional organized crime on informal social control in community areas while controlling for satisfaction with the police, tolerance of deviance, neighborhood and organizational ties, and neighborhood attachment. The data used in this analysis comes from the Community Survey of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. They were obtained from the Inter University Consortium of Political and Social Science Research. Ordered logistic regression was used to analyze the data. The findings indicate that racket areas reported higher levels of informal social control when compared to similar non racket areas in the city of Chicago. These findings have important implications for the study of deviance. Not only do they suggest that criminals can play an important role in controlling street crime, the findings also support differential social organization theory.

---------------------

Reading for Life and Adolescent Re-Arrest: Evaluating a Unique Juvenile Diversion Program

Alesha Seroczynski et al.

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present results of an evaluation of Reading for Life (RFL), a diversion program for nonviolent juvenile offenders in a medium-sized Midwestern county. The unique program uses philosophical virtue theory, works of literature, and small mentoring groups to foster moral development in juvenile offenders. Participants were randomly assigned to RFL treatment or a comparison program of community service. The RFL program generated large and statistically significant drops in future arrests. The program was particularly successful at reducing the recidivism of more serious offenses and for those groups with the highest propensity for future offenses.

---------------------

Relative Difference and Burglary Location: Can Ecological Characteristics of a Burglar's Home Neighborhood Predict Offense Location?

Alyssa Chamberlain & Lyndsay Boggess

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Neighborhood characteristics predict burglary targets, but target attractiveness may be colored by the conditions in which a potential offender resides. We test whether relative differences in concentrated disadvantage, racial/ethnic composition, and ethnic heterogeneity influence where burglars offend, controlling for distance. From a relative deprivation perspective, economically advantaged areas make more attractive targets to burglars residing in disadvantage neighborhoods, but a social disorganization perspective predicts areas lower in social cohesion are most attractive, which may be neighborhoods with greater disadvantage.

Methods: Drawing upon a unique sample of cleared burglaries in the City of Tampa, Florida from 2000 to 2012, we utilize discrete choice modeling to predict burglar offense destination.

Results: Offenders target neighborhoods that are geographically proximate or ecologically similar to their own. When accounting for relative differences, burglars from all neighborhood types are more likely to target highly disadvantaged or heterogeneous neighborhoods.

Conclusions: Burglars generally select targets that are similar to their residence. However, when suspects do discriminate, there is evidence that they target neighborhoods that are worse off relative to their own on characteristics such as residential instability, disadvantage, racial composition, and racial/ethnic diversity. These neighborhoods are associated with lower social control and lower risk of detection.

---------------------

"Selling Smarter, Not Harder": Life Course Effects on Drug Sellers' Risk Perceptions and Management

Jamie Fader

International Journal of Drug Policy, forthcoming

Methods: This dynamic examination of apprehension avoidance strategies relies on in-depth interviews mapping out the careers of 20 drug sellers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It examines their risk perceptions and risk management strategies and techniques, exploring rationales for shifts in offending behavior.

Results: Respondents were highly risk-averse but used a narrow definition of sanctions relevant to shaping future offending behavior, typically making small adjustments in sales techniques. Rationales for these shifts included sanctions, personal preference, and life course events or circumstances. Only one attributed lasting desistance from offending to a sanction, although life course events such as parenthood and employment were associated with short-term and planned desistance.

Conclusions: The limited relevance of sanctions to offenders' thinking about risk avoidance contextualizes the widespread failure of policies designed to deter drug sales. Findings support a growing conclusion that severity of punishment is a less powerful deterrent than certainty and that adjustments in certainty after arrest are offense-specific. The relationship of life course events - especially employment - to desistance and resumed offending suggest that social policies may be more effective than criminal justice sanctions in reducing drug offending.

---------------------

The longitudinal associations between substance use, crime, and social risk among emerging adults: A longitudinal within and between-person latent variables analysis

Gabriel Merrin et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: The reciprocal relationship between crime and substance use is well known. However, when examining this relationship, no study to date has disaggregated between- and within-person effects, which represents a more methodologically sound and developmentally-appropriate analytic approach. Further, few studies have considered the role of social risk (e.g., deviant peers, high-risk living situations) in the aforementioned relationship. We examined these associations in a group of individuals with heightened vulnerability to substance use, crime and social risk: emerging adults (aged 18-25 years) in substance use treatment.

Methods: Participants were 3479 emerging adults who had entered treatment. We used auto-regressive latent growth models with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to examine the within-person cross-lagged association between crime and substance use and whether social risk contributed to this association. A taxonomy of nested models was used to determine the structural form of the data, within-person cross-lagged associations, and between-person associations.

Results: In contrast to the extant literature on cross-lagged relations between crime and substance use, we found little evidence of such relations once between- and within-person relations were plausibly disaggregated. Yet, our results indicated that within-person increases in social risk were predictive of subsequent increases in crime and substance use. Post-hoc analyses revealed a mediation effect of social risk between crime and substance use.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the need to re-think the association between crime and substance use among emerging adults. Individuals that remain connected to high-risk social environments after finishing treatment may represent a group that could use more specialized, tailored treatments.

---------------------

Testing the Expressive Theory of Punishment

Kenworthey Bilz

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2016, Pages 358-392

Abstract:
This article presents empirical support for the argument that punishment of a wrongdoer affects the social standing of the victim. This argument is most closely associated with the expressive theory of punishment, especially as articulated by the moral philosopher Jean Hampton (Murphy & Hampton 1988; Hampton 1992). In three experiments I show support for the basic point of Hampton's expressive theory, that punishing a criminal offender does increase the victim's social standing in the community, and failing to punish diminishes it. I show this effect across three very different types of crime: rape, credit theft, and battery. I also test some logical extensions of Hampton's expressive theory of punishment. For instance, if victims gain or lose social standing as a result of punishing, so - inversely - should offenders. In addition, different punishers should affect different sources of social standing (such as ingroup vs. outgroup standing). Finally, the effects on perceived social standing should be felt not just by victims, but by third-party observers as well. I find support for these subsidiary predictions.

---------------------

Variation in the incarceration length-recidivism dose-response relationship

Jason Rydberg & Kyleigh Clark

Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 118-128

Methods: We approximate a large fixed panel of parolees from the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) to implement a dose-response analysis of the relationship between incarceration length and the prevalence and timing of recidivism. Marginal mean weighting through stratification (MMW-S) is utilized to limit confounding effects from selection bias.

Results: We observe that incremental doses of incarceration length increase the likelihood and hasten the timing of parole revocations, and reduce the likelihood and slow the timing of new sentences. Considerable heterogeneity was observed in these effects across conviction offenses, as the direction of effects changed beyond certain thresholds, and was not constant across offender groups.

Conclusions: These results do not provide consistent support for a suppressive, criminogenic, or null effect for incarceration length on recidivism.

---------------------

The effect of imprisonment on recommitment: An analysis using exact, coarsened exact, and radius matching with the propensity score

Gerald Gaes, William Bales & Samuel Scaggs

Journal of Experimental Criminology, March 2016, Pages 143-158

Objectives: This study examines the effect of prison versus community sanctions on recommitment to prison and compares two levels of community supervision, community control (house arrest) and probation, evaluating whether the findings are contingent on the type of matching methods used in the analysis.

Methods: Logistic regression was conducted on unmatched and matched samples. Exact, coarsened exact, and radius-matching procedures were used to create a selection on observables design. Matching variables included current offense, demographics, criminal history, supervision violations, and a rich set of Florida Sentencing Guidelines information culled from an official scoring sheet. Florida judges use this instrument to sentence offenders within the framework of the state determinate sentencing system.

Results: The results show that with exact matching, there is no effect of imprisonment on recommitment, while the other procedures suggest a specific deterrent effect of imprisonment. All four analysis methods showed that offenders under community control are more likely to reoffend than those under normal probation. Analyses between the matched and unmatched prison observations demonstrate that the matched set of prisoners is composed of offenders who have less extensive criminal records and less serious conviction offenses than unmatched offenders regardless of the matching algorithm.

Conclusions: Contrary to a prior analysis of these data, which found a criminogenic effect of prison, a null effect was found using exact matching. Comparing the matching procedures, the more precise the match the less likely there was an effect of prison. However, community control was criminogenic regardless of the matching procedure.

---------------------

Living under surveillance: Gender, psychological distress, and stop-question-and-frisk policing in New York City

Abigail Sewell, Kevin Jefferson & Hedwig Lee

Social Science & Medicine, June 2016, Pages 1-13

Abstract:
A growing body of research highlights the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, including stop-and-frisk policing tactics. Living in a neighborhood with aggressive policing may affect one's mental health, especially for men who are the primary targets of police stops. We examine whether there is an association between psychological distress and neighborhood-level aggressive policing (i.e., frisking and use of force by police) and whether that association varies by gender. The 2009-2011 New York City (NYC) Stop, Question, and Frisk Database is aggregated to the neighborhood-level (N = 34) and merged with individual data from the 2012 NYC Community Health Survey (N = 8,066) via the United Hospital Fund neighborhood of respondents' residence. Weighted multilevel generalized linear models are used to assess main and gendered associations of neighborhood exposures to aggressive police stops on psychological distress (Kessler-6 items). While the neighborhood stop rate exhibits inconsistent associations with psychological distress, neighborhood-level frisk and use of force proportions are linked to higher levels of non-specific psychological distress among men, but not women. Specifically, men exhibit more non-specific psychological distress and more severe feelings of nervousness, effort, and worthlessness in aggressively surveilled neighborhoods than do women. Male residents are affected by the escalation of stop-and-frisk policing in a neighborhood. Living in a context of aggressive policing is an important risk factor for men's mental health.

---------------------

Incarceration and Population Health in Wealthy Democracies

Christopher Wildeman

Criminology, May 2016, Pages 360-382

Abstract:
Everywhere you look, incarceration seems to be doing harm. Research has implicated incarceration not only in worse outcomes for individuals, their families, and their communities but also in growing inequality. Yet incarceration may not always harm society - even if it does harm those who experience it. To consider this possibility, I build an argument demonstrating how the macro-level consequences of incarceration may be distinctively harmful in the United States, focusing on the incarceration-health relationship as one indicator of a broader phenomenon. I then test my hypothesis by using an unbalanced panel data set including 21 developed democracies (N = 414) and a series of ordinary least-squares models predicting three measures of population health as a function of incarceration. Models including only a main effect of incarceration demonstrate an inverse association between changes in incarceration and changes in population health. Models including an incarceration by U.S. interaction, however, indicate that the population health consequences of changes in incarceration are far worse in the United States than elsewhere. Taken together, the results indicate that the United States is exceptional for both its rate of incarceration and its effects of incarceration, although it is unclear what drives this exceptionalism in effects.

---------------------

Unfalsifiability of security claims

Cormac Herley

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is an inherent asymmetry in computer security: Things can be declared insecure by observation, but not the reverse. There is no observation that allows us to declare an arbitrary system or technique secure. We show that this implies that claims of necessary conditions for security (and sufficient conditions for insecurity) are unfalsifiable. This in turn implies an asymmetry in self-correction: Whereas the claim that countermeasures are sufficient is always subject to correction, the claim that they are necessary is not. Thus, the response to new information can only be to ratchet upward: Newly observed or speculated attack capabilities can argue a countermeasure in, but no possible observation argues one out. Further, when justifications are unfalsifiable, deciding the relative importance of defensive measures reduces to a subjective comparison of assumptions. Relying on such claims is the source of two problems: once we go wrong we stay wrong and errors accumulate, and we have no systematic way to rank or prioritize measures.

---------------------

Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings

Mark Anderson & Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Despite intense public interest in keeping guns out of schools, next to nothing is known about the effects of gun control policies on youth gun carrying or school violence. Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) for the period 1993-2013, this study is the first to examine the relationship between child access prevention (CAP) gun controls laws and gun carrying among high school students. Our results suggest that CAP laws are associated with a 13 percent decrease in the rate of past month gun carrying and an 18 percent decrease in the rate at which students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. In addition, we find that CAP laws are associated with a lagged decline in the probability that students miss school due to feeling unsafe. These results are concentrated among minors, for whom CAP laws are most likely to bind. To supplement our YRBS analysis, we collect a novel dataset on school shooting deaths for the period 1991-2013. We find that while CAP laws promote a safer school environment, they have no observable impact on school-associated shooting deaths.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15   Next