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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

State of poverty

A family-oriented psychosocial intervention reduces inflammation in low-SES African American youth

Gregory Miller et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Children of low socioeconomic status (SES) are at elevated risk for health problems across the lifespan. Observational studies suggest that nurturant parenting might offset some of these health risks, but their design precludes inferences about causal direction and clinical utility. Here we ask whether a psychosocial intervention, focused improving parenting, strengthening family relationships, and building youth competencies, can reduce inflammation in low-SES, African Americans from the rural South. The trial involved 272 mothers and their 11-y-old children from rural Georgia, half of whose annual household incomes were below the federal poverty line. Families were randomly assigned to a 7-wk psychosocial intervention or to a control condition. When youth reached age 19, peripheral blood was collected to quantify six cytokines that orchestrate inflammation, the dysregulation of which contributes to many of the health problems known to pattern by SES. Youth who participated in the intervention had significantly less inflammation on all six indicators relative to controls (all P values < 0.001; effect sizes in Cohen’s d units ranged from −0.69 to −0.91). Mediation analyses suggested that improved parenting was partially responsible for the intervention’s benefits. Inflammation was lowest among youth who received more nurturant-involved parenting, and less harsh-inconsistent parenting, as a consequence of the intervention. These findings have theoretical implications for research on resilience to adversity and the early origins of disease. If substantiated, they may also highlight a strategy for practitioners and policymakers to use in ameliorating social and racial health disparities.

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Human Capital Effects of Anti-Poverty Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Lottery

Brian Jacob, Max Kapustin & Jens Ludwig
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Whether government transfer programs increase the human capital of low-income children is a question of first-order policy importance. Such policies might help poor children if their parents are credit constrained, and so under-invest in their human capital. But it is also possible that whatever causes parents to have low incomes might also directly influence children’s development, in which case transfer programs need not improve poor children’s long-term life chances. While several recent influential studies suggest anti-poverty programs have larger human capital effects per dollar spent than do even the best educational interventions, identification is a challenge because most transfer programs are entitlements. We overcome that problem by studying the effects on children of a generous transfer program that is heavily rationed — means-tested housing assistance. We take advantage of a randomized housing voucher lottery in Chicago in 1997, for which 82,607 people applied, and use administrative data on schooling, arrests, and health to track children’s outcomes over 14 years. We focus on families living in unsubsidized private housing at baseline, for whom voucher receipt generates large changes in both housing and non-housing consumption. Estimated effects are mostly statistically insignificant and always much smaller than those from recent studies of cash transfers, and are smaller on a per dollar basis than the best educational interventions.

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European feelings of deprivation amidst the financial crisis: Effects of welfare state effort and informal social relations

Tim Reeskens & Wim van Oorschot
Acta Sociologica, August 2014, Pages 191-206

Abstract:
As European governments have embraced the credo of austerity, the perennial discussion whether welfare states erode the quality of social networks has taken on a more prominent position on political and social science research agendas. While non-believers of this so-called ‘crowding out’ thesis argue that social networks flourish well in welfare states, believers argue that welfare provisions render social networks irrelevant in mobilizing resources. Using the 2010 wave of the European Social Survey, we analyse the extent to which both the welfare state and social networks have prevented deprivation, as well as the extent to which the functional quality of social networks in inhibiting impoverishment differs as a function of welfare state generosity. Both the ‘crowding out’ and the ‘crowding in’ theses are supported: resources are less mobilized through networks in more generous welfare states precisely because encompassing welfare provisions reduce deprivation significantly, lowering the functional quality of social networks.

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Cash by any other name? Evidence on labeling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment

Timothy Beatty et al.
Journal of Public Economics, October 2014, Pages 86–96

Abstract:
Government transfers to individuals are often given labels indicating that they are designed to support the consumption of particular goods. Standard economic theory implies that the labeling of cash transfers or cash-equivalents should have no effect on spending patterns. We study the UK Winter Fuel Payment, a cash transfer to older households. Our empirical strategy nests a regression discontinuity design with an Engel curve framework. We find robust evidence of a behavioral effect of labeling. On average households spend 47% of the WFP on fuel. If the payment were treated as cash, we would expect households to spend 3% of the payment on fuel.

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The Long Term Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families

Anna Aizer et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We estimate the long-run impact of cash transfers to poor families on children’s longevity, educational attainment, nutritional status, and income in adulthood. To do so, we collected individual-level administrative records of applicants to the Mothers’ Pension program — the first government-sponsored welfare program in the US (1911-1935) — and matched them to census, WWII and death records. Male children of accepted applicants lived one year longer than those of rejected mothers. Male children of accepted mothers received one-third more years of schooling, were less likely to be underweight, and had higher income in adulthood than children of rejected mothers.

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Hard Times in the Land of Plenty: The Effect on Income and Disability Later in Life for People Born During the Great Depression

Melissa Thomasson & Price Fishback
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use 20th-century data to examine how community economic conditions at the time of birth influenced various measures of socioeconomic success as adults. Our analysis focuses on the worst downturn ever experienced in the United States: the Great Depression. We merge individual information reported by respondents in the U.S. Censuses of 1970 and 1980 with information on state per capita income during the individual’s year of birth in their state of birth. Results indicate that the effect of state income per capita in the birth year on income and disability later in life varies with changes in income levels. Individuals born in the trough of the Depression in low-income states had substantially lower incomes and higher work disability rates later in life than workers born in those states in the peak year of 1929. However, the effect of being born during the trough of the Depression in states with higher incomes during the first half of the 20th century was much weaker on income and disability later in life.

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Debt Relief and Debtor Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Consumer Bankruptcy Protection

Will Dobbie & Jae Song
Princeton Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
Consumer bankruptcy is one the largest social insurance programs in the United States, but little is known about its impact on debtors. In this paper, we use a new dataset linking 500,000 bankruptcy filings with administrative tax records to estimate the impact of Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection – which provides debt relief and asset protection in exchange for a partial repayment of debt – on subsequent earnings and mortality. Our empirical strategy exploits the fact that U.S. bankruptcy courts use a blind rotation system to assign cases to judges, effectively randomizing filings to judges. Using differences in judge discharge rates as
an instrumental variable, we are able to identify the impact of bankruptcy protection on the marginal recipient. We find that Chapter 13 protection increases annual earnings in the first five post-filing years by $5,012, increases employment over the same time period by 3.5 percentage points, and decreases five-year mortality by 1.9 percentage points. We conclude by using our reduced form estimates to calibrate a general equilibrium model of the credit market, finding that the benefits of consumer bankruptcy are an order of magnitude larger than previously estimated.

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The Impact of Parental Layoff on Higher Education Investment

Ben Ost & Weixiang Pan
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses variation in the timing of parental layoff to identify the effect of parental job loss on higher education enrollment. Unlike research that compares laid-off workers to workers who do not lose their jobs, all families in our analysis experience a layoff at some point. The treatment group (layoff when child is 15-17) and control group (layoff when child is 21-23) have statistically indistinguishable initial characteristics, but substantially different higher education enrollment rates. We find that parental job loss between ages 15 and 17 decreases college enrollment by 10 percentage points.

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Lower Social Class Does Not (Always) Mean Greater Interdependence: Women in Poverty Have Fewer Social Resources Than Working-Class Women

Nicole Stephens, Jessica Cameron & Sarah Townsend
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, August 2014, Pages 1061-1073

Abstract:
Social resources (i.e., number and nature of relationships with family and friends) are an important, yet largely unrecognized, feature of the sociocultural contexts of social class that influence psychological functioning. To assess the nature and content of social resources, we conducted semistructured interviews with American women living in poverty (n = 21) and working-class (n = 31) contexts. In contrast to previous research, which demonstrates that lower social class contexts foster greater social connection and interdependence than middle-class or upper-class contexts, this study revealed that poverty constitutes a clear cutoff point at which reduced material resources no longer predict higher levels of social connection, but instead social isolation. Our interview data revealed that women in poverty had fewer connections to family and friends, experienced greater difficulty with trust, and reported more challenges involving relationships compared with working-class women. These findings extend psychological theories regarding how social class shapes psychological functioning and have important implications for understanding the maintenance and reproduction of poverty.

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The pitfalls of work requirements in welfare-to-work policies: Experimental evidence on human capital accumulation in the Self-Sufficiency Project

Chris Riddell & Craig Riddell
Journal of Public Economics, September 2014, Pages 39–49

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether policies that encourage recipients to exit welfare for full-time employment influence participation in educational activity. The Self-Sufficiency Project (‘SSP’) was a demonstration project where long-term welfare recipients randomly assigned to the treatment group were offered a generous earnings supplement if they exited welfare for full-time employment. We find that treatment group members were less likely to upgrade their education along all dimensions: high-school completion, enrolling in a community college or trade school, and enrolling in university. Thus, ‘work-first’ policies that encourage full-time employment may reduce educational activity and may have adverse consequences on the long-run earnings capacity of welfare recipients. We also find that there was a substantial amount of educational upgrading in this population. For instance, among high-school dropouts at the baseline, 19% completed their diploma by the end of the demonstration. Finally, we simulate the consequences of the earnings supplement in the absence of adverse effects on educational upgrading. Doing so alters the interpretation of the lessons from the SSP demonstration.

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Family Structure and Child Food Insecurity

Daniel Miller et al.
American Journal of Public Health, July 2014, Pages e70-e76

Objectives: We examined whether food insecurity was different for children in cohabiting or repartnered families versus those in single-mother or married-parent (biological) families.

Methods: We compared probabilities of child food insecurity (CFI) across different family structures in 4 national data sets: the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—Child Development Supplement (PSID-CDS).

Results: Unadjusted probabilities of CFI in cohabiting or repartnered families were generally higher than in married-biological-parent families and often statistically indistinguishable from those of single-mother families. However, after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, most differences between family types were attenuated and most were no longer statistically significant.

Conclusions: Although children whose biological parents are cohabiting or whose biological mothers have repartnered have risks for food insecurity comparable to those in single-mother families, the probability of CFI does not differ by family structure when household income, family size, and maternal race, ethnicity, education, and age were held at mean levels.

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Do Jobs Work? Risk and Protective Behaviors Associated with Employment among Disadvantaged Female Teens in Urban Atlanta

Janet Rosenbaum et al.
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Spring 2014, Pages 155-173

Abstract:
Adolescent employment research has focused on middle-class rather than disadvantaged adolescents. We identified risks and benefits of adolescent employment in a 12-month study of 715 low-socioeconomic-status female African American adolescents using nearest-neighbor Mahalanobis matching on baseline factors including substance use and socioeconomic status. Employed adolescents were more likely to graduate high school and less likely to depend on boyfriends for spending money, but they were more likely to use marijuana, alcohol, and have sex while high or drunk. Employment may help female adolescents avoid potentially coercive romantic relationships, but increase access to drugs or alcohol.

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Adrift at the Margins of Urban Society: What Role Does Neighborhood Play?

George Galster, Anna Maria Santiago & Jessica Lucero
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We quantify how social detachment (measured as neither working nor attending school) of low-income African-American and Latino young adults relates to their teen neighborhood conditions. Data come from retrospective surveys of Denver Housing Authority (DHA) households. Because DHA household allocation mimics quasirandom assignment to neighborhoods throughout Denver County, this program represents a natural experiment for overcoming geographic selection bias. Our multilevel, mixed-effects logistic analyses found significant relationships between neighborhood safety and population composition and odds of social detachment of low-income, minority young adults that can be interpreted as causal effects. The strength of these relationships was often contingent on gender and ethnicity, however. We draw conclusions for macroeconomic, income-support, subsidized housing and community development policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Big data

Impaired Associative Learning with Food Rewards in Obese Women

Zhihao Zhang et al.
Current Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Obesity is a major epidemic in many parts of the world. One of the main factors contributing to obesity is overconsumption of high-fat and high-calorie food, which is driven by the rewarding properties of these types of food. Previous studies have suggested that dysfunction in reward circuits may be associated with overeating and obesity. The nature of this dysfunction, however, is still unknown. Here, we demonstrate impairment in reward-based associative learning specific to food in obese women. Normal-weight and obese participants performed an appetitive reversal learning task in which they had to learn and modify cue-reward associations. To test whether any learning deficits were specific to food reward or were more general, we used a between-subject design in which half of the participants received food reward and the other half received money reward. Our results reveal a marked difference in associative learning between normal-weight and obese women when food was used as reward. Importantly, no learning deficits were observed with money reward. Multiple regression analyses also established a robust negative association between body mass index and learning performance in the food domain in female participants. Interestingly, such impairment was not observed in obese men. These findings suggest that obesity may be linked to impaired reward-based associative learning and that this impairment may be specific to the food domain.

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Can merely learning about obesity genes affect eating behavior?

Ilan Dar-Nimrod et al.
Appetite, October 2014, Pages 269–276

Abstract:
Public discourse on genetic predispositions for obesity has flourished in recent decades. In three studies, we investigated behaviorally-relevant correlates and consequences of a perceived genetic etiology for obesity. In Study 1, beliefs about etiological explanations for obesity were assessed. Stronger endorsement of genetic etiology was predictive of a belief that obese people have no control over their weight. In Study 2, beliefs about weight and its causes were assessed following a manipulation of the perceived underlying cause. Compared with a genetic attribution, a non-genetic physiological attribution led to increased perception of control over one's weight. In Study 3, participants read a fictional media report presenting either a genetic explanation, a psychosocial explanation, or no explanation (control) for obesity. Results indicated that participants who read the genetic explanation ate significantly more on a follow-up task. Taken together, these studies demonstrate potential effects of genetic attributions for obesity.

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Preliminary evidence of cognitive and brain abnormalities in uncomplicated adolescent obesity

Po Lai Yau et al.
Obesity, August 2014, Pages 1865–1871

Objective: To ascertain whether pediatric obesity without clinically significant insulin resistance (IR) impacts brain structure and function.

Methods: Thirty obese and 30 matched lean adolescents, all without clinically significant IR or a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome (MetS), received comprehensive endocrine, neuropsychological, and MRI evaluations.

Results: Relative to lean adolescents, obese non-IR adolescents had significantly lower academic achievement (i.e., arithmetic and spelling) and tended to score lower on working memory, attention, psychomotor efficiency, and mental flexibility. In line with our prior work on adolescent MetS, memory was unaffected in uncomplicated obesity. Reductions in the thickness of the orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortices as well as reductions of microstructural integrity in major white matter tracts without gross volume changes were also uncovered.

Conclusions: It was documented, for the first time, that adolescents with uncomplicated obesity already have subtle brain alterations and lower performance in selective cognitive domains. When interpreting these preliminary data in the context of our prior reports of similar, but more extensive brain findings in obese adolescents with MetS and T2DM, it was concluded that “uncomplicated” obesity may also result in subtle brain alterations, suggesting a possible dose effect with more severe metabolic dysregulation giving rise to greater abnormalities.

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Emotional Ability Training and Mindful Eating

Blair Kidwell, Jonathan Hasford & David Hardesty
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers are often mindless eaters (Wansink 2006). The current research provides a framework for how consumers can become more mindful of their food choices. An ability-based training program is developed to strengthen individuals' ability to focus on goal-relevant emotional information. We not only demonstrate that emotional ability is trainable and that food choices can be enhanced (study 1), but also that emotional ability training improves food choices beyond a nutrition knowledge training program (study 2). Then, in study 3, a test of our conceptual model indicated that emotional ability training increased goal-relevant emotional thoughts and reduced reliance on the unhealthy=tasty intuition. Both of these factors mediated mindful eating effects. Lastly, in study 4 the long-term benefits of emotional ability training were demonstrated by showing that emotionally trained individuals lost weight over a 3-month period relative to a control group and nutrition knowledge training group. Together, these findings suggest that consumers can gain control over their food choices through enhancement of emotional ability. Implications for policy officials, health care professionals, and marketers are discussed.

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Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking

Carolina Werle, Brian Wansink & Collin Payne
Marketing Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do consumers eat more when they exercise more? If so, the implications could ripple through the multi-billion dollar fitness and food industries and have implications for both consumers and health-care providers. Three studies — two field experiments and one observational field study — triangulate on this potential compensatory mechanism between physical activity and food intake. The findings showed that when physical activity was perceived as fun (e.g., when it is labeled as a scenic walk rather than an exercise walk), people subsequently consume less dessert at mealtime and consume fewer hedonic snacks. A final observational field study during a competitive race showed that the more fun people rated the race as being, the less likely they were to compensate with a hedonic snack afterwards. Engaging in a physical activity seems to trigger the search for reward when individuals perceive it as exercise but not when they perceive it as fun. Key implications for the fitness industry and for health-care professionals are detailed along with the simple advice to consumers to make certain they make their physical activity routine fun in order to avoid compensation.

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Socioeconomic Status and Trajectory of Overweight from Birth to Mid-Childhood: The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort

Jessica Jones-Smith et al.
PLoS ONE, June 2014

Objective: Our objective was to use longitudinal data from a US birth cohort to test whether the probability of overweight or obesity during the first 6 years of life varied according to socioeconomic status.

Design and Methods: Using six waves of longitudinal data from full-term children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (2001–2007; n≈4,950), we examined the prevalence of overweight or obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI)>2 standard deviations above age- and sex- specific WHO Childhood Growth Standard reference mean; henceforth, “overweight/obesity”) according to age, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity using generalized estimating equation models.

Results: The association between socioeconomic status and overweight/obesity varied significantly by race/ethnicity, but not by sex. Overweight/obesity was significantly associated with socioeconomic status among whites, Hispanics and Asians; the adjusted odds of overweight/obesity began to diverge according to SES after the first 9 months of life. By approximately 4 years, children with the highest SES had a significantly lower odds of overweight/obesity. SES was not significantly related to overweight/obesity among African Americans and American Indians during early childhood.

Conclusions: Few studies have assessed the associations between SES and overweight/obesity within racial/ethnic groups in the US. We find that in contemporary, US-born children, SES was inversely associated with overweight/obesity among more racial/ethnic groups (whites, Hispanics, and Asians) than previously reported.

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Influences of the neighbourhood food environment on adiposity of low-income preschool-aged children in Los Angeles County: A longitudinal study

Pia Chaparro et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Few studies have examined the association between the food environment and adiposity in early childhood, a critical time for obesity prevention. The objective of this study was to examine the longitudinal association between neighbourhood food environment and adiposity among low-income preschool-aged children in a major metropolitan region in the USA.

Methods: The study sample was 32 172 low-income preschool-aged children in Los Angeles County who had repeated weight and height measurements collected between ages 2 and 5 years through a federal nutrition assistance programme. We conducted multilevel longitudinal analyses to examine how spatial densities of healthy and unhealthy retail food outlets in the children's neighbourhoods were related to adiposity, as measured by weight-for-height z-score (WHZ), while controlling for neighbourhood-level income and education, family income, maternal education, and child's gender and race/ethnicity.

Results: Density of healthy food outlets was associated with mean WHZ at age 3 in a non-linear fashion, with mean WHZ being lowest for those exposed to approximately 0.7 healthy food outlets per square mile and higher for lesser and greater densities. Density of unhealthy food outlets was not associated with child WHZ.

Conclusions: We found a non-linear relationship between WHZ and density of healthy food outlets. Research aiming to understand the sociobehavioural mechanisms by which the retail food environment influences early childhood obesity development is complex and must consider contextual settings.

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Trends in Abdominal Obesity Among US Children and Adolescents

Bo Xi et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objectives: Previous studies showed that prevalence of abdominal obesity among US children and adolescents increased significantly between 1988–1994 and 2003–2004. However, little is known about recent time trends in abdominal obesity since 2003–2004.This study was to provide recent updated national estimates of childhood abdominal obesity and examine the trends in childhood abdominal obesity from 2003 to 2012.

Methods: Data were from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted during 5 time periods (2003–2004, 2005–2006, 2007–2008, 2009–2010, and 2011–2012). A total of 16 601 US children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years were included. Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference (WC) ≥ gender- and age-specific 90th percentile based on data from NHANES III (1988–1994) and a waist-to-height (WHtR) ≥0.5, respectively.

Results: In 2011–2012, 17.95% of children and adolescents aged 2 to 18 years were abdominally obese defined by WC, and 32.93% of those aged 6 to 18 years were abdominally obese defined by WHtR. Mean WC and WHtR and prevalence of abdominal obesity kept stable between 2003–2004 and 2011–2012, independently of gender, age, and race/ethnicity. However, there was a significant decrease in abdominal obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years.

Conclusions: The prevalence of abdominal obesity leveled off among US children and adolescents from 2003–2004 to 2011–2012.

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Obesity, Abdominal Obesity, Physical Activity, and Caloric Intake in U.S. Adults: 1988-2010

Uri Ladabaum et al.
American Journal of Medicine, forthcoming

Background: Obesity and abdominal obesity are independently associated with morbidity and mortality. Physical activity attenuates these risks. We examined trends in obesity, abdominal obesity, physical activity, and caloric intake in U.S. adults from 1988 to 2010.

Methods: Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.

Results: Average body-mass index (BMI) increased by 0.37% (95% CI, 0.30-0.44%) per year in both women and men. Average waist circumference increased by 0.37% (95% CI, 0.30-0.43%) and 0.27% (95% CI, 0.22-0.32%) per year in women and men, respectively. The prevalence of obesity and abdominal obesity increased substantially, as did the prevalence of abdominal obesity among overweight adults. Younger women experienced the greatest increases. The proportion of adults who reported no leisure-time physical activity increased from 19.1% (95% CI, 17.3-21.0%) to 51.7% (95% CI, 48.9-54.5%) in women, and from 11.4% (95% CI, 10.0-12.8%) to 43.5% (95% CI, 40.7-46.3%) in men. Average daily caloric intake did not change significantly. BMI and waist circumference trends were associated with physical activity level, but not caloric intake. The associated changes in adjusted BMIs were 8.3% (95% CI, 6.9-9.6%) higher among women and 1.7% (95% CI, 0.68-2.8%) higher among men with no leisure-time physical activity compared to those with an ideal level of leisure-time physical activity.

Conclusions: Our analyses highlight important dimensions of the public health problem of obesity, including trends in younger women and in abdominal obesity, and lend support to the emphasis placed on physical activity by the Institute of Medicine.

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Children's knowledge of packaged and fast food brands and their BMI. Why the relationship matters for policy makers

Bettina Cornwell, Anna McAlister & Nancy Polmear-Swendris
Appetite, October 2014, Pages 277–283

Abstract:
Studies regarding the advancing challenges of obesity in many countries are beginning to converge on the importance of early food exposure and consumption patterns. Across two studies (Study 1, 34 boys, 35 girls; Study 2, 40 boys, 35 girls, ages 3–6), child knowledge of brands offering products high in sugar, salt and fat was shown to be a significant predictor of child BMI, even after controlling for their age and gender and when also considering the extent of their TV viewing. Additionally, two different collage measures of brand knowledge (utilized across the two studies) performed similarly, suggesting that this measure may be serving as a surrogate indicator of an overall pattern of product exposure and consumption. Policy implications are discussed.

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Psychosocial predictors of body mass index at late childhood: A longitudinal investigation

Jill Holm-Denoma et al.
Journal of Health Psychology, June 2014, Pages 754-764

Abstract:
Little is known about the psychosocial circumstances under which children develop excessive body mass. A community sample was followed up from age 2–10 years to determine which early problems were predictive of increased body mass index. Hypothesized mediators (i.e. eating habits, physical activity, and “screen time”) were also examined. After controlling for parental psychopathology, family income, child’s gender, and child’s body mass index, externalizing behaviors, aggressive behaviors, and anger predicted a relatively high body mass index. Exploratory analyses did not support hypothesized mediators, although low power was an issue.

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Sustained hunger suppression from stable liquid food foams

Sergey Melnikov et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: Simple aeration of food matrices with gas has previously been shown to generate immediate suppression of appetite, though duration of effects has not been shown. This research tested whether liquids aerated with nitrous oxide (N2O) to achieve high in-body stability could produce enhanced and sustained effects on eating motivations.

Methods: In two randomized cross-over studies, appetite ratings were collected for 240 min. In Study 1, 24 volunteers consumed a full portion liquid (325 ml, 190 kcal) or aerated (1,000 ml, 190 kcal) drink at 0 min, or half portions of liquid (162 ml, 95 kcal) or aerated (500 ml, 95 kcal) drink at 0 and 120 min. In Study 2, assessing the effect of N2O itself, 23 volunteers consumed water saturated with N2O or with CO2 10 min after a mini-drink (180 kcal). Appetite was quantified by area-under-the curve (AUC) and time-to-return-to-baseline (TTRTB).

Results: Full- and half-size aerated drinks decreased hunger AUC over 4 h by 26 and 50% (P < 0.0001) versus the respective liquid versions. Effects were also sustained significantly longer (TTRTB from 203 to 335 and from 173 to 286 min, respectively). In Study 2, N2O and CO2 had similar effects on appetite ratings.

Conclusions: Aeration of foods using appropriate microstructural design has a powerful effect on eating motivations.

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Attenuated interoceptive sensitivity in overweight and obese individuals

Beate Herbert & Olga Pollatos
Eating Behaviors, August 2014, Pages 445–448

Objective: Perceiving internal signals of hunger and satiety are related to the regulation of food intake. Recent data suggest that interoception (perception of bodily signals) and interoceptive sensitivity (sensitivity for internal signals) might be a crucial variable for the regulation of behavior associated with feelings of satiety. It is yet unclear whether interoceptive sensitivity is altered in overweight and obese participants.

Design and methods: We therefore examined interoceptive sensitivity among 75 overweight and obese women and men using a heartbeat detection task and compared them to normal weight controls. We hypothesized that overweight and obesity would be related to attenuated interoceptive sensitivity.

Results: Interoceptive sensitivity was higher in normal weight participants as compared to overweight and obese participants. Additionally, we found a negative correlation coefficient between the BMI and interoceptive sensitivity in the overweight and obese group only.

Conclusions: In accordance with our hypotheses, we found evidence for reduced interoceptive sensitivity in overweight and obese individuals. Interoceptive sensitivity presumably interacts with regulation of food intake in everyday life in part by facilitating the detection of bodily changes accompanying satiety. Overweight and obese individuals might experience greater difficulties in accurately detecting such signals due to reduced interoceptive sensitivity.

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Does child–parent resemblance in body weight status vary by sociodemographic factors in the USA?

Qi Zhang et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Clustered obese parents and children are prevalent, but there is little knowledge about whether and how child–parent resemblance varies by sociodemographic groups.

Methods: This paper used nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES: 1988–1994). We matched 4958 parents with 6765 children aged 2–16 years old for whom we had complete data on body mass index (BMI), overweight and obesity status. Correlation coefficients and κ statistics between parents’ and children's BMI and body weight status were calculated for different sociodemographic groups. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were fit to study the child–parent resemblance and socioeconomic and demographic differences in the resemblance.

Results: The child–parent correlation coefficients for BMI were greater in Caucasians than in minorities and greater in groups with higher socioeconomic status. The mother–child resemblance in BMI was negatively associated with child age (p<0.001). The mother–daughter resemblance in overweight was significantly lower in non-Hispanic blacks (OR=0.53, 95% CI (0.36 to 0.78)) and Mexican Americans (OR=0.58, 95% CI (0.36 to 0.93)) than in Caucasians. The father–child resemblance in overweight was significantly lower in high school graduates compared with those with less-than-high-school-graduate fathers (OR=0.53, 95% CI (0.37 to 0.77) for father–son dyads and OR=0.69, 95% CI (0.50 to 0.96) for father–daughter dyads). Similar results were found for parent–child resemblance in obesity.

Conclusions: Child–parent resemblance in body weight status exists across sociodemographic groups in the USA, but it varies by demographics and socioeconomic status.

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Associations Between Childhood Obesity and the Availability of Food Outlets in the Local Environment: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study

Laura Miller et al.
American Journal of Health Promotion, July/August 2014, Pages e137-e145

Purpose: Examine whether individual-level childhood obesity is related to residential availability of fast food and healthy food outlets.

Subjects: A total of 1850 children aged 5 to 15 years in 2005–2010 who participated in the Western Australian Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System survey.

Results: An increasing number of healthy food outlets within 800 m of a child's home was associated with a significantly reduced risk of being overweight/obese in all models tested. After controlling for age, physical activity, time spent sedentary, weekly takeaway consumption, area disadvantage, and count of fast food outlets, each additional healthy food outlet within 800 m was associated with a 20% decrease in the likelihood of a child being overweight or obese (odds ratio: .800, 95% confidence intervals: .686–.933).

Conclusion: The local food environment around children's homes has an independent effect on child weight status. These findings highlight the importance of the built environment as a potential contributor towards child health, which should be considered when developing community health promotion programs.

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High sitting time or obesity: Which came first? Bidirectional association in a longitudinal study of 31,787 Australian adults

Zeljko Pedisic et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: Evidence on the direction of the association between sitting time and obesity is limited. The prospective associations between baseline total sitting time and subsequent changes in body mass index (BMI), and baseline BMI and subsequent changes in sitting time were examined.

Methods: BMI, from self-reported height and weight, and a single-item measure of sitting time were ascertained at two time points (3.4 ± 0.96 years apart) in a prospective questionnaire-based cohort of 31,787 Australians aged 45–65 years without severe physical limitations.

Results: In a fully adjusted model, baseline obesity was associated with increased sitting time among all participants (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.20 [95% CI, 1.11-1.30]; P < 0.001) and in most subgroups. The association was significant among those who were sitting <4 hours/day (aOR = 1.24 [95% CI, 1.07-1.44]; P = 0.004) and 4–8 hours/day at baseline (aOR=1.18 [95% CI, 1.06-1.32]; P = 0.003), but not in the high sitting groups (P = 0.111 and 0.188 for 8–11 and ≥11 sitting hours/day, respectively). Nonsignificant and inconsistent results were observed for the association between baseline sitting time and subsequent change in BMI.

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that obesity may lead to a subsequent increase in total sitting time, but the association in the other direction is unclear.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 28, 2014

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Self-Fulfilling Misperceptions of Public Polarization

Douglas Ahler
Journal of Politics, July 2014, Pages 607-620

Abstract:
Mass media convey deep divisions among citizens despite scant evidence for such ideological polarization. Do ordinary citizens perceive themselves to be more extreme and divided than they actually are? If so, what are the ramifications of such misperception? A representative sample from California provides evidence that voters from both sides of the state’s political divide perceive both their liberal and conservative peers’ positions as more extreme than they actually are, implying inaccurate beliefs about polarization. A second study again demonstrates this finding with an online sample and presents evidence that misperception of mass-level extremity can affect individuals’ own policy opinions. Experimental participants randomly assigned to learn the actual average policy-related predispositions of liberal and conservative Americans later report opinions that are 8–13% more moderate, on average. Thus, citizens appear to consider peers’ positions within public debate when forming their own opinions and adopt slightly more extreme positions as a consequence.

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Paradoxical thinking as a new avenue of intervention to promote peace

Boaz Hameiri et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In societies involved in an intractable conflict, there are strong socio-psychological barriers that contribute to the continuation and intractability of the conflict. Based on a unique field study conducted in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we offer a new avenue to overcome these barriers by exposing participants to a long-term paradoxical intervention campaign expressing extreme ideas that are congruent with the shared ethos of conflict. Results show that the intervention, although counterintuitive, led participants to express more conciliatory attitudes regarding the conflict, particularly among participants with center and right political orientation. Most importantly, the intervention even influenced participants' actual voting patterns in the 2013 Israeli general elections: Participants who were exposed to the paradoxical intervention, which took place in proximity to the general elections, reported that they tended to vote more for dovish parties, which advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. These effects were long lasting, as the participants in the intervention condition expressed more conciliatory attitudes when they were reassessed 1 y after the intervention. Based on these results, we propose a new layer to the general theory of persuasion based on the concept of paradoxical thinking.

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“Ditto Heads”: Do Conservatives Perceive Greater Consensus Within Their Ranks Than Liberals?

Chadly Stern et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
In three studies, we examined (a) whether conservatives possess a stronger desire to share reality than liberals and are therefore more likely to perceive consensus with politically like-minded others even for non-political judgments and, if so, (b) whether motivated perceptions of consensus would give conservatives an edge in progressing toward collective goals. In Study 1, participants estimated ingroup consensus on non-political judgments. Conservatives perceived more ingroup consensus than liberals, regardless of the amount of actual consensus. The desire to share reality mediated the relationship between ideology and perceived ingroup consensus. Study 2 replicated these results and demonstrated that perceiving ingroup consensus predicted a sense of collective efficacy in politics. In Study 3, experimental manipulations of affiliative motives eliminated ideological differences in the desire to share reality. A sense of collective efficacy predicted intentions to vote in a major election. Implications for the attainment of shared goals are discussed.

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Do Open Primaries Help Moderate Candidates? An Experimental Test of California’s 2012 Top-Two Primary

Douglas Ahler, Jack Citrin & Gabriel Lenz
University of California Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
To alleviate growing polarization among US lawmakers, reformers, pundits, and scholars have promoted open primaries — allowing voters to choose primary candidates from any party — but evidence on this reform's efficacy is mixed. To determine whether open primaries favor centrist candidates, we conducted a statewide experiment just before California’s 2012 primaries, the first conducted under a new open format. We randomly assigned voters in districts with moderate and extreme candidates to select candidates from either the new ballot or the ballot they would have seen absent reform. We find that moderate candidates for US House of Representatives and California State Senate fared no better under the open ballot. Although voters apparently prefer moderate candidates, they failed to discern which candidates held moderate policy views. Tellingly, the reform actually led voters to choose more ideologically distant candidates. These results suggest that voters lack the knowledge to incentivize centrism in congressional open primaries.

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Sore Loser Laws and Congressional Polarization

Barry Burden, Bradley Jones & Michael Kang
Legislative Studies Quarterly, August 2014, Pages 299–325

Abstract:
To enhance explanations for party polarization in the U.S. Congress, we focus on an unappreciated legal structure known as the sore loser law. By restricting candidates who lose partisan primaries from subsequently appearing on the general election ballot as independents or as nominees of other parties, these laws give greater control over ballot access to the party bases, thus producing more extreme major party nominees. Using several different measures of candidate and legislator ideology, we find that sore loser laws account for as much as a tenth of the ideological divide between the major parties.

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A Multidimensional Study of Ideological Preferences and Priorities among the American Public

Samara Klar
Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 2014, Pages 344-359

Abstract:
Political ideology is not always best measured along a unidimensional spectrum. With a multidimensional construct, we are better able to understand the complexities of Americans’ ideological views. This research note presents new survey data from a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 Americans. The survey asks respondents to place themselves on distinct ideological scales regarding social and economic issues, then to prioritize the importance of these issues. The first of its kind to include both ideological preferences and attitude importance, this survey contributes new insights into the complex dimensionality of ideology. Results reveal a plurality of individuals identifying as conservative on both social and economic issues, and a smaller group that is consistently liberal on both policy spectrums. Eleven percent of respondents self-identify as liberal on one scale and conservative on the other, yet choose to identify as “moderate” on the traditional unidimensional scale. By analyzing an extensive set of attitudinal and behavioral measures — including vote choice in the 2012 presidential election — this research demonstrates that true moderates are substantially different from those who mix both social and economic beliefs. It further shows that the vast majority of Americans place more importance on economic issues than on social issues, which has greater influence over respondents’ unidimensional ideological placement as well as their presidential vote choice. This study reveals important consequences of the multidimensional nature of ideology at the mass level.

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Partisan Conflict

Marina Azzimonti
Federal Reserve Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
American politics have become extremely polarized in recent decades. This deep political divide has caused significant government dysfunction. Political divisions make the timing, size, and composition of government policy less predictable. According to existing theories, an increase in the degree of economic policy uncertainty or in the volatility of fiscal shocks results in a decline in economic activity. This occurs because businesses and households may be induced to delay decisions that involve high reversibility costs. In addition, disagreement between policymakers may result in stalemate, or, in extreme cases, a government shutdown. This adversely affects the optimal implementation of policy reforms and may result in excessive debt accumulation or inefficient public-sector responses to adverse shocks. Testing these theories has been challenging given the low frequency at which existing measures of partisan conflict have been computed. In this paper, I provide a novel high-frequency indicator of the degree of partisan conflict. The index, constructed for the period 1891 to 2013, uses a search-based approach that measures the frequency of newspaper articles that report lawmakers' disagreement about policy. I show that the long-run trend of partisan conflict behaves similarly to political polarization and income inequality, especially since the Great Depression. Its short-run fluctuations are highly related to elections, but unrelated to recessions. The lower-than-average values observed during wars suggest a "rally around the flag" effect. I use the index to study the effect of an increase in partisan conflict, equivalent to the one observed since the Great Recession, on business cycles. Using a simple VAR, I find that an innovation to partisan conflict increases government deficits and significantly discourages investment, output, and employment. Moreover, these declines are persistent, which may help explain the slow recovery observed since the 2007 recession ended.

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Ideological Labels in America

Christopher Claassen, Patrick Tucker & Steven Smith
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper extends Ellis and Stimson’s (Ideology in America. New York: Cambridge UniversityPress, 2012) study of the operational-symbolic paradox using issue-level measures of ideological incongruence based on respondent positions and symbolic labels for these positions across 14 issues. Like Ellis and Stimson, we find that substantial numbers — over 30 % — of Americans experience conflicted conservatism. Our issue-level data reveal, furthermore, that conflicted conservatism is most common on the issues of education and welfare spending. In addition, we also find that 20 % of Americans exhibit conflicted liberalism. We then replicate Ellis and Stimson’s finding that conflicted conservatism is associated with low sophistication and religiosity, but also find that it is associated with being socialized in a post-1960s generation and using Fox News as a main news source. Finally, we show the important role played by identities, with both conflicted conservatism and conflicted liberalism linked with partisan and ideological identities, and conflicted liberalism additionally associated with ethnic identities.

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Social vigilantism and reported use of strategies to resist persuasion

Donald Saucier et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2014, Pages 120–125

Abstract:
We assessed the unique contribution of social vigilantism (SV; the tendency to impress and propagate one’s “superior” beliefs onto others to correct others’ more “ignorant” opinions) in predicting participants’ reported use of strategies to resist persuasion. Consistent with hypotheses, SV was uniquely and positively associated with reported use of several resistance strategies (including counterarguing, impressing views, social validation, negative affect, and source derogation) in response to challenges above and beyond the effects of argumentativeness, attitude strength, and topic (in Study 1, the issue was abortion; in Study 2, the war in Iraq or the constitutional rights of pornographers). These studies indicate that social vigilantism is an important individual difference variable in the process of attitude resistance.

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Who Do Voters Blame for Policy Failure? Information and the Partisan Assignment of Blame

Jeffrey Lyons & William Jaeger
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do people assign blame in the wake of significant government failures? If the role of the citizenry in a representative democracy is to discipline elected officials for failing to meet collective expectations, then this question is of paramount importance. Much research suggests that the base tendency of citizens is to simply blame the other party — a normatively concerning outcome. However, some argue that information, especially that from expert and nonpartisan sources, may push citizens to overlook their party affiliation and assign blame in a more performance-based fashion. Using an experimental design, we test this possibility, manipulating whether there is unified or divided government, the partisanship of key actors, and the nature of expert information that participants receive during a hypothetical budget crisis at the state level. We find strong evidence that party weighs heavily on individuals’ minds when assigning blame, as expected. More importantly, we find that nonpartisan expert information about the situation does not live up to its potential to sway partisans from their priors. Rather, unbiased information appears to be used as a weapon — ignored when it challenges partisan expectations and used to magnify blame of the other party when it conforms with them.

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Public Preferences for Bipartisanship in the Policymaking Process

Laurel Harbridge, Neil Malhotra & Brian Harrison
Legislative Studies Quarterly, August 2014, Pages 327–355

Abstract:
At a time of a high level of polarization in Congress, public opinion surveys routinely find that Americans want politicians to compromise. When evaluating legislation, does the preference for bipartisanship in the legislative process trump partisan identities? We find that it does not. We conduct two experiments in which we alter aspects of the political context to see how people respond to parties (not) coming together to achieve broadly popular public policy goals. Although citizens can recognize bipartisan processes, preferences for bipartisan legislating do not outweigh partisan desires in the evaluation of public policies.

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Party Polarization and Mass Partisanship: A Comparative Perspective

Noam Lupu
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars view polarization with trepidation. But polarization may clarify voters’ choices and generate stronger party attachments. The link between party polarization and mass partisanship remains unclear. I look to theories of partisanship to derive implications about the relationships among polarization, citizens’ perceptions of polarization, and mass partisanship. I test those implications using cross-national and longitudinal survey data. My results confirm that polarization correlates with individual partisanship across space and time. Citizens in polarized systems also perceive their parties to be more polarized. And perceiving party polarization makes people more likely to be partisan. That relationship appears to be causal: using a long-term panel survey from the United States, I find that citizens become more partisan as they perceive polarization increasing.

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Partisan Personality: The Psychological Differences Between Democrats and Republicans, and Independents Somewhere in Between

Kaye Sweetser
American Behavioral Scientist, August 2014, Pages 1183-1194

Abstract:
Focusing on the psychological underpinnings of partisanship, this study asks whether there is a difference in the personality profile for self-described Democrats and Republicans. Using a survey of young voters (N = 610), psychological measures such as the Big Five personality dimensions and locus of control were measured in conjunction with standard political interest variables such as political cynicism and political information efficacy. The results indicate supporters for the two major parties are wired differently, in line with previous findings about ideology. Democrats were driven by an external locus of control and Republicans by an internal locus. This research finds self-identified Independents as truly being somewhere in between.

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Political Conservatives’ Affinity for Obedience to Authority Is Loyal, Not Blind

Jeremy Frimer, Danielle Gaucher & Nicola Schaefer
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Liberals and conservatives disagree about obeying authorities, with conservatives holding the more positive views. We suggest that reactions to conservative authorities, rather than to obedience itself, are responsible for the division. Past findings that conservatives favor obedience uniformly confounded obedience with conservative authorities. We break down obedience to authority into its constituent parts to test the divisiveness of each part. The concepts of obedience (Study 1) and authority (Study 2) recruited inferences of conservative authorities, conflating results of simple, seemingly face valid tests of their divisiveness. These results establish necessary features of a valid test, to which Study 3 conforms. Conservatives have the more positive moral views of obedience only when the authorities are conservative (e.g., commanding officers); liberals do when the authorities are liberal (e.g., environmentalists). The two camps agree about obeying ideologically neutral authorities (e.g., office managers). Obedience itself is not ideologically divisive.

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Ideological Moderates Won’t Run: How Party Fit Matters for Partisan Polarization in Congress

Danielle Thomsen
Journal of Politics, July 2014, Pages 786-797

Abstract:
Scholars have focused on elite-level and mass-level changes to explain partisan polarization in Congress. This article offers a candidate entry explanation for the persistence of polarization and the rise in asymmetric polarization. The central claim is that ideological conformity with the party — what I call party fit — influences the decision to run for office, and I suggest that partisan polarization in Congress has discouraged ideological moderates in the pipeline from pursuing a congressional career. I test this hypothesis with a survey of state legislators and with ideology estimates of state legislators who did and did not run for Congress from 2000 to 2010. I find that liberal Republican and conservative Democratic state legislators are less likely to run for Congress than those at the ideological poles, though this disparity is especially pronounced among Republicans. The findings provide an additional explanation for recent patterns of polarization in Congress.

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Partisan Paths to Exposure Diversity: Differences in Pro- and Counterattitudinal News Consumption

Kelly Garrett & Natalie Jomini Stroud
Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines selective exposure to political information, arguing that attraction to proattitudinal information and aversion to counterattitudinal information are distinct phenomena, and that the tendency to engage in these behaviors varies by partisanship. Data collected in a strict online experiment support these predictions. Republicans are significantly more likely to engage in selective avoidance of predominantly counterattitudinal information than those with other partisan affiliations, while non-Republicans are significantly more likely to select a story that includes proattitudinal information, regardless of its counterattitudinal content. Individuals across the political spectrum are receptive to predominantly proattitudinal content and to content that offers a mix of views, but the form these preferences take varies by partisanship. The political significance of these findings is discussed.

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Partisan Media and Discussion as Enhancers of the Belief Gap

Aaron Veenstra, Mohammad Delwar Hossain & Benjamin Lyons
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the roles of partisanship, partisan media use, and political discussion in the development of belief gaps. Using national survey data, we construct models of political identity, media use, and discussion factors predicting beliefs on five contested political issues, and find that ideology and partisanship are generally stronger predictors of beliefs than is education. Notably, each has independent effects on belief outcomes. Contrary to some concerns that the Internet especially promotes partisan clustering, use of partisan traditional media – television and radio – is by far the strongest information-related predictor of belief outcomes, while partisan social media use and partisan discussion are relatively weak and inconsistent. These findings suggest that political elites continue to exert significant influence over the perceptions of rank and file partisans.

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Political Differences in Past, Present, and Future Life Satisfaction: Republicans Are More Sensitive than Democrats to Political Climate

David Mandel & Philip Omorogbe
PLoS ONE, June 2014

Abstract:
Previous research finds that Republicans report being happier or more satisfied with their lives than Democrats. Using representative American samples from 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010, we tested a Person × Situation interactionist account in which political affiliation (Democrat, Republican) and political climate (favorable when the president in office is of the same party) are proposed to affect past, present, and anticipated future life satisfaction. Meta-analyses of related tests of key hypotheses confirmed that (a) life satisfaction was greater when the political climate was favorable rather than unfavorable and (b) Republicans were more sensitive to political climate than Democrats. As predicted, Republicans also were more politically polarized than Democrats. Taken together, the findings indicate that, compared to Democrats, Republicans are more apt to self-identify in political terms, and core aspects of their subjective well-being are more easily affected by the outcome of political events.

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Demand for Slant: How Abstention Shapes Voters’ Choice of News Media

Santiago Oliveros & Felix Várdy
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political commentators warn that the fragmentation of the modern media landscape induces voters to withdraw into “information cocoons” and segregate along ideological lines. We show that the option to abstain breaks ideological segregation and generates “cross-over” in news consumption: voters with considerable leanings toward a candidate demand information that is less biased toward that candidate than voters who are more centrist. This non-monotonicity in the demand for slant makes voters’ ideologies non-recoverable from their choice of news media and generates disproportionate demand for media outlets that are centrist or only moderately biased. It also implies that polarization of the electorate may lead to ideological moderation in news consumption.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Yes we can

Negotiating face-to-face: Men's facial structure predicts negotiation performance

Michael Haselhuhn et al.
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although a great deal of research has examined specific behaviors that positively affect leaders' negotiation processes and outcomes, there has been considerably less attention devoted to stable characteristics, psychological or physical, that might also influence outcomes at the bargaining table. In the current research, we identify a measureable physical trait - the facial width-to-height ratio - that predicts negotiation performance in men. Across four studies, we show that men with greater facial width-to-height ratios are less cooperative negotiators compared to men with smaller facial ratios. This lack of cooperation allows men with greater facial width-to-height ratios to claim more value when negotiating with other men, but inhibits their ability to discover creative agreements that benefit all negotiating parties. These results provide insight into the factors linking leadership, facial structure and conflict resolution.

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Using abstract language signals power

Cheryl Wakslak, Pamela Smith & Albert Han
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 41-55

Abstract:
Power can be gained through appearances: People who exhibit behavioral signals of power are often treated in a way that allows them to actually achieve such power (Ridgeway, Berger, & Smith, 1985; Smith & Galinsky, 2010). In the current article, we examine power signals within interpersonal communication, exploring whether use of concrete versus abstract language is seen as a signal of power. Because power activates abstraction (e.g., Smith & Trope, 2006), perceivers may expect higher power individuals to speak more abstractly and therefore will infer that speakers who use more abstract language have a higher degree of power. Across a variety of contexts and conversational subjects in 7 experiments, participants perceived respondents as more powerful when they used more abstract language (vs. more concrete language). Abstract language use appears to affect perceived power because it seems to reflect both a willingness to judge and a general style of abstract thinking.

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The Effect of 9/11 on the Heritability of Political Trust

Christopher Ojeda
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, a rally effect led to a precipitous rise in political trust. However, the increase in political trust concealed a simultaneous decline among a smaller portion of the population. This article examines the psychological mechanisms underlying these heterogeneous attitudes towards government and shows that a biosocial model best explains the observed patterns of response. The interplay of genetic and environmental factors of political trust reveals the stable but dynamic nature of heritability: genetic influences of political trust increased immediately following 9/11 but quickly decayed to pre-9/11 levels.

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A counterpart's feminine face signals cooperativeness and encourages negotiators to compete

Eric Gladstone & Kathleen O'Connor
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2014, Pages 18-25

Abstract:
Early on, negotiators take each other's measure, drawing inferences that shape subsequent decisions and behaviors. In two studies, we investigate whether impressions based on the facial femininity of counterparts affect negotiators' behaviors. In our first experiment, we tested whether negotiators would choose counterparts with more feminine-featured faces over those with less feminine faces. As predicted, regardless of counterpart sex, negotiators preferred counterparts with more feminine-featured faces. When choosing agents, however, this preference reversed, indicating strategic decision making on the part of negotiators. In a second experiment, we tested our underlying claim that facial femininity evokes stereotypes of cooperativeness. It did, and in keeping with our main hypotheses, negotiators demanded more from their feminine-featured counterparts.

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The many (distinctive) faces of leadership: Inferring leadership domain from facial appearance

Christopher Olivola, Dawn Eubanks & Jeffrey Lovelace
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that people form impressions of potential leaders from their faces and that certain facial features predict success in reaching prestigious leadership positions. However, much less is known about the accuracy or meta-accuracy of face-based leadership inferences. Here we examine a simple, but important, question: Can leadership domain be inferred from faces? We find that human judges can identify business, military, and sports leaders (but not political leaders) from their faces with above-chance accuracy. However, people are surprisingly bad at evaluating their own performance on this judgment task: We find no relationship between how well judges think they performed and their actual accuracy levels. In a follow-up study, we identify several basic dimensions of evaluation that correlate with face-based judgments of leadership domain, as well as those that predict actual leadership domain. We discuss the implications of our results for leadership perception and selection.

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Proud to Cooperate: The Consideration of Pride Promotes Cooperation in a Social Dilemma

Anna Dorfman, Tal Eyal & Yoella Bereby-Meyer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 105-109

Abstract:
In social dilemmas, broad collective interests conflict with immediate self-interests. In two studies, we examine the role of pride in guiding cooperative behavior in a social dilemma. We find that the consideration of pride led to more cooperation compared to the consideration of joy or a control condition (Study 1) and compared to the consideration of enjoyment (Study 2). The importance participants assigned to cooperation mediated this effect of emotion on cooperation (Studies 1 and 3). We suggest that because pride is linked to pro-social behavior, considering pride activates the concept of pride which in turn makes related behavioral representations more accessible and thus increases cooperation.

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Ode to the sea: Workplace Organizations and Norms of Cooperation

Uri Gneezy, Andreas Leibbrandt & John List
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
The functioning and well-being of any society and organization critically hinges on norms of cooperation that regulate social activities. Empirical evidence on how such norms emerge and in which environments they thrive remains a clear void in the literature. To provide an initial set of insights, we overlay a set of field experiments in a natural setting. Our approach is to compare behavior in Brazilian fishermen societies that differ along one major dimension: the workplace organization. In one society (located by the sea) fishermen are forced to work in groups whereas in the adjacent society (located on a lake) fishing is inherently an individual activity. We report sharp evidence that the sea fishermen trust and cooperate more and have greater ability to coordinate group actions than their lake fishermen counterparts. These findings are consistent with the argument that people internalize social norms that emerge from specific needs and support the idea that socio-ecological factors play a decisive role in the proliferation of pro-social behaviors.

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Violent Entertainment and Cooperative Behavior: Examining Media Violence Effects on Cooperation in a Primarily Hispanic Sample

Raul Ramos, Christopher Ferguson & Kelly Frailing
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
The impact of violent entertainment on viewer behavior remains disputed in the academic community. Although most studies focus on negative outcomes such as aggression, some studies also consider whether violent entertainment may reduce positive behaviors such as cooperation. The current article describes 2 studies of violent TV influences on cooperative behavior. The first study examined whether exposure to violent TV shows impacted cooperative behavior using the prisoner's dilemma task in a sample of 181 mostly Hispanic young adults. Results indicated that exposure to violent TV had no impact on short-term cooperative behavior. Long-term exposure to violent TV in real life also did not predict the level of cooperative behavior. The second study examined how motivational factors influenced the relationship between violent TV and cooperative behavior. Overall, these results do not support traditional media effects models of violent entertainment, at least in regard to short-term influences in an experimental setting.

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Bargaining and fairness

Kenneth Binmore
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 July 2014, Pages 10785-10788

Abstract:
The idea that human morality might be the product of evolution is not popular. The reason is partly that the moral principles that actually govern our day-to-day behavior have been idealized in a way that makes a natural origin seem impossible. This paper puts the case for a more down-to-earth assessment of human morality by arguing that the evolution of our sense of fairness can be traced to the practicalities of food-sharing. When animals share food, they can be seen as enjoying the fruits of an implicit bargain to ensure each other against hunger. The implications of this observation are explored using the tools of game theory. The arguments lead to a structure for fair bargains that closely resembles the structure proposed by John Rawls, the leading moral philosopher of the last century.

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Conflict Templates in Negotiations, Disputes, Joint Decisions, and Tournaments

Nir Halevy & Taylor Phillips
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conflict situations present interaction partners with opportunities to behave cooperatively or competitively. Conflict templates (CTs) capture interaction partners' perceptions of the relationships between their actions and outcomes. Study 1 investigated situational influences on CTs as well as the cross-situational consistency of CTs using a longitudinal diary design. Deal-making negotiation produced more competitive perceptions than dispute resolution, joint decision making, or naturally occurring social interactions. Study 2 investigated downstream consequences of CTs by having participants submit strategies for a tournament involving four types of situations. Each strategy was matched with all other submitted strategies in a series of repeated games for a total of over 12 million rounds. Cooperative perceptions significantly predicted economic performance in the tournament. We highlight the implications of the current findings for conflict management and resolution.

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Strategic Display of Anger and Happiness in Negotiation: The Moderating Role of Perceived Authenticity

Han-Ying Tng & Al Au
Negotiation Journal, July 2014, Pages 301-327

Abstract:
Emotional display is often used as a strategy in negotiation to manipulate one's counterpart's behavior. Previous research has examined the interpersonal effects of emotions in negotiation, but the evidence so far has largely focused on the perspective of the negotiator displaying the emotion with little attention paid to the impact of the emotional display on that negotiator's counterparts. In this study, we conducted two experiments to examine whether a negotiator's perceptions about the authenticity of his or her counterpart's displayed emotions of anger and happiness moderate the impact of those emotions on the negotiator. In Experiment One, we manipulated the perceived authenticity of the counterpart's anger as a between-subjects factor (authentic versus inauthentic). Negotiators who perceived their counterpart's anger as inauthentic conceded less than did negotiators who perceived it as authentic. In Experiment Two, we corroborated this finding with a two-variable (counterpart's emotion: anger versus happiness) times three-variable (perceived authenticity of counterpart's displayed emotion: authentic versus ambiguous versus inauthentic) between-subjects design. Negotiators conceded more to an angry counterpart than to a happy one when they perceived their counterpart's emotion as authentic, but we found the reverse pattern among negotiators who perceived their counterparts' emotions as inauthentic. Negotiators who perceived their counterparts' emotions as ambiguous in authenticity did not differ in concessions whether the counterpart displayed anger or happiness. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Market institutions bring tolerance, especially where there is social trust

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tolerant societies seem to function better than nontolerant societies both economically and socially. This makes it worthwhile to identify ways to stimulate tolerance. While previous research indicates that market-oriented formal institutions and policies offer such stimulus, it does not investigate what role cultural factors, like social trust, plays. We find that trust is a catalyst: The more there is, the more positive the effect of economic freedom on tolerance. Formal institutions hence interact with the culture of a society and work better as generators of tolerance in alignment with trust.

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Neighborhood factors related to the likelihood of successful informal social control efforts

Barbara Warner
Journal of Criminal Justice, September-October 2014, Pages 421-430

Purpose: To expand conceptualizations of informal social control in social disorganization and collective efficacy theories to include responses to informal social control, and to examine neighborhood level predictors of responses to informal social control.

Methods: The study uses surveys of approximately 2300 residents across 66 neighborhoods, supplemented with census data at the block group level.

Results: Neighborhood mobility decreased the odds of positive responses to informal social control, measured as both "giving in" and "talking it out" when you have a disagreement with your neighbor. Disadvantage was found to decrease only the odds of "giving in." Neighborhood level measures of social cohesion and faith in the police were also found to increase the odds of responding positively to informal social control efforts. In contrast, social ties were not found to significantly affect the likelihood of positive responses to informal social control.

Conclusions: The findings from this study broaden support of collective efficacy theory and concepts related to efficacious neighborhoods. While previous studies have raised questions about the measurement of informal social control, the findings in this paper offer support to earlier studies by providing a different approach to the conceptualization and measurement of informal social control.

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Why can't we be friends? Entitlements and the costs of conflict

Erik Kimbrough & Roman Sheremeta
Journal of Peace Research, July 2014, Pages 487-500

Abstract:
We design an experiment to explore the impact of earned entitlements on the frequency and intensity of conflicts in a two-stage conflict game where players may attempt to use non-binding side-payments to avoid conflict. In this game, Proposers make offers and Responders decide simultaneously whether to accept the offers and whether to engage in a conflict. A simple theoretical analysis suggests that Proposers should never offer side-payments because Responders should always accept them and then still choose to enter conflict; however, our experiment reveals that some individuals use this non-binding mechanism to avoid conflict. Moreover, when subjects earn their roles (Proposer or Responder), conflicts are 44% more likely to be avoided than when roles are assigned randomly. Earned entitlements impact behavior in three important ways: (1) Proposers who have earned their position persistently make larger offers; (2) larger offers lead to a lower probability of conflict; but (3) Proposers whose offers do not lead to conflict resolution respond spitefully with greater conflict expenditure. Hence, with earned rights, the positive welfare effects of reduced conflict frequency are offset by higher conflict intensity. This result differs from previous experimental evidence from ultimatum games in which earned entitlements tend to encourage agreement and increase welfare; thus, our findings highlight the important consequences of endogenizing the costs of conflict. Our analysis suggests that earned entitlements alter behavior by influencing the beliefs of Proposers about the willingness of Responders to accept a peaceful resolution. As a result, these Proposers make persistent high offers, and when their beliefs are disappointed by a Responder's decision to accept a side-payment and still enter conflict, they retaliate.

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Competition and Cooperation in a Public Goods Game: A Field Experiment

Ned Augenblick & Jesse Cunha
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore the effects of competitive and cooperative motivations on contributions in a field experiment. A total of 10,000 potential political donors received solicitations referencing past contribution behavior of members of the competing party (competition treatment), the same party (cooperative treatment), or no past contribution information (control). We first theoretically analyze the effect of these treatments on the contribution behavior of agents with different social preferences in a modified intergroup public good (IPG) game. Then, we report the empirical results: Contribution rates in the competitive, cooperative, and control treatments were 1.45%, 1.08%, and 0.78%, respectively. With the exception of one large contribution, the distribution of contributions in the competitive treatment first order stochastically dominates that of the cooperative treatment. Qualitatively, it appears that the cooperative treatment induced more contributions around the common monetary reference point, while the competitive treatment led to more contributions at twice this amount. These results suggest that eliciting competitive rather than cooperative motivations can lead to higher contributions in IPG settings.

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The Detrimental Effects of Sanctions on Intragroup Trust: Comparing Punishments and Rewards

Kyle Irwin, Laetitia Mulder & Brent Simpson
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work shows that both reward and punishment systems increase short-term cooperation in social dilemmas. Yet, a growing body of research finds that punishment systems generate a range of negative side effects, including an undermining of trust in fellow group members' cooperative intentions. The present work asks whether reward systems can generate the same positive effects as punishment systems (increased cooperation) without the negative side effects (decreased interpersonal trust) or whether reward systems also lead to detrimental effects on trust. In two experiments we find that once removed, reward systems, like punishment systems, reduced trust to levels below a control group who never experienced sanctions. This research highlights the detrimental effects of punishment and reward systems on intragroup trust and thus shows that while reward systems can generate the same positive effects as punishment systems, they also generate the same negative side effects.

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In Search of Homo economicus

Toshio Yamagishi et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Homo economicus, a model for humans in neoclassical economics, is a rational maximizer of self-interest. However, many social scientists regard such a person as a mere imaginary creature. We found that 31 of 446 residents of relatively wealthy Tokyo suburbs met the behavioral definition of Homo economicus. In several rounds of economic games, participants whose behavior was consistent with this model always apportioned the money endowed by the experimenter to themselves, leaving no share for their partners. These participants had high IQs and a deliberative decision style. An additional 39 participants showed a similar disregard for other people's welfare, although they were slightly more altruistic than those in the Homo economicus group. The psychological composition of these quasi-Homo economicus participants was distinct from that of participants in the Homo economicus group. Although participants in the latter group behaved selfishly on the basis of rational calculations, those in the former group made selfish choices impulsively. The implications of these findings concerning the two types of extreme noncooperators are discussed.

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Communally Constrained Decisions in Workplace Contexts

Megan McCarty, Margo Monteith & Cheryl Kaiser
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that people who value communion strongly experience low communion work contexts as aversive and avoid them, and consequently forego even those work opportunities that promise career advancement. In Experiment 1, participants varying in their own communal goals described a prior work experience with a coworker who was either low or high in communion. Participants with strong communal goals had greater aversive and avoidant reactions to low communion work environments, relative to high communion work environments. This difference was much less pronounced for participants with weaker communal goals. In Experiments 2a (undergraduate sample) and 2b (MTurk sample), participants took the perspective of a protagonist considering a high status promotion in which subordinates were described as low or high in communion. Again, participants who strongly valued communion had especially aversive and avoidant reactions to the low communion work environment. Furthermore, high communion participants reported they were less likely to accept the promotion in the low communion environment condition, whereas the communal nature of the environment did not influence low communal participants' decisions. Thus, work decisions are constrained by the communal nature of the environment, but only among people who strongly value communion. Importantly, women scored higher on communion than men in all experiments, suggesting that women are more likely to experience communally constrained decisions.

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Activity in the Nucleus Accumbens and Amygdala Underlies Individual Differences in Prosocial and Individualistic Economic Choices

Masahiko Haruno, Minoru Kimura & Christopher Frith
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, August 2014, Pages 1861-1870

Abstract:
Much decision-making requires balancing benefits to the self with benefits to the group. There are marked individual differences in this balance such that individualists tend to favor themselves whereas prosocials tend to favor the group. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this difference has important implications for society and its institutions. Using behavioral and fMRI data collected during the performance of the ultimatum game, we show that individual differences in social preferences for resource allocation, so-called "social value orientation," is linked with activity in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala elicited by inequity, rather than activity in insula, ACC, and dorsolateral pFC. Importantly, the presence of cognitive load made prosocials behave more prosocially and individualists more individualistically, suggesting that social value orientation is driven more by intuition than reflection. In parallel, activity in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala, in response to inequity, tracked this behavioral pattern of prosocials and individualists. In addition, we conducted an impunity game experiment with different participants where they could not punish unfair behavior and found that the inequity-correlated activity seen in prosocials during the ultimatum game disappeared. This result suggests that the accumbens and amygdala activity of prosocials encodes "outcome-oriented emotion" designed to change situations (i.e., achieve equity or punish). Together, our results suggest a pivotal contribution of the nucleus accumbens and amygdala to individual differences in sociality.

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Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphism and self-punishment after an unintentional transgression

Yohsuke Ohtsubo et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2014, Pages 182-186

Abstract:
The present study investigated a genetic underpinning of human reconciliation. Recent research has shown that people tend to inflict self-punishment as part of a repertoire of reparative acts. Since empathy generally facilitates reparative acts, we hypothesized that there exists an association between an empathy-related genetic variation, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene (rs53576 A vs. G), and the tendency toward self-punishment. Participants played a modified version of the dictator game, in which they made an unfair allocation unintentionally. They then had the opportunity to punish themselves by reducing some portion of their monetary reward. The results showed that the participants with the GA or GG genotype, compared to the participants with the AA genotype, were more likely to engage in self-punishment after making the unfair allocation unintentionally. This effect was not mediated by self-critical feelings (guilt and shame) associated with the unfair allocation. The present study suggests that the OXTR polymorphism is associated with a human reconciliatory tendency.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Natural order

Discrimination Divides across Identity Dimensions: Perceived Racism Reduces Support for Gay Rights and Increases Anti-Gay Bias

Maureen Craig & Jennifer Richeson
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has found that perceiving racial discrimination toward one’s own group results in the expression of more positive attitudes toward members of other racial minority groups; however, perceiving sexism results in the expression of more negative attitudes toward other stigmatized groups, namely, racial minorities. One possibility for this seeming discrepancy is that perceived group disadvantage better enables identification with other disadvantaged groups within a dimension of identity (i.e., among racial minorities) than across dimensions of identity (i.e., between White women and racial minorities). The present research investigates this possibility or, rather, whether racial discrimination is such a potent experience for racial minorities that making it salient will increase identification with and, thus, facilitate more positive attitudes toward members of other stigmatized groups, even those that cross an identity dimension (e.g., sexual minorities). Analyses of two nationally representative datasets (Studies 1a & 1b) reveal that perceived racial discrimination against the ingroup is associated with more negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Similarly, a laboratory experiment with Black and Latino participants (Study 2) reveals that making racial discrimination against the ingroup salient leads to more negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians as well as less support for policies that would benefit sexual minorities. Overall, the present research suggests that although perceived discrimination may result in more positive attitudes within an identity dimension, it is associated with more negative intra-minority intergroup relations across dimensions of identity.

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When Boys Wear Pink: A Gendered Color Cue Violation Evokes Risk Taking

Avi Ben-Zeev & Tara Dennehy
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
A primary way to signal gender differences starting in infancy is via a clothing color cue (pink is for girls, not boys). We examined whether a violation of this seemingly innocuous gendered prescription would lead to differential decision making regarding infants’ health and well being. In Experiment 1, participants were given an adaptation of the Asian Disease Problem (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981) describing a flu outbreak expected to affect male infants, who were dressed in pink or blue. Participants tended to choose the risk-averse treatment for boys in blue, consistent with Tversky and Kahneman’s theorizing and findings. In contrast, participants tended to opt for the risk-taking treatment for boys in pink, consistent with research highlighting people’s tendency to place lower subjective value on the lives of individuals who belong to socially devalued groups. Experiment 2 ruled out a possible expectancy effect with a different natural category. We discuss the reification of clothing color for demarcating masculinity as a societal attempt at policing gender and situate the findings in a cognitive consistency framework.

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The Wage Gap against Gay Men: The Leveling of the Playing Field

Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi
Kyklos, August 2014, Pages 330–345

Abstract:
This study uses data from the March Supplement Current Population Survey (CPS) to examine the wage differential against gay men from 1995 to 2011 in the United States. A wage equation is estimated using the Heckman two-stage method, which addresses the sample selection bias inherent in wage equation estimations. We find evidence that in the United States the wage gap against gay men has significantly decreased over the last two decades. We also find that evidence that the wage gap has become concentrated in three occupations: managerial, sales, and protective services. We conclude that the evidence is most consistent with the hypothesis that discrimination is decreasing, and possibly non-existent and that any lingering discrimination is based on the taste for discrimination by employees against being managed by a gay man and by customers.

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Health Insurance and Labor Force Participation: What Legal Recognition Does for Same-Sex Couples

Marcus Dillender
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using Current Population Survey data, I examine how same-sex couples' labor force participation and health insurance coverage change as a result of their unions being legally recognized. The results indicate female same-sex couples switch from arrangements where both members work to arrangements where only one member of the couple works. Being able to gain health insurance through a spouse's employer seems to play a major role in this change. Male same-sex couples experience no change in their labor force participation or health insurance.

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How Statewide LGB Policies Go From “Under Our Skin” to “Into Our Hearts”: Fatherhood Aspirations and Psychological Well-Being Among Emerging Adult Sexual Minority Men

José Bauermeister
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, August 2014, Pages 1295-1305

Abstract:
Researchers have noted increasingly the public health importance of addressing discriminatory policies towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations. At present, however, we know little about the mechanisms through which policies affect LGB populations’ psychological well-being; in other words, how do policies get under our skin? Using data from a study of sexual minority young men (N = 1,487; M = 20.80 (SD = 1.93); 65 % White; 92 % gay), we examined whether statewide bans (e.g., same-sex marriage, adoption) moderated the relationship between fatherhood aspirations and psychological well-being. Fatherhood aspirations were associated with lower depressive symptoms and higher self-esteem scores among participants living in states without discriminatory policies. In states with marriage equality bans, fatherhood aspirations were associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem scores, respectively. Fatherhood aspirations were associated negatively with self-esteem in states banning same-sex and second parent adoptions, respectively. Our findings underscore the importance of recognizing how anti-equality LGB policies may influence the psychosocial development of sexual minority men.

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Does Policy Adoption Change Opinions on Minority Rights? The Effects of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Rebecca Kreitzer, Allison Hamilton & Caroline Tolbert
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Iowa Supreme Court adopted an unpopular but unanimous ruling in Varnum v. Brien, which established same-sex marriage. Using a unique panel study conducted immediately before and after the court decision, we evaluate the impact of policy adoption on changing opinions on minority rights. The signaling of new social norms pressured some respondents to modify their expressed attitudes. We find that respondents whose demographic characteristics would predict support for marriage equality, but previously did not, were more likely to shift their opinions to be consistent with the new state law. A policy feedback mechanism may be responsible for the rapid diffusion of laws legalizing same-sex in the states.

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Proposer Gender, Pleasure, and Danger in Casual Sex Offers among Bisexual Women and Men

Terri Conley et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 80–88

Abstract:
Previous research suggested that the gender of the casual sex proposer is an important predictor of casual sex acceptance, particularly because male proposers are perceived to have lesser sexual capabilities than female proposers (Conley, 2011). We examined this hypothesis more directly by taking advantage of unique characteristics associated with bisexual individuals. Bisexual people have the capacity to be attracted to both women and men; thus, the present studies tease apart the effects of participant gender and proposer gender – something that is not possible in studies of casual sex among heterosexual individuals. Gender of proposer was a significant predictor in each study, prior to controlling for sexual capabilities, as Conley (2011) predicted. No gender differences emerged in acceptance of actual casual sex offers from women — gender differences only emerged in response to actual offers from men. Sexual capabilities mediated the relationship between gender and acceptance of the casual sex offer. Although previous research has shown that women do not like casual sex as much as men do (Buss & Schmitt, 1993), the present research does not provide support for that finding.

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Give the Kid a Break — But Only if He’s Straight: Retributive Motives Drive Biases Against Gay Youth in Ambiguous Punishment Contexts

Jessica Salerno, Mary Murphy & Bette Bottoms
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies addressed how people punish juvenile sex offenders in ambiguous punishment contexts. Sex offender registry laws now make voluntary sexual activity between juveniles a registration-worthy offense in the U.S. Using contemporary prejudice theories as a theoretical framework, we tested whether the ambiguity surrounding the application of these laws to juveniles provides a context for expression of prejudice against gay youth. In the ambiguous context of 2 juveniles having consensual sex, people supported sex offender registration more for gay, versus heterosexual, offenders. This punishment discrimination did not emerge, however, in the societally less ambiguous context of an adult having sex with a juvenile. Study 2 revealed that punishment discrimination again emerged against gay male juveniles but not lesbian juveniles. Across both studies, punishment discrimination against gay juveniles was consistently mediated by retributive motives (moral outrage), but less consistently by utilitarian motives (concern about protecting society) — the stated legislative purpose of registration.

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Haven’t I seen you before? Straight men who are insecure of their masculinity remember gender-atypical faces

David Lick, Kerri Johnson & Rachel Riskind
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
To navigate a busy interpersonal landscape, people direct perceptual resources in a motivated fashion that maximizes goals and minimizes threats. While adaptive, these heuristics can also lead to noteworthy biases, including a well-documented memory advantage for ingroup members. Recent research has extended these findings to reveal other motivational biases that emerge early in social perception. When perceivers feel threatened, for example, they are vigilant to outgroup members. Although compelling, evidence for this vigilance-threat hypothesis is currently limited to feelings of physical threat and memory for racial outgroups. Here, we extended these findings to a different form of threat — gender identity threat. Four studies documented that straight men who feel insecure about their masculinity have heightened recognition of gender-atypical faces. We therefore argue that gender identity concerns play an important role in social vision, arousing perceptual biases that have implications for how men attend to and remember others in their social environments.

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“Hot” Girls and “Cool Dudes”: Examining the Prevalence of the Heterosexual Script in American Children’s Television Media

Alexandra Kirsch & Sarah Murnen
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
As children’s consumption of media increases, examining the messages prevalent in popular TV programs is central to understanding how children learn to view and understand gender. A coding scheme of themes of the “heterosexual script” related to gender, sexuality, and relationships developed by Kim et al. (2007) was applied to 7 popular American children’s TV programs. The prevalence of the script varied across program, with certain programs depicting gender stereotypes as frequently as adult prime-time TV programs. Across programs, the most common theme was boys objectifying and valuing girls solely for their appearance and girls engaging in self-objectification and ego-stroking of boys. Programs with leads who are boys were more likely to enact these stereotypes, especially in the presence of other-gender peers, indicating that this script is linked to expectations within heterosexual relationships.

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Latent variable analysis indicates that seasonal anisotropy accounts for the higher prevalence of left-handedness in men

Ulrich Tran, Stefan Stieger & Martin Voracek
Cortex, August 2014, Pages 188–197

Abstract:
According to the Geschwind-Galaburda theory of cerebral lateralization, high intrauterine testosterone levels delay left brain hemisphere maturation and thus promote left-handedness. Human circulating testosterone levels are higher in the male fetus and also vary with length of photoperiod. Therefore, a higher prevalence of left-handedness, coupled with seasonal anisotropy (i.e., a non-uniform distribution of handedness across birth months or seasons), may be expected among men. Prior studies yielded inconsistent evidence for seasonal anisotropy and suffered from confounding and a number of shortcomings affecting statistical power. This study examined hand preference and associations of handedness with sex, age, and season of birth in independent discovery (n = 7658) and replication (n = 5062) samples from Central Europe with latent class analysis (LCA). We found clear evidence of a surplus of left-handed men born during the period November–January, which is consistent with predictions from the Geschwind-Galaburda theory. Moreover, seasonal anisotropy fully accounted for the higher prevalence of left-handedness among men, relative to women. Implications of these findings with regard to seasonal anisotropy research and handedness assessment and classification are discussed.

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Parent-of-origin-specific allelic associations among 106 genomic loci for age at menarche

John Perry et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality1. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation2, 3, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P < 5 × 10−8) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1-WDR25, MKRN3-MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin-specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and γ-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signalling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 25, 2014

So last century

Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment

Mara Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
While human capital is a strong predictor of economic development today, its importance for the Industrial Revolution is typically assessed as minor. To resolve this puzzling contrast, we differentiate average human capital (worker skills) from upper tail knowledge both theoretically and empirically. We build a simple spatial model, where worker skills raise the local productivity in a given technology, while scientific knowledge enables local entrepreneurs to keep up with a rapidly advancing technological frontier. The model predicts that the local presence of knowledge elites is unimportant in the pre-industrial era, but drives growth thereafter; worker skills, in contrast, are not crucial for growth. To measure the historical presence of knowledge elites, we use city-level subscriptions to the famous Encyclopédie in mid-18th century France. We show that subscriber density is a strong predictor of city growth after 1750, but not before the onset of French industrialization. Alternative measures of development confirm this pattern: soldier height and industrial activity are strongly associated with subscriber density after, but not before, 1750. Literacy, on the other hand, does not predict growth. Finally, by joining data on British patents with a large French firm survey from 1837, we provide evidence for the mechanism: upper tail knowledge raised the productivity in innovative industrial technology.

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Intergenerational transfer, human capital and long-term growth in China under the one child policy

Xi Zhu, John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao
Economic Modelling, June 2014, Pages 275–283

Abstract:
We suggest that the demographic changes caused by the one child policy (OCP) may not harm China's long-term growth. This is because of the higher human capital accumulation induced by the intergenerational transfer arrangements under China's poor-functioning formal social security system. Parents raise their children and depend on them for support when they reach an advanced age. A decrease in the number of children prompted by the OCP results in parents investing more in their children's education to ensure retirement consumption. In addition, decreased childcare costs strengthen educational investment through an income effect. Using a calibrated model, a benchmark with the OCP is compared to three counterfactual experiments without the OCP. Output in 2025 without OCP decreases about 4% under moderate estimates. The output gain comes from a greatly increased educational investment driven by fewer children (11.4 years of schooling rather than 8.1). Our model sheds new light on the prospects of China's long-term growth by emphasizing the OCP's growth enhancing role through human capital formation under intergenerational transfer arrangements.

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Potatoes, Milk, and the Old World Population Boom

Justin Cook
Journal of Development Economics, September 2014, Pages 123–138

Abstract:
This paper explores the role of two foods, potatoes and milk, in explaining the increase in economic development experienced throughout the Old World in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nunn and Qian (2011) show the introduction of the potato from the New World has a significant explanatory role for within country population and urbanization growth over this period. I expand on this by considering the role of milk consumption, which is hypothesized to be a complement in diet to potatoes due to a differential composition of essential nutrients. Using a country-level measure for the suitability of milk consumption, the frequency of lactase persistence, I show that the marginal effect of potatoes on post-1700 population and urbanization growth is positively related to milk consumption. As the frequency of milk consumption approaches unity, the marginal effect of potatoes more than doubles in magnitude compared to the baseline estimate of Nunn and Qian.

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Is there a Corruption-effect on Conspicuous Consumption?

Omer Gokcekus & Yui Suzuki
Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research, August 2014, Pages 215-235

Abstract:
This study empirically explores the following issue: Does corruption fuel conspicuous consumption? It examines the existence and magnitude of any potential corruption-effect on conspicuous consumption expenditure. Regression analyses of an unbalanced panel data for 20 OECD countries between 2004 and 2010 indicate that luxury car sales are higher by 191 per cent in a country with a high perceived corruption level, for example, CPI score of 4.5, as compared to a country with a low perceived corruption level, for example, CPI score of 9.0, ceteris paribus.

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Income Inequality and Violent Crime: Evidence from Mexico's Drug War

Ted Enamorado et al.
World Bank Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
The relationship between income inequality and crime has attracted the interest of many researchers, but little convincing evidence exists on the causal effect of inequality on crime in developing countries. This paper estimates this effect in a unique context: Mexico's Drug War. The analysis takes advantage of a unique data set containing inequality and crime statistics for more than 2,000 Mexican municipalities covering a period of 20 years. Using an instrumental variable for inequality that tackles problems of reverse causality and omitted variable bias, this paper finds that an increment of one point in the Gini coefficient translates into an increase of more than 10 drug-related homicides per 100,000 inhabitants between 2006 and 2010. There are no significant effects before 2005. The fact that the effect was found during Mexico's Drug War and not before is likely because the cost of crime decreased with the proliferation of gangs (facilitating access to knowledge and logistics, lowering the marginal cost of criminal behavior), which, combined with rising inequality, increased the expected net benefit from criminal acts after 2005.

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Mortality versus Morbidity in the Demographic Transition

Anna-Maria Aksan & Shankha Chakraborty
European Economic Review, October 2014, Pages 470–492

Abstract:
The link between the mortality and epidemiological transitions is used to identify the effect of the former on the fertility transition: a mortality transition that is not accompanied by improving morbidity causes slower demographic and economic change. In a model where children may die from infectious disease, childhood health affects human capital and noninfectious-disease-related adult mortality. When child mortality falls from lower prevalence, as it did in western Europe, labor productivity improves, fertility falls and the economy prospers. When it falls mainly from better cures, as it has in sub-Saharan Africa, survivors are less healthy and there is little economic growth. The model can quantitatively explain sub-Saharan Africa's experience. More generally it shows that the commonly used indicator, life expectancy at birth, is a poor predictor of population health and economic growth unless morbidity falls with mortality.

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Is global social welfare increasing? A critical-level enquiry

John Cockburn, Jean-Yves Duclos & Agnès Zabsonré
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess whether global social welfare has improved in the last decades despite (or because of) the substantial increase in global population. We use for this purpose a relatively unknown but simple and attractive social evaluation approach called critical-level generalized utilitarianism (CLGU). CLGU posits that social welfare increases with population size if and only if the new lives come with a level of living standards higher than that of a critical level. Despite its attractiveness, CLGU poses a number of practical difficulties that may explain why the literature has left it largely unexplored. We address these difficulties by developing new procedures for making partial CLGU orderings. The headline result is that we can robustly conclude that world welfare has increased between 1990 and 2005 if we judge that lives with per capita yearly consumption of more than $1,248 necessarily increase social welfare; the same conclusion applies to Sub-Saharan Africa if and only if we are willing to make that same judgement for lives with any level of per capita yearly consumption above $147. Otherwise, some of the admissible CLGU functions will judge the last two decades’ increase in global population size to have lowered global social welfare.

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Deals and Delays: Firm-Level Evidence on Corruption and Policy Implementation Times

Caroline Freund, Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Bob Rijkers
World Bank Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines whether demands for bribes for particular government services are associated with expedited or delayed policy implementation. The "grease the wheels" hypothesis, which contends that bribes act as speed money, implies three testable predictions. First, on average, bribe requests should be negatively correlated with wait times. Second, this relationship should vary across firms, with those with the highest opportunity cost of waiting being more likely to pay and face shorter delays. Third, the role of grease should vary across countries, with benefits larger where regulatory burdens are greatest. The data are inconsistent with all three predictions. According to the preferred specifications, ceteris paribus, firms confronted with demands for bribes take approximately 1.5 times longer to get a construction permit, operating license, or electrical connection than firms that did not have to pay bribes and, respectively, 1.2 and 1.4 times longer to clear customs when exporting and importing. The results are robust to controlling for firm fixed effects and at odds with the notion that corruption enhances efficiency.

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A refinement of the relationship between economic growth and income inequality

Fadi Fawaz, Masha Rahnama & Victor Valcarcel
Applied Economics, Summer 2014, Pages 3351-3361

Abstract:
There is mixed evidence in the literature of a clear relationship between income inequality and economic growth. Most of that work has focused almost exclusively on developed economies. In what we believe to be a first effort, our emphasis is solely on developing economics, which we classify as high-income and low-income developing countries (HIDC and LIDC). We make such distinction on theoretical and empirical grounds. Empirically, the World Bank has classified developing economies in this manner since 1978. The data in our sample are also supportive of such classifications. We provide theoretical scaffolding that uses asymmetric credit constraints as a premise for separating developing economies in such a way. We find strong evidence of a negative relationship between income inequality and economic growth in LIDC to be in stark contrast with a positive inequality–growth relationship for HIDC. Both correlations are statistically significant across multiple econometric specifications. Using international data from 1960 to 2010, this article explores the effect of income inequality on economic growth using dynamic panel technique, such as system generalized method of moments (GMM) that is believed to mitigate endogenous problem. These results are strikingly contrasting to the previous estimation results of Forbes (2000) displaying significant positive correlation between two variables in the short to medium term.

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Direct Estimation of Hidden Earnings: Evidence from Russian Administrative Data

Serguey Braguinsky, Sergey Mityakov & Andrey Liscovich
Journal of Law and Economics, May 2014, Pages 281-319

Abstract:
We employ unique administrative data from Moscow to obtain a direct estimate of hidden incomes. Our approach is based on comparing employer-reported earnings to market values of cars owned by the corresponding individuals and their households. We detect few hidden earnings in most foreign-owned firms and larger firms, especially state-owned enterprises in heavily regulated industries. The same empirical strategy indicates that up to 80 percent of earnings of car owners in the private sector are hidden, especially in smaller companies and industries such as trade and services, where cash flows are easier to manipulate. We also find considerable hidden earnings in government services. Our approach sheds new light on the decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) in Russia after the collapse of communism and subsequent recovery; in particular, we argue that a good deal of these changes might represent changes in income reporting rather than actual changes in GDP.

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Cultural Change, Risk-Taking Behavior and Implications for Economic Development

Mariko Klasing
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research studies the dynamic interplay between the evolution of risk attitudes and the process of economic development. This is achieved by integrating an endogenous growth model with a cultural transmission mechanism that captures how parents shape the risk attitudes of their children in response to economic incentives. The model predicts that in an economy in which the material benefits associated with risky entrepreneurial activity are high, agents will over time develop more risk tolerant attitudes, which in turn will speed up the rate of economic growth. It is shown that policy interventions aiming at supporting entrepreneurial activity can play an important role for overcoming the forces of risk aversion and promoting long-run economic growth. Furthermore, the paper highlights how by inducing cultural change, such policy interventions may quantitatively have larger effects than what would be predicted by more standard models of endogenous growth.

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Forging then Taming Leviathan: State Capacity, Constraints on Rulers, and Development

Jonathan Hanson
International Studies Quarterly, June 2014, Pages 380–392

Abstract:
Empirical research in the New Institutional Economics tradition has concentrated on the degree to which institutional constraints on rulers protect property rights and foster growth through private investment. This view of institutions is overly narrow, neglecting the role of state capacity in particular. Both state authority and constraints on rulers matter for economic performance, but the relative strength of these effects depends upon a country's distance from the frontier of the world economy. Tests using a panel data set that covers up to 84 countries from the period 1960 to 2005 reveal that, in countries that have low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, constraints on rulers in the form of checks and balances affect neither the rate of productivity growth nor the growth of capital stock per worker. Basic state authority, however, has a strong, positive effect on both of these outcomes. The story is different for advanced industrial economies, where the effects of checks are positive, especially with respect to productivity growth. Institutional checks on rulers are thus not an agent of investment-based growth but support continued growth based upon innovation at the leading edge.

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Revisiting American Exceptionalism: Democracy and the Regulation of Corporate Governance in Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania

Naomi Lamoreaux
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
The legal rules governing businesses’ organizational choices have varied across nations along two main dimensions: the number of different forms that businesses can adopt; and the extent to which businesses have the contractual freedom to modify the available forms to suit their needs. Until the last quarter of the twentieth century, businesses in the U.S. had a narrower range of forms from which to choose than their counterparts in these other countries and also much less ability to modify the basic forms contractually. This article uses the case of Pennsylvania to argue that the sources of this “American exceptionalism” reside in the interplay between the early achievement of universal (white) manhood suffrage and elite efforts to safeguard property rights.

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Geography or politics? Regional inequality in colonial India

Tirthankar Roy
European Review of Economic History, August 2014, Pages 324-348

Abstract:
Explaining regional inequality in the nineteenth-century world forms a major preoccupation of global history. A big country like India, being composed of regions that differed in geographical and political characteristics, raises a parallel set of issues to those debated in global economic history. With a new dataset, the paper attempts to tackle these issues, and finds evidence to suggest that regional differences, and divergence, were significantly influenced by geographical conditions.

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Impact of IMF Programs on Perceived Creditworthiness of Emerging Market Countries: Is There a “Nixon-Goes-to-China” Effect?

Hye Jee Cho
International Studies Quarterly, June 2014, Pages 308–321

Abstract:
This article examines whether the impact of International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs on the perceived creditworthiness of a country is conditional on government partisanship. Left-of-center governments tend to suffer from greater credibility problems in financial markets than right-wing governments, because they are typically believed to pursue expansionary policies and have less respect for debt obligations. Applying the conventional wisdom held as “Only Nixon can go to China,” I argue that adopting IMF programs can benefit leftist governments more than other types of governments. The logic of the Nixon paradox implies that market-oriented reforms have greater credibility when implemented by a left-of-center party, whose ideologies do not accord well with the IMF's neoliberal policies, than when implemented by a right-wing party. This is because market participants interpret the action by a leftist government as driven more by a willingness to commit to market-oriented reform than by ideological affinity. Using sovereign credit rating data for almost 90 emerging market countries from 1980 to 2004, I find robust evidence consistent with the “Nixon-Goes-to-China” hypothesis. The findings suggest that adopting IMF programs improves the perceived creditworthiness of leftist governments, whereas no such benefit is found among non-leftist governments.

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An African Growth Miracle?

Dani Rodrik
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Africa’s recent growth performance has raised expectations of a bright economic future for the continent after decades of decline. Yet there is a genuine question about whether Africa’s growth can be sustained, and if so, at what level. The balance of the evidence suggests caution on the prospects for high growth. While the region’s fundamentals have improved, the payoffs to macroeconomic stability and improved governance are mainly to foster resilience and lay the groundwork for growth, rather than to generate productivity growth on their own. The traditional engines behind rapid growth, structural change and industrialization, seem to be operating at less than full power. If African countries do achieve growth rates substantially higher, they will have to do so pursuing a growth model that is different from earlier miracles based on industrialization. This might be agriculture-led or services-led growth, but it will look quite different than what we have seen before.

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The Effects of Exposure to Hyperinflation on Occupational Choice

João De Mello, Caio Waisman & Eduardo Zilberman
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, October 2014, Pages 109–123

Abstract:
We use data on immigrants who live in the United States to study the effects of exposure to hyperinflation on occupational choice. To do so, we calculate the number of years an individual had lived under hyperinflation before arriving to the US. We find that its marginal effect on the probability of being self-employed instead of wage-earner is 0.87 percentage point. This finding suggests that the macroeconomic environment one lives in permanently affects his economic behavior. The estimated effect depends on the age individuals had when exposed to hyperinflation. In particular, it vanishes for those over the age of 40.

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Informality and Development

Rafael La Porta & Andrei Shleifer
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We establish five facts about the informal economy in developing countries. First, it is huge, reaching about half of the total in the poorest countries. Second, it has extremely low productivity compared to the formal economy: informal firms are typically small, inefficient, and run by poorly educated entrepreneurs. Third, although avoidance of taxes and regulations is an important reason for informality, the productivity of informal firms is too low for them to thrive in the formal sector. Lowering registration costs neither brings many informal firms into the formal sector, nor unleashes economic growth. Fourth, the informal economy is largely disconnected from the formal economy. Informal firms rarely transition to formality, and continue their existence, often for years or even decades, without much growth or improvement. Fifth, as countries grow and develop, the informal economy eventually shrinks, and the formal economy comes to dominate economic life. These five facts are most consistent with dual models of informality and economic development.

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The Consequences of Increased Enforcement of Legal Minimum Wages in a Developing Country: An Evaluation of the Impact of the Campaña Nacional De Salarios Mínimos in Costa Rica

T.H. Gindling, Nadwa Mossaad & Juan Diego Trejos
University of Maryland Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
In August 2010 the Costa Rican government implemented a comprehensive program to increase compliance with legal minimum wages, the Campaign for Minimum Wages. To evaluate the impact of the Campaign, we use a regression discontinuity approach, which compares what happened to workers who before the campaign had been earning below the minimum wage to those who before the Campaign had been earning above the minimum wage. We analyze a panel data set with information on workers from before the Campaign began (July 2010) and after the Campaign had been in operation for some time (July 2011). We find evidence that the Campaign led to an increase in compliance with minimum wage laws in Costa Rica; the mean earnings of those earning less than the minimum wage in 2010 increased by approximately 10% more than the earnings of those who had been earning more than the minimum wage. The Campaign led to the largest increases in the wages of women, younger workers and less-educated workers. We find no evidence that the Campaign had a negative impact on the employment of full-time workers whose wages were increased. We find some weak evidence that the Campaign had a negative impact on the employment of part-time private sector employees. Although increased inspections were mainly targeting minimum wage violations, we also observe an increase in compliance with a broader set of labor standards and a positive spillover effect relative to other violations of labor laws.

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Needs-Based Targeting or Favoritism? The Regional Allocation of Multilateral Aid within Recipient Countries

Hannes Öhler & Peter Nunnenkamp
Kyklos, August 2014, Pages 420–446

Abstract:
The regional allocation of aid within recipient countries has been largely ignored. We use geocoded data on the location of aid projects financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank within a sample of 27 recipient countries to assess the claim of donors that their aid targets needy population segments. We also assess whether political leaders in these countries direct aid funds to their home region. We do not find that the multilateral institutions take regional needs into account. Instead, favoritism appears to play an important role for location choices, in particular for physical infrastructure projects.

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Holy Cows or Cash Cows?

Orazio Attanasio & Britta Augsburg
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
In a recent paper, Anagol, Etang and Karlan (2013) consider the income generated by these owning a cow or a buffalo in two districts of Uttar Pradesh, India. The net profit generated ignoring labour costs, gives rise to a small positive rate of return. Once any reasonable estimate of labour costs is added to costs, the rate of return is a large negative number. The authors conclude that households holding this type of assets do not behave according to the tenets of capitalism. A variety of explanations, typically appealing to religious or cultural factors have been invoked for such a puzzling fact. In this note, we point to a simple explanation that is fully consistent with rational behaviour on the part of Indian farmers. In computing the return on cows and buffaloes, the authors used data from a single year. Cows are assets whose return varies through time. In drought years, when fodder is scarce and expensive, milk production is lower and profits are low. In non-drought years, when fodder is abundant and cheaper, milk production is higher and profits can be considerably higher. The return on cows and buffaloes, like that of many stocks traded on Wall Street, is positive in some years and negative in others. We report evidence from three years of data on the return on cows and buffaloes in the district of Anantapur and show that in one of the three years returns are very high, while in drought years they are similar to the figures obtained by Anagol, Etang and Karlan (2013).

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Having a Son Promotes Clean Cooking Fuel Use in Urban India: Women’s Status and Son Preference

Avinash Kishore & Dean Spears
Economic Development and Cultural Change, July 2014, Pages 673-699

Abstract:
Urban Indian households with a male first child are approximately 2 percentage points more likely to use clean cooking fuel than comparable households with a female first child. Given Indian son preference, there are at least two mechanisms by which child sex could affect fuel choice: by improving the intrahousehold status of women, who bear more of the costs of traditional fuels, or by presenting an opportunity to invest in children’s health, in the context of a preference for healthier boys. If child sex is not selected for by biased abortion or other processes, then the sex of a first child has an exogenous causal effect on household fuel choice. We show that the association between fuel choice and child sex is not driven by terminated pregnancies or by household wealth or family size. Among a range of outcomes we study, the effect of child sex is unique to fuel choice; our finding that there is no effect on other assets indicates that it is unlikely that the result is confounded by real or subjectively anticipated wealth. In addition to the National Family Health Survey NFHS-3, the main data source studied, we approximately replicate the result using the NFHS-2 and the District Level Health and Facilities Survey DLHS-3. Finally, we show evidence for a “first-stage” effect of having a first son on women’s social status: such women have a greater body mass index, on average.

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A West African experiment: Constructing a GDP series for colonial Ghana, 1891–1950

Morten Jerven
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been a recent surge in research on long-term African development. For this research agenda to be fruitful and its theories tested, it is crucial to have consistent estimates of economic change. However, there is a lack of reliable time series data for the colonial period in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article contributes new time series data for the Gold Coast and Ghana between 1890 and 2010 and in particular a new GDP time series for Ghana for the years 1891–1957. The series implies a sustained period of economic expansion from the late nineteenth century. This suggests a revision of some prevalent truths about the history of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, and points the way forward for expanding the database to cover the colonial period for other African economies.

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The Effect of Content on Global Internet Adoption and the Global “Digital Divide”

Brian Viard & Nicholas Economides
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
A country's human capital and economic productivity increasingly depend on the Internet as a result of its expanding role in providing information and communications. This has prompted a search for ways to increase Internet adoption and narrow its disparity across countries — the global “digital divide.” Previous work has focused on demographic, economic, and infrastructure determinants of Internet access that are difficult to change in the short run. Internet content increases adoption and can be changed more quickly; however, the magnitude of its impact, and therefore its effectiveness as a policy and strategy tool, has until now been unknown. Quantifying the role of content is challenging because of feedback (network effects) between content and adoption: more content stimulates adoption, which in turn increases the incentive to create content. We develop a methodology to overcome this endogeneity problem. We find a statistically and economically significant effect, implying that policies promoting content creation can substantially increase adoption. Because it is ubiquitous, Internet content is also useful to affect social change across countries. Content has a greater effect on adoption in countries with more disparate languages, making it a useful tool to overcome linguistic isolation. Our results offer guidance for policymakers on country characteristics that influence adoption's responsiveness to content and for Internet firms on where to expand internationally and how to quantify content investments.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Going steady

Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages

Wolfgang Frimmel, Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer
Demography, August 2014, Pages 1357-1379

Abstract:
Policies to promote marriage are controversial, and it is unclear whether they are successful. To analyze such policies, one must distinguish between a marriage that is created by a marriage-promoting policy (marginal marriage) and a marriage that would have been formed even in the absence of a state intervention (average marriage). We exploit the suspension of a cash-on-hand marriage subsidy in Austria to examine the differential behavior of marginal and average marriages. The announcement of an impending suspension of this subsidy led to an enormous marriage boom among eligible couples that allows us to locate marginal marriages. Applying a difference-in-differences approach, we show that marginal marriages are surprisingly as stable as average marriages but produce fewer children, children later in marriage, and children who are less healthy at birth.

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Free to Leave? A Welfare Analysis of Divorce Regimes

Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
During the 1970s the US underwent an important change in its divorce laws, switching from mutual consent to a unilateral divorce regime. Who benefitted and who lost from this change? To answer this question we develop a dynamic life-cycle model in which agents make consumption, saving, labor force participation (LFP), and marriage and divorce decisions subject to several shocks and given a particular divorce regime. We calibrate the model using statistics relevant to the life-cycle of the 1940 cohort. Conditioning solely on gender, our ex ante welfare analysis finds that women would fare better under mutual consent whereas men would prefer a unilateral system. Once we condition not only on gender but also on initial productivity, we find that men in the top three quintiles of the initial productivity distribution are made better off by a unilateral system as are the top two quintiles of women; the rest prefer mutual consent. We also find that although the change in divorce regime had only a small effect on the LFP of married women in the 1940 cohort, these effects would be considerably larger for a cohort who lived its entire life under a unilateral divorce system.

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Trends in Cohabitation Outcomes: Compositional Changes and Engagement Among Never-Married Young Adults

Karen Benjamin Guzzo
Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2014, Pages 826–842

Abstract:
Cohabitation is now the modal first union for young adults, and most marriages are preceded by cohabitation even as fewer cohabitations transition to marriage. These contrasting trends may be due to compositional shifts among cohabiting unions, which are increasingly heterogeneous in terms of cohabitation order, engagement, and the presence of children, as well as across socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The author constructs 5-year cohabitation cohorts for 18- to 34-year-olds from the 2002 and 2006–2010 cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (n = 17,890 premarital cohabitations) to examine the outcomes of cohabitations over time. Compared to earlier cohabitations, those formed after 1995 were more likely to dissolve, and those formed after 2000 were less likely to transition to marriage even after accounting for the compositional shifts among individuals in cohabiting unions. Higher instability and decreased chances of marriage occurred among both engaged and non-engaged individuals, suggesting society-wide changes in cohabitation over time.

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Earnings Equality and Relationship Stability for Same-Sex and Heterosexual Couples

Katherine Weisshaar
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines a topic of continuing interest for demographers and sociologists of the family: which factors promote relationship stability among couples. Two competing theories have been highly debated to explain how relative earnings relate to relationship quality and stability. The neoclassical economic theory posits that specialization of home and work duties leads to stability because partners fill complementary roles. Gender scholars propose an alternative explanation, suggesting that when couples violate the traditional male-breadwinner model, they experience relationship strain and are more likely to experience a breakup. Using the new How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) data set, this paper offers a unique perspective on the debate, by comparing same-sex couples to heterosexual couples. The paper presents three sets of analyses to determine how relative earnings relate to relationship stability. The first analysis employs discrete-time event history models to assess the likelihood of breakup for both heterosexual and same-sex cohabiting couples. Next, the paper presents results predicting self-reported relationship quality among married and cohabiting couples. The final analysis focuses on non-cohabiting couples from wave I of the HCMST survey and examines the likelihood of entering cohabitation in subsequent survey waves. Results demonstrate that the economic or specialization model does not hold in same-sex relationships, suggesting that the effect of earnings equality is dependent upon gender norms in heterosexual relationships. When earnings power is disentangled from gender, as in the case of same-sex couples, equality in earnings promotes stability.

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Energized by love: Thinking about romantic relationships increases positive affect and blood glucose levels

Sarah Stanton, Lorne Campbell & Timothy Loving
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assessed the impact of thinking of a current romantic partner on acute blood glucose responses and positive affect over a short period of time. Participants in romantic relationships were randomly assigned to reflect on their partner, an opposite-sex friend, or their morning routine. Blood glucose levels were assessed prior to reflection, as well as at 10 and 25 min postreflection. Results revealed that individuals in the routine and friend conditions exhibited a decline in glucose over time, whereas individuals in the partner condition did not exhibit this decline (rather, a slight increase) in glucose over time. Reported positive affect following reflection was positively associated with increases in glucose, but only for individuals who reflected on their partner, suggesting this physiological response reflects eustress. These findings add to the literature on eustress in relationships and have implications for relationship processes.

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Do Daughters Really Cause Divorce? Stress, Pregnancy, and Family Composition

Amar Hamoudi & Jenna Nobles
Demography, August 2014, Pages 1423-1449

Abstract:
Provocative studies have reported that in the United States, marriages producing firstborn daughters are more likely to divorce than those producing firstborn sons. The findings have been interpreted as contemporary evidence of fathers’ son preference. Our study explores the potential role of another set of dynamics that may drive these patterns: namely, selection into live birth. Epidemiological evidence indicates that the characteristic female survival advantage may begin before birth. If stress accompanying unstable marriages has biological effects on fecundity, a female survival advantage could generate an association between stability and the sex composition of offspring. Combining regression and simulation techniques to analyze real-world data, we ask, How much of the observed association between sex of the firstborn child and risk of divorce could plausibly be accounted for by the joint effects of female survival advantage and reduced fecundity associated with unstable marriage? Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), we find that relationship conflict predicts the sex of children born after conflict was measured; conflict also predicts subsequent divorce. Conservative specification of parameters linking pregnancy characteristics, selection into live birth, and divorce are sufficient to generate a selection-driven association between offspring sex and divorce, which is consequential in magnitude. Our findings illustrate the value of demographic accounting of processes which occur before birth — a period when many outcomes of central interest in the population sciences begin to take shape.

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Love You? Hate You? Maybe It’s Both: Evidence That Significant Others Trigger Bivalent-Priming

Vivian Zayas & Yuichi Shoda
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychoanalytic theory, clinical practice, and intuition all suggest that human beings can be profoundly ambivalent about significant others. However, experimental psychology has commonly assessed automatic evaluations as either positive or negative, but not both simultaneously. Experiment 1 showed that activating the mental representation of a significant other facilitated the processing of both positive and negative information (bivalent-priming). In contrast, replicating past work, activating the mental representation of an object facilitated classification of only valence-congruent targets and inhibited classification of valence-incongruent targets (univalent-priming). Experiment 2 demonstrated that these results were not attributable to alternative accounts, such as arousal. The results support the long-held proposition that significant others automatically facilitate coactivation of positive and negative and that commonly used relative (good vs. bad) measures of automatic evaluation may not capture this affective complexity.

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His and Hers: Economic Factors and Relationship Quality in Germany

Jessica Halliday Hardie, Claudia Geist & Amy Lucas
Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2014, Pages 728–743

Abstract:
Research has linked economic factors to relationship quality in the United States, primarily using cross-sectional data. In the current study, 2 waves of the Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics data (n = 2,937) were used to test the gendered association between economic factors and relationship satisfaction among young German couples. In contrast to U.S.-based studies, the findings showed striking gender differences in the association between economic factors and relationship satisfaction for Germans. In cross-sectional models, women's relationship satisfaction was positively associated with receiving government economic support, and men's satisfaction was positively associated with poverty status and negatively associated with being a breadwinner. Longitudinal models revealed that changes in poverty status are associated with women's satisfaction, but men's satisfaction remains tied to their role as family provider. These unexpected results suggest that men's satisfaction is positively associated with a more equal division of labor market activity between partners.

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Married and cohabiting parents’ well-being: The effects of a cultural normative context across countries

Olga Stavrova & Detlef Fetchenhauer
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research of personal relationships has typically linked childbearing in cohabiting (compared to married) couples to decreased well-being. Using data from 24 European countries, we show that this effect is not universal; rather, it is restricted to countries with a strong social norm that proscribes childbearing in cohabiting unions. We examine two potential mechanisms of this effect; the personal norm (cohabiting parents are worse off because their status deviates from their own expectations) and social norm (cohabiting parents are worse off because they experience external social sanctions, such as social disapproval) mechanisms. Our results provide support for the social norm mechanism. First, the detrimental effect related to a country’s social norm exists even for cohabiting parents who personally favor childbearing in cohabiting couples. Second, in countries with a strong norm against childbearing in cohabiting unions, cohabiting parents feel that they are less respected than married couples, which contributes to lower levels of life satisfaction.

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Relational consequences of personal goal pursuits

Laura VanderDrift & Christopher Agnew
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2014, Pages 927-940

Abstract:
Individuals balance tasks necessary to fulfill personal goals and to maintain their interpersonal relationships. In the current studies, we examined the impact of personal goal pursuits on how individuals process and respond to events in their romantic relationships. In 5 experiments, we examined consequences of motivationally active personal goals for relationships. Results indicated that when individuals focused on pursuing a personal goal, they processed relationship information in an evaluatively polarized (Study 1), one-sided (Study 2) fashion. Relative to those deliberating about a personal goal, those focused on a personal goal reported less willingness to engage in some kinds of pro-relationship behaviors (Study 3) and were more likely to forego an opportunity to improve their relationship (Study 4). We attribute this pattern of findings to processing that shielded the personal goal from goal-irrelevant influence (Study 5). These findings provide a greater understanding of how pursuing a personal goal can undermine relationships.

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Gender Equality Perceptions, Division of Paid and Unpaid Work, and Partnership Dissolution in Sweden

Livia Sz. Oláh & Michael Gähler
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
With the increase in female employment and the decrease in gender labor specialization, there has also been a marked change in gender role attitudes. An increasing proportion of women and men has come to prefer gender egalitarianism. Yet a marked gender division of labor persists. Here, we study the interplay between individual gender role attitudes and behavior in terms of sharing paid and unpaid work with one's partner, and implications for partnership stability. We focus on Sweden, a country with long experience of the dual-earner model and policies supporting female labor-force participation while also promoting men's active engagement in family tasks. We test two hypotheses: first, that gender egalitarianism in attitudes and behavior per se strengthens partnership stability (the gender egalitarian model) and second, that consistency in individual attitudes and couple behavior, whether egalitarian or traditional, strengthens partnership stability (the attitude-behavior consistency model). We use data from the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study (YAPS) conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2009. We find no difference in dissolution risk between the consistent egalitarian and the consistent traditional individuals, and both categories exhibit lower dissolution risks than individuals holding gender egalitarian views but dividing workload with their spouse/partner in a gender-traditional way. These results speak in favor of the attitude-behavior consistency model of marriage.

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Implicit Agency, Communality, and Perceptual Congruence in Couples: Implications for Relationship Health

Danielle Young, Corinne Moss-Racusin & Diana Sanchez
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 133–138

Abstract:
Men and women are expected to exemplify the gendered traits of agency (masculinity) and communality (femininity). Research has yet to examine how the implicit adoption of these traits influences close relationships. To address these gaps, the current study used the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in a dyadic context to examine whether or not these implicit traits, and perceptual congruence (i.e., seeing one’s partner as they see themselves) regarding these traits, relate to relationship health in mixed-sex couples. Results revealed that when both partners implicitly viewed themselves as the more agentic partner, relationship health suffered. Having one or both partners identify as more communal resulted in greater relationship health. Results were equally positive regardless of whether couples implicitly viewed their relationship traditionally (i.e., perceiving the male as the more agentic partner and the female as the more communal partner) or non-traditionally (i.e., perceiving the female as more agentic, and the male as more communal). Implications for interpersonal relationships are discussed.

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Implicit Self-Evaluations Predict Changes in Implicit Partner Evaluations

James McNulty, Levi Baker & Michael Olson
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do people who feel good about themselves have better relations with others? Although the notion that they do is central to both classic and modern theories, there is little strong evidence to support it. We argue that one reason for the lack of evidence is that prior research has relied exclusively on explicit measures of self- and relationship evaluation. The current longitudinal study of newlywed couples used implicit measures of self- and partner evaluation, as well as explicit measures of self-, relationship, and partner evaluation, to examine the link between self-evaluations and changes in relationship evaluations over the first 3 years of marriage. Whereas explicit self-evaluations were unrelated to changes in all interpersonal measures, implicit self-evaluations positively predicted changes in implicit partner evaluations. This finding adds to previous research by highlighting the importance of automatic processes and implicit measures in the study of close interpersonal relationships.

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Meaningfulness of Service and Marital Satisfaction in Army Couples

Jeffrey Bergmann et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The vast numbers of military service members who have been deployed since 2001 highlights the need to better understand relationships of military couples. A unique consideration in military couples is the concept of meaningfulness of service, or the value service members and their partners place on military service in spite of the sacrifices it requires. In a sample of 606 Army couples, the authors used path analysis to examine how male service members’ and female spouses’ perceived meaningfulness of service added to the prediction of marital satisfaction in both members of the couple, when accounting for service members’ PTSD symptoms. Spouses’ perceived meaningfulness of service was linked with higher marital satisfaction in spouses, regardless of service member’s perceived meaningfulness of service. Service members’ perceived meaningfulness of service was also associated with increased marital satisfaction in service members, but only when their spouses also perceived higher meaningfulness. There were no significant interactions between service members’ PTSD and either partner’s perceived meaningfulness. Implications for enhanced attention to spousal perceptions of meaningfulness of service are discussed.

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Protected By Your Self-Control: The Influence of Partners’ Self-Control on Actors’ Responses to Interpersonal Risk

Sarah Gomillion et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-control allows people to curb destructive behavior and behave more pro-socially in relationships. Thus, individuals generally trust partners with high dispositional self-control more. However, it is not clear whether partner self-control influences individuals’ responses to acutely risky situations, such as when partners are rejecting. A daily diary study of married and cohabiting couples examined whether actors with high self-control partners behave less self-protectively in risky situations. On days partners were highly rejecting, actors were less likely to retaliate against and more likely to value high self-control partners. On days after partners had been rejecting, actors also reported that high self-control partners behaved more responsively. Actors also trusted partners with high self-control more regardless of risk. Taken together, our findings suggest that partners’ greater self-control may help foster more positive interaction cycles in romantic relationships.

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Cohort differences in the marriage–health relationship for midlife women

Nicky Newton et al.
Social Science & Medicine, September 2014, Pages 64–72

Abstract:
The present study aimed to identify potential cohort differences in midlife women's self-reported functional limitations and chronic diseases. Additionally, we examined the relationship between marital status and health, comparing the health of divorced, widowed, and never married women with married women, and how this relationship differs by cohort. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we examined potential differences in the level of functional limitations and six chronic diseases in two age-matched cohorts of midlife women in the United States: Pre-Baby Boomers, born 1933–1942, N = 4574; and Early Baby Boomers, born 1947–1956, N = 2098. Linear and logistic regressions tested the marital status/health relationship, as well as cohort differences in this relationship, controlling for age, education, race, number of marriages, length of time in marital status, physical activity, and smoking status. We found that Early Baby Boom women had fewer functional limitations but higher risk of chronic disease diagnosis compared to Pre-Baby Boom women. In both cohorts, marriage was associated with lower disease risk and fewer functional limitations; however, never-married Early Baby Boom women had more functional limitations, as well as greater likelihood of lung disease than their Pre-Baby Boom counterparts (OR = 0.28). Results are discussed in terms of the stress model of marriage, and the association between historical context and cohort health (e.g., the influence of economic hardship vs. economic prosperity). Additionally, we discuss cohort differences in selection into marital status, particularly as they pertain to never-married women, and the relative impact of marital dissolution on physical health for the two cohorts of women.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bad outcomes

Medical Malpractice Reform, the Supply of Physicians, and Adverse Selection

Ethan Lieber
Journal of Law and Economics, May 2014, Pages 501-527

Abstract:
Malpractice reforms tend to reduce physicians' liability for harming patients. Because these reforms are passed at the state level, the costs of harming patients vary widely by geographic location. In this paper, I test whether malpractice reforms affect where physicians choose to practice and whether physicians who relocate in response to reforms are particularly prone to commit malpractice. Because a state’s own reforms cannot separately distinguish moral hazard from adverse selection, and because those reforms are likely to have direct effects on measures of malpractice via the legal market, I focus attention on neighboring states’ reforms. I find that when a state’s neighbor passes a cap on noneconomic damages, both the physician-to-population ratio and the malpractice rate fall. This suggests that physicians who relocate in response to noneconomic damages caps are more likely to commit malpractice.

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"Sticker Shock" in Individual Insurance under Health Reform

Mark Pauly, Scott Harrington & Adam Leive
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
This paper provides estimates of the changes in premiums, average or expected out of pocket payments, and the sum of premiums and out of pocket payments (total expected price) for a sample of consumers who bought individual insurance in 2010 to 2012, comparing total expected prices before the Affordable Care Act with estimates of total expected prices if they were to purchase silver or bronze coverage after reform, before the effects of any premium subsidies. We provide comparisons for purchasers of self only coverage in California and in 23 states with minimal prior state premium regulation before the ACA now using federally managed exchanges. Using data from the Current Population Survey, we find that the average prices increased by 14 to 28 percent, with similar changes in California and the federal exchange states; we attribute the increase primarily to higher premiums in exchanges associated with insurer expectations of a higher risk population being enrolled. The increase in total expected price is similar for age-gender population subgroups except for a larger than average increases for older women. A welfare calculation of the change in risk premium associated with moving from coverage that prevailed before reform to bronze or silver coverage finds small changes.

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Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine, Revisited

Myungho Paik, Bernard Black & David Hyman
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Does tort reform reduce defensive medicine and thus healthcare spending? Several (though not all) prior studies find a drop in spending following the adoption of caps on non-economic or total damages (“damage caps”), principally during the 1980s. We re-examine this issue in several ways. First, we study health care spending trends in the nine states that adopted caps during the “third reform wave,” from 2002-2005. Across a variety of difference-in-difference (DiD) methods, damage caps have no significant impact on Medicare Part A (hospital) spending, but lead to 4-5% higher Medicare Part B (physician) spending. Consistent with the DiD analysis, in county fixed effects regressions over 1998-2010, Part B spending is higher in states with lower med mal claim rates. We then revisit the 1980s caps, using stronger covariates. We find no evidence of a post-adoption drop (or rise) in spending for these caps. We conclude that (i) there is no evidence that damage caps reduce overall Medicare spending, and (ii) third-wave caps induce a gradual increase in Part B spending.

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Shifting The Open Enrollment Period For ACA Marketplaces Could Increase Enrollment And Improve Plan Choices

Katherine Swartz & John Graves
Health Affairs, July 2014, Pages 1286-1293

Abstract:
The next open enrollment period for plans offered in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) insurance Marketplaces is set to occur between November 15, 2014, and February 15, 2015 — just when many lower-income people are financially stressed by demands of the holiday season. Recent research by experimental psychologists and behavioral economists strongly suggests that when people’s decision-making capacity (bandwidth) is stretched thin, either they cannot make decisions or they make poor choices. Using data from nearly a decade of US-based Internet search queries to measure population behavior, we found considerable seasonality in measures of financial stress and in when people seek out information on health insurance plans. A more opportune time for scheduling open enrollment for the ACA Marketplaces may be between February 15 and April 15 — weeks when low-income people typically receive income tax refunds and Earned Income Tax Credit payments. Such lump-sum payments could be applied to pay individuals’ share of premiums.

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The Affordable Care Act in an Economy with Federal Disability Insurance

Yue Li
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by considering a dynamic interaction between extending health insurance coverage and the demand for federal disability insurance. This paper extends the Bewley-Huggett-Aiyagari incomplete markets model by endogenizing health accumulation and disability decisions. The model suggests that the ACA will reduce the fraction of working-age people receiving disability benefits by 1 percentage point. In turn, the changes associated with disability decisions will help fund 47 percent of the ACA's cost. Last, compared to the ACA, an alternative plan without Medicaid expansion will reduce tax burdens and improve welfare.

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Spillover Effects of Community Uninsurance on Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension Among Insured Adults

José Escarce Sarah Edgington & Carole Roan Gresenz
Medical Care, July 2014, Pages 626-633

Objective: To assess the spillover effects of the rate of uninsurance in a community on the awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, a chronic condition responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality in the United States, among insured adults.

Research Design: NHANES III (1988–1994) and the 1999–2010 NHANES were linked to data from the Current Population Survey, Area Resource File, and InterStudy Competitive Edge. Multivariate probit regression models used 2 alternative estimation approaches: (1) maximum likelihood estimation, and (2) 2-stage residual inclusion estimation, an instrumental variables method.

Results: A 10 percentage point increase in the community uninsurance rate reduced the probability of receiving antihypertensive medications by 4.2 percentage points among insured hypertensive adults and by 5.5 percentage points among insured hypertensive adults who were aware of their hypertension. A 10 percentage point increase in the community uninsurance rate also resulted in a 6.8 percentage point decline in the probability of blood pressure control among insured hypertensive adults who were aware of their condition.

Conclusions: Nationally, the Affordable Care Act is expected to reduce the number of uninsured by >30 million by 2016, although changes will be experienced by communities to a greater or lesser extent depending on the existing numbers and characteristics of the uninsured in the area and the ways in which health care reform is implemented. Our results suggest that reductions in the community uninsurance rate have the potential to improve quality of care and clinical outcomes among the insured.

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Nurse Unions and Patient Outcomes

Arindrajit Dube, Ethan Kaplan & Owen Thompson
University of California Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We estimate the impact of nurse unions on health care quality using patient discharge data and the universe of hospital unionizations in California between 1996 and 2005. We find that hospitals with a successful union election outperform hospitals with a failed election in 12 of 13 nurse sensitive patient outcomes measures. We also find that hospitals with a unionization drive are establishments with declining quality as measured by patient outcomes. When such declines are accounted for using hospital-specific trends, we find that unionized hospitals also outperform hospitals without any union election in the same 12 of 13 outcome measures.The timing of the quality improvement is consistent with a causal impact: the largest changes occur precisely in the year of unionization. The biggest improvements are found in the incidence of metabolic derangement, pulmonary failure, and central nervous system disorders such as depression and delusion, where the estimated changes are between 15% and 60% of the mean incidence for those measures. Dynamic estimates confirm that the improvements in health care outcomes occur within the first two years following nurse unionization.

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Do Hospitals Cross-Subsidize?

Guy David et al.
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite its salience as a regulatory tool to ensure the delivery of unprofitable services, cross-subsidization of services within hospital systems has been notoriously difficult to detect and quantify. We use repeated shocks to a profitable service in the market for hospital-based medical care to test for cross-subsidization of unprofitable services. Using patient-level data from general short-term hospitals in Arizona and Colorado before and after entry by cardiac specialty hospitals, we study how incumbent hospitals adjusted their provision of uncontested services. While the hospitals most exposed to entry reduced their provision of services considered to be unprofitable (psychiatric, substance-abuse, and to a lesser extent trauma care), the estimates are generally modest in magnitude and in some instances statistically indistinguishable from zero. Although entry by single-specialty hospitals may adversely affect the provision of unprofitable uncontested services, these findings warrant further evaluation of service-line cross-subsidization as a means to finance them.

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The Deterrent Effect of Tort Law: Evidence from Medical Malpractice Reform

Zenon Zabinski & Bernard Black
Northwestern University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
A principal goal of tort law is to deter negligent behavior, but there is limited empirical evidence on whether it does so. We study that question for medical malpractice liability. We examine whether medical malpractice reforms affect in-hospital patient safety, using Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) – measures of adverse events developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – as proxies for overall safety. In Difference-in-Differences analyses of five states that adopt caps on non-economic damages during 2003-2005, we find consistent evidence that patient safety generally falls after the reforms, compared to control states.

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Medicare Part B Intensity and Volume Offset

Christopher Brunt
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Under Medicare Part B, adjustments to the fee schedule are made under the assumption that physicians and hospitals make up for fee reductions through increased service provision called ‘volume offsetting’. While historically, researchers have found evidence of volume offsetting, more recent studies have called into question its magnitude and existence. This study is the first to propose and empirically evaluate an alternative hypothesis of offsetting, namely the alteration of billed or provided services as a means of ‘intensity offsetting’. Evaluating both forms of offsetting, it finds strong evidence of intensity offsetting and little to no evidence of volume offsetting. Simulating a 10% reduction in the Medicare fee schedule, this study estimates that across different procedures between 22% and 59% of a fee reduction will be offset through alterations in service intensity.

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Effect of Massachusetts Health Reform on Chronic Disease Outcomes

Tomasz Stryjewski et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To determine whether Massachusetts Health Reform improved health outcomes in uninsured patients with hyperlipidemia, diabetes, or hypertension.

Study Design: We examined 1,463 patients with hyperlipidemia, diabetes, or hypertension who were uninsured in the 3 years before the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform implementation. We assessed mean quarterly total cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin, and systolic blood pressure in the respective cohorts for five follow-up years compared with 3,448 propensity score-matched controls who remained insured for the full 8-year study period. We used person-level interrupted time series analysis to estimate changes in outcomes adjusting for sex, age, race, estimated household income, and comorbidity. We also analyzed the subgroups of uninsured patients with poorly controlled disease at baseline, no evidence of established primary care in the baseline period, and those who received insurance in the first follow-up year.

Principal Findings: In 5 years after Massachusetts Health Reform, patients who were uninsured at baseline did not experience detectable trend changes in total cholesterol (−0.39 mg/dl per quarter, 95 percent confidence interval [−1.11 to 0.33]), glycosylated hemoglobin (−0.02 percent per quarter [−0.06 to 0.03]), or systolic blood pressure (−0.06 mmHg per quarter [−0.29 to 0.18]). Analyses of uninsured patients with poorly controlled disease, no evidence of established primary care in the baseline period, and those who received insurance in the first follow-up year yielded similar findings.

Conclusions: Massachusetts Health Reform was not associated with improvements in hyperlipidemia, diabetes, or hypertension control after 5 years. Interventions beyond insurance coverage might be needed to improve the health of chronically ill uninsured persons.

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Massachusetts Health Reform and Access for Children With Special Health Care Needs

Anna Jo Smith & Alyna Chien
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Background and objectives: Children with special health care needs (CSHCN) face unique challenges in accessing affordable health care. Massachusetts implemented major health reform in 2006; little is known about the impact of this state’s health reform on uninsurance, access to care, and financial protection for privately and publicly insured CSHCN.

Methods: We used a difference-in-differences (DD) approach to compare uninsurance, access to primary and specialty care, and financial protection in Massachusetts versus other states and Washington, DC before and after Massachusetts health reform. Parent-reported data were used from the 2005–2006 and 2009–2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs and adjusted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, non-English language at home, and functional difficulties.

Results: Postreform, living in Massachusetts was not associated with significant decreases in uninsurance or increases in access to primary care for CSHCN. For privately insured CSHCN, Massachusetts was associated with increased access to specialists (DD = 6.0%; P ≤ .001) postreform. For publicly insured CSHCN, however, there was a significant decrease in access to prescription medications (DD = –7.2%; P = .003) postreform. Living in Massachusetts postreform was not associated with significant changes in financial protection compared with privately or publicly insured CSHCN in other states.

Conclusions: Massachusetts health reform likely improved access to specialists for privately insured CSHCN but did not decrease instances of uninsurance, increase access to primary care, or improve financial protection for CSHCN in general. Comparable provisions within the Affordable Care Act may produce similarly modest outcomes for CSHCN.

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The Effect of the Affordable Care Act’s Expanded Coverage Policy on Access to Dental Care

Marko Vujicic, Cassandra Yarbrough & Kamyar Nasseh
Medical Care, August 2014, Pages 715-719

Background: The Affordable Care Act included a dependent coverage policy that extends parents’ or guardians’ health insurance to adults aged 19–25. This policy does not apply directly to private dental benefits. However, for various reasons it could still have an indirect “spillover” effect if employers voluntarily expand dental coverage in conjunction with medical coverage.

Research Design: Difference-in-differences models were used to measure the association between the dependent coverage policy and private dental benefits coverage, utilization, and financial barriers to dental care. We analyze 2008–2012 National Health Interview Survey data, comparing results in 2011 and 2012 with results from 2008 to 2010 (prereform period).

Results: Relative to the prereform period, private dental benefits coverage among adults aged 19–25 increased by 5.6 percentage points in 2011 (P<0.001) and 6.9 percentage points in 2012 (P<0.001) compared with adults aged 26–34. Dental care utilization among adults aged 19–25 increased by 2.8 percentage points in 2011 (P=0.062) and 3.3 percentage points in 2012 (P=0.038) compared with adults aged 26–34. Adults aged 19–25 experienced a 2.1 percentage point decrease in 2011 (P=0.068) and a 2.0 percentage point decrease in 2012 (P=0.087) in financial barriers to dental care compared with adults aged 26–34.

Conclusions: The dependent coverage policy was associated with an increase in private dental benefits coverage and dental care utilization, and a decrease in financial barriers to dental care among young adults aged 19–25.

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Paying on the Margin for Medical Care: Evidence from Breast Cancer Treatments

Liran Einav, Amy Finkelstein & Heidi Williams
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We present a simple framework to illustrate the welfare consequences of a “top up” health insurance policy that allows patients to pay the incremental price for more expensive treatment options. We contrast it with common alternative policies that require essentially no incremental payments for more expensive treatments (as in the United States), or require patients to pay the full costs of more expensive treatments (as in the United Kingdom). We provide an empirical illustration of this welfare analysis in the context of treatment choices among breast cancer patients, where lumpectomy with radiation therapy is a more expensive treatment than mastectomy, with similar average health benefits. We use variation in distance to the nearest radiation facility to estimate the relative demand for lumpectomy and mastectomy. Extrapolating the resultant demand curve (grossly) out of sample, our estimates suggest that the “top-up” policy, which achieves the efficient treatment decision, increases total welfare by $700-2,500 per patient relative to the current US “full coverage” policy, and by $700-1,800 per patient relative to the UK “no top up” policy. While we caution against putting much weight on our specific estimates, the analysis illustrates the potential welfare gains from more efficient reimbursement policies for medical treatments. We also briefly discuss additional tradeoffs that arise from the top-up and UK-style policies, which both lead to additional (ex-ante) risk exposure.

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Health Insurance Reform: The impact of a Medicare Buy-In

Gary Hansen, Minchung Hsu & Junsang Lee
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, August 2014, Pages 315–329

Abstract:
The steady state general equilibrium and welfare consequences of a Medicare buy-in program, optional for those aged 55–64, is evaluated in a calibrated life-cycle economy with incomplete markets. Incomplete markets and adverse selection create a potential welfare improving role for health insurance reform. We find that adverse selection eliminates any market for a Medicare buy-in if it is offered as an unsubsidized option to individual private health insurance. The subsidy needed to bring the number of uninsured to less than 5 percent of the target population could be financed by an increase in the labor income tax rate of just 0.03 to 0.18 percent depending on how the program is implemented.

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The effect of health insurance coverage on the reported health of young adults

Eric Cardella & Briggs Depew
Economics Letters, September 2014, Pages 406–410

Abstract:
We exploit a sharp change in the likelihood that an individual is covered by health insurance when they turn 19 years of age to study how health insurance affects reported health status. We find that an individual is 6 percentage points less likely to have health insurance when they turn 19. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, we find that having health coverage significantly increases the likelihood of reporting excellent health among young adults.

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The Early Effects of Medicare's Mandatory Hospital Pay-for-Performance Program

Andrew Ryan et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the impact of hospital value-based purchasing (HVBP) on clinical quality and patient experience during its initial implementation period (July 2011–March 2012).

Study Design: Acute care hospitals were exposed to HVBP by mandate while critical access hospitals and hospitals located in Maryland were not exposed. We performed a difference-in-differences analysis, comparing performance on 12 incentivized clinical process and 8 incentivized patient experience measures between hospitals exposed to the program and a matched comparison group of nonexposed hospitals. We also evaluated whether hospitals that were ultimately exposed to HVBP may have anticipated the program by improving quality in advance of its introduction.

Principal Findings: Difference-in-differences estimates indicated that hospitals that were exposed to HVBP did not show greater improvement for either the clinical process or patient experience measures during the program's first implementation period. Estimates from our preferred specification showed that HVBP was associated with a 0.51 percentage point reduction in composite quality for the clinical process measures (p > .10, 95 percent CI: −1.37, 0.34) and a 0.30 percentage point reduction in composite quality for the patient experience measures (p > .10, 95 percent CI: −0.79, 0.19). We found some evidence that hospitals improved performance on clinical process measures prior to the start of HVBP, but no evidence of this phenomenon for the patient experience measures.

Conclusions: The timing of the financial incentives in HVBP was not associated with improved quality of care. It is unclear whether improvement for the clinical process measures prior to the start of HVBP was driven by the expectation of the program or was the result of other factors.

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Electronic Medical Records and Physician Productivity: Evidence from Panel Data Analysis

Hemant Bhargava & Abhay Nath Mishra
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the impact of an electronic medical record (EMR) system on the productivity of physicians. Physicians influence a vast majority of treatment decisions and are central to the care delivery process; thus, it is important to understand how EMRs may impact the nature of their work. Our research builds on prior literature on physician productivity, IT productivity, and task–technology fit theory. We use a unique panel data set comprising 87 physicians specializing in internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice, located in 12 primary care clinics of an academic healthcare system in the western United States. We employ the Arellano–Bond system generalized method of moments estimation technique on our data set, which contains 3,186 physician-month productivity observations collected over 39 months. We find that productivity drops sharply immediately after technology implementation and recovers partly over the next few months. The ultimate, longer-term impact depends on physician specialty. The net impact of the EMR system is more benign on internal medicine physicians than on pediatricians and family practitioners. We postulate that the fit provided by an EMR system to the task requirements of physicians of various specialties may be key to disentangling the productivity dynamics. Our research finds that on one hand, present-day EMR systems do not produce the kind of productivity gain that could lead to substantial savings in healthcare; at the same time, EMRs do not cause a major productivity loss on a sustained basis, as many physicians fear.

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Anticipating the Impact of Insurance Expansion on Inpatient Urological Surgery

Chandy Ellimoottil et al.
Urology Practice, forthcoming

Introduction: The Affordable Care Act is expected to provide coverage for nearly 25 million previously uninsured individuals. Because the potential impact of the ACA on urological care remains unknown, we estimated the impact of insurance expansion on the use of inpatient urological surgeries using Massachusetts health care reform as a natural experiment.

Methods: We identified nonelderly patients who underwent inpatient urological surgery from 2003 through 2010 using inpatient databases from Massachusetts and 2 control states. Using July 2007 as the transition point between pre-reform and post-reform periods, we performed a difference-in-differences analysis to estimate the effect of insurance expansion on overall and procedure specific rates of inpatient urological surgery. We also performed subgroup analyses according to race, income and insurance status.

Results: We identified 1.4 million surgeries performed during the study interval. We observed no change in the overall rate of inpatient urological surgery for the Massachusetts population as a whole. However, we saw an increase in the rate of inpatient urological surgery for nonwhite and low income patients. Our difference-in-differences analysis confirmed these results (all patients 1.0%, p=0.668; nonwhite patients 9.9%, p=0.006; low income patients 6.6%, p=0.041). At a procedure level insurance expansion caused increased rates of inpatient benign prostatic hyperplasia procedures but had no effect on rates of prostatectomy, cystectomy, nephrectomy, pyeloplasty or percutaneous nephrolithotomy.

Conclusions: Insurance expansion in Massachusetts increased the overall rate of inpatient urological surgery only for nonwhite patients and low income patients. These data inform key stakeholders about the potential impact of national insurance expansion for a large segment of urological care.

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Pharmaceutical Profits and the Social Value of Innovation

David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite & Manuel Hermosilla
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that exogenous shocks to the demand for medical products spur additional product development. These studies do not distinguish between breakthrough products and those that largely duplicate the performance of existing products. In this paper, we use a novel data set to explore the impact of the introduction of Medicare Part D on the development of new biotechnology products. We find that the law spurred development of products targeting illnesses that affect the elderly, but most of this effect is concentrated among products aimed at diseases that already have multiple existing treatments. Moreover, we find no increase in products targeting orphan disease or those receiving either fast track or priority review status from the FDA. This suggests that marginal changes in demand may have little effect on the development of products with large welfare benefits.

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Price-Cap Regulation, Uncertainty and the Price Evolution of New Pharmaceuticals

Ali Shajarizadeh & Aidan Hollis
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of the regulations restricting price increases on the evolution of pharmaceutical prices. A novel theoretical model shows that this policy leads firms to price new drugs with uncertain demand above the expected value initially. Price decreases after drug launch are more likely, the higher the uncertainty. We empirically test the model's predictions using data from the Canadian pharmaceutical market. The level of uncertainty is shown to play a crucial role in drug pricing strategies.

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Will Divestment from Employment-Based Health Insurance Save Employers Money? The Case of State and Local Governments

Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Reforms introduced by the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (ACA) build new sources of coverage around employment-based health insurance. But what if firms find it cheaper to have their employees obtain insurance from these sources, even after accounting for penalties (for non-provision of insurance) and employee bonuses (to ensure the shift is cost neutral for them)? State and local governments (SLGs) have strong incentives to consider the economics of such “divestment”; many have large unfunded benefits liabilities. We investigated whether SLGs would save under two scenarios: (1) shifting all employees and under-65-retirees to alternative sources of coverage; (2) shifting only employees whose household incomes indicate they would be eligible for federally subsidized coverage and all under-65-retirees. Full divestment would cost SLGs more than they currently pay, due primarily to penalty costs. Selective divestment could save SLGs nearly $119 billion over 10 years at the expense of the federal government.

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Variations in Medicare Payments for Episodes of Spine Surgery

Andrew Schoenfeld et al.
Spine Journal, forthcoming

Purpose: To examine variation in episode payments for spine surgery in the national Medicare population. We also sought to determine root causes for observed variations in payment at high cost hospitals.

Methods: All patients in the national fee for service Medicare population undergoing surgery for three conditions (spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, lumbar disc herniation) between 2005-2007 were identified (n= 185,954 episodes of spine surgery). Hospitals were ranked on least to most expensive and grouped into quintiles. Results were risk- and price-adjusted using the empirical Bayes method. We then assessed the contributions of index hospitalization, physician services, readmissions and post-acute care to the overall variations in payment. This study was funded in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Aging. There are no conflicts of interest associated with this study.

Results: Episode payments for hospitals in the highest quintile were more than twice as high as those made to hospitals in the lowest quintile ($34,171 vs $15,997). After risk- and price-adjustment, total episode payments to hospitals in the highest quintile remained $9,210 (47%) higher. Procedure choice, including the use of fusion, was a major determinant of the total episode payment. After adjusting for procedure choice, however, hospitals in the highest quintile continued to be 28% more expensive than those in the lowest. Differences in the use of post-acute care accounted for most of this residual variation in payments across hospitals. Hospital episode payments varied to a similar degree after subgroup analyses for disc herniation, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. Hospitals expensive for one condition were also found to be expensive for services provided for other spinal diagnoses.

Conclusions: Medicare payments for episodes of spine surgery vary widely across hospitals. As they respond to the new financial incentives inherent in healthcare reform, high cost hospitals should focus on the use of spinal fusion as well as post-acute care.

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Premium Transparency in the Medicare Advantage Market: Implications for Premiums, Benefits, and Efficiency

Karen Stockley et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
In the Medicare Advantage (MA) market, private health insurers compete to offer plans with the most attractive premium and benefit package. Medicare provides a subsidy, based on a "benchmark payment rate", for each Medicare beneficiary a plan enrolls. We investigate how this subsidy, the primary policy lever in the market, affects the equilibrium premiums and benefits of MA plans. We exploit variation in benchmark payment rates within plans over time, coming from rebasing years where benchmark changes differed across areas in ways that were plausibly exogenous, to determine empirically how plan premiums and benefit generosity respond to changes in benchmarks. We find that premiums do not respond to changes in the benchmark payment rate on average but that insurers do pass through a portion of the benchmark increase by increasing plan benefit generosity.

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Variation in Inpatient Hospital Prices and Outpatient Service Quantities Drive Geographic Differences in Private Spending in Texas

Luisa Franzini et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To measure the contribution of market-level prices, utilization, and health risk to medical spending variation among the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) privately insured population and the Texas Medicare population.

Study Design: We used observational data and decomposed overall and service-specific spending into health status and health status adjusted utilization and input prices and input prices adjusted for the BCBSTX and Medicare populations.

Principal Findings: Variation in overall BCBSTX spending across HRRs appeared driven by price variation, whereas utilization variation factored more prominently in Medicare. The contribution of price to spending variation differed by service category. Price drove inpatient spending variation, while utilization drove outpatient and professional spending variation in BCBSTX. The context in which negotiations occur may help explain the patterns across services.

Conclusions: The conventional wisdom that Medicare does a better job of controlling prices and private plans do a better job of controlling volume is an oversimplification. BCBSTX does a good job of controlling outpatient and professional prices, but not at controlling inpatient prices. Strategies to manage the variation in spending may need to differ substantially depending on the service and payer.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Head count

Uncovering the Origins of the Gender Gap in Political Ambition

Richard Fox & Jennifer Lawless
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on survey responses from a national random sample of nearly 4,000 high school and college students, we uncover a dramatic gender gap in political ambition. This finding serves as striking evidence that the gap is present well before women and men enter the professions from which most candidates emerge. We then use political socialization — which we gauge through a myriad of socializing agents and early life experiences — as a lens through which to explain the individual-level differences we uncover. Our analysis reveals that parental encouragement, politicized educational and peer experiences, participation in competitive activities, and a sense of self-confidence propel young people's interest in running for office. But on each of these dimensions, women, particularly once they are in college, are at a disadvantage. By identifying when and why gender differences in interest in running for office materialize, we begin to uncover the origins of the gender gap in political ambition. Taken together, our results suggest that concerns about substantive and symbolic representation will likely persist.

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Elite male faculty in the life sciences employ fewer women

Jason Sheltzer & Joan Smith
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 15 July 2014, Pages 10107–10112

Abstract:
Women make up over one-half of all doctoral recipients in biology-related fields but are vastly underrepresented at the faculty level in the life sciences. To explore the current causes of women’s underrepresentation in biology, we collected publicly accessible data from university directories and faculty websites about the composition of biology laboratories at leading academic institutions in the United States. We found that male faculty members tended to employ fewer female graduate students and postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) than female faculty members did. Furthermore, elite male faculty — those whose research was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, who had been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, or who had won a major career award — trained significantly fewer women than other male faculty members. In contrast, elite female faculty did not exhibit a gender bias in employment patterns. New assistant professors at the institutions that we surveyed were largely comprised of postdoctoral researchers from these prominent laboratories, and correspondingly, the laboratories that produced assistant professors had an overabundance of male postdocs. Thus, one cause of the leaky pipeline in biomedical research may be the exclusion of women, or their self-selected absence, from certain high-achieving laboratories.

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Gender Effects in Venture Capital

Paul Gompers et al.
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We explore gender differences in performance in a comprehensive sample of venture capital investments in the United States. We find that female venture capitalists significantly underperform their male colleagues controlling for personal characteristics including employment and educational history as well as the characteristics of the portfolio companies in which they invest. When we examine their performance differences, we find that the difference results from a lack of contribution by the male colleagues within their firms. We explore the mechanism for this lack of contribution from male colleagues in a large sample survey of female venture capitalists and in detailed one-on-one interviews. We find support for the notion that formal feedback mechanisms and hierarchies are useful in ameliorating the female performance gap. Female venture capitalists find gender bias in informal mentoring systems as well as in the attitude of entrepreneurs.

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Stereotypes as Stumbling-Blocks: How Coping With Stereotype Threat Affects Life Outcomes for People With Physical Disabilities

Arielle Silverman & Geoffrey Cohen
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Stereotype threat, the concern about being judged in light of negative stereotypes, causes underperformance in evaluative situations. However, less is known about how coping with stereotypes can aggravate underperformance over time. We propose a model in which ongoing stereotype threat experiences threaten a person’s sense of self-integrity, which in turn prompts defensive avoidance of stereotype-relevant situations, impeding growth, achievement, and well-being. We test this model in an important but understudied population: the physically disabled. In Study 1, blind adults reporting higher levels of stereotype threat reported lower self-integrity and well-being and were more likely to be unemployed and to report avoiding stereotype-threatening situations. In Study 2’s field experiment, blind students in a compensatory skill-training program made more progress if they had completed a values-affirmation, an exercise that bolsters self-integrity. The findings suggest that stereotype threat poses a chronic threat to self-integrity and undermines life outcomes for people with disabilities.

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Beyond Occupational Differences: The Importance of Cross-cutting Demographics and Dyadic Toolkits for Collaboration in a U.S. Hospital

Julia DiBenigno & Katherine Kellogg
Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use data from a 12-month ethnographic study of two medical-surgical units in a U.S. hospital to examine how members from different occupations can collaborate with one another in their daily work despite differences in status, shared meanings, and expertise across occupational groups, which previous work has shown to create difficulties. In our study, nurses and patient care technicians (PCTs) on both hospital units faced these same occupational differences, served the same patient population, worked under the same management and organizational structure, and had the same pressures, goals, and organizational collaboration tools available to them. But nurses and PCTs on one unit successfully collaborated while those on the other did not. We demonstrate that a social structure characterized by cross-cutting demographics between occupational groups — in which occupational membership is uncorrelated with demographic group membership — can loosen attachment to the occupational identity and status order. This allows members of cross-occupational dyads, in our case nurses and PCTs, to draw on other shared social identities, such as shared race, age, or immigration status, in their interactions. Drawing on a shared social identity at the dyad level provided members with a “dyadic toolkit” of alternative, non-occupational expertise, shared meanings, status rules, and emotional scripts that facilitated collaboration across occupational differences and improved patient care.

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The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment

Aaron Chatterji, Kenneth Chay & Robert Fairlie
Journal of Labor Economics, July 2014, Pages 507-561

Abstract:
In the 1980s, many US cities initiated programs reserving a proportion of government contracts for minority-owned businesses. The staggered introduction of these set-aside programs is used to estimate their impacts on the self-employment and employment rates of African American men. Black business ownership rates increased significantly after program initiation, with the black-white gap falling 3 percentage points. The evidence that the racial gap in employment also fell is less clear as it depends on assumptions about the continuation of preexisting trends. The black gains were concentrated in industries heavily affected by set-asides, and they mostly benefited the better educated.

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Leaning In or Leaning On? Gender, Homophily, and Activism in Crowdfunding

Jason Greenberg & Ethan Mollick
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Female founders seek and receive less startup capital than male entrepreneurs. One reason for this disparity is a lack of female representation among funders of startups, and a potential solution is to increase the proportion of women in decision-making roles. Both the problem and the solution implicitly rely on homophily – that women will support other women given a chance. However, a lack of clarity over when and how homophily influences individual choices makes it uncertain when better representation is actually advantageous. Using data from crowdfunding, we empirically examine whether higher proportions of female funders lead to higher success rates in capital-raising for women. We find that women outperform men, and are more likely to succeed at a crowdfunding campaign, all other things being equal. Surprisingly, this effect primarily holds for female founders proposing technological projects, a category that is largely dominated by male founders and funders. This finding stands in stark contrast to expectations concerning homophily. A laboratory experiment helps explain how this pattern might emerge and allows us to theorize about the types of choice homophily driving results. We find that a small proportion of female backers disproportionately support women-led projects in areas where women are historically underrepresented. This suggests an activist variant of choice homophily, and implies that mere representation of female funders without activism may not always be enough to overcome the barriers faced by female founders.

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Affirmative Action Bans and College Graduation Rates

Peter Hinrichs
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effects of statewide affirmative action bans on graduation rates within colleges and on the fraction of college entrants who become graduates of selective institutions. On net, affirmative action bans lead to fewer underrepresented minorities becoming graduates of selective colleges. Although the graduation rates for underrepresented minority groups at selective institutions rise when affirmative action is banned, this may be due to the changing composition of students at these universities. Moreover, this effect is small relative to the number displaced from selective universities due to affirmative action bans.

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Segregated school effects on first grade reading gains: Using propensity score matching to disentangle effects for African-American, Latino, and European-American students

Kirsten Kainz & Yi Pan
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Fall 2014, Pages 531–537

Abstract:
Increasing evidence from observational studies indicates that students attending minority segregated schools are at risk for constrained performance in reading. However, analyses of data gathered under observational conditions may yield biased results. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, 1998–1999 Kindergarten Cohort, this study used propensity score matching to address selection bias due to students’ observed socio-economic, literacy, and social-emotional background characteristics, allowing for a less biased estimate of minority segregated schooling on African-American, Latino, and European-American students’ reading gains in first grade. We found that African-American students attending segregated schools made less gain in reading across the first grade year than African-American students in non-segregated schools. There was no evidence for significant negative effects of segregation on reading gains for Latino and European-American students.

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From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway

Trond Petersen, Andrew Penner & Geir Høgsnes
American Journal of Sociology, March 2014, Pages 1434-1472

Abstract:
Given the key role that processes occurring in the family play in creating gender inequality, the family is a central focus of policies aimed at creating greater gender equality. We examine how family status affects the gender wage gap using longitudinal matched employer-employee data from Norway, 1979–96, a period with extensive expansion of family policies. The motherhood penalty dropped dramatically from 1979 to 1996. Among men the premia for marriage and fatherhood remained constant. In 1979, the gender wage gap was primarily due to the motherhood penalty, but by 1996 husband premia were more important than motherhood penalties.

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Maternity Leave, Effort Allocation, and Postmotherhood Earnings

Evgenia Kogan Dechter
Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2014, Pages 97-125

Abstract:
Women with children earn less than women without children. I study this wage gap using a dynamic model of human capital accumulation with endogenous time and effort allocation between household and market activities. Selection into motherhood does not drive the gap in hourly wage. I decompose this gap into forgone human capital and changing effort at work. Human capital depreciates as a result of maternity leave and accumulates at a lower rate after childbirth because of a reduction in work hours. Effort at work does not decline after childbirth. Reduced human capital accumulation explains the entire postmotherhood loss in hourly wage.

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Young Women's Job Mobility: The Influence of Motherhood Status and Education

Jessica Looze
Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2014, Pages 693–709

Abstract:
Previous research has found that women who become mothers in their 20s face larger wage penalties compared to women who delay childbearing until their 30s. Explanations for this have focused on the consequences of employment breaks early in one's career and reduced opportunities in the workplace following the birth of a child. In this article, the author uses panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (N = 4,566) to examine another possible explanation: differences in patterns of and wage returns to job mobility. She found that young mothers, relative to childless women, make fewer wage-enhancing voluntary job separations and often receive lower wage returns for these separations. Educational attainment exacerbates these patterns, largely to the disadvantage of women with less education.

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My Family Matters: Gender and Perceived Support for Family Commitments and Satisfaction in Academia Among Postdocs and Faculty in STEMM and Non-STEMM Fields

Amy Moors, Janet Malley & Abigail Stewart
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
One reason for women’s absence in science, technology, engineering, math, and medical science (STEMM) disciplines is the perceived incompatibility of having a family and a science career. However, little is known about the climate surrounding support for balancing work and family responsibilities for STEMM and non-STEMM scholars at the postdoctoral training level. In Study 1, we examined the relationship between STEMM and non-STEMM postdocs’ perceived family-friendly climate, job satisfaction, and workplace belonging (N = 553). In Study 2, we examined the relationship between a broad range of tenure-track faculty members’ family-friendly climate, job satisfaction, and workplace belonging (N = 385). Hierarchical multiple regression results indicated that perceived institutional support for family commitments was linked with job satisfaction and sense of belonging for men and women in faculty and postdoctoral training positions in both STEMM and non-STEMM fields. In addition, for STEMM postdocs (but not for non-STEMM postdocs or faculty), gender moderated the effects of perceived support for family on job satisfaction and sense of belonging, such that women with low institutional support for family commitments were significantly less satisfied with their jobs and felt less belonging to their workplace environment than comparable men. We discuss implications of academic departmental climate and initiatives for family-friendly policies for retention of women in academia.

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Gender, Trial Employment, and Initial Salaries

Adina Sterling & Roberto Fernandez
MIT Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Gender disparities in wages among professionals exist because women begin their professional careers making less than men. Prior research indicates this occurs because employers lack information about prospective employees at the hiring stage which triggers discrimination and bias in wage setting. Building on work that suggests organizational practices impact inequality, we examine if trial employment affects initial salaries by providing employers a first-hand look at candidates prior to employers making permanent hiring decisions. Using a unique data set that is well-suited for this inquiry, we find evidence that a female wage discount occurs among entry-level business professionals. However, as predicted, the female wage discount dissipates when offers are received from employers where trial employment takes place.

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Extremal Quantile Regressions for Selection Models and the Black-White Wage Gap

Xavier D'Haultfoeuille, Arnaud Maurel & Yichong Zhang
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We consider the estimation of a semiparametric location-scale model subject to endogenous selection, in the absence of an instrument or a large support regressor. Identification relies on the independence between the covariates and selection, for arbitrarily large values of the outcome. In this context, we propose a simple estimator, which combines extremal quantile regressions with minimum distance. We establish the asymptotic normality of this estimator by extending previous results on extremal quantile regressions to allow for selection. Finally, we apply our method to estimate the black-white wage gap among males from the NLSY79 and NLSY97. We find that premarket factors such as AFQT and family background characteristics play a key role in explaining the level and evolution of the black-white wage gap.

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Socially gainful gender quotas

Oded Stark & Walter Hyll
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, September 2014, Pages 173–177

Abstract:
We study the impact of gender quotas on the acquisition of human capital. We assume that individuals’ formation of human capital is influenced by the prospect of landing high-pay top positions, and that these positions are regulated by gender-specific quotas. In the absence of quotas, women consider their chances of getting top positions to be lower than men's. The lure of top positions induces even men of relatively low ability to engage in human capital formation, whereas women of relatively high ability do not expect to get top positions and do not therefore engage in human capital formation. Gender quotas discourage men who are less efficient in forming human capital, and encourage women who are more efficient in forming human capital. We provide a condition under which the net result of the institution of gender quotas is an increase in human capital in the economy as a whole.

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You’ve Come a Short Way, Baby: Gender of Information Sources in American and Canadian Business Magazines, 1991-92 and 2011-12

Karen Grandy
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the inclusion of female sources in feature articles in American and Canadian business magazines and compares the findings from its 2011-12 sample with corresponding labor force data, and also with the results of a research study conducted twenty years earlier. While results revealed a shift in the occupations most often included as sources in the publications, women accounted for only 15.2% of sources in the 2011-12 sample and are still underrepresented in comparison with occupation data, as they were in 1991-92.

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Breaking the Glass Ceiling? The Effect of Board Quotas on Female Labor Market Outcomes in Norway

Marianne Bertrand et al.
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
In late 2003, Norway passed a law mandating 40 percent representation of each gender on the board of publicly limited liability companies. The primary objective of this reform was to increase the representation of women in top positions in the corporate sector and decrease gender disparity in earnings within that sector. We document that the newly (post-reform) appointed female board members were observably more qualified than their female predecessors, and that the gender gap in earnings within boards fell substantially. While the reform may have improved the representation of female employees at the very top of the earnings distribution (top 5 highest earners) within firms that were mandated to increase female participation on their board, there is no evidence that these gains at the very top trickled-down. Moreover the reform had no obvious impact on highly qualified women whose qualifications mirror those of board members but who were not appointed to boards. We observe no statistically significant change in the gender wage gaps or in female representation in top positions, although standard errors are large enough that we cannot rule economically meaningful gains. Finally, there is little evidence that the reform affected the decisions of women more generally; it was not accompanied by any change in female enrollment in business education programs, or a convergence in earnings trajectories between recent male and female graduates of such programs. While young women preparing for a career in business report being aware of the reform and expect their earnings and promotion chances to benefit from it, the reform did not affect their fertility and marital plans. Overall, in the short run the reform had very little discernible impact on women in business beyond its direct effect on the newly appointed female board members.

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Why does height matter in hiring?

Jens Agerström
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, October 2014, Pages 35–38

Abstract:
Previous research shows the existence of a height premium in the workplace with tall individuals receiving more benefits across several domains (e.g., earnings) relative to short people. The current study probes deeper into the height premium by focusing on the specific favourable traits, attributes, and abilities tall individuals are presumed to have, ultimately giving these individuals an advantage in hiring. In an experiment, we made a male job applicant taller or shorter by digitally manipulating photographs, and attached these to job applications that were evaluated by professional recruiters. We find that in the context of hiring a project leader, the height premium consists of increased perceptions of the candidate's general competence, specific job competency (including employability), and physical health, whereas warmth and physical attractiveness seem to matter less. Interestingly, physical height predicted recruiters’ hiring intentions even when statistically controlling for competence, warmth, health, and attractiveness.

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Anything women can do men can do better: An experiment examining the effects of stereotype threat on political knowledge and efficacy

Scott Pruysers & Julie Blais
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Negative stereotypes have been shown to create cognitive burdens that decrease intellectual performance in a number of tasks such as math and standardized tests. Applying a multidisciplinary approach and an experimental research design, this paper examines the effect of stereotype threat on political knowledge and political efficacy. A sample of 226 undergraduate students completed an online survey on political knowledge and efficacy. Participants were randomly assigned to a stereotype threat condition or a non-threat condition. Contrary to what was hypothesized, stereotype threat does not explain the political knowledge gap between men and women; men score significantly higher than women in both conditions. However, preliminary evidence suggests the presence of stereotype lift in men's sense of political efficacy. Men's political efficacy demonstrates a moderate increase in the stereotype threat condition while women's sense of efficacy does not change (d = .53).

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Gender quotas, candidate background and the election of women: A paradox of gender quotas in open-list proportional representation systems

Maciej Górecki & Paula Kukolowicz
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effects of mandatory (legislated) gender quotas in Poland, a country utilising an open-list proportional representation electoral system. We use a unique data set comprising multiple characteristics of all candidates running in two consecutive elections to the lower chamber of the Polish parliament (the Sejm). The first of them (held in 2007) was the last pre-quota election and the second (held in 2011) the first post-quota one. We show that quotas have an inherently paradoxical nature: they cause a substantial increase in the number of female candidates but the increase is accompanied by a sharp decline of these candidates' success rates. This regularity holds even if we account for multiple indicators of candidate background, including previous political experience.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bad apples

Doing Their Duty: An Empirical Analysis of the Unintended Effect of Tarasoff v. Regents on Homicidal Activity

Griffin Edwards
Journal of Law and Economics, May 2014, Pages 321-348

Abstract:
The seminal ruling of Tarasoff v. Board of Regents of the Universities of California enacted a duty that required mental health providers to warn potential victims of any real threat to life made by a patient. Many have theorized that this required breach of confidentiality may have adverse effects on effective psychological treatment — but the issue remains unaddressed empirically. Because of the presence of duty-to-warn laws, patients might forgo mental health treatment that would prevent violence. Using a fixed-effects model and exploiting the variation in the timing and style of duty-to-warn laws across states, I find that mandatory duty-to-warn laws cause an increase in the homicide rate of .4, or 5 percent. These results are robust to model specifications and falsification tests and help to clarify the true effect of state duty-to-warn laws.

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Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health

Scott Cunningham & Manisha Shah
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Most governments in the world including the United States prohibit prostitution. Given these types of laws rarely change and are fairly uniform across regions, our knowledge about the impact of decriminalizing sex work is largely conjectural. We exploit the fact that a Rhode Island District Court judge unexpectedly decriminalized indoor prostitution in 2003 to provide the first causal estimates of the impact of decriminalization on the composition of the sex market, rape offenses, and sexually transmitted infection outcomes. Not surprisingly, we find that decriminalization increased the size of the indoor market. However, we also find that decriminalization caused both forcible rape offenses and gonorrhea incidence to decline for the overall population. Our synthetic control model finds 824 fewer reported rape offenses (31 percent decrease) and 1,035 fewer cases of female gonorrhea (39 percent decrease) from 2004 to 2009.

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The Way of the Gun: Estimating Firearms Trafficking across the US–Mexico Border

Topher McDougal et al.
Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
The volume of firearms sold in USA and trafficked across the US–Mexico border is notoriously difficult to estimate. We consider a unique approach using GIS-generated county-level panel data (1993–1999 and 2010–2012) of Federal Firearms Licenses to sell small arms (FFLs) to estimate the realized demand for firearms based on the distance by road from the nearest point on the US–Mexico border. We use a time-series negative binomial model paired with a post-estimation population attributable fraction (PAF) estimator. We do so to control determinants of domestic demand. We are able to estimate a total demand for trafficking, both in terms of firearms and dollar sales for the firearms industry. We find that nearly 2.2% (between 0.9% and 3.7%) of US domestic arms sales are attributable to the US–Mexico traffic in the period 2010–2012, representing 212,887 firearms (between 89,816 and 359,205) purchased annually to be trafficked.

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Investigating the Effects of Furloughing Public School Teachers on Juvenile Crime in Hawaii

Randall Akee, Timothy Halliday & Sally Kwak
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policymakers have long been concerned about the large social costs of juvenile crime. Detecting the causes of juvenile crime is an important educational policy concern as many of these crimes happen during the school day. In the 2009-10 school year, the State of Hawaii responded to fiscal strains by furloughing all school teachers employed by the Department of Education and cancelling classes for seventeen instructional days. We examine the effects of these non-holiday school closure days to draw conclusions about the relationship between time in school and juvenile arrests in the State of Hawaii on the island of Oahu. We calculate marginal effects from a negative binomial model and find that time off from school is associated with significantly fewer juvenile assault and drug-related arrests, although there are no changes in other types of crimes, such as burglaries. The declines in arrests for assaults are the most pronounced in poorer regions of the island while the decline in drug-related arrests is larger in the relatively more prosperous regions.

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Do More Police Lead to More Crime Deterrence?

Gary Kleck & J.C. Barnes
Crime & Delinquency, August 2014, Pages 716-738

Abstract:
Does increasing police strength deter more crime? Some studies have found apparent negative effects of police manpower levels on crime rates, and the most common explanation of such findings is that greater police strength increases perceptions of arrest risk, thus reducing crime via general deterrence mechanisms. The authors directly tested this hypothesis by estimating the association between survey respondents’ perceptions of arrest risk and the level of police strength prevailing in the counties where they live. No relationship between the number of police officers per capita and perceptions of the risk of arrest was found, suggesting that increases in police manpower will not increase general deterrent effects and decreases will not reduce these effects. The authors also considered the possibility that police manpower levels influence the number of criminals incarcerated, and thus affect crime rates via the incapacitative effects of incarceration, but concluded that such an effect is unlikely. These findings point to a need to reconsider previous interpretations of findings as supportive of a deterrent effect of increased police manpower on crime rates.

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Impulsive versus premeditated aggression in the prediction of violent criminal recidivism

Marc Swogger et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past aggression is a potent predictor of future aggression and informs the prediction of violent criminal recidivism. However, aggression is a heterogeneous construct and different types of aggression may confer different levels of risk for future violence. In this prospective study of 91 adults in a pretrial diversion program, we examined (a) premeditated versus impulsive aggression in the prediction of violent recidivism during a one-year follow-up period, and (b) whether either type of aggression would have incremental validity in the prediction of violent recidivism after taking into account frequency of past general aggression. Findings indicate that premeditated, but not impulsive, aggression predicts violent recidivism. Moreover, premeditated aggression remained a predictor of recidivism even with general aggression frequency in the model. Results provide preliminary evidence that the assessment of premeditated aggression provides relevant information for the management of violent offenders.

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Security Versus Liberty in the Context of Counterterrorism: An Experimental Approach

Blake Garcia & Nehemia Geva
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
A critical question in counterterrorism studies concerns the extent to which governments adequately balance the continual provision of individual rights and freedoms with the appropriate level of national security when faced with a terrorist attack. We experimentally assess this tradeoff utilizing a 2 × 2 × 2 between-groups factorial design, manipulating (a) the extent of terror-related threats, (b) the level of invasiveness of subsequent counterterrorism policies, as well as (c) the terror context: transnational and domestic. The results provide evidence that the public is more willing to accept greater reductions in civil liberties under a greater threat of terrorism only when the perceived effectiveness of those policies to prevent future acts of terrorism is high. Furthermore, we find these results to be specific to the context of a transnational terror threat. This suggests that the public will be unwilling to accept reductions in civil liberties when the source of the attack is domestic, regardless of the level of threat or how effective subsequent policies may be in preventing future attacks.

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Community Context of Crime: A Longitudinal Examination of the Effects of Local Institutions on Neighborhood Crime

James Wo
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although theories posit that some types of local institutions will have a crime-producing influence in neighborhoods while others will have the opposite effect, the empirical evidence is far from conclusive. Previous studies are typically limited to analyzing cross-sectional data and one type of institution. Using longitudinal data of the number of employees of various institutions within census tracts across nine U.S. cities, the present study examines the longitudinal impact of four types of institutions on violent and property crime. Negative binomial regression models suggest that alcohol outlets and banking establishments increase criminal opportunities, whereas “third places” like coffee shops and cafes induce efficacious neighborhood control and social action. Civic and social organizations have no statistical relationship with crime.

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Extending the Effects of the Carceral State: Proximal Contact, Political Participation and Race

Hannah Walker
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rates of contact with the criminal justice system are geographically and racially sensitive such that some groups of people experience contact at much higher rates than others. The negative effects of personal contact with the criminal justice system are well documented. Less well understood are the effects of the criminal justice system on those who have not had personal contact but who are members of groups where contact is a common occurrence. This research explores the political effects of the carceral state for the second group, and finds that proximal contact mobilizes, an effect that is most pronounced for nonwhites.

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Person–Environment Interaction in a New Secure Forensic State Psychiatric Hospital

Jon Eggert et al.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the person–environment interaction effects of environmental design on ward climate, safety, job satisfaction, and treatment outcomes within a new high security forensic psychiatric facility. Participants included male and female adult psychiatric inpatients and staff members at different security stages. Data were collected once before and twice after the experimental group moved into the new building. The control group remained in the same facilities. Contrary to expectations, the new building had limited effects on the measured variables.

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Examining the neighborhood effects on police performance to assault calls

Abdullah Cihan
Police Practice and Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using agency-generated data collected from the Houston Police Department (HPD) and the 2000 census statistics, this article examines the relationship between police performance and neighborhood disorganization through an analysis of the distribution of police response to in-progress assault calls across different Houston neighborhoods. The results of multilevel analyses suggest that concentrated disadvantage, immigrant concentration, and residential stability are significantly related to the distribution of the HPD’s response time patterns. More specifically, police responses were quicker to in-progress assault calls in disorganized neighborhoods. The implications drawn from the current study’s results on police response time patterns can be useful in improving police service levels, the police–community relationship, and patrol strategies.

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Interactionist Labeling: Formal and Informal Labeling’s Effects on Juvenile Delinquency

Daniel Ryan Kavish & Christopher Mullins
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article critically reviews prior labeling theory research concerning juvenile delinquency and crime, and proposes a new study using a recent data set. The labeling perspective is outlined as it was originally presented, and the theoretical elaborations that have taken place since are highlighted. Distinctions are made between formally applied criminal justice labels and the informal labels that are applied by educational institutions, significant others, and parental figures. An interactionist labeling model is presented to explain levels of juvenile delinquency among a nationally representative sample of American adolescents: the first three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Finally, negative binomial regression models are estimated to better explain the dynamic relationship between labels and delinquency. Consistent with labeling theory, formal labeling significantly increased future delinquency.

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Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning

Akiva Liberman, David Kirk & Kideuk Kim
Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing literature suggests that juvenile arrests perpetuate offending and increase the likelihood of future arrests. The effect on subsequent arrests is generally regarded as a product of the perpetuation of criminal offending. However, increased rearrest also may reflect differential law enforcement behavior. Using longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) together with official arrest records, the current study estimates the effects of first arrests on both reoffending and rearrest. Propensity score methods were used to control differences between arrestees and nonarrestees and to minimize selection bias. Among 1,249 PHDCN youths, 58 individuals were first arrested during the study period; 43 of these arrestees were successfully matched to 126 control cases that were equivalent on a broad set of individual, family, peer, and neighborhood factors. We find that first arrests increased the likelihood of both subsequent offending and subsequent arrest, through separate processes. The effects on rearrest are substantially greater and are largely independent of the effects on reoffending, which suggests that labels trigger “secondary sanctioning” processes distinct from secondary deviance processes. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious labeling effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses.

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Evaluating the Effect of State Regulation of Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers on Firearm Homicide

Nathan Irvin et al.
American Journal of Public Health, August 2014, Pages 1384-1386

Abstract:
Effective federal regulation of firearm dealers has proven difficult. Consequently, many states choose to implement their own regulations. We examined the impact of state-required licensing, record keeping of sales, allowable inspections, and mandatory theft reporting on firearm homicide from 1995 to 2010. We found that lower homicide rates were associated with states that required licensing and inspections. We concluded that firearm dealer regulations might be an effective harm reduction strategy for firearm homicide.

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Legal Cynicism and Parental Appraisals of Adolescent Violence

Brian Soller, Aubrey Jackson & Christopher Browning
British Journal of Criminology, July 2014, Pages 568-591

Abstract:
Research suggests that legal cynicism — a cultural frame in which the law is viewed as illegitimate and ineffective — encourages violence to maintain personal safety when legal recourse is unreliable. But no study has tested the impact of legal cynicism on appraisals of violence. Drawing from symbolic interaction theory and cultural sociology, we tested whether neighbourhood legal cynicism alters the extent to which parents appraise their children’s violence as indicative of aggressive or impulsive temperaments using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. We find that legal cynicism attenuates the positive association between adolescent violence and parental assessments of aggression and impulsivity. Our study advances the understanding of micro-level processes through which prevailing cultural frames in the neighbourhood shape violence appraisals.

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I Want Him Locked Up: Social Capital, African American Parenting Strategies, and the Juvenile Court

Joseph Richardson, Waldo Johnson & Christopher St. Vil
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, August 2014, Pages 488-522

Abstract:
An impressive array of literature acknowledges the role of family members, friends, neighbors, and community institutions as rich resources of social capital which poor African American parents utilize in the collective socialization of their children. How parents access, mobilize, and deploy family and community-based social capital in resource-deprived communities for the social benefit of their children has been well documented. Yet, little is known about the challenges poor parents face raising troubled youth, particularly African American boys, when they are unable to generate social capital within their social network of family members, friends, neighbors, and community institutions to assist with raising their children. How do low-income African American parents raise troubled youth in disadvantaged communities when there are few resources of social support to draw upon? What strategies do parents use when they have exhausted and depleted their social capital? Drawing on three years of ethnographic field observations and multiple in-depth interviews with parents of pre-delinquent African American boys, this article examines how African American parents living in an impoverished African American community in New York City rely on the juvenile justice system, particularly juvenile confinement, as a parenting strategy. The findings suggest the need for alternatives to juvenile confinement and additional social support resources that can assist parents with parenting troubled youth.

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Offense Type and the Arrest Decision in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence

Alesha Durfee & Matthew Fetzer
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although previous research has examined arrests for intimate partner violence (IPV), most of these analyses focus exclusively on physical assault and intimidation. Research on arrests for sexual assault have examined arrests for cases of stranger and/or acquaintance sexual assault, but have not included sexual IPV. Using data from the 2010 National Incident-Based Reporting System, this analysis is the first to calculate and compare arrest rates for sexual IPV, physical IPV, and intimidation. Results indicate that after controlling for other factors, police are less likely to make an arrest in cases of sexual IPV than in cases of physical IPV or intimidation. These findings are discussed in the context of the consequences of sexual assault on IPV victims.

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The Role of Sleep in the Relation between Community Violence Exposure and Delinquency among Latino Adolescents

Sonia Rubens et al.
Journal of Community Psychology, August 2014, Pages 723–734

Abstract:
Little is known about factors that account for the link between community violence exposure (CVE) and delinquency among adolescents. Sleep is one factor that warrants attention, given the poor sleep habits found among many adolescents and its relation to CVE and delinquent behaviors. Further, given the growing rate of Latino youth in the United States, and their risk for CVE, examining factors that account for this relation among Latino youth is essential for developing culturally sensitive interventions. This study evaluated whether sleep problems accounted for the link between CVE and delinquency among a sample of 144 Latino adolescents (54% male; ages 14­–19 years). CVE and sleep problems were uniquely related to delinquency. Further, Meeker's test of indirect effects indicated that sleep problems partially accounted for the relation between CVE and delinquency. Interventions targeting sleep problems in Latino adolescents may aid in reducing delinquency among Latino adolescents, particularly for those with CVE.

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Representative Bureaucracy in Policing: Does It Increase Perceived Legitimacy?

Norma Riccucci, Gregg Van Ryzin & Cecilia Lavena
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, July 2014, Pages 537-551

Abstract:
Drawing on the theory of representative bureaucracy, specifically the theory of symbolic representation, we examine whether or not gender representativeness in a police department’s domestic violence unit influences how citizens judge the agency’s performance, trustworthiness, and fairness. To examine this question, we use an online survey experiment in which we vary the representation of female police officers in a hypothetical domestic violence unit as well as the agency’s performance. Results suggest that gender representation does indeed influence the perceived job performance, trustworthiness, and fairness of the agency, as does the agency’s performance. Thus, this study suggests that the symbolic representativeness of the police does causally influence how citizens view and judge a law enforcement agency, and thus in turn perhaps their willingness to cooperate in the coproduction of public safety outcomes.

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Incidence and Cost of Sexual Violence in Iowa

Jingzhen Yang et al.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2014, Pages 198–202

Purpose: To estimate the incidence and costs of sexual violence in Iowa in 2009.

Methods: Using data obtained from population surveys, six Iowa government agencies, and other sources, we estimated sexual violence incidence, costs per incident, and total costs in 2009 dollars, by age and sexual violence category, and for various cost elements. We calculated direct costs of medical care, mental health care, property damage, victim services, investigation, adjudication, and sanctioning, as well as indirect costs for lost work and quality of life. We collected data in 2010–2011 and completed analysis in 2013.

Results: In 2009, an estimated 55,340 individuals experienced sexual violence in Iowa, including 49,510 adults and 5,930 children. Nearly three of every four victims were women. The estimated total cost of sexual violence in 2009 was $4.7 billion, equating to $1,580 per resident. This estimate included $4.44 billion in indirect costs and $265 million in direct costs. In the same year, the government spent an estimated $100.6 million as a result of sexual violence in Iowa, more than half of which ($55.3 million) was spent on perpetrators and little ($0.9 million) on prevention.

Conclusions: The economic costs of sexual violence are high for individuals and society. Cost information can help identify the burden of sexual violence relative to other social problems in Iowa and prioritize funding for prevention and intervention.

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Indeterminate and Determinate Sentencing Models: A State-Specific Analysis of Their Effects on Recidivism

Yan Zhang & Lening Zhang
Crime & Delinquency, August 2014, Pages 693-715

Abstract:
This article compares the effects of indeterminate and determinate sentencing models on recidivism using a measure of parole board discretionary release and mandatory parole release under each sentencing model. Data collected from Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994: United States are used to conduct a state-specific comparison of the two release programs in six mixed-sentencing states. The results indicate that the effects of different sentencing models significantly vary across the six states. Whereas mandatory parole release was more likely to have a deterrent effect on recidivism in Maryland and Virginia, parole board discretionary release was more effective in New York and North Carolina. Release programs in Oregon and Texas showed no significant differences in their effects on recidivism.

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The Effects of Directed Patrol and Self-Initiated Enforcement on Firearm Violence: A Randomized Controlled Study of Hot Spot Policing

Richard Rosenfeld, Michael Deckard & Emily Blackburn
Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Targeted policing has proven effective in reducing serious crime in areas where it is highly concentrated, but the enforcement mechanisms responsible for the success of so-called hot spots strategies remain poorly understood. This study evaluates the effects of a 9-month randomized controlled hot spots field experiment on firearm assaults and robberies in St. Louis, Missouri. Thirty-two firearm violence hot spots were randomly allocated to two treatment conditions and a control condition. Directed patrols were increased in both treatment conditions, whereas the experimental protocol limited other enforcement activity in one of the treatment conditions and increased it in the other. The results from difference-in-difference regression analyses indicate that the intervention substantially reduced the incidence of nondomestic firearm assaults, with no evident crime displacement to surrounding areas, to times when the intervention was not active, or to nonfirearm assaults. By contrast, we find no effects of the intervention on firearm robberies. Less definitive results suggest that the certainty of arrests and occupied vehicle checks account for the treatment effects on nondomestic firearm assaults.

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Denying humanness to victims: How gang members justify violent behavior

Emma Alleyne, Isabel Fernandes & Elizabeth Pritchard
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The high prevalence of violent offending amongst gang-involved youth has been established in the literature. Yet the underlying psychological mechanisms that enable youth to engage in such acts of violence remain unclear. One hundred eighty-nine young people were recruited from areas in London, UK, known for their gang activity. We found that gang members, in comparison to nongang youth, described the groups they belong to as having recognized leaders, specific rules and codes, initiation rituals, and special clothing. Gang members were also more likely than nongang youth to engage in violent behavior and endorse moral disengagement strategies (i.e., moral justification, euphemistic language, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, attribution of blame, and dehumanization). Finally, we found that dehumanizing victims partially mediated the relationship between gang membership and violent behavior. These findings highlight the effects of groups at the individual level and an underlying psychological mechanism that explains, in part, how gang members engage in violence.

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Placing the Neighborhood Accessibility–Burglary Link in Social-Structural Context

Jeffrey Ward et al.
Crime & Delinquency, August 2014, Pages 739-763

Abstract:
Foundational research on the link between neighborhood accessibility and burglary has consistently shown a positive association. However, recent research has found that less accessible neighborhoods have higher burglary rates. Geographically referenced data from 401 neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Florida, are used to determine whether these inconsistencies can be explained by a conditioning effect of neighborhood social-structural context. Results from spatially lagged regression models indicate that neighborhood accessibility fails to have a direct effect on burglary rates after social-structural variables are controlled; rather, the effect of neighborhood accessibility on burglary rates is conditioned by the level of concentrated disadvantage of the neighborhood. Two potential explanations for the empirical findings are offered, and implications of the results for “designing out” crime are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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