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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Starting families

Reproductive rights and the career plans of U.S. college freshmen

Herdis Steingrimsdottir

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the heterogeneous effects of the birth control pill and abortion rights on young people's career plans. In particular, these effects are allowed to vary by sex, race, religion, and, importantly, by level of academic ability. Using annual surveys of over two million college freshmen from 1968 to 1976, I find that the pill mainly affected high ability women, by shifting their plans toward occupations with higher wages and higher male ratios. Abortion rights, in contrast, were mainly shown to affect women in the low ability group, with their plans shifting toward careers associated with lower income and lower prestige scores. My findings also suggest that the career plans of black males were positively affected by both increased access to the pill and abortions.

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Does Family Planning Increase Children’s Opportunities? Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X

Martha Bailey, Olga Malkova & Zoe McLaren

University of Michigan Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between parents’ access to family planning and the economic resources of the average child. Using the county-level introduction of U.S. family planning programs between 1964 and 1973, we find that children born after programs began had 2.5% higher household incomes. They were also 7% less likely to live in poverty and 11% less likely to live in households receiving public assistance. Even with extreme assumptions about selection, these estimates are large enough to imply that family planning programs directly increased children’s resources, including increases in mothers’ paid work and increased childbearing within marriage.

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Benefits from delay? The effect of abortion availability on young women and their children

Eirin Mølland

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
While much is now known about the effects of the arrival of the contraceptive pill on the fertility choices and other outcomes of women, there has been less study of the effects of abortion availability. Abortion was made widely available within week 12 of gestation to teenage women in Oslo several years before the rest of Norway. I use a differences-in-differences approach to examine the effects on teen childbearing, fertility at older ages, educational attainment, and labor market outcomes of the affected women. I also study several outcomes for the first-born children of these women. I find that abortion availability delayed fertility but did not reduce completed family size. It also resulted in higher educational attainment. Children of mothers who had access to abortion are also found to have better outcomes.

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Long-Term Effect of Exposure to a Friend's Adolescent Childbirth on Fertility, Education, and Earnings

Kandice Kapinos & Olga Yakusheva

Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: Estimating causal peer effects in fertility is challenging because the exposure variable (peer pregnancy and childbirth) is nonrandomly assigned. Miscarriages in early pregnancy occur spontaneously in a significant proportion of pregnancies and, therefore, create a natural experiment within which the causal effect of childbirth can be examined. This exploratory study compared adjusted fertility, educational, and labor market outcomes of female adolescents whose adolescent pregnant friend gave birth to female adolescents whose pregnant friend miscarried. Longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were analyzed using logistic, ordinal logistic, linear, and log-linear regressions.

Results: Females whose adolescent pregnant friends gave birth (instead of miscarried) had decreased adolescent sexual activity, pregnancy, and teen childbearing and increased educational attainment, but there were no significant long-term effects on total fertility or differences in labor market outcomes, relative to females whose pregnant adolescent friend miscarried.

Conclusions: Adolescent females appear to learn vicariously from teen childbearing experiences of their friends, resulting in delayed childbearing and higher educational attainment. Interventions that expose adolescents to the reality of teen motherhood may be an effective way of reducing the rates of teen childbearing and improving schooling.

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Early Menarche is Associated With Preference for Masculine Male Faces and Younger Preferred Age to Have a First Child

Carlota Batres & David Perrett

Evolutionary Psychology, April 2016

Abstract:
One developmental factor that is associated with variation in reproductive strategy is pubertal timing. For instance, women who experience earlier menarche have their first pregnancy earlier and prefer more masculinized male voices. Early menarche may also lead to preferences for masculine faces, but no study has shown such a link. We therefore investigated the relationships between pubertal timing, reproductive plans, sexual attitudes and behaviors, and masculinity preferences in nulliparous women aged 18–30 from the United Kingdom (N = 10,793). We found that women who experienced earlier menarche reported a younger preferred age to have a first child and showed stronger masculinity preferences. This provides evidence that women experiencing early menarche not only have children earlier but notably plan to have children earlier. Additionally, our findings provide evidence that age of menarche influences partner selection, which is instrumental for the implementation of reproductive strategies.

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Is Education Always Reducing Fertility? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Reforms

Margherita Fort, Nicole Schneeweis & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the relationship between education and fertility, exploiting compulsory schooling reforms in England and Continental Europe, implemented between 1936 and 1975. We assess the causal effect of education on the number of biological children and the incidence of childlessness. While we find a negative relationship between education and fertility in England, this result cannot be confirmed for Continental Europe. The additional education generated by schooling expansions on the Continent did not lead to a decrease in the number of biological children nor to an increase in childlessness. These findings are robust to a number of sensitivity and falsification checks.

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Improved Contraceptive Use Among Teen Mothers in a Patient-Centered Medical Home

Amy Lewin et al.

Journal of Adolescent Health, August 2016, Pages 171–176

Purpose: The Generations program, a patient-centered medical home, providing primary medical care, social work, and mental health services to teen mothers and their children, offers a promising approach to pregnancy prevention for teen mothers. This study tested whether the Generations intervention was associated with improved rates of contraceptive and condom use among participants 12 months after program entry.

Methods: This study compared teen mothers enrolled in Generations to those receiving standard community-based pediatric primary care over 12 months. Participants included African-American mothers ages 19 and younger, with infants under 6 months, living in Washington DC. A total of 83% of the baseline sample (150 mother-child dyads) was retained at follow-up.

Results: Generations participants had over three times the odds of contraceptive use, with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.35, and twice the odds of condom use (OR = 2.29) after 12 months, compared to participants receiving standard pediatric care. The odds remained comparable and significant when adjusting for differences in baseline use. Once additional covariates were entered into the model, the association was reduced to OR = 2.59 because being in a relationship with the baby's father was significantly associated with reduced contraceptive use. The same pattern was evident for condom use. Mothers in Generations had steady use of contraceptives over time, but there was a decline in use among comparison mothers, indicating that Generations prevented contraceptive discontinuation.

Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that the Generations program is an effective intervention for improving contraceptive use among teen mothers, a group at especially high risk for pregnancy.

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The Emergence of Two Distinct Fertility Regimes in Economically Advanced Countries

Ronald Rindfuss, Minja Kim Choe & Sarah Brauner-Otto

Population Research and Policy Review, June 2016, Pages 287-304

Abstract:
Beginning in 2000, in economically advanced countries, a remarkable bifurcation in fertility levels has emerged, with one group in the moderate range of period total fertility rates, about 1.9, and the other at 1.3. The upper branch consists of countries in Northern and Western Europe, Oceania and the United States; the lower branch includes Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe, and East and Southeast Asia. A review of the major theories for low-fertility countries reveals that none of them would have predicted this specific bifurcation. We argue that those countries with fertility levels close to replacement level have institutional arrangements, and related policies, that make it easier, not easy, for women to combine the worker and mother roles. The institutional details are quite different across countries, suggesting that multiple combinations of institutional arrangements and policies can lead to the same country-level fertility outcome. Canada, the only exception to this bifurcation, illustrates the importance of the different institutional structures in Québec compared to the rest of Canada.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 8, 2016

Trade deals

International Trade and Job Polarization: Evidence at the Worker-Level

Wolfgang Keller & Hâle Utar

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines the role of international trade for job polarization, the phenomenon in which employment for high- and low-wage occupations increases but mid-wage occupations decline. With employer-employee matched data on virtually all workers and firms in Denmark between 1999 and 2009, we use instrumental-variables techniques and a quasi-natural experiment to show that import competition is a major cause of job polarization. Import competition with China accounts for about 17% of the aggregate decline in mid-wage employment. Many mid-skill workers are pushed into low-wage service jobs while others move into high-wage jobs. The direction of movement, up or down, turns on the skill focus of workers’ education. Workers with vocational training for a service occupation can avoid moving into low-wage service jobs, and among them workers with information-technology education are far more likely to move into high-wage jobs than other workers.

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Who wrote the rules for the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Todd Allee & Andrew Lugg

Research & Politics, July 2016

Abstract:
Twelve governments recently signed the much-anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), sparking heated debate about its merits. As a primary motivation for this first “mega-regional” agreement, US President Barack Obama argues that the TPP is a way for the USA, and not China or someone else, to write the global trade rules of the future. This begs some important questions, namely which country or countries really did write most of the TPP and thus whose agenda for 21st century trade might it advance? To answer these questions, we compare the recently-released text of the TPP to the language in the 74 previous trade agreements that TPP members signed since 1995. Our text-as-data analyses reveal that the contents of the TPP are taken disproportionately from earlier US trade agreements. The ten preferential trade agreements (PTAs) that most closely match the TPP are all US PTAs. Moreover, the contents of controversial chapters, such as the one on investment, are drawn even more heavily from past US treaty language. Our study and findings apply power-based accounts of international institutions to a landmark new agreement, and portray a more active, template-based process of international diffusion.

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Currency Wars, Coordination, and Capital Controls

Olivier Blanchard

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
The strong monetary policy actions undertaken by advanced economies' central banks have led to complaints of “currency wars” by some emerging market economies, and to widespread demands for more macroeconomic policy coordination. This paper revisits these issues. It concludes that, while advanced economies' monetary policies indeed have had substantial spillover effects on emerging market economies, there was and still is little room for coordination. It then argues that restrictions on capital flows were and are a more natural instrument for advancing the objectives of both macro and financial stability.

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International Technology Spillovers and Growth over the Past 142 Years: The Role of Genetic Proximity

Jakob Madsen & Minoo Farhadi

Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper suggests genetic proximity, in addition to geographic proximity and imports, as a factor facilitating international knowledge transmission, where knowledge is measured as the stock of knowledge as well as research intensity to allow for the possibility that international knowledge spillovers have permanent productivity growth effects. Using data for 31 countries with diverse development paths over the period 1870–2011, the results show that genetic proximity and imports are important in facilitating knowledge transmission, and that knowledge spillovers have permanent growth effects.

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A Global View of Productivity Growth in China

Chang-Tai Hsieh & Ralph Ossa

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does a country’s productivity growth affect worldwide real incomes through international trade? In this paper, we take this classic question to the data by measuring the spillover effects of China’s productivity growth. Using a quantitative trade model, we first estimate China’s productivity growth between 1995-2007 and then isolate what would have happened to real incomes around the world if only China’s productivity had changed. We find that the spillover effects are small for all countries in our sample, ranging from a cumulative real income loss of at most -0.2 percent to a cumulative real income gain of at most 0.2 percent.

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Dark matter, black holes and old-fashioned exploitation: Transnational corporations and the US economy

Mona Ali

Cambridge Journal of Economics, July 2016, Pages 997-1018

Abstract:
In advanced economies, foreign direct investment (FDI) is usually a two-way process, involving both inwards and outwards investment, often in the same industries. Why, then, is US FDI so profitable whilst FDI in the USA is conspicuous in its unprofitability? Using sectoral-based data from 1999 to 2005 to investigate this puzzle, I find that US-owned FDI (USDIA) demonstrates far higher returns particularly relative to foreign-owned direct investment in the USA (FDIUS) but also compared to all US-based industries (NIPA). FDIUS is the worst performing of all three portfolios, exhibiting the poorest and most volatile returns for the period examined. These results hold for both the aggregate non-financial data as well as for the ‘narrow measured value added’. For the period tested, US inwards FDI isn’t employment generating whereas US direct investment abroad produces the fastest gains in labour productivity, output, employment, investment expenditures and tax revenues. Whilst it is debatable that ‘dark matter’ or intangible proprietary assets drive superior relative returns to USDIA, labour exploitation appears to play a role. Increases in labour productivity coupled with declining wage shares for all three portfolios (especially pronounced for USDIA) suggest ‘race to bottom’ outcomes. A burgeoning aspect of this race is cross-border profit-shifting to minimise firms’ global tax burdens. I suspect but am unable to confirm that profits are being shifted overseas — vanishing into the ‘black holes’ of tax havens, transfer pricing and other modes of tax avoidance.

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Partisan Cycles in Offshore Outsourcing: Evidence from U.S. Imports

Pablo Pinto & Stephen Weymouth

Economics & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The wage and employment effects of offshoring roil politics in the United States and around the world. Firms that offshore either outsource their activities to unaffiliated businesses, or internalize production by establishing subsidiaries from which they import intrafirm. We argue that the political environment in trade partner countries influences U.S. offshoring patterns in ways that have been ignored in the extant literature. Drawing on the political business cycle literature, we expect higher production costs and lower profits for firms in capital (labor) intensive sectors when the Left (Right) is in power. These partisan cycles, in turn, shape the sectoral composition of exports from the partner to the United States, and the degree to which trade is conducted intrafirm. Under a Left- (Right-) leaning government in a partner country, U.S. intrafirm imports of capital- (labor-) goods increase relative to total imports in these industries. Examining highly disaggregated U.S. import data, we find strong support for our argument. Our results indicate that the effect of partisan governments on offshore outsourcing depends on factor intensities of production, which vary across industries. The degree of internalization in global sourcing is shaped in part by the distributional objectives of partisan governments, and not by economic factors alone.

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The Effects of Import Competition on Worker Health

Clay McManus & Georg Schaur

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Occupational health is an important determinant of workers' welfare. Existing mechanisms and evidence from the international trade and occupational safety literatures combine to predict that import competition impacts work place injuries, especially at small firms that are most affected by foreign imports. We examine this prediction with novel data on injuries at US manufacturers using Chinese import growth in 1996–2007 as a shock to competition. The data show that injury rates in the competing US industries increase over the short to medium run, particularly at smaller establishments. Back of the envelope calculations show that injury risk increases by 13% at the smallest establishments, the equivalent of a 1 to 2% reduction in workers' wages.

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Does Partisan Conflict Deter FDI Inflows to the US?

Marina Azzimonti

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
I analyze the effects of political uncertainty on foreign direct investment flows to the US using a novel indicator, the partisan conflict index (PCI). Partisan conflict is relevant for the evolution of cross-border capital flows because the expected returns on investment projects are less predictable when the timing, size, and composition of fiscal policy is uncertain. The partisan conflict index tracks the evolution of political disagreement among policymakers as reported by the media. Using aggregate quarterly data from 1985 to 2015, I show that an innovation of the PCI is associated with a significant decline in FDI flows to the US. The magnitude of the effect is similar when disaggregated data from a panel of parent countries is considered instead.

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Predictability Versus Flexibility: Secrecy in International Investment Arbitration

Emilie Hafner-Burton, Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld & David Victor

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 413-453

Abstract:
There is heated debate over the wisdom and effect of secrecy in international negotiations. This debate has become central to the process of foreign investment arbitration because parties to disputes nearly always can choose to hide arbitral outcomes from public view. Working with a new database of disputes at the world's largest investor-state arbitral institution, the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, the authors examine the incentives of firms and governments to keep the details of their disputes secret. The authors argue that secrecy in the context of investment arbitration works like a flexibility-enhancing device, similar to the way escape clauses function in the context of international trade. To attract and preserve investment, governments make contractual and treaty-based promises to submit to binding arbitration in the event of a dispute. They may prefer secrecy in cases when they are under strong political pressure to adopt policies that violate international legal norms designed to protect investor interests. Investors favor secrecy when managing politically sensitive disputes over assets they will continue to own and manage in host countries long after the particular dispute has passed. Although governments prefer secrecy to help facilitate politically difficult bargaining, secrecy diminishes one of the central purposes of arbitration: to allow governments to signal publicly their general commitment to investor-friendly policies. Understanding the incentives for keeping the details of dispute resolution secret may help future scholars explain more accurately the observed patterns of wins and losses from investor-state arbitration as well as patterns of investment.

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Economic Crises and Trade Policy Competition

Cameron Ballard-Rosa, Allison Carnegie & Nikhar Gaikwad

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do crises affect trade policy? This article reconciles starkly diverging accounts in the literature by showing that economic adversity generates endogenous incentives not only for protection, but also for liberalization. It first formally develops the mechanisms by which two features of shocks – intensity and duration – influence the resources and political strategies of distressed firms. The central insight is that policy adjustments to resuscitate afflicted industries typically generate ‘knock-on’ effects on the profitability and political maneuverings of other firms in the economy. The study incorporates these countervailing pressures in its analysis of trade policy competition. In the wake of crises, protection initially increases when affected firms lobby for assistance, but then decreases as industries run low on resources to expend on lobbying and as firms in other industries mobilize to counter-lobby. The theoretical predictions are tested using sub-national and cross-national data, and real-world illustrations are presented to highlight the mechanisms driving the results.

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Centers of Gravity: Regional Powers, Democracy, and Trade

Timothy Peterson & Thomas Lassi

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Classic studies on hegemonic stability and power transition suggest that concentration of capabilities favoring a single state can promote economic cooperation and discourage militarized conflict. However, tests of these arguments have been primarily limited to examining temporal variation in global capability distributions and corresponding levels of system-wide cooperation; few have examined the impact of capability concentration at the region level. In this article, we contend that concentration of regional military capabilities corresponds to lower trade costs for states throughout a region and to an incentive for weaker states to de-prioritize expenditure on the military, freeing resources that can be used to promote trade. As a result, this condition promotes higher levels of trade, particularly within the region. We also argue that democratic regional powers are better able to foster confidence in the sustainability of cooperation; thus, the trade-enhancing impact of concentrated regional capabilities is stronger when the predominant state is more democratic. We find evidence in support of our expectations in statistical models examining state trade between 1960 and 2007.

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Human Rights, NGO Shaming and the Exports of Abusive States

Timothy Peterson, Amanda Murdie & Victor Asal

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the attention of human rights organizations limit exports from rights-abusing states? This article examines how naming and shaming by human rights organizations (HROs) conditions the influence of human rights abuse on exports, and argues that human rights abuse alone is insufficient to damage a state’s exports. However, as attention to abuse via HRO shaming increases, abuse has an increasingly negative impact on exports. Importantly, this relationship is also conditional on the respect for human rights among importing states; human rights abuse, even if it is shamed, has no effect when importers are similarly abusive. Empirical tests utilizing gravity models of trade incorporating data on physical integrity rights abuse and HRO shaming in 1990–2008 yield strong support for our expectations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Generous

Social Class and Prosocial Behavior: The Moderating Role of Public Versus Private Contexts

Michael Kraus & Bennett Callaghan

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Associations between social class and prosocial behavior - defined broadly as action intended to help others - may vary as a function of contextual factors. Three studies examined how making prosocial actions public, versus private, moderates this association. In Study 1, participation in a public prosocial campaign was higher among upper than lower class individuals. In Studies 2 and 3, lower class individuals were more prosocial in a dictator game scenario in private than in public, whereas upper class individuals showed the reverse pattern. Follow-up analyses revealed the importance of reputational concerns for shaping class differences in prosociality: Specifically, higher class individuals reported that pride motivated their prosocial behavior more than lower class individuals, and this association partially accounted for class-based differences in prosociality in public versus private contexts. Together, these results suggest that unique strategies for connecting and relating to others develop based on one's position in the class hierarchy.

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Communicating to Influence Perceptions of Social Stigma: Implications for the Use of Signs by the Homeless as a Means of Soliciting Funds

Franklin Boster et al.

American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
Homelessness is an important social problem in many countries, including the United States. The plight of the homeless is compounded by a high level of stigma associated with the homeless. This study examines the effects of humorous and nonhumorous signs used by the homeless to attract donations. Study 1 shows that nonhumorous signs attracted 10 times as much money as humorous signs. Study 2 shows that subjects felt more comfortable in the presence of homeless not holding a sign and perceived them more positively compared with homeless holding a humorous sign. Positive perceptions of them led to more comfort, which led to more donations. Study 3 shows that subjects perceived homeless not holding a sign more positively compared with homeless holding a nonhumorous sign. These findings suggest that signs make potential donors feel uncomfortable, potentially resulting in diminished donations.

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To Give or Not to Give? Interactive Effects of Status and Legitimacy on Generosity

Nicholas Hays & Steven Blader

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although previous research has demonstrated that generosity can lead to status gains, the converse effect of status on generosity has received less attention. This is a significant gap because groups and society at large rely on the beneficence of all members, especially those holding high-status positions. More broadly, research on the psychology of status remains largely unexplored, which is striking in light of the attention given to other forms of social hierarchy, such as power. The current work focuses on the psychology of status and explores the interactive effects of status and legitimacy on generosity. In particular, we hypothesize that status will decrease generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as legitimate because status can inflate views of one's value to the group and sense of deservingness. In contrast, we hypothesize that status increases generosity when the status hierarchy is perceived as illegitimate, due to efforts to restore equity through one's generosity. Our results support these hypotheses across 6 studies (a field study and 5 experiments) and empirically demonstrate that the effects of status and legitimacy on generosity can be attributed to concerns about equity in status allocation.

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Helping from the heart: Voluntary upregulation of heart rate variability predicts altruistic behavior

Boris Bornemann et al.

Biological Psychology, September 2016, Pages 54-63

Abstract:
Our various daily activities continually require regulation of our internal state. These regulatory processes covary with changes in High Frequency Heart Rate Variability (HF-HRV), a marker of parasympathetic activity. Specifically, incidental increases in HF-HRV accompany positive social engagement behavior and prosocial action. Little is known about deliberate regulation of HF-HRV and the role of voluntary parasympathetic regulation in prosocial behavior. Here, we present a novel biofeedback task that measures the ability to deliberately increase HF-HRV. In two large samples, we find that a) participants are able to voluntarily upregulate HF-HRV, and b) variation in this ability predicts individual differences in altruistic prosocial behavior, but not non-altruistic forms of prosociality, assessed through 14 different measures. Our findings suggest that self-induction of parasympathetic states is involved in altruistic action. The biofeedback task may provide a measure of deliberate parasympathetic regulation, with implications for the study of attention, emotion, and social behavior.

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Fundraising Intermediaries Inhibit Quality-Driven Charitable Donations

Lucas Coffman

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Charitable donations are frequently raised by an intermediary, which accepts donations and subsequently sends the proceeds to the charity - for example, a workplace campaign for United Way, a 5-km walk for Susan G. Komen, or buying cookies from a local troop for the Girl Scouts. These fundraisers can greatly increase donations received by a given charity, but how do they affect what types of charities we support? This article shows intermediary fundraisers can make donors insensitive to differences in charity quality: Unattractive charities can receive the same financial support as an attractive charity. In a series of across-subject experiments, when donations are framed as going directly to the charity, unattractive charities receive fewer and smaller contributions relative to attractive charities; however, when donations for the same charities are collected by (meaningless) intermediary fundraising campaigns, donations become indistinguishable across charities. The fundraising campaign does not affect donor recall of charity identity or evaluation of charity quality; it simply precludes donors from using these data in the donation decision. Follow-up experiments suggest the results are driven by information overload.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pairing

Sexual Inactivity During Young Adulthood Is More Common Among U.S. Millennials and iGen: Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on Having No Sexual Partners After Age 18

Jean Twenge, Ryne Sherman & Brooke Wells

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Examining age, time period, and cohort/generational changes in sexual experience is key to better understanding sociocultural influences on sexuality and relationships. Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s (commonly known as Millennials and iGen) were more likely to report having no sexual partners as adults compared to GenX’ers born in the 1960s and 1970s in the General Social Survey, a nationally representative sample of American adults (N = 26,707). Among those aged 20–24, more than twice as many Millennials born in the 1990s (15 %) had no sexual partners since age 18 compared to GenX’ers born in the 1960s (6 %). Higher rates of sexual inactivity among Millennials and iGen also appeared in analyses using a generalized hierarchical linear modeling technique known as age–period–cohort analysis to control for age and time period effects among adults of all ages. Americans born early in the 20th century also showed elevated rates of adult sexual inactivity. The shift toward higher rates of sexual inactivity among Millennials and iGen’ers was more pronounced among women and absent among Black Americans and those with a college education. Contrary to popular media conceptions of a “hookup generation” more likely to engage in frequent casual sex, a higher percentage of Americans in recent cohorts, particularly Millennials and iGen’ers born in the 1990s, had no sexual partners after age 18.

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Altruism predicts mating success in humans

Steven Arnocky et al.

British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In order for non-kin altruism to evolve, altruists must receive fitness benefits for their actions that outweigh the costs. Several researchers have suggested that altruism is a costly signal of desirable qualities, such that it could have evolved by sexual selection. In two studies, we show that altruism is broadly linked with mating success. In Study 1, participants who scored higher on a self-report altruism measure reported they were more desirable to the opposite sex, as well as reported having more sex partners, more casual sex partners, and having sex more often within relationships. Sex moderated some of these relationships, such that altruism mattered more for men's number of lifetime and casual sex partners. In Study 2, participants who were willing to donate potential monetary winnings (in a modified dictator dilemma) reported having more lifetime sex partners, more casual sex partners, and more sex partners over the past year. Men who were willing to donate also reported having more lifetime dating partners. Furthermore, these patterns persisted, even when controlling for narcissism, Big Five personality traits, and socially desirable responding. These results suggest that altruists have higher mating success than non-altruists and support the hypothesis that altruism is a sexually selected costly signal of difficult-to-observe qualities.

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Does the internet affect assortative mating? Evidence from the U.S. and Germany

Gina Potarca

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Internet has now become a habitual channel for finding a partner, but little is known about the impact of this recent partnership market on mate selection patterns. This study revisits the supply side perspective on assortative mating by exploring the role played by online venues in breeding educational, racial/ethnic and religious endogamy. It compares couples that met online (through either online dating platforms, Internet social networking, Internet gaming website, Internet chat, Internet community, etc.) to those that met through various offline contexts of interaction. Using unique data from the U.S. for the year 2009 and data from Germany collected between 2008 and 2014, I run log-multiplicative models that allow for the strength of partners’ association to vary along meeting settings. Results reveal that the Internet promotes weaker couple endogamy compared to conventional contexts typically known to foster endogamy, such as school, family, friends, or religious venues.

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What Makes Jessica Rabbit Sexy? Contrasting Roles of Waist and Hip Size

William Lassek & Steven Gaulin

Evolutionary Psychology, April 2016

Abstract:
While waist/hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI) have been the most studied putative determinants of female bodily attractiveness, BMI is not directly observable, and few studies have considered the independent roles of waist and hip size. The range of attractiveness in many studies is also quite limited, with none of the stimuli rated as highly attractive. To explore the relationships of these anthropometric parameters with attractiveness across a much broader spectrum of attractiveness, we employ three quite different samples: a large sample of college women, a larger sample of Playboy Playmates of the Month than that has been previously examined, and a large pool of imaginary women (e.g., cartoon, video game, graphic novel characters) chosen as the “most attractive” by university students. Within-sample and between-sample comparisons agree in indicating that waist size is the key determinant of female bodily attractiveness and accounts for the relationship of both BMI and WHR with attractiveness, with between-sample effect sizes of 2.4–3.2. In contrast, hip size is much more similar across attractiveness groups and is unrelated to attractiveness when BMI or waist size is controlled.

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Not Just Black and White: How Race/Ethnicity and Gender Intersect in Hookup Culture

Sarah Spell

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The increasing interest in research on hookups (i.e., noncommittal unions focused on sexual acts ranging from kissing to intercourse) often highlights individual-level predictors (e.g., alcohol use, attitudes) or gender/class differences. Racial/ethnic comparisons are often portrayed as White/non-White, despite literature on differing experiences within race by gender due to institutional-level differences, standards of beauty, and sexual stereotypes. Using the Online College Social Life Survey data set (n = 18,347), this article explores participation in hookup culture by race/ethnicity and gender. Additionally, interviews with undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania (n = 60) reveal students’ expectations of, and barriers to, participation in hookup culture. Asian men report on average almost half the hookup partners than do other men, while White women report almost double the hookup partners on average than do other women. This article concludes that arguing a White/non-White dichotomy ignores important gender differences: Asian men and non-White women face additional barriers to participation in hookup culture. Finally, this article asserts that research must incorporate intersectionality to study hookups.

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Is women's sociosexual orientation related to their physical attractiveness?

Claire Fisher et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, October 2016, Pages 396–399

Abstract:
Although many researchers have suggested that more physically attractive women report less restricted sociosexual orientations (i.e., report being more willing to engage in short-term, uncommitted sexual relationships), evidence for this association is equivocal. Consequently, we tested for possible relationships between women's scores on the revised version of the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R) and women's body mass index (N = 212), waist-hip ratio (N = 213), ratings of their facial attractiveness (N = 226), and a composite attractiveness measure derived from these three intercorrelated measures. Our analyses suggest that more attractive women report less restricted sociosexual orientations. Moreover, we show that this link between attractiveness and sociosexual orientation is not simply a consequence of women's scores on the behavior subscale of the SOI-R. Importantly, however, the correlations between measures of women's physical attractiveness and their reported sociosexual orientation were very weak, suggesting that perceptions of these potential cues of women's sociosexual orientation are unlikely to provide accurate, socially relevant information about others during social interactions.

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Effect of Copulins on Rating of Female Attractiveness, Mate-Guarding, and Self-Perceived Sexual Desirability

Megan Williams & Amy Jacobson

Evolutionary Psychology, April 2016

Abstract:
Olfaction and chemical signaling play an important role in the mating behaviors of many taxa, yet there is minimal empirical research on human putative pheromones. A mixture of five volatile fatty acids secreted vaginally, identified and named “copulins,” significantly increase in concentration during the follicular phase and decrease in concentration during the luteal phase in nonpill using women. Men exposed to copulins exhibit an increase in testosterone, are inhibited in discriminating the attractiveness of women’s faces, and behave less cooperatively. According to Anisogamy, Sexual Selection and Parental Investment Theory, mammalian males, having low cost and high benefit from any copulatory interaction, may adaptively utilize any useful cues to identifying ovulating females and adjust their behavior accordingly in order to maximize their potential reproductive success. In the current study, we attempted a replication of Jütte and Grammer’s finding indicating copulins inhibit the ability of men to discriminate attractiveness of women’s faces, and we examined the role of copulins in self-reported mate-guarding behaviors and self-perceived sexual desirability. We utilized a randomized placebo-controlled design and as predicted, results indicated men exposed to copulins were more likely to rate themselves as sexually desirable to women and, on average, the copulin group rated women’s faces as more attractive than controls. There were no significant findings with mate guarding.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 5, 2016

Horse racing

Negative Advertising and the Dynamics of Candidate Support

Kevin Banda & Jason Windett

Political Behavior, September 2016, Pages 747-766

Abstract:
Scholars have spent a great deal of effort examining the effects of negative advertising on citizens’ perceptions of candidates. Much of this work has used experimental designs and has produced mixed findings supporting one of two competing theories. First, negative ads may harm candidates who sponsor them because citizens tend to dislike negativity. Second, negativity may drive down citizens’ support for the targeted candidate because the attacks give people reasons to reject the target. We argue that the mixed findings produced by prior research may be driven by a disregard for campaign dynamics. We present a critical test of these two theories using data drawn from 80 statewide elections — 37 gubernatorial and 43 U.S. Senate contests — from three election years and public opinion polling collected during the last 12 weeks of each campaign. We find that a candidate’s support declines as her advertising strategy includes a higher proportion of negative ads relative to her opponent and that this process unfolds slowly over the course of the campaign.

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The Runner-Up Effect

Santosh Anagol & Thomas Fujiwara

Journal of Political Economy, August 2016, Pages 927-991

Abstract:
Exploiting regression discontinuity designs in Brazilian, Indian, and Canadian first-past-the-post elections, we document that second-place candidates are substantially more likely than close third-place candidates to run in, and win, subsequent elections. Since both candidates lost the election and had similar electoral performance, this is the effect of being labeled the runner-up. Selection into candidacy is unlikely to explain the effect on winning subsequent elections, and we find no effect of finishing in third place versus fourth place. We develop a simple model of strategic coordination by voters that rationalizes the results and provides further predictions that are supported by the data.

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Backfire: The Unintended Consequences of Partisan Gerrymandering

Dahyeon Jeong & Ajay Shenoy

University of California Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Every 10 years, U.S. states must redraw their Congressional districts. It is widely believed that political parties redraw districts to favor their own candidates. We test this claim by exploiting the discontinuous change in a political party's control of redistricting triggered when its share of seats in the state legislature exceeds 50 percent. We find evidence of gerrymandering, but it has the opposite effect from that intended. Gerrymandering creates districts with narrow majorities of supporters. These majorities are ultimately eroded by demographic shifts and the response of opposing interest groups. Republicans actually win fewer elections when they control redistricting.

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The Pseudoparadox of Partisan Mapmaking and Congressional Competition

Nicholas Goedert

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why are fewer congressional elections competitive at the district level when the national electoral environment is at its most competitive? This article explores this “pseudoparadox,” and argues that the answer can be found in partisan redistricting. Through an analysis of 40 years of congressional elections, I find that partisan gerrymanders induce greater competitiveness as national tides increase, largely due to unanticipated consequences of waves adverse to the map-drawing party, particularly in seats held by that party. The phenomenon anecdotally coined by Grofman and Brunell as the “dummymander” is thus actually quite common and has significant effects on rates of congressional competition nationally. In contrast, bipartisan maps are shown to induce lower competition, while nonpartisan maps induce higher competition, under all electoral conditions and competitiveness measures. But the effects of partisan gerrymanders on competition, though strong, can only be seen in interaction with short-term national forces.

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Weekly Fluctuations in Risk Tolerance and Voting Behaviour

Jet Sanders & Rob Jenkins

PLoS ONE, July 2016

Abstract:
Risk tolerance is fundamental to decision-making and behaviour. Here we show that individuals’ tolerance of risk follows a weekly cycle. We observed this cycle directly in a behavioural experiment using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (Lejuez et al., 2002; Study 1). We also observed it indirectly via voting intentions, gathered from 81,564 responses across 70 opinion polls ahead of the Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 (Study 2) and 149,064 responses across 77 opinion polls ahead of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum of 2016 (Study 3). In all three studies, risk-tolerance decreased from Monday to Thursday before returning to a higher level on Friday. This pattern is politically significant because UK elections and referendums are traditionally held on a Thursday — the lowest point for risk tolerance. In particular, it raises the possibility that voting outcomes in the UK could be systematically risk-averse. In line with our analysis, the actual proportion of Yes votes in the Scottish Independence Referendum was 4% lower than forecast. Taken together, our findings reveal that the seven-day weekly cycle may have unexpected consequences for human decision-making. They also suggest that the day on which a vote is held could determine its outcome.

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(Un)Conventional Wisdom and Presidential Politics: The Myth of Convention Locations and Favorite-Son Vice Presidents

David Schultz

PS: Political Science & Politics, July 2016, Pages 420-425

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom pervades presidential politics, and there is no doubt that this will again be true in 2016. First among “old politicians’ tales” is that a political party’s placement of a national convention in a specific state can affect presidential voting there, swinging or flipping it to its presidential candidate. Second, the selection of a vice-presidential candidate as a favorite son (or daughter) will deliver a state’s electoral votes to a presidential ticket. Is either of these pearls of wisdom true? This article tests the truth of both the convention location and favorite-son claims and finds little evidence of their efficacy.

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The abilities and decisions of regular and irregular voters in American presidential elections

Steven Nawara

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
While most of the voter turnout literature focuses on the differences between voters and nonvoters, scant attention has been paid to what separates regular voters from the “irregular voters” who move in and out of the electorate. This article shows that citizens who regularly vote will be more knowledgeable and involved in the political system than voters who turnout irregularly. In addition, the article supports the existing claim that it is easier for voters to understand social policies than economic policies. These two principles lead to the hypothesis that economic and social policy preferences will predict the decisions of regular voters while the decisions of irregular voters will be predicted by social policy preferences but not economic preferences. American National Election Studies data from 1988 to 2008 provide support for these hypotheses. Though poor economic conditions may bring irregular voters out to the polls, their ballots are cast for candidates with similar social policy preferences, not necessarily similar economic stances.

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Agency Problems in Political Campaigns: Media Buying and Consulting

Gregory Martin & Zachary Peskowitz

Emory University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
The vast majority of advertising expenditures in congressional campaigns are made not directly by campaigns themselves but indirectly though specialist intermediary firms. Though their revenue ultimately derives from contributions to public campaigns, these firms are privately owned and operated on a for-profit basis. Using a new dataset that includes both revenues and costs of these firms, we examine the profitability of political media consulting. We investigate both whether firms are able to extract economic rents from their intermediary position and whether firms’ pecuniary incentives cause them to make strategic recommendations that deviate from their principals’ interests. We find significant differences across the two major parties: firms working for Republican candidates charge higher prices, exert less effort, and induce less responsiveness in their clients’ advertising expenditures to electoral circumstances than do their Democratic counterparts. We connect this observation to the (left-leaning) distribution of ideology among individual consulting firm employees, arguing that these higher rents serve as an incentive to induce consultants to work against their intrinsic ideological motivations. The internal organization of firms reflects an awareness of and an attempt to mitigate this potential for conflict of interest; firms are made up of ideologically homogeneous partners, and are much more likely to work for ideologically close rather than distant clients.

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Language for Winning Hearts and Minds: Verb Aspect in U.S. Presidential Campaign Speeches for Engaging Emotion

David Havas & Christopher Chapp

Frontiers in Psychology, June 2016

Abstract:
How does language influence the emotions and actions of large audiences? Functionally, emotions help address environmental uncertainty by constraining the body to support adaptive responses and social coordination. We propose emotions provide a similar function in language processing by constraining the mental simulation of language content to facilitate comprehension, and to foster alignment of mental states in message recipients. Consequently, we predicted that emotion-inducing language should be found in speeches specifically designed to create audience alignment – stump speeches of United States presidential candidates. We focused on phrases in the past imperfective verb aspect (“a bad economy was burdening us”) that leave a mental simulation of the language content open-ended, and thus unconstrained, relative to past perfective sentences (“we were burdened by a bad economy”). As predicted, imperfective phrases appeared more frequently in stump versus comparison speeches, relative to perfective phrases. In a subsequent experiment, participants rated phrases from presidential speeches as more emotionally intense when written in the imperfective aspect compared to the same phrases written in the perfective aspect, particularly for sentences perceived as negative in valence. These findings are consistent with the notion that emotions have a role in constraining the comprehension of language, a role that may be used in communication with large audiences.

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Candidate Vulnerability and Exposure to Counterattitudinal Information: Evidence From Two U.S. Presidential Elections

Dustin Carnahan, Kelly Garrett & Emily Lynch

Human Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Politically motivated selective exposure has traditionally been understood through the lens of long-standing attitudes and beliefs, but the role of environment in shaping information exposure practices merits further consideration. Citizens might respond to the political environment in their information-seeking behavior for numerous reasons. Citizens who believe their position is politically vulnerable have specific cognitive and affective needs that may make them uniquely attuned to counterattitudinal information. In the context of a presidential election, this means that as the defeat of a supported candidate appears more likely, attention to counterattitudinal content will increase. Data collected in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections support this prediction, although this relationship was observed primarily among supporters of the Republican candidate in both elections.

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Social Pressure on Social Media: Using Facebook Status Updates to Increase Voter Turnout

Katherine Haenschen

Journal of Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
The widespread adoption of the Internet offers tangible potential for increasing political participation through disseminating digital reminders to vote. This study presents three experiments in which confederates mobilize members of their networks to vote by tagging them in Facebook status updates. Relying on the technological affordances of Facebook, treatments publicize individuals' past participation or failure to vote in an ongoing election. The results show substantial increases in turnout greater than that which is usually produced by face-to-face methods. Findings suggest that digital media offer citizens the potential to generate tremendous gains in voter participation, and address concerns that our increasingly digitally networked society may prove harmful to democracy.

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Face Value? Experimental Evidence that Candidate Appearance Influences Electoral Choice

Douglas Ahler et al.

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to numerous studies, candidates’ looks predict voters’ choices — a finding that raises concerns about voter competence and about the quality of elected officials. This potentially worrisome finding, however, is observational and therefore vulnerable to alternative explanations. To better test the appearance effect, we conducted two experiments. Just before primary and general elections for various offices, we randomly assigned voters to receive ballots with and without candidate photos. Simply showing voters these pictures increased the vote for appearance-advantaged candidates. Experimental evidence therefore supports the view that candidates’ looks could influence some voters. In general elections, we find that high-knowledge voters appear immune to this influence, while low-knowledge voters use appearance as a low-information heuristic. In primaries, however, candidate appearance influences even high-knowledge and strongly partisan voters.

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Incumbency effects in U.S. presidential campaigns: Language patterns matter

Christian Leuprecht & David Skillicorn

Electoral Studies, September 2016, Pages 95–103

Abstract:
Incumbent U.S. presidential candidates have been overwhelmingly successful over the past 150 years. Attempts to explain this success rate have examined both structural advantages enjoyed by incumbents and differences in rhetorical and linguistic style in campaigning, although it is less clear why incumbency conveys an advantage here. This article finds that the language used by U.S. presidential candidates over the past twenty years has an underlying structure associated with electoral success: 1. speech patterns of incumbents differ notably from those they used in their first-term campaign; and 2. speech patterns of winners are different from those of losers. Both differences are consistent, and can therefore be postulated to indicate strength of influence. The resulting inductive model of influential language is characterized by: increased positivity, complete absence of negativity, increased abstraction, and lack of reference to the opposing candidate(s). The greatest intensity of model language is used by incumbents in their second campaign and the least by losers in a first-cycle open campaign. Language improvement by incumbents occurs rapidly, suggesting that it is the result of changing self-perception rather than a conventional learning process. This finding has broader implications, suggesting that both success, and the presence of competing groups trying to make similar arguments, improve the quality of the influencing language used.

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Three Tests for Practical Evaluation of Partisan Gerrymandering

Samuel Wang

Stanford Law Review, June 2016, Pages 1263-1321

Abstract:
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Davis v. Bandemer ruling in 1986, partisan gerrymandering for statewide electoral advantage has been held to be justiciable. The existing Supreme Court standard, culminating in Vieth v. Jubelirer and LULAC v. Perry, holds that a test for gerrymandering should demonstrate both intents and effects and that partisan gerrymandering may be recognizable by its asymmetry: for a given distribution of popular votes, if the parties switch places in popular vote, the numbers of seats will change in an unequal fashion. However, the asymmetry standard is only a broad statement of principle, and no analytical method for assessing asymmetry has yet been held by the Supreme Court to be manageable. This Article proposes three statistical tests to reliably assess asymmetry in state-level districting schemes: (1) an unrepresentative distortion in the number of seats won based on expectations from nationwide district characteristics; (2) a discrepancy in winning vote margins between the two parties; and (3) the construction of reliable wins for the party in charge of redistricting, as measured by either the difference between mean and median vote share, or an unusually even distribution of votes across districts. The first test relies on computer simulation to estimate appropriate levels of representation for a given level of popular vote and provides a way to measure the effects of a gerrymander. The second and third tests, which can be used to help evaluate redistricting intent, rely on well-established statistical principles and can be carried out using a hand calculator without examination of maps or redistricting procedures. I apply these standards to a variety of districting schemes, starting from the original “Gerry-mander” of 1812, up to modern cases. In post-2010 congressional elections, partisan gerrymandering in a handful of states generated effects that are larger than the total nationwide effect of population clustering. By applying these standards in two recent cases, I show that Arizona legislative districts (Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission) fail to qualify as a partisan gerrymander, but Maryland’s congressional districts (Shapiro v. McManus) do. I propose that an intents-and-effects standard based on these tests is robust enough to mitigate the need to demonstrate predominant partisan intent. The three statistical standards offered here add to the judge’s toolkit for rapidly and rigorously identifying the partisan consequences of redistricting.

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Reprecincting and Voting Behavior

Brian Amos, Daniel Smith & Casey Ste. Claire

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the expansion of convenience voting across the American states, millions of voters continue to cast ballots at their local precincts on Election Day. We argue that those registered voters who are reassigned to a different Election Day polling place prior to an election are less likely to turn out to vote than those assigned to vote at the same precinct location, as a new precinct location incurs both search and transportation costs on reassigned voters. Utilizing voter file data and precinct shape files from Manatee County, Florida, from before and after the 2014 General Election, we demonstrate that the redrawing of precinct boundaries and the designation of Election Day polling places is not a purely technical matter for local election administrators, but may affect voter turnout of some registered voters more than others. Controlling for a host of demographic, partisan, vote history, and geospatial factors, we find significantly lower turnout among registered voters who were reassigned to a new Election Day precinct compared to those who were not, an effect not equally offset by those voters turning to other available modes of voting (either early in-person or absentee). All else equal, we find that registered Hispanic voters were significantly more likely to abstain from voting as a result of being reassigned than any other racial group.

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A Bipartisan Election Reform? Explaining Support for Online Voter Registration in the American States

William Hicks, Seth McKee & Daniel Smith

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Online voter registration (OVR) is an election reform that has recently taken hold in more than half of the American states. Election administration observers have marveled at both the rapid diffusion and bipartisan support associated with legislative passage of OVR. We examine the likelihood a lawmaker voted in favor or against OVR in legislatures approving the reform. Despite the leading narrative of both parties overwhelmingly embracing OVR, we find that lawmaker support is clearly rooted in political calculations. Most prominent is a partisan divide, with Republicans in polarized legislatures with a Democratic majority decidedly less supportive of OVR. In addition, a host of contextual factors tied to the variation in partisan and electoral power affect the probability a state legislator votes in favor of this reform. We argue that the near-consensus position of Democrats (more than 90% voted “yea” on OVR) and the impressive supermajority of Republicans backing OVR (greater than 70%) have diverted attention from the reasons why there is opposition to this seemingly noncontroversial reform.

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Changing the Clock: The Role of Campaigns in the Timing of Vote Decision

Michael Henderson & Sunshine Hillygus

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Time of vote decision research has shaped our understanding of the nature and influence of campaigns. Traditionally, time of decision has been viewed primarily as a reflection of individual-level characteristics, especially political interest or attentiveness. We use eight waves of panel survey data to evaluate how campaign context interacts with attentiveness to affect time of decision in the 2008 US presidential election. Our data show that less politically interested respondents living in locations where campaigning was most intense made up their minds earlier than those living elsewhere, but there is no such difference among the most interested. Rather than time of decision simply constraining campaign effects, these results suggest that campaigns structure the time of decision.

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Strafing, Spats, and Skirmishes: Social Dynamics of Negative Campaigning on Twitter

Justin Gross & Kaylee Johnson

University of Massachusetts Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
What drives candidates to “go negative” and — in the case of multiple candidates — against whom? Using a unique dataset consisting of all tweets made by the seventeen Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 contest, we assess predictors of negative affect in online interactions with other candidates. Twitter is a free platform, and candidates therefore face no resource limitations when using Twitter; this makes Twitter a wellspring of information about the sort of campaigning candidates might do given unlimited resources. We find that tweet negativity within the network increases as the election approaches. In virtually none of the candidate pairs characterized by asymmetric negativity are attacks waged by a higher-status on a lower-status candidate. We also find support for the idea that tightening competition leads to increased negativity among all candidates (even and especially among frontrunners). Finally, we demonstrate that overall inter-candidate tweeting intensifies as the field narrows, with tweets per dyad per week increasing by orders of magnitude at each stage of the race.

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Closed primaries versus top-two primaries

Pablo Amorós, Socorro Puy & Ricardo Martínez

Public Choice, April 2016, Pages 21-35

Abstract:
The top-two primaries recently approved in several US states eliminate closed party primaries and create instead a single ballot in which the first and second place winners pass to the general election. We conduct a theoretical analysis to compare the electoral consequences of top-two primaries with those of closed primaries. Each primary procedure induces a sequential game with three stages: candidate-entry stage, primary elections, and general election. We analyze the equilibria of these games and show that top-two primaries contribute to political moderation. In particular, when the median voter is extreme, closed primaries always generate extreme winners and, yet, top-two primaries can generate moderate winners. Furthermore, when the median voter is moderate but the partisan median voter of her party is extreme (and some additional mild conditions hold), closed primaries always generate extreme winners while top-two primaries always generate moderate winners. We also show that top-two primaries increase the number of swing states since, in certain cases, the party affiliation of the winner under top-two primaries may not coincide with the party affiliation of the median voter.

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The Timing of Partisan Media Effects during a Presidential Election

Glen Smith

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines when partisan media effects occur during presidential campaigns. I argue that partisan media are most likely to influence candidate impressions early in the election cycle, when voters have less crystallized impressions of the candidates and are less motivated to defend their party’s nominee. Using multiple methods and two large-scale surveys spanning 2008, I show that Fox News affected favorability toward Barack Obama during the first five months of the election year, but those effects largely disappeared over the last five months. The results varied by political knowledge, however, as Fox News affected low-knowledge viewers throughout the entire year, but only affected high-knowledge viewers early in the election cycle. These results provide important new evidence on how partisan media affect viewers and when those effects occur during a presidential election.

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The Effects of Counterstereotypic Gender Strategies on Candidate Evaluations

Nichole Bauer

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Voters do not associate female candidates with feminine stereotypes, but voters also do not associate female candidates with the qualities most valued in political leaders such as experience and knowledge. Current research offers conflicting conclusions on whether female candidates benefit from breaking with feminine norms or face a backlash for being too aggressive and not likable enough. Using a series of experiments, I show how counterstereotypic gender strategies, including women emphasizing masculine trait competencies, improve evaluations of female candidates along both masculine and feminine leadership dimensions. These results offer novel insights into how female candidates can overcome perceptual deficits among voters that they lack critical masculine leadership qualities. I also show that female candidates can overcome these biases without losing on traditional feminine strengths such as warmth and likability. However, counterstereotypic female candidates can face a “likability” backlash from out-partisan voters. These findings suggest counterstereotypes may be more beneficial for female candidates in a primary election context when voters are copartisans rather than general elections where candidates often need cross-partisan support.

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Ballot order effects in direct democracy elections

John Matsusaka

Public Choice, June 2016, Pages 257-276

Abstract:
Many political practitioners believe that voters are more likely to approve propositions listed at the top than the bottom of the ballot, potentially distorting democratic decision making, and this belief influences election laws across the United States. Numerous studies have investigated ballot order effects in candidate elections, but there is little evidence for direct democracy elections, and identification of causal effects is challenging. This paper offers two strategies for identifying the effect of ballot order in proposition elections, using data from California during 1958–2014 and Texas during 1986–2015. The evidence suggests that propositions are not advantaged by being listed at the top compared to the bottom of the ballot. Approval rates are lower with more propositions on the ballot.

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Negative Campaigning in the Social Media Age: Attack Advertising on Facebook

Zachary Auter & Jeffrey Fine

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies examine politicians’ decisions to use social media, as well as the content of the messages that these political actors disseminate on social media platforms. We contribute to this literature by examining how race competitiveness and a candidate’s position in the race relative to her opponent affect their decisions to issue attacks. Through content analysis of nearly 15,000 Facebook posts for tone (positive or negative), we find that while competitive races encourage both candidates to issue more negative posts, candidates in less competitive races embrace attack messages with more or less frequency depending on whether they trail or lead their opponent. We find that social media negativity is much more likely to be a desperation strategy employed by underdog candidates in less competitive races. We also run separate models examining the factors that drive policy and personal attacks. While underdog candidates are more likely to engage in issue attacks, candidates in competitive races are significantly more likely to use Facebook to make personal attacks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Soul brothers

Cognitive Dissonance, Elections, and Religion: How Partisanship and the Political Landscape Shape Religious Behaviors

Michele Margolis

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do elections affect citizens? This paper shows that elections can have an impact in an area where researchers least expect it: an individual’s religious life. It does so by drawing on psychologists’ theory of compensatory control and testing whether individuals’ reported religious behaviors and beliefs fluctuate with their chosen political party’s fortunes. Both an originally collected panel data set and over-time cross-sectional data reveal that Democrats (Republicans) are more likely to report attending religious services and praying when Republicans (Democrats) control the White House. Rates of reported religious behaviors then decline when a copartisan is president. The results demonstrate political identities’ strength and ability to influence nonpolitical behaviors, even those thought to be stable and impervious to politics.

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The Gender Pray Gap: Wage Labor and the Religiosity of High-Earning Women and Men

Landon Schnabel

Gender & Society, August 2016, Pages 643-669

Abstract:
Social scientists agree that women are generally more religious than men, but disagree about whether the differences are universal or contingent on social context. This study uses General Social Survey data to explore differences in religiosity between, as well as among, women and men by level of individual earned income. Extending previous research, I focus on high earners with other groups included for comparison. Predicted probabilities based upon fully interacted models provide four key findings: (1) There are no significant gender differences among high earners; (2) high-earning women are less religious than low-earning women; (3) high-earning men are more religious than low-earning men; and (4) differences among women and among men at different earnings levels are just as large as average differences between women and men. Further analyses demonstrate that the relationship between gender, earnings, and religiosity varies by race. The findings demonstrate the utility of intersectional approaches for understanding gender differences in religiosity. Beyond the implications specific to the gender differences in religiosity literature, this study also indicates that religion is an important, yet often underemphasized, aspect of our intersectional selves.

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Does Higher Education Cause Religious Decline?: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Within- and Between-Person Effects of Higher Education on Religiosity

Philip Schwadel

Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there is ample empirical evidence of the associations between higher education and various aspects of religiosity, the causal mechanisms producing these associations remain unclear. I use four waves of longitudinal data, with respondents ranging in age from 13 to 29, to model the within- and between-person effects of higher education on several measures of religiosity. The results show that earning a bachelor's degree is associated with within-person declines in some but not all measured aspects of religiosity, which partially supports the argument that higher education causes religious decline. The results also suggest that those predisposed to attending religious services self-select into higher education, that relatively religious youth in general self-select into nonelite colleges, and that those with low levels of religious belief self-select into elite universities. These findings further understanding of the associations between social class and religion, particularly the causal effects of higher education.

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The Social Context of Organized Nonbelief: County-Level Predictors of Nonbeliever Organizations in the United States

Alfredo García & Joseph Blankholm

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2016, Pages 70–90

Abstract:
Many recent social scientific studies have noted that the percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise, but few have examined the nonbeliever organizations that some of these “nones” might join. This study uses an original data set, the first attempt at documenting the population of local nonbeliever organizations in the United States, to explore where these groups are more likely to flourish. Though one might assume that less religious counties, as measured by the percentage of those with no stated religious affiliation, would be more likely to contain nonbeliever organizations, this article provides evidence that they emerge more frequently and in greater numbers in counties with proportionally more evangelical Protestants. The percentage of evangelicals among a county's population is strongly associated with both the existence (dichotomously coded) and the number of nonbeliever organizations, even when controlling for a range of demographic and institutional factors.

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Perceptions of Threat to Religious Liberty

Kirby Goidel, Brian Smentkowski & Craig Freeman

PS: Political Science & Politics, July 2016, Pages 426-432

Abstract:
Religious freedom in the United States is widely enjoyed and vigorously protected. Yet, a substantial percentage of Americans believe that their religious liberties are threatened. This article investigates the origins of these perceptions, focusing on the role of political orientations, religious identities and behaviors, social issues (i.e., gay marriage and abortion), and news attentiveness. We found that perceptions of threat are related to political orientations (i.e., partisan affiliation, ideology, and Tea Party identification) and issue positions (i.e., opposition to gay marriage). Consistent with theories of elite cue-taking, the effects of partisan affiliation are contingent on news attentiveness. Republicans who pay closer attention to the news are more likely to state that their religious liberties are threatened.

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The Religiosity as Social Value Hypothesis: A Multi-Method Replication and Extension Across 65 Countries and Three Levels of Spatial Aggregation

Jochen Gebauer et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are religious people psychologically better or worse adjusted than their nonreligious counterparts? Hundreds of studies have reported a positive relation between religiosity and psychological adjustment. Recently, however, a comparatively small number of cross-cultural studies has questioned this staple of religiosity research. The latter studies find that religious adjustment benefits are restricted to religious cultures. Gebauer, Sedikides, and Neberich (2012) suggested the religiosity as social value hypothesis (RASV) as one explanation for those cross-cultural differences. RASV states that, in religious cultures, religiosity possesses much social value, and, as such, religious people will feel particularly good about themselves. In secular cultures, however, religiosity possesses limited social value, and, as such, religious people will feel less good about themselves, if at all. Yet, previous evidence has been inconclusive regarding RASV and regarding cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits more generally. To clarify matters, we conducted 3 replication studies. We examined the relation between religiosity and self-esteem (the most direct and appropriate adjustment indicator, according to RASV) in a self-report study across 65 countries (N = 2,195,301), an informant-report study across 36 countries (N = 560,264), and another self-report study across 1,932 urban areas from 243 federal states in 18 countries (N = 1,188,536). Moreover, we scrutinized our results against 7, previously untested, alternative explanations. Our results fully and firmly replicated and extended prior evidence for cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits. These cross-cultural differences were best explained by RASV.

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Religious beliefs and local government financing, investment, and cash holding decisions

Yangyang Chen et al.

Journal of Empirical Finance, September 2016, Pages 258–271

Abstract:
This paper is the first to examine the association between religious beliefs and the local government financing, investment and cash holding decisions. Using a sample of 15,204 county-year observations for census years between 1992 and 2012, we show that the degree of religiosity is negatively associated with the level of local government debt and investments while it is positively associated with accumulated cash holdings. Our results indicate that local governments in counties with a higher degree of religiosity are more conservatively managed. To validate the main findings we conduct a range of robustness tests and demonstrate that our main results hold.

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Make Love and Lose Your Religion and Virtue: Recalling Sexual Experiences Undermines Spiritual Intentions and Moral Behavior

Caroline Rigo, Filip Uzarevic & Vassilis Saroglou

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2016, Pages 23–39

Abstract:
In contrast with traditional considerations, sexuality is often perceived today as being rather compatible with religion/spirituality and morality. However, there may be some inherent opposition between (a) sexuality (thoughts, affects, and pleasure) and (b) religion/spirituality (attitudes, motives) and (interpersonal) morality (dispositions, behavior). The two imply, respectively, self-enhancement versus self-transcendence, disinhibition versus self-control, and disgust indifference versus sensitivity. We hypothesized that sexual experience attenuates spiritual and moral concerns and behaviors. In three online experiments, young adults were asked to recall a personal sexual experience. Compared to a control condition, sexual induction diminished spiritual behavioral intentions (Experiments 1 and 2), in particular among those with high individual disinhibition (Experiment 1), as well as behaviors of prosociality and integrity/honesty (Experiment 3). The effects were independent of individual religiousness/spirituality. These findings suggest that combining sexual pleasure with self-transcendence and moral perfection, even if a legitimate ideal, is not an easy enterprise.

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When private reporting is more positive than public reporting: Pluralistic ignorance towards atheists

Garrett Strosser et al.

Social Psychology, Summer 2016, Pages 150-162

Abstract:
Across three studies, we assessed the impact of perceived social norms on attitudes and positive behavioral intentions towards atheists and religious believers. Reported attitudes, reported acceptability of expressing positive and negative attitudes, and reported positive behavioral intentions disproportionately favored religious believers over atheists. However, participants reported a higher likelihood of engaging in positive behaviors towards atheists when the threat of public scrutiny was limited, indicating that the social norm in the US may be suppressing privately held, positive behavioral intentions that would otherwise support atheists, creating a state of pluralistic ignorance. Individuals also reported having more positive attitudes and a higher level of positive behavioral intentions towards religious believers relative to others. Finally, estimates of the prevalence of religious believers in the population also tied directly to one’s perception of the acceptability of expressing positive and negative attitudes towards these groups.

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Authoritarianism and Public Opinion on Church and State in the United States

Jeremiah Castle

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the continued debate over the relationship between church and state in American politics, our understanding of the sources of attitudes on controversies over religious establishment and religious free exercise is limited. I argue that authoritarianism is an unrecognized but important predictor of mass-level attitudes on church and state. I argue that individuals with higher levels of authoritarianism are more likely to support religious establishment as a means of maintaining social conformity and reinforcing the existing social order. Likewise, those with higher levels of authoritarianism should exhibit reduced support for religious free exercise when minority groups are in question as a means of imposing greater costs on social out-groups. Using data from the 2008 Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, I find strong support for my theory. Even after controlling for a variety of alternative explanations, authoritarianism remains an important factor in attitudes toward both religious establishment and religious free exercise.

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The Price of the Calling: Exploring Clergy Compensation Using Current Population Survey Data

Cyrus Schleifer & Mark Chaves

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2016, Pages 130–152

Abstract:
Previous research shows that clergy make less money than others with similar levels of education. We use Current Population Survey data to offer five contributions to knowledge about clergy compensation. First, we document and take into account the shift in clergy compensation from the provision of free housing to the payment of housing allowances. Second, although the clergy earnings disadvantage appears to have increased over the last 40 years relative to their educational peers, the picture changes when we exclude the highest income occupations. Clergy have lost ground to doctors, lawyers, and investment bankers, but they have gained ground relative to everyone else. Third, these gains are largely because of decline in the number of hours clergy report working. Fourth, we show that clergy working in churches earn less than clergy working elsewhere. Fifth, we document immediate wage penalties for those who become clergy and, among clergy, for those who begin to work in congregations. Overall, although clergy still earn less than comparable workers, their position has improved in recent decades relative to all but the highest earning occupations.

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The association between religious homogamy and reproduction

Martin Fieder & Susanne Huber

Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 13 July 2016

Abstract:
Individuals more strongly affiliated to religion have on average more children than less religious ones. Here, based on census data of 3 658 650 women aged 46–60 years from 32 countries provided by IPUMS International and data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (n = 2400 women, aged 53–57 years), we show that religious homogamy is also associated with higher reproduction in terms of a higher number of children and a lower chance of remaining childless. We argue that, together with the relationship between general religious intensity and number of children, religious homogamy has reproductive consequences. These may impact future demographic developments and could have also played a role in the biological evolution of humans.

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Music As a Sacred Cue? Effects of Religious Music on Moral Behavior

Martin Lang et al.

Frontiers in Psychology, June 2016

Abstract:
Religion can have an important influence in moral decision-making, and religious reminders may deter people from unethical behavior. Previous research indicated that religious contexts may increase prosocial behavior and reduce cheating. However, the perceptual-behavioral link between religious contexts and decision-making lacks thorough scientific understanding. This study adds to the current literature by testing the effects of purely audial religious symbols (instrumental music) on moral behavior across three different sites: Mauritius, the Czech Republic, and the USA. Participants were exposed to one of three kinds of auditory stimuli (religious, secular, or white noise), and subsequently were given a chance to dishonestly report on solved mathematical equations in order to increase their monetary reward. The results showed cross-cultural differences in the effects of religious music on moral behavior, as well as a significant interaction between condition and religiosity across all sites, suggesting that religious participants were more influenced by the auditory religious stimuli than non-religious participants. We propose that religious music can function as a subtle cue associated with moral standards via cultural socialization and ritual participation. Such associative learning can charge music with specific meanings and create sacred cues that influence normative behavior. Our findings provide preliminary support for this view, which we hope further research will investigate more closely.

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Narrating and Navigating Authorities: Evangelical and Mainline Protestant Interpretations of the Bible and Science

Esther Chan & Elaine Howard Ecklund

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2016, Pages 54–69

Abstract:
Research on the way Protestants interpret the Bible in relationship to science has tended to focus on biblical literalists; less research, however, has examined the heterogeneity of how nonliteralists interpret the Bible. Utilizing data from semi-structured interviews with 77 evangelical and mainline Protestants who attend high-SES congregations, we find that members of both groups draw on similar interpretation strategies in discussing the Bible and evolution. Both eschew literal interpretations of the Bible, demarcate boundaries between the Bible and science, and subsume evolution under broader theological beliefs. Mainline Protestants and evangelicals differ in the way they interpret miracles, with mainline Protestants revealing more openness to scientific and social interpretations of the Bible's miracles, while evangelicals emphasize God's authority over nature. Findings show that different strategies are evoked depending on the issue discussed, revealing implications for a deeper understanding of the way different traditions provide resources for interpreting the Bible and its relationship to scientific issues. Finally, findings contribute to a more robust knowledge of boundary work between the Bible and science as institutional and epistemic authorities.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Loaners

The Causes of Fraud in the Financial Crisis of 2007 to 2009: Evidence from the Mortgage-Backed Securities Industry

Neil Fligstein & Alexander Roehrkasse

American Sociological Review, August 2016, Pages 617-643

Abstract:
The financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 was marked by widespread fraud in the mortgage securitization industry. Most of the largest mortgage originators and mortgage-backed securities issuers and underwriters have been implicated in regulatory settlements, and many have paid multibillion-dollar penalties. This article seeks to explain why this behavior became so pervasive. We evaluate predominant theories of white-collar crime, finding that theories emphasizing deregulation or technical opacity identify only necessary, not sufficient, conditions. Our argument focuses instead on changes in competitive conditions and firms’ positions within and across markets. As the supply of mortgages began to decline around 2003, mortgage originators lowered credit standards and engaged in predatory lending to shore up profits. In turn, vertically integrated mortgage-backed securities issuers and underwriters committed securities fraud to conceal this malfeasance and enhance the value of other financial products. Our results challenge several existing accounts of how widespread the fraud should have been and, given the systemic crimes that occurred, which financial institutions were the most likely to commit fraud. We consider the implications of our results for regulations that were based on some of these models. We also discuss the overlooked importance of illegal behavior for the sociology of markets.

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The Fed and Lehman Brothers: Introduction and Summary

Laurence Ball

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Why did the Federal Reserve let Lehman Brothers fail? Fed officials say they lacked the legal authority to rescue the firm, because it did not have adequate collateral to borrow the cash it needed. This paper summarizes a monograph that disputes officials’ claims (Ball, 2016). These claims are incorrect in two senses: a perceived lack of legal authority was not why the Fed did not rescue Lehman; and the Fed did in fact have the authority for a rescue.

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Subprime Mortgage Default in Minority Neighborhoods

Robert Connolly

University of North Carolina Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
In this paper, we empirically examine differences in subprime borrower default decisions by Census tract characteristics in order to clarify how the subprime foreclosure crisis played out in minority areas. An innovation in our modeling approach is that we do not constrain the impact of neighborhood composition to be identical across diverse decision-making settings. Rather, we focus on variation in decision-making when the option to default is more likely to be in the money. Carefully controlling for dynamic loan balances and home values, as well as other loan characteristics and economic conditions, we find that borrowers in minority neighborhoods, delineated by Census tracts, were less likely to default at high contemporaneous, combined loan to value ratios (CLTV) than those in neighborhoods with fewer minorities. Borrowers in tracts with a greater share of recent immigrants where overall mobility is greater are more likely to default at high CLTVs, however. Our finding that subprime borrowers in minority neighborhoods have a lower propensity to default at high CLTV stands in contrast to assertions that households in these neighborhoods may have been more willing to strategically default, that is, to default when equity turned negative regardless of their ability to repay. By contrast, our findings show that borrowers in white neighborhoods were more likely to default when they had relatively higher negative equity.

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Time Preferences and Mortgage Choice

Stephen Atlas et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mortgage decisions have important consequences for consumers, lenders, and the state of the economy more generally. Mortgage decisions are also prototypical of consumer financial choices that involve a stream of expenditures and consumption occurring across time. The authors use heterogeneity in time preferences, for both immediate (present bias) and long-term outcomes, to explain a sequence of mortgage decisions, including mortgage choice and the decision to abandon a mortgage. The authors employ an analytic model and a survey of mortgaged households augmented by zip-code level house price and foreclosure data. The model suggests and data confirms that consumers with greater present bias and long term discounting will tend to choose mortgages that minimize up-front costs. However, greater present bias decreases homeowners' willingness to abandon a mortgage, locking them into the contract. Long term patience increases abandonment. This reversal across mortgage decisions is difficult for alternate accounts to explain. These results suggest that a two-parameter model of time preferences is helpful for understanding how homeowners make mortgage decisions.

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Uncertainty as Commitment

Jaromir Nosal & Guillermo Ordoñez

Journal of Monetary Economics, June 2016, Pages 124–140

Abstract:
When governments cannot commit to not providing bailouts, banks may take excessive risks and generate crises. At the outbreak of a financial crisis, however, governments are usually uncertain about its systemic nature, and may delay intervention to learn more from endogenous market outcomes. We show such delay introduces strategic restraint: banks restrict their portfolio riskiness relative to their peers to avoid being the worst performers and bearing the costs of delay. Hence, uncertainty has the potential to self-discipline banks and mitigate crises in the absence of commitment. We study the effects of standard regulations on these novel forces.

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Limited Deposit Insurance Coverage and Bank Competition

Oz Shy, Rune Stenbacka & Vladimir Yankov

Journal of Banking & Finance, October 2016, Pages 95–108

Abstract:
Deposit insurance designs in many countries place a limit on the coverage of deposits in each bank. However, no limits are placed on the number of accounts held with different banks. Therefore, under limited deposit insurance, some consumers open accounts with different banks to achieve higher or full deposit insurance coverage. We compare three regimes of deposit insurance: No deposit insurance, unlimited deposit insurance, and limited deposit insurance. We show that limited deposit insurance weakens competition among banks and reduces total welfare relative to no or unlimited deposit insurance.

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Information Frictions in Uncertain Regulatory Environments: Evidence from U.S. Commercial Banks

Kristin Wilson & Stan Veuger

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Information frictions between firms and regulators are typically seen as a means by which firms evade enforcement. In contrast, we argue that information frictions between firms and regulators can reduce the efficiency of firms’ compliance efforts when the interpretation of regulatory standards is uncertain. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in distance between firms and their regulators to demonstrate this for a panel of community banks in the US. We find that banks located at greater distance from regulatory field offices face significantly higher administrative costs, at a rate of 20% of administrative costs per hour of travel time. These differences do not come with reduced compliance, are not driven by endogenous regulator choice, and are stable over time. Further, the costs borne by distant firms are negatively related to the scale of the jurisdiction in which they operate, suggesting that information spillovers between firms limit uncertainty about regulatory expectations.

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Is Bigger Necessarily Better in Community Banking?

Joseph Hughes, Julapa Jagtiani & Loretta Mester

Federal Reserve Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We investigate the relative performance of publicly traded community banks (those with assets less than $10 billion) versus larger banks (those with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion). A body of research has shown that community banks have potential advantages in relationship lending compared with large banks, although newer research suggests that these advantages may be shrinking. In addition, the burdens placed on community banks by the regulatory reforms mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the need to increase investment in technology, both of which have fixed-cost components, may have disproportionately raised community banks’ costs. We find that, on average, large banks financially outperform community banks as a group and are more efficient at credit-risk assessment and monitoring. But within the community bank segment, larger community banks outperform smaller community banks. Our findings, taken as a whole, suggest that there are incentives for small banks to grow larger to exploit scale economies and to achieve other scale-related benefits in terms of credit-risk monitoring. In addition, we find that small business lending is an important factor in the better performance of large community banks compared with small community banks. Thus, concern that small business lending would be adversely affected if small community banks find it beneficial to increase their scale is not supported by our results.

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The Effects of Usury Laws on Higher-Risk Borrowers

Colleen Honigsberg, Robert Jackson & Richard Squire

Columbia University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
In this Article, we exploit a natural experiment -- an unexpected judicial decision -- to study the effects of state usury laws on consumer loans to higher-risk borrowers. In May 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that, in effect, switched on the usury laws of three States, rendering those laws enforceable against owners of consumer loans that had previously been issued under the expectation that the usury laws were preempted by federal statute. Using proprietary data from three marketplace lending platforms, we study the decision’s effect on consumer credit markets. We find that the court’s decision significantly impaired credit availability for riskier borrowers, shrinking loan issuances to borrowers with the lowest FICO scores. We see no evidence, however, of strategic defaults by borrowers in these markets, despite the fact that the decision suggests that their loans are unenforceable. We also examine secondary market trading in notes backed by non-current, potentially usurious loans in the Second Circuit, and find that the decision reduced the prices of those notes. We do not, however, find evidence of a similar price decrease for notes backed by potentially usurious loans that the borrower continues to pay on time - suggesting that investors do not anticipate an increase in strategic defaults as a result of the court’s decision.

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For Better and for Worse Effects of Access to High-Cost Consumer Credit

Christine Dobridge

Federal Reserve Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
I provide empirical evidence that the effect of high-cost credit access on household material well-being depends on if a household is experiencing temporary financial distress. Using detailed data on household consumption and location, as well as geographic variation in access to high cost payday loans over time, I find that payday credit access improves wellbeing for households in distress by helping them smooth consumption. In periods of temporary financial distress — after extreme weather events like hurricanes and blizzards — I find that payday loan access mitigates declines in spending on food, mortgage payments, and home repairs. In an average period, however, I find that access to payday credit reduces well-being. Loan access reduces spending on nondurable goods overall and reduces housing- and food-related spending particularly. These results highlight the state dependent nature of the effects of high-cost credit as well as the consumption-smoothing role that it plays for households with limited access to other forms of credit.

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Securitization and Mortgage Default

Ronel Elul

Journal of Financial Services Research, June 2016, Pages 281-309

Abstract:
We find that private-securitized loans perform worse than observably similar, nonsecuritized loans, which provides evidence for adverse selection. The effect of securitization is strongest for prime mortgages, which have not been studied widely in the previous literature and, in particular, prime adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs): These become delinquent at a 30 % higher rate when privately securitized. By contrast, our baseline estimates for subprime mortgages show that private-securitized loans default at lower rates. We demonstrate, however, that “early defaulting loans” account for this: those that were so risky that they defaulted before they could be securitized.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mommy and daddy

Parenthood and Happiness: Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD Countries

Jennifer Glass, Robin Simon & Matthew Andersson

American Journal of Sociology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In contrast to widespread cultural beliefs that parenthood improves the health and happiness of adults, research finds that parents report lower levels of emotional well-being than non-parents in many developed countries. However, we currently do not know whether the parenthood penalty in personal happiness is smaller in economically advanced countries where public policies intended to reduce the stress associated with parenthood are more generous. Drawing on Link and Phelan's (1995) argument about social conditions as fundamental causes of health inequalities, we examine whether the disparity in happiness between parents and nonparents is smaller in countries that provide more resources and social support to families than in countries that provide less assistance. Our analyses reveal that the parenthood gap in happiness is greater in the U.S. than in the other 21 OECD countries in our sample; they also indicate that larger disparities in happiness between parents and non-parents are due to less generous family policies, especially subsidized child care and paid leave. Our results shed light on macro-level causes of micro-level emotional processes and have important implications for public policy.

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Red Parents, Blue Parents: The Politics of Modern Parenthood

Laurel Elder & Steven Greene

The Forum, July 2016, Pages 143-167

Abstract:
Over the past several decades the major parties in the US have not only politicized parenthood, but have come to offer increasingly polarized views of the ideal American family. This study builds on recent scholarship exploring the political impact of parenthood (e.g. Elder, Laurel, and Steven Greene. 2012a. The Politics of Parenthood: Causes and Consequences of the Politicization and Polarization of the American Family. Albany, NY: SUNY Press; Greenlee, Jill. 2014. The Political Consequences of Motherhood. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.) by comparing Republican and Democratic parents in terms of family structure as well as attitudes about parental roles and child rearing. This study draws on a fairly unique data set, the Pew Research Center's Gender and Generations Survey, as well as more traditional data sets, to further our understanding of the politics of modern parenthood in the United States. We find that the starkly contrasted red families versus blue families painted in some research and news commentary does not hold up when examined with individual level data. On average, Republican and Democratic parents start their families at the same age and have the same number of kids. And despite the parties' polarized messages about the ideal family structure, Republican moms are just as likely to be working as Democratic moms. Where partisanship does divide red and blue families is on attitudes about working mothers and perhaps most interestingly, when it comes to the way men conceptualize their roles and performance as fathers. Democratic dads possess more egalitarian attitudes about parenting and less authoritarian attitudes about child-rearing, and, perhaps because they expect more from themselves as care-givers, they struggle more with work-family balance and are less satisfied with themselves as parents. In contrast, Republican fathers embrace more traditional views about parenting and parental authority and rate themselves more highly as parents. This study concludes by exploring the implications of the politics of modern parenthood for the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

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The Effects of Aggregate and Gender-Specific Labor Demand Shocks on Child Health

Marianne Page, Jessamyn Schaller & David Simon

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
In this paper, we estimate the relationship between cyclical changes in aggregate labor market opportunities and child health outcomes. In addition to using state unemployment rates to proxy for labor market conditions, as is common in the existing literature, we construct predicted employment growth indices that allow us to separately identify demand-induced changes in labor market opportunities for fathers and mothers. In contrast with prominent studies of adult health, we find no evidence that negative shocks to general economic conditions are associated with improvements in contemporaneous measures of children's health. We do find, however, that focusing on gender-inclusive economic variables obscures the extent to which the labor market affects children. Specifically, we find evidence that improvements in labor market conditions facing women are associated with worse child health, while improvements in men's labor market conditions have smaller positive effects on child health. These patterns, which are consistent with previous findings on the effects of individual parental employment and job displacement, suggest that family income and maternal time use are both important mechanisms mediating the effects of aggregate labor market conditions on child health.

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Fathers' Decline In Testosterone And Synchrony With Partner Testosterone During Pregnancy Predicts Greater Postpartum Relationship Investment

Darby Saxbe et al.

Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The transition to parenthood has been associated with declines in testosterone among partnered fathers, which may reflect males' motivation to invest in the family. Moreover, preliminary evidence has found that couples show correlations in hormone levels across pregnancy that may also be linked to fathers' preparation for parenthood. The current study used repeated-measures sampling of testosterone across pregnancy to explore whether fathers' change in T, and correlations with mothers' T, were associated with fathers' and mothers' postpartum investment. In a sample of 27 couples (54 individuals) expecting their first child, both parents' salivary testosterone was measured multiple times across pregnancy. At approximately 3.5 months postpartum, participants rated their investment, commitment, and satisfaction with their partner. A multilevel model was used to measure change in testosterone over time and associations between mother and father testosterone. Fathers who showed stronger declines in T across pregnancy, and stronger correlations with mothers' testosterone, reported higher postpartum investment, commitment, and satisfaction. Mothers reported more postpartum investment and satisfaction if fathers showed greater prenatal declines in T. These results held even after controlling for paternal investment, commitment, and satisfaction measured prenatally at study entry. Our results suggest that changes in paternal testosterone across pregnancy, and hormonal linkage with the pregnant partner, may underlie fathers' dedication to the partner relationship across the transition to parenthood.

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Jealousy Protest: Ontogeny in Accord With the 9-Month Period of Human Gestation

Sybil Hart

Evolutionary Psychology, May 2016

Abstract:
In this article, nascent jealousy's ultimate foundation is theorized as an adapted psychological mechanism that evolved in the environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA) to prepare 1-year-olds for defending against premature weaning upon the closely spaced birth of a sibling. This position rests on evidence that nascent jealousy is expressed through jealousy protest, a constellation of caregiver-directed protests and bids for exclusive attention, and evidence that its onset occurs at approximately 9 months of age. Given that the period of human gestation is 9 months, we propose that jealousy protest's form and timing were compelled by the possibility that the end of an infant's first year could be met by competition with a newborn sibling. That possibility placed infants at risk of malnutrition and mortality due to entailing the loss of exclusive access to mother's milk, while infants were at an age when they were still heavily reliant on breast milk for survival. At this juncture, threat posed by the birth of a sibling was compounded by conditions of the EEA, where the sole viable source of breast milk was an infant's mother, and her supply of milk was sufficient for sustaining only one child at a time. We conclude by offering suggestions for future research and discuss implications for the theory of parent-offspring conflict as a foundation of adaptations in children.

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Parental monitoring and knowledge: Testing bidirectional associations with youths' antisocial behavior

Jasmin Wertz et al.

Development and Psychopathology, August 2016, Pages 623-638

Abstract:
In the present study, we used separate measures of parental monitoring and parental knowledge and compared their associations with youths' antisocial behavior during preadolescence, between the ages of 10 and 12. Parental monitoring and knowledge were reported by mothers, fathers, and youths taking part in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study that follows 1,116 families with twins. Information on youths' antisocial behavior was obtained from mothers as well as teachers. We report two main findings. First, longitudinal cross-lagged models revealed that greater parental monitoring did not predict less antisocial behavior later, once family characteristics were taken into account. Second, greater youth antisocial behavior predicted less parental knowledge later. This effect of youths' behavior on parents' knowledge was consistent across mothers', fathers', youths', and teachers' reports, and robust to controls for family confounders. The association was partially genetically mediated according to a Cholesky decomposition twin model; youths' genetically influenced antisocial behavior led to a decrease in parents' knowledge of youths' activities. These two findings question the assumption that greater parental monitoring can reduce preadolescents' antisocial behavior. They also indicate that parents' knowledge of their children's activities is influenced by youths' behavior.

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Estimating the Technology of Children's Skill Formation

Francesco Agostinelli & Matthew Wiswall

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
We develop a new estimator for the process of children's skill formation in which children's skills endogenously develop according to a dynamic latent factor structure. Rather than assuming skills are measured perfectly by a particular measure, we accommodate the variety of skills measures used in practice and allow latent skills to be measured with error using a system of arbitrarily located and scaled measures. For commonly estimated production technologies, which already have a known location and scale, we prove non-parametric identification of the primitive production function parameters. We treat the parameters of the measurement model as "nuisance" parameters and use transformations of moments of the measurement data to eliminate them, analogous to the data transformations used to eliminate fixed effects with panel data. We develop additional, empirically grounded, restrictions on the measurement process that allow identification of more general production technologies, including those exhibiting Hicks neutral total factor productivity (TFP) dynamics and non-constant returns to scale. We use our identification results to develop a sequential estimation algorithm for the joint dynamic process of investment and skill development, correcting for the biases due to measurement error in skills and investment. Using data for the United States, we estimate the technology of skill formation, the process of parental investments in children, and the adult distribution of completed schooling and earnings, allowing the production technology and investment process to freely vary as the child ages. Our estimates of high TFP and increasing returns to scale at early ages indicate that investments are particularly productive at these ages. We find that the marginal productivity of early investments is substantially higher for children with lower existing skills, suggesting the optimal targeting of interventions to disadvantaged children. Our estimates of the dynamic process of investment and skill development allow us to estimate heterogeneous treatment effects of policy interventions. We show that even a modest transfer of family income to families at ages 5-6 would substantially increase children's skills, completed schooling, and adult earnings, with the effects largest for low income families.

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The Long-Term Effects of Caregiving on Women's Health and Mortality

Jennifer Caputo, Eliza Pavalko & Melissa Hardy

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Caregivers experience numerous mental and physical health effects from the stress of providing care, but we know little about whether these problems persist in the long term and whether long-term effects differ across caregiving contexts. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, we examined the relationship between caregiving and long-term patterns of depressive symptoms, functional limitations, and mortality. We also explored the health effects of caregiving in-home versus out-of-home and by caregiver/care-recipient relationship. Analyses show that in-home spousal and parental caregiving predict increased depressive symptoms and functional limitations in the long term but are unassociated with mortality, whereas caregiving outside the home is unassociated with later depression and functional limitations but predicts a lower risk of mortality. This study highlights the usefulness of approaching stressful experiences such as caregiving from the life course perspective, viewing them as processes that unfold over time within specific contexts that may carry delayed or cumulative consequences.

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Fathers' Investments of Money and Time Across Residential Contexts

Marcia Carlson, Alicia VanOrman & Kimberly Turner

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Fathers' roles in family life have changed dramatically over the past 50 years. In addition to ongoing breadwinning responsibilities, many fathers are now involved in direct caregiving and engagement with children. Yet there is considerable variation in what fathers do, especially depending on whether they live with or away from their child. In this article, the authors use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,869) to describe how fathers' economic capacities (money) and direct involvement with children (time) are associated over child ages 1 to 9 for resident versus nonresident fathers, net of confounding factors. They found suggestive evidence that money and time investments operate differently across residential contexts: Resident fathers experience a trade-off between market work and time involved with children. In contrast, nonresident fathers' higher economic capacities are associated with more time involvement, underscoring the greater challenge for such fathers to remain actively involved.

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At-Home Father Families in the United States: Gender Ideology, Human Capital, and Unemployment

Karen Kramer & Amit Kramer

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
The rising population of stay-at-home fathers is driven by economic conditions, human capital, and changing gender ideology. When unemployment rates increase, women become breadwinners in these families. The growing gender education gap is a crucial factor in spousal work and caregiving arrangements. The authors test these propositions by tracking individuals using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth and the Current Population Survey. They find that unemployment rates are associated with having both caregiving and unable-to-work stay-at-home father families and that the probability that households choose stay-at-home father arrangements is greater when mothers have more education than fathers. Finally, individual differences in gender ideology have strong effects on the probability that families choose a caregiving stay-at-home father family structure.

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Child Welfare Supervised Children's Participation in Center-based Early Care and Education

Sacha Klein, Darcey Merritt & Susan Snyder

Children and Youth Services Review, September 2016, Pages 80-91

Abstract:
Research suggests that early care and education (ECE) services, particularly center-based ECE, may help prevent child maltreatment and also mitigate some of the negative developmental outcomes associated with child maltreatment. There is also preliminary evidence to suggest that ECE could reduce the likelihood that maltreatment allegations will be substantiated by child welfare authorities and/or result in children being placed in out-of-home care. However, little is known about rates of ECE participation among children receiving child welfare services, nor the factors that determine ECE participation for this population. Data from the first wave of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Wellbeing II, a nationally representative sample of children referred to the United States (U.S.) child welfare system (CWS) for suspected maltreatment, were used to measure the frequency with which 0-5 year olds participate in center-based ECE. Additionally, logistic regression analyses explored the effects of maltreatment type, substantiation, and children's living arrangements (i.e., with parents, relatives, or foster parents) on this outcome, controlling for a range of child and family covariates associated with ECE participation in the general population. Results indicate that less than a third of 0-5 year olds receiving child welfare services in the U.S. are participating in center-based ECE. Among the various categories of maltreatment type measured, being reported to the CWS for suspected physical abuse was associated with decreased odds of center-based ECE participation; however, other types of maltreatment, substantiation, and living arrangement were unrelated to center-based ECE participation. These findings suggest that, despite recent efforts by the U.S. federal government to promote ECE participation for CWS-supervised children, the vast majority of young children in the U.S. CWS are not receiving center-based ECE, and physically abused children are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to accessing these services.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 1, 2016

Passing the tests

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder severity, diagnosis, & later academic achievement in a national sample

Jayanti Owens & Heide Jackson

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although 11% (6.4 million) American children are diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the role of ADHD severity in shaping the association between ADHD diagnosis and academic achievement is not understood. Using a nationally-representative sample of 7,830 U.S. kindergartners from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, we use regression and propensity score matching to compare diagnosed (N = 350) and undiagnosed children who are cognitively, behaviorally, and demographically similar. Diagnosed children with less severe ADHD-related behaviors on average scored lower in reading (−0.30 SD) and math (−0.22 SD) than their undiagnosed peers – a difference two times larger than that between diagnosed and undiagnosed children with more severe ADHD-related behaviors. Pharmacological treatment did not attenuate most of this “diagnostic labeling effect” among children with less severe ADHD-related behaviors. Negative factors associated with an ADHD diagnosis may outweigh potential benefits for achievement among children with less severe ADHD-related behaviors, even those receiving treatment.

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The Impact of Campus Scandals on College Applications

Michael Luca, Patrick Rooney & Jonathan Smith

Harvard Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
In recent years, there have been a number of high profile scandals on college campuses, ranging from cheating to hazing to rape. With so much information regarding a college’s academic and non-academic attributes available to students, how do these scandals affect their applications? To investigate, we construct a dataset of scandals at the top 100 U.S. universities between 2001 and 2013. Scandals with a high level of media coverage significantly reduce applications. For example, a scandal covered in a long-form news article leads to a ten percent drop in applications the following year. This is roughly the same as the impact on applications of dropping ten spots in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Moreover, colleges react to scandals – the probability of another incident in the subsequent years falls – but this effect dissipates within five years. Combined, these results suggest important demand side and supply side responses to incidents with negative media coverage.

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A Promising Alternative: How Making College Free Affects Teens’ Risky Behaviors

Jennifer Doleac & Chloe Gibbs

University of Virginia Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Promise-type college scholarships first garnered attention in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with the announcement of the Kalamazoo Promise program in November 2005. Other similar college scholarship programs, in which graduates from local high schools are guaranteed a full-tuition (and fees) scholarship at an in-state, public university or college for up to four years, have been developed across the country. The programs are typically funded by private donors and have few, if any, eligibility criteria beyond graduation from a public high school in the particular geographic area. While there is a small and growing literature on the academic effects of such programs, their impact on adolescent engagement in risky behaviors has yet to be explored. In this paper, we leverage the rollout of several Promise-type college scholarship programs to estimate their impact on juvenile crime and teenage childbearing in the affected county, using a triple-differences framework. We find evidence that program announcements decreased risky behaviors among youth in Promise-adopting counties, observing beneficial changes in arrest rate trends and suggestive evidence of declining teen birth rates over time after announcement. We also consider heterogeneity of effects by race and across the geographies implementing such programs.

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Charter School Closure and Student Achievement: Evidence from Ohio

Deven Carlson & Stéphane Lavertu

Journal of Urban Economics, September 2016, Pages 31–48

Abstract:
The closure of low-performing schools is an essential feature of the charter school model. Our regression discontinuity analysis uses an exogenous source of variation in school closure — an Ohio law that requires charter schools to close if they fail to meet a specific performance standard — to estimate the causal effect of closure on student achievement. The results indicate that closing low-performing charter schools eventually yields achievement gains of around 0.2-0.3 standard deviations in reading and math for students attending these schools at the time they were identified for closure. The study also employs mandatory closure as an instrument for estimating the impact of exiting low-quality charter schools, thus providing plausible lower-bound estimates of charter school effectiveness. These results complement the more common lottery-based estimates of charter school effects, which likely serve as upper-bound estimates due to their focus on oversubscribed schools often located in cities with high-performing charter sectors. We discuss the implications for research and policy.

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Learning to Manage and Managing to Learn: The Effects of Student Leadership Service

Michael Anderson & Fangwen Lu

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Employers and colleges value individuals with leadership service, but there is limited evidence on whether leadership service itself creates skills. Identification in this context has proved difficult because settings in which leadership service accrues to individuals for ostensibly random reasons are rare. In this study we estimate the effects of random assignment to classroom leadership positions in a Chinese secondary school. We find that leadership service increases test scores, increases students’ political popularity in the classroom, makes students more likely to take initiative, and shapes students’ beliefs about the determinants of success. The results suggest that leadership service may impact human capital and is not solely a signal of preexisting skills.

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Educational Authority in the ‘‘Open Door’’ Marketplace: Labor Market Consequences of For-profit, Nonprofit, and Fictional Educational Credentials

Nicole Deterding & David Pedulla

Sociology of Education, July 2016, Pages 155-170

Abstract:
In recent years, private for-profit education has been the fastest growing segment of the U.S. postsecondary system. Traditional hiring models suggest that employers clearly and efficiently evaluate college credentials, but this changing institutional landscape raises an important question: How do employers assess credentials from emerging institutions? Building on theories of educational authority, we hypothesize that employers respond to an associate’s degree itself over the institution from which it came. Using data from a field experiment that sent applications to administrative job openings in three major labor markets, we found that employers responded similarly to applicants listing a degree from a fictional college and applicants listing a local for-profit or nonprofit institution. There is some evidence that educational authority is incomplete, but employers who prefer degree-holders do not appear to actively evaluate institutional quality. We conclude by discussing implications of our work for research on school to labor market links within the changing higher education marketplace.

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How to Improve Adolescent Stress Responses: Insights From Integrating Implicit Theories of Personality and Biopsychosocial Models

David Yeager, Hae Yeon Lee & Jeremy Jamieson

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research integrated implicit theories of personality and the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat, hypothesizing that adolescents would be more likely to conclude that they can meet the demands of an evaluative social situation when they were taught that people have the potential to change their socially relevant traits. In Study 1 (N = 60), high school students were assigned to an incremental-theory-of-personality or a control condition and then given a social-stress task. Relative to control participants, incremental-theory participants exhibited improved stress appraisals, more adaptive neuroendocrine and cardiovascular responses, and better performance outcomes. In Study 2 (N = 205), we used a daily-diary intervention to test high school students’ stress reactivity outside the laboratory. Threat appraisals (Days 5–9 after intervention) and neuroendocrine responses (Days 8 and 9 after intervention only) were unrelated to the intensity of daily stressors when adolescents received the incremental-theory intervention. Students who received the intervention also had better grades over freshman year than those who did not. These findings offer new avenues for improving theories of adolescent stress and coping.

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Political-economic determinants of education reform: Evidence on interest groups and student outcomes

Vigile Marie Fabella

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Education reforms come in two general types: access and quality reforms. Access reforms provide more educational opportunities, while quality reforms improve educational effectiveness. This paper investigates empirically the factors affecting the enactment of these two kinds of reforms in public primary and secondary education. By using a novel dataset of U.S. state legislation from 2008 to 2013, we find that both access and quality reforms are more likely in times of bad educational outcomes. Moreover, this is the first study documenting that teachers' union strength correlates positively with access reforms and negatively with quality reforms. Our results also shed light on the way teachers' unions promote their political interests: both lobbying and contributions are effective at opposing undesired reforms, but contributions have an extra effect of influencing the enactment of desired reforms.

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A Different Kind of Discipline: Social Reproduction and the Transmission of Non-cognitive Skills at an Urban Charter School

Katie Kerstetter

Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
A key component of recent school reform policies has been the authorization of public charter schools. A subset of public charter schools, often termed “no excuses” schools, have received national attention for their students’ academic success; however, scholars have recently begun to question the role of the schools’ authoritarian discipline systems in the process of social reproduction. This study examines the extent to which authoritarian discipline systems are necessary for success at “no excuses” schools, drawing upon qualitative research at a strategic site: a school that adopts many of the practices of “no excuses” schools while also pursuing a relational approach to discipline. Qualitative analysis of classroom observation and interview data finds that a relational approach to discipline cultivates non-cognitive skills more closely aligned with the evaluative standards of middle-class institutions, such as skills in self-expression, self-regulation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. A comparison of academic achievement data also suggests that “no excuses” schools may be able to implement relational discipline approaches without sacrificing academic success on a key predictor of future academic performance.

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Pre-K Classroom-Economic Composition and Children’s Early Academic Development

Portia Miller et al.

Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There are currently 2 principal models of publicly funded prekindergarten programs (pre-K): targeted pre-K, which is means-tested, and universal pre-K. These programs often differ in terms of the economic characteristics of the preschoolers enrolled. Studies have documented links between individual achievement in school-age children and the economic composition of classroom peers, but little research has revealed whether these associations hold in pre-K classrooms. Using data from 2,966 children in 709 pre-K classrooms, we examined whether classroom-economic composition (i.e., average family income, standard deviation of incomes, and percentage of students from low-income households) relates to achievement in preschool. Furthermore, this study investigated whether associations between classroom-economic composition and achievement differed depending on initial academic skill level. Increased economic advantage in pre-K classrooms positively predicted spring achievement. Specifically, increasing aggregate classroom income between $22,500 and $62,500 was related to improvements in math scores. Increases in the proportion of children from low-income households in the classroom were negatively related to both math and literacy and language skills when increases occurred between 52.5% and 72.5% and 25% and 45%, respectively. There was limited evidence that links between classroom-economic composition and achievement differed depending on initial skill level. Results suggest that economically integrated pre-K programs may be more beneficial to preschoolers from low-income households’ achievement than classrooms targeting economically disadvantaged children.

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Early Childhood Behavior Problems and the Gender Gap in Educational Attainment in the United States

Jayanti Owens

Sociology of Education, July 2016, Pages 236-258

Abstract:
Why do men in the United States today complete less schooling than women? One reason may be gender differences in early self-regulation and prosocial behaviors. Scholars have found that boys’ early behavioral disadvantage predicts their lower average academic achievement during elementary school. In this study, I examine longer-term effects: Do these early behavioral differences predict boys’ lower rates of high school graduation, college enrollment and graduation, and fewer years of schooling completed in adulthood? If so, through what pathways are they linked? I leverage a nationally representative sample of children born in the 1980s to women in their early to mid-20s and followed into adulthood. I use decomposition and path analytic tools to show that boys’ higher average levels of behavior problems at age 4 to 5 years help explain the current gender gap in schooling by age 26 to 29, controlling for other observed early childhood factors. In addition, I find that early behavior problems predict outcomes more for boys than for girls. Early behavior problems matter for adult educational attainment because they tend to predict later behavior problems and lower achievement.

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What Can We Learn from Charter School Lotteries?

Julia Chabrier, Sarah Cohodes & Philip Oreopoulos

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
We take a closer look at what we can learn about charter schools by pooling data from lottery-based impact estimates of the effect of charter school attendance at 113 schools. On average, each year enrolled at one of these schools increases math scores by 0.08 standard deviations and English/language arts scores by 0.04 standard deviations. There is wide variation in impact estimates. To glean what drives this variation, we link these effects to school practices, inputs, and characteristics of fallback schools. In line with the earlier literature, we find that schools that adopt an intensive “No Excuses” attitude towards students are correlated with large gains in academic performance, with traditional inputs like class size playing no role in explaining charter school effects. However, we highlight that “No Excuses” schools are also located among the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the country. After accounting for performance levels at fallback schools, the relationship between the remaining variation in school performance and the entire “No Excuses” package of practices weakens. “No Excuses” schools are effective at raising performance in neighborhoods with very poor performing schools, but the available data have less to say on whether the “No Excuses” approach could help in nonurban settings or whether other practices would similarly raise achievement in areas with low-performing schools. We find that intensive tutoring is the only “No Excuses” characteristic that remains significant (even for nonurban schools) once the performance levels of fallback schools are taken into account.

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Lessons Learned From the Great Recession: Layoffs and the RIF-Induced Teacher Shuffle

Dan Goldhaber et al.

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, September 2016, Pages 517-548

Abstract:
One consequence of the Great Recession is that teacher layoffs occurred at a scale previously unseen. In this article, we assess the effects of receiving a layoff notice on teacher mobility using data from Los Angeles and Washington State. Our analyses are based on 6-year panels of data in each site, including 4 years of layoffs. We find that the layoff process leads far more teachers to leave their schools for other district schools than is necessary to reach budget savings targets. In other words, the layoff process induces teacher churn, impacting even teachers who are not actually laid off. Placebo tests confirm that this “structural churn” results from the layoff process rather than from differential mobility of targeted teachers.

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Improving Academic Performance through Conditional Benefits: Open/Closed Campus Policies in High School and Student Outcomes

Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot

Economics of Education Review, October 2016, Pages 95–112

Abstract:
Open campus privileges in high schools can be conditional on students’ academic (GPA, test scores, etc.) or behavioral (absences, probation, etc.) performance. I evaluate the effectiveness of this incentive scheme in improving student academic outcomes using a dataset covering over 460 California high schools over a 10-year period and their open/closed campus policies, while distinguishing between conditional and unconditional open campus policies. The results show an increase of roughly 0.1 of a standard deviation in student test scores when a conditional open campus policy is in place, in comparison to an unconditional open campus policy, thus suggesting that the incentive scheme intended by the conditional open campus policy is effective as a means for improving student test score outcomes. While the incentive scheme seems to improve test outcomes both for high and low-performing students, the magnitude of the effect is greater for lower-performing students, which is consistent with the fact that the academic thresholds under the conditional open campus policies are generally very minimal. The evidence also suggests that the incentive scheme is more effective for 9th and 10th grade students than it is for 11th grade students.

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A Randomized Controlled Trial of a School-Implemented School–Home Intervention for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Impairment

Linda Pfiffner et al.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objective: This study evaluated the efficacy of a novel psychosocial intervention (Collaborative Life Skills, CLS) for primary-school students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. CLS is a 12-week program consisting of integrated school, parent, and student treatments delivered by school-based mental health providers. Using a cluster randomized design, CLS was compared to usual school/community services on psychopathology and functional outcomes.

Method: Schools within a large urban public school district were randomly assigned to CLS (12 schools) or usual services (11 schools). Approximately six students participated at each school (N=135, mean age= 8.4 years, grade range=2nd-5th, 71% boys). Using PROC GENMOD (SAS 9.4), the difference between the means of CLS and usual services for each outcome at posttreatment was tested. To account for clustering effects by school, the Generalized Estimating Equation method was used.

Results: Students from schools assigned to CLS, relative to those assigned to usual services, had significantly greater improvement on parent and teacher ratings of ADHD symptom severity and organizational functioning, teacher-rated academic performance, and parent ratings of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms and social/interpersonal skills.

Conclusion: These results support the efficacy of CLS relative to typical school and community practices for reducing ADHD and ODD symptoms and improving key areas of functional impairment. They further suggest that existing school-based mental health resources can be re-deployed from non-empirically supported practices to those with documented efficacy. This model holds promise for improving access to efficient, evidence-based treatment for inattentive and disruptive behavior beyond the clinic setting.

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Should Students Assessed as Needing Remedial Mathematics Take College-Level Quantitative Courses Instead? A Randomized Controlled Trial

A.W. Logue, Mari Watanabe-Rose & Daniel Douglas

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, September 2016, Pages 578-598

Abstract:
Many college students never take, or do not pass, required remedial mathematics courses theorized to increase college-level performance. Some colleges and states are therefore instituting policies allowing students to take college-level courses without first taking remedial courses. However, no experiments have compared the effectiveness of these approaches, and other data are mixed. We randomly assigned 907 students to (a) remedial elementary algebra, (b) that course with workshops, or (c) college-level statistics with workshops (corequisite remediation). Students assigned to statistics passed at a rate 16 percentage points higher than those assigned to algebra (p < .001), and subsequently accumulated more credits. A majority of enrolled statistics students passed. Policies allowing students to take college-level instead of remedial quantitative courses can increase student success.

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The effects of Tulsa’s CAP Head Start program on middle-school academic outcomes and progress

Deborah Phillips, William Gormley & Sara Anderson

Developmental Psychology, August 2016, Pages 1247-1261

Abstract:
This study presents evidence pertinent to current debates about the lasting impacts of early childhood educational interventions and, specifically, Head Start. A group of students who were first studied to examine the immediate impacts of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Community Action Project (CAP) Head Start program were followed-up in middle school, primarily as 8th graders. Using ordinary least squares and logistic regressions with a rich set of controls and propensity score weighting models to account for differential selection into Head Start, we compared students who had attended the CAP Head Start program and enrolled in the Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) as kindergarteners with children who also attended TPS kindergarten but had attended neither CAP Head Start nor the TPS pre-K program as 4-year-olds. CAP Head Start produced significant positive effects on achievement test scores in math and on both grade retention and chronic absenteeism for middle-school students as a whole; positive effects for girls on grade retention and chronic absenteeism; for white students on math test scores; for Hispanic students on math test scores and chronic absenteeism, and for students eligible for free lunches on math test scores, grade retention, and chronic absenteeism. We conclude that the Tulsa CAP Head Start program produced significant and consequential effects into the middle school years.

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The Long Run Impacts of Merit Aid: Evidence from California's Cal Grant

Eric Bettinger et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We examine the impacts of being awarded a Cal Grant, among the most generous state merit aid programs. We exploit variation in eligibility rules using GPA and family income cutoffs that are ex ante unknown to applicants. Cal Grant eligibility increases degree completion by 2 to 5 percentage points in our reduced form estimates. Cal Grant also induces modest shifts in institution choice at the income discontinuity. At ages 28-32, Cal Grant receipt increases by three percentage points the likelihood of living in California at the income discontinuity, and raises earnings by four percentage points at the GPA discontinuity.

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The Private and Social Benefits of Double Majors

Alison Del Rossi & Joni Hersch

Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
With increased emphasis on encouraging students to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), there is a general concern that society is losing the benefits associated with liberal arts education. One possible approach to achieving the benefits of higher-paying STEM degrees along with the social benefits of liberal arts training is to encourage double majoring among college students. Double majoring is common at about 20 percent of college graduates, yet most double majors are in related areas that provide limited educational diversity. We examine private and social benefits of double majoring using data from the 2010 National Survey of College Graduates. The strongest positive relations associated with combining a liberal arts major with a business or STEM major are on research and development activities and on job match. In addition, we find that students who double major in business and STEM earn a premium over those single majors. However, combining a liberal arts major with STEM or business fields does not increase earnings, indicating little private earnings incentive for students to combine STEM or business majors with liberal arts.

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School Entry, Compulsory Schooling, and Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Michigan

Steven Hemelt & Rachel Rosen

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

Abstract:
Extant research on school entry and compulsory schooling laws finds that these policies increase the high school graduation rate of relatively younger students, but weaken their academic performance in early grades. In this paper, we explore the evolution of postsecondary impacts of the interaction of school entry and compulsory schooling laws in Michigan. We employ a regression-discontinuity (RD) design using longitudinal administrative data to examine effects on high school performance, college enrollment, choice, and persistence. On average, we find that children eligible to start school at a relatively younger age are more likely to complete high school, but underperform while enrolled, compared to their counterparts eligible to start school at a relatively older age. In turn, these students are 2 percentage points more likely to first attend a two-year college and enroll in fewer total postsecondary semesters, relative to their older counterparts. We explore heterogeneity in these effects across subgroups of students defined by gender and poverty status. For example, we illustrate that the increase in the high school graduation rate of relatively younger students attributable to the combination of school entry and compulsory schooling laws is driven entirely by impacts on economically disadvantaged students.

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Evolving Trends in Public Opinion on the Quality of Local Schools

Valentina Bali

Educational Policy, July 2016, Pages 688-720

Abstract:
The ratings given by citizens to local public schools in the United States have been rising in the last decades. Using national public opinion surveys, this study seeks to understand the determinants of public evaluations of local schools across time. Aggregate trend analyses indicate that public evaluations of local schools are influenced not only by measures of educational performance but also by presidential discourse. Individual-level analyses suggest that minorities and individuals with children may have given higher evaluations in recent years. The evidence suggests that citizens in general have moved away from more negative assessments of their local public schools, possibly as a result of perceived and real educational advances.

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School Climate and Dropping Out of School in the Era of Accountability

Stephen Kotok, Sakiko Ikoma & Katerina Bodovski

American Journal of Education, August 2016, Pages 569-599

Abstract:
Using data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) — a large nationally representative sample of US high school students — we employed multilevel structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the relationship between school characteristics and the likelihood that a student will drop out of high school. We used a multifaceted framework on school climate to assess the degree to which school attachment, disciplinary order, disciplinary fairness, and academic climate are associated with individuals dropping out of high school. Additionally, we examined how structural and compositional characteristics of schools influence school climate and dropping out of school. Our findings indicate that attending a high school with better disciplinary order and stronger school attachment for the students is associated with a decreased likelihood of dropping out, above and beyond individual characteristics.

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Connections Matter: How Interactive Peers Affect Students in Online College Courses

Eric Bettinger, Jing Liu & Susanna Loeb

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Peers affect individual's productivity in the workforce, in education, and in other team-based tasks. Using large-scale language data from an online college course, we measure the impacts of peer interactions on student learning outcomes and persistence. In our setting, students are quasi-randomly assigned to peers, and as such, we are able to overcome selection biases stemming from endogenous peer grouping. We also mitigate reflection bias by utilizing rich student interaction data. We find that females and older students are more likely to engage in student interactions. Students are also more likely to interact with peers of the same gender and with peers from roughly the same geographic region. For students who are relatively less likely to be engaged in online discussion, exposure to more interactive peers increases their probabilities of passing the course, improves their grade in the course, and increases their likelihood of enrolling in the following academic term. This study demonstrates how the use of large-scale, text-based data can provide insights into students’ learning processes.

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Does Investing in School Capital Infrastructure Improve Student Achievement?

Kai Hong & Ron Zimmer

Economics of Education Review, August 2016, Pages 143–158

Abstract:
Within the research community, there is a vigorous debate over whether additional educational expenditures will lead to improved performance of schools. Some of the debate is an outgrowth of the lack of causal knowledge of the impacts of expenditures on student outcomes. To help fill this void, we examine the causal impact of capital expenditures on school district proficiency rates in Michigan. For the analysis, we employ a regression discontinuity design where we use the outcomes of bond elections as the forcing variable. Our results provide some evidence that capital expenditures can have positive effects on student proficiency levels.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bright futures

Genetic evidence for natural selection in humans in the contemporary United States

Jonathan Beauchamp

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 July 2016, Pages 7774–7779

Abstract:
Recent findings from molecular genetics now make it possible to test directly for natural selection by analyzing whether genetic variants associated with various phenotypes have been under selection. I leverage these findings to construct polygenic scores that use individuals’ genotypes to predict their body mass index, educational attainment (EA), glucose concentration, height, schizophrenia, total cholesterol, and (in females) age at menarche. I then examine associations between these scores and fitness to test whether natural selection has been occurring. My study sample includes individuals of European ancestry born between 1931 and 1953 who participated in the Health and Retirement Study, a representative study of the US population. My results imply that natural selection has been slowly favoring lower EA in both females and males, and are suggestive that natural selection may have favored a higher age at menarche in females. For EA, my estimates imply a rate of selection of about −1.5 mo of education per generation (which pales in comparison with the increases in EA observed in contemporary times). Although they cannot be projected over more than one generation, my results provide additional evidence that humans are still evolving — albeit slowly, especially compared with the rapid changes that have occurred over the past few generations due to cultural and environmental factors.

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The Effect of Vietnam-Era Conscription and Genetic Potential for Educational Attainment on Schooling Outcomes

Lauren Schmitz & Dalton Conley

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
This study examines whether draft-lottery estimates of the causal effect of Vietnam-era military service on schooling vary by genetic propensity toward educational attainment. To capture the complex genetic architecture that underlies the bio-developmental pathways behavioral traits and evoked environments associated with educational attainment, we construct a polygenic score (PGS) for the Vietnam-era cohort in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) that aggregates thousands of individual loci across the human genome, weighted by effect sizes derived from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) for years of education. Our findings suggest veterans with below average PGSs for educational attainment completed fewer years of schooling than comparable non-veterans with the same PGS, primarily due to fewer years of college education. On the other hand, we do not find any difference in the educational attainment of veterans and non-veterans with above average PGSs. Results show that public policies and exogenous environments may induce heterogeneous treatment effects by genetic disposition.

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The Bell Curve Revisited: Testing Controversial Hypotheses with Molecular Genetic Data

Dalton Conley & Benjamin Domingue

Sociological Science, July 2016

Abstract:
In 1994, the publication of Herrnstein’s and Murray’s The Bell Curve resulted in a social science maelstrom of responses. In the present study, we argue that Herrnstein’s and Murray’s assertions were made prematurely, on their own terms, given the lack of data available to test the role of genotype in the dynamics of achievement and attainment in U.S. society. Today, however, the scientific community has access to at least one dataset that is nationally representative and has genome-wide molecular markers. We deploy those data from the Health and Retirement Study in order to test the core series of propositions offered by Herrnstein and Murray in 1994. First, we ask whether the effect of genotype is increasing in predictive power across birth cohorts in the middle twentieth century. Second, we ask whether assortative mating on relevant genotypes is increasing across the same time period. Finally, we ask whether educational genotypes are increasingly predictive of fertility (number ever born [NEB]) in tandem with the rising (negative) association of educational outcomes and NEB. The answers to these questions are mostly no; while molecular genetic markers can predict educational attainment, we find little evidence for the proposition that we are becoming increasingly genetically stratified.

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Evidence of dysgenic fertility in China

Mingrui Wang, John Fuerst & Jianjun Ren

Intelligence, July–August 2016, Pages 15–24

Abstract:
The relationship between fertility, intelligence, and education was examined in China using a large sample sourced from the population-representative China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) dataset. For the 1951–1970 birth cohort, the correlation between fertility and gf was −.10. The strength of recent selection against gf in China substantially increased between the 1960s and the mid-1980s. Later (between 1986 and 2000), the speed of decline in gf due to selection stabilized at about .31 points per decade with a slightly downward trend. The total loss from 1971 to 2000 due to dysgenic fertility is estimated to be .75 points. A negative relationship between educational attainment and fertility was additionally found. Both negative relations were stronger for women.

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Evidence of contemporary polygenic selection on the Big G of national cognitive ability: A cross-cultural sociogenetic analysis

Michael Woodley of Menie et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, November 2016, Pages 90–97

Abstract:
Country-level total fertility rates (TFR) and cognitive ability are negatively correlated, suggesting the existence of a selection pressure that might be reducing global G. Also, the cross-population frequencies of several SNPs have been found to predict cognitive ability between countries. This study applies a cross-cultural sociogenetic approach to explore the role of latent factors among cognitive ability measures and these SNPs in moderating the associations among their indicators and TFR. Using a G factor constructed from five measures of cognitive ability, positive moderation is found on the TFR*ability relationship (ρ = 0.251 N = 60.6 countries). Using a metagene common factor among eight SNPs, positive moderation is also found on the TFR*SNP relationship (ρ = 0.816, N = 18 countries). An inference of polygenic selection for lower G is supported by the findings of two multivector co-moderation analyses. When controlled for one another, Human Development Index and metagene frequency both independently predicted TFR (β = − 0.339, and − 0.678 respectively, N = 18 countries). This indicates a joint impact of intelligent fertility control and life history slowing on the distribution of TFR values. Based on these results, polygenic selection might be reducing heritable G globally by − 0.253 points per decade, highlighting the importance of the Flynn effect as a contributor to global development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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