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Monday, April 11, 2016

Backing down

Honor and War: Southern US Presidents and the Effects of Concern for Reputation

Allan Dafoe & Devin Caughey

World Politics, April 2016, Pages 341-381

Abstract:
Reputation has long been considered central to international relations, but unobservability, strategic selection, and endogeneity have handicapped quantitative research. A rare source of haphazard variation in the cultural origins of leaders-the fact that one-third of US presidents were raised in the American South, a well-studied example of a culture of honor-provides an opportunity to identify the effects of heightened concern for reputation for resolve. A formal theory that yields several testable predictions while accounting for unobserved selection into disputes is offered. The theory is illustrated through a comparison of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and systematically tested using matching, permutation inference, and the nonparametric combination of tests. Interstate conflicts under Southern presidents are shown to be twice as likely to involve uses of force, last on average twice as long, and are three times more likely to end in victory for the United States than disputes under non-Southern presidents. Other characteristics of Southern presidencies do not seem able to account for this pattern of results. The results provide evidence that concern for reputation is an important cause of interstate conflict behavior.

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The Impact of Women Legislators on Humanitarian Military Interventions

Patrick Shea & Charlotte Christian

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we contend that the current gender and conflict literature ignores the context of military decisions and thus underestimates the support of women for certain types of military interventions. We argue that the issues related to humanitarian crises are likely to provoke support from women. Consequently, as more women enter elected positions in state legislatures, the more likely a state will become involved in a humanitarian military intervention. To test our argument, we compile a data set of humanitarian military interventions and women legislators from 1946 to 2003. A series of estimation approaches and robustness tests support our assertion that more women legislators impact the likelihood that a state will become involved in a humanitarian military intervention. Our research has specific implications on the role of gender in conflict processes and more general implications on the connection between domestic political processes and foreign policy decision making.

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US nuclear weapons and non-proliferation: Is there a link?

Matthew Kroenig

Journal of Peace Research, March 2016, Pages 166-179

Abstract:
According to a widespread conventional wisdom, there is a link between US nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation and, therefore, in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to other states, the US government must first make changes to its own nuclear arsenal. This article challenges the notion that US nuclear posture has a significant bearing on the proliferation and non-proliferation behavior of other states. Contrary to the received wisdom in policy circles, this article maintains that state decisions on nuclear non-proliferation issues are driven by a range of other security, economic, and political factors and, once these considerations are taken into account, there is little if any remaining variance to be explained by US nuclear posture. Using a dataset on US nuclear arsenal size from 1945 to 2011, this article examines the relationship between the size of the US nuclear arsenal and a variety of nuclear non-proliferation outcomes. It finds that there is no evidence of a relationship between the size of the US arsenal and: the exploration, pursuit, or acquisition of nuclear weapons by other states; the provision of sensitive nuclear assistance to non-nuclear weapon states; and voting on non-proliferation issues in the United Nations Security Council. The results are robust to alternate conceptualizations and measurements of US nuclear weapons and in various subsamples of data. This article breaks new ground on an empirical research agenda on how the nuclear policies and postures of the major nuclear powers affect the spread of nuclear weapons and has important implications for nuclear security policy.

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Nuclear Proliferation and the Use of Nuclear Options: Experimental Tests

Kai Quek

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The causes and prevention of nuclear war are critical to human survival but difficult to study empirically, as observations of nuclear war do not actually exist in the real world. The literature on nuclear war has remained largely theoretical as a consequence. To circumvent the observational constraint, this article investigates the impact of proliferation with laboratory-based nuclear-option games that experimentally manipulate the number of players (N) with a nuclear option. Results show that decisions are mostly peaceful in the dyadic N = 2 condition despite the existence of nuclear options with a relative first-strike advantage. However, a jump beyond N = 2 in the crisis interaction significantly sharpens the propensity to use the nuclear option. The findings highlight an avenue of research that evaluates mechanisms of nuclear war experimentally, moving research beyond the theoretical domain.

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Trade Interdependence and the Use of Force: Do Issues Matter?

Sam Bell & Andrew Long

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this project, we investigate the relationship between the use of military force and trade interdependence, suggesting that the influence of trade on militarized conflict varies based on the issue under dispute. For some issues, trade is likely to attenuate the chances that states escalate a dispute to the use of military force, while for others trade can intensify disputes so that military conflict is more likely. Specifically, we hypothesize that greater trade interdependence decreases the probability of military conflict over realpolitik issues like territory. On the other hand, greater trade interdependence increases the probability that states use military force when the issue under dispute concerns the regime, policies, and conditions in the target. To test our hypotheses, we employ new data on dyadic uses of force from the International Military Intervention dataset that records the initiator’s reason(s) for using force against the target. The statistical tests support our hypotheses; trade decreases the use of force against a target for territorial and military/diplomatic reasons, which is consistent with arguments from the liberal paradigm. However, trade interdependence increases the use of force for humanitarian and economic reasons as well as to affect the regime or policy of the target. Thus, our study improves upon current research about the relationship between economic interdependence and foreign policy by specifying a conditional relationship based on the issues under contention.

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The Effect of US Troop Deployments on Human Rights

Sam Bell, Chad Clay & Carla Martinez Machain

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
US noninvasion troops deployed abroad often try to promote greater respect for human rights in the host country. The host country, having an incentive to retain the troop presence, may choose to comply with these requests. We argue that this effect will not be at play in states with high security salience for the United States (US) (for which the US may not be able to credibly threaten to remove the troops). In these cases, US deployments will provide the leader with security from both internal and external threats that is independent of the local population’s support for the leader. Host state leaders thus become less reliant on (and potentially less responsive to) their local populations, which in turn may lead to increased human rights violations. In this article, we use data on both US troop deployments abroad and on human rights violations to test these arguments from 1982 to 2005.

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Ex Tridenti Mercatus? Sea-power and Maritime Trade in the Age of Globalization

Darrell Glaser & Ahmed Rahman

Journal of International Economics, May 2016, Pages 95–111

Abstract:
This paper tests an implication of the hypothesis that hegemons provide increased global stability and thus promote international commerce. Specifically, we measure the influence of naval power projections on global trade during the latter 19th and early 20th centuries, a time of relative peace and robust commercial activity. We use archival data on the navies of Britain, France, the United States and Germany, capturing longitudinal measures of ship deployment, tonnage, and ship personnel. First we develop an empirical naval arms race model, and demonstrate that the navies of Britain and France in particular responded rigorously to each other. We then use our estimates of naval power projected around the world by Britain and France to measure their effects on bilateral trade in a panel-data gravity model. Results indicate that while navies had some positive impact on their own nation’s trade, other nations’ trade suffered. Our results show that rather than bolster globalization, the first global arms race damaged commercial interests and lowered trade potential around the world.

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Probabilistic Warnings in National Security Crises: Pearl Harbor Revisited

David Blum & Elisabeth Paté-Cornell

Decision Analysis, March 2016, Pages 1-25

Abstract:
Imagine a situation where a group of adversaries is preparing an attack on the United States or U.S. interests. An intelligence analyst has observed some signals, but the situation is rapidly changing. The analyst faces the decision to alert a principal decision maker that an attack is imminent, or to wait until more is known about the situation. This warning decision is based on the analyst’s observation and evaluation of signals, independent or correlated, and on her updating of the prior probabilities of possible scenarios and their outcomes. The warning decision also depends on the analyst’s assessment of the crisis’ dynamics and perception of the preferences of the principal decision maker, as well as the lead time needed for an appropriate response. This article presents a model to support this analyst’s dynamic warning decision. As with most problems involving warning, the key is to manage the tradeoffs between false positives and false negatives given the probabilities and the consequences of intelligence failures of both types. The model is illustrated by revisiting the case of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It shows that the radio silence of the Japanese fleet carried considerable information (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “dog in the night” problem), which was misinterpreted at the time. Even though the probabilities of different attacks were relatively low, their consequences were such that the Bayesian dynamic reasoning described here may have provided valuable information to key decision makers.

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The Foreign Intercourse Bill of 1798 and the Debate over Early American Foreign Relations

Robert Smith

Journal of the Early Republic, Spring 2016, Pages 125-149

Abstract:
Between January and March of 1798 the House of Representatives debated the foreign intercourse bill, which would fund the diplomatic corps for the next two years. This was a generally a routine function, but it soon became a wide-ranging debate over the basis nature of American diplomacy, and of the American republic itself. The debate revealed something important about the politics of the 1790s. Given that republics were inherently fragile, even seemingly small matters might destroy the American republic. Both Republicans and Federalists proceeded from this assumption. The debate fell into three broad categories. First was the question of who should be appointed. The Republicans accused President Adams of using additional diplomatic appointments as a vehicle to create a patronage machine that would corrupt Congress. The Federalists that countered that amount of patronage available was insignificant, and that that the president was justified in excluding Republicans from office. Second was the question of who should control the appointments. This led back to the control of American foreign policy. The Republicans argued for congressional control through the appropriation and war powers. The Federalists contended for presidential control through the treaty and appointment powers. Third was the question of whether diplomats should be appointed at all. The Republicans believed that trade would allow the United States to secure its diplomatic goals without recourse to the normal institutions of diplomacy. The Republicans considered the United States as existing outside the European balance of power. The Federalists saw no choice but to play by the generally established rules, and thus must appoint diplomats.

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The short- and long-run relationship between the illicit drug business and terrorism

Daniel Meierrieks & Friedrich Schneider

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effect of the illicit drug business on terrorism for a sample of 58 countries for the 1984–2007 period. Consistent with the notion of a crime-terror nexus, we find that in the long run, higher drug prices are associated with more terrorism. In the short run, however, increases in drug prices lead to less terrorism, potentially because terrorist groups respond to higher drug business attractiveness by prioritizing criminal over terrorist activity.

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Why terrorists target children: Outbidding, desperation, and extremism in the Peshawar and Beslan school massacres

Yelena Biberman & Farhan Zahid

Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do terrorists engage in behavior that is extreme even by their own admission — killing children? This behavior poses a major puzzle to our understanding of terrorism, but it has been surprisingly underexplored. This article addresses the question of why terrorists intentionally target children with a comparative study of the two deadliest attacks in which children were deliberately targeted by a militant organization: the Peshawar (2014) and Beslan (2004) school massacres. The article identifies two factors that increase the likelihood that a terrorist group will target children. The first is the presence of internal rifts within an already highly violent organization. This is likely to trigger outbidding and, thus, result in more brutal attacks. The second is existentially threatening external pressure, which seriously weakens the group and, thus, leads it to select soft and shocking targets, such as schools. The findings are based on evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources, including interviews conducted in Peshawar and Islamabad, Pakistan, and Moscow, Russia.

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They see us as less than human: Metadehumanization predicts intergroup conflict via reciprocal dehumanization

Nour Kteily, Gordon Hodson & Emile Bruneau

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 343-370

Abstract:
Although the act of dehumanizing an outgroup is a pervasive and potent intergroup process that drives discrimination and conflict, no formal research has examined the consequences of being dehumanized by an outgroup — that is, “metadehumanization.” Across 10 studies (N = 3,440) involving several real-world conflicts spanning 3 continents, we provide the first empirical evidence that metadehumanization (a) plays a central role in outgroup aggression that is (b) mediated by outgroup dehumanization, and (c) distinct from metaprejudice. Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate experimentally that Americans who learn that Arabs (Study 1a) or Muslims (Study 1b) blatantly dehumanize Americans are more likely to dehumanize that outgroup in return; by contrast, experimentally increasing outgroup dehumanization did not increase metadehumanization (Study 1c). Using correlational data, Study 2 documents indirect effects of metadehumanization on Americans’ support for aggressive policies toward Arabs (e.g., torture) via Arab dehumanization. In the context of Hungarians and ethnic minority Roma, Study 3 shows that the pathway for Hungarians from metadehumanization to aggression through outgroup dehumanization holds controlling for outgroup prejudice. Study 4 examines Israelis’ metaperceptions with respect to Palestinians, showing that: (a) feeling dehumanized (i.e., metadehumanization) is distinct from feeling disliked (i.e., metaprejudice), and (b) metadehumanization uniquely influences aggression through outgroup dehumanization, controlling for metaprejudice. Studies 5a and 5b explore Americans’ metaperceptions regarding ISIS and Iran. We document a dehumanization-specific pathway from metadehumanization to aggressive attitudes and behavior that is distinct from the path from metaprejudice through prejudice to aggression. In Study 6, American participants learning that Muslims humanize Americans (i.e., metahumanization) humanize Muslims in turn. Finally, Study 7 experimentally contrasts metadehumanization and metahumanization primes, and shows that resulting differences in outgroup dehumanization are mediated by (a) perceived identity threat, and (b) a general desire to reciprocate the outgroup’s perceptions of the ingroup. In summary, our research outlines how and why metadehumanization contributes to cycles of ongoing violence and animosity, providing direction for future research and policy.

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Living in a Genetic World: How Learning About Interethnic Genetic Similarities and Differences Affects Peace and Conflict

Sasha Kimel et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 2016, Pages 688-700

Abstract:
Information about the degree of one’s genetic overlap with ethnic outgroups has been emphasized in genocides, is frequently learned about through media reporting, and is increasingly being accessed via personal genetic testing services. However, the consequence of learning about whether your own ethnic group is either genetically related to or genetically distinct from a disliked ethnic group remains unknown. Across four experiments, using diverse samples, measures and contexts, we demonstrate that altering perceptions of genetic overlap between groups in conflict — in this case Arabs and Jews — impacts factors that are directly related to interethnic hostility (e.g., aggressive behaviors, support of conflict-related policies). Our findings indicate that learning about the genetic difference between oneself and an ethnic outgroup may contribute to the promotion of violence, whereas learning about the similarities may be a vital step toward fostering peace in some contexts. Possible interventions and implications are discussed.

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The impact of US sanctions on poverty

Matthias Neuenkirch & Florian Neumeier

Journal of Development Economics, July 2016, Pages 110–119

Abstract:
In this paper, we analyze the effect of US economic sanctions on the target countries' poverty gap during the period 1982–2011. Econometrically, we employ a matching approach to account for differences in the countries' economic and political environment and the likelihood of being exposed to US sanctions. Our results indicate that US sanctions are adversely affecting those living in poverty as we observe a 3.8 percentage point (pp) larger poverty gap in sanctioned countries compared to a control group that is as close as possible in terms of observable pretreatment characteristics. In addition, we show that the impact of sanctions on poverty (i) increases with the severity of sanctions, (ii) is larger for multilateral sanctions than for unilateral sanctions imposed by only the United States, and (iii) is long-lasting as the poverty gap increases over the first 21 years of a sanction regime.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ancient history

Ritual human sacrifice promoted and sustained the evolution of stratified societies

Joseph Watts et al.

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence for human sacrifice is found throughout the archaeological record of early civilizations, the ethnographic records of indigenous world cultures, and the texts of the most prolific contemporary religions. According to the social control hypothesis, human sacrifice legitimizes political authority and social class systems, functioning to stabilize such social stratification. Support for the social control hypothesis is largely limited to historical anecdotes of human sacrifice, where the causal claims have not been subject to rigorous quantitative cross-cultural tests. Here we test the social control hypothesis by applying Bayesian phylogenetic methods to a geographically and socially diverse sample of 93 traditional Austronesian cultures. We find strong support for models in which human sacrifice stabilizes social stratification once stratification has arisen, and promotes a shift to strictly inherited class systems. Whilst evolutionary theories of religion have focused on the functionality of prosocial and moral beliefs, our results reveal a darker link between religion and the evolution of modern hierarchical societies.

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Bigger Brains Led to Bigger Bodies?: The Correlated Evolution of Human Brain and Body Size

Mark Grabowski

Current Anthropology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most investigations of hominin brain and body size evolution assume that different selection pressures acted on each trait or that brain and body size are linked physiologically via the energetic demands of large brains. However, evidence from model organisms suggests that some genes cause variation in both brain and body size, with the result that selection on either trait can lead to a correlated response in the unselected trait. If brain and body size covariation exists in our lineage, correlated evolution could mean that changes observed in the fossil record are poor predictors of past selection pressures that produced those changes. This study shows that modern humans, chimpanzees, and all primates included here have significant and roughly similar levels of evolutionary constraints from brain and body size covariance, arguing that similar levels were present in earlier hominins. Building on these findings, results suggest that strong selection to increase brain size alone played a large role in both brain and body size increases throughout human evolution and may have been solely responsible for the major increase in both traits that occurred during the transition to Homo erectus. This switch in emphasis has major implications for adaptive hypotheses on the origins of our genus.

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Ancient mitochondrial DNA provides high-resolution time scale of the peopling of the Americas

Bastien Llamas et al.

Science Advances, April 2016

Abstract:
The exact timing, route, and process of the initial peopling of the Americas remains uncertain despite much research. Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of humans as far as southern Chile by 14.6 thousand years ago (ka), shortly after the Pleistocene ice sheets blocking access from eastern Beringia began to retreat. Genetic estimates of the timing and route of entry have been constrained by the lack of suitable calibration points and low genetic diversity of Native Americans. We sequenced 92 whole mitochondrial genomes from pre-Columbian South American skeletons dating from 8.6 to 0.5 ka, allowing a detailed, temporally calibrated reconstruction of the peopling of the Americas in a Bayesian coalescent analysis. The data suggest that a small population entered the Americas via a coastal route around 16.0 ka, following previous isolation in eastern Beringia for ~2.4 to 9 thousand years after separation from eastern Siberian populations. Following a rapid movement throughout the Americas, limited gene flow in South America resulted in a marked phylogeographic structure of populations, which persisted through time. All of the ancient mitochondrial lineages detected in this study were absent from modern data sets, suggesting a high extinction rate. To investigate this further, we applied a novel principal components multiple logistic regression test to Bayesian serial coalescent simulations. The analysis supported a scenario in which European colonization caused a substantial loss of pre-Columbian lineages.

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Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans

Katherine Zink & Daniel Lieberman

Nature, 24 March 2016, Pages 500-503

Abstract:
The origins of the genus Homo are murky, but by H. erectus, bigger brains and bodies had evolved that, along with larger foraging ranges, would have increased the daily energetic requirements of hominins. Yet H. erectus differs from earlier hominins in having relatively smaller teeth, reduced chewing muscles, weaker maximum bite force capabilities, and a relatively smaller gut. This paradoxical combination of increased energy demands along with decreased masticatory and digestive capacities is hypothesized to have been made possible by adding meat to the diet, by mechanically processing food using stone tools, or by cooking. Cooking, however, was apparently uncommon until 500,000 years ago, and the effects of carnivory and Palaeolithic processing techniques on mastication are unknown. Here we report experiments that tested how Lower Palaeolithic processing technologies affect chewing force production and efficacy in humans consuming meat and underground storage organs (USOs). We find that if meat comprised one-third of the diet, the number of chewing cycles per year would have declined by nearly 2 million (a 13% reduction) and total masticatory force required would have declined by 15%. Furthermore, by simply slicing meat and pounding USOs, hominins would have improved their ability to chew meat into smaller particles by 41%, reduced the number of chews per year by another 5%, and decreased masticatory force requirements by an additional 12%. Although cooking has important benefits, it appears that selection for smaller masticatory features in Homo would have been initially made possible by the combination of using stone tools and eating meat.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mean

Incivility hates company: Shared incivility attenuates rumination, stress, and psychological withdrawal by reducing self-blame

P. Schilpzand, K. Leavitt & S. Lim

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, March 2016, Pages 33–44

Abstract:
Although episodes of workplace incivility can lead to deleterious personal and performance outcomes, we suggest that differences in how incivility is experienced (i.e., as a singled-out target, or in the company of another who is also treated uncivilly) can have significant impact on the cognitions and behaviors that follow uncivil treatment. Drawing from Sociometer Theory, we test the notion that sharing the experience of incivility with another target can greatly diminish individual-level harm, and demonstrate that causal beliefs related to self-blame mediate consequent downstream effects. Using an experimental design within a team task environment, we found that experiencing incivility from a team member increased participants’ rumination about mistreatment, task-related stress levels, and psychological withdrawal behavior. Moreover, we found support for conditional indirect effects, such that viewing mistreatment of a fellow team member at the hands of the same uncivil team member (shared incivility) attenuates the harmful effects of incivility, by reducing self-blame.

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A Higher-Than-Average Female Voice Can Cause Young Adult Female Listeners to Think About Aggression More

Jinguang Zhang

Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research found that speakers with more attractive voices receive more favorable evaluations (aka the vocal attractiveness stereotype). But sexual selection theory predicts that, to the extent that men perceive women with higher pitched voices as more attractive, women will be more hostile toward those women because they make more threatening mate rivals. Supporting this hypothesis, Study 1 (N = 102) showed that female participants higher in trait dominance displayed heightened aggressive cognition after being primed with a romantic (but not a control) feeling and listening to a higher- but not lower-than-average female voice. Study 2 (N = 111) showed that this heightened aggressive cognition was activated by a long-term but not a short-term mating motive. These findings supported sexual selection theory, challenged the vocal attractiveness stereotype, and suggested a mechanism that helps maintain the honesty of female voice pitch as a mate attraction signal.

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Excluded From All Humanity: Animal Metaphors Exacerbate the Consequences of Social Exclusion

Luca Andrighetto et al.

Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research suggested that — from the perspective of perpetrators — animal metaphors are a powerful means to reinforce social exclusion and to foster hostile behaviors against the targets of social exclusion. In the current work, we focus on the consequences of this dehumanizing form of social exclusion from the perspective of victims. In two studies, we manipulated the presence of animal metaphors in a variety of contexts of interpersonal social exclusion. Our results showed that when social exclusion is associated with animal metaphors, its consequences are exacerbated. In particular, labelling targets of social exclusion as animals indirectly caused them to display more aggressive tendencies compared with when they are labelled with corresponding offending, but nondehumanizing, attributes. Crucially, this increased aggressiveness was mediated by higher perceptions of being treated (Study 1) or viewed (Study 2) by others as animal-like. Overall, our research showed the detrimental effects of the interplay between social exclusion and animal metaphors from the perspective of victims.

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Intranasal Administration of Oxytocin Increases Human Aggressive Behavior

R. Ne’eman et al.

Hormones and Behavior, April 2016, Pages 125–131

Abstract:
Considering its role in prosocial behaviors, oxytocin (OT) has been suggested to diminish levels of aggression. Nevertheless, recent findings indicate that oxytocin may have a broader influence on increasing the salience of social stimuli and may therefore, under certain circumstances, increase antisocial behaviors such as aggression. This controversy led to the following speculations: If indeed oxytocin promotes primarily prosocial behavior, administration of OT is expected to diminish levels of aggression. However, if oxytocin mainly acts to increase the salience of social stimuli, it is expected to elevate levels of aggression following provocation. In order to test this assumption we used the Social Orientation Paradigm (SOP), a monetary game played against a fictitious partner that allows measuring three types of responses in the context of provocation: an aggressive response – reducing a point from the fictitious partner, an individualistic response – adding a point to oneself, and a collaborative response – adding half a point to the partner and half a point to oneself. In the current double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject study design, 45 participants completed the SOP task following the administration of oxytocin or placebo. The results indicated that among subjects naïve to the procedure oxytocin increased aggressive responses in comparison with placebo. These results support the saliency hypothesis of oxytocin and suggest that oxytocin plays a complex role in the modulation of human behavior.

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Drawn to danger: Trait anger predicts automatic approach behaviour to angry faces

Lotte Veenstra et al.

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most people automatically withdraw from socially threatening situations. However, people high in trait anger could be an exception to this rule, and may even display an eagerness to approach hostile situations. To test this hypothesis, we asked 118 participants to complete an approach-avoidance task, in which participants made approach or avoidance movements towards faces with an angry or happy expression, and a direct or averted eye gaze. As expected, higher trait anger predicted faster approach (than avoidance) movements towards angry faces. Crucially, this effect occurred only for angry faces with a direct eye gaze, presumably because they pose a specific social threat, in contrast to angry faces with an averted gaze. No parallel effects were observed for happy faces, indicating that the effects of trait anger were specific to hostile stimuli. These findings suggest that people high in trait anger may automatically approach hostile interaction partners.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, April 8, 2016

Work in progress

Does Employment Protection Raise Stress? A Cross-Country and Cross-Province Analysis

Nicolas Lepage-Saucier & Etienne Wasmer

Journal of Human Capital, Spring 2016, Pages 33-66

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effects of employment protection legislation (EPL) on workers' stress and well-being. EPL increases job security, but it may also have adverse effects on workers, even in partial equilibrium: costly separations may induce firms to exert pressure on workers or raise the intensity of monitoring. Using several individual surveys, we obtain positive and significant effects of EPL on stress in high-turnover sectors relative to low-turnover sectors, with causal interpretation. As to the net effect of EPL, it raises workers' stress in high-turnover sectors while it generally reduces it in lower-turnover sectors.

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'No More Credit Score': Employer Credit Check Bans and Signal Substitution

Daniel Shoag & Robert Clifford

Harvard Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
In the past decade, most states have banned or have considered banning the use of credit checks in hiring decisions, a screening tool that is widely used by employers. Using new Equifax data on employer credit checks, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, and the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment data, we show that these bans increased employment of residents in the lowest credit score areas. The largest gains occurred in higher-paying jobs and in the government-sector. At the same time, using a large database of job postings, we show that employers increased their demands for other signals of applicants' job performance, like education and experience. On net, the changes induced by these bans generate relatively worse outcomes for those with mid-to-low credit scores, for those under 22 years old, and for Blacks, groups commonly thought to benefit from such legislation.

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The State of American Entrepreneurship: New Estimates of the Quantity and Quality of Entrepreneurship for 15 US States, 1988-2014

Jorge Guzman & Scott Stern

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
While official measures of business dynamism have seen a long-term decline, early-stage venture financing of new companies has reached levels not observed since the late 1990s, resulting in a sharp debate about the state of American entrepreneurship. Building on Guzman and Stern (2015a; 2015b), this paper offers new evidence to inform this debate by estimating measures of entrepreneurial quality based on predictive analytics and comprehensive business registries. Our estimates suggest that the probability of a significant growth outcome (either an IPO or high-value acquisition) is highly skewed and predicted by observables at or near the time of business registration: 69% of realized growth events are in the top 5% of our estimated growth distribution. This high level of skewness motivates the development of three new economic statistics that simultaneously account for both the quantity as well as the quality of entrepreneurship: the Entrepreneurial Quality Index (EQI, measuring the average quality level among a group of start-ups within a given cohort), the Regional Entrepreneurship Cohort Potential Index (RECPI, measuring the growth potential of firms founded within a given region and time period) and the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Index (REAI, measuring the performance of a region over time in realizing the potential of firms founded there). We use these statistics to establish several new findings about the history and state of US entrepreneurship using data for 15 states (covering 51% of the overall US economy) from 1988 through 2014. First, in contrast the secular decline in the aggregate quantity of entrepreneurship observed in series such as the Business Dynamic Statistics (BDS), the growth potential of start-up companies (RECPI relative to GDP) has followed a cyclical pattern that seems sensitive to the capital market environment and overall economic conditions. Second, while the peak value of RECPI is recorded in 2000, the level during the first decade during this century was actually higher than the late 1980s and first half of the 1990s, and also has experienced a sharp upward swing beginning in 2010. Even after controlling for changes in the overall size of the economy, the second highest level of entrepreneurial growth potential is registered in 2014. Third, the likelihood of start-up firms for a given quality level to realize their potential (REAI) declined sharply in the late 1990s, and did not recover through 2008. These findings suggest that divergent assessments of the state of American entrepreneurship can potentially be reconciled by explicitly adopting a quantitative approach to the measurement of entrepreneurial quality.

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When Is a Good Time to Raise the Minimum Wage?

Samuel Lundstrom

Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
I analyze changes in the target efficiency of the federal minimum wage over the past 25 years. Using static simulation methods I find that minimum wage target efficiency is currently close to its 25-year peak - of the total monetary benefits generated by a 12% increase in the federal minimum wage, 16.8% would flow to workers in poverty. This exceeds the least target efficient year over this period by 4.7 percentage points and is only 0.6 percentage points below the peak. Furthermore, I find a very strong positive relationship between minimum wage target efficiency and the real federal minimum wage. The implication is that, from an efficiency standpoint, a good time to raise the minimum wage is when it is already high. This discovery raises the possibility that the minimum wage increases the employment of low-skilled poor individuals relative to the employment of low-skilled non-poor individuals. Moreover, this discovery may bolster the rationale for an indexed minimum wage whereby it is prevented from falling to less efficient levels.

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Promises Unfulfilled: Right-to-Work's Early Economic Track Record in Indiana

Frank Manzo

Labor Studies Journal, December 2015, Pages 379-395

Abstract:
This article examines the early economic track record of Indiana's "right-to-work" (RTW) law on labor market outcomes. It analyzes various labor market metrics to compare the experience in Indiana relative to nine neighboring states, as well as to the United States in the aggregate. Data are analyzed both 36 months before and 36 months after Indiana passed RTW. Initial "difference-in-difference" estimates find that the labor market performance of Indiana has not surpassed that of neighboring states following passage of the law, contrary to the claims promised by its proponents. Wage and employment growth in Indiana's construction industry, in particular, has fallen significantly behind the rest of the region. Regression analyses are subsequently performed, which conclude that RTW's unique effect has been to lower hourly wages in the state economy by 1.1 to 1.5 percent on average and have little to no impact on employment. The combination of effects results in state income tax revenues that are annually $16 to $52 million lower than they would be in the absence of the RTW policy.

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Family Background And Contemporary Changes In Young Adults' School-Work Transitions And Family Formation In The United States

Chelsea Smith, Robert Crosnoe & Shih-Yi Chao

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
The oft-discussed lengthening of the transition into adulthood is unlikely uniform across diverse segments of the population. This study followed youth in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and 1997 cohorts (n = 12,686 and 8,984, respectively) from 16 to 32 years old to investigate this trend in the United States, examining cross-cohort changes in transitions with a focus on differences by family background. Logistic regressions revealed that young adults in the most recent cohort were less likely to have completed schooling, fully entered the labor force, married, or become parents by their 30s than those in the older cohort. The cross-cohort drop in young adults completing schooling was more pronounced among youth from more disadvantaged family backgrounds, the drop in entering the labor force and having children was more pronounced among those from more advantaged backgrounds, and the drop in marriage did not differ by family background.

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The Shifting Job Tenure Distribution

Henry Hyatt & James Spletzer

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
There has been a shift in the U.S. job tenure distribution toward longer-duration jobs since 2000. This change is apparent both in the tenure supplements to the Current Population Survey and the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics matched employer-employee data. A substantial portion of these changes are caused by the ageing of the workforce and the decline in the entry rate of new employer businesses. We show that the tenure distribution is a function of historical hiring rates and tenure-specific separation rates, and we use this framework to show that the shift in the tenure distribution is accounted for primarily by declines in the hiring rate, which are concentrated in the labor market downturns associated with the 2001 and 2007-2009 recessions. We also find that the increase in average real earnings since 2007 is less than what would be predicted by the shift toward longer-tenure jobs; this reflects declines in tenure-held-constant real earnings. Regression estimates of the returns to job tenure provide no evidence that the shift in the job tenure distribution is being driven by better matches between workers and employers.

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The Employment Impact of Motor Vehicle Assembly Plant Openings

Brian Adams

Regional Science and Urban Economics, May 2016, Pages 57-70

Abstract:
Local governments often offer motor vehicle assembly plants large subsidies to locate in their jurisdiction. A frequent justification is that an assembly plant will attract upstream parts suppliers to locate nearby and provide manufacturing jobs. Using propensity score matching, I find that an assembly plant brings an average of 500 additional parts suppliers jobs beyond the employment gains the region would have experienced without the assembly plant. This increase is far less than predicted by the input-output models that state development agencies often employ.

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Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program

Daniel Fetter & Lee Lockwood

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Many major government programs transfer resources to older people and implicitly or explicitly tax their labor. In this paper, we shed new light on the labor supply effects of such programs by investigating the Old Age Assistance Program (OAA), a means-tested and state-administered pension program created by the Social Security Act of 1935. Using newly available Census data on the entire US population in 1940, we exploit the large differences in OAA programs across states to estimate the labor supply effects of OAA. Our estimates imply that OAA reduced the labor force participation rate among men aged 65-74 by 5.7 percentage points, nearly half of its 1930-40 decline. Estimating a structural model of labor supply, we find that the welfare costs to recipients of the high tax rates implicit in OAA's earnings test were quite small. Predictions based on our reduced-form estimates and our estimated model both suggest that Social Security could account for at least half of the large decline in late-life work from 1940 to 1960.

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Local Labor Market Conditions and the Federal Disability Insurance Program: New Evidence from the Bakken Oil Boom

Mallory Vachon

LSU Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program is the largest income replacement program in the United States for non-elderly adults. Growth in the DI program since the 1970s coincided with a well-documented decline in wages and labor force participation of low-skilled workers. Since DI is more attractive as outside options decline, a key question in labor and public economics is the extent to which secular changes in the labor market have led to increases in DI program participation. In this paper, I exploit an exogenous positive labor demand shock caused by a boom in oil production in the Bakken formation covering parts of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota to estimate the impact of earnings growth on DI payments and participation. Using the value of county oil reserves as an instrument for earnings, my estimates suggest a strong negative relationship between local economic conditions and DI payments and participation. I find an elasticity of DI payments with respect to local earnings of -1 and an elasticity of DI participation with respect to earnings of -0.7.

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Penalized or Protected? Gender and the Consequences of Nonstandard and Mismatched Employment Histories

David Pedulla

American Sociological Review, April 2016, Pages 262-289

Abstract:
Millions of workers are employed in positions that deviate from the full-time, standard employment relationship or work in jobs that are mismatched with their skills, education, or experience. Yet, little is known about how employers evaluate workers who have experienced these employment arrangements, limiting our knowledge about how part-time work, temporary agency employment, and skills underutilization affect workers' labor market opportunities. Drawing on original field and survey experiment data, I examine three questions: (1) What are the consequences of having a nonstandard or mismatched employment history for workers' labor market opportunities? (2) Are the effects of nonstandard or mismatched employment histories different for men and women? and (3) What are the mechanisms linking nonstandard or mismatched employment histories to labor market outcomes? The field experiment shows that skills underutilization is as scarring for workers as a year of unemployment, but that there are limited penalties for workers with histories of temporary agency employment. Additionally, although men are penalized for part-time employment histories, women face no penalty for part-time work. The survey experiment reveals that employers' perceptions of workers' competence and commitment mediate these effects. These findings shed light on the consequences of changing employment relations for the distribution of labor market opportunities in the "new economy."

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Her chance

The Effect on Lawyers Income of Gender Information Contained in First Names

Bentley Coffey & Patrick McLaughlin

Review of Law & Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test the Portia Hypothesis – that a more masculine name improves a woman’s legal career – using primary data that we collected so that we can control for an arguably important, but previously omitted, confounding factor: the woman’s parents. In theory, a correlation between nominal masculinity and success may be due to a common cause: parents’ ability to advance their children’s career prospects and the more able parents having an irrelevant preference for masculine names. We control for the family’s wealth by using their child’s educational debt at the time of graduating from law school and for the family’s reputation, within the legal profession, by using the probability of being a lawyer conditional upon their last name. We find robust evidence that a more masculine name improves a woman’s earnings as a lawyer, even when we control for her parents’ wealth and reputation.

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Desirable but not smart: Preference for smarter romantic partners impairs women's STEM outcomes

Lora Park et al.

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 158–179

Abstract:
Although women today excel in many areas of society, they are often underrepresented in the traditionally male-dominated fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The present research examined whether traditional romantic partner preferences — specifically, a desire to date partners who are smarter than oneself — affects women's tendency to minimize their intelligence in STEM fields when pursuing romantic goals. Women (but not men) who preferred smarter romantic partners showed worse math performance (Studies 1–2), less identification with math (Study 2), and less interest in STEM careers (Study 3) when the goal to be romantically desirable was activated. A meta-analysis across studies supported results. This research thus demonstrates that partner preferences influence women's STEM outcomes in response to romantic goal pursuit.

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The Performance of Female Hedge Fund Managers

Rajesh Aggarwal & Nicole Boyson

Review of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data for the period 1994-2013, we examine the return and risk-taking behavior of hedge funds having at least one female portfolio manager and funds that have all female portfolio managers. Funds with all female managers perform no differently than all male-managed funds and have similar risk profiles. For single style funds, those with mixed teams of both genders underperform male-only funds on both a raw and risk-adjusted basis, although mixed funds incur less risk and their Sharpe ratios do not differ. For funds of funds, both all-female and mixed funds have similar performance to male-managed funds. We then consider the failure rate across all fund styles. Funds with at least one female manager fail at higher rates, driven by difficulty in raising capital – these funds are smaller and are less likely to be closed to new investment. Surviving funds with at least one female manager have better performance than male-managed surviving funds, consistent with the idea that female managers need to perform better for their funds to survive. Yet, female-managed surviving funds have fewer assets under management than surviving male-managed funds. Using media mentions as a proxy for investor interest, female-managed funds receive proportionately less attention. Our results suggest that there are no inherent differences in skill between female and male managers, but that only the best performing female managers manage to survive.

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Why and When Does the Gender Gap Reverse? Diversity Goals and the Pay Premium for High Potential Women

Lisa Leslie, Colleen Manchester & Patricia Dahm

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Abundant research documents a gender pay gap; women earn less than men, all else being equal. Against the backdrop of an overall female penalty, we propose that the widespread adoption of diversity goals in organizations creates a female premium for certain women. We integrate the economic principle of supply and demand with theory from the field of strategic human resource management and theorize that individuals perceive high potential women — who have the abilities needed to reach the upper echelons of organizations, where women remain underrepresented — as more valuable for achieving organizational diversity goals than high potential men and, in turn, reward them with higher pay. Two field studies (Studies 1 & 3) and two laboratory experiments (Studies 2 & 4) reveal a female premium that is unique to high potential women (Studies 1 & 2), driven by perceptions that high potential women have more diversity value than high potential men (Studies 2 & 4), and larger in contexts where diversity goals are stronger (Studies 3 & 4). Our theory and findings challenge the assumption that the gender pay gap uniformly disadvantages women and offer new insight into why and when the female penalty reverses and becomes a female premium.

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CEO gender, corporate risk-taking, and the efficiency of capital allocation

Mara Faccio, Maria-Teresa Marchica & Roberto Mura

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We extend the literature on how managerial traits relate to corporate choices by documenting that firms run by female CEOs have lower leverage, less volatile earnings, and a higher chance of survival than otherwise similar firms run by male CEOs. Additionally, transitions from male to female CEOs (or vice-versa) are associated with economically and statistically significant reductions (increases) in corporate risk-taking. The results are robust to controlling for the endogenous matching between firms and CEOs using a variety of econometric techniques. We further document that this risk-avoidance behavior appears to lead to distortions in the capital allocation process. These results potentially have important macroeconomic implications for long-term economic growth.

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Equal Opportunity? Gender Gaps in CEO Appointments and Executive Pay

Matti Keloharju, Samuli Knüpfer & Joacim Tåg

Harvard Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
This paper uses exceptionally rich data on Swedish corporate executives and their personal characteristics to study gender gaps in CEO appointments and pay. Both gaps are sizeable: 18% for CEO appointments and 27% for pay. At most one-eighth of the gaps can be attributed to observable gender differences in executives’ and their firms’ characteristics. Further tests suggest that unobservable gender differences in characteristics are unlikely to account for the remaining gaps. Instead, our results are consistent with the view that male and female executives sharing equal attributes neither have equal opportunities to reach the top, nor are they equally paid.

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Differences in the Eyes of the Beholders: The Roles of Subjective and Objective Judgments in Sexual Harassment Claims

Katherine Kimble et al.

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2 studies, we found support for current sexual harassment jurisprudence. Currently, the courts use a 2-prong test to determine the viability of a sexual harassment claim: that the adverse treatment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter conditions of employment based on a protected class from the perspective of the individual complainant (subjective prong) and from the perspective of a reasonable person (objective prong). In Experiment 1, trained male undergraduate research assistants administered sequential objectifying gazes and comments to undergraduate female research participants. We found that the pervasive objectification delivered by multiple men (compared with 1 man) did not elicit more negative emotion or harm the experiencers’ task performance, although it did lead them to make increased judgments of sexual harassment. In Experiment 2, observers (who viewed a recording of an experiencer’s interactions with the male research assistants) and predictors (who read a protocol describing the facts of the interaction) anticipated the female targets would experience negative emotions, show impaired performance, as well as find more evidence in the interaction of sexual harassment. Observers’ judgments mirrored those of the experiencers’ while predictors’ judgments demonstrated affective forecasting errors. Predictors were more likely to anticipate more negative emotion, worse performance, and greater likelihood of sexual harassment. Overall, these studies demonstrate the impact and importance of considering perceptions of sexual harassment from multiple perspectives and viewpoints.

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A burden for the boys: Evidence of stereotype threat in boys' reading performance

Pascal Pansu et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2016, Pages 26–30

Abstract:
There is ample evidence that Stereotype Threat (ST) contributes to gender differences favoring males on standardized math tests; however, whether ST also contributes to gender differences favoring females in reading remains unanswered. This is surprising as the gender gap in reading is three times bigger than the gender gap in math (OECD, 2014). In this study, we examined whether ST may explain gender differences favoring schoolgirls in reading, assuming that boys are negatively stereotyped in this domain. Eighty students (3rd grade) took a reading test while being assigned to either a threat or a reduced-threat condition (test presented as diagnostic of reading abilities versus as a game, respectively). Boys underperformed girls in the threat condition, whereas they outperformed girls in the reduced-threat condition. Consistent with ST theory, this pattern was obtained only among highly-identified students. These findings offer another explanation for the well-known gender gap favoring girls in reading.

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Does Gender Diversity Promote Nonconformity?

Makan Amini et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Failure to express minority views may distort the behavior of company boards, committees, juries, and other decision-making bodies. Devising a new experimental procedure to measure such conformity in a judgment task, we compare the degree of conformity in groups with varying gender composition. Overall, our experiments offer little evidence that gender composition affects expression of minority views. A robust finding is that a subject’s lack of ability predicts both a true propensity to accept others’ judgment (informational social influence) and a propensity to agree despite private doubt (normative social influence). Thus, as an antidote to conformity in our experiments, high individual ability seems more effective than group diversity.

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The dwindling Winter Olympic divide between male and female athletes: The NBC broadcast network’s primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games

Paul MacArthur et al.

Sport in Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
All 63 h of the National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) scheduled primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic broadcast were analyzed revealing significant sex-based trends. Women athletes received 47.7% of the clock-time on the broadcast, more than in any other Winter Olympiad examined, and significantly more than in the previous four Winter Olympic Games. Women received 41.7% of the mentions in the broadcast and comprised 45% of the top-20 most mentioned athletes. Sex-based divergences in dialogues surrounding attributions of success were found, but none were detected for attributions of failure. Sex-based differences were also found in descriptions of personality/physicality. Contextualization is offered related to other intervening factors such as US medal successes by sex, celebrity and salient storylines surrounding American athletes.

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Who You Know in Hollywood: A Network Analysis of Television Writers

Patricia Phalen, Thomas Ksiazek & Jacob Garber

Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Winter 2016, Pages 160-170

Abstract:
“It’s who you know, not what you know,” is a familiar phrase — often repeated by professionals in Hollywood. The present study focuses on “who knows who” among Hollywood television writers. Using network analysis, this exploratory study identifies the degree of centralization and types of connections found in this elite writers’ network. Results show a great deal of collaboration in the network, and while male writers are more connected overall in Hollywood, women are more likely to be brokers — a structurally advantageous position. The authors provide explanations for collaboration patterns, especially with regard to gender differences in network roles, and propose avenues for further research.

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Aggregate Effects of Gender Gaps in the Labor Market: A Quantitative Estimate

David Cuberes & Marc Teignier

Journal of Human Capital, Spring 2016, Pages 1-32

Abstract:
This paper examines the quantitative effects of gender gaps in entrepreneurship and workforce participation. We simulate an occupational choice model with heterogeneous agents in entrepreneurial ability. Gender gaps in entrepreneurship affect negatively both income and aggregate productivity, since they reduce the entrepreneurs’ average talent. Specifically, the expected income loss from excluding 5 percent of women is 2.5 percent, while the loss is 10 percent if they are all employers. We find that gender gaps cause an average income loss of 15 percent in the OECD, 40 percent of which is due to entrepreneurship gaps. Extending the model to developing countries, we obtain substantially higher losses, with significant variation across regions.

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STEM Stereotypic Attribution Bias Among Women in an Unwelcoming Science Setting

Jennifer LaCosse, Denise Sekaquaptewa & Jill Bennett

Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) stereotypic attribution bias (SSAB) is the tendency to spontaneously generate external attributions for men’s setbacks in STEM fields and to spontaneously make internal attributions for women’s setbacks in STEM fields. Among samples of undergraduate STEM students, STEM settings perceived as unwelcoming to women through self-report (Study 1) and a manipulation (Study 2) were shown to predict SSAB. Among undergraduate women, experiencing the negative treatment of other women in a science setting predicted SSAB, which was negatively correlated with feelings of belonging in STEM (Study 1) and with intentions to continue in STEM after graduation (Studies 1 and 2). Research materials (i.e., data, measures, materials, etc.) used in both studies will be made available upon request to either of first two authors. The results of our studies suggest that those interested in increasing retention of women in STEM majors should develop strategies designed to reduce internal attributions for women’s setbacks among women facing negative STEM environments and cultivate a more positive climate for women in STEM fields.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Emerging

Clans, Guilds, and Markets: Apprenticeship Institutions and Growth in the Pre-Industrial Economy

David de la Croix, Matthias Doepke & Joel Mokyr

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
In the centuries leading up to the Industrial Revolution, Western Europe gradually pulled ahead of other world regions in terms of technological creativity, population growth, and income per capita. We argue that superior institutions for the creation and dissemination of productive knowledge help explain the European advantage. We build a model of technological progress in a pre-industrial economy that emphasizes the person-to-person transmission of tacit knowledge. The young learn as apprentices from the old. Institutions such as the family, the clan, the guild, and the market organize who learns from whom. We argue that medieval European institutions such as guilds, and specific features such as journeymanship, can explain the rise of Europe relative to regions that relied on the transmission of knowledge within extended families or clans.

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Does Lean Improve Labor Standards? Management and Social Performance in the Nike Supply Chain

Greg Distelhorst, Jens Hainmueller & Richard Locke

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tests the hypothesis that lean manufacturing improves the social performance of manufacturers in emerging markets. We analyze an intervention by Nike, Inc., to promote the adoption of lean manufacturing in its apparel supply chain across 11 developing countries. Using difference-in-differences estimates from a panel of more than 300 factories, we find that lean adoption was associated with a 15 percentage point reduction in noncompliance with labor standards that primarily reflect factory wage and work hour practices. However, we find a null effect on factory health and safety standards. This pattern is consistent with a causal mechanism that links lean to improved social performance through changes in labor relations, rather than improved management systems. These findings offer evidence that capability-building interventions may reduce social harm in global supply chains.

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Property rights and economic development: The legacy of Japanese colonial institutions

Dongwoo Yoo & Richard Steckel

Journal of Institutional Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several studies link development to institutions transplanted by European colonizers and here we extend this line of research to Asia. Japan imposed its system of well-defined property rights on some of its Asian colonies. In 1939, Japan began to register private land in its island colonies, an effort that was completed in Palau but interrupted elsewhere by World War II. Within Micronesia, robust economic development followed only in Palau where individual property rights were well defined. We show that well-defined property rights in Korea and Taiwan secured land taxation and enabled farmers to obtain bank loans for irrigation systems. Considering Japanese colonies, we use the presence or absence of a land survey as an instrument to identify the causal impact of new institutions. Our estimates show that property-defining institutions were important for economic development, results that are confirmed when using a similar approach with British Colonies in Asia.

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How Rome Enabled Impersonal Markets

Benito Arruñada

Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
Impersonal exchange increases trade and specialization opportunities, encouraging economic growth. However it requires the support of sophisticated public institutions. This paper explains how Classical Rome provided such support in the main areas of economic activity by relying on public possession as a titling device, enacting rules to protect innocent acquirers in agency contexts, enabling the extended family to act as a contractual entity, and diluting the enforcement of personal obligations which might collide with impersonal exchange. Focusing on the institutions of impersonal exchange, it reaches a clear positive conclusion on the market-facilitating role of the Roman state because such institutions have unambiguously positive effects on markets. Moreover, being impersonal, these beneficial effects are also widely distributed across society instead of accruing disproportionately to better-connected individuals.

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Diversity and innovation

Bala Ramasamy & Matthew Yeung

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the effect of culture on national innovation levels is well-established, previous literature assumes cultural homogeneity within a nation. In this article we analyse two aspects of diversity – ethnic and values – and their impact on national innovation output. We show that ethnic diversity or fractionalization and values diversity are distinct and while the former has a negative effect on innovation, the latter contributes positively. However, countries are bound to have both types of diversity. We find that countries that are ethnically homogenous but diverse in values orientation are the best innovators.

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Explaining Cross-Country Productivity Differences in Retail Trade

David Lagakos

Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many macroeconomists argue that productivity is low in developing countries because of frictions that impede the adoption of modern technologies. I argue that in the retail trade sector, developing countries rationally choose technologies with low measured labor productivity. My theory is that the adoption of modern retail technologies is optimal only when household ownership of complementary durable goods, such as cars, is widespread. Because income is low in the developing world, households own few such durables. The theory implies that policies that increase measured retail productivity do not necessarily increase welfare.

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Trust and delegation: Theory and evidence

Nurullah Gur & Christian Bjørnskov

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social trust is associated with good economic performance, but little is known about the transmission mechanisms connecting trust and performance. We explore the effect of trust on delegation decisions. In a theoretical framework, we note that delegation is a low-cost option when management decisions can be implemented without monitoring. This option is, however, risky and more likely to be profitable in higher-trust environments. In a set of cross-country regressions, we show a strong association between trust and delegation, which is increasing in economic sophistication.

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Precolonial Political Centralization and Contemporary Development in Uganda

Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay & Elliott Green

Economic Development and Cultural Change, April 2016, Pages 471-508

Abstract:
The role of precolonial history on contemporary development has become an important field of study within development economics. Here we examine the role of precolonial political centralization on contemporary development outcomes with detailed subnational data from Uganda. We use a variety of data sets and obtain two striking results. First, we find that precolonial centralization is highly correlated with modern-day development outcomes such as GDP, asset ownership, and poverty at the subcounty, district, and individual level; additional results using an instrumental variable approach confirm this finding. Second, we find that public goods such as immunization coverage and primary school enrollment, as well as perceptions of local government quality, are not correlated with precolonial centralization. These findings are thus consistent with a correlation between precolonial centralization and private rather than public goods, thereby suggesting the persistence of poverty and wealth from the precolonial period to the present.

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Do Good Institutions Promote Countercyclical Macroeconomic Policies?

César Calderón, Roberto Duncan & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The literature has argued that developing countries are unable to adopt countercyclical monetary and fiscal policies due to financial imperfections and unfavourable political-economy conditions. Using a world sample of up to 112 industrial and developing countries for 1984–2008, we find that the level of institutional quality plays a key role in countries’ ability and willingness to implement countercyclical macroeconomic policies. Countries with strong (weak) institutions adopt countercyclical (procyclical) macroeconomic policies, reflected in extended monetary policy and fiscal policy rules. The threshold levels of institutional quality at which policies are acyclical are found to be similar for monetary and fiscal policy.

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The changing face of financial development

Panicos Demetriades & Peter Rousseau

Economics Letters, April 2016, Pages 87–90

Abstract:
We provide evidence from a large number of countries which demonstrates the changing nature of the finance-growth nexus. Specifically, we show that financial depth is no longer a significant determinant of long-run growth. Instead we find evidence to suggest that certain financial reforms have sizeable growth effects, which can be positive or negative depending on how well banks are regulated and supervised.

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The Impact of Accession to the European Union on Homicide Rates in Eastern Europe

Sylwia Piatkowska, Steven Messner & Lawrence Raffalovich

European Sociological Review, February 2016, Pages 151-161

Abstract:
The present study builds on previous work by Andresen by examining the effects of entry into the European Union (EU) on the levels of homicide in the 10 Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. Andresen’s research has indicated that accession to the EU led to increased levels of violent crime across municipalities in Lithuania over the 2001–2006 period. We go beyond prior work by using pooled cross-sectional time-series data that cover approximately 20 years for these 10 Eastern European nations. The results from fixed-effects regression analyses at the national level are generally consistent with Andresen’s research, indicating that entry into the EU is positively associated with levels of homicide. In addition, we find that economic growth has a negative effect on homicide rates, whereas the divorce rate and income inequality have positive effects on homicide rates. These findings reaffirm for the sample of Eastern European countries results reported for other cross-national samples. However, our analyses also reveal that these structural covariates do not account for the observed relationship between EU entry and homicide rates. We conclude with a discussion of the some of the mechanisms that might be responsible for the EU effect.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Addicting

Marital Histories and Heavy Alcohol Use among Older Adults

Corinne Reczek et al.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior, March 2016, Pages 77-96

Abstract:
We develop a gendered marital biography approach — which emphasizes the accumulating gendered experiences of singlehood, marriage, marital dissolution, and remarriage — to examine the relationship between marital statuses and transitions and heavy alcohol use. We test this approach using individual-level (n = 10,457) and couple-level (n = 2,170) longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, and individual-level (n = 46) and couple-level (n = 42) in-depth interview data. Quantitative results show that marriage, including remarriage, reduces men’s but increases women’s drinking relative to being never married and previously married, whereas divorce increases men’s but decreases women’s drinking, with some variation by age. Our qualitative findings reveal that social control and convergence processes underlie quantitative results. We call attention to how men’s and women’s heavy drinking trajectories stop, start, and change direction as individuals move through their distinctive marital biography.

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Predictors of alcohol consumption on dates and sense of intimacy

Sonia Ip & Bernd Heubeck

Personal Relationships, March 2016, Pages 124–140

Abstract:
The drinking culture in Western societies infiltrates many aspects of life, including early romantic relationships. This study investigated factors that predict drinking on dates and the impact of date drinking on feelings of intimacy. Regression analyses of questionnaire data revealed that expectancies, general drinking tendencies, and partner's drinking as well as their interactions with gender and ethnicity contributed to explaining alcohol consumption on dates. Intimacy was significantly predicted by alcohol usage on dates, but the effects of drinking by self and partner varied by gender. Women's own drinking positively predicted their sense of intimacy, but their partner's drinking was linked to decreased intimacy. Men's reports showed significant effects but in the opposite direction. The Discussion section considers implications for dating and future research.

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The War on Drugs: Estimating the Effect of Prescription Drug Supply-Side Interventions

Angelica Meinhofer

Brown University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Prescription drug abuse is America’s fastest-growing drug problem, with overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers increasing by 313% from 1999 to 2010. This paper estimates the effect of supply-side interventions on prescription drug availability, abuse, public health, and crime. The study is based in Florida, the epicenter of the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the late-2000s, where physicians prescribing and dispensing oxycodone from pain clinics were the main source of drug diversion. In mid-2010, government officials initiated a sweeping crackdown on Florida’s pain clinic suppliers, reducing the number of pain clinic licenses by 59%. Using novel online and administrative data and exploiting the timing and geographic location of the crackdown, I find that enforced regulation of pharmaceuticals’ legal supply chain can reduce prescription drug abuse substantially and sustainably. Between 2008-12, oxycodone street prices increased by 238% and average supply decreased by 59%. In turn, indicators of oxycodone consumption decreased significantly. There is no evidence of an oxycodone price, supply, or consumption recovery. There is substitution to heroin, but this offsetting effect is small relative to substantial public health gains from decreases in oxycodone deaths and hospitalizations. In addition, there is weak evidence of a decrease in drug arrests and index crimes.

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Does Early Life Exposure to Cigarette Smoke Permanently Harm Childhood Welfare? Evidence from Cigarette Tax Hikes

David Simon

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence suggests that excise taxes on tobacco improve fetal health. However, it remains unknown if smoke exposure in early life causes lasting harm to children. I find that in-utero exposure to a dollar increase in the state cigarette tax causes a 10% decrease in sick days from school and a 4.7% decrease in having two or more doctor visits. I present additional evidence for decreases in hospitalizations and asthma. This supports the hypothesis that exposure to cigarette smoke in utero and infancy carries significant medium-term costs, and that excise taxes can lead to lasting intergenerational improvements in wellbeing.

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Assessing the Impact of Twenty Underage Drinking Laws

James Fell et al.

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, March 2016, Pages 249–260

Method: We updated the effective dates of the 20 MLDA-21 laws examined in this study and used scores of each law’s strengths and weaknesses. Our structural equation model included the 20 MLDA-21 laws, impaired driving laws, seat belt safety laws, economic strength, driving exposure, beer consumption, and fatal crash ratios of drinking-to-nondrinking drivers under age 21.

Results: Nine MLDA-21 laws were associated with significant decreases in fatal crash ratios of underage drinking drivers: possession of alcohol (-7.7%), purchase of alcohol (-4.2%), use alcohol and lose your license (-7.9%), zero tolerance .02 blood alcohol concentration limit for under-age drivers (-2.9%), age of bartender ≥21 (-4.1%), state responsible beverage service program (-3.8%), fake identification support provisions for retailers (-11.9%), dram shop liability (-2.5%), and social host civil liability (-1.7%). Two laws were associated with significant increases in the fatal crash ratios of underage drinking drivers: prohibition of furnishing alcohol to minors (+7.2%) and registration of beer kegs (+9.6%).

Conclusions: The nine effective MLDA-21 laws are estimated to be currently saving approximately 1,135 lives annually, yet only five states have enacted all nine laws. If all states adopted these nine effective MLDA-21 laws, it is estimated that an additional 210 lives could be saved every year.

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People and places: Relocating to neighborhoods with better economic and social conditions is associated with less risky drug/alcohol network characteristics among African American adults in Atlanta, GA

Sabriya Linton et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, March 2016, Pages 30–41

Methods: This longitudinal study analyzed 7 waves of data (2009–2014) from a predominantly substance-using cohort of 172 African American adults relocated from public housing complexes in Atlanta, GA, to determine whether post-relocation changes in exposure to neighborhood conditions were associated with four network characteristics related to substance use: number of social network members who used illicit drugs or alcohol in excess in the past six months (“drug/alcohol network”), drug/alcohol network stability, and turnover into and out of drug/alcohol networks. Individual- and network-level characteristics were captured via survey and administrative data were used to describe census tracts where participants lived. Multilevel models were used to assess relationships of census tract-level characteristics to network outcomes over time.

Results: On average, participants relocated to census tracts that had less economic disadvantage, social disorder, and renter-occupied housing. Post-relocation reductions in exposure to economic disadvantage were associated with fewer drug/alcohol network members and less turnover into drug/alcohol networks. Post-relocation improvements in exposure to multiple census tract-level social conditions and reductions in perceived community violence were associated with fewer drug/alcohol network members, less turnover into drug/alcohol networks, less drug/alcohol network stability, and more turnover out of drug/alcohol networks.

Conclusion: Relocating to neighborhoods with less economic disadvantage and better social conditions may weaken relationships with substance-using individuals.

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Economic Conditions, Illicit Drug Use, and Substance Use Disorders in the United States

Christopher Carpenter, Chandler McClellan & Daniel Rees

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We provide the first analysis of the relationship between economic conditions and the use of illicit drugs other than marijuana. Drawing on US data from 2002-2013, we find mixed evidence with regard to the cyclicality of illicit drug use. However, there is strong evidence that economic downturns lead to increases in substance use disorders involving hallucinogens and prescription pain relievers. These effects are robust to a variety of specification choices and are concentrated among prime-age white males with low educational attainment. We conclude that the returns to spending on the treatment of substance use disorders are particularly high during economic downturns.

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Gender balance and its impact on male and female smoking rates in Chinese cities

Tingzhong Yang et al.

Social Science & Medicine, April 2016, Pages 9–17

Objective: Although gender differences in smoking have received much attention, few studies have explored the importance of contextual effects on male and female smoking rates. The aim of this study is to examine the association between variations in city-level sex ratios and gender differences in smoking in China.

Methods: Participants included 16,866 urban residents, who were identified through multi-stage sampling conducted in 21 Chinese cities.

Results: The study found that, independent of personal characteristics, cities with more males had higher male smoking rates and lower female rates.

Conclusions: Our research underscores the importance of city-level contextual effects in understanding gender differences in smoking in China.

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Medicare Letters To Curb Overprescribing Of Controlled Substances Had No Detectable Effect On Providers

Adam Sacarny et al.

Health Affairs, March 2016, Pages 471-479

Abstract:
Inappropriate prescribing is a rising threat to the health of Medicare beneficiaries and a drain on Medicare’s finances. In this study we used a randomized controlled trial approach to evaluate a low-cost, light-touch intervention aimed at reducing the inappropriate provision of Schedule II controlled substances in the Medicare Part D program. Potential overprescribers were sent a letter explaining that their practice patterns were highly unlike those of their peers. Using rich administrative data, we were unable to detect an effect of these letters on prescribing. We describe ongoing efforts to build on this null result with alternative interventions. Learning about the potential of light-touch interventions, both effective and ineffective, will help produce a better toolkit for policy makers to improve the value and safety of health care.

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Addiction History Associates with the Propensity to Form Habits

Theresa McKim, Daniel Bauer & Charlotte Boettiger

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Learned habitual responses to environmental stimuli allow efficient interaction with the environment, freeing cognitive resources for more demanding tasks. However, when the outcome of such actions is no longer a desired goal, established stimulus–response (S-R) associations or habits must be overcome. Among people with substance use disorders (SUDs), difficulty in overcoming habitual responses to stimuli associated with their addiction in favor of new, goal-directed behaviors contributes to relapse. Animal models of habit learning demonstrate that chronic self-administration of drugs of abuse promotes habitual responding beyond the domain of compulsive drug seeking. However, whether a similar propensity toward domain-general habitual responding occurs in humans with SUDs has remained unclear. To address this question, we used a visuomotor S-R learning and relearning task, the Hidden Association between Images Task, which employs abstract visual stimuli and manual responses. This task allows us to measure new S-R association learning and well-learned S-R association execution and includes a response contingency change manipulation to quantify the degree to which responding is habit based, rather than goal directed. We find that people with SUDs learn new S-R associations as well as healthy control participants do. Moreover, people with an SUD history slightly outperform controls in S-R execution. In contrast, people with SUDs are specifically impaired in overcoming well-learned S-R associations; those with SUDs make a significantly greater proportion of perseverative errors during well-learned S-R replacement, indicating the more habitual nature of their responses. Thus, with equivalent training and practice, people with SUDs appear to show enhanced domain-general habit formation.

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Marijuana on Main Street? Estimating Demand in Markets with Limited Access

Liana Jacobi & Michelle Sovinsky

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marijuana is the most common illicit drug with vocal advocates for legalization. Among other things, legalization would increase access and remove the stigma of illegality. Our model disentangles the role of access from preferences and shows that selection into access is not random. We find that traditional demand estimates are biased resulting in incorrect policy conclusions. If marijuana were legalized those under 30 would see modest increases in use of 28 percent, while on average use would increase by 48 percent (to 19.4 percent). Tax policies are effective at curbing use, where Australia could raise a billion (and the US $12 billion).

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Can a criminal justice alcohol abstention programme with swift, certain, and modest sanctions (24/7 Sobriety) reduce population mortality? A retrospective observational study

Nancy Nicosia, Beau Kilmer & Paul Heaton

Lancet Psychiatry, March 2016, Pages 226–232

Background: In the UK and USA, various jurisdictions have launched new approaches for managing alcohol-involved offenders that might have public health implications. These programmes require participants to abstain from alcohol and submit to frequent alcohol testing with swift, certain, and modest sanctions for violations, with the aim to reduce crime and keep alcohol-involved offenders in the community. In this study we examine whether the 24/7 Sobriety programme in South Dakota, USA—the largest such programme to date—is associated with reductions in mortality.

Methods: With a differences-in-differences design, we used variation in the timing of 24/7 Sobriety implementation across South Dakota counties between 2005 and 2011 to estimate the association between programme introduction and county-level mortality. We used monthly, county-level, aggregate counts for mortality from January, 2000, to June, 2011. We assessed total deaths, and deaths due to external injuries, circulatory disorders, digestive disorders, and cancer (as a potential placebo).

Findings: Between January, 2005, and June, 2011, 16 932 people (about 3% of the adult population) participated in the 24/7 Sobriety programme. The analysis was based on a sample size of 9 108 county-month observations (ie, 66 counties × 12 months × 11•5 years). Implementation of 24/7 Sobriety was associated with a 4•2% (95% CI 1•5–6•9) reduction in all-cause adult mortality, with the largest associations among women (8•0%, 95% CI 3•9–11•8) and individuals older than 40 years (4•3%, 95% CI 1•4–7•0). Associations were most evident among circulatory disorders.

Interpretation: 24/7 Sobriety might have public health benefits, which could extend beyond individuals directly enrolled in the programme. However, further research, including randomised controlled trials and analyses of individual-level data, is needed to corroborate the finding, reassess the size of these associations, and gain insight into causal mechanisms. Should a negative association be replicated, it might represent a substantial advance in our understanding of how criminal justice interventions could help shape public health.

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Older, Less Regulated Medical Marijuana Programs Have Much Greater Enrollment Rates Than Newer ‘Medicalized’ Programs

Arthur Robin Williams et al.

Health Affairs, March 2016, Pages 480-488

Abstract:
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws implementing medical marijuana programs. The nineteen programs that were in operation as of October 2014 collectively had over one million participants. All states (including D.C.) with medical marijuana laws require physicians directly or indirectly to authorize the use of marijuana at their discretion, yet little is known about how medical marijuana programs vary regarding adherence to basic principles of medical practice and associated rates of enrollment. To explore this, we analyzed marijuana programs according to seven components of traditional medical care and pharmaceutical regulation. We then examined enrollment rates, while controlling for potentially confounding state characteristics. We found that fourteen of the twenty-four programs were nonmedical and collectively enrolled 99.4 percent of participants nationwide, with enrollment rates twenty times greater than programs deemed to be “medicalized.” Policy makers implementing or amending medical marijuana programs should consider the powerful relationship between less regulation and greater enrollment. Researchers should consider variations across programs when assessing programs’ population-level effects.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, April 4, 2016

Comparative advantage

Looking for Local Labor-Market Effects of NAFTA

Shushanik Hakobyan & John McLaren

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using US Census data for 1990-2000, we estimate effects of NAFTA on US wages. We look for effects of the agreement by industry and by geography, measuring each industry's vulnerability to Mexican imports, and each locality's dependence on vulnerable industries. We find evidence of both effects, dramatically lowering wage growth for blue-collar workers in the most affected industries and localities (even for service-sector workers in affected localities, whose jobs do not compete with imports). These distributional effects are much larger than aggregate welfare effects estimated by other authors.

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An empirical analysis of trade-related redistribution and the political viability of free trade

James Lake & Daniel Millimet

Journal of International Economics, March 2016, Pages 156-178

Abstract:
Even if free trade creates net welfare gains for a country as a whole, the associated distributional implications can undermine the political viability of free trade. We show that trade-related redistribution - as presently constituted - modestly increases the political viability of free trade in the US. We do so by assessing the causal effect of expected redistribution associated with the US Trade Adjustment Assistance program on US Congressional voting behavior on eleven Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between 2003 and 2011. We find that a one standard deviation increase in expected redistribution leads to an average increase in the probability of voting in favor of an FTA of 1.8 percentage points. Although this is a modest impact on average, we find significant heterogeneities; in particular, the effect is larger when a representative's constituents are more at risk or the representative faces greater re-election risk.

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Import Exposure and Human Capital Adjustment: Evidence from the U.S.

Andrew Greenland & John Lopresti

Journal of International Economics, May 2016, Pages 50-60

Abstract:
We exploit variation in exposure to Chinese import competition to identify the effect of trade-induced changes in labor market conditions on human capital accumulation in the U.S. from 1990 to 2007. We document large increases in U.S. high school graduation rates in the labor markets most affected by import competition. After controlling for established predictors of high school completion, demographic shifts, and coincident labor market changes unrelated to trade with China, we estimate that a movement from the 25th to the 75th percentile in Chinese import exposure led to an average increase in the graduation rate of 3.64 percentage points. Consistent with an environment in which students weigh increases in future earnings potential from further education against current labor market opportunities foregone, we find that growth in Chinese imports led to declines in wages for all educational groups, and reductions in employment for individuals without a high school degree both in absolute terms and relative to their more educated peers.

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Accounting for the New Gains from Trade Liberalization

Chang-Tai Hsieh et al.

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We measure the "new" gains from trade reaped by Canada as a result of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA). We think of the "new" gains from trade of a country as all welfare effects pertaining to changes in the set of firms serving that country as emphasized in the so-called "new" trade literature. To this end, we first develop an exact decomposition of the gains from trade which separates "traditional" and "new" gains. We then apply this decomposition using Canadian and US micro data and find that the "new" welfare effects of CUSFTA on Canada were negative.

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Resident Networks and Corporate Connections: Evidence from World War II Internment Camps

Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun & Christopher Malloy

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using customs and port authority data, we show that firms are significantly more likely to trade with countries that have a large resident population near their firm headquarters, and that these connected trades are their most valuable international trades. Using the formation of World War II Japanese internment camps to isolate exogenous shocks to local ethnic populations, we identify a causal link between local networks and firm trade. Firms are also more likely to acquire target firms, and report increased segment sales, in connected countries. Our results point to a surprisingly large role of immigrants as economic conduits for firms.

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Task Trade and the Wage Effects of Import Competition

Abigail Cooke, Thomas Kemney & David Rigby

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Do job characteristics modulate the relationship between import competition and the wages of workers who perform those jobs? This paper tests the claim that workers in occupations featuring highly routine tasks will be more vulnerable to low-wage country import competition. Using data from the US Census Bureau, we construct a pooled cross-section (1990, 2000, and 2007) of more than 1.6 million individuals linked to the establishment in which they work. Occupational measures of vulnerability to trade competition - routineness, analytic complexity, and interpersonal interaction on the job - are constructed using O*NET data. The linked employer-employee data allow us to model the effect of low-wage import competition on the wages of workers with different occupational characteristics. Our results show that low-wage country import competition is associated with lower wages for US workers holding jobs that are highly routine and less complex. For workers holding nonroutine and highly complex jobs, increased import competition is associated with higher wages. Finally, workers in occupations with the highest and lowest levels of interpersonal interaction see higher wages, while workers with medium-low levels of interpersonal interaction suffer lower wages with increased low-wage import competition. These findings demonstrate the importance of accounting for occupational characteristics to more fully understand the relationship between trade and wages, and suggest ways in which task trade vulnerable occupations can disadvantage workers even when their jobs remain onshore.

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Can Sports Promote Exports? The Role of Soccer Matches in International Trade

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou

Global Economy Journal, March 2016, Pages 1-32

Abstract:
Sports can help to increase foreign trade and promote global economic integration. Engaging in sports can provide visibility opportunities for countries and may spur the interest of firms as well as consumers in the respective foreign market. Sport could also help to infuse trust into cross-country business relationships. While previous studies have investigated the role of sport events on trade, this study analyzes whether countries can increase trade between them by engaging in sporting activities with each other. We use soccer, being the world's most popular sport, as an example when investigating this potential bilateral sport-trade link. Our empirical strategy builds on the fact that many soccer matches between countries' national teams are the result of a random drawing procedure. Thus, they are a possible source of exogenous variation. Using a gravity model framework, we test the proposed link for approximately 4,800 soccer matches that were played between 209 countries during the period 1995 through 2001. We also analyze the hypothesized underlying impact channel by estimating the impact on trade for goods that are likely to have different elasticity with respect to information and trust friction. The results are indicative of the hypothesis that countries that engage in sporting activities with each other enhance their bilateral trade. These results could have potentially interesting policy implications. Governments may want to consider actively promoting sporting activities together with countries with which they want to enhance their trade.

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Effects of US policy uncertainty on Swedish GDP growth

Pär Stockhammar & Pär Österholm

Empirical Economics, March 2016, Pages 443-462

Abstract:
In this paper, we study the effects of US policy uncertainty - measured as the policy uncertainty index of Baker et al. (Measuring economic policy uncertainty, 2013) - on Swedish GDP growth. Another source of spillovers of shocks to small open economies is thereby examined. We apply both Bayesian VAR models and spectral analysis to quarterly data from 1988 to 2013. Results show that increasing US policy uncertainty has significant negative effects on Swedish GDP growth. The effect seems to primarily stem from effects on investment growth and export growth. Our findings should prove useful to those who analyse and forecast the Swedish economy and potentially also other similar small open economies.

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The Impact of Banking Deregulation on Inbound Foreign Direct Investment: Transaction-Level Evidence from the United States

Ivan Kandilov, Aslı Leblebicioğlu & Neviana Petkova

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate the effects of state-level banking deregulation that resulted in improved access to cheaper local finance on foreign firms investing in the U.S. We provide direct, micro-level evidence from U.S. inbound foreign direct investment transactions showing that interstate banking, but not intrastate branching, deregulation increased the number of transactions, reduced the average transaction value, and boosted overall investment by foreign multinationals. We also show that lower cost of local credit and greater local bank competition in each state, following the interstate banking deregulation, are potential mechanisms that stimulated FDI activity. Finally, we demonstrate that after the adoption of the interstate banking deregulation, both the number and the average value of transactions increased in industries that are more dependent on external finance relative to industries that are less dependent.

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Does Trade Credit Boost Firm Performance?

Dongya Li et al.

Economic Development and Cultural Change, April 2016, Pages 573-602

Abstract:
Some firms have achieved good performance in developing countries where the financial sector is far from established. One explanation in the literature is that these firms benefit from trade credit, a form of informal financing. Using a survey of firms in China conducted by the World Bank in early 2003, this article examines whether trade credit indeed boosts firm performance. Our ordinary least squares results show that trade credit is significantly and positively correlated with firm performance. However, using the instrumental variable approach to address endogeneity, we find that the statistical significance disappears. The results are robust to a series of robustness checks, casting doubt on the claim that trade credit boosts firm performance.

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Preferential Trade Agreements, Income Inequality, and Authoritarian Survival

Eric Chang & Wen-Chin Wu

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the political and economic consequences of signing preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in authoritarian countries. Based on the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade and theories of inequality and regime transition, this paper argues that dictators sign PTAs as a means of consolidating their authoritarian rule. Specifically, PTAs help dictators reduce economic inequality by enriching poor laborers and thereby attenuating the threat of regime collapse. We support our theory with the data from seventy-odd authoritarian regimes from 1960 to 2006, and contribute to ongoing debates about the effects of both income inequality and economic globalization on autocratic resilience.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Perceptive

Mood migration: How enfacing a smile makes you happier

Ke Ma et al.

Cognition, June 2016, Pages 52–62

Abstract:
People tend to perceive the face of another person more as their own if own and other face are stroked in synchrony — the enfacement illusion. We conceptually replicated the enfacement illusion in a virtual reality environment, in which participants could control the movements of a virtual face by moving and touching their own face. We then used this virtual enfacement illusion to study whether enfacing a virtual face would also involve adopting the emotion that this face is expressing. As predicted, participants adopted the expressed emotion, as indicated by higher valence scores and better performance in a mood-sensitive divergent-thinking task when facing a happy virtual face, if the virtual face moved in synchrony with their own head movements. This suggests that impact on or control over another person’s facial movements invite “mood migration” from the person one identifies with to oneself.

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How pathogen cues shape impressions of foods: The Omnivore’s Dilemma and functionally specialized conditioning

Joshua Tybur et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
When consumed, meats and plants have presented asymmetric threats to humans and their hominid ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years. Here, we test the hypothesis that human food learning mechanisms are functionally specialized to navigate these asymmetric threats. Specifically, we predict that pathogen cues condition evaluations of meat differently than they condition evaluations of plants. Data across three studies are consistent with this prediction. In each study, participants who first viewed images of meats paired with cues to pathogens subsequently reported less desire eat those meats. In contrast, participants who first viewed plants paired with the same cues to pathogens did not report less desire to eat those plants. Further, a meta-analysis of effects across the three studies (total N = 398) indicated that pairings with cues to pathogens affected both desires to eat meats and anticipated tastes of meats, but not desires to eat plants or anticipated tastes of plants. These findings present novel evidence for functionally specialized, pathogen-based meat learning.

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Attention Alters Perceived Attractiveness

Viola Störmer & George Alvarez

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can attention alter the impression of a face? Previous studies showed that attention modulates the appearance of lower-level visual features. For instance, attention can make a simple stimulus appear to have higher contrast than it actually does. We tested whether attention can also alter the perception of a higher-order property — namely, facial attractiveness. We asked participants to judge the relative attractiveness of two faces after summoning their attention to one of the faces using a briefly presented visual cue. Across trials, participants judged the attended face to be more attractive than the same face when it was unattended. This effect was not due to decision or response biases, but rather was due to changes in perceptual processing of the faces. These results show that attention alters perceived facial attractiveness, and broadly demonstrate that attention can influence higher-level perception and may affect people’s initial impressions of one another.

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Human Brain Reacts to Transcranial Extraocular Light

Lihua Sun et al.

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Transcranial extraocular light affects the brains of birds and modulates their seasonal changes in physiology and behavior. However, whether the human brain is sensitive to extraocular light is unknown. To test whether extraocular light has any effect on human brain functioning, we measured brain electrophysiology of 18 young healthy subjects using event-related potentials while they performed a visual attention task embedded with emotional distractors. Extraocular light delivered via ear canals abolished normal emotional modulation of attention related brain responses. With no extraocular light delivered, emotional distractors reduced centro-parietal P300 amplitude compared to neutral distractors. This phenomenon disappeared with extraocular light delivery. Extraocular light delivered through the ear canals was shown to penetrate at the base of the scull of a cadaver. Thus, we have shown that extraocular light impacts human brain functioning calling for further research on the mechanisms of action of light on the human brain.

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The drawing effect: Evidence for reliable and robust memory benefits in free recall

Jeffrey Wammes, Melissa Meade & Myra Fernandes

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, September 2016, Pages 1752-1776

Abstract:
In 7 free-recall experiments, the benefit of creating drawings of to-be-remembered information relative to writing was examined as a mnemonic strategy. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were presented with a list of words and were asked to either draw or write out each. Drawn words were better recalled than written. Experiments 3–5 showed that the memory boost provided by drawing could not be explained by elaborative encoding (deep level of processing, LoP), visual imagery, or picture superiority, respectively. In Experiment 6, we explored potential limitations of the drawing effect, by reducing encoding time and increasing list length. Drawing, relative to writing, still benefited memory despite these constraints. In Experiment 7, the drawing effect was significant even when encoding trial types were compared in pure lists between participants, inconsistent with a distinctiveness account. Together these experiments indicate that drawing enhances memory relative to writing, across settings, instructions, and alternate encoding strategies, both within- and between-participants, and that a deep LoP, visual imagery, or picture superiority, alone or collectively, are not sufficient to explain the observed effect. We propose that drawing improves memory by encouraging a seamless integration of semantic, visual, and motor aspects of a memory trace.

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As time goes by: Oxytocin influences the subjective perception of time in a social context

Valentina Colonnello, Gregor Domes & Markus Heinrichs

Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2016, Pages 69–73

Abstract:
Time perception depends on an event’s emotional relevance to the beholder; a subjective time dilation effect is associated with self-relevant, emotionally salient stimuli. Previous studies have revealed that oxytocin modulates the salience of social stimuli and attention to social cues. However, whether the oxytocin system is involved in human subjective time perception is unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether increased oxytocin levels would induce a time dilation effect for self-relevant, positive social cues. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subject design, heterosexual men self-administered intranasal oxytocin or placebo. After about 50 min, participants completed a time-bisection task in which they estimated lengths of exposure to happy female faces (self-relevant positive stimuli, based on sexual orientation), emotionally neutral and negative female faces (control), and happy, neutral, and negative male faces (control). Oxytocin induced a subjective time dilation effect for happy female faces and a time compression effect for happy male faces. Our results provide evidence that oxytocin influences time perception, a primary form of human subjectivity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gender roles

Early Postnatal Testosterone Predicts Sex-Related Differences in Early Expressive Vocabulary

Karson Kung et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2016, Pages 111-116

Abstract:
During the first few years of life, girls typically have a larger expressive vocabulary than boys. This sex difference is important since a small vocabulary may predict subsequent language difficulties, which are more prevalent in boys than girls. The masculinizing effects of early androgen exposure on neurobehavioral development are well-documented in nonhuman mammals. The present study conducted the first test of whether early postnatal testosterone concentrations influence sex differences in expressive vocabulary in toddlers. It was found that testosterone measured in saliva samples collected at 1 to 3 months of age, i.e., during the period called mini-puberty, negatively predicted parent-report expressive vocabulary size at 18 to 30 months of age in boys and in girls. Testosterone concentrations during mini-puberty also accounted for additional variance in expressive vocabulary after other predictors such as sex, child's age at vocabulary assessment, and paternal education, were taken into account. Furthermore, testosterone concentrations during mini-puberty mediated the sex difference in expressive vocabulary. These results suggest that testosterone during the early postnatal period contributes to early language development and neurobehavioral sexual differentiation in humans.

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Do CEO Activists Make a Difference? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Aaron Chatterji & Michael Toffel

Harvard Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Several CEOs are receiving significant media attention for taking public positions on controversial social and environmental issues largely unrelated to their core business, ranging from gay marriage to climate change to gender equality. We provide the first evidence that such "CEO activism" can influence public opinion and consumer attitudes. Our field experiment examines the impact of Apple CEO Tim Cook's public statements opposing a pending religious freedom law that critics warned would allow discrimination against same-sex couples. Our results confirm the influence of issue framing on public opinion and suggest that CEOs can sway public opinion, and potentially to the same extent as prominent politicians. Moreover, Cook's CEO activism increased consumer intentions to purchase Apple products, especially among proponents of same-sex marriage.

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Cadet and Civilian Undergraduate Attitudes toward Transgender People: A Research Note

Morten Ender, David Rohall & Michael Matthews

Armed Forces & Society, April 2016, Pages 427-435

Abstract:
We explore American military academy, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and civilian undergraduate attitudes toward transgender people in general, in the workplace, and in the military. Earlier this decade, the US military experienced both the repeals of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and the exclusion of women from combat, yet transgender people are prohibited from serving openly in the military. This study explores tolerance toward perceived gender nonconformity by military affiliation, race/ethnicity, sex, religious affiliation, and political leaning. Most members of our sample, regardless of military affiliation, do not report that having a transgender person in the workplace would impact their job. At first glance, military academy and ROTC cadets are least tolerant of transgender people in the military and in society more generally. Further analyses shows that the impact of military affiliation is reduced substantially by controlling for background characteristics, especially political ideology and religious affiliation.

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Femininity and Kin-Directed Altruism in Androphilic Men: A Test of an Evolutionary Developmental Model

Doug VanderLaan, Lanna Petterson & Paul Vasey

Archives of Sexual Behavior, April 2016, Pages 619-633

Abstract:
Androphilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal toward males whereas gynephilia refers to sexual attraction and arousal toward females. This study tested the adaptive feminine phenotype model of the evolution of male androphilia via kin selection, which posits that the development of an evolved disposition toward elevated kin-directed altruism among androphilic males is contingent on the behavioral expression of femininity. Gynephilic men, androphilic women, and androphilic men (N = 387) completed measures of childhood and adulthood gender expression and concern for kin's well-being. Adulthood femininity correlated positively with uncle/aunt-like tendencies among androphilic men and women. Although androphilic women reported greater willingness to invest in nieces and nephews than gynephilic and androphilic men, mediation analyses indicated that adult femininity completely mediated these group differences. In addition, changes in the expression of femininity between childhood and adulthood were associated with parallel changes in concern for the well-being of kin among androphilic men. Thus, these findings suggest that femininity is key to the expression of kin-directed altruism among androphilic males and may have been important in the evolution of male androphilia.

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Testosterone reduces functional connectivity during the 'Reading the Mind in the Eyes' Test

Peter Bos et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, June 2016, Pages 194-201

Abstract:
Women on average outperform men in cognitive-empathic abilities, such as the capacity to infer motives from the bodily cues of others, which is vital for effective social interaction. The steroid hormone testosterone is thought to play a role in this sexual dimorphism. Strikingly, a previous study shows that a single administration of testosterone in women impairs performance on the 'Reading the Mind in Eyes' Test (RMET), a task in which emotions have to be inferred from the eye-region of a face. This effect was mediated by the 2D:4D ratio, the ratio between the length of the index and ring finger, a proxy for fetal testosterone. Research in typical individuals, in individuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC), and in individuals with brain lesions has established that performance on the RMET depends on the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we found that a single administration of testosterone in 16 young women significantly altered connectivity of the left IFG with the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the supplementary motor area (SMA) during RMET performance, independent of 2D:4D ratio. This IFG-ACC-SMA network underlies the integration and selection of sensory information, and for action preparation during cognitive empathic behavior. Our findings thus reveal a neural mechanism by which testosterone can impair emotion-recognition ability, and may link to the symptomatology of ASC, in which the same neural network is implicated.

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Can a Naturally Occurring Pathogen Threat Change Social Attitudes? Evaluations of Gay Men and Lesbians During the 2014 Ebola Epidemic

Yoel Inbar et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous evidence linking disease threat and social attitudes suggests that a highly salient society-wide pathogen threat should lead to more negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Using a sample of 248,922 Americans recruited via the Project Implicit website, we tested whether implicit attitudes toward gay men and lesbians shifted as a result of the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak. Regression discontinuity analyses, but not t-tests, showed evidence of a small shift in implicit (but not explicit) attitudes at the height of public concern over Ebola. These results could be interpreted as providing partial support for the effects of naturally occurring pathogen threats on social attitudes. Alternatively, given the large size of our sample, the mixed evidence and small effects may reflect a boundary condition for the operation of the behavioral immune system.

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Genetic Attributions, Immutability, and Stereotypical Judgments: An Analysis of Homosexuality

Mark Joslyn & Donald Haider-Markel

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: Individuals employ causal reasoning to explain the world around them, including political events, group behavior, and conditions in society. People may attribute causes of behavior to controllable components, such as individual choices, or uncontrollable elements, such as broader forces in the environment. To this, we add biological or genetic attributions that have received increasing attention. Broadly, we argue that people's understanding about genetics as a cause for group behavior influences perceptions of immutability and stereotypical judgments about groups.

Methods: Making use of individual-level data from three national surveys of American adults, we examine causal beliefs about the origins of homosexuality. Specifically, we assess the impact of genetic attributions on judgments about whether a gay or lesbian person's sexual orientation can or cannot be changed. We also examine the association between genetic attributions and several stereotypic judgments about gays and lesbians.

Results: We find that genetic attributions strongly shape perceptions of immutability as well as stereotypic judgments about gays and lesbians.

Conclusions: Implications of our findings for attribution theory and the attitudinal changes that follow from the public's understanding of genetics and its impact on sexual orientation are discussed.

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The association between AIDS-related stigma and aggression toward gay men and lesbians

Wilson Vincent, John Peterson & Dominic Parrott

Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined whether self-identified race and prior contact with a gay man or lesbian moderate the association between AIDS-related stigma and aggression toward gay men and lesbians when controlling for sexual prejudice. A regional, community-recruited sample of 194 heterosexual men (50% Black, 50% White) completed measures of AIDS-related stigma, sexual prejudice, and prior contact with gay men and lesbians. Regression analyses showed that AIDS-related stigma was positively associated with aggression toward gay men and lesbians among White men who reported no prior contact, but not among White men who endorsed prior contact and Black men regardless of prior contact. Findings suggest that intergroup contact may be a key component to reducing the effects of AIDS-related stigma towards stigmatized groups. Implications for aggression theory and intervention are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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