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Thursday, February 2, 2017

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'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments

Leonardo Bursztyn, Thomas Fujiwara & Amanda Pallais

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
Do single women avoid career-enhancing actions because these actions could signal personality traits, like ambition, that are undesirable in the marriage market? We answer this question through two field experiments in an elite U.S. MBA program. Newly-admitted MBA students filled out a questionnaire on job preferences and personality traits to be used by the career center in internship placement; randomly-selected students thought their answers would be shared with classmates. When they believed their classmates would not see their responses, single and non-single women answered similarly. However, single women reported desired yearly compensation $18,000 lower and being willing to travel seven fewer days per month and work four fewer hours per week when they expected their classmates would see their answers. They also reported less professional ambition and tendency for leadership. Neither men nor non-single women changed their answers in response to peer observability. A supplementary experiment asked students to make choices over hypothetical jobs before discussing their choices in their career class small groups; we randomly varied the groups' gender composition. Single women were much less likely to select career-focused jobs when their answers would be shared with male peers, especially single ones. Two results from observational data support our experimental results. First, in a new survey, almost three-quarters of single female students reported avoiding activities they thought would help their career because they did not want to appear ambitious. They eschewed these activities at higher rates than did men and non-single women. Second, while unmarried women perform similarly to married women in class when their performance is kept private from classmates (on exams and problem sets), they have significantly lower participation grades.

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When Being in the Minority Pays Off: Relationships among Sellers and Price Setting in the Champagne Industry

Amandine Ody-Brasier & Isabel Fernandez-Mateo

American Sociological Review, February 2017, Pages 147-178

Abstract:
Economic sociologists have studied how social relationships shape market prices by focusing mostly on vertical interactions between buyers and sellers. In this article, we examine instead the price consequences of horizontal relationships that arise from intergroup processes among sellers. Our setting is the market for Champagne grapes. Using proprietary transaction-level data, we find that female grape growers — a minority in the growers’ community — charge systematically higher prices than do male grape growers. We argue that the underlying mechanism for this unexpected pattern of results involves the relationships developed and maintained by minority members. Specifically, in-depth fieldwork reveals that female growers get together to compensate for their isolation from the majority. This behavior enables them to overcome local constraints on the availability of price-relevant information, constraints that stem from prevailing norms of market behavior: individualism and secrecy. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of how relationships shape price-setting processes, for the sociological literature on intergroup relations, and for our understanding of inequality in markets.

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Prejudice or Principled Conservatism? Racial Resentment and White Opinion toward Paying College Athletes

Kevin Wallsten et al.

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite its widespread use in studies of race and ethnic politics, there exists a long-standing debate about whether racial resentment primarily measures antiblack prejudice or ideological conservatism. In this paper, we attempt to resolve this debate by examining racial resentment’s role in shaping white opinion on a “racialized” policy issue that involves no federal action and no government redistribution of resources: “pay for play” in college athletics. Using cross-sectional and experimental data from the 2014 Cooperative Congressional Election Study and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, we find evidence not only that racial resentment items tap racial predispositions but also that whites rely on these predispositions when forming and expressing their views on paying college athletes. More specifically, we demonstrate that racially resentful whites who were subtly primed to think about African Americans are more likely to express opposition to paying college athletes when compared with similarly resentful whites who were primed to think about whites. Because free-market conservatism, resistance to changes in the status quo, opposition to expanding federal power, and reluctance to endorse government redistributive policies cannot possibly explain these results, we conclude that racial resentment is a valid measure of antiblack prejudice.

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Racial/Ethnic Differences in Non-Work at Work

Daniel Hamermesh, Katie Genadek & Michael Burda

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
Evidence from the American Time Use Survey 2003-12 suggests the existence of small but statistically significant racial/ethnic differences in time spent not working at the workplace. Minorities, especially men, spend a greater fraction of their workdays not working than do white non-Hispanics. These differences are robust to the inclusion of large numbers of demographic, industry, occupation, time and geographic controls. They do not vary by union status, public-private sector attachment, pay method or age; nor do they arise from the effects of equal-employment enforcement or geographic differences in racial/ethnic representation. The findings imply that measures of the adjusted wage disadvantages of minority employees are overstated by about 10 percent.

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Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Laws Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Experimental (and Nonexperimental) Evidence

David Neumark et al.

University of California Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We provide evidence from a field experiment — a correspondence study — on age discrimination in hiring for retail sales jobs. We collect experimental data in all 50 states and then relate measured age discrimination — the difference in callback rates between old and young applicants — to variation across states in antidiscrimination laws offering protections to older workers that are stronger than the federal age and disability discrimination laws. We do a similar analysis for nonexperimental data on differences across states in hiring rates of older versus younger workers. The experimental evidence points consistently to evidence of hiring discrimination against older men and more so against older women. However, the evidence on the relationship between hiring discrimination against older workers and state variation in age and disability discrimination laws is not so clear; at a minimum, there is not a compelling case that stronger state protections reduce hiring discrimination against older workers. In contrast, the non-experimental evidence suggests that stronger disability discrimination protections increase the relative hiring of older workers.

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Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children’s interests

Lin Bian, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Andrei Cimpian

Science, 27 January 2017, Pages 389-391

Abstract:
Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy). Here we show that these stereotypes are endorsed by, and influence the interests of, children as young as 6. Specifically, 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart.” Also at age 6, girls begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are “really, really smart.” These findings suggest that gendered notions of brilliance are acquired early and have an immediate effect on children’s interests.

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A social-cognitive approach to understanding gender differences in negotiator ethics: The role of moral identity

Jessica Kennedy, Laura Kray & Gillian Ku

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2017, Pages 28–44

Abstract:
To date, gender differences in ethics have received little theoretical attention. We utilize a social-cognitive framework to explain why these differences emerge and when women engage in less unethical negotiating behavior than do men. We propose that, relative to men’s, women’s stronger moral identities suppress unethical negotiating behavior. Study 1 establishes a gender difference in moral identity strength through a meta-analysis of over 19,000 people. Study 2 observes gender differences in two aspects of negotiator ethics – moral disengagement and opportunism. Study 3 establishes moral identity strength as an antecedent to negotiator ethics. Finally, Studies 4 and 5 explore financial incentives as a situational moderator. Because financial incentives temporarily decrease the salience of moral identity, they could mitigate gender differences in negotiator ethics, leading women to act more like men. Across both studies, financial incentives impacted women’s (but not men’s) unethical negotiating behavior. Our findings help to explain why and when gender differences in ethics emerge.

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Gender, Parental Status, and the Wage Premium in Finance

Ken-Hou Lin & Megan Tobias Neely

Social Currents, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research documents a growing wage premium for elite financial workers since the 1980s. A second line of research finds substantial gender disparities in earnings and career mobility among elite financial workers. Yet little is known about whether women in finance still receive a wage premium compared with their nonfinance counterparts. In addition, few studies examine whether similar gender disparities exist among nonelite financial workers. This article examines how the wage premium for working in the financial sector varies by gender and parental status across the wage distribution. We report that women earn a greater wage premium than men in low-wage financial jobs, while almost all of the increase in wages in high finance is captured by elite men, particularly fathers. Consequently, the financial sector simultaneously exacerbates and mitigates gender inequalities at different locations of the labor market. Our findings highlight the significance of institutional context in amplifying and attenuating the reward and penalty associated with gender and parental status.

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Psychological Momentum and Gender

Danny Cohen-Zada, Alex Krumer & Ze'ev Shtudiner

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit a natural experiment in which two professionals compete in a one-stage contest without strategic motives and where one contestant has a clear exogenous psychological momentum advantage over the other in order to estimate the causal effect of psychological momentum on performance. This unique setting commonly occurs in bronze medal fights in professional judo. Based on data on all major international tournaments during the period between 2009 and 2013 we find that men's performance is significantly affected by psychological momentum, while women's is not. This result is robust to different specifications and estimation strategies. Our results are in line with evidence in the biological literature that testosterone, which is known to enhance performance of both men and women, commonly increases following victory and decreases following loss only among men.

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The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-College Factors

Jamin Speer

Labour Economics, January 2017, Pages 69–88

Abstract:
This paper considers the importance of pre-college test scores in accounting for gender gaps in college major. Large gaps in major content exist: men are more likely to study math-, science-, and business-intensive fields, while women are more likely to study humanities-, social science-, and education-intensive fields. Previous research has found that gender differences in college preparation, typically measured by SAT scores, can account for only a small portion of these differences. Using a broader array of pre-college test scores (the ASVAB), I show that differences in college preparation can actually account for a large portion of most gender gaps in college major content, including 62% of the gap in science, 66% of the gap in humanities, and 47% of the gap in engineering. SAT scores explain less than half as much as the ASVAB scores, while noncognitive skill measures appear to explain none of the gaps in major. The gender gaps in test scores, particularly in science and mechanical fields, exist by the mid-teenage years and grow with age.

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CEO age and CEO gender: Are female CEOs older than their male counterparts?

Pradit Withisuphakorn & Pornsit Jiraporn

Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Motivated by the debate on gender inequality, we study CEO gender and CEO age. Because women face significantly more obstacles in advancing their careers, it may take them longer to reach the top position, i.e. the chief executive officer (CEO). If this is the case, female CEOs should be older than their male counterparts on average. Our evidence shows that female CEOs are actually younger on average, approximately two full years younger than male CEOs, after controlling for firm and board characteristics. The two-year difference represents as much as 26% of the standard deviation in CEO age.

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Hunter-gatherer males are more risk-seeking than females, even in late childhood

Coren Apicella, Alyssa Crittenden & Victoria Tobolsky

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Observed economic and labor disparities between the sexes may, in part, result from evolved sex differences in risk preferences. Using incentivized economic games, we report on sex differences in risk preferences in the Hadza, a population of hunter-gatherers. One game played in 2010 (n = 233) found that more Hadza males than females prefer to gamble for a chance to earn more maize rather than settle for a sure, but smaller, amount. Similarly, a second game played in 2013 (n = 102) found that male Hadza gamble a greater proportion of honey for a chance to earn more compared to female Hadza. Effect sizes are small to medium. We find weak evidence that risk-taking increases in men as their mating opportunities increase. In both games, the sex difference widens throughout childhood and is greatest among adolescents; though note that child samples are small. We explore developmental trends further using observational data on food returns in children (n = 357). Our data suggest that while the mean number of calories boys bring to camp remains stable with age, the variance in their caloric returns increases. Among girls, the variance remains stable with increased age. Both the economic games and food return data are consistent with the sexual division of labor wherein boys, beginning in late childhood, begin to target riskier foods. To the extent that the Hadza allow us to make inferences about long-standing patterns of human behavior, we suggest that sex differences in risk preferences may have been present long before agriculture and the modern work environment.

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An Analysis of Perceptions of Job Insecurity among White and Black Workers in the United States: 1977–2012

Masanori Kuroki

Review of Black Political Economy, December 2016, Pages 289–300

Abstract:
While objective measures indicate that the risk of job loss is higher for black workers than for white workers, there is little research on how what workers’ expectations of job loss differ by race. This study looks at how secure black and white workers are feeling about their jobs and how their perceptions of job insecurity have been affected by time trends and regional unemployment rates. I find that perceptions of job security of black male workers, older black workers, and black high school graduates have deteriorated relative to their white counterparts during the period 1977–2012. Among those who attended college, white workers’ perceived job insecurity has increased. Black blue-collar workers’ and construction workers’ perceptions of job insecurity also have increased relative to their white counterparts. Moreover, perceptions of job insecurity among several black groups, such as high school dropouts and old workers, are more sensitive to regional unemployment rates than their white counterparts.

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State Affirmative Action Bans and STEM Degree Completions

Andrew Hill

Economics of Education Review, April 2017, Pages 31–40

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effect of statewide affirmative action bans on minority STEM degree completions at US public four-year colleges. The number of minority students completing STEM degrees at highly selective colleges falls by nineteen percent five years after affirmative action bans, while there is no change in the total number of students completing STEM degrees. This indicates that a nontrivial number of minority students only admitted to highly selective colleges because of affirmative action graduate in STEM during periods of race preferences in college admissions. There is no convincing evidence of effects at moderately selective colleges. These findings speak to the recent debate about the extent to which minority students admitted to top ranked colleges due to affirmative action may have higher probabilities of graduating in the sciences if they had attended lower ranked colleges. Results are presented with the caveats that changes in race reporting caused by affirmative action bans may upwardly bias estimated effects, and that estimated aggregate effects may not fully capture all student-level responses.

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Predatory Inclusion and Education Debt: Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap

Louise Seamster & Raphaël Charron-Chénier

Social Currents, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analyses of the recent surge in racial wealth inequality have tended to focus on changes in asset holdings. Debt patterns, by contrast, have remained relatively unexplored. Using 2001 to 2013 data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we show that after peaking in 2007, racial inequalities for most debt types returned to prefinancial crisis levels. The exception has been educational debt — on which we focus in this article. Our analyses show that educational debt has increased substantially for blacks relative to whites in the past decade. Notably, this unequal growth is not attributable to differences in educational attainment across racial groups. Rather, and as we argue, this trend reflects a process of predatory inclusion — a process wherein lenders and financial actors offer needed services to black households but on exploitative terms that limit or eliminate their long-term benefits. Predatory inclusion, we propose, is one of the mechanisms behind the persistence of racial inequality in contemporary markets.

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The Grad Cohort Workshop: Evaluating an Intervention to Retain Women Graduate Students in Computing

Jane Stout et al.

Frontiers in Psychology, January 2017

Abstract:
Women engaged in computing career tracks are vastly outnumbered by men and often must contend with negative stereotypes about their innate technical aptitude. Research suggests women's marginalized presence in computing may result in women psychologically disengaging, and ultimately dropping out, perpetuating women's underrepresentation in computing. To combat this vicious cycle, the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) runs a multi-day mentorship workshop for women graduate students called Grad Cohort, which consists of a speaker series and networking opportunities. We studied the long-term impact of Grad Cohort on women Ph.D. students' (a) dedication to becoming well-known in one's field, and giving back to the community (professional goals), (b) the degree to which one feels computing is an important element of “who they are” (computing identity), and (c) beliefs that computing skills are innate (entity beliefs). Of note, entity beliefs are known to be demoralizing and can lead to disengagement from academic endeavors. We compared a propensity score matched sample of women and men Ph.D. students in computing programs who had never participated in Grad Cohort to a sample of past Grad Cohort participants. Grad Cohort participants reported interest in becoming well-known in their field to a greater degree than women non-participants, and to an equivalent degree as men. Also, Grad Cohort participants reported stronger interest in giving back to the community than their peers. Further, whereas women non-participants identified with computing to a lesser degree than men and held stronger entity beliefs than men, Grad Cohort participants' computing identity and entity beliefs were equivalent to men. Importantly, stronger entity beliefs predicted a weaker computing identity among students, with the exception of Grad Cohort participants. This latter finding suggests Grad Cohort may shield students' computing identity from the damaging nature of entity beliefs. Together, these findings suggest Grad Cohort may fortify women's commitment to pursuing computing research careers and move the needle toward greater gender diversity in computing.

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Diversity in Innovation

Paul Gompers & Sophie Wang

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
In this paper we document the patterns of labor market participation by women and ethnic minorities in venture capital firms and as founders of venture capital-backed startups. We show that from 1990-2016 women have been less than 10% of the entrepreneurial and venture capital labor pool, Hispanics have been around 2%, and African Americans have been less than 1%. This is despite the fact that all three groups have much higher representation in education programs that lead to careers in these sectors as well as having higher representation in other highly-compensated professions. Asians, on the other hand, have much higher representation in the venture capital and entrepreneurial sector than their overall percentages in the labor force. We explore potential supply side explanations including both education attainment as well as relevant prior job experience. We also explore the correlation between diversity and state-level variations. Finally, we discuss how these patterns are consistent with homophily-based hiring and homophily-induced information flows about career choices. We end the paper by discussing areas for future research.

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Court Orders, White Flight, and School District Segregation, 1970–2010

John Logan, Weiwei Zhang & Deirdre Oakley

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
American public schools experienced a substantial reduction of black-white segregation after the Supreme Court ordered the immediate desegregation of Mississippi schools in 1969. Past research has shown that progress slowed by the 1990s, with some arguing that segregation actually began to rebound. This study is the first to examine enrollment data for each decade between 1970 and 2010 for a comprehensive set of districts across the country and also the first to include data for 1980 for a national sample of districts. It provides definitive evidence that most desegregation occurred in the 1970s, with little subsequent change. It also addresses two questions about the desegregation process. First, how closely was it tied to court orders for a particular school district or for a neighboring district? Desegregation was greatest in response to a legal mandate, but it also extended to districts that never faced court action. Second, what was the effect of mandates on white flight? White student enrollment declined generally in these decades but more in districts that faced a mandate in the immediate past decade. White flight contributed to a modest increase in segregation between school districts, but desegregation within districts was sufficient to result in a large net decline at a metropolitan level.

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Sex Differences in Mental Rotation Tasks: Not Just in the Mental Rotation Process!

Alexander Boone & Mary Hegarty

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The paper-and-pencil Mental Rotation Test (Vandenberg & Kuse, 1978) consistently produces large sex differences favoring men (Voyer, Voyer, & Bryden, 1995). In this task, participants select 2 of 4 answer choices that are rotations of a probe stimulus. Incorrect choices (i.e., foils) are either mirror reflections of the probe or structurally different. In contrast, in the mental rotation experimental task (Shepard & Metzler, 1971) participants judge whether 2 stimuli are the same but rotated or different by mirror reflection. The goal of the present research was to examine sources of sex differences in mental rotation, including the ability to capitalize on the availability of structure foils. In 2 experiments, both men and women had greater accuracy and faster reaction times (RTs) for structurally different compared with mirror foils in different versions of the Vandenberg and Kuse Mental Rotation Test (Experiment 1) and the Shepard and Metzler experimental task (Experiment 2). A significant male advantage in accuracy but not response time was found for both trial types. The male advantage was evident when all foils were structure foils so that mental rotation was not necessary (Experiment 3); however, when all foils were structure foils and participants were instructed to look for structure foils a significant sex difference was no longer evident (Experiment 4). Results suggest that the mental rotation process is not the only source of the sex difference in mental rotation tasks. Alternative strategy use is another source of sex differences in these tasks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

For sale

A Ticket for Your Thoughts: Method for Predicting Movie Trailer Recall and Future Ticket Sales Using Neural Similarity among Moviegoers

Samuel Barnett & Moran Cerf

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Skilled advertisers often cause a diverse set of consumers to feel similarly about their product. We present a method for measuring neural data to assess the degree of similarity between multiple brains experiencing the same advertisements, and we demonstrate that this similarity can predict important marketing outcomes. Since neural data can be sampled continuously throughout an experience and without effort and conscious reporting biases, our method offers a useful complement to measures requiring active evaluations, such as subjective ratings and willingness-to-pay (WTP) scores. As a case study, we use portable electroencephalography (EEG) systems to record the brain activity of 58 moviegoers in a commercial theater and then calculate the relative levels of neural similarity, cross-brain correlation (CBC), throughout 13 movie trailers. Our initial evidence suggests that CBC predicts future free recall of the movie trailers and population-level sales of the corresponding movies. Additionally, since there are potentially other (i.e., non-neural) sources of physiological similarity (e.g., basic arousal), we illustrate how to use other passive measures, such as cardiac, respiratory, and electrodermal activity levels, to reject alternative hypotheses. Moreover, we show how CBC can be used in conjunction with empirical content analysis (e.g., levels of visual and semantic complexity).

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The ability to choose can increase satiation

Joseph Redden, Kelly Haws & Jinjie Chen

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, February 2017, Pages 186-200

Abstract:
The ability to choose should let people create more enjoyable experiences. However, in a set of 5 studies, people who chose repeatedly during ongoing consumption exhibited a greater drop in enjoyment compared with those who received a series of random selections from the same set of liked stimuli. Process evidence indicated that choosing increased satiation because it triggered overall reflections on the repetitive nature of the ongoing consumption experience. Moderating evidence also supported our theoretical account as differences in satiation disappeared when nonchoosers were explicitly cued to think about repetition in the general sense, or when choosers made all of their choices before the onset of repeated consumption. Additional measures and analyses further established that choice set size, the difficulty of choosing, and other alternative accounts could not fully explain the pattern of effects. The paper closes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for understanding the causes of satiation, the consequences of choosing, and improving individuals’ experiences.

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The Rebound of the Forgone Alternative

Zachary Arens & Rebecca Hamilton

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Fifty years of cognitive dissonance research suggests that when consumers make a difficult choice, the alternative they forgo is devalued for an extended period of time, making it less likely to be chosen in the future. In a series of four studies, we show that completely consuming the chosen alternative moderates this effect. After the chosen alternative has been consumed, creating a sense of consumption closure, the attractiveness of forgone alternative rebounds to its original value.

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The Effects of Recommended Retail Prices on Consumer and Retailer Behaviour

Lisa Bruttel

Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper presents results from an experiment on the effects of recommended retail prices on consumer and retailer behaviour. We present evidence that recommended retail prices, despite their non-binding nature, influence consumers’ willingness to pay by setting a reference point. At a given price, consumers buy more the higher the recommended retail price is, and their demand drops at prices above the recommended retail price, even when it is entirely uninformative about the value of the product. Retailers in this study are subject to similar anchoring effects, but they do not anticipate consumers’ behaviour well and are thus not able to exploit their behavioural biases.

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The Effects of Advertised Quality Emphasis and Objective Quality on Sales

Praveen Kopalle et al.

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given that consumers value quality, and such advertising content informs consumers' beliefs about quality, it is not surprising that high quality brands emphasize quality in their advertising content. What is less obvious is whether firms with lower quality brands should also follow suit and emphasize quality in their advertising to signal a higher quality. We examine this issue and study the effectiveness of quality-based advertising messages. Our field study relates brands' monthly sales to their advertised quality claims across 1,876 print ads in national magazines and Consumer Reports-based product quality ratings over more than two decades. Contrary to the generally held yet erroneous belief in the efficacy of low-quality products emphasizing quality in their advertising, we demonstrate that (a) it is not beneficial for a low quality firm to emphasize quality in its advertising, and (b) it is effective for a high quality firm to do so. An analysis of parameter values from a published category-agnostic simulation, and an experiment that examines consumers' responses to quality claims in a second product category yields convergent insights.

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When Retailing and Las Vegas Meet: Probabilistic Free Price Promotions

Nina Mazar, Kristina Shampanier & Dan Ariely

Management Science, January 2017, Pages 250-266

Abstract:
A number of retailers offer gambling- or lottery-type price promotions with a chance to receive one’s entire purchase for free. Although these retailers seem to share the intuition that probabilistic free price promotions are attractive to consumers, it is unclear how they compare to traditional sure price promotions of equal expected monetary value. We compared these two risky and sure price promotions for planned purchases across six experiments in the field and in the laboratory. Together, we found that consumers are not only more likely to purchase a product promoted with a probabilistic free discount over the same product promoted with a sure discount but that they are also likely to purchase more of it. This preference seems to be primarily due to a diminishing sensitivity to the prices. In addition, we find that the zero price effect, transaction cost, and novelty considerations are likely not implicated.

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Rising Prices under Declining Preferences: The Case of the U.S. Print Newspaper Industry

Adithya Pattabhiramaiah, S. Sriram & Shrihari Sridhar

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Between 2006 and 2011, daily print newspapers in the U.S. lost 20% of their paid subscribers, partly due to increasing availability of alternative sources of news, such as free content provided on newspaper websites and by news aggregators such as Yahoo. However, contrary to the expectation that firms respond to softening demand by lowering prices, newspapers increased subscription prices by 40-60% during this period. In this paper, we explain and quantify the factors responsible for these price increases. We calibrate models of readership and advertising demand using data from a top-50 U.S. regional print newspaper. Conditional on these demand models, we calibrate the newspaper’s optimal pricing equations, and assess whether the increase in subscription prices are mainly rationalized by: a) the decline in readers’ willingness to pay (WTP) in the presence of heterogeneity among subscribers, or b) the newspaper’s reduced incentive to subsidize readers at the expense of advertisers, due to softening demand for newspaper advertising. We find that the decline in the ability of the newspaper to subsidize readers by extracting surplus from advertisers explains most of the increase in subscription prices. Of the three available subscription options (Daily, Weekend, and Sunday only), subscription prices increased more steeply for the Daily option, a pattern consistent with the view that newspapers are driving away low valuation weekday readers while preserving Sunday readership and the corresponding ad revenues. Thus, our research augments theoretical propositions in two-sided markets by providing a formal empirical approach to unraveling the relative importance of the role played by agents on the subsidy and demand side in determining prices.

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The Effectiveness of Using Sexual Appeals in Advertising: Memory for Sexual and Nonsexual Visual Content Across Genders

Lelia Samson

Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study empirically investigates the effectiveness of using visual sexual appeals on the memory of men and women. It examines memory for the commercials activated by sexual versus nonsexual visual appeals. A mixed-factorial experiment was conducted. Visual recognition and free recall were recorded in 146 participants (males = 71 and females = 75). The results substantiate the evolutionary psychology claims. Support for the motivational information-processing and the distraction hypothesis was found in male viewers. The results indicate that sexual appeals enhance memory for the advertisements themselves, but they distract men from processing brand-related information. Male participants encoded and recalled less brand-related information from advertisements with sexual appeals. The study offers guidelines for advertisers and marketing producers while also providing insight into gender/sex differences in processing sexual stimuli. It also makes a key theoretical contribution to the field by parsing out the influence of sexual versus nonsexual visual content from the confounding impact of visual sexual versus verbal nonsexual memory.

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Seller Beware: How Bundling Affects Valuation

Franklin Shaddy & Ayelet Fishbach

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does bundling affect valuation? This research proposes the asymmetry hypothesis in the valuation of bundles: Consumers demand more compensation for the loss of items from bundles, compared to the loss of the same items in isolation, yet offer lower willingness-to-pay for items added to bundles, compared to the same items purchased separately. This asymmetry persists because bundling causes consumers to perceive multiple items as a single, inseparable “gestalt” unit. Thus, consumers resist altering the “whole” of the bundle by removing or adding items. Six studies demonstrate this asymmetry across judgments of monetary value (Studies 1 and 2) and (dis)satisfaction (Study 3). Moreover, bundle composition — the ability of different items to create the impression of a “whole” — moderates the effect of bundling on valuation (Study 4), and the need to replace missing items (i.e., restoring the “whole”) mediates the effect of bundling on compensation demanded for losses (Study 5). Finally, we explore a boundary condition: The effect is attenuated for items that complete a set (Study 6).

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Why Advertising Safety Isn't Safe? Reminder Effect and Consumers' Negative Response to Information about Product Quality

Juan Ma, Zhaoning Wang & Tarun Khanna

Harvard Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
Many countries regulate the quality of food and drugs, yet it remains unclear whether markets can be relied upon to deliver high quality in the absence of regulation, notably where companies can advertise the superior quality of their products. We present evidence from two field experiments in China's infant formula industry, which has seen a trust crisis after several safety scandals. We show that disclosure of information about product quality can have a negative impact on consumers' purchase decisions and self-reported trust in the industry, as information reminds consumers of past scandals and draws their attention to safety risks.

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Costly Curves: How Human-Like Shapes Can Increase Spending

Marisabel Romero & Adam Craig

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can exposure to body shapes affect spending preferences? Because Western society associates thinness with economic value, we argue that a shape resembling thin human body types activates concepts related to positive financial outcomes, such as responsibility and hard work. The results of five experiments show that exposure to thin, human-like shapes influences consumer self-efficacy judgments and spending outcomes, depending on the perceiver’s weight. In line with social comparison, we demonstrate that seeing a thin (vs. wide) human-like shape leads high-body-mass-index consumers to make more indulgent decisions. Financial self-efficacy is highlighted as the underlying mechanism, and high resemblance to the human-form is identified as a critical moderator. The findings of this research acknowledge visual similarity’s role in stereotype knowledge activation and weight stereotypes’ broad scope of influence.

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Judging a Book by Its Cover? The Effect of Anthropomorphism on Product Attribute Processing and Consumer Preference

Echo Wen Wan, Rocky Peng Chen & Liyin Jin

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research finds that anthropomorphism, or attributing human characteristics to non-human objects, increases consumers’ preference for products with superior appearance. This effect occurs because consumers apply the belief of beautiful-is-good, a pervasive stereotype in person perception, to the judgment of anthropomorphized products. Seven experiments test the propositions. The results show that product anthropomorphism (vs. non-anthropomorphism) leads consumers to spend more time and money searching for information about appearance attributes (experiments 1 and 2), to indicate greater preference for products with superior appearance (experiments 4, 6, and 7), and to purchase products with superior appearance (experiments 3 and 5). The experiments also show that the effect of anthropomorphism on consumer preference is mediated by consumers’ conviction of “beautiful-is-good” in person perception. This effect is alleviated when consumers’ beliefs about the association between the attractive physical appearance of a person and the positive personal traits of this person are challenged. These results are robust across a wide range of product categories and consumers. Theoretical contributions and marketing implications are discussed.

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Product Line Bundling: Why Airlines Bundle High-End While Hotels Bundle Low-End

Steven Shugan et al.

Marketing Science, January-February 2017, Pages 124-139

Abstract:
Product lines are ubiquitous. For example, Marriott International manages high-end ultra-luxury hotels (e.g., Ritz-Carlton) and low-end economy hotels (e.g., Fairfield Inn). Firms often bundle core products with ancillary services (or add-ons). Interestingly, empirical observations reveal that industries with ostensibly similar characteristics (e.g., customer types, costs, competition, distribution channels, etc.) employ different bundling strategies. For example, airlines bundle high-end first class with ancillary services (e.g., breakfast, entertainment) while hotel chains bundle ancillary services (e.g., breakfast, entertainment) at the low-end. We observe, unlike hotel lines that are highly differentiated at different geographic locations, airlines suffer low core differentiation because all passengers (first-class and economy) are at the same location (i.e., same plane, weather, delays, cancellations, etc.). In general, we find product lines with low core differentiation (e.g., airlines, amusement parks) routinely bundle high-end while product lines with highly differentiated cores (e.g., hotels, restaurants) routinely bundle low-end. High-end bundling makes the high-end more attractive, increasing line differentiation (less intraline competition) while low-end bundling decreases line differentiation. Therefore, bundling allows optimal differentiation given a differentiation constraint (complex costs). Last, firms may use strategic bundling for targeting in their core products; e.g., low-end hotels bundle targeted add-ons unattractive to high-end consumers such as lower-quality breakfasts and slower Internet.

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Do Privacy Notices Matter? Comparing the Impact of Violating Formal Privacy Notices and Informal Privacy Norms on Consumer Trust Online

Kirsten Martin

Journal of Legal Studies, June 2016, Pages S191-S215

Abstract:
While privacy online is governed through formal privacy notices, little is known about the impact of privacy notices on trust online. I use a factorial vignette study to examine how the introduction of formal privacy governance (privacy notices) impacts consumer trust and compare the importance of respecting informal privacy norms versus formal privacy notices on consumer trust. The results show that invoking formal privacy notices decreases trust in a website. Further, violating informal privacy norms negatively impacts trust in the website even when the information exchange conforms to or is not mentioned in the privacy notice. The results suggest that respecting privacy norms is key to trust online and challenge the reliance on privacy notices to maintain consumer trust. The consumer, who is the exchange partner most vulnerable to information asymmetries and uncertainty, is not a party to the development of the formal privacy contract and instead relies on informal privacy norms.

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Gamified Information Presentation and Consumer Adoption of Product Innovations

Jessica Müller-Stewens et al.

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the effect of gamified information presentation — conveying information about a product innovation in the form of a game — on consumer adoption of that innovation. The key hypothesis is that gamified information presentation promotes consumer innovation adoption and that it does so through two parallel psychological processes—by increasing consumer playfulness, which stimulates curiosity about the innovation, and by enhancing the perceived vividness of information presentation, which increases the perceived advantage of the innovation relative to (less innovative) competing products. Evidence from seven studies, including two field experiments, supports this theorizing. The results also show that for gamified information presentation to increase innovation adoption, it is essential that the information is integrated into the game. These findings advance the understanding of the psychological forces that govern how consumers respond to receiving product information in the form of games, and they have important practical implications for how firms might use gamified information presentation to promote sales of new products.

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Leverage and strategic preemption: Lessons from entry plans and incumbent investments

Anthony Cookson

Journal of Financial Economics, February 2017, Pages 292–312

Abstract:
This paper empirically investigates the effect of leverage on strategic preemption. Using new data on entry plans and incumbent investments from the American casino industry, I find that high leverage prevents incumbents from responding to entry threats. Facing the same set of entry plans, low-leverage incumbents expand physical capacity (by 30%), whereas high-leverage incumbents do not. This difference in investment matters because capacity installations preempt eventual entry. Stock market reactions to withdrawn plans imply that effective preemption increases incumbent firm value by 5%. My findings suggest that leverage matters for industry composition, not just firm-level investment.

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Social Exclusion and Consumer Switching Behavior: A Control Restoration Mechanism

Lei Su et al.

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the effects of social exclusion on consumers’ brand and product switching behavior. Five studies were conducted, which revealed that consumers who perceive themselves as being chronically or temporarily excluded exhibit more switching behavior than their peers who do not feel socially excluded. This effect is mediated by a decreased sense of control after social exclusion. The effect disappears when the incumbent option possesses the function of maintaining social belongingness (e.g., when the incumbent option is socially conformed or symbolizes social connection).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's different there

The dark side of going abroad: How broad foreign experiences increase immoral behavior

Jackson Lu et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 2017, Pages 1-16

Abstract:
Because of the unprecedented pace of globalization, foreign experiences are increasingly common and valued. Past research has focused on the benefits of foreign experiences, including enhanced creativity and reduced intergroup bias. In contrast, the present work uncovers a potential dark side of foreign experiences: increased immoral behavior. We propose that broad foreign experiences (i.e., experiences in multiple foreign countries) foster not only cognitive flexibility but also moral flexibility. Using multiple methods (longitudinal, correlational, and experimental), 8 studies (N > 2,200) establish that broad foreign experiences can lead to immoral behavior by increasing moral relativism — the belief that morality is relative rather than absolute. The relationship between broad foreign experiences and immoral behavior was robust across a variety of cultural populations (anglophone, francophone), life stages (high school students, university students, MBA students, middle-aged adults), and 7 different measures of immorality. As individuals are exposed to diverse cultures, their moral compass may lose some of its precision.

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When Time is Not Money: Why Americans May Lose Out at the Negotiation Table

Elizabeth Salmon et al.

Academy of Management Discoveries, December 2016, Pages 349-367

Abstract:
Although previous research has linked hyperbolic discounting, an economic model of impatience, to negative outcomes such as smoking, problem drinking, lowered academic achievement, and ineffective career search decisions, there is little research that addresses how impatience may impact performance at the bargaining table and whether Americans have a disadvantage in negotiations as compared to other cultural groups as a result. Using the subjective line task, we replicate previous research showing that subjective time perceptions underpin hyperbolic discounting (Study 1a, n = 101) and are related to estimations and perceptions of durations in a timed experiment and impatience in recalled negotiations (Study 1b, n = 202). Further, in a study of negotiation (Study 2, n = 132), Americans viewed time as relatively more condensed and achieved lower negotiation outcomes as compared to Lebanese participants, and moreover, subjective time perceptions mediated the relationship between culture and negotiation outcomes. This research has significant consequences for real-world negotiations, as cultural differences in time perception can be used as an exploitable weakness and may hinder negotiation outcomes.

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Ambivalent stereotypes link to peace, conflict, and inequality across 38 nations

Federica Durante et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 January 2017, Pages 669–674

Abstract:
A cross-national study, 49 samples in 38 nations (n = 4,344), investigates whether national peace and conflict reflect ambivalent warmth and competence stereotypes: High-conflict societies (Pakistan) may need clearcut, unambivalent group images distinguishing friends from foes. Highly peaceful countries (Denmark) also may need less ambivalence because most groups occupy the shared national identity, with only a few outcasts. Finally, nations with intermediate conflict (United States) may need ambivalence to justify more complex intergroup-system stability. Using the Global Peace Index to measure conflict, a curvilinear (quadratic) relationship between ambivalence and conflict highlights how both extremely peaceful and extremely conflictual countries display lower stereotype ambivalence, whereas countries intermediate on peace-conflict present higher ambivalence. These data also replicated a linear inequality–ambivalence relationship.

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Cross-National and Longitudinal Variations in the Criminal Regulation of Sex, 1965 to 2005

David John Frank & Dana Moss

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes cross-national and longitudinal variations in criminal laws regulating sexual activities. We blend historical and sociological institutionalisms to argue that criminal sex laws embody exogenous models, supplied by colonial and imperial powers and evolving world society. To test our ideas, we apply logit-panel and pooled-time-series models to original data from more than 150 countries on four aspects of sex laws, 1965 to 2005: (1) maximum prison terms for rape, (2) ages of sexual consent, (3) the existence of sodomy prohibitions, and (4) gender neutrality in adultery regulations. Our analyses confirm the importance of exogenous factors and show that endogenous factors — including the dominance of Islam and the status of women in society — play lesser roles in explaining formal content differences. In supplementary analyses, we explore counterpoint variations, that is, sex-law reforms that flout global standards, illustrated here by sodomy-law expansions during the period. We find exogenous imprints even in these cases.

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Historical Prevalence of Infectious Diseases, Cultural Values, and the Origins of Economic Institutions

Boris Nikolaev & Raufhon Salahodjaev

Kyklos, February 2017, Pages 97–128

Abstract:
It is widely believed that economic institutions such as competitive markets, the banking system, and the structure of property rights are essential for economic development. But why economic institutions vary across countries and what are their deep origins is still a question that is widely debated in the developmental economics literature. In this study, we provide an empirical test for the provocative hypothesis that the prevalence of infectious diseases influenced the formation of personality traits, cultural values, and even morality at the regional level (the so called Parasite-Stress Theory of Values and Sociality), which then shaped economic institutions across countries. Using the prevalence of pathogens as an instrument for cultural traits such as individualism, we show in a two-stage least squares analysis that various economic institutions, measured by different areas of the index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation, have their deep origins in the historical prevalence of infectious diseases across countries. Our causal identification strategy suggests that cultural values affect economic institutions even after controlling for a number of confounding variables, geographic controls, and for different sub-samples of countries. We further show that the results are robust to four alternative measures of economic and political institutions.

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The Persistent Effects of Novelty-Seeking Traits on Comparative Economic Development

Erkan Gören

Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The issue of novelty-seeking traits have been related to important economic attitudes such as risk-taking, entrepreneurial, and explorative behaviors that foster technological progress and, thus, economic development. However, numerous molecular genetic studies have shown that novelty-seeking bearing individuals are prone to certain psychological “disadvantages” such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), leading to occupational and educational difficulties in modern societies. Using a recent compilation of DRD4 exon III allele frequencies – a particular gene variant that population geneticists have found to be sometimes associated with the human phenotype of novelty-seeking behavior – this paper advances a new country-level measure on the prevalence of novelty-seeking traits for a large number of countries worldwide. The results suggest a stable non-monotonic inverted U-shaped relationship between the country-level DRD4 exon III allele frequency measure and economic development. This finding is suggestive of the potential “benefits” and “costs” of novelty-seeking traits for the aggregate economy.

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Birth of the cool: A two-centuries decline in emotional expression in Anglophone fiction

Olivier Morin & Alberto Acerbi

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The presence of emotional words and content in stories has been shown to enhance a story’s memorability, and its cultural success. Yet, recent cultural trends run in the opposite direction. Using the Google Books corpus, coupled with two metadata-rich corpora of Anglophone fiction books, we show a decrease in emotionality in English-speaking literature starting plausibly in the nineteenth century. We show that this decrease cannot be explained by changes unrelated to emotionality (such as demographic dynamics concerning age or gender balance, changes in vocabulary richness, or changes in the prevalence of literary genres), and that, in our three corpora, the decrease is driven almost entirely by a decline in the proportion of positive emotion-related words, while the frequency of negative emotion-related words shows little if any decline. Consistently with previous studies, we also find a link between ageing and negative emotionality at the individual level.

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Judgments of damage to public versus private property in Chinese children at different historical times

Xinyin Chen et al.

Developmental Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined children's judgments of damage to public versus private property in China at two historical times. Participants were two cohorts (1980 and 2012) of elementary school children at ages 7, 9, and 11 years. The children were administered paired stories that described a protagonist who damaged public or private property with a good or bad intention. The results showed that children in the 2012 cohort were less likely than their counterparts in the 1980 cohort to judge damage to public property as more culpable than damage to private property. The cohort differences were more evident in older children than in younger children. The results suggest that macro-level contexts may play an important role in shaping children's judgments.

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Societal Conditions and the Gender Difference in Well-Being: Testing a Three-Stage Model

Miron Zuckerman, Chen Li & Edward Diener

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Findings from a meta-analysis on gender differences in self-esteem (Zuckerman et al., 2016) suggest that the relation between the degree to which societal conditions are favorable to women and gender difference in self-esteem might be quadratic; when conditions improve, women’s self-esteem (relative to that of men) trends downward but when conditions continue to improve, women’s self-esteem begins to trend upward. Testing whether these relations generalize to subjective well-being, the present study found a quadratic relation between improving societal conditions and the gender difference in life satisfaction and positive affect (women are lower than men when societal conditions are moderately favorable compared to when they are at their worst and at their best); the relation was linear for negative emotion (women report more negative emotions than men when societal conditions are better). Directions for future research that will address potential explanations for these results are proposed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, January 30, 2017

Carnage

Is the Number of Citizens Fatally Shot by Police Increasing in the Post-Ferguson Era?

Bradley Campbell, Justin Nix & Edward Maguire

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines whether the number of citizens fatally shot by police in the United States has changed significantly since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Using longitudinal data compiled by killedbypolice.net, we use an interrupted time-series design to test the effect of events in Ferguson on fatal shootings by police. Our analyses reveal that the number of citizens killed by police is temporally unstable, exhibiting random short-term fluctuations that are often misinterpreted as evidence of substantively meaningful trends. However, after testing a variety of model specifications, we find no evidence that the number of fatal police shootings either increased or decreased post-Ferguson. Claims to the contrary are based on weak analyses of short-term trends.

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Local Labor Markets and Criminal Recidivism

Crystal Yang

Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper estimates the impact of local labor market conditions on criminal recidivism using administrative prison records on four million offenders released from 43 states between 2000 and 2013. Exploiting the timing of each offender’s release from prison, I find that being released to a county with higher low-skilled wages significantly decreases the risk of recidivism. The impact of higher wages on recidivism is larger for both black offenders and first-time offenders, and in sectors that report being more willing to hire ex-offenders. These results are robust to individual- and county-level controls, such as policing and corrections activity, and do not appear to be driven by changes in the composition of released offenders during good or bad economic times.

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More Eyes, (No Guns,) Less Crime: Estimating the Effects of Unarmed Private Patrols on Crime Using a Bayesian Structural Time-Series Model

Paul Liu & Marco Fabbri

Google Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
This work studies the effect of unarmed private security patrols on crime. We make use of an initiative, triggered by an arguably exogenous event, consisting in hiring unarmed private security agents to patrol, observe and report to ordinary police criminal activities within a well-defined city area. Our identification strategy capitalizes on the fact that the portions of the city outside the arbitrarily defined intervention area remain unaffected by the patrolling activity. To estimate the effects of the security patrols, we use both a difference-in-difference approach and we additionally propose the first application in Law & Economics of a Bayesian structural time-series model (Brodersen et al., 2015). This model overcomes some limitations and provides a generalization to the time-series setting of the standard difference-in-difference approach. Results show that unarmed private security patrolling decreases crime in the treated area by 30-43%. Our results suggest that a large share of the police-crime elasticity estimated by prior work is due to perceptual deterrence.

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Missing person alerts: Does repeated exposure decrease their effectiveness?

James Michael Lampinen & Kara Moore

Journal of Experimental Criminology, December 2016, Pages 587–598

Methods: Some participants saw three different mock missing person videos, depicting three different target individuals, with one video being shown on each of 3 days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Other participants engaged in unrelated tasks on the first 2 days and saw a single mock missing person video on the third day. All participants were told that if they saw a person from a mock missing person video and contacted the experimenters they would win a cash prize. On the final day of the study, the target individual was located in the hallway a short distance from the experiment room in a location that participants had to pass on their way out of the building.

Results: Correct sightings of the target individual were significantly lower in the multiple video condition than in the single video condition.

Conclusions: The results suggest that overuse of missing person alert systems can decrease their effectiveness in a manner consistent with a “car alarm” effect.

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American Monsters: Tabloid Media and the Satanic Panic, 1970–2000

Sarah Hughes

Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
“American Monsters” analyzes the satanic panic, an episode of national hysteria that dominated the media throughout the 1980s. It involved hundreds of accusations that devil-worshipping pedophiles were operating America's white middle-class suburban daycare centers. Communities around the country became embroiled in trials against center owners, the most publicized of which was the McMartin Preschool trial in Manhattan Beach, California, still the longest and most expensive criminal trial in the nation's history. This article explores how the panic both reflected and shaped a cultural climate dominated by the overlapping worldviews of politically active conservatives. Their ideology was incorporated into the panic and reinforced through tabloid media. Infotainment expanded dramatically in the 1980s, selling conservative-defined threats as news. The panic unfolded mostly through infotainment, lending appeal to subgenres like talk shows. In the 1990s, judges overturned the life sentences of defendants in most major cases, and several prominent journalists and lawyers condemned the phenomenon as a witch hunt. They analyzed it as a powerful delusion, or what contemporary cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard termed a “hyperreality,” in which audiences confuse the media universe for real life. Integral to the development, influence, and success of tabloid television, the panic was a manifestation of the hyperreal.

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Avoiding Convictions: Regression Discontinuity Evidence on Court Deferrals for First-Time Drug Offenders

Michael Mueller-Smith & Kevin Schnepel

University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies the causal impact of court deferrals, a legal strategy to help defendants avoid a felony conviction record, on the future criminal and labor market outcomes of first-time felony drug offenders. To accomplish this, we exploit two natural experiments in Harris County, Texas, in which defendants appearing in court one day versus the next experienced abruptly different likelihoods of deferral. In 1994 deferral rates dropped by 34 percentage points the day following the implementation of a penal code reform; in 2007 deferral rates increased by 22 percentage points the day after the unexpected failure of a ballot initiative to expand the county jail. Using administrative data and local polynomial regression discontinuity methods, we find robust evidence consistent across both experiments that regimes with expanded use of court deferrals generated substantially lower rates of reoffending and unemployment over a five-year follow-up period. Additional analysis delves further into the timing, nature and incidence of these impacts. Together our results suggest that increasing the use of deferral programs may be an attractive and feasible option for a jurisdiction seeking to reduce the fiscal cost and community impact of its criminal justice system.

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Race, Ethnicity, and Prison Disciplinary Misconduct

Heidi Bonner, Frank Rodriguez & Jon Sorensen

Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Winter 2017, Pages 36-51

Abstract:
It is well known that racial and ethnic minorities (both male and female) have felt the effect of increased incarceration more than Whites, and a large amount of prior research has investigated the factors that influence higher levels of inmate misconduct, including the influence of race/ethnicity. This body of research has produced mixed results. Using recent data from one of the largest state prison systems, this study sought to determine the level of racial and ethnic disparity in the commission of inmate misconduct. Results indicate that Black inmates were significantly more likely than other inmates to commit general rule violations, serious rule violations, and assaultive rule violations. Correlates of inmate misconduct and policy implications stemming from the findings are discussed.

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Street Prostitution Zones and Crime

Paul Bisschop, Stephen Kastoryano & Bas van der Klaauw

American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the effects of legal street prostitution zones on registered and perceived crime. We exploit a unique setting in the Netherlands where these tippelzones were opened in nine cities under different regulation systems. Our difference-in-differences analysis of 25 Dutch cities between 1994-2011 shows that opening a tippelzone decreases registered sexual abuse and rape by about 30%−40% in the first two years. For cities which enforced licensing in tippelzones, we also find reductions in drug-related crime and long-term effects on sexual assaults. Effects on perceived drug nuisance depend on the regulation system and the proximity of respondents to the tippelzone.

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Decriminalization of Sex Work Is Not Associated with More Men Paying for Sex: Results from the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Chris Rissel et al.

Sexuality Research and Social Policy, March 2017, Pages 81–86

Abstract:
It has been claimed that the decriminalization of sex work may result in its proliferation, but there is no evidence to prove or disprove this claim. We investigated whether decriminalization was associated with the prevalence of paying for sex. A representative national sample of 8074 Australian men interviewed by telephone reported whether they had paid for sex ever and in the last 12 months. Cross-sectional associations between paying for sex in the last 12 months and their jurisdiction’s legal approach to sex work (criminalized, licensed, or decriminalized), were examined with logistic regression analysis, controlling for demographic variables and relationship status. Overall, 2.2 % of the men reported paying for sex in the past year — a proportion that was not statistically different by state or territory (P = 0.26). The only variable that was associated with paying for sex was not having a regular sexual partner, or to a lesser extent, not living with a regular partner. Being aged 16–19 years was associated with lower odds of paying for sex. Being a male without a regular partner was associated with paying for sex. The legal approach to sex work in the respondent’s state of residence was not associated with having paid for sex.

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Sexual Violence Against Marginalized Victims: Choice of Victim or Victim of Choice?

Loren Horan & Eric Beauregard

Victims & Offenders, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research shows that sex trade workers and homeless populations are at a high risk of severe violence and homicide. Based on a sample of 229 violent sex offenders, we investigate the differences between sexual crimes committed against marginalized (n = 73) and nonmarginalized victims (n = 156). Findings from logistic regression analyses show that offenders who target marginalized victims are more likely to degrade their victim and use a variety of torture methods. However, offenders who target nonmarginalized victims are more likely to use a weapon, and kill the victim by strangulation. Implications for future research are discussed.

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Self-Control Versus Psychopathy: A Head-to-Head Test of General Theories of Antisociality

Matt DeLisi et al.

Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-control and psychopathy are prominent general theories of antisociality that, although present a very similar type of individual, have not often been studied in tandem, and few studies have conducted a head-to-head test of their association with serious delinquency and youth violence. Using a near census of institutionalized delinquents from Missouri, the current study found that both low self-control and psychopathy were significantly associated with various forms of delinquency and severe/chronic delinquency as measured by 90th percentile on the distribution. However, low self-control was associated with more forms of delinquency, and victimization and youth with the lowest levels of self-control were at greatest risk for pathological delinquency relative to those with the most psychopathic personality. Both self-control and psychopathy are essential for understanding the most severe variants of delinquency, and more head-to-head tests are encouraged to assess the strength of criminological theories.

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There Will Be Blood: Crime Rates in Shale-Rich U.S. Counties

Alexander James & Brock Smith

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the past decade the production of tight oil and shale gas significantly increased in the United States. This paper examines how this energy boom has affected regional crime rates throughout the country. We find positive effects on rates of various property and violent crimes in shale-rich counties. In 2013, the cost of the additional crimes in the average treatment county was roughly $2 million. These results are not easily explained by shifts in observed demographics like gender and age. There is however evidence that people with criminal records (registered sex offenders) moved disproportionally to shale-boom towns in North Dakota. We also document a rise in income inequality (a postulated determinant of criminal activity) that coincides with the timing of the energy boom. Policy makers in boom towns should anticipate these crime effects and invest in public infrastructure accordingly.

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Hypermobility, Destination Effects, and Delinquency: Specifying the Link between Residential Mobility and Offending

Matt Vogel, Lauren Porter & Timothy McCuddy

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Residential mobility is often implicated as a risk factor for delinquency. While many scholars attribute this to causal processes spurred by moving, recent research suggests that much of the relationship is due to differences between mobile and non-mobile adolescents. However, studies in this area often operationalize mobility as a single move, limiting researchers to comparing outcomes between mobile and non-mobile adolescents. This approach is rather broad, considering heterogeneity in mobility frequency as well as variation in sending and receiving neighborhood characteristics. We propose a more nuanced framework to help anticipate how characteristics of mobility experiences may mitigate, exacerbate, or fail to influence adolescent behavior. Drawing on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997 (NLSY97), we demonstrate that “hypermobility” has detrimental behavioral consequences, increases in neighborhood disadvantage between sending and receiving neighborhoods are associated with reductions in self-reported offending, and long-distance moves reduce delinquency, but only among adolescents with prior behavioral problems. These results underscore the complex association between residential mobility and delinquency during adolescence.

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Is Getting Tough With Low-Risk Kids a Good Idea? The Effect of Failure to Appear Detention Stays on Juvenile Recidivism

Meghan Ogle & Jillian Turanovic

Criminal Justice Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the juvenile justice system has adopted many alternatives to detention, the practice of detaining youth for failing to appear in court remains common. Despite its widespread use, it is unclear whether this form of detainment is harmful to juvenile offenders — especially to those who pose no credible threat to public safety. Accordingly, using data from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) and propensity score matching, we assess whether failure to appear (FTA) detention increases recidivism for low-risk youth. The results indicate that FTA detention increases official recidivism, technical recidivism, and re-detainment, and suggest that alternate policies be considered for low-risk juvenile offenders.

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Sex and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Positive Outcomes in Delinquent Youth After Detention: A 12-Year Longitudinal Study

Karen Abram et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: In the Northwestern Juvenile Project, a longitudinal US study of long-term outcomes of delinquent youth after detention, participants were interviewed in detention between November 20, 1995, and June 14, 1998, and reinterviewed up to 9 times during the 12-year study period, through May 12, 2011. Data analysis was conducted between November 18, 2013, and July 25, 2016.

Results: The study included 1829 youth at baseline (1172 males and 657 females; mean [SD] age, 14.9 [1.4] years). At the end of the study, 1520 (83.1%) of the original sample remained (944 males and 576 females; mean [SD] age, 27.6 [1.4] years). Twelve years after detention, females were more likely than males to have positive outcomes for gainful activity (odds ratio [OR], 2.53; 95% CI, 1.86-3.44), desistance from criminal activity (OR, 5.89; 95% CI, 4.38-7.92), residential independence (OR, 3.41; 95% CI, 2.57-4.52), parenting responsibility (OR, 18.65; 95% CI, 12.29-28.30), and mental health (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.13-1.92). Twelve years after detention, only 21.9% of males and 54.7% of females had achieved more than half of the outcomes. As youth aged, the number of positive outcomes increased only modestly (mean increase for males, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.13-0.62; for females, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.13-0.45). Among males, non-Hispanic white individuals were significantly more likely to achieve most positive outcomes compared with minorities, but less likely to abstain from substance abuse. For example, 12 years after detention, non-Hispanic white males had nearly 3 times the odds of educational attainment compared with African American (OR, 2.82; 95% CI, 1.77-4.50) and Hispanic males (OR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.75-4.82), and 2 to 5 times the odds of gainful activity compared with African American (OR, 5.17; 95% CI, 3.16-8.45) and Hispanic males (OR, 2.58; 95% CI, 1.56-4.26). Latent class analysis shows that African American males fared the worst, with lives characterized by incarceration, criminal activity, and few positive outcomes.

Conclusions and Relevance: Our findings highlight racial/ethnic disparities among youth in achieving positive outcomes after detention. To improve outcomes, pediatric health care professionals should recognize the importance of psychosocial health, partner with on-site psychosocial services in their practices, and facilitate access to services in the community.

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Juvenile Sexual Crime Reporting Rates Are Not Influenced by Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Policies

Jeffrey Sandler et al.

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data on juvenile sexual crime reports originating in 4 states were used to assess the association between 4 different juvenile sex offender registration policies and juvenile sexual crime reports. Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) analyses revealed no significant changes from before to after the implantation of juvenile registry requirements, suggesting that none of the tested policies influenced juvenile sexual crime reports. These results are commensurate with the only study evaluating juvenile sex offender registration on first-time sexual crimes and with the broader literature evaluating (and failing to find) an association between juvenile sex offender registration enactment and juvenile sexual offense recidivism rates. Juvenile sex offender registration policies were implemented with the primary aim of improving public safety. To date, no published studies support any public safety effect associated with juvenile sex offender registration policies. The current findings, when coupled with the larger literature base, support efforts to exclude juveniles from state and federal registration policies.

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Beyond Profiling: The Institutional Sources of Racial Disparities in Policing

Charles Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody & Donald Haider-Markel

Public Administration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
American policing faces a crisis of legitimacy. A key source of this crisis is a widespread police practice commonly endorsed by police leaders to fight crime. This is the investigatory stop, used to check out people who seem suspicious and to seize illegal drugs and guns and make arrests. Using data from an original scientific survey of drivers in the Kansas City metropolitan area, the authors show that racial disparities in police stops are concentrated in investigatory vehicle stops. In these stops, but not others, officers disproportionately stop African Americans and question and search them. The overwhelming majority of people stopped in this way are innocent, and the experience causes psychological harm and erodes trust in and cooperation with the police. Many of the most controversial police shootings during the past two years occurred in these stops. Reforming this practice is an essential step toward restoring trust in the police.

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Is Burglary a Violent Crime? An Empirical Investigation of the Armed Career Criminal Act’s Classification of Burglary as a Violent Felony

Phillip Kopp

Criminal Justice Policy Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Traditionally considered a non-violent property offense, burglary is nonetheless classified as a violent crime under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). The ACCA, a three-strikes law that provides a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, is triggered when an offender, who has been previously convicted for a crime classified under the ACCA as either a “violent felony” or “serious drug offense,” is convicted at the federal level for any felony committed while in possession of a firearm. The present study investigated the ACCA’s classification of burglary as violent through analysis of National Crime Victimization Survey data for the period of 2009 to 2014. Results showed that burglary is overwhelmingly a non-violent offense. The national incidence of actual violence or threats of violence during a burglary was 7.9%. At most, 2.7% of burglaries involved actual acts of violence. Legislative reform of the ACCA classification to match the empirical description of burglary is discussed.

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A city-level analysis of property crime clearance rates

Jeffrey Roth

Criminal Justice Studies, Winter 2017, Pages 45-62

Abstract:
Theft, burglary, and vehicle theft are among the most frequently committed and least commonly cleared Part I offenses in the United States, but have received disproportionately little attention in the clearance literature. This study contributes to recent efforts to remedy this shortage by presenting offense-specific analyses of burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft clearance rates in a sample of 110 large US cities. Data were gathered from the Uniform Crime Report, the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey, and the American Community Survey. Independent variables comprised social disorganization measures (e.g. residential instability, poverty, etc.) and policing variables, including the use of broken windows policing. Although broken windows policing is related to higher clearance rates in a few prior studies, that effect was not observed in the present work. Racial diversity and police spending per capita (which were negatively associated with clearance rates) were the only variables that were significantly associated with the clearance of all three crimes.

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Graduated response policies to digital piracy: Do they increase box office revenues of movies?

Jordi McKenzie

Information Economics and Policy, March 2017, Pages 1–11

Abstract:
This study investigates the impact of six countries’ graduated response policies to digital piracy — sometimes referred to as ‘three-strike’ policies — on film-level theatrical box office revenues. Applying a quasi-three-way effects difference-in-difference model, no compelling evidence of increasing revenues is observed in any of the markets considered. This finding brings into question the efficacy of graduated response laws if one of the primary objectives is to increase sales in legitimate markets.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Staying sane

Do More of Those in Misery Suffer from Poverty, Unemployment or Mental Illness?

Sarah Flèche & Richard Layard

Kyklos, February 2017, Pages 27–41

Abstract:
Studies of deprivation usually ignore mental illness. This paper uses household panel data from the USA, Australia, Britain and Germany to broaden the analysis. We ask first how many of those in the lowest levels of life-satisfaction suffer from unemployment, poverty, physical ill health, and mental illness. The largest proportion suffers from mental illness. Multiple regression shows that mental illness is not highly correlated with poverty or unemployment, and that it contributes more to explaining the presence of misery than is explained by either poverty or unemployment. This holds both with and without fixed effects.

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Arbitrary Rituals Mute the Neural Response to Performance Failure

Nicholas Hobson, Devin Bonk & Michael Inzlicht

University of Toronto Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Rituals are found in all types of performance domains, from high-stakes athletics and military to the daily morning preparations of the working family. And yet despite their ubiquity and widespread importance for humans, we know very little of ritual’s causal mechanisms and how (if at all) they facilitate goal-directed performance. Correlational and anecdotal evidence suggests that rituals might assist in goal-regulation by dealing with potential performance setbacks, either by: (i) bolstering self-efficacy that then promotes controlled performance in the face of errors or (ii) buffering the sting of performance errors. Here, in a fully pre-registered pre/post experimental design, we test these two competing mechanisms by examining changes in the error-related negativity (ERN), a measure of neural performance-monitoring involved in regulatory control. Participants completed an arbitrary ritual – novel actions repeated at home over one week – followed by an executive function task in the lab during electroencephalographic (EEG) recording. Results revealed that relative to pre rounds, participants showed a reduced ERN in the post rounds, after completing the ritual in the lab. The findings offer support for the palliative explanation: rituals dampen the neuroaffective signal in response to task errors. Corroborating the long-established view that rituals protect against uncertainty and anxiety, our results provide preliminary evidence that even arbitrary rituals can mute the brain’s response to distressing performance failures.

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A Linguistic Signature of Psychological Distancing in Emotion Regulation

Erik Nook, Jessica Schleider & Leah Somerville

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Effective emotion regulation is critical for mental health and well-being, rendering insight into underlying mechanisms that facilitate this crucial skill invaluable. We combined principles of cognitive linguistics and basic affective science to test whether shifting components of one’s language might foster effective emotion regulation. In particular, we explored bidirectional relations between emotion regulation and linguistic signatures of psychological distancing. In Study 1, we assessed whether people spontaneously distance their language (i.e., shift their word use to be less socially and temporally proximate) when regulating emotions. Participants transcribed their thoughts while either passively viewing or actively regulating their emotional responses to negative images. Regulation increased linguistic markers of social and temporal distance, and participants who showed greater linguistic distancing were more successful regulators. Study 2 reversed this relation and investigated whether distancing one’s language spontaneously regulated one’s emotions. Participants wrote about negative images either using psychologically “close” or “distant” language in physical, social, and temporal domains. All 3 domains of linguistic distancing spontaneously reduced negative affect. Distancing language also “bled” across domains (e.g., temporal distancing spontaneously produced social distancing). This suggests that distancing one’s language in 1 domain (e.g., reducing use of present-tense verbs) produces shifts in deep representations of psychological distance that are measurable across domains (e.g., reduced use of the word “I”). Results extend understanding of language-emotion interactions and reveal novel strategies for reducing negative affect.

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What You Like Is What You Try to Get: Attitudes Toward Emotions and Situation Selection

Noam Markovitch, Liat Netzer & Maya Tamir

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do people expose themselves to certain emotional stimuli and avoid others? We propose that what people want to feel is linked to attitudes toward emotions. In 3 studies, we show that individuals with more (vs. less) negative attitudes toward an emotion were more (vs. less) likely to avoid stimuli that induce that emotion. People who evaluated disgust (or joy) less favorably than others were less likely to expose themselves to disgusting (or joyful) pictures (Study 1). These links were emotion-specific and could not be explained by differences in state or trait emotion (Study 2) or in emotional reactivity (Study 3). We were further able to show that the choice of emotion-inducing stimuli affected emotional experience in a congruent manner. People with more (vs. less) negative attitudes toward disgust (or sadness) were more likely to avoid disgusting (or sad) stimuli, resulting in more intense experiences of disgust (or sadness; Study 2). Finally, people with more negative attitudes toward disgust chose to avoid more disgusting stimuli, whether attitudes were assessed explicitly or implicitly (Study 3). These findings suggest that people avoid stimuli that induce emotions that they evaluate less favorably, even when such evaluations are not consciously accessible.

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Relation between resting amygdalar activity and cardiovascular events: A longitudinal and cohort study

Ahmed Tawakol et al.

Lancet, forthcoming

Background: Emotional stress is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We imaged the amygdala, a brain region involved in stress, to determine whether its resting metabolic activity predicts risk of subsequent cardiovascular events.

Methods: Individuals aged 30 years or older without known cardiovascular disease or active cancer disorders, who underwent 18F-fluorodexoyglucose PET/CT at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA, USA) between Jan 1, 2005, and Dec 31, 2008, were studied longitudinally. Amygdalar activity, bone-marrow activity, and arterial inflammation were assessed with validated methods. In a separate cross-sectional study we analysed the relation between perceived stress, amygdalar activity, arterial inflammation, and C-reactive protein. Image analyses and cardiovascular disease event adjudication were done by mutually blinded researchers. Relations between amygdalar activity and cardiovascular disease events were assessed with Cox models, log-rank tests, and mediation (path) analyses.

Findings: 293 patients (median age 55 years [IQR 45•0–65•5]) were included in the longitudinal study, 22 of whom had a cardiovascular disease event during median follow-up of 3•7 years (IQR 2•7–4•8). Amygdalar activity was associated with increased bone-marrow activity (r=0•47; p<0•0001), arterial inflammation (r=0•49; p<0•0001), and risk of cardiovascular disease events (standardised hazard ratio 1•59, 95% CI 1•27–1•98; p<0•0001), a finding that remained significant after multivariate adjustments. The association between amygdalar activity and cardiovascular disease events seemed to be mediated by increased bone-marrow activity and arterial inflammation in series. In the separate cross-sectional study of patients who underwent psychometric analysis (n=13), amygdalar activity was significantly associated with arterial inflammation (r=0•70; p=0•0083). Perceived stress was associated with amygdalar activity (r=0•56; p=0•0485), arterial inflammation (r=0•59; p=0•0345), and C-reactive protein (r=0•83; p=0•0210).

Interpretation: In this first study to link regional brain activity to subsequent cardiovascular disease, amygdalar activity independently and robustly predicted cardiovascular disease events. Amygdalar activity is involved partly via a path that includes increased bone-marrow activity and arterial inflammation. These findings provide novel insights into the mechanism through which emotional stressors can lead to cardiovascular disease in human beings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, January 27, 2017

In simpler times

Toward Open Societies? Trends in Male Intergenerational Class Mobility in European Countries during Industrialization

Ineke Maas & Marco van Leeuwen

American Journal of Sociology, November 2016, Pages 838-885

Abstract:
Do the observed increases in intergenerational mobility in European societies in recent decades have their origin in 19th-century industrialization, as is posited by the industrialization thesis? Using over 600,000 marriage records and an internationally and historically comparative measure of occupational class, the authors study total and relative intergenerational mobility of men in Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Sweden between 1800 and 1914. For these countries together and for most countries separately the preindustrial period was characterized by stable or decreasing total and relative mobility, whereas a trend toward greater mobility took place during industrialization, lending qualified support to the industrialization thesis.

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Coal Smoke and the Costs of the Industrial Revolution

Walker Hanlon

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
While the Industrial Revolution brought economic growth, there is a long debate in economics over the costs of the pollution externalities that accompanied early industrialization. To help settle this debate, this paper introduces a new theoretically-grounded strategy for estimating the impact of industrial pollution on local economic development and applies this approach to data from British cities for 1851-1911. I show that local industrial coal use substantially reduced long-run city employment growth over this period. Moreover, a counterfactual analysis suggests that plausible improvements in coal use efficiency would have led to substantially higher urbanization rates in Britain by 1911.

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Does Foreign Aid Target the Poorest?

Ryan Briggs

International Organization, January 2017, Pages 187-206

Abstract:
To examine the extent to which foreign aid reaches people at different levels of wealth in Africa, I use household surveys to measure the subnational distribution of a country's population by wealth quintiles and match this information to data on the location of aid projects from two multilateral donors. Within countries, aid disproportionately flows to regions with more of the richest people. Aid does not favor regions with more of the poorest people. These findings violate the stated preferences of the multilateral donors under study, suggesting that the donors either cannot or are not willing to exercise control over the location of aid projects within countries. The results also suggest that aid is not being allocated effectively to alleviate extreme poverty.

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Food Prices and Poverty

Derek Headey

World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do higher food prices help or hinder poverty reduction? Despite much debate, existing research has almost solely relied on simulation models to address this question. In this article World Bank poverty estimates are used to systematically test the relationship between changes in poverty and exogenous changes in real domestic food prices. We uncover indicative evidence that increases in food prices are associated with reductions in poverty, not increases. We empirically explain this result in terms of relatively strong agricultural supply and wage responses to food price increases, and the fact that the majority of the world’s poor still heavily rely on agriculture or agriculture-related activities to earn a living.

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Industrial Development Through Tacit Knowledge Seeding: Evidence from the Bangladesh Garment Industry

Romel Mostafa & Steven Klepper

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore how the establishment of an industry pioneer through foreign seeding of industry knowledge can subsequently catalyze the growth of a developing country’s industry by involuntarily propagating the knowledge to subsequent entrants. As industry knowledge has tacit elements, we focus on mechanisms that enable experienced workers from the pioneer to seed the knowledge to new entrants. We examine the relationship between entrants’ characteristics and the mechanisms exploited to access the industry knowledge, and the impact of the mechanisms exploited on firm performance. Empirical findings from two historical episodes in the Bangladesh garment industry suggest that industry knowledge seeding was essential for the initial establishment and subsequent expansion of the industry. Our paper highlights the role of experienced workers’ mobility in building new firm capabilities and provides novel insights into industrialization in developing economies.

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Cross-Country Differences in the Optimal Allocation of Talent and Technology

Tommaso Porzio

University of California Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
I model an economy inhabited by heterogeneous individuals that form teams and choose an appropriate production technology. The model characterizes how the technological environments shapes the equilibrium assignment of individuals into teams. I apply the theoretical insights to study cross-country differences in the allocation of talent and technology. Their low endowment of technology, coupled with the possibility of importing advanced one from the frontier, leads poor countries to a different economic structure, with stronger concentration of talent and larger cross-sectional productivity dispersion. As a result, the efficient equilibrium in poor countries displays economic features, such as larger cross-sectional productivity dispersion, that are often cited as evidence of misallocation. Micro data from countries of all income levels documents cross-country differences in the allocation of talent that support the theoretical predictions. A quantitative version of the model suggests that a sizable fraction of the larger productivity dispersion documented in poor countries is due to differences in the efficient allocation.

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The long-run poverty and gender impacts of mobile money

Tavneet Suri & William Jack

Science, 9 December 2016, Pages 1288-1292

Abstract:
Mobile money, a service that allows monetary value to be stored on a mobile phone and sent to other users via text messages, has been adopted by the vast majority of Kenyan households. We estimate that access to the Kenyan mobile money system M-PESA increased per capita consumption levels and lifted 194,000 households, or 2% of Kenyan households, out of poverty. The impacts, which are more pronounced for female-headed households, appear to be driven by changes in financial behavior — in particular, increased financial resilience and saving — and labor market outcomes, such as occupational choice, especially for women, who moved out of agriculture and into business. Mobile money has therefore increased the efficiency of the allocation of consumption over time while allowing a more efficient allocation of labor, resulting in a meaningful reduction of poverty in Kenya.

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The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries

Hans Degryse, Thomas Lambert & Armin Schwienbacher

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Voting rights were initially limited to wealthy elites providing political support for stock markets. The franchise expansion induces the median voter to provide political support for banking development, as this new electorate has lower financial holdings and benefits less from the riskiness and financial returns from stock markets. Our panel data evidence covering the years 1830–1999 shows that tighter restrictions on the voting franchise induce greater stock market development, whereas a broader voting franchise is more conducive to the banking sector, consistent with Perotti and von Thadden (2006). The results are robust to controlling for other institutional arrangements and endogeneity.

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1688 and all that: Property rights, the Glorious Revolution and the rise of British capitalism

Geoffrey Hodgson

Journal of Institutional Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a seminal 1989 article, Douglass North and Barry Weingast argued that by making the monarch more answerable to Parliament, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 helped to secure property rights in England and stimulate the rise of capitalism. Similarly, Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James Robinson later wrote that in the English Middle Ages there was a ‘lack of property rights for landowners, merchants and proto-industrialists’ and the ‘strengthening’ of property rights in the late 17th century ‘spurred a process of financial and commercial expansion’. There are several problems with these arguments. Property rights in England were relatively secure from the 13th century. A major developmental problem was not the security of rights but their feudal nature, including widespread ‘entails’ and ‘strict settlements’. 1688 had no obvious direct effect on property rights. Given these criticisms, what changes promoted the rise of capitalism? A more plausible answer is found by addressing the post-1688 Financial and Administrative Revolutions, which were pressured by the enhanced needs of war and Britain's expanding global role. Guided by a more powerful Parliament, this new financial system stimulated reforms to landed property rights, the growth of collateralizable property and saleable debt, and thus enabled the Industrial Revolution.

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Malaria Suitability, Urbanization and Persistence: Evidence From China Over More Than 2000 Years

Matthias Flückiger & Markus Ludwig

European Economic Review, February 2017, Pages 146–160

Abstract:
We show that the climatic potential for Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission constituted a locational fundamental that influenced the spatial distribution of urbanization since the early start of the southward expansion of the Han Chinese around 200 BCE. This effect is still detectable in today's distribution of urbanization and economic activity even though the risk of malaria falciparum has been successfully eliminated. We do not find any indication of convergence between high- and low malaria potential regions after eradication. Our identification strategy relies on a climate-based measure of Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission intensity which is fitted to experimental data on mosquito and parasite development from laboratory studies. This measure is exogenous with respect to human population densities.

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Blood Rubber: The Effects of Labor Coercion on Institutions and Culture in the DRC

Sara Lowes & Eduardo Montero

Harvard Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
We examine how historical exposure to extractive institutions affects long-run development in the case of the Congo Free State (CFS). The CFS granted concessions to private companies that used violent tactics to collect rubber. Local chiefs were co-opted into supporting the rubber regime, and individuals struggled to fulfill mandated quotas as natural rubber became increasingly scarce. We use a geographic regression discontinuity design along the former concession boundaries to show that greater exposure to extractive institutions causes significantly worse education, wealth and health outcomes. We then use survey and experimental data collected along a former concession boundary to examine how the effects of extractive institutions persist through local institutional quality and cultural norms. Consistent with their historical co-option by the concession companies, we find that chiefs within the former concessions are of lower quality and less accountable to their constituents. However, we find that individuals within the concessions are more trusting and have stronger norms of redistribution. The results demonstrate how historical events of short duration can have long-lasting effects on institutions and cultural norms.

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Fragility of the provision of local public goods to private and collective risks

Juan-Camilo Cárdenas et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Smallholder agricultural systems, strongly dependent on water resources and investments in shared infrastructure, make a significant contribution to food security in developing countries. These communities are being increasingly integrated into the global economy and are exposed to new global climate-related risks that may affect their willingness to cooperate in community-level collective action problems. We performed field experiments on public goods with private and collective risks in 118 small-scale rice-producing communities in four countries. Our results indicate that increasing the integration of those communities with the broader economic system is associated with lower investments in public goods when facing collective risks. These findings indicate that local public good provision may be negatively affected by collective risks, especially in communities more integrated with the market economy.

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How Large Are the Gains from Economic Integration? Theory and Evidence from U.S. Agriculture, 1880-1997

Arnaud Costinot & Dave Donaldson

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
In this paper we develop a new approach to measuring the gains from economic integration based on a generalization of the Ricardian model in which heterogeneous factors of production are allocated to multiple sectors in multiple local markets based on comparative advantage. We implement this approach using data on crop markets in approximately 2,600 U.S. counties from 1880 to 1997. Central to our empirical analysis is the use of a novel agronomic data source on predicted output by crop for small spatial units. Crucially, this dataset contains information about the productivity of all units for all crops, not just those that are actually being grown — an essential input for measuring the gains from trade. Using this new approach we find substantial long-run gains from economic integration among US agricultural markets, benefits that are similar in magnitude to those due to productivity improvements over that same period.

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The Road to Bribery and Corruption: Slippery Slope or Steep Cliff?

Nils Köbis et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Major forms of corruption constitute a strong threat to the functioning of societies. The most frequent explanation of how severe corruption emerges is the slippery-slope metaphor — the notion that corruption occurs gradually. While having widespread theoretical and intuitive appeal, this notion has barely been tested empirically. We used a recently developed paradigm to test whether severely corrupt acts happen gradually or abruptly. The results of four experimental studies revealed a higher likelihood of severe corruption when participants were directly given the opportunity to engage in it (abrupt) compared with when they had previously engaged in minor forms of corruption (gradual). Neither the size of the payoffs, which we kept constant, nor evaluations of the actions could account for these differences. Contrary to widely shared beliefs, sometimes the route to corruption leads over a steep cliff rather than a slippery slope.

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Reputational Consequences of Labor Coercion: Evidence from Assam's Tea Plantations

Bishnupriya Gupta & Anand Swamy

Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The right to coerce an employee is seen as advantageous to employers. However, if coercion gives employers a bad reputation, workers may be harder to recruit. We study a unique setting in Assam's tea plantations in the 19th century, where migrant workers were recruited under two different indentured contracts, one of which was more coercive, and gained notoriety in the national press and policy circles. Using newly collected panel data on annual migration flows to seven districts over the period 1883–1900, we find that the response of migration to increased demand for labor, proxied by a rising tea price, was lower for the contract that had a bad reputation. Workers migrated under the more coercive contract only when uninformed or misled about the terms of their employment. We identify the effect of information flow by distinguishing between recruiters with and without social connections with the workers.

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Japan's Ultimately Unaccursed Natural Resources-Financed Industrialization

Randall Morck & Masao Nakamura

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Japan’s successful industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th century largely exhausted its then abundant natural resources. Rather than exemplifying rapid development in the absence of natural resources, Japan shows how laissez-faire government and successfully transplanted classical liberal institutions, including active stock markets, exorcised a natural resources curse that undermined its prior state-led industrialization strategy. Japan’s post-WWII reconstruction relied little on natural resources and more on bank financing and state direction, but was not an example of an initial industrialization.

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Language Policy and Human Development

David Laitin & Rajesh Ramachandran

American Political Science Review, August 2016, Pages 457–480

Abstract:
This article explores how language policy affects the socioeconomic development of nation states through two channels: the individual’s exposure to and (in reference to an individual’s mother tongue) linguistic distance from the official language. In a cross-country framework the article first establishes a robust and sizeable negative relationship between an official language that is distant from the local indigenous languages and proxies for human capital and health. To establish this relationship as causal, we instrument language choice with a measure of geographic distance from the origins of writing. Next, using individual level data from India and a set of 11 African countries, we provide microempirical support on the two channels — distance from and exposure to the official language — and their implications for educational, health, occupational and wealth outcomes. Finally, we suggest policy implications based on our findings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Show some ID

White out of mind: Identity suppression as a coping strategy among Whites anticipating racially charged interactions

Christopher Marshburn & Eric Knowles

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Discussing racial issues often makes Whites anxious, particularly when their conversation partners are Black. We theorized that Whites seek to avoid anxiety by suppressing thoughts of White identity prior to such interactions. In Study 1, White participants expected to discuss a race-related or nonracial topic with a Black or White partner. An Implicit Association Test (IAT) measured subsequent changes in the activation of participants' White identities (i.e., self-White associations). The prospect of discussing race-related (vs. nonracial) topics with a Black partner reduced participants' self-White associations, implying identity suppression. Moreover, participants' nonverbal responses suggest that identity suppression functioned to mute participants' anxiety. In Study 2, participants completed the identity activation measure only after learning that they would not interact with a partner. Consistent with "rebound" effects known to follow suppression, participants who previously expected to discuss a race-related topic with a Black partner showed heightened self-White associations.

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Discrimination with Incomplete Information in the Sharing Economy: Field Evidence from Airbnb

Ruomeng Cui, Jun Li & Dennis Zhang

Indiana University Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Recent research has found widespread discrimination by hosts against guests of certain races in online marketplaces, which endangers the very basis of a sharing economy - building trust in the communities. In this paper, we explore the root cause of discrimination and how to eliminate discrimination. We conducted two randomized field experiments among 1,256 hosts on Airbnb by creating fictitious guest accounts and sending accommodation requests to them. We find that requests from guests with distinctively African American names are 19 percentage points less likely to be accepted than those with distinctively White names. However, a public review posted on a guest's page mitigates discrimination: when guest accounts receive a positive review, the acceptance rates of guest accounts with distinctively White and African American names are statistically indistinguishable. We further demonstrate that a negative review also eliminates discrimination. Our finding is consistent with statistical discrimination: when lacking perfect information, hosts infer the quality of a guest by race and make rental decisions based on the average predicted quality of each racial group; when enough information is shared, hosts do not need to infer guests' quality from their race, and discrimination is eliminated. Our results offer direct and clear guidance for sharing-economy platforms on how to reduce discrimination. Platform owners should motivate users to write reviews of one another and design a better mechanism to facilitate information sharing - especially information that signals guest quality.

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Backlash: The Politics and Real-World Consequences of Minority Group Dehumanization

Nour Kteily & Emile Bruneau

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, January 2017, Pages 87-104

Abstract:
Research suggests that members of advantaged groups who feel dehumanized by other groups respond aggressively. But little is known about how meta-dehumanization affects disadvantaged minority group members, historically the primary targets of dehumanization. We examine this important question in the context of the 2016 U.S. Republican Primaries, which have witnessed the widespread derogation and dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Two initial studies document that Americans blatantly dehumanize Mexican immigrants and Muslims; this dehumanization uniquely predicts support for aggressive policies proposed by Republican nominees, and dehumanization is highly associated with supporting Republican candidates (especially Donald Trump). Two further studies show that, in this climate, Latinos and Muslims in the United States feel heavily dehumanized, which predicts hostile responses including support for violent versus non-violent collective action and unwillingness to assist counterterrorism efforts. Our results extend theorizing on dehumanization, and suggest that it may have cyclical and self-fulfilling consequences.

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An outgroup advantage in discriminating between genuine and posed smiles

Steven Young

Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ingroup memberships are an important component of the self-concept and people favor their ingroups on a variety of evaluative and behavioral dimensions. Recent research has extended these ingroup favoritism effects to face processing, including an ingroup advantage in emotion identification. The current research was designed to extend these past demonstrations of ingroup favoring biases in face processing to a novel domain: discriminating between genuine and posed smiles. However, across two experiments an unexpected finding emerged: perceivers were better at discriminating between real/fake smiles displayed by outgroup than ingroup members. Experiment 2 also finds that participants are not only more accurate, but also faster to make real/fake judgments for outgroup than ingroup targets. Explanations for these unexpected findings are discussed.

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Show your pride? The surprising effect of race on how people perceive a pride display

Toni Schmader, Jason Martens & Jason Lawrence

Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Non-verbal expressions of pride convey status. But pride displays can be interpreted as either authentic or hubristic. Given negative stereotypes about Blacks, we hypothesized that when displaying pride, Blacks would be rated higher in hubristic and lower in authentic pride compared to Whites. Contrary to predictions, three experiments found consistent evidence that Whites are judged to be more hubristic than Blacks when displaying pride. This effect occurred when pride was displayed in an unspecified (Study 1), academic (Study 2), or work-related context (Study 3). Effects were largely specific to pride displays and not a function of a general race-based response bias. We speculate that these counterintuitive findings might reflect a negative reaction to those with high status flaunting their success.

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Contact with Counter-Stereotypical Women Predicts Less Sexism, Less Rape Myth Acceptance, Less Intention to Rape (in Men) and Less Projected Enjoyment of Rape (in Women)

Miriam Taschler & Keon West

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Intergroup contact - (positive) interactions with people from different social groups - is a widely researched and strongly supported prejudice-reducing mechanism shown to reduce prejudice against a wide variety of outgroups. However, no known previous research has investigated whether intergroup contact can also reduce sexism against women. Sexism has an array of negative outcomes. One of the most detrimental and violent ones is rape, which is both justified and downplayed by rape myth acceptance. We hypothesised that more frequent, higher quality contact with counter-stereotypical women would predict lower levels of sexism and thus less rape myth acceptance (in men) and less sexualised projected responses to rape (in women). Two studies using online surveys with community samples supported these hypotheses. In Study 1, 170 male participants who experienced more positive contact with counter-stereotypical women reported less intention to rape. Similarly, in Study 2, 280 female participants who experienced more positive contact with counter-stereotypical women reported less projected sexual arousal at the thought of being raped. Thus, the present research is the first known to show that contact could be a potential tool to combat sexism, rape myth acceptance, intentions to rape in men, and sexualisation of rape by women.

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Women's responses to stereotypical media portrayals: An fMRI study of sexualized and domestic images of women

Stephanie Vezich, Benjamin Gunter & Matthew Lieberman

Journal of Consumer Behaviour, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women tend to be portrayed in a sexualized or domestic manner in mainstream advertising; importantly this trend holds not only for ads targeting men but also for those targeting women themselves. Such a focus on sexualized portrayals in particular may not seem strategic given a wealth of evidence suggesting that women evaluate these portrayals quite negatively. Consumer attitudes toward domestic portrayals are more mixed but, unsurprisingly, vary according to how much a woman identifies as traditional. If female consumers do not evaluate these common portrayals positively, why might they persist? Past work suggests a disconnect between reported attitudes toward general visual sexual stimuli and physiological and neural responses; therefore, it is plausible that neural responses to stereotypical female portrayals in advertising may be at odds with reported attitudes and may have a bigger impact on consumer behavior. The current study exposed women to sexualized, domestic, and control images in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner as an initial test of this idea. We found that participants reported liking both domestic and control images more than sexualized images. In contrast, they showed more activity in regions associated with reward and arousal (ventral striatum and amygdala, respectively) while viewing sexualized images relative to both control and domestic images. Surprisingly, ventral striatum response to sexualized ads was stronger for women who endorsed traditional attitudes than those who reported less traditional attitudes. These results suggest that despite reporting negative attitudes toward sexualized portrayals, women may in fact have a favorable response to these images.

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Cardiac afferent activity modulates the expression of racial stereotypes

Ruben Azevedo et al.

Nature Communications, January 2017

Abstract:
Negative racial stereotypes tend to associate Black people with threat. This often leads to the misidentification of harmless objects as weapons held by a Black individual. Yet, little is known about how bodily states impact the expression of racial stereotyping. By tapping into the phasic activation of arterial baroreceptors, known to be associated with changes in the neural processing of fearful stimuli, we show activation of race-threat stereotypes synchronized with the cardiovascular cycle. Across two established tasks, stimuli depicting Black or White individuals were presented to coincide with either the cardiac systole or diastole. Results show increased race-driven misidentification of weapons during systole, when baroreceptor afferent firing is maximal, relative to diastole. Importantly, a third study examining the positive Black-athletic stereotypical association fails to demonstrate similar modulations by cardiac cycle. We identify a body-brain interaction wherein interoceptive cues can modulate threat appraisal and racially biased behaviour in context-dependent ways.

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We Are Sorry, They Don't Care: Misinterpretation of Facial Embarrassment Displays in Arab-White Intergroup Contexts

Pum Kommattam, Kai Jonas & Agneta Fischer

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Embarrassment displays show others that one is aware of one's own misbehavior and willing to make up for it. The facial actions of embarrassment, however, are partly similar to those of disinterest, which has an opposite function, signaling that one is not concerned about one's self in relation to others. In the context of negative intergroup relations, embarrassment displays of outgroup members may therefore be misinterpreted as disinterest. In the present research, the authors predicted that Whites would perceive Arab expressions of embarrassment more as disinterest, but embarrassment displays of Whites more as embarrassment. Aggregated Study 1 (N = 1,154) confirms this hypothesis showing that White participants perceived more intense embarrassment in Whites than in Arabs and more intense disinterest in Arabs than in Whites. Studies 2 (n = 193) and 3 (n = 260) include methodological improvements and either largely or fully replicated our findings. Based on this evidence in an Arab-White context, the authors conclude that the affiliative function of embarrassment perception is dependent on the nature of the group context. Finally, they discuss the generalizability of this intergroup emotion bias in which emotional expressions may be perceived as the opposite of what they are intended to display.

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Entertainment-education effectively reduces prejudice

Sohad Murrar & Markus Brauer

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that entertainment-education reduces prejudice and does so more effectively than several established prejudice reduction methods. In Experiment 1, participants exposed to an educational television sitcom with diverse, yet relatable Arab/Muslim characters had lower scores on implicit and explicit measures of prejudice than participants exposed to a control sitcom featuring an all White cast. The prejudice reduction effect persisted 4 weeks after exposure. In Experiment 2, viewing of a 4-minute music video that portrayed Arabs/Muslims as relatable and likable resulted in a larger reduction in prejudice against Arabs/Muslims than two established prejudice reduction methods (imagined contact exercise and group malleability article), which produced no improvements. In both experiments, increased identification with target group members was associated with greater prejudice reduction. Entertainment-education, in addition to being scalable, is likely to be one the most effective methods for improving intergroup relations and promoting diversity.

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Economics of vanity sizing

Wan-Ju Iris Franz

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, February 2017, Pages 336-355

Abstract:
This paper examines the size charts of 54 American apparel retailers. Evidence reveals that sizes are inflated for women's apparel brands with moderately higher prices. Very expensive designer brands measure significantly smaller than lower priced brands for women's apparel. Brands that target young adult female consumers measure significantly smaller than their counterparts that target relatively older consumers. Evidence indicates little, if any, vanity sizing in men's or children's apparel.

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Robust Social Categorization Emerges From Learning the Identities of Very Few Faces

Robin Kramer et al.

Psychological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Viewers are highly accurate at recognizing sex and race from faces - though it remains unclear how this is achieved. Recognition of familiar faces is also highly accurate across a very large range of viewing conditions, despite the difficulty of the problem. Here we show that computation of sex and race can emerge incidentally from a system designed to compute identity. We emphasize the role of multiple encounters with a small number of people, which we take to underlie human face learning. We use highly variable everyday 'ambient' images of a few people to train a Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) model on identity. The resulting model has human-like properties, including a facility to cohere previously unseen ambient images of familiar (trained) people - an ability which breaks down for the faces of unknown (untrained) people. The first dimension created by the identity-trained LDA classifies both familiar and unfamiliar faces by sex, and the second dimension classifies faces by race - even though neither of these categories was explicitly coded at learning. By varying the numbers and types of face identities on which a further series of LDA models were trained, we show that this incidental learning of sex and race reflects covariation between these social categories and face identity, and that a remarkably small number of identities need be learnt before such incidental dimensions emerge. The task of learning to recognize familiar faces is sufficient to create certain salient social categories.

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A minimal ingroup advantage in emotion identification confidence

Steven Young & John Paul Wilson

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Emotion expressions convey valuable information about others' internal states and likely behaviours. Accurately identifying expressions is critical for social interactions, but so is perceiver confidence when decoding expressions. Even if a perceiver correctly labels an expression, uncertainty may impair appropriate behavioural responses and create uncomfortable interactions. Past research has found that perceivers report greater confidence when identifying emotions displayed by cultural ingroup members, an effect attributed to greater perceptual skill and familiarity with own-culture than other-culture faces. However, the current research presents novel evidence for an ingroup advantage in emotion decoding confidence across arbitrary group boundaries that hold culture constant. In two experiments using different stimulus sets participants not only labeled minimal ingroup expressions more accurately, but did so with greater confidence. These results offer novel evidence that ingroup advantages in emotion decoding confidence stem partly from social-cognitive processes.

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The implicit power motive in intergroup dialogues about the history of slavery

Ruth Ditlmann et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 2017, Pages 116-135

Abstract:
This research demonstrates that individual differences in the implicit power motive (i.e., the concern with impact, influence, and control) moderate how African Americans communicate with White Americans in challenging intergroup dialogues. In a study with African American participants we find that the higher their implicit power motive, the more they use an affiliation strategy to communicate with a White American partner in a conversation context that evokes the history of slavery (Study 1). In a study with White American participants we find that, in the same conversation context, they are more engaged (i.e., open, attentive, and motivated) if they receive an affiliation message rather than a no-affiliation message from an African American partner (Study 2). In interracial dyads we find that African American participants' implicit power motives moderate how much they intend to signal warmth to a White American discussion partner, how much they display immediacy behaviors and use affiliation imagery in the discussion, and with what level of engagement White American participants respond (Study 3). High but not low implicit power African Americans thus employ a communication strategy - expressing affiliation and warmth - that can be effective for engaging White Americans with uncomfortable, race-identity-relevant topics.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

More rain on the parade

The Political Economy of Weak Treaties

Marco Battaglini & Bård Harstad

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
In recent decades, democratic countries have signed hundreds of international environmental agreements (IEAs). Most of these agreements, however, are weak: they generally do not include effective enforcement or monitoring mechanisms. This is a puzzle in standard economic models. To study this phenomenon, we propose a positive theory of IEAs in which the political incumbents negotiate them in the shadow of reelection concerns. We show that, in these environments, incumbents are prone to negotiate treaties that are simultaneously overambitious (larger than what they would be without electoral concerns) and weak (might not be implemented in full). The theory also provides a new perspective for understanding investments in green technologies, highlighting a channel through which countries are tempted to rely too much on technology instead of sanctions to make compliance credible. We present preliminary evidence consistent with these predictions.

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Melting Ice Caps and the Economic Impact of Opening the Northern Sea Route

Eddy Bekkers, Joseph Francois & Hugo Rojas-Romagosa

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
One consequence of melting Arctic ice caps is the commercial viability of the Northern Sea Route, connecting East Asia with Europe. This represents a sizeable reduction in shipping distances and average transportation days compared to the conventional Southern Sea Route. We examine the economic impact of opening this route in a multi-sector Eaton-Kortum model with intermediate linkages. We find remarkable shifts in trade flows between Asia and Europe, diversion of trade within Europe, heavy shipping traffic in the Arctic and a substantial drop in Suez traffic. Projected shifts in trade also imply substantial pressure on an already threatened Arctic ecosystem.

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Hurricane intensification along United States coast suppressed during active hurricane periods

James Kossin

Nature, 19 January 2017, Pages 390–393

Abstract:
The North Atlantic ocean/atmosphere environment exhibits pronounced interdecadal variability that is known to strongly modulate Atlantic hurricane activity. Variability in sea surface temperature (SST) is correlated with hurricane variability through its relationship with the genesis and thermodynamic potential intensity of hurricanes. Another key factor that governs the genesis and intensity of hurricanes is ambient environmental vertical wind shear (VWS). Warmer SSTs generally correlate with more frequent genesis and greater potential intensity, while VWS inhibits genesis and prevents any hurricanes that do form from reaching their potential intensity. When averaged over the main hurricane-development region in the Atlantic, SST and VWS co-vary inversely, so that the two factors act in concert to either enhance or inhibit basin-wide hurricane activity. Here I show, however, that conditions conducive to greater basin-wide Atlantic hurricane activity occur together with conditions for more probable weakening of hurricanes near the United States coast. Thus, the VWS and SST form a protective barrier along the United States coast during periods of heightened basin-wide hurricane activity. Conversely, during the most-recent period of basin-wide quiescence, hurricanes (and particularly major hurricanes) near the United States coast, although substantially less frequent, exhibited much greater variability in their rate of intensification, and were much more likely to intensify rapidly. Such heightened variability poses greater challenges to operational forecasting and, consequently, greater coastal risk during hurricane events.

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The impact of climate change on developed economies

Ding Du, Xiaobing Zhao & Ruihong Huang

Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use sub-national data to examine the relationship between temperature and growth within the United States and the European Union. Different from previous studies based on national data, we find that the optimal temperature is much lower. Because most of production takes place in areas with temperatures above the optimal temperature, projected temperature increases have significantly negative impact on the economic growth of the United States and the European Union. Our results suggest more proactive climate policy.

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Climate change may speed democratic turnover

Nick Obradovich

Climatic Change, January 2017, Pages 135–147

Abstract:
The electoral fate of incumbent politicians depends heavily upon voters’ well-being. Might climate change – by amplifying threats to human well-being – cause incumbent democratic politicians and parties to lose office more frequently? Here I conduct the first-ever investigation of the relationship between temperature, electoral returns, and future climate change. Using data from over 1.5 billion votes in over 4,800 electoral contests held in 19 countries between 1925 and 2011, coupled with meteorological data, I show that increases in annual temperatures above 21 °C (70 °F) markedly decrease officeholders’ vote share. I combine these empirical estimates with an ensemble of climate models to project the impact of climate change on the fate of future officeholders. Resulting forecasts indicate that by 2099 climate change may reduce average incumbent party vote share across all nations in the sample, with the most acute worsening occurring in poorer countries. If realized, these predictions indicate that climate change could amplify future rates of democratic turnover by causing incumbent parties and their politicians to lose office with increasing frequency.

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Winter is Coming: The Long-Run Effects of Climate Change on Conflict, 1400-1900

Murat Iyigun, Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
We investigate the long-run effects of cooling on conflict. We construct a geo-referenced and digitized database of conflicts in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East from 1400-1900, which we merge with historical temperature data. We show that cooling is associated with increased conflict. When we allow the effects of cooling over a fifty-year period to depend on the extent of cooling during the preceding period, the effect of cooling on conflict is larger in locations that experienced earlier cooling. We interpret this as evidence that the adverse effects of climate change intensify with its duration.

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Tropical Cyclones Downscaled from Simulations with Very High Carbon Dioxide Levels

Robert Korty et al.

Journal of Climate, January 2017, Pages 649–667

Abstract:
A method to simulate thousands of tropical cyclones using output from a global climate model is applied to simulations that span very high surface temperatures forced with high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). The climatology of the storms downscaled from a simulation with modern-day conditions is compared to that of events downscaled from two other simulations featuring 8 and 32 times preindustrial-era levels of CO2. Storms shift poleward with warming: genesis locations and track densities increase in subtropical and higher latitudes, and power dissipation increases poleward of 20°S and 30°N. The average latitude at which storms reach their maximum intensity shifts poleward by more than 1.5° latitude in the 8 × CO2 experiment and by more than 7° latitude in the 32 × CO2 case. Storms live longer and are more numerous in both of the warmer climates. These increases come largely from an expansion of the area featuring favorable conditions into subtropics and midlatitudes, with some regions of the Arctic having the thermodynamic conditions necessary to sustain systems in the hottest case. Storms of category 5 intensity are 52% more frequent in the 8 × CO2 experiment but 40% less so in the 32 × CO2 case, largely owing to a substantial decline in low-latitude activity associated with increases in a normalized measure of wind shear called the ventilation index. Changes in genesis and track densities align well with differences in the ventilation index, and environmental conditions become substantially more favorable poleward of about 20° latitude in the warmer climates.

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Arctic Ice Management

Steven Desch et al.

Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
As the Earth's climate has changed, Arctic sea ice extent has decreased drastically. It is likely that the late-summer Arctic will be ice-free as soon as the 2030s. This loss of sea ice represents one of the most severe positive feedbacks in the climate system, as sunlight that would otherwise be reflected by sea ice is absorbed by open ocean. It is unlikely that CO2 levels and mean temperatures can be decreased in time to prevent this loss, so restoring sea ice artificially is an imperative. Here we investigate a means for enhancing Arctic sea ice production by using wind power during the Arctic winter to pump water to the surface, where it will freeze more rapidly. We show that where appropriate devices are employed, it is possible to increase ice thickness above natural levels, by about 1 m over the course of the winter. We examine the effects this has in the Arctic climate, concluding that deployment over 10% of the Arctic, especially where ice survival is marginal, could more than reverse current trends of ice loss in the Arctic, using existing industrial capacity. We propose that winter ice thickening by wind-powered pumps be considered and assessed as part of a multi-pronged strategy for restoring sea ice and arresting the strongest feedbacks in the climate system.

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Associations between community-level disaster exposure and individual-level changes in disability and risk of death for older Americans

Samuel Brilleman et al.

Social Science & Medicine, January 2017, Pages 118–125

Abstract:
Disasters occur frequently in the United States (US) and their impact on acute morbidity, mortality and short-term increased health needs has been well described. However, barring mental health, little is known about the medium or longer-term health impacts of disasters. This study sought to determine if there is an association between community-level disaster exposure and individual-level changes in disability and/or the risk of death for older Americans. Using the US Federal Emergency Management Agency's database of disaster declarations, 602 disasters occurred between August 1998 and December 2010 and were characterized by their presence, intensity, duration and type. Repeated measurements of a disability score (based on activities of daily living) and dates of death were observed between January 2000 and November 2010 for 18,102 American individuals aged 50–89 years, who were participating in the national longitudinal Health and Retirement Study. Longitudinal (disability) and time-to-event (death) data were modelled simultaneously using a ‘joint modelling’ approach. There was no evidence of an association between community-level disaster exposure and individual-level changes in disability or the risk of death. Our results suggest that future research should focus on individual-level disaster exposures, moderate to severe disaster events, or higher-risk groups of individuals.

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Long-Run Consequences of Exposure to Natural Disasters

Krzysztof Karbownik & Anthony Wray

Northwestern University Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We utilize the individual-level World War I Draft Registration Cards matched to late-nineteenth century hurricane paths and the 1940 U.S. Census to explore whether fetal and early childhood exposure to stress caused by hurricanes affects human capital development and labor market outcomes in adulthood. Difference-in-differences estimates indicate that white males who were born in the South and experienced a hurricane either in utero or as infants had lower income at ages 42 to 53. They are robust to alternate specifications of either the treatment or outcome variables, as well as changes in the tolerance for imperfectly matched historical data.

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Industrial Productivity in a Hotter World: The Aggregate Implications of Heterogeneous Firm Investment in Air Conditioning

Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Kahn

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
How will a nation’s aggregate urban productivity be affected by climate change? The joint distribution of climate conditions and economic activity across a nation’s cities will together determine industrial average exposure to climate risk. Air conditioning (AC) can greatly reduce this heat exposure. We develop a simple model of air conditioning adoption by heterogeneous firms within an industry. Our analysis suggests that high productivity firms are more likely to adopt AC since they suffer larger productivity losses when it is hot. Given that the most productive firms produce a disproportionate share of industry-level output, we present aggregation results highlighting how the industry’s output is insulated from the heat. Our empirical analysis of the impacts of heat on total factor productivity in U.S manufacturing yields findings broadly consistent with our model’s predictions.

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Are environmentally responsible firms less vulnerable when investing abroad? The role of reputation

Rémi Bazillier, Sophie Hatte & Julien Vauday

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Globalization allows multinational firms to locate strategically the polluting activities in lax countries. This paper revisits the empirical evidence by exploiting heterogeneity in firms’ environmental image. While locating in countries with weak environmental standards is likely to be detrimental for a firm’s image and reputation, investing in corporate environmental responsibility can help firms to convince consumers that they have good environmental practices, even when investing in the “dirty” countries. Exploiting an original database that records an index of environmental responsibility for large European firms, we find that the firms viewed as environment-friendly are more often than others located in countries with weak environmental regulations. We show that our findings are not likely to be driven by omitted variables bias, specific sectors nor particular countries. Interestingly, this relationship is observed only among the firms with a well-established reputation for environmental responsibility.

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Temperature Shocks and the Cost of Equity Capital: Implications for Climate Change Perceptions

Ronald Balvers, Ding Du & Xiaobing Zhao

Journal of Banking & Finance, April 2017, Pages 18–34

Abstract:
Financial market information can provide an objective assessment of losses anticipated from temperature changes. In an APT model in which temperature shocks are a systematic risk factor, the risk premium is significantly negative, loadings for most assets are negative, and asset portfolios in more vulnerable industries have stronger negative loadings on a temperature shock factor. Weighted average increases in the cost of equity capital attributed to uncertainty about temperature changes are 0.22 percent, implying a present value loss of 7.92 percent of wealth. These costs represent a new channel that may contribute to cost of climate change assessment.

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Income Inequality and Carbon Emissions in the United States: A State-level Analysis, 1997–2012

Andrew Jorgenson, Juliet Schor & Xiaorui Huang

Ecological Economics, April 2017, Pages 40–48

Abstract:
This study investigates the relationship between U.S. state-level CO2 emissions and two measures of income inequality: the income share of the top 10% and the Gini coefficient. Each of the inequality measures, which focus on unique characteristics of income distributions, is used to evaluate the arguments of different analytical approaches. Results of the longitudinal analysis for the 1997 to 2012 period indicate that state-level emissions are positively associated with the income share of the top 10%, while the effect of the Gini coefficient on emissions is non-significant. The statistically significant relationship between CO2 emissions and the concentration of income among the top 10% is consistent with analytical approaches that focus on political economy dynamics and Veblen effects, which highlight the potential political and economic power and emulative influence of the wealthy. The null effect of the Gini coefficient is generally inconsistent with the marginal propensity to emit approach, which posits that when incomes become more equally distributed, the poor will increase their consumption of energy and other carbon-intensive products as they move into the middle class.

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Regional and global sea-surface temperatures during the last interglaciation

Jeremy Hoffman et al.

Science, 20 January 2017, Pages 276-279

Abstract:
The last interglaciation (LIG, 129 to 116 thousand years ago) was the most recent time in Earth’s history when global mean sea level was substantially higher than it is at present. However, reconstructions of LIG global temperature remain uncertain, with estimates ranging from no significant difference to nearly 2°C warmer than present-day temperatures. Here we use a network of sea-surface temperature (SST) records to reconstruct spatiotemporal variability in regional and global SSTs during the LIG. Our results indicate that peak LIG global mean annual SSTs were 0.5 ± 0.3°C warmer than the climatological mean from 1870 to 1889 and indistinguishable from the 1995 to 2014 mean. LIG warming in the extratropical latitudes occurred in response to boreal insolation and the bipolar seesaw, whereas tropical SSTs were slightly cooler than the 1870 to 1889 mean in response to reduced mean annual insolation.

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Centuries of thermal sea-level rise due to anthropogenic emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases

Kirsten Zickfeld, Susan Solomon & Daniel Gilford

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 January 2017, Pages 657–662

Abstract:
Mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gases with short lifetimes (order of a year to decades) can contribute to limiting warming, but less attention has been paid to their impacts on longer-term sea-level rise. We show that short-lived greenhouse gases contribute to sea-level rise through thermal expansion (TSLR) over much longer time scales than their atmospheric lifetimes. For example, at least half of the TSLR due to increases in methane is expected to remain present for more than 200 y, even if anthropogenic emissions cease altogether, despite the 10-y atmospheric lifetime of this gas. Chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons have already been phased out under the Montreal Protocol due to concerns about ozone depletion and provide an illustration of how emission reductions avoid multiple centuries of future TSLR. We examine the “world avoided” by the Montreal Protocol by showing that if these gases had instead been eliminated in 2050, additional TSLR of up to about 14 cm would be expected in the 21st century, with continuing contributions lasting more than 500 y. Emissions of the hydrofluorocarbon substitutes in the next half-century would also contribute to centuries of future TSLR. Consideration of the time scales of reversibility of TSLR due to short-lived substances provides insights into physical processes: sea-level rise is often assumed to follow air temperature, but this assumption holds only for TSLR when temperatures are increasing. We present a more complete formulation that is accurate even when atmospheric temperatures are stable or decreasing due to reductions in short-lived gases or net radiative forcing.

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Mitigation potential and global health impacts from emissions pricing of food commodities

Marco Springmann et al.

Nature Climate Change, January 2017, Pages 69–74

Abstract:
The projected rise in food-related greenhouse gas emissions could seriously impede efforts to limit global warming to acceptable levels. Despite that, food production and consumption have long been excluded from climate policies, in part due to concerns about the potential impact on food security. Using a coupled agriculture and health modelling framework, we show that the global climate change mitigation potential of emissions pricing of food commodities could be substantial, and that levying greenhouse gas taxes on food commodities could, if appropriately designed, be a health-promoting climate policy in high-income countries, as well as in most low- and middle-income countries. Sparing food groups known to be beneficial for health from taxation, selectively compensating for income losses associated with tax-related price increases, and using a portion of tax revenues for health promotion are potential policy options that could help avert most of the negative health impacts experienced by vulnerable groups, whilst still promoting changes towards diets which are more environmentally sustainable.

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Overlooked possibility of a collapsed Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in warming climate

Wei Liu et al.

Science Advances, January 2017

Abstract:
Changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) are moderate in most climate model projections under increasing greenhouse gas forcing. This intermodel consensus may be an artifact of common model biases that favor a stable AMOC. Observationally based freshwater budget analyses suggest that the AMOC is in an unstable regime susceptible for large changes in response to perturbations. By correcting the model biases, we show that the AMOC collapses 300 years after the atmospheric CO2 concentration is abruptly doubled from the 1990 level. Compared to an uncorrected model, the AMOC collapse brings about large, markedly different climate responses: a prominent cooling over the northern North Atlantic and neighboring areas, sea ice increases over the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian seas and to the south of Greenland, and a significant southward rain-belt migration over the tropical Atlantic. Our results highlight the need to develop dynamical metrics to constrain models and the importance of reducing model biases in long-term climate projection.

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Global projections of river flood risk in a warmer world

L. Alfieri et al.

Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rising global temperature has put increasing pressure on understanding the linkage between atmospheric warming and the occurrence of natural hazards. While the Paris Agreement has set the ambitious target to limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, scientists are urged to explore scenarios for different warming thresholds and quantify ranges of socio-economic impact. In this work, we present a framework to estimate the economic damage and population affected by river floods at global scale. It is based on a modeling cascade involving hydrological, hydraulic and socio-economic impact simulations, and makes use of state-of-the-art global layers of hazard, exposure and vulnerability at 1 km grid resolution. An ensemble of seven high-resolution global climate projections based on Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 is used to derive streamflow simulations in the present and in the future climate. Those were analyzed to assess the frequency and magnitude of river floods and their impacts under scenarios corresponding to 1.5°C, 2°C, and 4°C global warming. Results indicate a clear positive correlation between atmospheric warming and future flood risk at global scale. At 4°C global warming, countries representing more than 70% of the global population and global GDP will face increases in flood risk in excess of 500%. Changes in flood risk are unevenly distributed, with the largest increases in Asia, America and Europe. In contrast, changes are statistically not significant in most countries in Africa and Oceania for all considered warming levels.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Doting

Women's economic opportunities and the intra-household production of child human capital

Marianne Bruins

Labour Economics, January 2017, Pages 122–132

Abstract:
This paper exploits variation in the relative demand for male and female labour during the Great Recession to estimate the effect of women's relative economic opportunities on the resources parents allocate to children. Estimates from the American Time Use Survey suggest that a 5 percentage point increase in the female-to-male wage ratio raises parents' time with children by one hour per week. Child test scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test are estimated to increase by 8 per cent of a standard deviation in response to such an increase. Further analysis of our results suggests that an associated increase in female bargaining power is necessary to explain our empirical findings.

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When Children Rule: Parenting in Modern Families

Sebastian Galiani, Matthew Staiger & Gustavo Torrens

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
During the 20th century there was a secular transformation within American families from a household dominated by the father to a more egalitarian one in which the wife and the children have been empowered. This transformation coincided with two major economic and demographic changes, namely the increase in economic opportunities for women and a decline in family size. To explain the connection between these trends and the transformation in family relationships we develop a novel model of parenting styles that highlights the importance of competition within the family. The key intuition is that the rise in relative earnings of wives increased competition between spouses for the love and affection of their children while the decline in family size reduced competition between children for resources from their parents. The combined effect has empowered children within the household and allowed them to capture an increasing share of the household surplus over the past hundred years.

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The Early Origins of Birth Order Differences in Children’s Outcomes and Parental Behavior

Jee-Yeon Lehmann, Ana Nuevo-Chiquero & Marian Vidal-Fernandez

Journal of Human Resources, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document birth order differences in cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes and maternal behavior from birth to adolescence using data from the Children of the NLSY79. As early as age one, latter-born children score lower on cognitive assessments than their siblings, and the birth order gap in cognitive assessment increases until the time of school entry and remains statistically significant thereafter. Mothers take more risks during pregnancy and are less likely to breastfeed and to provide cognitive stimulation for latter-born children. Variations in parental behavior can explain most of the differences in cognitive abilities before school entry. Our findings suggest that broad shifts in parental behavior from first to latter-born children is a plausible explanation for the observed birth order differences in education and labor market outcomes.

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Lifetime Prevalence of Investigating Child Maltreatment Among US Children

Hyunil Kim et al.

American Journal of Public Health, February 2017, Pages 274-280

Methods: We used the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System Child Files (2003–2014) and Census data to develop synthetic cohort life tables to estimate the cumulative prevalence of reported childhood maltreatment. We extend previous work, which explored only confirmed rates of maltreatment, and we add new estimations of maltreatment by subtype, age, and ethnicity.

Results: We estimate that 37.4% of all children experience a child protective services investigation by age 18 years. Consistent with previous literature, we found a higher rate for African American children (53.0%) and the lowest rate for Asians/Pacific Islanders (10.2%).

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Birth Order and Delinquency: Evidence from Denmark and Florida

Sanni Breining et al.

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
Birth order has been found to have a surprisingly large influence on educational attainment, yet much less is known about the role of birth order on delinquency outcomes such as disciplinary problems in school, juvenile delinquency, and adult crime: outcomes that carry significant negative externalities. This paper uses particularly rich datasets from Denmark and the state of Florida to examine these outcomes and explore potential mechanisms. Despite large differences in environments across the two areas, we find remarkably consistent results: in families with two or more children, second-born boys are on the order of 20 to 40 percent more likely to be disciplined in school and enter the criminal justice system compared to first-born boys even when we compare siblings. The data allow us to examine a range of potential mechanisms, and the evidence rules out differences in health at birth and the quality of schools chosen for children. We do find that parental time investment measured by time out of the labor force is higher for first-borns at ages 2-4, suggesting that the arrival of a second-born child extends early-childhood parental investments for first-borns.

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Sexual Socialization Messages in Television Programming Produced for Adolescents

Mona Malacane & Nicole Martins

Mass Communication and Society, January/February 2017, Pages 23-46

Abstract:
This study examined sexual content in American prime-time programs popular among the tween (9–14 years of age) audience on broadcast networks and programs aired on the most popular adolescent TV networks — an understudied area of media research. Consistent with past research, the majority of broadcast shows contained sexual talk and behaviors, as did adolescent shows. No significant difference was observed between the two types of shows regarding the frequency with which sexual behaviors were presented in a given hour of TV programming. The amount of scene focus paid to sexual themes varied, but studio audiences were almost always heard positively reinforcing these messages. The findings are discussed with respect to social cognitive and cultivation theories.

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Same-sex twins are taller and heavier than opposite-sex twins (but only if breastfed): Possible evidence for sex bias in human breast milk

Satoshi Kanazawa & Nancy Segal

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, April 2017, Pages 186–191

Abstract:
Recent studies show that human and other mammalian breast milk may be tailored for the sex of the offspring. Such sex bias suggests that opposite-sex twins, who receive breast milk that cannot simultaneously be tailored for both sexes, may be at a disadvantage for growth compared with same-sex twins. An analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) shows that, controlling for sex, age, birth weight, and zygosity, breastfed same-sex twins are, on average, about 1 inch taller and 12 pounds heavier than their opposite-sex counterparts through adolescence and early adulthood. In contrast, never-breastfed same-sex twins tend to be shorter and lighter than their opposite-sex counterparts. These results may be potential evidence for sex bias in human breast milk and its long-term effects.

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Parenting and adolescents’ psychological adjustment: Longitudinal moderation by adolescents’ genetic sensitivity

Clare Stocker et al.

Development and Psychopathology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether adolescents’ genetic sensitivity, measured by a polygenic index score, moderated the longitudinal associations between parenting and adolescents’ psychological adjustment. The sample included 323 mothers, fathers, and adolescents (177 female, 146 male; Time 1 [T1] average age = 12.61 years, SD = 0.54 years; Time 2 [T2] average age = 13.59 years, SD = 0.59 years). Parents’ warmth and hostility were rated by trained, independent observers using videotapes of family discussions. Adolescents reported their symptoms of anxiety, depressed mood, and hostility at T1 and T2. The results from autoregressive linear regression models showed that adolescents’ genetic sensitivity moderated associations between observations of both mothers’ and fathers’ T1 parenting and adolescents’ T2 composite maladjustment, depression, anxiety, and hostility. Compared to adolescents with low genetic sensitivity, adolescents with high genetic sensitivity had worse adjustment outcomes when parenting was low on warmth and high on hostility. When parenting was characterized by high warmth and low hostility, adolescents with high genetic sensitivity had better adjustment outcomes than their counterparts with low genetic sensitivity. The results support the differential susceptibility model and highlight the complex ways that genes and environment interact to influence development.

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The interaction between monoamine oxidase A and punitive discipline in the development of antisocial behavior: Mediation by maladaptive social information processing

Chardée Galán et al.

Development and Psychopathology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies demonstrate that boys' monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype interacts with adverse rearing environments in early childhood, including punitive discipline, to predict later antisocial behavior. Yet the mechanisms by which MAOA and punitive parenting interact during childhood to amplify risk for antisocial behavior are not well understood. In the present study, hostile attributional bias and aggressive response generation during middle childhood, salient aspects of maladaptive social information processing, were tested as possible mediators of this relation in a sample of 187 low-income men followed prospectively from infancy into early adulthood. Given racial–ethnic variation in MAOA allele frequencies, analyses were conducted separately by race. In both African American and Caucasian men, those with the low-activity MAOA allele who experienced more punitive discipline at age 1.5 generated more aggressive responses to perceived threat at age 10 relative to men with the high-activity variant. In the African American subsample only, formal mediation analyses indicated a marginally significant indirect effect of maternal punitiveness on adult arrest records via aggressive response generation in middle childhood. The findings suggest that maladaptive social information processing may be an important mechanism underlying the association between MAOA × Parenting interactions and antisocial behavior in early adulthood. The present study extends previous work in the field by demonstrating that MAOA and harsh parenting assessed in early childhood interact to not only predict antisocial behavior in early adulthood, but also predict social information processing, a well-established social–cognitive correlate of antisocial behavior.

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Pregnancy leads to long-lasting changes in human brain structure

Elseline Hoekzema et al.

Nature Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Pregnancy involves radical hormone surges and biological adaptations. However, the effects of pregnancy on the human brain are virtually unknown. Here we show, using a prospective ('pre'-'post' pregnancy) study involving first-time mothers and fathers and nulliparous control groups, that pregnancy renders substantial changes in brain structure, primarily reductions in gray matter (GM) volume in regions subserving social cognition. The changes were selective for the mothers and highly consistent, correctly classifying all women as having undergone pregnancy or not in-between sessions. Interestingly, the volume reductions showed a substantial overlap with brain regions responding to the women's babies postpartum. Furthermore, the GM volume changes of pregnancy predicted measures of postpartum maternal attachment, suggestive of an adaptive process serving the transition into motherhood. Another follow-up session showed that the GM reductions endured for at least 2 years post-pregnancy. Our data provide the first evidence that pregnancy confers long-lasting changes in a woman's brain.

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Parent-offspring conflict and the evolution of infant-directed song

Samuel Mehr & Max Krasnow

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a theory of the origin and evolution of infant-directed song, a form of music found in many cultures. After examining the ancestral ecology of parent-infant relations, we propose that infant-directed song arose in an evolutionary arms race between parents and infants, stemming from the dynamics of parent-offspring conflict. We describe testable predictions that follow from this theory, consider some existing evidence for them, and entertain the possibility that infant-directed song could form the basis for the development of other, more complex forms of music.

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An experimental test of the Bridges to High School intervention on harsh parenting and early age intercourse among Mexican American adolescents

Miguelina Germán et al.

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Can an intervention that contained no content on sex or contraception reduce rates of early-age intercourse among Mexican American adolescents? The current study examined whether the Bridges to High School intervention designed, in part, to decrease harsh parenting, had a longitudinal effect on decreasing rates of early-age intercourse in the treatment versus control groups, as well as the moderating role of gender and linguistic acculturation.

Method: The sample consisted of 516 Mexican American adolescents (Mage = 12.31 years; 50.8% female) and their mothers who participated in a randomized, intervention trial. A series of longitudinal, meditational path models were used to examine the effects of the intervention on harsh parenting practices and early-age intercourse.

Results: Our findings revealed that participation in the treatment versus control group was indirectly linked to a lower likelihood of early-age intercourse through decreased maternal harsh parenting. Tests of mediation were significant. These findings did not vary across gender and linguistic acculturation.

Conclusion: Results suggest that the Bridges to High School intervention successfully decreased early-age intercourse among Mexican American adolescents through reduced harsh parenting among mothers. This finding is consistent with positive youth development programs that have been found to have broad, and sometimes nontargeted, effects on adolescent sexual behaviors.

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An investigation of child maltreatment and epigenetic mechanisms of mental and physical health risk

Dante Cicchetti et al.

Development and Psychopathology, November 2016, Pages 1305-1317

Abstract:
In the present investigation, differential methylation analyses of the whole genome were conducted among a sample of 548 school-aged low-income children (47.8% female, 67.7% Black, M age = 9.40 years), 54.4% of whom had a history of child maltreatment. In the context of a summer research camp, DNA samples via saliva were obtained. Using GenomeStudio, Methylation Module, and the Illumina Custom Model, differential methylation analyses revealed a pattern of greater methylation at low methylation sites (n = 197 sites) and medium methylation sites (n = 730 sites) and less methylation at high methylation sites (n = 907 sites) among maltreated children. The mean difference in methylation between the maltreated and nonmaltreated children was 6.2%. The relative risk of maltreatment with known disease biomarkers was also investigated using GenoGo MetaCore Software. A large number of network objects previously associated with mental health, cancer, cardiovascular systems, and immune functioning were identified evidencing differential methylation among maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Site-specific analyses were also conducted for aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1 (ANKK1), and nuclear receptor subfamily 3, group C, member 1 (NR3C1) genes, and the results highlight the importance of considering gender and the developmental timing of maltreatment. For ALDH2, the results indicated that maltreated girls evidenced significantly lower methylation compared to nonmaltreated girls, and maltreated boys evidenced significantly higher methylation compared to nonmaltreated boys. Moreover, early onset–not recently maltreated boys evidenced significantly higher methylation at ALDH2 compared to nonmaltreated boys. Similarly, children with early onset–nonrecent maltreatment evidenced significantly higher methylation compared to nonmaltreated children at ANKK1. The site-specific results were not altered by controlling for genotypic variation of respective genes. The findings demonstrate increased risk for adverse physical and mental health outcomes associated with differences in methylation in maltreated children and indicate differences among maltreated children related to developmental timing of maltreatment and gender in genes involved in mental health functioning.

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Testing the biological embedding hypothesis: Is early life adversity associated with a later proinflammatory phenotype?

Katherine Ehrlich et al.

Development and Psychopathology, November 2016, Pages 1273-1283

Abstract:
Accumulating evidence suggests that the experience of early life adversity is a risk factor for a range of poor outcomes across development, including poor physical health in adulthood. The biological embedding model of early adversity (Miller, Chen, & Parker, 2011) suggests that early adversity might become embedded within immune cells known as monocytes/macrophages, programming them to be overly aggressive to environmental stimuli and insensitive to inhibitory signals, creating a “proinflammatory phenotype” that increases vulnerability to chronic diseases across the life span. We tested this hypothesis in the present study. Adolescent girls (n = 147) had blood drawn every 6 months across a 2.5-year period. To assess inflammatory responses to challenge, their monocytes were stimulated in vitro with a bacterial product, and production of the cytokine interleukin-6 was quantified. Hydrocortisone was added to cultures to assess the cells’ sensitivity to glucocorticoids’ anti-inflammatory signal. Using cluster analyses, we found that early life adversity was associated with greater odds of displaying a proinflammatory phenotype characterized by relatively larger interleukin-6 responses and relatively less sensitivity to glucocorticoids. In contrast, ongoing social stress was not associated with increasing odds of being categorized in the proinflammatory cluster. These findings suggest that early life adversity increases the probability of developing a proinflammatory phenotype, which, if sustained, could forecast risk for health problems later in life.

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Youth temperament, harsh parenting, and variation in the oxytocin receptor gene forecast allostatic load during emerging adulthood

Gene Brody et al.

Development and Psychopathology, forthcoming

Abstract:
An association has been found between receipt of harsh parenting in childhood and adult health problems. However, this research has been principally retrospective, has treated children as passive recipients of parental behavior, and has overlooked individual differences in youth responsivity to harsh parenting. In a 10-year multiple-wave prospective study of African American families, we addressed these issues by focusing on the influence of polymorphisms in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), variants of which appear to buffer or amplify responses to environmental stress. The participants were 303 youths, with a mean age of 11.2 at the first assessment, and their parents, all of whom were genotyped for variations in the rs53576 (A/G) polymorphism. Teachers rated preadolescent (ages 11 to 13) emotionally intense and distractible temperaments, and adolescents (ages 15 and 16) reported receipt of harsh parenting. Allostatic load was assessed during young adulthood (ages 20 and 21). Difficult preadolescent temperament forecast elevated receipt of harsh parenting in adolescence, and adolescents who experienced harsh parenting evinced high allostatic load during young adulthood. However, these associations emerged only among children and parents who carried A alleles of the OXTR genotype. The results suggest the oxytocin system operates along with temperament and parenting to forecast young adults’ allostatic load.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, January 23, 2017

Getting educated

A Big Fish in a Small Pond: Ability Rank and Human Capital Investment

Benjamin Elsner & Ingo Isphording

Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the impact of a student's ordinal rank in a high school cohort on educational attainment several years later. To identify a causal effect, we compare multiple cohorts within the same school, exploiting idiosyncratic variation in cohort composition. We find that a student's ordinal rank significantly affects educational outcomes later in life. Students with a higher rank are significantly more likely to finish high school and attend college. Exploring potential channels, we find that students with a higher rank have higher expectations about their future career, as well as a higher perceived intelligence.

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Weighting Recent Performance to Improve College and Labor Market Outcomes

George Bulman

Journal of Public Economics, February 2017, Pages 97-108

Abstract:
There is a great deal of policy interest in reducing college dropout rates, increasing graduation rates, and improving labor market outcomes. To this end, individual colleges and state university systems use high school grade point averages and class rankings in an effort to offer admission and scholarships to students who are most likely to achieve long-run success. However, a significant fraction of students exhibit steep positive or negative performance trends during high school. This study shows that academic performance in later grades is given no greater weight in admissions but is the best predictor of college and labor market outcomes, greatly exceeding prior grades and entrance exam scores. Placing greater weight on later grades and extending application deadlines to allow the consideration of 12th grade performance is shown to significantly alter which students are admitted to college and to improve their expected long-run outcomes. Importantly, weighting recent performance does not appear to affect college diversity. Evidence is presented that the predictive power of later grades is driven primarily by students who experience large negative performance trajectories during high school.

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Does Money Matter in the Long Run? Effects of School Spending on Educational Attainment

Joshua Hyman

American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper measures the effect of increased primary school spending on students' college enrollment and completion. Using student-level panel administrative data, I exploit variation in the school funding formula imposed by Michigan's 1994 school finance reform, Proposal A. Students exposed to $1,000 (10 percent) more spending were 3 percentage points (7 percent) more likely to enroll in college and 2.3 percentage points (11 percent) more likely to earn a postsecondary degree. The effects were concentrated among districts that were urban and suburban, lower-poverty, and higher-achieving at baseline. Districts targeted the marginal dollar toward schools serving less-poor populations within the district.

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Why Selective Colleges Should Become Less Selective - and Get Better Students

Barry Schwartz

Capitalism & Society, 2016

Abstract:
In the process of admissions to selective colleges and universities, both the institutions and the applicants are trying to maximize. Applicants want to get into the "best" college and colleges want the "best" applicants. This paper argues that in this context, as in many others, maximizing is a fool's errand, partly because no one knows what the best college (or student) is, and partly because differences among applicants are smaller than the error in the instruments used to assess them. Moreover, it is a fool's errand with grave consequences, since it puts enormous pressure on students throughout their pre-college education and induces them to do what will impress rather than what they are actually passionate about. I propose, instead, a system in which all applicants who cross an acceptability threshold are entered into a lottery, with the winners (admitted students) chosen at random from that pool. Such a system might produce better, more engaged college students because they will be freer to pursue their passions and develop their intellects in high school. It might also teach students about the role of luck in many of life's outcomes, making them more empathic when they encounter people who may be just as deserving as they are, but less lucky. Finally, I suggest that maximizing in general may be a fool's errand, and that satisficing may produce better decisions, and greater satisfaction.

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Unions, Salaries, and the Market for Teachers: Evidence from Wisconsin

Barbara Biasi

Stanford Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
A careful study of teachers' labor demand and supply, while extremely relevant for policy, is challenging due to a lack of variation in pay, as teacher salaries are usually set using steps-and-lanes schedules based entirely on seniority and academic credentials. This paper exploits the passage of Act 10 in Wisconsin in 2011, which changed the scope of collective bargaining on teacher salaries, to study the effects of changes in pay on teachers' labor market, and on the composition of the teaching workforce. As a result of this law some districts started to individually negotiate salaries with each teacher, whereas other districts continued setting salaries using seniority-based schedules. I first document an increase in salary dispersion in individual-salaries districts, and show that it is correlated with teacher value-added. Teachers responded to changes in pay by sorting across districts or by exiting: I find a 34 percent increase in the quality of teachers moving from salary-schedule to individual-salary districts, and a 17 percent decrease in the quality of teachers exiting individual-salary districts. Building from this reduced-form evidence, I estimate the parameters of teachers' labor supply and demand using a two-sided choice model. Simulating the model on different salary schemes shows that an increase in the quality component of salaries in one district is associated with an improvement in average quality of the teaching workforce, driven by both in-movements of higher-quality teachers and out-movements and exits of lower-quality teachers. An increase in all districts is, however, associated with a smaller improvement, entirely attributable to exits of lower-quality teachers.

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Risk-sharing and student loan policy: Consequences for students and institutions

Douglas Webber

Economics of Education Review, April 2017, Pages 1-9

Abstract:
This paper examines the potential costs and benefits associated with a risk-sharing policy imposed on all higher education institutions. Under such a program, institutions would be required to pay for a portion of the student loans among which their students defaulted. I examine the predicted institutional responses under a variety of possible penalties and institutional characteristics using a straightforward model of institutional behavior based on monopolistic competition. I also examine the impact of a risk-sharing program on overall economic efficiency by estimating the returns to scale for undergraduate enrollment (as well as other outputs) among each of ten educational sectors. My estimates suggest that a risk-sharing program would induce only a modest tuition increase, with considerable heterogeneity across sectors. Two different penalty structures are analyzed in the context of the model, and alternative institutional responses such as tuition discounting and credit rating students are discussed.

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The Costs of and Net Returns to College Major

Joseph Altonji & Seth Zimmerman

NBER Working Paper, January 2017

Abstract:
This paper uses administrative student and expenditure data from Florida public universities to describe a) how the cost of producing graduates varies by major, b) how the inclusion of major-specific instructional costs alters the estimated net returns to different fields of study, and c) how major-specific instructional expenditures changed between 1999 and 2013. We find that the cost of producing graduates in the highest cost major (engineering) is roughly double that of producing graduates in low-cost majors, such as business. Cross-major comparisons of per graduate earnings returns net of costs differ from comparisons based on earnings outcomes alone in economically significant ways for a number of fields. Differences between net returns and earnings returns per dollar of instructional spending are even more pronounced. Our analysis of trends in instructional expenditures shows that per credit expenditures for undergraduate classes dropped by 16% in Florida universities between 1999 and 2013. The largest drops occurred in engineering and health, where per credit spending fell by more than 40%. Observed spending changes have little relationship with per credit costs or earnings outcomes.

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Differential Third-Grade Outcomes Associated With Attending Publicly Funded Preschool Programs for Low-Income Latino Children

Arya Ansari et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the third-grade outcomes of 11,902 low-income Latino children who experienced public school pre-K or child care via subsidies (center-based care) at age 4 in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Regression and propensity score analyses revealed that children who experienced public school pre-K earned higher scores on standardized assessments of math and reading in third grade and had higher grade point averages than those who attended center-based care 4 years earlier. The sustained associations between public school pre-K (vs. center-based care) and third-grade outcomes were mediated by children's kindergarten entry preacademic and social-behavioral skills, and among English-language learners, English proficiency. Implications for investing in early childhood programs to assist with the school readiness of young Latino children in poverty are discussed.

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Utility-value intervention with parents increases students' STEM preparation and career pursuit

Christopher Rozek et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
During high school, developing competence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is critically important as preparation to pursue STEM careers, yet students in the United States lag behind other countries, ranking 35th in mathematics and 27th in science achievement internationally. Given the importance of STEM careers as drivers of modern economies, this deficiency in preparation for STEM careers threatens the United States' continued economic progress. In the present study, we evaluated the long-term effects of a theory-based intervention designed to help parents convey the importance of mathematics and science courses to their high-school-aged children. A prior report on this intervention showed that it promoted STEM course-taking in high school; in the current follow-up study, we found that the intervention improved mathematics and science standardized test scores on a college preparatory examination (ACT) for adolescents by 12 percentile points. Greater high-school STEM preparation (STEM course-taking and ACT scores) was associated with increased STEM career pursuit (i.e., STEM career interest, the number of college STEM courses, and students' attitudes toward STEM) 5 y after the intervention. These results suggest that the intervention can affect STEM career pursuit indirectly by increasing high-school STEM preparation. This finding underscores the importance of targeting high-school STEM preparation to increase STEM career pursuit. Overall, these findings demonstrate that a motivational intervention with parents can have important effects on STEM preparation in high school, as well as downstream effects on STEM career pursuit 5 y later.

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Cybercycling Effects on Classroom Behavior in Children With Behavioral Health Disorders: An RCT

April Bowling et al.

Pediatrics, forthcoming

Background and objectives: Exercise is linked with improved cognition and behavior in children in clinical and experimental settings. This translational study examined if an aerobic cybercycling intervention integrated into physical education (PE) resulted in improvements in behavioral self-regulation and classroom functioning among children with mental health disabilities attending a therapeutic day school.

Methods: Using a 14-week crossover design, students (N = 103) were randomly assigned by classroom (k = 14) to receive the 7-week aerobic cybercycling PE curriculum during fall 2014 or spring 2015. During the intervention, children used the bikes 2 times per week during 30- to 40-minute PE classes. During the control period, children participated in standard nonaerobic PE. Mixed effects logistic regression was used to assess relationships between intervention exposures and clinical thresholds of behavioral outcomes, accounting for both individual and classroom random effects.

Results: Children experienced 32% to 51% lower odds of poor self-regulation and learning-inhibiting disciplinary time out of class when participating in the intervention; this result is both clinically and statistically significant. Effects were appreciably more pronounced on days that children participated in the aerobic exercise, but carryover effects were also observed.

Conclusions: Aerobic cybercycling PE shows promise for improving self-regulation and classroom functioning among children with complex behavioral health disorders. This school-based exercise intervention may significantly improve child behavioral health without increasing parental burden or health care costs, or disrupting academic schedules.

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The effects of computers on children's social development and school participation: Evidence from a randomized control experiment

Robert Fairlie & Ariel Kalil

Economics of Education Review, April 2017, Pages 10-19

Abstract:
Concerns over the perceived negative impacts of computers on social development among children are prevalent but largely uninformed by plausibly causal evidence. We provide the first test of this hypothesis using a large-scale randomized control experiment in which more than one thousand children attending grades 6-10 across 15 different schools and 5 school districts in California were randomly given computers to use at home. Children in the treatment group are more likely to report having a social networking site, but also report spending more time communicating with their friends and interacting with their friends in person. There is no evidence that computer ownership displaces participation in after-school activities such as sports teams or clubs or reduces school participation and engagement.

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Does early bird catch the worm or a lower GPA? Evidence from a liberal arts college

Timothy Diette & Manu Raghav

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research in psychology has shown that early morning classes are not conducive to learning because of the peculiar sleep cycles of adolescents and young adults that cause them to be especially groggy in the morning. Our study examines the relationship between the times that classes are offered and the grades that students in these classes earn at a highly selective liberal arts college. Our main findings are that morning classes are harmful for student achievement. Grades are especially lower for classes that were scheduled at 8 am and 9 am. Moreover, while students of both genders are adversely affected by early morning courses, the effects are particularly pronounced for male students. This institution assigns students randomly to different sections of the same course, thus creating a quasi-natural experiment and enabling us to control for unobserved characteristics of students. In addition, we include student and faculty fixed effects.

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Consumer Risk Preferences and Higher Education Enrollment Decisions

Stuart Heckman & Catherine Montalto

Journal of Consumer Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there are widespread concerns that consumers are making poor choices regarding higher education, the fact that human capital investments are risky is often overlooked in the national conversation. Therefore, this research investigates the effect of risk preferences on higher education enrollment decisions. A sample from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) was analyzed, and the results indicate that consumer risk preferences have a significant effect on the likelihood of enrollment. Specifically, there was a robust, positive relationship between risk tolerance and the likelihood of enrollment even after controlling for time preferences and risk perceptions. Consistent with previous findings, ability, parental education, family net worth and income, and being female were positively associated with the likelihood of enrollment. The results suggest that risk preferences may be an important source of omitted variable bias in previous studies of higher education investment choices.

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Unexpected Arrivals: The Spillover Effects of Mid-Year Entry on Stable Student Achievement in New York City

Emilyn Ruble Whitesell, Leanna Stiefel & Amy Ellen Schwartz

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2016, Pages 692-713

Abstract:
Across the country and in urban areas in particular, many students change schools during the academic year. While much research documents the impact of changing schools on the academic achievement of mobile students themselves, less research explores whether new arrivals have negative spillovers on stable classmates. The lack of research on impacts of mid-year entry is problematic, as poor, minority, and low-achieving students are disproportionately exposed to mid-year entry. In this study, we use a rigorous causal identification strategy and rich longitudinal data on fourth- through eighth-grade students in the New York City (NYC) public schools to estimate the impact of exposure to mid-year entry on the achievement of stable students. We analyze heterogeneous effects of mid-year entrants by origin (arriving from other NYC public schools, from other U.S. school systems, or from other countries), determine the extent to which mid-year entrants' characteristics mediate the impact of mid-year entry, and explore the moderating influence of stable students' characteristics. We find small negative effects of mid-year entry on both math and English language arts test scores in the short run. These impacts are not driven by mid-year entrant characteristics and are somewhat larger for Asian students and those who do not qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Finally, results suggest mid-year entry continues to negatively influence the math performance of stable students beyond the year of exposure. We discuss the relevance of results and conclude with recommendations for future research.

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The impact of computer usage on academic performance: Evidence from a randomized trial at the United States Military Academy

Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg & Michael Walker

Economics of Education Review, February 2017, Pages 118-132

Abstract:
We present findings from a study that prohibited computer devices in randomly selected classrooms of an introductory economics course at the United States Military Academy. Average final exam scores among students assigned to classrooms that allowed computers were 0.18 standard deviations lower than exam scores of students in classrooms that prohibited computers. Through the use of two separate treatment arms, we uncover evidence that this negative effect occurs in classrooms where laptops and tablets are permitted without restriction and in classrooms where students are only permitted to use tablets that must remain flat on the desk.

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Where Do Students Go when For-Profit Colleges Lose Federal Aid?

Stephanie Cellini, Rajeev Darolia & Lesley Turner

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Recent federal investigations and new regulations have resulted in restrictions on for-profit institutions' access to federal student aid. We examine the enrollment effects of similar restrictions imposed on over 1,200 for-profit colleges in the 1990s. Using variation in regulations linked to student loan default rates, we estimate the impact of the loss of federal aid on the enrollment of Pell Grant recipients in sanctioned institutions and their local competitors. Enrollment in a sanctioned for-profit college declines by 53 percent in the five years following a sanction. For-profit sanctions result in negative spillovers on unsanctioned competitor for-profit colleges in the same county, which experience modest enrollment declines. These enrollment losses in the for-profit sector are offset by gains in enrollment in local community colleges, suggesting that the loss of federal student aid for poor-performing for-profit colleges does not reduce overall college-going but instead shifts students across higher education sectors. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence that students induced to enroll in community colleges following a for-profit competitor's sanction are less likely to default on their federal loans.

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Classroom-Level Adversity: Associations With Children's Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors Across Elementary School

Tashia Abry et al.

Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Concerns regarding the social-behavioral maladjustment of U.S. youth have spurred efforts among educators and policymakers to identify and remedy educational contexts that exacerbate children's anxiety, depression, aggression, and misconduct. However, investigations of the influence of collective classroom student characteristics on individuals' social-behavioral functioning are few. The present study examined concurrent and longitudinal relations between adversity factors facing the collective classroom student group and levels of children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors across the elementary school years, and whether the pattern of relations differed for girls and boys. First-, third-, and fifth-grade teachers reported on the extent to which adversity-related factors (e.g., home/family life, academic readiness, social readiness, English proficiency, tardiness/absenteeism, student mobility, health) presented a challenge in their classrooms (i.e., classroom-level adversity [CLA]). Mothers reported on their child's internalizing and externalizing behavior at each grade. Autoregressive, lagged panel models controlled for prior levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior, mothers' education, family income-to-needs, and class size. For all children at each grade, CLA was concurrently and positively associated with externalizing behavior. For first-grade girls, but not boys, CLA was also concurrently and positively associated with internalizing behavior. Indirect effects suggested CLA influenced later internalizing and externalizing behavior through its influence on maladjustment in a given year. Discussion highlights possible methods of intervention to reduce CLA or the negative consequences associated with being in a higher-adversity classroom.

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Testing Civics: State-Level Civic Education Requirements and Political Knowledge

David Campbell & Richard Niemi

American Political Science Review, August 2016, Pages 495-511

Abstract:
Do state-level exams in civics have a positive impact on young people's civic knowledge? We hypothesize that civics exams have the biggest effect in states where they are a requirement for high school graduation - the incentive hypothesis. We further hypothesize that civics requirements have the biggest effect on young people with less exposure to information about the U.S. political system at home, specifically Latinos and, especially, immigrants - the compensation hypothesis. We test these hypotheses with the 2006 and 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) civics test administered to high school students, and with a large national survey of 18-24 year-olds. Across the two datasets, we find modest support for the incentive hypothesis and strong support for the compensation hypothesis.

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Can Targeted Information Affect Academic Performance and Borrowing Behavior for College Students? Evidence from Administrative Data

Christiana Stoddard, Carly Urban & Maximilian Schmeiser

Economics of Education Review, February 2017, Pages 95-109

Abstract:
More students than ever borrow to finance post-secondary education. However, students receive little information during the course of their college career that encourages them to recalibrate loan amounts and to consider academic and borrowing decisions jointly. This paper exploits a natural experiment to understand how targeted information can change student behavior. We study a large public university where students above a given debt threshold received letters with bundled information on student loan debt and effectively completing college, while students below the threshold did not. Using a difference-in-difference strategy and administrative data on individual-level academic records and borrowing, the intervention did not change borrowing in the subsequent semester but improved academic outcomes: credits completed and GPAs increased in the subsequent semester and retention rates increased.

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Measuring Instructor Effectiveness in Higher Education

Pieter De Vlieger, Brian Jacob & Kevin Stange

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Instructors are a chief input into the higher education production process, yet we know very little about their role in promoting student success. This is in contrast to elementary and secondary schooling, for which ample evidence suggests teacher quality is an important determinant of student achievement. Whether colleges could improve student and institutional performance by reallocating instructors or altering personnel policies hinges on the role of instructors in student success. In this paper we measure variation in postsecondary instructor effectiveness and estimate its relationship to overall and course-specific teaching experience. We explore this issue in the context of the University of Phoenix, a large for-profit university that offers both online and in-person courses in a wide array of fields and degree programs. We focus on instructors in the college algebra course that is required for all BA degree program students. We find substantial variation in student performance across instructors both in the current class and subsequent classes. Variation is larger for in-person classes, but is still substantial for online courses. Effectiveness grows modestly with course-specific teaching experience, but is unrelated to pay. Our results suggest that personnel policies for recruiting, developing, motivating, and retaining effective postsecondary instructors may be a key, yet underdeveloped, tool for improving institutional productivity.

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Was That SMART? Institutional Financial Incentives and Field of Study

Jeffrey Denning & Patrick Turley

Journal of Human Resources, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine whether students respond to immediate financial incentives when choosing their college major. From 2006-07 to 2010-11, low-income students in technical or foreign language majors could receive up to $8,000 in SMART Grants. Since income-eligibility was determined using a strict threshold, we determine the causal impact of this grant on student major with a regression discontinuity design. Using administrative data from public universities in Texas, we determine that income-eligible students were 3.2 percentage points more likely than their ineligible peers to major in targeted fields. We measure a larger impact of 10.2 percentage points at Brigham Young University.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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