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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Out of proportion

Does Racial Isolation in School Lead to Long-Term Disadvantages? Labor Market Consequences of High School Racial Composition

Adam Gamoran, Ana Cristina Collares & Sarah Barfels

American Journal of Sociology, January 2016, Pages 1116-1167

Abstract:
School racial composition has modest effects on test score gaps, but evidence of a longer-term impact is scarce. Perpetuation theory suggests that blacks who attend schools with higher proportions of white classmates may have better job outcomes. Multilevel analyses of two national longitudinal surveys reveal no effects of high school racial composition on occupational status, employment, or annual earnings for blacks or whites. For other minority groups, attending schools with more whites impedes occupational advancement. For all groups, however, school racial composition predicts workplace racial composition: Whites who attend high schools with higher proportions of white students have higher proportions of white coworkers, while nonwhites who attend schools with higher proportions of whites have fewer same-race coworkers. The findings are modest in size but robust to alternative specifications, and sensitivity analyses support a causal interpretation for same-race coworkers. These results support perpetuation theory for workplace composition but not for stratification outcomes.

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The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum

Thomas Dee & Emily Penner

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
An extensive theoretical and qualitative literature stresses the promise of instructional practices and content aligned with the cultural experiences of minority students. Ethnic studies courses provide a growing but controversial example of such "culturally relevant pedagogy." However, the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these courses is limited. In this study, we estimate the causal effects of an ethnic studies curriculum piloted in several San Francisco high schools. We rely on a "fuzzy" regression discontinuity design based on the fact that several schools assigned students with eighth-grade GPAs below a threshold to take the course in ninth grade. Our results indicate that assignment to this course increased ninth-grade student attendance by 21 percentage points, GPA by 1.4 grade points, and credits earned by 23. These surprisingly large effects are consistent with the hypothesis that the course reduced dropout rates and suggest that culturally relevant teaching, when implemented in a supportive, high-fidelity context, can provide effective support to at-risk students.

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Does diversity-valuing behavior result in diminished performance ratings for nonwhite and female leaders?

David Hekman et al.

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We seek to help solve the puzzle of why top-level leaders are disproportionately white men. We suggest that this race- and sex-based status and power gap persists, in part, because ethnic minority and women leaders are discouraged from engaging in diversity-valuing behavior. We hypothesize and test in both field and laboratory samples that ethnic minority or female leaders who engage in diversity-valuing behavior are penalized with worse performance ratings; whereas white or male leaders who engage in diversity-valuing behavior are not penalized for doing so. We find that this divergent effect results from traditional negative race and sex stereotypes (i.e. lower competence judgments) placed upon diversity-valuing ethnic minority and women leaders. We discuss how our findings extend and enrich the vast literatures on the glass ceiling, tokenism, and workplace discrimination.

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Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs

Jason Grissom & Christopher Redding

AERA Open, December 2015

Abstract:
Students of color are underrepresented in gifted programs relative to White students, but the reasons for this underrepresentation are poorly understood. We investigate the predictors of gifted assignment using nationally representative, longitudinal data on elementary students. We document that even among students with high standardized test scores, Black students are less likely to be assigned to gifted services in both math and reading, a pattern that persists when controlling for other background factors, such as health and socioeconomic status, and characteristics of classrooms and schools. We then investigate the role of teacher discretion, leveraging research from political science suggesting that clients of government services from traditionally underrepresented groups benefit from diversity in the providers of those services, including teachers. Even after conditioning on test scores and other factors, Black students indeed are referred to gifted programs, particularly in reading, at significantly lower rates when taught by non-Black teachers, a concerning result given the relatively low incidence of assignment to own-race teachers among Black students.

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The Frequency of "Brilliant" and "Genius" in Teaching Evaluations Predicts the Representation of Women and African Americans across Fields

Daniel Storage et al.

PLoS ONE, March 2016

Abstract:
Women and African Americans - groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities - may be underrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided initial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had fewer female and African American PhDs. The present study seeks to replicate this initial finding with a different, and arguably more naturalistic, measure of the extent to which brilliance and genius are prized within a field. Specifically, we measured field-by-field variability in the emphasis on these intellectual qualities by tallying - with the use of a recently released online tool - the frequency of the words "brilliant" and "genius" in over 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors.com, a popular website where students can write anonymous evaluations of their instructors. This simple word count predicted both women's and African Americans' representation across the academic spectrum. That is, we found that fields in which the words "brilliant" and "genius" were used more frequently on RateMyProfessors.com also had fewer female and African American PhDs. Looking at an earlier stage in students' educational careers, we found that brilliance-focused fields also had fewer women and African Americans obtaining bachelor's degrees. These relationships held even when accounting for field-specific averages on standardized mathematics assessments, as well as several competing hypotheses concerning group differences in representation. The fact that this naturalistic measure of a field's focus on brilliance predicted the magnitude of its gender and race gaps speaks to the tight link between ability beliefs and diversity.

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Seeing Potential: The Effects of Student-Teacher Demographic Congruence on Teacher Expectations and Recommendations

Lindsay Fox

AERA Open, December 2015

Abstract:
I present new evidence on the effects of having a same-sex or same-race teacher on two salient outcomes: teacher expectations for postsecondary attainment and teacher recommendations for advanced courses. My identification strategy conditions on all subject-invariant student traits to provide causal estimates of the effects using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002. Across the full sample, there is little evidence of an effect of having a same-sex or a same-race teacher on expectations or recommendations. However, I find surprisingly large effects for Black students on teacher expectations. For these students, the effect of a same-race teacher on teacher expectations to complete more than high school is between 11 and 17 percentage points. This effect is at least 70% of the White-Black race gap in teacher expectations.

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The Impact of School Racial Compositions on Neighborhood Racial Compositions: Evidence from School Redistricting

Jeffrey Weinstein

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
I use data surrounding public school redistricting to study how school racial compositions affect neighborhood racial compositions. This redistricting followed from the end of court-ordered busing for racial desegregation, significantly changing the racial composition of the assigned school for many neighborhoods. Over a 5-year period, the impact of an increase in the percent black of the assigned elementary school on the percent black of the neighborhood was positive. The effects increased over time, consistent with a simple model of short-run neighborhood racial dynamics. These results have implications for potential effects of school racial desegregation policy changes on neighborhood racial compositions.

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The Accumulation of (Dis)advantage: The Intersection of Gender and Race in the Long-Term Wage Effect of Marriage

Siwei Cheng

American Sociological Review, February 2016, Pages 29-56

Abstract:
A sizable literature examines whether and why marriage affects men's and women's wages. This study advances current research in two ways. First, whereas most prior studies treat the effect of marriage as time-invariant, I examine how the wage effect of marriage unfolds over the life course. Second, whereas prior work often focuses on the population-average effect of marriage or is limited to some particular gender or racial group, I examine the intersection of gender and race in the effect of marriage. Analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, I find that the marriage wage premium grows steadily and at a similar pace among white and black men. The marriage wage premium declines toward negative among white women, yet it grows steadily among black women. Furthermore, measured work experience explains a substantial amount of the wage premium among black men, yet it has little explanatory power among white men, pointing to the importance of unobserved factors in white men's marriage premium. Changes in work experience negatively affect married white women's wages, yet they positively affect married black women's wages, pointing to the important differences between black and white families.

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Separate and Unequal in the Labor Market: Human Capital and the Jim Crow Wage Gap

Celeste Carruthers & Marianne Wanamaker

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
The gap between black and white earnings is a longstanding feature of the United States labor market. Competing explanations attribute different weight to wage discrimination and access to human capital. Using new data on local school quality, we find that human capital played a predominant role in determining 1940 wage and occupational status gaps in the South despite the effective disenfranchisement of blacks, entrenched racial discrimination in civic life, and lack of federal employment protections. The 1940 conditional black-white wage gap coincides with the higher end of the range of estimates from the post-Civil Rights era. We estimate that a truly "separate but equal" school system would have reduced wage inequality by 40 - 51 percent.

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Race, Supervisorial Change, and Job Outcomes: Employability Resilience in NCAA Division I College Basketball Coaching

Scott Savage & Ryan Seebruck

Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how race affects the employment status of subordinates following a job change by their immediate supervisors. We test whether racial homophily between a subordinate and a supervisor affects the odds of being let go. We also consider whether a racial match between an incoming head coach and assistant affects whether assistants retain their assistant coaching position. Data for these analyses come from a unique data set that explores what happens to 704 NCAA Division I college basketball assistant coaches after the head coach leaves the school. Logistic regression analyses confirm the benefit of working for a white head coach as this decreases the likelihood of being let go, compared to more positive outcomes such as following the coach to a new school, being internally promoted or retained after the head coach's departure. Furthermore, racial homophily with incoming head coaches insulates subordinates from having to search for new employment by increasing the likelihood of assistants being retained.

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What's in a (School) Name? Racial Discrimination in Higher Education Bond Markets

Casey Dougal et al.

Duke University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) pay more in underwriting fees to issue tax-exempt bonds, compared to similar, non-HBCU schools. This appears to reflect higher deadweight costs of finding willing buyers: the effect is three times larger in the Deep South, where racial animus has historically been the highest. School attributes or credit quality explain almost none of the effects. For example, identical differences are observed between HBCU and non-HBCU bonds: 1) having AAA credit ratings, and 2) insured by the same company, even prior to the Financial Crisis of 2008. HBCU-issued bonds are also more expensive to trade in the secondary market, and when they do, sit in dealer inventory longer.

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People notice and use an applicant's religion in job suitability evaluations

Debbie Van Camp, Lloyd Sloan & Amanda ElBassiouny

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social identity theory suggests that people use social categories such as race and gender as the basis of interpersonal judgments and demonstrate biases favoring their ingroups, and that this discrimination against out-groups includes hiring and other personnel decisions. This research examines whether, in the context of other information, participants will use a person's religion and show typical intergroup biases often seen between racial groups. One hundred and seventy-five Black Christian participants viewed fictional job applicants of different religions (Christian/Muslim/atheist) and races (Black/White). Thirty-two percent of participants explicitly reported using the applicant's religion (but seldom reported using their race) as a source of evaluation and showed a consistent preference for Christian (ingroup) over Muslim and atheist (outgroup) applicants. In contrast, those who did not acknowledge using religion showed some racial ingroup bias but none for religion. This research has implications for workplace discrimination, hiring practices, and racial and religious group relations.

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Affirming the Interdependent Self: Implications for Latino Student Performance

Rebecca Covarrubias, Sarah Herrmann & Stephanie Fryberg

Basic and Applied Social Psychology, January/February 2016, Pages 47-57

Abstract:
We examined whether culture-relevant affirmations that focus on family (i.e., family affirmation) would enhance performance for Latino students compared to affirmations that focus on the individual (i.e., self-affirmation). In Study 1 (N = 82), Latino middle school students exposed to a family affirmation outperformed Latino students exposed to a self-affirmation. In Study 2 (N = 269), Latino college students exposed to a family affirmation outperformed Latino students exposed to a self-affirmation and outperformed European American students across conditions. European American students performed equally well across conditions. The findings suggest that culture provides a meaningful framework for developing effective classroom strategies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rulers

HIV/AIDS, Life Expectancy, and the Opportunity Cost Model of Civil War

Tyler Kustra

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article views death in battle as an opportunity cost whose size is determined by the number of years a rebel would have lived as a civilian. As civilian life expectancy declines, this opportunity cost does too, increasing the probability of rebellion. This theory is tested with a tragic natural experiment: the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Using male circumcision rates as an instrument for life expectancy, the analysis shows that a one-year increase in life expectancy decreases the probability of civil war by 2.6 percentage points. This supports the theory that opportunity costs are important determinants of conflict onset and that nonpecuniary opportunity costs should be taken into account. This article concludes by noting that cost–benefit analyses of public health interventions should include decreases in the probability of civil war, and the attendant benefits in terms of lives saved and material damage prevented, in their calculations.

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Institutionally Constrained Technology Adoption: Resolving the Longbow Puzzle

Douglas Allen & Peter Leeson

Journal of Law and Economics, August 2015, Pages 683-715

Abstract:
For over a century the longbow reigned as undisputed king of medieval European missile weapons. Yet only England used the longbow as a mainstay in its military arsenal; France and Scotland clung to the technologically inferior crossbow. This longbow puzzle has perplexed historians for decades. We resolve it by developing a theory of institutionally constrained technology adoption. Unlike the crossbow, the longbow was cheap and easy to make and required rulers who adopted the weapon to train large numbers of citizens in its use. These features enabled usurping nobles whose rulers adopted the longbow to potentially organize effective rebellions against them. Rulers choosing between missile technologies thus confronted a trade-off with respect to internal and external security. England alone in late medieval Europe was sufficiently politically stable to allow its rulers the first-best technology option. In France and Scotland political instability prevailed, constraining rulers in these nations to the crossbow.

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Queens

Oeindrila Dube & S.P. Harish

NYU Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
A large scholarship claims that states led by women are less conflictual than states led by men. However, it is theoretically unclear why female leaders would favor more conciliatory war policies. And, it is empirically challenging to identify the effect of female rule, since women may gain power disproportionately during periods of peace. We surmount this challenge by exploiting features of hereditary succession in European polities over the 15th-20th centuries. In this context, women were more likely to acquire power if the previous monarch lacked a male first-born child, or had a sister who could follow as successor. Using these factors as instruments for female rule, we find that queenly reigns participated more in inter-state conflicts, without experiencing more internal conflict. Moreover, the tendency of queens to participate as conflict aggressors varied based on marital status. Among married monarchs, queens were more likely to participate as attackers than kings. Among unmarried monarchs, queens were more likely to be attacked than kings. These results are consistent with an account in which queens relied on their spouses to manage state affairs, enabling them to pursue more aggressive war policies. Kings, on the other hand, were less inclined to utilize a similar division of labor. This asymmetry in how queens relied on male spouses and kings relied on female spouses strengthened the relative capacity of queenly reigns, facilitating their greater participation in warfare.

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When the Fourth Estate Becomes a Fifth Column: The Effect of Media Freedom and Social Intolerance on Civil Conflict

Marc Hutchison, Salvatore Schiano & Jenifer Whitten-Woodring

International Journal of Press/Politics, April 2016, Pages 165-187

Abstract:
Media freedom is typically viewed as crucial to democracy and development. The idea is that independent news media will facilitate free and fair elections and shine a spotlight on corruption — thereby serving as a fourth estate. Yet political leaders often justify restricting media freedom on the grounds that irresponsible news coverage will incite political violence — potentially undermining government and in effect acting as a fifth column. So is media freedom a force for democracy or a source of civil conflict? We hypothesize that the effect of media freedom on civil conflict is conditioned by a country’s level of intolerance. Specifically, we predict when social intolerance is low, media freedom will discourage domestic conflict because the tone of the news coverage will reflect the level of tolerance and ameliorate any inflammatory coverage. In contrast, we predict that high levels of social intolerance will fuel and be fueled by inflammatory news coverage if the media are free, thereby promoting civil conflict. We test our hypotheses across countries and over time drawing from World Values and European Values Surveys and the Global Media Freedom Dataset and find that the combination of media freedom and high social intolerance is associated with increased civil conflict.

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Recruitment by Petition: American Antislavery, French Protestantism, English Suppression

Daniel Carpenter

Perspectives on Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do petitions flourish when they are often denied if not ignored by the sovereigns who receive them? When activists seek to build political organizations in network-rich but information-poor environments, petitioning as institutional technology facilitates recruitment. A petition’s signatory list identifies and locates individuals sympathetic to its prayer and expresses to other citizens who and how many agree with the prayer. Three historical moments – the explosion of antislavery petitioning in the antebellum United States, the emergence of Protestantism in sixteenth-century France, and England’s suppression of petitioning after the Restoration Settlement of 1660 – provide vivid demonstrations of the theory. A recruitment-based theory implies that petition drives mobilize as much as they express, that well-established groups and parties petition less frequently, and that the most important readers of a petition are those asked to sign it. Contemporary digital petitioning both routinizes and takes its force from the petition’s embedded recruitment technology.

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Causal Effect of Witnessing Political Protest on Civic Engagement

Han Zhang

Princeton University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
How does physically witnessing a protest in a democratic society affect citizens in authoritarian societies? Existing methods are unable to answer this question because of their difficulty in capturing witnesses, constructing meaningful comparison groups, and obtaining information on pre-protest political behaviors. Using a quasi-experiment design, I report a first causal estimation of the impact of 13 protests in Hong Kong from 2012-14 on witnesses from mainland China. I used geocoded posts from Chinese social networking site to construct a panel of Chinese users who had visited Hong Kong at different timing: treated users were physically close to one of the protests when it occurred while control users already left Hong Kong before the protests occurred and therefore could not witness them. I used difference-in-differences methods to estimate changes of intensities of and issues of discussion of civic and political problems. The treated users published 40.39% more posts that discuss civic and political problems after protest, relative to the change of the control users. This increase is robust under several replication and placebo tests, and remains significant within three months after the protests. Treated users discussed more issues that are related to their daily lives such as pollution, food safety. They also discussed more about democracy but mainly in the context of Hong Kong instead of treating it as a topic for China proper, and expressed mixed feelings about democracy. The results suggest that witnessing protests driven by democratic claims lead citizens from authoritarian regimes to be more civically engaged.

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Changes in the menu of manipulation: Electoral fraud, ballot stuffing, and voter pressure in the 2011 Russian election

Cole Harvey

Electoral Studies, March 2016, Pages 105–117

Abstract:
Vote-buying and voter intimidation are costly, complicated, and risky ways to manage elections. Why, then, do hybrid regimes utilize such tactics rather than ballot stuffing or election falsification? Such methods to mobilize voters require the construction of patronage networks that can be used to mobilize or demobilize clients beyond the election, and to display the incumbent's organizational strength. These networks are most valuable in places where opposition groups are active; consequently direct voter pressure should be more common in competitive areas. This paper uses data from Russia's 83 regions during the 2011 election to compare patterns of extra-legal mobilization with patterns of ballot stuffing and falsification. I conclude that local political competitiveness structures the mix of electoral manipulation tactics employed.

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Institutions, information, and commitment: The role of democracy in conflict

James Bang & Aniruddha Mitra

Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explores the hypothesis that both the preexisting quality of democracy in a polity at the onset of conflict and the quality of democracy expected to emerge in the aftermath influence the likelihood of civil war. An empirical investigation of the hypothesis presents a challenge due to concerns of endogeneity and selection: the post-conflict level of democracy is endogenous to the pre-conflict level. Further, for a given time period, either a number of countries have not experienced civil war; or if they did, did not resolve the conflict. We overcome this selection bias by implementing a three-step extension to the Heckman procedure using an unbalanced cross-country panel of 77 countries over the period 1971–2005. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find that a standard deviation improvement in the existing level of democracy reduces the probability of civil war by approximately 9 percentage points and a corresponding improvement in expected post-conflict democratization increases the probability of conflict by approximately 48 percentage points.

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Does poverty cause conflict? Isolating the causal origins of the conflict trap

Alex Braithwaite, Niheer Dasandi & David Hudson

Conflict Management and Peace Science, February 2016, Pages 45-66

Abstract:
Does poverty cause civil conflict? A considerable literature seeks to answer this question, yet concerns about reverse causality threaten the validity of extant conclusions. To estimate the impact of poverty on conflict and to determine whether the relationship between them is causal, it is necessary to identify a source of exogenous variation in poverty. We do this by introducing a robust instrument for poverty: a time-varying measure of international inequalities. We draw upon existing theories about the structural position of a country in the international economic network — specifically, the expectation that countries in the core tend to be wealthier and those on the periphery struggle to develop. This instrument is plausibly exogenous and satisfies the exclusion restriction, which suggests that it affects conflict only through its influence upon poverty. Instrumental variables probit regression is employed to demonstrate that the impact of poverty upon conflict appears to be causal.

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Coup d’État and Democracy

Curtis Bell

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explains coup activity in democracies by adapting insights from the literature on commitment problems and framing coup around the threats leaders and potential coup plotters pose to each other. I claim democratic constraints on executive power inhibit a leader’s ability to repress threats from political rivals. Though this decreases motivations for coup attempts, it also makes democracies more vulnerable should a coup attempt occur. Consequently, democratic constraints on executive power do not reduce the frequency of coup attempts, but coups attempted against democracies are much more likely to succeed. Using several data sets of coup activity and democratic constraints, I find significant differences in coup activity in democracies and non-democracies. Relative to civilian non-democracies, democracies are about half as likely to use coup-related repression, but they face a similar frequency of coup attempts. Plots against democracies are nearly twice as likely to succeed.

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Attitudinal Differences within the Cultural Revolution Cohort: Effects of the Sent-down Experience

Robert Harmel & Yao-Yuan Yeh

China Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 234-252

Abstract:
This study addresses whether individuals who were sent down during the Cultural Revolution reveal different political attitudes from those who were socialized during the same period but were not themselves sent down. Using data from the urban sample of the 2006 General Social Survey of China, the authors find evidence that formerly sent-down youth – and particularly sent-down women – as compared to their not-sent-down peers, are today more willing to accept the class-struggle foundation of Mao's communist ideology but are, at the same time, more willing to assess the performance and structure of the communist regime critically.

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Naming, Shaming, and International Sporting Events: Does the Host Nation Play Fair?

Zack Bowersox

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recently, the Winter Olympic Games in Russia and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil have drawn attention as much for politics as the excitement of the competitions. Russia’s pursuance of discriminatory homosexual policies made it the target of international rights groups; Brazil’s exploitation of the poor for the sake of hosting the World Cup led to several high-profile protests ahead of the event. These large-scale international sporting competitions provide a ready-made platform for naming and shaming states that may have dubious human rights records. The question remains as to whether or not the shaming of these host states by international groups effectively changes a state’s behavior. This paper argues that states facing increased global media attention while hosting an event are likely to substitute repression of physical integrity rights with repression of civil and political rights in an effort to maintain favorable appearances internationally. However, I find support for both physical and expressive rights improving in states when shaming is conditioned on the selection to host an international sporting event.

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Natural Disasters and the Size of Nations

Muhammet Bas & Elena McLean

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the relationship between natural disasters and country size? Is an increasing likelihood of environmental shocks linked to political integration or secessionism? We argue that natural disasters are associated with a decline in country size. This relationship arises because costs generated by disasters are higher for citizens located farther away from the political center of a country and costs are amplified as disasters affect a larger area in a country, which in turn makes it less desirable for citizens in remote regions to remain part of a larger country. Our empirical results show that greater risks of environmental shocks are indeed associated with smaller countries, and conflict likely serves as a key mechanism in this process.

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Youth bulge and civil war: Why a country’s share of young adults explains only non-ethnic wars

Omer Yair & Dan Miodownik

Conflict Management and Peace Science, February 2016, Pages 25-44

Abstract:
Scholars agree that young men carry out most acts of political violence. Still, there is no consensus on the link between relatively large youth cohorts and the onset of violent, armed intra-state conflicts. In this paper, we examine the effect of youth bulge, a measure of the relative abundance of youth in a country, on the onset of two different types of civil wars — ethnic and non-ethnic wars. Building on and extending three datasets used by other scholars, we theoretically argue and empirically substantiate that, as a result of the negative effects of youth bulge on the economic conditions of the youth cohorts in the country, youth bulge affects the onset of non-ethnic wars, but not the onset of ethnic wars. Possible implications and directions for further research are then suggested.

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Fuel to the Fire: Natural Disasters and the Duration of Civil Conflict

Joshua Eastin

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do natural disasters prolong civil conflict? Or are disasters more likely to encourage peace as hostilities diminish when confronting shared hardship or as shifts in the balance of power between insurgents and the state hasten cessation? To address these questions, this study performs an event history analysis of disasters’ impact on the duration of 224 armed intrastate conflicts occurring in 86 states between 1946 and 2005. I contend that natural disasters increase conflict duration by decreasing the state’s capacity to suppress insurgency, while reinforcing insurgent groups’ ability to evade capture and avoid defeat. First, disasters’ economic impact coupled with state financial outlays for disaster relief and reconstruction, reduce resources available for counterinsurgency and nation building in conflict zones. Second, the military’s role in administering humanitarian assistance can reduce the availability of troops and military hardware for counterinsurgency, prompt temporary ceasefires with insurgents, or both. Third, natural disasters can cause infrastructural damages that disproportionately hinder the state’s capacity to execute counterinsurgency missions, thereby making insurgent forces more difficult to capture and overcome. The combination of these dynamics should encourage longer conflicts in states with higher incidence of disaster. Empirical evidence strongly supports this contention, indicating that states with greater disaster vulnerability fight longer wars.

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The Risk of Civil Conflicts as a Determinant of Political Institutions

Alvaro Aguirre

European Journal of Political Economy, March 2016, Pages 36–59

Abstract:
This paper proposes a mechanism to explain differences in political institutions based on a particular feature of civil conflicts that has not been previously explored. Under asymmetric and uncertain costs of civil conflicts members of the elite would like to commit in advance to a strong response to insurgencies, but ex-post they have the incentives to block any response if the conflict mainly affects other members of the elite. One way of solving this commitment problem is empowering the executive so he may react forcefully to conflicts, despite the opposition of some fraction of the elite. The main prediction is that, conditional on asymmetric and uncertain costs, the higher is the likelihood of a conflict in the future, the lower are the constraints imposed on the executive. The paper validates this implication using a sample of former colonies and geographic variables to identify the exogenous component of the likelihood of conflicts.

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Terrorism and spatial disparities: Does interregional inequality matter?

Roberto Ezcurra & David Palacios

European Journal of Political Economy, March 2016, Pages 60–74

Abstract:
This article examines the relationship between interregional inequality and the incidence of domestic terrorism in a panel of 48 countries over the period 1990–2010. The results show that a high level of interregional inequality increases the number of domestic terror events in the sample countries. This finding is robust to the inclusion of additional explanatory variables that may affect both interregional inequality and domestic terrorism. Furthermore, the observed link between interregional inequality and terrorist activity does not depend on the choice of the specific measure used to quantify the degree of dispersion in the regional distribution of GDP per capita within the sample countries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Outsmart

Intelligence and Early Life Mortality: Findings From a Longitudinal Sample of Youth

Kevin Beaver et al.

Death Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study examined whether adolescent IQ predicted risk for mortality by the age of 32. Analyses of data from the Add Health revealed that IQ was related to mortality risk, such that respondents with relatively lower IQs were significantly more likely to experience early life mortality when compared with respondents with comparatively higher IQs. This association remained statistically significant even after controlling for a host of covariates such as race, gender, involvement in violent behaviors, levels of self-control, and poverty. The average IQ of deceased respondents was approximately 95 while the average IQ of living respondents was about 100.

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Standing Up for Learning: A Pilot Investigation on the Neurocognitive Benefits of Stand-Biased School Desks

Ranjana Mehta, Ashley Shortz & Mark Benden

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, January 2016

Abstract:
Standing desks have proven to be effective and viable solutions to combat sedentary behavior among children during the school day in studies around the world. However, little is known regarding the potential of such interventions on cognitive outcomes in children over time. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the neurocognitive benefits, i.e., improvements in executive functioning and working memory, of stand-biased desks and explore any associated changes in frontal brain function. 34 freshman high school students were recruited for neurocognitive testing at two time points during the school year: (1) in the fall semester and (2) in the spring semester (after 27.57 (1.63) weeks of continued exposure). Executive function and working memory was evaluated using a computerized neurocognitive test battery, and brain activation patterns of the prefrontal cortex were obtained using functional near infrared spectroscopy. Continued utilization of the stand-biased desks was associated with significant improvements in executive function and working memory capabilities. Changes in corresponding brain activation patterns were also observed. These findings provide the first preliminary evidence on the neurocognitive benefits of standing desks, which to date have focused largely on energy expenditure. Findings obtained here can drive future research with larger samples and multiple schools, with comparison groups that may in turn implicate the importance of stand-biased desks, as simple environmental changes in classrooms, on enhancing children's cognitive functioning that drive their cognitive development and impact educational outcomes.

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The effects of fantastical pretend-play on the development of executive functions: An intervention study

Rachel Thibodeau et al.

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, May 2016, Pages 120-138

Abstract:
Although recent correlational studies have found a relationship between fantasy orientation (FO; i.e., a child's propensity to play in a fantastical realm) and higher order cognitive skills called executive functions (EFs), no work has addressed the causality and directionality of this relationship. The current study experimentally examined the directionality of the observed relationship between FO and EF development in preschool-aged children through an innovative play intervention employing a randomized controlled design. A sample of 110 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: fantastical pretend-play intervention, non-imaginative play intervention, or business-as-usual control. Results revealed that children who participated in a 5-week fantastical pretend-play intervention showed improvements in EFs, whereas children in the other two conditions did not. Within the fantastical pretend-play condition, children who were highly engaged in the play and those who were highly fantastical demonstrated the greatest gains in EFs. These data provide evidence for the equifinal relationship between fantasy-oriented play and EF development, such that engaging in fantasy-oriented play may be one of many ways to directly enhance EF development.

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Intensive Working Memory Training Produces Functional Changes in Large-scale Frontoparietal Networks

Todd Thompson, Michael Waskom & John Gabrieli

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, April 2016, Pages 575-588

Abstract:
Working memory is central to human cognition, and intensive cognitive training has been shown to expand working memory capacity in a given domain. It remains unknown, however, how the neural systems that support working memory are altered through intensive training to enable the expansion of working memory capacity. We used fMRI to measure plasticity in activations associated with complex working memory before and after 20 days of training. Healthy young adults were randomly assigned to train on either a dual n-back working memory task or a demanding visuospatial attention task. Training resulted in substantial and task-specific expansion of dual n-back abilities accompanied by changes in the relationship between working memory load and activation. Training differentially affected activations in two large-scale frontoparietal networks thought to underlie working memory: the executive control network and the dorsal attention network. Activations in both networks linearly scaled with working memory load before training, but training dissociated the role of the two networks and eliminated this relationship in the executive control network. Load-dependent functional connectivity both within and between these two networks increased following training, and the magnitudes of increased connectivity were positively correlated with improvements in task performance. These results provide insight into the adaptive neural systems that underlie large gains in working memory capacity through training.

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Dopamine and the Creative Mind: Individual Differences in Creativity Are Predicted by Interactions between Dopamine Genes DAT and COMT

Darya Zabelina et al.

PLoS ONE, January 2016

Abstract:
The dopaminergic (DA) system may be involved in creativity, however results of past studies are mixed. We attempted to clarify this putative relation by considering the mediofrontal and the nigrostriatal DA pathways, uniquely and in combination, and their contribution to two different measures of creativity-an abbreviated version of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, assessing divergent thinking, and a real-world creative achievement index. We found that creativity can be predicted from interactions between genetic polymorphisms related to frontal (COMT) and striatal (DAT) DA pathways. Importantly, the Torrance test and the real-world creative achievement index related to different genetic patterns, suggesting that these two measures tap into different aspects of creativity, and depend on distinct, but interacting, DA sub-systems. Specifically, we report that successful performance on the Torrance test is linked with dopaminergic polymorphisms associated with good cognitive flexibility and medium top-down control, or with weak cognitive flexibility and strong top-down control. The latter is particularly true for the originality factor of divergent thinking. High real-world creative achievement, on the other hand, as assessed by the Creative Achievement Questionnaire, is linked with dopaminergic polymorphisms associated with weak cognitive flexibility and weak top-down control. Taken altogether, our findings support the idea that human creativity relies on dopamine, and on the interaction between frontal and striatal dopaminergic pathways in particular. This interaction may help clarify some apparent inconsistencies in the prior literature, especially if the genes and/or creativity measures were analyzed separately.

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Dopaminergic Genetic Polymorphisms Predict Rule-based Category Learning

Kaileigh Byrne, Tyler Davis & Darrell Worthy

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dopaminergic genes play an important role in cognitive function. DRD2 and DARPP-32 dopamine receptor gene polymorphisms affect striatal dopamine binding potential, whereas the Val158Met single-nucleotide polymorphism of the COMT gene moderates dopamine availability in the pFC. Our study assesses the role of these gene polymorphisms on performance in two rule-based category learning tasks. Participants completed unidimensional and conjunctive rule-based tasks. In the unidimensional task, a rule along a single stimulus dimension can be used to distinguish category members. In contrast, a conjunctive rule utilizes a combination of two dimensions to distinguish category members. DRD2 C957T TT homozygotes outperformed C allele carriers on both tasks, and DARPP-32 AA homozygotes outperformed G allele carriers on both tasks. However, we found an interaction between COMT and task type where Met allele carriers outperformed Val homozygotes in the conjunctive rule task, but both groups performed equally well in the unidimensional task. Thus, striatal dopamine binding may play a critical role in both types of rule-based tasks, whereas prefrontal dopamine binding is important for learning more complex conjunctive rule tasks. Modeling results suggest that striatal dopaminergic genes influence selective attention processes whereas cortical genes mediate the ability to update complex rule representations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Date night

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea: The Effects of Choice Overload and Reversibility on Online Daters’ Satisfaction With Selected Partners

Jonathan D’Angelo & Catalina Toma

Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Online dating is often lauded for improving the dating experience by giving singles large pools of potential partners from whom to choose. This experiment investigates how the number of choices online daters are given, and whether these choices are reversible, affects romantic outcomes. Drawing on the choice overload and decision reversibility theoretical frameworks, we show that, a week after making their selection, online daters who chose from a large set of potential partners (i.e., 24) were less satisfied with their choice than those who selected from a small set (i.e., 6), and were more likely to change their selection. While choice reversibility did not affect daters’ satisfaction, those who selected from a large pool and had the ability to reverse their choice were the least satisfied with their selected partner after one week. The results advance understanding of how media features related to choice affect interpersonal evaluations.

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Nice guys finish first when presented second: Responsive daters are evaluated more positively following exposure to unresponsive daters

Stephanie Spielmann & Geoff MacDonald

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 99-105

Abstract:
Decisions about who to date are increasingly being made while viewing a large pool of dating prospects simultaneously or sequentially (e.g., online dating). The present research explores how the order in which dating prospects are evaluated affects the role in dating decisions of a variable crucial to relationship success - partner responsiveness. In Study 1, participants viewed dating profiles varying in physical attractiveness and responsiveness. Some participants viewed responsive profiles first whereas others viewed unresponsive profiles first. Results revealed that responsive targets were rated more favorably following exposure to unresponsive targets, regardless of level of attractiveness. Study 2 specifically targeted how contrast effects affect romantic evaluations of a physically unattractive, yet responsive, target. Results again revealed that unattractive, responsive targets were viewed more favorably after exposure to unresponsive dating prospects, regardless of these unresponsive prospects' physical attractiveness. These results highlight the importance of the context in which dating decisions are made.

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Accounting for Age in Marital Search Decisions

Nuray Akın & Brennan Platt

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract
Spouse quality, measured by educational attainment, varies significantly with the age at which an individual marries, peaking in the mid-twenties then declining through the early-forties. Interestingly, this decline is much sharper for women than men, meaning women increasingly marry less educated men as they age. Moreover, quality has worsened for educated women over several decades, while it has improved for men. Using a non-stationary sequential search model, we identify and quantify the search frictions that generate these age-dependent marriage outcomes. We find that single-life utility is typically the dominant friction, though college women in the 1950 and 1970 cohorts are affected even more by deteriorating suitor quality. Regardless of educational status, individual choice (as opposed to pure luck) is pivotal in explaining marriage market outcomes earlier in life.

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Men's revealed preferences regarding women's promiscuity

Kitae Sohn

Personality and Individual Differences, June 2016, Pages 140-146

Abstract:
Men have evolved to exhibit a desire for chastity and sexual fidelity and an abhorrence of promiscuity in long-term mates. We investigated whether these preferences manifest themselves even in an unlikely situation (prostitution) by observing men's behavior. We considered 8817 prostitutes under age 45 who worked in Indonesian cities in 2002-2004. We measured female promiscuity by experience in prostitution and applied OLS to determine whether clients paid more to less experienced prostitutes. After controlling for a set of characteristics of prostitutes and clients, we found that compared to prostitutes with an experience ≤ 1 year, prostitutes with an experience of 2-4 years earned 4.2% less, and those with an experience > 4 years earned 7.7% less. The difference is great because a value of 4.2% is just under the daily expenditure per capita on food. The relationship was more pronounced for prostitutes of high fertile age and for prostitutes with greater negotiability. It seems that the preferences are strongly built in men's psychology.

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Fifty Shades Flipped: Effects of Reading Erotica Depicting a Sexually Dominant Woman Compared to a Sexually Dominant Man

Emily Ann Harris, Michael Thai & Fiona Kate Barlow

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined the effects of reading submission- and dominance-themed erotica on attitudes toward women and rape, ideal partner preferences, and subjective sexual arousal. Heterosexual male (n = 241) and female (n = 240) participants read one of three erotic stories depicting male dominance, female dominance, or no dominance, or a fourth nonerotic control story. First, we found that after reading about a sexually dominant man, women reported increased benevolent sexism compared to men, and men reported increased rape myth acceptance compared to women. Second, men and women showed a similar level of preference for partner dominance after reading about a sexually dominant woman. This was in contrast to the typical pattern revealed in all other conditions, whereby women were more likely to favor dominant partners relative to men. Finally, we found no evidence to support the hypothesis that the story describing male dominance would be the most arousing. Rather, all three erotic stories were equally sexually arousing compared to the control condition, and men and women did not differ in the extent to which the erotic stories aroused them. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Men's sociosexuality is sensitive to changes in mate availability

Steven Arnocky, Nathan Woodruff & David Schmitt

Personal Relationships, March 2016, Pages 172-181

Abstract:
Correlational research has linked mate availability to human sexual behavior, whereby unrestricted sociosexuality seems to be most common under conditions of female abundance. In this study, 71 heterosexual men were randomly assigned to one of two mate availability priming conditions, mate scarcity or mate abundance, and subsequently completed measures of sociosexuality as well as infidelity intentions. Results indicated that men in the mate abundance condition reported stronger sociosexual attitudes and desires, and among those currently in relationships, stronger infidelity intentions. These findings were contrasted with those from a separate sample of 66 heterosexual undergraduate women. Mate scarcity had no effects on women's sociosexuality or infidelity intentions. Findings suggest that when mates are scarce, men will adopt a sociosexual orientation aimed at maintaining a single partner.

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The effects of resource availability and relationship status on women's preference for facial masculinity in men: An eye-tracking study

Minna Lyons et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, June 2016, Pages 25-28

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated that perceived availability of environmental resources affects the mate choice of females. However, it is unclear whether women's partnership status influences the effects of environmental circumstances on masculinity preference. Further, the role of environmental scarcity on women's gaze patterns when evaluating male faces has not been investigated. The current study investigated how relationship status and environmental factors affected women's gaze patterns and preference towards masculinised and feminised male faces. Twenty-two participants in a long-term romantic relationship, and 26 who were single, were primed with either a high (‘wealthy’) or low (‘scarcity’) resource availability scenario. They then completed a facial masculinity/femininity preference task while eye-gaze behaviour was measured. Women in a relationship (but not single women) had an increased preference towards masculine faces in the scarcity condition, compared to the wealthy condition; this preference was also reflected in eye gaze behaviour. In contrast, single women had longer first fixations on feminine rather than masculine faces when evaluating them as long-term partners in the wealthy condition, but no overt preference for either face type. These findings reveal the importance of taking women's relationship status into account in investigations of the role of environmental influences on masculinity preferences.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, March 11, 2016

Let's agree to disagree

Do Campaign Donors Influence Polarization? Evidence from Public Financing in the American States

Jeffrey Harden & Justin Kirkland

Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2016, Pages 119–152

Abstract:
Does the source of campaign funds influence legislative polarization? We develop competing theoretical expectations regarding the effects of publicly financed elections on legislative voting behavior. To test these expectations, we leverage a natural experiment in the New Jersey Assembly in which public financing was made available to a subset of members. We find that public financing exerts substantively negligible effects on roll-call voting. We then find a similar result in an examination of state legislatures. We conclude that, counter to the logic of the US Supreme Court, pundits, and reformers, the source of campaign funds exerts minimal influence on polarization.

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Moral Opinion Polarization and the Erosion of Trust

Carolin Rapp

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since Puntam’s seminal work on declining levels of social capital, the question of how social trust is formed has reached unprecedented heights of critical enquiry. While most of the current research concentrates on ethnic diversity and income inequality as the main influences driving down generalized trust, we focus on opinion polarization as another potential impact factor on trust. In more detail, we investigate the extent to which polarization over morally charged issues such as homsexuality, abortion and euthanasia affects individuals’ likelihood to trust others. We hypothesize that moral issues have a natural tendency to divide societies’ opinions into opposing poles and, thus, to challenge social cohesion in modern civil societies. Based on hierarchical analyses of the fifth wave of the World Values Survey (WVS) ― comprising a sample of 39 countries ― our results reveal that individuals living in countries characterized by more opinion polarization tend to have less trust in other people.

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When the Spatial and Ideological Collide: Metaphorical Conflict Shapes Social Perception

Tali Kleiman, Chadly Stern & Yaacov Trope

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present article, we introduce the concept of metaphorical conflict — a conflict between the concrete and abstract aspects of a metaphor. We used the association between the concrete (spatial) and abstract (ideological) components of the political left-right metaphor to demonstrate that metaphorical conflict has marked implications for cognitive processing and social perception. Specifically, we showed that creating conflict between a spatial location and a metaphorically linked concept reduces perceived differences between the attitudes of partisans who are generally viewed as possessing fundamentally different worldviews (Democrats and Republicans). We further demonstrated that metaphorical conflict reduces perceived attitude differences by creating a mind-set in which categories are represented as possessing broader boundaries than when concepts are metaphorically compatible. These results suggest that metaphorical conflict shapes social perception by making members of distinct groups appear more similar than they are generally thought to be. These findings have important implications for research on conflict, embodied cognition, and social perception.

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On the Grammar of Politics — or Why Conservatives Prefer Nouns

Aleksandra Cichocka et al.

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research indicates that political conservatism is associated with epistemic needs for structure and certainty (Jost et al., 2003) and that nouns elicit clearer and more definite perceptions of reality than other parts of speech (Carnaghi et al., 2008). We therefore hypothesized that conservatives would exhibit preferences for nouns (vs. verbs and adjectives), insofar as nouns are better suited to satisfy epistemic needs. In Study 1, we observed that social conservatism was associated with noun preferences in Polish and that personal need for structure accounted for the association between ideology and grammatical preferences. In Study 2, conducted in Arabic, social conservatism was associated with a preference for the use of nominal sentences (composed of nouns only) over verbal sentences (which included verbs and adjectives). In Study 3, we found that more conservative U.S. presidents used greater proportions of nouns in major speeches, and this effect was related to integrative complexity. We discuss the possibility that conservative ideology is linked to grammatical preferences that foster feelings of stability and predictability.

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Scientific literacy, optimism about science and conservatism

Noah Carl, Nathan Cofnas & Michael Woodley of Menie

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 299–302

Abstract:
It is frequently asserted that conservatives exhibit a cognitive style that renders them less well disposed toward science than progressives, and that they are correspondingly less trusting of scientific institutions and less knowledgeable about scientific ideas. Here we scrutinize these assertions, using data from the U.S. General Social Survey. We distinguish between three different definitions of ‘conservative’: first, identifying as conservative, rather than as liberal; second, holding socially conservative views, rather than socially progressive views; and third, holding economically conservative views, rather than economically leftist views. We find that self-identified conservatives and social conservatives are less scientifically literate and optimistic about science than, respectively, self-identified liberals and social progressives. However, we find that economic conservatives are as or more scientifically literate and optimistic about science than economic leftists. Our results highlight the importance of separating different sub-dimensions of political orientation when studying the relationships between political beliefs, scientific literacy and optimism about science.

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The Politics of Insight

Carola Salvi et al.

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies showed that liberals and conservatives differ in cognitive style. Liberals are more flexible, and tolerant of complexity and novelty, whereas conservatives are more rigid, resistant to change and prefer clear answers. We administered a set of Compound Remote Associate problems, a task extensively used to differentiate problem solving styles (via insight or analysis). Using this task, several researches have proven that self-reports, which differentiate between insight and analytic problem solving, to be reliable and associated with two different neural circuits. In our research we found that participants self-identifying with distinct political orientations demonstrated differences in problem solving strategy. Liberals solved significantly more problems via insight instead of a step-by-step analytic fashion. Our findings extend previous observations that self-identified political orientations reflect differences in cognitive styles. More specifically, we show that type of political orientation is associated with problem solving strategy. The data converge with previous neurobehavioral and cognitive studies indicating a link between cognitive style and the psychological mechanisms that mediate political beliefs.

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Ideologically Motivated Perceptions of Complexity: Believing Those Who Agree With You Are More Complex Than They Are

Lucian Gideon Conway et al.

Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While prior research has found linguistic complexity to be predictive across multiple domains, little research has examined how people perceive — or misperceive — linguistic complexity when they encounter it. Drawing from a model of the motivated ideological lens through which people view linguistic complexity, two studies examined the hypotheses that (a) participants are more likely to overestimate the complexity of political candidates when they believe they align with their own political views and (b) this complexity overestimation effect will be particularly strong for political liberals. Both studies presented participants with paragraphs from political candidates that varied in their actual integrative complexity levels and asked them to estimate the complexity of the paragraph. Consistent with expectations, Study 1 found that participants were significantly more likely to overestimate complexity levels for political candidates with whom they shared ideological beliefs and that this effect was particularly in evidence for political liberals. Study 2 replicated this basic pattern and further demonstrated that this effect was dependent on participants’ knowledge of their ideological agreement with the paragraph author. Because people misperceive linguistic complexity, researchers should move beyond thinking solely about how complex political rhetoric is; we have to also consider the degree that the intended audience may over- or underestimate complexity when they see it.

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Religion and Secularism among American Party Activists

Geoffrey Layman & Christopher Weaver

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior work has shown party activists and religious divisions to be two of the leading causes of party polarization in American politics. Using the Convention Delegate Studies, we examine the interaction between these two culprits and their impact on party polarization. We leverage a novel measure of secularism in the latest wave of the Convention Delegate Studies to demonstrate that active secularism is distinct both conceptually and statistically from low religiosity. Furthermore, we show that both religiosity and secularism drive party activists to take more extreme policy positions, to identify themselves as more ideologically extreme, and to exhibit less support for compromise. As the Democratic and Republican Parties have become more secular and religious, respectively, these results suggest religious polarization may compound existing divisions between the two parties and exacerbate the partisan divide in American politics.

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Tea Party Support and Perceptions of Local Economic Conditions

Jonathan Rogers

Electoral Studies, June 2016, Pages 91–98

Abstract:
Researchers have long studied the underpinnings of voter perceptions of national economic conditions. Of growing interest though, is the effect of local economic evaluations on approval and voting behavior. Even though individuals engage more directly with the local economy than with that of the nation, perceptions of local conditions are colored as much by individual attitudes and demographics as by objective measures. Metropolitan area unemployment rates strongly predict local evaluations, but so do education, age, sex, and political attitudes. Of particular interest, even controlling for objective conditions, support for the Tea Party strongly predicts more negative evaluations and overpowers most other sources of bias.

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Numeracy and the Persuasive Effect of Policy Information and Party Cues

Vittorio Mérola & Matthew Hitt

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numeric political appeals represent a prevalent but overlooked domain of public opinion research. When can quantitative information change political attitudes, and is this change trumped by partisan effects? We analyze how numeracy — or individual differences in citizens’ ability to process and apply numeric policy information — moderates the effectiveness of numeric political appeals on a moderately salient policy issue. Results show that those low in numeracy exhibit a strong party-cue effect, treating numeric information in a superficial and heuristic fashion. Conversely, those high in numeracy are persuaded by numeric information, even when it is sponsored by the opposing party, overcoming the party-cue effect. Our results make clear that overlooking numeric ability when analyzing quantitative political appeals can mask significant persuasion effects, and we build on recent work advancing the understanding of individual differences in public opinion.

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News from the Other Side: How Topic Relevance Limits the Prevalence of Partisan Selective Exposure

Jonathan Mummolo

Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has demonstrated a preference among partisans for likeminded news outlets, a key mechanism through which the media may be polarizing Americans. But in order for source reputations to cause selective exposure, individuals must prioritize them above other competing attributes of news content. Evaluating the relative influence of various contributors to media choice is therefore critical. This study pits two such factors, source reputation and topic relevance, against one another in conjoint survey experiments offering randomly paired news items to partisans. Making a news source’s reputation politically un-friendly lowers the probability that an individual chooses an item, but this negative effect is often eclipsed by the positive effect of making a news topic relevant to the individual. In many popular modern news consumption environments, where consumers encounter a diverse mixture of sources and topics, the ability of source reputations to contribute to polarization via partisan selective exposure is limited.

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The Language of Extremity: The Language of Extreme Members and How the Presence of Extremity Affects Group Discussion

Lyn Van Swol et al.

Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the linguistic software Linguistic Inquiry Word Count, we analyzed transcripts of group discussions of whether the words “under God” should be in the Pledge of Allegiance. We hypothesized that members with an extreme opinion would use less complex language and more you pronouns than other members. Furthermore, extreme members would have less influence when they used you pronouns or more complex language consistent with the illusion of understanding. Extreme members were more confident and perceived themselves as more knowledgeable, but they did not use less complex language than other members. When extreme members did use complex language, they were less influential. Extreme members used more you pronouns and use of you pronouns reduced their influence in the group. Groups containing at least one extreme member had a much lower level of complexity in their discourse than groups without extreme members. Results are situated within research in integrative complexity, illusion of understanding, and attitude extremity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Saving grace

Filling Pews and Voting Booths: The Role of Politicization in Congregational Growth

Andre Audette & Christopher Weaver

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Declines in religious affiliation and church attendance in the United States have been well-documented, which political scientists often attribute to the prominence of the Religious Right in American politics. These scholars posit that the politicization of religion deters religious participation, especially among those on the political and theological left. However, the existing research looks only at aggregate trends in the involvement of religious organizations in politics and levels of religious participation. Using data from the National Congregations Study, a representative sample of American congregations, we examine the impact of politicization on church membership rates at the congregational level. Employing ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and cross-lagged structural equation models, we show that more politically active congregations were more likely to see growth in membership over time. Using data from the General Social Survey, we also offer evidence that partisans on both ends of the political spectrum are more likely to engage in religious switching than independents, suggesting that those joining new congregations may be politically motivated. Thus, while political activity may cost religions adherents at the aggregate level, politicization benefits individual churches by attracting members from a politically motivated niche market, signifying that political outreach can be an effective strategy for congregations.

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Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality

Benjamin Grant Purzycki et al.

Nature, 18 February 2016, Pages 327–330

Abstract:
Since the origins of agriculture, the scale of human cooperation and societal complexity has dramatically expanded. This fact challenges standard evolutionary explanations of prosociality because well-studied mechanisms of cooperation based on genetic relatedness, reciprocity and partner choice falter as people increasingly engage in fleeting transactions with genetically unrelated strangers in large anonymous groups. To explain this rapid expansion of prosociality, researchers have proposed several mechanisms. Here we focus on one key hypothesis: cognitive representations of gods as increasingly knowledgeable and punitive, and who sanction violators of interpersonal social norms, foster and sustain the expansion of cooperation, trust and fairness towards co-religionist strangers. We tested this hypothesis using extensive ethnographic interviews and two behavioural games designed to measure impartial rule-following among people (n = 591, observations = 35,400) from eight diverse communities from around the world: (1) inland Tanna, Vanuatu; (2) coastal Tanna, Vanuatu; (3) Yasawa, Fiji; (4) Lovu, Fiji; (5) Pesqueiro, Brazil; (6) Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius; (7) the Tyva Republic (Siberia), Russia; and (8) Hadzaland, Tanzania. Participants reported adherence to a wide array of world religious traditions including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as notably diverse local traditions, including animism and ancestor worship. Holding a range of relevant variables constant, the higher participants rated their moralistic gods as punitive and knowledgeable about human thoughts and actions, the more coins they allocated to geographically distant co-religionist strangers relative to both themselves and local co-religionists. Our results support the hypothesis that beliefs in moralistic, punitive and knowing gods increase impartial behaviour towards distant co-religionists, and therefore can contribute to the expansion of prosociality.

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Islamic Culture, Oil, and Women's Rights Revisited

Lasse Lykke Rørbæk

Politics and Religion, March 2016, Pages 61-83

Abstract:
According to recent research, oil abundance is the principal explanation for women's poor human rights record in many Muslim societies. However, this study argues that resistance to gender equality in the Muslim world originates in its specific historical trajectory and that the critical juncture precedes the extraction of oil by a thousand years. The study assesses data on women's economic, social, and political rights in 166 countries from 1999–2008 and shows that whereas the negative effect of oil is driven by the 11 members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, Muslim countries consistently underperform even when oil and gas rents and other relevant factors such as income and democracy are accounted for. The study concludes that persisting orthodox tendencies in Islamic culture provide the best explanation for Muslim women's limited empowerment.

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Max Weber and the First World War: Protestant and Catholic living standards in Germany, 1915–1919

Matthias Blum & Matthias Strebel

Journal of Institutional Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess informal institutions of Protestants and Catholics by investigating their economic resilience in a natural experiment. The First World War constitutes an exogenous shock to living standards since the duration and intensity of the war exceeded all expectations. We assess the ability of Protestant and Catholic communities to cope with increasing food prices and wartime black markets. Literature based on Weber (1904, 1905) suggests that Protestants must be more resilient than their Catholic peers. Using individual height data on some 2,800 Germans to assess levels of malnutrition during the war, we find that living standards for both Protestants and Catholics declined; however, the decrease of Catholics’ height was disproportionately large. Our empirical analysis finds a large statistically significant difference between Protestants and Catholics for the 1915–19 birth cohort, and we argue that this height gap cannot be attributed to socioeconomic background and fertility alone.

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Religion and Depression in Adolescence

Jane Cooley Fruehwirth, Sriya Iyer & Anwen Zhang

University of Cambridge Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
The probability of being depressed increases dramatically during adolescence and is linked to a range of adverse outcomes. Many studies show a correlation between religiosity and mental health, yet the question remains whether the link is causal. The key issue is selection into religiosity. We exploit plausibly random variation in adolescents' peers to shift religiosity independently of other individual-level unobservables that might affect depression. Using a nationally representative sample of adolescents in the US, we find robust effects of religiosity on depression, that are particularly strong for the most depressed. These effects are not a result of social context. Instead, we find that religiosity buffers against stressors, possibly through improved social and psychological resources. This has implications especially for effective mental health policy.

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Is the United States a Counterexample to the Secularization Thesis?

David Voas & Mark Chaves

American Journal of Sociology, March 2016, Pages 1517-1556

Abstract:
Virtually every discussion of secularization asserts that high levels of religiosity in the United States make it a decisive counterexample to the claim that modern societies are prone to secularization. Focusing on trends rather than levels, the authors maintain that, for two straightforward empirical reasons, the United States should no longer be considered a counterexample. First, it has recently become clear that American religiosity has been declining for decades. Second, this decline has been produced by the generational patterns underlying religious decline elsewhere in the West: each successive cohort is less religious than the preceding one. America is not an exception. These findings change the theoretical import of the United States for debates about secularization.

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National Religious Affiliation and Integrated Model of Homicide and Suicide

Don Soo Chon

Homicide Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study assessed the relationship between national religious affiliation and lethal violence by simultaneously examining homicide and suicide rates. The information on homicide and suicide rates for 124 countries came from the World Health Organization (WHO). Regression results suggested no significant difference in lethal violence between predominantly Catholic and Protestant countries, although Islamic countries revealed significantly lower homicide, suicide, and overall lethal violence rates than non-Islamic countries. Countries with a high level of religious heterogeneity are subject to an increased suicide rate. The implications of these findings were discussed.

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Does local religiosity matter for bank risk-taking?

Binay Kumar Adhikari & Anup Agrawal

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether local religiosity matters for risk-taking by banks. Banks headquartered in more religious areas exhibit lower stock return volatility, lower tail risk, and lower idiosyncratic risk. They also tend to be farther away from default as measured by their z-scores. But these banks command lower market valuations during normal times. These results stand up to several robustness checks, tests for mitigating endogeneity concerns, and are supported by an analysis of bank CEOs' religiosity. Moreover, banks in more religious areas remain less vulnerable to crises. To reduce risk, these banks grow their assets more slowly, hold safer assets, rely less on non-traditional banking, and provide less incentives to their executives to increase risks. Local religiosity has a more pronounced influence on risk-taking by banks for which local investors and managers are more important. Overall, this paper contributes to the literature by uncovering an important and previously unidentified determinant of risk-taking by banks, namely religion-induced risk-aversion.

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The causal effect of religious piety on shareholder wealth: Evidence from acquirer returns and historical religious identification

Pandej Chintrakarn et al.

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research shows that religion promotes honesty. Honesty in turn motivates managers to view an expropriation from shareholders as self-serving, opportunistic and unethical, thereby alleviating the agency conflict. Religious piety is thus expected to discourage agency-driven acquisitions that reduce shareholder wealth. We exploit the variation in religious piety across US counties (and states) and show that firms located in a more religious environment are indeed less likely to make poor acquisitions, measured by the stock market reactions to the acquisition announcement. To draw a causal inference, we use historical religious piety as far back as 1952 as our instrument. The two-stage least squares (2SLS) analysis confirms that religious piety induces firms to make better acquisitions. Our analysis based on propensity score matching also corroborates the conclusion.

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“Where else did they copy their styles but from church groups?”: Rock ‘n’ Roll and Pentecostalism in the 1950s South

Randall Stephens

Church History, March 2016, Pages 97-131

Abstract:
Church leaders and laypeople in the US went on the defensive shortly after rock and roll became a national youth craze in 1955 and 1956. Few of those religious critics would have been aware or capable of understanding that rock ‘n’ roll, in fact, had deep religious roots. Early rockers, all southerners — such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and James Brown — grew up in or regularly attended pentecostal churches. Pentecostalism, a vibrant religious movement that traced its origins to the early 20th century, broke with many of the formalities of traditional protestantism. Believers held mixed-race services during the height of Jim Crow segregation. The faithful spoke in tongues, practiced healing, and cultivated loud, revved-up, beat-driven music. These were not the sedate congregants of mainline churches. Some pentecostal churches incorporated drums, brass instruments, pianos, and even newly invented electric guitars. Rock ‘n’ roll performers looked back to the vibrant churches of their youth, their charismatic pastors, and to flashy singing itinerants for inspiration. In a region that novelist Flannery O'Connor called “Christ-haunted,” the line between secular and sacred, holy and profane was repeatedly crossed by rock musicians. This article traces the black and white pentecostal influence on rock ‘n’ roll in the American South, from performance style and music to dress and religious views. It also analyzes the vital ways that religion took center stage in arguments and debates about the new genre.

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Not a Lonely Crowd? Social Connectedness, Religious Service Attendance, and the Spiritual But Not Religious

Orestes Hastings

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the 2006-2014 General Social Survey and 2006-2012 Portraits of American Life Study, I find for three dimensions of social connectedness: social interaction frequency, core discussion network size, and number of close ties, that religious service attenders are more connected than religious non-attenders and those who are neither spiritual nor religious, but there are few differences between attenders and the spiritual but not religious. Difference-in-differences and fixed-effects models show little evidence that switches between categories are associated with changes in connectedness, and additional models show that prior social connectedness explains only a small amount of future switches. This paper challenges assumptions that the non-religious are a homogenous group lacking the benefits provided though the social networks of religious congregations and has implications for research on what it means to be spiritual, measuring religion and spirituality, and understanding the role of formal organizations in social life.

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How Good Is the Samaritan, and Why? An Experimental Investigation of the Extent and Nature of Religious Prosociality Using Economic Games

Jim Everett, Omar Sultan Haque & David Rand

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the extent and nature of religious prosociality? If religious prosociality exists, is it parochial and extended selectively to coreligionists or is it generalized regardless of the recipient? Further, is it driven by preferences to help others or by expectations of reciprocity? We examined how much of a US$0.30 bonus Mechanical Turk workers would share with the other player whose religion was prominently displayed during two online resource allocation games. In one game (but not the other), the recipient could choose to reciprocate. Results from both games showed that the more central religion was in participants’ lives, the more of the bonus they shared, regardless of whether they were giving to atheists or Christians. Furthermore, this effect was most clearly related to self-reported frequency of “thinking about religious ideas” rather than belief in God or religious practice/experience. Our findings provide evidence of generalized religious prosociality and illuminate its basis.

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Collective Religiosity and the Gender Gap in Attitudes towards Economic Redistribution in 86 Countries, 1990-2008

Antonio Jaime-Castillo et al.

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the relationship between gender and the demand for redistribution? Because, on average, women face more economic deprivation than men, in many countries women favor redistribution more than men. However, this is not the case in a number of other countries, where women do not support redistribution more than men. To explain this cross-national paradox, we stress the role of collective religiosity. In many religions, theological principles both militate against public policies designed to redistribute income, and also promote traditionally gendered patterns of work and family involvement. Hence, we hypothesize that, in those countries where religion remains influential either through closer church-state ties or an intensely religious population, men and women should differ less in their attitudes towards redistribution. Drawing upon the World Values Survey, we estimate three-level regression models that test our religiosity-based approach and two alternative explanations in 86 countries and 175 country-years. The results are consistent with our hypothesis. Moreover, in further support of our theoretical approach, societal religiosity undermines pro-redistribution preferences more among women than men. Our findings suggest that collective religiosity matters more to the gender gap in redistributive attitudes than traditional political and labor force factors.

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“Once the Jews have been Expelled”: Intent and Interpretation in Late Medieval Canon Law

Rowan Dorin

Law and History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sometime in early 1434, two northern Italian counts, Francesco Pico della Mirandola and his brother Giovanni, sent a letter to Pope Eugene IV (r. 1431–47). Out of concern for their subjects, who had long suffered from a shortage of credit, Francesco and Giovanni had allowed some Jews to settle in their lands and lend at interest. In addition, the brothers had rented a house to these Jews for the purpose of moneylending. At the time, the noblemen stressed, they had not believed their actions to be unlawful. They had since come to fear, however, that they had inadvertently brought automatic excommunication upon themselves by violating the provisions of Usurarum voraginem, a decree first issued at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274 that called on secular and religious authorities to refuse lodging to foreign usurers and, in addition, to expel such usurers from their lands. The brothers' uncertainty, the petition noted, reflected the varied opinions of contemporary jurists (presumably those at Bologna, a mere 60 kilometers away), who disagreed on whether the decree was to be understood in reference to Jewish as well as Christian moneylenders. Deciding to err on the side of caution, the brothers petitioned the Holy Father to grant them absolution, if they had indeed incurred ecclesiastical censure through their actions. In addition, they asked to be granted a dispensation allowing the Jews to remain in their lands, so as to spare their subjects from even greater economic misfortune.

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When every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell: The relationship between religious fundamentalism and creativity

Mona Medhat Gad El-Haq, Hadia Hamdy Abdelaziz & Ahmed Amin Mohamed

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 163–167

Abstract:
In spite of its importance, religious individual level differences have not received sufficient attention in the creativity literature. This study investigates the relationship between religious fundamentalism and individual creativity. It also examines the mediating role of need for cognition in this relationship. A sample of 272 Egyptian undergraduate students completed a questionnaire measuring their religious fundamentalism and need for cognition levels. To measure creativity, participants were asked to name creative methods for using a brick and a paperclip. Hierarchical multiple regression, Sobel test, and structural equation modeling confirmed that religious fundamentalism is negatively related to creativity, and that need for cognition partially mediates this relationship.

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God in the Barrio?: The Determinants of Religiosity and Civic Engagement among Latinos in the United States

Sarah Allen Gershon, Adrian Pantoja & Benjamin Taylor

Politics and Religion, March 2016, Pages 84-110

Abstract:
It is often assumed that Latinos in the United States are deeply religious, and that this religious identity plays an important role in shaping their political beliefs and behaviors. A more controversial though unexplored proposition is that Latinos may not be as religious as is commonly believed and that forces beyond their religiosity play more prominent roles in shaping their political engagement. Relying on data from the 2006 Latino National Survey, we examine secularism — measured by church attendance — and civic engagement among Latinos. Our efforts are to analyze the social forces that shape levels of religiosity and find that generational status plays a significant role. Additionally, we further find that while church attendance declines among later generations, second and third generation Latinos have higher levels of civic engagement than their first generation peers, indicating that a decline in church participation does not depress political participation among later generations of Latinos.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Business decisions

Local Happiness and Firm Behavior: Do Firms in Happy Places Invest More?

Tuugi Chuluun & Carol Graham

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, May 2016, Pages 41–56

Abstract:
We examine a previously unexplored relationship between local happiness and firm investment. We looked at investment in general and R&D intensity in particular, as the relatively intangible nature of the latter may make it more subject to the effects of sentiment and affect. We find that average local happiness is positively correlated with both R&D intensity and firm investment, after controlling for firm and local area characteristics. This positive relationship may be due to the optimism and longer term perspectives that are typically associated with higher levels of life satisfaction/happiness. We also look at inequality in happiness levels and find that the effect of local happiness is stronger in places with more equal happiness distributions. Younger firms’ investment behavior is also more strongly correlated with local happiness levels. The results remain robust to a battery of robustness tests including the use of residual and hedonic measures of happiness, analysis of a sample of relocated firms, and a test for reverse causality.

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Commuting with a Plan: How Goal-Directed Prospection Can Offset the Strain of Commuting

Jon Jachimowicz et al.

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
To get to work, employees need to commute. Across the globe, the average commute is 38 minutes each way per day. It is well known that longer commutes have negative effects on employees’ well-being and job-related outcomes. Yet, commuting may not similarly affect all employees, since some of them may naturally engage in behaviors to offset the negative effects of longer commutes. Drawing on psychological research on self-control, we theorize how engaging in future-oriented thinking about the tasks to complete during the workday (i.e., goal-directed prospection) while commuting to work influences work outcomes. Across two field studies and one field experiment, we find that individuals higher in trait self-control are less likely to report negative effects of longer commutes. While commuting, individuals with higher trait self-control engage in goal-directed prospection, partially offsetting the strain of commuting. In a field experiment, individuals asked to engage in goal-directed prospecting during commuting reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of emotional exhaustion. Although commuting is typically seen as the least desirable part of an employee’s day, our theory and results point to the benefits of viewing it as a useful time period to engage in goal-directed prospection.

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Mutual Fund Transparency and Corporate Myopia

Vikas Agarwal, Rahul Vashishtha & Mohan Venkatachalam

Duke University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Pressure from institutional money managers to generate profits in the short run is often blamed for corporate myopia. Theoretical research suggests that money managers’ short term focus stems from their career concerns and greater fund transparency can amplify these concerns. Using a difference-in-differences design around a regulatory shock that increased transparency about fund managers’ portfolio choices, we examine whether increased transparency encourages myopic corporate investment behavior. We find that corporate innovation declines following the regulatory shock. Moreover, evidence from mutual fund trading behavior corroborates that these results are driven by increased short-term focus of money managers.

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The Making of a Manager: Evidence from Military Officer Training

Erik Grönqvist & Erik Lindqvist

Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that officer training during the Swedish military service has a strong positive effect on the probability of attaining a managerial position later in life. The most intense type of officer training increases the probability of becoming a civilian manager by about 5 percentage points, or 75 percent. Officer training also increases educational attainment post-military service. We argue that the effect on civilian leadership could be due to acquisition of leadership specific skills during the military service, and present suggestive evidence related to alternative mechanisms, such as signaling, networks, and training unrelated to leadership.

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Is Consistently Unfair Better than Sporadically Fair? An Investigation of Justice Variability and Stress

Fadel Matta et al.

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on organizational justice has predominantly focused on between-individual differences in average levels of fair treatment experienced by employees. Recently, researchers have also demonstrated the importance of considering dynamic, within-individual fluctuations in fair treatment experienced by employees over time. Drawing on uncertainty management theory, we merge these two streams of research and introduce the concept of justice variability, which captures between-person differences in the stability of fairness over time. Contrary to the intuitive notion that more fairness is always better, our work shows that being treated consistently unfairly can be better for employees than being treated fairly sometimes and unfairly other times. Specifically, in a lab study, variably fair treatment resulted in greater physiological stress than both consistently fair and consistently unfair treatment. In a multi-level, experience-sampling field study, we replicated the positive association between justice variability and stress, and we also showed that justice variability exacerbated the positive, daily relationship between general workplace uncertainty and stress. Moreover, daily stress mediated the effects of justice variability on daily job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion. Finally, we showed that supervisors with more self-control tended to be less variable in their fair treatment over time.

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Effects of Unionization on Workplace-Safety Enforcement: Regression-Discontinuity Evidence

Aaron Sojourner & Jooyoung Yang

University of Minnesota Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
We study how union certification affects the enforcement of workplace-safety laws. To generate credible causal estimates, a regression discontinuity design compares outcomes in establishments where unions barely won representation elections to outcomes in establishments where union barely lost such elections. The study combines two main datasets: the census of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation elections and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) enforcement database since 1985. There is evidence of positive effects of union certification on establishment's rate of OSHA inspection, the share of inspections carried out in the presence of a labor representative, violations cited, and penalties assessed.

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How Do Employees Fare in Leveraged Buyouts? Evidence from Workplace Safety Records

Jonathan Cohn, Nicole Nestoriak & Malcolm Wardlaw

University of Texas Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies the impact of leveraged buyouts (LBOs) on workplace injury risk. Injury rates decrease substantially after LBOs of public firms, both in absolute terms and relative to controls. These changes persist for several years post-buyout. Cross-sectional analysis suggests that alleviation of public market pressure to behave myopically contributes to the decrease in injury risk after LBOs of public firms. The reduction in injury risk, for which employees demand a compensating wage differential, may partly explain the recently-documented fall in employee earnings after public firm LBOs. Injury rates increase after LBOs of private firms, though from substantially lower pre-LBO levels.

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Founder CEOs and Innovation: Evidence from S&P 500 Firms

Joon Mahn Lee, Jongsoo Kim & Joonhyung Bae

Purdue University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Using a novel data set on founder CEOs in S&P 500 firms for the period from 1993 to 2003, this paper investigates the relationship between founder CEOs and innovation. While entrepreneurs as individuals have long been considered change agents, it is not clear whether entrepreneurs as managers of large organizations may facilitate organizations’ innovation performance. Our main results show that the existence of a founder CEO is correlated with a 31 percent increase in the citation-weighted patent count before we control for R&D spending and a 23 percent increase in the citation-weighted patent count after we control for R&D spending, suggesting that founder CEOs are more effective and efficient innovators than professional CEOs. As boundary conditions of the relationship, we find that the positive effect of founder CEOs on innovation is stronger in more competitive and innovative industries. Furthermore, our results suggest that founder CEOs are more likely to take their firms in a new technological direction. Finally, we provide evidence that the innovations of founder CEO-managed firms create more financial value than the innovations of professional CEO-managed firms. Our findings are particularly convincing because the results are consistent across various robustness checks that control for potential selection issues and other endogeneity concerns.

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Employee Recognition and Performance: A Field Experiment

Christiane Bradler et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper reports the results from a controlled field experiment designed to investigate the causal effect of unannounced, public recognition on employee performance. We hired more than 300 employees to work on a three-hour data-entry task. In a random sample of work groups, workers unexpectedly received recognition after two hours of work. We find that recognition increases subsequent performance substantially, and particularly when recognition is exclusively provided to the best performers. Remarkably, workers who did not receive recognition are mainly responsible for this performance increase. Our results are consistent with workers having a preference for conformity and being reciprocal at the same time.

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How to Save a Leaky Ship: Capability Traps and the Failure of Win-Win Investments in Sustainability and Social Responsibility

John Lyneis & John Sterman

Academy of Management Discoveries, March 2016, Pages 7-32

Abstract:
Can managers enhance social responsibility while also improving profitability? Research demonstrates that there are "win-win" investments that improve both socially desirable outcomes and the bottom line, from energy and the environment to wages and workplace safety. Yet many such opportunities are not taken — money is left on the table. Here we explore this puzzle using the case of energy efficiency in a large research university, a setting that should favor implementation of win-win actions. However, despite a long time horizon, large endowment and pro-social mission, the university failed to implement many programs offering both large environmental and financial benefits. Using ethnographic field study and panel regression we develop a novel simulation model integrating energy use, maintenance, and facilities renewal. We find that the organization inadvertently fell into a capability trap in which poor performance prevented investments in win-win opportunities and the capabilities needed to realize them, perpetuating poor performance. Escaping the trap requires investments large enough and sustained long enough to cross tipping thresholds that convert the vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle of better performance, greater investment and still better performance. We discuss how the organization is escaping from the trap and whether the results generalize to other contexts.

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Why do firms use high discount rates?

Ravi Jagannathan et al.

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present evidence consistent with operational constraints leading firms to use high discount rates that average twice the firms’ cost of financial capital. Based on a survey of Chief Financial Officers matched to archival data, we find that firms with abundant access to capital but limited qualified management or manpower appear to forgo profitable projects in preparation for more profitable future investment opportunities. Consistent with this explanation, firms that use high discount rates have strong balance sheets, low leverage, and large cash holdings. In addition, firms appear to increase discount rates to account for idiosyncratic risk.

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Captive Finance and Firm’s Competitiveness

Andriy Bodnaruk, William O’Brien & Andrei Simonov

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effects of establishment of a captive finance subsidiary on parent firm’s competitiveness. Firms with captives have higher profitability, larger market share, lower volatility of sales, and maintain lower cash balances. Following the establishment of a captive, a firm’s profitability and its industry market share gradually increase, but it takes about four years to become economically relevant. Stock returns of companies with captive finance subsidiaries correlate more with finance industry returns than stock returns of companies without captives. We estimate that captives generate about 17% of parents’ net income. Thus, significant part of profits of the largest US industrial corporations comes from what in essence are financial services.

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Going Entrepreneurial? IPOs and New Firm Creation

Tania Babina, Paige Parker Ouimet & Rebecca Zarutskie

University of North Carolina Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Using matched employee-employer data from the US Census, we examine the impact of a successful initial public offering (IPO) on a firm's existing employees and their future career choices. Using an instrumental variables strategy, we find strong evidence that going public induces employees to depart for start-ups. Moreover, this result is specific to start-ups. We find no change in the rate of employee departures to established firms. We suggest and find evidence consistent with two non-mutually exclusive mechanisms which can explain this pattern. First, following an IPO, many employees who received large stock grants in the past are able to cash out. This shock to employee wealth may allow employees to better tolerate the risks associated with joining a start-up. Alternatively, employees may leave following an undesirable cultural change following the IPO. Our results suggest that the recent secular decline in IPO activity and new firm creation in the U.S. may be causally linked. The recent decline in IPOs means fewer workers move to startups, decreasing overall new firm creation in the economy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Think about it

Angry expressions induce extensive processing of persuasive appeals

Jimmy Calanchini, Wesley Moons & Diane Mackie

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 88–98

Abstract:
Persuasive appeals sometimes include expressions of anger in an attempt to influence message recipients' thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. The current research investigated how angry expressions change the way in which a persuasive appeal is considered. In five experiments, participants reported more favorable attitudes towards strong than weak appeals attributed to sources expressing anger, indicating careful processing of those appeals. However, participants reported equally favorable attitudes towards appeals attributed to sources expressing other emotions, indicating a lack of careful processing. Angry expressions induced extensive processing even in those not dispositionally inclined to do so, and also influenced attitudes towards issues related to, but not specifically addressed in, the appeal. Mediation and causal-chain analyses indicate that extensive processing was induced by the threat signaled by angry expressions.

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The SPOT Effect: People Spontaneously Prefer Their Own Theories

Aiden Gregg, Nikhila Mahadevan & Constantine Sedikides

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often exhibit confirmation bias: they process information bearing on the truth of their theories in a way that facilitates their continuing to regard those theories as true. Here, we tested whether confirmation bias would emerge even under the most minimal of conditions. Specifically, we tested whether drawing a nominal link between the self and a theory would suffice to bias people towards regarding that theory as true. If, all else equal, people regard the self as good (i.e., engage in self-enhancement), and good theories are true (in accord with their intended function), then people should regard their own theories as true; otherwise put, they should manifest a Spontaneous Preference for their Own Theories (i.e., a SPOT effect). In three experiments, participants were introduced to a theory about which of two imaginary alien species preyed upon the other. Participants then considered in turn several items of evidence bearing on the theory, and each time evaluated the likelihood that the theory was true versus false. As hypothesized, participants regarded the theory as more likely to be true when it was arbitrarily ascribed to them as opposed to an “Alex” (Experiment 1) or to no one (Experiment 2). We also found that the SPOT effect failed to converge with four different indices of self-enhancement (Experiment 3), suggesting it may be distinctive in character.

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The role of magical thinking in forecasting the future

Olga Stavrova & Andrea Meckel

British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the role of magical thinking in the subjective probabilities of future chance events. In five experiments, we show that individuals tend to predict a more lucky future (reflected in probability judgements of lucky and unfortunate chance events) for someone who happened to purchase a product associated with a highly moral person than for someone who unknowingly purchased a product associated with a highly immoral person. In the former case, positive events were considered more likely than negative events, whereas in the latter case, the difference in the likelihood judgement of positive and negative events disappeared or even reversed. Our results indicate that this effect is unlikely to be driven by participants’ immanent justice beliefs, the availability heuristic, or experimenter demand. Finally, we show that individuals rely more heavily on magical thinking when their need for control is threatened, thus suggesting that lack of control represents a factor in driving magical thinking in making predictions about the future.

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Teenage Offenders' Ability to Detect Deception in Their Peers

Louise Jupe et al.

Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated the deception detection abilities of teenage offenders and teenage non-offenders who made veracity judgments about 12 videotaped interviewees and also explored the behavioural characteristics of teenage liars and truth tellers. The findings revealed that teenage offenders were significantly more accurate in their credibility judgments than teenage non-offenders. However, the offenders' impressive accuracy rates were not as a consequence of using valid cues to deceit. The feedback hypothesis helps to explain why the offenders were more accurate in their decisions: Operating within a criminal environment may mean that teenage offenders frequently lie and are lied to. Consequently, they receive more feedback than non-offenders regarding the effectiveness of their lies as well as how successful they are at detecting lies. As a result, their lie detection ability improves. The current study suggests moving away from individual deceptive cues as predictors of deceit towards a more intuitive and holistic approach to lie detection, such as the Brunswikian Lens Model.

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Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics

Colin Camerer et al.

Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The reproducibility of scientific findings has been called into question. To contribute data about reproducibility in economics, we replicate 18 studies published in the American Economic Review and the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2011-2014. All replications follow predefined analysis plans publicly posted prior to the replications, and have a statistical power of at least 90% to detect the original effect size at the 5% significance level. We find a significant effect in the same direction as the original study for 11 replications (61%); on average the replicated effect size is 66% of the original. The reproducibility rate varies between 67% and 78% for four additional reproducibility indicators, including a prediction market measure of peer beliefs.

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The Overestimation Phenomenon in a Skill-Based Gaming Context: The Case of March Madness Pools

Dae Hee Kwak

Journal of Gambling Studies, March 2016, Pages 107-123

Abstract:
Over 100 million people are estimated to take part in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship bracket contests. However, relatively little is known about consumer behavior in skill-based gaming situations (e.g., sports betting). In two studies, we investigated the overestimation phenomenon in the “March Madness” context. In Study 1 (N = 81), we found that individuals who were allowed to make their own predictions were significantly more optimistic about their performance than individuals who did not make their own selections. In Study 2 (N = 197), all subjects participated in a mock competitive bracket pool. In line with the illusion of control theory, results showed that higher self-ratings of probability of winning significantly increased maximum willingness to wager but did not improve actual performance. Lastly, perceptions of high probability of winning significantly contributed to consumers’ enjoyment and willingness to participate in a bracket pool in the future.

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Paranormal psychic believers and skeptics: A large-scale test of the cognitive differences hypothesis

Stephen Gray & David Gallo

Memory & Cognition, February 2016, Pages 242-261

Abstract:
Belief in paranormal psychic phenomena is widespread in the United States, with over a third of the population believing in extrasensory perception (ESP). Why do some people believe, while others are skeptical? According to the cognitive differences hypothesis, individual differences in the way people process information about the world can contribute to the creation of psychic beliefs, such as differences in memory accuracy (e.g., selectively remembering a fortune teller’s correct predictions) or analytical thinking (e.g., relying on intuition rather than scrutinizing evidence). While this hypothesis is prevalent in the literature, few have attempted to empirically test it. Here, we provided the most comprehensive test of the cognitive differences hypothesis to date. In 3 studies, we used online screening to recruit groups of strong believers and strong skeptics, matched on key demographics (age, sex, and years of education). These groups were then tested in laboratory and online settings using multiple cognitive tasks and other measures. Our cognitive testing showed that there were no consistent group differences on tasks of episodic memory distortion, autobiographical memory distortion, or working memory capacity, but skeptics consistently outperformed believers on several tasks tapping analytical or logical thinking as well as vocabulary. These findings demonstrate cognitive similarities and differences between these groups and suggest that differences in analytical thinking and conceptual knowledge might contribute to the development of psychic beliefs. We also found that psychic belief was associated with greater life satisfaction, demonstrating benefits associated with psychic beliefs and highlighting the role of both cognitive and noncognitive factors in understanding these individual differences.

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Economic irrationality is optimal during noisy decision making

Konstantinos Tsetsos et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to normative theories, reward-maximizing agents should have consistent preferences. Thus, when faced with alternatives A, B, and C, an individual preferring A to B and B to C should prefer A to C. However, it has been widely argued that humans can incur losses by violating this axiom of transitivity, despite strong evolutionary pressure for reward-maximizing choices. Here, adopting a biologically plausible computational framework, we show that intransitive (and thus economically irrational) choices paradoxically improve accuracy (and subsequent economic rewards) when decision formation is corrupted by internal neural noise. Over three experiments, we show that humans accumulate evidence over time using a “selective integration” policy that discards information about alternatives with momentarily lower value. This policy predicts violations of the axiom of transitivity when three equally valued alternatives differ circularly in their number of winning samples. We confirm this prediction in a fourth experiment reporting significant violations of weak stochastic transitivity in human observers. Crucially, we show that relying on selective integration protects choices against “late” noise that otherwise corrupts decision formation beyond the sensory stage. Indeed, we report that individuals with higher late noise relied more strongly on selective integration. These findings suggest that violations of rational choice theory reflect adaptive computations that have evolved in response to irreducible noise during neural information processing.

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Default-Switching: The Hidden Cost of Defaults

Jon Jachimowicz, Shannon Duncan & Elke Weber

Columbia University Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We examine when and why choice defaults fail to work. One obvious situation is the one where the default option does not match the decision maker's preference. Less obviously, when defaults reduce perceived choice autonomy, decision makers may switch away from a choice default option even when it matches their preferences. We present evidence from a meta-analysis of existing default studies and four lab experiments to provide evidence for the existence of and potential causes for such default-switching. We show that designing default implementations that retain higher perceived decision-making autonomy can help align decision makers' choices with their preferences.

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Insight solutions are correct more often than analytic solutions

Carola Salvi et al.

Thinking & Reasoning, forthcoming

Abstract:
How accurate are insights compared to analytical solutions? In four experiments, we investigated how participants' solving strategies influenced their solution accuracies across different types of problems, including one that was linguistic, one that was visual and two that were mixed visual-linguistic. In each experiment, participants' self-judged insight solutions were, on average, more accurate than their analytic ones. We hypothesised that insight solutions have superior accuracy because they emerge into consciousness in an all-or-nothing fashion when the unconscious solving process is complete, whereas analytic solutions can be guesses based on conscious, prematurely terminated, processing. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that participants' analytic solutions included relatively more incorrect responses (i.e., errors of commission) than timeouts (i.e., errors of omission) compared to their insight responses.

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Using alien coins to test whether simple inference is Bayesian

Peter Cassey et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, March 2016, Pages 497-503

Abstract:
Reasoning and inference are well-studied aspects of basic cognition that have been explained as statistically optimal Bayesian inference. Using a simplified experimental design, we conducted quantitative comparisons between Bayesian inference and human inference at the level of individuals. In 3 experiments, with more than 13,000 participants, we asked people for prior and posterior inferences about the probability that 1 of 2 coins would generate certain outcomes. Most participants’ inferences were inconsistent with Bayes’ rule. Only in the simplest version of the task did the majority of participants adhere to Bayes’ rule, but even in that case, there was a significant proportion that failed to do so. The current results highlight the importance of close quantitative comparisons between Bayesian inference and human data at the individual-subject level when evaluating models of cognition.

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Are Choosers Losers? The Propensity to Under-Delegate in the Face of Potential Gains and Losses

Sebastian Bobadilla-Suarez, Cass Sunstein & Tali Sharot

University College London Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Human beings are often faced with a pervasive problem: whether to make their own decisions or to delegate decision tasks to someone else. Here, we test whether people are inclined to forgo monetary rewards in order to retain agency when faced with choices that could lead to losses and gains. In a simple choice task, we show that even though participants have all the information needed to maximize rewards and minimize losses, they choose to pay in order to control their own payoff. This tendency cannot be explained by participants’ overconfidence in their own ability, as their perceived ability was elicited and accounted for. Rather, the results reflect an intrinsic value for choice, which emerges in the domain of both gains and losses. Moreover, our data indicates that participants are aware that they are making suboptimal choices in the normative sense, but do so anyway, presumably for psychological gains.

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High-Choice Revisited: An Experimental Analysis of the Dynamics of News Selection Behavior in High-Choice Media Environments

Elliot Panek

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Explosive growth in the number of options prompts media researchers to consider how selection behavior changes under higher choice conditions. Two experiments demonstrate that choice environments offering options in smaller sets lead users to be more likely to select news content, in particular “hard news” content. A third study incorporates theories of information processing to explain the observed effects of choice environment. The study provides evidence that smaller sets of options lead users to compare the merits of each option, whereas larger sets of options prompt users to quickly scan the environment for an acceptable option.

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Uncovering Uncertainty through Disagreement

Susannah Paletz, Joel Chan & Christian Schunn

Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explored the association between different types of brief disagreements and subsequent levels of expressed psychological uncertainty, a fundamental cognitive aspect of complex problem solving. We examined 11 hours (11 861 utterances) of conversations in expert science teams, sampled across the first 90 days of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Utterances were independently coded for micro-conflicts and expressed psychological uncertainty. Using time-lagged hierarchical linear modeling applied to blocks of 25 utterances, we found that micro-conflicts regarding rover planning were followed by greater uncertainty. Brief disagreements about science issues were followed by an increase in expressed uncertainty early in the mission. Examining the potential reverse temporal association, uncertainty actually predicted fewer subsequent disagreements, ruling out indirect, third variable associations of conflict and uncertainty. Overall, these findings suggest that some forms of disagreement may serve to uncover important areas of uncertainty in complex teamwork, perhaps via revealing differences in mental models.

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Accountability Systems and Group Norms: Balancing the Risks of Mindless Conformity and Reckless Deviation

Shefali Patil, Philip Tetlock & Barbara Mellers

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
In dynamic task environments, decision makers are vulnerable to two types of errors: sticking too closely to the rules (excessive conformity) or straying too far from them (excessive deviation). We explore the effects of process and outcome accountability on the susceptibility to these errors. Using a multiple-cue probability-learning task, we show that process accountability encourages conformity errors and outcome accountability promotes deviation errors. Two additional studies explore the moderating effects of self-focused and other-focused group norms. Self-focused norms reduce the effect of process accountability on excessive conformity. Other-focused norms reduce the effect of outcome accountability on excessive deviation. Our results qualify prevailing claims about the benefits of process over outcome accountability and show that those benefits hinge on prevailing group norms, on the effectiveness of prescribed decision rules, and on the amount of irreducible uncertainty in the prediction task.

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The Technology Effect: How Perceptions of Technology Drive Excessive Optimism

Brent Clark, Christopher Robert & Stephen Hampton

Journal of Business and Psychology, March 2016, Pages 87-102

Purpose: We propose that constant exposure to advances in technology has resulted in an implicit association between technology and success that has conditioned decision makers to be overly optimistic about the potential for technology to drive successful outcomes. Three studies examine this phenomenon and explore the boundaries of this “technology effect.”

Design/Methodology/Approach: In Study 1, participants (N = 147) made simulated investment decisions where the information about technology was systematically varied. In Study 2 (N = 143), participants made decisions in a resource dilemma where technology was implicated in determining the amount of a resource available for harvest. Study 3 (N = 53 and N = 60) used two implicit association tests to examine the assumption that people associate technology with success.

Findings: Results supported our assumption about an implicit association between technology and success, as well as a “technology effect” bias in decision making. Signals of high performance trigger the effect, and the effect is more likely when the technology invoked is unfamiliar.

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Meaning Through Fiction: Science Fiction and Innovative Technologies

Markus Appel et al.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Connecting philosophical and psychological theories on meaning to theories and findings on the real-world influence of fictional stories, the authors argue that science fiction provides meaning for otherwise disconcerting new technologies. An experiment with two points of measurement was conducted. After watching a full-length movie with a humanoid robot in a main role (vs. a control film condition), participants had a clearer understanding of humanoids. This, in turn, was related to a stronger link between the concept of humanoid robots and the self, which predicted a higher willingness to buy or use humanoid robot technology. The results remained stable after a 2-week postexposure delay. Implications regarding the meaning-generating function of fiction, science fiction, and humanoid robots are discussed.

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Are you convinced? A Wizard of Oz study to test emotional vs. rational persuasion strategies in dialogues

Rachel Adler, Francisco Iacobelli & Yehuda Gutstein

Computers in Human Behavior, April 2016, Pages 75–81

Abstract:
This research explores ideal methods of persuasion through computer-mediated dialogue. We attempt to identify which persuasive strategy is most successful. We designed a Wizard of Oz laboratory experiment, where participants interact with a human wizard via a custom-developed web-based chat interface. The wizard attempted to persuade participants to learn more about Tai Chi using the following persuasive strategies: Emotional Positive, Emotional Negative, Rational Positive, and Rational Negative. Based on the results of the pre- and post-chat questionnaire, participants’ interest in learning Tai Chi was significantly greater after completing the dialogue and 69% percent of the participants printed a flyer to receive more information. Furthermore, conversations using the Emotional Positive strategies resulted in more successful persuasion than rational ones. The results of our study suggest that Emotional Positive strategies may be the most effective. We also suggest successful strategies as a design guideline for autonomous dialogue systems for persuasion.

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Wanting a Bird’s Eye to Understand Why: Motivated Abstraction and Causal Uncertainty

Jae-Eun Namkoong & Marlone Henderson

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 57–71

Abstract:
When negative events occur (e.g., a breakup, a mass shooting), people naturally ask themselves why such things happen. Recent research has shown that more abstract thinking about negative events fosters less uncertainty about why those events happened. The present research examined a downstream consequence of this effect, namely, whether causal uncertainty activates a goal to think more abstractly. We drew on principles of goal activation, to show that after leading participants to feel more uncertain about a negative event, they were more likely to resume an experience that afforded an opportunity to think more abstractly (i.e., focusing on similarities rather than differences; Experiment 1A and 1B). In further support of our motivational framework, we also show that after leading participants to feel more uncertain about a negative event, they no longer exhibited a more positive attitude towards an experience that afforded an opportunity to think more abstractly once they had the opportunity to actually engage in more abstract thinking (Experiment 2). Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, March 7, 2016

Welcoming

From Patrick to John F.: Ethnic Names and Occupational Success in the Last Era of Mass Migration

Joshua Goldstein & Guy Stecklov

American Sociological Review, February 2016, Pages 85-106

Abstract:
Taking advantage of historical census records that include full first and last names, we apply a new approach to measuring the effect of cultural assimilation on economic success for the children of the last great wave of immigrants to the United States. We created a quantitative index of ethnic distinctiveness of first names and show the consequences of ethnic-sounding names for the occupational achievement of the adult children of European immigrants. We find a consistent tendency for the children of Irish, Italian, German, and Polish immigrants with more “American”-sounding names to have higher occupational achievement. About one-third of this effect appears to be due to social class differences in name-giving, and the remaining two-thirds to signaling effects of the names themselves. An exception is found for Russian, predominantly Jewish, immigrants, where we find a positive effect of ethnic naming on occupational achievement. The divergent effects of our new measure of cultural assimilation, sometimes hurting and sometimes helping, lend historical empirical support to more recent theories of the advantages of different paths to assimilation. The effects of ethnic first names are also found for a restricted analysis of recognizably ethnic last names, suggesting that immigrants’ success depended on being perceived as making an effort to assimilate rather than hiding their origins.

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When Threat Mobilizes: Immigration Enforcement and Latino Voter Turnout

Ariel White

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigration enforcement, and deportation in particular, has been shown to have social and psychological effects on the non-deported as well, but its political effects have gone largely unexamined. I use the staggered implementation of Secure Communities, an information-sharing program between the federal government and local law enforcement, to estimate the short-term effects of stricter immigration enforcement on Latino voter turnout. A difference-in-differences analysis indicates that enrollment in Secure Communities led to an increase in county-level Latino voter turnout of 2–3 percentage points. This relatively large effect appears due to greater Latino activism in the wake of program implementation, rather than individuals responding to particular police interactions. These results extend the existing literature on mobilization in response to threat, demonstrate that policies can have far-reaching and unexpected political implications, and suggest that the current immigration debate may have major consequences for the future makeup of the American electorate.

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Enhanced Citizenship Verification and Children's Medicaid Coverage

James Marton, Angela Snyder & Mei Zhou

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines a potential unintended consequence of the mandated Medicaid citizenship verification requirements of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act (DRA). We investigate whether or not these new rules led to an increase in the Medicaid exit rate among enrollees using state administrative data from Georgia. We do this by comparing the exit rate for children enrolled in Medicaid whose first coverage recertification occurs just after implementation of the DRA (which we refer to as a “high impact” first recertification) with those whose first recertification occurs just prior (which we refer to as a “low impact” first recertification). Our analysis suggests that children in the high-impact first recertification group were about 2 percentage points more likely to exit Medicaid than those in the low-impact group. Furthermore, these additional exits occurred in racial and ethnic groups more likely to be citizens than noncitizens and prereform estimates suggest that there were very few (roughly 0.10%) noncitizen Medicaid enrollees to begin with. Taken together, our results suggest that the DRA-enhanced citizenship verification rules led to an increase in Medicaid disenrollment, and thus a reduction in coverage, among citizens.

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Citizenship as Privilege and Social Identity: Implications for Psychological Distress

Gilbert Gee et al.

American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citizenship is both a system of privilege and a source of social identity. This study examines whether there are disparities in psychological distress between citizens and noncitizens, and whether these disparities may be explained by markers of social disadvantage (e.g., poverty, discrimination) or perceptions of success in the United States (i.e., subjective social status). We analyze data from the Asian subsample (n = 2,095) of the National Latino and Asian American Study. The data show that noncitizens report greater psychological distress compared with naturalized citizens and native-born citizens after accounting for sociodemographics (e.g., age, gender, Asian subgroup), socioeconomic characteristics (education, employment, income-to-poverty ratio), immigration (e.g., interview language, years in the United States, acculturative stress), health care visits, and everyday discrimination. Preliminary evidence suggests that subjective social status may explain some of the disparities between naturalized citizen and noncitizen Asian Americans.

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Immigrant Diversity and Complex Problem Solving

Abigail Cooke & Thomas Kemeny

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
In the growing literature exploring the links between immigrant diversity and worker productivity, recent evidence strongly suggests that diversity generates productivity improvements. However, even the most careful extant empirical work remains at some remove from the mechanisms that theory says underlie this relationship: interpersonal interaction in the service of complex problem solving. This paper aims to "stress-test" these theoretical foundations, by observing how the relationship between diversity and productivity varies across workers differently engaged in complex problem solving and interaction. Using a uniquely comprehensive matched employer-employee dataset for the United States between 1991 and 2008, this paper shows that growing immigrant diversity inside cities and workplaces offers much stronger benefits for workers intensively engaged in various forms of complex problem solving, including tasks involving high levels of innovation, creativity, and STEM. Moreover, such effects are considerably stronger for those whose work requires high levels of both problem solving and interaction.

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Traditions of Tolerance: The Long-Run Persistence of Regional Variation in Attitudes towards English Immigrants

David Fielding

British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article builds on existing studies of the long-run persistence of geographical variation in tolerance towards other ethnicities. Using English data, the study tests whether the persistent characteristic is an attitude towards a specific ethnic group, or is an underlying cultural trait of which the attitude towards a specific group is just one expression. It finds evidence for the latter, identifying geographical variation in anti-immigrant sentiment in the twenty-first century that is correlated with patterns of immigrant settlement in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, despite the fact that modern immigrant groups are quite different from those in the Middle Ages.

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How Do They Do It? The Immigrant Paradox in the Transition to Adulthood

Sandra Hofferth & Ui Jeong Moon

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do children of immigrants consistently outperform children of native-born U.S. parents, in spite of lower familial resources? Using the Transition to Adulthood Study of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, children of immigrant and native-born parents completing high school in 2005-13 are followed as they move into the young adult years. Children of immigrants are more likely to enroll in college, be employed or in school, and less likely to have a criminal record as young adults or to have a child than children of nonimmigrants. This is not a result of immigrant parentage but due primarily to greater parental educational expectations; immigrants enjoy a differential return to parental expectations for boys’ college enrollment as well. Reading skills and activity patterns in the secondary school years also contribute to better outcomes. Children of immigrants are better able to translate their reading comprehension skills to college or employment later on.

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Reading and Math Achievement among Low-Income Urban Latino Youth: The Role of Immigration

Katarina Guttmannova

American Journal of Education, February 2016, Pages 199-246

Abstract:
Using data from a household-based, stratified random sample of youth and their caregivers from low-income inner-city neighborhoods, this study examined the variability in the academic achievement of Latino youth. The results indicate a significant advantage in reading achievement for first- and second-generation immigrant youth, as compared to the third generation, which persisted even after controlling for important child, parenting, human capital, neighborhood, and demographic covariates. Follow-up analyses within the subsample of the first- and second-generation youth indicate that more recent arrival to the United States predicted higher reading achievement. Yet, there was no evidence of a similar immigrant advantage in math. The implications of these findings, limitations of the present study, and directions for future research are discussed.

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Early Cognitive Skills of Mexican-Origin Children: The Roles of Parental Nativity and Legal Status

Nancy Landale et al.

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although one-third of children of immigrants have undocumented parents, little is known about their early development. Using data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey and decennial census, we assessed how children’s cognitive skills at ages 3 to 5 vary by ethnicity, maternal nativity, and maternal legal status. Specifically, Mexican children of undocumented mothers were contrasted with Mexican children of documented mothers and Mexican, white, and black children with U.S.-born mothers. Mexican children of undocumented mothers had lower emergent reading skills than all other groups and lower emergent mathematics skills than all groups with U.S.-born mothers. Multilevel regression models showed that differences in reading skills are explained by aspects of the home environment, but the neighborhood context also matters. Cross-level interactions suggest that immigrant concentration boosts emergent reading and mathematics skills for children with undocumented parents, but does not similarly benefit children whose parents are native born.

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Intergenerational Persistence of Health in the U.S.: Do Immigrants Get Healthier as they Assimilate?

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel & Adriana Kugler

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
It is well known that a substantial part of income and education is passed on from parents to children, generating substantial persistence in socio-economic status across generations. In this paper, we examine whether another form of human capital, health, is also largely transmitted from generation to generation, contributing to limited socio-economic mobility. Using data from the NLSY, we first present new evidence on intergenerational transmission of health outcomes in the U.S., including weight, height, the body mass index (BMI), asthma and depression for both natives and immigrants. We show that both native and immigrant children inherit a prominent fraction of their health status from their parents, and that, on average, immigrants experience higher persistence than natives in weight and BMI. We also find that mothers’ education decreases children’s weight and BMI for natives, while single motherhood increases weight and BMI for both native and immigrant children. Finally, we find that the longer immigrants remain in the U.S., the less intergenerational persistence there is and the more immigrants look like native children. Unfortunately, the more generations immigrant families remain in the U.S., the more children of immigrants resemble natives’ higher weights, higher BMI and increased propensity to suffer from asthma.

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Acculturation and Diabetes Risk in the Mexican American Mano a Mano Cohort

Chelsea Anderson et al.

American Journal of Public Health, March 2016, Pages 547-549

Objectives: To investigate the association between acculturation and diabetes risk in the Mexican American Mano a Mano (hand to hand) Cohort.

Methods: We recruited 15 975 men and women in the Houston, Texas, area from 2001 to 2014. We used language use, birth country, and duration of US residence (among Mexico-born) to assess acculturation. Participants self-reported a physician’s diagnosis of diabetes during annual follow-up over an average of 5.4 (range = 1–13) years. Self-reported diabetes status was validated in medical records for a subset of 235 participants with 98% agreement.

Results: Diabetes risk was higher among immigrants with 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 or more years (relative risk = 1.47; 95% confidence interval = 1.07, 2.01) of US residence, relative to those with less than 5 years. Neither language acculturation nor birth country was significantly associated with diabetes risk.

Conclusions: Among participants born in Mexico, diabetes risk increased with longer duration of US residence.

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An “immigrant paradox” for adolescent externalizing behavior? Evidence from a national sample

Christopher Salas-Wright et al.

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, January 2016, Pages 27-37

Purpose: Recent decades have witnessed a rise in the number of immigrant children in the United States (US) and concomitant concerns regarding externalizing behaviors such as crime, violence, and drug misuse by immigrant adolescents. The objective of the present study was to systematically compare the prevalence of externalizing behaviors and migration-related factors among immigrant and US-born adolescents in the US.

Method: Data on 12 to 17 year olds (Weighted N in thousands = 25,057) from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) R-DAS between 2002 and 2009 were used. The R-DAS online analytic software was employed. Prevalence estimates and 95 % confidence intervals were calculated adjusting for the complex survey sampling design.

Results: Compared to their US-born counterparts, immigrant adolescents — particularly those between the ages of 15 and 17 years — are significantly less likely to be involved in externalizing behaviors. In addition, later age of arrival and fewer years spent in the US were associated with reduced odds of externalizing behavior. Supplementary analyses indicate that the link between nativity and externalizing behavior may be primarily driven by differences between US-born and immigrant youth who self-identify as non-Hispanic black or Hispanic. Immigrant adolescents are also more likely to report cohesive parental relationships, positive school engagement, and disapproving views with respect to adolescent substance use.

Conclusions: This study extends prior research on the “immigrant paradox” to externalizing behavior among adolescents using a nationally representative data source. Findings highlight the importance of examining age, age of arrival, duration, and race/ethnicity in the study of nativity and externalizing.

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Rolling off the Tongue into the Top-of-the-Head: Explaining Language Effects on Public Opinion

Efrén Pérez

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Growing evidence shows that mass opinion varies by interview language, yet modest theory exists to explain this result. I propose a framework where language impacts survey response by making some political concepts more mentally accessible. I claim that concepts vary by how associated they are with certain languages, which means people are more likely to acquire a construct when it is tied to the tongue one speaks. Hence, recalling concepts from memory should be easier when the language a construct is linked to matches the tongue one interviews in, thereby intensifying people’s opinions. I test my theory by manipulating the interview language in two U.S. surveys of English/Spanish bilingual Latino adults. I generally find that language influences the accessibility of concepts. For example, subjects report higher opinion levels for concepts that are tied more to their interview language, such as American identity among English interviewees. Subjects who interview in English are also less likely to refuse completing items measuring knowledge about U.S. politics, and more likely to answer them quickly. Items reflecting constructs that are highly labile (e.g. anti-Obama affect) or very crystallized (e.g., partisanship) do not display these patterns. I then rule out that language effects are mostly mediated by a heightened sense of anxiety, anger, pride or efficacy that emerges when bilingual subjects interview in one of their languages.

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I Don't Like You Because You're Hard to Understand: The Role of Processing Fluency in the Language Attitudes Process

Marko Dragojevic & Howard Giles

Human Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments examined the effects of processing fluency — that is, the ease with which speech is processed — on language attitudes toward native- and foreign-accented speech. Participants listened to an audio recording of a story read in either a Standard American English (SAE) or Punjabi English (PE) accent. They heard the recording either free of noise or mixed with background white noise of various intensity levels. Listeners attributed more solidarity (but equal status) to the SAE than the PE accent. Compared to quieter listening conditions, noisier conditions reduced processing fluency, elicited a more negative affective reaction, and resulted in more negative language attitudes. Processing fluency and affect mediated the effects of noise on language attitudes. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications are discussed.

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The Complexity of Immigrant Generations: Implications for Assessing the Socioeconomic Integration of Hispanics and Asians

Brian Duncan & Stephen Trejo

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Because of data limitations, virtually all studies of the later-generation descendants of immigrants rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification rather than arguably more objective measures based on the countries of birth of the respondent and his ancestors. In this context, biases can arise from “ethnic attrition” (e.g., U.S.-born individuals who do not self-identify as Hispanic despite having ancestors who were immigrants from a Spanish-speaking country). Analyzing 2003-2013 data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), this study shows that such ethnic attrition is sizeable and selective for the second- and third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian national origin groups. In addition, the results indicate that ethnic attrition generates measurement biases that vary across groups in direction as well as magnitude, and that correcting for these biases is likely to raise the socioeconomic standing of the U.S.-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts.

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Solving the Border Control Problem: Evidence of Enhanced Face Matching in Individuals with Extraordinary Face Recognition Skills

Anna Katarzyna Bobak, Andrew James Dowsett & Sarah Bate

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Photographic identity documents (IDs) are commonly used despite clear evidence that unfamiliar face matching is a difficult and error-prone task. The current study set out to examine the performance of seven individuals with extraordinary face recognition memory, so called “super recognisers” (SRs), on two face matching tasks resembling border control identity checks. In Experiment 1, the SRs as a group outperformed control participants on the “Glasgow Face Matching Test”, and some case-by-case comparisons also reached significance. In Experiment 2, a perceptually difficult face matching task was used: the “Models Face Matching Test”. Once again, SRs outperformed controls both on group and mostly in case-by-case analyses. These findings suggest that SRs are considerably better at face matching than typical perceivers, and would make proficient personnel for border control agencies.

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Immigration and Crime in the New Destinations, 2000–2007: A Test of the Disorganizing Effect of Migration

Vincent Ferraro

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, March 2016, Pages 23-45

Objectives: Drawing from a social disorganization perspective, this research addresses the effect of immigration on crime within new destinations—places that have experienced significant recent growth in immigration over the last two decades.

Methods: Fixed effects regression analyses are run on a sample of n = 1252 places, including 194 new destinations, for the change in crime from 2000 to the 2005–2007 period. Data are drawn from the 2000 Decennial Census, 2005–2007 American Community Survey, and the Uniform Crime Reports. Places included in the sample had a minimum population of 20,000 as of the 2005-07 ACS. New destinations are defined as places where the foreign-born have increased by 150 % or more since 1990 and with a minimum foreign-born population of 1000 in 2007.

Results: Results indicate new destinations experienced greater declines in crime, relative to the rest of the sample. Moreover, new destinations with greater increases in foreign-born experienced greater declines in their rates of crime. Additional predictors of change in crime include change in socioeconomic disadvantage, the adult-child ratio, and population size.

Conclusions: Results fail to support a disorganization view of the effect of immigration on crime in new destinations and are more in line with the emerging community resource perspective. Limitations and suggestions for future directions are discussed.

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Securing Communities or Profits? The Effect of Federal-Local Partnerships on Immigration Enforcement

Jillian Jaeger

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Leading theories of local responses to immigration claim that ideology drives policy differences. However, these studies focus exclusively on policy adoption, neglecting whether or not ideological preferences also govern the extent to which local actors choose to cooperate with federal immigration initiatives. To account for this shortcoming, I use zero-inflated negative binomial regression to assess county-level deportations resulting from local participation in the Secure Communities program. I find that existing financial and structural resources as well as financial incentives are strong determinants of county deportation levels. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that conservative counties produce more deportations. Instead, the size of a county’s policing budget moderates the relationship between ideological orientations and deportation outcomes. With federal-local policy partnerships on the rise, these findings provide an important foundation for developing a better framework to understand the implications of such partnerships for policy implementation. In short, this article suggests that although policy adoption may be a politicized process, local compliance with federal initiatives is highly dependent on the resource constraints and incentives of the actors involved.

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Conspicuous Consumption among Hispanics: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey

Igor Ryabov

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ethnic disparities in consumption patterns (clothing, jewelry, cars, etc.) have been a focus of social research for decades, yet little attention has been paid to conspicuous consumption and the relative importance of ethnicity and social class as its determinants. In an attempt to fill in this gap and to deconstruct the monolithic category of Hispanic consumers, the present study used nationally-representative data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) to investigate the expenditure patterns of Hispanic consumer households, with a special focus on conspicuous consumption. On the theoretical plane, this study evaluated two alternative explanations of the propensity to consume conspicuous items among ethnic minority households – conspicuous consumption and compensatory consumption theories. The findings demonstrated that, as compared to other Hispanic groups, Cuban Americans tended to spend less on conspicuous items. With the exception of Cuban Americans, Hispanics residing in more affluent neighbourhoods were prone to allocate greater shares of their expenditure to conspicuous goods. We also found a positive association between sociolinguistic assimilation into Anglo culture and conspicuous consumption of Hispanic households.

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Staying in STEM or Changing Course: Do Natives and Immigrants Pursue the Path of Least Resistance?

Siqi Han

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines why Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields are becoming “immigrant” fields of study as native students shift from STEM fields to law, medicine and business. Using data from the 2010 National Survey of College Graduates, the analyses find that foreign college-educated immigrants with STEM degrees tend to remain in STEM fields, while natives are more likely to shift from STEM fields to law, medicine and business in graduate school. Among those who moved into law, medicine and business, the gains in earnings are larger for natives than for foreign educated immigrants. These results have important implications for the social mobility of highly educated natives and immigrants.

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Party Identification, Contact, Contexts, and Public Attitudes toward Illegal Immigration

Timothy Gravelle

Public Opinion Quarterly, Spring 2016, Pages 1-25

Abstract:
Illegal immigration is a contentious issue on the American policy agenda. To understand the sources of public attitudes toward immigration, social scientists have focused attention on political factors such as party identification; they have also drawn on theories of intergroup contact to argue that contact with immigrants shapes immigration attitudes. Absent direct measures, contextual measures such as respondents’ ethnic milieu or proximity to salient geographic features (such as borders) have been used as proxies of contact. Such a research strategy still leaves the question unanswered – is it contact or context that really matters? Further, which context, and for whom? This article evaluates the effects of party identification, personal contact with undocumented immigrants, and contextual measures (county Hispanic population and proximity to the US–Mexico border) on American attitudes toward illegal immigration. It finds that contextual factors moderate the effects of political party identification on attitudes toward illegal immigration; personal contact has no effect. These findings challenge the assumption that contextual measures act as proxies for interpersonal contact.

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Rights, Economics, or Family? Frame Resonance, Political Ideology, and the Immigrant Rights Movement

Irene Bloemraad, Fabiana Silva & Kim Voss

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although social movement scholars in the United States have long ignored activism over immigration, this movement raises important theoretical and empirical questions, especially given many immigrants' lack of citizenship. Is the rights “master” frame, used extensively by other US social movements, persuasive in making claims for noncitizens? If not, which other movement frames resonate with the public? We leverage survey experiments — largely the domain of political scientists and public opinion researchers — to examine how much human/citizenship rights, economics, and family framing contests shape Californians' views about legalization and immigrants' access to public benefits. We pay particular attention to how potentially distinct “publics,” or subgroups, react, finding significant differences in frame resonance between groups distinguished by political ideology. However, alternative framings resonate with — at best — one political subgroup and, dauntingly, frames that resonate with one group sometimes alienate others. While activists and political theorists may hope that human rights appeals can expand American notions of membership, such a frame does not help the movement build support for legalization. Instead, the most expansive change in legalization attitudes occurs when framed as about family unity, but this holds only among self-reported conservatives. These findings underscore the challenges confronting the immigrant movement and the need to reevaluate the assumption that historically progressive rights language is effective for immigrant claims-making.

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Out of context: The absence of geographic variation in US immigrants' perceptions of discrimination

Daniel Hopkins et al.

Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigrants' perceptions of discrimination (PD) correlate strongly with various political outcomes, including group consciousness and partisan identity. Here, we examine the hypothesis that immigrants' PD vary across US localities, as threatened responses by native-born residents may increase perceived discrimination among neighboring immigrants. We also consider the alternative hypothesis that barriers to the expression and detection of discrimination decouple native-born attitudes from immigrants' perceptions about their treatment. We test these claims by analyzing three national surveys of almost 11,000 first-generation Latino, Asian, and Muslim immigrants. The results indicate that immigrants' PD hardly vary across localities. While anti-immigrant attitudes are known to be geographically clustered, immigrants' PD prove not to be. This mismatch helps us narrow the potential causes of perceived discrimination, and it suggests the value of further research into perceived discrimination's consequences for immigrants' social and political incorporation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Heartfelt

Is Spending Money on Others Good for Your Heart?

Ashley Whillans et al.

Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Does spending money on others (prosocial spending) improve the cardiovascular health of community-dwelling older adults diagnosed with high blood pressure?

Method: In Study 1, 186 older adults diagnosed with high blood pressure participating in the Midlife in the U.S. Study (MIDUS) were examined. In Study 2, 73 older adults diagnosed with high blood pressure were assigned to spend money on others or to spend money on themselves.

Results: In Study 1, the more money people spent on others, the lower their blood pressure was 2 years later. In Study 2, participants who were assigned to spend money on others for 3 consecutive weeks subsequently exhibited lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to participants assigned to spend money on themselves. The magnitude of these effects was comparable to the effects of interventions such as antihypertensive medication or exercise.

Conclusions: Together, these findings suggest that spending money on others shapes cardiovascular health, thereby providing a pathway by which prosocial behavior improves physical health among at-risk older adults.

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Does Child Sponsorship Pay Off In Adulthood? An International Study of Impacts on Income and Wealth

Bruce Wydick, Paul Glewwe & Laine Rutledge

World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the impact of international child sponsorship on adult income and wealth of formerly sponsored children using data on 10,144 individuals in six countries. To identify causal effects, we utilize an age-eligibility rule followed from 1980 to 1992 that limited sponsorship to children twelve years old or younger when the program was introduced in a village, allowing comparisons of sponsored children with older siblings who were slightly too old to be sponsored. Estimations indicate that international child sponsorship increased monthly income by $13-17 over an untreated baseline of $75, principally from inducing higher future labor market participation. We find evidence for positive impacts on dwelling quality in adulthood and modest evidence of impacts on ownership of consumer durables in adulthood, limited to increased ownership of mobile phones. Finally, our results also show modest effects of child sponsorship on childbearing in adulthood.

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Social Heuristics and Social Roles: Intuition Favors Altruism for Women but Not for Men

David Rand et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are humans intuitively altruistic, or does altruism require self-control? A theory of social heuristics, whereby intuitive responses favor typically successful behaviors, suggests that the answer may depend on who you are. In particular, evidence suggests that women are expected to behave altruistically, and are punished for failing to be altruistic, to a much greater extent than men. Thus, women (but not men) may internalize altruism as their intuitive response. Indeed, a meta-analysis of 13 new experiments and 9 experiments from other groups found that promoting intuition relative to deliberation increased giving in a Dictator Game among women, but not among men (Study 1, N = 4,366). Furthermore, this effect was shown to be moderated by explicit sex role identification (Study 2, N = 1,831): the more women described themselves using traditionally masculine attributes (e.g., dominance, independence) relative to traditionally feminine attributes (e.g., warmth, tenderness), the more deliberation reduced their altruism. Our findings shed light on the connection between gender and altruism, and highlight the importance of social heuristics in human prosociality.

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The brain's functional network architecture reveals human motives

Grit Hein et al.

Science, 4 March 2016, Pages 1074-1078

Abstract:
Goal-directed human behaviors are driven by motives. Motives are, however, purely mental constructs that are not directly observable. Here, we show that the brain's functional network architecture captures information that predicts different motives behind the same altruistic act with high accuracy. In contrast, mere activity in these regions contains no information about motives. Empathy-based altruism is primarily characterized by a positive connectivity from the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) to the anterior insula (AI), whereas reciprocity-based altruism additionally invokes strong positive connectivity from the AI to the ACC and even stronger positive connectivity from the AI to the ventral striatum. Moreover, predominantly selfish individuals show distinct functional architectures compared to altruists, and they only increase altruistic behavior in response to empathy inductions, but not reciprocity inductions.

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Recursive Mentalizing and Common Knowledge in the Bystander Effect

Kyle Thomas et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
The more potential helpers there are, the less likely any individual is to help. A traditional explanation for this bystander effect is that responsibility diffuses across the multiple bystanders, diluting the responsibility of each. We investigate an alternative, which combines the volunteer's dilemma (each bystander is best off if another responds) with recursive theory of mind (each infers what the others know about what he knows) to predict that actors will strategically shirk when they think others feel compelled to help. In 3 experiments, participants responded to a (fictional) person who needed help from at least 1 volunteer. Participants were in groups of 2 or 5 and had varying information about whether other group members knew that help was needed. As predicted, people's decision to help zigzagged with the depth of their asymmetric, recursive knowledge (e.g., "John knows that Michael knows that John knows help is needed"), and replicated the classic bystander effect when they had common knowledge (everyone knowing what everyone knows). The results demonstrate that the bystander effect may result not from a mere diffusion of responsibility but specifically from actors' strategic computations.

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Do Tax Incentives Affect Charitable Contributions? Evidence from Public Charities' Reported Revenues

Nicolas Duquette

Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect of the charitable contribution tax deduction on charities' donation revenue from charities' tax filings. A one percent increase in the tax cost of giving causes charitable receipts to fall by about four percent, an effect three times larger the consensus in the literature. Further analysis reveals substantial heterogeneity in the tax response by subsector: health care and home care are more tax-sensitive than other charities, while higher education and arts are less tax-sensitive. The results are consistent with substantial tax response heterogeneity within the sample and between sampled and unsampled charities, implying that the mean tax elasticity of charitable contributions is a poor predictor of tax incentive effects for individual charities.

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Does Fundraising Create New Giving?

Jonathan Meer

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Despite an extensive literature on the impacts of a variety of charitable fundraising techniques, little is known about whether these activities increase overall giving or merely cause donors to substitute away from other causes. Using detailed data from Donorschoose.org, an online platform linking teachers with prospective donors, I examine the extent to which matching grants for donations to certain requests affect giving to others. Eligibility for matches is determined in entirely by observable attributes of the request, providing an exogenous source of variation in incentives to donate to between charities. I find that, while matches increase giving to eligible requests, they do not appear to crowd out giving to similar ones, either contemporaneously or over time.

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Sidestepping the rock and the hard place: The private avoidance of prosocial requests

Stephanie Lin, Rebecca Schaumberg & Taly Reich

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2016, Pages 35-40

Abstract:
For some, facing a prosocial request feels like being trapped between a rock and a hard place, requiring either a resource (e.g., money) or psychological (e.g., self-reproach) cost. Because both outcomes are dissatisfying, we propose that these people are motivated to avoid prosocial requests, even when they face these requests in private, anonymous contexts. In two experiments, in which participants' anonymity and privacy was assured, participants avoided facing prosocial requests and were willing to do so at a personal cost. This was true both for people who would have otherwise complied with the request and those who would have otherwise refused the request. This suggests that anticipatory self-reproach motivates people to avoid prosocial requests, regardless of whether or not this self-reproach would have been strong enough to cause them to comply with a direct request. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for prosocial behavior and the maintenance of moral self-regard.

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Giving the Self: Increasing Commitment and Generosity Through Giving Something That Represents One's Essence

Minjung Koo & Ayelet Fishbach

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prosocial actions often involve giving something that represents one's essence, be it one's name (e.g., signature), personal possessions, or body (e.g., blood donation). This research compares such "self-giving" to the giving of resources of comparable value that are less connected to one's essence. We show in five studies that self-giving embeds givers with a sense of commitment and generosity. Specifically, giving endowed objects (vs. briefly owned objects), one's signature (vs. anonymous support), and blood (vs. a comparable amount of money) all increased perceptions of commitment and generosity among givers. As a result, givers were more likely to continue supporting that cause in the long run.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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