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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Skin condition

Discrimination, Racial Bias, and Telomere Length in African-American Men

David Chae et al.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, February 2014, Pages 103–111

Background: Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is an indicator of general systemic aging, with shorter LTL being associated with several chronic diseases of aging and earlier mortality. Identifying factors related to LTL among African Americans may yield insights into mechanisms underlying racial disparities in health.

Purpose: To test whether the combination of more frequent reports of racial discrimination and holding a greater implicit anti-black racial bias is associated with shorter LTL among African- American men.

Methods: Cross-sectional study of a community sample of 92 African-American men aged between 30 and 50 years. Participants were recruited from February to May 2010. Ordinary least squares regressions were used to examine LTL in kilobase pairs in relation to racial discrimination and implicit racial bias. Data analysis was completed in July 2013.

Results: After controlling for chronologic age and socioeconomic and health-related characteristics, the interaction between racial discrimination and implicit racial bias was significantly associated with LTL (b=−0.10, SE=0.04, p=0.02). Those demonstrating a stronger implicit anti-black bias and reporting higher levels of racial discrimination had the shortest LTL. Household income-to-poverty threshold ratio was also associated with LTL (b=0.05, SE=0.02, p<0.01).

Conclusions: Results suggest that multiple levels of racism, including interpersonal experiences of racial discrimination and the internalization of negative racial bias, operate jointly to accelerate biological aging among African-American men. Societal efforts to address racial discrimination in concert with efforts to promote positive in-group racial attitudes may protect against premature biological aging in this population.

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Does the Hispanic Paradox in U.S. Adult Mortality Extend to Disability?

Mark Hayward et al.
Population Research and Policy Review, February 2014, Pages 81-96

Abstract:
Studies consistently document a Hispanic paradox in U.S. adult mortality, whereby Hispanics have similar or lower mortality rates than non-Hispanic whites despite lower socioeconomic status. This study extends this line of inquiry to disability, especially among foreign-born Hispanics, since their advantaged mortality seemingly should be paired with health advantages more generally. We also assess whether the paradox extends to U.S.-born Hispanics to evaluate the effect of nativity. We calculate multistate life tables of life expectancy with disability to assess whether racial/ethnic and nativity differences in the length of disability-free life parallel differences in overall life expectancy. Our results document a Hispanic paradox in mortality for foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics. However, Hispanics’ low mortality rates are not matched by low disability rates. Their disability rates are substantially higher than those of non-Hispanic whites and generally similar to those of non-Hispanic blacks. The result is a protracted period of disabled life expectancy for Hispanics, both foreign- and U.S.-born.

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Black/White dating online: Interracial courtship in the 21st century

Gerald Mendelsohn et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, January 2014, Pages 2-18

Abstract:
We analyzed personal profiles and records of communication for more than a million nationwide users of a major online dating site. White more than Black, women more than men, and old more than young users stated a preference for a same-race partner. Overall, Blacks, especially Black men, proved more open to cross-race dating than did Whites. More than 80% of the contacts initiated by Whites were to Whites, with only 3% to Blacks. This sharp difference held for men and women and even for those who stated no racial or ethnic preference in their profiles. Blacks were 10 times more likely to contact Whites than Whites were to contact Blacks. Reciprocations to messages showed the same trends, but more moderately.

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Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com

Benjamin Edelman & Michael Luca
Harvard Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Online marketplaces often contain information not only about products, but also about the people selling the products. In an effort to facilitate trust, many platforms encourage sellers to provide personal profiles and even to post pictures of themselves. However, these features may also facilitate discrimination based on sellers’ race, gender, age, or other aspects of appearance. In this paper, we test for racial discrimination against landlords in the online rental marketplace Airbnb. Using a new data set combining pictures of all New York City landlords on Airbnb with their rental prices and information about quality of the rentals, we show that non-black hosts charge approximately 12% more than black hosts for the equivalent rental. These effects are robust when controlling for all information visible in the Airbnb marketplace. These findings highlight the prevalence of discrimination in online marketplaces, suggesting an important unintended consequence of a seemingly-routine mechanism for building trust.

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Structural racism and myocardial infarction in the United States

Alicia Lukachko, Mark Hatzenbuehler & Katherine Keyes
Social Science & Medicine, February 2014, Pages 42–50

Abstract:
There is a growing research literature suggesting that racism is an important risk factor undermining the health of Blacks in the United States. Racism can take many forms, ranging from interpersonal interactions to institutional/structural conditions and practices. Existing research, however, tends to focus on individual forms of racial discrimination using self-report measures. Far less attention has been paid to whether structural racism may disadvantage the health of Blacks in the United States. The current study addresses gaps in the existing research by using novel measures of structural racism and by explicitly testing the hypothesis that structural racism is a risk factor for myocardial infarction among Blacks in the United States. State-level indicators of structural racism included four domains: (1) political participation; (2) employment and job status; (3) educational attainment; and (4) judicial treatment. State-level racial disparities across these domains were proposed to represent the systematic exclusion of Blacks from resources and mobility in society. Data on past-year myocardial infarction were obtained from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (non-Hispanic Black: N = 8245; non-Hispanic White: N = 24,507), a nationally representative survey of the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population aged 18 and older. Models were adjusted for individual-level confounders (age, sex, education, household income, medical insurance) as well as for state-level disparities in poverty. Results indicated that Blacks living in states with high levels of structural racism were generally more likely to report past-year myocardial infarction than Blacks living in low-structural racism states. Conversely, Whites living in high structural racism states experienced null or lower odds of myocardial infarction compared to Whites living in low-structural racism states. These results raise the provocative possibility that structural racism may not only harm the targets of stigma but also benefit those who wield the power to enact stigma and discrimination.

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Effects of perceived racial discrimination on health status and health behavior: A differential mediation hypothesis

Frederick Gibbons et al.
Health Psychology, January 2014, Pages 11-19

Objective: Prospective data tested a “differential mediation” hypothesis: The relations (found in previous research) between perceived racial discrimination and physical health status versus health-impairing behavior (problematic substance use) are mediated by two different types of affective reactions, internalizing and externalizing.

Method: The sample included 680 African American women from the Family and Community Health Study (M age = 37 years at Time 1; 45 years at Time 4). Four waves of data were analyzed. Perceived discrimination was assessed, along with anxiety and depression (internalizing) and hostility/anger (externalizing) as mediators, and physical health status and problematic substance use (drinking) as outcomes.

Results: Structural equation modeling indicated that discrimination predicted increases in both externalizing and internalizing reactions. These affective responses, in turn, predicted subsequent problematic substance use and physical health status, respectively, also controlling for earlier reports. In each case, the indirect effects from discrimination through the affective mediator to the specific health outcome were significant and consistent with the differential mediation hypothesis.

Conclusions: Perceived racial discrimination is associated with increases in internalizing and externalizing reactions among Black women, but these reactions are related to different health outcomes. Changes in internalizing are associated with self-reported changes in physical health status, whereas changes in externalizing are associated with changes in substance use problems. Discussion focuses on the processes whereby discrimination affects health behavior and physical health status.

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Race of Interviewer Effect on Disclosures of Suicidal Low-Income African American Women

Tara Samples et al.
Journal of Black Psychology, February 2014, Pages 27-46

Abstract:
Few studies have investigated the impact of interviewer race on the results gleaned through psychological assessment. African American and European American clinical evaluators conducted face-to-face interviews with 161 low-income African American women seeking services at an inner-city hospital following a suicide attempt. Participants were administered measures related to various current life stressors, including the Survey for Recent Life Events, which assesses various forms of daily hassles, and the Index of Spouse Abuse, which taps both physical and nonphysical intimate partner violence (IPV). Multivariate analyses of variance revealed a significant difference on the participants’ reports of daily hassles and IPV to African American and European American evaluators. With regard to overall life stress, African American women reported higher levels of total life stress, time pressure stress, social acceptability stress, and social victimization to African American than in European American–led interviews. They also endorsed higher levels of both physical and nonphysical IPV to interviewers of the same race as themselves as compared with interviewers from a different racial background. There were no group differences in terms of work stress, sociocultural differences, and finances. The findings underscore the saliency of interviewer race as a source of nonrandom measurement error capable of influencing statistical results. Implications of ignoring race of interviewer effects in analysis are explored and suggestions are offered in terms of culturally responsive assessment processes.

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Perceived Discrimination Among African American Adolescents and Allostatic Load: A Longitudinal Analysis With Buffering Effects

Gene Brody et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study was designed to examine the prospective relations of perceived racial discrimination with allostatic load (AL), along with a possible buffer of the association. A sample of 331 African Americans in the rural South provided assessments of perceived discrimination from ages 16 to 18 years. When youth were 18 years, caregivers reported parental emotional support and youth assessed peer emotional support. AL and potential confounder variables were assessed when youth were 20. Latent growth mixture modeling identified two perceived discrimination classes: high and stable, and low and increasing. Adolescents in the high and stable class evinced heightened AL even with confounder variables controlled. The racial discrimination to AL link was not significant for young adults who received high emotional support.

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Provider-Patient Communication About Adherence to Anti-retroviral Regimens Differs by Patient Race and Ethnicity

Barton Laws et al.
AIDS and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Disparities in HIV care and outcomes negatively affect Black and Hispanic patients. Features of clinical communication may be a factor. This study is based on coding transcripts of 404 routine outpatient visits by people with HIV at four sites, using a validated system. In models adjusting for site and patient characteristics, with provider as a random effect, providers were more “verbally dominant” with Black patients than with others. There was more discussion about ARV adherence with both Black and Hispanic patients, but no more discussion about strategies to improve adherence. Providers made more directive utterances discussing ARV treatment with Hispanic patients. Possible interpretations of these findings are that providers are less confident in Black and Hispanic patients to be adherent; that they place too much confidence in their White, non-Hispanic patients; or that patients differentially want such discussion. The lack of specific problem solving and high provider directiveness suggests areas for improvement.

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The Changing Character of the Black–White Infant Mortality Gap, 1983–2004

Todd Elder et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2014, Pages S105-S111

Objectives: We examined how changes in demographic, geographic, and childbearing risk factors were related to changes in the Black–White infant mortality rate (IMR) gap over 2 decades.

Methods: Using 1983–2004 Vital Statistics, we applied inverse probability weighting methods to examine the relationship between risk factors and 3 outcomes: the overall IMR gap, its birth weight component, and its conditional (on birth weight) IMR component.

Results: The unexplained IMR gap (the part not related to observed risk factors) was stable, changing from 5.0 to 5.3 deaths per 1000 live births. By contrast, the explained gap declined from 4.6 to 1.9. The decline in the explained gap was driven by the changing relationship between risk factors and IMR. Further analysis revealed that most of the unexplained gap occurred among infants weighing less than 1000 grams at birth, whereas most of the explained gap occurred among infants weighing more than 1000 grams.

Conclusions: The unexplained gap was stable over the last 2 decades, but the explained gap declined markedly. If the stability of the unexplained gap continues, even complete convergence of risk factors would reduce the Black–White IMR gap by only one quarter.

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Soaking Up the Sun: The Complicated Role of Sunshine in the Production of Infant Health

Jennifer Trudeau, Karen Smith Conway & Andrea Kutinova Menclova
University of New Hampshire Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
This research explores the role of sunshine in birth outcomes production. Its most obvious role is through Vitamin D absorption, which could explain racial disparities because skin pigmentation inhibits this process. However, the effects of sunshine are complex and closely connected to environmental factors (e.g., air pollution and temperature), season of birth, and policies like Medicaid. Combining daily weather data with 1989-2004 birth outcomes from the Natality Detail Files, we estimate sunshine’s effects in a range of models that disentangle these confounding factors and find they differ by race and explain a nontrivial portion of racial differences in birth weight.

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The pathways from perceived discrimination to self-rated health: An investigation of the roles of distrust, social capital, and health behaviors

Danhong Chen & Tse-Chuan Yang
Social Science & Medicine, March 2014, Pages 64–73

Abstract:
Although there has been extensive research on the adverse impacts of perceived discrimination on health, it remains unclear how perceived discrimination gets under the skin. This paper develops a comprehensive structural equation model (SEM) by incorporating both the direct effects of perceived discrimination on self-rated health (SRH), a powerful predictor for many health outcomes, and the indirect effects of perceived discrimination on SRH through health care system distrust, neighborhood social capital, and health behaviors and health conditions. Applying SEM to 9,880 adults (aged between 18 and 100) in the 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, we not only confirmed the positive and direct association between discrimination and poor or fair SRH, but also verified two underlying mechanisms: 1) perceived discrimination is associated with lower neighborhood social capital, which further contributes to poor or fair SRH; and 2) perceived discrimination is related to risky behaviors (e.g., reduced physical activity and sleep quality, and intensified smoking) that lead to worse health conditions, and then result in poor or fair SRH. Moreover, we found that perceived discrimination is negatively associated with health care system distrust, but did not find a significant relationship between distrust and poor or fair SRH.

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The Contribution of Health Care and Other Interventions to Black–White Disparities in Life Expectancy, 1980–2007

Irma Elo, Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez & James Macinko
Population Research and Policy Review, February 2014, Pages 97-126

Abstract:
Black–white mortality disparities remain sizable in the United States. In this study, we use the concept of avoidable/amenable mortality to estimate cause-of-death contributions to the difference in life expectancy between whites and blacks by gender in the United States in 1980, 1993, and 2007. We begin with a review of the concept of “avoidable mortality” and results of prior studies using this cause-of-death classification. We then present the results of our empirical analyses. We classified causes of death as amenable to medical care, sensitive to public health policies and health behaviors, ischemic heart disease, suicide, HIV/AIDS, and all other causes combined. We used vital statistics data on deaths and Census Bureau population estimates and standard demographic decomposition techniques. In 2007, causes of death amenable to medical care continued to account for close to 2 years of the racial difference in life expectancy among men (2.08) and women (1.85). Causes amenable to public health interventions made a larger contribution to the racial difference in life expectancy among men (1.17 years) than women (0.08 years). The contribution of HIV/AIDS substantially widened the racial difference among both men (1.08 years) and women (0.42 years) in 1993, but its contribution declined over time. Despite progress observed over the time period studied, a substantial portion of black–white disparities in mortality could be reduced given more equitable access to medical care and health interventions.

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The Impact of Education and Intergroup Friendship on the Development of Ethnocentrism. A Latent Growth Curve Model Analysis of a Five-Year Panel Study among Belgian Late Adolescents

Marc Hooghe, Cecil Meeusen & Ellen Quintelier
European Sociological Review, December 2013, Pages 1109-1121

Abstract:
In this article, we investigate individual-level changes in ethnocentrism during adolescence and pre-adulthood. We use structural equation modelling for longitudinal designs on data from the Belgian Political Panel Survey (BPPS, 2006–2011). In this panel, 2,428 Belgian adolescents were questioned at three points in time: at the ages of 16, 18 and 21 years. Individual change is analysed by using Latent Growth Curve Modelling. Individual variability was explained using two important predictors of ethnocentrism: education and intergroup friendship. Adolescents in lower educational tracks have higher initial levels of ethnocentrism, and their levels of ethnocentrism continue to rise during the observation period. Adolescents who change to lower education tracks between 2006 and 2008 increase more in ethnocentrism than adolescents who stay in the same track. While intergroup friendship had an effect on initial levels of ethnocentrism, this contact did not have an effect on subsequent changes in the level of ethnocentrism.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bill of health

Understanding Differences Between High- And Low-Price Hospitals: Implications For Efforts To Rein In Costs

Chapin White, James Reschovsky & Amelia Bond
Health Affairs, February 2014, Pages 324-331

Abstract:
Private insurers pay widely varying prices for inpatient care across hospitals. Previous research indicates that certain hospitals use market clout to obtain higher payment rates, but there have been few in-depth examinations of the relationship between hospital characteristics and pricing power. This study used private insurance claims data to identify hospitals receiving inpatient prices significantly higher or lower than the median in their market. High-price hospitals, compared to other hospitals, tend to be larger; be major teaching hospitals; belong to systems with large market shares; and provide specialized services, such as heart transplants and Level I trauma care. High-price hospitals also receive significant revenues from nonpatient sources, such as state Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital funds, and they enjoy healthy total financial margins. Quality indicators for high-price hospitals were mixed: High-price hospitals fared much better than low-price hospitals did in U.S. News & World Report rankings, which are largely based on reputation, while generally scoring worse on objective measures of quality, such as postsurgical mortality rates. Thus, insurers may face resistance if they attempt to steer patients away from high-price hospitals because these facilities have good reputations and offer specialized services that may be unique in their markets.

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Equilibrium Health Spending and Population Aging in a Model of Endogenous Growth — Will the GDP Share of Health Spending Keep Rising?

Isaac Ehrlich & Yong Yin
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
The apparently unrelenting growth in the GDP-share of health spending (SHS) has been a perennial issue of policy concern. Does an equilibrium limit exist? The issue has been left open in recent dynamic models which take income growth and population aging as given. We view these variables as endogenously determined within an overlapping-generations, human-capital-based endogenous-growth model, where a representative parent makes all life-cycle consumption and investment decisions, and life and health protection are subject to diminishing returns. Our prototype model, allowing for both quantity and quality of life as desired goods, yields equilibrium upper bounds for SHS. Our calibrated simulations also account for observed trends in reproductive choices, population aging, life expectancy, and economic growth. The analysis offers new insights about factors that drive long-term trends in aging and health spending and establishes a direct relation between health investments at young age and the equilibrium, steady-state rate of economic growth.

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Covering the Remaining Uninsured Children: Almost Half of Uninsured Children Live in Immigrant Families

Eric Seiber
Medical Care, March 2014, Pages 202-207

Objective: Previous authors have answered “how many children in immigrant families are uninsured”; we do not know the inverse: “how many uninsured children live in immigrant families.” This paper will show the total contribution of having an immigrant parent to the uninsured rate for children in the United States.

Data Source: Secondary data from the 2008–2010 American Community Survey.

Study Design: Descriptive analyses and a multinomial probit model illustrate the relationship between immigration history and insurance status.

Principal Findings: In 2010, almost half (42%) of uninsured children lived in an immigrant family. State-level estimates range from a low of 4% in Maine to a high of 69% in California. Two thirds (69%) of these uninsured children are citizens; furthermore, 39% are Medicaid eligible, 39% are not eligible for Medicaid, and eligibility is unknown for the 21% that are low-income, noncitizens.

Conclusions: In 2000, a third of all uninsured children lived in immigrant families. In 2010, 42% of all uninsured children lived in immigrant families. Initiatives to expand coverage or increase Medicaid and CHIP uptake will require decision makers to develop new policy and outreach approaches to enroll these children so they do not fall further behind.

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Suicide and Organ Donors: Spillover Effects of Mental Health Insurance Mandates

Jose Fernandez & Matthew Lang
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper considers the effect of mental health insurance mandates on the supply of cadaveric donors. We find that enacting a mental health mandate decreases the count of organ donors from suicides and results are driven by female donors. Using a number of empirical specifications, we calculate that the mental health parity laws are responsible for an approximately 0.52% decrease in cadaveric donors. Additional regression results show that the mandates are not related to other types of organ donations, ruling out the possibility that the mandates are related to an overall trend in the supply of organ donations. The findings suggest that future policies aimed at reducing suicide in a large and significant way can potentially increase the inefficiency that currently exists in the organ donor market.

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Redistribution Under the ACA is Modest in Scope

Stan Dorn, Bowen Garrett & John Holahan
Urban Institute Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Claims that the ACA involves "the largest income transfer in American history" are exaggerated. Low- and moderate-income people receive benefits equaling 0.9 percent of GDP, a fraction of spending on Medicare, Social Security, and tax preferences for employer-sponsored insurance. The affluent contribute just 0.2 percent of GPD, with taxes limited to 2.4 percent of tax-filers, who pay an average of 0.5 percent of income. Nearly three-quarters of ACA's funding comes, not from the wealthy, but from the health care industry, through reimbursement cuts or taxes and fees. However, these contributions are offset by new revenue from people gaining health insurance.

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Assessing Incentives for Service-Level Selection In Private Health Insurance Exchanges

Thomas McGuire et al.
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Even with open enrollment and mandated purchase, incentives created by adverse selection may undermine the efficiency of service offerings by plans in the new health insurance Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Using data on persons likely to participate in Exchanges drawn from five waves of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we measure plan incentives in two ways. First, we construct predictive ratios, improving on current methods by taking into account the role of premiums in financing plans. Second, relying on an explicit model of plan profit maximization, we measure incentives based on the predictability and predictiveness of various medical diagnoses. Among the chronic diseases studied, plans have the greatest incentive to skimp on care for cancer, and mental health and substance abuse.

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How well does the U.S. Government provide health insurance for infants?

Manan Roy
Empirical Economics, February 2014, Pages 253-284

Abstract:
The debate over universal health insurance (HI) in the U.S., as well as the proper role of the government in the HI market, has been quite heated. Fueling this debate is the uncertainty pertaining to the benefits of HI in general, and the relative benefits of private versus public HI in particular. This uncertainty stems from non-random selection into different types of HI (private, public, or none) in combination with the absence of experimental data. Moreover, the lack of typical exclusion restrictions complicates identification of the causal effects of different HI types. Here, the aim is to assess the causal impact of public HI, relative to private HI, on the insured infant’s health. To that end, this study employs the methodology proposed in Altonji et al. (J Polit Econ 113:151–184, 2005) which trades off what can be learned in exchange for not requiring an exclusion restriction. Nonetheless, the method remains quite informative in the present context. Specifically, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort, along with several measures of infant health, the results suggest that while public HI is associated with worse infant health, this association disappears once selection on observables and unobservables is considered. In fact, the estimated effects of public HI are predominantly positive once both types of selection are admitted. Further analysis reveals that the likely beneficial effects of public HI are due to greater coverage for infants at a much lower cost.

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The Effect of Macroeconomic Conditions on the Care Decisions of the Employed

Danny Hughes & Amir Khaliq
Medical Care, February 2014, Pages 121-127

Background: Medical care utilization has been found to be affected indirectly by changes in economic conditions through associated changes in employment or insurance status. However, if individuals interpret external macroeconomic conditions as employment risk, they may alter decisions to seek care even if they remain both employed and insured.

Objective: To examine the relationship between macroeconomic fluctuations and the medical care usage of Americans who are both employed and insured.

Research Design: Restricting the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from 1995 to 2008 to respondents whose employment status and insurance status did not change, we employed a fixed-effect Poisson model to examine the association between state average annual unemployment rates and the utilization of 12 medical services.

Results: The average annual state unemployment rate was found to be a significant factor in hospital outpatient visits (P < 0.01) and emergency room visits (P < 0.01). A one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate was found to produce an additional 0.67 hospital outpatient visits and 0.14 emergency room visits.

Conclusions: State unemployment rates were found statistically significantly associated with several of the medical services studied, suggesting macroeconomic conditions are an important factor in the medical decisions of employed and insured individuals. Thus, policy changes that increase access among the unemployed or uninsured may mitigate this employment risk effect and create incentives that potentially alter the utilization decisions among those currently both employed and insured.

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Could a Website Really Have Doomed the Health Exchanges? Multiple Equilibria, Initial Conditions and the Construction of the Fine

Florian Scheuer & Kent Smetters
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Public attention has focused on how the launch of the national health exchanges could impact the types of risks who initially enroll and thereby affect future premiums and enrollment. We introduce simple dynamics into a standard model of insurance under adverse selection to show that such “initial conditions” can indeed matter. When firms are price-takers, the market can converge to a Pareto-inferior “bad” equilibrium if there are at least three equilibria, which we suggest has empirical support. Strategic pricing eliminates Pareto dominated equilibria but requires common knowledge of preference and risk distributions. Changing the fine on non-participants from a fixed amount to a fraction of equilibrium prices increases the range of initial conditions consistent with reaching the “good” equilibrium while reducing the “badness” of the bad equilibrium — all without increasing the fine value in the good equilibrium. Allowing insurers to quickly change prices can encourage them to experiment with strategic pricing if market fundamentals are not perfectly known, increasing the chance of reaching the good equilibrium independently from initial conditions.

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Uninsured Veterans Who Will Need to Obtain Insurance Coverage Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Jack Tsai & Robert Rosenheck
American Journal of Public Health, March 2014, Pages e57-e62

Objectives: We examined the number and clinical needs of uninsured veterans, including those who will be eligible for the Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchanges in 2014.

Methods: We analyzed weighted data for 8710 veterans from the 2010 National Survey of Veterans, classifying it by veterans’ age, income, household size, and insurance status.

Results: Of 22 million veterans, about 7%, or more than 1.5 million, were uninsured and will need to obtain coverage by enrolling in US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) care or the Medicaid expansion or by participating in the health insurance exchanges. Of those uninsured, 55%, or more than 800 000, are likely eligible for the Medicaid expansion if states implement it. Compared with veterans with any health coverage, those who were uninsured were younger and more likely to be single, Black, and low income and to have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conclusions: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is likely to have a considerable impact on uninsured veterans, which may have implications for the VA, the Medicaid expansion, and the health insurance exchanges.

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Variation in Congenital Heart Surgery Costs Across Hospitals

Sara Pasquali et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Background: A better understanding of costs associated with common and resource-intense conditions such as congenital heart disease has become increasingly important as children’s hospitals face growing pressure to both improve quality and reduce costs. We linked clinical information from a large registry with resource utilization data from an administrative data set to describe costs for common congenital cardiac operations and assess variation across hospitals.

Methods: Using linked data from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons and Pediatric Health Information Systems Databases (2006–2010), estimated costs/case for 9 operations of varying complexity were calculated. Between-hospital variation in cost and associated factors were assessed by using Bayesian methods, adjusting for important patient characteristics.

Results: Of 12 718 operations (27 hospitals) included, median cost/case increased with operation complexity (atrial septal defect repair, [$25 499] to Norwood operation, [$165 168]). Significant between-hospital variation (up to ninefold) in adjusted cost was observed across operations. Differences in length of stay (LOS) and complication rates explained an average of 28% of between-hospital cost variation. For the Norwood operation, high versus low cost hospitals had an average LOS of 50.8 vs 31.8 days and a major complication rate of 50% vs 25.3%. High volume hospitals had lower costs for the most complex operations.

Conclusions: This study establishes benchmarks for hospital costs for common congenital heart operations and demonstrates wide variability across hospitals related in part to differences in LOS and complication rates. These data may be useful in designing initiatives aimed at both improving quality of care and reducing cost.

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Relaxing Occupational Licensing Requirements: Analyzing Wages and Prices for a Medical Service

Morris Kleiner et al.
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Occupational licensing laws have been relaxed in a large number of U.S. states to give nurse practitioners the ability to perform more tasks without the supervision of medical doctors. We investigate how these regulations may affect wages, employment, costs, and quality of providing certain types of medical services. We find that when only physicians are allowed to prescribe controlled substances that this is associated with a reduction in nurse practitioner wages, and increases in physician wages suggesting some substitution among these occupations. Furthermore, our estimates show that prescription restrictions lead to a reduction in hours worked by nurse practitioners and are associated with increases in physician hours worked. Our analysis of insurance claims data shows that the more rigid regulations increase the price of a well-child medical exam by 3 to 16 %. However, our analysis finds no evidence that the changes in regulatory policy are reflected in outcomes such as infant mortality rates or malpractice premiums. Overall, our results suggest that these more restrictive state licensing practices are associated with changes in wages and employment patterns, and also increase the costs of routine medical care, but do not seem to influence health care quality.

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Health information exchange among U.S. hospitals: Who's in, who's out, and why?

Julia Adler-Milstein & Ashish Jha
Healthcare, forthcoming

Background: A key goal of the 2009 HITECH Act is to ensure broad electronic exchange of clinical data among providers. We sought to assess whether current policy efforts, many of which are being developed by states, appear to be tackling key barriers to hospital participation in health information exchange (HIE).

Methods: We used the most recent national data from the American Hospital Association's IT Supplement to assess U.S. hospital participation in HIE and how participation varies by state. We then examined whether HIE is being pursued by all types of hospitals, or whether specific types of hospitals are not yet engaged. We focused on for-profit hospitals, those with smaller market share, and those in more competitive markets.

Results: We found that 30% of U.S. hospitals engaged in health information exchange with unaffiliated providers. There was large variation in state-level participation, with some states achieving more than 70% participation (Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont) and others with minimal participation. In markets where exchange occurred, for-profit hospitals were far less likely to engage in HIE than non-profit hospitals (OR=0.17; p<0.001). Hospitals with a larger market share were more likely to engage in exchange (OR=2.05 for hospitals in the highest relative to the lowest quartile of market share; p<0.001), as were hospitals in less competitive markets (OR=2.15 for hospitals in the most relative to least concentrated market quartile; p=0.04).

Conclusions: Despite an uptick in hospital HIE participation since the start of HITECH, the majority of hospitals still do not engage in HIE and there is large state-to-state variation. Specific types of hospitals appear to feel that they are better off not engaging in HIE.

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Does Health Information Exchange Reduce Redundant Imaging? Evidence From Emergency Departments

Eric Lammers, Julia Adler-Milstein & Keith Kocher
Medical Care, March 2014, Pages 227-234

Background: Broad-based electronic health information exchange (HIE), in which patients' clinical data follow them between care delivery settings, is expected to produce large quality gains and cost savings. Although these benefits are assumed to result from reducing redundant care, there is limited supporting empirical evidence.

Objective: To evaluate whether HIE adoption is associated with decreases in repeat imaging in emergency departments (EDs).

Data Source/Study Setting: ED discharge data from the State Emergency Department Databases for California and Florida for 2007-2010 were merged with Health Information Management Systems Society data that report hospital HIE participation.

Methods: Using regression with ED fixed effects and trends, we performed a retrospective analysis of the impact of HIE participation on repeat imaging, comparing 37 EDs that initiated HIE participation during the study period to 410 EDs that did not participate in HIE during the same period. Within 3 common types of imaging tests [computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, and chest x-ray), we defined a repeat image for a given patient as the same study in the same body region performed within 30 days at unaffiliated EDs.

Results: In our sample there were 20,139 repeat CTs (representing 14.7% of those cases with CT in the index visit), 13,060 repeat ultrasounds (20.7% of ultrasound cases), and 29,703 repeat chest x-rays (19.5% of x-ray cases). HIE was associated with reduced probability of repeat ED imaging in all 3 modalities: -8.7 percentage points for CT [95% confidence interval (CI): -14.7, -2.7], -9.1 percentage points for ultrasound (95% CI: -17.2, -1.1), and -13.0 percentage points for chest x-ray (95% CI: -18.3, -7.7), reflecting reductions of 44%-67% relative to sample means.

Conclusions: HIE was associated with reduced repeat imaging in EDs. This study is among the first to find empirical support for this anticipated benefit of HIE.

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Challenges to Regulatory Decentralization: Lessons from State Health Technology Regulation

Jill Horwitz & Daniel Polsky
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Policymakers often prefer decentralized regulation to central planning because decentralization allows them to better reflect the views of local residents, encourage experimentation, and evaluate various regulatory approaches. These advantages can be undermined, however, when the regulations of one government are affected by those of another. To examine the implications of such externalities, we consider the case of state certificate of need laws (CON), which require providers within the state to obtain licenses before adopting various types of health care technology. In particular, we analyze the cross-border effects of these laws on the number and location of magnetic resonance imaging providers. We find a large effect on the location of providers near borders between unregulated and regulated states. These results provide examples of some of the limitations of using states as policy laboratories as well as the ability of states to use state laws to reflect their local preferences. The results may also help explain conflicting studies on whether and why CON regulation may have failed to control costs and quantity.

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The Association of Hospital Cost-Inefficiency With Certificate-of-Need Regulation

Michael Rosko & Ryan Mutter
Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Certificate-of-need (CON) regulations can promote hospital efficiency by reducing duplication of services; however, there are practical and theoretical reasons why they might be ineffective, and the empirical evidence generated has been mixed. This study compares the cost-inefficiency of urban, acute care hospitals in states with CON regulations against those in states without CON requirements. Stochastic frontier analysis was performed on pooled time-series, cross-sectional data from 1,552 hospitals in 37 states for the period 2005 to 2009 with controls for variations in hospital product mix, quality, and patient burden of illness. Average estimated cost-inefficiency was less in CON states (8.10%) than in non-CON states (12.46%). Results suggest that CON regulation may be an effective policy instrument in an era of a new medical arms race. However, broader analysis of the effects of CON regulation on efficiency, quality, access, prices, and innovation is needed before a policy recommendation can be made.

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Beyond Volume: Does Hospital Complexity Matter?: An Analysis of Inpatient Surgical Mortality in the United States

Marta McCrum et al.
Medical Care, March 2014, Pages 235-242

Background: Hospitals show wide variation in outcomes and systems of care. It is unclear whether hospital complexity — the range of services and technologies provided — affects outcomes and in what direction. We sought to determine whether complexity was associated with inpatient surgical mortality.

Methods: Using national Medicare data, we identified all fee-for-service inpatients who underwent 1 of 5 common high-risk surgical procedures in 2008–2009 and measured complexity by the number of unique primary diagnoses admitted to each hospital over the 2-year period. We calculated 30-day postoperative mortality rates, adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics, and used multivariable Poisson regression models to test for an association between hospital complexity and mortality rates. We then used this model to generate predicted mortality rates for low-volume and high-volume hospitals across the spectrum of hospital complexity.

Results: A total of 2691 hospitals were analyzed, representing a total of 382,372 admissions. After adjusting for hospital characteristics, including hospital volume, increasing hospital complexity was associated with lower surgical mortality rates. Patients receiving care at the hospitals in the lowest quintile of unique diagnoses had a 27% higher risk of death than those at the highest quintile. The effect of complexity was largest for low-volume hospitals, which were capable of achieving mortality rates similar to high-volume hospitals when in the most complex quintile.

Conclusions: Hospital complexity matters and is associated with lower surgical mortality rates, independent of hospital volume. The effect of complexity on outcomes for nonsurgical services warrants investigation.

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The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Use: Comparative Evidence from Five High-Income Countries

Annamaria Lusardi, Daniel Schneider & Peter Tufano
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examine how the economic crisis has affected individuals’ use of routine medical care and assess the extent to which the impact varies depending on national context.

Methods: Data from a new cross-national survey fielded in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, and Germany are used to estimate the effects of employment and wealth shocks and financial fragility on the use of routine care.

Results: We document reductions in individuals’ use of routine nonemergency medical care in the midst of the economic crisis. Americans reduced care more than individuals in Great Britain, Canada, France, and Germany. At the national level, reductions in care are related to the degree to which individuals must pay for it, and within countries, reductions are linked to shocks to wealth and employment and to financial fragility.

Conclusions: The economic crisis has led to reductions in the use of routine medical care, and systems of national insurance provide some protection against these effects.

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Has Massachusetts Health Care Reform Worked for the Working Poor? Results from an Analysis of Opportunity

Liane Tinsley, Susan Hall & John McKinlay
Annals of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Purpose: Health care reform was introduced in Massachusetts in 2006 and serves as a model for what was subsequently introduced nationally as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (1). The Boston Area Community Health (BACH) survey collected data before (2002-2005) and after (2006-2010) introduction of the Massachusetts health insurance mandate, providing a unique opportunity to assess its effects in a large, epidemiological cohort.

Methods: We report on the apparent effects of the mandate on the same participants over time, focusing specifically on the vulnerable working poor. We evaluated differences in subpopulations of interest at pre- and post-reform periods in order to explore whether Massachusetts health care reform resulted in an overall gain in insurance coverage.

Results: Massachusetts health care reform was associated with net gains in health insurance coverage overall and among the subgroups studied. Our findings suggest that despite being targeted by health care reform legislation, the working poor in Massachusetts continue to report lower rates of insurance coverage compared to both the non-working poor and the not poor.

Conclusions: Massachusetts health care reform legislation, including the expansion of Medicaid, resulted in substantial overall gains in coverage. Disparities in insurance coverage persist among some subgroups following health care reform implementation in Massachusetts. These results have important implications for health services researchers and policy makers, particularly in light of the ongoing implementation of the ACA.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disciples

Are the latter-day saints too latter day? Perceived age of the Mormon Church and attitudes toward Mormons

Ruth Warner & Kristin Kiddoo
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, January 2014, Pages 67-78

Abstract:
Two studies examine how social distance toward Mormons is affected by the relative recency of the Mormon religion. In Study 1, we found that the perceived age of the Mormon religion predicted social distance toward Mormons such that people who perceived Mormonism as more recent wanted more social distance from Mormons. In Study 2, we manipulated the antiquity or recency of the Mormon religion. We found that emphasizing the long history of the religion reduced social distance from Mormons (relative to emphasizing the religion’s newness), an effect that was mediated by perceived legitimacy of the Mormon religion. These findings support past research showing that the longevity of a practice implies its goodness and that this inference extends to practitioners as well.

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Islamic Rule and the Empowerment of the Poor and Pious

Erik Meyersson
Econometrica, January 2014, Pages 229–269

Abstract:
Does Islamic political control affect women's empowerment? Several countries have recently experienced Islamic parties coming to power through democratic elections. Due to strong support among religious conservatives, constituencies with Islamic rule often tend to exhibit poor women's rights. Whether this reflects a causal relationship or a spurious one has so far gone unexplored. I provide the first piece of evidence using a new and unique data set of Turkish municipalities. In 1994, an Islamic party won multiple municipal mayor seats across the country. Using a regression discontinuity (RD) design, I compare municipalities where this Islamic party barely won or lost elections. Despite negative raw correlations, the RD results reveal that, over a period of six years, Islamic rule increased female secular high school education. Corresponding effects for men are systematically smaller and less precise. In the longer run, the effect on female education remained persistent up to 17 years after, and also reduced adolescent marriages. An analysis of long-run political effects of Islamic rule shows increased female political participation and an overall decrease in Islamic political preferences. The results are consistent with an explanation that emphasizes the Islamic party's effectiveness in overcoming barriers to female entry for the poor and pious.

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The Emotional Toll of Hell: Cross-National and Experimental Evidence for the Negative Well-Being Effects of Hell Beliefs

Azim Shariff & Lara Aknin
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
Though beliefs in Heaven and Hell are related, they are associated with different personality characteristics and social phenomena. Here we present three studies measuring Heaven and Hell beliefs' associations with and impact on subjective well-being. We find that a belief in Heaven is consistently associated with greater happiness and life satisfaction while a belief in Hell is associated with lower happiness and life satisfaction at the national (Study 1) and individual (Study 2) level. An experimental priming study (Study 3) suggests that these differences are mainly driven by the negative emotional impact of Hell beliefs. Possible cultural evolutionary explanations for the persistence of such a distressing religious concept are discussed.

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The Politics of Denying Communion to Catholic Elected Officials

William Blake & Amanda Friesen
The Forum, February 2014, Pages 671–682

Abstract:
In his 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry, a Catholic, was threatened with being denied Holy Communion because of his pro-choice voting record. This article investigates the extent to which communion denial impacted Catholic elected officials and analyzes public attitudes regarding communion denial for Kerry. The results of our analysis suggest that, despite heavy media coverage, few bishops endorsed the communion denial and few pro-choice Catholic officials were threatened. While the data also indicate there are meaningful political implications for public attitudes on communion denial, the tactic does not command support from many Catholics.

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Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country

Resul Cesur & Naci Mocan
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
Turkey, which is a predominantly Muslim country, enacted an education law in 1997 which increased the compulsory secular education from five to eight years. We employ a unique nation-wide survey of adults in 2012 to investigate the impact of education on religiosity, lifestyles and political preferences by using exposure to the law as an instrument for schooling. The data set includes information about the extent of religiosity, lifestyle choices (e.g. modern, conservative, religious), ethnic background (e.g. Kurd, Turk, Arab) and the religious sect of the respondents (Sunni, Alevite Shii’te, etc.) The results show that the reform had a significant impact on middle school completion for both men and women, with stronger effects on women. An increase in education, generated by exposure to the law, decreases women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious. Education also lowers women’s tendency to wear a religious head cover (head scarf, religious turban or burka) and it increases their propensity to have a modern lifestyle. Education reduces women’s propensity to cast a vote for Islamic parties, but it has no impact on the propensity to vote. Education has no statistically significant impact on men’s religiosity or their tendency to vote for Islamic parties. The results are robust to controlling for indicators of individuals’ economic well-being as well as variations in empirical specification of the treatment by the law. Using a smaller version of the survey, conducted in 2008, we perform a variety of tests, which demonstrate that the results are not due to a cohort effect. Finally, we show that the effect of education on religiosity and voting preference is not working through migration, residential location or labor force participation.

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Religious decline in the 20th century West: Testing alternative explanations

Raphaël Franck & Laurence Iannaccone
Public Choice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Retrospective questions from recent surveys let us estimate rates of church attendance among children and their parents in ten Western democracies throughout most of the 20th century. We combine these time series with standard sources to test competing theories of religious change. Although our attendance estimates affirm the prevalence of religious decline, our statistical tests offer no support for traditional theories of secularization (which link decline to changes in income, education, industrialization, urbanization, and family life). Nor can we attribute much of the observed decline to growth in the welfare state. But increased school spending by governments does reduce church attendance, and this effect is not the result of greater educational attainment. In shaping the content of schooling, governments may strongly influence long-run religious trends.

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Religion: Productive or unproductive?

Travis Wiseman & Andrew Young
Journal of Institutional Economics, March 2014, Pages 21-45

Abstract:
In this paper, we investigate the relationships between informal institutions – proxied for by measures of religiosity – and levels of entrepreneurial activity, both productive and unproductive, using cross-section US state-level data. In doing so, we evaluate Baumol's (1990) conjectures on the role of institutions in determining whether entrepreneurs will channel their efforts toward wealth-generating activities or toward zero- or negative-sum rent-seeking. We distinguish between measures of both the belief (e.g., the frequency of prayer) and belonging (e.g., church attendance) that have been stressed by authors such as Barro and McCleary (2003). We find that several religious variables significantly and negatively correlate with a state's productive entrepreneurship score. Alternatively, most religious variables in our data do not correlate significantly with unproductive entrepreneurship. We also find that the percent of individuals reporting as atheist/agnostic is positively associated with productive entrepreneurship.

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Let My People Go (Home) to Spain: A Genealogical Model of Jewish Identities since 1492

Joshua Weitz
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
The Spanish government recently announced an official fast-track path to citizenship for any individual who is Jewish and whose ancestors were expelled from Spain during the inquisition-related dislocation of Spanish Jews in 1492. It would seem that this policy targets a small subset of the global Jewish population, that is, restricted to individuals who retain cultural practices associated with ancestral origins in Spain. However, the central contribution of this manuscript is to demonstrate how and why the policy is far more likely to apply to a very large fraction (i.e., the vast majority) of Jews. This claim is supported using a series of genealogical models that include transmissible “identities” and preferential intra-group mating. Model analysis reveals that even when intra-group mating is strong and even if only a small subset of a present-day population retains cultural practices typically associated with that of an ancestral group, it is highly likely that nearly all members of that population have direct genealogical links to that ancestral group, given sufficient number of generations have elapsed. The basis for this conclusion is that not having a link to an ancestral group must be a property of all of an individual’s ancestors, the probability of which declines (nearly) superexponentially with each successive generation. These findings highlight unexpected incongruities induced by genealogical dynamics between present-day and ancestral identities.

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Neuroanatomical Correlates of Religiosity and Spirituality: A Study in Adults at High and Low Familial Risk for Depression

Lisa Miller et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, February 2014, Pages 128-135

Importance: We previously reported a 90% decreased risk in major depression, assessed prospectively, in adult offspring of depressed probands who reported that religion or spirituality was highly important to them. Frequency of church attendance was not significantly related to depression risk. Our previous brain imaging findings in adult offspring in these high-risk families also revealed large expanses of cortical thinning across the lateral surface of the right cerebral hemisphere.

Objective: To determine whether high-risk adults who reported high importance of religion or spirituality had thicker cortices than those who reported moderate or low importance of religion or spirituality and whether this effect varied by family risk status.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Longitudinal, retrospective cohort, familial study of 103 adults (aged 18-54 years) who were the second- or third-generation offspring of depressed (high familial risk) or nondepressed (low familiar risk) probands (first generation). Religious or spiritual importance and church attendance were assessed at 2 time points during 5 years, and cortical thickness was measured on anatomical images of the brain acquired with magnetic resonance imaging at the second time point.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Cortical thickness in the parietal regions by risk status.

Results: Importance of religion or spirituality, but not frequency of attendance, was associated with thicker cortices in the left and right parietal and occipital regions, the mesial frontal lobe of the right hemisphere, and the cuneus and precuneus in the left hemisphere, independent of familial risk. In addition, the effects of importance on cortical thickness were significantly stronger in the high-risk than in the low-risk group, particularly along the mesial wall of the left hemisphere, in the same region where we previously reported a significant thinner cortex associated with a familial risk of developing depressive illness. We note that these findings are correlational and therefore do not prove a causal association between importance and cortical thickness.

Conclusions and Relevance: A thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression, possibly by expanding a cortical reserve that counters to some extent the vulnerability that cortical thinning poses for developing familial depressive illness.

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Losing Faith and Finding Religion: Religiosity over the life course and substance use and abuse

Arden Moscati & Briana Mezuk
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, March 2014, Pages 127–134

Background: Religion has only come into the light of scientific inquiry as a factor influencing health and behavior in the last few decades. While religiosity is a protective factor for contemporaneous substance misuse, the relationship between longitudinal changes in religiosity and substance use outcomes is understudied

Methods: Using data from the National Comorbidity Study–Replication (N = 6203), we examined how changes in religiosity from childhood to adulthood are related to use and abuse/dependence of licit (alcohol and tobacco) and illicit drugs. Multivariable logistic regression was used to account for potential confounders including demographic characteristics, familial disruption during childhood, and comorbid major depression

Results: Religiosity was inversely associated with use and misuse of both licit and illicit substances, however this relationship varied by level of childhood religiosity. Relative to stable levels of religiosity from childhood to adulthood, a 2-unit decrease in religiosity from childhood was associated with increased likelihood of illicit drug use in the past year (Odds ratio (OR):2.43, 95% Confidence Interval (CI):1.39-4.25). However, a 2-unit increase in religiosity was also associated with past-year illicit drug use (OR:1.85, 95% CI:1.09-3.13). Comparable associations were found with a range of recent and lifetime measures of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs

Conclusions: Substantial gains or losses in religiosity from childhood to adulthood are associated with substance use and misuse. Findings support the use of a life course approach to understanding the relationship between religiosity and substance use outcomes.

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Cognitive style and religiosity: The role of conflict detection

Gordon Pennycook et al.
Memory & Cognition, January 2014, Pages 1-10

Abstract:
Recent research has indicated a negative relation between the propensity for analytic reasoning and religious beliefs and practices. Here, we propose conflict detection as a mechanism underlying this relation, on the basis of the hypothesis that more-analytic people are less religious, in part, because they are more sensitive to conflicts between immaterial religious beliefs and beliefs about the material world. To examine cognitive conflict sensitivity, we presented problems containing stereotypes that conflicted with base-rate probabilities in a task with no religious content. In three studies, we found evidence that religiosity is negatively related to conflict detection during reasoning. Independent measures of analytic cognitive style also positively predicted conflict detection. The present findings provide evidence for a mechanism potentially contributing to the negative association between analytic thinking and religiosity, and more generally, they illustrate the insights to be gained from integrating individual-difference factors and contextual factors to investigate analytic reasoning.

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Cueing God: Religious Cues and Voter Support

Bryan McLaughlin & David Wise
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars contend that correctly applying religious cues is crucial to winning political elections. This article examines the effect of general religious cues by conducting an experiment on a national sample (N = 520). Through the use of a fictitious congressional candidate's webpage, we examine how subtle and overt religious cues interact with citizen religiosity to affect political evaluations. The findings demonstrate that politicians who use overt religious cues run the risk of alienating a large portion of potential voters. Religious cues do, however, appear to become more effective as citizens become more religious. We also find some evidence that overt religious cues are more polarizing than subtle religious cues. This article provides a foundation from which to more thoroughly consider how general religious cues can affect political outcomes and how these cues may interact with other factors.

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Holy Fools: A Religious Phenomenon of Extreme Behaviour

E. Poulakou-Rebelakou et al.
Journal of Religion and Health, February 2014, Pages 95-104

Abstract:
Monks in Byzantine times (330–1453 AD) often expressed their faith with extreme manifestations of behaviour, such as living on a high column (stylites), on a tree (dendrites) or in crowded urban centres of the empire pretending to be fools for Christ’s sake. These Holy Fools exposed themselves to the ridicule and the mistreatment of the citizens, being protected, however, by their state of insanity to mock and violate moral codes and social conventions. The official Church barely tolerated these religious attitudes as promoting deviations from standard orthodoxy, and the Quinisext Ecumenical Council (592 AD) judged them as dangerous and formally denounced the phenomenon. The two most famous of them in Byzantium were Symeon of Emesa and Andrew of Constantinople, whose lives constitute unique testimonies to insanity and the simulation thereof. The survival and transplantation of the Holy Fools in Russia, called “yurodivye”, where they met widespread acceptance, confirm their appeal in specific geographic areas and their endurance over time. We attempt to approach the symbolism of holy lunacy and to analyse the personality trends of these “eccentric” saints.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 24, 2014

Grand entrance

Does Immigration Undermine Public Support for Social Policy?

David Brady & Ryan Finnigan
American Sociological Review, February 2014, Pages 17-42

Abstract:
There has been great interest in the relationship between immigration and the welfare state in recent years, and particularly since Alesina and Glaeser’s (2004) influential work. Following literatures on solidarity and fractionalization, race in the U.S. welfare state, and anti-immigrant sentiments, many contend that immigration undermines public support for social policy. This study analyzes three measures of immigration and six welfare attitudes using 1996 and 2006 International Social Survey Program (ISSP) data for 17 affluent democracies. Based on multi-level and two-way fixed-effects models, our results mostly fail to support the generic hypothesis that immigration undermines public support for social policy. The percent foreign born, net migration, and the 10-year change in the percent foreign born all fail to have robust significant negative effects on welfare attitudes. There is evidence that the percent foreign born significantly undermines the welfare attitude that government “should provide a job for everyone who wants one.” However, there is more robust evidence that net migration and change in percent foreign born have positive effects on welfare attitudes. We conclude that the compensation and chauvinism hypotheses provide greater potential for future research, and we critically consider other ways immigration could undermine the welfare state. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that factors other than immigration are far more important for public support of social policy.

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The Upside of Accents: Language, Inter-group Difference, and Attitudes toward Immigration

Daniel Hopkins
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many developed democracies are experiencing high immigration, and public attitudes likely shape their policy responses. Prior studies of ethnocentrism and stereotyping make divergent predictions about anti-immigration attitudes. Some contend that culturally distinctive immigrants consistently generate increased opposition; others predict that natives’ reactions depend on the particular cultural distinction and associated stereotypes. This article tests these hypotheses using realistic, video-based experiments with representative American samples. The results refute the expectation that more culturally distinctive immigrants necessarily induce anti-immigration views: exposure to Latino immigrants with darker skin tones or who speak Spanish does not increase restrictionist attitudes. Instead, the impact of out-group cues hinges on their content and related norms, as immigrants who speak accented English seem to counteract negative stereotypes related to immigrant assimilation.

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Physiological Arousal and Political Beliefs

Jonathan Renshon, Jooa Julia Lee & Dustin Tingley
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is by now well known that political attitudes can be affected by emotions. Most earlier studies have focused on emotions generated by some political event (e.g., terrorism or increased immigration). However, the methods used in previous efforts have made it difficult to untangle the various causal pathways that might link emotions to political beliefs. In contrast, we focus on emotions incidental (i.e., irrelevant) to the decision process, allowing us to cleanly trace and estimate the effect of experimentally induced anxiety on political beliefs. Further, we build upon innovative new work that links physiological reactivity (Oxley et al., 2008a; Hatemi, McDermott, Eaves, Kendler, & Neale, 2013) to attitudes by using skin conductance reactivity as a measure of emotional arousal. We found that anxiety — generated by a video stimulus — significantly affected physiological arousal as measured by tonic skin-conductance levels, and that higher physiological reactivity predicted more anti-immigration attitudes. We show that physiological reactivity mediated the relationship between anxiety and political attitudes.

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Life Satisfaction in the New Country: A Multilevel Longitudinal Analysis of Effects of Culture and 5-HTT Allele Frequency Distribution in Country of Origin

Emiko Kashima, Stephen Kent & Yoshihisa Kashima
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Life satisfaction of migrants to Australia from 17 countries, assessed at 4-5 months, 16-17 months, and 3½ years after arrival, was analyzed with a longitudinal, multilevel analysis. The results indicated that migrants were more satisfied, if the national average life satisfaction was higher in their country of origin, after adjustment for individual-level income, age, and sex and a linear temporal trend. Simultaneously, the migrants were also happier if people in their country of origin had a higher frequency of 5-HTT long allele, a genotype known to be associated with resilience under life stresses. These two relationships were independent, suggesting that both culture and gene matter in international transitions.

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Longitudinal Associations of Cultural Distance With Psychological Well-Being Among Australian Immigrants From 49 Countries

Emiko Kashima & Hisham Abu-Rayya
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Data of 5,033 immigrants from 49 countries/regions to Australia, derived from Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA), were analyzed to test a widely held assumption that greater cultural distance (CD) between immigrants’ culture of origin and their destination culture is associated with more adjustment difficulties and thus lower psychological well-being (the CD Hypothesis). Objective measures of CD were constructed from Hofstede’s four value dimensions, Schwartz’s seven dimensions, and Smith et al.’s two dimensions. The hypothesis was tested using multilevel hierarchical regression analyses which controlled for individual-level variations in age, gender, marital status, English language skills, and income. Results revealed limited support for the hypothesis. Whereas the global index of CD based on Smith et al.’s values provided support for the hypothesis, the specific indices of CD, comprised of separate value dimensions, showed a mixed pattern of relationships. Finally, most of the observed CD-well-being links were limited to the earlier phases of settlement and were diminished within 3.5 years after arrival.

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New Labour? The Effects of Migration from Central and Eastern Europe on Unemployment and Wages in the UK

Sara Lemos & Jonathan Portes
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, December 2013, Pages 299–338

Abstract:
The UK was one of only three countries that granted free movement of workers to accession nationals following the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004. The resulting migration inflow, which was substantially larger and faster than anticipated, arguably corresponds more closely to an exogenous supply shock than most migration shocks studied in the literature. We evaluate the impact of this migration inflow – one of the largest in British history – on the UK labour market. We use new monthly micro-level data and an empirical approach that investigates which of several particular labour markets in the UK – with varying degrees of natives’ mobility and migrants’ self-selection – may have been affected. We found little evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.

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How Durable are Social Norms? Immigrant Trust and Generosity in 132 Countries

John Helliwell, Shun Wang & Jinwen Xu
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
This paper estimates the global prevalence of social trust and generosity among immigrants. We combine individual and national level data from immigrants and native-born respondents in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll (2005-2012). The results show that the effect of source country social trust is about one-third as large as that from trust levels in the destination countries where the migrant now lives. Migrants from low-trust environments are especially affected by the low trust in their country of origin even after migration, while migrants from high-trust environments are less likely to import the high trust of their country of origin to their current country of residence. We also show that, holding constant the effects of imported trust, immigrants and the native-born have similar levels of social trust. We find similar, but smaller, footprint effects for generosity. To help confirm that the footprint effects for social norms represent more than just that it takes time to learn about new surroundings, we undertake similar tests for trust in national institutions, where we would not expect to see footprint effects. In contrast to our social trust and generosity results, and consistent with our expectations, we find no footprint effects for opinions about domestic institutions in the new country.

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The Success Frame and Achievement Paradox: The Costs and Consequences for Asian Americans

Jennifer Lee & Min Zhou
Race and Social Problems, March 2014, Pages 38-55

Abstract:
The status attainment model highlights the role of family socioeconomic status (SES) in the intergenerational reproduction of educational attainment; however, the model falls short in predicting the educational outcomes of the children of Asian immigrants, whose attainment exceeds that which would have been predicted based on family SES alone. On the other hand, the cultural capital model gives primacy to the role of middle-class cultural capital in reproducing advantage, but neglects contextual factors outside the family. We fill a theoretical and empirical niche by introducing a model of cultural frames to explain how the children of immigrants whose families exhibit low SES and lack middle-class cultural capital attain exceptional educational outcomes. Based on in-depth interviews with adult children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants randomly drawn from the survey of Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles, we show that Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant parents and their children use ethnicity as a resource to construct and support a strict “success frame” that helps the poor and working class override their disadvantages. However, there are unintended consequences to adopting such a strict success frame: those who do not meet its exacting tenets feel like ethnic outliers, and as a result, they distance themselves from coethnics and from their ethnic identities because they link achievement with ethnicity. We conclude by underscoring the benefits of decoupling race/ethnicity and achievement for all groups.

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Immigration, Jobs, and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe before and during the Great Recession

Francesco D'Amuri & Giovanni Peri
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper we analyze the impact of immigrants on the type and quantity of native jobs. We use data on 15 Western European countries during the 1996–2010 period. We find that immigrants, by taking manual-routine type of occupations pushed natives towards more “complex” (abstract and communication) jobs. This job upgrade was associated to a 0.7% increase in native wages for a doubling of the immigrants' share. These results are robust to the use of an IV strategy based on past settlement of immigrants across European countries. The job upgrade slowed but did not come to a halt during the Great Recession. We also document the labor market flows behind it: the complexity of jobs offered to new native hires was higher relative to the complexity of lost jobs. Finally, we find evidence that such reallocation was larger in countries with more flexible labor laws.

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Migration and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Mexico

Manuela Angelucci
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
Using data collected for the evaluation of the rural component of Oportunidades, Mexico's flagship anti-poverty program, I show that poor households' entitlement to an exogenous, temporary but guaranteed income stream increases US migration even if this income is mainly consumed and that some households likely use the entitlement to this income stream as collateral to finance the migration. The individuals who start migrating because of this income shock belong to households with no counterfactual US migrants, come from the middle of the local predicted wage distribution, and worsen migrant skills. These results suggest that financial constraints to international migration are binding for poor Mexicans, some of whom would like to migrate but cannot afford to. If generalizable, they indicate that, as growth and anti-poverty and micro-finance programs relax financial constraints for the poor, Mexican migration to the US will increase and higher levels of border enforcement will likely be needed.

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Will the Revolution be Tweeted or Facebooked? Using Digital Communication Tools in Immigrant Activism

Summer Harlow & Lei Guo
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Considering the debate over U.S. immigration reform and the way digital communication technologies increasingly are being used to spark protests, this qualitative study examines focus group discourse of immigration activists to explore how digital media are transforming the definitions of “activism” and “activist.” Analysis suggests technologies are perhaps pacifying would-be activists, convincing them they are contributing more than they actually are. Thus, “slacktivism,” or “clicktivism” that takes just a mouse click is potentially diluting “real” activism.

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Stopping the Enforcement “Tide”: Descriptive Representation, Latino Institutional Empowerment, and State-Level Immigration Policy

Alexandra Filindra & Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz
Politics & Policy, December 2013, Pages 814–832

Abstract:
Studies of descriptive representation have focused on the ability of minority and female legislators to push through legislation that is beneficial to these constituencies. However, little is known concerning the role of such legislators in preventing the enactment of bills noxious to their constituencies' interests. This research note investigates the role of Latino legislators in deterring the introduction and blocking the enactment of restrictive and punitive immigration legislation. Using state-level data from 2007, our results suggest that the relationship between the size of the Latino caucus in a state legislature and the introduction of restrictive bills is not statistically significant, but there is a strong negative statistical correlation between the size of the Latino caucus and the enactment of such laws. The data suggest that descriptive representation may play a role in blocking the passage of legislation harmful to disadvantaged groups.

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Impact of Arizona’s SB 1070 Immigration Law on Utilization of Health Care and Public Assistance Among Mexican-Origin Adolescent Mothers and Their Mother Figures

Russell Toomey et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2014, Pages S28-S34

Objectives: We examined the impact of Arizona’s “Supporting Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (SB 1070, enacted July 29, 2010) on the utilization of preventive health care and public assistance among Mexican-origin families.

Methods: Data came from 142 adolescent mothers and 137 mother figures who participated in a quasi-experimental, ongoing longitudinal study of the health and development of Mexican-origin adolescent mothers and their infants (4 waves; March 2007–December 2011). We used general estimating equations to determine whether utilization of preventive health care and public assistance differed before versus after SB 1070’s enactment.

Results: Adolescents reported declines in use of public assistance and were less likely to take their baby to the doctor; compared with older adolescents, younger adolescents were less likely to use preventive health care after SB 1070. Mother figures were less likely to use public assistance after SB 1070 if they were born in the United States and if their post–SB 1070 interview was closer to the law’s enactment.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that immigration policies such as SB 1070 may contribute to decreases in use of preventive health care and public assistance among high-risk populations.

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Expedited citizenship for sale: Estimating the effect of Executive Order 13269 on noncitizen military enlistments

Jesse Cunha et al.
Applied Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 1291-1300

Abstract:
This article estimates the effect of offering an expedited citizenship application process to noncitizens for joining the US military. Executive Order (EO) 13269, enacted in July of 2002, allowed noncitizens to apply for US citizenship immediately upon joining the military, effectively reducing the waiting time that is required to apply for citizenship from 3 years to 1 day. We identify the effect of the policy by using administrative personnel data on the universe of military enlistees between 1999 and 2010 along with a difference-in-differences (DD) strategy that uses accessions amongst citizens as the control group. Overall, we find no effect of the offer of expedited citizenship on total accessions amongst noncitizens. However, this overall null effect masks significant shifts of noncitizen enlistments out of combat intensive services and into ‘safer’ services. These results provide the first empirical evidence about this important, and relatively costless, recruiting policy.

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Independent effects of bilingualism and socioeconomic status on language ability and executive functioning

Alejandra Calvo & Ellen Bialystok
Cognition, March 2014, Pages 278–288

Abstract:
One hundred and seventy-five children who were 6-years old were assigned to one of four groups that differed in socioeconomic status (SES; working class or middle class) and language background (monolingual or bilingual). The children completed tests of nonverbal intelligence, language tests assessing receptive vocabulary and attention based on picture naming, and two tests of executive functioning. All children performed equivalently on the basic intelligence tests, but performance on the language and executive functioning tasks was influenced by both SES and bilingualism. Middle-class children outperformed working-class children on all measures, and bilingual children obtained lower scores than monolingual children on language tests but higher scores than monolingual children on the executive functioning tasks. There were no interactions with either group factors or task factors. Thus, each of SES and bilingualism contribute significantly and independently to children’s development irrespective of the child’s level on the other factor.

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Revisiting the Effects of Case Reports in the News

Mara Ostfeld & Diana Mutz
Political Communication, Winter 2014, Pages 53-72

Abstract:
Synthesizing several theories about the likely impact of case reports in the news, we propose that the impact of featuring identified victims in a news story is contingent on the degree of similarity between the audience member and the identified victims. We execute a population-based survey experiment involving immigration policy to examine our theory. Our results suggest that featuring specific, identified victims in a news story will promote more supportive policy opinions than otherwise identical stories about unidentified victims, but only when the victim is highly similar to the audience member. Conversely, case reports featuring identified people who are dissimilar to the audience member will decrease the extent to which the story encourages victim-supportive policy attitudes. Overall, our experimental findings shed light on the conditions under which the inclusion of case reports increases versus decreases the policy relevance of news stories. Our findings also help explain previous inconsistencies in findings about the impact of case reports. Additional analyses allow us to speculate as to the reasons for the differential direction of effects.

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Non-poor Components of Population Growth and Immigration in the U.S., 1990–2010

Isaac Sasson & Arthur Sakamoto
Social Indicators Research, January 2014, Pages 183-201

Abstract:
Traditional measures of poverty are informative in indicating the degree of economic deprivation in a population at a cross-sectional point in time, but they do not consider growth in the size of the non-poverty population. We develop a measure of non-poverty population growth in order to explore whether it constitutes a useful indicator of an important demographic dynamic. We illustrate our approach with an analysis of the U.S. states using Census and American Community Survey data from 1990, 2000, and 2010. The results indicate that the extent to which the non-poor population increased across states is uncorrelated with the initial poverty rate as conventionally measured. Broken down by nativity, the findings further show that some states with official poverty rates above the national average (e.g., Arizona, Georgia, and Texas) nonetheless had some of the highest rates of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants. By contrast, other states with official poverty rates below the national average (e.g., Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont) often had low rates of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants. These findings suggest that low initial poverty rates do not necessarily contribute substantially to the alleviation of global poverty through the immigration of less skilled persons from less developed nations. However, the rate of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants also appears to be uncorrelated with state variation in minimum wages even after taking into account population density and median home value.

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Multicultural Policy and Political Support in European Democracies

Jack Citrin, Morris Levy & Matthew Wright
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to growing demographic diversity, European countries have selectively implemented political multiculturalism, a set of policies that seek to redefine prevailing conceptions of national identity. We explore the consequences of such policies for mass political support. Applying multi-level modeling to the 2002 and 2010 waves of the European Social Survey and analyzing multiple dependent variables including trust in regime institutions and assessments of the government of the day and the political system’s performance, we show that the extensive adoption of multicultural policies magnifies the degree to which hostility to immigration is negatively associated with political support. This finding, robust to multiple specifications, is corroborated using European Values Survey data. It underscores how policies that challenge citizens’ conceptions of national identity strengthen the link between opposition to immigration and political discontent, furnishing ongoing opportunities for rightist fringe parties to capitalize on anti-immigrant sentiment among the politically alienated.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ancient

A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History

Garrett Hellenthal et al.
Science, 14 February 2014, Pages 747-751

Abstract:
Modern genetic data combined with appropriate statistical methods have the potential to contribute substantially to our understanding of human history. We have developed an approach that exploits the genomic structure of admixed populations to date and characterize historical mixture events at fine scales. We used this to produce an atlas of worldwide human admixture history, constructed by using genetic data alone and encompassing over 100 events occurring over the past 4000 years. We identified events whose dates and participants suggest they describe genetic impacts of the Mongol empire, Arab slave trade, Bantu expansion, first millennium CE migrations in Eastern Europe, and European colonialism, as well as unrecorded events, revealing admixture to be an almost universal force shaping human populations.

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Neanderthal Demographic Estimates

Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel & Anna Degioanni
Current Anthropology, December 2013, Pages S202-S213

Abstract:
This article offers a critical review of population estimates for the Neanderthal metapopulation based on (paleo-) biological, archaeological, climatic, and genetic data. What do these data tell us about putative Neanderthal demography? Biological data suggest a similar demographic frame (life-history traits, such as potential maximum longevity, age at menarche, and duration of gestation) between Neanderthals and modern humans. Archaeological data have revealed a contradiction between the mortality pattern corresponding to 45+ yr in Neanderthals and the longevity displayed by the manifest continuum of extant mammals, including primates. Paleoclimatic data suggest that the demography of Neanderthals, living as they did under highly fluctuating climatic conditions, was subject to frequent bottlenecks. This demographic instability combined with the fragmentation of geographical areas and variations in their distribution and extent could account for the fact that potential for technical creativity in the Neanderthal metapopulation would have been limited precisely because of its small numbers, leading it into what is known as a “Boserupian trap” in macrodemographic theory. Finally, genetic literature reports different — but always very low — estimations of the effective size (Ne) of the Neanderthal metapopulation. It is not easy to relate Ne to the census size of a population, but by combining different demographic values, this study produced nine different scenarios that were used to obtain an order of magnitude ranging from 5,000 to 70,000 individuals. The cause of the cultural limitation of the Neanderthal metapopulation, compared with that of modern humans, may well have resided in its small numbers alone.

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The Pre-History of Urban Scaling

Scott Ortman et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
Cities are increasingly the fundamental socio-economic units of human societies worldwide, but we still lack a unified characterization of urbanization that captures the social processes realized by cities across time and space. This is especially important for understanding the role of cities in the history of human civilization and for determining whether studies of ancient cities are relevant for contemporary science and policy. As a step in this direction, we develop a theory of settlement scaling in archaeology, deriving the relationship between population and settled area from a consideration of the interplay between social and infrastructural networks. We then test these models on settlement data from the Pre-Hispanic Basin of Mexico to show that this ancient settlement system displays spatial scaling properties analogous to those observed in modern cities. Our data derive from over 1,500 settlements occupied over two millennia and spanning four major cultural periods characterized by different levels of agricultural productivity, political centralization and market development. We show that, in agreement with theory, total settlement area increases with population size, on average, according to a scale invariant relation with an exponent in the range 2/3 ≤ α ≤ 5/6. As a consequence, we are able to infer aggregate socio-economic properties of ancient societies from archaeological measures of settlement organization. Our findings, from an urban settlement system that evolved independently from its old-world counterparts, suggest that principles of settlement organization are very general and may apply to the entire range of human history.

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The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana

Morten Rasmussen et al.
Nature, 13 February 2014, Pages 225–229

Abstract:
Clovis, with its distinctive biface, blade and osseous technologies, is the oldest widespread archaeological complex defined in North America, dating from 11,100 to 10,700 14C years before present (BP) (13,000 to 12,600 calendar years BP). Nearly 50 years of archaeological research point to the Clovis complex as having developed south of the North American ice sheets from an ancestral technology. However, both the origins and the genetic legacy of the people who manufactured Clovis tools remain under debate. It is generally believed that these people ultimately derived from Asia and were directly related to contemporary Native Americans. An alternative, Solutrean, hypothesis posits that the Clovis predecessors emigrated from southwestern Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum. Here we report the genome sequence of a male infant (Anzick-1) recovered from the Anzick burial site in western Montana. The human bones date to 10,705 ± 35 14C years BP (approximately 12,707–12,556 calendar years BP) and were directly associated with Clovis tools. We sequenced the genome to an average depth of 14.4× and show that the gene flow from the Siberian Upper Palaeolithic Mal’ta population into Native American ancestors is also shared by the Anzick-1 individual and thus happened before 12,600 years BP. We also show that the Anzick-1 individual is more closely related to all indigenous American populations than to any other group. Our data are compatible with the hypothesis that Anzick-1 belonged to a population directly ancestral to many contemporary Native Americans. Finally, we find evidence of a deep divergence in Native American populations that predates the Anzick-1 individual.

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Convergent evolution in European and Rroma populations reveals pressure exerted by plague on Toll-like receptors

Hafid Laayouni et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 18 February 2014, Pages 2668–2673

Abstract:
Recent historical periods in Europe have been characterized by severe epidemic events such as plague, smallpox, or influenza that shaped the immune system of modern populations. This study aims to identify signals of convergent evolution of the immune system, based on the peculiar demographic history in which two populations with different genetic ancestry, Europeans and Rroma (Gypsies), have lived in the same geographic area and have been exposed to similar environments, including infections, during the last millennium. We identified several genes under evolutionary pressure in European/Romanian and Rroma/Gipsy populations, but not in a Northwest Indian population, the geographic origin of the Rroma. Genes in the immune system were highly represented among those under strong evolutionary pressures in Europeans, and infections are likely to have played an important role. For example, Toll-like receptor 1 (TLR1)/TLR6/TLR10 gene cluster showed a strong signal of adaptive selection. Their gene products are functional receptors for Yersinia pestis, the agent of plague, as shown by overexpression studies showing induction of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF, IL-1β, and IL-6 as one possible infection that may have exerted evolutionary pressures. Immunogenetic analysis showed that TLR1, TLR6, and TLR10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms modulate Y. pestis–induced cytokine responses. Other infections may also have played an important role. Thus, reconstruction of evolutionary history of European populations has identified several immune pathways, among them TLR1/TLR6/TLR10, as being shaped by convergent evolution in two human populations with different origins under the same infectious environment.

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Hominin Footprints from Early Pleistocene Deposits at Happisburgh, UK

Nick Ashton et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2014

Abstract:
Investigations at Happisburgh, UK, have revealed the oldest known hominin footprint surface outside Africa at between ca. 1 million and 0.78 million years ago. The site has long been recognised for the preservation of sediments containing Early Pleistocene fauna and flora, but since 2005 has also yielded humanly made flint artefacts, extending the record of human occupation of northern Europe by at least 350,000 years. The sediments consist of sands, gravels and laminated silts laid down by a large river within the upper reaches of its estuary. In May 2013 extensive areas of the laminated sediments were exposed on the foreshore. On the surface of one of the laminated silt horizons a series of hollows was revealed in an area of ca. 12 m2. The surface was recorded using multi-image photogrammetry which showed that the hollows are distinctly elongated and the majority fall within the range of juvenile to adult hominin foot sizes. In many cases the arch and front/back of the foot can be identified and in one case the impression of toes can be seen. Using foot length to stature ratios, the hominins are estimated to have been between ca. 0.93 and 1.73 m in height, suggestive of a group of mixed ages. The orientation of the prints indicates movement in a southerly direction on mud-flats along the river edge. Early Pleistocene human fossils are extremely rare in Europe, with no evidence from the UK. The only known species in western Europe of a similar age is Homo antecessor, whose fossil remains have been found at Atapuerca, Spain. The foot sizes and estimated stature of the hominins from Happisburgh fall within the range derived from the fossil evidence of Homo antecessor.

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Derived immune and ancestral pigmentation alleles in a 7,000-year-old Mesolithic European

Iñigo Olalde et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Ancient genomic sequences have started to reveal the origin and the demographic impact of farmers from the Neolithic period spreading into Europe. The adoption of farming, stock breeding and sedentary societies during the Neolithic may have resulted in adaptive changes in genes associated with immunity and diet. However, the limited data available from earlier hunter-gatherers preclude an understanding of the selective processes associated with this crucial transition to agriculture in recent human evolution. Here we sequence an approximately 7,000-year-old Mesolithic skeleton discovered at the La Braña-Arintero site in León, Spain, to retrieve a complete pre-agricultural European human genome. Analysis of this genome in the context of other ancient samples suggests the existence of a common ancient genomic signature across western and central Eurasia from the Upper Paleolithic to the Mesolithic. The La Braña individual carries ancestral alleles in several skin pigmentation genes, suggesting that the light skin of modern Europeans was not yet ubiquitous in Mesolithic times. Moreover, we provide evidence that a significant number of derived, putatively adaptive variants associated with pathogen resistance in modern Europeans were already present in this hunter-gatherer.

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Resurrecting Surviving Neandertal Lineages from Modern Human Genomes

Benjamin Vernot & Joshua Akey
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Anatomically modern humans overlapped and mated with Neandertals such that non-African humans inherit ~1-3% of their genomes from Neandertal ancestors. We identified Neandertal lineages that persist in the DNA of modern humans, in whole-genome sequences from 379 European and 286 East Asian individuals, recovering over 15 Gb of introgressed sequence that spans ~20% of the Neandertal genome (FDR = 5%). Analyses of surviving archaic lineages suggests that there were fitness costs to hybridization, admixture occurred both before and subsequent to divergence of non-African modern humans, and Neandertals were a source of adaptive variation for loci involved in skin phenotypes. Our results provide a new avenue for paleogenomics studies, allowing substantial amounts of population-level DNA sequence information to be obtained from extinct groups even in the absence of fossilized remains.

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The complete genome sequence of a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains

Kay Prüfer et al.
Nature, 2 January 2014, Pages 43–49

Abstract:
We present a high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal woman from Siberia. We show that her parents were related at the level of half-siblings and that mating among close relatives was common among her recent ancestors. We also sequenced the genome of a Neanderthal from the Caucasus to low coverage. An analysis of the relationships and population history of available archaic genomes and 25 present-day human genomes shows that several gene flow events occurred among Neanderthals, Denisovans and early modern humans, possibly including gene flow into Denisovans from an unknown archaic group. Thus, interbreeding, albeit of low magnitude, occurred among many hominin groups in the Late Pleistocene. In addition, the high-quality Neanderthal genome allows us to establish a definitive list of substitutions that became fixed in modern humans after their separation from the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

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The Invisible Cliff: Abrupt Imposition of Malthusian Equilibrium in a Natural-Fertility, Agrarian Society

Cedric Puleston, Shripad Tuljapurkar & Bruce Winterhalder
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
Analysis of a natural fertility agrarian society with a multi-variate model of population ecology isolates three distinct phases of population growth following settlement of a new habitat: (1) a sometimes lengthy copial phase of surplus food production and constant vital rates; (2) a brief transition phase in which food shortages rapidly cause increased mortality and lessened fertility; and (3) a Malthusian phase of indefinite length in which vital rates and quality of life are depressed, sometimes strikingly so. Copial phase duration declines with increases in the size of the founding group, maximum life expectancy and fertility; it increases with habitat area and yield per hectare; and, it is unaffected by the sensitivity of vital rates to hunger. Transition phase duration is unaffected by size of founding population and area of settlement; it declines with yield, life expectancy, fertility and the sensitivity of vital rates to hunger. We characterize the transition phase as the Malthusian transition interval (MTI), in order to highlight how little time populations generally have to adjust. Under food-limited density dependence, the copial phase passes quickly to an equilibrium of grim Malthusian constraints, in the manner of a runner dashing over an invisible cliff. The three-phase pattern diverges from widely held intuitions based on standard Lotka-Verhulst approaches to population regulation, with implications for the analysis of socio-cultural evolution, agricultural intensification, bioarchaeological interpretation of food stress in prehistoric societies, and state-level collapse.

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Immediate replacement of fishing with dairying by the earliest farmers of the northeast Atlantic archipelagos

Lucy Cramp et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 April 2014

Abstract:
The appearance of farming, from its inception in the Near East around 12 000 years ago, finally reached the northwestern extremes of Europe by the fourth millennium BC or shortly thereafter. Various models have been invoked to explain the Neolithization of northern Europe; however, resolving these different scenarios has proved problematic due to poor faunal preservation and the lack of specificity achievable for commonly applied proxies. Here, we present new multi-proxy evidence, which qualitatively and quantitatively maps subsistence change in the northeast Atlantic archipelagos from the Late Mesolithic into the Neolithic and beyond. A model involving significant retention of hunter–gatherer–fisher influences was tested against one of the dominant adoptions of farming using a novel suite of lipid biomarkers, including dihydroxy fatty acids, ω-(o-alkylphenyl)alkanoic acids and stable carbon isotope signatures of individual fatty acids preserved in cooking vessels. These new findings, together with archaeozoological and human skeletal collagen bulk stable carbon isotope proxies, unequivocally confirm rejection of marine resources by early farmers coinciding with the adoption of intensive dairy farming. This pattern of Neolithization contrasts markedly to that occurring contemporaneously in the Baltic, suggesting that geographically distinct ecological and cultural influences dictated the evolution of subsistence practices at this critical phase of European prehistory.

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Helminths and human ancestral immune ecology: What is the evidence for high helminth loads among foragers?

Douglas London & Daniel Hruschka
American Journal of Human Biology, March/April 2014, Pages 124–129

Objectives: Recent theories of human immune ecology have invoked high helminth loads as an important selection factor among early humans. However, few studies have assessed this assumption among extant human foragers.

Methods: We review the current evidence for high helminth loads in documented forager populations and present new data from members of a Kawymeno Waorani forager group in Amazonian Ecuador (n = 16) compared with neighboring Kichwa subsistence farmers (n = 63).

Results: Stool samples indicated a near absence of helminths among the Kawymeno foraging group (6.25% with Ascaris lumbricoides and 0% with Ancylostoma duodenale or Trichuris trichiura). In contrast neighboring, isolated Kichwa subsistence farmers in a similar ecosystem had abundant helminth infestations (76.1% with Ascaris lumbricoides, 11.1% with Ancylostoma duodenale, and 1.5% with Trichuris trichiura). The presence of helminths among the Waorani and Kichwa was triangulated across multiple data sources, including presence in stool samples, medical exams, and 3 years of participant observation.

Conclusions: These findings, coupled with the modern forager literature, raise questions as to whether helminths were prevalent enough in Paleolithic humans to be a unique evolutionary selective force in human physiology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 22, 2014

All bets are off

Anticipating Early Fatality: Friends', Schoolmates' and Individual Perceptions of Fatality on Adolescent Risk Behaviors

Dana Haynie, Brian Soller & Kristi Williams
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, February 2014, Pages 175-192

Abstract:
Past research indicates that anticipating adverse outcomes, such as early death (fatalism), is associated positively with adolescents' likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. Health researchers and criminologists have argued that fatalism influences present risk taking in part by informing individuals' motivation for delaying gratification for the promise of future benefits. While past findings highlight the association between the anticipation of early death and a number of developmental outcomes, no known research has assessed the impact of location in a context characterized by high perceptions of fatality. Using data from Add Health and a sample of 9,584 adolescents (51 % female and 71 % white) nested in 113 schools, our study builds upon prior research by examining the association between friends', school mates', and individual perceptions of early fatality and adolescent risk behaviors. We test whether friends' anticipation of being killed prior to age 21 or location in a school where a high proportion of the student body subscribes to attitudes of high fatality, is associated with risky behaviors. Results indicate that friends' fatalism is positively associated with engaging in violent delinquency, non-violent delinquency, and drug use after controlling for individual covariates and prior individual risk-taking. Although friends' delinquency accounts for much of the effect of friends' fatalism on violence, none of the potential intervening variables fully explain the effect of friends' fatalism on youth involvement in non-violent delinquency and drug use. Our results underscore the importance of friendship contextual effects in shaping adolescent risk-taking behavior and the very serious consequences perceptions of fatality have for adolescents' involvement in delinquency and drug use.

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Peers Increase Adolescent Risk Taking Even When the Probabilities of Negative Outcomes Are Known

Ashley Smith, Jason Chein & Laurence Steinberg
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of adolescent risk taking occurs in the presence of peers, and recent research suggests that the presence of peers may alter how the potential rewards and costs of a decision are valuated or perceived. The current study further explores this notion by investigating how peer observation affects adolescent risk taking when the information necessary to make an informed decision is explicitly provided. We used a novel probabilistic gambling task in which participants decided whether to play or pass on a series of offers for which the reward and loss outcome probabilities were made explicit. Adolescent participants completed the task either alone or under the belief that they were being observed by an unknown peer in a neighboring room. Participants who believed a peer was observing them chose to gamble more often than participants who completed the task alone, and this effect was most evident for decisions with a greater probability of loss. These results suggest that the presence of peers can increase risk taking among adolescents even when specific information regarding the likelihood of positive and negative outcomes is provided. The findings expand our understanding of how peers influence adolescent decision making and have important implications regarding the value of educational programs aimed at reducing risky behaviors during adolescence.

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Carry on winning: The gamblers' fallacy creates hot hand effects in online gambling

Juemin Xu & Nigel Harvey
Cognition, May 2014, Pages 173-180

Abstract:
People suffering from the hot-hand fallacy unreasonably expect winning streaks to continue whereas those suffering from the gamblers' fallacy unreasonably expect losing streaks to reverse. We took 565,915 sports bets made by 776 online gamblers in 2010 and analyzed all winning and losing streaks up to a maximum length of six. People who won were more likely to win again (apparently because they chose safer odds than before) whereas those who lost were more likely to lose again (apparently because they chose riskier odds than before). However, selection of safer odds after winning and riskier ones after losing indicates that online sports gamblers expected their luck to reverse: they suffered from the gamblers' fallacy. By believing in the gamblers' fallacy, they created their own hot hands.

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Playing 'Tetris' reduces the strength, frequency and vividness of naturally occurring cravings

Jessica Skorka-Brown, Jackie Andrade & Jon May
Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
Elaborated Intrusion Theory (EI) postulates that imagery is central to craving, therefore a visually based task should decrease craving and craving imagery. This study provides the first laboratory test of this hypothesis in naturally occurring, rather than artificially induced, cravings. Participants reported if they were experiencing a craving and rated the strength, vividness and intrusiveness of their craving. They then either played 'Tetris' or they waited for a computer program to load (they were told it would load, but it was designed not to). Before task completion, craving scores between conditions did not differ; after, however, participants who had played 'Tetris' had significantly lower craving and less vivid craving imagery. The findings support EI theory, showing that a visuospatial working memory load reduces naturally occurring cravings, and that Tetris might be a useful task for tackling cravings outside the laboratory. Methodologically, the findings show that craving can be studied in the laboratory without using craving induction procedures.

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In-School Neurofeedback Training for ADHD: Sustained Improvements From a Randomized Control Trial

Naomi Steiner et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate sustained improvements 6 months after a 40-session, in-school computer attention training intervention using neurofeedback or cognitive training (CT) administered to 7- to 11-year-olds with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Methods: One hundred four children were randomly assigned to receive neurofeedback, CT, or a control condition and were evaluated 6 months postintervention. A 3-point growth model assessed change over time across the conditions on the Conners 3-Parent Assessment Report (Conners 3-P), the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function Parent Form (BRIEF), and a systematic double-blinded classroom observation (Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools). Analysis of variance assessed community-initiated changes in stimulant medication.

Results: Parent response rates were 90% at the 6-month follow-up. Six months postintervention, neurofeedback participants maintained significant gains on Conners 3-P (Inattention effect size [ES] = 0.34, Executive Functioning ES = 0.25, Hyperactivity/Impulsivity ES = 0.23) and BRIEF subscales including the Global Executive Composite (ES = 0.31), which remained significantly greater than gains found among children in CT and control conditions. Children in the CT condition showed delayed improvement over immediate postintervention ratings only on Conners 3-P Executive Functioning (ES = 0.18) and 2 BRIEF subscales. At the 6-month follow-up, neurofeedback participants maintained the same stimulant medication dosage, whereas participants in both CT and control conditions showed statistically and clinically significant increases (9 mg [P = .002] and 13 mg [P < .001], respectively).

Conclusions: Neurofeedback participants made more prompt and greater improvements in ADHD symptoms, which were sustained at the 6-month follow-up, than did CT participants or those in the control group. This finding suggests that neurofeedback is a promising attention training treatment for children with ADHD.

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Cortisol shifts financial risk preferences

Narayanan Kandasamy et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Risk taking is central to human activity. Consequently, it lies at the focal point of behavioral sciences such as neuroscience, economics, and finance. Many influential models from these sciences assume that financial risk preferences form a stable trait. Is this assumption justified and, if not, what causes the appetite for risk to fluctuate? We have previously found that traders experience a sustained increase in the stress hormone cortisol when the amount of uncertainty, in the form of market volatility, increases. Here we ask whether these elevated cortisol levels shift risk preferences. Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over protocol we raised cortisol levels in volunteers over 8 d to the same extent previously observed in traders. We then tested for the utility and probability weighting functions underlying their risk taking and found that participants became more risk-averse. We also observed that the weighting of probabilities became more distorted among men relative to women. These results suggest that risk preferences are highly dynamic. Specifically, the stress response calibrates risk taking to our circumstances, reducing it in times of prolonged uncertainty, such as a financial crisis. Physiology-induced shifts in risk preferences may thus be an underappreciated cause of market instability.

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Sweet delusion. Glucose drinks fail to counteract ego depletion

Florian Lange & Frank Eggert
Appetite, April 2014, Pages 54-63

Abstract:
Initial acts of self-control have repeatedly been shown to reduce individuals' performance on a consecutive self-control task. In addition, sugar containing drinks have been demonstrated to counteract this so-called ego-depletion effect, both when being ingested and when merely being sensed in the oral cavity. However, since the underlying evidence is less compelling than suggested, replications are crucially required. In Experiment 1, 70 participants consumed a drink containing either sugar or a non-caloric sweetener between two administrations of delay-discounting tasks. Experiment 2 (N = 115) was designed to unravel the psychological function of oral glucose sensing by manipulating the temporal delay between a glucose mouth rinse and the administration of the consecutive self-control task. Despite applying powerful research designs, no effect of sugar sensing or ingestion on ego depletion could be detected. These findings add to previous challenges of the glucose model of self-control and highlight the need for independent replications.

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Longitudinal trajectories of sensation seeking, risk taking propensity, and impulsivity across early to middle adolescence

Anahi Collado et al.
Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adolescent substance use and abuse show associations with increases in disinhibitory constructs, including sensation seeking, risk taking propensity, and impulsivity. However, the longitudinal trajectories of these constructs from early to middle adolescence remain largely unknown. Thus, the current study examined these developmental trajectories in 277 adolescents (Mage = 11.00 at Wave 1), over five consecutive yearly waves. Controlling for age, Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses showed that sensation seeking increased linearly, whereas risk taking propensity and impulsivity demonstrated curvilinear changes. Specifically, risk taking propensity increased in the first four waves of assessment but did not evidence changes at the last assessment wave. Impulsivity, on the other hand peaked at wave four before subsequently declining. A comparison between females and males and Black and White adolescents suggested that these groups' trajectories were similar. Black adolescents' sensation seeking trajectory differed from adolescents who belonged to the "Other" racial group (i.e., adolescents who neither self-identified as Black or White). Generally, the study findings replicate and extend earlier work indicating that these risk factors increase across early adolescence and begin to level-off during middle adolescence. The importance of understanding the natural course of these core constructs is of great importance for directing future relevant prevention and intervention work.

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Exciting Fear in Adolescence: Does Pubertal Development Alter Threat Processing?

Jeffrey Spielberg et al.
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adolescent development encompasses an ostensible paradox in threat processing. Risk taking increases dramatically after the onset of puberty, contributing to a 200% increase in mortality. Yet, pubertal maturation is associated with increased reactivity in threat-avoidance systems. In the first part of this paper we propose a heuristic model of adolescent affective development that may help to reconcile aspects of this paradox, which focuses on hypothesized pubertal increases in the capacity to experience (some) fear-evoking experiences as an exciting thrill. In the second part of this paper, we test key features of this model by examining brain activation to threat cues in a longitudinal study that disentangled pubertal and age effects. Pubertal increases in testosterone predicted increased activation to threat cues, not only in regions associated with threat avoidance (i.e., amygdala), but also regions associated with reward pursuit (i.e., nucleus accumbens). These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that puberty is associated with a maturational shift toward more complex processing of threat cues - which may contribute to adolescent tendencies to explore and enjoy some types of risky experiences.

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Differential influence of safe versus threatening facial expressions on decision-making during an inhibitory control task in adolescence and adulthood

J.E. Cohen-Gilbert et al.
Developmental Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social cognition matures dramatically during adolescence and into early adulthood, supported by continued improvements in inhibitory control. During this time, developmental changes in interpreting and responding to social signals such as facial expressions also occur. In the present study, subjects performed a Go No-Go task that required them to respond or inhibit responding based on threat or safety cues present in facial expressions. Subjects (N = 112) were divided into three age groups: adolescent (12-15 years), emerging adult (18-25 years) and adult (26-44 years). Analyses revealed a significant improvement in accuracy on No-Go trials, but not Go trials, during both safe and threat face conditions, with changes evident through early adulthood. In order to better identify the decision-making processes responsible for these changes in inhibitory control, a drift diffusion model (DDM) was fit to the accuracy and reaction time data, generating measures of caution, response bias, nondecision time (encoding + motor response), and drift rate (face processing efficiency). Caution and nondecision time both increased significantly with age while bias towards the Go response decreased. Drift rate analyses revealed significant age-related improvements in the ability to map threat faces to a No-Go response while drift rates on all other trial types were equivalent across age groups. These results suggest that both stimulus-independent and stimulus-dependent processes contribute to improvements in inhibitory control in adolescence with processing of negative social cues being specifically impaired by self-regulatory demands. Findings from this novel investigation of emotional responsiveness integrated with inhibitory control may provide useful insights about healthy development that can be applied to better understand adolescent risk-taking behavior and the elevated incidence of related forms of psychopathology during this period of life.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, February 21, 2014

Going for the gold

Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility

Raj Chetty et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
We present new evidence on trends in intergenerational mobility in the U.S. using administrative earnings records. We find that percentile rank-based measures of intergenerational mobility have remained extremely stable for the 1971-1993 birth cohorts. For children born between 1971 and 1986, we measure intergenerational mobility based on the correlation between parent and child income percentile ranks. For more recent cohorts, we measure mobility as the correlation between a child’s probability of attending college and her parents’ income rank. We also calculate transition probabilities, such as a child’s chances of reaching the top quintile of the income distribution starting from the bottom quintile. Based on all of these measures, we find that children entering the labor market today have the same chances of moving up in the income distribution (relative to their parents) as children born in the 1970s. However, because inequality has risen, the consequences of the “birth lottery” – the parents to whom a child is born – are larger today than in the past.

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Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States

Raj Chetty et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
We use administrative records on the incomes of more than 40 million children and their parents to describe three features of intergenerational mobility in the United States. First, we characterize the joint distribution of parent and child income at the national level. The conditional expectation of child income given parent income is linear in percentile ranks. On average, a 10 percentile increase in parent income is associated with a 3.4 percentile increase in a child's income. Second, intergenerational mobility varies substantially across areas within the U.S. For example, the probability that a child reaches the top quintile of the national income distribution starting from a family in the bottom quintile is 4.4% in Charlotte but 12.9% in San Jose. Third, we explore the factors correlated with upward mobility. High mobility areas have (1) less residential segregation, (2) less income inequality, (3) better primary schools, (4) greater social capital, and (5) greater family stability. While our descriptive analysis does not identify the causal mechanisms that determine upward mobility, the new publicly available statistics on intergenerational mobility by area developed here can facilitate future research on such mechanisms.

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The Demise of U.S. Economic Growth: Restatement, Rebuttal, and Reflections

Robert Gordon
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
The United States achieved a 2.0 percent average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita between 1891 and 2007. This paper predicts that growth in the 25 to 40 years after 2007 will be much slower, particularly for the great majority of the population. Future growth will be 1.3 percent per annum for labor productivity in the total economy, 0.9 percent for output per capita, 0.4 percent for real income per capita of the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution, and 0.2 percent for the real disposable income of that group. The primary cause of this growth slowdown is a set of four headwinds, all of them widely recognized and uncontroversial. Demographic shifts will reduce hours worked per capita, due not just to the retirement of the baby boom generation but also as a result of an exit from the labor force both of youth and prime-age adults. Educational attainment, a central driver of growth over the past century, stagnates at a plateau as the U.S. sinks lower in the world league tables of high school and college completion rates. Inequality continues to increase, resulting in real income growth for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution that is fully half a point per year below the average growth of all incomes. A projected long-term increase in the ratio of debt to GDP at all levels of government will inevitably lead to more rapid growth in tax revenues and/or slower growth in transfer payments at some point within the next several decades. There is no need to forecast any slowdown in the pace of future innovation for this gloomy forecast to come true, because that slowdown already occurred four decades ago. In the eight decades before 1972 labor productivity grew at an average rate 0.8 percent per year faster than in the four decades since 1972. While no forecast of a future slowdown of innovation is needed, skepticism is offered here, particularly about the techno-optimists who currently believe that we are at a point of inflection leading to faster technological change. The paper offers several historical examples showing that the future of technology can be forecast 50 or even 100 years in advance and assesses widely discussed innovations anticipated to occur over the next few decades, including medical research, small robots, 3-D printing, big data, driverless vehicles, and oil-gas fracking.

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Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality

Jeremy Greenwood et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Has there been an increase in positive assortative mating? Does assortative mating contribute to household income inequality? Data from the United States Census Bureau suggests there has been a rise in assortative mating. Additionally, assortative mating affects household income inequality. In particular, if matching in 2005 between husbands and wives had been random, instead of the pattern observed in the data, then the Gini coefficient would have fallen from the observed 0.43 to 0.34, so that income inequality would be smaller. Thus, assortative mating is important for income inequality. The high level of married female labor-force participation in 2005 is important for this result.

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Inequality and growth: The neglected time dimension

Daniel Halter, Manuel Oechslin & Josef Zweimüller
Journal of Economic Growth, March 2014, Pages 81-104

Abstract:
Inequality affects economic performance through many mechanisms, both beneficial and harmful. Moreover, some of these mechanisms tend to set in fast while others are rather slow. The present paper (i) introduces a simple theoretical model to study how changes in inequality affect economic growth over different time horizons; (ii) empirically investigates the inequality–growth relationship, thereby relying on specifications derived from the theory. Our empirical findings are in line with the theoretical predictions: Higher inequality helps economic performance in the short term but reduces the growth rate of GDP per capita farther in the future. The long-run (or total) effect of higher inequality tends to be negative.

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Income Inequality and Child Maltreatment in the United States

John Eckenrode et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the relation between county-level income inequality and rates of child maltreatment.

Methods: Data on substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect from 2005 to 2009 were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. County-level data on income inequality and children in poverty were obtained from the American Community Survey. Data for additional control variables were obtained from the American Community Survey and the Health Resources and Services Administration Area Resource File. The Gini coefficient was used as the measure of income inequality. Generalized additive models were estimated to explore linear and nonlinear relations among income inequality, poverty, and child maltreatment. In all models, state was included as a fixed effect to control for state-level differences in victim rates.

Results: Considerable variation in income inequality and child maltreatment rates was found across the 3142 US counties. Income inequality, as well as child poverty rate, was positively and significantly correlated with child maltreatment rates at the county level. Controlling for child poverty, demographic and economic control variables, and state-level variation in maltreatment rates, there was a significant linear effect of inequality on child maltreatment rates (P < .0001). This effect was stronger for counties with moderate to high levels of child poverty.

Conclusions: Higher income inequality across US counties was significantly associated with higher county-level rates of child maltreatment. The findings contribute to the growing literature linking greater income inequality to a range of poor health and well-being outcomes in infants and children.

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The international mobility of billionaires

Tino Sanandaji
Small Business Economics, February 2014, Pages 329-338

Abstract:
This paper uses data from Forbes Magazine’s list of billionaires, supplemented with other publicly available information, to study the migratory behavior of the very rich. Billionaires are more likely to move to countries that share a language and a culture with their country of birth and to countries with larger markets, higher incomes, and lower capital taxes. In total, only 15 % of self-made billionaires — almost all of whom are entrepreneurs — migrated to another country. One explanation for the modest rate of migration may be the country-specificity of entrepreneurs’ human capital. Eight out of ten migrants select a destination country with higher per capita income than that of their birth country, and seven out of ten move to a country with lower capital taxes.

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Employer's choice: Selection through job advertisements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Wiebke Schulz, Ineke Maas & Marco van Leeuwen
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
Dominant theories in stratification research suppose modernization processes to have caused societies to become more open. Employers are assumed to have increasingly selected from among applicants on the basis of job-related characteristics, such as their skills, rather than on characteristics unrelated to the job, such as social origin. We address this issue by studying employers’ selection criteria in job advertisements. We do so for the heyday of modernization, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Employers are found to have selected more on job-related than on other characteristics even at the start of the period, but the extent to which they did so did not increase over time. Job-related characteristics were no more important as selection criteria in modern occupations, nor in modern municipalities. Despite what modernization theories suggest, employers were no more and no less inclined to select their personnel through job advertisements. Employers did, however, select more on job-related characteristics for occupations with a high status.

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Economic Inequality and the Social Capital Gap in the United States across Time and Space

Matthew Wright
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although researchers have demonstrated that economic inequality and social capital are inversely related in an aggregate sense across time and space, to date little is known about the relationship between inequality and the socio-economic disparity in social capital outcomes. Using yearly cross-sectional surveys of American twelfth graders fielded during 1976–2009, I show that social capital is strongly related to parental socio-economic status, and that this relationship grows in strength as economic inequality increases. This relationship is confirmed both over time and cross-sectionally. Finally, I argue that, between resource-based and psychological accounts of why this relationship exists, the former appears more promising.

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How Risky Are Recessions for Top Earners?

Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan & Jae Song
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
How sensitive are the earnings of top earners to business cycles? And, how does the business cycle sensitivity of top earners vary by industry? We use a confidential dataset on earnings histories of US males from the Social Security Administration. On average, individuals in the top 1% of the earnings distribution are slightly more cyclical than the population average. But there are large differences across sectors: Top earners in Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) and Construction face substantial business cycle volatility, whereas those in Services (who make up 40% of individuals in the top 1 percent) have earnings that are less cyclical than the average worker.

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Income distribution and housing prices: An assignment model approach

Niku Määttänen & Marko Terviö
Journal of Economic Theory, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a framework for studying the relation between the distributions of income and house prices that is based on an assignment model where households are heterogeneous by incomes and houses by quality. Each household owns one house and wishes to live in one house; thus everyone is potentially both a buyer and a seller. In equilibrium, the distribution of prices depends on both distributions in a tractable but nontrivial manner. We show how the impact of increased income inequality on house prices depends on the shapes of the distributions, and can be inferred from data. In our empirical application we find that increased income inequality between 1998 and 2007 had a negative impact on average house prices in 6 US metropolitan areas.

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Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data

Olivier Coibion et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
One suggested hypothesis for the dramatic rise in household borrowing that preceded the financial crisis is that low-income households increased their demand for credit to finance higher consumption expenditures in order to “keep up” with higher-income households. Using household level data on debt accumulation during 2001-2012, we show that low-income households in high-inequality regions accumulated less debt relative to income than their counterparts in lower-inequality regions, which negates the hypothesis. We argue instead that these patterns are consistent with supply-side interpretations of debt accumulation patterns during the 2000s. We present a model in which banks use applicants’ incomes, combined with local income inequality, to infer the underlying type of the applicant, so that banks ultimately channel more credit toward lower-income applicants in low-inequality regions than high-inequality regions. We confirm the predictions of the model using data on individual mortgage applications in high- and low-inequality regions over this time period.

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Income Inequality and Gambling: A Panel Study in the United States (1980–1997)

Thijs Bol, Bram Lancee & Sander Steijn
Sociological Spectrum, January/February 2014, Pages 61-75

Abstract:
While there are many studies that examine the consequences of increasing income inequality, its effects on gambling behavior have not yet been studied. In this article, we argue that income inequality increases the average expenditure on gambling. Using longitudinal state-level data for the United States (1980–1997), we estimate fixed-effects models to analyze two types of gambling expenditure: pari-mutuel betting and lottery spending. Our findings show a positive effect of increasing income inequality on lottery expenditure. For pari-mutuel betting, the result is not linear, as for higher levels of income inequality, the positive effect decreases, suggesting that the effect flattens out when the increase in income inequality is highest. We argue that there are three reasons why we find a positive effect of income inequality of gambling expenditure: increasing mobility aspirations, availability of resources in the upper part of the distribution, and status anxiety in the lower part of the distribution.

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Intergenerational Analysis of Social Interaction and Social Skills: An Analysis of U.S. and U.K. Panel Data

Sarah Brown, Jolian McHardy & Karl Taylor
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A body of empirical evidence supports a positive relationship between educational attainment and social interaction. We build on this literature by exploring the relationship between the social interaction of parents and their offspring from an empirical perspective. Using two U.K. and U.S. panel data sets, we find robust evidence of intergenerational links between the social interaction of parents and their offspring supporting the existence of positive intergenerational effects in social interaction. These links exist after controlling for an extensive set of factors covering family background including income and wealth as well as attempting to control for issues related to reverse causality and endogeneity. Our empirical evidence indicates that higher levels of parental social interaction are associated with higher levels of child social interaction. Our findings indicate an important influence on this facet of children's human capital, namely social skills, with positive consequences expected for educational attainment.

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Compulsory Voting and Income Inequality

John Carey & Yusaku Horiuchi
Dartmouth College Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
What difference does it make if more, or fewer, people vote? What difference would it make if the state makes people vote? These questions are central both to normative debates about the rights and duties of citizens in a democracy and to contemporary policy debates in a variety of countries over what actions states should take to encourage electoral participation. To address them, this paper focuses on the phenomenon of compulsory voting – legal requirements that compel citizens to vote in elections. Specifically, by focusing on a rare case of abolishing compulsory voting in Venezuela, we show that not forcing people to vote yielded a more unequal distribution of income. Our evidence supports Arend Lijphart’s claim, advanced in his 1996 presidential address to the American Political Science Association, that compulsory voting can offset class bias in turnout and, in turn, contribute to the equality of influence.

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Do positional goods inhibit saving? Evidence from a life–cycle experiment

Nick Feltovich & Ourega-Zoé Ejebu
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of positional goods (goods for which one's consumption relative to others’ matters) on saving, based on results from a life-cycle consumption/saving experiment. In a Group treatment, we allow inter-personal comparisons by assigning subjects to groups and displaying rankings based partly on consumption. A baseline Individual treatment is similar, but without the additional information. We find more under-saving (saving less than the optimal amount), and lower money earnings for subjects, in the Group treatment. Both effects are economically relevant, with magnitudes of roughly 6–7% of expected income and 7–8% of average earnings respectively. Additional analysis shows that the result is driven by those subjects who are not ranked in the top three in their group (“keeping up with the Joneses”), and males in particular.

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Group Inequality

Samuel Bowles, Glenn Loury & Rajiv Sethi
Journal of the European Economic Association, February 2014, Pages 129–152

Abstract:
We explore the combined effect of segregation in social networks, peer effects, and the relative size of a historically disadvantaged group on the incentives to invest in market-rewarded skills and the dynamics of inequality between social groups. We identify conditions under which group inequality will persist in the absence of differences in ability, credit constraints, or labor market discrimination. Under these conditions, group inequality may be amplified even if initial group differences are negligible. Increases in social integration may destabilize an unequal state and make group equality possible, but the distributional and human capital effects of this depend on the demographic composition of the population. When the size of the initially disadvantaged group is sufficiently small, integration can lower the long-run costs of human capital investment in both groups and result in an increase the aggregate skill share. In contrast, when the initially disadvantaged group is large, integration can induce a fall in the aggregate skill share as the costs of human capital investment rise in both groups. We consider applications to concrete cases and policy implications.

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The long-lasting effects of family background: A European cross-country comparison

Fabrizio Mazzonna
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates how and to what extent the association between family socio-economic status (SES) during childhood and old age health, income and cognition varies across 11 European countries. It uses the Survey on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and SHARELIFE, which collects retrospective information on respondents’ family backgrounds during their childhood. We also analyze which factors lead to intergenerational persistence of human capital by accounting for childhood health and school performance, education and labor market outcomes. The results show a strong relationship between family SES during childhood and old age outcomes and a large cross-country heterogeneity. Education appears as the main channel for this gradient and explains most of the estimated cross-country heterogeneity. Moreover, we show evidence of a strong correlation between income inequality and our estimates of intergenerational persistence of human capital.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Level playing field

(Re)Calling London: The Gender Frame Agenda within NBC’s Primetime Broadcast of the 2012 Olympiad

Andrew Billings et al.
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, March 2014, Pages 38-58

Abstract:
All sixty-nine hours of National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) 2012 primetime Summer Olympic telecast were analyzed, revealing significant gender trends. For the first time in any scholarly study of NBC’s coverage of the games, women athletes received the majority of the clock-time and on-air mentions. However, dialogues surrounding the attributions of success and failure of athletes, as well as depictions of physicality and personality, contained some divergences by gender.

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An “Obama effect” on the GRE General Test?

Lawrence Stricker & Donald Rock
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research assessing Obama's effectiveness as a role model in alleviating the effects of stereotype threat on Black Americans' test performance yielded provocative though conflicting results. A field study with research participants observed that Black–White mean differences were not detectable at points in his 2008 presidential campaign when he clearly succeeded — his nomination and election, although they persisted at other points. But a laboratory experiment found that prompts to think positively about Obama had no effect. The present study extended this research to actual test-takers and an operational test (GRE General Test). Black–White mean differences just after the election in November 2008 were substantial and comparable to earlier differences, in November 2006; the level of Black test-takers' performance was also unchanged.

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Discrimination in the Credential Society: An Audit Study of Race, Social Class, and College Selectivity in the Labor Market

Michael Gaddis
University of North Carolina Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Racial inequality in economic outcomes, particularly among the college educated, persists throughout U.S. society. Scholars debate whether this inequality stems from racial differences in human capital (e.g. college selectivity, GPA, college major) or employer discrimination against black job candidates. However, limited measures of human capital and the inherent difficulties in measuring discrimination using observational data make determining the cause of racial differences in labor market outcomes a difficult endeavor. In this research, I examine employment opportunities for white and black graduates of elite top-ranked universities versus less selective institutions. Using an audit design, I create matched candidate pairs and apply for 1,008 jobs on a national job search website. I also take advantage of existing birth record data to test differences across social class within racialized names. The results show that although a credential from an elite university results in more employer responses for all candidates, black candidates from elite universities only do as well as white candidates from less selective universities. Moreover, race results in a double penalty: when employers respond to black candidates it is for jobs with lower starting salaries and lower prestige than those of white peers. The results hold for lower- and middle-class names, but lower-class black names are discriminated against the most. These racial differences suggest that a bachelor’s degree, even one from an elite institution, cannot fully counteract the importance of race in U.S. society. Thus, both discrimination and differences in human capital contribute to racial economic inequality.

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The Negative Effects of Privilege on Educational Attainment: Gender, Race, Class, and the Bachelor's Degree

William Mangino
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: To show that in the contemporary United States, traditionally privileged categories of people — men, whites, and the super-rich — complete four-year college degrees at rates lower than their nonprivileged counterparts — women, nonwhites, and the “99 percent.”

Methods: Logistic regression and an educational transitions method are used on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Waves 1 and 4) to predict, given college entrance, who completes a bachelor's degree.

Results: Women, the lower 99 percent of the income distribution, and when economic resources are present, nonwhites all complete college at higher rates than men, the richest 1 percent, and whites, respectively. In a final model, rich white men as a single category are shown to complete college less than everyone else.

Conclusion: As previously excluded categories of people have gained access to higher education, the privileged are shifting their reproduction strategies away from schooling.

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Think Leader, Think White? Capturing and Weakening an Implicit Pro-White Leadership Bias

Seval Gündemir et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
Across four studies, we found evidence for an implicit pro-White leadership bias that helps explain the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in leadership positions. Both White-majority and ethnic minority participants reacted significantly faster when ethnically White names and leadership roles (e.g., manager; Study 1) or leadership traits (e.g., decisiveness; Study 2 & 3) were paired in an Implicit Association Test (IAT) rather than when ethnic minority names and leadership traits were paired. Moreover, the implicit pro-White leadership bias showed discriminant validity with the conventional implicit bias measures (Study 3). Importantly, results showed that the pro-White leadership bias can be weakened when situational cues increase the salience of a dual identity (Study 4). This, in turn, can diminish the explicit pro-White bias in promotion related decision making processes (Study 4). This research offers a new tool to measure the implicit psychological processes underlying the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in leadership positions and proposes interventions to weaken such biases.

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Collaborating with people like me: Ethnic co-authorship within the US

Richard Freeman & Wei Huang
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This study examines the ethnic identity of the authors of over 1.5 million scientific papers written solely in the US from 1985 to 2008. In this period the proportion of US-based authors with English and European names fell while the proportion of US-based authors with names from China and other developing countries increased. The evidence shows that persons of similar ethnicity co- author together more frequently than can be explained by chance given their proportions in the population of authors. This homophily in research collaborations is associated with weaker scientific contributions. Researchers with weaker past publication records are more likely to write with members of ethnicity than other researchers. Papers with greater homophily tend to be published in lower impact journals and to receive fewer citations than others, even holding fixed the previous publishing performance of the authors. Going beyond ethnic homophily, we find that papers with more authors in more locations and with longer lists of references tend to be published in relatively high impact journals and to receive more citations than other papers. These findings and those on homophily suggest that diversity in inputs into papers leads to greater contributions to science, as measured by impact factors and citations.

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Asian Americans’ and Caucasians’ implicit leadership theories: Asian stereotypes, transformational, and authentic leadership

Kimberly Burris et al.
Asian American Journal of Psychology, December 2013, Pages 258-266

Abstract:
This study evaluated how both Caucasians and Asian Americans characterize successful managers and how this compares to general perceptions of Asian American and Caucasian managers. Ninety-three Asian Americans and 94 Caucasians provided their perceptions of 1 of 3 different manager types (Asian American, Caucasian, or successful) and comparisons were explored using models of effective leadership (i.e., transformational and authentic leadership) and Asian stereotypes. Results showed that for Caucasian respondents, a higher degree of resemblance was found between their descriptions of Caucasian managers and successful managers than between their descriptions of Asian American managers and successful managers. Specifically, Caucasians perceived Asian American managers as equally competent, yet less sociable, less transformational, and less authentic than Caucasians. Asian Americans also endorsed the antisocial stereotype of Asian American managers. In addition, Asian American respondents perceived Caucasian managers as less authentic leaders. The discussion explored the complex experiences of the Asian American minority group and the enduring need to foster understanding of ethnic differences in the workplace.

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Competition and Gender Prejudice: Are Discriminatory Employers Doomed to Fail?

Andrea Weber & Christine Zulehner
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to Becker's famous theory on discrimination (Gary Becker, The Economics of Discrimination, University of Chicago Press), entrepreneurs with a strong prejudice against female workers forgo profits by submitting to their tastes. In a competitive market their firms lack efficiency and are therefore forced to leave. We present new empirical evidence for this prediction by studying the survival of start-up firms in longitudinal matched employer–employee data. We find that firms with strong preferences for discrimination approximated by a low share of female employees relative to the industry average have significantly shorter survival rates. This is especially relevant for firms starting out with female shares in the lower tail of the distribution. Competition at the industry level additionally reduces firm survival and accelerates the rate at which prejudiced firms are weeded out. We also find evidence for employer learning as highly discriminatory start-up firms that manage to survive submit to market powers and increase their female workforce over time.

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Recognizing Academic Potential in Students of Color: Findings of U-STARS~PLUS

Christine Harradine, Mary Ruth Coleman & Donna-Marie Winn
Gifted Child Quarterly, January 2014, Pages 24-34

Abstract:
Students of color are often underrepresented in academic programs for gifted and talented students. This study explored the impact of The Teacher’s Observation of Potential in Students (TOPS) tool on teachers’ ability to systematically observe and document the academic strengths of 5- to 9-year-old students across nine domains. Teachers indicated that without the TOPS, they would have overlooked the academic potential of 22% (1,741) of their children of color and 53% of African American boys, in particular. After using the TOPS, a majority of the teachers (74%) felt they could more readily recognize high-potential students from culturally or linguistically different and economically disadvantaged families. Barriers that might have kept teachers from seeing students’ strengths were also examined. Results indicate two statistically significant relationships between teacher race and perceptions of student behavior. This study has implications for supporting teachers’ more effective identification of strengths in all children.

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Age-Based Hiring Discrimination as a Function of Equity Norms and Self-Perceived Objectivity

Nicole Lindner, Alexander Graser & Brian Nosek
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
Participants completed a questionnaire priming them to perceive themselves as either objective or biased, either before or after evaluating a young or old job applicant for a position linked to youthful stereotypes. Participants agreed that they were objective and tended to disagree that they were biased. Extending past research, both the objective and bias priming conditions led to an increase in age discrimination compared to the control condition. We also investigated whether equity norms reduced age discrimination, by manipulating the presence or absence of an equity statement reminding decision-makers of the legal prohibitions against discrimination “on the basis of age, disability, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, or sex.” The presence of equity norms increased enthusiasm for both young and old applicants when participants were not already primed to think of themselves as objective, but did not reduce age-based hiring discrimination. Equity norms had no effect when individuals thought of themselves as objective – they preferred the younger more than the older job applicant. However, the presence of equity norms did affect individuals’ perceptions of which factors were important to their hiring decisions, increasing the perceived importance of applicants’ expertise and decreasing the perceived importance of the applicants’ age. The results suggest that interventions that rely exclusively on decision-makers' intentions to behave equitably may be ineffective.

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Changes in Levels of Affirmative Action in College Admissions in Response to Statewide Bans and Judicial Rulings

Grant Blume & Mark Long
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Affirmative action in college admissions was effectively banned in Texas by the Hopwood ruling in 1997, by voter referenda in California and Washington in 1996 and 1998, and by administrative decisions in Florida in 1999. The Hopwood and Johnson rulings also had possible applicability to public colleges throughout Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in the Grutter and Gratz cases reaffirmed but limited the legal basis for affirmative action in colleges. This article uses nationally representative data on the admissions decisions of high school students in 1992 and 2004 to estimate the magnitude of the change in affirmative action in college admission decisions (i.e., how these policy changes affected the relative likelihood of admission of minority and nonminority applicants). We find substantial declines in levels of affirmative action practiced by highly selective colleges in the states affected by bans and the Hopwood and Johnson rulings, and no evidence of declines outside these states (and thus modest and generally insignificant declines nationwide). We show how the decline in affirmative action in these particular states affects not only students in these states but also those students who live in adjacent states, particularly when the adjacent states lack highly selective colleges.

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Preferential Admission and MBA Outcomes: Mismatch Effects by Race and Gender

Wayne Grove & Andrew Hussey
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider the “mismatch” hypothesis in the context of graduate management education. Both blacks and Hispanics, conditional on a rich set of human capital variables, prior earnings and work experience, and non-cognitive attributes, are favored in admission to top 50 Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. To test for mismatch effects, we provide two comparisons: (1) comparable individuals (in terms of race, gender, and credentials) at different quality MBA programs and (2) individuals of differing race or gender (but with similar credentials) at comparable MBA programs. Despite admission preferences, blacks and Hispanics enjoy similar or even higher returns to selectivity than whites.

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Overplaying the diversity card: When a superordinate group overrepresents the prevalence of a minority group

Jennifer Spoor, Jolanda Jetten & Matthew Hornsey
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, March 2014, Pages 161-177

Abstract:
Despite the fact that groups and organizations often portray themselves as more diverse than they really are, the consequences of such practices for the minority who is overrepresented are not well understood. Focusing on Asian university students in Australia, we conducted three experiments to examine minority group members’ perceptions when the superordinate group (the university) overrepresents the minority group in advertising. Minority group members tended to be less favorable toward overrepresentation compared to other types of representation (Studies 1 and 2), an effect that was most pronounced for those who strongly identified with their minority group (Study 3). The negative effect of minority overrepresentation was not detected among majority group members. If anything, in Study 1, majority group members were more positive toward overrepresentation and were more willing to help the superordinate group in an overrepresentation than a no minority representation condition. Future research directions and practical implications are discussed.

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Utilitarianism and discrimination

Alon Harel & Uzi Segal
Social Choice and Welfare, February 2014, Pages 367-380

Abstract:
Since Becker (1971), a common argument against asymmetric norms that promote minority rights over those of the majority is that such policies reduce total welfare. While this may be the case, we show that there are simple environments where aggregate sum of individual utilities is actually maximized under asymmetric norms that favor minorities. We thus maintain that without information regarding individual utilities one cannot reject or promote segregation-related policies based on utilitarian arguments.

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When do female-owned businesses out-survive male-owned businesses? A disaggregated approach by industry and geography

Arturs Kalnins & Michele Williams
Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have invoked several theoretical perspectives to explain differences between female-owned businesses and male-owned businesses. Yet, few have considered the possibility that differential outcomes between female-owned businesses and male-owned businesses vary from setting to setting, an insight that we derive by combining social constructionism with feminist theory. We articulate hypotheses regarding the outcome of business survival duration based on this insight. Then, using a dataset of one million Texan proprietorships, we test these hypotheses by estimating separate gender effects for many individual industries and geographic areas. We find that female-owned businesses consistently out-survive male-owned businesses in many industries and areas.

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The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment

Robert Fairlie
University of California Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
Estimates from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) indicate that African-American men are one-third as likely to be entrepreneurs as white men. The large discrepancy is due to a black transition rate into self-employed business ownership that is approximately one half the white rate and a black transition rate out of self-employed business ownership that is twice the white rate. Using a new variation of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique, I find that racial differences in asset levels and probabilities of having self-employed fathers explain a large part of the black/white gap in the entry rate, but almost none of the gap in the exit rate.

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Gender Differences in Competition and Sabotage

Simon Dato & Petra Nieken
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the differences in behavior of males and females in a two-player tournament with sabotage in a controlled lab experiment. Implementing a real-effort design and a principal who is paid based on the agent's output, we find that males and females do not differ in their performance in the real effort task but in their choice of sabotage. Males select significantly more sabotage, leading to an, on average, higher winning probability but not to higher profits. If the gender of the opponent is revealed before the tournament, males increase their performance in the real-effort task especially if the opponent is female. The gender gap in sabotage is persistent. We discuss possible explanations for our findings and their implications.

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How You Downsize Is Who You Downsize: Biased Formalization, Accountability, and Managerial Diversity

Alexandra Kalev
American Sociological Review, February 2014, Pages 109-135

Abstract:
Scholars and pundits argue that women and minorities are more likely to lose their jobs in downsizing because of segregation or outright discrimination. In contrast, this article explores how the formalization and legalization of downsizing affect inequalities. According to bureaucracy theory and management practitioners, formalization constrains decision-makers’ bias, but neo-structural and feminist theories of inequality argue that formalization can itself be gendered and racially biased. Accountability theory advances this debate, pointing to organizational and institutional processes that motivate executives to minimize inequality. Building on these theories, and drawing on unique data from a national sample of 327 downsized establishments between 1971 and 2002, I analyze how layoff formalization and actors’ antidiscrimination accountability affect women’s and minorities’ representation in management after downsizing. Results demonstrate that, first, downsizing significantly reduces managerial diversity. Second, formalization exacerbates these negative effects when layoff rules rely on positions or tenure, but not when layoff rules require an individualized evaluation. Finally, antidiscrimination accountability generated by internal legal counsels or compliance awareness prods executives to override formal rules and reduce inequalities. I conclude that although downsizing has been increasingly managed by formal rules and monitored by legal experts, this has often meant the institutionalization of unequal, rather than equal, opportunity.

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Zero Benefit: Estimating the Effect of Zero Tolerance Discipline Polices on Racial Disparities in School Discipline

Stephen Hoffman
Educational Policy, January 2014, Pages 69-95

Abstract:
This study estimates the effect of zero tolerance disciplinary policies on racial disparities in school discipline in an urban district. Capitalizing on a natural experiment, the abrupt expansion of zero tolerance discipline policies in a mid-sized urban school district, the study demonstrates that Black students in the district were disproportionately affected, with an additional 70 Black students per year recommended for expulsion following the policy change. Furthermore, the study uses negative binomial regression discontinuity analysis to explore the effect of expanding zero tolerance on the proportion of days students are suspended. Following the policy change, the already sizeable difference in the proportion of days suspended between Black students and White students increased.

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Wage Discrimination Against Workers with Sensory Disabilities

Marjorie Baldwin & Chung Choe
Industrial Relations, January 2014, Pages 101–124

Abstract:
We link information on occupation-specific job demands to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide first-ever estimates of wage discrimination against workers with sensory disabilities. Estimates are derived from wage models that control for job demands related to sensory abilities, and interactions between job demands and workers' sensory limitations. Results indicate approximately one third (one tenth) of the male (female) disability-related wage differential is potentially attributed to discrimination. The results differ from estimates of discrimination against workers with physical disabilities obtained with similar methods, underscoring the importance of accounting for heterogeneity of the disabled population in discrimination studies.

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Schools, Peers, and Prejudice in Adolescence

Aprile Benner, Robert Crosnoe & Jacquelynne Eccles
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adolescents' perceptions of the prejudice in their social environments can factor into their developmental outcomes. The degree to which others in the environment perceive such prejudice — regardless of adolescents' own perceptions — also matters by shedding light on the contextual climate in which adolescents spend their daily lives. Drawing on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study revealed that school-wide perceptions of peer prejudice, which tap into the interpersonal climate of schools, appeared to be particularly risky for adolescents' academic achievement. In contrast, adolescents' own perceptions of peer prejudice at schools were associated with their feelings of alienation in school. Importantly, these patterns did not vary substantially by several markers of vulnerability to social stigmatization.

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Female leadership and gender equity: Evidence from plant closure

Geoffrey Tate & Liu Yang
Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use unique worker-plant matched panel data to measure differences in wage changes experienced by workers displaced from closing plants. We observe larger losses among women than men, comparing workers who move from the same closing plant to the same new firm. However, we find a significantly smaller gap in hiring firms with female leadership. The results are strongest among women who are displaced from male-led plants and from less competitive industries. Our results suggest an important externality to having women in leadership positions: They cultivate more female-friendly cultures inside their firms.

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The Revised MRS: Gender Complementarity at College

Laura Hamilton
Gender & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using an ethnographic and longitudinal interview study of college women and in-depth interviews with their parents, I argue that mid-tier flagship universities still push women toward gender complementarity — a gender-traditional model of economic security pairing a career oriented man with a financially dependent woman. Combining multilevel and intersectional theories, I show that the infrastructure and campus peer culture at Midwest University supports this gendered logic of class reproduction, which reflects an affluent, white, and heterosexual femininity. I argue that this logic may only work for a minority of students, and plays a role in reinforcing class inequities among women.

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The Origins of Race-conscious Affirmative Action in Undergraduate Admissions: A Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change in Higher Education

Lisa Stulberg & Anthony Chen
Sociology of Education, January 2014, Pages 36-52

Abstract:
What explains the rise of race-conscious affirmative action policies in undergraduate admissions? The dominant theory posits that adoption of such policies was precipitated by urban and campus unrest in the North during the late 1960s. Based on primary research in a sample of 17 selective schools, we find limited support for the dominant theory. Affirmative action arose in two distinct waves during the 1960s. A first wave was launched in the early 1960s by northern college administrators inspired by nonviolent civil rights protests in the South. A second wave of affirmative action emerged in the late 1960s, primarily as a response to campus-based student protests. Most late-adopting schools were those most favored by the Protestant upper class. Our findings are most consistent with a theoretical perspective on institutional change in which social movements’ effects are mediated by the moral and ideological beliefs of key administrators.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Worldwide web

American Economic Power Hasn't Declined - It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously

Sean Starrs
International Studies Quarterly, December 2013, Pages 817-830

Abstract:
This paper argues that a fundamental failing in the debate on the decline of American economic power is not taking globalization seriously. With the rise of transnational corporations (TNCs), transnational modular production networks, and the globalization of corporate ownership, we can no longer give the same relevance to national accounts such as balance of trade and GDP in the twenty-first century as we did in the mid-twentieth. Rather, we must summon data on the TNCs themselves to encompass their transnational operations. This will reveal, for example, that despite the declining global share of United States GDP from 40% in 1960 to below a quarter from 2008 onward, American corporations continue to dominate sector after sector. In fact, in certain advanced sectors such as aerospace and software - even in financial services - American dominance has increased since 2008. There are no serious contenders, including China. By looking at the wrong data, many have failed to see that American economic power has not declined - it has globalized.

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Compensation or Constraint? How Different Dimensions of Economic Globalization Affect Government Spending and Electoral Turnout

John Marshall & Stephen Fisher
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article extends theoretical arguments regarding the impact of economic globalization on policy making to electoral turnout and considers how distinct dimensions of globalization may produce different effects. It theorizes that constraints on government policy that reduce incentives to vote are more likely to be induced by foreign ownership of capital, while compensation through increased government spending is more likely (if at all) to be the product of structural shifts in production associated with international trade. Using data from twenty-three OECD countries from 1970-2007, the study finds strong support for the ownership-constraint hypothesis in which foreign ownership reduces turnout, both directly and - in strict opposition to the compensation hypothesis - indirectly by reducing government spending (and thus the importance of politics). The results suggest that increased foreign ownership, especially the most mobile capital flows, can explain up to two-thirds of the large declines in turnout over recent decades.

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International Trade and Labour Income Risk in the U.S.

Pravin Krishna & Mine Zeynep Senses
Review of Economic Studies, January 2014, Pages 186-218

Abstract:
This article studies empirically the links between international trade and labour income risk faced by manufacturing sector workers in the U.S. We use longitudinal data on workers to estimate time-varying individual income risk at the industry level. We then combine our estimates of persistent labour income risk with measures of exposure to international trade to analyse the relationship between trade and labour income risk. We also study risk estimates from various subsamples of workers, such as those who switched to a different manufacturing industry (or out of the manufacturing sector altogether). Finally, we use these estimates to conduct a welfare analysis evaluating the benefits or costs of trade through the income risk channel. We find import penetration to have a statistically significant association with labour income risk in the U.S. Our welfare calculations suggest that these effects are economically significant.

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The march of an economic idea? Protectionism isn't counter-cyclic (anymore)

Andrew Rose
Economic Policy, October 2013, Pages 569-612

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that protectionism is counter-cyclic; tariffs, quotas and the like grow during recessions. While that may have been a valid description of the data before the First World War, it is now inaccurate. Since the Second World War, protectionism has not been counter-cyclic; tariffs and non-tariff barriers simply do not rise systematically during downturns. I document this new stylised fact with a panel of data covering over 180 countries and 40 years, using over a dozen measures of protectionism and six of business cycles. I test and reject a number of potential reasons why protectionism is no longer counter-cyclic. A 'diagnosis of exclusion' leads me to believe that modern economics may well be responsible for the decline in protectionism's cyclic behaviour; economists are more united in their disdain for protectionism than virtually any other concept. This in turn leaves one optimistic that the level of protectionism will continue to decline along with its cyclicality.

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Borders, Ethnicity and Trade

Jenny Aker et al.
Journal of Development Economics, March 2014, Pages 1-16

Abstract:
This paper uses unique high-frequency data on prices of two agricultural goods to examine the additional costs incurred in cross-border trade between Niger and Nigeria, as well as trade between ethnically distinct markets within Niger. We find a sharp and significant conditional price change of about 20 to 25 percent between markets immediately across the national border. This price change is significantly lower when markets on either side of the border share a common ethnicity. Within Niger, trade between ethnically distinct regions exhibits an ethnic border effect that is comparable, in its magnitude, to the national border effect between Niger and Nigeria. Our results suggest that having a common ethnicity may reduce the transaction costs associated with agricultural trade, especially the costs associated with communicating and providing credit.

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Free Trade Agreements and the Consolidation of Democracy

Xuepeng Liu & Emanuel Ornelas
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the relationship between participation in free trade agreements (FTAs) and the sustainability of democracy. Our model shows that FTAs can critically reduce the incentive of authoritarian groups to seek power by destroying protectionist rents, thus making democracies last longer. This gives governments in unstable democracies an extra motive to form FTAs. Hence, greater democratic instability induces governments to boost their FTA commitments. In a dataset with 116 countries over 1960-2007, we find robust support for these predictions. They help to rationalize the rapid simultaneous growth of regionalism and of worldwide democratization since the late 1980s.

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Personal income tax mimicry: Evidence from international panel data

Denvil Duncan & Ed Gerrish
International Tax and Public Finance, February 2014, Pages 119-152

Abstract:
This paper investigates personal income tax (PIT) mimicry at the international level. It is the first to empirically investigate the extent to which PIT mimicry varies along the tax schedule and the first to include nations which are not part of the OECD. We use data on international personal income tax schedules from the world tax indicators to estimate marginal and average tax rates at various multiples of per capita gross domestic product (GDP). These tax rates are then used to estimate the extent to which countries respond to their neighbors' PIT policy. We find evidence of PIT mimicry using a balanced panel of 53 countries over 24 years. This finding is strongest for tax rates at lower multiples of per capita GDP and survives several robustness checks.

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Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind. Education Networks and International Trade

Marina Murat
World Development, June 2014, Pages 53-66

Abstract:
University students typically develop between them long-lasting ties of friendship and trust, as well as an attachment to their university. If they are foreign students, they also form a bond to their country of study. This paper investigates the impact of university ties on the UK's trade with 167 countries during 1999-2009. I find robust evidence that education network ties boost the UK's bilateral trade flows. Specifically, the impact of networks is stronger on trade between the United Kingdom and countries with dissimilar institutions and culture, and particularly with post-communist economies. Results are robust to different econometric specifications and regressors.

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Home Away from Home? Safe Haven Effects and London House Prices

Cristian Badarinza & Tarun Ramadorai
University of Oxford Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
Historical time-series data is short relative to the frequency of crises. This makes it difficult to use pure time-series methods to identify the impacts of safe haven demand on asset prices, in the face of confounding effects from a wide range of alternative drivers. We present a new method to identify safe-haven effects which relies on combining the cross-section of asset prices with time-series measures of economic and political risk. We employ this strategy on large databases of historical housing transactions in London, and show that economic and political risk in Southern Europe, China, the Middle East, Russia, and South Asia is an important factor in explaining the dynamics of London house prices over the past two decades.

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The Demand for Protectionism: Democracy, Import Elasticity, and Trade Barriers

Timothy Peterson & Cameron Thies
International Interactions, Winter 2014, Pages 103-126

Abstract:
Numerous studies suggest that democracies employ lower trade barriers than non-democracies. In this paper, we examine the conditioning role that the elasticity of import demand at the commodity level plays on the relationship between democracy and import barriers. Beginning with the assumption that democracies are more responsive than non-democracies to the preferences of mass publics, we demonstrate that the value of free trade as a public good depends on the elasticity of import demand. When import demand for a given commodity is inelastic, trade barriers are more harmful to consumers; as such, democracies will employ lower trade barriers than non-democracies. However, as import demand becomes more elastic, publics find it easier to adjust to higher prices; as a result, the difference in imposed trade barriers by regime type decreases. We find support for this argument in statistical analyses of cross-sectional data covering 4,656 commodities imported by 73 countries Furthermore, we find that democracies raise higher trade barriers than non-democracies on commodities for which import demand is very elastic.

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Antidumping and the Death of Trade

Tibor Besedeš & Thomas Prusa
NBER Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
We investigate the extent to which antidumping actions eliminate trade altogether. Using quarterly export data for products involved in U.S. antidumping cases we find that antidumping actions increase the hazard rate by more than fifty percent. We find strong evidence of investigation effects with the impact during the initiation and preliminary duty phases considerably larger than during the final duty phase. There are also important differences with respect to the size of duties. Cases with higher duties face a much higher hazard in the preliminary phase but there is little additional effect when the final duty is actually levied. By contrast, cases with lower duties have a smaller but more persistent effect on the hazard, which proves to be highly detrimental in the long run as many trade relationship cease during the duration of the order. Given the literature on heterogeneous firms and trade, our results imply antidumping protection imposes greater costs than previously recognized.

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Comparative Advantage, Service Trade, and Global Imbalances

Alessandro Barattieri
Journal of International Economics, January 2014, Pages 1-13

Abstract:
The large current account deficit of the U.S. is the result of a large deficit in the goods balance and a modest surplus in the service balance. The opposite is true for Japan, Germany, and China. Moreover, I document the emergence from the mid-nineties of a strong negative relation between specialization in the export of services and the current account balances of a large sample of OECD and developing countries. Starting from these new stylized facts, I propose in this paper a service hypothesis for global imbalances, a new explanation based on the interplay between the U.S. comparative advantage in services and the asymmetric trade liberalization process in goods trade versus service trade that took place starting in the mid-nineties. First, I use a structural gravity model to show that service trade liberalization lagged behind goods trade liberalization, and I quantify the extent of this asymmetry. Second, I show that a simple two-period model can rationalize the emergence of current account deficits in the presence of such asymmetric liberalization. The key inter-temporal mechanism is the asymmetric timing of trade policies, which affects savings decisions. Finally, I explore the quantitative relevance of this explanation for global imbalances. I introduce trade costs in an otherwise standard 2-sector 2-country international real business cycle model. When fed with the asymmetric trade liberalization path found in the data, the model generates a trade deficit of about 5% of GDP. I conclude that the service hypothesis for global imbalances is quantitatively relevant.

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China's dominance hypothesis and The emergence of a tri-polar global currency system

Marcel Fratzscher & Arnaud Mehl
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper assesses whether the international monetary system is already tri-polar by testing what we call China's "dominance hypothesis", i.e. whether the renminbi already influences exchange rate and monetary policies strongly in Asia, a direct reference to the old "German dominance hypothesis" which ascribed to the German mark a dominant role in Europe in the 1980s. Using a global factor model of exchange rates and a complementary event study, we find evidence that the renminbi has become a key driver of currency movements in Asia since the mid-2000s, especially since the global financial crisis, in line with China's dominance hypothesis.

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Are Commodity Futures Prices Barometers of the Global Economy?

Conghui Hu & Wei Xiong
NBER Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
This paper analyzes whether commodity futures prices traded in the United States reveal information relevant to stock prices of East Asian economies including China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. We find significant and positive predictive powers of overnight futures returns of copper and soybeans, albeit not crude oil, for stock prices of all these East Asian economies and across a broad range of industries after mid-2000s. Our analysis establishes commodity futures prices as barometers of global economic strength in recent years, but leaves open a deeper issue regarding whether through this informational channel noise from futures market trading can feed back to the real economy.

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Green Dreams: Myth and Reality in China's Agricultural Investment in Africa

Deborah Bräutigam & Haisen Zhang
Third World Quarterly, Fall 2013, Pages 1676-1696

Abstract:
What role does China play in the recent rush for land acquisition in Africa? Conventional wisdom suggests a large role for the Chinese government and its firms. Our research suggests the opposite. Land acquisitions by Chinese companies have so far been quite limited, and focused on production for African consumption. We trace the evolution of strategy and incentives for Chinese agricultural engagement in Africa, and examine more closely several of the more well known cases, sorting out the myths and the realities.

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Idea Flows, Economic Growth, and Trade

Fernando Alvarez, Francisco Buera & Robert Lucas
NBER Working Paper, November 2013

Abstract:
We provide a theoretical description of a process that is capable of generating growth and income convergence among economies, and where freer trade has persistent, positive effects on productivity, beyond the standard efficiency gains due to reallocation effects. We add to a standard Ricardian model a theory of endogenous growth where the engine of growth is the flow of ideas. Ideas are assumed to diffuse by random meetings where people get new ideas by learning from the people they do business with or compete with. Trade then has a selection effect of putting domestic producers in contact with the most efficient foreign and domestic producers. We analyze the way that trade in goods, and impediments to it, affect this diffusion. We find that exclusion of a country from trade reduces productivity growth, with large long-term effects. Smaller trade costs have moderate effects on productivity.

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Neighbors and the Evolution of the Comparative Advantage of Nations: Evidence of International Knowledge Diffusion?

Dany Bahar, Ricardo Hausmann & Cesar Hidalgo
Journal of International Economics, January 2014, Pages 111-123

Abstract:
The literature on knowledge diffusion shows that knowledge decays strongly with distance. In this paper we document that the probability a product is added to a country's export basket is, on average, 65% larger if a neighboring country is a successful exporter of that same product. For existing products, growth of exports in a country is 1.5 percent higher per annum if it has a neighbor with comparative advantage in these products. While these results could be driven by a common third factor that escapes our controls, they align with our expectations of the localized character of knowledge diffusion.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Checkered past

The word on the street: Rumor, “race” and the anticipation of urban unrest

Stephen Young, Alasdair Pinkerton & Klaus Dodds
Political Geography, January 2014, Pages 57–67

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the emergence of Rumor Control Centers (RCCs) across the US during the late-1960s. The Centers, which were operated by municipal government agencies, were formed in response to the racialized violence that flared up in many cities between 1963 and 1967. State officials encouraged citizens to call their local center if they heard a “rumor” that suggested social tensions might be increasing in their neighborhood. Preemptive measures could then be taken to prevent these tensions from escalating into a riot. The paper outlines how the same anticipatory logics that underpinned Cold War civil defense were flexibly redeployed in response to the radicalizing of the civil rights movement within the US. It also shows how security infrastructures are sometimes fragile and may be reworked or rolled back due to political pressure or more mundane reasons such as failing to hold the attention of citizens and political elites.

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Originalism and Brown v. Board of Education

Steven Calabresi & Michael Perl
Northwestern University Working Paper, August 2013

Abstract:
This article offers an originalist justification for the Supreme Court’s landmark decision almost sixty years ago in Brown v. Board of Education. We examine the thirty-seven State constitutions that were in effect in 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, and we conclude that three-quarters of the States in 1868 recognized access to a public school education as being a fundamental right at that time. Since the Fourteenth Amendment forbids racial discrimination with respect to fundamental rights, i.e. privileges or immunities of national and state citizenship, Brown v. Board of Education was correctly decided using the original public meaning approach of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. We show that by 1954 fifteen of the Forty-Eight States had added clauses to their State constitutions specifically providing for racial segregation in public schools. A three quarters consensus about access to a desegregated education which existed in 1868 thus had vanished by 1954. We therefore suggest that Brown v. Board of Education finds more support in State constitutional law from 1868 than it does from State constitutional law in 1954. Contrary to the received understanding, Brown v. Board of Education is better justified using an originalist approach to constitutional interpretation than it is using a living constitution, evolutionary approach. The conventional wisdom about Brown v. Board of Education is thus shown to be completely and totally wrong.

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Antisemitism Affects Households' Investments

Francesco D'Acunto, Marcel Prokopczuk & Michael Weber
University of California Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
We propose historical anti-Jewish sentiment as a proxy for distrust in financial markets. Households in German counties where Jews were persecuted the most as far back as in the Middle Ages are less likely to invest in stocks today. A one-standard-deviation increase in historical anti-Jewish violence leads to a 7.5% to 12% drop in the average stock market participation. For identification, we exploit the forced migrations of Ashkenazi Jews out of the Rhine Valley after the 11th century. The distance of a county from the Rhine Valley instruments for the existence of a Jewish community during the Black Death (1349) and hence the early emergence of anti-Jewish sentiment. Results are similar when we use the votes for the Nazi party as a proxy for anti-Jewish sentiment. The magnitude of the effect does not change from 1984 until 2011 nor across cohorts. Anti-Jewish sentiment does not capture generalized trust: its effect on stockholdings is similar across counties and households with different levels of education.

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Segregation and African-American imprisonment rates for drug offenses

Thomas Arvanites
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars argue that the dramatic increase in the African-American incarceration rate that occurred after the civil rights era was in part a reflection of the declining utility of residential segregation as a modern form of social control. Existing research has not thoroughly investigated the association between racial segregation and prison admission rates. Using 2002 data for 198 metropolitan counties, this research examines the relationship between two dimensions of racial residential segregation and African-American prison admission rates for drug offenses. The results from a multivariate regression analysis reveal that the prison admission rates of African-Americans for drug offenses are lower in counties where White residents are more residentially isolated from African-Americans. The admission rates are unaffected by the dissimilarity index. Consistent with recent research on the level of coercive control, the findings suggest that the effect of the percentage of African-Americans residing in an area is nonlinear.

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Race, economy and punishment: Inequity and racial disparity in imprisonment, 1972–2002

Henry Jackson
Criminal Justice Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Guided by the Rusche and Kirchheimer thesis, this study examines variation in incarceration rates across states. Time-series regression analysis is applied to 30 years of state-level data to examine how economic factors interact with aggregate measures of race/ethnicity in predicting rates of incarceration. The analysis indicates that income inequality, not unemployment, is the most salient predictor of incarceration rates. That is, state-level measures of income inequality exert a strong, positive effect on state-level incarceration rates, and this effect is particularly salient in the presence of higher percentages of African-Americans.

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The Promise of Freedom: Fertility Decisions and the Escape from Slavery

Treb Allen
Northwestern University Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
This paper examines the extent to which the fertility of enslaved women was affected by the promise of freedom. Because women derived greater pleasure from children when they were free, increases in the distance to freedom (which lowered the probability of escape) should reduce fertility. Exploiting the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the particularity of U.S. geography, I demonstrate a strong negative correlation between fertility and the distance to freedom. This negative correlation is stronger on larger plantations, but disappears when the father of the child is white. The correlation varies with the difficulty of the route, and a similar correlation is not present for white children or for slave children born prior to the Fugitive Slave Law. The negative correlation suggests that despite the small number of successful escapes, the promise of freedom played an important role in the everyday lives of slaves.

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Jewish Persecutions and Weather Shocks: 1100-1800

Robert Warren Anderson, Noel Johnson & Mark Koyama
George Mason University Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
What factors caused the persecution of minorities in medieval and early modern Europe? We build a model that predicts that minority communities were more likely to be expropriated in the wake of negative income shocks. Using panel data consisting of 1,366 city-level persecutions of Jews from 936 European cities between 1100 and 1800, we test whether persecutions were more likely in colder growing seasons. A one standard deviation decrease in average growing season temperature increased the probability of a persecution between one-half and one percentage points (relative to a baseline probability of two percent). This effect was strongest in regions with poor soil quality or located within weak states. We argue that long-run decline in violence against Jews between 1500 and 1800 is partly attributable to increases in fiscal and legal capacity across many European states.

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Linguistic correlates of Irish-American and Italian-American ethnicity in high school and beyond

Suzanne Evans Wagner
Language & Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Young Irish-American and Italian-American women from South Philadelphia were recorded in their senior year of high school and then in their freshman year of college. Despite the relative longevity and increasing cultural integration of the Irish and Italian communities in South Philadelphia, some linguistic differences obtain in the Philadelphia English of women from these two groups. In the 1970s (Labov, 2001), the only Irish or Italian ethnic effect on Philadelphia vowels was found in Italians’ relatively retracted bow/boat and boo/boot. This was supported in the present study for boat, for which Italian-Americans are less fronted than Irish-Americans. Yet other ethnolinguistic differences were unexpectedly also found in the speech of these young women. For instance, Irish-American women and ‘tough’ Italian-American women exhibited more retracted bite-nuclei than their peers. Ethnicity also conditions the alternation between alveolar and velar variants of suffixal (ing), with Irish-Americans more likely than Italian-Americans to use the non-standard alveolar variant. However, the strength of this effect on (ing) attenuates after high school, when ethnicity becomes a less salient component of the speakers’ self-presentation. The article discusses the importance of bringing ethnographic observations to the study of within-White ethnicity, and emphasizes the dynamic nature of ‘ethnicity’ as it is constructed and re-constructed across the individual lifespan.

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Where Does Racial Discrimination Occur? An Experimental Analysis across Neighborhood and Housing Unit Characteristics

Andrew Hanson & Zackary Hawley
Regional Science and Urban Economics, January 2014, Pages 94–106

Abstract:
This paper examines racial discrimination across several neighborhood and housing unit characteristics including racial composition, rent, and distance from the urban core. We find that African Americans face higher rates of discrimination than whites in a wide range of racially mixed neighborhoods, in higher rent areas, closer to central cities, and in low vacancy areas. These results are robust to various parameterizations of the local smoothing empirical specification. The location of discrimination supports the current/future customer prejudice and perceived preference hypotheses as a cause of discrimination in housing markets but not the landlord taste-based hypothesis.

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Convergence Between Black Immigrants and Black Natives Across and Within Generations

Alison Rauh
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2013

Abstract:
The number of black immigrants living in the US has increased 13-fold from 1970 to 2010, increasing their share of the black population from 1% to 10%. Black immigrants' labor market outcomes surpass those of native blacks. This paper determines in how far the relative success of black immigrants is passed on to the second generation. While blacks of the second generation have equal or higher education and earnings levels than the first generation, the return on their unobservable characteristics is converging to that of native blacks. Race premia are put into a broader context by comparing them to Hispanics, Asians, and whites. Blacks are the only group that experiences a decrease in residual earnings when moving from the first to the second generation. Black immigrants do not only converge to native blacks across generations but also within a generation. For Asians and Hispanics, residual earnings decrease monotonically with age of immigration. For blacks, the residual earnings-age of immigration profile is upward sloping for those immigrating before the age of 15. Convergence across generations is mostly driven by low-educated second generation blacks that drop out the labor force in greater numbers than low-educated first generation immigrants do. Similarly, convergence within a generation is mostly driven by low-educated blacks who immigrate when they are young dropping out of the labor force in greater numbers than those who immigrate when they are older. A social interactions model with an assimilation parameter that varies by age of immigration helps explain this phenomenon. When making their labor force participation decision, immigrant men of all races, but not women, generally place more weight on the characteristics of natives the earlier they immigrate.

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Social networks and labor market inequality between ethnicities and races

Ott Toomet, Marco Van Der Leij & Meredith Rolfe
Network Science, December 2013, Pages 321-352

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the relationship between unexplained racial/ethnic wage differentials on the one hand and social network segregation, as measured by inbreeding homophily, on the other. Our analysis is based on both the US and Estonian surveys, supplemented with the Estonian telephone communication data. In the case of Estonia we consider the regional variation in economic performance of the Russian minority, and in the US case we consider the regional variation in black-white differentials. Our analysis finds a strong relationship between the size of the wage differential and network segregation: Regions with more segregated social networks exhibit larger unexplained wage gaps.

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What Does a High School Diploma Get You? Employment, Race, and the Transition to Adulthood

Marla McDaniel & Daniel Kuehn
Review of Black Political Economy, December 2013, Pages 371-399

Abstract:
We compare the employment of African American and white youth as they transition to adulthood from age 18 to 22, focusing on high school graduates and high school dropouts who did not attend college. Using OLS and hazard models, we analyze the relative employment rates, and employment consistency, stability, and timing, controlling for a number of factors including family income, academic aptitude, prior work experience, and neighborhood poverty. We find white high school graduates work significantly more than all other youth on most measures; African American high school graduates work as much and sometimes less than white high school dropouts; African American dropouts work significantly less than all other youth. Findings further suggest that the improved labor market participation associated with a high school diploma is higher over time for African Americans than for white youth.

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Minority Representation and Order Maintenance Policing: Toward a Contingent View

Elaine Sharp
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article's aim is to test the impact of black political and bureaucratic representation on the rate at which blacks are arrested for order maintenance violations in U.S. cities.

Methods: Using data from the Law Enforcement Management and Administration Survey, the Census Bureau, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, for all U.S. cities over 100,000 population, the article first documents the continuing influence of black elected officials in promoting black representation on police forces. After establishing the appropriateness of order maintenance policing as a follow-up focus, the article then tests hypotheses that link variation in the rate of black order maintenance arrests to black political and bureaucratic representation, contingent upon form of government.

Results: Black political representation does constrain black order maintenance arrests, while black representation on the police force does not.

Conclusion: Even with a more racially representative police force in place, black political representation is what matters in constraining controversial patterns of police practice.

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Residential Hierarchy in Los Angeles: An Examination of Ethnic and Documentation Status Differences

David Cort, Ken-Hou Lin & Gabriela Stevenson
Social Science Research, May 2014, Pages 170–183

Abstract:
Longitudinal event history data from two waves of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey are used to explore racial, ethnic, and documentation status differences in access to desirable neighborhoods. We first find that contrary to recent findings, undocumented Latinos do not replace blacks at the bottom of the locational attainment hierarchy. Whites continue to end up in neighborhoods that are less poor and whiter than minority groups, while all minorities, including undocumented Latinos, end up in neighborhoods that are of similar quality. Second, the effects of socioeconomic status for undocumented Latinos are either similar to or weaker than disadvantaged blacks. These findings suggest that living in less desirable neighborhoods is a fate disproportionately borne by non-white Los Angeles residents and that in some limited ways, the penalty attached to being undocumented Latino might actually be greater than the penalty attached to being black.

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Are Urbanites More Permissive? Germany’s Urban Geography of Prejudice

Peter Dirksmeier
Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Traditionally, bowing to the migration history of Germany, larger proportions of foreigners live in major German cities than in other parts of the country. According to contact theory, famously developed by social psychologist Gordon Allport in the 1950s, intergroup contacts between different ethnic groups reduce prejudice. The main aim of the article is to examine whether the level of prejudice toward foreigners is lower among the German urban population due to greater contact opportunities and habituation among different ethnic groups in Germany’s major cities, which reduces prejudice as well. The presented findings show, first, that prejudice is only slightly lower in the major cities. Second, this finding crucially depends on the quality of contacts. Only friendships between Germans and foreigners show a significant impact on reducing prejudice. Clearly, beyond the level of acquaintance with individual members of an out-group, only voluntary contacts are able to diminish prejudice. Third, in terms of spatial context effects, the switch between majority and minority group positions in residential areas appears to be a tipping point for prejudice, which means that even people with low levels of prejudice wish to live as the ethnic majority in their respective residential area.

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Social Influence in the Housing Market

Carrie Pan & Christo Pirinsky
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
We utilize the decennial U.S. Census to study social effects in housing consumption across 4 million households from 126 ethnic groups and 2,071 geographic locations in the U.S. We find that the homeownership decisions within ethnic groups are locally correlated, after controlling for the homeownership rates within the group and the region. Social influence is stronger for younger, less educated, and lower-income individuals; immigrants; and Americans with ancestors from more unequal, uncertainty-avoiding, and collectivistic cultures. Our results suggest that both status and information considerations play an important role in the social comparison process in capital markets.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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