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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Birthdays

Investigating Recent Trends in the U.S. Teen Birth Rate

Melissa Kearney & Phillip Levine
Journal of Health Economics, May 2015, Pages 15–29

Abstract:
We investigate trends in the U.S. rate of teen childbearing between 1981 and 2010, focusing specifically on the sizable decline since 1991. We focus on establishing the role of state-level demographic changes, economic conditions, and targeted policies in driving recent aggregate trends. We offer three main observations. First, the recent decline cannot be explained by the changing racial and ethnic composition of teens. Second, the only targeted policies that have had a statistically discernible impact on aggregate teen birth rates are declining welfare benefits and expanded access to family planning services through Medicaid, but these policies can account for only 12.6 percent of the observed decline since 1991. Third, higher unemployment rates lead to lower teen birth rates and can account for 16 percent of the decline in teen birth rates since the Great Recession began.

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Fertility and Childlessness in the United States

Thomas Baudin, David de la Croix & Paula Gobbi
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a theory of fertility, distinguishing its intensive margin from its extensive margin. The deep parameters are identified using facts from the 1990 Census: (1) fertility of mothers decreases with education; (2) childlessness exhibits a U-shaped relationship with education; (3) the relationship between marriage rates and education is hump-shaped for women and increasing for men. We estimate that 2.5% of women were childless because of poverty and 8.1% because of high opportunity cost of childrearing. Over time, historical trends in total factor productivity and in education led to a U-shaped response in childlessness rates while fertility of mothers decreased.

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Health Insurance, Fertility, and the Wantedness of Pregnancies: Evidence from Massachusetts

Maria Apostolova-Mihaylova & Aaron Yelowitz
University of Kentucky Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Health insurance reform in Massachusetts lowered the financial cost of both pregnancy (by increased coverage of pregnancy-related medical events) and pregnancy prevention (by increasing access to reliable contraception and family planning). We examine fertility responses for women of childbearing age in Massachusetts and, on net, find no effect from increasing health insurance coverage. This finding, however, masks substantial heterogeneity. For married women aged 20 to 34 – who have high latent fertility and for whom pregnancies are typically wanted – fertility increased by approximately 1 percent. For unmarried women in the same age range – for whom pregnancies are typically unwanted – fertility declined by 9 percent. Fertility rates changed very little for other groups, in part because of low latent fertility or minimal gains in insurance coverage. Pregnancy wantedness increased in the aggregate through a combination of increasing wanted births and decreasing unwanted births.

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The Quantity and Quality Adjustment of Births When Having More is Not Subsidized: The Effect of the TANF Family Cap on Fertility and Birth Weight

Ho-Po Crystal Wong
West Virginia University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
The family cap policy that reduces or eliminates incremental welfare benefits for additional births born to mothers already on welfare provides a strong financial disincentive for pregnancy for women on welfare. Hypothetically welfare mothers might also substitute quality for quantity in response to the family cap policy. I study the long term effect of the policy on fertility and low weight births using state-level data from 1989-2012. I find that the policy reduces state level out-of-wedlock birth rate and low weight birth rate by at least 7.5 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The evidence suggests that the family cap policy might not just produce a deterrent effect on non-marital childbearing but also a quality effect on childbearing: those births that actually occur are endowed with better health in terms of birth weight.

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Pregnancy Intentions, Maternal Behaviors, and Infant Health: Investigating Relationships With New Measures and Propensity Score Analysis

Kathryn Kost & Laura Lindberg
Demography, February 2015, Pages 83-111

Abstract:
The premise that unintended childbearing has significant negative effects on the behavior of mothers and on the health of infants strongly influences public health policy and much of current research on reproductive behaviors. Yet, the evidence base presents mixed findings. Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, we employ a measure of pregnancy intentions that incorporates the extent of mistiming, as well as the desire scale developed by Santelli et al. (Studies in Family Planning, 40, 87–100, 2009). Second, we examine variation in the characteristics of mothers within intention status groups. Third, we account for the association of mothers’ background characteristics with their pregnancy intentions and with the outcomes by employing propensity score weighting. We find that weighting eliminated statistical significance of many observed associations of intention status with maternal behaviors and birth outcomes, but not all. Mistimed and unwanted births were still less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy than intended ones. Fewer unwanted births received early prenatal care or were breast-fed, and unwanted births were also more likely than intended births to be of low birth weight. Relative to births at the highest level of the desire scale, all other births were significantly less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy and to receive early prenatal care.

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The unintended: Negative outcomes over the life cycle

Wanchuan Lin & Juan Pantano
Journal of Population Economics, April 2015, Pages 479-508

Abstract:
We quantify the impact of abortion legalization on the incidence of unintended births. While underlying much of the literature on abortion legalization, this effect had only been approximated by previous work. We find a strong decline in the prevalence of unintended births. Moreover, we find that this decline is mainly driven by “pro-choice” women. We then propose an empirical strategy to recover the effect of being “unintended” on life cycle outcomes. We use the differential timing of abortion legalization across states interacted with the mother’s religion (which facilitates or hinders legal abortion take up) to instrument for endogenous pregnancy intention. We find that being unintended causes negative outcomes (higher crime, lower schooling, lower earnings) over the life cycle. Our paper provides an initial step towards quantifying this key mechanism behind many of the well-documented long-term effects associated with changes in reproductive health policy.

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The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing Before Roe v Wade

Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using five cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, we estimate the effect of teen motherhood on education, labor market, and marriage outcomes for teens conceiving from 1940 through 1968. Effects vary by marital status at conception, socioeconomic background, and year. Effects on teens married at conception were limited. However, teen mothers conceiving premaritally obtained less education and had a weaker marriage market. Teen mothers of the 1940s–1950s, affected by subsequent economic and social changes, were disadvantaged in the labor market of the 1970s. In the 1960s, teens for whom motherhood would be costly increasingly avoided pregnancy.

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Race-Ethnic Differences in the Non-marital Fertility Rates in 2006–2010

Yujin Kim & Kelly Raley
Population Research and Policy Review, February 2015, Pages 141-159

Abstract:
Research in the 1980s pointed to the lower marriage rates of blacks as an important factor contributing to race differences in non-marital fertility. Our analyses update and extend this prior work to investigate whether cohabitation has become an important contributor to this variation. We use data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth to identify the relative contribution of population composition (i.e., percent sexually active single and percent cohabiting) versus rates (pregnancy rates, post-conception marriage rates) to race-ethnic variation in non-marital fertility rates (N = 7,428). We find that the pregnancy rate among single (not cohabiting) women is the biggest contributor to race-ethnic variation in the non-marital fertility rate and that contraceptive use patterns among racial minorities explain the majority of the race-ethnic differences in pregnancy rates.

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Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Sex Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates

Nicholas Sanders & Charles Stoecker
Journal of Health Economics, May 2015, Pages 30–45

Abstract:
Fetal health is an important consideration in policy formation. Unfortunately, a complete census of fetal deaths, an important measure of overall fetal health, is infeasible, and available data are selectively observed. We consider this issue in the context of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (CAAA), one of the largest and most influential environmental regulations in the history of the United States. We discuss a model of potential bias in measuring observed fetal deaths, and present the sex ratio of live births as an alternative fetal health endpoint, taking advantage of the finding that males are more vulnerable to side effects of maternal stress in utero. We find the CAAA caused substantial improvements in fetal health, in addition to previously identified reductions in post-natal mortality.

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Surrogate mothers 10 years on: A longitudinal study of psychological well-being and relationships with the parents and child

V. Jadva, S. Imrie & S. Golombok
Human Reproduction, February 2015, Pages 373-379

Study question: How do the psychological health and experiences of surrogate mothers change from 1 year to 10 years following the birth of the surrogacy child?

Study design, size, duration: This study used a prospective longitudinal design, in which 20 surrogates were seen at two time points: 1 year following the birth of the surrogacy child and 10 years later.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: The 20 surrogates (representing 59% of the original sample) participated in a semi-structured interview and completed self-report questionnaires. Eleven surrogates were gestational carriers and nine surrogates had used their own oocyte (genetic surrogacy). Four were previously known to the intended parents and 16 were previously not known.

Main results and the role of chance: Ten years following the birth of the surrogacy child, surrogate mothers scored within the normal range for self-esteem and did not show signs of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Marital quality remained positive over time. All surrogates reported that their expectations of their relationship with the intended parents had been either met or exceeded and most reported positive feelings towards the child. In terms of expectations for the future, most surrogates reported that they would like to maintain contact or would be available to the child if the child wished to contact them. None expressed regrets about their involvement in surrogacy.

Wider implications of the findings: Contrary to concerns about the potentially negative long-term effect of surrogacy, the findings suggest that surrogacy can be a positive experience for some women at least. These findings are important for policy and practice of surrogacy around the world.

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Understanding Heterogeneity in the Effects of Birth Weight on Adult Cognition and Wages

Justin Cook & Jason Fletcher
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
A large economics literature has shown long term impacts of birth weight on adult outcomes, including IQ and earnings that are often robust to sibling or twin fixed effects. We examine potential mechanisms underlying these effects by incorporating findings from the genetics and neuroscience literatures. We use a sample of siblings combined with an “orchids and dandelions hypothesis”, where the IQ of genetic dandelions is not affected by in utero nutrition variation but genetic orchids thrive under advantageous conditions and wilt in poor conditions. Indeed, using variation in three candidate genes related to neuroplasticity (APOE, BDNF, and COMT), we find substantial heterogeneity in the associations between birth weight and adult outcomes, where part of the population (i.e., “dandelions”) is not affected by birth weight variation. Our results help uncover why birth weight affects adult outcomes.

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Genotype × Cohort Interaction on Completed Fertility and Age at First Birth

Daniel Briley, Paige Harden & Elliot Tucker-Drob
Behavior Genetics, January 2015, Pages 71-83

Abstract:
Microevolutionary projections use empirical estimates of genetic covariation between physical or psychological phenotypes and reproductive success to forecast changes in the population distributions of those phenotypes over time. The validity of these projections depends on relatively consistent heritabilities of fertility-relevant outcomes and consistent genetic covariation between fertility and other physical or psychological phenotypes across generations. However, well-documented, rapidly changing mean trends in the level and timing of fertility may have been accompanied by differences in the genetic mechanisms of fertility. Using a sample of 933 adult twin pairs from the Midlife Development in the United States study, we demonstrate that genetic influences on completed fertility and age at first birth were trivial for the 1920–1935 birth cohort, but rose substantially for the 1936–1955 birth cohort. For the 1956–1970 birth cohort, genetic influences on completed fertility, but not age at first birth, persisted. Because the heritability of fertility is subject to change dynamically with the social context, it is difficult to project selection pressures or the rate at which selection will occur.

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Social Discrimination, Stress, and Risk of Unintended Pregnancy Among Young Women

Kelli Stidham Hall et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: Prior research linking young women's mental health to family planning outcomes has often failed to consider their social circumstances and the intersecting biosocial mechanisms that shape stress and depression as well as reproductive outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. We extend our previous work to investigate relationships between social discrimination, stress and depression symptoms, and unintended pregnancy among adolescent and young adult women.

Methods: Data were drawn from 794 women aged 18–20 years in a longitudinal cohort study. Baseline and weekly surveys assessed psychosocial information including discrimination (Everyday Discrimination Scale), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale), and reproductive outcomes. Multilevel, mixed-effects logistic regression and discrete-time hazard models estimated associations between discrimination, mental health, and pregnancy. Baron and Kenny's method was used to test mediation effects of stress and depression on discrimination and pregnancy.

Results: The mean discrimination score was 19/45 points; 20% reported moderate/high discrimination. Discrimination scores were higher among women with stress and depression symptoms versus those without symptoms (21 vs. 18 points for both, p < .001). Pregnancy rates (14% overall) were higher among women with moderate/high (23%) versus low (11%) discrimination (p < .001). Discrimination was associated with stress (adjusted relative risk ratio, [aRR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4–3.4), depression (aRR, 2.4; CI, 1.5–3.7), and subsequent pregnancy (aRR, 1.8; CI, 1.1–3.0). Stress and depression symptoms did not mediate discrimination's effect on pregnancy.

Conclusions: Discrimination was associated with an increased risk of mental health symptoms and unintended pregnancy among these young women. The interactive social and biological influences on reproductive outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood warrant further study.

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Evidence of Self-correction of Child Sex Ratios in India: A District-Level Analysis of Child Sex Ratios From 1981 to 2011

Nadia Diamond-Smith & David Bishai
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sex ratios in India have become increasingly imbalanced over the past decades. We hypothesize that when sex ratios become very uneven, the shortage of girls will increase girls’ future value, leading sex ratios to self-correct. Using data on children under 5 from the last four Indian censuses, we examine the relationship between the sex ratio at one point in time and the change in sex ratio over the next 10 years by district. Fixed-effects models show that when accounting for unobserved district-level characteristics — including total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, percentage literate, percentage rural, percentage scheduled caste, percentage scheduled tribe, and a time trend variable — sex ratios are significantly negatively correlated with the change in sex ratio in the successive 10-year period. This suggests that self-corrective forces are at work on imbalanced sex ratios in India.

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Solar activity at birth predicted infant survival and women's fertility in historical Norway

Gine Roll Skjærvø, Frode Fossøy & Eivin Røskaft
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 February 2015

Abstract:
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can suppress essential molecular and cellular mechanisms during early development in living organisms and variations in solar activity during early development may thus influence their health and reproduction. Although the ultimate consequences of UVR on aquatic organisms in early life are well known, similar studies on terrestrial vertebrates, including humans, have remained limited. Using data on temporal variation in sunspot numbers and individual-based demographic data (N = 8662 births) from Norway between 1676 and 1878, while controlling for maternal effects, socioeconomic status, cohort and ecology, we show that solar activity (total solar irradiance) at birth decreased the probability of survival to adulthood for both men and women. On average, the lifespans of individuals born in a solar maximum period were 5.2 years shorter than those born in a solar minimum period. In addition, fertility and lifetime reproductive success (LRS) were reduced among low-status women born in years with high solar activity. The proximate explanation for the relationship between solar activity and infant mortality may be an effect of folate degradation during pregnancy caused by UVR. Our results suggest that solar activity at birth may have consequences for human lifetime performance both within and between generations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Management scorecard

Managers’ External Social Ties at Work: Blessing or Curse for the Firm?

Leif Brandes, Marc Brechot & Egon Franck
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2015, Pages 203–216

Abstract:
Existing evidence shows that decision makers’ social ties to internal co-workers can lead to reduced firm performance. In this paper, we show that decision makers’ social ties to external transaction partners can also hurt firm performance. Specifically, we use 34 years of data from the National Basketball Association and study the relationship between a team's winning percentage and its use of players that the manager acquired through social ties to former employers in the industry. We find that teams with “tie-hired-players” underperform teams without tie-hired-players by 5 percent. This effect is large enough to change the composition of teams that qualify for the playoffs. Importantly, we show that adverse selection of managers and teams into the use of tie-hiring procedures cannot fully explain this finding. Additional evidence suggests instead that managers deliberately trade-off private, tie-related benefits against team performance.

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Are Sunk Costs Irrelevant? Evidence from Playing Time in the National Basketball Association

Daniel Leeds, Michael Leeds & Akira Motomura
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use playing time in the National Basketball Association to investigate whether sunk costs affect decision making. Behavioral economics implies that teams favor players chosen in the lottery and first round of the draft because of the greater financial and psychic commitment to them. Neoclassical economics implies that only current performance matters. We build on previous work in two ways. First, we better capture potential playing time by accounting for time lost to injuries or suspension. Second, we use regression discontinuity to capture changes when a player's draft position crosses thresholds. We find that teams allocate no more time to highly drafted players.

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Which comes first, organizational culture or performance? A longitudinal study of causal priority with automobile dealerships

Anthony Boyce et al.
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research supports a link between organizational culture and performance but generally falls short of establishing causality or determining the direction of a culture–performance (C-P) relationship. Using data collected from 95 franchise automobile dealerships over 6 years, we studied longitudinal culture–performance relationships to determine whether culture or performance has causal priority, or alternatively, whether a reciprocal relationship exists. Results from cross-lagged panel analyses indicate that culture “comes first,” consistently predicting subsequent ratings of customer satisfaction and vehicle sales. Furthermore, the positive effect of culture on vehicle sales is fully mediated by customer satisfaction ratings.

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Experiential and Social Learning in Firms: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing in the Bakken Shale

Thomas Covert
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Learning how to utilize new technologies is a key step in innovation, yet little is known about how firms actually learn. This paper examines firms’ learning behavior using data on their operational choices, profits, and information sets. I study companies using hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation, where firms must learn the relationship between fracking input use and oil production. Using a new dataset that covers every well since the introduction of fracking to this formation, I find that firms made more profitable input choices over time, but did so slowly and incompletely, only capturing 67% of possible profits from fracking at the end of 2011. To understand what factors may have limited learning, I estimate a model of fracking input use in the presence of technology uncertainty. Firms are more likely to make fracking input choices with higher expected profits and lower standard deviation of profits, consistent with passive learning but not active experimentation. Most firms over-weight their own information relative to observable information generated by others. These results suggest the existence of economically important frictions in the learning process.

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Timing of Kindness – Evidence from a Field Experiment

Axel Ockenfels, Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, March 2015, Pages 79–87

Abstract:
We conduct a field experiment in a naturally occurring labor environment and track whether the performance of workers responds to unexpected wage increases. Specifically, we investigate how the timing of wage increases affects efforts. We find that workers’ performance is substantially higher for the same total wage when their wage is increased in two steps as opposed to a single increase at the outset. Moreover, workers are more honest and are more willing to do voluntary extra work after surprising wage increases compared to a baseline condition without increases.

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Capability Erosion Dynamics

Hazhir Rahmandad & Nelson Repenning
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The notion of capability is widely invoked to explain differences in organizational performance and research shows that strategically relevant capabilities can be both built and lost. However, while capability development is widely studied, capability erosion has not been integrated into our understanding of performance heterogeneity. To understand erosion, we study two software development organizations that experienced diverging capability trajectories despite similar organizational and technological settings. Building a simulation-based theory, we identify the adaptation trap, a mechanism through which managerial learning can lead to capability erosion: well-intentioned efforts by managers to search locally for the optimal workload balance lead them to systematically overload their organization and, thereby, cause capabilities to erode. The analysis of our model informs when capability erosion is likely and strategically relevant.

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Estimating Management Practice Complementarity between Decentralization and Performance Pay

Bryan Hong, Lorenz Kueng & Mu-Jeung Yang
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
The existence of complementarity across management practices has been proposed as one potential explanation for the persistence of firm-level productivity differences. However, thus far no conclusive population-level tests of the complementary joint adoption of management practices have been conducted. Using unique detailed data on internal organization, occupational composition, and firm performance for a nationally representative sample of firms in the Canadian economy, we exploit regional variation in income tax progression as an instrument for the adoption of performance pay. We find systematic evidence for the complementarity of performance pay and decentralization of decision-making from principals to employees. Furthermore, in response to the adoption of performance pay, we find a concentration of decision-making at the level of managerial employees, as opposed to a general movement towards more decentralization throughout the organization. Finally, we find that adoption of performance pay is related to other types of organizational restructuring, such as greater use of outsourcing, Total Quality Management, re-engineering, and a reduction in the number of layers in the hierarchy.

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Moneyball Revisited: Effort and Team Performance in Professional Soccer

Daniel Weimar & Pamela Wicker
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In Moneyball, the assumption was made that the baseball labor market undervalues specific player skills. This study investigates whether this is also the case for player effort in professional soccer which had no significant effect on players’ market values in previous research. Specifically, it examines the effect of effort on team performance in soccer using team-game day data from three seasons (N = 1,514) of the German Bundesliga. Two effort measures are applied: (1) total distance run and (2) number of intensive runs (>20 km/hr) per player and per match. The results of probit models show that both effort measures have a significant positive effect on whether the observed team won the observed match in separate estimations. In the full model, only the effect of running distance remains positive, while intensive runs become negative. Given the insignificant effect of effort on players’ market values in previous research, we suggest that there may be a Moneyball phenomenon in soccer in the sense that the soccer labor market undervalues running distance. The findings imply that decision makers in professional soccer should consult player statistics to a greater extent.

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The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organization

Nicholas Bloom et al.
Management Science, December 2014, Pages 2859-2885

Abstract:
Guided by theories of “management by exception,” we study the impact of information and communication technology on worker and plant manager autonomy and span of control. The theory suggests that information technology is a decentralizing force, whereas communication technology is a centralizing force. Using a new data set of American and European manufacturing firms, we find indeed that better information technologies (enterprise resource planning (ERP) for plant managers and computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacturing for production workers) are associated with more autonomy and a wider span of control, whereas technologies that improve communication (like data intranets) decrease autonomy for workers and plant managers. Using instrumental variables (distance from ERP’s place of origin and heterogeneous telecommunication costs arising from regulation) strengthens our results.

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Optimal Tolerance for Failure

Caspar Siegert & Piers Trepper
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2015, Pages 41–55

Abstract:
We consider the problem of an employer who has to choose whether to reemploy agents with a positive track record or agents who were unsuccessful. While previously successful managers are likely to be of high ability, they have also accumulated wealth and will be harder to motivate in the future. It may hence be optimal to retain unsuccessful managers but not successful ones. The result that the optimal tenure of a manager may not be increasing in his success is consistent with empirical studies that find a low correlation between firm success and managerial turnover.

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The Promise and Problems of Organizational Culture: CEO Personality, Culture, and Firm Performance

Charles O’Reilly et al.
Group & Organization Management, December 2014, Pages 595-625

Abstract:
Studies of organizational culture are almost always based on two assumptions: (a) Senior leaders are the prime determinant of the culture, and (b) culture is related to consequential organizational outcomes. Although intuitively reasonable and often accepted as fact, the empirical evidence for these is surprisingly thin, and the results are quite mixed. Almost no research has jointly investigated these assumptions and how they are linked. The purpose of this article is to empirically link CEO personality to culture and organizational culture to objective measures of firm performance. Using data from respondents in 32 high-technology companies, we show that CEO personality affects a firm’s culture and that culture is subsequently related to a broad set of organizational outcomes including a firm’s financial performance (revenue growth, Tobin’s Q), reputation, analysts’ stock recommendations, and employee attitudes. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research on organizational culture.

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Rose colored webcam: Discrepancies in personality estimates and interview performance ratings

Joseph Castro & Richard Gramzow
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 202–207

Abstract:
Companies increasingly use computer-controlled interviews as a less expensive and more efficient way to screen job applicants. Despite these advantages, this interview format may prevent evaluators from accurately judging an applicant’s personality traits, which, in turn, may influence hiring decisions. Two traits in particular, agreeableness and conscientiousness, have been found to predict performance in many occupational settings. In the current research, participants randomly were assigned to either a face-to-face (FTF) or computer-controlled (CC) mock job interview. Interviewees were rated by external observers as higher in conscientiousness and agreeableness when the interview was CC rather than FTF. In addition, observers rated interview performance more positively than did the interviewees themselves – particularly when the interview was CC. Finally, the discrepancy between self and observer judgments of the interviewees’ personality (in terms of agreeableness and conscientiousness) mediated the relation between interview format and the discrepancy between self and observer ratings of interview performance. These findings suggest that CC interviews have the potential to yield overly positive evaluations of interviewees, thereby biasing personality judgments and estimations of ultimate job performance.

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Does Seeing "Eye To Eye" Affect Work Engagement and OCB? A Role Theory Perspective on LMX Agreement

Fadel Matta et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite meta-analytic evidence demonstrating that leader-member exchange (LMX) agreement (consensus between leader and subordinate perceptions) is only moderate at best, research on LMX typically examines this relationship from only one perspective (either the leader's or the subordinate's). We return to the roots of LMX and utilize role theory to argue that agreement in leader and subordinate perceptions of LMX quality has meaningful effects on employee motivation and behavior. In a polynomial regression analysis of 280 leader-subordinate dyads, employee work engagement (and subsequent organizational citizenship behavior [OCB]) was maximized (at each level of LMX quality) when leaders and subordinates were in agreement as to the quality of their LMX relationship, but these outcomes suffered when they did not see "eye to eye." Indeed, situations where leaders and subordinates both evaluated their relationship as low quality were associated with higher work engagement (and subsequent OCB) compared to situations of disagreement where only one member evaluated their relationship as high quality. Further, this effect was consistent regardless of whether leaders or subordinates evaluated the relationship highly. We conclude that to fully understand the implications of our only dyadic leadership theory, one must consider the perspectives of both members of the LMX dyad simultaneously.

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Revenue sharing and within-team payroll inequality in Major League Baseball

Nicholas Jolly
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2015, Pages 80-85

Abstract:
Using data from the 2000 to 2012 Major League Baseball seasons, this article investigates how changes to revenue sharing in the 2007 collective bargaining agreement altered within-team payroll inequality. Results indicate that inequality within teams decreased after the 2007 bargaining agreement. This reduced inequity is concentrated among those teams that were already experiencing relatively higher levels of inequality. This indicates that changes to revenue sharing should help increase competitive balance within the league. Additionally, the reduction in inequality occurs only among hitters and not pitchers. These results highlight how collective bargaining can have heterogeneous effects on groups of workers despite there being no requirement of differential treatment.

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Risk-Averse Team Owners and Players’ Salaries in Major League Baseball

Anthony Krautmann
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article looks at the role an owner’s attitude toward risk plays in his salary bids for free agents in Major League Baseball. We show that risk-averse owners will pay a premium for consistency on the field. Our empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that a free agent’s contract terms are negatively related to the degree of variability in his performance. To the extent that our results carry over to all players, this suggests a heretofore unrecognized factor affecting the market for talent in professional sports.

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Predicting the draft and career success of tight ends in the National Football League

Jason Mulholland & Shane Jensen
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, December 2014, Pages 381–396

Abstract:
National Football League teams have complex drafting strategies based on college and combine performance that are intended to predict success in the NFL. In this paper, we focus on the tight end position, which is seeing growing importance as the NFL moves towards a more passing-oriented league. We create separate prediction models for 1. the NFL Draft and 2. NFL career performance based on data available prior to the NFL Draft: college performance, the NFL combine, and physical measures. We use linear regression and recursive partitioning decision trees to predict both NFL draft order and NFL career success based on this pre-draft data. With both modeling approaches, we find that the measures that are most predictive of NFL draft order are not necessarily the most predictive measures of NFL career success. This finding suggests that we can improve upon current drafting strategies for tight ends. After factoring the salary cost of drafted players into our analysis in order to predict tight ends with the highest value, we find that size measures (BMI, weight, height) are over-emphasized in the NFL draft.

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Are All Spillovers Created Equal? A Network Perspective on IT Labor Movements

Lynn Wu, Fujie Jin & Lorin Hitt
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
This study aims to understand how characteristics of a labor flow network affect firm productivity using an inter-firm hiring network constructed from individual job histories. We separate IT-labor from non-IT labor and use the network measures constructed from the two types of labor flow to evaluate how they affect firm performance. We find that hiring IT workers from a diverse set of firms can substantially improve firm productivity, which is likely due to the diverse and non-redundant information provided in a network with high diversity. Interestingly, we find that the opposite is true for hiring non-IT labor. Having a cohesive network of non-IT labor hires allows frequent and repeated exposure to a common knowledge base is instrumental for implementing complementary organizational practices that are often complex and tacit. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of incorporating a network perspective in understanding the full impact of spillover effects from organizational hiring activities.

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Diabolical dictators or capable commanders? An investigation of the differential effects of autocratic leadership on team performance

Annebel De Hoogh, Lindred Greer & Deanne Den Hartog
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Autocratic leader behavior is often seen as negative for team morale and performance. However, theories on social hierarchy suggest that autocratic leadership may also positively affect morale and performance through the creation of a psychologically appealing, hierarchically-ordered environment of predictability and security. We propose that autocratic leadership can foster team psychological safety when team members accept the hierarchy within the team. In contrast, when members challenge the hierarchy and engage in intrateam power struggles, autocratic leaders' centralizing power behaviors will clash with team members' competition for power and frustrate members, impairing psychological safety and performance. We find support for these ideas in a study of 60 retail outlets (225 employees and their managers) in the financial services industry. As expected, when team power struggles were low, autocratic leadership was positively related to team psychological safety, and thereby indirectly positively related to team performance. When team power struggles were high, autocratic leadership was negatively related to team psychological safety and thereby indirectly negatively related to team performance. These effects were also found when controlling for leader consideration.

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There Are Lots of Big Fish in This Pond: The Role of Peer Overqualification on Task Significance, Perceived Fit, and Performance for Overqualified Employees

Jia Hu et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has uncovered mixed results regarding the influence of overqualification on employee performance outcomes, suggesting the existence of boundary conditions for such an influence. Using relative deprivation theory (Crosby, 1976) as the primary theoretical basis, in the current research, we examine the moderating role of peer overqualification and provide insights to the questions regarding whether, when, and how overqualification relates to employee performance. We tested the theoretical model with data gathered across three phases over 6 months from 351 individuals and their supervisors in 72 groups. Results showed that when working with peers whose average overqualification level was high, as opposed to low, employees who felt overqualified for their jobs perceived greater task significance and person-group fit, and demonstrated higher levels of in-role and extra-role performance. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications for overqualification at the individual level and within the larger group context.

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Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?

Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
A number of lab experiments in recent years have analyzed people's willingness to compete. But to what extent is competitive behavior in the lab associated with field choices and outcomes? We address this question in a setting of entrepreneurship, where we combine lab evidence on competitiveness with field evidence on investment, employment, profit, and sales. We find strong evidence that competitiveness in the lab is positively associated with competitive choices in the field (investment and employment) and weaker, but suggestive, evidence of a positive link to successful field outcomes (profit and sales). Other non-cognitive skills measured in the lab, including risk- and time preferences and confidence, and cognitive skills are less consistently associated with the field variables. Our findings suggest that the willingness to compete in the lab identifies an important entrepreneurial trait that shapes the entrepreneur's field choices and to some extent also field outcomes.

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Multinationality and opaqueness

Tom Aabo, Christos Pantzalis & Jung Chul Park
Journal of Corporate Finance, February 2015, Pages 65–84

Abstract:
We investigate whether and how multinationality affects the opaqueness of the firm. We use multiple alternative measurements of multinationality and opaqueness. Spanning nearly three decades for a large sample of US non-financial firms, we find a statistically and economically significant, positive relationship between multinationality and opaqueness. We find that this positive relationship hinges on whether or not the degree of foreign involvement is compatible with the structure of the firm's foreign operations network. Our results imply that multinationality's impact on opaqueness is alleviated when there is harmony between the size of foreign involvement and the extent of the MNC network's geographic dispersion. Previous literature has implicitly assumed a simple, positive relationship. This is the first study to explicitly address the question in a comprehensive manner.

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Regulatory fit theory at work: Prevention focus' primacy in safe food production

Ernest Park, Verlin Hinsz & Gary Nickell
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The food-processing industry emphasizes employee compliance to food-safety standards to prevent distribution of contaminated foods. Regulatory fit theory was tested to examine the applicability of self-regulation constructs as potential components of person-job fit. In contexts emphasizing safety, workers higher in prevention should experience greater person-job fit, thus prevention focus should relate to desirable outcomes. Poultry-processing workers (n = 180) completed a work-related regulatory focus scale as part of a survey including a set of outcome measures. Consistent with theory, prevention focus scores related to self-reported positive work outcomes (job effectiveness, satisfaction, efficacy, enjoyment, involvement), and relationships were statistically mediated by perceived regulatory fit. Results have implications for selection practices and suggest ways work can be structured to enhance job performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Well being

Systematic Assessment of the Correlations of Household Income With Infectious, Biochemical, Physiological, and Environmental Factors in the United States, 1999–2006

Chirag Patel et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 February 2015, Pages 171-179

Abstract:
A fuller understanding of the social epidemiology of disease requires an extended description of the relationships between social factors and health indicators in a systematic manner. In the present study, we investigated the correlations between income and 330 indicators of physiological, biochemical, and environmental health in participants in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (1999–2006). We combined data from 3 survey waves (n = 249–23,649 for various indicators) to search for linear and nonlinear (quadratic) correlates of income, and we validated significant (P < 0.00015) correlations in an independent testing data set (n = 255–7,855). We validated 66 out of 330 factors, including infectious (e.g., hepatitis A), biochemical (e.g., carotenoids, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), physiological (e.g., upper leg length), and environmental (e.g., lead, cotinine) measures. We found only a modest amount of association modification by age, race/ethnicity, and gender, and there was no association modification for blacks. The present study is descriptive, not causal. We have shown in our systematic investigation the crucial place income has in relation to health risk factors. Future research can use these correlations to better inform theory and studies of pathways to disease, as well as utilize these findings to understand when confounding by income is most likely to introduce bias.

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On the Beginning of Mortality Acceleration

Giambattista Salinari & Gustavo De Santis
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Physiological senescence is characterized by the increasing limitation of capabilities of an organism resulting from the progressive accumulation of molecular damage, which at group (cohort) level translates into, among other things, an increase in mortality risks with age. Physiological senescence is generally thought to begin at birth, if not earlier, but models of demographic aging (i.e., an increase in mortality risks) normally start at considerably later ages. This apparent inconsistency can be solved by assuming the existence of two mortality regimes: “latent” and “manifest” aging. Up to a certain age, there is only latent aging: physiological senescence occurs, but its low level does not trigger any measurable increase in mortality. Past a certain level (and age), molecular damage is such that mortality risks start to increase. We first discuss why this transition from latent to manifest aging should exist at all, and then we turn to the empirical estimation of the corresponding threshold age by applying Bai’s approach to the estimation of breakpoints in time series. Our analysis, which covers several cohorts born between 1850 and 1938 in 14 of the countries included in the Human Mortality Database, indicates that an age at the onset of manifest aging can be identified. However, it has not remained constant: it has declined from about 43 and 47 years, respectively, for males and females at the beginning of the period (cohorts born in 1850–1869) to about 31 for both males and females toward its end (cohorts born in 1920–1938). A discussion of why this may have happened ensues.

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Rates of Psychiatrists’ Participation in Health Insurance Networks

Janet Cummings
Journal of the American Medical Association, 13 January 2015, Pages 190-191

Objective: To describe recent trends in acceptance of insurance by psychiatrists compared with physicians in other specialties.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We used data from a national survey of office-based physicians in the United States to calculate rates of acceptance of private noncapitated insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid by psychiatrists vs physicians in other specialties and to compare characteristics of psychiatrists who accepted insurance and those who did not.

Results: The percentage of psychiatrists who accepted private noncapitated insurance in 2009-2010 was significantly lower than the percentage of physicians in other specialties (55.3% [95% CI, 46.7%-63.8%] vs 88.7% [86.4%-90.7%]; P < .001) and had declined by 17.0% since 2005-2006. Similarly, the percentage of psychiatrists who accepted Medicare in 2009-2010 was significantly lower than that for other physicians (54.8% [95% CI, 46.6%-62.7%] vs 86.1% [84.4%-87.7%]; P < .001) and had declined by 19.5% since 2005-2006. Psychiatrists’ Medicaid acceptance rates in 2009-2010 were also lower than those for other physicians (43.1% [95% CI, 34.9%-51.7%] vs 73.0% [70.3%-75.5%]; P < .001) but had not declined significantly from 2005-2006. Psychiatrists in the Midwest were more likely to accept private noncapitated insurance (85.1%) than those in the Northeast (48.5%), South (43.0%), or West (57.8%) (P = .02).

Conclusions and Relevance: Acceptance rates for all types of insurance were significantly lower for psychiatrists than for physicians in other specialties. These low rates of acceptance may pose a barrier to access to mental health services.

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Gene-Environment Interaction in the Intergenerational Transmission of Health

Owen Thompson
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Researchers have found strong linkages between parent and child health, but the mechanisms underlying intergenerational health transmission are not well understood. Motivated by biomedical research that has increasingly focused on interactions between genetic and environmental health determinants, I investigate how the importance of genetic health transmission mechanisms vary by environmental conditions in the case of pediatric asthma, the single most common chronic health condition among American children. Using a sample of approximately 2,000 adoptees and a matched sample of biological families, I find that the relative importance of genetic transmission differs strongly by SES. Specifically, in high SES families, parent-child asthma associations are approximately 75% weaker among adoptees than biological children, suggesting a dominant role for genetic transmission. In contrast, among lower SES families, parent-child asthma associations are virtually identical across biological and adoptive children, suggesting a negligible role for genetic transmission. Potential explanations for these differences are discussed.

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Age at Menarche: 50-Year Socioeconomic Trends Among US-Born Black and White Women

Nancy Krieger et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 388-397

Objectives: We investigated 50-year US trends in age at menarche by socioeconomic position (SEP) and race/ethnicity because data are scant and contradictory.

Methods: We analyzed data by income and education for US-born non-Hispanic Black and White women aged 25 to 74 years in the National Health Examination Survey (NHES) I (1959–1962), National Health Examination and Nutrition Surveys (NHANES) I–III (1971–1994), and NHANES 1999–2008.

Results: In NHES I, average age at menarche among White women in the 20th (lowest) versus 80th (highest) income percentiles was 0.26 years higher (95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.09, 0.61), but by NHANES 2005–2008 it had reversed and was −0.33 years lower (95% CI = −0.54, −0.11); no socioeconomic gradients occurred among Black women. The proportion with onset at younger than 11 years increased only among women with low SEP, among Blacks and Whites (P for trend < .05), and high rates of change occurred solely among Black women (all SEP strata) and low-income White women who underwent menarche before 1960.

Conclusions: Trends in US age at menarche vary by SEP and race/ethnicity in ways that pose challenges to several leading clinical, public health, and social explanations for early age at menarche and that underscore why analyses must jointly include data on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic position. Future research is needed to explain these trends.

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The Per Case and Total Annual Costs of Foodborne Illness in the United States

Travis Minor et al.
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present an economic welfare-based method to estimate the health costs associated with foodborne illness caused by known viruses, bacteria, parasites, allergens, two marine biotoxins, and unspecified agents. The method generates health costs measured in both quality-adjusted life years and in dollars. We calculate the reduction in quality-adjusted life days caused by the illness and add reductions in quality-adjusted life years from any secondary effects that are estimated to occur. For fatal cases, we calculate the life years lost due to premature death. We add direct medical expenses to the monetary costs as derived from estimates of willingness to pay to reduce health risks. In total, we estimate that foodborne illness represents an annual burden to society of approximately $36 billion, with an average identified illness estimated to reduce quality-adjusted life days by 0.84, which is monetized and included in the average cost burden per illness of $3,630.

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Nutrition and Cognitive Achievement: An Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program

David Frisvold
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the impact of the School Breakfast Program (SBP) on cognitive achievement. The SBP is a federal entitlement program that offers breakfast to any student, including free breakfast for any low-income student, who attends a school that participates in the program. To increase the availability of the SBP, many states mandate that schools participate in the program if the percent of free or reduced-price eligible students in a school exceeds a specific threshold. Using the details of these mandates as a source of identifying variation, I find that the availability of the program increases student achievement.

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Lunch, Recess and Nutrition: Responding to Time Incentives in the Cafeteria

Joseph Price & David Just
Preventive Medicine, February 2015

Objectives: In this study, we evaluate if moving recess before lunch has an effect on the amount of fruits and vegetables elementary school students eat as part of their school-provided lunch.

Methods: Participants were 1st-6th grade students from three schools that switched recess from after to before lunch and four similar schools that continued to hold recess after lunch. We collected data for an average of 14 days at each school (4 days during spring 2011, May 3 through June 1, 2011 and 9 days during fall 2011, occurred September 19 through November 11, 2011. All of the schools were in Orem, UT. Data was collected for all students receiving a school lunch and was based on observational plate waste data.

Results: We find that moving recess before lunch increased consumption of fruits and vegetables by 0.16 servings per child (a 54% increase) and increased the fraction of children eating at least one serving of fruits or vegetables by 10 percentage points (a 45% increase).

Conclusions: Our results show the benefits of holding recess before lunch and suggest that if more schools implement this policy, there would be significant increases in fruit and vegetable consumption among students who eat school lunch as part of the National School Lunch Program.

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Allergy Test: Seasonal Allergens and Performance in School

Dave Marcotte
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Seasonal pollen allergies affect approximately 1 in 5 school age children. Clinical research has established that these allergies result in large and consistent decrements in cognitive functioning, problem solving ability and speed, focus and energy. However, compared to air pollution, the impact of pollen and seasonal allergies on achievement in schools has received less attention from economists. Here, I use data on daily pollen counts merged with school district data to assess whether variation in the airborne pollen that induces seasonal allergies is associated with performance on state reading and math assessments. I find substantial and robust effects: A one standard deviation in ambient pollen levels reduces the percent of 3rd graders passing ELA assessments by between 0.2 and 0.3 standard deviations, and math assessments by between about 0.3 and 0.4 standard deviations. I discuss the empirical limitations as well as policy implications of this reduced-form estimate of pollen levels in a community setting.

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Health care expenses in relation to obesity and smoking among U.S. adults by gender, race/ethnicity, and age group: 1998–2011

Ruopeng An
Public Health, January 2015, Pages 29–36

Objectives: Obesity and smoking are two leading health risk factors and consume substantial health care resources. This study estimates and tracks annual per-capita health care expenses associated with obesity and smoking among U.S. adults aged 18 years and older from 1998 to 2011.

Methods: Individual-level data came from the National Health Interview Survey 1996–2010 waves and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 1998–2011 waves. Annual per-capita health care expenses associated with obesity and smoking were estimated in two-part models, accounting for individual characteristics and sampling design.

Results: Obesity and smoking were associated with an increase in annual per-capita total health care expenses (2011 US$) by $1360 (95% confidence interval: $1134-$1587) and $1046 ($846-$1247), out-of-pocket expenses by $143 ($110-$176) and $70 ($37-$104), hospital inpatient expenses by $406 ($283-$529) and $405 ($291-$519), hospital outpatient expenses by $164 ($119-$210) and $95 ($52-$138), office-based medical provider service expenses by $219 ($157-$280) and $117 ($62-$172), emergency room service expenses by $45 ($28-$63) and $57 ($44-$71), and prescription expenses by $439 ($382-$496) and $251 ($199-$302), respectively. From 1998 to 2011, the estimated per-capita expenses associated with obesity and smoking increased by 25% and 30% for total health care, 41% and 48% for office-based medical provider services, 59% and 66% for emergency room services, and 62% and 70% for prescriptions but decreased by 16% and 15% for out-of-pocket health care expenses, 3% and 0.3% for inpatient care, and 6% and 2% for outpatient care, respectively. Health care expenses associated with obesity and smoking were considerably larger among women, Non-Hispanic whites, and older adults compared with their male, racial/ethnic minority, and younger counterparts.

Conclusions: Health care costs associated with obesity and smoking are substantial and increased noticeably during 1998–2011. They also vary significantly across gender, race/ethnicity and age.

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Psychiatric Comorbidity, Suicidality, and In-Home Firearm Access Among a Nationally Representative Sample of Adolescents

Joseph Simonetti et al.
JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of self-reported in-home firearm access among US adolescents, to quantify the lifetime prevalence of mental illness and suicidality (ie, suicidal ideation, planning, or attempt) among adolescents living with a firearm in the home, and to compare the prevalence of in-home firearm access between adolescents with and without specific mental health risk factors for suicide.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement, a nationally representative survey of 10 123 US adolescents (age range, 13-18 years) who were interviewed between February 2001 and January 2004 (response rate 82.9%).

Results: One in three respondents (2778 [29.1%]) of the weighted survey sample reported living in a home with a firearm and responded to a question about firearm access; 1089 (40.9%) of those adolescents reported easy access to and the ability to shoot that firearm. Among adolescents with a firearm in home, those with access were significantly more likely to be older (15.6 vs 15.1 years), male (70.1% vs 50.9%), of non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity (86.6% vs 78.3%), and living in high-income households (40.0% vs 31.8%), and in rural areas (28.1% vs 22.6%) (P < .05 for all). Adolescents with firearm access also had a higher lifetime prevalence of alcohol abuse (10.1% vs 3.8%, P < .001) and drug abuse (11.4% vs 6.9%, P < .01) compared with those without firearm access. In multivariable analyses, adolescents with a history of mental illness without a history of suicidality (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.13; 95% CI, 0.98-1.29) and adolescents with a history of suicidality with or without a history of mental illness (PR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.96-1.51) were as likely to report in-home firearm access as those without such histories.

Conclusions and Relevance: Adolescents with risk factors for suicide were just as likely to report in-home firearm access as those without such risk factors. Given that firearms are the second most common means of suicide among adolescents, further attention to developing and implementing evidence-based strategies to decrease firearm access in this age group is warranted.

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Psychological Well-Being During the Great Recession: Changes in Mental Health Care Utilization in an Occupational Cohort

Sepideh Modrek, Rita Hamad & Mark Cullen
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 304-310

Objectives: We examined the mental health effects of the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009 on workers who remained continuously employed and insured.

Methods: We examined utilization trends for mental health services and medications during 2007 to 2012 among a panel of workers in the 25 largest plants, located in 15 states, of a US manufacturing firm. We used piecewise regression to compare trends from 2007 to 2010 in service and medication use before and after 2009, the year of mass layoffs at the firm and the peak of the recession. Our models accounted for changes in county-level unemployment rates and individual-level fixed effects.

Results: Mental health inpatient and outpatient visits and the yearly supply of mental health–related medications increased among all workers after 2009. The magnitude of the increase in medication usage was higher for workers at plants with more layoffs.

Conclusions: The negative effects of the recession on mental health extend to employed individuals, a group considered at lower risk of psychological distress.

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Association Between Dietary Whole Grain Intake and Risk of Mortality: Two Large Prospective Studies in US Men and Women

Hongyu Wu et al.
JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the association between dietary whole grain consumption and risk of mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We investigated 74 341 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984–2010) and 43 744 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986–2010), 2 large prospective cohort studies. All patients were free of CVD and cancer at baseline.

Results: We documented 26 920 deaths during 2 727 006 person-years of follow-up. After multivariate adjustment for potential confounders, including age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, and modified Alternate Healthy Eating Index score, higher whole grain intake was associated with lower total and CVD mortality but not cancer mortality: the pooled HRs for quintiles 1 through 5, respectively, of whole grain intake were 1 (reference), 0.99 (95% CI, 0.95-1.02), 0.98 (95% CI, 0.95-1.02), 0.97 (95% CI, 0.93-1.01), and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.88-0.95) for total mortality (P fortrend < .001); 1 (reference), 0.94 (95% CI, 0.88-1.01), 0.94 (95% CI, 0.87-1.01), 0.87 (95% CI, 0.80-0.94), and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.78-0.92) for CVD mortality (P fortrend < .001); and 1 (reference), 1.02 (95% CI, 0.96-1.08), 1.05 (95% CI, 0.99-1.12), 1.04 (95% CI, 0.98-1.11), and 0.97 (95% CI, 0.91-1.04) for cancer mortality (P fortrend = .43). We further estimated that every serving (28 g/d) of whole grain consumption was associated with a 5% (95% CI, 2%-7%) lower total morality or a 9% (95% CI, 4%-13%) lower CVD mortality, whereas the same intake level was nonsignificantly associated with lower cancer mortality (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.94-1.02). Similar inverse associations were observed between bran intake and CVD mortality, with a pooled HR of 0.80 (95% CI, 0.73-0.87; P fortrend < .001), whereas germ intake was not associated with CVD mortality after adjustment for bran intake.

Conclusions and Relevance: These data indicate that higher whole grain consumption is associated with lower total and CVD mortality in US men and women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors. These results are in line with recommendations that promote increased whole grain consumption to facilitate disease prevention.

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A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance

Losee Ling et al.
Nature, 22 January 2015, Pages 455–459

Abstract:
Antibiotic resistance is spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice, causing a public health crisis. Most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was overmined by the 1960s. Synthetic approaches to produce antibiotics have been unable to replace this platform. Uncultured bacteria make up approximately 99% of all species in external environments, and are an untapped source of new antibiotics. We developed several methods to grow uncultured organisms by cultivation in situ or by using specific growth factors. Here we report a new antibiotic that we term teixobactin, discovered in a screen of uncultured bacteria. Teixobactin inhibits cell wall synthesis by binding to a highly conserved motif of lipid II (precursor of peptidoglycan) and lipid III (precursor of cell wall teichoic acid). We did not obtain any mutants of Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to teixobactin. The properties of this compound suggest a path towards developing antibiotics that are likely to avoid development of resistance.

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Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions

Cristian Tomasetti & Bert Vogelstein
Science, 2 January 2015, Pages 78-81

Abstract:
Some tissue types give rise to human cancers millions of times more often than other tissue types. Although this has been recognized for more than a century, it has never been explained. Here, we show that the lifetime risk of cancers of many different types is strongly correlated (0.81) with the total number of divisions of the normal self-renewing cells maintaining that tissue’s homeostasis. These results suggest that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions. The majority is due to “bad luck,” that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells. This is important not only for understanding the disease but also for designing strategies to limit the mortality it causes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 2, 2015

Muck

Parties, Politics, and Regulation: Evidence from Clean Air Act Enforcement

Robert Innes & Arnab Mitra
Economic Inquiry, January 2015, Pages 522–539

Abstract:
Does local Federal regulation respond to the preferences of local Congressional representatives? For example, do Republican Congressmen reduce local enforcement of Clean Air laws in their districts? We use facility-level panel data on Clean Air Act inspections over 1989–2005 to study the causal effect of a Congressman's party affiliation on local enforcement. Random assignment of electoral outcomes is obtained with a Regression Discontinuity design. We find that new Republican (vs. Democratic) Representatives significantly depress inspection rates for local polluting facilities in the first year after their election.

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Acting green elicits a literal warm glow

Danny Taufik, Jan Willem Bolderdijk & Linda Steg
Nature Climate Change, January 2015, Pages 37–40

Abstract:
Environmental policies are often based on the assumption that people only act environmentally friendly if some extrinsic reward is implicated, usually money. We argue that people might also be motivated by intrinsic rewards: doing the right thing (such as acting environmentally friendly) elicits psychological rewards in the form of positive feelings, a phenomenon known as warm glow. Given the fact that people’s psychological state may affect their thermal state, we expected that this warm glow could express itself quite literally: people who act environmentally friendly may perceive the temperature to be higher. In two studies, we found that people who learned they acted environmentally friendly perceived a higher temperature than people who learned they acted environmentally unfriendly. The underlying psychological mechanism pertains to the self-concept: learning you acted environmentally friendly signals to yourself that you are a good person. Together, our studies show that acting environmentally friendly can be psychologically rewarding, suggesting that appealing to intrinsic rewards can be an alternative way to encourage pro-environmental actions.

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How Much Energy Do Building Energy Codes Really Save? Evidence from California

Arik Levinson
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Construction codes that regulate the energy efficiency of new buildings have been a centerpiece of US environmental policy for 40 years. California enacted the nation’s first energy building codes in 1978, and they were projected to reduce residential energy use — and associated pollution — by 80 percent. How effective have the building codes been? I take three approaches to answering that question. First, I compare current electricity use by California homes of different vintages constructed under different standards, controlling for home size, local weather, and tenant characteristics. Second, I examine how electricity in California homes varies with outdoor temperatures for buildings of different vintages. And third, I compare electricity use for buildings of different vintages in California, which has stringent building energy codes, to electricity use for buildings of different vintages in other states. All three approaches yield the same answer: there is no evidence that homes constructed since California instituted its building energy codes use less electricity today than homes built before the codes came into effect.

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Rational Inattention and Energy Efficiency

James Sallee
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2014, Pages 781-820

Abstract:
This paper argues that it will often be rational for consumers to pay limited attention to energy efficiency when choosing among energy-consuming durable goods like automobiles or home appliances. The reason is that the proper valuation of energy efficiency requires time and effort, but differences in efficiency across products will rarely be pivotal to choice when consumers have strong preferences regarding other product attributes. The paper first explains why proper valuation of efficiency is difficult, even in the presence of government energy labels. It next develops a model that shows how to value additional information about energy efficiency in a discrete-choice context. It then uses data on automobiles to show that consumers experience only small welfare losses when forced to choose a car without detailed information about fuel costs. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of rational inattention for both economic research and public policy.

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Perception of Gasoline Taxes and Driver Cost: Implications for Highway Finance

Ronald Fisher & Robert Wassmer
Michigan State University Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This research compares the actual magnitude of fuel taxes to the perceptions of these amounts. The issue is whether misperceptions about fuel taxes are contributing to voter perspectives about transportation finance and investment issues. A survey of likely Michigan voters shows that taxpayers greatly overestimate the amount they pay in fuel taxes. Half of the respondents (voters) overestimate the magnitude by at least a factor of five, and three-quarters overestimate the magnitude by at least a factor of three. Logistic regression analysis shows that voter (mis)perceptions regarding the magnitude of state fuel taxes do affect their views regarding highway revenue and investment proposals.

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Who Benefits from Environmental Regulation? Evidence from the Clean Air Act Amendments

Antonio Bento, Matthew Freedman & Corey Lang
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using geographically disaggregated data and exploiting an instrumental variable strategy, we show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) were progressive. The CAAA created incentives for local regulators to target the initially dirtiest areas for cleanup, creating heterogeneity in the incidence of air quality improvements that favored lower-income households. Based on house price appreciation, households in the lowest quintile of the income distribution received annual benefits from the program equal to 0.3% of their income on average during the 1990s, over twice as much as those in the highest quintile.

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The value of environmental status signaling

Michael Delgado, Jessica Harriger & Neha Khanna
Ecological Economics, March 2015, Pages 1–11

Abstract:
How much are consumers willing to pay to signal their environmental consciousness? We identify the signaling value of an environmental public good by focusing on hybrid cars and exploiting the physical uniqueness of the Toyota Prius relative to hybrids that look identical to their non-hybrid counterparts. We deploy a quasi-experimental hedonic model to estimate this willingness to pay. We find that, controlling for observable and unobservable factors, the Prius commands an environmental signaling value of $587 or 4.5% of its value. Our research provides lessons for economists and policymakers, and contributes to the literature on identifying signaling values.

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Indoor air quality and academic performance

Tess Stafford
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 34–50

Abstract:
I examine the effect of school indoor air quality (IAQ) on academic outcomes. I utilize a quasi-natural experiment, in which IAQ-renovations were completed at virtually every school in a single Texas school district at different points in time, combined with a panel of student-level data to control for many confounding factors and thereby uncover the causal effect of IAQ-renovations on academic outcomes. Results indicate that performance on standardized tests significantly improves while attendance is unresponsive to improvements in IAQ. Rough calculations suggest that IAQ-renovations may be a more cost-effective way to improve standardized test scores than class size reductions.

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Property Rights and Choice: The Case of The Fishery

Jorge Holzer
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Formal property rights are typically established after considerable waste has occurred, despite the effectiveness of such schemes in addressing the inefficiencies of common pool resources. Adoption can be contentious because of the assignment of wealth and political influence that accompany the transition to exclusive property rights. This paper studies how the early involvement of harvesters in policy implementation designed to address the commons’ inefficiency may foster perceived legitimacy and lessen political opposition to the establishment of individual property rights. We demonstrate that it is optimal for a manager facing industry strife and reform delay to allow firms to self-select into the property rights regime. The strategic interaction of harvesters leads to an equilibrium characterized by the global adoption of property rights. Thus, by providing harvesters with a choice between management systems, policy makers can reduce the transaction costs associated with the need to create political consensus, while ensuring an outcome similar to the top-down implementation of market-based management. Evidence is provided from a recent policy change in Maryland fisheries in which the provision of a choice resulted in the overwhelming adoption of individual transferable quotas and the end of the race to fish.

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Why is Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing Declining? The Roles of Trade, Regulation, Productivity, and Preferences

Joseph Shapiro & Reed Walker
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Between 1990 and 2008, emissions of the most common air pollutants from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent, even as real U.S. manufacturing output grew substantially. This paper develops a quantitative model to explain how changes in trade, environmental regulation, productivity, and consumer preferences have contributed to these reductions in pollution emissions. We estimate the model’s key parameters using administrative data on plant-level production and pollution decisions. We then combine these estimates with detailed historical data to provide a model-driven decomposition of the causes of the observed pollution changes. Finally, we compare the model-driven decomposition to a statistical decomposition. The model and data suggest three findings. First, the fall in pollution emissions is due to decreasing pollution per unit output within narrowly defined products, rather than to changes in the types of products produced or changes to the total quantity of manufacturing output. Second, the implicit pollution tax that rationalizes firm production and abatement behavior more than doubled between 1990 and 2008. Third, environmental regulation explains 75 percent or more of the observed reduction in pollution emissions from manufacturing.

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Environmental Policy and Vehicle Safety: The Impact of Gasoline Taxes

Damien Sheehan-Connor
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policies to reduce carbon emissions by vehicles, such as fuel economy standards and gasoline taxes, have impacts on vehicle weight and thus on safety. This paper develops a model that separately identifies the impact of vehicle weight on mortality and selection effects that impact accident propensity. The main results are that (1) the safety externalities associated with heavy vehicles are greater than the environmental ones; (2) under fuel economy standards, vehicle weights have recently decreased with little likely effect on accident deaths; and (3) similar environmental benefits could be combined with substantial reductions in deaths by implementing higher gasoline taxes.

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Advertising Energy Saving Programs: The Potential Environmental Cost of Emphasizing Monetary Savings

Daniel Schwartz et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many consumers have monetary or environmental motivations for saving energy. Indeed, saving energy produces both monetary benefits, by reducing energy bills, and environmental benefits, by reducing carbon footprints. We examined how consumers’ willingness and reasons to enroll in energy-savings programs are affected by whether advertisements emphasize monetary benefits, environmental benefits, or both. From a normative perspective, having 2 noteworthy kinds of benefit should not decrease a program’s attractiveness. In contrast, psychological research suggests that adding external incentives to an intrinsically motivating task may backfire. To date, however, it remains unclear whether this is the case when both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are inherent to the task, as with energy savings, and whether removing explicit mention of extrinsic motivation will reduce its importance. We found that emphasizing a program’s monetary benefits reduced participants’ willingness to enroll. In addition, participants’ explanations about enrollment revealed less attention to environmental concerns when programs emphasized monetary savings, even when environmental savings were also emphasized. We found equal attention to monetary motivations in all conditions, revealing an asymmetric attention to monetary and environmental motives. These results also provide practical guidance regarding the positioning of energy-saving programs: emphasize intrinsic benefits; the extrinsic ones may speak for themselves.

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Thinking about time as money decreases environmental behavior

Ashley Whillans & Elizabeth Dunn
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, March 2015, Pages 44–52

Abstract:
Surprisingly, Americans are no more likely to engage in environmental behavior today than 20 years ago. A novel explanation for this pattern may lie in the increased tendency to see time as money. Using large-scale survey data, we show that people are less likely to engage in environmental behavior if they are paid by the hour, a form of compensation that leads people to see their time as money. Using experimental methodology, we show that making the economic value of time salient reduces environmental intentions and behavior. This occurs in part because thinking about the economic value of time creates awareness of the opportunity costs associated with environmental behavior. We mitigate these effects by reframing environmental behavior as an act consistent with self-interest. Together, this research suggests that viewing time as money shapes environmental decisions, potentially shedding light on patterns of environmental behavior across time and around the world.

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Nonprice incentives and energy conservation

Omar Asensio & Magali Delmas
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the electricity sector, energy conservation through technological and behavioral change is estimated to have a savings potential of 123 million metric tons of carbon per year, which represents 20% of US household direct emissions in the United States. In this article, we investigate the effectiveness of nonprice information strategies to motivate conservation behavior. We introduce environment and health-based messaging as a behavioral strategy to reduce energy use in the home and promote energy conservation. In a randomized controlled trial with real-time appliance-level energy metering, we find that environment and health-based information strategies, which communicate the environmental and public health externalities of electricity production, such as pounds of pollutants, childhood asthma, and cancer, outperform monetary savings information to drive behavioral change in the home. Environment and health-based information treatments motivated 8% energy savings versus control and were particularly effective on families with children, who achieved up to 19% energy savings. Our results are based on a panel of 3.4 million hourly appliance-level kilowatt–hour observations for 118 residences over 8 mo. We discuss the relative impacts of both cost-savings information and environmental health messaging strategies with residential consumers.

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Property Rights, Regulatory Capture, and Exploitation of Natural Resources

Christopher Costello & Corbett Grainger
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We study how the strength of property rights to individual extractive firms affects a regulator’s choice over exploitation rates for a natural resource. The regulator is modeled as an intermediary between current and future resource harvesters, rather than between producers and consumers, as in the traditional regulatory capture paradigm. When incumbent resource users have weak property rights, they have an incentive to pressure the regulator to allow resource extraction at an inefficiently rapid rate. In contrast, when property rights are strong, this incentive is minimized or eliminated. We build a theoretical model in which different property right institutions can be compared for their incentives to exert influence on the regulator. The main theoretical prediction - that stronger individual property rights will lead the regulator to choose more economically efficient extraction paths - is tested empirically with a novel panel data set from global fisheries. Exploiting the variation in timing of catch share implementation in our panel data, we find that regulators are significantly more conservative in managing resources for which strong individual property rights have been assigned to firms; this is especially pronounced for resources that have been overexploited historically.

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Party differences and energy reform: Fiscal conservatism in the California legislature

David Hess et al.
Environmental Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research building on political economy and ecological modernisation theories has paid increasing attention to the conditions that affect the prospects for environmental reform. Much work focuses on variation among political units in support of a single type of energy policy, whereas we examine within-state variation in support of a wide range of energy reform policies. Applying multilevel analyses to the 2011–2012 legislative session in California, we identify bill characteristics associated with divisions between Republicans and Democrats. Expanding the size or scope of government (through spending, government commissions, and business regulations) reduces support for energy reform among Republicans, whereas promoting transparency and other ‘good government’ initiatives reduces support among Democrats. In contrast with the standard view that Republicans oppose almost all energy reforms proposed by Democrats, we identify bill characteristics that increase the likelihood of support from both parties, namely tax reductions and credits, including for bills that promote renewable energy.

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How Will I Be Remembered? Conserving the Environment for the Sake of One’s Legacy

Lisa Zaval, Ezra Markowitz & Elke Weber
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Long time horizons and social distance are viewed as key psychological barriers to proenvironmental action, particularly regarding climate change. We suggest that these challenges can be turned into opportunities by making salient long-term goals and motives, thus shifting preferences between the present self and future others. We tested whether individuals’ motivation to leave a positive legacy can be leveraged to increase engagement with climate change and other environmental problems. In a pilot study, we found that individual differences in legacy motivation were positively associated with proenvironmental behaviors and intentions. In a subsequent experiment, we demonstrated that priming legacy motives increased donations to an environmental charity, proenvironmental intentions, and climate-change beliefs. Domain-general legacy motives represent a previously understudied and powerful mechanism for promoting proenvironmental behavior.

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Independent Labels? The Power behind Environmental Information about Products and Companies

Graham Bullock
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Power is a ubiquitous term in political science, and yet the discipline lacks a metric of power that can be applied to both formal and informal political contexts. Building on past work on power and power resources, this paper develops a method to estimate the power of different actors over an organization. It uses this method to analyze the power of the public, private, and civil sectors within an original dataset of 245 cases of product and corporate environmental evaluations, such as ENERGY STAR, LEED Certification, and Newsweek’s Greenest Company Rankings. These initiatives have received limited attention from the political science literature, but they have become an increasingly prominent political phenomenon. The paper finds that the private and civil sectors likely have more power over these information-based governance initiatives than the public sector. It also reveals their lack of transparency and hybrid accountability relationships, which complicate their legitimacy and effectiveness.

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Anti-congestion policies in cities with public transportation

Akin Buyukeren & Tomoru Hiramatsu
Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study how congestion tolls and an urban growth boundary should be designed optimally in a monocentric city with both car and public transit commuting from the suburbs to the central city. The existing monocentric city literature has repeatedly shown that mitigating the congestion externality causes the densification of population toward the city center. In contrast, we find the opposite of densification can occur if public transit mode is present. Modal substitution effect limits the centralizing force of anti-congestion policies. In addition, redistributing tax revenues among residents generates a decentralizing effect by increasing housing demand because marginal utility of income is higher in suburbs. At the optimum, mitigating congestion can cause urban sprawl depending on degree of substitutability between automobile and public transit, relative congestibility of the two modes, tax revenue redistribution and preferences for location and lot size.

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Does Information Feedback from In-Home Devices Reduce Electricity Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Shahzeen Attari et al.
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
There is limited evidence of behavioral changes resulting from electricity information feedback. Using a randomized control trial from a New York apartment building, we study long-term effects of information feedback from “Modlet” in-home devices, which provide near-real-time plug-level information. We find a 12–23% decrease in electricity use for treatment apartments, concentrated among individuals reporting higher willingness-to-pay for an energy monitoring system. Decrease in overall electricity use is similar among treatment apartments which received Modlets and those which declined Modlets, and does not specifically occur for outlets with Modlets. This decrease may be due to a Hawthorne or salience effect.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Particulate Matter Air Pollution before, during, and after Pregnancy: A Nested Case–Control Analysis within the Nurses’ Health Study II Cohort

Raanan Raz et al.
Environmental Health Perspectives, forthcoming

Objective: To explore the association between maternal exposure to particulate matter (PM) air pollution and odds of ASD in her child.

Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study of participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II), a prospective cohort of 116,430 US female nurses recruited in 1989, followed by biennial mailed questionnaires. Subjects were NHS II participants’ children born 1990-2002 with ASD (n=245), and children without ASD (n=1522) randomly selected using frequency matching for birth years. ASD was based on maternal report, which was validated against the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised in a subset. Monthly averages of PM with diameters ≤2.5 µm (PM2.5) and 2.5-10 µm (PM10-2.5) were predicted from a spatiotemporal model for the continental US and linked to residential addresses.

Results: PM2.5 exposure during pregnancy was associated with increased odds of ASD, with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) for ASD per interquartile range higher PM2.5 (4.42 µg/m3) of 1.57 (95% CI: 1.22, 2.03) among women with the same address before and after pregnancy (160 cases, 986 controls). Associations with PM2.5 exposure 9 months before or after the pregnancy were weaker in independent models and null when all three time periods were included, while the association with the 9 months of pregnancy remained (OR=1.63; 95% CI: 1.08-2.47). The association between ASD and PM2.5 was stronger for exposure during the third trimester (OR=1.42 per inter-quartile range increase in PM2.5, 95% CI: 1.09, 1.86) than other trimesters (ORs 1.06 and 1.00) when mutually adjusted. There was little association between PM10-2.5 and ASD.

Conclusions: Higher maternal exposure to PM2.5 during pregnancy, in particular the third trimester, was associated with greater odds of her child having ASD.

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The Effects of Urban Form on Ambient Air Pollution and Public Health Risk: A Case Study in Raleigh, North Carolina

Theodore Mansfield et al.
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since motor vehicles are a major air pollution source, urban designs that decrease private automobile use could improve air quality and decrease air pollution health risks. Yet, the relationships among urban form, air quality, and health are complex and not fully understood. To explore these relationships, we model the effects of three alternative development scenarios on annual average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in ambient air and associated health risks from PM2.5 exposure in North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. We integrate transportation demand, land-use regression, and health risk assessment models to predict air quality and health impacts for three development scenarios: current conditions, compact development, and sprawling development. Compact development slightly decreases (−0.2%) point estimates of regional annual average PM2.5 concentrations, while sprawling development slightly increases (+1%) concentrations. However, point estimates of health impacts are in opposite directions: compact development increases (+39%) and sprawling development decreases (−33%) PM2.5-attributable mortality. Furthermore, compactness increases local variation in PM2.5 concentrations and increases the severity of local air pollution hotspots. Hence, this research suggests that while compact development may improve air quality from a regional perspective, it may also increase the concentration of PM2.5 in local hotspots and increase population exposure to PM2.5. Health effects may be magnified if compact neighborhoods and PM2.5 hotspots are spatially co-located. We conclude that compactness alone is an insufficient means of reducing the public health impacts of transportation emissions in automobile-dependent regions. Rather, additional measures are needed to decrease automobile dependence and the health risks of transportation emissions.

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Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters

John Smith et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The large discharge of radioactivity into the northwest Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident has generated considerable concern about the spread of this material across the ocean to North America. We report here the first systematic study to our knowledge of the transport of the Fukushima marine radioactivity signal to the eastern North Pacific. Time series measurements of 134Cs and 137Cs in seawater revealed the initial arrival of the Fukushima signal by ocean current transport at a location 1,500 km west of British Columbia, Canada, in June 2012, about 1.3 y after the accident. By June 2013, the Fukushima signal had spread onto the Canadian continental shelf, and by February 2014, it had increased to a value of 2 Bq/m3 throughout the upper 150 m of the water column, resulting in an overall doubling of the fallout background from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. Ocean circulation model estimates that are in reasonable agreement with our measured values indicate that future total levels of 137Cs (Fukushima-derived plus fallout 137Cs) off the North American coast will likely attain maximum values in the 3–5 Bq/m3 range by 2015–2016 before declining to levels closer to the fallout background of about 1 Bq/m3 by 2021. The increase in 137Cs levels in the eastern North Pacific from Fukushima inputs will probably return eastern North Pacific concentrations to the fallout levels that prevailed during the 1980s but does not represent a threat to human health or the environment.

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The Impact of LEED Neighborhood Certification on Condo Prices

Julia Freybote, Hua Sun & Xi Yang
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. Green Building Council offers LEED certification for existing and new neighborhood developments that meet sustainable urban development standards. Features of sustainable urban development have been found to positively affect residential sales prices. We investigate whether the intangible labeling effects of LEED neighborhood certification add a premium to the sales prices of LEED and non-LEED–certified condos. Using a quasi-experiment, transaction data from Portland, Oregon, and a spatio-temporal autoregressive (STAR) model, we find no evidence that the intangible labeling effects of LEED neighborhood certification directly or indirectly affect sales prices. Our results suggest that, contrary to LEED building certification, which we find adds a premium to condo sales prices, the LEED neighborhood label by itself fails to add value for condo buyers. Explanations for our findings include market acceptance, neighborhood delineation issues and the free rider problem as it relates to public goods.

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Proposed coal power plants and coal-to-liquids plants in the US: Which ones survive and why?

Dean Fantazzini & Mario Maggi
Energy Strategy Reviews, April 2014, Pages 9–17

Abstract:
The increase of oil and natural gas prices since the year 2000 stimulated the planning and construction of new coal-fired electricity generating plants and coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants in the US. However, many of these projects have been canceled or abandoned since 2007. Using a set of 145 proposed coal power plants and 25 CTL plants, the determinants that influence the decision to abandon a project or to proceed with it are examined using binary data models and 20 regressors. In the case of coal power plants, the number of searches performed on Google relating to coal power plants, the project duration and the prices of alternative fuels for electricity generation are found to be statistically significant at the 5% level. As for CTL plants, the political affiliation of the state governor is the only variable significant at the 5% level across several model specifications. An out-of-sample exercise confirms these findings. These results also hold with robustness checks considering alternative Google search keywords, the potential effects of the recession between 2008 and 2009 and the inclusion of the two dimensions of the Dynamic-Weighted Nominate (DWN) database.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The giver

What drives the gender gap in charitable giving? Lower empathy leads men to give less to poverty relief

Robb Willer, Christopher Wimer & Lindsay Owens
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We draw upon past research on gender and prosocial emotions in hypothesizing that empathy can help explain the gender gap in charitable giving. In a nationally representative survey, we found that men reported less willingness to give money or volunteer time to a poverty relief organization, gaps that were mediated by men’s lower reported feelings of empathy toward others. We also experimentally tested how effective a variety of different ways of framing poverty relief were for promoting giving. Framing poverty as an issue that negatively affects all Americans increased men’s willingness to donate to the cause, eliminating the gender gap. Mediation analysis revealed that this “aligned self-interest” framing worked by increasing men’s reported poverty concern, not by changing their understanding of the causes of poverty. Thus, while men were generally less motivated by empathy, they responded to a framing that recast charitable giving as consistent with their self-interest. Exposure to the same framing, however, led women to report lower willingness to volunteer time for poverty relief, suggesting that framing giving as consistent with self-interest may discourage those who give because of an empathic response to poverty.

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Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment

Mirco Tonin & Michael Vlassopoulos
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contributing to a social cause can be an important driver for workers in the public and nonprofit sectors as well as in firms that engage in corporate philanthropy or other corporate social responsibility policies. This paper compares the effectiveness of a social incentive that takes the form of a donation received by a charity of the subject’s choice to a financial incentive. We find that social incentives lead to a 13% rise in productivity, regardless of their form (lump sum or related to performance) or strength. The response is strong for subjects with low initial productivity (30%), whereas high-productivity subjects do not respond. When subjects can choose the mix of incentives, half sacrifice some of their private compensation to increase social compensation, with women more likely to do so than men. Furthermore, offering subjects some discretion in choosing their own payment schemes leads to a substantial improvement in performance. Comparing social incentives to equally costly increases in private compensation for low-productivity subjects reveals that the former are less effective in increasing productivity, but the difference is small and not statistically significant.

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The impact of mortality salience on the relative effectiveness of donation appeals

Fengyan Cai & Robert Wyer
Journal of Consumer Psychology, January 2015, Pages 101–112

Abstract:
Some donation appeals emphasize the magnitude of the help that is needed. Other, “bandwagon” appeals emphasize the fact that many others have already donated. The relative effectiveness of these appeals can depend on individuals' awareness of their mortality. Four experiments converge on the conclusion that need-focused appeals are effective when individuals are not conscious of their own mortality. When people's mortality is salient, however, bandwagon appeals have relatively greater influence. This is particularly true when others' donations have put the goal of the donation campaign within reach. These effects are evident when people have little a priori interest in the individuals being helped and sympathy does not play a major role in donation decisions.

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Avoiding affection, avoiding altruism: Why is avoidant attachment related to less helping?

Stephanie Richman, Nathan DeWall & Michelle Wolff
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 193–197

Abstract:
Avoidantly, compared to securely, attached people help less often and perceive the costs of helping as more severe. Helping relates to empathy and closeness, which may cause avoidantly attached people discomfort. We tested the hypothesis that reducing the potential for emotional closeness for avoidantly attached people would offset their unhelpfulness with one correlational and one experimental study. In Study 1, amongst a sample of 234 people on Mechanical Turk, avoidant attachment related to donating less money to human- and animal-related charities, but not a charity that did not foster emotional closeness. This relationship was mediated by empathy. In Study 2, amongst a sample of 193 college students, avoidantly attached people who believed that their emotions were temporarily unchangeable helped as much as people low in avoidant attachment. Reducing the potential emotional cost of helping increases helping amongst people who are avoidantly attached.

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When Bystanders Increase Rather Than Decrease Intentions to Help

Tobias Greitemeyer & Dirk Oliver Mügge
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The bystander effect refers to the phenomenon that the presence of others inhibits helping behavior. The present research examines the idea that the bystander effect reverses when effective helping would require many help-givers. In a between-participants experiment, the number of help-givers needed as well as the number of individuals who were asked for help was varied. When one help-giver was needed, the typical bystander effect occurred in that helping intention was greater when one individual was asked rather than many. In contrast, when many help-givers were needed, the bystander effect reversed in that helping intention was greater when many individuals were asked rather than one. Mediation analyses showed that perceived rationality and diffusion of responsibility accounted for the bystander effect, whereas only perceived rationality accounted for its reversal.

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Organ Donation by Suicides: Sex and Ethnicity

David Lester & Dominique Hathaway
Psychological Reports, December 2014, Pages 948-950

Abstract:
An analysis of 2,034 actual organ donations by suicides for the years 2008–2010 indicated that women were more likely to be donors than were men and Blacks more likely to donate than were Whites. The sex difference was consistent with the responses of men and women to surveys of the general public about their willingness to become organ donors, but the ethnic difference was the reverse of the responses to surveys of the general public about their willingness to be organ donors. Future research should explore the role of the responses, positive vs negative toward organ donation, of the significant others of those dying from different causes of death, and the extent to which people have signed donor cards.

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How emotional expressions shape prosocial behavior: Interpersonal effects of anger and disappointment on compliance with requests

Evert van Doorn, Gerben van Kleef & Joop van der Pligt
Motivation and Emotion, February 2015, Pages 128-141

Abstract:
People often express emotion to influence others, for instance when making a request. Yet, surprisingly little is known about how such emotional expressions shape compliance. We investigated the interpersonal effects of anger and disappointment on compliance with requests. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were more willing to offer help and donate to charity when a request was accompanied by disappointment rather than anger or no emotion. In Experiment 3, which involved a behavioral paradigm, emotional expressions trumped the effect of an explicit descriptive norm: Expressions of disappointment fostered generosity despite a non-generous norm, and expressions of anger undermined generosity despite a generous norm. Mediation analyses in Experiments 2 and 3 revealed that disappointment was more effective than anger in eliciting compliance because it was perceived as more appropriate for the context. Findings are discussed in relation to theorizing on social influence and the social functions of emotions.

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Money, Depletion, and Prosociality in the Dictator Game

Anja Achtziger, Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Alexander Wagner
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effects of ego depletion, a manipulation which consumes self-control resources, on social preferences in a dictator game. Depleted dictators give considerably less than nondepleted dictators and hence exhibit strong preferences for selfish allocation. In contrast to earlier studies, participants were explicitly paid for completing the ego-depletion task (with either a flat rate or strictly performance-based payment). We studied the dynamics of decisions by repeating the dictator game 12 times (anonymously). Depleted dictators start with much lower offers than nondepleted ones, but, strikingly, offers decrease in time for both groups, and more rapidly so for nondepleted dictators. We conclude that, whereas depleted dictators neglect fairness motives from the very first decision on, nondepleted dictators initially resist the tendency to act selfishly, but eventually become depleted or learn to act selfishly. Hence, pro-social behavior may be short-lived, and ego depletion uncovers the default tendencies for selfishness earlier.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The jerk

Declines in efficacy of anti-bullying programs among older adolescents: Theory and a three-level meta-analysis

David Yeager et al.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Highly visible tragedies in high schools thought to involve bullying have directly contributed to public support for state-mandated K-12 anti-bullying programming. But are existing programs actually effective for these older adolescents? This paper first outlines theoretical considerations, including developmental changes in (a) the manifestation of bullying, (b) the underlying causes of bullying, and (c) the efficacy of domain-general behavior-change tactics. This review leads to the prediction of a discontinuity in program efficacy among older adolescents. The paper then reports a novel meta-analysis of studies that administered the same program to multiple age groups and measured levels of bullying (k = 19, with 72 effect sizes). By conducting a hierarchical meta-analysis of the within-study moderation of efficacy by age, more precise estimates of age-related trends were possible. Results were consistent with theory in that whereas bullying appears to be effectively prevented in 7th grade and below, in 8th grade and beyond there is a sharp drop to an average of zero. This finding contradicts past meta-analyses that used between-study tests of moderation. This paper provides a basis for a theory of age-related moderation of program effects that may generalize to other domains. The findings also suggest the more general need for caution when interpreting between-study meta-analytic moderation results.

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Fetal Testosterone and Criminality: Test of Evolutionary Neuroandrogenic Theory

Anthony Hoskin & Lee Ellis
Criminology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evolutionary neuroandrogenic (ENA) theory asserts that criminality is a crude form of competitive behavior over resources, status, and mating opportunities. Theoretically, males have been selected for resource acquisitiveness as a result of female preferences for mates who are successful at resource provisioning. ENA theory also asserts that brain exposure to both prenatal and postpubertal androgens (particularly testosterone) promotes all forms of competitiveness, including those that victimize others. The present study was undertaken to test ENA theory by correlating 14 self-reported measures of offending with a biomarker for fetal testosterone exposure based on the ratio of the 2nd and 4th digits of the right hand (r2D:4D), in a nonrepresentative sample of 445. Both Spearman correlations and negative binomial regressions produced results that largely supported the hypothesized connection between offending and high prenatal androgen exposure, even when findings were analyzed separately by sex. Also, offending was significantly associated with r2D:4D for both males and females. Overall, this study supports the view that exposing the brain to high levels of testosterone and other androgens prenatally elevates the probability of offending later in life.

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Facing our ancestors: Judgements of aggression are consistent and related to the facial width-to-height ratio in men irrespective of beards

Shawn Geniole & Cheryl McCormick
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Snap judgements of threat based on exposure to the human face were likely maintained throughout history because they facilitated survival when encountering strangers. If an evolved adaptation, then such judgements should rely on static facial cues that are not masked by facial hair, as may have been the case for our ancestors. We show that the facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR) is not obscured by facial hair and that it reliably and consistently cues observers' (n = 56) judgements of aggression, but not of masculinity, in bearded (r = .59) and in non-bearded (r = .66) versions of the same male faces. The high reliability of the FWHR irrespective of facial hair and the evidence that judgements of threat based on the FWHR have some accuracy, suggests our perceptual system may have evolved to be sensitive to the FWHR along with the perceptual bias to extract information preferentially from the upper-face.

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Can Genetics Predict Response to Complex Behavioral Interventions? Evidence from a Genetic Analysis of the Fast Track Randomized Control Trial

Dustin Albert et al.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Early interventions are a preferred method for addressing behavioral problems in high-risk children, but often have only modest effects. Identifying sources of variation in intervention effects can suggest means to improve efficiency. One potential source of such variation is the genome. We conducted a genetic analysis of the Fast Track randomized control trial, a 10-year-long intervention to prevent high-risk kindergarteners from developing adult externalizing problems including substance abuse and antisocial behavior. We tested whether variants of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1 were associated with differences in response to the Fast Track intervention. We found that in European-American children, a variant of NR3C1 identified by the single-nucleotide polymorphism rs10482672 was associated with increased risk for externalizing psychopathology in control group children and decreased risk for externalizing psychopathology in intervention group children. Variation in NR3C1 measured in this study was not associated with differential intervention response in African-American children. We discuss implications for efforts to prevent externalizing problems in high-risk children and for public policy in the genomic era.

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Not Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice: Name-Letter Preferences as a Predictor of Daily Hostile Behavior

Ryan Boyd & Michael Robinson
Self and Identity, March/April 2015, Pages 147-156

Abstract:
Some theories of self-enhancement posit that very positive views of the self can disinhibit acting hostilely toward others, particularly in the context of provocation or negative feedback. Dynamics of this type was proposed as a function of individual differences in implicit egotism. Individual differences in implicit egotism were quantified on the basis of name-letter preferences, following which the same (N = 97) participants completed a daily life protocol for two consecutive weeks. Cross-level interactions revealed that the highest frequencies of hostile behavior were particular to participants high (relative to low) in implicit egotism on days of high provocation or negative feedback. The findings encourage greater attention to the potential interpersonal costs of high levels of implicit egotism.

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The Mediating Role of Heart Rate on the Social Adversity-Antisocial Behavior Relationship: A Social Neurocriminology Perspective

Olivia Choy et al.
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Tests the hypothesis that the social adversity-antisocial behavior relationship is partly mediated by a biological mechanism, low heart rate.

Method: 18 indicators of social adversity and heart rate measured at rest and in anticipation of a speech stressor were assessed alongside nine measures of antisocial behavior including delinquency (Youth Self-Report [YSR] and Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL]), conduct disorder (Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder Questionnaire), and child psychopathy (Antisocial Process Screening Device [APSD]) in a community sample of 388 children aged 11 to 12 years. PROCESS was used to test mediation models.

Results: Low heart rate was a partial mediator of the adversity-antisocial behavior relationship, explaining 20.35 percent and 15.40 percent of the effect of social adversity on delinquency and overall antisocial behavior, respectively.

Conclusions: Findings are, to the authors' knowledge, one of the first to establish any biological risk factor as a mediator of the social adversity-antisocial behavior relationship and suggest that social processes alter autonomic functioning in a way to predispose to antisocial behavior. While not definitive, results give rise to a social neurocriminology theory that argues that the social environment influences biological risk factors in a way to predispose to antisocial and criminal behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, January 30, 2015

Price of admission

Who “They” Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration

Jeffrey Timberlake et al.
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the relationship between stereotypes of immigrants and assessments of the impact of immigration on U.S. society. Our analysis exploits a split-ballot survey of registered voters in Ohio, who were asked to evaluate both the characteristics of one of four randomly assigned immigrant groups and perceived impacts of immigration. We find that associations between impact assessments and stereotypes of Middle Eastern, Asian, and European immigrants are weak and fully attenuated by control covariates. By contrast, this relationship for Latin American immigrants is strong and robust to controls, particularly in the areas of unemployment, schools, and crime. Our findings suggest that public views of the impacts of immigration are strongly connected to beliefs about the traits of Latin American immigrants in particular.

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Unauthorized Immigration and Electoral Outcomes

Nicole Baerg, Julie Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Using a unique methodology for identifying undocumented workers across counties in the state of Georgia in the United States, we find a negative relationship between the share of unauthorized workers and the share of votes going to the Democrats in elections. Furthermore, we show that this effect is more pronounced for the presence of unauthorized immigrants than Hispanics; is stronger in counties with higher median household income; and is substantively larger in U.S. Congressional elections than Gubernatorial or Senatorial elections. We discuss which political economy theories are most consistent with this set of findings.

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Recent Immigration to Canada and the United States: A Mixed Tale of Relative Selection

Neeraj Kaushal & Yao Lu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using large-scale census data and adjusting for sending-country fixed effect to account for changing composition of immigrants, we study relative immigrant selection to Canada and the U.S. during 1990–2006, a period characterized by diverging immigration policies in the two countries. Results show a gradual change in selection patterns in educational attainment and host-country language proficiency in favor of Canada as its post-1990 immigration policy allocated more points to the human capital of new entrants. Specifically, in 1990, new immigrants in Canada were less likely to have a B.A. degree than those in the U.S.; they were also less likely to have a high-school or lower education. By 2006, Canada surpassed the U.S. in drawing highly educated immigrants, while continuing to attract fewer low-educated immigrants. Canada also improved its edge over the U.S. in terms of host-country language proficiency of new immigrants. Entry-level earnings, however, do not reflect the same trend: Recent immigrants to Canada have experienced a wage disadvantage compared to recent immigrants to the U.S., as well as Canadian natives. One plausible explanation is that while the Canadian points system has successfully attracted more educated immigrants, it may not be effective in capturing productivity-related traits that are not easily measurable.

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Illegal Immigration, State Law, and Deterrence

Mark Hoekstra & Sandra Orozco-Aleman
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
A critical immigration policy question is whether state and federal policy can deter undocumented workers from entering the U.S. We examine whether Arizona SB 1070, arguably the most restrictive and controversial state immigration law ever passed, deterred entry into Arizona. We do so by exploiting a unique data set from a survey of undocumented workers passing through Mexican border towns on their way to the U.S. Results indicate the bill’s passage reduced the flow of undocumented immigrants into Arizona by 30 to 70 percent, suggesting that undocumented workers from Mexico are responsive to changes in state immigration policy. In contrast, we find no evidence that the law induced undocumented immigrants already in Arizona to return to Mexico.

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Contextualizing Intergroup Contact: Do Political Party Cues Enhance Contact Effects?

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov & Jens Peter Frølund Thomsen
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines intergroup contact effects in different political contexts. We expand on previous efforts of social psychologists by incorporating the messages of political parties as a contextual trigger of group membership awareness in contact situations. We argue that the focus among political parties on us-them categorizations heightens the awareness of group memberships. This focus in turn enhances the positive intergroup contact effect by stimulating majority members to perceive contacted persons as prototypical outgroup members. A multilevel analysis of 22 countries and almost 37,000 individuals confirms that the ability of intergroup contact to reduce antiforeigner sentiment increases when political parties focus intensively on immigration issues and cultural differences. Specifically, both workplace contact and interethnic friendship become more effective in reducing antiforeigner sentiment when intergroup relations are politicized. These findings demonstrate the need for widening the scope of the intergroup contact theory in order to cover macro-political conditions.

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Explaining Undocumented Migration to the U.S.

Douglas Massey, Jorge Durand & Karen Pren
International Migration Review, Winter 2014, Pages 1028–1061

Abstract:
Using data from the Mexican Migration Project and the Latin American Migration Project, we find that undocumented migration from Mexico reflects U.S. labor demand and access to migrant networks and is little affected by border enforcement, which instead sharply reduces the odds of return movement. Undocumented migration from Central America follows primarily from political violence associated with the U.S. intervention of the 1980s, and return migration has always been unlikely. Mass undocumented migration from Mexico appears to have ended because of demographic changes there, but undocumented migration from Central America can be expected to grow slowly through processes of family reunification.

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Blocked Acculturation: Cultural Heterodoxy among Europe’s Immigrants

Andreas Wimmer & Thomas Soehl
American Journal of Sociology, July 2014, Pages 146-186

Abstract:
Which immigrant groups differ most from the cultural values held by mainstream society and why? The authors explore this question using data from the European Social Survey on the values held by almost 100,000 individuals associated with 305 immigrant groups and the native majorities of 23 countries. They test whether distant linguistic or religious origins (including in Islam), value differences that immigrants “import” from their home countries, the maintenance of transnational ties and thus diasporic cultures, or legal and social disadvantage in the country of settlement shape acculturation processes. They find that only legally or socially disadvantaged groups differ from mainstream values in significant ways. For first generation immigrants, this is because the values of their countries of origin diverge more from those of natives. Among children of disadvantaged immigrants, however, value heterodoxy emerges because acculturation processes are blocked and the values of the parent generation partially maintained. From the second generation onward, therefore, cultural values are endogenous to the formation and dissolution of social boundaries, rather than shaping these as an exogenous force.

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Open Trade, Closed Borders: Immigration in the Era of Globalization

Margaret Peters
World Politics, January 2015, Pages 114-154

Abstract:
This article argues that trade and immigration policy cannot be studied as separate policies but that instead scholars must take an integrated view of them. Trade and immigration policy are substitutes. The choice of trade policy affects immigration policy in labor-scarce countries through its effects on firms. Closure to trade increases the average firm-level demand for immigration, leading to immigration openness, and free trade decreases the average firm-level demand, leading to restricted immigration. To test this argument, the author develops a new data set on the immigration policies of nineteen states from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. This is one of a few data sets on immigration policy and, importantly, covers the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The data show that indeed, trade policy has the hypothesized effect on immigration: immigration policy cannot be fully understood without examining trade policy. This article, therefore, suggests that trade and immigration policies, and other foreign economic policies, should be examined in light of each other.

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Has Opposition to Immigration Increased in the U.S. after the Economic Crisis? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton, Amaney Jamal & Natalia Malancu
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We employ two population-level experiments to accurately measure opposition to immigration before and after the economic crisis of 2008. Our design explicitly addresses social desirability bias, which is the tendency to give responses that are seen favorably by others and can lead to substantial underreporting of opposition to immigration. We find that overt opposition to immigration, expressed as support for a closed border, increases slightly after the crisis. However, once we account for social desirability bias, no significant increase remains. We conclude that the observed increase in anti-immigration sentiment in the post-crisis U.S. is attributable to greater expression of opposition rather than any underlying change in attitudes.

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Symptoms of anxiety on both sides of the US–Mexico border: The role of immigration

Guilherme Borges et al.
Journal of Psychiatric Research, February 2015, Pages 46–51

Abstract:
Home to about 15 million people, the US–Mexico border area has suffered stresses from increased border security efforts and a costly drug war in Mexico. Whether immigration patterns add to increasing levels of anxiety for the Mexican population and the Mexican-origin individuals living in the US–Mexico border and near the border is unknown. We used the US–Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC), a cross-sectional survey (2011–2013) of individuals living in border and non-border cities of the US (n = 2336) and Mexico (n = 2460). In Mexico respondents were asked if they ever migrated to the US or have a family member living in the US (328) or not (2124), while in the US respondents were asked if they were born in Mexico (697), born in the US with no US-born parents (second generation, 702) or born in the US with at least one US-born parent (third generation, 932). The prevalence and risk factors for symptoms of anxiety using the Beck Anxiety Inventory (>=10) were obtained. Mexicans with no migrant experience had a prevalence of anxiety and adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) within the last month of 6.7% (PR = reference), followed by Mexicans with migration experience of 13.1% (PR = 1.8), Mexican-born respondents living in the US of 17.3% (PR = 2.6), US born Mexican-Americans of 2nd generation of 18.6% (PR = 3.3) and finally US born 3rd + generation of 25.9% (PR = 3.8). Results help to identify regions and migration patterns at high risk for anxiety and may help to unravel causal mechanisms that underlie this risk.

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Border Effects on DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorders on Both Sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border

Cheryl Cherpitel et al.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Little epidemiological evidence exists on alcohol use and related problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, although the borderlands have been the focus of recent media attention related to the escalating drug/violence “epidemic”. In the present study, the relationship of proximity of living at the border and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is analyzed from the U.S.-Mexico Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions (UMSARC).

Methods: Household surveys were conducted on 2,336 Mexican Americans in Texas (771 in a non-border city and 1,565 from three border cities located in the three poorest counties in the U.S.) and 2,460 Mexicans from the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico (811 in a non-border city and 1,649 from three cities which are sister cities to the Texas border sites).

Results: Among current drinkers, prevalence of AUD was marginally greater (p < 0.10) at the U.S. border compared to the non-border, but the opposite was true in Mexico (p < 0.001), and these trends continued on both sides across volume and 5+ drinking days. Prevalence was greater in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo relative to their respective sister city counterparts on the same side. Border effects appeared greater for males than females in the U.S. and the opposite in Mexico.

Conclusion: The data suggest that border proximity may affect AUD in both the U.S. and Mexico, but in the opposite direction, and may be related to the relative perceived or actual stress of living in the respective communities.

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Trends in the Returns to Social Assimilation: Earnings Premiums Among U.S. Immigrants that Marry Natives

Delia Furtado & Tao Song
University of Connecticut Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Previous studies show that immigrants married to natives earn higher wages than immigrants married to other immigrants. Using data from the 1980-2000 U.S. censuses and the 2005-2010 American Community Surveys, we show that these wage premiums have increased over time. Our evidence suggests that the trends cannot be explained by changes in the attributes of immigrants that tend to marry natives but are instead most likely a result of increasing returns to the characteristics of immigrants married to natives. Because immigrants married to natives tend to have more schooling, part of the increasing premium can be explained by increases in the returns to a college education. However, we find increasing intermarriage premiums even when allowing the returns to schooling as well as English-speaking ability to vary over time. We believe these patterns are driven by changes in technology and globalization which have made communication and management skills more valuable in the U.S. labor market.

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Diverging Fortunes? Economic Well-Being of Latinos and African Americans in New Rural Destinations

Martha Crowley, Daniel Lichter & Richard Turner
Social Science Research, May 2015, Pages 77–92

Abstract
The geographic diffusion of Latinos from immigrant gateways to newly-emerging rural destinations is one of the most significant recent trends in U.S. population redistribution. Yet, few studies have explored how Latinos have fared in new destinations, and even fewer have examined economic implications for other minority workers and their families. We use county-level data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to compare the changing economic circumstances (e.g., employment and unemployment, poverty, income, and homeownership) of Latinos and African Americans in new Latino boomtowns. We also evaluate the comparative economic trajectories of Latinos in new destinations and established gateways. During the 1990s, new rural destinations provided clear economic benefits to Latinos, even surpassing African Americans on some economic indicators. The 2000s, however, ushered in higher rates of Latino poverty; the economic circumstances of Latinos also deteriorated most rapidly in new destinations. By 2010, individual and family poverty rates in new destinations were significantly higher among Latinos than African Americans, despite higher labor force participation and lower levels of unemployment. Difference-in-difference models demonstrate that in both the 1990s and 2000s, economic trajectories of African Americans in new Latino destinations largely mirrored those observed in places without large Latino influxes. Any economic benefits for Latinos in new rural destinations thus have not come at the expense of African Americans.

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The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes

Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny
Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The United States currently provides Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 300,000 immigrants from selected countries. TPS is typically granted if dangerous conditions prevail in the home country due to armed conflict or a natural disaster. Individuals with TPS cannot be deported and are allowed to stay and work in the United States temporarily. Despite the increased use of TPS in recent years, little is known about how TPS affects labor market outcomes for beneficiaries, most of whom are unauthorized prior to receiving TPS. This study examines how migrants from El Salvador who are likely to have received TPS fare in the labor market compared with other migrants. The results suggest that TPS eligibility leads to higher employment rates among women and higher earnings among men. The results have implications for recent programs that allow some unauthorized immigrants to receive temporary permission to remain and work in the United States.

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Racial Discrimination, Multiple Group Identities, and Civic Beliefs Among Immigrant Adolescents

Wing Yi Chan & Robert Latzman
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study tested the independent and interactive effects of multiple group identities (i.e., American and ethnic) and racial discrimination on civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents. Seventy-seven participants completed a questionnaire during after-school programs. Ethnic identity was positively associated with civic beliefs whereas racial discrimination was negatively related to civic beliefs, and racial discrimination moderated the relationships between multiple group identities and civic beliefs. Our findings highlight the importance of studying structural and individual factors jointly in the investigation of civic beliefs among immigrant adolescents.

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The Impact of Local Immigration Enforcement Policies on the Health of Immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in the United States

Scott Rhodes et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2015, Pages 329-337

Objectives: We sought to understand how local immigration enforcement policies affect the utilization of health services among immigrant Hispanics/Latinos in North Carolina.

Methods: In 2012, we analyzed vital records data to determine whether local implementation of section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Secure Communities program, which authorizes local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws, affected the prenatal care utilization of Hispanics/Latinas. We also conducted 6 focus groups and 17 interviews with Hispanic/Latino persons across North Carolina to explore the impact of immigration policies on their utilization of health services.

Results: We found no significant differences in utilization of prenatal care before and after implementation of section 287(g), but we did find that, in individual-level analysis, Hispanic/Latina mothers sought prenatal care later and had inadequate care when compared with non-Hispanic/Latina mothers. Participants reported profound mistrust of health services, avoiding health services, and sacrificing their health and the health of their family members.

Conclusions: Fear of immigration enforcement policies is generalized across counties. Interventions are needed to increase immigrant Hispanics/Latinos’ understanding of their rights and eligibility to utilize health services. Policy-level initiatives are also needed (e.g., driver’s licenses) to help undocumented persons access and utilize these services.

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The impact of the assimilation of migrants on the well-being of native inhabitants: A theory

Oded Stark
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a theory that systematically and causally links the well-being of native inhabitants with variation in the extent of assimilation of migrants. Recent empirical findings are yielded as predictions of the theory.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Someone's responsible

Harmful situations, impure people: An attribution asymmetry across moral domains

Alek Chakroff & Liane Young
Cognition, March 2015, Pages 30–37

Abstract:
People make inferences about the actions of others, assessing whether an act is best explained by person-based versus situation-based accounts. Here we examine people’s explanations for norm violations in different domains: harmful acts (e.g., assault) and impure acts (e.g., incest). Across four studies, we find evidence for an attribution asymmetry: people endorse more person-based attributions for impure versus harmful acts. This attribution asymmetry is partly explained by the abnormality of impure versus harmful acts, but not by differences in the moral wrongness or the statistical frequency of these acts. Finally, this asymmetry persists even when the situational factors that lead an agent to act impurely are stipulated. These results suggest that, relative to harmful acts, impure acts are linked to person-based attributions.

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Priming social affiliation promotes morality – Regardless of religion

Nicholas Thomson
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2015, Pages 195–200

Abstract:
Whilst prior studies have shown religious priming spurs prosocial behavior, there is little evidence this is unique to religion. It could be that priming any social affiliation encourages prosocial behavior simply by representing, belonging, and being responsible to a group, as opposed to acting as an individual. The current study aims to test if priming social affiliation is associated with greater moral self-perception. Using a large sample (N = 801), this study included an experimental manipulation to tease out if the previously-demonstrated priming effects that increase morality may be unique to religious affiliation or are general to any meaningful social affiliation. Results showed priming social affiliation had a unique influence on morality. This priming effect was not different for those with a religious affiliation when compared to people with a non-religious affiliation. Religious affiliates may see themselves as more moral, and priming their religious affiliation did indeed induce greater morality, but this was also true for other social affiliations. Therefore, religion is not fundamental to moral priming, and it is likely to be the perceived benefits of being in a group that enhances prosociality. We discussed implications of belonging to a social group on morality and prosociality.

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Monetizing illness: The influence of disability assistance priming on how we evaluate the health symptoms of others

Rourke O'Brien
Social Science & Medicine, March 2015, Pages 31–35

Abstract:
For low-income families in the United States disability assistance has emerged as a critical income support program in the post-welfare reform era. This article explores how this monetization of illness — tying receipt of government assistance to a physical or mental condition — influences how individuals evaluate the severity of another individual's health symptoms. Using data collected through a nationally representative survey experiment of adults in the United States (n = 1005) in May 2013, I find that respondents who are primed to consider the existence of disability assistance are less likely to rate the symptoms described in a hypothetical vignette as severe relative to the control group. I find evidence that this effect holds for both physical (back pain) and mental (depression) conditions for adults and behavioral conditions (ADHD) in children. Moreover, respondents in the experimental group were more likely to blame the individual for her health condition and this measure was found to partially mediate the effect of the disability assistance prime. These findings have important implications for researchers, policymakers and medical practitioners by illustrating how premising state assistance on a health condition may in turn shape how individuals evaluate the health symptoms of others.

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Economic individualism and punitive attitudes: A cross-national analysis

Ryan Kornhauser
Punishment & Society, January 2015, Pages 27-53

Abstract:
This article examines the effect of economic individualism – a belief that individuals can and should be responsible for their own economic welfare – on punitive attitudes in the English-speaking western world. Using existing survey data from the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK and New Zealand, the relationship between both normative and descriptive economic individualism and support for stiffer sentences and the death penalty is empirically assessed. Relatively consistently, a positive and significant relationship exists between both measures of economic individualism and both measures of punitiveness. This article suggests possible causal and non-causal reasons for this finding, as well as implications for future research.

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An Unscathed Past in the Face of Death: Mortality Salience Reduces Individuals’ Regrets

Selma Carolin Rudert et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 34–41

Abstract:
Folk wisdom and popular literature hold that, in the face of death, individuals tend to regret things in their lives that they have done or failed to do. Terror Management Theory (TMT), in contrast, allows for the prediction that individuals who are confronted with death try to minimize the experience of regret in order to retain a positive self-esteem. Three experiments put these competing perspectives to the test. Drawing on TMT, we hypothesized and found that participants primed with their own death regret fewer things than control-group participants. This pattern of results cannot be attributed to differing types of regrets (Study 1). Furthermore, we provide evidence suggesting that the effect is not purely a product of cognitive mechanisms such as differing levels of construal (Study 2), cognitive contrast, or deficits (Study 3). Rather, the reported results are best explained in terms of a motivational coping mechanism: When death is salient, individuals strive to bolster as well as protect their self-esteem and accordingly try to minimize the experience of regret. The results add to our conceptual understanding of regret and TMT, and suggest that a multitude of lifestyle guidebooks need updating.

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Gender differences in honesty: Groups versus individuals

Gerd Muehlheusser, Andreas Roider & Niklas Wallmeier
Economics Letters, March 2015, Pages 25–29

Abstract:
Extending the die rolling experiment of Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi (2013), we compare gender effects with respect to unethical behavior by individuals and by two-person groups. In contrast to individual decisions, gender matters strongly under group decisions. We find more lying in male groups and mixed groups than in female groups.

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The self in moral judgement: How self-affirmation affects the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboo violations

Marlon Mooijman & Wilco Van Dijk
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
People frequently condemn harmless sexual taboo behaviours. Based on self-affirmation theory, we predicted that providing an opportunity to self-affirm decreases the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos. In Experiment 1, we found evidence that self-affirmation decreases the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboos and ruled out that this was due to a decrease in how disgusting participants considered taboo acts. In Experiment 2, we replicated this effect and demonstrated the mediating role of self-directed threat emotions. These results demonstrate that the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos arises in part from the need to protect self-integrity. We discuss the implications for the role of the self and emotions in moral judgements and interventions aimed at increasing the acceptability of harmless sexual taboos.

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The effect of specific and general rules on ethical decisions

Laetitia Mulder, Jennifer Jordan & Floor Rink
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 115–129

Abstract:
We examined the effects of specific and general rules on ethical decisions and demonstrated, across five studies, that specifically-framed rules elicited ethical decisions more strongly than generally-framed rules. The effectiveness of specific rules was explained by reductions in people’s moral rationalizations. Alternative explanations that people feared being caught and punished or that people perceive no clear connection between general rules and the ethical decision, were ruled out. General rules exerted some effect on ethical decisions. In fact, whereas specific rules failed to affect ethical decisions that did not explicitly correspond with the rule, the effect of the general rule depended less on the type of behavior a person encountered. Our findings further suggest that combining a specific with a general rule provided no additive advantage, as people may interpret the general rule in light of the specific rule. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

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Testing the Prosocial Effectiveness of the Prototypical Moral Emotions: Elevation Increases Benevolent Behaviors and Outrage Increases Justice Behaviors

Julie Van de Vyver & Dominic Abrams
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 23–33

Abstract:
How can we overcome apathy and instigate a desire to help others? This research tests and compares the prosocial effects of two of the most prototypical emotions on a range of prosocial intentions and behaviors. Emotion-inducing videos were used to instigate states of moral elevation (felt when witnessing a moral virtue) and/or moral outrage (felt when witnessing a moral transgression). Although elevation and outrage derive from opposing appraisals, separate strands of research show that they both instigate a desire to help others. The current research tests the appraisal tendency framework to explore whether elevation and outrage increase prosociality across moral domains or whether their prosocial effects are domain specific. Results of Experiment 1 showed that elevation, but not outrage, increased donations to charity (i.e., benevolence domain). Experiment 2 showed that outrage, but not elevation, increased prosocial political action intentions (i.e., justice domain). Experiment 3 showed that outrage, but not elevation, increased compensation in a third-party bystander game (i.e., justice domain). This research shows that although elevation and outrage both inspire a desire to help others, they affect distinct types of prosocial behaviors, offering support for the appraisal tendency framework. Applied and theoretical implications are discussed.

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Can We Regulate 'Good' People? An Exploratory Study of Subtle Conflicts of Interest Situations

Yuval Feldman & Eliran Halali
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The growing recognition of the notion of ‘good people’ suggests that many ethically relevant behaviors that were previously assumed to be choice-based, conscious, and deliberate decisions, are in many cases the product of automatic processes that prevent people from recognizing the wrongfulness of their behavior – an idea dubbed by several leading scholars as an ethical blind spot. With the rise of the focus of good people in psychology and management, the lack of discussion the implications of this growing literature to law and regulation is quite puzzling. The main question, this study will be attempt to explore is what are the implications of this literature to legal policy making. We examined experimentally the efficacy of deterrence- and morality-based interventions in preventing people who are in subtle conflict of interest from favoring their self-interest over their professional integrity and to behave objectively. Results demonstrate that the manipulated conflict was likely to “corrupt” people. Furthermore, explicit mechanisms (both deterrence- and morality-based) had a much larger constraining effect overall on participants’ judgment than did implicit measures, with no differences between deterrence and morality. The findings demonstrate how little is needed to create a risk to the integrity of individuals, but they also suggest that a modest explicit intervention can easily remedy much of the wrongdoing.

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If Torture is Wrong, What About 24?: Torture and the Hollywood Effect

Erin Kearns & Joseph Young
American University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Since the shock of Abu Ghraib, scholars and policymakers have engaged in vigorous debate over both the efficacy and morality of torture. Research on torture has focused on a wide range of attitudes about torture, the use of torture, what constitutes torture, why torture persists, and the efficacy of using torture. These studies have generally examined participants’ attitudes but have neglected to assess behaviors in line with stated beliefs. We offer a novel design to address this gap by examining how perceived efficacy of torture impacts the support for torture and ultimately behaviors consistent with these beliefs. Using a mixed within-subjects and between-subjects design, we presented participants with dramatic depictions showing torture as either effective in eliciting information from a detainee, ineffective in this regard, or a neutral condition where torture is not used. We found that dramatic depictions of torture as being effective increased both stated level of support for torture and behavioral commitment to this belief. Interestingly, there was no difference in level of behavioral commitment between participants who saw dramatic depictions of torture, regardless of whether or not it was effective, which may indicate people are more likely to support aggression after seeing violence.

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Shared Perceptions: Morality Is Embedded in Social Contexts

Nate Carnes, Brian Lickel & Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Morality helps make social life possible, but social life is embedded in many social contexts. Research on morality has generally neglected this and instead has emphasized people’s general beliefs. We therefore investigated the extent to which different moral principles are perceived as embedded in social contexts. We conducted two studies investigating how diverse social contexts influence beliefs about the operative moral principles in distinct group types. Study 1 examined these perceptions using a within-subjects design, whereas Study 2 utilized a between-subjects design. We found a high degree of consensus among raters concerning the operative moral principles in groups, and each group type was characterized by a qualitatively distinct pattern of applicable moral principles. Political orientation, a focus of past research on morality, had a small influence on beliefs about operative moral principles. The implications of these findings for our understanding of morality and its functional role in groups are discussed.

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Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you

Gabrielle Adams et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2015, Pages 130–141

Abstract:
Organizational scholars have recently become interested in forgiveness as a way to resolve workplace conflicts and repair relationships. We question the assumption that forgiveness always has these relational benefits. In three studies we investigated participants’ responses to people who expressed forgiveness of them versus those who did not. We found that when the ostensible transgressor did not believe he or she had committed a wrongdoing, expressing forgiveness damaged the relationship relative to a control condition. This effect occurred when participants were made to believe that a real person had forgiven them (Studies 1 and 2) and when they imagined a co-worker had forgiven them (Study 3). Furthermore, in the absence of wrongdoing, participants’ perceptions of the forgiver as self-righteous mediated the effect of forgiveness on avoidance of forgivers (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss implications for conflict management.

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Are corporations people too? The neural correlates of moral judgments about companies and individuals

Mark Plitt, Ricky Savjani & David Eagleman
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
To investigate whether the legal concept of “corporate personhood” mirrors an inherent similarity in the neural processing of the actions of corporations and people, we measured brain responses to vignettes about corporations and people while participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. We found that anti-social actions of corporations elicited more intense negative emotions and that pro-social actions of people elicited more intense positive emotions. However, the networks underlying the moral decisions about corporations and people are strikingly similar, including regions of the canonical theory of mind network. In analyzing the activity in these networks, we found differences in the emotional processing of these two types of vignettes: neutral actions of corporations showed neural correlates that more closely resembled negative actions than positive actions. Collectively, these findings indicate that our brains understand and analyze the actions of corporations and people very similarly, with a small emotional bias against corporations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weather forecast

Does the Environment Still Matter? Daily Temperature and Income in the United States

Tatyana Deryugina & Solomon Hsiang
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
It is widely hypothesized that incomes in wealthy countries are insulated from environmental conditions because individuals have the resources needed to adapt to their environment. We test this idea in the wealthiest economy in human history. Using within-county variation in weather, we estimate the effect of daily temperature on annual income in United States counties over a 40-year period. We find that this single environmental parameter continues to play a large role in overall economic performance: productivity of individual days declines roughly 1.7% for each 1°C (1.8°F) increase in daily average temperature above 15°C (59°F). A weekday above 30°C (86°F) costs an average county $20 per person. Hot weekends have little effect. These estimates are net of many forms of adaptation, such as factor reallocation, defensive investments, transfers, and price changes. Because the effect of temperature has not changed since 1969, we infer that recent uptake or innovation in adaptation measures have been limited. The non-linearity of the effect on different components of income suggest that temperature matters because it reduces the productivity of the economy's basic elements, such as workers and crops. If counties could choose daily temperatures to maximize output, rather than accepting their geographically-determined endowment, we estimate that annual income growth would rise by 1.7 percentage points. Applying our estimates to a distribution of "business as usual" climate change projections indicates that warmer daily temperatures will lower annual growth by 0.06-0.16 percentage points in the United States unless populations engage in new forms of adaptation.

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Who Loses Under Power Plant Cap-and-Trade Programs?

Mark Curtis
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper tests how a major cap-and-trade program, known as the NOx Budget Trading Program (NBP), impacted labor markets in the regions where it was implemented. The cap-and-trade program dramatically decreased levels of NOx emissions and added substantial costs to energy producers. Using a triple-differences approach that takes advantage of the geographic and time variation of the program as well as variation in industry energy-intensity levels, I examine how employment dynamics changed in manufacturing industries whose production process requires high levels of energy. After accounting for a variety of flexible state, county and industry trends, I find that employment in the manufacturing sector dropped by 1.3% as a result of the NBP. Young workers experienced the largest employment declines and earnings of newly hired workers fell after the regulation began. Employment declines are shown to have occurred primarily through decreased hiring rates rather than increased separation rates, thus mitigating the impact on incumbent workers.

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Temperature impacts on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Frances Moore & Delavane Diaz
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Integrated assessment models compare the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation with damages from climate change to evaluate the social welfare implications of climate policy proposals and inform optimal emissions reduction trajectories. However, these models have been criticized for lacking a strong empirical basis for their damage functions, which do little to alter assumptions of sustained gross domestic product (GDP) growth, even under extreme temperature scenarios. We implement empirical estimates of temperature effects on GDP growth rates in the DICE model through two pathways, total factor productivity growth and capital depreciation. This damage specification, even under optimistic adaptation assumptions, substantially slows GDP growth in poor regions but has more modest effects in rich countries. Optimal climate policy in this model stabilizes global temperature change below 2 °C by eliminating emissions in the near future and implies a social cost of carbon several times larger than previous estimates. A sensitivity analysis shows that the magnitude of climate change impacts on economic growth, the rate of adaptation, and the dynamic interaction between damages and GDP are three critical uncertainties requiring further research. In particular, optimal mitigation rates are much lower if countries become less sensitive to climate change impacts as they develop, making this a major source of uncertainty and an important subject for future research.

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Optimal Learning on Climate Change: Why Climate Skeptics Should Reduce Emissions

Sweder van Wijnbergeny & Tim Willemsz
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, March 2015, Pages 17–33

Abstract:
Climate skeptics typically argue that the possibility that global warming is exogenous implies that we should not take additional action towards reducing emissions until we know what drives warming. This paper however shows that even climate skeptics have an incentive to reduce emissions: such a directional change generates information on the causes of global warming. Since the optimal policy depends upon these causes, they are valuable to know. Although increasing emissions would also generate information, that option is inferior due its irreversibility. We show that optimality can even imply that climate skeptics should actually argue for lower emissions than believers.

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Transition to Clean Technology

Daron Acemoglu et al.
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We develop a microeconomic model of endogenous growth where clean and dirty technologies compete in production and innovation — in the sense that research can be directed to either clean or dirty technologies. If dirty technologies are more advanced to start with, the potential transition to clean technology can be difficult both because clean research must climb several rungs to catch up with dirty technology and because this gap discourages research effort directed towards clean technologies. Carbon taxes and research subsidies may nonetheless encourage production and innovation in clean technologies, though the transition will typically be slow. We characterize certain general properties of the transition path from dirty to clean technology. We then estimate the model using a combination of regression analysis on the relationship between R&D and patents, and simulated method of moments using microdata on employment, production, R&D, firm growth, entry and exit from the US energy sector. The model's quantitative implications match a range of moments not targeted in the estimation quite well. We then characterize the optimal policy path implied by the model and our estimates. Optimal policy makes heavy use of research subsidies as well as carbon taxes. We use the model to evaluate the welfare consequences of a range of alternative policies.

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From the extreme to the mean: Acceleration and tipping points of coastal inundation from sea level rise

William Sweet & Joseph Park
Earth's Future, December 2014, Pages 579–600

Abstract:
Relative sea level rise (RSLR) has driven large increases in annual water level exceedances (duration and frequency) above minor (nuisance level) coastal flooding elevation thresholds established by the National Weather Service (NWS) at U.S. tide gauges over the last half-century. For threshold levels below 0.5 m above high tide, the rates of annual exceedances are accelerating along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, primarily from evolution of tidal water level distributions to higher elevations impinging on the flood threshold. These accelerations are quantified in terms of the local RSLR rate and tidal range through multiple regression analysis. Along the U.S. West Coast, annual exceedance rates are linearly increasing, complicated by sharp punctuations in RSLR anomalies during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, and we account for annual exceedance variability along the U.S. West and East Coasts from ENSO forcing. Projections of annual exceedances above local NWS nuisance levels at U.S. tide gauges are estimated by shifting probability estimates of daily maximum water levels over a contemporary 5-year period following probabilistic RSLR projections of Kopp et al. (2014) for representative concentration pathways (RCP) 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. We suggest a tipping point for coastal inundation (30 days/per year with a threshold exceedance) based on the evolution of exceedance probabilities. Under forcing associated with the local-median projections of RSLR, the majority of locations surpass the tipping point over the next several decades regardless of specific RCP.

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Evidence for a wavier jet stream in response to rapid Arctic warming

Jennifer Francis & Stephen Vavrus
Environmental Research Letters, January 2015

Abstract:
New metrics and evidence are presented that support a linkage between rapid Arctic warming, relative to Northern hemisphere mid-latitudes, and more frequent high-amplitude (wavy) jet-stream configurations that favor persistent weather patterns. We find robust relationships among seasonal and regional patterns of weaker poleward thickness gradients, weaker zonal upper-level winds, and a more meridional flow direction. These results suggest that as the Arctic continues to warm faster than elsewhere in response to rising greenhouse-gas concentrations, the frequency of extreme weather events caused by persistent jet-stream patterns will increase.

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Dramatically increasing chance of extremely hot summers since the 2003 European heatwave

Nikolaos Christidis, Gareth Jones & Peter Stott
Nature Climate Change, January 2015, Pages 46–50

Abstract:
Socio-economic stress from the unequivocal warming of the global climate system could be mostly felt by societies through weather and climate extremes. The vulnerability of European citizens was made evident during the summer heatwave of 2003 when the heat-related death toll ran into tens of thousands. Human influence at least doubled the chances of the event according to the first formal event attribution study, which also made the ominous forecast that severe heatwaves could become commonplace by the 2040s. Here we investigate how the likelihood of having another extremely hot summer in one of the worst affected parts of Europe has changed ten years after the original study was published, given an observed summer temperature increase of 0.81 K since then. Our analysis benefits from the availability of new observations and data from several new models. Using a previously employed temperature threshold to define extremely hot summers, we find that events that would occur twice a century in the early 2000s are now expected to occur twice a decade. For the more extreme threshold observed in 2003, the return time reduces from thousands of years in the late twentieth century to about a hundred years in little over a decade.

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Inferring Carbon Abatement Costs in Electricity Markets: A Revealed Preference Approach using the Shale Revolution

Joseph Cullen & Erin Mansur
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines how much carbon emissions from the electricity industry would decrease in response to a carbon price. We show how both carbon prices and cheap natural gas reduce, in a nearly identical manner, the historic cost advantage of coal-fired power plants. The shale revolution has resulted in unprecedented variation in natural gas prices that we use to estimate the short-run price elasticity of abatement. Our estimates imply that a price of $10 ($60) per ton of carbon dioxide would reduce emissions by 4% (10%). Furthermore, carbon prices are much more effective at reducing emissions when natural gas prices are low. In contrast, modest carbon prices have negligible effects when gas prices are at levels seen prior to the shale revolution.

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The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C

Christophe McGlade & Paul Ekins
Nature, 8 January 2015, Pages 187–190

Abstract:
Policy makers have generally agreed that the average global temperature rise caused by greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 2 °C above the average global temperature of pre-industrial times. It has been estimated that to have at least a 50 per cent chance of keeping warming below 2 °C throughout the twenty-first century, the cumulative carbon emissions between 2011 and 2050 need to be limited to around 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2). However, the greenhouse gas emissions contained in present estimates of global fossil fuel reserves are around three times higher than this, and so the unabated use of all current fossil fuel reserves is incompatible with a warming limit of 2 °C. Here we use a single integrated assessment model that contains estimates of the quantities, locations and nature of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves and resources, and which is shown to be consistent with a wide variety of modelling approaches with different assumptions, to explore the implications of this emissions limit for fossil fuel production in different regions. Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Our results show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. Implementation of this policy commitment would also render unnecessary continued substantial expenditure on fossil fuel exploration, because any new discoveries could not lead to increased aggregate production.

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The Effect of Framing and Normative Messages in Building Support for Climate Policies

Mark Hurlstone et al.
PLoS ONE, December 2014

Abstract:
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are required to mitigate climate change. However, there is low willingness amongst the public to prioritise climate policies for reducing emissions. Here we show that the extent to which Australians are prepared to reduce their country's CO2 emissions is greater when the costs to future national income are framed as a “foregone-gain” — incomes rise in the future but not by as much as in the absence of emission cuts — rather than as a “loss” — incomes decrease relative to the baseline expected future levels (Studies 1 & 2). The provision of a normative message identifying Australia as one of the world's largest CO2 emitters did not increase the amount by which individuals were prepared to reduce emissions (Study 1), whereas a normative message revealing the emission policy preferences of other Australians did (Study 2). The results suggest that framing the costs of reducing emissions as a smaller increase in future income and communicating normative information about others' emission policy preferences are effective methods for leveraging public support for emission cuts.

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Global Sea Ice Coverage from Satellite Data: Annual Cycle and 35-Yr Trends

Claire Parkinson
Journal of Climate, December 2014, Pages 9377–9382

Abstract:
Well-established satellite-derived Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents are combined to create the global picture of sea ice extents and their changes over the 35-yr period 1979–2013. Results yield a global annual sea ice cycle more in line with the high-amplitude Antarctic annual cycle than the lower-amplitude Arctic annual cycle but trends more in line with the high-magnitude negative Arctic trends than the lower-magnitude positive Antarctic trends. Globally, monthly sea ice extent reaches a minimum in February and a maximum generally in October or November. All 12 months show negative trends over the 35-yr period, with the largest magnitude monthly trend being the September trend, at −68 200 ± 10 500 km2 yr−1 (−2.62% ± 0.40% decade−1), and the yearly average trend being −35 000 ± 5900 km2 yr−1 (−1.47% ± 0.25% decade−1).

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Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century sea-level rise

Carling Hay et al.
Nature, 22 January 2015, Pages 481–484

Abstract:
Estimating and accounting for twentieth-century global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise is critical to characterizing current and future human-induced sea-level change. Several previous analyses of tide gauge records — employing different methods to accommodate the spatial sparsity and temporal incompleteness of the data and to constrain the geometry of long-term sea-level change — have concluded that GMSL rose over the twentieth century at a mean rate of 1.6 to 1.9 millimetres per year. Efforts to account for this rate by summing estimates of individual contributions from glacier and ice-sheet mass loss, ocean thermal expansion, and changes in land water storage fall significantly short in the period before 1990. The failure to close the budget of GMSL during this period has led to suggestions that several contributions may have been systematically underestimated. However, the extent to which the limitations of tide gauge analyses have affected estimates of the GMSL rate of change is unclear. Here we revisit estimates of twentieth-century GMSL rise using probabilistic techniques and find a rate of GMSL rise from 1901 to 1990 of 1.2 ± 0.2 millimetres per year (90% confidence interval). Based on individual contributions tabulated in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this estimate closes the twentieth-century sea-level budget. Our analysis, which combines tide gauge records with physics-based and model-derived geometries of the various contributing signals, also indicates that GMSL rose at a rate of 3.0 ± 0.7 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2010, consistent with prior estimates from tide gauge records. The increase in rate relative to the 1901–90 trend is accordingly larger than previously thought; this revision may affect some projections of future sea-level rise.

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Twentieth-century shifts in forest structure in California: Denser forests, smaller trees, and increased dominance of oaks

Patrick McIntyre et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document changes in forest structure between historical (1930s) and contemporary (2000s) surveys of California vegetation through comparisons of tree abundance and size across the state and within several ecoregions. Across California, tree density in forested regions increased by 30% between the two time periods, whereas forest biomass in the same regions declined, as indicated by a 19% reduction in basal area. These changes reflect a demographic shift in forest structure: larger trees (>61 cm diameter at breast height) have declined, whereas smaller trees (<30 cm) have increased. Large tree declines were found in all surveyed regions of California, whereas small tree increases were found in every region except the south and central coast. Large tree declines were more severe in areas experiencing greater increases in climatic water deficit since the 1930s, based on a hydrologic model of water balance for historical climates through the 20th century. Forest composition in California in the last century has also shifted toward increased dominance by oaks relative to pines, a pattern consistent with warming and increased water stress, and also with paleohistoric shifts in vegetation in California over the last 150,000 y.

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Exploring the impact of permitting and local regulatory processes on residential solar prices in the United States

Jesse Burkhardt et al.
Energy Policy, March 2015, Pages 102–112

Abstract:
This article statistically isolates the impacts of city-level permitting and other local regulatory processes on residential PV prices in the United States. We combine data from two “scoring” mechanisms that independently capture local regulatory process efficiency with the largest dataset of installed PV prices in the United States. We find that variations in local permitting procedures can lead to differences in average residential PV prices of approximately $0.18/W between the jurisdictions with the least-favorable and most-favorable permitting procedures. Between jurisdictions with scores across the middle 90% of the range (i.e., 5th percentile to 95th percentile), the difference is $0.14/W, equivalent to a $700 (2.2%) difference in system costs for a typical 5-kW residential PV installation. When considering variations not only in permitting practices, but also in other local regulatory procedures, price differences grow to $0.64–$0.93/W between the least-favorable and most-favorable jurisdictions. Between jurisdictions with scores across the middle 90% of the range, the difference is equivalent to a price impact of at least $2500 (8%) for a typical 5-kW residential PV installation. These results highlight the magnitude of cost reduction that might be expected from streamlining local regulatory regimes.

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The American public’s preference for preparation for the possible effects of global warming: Impact of communication strategies

Bo MacInnis et al.
Climatic Change, January 2015, Pages 17-33

Abstract:
Experiments embedded in surveys of nationally representative samples of American adults assessed whether attitudes toward preparation for the possible effects of global warming varied depending on who endorsed such efforts, the stated purpose of preparation, the consequences of global warming targeted in a preparation message, and the words used to describe preparation and its alternative. Collapsing across all experiments, most (74 %) Americans preferred preparing for possible consequences of global warming. The experimental manipulations produced statistically significant variation in this percentage, but in ways inconsistent with a series of perspectives that yield predictions about this variation. Preference for preparation was not greater when it was described using more familiar or simpler terms (preference for preparation was greatest when it was described as to “increase preparedness” and least when described as “increase resilience”), when efforts were said to be focused on people’s health rather than on people and the environment generally or on coastal ecosystems in particular, or when preparation was endorsed by more generally trusted groups (preference for preparation was highest when no one explicitly endorsed it or when endorsed by government officials or university researchers and declined when religious leaders or business leaders endorsed it). Thus, these experiments illustrate the value of empirical testing to gauge the impact of variation in descriptions of policy options in this arena and illustrate how communication approaches may have influenced public opinion in the past.

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Natural Hazards and Residential Mobility: General Patterns and Racially Unequal Outcomes in the United States

James Elliott
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study conducts a nationwide, locally comparative analysis of the extent to which natural hazards contribute to residential mobility in the United States and how this influence varies for racial and ethnic minorities. Analyses combine census data on households with data from thousands of recorded natural hazards during the late 1990s. Findings affirm that natural hazards are common throughout the country; that associated property damage correlates positively with increases in residential mobility for all groups; that these increases are particularly noticeable among racial and ethnic minorities because of preexisting inequalities in mobility; and that areas with more costly damage tend to pull as well as push migrants, especially Latinos and Asians. Implications for existing theory, methods, and policy are discussed.

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Achieving California's 80% greenhouse gas reduction target in 2050: Technology, policy and scenario analysis using CA-TIMES energy economic systems model

Christopher Yang et al.
Energy Policy, February 2015, Pages 118–130

Abstract:
The CA-TIMES optimization model of the California Energy System (v1.5) is used to understand how California can meet the 2050 targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (80% below 1990 levels). This model represents energy supply and demand sectors in California and simulates the technology and resource requirements needed to meet projected energy service demands. The model includes assumptions on policy constraints, as well as technology and resource costs and availability. Multiple scenarios are developed to analyze the changes and investments in low-carbon electricity generation, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in transportation, resource utilization, and efficiency improvements across many sectors. Results show that major energy transformations are needed but that achieving the 80% reduction goal for California is possible at reasonable average carbon reduction cost ($9 to $124/tonne CO2e at 4% discount rate) relative to a baseline scenario. Availability of low-carbon resources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), biofuels, wind and solar generation, and demand reduction all serve to lower the mitigation costs, but CCS is a key technology for achieving the lowest mitigation costs.

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Modeling very large-fire occurrences over the continental United States from weather and climate forcing

R. Barbero et al.
Environmental Research Letters, December 2014

Abstract:
Very large-fires (VLFs) have widespread impacts on ecosystems, air quality, fire suppression resources, and in many regions account for a majority of total area burned. Empirical generalized linear models of the largest fires (>5000 ha) across the contiguous United States (US) were developed at ~60 km spatial and weekly temporal resolutions using solely atmospheric predictors. Climate−fire relationships on interannual timescales were evident, with wetter conditions than normal in the previous growing season enhancing VLFs probability in rangeland systems and with concurrent long-term drought enhancing VLFs probability in forested systems. Information at sub-seasonal timescales further refined these relationships, with short-term fire weather being a significant predictor in rangelands and fire danger indices linked to dead fuel moisture being a significant predictor in forested lands. Models demonstrated agreement in capturing the observed spatial and temporal variability including the interannual variability of VLF occurrences within most ecoregions. Furthermore the model captured the observed increase in VLF occurrences across parts of the southwestern and southeastern US from 1984 to 2010 suggesting that, irrespective of changes in fuels and land management, climatic factors have become more favorable for VLF occurrence over the past three decades in some regions. Our modeling framework provides a basis for simulations of future VLF occurrences from climate projections.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Followers

Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws’ Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout

Alan Gerber, Jonathan Gruber & Daniel Hungerman
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Regular church attendance is strongly associated with a higher probability of voting. It is an open question as to whether this association, which has been confirmed in numerous surveys, is causal. The repeal of the laws restricting Sunday retail activity (‘blue laws’) is used to measure the effects of church-going on political participation. Blue laws’ repeal caused a 5 percent decrease in church attendance. Its effect on political participation was measured and it was found that, following the repeal, turnout fell by approximately 1 percentage point. This decline in turnout is consistent with the large effect of church attendance on turnout reported in the literature, and suggests that church attendance may have a significant causal effect on voter turnout.

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Ensuring Liberties: Understanding State Restrictions on Religious Freedoms

Roger Finke & Robert Martin
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2014, Pages 687–705

Abstract:
Promises of religious freedoms have become the standard in national constitutions. Yet, despite these assurances, religious freedoms are routinely denied. Combining new data collections with expanded theoretical explanations, this research explores how dimensions of governance and measures of the religious economy contribute to government restrictions on religion. Consistent with recent work on the judicialization of politics, we find that the absence of an independent judiciary is an important predictor of government restrictions on religious freedoms, whereas free elections and government effectiveness are insignificant in our full models. Consistent with the religious economy theory, we find that social restrictions and government favoritism toward a religion(s) are persistent predictors of the government's restrictions. Although the proportion of the population Muslim holds a strong bivariate association with government restrictions (r = .57), the relationship is reduced to insignificance in our full models. We briefly discuss the implications of these findings.

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Female Labor Force Participation Rate, Islam, and Arab Culture in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Andrey Korotayev, Leonid Issaev & Alisa Shishkina
Cross-Cultural Research, February 2015, Pages 3-19

Abstract:
Burton and Reitz suggested that Islam should tend to decrease the levels of female labor force participation rate, because “societies that seclude their women by means of purdah or similar customs will have lower rates of female participation in activities outside of the immediate household.” Our cross-cultural tests have supported this hypothesis. However, a closer analysis shows that a high correlation is predicted mostly by the “Arab factor,” rather than by the precisely Islamic one, as a country’s belonging to the Arab world turns out to be a much stronger predictor of very low female labor participation rates than the percentage of Muslims in its population. These relationships hold even after controlling for other factors known to be related to female labor participation. This suggests that the anomalously low level of female labor participation observed in the Near and Middle East might be connected with certain elements of Arab culture that are not directly connected with Islam.

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Patriarchy versus Islam: Gender and Religion in Economic Growth

Elissa Braunstein
Feminist Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 58-86

Abstract:
This contribution evaluates whether affiliation with Islam is a theoretically and statistically robust proxy for patriarchal preferences when studying the relationship between gender inequality and economic growth. A cross-country endogenous growth analysis shows that direct measures of patriarchal institutions dominate a variety of religious affiliation variables and model specifications in explaining country growth rates, and that using religious affiliation, particularly Islam, as a control for culture produces misleading conclusions. This result is robust to the inclusion of measures of gender inequality in education and income, indicating that establishing and maintaining patriarchal institutions (a process this study calls “patriarchal rent-seeking”) exact economic growth costs over and above those measured by standard gender inequality variables. One of the key contributions of this study is to draw on unique institutional data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Gender, Institutions and Development (GID) database to better understand the gendered dynamics of growth.

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Religiosity and reactions to terrorism

Amy Adamczyk & Gary LaFree
Social Science Research, May 2015, Pages 17–29

Abstract:
Although many of the world’s most serious outbreaks of conflict and violence center on religion, social science research has had relatively little to say about religion’s unique role in shaping individuals’ attitudes about these events. In this paper we investigate whether Americans’ religious beliefs play a central role in shaping attitudes toward the continuing threat of terrorism and their willingness to assist officials in countering these perceived threats. Our analysis of an original data collection of almost 1,600 Americans shows that more religious respondents are more likely to express concerns about terrorism. However, this relationship is mediated by their level of conservatism. We also find that more religious respondents are more likely to claim that they will assist government officials in countering terrorism. This relationship remained even after accounting for conservatism, and people’s general willingness to help police solve crimes like breaking and entering.

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Which Societies Provide a Strong Religious Socialization Context? Explanations Beyond the Effects of National Religiosity

Tim Müller, Nan Dirk De Graaf & Peter Schmidt
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, December 2014, Pages 739–759

Abstract:
Religious socialization occurs within the immediate family as well as in the broader social context. Previous research has shown that parents’ religiosity matters less for the transmission of religious beliefs in devout than in secular nations, implying smaller costs of religious socialization. In this article we test which other societal factors affect the transmission of religious beliefs: anti-religious policies in formerly socialist countries, economic development, and income inequality. Our results indicate that societies with high levels of income inequality seem to provide the most favorable context for religious socialization. Individuals develop strong religious beliefs even if they only received little religious socialization within the family. Formerly socialist nations increased socialization costs through the overall suppression of religious practice. Economic development has no impact on socialization effects, suggesting that inequality is a more important driver of religious change than previously thought.

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Ritual circumcision and risk of autism spectrum disorder in 0- to 9-year-old boys: National cohort study in Denmark

Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, forthcoming

Objective: Based on converging observations in animal, clinical and ecological studies, we hypothesised a possible impact of ritual circumcision on the subsequent risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young boys.

Participants: A total of 342,877 boys born between 1994 and 2003 and followed in the age span 0–9 years between 1994 and 2013.

Main outcome measures: Information about cohort members’ ritual circumcisions, confounders and ASD outcomes, as well as two supplementary outcomes, hyperkinetic disorder and asthma, was obtained from national registers. Hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with foreskin status were obtained using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses.

Results: With a total of 4986 ASD cases, our study showed that regardless of cultural background circumcised boys were more likely than intact boys to develop ASD before age 10 years (HR = 1.46; 95% CI: 1.11–1.93). Risk was particularly high for infantile autism before age five years (HR = 2.06; 95% CI: 1.36–3.13). Circumcised boys in non-Muslim families were also more likely to develop hyperkinetic disorder (HR = 1.81; 95% CI: 1.11–2.96). Associations with asthma were consistently inconspicuous (HR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.84–1.10).

Conclusions: We confirmed our hypothesis that boys who undergo ritual circumcision may run a greater risk of developing ASD. This finding, and the unexpected observation of an increased risk of hyperactivity disorder among circumcised boys in non-Muslim families, need attention, particularly because data limitations most likely rendered our HR estimates conservative. Considering the widespread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, confirmatory studies should be given priority.

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Linguistic behavior and religious activity

Wendy Baker-Smemoe & David Bowie
Language & Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies have found that Mormons and non-Mormons in Utah exhibit significant linguistic differences. We break this down further by investigating whether there are also differences between Mormons who actively participate in the religion and those who do not, and find significant differences with a medium or larger effect size between the groups for multiple variables. We conclude that when investigating the linguistic correlates of religious affiliation in a community, it is vital to elicit not just respondents' religious affiliations, but also their level of participation within that religion.

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Vowel patterning of Mormons in Southern Alberta, Canada

Nicole Rosen & Crystal Skriver
Language & Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the patterning of /æ/ in the English of Southern Alberta, Canada, with particular attention paid to differences between the general population and Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Expanding on work by Meechan (1999) and Sykes (2010), who examine /aw/ and /ai/ diphthongs among the LDS population, we first show that /æ/ is significantly raised before /g/ among speakers in Southern Alberta. We then show that Mormons in the region do not display as strong raising in this linguistic environment. We attribute this to the strong social network of the Mormons in rural Southern Alberta which has a conservative influence on the /æ/ in the English of Mormon church members in the region. We further show that young Mormon women are the most divergent from their other Southern Alberta counterparts, which may be an indication of them being more conservative than other groups, contra many studies showing that women are innovators in sociophonetic change (for example Eckert 1989; Labov, 1990; Wolfram and Schilling-Estes, 1998), or it may be an indicator that these young Mormon women are innovators of a different pattern.

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Social Context and College Completion in the United States: The Role of Congregational Biblical Literalism

Samuel Stroope, Aaron Franzen & Jeremy Uecker
Sociological Perspectives, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has documented the influence of religion on a variety of stratification processes. Largely absent from this research, however, are explicit examinations of the role religious contexts play in educational outcomes. In this study, we focus on the congregation-level prevalence of a salient religious belief: biblical literalism. Using national multilevel data (U.S. Congregational Life Survey [USCLS]; N = 92,344), we examine whether individuals’ likelihood of completing college is dependent on the percentage of fellow congregation members who are biblical literalists. We find that college completion is tied to congregational literalism in important ways. Net of individual biblical literalism and other controls, congregational literalism decreases the likelihood of completing college. In addition, while congregational biblical literalism decreases the likelihood of college completion for both biblical literalists and non-literalists, the relationship is strongest for non-literalists such that in highly literalist congregations, nonliteralists’ likelihood of college completion more closely resembles that of literalists.

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Unilateral Divorce for Women and Labor Supply in the Middle East and North Africa: The Effect of Khul Reform

Lena Hassani-Nezhad & Anna Sjögren
Feminist Economics, Fall 2014, Pages 113-137

Abstract:
This contribution investigates whether the introduction of Khul, Islamic unilateral divorce rights for women, helps to explain recent dramatic increases in women's labor supply in Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries over the 1980–2008 period. It shows, using data for eighteen countries, that Khul reform increased the labor force participation of women relative to men. Furthermore, we find evidence that the effect of Khul is larger for younger women (ages 24–34) compared to older women (ages 35–55). Younger women increased their labor force participation by 6 percent, which accounts for about 10 percent of the increase in their labor force participation from 1980 to 2008.

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Without God, Everything Is Permitted? The Reciprocal Influence of Religious and Meta-Ethical Beliefs

Onurcan Yilmaz & Hasan Bahçekapili
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relation between religious and moral thought has been difficult to unravel because of the multifaceted nature of both religion and morality. We chose to study the belief dimension of religion and the meta-ethics dimension of morality and investigated the relation between God-related thoughts and objectivist/subjectivist morality in three studies. We expected a reciprocal relation between the idea of God and objective morality since God is one prominent way through which objective moral truths could be grounded and thus the lack of such objective truths might imply the absence of God who could set such truths. Study 1 revealed negative correlations between moral subjectivism and several measures of religious belief. Study 2 showed that people adopt moral objectivism more and moral subjectivism less after being implicitly primed with religious words in a sentence unscrambling task. Study 3 showed that people express less confidence about the existence of God after reading a persuasive text about the subjective nature of moral truths. Taken together, the results demonstrate that religious and meta-ethical beliefs are indeed related and can reciprocally influence each other.

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Labor Market Effects of Intrauterine Exposure to Nutritional Deficiency: Evidence from Administrative Data on Muslim Immigrants in Denmark

Marie Louise Schultz-Nielsen, Erdal Tekin & Jane Greve
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
This paper examines whether nutritional disruptions experienced during the stage of fetal development impair an individual’s labor market productivity later in life. We consider intrauterine exposure to the month of Ramadan as a natural experiment that might cause shocks to the inflow of nutrients essential for fetal development. Specifically, we use administrative data from Denmark to investigate the impact of exposure to Ramadan in utero on labor market outcomes of adult Muslim males, including employment status, annual salary, hourly wage rate, and hours of work. Our findings indicate that potential exposure to nutritional disruptions during a critical stage of fetal development has scarring effects on the fetus expressed as poor labor market outcomes later in life. Specifically, exposure to Ramadan in the 7th month of gestation results in a lower likelihood of employment, a lower salary, and reduced labor supply, but not necessarily a lower wage rate. We also document suggestive evidence that these results may partially be driven by increased disability and to a lesser extent by poor educational attainment among those who were exposed to Ramadan during this particular period in utero.

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Church Membership and Social Insurance: Evidence from the American South

Philipp Ager, Casper Worm Hansen & Lars Lønstrup
University of Copenhagen Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
We examine the effect of increased demand for social insurance on church membership. Our empirical strategy exploits the differential impact of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 across counties to identify a shock to the demand for social insurance. We find that flooded counties experienced a significant increase in church membership. Consistent with economic theories about determinants of membership of religious organizations, our result suggests that local churches provided ex-post insurance for the needy and in return gained new members.

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Family-firm risk-taking: Does religion matter?

Fuxiu Jiang et al.
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that family firms with religious founders have less risk than other family firms. Using a sample of 4,159 family firms in China, we find firms founded by religious entrepreneurs have lower leverage and less investment in fixed and intangible assets compared to firms founded by nonreligious entrepreneurs. These findings are consistent with our proposition. However, these findings primarily hold for entrepreneurs who adhere to Western religions but not to Eastern religions. As such, our paper makes important contributions to the literature on family-firms and their risk-taking and the literature on the relation between religion and risk aversion.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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