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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Survivors

Self-Employment and Health: Barriers Or Benefits?

Cornelius Rietveld, Hans van Kippersluis & Roy Thurik
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The self-employed are often reported to be healthier than wageworkers; however, the cause of this health difference is largely unknown. The longitudinal nature of the US Health and Retirement Study allows us to gauge the plausibility of two competing explanations for this difference: a contextual effect of self-employment on health (benefit effect), or a health-related selection of individuals into self-employment (barrier effect). Our main finding is that the selection of comparatively healthier individuals into self-employment accounts for the positive cross-sectional difference. The results rule out a positive contextual effect of self-employment on health, and we present tentative evidence that, if anything, engaging in self-employment is bad for one's health. Given the importance of the self-employed in the economy, these findings contribute to our understanding of the vitality of the labor force.

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Changing Trends of Childhood Disability, 2001–2011

Amy Houtrow et al.
Pediatrics, September 2014, Pages 530-538

Background: Over the past half century the prevalence of childhood disability increased dramatically, coupled with notable increases in the prevalence of mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions. This study provides a detailed assessment of recent trends in childhood disability in relation to health conditions and sociodemographic factors.

Methods: Secondary data analysis of National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) datasets 2001–2002, 2004–2005, 2007–2008, and 2010–2011 (N = 198 888) was conducted to calculate the prevalence, rate of change, severity, and sociodemographic disparities of parent-reported childhood disability.

Results: The prevalence of childhood disability has continued to increase, growing by 15.6% between 2001–2002 and 2010–2011. Nearly 6 million children were considered disabled in 2010–2011. Children living in poverty experienced the highest rates of disability, 102.6 cases per 1000 population in 2010–2011, but unexpectedly, children living in households with incomes ≥400% above the federal poverty level experienced the largest increase (28.4%) over this 10-year period. The percentage of disability cases related to any physical health condition declined 11.8% during the decade, whereas cases related to any neurodevelopmental or mental health condition increased by 20.9%.

Conclusions: Over the past decade, parent-reported childhood disability steadily increased. As childhood disability due to physical conditions declined, there was a large increase in disabilities due to neurodevelopmental or mental health problems. For the first time since the NHIS began tracking childhood disability in 1957, the rise in reported prevalence is disproportionately occurring among socially advantaged families. This unexpected finding highlights the need to better understand the social, medical, and environmental factors influencing parent reports of childhood disability.

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Does giving to charity lead to better health? Evidence from tax subsidies for charitable giving

Barış Yörük
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the United States, charitable contributions can be deducted from taxable income making the price of giving inversely related to the marginal tax rate. The existing literature documents that charitable giving is very responsive to tax subsidies, but often ignores the spillover effects of such policies. On the other hand, a growing body of literature documents that giving to others reduces stress and strengthens the immune system, which results in better health and longer life expectancy. These findings imply that tax subsidies for charitable giving may have positive spillover effects on health. This paper investigates this hypothesis using data from Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS), the philanthropy module of the Panel Study Income Dynamics (PSID). Understanding the spillover effects of charitable subsidies on health is quite important given the existing literature that links health status to several important economic outcomes. The results show that charitable subsidies have positive spillover effects on health. In particular, the implied cross-price elasticity of health index with respect to giving is -0.13. These results are robust to potential endogeneity of income and highlight the positive externalities created by tax subsidies for charitable giving.

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Pilot Randomized Evaluation of Publically Available Concussion Education Materials: Evidence of a Possible Negative Effect

Emily Kroshus et al.
Health Education & Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many states and sports leagues are instituting concussion policies aimed at reducing risk of morbidity and mortality; many include mandates about the provision of concussion education to youth athletes. However, there is limited evidence if educational materials provided under these typically vague mandates are in fact effective in changing concussion risk-related behavior or any cognition predictive of risk-related behavior. The purpose of this pilot randomized controlled study was to conduct a theory-driven evaluation of three publically available concussion education materials: two videos and one informational handout. Participants were 256 late adolescent males from 12 teams in a single league of ice hockey competition in the United States. Randomization of educational condition occurred at the team level. Written surveys assessing postimpact symptom reporting behavior, concussion knowledge, and concussion reporting cognitions were completed by participants immediately before receiving their educational intervention, 1 day after, and 1 month after. Results indicated no change in any measure over any time interval, with the exception of perceived underreporting norms. In one of the video conditions, perceived underreporting norms increased significantly 1 day after viewing the video. Possible content and viewing environment-related reasons for this increase are discussed. Across all conditions, perceived underreporting norms increased 1 month after intervention receipt, raising the possibility that late in the competitive season underreporting may be perceived as normative. The need for the development of theory-driven concussion education materials, drawing on best practices from health behavior scholars, is discussed.

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Identifying Moral Hazard in Car Insurance Contracts

Sarit Weisburd
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper capitalizes on a unique situation in Israel where car insurance coverage is often distributed as a benefit by employers. In our sample, employer-determined coverage resulted in an average $235 discount in accident costs. Using instrumental variable analysis on data provided by an insurance firm in Israel (2001-2008), we find that each $100 reduction in accident costs results in a 1.7 percentage point increase in the probability of an accident. At an average accident rate of 16.3 percent, this 10 percent increase in auto accidents can be interpreted as the effect of moral hazard on car accidents.

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Associations of Grandparental Schooling With Adult Grandchildren's Health Status, Smoking, and Obesity

Félice Lê-Scherban et al.
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 September 2014, Pages 469-481

Abstract:
Despite persistent schooling-related health disparities in the United States, little is known about the multigenerational effects of schooling on adult health. As expected lifespans increase, direct influences of grandparental schooling on grandchildren's health may become increasingly important. We used multigenerational data spanning 41 years from a national sample of US families to investigate associations of grandparents’ educational attainment with global health status, smoking, and obesity in their grandchildren who were aged 25–55 years in 2009. We estimated total effects of grandparental schooling and, by using marginal structural models, we estimated controlled direct effects that were independent of parents’ and participants’ schooling. Among whites, lower levels of grandparental schooling were monotonically associated with poor health status, current smoking, and obesity in adult grandchildren. There was also evidence suggesting direct effects, which was stronger for poor health status among participants whose highest-educated grandparent lived in the same state. Among blacks, the only association suggesting a total or direct effect of grandparental schooling was for smoking. Despite the relative imprecision of our estimates and possible residual bias, these results suggest that higher levels of grandparental schooling may benefit the health of grandchildren in adulthood, especially among whites. Furthermore, part of those apparent effects, especially for obesity, may not be mediated by parents’ and grandchildren's schooling.

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Schooling has smaller or insignificant effects on adult health in the US than suggested by cross-sectional associations: New estimates using relatively large samples of identical twins

Vikesh Amin, Jere Behrman & Hans-Peter Kohler
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous theoretical reasons have been posited about why more schooling might improve health. Adult health outcomes and behaviors generally are significantly associated with schooling. However, such associations do not necessarily imply that schooling has causal effects on health outcomes and behaviors. Causal estimates based on schooling variation from policies and from within-MZ (monozygotic) twins have reached mixed conclusions. This study contributed new estimates of cross-sectional associations and within-MZ causal effects using three relatively large US twins samples. The estimates suggested that schooling was significantly associated with numerous health outcomes and behaviors. However, with within-MZ twins control for unobserved factors, schooling was no longer associated with most indicators of better health (with the exception of self-reported health), while it continued to be associated with outcomes such as fertility and spousal schooling. Similar patterns were observed for spousal schooling.

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Rising Autism Prevalence: Real or Displacing Other Mental Disorders? Evidence from Demand for Auxiliary Healthcare Workers in California

Dhaval Dave & Jose Fernandez
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Autism is a development disorder that has increased in prevalence from 0.5 to 14.7 per 1,000 children over 1970–2010. Using annual wages and provider counts from the American Community Survey and information from 21 regional development centers in California, we estimate the labor demand for auxiliary health providers. We focus on this subset of providers because, unlike physicians and psychologists who can diagnose autism, these workers cannot induce their own demand. If the incidence of autism is increasing independently of other mental disorders, then the demand for auxiliary health providers should increase, leading to higher wages and labor supply. Otherwise, the increase in autism diagnosis is merely displacing other mental disorders. We find that a 100% increase in autism cases increases the wages of auxiliary health workers over non-autism health occupations by 8–11% and the number of providers by 9–14%. Furthermore, we find that one of every three new autism diagnoses is merely supplanting mental retardation diagnoses, but does not displace other mental disorders. These estimates suggest that at least part of the increase in autism diagnoses, about 50–65%, reflects an increase in the true prevalence of the disorder.

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Efficacy of a Telephone-Delivered Sexually Transmitted Infection/Human Immunodeficiency Virus Prevention Maintenance Intervention for Adolescents: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Ralph DiClemente et al.
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a telephone counseling prevention maintenance intervention (PMI) to sustain STI/HIV-preventive behaviors and reduce incident STIs during a 36-month follow-up.

Design, Setting, and Participants: In a 2-arm randomized supplemental treatment trial at 3 clinics serving predominantly minority adolescents in Atlanta, Georgia, 701 African American adolescent girls aged 14 to 20 years received a primary treatment and subsequently received a different (supplemental) treatment (PMI) to enhance effects of the primary treatment.

Interventions: Participants in the experimental condition (n = 342) received an adapted evidence-based STI/HIV intervention (HORIZONS) and a PMI consisting of brief telephone contacts every 8 weeks over 36 months to reinforce and complement prevention messages. Comparison-condition participants (n = 359) received HORIZONS and a time- and dose-consistent PMI focused on general health.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcomes were percentage of participants with a laboratory-confirmed incident chlamydial infection and percentage of participants with a laboratory-confirmed gonococcal infection during the 36-month follow-up. Behavioral outcomes included the following: (1) proportion of condom-protected sexual acts in the 6 months and 90 days prior to assessments; (2) number of sexual episodes during the past 90 days in which participants engaged in sexual intercourse while high on drugs and/or alcohol; and (3) number of vaginal sex partners in the 6 months prior to assessments.

Results: During the 36-month follow-up, fewer participants in the experimental condition than in the comparison condition had incident chlamydial infections (94 vs 104 participants, respectively; risk ratio = 0.50; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.88; P = .02) and gonococcal infections (48 vs 54 participants, respectively; risk ratio = 0.40; 95% CI, 0.15 to 1.02; P = .06). Participants completing more telephone contacts had a lower risk of chlamydial infection (risk ratio = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.00; P = .05). Participants in the experimental condition reported a higher proportion of condom-protected sexual acts in the 90 days (mean difference = 0.08; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.11; P = .02) and 6 months (mean difference = 0.08; 95% CI, 0.06 to 0.10; P = .04) prior to assessments and fewer episodes of sexual acts while high on drugs and/or alcohol (mean difference = −0.61; 95% CI, −0.98 to −0.24; P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance: Sustaining the long-term impact of an STI/HIV intervention is achievable with brief, tailored telephone counseling.

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Don't Take 'No' For An Answer: An Experiment With Actual Organ Donor Registrations

Judd Kessler & Alvin Roth
NBER Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Over 10,000 people in the U.S. die each year while waiting for an organ. Attempts to increase organ transplantation have focused on changing the registration question from an opt-in frame to an active choice frame. We analyze this change in California and show it decreased registration rates. Similarly, a "field in the lab" experiment run on actual organ donor registration decisions finds no increase in registrations resulting from an active choice frame. In addition, individuals are more likely to support donating the organs of a deceased who did not opt-in than one who said "no" in an active choice frame.

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Perceived Extrinsic Mortality Risk and Reported Effort in Looking after Health

Gillian Pepper & Daniel Nettle
Human Nature, September 2014, Pages 378-392

Abstract:
Socioeconomic gradients in health behavior are pervasive and well documented. Yet, there is little consensus on their causes. Behavioral ecological theory predicts that, if people of lower socioeconomic position (SEP) perceive greater personal extrinsic mortality risk than those of higher SEP, they should disinvest in their future health. We surveyed North American adults for reported effort in looking after health, perceived extrinsic and intrinsic mortality risks, and measures of SEP. We examined the relationships between these variables and found that lower subjective SEP predicted lower reported health effort. Lower subjective SEP was also associated with higher perceived extrinsic mortality risk, which in turn predicted lower reported health effort. The effect of subjective SEP on reported health effort was completely mediated by perceived extrinsic mortality risk. Our findings indicate that perceived extrinsic mortality risk may be a key factor underlying SEP gradients in motivation to invest in future health.

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Wealth Shocks and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Stock Market Fluctuations

Hannes Schwandt
Princeton Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Do wealth shocks affect the health of the elderly in developed countries? The economic literature is skeptical about such effects which have so far only been found for poor retirees in poor countries. In this paper I show that wealth shocks also matter for the health of wealthy retirees in the US. I exploit the booms and busts in the US stock market as a natural experiment that generated considerable gains and losses in the wealth of stock-holding retirees. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study I construct wealth shocks as the interaction of stock holdings with stock market changes. These constructed wealth shocks are highly predictive of changes in reported wealth. And they strongly affect health outcomes. A 10% wealth shock leads to an improvement of 2-3% of a standard deviation in physical health, mental health and survival rates. Effects are heterogeneous across physical health conditions, with most pronounced effects for the incidence of high blood pressure, smaller effects for heart problems and no effects for arthritis, diabetes, lung diseases and cancer. The comparison with the cross-sectional relationship of wealth and health suggests that the estimated effects of wealth shocks are larger than the long-run wealth elasticity of health.

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Income Receipt and Mortality: Evidence from Swedish Public Sector Employees

Elvira Andersson, Petter Lundborg & Johan Vikström
Lund University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
In this paper, we study the short-run effect of salary receipt on mortality among Swedish public sector employees. By exploiting variation in pay-days across work-places, we completely control for mortality patterns related to, for example, public holidays and other special days or events coinciding with paydays and for general within-month and within-week mortality patterns. We find a dramatic increase in mortality on the day salaries arrive. The increase is especially pronounced for younger workers and for deaths due to activity-related causes such as heart conditions and strokes. Additionally, the effect is entirely driven by an increase in mortality among low income individuals, who are more likely to experience liquidity constraints. All things considered, our results suggest that an increase in general economic activity upon salary receipt is an important cause of the excess mortality.

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Pro-Cyclical Mortality Across Socioeconomic Groups and Health Status

Venke Furre Haaland & Kjetil Telle
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using variation across geographic regions, a number of studies from the U.S. and other developed countries have found more deaths in economic upturns and less deaths in economic downturns. We use data from regions in Norway for 1977-2008 and find the same pro-cyclical patterns. Using individual-level register data for the identical population, we find that disadvantaged socioeconomic groups are not hit harder by pro-cyclical mortality than advantaged groups. We also find that other indicators of deteriorated health (than death), like becoming disabled, are pro-cyclical. Overall, our analysis suggests that pro-cyclical mortality is rather related to deaths of people already in deteriorated health than to people of low socioeconomic status.

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What can genes tell us about the relationship between education and health?

Jason Boardman, Benjamin Domingue & Jonathan Daw
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use genome wide data from respondents of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to evaluate the possibility that common genetic influences are associated with education and three health outcomes: depression, self-rated health, and body mass index. We use a total of 1.7 million single nucleotide polymorphisms obtained from the Illumina HumanOmni2.5-4v1 chip from 4,233 non-Hispanic white respondents to characterize genetic similarities among unrelated persons in the HRS. We then used the Genome Wide Complex Trait Analysis (GCTA) toolkit, to estimate univariate and bivariate heritability. We provide evidence that education (h2 = .33), BMI (h2 = .43), depression (h2 = .19), and self-rated health (h2 = .18) are all moderately heritable phenotypes. We also provide evidence that some of the correlation between depression and education as well as self-rated health and education is due to common genetic factors associated with one or both traits. We find no evidence that the correlation between education and BMI is influenced by common genetic factors.

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Impact of FDA Actions, DTCA, and Public Information on the Market for Pain Medication

David Bradford & Andrew Kleit
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the most important classes of prescription drugs used by primary care physicians to manage pain. The NSAID class of products has a somewhat controversial history, around which a complex regulatory and informational environment has developed. This history includes a boxed warning mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for all NSAIDs in 2005. We investigate the impact that various information shocks have had on the use of prescription medications for pain in primary care in the USA. We accomplish this by extracting data on nearly 600 000 patients from a unique nationwide electronic medical record database and estimate the probability of any active prescription for the four types of pain medications as a function of FDA actions, advertising, media coverage, and patient characteristics. We find that even after accounting for multiple sources of information, the FDA label changes and boxed warnings had a significant effect on pain medication prescribing. The boxed warning did not have the same impact on the use of all NSAID inhibitors. We find that the boxed warning reduced the use of NSAID COX-2 inhibitor use, which was the focus of much of the press attention. In contrast, however, the warning actually increased the use of non-COX-2 NSAID inhibitors. Thus, the efficacy of the FDA's black box warning is clearly mixed.

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Sexual Functioning in Military Personnel: Preliminary Estimates and Predictors

Sherrie Wilcox, Sarah Redmond & Anthony Hassan
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

Introduction: Although the military is a young and vigorous force, service members and veterans may experience sexual functioning problems (SFPs) as a result of military service. Sexual functioning can be impaired by physical, psychological, and social factors and can impact quality of life (QOL) and happiness.

Methods: This exploratory cross-sectional study was conducted using data from a larger nationwide study conducted between October 2013 and November 2013. This sample consists of 367 male active duty service members and recent veterans (military personnel) age 40 or younger.

Main Outcome Measures: Erectile dysfunction (ED) was determined using the five-item International Index of Erectile Function, sexual dysfunction (SD) was determined using the Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale, Male, and QOL was determined using the World Health Organization Quality of Life, Brief.

Results: SFPs were associated with various demographic, physical, and psychosocial risk factors. The rates of SD and ED were 8.45% and 33.24%, respectively, for male military personnel aged 21–40. Those who were 36–40, nonmarried, nonwhite, and of lower educational attainment reported the highest rates of SFPs. Male military personnel with poor physical and psychosocial health presented the greatest risk for ED and SD. SFPs were associated with reduced QOL and lower happiness, and barriers for treatment were generally related to social barriers.

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Community design, street networks, and public health

Wesley Marshall, Daniel Piatkowski & Norman Garrick
Journal of Transport & Health, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the influence of street network design on public health? While the literature linking the built environment to health outcomes is vast, it glosses over the role that specific street network characteristics play. The three fundamental elements of street networks are: street network density, connectivity, and configuration. Without sufficient attention being paid to these individual elements of street network design, building a community for health remains a guessing game. Our previous study found more compact and connected street networks highly correlated with increased walking, biking, and transit usage; while these trends suggest a health benefit, this study seeks to strengthen that connection. Using a multilevel, hierarchical statistical model, this research seeks to fill this gap in the literature through a more robust accounting of street network design. Specifically, we ask the following: what is the influence of the three fundamental measures of street networks on obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and asthma? We answer this question by examining 24 California cities exhibiting a range a street network typologies using health data from the California Health Interview Survey. We control for the food environment, land uses, commuting time, socioeconomic status, and street design. The results suggest that more compact and connected street networks with fewer lanes on the major roads are correlated with reduced rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease among residents. Given the cross-sectional nature of our study, proving causation is not feasible but should be examined in future research. Nevertheless, the outcome is a novel assessment of streets networks and public health that has not yet been seen but will be of benefit to planners and policy-makers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The long, hot summer

The Impact of Mega-Catastrophes on Insurers: An Exposure-Based Analysis of the U.S. Homeowners’ Insurance Market

Bjoern Hagendorff, Jens Hagendorff & Kevin Keasey
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Insurance is a key risk-sharing mechanism that protects citizens and governments from the losses caused by natural catastrophes. Given the increase in the frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes over recent years, this article analyzes the performance effects of mega-catastrophes for U.S. insurance firms using a measure of market expectations. Specifically, we analyze the share price losses of insurance firms in response to catastrophe events to ascertain whether mega-catastrophes significantly damage the performance of insurers and whether different types of mega-catastrophes have different impacts. The main message from our analysis is that the impact of mega-catastrophes on insurers has not been too damaging. While the exact impact of catastrophes depends on the nature of the event and the degree of competition within the relevant insurance market (less competition allows insurers to recoup catastrophe losses through adjustments to premiums), our overall results suggest that U.S. insurance firms can adequately manage the risks and costs of mega-catastrophes. From a public policy perspective, our results show that insurance provides a robust means of sharing catastrophe losses to help reduce the financial consequences of a catastrophe event.

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The Economic Consequences of Delay in U.S. Climate Policy

Warwick McKibbin, Adele Morris & Peter Wilcoxen
Brookings Institution Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun regulating existing stationary sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) using its authority under the Clean Air Act (the Act). The regulatory process under the Act is long and involved and raises the prospect that significant U.S. action might be delayed for years. This paper examines the economic implications of such a delay. We analyze four policy scenarios using an economic model of the U.S. economy embedded within a broader model of the world economy. The first scenario imposes an economy-wide carbon tax that starts immediately at $15 and rises annually at 4 percent over inflation. The second two scenarios impose different (and generally higher) carbon tax trajectories that achieve the same cumulative emissions reduction as the first scenario over a period of 24 years, but that start after an eight year delay. All three of these policies use the carbon tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit. The fourth policy imposes the same carbon tax as the first scenario but uses the revenue to reduce the tax rate on capital income. We find that by nearly every measure, the delayed policies produce worse economic outcomes than the more modest policy implemented now, while achieving no better environmental benefits.

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Impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on global oil markets and greenhouse gas emissions

Peter Erickson & Michael Lazarus
Nature Climate Change, September 2014, Pages 778–781

Abstract:
Climate policy and analysis often focus on energy production and consumption, but seldom consider how energy transportation infrastructure shapes energy systems. US President Obama has recently brought these issues to the fore, stating that he would only approve the Keystone XL pipeline, connecting Canadian oil sands with US refineries and ports, if it ‘does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution’. Here, we apply a simple model to understand the implications of the pipeline for greenhouse gas emissions as a function of any resulting increase in oil sands production. We find that for every barrel of increased production, global oil consumption would increase 0.6 barrels owing to the incremental decrease in global oil prices. As a result, and depending on the extent to which the pipeline leads to greater oil sands production, the net annual impact of Keystone XL could range from virtually none to 110 million tons CO2 equivalent annually. This spread is four times wider than found by the US State Department (1–27 million tons CO2e), who did not account for global oil market effects. The approach used here, common in lifecycle analysis, could also be applied to other pending fossil fuel extraction and supply infrastructure.

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The Causal Effect of Environmental Catastrophe on Long-Run Economic Growth: Evidence From 6,700 Cyclones

Solomon Hsiang & Amir Jina
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Does the environment have a causal effect on economic development? Using meteorological data, we reconstruct every country's exposure to the universe of tropical cyclones during 1950-2008. We exploit random within-country year-to-year variation in cyclone strikes to identify the causal effect of environmental disasters on long-run growth. We compare each country's growth rate to itself in the years immediately before and after exposure, accounting for the distribution of cyclones in preceding years. The data reject hypotheses that disasters stimulate growth or that short-run losses disappear following migrations or transfers of wealth. Instead, we find robust evidence that national incomes decline, relative to their pre-disaster trend, and do not recover within twenty years. Both rich and poor countries exhibit this response, with losses magnified in countries with less historical cyclone experience. Income losses arise from a small but persistent suppression of annual growth rates spread across the fifteen years following disaster, generating large and significant cumulative effects: a 90th percentile event reduces per capita incomes by 7.4% two decades later, effectively undoing 3.7 years of average development. The gradual nature of these losses render them inconspicuous to a casual observer, however simulations indicate that they have dramatic influence over the long-run development of countries that are endowed with regular or continuous exposure to disaster. Linking these results to projections of future cyclone activity, we estimate that under conservative discounting assumptions the present discounted cost of "business as usual" climate change is roughly $9.7 trillion larger than previously thought.

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Trends and triggers redux: Climate change, rainfall, and interstate conflict

Colleen Devlin & Cullen Hendrix
Political Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given freshwater is crucial to sustaining life and forecasted to decline in relative abundance under most climate change scenarios, there is concern changing precipitation patterns will be a cause of future interstate conflict. In theorizing the impact of climate change for interstate conflict, we distinguish between trends (long-term means) that may affect the baseline probability of conflict, and triggers (short-term deviations) that may affect the probability of conflict in the short run. We jointly model the effects of mean precipitation scarcity and variability (trends) and year-to-year changes in precipitation (triggers) on militarized interstate disputes between states. We find higher long-run variability in precipitation and lower mean levels of precipitation in dyads are associated with the outbreak of militarized interstate disputes (MIDs). Contra neo-Malthusian expectations, however, we find joint precipitation scarcity – defined as both countries experiencing below mean rainfall in the same year – has a conflict-dampening effect. These findings push the literature in a direction that more closely aligns our modeling of human impacts with our understanding of the physical impacts of climate change.

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Temperature seasonality and violent conflict: The inconsistencies of a warming planet

Steven Landis
Journal of Peace Research, September 2014, Pages 603-618

Abstract:
Current climate change research suggests that certain seasonal weather patterns will be extended and others attenuated as global temperature increases. This is important because seasonal temperature change affects both the scarcity of resources during certain times of the year and the overall mobility of people living in countries that have seasonality. Consequently, these seasonal changes have implications for the onset of violent conflict, particularly as it relates to distinguishing when, where, and how it is most likely to occur. This article evaluates the relationship between monthly temperature changes, civil war onset, and various, less-organized conflict events, offering theoretical expectations for how seasonal changes and climate aberrations are related to an increased risk of violence. The results show that prolonged periods of stable, warm weather are consistently associated with an increased risk of civil war onset and non-state conflict. These findings are best explained through the strategic viability mechanism of temperature change, which allows actors to resolve their collective action problems that are often associated with poor weather conditions, while simultaneously increasing their strategic and behavioral incentives for engaging in violent conflict. Warm weather generates more resources for rebel looting and permits predictability for coordinating troop movements and strategy development. These findings are particularly salient in areas of the world affected by strong seasonality, where prolonged extensions of warm weather conditions would be regarded as both peculiar and attractive for participating in violent action. Although these findings are notable, even under the most extreme climate change scenarios, the substantive effects for these relationships are comparatively minor relative to other well-known intrastate conflict covariates.

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Attribution of global glacier mass loss to anthropogenic and natural causes

Ben Marzeion et al.
Science, 22 August 2014, Pages 919-921

Abstract:
The ongoing global glacier retreat is affecting human societies by causing sea-level rise, changing seasonal water availability, and increasing geohazards. Melting glaciers are an icon of anthropogenic climate change. However, glacier response times are typically decades or longer, which implies that the present-day glacier retreat is a mixed response to past and current natural climate variability and current anthropogenic forcing. Here, we show that only 25 ± 35% of the global glacier mass loss during the period from 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. Nevertheless, the anthropogenic signal is detectable with high confidence in glacier mass balance observations during 1991 to 2010, and the anthropogenic fraction of global glacier mass loss during that period has increased to 69 ± 24%.

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The increasing efficiency of tornado days in the United States

James Elsner, Svetoslava Elsner & Thomas Jagger
Climate Dynamics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors analyze the historical record of tornado reports in the United States and find evidence for changes in tornado climatology possibly related to global warming. They do this by examining the annual number of days with many tornadoes and the ratio of these days to days with at least one tornado and by examining the annual proportion of tornadoes occurring on days with many tornadoes. Additional evidence of a changing tornado climate is presented by considering tornadoes in geographic clusters and by analyzing the density of tornadoes within the clusters. There is a consistent decrease in the number of days with at least one tornado at the same time as an increase in the number of days with many tornadoes. These changes are interpreted as an increasing proportion of tornadoes occurring on days with many tornadoes. Coincident with these temporal changes are increases in tornado density as defined by the number of tornadoes per area. Trends are insensitive to the begin year of the analysis. The bottom line is that the risk of big tornado days featuring densely concentrated tornado outbreaks is on the rise. The results are broadly consistent with numerical modeling studies that project increases in convective energy within the tornado environment.

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A systems approach to evaluating the air quality co-benefits of US carbon policies

Tammy Thompson et al.
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because human activities emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) and conventional air pollutants from common sources, policy designed to reduce GHGs can have co-benefits for air quality that may offset some or all of the near-term costs of GHG mitigation. We present a systems approach to quantify air quality co-benefits of US policies to reduce GHG (carbon) emissions. We assess health-related benefits from reduced ozone and particulate matter (PM2.5) by linking three advanced models, representing the full pathway from policy to pollutant damages. We also examine the sensitivity of co-benefits to key policy-relevant sources of uncertainty and variability. We find that monetized human health benefits associated with air quality improvements can offset 26–1,050% of the cost of US carbon policies. More flexible policies that minimize costs, such as cap-and-trade standards, have larger net co-benefits than policies that target specific sectors (electricity and transportation). Although air quality co-benefits can be comparable to policy costs for present-day air quality and near-term US carbon policies, potential co-benefits rapidly diminish as carbon policies become more stringent.

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Assessing the risk of persistent drought using climate model simulations and paleoclimate data

Toby Ault et al.
Journal of Climate, forthcoming

Abstract:
Projected changes in global rainfall patterns will likely alter water supplies and ecosystems in semiarid regions during the coming century. Instrumental and paleoclimate data indicate that natural hydroclimate fluctuations tend to be more energetic at low (multidecadal to multicentury) than at high (interannual) frequencies. State-of-the-art global climate models do not capture this characteristic of hydroclimate variability, suggesting that the models underestimate the risk of future persistent droughts. Methods are developed here for assessing the risk of such events in the coming century using climate model projections as well as observational (paleoclimate) information. Where instrumental and paleoclimate data are reliable, these methods may provide a more complete view of prolonged drought risk. In the US Southwest, for instance, state-of-the-art climate model projections suggest the risk of a decade-scale megadrought in the coming century is less than 50%; our analysis suggests that the risk is at least 80%, and may be higher than 90% in certain areas. The likelihood of longer lived events (> 35 years) is between 20% and 50%, and the risk of an unprecedented 50 year megadrought is non-negligible under the most severe warming scenario (5-10%). These findings are important to consider as adaptation and mitigation strategies are developed to cope with regional impacts of climate change, where population growth is high and multidecadal megadrought — worse than anything seen during the last 2000 years — would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region.

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Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration

Xianyao Chen & Ka-Kit Tung
Science, 22 August 2014, Pages 897-903

Abstract:
A vacillating global heat sink at intermediate ocean depths is associated with different climate regimes of surface warming under anthropogenic forcing: The latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans. In situ and reanalyzed data are used to trace the pathways of ocean heat uptake. In addition to the shallow La Niña–like patterns in the Pacific that were the previous focus, we found that the slowdown is mainly caused by heat transported to deeper layers in the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, initiated by a recurrent salinity anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. Cooling periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism historically lasted 20 to 35 years.

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Occurrence and persistence of future atmospheric stagnation events

Daniel Horton et al.
Nature Climate Change, August 2014, Pages 698–703

Abstract:
Poor air quality causes an estimated 2.6–4.4 million premature deaths per year. Hazardous conditions form when meteorological components allow the accumulation of pollutants in the near-surface atmosphere. Global-warming-driven changes to atmospheric circulation and the hydrological cycle are expected to alter the meteorological components that control pollutant build-up and dispersal, but the magnitude, direction, geographic footprint and public health impact of this alteration remain unclear. We used an air stagnation index and an ensemble of bias-corrected climate model simulations to quantify the response of stagnation occurrence and persistence to global warming. Our analysis projects increases in stagnation occurrence that cover 55% of the current global population, with areas of increase affecting ten times more people than areas of decrease. By the late twenty-first century, robust increases of up to 40 days per year are projected throughout the majority of the tropics and subtropics, as well as within isolated mid-latitude regions. Potential impacts over India, Mexico and the western US are particularly acute owing to the intersection of large populations and increases in the persistence of stagnation events, including those of extreme duration. These results indicate that anthropogenic climate change is likely to alter the level of pollutant management required to meet future air quality targets.

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Global warming releases microplastic legacy frozen in Arctic Sea ice

Rachel Obbard et al.
Earth's Future, June 2014, Pages 315–320

Abstract:
When sea ice forms it scavenges and concentrates particulates from the water column, which then become trapped until the ice melts. In recent years, melting has led to record lows in Arctic Sea ice extent, the most recent in September 2012. Global climate models, such as that of Gregory et al. (2002), suggest that the decline in Arctic Sea ice volume (3.4% per decade) will actually exceed the decline in sea ice extent, something that Laxon et al. (2013) have shown supported by satellite data. The extent to which melting ice could release anthropogenic particulates back to the open ocean has not yet been examined. Here we show that Arctic Sea ice from remote locations contains concentrations of microplastics at least two orders of magnitude greater than those that have been previously reported in highly contaminated surface waters, such as those of the Pacific Gyre. Our findings indicate that microplastics have accumulated far from population centers and that polar sea ice represents a major historic global sink of man-made particulates. The potential for substantial quantities of legacy microplastic contamination to be released to the ocean as the ice melts therefore needs to be evaluated, as do the physical and toxicological effects of plastics on marine life.

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Contrasting responses of mean and extreme snowfall to climate change

Paul O’Gorman
Nature, 28 August 2014, Pages 416–418

Abstract:
Snowfall is an important element of the climate system, and one that is expected to change in a warming climate. Both mean snowfall and the intensity distribution of snowfall are important, with heavy snowfall events having particularly large economic and human impacts. Simulations with climate models indicate that annual mean snowfall declines with warming in most regions but increases in regions with very low surface temperatures. The response of heavy snowfall events to a changing climate, however, is unclear. Here I show that in simulations with climate models under a scenario of high emissions of greenhouse gases, by the late twenty-first century there are smaller fractional changes in the intensities of daily snowfall extremes than in mean snowfall over many Northern Hemisphere land regions. For example, for monthly climatological temperatures just below freezing and surface elevations below 1,000 metres, the 99.99th percentile of daily snowfall decreases by 8% in the multimodel median, compared to a 65% reduction in mean snowfall. Both mean and extreme snowfall must decrease for a sufficiently large warming, but the climatological temperature above which snowfall extremes decrease with warming in the simulations is as high as −9 °C, compared to −14 °C for mean snowfall. These results are supported by a physically based theory that is consistent with the observed rain–snow transition. According to the theory, snowfall extremes occur near an optimal temperature that is insensitive to climate warming, and this results in smaller fractional changes for higher percentiles of daily snowfall. The simulated changes in snowfall that I find would influence surface snow and its hazards; these changes also suggest that it may be difficult to detect a regional climate-change signal in snowfall extremes.

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Twenty-First-Century Projections of Snowfall and Winter Severity across Central-Eastern North America

Michael Notaro et al.
Journal of Climate, September 2014, Pages 6526–6550

Abstract:
Statistically downscaled climate projections from nine global climate models (GCMs) are used to force a snow accumulation and ablation model (SNOW-17) across the central-eastern North American Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) to develop high-resolution projections of snowfall, snow depth, and winter severity index (WSI) by the middle and late twenty-first century. Here, projections of a cumulative WSI (CWSI) known to influence autumn–winter waterfowl migration are used to demonstrate the utility of SNOW-17 results. The application of statistically downscaled climate data and a snow model leads to a better representation of lake processes in the Great Lakes basin, topographic effects in the Appalachian Mountains, and spatial patterns of climatological snowfall, compared to the original GCMs. Annual mean snowfall is simulated to decline across the region, particularly in early winter (December–January), leading to a delay in the mean onset of the snow season. Because of a warming-induced acceleration of snowmelt, the percentage loss in snow depth exceeds that of snowfall. Across the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC and the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes LCC, daily snowfall events are projected to become less common but more intense. The greatest reductions in the number of days per year with a present snowpack are expected close to the historical position of the −5°C isotherm in December–March, around 44°N. The CWSI is projected to decline substantially during December–January, leading to increased likelihood of delays in timing and intensity of autumn–winter waterfowl migrations.

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Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States

Adrian Antal Borsa, Duncan Carr Agnew & Daniel Cayan
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The western United States has been experiencing severe drought since 2013. The solid earth response to the accompanying loss of surface and near-surface water mass should be a broad region of uplift. We use seasonally-adjusted time series from continuously operating GPS stations to measure this uplift, which we invert to estimate mass loss. The median uplift is 4 mm, with values up to 15 mm in California’s mountains. The associated pattern of mass loss, which ranges up to 50 cm of water equivalent, is consistent with observed decreases in precipitation and streamflow. We estimate the total deficit to be about 240 Gt, equivalent to a 10 cm layer of water over the entire region, or the annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet.

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Elevation and elevation change of Greenland and Antarctica derived from CryoSat-2

V. Helm, A. Humbert & H. Miller
The Cryosphere, July/August 2014, Pages 1539-1559

Abstract:
This study focuses on the present-day surface elevation of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Based on 3 years of CryoSat-2 data acquisition we derived new elevation models (DEMs) as well as elevation change maps and volume change estimates for both ice sheets. Here we present the new DEMs and their corresponding error maps. The accuracy of the derived DEMs for Greenland and Antarctica is similar to those of previous DEMs obtained by satellite-based laser and radar altimeters. Comparisons with ICESat data show that 80% of the CryoSat-2 DEMs have an uncertainty of less than 3 m ± 15 m. The surface elevation change rates between January 2011 and January 2014 are presented for both ice sheets. We compared our results to elevation change rates obtained from ICESat data covering the time period from 2003 to 2009. The comparison reveals that in West Antarctica the volume loss has increased by a factor of 3. It also shows an anomalous thickening in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica which represents a known large-scale accumulation event. This anomaly partly compensates for the observed increased volume loss of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica. For Greenland we find a volume loss increased by a factor of 2.5 compared to the ICESat period with large negative elevation changes concentrated at the west and southeast coasts. The combined volume change of Greenland and Antarctica for the observation period is estimated to be −503 ± 107 km3 yr−1. Greenland contributes nearly 75% to the total volume change with −375 ± 24 km3 yr−1.

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Upper-tropospheric moistening in response to anthropogenic warming

Eui-Seok Chung et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 August 2014, Pages 11636–11641

Abstract:
Water vapor in the upper troposphere strongly regulates the strength of water-vapor feedback, which is the primary process for amplifying the response of the climate system to external radiative forcings. Monitoring changes in upper-tropospheric water vapor and scrutinizing the causes of such changes are therefore of great importance for establishing the credibility of model projections of past and future climates. Here, we use coupled ocean–atmosphere model simulations under different climate-forcing scenarios to investigate satellite-observed changes in global-mean upper-tropospheric water vapor. Our analysis demonstrates that the upper-tropospheric moistening observed over the period 1979–2005 cannot be explained by natural causes and results principally from an anthropogenic warming of the climate. By attributing the observed increase directly to human activities, this study verifies the presence of the largest known feedback mechanism for amplifying anthropogenic climate change.

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Potential contribution of wind energy to climate change mitigation

R.J. Barthelmie & S.C. Pryor
Nature Climate Change, August 2014, Pages 684–688

Abstract:
It is still possible to limit greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the 2 °C warming threshold for dangerous climate change. Here we explore the potential role of expanded wind energy deployment in climate change mitigation efforts. At present, most turbines are located in extra-tropical Asia, Europe and North America, where climate projections indicate continuity of the abundant wind resource during this century. Scenarios from international agencies indicate that this virtually carbon-free source could supply 10–31% of electricity worldwide by 2050. Using these projections within Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) climate forcing scenarios, we show that dependent on the precise RCP followed, pursuing a moderate wind energy deployment plan by 2050 delays crossing the 2 °C warming threshold by 1–6 years. Using more aggressive wind turbine deployment strategies delays 2 °C warming by 3–10 years, or in the case of RCP4.5 avoids passing this threshold altogether. To maximize these climate benefits, deployment of non-fossil electricity generation must be coupled with reduced energy use.

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Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population

Jaume Forcada & Joseph Ivan Hoffman
Nature, 24 July 2014, Pages 462–465

Abstract:
Global environmental change is expected to alter selection pressures in many biological systems, but the long-term molecular and life history data required to quantify changes in selection are rare. An unusual opportunity is afforded by three decades of individual-based data collected from a declining population of Antarctic fur seals in the South Atlantic. Here, climate change has reduced prey availability and caused a significant decline in seal birth weight. However, the mean age and size of females recruiting into the breeding population are increasing. We show that such females have significantly higher heterozygosity (a measure of within-individual genetic variation) than their non-recruiting siblings and their own mothers. Thus, breeding female heterozygosity has increased by 8.5% per generation over the last two decades. Nonetheless, as heterozygosity is not inherited from mothers to daughters, substantial heterozygote advantage is not transmitted from one generation to the next and the decreasing viability of homozygous individuals causes the population to decline. Our results provide compelling evidence that selection due to climate change is intensifying, with far-reaching consequences for demography as well as phenotypic and genetic variation.

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Harmonization of initial estimates of shale gas life cycle greenhouse gas emissions for electric power generation

Garvin Heath et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 August 2014, Pages E3167–E3176

Abstract:
Recent technological advances in the recovery of unconventional natural gas, particularly shale gas, have served to dramatically increase domestic production and reserve estimates for the United States and internationally. This trend has led to lowered prices and increased scrutiny on production practices. Questions have been raised as to how greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the life cycle of shale gas production and use compares with that of conventionally produced natural gas or other fuel sources such as coal. Recent literature has come to different conclusions on this point, largely due to differing assumptions, comparison baselines, and system boundaries. Through a meta-analytical procedure we call harmonization, we develop robust, analytically consistent, and updated comparisons of estimates of life cycle GHG emissions for electricity produced from shale gas, conventionally produced natural gas, and coal. On a per-unit electrical output basis, harmonization reveals that median estimates of GHG emissions from shale gas-generated electricity are similar to those for conventional natural gas, with both approximately half that of the central tendency of coal. Sensitivity analysis on the harmonized estimates indicates that assumptions regarding liquids unloading and estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of wells have the greatest influence on life cycle GHG emissions, whereby shale gas life cycle GHG emissions could approach the range of best-performing coal-fired generation under certain scenarios. Despite clarification of published estimates through harmonization, these initial assessments should be confirmed through methane emissions measurements at components and in the atmosphere and through better characterization of EUR and practices.

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Accelerated flooding along the U. S. East Coast: On the impact of sea level rise, tides, storms, the Gulf Stream and NAO

Tal Ezer & Larry Atkinson
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies identified the U.S. East Coast north of Cape Hatteras as a “hotspot” for accelerated sea level rise (SLR), and the analysis presented here show that the area is also a “hotspot for accelerated flooding”. The duration of minor tidal flooding (defined as 0.3 m above MHHW) has accelerated in recent years for most coastal locations from the Gulf of Maine to Florida. The average increase in annual minor flooding duration was ~20 hours from the period until 1970 to 1971–1990, and ~50 hours from 1971–1990 to 1991–2013; spatial variations in acceleration of flooding resembles the spatial variations of acceleration in sea level. The increase in minor flooding can be predicted from SLR and tidal range, but the frequency of extreme storm-surge flooding events (0.9 m above MHHW) is less predictable, and affected by the North Atlantic Oscillations (NAO). The number of extreme storm surge events since 1960 oscillates with a period of ~15-year and interannual variations in the number of storms is anti-correlated with the NAO index. With higher seas, there are also more flooding events that are unrelated to storm surges. For example, it is demonstrated that week-long flooding events in Norfolk, VA, are often related to periods of decrease in the Florida Current transport. The results indicate that previously reported connections between decadal variations in the Gulf Stream and coastal sea level may also apply to short-term variations, so flood predictions may be improved if the Gulf Stream influence is considered.

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Threat to future global food security from climate change and ozone air pollution

Amos Tai, Maria Val Martin & Colette Heald
Nature Climate Change, September 2014, Pages 817–821

Abstract:
Future food production is highly vulnerable to both climate change and air pollution with implications for global food security. Climate change adaptation and ozone regulation have been identified as important strategies to safeguard food production, but little is known about how climate and ozone pollution interact to affect agriculture, nor the relative effectiveness of these two strategies for different crops and regions. Here we present an integrated analysis of the individual and combined effects of 2000–2050 climate change and ozone trends on the production of four major crops (wheat, rice, maize and soybean) worldwide based on historical observations and model projections, specifically accounting for ozone–temperature co-variation. The projections exclude the effect of rising CO2, which has complex and potentially offsetting impacts on global food supply. We show that warming reduces global crop production by >10% by 2050 with a potential to substantially worsen global malnutrition in all scenarios considered. Ozone trends either exacerbate or offset a substantial fraction of climate impacts depending on the scenario, suggesting the importance of air quality management in agricultural planning. Furthermore, we find that depending on region some crops are primarily sensitive to either ozone (for example, wheat) or heat (for example, maize) alone, providing a measure of relative benefits of climate adaptation versus ozone regulation for food security in different regions.

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Stratospheric ozone response to a solar irradiance reduction in a quadrupled CO2 environment

Charles Jackman & Eric Fleming
Earth's Future, July 2014, Pages 331–340

Abstract:
We used the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) global two-dimensional (2D) atmospheric model to investigate the stratospheric ozone response to a proposed geoengineering activity wherein a reduced top-of-atmosphere (TOA) solar irradiance is imposed to help counteract a quadrupled CO2 atmosphere. This study is similar to the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) Experiment G1. Three primary simulations were completed with the GSFC 2D model to examine this possibility: (A) a pre-industrial atmosphere with a boundary condition of 285 ppmv CO2 (piControl); (B) a base future atmosphere with 1140 ppmv CO2 (abrupt4xCO2); and (C) a perturbed future atmosphere with 1140 ppmv CO2 and a 4% reduction in the TOA total solar irradiance (G1). We found huge ozone enhancements throughout most of the stratosphere (up to 40%) as a result of a large computed temperature decrease (up to 18 K) when CO2 was quadrupled (compare simulation abrupt4xCO2 to piControl). Further, we found that ozone will additionally increase (up to 5%) throughout most of the stratosphere with total ozone increases of 1–2.5% as a result of a reduction in TOA total solar irradiance (compare simulation G1 to abrupt4xCO2). Decreases of atomic oxygen and temperature are the main drivers of this computed ozone enhancement from a reduction in TOA total solar irradiance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Face value

Should Women Applicants “Man Up” for Traditionally Masculine Fields? Effectiveness of Two Verbal Identity Management Strategies

Jennifer Wessel et al.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Due to gender-based bias, women can be at a disadvantage when trying to enter into traditionally masculine fields (e.g., engineering) or job positions (e.g., top management). The present study examined the effectiveness of two verbal gender presentation strategies that women might be able to use to improve their evaluations in traditionally masculine hiring contexts: verbalizing agentic traits (describing oneself in terms of stereotypically masculine traits) and gender acknowledgment. In a laboratory study, 674 participants evaluated either a female or a male applicant applying for a traditionally masculine position in a traditionally masculine field (engineering manager). Results showed that verbalizing one’s agentic traits resulted in favorable fit evaluations for the female applicant but not the male applicant. Further, acknowledging one’s gender resulted in negative personal evaluations for both female and male applicants. Our findings suggest that applicants’ decisions concerning how to manage their gender presentation can influence how they are evaluated and that women seeking entry into traditionally masculine occupations may want to describe themselves in agentic terms and avoid acknowledging their gender.

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The Earnings of Less Educated Asian American Men: Educational Selectivity and the Model Minority Image

ChangHwan Kim & Arthur Sakamoto
Social Problems, May 2014, Pages 283-304

Abstract:
Asian Americans have long been popularly portrayed as a “model minority” that has achieved approximate labor market parity with whites. However, this characterization has been alternatively described as “a destructive myth,” especially for those who do not have high levels of education. Our analysis focuses on less educated Asian Americans who may be particularly neglected in the labor market because of their incongruence with the model minority image. Consistent with this focus, we specify quantile regression models that estimate net racial effects at both the lower and the higher ends of the distribution of earnings. The results indicate that Asian American men who drop out of high school earn substantially less than comparable whites at the low end of the earnings distribution. This pattern of racial differentials seems to be consistent with the “destructive myth” perspective and inconsistent with the alternative explanation of negative educational selectivity. In general, our findings illustrate the fruitfulness of Kevin Leicht’s (2008) proposed research agenda of studying racial disadvantage by disaggregated class-related groupings and across the entire distribution of earnings rather than focusing exclusively on one overall racial differential that is assessed as a conditional mean.

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Risky Spaces, Gendered Places: The Effect of Risky Contexts on Women and Men’s Performance

Susan Fisk
Stanford University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Power, money, status, and other important societal rewards are frequently earned in risky settings; therefore, performance in these contexts has broad implications for the distribution of resources in society. However, risk-taking itself is extremely masculinized, which may lead women to perform worse in risky contexts. This paper explores whether risky contexts depress the task performance of women using data from a laboratory experiment as well as data from a large undergraduate engineering course. I find that women have worse task performance than men in risky contexts, independent of the gendering of the task and even when baseline performance is controlled. This “risky contexts” phenomenon may perpetuate gender inequality due to the societal rewards that often accompany performance in risky settings and may even contribute to the dearth of women in positions of leadership and power. Possible interventions to counteract this “risky contexts” phenomenon are discussed.

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Black–White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers: A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tipping

Zachary Brewster & Michael Lynn
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is a rich history of social science research centering on racial inequalities that continue to be observed across various markets (e.g., labor, housing, and credit markets) and social milieus. Existing research on racial discrimination in consumer markets is, however, relatively scarce and that which has been done has disproportionately focused on consumers as the victims of race-based mistreatment. As such, we know relatively little about how consumers contribute to inequalities in their roles as perpetrators of racial discrimination. In response, in this article, we elaborate on a line of research that is only in its infancy stages of development and yet is ripe with opportunities to advance the literature on consumer racial discrimination and racial earnings inequities among tip-dependent employees in the United States. Specifically, we analyze data derived from an exit survey of restaurant consumers (N = 394) in an attempt to replicate, extend, and further explore the recently documented effect of service providers’ race on restaurant consumers’ tipping decisions. Our results indicate that both white and black restaurant customers discriminate against black servers by tipping them less than their white co-workers. Importantly, we find no evidence that this black tip penalty is the result of inter-racial differences in service skills possessed by black and white servers. We conclude by delineating directions for future research in this neglected but salient area of study.

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The Status of Employment Discrimination Suits in Police and Fire Departments Across the United States

Norma Riccucci & Karina Saldivar
Review of Public Personnel Administration, September 2014, Pages 263-288

Abstract:
Research indicates that women and people of color have made progress in gaining entry-level jobs in government, particularly at the federal level, but still lag behind in gaining positions at the upper levels. But, can the same be said for police and fire departments which have had perhaps the worst history of employment discrimination against women and people of color? This study seeks to answer this question by examining the extent to which race, gender or ethnic discrimination suits are being filed against city fire and police departments across the country, and at what level — entry or senior. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ricci v. DeStefano has renewed interest in this issue. Interestingly enough, while this study expected to find that lawsuits against police and fire departments are being filed by women and people of color in order to improve their representation in the uniformed services, it found just the opposite — the preponderance of the lawsuits filed against police and fire departments are “reverse discrimination” suits, filed by White men.

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Sounding Like Your Race in the Employment Process: An Experiment on Speaker Voice, Race Identification, and Stereotyping

Eric Kushins
Race and Social Problems, September 2014, Pages 237-248

Abstract:
Research has shown that listeners can identify black and white speakers with high accuracy rates from voice alone, but few studies have investigated whether individuals can identify Asian American native English speakers. In a three-part hypothetical employment process experiment, recordings of white, black, and US-born Asian American voices are used to test participants’ (N = 49) race identification of unseen speakers, evaluations of speakers’ employability, and accuracy of race identification with the introduction of headshots. Key findings show the following: judges demonstrate high accuracy rates of identifying white and black speakers based on voice alone, judges rated the black speaker at least eight times less likely to be hired than the white and Asian American speakers, and accuracy rates of race identification for the Asian American speaker rose dramatically with the introduction of headshots. The study contributes to research on Asian American English speech and extends work on stereotyping and employment discrimination.

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Two Brief Interventions to Mitigate a “Chilly Climate” Transform Women’s Experience, Relationships, and Achievement in Engineering

Gregory Walton et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
A randomized-controlled trial tested two brief interventions designed to mitigate the effects of a “chilly climate” women may experience in engineering, especially in male-dominated fields. Participants were students entering a selective university engineering program. The social-belonging intervention aimed to protect students’ sense of belonging in engineering by providing a nonthreatening narrative with which to interpret instances of adversity. The affirmation-training intervention aimed to help students manage stress that can arise from social marginalization by incorporating diverse aspects of their self-identity in their daily academic lives. As expected, gender differences and intervention effects were concentrated in male-dominated majors (<20% women). In these majors, as compared to control conditions, both interventions raised women’s school-reported engineering grade-point-average (GPA) over the full academic year, eliminating gender differences. Both also led women to view daily adversities as more manageable and improved women’s academic attitudes. However, the two interventions had divergent effects on women’s social experiences. The social-belonging intervention helped women integrate into engineering, for instance increasing friendships with male engineers. Affirmation-training helped women develop external resources, deepening their identification with their gender group. The results highlight how social marginalization contributes to gender inequality in quantitative fields and two potential remedies.

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Affirmative Action Bans and Black Admission Outcomes: Selection-Corrected Estimates from UC Law Schools

Danny Yagan
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
The consequences of banning affirmative action depend on schools' ability and willingness to avoid it. This paper uses rich application-level data to estimate the effect of the 1996 University of California affirmative action ban -- the first and largest ban -- on black admission advantages at UC law schools. Controlling for selective attrition from applicant pools, I find that the ban reduced the black admission rate from 61% to 31%. This implies that affirmative action ban avoidance is far from complete and suggests that affirmative action at law schools passes the constitutional test of not being easily replaced by non-racial alternatives. I further find that the affirmative action ban far from eliminated cross-sectional black admission advantages, which remained as high as 63 percentage points for applicants at the margin of being accepted or rejected. This suggests that UC schools were technologically able to sustain substantially higher black admission rates after the ban but were either unwilling or legally unable to do so.

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Underrepresentation of Women Writers in Best American Anthologies: The Role of Writing Genre and Editor Gender

Jean Oggins
Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Best American anthologies aim to publish the past-year’s best work from U.S. and Canadian magazines, journals, and newspapers. This study collected data on characteristics of pieces of writing (N = 4374) from Best American anthologies of short stories, poetry, essays, and nonfiction (on travel, science/nature and sports) published between 1978 and 2012 to see if selection of women’s pieces correlated with type of writing (genre), gender of the annual-issue editor, or original publication in 1 of the 6 most common (top-six) media sources in each genre. The study also asked if representation of women’s writing changed in 2011 after a women’s literary group reported women’s underrepresentation in the series. Findings showed better representation of women’s short stories and poetry than essays and especially nonfiction in the anthologies. Male editors — the majority of editors — tended to select more writing from men (especially essays and nonfiction) than from women, consistent with studies showing male scientists cite men’s work more than women’s. Men were also especially likely to have essays and science-writing selected from top-media. In 2011, 5 of 6 issue-editors chosen were women, and selected more women’s work than before. A multiple regression showed that selection of women’s writing correlated significantly and positively with (short-story) genre and publication in 2011 compared to before. Editor’s female gender was a marginally significant positive predictor. Publication in a top-science or essay journal correlated positively with selection of men’s work. The way genre and editor’s gender may compound bias towards publishing men’s writing is discussed.

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The Tweet Life of Erin and Kirk: A Gendered Analysis of Professional Sports Broadcasters’ Self-Presentation on Twitter

Melinda Weathers et al.
Journal of Sports Media, Fall 2014, Pages 1-24

Abstract:
Social media have been embraced by the sports world at an extraordinary pace and, as such, have become a viable avenue for sports broadcasters to redefine their roles as celebrities. However, given the differences in the ways females and males are utilized in sports broadcasts, it is plausible that differences also exist in how they present themselves. This study employed content analyses, guided by Goffman’s (1959) seminal theory of self-presentation to compare Erin Andrews and Kirk Herbstreit’s tweets during the 2012–2013 college football season. Findings indicate that both broadcasters’ self-presentation fell along traditional gender lines, as Andrews primarily discussed personal items, whereas Herbstreit largely provided sports-related commentary and analysis. The results suggest that although Twitter provides an avenue for female sports broadcasters to break down gender barriers, it currently serves to reify their subordinate sports-media roles.

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Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars

Irene De Pater, Timothy Judge & Brent Scott
Journal of Management Inquiry, October 2014, Pages 407-420

Abstract:
Research on the gender-wage gap shows equivocal evidence regarding its magnitude, which likely stems from the different wage-related variables researchers include in their calculations. To examine whether pay differentials solely based on gender exist, we focused on the earnings of top performing professionals within a specific occupation to rule out productivity-related explanations for the gender-wage gap. Specifically, we investigated the interaction of gender and age on the earnings of Hollywood top movie stars. The results reveal that the average earnings per film of female movie stars increase until the age of 34 but decrease rapidly thereafter. Male movie stars’ average earnings per film reach the maximum at age 51 and remain stable after that.

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On the blurring of the color line: Wages and employment for Black males of different skin tones

Daniel Kreisman & Marcos Rangel
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We evaluate the role skin color plays in earnings and employment for Black males in the NLSY97. By applying a novel, scaled measure of skin tone to a nationally representative sample, and by estimating the evolution of labor market differentials over time, we bridge a burgeoning literature on skin color with more established literatures on wage differentials and labor market discrimination. We find that while intra-racial wage gaps widen with experience, gaps between the lightest skinned Black workers and Whites remain constant, suggesting that a “blurring of the color line“ elicits subtle yet meaningful variation in earnings differentials over time.

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Discrimination and Employment Protection

Steinar Holden & Åsa Rosén
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study a search model with employment protection legislation. We show that if the output from the match is uncertain at the hiring stage, a discriminatory equilibrium may exist in which workers with the same productive characteristics are subject to different hiring standards. If a bad match takes place, discriminated workers will take longer to find another job, prolonging the costly period for the firm. This makes it less profitable for firms to hire discriminated workers, thus sustaining the discrimination. In contrast to Becker's model, the existence of employers with a taste for discrimination may make it more profitable to discriminate, even for firms without discriminatory preferences.

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Can a Summer Make a Difference? The Impact of the American Economic Association Summer Program on Minority Student Outcomes

Charles Becker, Cecilia Elena Rouse & Mingyu Chen
NBER Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
In the 1970s, the American Economic Association (AEA) was one of several professional associations to launch a summer program with the goal of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in its profession. In this paper we estimate the effectiveness of the AEA’s program which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to rigorously study such a summer program. Using a comparison group consisting of those who applied to, but did not attend, the program and controlling for an array of background characteristics, we find that program participants were over 40 percentage points more likely to apply to and attend a PhD program in economics, 26 percentage points more likely to complete a PhD, and about 15 percentage points more likely to ever work in an economics-related academic job. Using our estimates, we calculate that the program may directly account for 17-21 percent of the PhDs awarded to minorities in economics over the past 20 years.

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Academic Performance and Single-Sex Schooling: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Switzerland

Gerald Eisenkopf et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effects of random assignment to coeducational and single-sex classes on the academic performance of female high school students who all face the same curriculum. The students’ academic performance is observed over a time period of up to four years. Our estimation results show that single-sex schooling improves the performance of female students in mathematics. This positive effect is particularly large for female students with high ex-ante ability. An accompanying survey reveals that single-sex schooling also strengthens female students’ self-confidence and renders the self-assessment of their mathematics skills more level-headed.

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Understanding Differences in College Enrollment: Race, Class and Cultural Capital

David Merolla & Omari Jackson
Race and Social Problems, September 2014, Pages 280-292

Abstract:
Scholarship on race and class differences in educational outcomes has identified cultural capital, or cultural resources that can be utilized to increase educational success, as important mechanisms of educational inequality. However, despite substantial interest, the role of cultural capital in producing inequalities among American students remains unclear. In this research, we use nationally representative data from the Educational Longitudinal Study to clarify the relationships among race, social class, cultural capital and 4-year college enrollment. Using a theoretically based approach to operationalizing social class and measures of both cultural capital possession and activation, this research finds that while black students tend to possess fewer resources than their white counterparts at any class level, they activate cultural capital to a greater degree than white students. Results also show that while cultural capital can explain differences between low-income and middle-income students, a persistent middle-class advantage remains for both black and white students. Additionally, results indicate that at any class level, black students are more likely than their white counterparts to attend a 4-year university. Finally, results show that measures of cultural capital possession and activation have generally independent effects on college enrollment.

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Women Helping Women? Evidence from Private Sector Data on Workplace Hierarchies

Astrid Kunze & Amalia Miller
University of Virginia Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
This paper studies gender spillovers in career advancement using 11 years of employer-employee matched data on the population of white-collar workers at over 4,000 private-sector establishments in Norway. Our data include unusually detailed job information for each worker, which enables us to define seven hierarchical ranks that are consistent across establishments and over time in order to measure promotions (defined as year-to-year rank increases) even for individuals who change employers. We first find that women have significantly lower promotion rates than men across all ranks of the corporate hierarchy, even after controlling for a range of individual characteristics (age, education, tenure, experience) and including fixed effects for current rank, year, industry, and even work establishment. In measuring the effects of female coworkers, we find positive gender spillovers across ranks (flowing from higher-ranking to lower-ranking women) but negative spillovers within ranks. The finding that greater female representation at higher ranks narrows the gender gap in promotion rates at lower ranks suggests that policies that increase female representation in corporate leadership can have spillover benefits to women in lowers ranks.

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The face says it all: CEOs, gender, and predicting corporate performance

Julianna Pillemer, Elizabeth Graham & Deborah Burke
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined relationships among CEOs' facial appearance, gender-linked traits, and the financial performance of their company as indicated by Fortune 1000 rank and company profits. Naïve college students rated traits based solely on the facial appearance of male and female CEOs whose companies were matched by Fortune 1000 rank. Female CEOs were rated higher than male CEOs on communal traits (supportiveness, compassion, warmth), whereas male CEOs were rated higher than female CEOs on agentic traits (dominance, leadership, powerfulness), consistent with social role theory. Correlations with company rank and/or profits were found for powerfulness for male CEOs, and for supportiveness, warmth and compassion for female CEOs. For female CEOs, a communal composite predicted company rank and profits, and an agentic composite marginally predicted company rank. The findings do not indicate why these variables are related, but implications for the association of gender-linked traits with top corporate leaders are discussed.

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Gendered Employment Trends and the Female College Boom

Vedant Koppera & Aashish Mehta
University of California Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
We ask whether shifting male and female employment patterns can help to explain why the US college boom between 1981 and 2005 was dominated by women. We make three contributions. First, we show that while a massive feminization of high-wage, high-skill occupations plausibly contributed to the female college boom, general, structural movements of labor (undifferentiated by gender) from industrial work into education-intensive services should have encouraged male rather than female college attendance. Previous work has suggested that both types of employment shifts would have contributed to the female college boom. Second, we show that women’s occupational upgrading was too large and ubiquitous to be explained by their growing educational advantage. This is consistent with a causal connection running from gendered employment trends to a female college boom. Third, we show that gender specializations in many occupations deepened, with college educated women gravitating towards jobs offering institutionally protected wages.

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Why Do Women’s Fields of Study Pay Less? A Test of Devaluation, Human Capital, and Gender Role Theory

Fabian Ochsenfeld
European Sociological Review, August 2014, Pages 536-548

Abstract:
As men are overrepresented in lucrative fields and women disproportionately graduate from disciplines that yield low wages in the labour market, horizontal sex segregation in higher education contributes significantly to economic gender inequality. However, what underlies the association between sex composition and wages in fields of study? We draw on data from the German HIS Graduate Panel Study 1997 (N = 4,092) and use hierarchical linear models to adjudicate between devaluation theory and explanations based on differential sorting processes: human capital and gender role theory. The resulting evidence for both human capital and devaluation theory is scant. Consistent with gender role theory, differences in the attractiveness of fields to students with a careerist approach to higher education and the labour market in turn explain most of the association between field of studies’ sex composition and wage levels. We therefore conclude that gendered patterns of self-selection that derive from men’s socialization into the breadwinner role rather than valuative discrimination or rational anticipation of career interruptions underlie the association between fields’ sex composition and wage levels.

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Do single-sex schools make girls more competitive?

Soohyung Lee, Muriel Niederle & Namwook Kang
Economics Letters, September 2014, Pages 474–477

Abstract:
We examine the effect of single-sex schooling on students’ competitiveness by studying middle school students in Seoul who were randomly assigned to either single-sex or coeducational schools within their school districts. Contrary to popular belief and existing studies, our results suggest that single-sex schooling does not reduce the gender gap in competitiveness conditional on student and parental characteristics.

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Wages, Employment, and Statistical Discrimination: Evidence from the Laboratory

David Dickinson & Ronald Oaxaca
Economic Inquiry, October 2014, Pages 1380–1391

Abstract:
We report results from laboratory experiments designed to examine statistical discrimination. Our design expands upon existing research by generating data both on wage contracts and unemployment rates of directly competing worker groups. We find some evidence for statistical wage discrimination against workers having an identical expected productivity but a higher productivity variance. However, those same subjects are less likely to be unemployed, suggesting that our employer-subjects view hiring choice and wage contracts as substitutable. A clear implication is that field data discrimination estimates based on wages alone may overestimate the true impact of such discrimination.

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Are Asian American Women Advantaged? Labor Market Performance of College Educated Female Workers

ChangHwan Kim & Yang Zhao
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research reveals that the labor-market performance of Asian American women exceeds that of white women. Using the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates, this study investigates the aspects of the labor market in which the Asian advantage may occur — unemployment, annual earnings, and the number of people supervised. Our results show that when controlling for field of study, college type, region of residence, and other demographic variables, none of the Asian American female groups are advantaged on any of the three aspects. Contrary to the popular perception, even native-born Asian American women are not advantaged. Instead, they are more likely than white women to be unemployed, and once employed they are less likely to attain positions that involve supervising a large number of people. Asian American women who immigrated after high school are disadvantaged in all three respects, even if they earn their highest degree at a US institution. Those who immigrated before high school fare better than other Asian American groups, but they are still disadvantaged in terms of the number of people supervised. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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The Importance of Cost of Living and Education in Estimates of the Conditional Wage Gap Between Black and White Women

Peter McHenry & Melissa McInerney
Journal of Human Resources, Summer 2014, Pages 695-722

Abstract:
While evidence about discrimination in U.S. labor markets typically implies preferential treatment for whites, recent studies document a substantial wage premium for black women (for example, Fryer 2011). Although differential selection of black and white women into the labor market has been a suggested explanation, we demonstrate that accounting for selection does not eliminate the estimated premium. We then incorporate two additional omitted variables recently documented in the literature: (1) local cost of living and (2) years of education attained, conditional on AFQT score. After controlling for these variables, we find no evidence of a wage premium for black women.

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The Influence of Labor Market Changes on First-Time Medical School Applicant Pools

David Cort & Emory Morrison
Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: To explore whether the number and composition of first-time applicants to U.S. MD-granting medical schools, which have fluctuated over the past 30 years, are related to changes in labor market strength, specifically the unemployment rate and wages.

Method: The authors merged time series data from 1980 through 2010 (inclusive) from five sources and used multivariate time series models to determine whether changes in labor market strength (and several other macro-level factors) were related to the number of the medical school applicants as reported by the American Medical College Application Service. Analyses were replicated across specific sex and race/ethnicity applicant pools.

Results: Two results surfaced in the analyses. First, the strength of the labor market was not influential in explaining changes in applicant pool sizes for all applicants, but was strongly influential in explaining changes for black and Hispanic males. Increases of $1,000 in prevailing median wages produced a 1.6% decrease in the white male applicant pool, while 1% increases in the unemployment rate were associated with 4.5% and 3.1% increases in, respectively, the black and Hispanic male applicant pools. Second, labor market strength was a more important determinant in applications from males than in applications from females.

Conclusions: Although stakeholders cannot directly influence the overall economic market, they can plan and prepare for fewer applications from males, especially those who are black and Hispanic, when the labor market is strong.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, September 1, 2014

Intelligentsia

Publication bias in the social sciences: Unlocking the file drawer

Annie Franco, Neil Malhotra & Gabor Simonovits
Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study publication bias in the social sciences by analyzing a known population of conducted studies - 221 in total - where there is a full accounting of what is published and unpublished. We leverage TESS, an NSF-sponsored program where researchers propose survey-based experiments to be run on representative samples of American adults. Because TESS proposals undergo rigorous peer review, the studies in the sample all exceed a substantial quality threshold. Strong results are 40 percentage points more likely to be published than null results, and 60 percentage points more likely to be written up. We provide not only direct evidence of publication bias, but also identify the stage of research production at which publication bias occurs - authors do not write up and submit null findings.

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Thomas Edison's Creative Career: The Multilayered Trajectory of Trials, Errors, Failures, and Triumphs

Dean Keith Simonton
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Thomas Edison is widely considered to be one of the greatest inventive geniuses who ever lived. Therefore, his total output of 1,093 patents was used to study the trajectory of his creative career, including both failures and triumphs. The study specifically examined 2 hypotheses about how the creative process operates across the career course. First, creativity will incorporate some form of blind-variation and selective-retention. Second, creative productivity will be enhanced by engagement in a "network of enterprises." To test these 2 hypotheses, the 1,093 patents were first assigned to 8 separate subject areas: (a) miscellany, (b) telegraphy and telephony, (c) phonographs and sound recording, (d) electric light and power, (e) mining and ore milling, (f) batteries, (g) motion pictures, and (h) cement. The patents were then tabulated into both 1- and 5-year age periods according to Edison's chronological age at the time each was executed. Quantitative analyses were then applied to determine the age-wise trends and clustering of the patents across the course of his 64-year career. In addition, direct comparisons were made to a nomothetic baseline predicted by a mathematical model of creative productivity. The quantitative analyses were complemented by qualitative treatments of Edison's creative career. All told, the 2 hypotheses received considerable empirical support. Tellingly, the inventor's phenomenal triumphs notwithstanding, he could not avoid even catastrophic failures.

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Scientific misbehavior in economics

Sarah Necker
Research Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered "questionable," e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice. Surveyed economists perceive strong pressure to publish. The level of justifiability assigned to different misdemeanors does not increase with the perception of pressure. However, perceived pressure is found to be positively related to the admission of being involved in several unaccepted research practices. Although the results cannot prove causality, they are consistent with the notion that the "publish or perish" culture motivates researchers to violate research norms.

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The Research Productivity of New PhDs in Economics: The Surprisingly High Non-success of the Successful

John Conley & Ali Sina Onder
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2014, Pages 205-216

Abstract:
We study the research productivity of new graduates from North American PhD programs in economics from 1986 to 2000. We find that research productivity drops off very quickly with class rank at all departments, and that the rank of the graduate departments themselves provides a surprisingly poor prediction of future research success. For example, at the top ten departments as a group, the median graduate has fewer than 0.03 American Economic Review (AER)-equivalent publications at year six after graduation, an untenurable record almost anywhere. We also find that PhD graduates of equal percentile rank from certain lower-ranked departments have stronger publication records than their counterparts at higher-ranked departments. In our data, for example, Carnegie Mellon's graduates at the 85th percentile of year-six research productivity outperform 85th percentile graduates of the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, and Berkeley. These results suggest that even the top departments are not doing a very good job of training the great majority of their students to be successful research economists. Hiring committees may find these results helpful when trying to balance class rank and place of graduate in evaluating job candidates, and current graduate students may wish to re-evaluate their academic strategies in light of these findings.

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Academic Honors and Performance

Ho Fai Chan et al.
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the social importance of awards, they have been largely disregarded by academic research in economics. This paper investigates whether receiving prestigious academic awards -- the John Bates Clark Medal and the Fellowship of the Econometric Society -- is associated with higher subsequent research productivity and status compared to a synthetic control group of non-recipient scholars with similar previous research performance. Our results suggest statistically significant positive publication and citation differences after award receipt.

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Preventing Economists' Capture

Luigi Zingales
University of Chicago Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
The very same forces that induce economists to conclude that regulators are captured should lead us to conclude that the economic profession is captured as well. As evidence of this capture, I show that papers whose conclusions are pro-management are more likely to be published in economic journals and more likely to be cited. I also show that business schools' faculty write papers that are more pro management. I highlight possible remedies to reduce the extent of this capture: from a reform of the publication process, to an enhanced data disclosure, from a stronger theoretical foundation to a mechanism of peer pressure. Ultimately, the most important remedy, however, is awareness, an awareness most economists still do not have.

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Do ABCs Get More Citations than XYZs?

Wei Huang
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a sample of U.S.-based scientific journal articles, I examine the relationship between author surname initials and paper citations, finding that the papers with first authors whose surname initials appear earlier in the alphabet get more citations, and that this effect does not exist for non-first authors. Further analysis shows that the alphabetical order effect is stronger in those fields with longer reference lists, and that such alphabetical bias exists among citations by others and not for self-citations. In addition, estimates also reveal that the alphabetical order effect is stronger when the length of reference lists in citing papers is longer. These findings suggest that the order in reference lists plays an important role in the alphabetical bias.

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Linguistic Traces of a Scientific Fraud: The Case of Diederik Stapel

David Markowitz & Jeffrey Hancock
PLoS ONE, August 2014

Abstract:
When scientists report false data, does their writing style reflect their deception? In this study, we investigated the linguistic patterns of fraudulent (N = 24; 170,008 words) and genuine publications (N = 25; 189,705 words) first-authored by social psychologist Diederik Stapel. The analysis revealed that Stapel's fraudulent papers contained linguistic changes in science-related discourse dimensions, including more terms pertaining to methods, investigation, and certainty than his genuine papers. His writing style also matched patterns in other deceptive language, including fewer adjectives in fraudulent publications relative to genuine publications. Using differences in language dimensions we were able to classify Stapel's publications with above chance accuracy. Beyond these discourse dimensions, Stapel included fewer co-authors when reporting fake data than genuine data, although other evidentiary claims (e.g., number of references and experiments) did not differ across the two article types. This research supports recent findings that language cues vary systematically with deception, and that deception can be revealed in fraudulent scientific discourse.

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Piracy and New Product Creation: A Bollywood Story

Rahul Telang & Joel Waldfogel
Carnegie Mellon University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
While copyright research in the decade following Napster focused mostly on whether file sharing undermines demand, research has more recently asked how piracy and other aspects of digitization affect the supply of new products. Although revenue has declined sharply, evidence that weakened effective copyright protection undermines creation has been elusive. Instead, because of cost-reducing effects of digitization, the number of new recorded music products - and their apparent quality - has increased. This study examines movie production in India during a period of technological change that facilitated large-scale piracy. The diffusion of the VCR and cable television in India between 1985 and 2000 created substantial opportunities for unpaid movie consumption. We use this episode to study possible impacts of piracy on supply. We first document, from narrative sources, conditions conducive to piracy as these technologies diffused. We then provide strong circumstantial evidence of piracy in diminished appropriability: movies' revenues fell by a third to a half, conditional on their ratings by movie-goers and their ranks in their annual revenue distributions. Weaker effective demand undermined creative incentives. While the number of new movies released had grown steadily from 1960 to 1985, it fell markedly between 1985 and 2000, suggesting a supply elasticity in the range of 0.2-0.7. Thus, our study provides affirmative evidence on a central tenet of copyright policy, that stronger effective copyright protection effects more creation. We contrast our findings with evidence from other contexts.

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Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms

Lauren Cohen, Umit Gurun & Scott Duke Kominers
NBER Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We provide theoretical and empirical evidence on the evolution and impact of non-practicing entities (NPEs) in the intellectual property space. Heterogeneity in innovation, given a cost of commercialization, results in NPEs that choose to act as "patent trolls" that chase operating firms' innovations even if those innovations are not clearly infringing on the NPEs' patents. We support these predictions using a novel, large dataset of patents targeted by NPEs. We show that NPEs on average target firms that are flush with cash (or have just had large positive cash shocks). Furthermore, NPEs target firm profits arising from exogenous cash shocks unrelated to the allegedly infringing patents. We next show that NPEs target firms irrespective of the closeness of those firms' patents to the NPEs', and that NPEs typically target firms that are busy with other (non-IP related) lawsuits or are likely to settle. Lastly, we show that NPE litigation has a negative real impact on the future innovative activity of targeted firms.

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Is the Time Allocated to Review Patent Applications Inducing Examiners to Grant Invalid Patents?: Evidence from Micro-Level Application Data

Michael Frakes & Melissa Wasserman
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
This paper explores how examiner behavior is altered by the time allocated for reviewing a patent application. Insufficient examination time may crowd out examiner search effort, impeding the ability to form time-intensive prior-art-based rejections (especially, obviousness rejections) and thus leaving examiners more inclined to grant otherwise invalid applications. To test this prediction, we trace the behavior of individual examiners over the course of a series of certain promotions that carry with them a substantial reduction in expected examination time. For these purposes, we use novel micro-level application data spanning a ten year period and estimate examiner fixed-effects specifications that allow us to control flexibly for examiner heterogeneity. We find evidence demonstrating that search efforts and time-intensive rejections indeed fall, while granting tendencies rise, upon the promotions of interest. Assuming that patent examiners will tend to make the correct patentability determinations when provided sufficient examination time, our results suggest that the present schedule of time allotments may be inducing patent examiners to grant patents that otherwise fail to meet the patentability requirements.

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Patents and Cumulative Innovation: Causal Evidence from the Courts

Alberto Galasso & Mark Schankerman
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Cumulative innovation is central to economic growth. Do patent rights facilitate or impede follow-on innovation? We study the causal effect of removing patent rights by court invalidation on subsequent research related to the focal patent, as measured by later citations. We exploit random allocation of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to control for endogeneity of patent invalidation. Patent invalidation leads to a 50 percent increase in citations to the focal patent, on average, but the impact is heterogeneous and depends on characteristics of the bargaining environment. Patent rights block downstream innovation in computers, electronics and medical instruments, but not in drugs, chemicals or mechanical technologies. Moreover, the effect is entirely driven by invalidation of patents owned by large patentees that triggers more follow-on innovation by small firms.

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Roads and Innovation

Ajay Agrawal, Alberto Galasso & Alexander Oettl
University of Toronto Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We study the interplay between transportation infrastructure, knowledge flows, and innovation. Exploiting historical data on planned portions of the interstate highway system, railroads, and exploration routes as sources of exogenous variation, we estimate the effect of U.S. interstate highways on regional innovation. We find that a 10% increase in a region's stock of highways causes a 1.7% increase in regional patenting over a five-year period. We show that roads facilitate the flow of local knowledge and allow innovators to access more distant knowledge inputs. This finding suggests that transportation infrastructure may spur regional growth above and beyond the more commonly discussed agglomeration economies that are predicated on an inflow of new workers.

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Cities and the geographical deconcentration of scientific activity: A multilevel analysis of publications (1987-2007)

Michel Grossetti et al.
Urban Studies, August 2014, Pages 2219-2234

Abstract:
Most current scientific policies incorporate debates on cities and the geographic organisation of scientific activity. Research on 'world cities' develops the idea that interconnected agglomerations can better take advantage of international competition. Thus, the increasing concentration of activities in these cities at the expense of others could be observed by certain scholars using measures based on scientific publications. Others, however, show that an opposite trend is emerging: the largest cities are undergoing a relative decline in a country's scientific activities. To go beyond this seeming contradiction, this paper provides a global analysis of all countries with papers in the Web of Science over the period 1987-2007. The author's addresses were geocoded and grouped into agglomerations. Registering of papers was based on the fractional counting of multi-authored publications, and the results are unambiguous: deconcentration is the dominant trend both globally and within countries, with some exceptions for which explanations are suggested.

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Do Art Galleries Stimulate Redevelopment?

Jenny Schuetz
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
New York City is often held up as a successful example of arts-led economic development. Case studies have documented the influx of avant-garde artists and galleries into several neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, Soho, and Chelsea, followed by yuppies and boutiques. Some researchers have used these examples to argue that artists and galleries can spur gentrification. An alternative hypothesis is that galleries choose to locate in neighborhoods with high levels of amenities. In this paper, I examine whether concentrations of galleries in Manhattan are associated with redevelopment of surrounding neighborhoods, conditional on initial neighborhood amenities. Results indicate that new galleries locate in high amenity, affluent neighborhoods, and near existing star galleries. In simple bivariate regressions, star gallery density is positively correlated with several metrics of building change. However, these correlations diminish when controls are added for initial neighborhood physical and economic conditions, and weaken still further under an IV approach. Results are consistent with galleries selecting neighborhoods that have a higher propensity to redevelop, due to the presence of observed and unobserved amenities.

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Migrant and ethnic diversity, cities and innovation: Firm effects or city effects?

Neil Lee
Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
The growing cultural diversity caused by immigration is seen as important for innovation. Research has focused on two potential mechanisms: a firm effect, with diversity at the firm level improving knowledge sourcing or ideas generation, and a city effect, where diverse cities help firms innovate. This article uses a dataset of over 2000 UK small- and medium-sized enterprises to test between these two. Controlling for firm characteristics, city characteristics and firm and city diversity, there is strong evidence for the firm effect. Firms with a greater share of migrant owners or partners are more likely to introduce new products and processes. This effect has diminishing returns, suggesting that it is a 'diversity' effect rather than simply the benefits of migrant run firms. However, there is no relationship between the share of foreign workers in a local labour market or fractionalization by country of birth and firm level innovation, nor do migrant-run firms in diverse cities appear particularly innovative. But urban context does matter and firms in London with more migrant owners and partners are more innovative than others. Firms in cities with high levels of human capital are also more innovative.

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Defensive Publishing by a Leading Firm

Justin Johnson
Information Economics and Policy, September 2014, Pages 15-27

Abstract:
I consider the use of defensive publishing by a firm with a patentable innovation in hand. Such publishing discloses technical information to rivals and foregoes the publisher's legal right to exclude, but also prevents rivals from patenting. My analysis identifies why firms choose defensive publishing over patenting and trade secrecy. I present summary data suggesting that defensive publishing has become more common recently, that the composition of firms using it is changing, and that it has emerged especially as a response to the fear of bad patents being issued in the area of software and business methods. These data are consistent with my theoretical results.

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Do "Reverse Payment" Settlements of Brand-Generic Patent Disputes in the Pharmaceutical Industry Constitute an Anticompetitive Pay for Delay?

Keith Drake, Martha Starr & Thomas McGuire
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Brand and generic drug manufacturers frequently settle patent litigation on terms that include a payment to the generic manufacturer along with a specified date at which the generic would enter the market. The Federal Trade Commission contends that these agreements extend the brand's market exclusivity and amount to anticompetitive divisions of the market. The parties involved defend the settlements as normal business agreements that reduce business risk associated with litigation. The anticompetitive hypothesis implies brand stock prices should rise with announcement of the settlement. We classify 68 brand-generic settlements from 1993 to the present into those with and without an indication of a "reverse payment" from the brand to the generic, and conduct an event study of the announcement of the patent settlements on the stock price of the brand. For settlements with an indication of a reverse payment, brand stock prices rise on average 6% at the announcement. A "control group" of brand-generic settlements without indication of a reverse payment had no significant effect on the brands' stock prices. Our results support the hypothesis that settlements with a reverse payment increase the expected profits of the brand manufacturer and are anticompetitive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sign of the times

Craniofacial Feminization, Social Tolerance, and the Origins of Behavioral Modernity

Robert Cieri et al.
Current Anthropology, August 2014, Pages 419-443

Abstract:
The past 200,000 years of human cultural evolution have witnessed the persistent establishment of behaviors involving innovation, planning depth, and abstract and symbolic thought, or what has been called “behavioral modernity.” Demographic models based on increased human population density from the late Pleistocene onward have been increasingly invoked to understand the emergence of behavioral modernity. However, high levels of social tolerance, as seen among living humans, are a necessary prerequisite to life at higher population densities and to the kinds of cooperative cultural behaviors essential to these demographic models. Here we provide data on craniofacial feminization (reduction in average brow ridge projection and shortening of the upper facial skeleton) in Homo sapiens from the Middle Pleistocene to recent times. We argue that temporal changes in human craniofacial morphology reflect reductions in average androgen reactivity (lower levels of adult circulating testosterone or reduced androgen receptor densities), which in turn reflect the evolution of enhanced social tolerance since the Middle Pleistocene.

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Gone Country: An Investigation of Billboard Country Songs of the Year across Social and Economic Conditions in the United States

Jason Eastman & Terry Pettijohn
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Researchers have found that within the unfolding trends in pop culture, both pop music and the artists who perform pop songs vary predictably according to socioeconomic conditions. Popular songs are longer, slower, more lyrically meaningful, and in more somber sounding keys during difficult social and economic times. Furthermore, male and more mature-looking pop music performers are more successful during difficult economic times. In the current study, we assess the musical and lyrical properties along with the sex and age of the artists who recorded the 63 songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Annual Country Charts between 1946 and 2008. In contrast to findings on pop songs, country songs of the year are lyrically more positive, musically upbeat, and use more happy-sounding major chords during difficult socioeconomic times. While older country musicians are more popular in difficult socioeconomic times, unlike pop performers, the country artists of the year are more likely to be females when the social and economic environment is threatening. We hypothesize these differences exist because unlike the middle-class audiences who consume sadder popular songs because they match their affective mood in times of recession and social threat, the more marginalized working-class listeners of country music use happier sounding songs from comforting female figures, like the wives and mothers portrayed in country songs, as a catharsis in difficult socioeconomic times.

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Maritime route of colonization of Europe

Peristera Paschou et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 24 June 2014, Pages 9211–9216

Abstract:
The Neolithic populations, which colonized Europe approximately 9,000 y ago, presumably migrated from Near East to Anatolia and from there to Central Europe through Thrace and the Balkans. An alternative route would have been island hopping across the Southern European coast. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed genome-wide DNA polymorphisms on populations bordering the Mediterranean coast and from Anatolia and mainland Europe. We observe a striking structure correlating genes with geography around the Mediterranean Sea with characteristic east to west clines of gene flow. Using population network analysis, we also find that the gene flow from Anatolia to Europe was through Dodecanese, Crete, and the Southern European coast, compatible with the hypothesis that a maritime coastal route was mainly used for the migration of Neolithic farmers to Europe.

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Ancient DNA Analysis of 8000 B.C. Near Eastern Farmers Supports an Early Neolithic Pioneer Maritime Colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands

Eva Fernández et al.
PLoS Genetics, June 2014

Abstract:
The genetic impact associated to the Neolithic spread in Europe has been widely debated over the last 20 years. Within this context, ancient DNA studies have provided a more reliable picture by directly analyzing the protagonist populations at different regions in Europe. However, the lack of available data from the original Near Eastern farmers has limited the achieved conclusions, preventing the formulation of continental models of Neolithic expansion. Here we address this issue by presenting mitochondrial DNA data of the original Near-Eastern Neolithic communities with the aim of providing the adequate background for the interpretation of Neolithic genetic data from European samples. Sixty-three skeletons from the Pre Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) sites of Tell Halula, Tell Ramad and Dja'de El Mughara dating between 8,700–6,600 cal. B.C. were analyzed, and 15 validated mitochondrial DNA profiles were recovered. In order to estimate the demographic contribution of the first farmers to both Central European and Western Mediterranean Neolithic cultures, haplotype and haplogroup diversities in the PPNB sample were compared using phylogeographic and population genetic analyses to available ancient DNA data from human remains belonging to the Linearbandkeramik-Alföldi Vonaldiszes Kerámia and Cardial/Epicardial cultures. We also searched for possible signatures of the original Neolithic expansion over the modern Near Eastern and South European genetic pools, and tried to infer possible routes of expansion by comparing the obtained results to a database of 60 modern populations from both regions. Comparisons performed among the 3 ancient datasets allowed us to identify K and N-derived mitochondrial DNA haplogroups as potential markers of the Neolithic expansion, whose genetic signature would have reached both the Iberian coasts and the Central European plain. Moreover, the observed genetic affinities between the PPNB samples and the modern populations of Cyprus and Crete seem to suggest that the Neolithic was first introduced into Europe through pioneer seafaring colonization.

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Books Average Previous Decade of Economic Misery

Alexander Bentley et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2014

Abstract:
For the 20th century since the Depression, we find a strong correlation between a ‘literary misery index’ derived from English language books and a moving average of the previous decade of the annual U.S. economic misery index, which is the sum of inflation and unemployment rates. We find a peak in the goodness of fit at 11 years for the moving average. The fit between the two misery indices holds when using different techniques to measure the literary misery index, and this fit is significantly better than other possible correlations with different emotion indices. To check the robustness of the results, we also analysed books written in German language and obtained very similar correlations with the German economic misery index. The results suggest that millions of books published every year average the authors' shared economic experiences over the past decade.

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Close, But No Cigar: The Bimodal Rewards to Prize-Seeking

Gabriel Rossman & Oliver Schilke
American Sociological Review, February 2014, Pages 86-108

Abstract:
This article examines the economic effects of prizes with implications for the diversity of market positions, especially in cultural fields. Many prizes have three notable features that together yield an emergent reward structure: (1) consumers treat prizes as judgment devices when making purchase decisions, (2) prizes introduce sharp discontinuities between winners and also-rans, and (3) appealing to prize juries requires costly sacrifices of mass audience appeal. When all three conditions obtain, winning a prize is valuable, but seeking it is costly, so trying and failing yields the worst outcome — a logic we characterize as a Tullock lottery. We test the model with analyses of Oscar nominations and Hollywood films from 1985 through 2009. We create an innovative measure of prize-seeking, or “Oscar appeal,” on the basis of similarity to recent nominees in terms of such things as genre, plot keywords, and release date. We then show that Oscar appeal has no effect on profitability. However, this zero-order relationship conceals that returns to strong Oscar appeals are bimodal, with super-normal returns for nominees and large losses for snubs. We then argue that the effect of judgment devices on fields depends on how they structure and refract information.

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How arbitrary is language?

Padraic Monaghan et al.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 19 September 2014

Abstract:
It is a long established convention that the relationship between sounds and meanings of words is essentially arbitrary — typically the sound of a word gives no hint of its meaning. However, there are numerous reported instances of systematic sound–meaning mappings in language, and this systematicity has been claimed to be important for early language development. In a large-scale corpus analysis of English, we show that sound–meaning mappings are more systematic than would be expected by chance. Furthermore, this systematicity is more pronounced for words involved in the early stages of language acquisition and reduces in later vocabulary development. We propose that the vocabulary is structured to enable systematicity in early language learning to promote language acquisition, while also incorporating arbitrariness for later language in order to facilitate communicative expressivity and efficiency.

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An evolutionary model explaining the Neolithic transition from egalitarianism to leadership and despotism

Simon Powers & Laurent Lehmann
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 September 2014

Abstract:
The Neolithic was marked by a transition from small and relatively egalitarian groups to much larger groups with increased stratification. But, the dynamics of this remain poorly understood. It is hard to see how despotism can arise without coercion, yet coercion could not easily have occurred in an egalitarian setting. Using a quantitative model of evolution in a patch-structured population, we demonstrate that the interaction between demographic and ecological factors can overcome this conundrum. We model the coevolution of individual preferences for hierarchy alongside the degree of despotism of leaders, and the dispersal preferences of followers. We show that voluntary leadership without coercion can evolve in small groups, when leaders help to solve coordination problems related to resource production. An example is coordinating construction of an irrigation system. Our model predicts that the transition to larger despotic groups will then occur when: (i) surplus resources lead to demographic expansion of groups, removing the viability of an acephalous niche in the same area and so locking individuals into hierarchy; (ii) high dispersal costs limit followers' ability to escape a despot. Empirical evidence suggests that these conditions were probably met, for the first time, during the subsistence intensification of the Neolithic.

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Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change

Christopher Sandom et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 July 2014

Abstract:
The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial. To date, focus has been on the extinction chronology of individual or small groups of species, specific geographical regions or macroscale studies at very coarse geographical and taxonomic resolution, limiting the possibility of adequately testing the proposed hypotheses. We present, to our knowledge, the first global analysis of this extinction based on comprehensive country-level data on the geographical distribution of all large mammal species (more than or equal to 10 kg) that have gone globally or continentally extinct between the beginning of the Last Interglacial at 132 000 years BP and the late Holocene 1000 years BP, testing the relative roles played by glacial–interglacial climate change and humans. We show that the severity of extinction is strongly tied to hominin palaeobiogeography, with at most a weak, Eurasia-specific link to climate change. This first species-level macroscale analysis at relatively high geographical resolution provides strong support for modern humans as the primary driver of the worldwide megafauna losses during the late Quaternary.

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When Kerry Met Sally: Politics and Perceptions in the Demand for Movies

Jason Roos & Ron Shachar
Management Science, July 2014, Pages 1617-1631

Abstract:
Movie producers and exhibitors make various decisions requiring an understanding of moviegoer's preferences at the local level. Two examples of such decisions are exhibitors' allocation of screens to movies and producers' allocation of advertising across different regions of the country. This study presents a predictive model of local demand for movies with two unique features. First, arguing that consumers' political tendencies have an unutilized predictive power for marketing models, we allow consumers' heterogeneity to depend on their voting tendencies. Second, instead of relying on the commonly used genre classifications to characterize movies, we estimate latent movie attributes. These attributes are not determined a priori by industry professionals but rather reflect consumers' perceptions, as revealed by their moviegoing behavior. Box-office data over five years from 25 counties in the U.S. Midwest provide support for this model. First, consumers' preferences are related to their political tendencies. For example, we find that counties that voted for congressional Republicans prefer movies starring young, Caucasian, female actors over those starring African American, male actors. Second, perceived attributes provide new insights into consumers' preferences. For example, one of these attributes is the movie's degree of seriousness. Finally, and most importantly, the two improvements proposed here have a meaningful impact on forecasting error, decreasing it by 12.6%.

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Does culture affect local productivity and urban amenities?

Brahim Boualam
Regional Science and Urban Economics, May 2014, Pages 12–17

Abstract:
Does a better cultural milieu make a city more livable for residents and improve its business environment for firms? I compute a measure of cultural specialization for 346 U.S. metropolitan areas and ask if differences in cultural environment across cities capitalize into housing price and wage differentials. Simple correlations replicate standard results from the literature: cities that are more specialized in cultural occupations enjoy higher factor prices. Estimations using time-series data, controlling for city characteristics and correcting for endogeneity weaken the magnitude of this effect. Even though the arts and culture might be appealing to some people and firms, such determinants are not strong enough to affect factor prices at the city level.

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The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance

Tom Higham et al.
Nature, 21 August 2014, Pages 306–309

Abstract:
The timing of Neanderthal disappearance and the extent to which they overlapped with the earliest incoming anatomically modern humans (AMHs) in Eurasia are key questions in palaeoanthropology. Determining the spatiotemporal relationship between the two populations is crucial if we are to understand the processes, timing and reasons leading to the disappearance of Neanderthals and the likelihood of cultural and genetic exchange. Serious technical challenges, however, have hindered reliable dating of the period, as the radiocarbon method reaches its limit at ~50,000 years ago. Here we apply improved accelerator mass spectrometry 14C techniques to construct robust chronologies from 40 key Mousterian and Neanderthal archaeological sites, ranging from Russia to Spain. Bayesian age modelling was used to generate probability distribution functions to determine the latest appearance date. We show that the Mousterian ended by 41,030–39,260 calibrated years BP (at 95.4% probability) across Europe. We also demonstrate that succeeding ‘transitional’ archaeological industries, one of which has been linked with Neanderthals (Châtelperronian), end at a similar time. Our data indicate that the disappearance of Neanderthals occurred at different times in different regions. Comparing the data with results obtained from the earliest dated AMH sites in Europe, associated with the Uluzzian technocomplex, allows us to quantify the temporal overlap between the two human groups. The results reveal a significant overlap of 2,600–5,400 years (at 95.4% probability). This has important implications for models seeking to explain the cultural, technological and biological elements involved in the replacement of Neanderthals by AMHs. A mosaic of populations in Europe during the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition suggests that there was ample time for the transmission of cultural and symbolic behaviours, as well as possible genetic exchanges, between the two groups.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Identified

The Weight of Discrimination: The Relationship Between Heterosexist Discrimination and Obesity Among Lesbian Women

Ethan Mereish
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Lesbian women are at higher risk for obesity than heterosexual women. Yet, there is a dearth in research examining mechanisms that predict obesity among lesbian women. As one form of sexual minority stress, this study examined heterosexist discrimination as a mechanism in predicting risk for being overweight or obese, while accounting for factors usually associated with obesity. An online sample of adult lesbian women (N = 155) was recruited. Participants reported their demographics and health behaviors; they also completed measures assessing depression and heterosexist discrimination. Multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to examine risk for being overweight or obese. While accounting for age, race, education, income, health background and behaviors (i.e., having high blood cholesterol, exercising, and eating fatty foods), and depression, lesbian women who experienced heterosexist discrimination were at 2.55 higher odds of being overweight and at 2.49 higher odds of being obese when compared to normal-weight lesbian women. The findings indicate that experiencing heterosexist discrimination is related to higher risk for being overweight or obese. These results provide support for the effects of sexual minority stress on health and expand the minority stress model to include physical health. Understanding risk factors for obesity among lesbian women is critical for culturally sensitive and affirmative interventions, clinical practice, research, and policy.

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Sexual-Orientation Disparities in Substance Use in Emerging Adults: A Function of Stress and Attachment Paradigms

Margaret Rosario et al.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

Abstract:
More lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths than heterosexuals report substance use. We examined a theoretical model to understand these disparities in lifetime and past-year substance use by means of stress and attachment paradigms, using the longitudinal Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). GUTS participants are the children of participants in NHSII; thus, child and maternal data are available. In addition, GUTS contains siblings, allowing for comparisons of LGB and heterosexual siblings. Of 5,647 GUTS youths (M = 20.6 years old in 2005), 1.6% were lesbian/gay (LG), 1.6% bisexual (BI), 9.9% mostly heterosexual (MH), and 86.9% completely heterosexual (CH). After adjusting for sibling clustering in GUTS and covariates, significantly more sexual minorities (LGs, BIs, and MHs) than CHs reported lifetime and past-year smoking, nonmarijuana illicit drug use, and prescription drug misuse. More sexual minorities also reported marijuana use in the past year. The relations between sexual orientation and substance use were moderated by the stress markers: As mother’s discomfort with homosexuality increased, more BIs and MHs than CHs used substances. As childhood gender nonconforming behaviors increased, more LGs than CHs used substances. The relations between sexual orientation and substance use were mediated by attachment and maternal affection (percent of effect mediated ranged from 5.6% to 16.8%% for lifetime substance use and 4.9% to 24.5% for past-year use). In addition, sibling comparisons found that sexual minorities reported more substance use, more childhood gender nonconforming behaviors, and less secure attachment than CH siblings; mothers reported less affection for their sexual minority than CH offspring. The findings indicate the importance of stress and attachment paradigms for understanding sexual-orientation disparities in substance use.

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Gender Identity Rather Than Sexual Orientation Impacts on Facial Preferences

Giacomo Ciocca et al.
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

Aim: This study aims to investigate the facial preferences of male-to-female (MtF) individuals with gender dysphoria (GD) and the influence of short-term/long-term relationships on facial preference, in comparison with healthy subjects.

Methods: Eighteen untreated MtF subjects, 30 heterosexual males, 64 heterosexual females, and 42 homosexual males from university students/staff, at gay events, and in Gender Clinics were shown a composite male or female face. The sexual dimorphism of these pictures was stressed or reduced in a continuous fashion through an open-source morphing program with a sequence of 21 pictures of the same face warped from a feminized to a masculinized shape.

Results: MtF GD subjects and heterosexual females showed the same pattern of preferences: a clear preference for less dimorphic (more feminized) faces for both short- and long-term relationships. Conversely, both heterosexual and homosexual men selected significantly much more dimorphic faces, showing a preference for hyperfeminized and hypermasculinized faces, respectively.

Conclusions: These data show that the facial preferences of MtF GD individuals mirror those of the sex congruent with their gender identity. Conversely, heterosexual males trace the facial preferences of homosexual men, indicating that changes in sexual orientation do not substantially affect preference for the most attractive faces.

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The changing face of cognitive gender differences in Europe

Daniela Weber et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 August 2014, Pages 11673–11678

Abstract:
Cognitive gender differences and the reasons for their origins have fascinated researchers for decades. Using nationally representative data to investigate gender differences in cognitive performance in middle-aged and older populations across Europe, we show that the magnitude of these differences varies systematically across cognitive tasks, birth cohorts, and regions, but also that the living conditions and educational opportunities individuals are exposed to during their formative years are related to their later cognitive performance. Specifically, we demonstrate that improved living conditions and less gender-restricted educational opportunities are associated with increased gender differences favoring women in some cognitive functions (i.e., episodic memory) and decreases (i.e., numeracy) or elimination of differences in other cognitive abilities (i.e., category fluency). Our results suggest that these changes take place due to a general increase in women’s cognitive performance over time, associated with societal improvements in living conditions and educational opportunities.

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Excusing Murder? Conservative Jurors’ Acceptance of the Gay-Panic Defense

Jessica Salerno et al.
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conducted a simulated trial study to investigate the effectiveness of a “gay-panic” provocation defense as a function of jurors’ political orientation. Mock jurors read about a murder case in which a male defendant claimed a victim provoked the killing by starting a fight, which either included or did not include the male victim making an unwanted sexual advance that triggered a state of panic in the defendant. Conservative jurors were significantly less punitive when the defendant claimed to have acted out of gay panic as compared to when this element was not part of the defense. In contrast, liberal jurors were unaffected by the gay-panic manipulation. The effect of the gay-panic defense on punitiveness was mediated by conservatives’ decreased moral outrage toward the defendant. Implications for psychological theory and the legal system are discussed.

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Elevated rates of atypical handedness in paedophilia: Theory and implications

Rachel Fazio, Amy Lykins & James Cantor
Laterality, November/December 2014, Pages 690-704

Abstract:
Multiple factors determine handedness including genetics, prenatal stress and post-natal environmental conditions. Atypical handedness, whether manifest as increased sinistrality or decreased strength of lateral preference, has been noted in a wide variety of populations with neuropathology. Those with atypical sexual preferences, specifically paedophilia, also manifest reduced rates of right-handedness. This paper uses the largest sample of phallometrically assessed men to date to establish the pattern of atypical handedness in paedophilia. Specifically, whereas prior research has largely characterized participants dichotomously as right-handed or non-right-handed and/or used self-report of writing hand, this paper expands upon such reports by using the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory's laterality quotient. Participants' handedness and phallometrically assessed sexual preference were analyzed both as continuous and categorical variables, and the responses of those scoring in the range of ambiguous-handedness were evaluated to ascertain whether they were ambiguously handed or more accurately described as mixed-handed. Results indicated those producing scores in the range of ambiguous-handedness demonstrated response patterns consistent with ambiguous-handedness, rather than mixed-handedness. Paedophiles demonstrated high rates of non-right-handedness primarily manifested as sinistrality, whereas those who had a sexual preference for pubescent children evidenced increased ambiguous-handedness. Results support a view of ambiguous-handedness as less pathological than previously hypothesized, and of a neurodevelopmental origin of paraphilic sexual preferences.

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Variation in Orgasm Occurrence by Sexual Orientation in a Sample of U.S. Singles

Justin Garcia et al.
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

Aim: To assess orgasm occurrence during sexual activity across sexual orientation categories.

Methods: Data were collected by Internet questionnaire from 6,151 men and women (ages 21–65+ years) as part of a nationally representative sample of single individuals in the United States. Analyses were restricted to a subsample of 2,850 singles (1,497 men, 1,353 women) who had experienced sexual activity in the past 12 months.

Results: Mean occurrence rate for experiencing orgasm during sexual activity with a familiar partner was 62.9% among single women and 85.1% among single men, which was significantly different (F1,2848 = 370.6, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.12). For men, mean occurrence rate of orgasm did not vary by sexual orientation: heterosexual men 85.5%, gay men 84.7%, bisexual men 77.6% (F2,1494 = 2.67, P = 0.07, η2 = 0.004). For women, however, mean occurrence rate of orgasm varied significantly by sexual orientation: heterosexual women 61.6%, lesbian women 74.7%, bisexual women 58.0% (F2,1350 = 10.95, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.02). Lesbian women had a significantly higher probability of orgasm than did either heterosexual or bisexual women (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Findings from this large dataset of U.S. singles suggest that women, regardless of sexual orientation, have less predictable, more varied orgasm experiences than do men and that for women, but not men, the likelihood of orgasm varies with sexual orientation. These findings demonstrate the need for further investigations into the comparative sexual experiences and sexual health outcomes of sexual minorities.

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Pubertal maturation and cortisol level in response to a novel social environment among female adolescents

Heidemarie Blumenthal et al.
Journal of Adolescence, August 2014, Pages 893–900

Abstract:
Research indicates changes in HPA-axis activity across puberty. The current study extends existing work by evaluating pubertal status and cortisol level in a novel social environment (research laboratory) while controlling for several important biological, behavioral, and psychological variables. Participants were 30 girls (ages 9–16 years) from the United States. Pubertal status was assessed via the Pubertal Development Scale. Salivary samples were collected at laboratory-introduction and a matched at-home period; laboratory-introduction levels were regressed on basal cortisol levels to create standardized residual scores. After controlling for covariates, pubertal status was positively associated with residualized cortisol values. Findings indicate more advanced puberty related to greater cortisol response to the laboratory; data are discussed in terms of future research and building biopsychosocial models of the puberty-psychopathology linkage.

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Sex difference in leukocyte telomere length is ablated in opposite-sex co-twins

Athanase Benetos et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: In eutherian mammals and in humans, the female fetus may be masculinized while sharing the intra-uterine environment with a male fetus. Telomere length (TL), as expressed in leukocytes, is heritable and is longer in women than in men. The main determinant of leukocyte TL (LTL) is LTL at birth. However, LTL is modified by age-dependent attrition.

Methods: We studied LTL dynamics (LTL and its attrition) in adult same-sex(monozygotic, n = 268; dizygotic, n = 308) twins and opposite-sex (n = 144) twins. LTL was measured by Southern blots of the terminal restriction fragments.

Results: We observed that in same-sex (both monozygotic and dizygotic) twins, as reported in singletons, LTL was longer in females than in males [estimate ± standard error (SE):163 ± 63 bp, P < 0.01]. However, in opposite-sex twins, female LTL was indistinguishable from that of males (−31 ± 52 bp, P = 0.6), whereas male LTL was not affected. Findings were similar when the comparison was restricted to opposite-sex and same-sex dizygotic twins (females relative to males: same-sex: 188 ± 90 bp, P < 0.05; other-sex: −32 ± 64 bp, P = 0.6).

Conclusions: These findings are compatible with masculinization of the female fetus in opposite-sex twins. They suggest that the sex difference in LTL, seen in the general population, is largely determined in utero, perhaps by the intrauterine hormonal environment. Further studies in newborn twins are warranted to test this thesis.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 29, 2014

Divergent

The “Mill Worker’s Son” Heuristic: How Voters Perceive Politicians from Working-class Families - and How They Really Behave in Office

Nicholas Carnes & Meredith Sadin
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Politicians often highlight how hard their families had it when they were growing up, presumably in the hopes that voters will see them as more supportive of policies that benefit middle- and working-class Americans. What do voters actually infer from how candidates were raised? And what should they infer? We use a set of candidate evaluation experiments (and an external validity test drawing on actual congressional election returns) to study how Americans perceive politicians raised in more and less affluent families. We then compare these perceptions to data on how lawmakers brought up in different classes actually behave in office. Although voters often infer that politicians from less privileged families are more economically progressive, these lawmakers don’t actually stand out on standard measures of legislative voting. The “mill worker’s son” heuristic appears to be a misleading shortcut, a cue that leads voters to make faulty inferences ab!
out candidates’ political priorities.

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Social Status and Biological Dysregulation: The “Status Syndrome” and Allostatic Load

Melvin Seeman et al.
Social Science & Medicine, October 2014, Pages 143-151

Abstract:
Data from a national sample of 1,255 adults who were part of the MIDUS (Mid-life in the U.S.) follow-up study and agreed to participate in a clinic-based in-depth assessment of their health status were used to test the hypothesis that, quite apart from income or educational status, perceptions of lower achieved rank relative to others and of relative inequality in key life domains would be associated with greater evidence of biological health risks (i.e., higher allostatic load). Results indicate that over a variety of status indices (including, for example, the person’s sense of control, placement in the community rank hierarchy, perception of inequality in the workplace) a syndrome of perceived relative deprivation is associated with higher levels of biological dysregulation. The evidence is interpreted in light of the well-established associations between lower socioeconomic status and various clinically identified health morbidities. The present evidence serves, i!
n effect, both as a part of the explanation of how socio-economic disparities produce downstream morbidity, and as an early warning system regarding the ultimate health effects of currently increasing status inequalities.

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A Social Rank Explanation of How Money Influences Health

Michael Daly, Christopher Boyce & Alex Wood
Health Psychology, forthcoming

Objective: Financial resources are a potent determinant of health, yet it remains unclear why this is the case. We aimed to identify whether the frequently observed association between absolute levels of monetary resources and health may occur because money acts an indirect proxy for a person’s social rank.

Method: To address this question we examined over 230,000 observations on 40,400 adults drawn from two representative national panel studies; the British Household Panel Survey and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We identified each person’s absolute income/wealth and their objective ranked position of income/wealth within a social reference-group. Absolute and rank income/wealth variables were then used to predict a series of self-reported and objectively recorded health outcomes in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses.

Results: As anticipated, those with higher levels of absolute income/wealth were found to have better health than others, after adjustment for age, gender, education, marital status, and labor force status. When evaluated simultaneously the ranked position of income/wealth but not absolute income/wealth predicted all health outcomes examined including: objective measures of allostatic load and obesity, the presence of long-standing illness, and ratings of health, physical functioning, role limitations, and pain. The health benefits of high rank were consistent in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses and did not depend on the reference-group used to rank participants.

Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate that social position rather than material conditions may explain the impact of money on human health.

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The inequality trap. A comparative analysis of social spending between 1880 and 1930

Sergio Espuelas
Economic History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is often assumed that the fight against inequality played an important role in the rise of the welfare state. However, using social transfers as an indicator of redistribution and three alternative proxies for inequality - the top income shares, the ratio of the GDP per capita to the unskilled wage, and the share of non-family farms - this article shows that inequality did not favour the development of social policy between 1880 and 1930. On the contrary, social policy developed more easily in countries that were previously more egalitarian, suggesting that unequal societies were in a sort of inequality trap, where inequality itself was an obstacle to redistribution.

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How Responsive Is Investment in Schooling to Changes in Redistributive Policies and in Returns?

Ran Abramitzky & Victor Lavy
Econometrica, July 2014, Pages 1241-1272

Abstract:
This paper uses an unusual pay reform to test the responsiveness of investment in schooling to changes in redistribution schemes that increase the rate of return to education. We exploit an episode where different Israeli kibbutzim shifted from equal sharing to productivity-based wages in different years and find that students in kibbutzim that reformed earlier invested more in high school education and, in the long run, also in post-secondary schooling. We further show that the effect is mainly driven by students in kibbutzim that reformed to a larger degree. Our findings support the prediction that education is highly responsive to changes in the redistribution policy.

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Catching Up is Hard to Do: Undergraduate Prestige, Elite Graduate Programs, and the Earnings Premium

Joni Hersch
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Income disparities arise not only from differences in the level of education but also from differences in status associated with an individual’s degree-granting college or university. While higher ability among those who graduate from elite undergraduate institutions may account for much of the earnings premium associated with elite education, ability should be largely equalized among those who graduate from similarly selective graduate programs. Few graduates of nonselective institutions earn post-baccalaureate degrees from elite institutions, and even when they do, undergraduate institutional prestige continues to influence earnings overall and among those with law, medical, graduate business and doctoral degrees.

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Does Segregation Create Winners and Losers? Residential Segregation and Inequality in Educational Attainment

Lincoln Quillian
Social Problems, August 2014, Pages 402-426

Abstract:
This article examines the effects of residential segregation on the basis of poverty status and race for high school and college completion. Segregation effects are estimated by contrasting educational outcomes among persons raised in metropolitan areas with varying levels of segregation. This metropolitan-level approach provides two advantages in evaluating segregation effects over neighborhood effects studies: it incorporates effects of residential segregation outside of the affected individuals' neighborhoods of residence and it allows evaluation of gains and losses across groups from segregation. Data are drawn from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the decennial censuses. Poor-nonpoor segregation is associated with lower rates of high school graduation among adolescents from poor backgrounds, but has no effect on rates of graduation for students from nonpoor backgrounds. Black-white segregation is associated with lower rates of high school graduation and college gr!
aduation for black students, but has no effect on graduation rates for white students. Use of proximity-adjusted segregation measures or instrumental variable estimation gives similar results. The results suggest that residential segregation harms the educational attainment of disadvantaged groups without increasing the educational attainment of advantaged groups.

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Relative Income and Indebtedness: Evidence from Panel Data

Michael Carr & Arjun Jayadev
Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine patterns of indebtedness in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, focusing on the period surrounding the housing bubble and its aftermath (i.e., 1999-2009). Leverage increased across households, but most quickly among lower income households during this period. We find additionally that leverage grew faster for households with lower relative income compared to other households in similar demographic groups or within a state controlling for own income. Together, these findings provide evidence for the thesis that the rising indebtedness of households in the U.S. is related to high levels of inequality, and that “Veblen effects,” whereby relative income matters for individual well-being and decisions, may contribute to rising household indebtedness.

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Coached for the Classroom: Parents’ Cultural Transmission and Children’s Reproduction of Educational Inequalities

Jessica McCrory Calarco
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars typically view class socialization as an implicit process. This study instead shows how parents actively transmit class-based cultures to children and how these lessons reproduce inequalities. Through observations and interviews with children, parents, and teachers, I found that middle- and working-class parents expressed contrasting beliefs about appropriate classroom behavior, beliefs that shaped parents’ cultural coaching efforts. These efforts led children to activate class-based problem-solving strategies, which generated stratified profits at school. By showing how these processes vary along social class lines, this study reveals a key source of children’s class-based behaviors and highlights the efforts by which parents and children together reproduce inequalities.

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Post‐Secondary Attendance by Parental Income in the U.S. And Canada: Do Financial Aid Policies Explain the Differences?

Philippe Belley, Marc Frenette & Lance Lochner
Canadian Journal of Economics, May 2014, Pages 664-696

Abstract:
We examine the extent to which tuition and needs‐based aid policies explain important differences in the relationship between family income and post‐secondary attendance relationships between Canada and the U.S. Using data from recent cohorts, we estimate substantially smaller attendance gaps by parental income in Canada relative to the U.S., even after controlling for family background, cognitive achievement, and local‐residence fixed effects. We next document that U.S. public tuition and financial aid policies are actually more generous to low‐income youth than are Canadian policies. Equalizing these policies across Canada and the U.S. would likely lead to a greater difference in income‐attendance gradients.

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Intergenerational Mobility and Subjective Well-being - Evidence from the General Social Survey

Boris Nikolaev & Ainslee Burns
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the relationship between intergenerational socio-economic mobility and subjective well-being (SWB) using data from the General Social Survey (GSS). We look at three different measures of intergenerational mobility - social, educational, and income mobility. We find that downward mobility with respect to all three measures has a negative effect on the self-reported level of happiness and subjective health while upward mobility is associated with positive outcomes in subjective well-being. The positive and negative effect of social and educational mobility, however, is entirely through the income and health channels while income mobility has an impact on subjective well-being even after controlling for the current level of income and health. We further find that the effect of income mobility on subjective well-being peaks between the ages of 35-45 years and then slowly dissipates. Finally, the negative effect of downward mobility on subjective well-being is much!
stronger than the positive effect of upward mobility. This is consistent with the decision theory of loss aversion according to which the experienced disutility from loses outweighs the utility from acquiring proportionate gains. We do not find evidence for loss aversion when it comes to social and educational mobility.

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Inequality and Relative Ability Beliefs

Jeffrey Butler
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
I present experimental evidence for a novel mechanism yielding inequality persistence. Just World Beliefs research suggests that individuals believe they merit unequal treatment they experience. Merit depends on ability and effort so that disadvantage (advantage) may undermine (bolster) confidence in own relative ability. Because decisions determining economic success rely on such beliefs (e.g., competitiveness), inequality may self-perpetuate. In multiple experiments I randomly assign unequal pay for an identical task where performance depends on cognitive ability. I find that pay level consistently and substantially affects beliefs but not performance. Finally, I show that among males high pay increases competitiveness by 33%.

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The Hierarchy Enforcement Hypothesis of Environmental Exploitation: A Social Dominance Perspective

Taciano Milfont & Chris Sibley
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 188-193

Abstract:
Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) predicts support for unsustainable environmental exploitation, but the mechanism driving this effect remains unclear. Here we propose and test a novel Hierarchy Enforcement Hypothesis of Environmental Exploitation. Two experiments analysed using Bayesian moderated regression showed that SDO predicted support for a new mining operation expected to generate further profits to high-status groups in society, but not when profits were expected to equally benefit all members of the community. SDO predicts environmental exploitation to the extent that doing so helps sustain and widen the gap between dominant and disadvantaged groups through the disproportionate allocation of resources. This research identifies a dominance motive that may explain why some people support environmental exploitation more than others.

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The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility

James Heckman & Stefano Mosso
Annual Review of Economics, 2014, Pages 689-733

Abstract:
This article distills and extends recent research on the economics of human development and social mobility. It summarizes the evidence from diverse literatures on the importance of early life conditions in shaping multiple life skills and the evidence on critical and sensitive investment periods for shaping different skills. It presents economic models that rationalize the evidence and unify the treatment effect and family influence literatures. The evidence on the empirical and policy importance of credit constraints in forming skills is examined. There is little support for the claim that untargeted income transfer policies to poor families significantly boost child outcomes. Mentoring, parenting, and attachment are essential features of successful families and interventions that shape skills at all stages of childhood. The next wave of family studies will better capture the active role of the emerging autonomous child in learning and responding to the actions of parents,!
mentors, and teachers.

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Public Policy, Higher Education, and Income Inequality in the U.S.: Have We Reached Diminishing Returns

Daniel Bennett & Richard Vedder
Social Philosophy & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public policy designed to promote greater college enrollment rates has often been justified as a means to reduce income inequalities, yet there is very little evidence that higher college attainment is associated with less inequality. Economic theory at best suggests that the relationship between college attainment and inequality is ambiguous. An overview of some of the unintended consequences of public policies designed to promote greater enrollment is described. One such consequence is that the growth in college completion, which is at least partially attributable to public policy, may have actually contributed to rising income inequality. We hypothesize the existence of a U-shaped relationship between college attainment and income inequality, and using panel data for the 50 U.S. states over the period 1970-2004 provide empirical evidence in support of the curve. Prior to the mid 1990’s, increases in attainment were associated with less inequality for most states. R!
apid growth in attainment since then has moved most states to the right of the inflection point such that attainment gains are associated with more inequality in most states.

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Wealth transfer taxation: An empirical investigation

Paola Profeta, Simona Scabrosetti & Stanley Winer
International Tax and Public Finance, August 2014, Pages 720-767

Abstract:
We present an empirical model of wealth transfer taxation in the revenue systems of the G7 countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US - over the period from 1965 to 2009. Our model emphasizes the influences of population aging and of the stock of household wealth in an explanation of the past and likely future of this tax source. Simulations with the model using U.N. demographic projections and projections of household wealth suggest that even in France and Germany where reliance on wealth transfer taxation has been increasing for part of the period studied, wealth transfer taxes can be expected to wither away as population aging deepens over the next two decades. Our results indicate that recent tax designs that rely upon the taxation of wealth transfers to preserve equity in the face of declining taxation of capital incomes may be, in this respect, politically infeasible for the foreseeable future. We conclude by using the case of wealth transfer!
taxation to raise the general question of the extent to which the consistency of a proposed reform with expected political equilibria ought to play a role in the design of a normative policy blueprint.

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The Inequality Deflator: Interpersonal Comparisons without a Social Welfare Function

Nathaniel Hendren
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
This paper develops a tractable method for resolving the equity-efficiency tradeoff that modifies the Kaldor-Hicks compensation principle to account for the distortionary cost of redistribution. Weighting measures of individual surplus by the inequality deflator corresponds to searching for local Pareto improvements by making transfers through the income tax schedule. Empirical evidence consistently suggests redistribution from rich to poor is more costly than redistribution from poor to rich. As a result, the inequality deflator weights surplus accruing to the poor more so than to the rich. Regardless of one's own social preferences, surplus to the poor can hypothetically be turned into more surplus to everyone through reductions in distortionary taxation. I estimate the deflator using existing estimates of the response to taxation, combined with a new estimation of the joint distribution of taxable income and marginal tax rates. I show adjusting for increased income inequa!
lity lowers the rate of U.S. economic growth since 1980 by roughly 15-20%, implying a social cost of increased income inequality in the U.S. of roughly $400 billion. Adjusting for differences in income inequality across countries, the U.S. is poorer than countries like Austria and the Netherlands, despite having higher national income per capita. I conclude by providing an empirical framework for characterizing the existence of local Pareto improvements from government policy changes.

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Financial Globalization, Inequality, and the Rising Public Debt

Marina Azzimonti, Eva de Francisco & Vincenzo Quadrini
American Economic Review, August 2014, Pages 2267-2302

Abstract:
During the last three decades government debt has increased in most developed countries. During the same period we have also observed a significant liberalization of international
financial markets. We propose a multi-country model with incomplete markets and show that governments may choose higher levels of debt when financial markets become internationally integrated. We also show that public debt increases with the volatility of uninsurable income (idiosyncratic risk). To the extent that the increase in income inequality observed in some industrialized countries has been associated with higher idiosyncratic risk, the paper suggests another potential mechanism for the rise in public debt.

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Inequality, Labor Market Segmentation, and Preferences for Redistribution

James Alt & Torben Iversen
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
We formalize and examine two overlapping models that show how rising inequality combined with ethnic and racial heterogeneity can explain why many advanced industrial countries have experienced a drop in support for redistribution as inequality has risen. One model, based on altruism and homophily, focuses on the effect of increasing “social distance” between the poor and the middle class, especially when minorities are increasingly overrepresented among the very poor. The other, based on self-interest, combines an “insurance” model of preferences for redistribution with increasingly segmented labor markets, in which immigration of workers without recognized skills leaves most native workers better off but intensifies competition for low-end jobs. Empirically, when we estimate parameters from the two models using data from multiple waves of ISSP surveys, we find that labor market segmentation, previously omitted in this literature, has more consis!
tent effects than social distance.

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Socioeconomic Stereotypes: Explaining Variation in Preferences for Taxing the Rich

Jordan Michael Ragusa
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Motivated by research showing that policy preferences are driven by social-interests rather than strict self-interest, this article examines if stereotypes of “the rich” shape Americans’ tax policy preferences. For this project, an original free-response survey was designed asking respondents to describe “the rich.” Respondents offered 1,570 unique descriptions, ranging from “hard working” and “job producer” to “selfish” and “inheritance.” In the analysis, these stereotypes were modeled in three ways: (a) as affective stereotypes, (b) as discrete categories, and (c) as deservingness stereotypes. There are three main findings. First, political ideology and affective stereotypes have large and statistically indistinguishable effects on tax policy preferences. Second, deservingness stereotypes - in particular, whether the rich exhibit dispositional and prosocial characteristics - have par!
ticularly large effects on preferences for taxing the wealthy. And third, both affective and deservingness stereotypes have an interactive effect with personal ideology. For self-described liberals, preferences for taxing the wealthy are largely a function of ideological considerations. For conservatives, however, tax policy preferences are determined by a mix of ideology and stereotypes. In sum, the findings suggest that stereotypes affect policy preferences even when the target belongs to an advantaged group and the policy domain is nonracial.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Better angels

Fewer and Better Children: Race, Class, Religion, and Birth Control Reform in America

Melissa Wilde & Sabrina Danielsen
American Journal of Sociology, May 2014, Pages 1710-1760

Abstract:
In the early 20th century, contraceptives were illegal and, for many, especially religious groups, taboo. But, in the span of just two years, between 1929 and 1931, many of the United States' most prominent religious groups pronounced contraceptives to be moral and began advocating for the laws restricting them to be repealed. Met with everything from support, to silence, to outright condemnation by other religious groups, these pronouncements and the debates they caused divided the American religious field by an issue of sex and gender for the first time. This article explains why America's religious groups took the positions they did at this crucial moment in history. In doing so, it demonstrates that the politics of sex and gender that divide American religion today is deeply rooted in century-old inequalities of race and class.

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No Good Without God: Antiatheist Prejudice as a Function of Threats to Morals and Values

Corey Cook, Catherine Cottrell & Gregory Webster
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
A sociofunctional, threat-based approach to prejudice suggests that perceived outgroup threats lead people to act to minimize those threats. In 2 experiments the current research explores how perceived threats to values affect antiatheist prejudices. In Experiment 1 we found that atheists were perceived to pose significantly greater threats to values, and elicit greater moral disgust, than other groups also perceived to pose values-related threats (gay men, Muslims). In Experiment 2 we randomly assigned participants to read either a news story detailing moral decline - priming values threats - or a control story. Following the values-threat prime, participants reported increased negative affect and greater discriminatory intentions toward atheists, but not toward students or other groups (gay men or people with HIV). Together, these experiments suggest that perceptions of threats to values are associated with, and negatively affect, antiatheist prejudice. We discuss our findings' theoretical implications for a sociofunctional, threat-based approach to prejudice.

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The South, the Suburbs, and the Vatican Too: Explaining Partisan Change Among Catholics

John Barry Ryan & Caitlin Milazzo
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explains changes in partisanship among Catholics in the last quarter of the 20th Century using a theory of partisan change centered on the contexts in which Catholics lived. Catholics were part of the post-New Deal Democratic coalition, but they have become a swing demographic group. We argue that these changes in partisanship are best explained by changes in elite messages that are filtered through an individual's social network. Those Catholics who lived or moved into the increasingly Republican suburbs and South were the Catholics who were most likely to adopt a non-Democratic partisan identity. Changes in context better explain Catholic partisanship than party abortion policy post Roe v. Wade or ideological sorting. We demonstrate evidence in support of our argument using the ANES cumulative file from 1972 through 2000.

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A Gender Gap among Evangelicals? An Examination of Vote Choice by Gender and Religion in the 2008 Presidential Elections

Melissa Deckman
Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Summer 2014, Pages 199-221

Abstract:
Barack Obama appeared poised to capture more votes among Evangelical women than Evangelical men given the prominence that economic and wartime issues played in the 2008 election. However, I find that no gender gap existed among Evangelicals in 2008; instead, religious tradition trumps gender as a predictor of presidential vote choice. While Obama fared similarly to John Kerry, Evangelical women were significantly more likely to vote for Al Gore than Evangelical men, demonstrating that there may be circumstances in which Democratic presidential candidates can mitigate some of their voting losses to Evangelical women.

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God will Forgive: Reflecting on God's Love Decreases Neurophysiological Responses to Errors

Marie Good, Michael Inzlicht & Michael Larson
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
In religions where God is portrayed as both loving and wrathful, religious beliefs may be a source of fear as well as comfort. Here, we consider if God's love may be more effective, relative to God's wrath, for soothing distress, but less effective for helping control behavior. Specifically, we assess whether contemplating God's love reduces our ability to detect and emotionally react to conflict between one's behavior and overarching religious standards. We do so within a neurophysiological framework, by observing the effects of exposure to concepts of God's love versus punishment on the error-related negativity (ERN) - a neural signal originating in the anterior cingulate cortex, that is associated with performance monitoring and affective responses to errors. Participants included 123 students at Brigham Young University, who completed a Go/No-Go task where they made "religious" errors (i.e., ostensibly exhibited pro-alcohol tendencies) . Reflecting on God's love caused dampened ERNs and worse performance on the Go/No-Go task. Thinking about God's punishment did not affect performance or ERNs. Results suggest that one possible reason religiosity is generally linked to positive wellbeing, may be because of a decreased affective response to errors that occurs when God's love is prominent in the minds of believers.

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Birth Cohort Changes in the Association Between College Education and Religious Non-Affiliation

Philip Schwadel
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the changing association between higher education and reporting no religious affiliation in the United States. I argue that increases in higher education have led to a decline in the individual-level effect of college education on religious non-affiliation. Results from hierarchical age-period-cohort models using more than three and a half decades of repeated cross-sectional survey data demonstrate that the strong, positive effect of college education on reporting no religious affiliation declines precipitously across birth cohorts. Specifically, a bachelor's degree has no effect on non-affiliation by the 1965-69 cohort, and a negative effect for the 1970s cohorts. Moreover, these across-cohort changes are strongly associated with aggregate growth in college education, and they vary considerably by religious origin. I conclude with a discussion of how the results relate to changes among the college-educated population, the religious deinstitutionalization of the non-college-educated, cultural diffusion across social statuses, and other cohort-appropriate social and cultural changes.

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Explaining the relationship between religiousness and substance use: Self-control matters

Nathan DeWall et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, August 2014, Pages 339-351

Abstract:
Religiousness is reliably associated with lower substance use, but little research has examined whether self-control helps explain why religiousness predicts lower substance use. Building on prior theoretical work, our studies suggest that self-control mediates the relationship between religiousness and a variety of substance-use behaviors. Study 1 showed that daily prayer predicted lower alcohol use on subsequent days. In Study 2, religiousness related to lower alcohol use, which was mediated by self-control. Study 3 replicated this mediational pattern using a behavioral measure of self-control. Using a longitudinal design, Study 4 revealed that self-control mediated the relationship between religiousness and lower alcohol use 6 weeks later. Study 5 replicated this mediational pattern again and showed that it remained significant after controlling for trait mindfulness. Studies 6 and 7 replicated and extended these effects to both alcohol and various forms of drug use among community and cross-cultural adult samples. These findings offer novel evidence regarding the role of self-control in explaining why religiousness is associated with lower substance use.

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The Influence of Secular and Theological Education on Pastors' Depression Intervention Decisions

Jennifer Shepard Payne
Journal of Religion and Health, October 2014, Pages 1398-1413

Abstract:
Will a pastor refer to a mental health center? If they feel qualified to intervene themselves, they may not. Because pastors often provide grief counseling, it is important to understand the decisions they make when intervening with depressed individuals. A random sample of 204 Protestant pastors completed surveys about their treatment practices for depression. Fisher's exact analyses revealed that more pastors with some secular education yet no degree felt that they were the best person to treat depression than pastors who had no secular education or pastors who had at least a secular bachelor's degree. However, the level of theological education did not influence beliefs about the pastor being the best person to treat depression. In addition, neither secular nor theological education level influenced pastors' views on referring people to mental health centers for depression treatment. Based on findings, this paper discusses implications for best practices in training pastors on depression and other mental health topics.

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Religious fundamentalism and racial prejudice: A comparison of implicit and explicit approaches

Paul Williamson, Jasmine Bishop & Ralph Hood
Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Fall 2014, Pages 847-859

Abstract:
We examined religious fundamentalism (RF) and racial prejudice (RP) using the implicit Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP) and explicit Feeling Thermometer (FT). Ninety undergraduates (38 Blacks and 52 Whites) from a small southern USA university participated. We experimentally manipulated aggression/love Bible texts to study any influence on RP, but found that it had no effect on reducing pretest-posttest AMP scores. Analysis of AMP posttest data found that Black participants favoured Black over White Primes, but White participants did not discriminate between Race Primes. High RF did not discriminate between Race Primes, although low RF did, in preferring Black Primes. Analysis of explicit FT Warmness towards Whites/Blacks found an in-group preference for both White and Black participants. In this analysis, RF was not a discriminator among White participants in overall Warmness towards Whites/Blacks, although it was among Black participants. Most consistent across implicit-explicit data analyses was that high RF was generally unrelated to RP.

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"God Is Like a Drug.": Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches

James Wellman, Katie Corcoran & Kate Stockly-Meyerdirk
Sociological Forum, September 2014, Pages 650-672

Abstract:
Megachurches have been criticized as superficial sources of entertainment that do not produce significant feelings of belonging, moral responsibility, or spirituality. This article challenges popular criticisms of megachurches and, drawing on interaction ritual theory, proposes that megachurches are successful interaction ritual venues and powerful purveyors of emotional religious experience. We predict that these interaction rituals produce positive emotional energy, membership symbols that are charged with emotional significance, feelings of morality, and a heightened sense of spirituality. From a census of 1,250 known megachurches in America, 12 were selected that closely represent the national megachurch profile. At each church, focus groups were conducted and attendees participated in a survey. We combine these data sources to provide a more comprehensive picture of the megachurch interaction ritual. The combined qualitative and quantitative results provide strong support for our predictions.

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Beliefs About God and Mental Health Among American Adults

Nava Silton et al.
Journal of Religion and Health, October 2014, Pages 1285-1296

Abstract:
This study examines the association between beliefs about God and psychiatric symptoms in the context of Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults (N = 1,426). Three beliefs about God were tested separately in ordinary least squares regression models to predict five classes of psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Belief in a punitive God was positively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, while belief in a benevolent God was negatively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, controlling for demographic characteristics, religiousness, and strength of belief in God. Belief in a deistic God and one's overall belief in God were not significantly related to any psychiatric symptoms.

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Health benefits of religion among black and white older adults? Race, religiosity, and C-Reactive protein

Kenneth Ferraro & Seoyoun Kim
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
The study investigates potential health benefits of religiosity to protect against chronic inflammation associated with the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study uses longitudinal data from a representative survey of adults 57 to 85 years old at the beginning of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project. Linear regression models were used to analyze the association between religiosity, as measured by affiliation, attendance, and having a clergy confidant, and logged values of C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration (mg/L). Although religious attendance was not related to CRP among the White respondents, attendance was associated with lower CRP - and change in CRP over time - among the Black respondents. There was no evidence that religious affiliation alone had any health benefit. The study provides evidence of the salutary effects of religious engagement on chronic inflammation among older adults, especially for Black Americans, which may be useful in reducing the prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

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Assessing Whether Practical Wisdom and Awe of God Are Associated With Life Satisfaction

Neal Krause & David Hayward
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although emotion figures prominently in religious life, there has been little research on one of the strongest religious emotions - awe of God. The purpose of this study was to embed this key religious emotion in a wider latent-variable model that contains the following core hypotheses: (a) more frequent church attendance is associated with greater practical wisdom; (b) people with more practical wisdom are more likely to experience awe of God; (c) individuals who experience awe of God are more likely to say they feel a deep sense of connectedness with others; and (d) those who feel more closely connected with others will be more satisfied with their lives. New measures were developed to assess awe of God and practical wisdom. Findings from a recent nationwide survey (N = 1,535) of middle-aged and older adults provided support for each of these relationships.

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Religious magnanimity: Reminding people of their religious belief system reduces hostility after threat

Karina Schumann et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, September 2014, Pages 432-453

Abstract:
The present research tested the hypothesis that many people's ambient religious beliefs are non-hostile and magnanimous by assessing whether reminding people of their religious belief systems would reduce hostility after threat. Across religious affiliations, participants reported that their religious belief systems encourage magnanimous behavior. In addition, priming their religious belief systems caused them to act more magnanimously, but only when motivated to adhere to salient ideals (i.e., after threats; see Gailliot, Stillman, Schmeichel, Maner, & Plant, 2008; Jonas et al., 2008). Specifically, in Studies 1-5, we found that a general religious belief system prime ("Which religious belief system do you identify with?") reduced the hostility of people's thoughts, behaviors, and judgments following threat. In Studies 6 and 7, we found that the religious belief system prime only reduced hostile reactions to threat among participants who held religious beliefs that oriented them toward magnanimous ideals (Study 6) and who were dispositionally inclined to adhere to their ideals (Study 7). In Study 8, we found support for the role of magnanimous ideals by demonstrating that directly priming these ideals yielded effects similar to those produced by a religious belief system prime. These studies provide consistent evidence that, by invoking magnanimous ideals, a religious belief system prime promotes less hostile responses to threat.

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Warriors and Terrorists: Antagonism as Strategy in Christian Hardcore and Muslim "Taqwacore" Punk Rock

Amy McDowell
Qualitative Sociology, September 2014, Pages 255-276

Abstract:
This article contributes to new scholarship in the sociological study of religion, which looks at how people define and communicate religion in secular spheres. I show how U.S. Christian Hardcore and Muslim "Taqwacore" (taqwa means "god consciousness" in Arabic) punks draw on the tools of a punk rock culture that is already encoded with its own set of symbols, rituals and styles to: 1) understand themselves as religious/punk and 2) express religion in punk rock environments. I find that both cases draw on a punk rock motif of antagonism - oppositional attitudes and violent rituals and symbols - to see themselves as religious/punk and express religion in punk in different ways. Christian punks use this motif to condemn other Christians for denouncing punk and create space for Protestant evangelical Christianity in punk. Taqwacores use this motif to criticize Islam for its conservatism as well as non-Muslims for stereotyping Muslims as religious fanatics. In the process, Taqwacores build a space for alienated brown youth who exist on the margins of mainstream American culture and traditional Islam.

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The Growth of Protestantism in Brazil and Its Impact on Male Earnings, 1970-2000

Joseph Potter, Ernesto Amaral & Robert Woodberry
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Protestantism has expanded rapidly in Brazil in recent decades. The question we tackle in this paper is whether Protestantism has had a positive influence on male earnings in this setting, either through its influence on health and productivity, by way of social networks or employer favor and reduced discrimination, or through other mechanisms. We tackle the problem of the selectivity of religious conversion and affiliation using microdata from the Brazilian censuses of 1970, 1980, 1991, and 2000, and analyzing the association between Protestantism and earnings at the group rather than the individual level. Our results show a strong association between the proportion of Protestants in a region, and the earnings of men in one educational group: those with less than five years of education. Upon introducing race into our models, we found that the association between religion and the earnings of less educated men is concentrated in regions in which there is a substantial non-white population. The relationships we have uncovered contribute to the literature on racial inequality and discrimination in Brazil, which to date has given little space to the role of religion in moderating the pernicious effect of race on economic outcomes in Brazil. The substantial association we found between religion and earnings contrasts with much of the research that has been carried out on the influence of religion on earnings in the United States.

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Tending the Flock: Latino Religious Commitments and Political Preferences

Ali Adam Valenzuela
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the direction and extent to which religious belonging and regular church attendance are related to distinct political preferences among U.S. Latinos. The key question is whether Latino churchgoers are more committed than infrequent attenders to liberal policy views and the Democratic Party, or whether Latino religious commitments are related to conservative policy views and Republican Party support. Findings indicate that Latino Protestants are more likely to hold conservative views, while Latino Catholics - the vast majority of religious Latinos - are more likely to hold liberal views, or show no political differences, if they attend church regularly.

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Why did this happen to me? Religious believers' and non-believers' teleological reasoning about life events

Konika Banerjee & Paul Bloom
Cognition, October 2014, Pages 277-303

Abstract:
People often believe that significant life events happen for a reason. In three studies, we examined evidence for the view that teleological beliefs reflect a general cognitive bias to view the world in terms of agency, purpose, and design. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that individual differences in mentalizing ability predicted both the tendency to believe in fate (Study 1) and to infer purposeful causes of one's own life events (Study 2). In addition, people's perception of purpose in life events was correlated with their teleological beliefs about nature, but this relationship was driven primarily by individuals' explicit religious and paranormal beliefs (Study 3). Across all three studies, we found that while people who believe in God hold stronger teleological beliefs than those who do not, there is nonetheless evidence of teleological beliefs among non-believers, confirming that the perception of purpose in life events does not rely on theistic belief. These findings suggest that the tendency to perceive design and purpose in life events - while moderated by theistic belief - is not solely a consequence of culturally transmitted religious ideas. Rather, this teleological bias has its roots in certain more general social propensities.

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The Influence of Islamic Orientations on Democratic Support and Tolerance in five Arab Countries

Niels Spierings
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conclusions from empirical analyses on how Islam influences democratic attitudes in Arab countries differ widely, and the field suffers from conceptual ambiguity and largely focuses on "superficial" democratic support. Based on the non-Middle Eastern literature, this study provides a more systematic theoretical and empirical assessment of the linkages between Islamic attitudes and the popular support for democracy. I link belonging (affiliation), commitment (religiosity), orthodoxy, Muslim political attitudes, and individual-level political Islamism to the support for democracy and politico-religious tolerance. Statistical analyses on seven WVS surveys for Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia show that tolerance levels are remarkably lower than "democratic support"; the influence of being (committed or orthodox) Muslim and Muslim political attitudes are negligible however. Political Islamist views strongly affect tolerance negatively. They also influence "support for democracy," but if the opposition in an authoritarian country is Islamic, these attitudes actually strengthen this support.

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Productive Intolerance: Godly Nationalism in Indonesia

Jeremy Menchik
Comparative Studies in Society and History, July 2014, Pages 591-621

Abstract:
Since democratization, Indonesia has played host to a curious form of ethnic conflict: militant vigilante groups attacking a small, socially marginal religious sect called Ahmadiyah. While most scholars attribute the violence to intolerance by radicals on the periphery of society, this article proposes a different reading based on an intertwined reconfiguration of Indonesian nationalism and religion. I suggest that Indonesia contains a common but overlooked example of "godly nationalism," an imagined community bound by a shared theism and mobilized through the state in cooperation with religious organizations. This model for nationalism is modern, plural, and predicated on the exclusion of religious heterodoxy. Newly collected archival and ethnographic material reveal how the state's and Muslim civil society's long-standing exclusion of Ahmadiyah and other heterodox groups has helped produce the "we-feeling" that helps constitute contemporary Indonesian nationalism. I conclude by intervening in a recent debate about religious freedom to suggest that conflicts over blasphemy reflect Muslim civil society's effort to delineate an incipient model of nationalism and tolerance while avoiding the templates of liberal secularism or theocracy.

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East Asian Religious Tolerance - A Myth or a Reality? Empirical Investigations of Religious Prejudice in East Asian Societies

Magali Clobert et al.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is East Asian religious tolerance, as opposed to Western monotheistic prejudice, a stereotype or a reality? Based on theoretical and empirical evidence, we hypothesized low prejudice as a function of East Asian religiosity. We examined whether this holds true for interreligious, anti-atheist, ethnic, and anti-gay prejudice. In Study 1, analysis of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) 2008 data from Eastern religious and Christian samples in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (total N = 3,555) showed, contrarily to Christians, high interreligious tolerance and weaker if no anti-gay prejudice as a function of Eastern religiosity. In Study 2, Eastern religiosity among Taiwanese (n = 222) was negatively related to prejudice against various religious outgroups (except atheists), especially among those low in authoritarianism. In Study 3, Eastern religiosity among Taiwanese (n = 102) was negatively related to implicit interreligious (Muslims) and ethnic (Africans) prejudice; prosociality partially mediated the former association. Eastern religious tolerance seems to be true, but not unlimited.

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Covered in stigma? The impact of differing levels of Islamic head-covering on explicit and implicit biases toward Muslim women

Jim Everett et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given the prominence of Muslim veils - in particular the hijab and full-face veil - in public discourse concerning the place of Muslims in Western society, we examined their impact on non-Muslims' responses at both explicit and implicit levels. Results revealed that responses were more negative toward any veil compared with no veil, and more negative toward the full-face veil relative to the hijab: for emotions felt toward veiled women (Study 1), for non-affective attitudinal responses (Study 2), and for implicit negative attitudes revealed through response latency measures (Studies 3a and 3b). Finally, we manipulated the perceived reasons for wearing a veil, finding that exposure to positive reasons for wearing a veil led to better predicted and imagined contact (Study 4). Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cross

Unemployment among Mexican immigrant men in the United States, 2003-2012

Jennifer Laird
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on their socioeconomic characteristics, Mexican immigrant men should have very high unemployment. More than half do not have a high school diploma. One in four works in construction; at the height of the recent recession, 20% of construction workers were unemployed. Yet their unemployment rates are similar to those of native-born white men. After controlling for education and occupation, Mexican immigrant men have lower probabilities of unemployment than native-born white men – both before and during the recent recession. I consider explanations based on eligibility for unemployment benefits, out-migrant selection for unemployment, and employer preferences for Mexican immigrant labor.

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Temporary Worker Advantages? A Comparison of Mexican Immigrants' Employment Outcomes

Lauren Apgar
Indiana University Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Most studies of Mexican immigrants’ labor market outcomes overlook temporary workers. Using data from the Mexican Migration Project, I compare temporary workers’ labor market experiences with those of legal permanent residents (LPRs) and undocumented workers. I examine hourly wages, occupational prestige, and job stability. Together, comparisons reveal that temporary workers experience the poorest employment outcomes. While temporary workers’ hourly wages fall between the wages of LPRs and undocumented workers, they work fewer months and hold less prestigious jobs than both groups. These patterns suggest that temporary workers’ dependence on their employer prevents their upward advancement and job stability.

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One Language, Two Meanings: Partisanship and Responses to Spanish

Daniel Hopkins
Political Communication, Summer 2014, Pages 421-445

Abstract:
The growth and dispersion of America’s immigrant population exposes increasing numbers of non-Hispanic Whites to Spanish. Yet the political impacts of that exposure depend on whether Democrats and Republicans respond in similar ways. To address that question, this article first presents survey experiments showing that exposure to Spanish increases restrictive immigration attitudes only among Republicans. To confirm the external validity of that result, the article then presents an analysis of California’s Proposition 227 indicating that support for ending bilingual education was higher in heavily White, Republican block groups with Spanish-language ballots. No such pattern appears in Democratic block groups. Together, these findings demonstrate that Spanish is a politicized symbol, provoking different responses among Whites depending on their partisanship. To the extent that other immigration-related cues produce similar effects, the salience of immigration seems likely to reinforce existing partisan divisions rather than undermining them.

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The migration response to the Legal Arizona Workers Act

Mark Ellis et al.
Political Geography, September 2014, Pages 46–56

Abstract:
The 2008 Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) requires all public and private employers to authenticate the legal status of their workers using the federal employment verification system known as E-Verify. With LAWA, Arizona became the first state to have a universal mandate for employment verification. While LAWA targets unauthorized workers, most of whom are Latino immigrants, other groups could experience LAWA's effects, such as those who share households with undocumented workers. In addition, employers may seek to minimize their risk of LAWA penalties by not hiring those who appear to them as more likely to be unauthorized, such as naturalized Latino immigrants and US-born Latinos. Existing research has found a reduction in foreign-born Latino employment and population in response to LAWA. This paper asks a different question: have groups that are most likely to be affected by the law migrated to other states? We find a significant and sustained increase in the internal outmigration rate from Arizona of foreign-born, noncitizen Latinos – the group most likely to include the unauthorized – after the passage of LAWA. There was no significant LAWA internal migration response by foreign-born Latino citizens. US-born Latinos showed some signs of a LAWA-induced internal migration response after the law went into effect, but it is not sustained. The results indicate that local and state immigration policy can alter the settlement geography of the foreign born. This leads us to speculate about how immigrant settlement may adjust in the coming years to the intersecting geographies of post-recession economic opportunity and tiered immigration policies.

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Empirical characteristics of legal and illegal immigrants in the USA

Vincenzo Caponi & Miana Plesca
Journal of Population Economics, October 2014, Pages 923-960

Abstract:
We combine the New Immigrant Survey (NIS), which contains information on US legal immigrants, with the American Community Survey (ACS), which contains information on legal and illegal immigrants to the USA. Using an econometric methodology proposed by Lancaster and Imbens (J Econ 71:145–160, 1996) we compute the probability for each observation in the ACS data to refer to an illegal immigrant, conditional on observed characteristics. These results are novel, since no other work has quantified the characteristics of illegal immigrants from a random sample representative of the population. Using these conditional probability weights on the ACS data, we are able to uncover some interesting facts on illegal immigrants. We find that, while illegal immigrants suffer a large wage penalty compared to legal immigrants at all education levels, the penalty decreases with education. We also find that the total fertility rate among illegal immigrant women is significantly higher than that among legal ones, in particular for middle and higher educated women. Looking at the sector of activity, we document that the sectors attracting most illegal immigrants are constructions and agriculture. We also generate empirical distributions for state of residence, country of origin, age, sex, and number of legal and illegal immigrants. Our forecasts for the aggregate distribution of legal and illegal characteristics match imputations by the Department of Homeland Security.

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Work Attitudes of Mexican Americans: A Decade of Improvement

Charles Weaver
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, August 2014, Pages 329-343

Abstract:
Weaver compared the work attitudes of Mexican Americans and Euro-Americans with data from 19 nationwide public opinion surveys. He found Mexican Americans productive, cooperative, and networking with a strong sense of work ethic and job satisfaction. Since 2000, the Mexican American population has grown by 57% to 32.9 million. It is more native born, more proficient in English, better educated, more often in important jobs, and has spread across the country. Yet, many live in poverty, and their labor force participation and median household income have declined. To investigate whether their work attitudes have been affected, Weaver’s study was replicated with data from three recent nationwide public opinion surveys to compare 326 Mexican Americans and 2,166 Euro-Americans. The results showed Mexican American work attitudes had become even more favorable. The findings placed beyond doubt the question of whether the work attitudes of Mexican Americans limit their contributions to organizational effectiveness.

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Immigration and African American Wages and Employment: Critically Appraising the Empirical Evidence

Patrick Mason
Review of Black Political Economy, September 2014, Pages 271-297

Abstract:
This paper critically assesses the empirical evidence on the relationship between immigration and African American employment. Studies using various methodologies and data are reviewed: natural experiments, time series, and cross-sectional studies of local labor markets and intertemporal changes in the national labor market. We find that for African Americans as a whole, immigration may have little effect on mean wages and probability of employment. However, there is some evidence that immigration may have had an adverse impact on the labor market outcomes of African Americans belonging to low education-experience groups. However, even this modest conclusion must be qualified: the literature has many unresolved econometric issues that might easily undermine the received wisdom.

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No Longer “All-American”? Whites’ Defensive Reactions to Their Numerical Decline

Felix Danbold & Yuen Huo
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We suggest that Whites’ declining share of the U.S. population threatens their status as the most prototypical ethnic group in America. This prototypicality threat should lead to growing resistance toward diversity, motivated by the desire to reassert Whites’ standing as prototypical Americans. In Study 1, how dramatically Whites perceived their share of the population to decline predicted support for cultural assimilation, mediated by prototypicality threat (controlling for realistic and symbolic threat). This relationship held only among Whites who felt that ethnic groups differ in their prototypicality, not among those who saw all groups representing America equally. Study 2 experimentally manipulated exposure to demographic projections such that Whites who saw their group shrinking showed weaker diversity endorsement relative to those who believed their share to be stable, again mediated by prototypicality threat. These findings reveal Whites’ threatened prototypicality as a novel, emerging source of resistance toward diversity in 21st-century America.

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Business structure, ethnic shifts in labor markets, and violence: The link between company size, local labor markets, and non-Latino homicide

Raymond Barranco & Edward Shihadeh
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Combining several schools of thought, including the civic engagement thesis, we extend current research by linking three things at the county level; firm size, the ethnic composition of labor markets, and violent crime. Our results suggest that larger businesses (based on the average number of persons employed) are more likely to have an external orientation and long recruitment reach, and this is linked to ethnic shifts in labor markets toward Latino workers. Such shifts are in turn associated with high rates of homicide among non-Latinos. Through indirect effects modeling, we find that increases in Black homicide are linked to rises in concentrated poverty, while increases in White homicide are linked to changes in unemployment. We discuss the implications of our findings.

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Immigrants and Mortgage Delinquency

Zhenguo Lin, Yingchun Liu & Xie Jia
Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the effect of immigrant status on mortgage delinquency. Due to their different social and economic background, immigrant households may not integrate well into the host society and therefore are more likely to be delinquent on mortgages than otherwise identical native-born households. We test this hypothesis by comparing the mortgage delinquency rate between immigrant and native households in the 2009 PSID data, in which all the immigrant households have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years. We find that after controlling for observables, those relatively recent immigrants who have been in the U.S. for 10 to 20 years have a higher mortgage delinquency rate than natives, while immigrants who have resided in the US for more than 20 years are no different than natives. In addition, there is no evidence that the second generation of immigrants is more likely to be delinquent than the third-or-higher generations. Our results are robust to potential sample selection bias and functional misspecifications.

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Longitudinal Patterns of Legal Socialization in First-Generation Immigrants, Second-Generation Immigrants, and Native-Born Serious Youthful Offenders

Alex Piquero et al.
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is now well documented that the view that immigrants commit more crime than native-born persons is not supported by empirical research. Yet, the knowledge base is limited in our understanding of the criminological frameworks that may distinguish these groups and, in part, lead to divergent offending patterns. We use the legal socialization framework to understand potential differences along with data from the Pathways to Desistance to assess differences in legal socialization perceptions between first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants, and native-born serious youthful offenders. Results show that, compared with second-generation and native-born youth, first-generation youth tend to have more positive views toward the law, less cynical attitudes toward the legal system, and report more social costs associated with punishment.

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From Problems of Living to Problems of Law: The Legal Translation and Documentation of Immigrant Abuse and Helpfulness

Sarah Morando Lakhani
Law & Social Inquiry, Summer 2014, Pages 643–665

Abstract:
To apply for U Visa status, a temporary legal standing available to undocumented crime victims who assist law enforcement in investigations, immigrants must obtain validation of their experiences from police via a signed “certification” paper. This article investigates the challenges lawyers and immigrant crime victims face in translating and documenting victims' experiences into legal form. By analyzing interactions between Los Angeles attorneys and female undocumented immigrants, I explore how immigrant victims of violence prepare to approach police certifiers. Attorneys arbitrate between accounts of violence and immigrant-police encounters and the legal cases they can develop, offering retrospective and prospective advice to immigrants about how to make effective pleas to police. Drawing attention to the devolutionary dynamics of an inclusive immigration policy, I show how nonfederal bureaucrats shape immigrants' eligibility for legalization remedies. In turn, I expose detrimental consequences of mixing street-level administrative discretion with federal visa eligibility determinations.

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Immigration, Integration, and Support for Redistribution in Europe

Brian Burgoon
World Politics, July 2014, Pages 365-405

Abstract:
Immigration poses individual or collective economic risks that might increase citizen support for government redistribution, but it can also generate fiscal pressure or undermine social solidarity to diminish such support. These offsetting conditions obscure the net effects of immigration for welfare states. This article explores whether immigration's effects are mediated by the economic and social integration of immigrants. Integration can be conceptualized and measured as involving the degree to which immigrants suffer unemployment rates, depend on welfare-state benefits, and harbor social attitudes similarly to the native population. Such integration may alter how immigration reduces solidarity and imposes fiscal and macroeconomic pressures, but does not much alter how immigration spurs economic risks for natives. Where migrants are more integrated by such measures, immigration should have less negative or more positive implications for native support for government redistribution and welfare states than where migrants are less integrated. The article explores these arguments using survey data for twenty-two European countries between 2002 and 2010. The principal finding is that economic integration, more than sociocultural integration, softens the tendency of immigration to undermine support for redistributive policies.

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From Political to Material Inequality: Race, Immigration, and Requests for Public Goods

Jeremy Levine & Carl Gershenson
Sociological Forum, September 2014, Pages 607–627

Abstract:
Studies of political participation typically analyze voting, contentious collective action, or membership in voluntary associations. Few scholars investigate a more mundane — but highly consequential — form of neighborhood politics: requests for basic city services. We conceptualize city service requests as a direct, instrumental contact with local government that alters the geographical distribution of public goods. We hypothesize that rates of service requests vary with the ethnic and immigrant composition of neighborhoods, due to differences in these communities’ expectations of local government. We test this hypothesis using administrative data from the City of Boston. We find neighborhoods with high concentrations of first-generation immigrants less likely to request services, relative to need. The concentration of African Americans, however, is associated with large increases in neighborhood service requests. We conclude with implications for the study of race, inequality, and political incorporation.

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Immigration, redistribution, and universal suffrage

Raul Magni-Berton
Public Choice, September 2014, Pages 391-409

Abstract:
The effect of immigration on redistribution has been widely debated. This paper contributes to this debate by testing two explanations, which are that (i) immigration tends to reduce redistribution due to people’s higher levels of xenophobia, and that (ii) immigration affects redistribution because immigrants do not have the right to vote. Since the demand for redistribution depends on the (expected) gap between median voter income and mean income, immigrants affect the demand for redistribution because, as non-citizens, they do not change the median voter’s income, but, as economic stakeholders, they do affect the mean income. Four empirical consequences of (i) and (ii) are tested at the individual level. Evidence from the European Values Survey in 45 countries confirms (ii), showing that immigrants’ expected competitiveness on the labor market affects preferences for redistribution and that it is amplified when the perceived number of immigrants is high. In contrast, (i) is globally rejected since the impact of the citizens’ declared level of solidarity with immigrants tends to be weak and depends on the type of measurement or specification used.

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On the Effectiveness of SB1070 in Arizona

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Fernando Lozano
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the effectiveness of Arizona's omnibus immigration law SB1070, which made it a misdemeanor crime for an alien to not carry proper documentation and asked police to determine the immigration status of any person suspected of being an illegal alien during a lawful stop. We find that SB1070's enactment coincided with the stalling to slight recovery of the share of non-citizen Hispanics in Arizona 3 years after the enactment of an employment verification mandate to all employers. Yet, its effectiveness in reducing the share of likely unauthorized immigrants has been minimal and questions the merit of the law.

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The Threat of Terrorism and the Changing Public Discourse on Immigration after September 11

Joshua Woods & Damien Arthur
Sociological Spectrum, September/October 2014, Pages 421-441

Abstract:
This article uses articles from the opinion-leading press to investigate how the news media's repertoire of negative portrayals changed after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is based on a systematic random sample of 360 articles from two, opinion-leading newspapers—one known for its liberal slant (New York Times) and one known for its conservative slant (Wall Street Journal). The sample is drawn from a large population of articles published over a six-year period (1998–2004). The findings show that the percentage of negative frames involving not only terrorism but also other non-terrorist threats increased significantly after September 11. The elevated frequency of negative frames was found in both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but the increase was significantly greater in the conservative periodical. Immigrants from non-European countries were also significantly more likely to be associated with negative frames than European immigrants. These three variables — national origin, news source, and September 11 — were strong predictors of negative frames, even when controlling for other correlates. Suggesting an authoritarian turn in American political discourse, the study highlights cultural factors, as opposed to the conventional psychological explanations, as key determinants of the changing public discussion of immigration after September 11.

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Defying the Law of Gravity: The Political Economy of International Migration

Jennifer Fitzgerald, David Leblang & Jessica Teets
World Politics, July 2014, Pages 406-445

Abstract:
Bilateral flows of international migrants exhibit tremendous variance both across destination countries and over time. To explain this variance, studies of international migration tend to focus on economic determinants such as income differentials or on social conditions such as the presence of coethnics in certain destination countries. The authors argue that migration is driven not solely by economic or social determinants; rather, the political environment across destinations plays a substantively large role in influencing bilateral migration flows. They test the importance of the political environment — citizenship rights and the prominence of right-wing parties — using data on migration flows from 178 origin countries into 18 destination countries over the period 1980–2006. They find, even after controlling for a variety of economic, social, policy, and international variables, that variation in political environments across time and destination plays a key role in observed patterns of international migration.

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Reevaluating the Effect of Recent Immigration on Crime: Estimating the Impact of Change in Discrete Migration Flows to the United Kingdom Following EU Accession

Richard Stansfield
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
The United Kingdom experienced a rapid inflow of migrants from European Union accession countries between 2004 and 2011, many of whom participated in the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS). Given the relative labor market position of this recent migrant wave, scholars argued that returns to criminal activity were negligible. Yet, recent data from London’s Metropolitan Police estimated that foreign-born nationals from Poland, Lithuania, and other Eastern European nations were responsible for almost 25% of alleged crimes in London between 2010 and 2011. With the United Kingdom set to see an influx of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants starting in 2014, political and public arenas became rife with fears of a growing Eastern European crime wave. This article attempted to bring some coherence to the relationship between recent Eastern European immigration and multiple forms of crime in the United Kingdom. Using data from 348 local authorities in England and Wales, this study examined recent immigration composition effects on crime. The study also went beyond existing studies on immigration and crime by examining the effects of change in employment-related migration flows, study-related migration, and other migration flows since 2004. Results confirmed that areas that saw the highest rates of immigration do not have higher rates of violence. These areas did exhibit higher rates of drug offenses, however, that could not be explained away by differences in structural conditions. Finally, evidence was found that the reason for migration was critical in predicting criminal returns.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You have a choice

The wisdom of select crowds

Albert Mannes, Jack Soll & Richard Larrick
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, August 2014, Pages 276-299

Abstract:
Social psychologists have long recognized the power of statisticized groups. When individual judgments about some fact (e.g., the unemployment rate for next quarter) are averaged together, the average opinion is typically more accurate than most of the individual estimates, a pattern often referred to as the wisdom of crowds. The accuracy of averaging also often exceeds that of the individual perceived as most knowledgeable in the group. However, neither averaging nor relying on a single judge is a robust strategy; each performs well in some settings and poorly in others. As an alternative, we introduce the select-crowd strategy, which ranks judges based on a cue to ability (e.g., the accuracy of several recent judgments) and averages the opinions of the top judges, such as the top 5. Through both simulation and an analysis of 90 archival data sets, we show that select crowds of 5 knowledgeable judges yield very accurate judgments across a wide range of possible settings — the strategy is both accurate and robust. Following this, we examine how people prefer to use information from a crowd. Previous research suggests that people are distrustful of crowds and of mechanical processes such as averaging. We show in 3 experiments that, as expected, people are drawn to experts and dislike crowd averages — but, critically, they view the select-crowd strategy favorably and are willing to use it. The select-crowd strategy is thus accurate, robust, and appealing as a mechanism for helping individuals tap collective wisdom.

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Free will is about choosing: The link between choice and the belief in free will

Gilad Feldman, Roy Baumeister & Kin Fai Ellick Wong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 239–245

Abstract:
Expert opinions have yielded a wide and controversial assortment of conceptions of free will, but laypersons seem to associate free will more simply with making choices. We found that the more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices, the higher they rated their ability to make decisions (Study 1), the less difficult they perceived making decisions, and the more satisfied they were with their decisions (Study 2). High free will belief was also associated with more spontaneous associating of choice with freedom, and with the perception of actions as choices. Recalling choices (Study 3) and making choices (Study 4) led to a stronger endorsement of the belief in free will, and an additional effect of the level of choice involved in the choice. These findings suggest that the everyday social reality of beliefs about free will is a matter of how people think and feel about choice.

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When Knowledge Is Demotivating: Subjective Knowledge and Choice Overload

Liat Hadar & Sanjay Sood
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People find it appealing to have more options to choose from, but the provision of choice often leads to adverse consequences for decision makers’ motivation, satisfaction, and willingness to act. We propose that the effect of the number of choice options on willingness to purchase is moderated by people’s subjective knowledge (SK). The results of three studies provide converging evidence that, paradoxically, people who feel unknowledgeable (low-SK people) in a certain domain are especially willing to purchase when more choice options are available, which is consistent with the notion of “more is better.” This pattern is reversed for people who feel knowledgeable (high-SK people), which is consistent with prior evidence for choice overload. We also show that this pattern is influenced by the informativeness of the features of the available choice options and that subjective knowledge mediates this effect.

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Money is No Object: Testing the Endowment Effect in Exchange Goods

Daniel Svirsky
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, October 2014, Pages 227–234

Abstract:
We present a new experimental design to test whether the endowment effect exists for exchange goods, like money. We compare three groups to a baseline: one endowed with money, one endowed with chocolate coins, and one endowed with chocolate coins described as “tokens.” We find an endowment effect for chocolate coins, but no endowment effect for money or for chocolate coins when they are described as tokens. The results suggest that the endowment effect does not exist for exchange goods.

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Effect of an Interviewer's Tactile Contact on Willingness to Disclose Voting Choice

Nicolas Guéguen
Social Behavior and Personality, Summer 2014, Pages 1003-1006

Abstract:
The positive effect of tactile contact on compliance has been widely reported in the literature. However, the effect of touch on willingness to disclose confidential information has never been studied. Two days after European Parliamentary elections, people who were walking by in the street were asked by an interviewer who was unknown to them, to reveal for which candidate they had voted. According to a random distribution, some of the people who were questioned were slightly touched on the forearm by the interviewer during the formulation of the request but the rest of the participants were not touched. Results showed that, compared with the participants who were not touched, those who were touched were more likely to be willing to disclose their voting preference (88.6% of the touched group vs. 63.3% of the no-touch group), suggesting that touch is a facilitator of self-revelation.

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Reference-Dependent Preferences: Evidence from Marathon Runners

Eric Allen et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Models of reference-dependent preferences propose that individuals evaluate outcomes as gains or losses relative to a neutral reference point. We test for reference dependence in a large dataset of marathon finishing times (n = 9,524,071). Models of reference-dependent preferences such as prospect theory predict bunching of finishing times at reference points. We provide visual and statistical evidence that round numbers (e.g., a four-hour marathon) serve as reference points in this environment and as a result produce significant bunching of performance at these round numbers. Bunching is driven by planning and adjustments in effort provision near the finish line and cannot be explained by explicit rewards (e.g., qualifying for the Boston Marathon), peer effects, or institutional features (e.g., pacesetters). We calibrate a simple model of prospect theory as well as other models of reference dependence and show that the basic qualitative shape of the empirical distribution of finishing times is consistent with parameters that have previously been estimated in the laboratory.

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Algorithm Aversion: People Erroneously Avoid Algorithms after Seeing Them Err

Berkeley Dietvorst, Joseph Simmons & Cade Massey
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Research shows that evidence-based algorithms more accurately predict the future than do human forecasters. Yet, when forecasters are deciding whether to use a human forecaster or a statistical algorithm, they often choose the human forecaster. This phenomenon, which we call algorithm aversion, is costly, and it is important to understand its causes. We show that people are especially averse to algorithmic forecasters after seeing them perform, even when they see them outperform a human forecaster. This is because people more quickly lose confidence in algorithmic than human forecasters after seeing them make the same mistake. In five studies, participants either saw an algorithm make forecasts, a human make forecasts, both, or neither. They then decided whether to tie their incentives to the future predictions of the algorithm or the human. Participants who saw the algorithm perform were less confident in it, and less likely to choose it over an inferior human forecaster. This was true even among those who saw the algorithm outperform the human.

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Surprisingly rational: Probability theory plus noise explains biases in judgment

Fintan Costello & Paul Watts
Psychological Review, July 2014, Pages 463-480

Abstract:
The systematic biases seen in people’s probability judgments are typically taken as evidence that people do not use the rules of probability theory when reasoning about probability but instead use heuristics, which sometimes yield reasonable judgments and sometimes yield systematic biases. This view has had a major impact in economics, law, medicine, and other fields; indeed, the idea that people cannot reason with probabilities has become a truism. We present a simple alternative to this view, where people reason about probability according to probability theory but are subject to random variation or noise in the reasoning process. In this account the effect of noise is canceled for some probabilistic expressions. Analyzing data from 2 experiments, we find that, for these expressions, people’s probability judgments are strikingly close to those required by probability theory. For other expressions, this account produces systematic deviations in probability estimates. These deviations explain 4 reliable biases in human probabilistic reasoning (conservatism, subadditivity, conjunction, and disjunction fallacies). These results suggest that people’s probability judgments embody the rules of probability theory and that biases in those judgments are due to the effects of random noise.

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Passport Officers’ Errors in Face Matching

David White et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2014

Abstract:
Photo-ID is widely used in security settings, despite research showing that viewers find it very difficult to match unfamiliar faces. Here we test participants with specialist experience and training in the task: passport-issuing officers. First, we ask officers to compare photos to live ID-card bearers, and observe high error rates, including 14% false acceptance of ‘fraudulent’ photos. Second, we compare passport officers with a set of student participants, and find equally poor levels of accuracy in both groups. Finally, we observe that passport officers show no performance advantage over the general population on a standardised face-matching task. Across all tasks, we observe very large individual differences: while average performance of passport staff was poor, some officers performed very accurately – though this was not related to length of experience or training. We propose that improvements in security could be made by emphasising personnel selection.

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Scarcity Polarizes Preferences: The Impact on Choice Among Multiple Items in a Product Class

Meng Zhu & Rebecca Ratner
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how the salience of scarcity influences choices of individual items from a product class. The authors propose that overall perception of scarcity versus overall perception of abundance increases choice share of the most-preferred item from a product class. The authors argue that this occurs because scarcity induces arousal and the heightened arousal polarizes the evaluations of individual items contained in the choice set. Results from five experiments show that scarcity versus abundance broadens the discrepancy between the liking of the favorite and non-favorite items, and leads to higher choice share of the favorite item. Results support the arousal-based explanation, demonstrating that the effect of scarcity salience on choices is mediated by consumers' reported arousal level and moderated by experimentally induced arousal state.

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No product is perfect: The positive influence of acknowledging the negative

Bruce Pfeiffer et al.
Thinking & Reasoning, Fall 2014, Pages 500-512

Abstract:
Negative acknowledgement is an impression management technique that uses the admission of an unfavourable quality to mitigate a negative response. Although the technique has been clearly demonstrated, the underlying process is not well understood. The current research identifies a key mediator and moderator while also demonstrating that the effect extends beyond the specific acknowledged domain to the overall evaluation of a target object. The results of study 1 indicate that negative acknowledgement works through mitigating negatively valenced cognitive responses. People who are presented with a negative acknowledgement are less likely to counterargue when forming an evaluation. The results of study 2 reveal that individual differences in need for structure impact the effectiveness of the technique. People who are high in need for structure are more susceptible to the effect presumably because of their desire for easy-to-use information that aids the formation and maintenance of simple knowledge structures.

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The primal mark: How the beginning shapes the end in the development of creative ideas

Justin Berg
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, September 2014, Pages 1–17

Abstract:
While creative ideas are defined as both novel and useful, novelty and usefulness often diverge, making it difficult to develop ideas that are high in both. To explain this tradeoff between novelty and usefulness and how it can be overcome, this paper introduces the concept of the “primal mark” — i.e., the first bit of content employees start with as they generate ideas, which anchors the trajectory of novelty and usefulness. In four experiments, participants started with primal marks that contained varying degrees of novelty. Results suggest that familiar primal marks foster usefulness at the expense of novelty, while new primal marks foster novelty at the expense of usefulness. However, the results also suggest a solution to this tradeoff: integrative primal marks that combine new and familiar content, fostering an optimal balance of novelty and usefulness. Implications for theory and research on creativity in organizations are discussed.

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Small Differences that Matter: The Impact of Discussion Modalities on Deliberative Outcomes

Lucio Baccaro, André Bächtiger & Marion Deville
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
An experiment on the extension of the political rights of foreigners in the Swiss city of Geneva used three different procedural ways to structure deliberation: participants take positions at the outset, do not take positions, and reflect first. Most opinion change occurred when participants did not have to take a position at the outset. However, no learning effects were recorded, the deliberative quality was poor and group influence had the greatest impact. When participants had to take a position at the outset, opinion change and group influence were least, but there was significant learning, and the deliberative quality was better. These results indicate a potential trade-off between opinion change – which many scholars equate with deliberative success – and good procedural deliberative quality.

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Asymmetric Predictability and Cognitive Competition in Football Penalty Shootouts

Erman Misirlisoy & Patrick Haggard
Current Biology, 18 August 2014, Pages 1918–1922

Abstract:
Sports provide powerful demonstrations of cognitive strategies underlying competitive behavior. Penalty shootouts in football (soccer) involve direct competition between elite players and absorb the attention of millions. The penalty shootout between Germany and England in the 1990 World Cup semifinal was viewed by an estimated 46.49% of the UK population. In a penalty shootout, a goalkeeper must defend their goal without teammate assistance while an opposing series of kickers aim to kick the ball past them into the net. As in many sports, the ball during a penalty kick often approaches too quickly for the goalkeeper to react to its direction of motion; instead, the goalkeeper must guess the likely direction of the kick, and dive in anticipation, if they are to have a chance of saving the shot. We examined all 361 kicks from the 37 penalty shootouts that occurred in World Cup and Euro Cup matches over a 36-year period from 1976 to 2012 and show that goalkeepers displayed a clear sequential bias. Following repeated kicks in the same direction, goalkeepers became increasingly likely to dive in the opposite direction on the next kick. Surprisingly, kickers failed to exploit these goalkeeper biases. Our findings highlight the importance of monitoring and predicting sequential behavior in real-world competition. Penalty shootouts pit one goalkeeper against several kickers in rapid succession. Asymmetries in the cognitive capacities of an individual versus a group could produce significant advantages over opponents.

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The Allure of Unknown Outcomes: Exploring the Role of Uncertainty in the Preference for Potential

Daniella Kupor, Zakary Tormala & Michael Norton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 210–216

Abstract:
Influence practitioners often highlight a target’s achievements (e.g., “she is the city’s top-rated chef”), but recent research reveals that highlighting a target’s potential (e.g., “she could become the city’s top-rated chef”) can be more effective. We examine whether the uncertainty inherent in potential is crucial to its appeal by exploring whether the preference for potential depends on individual and situational differences in tolerance for uncertainty. In two studies in two different categories (comedians and restaurants), we measure and manipulate tolerance for uncertainty to show that the preference for potential emerges when tolerance for uncertainty is high, but not low. We further show that the uncertainty surrounding potential fosters greater interest and deeper processing when tolerance for uncertainty is high, which in turn promotes more favorable reactions. Thus, the current research reveals when and why emphasizing potential is more effective than emphasizing achievement, illuminating the key role of uncertainty in driving this effect.

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Emotions Shape Decisions Through Construal Level: The Case of Guilt and Shame

DaHee Han, Adam Duhachek & Nidhi Agrawal
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Four experiments show that emotions systematically influence judgments and persuasion by altering construal levels. Guilt-laden consumers, relative to those who were shame-laden, adopted lower levels of construal. In subsequent unrelated judgments, guilt increased reliance on feasibility over desirability attributes and emphasized secondary rather than primary features. Shame led to the opposite pattern. Guilt’s tendency to draw behavior-specific appraisals activates local appraisal tendencies and endows lower construal levels whereas shame’s tendency to implicate the entire self activates global appraisal tendencies and endows consumers with higher construal levels. As a boundary condition to the core effect, the results showed that the differences between guilt and shame only held when the emotions arose from actions rather than from inaction situations. These findings provide insight into when and why guilt and shame have different effects on subsequent decisions.

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Super-Underweighting of Rare Events with Repeated Descriptive Summaries

Eldad Yechiam, Tim Rakow & Ben Newell
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Field studies suggest that providing summarized information concerning the prevalence of risks can increase risk taking when the hazard is rare. We study a simple experimental model of this phenomenon based on repeated descriptive summaries of past outcomes. Under cumulative prospect theory and experience-sampling models, descriptions of rare events should increase the weighting of rare events. On the other hand, if individuals are sensitive to the frequency of events, then event summaries are expected to accentuate the underweighting of rare events despite adding descriptive information. These contrasting predictions were examined in three experiments using a multi-alternative decision task with two sets of options: safe and risky. In all three experiments, repeated descriptive summaries of past outcomes from all alternatives or from a randomly drawn alternative were found to accentuate the underweighting of rare events by a similar amount. The results shed light on the role of frequency-based judgments in the extreme underweighting of rare events and highlight that providing information about the incidence of rare hazards can have the unintended effect of increasing, rather than decreasing, people's propensity to take risks.

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Proleader and antitrailer information distortion and their effects on choice and postchoice memory

Michael DeKay et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
In four experiments involving choices between apartments, we decomposed predecisional information distortion into positive distortion of information about the tentatively leading alternative and negative distortion of information about the trailing alternative(s). Proleader and antitrailer distortion were roughly symmetric, with similar magnitudes in all but one test. Additionally, proleader and antitrailer distortion predicted choice with similar coefficients in all but one test. Distortion predicted choice when we used participants’ own “true” preferences as the baseline for assessing distortion and when we considered only identical information items that did not distinguish between apartments (“true” preferences cancel out for such items). Finally, predecisional distortion of apartments’ attributes predicted participants’ postdecision memories for those attributes, with positive and negative distortions predicting corresponding memory errors. This effect appears to reflect the predecisional encoding of information about the leading and trailing alternatives rather than a response bias or other postdecision process favoring the chosen alternative.

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Using metacognitive cues to infer others’ thinking

André Mata & Tiago Almeida
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2014, Pages 349–359

Abstract:
Three studies tested whether people use cues about the way other people think — for example, whether others respond fast vs. slow — to infer what responses other people might give to reasoning problems. People who solve reasoning problems using deliberative thinking have better insight than intuitive problem-solvers into the responses that other people might give to the same problems. Presumably because deliberative responders think of intuitive responses before they think of deliberative responses, they are aware that others might respond intuitively, particularly in circumstances that hinder deliberative thinking (e.g., fast responding). Intuitive responders, on the other hand, are less aware of alternative responses to theirs, so they infer that other people respond as they do, regardless of the way others respond.

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Peer Assessment of Aviation Performance: Inconsistent for Good Reasons

Wolff-Michael Roth & Timothy Mavin
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research into expertise is relatively common in cognitive science concerning expertise existing across many domains. However, much less research has examined how experts within the same domain assess the performance of their peer experts. We report the results of a modified think-aloud study conducted with 18 pilots (6 first officers, 6 captains, and 6 flight examiners). Pairs of same-ranked pilots were asked to rate the performance of a captain flying in a critical pre-recorded simulator scenario. Findings reveal (a) considerable variance within performance categories, (b) differences in the process used as evidence in support of a performance rating, (c) different numbers and types of facts (cues) identified, and (d) differences in how specific performance events affect choice of performance category and gravity of performance assessment. Such variance is consistent with low inter-rater reliability. Because raters exhibited good, albeit imprecise, reasons and facts, a fuzzy mathematical model of performance rating was developed. The model provides good agreement with observed variations.

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Responsibility judgments of wins and losses in the 2013 chess championship

Gro Hege Haraldsen Nordbye & Karl Halvor Teigen
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2014, Pages 335–348

Abstract:
We report two studies on the perceived responsibility of opponents competing for a goal that can be attained by only one of them. Responsibility judgments were collected in seven samples of lay people and experts before, during, and after the World Chess Championship in 2013. Participants assessed the responsibility of the two players, their supporting teams, local conditions, and chance factors for four hypothetical outcomes (large and small loss/win for each player), along with probabilities for these outcomes, demonstrating subadditivity (sums exceeding 100%) in all samples, even among chess experts. The winner was consistently perceived to be more responsible than the loser, and more for outcomes with large than small margins. There was also an effect of focal player, as Carlsen was given more responsibility both for losses and wins than Anand, by the present (Norwegian) pro-Carlsen samples. However, this effect could be modified by describing the outcomes as Anand’s (rather than Carlsen’s) wins and losses. Thus the study adds to the valence framing literature by showing how responsibility judgments are affected by the way outcomes are framed.

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Decision time as information in judgment and choice

Philippe Van de Calseyde, Gideon Keren & Marcel Zeelenberg
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often observe others’ decisions and the corresponding time it took them to reach the decision. Following a signaling perspective, we demonstrate that people derive information from the time that others needed in reaching a decision. Specifically, the findings of multiple experiments and a field study using data from the television show The Voice reveal that decision times are perceived as indicative of the degree of doubt that the decision maker experienced. In turn, these inferences of doubt reliably affected people’s preferences such as with whom to collaborate and negotiate, even when the collaboration would yield a normatively inferior outcome. These results are incompatible with the idea that an alternative will be chosen only on the basis of its outcomes. We portray a model that incorporates others’ decision times as a component of the choice process. Implications for how choices are affected by both outcomes and signals are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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