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Monday, June 15, 2015

Playing by the rules

Disclosures About Disclosures: Can Conflict of Interest Warnings be Made More Effective?

Ahmed Taha & John Petrocelli
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2015, Pages 236-251

Abstract:
People regularly rely on advisors who have conflicts of interest. The law often requires advisors to disclose these conflicts. Despite these disclosures, people generally insufficiently discount conflicted advice. This might be partly due to people interpreting the very fact that the advisor is disclosing a conflict of interest as a sign that the advisor is trustworthy, undermining the purpose and effectiveness of the disclosure. This article presents the results of an experiment indicating that requiring advisors to also disclose that they are legally required to disclose their conflict of interest makes people discount their advice more. This occurs, at least in part, because such advisors are viewed as less trustworthy than advisors who merely disclose their conflict of interest without also stating that the disclosure is legally required.

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Efficiencies brewed: Pricing and consolidation in the US beer industry

Orley Ashenfelter, Daniel Hosken & Matthew Weinberg
RAND Journal of Economics, Summer 2015, Pages 328-361

Abstract:
Merger efficiencies provide the primary justification for why mergers of competitors may benefit consumers. Surprisingly, there is little evidence that efficiencies can offset incentives to raise prices following mergers. We estimate the effects of increased concentration and efficiencies on pricing by using panel scanner data and geographic variation in how the merger of the brewers Miller and Coors was expected to increase concentration and reduce costs. All else equal, the average predicted increase in concentration led to price increases of 2%, but at the mean this was offset by a nearly equal and opposite efficiency effect.

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Does Google Leverage Market Power through Tying and Bundling?

Benjamin Edelman
Journal of Competition Law & Economics, June 2015, Pages 365-400

Abstract:
I examine Google's pattern and practice of tying to leverage its dominance into new sectors. In particular, I show how Google used these tactics to enter numerous markets, to compel usage of its services, and often to dominate competing offerings. I explore the technical and commercial implementations of these practices and identify their effects on competition. I conclude that Google's tying tactics are suspect under antitrust law.

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Does Vertical Integration Decrease Prices? Evidence from the Paramount Antitrust Case of 1948

Ricard Gil
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, May 2015, Pages 162-191

Abstract:
I empirically examine the impact of the 1948 Paramount antitrust case on ticket prices using a unique dataset collected from Variety magazine issues between 1945 and 1955. With information on prices, revenues, and theater ownership for an unbalanced panel of 393 theaters in 26 cities, I find that vertically integrated theaters charged lower prices and sold more admission tickets than nonintegrated theaters. I also find that the rate at which prices increased in theaters was slower while integrated than after vertical divestiture. These findings together with institutional details are consistent with the prediction that vertical integration lowers prices through the elimination of double marginalization.

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Do Fans Care About Compliance to Doping Regulations in Sports? The Impact of PED Suspension in Baseball

Jeffrey Cisyk & Pascal Courty
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is little evidence in support of the main economic rationale for regulating athletic doping that doping reduces fan interest. The introduction of random testing for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) by Major League Baseball (MLB) offers unique data to investigate the issue. The announcement of a PED violation (a) initially reduces home-game attendance by 8%, (b) has no impact on home-game attendance after 15 days, and (c) has a small negative impact on the game attendance for other MLB teams. This is the first systematic evidence that doping decreases consumer demand for sporting events.

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Price Coherence and Excessive Intermediation

Benjamin Edelman & Julian Wright
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Suppose an intermediary provides a benefit to buyers when they purchase from sellers using the intermediary's technology. We develop a model to show that the intermediary would want to restrict sellers from charging buyers more for transactions it intermediates. With this restriction an intermediary can profitably raise demand for its services by eliminating any extra price buyers face for purchasing through the intermediary. We show that this leads to inflated retail prices, excessive adoption of the intermediaries' services, over-investment in benefits to buyers, and a reduction in consumer surplus and sometimes welfare. Competition among intermediaries intensifies these problems by increasing the magnitude of their effects and broadening the circumstances in which they arise. We discuss applications to payment card systems, travel reservation systems, rebate services, and various other intermediaries.

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Does the Endowment Effect Justify Legal Intervention? The Debiasing Effect of Institutions

Jennifer Arlen & Stephan Tontrup
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages 143-182

Abstract:
We claim that the endowment effect rarely justifies legal intervention in private ordering. We present the first theory, to our knowledge, to explain how institutions inhibit the endowment effect without altering people's rights to their entitlements. The endowment effect is substantially caused by anticipated regret. We show that people experience regret only when they feel responsible for the decision and can mute regret by trading through institutions that let them share responsibility with others. As entitlement holders typically transact through institutions, we expect most people to make unbiased trading decisions in real markets. We test two common institutions - agency relationships and voting - that divide responsibility between multiple actors. Each caused most subjects to debias and trade in our study. We also show that people intentionally debias by employing institutions in order to share responsibility. Thus, when people can freely transact, private ordering generally overcomes the endowment effect.

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The Hidden Cost of Regulation: Emotional Responses to Command and Control

David Just & Andrew Hanks
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In economic models of behavior, consumers are assumed to value the goods and services they purchase based on stable preferences over externally identifiable attributes such as quality. These models predict that consumers will respond to changes in price in a way that is independent of the source of the price change. Yet research in the behavioral sciences indicates that consumers that are emotionally attached to a consumption good or other behavior might respond with resistance when policies threaten their consumption or behavior. Moreover, policies that in fact validate some emotional attachments can stir a stronger preference for the good or behavior. Reviewing both survey and experimental data from the literature, we demonstrate how such emotional responses can create hidden costs to policy implementation that could not be detected using standard welfare economic techniques. Building upon Rabin's work on fairness in games, we propose a partial equilibrium model of emotional response to policy whereby preferences are endogenous to policy choices. In accordance with evidence both from our own analysis and the field, we propose that confrontational policies (such as a sin tax) increase the marginal utility for a good, and that validating policies (such as a subsidy) also increases the marginal utility for a good. A social planner that ignores potential emotional responses to policy changes may unwittingly induce significant dead weight loss. Using our model, we propose a feasible method to determine if emotional deadweight costs exist, and to place a lower bound on the size of these costs.

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When Do People Prefer Carrots to Sticks? A Robust 'Matching Effect' in Policy Evaluation

Ellen Evers et al.
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
We find a "matching effect" in policy evaluations. For behaviors seen as positive but voluntary (such as organ donation) people prefer policies that are framed as advantaging those who act positively rather than disadvantaging those who fail to do so. Conversely, for behaviors seen as positive and obligatory, people prefer policies that are framed as disadvantaging those who fail to fulfill obligations rather than advantaging those who do so. We find that these differences in policy evaluations occur even when policy outcomes are identical, i.e., when the only difference between the policies is how they are framed. These differences emerge both for evaluations of hypothetical policies, as well as when implementation of the policy directly affects the evaluator. Furthermore, differences in evaluations are not the result of misunderstanding of - or lack of deliberation about - policy outcomes. Rather, the matching effect appears to follow from lay beliefs about when punishment is and is not appropriate.

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Productivity, Safety, and Regulation in Coal Mining: Evidence from Disasters and Fatalities

Gautam Gowrisankaran et al.
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Coal mining is a dangerous occupation where safety is an important output. Fatalities and disasters may change future accident costs at or near a mine. We use this variation to understand the tradeoffs between mineral output and safety. We find that government inspections and penalties increase after fatalities and less-severe accident rates decrease by 10%. For mines in the state of a disaster, less-severe accident rates decrease by 23%, and fatalities by 68%, representing up to $2 per hour worked, with limited evidence that mineral productivity falls up to $14 per hour worked and that managers employed increases by 11%.

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Corporation Law and the Shift toward Open Access in the Antebellum United States

Eric Hilt
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper analyses the general incorporation statutes for manufacturing firms adopted by the American states up to 1860. Prior to the enactment of a general law, a business could only incorporate by obtaining a special act of their state legislature; general statutes facilitated incorporation through a routine administrative procedure. A new chronology of the adoption of these statutes reveals that several states enacted them much earlier than previous scholarship has indicated. An analysis of the contents of these laws indicates that many imposed strict regulations on the corporations they created, whereas others granted entrepreneurs near-total freedom. Many Southern states enacted particularly liberal statutes, but sometimes also prohibited nonwhites from incorporating businesses or gave a government official discretion over access to the law. Finally, an analysis of the volume of incorporation through special charters reveals that the states that failed to adopt general incorporation laws tended to offer unusually generous access to incorporation through special legislative acts. Taken together, these results imply that the adoption of a general incorporation statute did not always represent a discrete transition to open access to the corporate form. Instead, general statutes sometimes included highly restrictive provisions governing access, and some states generously accommodated demands for incorporation in the absence of a general statute.

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Is No News (Perceived as) Bad News? An Experimental Investigation of Information Disclosure

Ginger Zhe Jin, Michael Luca & Daniel Martin
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
A central prediction of information economics is that market forces can lead businesses to voluntarily provide information about the quality of their products, yet little voluntary disclosure is observed in the field. In this paper, we demonstrate that the inconsistency between theory and reality is driven by a fundamental failure in consumer inferences when sellers withhold information. Using a series of laboratory experiments, we implement a simple disclosure game in which senders can verifiably report quality to receivers. We find that senders disclose less often than equilibrium would predict. Receivers are not sufficiently skeptical about undisclosed information - they underestimate the extent to which no news is bad news. Senders generally take advantage of receiver mistakes. We find that providing disclosure rates by quality score helps to improve receiver inferences.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fade to black

Three Decades Later: The Life Experiences and Mid-Life Functioning of 1980s Heavy Metal Groupies, Musicians, and Fans

Tasha Howe et al.
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research in the 1980s suggested that young “metalheads” were at risk for poor developmental outcomes. No other study has assessed this group as adults; thus, we examined 1980s heavy metal groupies, musicians, and fans at middle age, using snowball sampling from Facebook. Online surveys assessed adverse childhood experiences, personality, adult attachment, and past and current functioning in 377 participants. Results revealed that metal enthusiasts did often experience traumatic and risky “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll” lives. However, the “metalhead” identity also served as a protective factor against negative outcomes. They were significantly happier in their youth and better adjusted currently than either middle-aged or current college-age youth comparison groups. Thus, participation in fringe style cultures may enhance identity development in troubled youth.

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Seeing the World Through Rose-Colored Glasses: People Who Are Happy and Satisfied With Life Preferentially Attend to Positive Stimuli

Hannah Raila, Brian Scholl & June Gruber
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given the many benefits conferred by trait happiness and life satisfaction, a primary goal is to determine how these traits relate to underlying cognitive processes. For example, visual attention acts as a gateway to awareness, raising the question of whether happy and satisfied people attend to (and therefore see) the world differently. Previous work suggests that biases in selective attention are associated with both trait negativity and with positive affect states, but to our knowledge, no previous work has explored whether trait-happy individuals attend to the world differently. Here, we employed eye tracking as a continuous measure of sustained overt attention during passive viewing of displays containing positive and neutral photographs to determine whether selective attention to positive scenes is associated with measures of trait happiness and life satisfaction. Both trait measures were significantly correlated with selective attention for positive (vs. neutral) scene s, and this general pattern was robust across several types of positive stimuli (achievement, social, and primary reward), and not because of positive or negative state affect. Such effects were especially prominent during the later phases of sustained viewing. This suggests that people who are happy and satisfied with life may literally see the world in a more positive light, as if through rose-colored glasses. Future work should investigate the causal relationship between such attention biases and one’s happiness and life satisfaction.

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Estradiol Levels Modulate Brain Activity and Negative Responses to Psychosocial Stress across the Menstrual Cycle

Kimberly Albert, Jens Pruessner & Paul Newhouse
Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2015, Pages 14-24

Abstract:
Although ovarian hormones are thought to have a potential role in the well-known sex difference in mood and anxiety disorders, the mechanisms through which ovarian hormone changes contribute to stress regulation are not well understood. One mechanism by which ovarian hormones might impact mood regulation is by mediating the effect of psychosocial stress, which often precedes depressive episodes and may have mood consequences that are particularly relevant in women. In the current study, brain activity and mood response to psychosocial stress was examined in healthy, normally cycling women at either the high or low estradiol phase of the menstrual cycle. Twenty eight women were exposed to the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST), with brain activity determined through functional magnetic resonance imaging, and behavioral response assessed with subjective mood and stress measures. Brain activity responses to psychosocial stress differed between women in the low versus high estro gen phase of the menstrual cycle: women with high estradiol levels showed significantly less deactivation in limbic regions during psychosocial stress compared to women with low estradiol levels. Additionally, women with higher estradiol levels also had less subjective distress in response to the MIST than women with lower estradiol levels. The results of this study suggest that, in normally cycling premenopausal women, high estradiol levels attenuate the brain activation changes and negative mood response to psychosocial stress. Normal ovarian hormone fluctuations may alter the impact of psychosocially stressful events by presenting periods of increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress during low estradiol phases of the menstrual cycle. This menstrual cycle-related fluctuation in stress vulnerability may be relevant to the greater risk for affective disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder in women.

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Short Alleles, Bigger Smiles? The Effect of 5-HTTLPR on Positive Emotional Expressions

Claudia Haase et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examined the effect of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene on objectively coded positive emotional expressions (i.e., laughing and smiling behavior objectively coded using the Facial Action Coding System). Three studies with independent samples of participants were conducted. Study 1 examined young adults watching still cartoons. Study 2 examined young, middle-aged, and older adults watching a thematically ambiguous yet subtly amusing film clip. Study 3 examined middle-aged and older spouses discussing an area of marital conflict (that typically produces both positive and negative emotion). Aggregating data across studies, results showed that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR predicted heightened positive emotional expressions. Results remained stable when controlling for age, gender, ethnicity, and depressive symptoms. These findings are consistent with the notion that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR functions as an emotion amplifier, whi ch may confer heightened susceptibility to environmental conditions.

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The Great Escape: The Role of Self-esteem and Self-related Cognition in Terror Management

Arnaud Wisman, Nathan Heflick & Jamie Goldenberg
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 121-132

Abstract:
Integrating terror management theory and objective self-awareness theory, we propose the existential escape hypothesis, which states that people with low self-esteem should be especially prone to escaping self-awareness as a distal response to thoughts of death. This is because they lack the means to bolster the self as a defense, and the propensity to bolster the self reduces the motivation to escape from self-awareness. Five studies supported this hypothesis. Individuals low, but not high, in self-esteem scored lower on a measure of private self-awareness (Study 1), showed less implicit self-activation (Studies 2 & 3), were more likely to choose to write about others than themselves (Study 4), and consumed more alcohol in a field study at a nightclub (Study 5) in response to mortality reminders. Implications for terror management theory (highlighting an additional route to defend against mortality awareness), self-regulation, physical health and well-being are discussed.

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Suicide in the City: Do Characteristics of Place Really Influence Risk?

Justin Denney et al.
Social Science Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 313-329

Objective: This article investigates the role of social context on individual suicide mortality with attention paid to the possibility that contextual effects are simply the sum of individual characteristics associated with suicide.

Methods: We use restricted data from the 1986-2006 National Health Interview Survey-Linked Mortality Files, which include nearly 1 million records and 1,300 suicides, to examine the role of familial and socioeconomic context on adult suicide.

Results: Results show that adults living in cities with more socioeconomic disadvantage and fewer families living together have higher odds of suicidal death than adults living in less disadvantaged cities and cities with more families living together, respectively, after controlling for individual-level socioeconomic status, marital status, and family size.

Conclusion: The findings support classic sociological arguments that the risk of suicide is indeed influenced by the social milieu and cannot simply be explained by the aggregation of individual characteristics.

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The Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an Anti-Depressive Treatment is Falling: A Meta-Analysis

Tom Johnsen & Oddgeir Friborg
Psychological Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
A meta-analysis examining temporal changes (time trends) in the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment for unipolar depression was conducted. A comprehensive search of psychotherapy trials yielded 70 eligible studies from 1977 to 2014. Effect sizes (ES) were quantified as Hedge’s g based on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD). Rates of remission were also registered. The publication year of each study was examined as a linear metaregression predictor of ES, and as part of a 2-way interaction with other moderators (Year × Moderator). The average ES of the BDI was 1.58 (95% CI [1.43, 1.74]), and 1.69 for the HRSD (95% CI [1.48, 1.89]). Subgroup analyses revealed that women profited more from therapy than did men (p < .05). Experienced psychologists (g = 1.55) achieved better results (p < .01) than less experienced student therapists (g = 0.98). The metaregressions examining the temporal tren ds indicated that the effects of CBT have declined linearly and steadily since its introduction, as measured by patients’ self-reports (the BDI, p < .001), clinicians’ ratings (the HRSD, p < .01) and rates of remission (p < .01). Subgroup analyses confirmed that the declining trend was present in both within-group (pre/post) designs (p < .01) and controlled trial designs (p = .02). Thus, modern CBT clinical trials seemingly provided less relief from depressive symptoms as compared with the seminal trials. Potential causes and possible implications for future studies are discussed.

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Directed Abstraction: Encouraging Broad, Personal Generalizations Following a Success Experience

Peter Zunick, Russell Fazio & Michael Vasey
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People with negative self-views may fail to generalize appropriately from success experiences (e.g., Wood, Heimpel, Newby-Clark, & Ross, 2005). We drew on theories regarding self-views (Swann, Griffin, Predmore, & Gaines, 1987) and abstraction (Semin & Fiedler, 1991), as well as past linguistic framing work (e.g., Marigold, Holmes, & Ross, 2007, 2010; Salancik, 1974), to create a new technique to encourage people with negative self-views to generalize broadly from a success experience to the self-concept. We call this technique directed abstraction. In Experiment 1, participants with negative self-views who completed a directed abstraction writing task following success feedback regarding a novel laboratory task generalized more from that success, reporting higher ability levels and greater expectations of future success in the relevant domain. In Experiment 2, directed abstraction produced similar results (including more positive self-related affect, e.g., pride) after parti cipants recalled a past public speaking success. In Experiment 3, participants high in fear of public speaking gave two speeches in a context designed to be challenging yet also to elicit successful performances. Directed abstraction helped these participants generalize from their success to beliefs about their abilities, expectations about the future, and confidence as a speaker. In Experiment 4, directed abstraction following success on a verbal task increased persistence in the face of failure on a subsequent verbal task. We discuss implications for understanding how and when people generalize from a success, compare directed abstraction to existing interventions, and suggest practical applications for this influence technique.

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Depression as sickness behavior? A test of the host defense hypothesis in a high pathogen population

Jonathan Stieglitz et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sadness is an emotion universally recognized across cultures, suggesting it plays an important functional role in regulating human behavior. Numerous adaptive explanations of persistent sadness interfering with daily functioning (hereafter “depression”) have been proposed, but most do not explain frequent bidirectional associations between depression and greater immune activation. Here we test several predictions of the host defense hypothesis, which posits that depression is part of a broader coordinated evolved response to infection or tissue injury (i.e. “sickness behavior”) that promotes energy conservation and reallocation to facilitate immune activation. In a high pathogen population of lean and relatively egalitarian Bolivian forager-horticulturalists, we test whether depression and its symptoms are associated with greater baseline concentration of immune biomarkers reliably associated with depression in Western populations (i.e. tumor necro sis factor alpha [TNF-α], interleukin-1 beta [IL-1β], interleukin-6 [IL-6], and C-reactive protein [CRP]). We also test whether greater pro-inflammatory cytokine responses to ex vivo antigen stimulation are associated with depression and its symptoms, which is expected if depression facilitates immune activation. These predictions are largely supported in a sample of older adult Tsimane (mean ± SD age = 53.2 ± 11.0, range = 34-85, n = 649) after adjusting for potential confounders. Emotional, cognitive and somatic symptoms of depression are each associated with greater immune activation, both at baseline and in response to ex vivo stimulation. The association between depression and greater immune activation is therefore not unique to Western populations. While our findings are not predicted by other adaptive hypotheses of depression, they are not incompatible with those hypotheses and future research is necessary to isolate and test competing predi ctions.

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Anxiety, Not Anger, Induces Inflammatory Activity: An Avoidance/Approach Model of Immune System Activation

Wesley Moons & Grant Shields
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological stressors reliably trigger systemic inflammatory activity as indexed by levels of proinflammatory cytokines. This experiment demonstrates that one’s specific emotional reaction to a stressor may be a significant determinant of whether an inflammatory reaction occurs in response to that stressor. Based on extant correlational evidence and theory, a causal approach was used to determine whether an avoidant emotion (anxiety) triggers more inflammatory activity than an approach emotion (anger). In an experimental design (N = 40), a 3-way Emotion Condition × Time × Analyte interaction revealed that a writing-based anxiety induction, but not a writing-based anger induction, increased mean levels of interferon-γ (IFN- γ) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β), but not interleukin-6 (IL-6) in oral mucous, F(2, 54) = 4.64, p = .01, ηp2 = .15. Further, self-reported state anxiety predicted elevated levels of proinflammatory cyto kines, all ΔR2 >.06, ps <.04, but self-reported state anger did not. These results constitute the first evidence to our knowledge that specific negative emotions can differentially cause inflammatory activity and support a theoretical model explaining these effects based on the avoidance or approach motivations associated with emotions.

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The Health Consequences of Adverse Labor Market Events: Evidence from Panel Data

Johanna Catherine Maclean et al.
Industrial Relations, July 2015, Pages 478-498

Abstract:
This study investigates the associations between self-assessed adverse labor market events (experiencing problems with coworkers, employment changes, financial strain) and health. Longitudinal data are obtained from the National Epidemiological Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. Our findings suggest problems with coworkers, employment changes, and financial strain are associated, respectively, with a 3.1 percent (3.3 percent), 0.9 percent (0.2 percent), and 4.5 percent (5.1 percent) reduction in mental health among men (women). Associations are smaller in magnitude and less significant for physical health.

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Is it Helpful for Individuals with Minor Depression to Keep Smiling? An Event-Related Potentials Analysis

Wenyi Lin, Jing Hu & Yanfei Gong
Social Behavior and Personality, Spring 2015, Pages 383-396

Abstract:
We used event-related potentials (ERPs) to explore the influence of manipulating facial expression on error monitoring in individuals. The participants were 11 undergraduate students who had been diagnosed with minor depression (MinD). We recorded error-related negativity (ERN) as the participants performed a modified flanker task in 3 conditions: Duchenne smile, standard smile, and no smile. Behavioral data results showed that, in both the Duchenne smile and standard smile conditions, error rates were significantly lower than in the no-smile condition. The ERP analysis results indicated that, compared to the no-smile condition, both Duchenne and standard smiling facial expressions decreased ERN amplitude, and ERN amplitudes were smallest for those in the Duchenne smile condition. Our findings suggested that even brief smile manipulation may improve long-term negative mood states of people with MinD.

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Self-Esteem, Narcissism, and Stressful Life Events: Testing for Selection and Socialization

Ulrich Orth & Eva Luciano
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined whether self-esteem and narcissism predict the occurrence of stressful life events (i.e., selection) and whether stressful life events predict change in self-esteem and narcissism (i.e., socialization). The analyses were based on longitudinal data from 2 studies, including samples of 328 young adults (Study 1) and 371 adults (Study 2). The effects of self-esteem and narcissism were mutually controlled for each other and, moreover, controlled for effects of depression. After conducting the study-level analyses, we meta-analytically aggregated the findings. Self-esteem had a selection effect, suggesting that low self-esteem led to the occurrence of stressful life events; however, this effect became nonsignificant when depression was controlled for. Regardless of whether depression was controlled for or not, narcissism had a selection effect, suggesting that high narcissism led to the occurrence of stressful life events. Moreover, stressful life events had a socializ ation effect on self-esteem, but not on narcissism, suggesting that the occurrence of stressful life events decreased self-esteem. Analyses of trait-state models indicated that narcissism consisted almost exclusively of perfectly stable trait variance, providing a possible explanation for the absence of socialization effects on narcissism. The findings have significant implications because they suggest that a person’s level of narcissism influences whether stressful life events occur, and that self-esteem is shaped by the occurrence of stressful life events. Moreover, we discuss the possibility that depression mediates the selection effect of low self-esteem on stressful life events.

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Hair cortisol concentrations and cortisol stress reactivity predict PTSD symptom increase after trauma exposure during military deployment

Susann Steudte-Schmiedgen et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2015, Pages 123-133

Background: Previous evidence on endocrine risk markers for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been inconclusive. Here, we report results of the first prospective study to investigate whether long-term hair cortisol levels and experimentally-induced cortisol stress reactivity are predictive of the development of PTSD symptomatology in response to trauma during military deployment.

Methods: Male soldiers were examined before deployment to Afghanistan and at a 12-month post-deployment follow-up using dimensional measures for psychopathological symptoms. The predictive value of baseline (i) hair cortisol concentrations (HCC, N = 90) and (ii) salivary cortisol stress reactivity (measured by the Trier Social Stress Test, N = 80) for the development of PTSD symptomatology after being exposed to new-onset traumatic events was analyzed.

Results: Baseline cortisol activity significantly predicted PTSD symptom change from baseline to follow-up upon trauma exposure. Specifically, our results consistently revealed that lower HCC and lower cortisol stress reactivity were predictive of a greater increase in PTSD symptomatology in soldiers who had experienced new-onset traumatic events (explaining 5% and 10.3% of variance, respectively). Longitudinal analyses revealed an increase in HCC from baseline to follow-up and a trend for a negative relationship between HCC changes and the number of new-onset traumatic events. Additional pre-deployment analyses revealed that trauma history was reflected in lower HCC (at trend level) and that HCC were negatively related to stressful load.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that attenuated cortisol secretion is a risk marker for subsequent development of PTSD symptomatology upon trauma exposure. Future studies are needed to confirm our findings in other samples.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Two to tango

The Role of Selection Effects in the Contact Hypothesis: Results from a U.S. National Survey on Sexual Prejudice

Annalise Loehr, Long Doan & Lisa Miller
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empirical research has documented that contact with lesbians and gays is associated with more positive feelings toward and greater support for legal rights for them, but we know less about whether these effects extend to informal aspects of same-sex relationships, such as reactions to public displays of affection. Furthermore, many studies have assumed that contact influences levels of sexual prejudice; however, the possibility of selection effects, in which less sexually prejudiced people have contact, and more sexually prejudiced people do not, raises some doubts about this assumption. We used original data from a nationally representative sample of heterosexuals to determine whether those reporting contact with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender friend or relative exhibited less sexual prejudice toward lesbian and gay couples than those without contact. This study examined the effect of contact on attitudes toward formal rights and a relatively unexplored dimension, informal privileges. We estimated the effect of having contact using traditional (ordinary least squares regression) methods before accounting for selection effects using propensity score matching. After accounting for selection effects, we found no significant differences between the attitudes of those who had contact and those who did not, for either formal or informal measures. Thus, selection effects appeared to play a pivotal role in confounding the link between contact and sexual prejudice, and future studies should exercise caution in interpreting results that do not account for such selection effects.

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Gay Pay for Straight Work: Mechanisms Generating Disadvantage

Sean Waite & Nicole Denier
Gender & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing from the gender wage gap literature, we explore four possible causes of sexual minority earnings gaps: (1) variation in human capital and labor force participation, (2) occupational and industrial sorting, (3) differences in the institutional organization of the public and private sector, and (4) different returns to marriage and parenthood. Using the 2006 Census of Canada, we find that heterosexual men earn more than gay men, followed by lesbians and heterosexual women. Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions show that industry of employment, rather than occupation, disadvantages gay men, lesbians, and heterosexual women. High levels of educational attainment lead to employment in lucrative occupations, but sexual minorities earn significantly less than heterosexual men within these occupations. Wage gaps are reduced in the public sector for heterosexual women, gay men, and lesbians. Finally, we find that heterosexual women experience a motherhood penalty, heterosexual men experience a fatherhood premium, and both receive a premium for marriage; however, the presence of children and marriage have no effect on the earnings of either gay men or lesbians in conjugal relationships.

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Sexual Orientation and Risk of Pregnancy Among New York City High-School Students

Lisa Lindley & Katrina Walsemann
American Journal of Public Health, July 2015, Pages 1379-1386

Objectives: We examined associations between sexual orientation and pregnancy risk among sexually experienced New York City high-school students.

Methods: We analyzed data from 2005, 2007, and 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Surveys. We excluded students who had never engaged in sexual intercourse, only had same-gender sexual partners, or had missing data on variables of interest, resulting in a final sample of 4892 female and 4811 male students. We employed multivariable logistic regression to examine pregnancy risk by sexual orientation, measured as self-reported sexual identity and gender of sexual partners, with adjustment for demographics and sexual behaviors. We stratified analyses by gender.

Results: Overall, 14.3% of female and 10.8% of male students had experienced a pregnancy. Students who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual or reported both male and female sexual partners had higher odds of pregnancy than heterosexual students or students who only had opposite-gender sexual partners. Sexual behaviors accounted for higher odds of pregnancy among female, but only partially accounted for higher odds of pregnancy involvement among male, sexual-minority students.

Conclusions: Sexual orientation should be considered in future adolescent pregnancy-prevention efforts, including the design of pregnancy-prevention interventions.

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Intersecting Race and Gender Cues are Associated with Perceptions of Gay Men's Preferred Sexual Roles

David Lick & Kerri Johnson
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Preferences for anal sex roles (top/bottom) are an important aspect of gay male identity, but scholars have only recently begun to explore the factors that covary with these preferences. Here, we argue that the gendered nature of both racial stereotypes (i.e., Black men are masculine, Asian men are feminine) and sexual role stereotypes (i.e., tops are masculine, bottoms are feminine) link the categories Asian/bottom and the categories Black/top. We provide empirical evidence for these claims at three levels of analysis: At the cultural level based upon gay men's stereotypic beliefs about others (Study 1), at the interpersonal level based upon gay men's perceptions of others' sexual role preferences (Study 2), and at the intrapersonal level based upon racially diverse men's self-reported sexual roles on a public hookup website (Study 3). These studies offer the first systematic evidence of linkages between race categories and sexual roles in gay male communities.

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Scientific Consensus, the Law, and Same Sex Parenting Outcomes

Jimi Adams & Ryan Light
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
While the US Supreme Court was considering two related cases involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, one major question informing that decision was whether scientific research had achieved consensus regarding how children of same-sex couples fare. Determining the extent of consensus has become a key aspect of how social science evidence and testimony is accepted by the courts. Here, we show how a method of analyzing temporal patterns in citation networks can be used to assess the state of social scientific literature as a means to inform just such a question. Patterns of clustering within these citation networks reveal whether and when consensus arises within a scientific field. We find that the literature on outcomes for children of same-sex parents is marked by scientific consensus that they experience "no differences" compared to children from other parental configurations.

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Meanings of Intimacy: A Comparison of Members of Heterosexual and Same-Sex Couples

David Frost & Kelly Gola
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Arguments for restricting access to legal marriage for same-sex couples are commonly based in claims about differences between heterosexual and same-sex couples regarding the social and psychological meaning of marriage. This mixed methods study examined meanings of intimacy and relational experience in a purposive North American sample of members of long-term heterosexual and same-sex couples (N = 150) in order to examine the validity of meaning-based justifications for restricted access to legal marriage. Guided autobiographical techniques elicited narrative accounts of four significant events in participants' relationships. Directed Content Analyses revealed no detectable differences between members of heterosexual and same-sex couples in multiple qualitative and quantitative indicators of the meaning of intimacy. Members of same-sex couples, however, evidenced experiences of stigmatization more frequently than heterosexuals. By integrating theoretical and methodological approaches across psychological and sociological traditions within a mixed methods study, the present findings usefully inform ongoing policy debates regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage.

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God and Marriage: The Impact of Religious Identity Priming on Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Marriage

Brian Harrison & Melissa Michelson
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We hypothesize that priming a shared in-group identity can lead to openness to attitudinal change, even on highly polarized issues. Specifically, we test whether priming a shared identity as a religious person can generate willingness to voice support for same-sex marriage.

Methods: We conduct a randomized survey experiment using the SocialSci platform, exposing religious and secular respondents to religious and anonymous primes about same-sex marriage.

Results: Individuals who are religious and who are exposed to the treatment prime are more likely to say that they support marriage equality and would vote for a ballot initiative in their state that would allow same-sex marriage.

Conclusion: Despite widespread opposition to marriage equality among people of faith, having that religious identity primed through an elite religious cue has a significant and often dramatic effect on attitudes toward marriage equality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 12, 2015

Care to choose

Do Individuals Make Sensible Health Insurance Decisions? Evidence from a Menu with Dominated Options

Saurabh Bhargava, George Loewenstein & Justin Sydnor
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The recent expansion of health-plan choice has been touted as increasing competition and enabling people to choose plans that fit their needs. This study provides new evidence challenging these proposed benefits of expanded health-insurance choice. We examine health-insurance decisions of employees at a large U.S. firm where a new plan menu included a large share of financially dominated options. This menu offers a unique litmus test for evaluating choice quality since standard risk preferences and beliefs about one's health cannot rationalize enrollment into the dominated plans. We find that a majority of employees – and in particular, older workers, women, and low earners – chose dominated options, resulting in substantial excess spending. Most employees would have fared better had they instead been enrolled in the single actuarially-best plan. In follow-up hypothetical-choice experiments, we observe similar choices despite far simpler menus. We find these choices reflect a severe deficit in health insurance literacy and naïve considerations of health risk and price, rather than a sensible comparison of plan value. Our results challenge the standard practice of inferring risk attitudes and assessing welfare from insurance choices, and raise doubts whether recent health reforms will deliver their promised benefits.

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Eliminating Medicaid Adult Dental Coverage In California Led To Increased Dental Emergency Visits And Associated Costs

Astha Singhal et al.
Health Affairs, May 2015, Pages 749-756

Abstract:
Dental coverage for adults is an elective benefit under Medicaid. As a result of budget constraints, California Medicaid eliminated its comprehensive adult dental coverage in July 2009. We examined the impact of this policy change on emergency department (ED) visits by Medicaid-enrolled adults for dental problems in the period 2006–11. We found that the policy change led to a significant and immediate increase in dental ED use, amounting to more than 1,800 additional dental ED visits per year. Young adults, members of racial/ethnic minority groups, and urban residents were disproportionately affected by the policy change. Average yearly costs associated with dental ED visits increased by 68 percent. The California experience provides evidence that eliminating Medicaid adult dental benefits shifts dental care to costly EDs that do not provide definitive dental care. The population affected by the Medicaid adult dental coverage policy is increasing as many states expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA. Hence, such evidence is critical to inform decisions regarding adult dental coverage for existing Medicaid enrollees and expansion populations.

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Leverage and Bargaining Benefits: Evidence from U.S. Hospitals

Mitch Towner
University of Texas Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
I use the health care industry as a novel laboratory in which to study a firm's strategic use of debt to enhance their bargaining power during negotiations with non-financial stakeholders. I show that reimbursement rates negotiated between a hospital and insurers for a specific procedure are higher when the hospital has more debt. I also show that this effect is stronger when hospitals have less bargaining power relative to insurers ex ante, and that hospitals take on more debt when they have less bargaining power. I exploit differences in state laws generating plausibly exogenous variation in hospital bargaining power to further strengthen identification. This is the first paper to provide direct evidence that debt improves a firm's bargaining outcomes.

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Trends In Health Insurance Enrollment, 2013–15

Katherine Carman, Christine Eibner & Susan Paddock
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 1044-1048

Abstract:
We examined insurance transitions between September 2013 and February 2015, before and after the Affordable Care Act's coverage-related provisions took effect in 2014. We found that 22.8 million people gained coverage and that 5.9 million people lost coverage, for a net increase of 16.9 million people with insurance.

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Hospital Closures Had No Measurable Impact On Local Hospitalization Rates Or Mortality Rates, 2003–11

Karen Joynt et al.
Health Affairs, May 2015, Pages 765-772

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) set in motion payment changes that could put pressure on hospital finances and lead some hospitals to close. Understanding the impact of closures on patient care and outcomes is critically important. We identified 195 hospital closures in the United States between 2003 and 2011. We found no significant difference between the change in annual mortality rates for patients living in hospital service areas (HSAs) that experienced one or more closures and the change in rates in matched HSAs without a closure (5.5 percent to 5.2 percent versus 5.4 percent to 5.4 percent, respectively). Nor was there a significant difference in the change in all-cause mortality rates following hospitalization (9.1 percent to 8.2 percent in HSAs with a closure versus 9.0 percent to 8.4 percent in those without a closure). HSAs with a closure had a drop in readmission rates compared to controls (19.4 percent to 18.2 percent versus 18.8 percent to 18.3 percent). Overall, we found no evidence that hospital closures were associated with worse outcomes for patients living in those communities. These findings may offer reassurance to policy makers and clinical leaders concerned about the potential acceleration of hospital closures as a result of health care reform.

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The Demand for Healthcare Regulation: The Effect of Political Pressure on Occupational Licensing Laws

Benjamin McMichael
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Occupational licensing laws ostensibly exist to protect consumers from harmful services supplied by unqualified healthcare providers. However, these laws may harm consumers by restricting access to and increasing the cost of healthcare. Using data on political spending in state elections and information on occupational licensing laws, this article considers the role of political contributions by healthcare industry and professional interest groups in states' decisions to enact occupational licensing laws. Increased political spending by physician interest groups increases the probability that a state maintains licensing laws restricting the practices of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) — two professions that compete with physicians in healthcare services markets. Conversely, increased spending by hospital interest groups increases the probability that a state allows NPs and PAs to practice with more autonomy. The results are consistent with a rent-seeking battle over occupational licensing laws between physician interest groups and hospital interest groups.

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Extreme Markup: The Fifty US Hospitals With The Highest Charge-To-Cost Ratios

Ge Bai & Gerard Anderson
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 922-928

Abstract:
Using Medicare cost reports, we examined the fifty US hospitals with the highest charge-to-cost ratios in 2012. These hospitals have markups (ratios of charges over Medicare-allowable costs) approximately ten times their Medicare-allowable costs compared to a national average of 3.4 and a mode of 2.4. Analysis of the fifty hospitals showed that forty-nine are for profit (98 percent), forty-six are owned by for-profit hospital systems (92 percent), and twenty (40 percent) operate in Florida. One for-profit hospital system owns half of these fifty hospitals. While most public and private health insurers do not use hospital charges to set their payment rates, uninsured patients are commonly asked to pay the full charges, and out-of-network patients and casualty and workers' compensation insurers are often expected to pay a large portion of the full charges. Because it is difficult for patients to compare prices, market forces fail to constrain hospital charges. Federal and state governments may want to consider limitations on the charge-to-cost ratio, some form of all-payer rate setting, or mandated price disclosure to regulate hospital markups.

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Upcoding: Evidence from Medicare on Squishy Risk Adjustment

Michael Geruso & Timothy Layton
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Diagnosis-based subsidies, also known as risk adjustment, are widely used in US health insurance markets to deal with problems of adverse selection and cream-skimming. The widespread use of these subsidies has generated broad policy, research, and popular interest in the idea of upcoding — the notion that diagnosed medical conditions may reflect behaviors of health plans and providers to game the payment system, rather than solely characteristics of patients. We introduce a model showing that coding differences across health plans have important consequences for public finances and consumer choices, whether or not such differences arise from gaming. We then develop and implement a novel strategy for identifying coding differences across insurers in equilibrium in the presence of selection. Empirically, we examine how coding intensity in Medicare differs between the traditional fee-for-service option, in which coding incentives are weak, and Medicare Advantage, in which insurers receive diagnosis-based subsidies. Our estimates imply that enrollees in private Medicare Advantage plans generate 6% to 16% higher diagnosis-based risk scores than the same enrollees would generate under fee-for-service Medicare. Consistent with a principal-agent problem faced by insurers attempting to induce their providers to upcode, we find that coding intensity increases with the level of vertical integration between insurers and the physicians with whom they contract. Absent a coding inflation correction, our findings imply excess public payments to Medicare Advantage plans of around $10 billion annually. This differential subsidy also distorts consumers' choices toward private Medicare plans and away from fee-for-service Medicare.

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Primary Care Providers Ordered Fewer Preventive Services For Women With Medicaid Than For Women With Private Coverage

Stacey McMorrow, Sharon Long & Ariel Fogel
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 1001-1009

Abstract:
As the number of beneficiaries in the Medicaid program grows under the Affordable Care Act, with over half of the states opting to expand Medicaid eligibility, it is important to understand more about the care provided to Medicaid patients. Using visit-level data for 2006–10 from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, we examined the provision of recommended preventive services to women with Medicaid and those with private insurance at visits to primary care providers in private office-based practices. We found that after patient and provider characteristics were controlled for, Medicaid-insured visits were less likely than privately insured visits to include several preventive services, including clinical breast exams and Pap tests. The differences in provision of services by payer were generally driven by the differences in care at visits classified as preventive and at visits to obstetrician-gynecologists. Further investigation is required to determine what may be driving the differences in content of care across payers and their implications for quality of care.

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Measuring Consumer Valuation of Limited Provider Networks

Keith Marzilli Ericson & Amanda Starc
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 115-119

Abstract:
We measure the breadth of insurance networks in the Massachusetts health insurance exchange. Using our measures, we estimate consumer willingness-to-pay for broad and narrow networks. We find that consumers have a wide range of plans available with dramatically different networks. While consumers value broader networks, their willingness-to-pay is smaller than the brand premium, indicating an additional role for brand preferences. Consumers place additional value on star hospitals, which may affect upstream negotiations. Finally, we find significant geographic heterogeneity in the value of broad networks.

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Is the System Really the Solution? Operating Costs in Hospital Systems

Lawton Robert Burns et al.
Medical Care Research and Review, June 2015, Pages 247-272

Abstract:
Hospital system formation has recently accelerated. Executives emphasize scale economies that lower operating costs, a claim unsupported in academic research. Do systems achieve lower costs than freestanding facilities, and, if so, which system types? We test hypotheses about the relationship of cost with membership in systems, larger systems, and centralized and local hub-and-spoke systems. We also test whether these relationships have changed over time. Examining 4,000 U.S. hospitals during 1998 to 2010, we find no evidence that system members exhibit lower costs. However, members of smaller systems are lower cost than larger systems, and hospitals in centralized systems are lower cost than everyone else. There is no evidence that the system's spatial configuration is associated with cost, although national system hospitals exhibit higher costs. Finally, these results hold over time. We conclude that while systems in general may not be the solution to lower costs, some types of systems are.

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Medicare Managed Care Spillovers and Treatment Intensity

Kevin Callison
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence suggests that the share of Medicare managed care enrollees in a region affects the costs of treating traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare beneficiaries; however, little is known about the mechanisms through which these 'spillover effects' operate. This paper examines the relationship between Medicare managed care penetration and treatment intensity for FFS enrollees hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of AMI. I find that increased Medicare managed care penetration is associated with a reduction in both the costs and the treatment intensity of FFS AMI patients. Specifically, as Medicare managed care penetration increases, FFS AMI patients are less likely to receive surgical reperfusion and mechanical ventilation and to experience an overall reduction in the number of inpatient procedures.

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Readmissions To New York Hospitals Fell For Three Target Conditions From 2008 To 2012, Consistent With Medicare Goals

Kathleen Carey & Meng-Yun Lin
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 978-985

Abstract:
The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), an initiative of the Affordable Care Act, imposes considerable financial penalties on hospitals with excess thirty-day readmissions for patients with selected high-volume conditions. We investigated the intended impact of the program by examining changes in thirty-day readmissions among Medicare patients admitted for three conditions targeted by the program in New York State, compared to Medicare patients with other conditions and with privately insured patients, before and after the program's introduction. We also examined potential unintended strategic responses by hospitals that might allow them to continue to treat target-condition patients while avoiding the readmission penalty. We found that thirty-day readmissions fell for the three conditions targeted by the HRRP, consistent with the goals of the program. Second, there also was a substantial fall in readmissions for a comparison group although not as large as for the target group, which suggests modest spillover effects in Medicare for other conditions. We did not find strong evidence of unintended effects associated with the program. These early findings suggest that the HRRP is affecting hospitals in the direction intended by the Affordable Care Act.

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Narrow Networks on the Health Insurance Exchanges: What Do They Look Like and How Do They Affect Pricing? A Case Study of Texas

Leemore Dafny, Igal Hendel & Nathan Wilson
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 110-114

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act has engendered significant changes in the design of health insurance products. We examine the "narrowness" of hospital networks affiliated with plans offered in the first year of the marketplaces. Using data from Texas, we find limited evidence of a tight link between pricing and a simple measure of network breadth, or a more complex measure of network value derived from a logit model of hospital choice. The state's largest insurer priced its narrow networks at a fairly constant discount relative to its broad networks, notwithstanding significant variation in its broad-narrow gap across geographic markets in Texas.

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Survival Rates in Trauma Patients Following Health Care Reform in Massachusetts

Turner Osler et al.
JAMA Surgery, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the effect of Massachusetts HCR on survival rates of injured patients.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Retrospective cohort study of 1 520 599 patients hospitalized following traumatic injury in Massachusetts or New York during the 10 years (2002-2011) surrounding Massachusetts HCR using data from the State Inpatient Databases. We assessed the effect of HCR on mortality rates using a difference-in-differences approach to control for temporal trends in mortality.

Results: During the 10-year study period, the rates of uninsured trauma patients in Massachusetts decreased steadily from 14.9% in 2002 to 5.0.% in 2011. In New York, the rates of uninsured trauma patients fell from 14.9% in 2002 to 10.5% in 2011. The risk-adjusted difference-in-difference assessment revealed a transient increase of 604 excess deaths (95% CI, 419-790) in Massachusetts in the 3 years following implementation of HCR.

Conclusions and Relevance: Health care reform did not affect health insurance coverage for patients hospitalized following injury but was associated with a transient increase in adjusted mortality rates. Reducing mortality rates for acutely injured patients may require more comprehensive interventions than simply promoting health insurance coverage through legislation.

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Medicare Payment Policy Creates Incentives For Long-Term Care Hospitals To Time Discharges For Maximum Reimbursement

Yan Kim et al.
Health Affairs, June 2015, Pages 907-915

Abstract:
Long-term care hospitals are postacute care facilities for patients requiring extended hospital-level care. These facilities are reimbursed by Medicare under a prospective payment system with a short-stay outlier policy, which results in substantially lower payments for patients discharged before a diagnosis-related group–specific short-stay threshold. Using Medicare data, we examined the impact of the short-stay policy on lengths-of-stay and Medicare reimbursement among patients in long-term care hospitals who require prolonged mechanical ventilation. After accounting for case-mix and facility-level differences, we found that discharges for reasons other than death in the period 2005–10 were most likely to occur on the day of or immediately after the short-stay threshold; this held true regardless of facility ownership. In contrast, live discharges in 2002 — the year before the prospective payment system started phasing out cost-based payment — were evenly distributed around the day that later became the short-stay threshold. Our findings confirm that the short-stay outlier payment policy created a strong financial incentive for long-term care hospitals to time patient discharges to maximize Medicare reimbursement. The results suggest that the new very-short-stay policy implemented in December 2012 could have a similar effect.

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Changes in Medicare Costs with the Growth of Hospice Care in Nursing Homes

Pedro Gozalo et al.
New England Journal of Medicine, 7 May 2015, Pages 1823-1831

Background: Nursing home residents' use of hospice has substantially increased. Whether this increase in hospice use reduces end-of-life expenditures is unknown.

Methods: The expansion of hospice between 2004 and 2009 created a natural experiment, allowing us to conduct a difference-in-differences matched analysis to examine changes in Medicare expenditures in the last year of life that were associated with this expansion. We also assessed intensive care unit (ICU) use in the last 30 days of life and, for patients with advanced dementia, feeding-tube use and hospital transfers within the last 90 days of life. We compared a subset of hospice users from 2009, whose use of hospice was attributed to hospice expansion, with a matched subset of non–hospice users from 2004, who were considered likely to have used hospice had they died in 2009.

Results: Of 786,328 nursing home decedents, 27.6% in 2004 and 39.8% in 2009 elected to use hospice. The 2004 and 2009 matched hospice and nonhospice cohorts were similar (mean age, 85 years; 35% male; 25% with cancer). The increase in hospice use was associated with significant decreases in the rates of hospital transfers (2.4 percentage-point reduction), feeding-tube use (1.2 percentage-point reduction), and ICU use (7.1 percentage-point reduction). The mean length of stay in hospice increased from 72.1 days in 2004 to 92.6 days in 2009. Between 2004 and 2009, the expansion of hospice was associated with a mean net increase in Medicare expenditures of $6,761 (95% confidence interval, 6,335 to 7,186), reflecting greater additional spending on hospice care ($10,191) than reduced spending on hospital and other care ($3,430).

Conclusions: The growth in hospice care for nursing home residents was associated with less aggressive care near death but at an overall increase in Medicare expenditures.

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Nursing Home 5-Star Rating System Exacerbates Disparities In Quality, By Payer Source

Tamara Konetzka et al.
Health Affairs, May 2015, Pages 819-827

Abstract:
Market-based reforms in health care, such as public reporting of quality, may inadvertently exacerbate disparities. We examined how the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services' five-star rating system for nursing homes has affected residents who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid ("dual eligibles"), a particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged population. Specifically, we assessed the extent to which dual eligibles and non–dual eligibles avoided the lowest-rated nursing homes and chose the highest-rated homes once the five-star rating system began, in late 2008. We found that both populations resided in better-quality homes over time but that by 2010 the increased likelihood of choosing the highest-rated homes was substantially smaller for dual eligibles than for non–dual eligibles. Thus, the gap in quality, as measured by a nursing home's star rating, grew over time. Furthermore, we found that the benefit of the five-star system to dual eligibles was largely due to providers' improving their ratings, not to consumers' choosing different providers. We present evidence suggesting that supply constraints play a role in limiting dual eligibles' responses to quality ratings, since high-quality providers tend to be located close to relatively affluent areas. Increases in Medicaid payment rates for nursing home services may be the only long-term solution.

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Health Information Technology Adoption in the Emergency Department

Frederic Selck & Sandra Decker
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To describe the trend in health information technology (IT) systems adoption in hospital emergency departments (EDs) and its effect on ED efficiency and resource use.

Data Sources: 2007–2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey – ED Component.

Principal Findings: The percent of ED visits that took place in an ED with at least a basic health IT or an advanced IT system increased from 25.2 and 3.1 percent in 2007 to 69.1 and 30.6 percent in 2010, respectively (p < .05). Controlling for ED fixed effects, waiting times were reduced by 6.0 minutes in advanced IT-equipped EDs (p < .05), and the number of tests ordered increased by 9 percent (p < .01). In models using a 1-year lag, advanced systems also showed an increase in the number of medications and images ordered per visit.

Conclusions: Almost a third of visits now occur in EDs with advanced IT capability. While advanced IT adoption may decrease wait times, resource use during ED visits may also increase depending on how long the system has been in place. We were not able to determine if these changes indicated more appropriate care.

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The Impact of Tort Reform and Quality Improvements on Medical Liability Claims: A Tale of 2 States

Kenneth Illingworth et al.
American Journal of Medical Quality, May/June 2015, Pages 263-270

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of tort reform and quality improvement measures on medical liability claims in 2 groups of hospitals within the same multihospital organization: one in Texas, which implemented medical liability tort reform caps on noneconomic damages in 2003, and one in Louisiana, which did not undergo significant tort reform during the same time period. Significant reduction in medical liability claims per quarter in Texas was found after tort reform implementation (7.27 to 1.4; P < .05). A significant correlation was found between the increase in mean Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services performance score and the decrease in the frequency of claims observed in Louisiana (P < .05). Although tort reform caps on noneconomic damages in Texas caused the largest initial decrease, increasing quality improvement measures without increasing financial burden also decreased liability claims in Louisiana. Uniquely, this study showed that increasing patient quality resulted in decreased medical liability claims.

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Nurse Practitioners and Their Effects on Visits to Primary Care Physicians

Yuriy Pylypchuk & Eric Sarpong
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, April 2015, Pages 837–864

Abstract:
The demand for primary care services is expected to increase at a time of persistent shortages of primary care physicians (PCPs) in the United States. A proposed solution is to expand the role of other allied health professions. This study examines the causal effects of visits to nurse practitioners (NPs) on the demand for services from PCPs. We employ a system of simultaneous equations and dynamic panel estimators to control for endogeneity of visits to NPs. Results indicate that patients who visited an NP are significantly less likely to visit PCPs and to receive prescribed medication, medical check-up, and diagnosis from PCPs. Findings were robust to other specification and passed a falsification test. The results suggest that the use of NPs could serve as a potential option to address shortages in supply of primary care services.

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Use of provider-level dashboards and pay-for-performance in venous thromboembolism prophylaxis

Henry Michtalik et al.
Journal of Hospital Medicine, March 2015, Pages 172–178

Background: Despite safe and cost-effective venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention measures, VTE prophylaxis rates are often suboptimal. Healthcare reform efforts emphasize transparency through programs to report performance and payment incentives through pay-for-performance programs.

Interventions: A Web-based hospitalist dashboard provided VTE prophylaxis feedback. After 6 months of feedback only, a pay-for-performance program was incorporated, with graduated payouts for compliance rates of 80% to 100%.

Results: Monthly VTE prophylaxis compliance rates were 86% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 85–88), 90% (95% CI: 88–93), and 94% (95% CI: 93–96) during the baseline, dashboard, and combined dashboard/pay-for-performance periods, respectively. Compliance significantly improved with the use of the dashboard (P = 0.01) and addition of the pay-for-performance program (P = 0.01). The highest rate of improvement occurred with the dashboard (1.58%/month; P = 0.01). Annual individual physician performance payments ranged from $53 to $1244 (mean $633; standard deviation ±$350).

Conclusions: Direct feedback using dashboards was associated with significantly improved compliance, with further improvement after incorporating an individual physician pay-for-performance program. Real-time dashboards and physician-level incentives may assist hospitals in achieving higher safety and quality benchmarks.

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Accelerating Improvement and Narrowing Gaps: Trends in Patients' Experiences with Hospital Care Reflected in HCAHPS Public Reporting

Marc Elliott et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Data: Surveys from 4,822,960 adult inpatients discharged July 2007–June 2008 or July 2010–June 2011 from 3,541 U.S. hospitals.

Study Design: Linear mixed-effect regression models with fixed effects for time, patient mix, and hospital characteristics (bedsize, ownership, Census division, teaching status, Critical Access status); random effects for hospitals and hospital-time interactions; fixed-effect interactions of hospital characteristics and patient characteristics (gender, health, education) with time predicted HCAHPS measures correcting for regression-to-the-mean biases.

Principal Findings: HCAHPS scores increased by 2.8 percentage points from 2008 to 2011 in the most positive response category. Among the middle 95 percent of hospitals, changes ranged from a 5.1 percent decrease to a 10.2 percent gain overall. The greatest improvement was in for-profit and larger (200 or more beds) hospitals.

Conclusions: Five years after HCAHPS public reporting began, meaningful improvement of patients' hospital care experiences continues, especially among initially low-scoring hospitals, reducing some gaps among hospitals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Good, bad, and ugly

Philosophers' biased judgments persist despite training, expertise and reflection

Eric Schwitzgebel & Fiery Cushman
Cognition, August 2015, Pages 127–137

Abstract:
We examined the effects of framing and order of presentation on professional philosophers' judgments about a moral puzzle case (the "trolley problem") and a version of the Tversky & Kahneman "Asian disease" scenario. Professional philosophers exhibited substantial framing effects and order effects, and were no less subject to such effects than was a comparison group of non-philosopher academic participants. Framing and order effects were not reduced by a forced delay during which participants were encouraged to consider "different variants of the scenario or different ways of describing the case". Nor were framing and order effects lower among participants reporting familiarity with the trolley problem or with loss-aversion framing effects, nor among those reporting having had a stable opinion on the issues before participating in the experiment, nor among those reporting expertise on the very issues in question. Thus, for these scenario types, neither framing effects nor order effects appear to be reduced even by high levels of academic expertise.

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Power Heightens Sensitivity to Unfairness Against the Self

Takuya Sawaoka, Brent Hughes & Nalini Ambady
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Power is accompanied by a sense of entitlement, which shapes reactions to self-relevant injustices. We propose that powerful people more strongly expect to be treated fairly and are faster to perceive unjust treatment that violates these expectations. After preliminary data demonstrated that power leads people to expect fair outcomes for themselves, we conducted four experiments. Participants primed with high (vs. low) power were faster to identify violations of distributive justice in which they were victims (Study 1). This effect was specific to self-relevant injustices (Study 2) and generalized to violations of interpersonal justice (Study 3). Finally, participants primed with high power were more likely to take action against unfair treatment (Study 4). These findings suggest a process by which hierarchies may be maintained: Whereas the powerless are comparatively less sensitive to unfair treatment, the powerful may retain their social standing by quickly perceiving and responding to self-relevant injustices.

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Tortured beliefs: How and when prior support for torture skews the perceived value of coerced information

Daniel Ames & Alice Lee
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 86–92

Abstract:
In the wake of recent revelations about US involvement in torture, and widespread and seemingly-growing support of torture in the US, we consider how people judge the value of information gained from informants under coercion. Drawing on past work on confirmation biases and moral judgments, we predicted, and found, that American torture supporters are more likely than opposers to see coerced information as relatively valuable and necessary in a scenario describing the foiling of an al-Qaeda terrorist attack. Judgments of coerced information value in the scenario also predicted endorsement of using the episode as a "success story" to justify torture in future cases. A second study shed light on an important boundary: Prior general support for torture predicted the perceived value of coerced information when the interrogated informant was an outgroup member (an al-Qaeda informant tortured by US operatives) but not when the informant was an ingroup member (an American soldier tortured by al-Qaeda). Overall, the results suggest that advocates for torture may readily interpret ambiguous evidence as implying the value and necessity of extreme interrogation techniques when used by the ingroup. Our findings also indicate that torture supporters often expect selective efficacy, whereby they see torture as more likely to yield valuable information when it is used by "us" compared to "them."

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The Impact of Power on Humanity: Self-Dehumanization in Powerlessness

Wenqi Yang et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
Power gives people the ability to control themselves and their environment, and this control is considered a fundamental human need. We investigated whether experiencing powerlessness induces the experience of self-dehumanization using three methods: priming, role-playing, and cueing. People in a position of low power viewed themselves (Experiments 1–3) as less human relative to people in a position of high power; furthermore, people with low power believed that they were viewed as less human by others as well (Experiments 2–3). In all of the experiments, human nature traits were most negatively affected by powerlessness in self-perception judgments, and uniquely human traits were most negatively affected by powerlessness in meta-perception judgments. Furthermore, the powerless believed they were viewed as less human not only by the powerful people but also the outside observers of the power dynamic. Self-dehumanization also appears to be a consequence of powerlessness rather than an incidental result of a change in mood or a negative self-view. Our findings are an important extension of previous work on the adverse effects of powerlessness and dehumanization.

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Historical group victimization entails moral obligations for descendants

Nyla Branscombe et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 118–129

Abstract:
When is greater morality expected of groups that have experienced intergroup victimization? Six experiments illustrate that meaning making for the victims, but not the perpetrators, can lead observers to perceive the victims' descendants as morally obligated to refrain from harming others. Focusing on the lessons of the past for the victim group increases observers' expectations that contemporary victim group members should know better than harm others. Deriving benefits from a group's past suffering, for both a well-known instance such as the Holocaust or a previously unknown group, elevates victim moral obligations (but not victim moral rights or perpetrator moral obligations). When the descendants of a historically victimized group violate the perceived lesson derived from having suffered — to be more moral — and instead does harm to others, then observers respond more negatively toward them than harm-doers who lack a victimization history.

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Why Leaders Punish: A Power Perspective

Marlon Mooijman et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that power fundamentally changes why leaders punish and we develop a theoretical model that specifies how and why this occurs. Specifically, we argue that power increases the reliance on deterrence, but not just deserts, as a punishment motive and relate this to power fostering a distrustful mindset. We tested our model in 9 studies using different instantiations of power, different measurements and manipulations of distrust while measuring punishment motives and recommended punishments across a number of different situations. These 9 studies demonstrate that power fosters distrust and hereby increases both the reliance on deterrence as a punishment motive and the implementation of punishments aimed at deterrence (i.e., public punishments, public naming of rule breakers and punishments with a mandatory minimum). We discuss the practical implications for leaders, managers and policymakers and the theoretical implications for scholars interested in power, trust, and punishments.

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Markets and Morals: An Experimental Survey Study

Julio Elias, Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis
PLoS ONE, June 2015

Abstract:
Most societies prohibit some market transactions based on moral concerns, even when the exchanges would benefit the parties involved and would not create negative externalities. A prominent example is given by payments for human organs for transplantation, banned virtually everywhere despite long waiting lists and many deaths of patients who cannot find a donor. Recent research, however, has shown that individuals significantly increase their stated support for a regulated market for human organs when provided with information about the organ shortage and the potential beneficial effects a price mechanism. In this study we focused on payments for human organs and on another "repugnant" transaction, indoor prostitution, to address two questions: (A) Does providing general information on the welfare properties of prices and markets modify attitudes toward repugnant trades? (B) Does additional knowledge on the benefits of a price mechanism in a specific context affect attitudes toward price-based transactions in another context? By answering these questions, we can assess whether eliciting a market-oriented approach may lead to a relaxation of moral opposition to markets, and whether there is a cross-effect of information, in particular for morally controversial activities that, although different, share a reference to the "commercialization" of the human body. Relying on an online survey experiment with 5,324 U.S. residents, we found no effect of general information about market efficiency, consistent with morally controversial markets being accepted only when they are seen as a solution to a specific problem. We also found some cross-effects of information about a transaction on the acceptance of the other; however, the responses were mediated by the gender and (to a lesser extent) religiosity of the respondent — in particular, women exposed to information about legalizing prostitution reduced their stated support for regulated organ payments. We relate these findings to prior research and discuss implications for public policy.

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On why hypocrisy thrives: Reasonable doubt created by moral posturing can deter punishment

Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, Rainer Michael Rilke & Gari Walkowitz
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 139–145

Abstract:
In four bargaining games with an option to punish, participants could avoid punishment by shifting the blame for an unfair offer on a random coin flip. Punishments were not affected by whether the results of the coin flip could be verified, nor by beliefs about whether a coin had actually been flipped (Studies 1–3). Our results suggest that the rather blatant moral posturing of hypocrites was enough to create reasonable doubt about their guilt, and that such doubt deterred punishment. Alternative explanations of reluctance to punish hypocrites, such as free-riding from altruistic punishment (Study 2), or feelings of gratitude (Study 3) were not supported. Independent third parties were also less punitive toward those who blamed the coin (Study 4). Similar results were found in an online vignette study run with a more representative sample (Study 5). In sum, these findings suggest that hypocrisy thrives because it can deter punishment.

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The Moral Virtue of Authenticity: How Inauthenticity Produces Feelings of Immorality and Impurity

Francesca Gino, Maryam Kouchaki & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The five experiments reported here demonstrate that authenticity is directly linked to morality. We found that experiencing inauthenticity, compared with authenticity, consistently led participants to feel more immoral and impure. This link from inauthenticity to feeling immoral produced an increased desire among participants to cleanse themselves and to engage in moral compensation by behaving prosocially. We established the role that impurity played in these effects through mediation and moderation. We found that inauthenticity-induced cleansing and compensatory helping were driven by heightened feelings of impurity rather than by the psychological discomfort of dissonance. Similarly, physically cleansing oneself eliminated the relationship between inauthenticity and prosocial compensation. Finally, we obtained additional evidence for discriminant validity: The observed effects on desire for cleansing were not driven by general negative experiences (i.e., failing a test) but were unique to experiences of inauthenticity. Our results establish that authenticity is a moral state — that being true to thine own self is experienced as a form of virtue.

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Cheating at the End to Avoid Regret

Daniel Effron, Christopher Bryan & Keith Murnighan
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do people behave when they face a finite series of opportunities to cheat with little or no risk of detection? In 4 experiments and a small meta-analysis, we analyzed over 25,000 cheating opportunities faced by over 2,500 people. The results suggested that the odds of cheating are almost 3 times higher at the end of a series than earlier. Participants could cheat in 1 of 2 ways: They could lie about the outcome of a private coin flip to get a payoff that they would otherwise not receive (Studies 1–3) or they could overbill for their work (Study 4). We manipulated the number of cheating opportunities they expected but held the actual number of opportunities constant. The data showed that the likelihood of cheating and the extent of dishonesty were both greater when people believed that they were facing a last choice. Mediation analyses suggested that anticipatory regret about passing up a chance to enrich oneself drove this cheat-at-the-end effect. We found no support for alternative explanations based on the possibility that multiple cheating opportunities depleted people's self-control, eroded their moral standards, or made them feel that they had earned the right to cheat. The data also suggested that the cheat-at-the-end effect may be limited to relatively short series of cheating opportunities (i.e., n < 20). Our discussion addresses the psychological and behavioral dynamics of repeated ethical choices.

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Context-dependent cheating: Experimental evidence from 16 countries

David Pascual-Ezama et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2015, Pages 379–386

Abstract:
Policy makers use several international indices that characterize countries according to the quality of their institutions. However, no effort has been made to study how the honesty of citizens varies across countries. This paper explores the honesty among citizens across sixteen countries with 1440 participants. We employ a very simple task where participants face a trade-off between the joy of eating a fine chocolate and the disutility of having a threatened self-concept because of lying. Despite the incentives to cheat, we find that individuals are mostly honest. Further, international indices that are indicative of institutional honesty are completely uncorrelated with citizens' honesty for our sample countries.

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Public concerns about violent video games are moral concerns — How moral threat can make pacifists susceptible to scientific and political claims against violent video games

Tobias Rothmund et al.
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public discussions about the harmfulness of violent media are often held in the aftermath of violent felony. At the same time, we know little about whether and how experiencing real-life violence impacts the way laypersons perceive and evaluate debates about virtual violence. In Study 1, we provided data indicating that both real-life violence and violent video games are perceived as morally threatening by people who regard nonviolence to be an important moral value (i.e., pacifists). In Study 2, we hypothesized and found that when pacifists perceive threat from the presence of real-life violence, they are especially susceptible to scientific and political claims indicating that violent video games are harmful. Our findings are in line with the value protection model and research on the psychological consequences of threat. Implications of the present findings are discussed with regard to a better understanding of the violent video games debate in the general public.

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Perpetrator groups can enhance their moral self-image by accepting their own intergroup apologies

Fiona Kate Barlow et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 39–50

Abstract:
There is an implicit assumption that perpetrators' moral image restoration following an intergroup apology depends on absolution from victims. In this paper we examine whether perpetrators can in fact look to other ingroup members for moral pardon. In Studies 1 and 4, Australians read an apology to Indian people for a series of assaults on Indian nationals in Australia. In Studies 2 and 3, Non-Aboriginal Australians were provided with apologies offered on their behalf to Aboriginal Australians. In each study participants were told that other perpetrator group members had either accepted or rejected the apology. In line with predictions, when perpetrator group members heard that fellow perpetrators accepted an apology made to victims they felt morally restored, and consequently were more willing to reconcile. Effects were largely unqualified by apology quality (Studies 2-4), and held in the face of victim group apology rejection (Studies 3-4). We demonstrate that perpetrator group members can effectively gain moral redemption by accepting their own apologies, even qualified ones that have proved insufficient to victim groups.

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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Shifts Preference of Moral Judgments

Maria Kuehne et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
Attitude to morality, reflecting cultural norms and values, is considered unique to human social behavior. Resulting moral behavior in a social environment is controlled by a widespread neural network including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which plays an important role in decision making. In the present study we investigate the influence of neurophysiological modulation of DLPFC reactivity by means of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on moral reasoning. For that purpose we administered anodal, cathodal, and sham stimulation of the left DLPFC while subjects judged the appropriateness of hard moral personal dilemmas. In contrast to sham and cathodal stimulation, anodal stimulation induced a shift in judgment of personal moral dilemmas towards more non-utilitarian actions. Our results demonstrate that alterations of left DLPFC activity can change moral judgments and, in consequence, provide a causal link between left DLPFC activity and moral reasoning. Most important, the observed shift towards non-utilitarian actions suggests that moral decision making is not a permanent individual trait but can be manipulated; consequently individuals with boundless, uncontrollable, and maladaptive moral behavior, such as found in psychopathy, might benefit from neuromodulation-based approaches.

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Oxytocin influences intuitions about the relationship between belief in free will and moral responsibility

Kimberly Goodyear et al.
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Philosophers have proposed that laypeople can have deterministic or indeterministic intuitions about the relationship between free will and moral responsibility. However, the psychophysiological mechanisms that generate these extreme intuitions are still underexplored. Exogenous oxytocin offers a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of these underlying mechanisms, since this neuropeptide influences a wide range of outcomes related to social cognition and prosociality. This study investigated the effects of intranasal oxytocin on intuitions about the relationship between free will and moral responsibility by applying a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, between-subject design. Healthy male participants rated the moral responsibility of a hypothetical offender, who committed crimes in either a primed deterministic or an indeterministic universe. Under placebo, participants held the offender more morally responsible when acting in an indeterministic compared to a deterministic universe, which could be accredited to recognition of the offender's freely chosen action to commit the crimes. Under oxytocin, participants rated the offender's actions with greater leniency and similarly assigned lower moral responsibility in both universes. These findings strengthen the assumption that a person can have different intuitions about the relationship between free will and moral responsibility, which can be presumably dependent on motivational states associated with affiliation.

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Errors in Moral Forecasting: Perceptions of Affect Shape the Gap Between Moral Behaviors and Moral Forecasts

Rimma Teper et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2015, Pages 887-900

Abstract:
Research in moral decision making has shown that there may not be a one-to-one relationship between peoples' moral forecasts and behaviors. Although past work suggests that physiological arousal may account for part of the behavior-forecasting discrepancy, whether or not perceptions of affect play an important determinant remains unclear. Here, we investigate whether this discrepancy may arise because people fail to anticipate how they will feel in morally significant situations. In Study 1, forecasters predicted cheating significantly more on a test than participants in a behavior condition actually cheated. Importantly, forecasters who received false somatic feedback, indicative of high arousal, produced forecasts that aligned more closely with behaviors. In Study 2, forecasters who misattributed their arousal to an extraneous source forecasted cheating significantly more. In Study 3, higher dispositional emotional awareness was related to less forecasted cheating. These findings suggest that perceptions of affect play a key role in the behavior-forecasting dissociation.

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Choice architecture in conflicts of interest: Defaults as physical and psychological barriers to (dis)honesty

Nina Mazar & Scott Hawkins
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 113–117

Abstract:
Default options significantly influence individuals' tendencies to comply with public policy goals such as organ donation. We extend that notion and explore the role defaults can play in encouraging (im)moral conduct in two studies. Building on previous research into omission and commission we show that individuals cheat most when it requires passively accepting a default, incorrect answer (Omission). More importantly, despite equivalent physical effort, individuals cheat less when it requires overriding a default, correct answer (Super-commission) than when simply giving an incorrect answer (Commission) — because the former is psychologically harder. Furthermore, while people expect physical and psychological costs to influence cheating, they do not believe that it takes a fundamentally different moral character to overcome either cost. Our findings support a more nuanced perspective on the implication of the different types of costs associated with default options and offer practical insights for policy, such as taxation, to nudge honesty.

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Forgive them for I have sinned: The relationship between guilt and forgiveness of others' transgressions

Jennifer Jordan, Francis Flynn & Taya Cohen
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose that guilt leads to forgiveness of others' transgressions. In Study 1, people prone to experience guilt (but not shame) were also prone to forgive others for past misdeeds. In Study 2, we manipulated harm- and inequity-based guilt; both increased forgiveness of others' transgressions. Further, the effect of guilt on forgiveness was mediated by identification with the transgressor. In Study 3, we replicated the guilt–forgiveness relationship and examined three other plausible mediators: capability for similar wrongdoing, empathic understanding, and general identification; only identification with the transgressor satisfied the criteria for mediation. In Study 4, we induced guilt by asking participants to harm a friend or stranger. Guilt induced by harming a friend led to greater forgiveness of third-party transgressors, and again, identification with the transgressor mediated the effect. We discuss the implications of these results for understanding how the prosocial effects of guilt extend beyond the boundaries of a single interpersonal relationship.

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The threat of moral transgression: The impact of group membership and moral opportunity

Jojanneke van der Toorn, Naomi Ellemers & Bertjan Doosje
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When other ingroup members behave immorally, people's motivation to maintain a moral group image may cause them to experience increased threat and act defensively in response. In the current research, we investigated people's reactions to others' misconduct and examined the effect of group membership and the possible threat-reducing function of moral opportunity — the prospect of being able to re-establish the group's moral image. In Study 1, students who were confronted with fellow students' plagiarism and who received an opportunity to improve their group's morality reported feeling less threatened than students who did not receive such opportunity. In Study 2, students reacted to a recent academic fraud case, which either implicated an ingroup (scholar in their own discipline) or an outgroup member (scholar in another discipline). Results indicated that participants experienced more threat when an ingroup (versus an outgroup) member had committed the moral transgression. However, as hypothesized, this was not the case when moral opportunity was provided. Hence, the threat-reducing effect of moral opportunity was replicated. Additionally, participants generally were more defensive in response to ingroup (versus outgroup) moral failure and less defensive when moral opportunity was present (versus absent). Together, these findings suggest that the reduction of threat due to moral opportunity may generally help individuals take constructive action when the behavior of fellow group members discredits the group's moral image.

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Anticipating and Resisting the Temptation to Behave Unethically

Oliver Sheldon & Ayelet Fishbach
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2015, Pages 962-975

Abstract:
Ethical dilemmas pose a self-control conflict between pursuing immediate benefits through behaving dishonestly and pursuing long-term benefits through acts of honesty. Therefore, factors that facilitate self-control for other types of goals (e.g., health and financial) should also promote ethical behavior. Across four studies, we find support for this possibility. Specifically, we find that only under conditions that facilitate conflict identification — including the consideration of several decisions simultaneously (i.e., a broad decision frame) and perceived high connectedness to the future self — does anticipating a temptation to behave dishonestly in advance promote honesty. We demonstrate these interaction patterns between conflict identification and temptation anticipation in negotiation situations (Study 1), lab tasks (Study 2), and ethical dilemmas in the workplace (Studies 3-4). We conclude that identifying a self-control conflict and anticipating a temptation are two necessary preconditions for ethical decision making.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

On the frontier

An Empirical Examination of Patent Hold-up

Alexander Galetovic, Stephen Haber & Ross Levine
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
A large literature asserts that standard essential patents (SEPs) allow their owners to "hold up" innovation by charging fees that exceed their incremental contribution to a final product. We evaluate two central, interrelated predictions of this SEP hold-up hypothesis: (1) SEP-reliant industries should experience more stagnant quality-adjusted prices than similar non-SEP-reliant industries; and (2) court decisions that reduce the excessive power of SEP holders should accelerate innovation in SEP-reliant industries. We find no empirical support for either prediction. Indeed, SEP-reliant industries have the fastest quality-adjusted price declines in the U.S. economy.

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Project Selection in NIH: A Natural Experiment from ARRA

Hyunwoo Park, Jeongsik Lee & Byung-Cheol Kim
Research Policy, July 2015, Pages 1145–1159

Abstract:
Using a natural experiment in research funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) following the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, we study the NIH's revealed preference in project selection. We do so by comparing the characteristics of the projects additionally selected for funding due to an unexpected increase in resources under the ARRA with those supported through regular NIH budget. We find that the regular-funded projects are on average of higher quality, as measured by the number of publications per project and the impact of these publications, than ARRA-funded projects. Moreover, compared to ARRA projects, regular projects are more likely to produce highest-impact articles and exhibit greater variance in research output. The output from regular projects also seems more closely fitting the purpose of funding. The differences in project quality are largely explained by observable attributes of the projects and research teams, suggesting that the NIH may use these attributes as cues for discerning underlying project quality. In addition, ARRA projects are more likely than regular projects to involve investigators with past grant experience. Many of these inter-group differences are specific to R01 grants, the largest funding category in the NIH. Overall, these results suggest that the NIH's project selection appears generally in line with its purported mission. In particular, our results contrast starkly with the frequent criticism that the NIH is extremely risk-averse and unwarrantedly favors experienced investigators. We discuss the implications of our findings on the NIH's behavior in project selection.

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Advice Taking, Learning, and Technology Adoption: Results from an Economic Experiment with Farmers

Bradford Barham et al.
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper examines the complementarities between advice taking and individual learning in technology adoption. We run an economic experiment with US farmers measuring their individual learning ability and their propensity to take advice. We then compare the decisions they make in the experiments with their real-world adoption of genetically modified (GM) corn and soy seeds. The first adopters are those who are both quite able cognitively and disinclined to take advice. We find evidence that individual ability and advice taking from external sources of information are substitutes rather than complements in the agricultural technology decision-making process.

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China's "Great Leap Forward" in Science and Engineering

Richard Freeman & Wei Huang
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
In the past two decades China leaped from bit player in global science and engineering (S&E) to become the world's largest source of S&E graduates and the second largest spender on R&D and second largest producer of scientific papers. As a latecomer to modern science and engineering, China trailed the US and other advanced countries in the quality of its universities and research but was improving both through the mid-2010s. This paper presents evidence that China's leap benefited greatly from the country's positive response to global opportunities to educate many of its best and brightest overseas and from the deep educational and research links it developed with the US. The findings suggest that global mobility of people and ideas allowed China to reach the scientific and technological frontier much faster and more efficiently.

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Uncovering the influence of social venture creation on commercial venture creation: A population ecology perspective

Karla Mendoza-Abarca, Sergey Anokhin & César Zamudio
Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study takes a population ecology perspective to uncover the influence that social venture creation exerts on commercial venture creation. Data from 88 Ohio counties during 2003–2007 uncovered a negative relationship suggesting that social ventures compete for resources with commercial ventures at the time of founding. Additionally, we found that income levels in the county affected the inter-population dynamics between social and commercial ventures. Specifically, lower income levels exacerbated the competitive relationship between social and commercial ventures. Low levels of government spending on welfare were found to suppress commercial start-up rates.

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It's Good to be First: Order Bias in Reading and Citing NBER Working Papers

Daniel Feenberg et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Choices are frequently made from lists where there is by necessity some ordering of options. In such situations individuals can exhibit both primacy bias towards the first option and recency bias towards the last option. We examine this phenomenon in a particularly interesting context: consumer response to the ordering of economics papers in an email announcement issued by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Each Monday morning Eastern Standard Time (EST) the NBER issues a "New This Week" (NTW) email that lists all of the working papers that have been issued in the past week. This email goes to more than 23,000 subscribers, both inside and outside academia, and the placement order is based on random factors. We show that despite the randomized list placement, papers that are listed first each week are about 30% more likely to be viewed, downloaded, and cited over the next two years. Lower ranking on the list leads to fewer views and downloads, but not cites; however, there is also some recency bias, with the last paper listed receiving more views, downloads and cites. The results are robust to a wide variety of specification checks and are present for both all viewers/downloaders, and for academic institutions in particular. These results suggest that even among expert searchers, list-based searches can be manipulated by list placement.

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On the global supply of basic research

Hans Gersbach & Maik Schneider
Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a two-country Schumpeterian growth model, we study the incentives for basic research investments by governments in a globalized world. A country's basic research investments increase with the country's level of human capital and decline with its own market size. This may explain why some smaller countries invest so much in basic research. Compared with the optimal investments achievable when countries coordinate their basic research policies, a single country may over-invest in basic research. However, the total amount of decentralized basic research investments is always below the socially optimal investment level, which justifies policy coordination in this area.

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Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: Input Supplies and Directed Technical Change

Walker Hanlon
Econometrica, January 2015, Pages 67–100

Abstract:
This study provides causal evidence that a shock to the relative supply of inputs to production can (1) affect the direction of technological progress and (2) lead to a rebound in the relative price of the input that became relatively more abundant (the strong induced-bias hypothesis). I exploit the impact of the U.S. Civil War on the British cotton textile industry, which reduced supplies of cotton from the Southern United States, forcing British producers to shift to lower-quality Indian cotton. Using detailed new data, I show that this shift induced the development of new technologies that augmented Indian cotton. As these new technologies became available, I show that the relative price of Indian/U.S. cotton rebounded to its pre-war level, despite the increased relative supply of Indian cotton. This is the first paper to establish both of these patterns empirically, lending support to the two key predictions of leading directed technical change theories.

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The Academic Advantage: Gender Disparities in Patenting

Cassidy Sugimoto et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
We analyzed gender disparities in patenting by country, technological area, and type of assignee using the 4.6 million utility patents issued between 1976 and 2013 by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). Our analyses of fractionalized inventorships demonstrate that women's rate of patenting has increased from 2.7% of total patenting activity to 10.8% over the nearly 40-year period. Our results show that, in every technological area, female patenting is proportionally more likely to occur in academic institutions than in corporate or government environments. However, women's patents have a lower technological impact than that of men, and that gap is wider in the case of academic patents. We also provide evidence that patents to which women — and in particular academic women — contributed are associated with a higher number of International Patent Classification (IPC) codes and co-inventors than men. The policy implications of these disparities and academic setting advantages are discussed.

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The Career Effects of Scandal: Evidence from Scientific Retractions

Pierre Azoulay, Alessandro Bonatti & Joshua Krieger
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Scandals permeate social and economic life, but their consequences have received scant attention in the economics literature. To shed empirical light on this phenomenon, we investigate how the scientific community's perception of a scientist's prior work changes when one of his articles is retracted. Relative to non-retracted control authors, faculty members who experience a retraction see the citation rate to their articles drop by 10% on average, consistent with the Bayesian intuition that the market inferred their work was mediocre all along. We then investigate whether the eminence of the retracted author, and the publicity surrounding the retraction, shape the magnitude of the penalty. We find that eminent scientists are more harshly penalized than their less-distinguished peers in the wake of a retraction, but only in cases involving fraud or misconduct. When the retraction event had it source in "honest mistakes," we find no evidence of differential stigma between high- and low-status faculty members.

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A Powerful Nudge? Presenting Calculable Consequences of Underpowered Research Shifts Incentives Toward Adequately Powered Designs

Will Gervais et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
If psychologists have recognized the pitfalls of underpowered research for decades, why does it persist? Incentives, perhaps: underpowered research benefits researchers individually (increased productivity), but harms science collectively (inflated Type I error rates and effect size estimates but low replication rates). Yet, researchers can selectively reward power at various scientific bottlenecks (e.g., peer review, hiring, funding, and promotion). We designed a stylized thought experiment to evaluate the degree to which researchers consider power and productivity in hiring decisions. Accomplished psychologists chose between a low sample size candidate and a high sample size candidate who were otherwise identical. We manipulated the degree to which participants received information about (1) productivity, (2) sample size, and (3) directly calculable Type I error and replication rates. Participants were intolerant of the negative consequences of low-power research, yet merely indifferent regarding the practices that logically produce those consequences, unless those consequences were made quite explicit.

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The Replication Paradox: Combining Studies can Decrease Accuracy of Effect Size Estimates

Michèle Nuijten et al.
Review of General Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Replication is often viewed as the demarcation between science and nonscience. However, contrary to the commonly held view, we show that in the current (selective) publication system replications may increase bias in effect size estimates. Specifically, we examine the effect of replication on bias in estimated population effect size as a function of publication bias and the studies' sample size or power. We analytically show that incorporating the results of published replication studies will in general not lead to less bias in the estimated population effect size. We therefore conclude that mere replication will not solve the problem of overestimation of effect sizes. We will discuss the implications of our findings for interpreting results of published and unpublished studies, and for conducting and interpreting results of meta-analyses. We also discuss solutions for the problem of overestimation of effect sizes, such as discarding and not publishing small studies with low power, and implementing practices that completely eliminate publication bias (e.g., study registration).

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Ahead of others in the authorship order: Names with middle initials appear earlier in author lists of academic articles in psychology

Eric Igou & Wijnand van Tilburg
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
Middle name initials are often used by people in contexts where intellectual performance matters. Given this association, middle initials in people's names indicate intellectual capacity and performance (Van Tilburg and Igou, 2014). In the current research, we examined whether middle initials are associated with a typical academic indicator of intellectual performance: authorship order of journal articles. In psychology, authorship early in the author list of an article should correspond with greater contribution to this intellectual endeavor compared to authorship appearing later in the author list. Given that middle initials indicate intellectual capacity and performance, we investigated whether there would be a positive relationship between middle initials in author names and early (vs. late) appearance of names in author lists of academic journal articles in psychology. In two studies, we examined the relationship between amount of authors' middle initials and authorship order. Study 1 used a sample of 678 articles from social psychology journals published in the years 2006 and 2007. Study 2 used a sample of 696 articles from journals of multiple sub-disciplines in psychology published in the years from 1970 to 2013. Middle initials in author names were overrepresented early (vs. late) in author lists. We discuss implications of our findings for academic decisions on authorship orders, potential avenues of further investigation, and applications.

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Status Spillovers

Brian Philip Reschke, Pierre Azoulay & Toby Stuart
University of California Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
When an actor experiences a sudden gain in status — for example, when a scientist wins a Nobel Prize, or a film director wins an Oscar — what does this jump in status do to the fates of the winner's many 'neighbors'? Do non-winners bask in the reflected glory of the winner, and therefore rise with her? Or conversely, does competition for attention ensue, attenuating the recognition neighbors otherwise would have received? We investigate this question in the scientific community. Using article keywords assigned by third-party experts, we identify articles highly related to publications by eventual appointees to the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). We find that, on average, these 'neighbor articles' experience a substantial decline in citation rates after HHMI appointments are announced, relative to controls. That is, neighbors receive substantially less attention when a focal actor receives a prestigious prize. While this negative spillover effect dominates our findings, it is not absolute. For instance, neighbors are shielded from the negative effect if they share a direct social connection with a prize winner. Also, in areas of science in which endorsements are particularly valuable, such as novel fields of research, the spillover effect of a neighbor's prize is instead positive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Never tell me the odds

Robots that can adapt like animals

Antoine Cully et al.
Nature, 28 May 2015, Pages 503–507

Abstract:
Robots have transformed many industries, most notably manufacturing, and have the power to deliver tremendous benefits to society, such as in search and rescue, disaster response, health care and transportation. They are also invaluable tools for scientific exploration in environments inaccessible to humans, from distant planets to deep oceans. A major obstacle to their widespread adoption in more complex environments outside factories is their fragility. Whereas animals can quickly adapt to injuries, current robots cannot 'think outside the box' to find a compensatory behaviour when they are damaged: they are limited to their pre-specified self-sensing abilities, can diagnose only anticipated failure modes, and require a pre-programmed contingency plan for every type of potential damage, an impracticality for complex robots. A promising approach to reducing robot fragility involves having robots learn appropriate behaviours in response to damage, but current techniques are slow even with small, constrained search spaces. Here we introduce an intelligent trial-and-error algorithm that allows robots to adapt to damage in less than two minutes in large search spaces without requiring self-diagnosis or pre-specified contingency plans. Before the robot is deployed, it uses a novel technique to create a detailed map of the space of high-performing behaviours. This map represents the robot's prior knowledge about what behaviours it can perform and their value. When the robot is damaged, it uses this prior knowledge to guide a trial-and-error learning algorithm that conducts intelligent experiments to rapidly discover a behaviour that compensates for the damage. Experiments reveal successful adaptations for a legged robot injured in five different ways, including damaged, broken, and missing legs, and for a robotic arm with joints broken in 14 different ways. This new algorithm will enable more robust, effective, autonomous robots, and may shed light on the principles that animals use to adapt to injury.

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Cognitive capacities for cooking in chimpanzees

Felix Warneken & Alexandra Rosati
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 June 2015

Abstract:
The transition to a cooked diet represents an important shift in human ecology and evolution. Cooking requires a set of sophisticated cognitive abilities, including causal reasoning, self-control and anticipatory planning. Do humans uniquely possess the cognitive capacities needed to cook food? We address whether one of humans' closest relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), possess the domain-general cognitive skills needed to cook. Across nine studies, we show that chimpanzees: (i) prefer cooked foods; (ii) comprehend the transformation of raw food that occurs when cooking, and generalize this causal understanding to new contexts; (iii) will pay temporal costs to acquire cooked foods; (iv) are willing to actively give up possession of raw foods in order to transform them; and (v) can transport raw food as well as save their raw food in anticipation of future opportunities to cook. Together, our results indicate that several of the fundamental psychological abilities necessary to engage in cooking may have been shared with the last common ancestor of apes and humans, predating the control of fire.

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The Downstream Consequences of Problem-Solving Mindsets: How Playing with Legos Influences Creativity

Page Moreau & Marit Gundersen Engeset
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Business leaders, governments, and scholars are increasingly recognizing the importance of creativity. Recent trends in technology and education, however, suggest that many individuals are facing fewer opportunities to engage in creative thought as they increasingly solve well-defined (versus ill-defined) problems. Using three studies that involve real problem-solving activities (e.g., putting together a Lego kit), the authors examine the mindset created by addressing such well-defined problems. The studies demonstrate the negative downstream impact of such a mindset on both creative task performance and the choice to engage in creative tasks. The research has theoretical implications for the creativity and mindset literatures as well as substantive insights for managers and public-policy makers.

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Knowing More Than We Can Tell: People Are Aware of Their Biased Self-Perceptions

Kathryn Bollich, Katherine Rogers & Simine Vazire
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2015, Pages 918-929

Abstract:
There is no question that biases exist in self-perceptions of personality. To what extent do people have insight into their positive and negative self-biases? In two samples (total N = 130), people with positive biases (i.e., self-perceptions that are more positive than a reputation-based criterion measure) accurately described themselves as positively biased, and people with negative biases accurately described themselves as negatively biased. Furthermore, people were able to distinguish which traits they were more or less biased about. These findings suggest that people may know more about themselves than they initially admit. Implications for the use of self-reports and the study of self-knowledge are discussed.

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The Effect of Foreign Language in Judgments of Risk and Benefit: The Role of Affect

Constantinos Hadjichristidis, Janet Geipel & Lucia Savadori
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, June 2015, Pages 117-129

Abstract:
As a result of globalization, policymakers and citizens are increasingly communicating in foreign languages. This article investigates whether communicating in a foreign language influences lay judgments of risk and benefit regarding specific hazards such as "traveling by airplane," "climate change," and "biotechnology." Merging findings from bilingual and risk perception research, we hypothesized that stimuli described in a foreign language, as opposed to the native tongue, would prompt more positive overall affect and through that induce lower judgments of risk and higher judgments of benefit. Two studies support this foreign language hypothesis. Contrary to recent proposals that foreign language influences judgment by promoting deliberate processing, we show that it can also influence judgment through emotional processing. The present findings carry implications for international policy, such as United Nations decisions on environmental issues.

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Is a 70% Forecast More Accurate than a 30% Forecast? How Level of a Forecast affects Inferences about Forecasts and Forecasters

Rajesh Bagchi & Elise Chandon Ince
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers routinely rely on forecasters to make predictions about uncertain events (e.g., sporting contests, stock fluctuations). The authors demonstrate that when forecasts are higher versus lower (e.g., a 70% vs. 30% chance of team A winning a game) consumers infer that the forecaster is more confident in her prediction, has conducted more in-depth analyses, and is more trustworthy. The prediction is also judged as more accurate. This occurs because forecasts are evaluated based on how well they predict the target event occurring (team A winning). Higher forecasts indicate greater likelihood of the target event occurring, and signal a confident analyst, while lower forecasts indicate lower likelihood and lower confidence in the target event occurring. But because, with lower forecasts, consumers still focus on the target event (and not its complement), lower confidence in the target event occurring is erroneously interpreted as the forecaster being less confident in her overall prediction (instead of more confident in the complementary event occurring — team A losing). The authors identify boundary conditions, generalize to other prediction formats, and demonstrate consequences.

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Learning by Thinking: Overcoming the Bias for Action through Reflection

Giada Di Stefano et al.
Harvard Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Research on learning has primarily focused on the role of doing (experience) in fostering progress over time. Drawing on literature in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, we propose that one of the critical components of learning is reflection, or the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. In particular, we argue that purposeful reflection on one's accumulated experience leads to greater learning than the accumulation of additional experience. We explain this boost in learning through self-efficacy: reflection builds confidence in the ability to achieve a goal, which in turn translates into higher rates of learning. We test the resulting model experimentally, using a mixed-method design that combines two laboratory experiments with a field experiment conducted in a large business-process outsourcing company in India. We find that individuals who are given time to reflect on a task improve their performance at a greater rate than those who are given the same amount of time to practice with the same task. Our results also show that if individuals themselves are given the choice to either reflect or practice, they prefer to allocate their time to gaining more experience with the task – to the detriment of their learning.

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Group discussion improves lie detection

Nadav Klein & Nicholas Epley
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Groups of individuals can sometimes make more accurate judgments than the average individual could make alone. We tested whether this group advantage extends to lie detection, an exceptionally challenging judgment with accuracy rates rarely exceeding chance. In four experiments, we find that groups are consistently more accurate than individuals in distinguishing truths from lies, an effect that comes primarily from an increased ability to correctly identify when a person is lying. These experiments demonstrate that the group advantage in lie detection comes through the process of group discussion, and is not a product of aggregating individual opinions (a "wisdom-of-crowds" effect) or of altering response biases (such as reducing the "truth bias"). Interventions to improve lie detection typically focus on improving individual judgment, a costly and generally ineffective endeavor. Our findings suggest a cheap and simple synergistic approach of enabling group discussion before rendering a judgment.

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Perceiving outcomes as determined by external forces: The role of event construal in attenuating the outcome bias

Krishna Savani & Dan King
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
People view the same decision as better when it is followed by a positive outcome than by a negative outcome, a phenomenon called the outcome bias. Based on the idea that a key cause of the outcome bias is people's failure to appreciate that outcomes are in part determined by external forces, three studies tested a novel method to reduce the outcome bias. Experiment 1 showed that people who construed a person's interactions with the environment as events rather than as actions or choices were less susceptible to the outcome bias in a medical decision making task. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated that people who recalled past events rather than actions or choices exhibited lower outcome bias in a risky decision making task and in an ethical judgment task. These findings indicate that an event construal helps people appreciate the role of external factors in causing outcomes.

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The Impact of a Relational Mindset on Information Distortion

Anne-Sophie Chaxel
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 1–7

Abstract:
The preference-supporting bias in information evaluation, known as information distortion, is a ubiquitous phenomenon. The present work demonstrates that priming a relational mindset induces individuals to process independent units of information interdependently and therefore contributes to increasing distortion. In three studies, a relational mindset is activated by asking participants to generate solutions to cross-domain analogies. All three studies show that the activation of a relational mindset then carries over into a second, unrelated choice task and increases distortion. In addition, the present work shows that generating solutions to cross-domain analogies activates a high level of construal, which in turn mediates the effect of relational thinking on information distortion. Finally, the present work also demonstrates that imposing a cognitive load during the choice task reduces the impact of the relational mindset on distortion. In sum, this research demonstrates that the same mechanism that promotes creative thinking (i.e., seeing relationships across concepts) may also induce more biased information processing by prompting individuals to process independent units of information interdependently.

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Who or what to believe: Trust and the differential persuasiveness of human and anthropomorphized messengers

Maferima Touré-Tillery & Ann McGill
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Participants in three studies read advertisements in which messages were delivered by people or by anthropomorphized agents, specifically, "talking" products. Results indicate that people low in interpersonal trust are more persuaded by anthropomorphized messengers than by human spokespersons due their greater attentiveness to the nature of the messenger and their belief that humans, more than partial humans (that is, anthropomorphized agents), lack goodwill. People high in interpersonal trust are less attentive about who is trying to persuade them, so respond similarly to human and anthropomorphized messengers. However, when prompted to be attentive, they are more persuaded by human spokespersons than by anthropomorphized messengers, due to their belief that humans, more than partial humans, act with goodwill. Under conditions in which attentiveness is low for all consumers, high and low trusters alike, are unaffected by the nature of persuasion agents. We discuss the implications of our findings for advertisers considering the use of anthropomorphized "spokespersons."

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The double-edged impact of future expectations in groups: Minority influence depends on minorities' and majorities' expectations to interact again

Alvaro San Martin et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2015, Pages 49–60

Abstract:
Two studies examined whether expecting future interaction with the same group members affects minority influence. Holding constant majority members' expectation of future interaction, Study 1 demonstrated that minorities had more influence on majorities' private decisions and the group's public decision when they did not expect future interaction with the majority than when they did. Study 2 demonstrated that this minority influence effect only emerged when majority members themselves expected future interaction. Study 2 also shed light on the early information sharing dynamics underlying this effect: minorities expressed more dissent when they did not expect future interaction and majorities were more open to divergent information when they expected future interaction. These two forces combined promoted more systematic information processing by the group as a whole and, eventually, resulted in greater minority influence on both private and public decisions. Implications for our understanding of minority influence and group decision-making are discussed.

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Facts and Figuring: An Experimental Investigation of Network Structure and Performance in Information and Solution Spaces

Jesse Shore, Ethan Bernstein & David Lazer
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from a novel laboratory experiment on complex problem solving in which we varied the structure of 16-person networks, we investigate how an organization's network structure shapes the performance of problem-solving tasks. Problem solving, we argue, involves both exploration for information and exploration for solutions. Our results show that network clustering has opposite effects for these two important and complementary forms of exploration. Dense clustering encourages members of a network to generate more diverse information but discourages them from generating diverse theories; that is, clustering promotes exploration in information space but decreases exploration in solution space. Previous research, generally focusing on only one of those two spaces at a time, has produced an inconsistent understanding of the value of network clustering. By adopting an experimental platform on which information was measured separately from solutions, we bring disparate results under a single theoretical roof and clarify the effects of network clustering on problem-solving behavior and performance. The finding both provides a sharper tool for structuring organizations for knowledge work and reveals challenges inherent in manipulating network structure to enhance performance, as the communication structure that helps one determinant of successful problem solving may harm the other.

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When Your Decisions Are Not (Quite) Your Own: Action Observation Influences Free Choices

Geoff Cole et al.
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
A growing number of studies have begun to assess how the actions of one individual are represented in an observer. Using a variant of an action observation paradigm, four experiments examined whether one person's behaviour can influence the subjective decisions and judgements of another. In Experiment 1, two observers sat adjacent to each other and took turns to freely select and reach to one of two locations. Results showed that participants were less likely to make a response to the same location as their partner. In three further experiments observers were asked to decide which of two familiar products they preferred or which of two faces were most attractive. Results showed that participants were less likely to choose the product or face occupying the location of their partner's previous reaching response. These findings suggest that action observation can influence a range of free choice preferences and decisions. Possible mechanisms through which this influence occurs are discussed.

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Group brainstorming: When regulatory nonfit enhances performance

John Levine et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a study investigating motivational factors in group brainstorming, we investigated the impact on performance of regulatory fit/nonfit (based on the group's focus and task strategy). All members of three-person groups were placed in either a promotion focus or a prevention focus and then were all given either an eager strategy or a vigilant strategy for performing a brainstorming task (with an expectancy stop rule). As predicted, groups experiencing nonfit (promotion/vigilant, prevention/eager) spent more time working on the task and generated more nonredundant ideas than did groups experiencing fit (promotion/eager, prevention/vigilant). Also as predicted, task persistence mediated the joint impact of regulatory focus and task strategy on idea generation. Parallel results for idea diversity and quality were accounted for by number of ideas generated. These findings shed light on motivational aspects of group brainstorming and demonstrate the utility of regulatory fit theory for explaining small group phenomena.

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Even better than the real thing: Alternative outcome bias affects decision judgements and decision regret

Catherine Seta et al.
Thinking & Reasoning, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three experiments demonstrated that decisions resulting in considerable amounts of profit, but missed alternative outcomes of greater profits, were rated lower in quality and produced more regret than did decisions that returned lesser (or equal) amounts of profit but either did not miss or missed only slightly better alternatives. These effects were mediated by upward counterfactuals and moderated by participants' orientation to the decision context. That decision evaluations were affected by the availability and magnitude of alternative outcomes rather than the positivity of actual outcomes is counter to the outcome bias effect — a bias in which decisions are rated more positively when they led to more positive outcomes (despite a priori probabilities associated with the decision outcomes). Experiment 3 demonstrated that these effects represent a bias that occurs even when it is clear that the process by which decisions were made followed rational decision processes. This research suggests that when alternative worlds are even better than the desirable outcomes experienced, affect and cognition may be more strongly linked to the magnitude of alternative realities than to obtained outcomes.

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Views That Are Shared With Others Are Expressed With Greater Confidence and Greater Fluency Independent of Any Social Influence

Asher Koriat, Shiri Adiv & Norbert Schwarz
Personality and Social Psychology Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on group influence has yielded a prototypical majority effect (PME): Majority views are endorsed faster and with greater confidence than minority views, with the difference increasing with majority size. The PME was attributed to conformity pressure enhancing confidence in consensual views and causing inhibition in venturing deviant opinions. Our results, however, indicate that PME for binary choices can arise from the process underlying confidence and latency independent of social influence. PME was demonstrated for tasks and conditions that are stripped of social relevance; it was observed in within-individual analyses in contrasting the individual's more frequent and less frequent responses to the same item, and was found for the predictions of others' responses. A self-consistency model, which assumes that choice and confidence are based on the sampling of representations from a commonly shared pool of representations, yielded a PME for confidence and latency. Behavioral implications of the results are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 8, 2015

Growing apart

The effects of economic growth on income inequality in the US

Amir Rubin & Dan Segal
Journal of Macroeconomics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The paper analyzes the relation between growth and income inequality in the US during the post-war years (1953–2008). We show that the income of the top income groups is more sensitive to growth, defined broadly as current growth and changes in expectations of future growth, compared to the income of the lower income groups. We provide evidence that this increased sensitivity arises for two reasons: (a) the top income groups receive a large portion of their income from wealth, which is more sensitive to growth than labor income, and (b) the top income groups receive a large portion of their labor income in the form of pay-for-performance (equity compensation), which is also sensitive to growth. Consequently, we conclude that growth and income inequality are positively associated.

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Global Inequality of Opportunity: How Much of Our Income Is Determined by Where We Live?

Branko Milanovic
Review of Economics and Statistics, May 2015, Pages 452-460

Abstract:
Suppose that all people in the world are allocated only two characteristics over which they have (almost) no control: country of residence and income distribution within that country. Assume further that there is no migration. We show that more than one-half of variability in income of world population classified according to their household per capita in 1% income groups (by country) is accounted for by these two characteristics. The role of effort or luck cannot play a large role in explaining the global distribution of individual income.

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Does Who Votes Matter? Income Bias in Voter Turnout and Economic Inequality in the American States from 1980 to 2010

James Avery
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing body of research examines the political sources of economic inequality in the United States. A second literature examines the political consequences of who votes. The current study contributes to both literatures by examining the influence of income bias in voter turnout on income inequality in the American states from 1980 to 2010. I use power resources theory and research demonstrating growing partisan polarization across income levels as theoretical foundations. Using time-series and cross-sectional analysis, I find that states with greater income bias in turnout have higher levels of income inequality than states with greater parity in voter turnout across income levels, findings that are robust across various model specifications. The implications of these findings for our understanding of economic inequality, low-income voter turnout, and state electoral laws are discussed.

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Economic Inequality and U.S. Public Policy Mood Across Space and Time

Christopher Johnston & Benjamin Newman
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
While classic theories suggest that growing inequality will generate mass support for redistribution, recent research suggests the opposite: increases in inequality in the United States are associated with decreases in support for redistribution among both low and high income citizens. We reconsider this conclusion. First, we examine the methods of this research, and find that the claims made are not robust to important corrections in model specification. We then utilize a distinct methodological approach, leveraging spatial variation in local inequality, and examine average differences in preferences across geographic context. Here we find a small, but positive relationship of inequality to support for redistribution. In both our reexamination of previous work and our extensions, we find little support for the claim that inequality reduces the demand for redistribution.

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The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates

Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren
Harvard Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We characterize the effects of neighborhoods on children's earnings and other outcomes in adulthood by studying more than five million families who move across counties in the U.S. Our analysis consists of two parts. In the first part, we present quasi-experimental evidence that neighborhoods affect intergenerational mobility through childhood exposure effects. In particular, the outcomes of children whose families move to a better neighborhood – as measured by the outcomes of children already living there – improve linearly in proportion to the time they spend growing up in that area. We distinguish the causal effects of neighborhoods from confounding factors by comparing the outcomes of siblings within families, studying moves triggered by displacement shocks, and exploiting sharp variation in predicted place effects across birth cohorts, genders, and quantiles. We also document analogous childhood exposure effects for college attendance, teenage birth rates, and marriage rates. In the second part of the paper, we identify the causal effect of growing up in every county in the U.S. by estimating a fixed effects model identified from families who move across counties with children of different ages. We use these estimates to decompose observed intergenerational mobility into a causal and sorting component in each county. For children growing up in families at the 25th percentile of the income distribution, each year of childhood exposure to a one standard deviation (SD) better county increases income in adulthood by 0.5%. Hence, growing up in a one SD better county from birth increases a child's income by approximately 10%. Low-income children are most likely to succeed in counties that have less concentrated poverty, less income inequality, better schools, a larger share of two-parent families, and lower crime rates. Boys' outcomes vary more across areas than girls, and boys have especially poor outcomes in highly-segregated areas. In urban areas, better areas have higher house prices, but our analysis uncovers significant variation in neighborhood quality even conditional on prices.

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Firming Up Inequality

Jae Song et al.
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Earnings inequality in the United States has increased rapidly over the last three decades, but little is known about the role of firms in this trend. For example, how much of the rise in earnings inequality can be attributed to rising dispersion between firms in the average wages they pay, and how much is due to rising wage dispersion among workers within firms? Similarly, how did rising inequality affect the wage earnings of different types of workers working for the same employer — men vs. women, young vs. old, new hires vs. senior employees, and so on? To address questions like these, we begin by constructing a matched employer-employee data set for the United States using administrative records. Covering all U.S. firms between 1978 to 2012, we show that virtually all of the rise in earnings dispersion between workers is accounted for by increasing dispersion in average wages paid by the employers of these individuals. In contrast, pay differences within employers have remained virtually unchanged, a finding that is robust across industries, geographical regions, and firm size groups. Furthermore, the wage gap between the most highly paid employees within these firms (CEOs and high level executives) and the average employee has increased only by a small amount, refuting oft-made claims that such widening gaps account for a large fraction of rising inequality in the population.

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The Great Escape: Intergenerational Mobility Since 1940

Nathaniel Hilger
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Tax records indicate that intergenerational mobility (IM) has been stable for cohorts entering the labor market since the 1990s. I show that when using educational attainment as a proxy for adult income, stable IM is a new phenomenon: IM rose significantly for cohorts entering the labor market from 1940 to 1980. I measure IM directly in historical Census data for children still living with their parents at ages 22-25, and indirectly for other children using an imputation procedure that I validate in multiple data sets with parent-child links spanning the full 1940-2000 period. Post-war mobility gains were larger in the South and for blacks, and were driven by gains in high school rather than college enrollment. Controlling for region and year, states with higher IM have had lower income inequality, higher income levels, more educational inputs, higher minimum dropout ages, and lower teen birth rates. IM gains plausibly increased aggregate annual earnings growth by 0.125-0.25 percentage points over the 1940-1980 period.

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Turning to Space: Social Density, Social Class and the Value of Things in Stores

Thomas Clayton O'Guinn, Robin Tanner & Ahreum Maeng
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper is about social space and material objects for sale within that space. We draw primarily on Goffman's (1971) concepts of use space and possession territories to predict that as the social density of a given space increases, inferences of the subjective social class and income of people in that space fall. Eight studies confirm that this is indeed the case, with the result holding even for stick figures, thus controlling for typical visual indicators of social class such as clothing or jewelry. Furthermore, these social class inferences mediate a relationship between social density and product valuation, with individuals assessing both higher prices and a greater willingness to pay for products presented in less crowded contexts. This effect of inferred class on product valuation is explained by status motivated individuals desire to associate with higher status people. To the best of our knowledge, this research is the first to reveal the link between social density, status inferences and object valuations. As such it makes a novel contribution to what has come be known in sociology as the topological turn: a renewed focus on social space.

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Socioeconomic Status and Learning from Financial Information

Camelia Kuhnen & Andrei Miu
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The majority of lower socioeconomic status (SES) households do not have any stock investments, which is detrimental to wealth accumulation. Here, we examine one potential driver of this puzzling fact, namely, that SES may influence the process by which people learn from information in financial markets. In an experimental setting we find that low SES participants, relative to medium or high SES ones, form more pessimistic beliefs about the distribution of stock investment outcomes and are less likely to invest in stocks. The pessimism bias in assessing risky assets induced by low SES is robust to several ways of measuring one's socioeconomic standing and it replicates out of sample. These results suggest that SES shapes in predictable ways people's beliefs about financial assets, which in turn may induce large differences across households in their propensity to participate in financial markets.

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Higher in status, (Even) better-than-average

Michael Varnum
Frontiers in Psychology, April 2015

Abstract:
In 5 studies (total N = 1357) conducted online using Amazon's MTurk the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and the better-than-average effect (BTAE) was tested. Across the studies subjective measures of SES were positively correlated with magnitude of BTAE. Effects of objective measures (income and education) were weaker and less consistent. Measures of childhood SES (both objective and subjective) were positively correlated with BTAE magnitude, though less strongly and less consistently than measures of current subjective SES. Meta-analysis revealed all measures of chronic SES (with the exception of education) were significantly correlated with BTAE. However, manipulations of SES in terms of subjective status (Study 2), power (Study 3), and dominance (Study 4) did not have strong effects on BTAE magnitude (d's ranging from −0.04 to −0.14). Taken together the results suggest that chronic, but not temporary, status may be linked with a stronger tendency to overestimate one's abilities and positive traits.

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Inequality in the very long run: Inferring inequality from data on social groups

Jørgen Modalsli
Journal of Economic Inequality, June 2015, Pages 225-247

Abstract:
This paper presents a new method for calculating Gini coefficients from tabulations of the mean income of social classes. Income distribution data from before the Industrial Revolution usually come in the form of such tabulations, called social tables. Inequality indices generated from social tables are frequently calculated without adjusting for within-group income dispersion, leading to a systematic downward bias in the reporting of pre-industrial inequality. The correction method presented in this paper is applied to an existing collection of twenty-five social tables, from Rome in AD 1 to India in 1947. The corrections, using a variety of assumptions on within-group dispersion, lead to substantial increases in the Gini coefficients.

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Did social mobility increase during the industrialization process? A micro-level study of a transforming community in southern Sweden 1828-1968

Martin Dribe, Jonas Helgertz & Bart van de Putte
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, September 2015, Pages 25–39

Abstract:
This article studies class attainment and mobility in a long-term perspective, covering the entire transition from a preindustrial to a mature industrial society. Using longitudinal individual-level data for men in a community of southern Sweden we test different hypotheses linking changing social mobility and status attainment to the industrialization process. The data allows an analysis of Sweden's complete transition from an agrarian to an industrialized society, and thus to comprehensively address core hypotheses in the stratification literature. Both absolute and relative mobility increased, mainly explained by upward mobility becoming more prevalent. By looking at status attainment into different segments of the middle class and elite, we also clearly see the increasing role played by formal education and meritocracy for the opportunities of people from low-class origin to advance socially. However, this development is more connected with the maturing of industrial society than with industrialization as such.

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New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Equilibrium Wealth Distributions

Joseph Stiglitz
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper investigates the determination of the equilibrium distribution of income and wealth among individuals within a simple equilibrium growth model, where there is consistency between the movements of aggregate variables and the savings, bequest, and reproduction behavior of individuals. It describes centrifugal and centripetal forces, (leading to more or less unequal distributions), identifies the factors that may have contributed to the observed increase in inequality, and provides explicit expressions for the level of tail-inequality in terms of the underlying parameters of the economy and policy variables. Among the key results are: (i) The magnitude of wealth inequality does not, in general depend on the difference between the rate of interest (r) and the rate of growth (g); the former is itself an endogenous variable that needs to be explained. In the standard generalization of the Solow model, in the long run not only is r < g, but sr < g (where s is the savings rate). (ii) An increase in capital taxation may be (and in some of the central models is) fully shifted, and so may not lead to lower levels of inequality. (iii) If the capital tax is progressive and/or the proceeds go to public investment, wealth inequality may be reduced the well-being of workers may be increased.

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New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Life Cycle Savings vs. Inherited Savings

Joseph Stiglitz
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper extends the standard life cycle model to a world in which there are also capitalists. We obtain simple formulae describing the equilibrium fraction of wealth held by life-cycle savers. Using these formulae, we ascertain the effects of tax policy or changes in the parameters of the economy. The relative role of life cycle savings increases with the rate of growth and with the relative savings rate of life-cycle savers and capitalists. An increase in the savings rate of workers has no effect on output per capita; life cycle savings simply crowds out inherited savings. A tax on capital (even if proceeds are paid out to workers) is so shifted that capitalists are unaffected and that workers' income (after transfers) and their share in national wealth are reduced. If the government invests the proceeds, the share of capital owned by life cycle savers may increase. We extend the analysis to endogenously derive the distribution of the population between life cycle savers and capitalists, in a model in which all individuals have identical non-linear savings functions. When wealth is low enough, bequests drop to zero. With stochastic returns, individuals move between the two groups. A second extension analyzes the effects of land. We ask whether land holding displaces the holding of capital, resulting in workers being worse off. A tax on land, while reducing the value of land, leaves unchanged the capital-labor ratio, output per capita, and wages. But the tax reduces the aggregate value of wealth, and if the proceeds of the tax are distributed to workers, their income and life cycle savings are increased. On both accounts, wealth inequality is reduced. Thus, consistent with Henry George's views, a tax on the returns on land, including capital gains, reduces inequality with no adverse effect on national income.

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National income and its distribution

Markus Brueckner, Era Dabla Norris & Mark Gradstein
Journal of Economic Growth, June 2015, Pages 149-175

Abstract:
This paper revisits the effect of national income on distributional equality. Although the link between the two has featured prominently in the literature, a causal effect has been difficult to pin down due to the endogeneity of these variables. We use plausibly exogenous variations in the incomes of countries' trading partners weighted by the level of trade flows, and international oil price shocks, as instruments for within-country variations in countries' real GDP per capita. Controlling for country and time fixed effects, our instrumental variables regressions show that increases in national income have a significant moderating effect on income inequality: a 1 % increase in real GDP per capita reduces the Gini coefficient by around 0.08 percentage points on average. We document that education is one possible channel that mediates this relationship, and explore the implications of our findings for the welfare effect of national income growth.

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The political economics of redistribution, inequality and tax avoidance

Carlos Bethencourt & Lars Kunze
Public Choice, June 2015, Pages 267-287

Abstract:
A central result in the political economy of taxation is that the degree of redistribution is positively linked to income inequality. However, empirical evidence supporting such a relationship turns out to be mixed. This paper shows how the different empirical reactions can be rationalized within a simple model of tax avoidance and costly tax enforcement. By focusing on structure-induced equilibrium in which taxpayers vote over the size of the income tax and the level of tax enforcement, we show that more inequality may well reduce the extent of redistribution, depending on two opposing effects: the standard political effect and a negative tax base effect working through increases in the average level of tax avoidance and the share of enforcement expenditures in total tax revenue.

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Misperceiving Inequality

Vladimir Gimpelson & Daniel Treisman
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
Since Aristotle, a vast literature has suggested that economic inequality has important political consequences. Higher inequality is thought to increase demand for government income redistribution in democracies and to discourage democratization and promote class conflict and revolution in dictatorships. Most such arguments crucially assume that ordinary people know how high inequality is, how it has been changing, and where they fit in the income distribution. Using a variety of large, cross-national surveys, we show that, in recent years, ordinary people have had little idea about such things. What they think they know is often wrong. Widespread ignorance and misperceptions of inequality emerge robustly, regardless of the data source, operationalization, and method of measurement. Moreover, we show that the perceived level of inequality — and not the actual level — correlates strongly with demand for redistribution and reported conflict between rich and poor. We suggest that most theories about political effects of inequality need to be either abandoned or reframed as theories about the effects of perceived inequality.

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Developing Critical Consciousness or Justifying the System? A Qualitative Analysis of Attributions for Poverty and Wealth Among Low-Income Racial/Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Women

Erin Godfrey & Sharon Wolf
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objectives: Economic inequality is a growing concern in the United States and globally. The current study uses qualitative techniques to (a) explore the attributions low-income racial/ethnic minority and immigrant women make for poverty and wealth in the U.S., and (b) clarify important links between attributions, critical consciousness development, and system justification theory.

Methods: In-depth interview transcripts from 19 low-income immigrant Dominican and Mexican and native African American mothers in a large Northeastern city were analyzed using open coding techniques. Interview topics included perceptions of current economic inequality and mobility and experiences of daily economic hardships.

Results: Almost all respondents attributed economic inequality to individual factors (character flaws, lack of hard work). Structural explanations for poverty and wealth were expressed by fewer than half the sample and almost always paired with individual explanations. Moreover, individual attributions included system-justifying beliefs such as the belief in meritocracy and equality of opportunity and structural attributions represented varying levels of critical consciousness.

Conclusions: Our analysis sheds new light on how and why individuals simultaneously hold individual and structural attributions and highlights key links between system justification and critical consciousness. It shows that critical consciousness and system justification do not represent opposite stances along a single underlying continuum, but are distinct belief systems and motivations. It also suggests that the motive to justify the system is a key psychological process impeding the development of critical consciousness. Implications for scholarship and intervention are discussed.

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Preferences over Equality in the Presence of Costly Income Sorting

Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin
American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, May 2015, Pages 308-337

Abstract:
We analyze preferences over redistribution in societies with costly (positive) sorting according to income. We identify a new motivation for redistribution, where individuals support taxation in order to reduce the incentives to sort. We characterize a simple condition over income distributions which implies that even relatively rich voters — with income above the mean — will prefer full equality (and thus no sorting) to societies with costly sorting. We show that the condition is satisfied for relatively equal income distributions. We also relate the condition to several statistical properties which are satisfied by a large family of distribution functions.

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Not Separate and Not Equal? Achievement and Attainment Equity in College Towns

Robert Maranto & Jeffery Dean
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: A vast literature documents unequal outcomes in American public education (e.g., Duncan and Murname, 2011), but no prior research explores whether inequities are moderated in progressive communities such as college towns. We test whether college towns have more equal educational outcomes than similar communities that lack higher education institutions.

Methods: We conduct two tests. First, we employ cross-sectional ordinary least squares (OLS) regression predicting high school graduation (attainment) rates in 8,841 school districts, including 184 college town districts, with data taken from the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data. Since attainment is a blunt measure, we also use OLS regression to predict test score (achievement) results in Pennsylvania, a state with a large number of college town school districts.

Results: Nationally, controlling for a range of characteristics, college towns have slightly but significantly lower attainment rates. Regarding achievement, low-income students in Pennsylvania college towns are at a slight disadvantage in math achievement compared to low-income students elsewhere.

Conclusions: We find some evidence that college towns have less equal educational outcomes and speculate as to causes, with the caveat that given the modest statistical impacts found, more research is needed.

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Income Inequality and Policy Responsiveness

Robert Erikson
Annual Review of Political Science, 2015, Pages 11-29

Abstract:
The growing concern about economic inequality leads to a similar concern about political inequality. This article explores the seeming contradiction between the literature pointing to inequality in political representation in the United States and the literature showing that public policy does tend to represent public opinion in general. Low-income voters are much less likely to vote or to be politically knowledgeable than high-income voters, which limits their influence and creates an upper-income bias to effective public opinion. Considerable research suggests that low-income voters' opinions count for even less than would be implied by their low participation rate, a matter that should continue to be the subject of research. Seemingly contrary to any upper-income bias to policy making, major legislation usually moves policy in the direction favored by low-income voters (e.g., redistribution, government programs). Upper-income voters and interest groups, however, are able to slow the pace of liberal change.

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"All These People Who Can Do Things That I Can't": Adolescents' Reflections on Class, Poverty, and the American Dream

Carol Hostetter, Sabrina Williamson Sullenberger & Leila Wood
Journal of Poverty, Spring 2015, Pages 133-152

Abstract:
This article investigates high school seniors' attitudes about socioeconomic status in two historical contexts: the growing economy of the mid-1990s and the recent economic recession. High school seniors (N = 72) were provided with identical scenarios and questions that prompted them to evaluate social stratification. The 1996 cohort expressed belief in the American Dream and individual mobility whereas the 2011 cohort articulated more understanding of structural issues that affect social class mobility. Analysis showed greater awareness of the economy's impact on family life in the 2011 cohort. Finally, the 2011 cohort noted the strong role of technology as an indicator of status.

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Trust and the Welfare State: The Twin Peaks Curve

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc & Marc Sangnier
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show the existence of a twin peaks relation between trust and the size of the welfare state that stems from two opposing forces. Uncivic people support large welfare states because they expect to benefit from them without bearing their costs. But civic individuals support generous benefits and high taxes only when they are surrounded by trustworthy individuals. We provide empirical evidence for these behaviors and this twin peaks relation in the OECD countries.

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How Status Concerns Can Make Us Rich and Happy

Holger Strulik
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper considers an overlapping generations model of economic growth populated by two types of individuals. Competitive types compare future consumption (i.e. wealth) with the mean. Self-sufficient types derive utility simply from their own consumption and do not compare themselves with others. I derive a condition under which the utility (happiness) of both types increases when the economy is populated by a larger share of competitive types. I show that a sufficiently high share of competitive types in a society can be inevitable for long-run economic growth to exist.

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Income Inequality, Capitalism, and Ethno-linguistic Fractionalization

Jan-Egbert Sturm & Jakob De Haan
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 593-597

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between capitalism and income inequality for a large sample of countries using an adjusted economic freedom index as proxy for capitalism. Our results suggest that there is no robust relationship between economic freedom and Gini coefficients based on gross income. Subsequently, we analyze the relationship between income redistribution and ethno-linguistic fractionalization. We find that the impact of ethno-linguistic fractionalization on income redistribution is conditional on the level of economic freedom: countries that have a high degree of fractionalization redistribute income less, while capitalist countries that have a low degree of fractionalization redistribute income more.

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Gini playing soccer

Paulo Reis Mourão & Joaquim Santos Teixeira
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The level of income inequality in a European country influences the competitive balance of its major soccer leagues. We test this hypothesis using cointegration techniques for seven male professional soccer leagues (the Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Ukrainian soccer leagues) from the 1980/1981 season to the 2011/2012 season. Controlling for the level of income inequality using variables such as real GDP per capita, trade openness and the emigration rate, we conclude that income inequality (measured by the Gini index) causes changes in the measures of competitive balance that we employ (the Hirschman–Herfindahl index and the SD) concerning the final number of points scored by the various teams.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Talk to me

Choking Under Social Pressure: Social Monitoring Among the Lonely

Megan Knowles et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2015, Pages 805-821

Abstract:
Lonely individuals may decode social cues well but have difficulty putting such skills to use precisely when they need them - in social situations. In four studies, we examined whether lonely people choke under social pressure by asking participants to complete social sensitivity tasks framed as diagnostic of social skills or nonsocial skills. Across studies, lonely participants performed worse than nonlonely participants on social sensitivity tasks framed as tests of social aptitude, but they performed just as well or better than the nonlonely when the same tasks were framed as tests of academic aptitude. Mediational analyses in Study 3 and misattribution effects in Study 4 indicate that anxiety plays an important role in this choking effect. This research suggests that lonely individuals may not need to acquire social skills to escape loneliness; instead, they must learn to cope with performance anxiety in interpersonal interactions.

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Humblebragging: A Distinct - And Ineffective - Self-Presentation Strategy

Ovul Sezer, Francesca Gino & Michael Norton
Harvard Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Humblebragging - bragging masked by a complaint - is a distinct and, given the rise of social media, increasingly ubiquitous form of self-promotion. We show that although people often choose to humblebrag when motivated to make a good impression, it is an ineffective self-promotional strategy. Five studies offer both correlational and causal evidence that humblebragging has both global costs - reducing liking and perceived sincerity - and specific costs: it is even ineffective in signaling the specific trait that that a person wants to promote. Moreover, humblebragging is less effective than simply complaining, because complainers are at least seen as sincere. Despite people's belief that combining bragging and complaining confers the benefits of both self-promotion strategies, humblebragging fails to pay off.

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From "We" to "Me": Group Identification Enhances Perceived Personal Control With Consequences for Health and Well-Being

Katharine Greenaway et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is growing recognition that identification with social groups can protect and enhance health and well-being, thereby constituting a kind of "social cure." The present research explores the role of control as a novel mediator of the relationship between shared group identity and well-being. Five studies provide evidence for this process. Group identification predicted significantly greater perceived personal control across 47 countries (Study 1), and in groups that had experienced success and failure (Study 2). The relationship was observed longitudinally (Study 3) and experimentally (Study 4). Manipulated group identification also buffered a loss of personal control (Study 5). Across the studies, perceived personal control mediated social cure effects in political, academic, community, and national groups. The findings reveal that the personal benefits of social groups come not only from their ability to make people feel good, but also from their ability to make people feel capable and in control of their lives.

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The Way I Make You Feel: Social Exclusion Enhances the Ability to Manage Others' Emotions

Elaine Cheung & Wendi Gardner
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 59-75

Abstract:
Original conceptions of social exclusion focused upon the negative impact of exclusion on intelligent thought (Baumeister, Twenge, & Nuss, 2002). We propose that although exclusion may impair cognitive forms of intelligence, exclusion should enhance more socially relevant forms of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence. Specifically, we examined whether exclusion would enhance performance in one branch of emotional intelligence: the ability to manage others' emotions. Social exclusion heightened the number and breadth of strategies that participants used for managing others' emotions when responding to hypothetical scenarios (Study 1) and when responding to online pen pals (Studies 3 and 4). Furthermore, excluded participants were more effective at energizing an interaction partner in a face-to-face coaching interaction (Study 2) and were rated as more effective at managing their pen pal's emotions in an online pen pal exchange (Studies 3 and 4). Although exclusion heightened the number and breadth of emotion management strategies generated in a social task, exclusion did not heighten the number or breadth of nonsocial strategies (creative uses for common household items) generated in a comparison task (Study 4). Lastly, we found preliminary evidence suggesting that this enhanced emotion management after exclusion may serve to facilitate reconnection; excluded participants were liked more by their interaction partners (Study 2) and were rated to be more likable by objective coders (Studies 3 and 4). Altogether, these findings suggest that individuals may be more effective at managing others' emotions following social exclusion, and this greater effectiveness may promote reconnection.

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Bad habit or social good? How perceptions of gossiper morality are related to gossip content

Kim Peters & Yoshihisa Kashima
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
From a folk perspective, gossipers (individuals who talk about the behaviours of others) are considered to be immoral individuals, doing harm to those they discuss. However, this folk perspective sits uneasily with recent claims that gossipers may actually do some good. In particular, it has been suggested that gossipers who share diagnostic information about the morality of social targets may help audiences to identify targets who are trustworthy and those who are not. In this way, gossipers may help audiences adaptively regulate their relationships. In this paper, we examined whether audience perceptions of gossiper morality are influenced by their perceptions that the content of gossip is able to help them regulate their relationships. Participants in two scenario studies and a realistic interaction study were presented with gossip items drawn from a pool of 24 unique behavioural descriptions and asked to rate their perceptions of the gossiper and the content of the gossip item. As predicted, participants perceived gossipers as more moral when gossipers shared the diagnostic morality gossip that participants perceived to serve relationship regulatory functions.

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Competing for Attention in Social Communication Markets

Ganesh Iyer & Zsolt Katona
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the incentives for social communication in the new social media technologies. Three features of online social communication are represented in the model. First, new social media platforms allow for increased connectivity; i.e., they enable sending messages to many more receivers, for the same fixed cost, compared to traditional word of mouth. Second, users contribute content because they derive status- or image-based utility from being listened to by their peers. Third, we capture the role of social differentiation, or how social distance between people affects their preferences for messages. In the model, agents endogenously decide whether to be a sender of information and then compete for the attention of receivers. An important point of this paper is that social communication incentives diminish even as the reach or the span of communication increases. As the span of communication increases, competition between senders for receiver attention becomes more intense, resulting in senders competing with greater equilibrium messaging effort. This in turn leads to lower equilibrium payoffs and the entry of fewer senders. This result provides a strategic rationale for the so-called participation inequality phenomenon, which is a characteristic of many social media platforms. We also show that social differentiation may enhance or deter sender entry depending on whether it can be endogenously influenced by senders. Finally, we examine how the underlying network structure (in terms of its density and its degree distribution) affects communication and uncover a nonmonotonic pattern in that increased connectivity first increases and then reduces the entry of senders.

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When People Evaluate Others, the Level of Others' Narcissism Matters Less to Evaluators Who Are Narcissistic

Harry Wallace et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior studies have documented how people in general respond to others' narcissism, but existing research offers few clues about whether and how evaluator narcissism influences judgments of traits associated with narcissism. Participants completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and then evaluated hypothetical target persons. Target narcissism was conveyed through a single trait description (Study 1), a list of traits (Study 2), or Facebook content (Study 3). Narcissistic qualities were reliably viewed unfavorably, but narcissistic participants were comparatively less bothered by target narcissism and less positive in their judgments of targets without narcissistic qualities. In each study, symptoms of the presence or absence of narcissism had less impact on the social judgments of participants who were narcissistic.

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Harmony From Chaos? Perceptual-Motor Delays Enhance Behavioral Anticipation in Social Interaction

Auriel Washburn et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Effective interpersonal coordination is fundamental to robust social interaction, and the ability to anticipate a coactor's behavior is essential for achieving this coordination. However, coordination research has focused on the behavioral synchrony that occurs between the simple periodic movements of coactors and, thus, little is known about the anticipation that occurs during complex, everyday interaction. Research on the dynamics of coupled neurons, human motor control, electrical circuits, and laser semiconductors universally demonstrates that small temporal feedback delays are necessary for the anticipation of chaotic events. We therefore investigated whether similar feedback delays would promote anticipatory behavior during social interaction. Results revealed that coactors were not only able to anticipate others' chaotic movements when experiencing small perceptual-motor delays, but also exhibited movement patterns of equivalent complexity. This suggests that such delays, including those within the human nervous system, may enhance, rather than hinder, the anticipatory processes that underlie successful social interaction.

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You Call It "Self-Exuberance"; I Call It "Bragging": Miscalibrated Predictions of Emotional Responses to Self-Promotion

Irene Scopelliti, George Loewenstein & Joachim Vosgerau
Psychological Science, June 2015, Pages 903-914

Abstract:
People engage in self-promotional behavior because they want others to hold favorable images of them. Self-promotion, however, entails a trade-off between conveying one's positive attributes and being seen as bragging. We propose that people get this trade-off wrong because they erroneously project their own feelings onto their interaction partners. As a consequence, people overestimate the extent to which recipients of their self-promotion will feel proud of and happy for them, and underestimate the extent to which recipients will feel annoyed (Experiments 1 and 2). Because people tend to promote themselves excessively when trying to make a favorable impression on others, such efforts often backfire, causing targets of self-promotion to view self-promoters as less likeable and as braggarts (Experiment 3).

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A natural experiment of social network formation and dynamics

Tuan Phan & Edoardo Airoldi
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 May 2015, Pages 6595-6600

Abstract:
Social networks affect many aspects of life, including the spread of diseases, the diffusion of information, the workers' productivity, and consumers' behavior. Little is known, however, about how these networks form and change. Estimating causal effects and mechanisms that drive social network formation and dynamics is challenging because of the complexity of engineering social relations in a controlled environment, endogeneity between network structure and individual characteristics, and the lack of time-resolved data about individuals' behavior. We leverage data from a sample of 1.5 million college students on Facebook, who wrote more than 630 million messages and 590 million posts over 4 y, to design a long-term natural experiment of friendship formation and social dynamics in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The analysis shows that affected individuals are more likely to strengthen interactions, while maintaining the same number of friends as unaffected individuals. Our findings suggest that the formation of social relationships may serve as a coping mechanism to deal with high-stress situations and build resilience in communities.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Don't mess with me

Seeing red: How perceptions of social status and worth influence hostile attributions and endorsement of aggression

James Davis & Christine Reyna
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Within social hierarchies, low social status is associated with increased vigilance, hostile expectations, and reactive aggression. We propose that societal devaluation is common across many low social status groups and produces a sense of threatened social worth. Threatened social worth may lead those of low status to be more vigilant towards social threats, thereby increasing the likelihood of hostile attributions and endorsement of aggression. Integrating theory on belongingness, social rejection, and stigma compensation, two studies test a sequential process model demonstrating that threatened social worth mediates the relationship between status, hostile attributions, and endorsement of aggression. Employing a relative status manipulation, Study 2 reveals a causal effect of status and highlights the importance of perceptions of low social status on threatened social worth. These data demonstrate the role of social worth in explaining the link between status and hostility and have implications for research in the social, health, and developmental domains.

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Digital poison? Three studies examining the influence of violent video games on youth

Christopher Ferguson et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, September 2015, Pages 399-410

Abstract:
The role of violent video games in the development of aggression and mental health issues in youth continues to be controversial in the scholarly community and general public. Compared to college students, few studies have directly examined the potential impact of violent video games on youth and current evidence is mixed. The current article attempts to address this with three studies examining violent game play in youth aged 12-18. In Study 1, youth were randomized to play closely matched action games with either violent or non-violent content. Youth were given the opportunity to act aggressively using an ice water task. Study 2 was a conceptual replication of Study 1, with slower narrative games rather than action games. Study 3 examined the issue in a correlational study of youth, contrasting exposure to violent video games in youth's personal lives to their exposure to violence in controversial books while controlling for other variables including family, peer and personality variables. None of the studies provided evidence for concerns linking video game violence to aggressive behaviors or reduced empathy in youth.

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The Mainstreaming of Verbally Aggressive Online Political Behaviors

Vincent Cicchirillo, Jay Hmielowski & Myiah Hutchens
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, May 2015, Pages 253-259

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper was to investigate the relationship between verbal aggression and uncivil media attention on political flaming. More specifically, this paper examines whether the use of uncivil media programming is associated with the perceived acceptability and intention to engage in aggressive online discussions (i.e., online political flaming) and whether this relationship varies by verbal aggression. The results show that individuals less inclined to engage in aggressive communication tactics (i.e., low in verbal aggression) become more accepting of flaming and show greater intention to flame as their attention to uncivil media increases. By contrast, those with comparatively higher levels of verbal aggression show a decrease in acceptance and intention to flame as their attention to these same media increases.

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Not Just Black and White: Peer Victimization and the Intersectionality of School Diversity and Race

Sycarah Fisher et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, June 2015, Pages 1241-1250

Abstract:
Although bullying is a prevalent issue in the United States, limited research has explored the impact of school diversity on types of bullying behavior. This study explores the relationship between school diversity, student race, and bullying within the school context. The participants were African American and Caucasian middle school students (n = 4,581; 53.4 % female). Among the participants, 89.4 % were Caucasian and 10.6 % were African American. The research questions examined the relationship between school diversity, student race and bullying behaviors, specifically race-based victimization. The findings suggested that Caucasian middle school students experience more bullying than African American students generally, and specifically when minorities in school settings. Caucasian students also experienced almost three times the amount of race-based victimization than African American students when school diversity was held constant. Interestingly, African American students experienced twice the amount of race-based victimization than Caucasian students when in settings with more students of color. The present study provides insight into bullying behaviors across different contexts for different races and highlights the need to further investigate interactions between personal and environmental factors on the bulling experiences of youth.

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Competition Makes Observers Remember Faces as More Aggressive

Benjamin Balas & Laura Thomas
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
People use facial appearance to predict social behavior, but can social context also influence face perception? Leveraging a link between competition and aggression, we investigated the effects of competitive interactions with confederates on participants' performance in a face reconstruction task. Participants played a game either in competition or cooperation with confederates and were then asked to create facial portraits of these confederates by arranging their component features into their best estimate of an accurate configuration. Across 2 experiments, participants who played in a competitive context reconstructed faces in a more aggressive configuration - with higher width-to-height ratios - than did participants who played cooperatively or alone. This result demonstrates that the social perception of faces is not merely a feed-forward process, but instead that the social contexts in which people interact can shape memory for faces.

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Red clothing increases perceived dominance, aggression and anger

Diana Wiedemann et al.
Biology Letters, May 2015

Abstract:
The presence and intensity of red coloration correlate with male dominance and testosterone in a variety of animal species, and even artificial red stimuli can influence dominance interactions. In humans, red stimuli are perceived as more threatening and dominant than other colours, and wearing red increases the probability of winning sporting contests. We investigated whether red clothing biases the perception of aggression and dominance outside of competitive settings, and whether red influences decoding of emotional expressions. Participants rated digitally manipulated images of men for aggression and dominance and categorized the emotional state of these stimuli. Men were rated as more aggressive and more dominant when presented in red than when presented in either blue or grey. The effect on perceived aggression was found for male and female raters, but only male raters were sensitive to red as a signal of dominance. In a categorization test, images were significantly more often categorized as 'angry' when presented in the red condition, demonstrating that colour stimuli affect perceptions of emotions. This suggests that the colour red may be a cue used to predict propensity for dominance and aggression in human males.

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Physical and Verbal Assaults Behind Bars: Does Military Experience Matter?

Melissa Stacer & Monica Solinas-Saunders
Prison Journal, June 2015, Pages 199-222

Abstract:
Returning military troops have garnered attention, but there is little focus on veterans in the correctional setting. Approximately 11% of U.S. inmates are veterans, and there are striking similarities between military and prison life. Because veterans have experience with institutional settings, one hypothesis is that incarcerated veterans will better adapt to prison compared with non-veterans and will be less likely to engage in misconduct. This article measures prison misconduct, focusing on serious interpersonal violations, specifically verbal and physical assaults. Findings illustrate that there are no differences between veteran and non-veteran inmates in the likelihood of this kind of misconduct.

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Violent Video Games Increase Voice Stress: An Experimental Study

Youssef Hasan
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
In most violent video games, players are put in stressful situations where enemies are trying to kill them. This is reflected by the results of previous research showing that violent video games increase physiological arousal (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure, galvanic skin response). In this study, I investigate the effect of playing violent video games on emotional stress detected by a new methodology: voice analysis. Because changes and disturbances in vocal responses can be understood as reactions to emotional stress, I expected that violent videogames would increase voice stress. Participants (N = 87 French university students; 40% female; Mage = 21.2) played either a violent or nonviolent game for 20 min. After game play, participants read a stress-provoking story aloud while their voices were recorded. Voice recordings were analyzed to determine the amount of emotional stress in participants' voices using Automated Voice Stress Analysis. As hypothesized, voice stress was higher among violent video game players than among nonviolent video game players. Voice stress was also higher for men than for women. No interaction between video game content and the gender of participants was observed. This study confirms that violent video games have physiological consequences on players, as predicted by the General Aggression Model and also introduces a promising nonobtrusive physiological measure in media psychology research.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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