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Friday, December 18, 2015

Hearing problems

Detained: A Study of Immigration Bond Hearings

Emily Ryo
Law & Society Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigration judges make consequential decisions that fundamentally affect the basic life chances of thousands of noncitizens and their family members every year. Yet, we know very little about how immigration judges make their decisions, including decisions about whether to release or detain noncitizens pending the completion of their immigration cases. Using original data on long-term immigrant detainees, I examine for the first time judicial decision-making in immigration bond hearings. I find that there are extremely wide variations in the average bond grant rates and bond amount decisions among judges in the study sample. What are the determinants of these bond decisions? My analysis shows that the odds of being granted bond are more than 3.5 times higher for detainees represented by attorneys than those who appeared pro se, net of other relevant factors. My analysis also shows that the detainees' prior criminal history is the only significant legally-relevant factor in both the grant/deny and bond amount decisions, net of other relevant factors. This finding points to the need for further research on whether and how immigration courts might be exercising crime control through administrative proceedings.

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Peremptory Challenges and Jury Selection

Francis Flanagan
Journal of Law & Economics, May 2015, Pages 385-416

Abstract:
I examine how peremptory challenges, which are vetoes that attorneys may use to reject prospective jurors, affect jury composition. The purpose of peremptory challenges is to eliminate biased jurors; however, I show that under the two most common rules used in the United States, peremptory challenges actually increase the probability of juries composed entirely of members on one extreme or another of some ideological spectrum. I then show that it is not possible to design a peremptory-challenge procedure that unambiguously makes such juries less likely. I show that if unanimity is required for conviction, the distribution of juror types is symmetric about some mean type, and each attorney has the same number of challenges, then challenges benefit the prosecution.

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Interparty Judicial Appointments

Jonathan Remy Nash
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2015, Pages 664-685

Abstract:
Empirical studies of judges' ideological voting call for a theory according to which the ideology of the judges can be measured. This article calls into question the assumption that undergirds the measure that currently dominates the legal, economic, and political science literature - the assumption that the ideology of a lower federal court judge is largely predicted by the ideologies of the nominating president and the relevant state's senators who are of the same political party as the president. The article relies on a natural experiment to examine this question empirically. Between 1977 and 1998, New York was represented in the Senate by one Democrat and one Republican who had an agreement to divide appointments to the district courts in the state: the senator who shared party affiliation with the president would be allocated three of every four appointments, while the "out-of-party" senator would be allocated the rest. The article employs a novel data set - consisting of all federal district judges appointed to the federal bench in New York during the time period in question, and the senator who recommended each nominee to the nominating president. If the dominant theory - that the party of the recommending senator affects judicial decision making - holds, then one would expect the theory's explanatory power to be at its apex where senators of different parties recommend judges at the same time to the same president. Yet, using median prison sentence length as a proxy for ideology in decision making, the empirical analysis finds no evidence that senatorial ideology has a statistically significant effect on district judge decision making. At the same time, it finds that, indeed, the nominating president's ideology does have a statistically significant effect. The findings are instead consistent with the minority view of lower federal court judges' ideological leanings - that a lower federal court judge's ideology is in large part a function solely of the nominating president's ideology.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder: Clerk Training and the Success of Supreme Court Certiorari Petitions

William Blake, Hans Hacker & Shon Hopwood
Law & Society Review, December 2015, Pages 973-997

Abstract:
We investigate why the Supreme Court grants a smaller percentage of cases at the first conference of each term compared to other conferences. According to received wisdom, Supreme Court law clerks are overly cautious at the beginning of their tenure because they receive only a brief amount of training. Reputational concerns motivate clerks to provide fewer recommendations to grant review in cert. pool memos written over the summer months. Using a random sample of petitions from the Blackmun Archives, we code case characteristics, clerk recommendation, and the Court's decision on cert. Nearest neighbor matching suggests clerks are 36 percent less likely to recommend grants in their early cert. pool memos. Because of this temporal discrepancy, petitions arriving over the summer have a 16 percent worse chance of being granted by the Court. This seasonal variation in access to the Court's docket imposes a legally irrelevant burden on litigants who have little control over the timing of their appeal.

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The polarization of the judiciary

Marc Sennewald, Kenneth Manning & Robert Carp
Party Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The polarization of political parties in the United States is a well-documented phenomenon. This paper considers polarization of the judicial branch and relates it to the evolution of the parties. In this paper we define polarization specifically as movement from a modal distribution (of votes, attitudes, or decisions) to a bimodal distribution along a liberal-conservative spectrum over time. Using data compiled from 90,000 United States District Court decisions published in the Federal Supplement between 1934 and 2008, we find that the judiciary began to polarize in the 1960s and has remained polarized. We consider a number of competing explanations for the polarization of the district courts, including a top-down view that emphasizes presidential power and a bottom-up view that focuses on the sorting of elites that form the pool of potential judges.

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Police Training in Interviewing and Interrogation Methods: A Comparison of Techniques Used With Adult and Juvenile Suspects

Hayley Cleary & Todd Warner
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite empirical progress in documenting and classifying various interrogation techniques, very little is known about how police are trained in interrogation methods, how frequently they use various techniques, and whether they employ techniques differentially with adult versus juvenile suspects. This study reports the nature and extent of formal (e.g., Reid Technique, PEACE, HUMINT) and informal interrogation training as well as self-reported technique usage in a diverse national sample (N = 340) of experienced American police officers. Officers were trained in a variety of different techniques ranging from comparatively benign pre-interrogation strategies (e.g., building rapport, observing body language or speech patterns) to more psychologically coercive techniques (e.g., blaming the victim, discouraging denials). Over half the sample reported being trained to use psychologically coercive techniques with both adults and juveniles. The majority (91%) receive informal, "on the job" interrogation training. Technique usage patterns indicate a spectrum of psychological intensity where information-gathering approaches were used most frequently and high-pressure tactics less frequently. Reid-trained officers (56%) were significantly more likely than officers without Reid training to use pre-interrogation and manipulation techniques. Across all analyses and techniques, usage patterns were identical for adult and juvenile suspects, suggesting that police interrogate youth in the same manner as adults. Overall, results suggest that training in specific interrogation methods is strongly associated with usage. Findings underscore the need for more law enforcement interrogation training in general, especially with juvenile suspects, and highlight the value of training as an avenue for reducing interrogation-induced miscarriages of justice.

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The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting on Tort Reforms

Ulrich Matter & Alois Stutzer
Journal of Law & Economics, May 2015, Pages 357-384

Abstract:
Attorneys elected to the US Congress and to state legislatures are systematically less likely to vote in favor of tort reforms that restrict tort litigation but more likely to support bills that extend tort law than are legislators with different professional backgrounds. This finding is based on the analysis of 64 roll call votes at the federal and state levels between 1995 and 2014. It holds when controlling for legislators' ideology and is particularly strong for term-limited lawyer-legislators. The empirical regularity is consistent with the hypothesis that lawyer-legislators, at least in part, pursue their private interests when voting on tort issues. Our results highlight the relevance of legislators' identities and individual professional interests for economic policy making.

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An Experimental Investigation of How Judicial Elections Affect Public Faith in the Judicial System

Anthony Nownes & Colin Glennon
Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judicial scholars have often speculated about the impact of elections on the administration of justice in the state courts. Yet relatively little research has concerned itself with public perceptions of state court selection methods. Of particular interest is the concept of legitimacy. Do elections negatively affect public perceptions of judicial legitimacy? Bonneau and Hall (2009) and Gibson (2012) answer this question with an emphatic "No." Judicial elections, these studies show, are not uniquely troublesome for perceptions of institutional legitimacy. This article aims to extend the findings of Bonneau and Hall and Gibson via a laboratory experiment on the effects of elections on public perceptions of judicial legitimacy. In the end, we find that because elections preempt the use of the other main selection method - appointment - they actually enhance perceptions of judicial legitimacy rather than diminish them.

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The welfare effects of minority-protective judicial review

Justin Fox & Matthew Stephenson
Journal of Theoretical Politics, October 2015, Pages 499-521

Abstract:
Constitutional theorists usually assume that minority-protective judicial review leads to outcomes more favorable to the protected minority and less favorable to the majority. Our analysis highlights an indirect effect of judicial review that complicates this conventional wisdom. Without judicial review, pro-majority and pro-minority leaders adopt different policies. Because judicial review limits the degree to which pro-majority leaders can adopt anti-minority policies, it becomes easier for pro-minority leaders to 'mimic' pro-majority leaders by adopting the most anti-minority policy that the judiciary would uphold. Furthermore, if judicial invalidation of anti-minority policies is probabilistic rather than certain, pro-majority leaders may propose even more extreme anti-minority policies in order to deter pro-minority leaders from mimicking. These effects can sometimes nullify, or even reverse, the assumed relationship between minority-protective judicial review and pro-minority outcomes. When such reversal occurs, majoritarian democrats should favor minority-protective judicial review, while those concerned with protecting unpopular minorities should oppose it.

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Inside the Caucus: An Empirical Analysis of Mediation from Within

Daniel Klerman & Lisa Klerman
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, December 2015, Pages 686-715

Abstract:
This article provides a glimpse into the worlds of mediation and settlement negotiation. Because they are almost always private, there has been relatively little empirical analysis of the dynamics of settlement or mediation. This article analyzes a unique data set derived from a mediator's contemporaneous notes of mediations involving employment disputes, such as claims of discrimination or wrongful termination. Although the data set includes more than 400 cases, since they were all mediated by a single mediator, this article can be viewed as a case study. Among the most interesting facts uncovered by this analysis are the following. Mediation can be extremely effective in facilitating settlement. The mediator studied here achieved a settlement rate of over 94 percent. There are very few gender differences, whether one looks at the gender of the plaintiff or the gender of the lawyers. For example, settlement rates are the same for male and female plaintiffs and lawyers. On average, cases settle much closer to the defendant's first offer than the plaintiff's, irrespective of case type, size of law firm, or other factors. A mediator's proposal appears to be the most effective mediation technique. A mediator's proposal was used in almost 90 percent of cases and, when it was used, the settlement rate was over 99 percent.

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A Probation Profanation: Race, Ethnicity, and Probation in a Midwestern Sample

Kevin Steinmetz & Jamilya Anderson
Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial and ethnic disparities in criminal justice have received increasing scrutiny recently. Little attention, however, has been directed toward understanding inequality in the area of probation. The current study addresses this dearth through two analyses of 14,365 probation cases. The first involves a logistic regression analysis, which examines race/ethnicity against probation failure. Using probation success as a control outcome, the second analysis uses a multinomial regression to examine the effects of race and ethnicity across four types of probation failure - administrative failure and revocations resulting from technical violations, new felonies, and new misdemeanors. Across both models, racial/ethnic categorization were found to be significantly and positively associated with probation failure outcomes. In addition, the standardized coefficients indicate that Black and Hispanic racial/ethnic categorization presented a moderate to strong effect sizes across outcomes studied. The strongest effect sizes for these two variables were found in the multinomial model within the administrative failure outcome. Across both models, other racial categorization (Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American/Alaskan Native) was statistically significant but consistently produced some of the weakest effect sizes. Potential explanations for these findings are offered along with a discussion of study limitations, future research suggestions, and policy implications.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fairly right

Using Moral Foundations to Predict Voting Behavior: Regression Models from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Andrew Franks & Kyle Scherr
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, December 2015, Pages 213–232

Abstract:
The current research examined the ability of moral foundations to predict candidate choice in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election across three studies. Results indicated that endorsement of moral foundations predicted voting outcomes beyond that predicted by important demographic variables that are traditionally included in election forecasts and research. When moral foundations were collapsed into two variables (individualizing and binding foundations), increased endorsement of the individualizing foundations consistently predicted support for Barack Obama, and increased endorsement of the binding foundations consistently predicted support for Mitt Romney. The most reliable unique predictor of candidate choice among the five separate foundations was purity, which strongly motivated support for Mitt Romney. Additionally, increased endorsement of the fairness foundation uniquely predicted support for Barack Obama. The effects observed across the three studies demonstrate a direct relationship between moral foundations endorsements and candidate choice. Implications for those using moral appeals in their political influence strategies are discussed.

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Violence, Aggression, and Ethics: The Link between Exposure to Human Violence and Unethical Behavior

Joshua Gubler et al.
Journal of Business Ethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can exposure to media portrayals of human violence impact an individual’s ethical decision making at work? Ethical business failures can result in enormous financial losses to individuals, businesses, and society. We study how exposure to human violence — especially through media — can cause individuals to make less ethical decisions. We present three experiments, each showing a causal link between exposure to human violence and unethical business behavior, and show this relationship is mediated by an increase in individual hostility levels as a result of exposure to violence. Using observational data, we then provide evidence suggesting that this relationship extends beyond the context of our experiments, showing that companies headquartered in locations marked by greater human violence are more likely to fraudulently misstate their financial statements and exhibit more aggressive financial reporting. Combined, our results suggest that exposure to human violence has significant and real effects on an individual’s ethical decision making.

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Why we forgive what can’t be controlled

Justin Martin & Fiery Cushman
Cognition, February 2016, Pages 133–143

Abstract:
Volitional control matters greatly for moral judgment: Coerced agents receive less condemnation for outcomes they cause. Less well understood is the psychological basis of this effect. Control may influence perceptions of intent for the outcome that occurs or perceptions of causal role in that outcome. Here, we show that an agent who chooses to do the right thing but accidentally causes a bad outcome receives relatively more punishment than an agent who is forced to do the “right” thing but causes a bad outcome. Thus, having good intentions ironically leads to greater condemnation. This surprising effect does not depend upon perceptions of increased intent for harm to occur, but rather upon perceptions of causal role in the obtained outcome. Further, this effect is specific to punishment: An agent who chooses to do the right thing is rated as having better moral character than a forced agent, even though they cause the same bad outcome. These results clarify how, when and why control influences moral judgment.

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Linguistic Obfuscation in Fraudulent Science

David Markowitz & Jeffrey Hancock
Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The rise of scientific fraud has drawn significant attention to research misconduct across disciplines. Documented cases of fraud provide an opportunity to examine whether scientists write differently when reporting on fraudulent research. In an analysis of over two million words, we evaluated 253 publications retracted for fraudulent data and compared the linguistic style of each paper to a corpus of 253 unretracted publications and 62 publications retracted for reasons other than fraud (e.g., ethics violations). Fraudulent papers were written with significantly higher levels of linguistic obfuscation, including lower readability and higher rates of jargon than unretracted and nonfraudulent papers. We also observed a positive association between obfuscation and the number of references per paper, suggesting that fraudulent authors obfuscate their reports to mask their deception by making them more costly to analyze and evaluate. This is the first large-scale analysis of fraudulent papers across authors and disciplines to reveal how changes in writing style are related to fraudulent data reporting.

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An Offer You Can’t Refuse? Incentives Change How We Think

Sandro Ambuehl
Stanford Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Around the world there are laws that severely restrict incentives for many transactions, such as living kidney donation, even though altruistic participation is applauded. Proponents of such legislation fear that undue inducements would be coercive; opponents maintain that it merely prevents mutually beneficial transactions. Despite the substantial economic consequences of such laws, empirical evidence on the proponents’ argument is scarce. I present a simple model of costly information acquisition in which incentives skew information demand and thus expectations about the consequences of participation. In a laboratory experiment, I test whether monetary incentives can alter subjects’ expectations about a highly visceral aversive experience (eating whole insects). Indeed, higher incentives make subjects more willing to participate in this experience at any price. A second experiment explicitly shows in a more stylized setting that incentives cause subjects to perceive the same information differently. They make subjects systematically more optimistic about the consequences of the transaction in a way that is inconsistent with Bayesian rationality. Broadly, I show that important concerns by proponents of the current legislation can be understood using the toolkit of economics, and thus can be included in cost-benefit analysis. My work helps bridge a gap between economists on the one hand, and policy makers and ethicists on the other.

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Social Samaritan Justice: When and Why Needy Fellow Citizens Have a Right to Assistance

Laura Valentini
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In late 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the U.S., causing much suffering and devastation. Those who could have easily helped Sandy's victims had a duty to do so. But was this a rightfully enforceable duty of justice, or a nonenforceable duty of beneficence? The answer to this question is often thought to depend on the kind of help offered: the provision of immediate bodily services is not enforceable; the transfer of material resources is. I argue that this double standard is unjustified, and defend a version of what I call “social samaritanism.” On this view, within political communities, the duty to help the needy — whether via bodily services or resource transfers — is always an enforceable demand of justice, except when the needy are reckless; across independent political communities, it is always a matter of beneficence. I defend this alternative double standard, and consider its implications for the case of Sandy.

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Interacting with dehumanized others? Only if they are objectified

Rocío Martínez et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Members of dehumanized groups are somehow accepted in a variety of menial roles. Three studies verified when and why people might approach members of animalistically and mechanistically dehumanized groups. In Studies 1 and 2, participants showed a greater intention to interact with (Study 1) and attributed higher ratings of success (Study 2) to members of an animalistically dehumanized group in a social context. On the contrary, participants expected that members of a mechanistically dehumanized group would be more successful and were preferred to interact with in a professional context. In Study 3, the psychological process underlying these preferences was investigated. Interestingly, results showed that the objectification of dehumanized group members led participants to interact with them. Taken together these studies show that people approach dehumanized others not because they are liked, but because they are objectified.

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Does telling white lies signal pro-social preferences?

Laura Biziou-van-Pol et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, November 2015, Pages 538–548

Abstract:
The opportunity to tell a white lie (i.e., a lie that benefits another person) generates a moral conflict between two opposite moral dictates, one pushing towards telling the truth always and the other pushing towards helping others. Here we study how people resolve this moral conflict. What does telling a white lie signal about a person’s pro-social tendencies? To answer this question, we conducted a two-stage 2x2 experiment. In the first stage, we used a Deception Game to measure aversion to telling a Pareto white lie (i.e., a lie that helps both the liar and the listener), and aversion to telling an altruistic white lie (i.e., a lie that helps the listener at the expense of the liar). In the second stage we measured altruistic tendencies using a Dictator Game and cooperative tendencies using a Prisoner’s dilemma. We found three major results: (i) both altruism and cooperation are positively correlated with aversion to telling a Pareto white lie; (ii) both altruism and cooperation are negatively correlated with aversion to telling an altruistic white lie; (iii) men are more likely than women to tell an altruistic white lie, but not to tell a Pareto white lie. Our results shed light on the moral conflict between prosociality and truth-telling. In particular, the first finding suggests that a significant proportion of people have non-distributional notions of what the right thing to do is, irrespective of the economic consequences, they tell the truth, they cooperate, they share their money.

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Taboo word fluency and knowledge of slurs and general pejoratives: Deconstructing the poverty-of-vocabulary myth

Kristin Jay & Timothy Jay
Language Sciences, November 2015, Pages 251–259

Abstract:
A folk assumption about colloquial speech is that taboo words are used because speakers cannot find better words with which to express themselves: because speakers lack vocabulary. A competing possibility is that fluency is fluency regardless of subject matter — that there is no reason to propose a difference in lexicon size and ease of access for taboo as opposed to emotionally-neutral words. In order to test these hypotheses, we compared general verbal fluency via the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) with taboo word fluency and animal word fluency in spoken and written formats. Both formats produced positive correlations between COWAT fluency, animal fluency, and taboo word fluency, supporting the fluency-is-fluency hypothesis. In each study, a set of 10 taboo words accounted for 55–60% of all taboo word data. Expressives were generated at higher rates than slurs. There was little sex-related variability in taboo word generation, and, consistent with findings that do not show a sex difference in taboo lexicon size, no overall sex difference in taboo word generation was obtained. Taboo fluency was positively correlated with the Big Five personality traits neuroticism and openness and negatively correlated with agreeableness and conscientiousness. Overall the findings suggest that, with the exception of female-sex-related slurs, taboo expressives and general pejoratives comprise the core of the category of taboo words while slurs tend to occupy the periphery, and the ability to generate taboo language is not an index of overall language poverty.

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The morality of action: The asymmetry between judgments of praise and blame in the action–omission effect

Dries Bostyn & Arne Roets
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 19–25

Abstract:
Actions leading to negative outcomes (i.e., harm) are seen as more blameworthy than omissions of actions leading to the same negative outcomes. However, whether a similar action–omission effect applies to judgments of praiseworthiness of positive outcomes is still an open question. Drawing on positive–negative asymmetries found in other domains, we hypothesized that positive events would not elicit an action–omission effect for judgments of praise, because such positive events do not by default trigger the causal appraisal processes that are central to the action–omission effect. Furthermore, we posited that when people are explicitly asked to consider causality before or during the judgment, an action–omission effect on judgments of praise could be obtained too. These hypotheses were verified in three independent studies and a meta-analytic analysis. As such, the present set of studies provides novel insights in the action–omission effect's asymmetry for negative and positive outcomes, as well as an increased understanding of the role of causality appraisal in this effect: judgments of praise are less reliant on causal reasoning than judgments of blame, and therefore also less susceptible to the action–omission bias.

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On having very long arms: How the availability of technological means affects moral cognition

Jonas Nagel & Michael Waldmann
Thinking & Reasoning, forthcoming

Abstract:
Modern technological means allow for meaningful interaction across arbitrary distances, while human morality evolved in environments in which individuals needed to be spatially close in order to interact. We investigate how people integrate knowledge about modern technology with their ancestral moral dispositions to help relieve nearby suffering. Our first study establishes that spatial proximity between an agent's means of helping and the victims increases people's judgment of helping obligations, even if the agent is constantly far personally. We then report and meta-analyse 20 experiments elucidating the cognitive mechanisms behind this effect, which include inferences of increased efficaciousness and personal involvement. Implications of our findings for the scientific understanding of ancestral moral dispositions in modern environments are discussed, as well as suggestions for how these insights might be exploited to increase charitable giving. Our meta-analysis provides a practical example for how aggregating across all available data, including failed replication attempts, allows conclusions that could not be supported in single experiments.

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Whatever it takes to win: Rivalry increases unethical behavior

Gavin Kilduff et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research investigates the link between rivalry and unethical behavior. We propose that people will be more likely to engage in unethical behavior when competing against their rivals than when competing against non-rival competitors. Across an archival study and a series of experiments, we found that rivalry was associated with increased unsportsmanlike behavior, use of deception, and willingness to employ unethical negotiation tactics. We also explored the psychological underpinnings of rivalry, which help to illuminate how rivalry differs from general competition and why it increases unethical behavior. The data reveal a serial mediation pathway whereby rivalry heightens the psychological stakes of competition (by increasing actors' contingency of self-worth and status concerns), which leads them to adopt a stronger performance approach orientation, which then increases unethical behavior. These findings highlight the importance of rivalry as a widespread, powerful, yet largely unstudied phenomenon with significant organizational implications. They also help to inform when and why unethical behavior occurs within organizations, and demonstrate that the effects of competition are dependent upon relationships and prior interactions between actors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Boiling off

A changing climate of skepticism: The factors shaping climate change coverage in the US press

Hannah Schmid-Petri et al.
Public Understanding of Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Skepticism toward climate change has a long tradition in the United States. We focus on mass media as the conveyors of the image of climate change and ask: Is climate change skepticism still a characteristic of US print media coverage? If so, to what degree and in what form? And which factors might pave the way for skeptics entering mass media debates? We conducted a quantitative content analysis of US print media during one year (1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013). Our results show that the debate has changed: fundamental forms of climate change skepticism (such as denial of anthropogenic causes) have been abandoned in the coverage, being replaced by more subtle forms (such as the goal to avoid binding regulations). We find no evidence for the norm of journalistic balance, nor do our data support the idea that it is the conservative press that boosts skepticism.

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Examining the Effectiveness of Climate Change Frames in the Face of a Climate Change Denial Counter-Frame

Aaron McCright et al.
Topics in Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research on the influence of various ways of framing anthropogenic climate change (ACC) do not account for the organized ACC denial in the U.S. media and popular culture, and thus may overestimate these frames' influence in the general public. We conducted an experiment to examine how Americans' ACC views are influenced by four promising frames for urging action on ACC (economic opportunity, national security, Christian stewardship, and public health) — when these frames appear with an ACC denial counter-frame. This is the first direct test of how exposure to an ACC denial message influences Americans' ACC views. Overall, these four positive frames have little to no effect on ACC beliefs. But exposure to an ACC denial counter-frame does significantly reduce respondents' belief in the reality of ACC, belief about the veracity of climate science, awareness of the consequences of ACC, and support for aggressively attempting to reduce our nation's GHG emissions in the near future. Furthermore, as expected by the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis, exposure to the ACC denial counter-frame has a disproportionate influence on the ACC views of conservatives (than on those of moderates and liberals), effectively activating conservatives' underlying propensity for anti-reflexivity.

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Green on the outside, red on the inside: Perceived environmentalist threat as a factor explaining political polarization of climate change

Mark Romeo Hoffarth & Gordon Hodson
Journal of Environmental Psychology, March 2016, Pages 40–49

Abstract:
Political polarization has been observed on climate change issues, with right-wing adherents more likely to deny climate change and oppose policies aimed at mitigation. Most theory and political discourse frames this divide as being driven by support for economy-driven environmental exploitation on the right. However, consistent with rhetoric characterizing environmentalists as “Communist watermelons” (i.e. green on the outside, red on the inside), we test an intergroup explanation for political polarization on climate change attitudes, with the perception that environmentalists are a threat to society also underlying right-wing climate change denial. In an American community sample (N = 384), environmentalist threat consistently, strongly, and uniquely accounted for the link between right-wing ideology and opposition to environmentalist policies and climate change denial, over and above views that the environment exists for economic exploitation and other relevant beliefs about the environment. Implications for encouraging climate change mitigation among right-wing adherents are discussed.

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From Cradle to Junkyard: Assessing the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Electric Vehicles

James Archsmith, Alissa Kendall & David Rapson
Research in Transportation Economics, October 2015, Pages 72–90

Abstract:
U.S. programs subsidize electric vehicles (EVs) in part to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We model a suite of life cycle GHG emissions considerations to estimate the GHG abatement potential from switching from an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE) to an EV in the continental U.S. The GHG intensity of EVs hinges on the electricity and ambient temperature when charged and operated. Both have high spatial and temporal heterogeneity, yet are typically modeled inadequately or overlooked entirely. We calculate marginal emissions, including renewables, for electricity by region and test forecasted grid composition to estimate future performance. Location and timing of charging are important GHG determinants, but temperature effects on EV performance can be equally important. On average, EVs slightly reduce GHGs relative to ICEs, but there are many regions where EVs provide a decisive benefit and others where EVs are significantly worse. The forecasted grid shifts from coal towards renewables, improving EV performance; the GHG benefit per EV in western states is roughly $425 today and $2400 in 2040.

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Long-term response of oceans to CO2 removal from the atmosphere

Sabine Mathesius et al.
Nature Climate Change, December 2015, Pages 1107–1113

Abstract:
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere has been proposed as a measure for mitigating global warming and ocean acidification. To assess the extent to which CDR might eliminate the long-term consequences of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the marine environment, we simulate the effect of two massive CDR interventions with CO2 extraction rates of 5 GtC yr−1 and 25 GtC yr−1, respectively, while CO2 emissions follow the extended RCP8.5 pathway. We falsify two hypotheses: the first being that CDR can restore pre-industrial conditions in the ocean by reducing the atmospheric CO2 concentration back to its pre-industrial level, and the second being that high CO2 emissions rates (RCP8.5) followed by CDR have long-term oceanic consequences that are similar to those of low emissions rates (RCP2.6). Focusing on pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen, we find that even after several centuries of CDR deployment, past CO2 emissions would leave a substantial legacy in the marine environment.

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Scientific advocacy, environmental interest groups, and climate change: Are climate skeptic portrayals of climate scientists as biased accurate?

Rebecca Bromley-Trujillo, James Stoutenborough & Arnold Vedlitz
Climatic Change, December 2015, Pages 607-619

Abstract:
Public discourse on climate change often refers to possible bias among climate scientists as a rationale for limited climate policy action by the United States. Part of this discussion is the association of scientists with environmental interest groups and whether such affiliations facilitate the perception that climate scientists lack objectivity. While surveys suggest that some climate scientists disapprove of affiliations with interest groups, recent research indicates that climate scientists are quite likely to be involved with environmental organizations. This paper compares the affiliations of scientists and the general public to discern whether scientists are uniquely likely to affiliate with interest groups or they simply share characteristics common to the public who also affiliate with these organizations. Our findings suggest that climate scientists are no more likely to donate money, but are less likely to sign a petition or attend a demonstration, when controlling for other factors. These results strengthen our understanding of the affiliations between scientists and interest groups and hold implications for the accuracy of popular perceptions of climate scientists.

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Bite without Bark: How the socioeconomic context of the 1950s U.S. drought minimized responses to a multiyear extreme climate event

John Wiener, Roger Pulwarty & David Ware
Weather and Climate Extremes, forthcoming

Abstract:
The drought of the 1950 s was among the most widespread, severe and sustained ever experienced in the United States. For several states, the severity of the 1950 s drought exceeded that of the 1930 s “Dust Bowl”. The 1950 s were characterized by low rainfall amounts and by excessively high temperatures. The climatological aspects of the drought subsided in most areas with the spring rains of 1957. A careful review of official reports over this period reveals limited acknowledgment of the drought of the 1950 s. The 1950 s drought was no secret, but it did not receive a great deal of news coverage; later droughts of lower severity and shorter duration, such as 1976-77, 1988, 2002-2004, 2011-2012 and the ongoing drought in California (2011-2015), garnered much greater national focus. In this paper, the question why such a major geophysical variation appears to have elicited little major national policy response, including the apparent lack of significant media concern is addressed. In framing the discussion this study assesses, the evolution of and impacts during the 1950 s to establish their national and regional policy contexts, technological improvements and financial changes prior to and during the event, and on and off-farm responses in terms of the socioeconomic impacts. An overview of key developments and concerns in agriculture since the early 20th Century that sets the context for the 1950 s, then move to the farm itself as a unit of analysis. This approach shows not only how the situation may have appeared to those outside the afflicted areas, but also how decisions were guided by agricultural economics affecting farmers at the time, and the strong influence of broader historical trends in which the 1950 s were embedded. The paper provides the relevant agricultural statistics and uncovers the political and public perceptions moving through the drought years. Overproduction was the fundamental, almost paradoxical problem facing American agriculture at the time. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the implications of this event and the attendant responses might provide guidance to future assessments of extremes such as severe drought in the context of a changing climate.

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Climate change as a migration driver from rural and urban Mexico

Raphael Nawrotzki et al.
Environmental Research Letters, November 2015

Abstract:
Studies investigating migration as a response to climate variability have largely focused on rural locations to the exclusion of urban areas. This lack of urban focus is unfortunate given the sheer numbers of urban residents and continuing high levels of urbanization. To begin filling this empirical gap, this study investigates climate change impacts on US-bound migration from rural and urban Mexico, 1986–1999. We employ geostatistical interpolation methods to construct two climate change indices, capturing warm and wet spell duration, based on daily temperature and precipitation readings for 214 weather stations across Mexico. In combination with detailed migration histories obtained from the Mexican Migration Project, we model the influence of climate change on household-level migration from 68 rural and 49 urban municipalities. Results from multilevel event-history models reveal that a temperature warming and excessive precipitation significantly increased international migration during the study period. However, climate change impacts on international migration is only observed for rural areas. Interactions reveal a causal pathway in which temperature (but not precipitation) influences migration patterns through employment in the agricultural sector. As such, climate-related international migration may decline with continued urbanization and the resulting reductions in direct dependence of households on rural agriculture.

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Adaptation to Climate Change: Evidence from US Agriculture

Marshall Burke & Kyle Emerick
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Understanding the potential impacts of climate change on economic outcomes requires knowing how agents might adapt to a changing climate. We exploit large variation in recent temperature and precipitation trends to identify adaptation to climate change in US agriculture, and use this information to generate new estimates of the potential impact of future climate change on agricultural outcomes. Longer-run adaptations appear to have mitigated less than half – and more likely none – of the large negative short-run impacts of extreme heat on productivity. Limited recent adaptation implies substantial losses under future climate change in the absence of countervailing investments.

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US major crops' uncertain climate change risks and greenhouse gas mitigation benefits

Ian Sue Wing et al.
Environmental Research Letters, November 2015

Abstract:
We estimate the costs of climate change to US agriculture, and associated potential benefits of abating greenhouse gas emissions. Five major crops' yield responses to climatic variation are modeled empirically, and the results combined with climate projections for a no-policy, high-warming future, as well as moderate and stringent mitigation scenarios. Unabated warming reduces yields of wheat and soybeans by 2050, and cotton by 2100, but moderate warming increases yields of all crops except wheat. Yield changes are monetized using the results of economic simulations within an integrated climate-economy modeling framework. Uncontrolled warming's economic effects on major crops are slightly positive — annual benefits <$4 B. These are amplified by emission reductions, but subject to diminishing returns — by 2100 reaching $17 B under moderate mitigation, but only $7 B with stringent mitigation. Costs and benefits are sensitive to irreducible uncertainty about the fertilization effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, without which unabated warming incurs net costs of up to $18 B, generating benefits to moderate (stringent) mitigation as large as $26 B ($20 B).

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Climate change, climate justice and the application of probabilistic event attribution to summer heat extremes in the California Central Valley

Roberto Mera et al.
Climatic Change, December 2015, Pages 427-438

Abstract:
Probabilistic event attribution (PEA) is an important tool for assessing the contribution of climate change to extreme weather events. Here, PEA is applied to explore the climate attribution of recent extreme heat events in California’s Central Valley. Heat waves have become progressively more severe due to increasing relative humidity and nighttime temperatures, which increases the health risks of exposed communities, especially Latino farmworkers and other socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Using a superensemble of simulations with the Hadley Centre Regional Model (HadRM3P), we find that (1) simulations of the hottest summer days during the 2000s were twice as likely to occur using observed levels of greenhouse gases than in a counterfactual world without major human activities, suggesting a strong relationship between heat extremes and the increase in human emissions of greenhouse gases, (2) detrimental impacts of heat on public health-relevant variables, such as the number of days above 40 °C, can be quantified and attributed to human activities using PEA, and (3) PEA can serve as a tool for addressing climate justice concerns of populations within developed nations who are disproportionately exposed to climate risks.

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The energy and emissions footprint of water supply for Southern California

A.J. Fang, Joshua Newell & Joshua Cousins
Environmental Research Letters, November 2015

Abstract:
Due to climate change and ongoing drought, California and much of the American West face critical water supply challenges. California's water supply infrastructure sprawls for thousands of miles, from the Colorado River to the Sacramento Delta. Bringing water to growing urban centers in Southern California is especially energy intensive, pushing local utilities to balance water security with factors such as the cost and carbon footprint of the various supply sources. To enhance water security, cities are expanding efforts to increase local water supply. But do these local sources have a smaller carbon footprint than imported sources? To answer this question and others related to the urban water–energy nexus, this study uses spatially explicit life cycle assessment to estimate the energy and emissions intensity of water supply for two utilities in Southern California: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which serves Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire Utility Agency, which serves the San Bernardino region. This study differs from previous research in two significant ways: (1) emissions factors are based not on regional averages but on the specific electric utility and generation sources supplying energy throughout transport, treatment, and distribution phases of the water supply chain; (2) upstream (non-combustion) emissions associated with the energy sources are included. This approach reveals that in case of water supply to Los Angeles, local recycled water has a higher carbon footprint than water imported from the Colorado River. In addition, by excluding upstream emissions, the carbon footprint of water supply is potentially underestimated by up to 30%. These results have wide-ranging implications for how carbon footprints are traditionally calculated at local and regional levels. Reducing the emissions intensity of local water supply hinges on transitioning the energy used to treat and distribute water away from fossil fuel, sources such as coal.

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Extratropical Cyclones in Idealized Simulations of Changed Climates

Stephan Pfahl, Paul O’Gorman & Martin Singh
Journal of Climate, December 2015, Pages 9373–9392

Abstract:
Cyclones are a key element of extratropical weather and frequently lead to extreme events like wind storms and heavy precipitation. Understanding potential changes of cyclone frequency and intensity is thus essential for a proper assessment of climate change impacts. Here the behavior of extratropical cyclones under strongly varying climate conditions is investigated using idealized climate model simulations in an aquaplanet setup. A cyclone tracking algorithm is applied to assess various statistics of cyclone properties such as intensity, size, lifetime, displacement velocity, and deepening rates. In addition, a composite analysis of intense cyclones is performed. In general, the structure of extratropical cyclones in the idealized simulations is very robust, and changes in major cyclone characteristics are relatively small. Median cyclone intensity, measured in terms of minimum sea level pressure and lower-tropospheric relative vorticity, has a maximum in simulations with global mean temperature slightly warmer than present-day Earth, broadly consistent with the behavior of the eddy kinetic energy analyzed in previous studies. Maximum deepening rates along cyclone tracks behave similarly and are in agreement with linear quasigeostrophic growth rates if the effect of latent heat release on the stratification is taken into account. In contrast to moderate cyclones, the relative vorticity of intense cyclones continues to increase with warming to substantially higher temperatures, and this is associated with enhanced lower-tropospheric potential vorticity anomalies likely caused by increased diabatic heating. Moist processes may, therefore, lead to the further strengthening of intense cyclones in warmer climates even if cyclones weaken on average.

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Top ten European heatwaves since 1950 and their occurrence in the coming decades

Simone Russo, Jana Sillmann & Erich Fischer
Environmental Research Letters, December 2015

Abstract:
The Russian heatwave in 2010 killed tens of thousands of people, and was by far the worst event in Europe since at least 1950, according to recent studies and a novel universal heatwave index capturing both the duration and magnitude of heatwaves. Here, by taking an improved version of this index, namely the heat wave magnitude index daily, we rank the top ten European heatwaves that occurred in the period 1950–2014, and show the spatial distribution of the magnitude of the most recent heatwave in summer 2015. We demonstrate that all these events had a strong impact reported in historical newspapers. We further reveal that the 1972 heatwave in Finland had a comparable spatial extent and magnitude as the European heatwave of 2003, considered the second strongest heatwave of the observational era. In the next two decades (2021–2040), regional climate projections suggest that Europe experiences an enhanced probability for heatwaves comparable to or greater than the magnitude, extent and duration of the Russian heatwave in 2010. We demonstrate that the probability of experiencing a major European heatwave in the coming decades is higher in RCP8.5 than RCP4.5 even though global mean temperature projections do not differ substantially. This calls for a proactive vulnerability assessment in Europe in support of formulating heatwave adaptation strategies to reduce the adverse impacts of heatwaves.

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Ocean acidification and global warming impair shark hunting behaviour and growth

Jennifer Pistevos et al.
Scientific Reports, November 2015

Abstract:
Alterations in predation pressure can have large effects on trophically-structured systems. Modification of predator behaviour via ocean warming has been assessed by laboratory experimentation and metabolic theory. However, the influence of ocean acidification with ocean warming remains largely unexplored for mesopredators, including experimental assessments that incorporate key components of the assemblages in which animals naturally live. We employ a combination of long-term laboratory and mesocosm experiments containing natural prey and habitat to assess how warming and acidification affect the development, growth, and hunting behaviour in sharks. Although embryonic development was faster due to temperature, elevated temperature and CO2 had detrimental effects on sharks by not only increasing energetic demands, but also by decreasing metabolic efficiency and reducing their ability to locate food through olfaction. The combination of these effects led to considerable reductions in growth rates of sharks held in natural mesocosms with elevated CO2, either alone or in combination with higher temperature. Our results suggest a more complex reality for predators, where ocean acidification reduces their ability to effectively hunt and exert strong top-down control over food webs.

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Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice-sheet instability constrained by observations

Catherine Ritz et al.
Nature, 3 December 2015, Pages 115–118

Abstract:
Large parts of the Antarctic ice sheet lying on bedrock below sea level may be vulnerable to marine-ice-sheet instability (MISI), a self-sustaining retreat of the grounding line triggered by oceanic or atmospheric changes. There is growing evidence that MISI may be underway throughout the Amundsen Sea embayment (ASE), which contains ice equivalent to more than a metre of global sea-level rise. If triggered in other regions, the centennial to millennial contribution could be several metres. Physically plausible projections are challenging: numerical models with sufficient spatial resolution to simulate grounding-line processes have been too computationally expensive to generate large ensembles for uncertainty assessment, and lower-resolution model projections rely on parameterizations that are only loosely constrained by present day changes. Here we project that the Antarctic ice sheet will contribute up to 30 cm sea-level equivalent by 2100 and 72 cm by 2200 (95% quantiles) where the ASE dominates. Our process-based, statistical approach gives skewed and complex probability distributions (single mode, 10 cm, at 2100; two modes, 49 cm and 6 cm, at 2200). The dependence of sliding on basal friction is a key unknown: nonlinear relationships favour higher contributions. Results are conditional on assessments of MISI risk on the basis of projected triggers under the climate scenario A1B, although sensitivity to these is limited by theoretical and topographical constraints on the rate and extent of ice loss. We find that contributions are restricted by a combination of these constraints, calibration with success in simulating observed ASE losses, and low assessed risk in some basins. Our assessment suggests that upper-bound estimates from low-resolution models and physical arguments (up to a metre by 2100 and around one and a half by 2200) are implausible under current understanding of physical mechanisms and potential triggers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Doing as the Romans do

Status Decreases Dominance in the West but Increases Dominance in the East

Ko Kuwabara et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the experiments reported here, we integrated work on hierarchy, culture, and the enforcement of group cooperation by examining patterns of punishment. Studies in Western contexts have shown that having high status can temper acts of dominance, suggesting that high status may decrease punishment by the powerful. We predicted that high status would have the opposite effect in Asian cultures because vertical collectivism permits the use of dominance to reinforce the existing hierarchical order. Across two experiments, having high status decreased punishment by American participants but increased punishment by Chinese and Indian participants. Moreover, within each culture, the effect of status on punishment was mediated by feelings of being respected. A final experiment found differential effects of status on punishment imposed by Asian Americans depending on whether their Asian or American identity was activated. Analyzing enforcement through the lens of hierarchy and culture adds insight into the vexing puzzle of when and why people engage in punishment.

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Witchcraft Beliefs and the Erosion of Social Capital: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond

Boris Gershman
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between witchcraft beliefs, a deep-rooted cultural phenomenon, and various elements of social capital. Using novel survey data from nineteen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa we establish a robust negative association between the prevalence of witchcraft beliefs and multiple measures of trust which holds after accounting for country fixed effects and potential confounding factors at the individual, regional, and ethnic-group levels. This finding extends to other metrics of social capital, namely charitable giving and participation in religious group activities. Such coexistence of witchcraft beliefs and antisocial attitudes stands in stark contrast to a well-explored alternative cultural equilibrium characterized by religious prosociality. Evidence from societies beyond Africa shows that in preindustrial communities where witchcraft is believed to be an important cause of illness, mistrust and other antisocial traits are inculcated since childhood. Furthermore, second-generation immigrants in Europe originating from countries with widespread witchcraft beliefs are generally less trusting.

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Cultural Value Shifting in Pronoun Use

Feng Yu et al.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
By investigating the use of first-person pronouns in nine languages using the Google Ngram Database, we examined the degree to which different cultural values skewed toward individualism or collectivism over a span of 59 years. We found that in eight of nine languages (British English being the exception), first-person singular pronouns (vs. first-person plural pronouns) have become increasingly prevalent, which in turn points to a rising sense of individualism. British English showed a U-shaped curve trend in the use of first-person singular pronouns (vs. first-person plural pronouns). Although they initially decreased, British English’s first-person singular pronouns (vs. first-person plural pronouns) use was higher than most other languages throughout the whole period. Chinese displayed a fluctuating pattern wherein the use of first-person singular pronouns (vs. first-person plural pronouns) increased in recent periods. The dynamics of cultural change and culture diversity were discussed.

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Language, Culture and Institutions: Evidence from a New Linguistic Dataset

Lewis Davis & Farangis Abdurazokzoda
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Kashima and Kashima's (1998) linguistic dataset has played a prominent role in the economics of culture, providing the instrumental variables used in two seminal works to identify the causal effect of culture on institutional quality. However, for economists, this dataset has a number of weaknesses, including poor overlap with a key cultural dataset and reliance on sources of linguistic information of uneven quality. We address these issues by constructing a new linguistic dataset based on an authoritative source of linguistic information, the World Atlas of Language Structures. The resulting dataset has greater overlap with key sources of cultural information, is arguably less subject to selection bias, and provides more refined information regarding key dimensions of linguistic variation. We show that the variables in this dataset are significantly correlated with commonly used measures of individualism and egalitarianism. In addition, we reexamine the key results from the literature on culture and institutions, showing the causal relationship between culture and institutions is robust to the use of the new linguistic instruments.

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Modern gender roles and agricultural history: The Neolithic inheritance

Casper Worm Hansen, Peter Sandholt Jensen & Christian Volmar Skovsgaard
Journal of Economic Growth, December 2015, Pages 365-404

Abstract:
This research proposes the hypothesis that societies with long histories of agriculture have less equality in gender roles as a consequence of more patriarchal values and beliefs regarding the proper role of women in society. We test this hypothesis in a world sample of countries, in a sample of European regions, as well as among immigrants and children of immigrants living in the US. This evidence reveals a significant negative relationship between years of agriculture and female labor force participation rates, as well as other measures of equality in contemporary gender roles. This finding is robust to the inclusion of an extensive set of possible confounders, including historical plough-use and the length of the growing season. We argue that two mechanisms can explain the result: (1) societies with longer agricultural histories had a higher level of technological advancement which in the Malthusian Epoch translated into higher fertility and a diminished role for women outside the home; (2) the transition to cereal agriculture led to a division of labor in which women spend more time on processing cereals rather than working in the field.

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Population differences in androgen levels: A test of the Differential K theory

Edward Dutton, Dimitri van der Linden & Richard Lynn
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2016, Pages 289–295

Abstract:
Differential-K theory proposes that levels of androgen, i.e. male hormone, differ across three large racial groups with Sub-Saharan Africans having the highest levels, East Asians the lowest, and Caucasians (Europeans, North Africans and South Asians) being intermediate. In this study, we found that most of the national-level indicators of androgen – CAG repeats on the AR gene, androgenic hair, prostate cancer incidence, sex frequency and number of sex partners – are positively correlated at the population (country) level. East Asians showed signs of the lowest androgen level for most indicators and were lower than Caucasians on all of them. Sub-Saharan Africans showed inconsistent results. The results provide a partial validation of Differential-K theory.

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Gender Differences in Subjective Well-Being and Their Relationships with Gender Equality

Gerhard Meisenberg & Michael Woodley
Journal of Happiness Studies, December 2015, Pages 1539-1555

Abstract:
Although most surveys of happiness and general life satisfaction find only small differences between men and women, women report slightly higher subjective well-being than men in some countries, and slightly lower subjective well-being in others. The present study investigates the social and cultural conditions that favor higher female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction. Results from more than 90 countries represented in the World Values Survey show that conditions associated with a high level of female relative to male happiness and life satisfaction include a high proportion of Muslims in the country, a low proportion of Catholics, and absence of communist history. Among indicators of gender equality, a low rate of female non-agricultural employment is associated with higher female-versus-male happiness and satisfaction. Differences in the rate of female non-agricultural employment explain part of the effects of communist history and prevailing religion. They may also explain the recent observation of declining female life satisfaction in the United States.

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Naïve Dialecticism and Indecisiveness: Mediating Mechanism and Downstream Consequences

Andy Ng & Michaela Hynie
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that individuals of East Asian (vs. European) cultural backgrounds are more indecisive, and this cultural difference is related to naïve dialecticism, a lay belief system that tolerates contradictory information. The present research extends this line of work by examining a proximal mediating mechanism underlying the relationship between naïve dialecticism and indecisiveness as well as a negative consequence of chronic indecisiveness induced by naïve dialecticism. Results indicated that East Asian (vs. European) Canadian participants were more indecisive in a real educational decision (Study 1) and exhibited lower life satisfaction, which was mediated serially by naïve dialecticism through chronic indecisiveness (Study 2). In Study 3, European Canadian participants who were primed with a dialectical mind-set were more indecisive in a consumer choice task, relative to those not primed, and this effect was mediated by evaluative ambivalence toward the chosen alternative.

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Honesty and beliefs about honesty in 15 countries

David Hugh-Jones
University of East Anglia Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
The honesty of resident nationals of 15 countries was measured in two experiments: reporting a coin flip with a reward for “heads”, and an online quiz with the possibility of cheating. There are large differences in honesty across countries. Average honesty is positively correlated with per capita GDP: this is driven mostly by GDP differences arising before 1950, rather than by GDP growth since 1950, suggesting that the growth-honesty relationship was more important in earlier periods than today. A country’s average honesty correlates with the proportion of its population that is Protestant. The experiment also elicited participants’ expectations about different countries’ levels of honesty. Expectations were not correlated with reality. Instead they appear to be driven by cognitive biases, including self-projection.

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Neural evidence for cultural differences in the valuation of positive facial expressions

BoKyung Park et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
European Americans value excitement more and calm less than Chinese. Within cultures, European Americans value excited and calm states similarly, whereas Chinese value calm more than excited states. To examine how these cultural differences influence people’s immediate responses to excited vs calm facial expressions, we combined a facial rating task with functional magnetic resonance imaging. During scanning, European American (n = 19) and Chinese (n = 19) females viewed and rated faces that varied by expression (excited, calm), ethnicity (White, Asian) and gender (male, female). As predicted, European Americans showed greater activity in circuits associated with affect and reward (bilateral ventral striatum, left caudate) while viewing excited vs calm expressions than did Chinese. Within cultures, European Americans responded to excited vs calm expressions similarly, whereas Chinese showed greater activity in these circuits in response to calm vs excited expressions regardless of targets’ ethnicity or gender. Across cultural groups, greater ventral striatal activity while viewing excited vs. calm expressions predicted greater preference for excited vs calm expressions months later. These findings provide neural evidence that people find viewing the specific positive facial expressions valued by their cultures to be rewarding and relevant.

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Nonexpert Evaluations on Architectural Design Creativity Across Cultures

Seung Wan Hong & Jae Seung Lee
Creativity Research Journal, Fall 2015, Pages 314-321

Abstract:
This article examines the relationship between cultural differences and the nonexpert evaluations of architectural design creativity. In study I, Caucasian Americans (N = 126) and East Asians (N = 137), who did not major in architecture and urban design, evaluated the novelty and appropriateness of 5 unusual architectural shapes, selected by 5 experts in the field of architecture. In study II, the 2 cultural groups selected preferred alternatives from 3 pairs of silhouettes of architectural shapes that were distinctive and indistinctive from the adjacent environments. The data were collected by an online survey tool. Multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) and subsequent t-tests revealed that East Asians awarded lower scores as regards the novelty and appropriateness of unusual, novel architectural forms, and that they accepted unusual and distinctive architectural shapes less than the Caucasian Americans did. These results indicated that cultural differences between these 2 groups affected the nonexpert creativity evaluations, as introduced in previous cross-cultural studies. The East Asians’ creativity evaluations and preference tests were possibly influenced by their perceptions of contextual information and emphasis on the holistic and interdependent relationships amongst environmental elements, whereas the Caucasian Americans’ evaluations were related to their analytic tendency to be aware of focal objects and independent identity.

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The Happiness Gap in Eastern Europe

Simeon Djankov, Elena Nikolova & Jan Zilinsky
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citizens in Eastern Europe are less satisfied with life than their peers in other countries. This happiness gap has persisted over time, despite predictions to the contrary by earlier scholars. It holds after controlling for a variety of covariates, such as the standard of living, life expectancy and Eastern Orthodox religion. Armed with a battery of surveys from the early 1990s to 2014, we argue that the happiness gap is explained by how citizens in post-communist countries perceive their governments. Eastern Europeans link their life satisfaction to higher perceived corruption and weaker government performance. Our results suggest that the transition from central planning is still incomplete, at least in the psychology of people.

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Cultural Differences in Revaluative Attributions

Yaoran Li, Rude Liu & Todd Schachtman
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Culture can impact cognitive processes, including effects on causal attributions. This study examined cultural differences in revaluative attributions when two potential causes of an outcome are initially present, but new relevant causal information is later available, suggesting potential adjustments could be made with respect to the original judgment. Study 1 (N = 206) found that both Chinese and American participants showed revaluative attributions regarding the target cause when a nontarget cause was decreased in its validity during a subsequent phase. That is, the target cause was later judged as more valid when a nontarget cause was decreased in validity (the deflation effect). However, only American participants exhibited a significant decrease in the perceived validity of a target cause when the nontarget cause was increased in its validity (the inflation effect). Study 2 (N = 189) replicated these findings and also showed that dialectical thinking was a mediator of this cultural difference in revaluative attributions. The present study shows that culturally shaped cognitive processing can influence multicausal inferences.

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The ontogeny of fairness in seven societies

P.R. Blake et al.
Nature, 10 December 2015, Pages 258–261

Abstract:
A sense of fairness plays a critical role in supporting human cooperation. Adult norms of fair resource sharing vary widely across societies, suggesting that culture shapes the acquisition of fairness behaviour during childhood. Here we examine how fairness behaviour develops in children from seven diverse societies, testing children from 4 to 15 years of age (n = 866 pairs) in a standardized resource decision task. We measured two key aspects of fairness decisions: disadvantageous inequity aversion (peer receives more than self) and advantageous inequity aversion (self receives more than a peer). We show that disadvantageous inequity aversion emerged across all populations by middle childhood. By contrast, advantageous inequity aversion was more variable, emerging in three populations and only later in development. We discuss these findings in relation to questions about the universality and cultural specificity of human fairness.

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The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures

Andrzej Nowak et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Around the globe, people fight for their honor, even if it means sacrificing their lives. This is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective, and little is known about the conditions under which honor cultures evolve. We implemented an agent-based model of honor, and our simulations showed that the reliability of institutions and toughness of the environment are crucial conditions for the evolution of honor cultures. Honor cultures survive when the effectiveness of the authorities is low, even in very tough environments. Moreover, the results show that honor cultures and aggressive cultures are mutually dependent in what resembles a predator-prey relationship described in the renowned Lotka-Volterra model. Both cultures are eliminated when institutions are reliable. These results have implications for understanding conflict throughout the world, where Western-based strategies are exported, often unsuccessfully, to contexts of weak institutional authority wherein honor-based strategies have been critical for survival.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 14, 2015

Take and give

Fiscal Policy and Economic Recovery: The Case of the 1936 Veterans' Bonus

Joshua Hausman
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom has it that in the 1930s fiscal policy did not work because it was not tried. This paper shows that fiscal policy was tried in 1936. The veterans' bonus of 1936 paid 2 percent of GDP to 3.2 million veterans; the typical veteran received a payment equal to per capita income. Multiple sources, including a household consumption survey, show that veterans spent the majority of their bonus. Point estimates of the MPC are between 0.6 and 0.75. Spending was concentrated on cars and housing in particular.

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Business in the United States: Who Owns it and How Much Tax Do They Pay?

Michael Cooper et al.
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
"Pass-through" businesses like partnerships and S-corporations now generate over half of U.S. business income and account for much of the post-1980 rise in the top-1% income share. We use administrative tax data from 2011 to identify pass-through business owners and estimate how much tax they pay. We present three findings. (1) Relative to traditional business income, pass-through business income is substantially more concentrated among high-earners. (2) Partnership ownership is opaque: 20% of the income goes to unclassifiable partners, and 15% of the income is earned in circularly owned partnerships. (3) The average federal income tax rate on U.S. pass-through business income is 19% - much lower than the average rate on traditional corporations. If pass-through activity had remained at 1980's low level, strong but straightforward assumptions imply that the 2011 average U.S. tax rate on total U.S. business income would have been 28% rather than 24%, and tax revenue would have been approximately $100 billion higher.

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Legal Enforcement and Corporate Behavior: An Analysis of Tax Aggressiveness after an Audit

Jason DeBacker et al.
Journal of Law & Economics, May 2015, Pages 291-324

Abstract:
Contrary to common expectations, legal enforcement may increase subsequent corporate misbehavior. Using Internal Revenue Service and financial statement data, we find that corporations gradually increase their tax aggressiveness for a few years following an audit and then reduce it sharply. We show that this U-shaped impact is consistent with strategic responses on the part of firms and with Bayesian updating of audit risk. This adverse effect on corporate behavior calls for a reexamination of both the theory and policy of legal enforcement.

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Taxpayer Confusion: Evidence from the Child Tax Credit

Naomi Feldman, Peter Katuščák & Laura Kawano
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop an empirical test for whether households understand or misperceive their marginal tax rate. Our identifying variation comes from the loss of the Child Tax Credit when a child turns 17. Using this age discontinuity, we find that despite this tax liability increase being lump-sum and predictable, households reduce their reported wage income upon discovering they have lost the credit. This finding suggests that households misinterpret at least part of this tax liability change as an increase in their marginal tax rate. This evidence supports the hypothesis that tax complexity can cause confusion and leads to unintended behavioral responses.

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Tax Aversion in Labor Supply

Judd Kessler & Michael Norton
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a real-effort laboratory experiment, labor supply decreases more with the introduction of a tax than with a financially equivalent drop in wages. This "tax aversion" is large in magnitude: when we decompose the productivity decrease that arises from taxation, we estimate that 40% is due to the lower net wage and the remaining 60% to tax aversion. This tax aversion affects labor supply more on the extensive margin (working less) than on the intensive margin (being less productive while working). The aversion is equally strong whether tax revenue goes to the U.S. government or back to the experimenter (a "laboratory tax"). We discuss the implications of our results for the relationship between labor supply and taxation.

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The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations

Antonio Fatás & Lawrence Summers
Harvard Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
The global financial crisis has permanently lowered the path of GDP in all advanced economies. At the same time, and in response to rising government debt levels, many of these countries have been engaging in fiscal consolidations that have had a negative impact on growth rates. We empirically explore the connections between these two facts by extending to longer horizons the methodology of Blanchard and Leigh (2013) regarding fiscal policy multipliers. Using data seven years after the beginning of the crisis as well as estimates on potential output our analysis suggests that attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their negative impact on output. Our results provide support for the possibility of self-defeating fiscal consolidations in depressed economies as developed by DeLong and Summers (2012).

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The U.S. Debt Restructuring of 1933: Consequences and Lessons

Sebastian Edwards, Francis Longstaff & Alvaro Garcia Marin
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
In 1933, the U.S. unilaterally restructured its debt by declaring that it would no longer honor the gold clause in Treasury securities. We study the effects of the abrogation of the gold clause on sovereign debt markets, the Treasury's ability to issue new debt, investors' willingness to hold Treasury bonds, and on the Treasury's borrowing costs. We find that the restructuring was followed by a flight to quality in the sovereign market. Despite this, there was little effect on the Treasury's ability to sell new debt or the willingness of investors to roll over restructured debt. The Treasury incurred a marginally higher cost of capital by issuing new bonds without the gold clause.

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Do Individuals Perceive Income Tax Rates Correctly?

Michael Gideon
Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article uses data from survey questions fielded on the 2011 wave of the Cognitive Economics Study to uncover systematic errors in perceptions of income tax rates. First, when asked about the marginal tax rates (MTRs) for households in the top tax bracket, respondents underestimate the top MTR on wages and salary income, overestimate the MTR on dividend income, and therefore significantly underestimate the currently tax-advantaged status of dividend income. Second, when analyzing the relationship between respondents' self-reported average tax rates (ATRs) and MTRs, many people do not understand the progressive nature of the federal income tax system. Third, when comparing self-reported tax rates with those computed from self-reported income, respondents systematically overestimate their ATR while reported MTR are accurate at the mean, the responses are consistent with underestimation of tax schedule progressivity.

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Optimal Income Taxation with Unemployment and Wage Responses: A Sufficient Statistics Approach

Kory Kroft et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
This paper reassesses whether the optimal income tax program features an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or a Negative Income Tax (NIT) at the bottom of the income distribution, in the presence of unemployment and wage responses to taxation. The paper makes two key contributions. First, it derives a sufficient statistics optimal tax formula in a general model that incorporates unemployment and endogenous wages. This formula nests a broad variety of structures of the labor market, such as competitive models with fixed or flexible wages and models with matching frictions. Our results show that the sufficient statistics to be estimated are: the macro employment response with respect to taxation and the micro and macro participation responses with respect to taxation. We show that an EITC-like policy is optimal provided that the welfare weight on the working poor is larger than the ratio of the micro participation elasticity to the macro participation elasticity. The second contribution is to estimate the sufficient statistics that are inputs to the optimal tax formula using a standard quasi-experimental research design. We estimate these reduced-form parameters using policy variation in tax liabilities stemming from the U.S. tax and transfer system for over 20 years. Using our empirical estimates, we implement our sufficient statistics formula and show that the optimal tax at the bottom more closely resembles an NIT relative to the case where unemployment and wage responses are not taken into account.

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Regional effects of federal tax shocks

Bernd Hayo & Matthias Uhl
Southern Economic Journal, October 2015, Pages 343-360

Abstract:
This article studies the effects of federal tax changes on U.S.-state-level income. Utilizing an exogenous tax shock series recently proposed in the literature, we find considerable variation in how federal tax changes affect regional income: estimated state income multipliers range between -0.2 in Utah and -3.7 in Hawaii. Analyzing the determinants of differences in regional tax multipliers suggests that size and composition of the state tax base help explain the observed heterogeneity in the transmission of federal tax policy.

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Do Troubled Times Invite Cloudy Budget Reporting? The Determinants of General Fund Expenditure Share in U.S. States

Nancy Hudspeth et al.
Public Budgeting & Finance, Winter 2015, Pages 68-89

Abstract:
Fiscal controls require monitoring and transparent reporting. Financial documents with multiple funds, transfers, and inconsistent year-to-year categorization of revenues and expenditures provide opportunities to obscure a negative fiscal picture. We hypothesize that fiscal stress increases obfuscation. We investigate the relationship between the share of total governmental expenditures in U.S. states' general funds and independent variables drawn from the literature. Consistent with our hypothesis, deficit and debt are the most important explanatory variables. A one standard deviation increase in the deficit as a share of total expenditures is predicted to decrease the general fund share by one percentage point.

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Fiscal Stimulus in Economic Unions: What Role for States?

Gerald Carlino & Robert Inman
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
The Great Recession and the subsequent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act returned fiscal policy, and particularly the importance of state and local governments, to the center stage of macroeconomic policy-making. This paper addresses three questions for the design of intergovernmental macroeconomic fiscal policies. First, are such policies necessary? Analysis of US state fiscal policies show state deficits (in particular from tax cuts) can stimulate state economies in the short-run, but that there are significant job spillovers to neighboring states. Second, to internalize these spillovers, what central government fiscal policies are most effective for stimulating income and job growth? Both federal tax cuts and transfers to households and firms and intergovernmental transfers to states for lower income assistance are effective, with one and two year multipliers greater than 2.0. Third, how are states, as politically independent agents, motivated to provide increased transfers to lower income households? The answer is matching (price subsidy) assistance for such spending. The intergovernmental aid is spent immediately by the states and supports assistance to those most likely to spend new transfers.

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Tax Havens, Growth, and Welfare

Hsun Chu, Ching-Chong Lai & Chu-Chuan Cheng
Journal of Public Economic Theory, December 2015, Pages 802-823

Abstract:
This paper develops an endogenous growth model featuring tax havens, and uses it to examine how the existence of tax havens affects the economic growth rate and social welfare in high-tax countries. We show that the presence of tax havens generates two conflicting channels in determining the growth effect. First, the public investment effect states that tax havens may erode tax revenues and in turn decrease the government's infrastructure expenditure, thereby reducing growth. Second, the tax planning effect of tax havens reduces marginal cost of capital and hence encourages capital accumulation so as to spur economic growth. The overall growth effect is ambiguous and is determined by the extent of these two effects. The welfare analysis shows that tax havens are more likely to be welfare-enhancing if the government expenditure share in production is low, or the initial income tax rate is high. Moreover, the welfare-maximizing income tax rate is lower than the growth-maximizing income tax rate if tax havens are present.

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State Taxes and Spatial Misallocation

Pablo Fajgelbaum et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
We study state taxes as a potential source of spatial misallocation in the United States. We build a spatial general-equilibrium model in which the distribution of workers, firms, and trade flows across states responds to state taxes and public-service provision. We estimate firm and worker mobility elasticities and preferences for public services using data on the distribution of economic activity and state taxes from 1980 to 2010. A revenue-neutral tax harmonization leads to aggregate real-GDP and welfare gains of 0.7%. Tax cuts by individual states lower own-state tax revenues and economic activity, and generate cross-state spillovers depending on trade linkages.

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Productive Efficiency of Public Expenditures: A Cross-state Study

Aman Khan & Olga Murova
State and Local Government Review, September 2015, Pages 170-180

Abstract:
Public productivity, in particular the efficiency of public expenditures, has been a subject of academic and nonacademic debate for a long time. A number of studies have been conducted over the years on the subject using mostly conventional statistical methods such as production functions and occasionally using techniques such as data envelopment analysis (DEA). Most of these studies were conducted at a microlevel using a single decision unit with limited data. This study uses a multistage DEA to analyze public productivity using panel data for all fifty states of the United States over a twenty-one-year period. Based on well-known Farrell's technical efficiency, the study measures productivity using both constant and variable returns to scale. The results of the study show that there has been a general decrease in efficiency during the study period, with some exceptions, consistent with the growth trend in the national economy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Art of the deal

Money Affects Theory of Mind Differently by Gender

Garret Ridinger & Michael McBride
PLoS ONE, December 2015

Abstract:
Theory of Mind (ToM) - the ability to understand other's thoughts, intentions, and emotions - is important for navigating interpersonal relationships, avoiding conflict, and empathizing. Prior research has identified many factors that affect one's ToM ability, but little work has examined how different kinds of monetary incentives affect ToM ability. We ask: Does money affect ToM ability? If so, how does the effect depend on the structure of monetary incentives? How do the differences depend on gender? We hypothesize that money will affect ToM ability differently by gender: monetary rewards increase males' motivation to express ToM ability while simultaneously crowding out females' motivation. This prediction is confirmed in an experiment that varies the structure of monetary rewards for correct answers in the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test (RMET). RMET scores decrease for females and increase for males with individual payments, and this effect is stronger with competitively-structured payments. RMET scores do not significantly change when monetary earnings go to a charity. Whether money improves or hinders ToM ability, and, hence, success in social interactions, thus depends on the interaction of gender and monetary incentive structure.

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Love Thy Neighbor? Ethnoracial Diversity and Trust Reexamined

Maria Abascal & Delia Baldassarri
American Journal of Sociology, November 2015, Pages 722-782

Abstract:
According to recent research, ethnoracial diversity negatively affects trust and social capital. This article challenges the current conception and measurement of "diversity" and invites scholars to rethink "social capital" in complex societies. It reproduces the analysis of Putnam and shows that the association between diversity and self-reported trust is a compositional artifact attributable to residential sorting: nonwhites report lower trust and are overrepresented in heterogeneous communities. The association between diversity and trust is better explained by differences between communities and their residents in terms of race/ethnicity, residential stability, and economic conditions; these classic indicators of inequality, not diversity, strongly and consistently predict self-reported trust. Diversity indexes also obscure the distinction between in-group and out-group contact. For whites, heterogeneity means more out-group neighbors; for nonwhites, heterogeneity means more in-group neighbors. Therefore, separate analyses were conducted by ethnoracial groups. Only for whites does living among out-group members - not in diverse communities per se - negatively predict trust.

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The Effects of Neighborhood Democracy on Cooperation: A Laboratory Study

Daniel Scheller
Journal of Urban Affairs, December 2015, Pages 568-583

Abstract:
What effect does participation in neighborhood governments have on residents' willingness to contribute to the provision of public goods? This is an important question to ask given the growth of homeowners associations (HOAs) in the United States. HOAs provide a medium through which citizens can practice democratic skills. The social capital and efficacy built through this participation may increase an individual's willingness to use his or her own resources to help provide for a community public good. In this article the author hypothesizes that such participation increases the probability that individuals donate to public goods provision. Using an experimental design where subjects in treatment groups participate in a mock HOA meeting and then play an iterated public goods game, the study finds evidence that participation in HOA meetings improves cooperative behavior. This finding suggests that HOA participation has some effect on an individual's propensity to contribute to the provision of a public good.

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The dark side of negotiation: Examining the outcomes of face-to-face and computer-mediated negotiations among dark personalities

Lisa Crossley et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2016, Pages 47-51

Abstract:
This study examined the influence of the Dark Triad (DT; psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism) and communication condition (face-to-face [FtF] versus computer-mediated communication [CMC]) on success in negotiations. This is relevant considering the increased use of CMC and the potentially differing nature of how individuals communicate online compared to FtF. For example, while individuals with dark personalities are known to exploit others in person, relatively little is known about their propensity to manipulate in online environments. Participant dyads (N = 206) negotiated the details of a pair of concert tickets either FtF or online in real time for 20 min before having to come to a decision. The results (based on overall success in the negotiation) indicate that individuals scoring higher on self-report measures of the DT perform best when they are able to negotiate FtF with their counterpart, whereas those with lower DT scores appear better suited to succeed in negotiations online.

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Solving the Volunteer's Dilemma: The Efficiency of Rewards Versus Punishments

Shmuel Leshem & Avraham Tabbach
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies a class of second-best solutions to the Volunteer's Dilemma. We consider a game in which each one of n players must simultaneously choose whether to incur a cost and thereby prevent a social harm. Players could be rewarded for helping, be punished for not helping, or be subject to any combination of rewards and punishments. We show that because of the substitutability of players' efforts, the use of rewards rather than punishments minimizes social costs (expected costs of helping, expected harm, and expected transfer costs) for nearly any number of players and ratio of cost-of-helping to social harm. This helps to explain the paucity of affirmative legal duties and the prevalence of whistle-blower and most-wanted rewards.

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Being Sherlock Holmes: Can we sense empathy from a brief sample of behaviour?

Wenjie Wu, Elizabeth Sheppard & Peter Mitchell
British Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mentalizing (otherwise known as 'theory of mind') involves a special process that is adapted for predicting and explaining the behaviour of others (targets) based on inferences about targets' beliefs and character. This research investigated how well participants made inferences about an especially apposite aspect of character, empathy. Participants were invited to make inferences of self-rated empathy after watching or listening to an unfamiliar target for a few seconds telling a scripted joke (or answering questions about him/herself or reading aloud a paragraph of promotional material). Across three studies, participants were good at identifying targets with low and high self-rated empathy but not good at identifying those who are average. Such inferences, especially of high self-rated empathy, seemed to be based mainly on clues in the target's behaviour, presented either in a video, a still photograph or in an audio track. However, participants were not as effective in guessing which targets had low or average self-rated empathy from a still photograph showing a neutral pose or from an audio track. We conclude with discussion of the scope and the adaptive value of this inferential ability.

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We can see inside: Accurate prediction of Prisoner's Dilemma decisions in announced games following a face-to-face interaction

Adam Sparks, Tyler Burleigh & Pat Barclay
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans form impressions and make social judgments about others based on information that is quickly and easily available, such as facial and vocal traits. The evolutionary function of impression formation and social judgment mechanisms have received limited attention in psychology research; we argue their function is to accurately forecast the behavior of others. There is some evidence for the predictive accuracy of social judgments, but much of it comes from situations where there is little incentive to deceive, which limits applicability to questions of the function of such mechanisms. A classic experiment that avoids this problem was conducted by Frank, Gilovich & Regan [1993]; their participants predicted each other's Prisoner's Dilemma Game decisions with above-chance accuracy after a short interaction period, knowing the game would follow. We report three original studies that replicate these aspects of the methods of Frank et al. [1993] and reanalyze data from all known replications. Our meta-analysis of these studies confirms the original report: Humans can predict each other's Prisoner's Dilemma decisions after a brief interaction with people who have incentive to deceive.

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When a service request precedes the target request: Another compliance without pressure technique?

Sebastien Meineri et al.
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empirical observation led us to identify a particular and widespread form of solicitation involving requesting a service before making the target request. Relating this form of solicitation to compliance paradigms based on consistency, we hypothesized that the technique would increase the compliance rates of individuals. 167 passersby were approached in the street for a money donation according to two conditions: the appeal for money was preceded by a service request or not. We found that those passersby receiving the service request and the monetary appeal were significantly more compliant than those receiving the monetary appeal only. The discussion focuses on the psychological mechanisms at work in the acceptance of the requests, and avenues for future research are suggested.

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The Effect of Listing Price Strategy on Real Estate Negotiations: An Experimental Study

Eric Cardella & Michael Seiler
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When selling a home, an important decision facing the homeowner is choosing an optimal listing price. This decision will depend in large part on how the chosen list price impacts the post negotiation final sale price of the home. In this study, we design an experiment that enables us to identify how different types of common list price strategies affect housing negotiations. Specifically, we examine how rounded, just below, and precise list prices impact the negotiation behavior of the buyer and seller and, ultimately, the final sale price of the home. Our results indicate that the initial list price strategy does play an important role in the negotiation process. Most notably, a high precise price generates the highest final sale price, smallest percentage discount off the list price, and the largest fraction of the surplus to the seller, while just below pricing leads to the lowest final price, largest percentage discount, and smallest fraction of the surplus to the seller. This pattern seems to be largely driven by sellers making persistently higher and more precise counter-offers throughout the negotiation process when the initial list price is high precise. Interestingly, these effects generally attenuate with negotiating experience. Importantly, our experimental results are generally consistent, both in direction and magnitude, with the limited transactions-based empirical studies relating to real estate listing prices.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Players

Interest in Babies Negatively Predicts Testosterone Responses to Sexual Visual Stimuli Among Heterosexual Young Men

Samuele Zilioli et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men's testosterone may be an important physiological mechanism mediating motivational and behavioral aspects of the mating/parenting trade-off not only over time but also in terms of stable differences between mating-oriented and parenting-oriented individuals. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that self-reported interest in babies is inversely related to testosterone reactivity to cues of short-term mating among heterosexual young men. Among 100 participants, interest in babies was related to a slow life-history strategy, as assessed by the Mini-K questionnaire, and negatively related to testosterone responses to an erotic video. Interest in babies was not associated with baseline testosterone levels or with testosterone reactivity to nonsexual social stimuli. These results provide the first evidence that differential testosterone reactivity to sexual stimuli may be an important aspect of individual differences in life-history strategies among human males.

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Long-Term Consequences of Early Sexual Initiation on Young Adult Health: A Causal Inference Approach

Kari Kugler et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although early sexual initiation has been linked to negative outcomes, it is unknown whether these effects are causal. In this study, we use propensity score methods to estimate the causal effect of early sexual initiation on young adult sexual risk behaviors and health outcomes using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. We found that early sexual initiation predicted having two or more partners (for both males and females) and having a sexually transmitted infection in the past year (females only) but did not predict depressive symptoms in the past week (for either gender). These results underscore the importance of continued programmatic efforts to delay age of sexual initiation, particularly for females.

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Men Ejaculate Larger Volumes of Semen, More Motile Sperm, and More Quickly when Exposed to Images of Novel Women

Paul Joseph et al.
Evolutionary Psychological Science, December 2015, Pages 195-200

Abstract:
Males in many species differentially allocate sperm and seminal fluid depending on certain social variables, including perceived sperm competition and female reproductive status. In some species, males reduce their investment in sperm quantity or quality upon repeated matings with the same female and increase such investment when mated to a novel female. We tested for effects of stimulus habituation and novelty on ejaculated semen parameters in humans. We analyzed ejaculates produced through masturbation with stimulation from sexually explicit films. When males were exposed successively to the same female six times, we saw no change in ejaculate parameters between the first and sixth exposures to the same female. However, ejaculate volume and total motile sperm count significantly increased when males were exposed to a novel female. Time to ejaculation also decreased significantly upon exposure to a novel female. Thus, our results suggest that human males ejaculate more quickly and invest more in ejaculates with novel females.

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Do (non-American) Men Overestimate Women's Sexual Intentions?

Carin Perilloux et al.
Evolutionary Psychological Science, September 2015, Pages 150-154

Abstract:
Prior research has suggested that men overestimate women's sexual intentions. However, the bulk of the data supporting this view comes from participants from the USA. Here, we report three attempts to replicate this effect in samples from Chile, Spain, and France. While there was some evidence of overestimation of sexual intent by men on the aggregate measure, removing a single item decreases or even eliminates the sex difference in some of the cultures studied, suggesting that the aggregate effect is driven by a small number of particular behaviors. Furthermore, women from the USA appear to rate sexual intent differently from men and women in the other countries, whose ratings are relatively more homogeneous. While more work is needed, these results raise the possibility that the sex differences in sexual intent perception documented in the USA might not be cross-culturally universal.

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Enhancing the Accuracy of Men's Perceptions of Women's Sexual Interest in the Laboratory

Teresa Treat et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: We evaluate a novel feedback-based procedure designed to enhance the accuracy of men's judgments of women's sexual interest in the laboratory, as misperception of sexual interest is implicated in male-initiated sexual aggression toward acquaintances.

Method: In an initial rating task, 183 undergraduate males judged the sexual interest of women in full-body photographs; the women varied along sexual interest, clothing style, and attractiveness dimensions. Half of the participants received feedback on their ratings. In a related transfer task, participants indicated whether women in photographs would respond positively to a sexual advance. History of sexual aggression and rape-supportive attitudes were assessed.

Results: Participants relied substantially on both affective and nonaffective cues when judging women's sexual interest. High-risk men relied less on affect and more on attractiveness. Feedback enhanced focus on women's affective cues and decreased focus on nonaffective cues for both low-risk and high-risk men. Feedback affected transfer performance indirectly, via altered cue usage in the training task.

Conclusions: The current work documents high-risk men's altered focus on women's affective and nonaffective cues and provides encouraging support for the potential use of a cognitive-training paradigm to enhance men's perceptions of women's sexual-interest cues, albeit to a lesser degree for high-risk men.

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Time-Varying Risk Factors and Sexual Aggression Perpetration Among Male College Students

Martie Thompson et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, December 2015, Pages 637-642

Purpose: Preventing sexual aggression (SA) can be informed by determining if time-varying risk factors differentiate men who follow different sexual aggression risk trajectories.

Methods: Data are from a longitudinal study with 795 college males surveyed at the end of each of their 4 years of college in 2008-2011. Repeated measures general linear models tested if changes in risk factors corresponded with sexual aggression trajectory membership.

Results: Changes in the risk factors corresponded with SA trajectories. Men who came to college with a history of SA but decreased their perpetration likelihood during college showed concurrent decreases in sexual compulsivity, impulsivity, hostile attitudes toward women, rape supportive beliefs, perceptions of peer approval of forced sex, and perceptions of peer pressure to have sex with many different women, and smaller increases in pornography use over their college years. Conversely, men who increased levels of SA over time demonstrated larger increases in risk factors in comparison to other trajectory groups.

Conclusions: The odds that males engaged in sexual aggression corresponded with changes in key risk factors. Risk factors were not static and interventions designed to alter them may lead to changes in sexual aggression risk.

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Testosterone & gift-giving: Mating confidence moderates the association between digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2) and erotic gift-giving

Marcelo Vinhal Nepomuceno et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, March 2016, Pages 27-30

Abstract:
While prenatal testosterone and estrogen have been associated with various masculinized traits such as risk-taking, aggression, athletic ability, and sex drive, little is known regarding the impact of prenatal hormones on male romantic gift-giving. In a sample of 130 Caucasian men, we investigate the association between digit ratios (2D:4D and rel2), a proxy of exposure to prenatal testosterone-to-estrogen ratio, and the likelihood of offering erotic gifts to romantic partners. We hypothesize that men with highly masculinized (low) digit ratios and high mating confidence (i.e., the self-perceived ease with which one gains sexual access to others) will engage in greater erotic gift-giving. We find that masculinized digit ratios are associated with greater erotic gift-giving, but only among men with high mating confidence. Our findings suggest that high prenatal testosterone exposure and high prenatal estrogen exposure are likely to promote a greater desire to offer erotic gifts to a romantic partner, but that only men with high mating confidence have the courage to act on these desires.

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Propose with a rose? Signaling in internet dating markets

Soohyung Lee & Muriel Niederle
Experimental Economics, December 2015, Pages 731-755

Abstract:
A growing number of papers theoretically study the effects of introducing a preference signaling mechanism. However, the empirical literature has had difficulty proving a basic tenet, namely that an agent has more success when the agent uses a signal. This paper provides evidence based on a field experiment in an online dating market. Participants are randomly endowed with two or eight "virtual roses" that a participant can use for free to signal special interest when asking for a date. Our results show that, by sending a rose, a person can substantially increase the chance of the offer being accepted, and this positive effect is neither because the rose attracts attention from recipients nor because the rose is associated with unobserved quality. Furthermore, we find evidence that roses increase the total number of dates, instead of crowding out offers without roses attached. Despite the positive effect of sending roses, a substantial fraction of participants do not fully utilize their endowment of roses and even those who exhaust their endowment on average do not properly use their roses to maximize their dating success.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 11, 2015

Running wild

Negative Advertising and Political Competition

Amit Gandhi, Daniela Iorio & Carly Urban
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why is negative advertising such a prominent feature of competition in the US political market? We hypothesize that two-candidate races provide stronger incentives for going negative relative to non-duopoly contests: when the number of competitors is greater than two, airing negative ads creates positive externalities for opponents that are not the object of the attack. To investigate the empirical relevance of the fewness of competitors in explaining the volume of negative advertising, we exploit variation in the number of entrants running for US non-presidential primaries from 2000 through 2008. Duopolies are over twice as likely to air a negative ad when compared to non-duopolies, and the tendency for negative advertising decreases in the number of competitors. The estimates are robust to various specification checks and the inclusion of potential confounding factors at the race, candidate, and advertisement levels.

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Assessing (and Fixing?) Election Day Lines: Evidence from a Survey of Local Election Officials

Stephen Ansolabehere & Daron Shaw
Electoral Studies, March 2016, Pages 1-11

Abstract:
Despite recent studies that find few people face significant wait times when attempting to vote in U.S. elections, the 2012 election produced numerous anecdotal and journalistic accounts claiming otherwise. This study relies on a national survey of local election officials to systematically ascertain their views about the challenges and successes they had in administering the 2012 general election. Consistent with surveys of voters, most officials report that wait times and lines were minimal. Furthermore, the relative amount of money available to a jurisdiction for election administration was unrelated to the occurrence of these problems, while the presence of more poll workers - especially first-timers - may actually exacerbate them.

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Wage Reimbursement and Minority Voter Turnout

Joshua Hostetter
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: In this article, I estimate the conditional effect of racial minorities and women on the relationship between wage reimbursement laws and voter turnout. Scholars have found evidence that voting laws affect demographic segments of the population differently. However, scholars have not considered the theoretical implications of pay incentive structures for different minority groups.

Methods: Using pooled cross-sectional survey data from the November Supplement Current Population Survey 1996-2012, I test whether paid time off to vote laws increase the likelihood of voting for racial and gender minorities.

Results: The findings indicate that women and Asian Americans are highly responsive to wage reimbursement, Hispanic Americans are relatively unresponsive, and blacks are highly unresponsive relative to whites.

Conclusions: Reimbursing minorities for wages lost while voting decreases the costs of voting and increases turnout for these racial and gender minority groups except for blacks. I suggest the long history of discrimination and mistreatment by economic and political institutions has led to a lower level of blacks willing to engage in wage reimbursement because of mistrust in the delivery system.

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The Value of the Right to Vote

Stephan Tontrup & Rebecca Morton
NYU Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
We conducted a mixed lab and field experiment during a naturally occurring election presenting subjects with the opportunity to relinquish their voting rights for money. Significantly more participants refused to sell their rights than later submitted a vote. We rule out that ethical objections distort our results. In another treatment we gave subjects an incentive to vote. After the election we measured their knowledge concerning the parties' and candidates' positions. Even though many participants would not have voted without the incentive, they were significantly more knowledgeable suggesting that they value their voting rights. Our study suggests that people derive strong utility from their democratic rights and status independently of whether they intend to use them. Our new concept of rights utility suggests that low turnout does not translate into voter apathy and should not be used to justify quorum rules and the general reduction of voting rights.

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Negative Campaigning, Fundraising, and Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment

Jared Barton, Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do candidates risk alienating voters by engaging in negative campaigning? One answer may lie in the large empirical literature indicating that negative messages are more effective than positive messages in getting individuals to do many things, including voting and purchasing goods. Few contributions to this literature, however, gather data from a field environment with messages whose tone has been validated. We conduct field experiments in two elections for local office which test the effect of confirmed negative and positive letters sent to candidates' partisans on two measurable activities: donating to the candidate and turning out to vote. We find that message tone increases partisan support in ways that may help explain the persistence of negative campaigning. Negative messages are no better than positive messages at earning the candidates donations, but negative messages yield significantly higher rates of voter turnout among the candidates' partisans relative to positive messages. Positive messages, however, are not neutral relative to no message.

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Racial Salience, Viability, and the Wilder Effect: Evaluating Polling Accuracy for Black Candidates

Christopher Stout & Reuben Kline
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2015, Pages 994-1014

Abstract:
This study assesses whether polling discrepancies for black candidates can be explained by an interaction of racial salience in an election and the candidate's electoral strength. We hypothesize that voters will have few nonracial justifications for their lack of support for a black candidate when race is a salient issue and the candidate is electorally viable. As a result, polls will experience more problems with socially desirable response bias in such contexts. We use pre-election polls for the near-complete universe of black US Senate and gubernatorial candidates from 1982 to 2010, statewide polls from the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, and an original measure of the racialization to test our hypothesis. Our results demonstrate that the racialization of the election leads polls to significantly overestimate only support for state-level black candidates and President Obama in contexts where the candidate has the most electoral strength. In the conclusion, we discuss how the results inform pollsters about potential hazards for social desirability response bias.

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Some Folks You Just Can't Reach: The Genetic Heritability of Presidential Approval

Matthew Miles
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December 2015, Pages 760-777

Abstract:
Among the more robust fields of study in American politics is presidential approval. The influence of rally events, the economy, political sophistication, and partisanship on political attitudes began with explorations into the dynamics of presidential approval. Despite this, we lack a complete understanding of the processes through which people evaluate presidential performance. This article proposes a theoretical model that explains how presidential performance evaluations are strongly influenced by one's genetic makeup. The model is tested using twin data to estimate the genetic heritability of presidential performance evaluations and finds that presidential approval has a strong genetic component.

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Money That Draws No Interest: Public Financing of Legislative Elections and Candidate Emergence

Raymond La Raja & David Wiltse
Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The lack of candidates and low competition for American legislatures prompts the search for institutional reforms to encourage more citizens to run for office. One proposed remedy is to provide public subsidies to qualified candidates to mitigate the cost of fundraising and improve the odds of winning. This study provides an empirical test of whether subsidies attract additional candidates. Using new data from a unique panel survey of political elites in Connecticut before and after reform, the findings indicate that subsidies may change attitudes about the cost of running, but they have little direct impact on the decision to run because other factors are much more salient. The results highlight the strength of the "strategic candidate" thesis and illustrate the difficulty of designing institutions to encourage more people to run for office.

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Cross-cutting Messages and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

Ying Shi
Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does disagreement stimulate political participation, or discourage it? Some researchers find that exposure to cross-cutting views demobilizes voters. Selection bias in the way individuals expose themselves to disagreement and other sources of endogeneity pose challenges to causal inference. I address these concerns by using an experimental design that exogenously assigns cross-cutting or reinforcing messages. A random sample of North Carolina Democrats and Republicans received postcards summarizing either liberal or conservative opinions on a statewide same-sex marriage amendment. I find that individuals exposed to disagreement demobilize by 1.0 to 1.6 percentage points, with the majority of the combined effect attributable to a 2.0-percentage point decrease in turnout among Republicans receiving a Democratic message. I observe a similar level of demobilization when defining disagreement on the basis of predicted issue position on same-sex marriage in place of partisan affiliation. The effects are strongest among moderate supporters of traditional marriage that receive a cross-cutting treatment. The experimental design thus enables causal evidence on the nuanced interactions between political or issue position and exposure to campaign information from the opposing side.

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Death and Turnout: The Human Costs of War and Voter Participation in Democracies

Michael Koch & Stephen Nicholson
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
War heightens public interest in politics, especially when human lives are lost. We examine whether, and how, combat casualties affect the decision to vote in established democracies. Drawing from social psychology research on mortality salience, we expect increasing casualties to increase the salience of death, information that moves people to defend their worldview, especially nationalistic and ideological values. By heightening the importance of values, we propose that combat casualties increase the benefits of voting. In particular, we expect the effect of combat casualties to be pronounced among the least politically engaged. Using both cross-national data of elections in 23 democracies over a 50-year period and survey data from the United States and United Kingdom during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, we found that mounting casualties increase turnout. Furthermore, as expected, we found the effect of casualties to be most pronounced among those least interested in politics.

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The psychological roots of populist voting: Evidence from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany

Bert Bakker, Matthijs Rooduijn & Gijs Schumacher
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
What are the psychological roots of support for populist parties or outfits such as the Tea Party, the Dutch Party for Freedom or Germany's Left Party? Populist parties have as a common denominator that they employ an anti-establishment message, which they combine with some 'host' ideology. Building on the congruency model of political preference, it is to be expected that a voter's personality should match with the message and position of his or her party. This article theorises that a low score on the personality trait Agreeableness matches the anti-establishment message and should predict voting for populist parties. Evidence is found for this hypothesis in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany. The relationship between low Agreeableness and voting for populist parties is robust, controlling for other personality traits, authoritarianism, sociodemographic characteristics and ideology. Thus, explanations of the success of populism should take personality traits into account.

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Billboards and Turnout: A Randomized Field Experiment

Costas Panagopoulos & Shang Ha
Journal of Political Marketing, Fall 2015, Pages 391-404

Abstract:
Scholars argue that mass media appeals and other examples of communications that provide "noticeable reminders" to vote should elevate voter turnout (Dale and Strauss 2009), but a wide range of field experimental studies show that messages delivered via untargeted and impersonal means (such as mass media) are ineffective (Green and Gerber 2008). We test these competing hypotheses in a randomized, mass media field experiment using billboard advertisements to mobilize participation in local elections taking place in November 2007. Despite that outdoor advertising is commonly used in political campaigns to widely reach citizens, no study of which we are aware has experimentally tested the causal effects of billboard advertising on voter turnout. Our findings suggest that billboards are ineffective in generating higher levels of voter turnout. We discuss these results in comparison with other mass media advertisements and other get-out-the-vote methods. Experimental replication and extension is necessary to probe further the impact of outdoor advertising on voting behavior.

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What's the Matter with Palm Beach County?

Eric Uslaner
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
American Jews voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in 2012 despite strong Republican efforts to win their votes. Republicans charged that Obama was not sufficiently supportive of Israel and that Mitt Romney was closer to Jewish opinions on this salient issue. Republicans miscalculated. For most American Jews, Israel was not a key voting issue. American Jews were also closer to Obama on Middle East issues than they were to Republicans. There was also a cultural chasm between American Jews and the Tea Party, reflective of long-standing tensions between Jews and evangelicals. Using surveys of the Jewish vote and the full electorate, I show that this cultural divide was more salient for Jews than for other white voters - and that there is at least preliminary evidence that this cultural divide may be important for other minority groups.

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The Impact of District Magnitude on Voter Drop-Off and Roll-Off in American Elections

Paul Herrnson, Jeffrey Taylor & James Curry
Legislative Studies Quarterly, November 2015, Pages 627-650

Abstract:
This study demonstrates that multimember districts (MMDs) complicate ballots, reduce voter information, and increase incentives for strategic voting in ways that reduce voter participation. Using data from three states that elect members of at least one legislative chamber from both single-member districts (SMDs) and MMDs, we test hypotheses about the impact on MMDs on ballot drop-off (selecting fewer candidates for an office than permissible) and roll-off (not voting in down-ballot races). We find support for both sets of hypotheses, with the strongest results related to ballot drop-off. The results have broad implications for voter participation, representation, and election administration in the many states and localities that use MMDs to elect public officials.

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Cueing Patriotism, Prejudice, and Partisanship in the Age of Obama: Experimental Tests of U.S. Flag Imagery Effects in Presidential Elections

Nathan Kalmoe & Kimberly Gross
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The American flag is a powerful symbol that campaigns seek to harness for electoral gain. But the flag's benefits may be more elusive than they appear. We begin by presenting content analysis of the flag's prevalence in 2012 U.S. presidential campaign ads, which suggests both candidates saw flags as advantageous. Then, in two experiments set during the 2012 campaign and a later study with prospective 2016 candidates, we find flag exposure provides modest but consistent benefits for Republican candidates among voters high in symbolic patriotism, racial prejudice, and Republican identification. These effects arise regardless of which candidate appears with the flag. Taken together, our results speak to both the power and limitations of the American flag in electioneering. Beyond practical implications for campaigns, these studies emphasize the heterogeneity of citizens' reactions to visual political symbols and highlight potent links between symbolic attitudes and a nation's flag.

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Narratives of a Race: How the Media Judged a Presidential Debate

Zim Nwokora & Lara Brown
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The first debate in 2008 was a turning point in the presidential election campaign: a race that was close before the debate turned decisively in Obama's favor following it. This article explores how the media reached their verdict that "Obama won." We examine two aspects of this problem: how, in practice, the media reached this verdict and whether they made the right decision from a normative standpoint. Based on content analysis of debate transcripts, we argue that the media interpreted the debate by synthesizing three pre-debate narratives in roughly equal proportions. Crucially, two of these narratives favored Obama. We also find that the "Obama won" verdict was consistent with what we might expect had the debate been judged by a public-spirited umpire.

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Strategic Challenger Entry in a Federal System: The Role of Economic and Political Conditions in State Legislative Competition

Steven Rogers
Legislative Studies Quarterly, November 2015, Pages 539-570

Abstract:
Over a third of state legislators do not face challengers when seeking reelection. Existing analyses of state legislative contestation almost exclusively focus on the stable institutional features surrounding elections and ignore conditions that change between elections. I remedy this oversight by investigating how political contexts influence challenger entry. State legislators - particularly members of the governor's party - more often face opposition during weak state economies, but the president's copartisans are even more likely to receive a challenger when the president is unpopular. My findings suggest that both national- and state-level political conditions have an important impact on challengers' entry strategies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Following

Is the call to prayer a call to cooperate? A field experiment on the impact of religious salience on prosocial behavior

Erik Duhaime
Judgment and Decision Making, November 2015, Pages 593–596

Abstract:
While religiosity is positively correlated with self-reported prosociality, observational and experimental studies on the long-hypothesized connection between religion and prosocial behavior have yielded mixed results. Recent work highlights the role of religious salience for stimulating prosocial behavior, but much of this research has involved priming Christian subjects in laboratory settings, limiting generalization to the real world. Here I present a field study conducted in the souks in the medina of Marrakesh, Morocco, which shows that religious salience can increase prosocial behavior with Muslim subjects in a natural setting. In an economic decision making task similar to a dictator game, shopkeepers demonstrated increased prosocial behavior when the Islamic call to prayer was audible compared to when it was not audible. This finding complements a growing literature on the connection between cultural cues, religious practices, and prosocial behavior, and supports the hypothesis that religious rituals play a role in galvanizing prosocial behavior.

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Religiosity as a buffer against suicidal ideation: A comparison between Christian and Muslim-Arab adolescents

Helen Kakounda Muallem & Moshe Israelashvilli
Mental Health, Religion & Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of existing studies on the impact of religious beliefs on adolescents’ suicidal ideation have been conducted among Christians living in Western countries. This study explored the association between religious beliefs and suicidal thoughts among Muslim and Christian adolescents from the Arab minority population of the State of Israel. An estimated 219 late-adolescents participated in this study, including 110 Muslims and 99 Christians, with the same proportion of boys and girls. Participants completed questionnaires on reasons for living, suicidal ideation and religiosity. A significant negative correlation (r = −.33) was found between level of religiosity and suicidal ideation, but only among the Christian adolescents. Religious devoutness may not be a universal buffer against suicidal ideation, across different religions.

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Spouse's Religious Commitment and Marital Quality: Clarifying the Role of Gender

Samuel Perry
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: Research on religion and marriage consistently finds a positive association between spousal religious commitment and more positive marital outcomes. But findings regarding the moderating influence of gender on this relationship have been mixed. This article clarifies whether returns to marital quality from having a devout spouse are greater for married women or men.

Method: Drawing on data from the nationally representative 2006 Portraits of American Life Study, and utilizing 12 different measures of marital quality, I estimate ordinary least squares (OLS) and logistic regression models to test my hypotheses.

Results: In analyses of the full sample, spouse's religious commitment generally predicts positive marital outcomes, net of controls for respondents’ gender as well as their religious and sociodemographic characteristics. However, when models are estimated for women and men separately, the returns to marital quality from having a religiously committed spouse are much stronger and more consistent for women than for men.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that, ceteris paribus, having a spouse who is more religious predicts positive marriage outcomes, but women benefit from having a religiously committed spouse more than men do. Possible explanations are discussed.

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Social norms, dual identities, and national attachment: How the perceived patriotism of group members influences Muslim Americans

Elizabeth Suhay, Brian Calfano & Ryan Dawe
Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
What causes individuals to express patriotism? We argue that Americans’ symbolic patriotism stems in part from social influence, with norms in relevant identity groups influencing individuals’ patriotism levels. Given that Americans identify with multiple groups – national, racial, and religious, among others – many groups are potentially influential in this regard. We focus in this article on Muslim Americans, an especially diverse group, conducting an experiment with approximately 450 Muslim Americans from across the USA. We randomly assigned participants to stimuli that portrayed either Muslim Americans or Americans in general as either highly patriotic or unpatriotic. Perceived patriotic norms among Americans and Muslim Americans strongly – and equally – influenced participants’ expressions of patriotism, although unpatriotic norms did not influence participants’ patriotism. In addition, patriotic and unpatriotic norms among fellow national and subgroup members influenced participants’ evaluations of government. As predicted, these norms did not influence intended participation, suggesting that the normative import of symbolic patriotism may be limited. Finally, African-American Muslims, a minority subgroup of this population, were less responsive to Muslim American patriotic norms than were non-African-American Muslims. The results support the conceptualization of patriotism as a social norm and demonstrate the political relevance of Americans’ multiple identities.

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Did Buddha turn the other cheek too? A comparison of posing biases between Jesus and Buddha

Kari Duerksen, Trista Friedrich & Lorin Elias
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
People tend to exhibit a leftward bias in posing. Various studies suggest that posing to the left portrays a stronger emotion, whereas posing to the right portrays a more neutral emotion. Religions such as Christianity emphasize the role of strong emotions in religious experience, whereas religions such as Buddhism emphasize the calming of emotions as being important. In the present study, we investigated if the emphasis on emotionality of a religion influences the depiction of their religious figures. Specifically, we coded 484 paintings of Jesus and Buddha from online art databases for whether the deity exhibited a left bias, right bias, or central face presentation. The posing biases were analysed to discover whether paintings of Jesus would more frequently depict a leftward bias than paintings of Buddha. Jesus is more commonly depicted with a leftward bias than Buddha, and Buddha is more commonly depicted with a central face presentation than Jesus. These findings support the idea that the amount of emotionality that is to be conveyed in artwork influences the whether the subject is posed with a leftward bias.

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How Religious are American Women and Men? Gender Differences and Similarities

Landon Schnabel
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are women universally more religious than men? Some research on gender differences has argued that biology leads women to be innately more religious than men, but other research has highlighted the importance of avoiding universal claims and recognizing complexity. This brief note uses General Social Survey data to report gender differences in predicted religiosity by religious category across eight measures. In the United States, gender differences seem to be primarily a Christian phenomenon. Although women reveal higher levels of religiosity across Christian groups, this trend does not extend to non-Christian groups. Furthermore, there is variation even among Christian groups, with women not revealing higher levels of religiosity for all measures. Nevertheless, there does seem to be a general trend for women to report daily prayer more often than men. These findings further problematize the idea that there are innate gender differences in religiosity rooted in biology, and provide a descriptive foundation for future attempts to explain why (American) Christian groups reveal gender differences in religiosity.

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The Role of Religion in Environmental Attitudes

Matthew Arbuckle & David Konisky
Social Science Quarterly, November 2015, Pages 1244–1263

Objective: This article examines the role of religion in public attitudes about the environment. While some have found that various aspects of theology and religious practices are responsible for lower levels of concern about the environment, the overall evidence is inconclusive, largely because the typical sample size is insufficient to gain insight into differences between religious traditions.

Methods: We use ordered logistic regression to analyze data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, a large survey that allows us to unpack the relationships among religious affiliation, religiosity, and environmental attitudes.

Results: Our results show that members of Judeo-Christian traditions are less concerned about environmental protection than their nonreligious peers, and that religiosity somewhat intensifies these relationships for evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and mainline Protestants.

Conclusion: While the results generally support traditional arguments that religion depresses concern about the environment, they also reveal considerable variation across and within religious traditions.

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Christmas and Subjective Well-Being: A Research Note

Michael Mutz
Applied Research in Quality of Life, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to Holmes and Rahe, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11(2), 213–218, (1967), Christmas is a critical life event that may cause feelings of stress that, in turn, can lead to reduced subjective well-being (SWB) and health problems. This study uses a quantitative approach and large-scale survey data to assess whether or not respondents in European countries indicate lower SWB before and around Christmas. Precisely, respondents interviewed in the week before Christmas or at Christmas holidays are compared to respondents who are questioned at other times throughout the year. Moreover, the assumption is tested if religious denomination and religiousness moderate the association between Christmas and SWB. Main findings suggest that the Christmas period is related to a decrease in life satisfaction and emotional well-being. However, Christians, particularly those with a higher degree of religiousness, are an exception to this pattern.

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With God on our side: Religious primes reduce the envisioned physical formidability of a menacing adversary

Colin Holbrook, Daniel Fessler & Jeremy Pollack
Cognition, January 2016, Pages 387–392

Abstract:
The imagined support of benevolent supernatural agents attenuates anxiety and risk perception. Here, we extend these findings to judgments of the threat posed by a potentially violent adversary. Conceptual representations of bodily size and strength summarize factors that determine the relative threat posed by foes. The proximity of allies moderates the envisioned physical formidability of adversaries, suggesting that cues of access to supernatural allies will reduce the envisioned physical formidability of a threatening target. Across two studies, subtle cues of both supernatural and earthly social support reduced the envisioned physical formidability of a violent criminal. These manipulations had no effect on the perceived likelihood of encountering non-conflictual physical danger, raising the possibility that imagined supernatural support leads participants to view themselves not as shielded from encountering perilous situations, but as protected should perils arise.

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God, Yoga, and Karate

Joseph Yi & Daniel Silver
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the location patterns of organizations that embody key religious-spiritual traditions and that have grown to prominence in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries: evangelical churches, yoga, and martial arts. The distribution of key cultural organizations depends on the degree to which they are able to frame themselves in relation to one another and to core American traditions. Organizations associated with the American religious divide are more polarized in their social appeal and spatial distributions, and those framed as broadly neutral elements of popular culture are more widely distributed. Using a national database of local amenities, we find that theologically conservative churches are popular in many neighborhoods but concentrated in less-educated and nonwhite areas. Yoga studios are less geographically dispersed and more spatially concentrated in college-educated and white areas. Compared to these, martial arts schools, sports clubs, and other pop-culture amenities are more widely distributed across different types of areas.

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Discrimination and religiosity among Muslim women in the UK before and after the Charlie Hebdo attacks

Skaiste Liepyte & Kareena McAloney-Kocaman
Mental Health, Religion & Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
In January 2015, media outlets reported a series of attacks by Islamic terror groups in France, instigated at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo publication. Previous research has indicated that the consequence of exposure to terrorist attacks can extend beyond the immediate victims, with a potentially international reach. This secondary data analysis compares the perceptions of discrimination, religiosity, and religious engagement of 240 Muslim women in the UK, recruited before and after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The results indicate greater religious engagement and perceptions of discrimination among those women recruited after the attacks. This suggests that the impact of such events may reach beyond the immediate victims, and societies need to develop and provide support in response to such attacks, regardless of the geographical location of the event.

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The Academic Advantage of Devotion: Measuring Variation in the Value of Weekly Worship in Late Adolescence on Educational Attainment Using Propensity Score Matching

Jeannie Kim
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study measures the effect of regular worship attendance at age 17 on total years of schooling by age 25, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. Expanding on previous work, this study estimates differences in the impact of worship attendance by race and family income status using propensity score matching. Individuals who frequently attend religious services complete .69 more years of schooling than similar individuals who do not frequently attend services. There are significantly greater returns to attendance for low-income youth and no significant difference in returns by religious affiliation. These findings suggest that religious observance provides greater benefits for low-income individuals or perhaps provides resources high-income individuals have access to elsewhere. Moreover, this study extends previous work by examining a more recent and nationally representative sample of youth and by using methods that allow for greater causal inference.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Informed

What Are We Meeting For? The Consequences of Private Meetings with Investors

David Solomon & Eugene Soltes
Journal of Law & Economics, May 2015, Pages 325-355

Abstract:
Regulation Fair Disclosure was passed in 2000 in response to the concern that certain investors were gaining selective access to privileged firm information. In spite of the passage of this regulation, some investors continue to meet privately with executives. Using a unique set of proprietary records of all one-on-one meetings between senior management and investors for a New York Stock Exchange-traded firm, we investigate the impact of private meetings on investor decisions. We find that when investors meet privately with management they make more informed trading decisions. This improvement in trading is concentrated in hedge funds, but is not present for investment advisors or pension funds. Overall, our results suggest that private meetings help a select group of investors make more informed trading decisions.

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Anticipating the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis: Who Knew What and When Did They Know It?

Biljana Adebambo, Paul Brockman & Xuemin (Sterling) Yan
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, August 2015, Pages 647-669

Abstract:
We examine the ability of three groups of informed market participants to anticipate the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Institutional investors and financial analysts exhibit some awareness of the impending crisis in their preference for nonfinancial stocks over financial stocks. In contrast, corporate insiders of financial firms appear to be completely unaware of the timing and extent of the financial crisis. Net purchases by managers of financial firms exceed those by managers of nonfinancial firms over the entire 2006-2008 period. Our results add considerable weight to the argument that the financial crisis was more a case of flawed judgment than flawed incentives.

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Bubble Investing: Learning from History

William Goetzmann
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
History is important to the study of financial bubbles precisely because they are extremely rare events, but history can be misleading. The rarity of bubbles in the historical record makes the sample size for inference small. Restricting attention to crashes that followed a large increase in market level makes negative historical outcomes salient. In this paper I examine the frequency of large, sudden increases in market value in a broad panel data of world equity markets extending from the beginning of the 20th century. I find the probability of a crash conditional on a boom is only slightly higher than the unconditional probability. The chances that a market gave back it gains following a doubling in value are about 10%. In simple terms, bubbles are booms that went bad. Not all booms are bad.

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Compensating Financial Experts

Vincent Glode & Richard Lowery
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose a labor market model in which financial firms compete for a scarce supply of workers who can be employed as either bankers or traders. While hiring bankers helps create a surplus that can be split between a firm and its trading counterparties, hiring traders helps the firm appropriate a greater share of that surplus away from its counterparties. Firms bid defensively for workers bound to become traders, who then earn more than bankers. As counterparties employ more traders, the benefit of employing bankers decreases. The model sheds light on the historical evolution of compensation in finance.

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Regulation and Market Liquidity

Francesco Trebbi & Kairong Xiao
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
The aftermath of the 2008-09 U.S. financial crisis has been characterized by regulatory intervention of unprecedented scale. Although the necessity of a realignment of incentives and constraints of financial markets participants became a shared posterior after the near collapse of the U.S. financial system, considerable doubts have been subsequently raised on the welfare consequences of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and its various subcomponents, such as the Volcker Rule. The possibility of permanently inhibiting the market making capacity of large banks, with dire consequences in terms of under-provision of market liquidity, has been repeatedly raised. This paper presents systematic evidence from four different estimation strategies of the absence of breakpoints in market liquidity for fixed-income asset classes and across multiple liquidity measures, with special attention given to the corporate bond market. The analysis is performed without imposing restrictions on the exact dating of breaks (i.e. allowing for anticipatory response or lagging reactions to regulation) and focusing both on levels and dynamic latent factors. We report both single breakpoint and multiple breakpoint tests and analyze the liquidity of corporate bonds matched to their main underwriters making markets on those assets. Post-crisis U.S. regulatory intervention does not appear to have produced structural deteriorations in market liquidity.

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Cost of Experimentation and the Evolution of Venture Capital

Michael Ewens, Ramana Nanda & Matthew Rhodes-Kropf
Harvard Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
We study adaptation by financial intermediaries as a response to technological change in the context venture-capital finance. Using a theoretical model and rich data, we are able to both document and provide a framework to understand the changes in the investment strategy of VCs in recent years - an increased prevalence of investors who "spray and pray" - providing a little funding and limited governance to an increased number of startups that they are more likely to abandon, but where early experiments significantly inform beliefs about the future potential of the venture. We also highlight how this adaptation by financial intermediaries has altered the trajectory of aggregate innovation away from complex technologies where initial experiments cost more towards those where information on future prospects is revealed quickly and cheaply.

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The Fetal Origins Hypothesis in Finance: Prenatal Environment, the Gender Gap, and Investor Behavior

Henrik Cronqvist et al.
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that differences in individuals' prenatal environment explain heterogeneity in financial decisions later in life. An exogenous increase in exposure to prenatal testosterone is associated with the masculinization of financial behavior, specifically with elevated risk taking and trading in adulthood. We also examine birth weight. Those with higher birth weight are more likely to participate in the stock market, whereas those with lower birth weight tend to prefer portfolios with higher volatility and skewness, consistent with compensatory behavior. Our results contribute to the understanding of how the prenatal environment shapes an individual's behavior in financial markets later in life.

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Do markets reveal preferences or shape them?

Andrea Isoni et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We contrast the proposition that markets reveal independently-existing preferences with the alternative possibility that they may help to shape them. Using demand-revealing experimental market institutions, we separate the shaping effects of price cues from the effects of market discipline. We find that individual valuations and prevailing prices are systematically affected by both exogenous manipulations of price expectations and endogenous but divergent price feedback. These effects persist to varying degrees, in spite of further market experience. In some circumstances, market experience may actually consolidate them. We discuss possible explanations for these effects of uninformative price cues on revealed preferences.

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The accuracy of disclosures for complex estimates: Evidence from reported stock option fair values

Brian Bratten, Ross Jennings & Casey Schwab
Accounting, Organizations and Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this study, we exploit the unique reporting requirements for employee stock options to provide large sample evidence on the accuracy of footnote disclosures related to a specific complex estimate, the fair value of options granted. We first document the frequency and magnitude of differences between (1) the reported weighted-average fair value of options granted and (2) the calculated option fair value using the disclosed weighted-average valuation model inputs and the Black-Scholes option pricing model. In a sample of 23,358 firm-year observations between 2004 and 2011, we find that 23.9 percent have reported and calculated option fair values that differ by more than ten percent, and that these differences are sticky and are frequently significant as a percentage of net income. We also find that fair value differences are larger for firms that (1) exhibit anomalous stock option footnote disclosures that likely result from disclosure errors, (2) have more complex and hence error-prone stock option programs, and (3) have lower quality financial reporting. Taken together this evidence is consistent with large fair value differences that are primarily due to unintentional errors in the stock option footnote disclosures. To document the consequences of these fair value differences, we provide evidence that errors in the reported fair values prevent financial statement users from using the reported values to reliably estimate future stock option expense for many firms. Consistent with this result, we also find that analyst forecasts are less accurate and more dispersed for firms with larger fair value differences.

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Mutual Forbearance and Competition Among Security Analysts

Joel Baum, Anne Bowers & Partha Mohanram
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research in industrial organization and strategic management has shown that rivals competing with each other in multiple markets are more willing to show each other mutual forbearance, i.e., compete less aggressively, within their spheres of influence, i.e., the markets in which each firm dominates. Sell-side equity analysts typically cover multiple stocks in common with their rivals. We examine the impact of this "multipoint contact" for mutual forbearance on two key dimensions of competition among security analysts: forecast accuracy and information leadership (issuing earnings forecasts or stock recommendations that influence rival analysts). We find that multipoint contact is associated with analysts exerting greater information leadership on stocks within their own spheres of influence. We also find greater forbearance related to information leadership under Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD). In contrast, multipoint contact was not associated with greater forecast accuracy on stocks within analysts' spheres of influence, either before or under Reg FD. Our analysis is among the first to consider mechanisms of competition among securities analysts and also adds to the literature on Reg FD by demonstrating that the increased workload imposed on analysts after Reg FD fostered mutual forbearance as a response.

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You're Fired! New Evidence on Portfolio Manager Turnover and Performance

Leonard Kostovetsky & Jerold Warner
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, August 2015, Pages 729-755

Abstract:
We study managerial turnover for both internally managed mutual funds and those managed externally by subadvisors. We argue that turnover of subadvisors provides sharper tests and helps address several unresolved issues and puzzles from the previous literature. We find dramatically stronger inverse relations between subadvisor departures and lagged returns, and new evidence on how past flow predicts turnover. We find no evidence of improvements in return performance related to departures, but flow improvements are associated with departures of poor past performers. Our findings represent new evidence on how investors, sponsors, and boards learn about and evaluate mutual fund management performance.

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Asset Pricing When Traders Sell Extreme Winners and Losers

Li An
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the asset pricing implications of a newly documented refinement of the disposition effect, characterized by investors being more likely to sell a security when the magnitude of their gains or losses on it increases. I find that stocks with both large unrealized gains and large unrealized losses outperform others in the following month (trading strategy monthly alpha = 0.5-1%, Sharpe ratio = 1.5). This supports the conjecture that these stocks experience higher selling pressure, leading to lower current prices and higher future returns. Overall, this study provides new evidence that investors' trading behavior can aggregate to affect equilibrium price dynamics.

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Inflation Illusion and Stock Returns

William Brown, Dayong Huang & Fang Wang
Journal of Empirical Finance, January 2016, Pages 14-24

Abstract:
A large sensitivity of stocks' earnings yield to inflation suggests that the value of these stocks is highly influenced by inflation illusion. We construct an inflation illusion factor by buying stocks with large earnings yield sensitivities on inflation and selling stocks with small earnings yield sensitivities on inflation. This factor has a return of approximately 5% per year and is priced in the cross sectional asset returns. Low asset growth stocks have greater exposure to the inflation illusion factor than their counterparts, and they are also underpriced at times of high inflation. Our results are robust for a number of controls.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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