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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Not a pretty picture

Polluting Black Space

Courtney Bonam, Hilary Bergsieker & Jennifer Eberhardt

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social psychologists have long demonstrated that people are stereotyped on the basis of race. Researchers have conducted extensive experimental studies on the negative stereotypes associated with Black Americans in particular. Across 4 studies, we demonstrate that the physical spaces associated with Black Americans are also subject to negative racial stereotypes. Such spaces, for example, are perceived as impoverished, crime-ridden, and dirty (Study 1). Moreover, these space-focused stereotypes can powerfully influence how connected people feel to a space (Studies 2a, 2b, and 3), how they evaluate that space (Studies 2a and 2b), and how they protect that space from harm (Study 3). Indeed, processes related to space-focused stereotypes may contribute to social problems across a range of domains — from racial disparities in wealth to the overexposure of Blacks to environmental pollution. Together, the present studies broaden the scope of traditional stereotyping research and highlight promising new directions.

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Girl in a Country Song: Gender Roles and Objectification of Women in Popular Country Music across 1990 to 2014

Eric Rasmussen & Rebecca Densley

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although content analyses have examined the portrayal of women in objectifying and demeaning ways in many forms of media, including several genres of music, little research has explored the portrayal of women in country music. The current study content analyzed the lyrics of 750 country songs popular in the United States across almost three decades (1990–2014) for their portrayal of female gender roles and objectification of women. Findings revealed that country songs from 2010 to 2014 were less likely to portray women in traditional roles, non-traditional roles, family roles, and as empowered than songs that were popular in the first half of one or both prior decades. Songs from 2010 to 2014 were also more likely to refer to a woman’s appearance, to women in tight or revealing clothing, to women as objects, and to women via slang than songs in one or both prior decades. Furthermore, results indicate that the changes in the portrayal of women appear to be driven by changes in lyrics in songs sung by male artists, but not by those in songs sung by female artists. The present research helps to lay a foundation for future work exploring the relations between exposure to country music, female gender role stereotypes, and attitudes and behaviors related to objectification of women.

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Is group membership necessary for understanding generalized prejudice? A re-evaluation of why prejudices are interrelated

Robin Bergh et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, September 2016, Pages 367-395

Abstract:
Many scholars have proposed that people who reject one outgroup tend to reject other outgroups. Studies examining a latent factor behind different prejudices (e.g., toward ethnic and sexual minorities) have referred to this as generalized prejudice. Such research has also documented robust relations between latent prejudice factors and basic personality traits. However, targets of generalized prejudice tend to be lower in power and status and thus it remains an open question as to whether generalized prejudice, as traditionally studied, is about devaluing outgroups or devaluing marginalized groups. We present 7 studies, including experiments and national probability samples (N = 9,907 and 4,037) assessing the importance of outgroup devaluation, versus status- or power based devaluations, for understanding the nature of generalized prejudice, and its links to personality. Results show that (a) personality variables do not predict ingroup/outgroup biases in settings where power and status differences are absent, (b) women and overweight people who score high on generalized prejudice devalue their own groups, and (c) personality variables are far more predictive of prejudice toward low-compared with high-status targets. Together, these findings suggest that the personality explanation of prejudice including the generalized prejudice concept is not about ingroups versus outgroups per se, but rather about devaluing marginalized groups.

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Racial stereotypes impair flexibility of emotional learning

Joseph Dunsmoor et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, September 2016, Pages 1363-1373

Abstract:
Flexibility of associative learning can be revealed by establishing and then reversing cue-outcome discriminations. Here, we used functional MRI to examine whether neurobehavioral correlates of reversal-learning are impaired in White and Asian volunteers when initial learning involves fear-conditioning to a racial out-group. For one group, the picture of a Black male was initially paired with shock (threat) and a White male was unpaired (safe). For another group, the White male was a threat and the Black male was safe. These associations reversed midway through the task. Both groups initially discriminated threat from safety, as expressed through skin conductance responses (SCR) and activity in the insula, thalamus, midbrain and striatum. After reversal, the group initially conditioned to a Black male exhibited impaired reversal of SCRs to the new threat stimulus (White male), and impaired reversals in the striatum, anterior cingulate cortex, midbrain and thalamus. In contrast, the group initially conditioned to a White male showed successful reversal of SCRs and successful reversal in these brain regions toward the new threat. These findings provide new evidence that an aversive experience with a racial out-group member impairs the ability to flexibly and appropriately adjust fear expression towards a new threat in the environment.

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Infrahumanizing praise: Athletic admiration decreases perceptions of agency and support for college athletes’ rights

Mark White & Ludwin Molina

Social Psychology, July/August 2016, Pages 187-200

Abstract:
Five studies demonstrate that athletic praise can ironically lead to infrahumanization. College athletes were seen as less agentic than college debaters (Studies 1 and 2). College athletes praised for their bodies were also seen as less agentic than college athletes praised for their minds (Study 3), and this effect was driven by bodily admiration (Study 4). These effects occurred equally for White and Black athletes (Study 1) and did not depend on dualistic beliefs about the mind and body (Study 2), failing to provide support for assumptions in the literature. Participants perceived mind and body descriptions of both athletes and debaters as equally high in praise (Study 5), demonstrating that infrahumanization may be induced even if descriptions of targets are positively valenced. Additionally, decreased perceptions of agency led to decreased support for college athletes’ rights (Study 3).

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Overcorrection for Social-Categorization Information Moderates Impact Bias in Affective Forecasting

Tatiana Lau, Carey Morewedge & Mina Cikara

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Plural societies require individuals to forecast how others — both in-group and out-group members — will respond to gains and setbacks. Typically, correcting affective forecasts to include more relevant information improves their accuracy by reducing their extremity. In contrast, we found that providing affective forecasters with social-category information about their targets made their forecasts more extreme and therefore less accurate. In both political and sports contexts, forecasters across five experiments exhibited greater impact bias for both in-group and out-group members (e.g., a Democrat or Republican) than for unspecified targets when predicting experiencers’ responses to positive and negative events. Inducing time pressure reduced the extremity of forecasts for group-labeled but not unspecified targets, which suggests that the increased impact bias was due to overcorrection for social-category information, not different intuitive predictions for identified targets. Finally, overcorrection was better accounted for by stereotypes than by spontaneous retrieval of extreme group exemplars.

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Avoidant attachment style predicts less positive evaluations of warm (but not cold) social groups

Nicholas Santascoy, Sara Burke & John Dovidio

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies investigated the hypothesis that because individuals who are high on attachment avoidance tend to be disinterested in warmth in interpersonal relationships, they may respond less favorably to groups perceived as warm, attenuating the generally positive association between perceived warmth and favorable evaluation of a group. In Study 1, participants responded to groups representing the four quadrants based on warmth and competence identified by the stereotype content model (e.g., White people, homeless people). On average, people evaluated groups higher in stereotypical warmth more positively. However, as predicted, this effect was significantly weaker among participants higher in attachment avoidance. No effect was found for attachment anxiety. Study 2, in which the perceived warmth of a fictitious group was experimentally manipulated, conceptually replicated the effect for attachment avoidance. Understanding how attachment avoidance may attenuate favorable attitudes toward socially warm groups can help illuminate broader processes of intergroup relations.

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Beneath the beard: Do facial morphometrics influence the strength of judgments of men's beardedness?

Barnaby Dixson et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Converging evidence suggests men's beards, like many androgen-dependent masculine secondary sexual traits, communicate masculinity and dominance intra-sexually while effects of men's beardedness on attractiveness ratings are more equivocal. Beards may enhance perceived masculinity and dominance via amplifying aspects of underlying craniofacial masculinity, particularly the size of the lower face and jaw. Here we tested these predictions across two studies. In Study 1, we tested how three facial metrics - objectively measured craniofacial masculinity, facial-width-to-height ratio (fWHR), and jaw size - calculated while clean-shaven impacted on ratings of attractiveness, masculinity and dominance of 37 men photographed when clean-shaven and with full beards. Results showed that beards exerted significant and positive effects on masculinity, dominance and to a lesser extent attractiveness. However, fWHR did not significantly interact with beardedness to influence the directions of any of the ratings, and while some linear and nonlinear interactions were significant between objective craniofacial masculinity and beardedness as well as between jaw size and beardedness, they tended to be subtle and dwarfed by the large main effect of beardedness on perceptual ratings. In Study 2, we measured ratings of attractiveness, masculinity and dominance for composite clean-shaven and bearded stimuli experimentally manipulated in facial shape to represent ±50% the shape of a beard, essentially manipulating the size of the lower face and jaw of the stimuli. We found a strong main effect whereby bearded stimuli enhanced dominance and masculinity ratings over clean-shaven stimuli. Increasing the size of the lower face and jaw augmented ratings of masculinity and dominance in clean-shaven stimuli but did not exert strong effects within bearded stimuli. Attractiveness ratings were highest for bearded faces with smaller jaws followed by bearded and clean-shaven faces with larger jaws and lowest for clean-shaven faces with small jaws. Taken together, our findings suggest that beards exert main effects on masculinity and dominance possibly by amplifying male typical facial shape. Attractiveness ratings of facial hair may reflect a compromise between overly dominant looking faces with larger jaws and the additive effects beardedness has on these ratings.

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Perpetuation of sexual objectification: The role of resource depletion

James Tyler, Rachel Calogero & Katherine Adams

British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women are sexually objectified when viewed and treated by others as mere objects. Abundant research has examined the negative consequences of being the target of sexual objectification; however, limited attention has focused on the person doing the objectification. Our focus is on the agent and how self-regulatory resources influence sexual objectification. Consistent with prior evidence, we reasoned that people have a well-learned automatic response to objectify sexualized women, and as such, we expected objectifying a sexualized (vs. personalized) woman would deplete fewer regulatory resources than not objectifying her. Findings across three studies confirmed our expectations, demonstrating the extent to which people objectify a sexualized woman or not is influenced by the availability of regulatory resources, a case that heretofore has been absent from the literature. These patterns are discussed in the context of the sexual objectification and self-regulation literature.

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Invisibility of Black women: Drawing attention to individuality

Amanda Sesko & Monica Biernat

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine nonprototypicality as an antecedent to invisibility (lack of individuation) of Black women. Study 1 varied numerical representation of Black women within the group “women” to be low/equal to White women, and Study 2 varied the trait overlap of Black women to be low/high relative to White women and/or Black men. Invisibility was measured by a face recognition task. Rather than invisibility being reduced under conditions of equal numerical representation and high trait overlap, low numerical representation and low trait overlap increased recognition for Black female faces. In Studies 3–4 participants primed to focus on differences showed better recognition for Black women’s faces than those primed to focus on similarities. We suggest a difference focus reduces reliance on categorical information, increasing individuation and visibility. But nonprototypicality matters: Study 5 perceivers who saw less overlap between “women” and “Black women” on gender stereotypes showed worse recognition of Black women.

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Race Essentialism and Social Contextual Differences in Children's Racial Stereotyping

Kristin Pauker et al.

Child Development, September/October 2016, Pages 1409–1422

Abstract:
The authors explored the differential emergence and correlates of racial stereotyping in 136 children ages 4–11 years across two broad social contexts: Hawai'i and Massachusetts. Children completed measures assessing race salience, race essentialism, and in-group and out-group stereotyping. Results indicated that the type of racial stereotypes emerging with age was context dependent. In both contexts in-group stereotyping increased with age. In contrast, there was only an age-related increase in out-group stereotyping in Massachusetts. Older children in Massachusetts reported more essentialist thinking (i.e., believing that race cannot change) than their counterparts in Hawai'i, which explained their higher out-group stereotyping. These results provide insight into the factors that may shape contextual differences in racial stereotyping.

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From ignorance to intolerance: Perceived intentionality of racial discrimination shapes preferences for colorblindness versus multiculturalism

Evan Apfelbaum et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Colorblindness and multiculturalism offer divergent prescriptions for reducing racial tensions. Colorblindness encourages looking beyond racial differences, whereas multiculturalism encourages recognizing them. We introduce a new construct, perceived intentionality of racial discrimination (PIRD) — individuals' beliefs about how intentional discrimination is — to help explain when and why colorblindness versus multiculturalism will be preferred, and potentially more effective, for improving race relations. We first establish the distinctiveness of the PIRD construct and assess its stability over time and across intergroup contexts (Studies 1–2). We then observe that greater PIRD predicts beliefs that colorblindness versus multiculturalism will improve race relations (Studies 2–5), in part because unintentional (versus intentional) discrimination is perceived to stem from ignorance and misunderstanding versus knowingly treating racial groups unequally (Studies 4, 5b). Evidence also suggests that PIRD may shape the actual merits of colorblindness and multiculturalism for improving race relations via encouraging donations (Study 6), positive interracial interaction intentions (Study 7), and comfort with discussing race following the widely-publicized shooting of a Black teen (Study 8). Taken together, our empirical findings demonstrate the usefulness of PIRD for understanding, predicting, and influencing individuals' preferences for colorblindness versus multiculturalism.

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Perceiving and Confronting Sexism: The Causal Role of Gender Identity Salience

Katie Wang & John Dovidio

Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although many researchers have explored the relations among gender identification, discriminatory attributions, and intentions to challenge discrimination, few have examined the causal impact of gender identity salience on women’s actual responses to a sexist encounter. In the current study, we addressed this question by experimentally manipulating the salience of gender identity and assessing its impact on women’s decision to confront a sexist comment in a simulated online interaction. Female participants (N = 114) were randomly assigned to complete a short measure of either personal or collective self-esteem, which was designed to increase the salience of personal versus gender identity. They were then given the opportunity to confront a male interaction partner who expressed sexist views. Compared to those who were primed to focus on their personal identity, participants who were primed to focus on their gender identity perceived the interaction partner’s remarks as more sexist and were more likely to engage in confrontation. By highlighting the powerful role of subtle contextual cues in shaping women’s perceptions of, and responses to, sexism, our findings have important implications for the understanding of gender identity salience as an antecedent of prejudice confrontation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Burned

A Note on the Perverse Effects of Actively Open-Minded Thinking on Climate-Change Polarization

Dan Kahan & Jonathan Corbin

Research & Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research note presents evidence that political polarization over the reality of human-caused climate change increases in tandem with individuals’ scores on a standard measure of Actively Open-minded Thinking. This finding is at odds with the position that attributes political conflict over facts to a personality trait of closed-mindedness associated with political conservatism.

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Green Expectations: Current Effects of Anticipated Carbon Pricing

Derek Lemoine

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
I report evidence that an anticipated strengthening of environmental policy increased emissions. I find that the breakdown of the U.S. Senate's 2010 climate effort generated positive excess returns in coal futures markets. This response appears to be driven by an increase in coal storage. The proposed legislation aimed to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions after 2013, but the legislative process itself may have increased emissions by over 12 million tons of carbon dioxide leading up to April 2010.

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Quantifying expert consensus against the existence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program

Christine Shearer et al.

Environmental Research Letters, August 2016

Abstract:
Nearly 17% of people in an international survey said they believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric program (SLAP) to be true or partly true. SLAP is commonly referred to as 'chemtrails' or 'covert geoengineering', and has led to a number of websites purported to show evidence of widespread chemical spraying linked to negative impacts on human health and the environment. To address these claims, we surveyed two groups of experts — atmospheric chemists with expertize in condensation trails and geochemists working on atmospheric deposition of dust and pollution — to scientifically evaluate for the first time the claims of SLAP theorists. Results show that 76 of the 77 scientists (98.7%) that took part in this study said they had not encountered evidence of a SLAP, and that the data cited as evidence could be explained through other factors, including well-understood physics and chemistry associated with aircraft contrails and atmospheric aerosols. Our goal is not to sway those already convinced that there is a secret, large-scale spraying program — who often reject counter-evidence as further proof of their theories — but rather to establish a source of objective science that can inform public discourse.

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Price of Long-Run Temperature Shifts in Capital Markets

Ravi Bansal, Dana Kiku & Marcelo Ochoa

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We use the forward-looking information from the US and global capital markets to estimate the economic impact of global warming, specifically, long-run temperature shifts. We find that global warming carries a positive risk premium that increases with the level of temperature and that has almost doubled over the last 80 years. Consistent with our model, virtually all US equity portfolios have negative exposure (beta) to long-run temperature fluctuations. The elasticity of equity prices to temperature risks across global markets is significantly negative and has been increasing in magnitude over time along with the rise in temperature. We use our empirical evidence to calibrate a long-run risks model with temperature-induced disasters in distant output growth to quantify the social cost of carbon emissions. The model simultaneously matches the projected temperature path, the observed consumption growth dynamics, discount rates provided by the risk-free rate and equity market returns, and the estimated temperature elasticity of equity prices. We find that the long-run impact of temperature on growth implies a significant social cost of carbon emissions.

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Independent evaluation of point source fossil fuel CO2 emissions to better than 10%

Jocelyn Christine Turnbull et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 September 2016, Pages 10287–10291

Abstract:
Independent estimates of fossil fuel CO2 (CO2ff) emissions are key to ensuring that emission reductions and regulations are effective and provide needed transparency and trust. Point source emissions are a key target because a small number of power plants represent a large portion of total global emissions. Currently, emission rates are known only from self-reported data. Atmospheric observations have the potential to meet the need for independent evaluation, but useful results from this method have been elusive, due to challenges in distinguishing CO2ff emissions from the large and varying CO2 background and in relating atmospheric observations to emission flux rates with high accuracy. Here we use time-integrated observations of the radiocarbon content of CO2 (14CO2) to quantify the recently added CO2ff mole fraction at surface sites surrounding a point source. We demonstrate that both fast-growing plant material (grass) and CO2 collected by absorption into sodium hydroxide solution provide excellent time-integrated records of atmospheric 14CO2. These time-integrated samples allow us to evaluate emissions over a period of days to weeks with only a modest number of measurements. Applying the same time integration in an atmospheric transport model eliminates the need to resolve highly variable short-term turbulence. Together these techniques allow us to independently evaluate point source CO2ff emission rates from atmospheric observations with uncertainties of better than 10%. This uncertainty represents an improvement by a factor of 2 over current bottom-up inventory estimates and previous atmospheric observation estimates and allows reliable independent evaluation of emissions.

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Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity

Karthik Balaguru, David Judi & Ruby Leung

Climatic Change, September 2016, Pages 99–110

Abstract:
Coastal populations in the global tropics and sub-tropics are vulnerable to the devastating impacts of hurricane storm surge and this risk is only expected to rise under climate change. In this study, we address this issue for the U.S. Gulf and Florida coasts. Using the framework of Potential Intensity, observations and output from coupled climate models, we show that the future large-scale thermodynamic environment may become more favorable for hurricane intensification. Under the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario and for the peak hurricane season months of August–October, we show that the mean intensities of Atlantic hurricanes may increase by 1.8–4.2 % and their lifetime maximum intensities may increase by 2.7–5.3 % when comparing the last two decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. We then combine our estimates of hurricane intensity changes with projections of sea-level rise to understand their relative impacts on future storm surge using simulations with the National Weather Service’s SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model for five historical hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Considering uncertainty in hurricane intensity changes and sea-level rise, our results indicate a median increase in storm surge ranging between 25 and 47 %, with changes in hurricane intensity increasing future storm surge by about 10 % relative to the increase that may result from sea level rise alone, with highly non-linear response of population at risk.

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Ambiguity, Reasoned Determination, and Climate-Change Policy

Robert Chambers & Tigran Melkonyan

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines climate-change benefit-cost analysis in the presence of scientific uncertainty in the form of ambiguity. The specific issue addressed is the robustness of benefit-cost analyses of climate-change policy alternatives to relaxation of Savage's original axioms. Two alternatives to subjective expected utility (SEU) are considered: maximin expected utility (MEU) and incomplete expected utility (IEU). Among other results, it is demonstrated that polar opposite recommendations can emerge in an ambiguous decision setting even if all agree on Society's rate of time preference, Society's risk attitudes, the degree of ambiguity faced, and the scientific primitives. We show that, for a simple numerical simulation of our model, an MEU decision maker favors policies which immediately tackle climate change while an IEU decision prefers “business as usual”.

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Simulating the Earth system response to negative emissions

C.D. Jones et al.

Environmental Research Letters, September 2016

Abstract:
Natural carbon sinks currently absorb approximately half of the anthropogenic CO2 emitted by fossil fuel burning, cement production and land-use change. However, this airborne fraction may change in the future depending on the emissions scenario. An important issue in developing carbon budgets to achieve climate stabilisation targets is the behaviour of natural carbon sinks, particularly under low emissions mitigation scenarios as required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. A key requirement for low carbon pathways is to quantify the effectiveness of negative emissions technologies which will be strongly affected by carbon cycle feedbacks. Here we find that Earth system models suggest significant weakening, even potential reversal, of the ocean and land sinks under future low emission scenarios. For the RCP2.6 concentration pathway, models project land and ocean sinks to weaken to 0.8 ± 0.9 and 1.1 ± 0.3 GtC yr−1 respectively for the second half of the 21st century and to −0.4 ± 0.4 and 0.1 ± 0.2 GtC yr−1 respectively for the second half of the 23rd century. Weakening of natural carbon sinks will hinder the effectiveness of negative emissions technologies and therefore increase their required deployment to achieve a given climate stabilisation target. We introduce a new metric, the perturbation airborne fraction, to measure and assess the effectiveness of negative emissions.

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Early onset of industrial-era warming across the oceans and continents

Nerilie Abram et al.

Nature, 25 August 2016, Pages 411–418

Abstract:
The evolution of industrial-era warming across the continents and oceans provides a context for future climate change and is important for determining climate sensitivity and the processes that control regional warming. Here we use post-AD 1500 palaeoclimate records to show that sustained industrial-era warming of the tropical oceans first developed during the mid-nineteenth century and was nearly synchronous with Northern Hemisphere continental warming. The early onset of sustained, significant warming in palaeoclimate records and model simulations suggests that greenhouse forcing of industrial-era warming commenced as early as the mid-nineteenth century and included an enhanced equatorial ocean response mechanism. The development of Southern Hemisphere warming is delayed in reconstructions, but this apparent delay is not reproduced in climate simulations. Our findings imply that instrumental records are too short to comprehensively assess anthropogenic climate change and that, in some regions, about 180 years of industrial-era warming has already caused surface temperatures to emerge above pre-industrial values, even when taking natural variability into account.

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High-income does not protect against hurricane losses

Tobias Geiger, Katja Frieler & Anders Levermann

Environmental Research Letters, August 2016

Abstract:
Damage due to tropical cyclones accounts for more than 50% of all meteorologically-induced economic losses worldwide. Their nominal impact is projected to increase substantially as the exposed population grows, per capita income increases, and anthropogenic climate change manifests. So far, historical losses due to tropical cyclones have been found to increase less than linearly with a nation's affected gross domestic product (GDP). Here we show that for the United States this scaling is caused by a sub-linear increase with affected population while relative losses scale super-linearly with per capita income. The finding is robust across a multitude of empirically derived damage models that link the storm's wind speed, exposed population, and per capita GDP to reported losses. The separation of both socio-economic predictors strongly affects the projection of potential future hurricane losses. Separating the effects of growth in population and per-capita income, per hurricane losses with respect to national GDP are projected to triple by the end of the century under unmitigated climate change, while they are estimated to decrease slightly without the separation.

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What Would it Take to Reduce US Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% by 2050?

Geoffrey Heal

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
I investigate the cost and feasibility of reducing US GHG emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050. The US has stated in its Paris COP 21 submission that this is its aspiration, and Hillary Clinton has chosen this as one of the goals of her climate policy. I suggest that this goal can be reached at a cost in the range of $42 to $176 bn/year, but that it is challenging. I assume that the goal is to be reached by extensive use of solar PV and wind energy (66% of generating capacity), in which case the cost of energy storage plays a key role in the overall cost. I conclude tentatively that more limited use of renewables (less than 50%) together with increased use of nuclear power might be less costly.

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The climate response to five trillion tonnes of carbon

Katarzyna Tokarska et al.

Nature Climate Change, September 2016, Pages 851–855

Abstract:
Concrete actions to curtail greenhouse gas emissions have so far been limited on a global scale, and therefore the ultimate magnitude of climate change in the absence of further mitigation is an important consideration for climate policy. Estimates of fossil fuel reserves and resources are highly uncertain, and the amount used under a business-as-usual scenario would depend on prevailing economic and technological conditions. In the absence of global mitigation actions, five trillion tonnes of carbon (5 EgC), corresponding to the lower end of the range of estimates of the total fossil fuel resource, is often cited as an estimate of total cumulative emissions. An approximately linear relationship between global warming and cumulative CO2 emissions is known to hold up to 2 EgC emissions on decadal to centennial timescales; however, in some simple climate models the predicted warming at higher cumulative emissions is less than that predicted by such a linear relationship. Here, using simulations from four comprehensive Earth system models, we demonstrate that CO2-attributable warming continues to increase approximately linearly up to 5 EgC emissions. These models simulate, in response to 5 EgC of CO2 emissions, global mean warming of 6.4–9.5 °C, mean Arctic warming of 14.7–19.5 °C, and mean regional precipitation increases by more than a factor of four. These results indicate that the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested.

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Detection of anthropogenic influence on a summertime heat stress index

Thomas Knutson & Jeffrey Ploshay

Climatic Change, September 2016, Pages 25–39

Abstract:
One of the most consequential impacts of anthropogenic warming on humans may be increased heat stress, combining temperature and humidity effects. Here we examine whether there are now detectable changes in summertime heat stress over land regions. As a heat stress metric we use a simplified wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) index. Observed trends in WBGT (1973–2012) are compared to trends from CMIP5 historical simulations (eight-model ensemble) using either anthropogenic and natural forcing agents combined or natural forcings alone. Our analysis suggests that there has been a detectable anthropogenic increase in mean summertime heat stress since 1973, both globally and in most land regions analyzed. A detectable increase is found over a larger fraction of land for WBGT than for temperature, as WBGT summertime means have lower interannual variability than surface temperature at gridbox scales. Notably, summertime WBGT over land has continued increasing in recent years -- consistent with climate models -- despite the apparent ‘hiatus’ in global warming and despite a decreasing tendency in observed relative humidity over land since the late 1990s.

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Evolution of global temperature over the past two million years

Carolyn Snyder

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Reconstructions of Earth’s past climate strongly influence our understanding of the dynamics and sensitivity of the climate system. Yet global temperature has been reconstructed for only a few isolated windows of time, and continuous reconstructions across glacial cycles remain elusive. Here I present a spatially weighted proxy reconstruction of global temperature over the past 2 million years estimated from a multi-proxy database of over 20,000 sea surface temperature point reconstructions. Global temperature gradually cooled until roughly 1.2 million years ago and cooling then stalled until the present. The cooling trend probably stalled before the beginning of the mid-Pleistocene transition, and pre-dated the increase in the maximum size of ice sheets around 0.9 million years ago. Thus, global cooling may have been a pre-condition for, but probably is not the sole causal mechanism of, the shift to quasi-100,000-year glacial cycles at the mid-Pleistocene transition. Over the past 800,000 years, polar amplification (the amplification of temperature change at the poles relative to global temperature change) has been stable over time, and global temperature and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations have been closely coupled across glacial cycles. A comparison of the new temperature reconstruction with radiative forcing from greenhouse gases estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius (range 7 to 13 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) change in global average surface temperature per doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide over millennium timescales. This result suggests that stabilization at today’s greenhouse gas levels may already commit Earth to an eventual total warming of 5 degrees Celsius (range 3 to 7 degrees Celsius, 95 per cent credible interval) over the next few millennia as ice sheets, vegetation and atmospheric dust continue to respond to global warming.

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Extreme hydrological changes in the southwestern US drive reductions in water supply to Southern California by mid century

Brianna Pagán et al.

Environmental Research Letters, September 2016

Abstract:
The Southwestern United States has a greater vulnerability to climate change impacts on water security due to a reliance on snowmelt driven imported water. The State of California, which is the most populous and agriculturally productive in the United States, depends on an extensive artificial water storage and conveyance system primarily for irrigated agriculture, municipal and industrial supply and hydropower generation. Here we take an integrative high-resolution ensemble modeling approach to examine near term climate change impacts on all imported and local sources of water supply to Southern California. While annual precipitation is projected to remain the same or slightly increase, rising temperatures result in a shift towards more rainfall, reduced cold season snowpack and earlier snowmelt. Associated with these hydrological changes are substantial increases in the frequency and the intensity of both drier conditions and flooding events. The 50 year extreme daily maximum precipitation and runoff events are 1.5–6 times more likely to occur depending on the water supply basin. Simultaneously, a clear deficit in total annual runoff over mountainous snow generating regions like the Sierra Nevada is projected. On one hand, the greater probability of drought decreases imported water supply availability. On the other hand, earlier snowmelt and significantly stronger winter precipitation events pose increased flood risk requiring water releases from control reservoirs, which may potentially decrease water availability outside of the wet season. Lack of timely local water resource expansion coupled with projected climate changes and population increases may leave the area in extended periods of shortages.

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Centennial drought outlook over the CONUS using NASA-NEX downscaled climate ensemble

Ali Ahmadalipour, Hamid Moradkhani & Mark Svoboda

International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drought is a natural hazard developing slowly and affecting large areas which may have severe consequences on society and economy. Due to the effects of climate change, drought is expected to exacerbate in various regions in future. In this study, the impact of climate change on drought characteristics is assessed, and statistical methods are employed to analyse the significance of projections. This is the first study utilizing 21 recently available downscaled global climate models generated by NASA (NEX-GDDP) to evaluate drought projections over various regions across the United States. Drought is investigated through a multi-model dual-index dual-scenario approach to probabilistically analyse drought attributes while characterizing the uncertainty in future drought projections. Standardized Precipitation Index and Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index values at the seasonal scale (3 months) are used to project and analyse meteorological drought conditions from 1950 to 2099 at 0.25° spatial resolution. Two future concentration pathways of RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 are considered for this analysis. Accounting for the combined effects of precipitation and temperature variations reveals a considerable aggravation in severity and extent of future drought in the western United States and a tendency toward more frequent and intense summer droughts across the Contiguous United States.

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Plant responses to increasing CO2 reduce estimates of climate impacts on drought severity

Abigail Swann et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 6 September 2016, Pages 10019–10024

Abstract:
Rising atmospheric CO2 will make Earth warmer, and many studies have inferred that this warming will cause droughts to become more widespread and severe. However, rising atmospheric CO2 also modifies stomatal conductance and plant water use, processes that are often are overlooked in impact analysis. We find that plant physiological responses to CO2 reduce predictions of future drought stress, and that this reduction is captured by using plant-centric rather than atmosphere-centric metrics from Earth system models (ESMs). The atmosphere-centric Palmer Drought Severity Index predicts future increases in drought stress for more than 70% of global land area. This area drops to 37% with the use of precipitation minus evapotranspiration (P-E), a measure that represents the water flux available to downstream ecosystems and humans. The two metrics yield consistent estimates of increasing stress in regions where precipitation decreases are more robust (southern North America, northeastern South America, and southern Europe). The metrics produce diverging estimates elsewhere, with P-E predicting decreasing stress across temperate Asia and central Africa. The differing sensitivity of drought metrics to radiative and physiological aspects of increasing CO2 partly explains the divergent estimates of future drought reported in recent studies. Further, use of ESM output in offline models may double-count plant feedbacks on relative humidity and other surface variables, leading to overestimates of future stress. The use of drought metrics that account for the response of plant transpiration to changing CO2, including direct use of P-E and soil moisture from ESMs, is needed to reduce uncertainties in future assessment.

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Particulate air pollution from wildfires in the Western US under climate change

Jia Coco Liu et al.

Climatic Change, October 2016, Pages 655–666

Abstract:
Wildfire can impose a direct impact on human health under climate change. While the potential impacts of climate change on wildfires and resulting air pollution have been studied, it is not known who will be most affected by the growing threat of wildfires. Identifying communities that will be most affected will inform development of fire management strategies and disaster preparedness programs. We estimate levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) directly attributable to wildfires in 561 western US counties during fire seasons for the present-day (2004–2009) and future (2046–2051), using a fire prediction model and GEOS-Chem, a 3-D global chemical transport model. Future estimates are obtained under a scenario of moderately increasing greenhouse gases by mid-century. We create a new term “Smoke Wave,” defined as ≥2 consecutive days with high wildfire-specific PM2.5, to describe episodes of high air pollution from wildfires. We develop an interactive map to demonstrate the counties likely to suffer from future high wildfire pollution events. For 2004–2009, on days exceeding regulatory PM2.5 standards, wildfires contributed an average of 71.3 % of total PM2.5. Under future climate change, we estimate that more than 82 million individuals will experience a 57 % and 31 % increase in the frequency and intensity, respectively, of Smoke Waves. Northern California, Western Oregon and the Great Plains are likely to suffer the highest exposure to widlfire smoke in the future. Results point to the potential health impacts of increasing wildfire activity on large numbers of people in a warming climate and the need to establish or modify US wildfire management and evacuation programs in high-risk regions. The study also adds to the growing literature arguing that extreme events in a changing climate could have significant consequences for human health.

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Land–atmosphere feedbacks amplify aridity increase over land under global warming

Alexis Berg et al.

Nature Climate Change, September 2016, Pages 869–874

Abstract:
The response of the terrestrial water cycle to global warming is central to issues including water resources, agriculture and ecosystem health. Recent studies indicate that aridity, defined in terms of atmospheric supply (precipitation, P) and demand (potential evapotranspiration, Ep) of water at the land surface, will increase globally in a warmer world. Recently proposed mechanisms for this response emphasize the driving role of oceanic warming and associated atmospheric processes. Here we show that the aridity response is substantially amplified by land–atmosphere feedbacks associated with the land surface’s response to climate and CO2 change. Using simulations from the Global Land Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (GLACE)-CMIP5 experiment, we show that global aridity is enhanced by the feedbacks of projected soil moisture decrease on land surface temperature, relative humidity and precipitation. The physiological impact of increasing atmospheric CO2 on vegetation exerts a qualitatively similar control on aridity. We reconcile these findings with previously proposed mechanisms by showing that the moist enthalpy change over land is unaffected by the land hydrological response. Thus, although oceanic warming constrains the combined moisture and temperature changes over land, land hydrology modulates the partitioning of this enthalpy increase towards increased aridity.

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The contribution of greenhouse gases to the recent slowdown in global-mean temperature trends

R. Checa-Garcia, K.P. Shine & M.I. Hegglin

Environmental Research Letters, September 2016

Abstract:
The recent slowdown in the rate of increase in global-mean surface temperature (GMST) has generated extensive discussion, but little attention has been given to the contribution of time-varying trends in greenhouse gas concentrations. We use a simple model approach to quantify this contribution. Between 1985 and 2003, greenhouse gases (including well-mixed greenhouse gases, tropospheric and stratospheric ozone, and stratospheric water vapour from methane oxidation) caused a reduction in GMST trend of around 0.03–0.05 K decade−1 which is around 18%–25% of the observed trend over that period. The main contributors to this reduction are the rapid change in the growth rates of ozone-depleting gases (with this contribution slightly opposed by stratospheric ozone depletion itself) and the weakening in growth rates of methane and tropospheric ozone radiative forcing. Although CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas contributor to GMST trends, the continued increase in CO2 concentrations offsets only about 30% of the simulated trend reduction due to these other contributors. These results emphasize that trends in non-CO2 greenhouse gas concentrations can make significant positive and negative contributions to changes in the rate of warming, and that they need to be considered more closely in analyses of the causes of such variations.

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Role of volcanic and anthropogenic aerosols in the recent global surface warming slowdown

Doug Smith et al.

Nature Climate Change, October 2016, Pages 936–940

Abstract:
The rate of global mean surface temperature (GMST) warming has slowed this century despite the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. Climate model experiments show that this slowdown was largely driven by a negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), with a smaller external contribution from solar variability, and volcanic and anthropogenic aerosols. The prevailing view is that this negative PDO occurred through internal variability. However, here we show that coupled models from the Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project robustly simulate a negative PDO in response to anthropogenic aerosols implying a potentially important role for external human influences. The recovery from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 also contributed to the slowdown in GMST trends. Our results suggest that a slowdown in GMST trends could have been predicted in advance, and that future reduction of anthropogenic aerosol emissions, particularly from China, would promote a positive PDO and increased GMST trends over the coming years. Furthermore, the overestimation of the magnitude of recent warming by models is substantially reduced by using detection and attribution analysis to rescale their response to external factors, especially cooling following volcanic eruptions. Improved understanding of external influences on climate is therefore crucial to constrain near-term climate predictions.

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Anthropogenic impact on Antarctic surface mass balance, currently masked by natural variability, to emerge by mid-century

Michael Previdi & Lorenzo Polvani

Environmental Research Letters, August 2016

Abstract:
Global and regional climate models robustly simulate increases in Antarctic surface mass balance (SMB) during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in response to anthropogenic global warming. Despite these robust model projections, however, observations indicate that there has been no significant change in Antarctic SMB in recent decades. We show that this apparent discrepancy between models and observations can be explained by the fact that the anthropogenic climate change signal during the second half of the twentieth century is small compared to the noise associated with natural climate variability. Using an ensemble of 35 global coupled climate models to separate signal and noise, we find that the forced SMB increase due to global warming in recent decades is unlikely to be detectable as a result of large natural SMB variability. However, our analysis reveals that the anthropogenic impact on Antarctic SMB is very likely to emerge from natural variability by the middle of the current century, thus mitigating future increases in global sea level.

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Pacific sea level rise patterns and global surface temperature variability

Cheryl Peyser et al.

Geophysical Research Letters, 28 August 2016, Pages 8662–8669

Abstract:
During 1998–2012, climate change and sea level rise (SLR) exhibit two notable features: a slowdown of global surface warming (hiatus) and a rapid SLR in the tropical western Pacific. To quantify their relationship, we analyze the long-term control simulations of 38 climate models. We find a significant and robust correlation between the east-west contrast of dynamic sea level (DSL) in the Pacific and global mean surface temperature (GST) variability on both interannual and decadal time scales. Based on linear regression of the multimodel ensemble mean, the anomalously fast SLR in the western tropical Pacific observed during 1998–2012 indicates suppression of a potential global surface warming of 0.16° ± 0.06°C. In contrast, the Pacific contributed 0.29° ± 0.10°C to the significant interannual GST increase in 1997/1998. The Pacific DSL anomalies observed in 2015 suggest that the strong El Niño in 2015/2016 could lead to a 0.21° ± 0.07°C GST jump.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Healthy people

The Behavioral Immune System and Attitudes About Vaccines: Contamination Aversion Predicts More Negative Vaccine Attitudes

Russ Clay

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research utilized evolutionary theory to examine the relation between the behavioral immune system (i.e., disgust sensitivity) and attitudes about vaccines. The findings from the studies suggest that higher levels of dispositional disgust sensitivity is predictive of more negative attitudes toward vaccines. These findings are consistent with several recent publications and thus have broad implications for public health research associated with vaccines. In Study 1, participants reporting higher dispositional disgust sensitivity (specifically, contamination disgust) tended to report more negative attitudes about vaccines. Study 2 replicated this result in a nonstudent sample using additional measures of disgust sensitivity more closely associated with aversion to perceived sources of contamination. Study 2 also revealed that beliefs about the likelihood of contracting illness in the future were unrelated to vaccine attitudes. Implications for the observed relation between intuitive aversion to contamination and vaccine attitudes are discussed.

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State-Level Voting Patterns and Adolescent Vaccination Coverage in the United States, 2014

Steven Bernstein et al.

American Journal of Public Health, October 2016, Pages 1879-1881

Objectives. To examine state-level associations between voting patterns and adolescent coverage for at least 1 dose of human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus-containing (Tdap), and meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination.

Methods. We classified states as “blue” (Democratic affiliation) or “red” (Republican affiliation) based on the Presidential election results in 2012. We used multivariable models to adjust for potential confounding by sociodemographic and health care access characteristics and vaccination policies. For HPV, separate models were fitted for boys and girls.

Results. Adolescent vaccination coverage was significantly higher in blue states than red states for each vaccine (P < .05). The adjusted percent differences between blue and red states were 10.2% for HPV among girls, 24.9% for HPV among boys, 6.2% for tetanus-containing vaccine, and 14.1% for MCV4.

Conclusions. State-level voting patterns are independently and significantly associated with coverage for routinely recommended adolescent vaccines. These differences may reflect population-level differences in cultural norms and social values.

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Did the Great Recession keep bad drivers off the road?

Vikram Maheshri & Clifford Winston

Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, June 2016, Pages 255–280

Abstract:
Motorists’ fatalities and the fatality rate (roadway deaths per vehicle-mile traveled (VMT)) tend to decrease during recessions. Using a novel data set of individual drivers, we establish that recessions have differential impacts on driving behavior by decreasing the VMT of observably risky drivers, such as those over age 60, and by increasing the VMT of observably safer drivers. The compositional shift toward safer drivers associated with a one percentage point increase in unemployment would save nearly 5000 lives per year nationwide. This finding suggests that policymakers could generate large benefits by targeting new driver-assistance technology at vulnerable groups.

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Worked To Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality

Erik Gonzalez-Mulé & Bethany Cockburn

Personnel Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite recent calls in the literature to examine the effects of the occupational context on physiological outcomes, such as mortality, little research has accumulated on this front. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the interactive relationship between job demands and control and death. Drawing from the job design, stress, and epidemiology literatures, we argue that job demands will be positively related to mortality under conditions of low control, and negatively related to mortality under conditions of high control. We tested our hypothesis using a seven year time-lagged design in a sample of 2,363 individuals from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Our results supported our hypothesis, with results showing that for individuals in low control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 15.4% increase in the odds of death compared to low job demands. For those in high control jobs, high job demands are associated with a 34% decrease in the odds of death compared to low job demands. Supplementary analyses revealed a similar pattern predicting body mass index in the group of surviving individuals. We discuss the implications of these findings for theory and practice, while proposing several avenues for future research.

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Gene–Environment Interaction in the Intergenerational Transmission of Asthma

Owen Thompson

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Researchers have found strong linkages between parent and child health, but the mechanisms underlying intergenerational health transmission are not well understood. This paper investigates how the importance of genetic health transmission mechanisms varies by environmental conditions in the case of pediatric asthma, the single most common chronic health condition among American children. Using a sample that includes approximately 2000 adoptees and a large number of similar biological families, I find that the relative importance of genetic transmission differs strongly by socioeconomic status (SES). In high SES families, parent–child asthma associations are approximately 75% weaker among adoptees than biological children, suggesting a dominant role for genetic transmission. In lower SES families, parent–child asthma associations are virtually identical across biological and adoptive children, suggesting a negligible role for genetic transmission. A potential interpretation of this difference is that as environmental conditions affecting asthma improve among higher SES children, an increasingly large share of asthma variation is due to genetics.

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Harnessing adolescent values to motivate healthier eating

Christopher Bryan et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 September 2016, Pages 10830–10835

Abstract:
What can be done to reduce unhealthy eating among adolescents? It was hypothesized that aligning healthy eating with important and widely shared adolescent values would produce the needed motivation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled experiment with eighth graders (total n = 536) evaluated the impact of a treatment that framed healthy eating as consistent with the adolescent values of autonomy from adult control and the pursuit of social justice. Healthy eating was suggested as a way to take a stand against manipulative and unfair practices of the food industry, such as engineering junk food to make it addictive and marketing it to young children. Compared with traditional health education materials or to a non–food-related control, this treatment led eighth graders to see healthy eating as more autonomy-assertive and social justice-oriented behavior and to forgo sugary snacks and drinks in favor of healthier options a day later in an unrelated context. Public health interventions for adolescents may be more effective when they harness the motivational power of that group’s existing strongly held values.

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Explaining inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. States

Jennifer Karas Montez, Anna Zajacova & Mark Hayward

SSM - Population Health, December 2016, Pages 561–571

Abstract:
Inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. states are large and growing. It is unknown whether they reflect differences between states in their population characteristics, contextual characteristics, or both. This study systematically examines the large inequalities in women's mortality between U.S. states using a multilevel approach. It focuses on “fundamental” social determinants of mortality at the individual and state levels as potential explanations. We analyze data from the 2013 public-use National Longitudinal Mortality Study on women aged 45–89 years and estimate multilevel logistic regression models. The models include women's personal characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, education, employment, income, and marriage) and states’ contextual characteristics (economic environment, social cohesion, sociopolitical orientation, physical infrastructure, and tobacco environment). We found that variation in women's mortality across states was significant (p<0.001). Adjusting for women's personal characteristics explained 30% of the variation. Additionally adjusting for states’ contextual characteristics explained 62% of the variation; the most important characteristics were social cohesion and economic conditions. No significant mortality differences between any two states remained after accounting for individual and contextual characteristics. Supplementary analyses of men indicate that state contexts have stronger and more pernicious consequences for women than men. Taken together, the findings underscore the importance of ‘bringing context back in’ and taking a multilevel approach when investigating geographic inequalities in U.S. mortality.

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Suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and pediatric health outcomes and costs

Melissa Bartick et al.

Maternal & Child Nutrition, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of this study was to quantify the excess cases of pediatric and maternal disease, death, and costs attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding rates in the United States. Using the current literature on the associations between breastfeeding and health outcomes for nine pediatric and five maternal diseases, we created Monte Carlo simulations modeling a hypothetical cohort of U.S. women followed from age 15 to age 70 years and their children from birth to age 20 years. We examined disease outcomes using (a) 2012 breastfeeding rates and (b) assuming that 90% of infants were breastfed according to medical recommendations. We measured annual excess cases, deaths, and associated costs, in 2014 dollars, using a 2% discount rate. Annual excess deaths attributable to suboptimal breastfeeding total 3,340 (95% confidence interval [1,886 to 4,785]), 78% of which are maternal due to myocardial infarction (n = 986), breast cancer (n = 838), and diabetes (n = 473). Excess pediatric deaths total 721, mostly due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (n = 492) and necrotizing enterocolitis (n = 190). Medical costs total $3.0 billion, 79% of which are maternal. Costs of premature death total $14.2 billion. The number of women needed to breastfeed as medically recommended to prevent an infant gastrointestinal infection is 0.8; acute otitis media, 3; hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infection, 95; maternal hypertension, 55; diabetes, 162; and myocardial infarction, 235. For every 597 women who optimally breastfeed, one maternal or child death is prevented. Policies to increase optimal breastfeeding could result in substantial public health gains. Breastfeeding has a larger impact on women's health than previously appreciated.

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The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: Testing for Contagious Presenteeism and Noncontagious Absenteeism Behavior

Stefan Pichler & Nicolas Ziebarth

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
This paper provides an analytical framework and uses data from the US and Germany to test for the existence of contagious presenteeism and negative externalities in sickness insurance schemes. The first part exploits high-frequency Google Flu data and the staggered implementation of U.S. sick leave reforms to show in a reduced-from framework that population-level influenza-like disease rates decrease after employees gain access to paid sick leave. Next, a simple theoretical framework provides evidence on the underlying behavioral mechanisms. The model theoretically decomposes overall behavioral labor supply adjustments ('moral hazard') into contagious presenteeism and noncontagious absenteeism behavior and derives testable conditions. The last part illustrates how to implement the model exploiting German sick pay reforms and administrative industry-level data on certified sick leave by diagnoses. It finds that the labor supply elasticity for contagious diseases is significantly smaller than for noncontagious diseases. Under the identifying assumptions of the model, in addition to the evidence from the U.S., this finding provides indirect evidence for the existence of contagious presenteeism.

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Earnings Growth and Movements in Self-Reported Health

Timothy Halliday

Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming

Abstract:
We employ data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to investigate income to health causality. To account for unobserved heterogeneity, we focus on the relationship between earnings growth and changes in self-reported health status. Causal claims are predicated upon appropriate moment restrictions and specification tests of their validity. We find evidence of causality running from income to health for married women and men. In addition, spousal income appears to be protective for married women.

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Booster Seats and Traffic Fatalities Among Children

Mark Anderson & Sina Sandholt

University of Washington Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
In an effort to increase booster seat use among children, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging state legislators to promote stricter booster seat laws, yet there is a paucity of information on booster seat efficacy relative to other forms of restraint. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for the period 2008-2014 and the sample selection correction proposed by Levitt and Porter (2001), the current study examines the effectiveness of booster seats relative to child safety seats and adult seat belts. For children 6 to 8 years of age, we find that booster seats are more than twice as effective as child safety seats and over 30 percent more effective than standard seat belts at decreasing the likelihood of fatality in a motor vehicle accident. For children 2 to 5 years of age, all three forms of restraint appear equally effective.

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Economic Conditions and Mortality: Evidence from 200 Years of Data

David Cutler, Wei Huang & Adriana Lleras-Muney

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Using data covering over 100 birth-cohorts in 32 countries, we examine the short- and long-term effects of economic conditions on mortality. We find that small, but not large, booms increase contemporary mortality. Yet booms from birth to age 25, particularly those during adolescence, lower adult mortality. A simple model can rationalize these findings if economic conditions differentially affect the level and trajectory of both good and bad inputs into health. Indeed, air pollution and alcohol consumption increase in booms. In contrast, booms in adolescence raise adult incomes and improve social relations and mental health, suggesting these mechanisms dominate in the long run.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, October 3, 2016

Medical problems

US Hospitals Are Still Using Chargemaster Markups To Maximize Revenues

Ge Bai & Gerard Anderson

Health Affairs, September 2016, Pages 1658-1664

Abstract:
Many hospital executives and economists have suggested that since Medicare adopted a hospital prospective payment system in 1985, prices on the hospital chargemaster (an exhaustive list of the prices for all hospital procedures and supplies) have become irrelevant. However, using 2013 nationally representative hospital data from Medicare, we found that a one-unit increase in the charge-to-cost ratio (chargemaster price divided by Medicare-allowable cost) was associated with $64 higher patient care revenue per adjusted discharge. Furthermore, hospitals appeared to systematically adjust their charge-to-cost ratios: The average ratio ranged between 1.8 and 28.5 across patient care departments, and for-profit hospitals were associated with a 2.30 and a 2.07 higher charge-to-cost ratio than government and nonprofit hospitals, respectively. We also found correlation between the proportion of uninsured patients, a hospital’s system affiliation, and its regional power with the charge-to-cost ratio. These findings suggest that hospitals still consider the chargemaster price to be an important way to enhance revenue. Policy makers might consider developing additional policy tools that improve markup transparency to protect patients from unexpectedly high charges for specific services.

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Silver Spoons and Platinum Plans: How Childhood Environment Affects Adult Healthcare Decisions

Chiraag Mittal & Vladas Griskevicius

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can socioeconomic status in childhood influence desire for health coverage in adulthood? We develop and test a model that yielded two sets of findings across five experiments. First, people who grew up poor were generally less interested in health coverage compared to those who grew up wealthy. This effect was independent of people’s current level of socioeconomic status, emerged most strongly when adults were experiencing financial threat, and was mediated by differences in willingness to take risks between people from poor versus wealthy childhoods. Second, we show that this effect reverses when people are provided with base-rate information about disease. When information about the average likelihood of getting sick is made available, people who grew up poor were consistently more likely to seek health coverage than people who grew up wealthy. This effect was again strongest when people felt a sense of financial threat, and it was driven by people from poor versus wealthy childhoods differing in their perceptions of the likelihood of becoming sick. Overall, we show how, why, and when childhood socioeconomic status influences desire for health coverage.

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More Than Political Ideology: Subtle Racial Prejudice as a Predictor of Opposition to Universal Health Care Among U.S. Citizens

Megan Johnson Shen & Jordan LaBouff

Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Fall 2016, Pages 493-520

Abstract:
Political rhetoric surrounding Universal Health Care in the United States typically deals only with differences in political ideology. Research on symbolic racism, however, indicates that subtle racial prejudice may also predict attitudes toward policies like universal health care that are assumed to benefit racial minorities. This subtle racial prejudice hypothesis was supported across three studies conducted in the U.S. A measure of attitudes toward universal health care was found to be a reliable, single-dimension measure associated with political ideology (Pilot Study). Subtle racial prejudice (as measured by the Modern Racism Scale) predicted opposition to universal health care, even when statistically controlling for political ideology and attitudes toward the poor (Study 1). Moreover, reading about a Black individual (compared to a White individual) receiving universal health care benefits reduced support for universal health care, even when statistically controlling for political ideology and right-wing authoritarianism (Study 2). Being a person who takes advantage of the system (e.g., free rides) was a significant predictor of universal health care attitudes while race was not (Study 3). This work demonstrates that subtle racial prejudice plays a critical role in predicting universal health care attitudes among U.S. citizens, reflecting a long-standing history of associations between subtle racial prejudice and opposition to governmental assistance programs in the U.S.

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Getting Crowded: Second-Order Effects of Medicaid Expansion Refusal

Cameron McNeill Ellis & Joshua Frederick

University of Georgia Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is one of the most debated, and dividing, pieces of legislation in recent memory. One of the main elements of the PPACA is the mandatory expansion of Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the poverty line and the inclusion of childless adults. Immediately following the law's passage, a number of states sued for the law to be ruled unconstitutional. While the majority of the law held up to judicial scrutiny, the Supreme Court did rule that the mandatory expansion violated states' rights and thus states could opt out. Nearly all of the debate has focused on the direct effects of the newly covered, but there are also important secondary effects to consider. If the newly-eligible portion differs from the general populace then an expansion of Medicaid can affect the private market for health insurance. In this paper, we use policy-level data from the Health Insurance Exchanges and a difference in differences strategy to identify and estimate the effects of Medicaid expansion on the private health insurance market. We find that expanding Medicaid reduces average monthly premiums by $32.40; a decrease of 11.86%.

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Are Publicly Insured Children Less Likely to be Admitted to Hospital than the Privately Insured (and Does it Matter)?

Diane Alexander & Janet Currie

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
There is continuing controversy about the extent to which publicly insured children are treated differently than privately insured children, and whether differences in treatment matter. We show that on average, hospitals are less likely to admit publicly insured children than privately insured children who present at the ER and the gap grows during high flu weeks, when hospital beds are in high demand. This pattern is present even after controlling for detailed diagnostic categories and hospital fixed effects, but does not appear to have any effect on measurable health outcomes such as repeat ER visits and future hospitalizations. Hence, our results raise the possibility that instead of too few publicly insured children being admitted during high flu weeks, there are too many publicly and privately insured children being admitted most of the time.

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Damage Caps and the Labor Supply of Physicians: Evidence from the Third Reform Wave

Myungho Paik, Bernard Black & David Hyman

American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nine states adopted caps on non-economic damages during the third medical malpractice reform wave from 2002–05, joining twenty-two other states with caps on non-economic or total damages. We study the effects of these reforms on physician supply. Across a variety of difference-in-differences (DiD), triple differences, and synthetic control methods, in both state- and county-level regressions, we find, with tight confidence intervals, no evidence that cap adoption leads to an increase in total patient care physicians, or in specialties that face high liability risk (with a possible exception for plastic surgeons), or in rural physicians.

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Use of foreign-educated nurses and patient satisfaction in U.S. hospitals

Olena Mazurenko & Nir Menachemi

Health Care Management Review, October/December 2016, Pages 306–315

Data Sources/Study Setting: We utilized data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems to measure patient satisfaction and data from the American Hospital Association regarding the utilization of foreign-educated RNs in 2012.

Methodology/Approach: In this study, a cross-sectional design with propensity score adjustment to examine the relationship between use of foreign-educated nurses and 10 patient satisfaction outcome measures. Control variables include hospital size, ownership, geographic location, teaching status, system membership, a high-technology index, and U.S. region based on census categories.

Findings: The utilization of foreign-educated RNs was negatively and significantly related to six patient satisfaction measures. Specifically, hospitals with foreign-educated RNs scored, on average, lower on measures related to nurse communication (β = −0.649, p = .01), doctor’s communication (β = −0.837, p ≤ .001), communication about administered drugs (β = −0.539, p = .81), and communication about what to do during their recovery at home (β = −0.571, p = .01). Moreover, hospitals utilizing foreign-educated RNs scored, on average, lower on overall satisfaction measures including rating the hospital as 9 or 10 overall (β = −1.20, p = .005), and patients would definitely recommend the hospital (β = −1.32, p = .006).

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Productivity and Quality in Health Care: Evidence from the Dialysis Industry

Paul Grieco & Ryan McDevitt

Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that healthcare providers face a tradeoff between increasing the number of patients they treat and improving their quality of care. To measure the magnitude of this quality-quantity tradeoff, we estimate a model of dialysis provision that explicitly incorporates a center's unobservable and endogenous choice of treatment quality while allowing for unobserved differences in productivity across centers. We find that a center that reduces its quality standards such that its expected rate of septic infections increases by 1 percentage point can increase its patient load by 1.6 percent, holding productivity, capital, and labor fixed; this corresponds to an elasticity of quantity with respect to quality of -0.2. Notably, our approach provides estimates of productivity that control for differences in quality, whereas traditional methods would misattribute lower-quality care to greater productivity.

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Is American Pet Health Care (Also) Uniquely Inefficient?

Liran Einav, Amy Finkelstein & Atul Gupta

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We document four similarities between American human healthcare and American pet care: (i) rapid growth in spending as a share of GDP over the last two decades; (ii) strong income-spending gradient; (iii) rapid growth in the employment of healthcare providers; and (iv) similar propensity for high spending at the end of life. We speculate about possible implications of these similar patterns in two sectors that share many common features but differ markedly in institutional features, such as the prevalence of insurance and of public sector involvement.

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Employment-based health insurance and misallocation: Implications for the macroeconomy

David Chivers, Zhigang Feng & Anne Villamil

Review of Economic Dynamics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most working-age Americans obtain health insurance through the workplace. U.S. law requires employers to use a common price, but the value of insurance varies with idiosyncratic health risk. Hence, linking employment and health insurance creates a wedge between the marginal cost and benefit of insurance. We study the impact of this wedge on occupational choice and welfare in a general equilibrium model. Agents face idiosyncratic health expenditure shocks, have heterogeneous managerial and worker productivity, and choose whether to be workers or entrepreneurs. First, we consider a private insurance indemnity policy that removes the link between employment and health insurance, so only ability matters for occupational choice. By construction, this is the most efficient policy. We find a welfare gain of 2.28% from decoupling health insurance and employment. Second, we tighten the link by increasing employment-based health insurance from the current U.S. level of 62% to 100%, and find a welfare loss of – 0.61%.

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Decline in Consultant Availability in Massachusetts Emergency Departments: 2005 to 2014

Jason Sanders et al.

Annals of Emergency Medicine, October 2016, Pages 461–466

Methods: We surveyed ED directors in Massachusetts in 2006 (n=61 EDs), 2009 (n=63), and 2015 (n=63) about ED characteristics in the previous year, including specialty-specific consultant availability in person (yes/no) and continuous consultant availability (yes/no). We tested trends in consultant availability (P for trend) and used multivariable logistic regression to calculate odds of continuous availability in 2014 versus 2005.

Results: Response rates were greater than 80% each year. From 2005 to 2014, there was an increase in the median number of annual ED visits from 32,025 (interquartile range [IQR] 23,000 to 50,000) to 42,000 (IQR 26,000 to 59,300), number of full-time attending physicians from 11 (IQR 8 to 16) to 12 (IQR 8 to 22), and number of full-time ED nurses from 27 (IQR 17 to 54) to 42 (IQR 25 to 65). In adjusted models, there was a significantly reduced odds of consultant availability in 2014 versus 2005 for general surgery (odds ratio [OR] 0.05; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01 to 0.35), neurology (OR 0.39; 95% CI 0.17 to 0.86), obstetrics/gynecology (OR 0.40; 95% CI 0.16 to 0.97), orthopedics (OR 0.34; 95% CI 0.13 to 0.89), pediatrics (OR 0.19; 95% CI 0.06 to 0.54), plastic surgery (OR 0.10; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.32), and psychiatry (OR 0.25; 95% CI 0.12 to 0.52).

Conclusion: In Massachusetts EDs between 2005 and 2014, ED consultant availability significantly declined despite accounting for other ED characteristics.

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Economic Freedom and the Affordable Care Act: Medicaid Expansions and Labor Mobility by Race and Ethnicity

Kevin Callison & Paul Sicilian

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A greater level of government involvement in the financing of health care is generally viewed unfavorably by organizations monitoring economic freedom. However, increased government provision of health insurance could be associated with improved economic freedom through enhanced labor market mobility. For example, job-lock alleviation accompanying a public insurance expansion could lead to increased innovation or a higher likelihood of self-employment. In this article, we use the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s recent Medicaid expansions to examine the effect of an increase in public health insurance provision on labor market outcomes by gender and race/ethnicity. Our results lend support to the notion that state Medicaid expansions are associated with improved labor market autonomy for white men and white women; however, we find mixed results for black and Hispanic men and women. Notably, our findings cast doubt on earlier claims that the ACA would lead to large reductions in labor force participation and employment.

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Recent Growth In Medicare Advantage Enrollment Associated With Decreased Fee-For-Service Spending In Certain US Counties

Garret Johnson et al.

Health Affairs, September 2016, Pages 1707-1715

Abstract:
Recent increases in Medicare Advantage enrollment may have caused lower spending growth in the fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare population. We identified the counties of largest Medicare Advantage growth and determined if increased enrollment was associated with reduced FFS Medicare spending growth in those counties. We found that 73 percent of counties experienced at least a 5-percentage-point increase in Medicare Advantage penetration between 2007 and 2014, with the most growth occurring in larger and poorer counties in the Northeast and South. The association between Medicare Advantage growth and FFS Medicare costs varied depending on baseline Medicare Advantage penetration: In counties with low baseline penetration, Medicare Advantage growth did not have a significant effect on per capita FFS Medicare spending, whereas in counties in the highest quartile of baseline Medicare Advantage penetration, it was associated with a significant decrease in FFS Medicare spending growth ($154 annually per 10-percentage-point increase in Medicare Advantage). These findings suggest that Medicare Advantage growth may be playing a role in moderating FFS Medicare costs.

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Employment Effects of the ACA Medicaid Expansions

Pauline Leung & Alexandre Mas

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We examine whether the recent expansions in Medicaid from the Affordable Care Act reduced “employment lock” among childless adults who were previously ineligible for public coverage. We compare employment in states that chose to expand Medicaid versus those that chose not to expand, before and after implementation. We find that although the expansion increased Medicaid coverage by 3.0 percentage points among childless adults, there was no significant impact on employment.

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Do Mandatory Overtime Laws Improve Quality? Staffing Decisions and Operational Flexibility of Nursing Homes

Susan Feng Lu & Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the 2000s, over a dozen U.S. states passed laws that prohibit healthcare employers from mandating overtime for nurses. Using a nationwide panel data set from 2004 to 2012, we find that these mandatory overtime laws reduced the service quality of nursing homes, as measured by an increase in deficiency citations. This outcome can be explained by two undesirable changes in the staffing hours of registered nurses: decreased hours of permanent nurses and increased hours of contract nurses per resident day. We observe that the increase in deficiency citations concentrates in the domains of administration and quality of care rather than quality of life, and the severity levels of the increased citations tend to be minor rather than major. We also find that the laws’ negative effect on quality is more severe in nursing homes with higher percentages of Medicare-covered residents. These observations are consistent with the predictions of a stochastic staffing model that incorporates demand uncertainty and operational flexibility. Furthermore, we rule out an alternative hypothesis that the quality decline is induced by an increase in nurse wages.

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Marketplace Plan Payment Options for Dealing with High-Cost Enrollees

Timothy Layton & Thomas McGuire

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Two of the three elements of the ACA’s “premium stabilization program,” reinsurance and risk corridors, are set to expire in 2017, leaving risk adjustment alone to protect plans against risk of high-cost cases. This paper considers potential modifications of the HHS risk adjustment methodology to maintain plan protection against risk from high-cost cases within the current regulatory framework. We show analytically that modifications of the transfer formula and of the risk adjustment model itself are mathematically equivalent to a conventional actuarially fair reinsurance policy. Furthermore, closely related modifications of the transfer formula or the risk adjustment model can improve on conventional reinsurance by figuring transfers or estimating risk adjustment model weights recognizing the presence of a reinsurance function. In the empirical section, we estimate risk adjustment models with an updated and selected version of the data used to calibrate the federal payment models, and show, using simulation methods, that proposed modifications improve fit at the person level and protect small insurers against high-cost risk better than conventional reinsurance. We simulate various “attachment points” for the reinsurance equivalent policies and quantify the tradeoffs of higher and lower attachment points.

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New Anticancer Drugs Associated With Large Increases In Costs And Life Expectancy

David Howard et al.

Health Affairs, September 2016, Pages 1581-1587

Abstract:
Spending on anticancer drugs has risen rapidly over the past two decades. A key policy question is whether new anticancer drugs offer value, given their high cost. Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)–Medicare database, we assessed the value of new cancer treatments in routine clinical practice for patients with metastatic breast, lung, or kidney cancer or chronic myeloid leukemia in the periods 1996–2000 and 2007–11. We found that there were large increases in medical costs, but also large gains in life expectancy. For example, among patients with breast cancer who received physician-administered drugs, lifetime costs — including costs for outpatient and inpatient care — increased by $72,000 and life expectancy increased by thirteen months. Changes in life expectancy and costs were much smaller among patients who did not receive these drugs.

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A Doctor Will See You Now: Physician-Patient Relationships and Clinical Decisions

Erin Johnson et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of physician-patient relationships on clinical decisions in a setting where the treating physician is as good as randomly assigned. OBs are 25% (4 percentage points) more likely to perform a C-section when delivering patients with whom they have a pre-existing clinical relationship (their “own patients”) than when delivering patients with whom they had no prior relationship. OBs’ decisions are consistent with receiving greater disutility from their own patients’ difficult labors. After a string of difficult labors, OBs are more likely to perform C-sections on their own patients, and this can explain the entire own patient effect.

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Hospital Advertising, Competition, and HCAHPS: Does It Pay to Advertise?

John Huppertz et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Data Sources/Study Setting: We examined media advertising expenditures by 2,142 acute care hospitals in 209 markets in the United States. Data on hospital characteristics, location, and revenue came from CMS reports; system ownership was obtained from the American Hospital Association. Advertising data came from Kantar Media. HCAHPS data were obtained from HospitalCompare.

Principal Findings: In competitive markets (HHI below 1,000), hospital advertising predicted HCAHPS global measures. A 1-percent increase in advertising was associated with a 1.173-percent increase in patients rating the hospital a “9” or “10” on the HCAHPS survey and a 1.540-percent increase in patients who “definitely” would recommend the hospital. In concentrated markets, this association was not significant.

Conclusions: In competitive markets, hospitals that spend more on advertising earn higher HCAHPS ratings on global measures.

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Strategic Patient Discharge: The Case of Long-Term Care Hospitals

Paul Eliason et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Medicare's prospective payment system for long-term acute-care hospitals (LTCHs) gives providers modest reimbursements for short patient stays before jumping discontinuously to a large lump-sum payment after a pre-specified number of days. Using Medicare claims data, we show that LTCHs strategically discharge patients after they exceed the large-payment threshold. We find this behavior is more common among for-profit facilities, facilities acquired by leading LTCH chains, and facilities located within standard acute-care hospitals. Using a dynamic structural model, we evaluate counterfactual payment policies recently considered as alternatives for the existing scheme and find that they would provide substantial savings for CMS.

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Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records and Medicare Expenditures: Evidence from a Panel Data Analysis of U.S. Health Care Markets, 2010–2013

Eric Lammers & Catherine McLaughlin

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Data Sources: American Hospital Association (AHA) General Survey and Information Technology Supplement, Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics survey, SK&A Information Services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse Geographic Variation Database for 2010 through 2013.

Study Design: Fixed effects model comparing associations between hospital referral region (HRR) level measures of hospital and physician EHR penetration and annual Medicare expenditures for beneficiaries with one of four chronic conditions. Calculated hospital penetration rates as the percentage of Medicare discharges from hospitals that satisfied criteria analogous to Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 1 requirements and physician rates as the percentage of physicians using ambulatory care EHRs.

Principal Findings: An increase in the hospital penetration rate was associated with a small but statistically significant decrease in total Medicare and Medicare Part A acute care expenditures per beneficiary. An increase in physician EHR penetration was also associated with a significant decrease in total Medicare and Medicare Part A acute care expenditures per beneficiary as well as a decrease in Medicare Part B expenditures per beneficiary. For the study population, we estimate approximately $3.8 billion in savings related to hospital and physician EHR adoption during 2010–2013. We also found that an increase in physician EHR penetration was associated with an increase in lab test expenses.

Conclusions: Health care markets that had steeper increases in EHR penetration during 2010–2013 also had steeper decreases in total Medicare and acute care expenditures per beneficiary. Markets with greater increases in physician EHR had greater declines in Medicare Part B expenditures per beneficiary.

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Health plan type variations in spells of health care treatment

Randall Ellis & Wenjia Zhu

American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes 30-day “treatment spells” - fixed length periods that commence with a service after a gap in provider contact - to examine how health care utilization and spending of insured employees at large firms are influenced by health plan types. We focus on differences between preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and two recent innovations: plans that feature a narrow panel of providers, and plans that allow free choice of providers but increase demand-side cost sharing: consumer-driven/high-deductible health plans. Health plan effect estimates change dramatically after controlling for endogenous plan type choice, and individual fixed effects. With these controls, narrow panel plans reduce the probability of new treatment spells relative to PPOs by 34 percent with little effect on chronic, repeat visit spells. Visit reductions are more concentrated in less severe conditions in narrow network plans, hence diagnostic coding on the remaining patients increases. We find no evidence that either narrow panel or higher cost sharing plans pay lower prices per procedure or have less intensive treatment given initiation of treatment. With controls, consumer-driven/high-deductible health plans are associated with higher total spending on procedures than PPO plans.

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Effects of dependent coverage mandate on household precautionary savings: Evidence from the 2010 Affordable Care Act

Daeyong Lee

Economics Letters, October 2016, Pages 32–37

Abstract:
This article examines the effects of the health insurance coverage mandate for young adults on household precautionary savings by focusing on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. The ACA dependent coverage mandate allows young adults to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until their 26th birthday. Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation data, I find that the ACA mandate reduced precautionary savings for households with both parental employer-sponsored health insurance and dependent children aged 19–25 years. These households significantly reduced liquid assets by $897 after ACA, but they did not reduce savings in tax-deferred accounts or real estate assets.

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Hospital Network Competition and Adverse Selection: Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Exchange

Mark Shepard

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Health insurers increasingly compete on their covered networks of medical providers. Using data from Massachusetts’ pioneer insurance exchange, I find substantial adverse selection against plans covering the most prestigious and expensive “star” hospitals. I highlight a theoretically distinct selection channel: these plans attract consumers loyal to the star hospitals and who tend to use their high-price care when sick. Using a structural model, I show that selection creates a strong incentive to exclude star hospitals but that standard policy solutions do not improve net welfare. A key reason is the connection between selection and moral hazard in star hospital use.

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Medication Costs and Adherence of Treatment Before and After the Affordable Care Act: 1999–2015

Jae Kennedy & Elizabeth Geneva Wood

American Journal of Public Health, October 2016, Pages 1804-1807

Abstract:
To examine national changes in rates of cost-related prescription nonadherence (CRN) by age group, we used data from the 1999–2015 Sample Adult and Sample Child National Health Interview Surveys (n = 768 781). In a logistic regression analysis of 2015 data, we identified subgroups at risk for cost-related nonadherence. The proportion of all Americans who did not fill a prescription in the previous 12 months because they could not afford it grew from 1999 to 2009, peaking at 8.3% at the height of the Great Recession and dropping to 5.2% by 2015. CRN among seniors, however, peaked in 2004 at 5.4% and dropped to 3.6% after implementation of Medicare Part D in 2006. CRN is responsive to improved access related to implementation of Medicare Part D and the Affordable Care Act.

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Trends in Hospital Inpatient Admissions Following Early Medicaid Expansion in California

Peter Cunningham, Lindsay Sabik & Ali Bonakdar Tehrani

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act is expected to profoundly affect inpatient hospital utilization, both as a result of expansions in insurance coverage as well as payment and delivery system reforms. The objective of this study is to examine changes in inpatient utilization between 2010 and 2013 in California, following a Medicaid expansion and implementation of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program. Findings show that between 2010 and 2013: (a) the overall number of inpatient admissions increased, mainly because an increase in Medicaid admissions exceeded the decrease in uninsured admissions; (b) the number of preventable admissions did not change; (c) preventable admissions decreased at safety net hospitals that received Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment funds relative to other safety net hospitals. The results suggest that delivery system reforms may help offset the upward pressures on utilization and costs due to coverage expansions.

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Quality rating and private-prices: Evidence from the nursing home industry

Sean Shenghsiu Huang & Richard Hirth

Journal of Health Economics, December 2016, Pages 59–70

Abstract:
We use the rollout of the five-star rating of nursing homes to study how private-pay prices respond to quality rating. We find that star rating increases the price differential between top- and bottom-ranked facilities. On average, prices of top-ranked facilities increased by 4.8 to 6.0 percent more than the prices of bottom-ranked facilities. We find stronger price effects in markets that are less concentrated where consumers may have more choices of alternative nursing homes. Our results suggest that with simplified design and when markets are less concentrated, consumers are more responsive to quality reporting.

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Early Experience of Financial Performance and Solvency of Medicaid-Focused Insurers Under ACA Expansion

Michael McCue

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
To allow for greater coverage of the uninsured, the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage in 2014. Accessing financial data of state health insurers from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, this data trend study compares the financial performance and solvency of Medicaid-focused health insurers prior to and after the first year expansion of Medicaid coverage. After the first year of Medicaid expansion, there was a significant increase in operating profit margin ratio for Medicaid-focused health insurers within expansion states. Lower medical loss ratio as well as no change in administrative costs contributed to this profitable position. The risk-based capital ratio for solvency increased significantly for health insurers in nonexpansion states while there was no change in this ratio for health insurers in expansion states. Conversely, the other important solvency ratio of cash flow margin increased significantly for health insurers in expansion states but not for insurers in nonexpansion states.

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Does medical malpractice law improve health care quality?

Michael Frakes & Anupam Jena

Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We assess the potential for medical liability forces to deter medical errors and improve health care treatment quality, identifying liability's influence by drawing on variations in the manner by which states formulate the negligence standard facing physicians. Using hospital discharge records from the National Hospital Discharge Survey and clinically-validated quality metrics inspired by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, we find evidence suggesting that treatment quality may improve upon reforms that expect physicians to adhere to higher quality clinical standards. We do not find evidence, however, suggesting that treatment quality may deteriorate following reforms to liability standards that arguably condone the delivery of lower quality care. Similarly, we do not find evidence of deterioration in health care quality following remedy-focused liability reforms such as caps on non-economic damages awards.

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The relationship between the markets for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance

Bradley Karl, Patricia Born & Kip Viscusi

Applied Economics, Fall 2016, Pages 5348-5363

Abstract:
This article evaluates the interdependence of medical malpractice insurance markets and health insurance markets. Prior research has addressed the performance of these markets, individually, without specifically quantifying the extent to which they are linked. Increasing levels of health insurance losses could increase the scale of potential malpractice claims, boosting medical malpractice losses, or could embody an improvement in medical care quality, which will reduce malpractice losses. Our results for a state panel data set from 2002 to 2009 demonstrate that health insurance losses are negatively related to medical malpractice insurance losses. An additional dollar of health insurance losses is associated with a $0.01–$0.05 reduction in medical malpractice losses. These findings have potentially important implications for assessments of the net cost of health insurance policies.

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Health Insurance Trends and Access to Behavioral Healthcare Among Justice-Involved Individuals — United States, 2008–2014

Tyler Winkelman et al.

Journal of General Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Design: Repeated and pooled cross-sectional analyses of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

Participants: Nationally representative sample of 15,899 adults age 19–64 years between 2008 and 2014 with a history of justice involvement during the prior 12 months.

Key results: The dependent coverage mandate was associated with a 13.0 percentage point decline in uninsurance among justice-involved individuals age 19–25 years (p < 0.001). Following Medicaid expansion, uninsurance declined among justice involved individuals of all ages by 9.7 percentage points (p < 0.001), but remained 16.3 percentage points higher than uninsurance rates for individuals without justice involvement (p < 0.001). In pooled analyses, Medicaid, relative to uninsurance and private insurance, was associated with significantly higher treatment rates for illicit drug abuse/dependence and depression.

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Association Between Hospital Participation in a Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative and Payments and Quality Outcomes for Lower Extremity Joint Replacement Episodes

Laura Dummit et al.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 27 September 2016, Pages 1267-1278

Importance: Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) is a voluntary initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to test the effect of holding an entity accountable for all services provided during an episode of care on episode payments and quality of care.

Objective: To evaluate whether BPCI was associated with a greater reduction in Medicare payments without loss of quality of care for lower extremity joint (primarily hip and knee) replacement episodes initiated in BPCI-participating hospitals that are accountable for total episode payments (for the hospitalization and Medicare-covered services during the 90 days after discharge).

Design, Setting, and Participants: A difference-in-differences approach estimated the differential change in outcomes for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who had a lower extremity joint replacement at a BPCI-participating hospital between the baseline (October 2011 through September 2012) and intervention (October 2013 through June 2015) periods and beneficiaries with the same surgical procedure at matched comparison hospitals.

Results: There were 29 441 lower extremity joint replacement episodes in the baseline period and 31 700 in the intervention period (mean [SD] age, 74.1 [8.89] years; 65.2% women) at 176 BPCI-participating hospitals, compared with 29 440 episodes in the baseline period (768 hospitals) and 31 696 episodes in the intervention period (841 hospitals) (mean [SD] age, 74.1 [8.92] years; 64.9% women) at matched comparison hospitals. The BPCI mean Medicare episode payments were $30 551 (95% CI, $30 201 to $30 901) in the baseline period and declined by $3286 to $27 265 (95% CI, $26 838 to $27 692) in the intervention period. The comparison mean Medicare episode payments were $30 057 (95% CI, $29 765 to $30 350) in the baseline period and declined by $2119 to $27 938 (95% CI, $27 639 to $28 237). The mean Medicare episode payments declined by an estimated $1166 more (95% CI, −$1634 to −$699; P < .001) for BPCI episodes than for comparison episodes, primarily due to reduced use of institutional postacute care. There were no statistical differences in the claims-based quality measures, which included 30-day unplanned readmissions (−0.1%; 95% CI, −0.6% to 0.4%), 90-day unplanned readmissions (−0.4%; 95% CI, −1.1% to 0.3%), 30-day emergency department visits (−0.1%; 95% CI, −0.7% to 0.5%), 90-day emergency department visits (0.2%; 95% CI, −0.6% to 1.0%), 30-day postdischarge mortality (−0.1%; 95% CI, −0.3% to 0.2%), and 90-day postdischarge mortality (−0.0%; 95% CI, −0.3% to 0.3%).

Conclusions and Relevance: In the first 21 months of the BPCI initiative, Medicare payments declined more for lower extremity joint replacement episodes provided in BPCI-participating hospitals than for those provided in comparison hospitals, without a significant change in quality outcomes. Further studies are needed to assess longer-term follow-up as well as patterns for other types of clinical care.

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Medicare Reform: Estimation of the Impacts of Premium Support Systems

Awi Federgruen & Lijian Lu

Columbia University Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Medicare reform plans advocate reducing the capitation levels or determining these endogenously as a function of the premium bids, for example, the lowest, the second-lowest or a weighted average of the bids. Based on a price competition model tailored toward this market, and actual 2010 county-by county data, we estimate the impact such reforms would have on the plans’ market shares, equilibrium premia, the government’s and the beneficiaries’ costs. We employ two methodologies to derive the model parameters. The predicted impacts are remarkably consistent and reveal, for example, that government costs could be reduced by 16.5%-21%.

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Financial Loss for Inpatient Care of Medicaid-Insured Children

Jeffrey Colvin et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Importance: Medicaid payments tend to be less than the cost of care. Federal Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments help hospitals recover such uncompensated costs of Medicaid-insured and uninsured patients. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reduces DSH payments in anticipation of fewer uninsured patients and therefore decreased uncompensated care. However, unlike adults, few hospitalized children are uninsured, while many have Medicaid coverage. Therefore, DSH payment reductions may expose extensive Medicaid financial losses for hospitals serving large absolute numbers of children.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cross-sectional analysis evaluated Medicaid-insured hospital discharges of patients 20 years and younger from 23 states in the 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database. The dates of the analysis were March to September 2015. Hospitals were categorized as freestanding children’s hospitals (FSCHs), children’s hospitals within general hospitals, non–children’s hospital teaching hospitals, and non–children’s hospital nonteaching hospitals. Financial records of FSCHs in the data set were used to estimate the proportion of Medicaid losses recovered through DSH payments.

Results: The 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database study population included 1485 hospitals and 843 725 Medicaid-insured discharges. Freestanding children’s hospitals had a higher median number of Medicaid-insured discharges (4082; interquartile range [IQR], 3524-5213) vs non–children’s hospital teaching hospitals (674; IQR, 258-1414) and non–children’s hospital nonteaching hospitals (161; IQR, 41-420). Freestanding children’s hospitals had the largest median Medicaid losses from pediatric inpatient care (−$9 722 367; IQR, −$16 248 369 to −$2 137 902). Smaller losses were experienced by non–children’s hospital teaching hospitals (−$204 100; IQR, −$1 014 100 to $14 700]) and non–children’s hospital nonteaching hospitals (−$28 310; IQR, −$152 370 to $9040]). Disproportionate Share Hospital payments to FSCHs reduced their Medicaid losses by almost half.

Conclusions and Relevance: Estimated financial losses from pediatric inpatients covered by Medicaid were much larger for FSCHs than for other hospital types. For children’s hospitals, small anticipated increases in insured children are unlikely to offset the reductions in DSH payments.

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Average surgeon-level volume and hospital performance

Gregory Stock, Christopher McDermott & Gopesh Anandc

International Journal of Production Economics, December 2016, Pages 253–262

Abstract:
This study evaluates the relationships among the average number of procedures per surgeon, calculated across the entire hospital, and multiple dimensions of overall hospital operational performance. Hospital administrative data from 154 public and private hospitals in the state of New York were augmented by data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The data included administrative surgical records across all clinical areas for the year 2009. The study used maximum likelihood estimation path analysis to simultaneously test the relationships among average surgical volume and risk-adjusted length of stay, cost, and mortality, across all surgical procedures and clinical areas. The results showed that higher average volume per surgeon, computed across all surgical procedures in a hospital, was directly related to lower risk-adjusted length of stay, and indirectly related to lower risk-adjusted cost and mortality. A higher average number of procedures per surgeon may provide greater hospital-specific experience, including interactions among surgical teams and with other areas of the hospital, leading to better overall outcomes. This study advances the literature in health care operations management by examining the relationships among surgical volume, across all clinical areas and all types of surgeries, and three different dimensions of hospital performance.

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Do hospital-owned skilled nursing facilities provide better post-acute care quality?

Momotazur Rahman, Edward Norton & David Grabowski

Journal of Health Economics, December 2016, Pages 36–46

Abstract:
As hospitals are increasingly held accountable for patients' post-discharge outcomes under new payment models, hospitals may choose to acquire skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to better manage these outcomes. This raises the question of whether patients discharged to hospital-based SNFs have better outcomes. In unadjusted comparisons, hospital-based SNF patients have much lower Medicare utilization in the 180 days following discharge relative to freestanding SNF patients. We solved the problem of differential selection into hospital-based and freestanding SNFs by using differential distance from home to the nearest hospital with a SNF relative to the distance from home to the nearest hospital without a SNF as an instrument. We found that hospital-based SNF patients spent roughly 5 more days in the community and 6 fewer days in the SNF in the 180 days following their original hospital discharge with no significant effect on mortality or hospital readmission.

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The “Seven Pillars” Response to Patient Safety Incidents: Effects on Medical Liability Processes and Outcomes

Bruce Lambert et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To determine whether a communication and resolution approach to patient harm is associated with changes in medical liability processes and outcomes.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Administrative, safety, and risk management data from the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, from 2002 to 2014.

Study Design: Single health system, interrupted time series design. Using Mann–Whitney U tests and segmented regression models, we compared means and trends in incident reports, claims, event analyses, patient communication consults, legal fees, costs per claim, settlements, and self-insurance expenses before and after the implementation of the “Seven Pillars” communication and resolution intervention.

Principal Findings: The intervention nearly doubled the number of incident reports, halved the number of claims, and reduced legal fees and costs as well as total costs per claim, settlement amounts, and self-insurance costs.

Conclusions: A communication and optimal resolution (CANDOR) approach to adverse events was associated with long-lasting, clinically and financially significant changes in a large set of core medical liability process and outcome measures.

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Estimating the Value of Public Insurance Using Complementary Private Insurance

Marika Cabral & Mark Cullen

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
The welfare associated with public insurance is often difficult to quantify. Relative to private insurance, a fundamental difficulty is that public insurance is typically compulsory, so the demand for coverage is unobserved and thus cannot be used to analyze welfare. However, in many public insurance settings, individuals can purchase private insurance to supplement their public coverage. In this paper, we outline an approach to use data and variation from private complementary insurance to quantify welfare associated with several counterfactuals related to compulsory public insurance. Using administrative data from one large firm on employee long-term disability insurance, we then apply this approach empirically to quantify the value of disability insurance among this population. We use premium variation among the employer-provided disability policies to quantify the surplus that would be generated by increasing the replacement rate of disability insurance for our sample population -- a counterfactual that is within the set of insurance contracts observed in this setting. In addition, we estimate a lower bound on the surplus generated by public disability insurance in this context. Our findings suggest that public disability insurance generates substantial surplus for this population, and there may be gains to increasing the generosity of coverage in this context.

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Decreasing Malpractice Claims by Reducing Preventable Perinatal Harm

William Riley et al.

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the association of improved patient safety practices with medical malpractice claims and costs in the perinatal units of acute care hospitals.

Data Sources: Malpractice and harm data from participating hospitals; litigation records and medical malpractice claims data from American Excess Insurance Exchange, RRG, whose data are managed by Premier Insurance Management Services, Inc. (owned by Premier Inc., a health care improvement company).

Principal Findings: There is a significant reduction in the number of perinatal malpractice claims paid, losses paid, and indemnity payments (43.9 percent, 77.6 percent, and 84.6 percent, respectively) following interventions to improve perinatal patient safety and reduce perinatal harm. This compares with no significant reductions in the nonperinatal claims in the same hospitals during the same time period.

Conclusions: The number of perinatal malpractice claims and dollar amount of claims payments decreased significantly in the participating hospitals, while there was no significant decrease in nonperinatal malpractice claims activity in the same hospitals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What you bring to the table

The Social Costs of Ubiquitous Information: Consuming Information on Mobile Phones Is Associated with Lower Trust

Kostadin Kushlev & Jason Proulx

PLoS ONE, September 2016

Abstract:
In an age already saturated with information, the ongoing revolution in mobile computing has expanded the realm of immediate information access far beyond our homes and offices. In addition to changing where people can access information, mobile computing has changed what information people access - from finding specific directions to a restaurant to exploring nearby businesses when on the go. Does this ability to instantly gratify our information needs anytime and anywhere have any bearing on how much we trust those around us - from neighbors to strangers? Using data from a large nationally representative survey (World Values Survey: Wave 6), we found that the more people relied on their mobile phones for information, the less they trusted strangers, neighbors and people from other religions and nationalities. In contrast, obtaining information through any other method - including TV, radio, newspapers, and even the Internet more broadly - predicted higher trust in those groups. Mobile information had no bearing on how much people trusted close others, such as their family. Although causality cannot be inferred, these findings provide an intriguing first glimpse into the possible unforeseen costs of convenient information access for the social lubricant of society - our sense of trust in one another.

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Novel Rituals Inculcate Intergroup Bias: Evidence from the Trust Game and Neurophysiology

Nicholas Hobson et al.

Harvard Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Long-established rituals in pre-existing cultural groups have been linked to the cultural evolution of large-scale group cooperation. Here we show the causal effect of novel rituals - arbitrary hand and body gestures enacted in a stereotypical and repeated fashion - on the development of intergroup bias in newly formed groups. In four studies, participants practiced novel rituals at home for one week (Experiments 1, 2, and 4) or once in the lab (Experiment 3), and then were divided into minimal ingroups and outgroups in the laboratory. Behavioral and neurophysiological results revealed that novel rituals are capable of generating intergroup bias, but only when certain psychological features are present: in order to inculcate intergroup bias, novel rituals must be sufficiently elaborate and repeated over time. Together, our results suggest psychological consequences of novel rituals: they promote ingroup cohesion, but at the expense of the outgroup.

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Dying for charisma: Leaders' inspirational appeal increases post-mortem

Niklas Steffens et al.

Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present research, we shed light on the nature and origins of charisma by examining changes in a person's perceived charisma that follow their death. We propose that death is an event that will strengthen the connection between the leader and the group they belong to, which in turn will increase perceptions of leaders' charisma. In Study 1, results from an experimental study show that a scientist who is believed to be dead is regarded as more charismatic than the same scientist believed to be alive. Moreover, this effect was accounted for by people's perceptions that the dead scientist's fate is more strongly connected with the fate of the groups that they represent. In Study 2, a large-scale archival analysis of Heads of States who died in office in the 21st century shows that the proportion of published news items about Heads of State that include references to charisma increases significantly after their death. These results suggest that charisma is, at least in part, a social inference that increases after death. Moreover, they suggest that social influence and inspiration can be understood as products of people's capacity to embody valued social groups.

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Family Counts: Deciding When to Murder Among the Icelandic Vikings

Markel Palmstierna et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In small scale societies, lethal attacks on another individual usually invite revenge by the victim's family. We might expect those who perpetrate such attacks to do so only when their own support network (mainly family) is larger than that of the potential victim so as to minimise the risk of retaliation. Using data from Icelandic family sagas, we show that this prediction holds whether we consider biological kin or affinal kin (in-laws): on average, killers had twice as many relatives as their victims. These findings reinforce the importance of kin as a source of implicit protection even when they are not physically present. The results also support Hughes' (1988) claim that affines are biological kin because of the shared genetic interests they have in the offspring generation.

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Influence of Indirect Information on Interpersonal Trust Despite Direct Information

Pareezad Zarolia, Max Weisbuch & Kateri McRae

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust is integral to successful relationships. The development of trust stems from how one person treats others, and there are multiple ways to learn about someone's trust-relevant behavior. The present research captures the development of trust to examine if trust-relevant impressions and behavior are influenced by indirect behavioral information (i.e., descriptions of how a person treated another individual) - even in the presence of substantial direct behavioral information (i.e., self-relevant, first-hand experience with a person). Participants had repeated interpersonal exchanges with a partner who was trustworthy or untrustworthy with participants' money. The present studies vary the frequency with which (Studies 1 & 2), the order in which (Study 3) and the number of people for whom (Study 4) indirect information (i.e., brief vignettes describing trustworthy or untrustworthy behavior) were presented. As predicted, across 4 studies, we observed a robust effect of indirect-information despite the presence of substantial direct information. Even after dozens of interactions in which a partner betrayed (or not), a brief behavioral description of a partner influenced participants' willingness to actually trust the partner with money, memory-based estimates of partner-behavior, and impressions of the partner. These effects were observed even though participants were also sensitive to partners' actual trust behavior, and even when indirect behavioral descriptions were only presented a single time. Impressions were identified as a strong candidate mechanism for the effect of indirect-information on behavior. We discuss implications of the persistence of indirect information for impression formation, relationship development, and future studies of trust.

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Hope Comes in Many Forms: Out-Group Expressions of Hope Override Low Support and Promote Reconciliation in Conflicts

Smadar Cohen-Chen, Richard Crisp & Eran Halperin

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In conflicts, political attitudes are based to some extent on the perception of the out-group as sharing the goal of peace and supporting steps to achieve it. However, intractable conflicts are characterized by inconsistent and negative interactions, which prevent clear messages of out-group support. This problem calls for alternative ways to convey support between groups in conflict. One such method is emotional expressions. The current research tested whether, in the absence of out-group support for peace, observing expressions of out-group hope induces conciliatory attitudes. Results from two experimental studies, conducted within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, revealed support for this hypothesis. Expressions of Palestinian hope induced acceptance of a peace agreement through Israeli hope and positive perceptions of the proposal when out-group support expressions were low. Findings demonstrate the importance of hope as a means of conveying information within processes of conflict resolution, overriding messages of low out-group support for peace.

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The Power to be Moral: Affirming Israelis' and Palestinians' Agency Promotes Prosocial Tendencies across Group Boundaries

Ilanit SimanTov-Nachlieli, Nurit Shnabel & Samer Halabi

Journal of Social Issues, September 2016, Pages 566-583

Abstract:
Based on recent extensions of the needs-based model of reconciliation, we argue that in conflicts characterized by mutual transgressions, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, group members prioritize their agency-related over morality-related needs. Optimistically, however, two studies conducted among Israeli Jews (Study 1) and West Bank Palestinians (Study 2) found that addressing group members' pressing need for agency by affirming their in-group's strength, competence, and self-determination brought their moral considerations to the fore, leading to stronger prosocial tendencies across group boundaries. These studies suggest that group members need to feel secure and agentic in order to allow their otherwise unprioritized moral needs to come into play. Practically, our insights regarding the positive effects of agency affirmation can be used in the planning of interventions by dialog group facilitators, mediators, or group leaders who wish to encourage members to relinquish some power in order to exhibit greater morality toward their out-group.

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In-group defense, out-group aggression, and coordination failures in intergroup conflict

Carsten De Dreu et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 20 September 2016, Pages 10524-10529

Abstract:
Intergroup conflict persists when and because individuals make costly contributions to their group's fighting capacity, but how groups organize contributions into effective collective action remains poorly understood. Here we distinguish between contributions aimed at subordinating out-groups (out-group aggression) from those aimed at defending the in-group against possible out-group aggression (in-group defense). We conducted two experiments in which three-person aggressor groups confronted three-person defender groups in a multiround contest game (n = 276; 92 aggressor-defender contests). Individuals received an endowment from which they could contribute to their group's fighting capacity. Contributions were always wasted, but when the aggressor group's fighting capacity exceeded that of the defender group, the aggressor group acquired the defender group's remaining resources (otherwise, individuals on both sides were left with the remainders of their endowment). In-group defense appeared stronger and better coordinated than out-group aggression, and defender groups survived roughly 70% of the attacks. This low success rate for aggressor groups mirrored that of group-hunting predators such as wolves and chimpanzees (n = 1,382 cases), hostile takeovers in industry (n = 1,637 cases), and interstate conflicts (n = 2,586). Furthermore, whereas peer punishment increased out-group aggression more than in-group defense without affecting success rates (Exp. 1), sequential (vs. simultaneous) decision-making increased coordination of collective action for out-group aggression, doubling the aggressor's success rate (Exp. 2). The relatively high success rate of in-group defense suggests evolutionary and cultural pressures may have favored capacities for cooperation and coordination when the group goal is to defend, rather than to expand, dominate, and exploit.

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The Positive Effects of Status Conflicts in Teams Where Members Perceive Status Hierarchies Differently

Corinne Bendersky & Nicholas Hays

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Status conflicts, conflicts about members' relative positions in a team's status hierarchy, generally harm group performance. We integrate research on status conflicts and social information processing and find in two longitudinal survey studies that the disruptive effects of status conflicts depend on the extent to which members agree about the group's status hierarchy. Specifically, status conflicts in teams with high status agreement disrupt team performance by producing lower status agreement after the conflict. Status conflicts that occur in teams with low status agreement, however, benefit performance by helping members clarify the hierarchy, leading to higher subsequent status agreement. In a third study, we examine how status conflict and status agreement interactively impact teams' use of task-relevant cues to assign status. By contextualizing status conflicts in terms of the teams' status agreement, we identify conditions in which the dysfunctional effects of status conflicts counterintuitively enhance team performance.

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Young Children See a Single Action and Infer a Social Norm: Promiscuous Normativity in 3-Year-Olds

Marco Schmidt et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human social life depends heavily on social norms that prescribe and proscribe specific actions. Typically, young children learn social norms from adult instruction. In the work reported here, we showed that this is not the whole story: Three-year-old children are promiscuous normativists. In other words, they spontaneously inferred the presence of social norms even when an adult had done nothing to indicate such a norm in either language or behavior. And children of this age even went so far as to enforce these self-inferred norms when third parties "broke" them. These results suggest that children do not just passively acquire social norms from adult behavior and instruction; rather, they have a natural and proactive tendency to go from "is" to "ought." That is, children go from observed actions to prescribed actions and do not perceive them simply as guidelines for their own behavior but rather as objective normative rules applying to everyone equally.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tough guy

Testosterone causes both prosocial and antisocial status-enhancing behaviors in human males

Jean-Claude Dreher et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although popular discussion of testosterone's influence on males often centers on aggression and antisocial behavior, contemporary theorists have proposed that it instead enhances behaviors involved in obtaining and maintaining a high social status. Two central distinguishing but untested predictions of this theory are that testosterone selectively increases status-relevant aggressive behaviors, such as responses to provocation, but that it also promotes nonaggressive behaviors, such as generosity toward others, when they are appropriate for increasing status. Here, we tested these hypotheses in healthy young males by injecting testosterone enanthate or a placebo in a double-blind, between-subjects, randomized design (n = 40). Participants played a version of the Ultimatum Game that was modified so that, having accepted or rejected an offer from the proposer, participants then had the opportunity to punish or reward the proposer at a proportionate cost to themselves. We found that participants treated with testosterone were more likely to punish the proposer and that higher testosterone levels were specifically associated with increased punishment of proposers who made unfair offers, indicating that testosterone indeed potentiates aggressive responses to provocation. Furthermore, when participants administered testosterone received large offers, they were more likely to reward the proposer and also chose rewards of greater magnitude. This increased generosity in the absence of provocation indicates that testosterone can also cause prosocial behaviors that are appropriate for increasing status. These findings are inconsistent with a simple relationship between testosterone and aggression and provide causal evidence for a more complex role for testosterone in driving status-enhancing behaviors in males.

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Does playing video games with violent content temporarily increase aggressive inclinations? A pre-registered experimental study

Randy McCarthy et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2016, Pages 13-19

Abstract:
The current study tested whether participants who played a violent video game (VVG) would exhibit increased aggressive inclinations relative to those who played a non-violent video game (NVG). Participants (N = 386) were randomly assigned to play a VVG or a NVG prior to presumably interacting with another (non-existent) participant. We then measured participants' aggressive inclinations: Participants reported how many pins they would like to stick into a "voodoo doll" representing their interaction partner, and participants reported how likely they would be to actually harm their interaction partner. We did not detect any differences between conditions for several outcomes: the amount of aggressive inclinations displayed during the interaction, the number of pins participants chose to stick into a representation of their interaction partner, and participants' self-reported likelihood they would harm their interaction partner. Thus, the hypothesis that playing a VVG would increase aggressive inclinations was not supported in this study. Exploratory analyses revealed associations between (1) participants' self-reported likelihood to aggress and perceptions of the game as frustrating or difficult, (2) gender and higher levels of pin selection, and (3) participants' self-identification as a gamer and lower levels of pin selection.

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Female Dominance in Human Groups: Effects of Sex Ratio and Conflict Level

Katherine Stroebe, Bernard Nijstad & Charlotte Hemelrijk

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Compared to men, women less often attain high-level positions and generally have lower status in society. In smaller groups, the relative influence of men and women depends on gender composition, but research is inconclusive regarding the relation between gender composition and female influence. Studies of nonhuman primates show that when females are in the minority they become more dominant over males, but only when conflict levels are high, because under these conditions men fight among each other. Similarly, here we show, in two studies with mixed gender groups (N = 90 and N = 56), that women were more dominant in groups with a high percentage of men and high levels of conflict. This depends on gender differences in aggressive behavior, inducing more aggressive behavior in women eliminated this increase in female dominance. Our work reveals that status relations between the genders among nonhuman primates can generalize to humans.

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Violent media exposure, aggression and CU traits in adolescence: Testing the selection and socialization hypotheses

Ann-Margret Rydell

Journal of Adolescence, October 2016, Pages 95-102

Abstract:
We investigated the role of exposure to violent action for later aggression and for later callous-unemotional traits in a sample of Swedish adolescents (N = 77-85), testing the selection and socialization hypotheses. Adolescents reported on violent delinquency and on callous-unemotional (CU) traits at age 15, on their media habits at age 16 and on reactive and proactive aggression and CU traits at age 18. The socialization hypothesis was supported with regard to aggression, that is, violent delinquency did not affect consumption of violent action, but controlling for violent delinquency, consumption of violent action added to proactive aggression and, marginally, to reactive aggression. The selection hypothesis was supported with regard to CU traits, that is, high levels of CU traits predicted frequent consumption of violent action, but consumption of violent action did not affect later levels of CU traits. Frequent violent media use was associated with later aggression. The associations between CU traits and violent media need further study.

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Women's Dangerous World Beliefs Predict More Accurate Discrimination of Affiliative Facial Cues

Donald Sacco et al.

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cues indicating environmental threat have been shown to influence women's preferences for physical traits in men. For example, women's beliefs about their vulnerability to aggression are associated with a stronger preference for physical formidability and aggressive dominance in male bodies and faces. In the current study, we extend these previous findings by testing whether dangerous world beliefs predict accuracy in processing facial cues associated with affiliation or deception. In addition, we include a sample of men to determine if these effects generalize to both genders. In the present study, participants viewed a series of images of a target displaying both Duchenne (genuine) and non-Duchenne (posed) smiles and were asked to categorize them as real or fake; participants also completed the Belief in a Dangerous World scale. Results revealed that for women, greater dangerous world beliefs predicted greater accuracy in discriminating real and fake smiles; no relationship was observed between dangerous world beliefs and smile detection accuracy for men. These findings uniquely demonstrate that dangerous world beliefs predict greater accuracy in adaptive face perception; however, this relationship seems to be specific to women.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, September 30, 2016

In it to win it

What The Heck Are We Doing in Ottumwa, Anyway? Presidential Candidate Visits and Their Political Consequence

Thomas Wood

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September 2016, Pages 110-125

Abstract:
This article investigates the purpose and effects of presidential campaign visits. I recount common strategic rationales for rallies, town hall meetings, impromptu conversations, and the like, and then show how candidate visits are geographically assigned. I also investigate the impact of campaign visits, finding that while state-level political factors influence the location of visits, the visits themselves have little effect on local media markets. Finally, a bespoke survey is used to measure visits’ influence on visited and unvisited respondents in the closing stages of the 2012 presidential election: respondents are shown to have little knowledge about candidate visits, and the visits themselves have only a small and evanescent effect on voter intentions.

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The Broadcast of Shared Attention and Its Impact on Political Persuasion

Garriy Shteynberg et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In democracies where multitudes yield political influence, so does broadcast media that reaches those multitudes. However, broadcast media may not be powerful simply because it reaches a certain audience, but because each of the recipients is aware of that fact. That is, watching broadcast media can evoke a state of shared attention, or the perception of simultaneous coattention with others. Whereas past research has investigated the effects of shared attention with a few socially close others (i.e., friends, acquaintances, minimal ingroup members), we examine the impact of shared attention with a multitude of unfamiliar others in the context of televised broadcasting. In this paper, we explore whether shared attention increases the psychological impact of televised political speeches, and whether fewer numbers of coattending others diminishes this effect. Five studies investigate whether the perception of simultaneous coattention, or shared attention, on a mass broadcasted political speech leads to more extreme judgments. The results indicate that the perception of synchronous coattention (as compared with coattending asynchronously and attending alone) renders persuasive speeches more persuasive, and unpersuasive speeches more unpersuasive. We also find that recall memory for the content of the speech mediates the effect of shared attention on political persuasion. The results are consistent with the notion that shared attention on mass broadcasted information results in deeper processing of the content, rendering judgments more extreme. In all, our findings imply that shared attention is a cognitive capacity that supports large-scale social coordination, where multitudes of people can cognitively prioritize simultaneously coattended information.

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How Outside Spending Shapes American Democracy

Nour Abdul-Razzak, Carlo Prato & Stephane Wolton

Columbia University Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines how lifting a ban on contributions from corporations and unions to groups engaging in outside spending (independent political advertising) affects electoral outcomes, representatives' ideology, and targeted public good provision. Using a differences-in-differences design, we find that removing constraints on the funding of outside spending improves the electoral chances of Republican candidates and leads to more conservative state legislatures. We also provide moderate evidence that these regulatory changes have increased polarization and some types of targeted public good provision. Using a game-theoretic framework, we show that these empirical results are consistent with an increase in the salience of local Republican candidates and (at worst) a moderate decrease in the salience of local Democratic candidates relative to national factors such as partisan tides. Our theoretical and empirical findings provide a first step towards understanding the role outside spending and, more generally, a more complete view of special interest group influence in elections.

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A High Bar or a Double Standard? Gender, Competence, and Information in Political Campaigns

Tessa Ditonto

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study seeks to determine whether subjects in two dynamic process tracing experiments react differently to information related to a candidate’s competence when that candidate is a woman, vs. when he is a man. I find that subjects evaluate a candidate whose competence is in doubt less favorably, and are less likely to vote for the candidate, when she is a woman. In general, evaluations of women seem to be influenced much more by information related to their competence than are evaluations of men. I also find that competence as portrayed by the composition of a candidate’s facial features does not alter this relationship. My findings suggest that gender-based stereotypes may have an indirect effect on candidate evaluations and vote choice by influencing how voters react to information about them.

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Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump

Jonathan Rothwell

Gallup Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
The 2016 US presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken with the policies of previous Republican Party presidents on trade, immigration, and war, in favor of a more nationalist and populist platform. Using detailed Gallup survey data for a large number of American adults, I analyze the individual and geographic factors that predict a higher probability of viewing Trump favorably and contrast the results with those found for other candidates. The results show mixed evidence that economic distress has motivated Trump support. His supporters are less educated and more likely to work in blue collar occupations, but they earn relative high household incomes, and living in areas more exposed to trade or immigration does not increase Trump support. There is stronger evidence that racial isolation and less strictly economic measures of social status, namely health and intergenerational mobility, are robustly predictive of more favorable views toward Trump, and these factors predict support for him but not other Republican presidential candidates.

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Predicting and Interpolating State-Level Polls Using Twitter Textual Data

Nicholas Beauchamp

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spatially or temporally dense polling remains both difficult and expensive using existing survey methods. In response, there have been increasing efforts to approximate various survey measures using social media, but most of these approaches remain methodologically flawed. To remedy these flaws, this article combines 1,200 state-level polls during the 2012 presidential campaign with over 100 million state-located political tweets; models the polls as a function of the Twitter text using a new linear regularization feature-selection method; and shows via out-of-sample testing that when properly modeled, the Twitter-based measures track and to some degree predict opinion polls, and can be extended to unpolled states and potentially substate regions and subday timescales. An examination of the most predictive textual features reveals the topics and events associated with opinion shifts, sheds light on more general theories of partisan difference in attention and information processing, and may be of use for real-time campaign strategy.

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Recruitment and Perceptions of Gender Bias in Party Leader Support

Daniel Butler & Jessica Robinson Preece

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender differences in who gets recruited by political party elites contribute to women’s underrepresentation on the ballot, but recent evidence suggests that even when women are recruited to the same extent as men, they are still less likely to be interested in seeking office. Why do men and women respond differently to invitations to seek office? We hypothesize that women view party recruitment as a weaker signal of informal support than men do. We use a survey experiment on a sample of 3,640 elected municipal officeholders — themselves prospective recruits for higher office — to test this. We find that female respondents generally believe party leaders will provide female recruits less strategic and financial support than male recruits. In other words, even when elites recruit women, women are skeptical that party leaders will use their political and social capital on their behalf. This difference may account for many women’s lukewarm responses to recruitment.

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Ideologically Sophisticated Donors: Which Candidates Do Individual Contributors Finance?

Michael Barber, Brandice Canes-Wrone & Sharece Thrower

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals are the single largest source of campaign contributions, yet we know little about their motivations. For instance, the existing literature questions whether individual contributors sophisticatedly differentiate among candidates according to policy positions, particularly among same-party candidates. We analyze this issue by combining data from a new survey of over 2,800 in- and out-of-state donors associated with the 2012 Senate elections, FEC data on contributors’ professions, and legislative records. Three major findings emerge. First, policy agreement between a donor's positions and a senator's roll calls significantly influences the likelihood of giving, even for same-party contributors. Second, there is a significant effect of committee membership corresponding to a donor's occupation; this holds even for donors who claim that other motivations dominate, but it does not appear to be motivated by an expectation of access. Third, conditional upon a donation occurring, its size is determined by factors outside a legislator's control.

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When Politics Is a Woman’s Game: Party and Gender Ownership in Woman-Versus-Woman Elections

Lindsey Meeks & David Domke

Communication Research, October 2016, Pages 895-921

Abstract:
Research on the interplay of gender and political party in voters’ candidate evaluations has long focused on all-male elections and more recently on mixed-gender elections. This study takes the next theoretical step and focuses on woman-versus-woman elections. Specifically, we examine political party- and gender-based “ownerships” of political issues and character traits in the context of female-only elections. With an experimental design, adult participants were randomly assigned to read news articles that presented either two Republican or two Democratic women competing for Governor. Candidates were presented as “owning” stereotypically masculine or feminine issues and traits. Findings show that self-identified Democrats and Republicans eschewed the so-called masculine candidate, and preferred instead a partisan woman who created a gender balance of masculinity and femininity.

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Gender, race, and political ambition: How intersectionality and frames influence interest in political office

Mirya Holman & Monica Schneider

Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political institutions in the U.S. continue to be dominated by men. Media and scholarly accounts often focus on how demand factors, such as political parties and elite networks, and supply factors, such as women’s self-confidence and political interest, combine to depress women’s representation. Yet, we know little about whether these narratives matter for women’s political ambition or how they might influence women of color. We demonstrate that blaming women’s underrepresentation on supply vs. demand causes clear changes in women’s political ambition. Attributing women’s lack of parity to demand factors allows white and Asian women to “discount” the possibility that failure rests on their own abilities, thus increasing women’s political ambition. Alternatively, framing women’s underrepresentation as due to supply factors depresses white and Asian women’s political ambition possibly because of stereotype threat. Black women respond in an opposite manner, with depressed political ambition in demand scenarios, while Latinas are unaffected by these narratives. Our findings contribute to understanding how frames intersect with racial and ethnic identity to influence political ambition.

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National Forces in State Legislative Elections

Steven Rogers

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, September 2016, Pages 207-225

Abstract:
The race for the White House is at the top of the ticket, but voters will also choose more than 5,000 state legislators in November 2016. While voters elect and hold the president responsible for one job and state legislators for another, the outcomes of their elections are remarkably related. In analyses of elite and voter behavior in state legislative elections, I show that legislators affiliated with the president’s party — especially during unpopular presidencies — are the most likely to be challenged, and compared with individual assessments of the state legislature, changes in presidential approval have at least three times the impact on voters’ decision-making in state legislative elections. Thus, while state legislatures wield considerable policymaking power, legislators’ electoral fates appear to be largely out of their control.

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“So Many Open Doors?”: An Examination of Gender Stereotypes in State Judicial Campaign Advertisements

Mary Walsh et al.

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present study we examine gender stereotyping in the traits and images emphasized by candidates in state judicial campaigns. Content analyses were conducted on televised campaign advertisements from state supreme court contests in election years 2008–2010. Our analyses indicate that women referenced masculine traits and were shown with masculine images in their ads more than men. In addition, the gender makeup of the race made a difference; when running against a man, women stress intelligence and being hardworking more than men. Conversely, women mentioned experience to a high degree when running against other women.

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When Does a Presidential Candidate Seem Presidential and Trustworthy? Campaign Messages Through the Lens of Language Expectancy Theory

David Clementson, Paola Pascual-Ferrá & Michael Beatty

Presidential Studies Quarterly, September 2016, Pages 592–617

Abstract:
Presidential candidates use different language intensity in different situations. However, the literature is unclear as to when they should use low- or high-intensity language. We applied language expectancy theory and Edwards’ theory of presidential influence to situations varying in circumstances during a presidential campaign. Results indicated significant interactions between language intensity and economic conditions. In support of theories of persuasion applied to presidential campaign contexts, the effects of language intensity and circumstances each depend on the other. During exigent economic times, people consider a presidential candidate to have more presidentiality and trustworthiness when using high- instead of low-intensity language. And during stable economic times, people consider a presidential candidate to have more presidentiality and trustworthiness when using low- instead of high-intensity language.

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Talk “Like a Man”: The Linguistic Styles of Hillary Clinton, 1992–2013

Jennifer Jones

Perspectives on Politics, September 2016, Pages 625-642

Abstract:
Hillary Clinton is arguably the most prominent woman in American politics today. Past research suggests female politicians conform to masculine communication styles in an attempt to evade the “double bind.” Clinton’s long and varied career thus provides an important and useful case study for investigating how female politicians present themselves strategically. Drawing on research in political psychology, political communication, social psychology, and linguistics I examine whether Clinton talked “like a man” as she navigated a path toward political leadership by conducting a quantitative textual analysis of 567 interview transcripts and candidate debates between 1992–2013. Results on Clinton’s linguistic style suggest her language grew increasingly masculine over time, as her involvement and power in politics expanded. I also consider Clinton’s language in the context of her 2007–2008 presidential campaign. In 2007, Clinton’s linguistic style was consistently masculine, supporting widespread accounts of Clinton’s campaign strategy. Beginning in late 2007, however, Clinton’s language became more feminine, reflecting a shift in the self-presentational strategies advised by her campaign staff. Throughout the 2008 campaign period, Clinton’s language fluctuated dramatically from one interview to the next, reflecting a candidate — and campaign — in crisis. This study reveals hidden insight into the strategies Clinton used as she navigated through the labyrinth toward leadership. Changes in Clinton’s linguistic style reflect the performance of gendered roles, expectations of political leaders, and the masculine norms of behavior that permeate political institutions.

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The Efficacy of Political Advertising: A Voter Participation Field Experiment with Multiple Robo Calls and Controls for Selection Effects

Daniel Kling & Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We document the effectiveness of robo calls for increasing voter participation despite most published research finding little or no effect of automated calls. We establish this finding in a large field experiment in a targeted, partisan get-out-the-vote campaign. Our experimental design includes a follow-up call, which allows us to control for selection effects. We identify subsets of subjects, for whom the treatment effects are substantially larger than those that are found in previous studies. Our findings show that robo calls can cause up to a one percentage point increase in voter turnout. Additionally, our experimental design allows for testing how the number of calls in a treatment, that is dosage, affects voter turnout. Here, results show that that a few extra calls increase the treatment effect, and that many additional calls decrease that effect.

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Convention effects: Examining the impact of national presidential nominating conventions on information, preferences, and behavioral intentions

Aaron Weinschenk & Costas Panagopoulos

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
We ask whether and how US presidential nominating conventions matter in contemporary US elections. Using individual-level panel data, we find evidence that the conventions exert important effects on the electorate by influencing post-convention intentions to participate in electoral politics, knowledge about the candidates, and candidate favorability ratings, even after controlling for pre-convention intentions, knowledge, and candidate ratings. We conclude that conventions remain important campaign events that play a role in facilitating democratic processes in America.

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Turnout, Status, and Identity: Mobilizing Latinos to Vote with Group Appeals

Ali Valenzuela & Melissa Michelson

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The rise of micro-targeting in American elections raises new questions about the effects of identity-based mobilization strategies. While prior research has found either weak or null effects of identity messages targeting minority groups, we bring together theories of expressive voting with literature on racial and ethnic identification to argue that prior studies have missed a crucial moderating variable — identity strength — that varies across both individuals and communities. Identity appeals can have powerful effects on turnout, but only when they target politicized identities to which individuals hold strong prior attachments. Using two innovative GOTV field experiments that rely on publicly available data to proxy for identity strength, we show that the effects of both ethnic and national identity appeals among Latinos in California and Texas are conditional on the strength of those identities in different communities and among different Latino subgroups.

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Learning and Coordination in the Presidential Primary System

George Deltas, Helios Herrera & Mattias Polborn

Review of Economic Studies, October 2016, Pages 1544-1578

Abstract:
In elections with three or more candidates, coordination among like-minded voters is an important problem. We analyse the trade-off between coordination and learning about candidate quality under different temporal election systems in the context of the U.S. presidential primary system. In our model, candidates with different policy positions and qualities compete for the nomination, and voters are uncertain about the candidates' valence. This setup generates two effects: vote splitting (i.e. several candidates in the same policy position compete for the same voter pool) and voter learning (as the results in earlier elections help voters to update their beliefs on candidate quality). Sequential voting minimizes vote splitting in late districts, but voters may coordinate on a low-quality candidate. Using the parameter estimates obtained from all the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries during 2000–12, we conduct policy experiments such as replacing the current system with a simultaneous system, adopting the reform proposal of the National Association of Secretaries of State, or imposing party rules that lead to candidate withdrawal when prespecified conditions are met.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, September 29, 2016

She could win

Do Women Prefer Female Bosses?

Benjamin Artz & Sarinda Taengnoi

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The participation of women in the labor force has grown significantly over the past 50 years, and with this, women are increasingly holding managerial and supervisory positions. Yet little is known about how female supervisors impact employee well-being. Using two distinct datasets of US workers, we provide previously undocumented evidence that women are less satisfied with their jobs when they have a female boss. Male job satisfaction, by contrast, is unaffected. Crucially our study is able to control for individual worker fixed effects and to identify the impact of a change in supervisor gender on worker well-being without other alterations in the worker's job.

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Do Women Ask?

Benjamin Artz, Amanda Goodall & Andrew Oswald

University of Wisconsin Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Women typically earn less than men. The reasons are not fully understood. Previous studies argue that this may be because (i) women 'don't ask' and (ii) the reason they fail to ask is out of concern for the quality of their relationships at work. This account is difficult to assess with standard labor-economics data sets. Hence we examine direct survey evidence. Using matched employer-employee data from 2013-14, the paper finds that the women-don't-ask account is incorrect. Once an hours-of-work variable is included in 'asking' equations, hypotheses (i) and (ii) can be rejected. Women do ask. However, women do not get.

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Male Immorality: An Evolutionary Account of Sex Differences in Unethical Negotiation Behavior

Margaret Lee et al.

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research finds that men negotiate more unethically than women, although many studies report comparable rates of unethical negotiation behaviors. Based on evolutionary psychology, we predict conditions under which sex differences in unethical negotiation behavior are more versus less pronounced. We theorize that greater levels of unethical behavior among men occur as a consequence of greater male intrasexual competition for mates. This suggests that more male unethical negotiation behavior should primarily emerge in situations associated with intrasexual competition. Using a two-wave survey design, Study 1 found a positive relationship between mating motivation and unethical negotiation behavior for male, but not female employees. Study 2 was a controlled experiment, replicating this effect and showing that the gender difference was most pronounced when negotiating with same-sex, attractive opponents. Study 3 used a similar experimental design and found support for another implication of evolutionary theory — that mating motivation would prompt unethical behavior in both men and women when the behavior constitutes a less severe norm violation. We discuss contributions to the literature on unethical behavior at work, negotiations, and the role of attractiveness in organizations.

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Facilitating Women’s Success in Business: Interrupting the Process of Stereotype Threat Through Affirmation of Personal Values

Zoe Kinias & Jessica Sim

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two field experiments examined if and how values affirmations can ameliorate stereotype threat-induced gender performance gaps in an international competitive business environment. Based on self-affirmation theory (Steele, 1988), we predicted that writing about personal values unrelated to the perceived threat would attenuate the gender performance gap. Study 1 found that an online assignment to write about one’s personal values (but not a similar writing assignment including organizational values) closed the gender gap in course grades by 89.0% among 423 Masters of Business Administration students (MBAs) at an international business school. Study 2 replicated this effect among 396 MBAs in a different cohort with random assignment and tested 3 related mediators (self-efficacy, self-doubt, and self-criticism). Personal values reflection (but not reflecting on values including those of the organization or writing about others’ values) reduced the gender gap by 66.5%, and there was a significant indirect effect through reduced self-doubt. These findings show that a brief personal values writing exercise can dramatically improve women’s performance in competitive environments where they are negatively stereotyped. The results also demonstrate that stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995) can occur within a largely non-American population with work experience and that affirming one’s core personal values (without organizational values) can ameliorate the threat.

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Gender Differences in Stereotypes of Risk Preferences: Experimental Evidence from a Matrilineal and a Patrilineal Society

Andreas Pondorfer, Toman Barsbai & Ulrich Schmidt

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use a controlled experiment to analyze gender differences in stereotypes about risk preferences of men and women across two distinct island societies in the Pacific: the patrilineal Palawan in the Philippines and the matrilineal Teop in Papua New Guinea. We find no gender differences in actual risk preferences, but we find evidence for culture-specific stereotypes. Like men in Western societies, Palawan men overestimate women’s actual risk aversion. By contrast, Teop men underestimate women’s actual risk aversion. We argue that the observed differences in stereotypes between the two societies are determined by the different social status of women.

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Are Organizational Justice Rules Gendered? Reactions to Men’s and Women’s Justice Violations

Suzette Caleo

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has shown that gender role prescriptions can bias reactions to men’s and women’s work behaviors. The current work draws upon this idea and extends it to consider violations of procedural and interactional justice rules. The results of four experimental studies demonstrate that men and women receive differential performance evaluation ratings and reward recommendations when they violate those organizational justice rules that coincide with the content of prescriptive gender stereotypes. Specifically, women were rated less favorably than men when they exhibited interactional injustice (Study 1 and Study 4), but not when they engaged in procedural injustice (Study 2). Findings also indicate that interactional justice violations (e.g., being impolite, not caring about the well-being of subordinates), but not procedural justice violations, are deemed less acceptable for female managers than male managers (Study 3). Overall, the findings suggest that reactions to injustice can be influenced by expectations of how men and women should behave.

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Evaluating Engagement Online: Penalties for Low-Participating Female Instructors in Gender-Balanced Academic Domains

Elizabeth Parks-Stamm & Chanda Grey

Social Psychology, September 2016, Pages 281–287

Abstract:
Past experimental research has shown that women are penalized with harsh evaluations when they violate gender prescriptions to be nurturing and helpful. Instructor participation in an asynchronous online discussion forum and end-of-class evaluation data from 360 courses was used to test the hypothesis that students would penalize female, but not male, online instructors based on their classroom engagement. Results showed a penalties effect in student ratings for low-participating female, but not male, instructors in gender-balanced courses. The results demonstrate the differential impact of instructor engagement on male and female evaluations, shedding light on when and why gender bias is found in student evaluations. Implications for the use of student evaluations of faculty are discussed.

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The Persistence of Extreme Gender Segregation in the Twenty-first Century

Asaf Levanon & David Grusky

American Journal of Sociology, September 2016, Pages 573-619

Abstract:
Why is there so much occupational sex segregation in the 21st century? The authors cast light on this question by using the O*NET archive of occupation traits to operationalize the concepts of essentialism and vertical inequality more exhaustively than in past research. When the new model is applied to recent U.S. Census data, the results show that much vertical segregation remains even after the physical, analytic, and interactional forms of essentialism are controlled; that essentialism nonetheless accounts for much more of total segregation than does vertical inequality; that the physical and interactional forms of segregation are especially strong; that the physical form of essentialism is one of the few examples of female-advantaging segregation; and that essentialism takes on a fractal structure that generates much finely detailed segregation at detailed occupational levels. The authors conclude by discussing how essentialist processes partly account for the intransigence of occupational sex segregation.

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A Tale of Two Types of Perspective Taking: Sex Differences in Spatial Ability

Margaret Tarampi, Nahal Heydari & Mary Hegarty

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sex differences in favor of males have been documented in measures of spatial perspective taking. In this research, we examined whether social factors (i.e., stereotype threat and the inclusion of human figures in tasks) account for these differences. In Experiment 1, we evaluated performance when perspective-taking tests were framed as measuring either spatial or social (empathetic) perspective-taking abilities. In the spatial condition, tasks were framed as measures of spatial ability on which males have an advantage. In the social condition, modified tasks contained human figures and were framed as measures of empathy on which females have an advantage. Results showed a sex difference in favor of males in the spatial condition but not the social condition. Experiments 2 and 3 indicated that both stereotype threat and including human figures contributed to these effects. Results suggest that females may underperform on spatial tests in part because of negative performance expectations and the character of the spatial tests rather than because of actual lack of abilities.

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Title IX and the Spatial Content of Female Employment--Out of the Lab and into the Labor Market

Michael Baker & Kirsten Cornelson

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Sports participation is a leading environmental explanation of the male advantage in some spatial skills. We exploit the large increase in females’ high school sports participation due to Title IX to test this hypothesis. We relate Title IX induced increases in females’ sport participation to the spatial content of their occupational employment as captured by Dictionary of Occupational Titles codes, and a test of three dimensional spatial rotation. We find little evidence that this increase in sports participation had an impact on either of these measures.

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Do Men Matter to Female Competition Even When They Don't?

Erica Birk, Logan Lee & Glen Waddell

University of Oregon Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
A large literature attempts to identify factors that contribute to gender differences in performance and in the decision to compete. We exploit a highly competitive environment in which elite-female athletes are exposed to the presence of men without the element of direct competition, which allows for the identification of psychological effects of competition. Our results suggest that the presence of men affects the performance of female runners differentially across ability, with negative performance effects being concentrated among lower-ability runners.

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When men lean out: Subtle reminders of child-raising intentions and men and women's career interests

Jennifer Gutsell & Jessica Remedios

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2016, Pages 28–33

Abstract:
Female-dominated occupations tend to be lower paying, but also less time-consuming and more flexible than male-dominated occupations. Women may pursue occupations with short, flexible workweeks because they expect to be primary caretakers of future children. In a pre-registered study we investigated how subtle reminders of child-raising intentions shape college students' occupational interests. We hypothesized that priming women with child-raising intentions reminds them of future caregiving responsibilities and decreases their interest in high-hour, low-flexibility (HH/LF) occupations. However, women reported less interest than men in HH/LF careers regardless of prime (intentions to raise kids versus have pets). Reminding men of child-raising intentions decreased their interest in family-unfriendly HH/LF occupations, particularly among men low in hostile sexism. The results suggest that, whereas women may link child-raising intentions to occupational pursuits regardless of whether such intentions are made salient, reminders of child-raising intentions raise the awareness of non-sexist men of their future family responsibilities.

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Executive gender, competitive pressures, and corporate performance

Mario Daniele Amore & Orsola Garofalo

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether the gender of top executives influences a firm’s reaction to competitive pressures. Our empirical approach is based on policy changes that varied the exposure of US banks to competition during the late 1990s. Results suggest that while banks with female executives experience significantly higher financial performance under low competition, they tend to underperform when competition increases. At the same time, we find that the presence of female leaders improves the capital stability of banks subject to greater competition. Overall, our study highlights strong interactions between executive gender and market structures in the determination of business outcomes.

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Reading the Face of a Leader: Women with Low Facial Masculinity Are Perceived as Competitive

Raphael Silberzahn & Jochen Menges

Academy of Management Discoveries, September 2016, Pages 272-289

Abstract:
In competitive settings, people prefer leaders with masculine faces. But is facial masculinity a trait that is similarly desired in men and women leaders? Across three studies, we discovered that people indeed prefer men and women leaders who have faces with masculine traits. But surprisingly, we find that people also prefer women with low facial masculinity as leaders in competitive contexts (Study 1). Our findings indicate that low facial masculinity in women, but not in men is perceived to indicate competitiveness (Study 2). Thus, in contrast to men, women leaders who rate high in facial masculinity as well as those low in facial masculinity are both selected as leaders in competitive contexts. Indeed, among CEOs of S&P 500 companies, we find a greater range of facial masculinity among women CEOs than among men CEOs (Study 3). Our results suggest that traits of facial masculinity in men and women are interpreted differently. Low facial masculinity in women is linked to competitiveness and not only to cooperativeness as suggested by prior research.

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Persistence and change in age-specific gender gaps: Hollywood actors from the silent era onward

Robert Fleck & Andrew Hanssen

International Review of Law and Economics, October 2016, Pages 36–49

Abstract:
In this paper, we examine a set of workers for whom age-based and gender-based discrimination has been widely alleged: motion picture actors. We document, measure, and consider possible explanations for age-specific gender gaps among Hollywood actors, using nearly a century’s worth of data on films and film roles. Consistent with reports in the popular press, we find a large and very persistent gender gap: Of the nearly half-million different roles played in more than 50,000 feature films between 1920 and 2011, two-thirds have gone to males, and the average male actor is consistently older (by six to ten years) than the average female actor. Yet the age-based gender differences that we observe cannot be explained by a simple model of discrimination — while there are fewer roles for middle-aged women than for middle-aged men, there are more roles for young women than for young men. The fact that these patterns have held steady through major changes in the film industry – and in society as a whole – suggests that correspondingly stable aspects of moviegoer preferences contribute to the age-specific nature of gender gaps.

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The Effects of a Female Role Model on Academic Performance and Persistence of Women in STEM Courses

Sarah Herrmann et al.

Basic and Applied Social Psychology, September/October 2016, Pages 258-268

Abstract:
Women are more likely to leave science, technology, engineering, and mathematics compared to men, in part because they lack similar role models such as peers, teaching assistants, and instructors. We examined the effect of a brief, scalable online intervention that consisted of a letter from a female role model who normalized concerns about belonging, presented time spent on academics as an investment, and exemplified overcoming challenges on academic performance and persistence. The intervention was implemented in introductory psychology (Study 1, N = 258) and chemistry (Study 2, N = 68) courses. Relative to the control group, the intervention group had higher grades and lower failing and withdrawal rates.

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Gender Differences in Response to Big Stakes

Ghazala Azmat, Caterina Calsamiglia & Nagore Iriberri

Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is commonly perceived that increasing incentives improves performance. However, the reaction to increased incentives might differ between men and women, leading to gender differences in performance. In a natural experiment, we study the gender difference in performance resulting from changes in stakes. We use detailed information on the performance of high-school students and exploit the variation in the stakes of tests, which range from 5% to 27% of the final grade. We find that female students outperform male students in all tests — but to a relatively larger degree when the stakes are low. The gender gap disappears in tests taken at the end of high school, which count for 50% of the university entry grade.

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Toward a Mechanistic Account of Gender Differences in Reward-Based Decision-Making

Kaileigh Byrne & Darrell Worthy

Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender differences in reward-based decision-making have been extensively researched, yet the mechanisms underlying these differences remain poorly understood. We sought to develop a mechanistic account of how men and women differ in their decision-making strategies. We examined gender differences in performance on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT; Experiment 1) as well as the Soochow Gambling Task (SGT; Experiment 2). Expectancy valence and prospect valence learning computational models were fit to the data for both tasks to assess specific strategies that men and women utilized during the decision-making process. Our results replicated the behavioral gender difference finding on the IGT. Women selected the disadvantageous Deck B more than did men. We extended these findings to the SGT. Modeling results revealed that women’s data were best fit by higher recency, or learning rate, parameter values than were men’s data in the IGT and SGT. This suggests that women gave greater weight to recent events than did men and that they tended to ignore large, infrequent losses in both experiments. Overall, our results suggest that the mechanism accounting for how men and women differ in reward-based decision-making is that women tend to focus on the relative frequency of gains and losses and attend to recent reward outcomes, whereas men focus more on the extreme gains and losses associated with each alternative and attend to long-term decision outcomes. Implications for these gender differences in reward-based decision-making strategies are discussed.

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Pricing competition: A new laboratory measure of gender differences in the willingness to compete

John Ifcher & Homa Zarghamee

Experimental Economics, September 2016, Pages 642-662

Abstract:
Experiments have demonstrated that men are more willing to compete than women. We develop a new instrument to “price” willingness to compete. We find that men value a $2.00 winner-take-all payment significantly more (about $0.28 more) than women; and that women require a premium (about 40 %) to compete. Our new instrument is more sensitive than the traditional binary-choice instrument, and thus, enables us to identify relationships that are not identifiable using the traditional binary-choice instrument. We find that subjects who are the most willing to compete have high ability, higher GPA’s (men), and take more STEM courses (women).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sell, sell, sell

Turning Back the Clock in Baseball: The Increased Prominence of Extrinsic Rewards and Demand for Authenticity

Oliver Hahl

Organization Science, July-August 2016, Pages 929-953

Abstract:
This paper addresses why customers at times prefer traditional practices deemed more authentic to a domain, particularly where these practices had previously been discarded as inferior. I argue that customer demand for authenticity can be triggered when extrinsic rewards (i.e., fame or money) increase in prominence in a market, causing audiences to doubt the motives of the market's producers. I examine this dynamic in the context of Major League Baseball, where appreciation for traditional stadium features seemingly arose after the advent of free agency heightened awareness and coverage of the economic rewards in the sport. Experimental analysis validates the proposed mechanism, whereby increased fan exposure to extrinsic rewards increases concern about player inauthenticity, which increases preference for traditional stadium features. Quantitative analysis of attendance patterns provides external validation for these experimental findings by showing that authenticity was more highly preferred, in the form of higher relative attendance in traditional-style ballparks, by those fans more exposed to free agency. Conclusions are drawn about the role that perceptions about motives play in market perceptions of authenticity and valuation of authentic cultural objects.

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Brand Loyalty Is Influenced by the Activation of Political Orientations

Jennifer Hoewe & Peter Hatemi

Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using an experimental design that measures participants' actual behavior, this study tests the inclusion of a perceived outgroup in an advertisement for a well-established brand to determine if political orientations interact with an advertisement's content to predict consumption of that product. The results indicate that an advertisement's activation of one's political orientation can either change or reinforce brand loyalty. Specifically, more conservative individuals responded to the presence of Muslim and Arab individuals in a Coca-Cola advertisement by selecting Pepsi products despite their initial preference for Coca-Cola; whereas, more liberal individuals maintained their initial brand loyalty to Coca-Cola.

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Seeding the S-Curve? The Role of Early Adopters in Diffusion

Christian Catalini & Catherine Tucker

MIT Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
In October 2014, all 4,494 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were given access to Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency. As a unique feature of the experiment, students who would generally adopt first were placed in a situation where many of their peers received access to the technology before them, and they then had to decide whether to continue to invest in this digital currency or exit. Our results suggest that when natural early adopters are delayed relative to their peers, they are more likely to reject the technology. We present further evidence that this appears to be driven by identity, in that the effect occurs in situations where natural early adopters' delay relative to others is most visible, and in settings where the natural early adopters would have been somewhat unique in their tech-savvy status. We then show not only that natural early adopters are more likely to reject the technology if they are delayed, but that this rejection generates spillovers on adoption by their peers who are not natural early adopters. This suggests that small changes in the initial availability of a technology have a lasting effect on its potential: Seeding a technology while ignoring early adopters' needs for distinctiveness is counterproductive.

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Something to Talk About: Social Spillovers in Movie Consumption

Duncan Sheppard Gilchrist & Emily Glassberg Sands

Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit the randomness of weather and the relationship between weather and moviegoing to quantify social spillovers in movie consumption. Instrumenting for early viewership with plausibly exogenous weather shocks captured in LASSO-chosen instruments, we find that shocks to opening weekend viewership are doubled over the following five weekends. Our estimated momentum arises almost exclusively at the local level, and we find no evidence that it varies with either ex post movie quality or the precision of ex ante information about movie quality, suggesting that the observed momentum is driven in part by a preference for shared experience, and not only by social learning.

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Quality Predictability and the Welfare Benefits from New Products: Evidence from the Digitization of Recorded Music

Luis Aguiar & Joel Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We explore the consequence of quality unpredictability for the welfare benefit of new products, using recent developments in recorded music as our context. Digitization has expanded consumption opportunities by giving consumers access to the "long tail" of existing products, rather than simply the popular products that a retailer might stock with limited shelf space. While this is clearly beneficial to consumers, the benefits are somewhat limited: given the substitutability among differentiated products, the incremental benefit of obscure products - even lots of them - can be small. But digitization has also reduced the cost of bringing new products to market, giving rise to a different sort of long tail, in production. If the appeal of new products is unpredictable at the time of investment, as is the case for cultural products as well as many others, then creating new products can have substantial welfare benefits. Technological change in the recorded music industry tripled the number of new products between 2000 and 2008. We quantify the effects of new music on welfare using a simple illustrative, but explicitly structural, model of demand and entry with potentially unpredictable product quality. Based on a range of plausible forecasting models of expected appeal, a tripling of the choice set according to expected quality adds substantially more to consumer surplus and overall welfare than the usual long-tail benefits from a tripling of the choice set according to realized quality, perhaps by more than an order of magnitude.

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The Value of Marketing Crowdsourced New Products as Such: Evidence from Two Randomized Field Experiments

Hidehiko Nishikawa et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In order to complement their in-house, designer-driven efforts, companies are increasingly experimenting with crowdsourcing initiatives in which they invite their user communities to generate new product ideas. While innovation scholars have started to analyze the objective promise of crowdsourcing, the research presented here is unique in pointing out that merely marketing the source of design to customers might bring about an incremental increase in product sales. The findings from two randomized field experiments reveal that labeling crowdsourced new products as such, that is, marketing the product as "customer-ideated" at the point of purchase versus not mentioning the specific source of design, increased the product's actual market performance by up to 20 percent. Two controlled follow-up studies reveal that the effect observed in two distinct consumer goods domains (food, electronics) can be attributed to a quality inference: consumers perceive "customer-ideated" products to be based on ideas that address their needs more effectively, and the corresponding design mode is considered superior in generating promising new products.

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When Social Capital Hurts: The Role of Human Capital Experience and Fit

Timothy Gubler

University of California Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
While studies have argued for and found benefits from transacting with social affiliates, it remains unclear how and when they lead to inferior outcomes for professionals and consumers. Building on social and human capital theories, I argue that social affiliations in uncertain markets can lead to unanticipated downsides that reduce overall performance when human capital considerations are supplanted by an effort to avoid opportunism. I test my argument using a novel approach that pairs data from the Wasatch Front Regional Multiple Listing Service in Utah with hand-collected data on geographically assigned LDS (Mormon) congregation boundaries. This setting allows me to identify listings for which real estate agents and home sellers share a common church congregation affiliation, and to both independently and jointly explore the impact of social affiliations and human capital on transaction outcomes. I find that on average agents sell comparable homes for 2% more and 3.5 days quicker, as well as exert more care and effort through marketing, when listing for affiliates. However, consistent with my theory, I find that sellers are much more likely to use inexperienced agents or agents with poor fit (i.e., specialize primarily in buying homes) when affiliations are present. Such cases result in lower sale prices and reduced agent performance, suggesting a downside to social ties from human capital deficiencies. These results indicate a more nuanced view of social capital is needed that incorporates the selection process and the potential for poor fit in transactions.

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The Space-to-Product Ratio Effect: How Interstitial Space Influences Product Aesthetic Appeal, Store Perceptions, and Product Preference

Julio Sevilla & Claudia Townsend

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The authors identify and examine the effect of space-to-product ratio on consumer response; very generally, consumers perceive products as more valuable when more space is devoted to their display. In both lab and field studies, the authors find that this phenomenon influences total sales, purchase likelihood, and even perceived product experience (taste perceptions). More interstitial space increases perceptions of individual products as more aesthetically pleasing and the store as more prestigious. The authors find these effects across a variety of product categories and rule out a number of competing alternative explanations that are based on perceptions of product popularity, scarcity, assortment search difficulty, and messiness.

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Boom and Gloom

Paul Povel et al.

Journal of Finance, October 2016, Pages 2287-2332

Abstract:
We study the performance of investments made at different points of an investment cycle. We use a large data set covering hotels in the United States, with rich details on their location, characteristics, and performance. We find that hotels built during hotel construction booms underperform their peers. For hotels built during local hotel construction booms, this underperformance persists for several decades. We examine possible explanations for this long-lasting underperformance. The evidence is consistent with information-based herding explanations.

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Standing out from the Crowd via Corporate Goodness: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Lei Gao, Jie He & Juan (Julie) Wu

University of Georgia Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We study firms' incentives to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities by using the natural experiment of Regulation SHO, which relaxes short sale constraints and increases short selling pressure for a group of randomly selected firms. We find that firms experiencing an exogenous increase in their exposure to short sales significantly raise their CSR relative to control firms. The results are more prominent for firms with stronger signaling abilities (higher profitability and fewer financial constraints), and those with stronger signaling needs (more non-fundamental-driven short selling, higher information uncertainty, and more product market competition). Further, firms that indeed increase their CSR after the regulatory shock experience a larger price reversal relative to those that do not. These findings support the argument that CSR is a device actively used by firms to signal their quality.

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Stock Returns on Customer Satisfaction Do Beat the Market: Gauging the Effect of a Marketing Intangible

Claes Fornell, Forrest Morgeson & Tomas Hult

Journal of Marketing, September 2016, Pages 92-107

Abstract:
A debate about whether firms with superior customer satisfaction earn superior stock returns has been persistent in the literature. Using 15 years of audited returns, the authors find convincing empirical evidence that stock returns on customer satisfaction do beat the market. The recorded cumulative returns were 518% over the years studied (2000-2014), compared with a 31% increase for the S&P 500. Similar results using back-tested instead of real returns were found in the United Kingdom. The effect of customer satisfaction on stock price is, at least in part, channeled through earnings surprises. Consistent with theory, customer satisfaction has an effect on earnings themselves. In addition, the authors examine the effect of stock returns from earnings on stock returns from customer satisfaction. If earnings returns are included among the risk factors in the asset pricing model, the earnings variable partially mitigates the returns on customer satisfaction. Because of the long time series, it is also possible to examine time periods when customer satisfaction returns were below market. The reversal of the general trend largely resulted from short-term market idiosyncrasies with little or no support from fundamentals. Such irregularities have been infrequent and eventually self-correcting. The authors provide reasons why irregularities may occur from time to time.

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Who's Driving This Conversation? Systematic Biases in the Content of Online Consumer Discussions

Rebecca Hamilton, Ann Schlosser & Yu-Jen Chen

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
When consumers post questions online, who influences the content of the discussion more: the consumer posting the question or those who respond to the post? Our analyses of data from real online discussion forums and four experiments show that early responses to a post tend to drive the content of the discussion as much or more than the content of the initial query. Although advice seekers posting to online discussion forums often explicitly tell respondents which attributes are most important to them, we demonstrate that one common online posting goal, affiliation, makes respondents more likely to repeat attributes mentioned by previous respondents, even if the attributes are less important to the advice seeker or support a suboptimal choice given the advice seeker's decision criteria. Firms listening in on social media should account for this systematic bias when making decisions based on the discussion content.

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Data Privacy: Effects on Customer and Firm Performance

Kelly Martin, Abhishek Borah & Robert Palmatier

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although marketers increasingly rely on customer data, firms have little insight into the ramifications of these uses or how to prevent negative effects. Data management efforts may heighten customers' vulnerability worries or create real vulnerability. Using a conceptual framework grounded in gossip theory, this research links customer vulnerability to negative performance effects. Three studies show transparency and control in firms' data management practices can suppress the negative effects of customer data vulnerability. Experimental manipulations reveal that mere access to personal data inflates feelings of violation and reduces trust. An event study of data security breaches affecting 414 public companies also confirms negative effects, as well as spillover vulnerabilities from rival firms' breaches, on firm performance. Severity of the breach hurts the focal firm but helps the rival firm, which provides some insight into mixed findings in prior research. Finally, a field study with actual customers of 15 companies across three industries demonstrates consistent effects across four types of customer data vulnerability and confirms that violation and trust mediate the effects of data vulnerabilities on outcomes.

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The Dynamics of Subcenter Formation: Midtown Manhattan, 1861-1906

Jason Barr & Troy Tassier

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Midtown Manhattan is the largest business district in the country. Yet only a few miles to the south is another district centered at Wall Street. This paper aims to investigate when and why midtown emerged as a separate business district. We have created a new data set from historical New York City directories that provide the employment location, residence, and job type for several thousand residents in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. We supplement this data with additional records from historical business directories. The evidence suggests that early midtown firms appeared there in order to be closer to local residential customers who had been moving north on the island throughout the 19th century. Once several industries appeared in midtown, it triggered a spatial equilibrium readjustment in the 1880s, which then promoted the rise of skyscrapers in midtown around the turn of the 20th century. This process occurred several years before the opening of Grand Central Station in 1913.

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Quantity discounts on a virtual good: The results of a massive pricing experiment at King Digital Entertainment

Steven Levitt et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 July 2016, Pages 7323-7328

Abstract:
We report on a natural field experiment on quantity discounts involving more than 14 million consumers. Implementing price reductions ranging from 9-70% for large purchases, we found remarkably little impact on revenue, either positively or negatively. There was virtually no increase in the quantity of customers making a purchase; all the observed changes occurred for customers who already were buyers. We found evidence that infrequent purchasers are more responsive to discounts than frequent purchasers. There was some evidence of habit formation when prices returned to pre-experiment levels. There also was some evidence that consumers contemplating small purchases are discouraged by the presence of extreme quantity discounts for large purchases.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

God help us all

Education, Social Mobility, and Religious Movements: The Islamic Revival in Egypt

Christine Binzel & Jean-Paul Carvalho

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Muslim societies have been reshaped in recent decades by an Islamic revival. We document a contemporaneous decline in social mobility among educated youth in Egypt, the epicentre of the movement in the Arab world. We then develop a model to show how an unexpected decline in social mobility combined with inequality can produce a religious revival led by the educated middle class. The principal idea is that religion helps individuals to cope with unfulfilled aspirations by adjusting their expectations-based reference point. By raising aspirations, economic development may make societies more prone to religious revivals.

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Does Religiosity Affect Support for Political Compromise?

Danny Cohen-Zada, Yotam Margalit & Oren Rigbi

International Economic Review, August 2016, Pages 1085–1106

Abstract:
Does religiosity affect adherents' attitude toward political compromise? To address this question and overcome the potential simultaneity of religious activity and political attitudes, we exploit exogenous variation in the start date of the Selichot (“Forgiveness”), a period in which many Jews, including nonadherents, take part in an intense prayer schedule. Using a two-wave survey, we find that an increase in the salience of religiosity leads to the adoption of more hard-line positions against a land-for-peace compromise. Examining several potential mechanisms for this attitudinal shift, our evidence points to the impact of the intensified prayer period on adherents' tolerance for risk.

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Rationality and Belief in Human Evolution

Dan Kahan & Keith Stanovich

Yale Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines two opposing theories of disbelief in evolution. One, the “bounded rationality” account, attributes disbelief to the inability of individuals to suppress the strongly held intuition that all functional systems, including living beings, originate in intentional agency. The other, the “expressive rationality” account, holds that positions on evolution arise from individuals’ tendency to form beliefs that signal their membership in and loyalty to identity-defining cultural groups. To assess the relative plausibility of these theories, the paper analyzes data on the relationship between study subjects’ beliefs in evolution, their religiosity, and their scores on the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), a measure of critical-reasoning proficiencies including the disposition to interrogate intuitions in light of available evidence. Far from uniformly inclining individuals to believe in evolution, higher CRT scores magnified the division between relatively religious and relatively nonreligious study subjects. This result was inconsistent with the bounded rationality theory, which predicts that belief in evolution should increase in tandem with CRT scores for all individuals, regardless of cultural identity. It was more consistent with the expressive rationality theory, under which individuals of opposing cultural identities can be expected to use all the cognitive resources at their disposal to form identity-congruent beliefs. The paper discusses the implications for both the study of public controversy over evolution and the study of rationality and conflicts over scientific knowledge generally.

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“I Was a Muslim, But Now I Am a Christian”: Preaching, Legitimation, and Identity Management in a Southern Evangelical Church

Gerardo Marti

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, June 2016, Pages 250–270

Abstract:
Established in 2005, “Life” is a suburban, nondenominational, evangelical church in Charlotte, North Carolina, with an almost entirely white membership, yet the lead pastor is an immigrant from the Middle East. As an ex-Muslim ethnic Pakistani who was born and raised in Kuwait, Pastor Sameer Khalid does not “fit” into southern culture, and he did not convert to Christianity until he was enrolled in college in the United States. Ethnographic data from 14 months of fieldwork reveal how Pastor Sameer uses weekly sermons to negotiate racialized stigmas, emphasize his common religious identity with the congregation, and make his immigrant background a distinctive religious resource for the church. More specifically, while all pastors require legitimation of their charismatic authority, this research focuses on the dynamics of performance through preaching within the Sunday morning services of this congregation, a performance that negotiates this lead pastor's ethnic and religious identities and accentuates his strategic use of institutionalized evangelical narratives to subvert Islamophobic threats and buttress legitimation of his pastoral identity.

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Economic Freedom and Religion: An Empirical Investigation

Arye Hillman & Niklas Potrafke

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been much study of the consequences of economic freedom but, outside of the role of political institutions, there has been little study of the determinants of economic freedom. We investigate whether religion affects economic freedom. Our cross-sectional data set includes 137 countries averaged over the period 2001–2010. Simple correlations show that Protestantism is associated with economic freedom, Islam is not, with Catholicism in between. The Protestant ethic requires economic freedom. Our empirical estimates, which include religiosity, political institutions, and other explanatory variables, confirm that Protestantism is most conducive to economic freedom.

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An existential function of evil: The effects of religiosity and compromised meaning on belief in magical evil forces

Clay Routledge, Andrew Abeyta & Christina Roylance

Motivation and Emotion, October 2016, Pages 681–688

Abstract:
In three studies, we tested the assertion that the need for meaning motivates belief in magical evil forces. Believing that there are magical evil forces at work in the world, though unpleasant, may contribute to perceptions of meaning in life as the existence of such forces supports a broader meaning-providing religious worldview. We assessed religiosity, measured (Study 1) or manipulated (Study 2) perceptions of meaning, and assessed the extent to which participants attributed a murderer’s actions to magical evil causes (e.g., having a dark soul). Low levels of perceived meaning or experimentally threatened meaning were associated with a greater tendency to make magical evil attributions, but only among individuals reporting high levels of religiosity. In Study 3, we assessed religiosity, experimentally threatened perceptions of meaning, and measured general belief in magical evil forces. Meaning threat increased belief in magical evil, but only among those reporting high levels of religiosity.

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The Perception of Atheists as Narcissistic

Julianna Dubendorff & Andrew Luchner

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research into prejudice toward atheists has generally focused on broad characteristics. Some of these characteristics (i.e., self-centeredness, elitism, individualism, and immorality) indicate a possible prejudice of narcissism. To investigate this specific prejudice, the present study used the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (Raskin & Terry, 1988), the Hypersensitive Narcissism Scale (Hendin & Cheek, 1997), and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1983), which were adjusted so that the items of each measure were changed from first-person statements to third-person statements to measure participants’ perceptions. Participants (N = 359) were given a description of a fictitious individual named Alex, portrayed to them as either male or female and atheist or religious, or male or female with no additional information (creating 6 experimental groups), and then asked to complete the measures as they thought the individual would. Participants consistently rated atheists higher on narcissism measures and lower on empathy measures, indicating a perception of greater narcissism and a lack of empathy compared with religious individuals and controls. Participants’ perceptions of Alex were affected by his or her gender in conjunction with his or her religion, and the 2 variables of gender and religion interacted to create different patterns of perception. In general, interactions indicated differences in the way religion and gender impacted the perception of individuals as narcissistic, affecting perceptions of males more than females. The results are consistent with research findings that perceptions of atheists tend to be negative and prejudicial. This study highlights the need to compare perceptions with actual personality differences between atheists and religious individuals.

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The Republicanization of evangelical Protestants in the United States: An examination of the sources of political realignment

Philip Schwadel

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the association between evangelical Protestant and Republican affiliations is now a fundamental aspect of American politics, this was not the case as recently as the early 1980s. Following work on secular political realignment and the issue evolution model of partisan change, I use four decades of repeated cross-sectional survey data to examine the dynamic correlates of evangelical Protestant and Republican affiliations, and how these factors promote changes in partisanship. Results show that evangelical Protestants have become relatively more likely to attend religious services and to oppose homosexuality, abortion, and welfare spending. Period-specific mediation models show that opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and welfare spending have become more robust predictors of Republican affiliation. By the twenty-first century, differences in Republican affiliation between evangelical Protestants and other religious affiliates are fully mediated by views of homosexuality, abortion, and welfare spending; and differences in Republican affiliation between evangelicals and the religiously unaffiliated are substantially mediated by views of homosexuality, abortion, welfare spending, and military spending. These results further understanding of rapid changes in politico-religious alignments and the increasing importance of moral and cultural issues in American politics, which supports a culture wars depiction of the contemporary political landscape.

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Religion, Politics, and Americans’ Confidence in Science

Darren Sherkat

Politics and Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Americans’ perceptions of science are structured by overlapping cultural fields of politics and religion, and those cultural fields vary over time in how they influence opinion about science. This paper provides a historical narrative for understanding how religious and political factors influence public perceptions of science over the last four decades. Using data from the 1974–2012 General Social Survey, the impact of religious and political factors are examined and compared across decades using heterogeneous ordinal logistic regression models and ordinal structural equation models. Estimates show that the impact of sectarian Protestant identification and fundamentalist beliefs in the Bible are increasingly linked to lower levels of confidence in science, and that these religious factors also influence the impact of political conservatism and Republican Party identification. Political conservatism has become more oppositional towards science, and Republicans have become less enthusiastic compared to periods when science was primarily linked to militaristic endeavors.

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Work Ethic, Social Ethic, no Ethic: Measuring the Economic Values of Modern Christians

Christopher Colvin & Matthew McCracken

Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Benito Arruñada finds evidence of a distinct Protestant social ethic in the ISSP's 1998 Religion II Survey (Economic Journal 2010; 120: 890–918). We replicate Arruñada's results using his broad definition of Protestantism and our new narrow definition, which includes only those ascetic denominations that Max Weber singled out for possessing a strong capitalist work ethic. We then extend this analysis to the ISSP's 2008 Religion III Survey, the most recent comparable international questionnaire on religious attitudes and religious change. We find no evidence of a Calvinist work ethic, and suggest that Arruñada's Protestant social ethic continues into the 21st century.

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Primed Analytic Thought and Religiosity: The Importance of Individual Characteristics

Julie Yonker et al.

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analytic thought has been implicated in reduction of religious belief on the premise that intuitive cognitive systems facilitate religious belief and conscious inhibition encourages rejection of religious beliefs. Inherent in these studies are priming techniques to induce analytic thinking, resulting in reductions of religiosity and/or religious beliefs. The present study empirically reexamined the impact of priming analytic thought on intrinsic religiosity. In 2 randomized controlled experiments, we found little difference in intrinsic religiosity in control compared to analytic thinking prime conditions. When analytic thinking was primed, results were either unrelated to intrinsic religiosity or in opposite directions from those in previous research. Analytic thought primes led to higher intrinsic religiosity. All analyses statistically controlled for demographic characteristics. Our results suggest the relationship between analytic reasoning and intrinsic religiosity is more complex than previously suggested and establishes the importance of individual demographic characteristics for religiosity. Future research should engage measures that capture the nuances associated with religiosity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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