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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sign of the times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Maritime route of colonization of Europe

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

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

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

Eva Fernández et al.
PLoS Genetics, June 2014

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

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Books Average Previous Decade of Economic Misery

Alexander Bentley et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2014

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

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

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

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

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How arbitrary is language?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Does culture affect local productivity and urban amenities?

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

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

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The timing and spatiotemporal patterning of Neanderthal disappearance

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Identified

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

Ethan Mereish
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

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

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

Margaret Rosario et al.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

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

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Gender Identity Rather Than Sexual Orientation Impacts on Facial Preferences

Giacomo Ciocca et al.
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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The changing face of cognitive gender differences in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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Elevated rates of atypical handedness in paedophilia: Theory and implications

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

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

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

Justin Garcia et al.
Journal of Sexual Medicine, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Athanase Benetos et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 29, 2014

Divergent

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

Nicholas Carnes & Meredith Sadin
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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A Social Rank Explanation of How Money Influences Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sergio Espuelas
Economic History Review, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

Joni Hersch
Vanderbilt University Working Paper, July 2014

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

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

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

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

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Relative Income and Indebtedness: Evidence from Panel Data

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

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

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

Jessica McCrory Calarco
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Inequality and Relative Ability Beliefs

Jeffrey Butler
Economic Journal, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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The Economics of Human Development and Social Mobility

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

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

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

Daniel Bennett & Richard Vedder
Social Philosophy & Policy, forthcoming

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

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Wealth transfer taxation: An empirical investigation

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

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

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The Inequality Deflator: Interpersonal Comparisons without a Social Welfare Function

Nathaniel Hendren
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

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

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Financial Globalization, Inequality, and the Rising Public Debt

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

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

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Inequality, Labor Market Segmentation, and Preferences for Redistribution

James Alt & Torben Iversen
Harvard Working Paper, August 2014

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

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Socioeconomic Stereotypes: Explaining Variation in Preferences for Taxing the Rich

Jordan Michael Ragusa
American Politics Research, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Better angels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Barry Ryan & Caitlin Milazzo
Political Behavior, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philip Schwadel
Social Forces, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beliefs About God and Mental Health Among American Adults

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

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

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

Kenneth Ferraro & Seoyoun Kim
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tending the Flock: Latino Religious Commitments and Political Preferences

Ali Adam Valenzuela
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

Niels Spierings
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

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

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Productive Intolerance: Godly Nationalism in Indonesia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cross

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

Jennifer Laird
Social Science Research, forthcoming

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

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

Lauren Apgar
Indiana University Working Paper, August 2014

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

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One Language, Two Meanings: Partisanship and Responses to Spanish

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

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

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The migration response to the Legal Arizona Workers Act

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

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

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Empirical characteristics of legal and illegal immigrants in the USA

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

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

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Work Attitudes of Mexican Americans: A Decade of Improvement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymond Barranco & Edward Shihadeh
Social Science Research, forthcoming

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

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Immigrants and Mortgage Delinquency

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

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

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

Alex Piquero et al.
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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Immigration, Integration, and Support for Redistribution in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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Immigration, redistribution, and universal suffrage

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

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

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On the Effectiveness of SB1070 in Arizona

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Fernando Lozano
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Stansfield
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You have a choice

The wisdom of select crowds

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

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

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

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

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

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When Knowledge Is Demotivating: Subjective Knowledge and Choice Overload

Liat Hadar & Sanjay Sood
Psychological Science, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reference-Dependent Preferences: Evidence from Marathon Runners

Eric Allen et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

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

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Algorithm Aversion: People Erroneously Avoid Algorithms after Seeing Them Err

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

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

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Surprisingly rational: Probability theory plus noise explains biases in judgment

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

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

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Passport Officers’ Errors in Face Matching

David White et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2014

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

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

Meng Zhu & Rebecca Ratner
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Asymmetric Predictability and Cognitive Competition in Football Penalty Shootouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Super-Underweighting of Rare Events with Repeated Descriptive Summaries

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

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

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

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

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

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Using metacognitive cues to infer others’ thinking

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

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

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Peer Assessment of Aviation Performance: Inconsistent for Good Reasons

Wolff-Michael Roth & Timothy Mavin
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

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

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Responsibility judgments of wins and losses in the 2013 chess championship

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

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

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Decision time as information in judgment and choice

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, August 25, 2014

On the world stage

The Emperor Has No Clothes: The Limits of OPEC in the Global Oil Market

Jeff Colgan
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 599-632

Abstract:
Scholars have long debated the causal impact of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization or the International Monetary Fund. This study investigates Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an organization that purports to have significant influence over the market for the world's most important commodity – petroleum. Using four empirical tests, I find that OPEC has little or no impact on its members' production levels. These findings prompt the question of why so many people, including scholars, believe in OPEC's influence over the world's oil supply. The idea of OPEC as a cartel is a “rational myth” that supports the organization's true principal function, which is to generate political benefits for its members. One benefit it generates is international prestige. I test this idea using data on diplomatic representation and find that OPEC membership is associated with increased international recognition by other states. Overall, these findings help one to better understand international regimes and the process of ideational change in world politics.

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Terrorism and Voting: The Effect of Rocket Threat on Voting in Israeli Elections

Anna Getmansky & Thomas Zeitzoff
American Political Science Review, August 2014, Pages 588-604

Abstract:
How does the threat of becoming a victim of terrorism affect voting behavior? Localities in southern Israel have been exposed to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip since 2001. Relying on variation across time and space in the range of rockets, we identify the effect of this threat on voting in Israeli elections. We first show that the evolution of the rockets’ range leads to exogenous variation in the threat of terrorism. We then compare voting in national elections within and outside the rockets’ range. Our results suggest that right-wing vote-share is 2 to 6 percentage points higher in localities that are within the range – a substantively significant effect. Unlike previous studies that explore the role of actual exposure to terrorism on political preferences and behavior, we show that the mere threat of an attack affects voting.

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Decline and Devolution: The Sources of Strategic Military Retrenchment

Kyle Haynes
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper offers a theory of military retrenchment by states in relative decline. I argue that a declining state will choose to withdraw foreign military deployments and security commitments when there exists a suitable regional “successor” to which it can devolve its current responsibilities. The degree of a successor's suitability and the strategic importance of the region to the declining state interact to determine when and how rapidly retrenchment will occur. Importantly, this devolutionary model of retrenchment predicts significant variations in retrenchment patterns across a declining state's multiple regional commitments. It advances the literature by producing nuanced predictions of precisely where, when, and how quickly retrenchment will occur. This paper assesses the theory empirically through an examination of Great Britain's varying regional retrenchment strategies prior to World War I.

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Between Collaboration and Disobedience: The Behavior of the Guantánamo Detainees and its Consequences

Emanuel Deutschmann
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the behavior of the Guantánamo detainees in terms of collaboration and disobedience and how it influences their chances of getting a release recommendation. Joint Task Force Guantanamo–authored memoranda on 765 detainees are used to create a network of accusations between detainees and an attribute data set, which are analyzed using multivariate regression and Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests. It is found that while the distribution of incriminating statements obeys a power law, 62.6 percent of all detainees do not incriminate anyone. Yemenis and Saudi Arabians heavily overcontribute regarding incriminating statements and disobedient actions, whereas Afghans and Pakistanis undercontribute. Disobedient behavior does not affect the likelihood of getting a release recommendation, except for hunger striking, which has a negative effect. By releasing information, detainees don’t improve their own chances of getting release recommendations but impair those of the detainees they implicate. Three different groups of detainees are identified whose behavioral patterns seem to follow distinct logics.

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Children of War: The Long-Run Effects of Large-Scale Physical Destruction and Warfare on Children

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel
Journal of Human Resources, Summer 2014, Pages 634-662

Abstract:
This paper provides causal evidence on the long-term consequences of large-scale physical destruction on educational attainment, health status, and labor market outcomes of children. I exploit the plausibly exogenous region-by-cohort variation in the intensity of World War Two (WWII) destruction as a unique quasi-experiment. I find that exposure to destruction had long-lasting detrimental effects on the human capital formation, health, and labor market outcomes of Germans who were at school-age during WWII. An important channel for the effect of destruction on educational attainment is the destruction of schools whereas malnutrition is partly behind the estimated impact on health.

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Does Terrorism Pay? An Empirical Analysis

Max Abrahms & Matthew Gottfried
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands? Few research questions about terrorism generate as much controversy. This study contributes to the debate in two main ways. First, we identify major limitations within the burgeoning literature on the effectiveness of terrorism. Specifically, we highlight the main methodological problems vexing empirical assessments of whether terrorism promotes government concessions. Second, we present a research design that circumvents those recurrent methodological shortcomings. In short, we find no empirical evidence to suggest that terrorism pays. In fact, multiple variants of the tactic in hostage standoffs impede the perpetrators from coercing government compliance. The negative effect of terrorism on the odds of compliance is significant and substantial across logistic and multilevel logistic model specifications, particularly when civilians are killed or wounded in the coercive incident. These findings have important implications for both scholars and practitioners of counterterrorism.

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From Shocks to Waves: Hegemonic Transitions and Democratization in the Twentieth Century

Seva Gunitsky
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 561-597

Abstract:
What causes democratic waves? This article puts forward a theory of institutional waves that focuses on the effects of systemic transformations. It argues that abrupt shifts in the distribution of power among leading states create unique and powerful incentives for sweeping domestic reforms. A variety of statistical tests reveals strong support for the idea that shifts in hegemonic power have shaped waves of democracy, fascism, and communism in the twentieth century, independent of domestic factors or horizontal diffusion. These “hegemonic shocks” produce windows of opportunity for external regime imposition, enable rising powers to rapidly expand networks of trade and patronage, and inspire imitators by credibly revealing hidden information about relative regime effectiveness to foreign audiences. I outline these mechanisms of coercion, influence, and emulation that connect shocks to waves, empirically test their relationship, and illustrate the theory with two case studies — the wave of democratic transitions after World War I, and the fascist wave of the late interwar period. In sum, democracy in the twentieth century cannot be fully understood without examining the effects of hegemonic shocks.

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Rewards for Ratification: Payoffs for Participating in the International Human Rights Regime?

Richard Nielsen & Beth Simmons
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among the explanations for state ratification of human rights treaties, few are more common and widely accepted than the conjecture that states are rewarded for ratification by other states. These rewards are expected to come in the form of tangible benefits — foreign aid, trade, and investment — and intangible benefits such as praise, acceptance, and legitimacy. Surprisingly, these explanations for ratification have never been tested empirically. We summarize and clarify the theoretical underpinnings of “reward-for-ratification” theories and test these propositions empirically by looking for increased international aid, economic agreements, and public praise and recognition following ratification of four prominent human rights treaties. We find almost no evidence that states can expect increased tangible or intangible rewards after ratification. Given the lack of empirical support, alternative explanations seem more appealing for understanding human rights treaty ratification.

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A Particular Difference: European Identity and Civilian Targeting

Tanisha Fazal & Brooke Greene
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has found identity variables to be insignificant predictors of civilian targeting in war. Drawing on the European origins of the law of war, this article argues that previous scholarship has neglected the one specification of ‘identity’ that is most theoretically justified for understanding civilian targeting: whether a European state is fighting a non-European state. This article replicates and extends three recent statistical analyses – Downes; Valentino, Huth and Croco; and Morrow – of civilian targeting by including a variable capturing whether a European state fought a non-European state. The study finds that civilian targeting, and non compliance with the law of war more generally, is significantly more likely in European v. non-European dyads than in other types of dyads.

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How Prior Military Experience Influences the Future Militarized Behavior of Leaders

Michael Horowitz & Allan Stam
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 527-559

Abstract:
Policy-makers and the electorate assume political executives' life experiences affect their policy choices once in office. Recent international relations work on leaders focuses almost entirely on how political institutions shape leaders' choices rather than on leaders' personal attributes and how they influence policy choices. This article focuses the analytic lens on leaders and their personal backgrounds. We theorize that the prior military background of a leader is an important life experience with direct relevance for how leaders evaluate the utility of using military force. We test several propositions employing a new data set, building on Archigos, that encompasses the life background characteristics of more than 2,500 heads of state from 1875 to 2004. The results show that the leaders most likely to initiate militarized disputes and wars are those with prior military service but no combat experience, as well as former rebels.

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Justa piratica: The ethics of piracy

James Pattison
Review of International Studies, October 2014, Pages 631-656

Abstract:
There has been widespread and vociferous condemnation of Somali piracy and several states have used force against the pirates. This reflects the prevailing view of pirates as belligerents and aggressors who act wrongly. In this article, I challenge this view by defending the conditional moral permissibility of piracy. More specifically, I first argue that piracy can be morally permissible when certain conditions are met. These are what I call the principles of ‘justa piratica’, that is, the principles of just piracy. Second, I claim that these conditions are likely to apply to some Somali pirates. Third, as a corollary, I argue that the case of piracy shows that one of the shibboleths of Just War Theory – that a war cannot be just on both sides – is mistaken.

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The Politics of Precedent in International Law: A Social Network Application

Krzysztof Pelc
American Political Science Review, August 2014, Pages 547-564

Abstract:
The concept of precedent is fundamental to domestic courts, especially in Anglo-American common law systems, where judges are bound to the court’s past decisions. By contrast, precedent has no formal authority in international law. Legal scholars point to Article 59 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Statute in this respect, according to which international legal rulings are binding only on the parties in the dispute at hand, and have no bearing on matters outside of the case.

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The sound of silence: Power, secrecy, and international audiences in US military basing negotiations

Jonathan Brown
Conflict Management and Peace Science, September 2014, Pages 406-431

Abstract:
Why do leaders draw attention to some cooperative security negotiations but shroud others in secrecy? Previous scholarship focuses on leaders’ efforts to gain better terms of agreement either by playing their cards close to the vest at the bargaining table or by leveraging/avoiding aroused public opinion at home. Yet, in many cases, it is neither dyadic nor domestic political pressures that motivate leaders’ decisions to publicly acknowledge or conceal the occurrence of talks. This article suggests, instead, that third-party states often constitute the primary targets of official secrecy and that a state’s international power position shapes its decision to conceal or acknowledge military cooperation by affecting the size and attentiveness of international audiences, the types of assets it brings to the relationship and the benefits it seeks from cooperation. I test five hypotheses about leaders’ use of secrecy and acknowledgment through a statistical analysis of an original dataset on US overseas military basing negotiations. This analysis produces strong support for my argument.

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Inaction Inertia in International Negotiations: The Consequences of Missed Opportunities

Lesley Terris & Orit Tykocinski
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In international disputes, forgone settlement offers are frequently lamented, but their impact on the dynamics of ongoing negotiations is largely overlooked. In the psychological literature, however, the consequences of missing an advantageous action opportunity have been studied extensively in the context of the inaction inertia phenomenon. According to this literature, forgoing attractive action opportunities renders decision makers susceptible to regret and increases the likelihood that subsequent opportunities will also be missed. This article explores the explanatory potential of the inaction inertia effect in the context of international negotiations. Findings based on laboratory experiments and analysis of the negotiations between Israel and Hamas over the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit strongly suggest that the concept of inaction inertia can enrich the understanding of failures and deadlocks in international negotiations. The article defines the conditions that are instrumental in identifying inertia-induced deadlocks and discusses factors that encourage the termination of inaction inertia and promote dispute settlement.

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Implications of hydro-political dependency for international water cooperation and conflict: Insights from new data

Lucas Beck et al.
Political Geography, September 2014, Pages 23–33

Abstract:
Hydro-political dependencies between countries are widely regarded as having important implications for international water cooperation and conflict. Quantitative ex-post empirical research on the subject so far uses very simple characterizations of international river geography to proxy for such dependencies, though. The authors developed a new geo-spatial dataset for water catchments worldwide. This dataset combines elevation models, flow accumulation approaches, hydrological data, and data on international boundaries to generate more precise and nuanced measures of hydro-political dependencies among riparian countries. The paper discusses these measurement concepts, illustrates how dependencies are distributed worldwide, and revisits three prominent quantitative studies on the issue to show how using improved data affects empirical findings. In contrast to a very popular presumption, upstream–downstream dependencies turn out to have a very small to insignificant effect on international water cooperation or conflict.

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External Rebel Sponsorship and Civilian Abuse: A Principal-Agent Analysis of Wartime Atrocities

Idean Salehyan, David Siroky & Reed Wood
International Organization, Summer 2014, Pages 633-661

Abstract:
Although some rebel groups work hard to foster collaborative ties with civilians, others engage in egregious abuses and war crimes. We argue that foreign state funding for rebel organizations greatly reduces incentives to “win the hearts and minds” of civilians because it diminishes the need to collect resources from the population. However, unlike other lucrative resources, foreign funding of rebel groups must be understood in principal-agent terms. Some external principals — namely, democracies and states with strong human rights lobbies — are more concerned with atrocities in the conflict zone than others. Multiple state principals also lead to abuse because no single state can effectively restrain the organization. We test these conjectures with new data on foreign support for rebel groups and data on one-sided violence against civilians. Most notably, we find strong evidence that principal characteristics help influence agent actions.

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Complex Interstate Rivals

Brandon Valeriano & Matthew Powers
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of this article is to engage the concept of rivalry, analyze its possible deficiencies, and empirically identify which groups of states make up what we call complex rivals. A complex rivalry is defined as a group of at least three states whose relationships are linked by common issues, alignments, or dispute joiner dynamics in which there is a threat of militarized conflict and includes persistent long-term interactions and collective animosity. Once the cases that make up complex rivals are described, we examine the dynamics of conflict within complex rivalries. We show that complex rivals tend to follow a different path to war when compared to dyadic rivals in that they experience more war on average, are more likely to include major powers, and fight predominately over positional as opposed to spatial concerns.

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Circumstances, Domestic Audiences, and Reputational Incentives in International Crisis Bargaining

Alexandre Debs & Jessica Chen Weiss
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present a new theory of interstate crisis bargaining. A country’s resolve is a function of intrinsic qualities of the government and external circumstances, both of which are unknown by the domestic electorate and the foreign country. When domestic political debate reveals that circumstances favor the use of force, the government can extract better terms than if circumstances are revealed to be unfavorable. The revelation of circumstances, however, exacerbates reputational incentives. Because governments can no longer hide behind unknown circumstances, voters can better discern the government’s type from its actions, strengthening the incentives to appear resolved. The model bridges the gap between audience costs and its critiques, showing how domestic audiences punish leaders for inappropriate policies rather than empty threats. At the same time, it highlights how the prospects for peace are worse if uncertainty about the circumstances is removed, suggesting that greater transparency does not always promote peaceful outcomes.

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The Changing Face of War in Textbooks: Depictions of World War II and Vietnam, 1970–2009

Richard Lachmann & Lacy Mitchell
Sociology of Education, July 2014, Pages 188-203

Abstract:
How have U.S. high school textbook depictions of World War II and Vietnam changed since the 1970s? We examined 102 textbooks published from 1970 to 2009 to see how they treated U.S. involvement in World War II and Vietnam. Our content analysis of high school history textbooks finds that U.S. textbooks increasingly focus on the personal experiences of soldiers, rather than presenting impersonal accounts of battles, and are increasingly likely to focus on soldiers’ suffering rather than glorify combat. This shift is greater for Vietnam than for World War II. We also find increasing attention in textbooks to the fact, but not the substance, of protests against the Vietnam War. These changes provide more support for theories that view textbooks as sites of contestation or expressions of a world culture of individualism rather than purveyors of a hidden curriculum of nationalistic militarism. Future research on textbook production and comparisons of U.S. versus other countries’ textbooks might show how much of the change is particular to the United States, perhaps due to the Vietnam War, or attributable to global changes in military conscription, tolerance for casualties, and attitudes toward individual rights and group obligations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chancy

Time Preferences and Consumer Behavior

David Bradford et al.
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
We investigate the predictive power of survey-elicited time preferences using a representative sample of US residents. In regressions controlling for demographics and risk preferences, we show that the discount factor elicited from choice experiments using multiple price lists and real payments predicts various health, energy, and financial outcomes, including overall self-reported health, smoking, drinking, car fuel efficiency, and credit card balance. We allow for time-inconsistent preferences and find that the long-run and present bias discount factors (δ and β) are each significantly associated in the expected direction with several of these outcomes. Finally, we explore alternate measures of time preference. Elicited discount factors are correlated with several such measures, including self-reported willpower. A multiple proxies approach using these alternate measures shows that our estimated associations between the time-consistent discount factor and health, energy, and financial outcomes may be conservative.

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Pleasure Now, Meaning Later: Temporal Dynamics Between Pleasure and Meaning

Jinhyung Kim, Pyungwon Kang & Incheol Choi
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research investigated temporal dynamics between pleasure and meaning such that pleasure is favored in the near future, whereas meaning is favored in the distant future. As an underlying mechanism for this temporal effect, Study 1 demonstrated that pleasure was subordinate to meaning, suggesting that meaning constitutes a higher-level construal than pleasure. Consistent with construal level theory, Studies 2 and 3 found time-dependent changes in the relative weight of pleasure and meaning. Participants evaluated a meaningful life more positively than a pleasurable life as temporal distance increased (Study 2). They were also more likely to choose meaningful options in making distant- versus near-future decisions, compared to pleasurable options (Study 3). Implications and future research were discussed.

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Experimentally Measured Susceptibility to Peer Influence and Adolescent Sexual Behavior Trajectories: A Preliminary Study

Sophia Choukas-Bradley et al.
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
A performance-based measure of peer influence susceptibility was examined as a moderator of the longitudinal association between peer norms and trajectories of adolescents’ number of sexual intercourse partners. Seventy-one 9th grade adolescents (52% female) participated in an experimental “chat room” paradigm involving “e-confederates” who endorsed sexual risk behaviors. Changes in participants’ responses to risk scenarios before versus during the “chat room” were used as a performance-based measure of peer influence susceptibility. Participants reported their perceptions of popular peers’ number of sexual intercourse partners at baseline and self-reported their number of sexual intercourse partners at baseline and 6, 12, and 18 months later. Susceptibility was examined as a moderator of the longitudinal association between perceptions of popular peers’ number of sexual intercourse partners and trajectories of adolescents’ own numbers of partners. High perceptions of the number of popular peers’ sexual intercourse partners combined with high peer influence susceptibility predicted steeper longitudinal trajectories of adolescents’ number of partners. Results provide novel preliminary evidence regarding the importance of peer influence susceptibility in adolescents’ development of sexual behaviors.

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Peer Effects in Risk Aversion

Ana Balsa, Néstor Gandelman & Nicolás González
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate peer effects in risk attitudes in a sample of high school students. Relative risk aversion is elicited from surveys administered at school. Identification of peer effects is based on parents not being able to choose the class within the school of their choice, and on the use of instrumental variables conditional on school-grade fixed effects. We find a significant and quantitatively large impact of peers’ risk attitudes on a male individual's coefficient of risk aversion. Specifically, a one standard deviation increase in the group's coefficient of risk aversion increases an individual's risk aversion by 43%. Our findings shed light on the origin and stability of risk attitudes and, more generally, on the determinants of economic preferences.

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Publication bias and the limited strength model of self-control: Has the evidence for ego depletion been overestimated?

Evan Carter & Michael McCullough
Frontiers in Psychology, July 2014

Abstract:
Few models of self-control have generated as much scientific interest as has the limited strength model. One of the entailments of this model, the depletion effect, is the expectation that acts of self-control will be less effective when they follow prior acts of self-control. Results from a previous meta-analysis concluded that the depletion effect is robust and medium in magnitude (d = 0.62). However, when we applied methods for estimating and correcting for small-study effects (such as publication bias) to the data from this previous meta-analysis effort, we found very strong signals of publication bias, along with an indication that the depletion effect is actually no different from zero. We conclude that until greater certainty about the size of the depletion effect can be established, circumspection about the existence of this phenomenon is warranted, and that rather than elaborating on the model, research efforts should focus on establishing whether the basic effect exists. We argue that the evidence for the depletion effect is a useful case study for illustrating the dangers of small-study effects as well as some of the possible tools for mitigating their influence in psychological science.

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The Value of Statistical Life: Evidence from Military Retention Incentives and Occupation-Specific Mortality

Michael Greenstone, Stephen Ryan & Michael Yankovich
MIT Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Estimates of the Value of Statistical Life (VSL) are important for use in the cost-benefit analysis of policy-related issues involving trade-offs between wealth and risk of death. We propose a novel approach to estimating the VSL using a discrete choice model of hundreds of thousands of reenlistment decisions of first-time soldiers in the U.S. Army during the 2002-2010 years that encompasses periods of peace and war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The approach and setting provide solutions to many of the problems that have plagued the traditional hedonic labor market approach to estimating the VSL. We exploit substantial variation in both occupation-specific retention bonuses and occupation-specific mortality risk across military occupations and over time within occupations to estimate how soldiers trade off compensation and risk. Our points estimates of the VSL for the population of young men and women who volunteer for active military service range between $165,000 and $769,000 and are tightly estimated. Further, there is some evidence that individuals with the lowest VSLs sort into the most dangerous occupations.

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Negative affective reactions reduce perceived likelihood of risk

Heather Lench & Kathleen Darbor
Motivation and Emotion, August 2014, Pages 569-577

Abstract:
This investigation examined the influence of negative affective reactions on the perceived likelihood of experiencing a health risk. Concepts related to formaldehyde exposure were paired with negative stimuli to create affective reactions. In Study 1, perceived risk was reduced when the thought of formaldehyde exposure elicited negative affective reactions compared to a control condition and participants were less interested in information on the risk and recommended spending less money to alleviate the hazard. The potential boundary condition of emotional states was examined in Study 2. Sad or neutral emotion was elicited before learning about the hazard, which was again paired with negative stimuli or no affective stimuli. Sadness increased perceived risk; negative affective reactions reduced perceived risk only when participants were in a neutral incidental state. These findings suggest that negative affective reactions reduce the perceived likelihood of risk, but only in the absence of alternative emotional information.

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Introducing upfront losses as well as gains decreases impatience in intertemporal choices with rewards

Cheng-Ming Jiang, Feng-Pei Hu & Long-Fei Zhu
Judgment and Decision Making, July 2014, Pages 297–302

Abstract:
People tend to prefer smaller and sooner (SS) rewards over larger and later (LL) ones even when the latter are much larger. Previous research have identified several ways to enhance people’s patience. Adding to this literature, the current paper demonstrates that introduction of upfront losses as well as gains to both SS and LL rewards can decrease people’s impatience. This effect is incompatible with both the normative exponential and descriptive hyperbolic discounting models, which agree on the additive assumption and the independence assumption. We also exclude the integration explanation which assumes subjects integrate upfront money with final rewards and make a decision with bottom line at the end. We consider several possible explanations, including the salience hypothesis, which states that introducing upfront money makes the money dimension more salient than not and thus increases the attractiveness of LL options.

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Gender Differences in Decisions under Profound Uncertainty Are Non-Robust to the Availability of Information on Equally Informed Others’ Decisions

M. Hohnisch et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated in the laboratory whether gender differences in decisions made under uncertainty without information on decisions of equally informed others are robust to the availability of that information. Participants specified in each of at most 60 periods four capital volumes making up the skeletal balance sheet of a financial institution in a computer-simulated environment with rare but potentially payoff-devastating crises. In the main study, we compared decision outcomes from two treatments: in the first, a participant had access to information on business numbers of two other participants, at least one of whom – unknown to the participant – was of the opposite sex (treatment with group information); in the second, no such outside information was available (treatment without group information). Our main finding is that, without group information, men adopted significantly more risk-exposed financial positions than women, whereas this pattern did not obtain beyond the first few periods when group information was available. A further study produced evidence that this effect of the availability of group information upon risk exposure is moderated by the gender composition of the groups. We also confirm the well-established tendency of social information to diminish cross-sectional variability in decisions in contexts with information sharing.

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ADHD subjects fail to suppress eye blinks and microsaccades while anticipating visual stimuli but recover with medication

Moshe Fried et al.
Vision Research, August 2014, Pages 62–72

Abstract:
Oculomotor behavior and parameters are known to be affected by the allocation of attention and could potentially be used to investigate attention disorders. We explored the oculomotor markers of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that are involuntary and quantitative and that could be used to reveal the core-affected mechanisms, as well as be used for differential diagnosis. We recorded eye movements in a group of 22 ADHD-diagnosed patients with and without medication (methylphenidate) and in 22 control observers while performing the test of variables of attention (t.o.v.a.). We found that the average microsaccade and blink rates were higher in the ADHD group, especially in the time interval around stimulus onset. These rates increased monotonically over session time for both groups, but with significantly faster increments in the unmedicated ADHD group. With medication, the level and time course of the microsaccade rate were fully normalized to the control level, regardless of the time interval within trials. In contrast, the pupil diameter decreased over time within sessions and significantly increased above the control level with medication. We interpreted the suppression of microsaccades and eye blinks around the stimulus onset as reflecting a temporal anticipation mechanism for the transient allocation of attention, and their overall rates as inversely reflecting the level of arousal. We suggest that ADHD subjects fail to maintain sufficient levels of arousal during a simple and prolonged task, which limits their ability to dynamically allocate attention while anticipating visual stimuli. This impairment normalizes with medication and its oculomotor quantification could potentially be used for differential diagnosis.

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Disposed to Distraction: Genetic Variation in the Cholinergic System Influences Distractibility But Not Time-on-Task Effects

Anne Berry et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, September 2014, Pages 1981-1991

Abstract:
Both the passage of time and external distraction make it difficult to keep attention on the task at hand. We tested the hypothesis that time-on-task and external distraction pose independent challenges to attention and that the brain's cholinergic system selectively modulates our ability to resist distraction. Participants with a polymorphism limiting cholinergic capacity (Ile89Val variant [rs1013940] of the choline transporter gene SLC5A7) and matched controls completed self-report measures of attention and a laboratory task that measured decrements in sustained attention with and without distraction. We found evidence that distraction and time-on-task effects are independent and that the cholinergic system is strongly linked to greater vulnerability to distraction. Ile89Val participants reported more distraction during everyday life than controls, and their task performance was more severely impacted by the presence of an ecologically valid video distractor (similar to a television playing in the background). These results are the first to demonstrate a specific impairment in cognitive control associated with the Ile89Val polymorphism and add to behavioral and cognitive neuroscience studies indicating the cholinergic system's critical role in overcoming distraction.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Charged

The Music of Power: Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of Powerful Music

Dennis Hsu et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Music has long been suggested to be a way to make people feel powerful. The current research investigated whether music can evoke a sense of power and produce power-related cognition and behavior. Initial pretests identified musical selections that generated subjective feelings of power. Experiment 1 found that music pretested to be powerful implicitly activated the construct of power in listeners. Experiments 2-4 demonstrated that power-inducing music produced three known important downstream consequences of power: abstract thinking, illusory control, and moving first. Experiments 5a and 5b held all features of music constant except for the level of bass and found that music with more bass increased participants' sense of power. This research expands our understanding of music’s influence on cognition and behavior and uncovers a novel antecedent of the sense of power.

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How Non-Consumption Shapes Desire

Xianchi Dai & Ayelet Fishbach
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does non-consumption shape desire? The proposed model suggests that desire depends on the length of non-consumption of a good and the presence of salient alternatives, and that desire is at least partially constructed. In the absence of salient alternatives, a longer non-consumption period results in stronger desire for the unconsumed good. However, in the presence of salient alternatives, individuals infer that they have developed new tastes, and thus a longer non-consumption period results in a weaker desire for the unconsumed good. Five studies support this model across non-consumption of various goods: food from home when attending college (study 1); chametz food during the Passover holiday (study 2); social media (i.e., abstaining from Facebook; study 3); and cultural foods (i.e., forgoing Japanese food, study 4; and Thai food, study 5). We discuss implications of our findings for when and how the experience of desire is constructed and situationally determined.

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Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation

Priyanka Carr & Gregory Walton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 169-184

Abstract:
What psychological mechanisms facilitate social coordination and cooperation? The present research examined the hypothesis that social cues that signal an invitation to work with others can fuel intrinsic motivation even when people work alone. Holding constant other factors, participants exposed to cues of working together persisted longer on a challenging task (Experiments 1 and 3), expressed greater interest in and enjoyment of the task (Experiments 1, 3, and 5), required less self-regulatory effort to persist on the task (Experiment 2), became more engrossed in and performed better on the task (Experiment 4), and, when encouraged to link this motivation to their values and self-concept, chose to do more related tasks in an unconnected setting 1-2 weeks later (Experiment 5). The results suggest that cues of working together can inspire intrinsic motivation, turning work into play. The discussion addresses the social-relational bases of motivation and implications for the !
self and application.

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Implicit Theories About Willpower Predict Self-Regulation and Grades in Everyday Life

Veronika Job et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laboratory research shows that when people believe that willpower is an abundant (rather than highly limited) resource they exhibit better self-control after demanding tasks. However, some have questioned whether this “nonlimited” theory leads to squandering of resources and worse outcomes in everyday life when demands on self-regulation are high. To examine this, we conducted a longitudinal study, assessing students’ theories about willpower and tracking their self-regulation and their academic performance. As hypothesized, a “nonlimited” theory predicted better self-regulation (better time management and less procrastination, unhealthy eating, and impulsive spending) for students who faced high self-regulatory demands. Moreover, among students taking a heavy course load, those with a nonlimited theory earned higher grades, which was mediated by less procrastination. These findings contradict the idea that a limited theory helps people all!
ocate their resources more effectively; instead, it is people with the nonlimited theory who self-regulate well in the face of high demands.

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Theories of intelligence and students' daily self-handicapping behaviors

Nicolette Rickert, Inez Meras & Melissa Witkow
Learning and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study sought to examine the relationship between students' theory of intelligence and daily self-handicapping behaviors. Ninth grade students completed a background survey with an eight-item measure assessing one's theory of intelligence (Dweck, 1999) and global measures of procrastination and self-handicapping. Participants then completed daily surveys for 2 weeks in which they reported how much homework they had, perceived school difficulty, time spent studying and in other domains, and how much effort they spent on their homework/studying. Results revealed that the strength of one's entity theory of intelligence was positively associated with self-handicapping and procrastination, replicating past findings. It was also found that entity theories of intelligence were associated with reduced responsiveness to daily school demands when compared to incremental theories. Not only do these results demonstrate an association between theory of intelligence and maladap!
tive school behaviors, but they show how these behaviors manifest on a daily basis.

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The effect of priming learning vs. performance goals on a complex task

Xiao Chen & Gary Latham
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined the effect of priming a learning goal, a performance goal, and both a learning and a performance goal on a task requiring the acquisition of knowledge. A photograph of Rodin’s “The Thinker” primed a learning goal, and a photograph of a racer primed a performance goal, as measured by a projective test. A laboratory experiment (n = 88) involving a 2 (a primed learning goal vs. control) × 2 (a primed performance goal vs. control) × 3 (trials) repeated measures factorial design revealed a significant main effect for only the primed learning goal. The results are interpreted within two frameworks, namely, goal setting theory and the automaticity model.

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Boredom and academic achievement: Testing a model of reciprocal causation

Reinhard Pekrun et al.
Journal of Educational Psychology, August 2014, Pages 696-710

Abstract:
A theoretical model linking boredom and academic achievement is proposed. Based on Pekrun’s (2006) control-value theory of achievement emotions, the model posits that boredom and achievement reciprocally influence each other over time. Data from a longitudinal study with college students (N = 424) were used to examine the hypothesized effects. The study involved 5 assessments of students’ boredom and test performance during a university course spanning an entire academic year. Structural equation modeling was used to examine effects of boredom on achievement, and vice versa. The results show that boredom had consistently negative effects on subsequent performance, and performance had consistently negative effects on subsequent boredom, while controlling for students’ gender, age, interest, intrinsic motivation, and prior achievement. These results provide robust evidence for the proposed links between boredom and achievement and support systems-theoretic!
al perspectives on the dynamics of emotions and achievement. From a broader educational perspective, the findings imply that researchers and practitioners alike should focus attention on boredom as an important, yet often overlooked, academic emotion.

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Daytime light exposure: Effects on biomarkers, measures of alertness, and performance

Levent Sahin et al.
Behavioural Brain Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Light can elicit an alerting response in humans, independent from acute melatonin suppression. Recent studies have shown that red light significantly increases daytime and nighttime alertness. The main goal of the present study was to further investigate the effects of daytime light exposure on performance, biomarkers and measures of alertness. It was hypothesized that, compared to remaining in dim light, daytime exposure to narrowband long-wavelength (red) light or polychromatic (2568 K) light would induce greater alertness and shorter response times. Thirteen subjects experienced three lighting conditions: dim light (<5 lux), red light (λmax = 630 nm, 210 lux, 1.1 W/m2), and white light (3000 K, 360 lux, 1.1 W/m2). The presentation order of the lighting conditions was counterbalanced across the participants and each participant saw a different lighting condition each week. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that red light can increase short-term performanc!
e as shown by the significant (p < 0.05) reduced response time and higher throughput in performance tests during the daytime. There was a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in alpha power and alpha-theta power after exposure to the white light, but this alerting effect did not translate to better performance. There was no significant effect of light on cortisol and alpha amylase. Alpha power was significantly reduced after red light exposure in the middle of the afternoon. The present results suggest that red light can be used to increase daytime performance.

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When motivational consequences of ego depletion collide: Conservation dominates over reward-seeking

Mauro Giacomantonio et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 217-220

Abstract:
Existing research shows that ego depletion - impaired self-regulation following repeatedly exerting self-control - both increases the need to conserve energy, thus reducing engagement and persistence, and promotes approach tendencies and reward-seeking behaviors. These dual motivations may be paradoxical; in many situations, seeking rewards requires energy input. In such cases of competing motivations, which of the two motivations dominates over the other? To answer this question, we manipulated ego depletion and then had participants engage in a reward-seeking task that was either demanding or not demanding of energy. Results showed that, in line with previous research, in the less demanding condition, depleted participants were more reward-seeking than non-depleted participants. In contrast, in the more demanding condition, depleted individuals quit sooner and hence were less reward-seeking than the non-depleted participants. We conclude that in a state of ego depletion, c!
onserving energy is sometimes dominant over pursuing rewards.

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Association between serotonin Cumulative Genetic Score and the Behavioral Approach System (BAS): Moderation by early life environment

Rahel Pearson, John McGeary & Christopher Beevers
Personality and Individual Differences, November 2014, Pages 140-144

Abstract:
The present study investigates if genetic variation in the serotonergic system interacts with early adversity to predict changes in the Behavioral Approach System (BAS), a system that taps into reward processing. In a sample of community adults (N = 236) the influence of single serotonergic candidate polymorphisms on BAS was analyzed, we also examined the aggregate contribution of these genetic variants by creating a Cumulative Genetic Score (CGS). A CGS quantifies an individual’s cumulative risk by aggregating the number of risk alleles across the candidate polymorphisms. After individual gene analysis, three candidate genes rs7305115 (TPH2), rs6311 (HTR2A), and rs6295 (HTR1A) were combined into the CGS. There were no significant interactions between individual candidate polymorphisms and childhood adversity, but the CGS interacted with childhood adversity to explain a significant amount of variance (11.6%) in the BAS. Findings suggest that genetic variations in the !
serotonergic system in combination with childhood adversity contribute to individual differences in reward sensitivity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, August 22, 2014

Your money or your life

Health Spending Slowdown Is Mostly Due To Economic Factors, Not Structural Change In The Health Care Sector

David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite & Christopher Ody
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1399-1406

Abstract:
The source of the recent slowdown in health spending growth remains unclear. We used new and unique data on privately insured people to estimate the effect of the economic slowdown that began in December 2007 on the rate of growth in health spending. By exploiting regional variations in the severity of the slowdown, we determined that the economic slowdown explained approximately 70 percent of the slowdown in health spending growth for the people in our sample. This suggests that the recent decline is not primarily the result of structural changes in the health sector or of components of the Affordable Care Act, and that — absent other changes in the health care system — an economic recovery will result in increased health spending.

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The Impact of Tort Reform on Intensity of Treatment: Evidence from Heart Patients

Ronen Avraham & Max Schanzenbach
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effect of non-economic damage caps on the treatment intensity of heart attack victims. We focus on whether a patient receives a major intervention in the form of either a coronary artery by-pass or angioplasty. We find strong evidence that treatment intensity declines after a cap on non-economic damages. The probability of receiving a major intervention in the form of either an angioplasty or bypass declines by 1.25 to 2 percentage points after non-economic damage caps are enacted, and this effect is larger a year or two after reform. However, we also find clear evidence of substitution between major interventions. When doctors have discretion to perform a by-pass and patients have insurance coverage, caps on non-economic damages increase the probability that a by-pass is performed. The effect of non-economic damage caps on costs is not always statistically significant, but in models with state-specific trends, total costs decline by as much as four percent. We conclude that tort reform reduces treatment intensity overall, even though it changes the mix of treatments. Using the Center for Disease Control's Vital Statistics data, we find that tort reform is not associated with an increase in mortality from coronary heart disease; if anything, mortality declines.

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Moral Hazard and Less Invasive Medical Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease: The Case of Cigarette Smoking

Jesse Margolis et al.
NBER Working Paper, August 2014

Abstract:
Over the last several decades, numerous medical studies have compared the effectiveness of two common procedures for Coronary Artery Disease: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG). Most evidence indicates that CABG – the more invasive procedure – leads to superior long term outcomes for otherwise similar patients, though there is little consensus as to why. In this article, we propose a novel explanation: patient offsetting behavior. We hypothesize that patients who undergo the more invasive procedure, CABG, are more likely to improve their behavior – eating, exercise, smoking, and drinking – in a way that increases longevity. To test our hypothesis, we use Medicare records linked to the National Health Interview Survey to study one such behavior: smoking. We find that CABG patients are 12 percentage points more likely to quit smoking in the one-year period immediately surrounding their procedure than PCI patients, a result that is robust to numerous alternative specifications.

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Insurers' Negotiating Leverage and the External Effects of Medicare Part D

Darius Lakdawalla & Wesley Yin
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
By influencing the size and bargaining power of private insurers, public subsidization of private health insurance may project effects beyond the subsidized population. We test for such spillovers by analyzing how increases in insurer size resulting from the implementation of Medicare Part D affected drug prices negotiated in the non-Medicare commercial market. On average, Part D lowered prices for commercial enrollees by 3.7%. The external commercial market savings amount to $1.5 billion per year, which, if passed to consumers, approximates the internal cost-savings of newly-insured subsidized beneficiaries. If retained by insurers, it corresponds to a greater than 9.25% average increase in profitability on stand-alone drug insurance.

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California Safety-Net Hospitals Likely To Be Penalized By ACA Value, Readmission, And Meaningful-Use Programs

Matlin Gilman et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1314-1322

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to increase the value obtained from health care spending. A growing concern among health policy experts is that new Medicare policies designed to improve the quality and efficiency of hospital care, such as value-based purchasing (VBP), the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and electronic health record (EHR) meaningful-use criteria, will disproportionately affect safety-net hospitals, which are already facing reduced disproportionate-share hospital (DSH) payments under both Medicare and Medicaid. We examined hospitals in California to determine whether safety-net institutions were more likely than others to incur penalties under these programs. To assess quality, we also examined whether mortality outcomes were different at these hospitals. Our study found that compared to non-safety-net hospitals, safety-net institutions had lower thirty-day risk-adjusted mortality rates in the period 2009–11 for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia and marginally lower adjusted Medicare costs. Nonetheless, safety-net hospitals were more likely than others to be penalized under the VBP program and the HRRP and more likely not to meet EHR meaningful-use criteria. The combined effects of Medicare value-based payment policies on the financial viability of safety-net hospitals need to be considered along with DSH payment cuts as national policy makers further incorporate performance measures into the overall payment system.

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Does Seeing the Doctor More Often Keep You Out of the Hospital?

Robert Kaestner & Anthony Lo Sasso
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
By exploiting a unique health insurance benefit design, we provide novel evidence on the causal association between outpatient and inpatient care. Our results indicate that greater outpatient spending was associated with more hospital admissions: a $100 increase in outpatient spending was associated with a 1.9% increase in the probability of having an inpatient event and a 4.6% increase in inpatient spending among enrollees in our sample. Moreover, we present evidence that the increase in hospital admissions associated with greater outpatient spending was for conditions in which it is plausible to argue that the physician and patient could exercise discretion.

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Cohort Turnover and Productivity: The July Phenomenon in Teaching Hospitals

Robert Huckman, Hummy Song & Jason Barro
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We consider the impact of cohort turnover — the planned simultaneous exit of a large number of experienced employees and a similarly sized entry of new workers — on productivity in the context of teaching hospitals. Specifically, we examine the impact of the annual July turnover of residents in American teaching hospitals on levels of resource utilization and quality in teaching hospitals relative to a control group of non-teaching hospitals. We find that, despite the anticipated nature of the cohort turnover and the supervisory structures that exist in teaching hospitals, this annual cohort turnover results in increased resource utilization (i.e., longer length of hospital stay) for both minor and major teaching hospitals, and decreased quality (i.e., higher mortality rates) for major teaching hospitals. Particularly in major teaching hospitals, we find evidence of a gradual trend of decreasing performance that begins several months before the actual cohort turnover and may result from a transition of responsibilities at major teaching hospitals in anticipation of the cohort turnover.

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Non-Adherence In Health Care: A Positive and Normative Analysis

Mark Egan & Tomas Philipson
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Non-adherence in health care results when a patient does not initiate or continue care that has been recommended by a provider. Previous researchers have identified non-adherence as a major source of waste in US healthcare, totaling approximately 2.3% of GDP, and have proposed a plethora of interventions to improve adherence. However, little explicit analysis exists in health economics of the dynamic demand behavior that drives non-adherence. We argue that while providers may be more informed about the population-wide effects of treatments, patients are more informed about their individual treatment effect. We interpret a patient’s adherence decision as an optimal stopping problem where patients learn the value of a treatment through experience. Our positive analysis derives an “adherence survival function” and shows how various observable factors affect adherence. Our normative analysis derives the efficiency effects of non-adherence, the conditions under which adherence is too high or too low, and why many common interventions aimed at raising adherence produce indeterminate welfare effects. We calibrate these welfare effects for one of the largest US drug categories, cholesterol reducing drugs. Contrary to frequent normative claims of under-adherence, our estimates suggest that the ex-post efficiency loss from over-adherence is over 80% larger than from under-adherence.

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The Long-Term Health Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage

Sarah Marie Miller & Laura Wherry
University of Michigan Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Although the link between the fetal environment and later life health and achievement is well-established, few studies have evaluated the extent to which public policies aimed at improving fetal health have effects that persist into adulthood. In this study, we evaluate how a rapid expansion of prenatal and child health insurance coverage through the Medicaid program affected the adult health and health care utilization of individuals born between 1979 and 1993 who gained coverage in utero and as children. We find that those whose mothers gained eligibility for prenatal coverage under Medicaid have lower rates of obesity and lower body mass indices as adults. Using administrative data on hospital discharges, we find that cohorts who gained in utero Medicaid eligibility have fewer preventable hospitalizations and fewer hospitalizations related to endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, and immunity disorders as adults. We find effects of public eligibility in other periods of childhood on hospitalizations later in life, but these effects are small. Our results indicate that expanding Medicaid prenatal coverage had long-term benefits for the health of the next generation.

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Bundled Payment Fails To Gain A Foothold In California: The Experience Of The IHA Bundled Payment Demonstration

Susan Ridgely et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1345-1352

Abstract:
To determine whether bundled payment could be an effective payment model for California, the Integrated Healthcare Association convened a group of stakeholders (health plans, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, physician organizations, and vendors) to develop, through a consensus process, the methods and means of implementing bundled payment. In spite of a high level of enthusiasm and effort, the pilot did not succeed in its goal to implement bundled payment for orthopedic procedures across multiple payers and hospital-physician partners. An evaluation of the pilot documented a number of barriers, such as administrative burden, state regulatory uncertainty, and disagreements about bundle definition and assumption of risk. Ultimately, few contracts were signed, which resulted in insufficient volume to test hypotheses about the impact of bundled payment on quality and costs. Although bundled payment failed to gain a foothold in California, the evaluation provides lessons for future bundled payment initiatives.

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Health insurer market power and primary care consolidation

Christopher Brunt & John Bowblis
Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper analyses how health insurance market concentration impacts the market structure of primary care physicians. In more concentrated insurance markets, physicians are found to work in larger practices and their practices are more likely to have a hospital with an ownership interest. Physicians are also less likely to report being in a competitive physician market, consistent with practice consolidation. Our results suggest consolidation in insurance markets impacts the competitive structure of physicians markets.

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Socialized medicine and mortality

Sam Peltzman
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, September 2014, Pages 179-205

Abstract:
Over the last century life expectancy has increased substantially and so has the share of health care expenditures financed by governments. In cross-country comparisons, the US, which has the lowest government health expenditure share, often has the poorest health outcomes. Is there a plausible connection between health outcomes and government financing of health care? This paper addresses this question with panel data from 20 developed countries from 1950 to 2010. I review the history of government involvement in health care financing over this period. Then I use panel regression methods to examine whether a variety of mortality based outcome measures are correlated with the extent of government involvement. The answers are robustly negative.

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Medicaid Primary Care Physician Fees and the Use of Preventive Services among Medicaid Enrollees

Adam Atherly & Karoline Mortensen
Health Services Research, August 2014, Pages 1306–1328

Objective: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases Medicaid physician fees for preventive care up to Medicare rates for 2013 and 2014. The purpose of this paper was to model the relationship between Medicaid preventive care payment rates and the use of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)–recommended preventive care use among Medicaid enrollees.

Data Sources/Study Session: We used data from the 2003 and 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a national probability sample of the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized population, linked to Kaiser state Medicaid benefits data, including the state Medicaid-to-Medicare physician fee ratio in 2003 and 2008.

Study Design: Probit models were used to estimate the probability that eligible individuals received one of five USPSF-recommended preventive services. A difference-in-difference model was used to separate out the effect of changes in the Medicaid payment rate and other factors.

Principal Findings: Although Medicaid enrollees had a lower rate of use of the five preventive services in univariate analysis, neither Medicaid enrollment nor changes in Medicaid payment rates had statistically significant effects on meeting screening recommendations for the five screenings. The results were robust to a number of different sensitivity tests. Individual and state characteristics were significant.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that although temporary changes in primary care provider payments for preventive services for Medicaid enrollees may have other desirable effects, they are unlikely to substantially increase the use of these selected USPSTF-recommended preventive care services among Medicaid enrollees.

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Paying Attention or Paying Too Much in Medicare Part D

Jonathan Ketcham, Claudio Lucarelli & Christopher Powers
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study whether people became less likely to switch Medicare prescription drug plans (PDPs) due to more options and more time in Part D. Panel data for a random 20% sample of enrollees from 2006–2010 show that 50% were not in their original PDPs by 2010. Individuals switched PDPs in response to higher costs of their status quo plans, saving them money. Contrary to choice overload, larger choice sets increased switching unless the additional plans were relatively expensive. Neither switching overall nor responsiveness to costs declined over time, and above-minimum spending in 2010 remained below the 2006 and 2007 levels.

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Medication Affordability Gains Following Medicare Part D Are Eroding Among Elderly With Multiple Chronic Conditions

Huseyin Naci et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1435-1443

Abstract:
Elderly Americans, especially those with multiple chronic conditions, face difficulties paying for prescriptions, which results in worse adherence to and discontinuation of therapy, called cost-related medication nonadherence. Medicare Part D, implemented in January 2006, was supposed to address issues of affordability for prescriptions. We investigated whether the gains in medication affordability attributable to Part D persisted during the six years that followed its implementation. Overall, we found continued incremental improvements in medication affordability in the period 2007–09 that eroded during the period 2009–11. Among elderly beneficiaries with four or more chronic conditions, we observed an increase in the prevalence of cost-related nonadherence from 14.4 percent in 2009 to 17.0 percent in 2011, reversing previous downward trends. Similarly, the prevalence among the sickest elderly of forgoing basic needs to purchase medicines decreased from 8.7 percent in 2007 to 6.8 percent in 2009 but rose to 10.2 percent in 2011. Our findings highlight the need for targeted policy efforts to alleviate the persistent burden of drug treatment costs on this vulnerable population.

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Do Certificate-of-Need Laws Increase Indigent Care?

Thomas Stratmann & Jacob Russ
George Mason University Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
Many states have certificate-of-need regulations, which prohibit hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgical centers from entering new markets or making changes to the existing capacity of medical facilities without first gaining approval from certificate-of-need regulators. These regulations purport to limit the supply of medical services and to induce regulated institutions to use the resulting economic profits to cross-subsidize indigent care. We document that these regulations do limit supply. However, we do not find strong evidence of higher levels of indigent-care provision in states that have certificate-of-need regulations as opposed to those that do not.

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Tradeoffs in the Design of Health Plan Payment Systems: Fit, Power and Balance

Michael Geruso & Thomas McGuire
NBER Working Paper, July 2014

Abstract:
In many markets, including the new U.S. Exchanges, health plans are paid by risk-adjusted capitation, in some markets combined with reinsurance and other payment features. This paper proposes three metrics for grading these complex payment systems: fit, power and balance, each of which addresses a distinct market failure in health insurance. We implement these metrics in a study of Exchange payment systems with data similar to that used to develop the Exchange risk adjustment scheme and describe the tradeoffs among the metrics. We find that a simple reinsurance system scores better on fit, power and balance than the risk adjustment formula in use in the Exchanges.

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Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition

Sze-jung Wu et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1391-1398

Abstract:
To encourage patients to select high-value providers, an insurer-initiated price transparency program that focused on elective advanced imaging procedures was implemented. Patients having at least one outpatient magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in 2010 or 2012 were divided according to their membership in commercial health plans participating in the program (the intervention group) or in nonparticipating commercial health plans (the reference group) in similar US geographic regions. Patients in the intervention group were informed of price differences among available MRI facilities and given the option of selecting different providers. For those patients, the program resulted in a $220 cost reduction (18.7 percent) per test and a decrease in use of hospital-based facilities from 53 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2012. Price variation between hospital and nonhospital facilities for the intervention group was reduced by 30 percent after implementation. Nonparticipating members residing in intervention areas also observed price reductions, which indicates increased price competition among providers. The program significantly reduced imaging costs. This suggests that patients select lower-price facilities when informed about available alternatives.

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Factors Affecting Receipt of Expensive Cancer Treatments and Mortality: Evidence from Stem Cell Transplantation for Leukemia and Lymphoma

Jean Mitchell & Elizabeth Conklin
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To identify factors that affect whether patients diagnosed with either leukemia or lymphoma receive a stem cell transplant and secondly if receipt of stem cell transplantation is linked to improved survival.

Data: California inpatient discharge records (2002–2003) for patients with either leukemia or lymphoma linked with vital statistics death records (2002–2005).

Study Design: Bivariate Probit treatment effects model that accounts for both the type of treatment received and survival while controlling for nonrandom selection due to unobservable factors.

Principal Findings: Having private insurance coverage and residence in a well-educated county increased the chances a patient with either disease received HSCT. Increasing age and travel distance to the nearest transplant hospital had the opposite effect. Receipt of HSCT had a significant impact on mortality. We found the probability of death was 4.3 percentage points higher for leukemia patients who did NOT have HSCT. Receipt of HSCT reduced the chances of dying by almost 50 percent. The likelihood of death among lymphoma patients who underwent HSCT was almost 5 percentage points lower, a 70 percent reduction in the probability of death.

Conclusions: The findings raise concern about access to expensive, but highly effective cancer treatments for patients with certain hematologic malignancies.

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For-Profit Medicare Home Health Agencies’ Costs Appear Higher And Quality Appears Lower Compared To Nonprofit Agencies

William Cabin et al.
Health Affairs, August 2014, Pages 1460-1465

Abstract:
For-profit, or proprietary, home health agencies were banned from Medicare until 1980 but now account for a majority of the agencies that provide such services. Medicare home health costs have grown rapidly since the implementation of a risk-based prospective payment system in 2000. We analyzed recent national cost and case-mix-adjusted quality outcomes to assess the performance of for-profit and nonprofit home health agencies. For-profit agencies scored slightly but significantly worse on overall quality indicators compared to nonprofits (77.18 percent and 78.71 percent, respectively). Notably, for-profit agencies scored lower than nonprofits on the clinically important outcome “avoidance of hospitalization” (71.64 percent versus 73.53 percent). Scores on quality measures were lowest in the South, where for-profits predominate. Compared to nonprofits, proprietary agencies also had higher costs per patient ($4,827 versus $4,075), were more profitable, and had higher administrative costs. Our findings raise concerns about whether for-profit agencies should continue to be eligible for Medicare payments and about the efficiency of Medicare’s market-oriented, risk-based home care payment system.

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Can Caesarean section improve child and maternal health? The case of breech babies

Vibeke Myrup Jensen & Miriam Wüst
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the health effects of Caesarean section (CS) for children and their mothers. We use exogenous variation in the probability of CS in a fuzzy regression discontinuity design. Using administrative Danish data, we exploit an information shock for obstetricians that sharply altered CS rates for breech babies. We find that CS decreases the child's probability of having a low APGAR score and the number of family doctor visits in the first year of life. We find no significant effects for severe neonatal morbidity or hospitalizations. While mothers are hospitalized longer after birth, we find no effects of CS for maternal post-birth complications or infections. Although the change in mode of delivery for the marginal breech babies increases direct costs, the health benefits show that CS is the safest option for these children.

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A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Variation in Charges and Prices across California for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Renee Hsia et al.
PLoS ONE, August 2014

Objectives: We sought to examine the variability in charges for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a drug-eluting stent and without major complications (MS-DRG-247), and determine whether hospital and market characteristics influenced these charges.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of adults admitted to California hospitals in 2011 for MS-DRG-247 using patient discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. We used a two-part linear regression model to first estimate hospital-specific charges adjusted for patient characteristics, and then examine whether the between-hospital variation in those estimated charges was explained by hospital and market characteristics.

Results: Adjusted charges for the average California patient admitted for uncomplicated PCI ranged from $22,047 to $165,386 (median: $88,350) depending on which hospital the patient visited. Hospitals in areas with the highest cost of living, those in rural areas, and those with more Medicare patients had higher charges, while government-owned hospitals charged less. Overall, our model explained 43% of the variation in adjusted charges. Estimated discounted prices paid by private insurers ranged from $3,421 to $80,903 (median: $28,571).

Conclusions: Charges and estimated discounted prices vary widely between hospitals for the average California patient undergoing PCI without major complications, a common and relatively homogeneous episode of care. Though observable hospital characteristics account for some of this variation, the majority remains unexplained.

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The effect of in-office waiting time on physician visit frequency among working-age adults

Hyo Jung Tak et al.
Social Science & Medicine, October 2014, Pages 43–51

Abstract:
Disparities in unmet health care demand resulting from socioeconomic, racial, and financial factors have received a great deal of attention in the United States. However, out-of-pocket costs alone do not fully reflect the total opportunity cost that patients must consider as they seek medical attention. While there is an extensive literature on the price elasticity of demand for health care, empirical evidence regarding the effect of waiting time on utilization is sparse. Using the nationally representative 2003 Community Tracking Study Household Survey, the most recent iteration containing respondents' physician office visit frequency and estimated in-office waiting time in the United States (N = 23,484), we investigated the association between waiting time and calculated time cost with the number of physician visits among a sample of working-age adults. To avoid the bias that literature suggests would result from excluding respondents with zero physician visits, we imputed waiting time for the essential inclusion of such individuals. On average, respondents visited physician offices 3.55 times, during which time they waited 28.7 min. The estimates from a negative binomial model indicated that a doubling of waiting time was associated with a 7.7 percent decrease (p-value < 0.001) in physician visit frequency. For women and unemployed respondents, who visited physicians more frequently, the decrease was even larger, suggesting a stronger response to greater waiting times. We believe this finding reflects the discretionary nature of incremental visits in these groups, and a consequent lower perceived marginal benefit of additional visits. The results suggest that in-office waiting time may have a substantial influence on patients' propensity to seek medical attention. Although there is a belief that expansions in health insurance coverage increase health care utilization by reducing financial barriers to access, our results suggest that unintended consequences may arise if in-office waiting time increases.

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Machines that Go ‘Ping’: Medical Technology and Health Expenditures in OECD Countries

Peter Willemé & Michel Dumont
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Technology is believed to be a major determinant of increasing health spending. The main difficulty to quantify its effect is to find suitable proxies to measure medical technological innovation. This paper's main contribution is the use of data on approved medical devices and drugs to proxy for medical technology. The effects of these variables on total real per capita health spending are estimated using a panel model for 18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries covering the period 1981–2012. The results confirm the substantial cost-increasing effect of medical technology, which accounts for almost 50% of the explained historical growth of spending. Despite the overall net positive effect of technology, the effect of two subgroups of approvals on expenditure is significantly negative. These subgroups can be thought of as representing ‘incremental medical innovation’, whereas the positive effects are related to radically innovative pharmaceutical products and devices. A separate time series model was estimated for the USA because the FDA approval data in fact only apply to the USA, while they serve as proxies for the other OECD countries. Our empirical model includes an indicator of obesity, and estimations confirm the substantial contribution of this lifestyle variable to health spending growth in the countries studied.

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Beyond Adoption: Does Meaningful Use of EHR Improve Quality of Care?

Yu-Kai Lin, Mingfeng Lin & Hsinchun Chen
University of Arizona Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Electronic health record (EHR) system holds great promise in transforming healthcare. Existing empirical literature typically focused on its adoption, and found mixed evidence on whether EHR improves care. The federal initiative for meaningful use (MU) of EHR aims to maximize the potential of quality improvement, yet there is little empirical study on the impact of the initiative and, more broadly, the relation between MU and quality of care. Leveraging features of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for exogenous variations, we examine the impact of MU on healthcare quality, and also the clinical benefit of the multi-billion-dollar EHR incentive program. We found that MU significantly and consistently improves quality of care. More importantly, this effect is greater in historically disadvantaged hospitals such as small, non-teaching, or rural hospitals. These findings contribute not only to the literature on Health IT, but also the broader literature of IT adoption and value as well.

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The Impact of Tiered Physician Networks on Patient Choices

Anna Sinaiko & Meredith Rosenthal
Health Services Research, August 2014, Pages 1348–1363

Objective: To assess whether patient choice of physician or health plan was affected by physician tier-rankings.

Data Sources: Administrative claims and enrollment data on 171,581 nonelderly beneficiaries enrolled in Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission health plans that include a tiered physician network and who had an office visit with a tiered physician.

Study Design: We estimate the impact of tier-rankings on physician market share within a plan of new patients and on the percent of a physician's patients who switch to other physicians with fixed effects regression models. The effect of tiering on consumer plan choice is estimated using logistic regression and a pre–post study design.

Principal Findings: Physicians in the bottom (least-preferred) tier, particularly certain specialist physicians, had lower market share of new patient visits than physicians with higher tier-rankings. Patients whose physician was in the bottom tier were more likely to switch health plans. There was no effect of tier-ranking on patients switching away from physicians whom they have seen previously.

Conclusions: The effect of tiering appears to be among patients who choose new physicians and at the lower end of the distribution of tiered physicians, rather than moving patients to the “best” performers. These findings suggest strong loyalty of patients to physicians more likely to be considered their personal doctor.

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Do the Medicaid and Medicare programs compete for access to health care services? A longitudinal analysis of physician fees, 1998–2004

Larry Howard
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, September 2014, Pages 229-250

Abstract:
As the demand for publicly funded health care continues to rise in the U.S., there is increasing pressure on state governments to ensure patient access through adjustments in provider compensation policies. This paper longitudinally examines the fees that states paid physicians for services covered by the Medicaid program over the period 1998–2004. Controlling for an extensive set of economic and health care industry characteristics, the elasticity of states’ Medicaid fees, with respect to Medicare fees, is estimated to be in the range of 0.2–0.7 depending on the type of physician service examined. The findings indicate a significant degree of price competition between the Medicaid and Medicare programs for physician services that is more pronounced for cardiology and critical care, but not hospital care. The results also suggest several policy levers that work to either increase patient access or reduce total program costs through changes in fees.

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Higher Medicare SNF Care Utilization by Dual-Eligible Beneficiaries: Can Medicaid Long-Term Care Policies Be the Answer?

Momotazur Rahman et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine outcomes associated with dual eligibility (Medicare and Medicaid) of patients who are admitted to skilled nursing facility (SNF) care and whether differences in outcomes are related to states' Medicaid long-term care policies.

Data Sources/Collection: We used national Medicare enrollment data and claims, and the Minimum Data Set for 890,922 community-residing Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who were discharged to an SNF from a general hospital between July 2008 and June 2009.

Study Design: We estimated the effect of dual eligibility on the likelihood of 30-day rehospitalization, becoming a long-stay nursing home resident, and 180-day survival while controlling for clinical, demographic, socio-economic, residential neighborhood characteristics, and SNF-fixed effects. We estimated the differences in outcomes by dual eligibility status separately for each state and showed their relationship with state policies: the average Medicaid payment rate; presence of nursing home certificate-of-need (CON) laws; and Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) spending.

Principal Findings: Dual-eligible patients are equally likely to experience 30-day rehospitalization, 12 percentage points more likely to become long-stay residents, and 2 percentage points more likely to survive 180 days compared to Medicare-only patients. This longer survival can be attributed to longer nursing home length of stay. While higher HCBS spending reduces the length-of-stay gap without affecting the survival gap, presence of CON laws reduces both the length-of-stay and survival gaps.

Conclusions: Dual eligibles utilize more SNF care and experience higher survival rates than comparable Medicare-only patients. Higher HCBS spending may reduce the longer SNF length of stay of dual eligibles without increasing mortality and may save money for both Medicare and Medicaid.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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