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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Finding someone

How Are Mate Preferences Linked with Actual Mate Selection? Tests of Mate Preference Integration Algorithms Using Computer Simulations and Actual Mating Couples

Daniel Conroy-Beam & David Buss

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
Prior mate preference research has focused on the content of mate preferences. Yet in real life, people must select mates among potentials who vary along myriad dimensions. How do people incorporate information on many different mate preferences in order to choose which partner to pursue? Here, in Study 1, we compare seven candidate algorithms for integrating multiple mate preferences in a competitive agent-based model of human mate choice evolution. This model shows that a Euclidean algorithm is the most evolvable solution to the problem of selecting fitness-beneficial mates. Next, across three studies of actual couples (Study 2: n = 214; Study 3: n = 259; Study 4: n = 294) we apply the Euclidean algorithm toward predicting mate preference fulfillment overall and preference fulfillment as a function of mate value. Consistent with the hypothesis that mate preferences are integrated according to a Euclidean algorithm, we find that actual mates lie close in multidimensional preference space to the preferences of their partners. Moreover, this Euclidean preference fulfillment is greater for people who are higher in mate value, highlighting theoretically-predictable individual differences in who gets what they want. These new Euclidean tools have important implications for understanding real-world dynamics of mate selection.

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Shaping Men's Memory: The Effects of a Female's Waist-To-Hip Ratio on Men's Memory for Her Appearance and Biographical Information

Carey Fitzgerald, Terrence Horgan & Susan Himes

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that people are better at remembering attractive faces than unattractive faces, possibly because physical attractiveness is a sign of increased mate value. However, perceivers' may rely on additional appearance cues (e.g., bodily features, dress) when assessing mate value. Thus, men may remember more about a female target when she possesses more attractive bodily features, such as a waist-to-hip ratio that approaches the optimal .70. Two studies were conducted to examine whether female waist-to-hip ratio influences the number of details men recall and recognize about a female target. Study 1 utilized a free recall method, whereas Study 2 consisted of a recognition method. Results indicated that men who viewed a female target with a waist-to-hip ratio of .50 or .90 recalled and recognized significantly fewer details than men who viewed a female target with a waist-to-hip ratio of.60, .70, and .80. These data illustrate adaptive memory, whereby perceivers better remember information of greater adaptive value to them, because this information may lead them to make better fitness-related decisions about whom to potentially mate with. Limitations regarding the realism of the photographs and generalizability of the data are also discussed.

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How gender role stereotypes affect attraction in an online dating scenario

Kelsey Chappetta & Joan Barth

Computers in Human Behavior, October 2016, Pages 738-746

Abstract:
Today, it is not uncommon to meet someone and begin a romantic relationship online. Meeting on a dating website differs from meeting in person because a dating profile is created first that allows others to review potential romantic partners. Few studies have examined romantic attraction within an online dating context, and even fewer have examined how gender roles may influence attraction. The current study1 (N = 447, 49.4% female) examined the effects of gender role congruence and physical attractiveness on romantic interest in college students. Participants viewed online dating profiles that varied in their physical attractiveness and adherence to gender role norms. Results indicated that both men and women preferred attractive and gender role incongruent dating partners over average looking and gender role congruent. Contrary to previous research, women differentiated more between profiles based on physical attractiveness than the men, especially for gender role congruent profiles. Men were especially interested in attractive, gender role incongruent profiles. After physical attractiveness, gender role incongruence was the greatest factor that determined interest in a profile. Future research may need to consider how the potential seriousness of a relationship, as defined by the expected length of the relationship, influences how online profile characteristics affect attraction and interest.

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The effect of mate value feedback on women's mating aspirations and mate preference

Simon Reeve, Kristine Kelly & Lisa Welling

Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The concept of a mating sociometer (e.g., Kavanagh, Robins, & Ellis, 2010) suggests that humans adaptively calibrate their mating aspirations in line with their mate value, drawing from relevant cues and experiences. Here we investigate the influence of acceptance versus rejection cues on a variety of mate preferences among women. Results suggest that a rejection cue from opposite-sex individuals decreases overall choosiness when rating the importance of several traits. Specifically, Cultivated traits were rated as less important by women who received a rejection cue compared to those who received an acceptance cue or no feedback. Also, Similar Ideals/Interests, Sociable, Intellectual, Pleasant, Physical Attractiveness, Kind and Understanding, and Wealthy traits were rated as significantly less important by rejected participants, but these fell short of significance after Bonferroni correction. There was no significant difference in preference for sexually dimorphic body types or in facial coloration between feedback conditions. However, participants that received an acceptance cue preferred more masculine-shaped male faces compared to rejected or control participants. Overall, results provide some support for a sociometer perspective on women's mating aspirations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 1, 2016

From left to right

Do Higher Housing Values Make Communities More Conservative? Evidence from the Introduction of E-ZPass

Connor Jerzak & Brian Libgober

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
A rich corpus exists on the extent to which homeownership is central to American political attitudes. This paper contributes to the literature by using the introduction of E-ZPass in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to identify the effect of traffic-reducing transportation infrastructure on property values and, in turn, political behaviors. First, we develop a model showing that faster travel times results in individuals preferring a lower tax rate, as those who face the lower travel times are made effectively wealthier. Next, we present empirical evidence consistent with this theoretical result. We show that voting precincts near newly introduced E-ZPass toll plazas experienced a sharp increase in property values relative to similar precincts near non-E-ZPass exists, giving us leverage to identify the causal effect of property value changes on voting. After finding that the positive shock in property values is associated with a sizable increase in Republican vote share, we discuss the implications of this finding in light of the literature on homeownership and American politics.

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The Polarizing Effect of the Stimulus: Partisanship and Voter Responsiveness to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Katherine Levine Einstein, Kris-Stella Trump & Vanessa Williamson

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 264-283

Abstract:
We examine the effect of a sudden influx of government spending, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on support for the president's party. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that stimulus spending had a modest positive effect on Democratic vote share but only in counties that were already Democratic leaning. In Republican counties, by contrast, government spending had a small, but significant negative effect on Democratic vote share. That is to say, ARRA polarized already partisan places. These results have important implications for the study of voter responsiveness to government spending and the measurement of the political effects of policy visibility.

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Going to extremes: Politics after financial crises, 1870-2014

Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick & Christoph Trebesch

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Partisan conflict and policy uncertainty are frequently invoked as factors contributing to slow post-crisis recoveries. Recent events in Europe provide ample evidence that the political aftershocks of financial crises can be severe. In this paper we study the political fall-out from systemic financial crises over the past 140 years. We construct a new long-run dataset covering 20 advanced economies and more than 800 general elections. Our key finding is that policy uncertainty rises strongly after financial crises as government majorities shrink and polarization rises. After a crisis, voters seem to be particularly attracted to the political rhetoric of the extreme right, which often attributes blame to minorities or foreigners. On average, far-right parties increase their vote share by 30% after a financial crisis. Importantly, we do not observe similar political dynamics in normal recessions or after severe macroeconomic shocks that are not financial in nature.

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The Politics of Beauty: The Effects of Partisan Bias on Physical Attractiveness

Stephen Nicholson et al.

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does politics cause people to be perceived as more or less attractive? As a type of social identity, party identifiers often exhibit in-group bias, positively evaluating members of their own party and, especially under conditions of competition, negatively evaluating out-party members. The current experiment tests whether political in-party and out-party status affects perceptions of the physical attractiveness of target persons. In a nationally representative internet sample of U.S. adults during the 2012 presidential election, we presented participants with photos of individuals and varied information about their presidential candidate preference. Results indicate that partisans, regardless of gender, rate target individuals as less attractive if they hold a dissimilar candidate preference. Female partisans, however, were more likely to rate target persons as more physically attractive when they held a similar candidate preference whereas no such effect was found for male partisans.

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Going to political extremes in response to boredom

Wijnand Van Tilburg & Eric Igou

European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Boredom makes people attempt to re-establish a sense of meaningfulness. Political ideologies, and in particular the adherence to left- versus right-wing beliefs, can serve as source of meaning. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that boredom is associated with the stronger adherence to left- versus right-wing beliefs, resulting in more extreme political orientations. Study 1 demonstrates that experimentally induced boredom leads to more extreme political orientations. Study 2 indicates that people who get easily bored with their environment adhere to more extreme ends of a political spectrum compared with their less easily bored counterparts. Finally, study 3 reveals that the relatively extreme political orientations among those who are easily bored can be attributed to their enhanced search for meaning. Overall, our research suggests that extreme political orientations are, in part, a function of boredom's existential qualities.

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Measuring Polarization in High-dimensional Data: Method and Application to Congressional Speech

Matthew Gentzkow, Jesse Shapiro & Matt Taddy

University of Chicago Working Paper, June 2015

Abstract:
Standard measures of segregation or polarization are inappropriate for high-dimensional data such as Internet browsing histories, item-level purchase data, or text. We develop a model-based measure of polarization that can be applied to such data. We illustrate the measure with an application to the partisanship of speech in the US Congress from 1872 to the present. We find that speech has become more polarized across party lines over time, with a clear trend break around 1980.

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Patronage, Logrolls, and "Polarization": Congressional Parties of the Gilded Age, 1876-1896

Frances Lee

Studies in American Political Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
According to the quantitative indicators scholars use to measure political polarization, the Gilded Age stands out for some of the most party-polarized Congresses of all time. By contrast, historians of the era depict the two major parties as presenting few programmatic alternatives to one another. I argue that a large share of the party-line votes in the Congress of this period are poorly suited to the standard conceptualization as "polarization," meaning wide divergence on an ideological continuum structuring alternative views on national policy. Specifically, the era's continuous battles over the distribution of particularized benefits, patronage, and control of political office make little sense conceived as stemming from individual members' preferences on an underlying ideological dimension. They are better understood as fights between two long coalitions competing for power and distributive gains. In short, the Gilded Age illustrates that political parties are fully capable of waging ferocious warfare over spoils and office, even despite a relative lack of sharp party differences over national policy.

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Ideological Fit Enhances Interpersonal Orientations

William Chopik & Matt Motyl

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Living among politically dissimilar others leads individuals to feel left out and ultimately predicts mobility away from an area. But does living in politically incongruent environment affect how we relate to other people? In two national samples (N = 12,846 and N = 6,316), the congruence between an individual's ideological orientation and their community's ideological orientation were examined. Lack of ideological fit with one's environment was associated with a difficulty to form close relationships and lower perspective taking. Our findings illustrate the psychological effects of living among dissimilar others and possible explanations for how social environments modulate interpersonal relations.

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Political Orientation Moderates Worldview Defense in Response to Osama bin Laden's Death

William Chopik & Sara Konrath

Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined 480 Americans' psychological attitudes following Osama bin Laden's death. We tracked changes in how different participants responded to dissimilar others from the night of bin Laden's death for five weeks. Liberal participants reported lower worldview defense (i.e., a defensive reaction to uphold one's cultural worldview) immediately after bin Laden's death but then increased over time. Conservative participants reported greater worldview defense during each point of the study and did not significantly change over time. These temporal differences between liberals and conservatives were only present in the year of bin Laden's death and not in a comparison sample (N = 329) collected 1 year prior. These findings demonstrate that the attitudes of liberals and conservatives may change in theoretically predictable ways following a major societal event.

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Commitment to the Team: Perceived Conflict and Political Polarization

Bryan McLaughlin

Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have increasingly employed social identity theory to explain how and why political polarization occurs. This study aims to build off of this work by proposing that perception of intergroup conflict serves as a mechanism that mediates the effect of news media coverage on political polarization. Specifically, I argue that the news media's emphasis on political animosity can cultivate partisans' perception that the parties are in conflict, which provides a context that makes partisan identity salient and, ultimately, leads to higher levels of affective and ideological polarization. This hypothesis is tested with an experiment using an American national sample of Democrats and Republicans (N = 300). Participants read a news story in which the public believes the parties are in a state of either high or low conflict (or they did not receive a news story). Using mediation analysis, the results of the study provide evidence that news media coverage of political conflict leads to increased perception of intergroup conflict, which then leads to higher levels of (a) partisan identification, (b) affective polarization, and (c) ideological polarization.

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Partisan Enclaves or Shared Media Experiences? A Network Approach to Understanding Citizens' Political News Environments

Brian Weeks, Thomas Ksiazek & Lance Holbert

Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Spring 2016, Pages 248-268

Abstract:
The abundance of political media outlets raises concerns that citizens isolate themselves to likeminded news, leaving the public with infrequent shared media experiences and little exposure to disagreeable information. Network analysis of 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey data (N = 57,967) indicates these worries are exaggerated, as general interest news outlets like local newspapers and non-partisan television news are central to the public's media environment. Although there is some variation between the media diets of Republicans and Democrats (FOX News and conservative talk radio are central to Republicans' information network), neither group appears to engage in active avoidance of disagreeable information. Individuals across the political spectrum are not creating partisan "echo chambers" but instead have political media repertoires that are remarkably similar.

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Polarization and Partisan Divergence in the American Public, 1946-2012

Devin Caughey, James Dunham & Chris Warshaw

MIT Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
In this paper, we examine polarization and partisan divergence in the American public on economic issues over the past 70 years. We bring to bear a new dataset that contains over half a million respondents from hundreds of individual polls. This dataset contains the responses to over 150 question series about economic issues. We combine this dataset with a dynamic group-level item response model to measure the ideology of the American public at both the state and national levels between 1946 and 2012. We find that the American public has only become modestly more polarized on economic issues over the past 70 years. However, the two parties are much more clearly sorted on economic issues today than in earlier decades. Moreover, members of the two parties are now further apart than ever before at both the state and federal levels. Our results speak to debates about polarization. They also suggest that partisan divergence in the mass public may have contributed more to elite polarization than scholars have previously thought.

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Political Chameleons: An Exploration of Conformity in Political Discussions

Taylor Carlson & Jaime Settle

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals do not always express their private political opinions in front of others who disagree. Neither political scientists nor psychologists have been able to firmly establish why this behavior occurs. Previous research has explored, at length, social influence on political attitudes and persuasion. However, the concept of conformity does not involve attitude change or persuasion; it more accurately involves self-censoring to match a socially desirable norm. In an effort to improve our understanding of this behavior, we conduct two experiments to investigate perceptions and behavioral responses to contentious political interactions. Study 1 asked participants to predict how a hypothetical character would respond to a variety of political interactions among coworkers. In Study 2, participants discussed political issues with confederates who were scripted to disagree with them. The studies reveal that individuals are uncomfortable around political interactions in which they hold an opinion counter to the group. Participants both expected a hypothetical character to conform in Study 1 and actually conformed themselves in the lab session in Study 2.

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Elite Cues, News Coverage, and Partisan Support for Compromise

Bryan McLaughlin et al.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In accordance with self-categorization theory, this study predicts that because elite cues affect partisans' perceptions of group norms, news coverage of political gridlock should influence partisans' willingness to endorse compromise. Results of two experimental studies, where Republican and Democratic samples read a news story in which group leaders were either willing or unwilling to compromise, largely support our expectations. However, we also find evidence that willingness to compromise can depend on the specific issue context, as well as pre-existing attitudes. These results further our understanding of how media coverage affects the functioning of democracy in the United States.

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Tarnishing Opponents, Polarizing Congress: The House Minority Party and the Construction of the Roll-Call Record

William Egar

Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research on congressional parties tends to focus almost exclusively on the majority party. I argue that the inattention to the House minority party hampers our understanding of the construction of the roll-call record and, consequently, our understanding of the sources of polarization in congressional voting. Employing an original data set of House members' requests for recorded votes between 1995 and 2010, I demonstrate that votes demanded by the minority party are disproportionately divisive and partisan and make Congress appear considerably more polarized based on commonly used measures. Moreover, minority-requested votes make vulnerable members of the majority appear more partisan and ideologically extreme.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Finding religion

Association Between Religious Service Attendance and Lower Suicide Rates Among US Women

Tyler VanderWeele et al.

JAMA Psychiatry, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: We evaluated associations between religious service attendance and suicide from 1996 through June 2010 in a large, long-term prospective cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study, in an analysis that included 89 708 women. Religious service attendance was self-reported in 1992 and 1996. Data analysis was conducted from 1996 through 2010.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between religious service attendance and suicide, adjusting for demographic covariates, lifestyle factors, medical history, depressive symptoms, and social integration measures. We performed sensitivity analyses to examine the influence of unmeasured confounding.

Results: Among 89 708 women aged 30 to 55 years who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study, attendance at religious services once per week or more was associated with an approximately 5-fold lower rate of suicide compared with never attending religious services (hazard ratio, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.06-0.46). Service attendance once or more per week vs less frequent attendance was associated with a hazard ratio of 0.05 (95% CI, 0.006-0.48) for Catholics but only 0.34 (95% CI, 0.10-1.10) for Protestants (P = .05 for heterogeneity). Results were robust in sensitivity analysis and to exclusions of persons who were previously depressed or had a history of cancer or cardiovascular disease. There was evidence that social integration, depressive symptoms, and alcohol consumption partially mediated the association among those occasionally attending services, but not for those attending frequently.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort of US women, frequent religious service attendance was associated with a significantly lower rate of suicide.

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Religious Workers' Density and the Racial Earnings Gap

Fernando Lozano & Jessica Shiwen Cheng

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 355-359

Abstract:
We explore differences between Black and White Non-Hispanic workers in the relationship between childhood exposure to religious workers and a worker's labor market outcomes thirty years later. We identify this relationship by exploiting two sources of variation: we use changes in the number of religious workers within states, and we use states' differences by following workers who moved to a different state. Our results suggest that a one percent increase in the number of clergy increases the earnings of Black workers by a range from 0.027 to 0.082 percent relative to the increase in the earnings of White workers.

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Taboo desires, creativity, and career choice

Nathan Hudson & Dov Cohen

Motivation and Emotion, June 2016, Pages 404-421

Abstract:
Two studies suggest that Protestants are more likely than Catholics or Jews to sublimate taboo desires into motives to pursue creative careers. The results are consistent with a synthesis of psychological and classic sociological theories. In Study 1, Protestants induced to have taboo sexual desires were likely to express a preference for creative careers (as opposed to prosocial ones). In Study 2, a national probability sample revealed that “conflicted” Protestants — who had taboo desires but tried to rule their sexual behavior according to their religious beliefs — worked in the most creative jobs. The effects in both studies did not hold for Catholics and Jews. Results suggest that intrapsychic conflict can partially motivate important real-world decisions, such as the choice to pursue a creative career.

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Hunter-Gatherers and the Origins of Religion

Hervey Peoples, Pavel Duda & Frank Marlowe

Human Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies of the evolution of religion have revealed the cognitive underpinnings of belief in supernatural agents, the role of ritual in promoting cooperation, and the contribution of morally punishing high gods to the growth and stabilization of human society. The universality of religion across human society points to a deep evolutionary past. However, specific traits of nascent religiosity, and the sequence in which they emerged, have remained unknown. Here we reconstruct the evolution of religious beliefs and behaviors in early modern humans using a global sample of hunter-gatherers and seven traits describing hunter-gatherer religiosity: animism, belief in an afterlife, shamanism, ancestor worship, high gods, and worship of ancestors or high gods who are active in human affairs. We reconstruct ancestral character states using a time-calibrated supertree based on published phylogenetic trees and linguistic classification and then test for correlated evolution between the characters and for the direction of cultural change. Results indicate that the oldest trait of religion, present in the most recent common ancestor of present-day hunter-gatherers, was animism, in agreement with long-standing beliefs about the fundamental role of this trait. Belief in an afterlife emerged, followed by shamanism and ancestor worship. Ancestor spirits or high gods who are active in human affairs were absent in early humans, suggesting a deep history for the egalitarian nature of hunter-gatherer societies. There is a significant positive relationship between most characters investigated, but the trait “high gods” stands apart, suggesting that belief in a single creator deity can emerge in a society regardless of other aspects of its religion.

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Religious Beliefs, Gender Consciousness, and Women’s Political Participation

Erin Cassese & Mirya Holman

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organized religion affords the faithful a variety of civic skills that encourage political participation. Women are more religious than are men by most measures, but religious women do not participate in politics at elevated rates. This discrepancy suggests a puzzle: religion may have a different effect on the political mobilization of men and women. In the present paper, we explore the effect of biblical literalism — a widespread belief that the Bible is the actual word of God, to be taken literally — on political participation. Using the 2012 American National Election Study, we find support for our two hypotheses: (a) biblical literalism is associated with lower levels of gender consciousness, as measured by perceptions of discrimination and strength of ties to women as a group, and (b) reductions in these two factors account for lower political participation among women. Our findings provide new insights into the ways religious and gender identities intersect to influence political mobilization among women, with interesting implications for an American political climate where gender and religion both represent fundamental identities that shape political behavior.

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A tale of minorities: Evidence on religious ethics and entrepreneurship

Luca Nunziata & Lorenzo Rocco

Journal of Economic Growth, June 2016, Pages 189-224

Abstract:
Does Protestantism favour entrepreneurship more than Catholicism does? We provide a novel way to answer this question by comparing Protestant and Catholic minorities using Swiss census data. Exploiting the strong adhesion of religious minorities to their denomination’ ethical principles and the historical determination of the geographical distribution of denominations across Swiss cantons, we find that Protestantism is associated with a significantly higher propensity for entrepreneurship. The estimated difference ranges between 1.5 and 3.2 % points, it is larger the smaller the size of the religious minority, it is mainly driven by prime age male entrepreneurs and it stands up to a number of robustness checks. No effects are found when comparing religious majorities, suggesting that the implications of religious ethical norms on economic outcomes emerge only when such norms are fully internalized.

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Religiosity and the Cost of Debt

Hanwen Chen et al.

Journal of Banking & Finance, September 2016, Pages 70–85

Abstract:
In a cross-country setting, we document that stronger religiosity is associated with lower loan interest spread. In addition, we show that this negative association is more pronounced in countries with weaker creditor rights, suggesting that religious values play a more significant role in constraining opportunistic behavior in a weaker legal environment. Our analysis reveals that stronger religiosity is also related to other favorable terms in loan contracting, such as larger facility amount, use of accounting-based performance pricing, and lower upfront fee. Corroborating our cross-country findings, we also show that in the U.S. setting, firms in regions with stronger religiosity enjoy lower loan interest spread. Our study contributes to understanding the important role religiosity plays in debt financing.

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Dimensions of religious involvement and leukocyte telomere length

Terrence Hill et al.

Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although numerous studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with a wide range of favorable health outcomes, it is unclear whether this general pattern extends to cellular aging. In this paper, we tested whether leukocyte telomere length varies according to several dimensions of religious involvement. We used cross-sectional data from the Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011–2014), a large probability sample of 1252 black and white adults aged 22 to 69 living in Davidson County, TN, USA. Leukocyte telomere length was measured using the monochrome multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction method with albumin as the single-copy reference sequence. Dimensions of religious involvement included religiosity, religious support, and religious coping. Our multivariate analyses showed that religiosity (an index of religious attendance, prayer frequency, and religious identity) was positively associated with leukocyte telomere length, even with adjustments for religious support, religious coping, age, gender, race, education, employment status, income, financial strain, stressful life events, marital status, family support, friend support, depressive symptoms, smoking, heavy drinking, and allostatic load. Unlike religiosity, religious support and religious coping were unrelated to leukocyte telomere length across models. Depressive symptoms, smoking, heavy drinking, and allostatic load failed to explain any of the association between religiosity and telomere length. To our knowledge, this is the first population-based study to link religious involvement and cellular aging. Although our data suggest that adults who frequently attend religious services, pray with regularity, and consider themselves to be religious tend to exhibit longer telomeres than those who attend and pray less frequently and do not consider themselves to be religious, additional research is needed to establish the mechanisms underlying this association.

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Does Viewing Pornography Diminish Religiosity Over Time? Evidence From Two-Wave Panel Data

Samuel Perry

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research consistently shows a negative association between religiosity and viewing pornography. While scholars typically assume that greater religiosity leads to less frequent pornography use, none have empirically examined whether the reverse could be true: that greater pornography use may lead to lower levels of religiosity over time. I tested for this possibility using two waves of the nationally representative Portraits of American Life Study (PALS). Persons who viewed pornography at all at Wave 1 reported more religious doubt, lower religious salience, and lower prayer frequency at Wave 2 compared to those who never viewed porn. Considering the effect of porn-viewing frequency, viewing porn more often at Wave 1 corresponded to increases in religious doubt and declining religious salience at Wave 2. However, the effect of earlier pornography use on later religious service attendance and prayer was curvilinear: Religious service attendance and prayer decline to a point and then increase at higher levels of pornography viewing. Testing for interactions revealed that all effects appear to hold regardless of gender. Findings suggest that viewing pornography may lead to declines in some dimensions of religiosity but at more extreme levels may actually stimulate, or at least be conducive to, greater religiosity along other dimensions.

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Is Religious Fundamentalism a Dimensional or a Categorical Phenomenon? A Taxometric Analysis in Two Samples of Youth From Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Johannes Beller & Christoph Kröger

Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, forthcoming

Abstract:
To examine the latent status of religious fundamentalism, we analyzed 2 large samples of Muslim youth from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as gathered in the Youth, Emotional Energy, and Political Violence Survey. We sought to answer the following question: Is fundamentalism a dimensional or a categorical phenomenon? Equivalently, do fundamentalists represent an extreme of religious belief, or do they constitute their own category, differing from nonfundamentalists? Using taxometric methods, we found that religious fundamentalism seems to encompass differences in kind rather than degree. Hence, the results suggest that religious fundamentalists constitute their own qualitatively different category. These findings have important practical and theoretical implications regarding causality, labeling, and assessment.

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Religious Heterogeneity and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from German Reunification

Ronny Freier, Benny Geys & Joshua Holm

Journal of Urban Economics, July 2016, Pages 1–12

Abstract:
Theoretical work based on social identity theory predicts that population diversity undermines redistributive public policies. This article tests this proposition exploiting an exogenous shock in diversity due to Germany’s reunification. In contrast to previous work on ethno-linguistic or racial heterogeneity, we specifically analyze religious diversity, which is an increasingly relevant social cleavage in many countries. Our main results corroborate that increasing religious diversity leads to a change in fiscal policies in Bavarian municipalities over the 1983-2005 period. Moreover, we find some evidence of declining individual-level local identification over the post-reunification period, which suggests that the observed fiscal effects are indeed linked to the theoretical mechanism of individuals’ social identification. Finally, we highlight an important mediating role for the democratic process, since the observed fiscal effects strengthen considerably following Bavarian municipalities’ first local elections after the reunification migration wave (March 1996) and a legal change allowing local referenda on public policies (October 1995).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life of poverty

Caught in the crossfire: The competing influence of outcome and beneficiary cues on perceptions of antipoverty spending

Carl Palmer

Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
Certain issues in American politics have become racialized by virtue of elite rhetoric and media coverage. When considering these issues, many Americans find themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, relying on their sentiments toward and stereotypes of implicated groups to form opinions. This project seeks to extend research in this domain by considering the extent to which racialized thinking may be offset, or enhanced, due to the presence of other cues. While citizens typically support successful programs while opposing unsuccessful ones, do these patterns persist when program outcomes and sentiments toward program targets conflict? Results from a lab experiment and two survey experiments suggest that while policy cues appear to have a strong and consistent impact on opinion, group stereotypes activated by group cues moderate the effect of policy cues.

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The Formative Years, Economic Hardship, and Beliefs about the Government’s Role in Lessening Poverty

Colin Campbell

Social Problems, May 2016, Pages 244-265

Abstract:
Existing research on beliefs about government efforts to lessen poverty is limited in two important ways. First, explanations of beliefs about antipoverty efforts largely focus on current contexts. By emphasizing contemporary contexts, existing research overlooks the potentially profound effect of past experiences. Second, most existing research relies on cross-sectional data, which limits understandings of within person change. In the research presented here, I use both cross-sectional and panel data from the General Social Survey to (1) examine how past experiences shape an individual’s belief about what the government should do about poverty and (2) examine whether beliefs about the government’s role in helping the poor are sensitive to changes in micro and macro-economic hardship. Drawing on theories related to the formative years and event driven changes, I find that experiences during late adolescence, increases in macro-level economic hardship, and increases in individual hardship all influence support for government efforts to lessen poverty; however, current objective and subjective economic position is particularly important. Moreover, I find variation in support across different types of government responses to poverty. In particular, welfare is uniquely unpopular, and support for welfare is less responsive to generational experiences or changes in individual level hardship.

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Frugality is Hard to Afford

Yesim Orhun & Mike Palazzolo

University of Michigan Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Households commonly utilize strategies that provide long-term savings for everyday purchases in exchange for an increase in their short-term expenditures. They buy larger packages of non-perishable goods to take advantage of bulk discounts, and accelerate their purchases to take advantage of temporary discounts. We document that low income households are less likely to utilize these strategies even though they have greater incentives to do so. Moreover, results suggest a compounding effect: the inability to buy in bulk inhibits the ability to time purchases to take advantage of sales, and the inability to accelerate purchase timing to buy on sale inhibits the ability to buy in bulk. We find that the financial losses low income households incur due to underutilization of these strategies can be as large as half of the savings they accrue by purchasing cheaper brands. We provide causal evidence that liquidity constraints inhibit the use of these money-saving strategies.

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Moving to opportunity and mental health: Exploring the spatial context of neighborhood effects

Corina Graif, Mariana Arcaya & Ana V. Diez Roux

Social Science & Medicine, August 2016, Pages 50–58

Abstract:
Studies of housing mobility and neighborhood effects on health often treat neighborhoods as if they were isolated islands. This paper argues that conceptualizing neighborhoods as part of the wider spatial context within which they are embedded may be key in advancing our understanding of the role of local context in the life of urban dwellers. Analyses are based on mental health and neighborhood context measurements taken on over 3,000 low-income families who participated in the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program (MTO), a large field experiment in five major U.S. cities. Results from analyses of two survey waves combined with Census data at different geographic scales indicate that assignment to MTO's experimental condition of neighborhood poverty <10% significantly decreased average exposure to immediate and surrounding neighborhood disadvantage by 97% and 59% of a standard deviation, respectively, relative to the control group. Escaping concentrated disadvantage in either the immediate neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhood, but not both, was insufficient to make a difference for mental health. Instead, the results suggest that improving both the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods significantly benefits mental health. Compared to remaining in concentrated disadvantage in the immediate and surrounding neighborhood, escaping concentrated disadvantage in both the immediate and surrounding neighborhood on average over the study duration as a result of the intervention predicts an increase of 25% of a standard deviation in the composite mental health scores.

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Redistribution through Minimum Wage Regulation: An Analysis of Program Linkages and Budgetary Spillovers

Jeffrey Clemens

Tax Policy and the Economy, 2016, Pages 163-189

Abstract:
Program linkages and budgetary spillovers can significantly complicate efforts to project a policy change’s effects. I illustrate this point in the context of recent increases in the federal minimum wage. Previous analysis finds that these particular minimum wage increases had significant effects on employment. Employment declines were sufficiently large that the average earnings of targeted individuals declined. Payroll tax revenues, thus, also fell. I find that transfers to affected individuals through programs including unemployment insurance, food stamp benefits, and cash welfare assistance changed little. These programs, thus, offset relatively little of the earnings declines experienced by individuals who lost employment. I discuss how this broad range of spillovers matters for assessing the relevant minimum wage change’s welfare implications.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and food insecurity among families with children

Jun Zhang & Steven Yen

Journal of Policy Modeling, forthcoming

Abstract:
The roles of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and parental resources in household food insecurity (FI) are investigated. For husband-wife families with children, SNAP participation reduces the probability of household FI among adults by 8.8%, but increases the probabilities of low food security by 6.1% and very low food security by 2.7%, both among children. The positive effects cast doubt on effectiveness of SNAP alone and call for additional policy measures to improve FI among children. SNAP participation can be promoted by policy instruments such as broad-based categorical eligibility and simplified reporting, and food security by promoting education and providing employment opportunities.

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Family Disadvantage and the Gender Gap in Behavioral and Educational Outcomes

David Autor et al.

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Using birth certificates matched to schooling records for Florida children born 1992 - 2002, we assess whether family disadvantage disproportionately impedes the pre-market development of boys. We find that, relative to their sisters, boys born to disadvantaged families have higher rates of disciplinary problems, lower achievement scores, and fewer high-school completions. Evidence supports that this is a causal effect of the post-natal environment; family disadvantage is unrelated to the gender gap in neonatal health. We conclude that the gender gap among black children is larger than among white children in substantial part because black children are raised in more disadvantaged families.

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Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Serum Biomarkers in the Black Women’s Health Study

Yvette Cozier et al.

Journal of Urban Health, April 2016, Pages 279-291

Abstract:
Lower neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Black women have a higher CVD risk and are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white women. We examined the association of neighborhood SES with several CVD biomarkers using data from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a follow-up study of US black women reporting high levels of education and income. Blood specimens of 418 BWHS participants were assayed for C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin A1C (hgA1C), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. US Census block group data were linked to the women’s addresses to reflect neighborhood SES. Multivariable-adjusted mixed linear regression models that adjusted for person-level SES and for cardiovascular risk factors were used to assess CRP, hgA1C, and HDL levels in relation to quintiles of neighborhood SES. Women living in the poorest neighborhoods had the least favorable biomarker levels. As neighborhood SES increased, CRP decreased (P for trend = 0.01), hgA1C decreased (P for trend = 0.07), and HDL increased (P for trend = 0.19). These associations were present within strata of individual educational level. The present findings suggest that neighborhood environments may affect physiological processes within residents independently of individual SES.

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Linking systemic arterial stiffness among adolescents to adverse childhood experiences

Stephen Klassen et al.

Child Abuse & Neglect, June 2016, Pages 1–10

Abstract:
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked with cardiovascular disease and early mortality among adults. Most research examines this relationship retrospectively. Examining the association between ACEs and children's cardiovascular health is required to understand the time course of this association. We examined the relationship between ACEs exposure and ECG-to-toe pulse wave velocity (PWV), a measure of systemic arterial stiffness that is strongly related to cardiovascular mortality among adults. PWV (distance/transit time; m/s) was calculated using transit times from the ECG R-wave to the pulse wave contour at the toe. Transit times were collected over 15 heartbeats and the distance from the sternal notch to the left middle toe was used. A total of 221 children (119 females) aged 10–14 years participated in data collection of PWV, hemodynamic and anthropometric variables. Parents of these children completed a modified inventory of ACEs taken from the Childhood Trust Events Survey. Multivariable regression assessed the relationship between ACEs group (<4 ACEs versus ≥4 ACEs) and PWV. Analyses yielded an ACEs group by sex interaction, with males who experienced four or more ACEs having higher PWV (p < 0.01). This association was independent of hemodynamic, anthropometric and sociodemographic variables (R2 = 0.346; p < 0.01). Four or more ACEs is associated with greater arterial stiffness in male children aged 10–14 years. Addressing stress and trauma exposure in childhood is an important target for public health interventions to reduce early cardiovascular risk.

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Differential Risk for Homelessness Among US Male and Female Veterans With a Positive Screen for Military Sexual Trauma

Emily Brignone et al.

JAMA Psychiatry, June 2016, Pages 582-589

Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study of US veterans who used Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services between fiscal years 2004 and 2013 was conducted using administrative data from the Department of Defense and VHA. Included in the study were 601 892 US veterans deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan who separated from the military between fiscal years 2001 and 2011 and subsequently used VHA services.

Results: The mean (SD) age of the 601 892 participants was 38.9 (9.4) years, 527 874 (87.7%) were male, 310 854 (51.6%) were white, and 382 361 (63.5%) were enlisted in the Army. Among veterans with a positive screen for MST, rates of homelessness were 1.6% within 30 days, 4.4% within 1 year, and 9.6% within 5 years, more than double the rates of veterans with a negative MST screen (0.7%, 1.8%, and 4.3%, respectively). A positive screen for MST was significantly and independently associated with postdeployment homelessness. In regression models adjusted for demographic and military service characteristics, odds of experiencing homelessness were higher among those who screened positive for MST compared with those who screened negative (30-day: adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.89; 95% CI, 1.58-2.24; 1-year: AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 2.04-2.53; and 5-year: AOR, 2.63; 95% CI, 2.36-2.93). Military sexual trauma screen status remained independently associated with homelessness after adjusting for co-occurring mental health and substance abuse diagnoses in follow-up regression models (30-day: AOR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.36-1.93; 1-year: AOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.33-1.66; and 5-year: AOR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.24-1.55). In the fully adjusted models, the interaction between MST status and sex was significant in the 30-day and 1-year cohorts (30-day: AOR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18-2.02; and 1-year: AOR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.23-1.74), denoting higher risk for homelessness among males with a positive screen for MST.

Conclusions and Relevance: A positive screen for MST was independently associated with postdeployment homelessness, with male veterans at greater risk than female veterans. These results underscore the importance of the MST screen as a clinically important marker of reintegration outcomes among veterans. These findings demonstrate significant long-term negative effects and inform our understanding of the public health implications of sexual abuse and harassment.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Keeping it in the family

Do Parents’ Life Experiences Affect the Political and Civic Participation of Their Children? The Case of Draft-Induced Military Service

Tim Johnson & Christopher Dawes

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Myriad studies show that politically-salient events influence civic and political engagement. Yet, on the other hand, decades of research indicate that familial factors mold political and civic dispositions early in life, before an individual experiences political events outside the family. Viewing these two lines of research together, we ask if individuals’ political and civic dispositions might be influenced not solely by their own experiences, but, also, by the experiences of those individuals who create their family environment — namely, their parents. Do parents’ life experiences — before the birth of their children — affect their offspring’s public engagement? To answer that question, we examine how the assignment of military service, via the Vietnam-era Selective Service Lotteries, affected rates of public participation among the children of draft-eligible men. Our analysis finds a negative relationship between a father’s probability of draft-induced military service and his offspring’s public participation. In addition to highlighting how parents’ life experiences can influence the social behavior of their children, this finding challenges the prevailing view that the Vietnam conflict did not contribute to declining civic engagement and it shows how experiences within bureaucratic institutions can yield long-standing effects on politically-relevant behaviors.

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Signing Up New Fathers: Do Paternity Establishment Initiatives Increase Marriage, Parental Investment, and Child Well-Being?

Maya Rossin-Slater

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
With nearly half of U.S. births occurring out of wedlock, understanding how parents navigate their relationship options is important. This paper examines the consequences of a large exogenous change to parental relationship contract options on parental behavior and child well-being. Identification comes from the staggered timing of state reforms that substantially lowered the cost of legal paternity establishment. I show that the resulting increases in paternity establishment are partially driven by reductions in parental marriage. Although unmarried fathers become more involved with their children along some dimensions, the net effects on father involvement and child well-being are negative or zero.

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What mom and dad’s match means for junior: Marital sorting and child outcomes

Ryan Edwards & Jennifer Roff

Labour Economics, June 2016, Pages 43–56

Abstract:
This paper employs recently developed marital matching models to examine empirically the role played by marital sorting in observed measures of marital production. Using the US Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP), a large-scale study from the 1960s, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY), we find that marital surplus is strongly correlated with indices of child quality, as measured by cognitive test scores, and with the durability of the marital union. At ages beyond infancy, the correlation between cognitive outcomes and marital surplus is robust to the inclusion of the parental characteristics that generate the match, suggesting that the correlation represents effects of the match itself. High marital surplus is associated with assortative mating on education and age, suggesting complementarity in parental inputs in child production. Our results suggest that marital surplus is an important input for child quality above and beyond its indirect effects on marital stability.

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Household Crowding During Childhood and Long-Term Education Outcomes

Leonard Lopoo & Andrew London

Demography, June 2016, Pages 699-721

Abstract:
Household crowding, or having more household members than rooms in one’s residence, could potentially affect a child’s educational attainment directly through a number of mechanisms. We use U.S. longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to derive new measures of childhood crowding and estimate negative associations between crowding during one’s high school years and, respectively, high school graduation by age 19 and maximum education at age 25. These negative relationships persist in multivariate models in which we control for the influence of a variety of factors, including socioeconomic status and housing-cost burden. Given the importance of educational attainment for a range of midlife and later-life outcomes, this study suggests that household crowding during one’s high school years is an engine of cumulative inequality over the life course.

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Coresidence Duration and Cues of Maternal Investment Regulate Sibling Altruism Across Cultures

Daniel Sznycer et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Genetic relatedness is a fundamental determinant of social behavior across species. Over the last few decades, researchers have been investigating the proximate psychological mechanisms that enable humans to assess their genetic relatedness to others. Much of this work has focused on identifying cues that predicted relatedness in ancestral environments and examining how they regulate kin-directed behaviors. Despite progress, many basic questions remain unanswered. Here we address three of these questions. First, we examine the replicability of the effect of two association-based cues to relatedness — maternal perinatal association (MPA) and coresidence duration — on sibling-directed altruism. MPA, the observation of a newborn being cared for by one’s mother, strongly signals relatedness, but is only available to the older sibling in a sib-pair. Younger siblings, to whom the MPA cue is not available, appear to fall back on the duration of their coresidence with an older sibling. Second, we determine whether the effects of MPA and coresidence duration on sibling-directed altruism obtain across cultures. Last, we explore whether paternal perinatal association (PPA) informs sibship. Data from six studies conducted in California, Hawaii, Dominica, Belgium, and Argentina support past findings regarding the role of MPA and coresidence duration as cues to siblingship. By contrast, PPA had no effect on altruism. We report on levels of altruism toward full, half, and step siblings, and discuss the role alternate cues might play in discriminating among these types of siblings.

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Reducing children's behavior problems through social capital: A causal assessment

Ruth López Turley et al.

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Behavior problems among young children have serious detrimental effects on short and long-term educational outcomes. An especially promising prevention strategy may be one that focuses on strengthening the relationships among families in schools, or social capital. However, empirical research on social capital has been constrained by conceptual and causal ambiguity. This study attempts to construct a more focused conceptualization of social capital and aims to determine the causal effects of social capital on children's behavior. Using data from a cluster randomized trial of 52 elementary schools, we apply several multilevel models to assess the causal relationship, including intent to treat and treatment on the treated analyses. Taken together, these analyses provide stronger evidence than previous studies that social capital improves children's behavioral outcomes and that these improvements are not simply a result of selection into social relations but result from the social relations themselves.

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Are ‘born to rebel’ last-borns more likely to be self-employed?

Liang Han & Francis Greene

Personality and Individual Differences, October 2016, Pages 270–275

Abstract:
This paper investigates birth order effects on adult self-employment. Drawing on Sulloway's ‘born to rebel’ thesis, we test whether or not last-borns whose parents have no prior self-employment experience are more likely to bear and assume the risks associated with self-employment. We also test if parental self-employment experience moderates the relationship between last-borns and self-employment. Using large-scale life-span data on 6322 cohort members, a within-family design, and controlling for demographic confounds such as the number of siblings, we find that last-borns from non-entrepreneurial families are more likely to be self-employed than first or middle-borns. However, in families with parental experience of self-employment, we find that last-borns in three or more child families are no more likely to be self-employed than their siblings.

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Children’s Mental Disorders and Their Mothers’ Earnings: Implications for the Affordable Care Act of 2010

Patrick Richard

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2016, Pages 156-171

Abstract:
Children with emotional and behavioral problems (EBP) may have a negative effect on their mothers’ earnings because they require additional time for treatment. On the other hand, children with EBP require additional financial resources, which may increase their mothers’ earnings through an increase in work activities. This study examined the impact of children’s EBP on parental earnings, while accounting for omitted variable bias. This study found significant reductions of single mothers’ wage rate/annual earnings if their children have EBP. Conversely, children’s EBP increased their married mothers’ hourly wage. These results have important implications in terms of public policy such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 in terms of expanding health insurance coverage to children with EBP to have access to appropriate treatment.

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Income Effects in Labor Supply: Evidence from Child-Related Tax Benefit

Philippe Wingender & Sara LaLumia

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
A parent whose child is born in December can claim child-related tax benefits when she files her tax return a few months later. Parents of children born in January must wait more than a year before they can receive child-related tax benefits. As a result, families with December births have higher after-tax income in the first year of a child's life than otherwise similar families with January births. This paper estimates the corresponding income effect on maternal labor supply, testing whether mothers who give birth in December work and earn less in the months following birth. We use data from the American Community Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the 2000 Decennial Census. We find that December mothers have a lower probability of working, particularly in the third month after a child's birth. Earnings data from the SIPP indicate that an additional dollar of child-related tax benefits reduces annual maternal earnings in the year following a child's birth by approximately one dollar.

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The economics of grief

Gerard van den Berg, Petter Lundborg & Johan Vikstrom

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the short-run and long-run economic impact of one of the largest losses that an individual can face; the death of a child. We utilise unique registers on the entire Swedish population, combining information on the date and cause of death with parental outcomes. We exploit the longitudinal dimension of the data and deal with several selection issues. Losing a child has adverse effects on labor income, employment status, marital status and hospitalizations. The value of policy measures aimed at preventing mortal accidents of children is underestimated if it does not take bereavement effects on parents into account.

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Children Living With Uninsured Family Members: Differences by Family Structure

Sharon Bzostek & Christine Percheski

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite increased access to insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, uninsurance rates are expected to remain relatively high. Having uninsured family members may expose children to financial hardships. Eligibility rules governing both private and public health insurance are based on outdated expectations about family structure. Using 2009–2011 data from the National Health Interview Survey (N = 65,038), the authors investigated family structure differences in family-level insurance coverage of households with children. Children living with married biological parents were the least likely to have uninsured family members and most likely to have all family members covered by private insurance. Controlling for demographic characteristics and income, children in single-mother families had the same risk of having an uninsured family member as children in married-parent families. Children with cohabiting biological parents had higher rates of family uninsurance than children with married biological parents, even accounting for other characteristics.

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Effects of maternal depression on family food insecurity

Kelly Noonan, Hope Corman & Nancy Reichman

Economics & Human Biology, September 2016, Pages 201–215

Abstract:
We use data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Birth Cohort to estimate the effects of maternal depression, a condition that is fairly common and can be severe, on food insecurity, a hardship that has increased substantially in the U.S. Using various model specifications, we find convincing evidence that severe maternal depression increases the likelihood that young children experience food insecurity by 23–69%, with estimates depending on model specification and measures of depression and food insecurity. For household food insecurity, the corresponding estimates are 11–79%. We also find that maternal mental illness increases reliance on several types of public programs, suggesting that the programs play a buffering role.

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Decreasing risk factors for later alcohol use and antisocial behaviors in children in foster care by increasing early promotive factors

Katherine Pears, Hyoun Kim & Philip Fisher

Children and Youth Services Review, June 2016, Pages 156–165

Abstract:
Children in foster care are at high risk for poor psychosocial outcomes, including school failure, alcohol and other substance abuse, and criminal behaviors. Promoting healthy development by increasing broad-impact positive skills may help reduce some of the risk factors for longer-term negative outcomes. School readiness has been linked to a number of positive outcomes across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and may also boost intermediary positive skills such as self-competence. This paper presents findings from a longitudinal study involving 192 children in foster care who were 5 years old at the start of the study. They participated in a randomized controlled trial of a school readiness program to prepare them for kindergarten. Outcomes were assessed at third grade (9 years old) on variables associated with risk for later involvement in substance use and delinquency. These included positive attitudes towards alcohol use, positive attitudes towards antisocial behaviors, and involvement with deviant peers. Results showed that the intervention decreased positive attitudes towards alcohol use and antisocial behaviors. Further, the mediating role of children's self-competence was tested. The intervention positively influenced children's third-grade self-competence, which in turn, decreased their involvement with deviant peers. Findings suggest that promoting school readiness in children in foster care can have far-reaching, positive effects and that increased self-competence may be a mechanism for reducing risk.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 27, 2016

Captains of industry

Financing Constraints and Workplace Safety

Jonathan Cohn & Malcolm Wardlaw

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present evidence that financing frictions adversely impact investment in workplace safety, with implications for worker welfare and firm value. Using several identification strategies, we find that injury rates increase with leverage and negative cash flow shocks, and decrease with positive cash flow shocks. We show that firm value decreases substantially with injury rates. Our findings suggest that investment in worker safety is an economically important margin on which firms respond to financing constraints.

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Institutional Ownership and Corporate Tax Avoidance: New Evidence

Mozaffar Khan, Suraj Srinivasan & Liang Tan

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We provide new evidence on the agency theory of corporate tax avoidance (Slemrod, 2004; Crocker and Slemrod, 2005; Chen and Chu, 2005) by showing that increases in institutional ownership are associated with increases in tax avoidance. Using the Russell index reconstitution setting to isolate exogenous shocks to institutional ownership, and a regression discontinuity design that facilitates sharper identification of treatment effects, we find a significant and discontinuous increase in tax avoidance following Russell 2000 inclusion. The tax avoidance involves the use of tax shelters, and immediate benefits include higher profit margins and likelihood of meeting or beating analyst expectations. Collectively the results shed light on the effect of increased ownership concentration on tax avoidance.

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A Fleeting Glory: Self-Serving Behavior Among Celebrated MBA CEOs

Danny Miller & Xiaowei Xu

Journal of Management Inquiry, July 2016, Pages 286-300

Abstract:
Recent studies have criticized MBA programs for their association with self-serving behavior, although there is little empirical research to establish the firm-level consequences of that relationship. We explored whether MBAs versus non-MBAs in a sample of celebrated CEOs of major U.S. companies - thus CEOs who have achieved and had opportunity to exploit their fame - were more apt than their counterparts to engage in self-serving behavior that benefits them but disadvantages their companies. We assessed this behavior via the pursuit of costly growth strategies, an inability to sustain performance, and the capacity to obtain superior private benefits in compensation. Our analysis of 444 star CEOs celebrated on the covers of major business publications confirmed that an MBA education either fosters or is related to such behavior among these executives.

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CEO Home Bias and Corporate Acquisitions

Kiseo Chung, Clifton Green & Breno Schmidt

Emory University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We find that CEOs are significantly more likely to purchase cross-state targets from their birth state, consistent with either informational advantages or familiarity bias. Evidence from bidder announcement returns supports the latter view. Acquirer returns are significantly lower for CEO home state acquisitions, and the relation is robust to controls for firm and industry characteristics. The negative announcement effect is stronger for poorly-governed firms, when the target is located further away, and when the CEO has a deeper birth-state connection. CEOs' post-acquisition trading behavior also supports a familiarity bias interpretation. Our findings suggest CEO home bias influences firm investment.

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Ties that Bind: How Business Connections Affect Mutual Fund Activism

Dragana Cvijanović, Amil Dasgupta & Konstantinos Zachariadis

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether business ties with portfolio firms influence mutual funds' proxy voting using a comprehensive data set spanning 2003 to 2011. In contrast to prior literature, we find that business ties significantly influence pro-management voting at the level of individual pairs of fund families and firms after controlling for ISS recommendations and holdings. The association is significant only for shareholder-sponsored proposals and stronger for those that pass or fail by relatively narrow margins. Our findings are consistent with a demand-driven model of biased voting in which company managers use existing business ties with funds to influence how they vote.

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What Else Do Shareholders Want? Shareholder Proposals Contested by Firm Management

Eugene Soltes, Suraj Srinivasan & Rajesh Vijayaraghavan

Harvard Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Shareholder proposals provide investors an opportunity to exercise their decision rights within a firm. However, not all proposals created by shareholders receive consideration. Managers can seek permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude specific proposals from the proxy statement. From 2003-2013, we find that managers seek to exclude 40% of all proposals they receive, but the SEC does not permit exclusion in over a quarter of the cases. Of the proposals that managers seek to exclude but the SEC does not allow, 28% win shareholder support or the firm voluntarily implements prior to a vote. Our analysis of contested shareholder proposals suggests that managers often seek to avoid the implementation of legitimate shareholder interests.

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Product Market Competition and Internal Governance: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Vidhi Chhaochharia et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) as a quasi-natural experiment to examine the link between product market competition and internal governance mechanisms. Consistent with the notion that competition plays an important role in aligning incentives within the firm, SOX has led to a larger improvement in the operation of firms in concentrated industries than in nonconcentrated industries. Furthermore, within concentrated industries, the effect is especially pronounced among firms with weaker governance mechanisms prior to SOX. We corroborate these findings using two additional regulatory changes in the United States and abroad. Overall, our results indicate that corporate governance is more important when firms face less product market competition.

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How Does Hedge Fund Activism Reshape Corporate Innovation?

Alon Brav et al.

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies how hedge fund activism reshapes corporate innovation. Firms targeted by hedge fund activists experience an improvement in innovation efficiency during the five-year period following the intervention. Despite a tightening in R&D expenditures, target firms experience increases in innovation output, measured by both patent counts and citations, with stronger effects seen among firms with more diversified innovation portfolios. We also find that the reallocation of innovative resources and the redeployment of human capital contribute to the refocusing of the scope of innovation. Finally, additional tests refute alternative explanations attributing the improvement to mean reversion, sample attrition, management's voluntary reforms, or activists' stock-picking abilities.

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Corporate Finance Policies and Social Networks

Cesare Fracassi

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that managers are influenced by their social peers when making corporate policy decisions. Using biographical information about executives and directors of U.S. public companies, we define social ties from current and past employment, education, and other activities. We find that more connections two companies share with each other, more similar their capital investments are. To address endogeneity concerns, we find that companies invest less similarly when an individual connecting them dies. The results extend to other corporate finance policies. Furthermore, central companies in the social network invest in a less idiosyncratic way and exhibit better economic performance.

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Window­dressing individual backgrounds: Evidence from biographies of corporate directors

Ian Gowm, Aida Sijamic Wahid & Gwen Yu

Harvard Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
We examine disclosure of prior experience in the biographies of corporate directors. Using biographies in proxy statements filed with the SEC, we find that directors are less likely to disclose directorships held at firms that experienced adverse events such as accounting restatements, securities litigation, or bankruptcy. When directors disclose adverse­event directorships, stock reaction at appointment is more negative and the likelihood of loss of existing directorships in future years is higher. Non­disclosure of directorships is significantly reduced following changes to SEC rules in 2010, with the greatest change being for adverse­event directorships. These findings suggest that corporate directors make strategic disclosure choices with consequences in both capital and labor markets.

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Does the Market Value CEO Styles?

Antoinette Schoar & Luo Zuo

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 262-266

Abstract:
We study how investors perceive the skill set that different types of CEOs bring into their companies. We compare CEOs who started their careers during a recession with other CEOs. We show that the announcement return around the appointment of a recession CEO is very significant and positive, and this positive market reaction is driven by cases where a recession CEO replaces a non-recession CEO. Our results indicate that the market assigns a positive and economically meaningful value to a recession CEO, suggesting that there is a limited supply of these types of CEOs in the executive labor market.

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Analyst Coverage and Real Earnings Management: Quasi-Experimental Evidence

Rustom Irani & David Oesch

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, April 2016, Pages 589-627

Abstract:
We study how securities analysts influence managers' use of different types of earnings management. To isolate causality, we employ a quasi-experiment that exploits exogenous reductions in analyst following resulting from brokerage house mergers. We find that managers respond to the coverage loss by decreasing real earnings management while increasing accrual manipulation. These effects are significantly stronger among firms with less coverage and for firms close to the zero-earnings threshold. Our causal evidence suggests that managers use real earnings management to enhance short-term performance in response to analyst pressure, effects that are not uncovered when focusing solely on accrual-based methods.

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Does Institutional Shareholder Activism Stimulate Corporate Information Flow? Evidence from Labor Union Proxy Activism

Andrew Prevost, Udomsak Wongchoti & Ben Marshall

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Activist shareholders have an incentive to communicate and cooperate with other major shareholders. However, the impact of their activity on information flow surrounding targeted firms is largely unknown. We explore this aspect using a prolific proponent: labor unions. Following the mailing of proxies containing union-sponsored shareholder proposals, trading volume increases significantly and at-issue bond yield spreads of targeted firms are lower compared to matched firms. Subsequent difference-in-differences analyses show that stock prices of targeted firms become more informative as a result of activism, affirming the intuition that activism results in a reduction of differential information between outside investors.

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Firm Selection and Corporate Cash Holdings

Juliane Begenau & Berardino Palazzo

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
The gradual replacement of traditional U.S. public companies by more R&D-intensive firms is key to understanding the secular trend in average cash-holdings. Over the last 35 years, an increasing share of R&D-intensive firms has entered the stock market with progressively higher cash-balances. This positive entry-effect dominates the negative within-firm effect post IPO. We build a firm industry model with endogenous entry to quantify the importance of two competing selection mechanisms: an increasing share of R&D-intensive firms in the overall economy and more favorable IPO conditions. Only the combination of both mechanisms successfully generates a sizable secular increase.

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Managerial Ability and Credit Risk Assessment

Samuel Bonsall, Eric Holzman & Brian Miller

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on the credit rating process has primarily focused on how rating agencies incorporate firm characteristics into their rating opinions. We contribute to this literature by examining the impact of managerial ability on the credit rating process. Given debt market participants' interest in assessing default risk, we begin by documenting that higher managerial ability is associated with lower variability in future earnings and stock returns. We then show that higher managerial ability is associated with higher credit ratings (i.e., lower assessments of credit risk). To provide more direct identification of the impact of managerial ability, we examine chief executive officer (CEO) replacements and document that ratings increase (decrease) when CEOs are replaced with more (less) able CEOs. Finally, we show that managerial ability also has capital market implications by documenting that managerial ability is associated with bond offering credit spreads. Collectively, our evidence suggests that managerial ability is an important factor that bond market participants impound into their assessments of firm credit risk.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 26, 2016

That's helpful

Prosocial Conformity: Prosocial Norms Generalize Across Behavior and Empathy

Erik Nook et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Generosity is contagious: People imitate others' prosocial behaviors. However, research on such prosocial conformity focuses on cases in which people merely reproduce others' positive actions. Hence, we know little about the breadth of prosocial conformity. Can prosocial conformity cross behavior types or even jump from behavior to affect? Five studies address these questions. In Studies 1 to 3, participants decided how much to donate to charities before learning that others donated generously or stingily. Participants who observed generous donations donated more than those who observed stingy donations (Studies 1 and 2). Crucially, this generalized across behaviors: Participants who observed generous donations later wrote more supportive notes to another participant (Study 3). In Studies 4 and 5, participants observed empathic or non-empathic group responses to vignettes. Group empathy ratings not only shifted participants' own empathic feelings (Study 4), but they also influenced participants' donations to a homeless shelter (Study 5). These findings reveal the remarkable breadth of prosocial conformity.

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When Lending a Hand Depletes the Will: The Daily Costs and Benefits of Helping

Klodiana Lanaj, Russell Johnson & Mo Wang

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Employees help on a regular daily basis while at work, yet surprisingly little is known about how responding to help requests affects helpers. Although recent theory suggests that helping may come at a cost to the helper, the majority of the helping literature has focused on the benefits of helping. The current study addresses the complex nature of helping by simultaneously considering its costs and benefits for helpers. Using daily diary data across 3 consecutive work weeks, we examine the relationship between responding to help requests, perceived prosocial impact of helping, and helpers' regulatory resources. We find that responding to help requests depletes regulatory resources at an increasing rate, yet perceived prosocial impact of helping can replenish resources. We also find that employees' prosocial motivation moderates these within-person relationships, such that prosocial employees are depleted to a larger extent by responding to help requests, and replenished to a lesser extent by the perceived prosocial impact of helping. Understanding the complex relationship of helping with regulatory resources is important because such resources have downstream effects on helpers' behavior in the workplace. We discuss the implications of our findings for both theory and practice.

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The effect of effectiveness: Donor response to aid effectiveness in a direct mail fundraising experiment

Dean Karlan & Daniel Wood

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test how donors respond to new information about a charity's effectiveness. Freedom from Hunger implemented a test of its direct marketing solicitations, varying letters by whether they include a discussion of their program's impact as measured by scientific research. The base script, used for both treatment and control, included a standard qualitative story about an individual beneficiary. Adding scientific impact information has no effect on average likelihood of giving or average gift amount. However, we find important heterogeneity: large prior donors both are more likely to give and also give more, whereas small prior donors are less likely to give. This pattern is consistent with two different types of donors: warm glow donors who respond negatively to analytical effectiveness information, and altruism donors who respond positively to such information.

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In Pursuit of Good Karma: When Charitable Appeals to Do Right Go Wrong

Katina Kulow & Thomas Kramer

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the implications of consumers' belief in karma - the belief that the universe bestows rewards for doing right and exacts punishments for doing wrong - in the context of prosocial behavior. Although intuitively, believing in karma should result in greater intentions to do right by supporting a charity, karmic beliefs are found to facilitate prosocial behavior only in contexts not associated with self-gains. A series of experiments shows that those with strong (vs. weak) beliefs in karma actually respond less favorably to charitable appeals that rely on common marketing tools meant to enhance consumer responses but that also cue self-gains by offering incentives or by highlighting self-benefits. However, these effects are only obtained for donations of time, which represent a means to enhance social connections, but not for donations of money. Consistent with the proposition that prosocial behaviors motivated by self-gains do not engender karmic rewards, lower intentions to do right among those with strong karmic beliefs are driven by a shift from other-focused to self-focused attention following appeals that cue self-gains, as compared to appeals that do not. Results imply that marketers need to take into account consumers' karmic beliefs when seeking to incentivize prosocial behavior.

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The emotional consequences of donation opportunities

Lara Aknin, Guy Mayraz & John Helliwell

Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Charities often circulate widespread donation appeals, but who is most likely to donate and how do appeals impact the well-being of individual donors and non-donors, as well as the entire group exposed to the campaign? Here, we investigate three factors that may influence donations (recent winnings, the presence of another person, and matched earnings) in addition to the changes in affect reported by individuals who donate in response to a charitable opportunity and those who do not. Critically, we also investigate the change in affect reported by the entire sample to measure the net impact of the donation opportunity. Results reveal that people winning more money donate a smaller percentage to charity, and the presence of another person does not influence giving. In addition, large donors experience hedonic boosts from giving, and the substantial fraction of large donors translates to a net positive influence on well-being for the entire sample.

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Saving the masses: The impact of perceived efficacy on charitable giving to single vs. multiple beneficiaries

Eesha Sharma & Vicki Morwitz

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, July 2016, Pages 45-54

Abstract:
People are more generous toward single than toward multiple beneficiaries, and encouraging greater giving to multiple targets is challenging. We identify one factor, perceived efficacy, which enhances generosity toward multiple beneficiaries. We investigate relationships between perceived self-efficacy (believing one can take steps to make an impact), response efficacy (believing those steps will be effective), and charitable giving. Four studies show that increasing perceived self-efficacy increases perceived response efficacy (Studies 1 and 2) and increases donations for multiple beneficiaries (Studies 1-4). Further, results show that boosting perceived self-efficacy enhances giving to a greater extent for multiple than for single beneficiaries (Studies 3 and 4). These effects emerge using various charitable giving contexts, efficacy manipulations, and measures of generosity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Perceive it or not

Animal Magnetism: Metaphoric Cues Alter Perceptions of Romantic Partners and Relationships

Andrew Christy, Kelly Hirsch & Rebecca Schlegel

PLoS ONE, May 2016

Abstract:
The psychological state of love is difficult to define, and we often rely on metaphors to communicate about this state and its constituent experiences. Commonly, these metaphors liken love to a physical force - it sweeps us off our feet, causes sparks to fly, and ignites flames of passion. Even the use of "attraction" to refer to romantic interest, commonplace in both popular and scholarly discourse, implies a force propelling two objects together. The present research examined the effects of exposing participants to a physical force (magnetism) on subsequent judgments of romantic outcomes. Across two studies, participants exposed to magnets reported greater levels of satisfaction, attraction, intimacy, and commitment.

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How Taking Photos Increases Enjoyment of Experiences

Kristin Diehl, Gal Zauberman & Alixandra Barasch

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Experiences are vital to the lives and well-being of people; hence, understanding the factors that amplify or dampen enjoyment of experiences is important. One such factor is photo-taking, which has gone unexamined by prior research even as it has become ubiquitous. We identify engagement as a relevant process that influences whether photo-taking will increase or decrease enjoyment. Across 3 field and 6 lab experiments, we find that taking photos enhances enjoyment of positive experiences across a range of contexts and methodologies. This occurs when photo-taking increases engagement with the experience, which is less likely when the experience itself is already highly engaging, or when photo-taking interferes with the experience. As further evidence of an engagement-based process, we show that photo-taking directs greater visual attention to aspects of the experience one may want to photograph. Lastly, we also find that this greater engagement due to photo-taking results in worse evaluations of negative experiences.

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Semantic Prosody and Judgment

David Hauser & Norbert Schwarz

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some words tend to co-occur exclusively with a positive or negative context in natural language use, even though such valence patterns are not dictated by definitions or are part of the words' core meaning. These words contain semantic prosody, a subtle valenced meaning derived from co-occurrence in language. As language and thought are heavily intertwined, we hypothesized that semantic prosody can affect evaluative inferences about related ambiguous concepts. Participants inferred that an ambiguous medical outcome was more negative when it was caused, a verb with negative semantic prosody, than when it was produced, a synonymous verb with no semantic prosody (Studies 1a, 1b). Participants completed sentence fragments in a manner consistent with semantic prosody (Study 2), and semantic prosody affected various other judgments in line with evaluative inferences (estimates of an event's likelihood in Study 3). Finally, semantic prosody elicited both positive and negative evaluations of outcomes across a large set of semantically prosodic verbs (Study 4). Thus, semantic prosody can exert a strong influence on evaluative judgment.

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Physical Exercise Performed Four Hours after Learning Improves Memory Retention and Increases Hippocampal Pattern Similarity during Retrieval

Eelco van Dongen et al.

Current Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Persistent long-term memory depends on successful stabilization and integration of new memories after initial encoding. This consolidation process is thought to require neuromodulatory factors such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Without the release of such factors around the time of encoding, memories will decay rapidly. Recent studies have shown that physical exercise acutely stimulates the release of several consolidation-promoting factors in humans, raising the question of whether physical exercise can be used to improve memory retention. Here, we used a single session of physical exercise after learning to exogenously boost memory consolidation and thus long-term memory. Three groups of randomly assigned participants first encoded a set of picture-location associations. Afterward, one group performed exercise immediately, one 4 hr later, and the third did not perform any exercise. Participants otherwise underwent exactly the same procedures to control for potential experimental confounds. 48 hr later, participants returned for a cued-recall test in a magnetic resonance scanner. With this design, we could investigate the impact of acute exercise on memory consolidation and retrieval-related neural processing. We found that performing exercise 4 hr, but not immediately, after encoding improved the retention of picture-location associations compared to the no-exercise control group. Moreover, performing exercise after a delay was associated with increased hippocampal pattern similarity for correct responses during delayed retrieval. Our results suggest that appropriately timed physical exercise can improve long-term memory and highlight the potential of exercise as an intervention in educational and clinical settings.

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The length of words reflects their conceptual complexity

Molly Lewis & Michael Frank

Cognition, August 2016, Pages 182-195

Abstract:
Are the forms of words systematically related to their meaning? The arbitrariness of the sign has long been a foundational part of our understanding of human language. Theories of communication predict a relationship between length and meaning, however: Longer descriptions should be more conceptually complex. Here we show that both the lexicons of human languages and individual speakers encode the relationship between linguistic and conceptual complexity. Experimentally, participants mapped longer words to more complex objects in comprehension and production tasks and across a range of stimuli. Explicit judgments of conceptual complexity were also highly correlated with implicit measures of study time in a memory task, suggesting that complexity is directly related to basic cognitive processes. Observationally, judgments of conceptual complexity for a sample of real words correlate highly with their length across 80 languages, even controlling for frequency, familiarity, imageability, and concreteness. While word lengths are systematically related to usage - both frequency and contextual predictability - our results reveal a systematic relationship with meaning as well. They point to a general regularity in the design of lexicons and suggest that pragmatic pressures may influence the structure of the lexicon.

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Simulated thought insertion: Influencing the sense of agency using deception and magic

Jay Olson et al.

Consciousness and Cognition, July 2016, Pages 11-26

Abstract:
In order to study the feeling of control over decisions, we told 60 participants that a neuroimaging machine could read and influence their thoughts. While inside a mock brain scanner, participants chose arbitrary numbers in two similar tasks. In the Mind-Reading Task, the scanner appeared to guess the participants' numbers; in the Mind-Influencing Task, it appeared to influence their choice of numbers. We predicted that participants would feel less voluntary control over their decisions when they believed that the scanner was influencing their choices. As predicted, participants felt less control and made slower decisions in the Mind-Influencing Task compared to the Mind-Reading Task. A second study replicated these findings. Participants' experience of the ostensible influence varied, with some reporting an unknown source directing them towards specific numbers. This simulated thought insertion paradigm can therefore influence feelings of voluntary control and may help model symptoms of mental disorders.

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A Pilot Study Examining Physical and Social Warmth: Higher (Non-Febrile) Oral Temperature Is Associated with Greater Feelings of Social Connection

Tristen Inagaki et al.

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
An emerging literature suggests that experiences of physical warmth contribute to social warmth - the experience of feeling connected to others. Thus, thermoregulatory systems, which help maintain our relatively warm internal body temperatures, may also support feelings of social connection. However, the association between internal body temperature and feelings of connection has not been examined. Furthermore, the origins of the link between physical and social warmth, via learning during early experiences with a caregiver or via innate, co-evolved mechanisms, remain unclear. The current study examined the relationship between oral temperature and feelings of social connection as well as whether early caregiver experiences moderated this relationship. Extending the existing literature, higher oral temperature readings were associated with greater feelings of social connection. Moreover, early caregiver experiences did not moderate this association, suggesting that the physical-social warmth overlap may not be altered by early social experience. Results provide additional support for the link between experiences of physical warmth and social warmth and add to existing theories that highlight social connection as a basic need on its own.

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Barack Obama Blindness (BOB): Absence of Visual Awareness to a Single Object

Marjan Persuh & Robert Melara

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, March 2016

Abstract:
In two experiments, we evaluated whether a perceiver's prior expectations could alone obliterate his or her awareness of a salient visual stimulus. To establish expectancy, observers first made a demanding visual discrimination on each of three baseline trials. Then, on a fourth, critical trial, a single, salient and highly visible object appeared in full view at the center of the visual field and in the absence of any competing visual input. Surprisingly, fully half of the participants were unaware of the solitary object in front of their eyes. Dramatically, observers were blind even when the only stimulus on display was the face of U.S. President Barack Obama. We term this novel, counterintuitive phenomenon, Barack Obama Blindness (BOB). Employing a method that rules out putative memory effects by probing awareness immediately after presentation of the critical stimulus, we demonstrate that the BOB effect is a true failure of conscious vision.

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Culturally inconsistent spatial structure reduces learning

Koleen McCrink & Samuel Shaki

Acta Psychologica, September 2016, Pages 20-26

Abstract:
Human adults tend to use a spatial continuum to organize any information they consider to be well-ordered, with a sense of initial and final position. The directionality of this spatial mapping is mediated by the culture of the subject, largely as a function of the prevailing reading and writing habits (for example, from left-to-right for English speakers or right-to-left for Hebrew speakers). In the current study, we tasked American and Israeli subjects with encoding and recalling a set of arbitrary pairings, consisting of frequently ordered stimuli (letters with shapes: Experiment 1) or infrequently ordered stimuli (color terms with shapes: Experiment 2), that were serially presented in a left-to-right, right-to-left, or central-only manner. The subjects were better at recalling information that contained ordinal stimuli if the spatial flow of presentation during encoding matched the dominant directionality of the subjects' culture, compared to information encoded in the non-dominant direction. This phenomenon did not extend to infrequently ordered stimuli (e.g., color terms). These findings suggest that adults implicitly harness spatial organization to support memory, and this harnessing process is culturally mediated in tandem with our spatial biases.

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Noticing Future Me: Reducing Egocentrism Through Mental Imagery

Neil Macrae et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 855-863

Abstract:
People drastically overestimate how often others attend to them or notice their unusual features, a phenomenon termed the spotlight effect. Despite the prevalence of this egocentric bias, little is known about how to reduce the tendency to see oneself as the object of others' attention. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a basic property of mental imagery - the visual perspective from which an event is viewed - may alleviate a future-oriented variant of the spotlight effect. The results of three experiments supported this prediction. Experiment 1 revealed a reduction in egocentric spotlighting when participants imagined an event in the far compared with near future. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated reduced spotlighting and feelings of embarrassment when participants viewed an impending event from a third-person (vs. first-person) vantage point. Simple changes in one's visual perspective may be sufficient to diminish the illusion of personal salience.

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Reminders Through Association

Todd Rogers & Katherine Milkman

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often fail to follow through on good intentions. While limited self-control is frequently the culprit, another cause is simply forgetting to enact intentions when opportunities arise. We introduce a novel, potent approach to facilitating follow-through: the reminders-through-association approach. This approach involves associating intentions (e.g., to mail a letter on your desk tomorrow) with distinctive cues that will capture attention when you have opportunities to act on those intentions (e.g., Valentine's Day flowers that arrived late yesterday, which are sitting on your desk). We showed that cue-based reminders are more potent when the cues they employ are distinctive relative to (a) other regularly encountered stimuli and (b) other stimuli encountered concurrently. Further, they can be more effective than written or electronic reminder messages, and they are undervalued and underused. The reminders-through-association approach, developed by integrating and expanding on past research on self-control, reminders, and prospective memory, can be a powerful tool for policymakers and individuals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 24, 2016

In or out

Legalization and human capital accumulation

Fabio Méndez, Facundo Sepúlveda & Nieves Valdés

Journal of Population Economics, July 2016, Pages 721-756

Abstract:
This paper presents new evidence regarding the effects of legalization on the training of immigrants who were granted legal status through the US Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Our findings point to a large increase in the immigrants’ incidence of training relative to comparable groups of natives following legalization. While training gains are higher for males, wage gains are higher for females. We also show that an important part of these changes in labor market outcomes occurs through occupation changes by newly legalized immigrants.

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Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Evidence from Survey Experiments

Alexis Grigorieff, Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal

University of Oxford Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Many people in the U.S. and in Europe have biased beliefs about immigrants. In this paper, we examine whether providing information about immigrants affects people’s attitude towards them. We first use a large representative cross-country survey experiment with more than 19,000 participants to show that people who are told the actual share of immigrants in their country become less likely to state that there are too many of them. We also conduct an online experiment in the U.S., where we provide information about immigration to half of the participants, before measuring their attitude towards immigrants with self-reported and behavioral outcomes. We find that participants in the treatment group update their beliefs about immigrants, and they donate more money to a pro-immigrant charity. However, their self-reported policy preferences remain broadly unchanged, and they do not become more willing to sign a petition in favor of immigration reform. Interestingly, Republicans and people who are worried about immigration respond more strongly to the information treatment, both in terms of their views on immigrants and their policy preferences. Finally, we also measure people’s self-reported policy preferences, attitudes, and beliefs in a four week follow-up, and we show that the treatment effects persist.

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Immigration Politics and Partisan Realignment: California, Texas, and the 1994 Election

James Monogan & Austin Doctor

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article demonstrates how the party identification of various demographic groups in California and Texas changed in response to the gubernatorial campaigns of Pete Wilson and George W. Bush. Using aggregated time series of Field Poll, Texas Poll, and Gallup data, difference-in-differences results show that Wilson’s embrace of Proposition 187 was followed by significant Hispanic movement toward the Democratic Party in California. Time series analysis substantiates that this action led to a long-term 7.1 percentage point Democratic shift among California’s Hispanics. This suggests that state-level actors can influence partisan coalitions in their state, beyond what would be expected from national-level factors.

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Fear of Ebola: The Influence of Collectivism on Xenophobic Threat Responses

Heejung Kim, David Sherman & John Updegraff

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to the Ebola scare in 2014, many people evinced strong fear and xenophobia. The present study, informed by the pathogen-prevalence hypothesis, tested the influence of individualism and collectivism on xenophobic response to the threat of Ebola. A nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans completed a survey, indicating their perceptions of their vulnerability to Ebola, ability to protect themselves from Ebola (protection efficacy), and xenophobic tendencies. Overall, the more vulnerable people felt, the more they exhibited xenophobic responses, but this relationship was moderated by individualism and collectivism. The increase in xenophobia associated with increased vulnerability was especially pronounced among people with high individualism scores and those with low collectivism scores. These relationships were mediated by protection efficacy. State-level collectivism had the same moderating effect on the association between perceived vulnerability and xenophobia that individual-level value orientation did. Collectivism — and the set of practices and rituals associated with collectivistic cultures — may serve as psychological protection against the threat of disease.

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Nation-Building Through Compulsory Schooling During the Age of Mass Migration

Oriana Bandiera et al.

London School of Economics Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
By the mid-19th century, America was the best educated nation on Earth: significant financial investments in education were being undertaken and the majority of children voluntarily attended public schools. So why did American states start introducing compulsory schooling laws at this point in time? We provide qualitative and quantitative evidence that states adopted compulsory schooling laws as a nation-building tool to instill civic values to the tens of millions of culturally diverse migrants who arrived during the ‘Age of Mass Migration’ between 1850 and 1914. Using state level data, we show the adoption of compulsory schooling laws occurred significantly earlier in states that hosted a subgroup of European migrants with lower exposure to civic values in their home countries. We present IV estimates based on a Bartik-Card instrument to address concerns over endogenous location choices of migrants. We then use cross-county data to show that the same subgroup of European migrants had significantly lower demand for American common schooling pre-compulsion, and so would have been less exposed to the kinds of civic value instilled by the American education system had compulsory schooling not been passed. We thus provide micro-foundations for schooling laws, highlighting the link between mass migration and the endogenous policy responses of American-born voters in receiving states.

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A Declining Farm Workforce: Analysis of Panel Data from Rural Mexico

Diane Charlton & Edward Taylor

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of nationally representative individual-level panel data from 1980 to 2010 reveals a significant negative trend in the agricultural labor supply from rural Mexico, which is the primary source of hired workers for U.S. farms. These findings offer an explanation for the rise over time in U.S. farm wages. Concomitants of the agricultural transformation, including growth in the non-farm economy, falling birth rates, and an increase in rural education, accelerate the transition of rural Mexicans out of farm work. Higher U.S. farm wages and increased border enforcement slow the transition, but the combined impact of these offsetting variables is relatively small. A diminishing farm labor supply has far-reaching implications for farmers, farm labor organizers, rural communities, and agricultural workers.

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The Departed: Deportations and Out-Migration among Latino Immigrants in North Carolina after the Great Recession

Emilio Parrado & Chenoa Flippen

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2016, Pages 131-147

Abstract:
This article explores the impact of the 2007 recession and immigration enforcement policies on Latin American immigrants’ out-migration from the Durham, North Carolina, area — a new immigrant destination. Drawing on an original ethnosurvey collected in 2011, the analysis assesses the extent of out-migration over time, what precipitated the move, and whether individuals returned to their country of origin or migrated within the United States. We find that out-migration more than doubled after the 2007 recession and that migrants overwhelmingly returned to their home countries. While family considerations and accidents accounted for most of the departures before the recession, economic considerations became the dominant drivers of out-migration after 2007. Deportations also grew in number but accounted for a negligible share of all out-migration. Departures were more prevalent among immigrants from Mexico and those with lower educational attainment. Latin American migration, especially from Mexico, continues to be circular, and deportation is a relatively ineffective strategy for immigrant population control when compared to voluntary returns.

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Policy Popularity: The Arizona Immigration Law

Jeeyoung Park & Helmut Norpoth

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
As a maker of policy, a president or a governor invites public approval or disapproval for policy decisions. Public reaction is likely to occur for issues of great salience and clear candidate positions. We focus on immigration policy. Illegal immigration has become a hot issue in recent years, especially in Arizona. The state’s governor took a clear stance in 2010 by signing a law that gives police sweeping powers to deal with illegal immigration (Arizona SB 1070). Using an aggregate time–series model, we find that this action affected gubernatorial approval ratings. Indeed the gain in approval proved enduring enough to turn a losing race for re–election into a victory for Governor Brewer. Using individual–level survey data, we find that presidential approval also was affected by reactions to the Arizona Law among residents of the state. When elected officials take clear stances on a salient issue – Governor Brewer for, President Obama against the law - policy moves approval.

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Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration

Umut Özek & David Figlio

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We make use of a new data source – matched birth records and longitudinal student records in Florida – to study the degree to which student outcomes differ across successive immigrant generations. Specifically, we investigate whether first, second, and third generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Florida perform differently on reading and mathematics tests, and whether they are differentially likely to get into serious trouble in school, to be truant from school, to graduate from high school, or to be ready for college upon high school graduation. We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants. Among first generation immigrants, the earlier the arrival, the better the students tend to perform. These patterns of findings hold for both Asian and Hispanic students, and suggest a general pattern of successively reduced achievement – beyond a transitional period for recent immigrants – in the generations following the generation that immigrated to the United States.

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LEP Language Disability, Immigration Reform, and English-Language Acquisition

Alberto Dávila & Marie Mora

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 478-483

Abstract:
Policy might partly shape the English-language acquisition of Hispanics migrating to the U.S. mainland, particularly policies related to limited-English-language disability benefits and immigration reform. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that island-born Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland, as U.S. citizens, may have lower incentives to learn English than Hispanic immigrants because of their higher participation in LEP disability programs. However, among Mexican immigrants, recent immigration reform aimed at interior enforcement might have increased incentives for Mexican immigrants to learn English to reduce their probability of detection, if speaking English proxies for undocumented status.

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The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills

Quinn Steigleder & Chad Sparber

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Native and foreign-born workers with a high school degree or less education work in different types of occupations. This article exploits the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to examine whether legal status causes immigrants to work in occupations that use skills similar to those of natives. Legal status decreases the manual skill intensity of immigrants’ occupations by about two percentiles. It increases communication skill intensity by a similar amount. This reduces the skill gap between Mexican-born and native-born American workers by 11–15%.

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Mexican-American Educational Stagnation: The Role of Family-Structure Change

Richard Neil Turner & Brian Thiede

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
High school dropout rates among Mexican Americans decline markedly between the first and second immigrant generations and, consequently, move closer to non-Hispanic white levels. However, the third generation makes little progress in closing the remaining gap with whites despite their parents having more schooling on average than those of the second generation. Utilizing 2007–2013 Current Population Survey data, we examine whether an inter-generational shift away from two-parent families contributes to this educational stagnation. We also consider the effect of changes in sibship size. The analysis involves performing a partial regression decomposition of differences between second- and third-generation Mexican-American adolescents (aged 16–17 years) in the likelihood of having dropped out. We find that Mexican third-generation teens are close to nine percentage points less likely than second-generation peers to live with two parents. The decomposition results suggest that this change in family structure offsets a substantial portion of the negative influence of rising parental education on third-generation dropout risk.

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A longitudinal analysis of cross-border ties and depression for Latino adults

Jacqueline Torres et al.

Social Science & Medicine, July 2016, Pages 111–119

Abstract:
Recent scholarship suggests a significant association between cross-border ties, or ties maintained with family and friends in countries and communities of origin, and the mental health of immigrants and their descendants. To date, this research has been exclusively cross-sectional, precluding conclusions about a causal association between cross-border ties and mental health outcomes. In the present study we undertake a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between cross-border ties and depression measured over a ten-year period for a sample of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos. Data are from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (1998–2008), a population-based, prospective study of Latin American-origin adults 60 years and older. We find that cross-border ties reported at baseline were significantly associated with depression in subsequent study waves, even after controlling for the presence of depression at baseline, albeit with substantial differences by gender and nativity. Specifically, communication with family and friends in Latin America and travel to Latin America at baseline were each significantly associated with greater odds of depression for immigrant women, but with lower odds of depression for U.S.-born Latina women over the study period. Travel to Latin America at baseline was significantly associated with lower odds of depression for Latino men across the study. Across all models we control for depressive symptomatology at baseline to account for the reciprocal nature of depressive symptoms and engagement with social ties, including cross-border ties. Our findings suggest that cross-border ties may represent a unique source of both resilience and risk for the long-term mental health of immigrant Latinos and their descendants.

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Child support and mixed-status families: An analysis using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Lanlan Xu, Maureen Pirog & Edward Vargas

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of literature documents the importance of child support for children's wellbeing, though little is known about the child support behaviors of mixed-status families, a large and rapidly growing population in the United States. In this paper, we use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate the impact of citizenship status on formal and informal child support transfers among a nationally representative sample of parents who have citizen children. Probit regression models and propensity score matching (PSM) estimators show that mixed-status families are significantly less likely to have child support orders and child support receipt compared to their citizen counterparts. We found that mothers' knowledge of the child support system increases the probability of establishing paternity. However, cultural differences in knowledge of and perception about the U.S. child support system between mixed-status families and citizen families do not have an impact on the probability of getting a child support order, child support receipt, or in-kind child support. Rather, institutional factors such as collaborations between welfare agencies and child support enforcement agencies as well as state child support enforcement efforts have a significant impact on formal child support outcomes. The results are robust against different model specifications, measure constructions, and use of datasets. These findings have important policy implications for policy makers and researchers interested in reducing child poverty in complex family structures and underscore the need to revisit child support policies for mixed-status families.

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Reappraising and Extending the Predictors of States’ Immigrant Policies: Industry Influences and the Moderating Effect of Political Ideology

Margaret Commins & Jeremiah Wills

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examined how the preferences of firms in immigrant-heavy industries influence the enactment of immigration policies by states and considered whether political ideology, serving as an interpretive lens for such preferences, moderates the effects of industry influences. Existing hypotheses about immigrant policy predictors were also reevaluated.

Method: We coded all immigration bills enacted for years 2005–2012 and fit multilevel, mixed models to predict state-year counts of beneficial and restrictive policies.

Results: Models showed that increases in GDP and employment within the accommodations industry predicted more beneficial immigrant policies within states. The effect of construction industry variables was conditional on state residents’ political ideology. There was mixed support for extant racial and economic threat and political climate hypotheses.

Conclusion: Firms in sectors heavily dependent on immigrant labor influence state-level immigrant policy. Some of these effects are direct, and some are moderated by state residents’ political beliefs.

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Is Previous Removal From the United States a Marker for High Recidivism Risk? Results From a 9-Year Follow-Up Study of Criminally Involved Unauthorized Immigrants

Laura Hickman, Jennifer Wong & Marika Suttorp-Booth

Criminal Justice Policy Review, June 2016, Pages 378-401

Abstract:
The present study examines the long-term recidivism patterns of a group of unauthorized immigrants identified to be at high risk of recidivism. Using a sample of 517 male unauthorized immigrants, we used three measures of recidivism to assess 9-year rearrest differences between unauthorized immigrants who have and who have not been previously removed from the United States. Results indicate that prior removal was a significant risk marker for recidivism, with previously removed immigrants showing a higher likelihood of rearrest, a greater frequency of rearrest, and a more rapid time-to-first rearrest. While the present study does not establish whether previous removal is a consistent indicator of high recidivism, it suggests that this group of unauthorized immigrants may be worthy of review and policy consideration. Much potential value for law enforcement lies in the sharing of federal immigration records with academics to further study the outcomes of unauthorized immigrants.

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Global competition for scientific talent: Evidence from location decisions of PhDs and postdocs in 16 countries

Paula Stephan, Chiara Franzoni & Giuseppe Scellato

Industrial and Corporate Change, June 2016, Pages 457-485

Abstract:
We analyze the decisions of foreign-born PhD and postdoctoral trainees in four natural science fields to come to the United States vs. go to another country for training. Data are drawn from the GlobSci survey of research scientists in 16 countries. A major reason individuals report coming to train in the United States is the prestige of its programs and/or career prospects; perceived lifestyle in the United States is a major factor individuals report for training elsewhere. The availability of exchange programs elsewhere is associated with fewer PhD students coming to the United States. The relative unattractiveness of fringe benefits in the United States is associated with going elsewhere for postdoctoral training. Countries that have been nibbling at the US PhD and postdoc share are Australia, Germany, and Switzerland; France and Great Britain have gained appeal in attracting postdocs, but not in attracting PhD students. Canada has made gains in neither.

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Want freedom, will travel: Emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality

Maryam Naghsh Nejad & Andrew Young

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality using up to 3566 observations on bilateral migration flows from 77 countries over the 1990–2000 period. We relate these flows to differences in political and economic institutions. We improve and expand upon previous studies by (i) examining decade-long migration flows that (ii) include flows not only to OECD countries but also to non-OECD countries, also (iii) utilizing an estimation method that takes into account the information in zero value migration flows and (iv) examining not only total migration flows but also college-educated and non-college-educated subsamples separately. We find that economic freedoms are a significant pull factor for potential migrants. Once economic freedoms are controlled for, measures of political institutions do not always enter significantly into our estimations. Results are similar for college- and non-college-educated subsamples. Improvements in legal systems and property rights appear to be the strongest pull factor for potential migrants.

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Mixed-Status Families and WIC Uptake: The Effects of Risk of Deportation on Program Use

Edward Vargas & Maureen Pirog

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: Develop and test measures of risk of deportation and mixed-status families on women, infants, and children (WIC) uptake. Mixed-status is a situation in which some family members are U.S. citizens and other family members are in the United States without proper authorization.

Methods: Estimate a series of logistic regressions to estimate WIC uptake by merging data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey with deportation data from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

Results: The findings of this study suggest that risk of deportation is negatively associated with WIC uptake and among mixed-status families; Mexican-origin families are the most sensitive when it comes to deportations and program use.

Conclusion: Our analysis provides a typology and framework to study mixed-status families and evaluate their usage of social services by including an innovative measure of risk of deportation.

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Effects of the Great Recession on the U.S. Agricultural Labor Market

Maoyong Fan, Anita Alves Pena & Jeffrey Perloff

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We empirically test four hypotheses regarding differences between agricultural worker earnings (wages and bonuses) during recession and non-recessionary times, between agricultural worker time use during recession and non-recession times, between outcomes for undocumented and documented workers, and between outcomes for agricultural workers versus those working in other sectors of interest. Regression analyses show that the wages of documented (legal) seasonal agricultural workers increased more during the last three recessions than did the wages of undocumented agricultural workers and low-skilled nonagricultural workers. Bonus pay and weekly hours also increased for some workers, suggesting general increases in the financial wellbeing of employed agricultural workers during recessions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Judging by its cover

On the psychological function of flags and logos: Group identity symbols increase perceived entitativity

Shannon Callahan & Alison Ledgerwood

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2016, Pages 528-550

Abstract:
Group identity symbols such as flags and logos have been widely used across time and cultures, yet researchers know very little about the psychological functions that such symbols can serve. The present research tested the hypotheses that (a) simply having a symbol leads collections of individuals to seem more like real, unified groups, (b) this increased psychological realness leads groups to seem more threatening and effective to others, and (c) group members therefore strategically emphasize symbols when they want their group to appear unified and intimidating. In Studies 1a–1c, participants perceived various task groups as more entitative when they happened to have a symbol. In Study 2, symbols not only helped groups make up for lacking a physical characteristic associated with entitativity (physical similarity), but also led groups to seem more threatening. Study 3 examined the processes underlying this effect and found that group symbols increase entitativity by increasing perceived cohesiveness. Study 4 extended our results to show that symbols not only shape the impressions people form of novel groups, but also change people’s existing impressions of more familiar and real-world social groups, making them seem more entitative and competent but also less warm. Finally, Studies 5a and 5b further expand our understanding of the psychological function of symbols by showing that group members strategically display symbols when they are motivated to convey an impression of their group as unified and threatening (vs. inclusive and cooperative). We discuss implications for understanding how group members navigate their social identities.

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Threats to Racial Status Promote Tea Party Support Among White Americans

Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg & Rachel Wetts

Stanford Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Since its rapid rise in early 2009, scholars have advanced a variety of explanations for popular support for the Tea Party movement. Here we argue that various political, economic, and demographic trends and events – e.g., the election of the first nonwhite president, the rising minority population – have been perceived as threatening the relative standing of whites in the U.S., with the resulting racial resentment fueling popular support for the movement. This “decline of whiteness” explanation for white Americans’ Tea Party support differs from prior accounts in highlighting the role of symbolic group status rather than personal experience, or economic competition, with minority group members in generating perceptions of threat. We tested this explanation in five survey-based experiments. In Study 1 we sought to make salient the president’s African-American heritage by presenting participants with an artificially darkened picture of Barack Obama. White participants shown the darkened photo were more likely to report they supported the Tea Party relative to a control condition. Presenting participants with information that the white population share (Study 2) or income advantage (Study 3) is declining also led whites to report greater Tea Party support, effects that were partly explained by heightened levels of racial resentment. A fourth study replicated the effects of Study 2 in a sample of Tea Party supporters. Finally, Study 5 showed that threatened white respondents reported stronger support for the Tea Party when racialized aspects of its platform (e.g., opposition to immigration) were highlighted, than if libertarian ones (e.g., reduced government spending) were. These findings are consistent with a view of popular support for the Tea Party as resulting, in part, from threats to the status of whites in America.

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Prejudice Masquerading as Praise: The Negative Echo of Positive Stereotypes

John Oliver Siy & Sapna Cheryan

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 941-954

Abstract:
Five studies demonstrate the powerful connection between being the target of a positive stereotype and expecting that one is also being ascribed negative stereotypes. In Study 1, women who heard a man state a positive stereotype were more likely to believe that he held negative stereotypes of them than women who heard no stereotype. Beliefs about being negatively stereotyped mediated the relationship between hearing a positive stereotype and believing that the stereotyper was prejudiced. Studies 2 to 4 extended these results to Asian Americans and accounted for alternative explanations (e.g., categorization threat). In Study 5, the same positive stereotype (e.g., good at math) was directed to Asian American men’s racial or gender identity. Their perceptions about whether negative racial or gender stereotypes were being applied to them depended on the identity referenced by the positive stereotype. Positive stereotypes signal a latent negativity about one’s group, thereby explaining why they can feel like prejudice.

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Do You See What I See? The Consequences of Objectification in Work Settings for Experiencers and Third Party Predictors

Sarah Gervais et al.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual objectification is a significant problem that permeates all areas of women's lives including the workplace. This research examines the impact of sexual objectification on women in work settings by integrating objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories. We used a laboratory analogue that included undergraduate women who actually experienced objectification during a work interview (i.e., experiencers) and third-party predictors (including female and male undergraduates as well as female and male community workers) who anticipated the effects of objectification (i.e., predictors). We measured actual and anticipated emotions, performance, and sexual harassment following objectification. We found that both mild and severe objectification caused weaker positive affect, stronger negative affect, worse work performance, and higher sexual harassment judgments, but these effects were primarily driven by predictors anticipating worse outcomes following objectification compared to what experiencers actually reported. We also found that experiencers’ responses to objectification were moderated by benevolent sexism with women lower in benevolent sexism responding more similarly to predictors relative to women higher in benevolent sexism. Both experiencers and predictors evaluated interviewers who engaged in objectification equally negatively. Finally, we explored differences between predictors who were female and male undergraduate students versus community workers and found that these parties anticipated different consequences, depending on worker status and gender. Implications for sexual objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories as well as practical implications for policy and law are discussed.

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Is President Obama’s Race Chronically Accessible? Racial Priming in the 2012 Presidential Election

Matthew Luttig & Timothy Callaghan

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
A vast literature indicates that racial animosity has a pervasive influence on the public’s evaluations of U.S. President Barack Obama. Can political communications enhance and/or defuse the link between White Americans’ racial attitudes and evaluations of Barack Obama? In this article, we report the results of an experiment conducted in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign which examines the effect of political rhetoric on the extent to which evaluations of Barack Obama are racialized. Drawing from research on attitude strength and pretreatment effects in experimental studies, we argue that the use of racial appeals in the pretreatment environment and the strength of citizens’ preexisting attitudes toward the incumbent president may produce a downward bias in average estimates of racial priming effects toward President Obama. After accounting for individual differences in the propensity to form strong attitudes with need to evaluate, we observe substantial effects of campaign rhetoric in priming racial attitudes toward President Obama, especially among individuals who are low in the need to evaluate and who tend to have more malleable political attitudes. We conclude by discussing implications for research on racial priming and the politics of racial intolerance in evaluations of Barack Obama.

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Gender-Role Portrayals in Television Advertising Across the Globe

Jörg Matthes, Michael Prieler & Karoline Adam

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there are numerous studies on gender-role portrayals in television advertising, comparative designs are clearly lacking. With content analytical data from a total of 13 Asian, American, and European countries, we study the stereotypical depiction of men and women in television advertisements. Our sample consists of 1755 ads collected in May 2014. Analyzing the gender of the primary character and voiceover, as well as the age, associated product categories, home- or work setting, and the working role of the primary character, we concluded that gender stereotypes in TV advertising can be found around the world. A multilevel model further showed that gender stereotypes were independent of a country’s gender indices, including Hofstede’s Masculinity Index, GLOBE’s Gender Egalitarianism Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Global Gender Gap Index. These findings suggest that gender stereotyping in television advertising does not depend on the gender equality prevalent in a country. The role of a specific culture in shaping gender stereotypes in television advertising is thus smaller than commonly thought.

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Just say no! (and mean it): Meaningful negation as a tool to modify automatic racial attitudes

India Johnson, Brandon Kopp & Richard Petty

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research compared the effectiveness of meaningful negation — “That’s wrong” — and simple negation — “No” — to alter automatic prejudice. Participants were trained to negate prejudice-consistent or prejudice-inconsistent information, using either simple or meaningful negation, and completed an evaluative priming measure of racial prejudice before and after training. No significant changes in automatic prejudice in the simple negation conditions emerged. In contrast, those trained to negate prejudice-consistent information in a more meaningful way showed a significant decrease in automatic prejudice, whereas those trained to negate prejudice-inconsistent information meaningfully showed a significant increase. Study 2 revealed that these effects were driven by participants high in their motivation to control prejudiced reactions (MCPR), as they demonstrated the greatest changes in automatic prejudice following training. Contrary to research suggesting negation training is an ineffective means to reduce automatic racial prejudice, the present research suggests negation can be effective when the negation is meaningful.

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Can White Children Grow Up to Be Black? Children’s Reasoning About the Stability of Emotion and Race

Steven Roberts & Susan Gelman

Developmental Psychology, June 2016, Pages 887-893

Abstract:
Recent research questions whether children conceptualize race as stable. We examined participants’ beliefs about the relative stability of race and emotion, a temporary feature. Participants were White adults and children ages 5–6 and 9–10 (Study 1) and racial minority children ages 5–6 (Study 2). Participants were presented with target children who were happy or angry and Black or White and were asked to indicate which of 2 adults (a race but not emotion match or an emotion but not race match) each child would grow up to be. White adults, White 9- to 10-year-olds, and racial minority 5- to 6-year-olds selected race matches, whereas White 5- to 6-year-olds selected race and emotion matches equally. These data suggest that beliefs about racial stability vary by age and social group.

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Biracial Perception in Black and White: How Black and White Perceivers Respond to Phenotype and Racial Identity Cues

Danielle Young, Diana Sanchez & Leigh Wilton

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objectives: This study investigates how racial identity and phenotypicality (i.e., racial ambiguity) shape the perception of biracial individuals in both White and Black perceivers. We investigated complex racial categorization and its downstream consequences, such as perceptions of discrimination.

Method: We manipulated racial phenotypicality (Black or racially ambiguous) and racial identity (Black or biracial) to test these cues’ influence on Black and White race categorizations in a sample of both White (n = 145) and Black (n = 152) identified individuals.

Results: Though racial identity and phenotypicality information influenced deliberate racial categorization, White and Black participants used the cues in different ways. For White perceivers, racial identity and phenotypicality additively influenced Black categorization. For Black perceivers, however, racial identity was only used in Black categorization when racial ambiguity was high. Perceived discrimination was related to White (but not Black) perceivers’ distribution of minority resources to targets, however Black categorization related to perceived discrimination for Black perceivers only.

Conclusion: By demonstrating how Black and White individuals use identity and phenotype information in race perceptions, we provide a more complete view of the complexities of racial categorization and its downstream consequences.

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The base rate principle and the fairness principle in social judgment

Jack Cao & Mahzarin Banaji

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Meet Jonathan and Elizabeth. One person is a doctor and the other is a nurse. Who is the doctor? When nothing else is known, the base rate principle favors Jonathan to be the doctor and the fairness principle favors both individuals equally. However, when individuating facts reveal who is actually the doctor, base rates and fairness become irrelevant, as the facts make the correct answer clear. In three experiments, explicit and implicit beliefs were measured before and after individuating facts were learned. These facts were either stereotypic (e.g., Jonathan is the doctor, Elizabeth is the nurse) or counterstereotypic (e.g., Elizabeth is the doctor, Jonathan is the nurse). Results showed that before individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs followed the fairness principle, whereas implicit beliefs followed the base rate principle. After individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs correctly aligned with stereotypic and counterstereotypic facts. Implicit beliefs, however, were immune to counterstereotypic facts and continued to follow the base rate principle. Having established the robustness and generality of these results, a fourth experiment verified that gender stereotypes played a causal role: when both individuals were male, explicit and implicit beliefs alike correctly converged with individuating facts. Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that explicit beliefs uphold fairness and incorporate obvious and relevant facts, but implicit beliefs uphold base rates and appear relatively impervious to counterstereotypic facts.

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Neural pattern similarity reveals the inherent intersection of social categories

Ryan Stolier & Jonathan Freeman

Nature Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 795–797

Abstract:
We provide evidence that neural representations of ostensibly unrelated social categories become bound together by their overlapping stereotype associations. While viewing faces, multi-voxel representations of gender, race, and emotion categories in the fusiform and orbitofrontal cortices were stereotypically biased and correlated with subjective perceptions. The findings suggest that social-conceptual knowledge can systematically alter the representational structure of social categories at multiple levels of cortical processing, reflecting bias in visual perceptions.

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The robust self-esteem proxy: Impressions of self-esteem inform judgments of personality and social value

Jessica Cameron et al.

Self and Identity, September/October 2016, pages 561-578

Abstract:
People use impressions of an evaluative target’s self-esteem to infer their possession of socially desirable traits. But will people still use this self-esteem proxy when trait-relevant diagnostic information is available? We test this possibility in two experiments: participants learn that a target person has low or high self-esteem, and then receive diagnostic information about the target’s academic success or failure and positive or negative affectivity (Study 1), or watch a video of the target’s extraverted or introverted behavior (Study 2). In both experiments, participants’ impressions of the target’s traits accurately tracked diagnostic information, but impressions also revealed an independent self-esteem proxy effect. Evidently, the self-esteem proxy is robust and influences person perception even in the presence of vivid individuating information.

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Reducing prejudice and promoting positive intergroup attitudes among elementary-school children in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Rony Berger et al.

Journal of School Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current investigation tested the efficacy of the Extended Class Exchange Program (ECEP) in reducing prejudicial attitudes. Three hundred and twenty-two 3rd and 4th grade students from both Israeli–Jewish and Israeli–Palestinian schools in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa were randomly assigned to either intervention or control classes. Members of the intervention classes engaged in ECEP's activities, whereas members of the control classes engaged in a social–emotional learning program. The program's outcomes were measured a week before, immediately after, and 15 months following termination. Results showed that the ECEP decreased stereotyping and discriminatory tendencies toward the other group and increased positive feelings and readiness for social contact with the other group upon program termination. Additionally, the effects of the ECEP were generalized to an ethnic group (i.e., Ethiopians) with whom the ECEP's participants did not have any contact. Finally, the ECEP retained its significant effect 15 months after the program's termination, despite the serious clashes between Israel and the Palestinians that occurred during that time. This empirical support for the ECEP'S utility in reducing prejudice makes it potentially applicable to other areas in the world, especially those that are characterized by ethnic tension and violent conflicts.

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Beware of “reducing prejudice”: Imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus

Keon West & Katy Greenland

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined intergroup contact — the mental simulation of a (positive) interaction with a member of another group — is a recently developed, low-risk, prejudice-reducing intervention. However, regulatory focus can moderate of the effects of prejudice-reducing interventions: a prevention focus (as opposed to a promotion focus) can lead to more negative outcomes. In two experiments we found that a prevention focus altered imagined contact's effects, causing the intervention to backfire. In Experiment 1, participants who reported a strong prevention-focus during imagined contact subsequently reported higher intergroup anxiety and (indirectly) less positive attitudes toward Asians. We found similar moderating effects in Experiment 2, using a different outgroup (gay men) and a subtle regulatory focus manipulation. Theoretical and practical implications for imagined contact are discussed.

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Evaluations of Michelle Obama as First Lady: The Role of Racial Resentment

Jonathan Knuckey & Myunghee Kim

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 365–386

Abstract:
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was initially viewed as signaling a postracial era in American politics. However, since 2008, race and racial attitudes have appeared to pervade American political discourse and shape political attitudes and behavior to an even greater extent. Using data from the American National Election Studies, this article examines the extent to which white racial attitudes have shaped evaluations of perhaps the most visible African American in politics today after the president: the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Findings show that racial resentment played a large role in evaluations of Michelle Obama, even after controlling for other explanatory variables, which include partisanship, ideology, and affect toward Barack Obama.

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“Yuck, You Disgust Me!” Affective Bias Against Interracial Couples

Allison Skinner & Caitlin Hudac

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research expands upon the sparse existing literature on the nature of bias against interracial couples. Study 1 demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples. These findings are particularly concerning, given evidence of antisocial reactions (e.g., aggression, perpetration of violence) to dehumanized targets. Findings also highlight the role of meaningful social units (e.g., couples) in person perception, an important consideration for psychologists conducting social cognition research.

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The Effect of the Perception of an Interviewer’s Race on Survey Responses in a Sample of Asian Americans

Mingnan Liu

Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores how the perceived race of the interviewer in a telephone survey influences responses to race-related questions in a sample of Asian Americans, using the 2008 National Asian American Survey. Among the 14 questions examined, 5 showed significant effects of the interviewer’s perceived race in regression analysis after controlling for respondents’ demographic characteristics. When respondents perceived the interviewers as Asian American, they were more likely to show a preference for an Asian American candidate in an election and to respond that Asians shared political interests. In contrast, when respondents perceived the interviewers as non-Asian, they were more likely to admit that they had experienced discrimination. In addition, when respondents perceived the interviewers as African American, they were more likely to report that Asian Americans had things in common with African Americans. This article concludes by discussing the implications of this study and future research directions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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