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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Players

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

Samuele Zilioli et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

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

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

Kari Kugler et al.
Journal of Early Adolescence, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Treat et al.
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Propose with a rose? Signaling in internet dating markets

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 11, 2015

Running wild

Negative Advertising and Political Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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Wage Reimbursement and Minority Voter Turnout

Joshua Hostetter
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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The Value of the Right to Vote

Stephan Tontrup & Rebecca Morton
NYU Working Paper, November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raymond La Raja & David Wiltse
Election Law Journal, forthcoming

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

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

Ying Shi
Political Communication, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Billboards and Turnout: A Randomized Field Experiment

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

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

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What's the Matter with Palm Beach County?

Eric Uslaner
Politics and Religion, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

Nathan Kalmoe & Kimberly Gross
Political Psychology, forthcoming

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

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

Zim Nwokora & Lara Brown
American Politics Research, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Following

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samuel Perry
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Landon Schnabel
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, forthcoming

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

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The Role of Religion in Environmental Attitudes

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

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

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

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

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

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Christmas and Subjective Well-Being: A Research Note

Michael Mutz
Applied Research in Quality of Life, forthcoming

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

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

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

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

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God, Yoga, and Karate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeannie Kim
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, forthcoming

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Informed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bubble Investing: Learning from History

William Goetzmann
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

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

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Compensating Financial Experts

Vincent Glode & Richard Lowery
Journal of Finance, forthcoming

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

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Regulation and Market Liquidity

Francesco Trebbi & Kairong Xiao
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

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

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Cost of Experimentation and the Evolution of Venture Capital

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

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

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

Henrik Cronqvist et al.
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

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

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Do markets reveal preferences or shape them?

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

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

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

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

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

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Mutual Forbearance and Competition Among Security Analysts

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

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

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

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

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

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Asset Pricing When Traders Sell Extreme Winners and Losers

Li An
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

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

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Inflation Illusion and Stock Returns

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

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

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Raised this way

Parental beliefs about the fixedness of ability

Katherine Muenks et al.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, November–December 2015, Pages 78–89

Abstract:
The present studies examined whether parents' beliefs about the fixedness of ability predict their self-reported interactions with their children. Parents' fixedness beliefs were measured at two levels of specificity: their general beliefs about intelligence and their beliefs about their children's math and verbal abilities. Study 1, conducted with an online sample of 300 parents, showed that the more parents believed that abilities were fixed, the more likely they were to endorse controlling and performance-oriented behaviors and the less likely they were to endorse autonomy-supportive and mastery-oriented behaviors. Study 2, conducted with 86 parents from a university database, partially replicated the results of Study 1 and also showed that parents' beliefs predicted the self-reported frequency with which they engaged in math- and reading-related activities with their children at home. Specifically, the more parents believed that abilities were fixed, the less frequently they reported engaging in math- and reading-related activities.

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Household chaos and children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development in early childhood: Does childcare play a buffering role?

Daniel Berry et al.
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Winter 2016, Pages 115–127

Abstract:
Evidence suggests that household chaos is associated with less optimal child outcomes. Yet, there is an increasing indication that children’s experiences in childcare may buffer them against the detrimental effects of such environments. Our study aims were to test: (1) whether children’s experiences in childcare mitigated relations between household chaos and children’s cognitive and social development, and (2) whether these (conditional) chaos effects were mediated by links between chaos and executive functioning. Using data from The Family Life Project (n = 1235) — a population-based sample of families from low-income, rural contexts — our findings indicated that household disorganization in early childhood was predictive of worse cognitive and social outcomes at approximately age five. However, these relations were substantially attenuated for children attending greater childcare hours. Subsequent models indicated that the conditional associations between household disorganization and less optimal outcomes at age five were mediated by conditional links between disorganization and less optimal executive functioning.

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Authoritarian parenting attitudes and social origin: The multigenerational relationship of socioeconomic position to childrearing values

Michael Friedson
Child Abuse & Neglect, forthcoming

Abstract:
Support for authoritarian approaches to parenting, including corporal punishment, is known to be elevated among individuals with low current levels of socioeconomic attainment. The objectives of this study are: (1) to determine whether authoritarian parenting dispositions are related to disadvantages in one's social background, in addition to one's present socioeconomic standing; and (2) to distinguish, in this regard, between support for spanking and other authoritarian parenting dispositions. Ordered logit models, applied to General Social Survey data concerning a nationally representative sample of US adults, are used to examine relationships of authoritarian parenting dispositions to the socioeconomic positions that respondents currently occupy and in which they were raised. It is found that support for spanking (N = 10,725) and valuing of obedience (N = 10,043) are inversely related to the socioeconomic status (SES) of one's family of origin, and that these associations are robust to controls for one's current SES. A disadvantaged family background is found to increase support for spanking most among those with high current SES. Strong associations (robust to controls for SES indicators) are additionally found between African-American racial identity and support for authoritarian parenting. Prior research indicates that authoritarian parenting practices such as spanking may be harmful to children. Thus, if the parenting attitudes analyzed here translate into parenting practices, then this study's findings may point to a mechanism for the intergenerational transmission of disadvantages.

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Don’t Aim Too High for Your Kids: Parental Overaspiration Undermines Students’ Learning in Mathematics

Kou Murayama et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that parents’ aspirations for their children’s academic attainment can have a positive influence on children’s actual academic performance. Possible negative effects of parental overaspiration, however, have found little attention in the psychological literature. Employing a dual-change score model with longitudinal data from a representative sample of German school children and their parents (N 3,530; Grades 5 to 10), we showed that parental aspiration and children’s mathematical achievement were linked by positive reciprocal relations over time. Importantly, we also found that parental aspiration that exceeded their expectation (i.e., overaspiration) had negative reciprocal relations with children’s mathematical achievement. These results were fairly robust after controlling for a variety of demographic and cognitive variables such as children’s gender, age, intelligence, school type, and family socioeconomic status. The results were also replicated with an independent sample of U.S. parents and their children. These findings suggest that unrealistically high parental aspiration can be detrimental for children’s achievement.

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Genetic and Environmental Parent–Child Transmission of Value Orientations: An Extended Twin Family Study

Christian Kandler, Juliana Gottschling & Frank Spinath
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite cross-cultural universality of core human values, individuals differ substantially in value priorities, whereas family members show similar priorities to some degree. The latter has often been attributed to intrafamilial socialization. The analysis of self-ratings on eight core values from 399 twin pairs (ages 7–11) and their biological parents (388 mothers, 249 fathers; ages 26–65) allowed the disentanglement of environmental from genetic transmission accounting for family resemblance in value orientations. Results indicated that parent–child similarity is primarily due to shared genetic makeup. The primary source of variance in value priorities represented environmental influences that are not shared by family members. These findings do not provide evidence for parental influences beyond genetic influences contributing to intrafamilial similarity in value priorities.

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Double Take: The Effect of Sibling Sex Composition on Women's Schooling, Earnings, and Labor Supply

Moiz Bhai
University of Illinois Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Understanding the role of the family in the production of human capital is a salient question in economics. Using a twin research design that exploits exogenous gender variation in dizygotic twins, this paper credibly identifies the effect of sibling sex composition on schooling, earnings, and labor supply. Women born with a male co-twin have higher earnings, schooling, and labor force participation than women born with a female co-twin. Men born with a female co-twin, on the other hand, have outcomes that are statistically indistinguishable from zero. Family attributes provide a limited explanation of the sex composition effect.

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Gene–environment interaction between the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and parenting behaviour on children’s theory of mind

Mark Wade, Thomas Hoffmann & Jennifer Jenkins
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, December 2015, Pages 1749-1757

Abstract:
Theory of mind (ToM) is the ability to interpret and understand human behaviour by representing the mental states of others. Like many human capacities, ToM is thought to develop through both complex biological and socialization mechanisms. However, no study has examined the joint effect of genetic and environmental influences on ToM. This study examined how variability in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and parenting behavior — two widely studied factors in ToM development — interacted to predict ToM in pre-school-aged children. Participants were 301 children who were part of an ongoing longitudinal birth cohort study. ToM was assessed at age 4.5 using a previously validated scale. Parenting was assessed through observations of mothers’ cognitively sensitive behaviours. Using a family-based association design, it was suggestive that a particular variant (rs11131149) interacted with maternal cognitive sensitivity on children’s ToM (P = 0.019). More copies of the major allele were associated with higher ToM as a function of increasing cognitive sensitivity. A sizeable 26% of the variability in ToM was accounted for by this interaction. This study provides the first empirical evidence of gene–environment interactions on ToM, supporting the notion that genetic factors may be modulated by potent environmental influences early in development.

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A transactional approach to preventing early childhood neglect: The Family Check-Up as a public health strategy

Thomas Dishion et al.
Development and Psychopathology, November 2015, Pages 1647-1660

Abstract:
This study examined the hypothesis that a brief, strengths-based home visiting strategy can promote positive engagement between caregiver and child and thereby reduce various forms of early childhood neglect. A total of 731 low-income families receiving services through the Women, Infants, and Children nutritional supplement program were randomized to the Women, Infants, and Children as usual or the Family Check-Up intervention. Assessments and intervention services were delivered in the home environment at ages 2, 3, 4, and 5. During the assessments, staff videotaped caregiver–child interactions and rated various features of the home environment, including the physical appropriateness of the home setting for children. Trained observers later coded the videotapes, unaware of the family's intervention condition. Specific caregiver–child interaction patterns were coded and macroratings were made of the caregiver's affection, monitoring, and involvement with the child. An intention to treat design revealed that randomization to the Family Check-Up increased duration of positive engagement between caregivers and children by age 3, which in turn was prognostic of less neglect of the child at age 4, controlling for family adversity. It was also found that family adversity moderated the impact of the intervention, such that the families with the most adverse circumstances were highly responsive to the intervention. Families with the highest levels of adversity exhibited the strongest mediation between positive engagement and reduction of neglect. Findings are discussed with respect to developmental theory and their potential implications for a public health approach to the prevention of early childhood maltreatment.

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Using Identity Processes to Understand Persistent Inequality in Parenting

Jessica Collett, Kelcie Vercel & Olevia Boykin
Social Psychology Quarterly, December 2015, Pages 345-364

Abstract:
Despite growing acceptance of a “new fatherhood” urging fathers to be engaged in family life, men’s relative contributions to housework and child care have remained largely stagnant over the past twenty years. Using data from in-depth interviews, we describe how identity processes may contribute to this persistent inequality in parenting. We propose that the specificity of men’s identity standards for the father role is related to role-relevant behavior, and that the vague expectations many associate with “new fatherhood” both contribute to and result from men’s underinvolvement. Consistent with this proposal, we find that while all fathers face difficulty living up to expectations of “new fatherhood,” those with vague identity standards contribute less to carework and are less committed to the father identity, in part because they are less likely to experience self-discrepancy. We outline the implications of our results for future research in identity theory and for understanding inequality in households.

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Effects of Economic Hardship: Testing the Family Stress Model Over Time

Tricia Neppl, Jennifer Senia & Brent Donnellan
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study evaluated connections between marital distress, harsh parenting, and child externalizing behaviors in line with predictions from the Family Stress Model (FSM). Prospective, longitudinal data came from 273 mothers, fathers, and children participating when the child was 2, between 3 and 5, and between 6 and 10 years old. Assessments included observational and self-report measures. Information regarding economic hardship and economic pressure were assessed during toddlerhood, and parental emotional distress, couple conflict, and harsh parenting were collected during early childhood. Child externalizing behavior was assessed during both toddlerhood and middle childhood. Results were consistent with predictions from the FSM in that economic hardship led to economic pressure, which was associated with parental emotional distress and couple conflict. This conflict was associated with harsh parenting and child problem behavior. This pathway remained statistically significant controlling for externalizing behavior in toddlerhood.

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Social Effects in Employer Learning: An Analysis of Siblings

Neel Rao
Labour Economics, January 2016, Pages 24–36

Abstract:
This paper examines whether wages are based on information about personal contacts. I develop a theory of labor markets with imperfect information in which related workers have correlated abilities. I study wage setting under two alternative processes: individual learning, under which employers observe only a worker’s own characteristics, and social learning, under which employers also observe those of a relative. Using sibling data from the NLSY79, I test for a form of statistical nepotism in which a sibling’s performance is priced into a worker’s wage. Empirically, an older sibling’s test score has a larger impact on a younger sibling’s log wage than a younger sibling’s test score has on an older sibling’s log wage. The estimates provide strong support for social effects in employer learning.

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A Longitudinal Examination of Positive Parenting Following an Acceptance-Based Couple Intervention

Melinda Ippolito Morrill, Matt Hawrilenko & James Córdova
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Positive parenting practices have been shown to be essential for healthy child development, and yet have also been found to be particularly challenging for parents to enact and maintain. This article explores an innovative approach for increasing positive parenting by targeting specific positive emotional processes within marital relationships. Couple emotional acceptance is a powerful mechanism that has repeatedly been found to improve romantic relationships, but whether these effects extend to the larger family environment is less well understood. The current longitudinal study examined the impact of improved relational acceptance after a couple intervention on mother’s and father’s positive parenting. Participants included 244 parents (122 couples) in the Marriage Checkup (MC) study, a randomized, controlled, acceptance-based, intervention study. Data indicated that both women and men experienced significantly greater felt acceptance 2 weeks after the MC intervention, treatment women demonstrated greater positive parenting 2 weeks after the intervention, and all treatment participants’ positive parenting was better maintained than control couple’s 6 months later. Importantly, although mothers’ positive parenting was not influenced by different levels of felt acceptance, changes in father’s positive parenting were positively associated with changes in felt acceptance. As men felt more accepted by their wives, their levels of positive parenting changed in kind, and this effect on positive parenting was found to be mediated by felt acceptance 2 weeks after the MC. Overall, findings supported the potential benefits of targeting couple acceptance to generate positive cascades throughout the larger family system.

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Long-term consequences of childhood maltreatment: Altered amygdala functional connectivity

Kelly Jedd et al.
Development and Psychopathology, November 2015, Pages 1577-1589

Abstract:
Childhood maltreatment is a serious individual, familial, and societal threat that compromises healthy development and is associated with lasting alterations to emotion perception, processing, and regulation (Cicchetti & Curtis, 2005; Pollak, Cicchetti, Hornung, & Reed, 2000; Pollak & Tolley-Schell, 2003). Individuals with a history of maltreatment show altered structural and functional brain development in both frontal and limbic structures (Hart & Rubia, 2012). In particular, previous research has identified hyperactive amygdala responsivity associated with childhood maltreatment (e.g., Dannlowski et al., 2012). However, less is known about the impact of maltreatment on the relationship between the amygdala and other brain regions. The present study employed an emotion processing functional magnetic resonance imaging task to examine task-based activation and functional connectivity in adults who experienced maltreatment as children. The sample included adults with a history of substantiated childhood maltreatment (n = 33) and comparison adults (n = 38) who were well matched on demographic variables, all of whom have been studied prospectively since childhood. The maltreated group exhibited greater activation than comparison participants in the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia. In addition, maltreated adults showed increased amygdala connectivity with the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The results suggest that the intense early stress of childhood maltreatment is associated with lasting alterations to frontolimbic circuitry.

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Paid Family Leave, Fathers' Leave-Taking, and Leave-Sharing in Dual-Earner Households

Ann Bartel et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
This paper provides quasi-experimental evidence on the impact of paid leave legislation on fathers’ leave-taking, as well as on the division of leave between mothers and fathers in dual-earner households. Using difference-in-difference and difference-in-difference-in-difference designs, we study California’s Paid Family Leave (CA-PFL) program, which is the first source of government-provided paid parental leave available to fathers in the United States. Our results show that fathers in California are 0.9 percentage points — or 46 percent relative to the pre-treatment mean — more likely to take leave in the first year of their children’s lives when CA-PFL is available. We also examine how parents allocate leave in households where both parents work. We find that CA-PFL increases father-only leave-taking (i.e., father on leave while mother is at work) by 50 percent and joint leave-taking (i.e., both parents on leave at the same time) by 28 percent. These effects are much larger for fathers of sons than for fathers of daughters, and almost entirely driven by fathers of first-born children and fathers in occupations with a high share of female workers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 7, 2015

Lives at stake

The Long-Term Impacts of Medicaid Exposure in Early Childhood: Evidence from the Program's Origin

Michel Boudreaux, Ezra Golberstein & Donna McAlpine
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the long-term impact of exposure to Medicaid in early childhood on adult health and economic status. The staggered timing of Medicaid's adoption across the states created meaningful variation in cumulative exposure to Medicaid for birth cohorts that are now in adulthood. Analyses of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics suggest exposure to Medicaid in early childhood (age 0-5) is associated with statistically significant and meaningful improvements in adult health (age 25-54), and this effect is only seen in subgroups targeted by the program. Results for economic outcomes are imprecise and we are unable to come to definitive conclusions. Using separate data we find evidence of two mechanisms that could plausibly link Medicaid's introduction to long-term outcomes: contemporaneous increases in health services utilization for children and reductions in family medical debt.

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Dependent Health Insurance Laws and College Enrollment: Is There Evidence of College Lock?

David Yaskewich
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, December 2015, Pages 557-569

Abstract:
For many years, the tax code gave an incentive for employers to offer dependent coverage for full-time students up to the age of 24. Recently, a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 mandated that the definition of a dependent include young adults up to age 26, regardless of student status. Many states have passed similar mandates. The newly-acquired dependent status of non-students may encourage some young adults to avoid college. I compared a state that made the largest changes to its definition of a dependent (New Jersey) to a neighboring state that made no change (Pennsylvania). This study estimated that New Jersey’s law reduced college enrollment by 15–24 % in New Jersey relative to Pennsylvania.

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Insurance, race/ethnicity, and sex in the search for a new physician

Rajiv Sharma, Arnab Mitra & Miron Stano
Economics Letters, December 2015, Pages 150–153

Abstract:
We employed simulated patient calls to a national random sample of primary care physicians to assess appointment availability for adults who differed by insurance, race/ethnicity, and sex. The disparities we found are much larger than those reported in previous assessments, highlighting the importance of including race/ethnicity and sex in such research.

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New evidence on factors affecting the level and growth of US health care spending

James Thornton & Svetlana Beilfuss
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2016, Pages 15-18

Abstract:
The dual problems of high and rising medical care expenditures and substantial differences in spending across geographic regions have long plagued the US health care system. We provide new evidence to explain why some states and regions of the country spend much more on medical care than others, and why health care spending for the nation as a whole has been growing rapidly over the last several decades. To do this, we estimate a health care spending panel data model using annual data on all 50 states for the period 1993–2009. Our model includes a number of socio-economic, health care provider, lifestyle and environmental variables that past studies indicate may affect the level or growth of aggregate health care spending. We exploit the time effect component of our model to obtain an upper-bound estimate of the effect of advances in medical technology. Our findings indicate that the most important factors influencing the level of spending are availability of providers, income, excessive alcohol consumption, Medicaid coverage, HMO health plans and the proportion of the population elderly and African-American. The principal drivers of growth have been the continual introduction of new medical technologies, and the growth of providers and income.

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It's About Time: Effects of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Mandate On Time Use

Gregory Colman & Dhaval Dave
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
One of the main purposes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to enable Americans to make more productive use of their time. This is apparent in the rationale given for the ACA’s extension of dependent care coverage, which requires employer-sponsored insurance plans that cover the children of insured workers to continue to cover these dependents until they turn 26. A number of studies have examined the effect of the dependent care coverage provision on insurance coverage, health, healthcare utilization, and labor supply among young adults. None that we are aware of has directly examined effects on time use. If, as suggested by prior work, the provision reduced the amount of time young adults work, the question arises, what have these adults done with the extra time? A related question is whether the change made them better off. We use the American Time Use Survey from 2003-2013 to answer these two main questions, providing several contributions to the literature on the ACA. Models are based on a difference-in-differences framework, and the results suggest that the ACA’s dependent coverage provision has reduced job-lock, as well as the duration of the average doctor’s visit, including time spent waiting for and receiving medical care, among persons ages 19-25. The latter effect is consistent with a substitution from hospital ER utilization to greater routine physician care. The extra time has gone into socializing, and to a lesser extent, into education and job search. Availability of insurance and change in work time appear to have increased young adults’ subjective well-being, enabling them to spend time on activities they view as more meaningful than those they did before insurance became available.

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The Effects of the Massachusetts Health Reform on Household Financial Distress

Bhashkar Mazumder & Sarah Miller
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
A major benefit of health insurance coverage is that it protects the insured from unexpected medical costs that may devastate their personal finances. In this paper, we use detailed credit report information on a large panel of individuals to examine the effect of a major health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006 on a broad set of financial outcomes. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the impact of the reform across counties and age groups using levels of pre-reform insurance coverage as a measure of the potential effect of the reform. We find that the reform reduced the total amount of debt that was past due, the fraction of all debt that was past due, improved credit scores and reduced personal bankruptcies. We also find suggestive evidence that the reform decreased third party collections. The effects are most pronounced for individuals who had limited access to credit markets before the reform. These results show that health care reform has implications that extend well beyond the health and health care utilization of those who gain insurance coverage.

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Information Frictions and Adverse Selection: Policy Interventions in Health Insurance Markets

Benjamin Handel, Jonathan Kolstad & Johannes Spinnewijn
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
A large literature has analyzed pricing inefficiencies in health insurance markets due to adverse selection, typically assuming informed, active consumers on the demand side of the market. However, recent evidence suggests that many consumers have information frictions that lead to suboptimal health plan choices. As a result, policies such as information provision, plan recommendations, and smart defaults to improve consumer choices are being implemented in many applied contexts. In this paper we develop a general framework to study insurance market equilibrium and evaluate policy interventions in the presence of choice frictions. Friction-reducing policies can increase welfare by facilitating better matches between consumers and plans, but can decrease welfare by increasing the correlation between willingness-to-pay and costs, exacerbating adverse selection. We identify relationships between the underlying distributions of consumer (i) costs (ii) surplus from risk protection and (iii) choice frictions that determine whether friction-reducing policies will be on net welfare increasing or reducing. We extend the analysis to study how policies to improve consumer choices interact with the supply-side policy of risk-adjustment transfers and show that the effectiveness of the latter policy can have important implications for the effectiveness of the former. We implement the model empirically using proprietary data on insurance choices, utilization, and consumer information from a large firm. We leverage structural estimates from prior work with these data and highlight how the model's micro-foundations can be estimated in practice. In our specific setting, we find that friction-reducing policies exacerbate adverse selection, essentially leading to the market fully unraveling, and reduce welfare. Risk-adjustment transfers are complementary, substantially mitigating the negative impact of friction-reducing policies, but having little effect in their absence.

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Estimating Equilibrium in Health Insurance Exchanges: Price Competition and Subsidy Design Under the ACA

Pietro Tebaldi
Stanford Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
The recent US health care reform (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; ACA) instituted a subsidy program that provides discounts on health insurance premiums for low-income households. Any evaluation of the ACA or other related programs necessitates the estimation of consumer demand and the way subsidies affect insurers' costs and market power. To do so, I combine data from the first year of the Californian ACA exchange - where 90% of buyers receive federal subsidies - with an equilibrium model of insurance demand and imperfect competition. Taking advantage of ACA pricing restrictions and regional variation in market composition, I identify and estimate demand and cost, and then assess outcomes under the current and alternative subsidy designs. I find that, compared to a voucher program, the current design leads to a substantial increase in market power: Price increases do not translate one-for-one to premium increases, and this leads to a less elastic demand response, hence higher markups. I also show that varying subsidies by age could be an attractive possibility: increasing participation of younger individuals - estimated to be cheaper to cover and more price sensitive - reduces market power and average cost. I estimate that this implies that participation is 30% greater and per-insured public expenditure is 15% lower when compared to the current subsidy design.

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The Effects of Medicaid Eligibility on Mental Health Services and Out-of-Pocket Spending for Mental Health Services

Ezra Golberstein & Gilbert Gonzales
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Data Sources: Secondary data from the 1998–2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component merged with National Health Interview Survey and state Medicaid eligibility rules data.

Study Design: Instrumental variables regression models were used to estimate the impact of expanded Medicaid eligibility on health insurance coverage, mental health services utilization, and out-of-pocket spending for mental health services.

Principal Findings: Medicaid expansions significantly increased health insurance coverage and reduced out-of-pocket spending on mental health services for low-income adults. Effects of expanded Medicaid eligibility on out-of-pocket spending were strongest for adults with psychological distress. Expanding Medicaid eligibility did not significantly increase the use of mental health services.

Conclusions: Previous Medicaid eligibility expansions did not substantially increase mental health service utilization, but they did reduce out-of-pocket mental health care spending.

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Physician spending and subsequent risk of malpractice claims: Observational study

Anupam Jena et al.
BMJ, November 2015

Study question: Is a higher use of resources by physicians associated with a reduced risk of malpractice claims?

Methods: Using data on nearly all admissions to acute care hospitals in Florida during 2000-09 linked to malpractice history of the attending physician, this study investigated whether physicians in seven specialties with higher average hospital charges in a year were less likely to face an allegation of malpractice in the following year, adjusting for patient characteristics, comorbidities, and diagnosis. To provide clinical context, the study focused on obstetrics, where the choice of caesarean deliveries are suggested to be influenced by defensive medicine, and whether obstetricians with higher adjusted caesarean rates in a year had fewer alleged malpractice incidents the following year.

Study answer and limitations: The data included 24 637 physicians, 154 725 physician years, and 18 352 391 hospital admissions; 4342 malpractice claims were made against physicians (2.8% per physician year). Across specialties, greater average spending by physicians was associated with reduced risk of incurring a malpractice claim. For example, among internists, the probability of experiencing an alleged malpractice incident in the following year ranged from 1.5% (95% confidence interval 1.2% to 1.7%) in the bottom spending fifth ($19 725 (£12 800; €17 400) per hospital admission) to 0.3% (0.2% to 0.5%) in the top fifth ($39 379 per hospital admission). In six of the specialties, a greater use of resources was associated with statistically significantly lower subsequent rates of alleged malpractice incidents. A principal limitation of this study is that information on illness severity was lacking. It is also uncertain whether higher spending is defensively motivated.

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Medical Malpractice Damage Caps and Provider Reimbursement

Andrew Friedson
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A common state legislative maneuver to combat rising healthcare costs is to reform the tort system by implementing caps on noneconomic damages awardable in medical malpractice cases. Using the implementation of caps in several states and large database of private insurance claims, I estimate the effect of damage caps on the amount providers charge to insurance companies as well as the amount that insurance companies reimburse providers for medical services. The amount providers charge insurers is unresponsive to tort reform, but the amount that insurers reimburse providers decreases for some procedures.

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Effect of Decreasing County Mental Health Services on the Emergency Department

Arica Nesper et al.
Annals of Emergency Medicine, forthcoming

Study objective: We evaluate the effect of decreasing county mental health services on the emergency department (ED).

Methods: This is a retrospective before-and-after study at a Level I academic university hospital adjacent to the county mental health treatment center. On October 1, 2009, the county decreased its inpatient psychiatric unit from 100 to 50 beds and closed its outpatient unit. Electronic health record data were collected for ED visits for the 8 months before the decrease in county services (October 2008 to May 2009) and the 8 months after the decrease (October 2009 to May 2010). Data for all adult patients (≥18 years) evaluated for a psychiatric consultation by a licensed clinical social worker were included. Outcome measures included the number of patients evaluated and the ED length of stay for those patients.

Results: One thousand three hundred ninety-two patient visits included a psychiatry consultation for the study period. The median age was 38 years (interquartile range [IQR] 27, 49), with no difference in age between periods. The mean number of daily psychiatry consultations increased from 1.3 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2 to 1.5) before closure to 4.4 (95% CI 4.1 to 4.7) afterward, with a difference in means of 3.0 visits (95% CI 2.7 to 3.3 visits). Average ED length of stay for psychiatry consultation patients was 14.1 hours (95% CI 13.1 to 15.0 hours) before closure and 21.9 hours (95% CI 20.7 to 23.2 hours) afterward, with a difference in means of 7.9 hours (95% CI 5.5 to 10.2 hours).

Conclusion: The number of visits and length of stay for patients undergoing psychiatric consultation in the ED increased significantly after a decrease in county mental health services. This phenomenon has important implications for future policy to address the challenges of caring for patients with psychiatric needs in our communities.

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The Efficiency Consequences of Health Care Privatization: Evidence from Medicare Advantage Exits

Mark Duggan, Jonathan Gruber & Boris Vabson
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
There is considerable controversy over the use of private insurers to deliver public health insurance benefits. We investigate the efficiency consequences of patients enrolling in Medicare Advantage (MA), private managed care organizations that compete with the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program. We use exogenous shocks to MA enrollment arising from plan exits from New York counties in the early 2000s, and utilize unique data that links hospital inpatient utilization to Medicare enrollment records. We find that individuals who were forced out of MA plans due to plan exit saw very large increases in hospital utilization. These increases appear to arise through plans both limiting access to nearby hospitals and reducing elective admissions, yet they are not associated with any measurable reduction in hospital quality or patient mortality.

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Overconfidence and Health Insurance Participation Among the Elderly

Wei Huang & Mi Luo
Harvard Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
People may have imperfect information about their health status and thus make suboptimal decisions in insurance participation. Using national representative samples of the elderly in US and China, we find that people with lower socio-economic status and poorer health are relatively less likely to realize how unhealthy they are and this overconfidence is associated with no insurance participation. Accurate health information provided through physical examinations induces relatively higher participation among the overconfident people afterwards. These findings contribute a new explanation for the insufficient participation and advantageous selection in health insurance, and provide new insights on the insurance market and policy suggestions.

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Prescription Drug Advertising and Drug Utilization: The Role of Medicare Part D

Abby Alpert, Darius Lakdawalla & Neeraj Sood
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Pharmaceutical firms currently spend over $4 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs, a nearly 30-fold increase since 1993 that has led to much debate about its value to patients. We examine how DTCA influences drug utilization along the extensive and intensive margins by exploiting a large and plausibly exogenous shock to DTCA driven by the introduction of Medicare Part D in 2006. Using data on advertising for local media markets from Nielsen, we show that Part D led to large relative increases in DTCA in geographic areas with a high concentration of Medicare beneficiaries compared to areas with a low concentration. We examine the effects of this sudden differential increase in advertising on non-elderly individuals to isolate the effects of advertising on drug utilization from the direct effects of Part D. Using data from pharmacy claims, we find substantial differential increases in drug utilization that mirror the increases in DTCA after Part D. These effects are driven both by increased take-up of treatment and improved drug adherence. Our results imply significant spillovers from Medicare Part D onto the under-65 population and an important role for non-price factors in influencing prescription drug utilization.

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Higher Incentive Payments in Medicare Advantage's Pay-for-Performance Program Did Not Improve Quality But Did Increase Plan Offerings

Timothy Layton & Andrew Ryan
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the effects of the size of financial bonuses on quality of care and the number of plan offerings in the Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration.

Study Design: The Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration began in 2012. Under the Demonstration, all Medicare Advantage plans were eligible to receive bonus payments based on plan-level quality scores (star ratings). In some counties, plans were eligible to receive bonus payments that were twice as large as in other counties. We used this variation in incentives to evaluate the effects of bonus size on star ratings and the number of plan offerings in the Demonstration using a differences-in-differences identification strategy. We used matching to create a comparison group of counties that did not receive double bonuses but had similar levels of the preintervention outcomes.

Principal Findings: Results from the difference-in-differences analysis suggest that the receipt of double bonuses was not associated with an increase in star ratings. In the matched sample, the receipt of double bonuses was associated with a statistically insignificant increase of +0.034 (approximately 1 percent) in the average star rating (p > .10, 95 percent CI: −0.015, 0.083). In contrast, the receipt of double bonuses was associated with an increase in the number of plans offered. In the matched sample, the receipt of double bonuses was associated with an overall increase of +0.814 plans (approximately 5.8 percent) (p < .05, 95 percent CI: 0.078, 1.549). We estimate that the double bonuses increased payments by $3.43 billion over the first 3 years of the Demonstration.

Conclusions: At great expense to Medicare, double bonuses in the Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration were not associated with improved quality but were associated with more plan offerings.

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Health Insurance Generosity and Conditional Coverage: Evidence from Medicaid Managed Care in Kentucky

James Marton & Aaron Yelowitz
Southern Economic Journal, October 2015, Pages 535–555

Abstract:
This article estimates the impact of the introduction of Medicaid managed care (MMC) on the formal Medicaid participation of children. We employ a quasi-experimental approach exploiting the location-specific timing of MMC implementation in Kentucky. Using data from the March Current Population Survey from 1995 to 2003, our findings suggest that the introduction of MMC increases the likelihood of being uninsured and decreases formal Medicaid participation. This finding is consistent with an increase in “conditional coverage,” waiting until medical care is needed to sign up or re-enroll in Medicaid. These effects are concentrated among low-income children and absent for high-income children. We find no evidence of “crowd-in,” substituting private coverage for Medicaid. These results are robust to multiple placebo tests and imply the potential for less formal participation (i.e., more conditional coverage) among the Affordable Care Act-Medicaid expansion population (which is likely to be primarily covered under MMC) than is typically predicted.

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All Internal in the Family? Measuring Spillovers from Public Health Insurance

Thomas Koch
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2015, Pages 959-979

Abstract:
Measurements of the impact of public health insurance have typically focused on the health and insurance outcomes of the newly eligible child. In this paper, I investigate the consequences of public health insurance for the other members of the household. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that a child’s public health insurance eligibility crowds out the private health insurance of parents by 11 percentage points when it is not accompanied by parental eligibility. This loss of insurance corresponds to changes in self-reported health and preventive care for women.

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The Impact of Privacy Regulation and Technology Incentives: The Case of Health Information Exchanges

Idris Adjerid et al.
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Health information exchanges (HIEs) are healthcare information technology efforts designed to foster coordination of patient care across the fragmented U.S. healthcare system. Their purpose is to improve efficiency and quality of care through enhanced sharing of patient data. Across the United States, numerous states have enacted laws that provide various forms of incentives for HIEs and address growing privacy concerns associated with the sharing of patient data. We investigate the impact on the emergence of HIEs of state laws that incentivize HIE efforts and state laws that include different types of privacy requirements for sharing healthcare data, focusing on the impact of laws that include requirements for patient consent. Although we observe that privacy regulation alone can result in a decrease in planning and operational HIEs, we also find that, when coupled with incentives, privacy regulation with requirements for patient consent can actually positively impact the development of HIE efforts. Among all states with laws creating HIE incentives, only states that combined incentives with consent requirements saw a net increase in operational HIEs; HIEs in those states also reported decreased levels of privacy concern relative to HIEs in states with other legislative approaches. Our results contribute to the burgeoning literature on health information technology and the debate on the impact of privacy regulation on technology innovation. In particular, they show that the impact of privacy regulation on the success of information technology efforts is heterogeneous: both positive and negative effects can arise from regulation, depending on the specific attributes of privacy laws.

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The Anatomy of Physician Payments: Contracting Subject to Complexity

Jeffrey Clemens, Joshua Gottlieb & Tímea Laura Molnár
NBER Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
The reimbursement rates that private insurers pay to physicians are closely linked to those set by Medicare, despite the well-known limitations of Medicare's fee schedule. We ask to what extent this relationship reflects the use of Medicare's relative price menu as a benchmark, in order to reduce transaction costs in an otherwise complex pricing environment. We analyze 71 million claims from a large private insurer, which represent $6.3 billion in spending over three years. Using two empirical approaches, we estimate that 75 percent of services, accounting for 65 percent of dollars, are benchmarked to Medicare's relative prices. The Medicare-benchmarked share is higher for services provided by small physician groups. It is lower for capital-intensive treatment categories, for which Medicare's average-cost reimbursements deviate most from marginal cost pricing. When the insurer deviates from Medicare's relative prices, these deviations are consistent with adjusting towards the marginal costs of treatment. Our results suggest that providers and private insurers coordinate around Medicare's menu of relative payments for simplicity, but innovate when the value of doing so is likely highest.

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EHR Adoption and Hospital Performance: Time-Related Effects

Julia Adler-Milstein, Jordan Everson & Shoou-Yih Lee
Health Services Research, December 2015, Pages 1751–1771

Objective: To assess whether, 5 years into the HITECH programs, national data reflect a consistent relationship between EHR adoption and hospital outcomes across three important dimensions of hospital performance.

Study Design: We examined the relationship between EHR adoption and three hospital outcomes (process adherence, patient satisfaction, efficiency) using ordinary least squares models with hospital fixed effects. Time-related effects were assessed through comparing the impact of EHR adoption pre (2008/2009) versus post (2010/2011) meaningful use and by meaningful use attestation cohort (2011, 2012, 2013, Never). We used a continuous measure of hospital EHR adoption based on the proportion of electronic functions implemented.

Principal Findings: Higher levels of EHR adoption were associated with better performance on process adherence (0.147; p < .001) and patient satisfaction (0.118; p < .001), but not efficiency (0.01; p = .78). For all three outcomes, there was a stronger, positive relationship between EHR adoption and performance in 2010/2011 compared to 2008/2009. We found mixed results based on meaningful use attestation cohort.

Conclusions: Performance gains associated with EHR adoption are apparent in more recent years. The large national investment in EHRs appears to be delivering more consistent benefits than indicated by earlier national studies.

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Comparison of hypertension healthcare outcomes among older people in the USA and England

Alan Marshall et al.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: The USA and England have very different health systems. Comparing hypertension care outcomes in each country enables an evaluation of the effectiveness of each system.

Method: The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the Health and Retirement Survey are used to compare the prevalence of controlled, uncontrolled and undiagnosed hypertension within the hypertensive population (diagnosed or measured within the survey data used) aged 50 years and above in the USA and in England.

Results: Controlled hypertension is more prevalent within the hypertensive population in the USA (age 50–64: 0.53 (0.50 to 0.57) and age 65+: 0.51 (0.49 to 0.53)) than in England (age 50–64: 0.45 (0.42 to 0.48) and age 65+: 0.42 (0.40 to 0.45)). This difference is driven by lower undiagnosed hypertension in the USA (age 50–64: 0.18 (0.15–0.21) and age 65+: 0.13 (0.12 to 0.14)) relative to England (age 50–64: 0.26 (0.24 to 0.29) and age 65+: 0.22 (0.20 to 0.24)). The prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension within the hypertensive population is very similar in the USA (age 50–64: 0.29 (0.26 to 0.32) and age 65+: 0.36 (0.34 to 0.38)) and England (age 50–64: 0.29 (0.26 to 0.32) and age 65+: 0.36 (0.34 to 0.39)). Hypertension care outcomes are comparable across US insurance categories. In both countries, undiagnosed hypertension is positively correlated with wealth (ages 50–64). Uncontrolled hypertension declines with rising wealth in the USA.

Conclusions: Different diagnostic practices are likely to drive the cross-country differences in undiagnosed hypertension. US government health systems perform at least as well as private healthcare and are more equitable in the distribution of care outcomes. Higher undiagnosed hypertension among the affluent may reflect less frequent medical contact.

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The Star Treatment: Estimating the Impact of Star Ratings on Medicare Advantage Enrollments

Michael Darden & Ian McCarthy
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2015, Pages 980-1008

Abstract:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has calculated and disseminated an overall contract quality star rating system (from one to five stars) for all Medicare Advantage (MA) contracts since 2009. In this paper, we study the effect of CMS-reported star ratings on MA plan enrollment. We formulate a discrete choice demand model for differentiated MA plans and estimate the model with market-level plan enrollment data. We identify separate enrollment effects for each star level using a regression discontinuity research design that exploits plausibly random variation around star thresholds. The results suggest that the 2009 published star ratings directed beneficiaries away from low-rated plans more than actively toward high-rated plans. When we repeat the analysis for 2010 published quality stars, we find no significant effects. We present suggestive evidence that supply-side responses to the star rating system may explain the one-time enrollment response to CMS-published quality stars.

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Quality Choice and Market Structure: A Dynamic Analysis of Nursing Home Oligopolies

Haizhen Lin
International Economic Review, November 2015, Pages 1261–1290

Abstract:
This article develops a dynamic model of entry and exit to analyze quality choice and oligopoly market structure in the nursing home industry. I find significant heterogeneity in the competitive effects across market structures: Firms of similar quality levels compete more strongly than dissimilar firms. Sunken entry costs are extremely large, and quality adjustment behavior is governed by significant fixed adjustment costs. A proposal to eliminate low-quality nursing homes is found to cause a large supply-side shortage, and another proposal to lower entry costs has offered a perverse incentive to provide low quality of care.

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Do Cost Savings from Reductions in Nosocomial Infections Justify Additional Costs of Single-Bed Rooms in Intensive Care Units? A Simulation Case Study

Hessam Sadatsafavi et al.
Journal of Critical Care, forthcoming

Purpose: Evidence shows that single-patient rooms can play an important role in preventing cross-transmission and reducing nosocomial infections in intensive care units (ICUs). This case study investigated whether cost savings from reductions in nosocomial infections justify the additional construction and operation costs of single-bed rooms in ICUs.

Materials and Methods: We conducted deterministic and probabilistic return-on-investment analyses of converting the space occupied by open-bay rooms to single-bed rooms in an exemplary ICU. We used the findings of a study of an actual ICU in which the association between the locations of patients in single-bed versus open-bay rooms with infection risk was evaluated.

Results: Despite uncertainty in the estimates of costs, infection risks, and length of stay, the cost savings from the reduction of nosocomial infections in single-bed rooms in this case substantially outweighed additional construction and operation expenses. The mean value of internal rate of return over a five-year analysis period was 56.18% (95% Credible Interval: 55.34%–57.02%).

Conclusions: This case study shows that although single-patient rooms are more costly to build and operate, they can result in substantial savings compared with open-bay rooms by avoiding costs associated with nosocomial infections.

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Effect of Financial Incentives to Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels: A Randomized Clinical Trial

David Asch et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 November 2015, Pages 1926-1935

Objective: To determine whether physician financial incentives, patient incentives, or shared physician and patient incentives are more effective than control in reducing levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) among patients with high cardiovascular risk.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Four-group, multicenter, cluster randomized clinical trial with a 12-month intervention conducted from 2011 to 2014 in 3 primary care practices in the northeastern United States. Three hundred forty eligible primary care physicians (PCPs) were enrolled from a pool of 421. Of 25 627 potentially eligible patients of those PCPs, 1503 enrolled. Patients aged 18 to 80 years were eligible if they had a 10-year Framingham Risk Score (FRS) of 20% or greater, had coronary artery disease equivalents with LDL-C levels of 120 mg/dL or greater, or had an FRS of 10% to 20% with LDL-C levels of 140 mg/dL or greater. Investigators were blinded to study group, but participants were not.

Interventions: Primary care physicians were randomly assigned to control, physician incentives, patient incentives, or shared physician-patient incentives. Physicians in the physician incentives group were eligible to receive up to $1024 per enrolled patient meeting LDL-C goals. Patients in the patient incentives group were eligible for the same amount, distributed through daily lotteries tied to medication adherence. Physicians and patients in the shared incentives group shared these incentives. Physicians and patients in the control group received no incentives tied to outcomes, but all patient participants received up to $355 each for trial participation.

Results: Patients in the shared physician-patient incentives group achieved a mean reduction in LDL-C of 33.6 mg/dL (95% CI, 30.1-37.1; baseline, 160.1 mg/dL; 12 months, 126.4 mg/dL); those in physician incentives achieved a mean reduction of 27.9 mg/dL (95% CI, 24.9-31.0; baseline, 159.9 mg/dL; 12 months, 132.0 mg/dL); those in patient incentives achieved a mean reduction of 25.1 mg/dL (95% CI, 21.6-28.5; baseline, 160.6 mg/dL; 12 months, 135.5 mg/dL); and those in the control group achieved a mean reduction of 25.1 mg/dL (95% CI, 21.7-28.5; baseline, 161.5 mg/dL; 12 months, 136.4 mg/dL; P < .001 for comparison of all 4 groups). Only patients in the shared physician-patient incentives group achieved reductions in LDL-C levels statistically different from those in the control group (8.5 mg/dL; 95% CI, 3.8-13.3; P = .002).

Conclusions and Relevance: In primary care practices, shared financial incentives for physicians and patients, but not incentives to physicians or patients alone, resulted in a statistically significant difference in reduction of LDL-C levels at 12 months. This reduction was modest, however, and further information is needed to understand whether this approach represents good value.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 6, 2015

How kind of you

High economic inequality leads higher-income individuals to be less generous

Stéphane Côté, Julian House & Robb Willer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on social class and generosity suggests that higher-income individuals are less generous than poorer individuals. We propose that this pattern emerges only under conditions of high economic inequality, contexts that can foster a sense of entitlement among higher-income individuals that, in turn, reduces their generosity. Analyzing results of a unique nationally representative survey that included a real-stakes giving opportunity (n = 1,498), we found that in the most unequal US states, higher-income respondents were less generous than lower-income respondents. In the least unequal states, however, higher-income individuals were more generous. To better establish causality, we next conducted an experiment (n = 704) in which apparent levels of economic inequality in participants’ home states were portrayed as either relatively high or low. Participants were then presented with a giving opportunity. Higher-income participants were less generous than lower-income participants when inequality was portrayed as relatively high, but there was no association between income and generosity when inequality was portrayed as relatively low. This research finds that the tendency for higher-income individuals to be less generous pertains only when inequality is high, challenging the view that higher-income individuals are necessarily more selfish, and suggesting a previously undocumented way in which inequitable resource distributions undermine collective welfare.

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Fostering selflessness through I-sharing

Mark Huneke & Elizabeth Pinel
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2016, Pages 10–18

Abstract:
Although previous research has shown that perceived objective similarity (Me-sharing) and perceived subjective similarity (I-sharing) both increase liking for strangers, perceived subjective similarity may have a unique effect on selflessness. Study 1 addressed this possibility by focusing on whether I-sharing (but not Me-sharing) promotes greater willingness to share a desired good. After interacting with three ostensible partners (an I-sharer, a Me-sharer, and a Not Similar Other), participants indicated their liking for each of these partners and distributed a desired good between themselves and each partner. Although participants reported higher liking for both the I-sharer and the Me-sharer than for the dissimilar other, when it came to the allocation of the desired good, they showed generosity only to the I-sharer. Study 2 addressed questions lingering from Study 1 by manipulating I-sharing and Me-sharing in a between participants design, by equalizing the importance of the I-sharing and Me-sharing dimensions, and by looking at a separate indicator of selflessness (i.e., helping intentions). Results conceptually replicated those of Study 1, with participants reporting significantly higher helping intentions when they I-shared with their partner than when they Me-shared with their partner (even though participants reported equivalent levels of liking in both partner conditions). Taken, together these findings suggest that subjective similarity contributes uniquely to a person's ability to behave selflessly.

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Finding Excuses To Decline the Ask: A Field Experiment

Christine Exley & Ragan Petrie
Harvard Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
In an online contest, individuals are asked to donate to their favorite animal group after voting for them. By varying whether or not asking for a donation is expected, we can investigate if individuals are less likely to give when they expect the ask. In a baseline treatment, we confirm that individuals are significantly less likely to click to donate if they expect to be asked for a donation. The proportion that clicks declines by 20%. We propose an explanation for these findings: when individuals expect to be asked to give, they may develop excuses not to give. Additional treatments show that individuals also avoid information as an excuse not to give.

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The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Induces a Social Altruism Bias

Nina Marsh et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, 25 November 2015, Pages 15696-15701

Abstract:
Current psychological concepts of social and ecological responsibility emphasize the relevance of altruism, suggesting that more altruistic individuals are more likely to engage in sustainable behaviors. Emerging evidence indicates a central role of the neuropeptide oxytocin in promoting altruism. Whether this influence extends to ecological responsibility or is limited to the social domain remains unknown. In two independent experiments involving 172 human participants, we addressed this question by exposing subjects to a sustainability-related monetary donation task, with the option to support either socially or ecologically framed charities. We found that oxytocin induced a context-dependent change in altruistic behavior away from pro-environmental toward pro-social donations, while keeping constant the overall proportion of donated money. This pro-social bias transcended to the domain of sustainable consumption. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that altruistic priorities vary as a function of oxytocin system activity, which has implications for the promotion of pro-environmental attitudes and eco-friendly behaviors.

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Warm glow of giving collectively – An experimental study

Ivo Bischoff & Thomas Krauskopf
Journal of Economic Psychology, December 2015, Pages 210–218

Abstract:
We report on an experiment to test for a warm glow of giving collectively. Comparing subjects’ affective state before and after the experiment, we find that individual charitable donations create a feeling of warm glow while collective donations do not. Proposing to donate the full endowment collectively improves subjects’ affective state significantly, though the behavioral data suggests that this result cannot be explained by the notion of expressive voting. We also find that subjects who consider Kant’s Categorical Imperative to be an important guideline for individual decisions are more likely to donate the full endowment to charity. This result supports the notion of Kantian thinking as an independent factor explaining cooperative behavior (Roemer, 2014).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Out of the ordinary

Same-sex relationship escalation with uncertain marriage legality: Theory and empirical implications

Amy Farmer & Andrew Horowitz
Southern Economic Journal, April 2015, Pages 995-1011

Abstract:
We develop a strategic model of same-sex dating, cohabitation, and potential marriage with location-specific marriage legality. With an initial illegal location, couples bargain over a relationship path that internalizes the probability of future legalization and potential migration-for-marriage. Our model generates testable, empirical implications on relationship hazard rates, migration, and utility due to changes in migration costs and legalization probabilities. Specifically, we show that decreased migration costs or increased legalization probabilities will increase relationship hazard rates (dissolution) for both daters and cohabitators. These changes will also decrease utility for an identifiable segment of the relationship quality distribution.

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Why (and When) Straight Women Trust Gay Men: Ulterior Mating Motives and Female Competition

Eric Russell et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous findings indicate that heterosexual women experience a greater sense of comfort and trust in their friendships with gay men than in their friendships with heterosexual individuals. In the present studies, we tested a hypothesis that not only explains why women exhibit increased trust in gay men but also yields novel predictions about when (i.e., in what contexts) this phenomenon is likely to occur. Specifically, we propose that gay men's lack of motives to mate with women or to compete with them for mates enhances women's trust in gay men and openness to befriend them. Study 1 demonstrated that women placed greater trust in a gay man's mating - but not non-mating (e.g., career) advice - than in the same advice given by heterosexual individuals. Study 2 showed that women perceived a gay man to be more sincere in scenarios relevant to sexual and competitive mating deception. In Study 3, exposing women to a visualization of increased mating competition enhanced their trust in gay men; when mating competition was salient, women's trust in mating information from a gay man was amplified. Study 4 showed that women who perceived higher levels of mating competition were more open to befriending gay men. Together, these converging findings support our central hypothesis, which not only provides a distal explanation for the trust that straight women place in gay men, but also provides novel insights into previously unidentified contexts that facilitate the formation and strengthening of this unique bond.

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Sexual Arousal and Masculinity-Femininity of Women

Gerulf Rieger et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies with volunteers in sexual arousal experiments suggest that women are, on average, physiologically sexually aroused to both male and female sexual stimuli. Lesbians are the exception because they tend to be more aroused to their preferred sex than the other sex, a pattern typically seen in men. A separate research line suggests that lesbians are, on average, more masculine than straight women in their nonsexual behaviors and characteristics. Hence, a common influence could affect the expression of male-typical sexual and nonsexual traits in some women. By integrating these research programs, we tested the hypothesis that male-typical sexual arousal of lesbians relates to their nonsexual masculinity. Moreover, the most masculine-behaving lesbians, in particular, could show the most male-typical sexual responses. Across combined data, Study 1 examined these patterns in women's genital arousal and self-reports of masculine and feminine behaviors. Study 2 examined these patterns with another measure of sexual arousal, pupil dilation to sexual stimuli, and with observer-rated masculinity-femininity in addition to self-reported masculinity-femininity. Although both studies confirmed that lesbians were more male-typical in their sexual arousal and nonsexual characteristics, on average, there were no indications that these 2 patterns were in any way connected. Thus, women's sexual responses and nonsexual traits might be masculinized by independent factors.

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Changes in spatial cognition and brain activity after a single dose of testosterone in healthy women

Carl Pintzka et al.
Behavioural Brain Research, 1 February 2016, Pages 78-90

Abstract:
Studies have consistently shown that males perform better than females on several spatial tasks. Animal and human literature suggests that sex hormones have an important role in both establishing and maintaining this difference. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of exogenous testosterone on spatial cognition and brain activity in healthy women. A cross-sectional, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was performed in 42 healthy young women who either received one dose of 0.5 mg sublingual testosterone or placebo. They then learned a virtual environment and performed navigation tasks during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Subsequently, their knowledge of the virtual environment, self-reported navigation strategy, and mental rotation abilities were measured. The testosterone group had improved representations of the directions within the environment and performed significantly better on the mental rotation task compared to the placebo group, but navigation success and navigation strategy were similar in the two groups. Nevertheless, the testosterone group had significantly increased activity within the medial temporal lobe during successful navigation compared to the placebo group, and a positive correlation between testosterone load and medial temporal lobe activity was found. Fetal testosterone levels, measured as second-to-fourth digit length ratio, interacted significantly with parahippocampal activity and tended towards giving higher mental rotation task scores. These results demonstrated that testosterone had a limited effect pertaining specifically to spatial cognition involving 3D-visualization in healthy women, while complex behaviors such as navigation, relying more on learned strategies, were not altered despite increased neuronal activity in relevant brain regions.

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The side effect of egalitarian norms: Reactive group distinctiveness, biological essentialism, and sexual prejudice

Juan Manuel Falomir-Pichastor, Gabriel Mugny & Jacques Berent
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the context of sexual prejudice, in which group distinctiveness motivation is particularly strong for men, three studies tested the hypothesis that egalitarian norms can intensify reactive distinctiveness motives, and then paradoxically increase intergroup differentiation and prejudice. Depending on the studies, the egalitarian norm was experimentally manipulated or induced and kept constant. Group distinctiveness was manipulated through scientific support for the theory that a person's sexual orientation is determined by biological factors in terms of the extant biological differences (high distinctiveness) versus biological similarities (low distinctiveness) between heterosexual and gay people. Egalitarian norms increased men's (but not women's) intergroup differentiation (Study 1) and prejudice (Study 2) when group distinctiveness was low (as compared to high). This pattern was specific to men with high gender self-esteem, and appeared when the biological theory was framed in terms of intergroup differences rather than the uncontrollability of sexual orientation (Study 3).

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Straight but Not Narrow; Within-Gender Variation in the Gender-Specificity of Women's Sexual Response

Meredith Chivers, Katrina Bouchard & Amanda Timmers
PLoS ONE, December 2015

Abstract:
Gender differences in the specificity of sexual response have been a primary focus in sexual psychophysiology research, however, within-gender variability suggests sexual orientation moderates category-specific responding among women; only heterosexual women show gender-nonspecific genital responses to sexual stimuli depicting men and women. But heterosexually-identified or "straight" women are heterogeneous in their sexual attractions and include women who are exclusively androphilic (sexually attracted to men) and women who are predominantly androphilic with concurrent gynephilia (sexually attracted to women). It is therefore unclear if gender-nonspecific responding is found in both exclusively and predominantly androphilic women. The current studies investigated within-gender variability in the gender-specificity of women's sexual response. Two samples of women reporting concurrent andro/gynephilia viewed (Study 1, n = 29) or listened (Study 2, n = 30) to erotic stimuli varying by gender of sexual partner depicted while their genital and subjective sexual responses were assessed. Data were combined with larger datasets of predominantly gyne- and androphilic women (total N = 78 for both studies). In both studies, women reporting any degree of gynephilia, including those who self-identified as heterosexual, showed significantly greater genital response to female stimuli, similar to predominantly gynephilic women; gender-nonspecific genital response was observed for exclusively androphilic women only. Subjective sexual arousal patterns were more variable with respect to sexual attractions, likely reflecting stimulus intensity effects. Heterosexually-identified women are therefore not a homogenous group with respect to sexual responses to gender cues. Implications for within-gender variation in women's sexual orientation and sexual responses are discussed.

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Interactive effects of culture and sex hormones on the sex role self-concept

Belinda Pletzer et al.
Frontiers in Neuroscience, July 2015

Abstract:
Sex role orientation, i.e., a person's masculinity or femininity, influences cognitive and emotional performance, like biological sex. While it is now widely accepted that sex differences are modulated by the hormonal status of female participants (menstrual cycle, hormonal contraceptive use), the question, whether hormonal status and sex hormones also modulate participants sex role orientation has hardly been addressed previously. The present study assessed sex role orientation and hormonal status as well as sex hormone levels in three samples of participants from two different cultures (Northern American, Middle European). Menstrual cycle phase did not affect participant's masculinity or femininity, but had a significant impact on reference group. While women in their follicular phase (low levels of female sex hormones) determined their masculinity and femininity in reference to men, women in their luteal phase (high levels of female sex hormones) determined their masculinity and femininity in reference to women. Hormonal contraceptive users rated themselves as significantly more feminine and less masculine than naturally cycling women. Furthermore, the impact of biological sex on the factorial structure of sex role orientation as well as the relationship of estrogen to masculinity/femininity was modulated by culture. We conclude that culture and sex hormones interactively affect sex role orientation and hormonal status of participants should be controlled for when assessing masculinity and/or femininity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 4, 2015

Status check

Do E-Verify Mandates Improve Labor Market Outcomes of Low-Skilled Native and Legal Immigrant Workers?

Sarah Bohn, Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael
Southern Economic Journal, April 2015, Pages 960–979

Abstract:
We examine the impact of the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA) on employment outcomes of low-skilled legal workers. We use the synthetic control method to select a group of states against which the labor market trends of Arizona can be compared. Our results suggest that contrary to its intent, LAWA does not appear to have improved labor market outcomes of legal low-skilled workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants, the target of the legislation. In fact, we find some evidence of diminished employment and increased unemployment among legal low-skilled workers in Arizona. These findings are concentrated on the largest demographic group of workers — non-Hispanic white men. While they are less likely to find employment, those who do have on average higher earnings as a result of LAWA. The pattern of results points to both labor supply and labor demand contractions due to LAWA, with labor supply dominating in terms of magnitude.

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The Association between Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States

Gaetano Basso & Giovanni Peri
University of California Working Paper, October 2015

Abstract:
In this paper we present important correlations between immigration and labor market outcomes of native workers in the US. We use data on local labor markets, states and regions from the Census and American Community Survey over the period 1970-2010. We first look at simple correlations and then we use regression analysis with an increasing number of controls for observed and unobserved factors. We review the potential methods to separate the part of this correlation that captures the causal link from immigrants to native labor outcomes and we show estimates obtained with 2SLS method using the popular shift-share instrument. One fact emerging from all the specifications is that the net growth of immigrant labor has a zero to positive correlation with changes in native wages and native employment, in aggregate and by skill group. We briefly review the literature on the channels and the mechanisms that allow local economies to absorb immigrants with no negative (and possibly positive) impact on the labor demand for natives.

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Integration policy: Cultural transmission with endogenous fertility

Sagit Bar-Gill & Chaim Fershtman
Journal of Population Economics, January 2016, Pages 105-133

Abstract:
We live in heterogeneous societies with many cultural and ethnic minorities. The cultural composition of our societies changes over time as a result of immigration, fertility choices, and cultural assimilation. Studying such population dynamics, we examine the effect of integration policies, which increase the cost of direct cultural transmission, on the size of the cultural minority. We show that integration policies, while often aimed at reducing the minority’s size, may have the opposite effect of increasing minority fertility and its growth rate.

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Immigration, Human Capital Formation and Endogenous Economic Growth

Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Data assembled by the World Bank and other sources covering 77% of the world’s migrant population indicate that the skill composition of migrants in major destination countries, including the US, has been rising over the last 4 decades, and that the population share of skilled migrants has been approaching or exceeding that of skilled natives. We offer theoretical propositions and empirical tests consistent with these trends via a general-equilibrium model of endogenous growth where human capital, population, income growth and distribution, and migration trends are endogenous. We derive new insights about the impact of migration on long-term income growth and distribution and net benefits to natives in both destination and source countries.

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High-Skilled Migration and Global Innovation

Rui Xu
Stanford Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
Science and engineering (S&E) workers are the fundamental inputs into scientific innovation and technology adoption. In the United States, more than 20% of the S&E workers are immigrants from developing countries. In this paper, I evaluate the impact of such brain drain from non-OECD (i.e., developing) countries using a multi-country endogenous growth model. The proposed framework introduces and quantifies a “frontier growth effect” of skilled migration: migrants from developing countries create more frontier knowledge in the U.S., and the non-rivalrous knowledge diffuses to all countries. In particular, each source country is able to adopt technology invented by migrants from other countries, a previously ignored externality of skilled migration. I quantify the model by matching both micro and macro moments, and then consider counterfactuals wherein U.S. immigration policy changes. My results suggest that a policy – which doubles the number of immigrants from every non-OECD country – would boost U.S. productivity growth by 0.1 percentage point per year, and improve average welfare in the U.S. by 3.3%. Such a policy can also benefit the source countries because of the “frontier growth effect”. Taking India as an example source country, I find that the same policy would lead to faster long-run growth and a 0.9% increase in average welfare in India. This welfare gain in India is largely the result of additional non-Indian migrants, indicating the significance of the previously overlooked externality.

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Can selective immigration policies reduce migrants’ quality?

Simone Bertoli, Vianney Dequiedt & Yves Zenou
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Destination countries can adopt selective immigration policies to improve migrants’ quality. Screening potential migrants on the basis of observable characteristics also influences their self-selection on unobservables. We propose a model that analyzes the effects of selective immigration policies on migrants’ quality, measured by their wages at destination. We show that the prevailing pattern of selection on unobservables influences the effect of an increase in selectivity, which can reduce migrants’ quality when migrants are positively self-selected on unobservables. We also demonstrate that, in this case, the quality-maximizing share of educated migrants declines with the scale of migration.

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Between the Public and the State: The Shipping Lobby's Strategies against US Immigration Restrictions 1882–1917

Torsten Feys
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on Freeman's model of interest group-driven migration policies, the article gives a qualitative inside look on a neglected actor during the formative years of US immigration reform. It analyzes the central role of the shipping companies in coordinating the pro-immigration campaign with and against other interest groups. Their lobbying is divided into two complementary sections: inside top-down efforts (lobbyists) to influence legislators and outside bottom-up efforts (migrant communities and the press) to mobilize the public. It assesses the importance of public opinion in their lobby campaigns and the shipping companies' success in delaying far-reaching restrictions until 1917.

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Immigration Quotas and Immigrant Selection

Catherine Massey
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

Abstract:
Several factors influenced the composition of migrants in the early 20th century, including World War I, the Literacy Act of 1917, and the implementation of strict immigration quotas. This paper examines whether the United States’ first immigration quota, established under the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921, affected migrant selection. The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 severely capped the number of admittable migrants by nationality. Canadian migrants, or any migrants who resided in Canada for five consecutive years, were unrestricted by the quota and could freely migrate to the U.S. Using transcribed ship records from states bordering Canada (specifically New York, Alaska, and Washington), I compare the skills of restricted migrants to the skills of unrestricted Canadian migrants, before and after establishment of the 1921 quota. Difference-in-differences estimates indicate that the quota resulted in migrants of higher skill.

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Tu Casa, Mi Casa: Naturalization and Belonging among Latino Immigrants

Maria Abascal
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies reach contradictory conclusions regarding the relationship between residential concentration and naturalization. This paper tackles the impasse by exploring the pathways through which immigrant communities influence individual naturalization. Specifically, this study examines naturalization among Latino immigrants using the 2006 Latino National Survey linked to county data. Multilevel model results indicate that the county concentration of naturalized co-ethnics positively predicts individual naturalization, and this relationship operates through two channels: information dissemination and perceived belonging. Regarding the latter, Latino immigrants who live among naturalized co-ethnics identify more strongly as “American,” and strength of American identification mediates nearly one-half of the relationship between concentration and naturalization.

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Whom Do Immigrants Marry? Emerging Patterns of Intermarriage and Integration in the United States

Daniel Lichter, Zhenchao Qian & Dmitry Tumin
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November 2015, Pages 57-78

Abstract:
We document patterns of intermarriage between immigrants and natives during a period of unprecedented growth in the size and diversity of America’s foreign-born population. Roughly one in six U.S. marriages today involve immigrants and a large share includes U.S.-born partners. Ethno-racial background clearly shapes trajectories of immigrant social integration. White immigrants are far more likely than other groups to marry U.S.-born natives, mostly other whites. Black immigrants are much less likely to marry black natives or out-marry with other groups. Intermarriage is also linked with other well-known proxies of social integration — educational attainment, length of time in the country, and naturalization status. Classifying America’s largest immigrant groups (e.g., Chinese and Mexican) into broad panethnic groups (e.g., Asians and Hispanics) hides substantial diversity in the processes of marital assimilation and social integration across national origin groups.

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Immigrant Employment and Earnings Growth in Canada and the U.S.: Evidence from Longitudinal Data

Neeraj Kaushal et al.
NBER Working Paper, November 2015

Abstract:
We study the short-term trajectories of employment, hours worked, and real wages of immigrants in Canada and the U.S. using nationally representative longitudinal datasets covering 1996-2008. Models with person fixed effects show that on average immigrant men in Canada do not experience any relative growth in these three outcomes compared to men born in Canada. Immigrant men in the U.S., on the other hand, experience positive annual growth in all three domains relative to U.S. born men. This difference is largely on account of low-educated immigrant men, who experience faster or longer periods of relative growth in employment and wages in the U.S. than in Canada. We further compare longitudinal and cross-sectional trajectories and find that the latter over-estimate wage growth of earlier arrivals, presumably reflecting selective return migration.

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The healthy immigrant (migrant) effect: In search of a better native-born comparison group

Tod Hamilton
Social Science Research, November 2015, Pages 353–365

Abstract:
This paper evaluates whether immigrants’ initial health advantage over their U.S.-born counterparts results primarily from characteristics correlated with their birth countries (e.g., immigrant culture) or from selective migration (e.g., unobserved characteristics such as motivation and ambition) by comparing recent immigrants’ health to that of recent U.S.-born interstate migrants (“U.S.-born movers”). Using data from the 1999–2013 waves of the March Current Population Survey, I find that, relative to U.S.-born adults (collectively), recent immigrants have a 6.1 percentage point lower probability of reporting their health as fair or poor. Changing the reference group to U.S.-born movers, however, reduces the recent immigrant health advantage by 28%. Similar reductions in the immigrant health advantage occurs in models estimated separately by either race/ethnicity or education level. Models that examine health differences between recent immigrants and U.S.-born movers who both moved for a new job — a primary motivation behind moving for both immigrants and the U.S.-born — show that such immigrants have only a 1.9 percentage point lower probability of reporting their health as fair or poor. Together, the findings suggest that changing the reference group from U.S.-born adults collectively to U.S.-born movers reduces the identified immigrant health advantage, indicating that selective migration plays a significant role in explaining the initial health advantage of immigrants in the United States.

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Return Migration to Mexico: Does Health Matter?

Erika Arenas et al.
Demography, December 2015, Pages 1853-1868

Abstract:
We use data from three rounds of the Mexican Family Life Survey to examine whether migrants in the United States returning to Mexico in the period 2005–2012 have worse health than those remaining in the United States. Despite extensive interest by demographers in health-related selection, this has been a neglected area of study in the literature on U.S.-Mexico migration, and the few results to date have been contradictory and inconclusive. Using five self-reported health variables collected while migrants resided in the United States and subsequent migration history, we find direct evidence of higher probabilities of return migration for Mexican migrants in poor health as well as lower probabilities of return for migrants with improving health. These findings are robust to the inclusion of potential confounders reflecting the migrants’ demographic characteristics, economic situation, family ties, and origin and destination characteristics. We anticipate that in the coming decade, health may become an even more salient issue in migrants’ decisions about returning to Mexico, given the recent expansion in access to health insurance in Mexico.

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The Relative Quality of Foreign-Educated Nurses in the United States

Patricia Cortés & Jessica Pan
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2015, Pages 1009-1050

Abstract:
We examine the relative quality of foreign-educated nurses using wages as a measure of skill. Philippine-educated nurses enjoy a wage premium that is not explained by observed differences in worker or job characteristics. We reconcile the results with a Roy model featuring endogenous skill acquisition and provide some empirical evidence of double-selection into nursing and migration. Our results suggest that the wage premium is likely driven by strong positive selection into nursing among Filipinos resulting from high and heterogeneous returns to the occupation due to active government support for nurse migration in the Philippines.

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Recovering Heritage and Homeland: Ethnic Revival Among Fourth-Generation Japanese Americans

Takeyuki (Gaku) Tsuda
Sociological Inquiry, November 2015, Pages 600–627

Abstract:
In recent years, fourth-generation Japanese American youth have been attempting to recover their ethnic heritage and reconnect with their ancestral homeland. This ethnic revival is a response to their continued racialization as “Japanese,” which has caused them to become concerned about their overassimilation to American society in an era of multiculturalism where cultural heritage and homeland have come to be positively valued. As a result, they are studying Japanese, majoring in Asian studies, living in Japan as college exchange students, and participating in Japanese taiko drum ensembles in local ethnic communities. Although this return to ethnic roots is a more serious commitment than the symbolic ethnicity observed among white ethnics in the past, it indicates that ethnicity remains involuntary for racial minorities, even after four generations. The case of later-generation Japanese Americans demonstrates that cultural assimilation does not preclude the continuation and active production of ethnic difference.

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Russian Jewish Immigrants in the United States: The Adjustment of their English Language Proficiency and Earnings in the American Community Survey

Barry Chiswick & Nicholas Larsen
Contemporary Jewry, October 2015, Pages 191-209

Abstract:
This paper is concerned with the determinants of the English language proficiencies and labor market earnings of adult Russian Jewish male and female immigrants to the United States, compared to other immigrants, using the pooled files of the American Community Survey (2005–09). Although at arrival the Russian Jewish immigrants report lower levels of English skills and earnings, they experience a more rapid improvement over time, and eventually attain parity or higher levels than other immigrants. Moreover, they appear to obtain greater earnings (compared to other immigrants) in the US labor market from their schooling, their time in the United States, and their English proficiency. These findings mirror those found in earlier post-war data (1980–2000 Census) and, to the extent comparable, late 19th and early 20th century studies of Russian Jewish immigrants.

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Inverting the Logic of Economic Migration: Happiness Among Migrants Moving from Wealthier to Poorer Countries in Europe

David Bartram
Journal of Happiness Studies, October 2015, Pages 1211-1230

Abstract:
Migration from a poorer country to a wealthier one often results in a lower relative economic status for the migrant (even when it increases their incomes in an “absolute” sense) — and thus perhaps results also in a decrease in his/her happiness. By the same logic, migration from a wealthy country to a poorer one might bring a higher status position for the migrant and so might raise his/her happiness. This paper investigates happiness among migrants who move from northern European countries to Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, comparing them to stayers in the origin countries (Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Britain, and the Netherlands). The analysis shows that migrants are less happy than stayers, in a bivariate comparison and a conventional regression model. A consideration of results from “treatment models” and matching analyses suggests that the difference represents a decrease in happiness for the migrants (and not a difference in happiness prior to migration), contrary to an expectation rooted in an anticipated increase in economic status. Migrants have lower relative incomes than stayers; when relative income is controlled, the happiness disadvantage of migrants is smaller. Controlling additionally for absolute income does not lead to further change in that difference.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Group policy

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and the Gender Wage Gap

Benjamin Cowan & Benjamin Schwab
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
During prime working years, women have higher expected healthcare expenses than men. However, employees’ insurance rates are not gender-rated in the employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) market. Thus, women may experience lower wages in equilibrium from employers who offer health insurance to their employees. We show that female employees suffer a larger wage gap relative to men when they hold ESI: our results suggest this accounts for roughly 10% of the overall gender wage gap. For a full-time worker, this pay gap due to ESI is on the order of the expected difference in healthcare expenses between women and men.

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Closing Achievement Gaps With a Utility-Value Intervention: Disentangling Race and Social Class

Judith Harackiewicz et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many college students abandon their goal of completing a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) when confronted with challenging introductory-level science courses. In the U.S., this trend is more pronounced for underrepresented minority (URM) and first-generation (FG) students, and contributes to persisting racial and social-class achievement gaps in higher education. Previous intervention studies have focused exclusively on race or social class, but have not examined how the 2 may be confounded and interact. This research therefore investigates the independent and interactive effects of race and social class as moderators of an intervention designed to promote performance, measured by grade in the course. In a double-blind randomized experiment conducted over 4 semesters of an introductory biology course (N = 1,040), we tested the effectiveness of a utility-value intervention in which students wrote about the personal relevance of course material. The utility-value intervention was successful in reducing the achievement gap for FG-URM students by 61%: the performance gap for FG-URM students, relative to continuing generation (CG)-Majority students, was large in the control condition, .84 grade points (d = .98), and the treatment effect for FG-URM students was .51 grade points (d = 0.55). The UV intervention helped students from all groups find utility value in the course content, and mediation analyses showed that the process of writing about utility value was particularly powerful for FG-URM students. Results highlight the importance of intersectionality in examining the independent and interactive effects of race and social class when evaluating interventions to close achievement gaps and the mechanisms through which they may operate.

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Educational Outcomes of Asian and Hispanic Americans: The Significance of Skin Color

Igor Ryabov
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing evidence suggests that skin tone is an important determinant of one's life chances. Although social science research has a strong tradition of elucidating the link between race and educational outcomes, the effect of skin color on educational attainment has not received adequate attention. The main objective of the present investigation was, using a nationally representative longitudinal data, to evaluate educational attainment of Asian American and Hispanic young adults in the United States as a function of skin tone and other co-variates. Separate analyses were carried out for Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, other Hispanics, East Asian, Filipino American and other Asians. Additional analyses were conducted on a subsample of sibling pairs of Asian and Hispanic origin. Control variables included family socio-economic background, parental involvement, family social support, average school SES and others. Although we observed a certain degree of cross-ethnic heterogeneity, the results consistently point to a strong association between educational attainment and the lightness of skin tone. The findings also suggest that the aforementioned relationship is the strongest among U.S. young adults of Filipino and Puerto Rican descent.

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Knowing When to Ask: The Cost of Leaning In

Christine Exley, Muriel Niederle & Lise Vesterlund
Harvard Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
Gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations has been used to explain the persistent wage gap between men and women, and a recent literature suggests that women would benefit from "leaning-in" and negotiating more. We use a laboratory experiment to examine the effect of such a recommendation. After learning their contribution to a joint firm-worker profit, workers receive a random wage offer which is on average lower than the workers' contribution. Workers then decide whether to accept this wage offer, or whether to enter a negotiation with the firm. We find that women often avoid the negotiation, even though those who enter negotiations have significantly positive returns from doing so. Thus our data suggest that a recommendation to lean-in would improve the outcome for women. To assess the effect of a lean-in recommendation we investigate returns from negotiations when women are instead forced to negotiate. We find that the additional women who now enter negotiations have significant negative returns from asking. Indeed we find that when given a choice women optimally select into the negotiation: women knew when and whether to ask. Those who were not good at negotiating avoided negotiations that they would lose from. Thus we demonstrate that there are environments where the recommendation to lean-in is harmful.

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Glass Floors and Glass Ceilings: Sex Homophily and Heterophily in Job Interviews

Lauren Rivera, Jayanti Owens & Katherine Gan
Northwestern University Working Paper, 2015

Abstract:
A widely assumed but little tested theory of employment interviewing suggests that female job applicants will be evaluated more favorably when they are paired with female versus male interviewers. To capitalize on this hypothesized affinity, a number of organizations have begun explicitly pairing female job applicants with female interviewers, with the hopes of increasing the representation of women among new hires. However, whether this practice actually results in more favorable outcomes for female job candidates remains an open empirical question. Using micro-level data on real-life job interview evaluations from a large, professional services organization, we test the effect of matching female job candidates with female interviewers on hiring recommendations. Highlighting the contextually dependent nature of sex homophily, we find that the effect of being matched with a female interviewer for female candidates varies by the perceived skill level of the candidate. Sex matches in job interviews work in favor of those female candidates perceived to be lowest in skill, have a small, statistically non-significant negative effect for female candidates of average perceived skill, and have a significant, negative effect for women at the highest level of perceived skill. Consequently, we argue that matching female candidates with female evaluators in job interviews can operate both as a glass floor that can prevent female applicants from falling below a certain scoring threshold but also a glass ceiling that can prevent the most skilled female applicants from receiving the highest interview ratings and most positive hiring recommendations.

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A lesson in bias: The relationship between implicit racial bias and performance in pedagogical contexts

Drew Jacoby-Senghor, Stacey Sinclair & Nicole Shelton
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We posit instructors' implicit racial bias as a factor in racial disparities in academic achievement and test the relationship between this factor, instructor lesson quality, and learners' subsequent test performance. In Study 1, white participants were assigned to the role of instructor and gave a short lesson to a learner who was either black or white. Instructors' implicit bias predicted diminished test performance on the part of black, but not white, learners. Further, instructors' anxiety and lesson quality, as rated by coders, mediated the relationship between their implicit bias and learners' test performance. In Study 2, a separate sample of non-black participants watched videos of instructors from cross-race lessons from the first experiment. Once again, instructors' implicit bias predicted diminished test performance by participants. These findings suggest that underperformance by minorities in academic domains may be driven by the effect implicit racial biases have on educators' pedagogical effectiveness.

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Credit Where Credit is Due?: Race, Gender, and Discrimination in the Credit Scores of Business Startups

Loren Henderson et al.
Review of Black Political Economy, December 2015, Pages 459-479

Abstract:
This research seeks to understand the degree to which credit scores of new business startups are influenced by racial or gender discrimination. It examines the degree to which access to business credit lines is influenced by racial and gender-related factors that go beyond would-be borrowers’ credit scores. Using credit data from new startups, the analysis finds that, when controlling for firm and human capital characteristics, Black-owned startups receive lower than expected business credit scores. Whites are more favorably treated in credit score determination than are African Americans with the same firm characteristics and owner characteristics. Moreover, Whites are more favorably treated when it comes to access to credit lines than are African Americans, Latinos, and Asians with the same firm characteristics, owner characteristics, and credit scores. Men are more favorably treated when it comes to access to credit lines than are women. A Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition suggests that credit lines for Black-owned businesses would more than double, Latino-owned businesses’ lines of credit would nearly triple, Asian-owned businesses’ lines of credit would more than triple, and those where the primary owners are women would be more than twice as large if their business lines of credit were determined in the same way as those for businesses owned primarily by Whites and by men. The implications of these results are discussed.

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Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work

Heather Sarsons
Harvard Working Paper, September 2015

Abstract:
Within academia, men are tenured at higher rates than women are in most quantitative fields, including economics. Researchers have attempted to identify the source of this disparity but find that nearly 30% of the gap remains unexplained even after controlling for family commitments and differences in productivity. Using data from academic economists' CVs, I test whether coauthored and solo-authored publications matter differently for tenure for men and women. While solo-authored papers send a clear signal about one's ability, coauthored papers are noisy in that they do not provide specific information about each contributor's skills. I find that men are tenured at roughly the same rate regardless of whether they coauthor or solo-author. Women, however, suffer a significant penalty when they coauthor. The results hold after controlling for the total number of papers published, quality of papers, field of study, tenure institution, tenure year, and the number of years it took an individual to go up for tenure. The result is most pronounced for women coauthoring with only men and is less pronounced the more women there are on a paper, suggesting that some gender bias is at play. I present a model in which bias enters when workers collaborate and test its predictions in the data.

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Members of high-status groups are threatened by pro-diversity organizational messages

Tessa Dover, Brenda Major & Cheryl Kaiser
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, January 2016, Pages 58–67

Abstract:
Members of high-status groups may perceive pro-diversity messages from organizations as threatening to their group's status. Two initial studies (N = 322) demonstrate that when imagining applying for a job, whites — and not ethnic/racial minorities — expressed more concerns about being treated unfairly and about anti-white discrimination when the company mentioned (vs. did not mention) its pro-diversity values. In a third experiment, white men (N = 77) participated in a hiring simulation. Participants applying to the pro-diversity company exhibited greater cardiovascular threat, expressed more concerns about being discriminated against, and made a poorer impression during the interview relative to white men applying to a neutral company. These effects were not moderated by individual differences in racial identification, racial attitudes, or system fairness beliefs. These findings suggest that high-status identities may be more sensitive to identity threats than commonly assumed, and that this sensitivity is robust to differences in higher-order beliefs and attitudes.

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Sex Differences in Furniture Assembly Performance: An Experimental Study

Susanne Wiking et al.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined sex differences in furniture assembly performance by manipulating the availability of instructions. Two groups of participants with an equal number of men and women assembled a kitchen trolley from IKEA. One group received step-by-step instructions, and the other group a diagram of the finished product. In addition, individual spatial ability was measured with the mental rotation test (MRT) and added to the analyses. Our results showed that men assembled the furniture faster (d = 0.78) and more accurately (d = 0.65) than women. Overall, participants performed better with step-by-step instructions than without (d = 0.61), and the time spent on instructions was negatively related to MRT scores, r = −.428, p = .006. Aside from the time spent on instructions, women assembled the furniture nearly as fast as men did, and the sex difference in assembly score could be explained by differences in individual spatial ability.

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Priming Effects and Performance Expectations in Mixed-Sex Task Groups

Joseph Dippong
Social Psychology Quarterly, December 2015, Pages 387-398

Abstract:
I report the results of a laboratory experiment in which I examine the relationship between cognitive categorization processes and status-organizing processes, focusing on how seemingly irrelevant information becomes relevant to the informational structure of a task situation. In phase one, participants completed a task in which they were primed with photographs of women occupying either stereotypical or counter-stereotypical roles. In phase two, participants, along with a partner, completed a collective decision-making task. The two experimental phases were ostensibly unrelated from the participants’ point of view. Results indicate that priming manipulations significantly affected patterns of influence in mixed-sex groups. These effects were driven primarily by altering expectations of female group members.

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Risk Aversion for Decisions under Uncertainty: Are there Gender Differences?

Rakesh Sarin & Alice Wieland
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
It has become well accepted that women are more risk averse than men. For objective probability gambles, typically used in eliciting risk aversion, we find women generally have a lower valuation than men, thus exhibiting greater risk aversion. This paper investigates whether this finding extends to decisions under uncertainty – where probabilities are not given and individuals may assign different probabilities to the same event (e.g. outcomes of award shows or sporting events).We find that for decisions under uncertainty, men and women value the bets similarly, both before and after controlling for participant's subjective probabilities.

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Priming status-legitimizing beliefs: Examining the impact on perceived anti-White bias, zero-sum beliefs, and support for Affirmative Action among White people

Joseph Wellman, Xi Liu & Clara Wilkins
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research examines how status-legitimizing beliefs (SLBs) influence White people's perceptions of anti-White bias, endorsement of zero-sum beliefs, and support for Affirmative Action. We suggest that SLBs perpetuate inequality by increasing White people's perceptions of zero-sum beliefs and anti-White bias, which in turn lead to decreased support for Affirmative Action. White individuals primed with SLBs perceived greater anti-White bias, endorsed greater zero-sum beliefs, and indicated less support for Affirmative Action than individuals primed with neutral content. Mediation analysis revealed that the SLB prime decreased support for Affirmative Action by increasing perceptions of anti-White bias. This research offers experimental evidence that SLBs contribute to White people's perceptions of anti-White bias and to decreased support for Affirmative Action.

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Are Female CEOs and Chairwomen More Conservative and Risk Averse? Evidence from the Banking Industry During the Financial Crisis

Ajay Palvia, Emilia Vähämaa & Sami Vähämaa
Journal of Business Ethics, October 2015, Pages 577-594

Abstract:
This paper examines whether bank capital ratios and default risk are associated with the gender of the bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson of the board. Given the documented gender-based differences in conservatism and risk tolerance, we postulate that female CEOs and board Chairs should assess risks more conservatively, and thereby hold higher levels of equity capital and reduce the likelihood of bank failure during periods of market stress. Using a large panel of U.S. commercial banks, we document that banks with female CEOs hold more conservative levels of capital after controlling for the bank’s asset risk and other attributes. Furthermore, while neither CEO nor Chair gender is related to bank failure in general, we find strong evidence that smaller banks with female CEOs and board Chairs were less likely to fail during the financial crisis. Overall, our findings are consistent with the view that gender-based behavioral differences may affect corporate decisions.

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Which explanations for gender differences in competition are consistent with a simple theoretical model?

Christopher Cotton et al.
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, December 2015, Pages 56–67

Abstract:
Recent studies show that males may increase their performance by more than females in response to competitive incentives. The literature suggests that this may contribute to observed gender gaps in labor force pay and achievement. Understanding which factors may drive these gender differences is essential for designing policies that promote equality. We adopt a game theoretic model of contests to consider a variety of explanations for the differences in male and female competitive performance that have been proposed in the empirical and experimental literature. Comparing the testable predictions of the model with the empirical evidence from past papers, we reject explanations involving male over-confidence, misperceptions about relative ability, and some types of preference differences. Explanations involving female under-confidence and differences in risk aversion are consistent with the significant evidence. Two explanations provide perfect matches to observed performance patterns: (i) males are better than females at handling competitive pressure, and (ii) males enjoy competition more or have greater desire to win than females.

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Gender Gaps in High School Students’ Homework Time

Seth Gershenson & Stephen Holt
Educational Researcher, November 2015, Pages 432-441

Abstract:
Gender differences in human capital investments made outside of the traditional school day suggest that males and females consume, respond to, and form habits relating to education differently. We document robust, statistically significant one-hour weekly gender gaps in secondary students’ non-school study time using time diary data from the 2003–2012 waves of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and transcript data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS). These complementary data sets provide consistent evidence of gender gaps that favor females and are not explained by gender differences in after-school time use, parental involvement, educational expectations, course taking, past academic achievement, or cognitive ability.

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Affecting Girls’ Activity and Job Interests Through Play: The Moderating Roles of Personal Gender Salience and Game Characteristics

Emily Coyle & Lynn Liben
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender schema theory (GST) posits that children approach opportunities perceived as gender appropriate, avoiding those deemed gender inappropriate, in turn affecting gender-differentiated career trajectories. To test the hypothesis that children's gender salience filters (GSF—tendency to attend to gender) moderate these processes, 62 preschool girls (M = 4.5 years) were given GSF measures. Two weeks later, they played a computer game about occupations that manipulated the game-character's femininity (hyperfeminized Barbie vs. less feminized Playmobil Jane). Following game play, girls’ interests in feminine activities showed an interaction of game condition and GSF: High-GSF girls showed intensified feminine activity interests only with Barbie; low-GSF girls showed no change with either character. Neither GSF nor game condition affected occupational interests. Implications for GST, individual differences, and occupational interventions are discussed.

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Survival Analysis of Faculty Retention and Promotion in the Social Sciences by Gender

Janet Box-Steffensmeier et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2015

Background: Recruitment and retention of talent is central to the research performance of universities. Existing research shows that, while men are more likely than women to be promoted at the different stages of the academic career, no such difference is found when it comes to faculty retention rates. Current research on faculty retention, however, focuses on careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We extend this line of inquiry to the social sciences.

Methods: We follow 2,218 tenure-track assistant professors hired since 1990 in seven social science disciplines at nineteen U.S. universities from time of hire to time of departure. We also track their time to promotion to associate and full professor. Using survival analysis, we examine gender differences in time to departure and time to promotion. Our methods account for censoring and unobserved heterogeneity, as well as effect heterogeneity across disciplines and cohorts.

Results: We find no statistically significant differences between genders in faculty retention. However, we do find that men are more likely to be granted tenure than women. When it comes to promotion to full professor, the results are less conclusive, as the effect of gender is sensitive to model specification.

Conclusions: The results corroborate previous findings about gender patterns in faculty retention and promotion. They suggest that advances have been made when it comes to gender equality in retention and promotion, but important differences still persist.

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The gender gap in federal and private support for entrepreneurship

Dora Gicheva & Albert Link
Small Business Economics, December 2015, Pages 729-733

Abstract:
The role of gender in entrepreneurship has been thoroughly investigated. However, less is known about gender differences in access to private investment when attempting to develop a new technology. In this paper, we use data collected by the National Research Council of the National Academies to estimate differences between the probability that a female-owned firm and a male-owned firm, both conducting research funded by the Small Business Innovation Research program, will receive private investment funding to help to commercialize the funded technology. We find that female-owned firms are disadvantaged in their access to private investment, especially in the West and Northeast regions of the USA.

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The Impact of Affirmative Action on the Employment of Minorities and Women: A Longitudinal Analysis Using Three Decades of EEO-1 Filings

Fidan Ana Kurtulus
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
What role has affirmative action played in the growth of minority and female employment in U.S. firms? This paper presents a longitudinal analysis of this question by exploiting rich variation across firms in the timing of federal contracting to identify affirmative action effects over the course of three decades spanning 1973 to 2003. It constitutes the first study to comprehensively document the long-term and dynamic effects of affirmative action in federal contracting on employment composition within firms in the United States. I use a new panel of over 100,000 large private-sector firms from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including both firms that obtain federal contracts and are therefore mandated to implement affirmative action and firms that are noncontractors, across all industries and regions. The paper's key results indicate that the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action in federal contracting over 1973 to 2003 were black and Native American women and men. Dynamic event study analysis of workforce composition around the time of contracting reveal that a large part of the effect of affirmative action on increasing protected group shares occurred within the first four years of gaining a contract, and that these increased shares persisted even after a firm was no longer a federal contractor. The paper also uncovers important results on how the impact of affirmative action evolved over 1973 to 2003, in particular that the fastest growth in the employment shares of minorities and women at federal contractors relative to noncontracting firms occurred during the 1970s and early 1980s, decelerating substantially in ensuing years.

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Objectification in Action: Self- and Other-Objectification in Mixed-Sex Interpersonal Interactions

Randi Garcia, Valerie Earnshaw & Diane Quinn
Psychology of Women Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the process of sexual objectification is theorized to occur within interpersonal interactions, we believe this is the first study to examine sexual objectification and self-objectification in actual (nonconfederate) interpersonal encounters. Men and women were brought into the laboratory and interacted in mixed-sex dyads. We used dyadic analysis to detect whether partners’ objectification of each other affected state self-objectification (SSO), and the resulting feelings of comfort and authenticity during the interaction. After the interaction, participants completed a cognitive performance task, a measure of career aspirations, and a measure of relationship agency. Results showed that for women only, being objectified by their male interaction partner was associated with an increase in SSO, and SSO led to perceptions that the interaction was less comfortable and less authentic. Furthermore, for women but not for men, having authentic interactions was found to relate positively to relationship agency, career aspirations, and cognitive performance. This research shows that self-objectification is not only a self-process but an interpersonal process heightened by the real-time sexual objectification of a male interaction partner.

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An Investigation of the Historical Black Wage Premium in Nursing

Nicole Coomer
Review of Black Political Economy, December 2015, Pages 323-335

Abstract:
This paper builds off of prior work analyzing the historical wage premium paid to black registered nurses (RNs) (Coomer, Nurs Econ 31(5):254–259, 2013). The average observed wages of black RNs was higher than that of white RNs in the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN) over more than two decades from 1984 to 2008. This study examines the wage differential between black and white nurses that remains after controlling for factors likely to affect wages in addition to race, such as experience, education, employer type, and specialty. The differential is decomposed, following Blinder (1973) and Oaxaca (1973), revealing a large unexplained portion. Four possible explanations are examined and support is found for self-selection, experience, shift work, and demand effects.

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How Medical School Applicant Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status Relate to Multiple Mini-Interview–Based Admissions Outcomes: Findings From One Medical School

Anthony Jerant et al.
Academic Medicine, December 2015, Pages 1667–1674

Purpose: To examine associations of medical school applicant underrepresented minority (URM) status and socioeconomic status (SES) with Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) invitation and performance and acceptance recommendation.

Method: The authors conducted a correlational study of applicants submitting secondary applications to the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 2011–2013. URM applicants were black, Southeast Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic. SES from eight application variables was modeled (0–1 score, higher score = lower SES). Regression analyses examined associations of URM status and SES with MMI invitation (yes/no), MMI score (mean of 10 station ratings, range 0–3), and admission committee recommendation (accept versus not), adjusting for age, sex, and academic performance.

Results: Of 7,964 secondary-application applicants, 19.7% were URM and 15.1% self-designated disadvantaged; 1,420 (17.8%) participated in the MMI and were evaluated for acceptance. URM status was not associated with MMI invitation (OR 1.14; 95% CI 0.98 to 1.33), MMI score (0.00-point difference, CI −0.08 to 0.08), or acceptance recommendation (OR 1.08; CI 0.69 to 1.68). Lower SES applicants were more likely to be invited to an MMI (OR 5.95; CI 4.76 to 7.44) and recommended for acceptance (OR 3.28; CI 1.79 to 6.00), but had lower MMI scores (−0.12 points, CI −0.23 to −0.01).

Conclusions: MMI-based admissions did not disfavor URM applicants. Lower SES applicants had lower MMI scores but were more likely to be invited to an MMI and recommended for acceptance. Multischool collaborations should examine how MMI-based admissions affect URM and lower SES applicants.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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