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Monday, September 26, 2016

Smart power

In Aid We Trust: Hearts and Minds and the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005

Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 2005 an earthquake in Northern Pakistan led to a significant inflow of international relief groups. Four years later, trust in Europeans and Americans was markedly higher among those exposed to the earthquake and the relief that followed. These differences reflect the greater provision of foreign aid and foreigner presence in affected villages, rather than pre-existing population differences or a general impact of disasters on trust. We thus demonstrate large-scale, durable attitudinal change in a representative Muslim population. Trust in Westerners among Muslims is malleable and not a deep-rooted function of preferences or global (as opposed to local) policy and actions.

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Status Deficits and War

Jonathan Renshon

International Organization, July 2016, Pages 513-550

Abstract:
Despite widespread agreement that status matters, there is relatively little in the way of focused research on how and when it matters. Relying on the assumption that it “matters” has provided few extant theories of variation in states’ concern for status and little understanding of its specific implications for international conflict. I introduce a theory of status dissatisfaction (SD) that clarifies who forms the basis for status comparisons in world politics, when status concerns should be paramount, and how they are linked to international conflict. I demonstrate the viability of conflict as a strategy for status enhancement: both initiation and victory bring substantial status benefits over both five- and ten-year periods. Using a new, network-based measure of international status, I demonstrate that status deficits are significantly associated with an increased probability of war and militarized interstate dispute (MID) initiation. Even internationally, status is local: I use “community detection” algorithms to recover status communities and show that deficits within those communities are particularly salient for states and leaders.

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When Political Gridlock Reigns in Presidential Foreign Policy: Policy Availability and the Role of Congress

Bryan Marshall & Brandon Prins

Presidential Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is an inherent connection between the party cover and policy availability theories that has been largely overlooked by the presidential use of force literature. Party cover views the president's party strength in Congress as the prominent structural source shaping presidential incentives by diffusing responsibility in foreign policy. But policy availability adds to this view by explaining how such domestic conditions shape the variety of choices (or tools) presidents have for demonstrating political leadership. Policy availability anticipates that presidential incentives to use the Constitution's Article II authority across foreign policy operations will vary depending on the president's relationship with Congress. This analysis provides insight into claims made by policy availability arguments regarding the role of Congress in explaining presidential decisions to initiate military interventions. The findings point to important differences in the effects of Congress on presidential decisions for low-risk versus high-risk military missions. We find that the president's ability to legislate decreases the likelihood of humanitarian interventions. In addition, we find that as the president's relationship with Congress becomes more legislatively productive, presidents seem significantly more drawn toward high- risk military interventions. We infer from these findings that policy availability represents a powerful motivation in the president's calculation to engage in foreign policy interventions.

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Kill, Capture, or Defend? The Effectiveness of Specific and General Counterterrorism Tactics Against the Global Threats of the Post-9/11 Era

Jesse Paul Lehrke & Rahel Schomaker

Security Studies, Fall 2016, Pages 729-762

Abstract:
This article examines the effectiveness of contemporary counterterrorism strategy in the global fight against terrorism from 2001 to 2011. We seek to maximize the comparative approach more than most existing studies by examining three tactics (killing, capturing, and defending) applied at three scopes (leader, operational, and broad) on three levels (global, movement [jihadi], and organizational [al-Qaeda and Taliban]), while also measuring effectiveness along several quantitative, qualitative, and spatial dimensions. Drawing from resource theory (and its derived analytical approaches) and empirical terrorism studies, we formulate competing hypotheses that are quantitatively tested using a dataset with several original aspects. We find that both killing and capturing can have large effects but these effects vary based on both states' and terrorists' targeting strategies. The most interesting specific findings are that drone strikes seem counterproductive for counterterrorism while renditions seem effective. However, these effects were dwarfed by those of increased defenses, which reduce attacks in the West while redirecting them to other areas in the world. While we find the theory mostly sound, though in need of refocus, we believe current policy trends foretell an increase in terrorist activity in the coming years.

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Media coverage and the escalation of militarized interstate disputes, 1992–2001

Ross Miller & Scott Bokemper

Media, War & Conflict, August 2016, Pages 162-179

Abstract:
Some international crises – such as the Cuban Missile Crisis – receive widespread media coverage, while others are barely reported at all. Does this matter for the behavior of the dispute participants? Can widespread media coverage change the course of history? The authors’ goal is to assess how varying levels of coverage in elite news sources – The New York Times and The Times of London – influence the outcomes of international crises. Their analysis of over 300 dispute dyads indicates that, even after controlling for potential endogeneity and standard explanations of dispute outcomes, higher levels of media exposure make it more likely that targets of threats will escalate crises.

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Torture and the Commitment Problem

Sandeep Baliga & Jeffrey Ely

Review of Economic Studies, October 2016, Pages 1406-1439

Abstract:
We study torture as a mechanism for extracting information from a suspect who may or may not be informed. We show that a standard rationale for torture generates two commitment problems. First, the principal would benefit from a commitment to torture a suspect he knows to be innocent. Secondly, the principal would benefit from a commitment to limit the amount of torture faced by the guilty. We analyse a dynamic model of torture in which the credibility of these threats and promises is endogenous. We show that these commitment problems dramatically reduce the value of torture and can even render it completely ineffective. We use our model to address questions such as the effect of enhanced interrogation techniques, rights against indefinite detention, and delegation of torture to specialists.

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Future Warfare in the Western Pacific: Chinese Antiaccess/Area Denial, U.S. AirSea Battle, and Command of the Commons in East Asia

Stephen Biddle & Ivan Oelrich

International Security, Summer 2016, Pages 7-48

Abstract:
Many analysts worry that improvements in Chinese missile, sensor, guidance, and other technologies will enable China to deny the U.S. military access to parts of the Western Pacific that the United States has long controlled. Although these “antiaccess, area denial” (A2/AD) capabilities are real, they are a geographically limited long-term threat. As both the United States and China deploy A2/AD capabilities, a new era will emerge in which the U.S. military no longer enjoys today's command of the global commons, but is still able to deny China military hegemony in the Western Pacific. In this new era, the United States will possess a sphere of influence around allied landmasses; China will maintain a sphere of influence over its own mainland; and a contested battlespace will cover much of the South and East China Seas wherein neither power enjoys wartime freedom of surface or air movement. This in turn suggests that the Chinese A2/AD threat to U.S. allies is real but more limited than often supposed. With astute U.S. choices, most U.S. allies in this new system will be imperfectly, but substantially, secure.

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Transnational Repression, Diaspora Mobilization, and the Case of The Arab Spring

Dana Moss

Social Problems, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do authoritarian states deter dissent in the diaspora? Using data on Libyan and Syrian activism in the United States and Great Britain, this study demonstrates that they do through violence, exile, threats, surveillance, and by harming dissidents’ relatives at home. The analysis finds that the transnational repression of these diasporas deterred public anti-regime mobilization before the Arab Spring. I then identify the mechanisms by which Libyans and Syrians overcame these effects during the 2011 revolutions. Activists “came out” when (1) violence at home changed their relatives’ circumstances and upset repression’s relational effects; (2) the sacrifices of vanguard activists expanded their objects of obligation, leading them to embrace cost sharing; and (3) the regimes were perceived as incapable of making good on their threats. However, differences in the regimes’ perceived capacities to repress in 2011 produced significant variation in the pace of diaspora emergence over time and guarded advocacy. The study advances understanding of transnationalism by demonstrating how states exercise coercive power across borders and the conditions under which diasporas mobilize to publicly and collectively challenge home-country regimes.

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The Belligerent Origins of the Democratic Peace

Meredith Blank, Mark Dincecco & Yuri Zhukov

University of Michigan Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Is the democratic peace a wholly modern phenomenon or a continuation of previous historical trends? This paper offers the first quantitative analysis of political regime type and conflict in late medieval and early modern Europe. We argue that the modern democratic peace is borne out of centuries of conflict between early parliamentary regimes, which enabled states to raise greater fiscal resources to put toward warfare. To test this argument, we construct a new dyadic panel database of all conflicts, belligerents, and political regime types for the full universe of sovereign polities in Europe between 1200 and 1800. Our database includes more than 900 conflicts and 80 polities. We find that parliamentary regimes fought significantly more than non-parliamentary regimes, both overall and against each other. Furthermore, we find that the causal relationship between parliaments and warfare was reciprocal, with war participation creating the demand for parliamentary institutions, and such institutions creating the capacity for more war. Our results suggest that the institutional predecessors of modern democracies were regimes with significant capacity to make war, but -- until recently -- not enough constraints to prevent it.

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Trading Fire: The Arms Trade Network and Civil War

Brett Benson & Kristopher Ramsay

Princeton Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
The last fifty years have seen two big changes in world politics. First, the most important violent conflicts now largely play out within states rather than between great powers. Second, the decrease in transportation cost has pulled even the smallest and remote countries in the the global exchange of goods and services. In this paper we study how these two fundamental elements of modern world politics interact by analyzing the effects of the trade in small arms on the severity of civil war measured in terms of battle deaths. Using an instrumental variables approach we provide credible evidence that the trade in small arms increases the deadliness for combatants in civil war. Our results also show that sanctions and arms embargoes decrease the loss of combatant life. In addition, our estimation strategy implies an effect of markets and the arms trade network on the transmission of violence to civil war locations. In essence the results show that the arms trade produces a law of conservation of violence. As one civil war ends, the resulting changes in the international market leads other war torn countries’ imports to increase, which in turn increases the number of casualties in ongoing civil wars.

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Perceptions of Recruitment Videos From Armed Forces

Kevin Carriere & Madeleine Blackman

Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Both the U.S. military and ISIS need a constant stream of new recruits. Although their goals and values are very different, both the U.S. military and ISIS display 2 main methods of advertising for recruits: communications focused on (1) glory and combat (action-oriented) and (2) community and benefits beyond the self (community-oriented). This study tests to see whether these 2 different types of messaging are perceived differently. Participants (N = 160) responded more positively to videos from both the U.S. military and ISIS featuring community-oriented content. Possible applied implications are discussed.

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Media effects: Do terrorist organizations launch foreign attacks in response to levels of press freedom or press attention?

Victor Asal & Aaron Hoffman

Conflict Management and Peace Science, September 2016, Pages 381-399

Abstract:
Terrorists are supposed to be influenced by opportunities for news coverage, but does this mean that groups initiate foreign attacks in response to the absence of press freedom in their country or inattention to that state by foreign media organizations? Using Asal and Rethmeyer’s BAAD1 data on terrorist organizations, we find that increasing levels of attention by the international press reduce the odds of groups launching cross-border attacks. The propensity of groups to launch foreign attacks appears unrelated to press freedom. These results suggest that the protections that states provide for the press motivate foreign terrorism less than the way the media determines newsworthiness.

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Dynamic Forecasting Conditional Probability of Bombing Attacks Based on Time-Series and Intervention Analysis

Shuying Li, Jun Zhuang & Shifei Shen

Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, various types of terrorist attacks occurred, causing worldwide catastrophes. According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), among all attack tactics, bombing attacks happened most frequently, followed by armed assaults. In this article, a model for analyzing and forecasting the conditional probability of bombing attacks (CPBAs) based on time-series methods is developed. In addition, intervention analysis is used to analyze the sudden increase in the time-series process. The results show that the CPBA increased dramatically at the end of 2011. During that time, the CPBA increased by 16.0% in a two-month period to reach the peak value, but still stays 9.0% greater than the predicted level after the temporary effect gradually decays. By contrast, no significant fluctuation can be found in the conditional probability process of armed assault. It can be inferred that some social unrest, such as America's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, could have led to the increase of the CPBA in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The integrated time-series and intervention model is used to forecast the monthly CPBA in 2014 and through 2064. The average relative error compared with the real data in 2014 is 3.5%. The model is also applied to the total number of attacks recorded by the GTD between 2004 and 2014.

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Settling of the maritime boundaries of the United States: Cost of settlement and the benefits of legal certainty

Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir

Marine Policy, November 2016, Pages 187–195

Abstract:
The United States has the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world by virtue of its long coastlines and multiple dependencies in the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans. As a result it shares 27 maritime boundaries with 20 different states and dependencies. This paper analyzes how the United States settled 10 contested maritime boundaries between 1977 and until 1997, but has since then left 17 unresolved maritime boundaries. It advances the argument that in this area of relatively low salience for the United States' foreign policy, political and economic transaction costs are key variables in explaining the pattern of settlement.

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Changing capabilities, uncertainty, and the risk of war in crisis bargaining

Brett Benson, Adam Meirowitz & Kristopher Ramsay

Research & Politics, August 2016

Abstract:
Understanding how changes to war-fighting technology influence the probability of war is central to security studies. Yet the effects of changes in the distribution of power are not obvious. All else equal, increasing a country’s power makes it more aggressive when making demands or more resistant to accepting offers, but all else is not equal. Changes in power influence the behavior of both countries and can generate countervailing incentives. In this note we characterize the conditions relating changes in war payoffs to changes in the probability of bargaining failure and war. For a variety of cases the strategic effects can be entirely offsetting and no change in the probability of war results from changes in the balance of power, a result sometimes called neutrality. When this neutralization does not occur, interesting and sometimes surprising effects can persist. For example, if countries are risk averse and neutrality fails, then supporting the weaker country can reduce the probability of war rather than make war more likely, even though the weaker side will now make higher demands and reject more proposals in favor of war.

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Old (Molotov) cocktails in new bottles? “Price-tag” and settler violence in Israel and the West Bank

Ehud Eiran & Peter Krause

Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the early morning of July 31, 2015, masked attackers threw firebombs into two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma, south of Nablus, killing three Palestinian civilians. Contrary to claims by Israeli and Palestinian politicians, this attack was neither an isolated anomaly nor just another incident of settler violence. Instead, it was the latest attack in an important but largely unknown phenomenon called “price-tag,” in which a loosely connected group of young Israelis called “hilltop youth” burn Palestinian mosques and destroy property in hundreds of attacks accompanied by threatening graffiti that references Israeli settlers, outposts, and anti-Arab slogans. Using an original dataset of price-tag incidents and interviews with key actors, we demonstrate that the perpetrators, targets, and strategies of price-tag are different than previous patterns of settler violence. Whereas previous settlers saw the Israeli state as legitimate and largely decided to cooperate with it, the hilltop youth have decided to confront it by using price-tag attacks to deter settlement withdrawals and chain-gang the state into a conflict with the Palestinians. This analysis of the strategic logic of price-tag reveals its potential to shift the political landscape within and between Israelis and Palestinians.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Preoccupied

Increased Incidence Rate of Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders in Denmark After the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks in the United States

Bertel Hansen et al.

American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 (hereafter referred to as 9/11) in the United States had a profound impact on the physical and mental health of Americans, but the effects beyond the United States are largely unknown. To understand the wider aftermath, we examined the consequences of the 9/11 attacks on mental disorders in the Kingdom of Denmark. Utilizing population data from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register from 1995 to 2012, we used a time-series intervention approach to estimate the change in the incidence rate of mental disorders after the 9/11 attacks. Based on analyses of 1,448,250 contacts with psychiatric services, we found that the attacks were followed by an immediate 16% increase in the incidence rate of trauma- and stressor-related disorders. This surge dissipated approximately a year after 9/11. In contrast, no similar increases were found for other disorders. This is consistent with the prominent role of external stressors in the etiology of trauma- and stressor-related disorders. The results indicate that the effects of 9/11 on mental disorders extended across the Atlantic Ocean to Denmark. Thus, the impact of terrorist attacks on mental health is likely not limited to inhabitants of the country under attack; it also extends to people far away and without immediate relation to it.

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Don't stop believing: Rituals improve performance by decreasing anxiety

Alison Wood Brooks et al.

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 71-85

Abstract:
From public speaking to first dates, people frequently experience performance anxiety. And when experienced immediately before or during performance, anxiety harms performance. Across a series of experiments, we explore the efficacy of a common strategy that people employ to cope with performance-induced anxiety: rituals. We define a ritual as a predefined sequence of symbolic actions often characterized by formality and repetition that lacks direct instrumental purpose. Using different instantiations of rituals and measures of anxiety (both physiological and self-report), we find that enacting rituals improves performance in public and private performance domains by decreasing anxiety. Belief that a specific series of behaviors constitute a ritual is a critical ingredient to reduce anxiety and improve performance: engaging in behaviors described as a "ritual" improved performance more than engaging in the same behaviors described as "random behaviors."

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Don't Sleep on It: Less Sleep Reduces Risk for Depressive Symptoms in Cognitively Vulnerable Undergraduates

Gerald Haeffel

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research tested a new theory of depression that integrates work on sleep and cognition. In general, good sleep is essential for physical and mental health. However, we theorize that sleep can actually increase risk for depressive symptoms in cognitively vulnerable individuals. This is because the negative cognitions generated by these individuals are strengthened and consolidated each night during sleep. Three studies were conducted to test this theory. Studies 1 (n = 134) and 2 (n = 47) used prospective designs and showed that undergraduates with high, but not low, levels of cognitive vulnerability were most likely to exhibit increases in depressive symptoms when sleeping well as operationalized by self-reported quality and objectively measured duration (via actigraphy). Study 3 (n = 40) used an experimental design and provides the first causal evidence that it may be possible to prevent future depressive symptoms in cognitively at-risk undergraduates by restricting their sleep during times of high perceived stress.

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The Impact of Outward Bound Programming on Psychosocial Functioning for Male Military Veterans

David Scheinfeld, Aaron Rochlen & Michael Russell

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This pilot study examined male U.S. military veterans' change in overall mental health symptoms after attending an Outward Bound for Veterans (OB4V) course. Two hundred and forty two male veterans, primarily serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn were assigned to either a treatment group or a waitlist control group. Data were collected before and within 1 week after OB4V course attendance. Overall mental health symptoms (outcome) and level of conformity to masculine norms (moderator) were measured using the Outcomes Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45) total score and the Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory. Results indicated participation in OB4V had a significant effect on veterans' overall mental health symptoms. Conformity to traditional masculine norms did not moderate change in OQ-45 scores, suggesting veterans attain similar mental health improvement following OB4V regardless of conformity level (i.e., low, medium, or high) to masculine norms. Findings indicate that OB4V provides male veterans a therapeutic intervention to improve overall mental health symptoms. OB4V and similar therapeutic adventure approaches may provide a culture-centered approach to meet the unique needs of men and veterans.

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Self-affirmation and affective forecasting: Affirmation reduces the anticipated impact of negative events

Janet Pauketat et al.

Motivation and Emotion, October 2016, Pages 750-759

Abstract:
When forecasting how they will feel in the future, people overestimate the impact that imagined negative events will have on their affective states, partly because they underestimate their own psychological resiliency. Because self-affirmation enhances resiliency, two studies examined whether self-affirmation prior to forecasting reduces the extremity of affective forecasts. Participants in self-affirmation conditions completed a values scale or wrote an essay asserting their most important value, whereas participants in the no-affirmation condition asserted a relatively unimportant value. Participants then predicted their affective reactions to a negative or positive imagined event. In both studies, self-affirmation reduced the unpleasant affect expected to result from a negative event, but had no impact on affective forecasts for a positive event. This pattern was mediated by participants' cognitive appraisals of the imagined event, but not by differential focus on that event. Results are consistent with self-affirmation activating or enhancing psychological resiliency to counteract immune neglect during affective forecasting of a negative event.

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Noticing nature: Individual and social benefits of a two-week intervention

Holli-Anne Passmore & Mark Holder

Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined the effects of a two-week nature-based well-being intervention. Undergraduates (N = 395) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: nature, human-built or a business-as-usual control. Participants paid attention to how nature (or human-built objects, depending on assignment) in their everyday surroundings made them feel, photographed the objects/scenes that evoked emotion in them and provided a description of emotions evoked. Post-intervention levels of net positive affect, elevating experiences, a general sense of connectedness (to other people, to nature and to life as a whole) and prosocial orientation were significantly higher in the nature group compared to the human-built and control groups. Trait levels of nature connectedness and engagement with beauty did not moderate nature's beneficial impact on well-being. Qualitative findings revealed significant differences in the emotional themes evoked by nature vs. human-built objects/scenes. This research provides important empirical support for nature involvement as an effective positive psychology intervention.

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Beliefs about emotion's malleability influence state emotion regulation

Elizabeth Kneeland et al.

Motivation and Emotion, October 2016, Pages 740-749

Abstract:
The current study examined how manipulating information about whether emotions are fixed or malleable influences the extent to which individuals engage in different emotion regulation strategies. We hypothesized that fixed, compared to malleable, emotion beliefs would produce less effort invested in emotion regulation. Participants were randomly assigned to experimental conditions emphasizing that emotions are malleable or fixed, and then completed an autobiographical negative emotion induction. Participants reported seven different emotion regulation strategies they used during the recall task. Participants in the fixed emotion condition, compared to those in the malleable emotion condition, reported engaging significantly less in self-blame and perspective-taking. They engaged somewhat, but not significantly, less in all of the other strategies, except acceptance. These results suggest that emotion malleability beliefs can be experimentally manipulated and systematically influence subsequent emotion regulatory behavior. Implications for affective science and mental health are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Just that way

Subtle Perceptions of Male Sexual Orientation Influence Occupational Opportunities

Nicholas Rule et al.

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theories linking the literatures on stereotyping and human resource management have proposed that individuals may enjoy greater success obtaining jobs congruent with stereotypes about their social categories or traits. Here, we explored such effects for a detectable, but not obvious, social group distinction: male sexual orientation. Bridging previous work on prejudice and occupational success with that on social perception, we found that perceivers rated gay and straight men as more suited to professions consistent with stereotypes about their groups (nurses, pediatricians, and English teachers vs. engineers, managers, surgeons, and math teachers) from mere photos of their faces. Notably, distinct evaluations of the gay and straight men emerged based on perceptions of their faces with no explicit indication of sexual orientation. Neither perceivers' expertise with hiring decisions nor diagnostic information about the targets eliminated these biases, but encouraging fair decisions did contribute to partly ameliorating the differences. Mediation analysis further showed that perceptions of the targets' sexual orientations and facial affect accounted for these effects. Individuals may therefore infer characteristics about individuals' group memberships from their faces and use this information in a way that meaningfully influences evaluations of their suitability for particular jobs.

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Sexual Orientation, Income, and Stress at Work

Benjamin Cerf

Industrial Relations, October 2016, Pages 546-575

Abstract:
I present a model explaining recent findings that partnered gay men earn less than partnered straight men while partnered lesbian women earn more than partnered straight women. In an environment with compensating differentials and a gender gap in potential income, an income effect leads partnered gay men to choose jobs with lower income and higher amenities than partnered straight men. The same mechanism generates similarly reasoned predictions about income and amenities for women and single people. Canadian data on stressfulness of one's working environment support these predictions.

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Same-Sex and Different-Sex Cohabiting Couple Relationship Stability

Wendy Manning, Susan Brown & Bart Stykes

Demography, August 2016, Pages 937-953

Abstract:
Relationship stability is a key indicator of well-being, but most U.S.-based research has been limited to different-sex couples. The 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provides an untapped data resource to analyze relationship stability of same-sex cohabiting, different-sex cohabiting, and different-sex married couples (n = 5,701). The advantages of the SIPP data include the recent, nationally representative, and longitudinal data collection; a large sample of same-sex cohabitors; respondent and partner socioeconomic characteristics; and identification of a state-level indicator of a policy stating that marriage is between one man and one woman (i.e., DOMA). We tested competing hypotheses about the stability of same-sex versus different-sex cohabiting couples that were guided by incomplete institutionalization, minority stress, relationship investments, and couple homogamy perspectives (predicting that same-sex couples would be less stable) as well as economic resources (predicting that same-sex couples would be more stable). In fact, neither expectation was supported: results indicated that same-sex cohabiting couples typically experience levels of stability that are similar to those of different-sex cohabiting couples. We also found evidence of contextual effects: living in a state with a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage was significantly associated with higher levels of instability for same- and different-sex cohabiting couples. The level of stability in both same-sex and different-sex cohabiting couples is not on par with that of different-sex married couples. The findings contribute to a growing literature on health and well-being of same-sex couples and provide a broader understanding of family life.

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Does Candidate Sexual Orientation Matter at the Ballot Box? A Field Experiment

David Niven & Costas Panagopoulos

University of Cincinnati Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Surveys and laboratory experiments suggest the existence of enduring hurdles that LGBTQ candidates must overcome to win. But to what extent do actual voters respond to candidate sexual orientation? To what extent is their response conditioned by the presence or absence of social issues in the campaign dialogue? To test these questions, a field experiment was embedded in a low salience 2016 Democratic Primary race for county recorder in Franklin County, Ohio. The incumbent candidate was openly gay - he mentioned his sexual orientation in his official biography - and had campaigned for gay rights. Nonetheless, given the obscurity of the office, very few voters would be expected to know either of these things. With precincts randomly assigned to receive mailings that vary the biographical information (sexual orientation mentioned or not) and the issue context (gay rights included or not), we test for a real world effect of candidate sexuality. We find that the mere fact of being gay had no discernable effect on voters, while being gay and expressing commitment to marriage equality actually increased support for the candidate. Ultimately, the results suggest scholars may have underestimated the capacity of gay candidates to run as themselves and succeed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, September 23, 2016

On the force

Does Minority Representation in Police Agencies Reduce Assaults on the Police?

Turgut Ozkan, John Worrall & Alex Piquero

American Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 402-423

Abstract:
Following recent high-profile deaths of unarmed African American suspects at the hands of police, a number of reforms have been proposed, among them improved minority representation in the ranks of law enforcement organizations. Previous research has explored the effects of minority representation on complaints against the police and other behaviors, but very few studies have examined violence toward the police. We merged several data sources together and tested the hypothesis that minority representation within police departments is inversely associated with assaults against the police. In an extension of prior research, we also conducted separate analyses for African American, Hispanic, and Asian officer representation. The results did not support the expectation that diversity within police organizations results in improved police-citizen interactions, as measured by assaults on police. This study is one of the few to examine how different measures of minority representation in police agencies relates to assaults on the police.

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Body-Worn Cameras and Citizen Interactions with Police Officers: Estimating Plausible Effects Given Varying Compliance Levels

Eric Hedberg, Charles Katz & David Choate

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent citizen deaths involving police use of force have increased discussion surrounding police accountability and community relations. One piece of this discussion is the use of body worn cameras (BWCs) by officers. Unfortunately, little rigorous research has been conducted to estimate the effectiveness of BWCs in reducing problematic police-citizen interactions. In this paper, we estimate two measures of effectiveness of BWCs by comparing incidents that occur in a squad assigned cameras to incidents that occur in a squad assigned control. First, we estimate the effect of being assigned a BWC (but not necessarily using the camera) on reducing complaints and resistance associated with incidents. Second, we employ data on BWC use to estimate the effect of cameras if they were used with full compliance. Together, these two estimates provide a plausible range of effectiveness that policymakers can expect from BWCs. We find that BWCs have no effect on the rate of arrest or resistance, but can substantially reduce complaints.

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Assessing the Impact of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Arresting, Prosecuting, and Convicting Suspects of Intimate Partner Violence

Weston Morrow, Charles Katz & David Choate

Police Quarterly, September 2016, Pages 303-325

Abstract:
The perceived benefits that generally accompany body-worn cameras (BWCs) include the ability to increase transparency and police legitimacy, improve behavior among both police officers and citizens, and reduce citizen complaints and police use of force. Less established in the literature, however, is the value of BWCs to aid in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of intimate partner violence (IPV) offenders. We attempt to fill that void by examining the effect of pre- and post-camera deployment on a number of outcomes related to arrest, prosecution, and conviction. The findings provide initial evidence for the utility of BWCs in IPV cases. When compared with posttest non-camera cases, posttest camera cases were more likely to result in an arrest, have charges filed, have cases furthered, result in a guilty plea, and result in a guilty verdict at trial. These results have several implications for policing, prosecuting, and convicting IPV cases.

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Estimating the determinants of arrest-related deaths at the state level

Mark Gius

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of the present study is to ascertain the determinants of arrest-related deaths (ARDs) at the state level. ARDs are civilian deaths that occurred during or shortly after an arrest or detention by state or local law enforcement. These deaths may be attributed to a variety of factors, including use of force by police, injuries sustained when attempting to elude police, self-inflicted injuries and medical conditions. Using data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics for the period 2003-2009 and employing a Poisson regression model, the results of the present study suggest that race is not statistically related to ARDs. Hence, the percentage of a state's population that is African-American has no effect on ARDs. The factors found to be most significantly related to ARDs include the gun-related murder rate, the percentage of the state population that is under the age of 35, population density and police per capita. All were found to be positively related to ARDs. This study is one of the first studies that examines the determinants of state-level ARDs, and this study is one of the few studies on ARDs that finds that race is not a factor in ARDs

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Did Drug Courts Lead to Increased Arrest and Punishment of Minor Drug Offenses?

David Lilley

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drug courts were implemented nationwide during the 1990s to expand alternatives to incarceration for individuals with substance use disorders that were charged with nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors. Although these courts were publicized as a facilitator of treatment and alternative to incarceration, researchers and advocates have suggested that this approach may have unintentionally intensified law enforcement focus on casual drug users and individuals with minor substance dependency. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether there is evidence that drug courts systemically increased the arrest and punishment of misdemeanor drug use and possession by conducting a series of panel data analyses among more than 8,000 city and county jurisdictions while controlling for economic, demographic, and nationwide law enforcement trends. Analyses in this study provide evidence that local police increased their attention toward minor drug offenses in jurisdictions where drug courts were implemented across the nation.

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Identifying Classes of Explanations for Crime Drop: Period and Cohort Effects for New York State

Jaeok Kim, Shawn Bushway & Hui-Shien Tsao

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, September 2016, Pages 357-375

Objective: This paper advances current understanding of the contemporary crime drop by focusing on the changes in the age distribution of arrests from 1990 to 2010. Using the New York State Computerized Criminal History (CCH) file, which tracks every arrest in the state, we apply standard demographic methods to examine age-specific arrest rates over time. We test whether the 25 % drop in the felony arrest rate can be best explained by period or cohort effects with special attention to how the phenomenon varies across crime types and regions within the state.

Methods: Following the analytic approach of O'Brien and Stockard (J Quant Criminol 25(1):79-101, 2009), we fit the age-period-cohort (APC) model using the generalized inverse matrix, which creates an estimable model. We partition the model variation into each factor by subtracting the variation of the two-factor model from the variation of the three-factor model to provide a direct comparison of the two different classes of explanations for crime drop: period and cohort.

Results: Our analysis supports a cohort explanation over a period explanation. Controlling for the (substantial) variation due to age, the cohort effect accounts for twice as much of the remaining variation as the period effect. Specifically, the drop in arrest rates is concentrated in more recent birth cohorts across all ages. Although we found statistically significant age-period interaction effects for the younger age group (ages 16-20) in 1990 and 1995, the cohort effect was still a much stronger predictor of felony arrest rates than the period explanation, even with the age-period interaction.

Conclusions: The current study reports that the overall drop in felony arrest rates from 1990 to 2010 is mostly due to decreased arrests among those who were born after 1970 rather than a universal drop across different age groups. We discuss but do not test two potential explanations - the legalization of abortion and the ban on leaded gasoline - for the underlying factors associated with a different criminal propensity among birth cohorts.

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Counterterrorist Legislation and Subsequent Terrorism: Does it Work?

Eran Shor

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the past four decades, and especially in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, many countries around the world have passed various types of counterterrorist legislation. It remains unclear, however, whether such laws are effective in achieving their most important declared goal: reducing terrorist activities. Some scholars believe that counterterrorist legislation should indeed reduce terrorist activities through protecting people and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist plots, and deterring some potential terrorists. Others, however, remain doubtful, suggesting that such legislation often serves merely as lip service or, worse, actually contributes to increasing terrorist activities. Using a newly assembled database on national-level counterterrorist legislation, I conduct a cross-national time-series analysis of legislation and subsequent terrorism for the years 1981-2009. The analyses demonstrate a discrepancy between the short- and long-term effects of national-level counterterrorist legislation. In the short term, laws have no effect on the number of terrorist attacks and their severity. In the long term, however, the cumulative effects of most legislation are counterproductive and harmful, although some types of legislation do produce beneficial results and are associated with a reduction in future attacks.

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Good Jobs and Recidivism

Kevin Schnepel

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
I estimate the impact of employment opportunities on recidivism among 1.7 million offenders released from a California prison between 1993 and 2008. The institutional structure of the California criminal justice system as well as location-, skill-, and industry-specific job accession data provide a unique framework for identifying a causal effect of job availability on criminal behaviour. I find that increases in construction and manufacturing opportunities at the time of release are associated with significant reductions in recidivism. Other types of opportunities, including those characterised by lower wages that are typically accessible to individuals with criminal records, do not influence recidivism.

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Increasing Cooperation With the Police Using Body Worn Cameras

Barak Ariel

Police Quarterly, September 2016, Pages 326-362

Abstract:
What can change the willingness of people to report crimes? A 6-month study in Denver investigated whether Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) can change crime-reporting behavior, with treatment-officers wearing BWCs patrolling targeted street segments, while control officers patrolled the no-treatment areas without BWCs. Stratified street segments crime densities were used as the units of analysis, in order to measure the effect on the number of emergency calls in target versus control street segments. Repeated measures ANOVAs and subgroup analyses suggest that BWCs lead to greater willingness to report crimes to the police in low crime density level residential street segments, but no discernable differences emerge in hotspot street segments. Variations in reporting are interpreted in terms of accountability, legitimacy, or perceived utility caused by the use of BWCs. Situational characteristics of the street segments explain why low-level street segments are affected by BWCs, while in hotspots no effect was detected.

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Must Work for Food: The Politics of Nutrition and Informal Economy in an American Prison

Michael Gibson-Light

University of Arizona Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
One of many negative consequences of the prison boom and so-called punitive turn in the US criminal justice system is an increase in "punitive frugality" inside the nation's prisons. Health, education, and food services (among others) have been greatly reduced as privatization increases. Often, the costs of programs and services are passed on to inmates-they pay fees for doctor visits, increased charges for GED test taking, and commissary costs for food beyond the minimum calories provided by the state. Yet, inmates are not unresponsive in the face of prison cost-cutting measures or perceived downturns in the quality of services; they react in many ways that can be empirically observed. In addition to overt demonstrations of dissatisfaction such as rioting, inmates also engage in covert displays. Drawing on ethnographic observations within a state prison and in-depth interviews with inmates, this paper outlines one such covert response: the adaptation of informal prison markets and currency to reflect inmate needs and counter a gradual reduction of food services. In my fieldsite (as in many state prisons), "luxury" goods like tobacco have been replaced by nutritional items, such as ramen noodles, as the de facto currency of the informal prison economy. This paper discusses this transition to ramen currency and outlines the prison ramen market. In doing so, it aims to connect trends in micro transactions (e.g., trading packets of ramen for other goods or services in prison) with the macro conditions of the US carceral field in the era of mass incarceration.

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The Effects of Criminal Propensity and Strain on Later Offending

Jessica Craig, Stephanie Cardwell & Alex Piquero

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recently, Agnew has narrowed the focus of General Strain Theory by arguing certain factors must converge for criminal coping to occur. Specifically, individuals must have certain crime-related traits, experience strains that are perceived as unjust and high in magnitude, and occur in situations that encourage criminal coping. A longitudinal sample of serious adolescent offenders was used to assess the impact of direct and vicarious victimization on later offending among those with higher and lower criminal propensity. Regardless of their criminal propensity, youth who experienced victimization were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior compared with those who were not victimized. The results are mixed regarding Agnew's thesis and suggest that victimization experiences may push justice-involved youth into further crime.

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Public Perceptions of the Justifiability of Police Shootings: The Role of Body Cameras in a Pre- and Post-Ferguson Experiment

Scott Culhane, John Boman & Kimberly Schweitzer

Police Quarterly, September 2016, Pages 251-274

Abstract:
We conducted two studies, wherein participants from across the United States watched, heard, or read the transcript of an actual police shooting event. The data for Study 1 were collected prior to media coverage of a widely publicized police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Results indicated that participants who could hear or see the event were significantly more likely to perceive the shooting was justified than they were when they read a transcript of the encounter. Shortly after the events in Ferguson, Missouri, we replicated the first study, finding quite different results. Although dissatisfaction with the shooting was seen in all forms of presentation, video evidence produced the highest citizen perceptions of an unjustified shooting and audio evidence produced the least. Citizens were nonetheless overwhelmingly favorable to requiring police to use body cameras. Body-mounted cameras with high-quality audio capabilities are recommended for police departments to consider.

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Short-Run Externalities of Civic Unrest: Evidence from Ferguson, Missouri

Seth Gershenson & Michael Hayes

American University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
We document externalities of the civic unrest experienced in Ferguson, MO following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Difference-in-differences and synthetic control method estimates compare Ferguson-area schools to neighboring schools in the greater St. Louis area and find that the unrest led to statistically significant, arguably causal declines in students' math and reading achievement. Attendance is one mechanism through which this effect operated, as chronic absence increased by five percent in Ferguson-area schools. Impacts were concentrated in elementary schools and at the bottom of the achievement distribution and spilled over into majority black schools throughout the area.

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Examining Prison Effects on Recidivism: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

Ojmarrh Mitchell et al.

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
The "get-tough" era of punishment led to exponential growth in the rate of incarceration in the United States. Recent reviews of the literature indicate, however, that limited rigorous research exists examining the effect of imprisonment on the likelihood of future offending. As a result, scholars have called for assessment of this relationship, while using methodologies that can better account for selection effects. This study addresses these calls directly by applying regression discontinuity, a methodology well suited to account for selection bias, on a cohort of felony offenders in Florida. Results suggest that prison, as compared to non-incarcerative sanctions, has no appreciable impact on recidivism. Although no differential effects surfaced across race/ethnicity, the analyses indicated that imprisonment exerts a differential effect by gender with the effect being more criminogenic among males than females.

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The efficacy of foot patrol in violent places

Kenneth Novak et al.

Journal of Experimental Criminology, September 2016, Pages 465-475

Objectives: This study examines the effectiveness of foot patrol in violent micro-places. A large urban police department deployed foot patrol in micro-places (hot spots) for a period of 90 days for two shifts each day. Our objective is to determine whether this activity impacted violent crime in these hot spots and whether spatial displacement of crime occurred.

Methods: Eight eligible foot beat locations were set by examining crime rates for previous years in order to identify micro-places of high criminal activity. We employed a quasi-experimental design comparing the four treatment to the four control areas, estimating panel-specific autoregressive models for 30 weeks prior to and 40 weeks after the treatment.

Results: Time series models revealed statistically significant reductions in violent crime in the micro-places receiving foot patrol treatment, while no such reductions were observed in the control areas. The deterrent effect, however, was short and dissipated quickly. Control areas did not experience any crime prevention benefit during this time period. No evidence of crime displacement to spatially contiguous areas was detected.

Conclusions: This contributes to the growing body of knowledge that focused police strategies within hot spots impact violent crime. Specifically, the implementation of foot patrol in high crime hot spots led to measurable reductions in aggravated assaults and robberies, without displacing crime to contiguous areas.

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Separating State Dependence, Experience, and Heterogeneity in a Model of Youth Crime and Education

Maria Antonella Mancino, Salvador Navarro & David Rivers

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the determinants of youth crime using a dynamic discrete choice model of crime and education. We allow past education and criminal activities to affect current crime and educational decisions. We take advantage of a rich panel dataset on serious juvenile offenders, the Pathways to Desistance. Using a series of psychometric tests, we estimate a model of cognitive and social/emotional skills which feed into the crime and education model. This allows us to separately identify the roles of state dependence, returns to experience, and heterogeneity in driving crime and enrollment decisions among youth. We find small effects of experience and stronger evidence of state dependence and heterogeneity for crime and schooling. We provide evidence that, as a consequence, policies that affect individual heterogeneity (e.g., social/emotional skills), and those that temporarily keep youth away from crime, can have important and lasting effects even if criminal experience has already accumulated.

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Racial Resentment and Attitudes Toward the Use of Force by Police: An Over-Time Trend Analysis

Scott Carter & Mamadi Corra

Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
On the heels of recent police shootings of an unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the death of Freddy Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, that stoked racial tensions, this article examines how beliefs about race and racial inequality influence whites' attitudes toward the use of force by the police since the mid-1980s. Our main dependent measure is a composite index ("Police Force Index") constructed from four survey items from the 1986-2012 National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey (GSS). Results show that (1) beliefs about race do indeed significantly predict whites' attitudes toward police use of force, and more importantly, (2) this effect has remained constant since the mid-1980s. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these findings and suggestions for future research.

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Police and Crime: Evidence from Cops 2.0

Steven Mello

Princeton University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased funding for the Department of Justice's local police hiring (COPS) grant program from $20 million in 2008 to $1 billion in 2009 and over $150 million annually in 2010-2012. Among grant winners, program rules generate quasi-random variation in the timing of grant-induced police increases. I leverage this variation to overcome simultaneity bias and estimate the causal effect of police on crime. Event study and instrumental variables estimates suggest that police added by the program resulted in large and statistically significant declines in robberies, larcenies, and auto thefts. I find evidence that these crime reductions are achieved through deterrence rather than incapacitation. Under conservative assumptions, the program's costs outweigh its benefits, but the program is easily cost-effective under more generous assumptions about its crime effects or associated stimulus benefits. The results highlight that police hiring grants may offer higher benefit-cost ratios than other job creation programs.

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Neighborhood-Level Economic Activity and Crime

Christina Plerhoples Stacy, Helen Ho & Rolf Pendall

Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theories of criminology suggest that neighborhood-level economic activity affects the conditions that make crime more likely. However, most studies on neighborhoods and crime focus solely on residential characteristics and ignore the commercial ones. In this article, we estimate the effect of neighborhood-level economic activity on crime holding residential characteristics constant. To do so, we use crime and census data combined with a detailed data set on establishments in Washington, DC from 2000 to 2010 to create a comprehensive measure of neighborhood-level economic activity. We exploit the panel nature of the data to identify the directionality of the results by removing unobserved heterogeneity and estimating lags and leads of economic activity. Results indicate that increases in economic activity are associated with reductions in property crime, but that the reduction in property crime occurs before the growth in economic activity and rises afterward. Violent crime declines the same year as growth in economic activity.

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Disproportionate Prevalence Rate of Prisoners With Disabilities: Evidence From a Nationally Representative Sample

Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez et al.

Journal of Disability Policy Studies, September 2016, Pages 106-115

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that prisoners have a higher rate of disability than non-institutionalized adults. This study used nationally representative data to update the prevalence rate, identify correlates of disability, and evaluate disability-related disparities in use of prison-based educational services, vocational programs, and work assignments. Data were obtained from 18,185 prisoners interviewed in the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities. Survey logistic regression procedures were conducted using Stata 13. Disability prevalence remained substantially higher among prisoners than among the non-institutionalized population. Prisoners were more likely to report specific learning, sensory, and speech-related disabilities than non-institutionalized adults. Prisoners with at least one type of disability had more criminogenic risk factors and come from a more disadvantaged background than prisoners without disability. Prisoners with disabilities were also less likely to utilize vocational programs and work assignments but were more likely to use educational programs than prisoners without disabilities. In summary, 41% of prisoners reported a disability, most commonly, learning disabilities. Prisoners with disabilities were identified as an at-risk group for recidivism, given their pre-incarceration experiences, and limited vocational and work-related training received in prison.

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Racial Discrimination and Pathways to Delinquency: Testing a Theory of African American Offending

James Unnever, Francis Cullen & J.C. Barnes

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study draws on two cohorts of African American youths from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, Longitudinal Cohort Study to examine whether perceived racial discrimination directly and indirectly affects juvenile delinquency. The analyses reveal that racial discrimination may foster offending by increasing (1) the likelihood that African American youths will drop out of school and (2) the degree to which they associate with delinquent peers. Evidence supporting the pathway between racial discrimination, associating with delinquent peers, and offending was found after introducing controls for demographic, social, and individual trait factors. In a society that remains racialized, it thus appears that a full explanation of African Americans' offending should take into account the ways in which racial subordination may place African American youths on pathways that lead toward criminal involvement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The kids are all right

The increasing happiness of US parents

Chris Herbst & John Ifcher

Review of Economics of the Household, September 2016, Pages 529-551

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that parents may be less happy than non-parents. We critically assess the literature and examine parents’ and non-parents’ happiness-trends using the General Social Survey (N = 42,298) and DDB Lifestyle Survey (N = 75,237). We find that parents are becoming happier over time relative to non-parents, that non-parents’ happiness is declining absolutely, and that estimates of the parental happiness gap are sensitive to the time-period analyzed. These results are consistent across two datasets, most subgroups, and various specifications. Finally, we present evidence that suggests children appear to protect parents against social and economic forces that may be reducing happiness among non-parents.

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Father Absence and Adolescent Depression and Delinquency: A Comparison of Siblings Approach

Anna Markowitz & Rebecca Ryan

Journal of Marriage and Family, October 2016, Pages 1300–1314

Abstract:
Although associations between having a nonresident father and increased internalizing and externalizing behaviors in adolescence have been well documented, research has yet to establish the plausible causality of these links or identify underlying mechanisms. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 - Young Adult survey, this study addresses these questions by comparing the depressive symptoms and delinquent behavior of siblings discordant for age at father departure. Findings indicate that father departure later in childhood is associated with increased adolescent delinquency but not depressive symptoms, whereas early childhood father departure was not associated with adolescent outcomes. Both findings suggests that parental monitoring — rather than socialization or emotional distress — may account for links between father departure and adolescent delinquency.

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Shorter Work Hours and Work-to-Family Interference: Surprising Findings from 32 Countries

Leah Ruppanner & David Maume

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
For many, work interferes with their home life. To mitigate this encroachment, many welfare states have legislated shorter workweeks. Yet, the effectiveness of this policy on work-to-family interference is mixed, thus requiring additional investigation. We address this gap by applying multilevel data pairing the 2005 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) for individuals in 32 nations (N = 20,937) with country-level measures of legislated weekly work hours, mean reported weekly work hours (aggregated and differentiated by gender), and individualistic/collectivist orientations. We find that legislated work hours have no impact on individuals’ reports of work-to-family interference. By contrast, shorter normative weekly work hours, aggregated and by gender, are associated with greater individual work-to-family interference. We find an equivalent pattern in individualistic countries. While we document individual-level gender and parental differences, we find no differential effects of long workweeks for these groups. We explain these associations through the heightened expectations perspective, arguing that increased resources heighten expectations of work–life balance and sensitivity to work-to-family interference.

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On the Production of Skills and the Birth-Order Effect

Ronni Pavan

Journal of Human Resources, August 2016, Pages 699-726

Abstract:
First-born children tend to outperform their younger siblings on measures such as cognitive exams, wages, educational attainment, and employment. Using a framework similar to Cunha and Heckman (2008) and Cunha, Heckman, and Schennach (2010), this paper finds that differences in parents’ investments across siblings can account for more than one-half of the gap in cognitive skills among siblings. The study’s framework accommodates for endogeneity in parents’ investments, measurement error, missing observations, and dynamic impacts of parental investments.

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Locus of control and its intergenerational implications for early childhood skill formation

Warn Lekfuangfu et al.

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper builds upon Cunha's (2015) subjective rationality model in which parents have a subjective belief about the impact of their investment on their children's early skill formation. We propose that this subjective belief is determined partly by locus of control (LOC), i.e., the extent to which individuals believe that their actions can influence future outcomes. Consistent with the theory, we show that maternal LOC measured at the 12th week of gestation strongly predicts maternal attitudes towards parenting style and actual time investments. We also utilize maternal LOC to improve the specification typically used to estimate skill production function parameters.

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Breastfeeding duration and offspring conduct problems: The moderating role of genetic risk

Dylan Jackson

Social Science & Medicine, October 2016, Pages 128–136

Methods: A genetically informative design is employed to examine a subsample of twins from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), a nationally representative sample of American children.

Results: The findings suggest that a shorter duration of breastfeeding only enhances the risk of offspring conduct problems among children who possess high levels of genetic risk. Conversely, longer breastfeeding durations were found to protect against childhood behavioral problems when genetic risk was high.

Conclusions: Indicators of genetic risk may help to distinguish individuals whose behavioral development is most sensitive to the duration of breastfeeding. Future research should seek to replicate and extend these findings by considering genetic factors as potential markers of differential susceptibility to breastfeeding duration.

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Effects of Parental Divorce on Teenage Children’s Risk Behaviors: Incidence and Persistence

Geir Wæhler Gustavsen, Rodolfo Nayga & Ximing Wu

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, September 2016, Pages 474–487

Abstract:
It is generally difficult to separate the effects of divorce from selection when analyzing the effects of parental divorce on children’s risk behaviors. We used propensity score matching and longitudinal data methods to estimate the effects of parents’ divorce on their children’s binge drinking, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, marijuana use, and hard drug use. The children were between 12 and 18 years old in the first survey and between 18 and 24 years old in the second survey. Our results suggest that parental divorce significantly increased the probability of risk behaviors in their children. Moreover, many of these adverse impacts persisted over time, especially among teenage girls.

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Like Father Like Son: How Does Parents' Financial Behavior Affect Their Children's Financial Behavior?

Ning Tang

Journal of Consumer Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the intergenerational influence on financial behavior. Using two national longitudinal studies: the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey Children and Young Adults (NLSCYA) and the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey (NLSY79), we link the financial behavior of 2,520 young adults back to their general self-control skill and their parents' financial behavior conducted during children's adolescence. We find evidence of intergenerational consistency in financial behavior between parents and their children. Results from the generalized structural equation model indicate that parents' financial behavior affects that of their children both directly and indirectly through general self-control skill development. Furthermore, the influence of parents is moderated by parent–child relationship. These findings highlight the importance of parental financial socialization. Its implications are discussed.

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Still standing out: Children's names in the United States during the Great Recession and correlations with economic indicators

Jean Twenge, Lauren Dawson & Keith Campbell

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Continuing a long-standing trend in the U.S. Social Security Administration database of first names (N = 358 million), American parents were less likely to choose common names for their children between 2004 and 2015, including the years of the Great Recession (2008–2010). These trends were similar in California (severely affected by the recession) and Texas (less affected). Over a longer time period (1901–2015), cyclical economic indicators were either not correlated with common names (e.g., stock market performance) or worse economic times predicted fewer common names. The results are consistent with increasing individualism, with limited support for the idea that economic threat leads people to embrace uniqueness and no real support for the idea that economic deprivation leads to more communal name choices.

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Women's Enfranchisement and Children's Education: The Long-Run Impact of the U.S. Suffrage Movement

Esra Kose, Elira Kuka & Na'ama Shenhav

Dartmouth College Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
While a growing literature has shown that empowering women leads to increased short-term investments in children, little is known about its long-term effects. We investigate the effect of women's political empowerment on children's human capital accumulation by exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in U.S. state and federal suffrage laws. We estimate that exposure to women's suffrage during childhood leads to large increases in educational attainment for children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular blacks and Southern whites. An investigation into the mechanisms behind these effects suggests that the educational gains are plausibly driven by the rise in public expenditures following suffrage.

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Industry Television Ratings for Violence, Sex, and Substance Use

Joy Gabrielli et al.

Pediatrics, September 2016

Methods: Seventeen TV shows (323 episodes and 9214 episode minutes) across several TV show rating categories (TVY7, TVPG, TV14, and TVMA) were evaluated. We content-coded the episodes, recording seconds of each risk behavior, and we rated the salience of violence in each one. Multilevel models were used to test for associations between TV rating categories and prevalence of risk behaviors across and within episodes or salience of violence.

Results: Every show had at least 1 risk behavior. Violence was pervasive, occurring in 70% of episodes overall and for 2.3 seconds per episode minute. Alcohol was also common (58% of shows, 2.3 seconds per minute), followed by sex (53% of episodes, 0.26 seconds per minute), and smoking (31% of shows, 0.54 seconds per minute). TV Parental Guidelines did not discriminate prevalence estimates of TV episode violence. Although TV-Y7 shows had significantly less substance use, other categories were poor at discriminating substance use, which was as common in TV-14 as TV-MA shows. Sex and gory violence were the only behaviors demonstrating a graded increase in prevalence and salience for older-child rating categories.

Conclusions: TV Parental Guidelines ratings were ineffective in discriminating shows for 3 out of 4 behaviors studied. Even in shows rated for children as young as 7 years, violence was prevalent, prominent, and salient. TV ratings were most effective for identification of sexual behavior and gory violence.

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Adolescent Functioning in Housing and Family Contexts: A Mixed Methods Study

Margaret Elliott, Elizabeth Shuey & Tama Leventhal

Journal of Family Psychology, September 2016, Pages 676-686

Abstract:
Although adolescents begin to seek autonomy and strive to be out of the home on their own, the housing context remains the primary setting of their daily lives. Using survey and ethnographic data from Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study (e.g., Winston et al., 1999), this study explored quantitatively and qualitatively how two salient aspects of the housing context, physical housing problems and household size, were associated with low-income adolescents’ emotional and academic functioning, and how these associations were modified by mother–adolescent relationships (specifically, trust and communication) and gender. Results of cross-lagged hierarchical linear models suggest that adolescents living in homes with more housing problems had more mental health symptoms, whereas living in larger households was associated with higher achievement, but only in the context of lower quality mother–adolescent relationships. Qualitative analyses helped to interpret these results by illuminating potential pathways underlying associations observed in quantitative results.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Don't bank on it

Have Big Banks Gotten Safer?

Natasha Sarin & Lawrence Summers

Harvard Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Since the financial crisis, there have been major changes in the regulation of large financial institutions directed at reducing their risk. Measures of regulatory capital have substantially increased; leverage ratios have been reduced; and stress testing has sought to further assure safety by raising levels of capital and reducing risk taking. Standard financial theories would predict that such changes would lead to substantial declines in financial market measures of risk. For major institutions in the United States and around the world and midsized institutions in the United States, we test this proposition using information on stock price volatility, option-based estimates of future volatility, beta, credit default swaps, earnings-price ratios, and preferred stock yields. To our surprise, we find that financial market information provides little support for the view that major institutions are significantly safer than they were before the crisis and some support for the notion that risks have actually increased. This does not make a case against the regulatory approaches that have been pursued, but does caution against complacency. We examine a number of possible explanations for our surprising findings. We conclude that financial markets may have underestimated risk prior to the crisis and that there may have been significant distortions in measures of regulatory capital. While we cannot rule out these explanations, we believe that our findings are most consistent with a dramatic decline in the franchise value of major financial institutions, caused at least in part by new regulations. This decline in franchise value makes financial institutions more vulnerable to adverse shocks. We highlight that the ratio of the market value of common equity to assets on both a risk-adjusted and risk-unadjusted basis has declined significantly for most major institutions. Our findings, if validated by others, may have important implications for regulatory policy.

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Systematic Mistakes in the Mortgage Market and Lack of Financial Sophistication

Sumit Agarwal, Itzhak Ben-David & Vincent Yao

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Institutions often offer a menu of contracts to consumers in an attempt to create a separating equilibrium that reveals borrower types and provides better pricing. We test the effectiveness of a specific set of contracts in the mortgage market: mortgage points. Points allow borrowers to exchange an upfront amount for a decrease in the mortgage rate. We document that, on average, points takers lose about $700. Also, points takers are less financially savvy (less educated, older), and they make mistakes on other dimensions (e.g., inefficiently refinancing their mortgages). Overall, our results show that borrowers overestimate how long they will stay with the mortgage.

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Cat and Mouse: A Dynamic Analysis of Predatory Payday Lending

Daria Roithmayr, Justin Chin & Bruce Levin

University of Southern California Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Legal actors and the regulators who pursue them often engage in a co-evolutionary game of cat and mouse, as each innovates to out-compete the other. Predatory payday lenders are a prime example of this co-evolutionary arms race. Lenders have discovered increasingly creative ways to escape state regulation, like partnering with Indian tribes to claim immunity from state jurisdiction. In turn, regulators continually adapt their regulation to retarget the latest innovation. A regulator trying to keep pace with legal actors faces a tradeoff: adapting more frequently reduces the prohibited behavior, but increases wasteful innovation for both regulator and lenders, as each innovates in response to the other. In this paper, we draw from dynamic mathematical models of drug resistance to map this process and to advise regulators on how to optimize their regulatory approach. We construct a simple mathematical model using coupled differential equations to describe the arms race of innovation between regulatory strategy and the strategy of the regulated, in the context of payday lending. We conduct numerical approximations, to analyze the evolutionary pathways of regulator and lender strategy over time, and to map the tradeoff between the benefit from reducing predatory lending and the harm from having to return again and again to the drawing board to generate new regulation. We show that, contrary to intuition, a regulator should delay responding to an innovative payday lender strategy: we calculate an optimal response time that balances the need to respond slowly in order to minimize triggering repeated innovation, and the need to respond quickly to minimize the number of predatory payday lenders. We also show that a regulator that is unable to adapt quickly should weaken the strength of its innovation, in order to minimize further innovation by predatory lenders.

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Ditching the Middle Class with Consumer Protection Regulation

Francesco D'Acunto & Alberto Rossi

University of Maryland Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We analyze the effects of a recent piece of consumer protection regulation -- Dodd-Frank -- on mortgage originations. Dodd-Frank aimed at reducing mortgage fees and abuses against vulnerable borrowers, but increased the costs of originating mortgages. We find it triggered a substantial redistribution of credit from middle-class households to wealthy households. Lenders reduced credit to middle-class households by 15%, and increased it to wealthy households by 21%, after controlling for drivers of the demand for housing, local house prices, and foreclosures. Large lenders found it less costly to react to Dodd-Frank. We thus instrument households' exposure to Dodd-Frank with the pre-crisis share of mortgages originated by large lenders in each county. The redistribution of credit from the middle-class to the wealthy was higher in counties more exposed to large lenders, which are similar to other counties. Results hold at the individual-loan level and zip-code level, at the intensive margin (amount lent) and extensive margin (number of loans originated), and for accepted and rejected loans. Changes in the distribution of refinancing loans do not explain the results.

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Consumer Borrowing after Payday Loan Bans

Neil Bhutta, Jacob Goldin & Tatiana Homonoff

Journal of Law and Economics, February 2016, Pages 225-259

Abstract:
High-interest payday loans have proliferated in recent years; so too have efforts to regulate them. Yet how borrowers respond to such regulations remains largely unknown. Drawing on both administrative and survey data, we exploit variation in payday-lending laws to study the effect of payday loan restrictions on consumer borrowing. We find that although such policies are effective at reducing payday lending, consumers respond by shifting to other forms of high-interest credit (for example, pawnshop loans) rather than traditional credit instruments (for example, credit cards). Such shifting is present, but less pronounced, for the lowest-income payday loan users. Our results suggest that policies that target payday lending in isolation may be ineffective at reducing consumers’ reliance on high-interest credit.

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Managerial Myopia and the Mortgage Meltdown

Adam Kolasinski & Nan Yang

Texas A&M University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Prominent policy makers assert that managerial short-termism was at the root of the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009. Prior scholarly research, however, largely rejects this assertion. Using a more comprehensive measure of CEO incentives for short-termism, we uncover evidence that short-termism indeed played a role in the crisis. We find that shorter vesting schedules for CEO equity holdings are positively related to firm exposure to subprime mortgage assets, as well as a higher probability of financial distress and lower risk-adjusted stock returns during the crisis. Furthermore, shorter vesting schedules are positively associated with fines and settlements for subprime-related fraud.

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How Does Personal Bankruptcy Law Affect Startups?

Geraldo Cerqueiro & María Fabiana Penas

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit state-level changes in the amount of personal wealth individuals can protect under Chapter 7 to analyze the effect of debtor protection on the financing structure and performance of a representative panel of U.S. startups. The effect of increasing debtor protection depends on the entrepreneur's level of wealth. Firms owned by mid-wealth entrepreneurs whose assets become fully protected suffer a reduction in credit availability, employment, operating efficiency, and survival rates. We find no such negative effects for low-wealth and high-wealth owners. Our results are consistent with theories that predict that asset protection in bankruptcy leads to a redistribution of credit.

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Debtor Rights, Credit Supply, and Innovation

Geraldo Cerqueiro et al.

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Firms’ innovative activities can be sensitive to public policies that affect the availability of capital. In this paper, we investigate the effects of regional and temporal variation in U.S. personal bankruptcy laws on firms’ innovative activities. We find that bankruptcy laws that provide stronger debtor protection decrease the number of patents produced by small firms. Stronger debtor protection also decreases the average quality, and variance in quality, of firms’ patents. We find evidence that the negative effect of stronger debtor protection on experimentation and innovation may be due to the decreased availability of external financing in response to stronger debtor rights, an effect amplified in industries with a high dependence on external financing. Hence, while it is typically assumed that stronger debtor protection encourages innovation by reducing the cost of failure for innovators, we show that it can instead dampen innovative activities by tightening the availability of external financing to innovative firms.

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International Banking and Cross-border Effects of Regulation: Lessons from the United States

Jose Berrospide et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Domestic prudential regulation can have unintended effects across borders and may be less effective in an environment where banks operate globally. Using U.S. micro-banking data for the first quarter of 2000 through the third quarter of 2013, this study shows that some regulatory changes indeed spill over. First, a foreign country’s tightening of limits on loan-to-value ratios and local currency reserve requirements increase lending growth in the United States through the U.S. branches and subsidiaries of foreign banks. Second, a foreign tightening of capital requirements shifts lending by U.S. global banks away from the country where the tightening occurs to the United States and to other countries. Third, tighter U.S. capital regulation reduces lending by large U.S. global banks to foreign residents.

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Illiquidity and its Discontents: Trading Delays and Foreclosures in the Housing Market

Aaron Hedlund

Journal of Monetary Economics, October 2016, Pages 1–13

Abstract:
The macroeconomic effects of housing illiquidity are analyzed using a novel directed search model of housing with long-term debt and default. Debt overhang emerges when highly leveraged sellers are forced to post high prices that produce long selling delays. These delays increase foreclosures, raise default premia, and curtail credit. Cheaper credit fuels temporarily higher house prices, faster sales, and fewer foreclosures, but the borrowing surge facilitates future debt overhang and default. More stringent foreclosure punishments also expand credit and, therefore, either generate higher foreclosures or more debt overhang. Leverage caps avoid this conundrum but reduce welfare by restricting borrowing.

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Designing Corporate Bailouts

Antonio Bernardo, Eric Talley & Ivo Welch

Journal of Law and Economics, February 2016, Pages 75-104

Abstract:
Although common economic wisdom suggests that government bailouts are inefficient because they reduce incentives to avoid failure and induce excessive entry by marginal firms, in practice bailouts are difficult to avoid for systemically significant enterprises. Recent experience suggests that bailouts also induce litigation from shareholders and managers complaining about expropriation and wrongful termination by the government. Our model shows how governments can design tax-financed corporate bailouts to reduce these distortions and points to the causes of inefficiencies in real-world implementations such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Bailouts with minimal distortion depend critically on the government’s ability to expropriate shareholders and terminate managers.

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Does Increased Access to Home Mortgage Money Decrease Local Crime Rates?: Evidence from San Diego County

William Bunting

U.S. Department of Justice Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
This study provides estimates of the impact of increased access to home mortgage credit on local crime rates, and uses national home mortgage loan origination volume as an instrument for local home mortgage loan origination volume. The focus of the study is San Diego County from 2007-Q1 to 2013-Q1. Our estimates indicate that increased access to home mortgage loans during this time period had a statistically significant negative impact on local crime rates. In particular, our baseline specification suggests that a one standard deviation increase in home mortgage loan originations per person decreases local crime rates by approximately three and one-half percent. This finding is robust to a number of model specifications.

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Does inequality lead to credit growth? Testing the Rajan hypothesis using state-level data

Steven Yamarik, Makram El-Shagi & Guy Yamashiro

Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses state-level data to test the Rajan hypothesis, from his book Fault Lines, that an increase in inequality can lead to a credit boom. Using dynamic heterogeneous panel estimation methods (i.e. MG, PMG, DFE), we find a significant positive long-run relationship between inequality and real estate lending across U.S. states.

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Mortgage Default Risk: New Evidence From Internet Search Queries

Marcelle Chauvet, Stuart Gabriel & Chandler Lutz

Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use Google search query data to develop a broad-based and real-time index of mortgage default risk. Unlike established indicators, our Mortgage Default Risk Index (MDRI) directly reflects households’ concerns regarding their risk of mortgage default. The MDRI predicts housing returns, mortgage delinquency indicators, and subprime credit default swaps. These results persist both in- and out-of-sample and at multiple data frequencies. Together, research findings suggest internet search queries yield valuable new insights into household mortgage default risk.

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Mortgage companies and regulatory arbitrage

Yuliya Demyanyk & Elena Loutskina

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mortgage companies (MCs) do not fall under the strict regulatory regime of depository institutions. We empirically show that this gap resulted in regulatory arbitrage and allowed bank holding companies (BHCs) to circumvent consumer compliance regulations, mitigate capital requirements, and reduce exposure to loan-related losses. Compared to bank subsidiaries, MC subsidiaries of BHCs originated riskier mortgages to borrowers with lower credit scores, lower incomes, higher loan-to-income ratios, and higher default rates. Our results imply that precrisis regulations had the capacity to mitigate the deterioration of lending standards if consistently applied and enforced for all types of intermediaries.

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The effect of state bans of payday lending on consumer credit delinquencies

Chintal Desai & Gregory Elliehausen

Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
The debt trap hypothesis implicates payday loans as a factor exacerbating consumers’ financial distress. Accordingly, restricting access to payday loans would be expected to reduce delinquencies on mainstream credit products. We test this implication of the hypothesis by analyzing delinquencies on revolving, retail, and installment credit in Georgia, North Carolina, and Oregon. These states reduced availability of payday loans by either banning them outright or capping the fees charged by payday lenders at a low level. We find small, mostly positive, but often insignificant changes in delinquencies after the payday loan bans. In Georgia, however, we find mixed evidence: an increase in revolving credit delinquencies but a decrease in installment credit delinquencies. These findings suggest that payday loans may cause little harm while providing benefits, albeit small ones, to some consumers. With more states and the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considering payday regulations that may limit availability of a product that appears to benefit some consumers, further study and caution are warranted.

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Are Lemons Sold First? Dynamic Signaling in the Mortgage Market

Manuel Adelino, Kristopher Gerardi & Barney Hartman-Glaser

Federal Reserve Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
A central result in the theory of adverse selection in asset markets is that informed sellers can signal quality by delaying trade. This paper uses the residential mortgage market as a laboratory to test this mechanism. Using detailed, loan-level data on privately securitized mortgages, we find a strong relation between mortgage performance and time-to-sale. Importantly, this finding is conditional on all observable information about the loans. This effect is strongest in the "Alt-A" segment of the market, where loans are often originated with incomplete documentation. The results provide some of the first evidence of a signaling mechanism through delay of trade.

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How do financial institutions react to a tax increase?

Alexander Schandlbauer

Journal of Financial Intermediation, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper empirically highlights the role and significance of taxes for the capital structure decisions of banks. Using a difference-in-differences methodology, I show that an increase in the local U.S. state corporate tax rate affects the banks’ financing as well as their operating choices. Better-capitalized banks raise their long-term non-depository debt and thus benefit from an enlarged tax shield. Worse-capitalized banks instead reduce their lending because a higher tax rate increases the tax-adjusted cost of funding, which renders the marginal loan unprofitable.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Baby talk

Understanding the Decline in Adolescent Fertility in the United States, 2007–2012

Laura Lindberg, John Santelli & Sheila Desai

Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Methods: We used data on sexual activity and contraceptive use from National Surveys of Family Growth for young women 15–19 years of age, and contraceptive failure rates, to estimate a Pregnancy Risk Index (PRI) for the periods 2007, 2009, and 2012. Logistic regression was used to test for change over time in sexual activity, contraceptive use, and PRI. Statistical decomposition was used to calculate attribution of change in the PRI to changes in sexual activity or contraceptive method use.

Results: Sexual activity in the last 3 months did not change significantly from 2007 to 2012. Pregnancy risk declined among sexually active adolescent women (p = .046), with significant increases in the use of any method (78%–86%, p = .046) and multiple methods (26%–37%, p = .046). Use of highly effective methods increased significantly from 2007 to 2009 (38%–51%, p = .010). Overall, the PRI declined at an annual rate of 5.6% (p = .071) from 2007 to 2012 and correlated with birth and pregnancy rate declines. Decomposition estimated that this decline was entirely attributable to improvements in contraceptive use.

Conclusions: Improvements in contraceptive use appear to be the primary proximal determinants of declines in adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the United States from 2007 to 2012. Efforts to further improve access to and use of contraception among adolescents are necessary to ensure they have the means to prevent pregnancy.

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Efficacy of infant simulator programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy: A school-based cluster randomised controlled trial in Western Australia

Sally Brinkman et al.

Lancet, forthcoming

Background: Infant simulator-based programmes, which aim to prevent teenage pregnancy, are used in high-income as well as low-income and middle-income countries but, despite growing popularity, no published evidence exists of their long-term effect. The aim of this trial was to investigate the effect of such a programme, the Virtual Infant Parenting (VIP) programme, on pregnancy outcomes of birth and induced abortion in Australia.

Methods: In this school-based pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial, eligible schools in Perth, Western Australia, were enrolled and randomised 1:1 to the intervention and control groups. Randomisation using a table of random numbers without blocking, stratification, or matching was done by a researcher who was masked to the identity of the schools. Between 2003 and 2006, the VIP programme was administered to girls aged 13–15 years in the intervention schools, while girls of the same age in the control schools received the standard health education curriculum. Participants were followed until they reached 20 years of age via data linkage to hospital medical and abortion clinic records. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of pregnancy during the teenage years. Binomial and Cox proportional hazards regression was used to test for differences in pregnancy rates between study groups. This study is registered as an international randomised controlled trial, number ISRCTN24952438.

Findings: 57 (86%) of 66 eligible schools were enrolled into the trial and randomly assigned 1:1 to the intervention (28 schools) or the control group (29 schools). Then, between Feb 1, 2003, and May 31, 2006, 1267 girls in the intervention schools received the VIP programme while 1567 girls in the control schools received the standard health education curriculum. Compared with girls in the control group, a higher proportion of girls in the intervention group recorded at least one birth (97 [8%] of 1267 in the intervention group vs 67 [4%] of 1567 in the control group) or at least one abortion as the first pregnancy event (113 [9%] vs 101 [6%]). After adjustment for potential confounders, the intervention group had a higher overall pregnancy risk than the control group (relative risk 1•36 [95% CI 1•10–1•67], p=0•003). Similar results were obtained with the use of proportional hazard models (hazard ratio 1•35 [95% CI 1•10–1•67], p=0•016).

Interpretation: The infant simulator-based VIP programme did not achieve its aim of reducing teenage pregnancy. Girls in the intervention group were more likely to experience a birth or an induced abortion than those in the control group before they reached 20 years of age.

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Abortion, Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Early Adulthood: Thirteen-Year Longitudinal Evidence from the United States

Paul Sullins

Sage Open Medicine, July 2016

Objective: To examine the links between pregnancy outcomes (birth, abortion, or involuntary pregnancy loss) and mental health outcomes for U. S. women during the transition into adulthood to determine the extent of increased risk, if any, associated with exposure to induced abortion.

Method: Panel data on pregnancy history and mental health history for a nationally-representative cohort of 8,005 women at (average) ages 15, 22, and 28 years from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were examined for risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, cannabis abuse, and nicotine dependence by pregnancy outcome (birth, abortion, involuntary pregnancy loss). Risk ratios (RR) were estimated for time-dynamic outcomes from population-averaged longitudinal logistic and poisson regression models.

Results: After extensive adjustment for confounding, other pregnancy outcomes, and sociodemographic differences, abortion was consistently associated with increased risk of mental health disorder. Overall risk was elevated 45% (RR 1.45, 95% CI 1.30-1.62, p. < .0001). Risk of mental health disorder with pregnancy loss was mixed, but also elevated 24% (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.13-1.37, p. < .0001) overall. Birth was weakly associated with reduced mental disorders. One-eleventh (8.7%, 95% CI 6.0-11.3) of the prevalence of mental disorders examined over the period were attributable to abortion.

Conclusion: Evidence from the United States confirms previous findings from Norway and New Zealand that, unlike other pregnancy outcomes, abortion is consistently associated with a moderate increase in risk of mental health disorders during late adolescence and early adulthood.

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Is underage abortion associated with adverse outcomes in early adulthood? A longitudinal birth cohort study up to 25 years of age

Suvi Leppälahti et al.

Human Reproduction, September 2016, Pages 2142-2149

Study design, size, duration: This nationwide, retrospective cohort study from Finland, included all women born in 1987 (n = 29 041) and followed until 2012.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: We analysed socioeconomic, psychiatric and risk-taking-related health outcomes up to 25 years of age after underage (<18 years) abortion (n = 1041, 3.6%) and after childbirth (n = 394, 1.4%). Before and after conception analyses within the study groups were performed to further examine the association between abortion and adverse health outcomes. A group with no pregnancies up to 20 years of age (n = 25 312, 88.0%) served as an external reference group.

Main results and the role of chance: We found no significant differences between the underage abortion and the childbirth group regarding risks of psychiatric disorders (adjusted odds ratio 0.96 [0.67–1.40]) or suffering from intentional or unintentional poisoning by medications or drugs (1.06 [0.57–1.98]). Compared with those who gave birth, girls who underwent abortion were less likely to achieve only a low educational level (0.41 [95% confidence interval 0.31–0.54]) or to be welfare-dependent (0.31 [0.22–0.45]), but more likely to suffer from injuries (1.51 [1.09–2.10]). Compared with the external control group, both pregnancy groups were disadvantaged already prior to the pregnancy. Psychiatric disorders and risk-taking-related health outcomes, including injury, were increased in the abortion group and in the childbirth group similarly on both sides of the pregnancy.

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Can left-right differences in abortion support be explained by sexism?

Gordon Hodson & Cara MacInnis

Personality and Individual Differences, January 2017, Pages 118–121

Abstract:
Individuals on the right (vs. left) generally oppose abortion, but why? Past research (C.C. MacInnis, M.H. MacLean, & G. Hodson, 2014) tested whether differences in perceived preborn-humanness explain this difference, finding little evidence. Here we re-analyze two large datasets from New Zealand and the U.S., testing whether sexism can mediate the relation between conservatism and abortion opposition. This pattern would be consistent with feminist critiques, and with Social Dominance Theory (J. Sidanius & F. Pratto, 1999), whereby individual differences in ideology (e.g., conservatism) predict policy positions (e.g., abortion) through legitimizing myths (e.g., sexism) that justify/facilitate the ideology-policy relation. After controlling for potential confounds (e.g., participant sex; religiosity; abortion experience), 30% (Study 1) or 75% (Study 2) of the left-right difference in abortion stance was explained by sexism. Despite political rhetoric on the right emphasizing concerns for the pre-born, individual differences in abortion positions may instead concern the maintenance of group-based inequalities that disadvantage women. Implications are discussed.

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The Timing of Teenage Births and the Signaling Value of a High School Degree

Danielle Sandler & Lisa Schulkind

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
This paper estimates the effect of high school graduation on later life outcomes for young women who have a child as a teenager. Teenage mothers tend to have poor economic outcomes later in life. However, the girls who become teenage mothers come from less advantaged backgrounds than those who delay childbearing, making causality difficult to establish. This paper examines the effect of having a child around the time of high school graduation, comparing young mothers who had their child before their expected graduation date to those who had their child after. Examining this question builds our understanding both of the long run consequences of teenage fertility and the signaling value of a high school diploma. We find that girls who give birth during the school year are 7 percent less likely to graduate from high school; however, this has little effect on their eventual labor market outcomes. Despite being much more likely to obtain a high school degree, the control group does not enjoy higher labor earnings later in life, suggesting that the signaling value of a high school degree is zero for this population.

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Fertility Choice in a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Uninsurable Earnings Risk

Kamila Sommer

Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Motivated by large shifts in uninsurable earnings risk over time, this paper studies the link between delaying and reducing fertility on the one hand, and earnings and fertility risks on the other. When children are modeled as consumption commitments, increases in earnings risk are associated with a reduction in family sizes and patterns of delayed childbearing. Since household ability to bear children declines with age, the postponement of birth associated with the increased earnings risk drives down the number of birth per family further. An access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is shown to have only a limited offsetting effect.

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Behind-the-Counter, but Over-the-Border? The Assessment of the Geographical Spillover Effects of Emergency Contraception on Abortions

Inna Cintina

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Washington was the first state to ease the prescription requirements making emergency contraception (EC) available behind-the-counter at pharmacies to women of any age in 1998. Using county-level vital statistics data in conjunction with the pharmacy specific location data from the Not-2-Late Hotline database, I study whether the increased access to EC affects fertility rates within the state and beyond the borders of the state that allows it. Unlike other studies that rely on geographic variations in access, I show that increased availability of EC in Washington, measured by the distance to the closest ‘no-prescription EC pharmacy’, is associated with a statistically significant albeit economically moderate decrease in abortion rates in Washington counties where women had access to ‘no-prescription EC’. These effects are localized (i.e., decrease with travel distance) and robust in a number of specifications. Finally, I find some evidence in support of geographical spillover effects in Idaho, but not in Oregon. However, after accounting for the availability of abortion services, the decrease in ‘treated’ Idaho counties is rather small.

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The impact of periconceptional maternal stress on fecundability

Shekufe Akhter et al.

Annals of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Methods: Daily stress was reported on a scale from 1 to 4 (lowest to highest) among 400 women who completed daily diaries including data on lifestyle and behavioral factors, menstrual characteristics, contraceptive use, and intercourse for up to 20 cycles or until pregnancy. Discrete survival analysis was used to estimate the associations between self-reported stress during specific windows of the menstrual cycle and fecundability (cycles at risk until pregnancy), adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: One hundred thirty-nine women became pregnant. During the follicular phase, there was a 46% reduction in fecundability for a 1-unit increase in self-reported stress during the estimated ovulatory window (fecundability odds ratio [FOR] = 0.54; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.35–0.84) and an attenuated trend for the preovulatory window (FOR = 0.73; 95% CI 0.48–1.10). During the luteal phase, higher stress was associated with increased probability of conception (FOR = 1.63, 95% CI 1.07–2.50), possibly due to reverse causality.

Conclusions: Higher stress during the ovulatory window may reduce probability of conception; however, once conception occurs, changes in the hormonal milieu and/or knowledge of the pregnancy may result in increased stress. These findings reinforce the need for encouraging stress management techniques in the aspiring and expecting mother.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, September 19, 2016

Something to learn from

The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Collective Bargaining

Michael Lovenheim & Alex Willen

Cornell University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
This paper presents the first analysis of the effect of teacher collective bargaining on long-run labor market and educational attainment outcomes. Our analysis exploits the different timing across states in the passage of duty-to-bargain laws in a difference-in-difference framework to identify how exposure to teacher collective bargaining affects the long-run outcomes of students. Using American Community Survey (ACS) data linked to each respondent’s state of birth, we examine labor market outcomes and educational attainment for 35-49 year olds. Our estimates suggest that teacher collective bargaining worsens the future labor market outcomes of students: living in a state that has a duty-to-bargain law for all 12 grade-school years reduces earnings by $800 (or 2%) per year and decreases hours worked by 0.50 hours per week. The earnings estimate indicates that teacher collective bargaining reduces earnings by $199.6 billion in the US annually. We also find evidence of lower employment rates, which is driven by lower labor force participation, as well as reductions in the skill levels of the occupations into which workers sort. The effects are driven by men and nonwhites, who experience larger relative declines in long-run outcomes. Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we demonstrate that collective bargaining leads to sizable reductions in measured cognitive and non-cognitive skills among young adults. Taken together, our results suggest laws that support collective bargaining for teachers have adverse long-term labor market consequences for students.

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Financial Aid, Debt Management, and Socioeconomic Outcomes: Post-College Effects of Merit-Based Aid

Judith Scott-Clayton & Basit Zafar

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Prior research has demonstrated that financial aid can influence both college enrollments and completions, but less is known about its post-college consequences. Even for students whose attainment is unaffected, financial aid may affect post-college outcomes via reductions in both time to degree and debt at graduation. We utilize two complementary quasi-experimental strategies to identify causal effects of the WV PROMISE scholarship, a broad-based state merit aid program, up to 10 years post-college-entry. This study is the first to link college transcripts and financial aid information to credit bureau data later in life, enabling us to examine important outcomes that have not previously been examined, including homeownership, neighborhood characteristics, and financial management (credit risk scores, defaults, and delinquencies). We find that even as graduation impacts fade out over time, impacts on other outcomes emerge: scholarship recipients are more likely to earn a graduate degree, more likely to own a home and live in higher-income neighborhoods, less likely to have adverse credit outcomes, and are more likely to be in better financial health than similar students who did not receive scholarships.

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Did Cheaper Flights Change the Direction of Science?

Christian Catalini, Christian Fons-Rosen & Patrick Gaulé

MIT Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
We test how a reduction in travel cost affects the rate and direction of scientific research. Using a fine-grained, scientist-level dataset within chemistry (1991-2012), we find that after Southwest Airlines enters a new route, scientific collaboration increases by 50%, an effect that is magnified when weighting output by quality. The benefits from the lower fares, however, are not uniform across scientist types: younger scientists and scientists that are more productive than their local peers respond the most. Thus, cheaper flights, by reducing frictions otherwise induced by geography and allowing for additional face-to-face interactions, seem to enable better matches over distance.

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The Effect of Teacher Ratings on Teacher Performance

Nolan Pope

University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
In August 2010, the Los Angeles Times publicly released value-added ratings for teachers and elementary schools in Los Angeles. Exploiting the release of these ratings as a natural experiment and using the timing of their release to account for regression to the mean, I find that low-rated teachers saw increases in their students’ math and English test scores. High-rated teachers saw little to no change in their students’ tests with the release of the ratings. These differential responses from low- and high-rated teachers suggest possible test score gains from the release of teacher ratings. School ratings had no additional impact on student test scores. I find no evidence that the release of the ratings affected classroom composition or teacher turnover.

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Charter Schools and Labor Market Outcomes

Will Dobbie & Roland Fryer

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
We estimate the impact of charter schools on early-life labor market outcomes using administrative data from Texas. We find that, at the mean, charter schools have no impact on test scores and a negative impact on earnings. No Excuses charter schools increase test scores and four-year college enrollment, but have a small and statistically insignificant impact on earnings, while other types of charter schools decrease test scores, four-year college enrollment, and earnings. Moving to school-level estimates, we find that charter schools that decrease test scores also tend to decrease earnings, while charter schools that increase test scores have no discernible impact on earnings. In contrast, high school graduation effects are predictive of earnings effects throughout the distribution of school quality. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of what might explain our set of facts.

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Do Top Dogs Rule in Middle School? Evidence on Bullying, Safety, and Belonging

Amy Ellen Schwartz, Leanna Stiefel & Michah Rothbart

American Educational Research Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research finds that grade span affects academic achievement but only speculates about the mechanisms. In this study, we examine one commonly cited mechanism, the top dog/bottom dog phenomenon, which states that students at the top of a grade span (“top dogs”) have better experiences than those at the bottom (“bottom dogs”). Using an instrumental variables strategy introduced in Rockoff and Lockwood (2010) and a longitudinal data set containing student survey data for New York City public middle school students, we estimate the impact of top dog and bottom dog status on bullying, safety, belonging, and academic achievement. This article provides the first credibly causal evidence that top dog status improves the learning environment and academic achievement. We further find that the top dog effect is strongest in sixth grade and in schools with longer grade spans and that the top dog effect is not explained by new students to a school or student height.

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The Natural Selection of Bad Science

Paul Smaldino & Richard McElreath

University of California Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Poor research design and data analysis encourage false-positive findings. Such poor methods persist despite perennial calls for improvement, suggesting that they result from something more than just misunderstanding. The persistence of poor methods results partly from incentives that favor them, leading to the natural selection of bad science. This dynamic requires no conscious strategizing — no deliberate cheating nor loafing — by scientists, only that publication is a principle factor for career advancement. Some normative methods of analysis have almost certainly been selected to further publication instead of discovery. In order to improve the culture of science, a shift must be made away from correcting misunderstandings and towards rewarding understanding. We support this argument with empirical evidence and computational modeling. We first present a 60-year meta-analysis of statistical power in the behavioral sciences and show that power has not improved despite repeated demonstrations of the necessity of increasing power. To demonstrate the logical consequences of structural incentives, we then present a dynamic model of scientific communities in which competing laboratories investigate novel or previously published hypotheses using culturally transmitted research methods. As in the real world, successful labs produce more “progeny,” such that their methods are more often copied and their students are more likely to start labs of their own. Selection for high output leads to poorer methods and increasingly high false discovery rates. We additionally show that replication slows but does not stop the process of methodological deterioration. Improving the quality of research requires change at the institutional level.

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Human Capital Investments and Expectations about Career and Family

Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies how individuals "believe" human capital investments will affect their future career and family life. We conducted a survey of high-ability currently enrolled college students and elicited beliefs about how their choice of college major, and whether to complete their degree at all, would affect a wide array of future events, including future earnings, employment, marriage prospects, potential spousal characteristics, and fertility. We find that students perceive large "returns" to human capital not only in their own future earnings, but also in a number of other dimensions (such as future labor supply and potential spouse's earnings). In a recent follow-up survey conducted six years after the initial data collection, we find a close connection between the expectations and current realizations. Finally, we show that both the career and family expectations help explain human capital choices.

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Does Financial Aid Impact College Student Engagement? Evidence from the Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Angela Boatman & Bridget Terry Long

Research in Higher Education, September 2016, Pages 653-681

Abstract:
While increasing numbers of students have gained access to higher education during the last several decades, postsecondary persistence and academic success remain serious concerns with only about half of college entrants completing degrees. Given concerns about affordability and resources, policymakers and administrators wonder how financial aid impacts student outcomes, particularly among low-income students. We investigate this question looking at a range of outcomes beyond just academic performance by focusing on the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, a generous grant program that provided a renewable scholarship to talented undergraduate students of color with financial need. We isolate the impact of financial aid on academic and community engagement by comparing the outcomes of GMS recipients to similar non-recipients who were likely to have comparably-high levels of motivation and potential for success. With information about the application process, we use similar applicants not selected for the award as a comparison group. We then employ a Regression Discontinuity research design to provide causal estimates of the effects of GMS. The results suggest that GMS recipients were more likely to engage with peers on school work outside of class. Additionally, GMS recipients were much more likely to participate in community service activities and marginally more likely to participate in other extracurricular activities than their non-GMS peers.

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One size fits all? The effects of teachers' cognitive and social abilities on student achievement

Erik Grönqvist & Jonas Vlachos

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We document a substantial decline in cognitive and social interactive abilities and in GPAs among entering teachers. Then, using matched student-teacher data, we find that teacher abilities have a negligible impact on average student achievement. This finding hides interesting heterogeneities. In particular, an increase in teachers' cognitive (social) abilities increases (reduces) the achievement gap between high- and low-aptitude students. Teacher cognitive and social abilities further appear to be complements. We also find strong positive effects of male teachers' GPAs that are uniform across students, but similar effects are not found for female teachers' GPAs.

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Assessing the Effect of School Days and Absences on Test Score Performance

Esteban Aucejo & Teresa Foy Romano

Economics of Education Review, December 2016, Pages 70–87

Abstract:
While instructional time is viewed as crucial to learning, little is known about the effectiveness of reducing absences relative to increasing the number of school days. Using administrative data from North Carolina public schools, this paper jointly estimates the effect of absences and length of the school calendar on test score performance. We exploit a state policy that provides variation in the number of school days prior to standardized testing and find substantial differences between these two effects. Extending the school calendar by ten days increases math and reading test scores by only 1.7% and 0.8% of a standard deviation, respectively. A similar reduction in absences would lead to gains of 5.5% in math and 2.9% in reading. We perform a number of robustness checks including utilizing flu data to instrument for absences, family-year fixed effects, distinguishing between excused and unexcused absences, and controlling for a contemporaneous measure of student disengagement. Our results are robust to these alternative specifications. In addition, our findings indicate considerable heterogeneity across student ability, suggesting that targeting absenteeism among low performing students could aid in narrowing current gaps in performance.

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“Why Wait Years to Become Something?” Low-income African American Youth and the Costly Career Search in For-profit Trade Schools

Megan Holland & Stefanie DeLuca

Sociology of Education, forthcoming

Abstract:
Increasing numbers of low-income and minority youth are now pursuing shorter-duration sub-baccalaureate credentials at for-profit trade and technical schools. However, many students drop out of these schools, leaving with large debts and few job prospects. Despite these dismal outcomes, we know very little about students’ experiences in for-profit programs and how these institutions shape postsecondary attainment. Using data from fieldwork with 150 inner-city African American youth, we examine why disadvantaged youth are attracted to these schools and why they struggle to complete certifications. In contrast to previous research, we find that the youth in our study have quite modest ambitions and look to for-profit trade schools as the quickest and most direct route to work. However, youth receive little information or guidance to support such postsecondary transitions. Therefore, the very element that makes for-profit trade school programs seem the most appealing — a curriculum focused on one particular career — becomes an obstacle when it requires youth to commit to a program of study before they have explored their interests. When youth realize they do not like or are not prepared for their chosen career, they adopt coping strategies that keep them in school but swirling between programs, rather than accumulating any credentials.

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The Effects of State Merit Aid Programs on Attendance at Elite Colleges

David Sjoquist & John Winters

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
State merit aid programs have been found to reduce the likelihood that students attend college out of state. Using the U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) rankings of colleges and universities to measure college quality and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data to measure enrollment, we explore how this reduction in out-of-state enrollment differs by the academic quality of the institution. Our difference-in-differences results suggest that state merit aid programs do not induce students to forgo attending top 15 ranked schools. However, state merit aid does induce some students to forgo attending out-of-state schools ranked below the top 15 and shifts them toward lower quality in-state schools, so that the net effect is a reduction in academic quality, as measured by USNWR. These effects may have long-term implications for students' degree completion rates and labor market earnings.

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The Incidence of Student Loan Subsidies

Mahyar Kargar & William Mann

University of California Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of subsidized loans on credit-constrained students. For identification, we exploit a tightening of credit standards for the PLUS loan program in 2011. Following the standards tightening, enrollment and tuition both fell at colleges that relied heavily on PLUS loans. We exploit this demand shock to estimate elasticities of supply and demand for higher education. Demand elasticity is identified through a novel approach that exploits differential effects on public and private colleges. Our elasticity estimates imply that a 10% tuition subsidy would increase tuition by about 7.5% and enrollment by about 10%. Colleges primarily respond to tuition revenue shortfalls by cutting back on instructional expenses.

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Detracking and Tracking Up: Mathematics Course Placements in California Middle Schools, 2003–2013

Thurston Domina et al.

American Educational Research Journal, August 2016, Pages 1229-1266

Abstract:
Between 2003 and 2013, the proportion of California eighth graders enrolled in algebra or a more advanced course nearly doubled to 65%. In this article, we consider the organizational processes that accompanied this curricular intensification. Facing a complex set of accountability, institutional, technical/functional, and internal political pressures, California schools responded to the algebra-for-all effort in diverse ways. While some schools detracked by enrolling all eighth graders in algebra, others “tracked up,” creating more advanced geometry opportunities while increasing algebra enrollments. These responses created a new differentiated course structure that is likely to benefit advantaged students. Consistent with the effectively maintained inequality hypothesis, we find that detracking occurred primarily in disadvantaged schools while “tracking up” occurred primarily in advantaged schools.

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Non-public competition and public school performance: Evidence from West Virginia

Richard Cebula, Joshua Hall & Maria Tackett

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this study, we investigate whether non-public school enrolment affects the performance of public school districts. If homeschooling and private schools act as competition, public school districts test scores should be positively associated with non-public enrolment. Using data on West Virginia county school districts, and controlling for endogeneity with an instrumental variables approach, we find that a one standard deviation increase in relative non-public enrolment in a county is associated with statistically significant improvements in public school district test scores. Our findings thus confirm that non-public enrollment and the competition it provides act to improve, rather than impede, public school performance.

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Academic Tenure

Albert Yoon

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, September 2016, Pages 428–453

Abstract:
In academia, a subset of faculty has tenure, which allows its beneficiaries to retain their professorships without mandatory retirement and with only limited grounds for revocation. Proponents of tenure argue it protects intellectual freedom and encourages investment in human capital. Detractors contend it discourages effort and distorts the academic labor market. This article develops a framework for examining academic tenure in the context of U.S. law schools. We construct a unique data set of tenured U.S. law professors who began their careers between 1993 through 2002, and follow their employment and scholarship for the first 10 years of their career. Across all journal publications, tenured faculty publish more frequently, are cited with roughly the same frequency, and place in comparable caliber of journal. These productivity gains, however, largely disappear when excluding solicited publications. These results suggest that legal academics continue to produce after tenure, but channel more of their efforts toward less competitive outlets.

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Sleepwalking through School: New Evidence on Sleep and Academic Achievement

Joseph Sabia, Kurt Wang & Resul Cesur

Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Policymakers advocating for later school starting times argue that increased sleep duration may generate important schooling benefits. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examines the relationship between sleep duration and academic performance, while carefully controlling for difficult-to-measure characteristics at the family and individual levels. We find that increased sleep time is associated with improvements in classroom concentration as well as increased educational attainment. However, we also find evidence of diminishing returns to increased sleep. We estimate an “academic optimum” number of sleep hours of, on average, 8.5 hours per night. Turning to sleep quality, we find that the onset of insomnia-like symptoms is associated with diminished contemporaneous academic concentration, but little change in long-run educational attainment.

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Bias against Novelty in Science: A Cautionary Tale for Users of Bibliometric Indicators

Jian Wang, Reinhilde Veugelers & Paula Stephan

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Research which explores unchartered waters has a high potential for major impact but also carries a higher uncertainty of having impact. Such explorative research is often described as taking a novel approach. This study examines the complex relationship between pursuing a novel approach and impact. Viewing scientific research as a combinatorial process, we measure novelty in science by examining whether a published paper makes first time ever combinations of referenced journals, taking into account the difficulty of making such combinations. We apply this newly developed measure of novelty to all Web of Science research articles published in 2001 across all scientific disciplines. We find that highly novel papers, defined to be those that make more (distant) new combinations, deliver high gains to science: they are more likely to be a top 1% highly cited paper in the long run, to inspire follow on highly cited research, and to be cited in a broader set of disciplines. At the same time, novel research is also more risky, reflected by a higher variance in its citation performance. In addition, we find that novel research is significantly more highly cited in “foreign” fields but not in its “home” field. We also find strong evidence of delayed recognition of novel papers and that novel papers are less likely to be top cited when using a short time window. Finally, novel papers typically are published in journals with a lower than expected Impact Factor. These findings suggest that science policy, in particular funding decisions which rely on traditional bibliometric indicators based on short-term direct citation counts and Journal Impact Factors, may be biased against “high risk/high gain” novel research. The findings also caution against a mono-disciplinary approach in peer review to assess the true value of novel research.

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Making Connections: Replicating and Extending the Utility Value Intervention in the Classroom

Chris Hulleman et al.

Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We replicated and extended prior research investigating a theoretically guided intervention based on expectancy-value theory designed to enhance student learning outcomes (e.g., Hulleman & Harackiewicz, 2009). First, we replicated prior work by demonstrating that the utility value intervention, which manipulated whether students made connections between the course material and their lives, increased both interest and performance of low-performing students in a college general education course. Second, we extended prior research by both measuring and manipulating one possible pathway of intervention effects: the frequency with which students make connections between the material and their lives. In Study 1, we measured connection frequency and found that making more connections was positively related to expecting to do well in the course, valuing the course material, and continuing interest. In Study 2, we manipulated connection frequency by developing an enhanced utility value intervention designed to increase the frequency with which students made connections. The results indicated that students randomly assigned to either utility value intervention, compared with the control condition, subsequently became more confident that they could learn the material, which led to increased course performance. The utility value interventions were particularly effective for the lowest-performing students. Compared with those in the control condition who showed a steady decline in performance across the semester, low-performing male students randomly assigned to the utility value conditions increased their performance across the semester. The difference between the utility value and control conditions for low-performing male students was strongest on the final exam (d = .76).

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Revisiting the Relationship Between International Assessment Outcomes and Educational Production: Evidence From a Longitudinal PISA-TIMSS Sample

Martin Carnoy et al.

American Educational Research Journal, August 2016, Pages 1054-1085

Abstract:
International assessments, such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), are being used to recommend educational policies to improve student achievement. This study shows that the cross-sectional estimates behind such recommendations may be biased. We use a unique data set from one country that applied the PISA mathematics test in 2012 in ninth grade to all students who had taken the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) test in 2011 and collected information on students’ teachers in ninth grade. These data allowed us to more precisely estimate the effects of classroom variables on students’ PISA performance. Our results suggest that the positive roles of teacher “quality” and “opportunity to learn” in improving student performance are much more modest than claimed in PISA documents.

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Dynamic Effects of Teacher Turnover on the Quality of Instruction

Eric Hanushek, Steven Rivkin & Jeffrey Schiman

NBER Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
It is widely believed that teacher turnover adversely affects the quality of instruction in urban schools serving predominantly disadvantaged children, and a growing body of research investigates various components of turnover effects. The evidence at first seems contradictory, as the quality of instruction appears to decline following turnover despite the fact that most work shows higher attrition for less effective teachers. This raises concerns that confounding factors bias estimates of transition differences in teacher effectiveness, the adverse effects of turnover or both. After taking more extensive steps to account for nonrandom sorting of students into classrooms and endogenous teacher exits and grade-switching, we replicate existing findings of adverse selection out of schools and negative effects of turnover in lower-achievement schools. But we find that these turnover effects can be fully accounted for by the resulting loss in experience and productivity loss following the reallocation of some incumbent teachers to different grades.

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The Productivity Costs of Inefficient Hiring Practices: Evidence From Late Teacher Hiring

John Papay & Matthew Kraft

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Fall 2016, Pages 791–817

Abstract:
We use matched employee–employer records from the teacher labor market to explore the effects of late teacher hiring on student achievement. Hiring teachers after the school year starts reduces student achievement by 0.042 SD in mathematics and 0.026 SD in reading. This reflects, in part, a temporary disruption effect in the first year. In mathematics, but not in reading, late-hired teachers remain persistently less effective, evidence of negative selection in the teacher labor market. Late hiring concentrates in schools that disproportionately serve disadvantaged student populations, contributing to challenges in ensuring an equitable distribution of educational resources for all students.

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A Quantitative Analysis of the Effects of Postsecondary Institution Conversions from Not-For-Profit to For-Profit

Bonnie Fox Garrity & Roger Fiedler

Public Organization Review, September 2016, Pages 371-389

Abstract:
This study highlights the changes that have occurred at postsecondary institutions after conversion from not-for-profit to for-profit control. Using Delta Cost Project Data and a pre-post study design with a control group of not-for-profit institutions that did not convert, comparisons are drawn. The findings suggest that institutions that convert experience greater enrollment growth, a decline in fulltime employment levels per full time equivalent (FTE) student, no change in average expenses per FTE student, a decrease in total revenue, a decrease in Pell Grants received, a decrease in tuition and fees revenue, and a decline in average subsidy per student post conversion. These findings are critical to the creation of informed policy decisions regarding institutional conversions.

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The Impact of Mass Layoffs on the Educational Investments of Working College Students

Ben Ost, Weixiang Pan & Douglas Webber

Temple University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Analyzing how working students weather personal economic shocks is increasingly important as the fraction of college students working substantial hours has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Using administrative data on Ohio college students linked to matched firm-worker data on earnings, we examine how layoff affects the educational outcomes of working college students. Theoretically, layoff decreases the opportunity cost of college enrollment, but it could also make financing one's education more difficult, so the net effect is ambiguous. We find that layoff leads to a considerable reduction in the probability of employment while in school, but it has little impact on enrollment decisions at the extensive margin. On the intensive margin, we find that layoff leads to an increase in enrolled credits, consistent with the fact that the opportunity cost of college has decreased.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Primal

Men’s status and reproductive success in 33 nonindustrial societies: Effects of subsistence, marriage system, and reproductive strategy

Christopher von Rueden & Adrian Jaeggi

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social status motivates much of human behavior. However, status may have been a relatively weak target of selection for much of human evolution if ancestral foragers tended to be more egalitarian. We test the “egalitarianism hypothesis” that status has a significantly smaller effect on reproductive success (RS) in foragers compared with nonforagers. We also test between alternative male reproductive strategies, in particular whether reproductive benefits of status are due to lower offspring mortality (parental investment) or increased fertility (mating effort). We performed a phylogenetic multilevel metaanalysis of 288 statistical associations between measures of male status (physical formidability, hunting ability, material wealth, political influence) and RS (mating success, wife quality, fertility, offspring mortality, and number of surviving offspring) from 46 studies in 33 nonindustrial societies. We found a significant overall effect of status on RS (r = 0.19), though this effect was significantly lower than for nonhuman primates (r = 0.80). There was substantial variation due to marriage system and measure of RS, in particular status associated with offspring mortality only in polygynous societies (r = −0.08), and with wife quality only in monogamous societies (r = 0.15). However, the effects of status on RS did not differ significantly by status measure or subsistence type: foraging, horticulture, pastoralism, and agriculture. These results suggest that traits that facilitate status acquisition were not subject to substantially greater selection with domestication of plants and animals, and are part of reproductive strategies that enhance fertility more than offspring well-being.

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A Dynamical Analysis of the Suitability of Prehistoric Spheroids from the Cave of Hearths as Thrown Projectiles

Andrew Wilson et al.

Scientific Reports, August 2016

Abstract:
Spheroids are ball-shaped stone objects found in African archaeological sites dating from 1.8 million years ago (Early Stone Age) to at least 70,000 years ago (Middle Stone Age). Spheroids are either fabricated or naturally shaped stones selected and transported to places of use making them one of the longest-used technologies on record. Most hypotheses about their use suggest they were percussive tools for shaping or grinding other materials. However, their size and spherical shape make them potentially useful as projectile weapons, a property that, uniquely, humans have been specialised to exploit for millions of years. Here we show (using simulations of projectile motions resulting from human throwing) that 81% of a sample of spheroids from the late Acheulean (Bed 3) at the Cave of Hearths, South Africa afford being thrown so as to inflict worthwhile damage to a medium-sized animal over distances up to 25 m. Most of the objects have weights that produce optimal levels of damage from throwing, rather than simply being as heavy as possible (as would suit other functions). Our results show that these objects were eminently suitable for throwing, and demonstrate how empirical research on behavioural tasks can inform and constrain our theories about prehistoric artefacts.

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Behavioral Variation in Gorillas: Evidence of Potential Cultural Traits

Martha Robbins et al.

PLoS ONE, September 2016

Abstract:
The question of whether any species except humans exhibits culture has generated much debate, partially due to the difficulty of providing conclusive evidence from observational studies in the wild. A starting point for demonstrating the existence of culture that has been used for many species including chimpanzees and orangutans is to show that there is geographic variation in the occurrence of particular behavioral traits inferred to be a result of social learning and not ecological or genetic influences. Gorillas live in a wide variety of habitats across Africa and they exhibit flexibility in diet, behavior, and social structure. Here we apply the ‘method of exclusion’ to look for the presence/absence of behaviors that could be considered potential cultural traits in well-habituated groups from five study sites of the two species of gorillas. Of the 41 behaviors considered, 23 met the criteria of potential cultural traits, of which one was foraging related, nine were environment related, seven involved social interactions, five were gestures, and one was communication related. There was a strong positive correlation between behavioral dissimilarity and geographic distance among gorilla study sites. Roughly half of all variation in potential cultural traits was intraspecific differences (i.e. variability among sites within a species) and the other 50% of potential cultural traits were differences between western and eastern gorillas. Further research is needed to investigate if the occurrence of these traits is influenced by social learning. These findings emphasize the importance of investigating cultural traits in African apes and other species to shed light on the origin of human culture.

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Advanced maritime adaptation in the western Pacific coastal region extends back to 35,000–30,000 years before present

Masaki Fujita et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Maritime adaptation was one of the essential factors that enabled modern humans to disperse all over the world. However, geographic distribution of early maritime technology during the Late Pleistocene remains unclear. At this time, the Indonesian Archipelago and eastern New Guinea stand as the sole, well-recognized area for secure Pleistocene evidence of repeated ocean crossings and advanced fishing technology. The incomplete archeological records also make it difficult to know whether modern humans could sustain their life on a resource-poor, small oceanic island for extended periods with Paleolithic technology. We here report evidence from a limestone cave site on Okinawa Island, Japan, of successive occupation that extends back to 35,000−30,000 y ago. Well-stratified strata at the Sakitari Cave site yielded a rich assemblage of seashell artifacts, including formally shaped tools, beads, and the world’s oldest fishhooks. These are accompanied by seasonally exploited food residue. The persistent occupation on this relatively small, geographically isolated island, as well as the appearance of Paleolithic sites on nearby islands by 30,000 y ago, suggest wider distribution of successful maritime adaptations than previously recognized, spanning the lower to midlatitude areas in the western Pacific coastal region.

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Intertidal resource use over millennia enhances forest productivity

Andrew Trant et al.

Nature Communications, August 2016

Abstract:
Human occupation is usually associated with degraded landscapes but 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia’s coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity. This is particularly the case over the last 6,000 years when intensified intertidal shellfish usage resulted in the accumulation of substantial shell middens. We show that soils at habitation sites are higher in calcium and phosphorous. Both of these are limiting factors in coastal temperate rainforests. Western redcedar (Thuja plicata) trees growing on the middens were found to be taller, have higher wood calcium, greater radial growth and exhibit less top die-back. Coastal British Columbia is the first known example of long-term intertidal resource use enhancing forest productivity and we expect this pattern to occur at archaeological sites along coastlines globally.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mate market

Patterns of Family Formation in Response to Sex Ratio Variation

Ryan Schacht & Karen Kramer

PLoS ONE, August 2016

Abstract:
The impact that unbalanced sex ratios have on health and societal outcomes is of mounting contemporary concern. However, it is increasingly unclear whether it is male- or female-biased sex ratios that are associated with family and social instability. From a socio-demographic perspective, male-biased sex ratios leave many men unable to find a mate, elevating competition among males, disrupting family formation and negatively affecting social stability. In contrast, from a mating-market perspective, males are expected to be less willing to marry and commit to a family when the sex ratio is female-biased and males are rare. Here we use U.S. data to evaluate predictions from these competing frameworks by testing the relationship between the adult sex ratio and measures of family formation. We find that when women are rare men are more likely to marry, be part of a family and be sexually committed to a single partner. Our results do not support claims that male-biased sex ratios lead to negative family outcomes due to a surplus of unmarried men. Rather, our results highlight the need to pay increased attention to female-biased sex ratios.

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Boundary crossing in first marriage and remarriage

Kate Choi & Marta Tienda

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Owing to secular increases in divorce rates, remarriage has become a prevalent feature of American family life; yet, research about mate selection behavior in higher order marriages remains limited. Using log-linear methods to recent data from the 2008-2014 American Community Survey, we compare racial and ethnic sorting behavior in first and subsequent marriages. The two most frequently crossed boundaries - those involving White-Asian and White-Hispanic couples - are more permeable in remarriages than in first marriages. Boundaries that are crossed with less frequency - those between minority groups and the White-Black boundary-are less permeable in remarriages than in first marriages. Collectively, these findings suggest that racial and ethnic sorting processes in remarriage may reify existing social distances between pan-ethnic groups. Racial and ethnic variations in how the relative permeability of boundary changes between first and higher-order marriages underscore the importance of considering a broad array of interracial pairings when assessing the ways in which changes in family structure and marital sorting behavior promote integration.

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Effects of exogenous testosterone and mating context on men's preferences for female facial femininity

Brian Bird et al.

Hormones and Behavior, September 2016, Pages 76-85

Abstract:
Correlational research suggests that men show greater attraction to feminine female faces when their testosterone (T) levels are high. Men's preferences for feminine faces also seem to vary as a function of relationship context (short versus long-term). However, the relationship between T and preferences for female facial femininity has yet to be tested experimentally. In the current paper, we report the results of two experiments examining the causal role of T in modulating preferences for facial femininity across both short and long-term mating contexts. Results of Experiment 1 (within-subject design, n = 24) showed that participants significantly preferred feminized versus masculinized versions of women's faces. Further, participants showed a stronger preference for feminine faces in the short versus the long-term context after they received T, but not after they received placebo. Post-hoc analyses suggested that this effect was driven by a lower preference for feminine faces in the long-term context when on T relative to placebo, and this effect was found exclusively for men who received placebo on the first day of testing, and T on the second day of testing (i.e., order X drug X mating context interaction). In Experiment 2 (between-subject design, n = 93), men demonstrated a significant preference for feminized female faces in the short versus the long-term context after T, but not after placebo administration. Collectively, these findings provide the first causal evidence that T modulates men's preferences for facial femininity as a function of mating context.

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Women's evaluations of other women's natural body odor depend on targets' fertility status

Kelly Gildersleeve, Melissa Fales & Martie Haselton

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large research literature indicates that men perceive women as more attractive when they are at high fertility than at low fertility within the ovulatory cycle. However, it remains unclear whether women also perceive women as more attractive at high fertility. This study examined women's ratings of samples of natural body odor collected from naturally-cycling women at high and low fertility within the cycle and from hormonal contraceptive-using women at mid-cycle. Like men, women rated naturally-cycling women's high-fertility scent samples as more attractive than their low-fertility samples. Women rated hormonal contraceptive users' scent samples as more attractive than naturally-cycling women's high- and low-fertility samples, though the difference between HC and high-fertility samples was statistically significant only when raters were treated as the unit of analysis. These findings reveal a potentially important role for scent communication in women's perceptions of other women and are consistent with the notion that the ovulatory cycle could influence human social behavior. The findings also highlight the need for rigorous investigations of the possible impacts of hormonal contraception on women's attractiveness and social relationships with other women.

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Sex Differences in Young Adults' Attraction to Opposite-Sex Friends: Natural Sampling versus Mental Concepts

April Bleske-Rechek et al.

Evolutionary Psychological Science, September 2016, Pages 214-219

Abstract:
When young adults are asked to either think of an opposite-sex friend or bring an opposite-sex friend to the lab, men report much more attraction to their friend than women do (Bleske-Rechek et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29: 569-596, 2012; Kaplan and Keys Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 14: 191-206, 1997). In two studies, we utilized a naturalistic sampling strategy to obtain our friendship dyads. We approached and surveyed male-female dyads who were lounging at a university student center and found that the mean difference between male and female friends' attraction to one another was weak and statistically unreliable. We speculated that the opposite-sex friends that men and women find themselves with in their everyday life might be different from the opposite-sex friends who come to mind when asked by researchers to think of their friends. Men's and women's mating adaptations, which differ particularly in attention to attractiveness and proclivity toward short-term sex, might be reflected in how men and women conceptualize opposite-sex friends; hence, previous studies may have documented a stronger sex difference in attraction because men and women in those samples had different types of people in mind when they thought about opposite-sex friends. To test that possibility, we asked young adults to "think of an opposite-sex friend" and then choose descriptors for that person. Men less often than women characterized the person as "a friend" and more often than women characterized the person as someone they were "attracted to." We conclude that men's and women's everyday experiences with opposite-sex friends differ from their mental conceptions of opposite-sex friends.

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Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor

Andrea Zuniga et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Human axillary sweat may provide information pertaining to genetic relatedness and health status. A significant contributor to good health, both in the short and longer term, is a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. In this study we tested whether dietary fruit and vegetable intake, assessed indirectly by skin spectrophotometry (assessing dietary carotenoid intakes) and subjectively by food frequency questionnaire, were associated with more pleasant smelling sweat. Male participants provided axillary sweat samples and dietary information. Female participants then evaluated these samples on several affective, qualitative and psychophysical dimensions. The skin spectrophotometry measure (CIELab b*), indicative of greater fruit and vegetable intake, was significantly associated with more pleasant smelling sweat (with more floral, fruity, sweet and medicinal qualities), independent of sweat intensity. Self-report dietary data revealed that fat, meat, egg and tofu intake was associated with more pleasant smelling sweat, and greater carbohydrate intake with stronger smelling less pleasant sweat. These data parallel facial judgments, in which yellower more carotenoid rich skin, is found to be more attractive.

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Duration of Cunnilingus Predicts Estimated Ejaculate Volume in Humans: a Content Analysis of Pornography

Michael Pham et al.

Evolutionary Psychological Science, September 2016, Pages 220-227

Abstract:
Humans perform copulatory behaviors that do not contribute directly to reproduction (e.g., cunnilingus, prolonged copulation). We conducted a content analysis of pornography to investigate whether such behaviors might contribute indirectly to reproduction by influencing ejaculate volume - an indicator of ejaculate quality. We coded 100 professional pornography scenes depicting the same male actor copulating with 100 different females, affording control for between-male differences in estimated ejaculate volume. Coders visually estimated ejaculate volume and recorded the time the actor spent engaged in cunnilingus, penile-vaginal penetration, and in any physical contact with his partner. We found support for the hypothesis that a man who spends more time performing cunnilingus produces an ejaculate with greater estimated volume, even after controlling statistically for the age and attractiveness of the actress, and time spent in physical contact with his partner. Additionally, we tested the ejaculate adjustment hypothesis for prolonged copulation and found no support. Prolonged copulation does not facilitate production of an ejaculate with greater estimated volume, even after controlling statistically for time spent in physical contact with a partner. This research is the first to use content analysis to document that pre-ejaculatory copulatory behavior predicts estimated ejaculate volume and also is the first to document a relationship between the time spent performing cunnilingus and ejaculate quality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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