TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Protection racket

America and Trade Liberalization: The Limits of Institutional Reform

Judith Goldstein & Robert Gulotty
International Organization, May 2014, Pages 263-295

Abstract:
Among scholars, delegation of power to the US president in 1934 is widely believed to have been a necessary requisite for tariff reductions in ensuing years. According to conventional wisdom, delegation to the president sheltered Congress from constituent pressure thereby facilitating the opening of the US economy and the emergence of the United States as a world power. This article suggests a revision to our understanding of just how that occurred. Through a close study of the US tariff schedule between 1928 and 1964, focusing on highly protected products, we examine which products were subject to liberalization and at what time. After 1934, delegation led to a change in trade policy, not because Congress gave up their constitutional prerogative in this domain but because presidents were able to target the potential economic dislocation that derives from import competition to avoid the creation of a congressional majority willing to halt the trade agreements program.

----------------------

Assembling Fordizm: The Production of Automobiles, Americans, and Bolsheviks in Detroit and Early Soviet Russia

David Greenstein
Comparative Studies in Society and History, April 2014, Pages 259-289

Abstract:
The expansion of the Ford Motor Company into Soviet Russia has been understood as part of a unidirectional spread of American economic power and cultural forms abroad following the First World War. This essay looks beyond the automobiles and manufacturing methods sent from Ford facilities in Detroit to the emerging Soviet automobile industry to examine multidirectional migrations of workers between Russia and the United States that underlay but sometimes collided with Ford's system. Workers, managers, engineers, and cultural, technical, and disciplinary knowledge moved back and forth between factories in Soviet Russia and the United States. Efforts to define, track, and shape workers in both countries as Americans, Russians, or Bolsheviks were integral to the construction of the products and methods that Ford sold. But many workers fell in between and contested these classifications and they often defied company attempts to create an efficient and homogeneous American workforce. In Russia, too, more than Soviet and American automobiles were produced: people and ideas were created that crossed and blurred boundaries between “American” and “Soviet.” There, “Fordizm” became a popular watchword among Soviet commentators and workers as a near-synonym for industrialization, mass production, and efficiency. Many saw it as a potentially valuable component of a new socialist world. These multidirectional movements, recorded in Ford Motor Company archives and related documents, suggest that rather than separate and alternative projects, Ford's burgeoning system to transform manufacturing and workers' lives in Detroit was linked to the Soviet revolutionary project to recreate life and work.

----------------------

An Empirical Analysis of Trade-Related Redistribution and the Political Viability of Free Trade

James Lake & Daniel Millimet
Southern Methodist University Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Even if free trade creates net welfare gains for a country as a whole, the associated distributional implications can undermine the political viability of free trade. We show that trade-related redistribution increases the political viability of free trade in the US. We do so by assessing the causal effect of expected redistribution associated with the US Trade Adjustment Assistance program on US Congressional voting behavior on eleven Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between 2003 and 2011. We find that a one standard deviation increase in redistribution leads to more than a 3% point increase in the probability of voting in favor of an FTA for the median representative. In addition, a one standard deviation decrease in redistribution across the entire US would have precluded passage of two of the eleven FTAs in our sample.

----------------------

Wedges and Widgets: Liberalism, Libertarianism, and the Trade Attitudes of the American Mass Public and Elites

Brian Rathbun
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
What are the ideological sources of free trade attitudes? Free trade plays a crucial role in classical liberal theory as a way of increasing the prospects of peace between states. Are liberal individuals more supportive of free trade? The literature on foreign policy beliefs largely neglects the question of trade, and those exceptions that find support for the liberal hypothesis generally rely on faulty conceptualization. Using surveys of the American mass public and American elites, this article finds that the combination of views that marks classical liberalism does not in fact predict support for free trade at either the mass or the elite level. Support for free trade at the mass level has libertarian, not liberal, foundations, predicted by a combination of social and economic libertarianism. At the mass level, the combination of cosmopolitanism and dovishness that constitutes foreign policy liberalism has no effect on trade attitudes. At the elite level, cosmopolitanism is actually generally negatively associated with support for free trade. Free trade is a wedge issue that creates strange alliances at the elite level between cosmopolitans and isolationists generally hostile to one another on foreign policy and at the mass level between social and economic libertarians typically antagonistic to each other's domestic agenda.

----------------------

Strategic Sourcing and Wage Bargaining

Nicholas Sly & Anson Soderbery
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how multinational firms strategically source production to mitigate the consequences of wage bargaining with workers. When wage bargaining pressure differs across countries, firms allocate production of goods with high markups toward countries with relatively competitive labor markets, limiting the rents available to workers with strong bargaining power. We use product-level data from the universe of automotive production facilities in North America at a monthly frequency between 1988 and 2009 to structurally estimate variable price elasticities of demand for different vehicles. From the theory we derive an empirical strategy that allows us to distinguish the impact of wage bargaining pressure from other sourcing motives. We find robust evidence that multinational firms strategically source their products across countries in response to differences in wage bargaining pressure.

----------------------

Slicing Up Global Value Chains

Marcel Timmer et al.
Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2014, Pages 99-118

Abstract:
In this paper, we "slice up the global value chain" using a decomposition technique that has recently become feasible due to the development of the World Input-Output Database. We trace the value added by all labor and capital that is directly and indirectly needed for the production of final manufacturing goods. The production systems of these goods are highly prone to international fragmentation as many stages can be undertaken in any country with little variation in quality. We seek to establish a series of facts concerning the global fragmentation of production that can serve as a starting point for future analysis. We describe four major trends. First, international fragmentation, as measured by the foreign value-added content of production, has rapidly increased since the early 1990s. Second, in most global value chains there is a strong shift towards value being added by capital and high-skilled labor, and away from less-skilled labor. Third, within global value chains, advanced nations increasingly specialize in activities carried out by high-skilled workers. Fourth, emerging economies surprisingly specialize in capital-intensive activities.

----------------------

Globalization and Domestic Trade Policy Preferences: Foreign Frames and Mass Support for Agriculture Subsidies

Nathan Jensen & Mi Jeong Shin
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Reforming agriculture trade policy is key to breaking the deadlock in multilateral trade negotiations. While existing studies have focused on institution and interest group barriers to agriculture trade reform in developed countries, most have failed to recognize the broad support for agriculture protection amongst developed countries. In this paper we examine one of the drivers of this support: the ability of politicians to frame their own agriculture policies as less generous relative to those of other countries. Drawing on existing literature on heuristics we argue that voters are malleable to politicians’ comparative framing of agriculture policies. Using an original survey experiment in the United States, we find that framing US agriculture as less generous than other countries generates an additional 12% of respondents supporting increased farm payments to US farmers. These results speak to the difficulty in reforming agriculture, and more broadly about the lack of public support for unilateral trade liberalization.

----------------------

Preferences for International Redistribution: The Divide over the Eurozone Bailouts

Michael Bechtel, Jens Hainmueller & Yotam Margalit
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do voters agree to bear the costs of bailing out other countries? Despite the prominence of public opinion in the ongoing debate over the eurozone bailouts, voters' preferences on the topic are poorly understood. We conduct the first systematic analysis of this issue using observational and experimental survey data from Germany, the country shouldering the largest share of the EU's financial rescue fund. Testing a range of theoretical explanations, we find that individuals' own economic standing has limited explanatory power in accounting for their position on the bailouts. In contrast, social dispositions such as altruism and cosmopolitanism robustly correlate with support for the bailouts. The results indicate that the divide in public opinion over the bailouts does not reflect distributive lines separating domestic winners and losers. Instead, the bailout debate is better understood as a foreign policy issue that pits economic nationalist sentiments versus greater cosmopolitan affinity and other-regarding concerns.

----------------------

Outward Foreign Direct Investment, Interindustry Networks, and U.S. Trade Politics

Hak-Seon Lee
International Trade Journal, Spring 2014, Pages 140-168

Abstract:
This article investigates how outward foreign direct investment by U.S. multinational corporations influences industry lobbying for trade protection in the United States, focusing on interindustry structure of goods sales networks between upstream and downstream sectors and also on the multinationals’ input procurement patterns. If foreign affiliates of U.S. multinationals switch input sources from U.S. to host-country suppliers, U.S. suppliers should receive a negative demand shock, ceteris paribus. An empirical test finds that those U.S. upstream sectors that are highly dependent upon U.S. multinationals for goods sales tend to lobby more as the multinationals’ overseas production and sales increase.

----------------------

Tariffs, Social Status, and Gender in India

S. Anukriti & Todd Kumler
Boston College Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper shows that trade policy can have significant intergenerational distributional effects across gender and social strata. We compare women and births in rural Indian districts more or less exposed to tariff cuts. For low socioeconomic status women, tariff cuts increase the likelihood of a female birth and these daughters are less likely to die during infancy and childhood. On the contrary, high-status women are less likely to give birth to girls and their daughters have higher mortality rates when more exposed to tariff declines. Consistent with the fertility-sex ratio trade-off in high son preference societies, fertility increases for low-status women and decreases for high-status women. An exploration of the mechanisms suggests that the labor market returns for low-status women (relative to men) and high-status men (relative to women) have increased in response to trade liberalization. Thus, altered expectations about future returns from daughters relative to sons seem to have caused families to change the sex-composition of and health investments in their children.

----------------------

Does foreign aid really attract foreign investors? New evidence from panel cointegration

Julian Donaubauer
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines whether foreign aid contributes to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in aid receiving countries. Using both homogeneous and heterogeneous panel cointegration techniques, I find that the effect of foreign aid on FDI is negative. This is in contrast to previous studies that usually found a positive association between aid and FDI.

----------------------

The Influences of Foreign Direct Investments, Intrafirm Trading, and Currency Undervaluation on U.S. Firm Trade Disputes

Bradford Jensen, Dennis Quinn & Stephen Weymouth
U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
We use the case of a puzzling decline in U.S. firm antidumping (AD) filings to explore how firm-level economic heterogeneity within U.S. industries influences political and regulatory responses to changes in the global economy. Firms exhibit heterogeneity both within and across industries regarding foreign direct investment. We propose that firms making vertical, or resource-seeking, investments abroad will be less likely to file AD petitions. Hence, we argue, the increasing vertical FDI of U.S. firms (particularly in countries with undervalued currencies) makes trade disputes far less likely. We use firm level data to examine the universe of U.S. manufacturing firms and find that AD filers generally conduct no intrafirm trade with filed-against countries. Among U.S. MNCs, the number of AD filings is negatively associated with increases in the level of intrafirm trade for large firms. In the context of currency undervaluation, we confirm the existing finding that undervaluation is associated with more AD filings. We also find, however, that high levels of related-party imports from countries with undervalued currencies significantly decrease the numbers of AD filings. Our study highlights the centrality of global production networks in understanding political mobilization over international economic policy.

----------------------

Detection and Impact of Industrial Subsidies: The Case of World Shipbuilding

Myrto Kalouptsidi
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This paper provides a model-based empirical strategy to, (i) detect the presence and magnitude of government subsidies and (ii) quantify their impact on production reallocation across countries, industry prices, costs and consumer surplus. I construct and estimate an industry model that allows for dynamic agents in both demand and supply and apply my strategy to world shipbuilding, a classic target of industrial policy. I find strong evidence consistent with China having intervened and reducing shipyard costs by 15-20%, corresponding to 5 billion US dollars between 2006 and 2012. Standard detection methods employed in subsidy disputes yield less than a third of this magnitude. The subsidies led to substantial reallocation of ship production across the world, with Japan in particular losing significant market share. They also misaligned costs and production, while leading to minor surplus gains for shippers. Finally, I find that production subsidies had a stronger impact than capital subsidies.

----------------------

Barriers to Labor Mobility and International Trade: The Case of China

Kai Xu
China Economic Review, June 2014, Pages 107–125

Abstract:
This paper quantitatively evaluates the potential impacts of removing China’s Hukou system on the world economy. By denying migrant workers the right to health benefits and housing, China’s Household Registration (Hukou) system presents a significant distortion to the Chinese labor market that discourages the reallocation of its labor from agriculture to non-agriculture. I find that the elimination of Hukou could increase China’s real income per capita by about 4.7%. Moreover, although for most countries the impact of removing Hukou is modest (less than 1% changes in real income per capita), substantial changes in real income could take place for China’s small neighboring economies. For example, the decreases in real GDP per capita are 2.7%, 3.2%, and 4.1% for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, while Thailand stands to enjoy a 3.8% increase in its income.

----------------------

Nationalism and Economic Exchange: Evidence from Shocks to Sino-Japanese Relations

Raymond Fisman, Yasushi Hamao & Yongxiang Wang
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the impact of nationalism and interstate frictions on international economic relations by analyzing market reaction to adverse shocks to Sino-Japanese relations in 2005 and 2010. Japanese companies with high China exposure suffer relative declines during each event window; a symmetric effect is observed for Chinese companies with high Japanese exposure. The effect on Japanese companies is more pronounced for those operating in industries dominated by Chinese state-owned enterprises, whereas firms with high Chinese employment experience lower declines. These results emphasize the role of countries' economic and political institutions in mediating the impact of interstate frictions on firm-level outcomes.

----------------------

Patent examination outcomes and the national treatment principle

Elizabeth Webster, Paul Jensen & Alfons Palangkaraya
RAND Journal of Economics, Summer 2014, Pages 449–469

Abstract:
One of the principles enshrined in all international patent treaties is that equal treatment should be provided to inventors regardless of their nationality. Little is known about whether this “national treatment” principle is upheld in practice. We analyze whether patent examination outcomes at the European and Japanese patent offices vary systematically by inventor nationality and technology area, using a matched sample of 47,947 patent applications. We find that domestic inventors have a higher likelihood of obtaining a patent grant than foreign inventors and that the positive domestic inventor effect is stronger in areas of technological specialization in the domestic economy.

----------------------

Economic development and the impact of the EU–US Transatlantic Open Skies Air Transport Agreement

Kenneth Button, Rui Neiva & Junyang Yuan
Applied Economics Letters, Summer 2014, Pages 767-770

Abstract:
This article examines the economic impacts on the United States east coast regions of the EU–US Open Skies Agreement that liberalized air service over the North Atlantic. It considers the link between air travel volumes before and after the Agreement and the economies of the main metropolitan areas. It finds, using a number of model specifications, that the economic impacts of air traffic increased after the enactment of the Agreement.

----------------------

Geography and intra-national home bias: U.S. domestic trade in 1949 and 2007

Nicholas Crafts & Alexander Klein
Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines home bias in U.S. domestic trade in 1949 and 2007. We use a unique data set of 1949 carload waybill statistics produced by the Interstate Commerce Commission, and 2007 Commodity Flow Survey data. The results show that home bias was considerably smaller in 1949 than in 2007 and that home bias in 1949 was even negative for several commodities. We argue that the difference between the geographical distribution of the manufacturing activities in 1949 and that of 2007 is an important factor explaining the differences in the magnitudes of home-bias estimates in those years.

----------------------

The Growing Dependence of Britain on Trade during the Industrial Revolution

Gregory Clark, Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke & Alan Taylor
NBER Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Many previous studies of the role of trade during the British Industrial Revolution have found little or no role for trade in explaining British living standards or growth rates. We construct a three-region model of the world in which Britain trades with North America and the rest of the world, and calibrate the model to data from the 1760s and 1850s. We find that while trade had only a small impact on British welfare in the 1760s, it had a very large impact in the 1850s. This contrast is robust to a large range of parameter perturbations. Biased technological change and population growth were key in explaining Britain’s growing dependence on trade during the Industrial Revolution.

----------------------

Trade Liberalization and Culture

Steven Suranovic & Robert Winthrop
Global Economy Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper addresses the effect of international trade on cultural outcomes from both economic and anthropological perspectives. Definitions of culture are informed by anthropology and then incorporated into a standard economic trade models in two distinct ways. In the “cultural affinity from work” model, workers receive a non-pecuniary cultural benefit from work in a particular industry. In the “cultural externality” model, consumers of a product receive utility from other consumer’s consumption of a domestic good. We show that resistance to change due to cultural concerns can reduce the national benefits from trade liberalization. Complete movements to free trade will have a positive national welfare impact in the cultural affinity case, whereas it may lower national welfare in the cultural externality case. We also show that a loss of cultural benefits is more likely to occur when culture is an externality.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

No free lunch

Longitudinal Associations Between Poverty and Obesity From Birth Through Adolescence

Hedwig Lee et al.
American Journal of Public Health, May 2014, Pages e70-e76

Objectives: We examined the relationship between timing of poverty and risk of first-incidence obesity from ages 3 to 15.5 years.

Methods: We used the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (1991–2007) to study 1150 children with repeated measures of income, weight, and height from birth to 15.5 years in 10 US cities. Our dependent variable was the first incidence of obesity (body mass index ≥ 95th percentile). We measured poverty (income-to-needs ratio < 2) prior to age 2 years and a lagged, time-varying measure of poverty between ages 2 and 12 years. We estimated discrete-time hazard models of the relative risk of first transition to obesity.

Results: Poverty prior to age 2 years was associated with risk of obesity by age 15.5 years in fully adjusted models. These associations did not vary by gender.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are enduring associations between early life poverty and adolescent obesity. This stage in the life course may serve as a critical period for both poverty and obesity prevention.

----------------------

Weight Labeling and Obesity: A Longitudinal Study of Girls Aged 10 to 19 Years

Jeffrey Hunger & Janet Tomiyama
JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

"The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study followed up girls who self-identified as black (n = 1213) or white (n = 1166) from age 10 years until age 19 years...Adjusting for baseline BMI, household income, parental education, race, and age at menarche, being labeled 'too fat' at age 10 years remained a significant predictor of obesity at age 19 years (odds ratio = 1.66). The odds ratio was 1.62 when family members were the source of labeling and 1.40 when nonfamily members were the source. These effects were not modulated by race."

----------------------

The Changing Face of Obesity: Exposure to and Acceptance of Obesity

Eric Robinson & Paul Christiansen
Obesity, May 2014, Pages 1380–1386

Objective: Adiposity has started to become the norm in many western countries. The current studies tested the hypothesis that exposure to heavier body weights will increase the acceptance of obesity, which could further propagate rises in body weight.

Methods: Across three experiments we examined the effect that exposing participants to photographs of either obese or healthy weight males had on later judgments about an obese male. We also tested how obesity exposure impacted upon visual preferences and how accepting participants were of obesity, to examine the mechanisms by which exposure to obesity increases acceptance of heavier body weights.

Results: In Experiment 1, obesity exposure resulted in an obese male being judged more positively, than after exposure to healthy weights. Experiment 2 replicated the effect that obesity exposure had on acceptability and demonstrated this effect was mediated by obesity exposure increasing how much participants liked the way an obese person looked. In Experiment 3, exposure to obesity resulted in participants being more likely to believe that an obese person did not need to lose weight.

Conclusions: Findings across these three studies were consistent and suggest that exposure to adiposity results in an increased acceptance of obesity, by altering visual preferences towards heavier body weights.

----------------------

Macronutrients and Obesity: Revisiting the Calories in, Calories out Framework

Daniel Riera-Crichton & Nathan Tefft
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent clinical research has studied weight responses to varying diet composition, but the contribution of changes in macronutrient intake and physical activity to rising population weight remains controversial. Research on the economics of obesity typically assumes a “calories in, calories out” framework, but a weight production model separating caloric intake into carbohydrates, fat, and protein, has not been explored in an economic framework. To estimate the contributions of changes in macronutrient intake and physical activity to changes in population weight, we conducted dynamic time series and structural VAR analyses of U.S. data between 1974 and 2006 and a panel analysis of 164 countries between 2001 and 2010. Findings from all analyses suggest that increases in carbohydrates are most strongly and positively associated with increases in obesity prevalence even when controlling for changes in total caloric intake and occupation-related physical activity. Our structural VAR results suggest that, on the margin, a 1% increase in carbohydrates intake yields a 1.01 point increase in obesity prevalence over 5 years while an equal percent increase in fat intake decreases obesity prevalence by 0.24 points.

----------------------

The Role of Poverty Status and Obesity on School Attendance in the United States

Sandra Echeverría et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: Several studies have shown that obesity influences school performance. Little is known about the joint effect of poverty and obesity associated with school attendance.

Methods: Data are from the National Survey of Children's Health (N = 93,151), a nationally representative sample of U.S. youth aged 10–17 years. Our dependent variable was ≥11 days of school days missed per year. Body mass index was classified as normal, overweight, and obese using age- and sex-specific criteria. Federal poverty level (FPL) was classified as <200%, 200%–399%, and ≥400% (high income). Covariates included gender, age, child's race or ethnicity, maternal physical and mental health, child's health, family composition, and household tobacco use. Logistic regression models and prevalence ratios were estimated, accounting for the complex survey design.

Results: The odds of missing ≥11 days of school among overweight youth was 1.5 times that of normal-weight youth (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22–1.85) and 1.7 (95% CI = 1.35–2.13) times among obese youth in fully adjusted models. In joint effects models, the probability of missing school was significantly greater for obese youth in both the <200% FPL group (prevalence ratio = 1.78, CI = 1.36–2.34) and the ≥400% FPL group (prevalence ratio = 2.88, CI = 1.91–4.35), when compared with their normal-weight, higher income peers. Predicted probabilities revealed sharper gradients for higher income youth.

Conclusions: Obesity influences school absenteeism across all income categories. Nonetheless, there may be distinct reasons for missing school for lower and higher income youth, and the long-term consequences of school absences may also differ for these populations.

----------------------

Secular Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Use Among Adolescents and Maternal Caregivers From 1999 to 2010

Nicole Larson et al.
American Journal of Public Health, May 2014, Pages e62-e69

Objectives: We examined trends from 1999 to 2010 in adolescents’ self-reported fast-food restaurant use alongside maternal reports of fast-food consumption and purchasing from restaurants for family meals.

Methods: Middle- and high-school student participants from Minneapolis–St Paul, Minnesota, represented diverse ethnic/racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Adolescents completed classroom-administered surveys and maternal caregivers responded by phone or mail.

Results: The overall prevalence of frequent fast-food consumption, defined as 3 or more times per week, decreased from 1999 to 2010 among adolescents (1999: 25%; 2010: 19%; P < .001) and maternal caregivers (1999: 17%; 2010: 11%; P < .001), but sociodemographic disparities were apparent. For example, the prevalence of frequent fast-food consumption remained highest and did not significantly decrease among Black or Native American youths. The overall prevalence of frequent fast-food purchases for family meals did not significantly decrease; large decreases were observed only among Hispanic families (1999: 18%; 2010: 6%; P < .001).

Conclusions: In light of previous findings linking frequent fast-food consumption to greater weight gain and poor nutrition, the observed decreases in consumption are encouraging and interventions are needed to address observed disparities.

----------------------

Support for laws to prohibit weight discrimination in the United States: Public attitudes from 2011 to 2013

Young Suh et al.
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: Public attitudes about three proposed laws prohibiting weight discrimination in the US, from 2011 to 2013 were examined.

Methods: An online survey using a diverse national sample of US adults to assess their level of support for three specific laws against weight discrimination was conducted. Data collection occurred between June and July in 2011 (n = 1,098), 2012 (n = 1,202), and 2013 (n = 1,202).

Results: Between 2011 and 2013, support for laws prohibiting weight discrimination remained consistent, and in some cases became increasingly supportive, primarily in 2012-2013. At least 75% of participants consistently favored laws prohibiting weight discrimination in the workplace. Individuals became increasingly supportive of extending disability protections for individuals with obesity (62% in 2011 to 69% in 2013) and adding body weight as a protected class in Civil Rights statutes (70% in 2011 to 76% in 2013). Analyses highlight specific predictors of support (gender, race, education, and political affiliation).

Conclusions: There is strong, consistent support for policies prohibiting weight discrimination. These findings have important implications for developing specific antidiscrimination legislation to protect Americans with obesity and improve their quality of life.

----------------------

Chronic Stress Increases Vulnerability to Diet-Related Abdominal Fat, Oxidative Stress, and Metabolic Risk

Kirstin Aschbacher et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, August 2014, Pages 14–22

Background: In preclinical studies, the combination of chronic stress and a high sugar/fat diet is a more potent driver of visceral adiposity than diet alone, a process mediated by peripheral Neuropeptide Y (NPY).

Methods: In a human model of chronic stress, we investigated whether the synergistic combination of highly palatable foods (HPF; high sugar/fat) and stress was associated with elevated metabolic risk. Using a case-control design, we compared 33 post-menopausal caregivers (the chronic stress group) to 28 age-matched low-stress control women on reported HPF consumption (modified Block Food Frequency Questionnaire), waistline circumference, truncal fat ultrasound, and insulin sensitivity using a three-hour oral glucose tolerance test. A fasting blood draw was assayed for plasma NPY and oxidative stress markers (8-hydroxyguanosine and F2-Isoprostanes).

Results: Among chronically stressed women only, greater HPF consumption was associated with greater abdominal adiposity, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance at baseline (all p's ≤.01). Furthermore, plasma NPY was significantly elevated in chronically stressed women (p<.01), and the association of HPF with abdominal adiposity was stronger among women with high versus low NPY. There were no significant predictions of change over one-year, likely due to high stability (little change) in the primary outcomes over this period.

Discussion: Chronic stress is associated with enhanced vulnerability to diet-related metabolic risk (abdominal adiposity, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress). Stress-induced peripheral NPY may play a mechanistic role.

----------------------

The Relationship Among Body Mass, Wealth, and Inequality Across the BMI Distribution: Evidence From Nineteenth-Century Prison Records

Scott Alan Carson & Paul Hodges
Mathematical Population Studies, Spring 2014, Pages 78-94

Abstract:
Nineteenth-century U.S. Black and White body mass indexes (BMIs) were distributed symmetrically; neither wasting nor obesity was common. BMI values were also greater for Blacks than for Whites. During industrialization in the nineteenth century in the United States, there was a negative relationship between BMIs and average state-level wealth and an inverse relationship between BMI and wealth inequality. After controlling for wealth and inequality, rural agricultural farmers had greater BMI values than their urban counterparts in other occupations.

----------------------

An 8-month exercise intervention alters frontotemporal white matter integrity in overweight children

David Schaeffer et al.
Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In childhood, excess adiposity and low fitness are linked to poor academic performance, lower cognitive function, and differences in brain structure. Identifying ways to mitigate obesity-related alterations is of current clinical importance. This study examined the effects of an 8-month exercise intervention on the uncinate fasciculus, a white matter fiber tract connecting frontal and temporal lobes. Participants consisted of 18 unfit, overweight 8- to 11-year-old children (94% Black) who were randomly assigned to either an aerobic exercise (n = 10) or a sedentary control group (n = 8). Before and after the intervention, all subjects participated in a diffusion tensor MRI scan. Tractography was conducted to isolate the uncinate fasciculus. The exercise group showed improved white matter integrity as compared to the control group. These findings are consistent with an emerging literature suggesting beneficial effects of exercise on white matter integrity.

----------------------

Eyes in the Aisles: Why Is Cap’N Crunch Looking Down at My Child?

Aner Tal, Aviva Musicus & Brian Wansink
Environment and Behavior, April 2014

Abstract:
To what extent do cereal spokes-characters make eye contact with children versus adults, and does their eye contact influence choice? The shelf placement and eye positioning of 86 cereal spokes-characters were evaluated in ten grocery stores in the Eastern United States. In Study 1, we calculated the average height of cereal boxes on the shelf for adult- versus children-oriented cereals (48 versus 23-in.) and the inflection angle of spokes-characters’ gaze (0.4 versus -9.6 degrees). We found that cereal characters on children- (adult-) oriented cereals make incidental eye contact at children’s (adults’) eye level. In Study 2, we showed that eye contact with cereal spokes-characters increased feelings of trust and connection to the brand, as well as choice of the brand over competitors. Currently, many of the cereals targeted towards children are of the heavily sugared, less healthy variety. One potential application of this finding would be to use eye contact with spokes-characters to promote healthy choices and healthier food consumption.

----------------------

Sugar-sweetened beverages and prevalence of the metabolically abnormal phenotype in the Framingham Heart Study

Angela Green et al.
Obesity, May 2014, Pages E157–E163

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between usual sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and prevalence of abnormal metabolic health across body mass index (BMI) categories.

Methods: The metabolic health of 6,842 non-diabetic adults was classified using cross-sectional data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring (1998-2001) and Third Generation (2002-2005) cohorts. Adults were classified as normal weight, overweight or obese and, within these categories, metabolic health was defined based on five criteria—hypertension, elevated fasting glucose, elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. Individuals without metabolic abnormalities were considered metabolically healthy. Logistic regression was used to examine the associations between categories of SSB consumption and risk of metabolic health after stratification by BMI.

Results: Comparing the highest category of SSB consumers (median of 7 SSB per week) to the lowest category (non-consumers), odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for metabolically abnormal phenotypes, compared to the metabolically normal, were 1.9 (1.1-3.4) among the obese, 2.0 (1.4-2.9) among the overweight, and 1.9 (1.4-2.6) among the normal weight individuals.

Conclusions: In this cross-sectional analysis, it is observed that, irrespective of weight status, consumers of SSB were more likely to display metabolic abnormalities compared to non-consumers in a dose-dependent manner.

----------------------

What Role Do Local Grocery Stores Play in Urban Food Environments? A Case Study of Hartford-Connecticut

Katie Martin et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Introduction: Research on urban food environments emphasizes limited access to healthy food, with fewer large supermarkets and higher food prices. Many residents of Hartford, Connecticut, which is often considered a food desert, buy most of their food from small and medium-sized grocery stores. We examined the food environment in greater Hartford, comparing stores in Hartford to those in the surrounding suburbs, and by store size (small, medium, and large).

Methods: We surveyed all small (over 1,000 ft2), medium, and large-sized supermarkets within a 2-mile radius of Hartford (36 total stores). We measured the distance to stores, availability, price and quality of a market basket of 25 items, and rated each store on internal and external appearance. Geographic Information System (GIS) was used for mapping distance to the stores and variation of food availability, quality, and appearance.

Results: Contrary to common literature, no significant differences were found in food availability and price between Hartford and suburban stores. However, produce quality, internal, and external store appearance were significantly lower in Hartford compared to suburban stores (all p<0.05). Medium-sized stores had significantly lower prices than small or large supermarkets (p<0.05). Large stores had better scores for internal (p<0.05), external, and produce quality (p<0.01). Most Hartford residents live within 0.5 to 1 mile distance to a grocery store.

Discussion: Classifying urban areas with few large supermarkets as ‘food deserts’ may overlook the availability of healthy foods and low prices that exist within small and medium-sized groceries common in inner cities. Improving produce quality and store appearance can potentially impact the food purchasing decisions of low-income residents in Hartford.

----------------------

Life Cycle Development of Obesity and Its Determinants in Six European Countries

Sandra Cavaco, Tor Eriksson & Ali Skalli
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper empirically examines the effect of parents’ and individuals’ own socioeconomic status on overweight and obesity, and investigates how this effect changes over the life cycle. The impact of individuals’ health behaviours on their obesity status later in life is also studied. We use data from Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands and the U.K. in which 4,595 individuals aged 50 to 65 are surveyed and where individuals’ height and weight at different ages (25, 35, 45 and current age) are available. We perform “repeated cross-sections” analyses as well as dynamic probit analyses of the individuals’ obesity histories. We contribute to the literature by examining the role of a variety of obesity determinants over the whole life cycle, not only over a certain portion of individuals’ lives. Key findings are: (i) parents’ socioeconomic status predicts obesity in early adulthood whereas the individual's own socioeconomic status as adult is more important in explaining obesity at later stages of the life cycle, (ii) changes in obesity status are associated with changes in health behaviours, (iii) obesity in late adulthood is strongly and positively correlated with overweight and obesity in younger ages, and (iv) cross-country differences in obesity and overweight largely remain after controlling for parental and childhood factors and individuals’ health behaviours.

----------------------

Only minor additional metabolic health benefits of high as opposed to moderate dose physical exercise in young, moderately overweight men

M.H. Reichkendler et al.
Obesity, May 2014, Pages 1220–1232

Objective: The dose–response effects of exercise training on insulin sensitivity, metabolic risk, and quality of life were examined.

Methods: Sixty-one healthy, sedentary (VO2max: 35 ± 5 ml/kg/min), moderately overweight (BMI: 27.9 ± 1.8), young (age: 29 ± 6 years) men were randomized to sedentary living (sedentary control group; n = 18), moderate (moderate dose training group [MOD]: 300 kcal/day, n = 21), or high (high dose training group [HIGH]: 600 kcal/day, n = 22) dose physical exercise for 11 weeks.

Results: The return rate for post-intervention testing was 82-94% across groups. Weekly exercise amounted to 2,004 ± 24 and 3,774 ± 68 kcal, respectively, in MOD and HIGH. Cardiorespiratory fitness increased (P < 0.001) 18 ± 3% in MOD and 17 ± 3% in HIGH, and fat percentage decreased (P < 0.001) similarly in both exercise groups (MOD: 32 ± 1 to 29 ± 1%; HIGH: 30 ± 1 to 27 ± 1%). Peripheral insulin sensitivity increased (P < 0.01) (MOD: 28 ± 7%; HIGH: 36 ± 8%) and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance decreased (P < 0.05) (MOD: -17 ± 7%; HIGH: -18 ± 10%). The number of subjects meeting the criteria of the metabolic syndrome decreased by 78% in MOD (P < 0.01) and by 80% in HIGH (P < 0.05). General health assessed by questionnaire increased similarly in MOD (P < 0.05) and HIGH (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Only minor additional health benefits were found when exercising ∼3,800 as opposed to ∼2,000 kcal/week in young moderately overweight men. This finding may have important public health implications.

----------------------

Adolescent obesity, educational attainment and adult earnings

John Amis, Andrew Hussey & Albert Okunade
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the effects of being obese during adolescence on the likelihood of high school graduation, post-secondary educational attainment and labour market earnings as an adult (over 13 years later). We use longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health), conducted by the Carolina Population Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This is a nationally representative sample of students in grades 7 through 12 for the 1994–1995 first wave survey. Three subsequent waves of follow-up interviews occurred in 1996, 2001–2002 and finally in 2007–2008, when the sample was aged 25–31. Probit and linear regression models with a large set of controls (to minimize any bias that may result from omitting factors related to both adolescent obesity and adult outcomes) are fitted to carry out analyses separately by gender or racial groups. Pathological body weights are most notably present among males, blacks and Hispanics, suggesting possibility that diverging obesity effects may be found across race and gender groups. Unlike some prior research, we find no significant effects of adolescent obesity on high school graduation, but for some demographic groups, negative effects are found on college graduation and future income. Policy implications are discussed.

----------------------

Meal skipping linked to increased visceral adipose tissue and triglycerides in overweight minority youth

Benjamin House et al.
Obesity, May 2014, Pages E77–E84

Objective: To investigate the impact of eating frequency on dietary intake, physical activity (PA), metabolic, and adiposity measures in minority youth.

Methods: This analysis included 185 overweight (≥85th BMI percentile) Hispanic and African-American youth (8-18 years) with the following cross-sectional measures: height, weight, BMI, dietary intake, body composition, metabolic parameters, PA, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and subcutaneous adipose tissue. Each eating occasion (EO) was defined as ≥50 calories and ≥15 minutes from any previous EO. Participants were dichotomized based on EOs per 24-h into meal skippers <3 EO (MS; n = 27) or normal/frequent eaters ≥3 EO (NFE; n = 158). ANCOVAs were used to assess dietary intakes, metabolic outcomes, adiposity, and PA between eating frequency groups.

Results: MS compared to NFE consumed 24% fewer calories per 24-h (P ≤ 0.01), 21% more calories per EO (P ≤ 0.01), ate 40% less often (P ≤ 0.01), had 18% higher triglycerides (P = 0.03), and 26% more VAT (P = 0.03), with no differences in PA.

Conclusions: Although meal skipping was associated with decreased energy intake, it was linked to increased calories per EO and higher triglycerides and VAT, which are strong indicators of deleterious metabolic profiles. These findings elucidate that meal skipping may be associated with increased VAT and related metabolic diseases in high-risk minority youth.

----------------------

Evidence that a Very Brief Psychological Intervention Boosts Weight Loss in a Weight Loss Program

Christopher Armitage et al.
Behavior Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Reducing morbidity and mortality associated with being overweight is a crucial public health goal. The aim of the present research was to test the efficacy of a very brief psychological intervention (a volitional help sheet) that could be used as an adjunct to standard weight loss programs to support increased weight loss in an overweight sample. Seventy-two overweight participants currently participating in a weight loss program were randomly allocated to either an intervention (volitional help sheet) condition or a control (distracter task) condition. The main outcome measure was weight at one-month follow-up. Participants in both conditions lost significant amounts of weight, but those in the intervention condition lost significantly more than those in the control condition (d = 0.66). The findings support the efficacy of the volitional help sheet to promote additional weight loss in an overweight sample engaged in a weight loss program. The volitional help sheet therefore represents a very brief, low-cost, intervention that could be used to supplement ongoing weight-loss programs.

----------------------

Using the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition as an empirical tool to analyze racial disparities in obesity

Bisakha Sen
Obesity, forthcoming

Objective: Racial disparities in obesity in the US are often assumed to reflect racial disparities in socio-economic status, diet and physical-activity. We present an econometric method that helps examine this by “decomposing” the racial gap in body-mass index (BMI) into how much can be explained by racial differences in “standard” predictors of BMI, and how much remains unexplained.

Methods: The Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition is widely used in other fields, but remains under-utilized in the obesity literature. We provide algebraic and graphical illustrations of the decomposition, and further illustrate it with an example using data for white and black respondents in Mississippi and Alabama. BMI is the outcome of interest. Predictor variables include income, education, age, marital status, children, mental health indicators, diet and exercise.

Results: The mean predicted gap in BMI between white and black men is small, statistically insignificant, and can be attributed to racial differences in the predictor variables. The mean predicted gap for women is larger, statistically significant, and <10% of it can be explained by differences in predictor variables. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Conclusion: Wider application of this method is advocated in the obesity literature, to better understand racial disparities in obesity.

----------------------

Gamification of Dietary Decision-Making in an Elementary-School Cafeteria

Brooke Jones et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Despite the known health benefits of doing so, most US children do not consume enough fruits and vegetables (FV). School-based interventions can be effective in increasing FV consumption, but the most effective of these require that schools allocate their time, effort, and financial resources to implementing the program: expenditures that schools may be reluctant to provide in climates of academic accountability and economic austerity. The present demonstration project used a behaviorally based gamification approach to develop an intervention designed to increase FV consumption while minimizing material and labor costs to the school. During the intervention, the school (N = 180 students in grades K-8) played a cooperative game in which school-level goals were met by consuming higher-than-normal amounts of either fruit or vegetables (alternating-treatments experimental design). School-level consumption was quantified using a weight-based waste measure in the cafeteria. Over a period of 13 school days, fruit consumption increased by 66% and vegetable consumption by 44% above baseline levels. Use of an alternating-treatment time-series design with differential levels of FV consumption on days when fruit or vegetable was targeted for improvement supported the role of the intervention in these overall consumption increases. In post-intervention surveys, teachers rated the intervention as practical in the classroom and enjoyed by their students. Parent surveys revealed that children were more willing to try new FV at home and increased their consumption of FV following the intervention. These findings suggest that a behaviorally based gamification approach may prove practically useful in addressing concerns about poor dietary decision-making by children in schools.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blue shield

How Does Retiree Health Insurance Influence Public Sector Employee Saving?

Robert Clark & Olivia Mitchell
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Economic theory predicts that employer-provided retiree health insurance (RHI) benefits have a crowd-out effect on household wealth accumulation, not dissimilar to the effects reported elsewhere for employer pensions, Social Security, and Medicare. Nevertheless, we are unaware of any similar research on the impacts of retiree health insurance per se. Accordingly, the present paper utilizes a unique data file on respondents to the Health and Retirement Study, to explore how employer-provided retiree health insurance may influence net household wealth among public sector employees, where retiree healthcare benefits are still quite prevalent. Key findings include the following: - Most full-time public sector employees anticipate having employer-provided health insurance coverage in retirement, unlike most private sector workers; - Public sector employees covered by RHI had substantially less wealth than similar private sector employees without RHI. In our data, Federal workers had about $82,000 (18%) less net wealth than private sector employees lacking RHI; state/local workers with RHI accumulated about $69,000 (or 15%) less net wealth than their uninsured private sector counterparts. - After controlling on socioeconomic status and differences in pension coverage, net household wealth for Federal employees was $116,000 less than workers without RHI and the result is statistically significant; the state/local difference was not.

----------------------

Changes in Mortality After Massachusetts Health Care Reform: A Quasi-experimental Study

Benjamin Sommers, Sharon Long & Katherine Baicker
Annals of Internal Medicine, 6 May 2014, Pages 585-593

Objective: To determine whether the Massachusetts reform was associated with changes in all-cause mortality and mortality from causes amenable to health care.

Setting: Changes in mortality rates for adults in Massachusetts counties from 2001 to 2005 (prereform) and 2007 to 2010 (postreform) were compared with changes in a propensity score–defined control group of counties in other states.

Measurements: Annual county-level all-cause mortality in age-, sex-, and race-specific cells (n = 146 825) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Compressed Mortality File. Secondary outcomes were deaths from causes amenable to health care, insurance coverage, access to care, and self-reported health.

Results: Reform in Massachusetts was associated with a significant decrease in all-cause mortality compared with the control group (−2.9%; P = 0.003, or an absolute decrease of 8.2 deaths per 100 000 adults). Deaths from causes amenable to health care also significantly decreased (−4.5%; P < 0.001). Changes were larger in counties with lower household incomes and higher prereform uninsured rates. Secondary analyses showed significant gains in coverage, access to care, and self-reported health. The number needed to treat was approximately 830 adults gaining health insurance to prevent 1 death per year.

Conclusion: Health reform in Massachusetts was associated with significant reductions in all-cause mortality and deaths from causes amenable to health care.

----------------------

Dangerous Liquidity and the Demand for Health Care: Evidence from the 2008 Stimulus Payments

Tal Gross & Jeremy Tobacman
Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2014, Pages 424-445

Abstract:
Household finances can affect health and health care through several channels. To explore these channels, we exploit the randomized timing of the arrival of the 2008 Economic Stimulus Payments. We find that the payments raised the probability of an adult emergency department visit over the following 23 weeks by an average of 1.1 percent. This effect is difficult to reconcile with the Permanent Income Hypothesis. We observe little impact on avoidable hospitalizations or emergency visits for nonurgent conditions and no difference in effects as a function of health insurance coverage. By contrast, we show that the increase is driven by visits for urgent medical conditions, like drug- and alcohol-related visits. Complementary evidence suggests that consumers are not simply substituting from outpatient doctor visits to hospital care. The results thus suggest that liquidity constraints may not constitute a direct barrier to care, but rather that liquidity can increase health care utilization indirectly by increasing the need for care.

----------------------

Do More Health Insurance Options Lead to Higher Wages? Evidence from States Extending Dependent Coverage

Marcus Dillender
Journal of Health Economics, July 2014, Pages 84–97

Abstract:
Little is known about how health insurance affects labor market decisions for young adults. This is despite the fact that expanding coverage for people in their early twenties is an important component of the Affordable Care Act. This paper studies how having an outside source of health insurance affects wages by using variation in health insurance access that comes from states extending dependent coverage to young adults. Using American Community Survey and Census data, I find evidence that extending health insurance to young adults raises their wages. The increases in wages can be explained by increases in human capital and the increased flexibility in the labor market that comes from people no longer having to rely on their own employers for health insurance. The estimates from this paper suggest the Affordable Care Act will lead to wage increases for young adults.

----------------------

Health Care in a Multipayer System: The Effects of Health Care Service Demand among Adults under 65 on Utilization and Outcomes in Medicare

Sherry Glied
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Doctors and hospitals in the United States serve patients covered by many types of insurance. This overlap in the supply of health care services means that changes in the prices paid or the volume of services demanded by one group of patients may affect other patient groups. This paper examines how marginal shifts in the demand for services among the adult population under 65 (specifically, factors that affect the uninsurance rate) affect use in the Medicare population. I provide a simple theoretical framework for understanding how changes in the demand for care among adults under 65 may affect Medicare spending. I then examine how two demand factors – recent coverage eligibility changes for parents and the firm size composition of employment – affect insurance coverage among adults under 65 and how these factors affect per beneficiary Medicare spending. Factors that contribute to reductions in uninsurance rates are associated with contemporaneous decreases in per beneficiary Medicare spending, particularly in high variation Medicare services. Reductions in the demand for medical services among adults below age 65 are not associated with reductions in the total quantity of physician services supplied. The increased Medicare utilization that accompanies lower demand among those under 65 has few, if any, benefits for Medicare patients.

----------------------

Insurance Cancellations In Context: Stability Of Coverage In The Nongroup Market Prior To Health Reform

Benjamin Sommers
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 887-894

Abstract:
Recent cancellations of nongroup health insurance plans generated much policy debate and raised concerns that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may increase the number of uninsured Americans in the short term. This article provides evidence on the stability of nongroup coverage using US census data for the period 2008–11, before ACA provisions took effect. The principal findings are threefold. First, this market was characterized by high turnover: Only 42 percent of people with nongroup coverage at the outset of the study period retained that coverage after twelve months. Second, 80 percent of people experiencing coverage changes acquired other insurance within a year, most commonly from an employer. Third, turnover varied across groups, with stable coverage more common for whites and self-employed people than for other groups. Turnover was particularly high among adults ages 19–35, with only 21 percent of young adults retaining continuous nongroup coverage for two years. Given estimates from 2012 that 10.8 million people were covered in this market, these results suggest that 6.2 million people leave nongroup coverage annually. This suggests that the nongroup market was characterized by frequent disruptions in coverage before the ACA and that the effects of the recent cancellations are not necessarily out of the norm. These results can serve as a useful pre-ACA baseline with which to evaluate the law’s long-term impact on the stability of nongroup coverage.

----------------------

Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection in Private Health Insurance

David Powell & Dana Goldman
RAND Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
Moral hazard and adverse selection create inefficiencies in private health insurance markets. The authors use claims data from a large firm to study the independent roles of both moral hazard and adverse selection. Previous studies have attempted to estimate moral hazard in private health insurance by assuming that individuals respond only to the spot price, end-of-year price, average price, or a related metric. There is little economic justification for such assumptions and, in fact, economic intuition suggests that the nonlinear budget constraints generated by health insurance plans make these assumptions especially poor. They study the differential impact of the health insurance plans offered by the firm on the entire distribution of medical expenditures without parameterizing the plans by a specific metric. They use a new instrumental variable quantile estimation technique introduced in Powell (2013b) that provides the quantile treatment effects for each plan, while conditioning on a set of covariates for identification purposes. This technique allows us to map the resulting estimated medical expenditure distributions to the nonlinear budget sets generated by each plan. Their method also allows them to separate moral hazard from adverse selection and estimate their relative importance. They estimate that 77% of the additional medical spending observed in the most generous plan in their data relative to the least generous is due to adverse selection. The remainder can be attributed to moral hazard. A policy which resulted in each person enrolling in the least generous plan would cause the annual premium of that plan to rise by over $1,500.

----------------------

The US healthcare workforce and the labor market effect on healthcare spending and health outcomes

Lawrence Pellegrini, Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio & Jing Qian
International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, June 2014, Pages 127-141

Abstract:
The healthcare sector was one of the few sectors of the US economy that created new positions in spite of the recent economic downturn. Economic contractions are associated with worsening morbidity and mortality, declining private health insurance coverage, and budgetary pressure on public health programs. This study examines the causes of healthcare employment growth and workforce composition in the US and evaluates the labor market’s impact on healthcare spending and health outcomes. Data are collected for 50 states and the District of Columbia from 1999–2009. Labor market and healthcare workforce data are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mortality and health status data are collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vital Statistics program and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Healthcare spending data are derived from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dynamic panel data regression models, with instrumental variables, are used to examine the effect of the labor market on healthcare spending, morbidity, and mortality. Regression analysis is also performed to model the effects of healthcare spending on the healthcare workforce composition. All statistical tests are based on a two-sided α significance of p< .05. Analyses are performed with STATA and SAS. The labor force participation rate shows a more robust effect on healthcare spending, morbidity, and mortality than the unemployment rate. Study results also show that declining labor force participation negatively impacts overall health status ( p< .01), and mortality for males ( p< .05) and females ( p< .001), aged 16–64. Further, the Medicaid and Medicare spending share increases as labor force participation declines ( p< .001); whereas, the private healthcare spending share decreases ( p< .001). Public and private healthcare spending also has a differing effect on healthcare occupational employment per 100,000 people. Private healthcare spending positively impacts primary care physician employment ( p< .001); whereas, Medicare spending drives up employment of physician assistants, registered nurses, and personal care attendants ( p< .001). Medicaid and Medicare spending has a negative effect on surgeon employment ( p< .05); the effect of private healthcare spending is positive but not statistically significant. Labor force participation, as opposed to unemployment, is a better proxy for measuring the effect of the economic environment on healthcare spending and health outcomes. Further, during economic contractions, Medicaid and Medicare’s share of overall healthcare spending increases with meaningful effects on the configuration of state healthcare workforces and subsequently, provision of care for populations at-risk for worsening morbidity and mortality.

----------------------

Financial Health Economics

Ralph Koijen, Tomas Philipson & Harald Uhlig
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
We provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of the link between financial and real health care markets. We document a “medical innovation premium” of 4-6% annually for equity of medical firms and analyze the implications it has for the growth of the health care sector. We interpret the premium as compensating investors for government-induced profit risk. We provide supportive evidence for this hypothesis through company filings and abnormal return patterns surrounding threats of government intervention. We quantify the implications of the premium for growth in real health care spending by calibrating our model to match historical trends. Policies that had removed government risk would have lead to more than a doubling of medical R&D and would have increased the current share of health care spending by 4% of GDP, with a predicted long run share of 38%.

----------------------

Medical Care Spending and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Workers' Compensation Reforms

David Powell & Seth Seabury
RAND Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
There is considerable controversy over whether much of the spending on health care in the United States delivers enough value to justify the cost. This paper contributes to this literature by studying the causal relationship between medical care spending and labor outcomes, exploiting a policy which directly impacted medical spending for reasons unrelated to health and using a unique data set which includes medical spending and labor earnings. The focus on labor outcomes is motivated by its potential usefulness as a measure of health, the importance of understanding the relationship between health and labor productivity, and the policy interest in improving labor outcomes for the population that it studies - injured workers. It exploits the 2003-2004 California workers’ compensation reforms which reduced medical care spending for injured workers with a disproportionate effect on workers suffering lower back injuries. It links administrative data on workers’ compensation claims to earnings and test the effect of the reforms on labor force outcomes for workers who experienced the biggest drop in medical care costs. Adjusting for the severity of injury and selection into workers’ compensation, it finds that workers with low back injuries experienced a 7.3% greater decline in medical care after the reforms, and that this led to an 8.3% drop in post-injury earnings relative to other injured workers. These results suggest jointly that medical care spending can impact health and that health affects labor outcomes.

----------------------

Decomposing Growth In Spending Finds Annual Cost Of Treatment Contributed Most To Spending Growth, 1980–2006

Martha Starr, Laura Dominiak & Ana Aizcorbe
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 823-831

Abstract:
Researchers have disagreed about factors driving up health care spending since the 1980s. One camp, led by Kenneth Thorpe, identifies rising numbers of people being treated for chronic diseases as a major factor. Charles Roehrig and David Rousseau reach the opposite conclusion: that three-quarters of growth in average spending reflects the rising costs of treating given diseases. We reexamined sources of spending growth using data from four nationally representative surveys. We found that rising costs of treatment accounted for 70 percent of growth in real average health care spending from 1980 to 2006. The contribution of shares of the population treated for given diseases increased in 1997–2006, but even then it accounted for only one-third of spending growth. We highlight the fact that Thorpe’s inclusion of population growth as part of disease prevalence explains the appreciable difference in results. An important policy implication is that programs to better manage chronic diseases may only modestly reduce average spending growth.

----------------------

Did Budget Cuts in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital Payment Affect Hospital Quality of Care?

Hui-Min Hsieh et al.
Medical Care, May 2014, Pages 415-421

Background: Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments are one of the major sources of financial support for hospitals providing care to low-income patients. However, Medicaid DSH payments will be redirected from hospitals to subsidize individual health insurance purchase through US national health reform.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to examine the association between Medicaid DSH payment reductions and nursing-sensitive and birth-related quality of care among Medicaid/uninsured and privately insured patients.

Methods: Economic theory of hospital behavior was used as a conceptual framework, and longitudinal data for California hospitals from 1996 to 2003 were examined. Hospital-fixed effects regression models were estimated. The unit of analysis is at the hospital level, examining 2 aggregated measures based on the payer category of discharged patients (ie, Medicaid/uninsured and privately insured).

Principal Findings: The overall study findings provide at best weak evidence of an association between net Medicaid DSH payments and hospital quality of care for either Medicaid/uninsured or the privately insured patients. The magnitudes of the effects are small and only a few have significant DSH effects.

Conclusions: Although this study does not find evidence suggesting that reducing Medicaid DSH payments had a strong negative impact on hospital quality of care for Medicaid/uninsured or privately insured patients, the results are not necessarily predictive of the impact national health care reform will have. Research is necessary to monitor hospital quality of care as this reform is implemented.

----------------------

How Do Providers Respond to Public Health Insurance Expansions? Evidence from Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits

Thomas Buchmueller, Sarah Miller & Marko Vujicic
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
A large and growing number of adults are covered by public insurance, and the Affordable Care Act is predicted to dramatically increase public coverage over the next several years. This study evaluates how such large increases in public coverage affect provider behavior and patient wait times by analyzing a common type of primary care: dental services. We find that when states add dental benefit to adult Medicaid coverage, dentists' participation in Medicaid increases and dentists see more publicly insured patients without decreasing the number of visits provided to privately insured patients. Dentists increase the total number of visits they supply each week while only modestly increasing the amount of time they spend working. They achieve this primarily by making greater use of dental hygienists. As a result, dentists' income increases. Wait times increase modestly, with the largest increases in wait times observed in states with restrictive scope of practice laws governing dental hygienists. These changes are most pronounced among dentists who practice in poor areas where Medicaid coverage is greatest.

----------------------

Emergency Department Profits Are Likely To Continue As The Affordable Care Act Expands Coverage

Michael Wilson & David Cutler
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 792-799

Abstract:
To better understand the financial viability of hospital emergency departments (EDs), we created national estimates of the cost to hospitals of providing ED care and the associated hospital revenue using hospital financial reports and patient claims data from 2009. We then estimated the effect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have on the future profitability of providing ED care. We estimated that hospital revenue from ED care exceeded costs for that care by $6.1 billion in 2009, representing a profit margin of 7.8 percent (net revenue expressed as a percentage of total revenue). However, this is primarily because hospitals make enough profit on the privately insured ($17 billion) to cover underpayment from all other payer groups, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and unreimbursed care. Assuming current payer reimbursement rates, ACA reforms could result in an additional 4.4-percentage-point increase in profit margins for hospital-based EDs compared to what could be the case without the reforms.

----------------------

Source of Health Insurance Coverage and Employment Survival Among Newly Disabled Workers: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Matthew Hill, Nicole Maestas & Kathleen Mullen
RAND Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
The onset of a work-limiting disability sets in motion a sequence of events that for a growing number of workers ends in early retirement from the labor force, SSDI application and, ultimately, long-term program participation. Exactly how this sequence of events plays out is not well understood. While there exist large bodies of literature that address the effects of health insurance coverage on a wide range of outcomes, few papers have sought to examine how source of health insurance coverage generally and employer sponsored health insurance (ESHI) specifically affect the employment trajectory following onset of disability. The authors use the nationally representative, longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to observe individuals before and after they experience a self-reported work limiting disability. To estimate the effect of ESHI on labor supply and disability claiming, they compare individuals covered by ESHI with no other employer-sponsored option (i.e., spousal coverage) with individuals covered by ESHI but whose spouses are offered coverage from their own employer. They find evidence of an “employment lock” effect of ESHI only among the 20 percent of individuals whose disabilities do not impact their immediate physical capacity but are associated with high medical costs. They do not find any evidence of differential disability insurance application rates between those with ESHI and the comparison group. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there is concern that disability insurance applications may swell because the incentive to remain employed will diminish for disabled workers reliant on ESHI. Their results suggest that the availability of non-employment-based health insurance may cause disabled workers with high cost/low severity conditions to leave the workforce but it will not necessarily lead to increased disability insurance application among individuals with ESHI.

----------------------

Adding Employer Contributions to Health Insurance to Social Security's Earnings and Tax Base

Karen Smith & Eric Toder
Urban Institute Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
The inclusion of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) in taxable income would increase income and payroll tax receipts, but would also increase Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits by adding ESI to the OASDI earnings base. This study uses the Urban Institute’s DYNASIM model to estimate the effects of including ESI premiums in taxable earnings on the level and distribution by age and income groups of income tax burdens, payroll tax burdens, and OASDI benefits. We find that the increased present value of OASDI benefits from including ESI in the wage base in 2014 offsets about 22 percent of increased income and payroll taxes, 57 percent of increased payroll taxes, and 72 percent of increased OASDI taxes. The overall distributions of taxes and benefits by income group follow the same pattern, with both taxes and benefits increasing as a share of income between the bottom and middle quintiles and then declining as a share of income for higher income taxpayers. But households in the bottom income quintiles receive a net benefit from including ESI in the tax base because their increase in OASDI benefits exceeds their increase in income and payroll taxes. Over a lifetime perspective, all earnings groups experience net tax increases, but workers in the middle of the earnings distribution experience the largest net tax increases as a share of lifetime earnings. Higher benefits offset a larger share of tax increases for lower than for higher income groups.

----------------------

Socioeconomic Status And Readmissions: Evidence From An Urban Teaching Hospital

Jianhui Hu, Meredith Gonsahn & David Nerenz
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 778-785

Abstract:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has focused attention on ways to reduce thirty-day readmissions and on factors affecting readmission risk. Using inpatient data from an urban teaching hospital, we examined how elements of individual characteristics and neighborhood socioeconomic status influenced the likelihood of readmission under a single fixed organizational and staffing structure. Patients living in high-poverty neighborhoods were 24 percent more likely than others to be readmitted, after demographic characteristics and clinical conditions were adjusted for. Married patients were at significantly reduced risk of readmission, which suggests that they had more social support than unmarried patients. These and previous findings that document socioeconomic disparities in readmission raise the question of whether CMS’s readmission measures and associated financial penalties should be adjusted for the effects of factors beyond hospital influence at the individual or neighborhood level, such as poverty and lack of social support.

----------------------

Community Factors and Hospital Readmission Rates

Jeph Herrin et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the relationship between community factors and hospital readmission rates.

Data Sources/Study Setting: We examined all hospitals with publicly reported 30-day readmission rates for patients discharged during July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2010, with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure (HF), or pneumonia (PN). We linked these to publicly available county data from the Area Resource File, the Census, Nursing Home Compare, and the Neilsen PopFacts datasets.

Study Design: We used hierarchical linear models to assess the effect of county demographic, access to care, and nursing home quality characteristics on the pooled 30-day risk-standardized readmission rate.

Principal Findings: The study sample included 4,073 hospitals. Fifty-eight percent of national variation in hospital readmission rates was explained by the county in which the hospital was located. In multivariable analysis, a number of county characteristics were found to be independently associated with higher readmission rates, the strongest associations being for measures of access to care. These county characteristics explained almost half of the total variation across counties.

Conclusions: Community factors, as measured by county characteristics, explain a substantial amount of variation in hospital readmission rates.

----------------------

Malpractice Laws and Incentives to Shield Assets: Evidence from Nursing Homes

James Brickley, Susan Lu & Gerard Wedig
University of Rochester Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
Previous empirical studies of the incentive effects of medical malpractice liability have largely ignored the incentives of providers to restructure to protect assets. This study uses a large panel database to provide evidence on asset-shielding responses to the enactment of pro-plaintiff tort laws in the nursing home industry. The evidence suggests two important asset-shielding responses. First, large chains sold many homes in the affected states to smaller, more judgment-proof owners (with fewer assets, little or no insurance coverage and protective legal structures). Second, chains became relatively less likely to brand their homes with names that linked them directly to the central corporation or sister units (we provide legal and informational explanations for why branding units is likely to increase expected tort liability). In addition to extending the empirical literature on malpractice, the paper provides evidence on the horizontal ownership of service establishments, branding and the choice of business names.

----------------------

The Spillover Effects of Health IT Investments on Regional Heath Care Costs

Hilal Atasoy, Pei-Yu Chen & Kartik Ganju
Temple University Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Health IT investments are often presumed to ameliorate the societal challenge of significant and accelerating health care costs. However, mixed results based on hospital level analyses have been found. We argue that the effects of health IT investments go beyond hospital level due to patient mobility and information sharing. We provide empirical evidence that, although EMR adoption is found to increase the operational costs for the adopting hospitals, it has significant spillover effects by reducing the health care costs of the other hospitals in the same region. These regional externalities are stronger especially in the long term. We further analyze whether the spillover effects differ by EMR technology type (basic vs. advanced EMR) and by distributional characteristics of EMR in the region. Results reveal that not all hospitals need to have the same advanced level of EMR to achieve an optimal reduction in regional health care costs. Additionally, higher software integration among adopting hospitals further decreases regional health care costs. Overall, our results provide support to the role of EMR investments in reducing societal health care costs. Previous research based on hospital level analyses may have underestimated the societal impact of EMR adoption as externalities can lead to benefits to be realized at other hospitals in the region. Estimates, based on our results, suggest that EMR investments can lead to net reduction in national health care cost by about $47 billion dollars over 4 years. Policy makers should take into account the spillover effects, software integration and distribution of EMRs while formulating policies on subsidizing EMR investments.

----------------------

Eliminating Medication Copayments Reduces Disparities In Cardiovascular Care

Niteesh Choudhry et al.
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 863-870

Abstract:
Substantial racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular care persist in the United States. For example, African Americans and Hispanics with cardiovascular disease are 10–40 percent less likely than whites to receive secondary prevention therapies, such as aspirin and beta-blockers. Lowering copayments for these therapies improves outcomes among all patients who have had a myocardial infarction, but the impact of lower copayments on health disparities is unknown. Using self-reported race and ethnicity for participants in the Post-Myocardial Infarction Free Rx Event and Economic Evaluation (MI FREEE) trial, we found that rates of medication adherence were significantly lower and rates of adverse clinical outcomes were significantly higher for nonwhite patients than for white patients. Providing full drug coverage increased medication adherence in both groups. Among nonwhite patients, it also reduced the rates of major vascular events or revascularization by 35 percent and reduced total health care spending by 70 percent. Providing full coverage had no effect on clinical outcomes and costs for white patients. We conclude that lowering copayments for medications after myocardial infarctions may reduce racial and ethnic disparities for cardiovascular disease.

----------------------

Information technology and agency in physicians' prescribing decisions

Andrew Epstein & Jonathan Ketcham
RAND Journal of Economics, Summer 2014, Pages 422–448

Abstract:
Patients rely on physicians to act as their agents when prescribing medications, yet the efforts of pharmaceutical manufacturers and prescription drug insurers may alter this agency relationship. We evaluate how formularies, and the use of information technology (IT) that provides physicians with formulary information, influence prescribing. We combine data from a randomized experiment of physicians with secondary data to eliminate bias due to patient, physician, drug, and insurance characteristics. We find that when given formulary IT, physicians' prescribing decisions are influenced by formularies far more than by pharmaceutical firms' detailing and sampling. Without IT, however, formularies' effects are much smaller.

----------------------

Searching for Answers to Clinical Questions Using Google Versus Evidence-Based Summary Resources: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Study

Sarang Kim et al.
Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: To compare the speed and accuracy of answering clinical questions using Google versus summary resources.

Method: In 2011 and 2012, 48 internal medicine interns from two classes at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who had been trained to use three evidence-based summary resources, performed four-minute computer searches to answer 10 clinical questions. Half were randomized to initiate searches for answers to questions 1 to 5 using Google; the other half initiated searches using a summary resource. They then crossed over and used the other resource for questions 6 to 10. They documented the time spent searching and the resource where the answer was found. Time to correct response and percentage of correct responses were compared between groups using t test and general estimating equations.

Results: Of 480 questions administered, interns found answers for 393 (82%). Interns initiating searches in Google used a wider variety of resources than those starting with summary resources. No significant difference was found in mean time to correct response (138.5 seconds for Google versus 136.1 seconds for summary resource; P = .72). Mean correct response rate was 58.4% for Google versus 61.5% for summary resource (mean difference -3.1%; 95% CI -10.3% to 4.2%; P = .40).

Conclusions: The authors found no significant differences in speed or accuracy between searches initiated using Google versus summary resources. Although summary resources are considered to provide the highest quality of evidence, improvements to allow for better speed and accuracy are needed.

----------------------

Structuring Incentives within Accountable Care Organizations

Brigham Frandsen & James Rebitzer
Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are new organizations created by the Affordable Care Act to encourage more efficient, integrated care delivery. To promote efficiency, ACOs sign contracts under which they keep a fraction of the savings from keeping costs below target provided they also maintain quality levels. To promote integration and facilitate measurement, ACOs are required to have at least 5000 enrollees and so must coordinate across many providers. We calibrate a model of optimal ACO incentives using proprietary performance measures from a large insurer. Our key finding is that free-riding is a severe problem and causes optimal incentive payments to exceed cost savings unless ACOs simultaneously achieve extremely large efficiency gains. This implies that successful ACOs will likely rely on motivational strategies that amplify the effects of under-powered incentives. These motivational strategies raise important questions about the limits of ACOs as a policy for promoting more efficient, integrated care.

----------------------

Vertical Integration: Hospital Ownership Of Physician Practices Is Associated With Higher Prices And Spending

Laurence Baker, Kate Bundorf & Daniel Kessler
Health Affairs, May 2014, Pages 756-763

Abstract:
We examined the consequences of contractual or ownership relationships between hospitals and physician practices, often described as vertical integration. Such integration can reduce health spending and increase the quality of care by improving communication across care settings, but it can also increase providers’ market power and facilitate the payment of what are effectively kickbacks for inappropriate referrals. We investigated the impact of vertical integration on hospital prices, volumes (admissions), and spending for privately insured patients. Using hospital claims from Truven Analytics MarketScan for the nonelderly privately insured in the period 2001–07, we constructed county-level indices of prices, volumes, and spending and adjusted them for enrollees’ age and sex. We measured hospital-physician integration using information from the American Hospital Association on the types of relationships hospitals have with physicians. We found that an increase in the market share of hospitals with the tightest vertically integrated relationship with physicians — ownership of physician practices — was associated with higher hospital prices and spending. We found that an increase in contractual integration reduced the frequency of hospital admissions, but this effect was relatively small. Taken together, our results provide a mixed, although somewhat negative, picture of vertical integration from the perspective of the privately insured.

----------------------

Preventability of 30-Day Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients Before and After a Quality Improvement Initiative

Jason Ryan et al.
American Journal of Medical Quality, May/June 2014, Pages 220-226

Abstract:
The objective of this study was to estimate the frequency of heart failure (HF) readmissions that can be prevented through a quality improvement (QI) program. All HF patients at the University of Connecticut Health Center who had a readmission within 30 days of discharge in the year before (2008) and the year after (2011) a QI program were studied. Through chart review, the percentage of patients who had preventable readmissions in each year was estimated. Prior to the QI initiative, chart reviewers identified that 20% to 30% of readmissions were preventable. The decrease in readmissions after the QI program was similar at 28%. Fewer readmissions after the QI initiative were deemed preventable compared with before. In conclusion, this study found a percentage of preventable readmissions similar to the actual 28% reduction in readmissions after a QI program was launched. Preventable readmissions were less common after the QI program was in place.

----------------------

A Randomized, Controlled Pragmatic Trial of Telephonic Medication Therapy Management to Reduce Hospitalization in Home Health Patients

Alan Zillich et al.
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a telephonic medication therapy management (MTM) service on reducing hospitalizations among home health patients.

Setting: Forty randomly selected, geographically diverse home health care centers in the United States.

Design: Two-stage, randomized, controlled trial with 60-day follow-up. All Medicare-insured home health care patients were eligible to participate. Twenty-eight consecutive patients within each care center were recruited and randomized to usual care or MTM intervention. The MTM intervention consisted of the following: (1) initial phone call by a pharmacy technician to verify active medications; (2) pharmacist-provided medication regimen review by telephone; and (3) follow-up pharmacist phone calls at day seven and as needed for 30 days. The primary outcome was 60-day all-cause hospitalization.

Data Collection: Data were collected from in-home nursing assessments using the OASIS-C. Multivariate logistic regression modeled the effect of the MTM intervention on the probability of hospitalization while adjusting for patients’ baseline risk of hospitalization, number of medications taken daily, and other OASIS-C data elements.

Principal Findings: A total of 895 patients (intervention n = 415, control n = 480) were block-randomized to the intervention or usual care. There was no significant difference in the 60-day probability of hospitalization between the MTM intervention and control groups (Adjusted OR: 1.26, 95 percent CI: 0.89–1.77, p = .19). For patients within the lowest baseline risk quartile (n = 232), the intervention group was three times more likely to remain out of the hospital at 60 days (Adjusted OR: 3.79, 95 percent CI: 1.35–10.57, p = .01) compared to the usual care group.

Conclusions: This MTM intervention may not be effective for all home health patients; however, for those patients with the lowest-risk profile, the MTM intervention prevented patients from being hospitalized at 60 days.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let's be friends

Social Distance in the United States: Sex, Race, Religion, Age, and Education Homophily among Confidants, 1985 to 2004

Jeffrey Smith, Miller McPherson & Lynn Smith-Lovin
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Homophily, the tendency for similar actors to be connected at a higher rate than dissimilar actors, is a pervasive social fact. In this article, we examine changes over a 20-year period in two types of homophily — the actual level of contact between people in different social categories and the level of contact relative to chance. We use data from the 1985 and 2004 General Social Surveys to ask whether the strengths of five social distinctions — sex, race/ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, and education — changed over the past two decades in core discussion networks. Changes in the actual level of homophily are driven by the demographic composition of the United States. As the nation has become more diverse, cross-category contacts in race/ethnicity and religion have increased. After describing the raw homophily rates, we develop a case-control model to assess homophily relative to chance mixing. We find decreasing rates of homophily for gender but stability for race and age, although the young are increasingly isolated from older cohorts outside of the family. We also find some weak evidence for increasing educational and religious homophily. These relational trends may be explained by changes in demographic heterogeneity, institutional segregation, economic inequality, and symbolic boundaries.

----------------------

Rethinking the Decline in Social Capital

April Clark
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates trends in social capital in the United States since the 1970s. The literature suggests that variations in social capital are associated with both individual attributes and macro-level economic conditions. Yet, others argue that after controlling for these features, large-scale changes in social capital are evident across birth cohorts and over time. While previous studies have identified a number of individual and societal factors that influence social capital, I note that the common modeling approach used is inappropriate for examining the interaction between national and individual-level data as well as the simultaneous influence of period- and cohort-based effects. I therefore utilize a multilevel model to reassess the different theories of the origins and determinants of social capital. The evidence presented casts doubt on past studies that see a general erosion in social capital as well as those that view the decline as stemming from generational replacement.

----------------------

Does Human Body Odor Represent a Significant and Rewarding Social Signal to Individuals High in Social Openness?

Katrin Lübke et al.
PLoS ONE, April 2014

Abstract:
Across a wide variety of domains, experts differ from novices in their response to stimuli linked to their respective field of expertise. It is currently unknown whether similar patterns can be observed with regard to social expertise. The current study therefore focuses on social openness, a central social skill necessary to initiate social contact. Human body odors were used as social cues, as they inherently signal the presence of another human being. Using functional MRI, hemodynamic brain responses to body odors by women reporting a high (n = 14) or a low (n = 12) level of social openness were compared. Greater activation within the inferior frontal gyrus and the caudate nucleus was observed in high socially open individuals compared to individuals low in social openness. With the inferior frontal gyrus being a crucial part of the human mirror neuron system, and the caudate nucleus being implicated in social reward, it is discussed whether human body odor might constitute more of a significant and rewarding social signal to individuals high in social openness compared to individuals low in social openness process.

----------------------

Social Network Ties and Inflammation in U.S. Adults with Cancer

Yang Claire Yang, Ting Li & Steven Frenk
Biodemography and Social Biology, Spring 2014, Pages 21-37

Abstract:
The growing evidence linking social connectedness and chronic diseases such as cancer calls for a better understanding of the underlying biophysiological mechanisms. This study assessed the associations between social network ties and multiple measures of inflammation in a nationally representative sample of adults with a history of cancer (N = 1,075) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988–94). Individuals with lower social network index (SNI) scores showed significantly greater inflammation marked by C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, adjusting for age and sex. Compared to fully socially integrated individuals (SNI = 4), those who were more socially isolated or had a SNI score of 3 or less exhibited increasingly elevated inflammation burdens. Specifically, the age- and sex-adjusted odds ratios (95%CI) for SNIs of 3, 2, and 0–1 were 1.49 (1.08, 2.06), 1.69 (1.21, 2.36), and 2.35 (1.62, 3.40), respectively (p < .001). Adjusting for other covariates attenuated these associations. The SNI gradients in the risks of inflammation were particularly salient for the lower socioeconomic status groups and remained significant after adjusting for other social, health behavioral, and illness factors. This study provided initial insights into the immunological pathways by which social connections are related to morbidity and mortality outcomes of cancer in particular and aging-related diseases in general.

----------------------

Contact and Group Structure: A Natural Experiment of Interracial College Roommate Groups

Arjun Chakravarti, Tanya Menon & Christopher Winship
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The contact hypothesis offers a tantalizing promise, suggesting that people of different races can build positive relationships through contact. The present research situates contact in its local social structure, showing how group size and racial composition shape contact. We analyze a natural experiment at Harvard University where incoming first-year students (freshmen) were randomly assigned to freshman roommates and months later chose their own second-year roommates. Interracial dyads within two-person groups and three-person groups without a white majority were as likely to dissolve as all-white dyads. However, interracial pairs disbanded more frequently when one East Asian lived with two whites. Using a context that is both experimental and naturalistic, the findings go beyond simple contact effects, showing how the local structure within which contact is situated determines its consequences.

----------------------

Neural evidence for an association between social proficiency and sensitivity to social reward

Anna Gossen et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, May 2014, Pages 661-670

Abstract:
Data from developmental psychology suggests a link between the growth of socio-emotional competences and the infant's sensitivity to the salience of social stimuli. The aim of the present study was to find evidence for this relationship in healthy adults. Thirty-five participants were recruited based on their score above the 85th or below the 15th percentile of the empathy quotient questionnaire (EQ, Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright, 2004). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare neural responses to cues of social and non-social (monetary) reward. When compared to the high-EQ group, the low-EQ group showed reduced activity of the brain's reward system, specifically the right nucleus accumbens, in response to cues predictive of social reward (videos showing gestures of approval) — but increased activation in this area for monetary incentives. Our data provide evidence for a link between self-reported deficits in social proficiency and reduced sensitivity to the motivational salience of positive social stimuli.

----------------------

Interpersonal Competence in Young Adulthood and Right Laterality in White Matter

Nicola De Pisapia et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, June 2014, Pages 1257-1265

Abstract:
The right hemisphere of the human brain is known to be involved in processes underlying emotion and social cognition. Clinical neuropsychology investigations and brain lesion studies have linked a number of personality and social disorders to abnormal white matter (WM) integrity in the right hemisphere. Here, we tested the hypothesis that interpersonal competencies are associated with integrity of WM tracts in the right hemisphere of healthy young adults. Thirty-one participants underwent diffusion tensor imaging scanning. Fractional anisotropy was used to quantify water diffusion. After the scanning session, participants completed the Adolescent Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire. Fractional anisotropy was subsequently correlated with Adolescent Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire scores using tract-based spatial statistics. Higher interpersonal competencies are related to higher WM integrity in several major tracts of the right hemisphere, in specific the uncinate fasciculus, the cingulum, the forceps minor, the infero-fronto occipital fasciculus, the inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. These results provide the first direct analysis of the neuroanatomical basis of interpersonal competencies and young adult self-reported skills in social contexts.

----------------------

More Than Friends: Popularity on Facebook and its Role in Impression Formation

Scott Graham
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, April 2014, Pages 358–372

Abstract:
Social networking sites such as Facebook are becoming increasingly popular and important but it remains unclear which aspects of profiles convey information used to form impressions. This study expands on research investigating the role of popularity online and its impact on perceptions of targets' personality and appearance. Facebook profile owners' popularity was manipulated via number of friends and photos, and type of wall activity. Participants were 102 undergraduates who viewed 4 Facebook profiles (a popular and unpopular male and female) and judged the individuals represented by each. Popular targets were perceived to be more socially and physically attractive, extroverted and approachable than unpopular targets. Findings mirror offline effects and provide clues as to how profiles are examined and information extracted.

----------------------

A behavior genetic analysis of the tendency for youth to associate according to GPA

J.C. Barnes et al.
Social Networks, July 2014, Pages 41–49

Abstract:
Behavior genetic research has revealed that many “environmental” variables are partially influenced by genetic factors. Known as gene–environment correlation (rGE), this line of scholarship provides insight on how and why individuals select into certain environments. Juxtaposing this body of evidence with research on peer group homophily — the tendency for peers to resemble one another on certain traits such as academic ability — raised two research hypotheses: (1) youth will associate with peers who receive grades similar to themselves (i.e., homophily for GPA); and (2) a portion of the variance in peer group GPA (i.e., the peer network average GPA) will be explained by individuals’ genetic self-selection into the peer group (rGE). The results supported both hypotheses by showing a strong predictive relationship between the target individual's GPA and that of his/her peers and by revealing that 72% of the variance in peer group GPA was explained by genetic influences.

----------------------

Social Interactions and Well-Being: The Surprising Power of Weak Ties

Gillian Sandstrom & Elizabeth Dunn
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although we interact with a wide network of people on a daily basis, the social psychology literature has primarily focused on interactions with close friends and family. The present research tested whether subjective well-being is related not only to interactions with these strong ties but also to interactions with weak social ties (i.e., acquaintances). In Study 1, students experienced greater happiness and greater feelings of belonging on days when they interacted with more classmates than usual. Broadening the scope in Studies 2A and 2B to include all daily interactions (with both strong and weak ties), we again found that weak ties are related to social and emotional well-being. The current results highlight the power of weak ties, suggesting that even social interactions with the more peripheral members of our social networks contribute to our well-being.

----------------------

Does This Friend Make Me Look Fat? Appearance-Related Comparisons Within Women's Close Friendships

Ariana Young, Shira Gabriel & Olivia Schlager
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, March/April 2014, Pages 145-154

Abstract:
The present research investigated the effects of close friends on women's body image and the moderating role of comfort with intimacy. Female participants wrote about a thin or heavy close friend prior to completing implicit (Study 1) and explicit (Study 2) body image measures. Results revealed that participants who avoided intimacy experienced contrast effects, feeling worse about their bodies following exposure to thin friends. However, these effects were attenuated, and sometimes reversed, among participants comfortable with intimacy. Thus, close friends — and the comfort with intimacy within those friendships — have important implications for women's body image.

----------------------

Experimentally observed responses to humor are related to individual differences in emotion perception and regulation in everyday life

Ilona Papousek et al.
Humor, May 2014, Pages 271–286

Abstract:
This study aimed to investigate the relevance of an individual's typical emotion perception and emotion regulation behavior to his or her responsiveness to humor. This was studied behaviorally by examining responses to different types of humorous stimuli in an experimental paradigm, in a sample of n = 54 participants aged between 18 to 41 years (29 women, 25 men). Individual differences in emotion perception and regulation were assessed by relevant subscales of an established self-report instrument. Higher scores on emotion perception were related to higher amusement ratings in response to the humorous stimuli. Higher scores on emotion regulation were associated with shorter response latencies for the amusement ratings, particularly when it was important to mentalize with the characters in the cartoons in order to understand the humor. The cognitive understanding of the humor was unaffected. The findings suggest that good emotion perception and emotion regulation skills may contribute to greater humor responsiveness in everyday life, which may be an adaptive trait promoting successful functioning and resilience.

----------------------

On Social Death: Ostracism and the Accessibility of Death Thoughts

Caroline Steele, David Kidd & Emanuele Castano
Death Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Being rejected, excluded, or simply ignored is a painful experience. Ostracism researchers have shown its powerful negative consequences (Williams, 2007), and sociologists have referred to such experiences as social death (Bauman, 1992). Is this is just a metaphor or does being ostracized make death more salient in people's minds? An experiment was conducted in which participants experienced ostracism or inclusion using the Cyberball manipulation, and the accessibility of death-related thoughts was measured via a word-stem completion puzzle. Results showed enhanced death-thought accessibility in the ostracism condition, as well as a negative effect of dispositional self-esteem on the accessibility of death-related thoughts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, May 10, 2014

In private

Prejudice towards gay men and a need for physical cleansing

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Sven Waldzus & Marzena Cypryanska
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The results of four studies suggest that contamination concerns involved in prejudice towards male homosexuals may be expressed in the increased need for physical cleansing after an imagined contact with a homosexual man. Participants in Study 1 completed word fragments according to the theme of cleansing, and in Study 2, they chose a cleansing wipe more often after imagining using the mobile of a homosexual (vs. heterosexual) man. The need for cleansing was specific to the body parts engaged in the contact. In Study 3, participants evaluated hand and mouth cleansing products as more desirable after imagining using a mobile phone of a homosexual (vs. heterosexual) man. The specific need for cleansing, but not the accessibility of cleansing related words, was more pronounced among political conservatives (Study 4). The results are discussed with reference to the behavioral immune system hypothesis, research on moral disgust, and the embodiment literature.

----------------------

Disgust and the Politics of Sex: Exposure to a Disgusting Odorant Increases Politically Conservative Views on Sex and Decreases Support for Gay Marriage

Thomas Adams, Patrick Stewart & John Blanchar
PLoS ONE, May 2014

Abstract:
Disgust has been implicated as a potential causal agent underlying socio-political attitudes and behaviors. Several recent studies have suggested that pathogen disgust may be a causal mechanism underlying social conservatism. However, the specificity of this effect is still in question. The present study tested the effects of disgust on a range of policy preferences to clarify whether disgust is generally implicated in political conservatism across public policy attitudes or is uniquely related to specific content domains. Self-reported socio-political attitudes were compared between participants in two experimental conditions: 1) an odorless control condition, and 2) a disgusting odor condition. In keeping with previous research, the present study showed that exposure to a disgusting odor increased endorsement of socially conservative attitudes related to sexuality. In particular, there was a strong and consistent link between induced disgust and less support for gay marriage.

----------------------

Chemosensory Communication of Gender through Two Human Steroids in a Sexually Dimorphic Manner

Wen Zhou et al.
Current Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies have suggested the existence of human sex pheromones, with particular interest in two human steroids: androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one) and estratetraenol (estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol). The current study takes a critical step to test the qualification of the two steroids as sex pheromones by examining whether they communicate gender information in a sex-specific manner. By using dynamic point-light displays that portray the gaits of walkers whose gender is digitally morphed from male to female [ 1, 2 ], we show that smelling androstadienone systematically biases heterosexual females, but not males, toward perceiving the walkers as more masculine. By contrast, smelling estratetraenol systematically biases heterosexual males, but not females, toward perceiving the walkers as more feminine. Homosexual males exhibit a response pattern akin to that of heterosexual females, whereas bisexual or homosexual females fall in between heterosexual males and females. These effects are obtained despite that the olfactory stimuli are not explicitly discriminable. The results provide the first direct evidence that the two human steroids communicate opposite gender information that is differentially effective to the two sex groups based on their sexual orientation. Moreover, they demonstrate that human visual gender perception draws on subconscious chemosensory biological cues, an effect that has been hitherto unsuspected.

----------------------

School Violence and Bullying Among Sexual Minority High School Students, 2009–2011

Emily O'Malley Olsen et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: School-based victimization has short- and long-term implications for the health and academic lives of sexual minority students. This analysis assessed the prevalence and relative risk of school violence and bullying among sexual minority and heterosexual high school students.

Methods: Youth Risk Behavior Survey data from 10 states and 10 large urban school districts that assessed sexual identity and had weighted data in the 2009 and/or 2011 cycle were combined to create two large population-based data sets, one containing state data and one containing district data. Prevalence of physical fighting, being threatened or injured with a weapon, weapon carrying, and being bullied on school property and not going to school because of safety concerns was calculated. Associations between these behaviors and sexual identity were identified.

Results: In the state data, sexual minority male students were at greater risk for being threatened or injured with a weapon, not going to school because of safety concerns and being bullied than heterosexual male students. Sexual minority female students were at greater risk than heterosexual female students for all five behaviors. In the district data, with one exception, sexual minority male and female students were at greater risk for all five behaviors than heterosexual students.

Conclusions: Sexual minority students still routinely experience more school victimization than their heterosexual counterparts. The implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based programs and policies has the ability to reduce school violence and bullying, especially among sexual minority students.

----------------------

Elevated childhood separation anxiety: An early developmental expression of heightened concern for kin in homosexual men?

Doug VanderLaan, Lanna Petterson & Paul Vasey
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study presents data bearing on an evolutionary developmental model of male homosexuality. This model hypothesizes that a predisposition toward elevated kin-directed altruism among homosexual males is expressed in childhood as elevated concern for close attachment figures (e.g., parents) and proximally influenced by the concomitant behavioral expression of femininity. We examined whether homosexual males recalled such elevated concern for parents during childhood and considered its association with recalled childhood gender behavior. Heterosexual and homosexual males and females (N = 524) provided measures of recalled childhood gender behavior, concern about parental wellbeing, and other potential sources of separation anxiety. Heterosexual males experienced significantly less anxiety about parental wellbeing than all other groups. Recalled separation anxiety was positively correlated with childhood femininity for heterosexual females and homosexual males. The heterosexual sex and male sexual orientation differences in concern about parental wellbeing were accounted for by childhood feminine behavior. These findings are consistent with the proposed evolutionary developmental model. We discuss possible proximate influences that facilitate the development of this putative evolved predisposition toward elevated kin-directed altruism among homosexual males as well as limitations and future directions.

----------------------

Individual Differences in Testosterone Predict Persistence in Men

Keith Welker & Justin Carré
European Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Persistence is an important predictor of future successes. The present research addresses the relationship between testosterone and persistence in men. One hundred eighteen men were randomly assigned to win or lose a competitive number tracing task against a confederate or complete the task alone in a non-competitive control condition. Saliva samples were collected prior to and after the competition or control conditions. Participants were then given a maximum time of 30 min to spend attempting to solve unsolvable puzzles, with the option to quit at any time. In contrast to our prediction, changes in testosterone concentrations in response to the competitive interaction did not predict persistence behaviour. However, individual differences in testosterone concentrations (pre-competition/non-competition) were positively correlated with persistence. These findings are the first to examine associations between neuroendocrine function and persistence behaviour in people and suggest that testosterone should also be considered when predicting persistence-related outcomes.

----------------------

Testosterone Reactivity to Facial Display of Emotions in Men and Women

Samuele Zilioli, Evan Caldbick & Neil Watson
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have examined testosterone’s role in regulating the processing of facial displays of emotions (FDEs). However, the reciprocal process -- the influence of FDEs, an evolutionarily ancient and potent class of social signals, on the secretion of testosterone – has not yet been studied. To address this gap, we examined the effects of emotional content and sex of facial stimuli in modulating endogenous testosterone fluctuations, as well as sex differences in the endocrine responses to faces. One hundred and sixty-four young healthy men and women were exposed, in a between-subjects design, to happy or angry same-sex or opposite-sex facial expressions. Results showed that in both men (n = 85) and women (n = 79), extended exposure to faces of the opposite sex, regardless of their apparent emotional content, was accompanied by an accumulation in salivary testosterone when compared to exposure to faces of the same sex. Furthermore, testosterone change in women exposed to angry expressions was greater than testosterone change in women exposed to happy expressions. These results add emotional facial stimuli to the collection of social signals that modulate endocrine status, and are discussed with regard to the evolutionary roles of testosterone.

----------------------

Correlations between spatial skills: A test of the hunter-gatherer hypothesis

M. Hughes, D. Sulikowski & D. Burke
Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, March 2014, Pages 19-44

Abstract:
The hunter-gatherer hypothesis of Silverman and Eals (1992) is the best-supported evolutionary explanation for sex differences in human spatial cognitive skills. It proposes that the sex differences in performance on a range of spatial task are a consequence of males (who hunted much more than did females) being better adapted to encode space allocentrically, and to rely on Euclidian navigational strategies employing distant landmarks, whereas females (who gathered much more than did males) are better adapted to encode space more egocentrically, navigating based more on local landmarks, and to be better able to precisely encode the position of particular objects. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the performance of male and female participants in a virtual navigation task (in which we could manipulate the landmark information available), a virtual dead-reckoning task and an object location memory task. The patterns of sex differences in the spatial tasks were strongly supportive of the hunter-gatherer hypothesis, but the sex-specific correlations between tasks thought to be underpinned by the same spatial-cognitive ability were not always supportive of the hypothesis, suggesting that the hunter-gatherer hypothesis requires some revisions or extensions.

----------------------

Hormonal contraceptive use and the objectification of women and men

Valentina Piccoli, Kelly Cobey & Andrea Carnaghi
Personality and Individual Differences, August 2014, Pages 44–47

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to test the influence of combined hormonal contraceptive (CHC) use on women’s objectification of other women and men (i.e., the tendency to attribute appearance-related body features rather than competence-related body features). A regression analysis showed that the higher the dose of the synthetic estrogen contained within a CHC, the higher the level of objectification of other women. As for men target, the synthetic estrogen was not a significant predictor, but it showed a positive trend, thus higher levels of estrogen might be, at least in part, associated with higher levels of objectification. There was no relationship between synthetic progesterone and the level of objectification of both women and men. The implications of these results are discussed with respect to the mate-retention strategies and intra-group dynamics.

----------------------

Pubertal Testosterone Influences Threat-Related Amygdala-Orbitofrontal Coupling

Jeffrey Spielberg et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Growing evidence indicates that normative pubertal maturation is associated with increased threat reactivity, and this developmental shift has been implicated in the increased rates of adolescent affective disorders. However, the neural mechanisms involved in this pubertal increase in threat reactivity remain unknown. Research in adults indicates that testosterone transiently decreases amygdala-orbitofrontal cortex coupling. Consequently, we hypothesized that increased pubertal testosterone disrupts amygdala-orbitofrontal cortex coupling, which may contribute to developmental increases in threat reactivity in some adolescents. Hypotheses were tested in a longitudinal study by examining the impact of testosterone on functional connectivity. Findings were consistent with hypotheses and advance our understanding of normative pubertal changes in neural systems instantiating affect/motivation. Finally, potential novel insights into the neurodevelopmental pathways that may contribute to adolescent vulnerability to behavioral and emotional problems are discussed.

----------------------

Social norms versus social motives: The effects of social influence and motivation to control prejudiced reactions on the expression of prejudice

Benjamin Walker, Colleen Sinclair & John MacArthur
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how individual differences in motivation to control prejudiced reactions (MCPR) affected one's sensitivity to social norms regarding the expression of gay rights attitudes. After measuring their political beliefs and MCPR, pro-gay rights and anti-gay rights participants took part in a discussion where they faced discussion groups that either opposed their position unanimously or nonunanimously (i.e., four opposing confederates vs. three opposing confederates and one undecided confederate). Anti-gay rights individuals showed more conformity overall, especially when high in MCPR. Anti-gay rights individuals also showed norm-consistent attitude change, regardless of MCPR, whereas attitude change among pro-gay rights individuals depended upon their level of MCPR.

----------------------

Sexual dimorphism in oxytocin responses to health perception and disgust, with implications for theories on pathogen detection

Carolyn Declerck, B. Lambert & C. Boone
Hormones and Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to a recent hypothesis that the neuropeptide oxytocin might be involved in human pathogen avoidance mechanisms, we report the results of a study in which we investigate the effect of intranasal oxytocin on two behaviors serving as proxies for pathogen detection. Participants received either oxytocin or a placebo and were asked to evaluate (1) the health of Caucasian male computer-generated pictures that varied in facial redness (an indicator of hemoglobin perfusion) and (2) a series of pictures depicting disgusting scenarios. Men, but not women, evaluated all faces, regardless of color, as less healthy when given oxytocin compared to a placebo. Women, on the other hand, expressed decreased disgust when given oxytocin compared to a placebo. These results suggest that intranasal oxytocin administration does not facilitate pathogen detection based on visual cues, but instead reveal clear sex differences in the perception of health and sickness cues.

----------------------

Cuddling and Spooning: Heteromasculinity and Homosocial Tactility among Student-athletes

Eric Anderson & Mark McCormack
Men and Masculinities, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the prevalence of homosocial tactility and the contemporary status and meaning of heteromasculinity among British male youth. Drawing on in-depth interviews with forty student-athletes at a British university, we find that thirty-seven participants have cuddled with another male. In addition to this cuddling, participants also engage in “spooning” with their heterosexual male friends. Demonstrating the pleasurable aspects of being a man in this culture, we argue that the expansion of esteemed homosocial behaviors for heterosexual men is evidence of an expansion of changing conceptions of masculinity in contemporary culture. We call for the discussion of heteromasculinities and contextualize our findings using inclusive masculinity theory.

----------------------

Bisexuality is associated with elevated sexual sensation seeking, sexual curiosity, and sexual excitability

Matthew Stief, Gerulf Rieger & Ritch Savin-Williams
Personality and Individual Differences, August 2014, Pages 193–198

Abstract:
Sexual orientation is typically assumed to be independent of factors such as personality. Although this is probably accurate for heterosexual and homosexual orientations, personality may play a role in bisexuality. It was hypothesized that bisexuality is potentiated by personality traits that allow sexual behavior to occur independently of sexual response systems that are specifically “oriented” to male or female sexual stimuli. If so, such traits should be elevated in bisexual women and men. Because female sexual response is relatively independent of the sex of the partner it was also hypothesized that such relationships would be stronger for bisexual women than bisexual men. This was tested in two online studies. Study 1 (N = 828) tested for elevated levels of two relevant personality traits; sexual sensation seeking and sexual excitability. Study 2 (N = 655) assessed sexual curiosity, and tested whether the relationship between sexual curiosity and bisexuality was independent of the Big Five. Elevated levels of sexual sensation seeking and sexual curiosity were found for bisexual women and men; only bisexual women reported elevated levels of sexual excitability. The predicted sex difference was found for each trait, and sexual curiosity was elevated independently of the Big Five.

----------------------

Experiences of objectification and sexual risk behaviors among sexual minority men

Laurel Watson & Franco Dispenza
Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, March 2014, Pages 40-50

Abstract:
Through an objectification theory lens, this study sought to explore the relationships between various forms of objectification (i.e., sexual objectification and objectification based on masculine appearance norms violations) and sexual risk behaviors among sexual minority men. Utilizing an online data collection procedure, a sample of 216 self-identified sexual minority men participated in this study. This study assessed whether sexual objectification, objectification based on masculine appearance norm violations, and the feelings associated with such experiences predicted sexual risk behaviors. An additional goal of this study was to explore the potential moderating role of emotional valence in the relationship between various forms of objectification and sexual risk behaviors. Results revealed that a greater frequency of sexual objectification, as well as positive feelings associated with sexual objectification experiences, were directly related to more sexual risk behaviors. Additionally, negative feelings associated with objectification based on masculine appearance norm violations predicted sexual risk behaviors. No support was found for the moderating role of emotional valence in the relationship between the different forms of objectification and sexual risk behaviors. Implications for research and intervention are discussed, as well as the strengths and limitations of the study.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 9, 2014

Boots on the ground

U.S. War Costs: Two Parts Temporary, One Part Permanent

Ryan Edwards
Journal of Public Economics, May 2014, Pages 54–66

Abstract:
Military spending, fatalities, and the destruction of capital, all of which are immediately felt and are often large, are the most overt costs of war. They are also relatively short-lived. But the costs of war borne by combatants and their caretakers, which includes families, communities, and the modern welfare state, tend instead to be lifelong. In this paper I show that a significant component of the budgetary costs associated with U.S. wars is long-lived. One third to one half of the total present value of historical war costs are benefits distributed over the remaining life spans of veterans and their dependents. Even thirty years after the end of hostilities, typically half of all benefits remain to be paid. Estimates of the costs of injuries and deaths suggest that the private burden of war borne by survivors, namely the uncompensated costs of service-related injuries, are also large and long-lived.

----------------------

Democratic Peace and Electoral Accountability

Paola Conconi, Nicolas Sahuguet & Maurizio Zanardi
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming

Abstract:
Democracies rarely engage in conflicts with one another, though they are not averse to fighting autocracies. We exploit the existence in many countries of executive term limits to show that electoral accountability is the key reason behind this “democratic peace” phenomenon. We construct a new dataset of term limits for a sample of 177 countries over the 1816–2001 period, and combine this information with a large dataset of interstate conflicts. Our empirical analysis shows that, although democracies are significantly less likely to fight each other, democracies with leaders who face binding term limits are as conflict prone as autocracies. The study of electoral calendars confirms the importance of re-election incentives: in democracies with two-term limits, conflicts are less likely to occur during the executive's first mandate than in the last one. Our findings support the Kantian idea that elections act as a discipline device, deterring leaders from engaging in costly conflicts.

----------------------

Handling and Mishandling Estimative Probability: Likelihood, Confidence, and the Search for Bin Laden

Jeffrey Friedman & Richard Zeckhauser
Intelligence and National Security, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a series of reports and meetings in Spring 2011, intelligence analysts and officials debated the chances that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Estimates ranged from a low of 30 or 40 per cent to a high of 95 per cent. President Obama stated that he found this discussion confusing, even misleading. Motivated by that experience, and by broader debates about intelligence analysis, this article examines the conceptual foundations of expressing and interpreting estimative probability. It explains why a range of probabilities can always be condensed into a single point estimate that is clearer (but logically no different) than standard intelligence reporting, and why assessments of confidence are most useful when they indicate the extent to which estimative probabilities might shift in response to newly gathered information.

----------------------

Politics by Number: Indicators as Social Pressure in International Relations

Judith Kelley & Beth Simmons
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to monitor state behavior has become a critical tool of international governance. Systematic monitoring allows for the creation of numerical indicators that can be used to rank, compare, and essentially censure states. This article argues that the ability to disseminate such numerical indicators widely and instantly constitutes an exercise of social power, with the potential to change important policy outputs. It explores this argument in the context of the United States’ efforts to combat trafficking in persons and find evidence that monitoring has important effects: Countries are more likely to criminalize human trafficking when they are included in the U.S. annual Trafficking in Persons Report, and countries that are placed on a “watch list” are also more likely to criminalize. These findings have broad implications for international governance and the exercise of soft power in the global information age.

----------------------

Taking the cue: The response to US human rights sanctions against third parties

Timothy Peterson
Conflict Management and Peace Science, April 2014, Pages 145-167

Abstract:
Although scholars have suggested that sanctions could have an international symbolic effect in which they inform third parties of sender preferences and resolve, studies have not examined whether and when sanctions against one state lead other states to change similar proscribed behavior. In this paper, I examine whether abusive regimes change their respect for physical integrity rights when they witness US human rights sanctions against third parties. Synthesizing contributions from the literatures on sanction effectiveness, reputation and human rights promotion, I develop a new theory asserting that human rights sanctions can motivate leaders in non-sanctioned states to improve their human rights practices proactively — or at least to prevent worsened abuse — when they perceive themselves as sufficiently similar to the sanction target. I find support for my expectations in stratified Cox proportional hazards models using data spanning 1976–2000.

----------------------

Economic Sanctions, International Institutions, and Sanctions Busters: When Does Institutionalized Cooperation Help Sanctioning Efforts?

Bryan Early & Robert Spice
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
When international institutions obligate their members to impose economic sanctions against a target state, how much do those sanctions obligations actually impact their members' behavior? To date, the consensus view has treated all international institutions as if they are equally capable of making multilateral sanctioning efforts more effective. Building upon the enforcement theory of sanctions cooperation, we instead theorize that the ability of international institutions to constrain their members from engaging in spoiler behaviors degrades the larger they are. We hypothesize that sanctions obligations imposed by smaller-sized institutions are more effective at preventing their members from becoming extensive trade-based sanctions busters than those imposed by larger ones. We test our hypothesis via a quantitative analysis of how the involvement of five different international institutions in sanctioning efforts influenced their members' likelihoods of sanctions-busting. We find that only the smaller-sized institutions we examine appear capable of constraining their members from undercutting sanctioning efforts. Notably, we find no evidence that the United Nations' sanctions actually prevent its members from sanctions-busting.

----------------------

The Intelligence Requirement of International Mediation

Laurie Nathan
Intelligence and National Security, March/April 2014, Pages 208-226

Abstract:
This article explores the intelligence requirement of international mediation, a topic that is ignored in both the literature on conflict resolution and the literature on intelligence. A mediator's strategies and tactics ought to be informed by a deep understanding of the parties' internal calculations about the conflict and its resolution. Intelligence is needed to gain this understanding because the parties typically do not reveal their sensitive deliberations to outsiders. United Nations mediation teams should have a monitoring and analysis unit that endeavours to meet this need and reduce the ignorance that commonly afflicts international mediation.

----------------------

Fight and Flight: Evidence of Aggressive Capitulation in the Face of Fear Messages from Terrorists

Aarti Iyer et al.
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In an era of digital technology and the Internet, terrorists can communicate their threats directly to citizens of Western countries. Yet no research has examined whether these messages change individuals' attitudes and behavior or the psychological processes underlying these effects. Two studies (conducted in 2008 and 2010) examined how American, Australian, and British participants responded to messages from Osama bin Laden that threatened violence if troops were not withdrawn from Afghanistan. Heightened fear in response to the message resulted in what we call “aggressive capitulation,” characterized by two different group-protection responses: (1) submission to terrorist demands in the face of threats made against one's country and (2) support for increased efforts to combat the source of the threat but expressed in abstract terms that do not leave one's country vulnerable. Fear predicted influence over and above other variables relevant to persuasion. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

----------------------

Obama's Authorization Paradox: Syria and Congress's Continued Relevance in Military Affairs

Douglas Kriner
Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2014, Pages 309–327

Abstract:
President Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization for a military strike against Syria caught many political observers by surprise. However, I argue that the decision was more a gambit for political gain than a sincere reevaluation of the scope of presidential war powers. Moreover, Obama's ploy reveals a larger truth about American politics: that Congress often retains considerable influence over military affairs through informal means. An original survey experiment shows that seeking authorization can bolster support for the president and his foreign policies, particularly if the decision is backed by congressional leaders. More importantly, authorization votes may pay political dividends years later by muting congressional criticism of presidential policies. A wealth of data from previous interventions in Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Lebanon suggests that members of both parties who voted to authorize the use of force are much less willing in the future to vote to curtail it or criticize it publicly than are their co-partisan peers who did not vote for an authorization.

----------------------

Toward an Increasingly Heterogeneous Threat: A Chronology of Jihadist Terrorism in Europe 2008–2013

Petter Nesser
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, May 2014, Pages 440-456

Abstract:
The 2012 Toulouse and Montauban shootings and the grisly murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013 are stark reminders of a continued terrorist threat posed by jihadist terrorists in Europe. Whereas the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden and the advent of the “Arab Spring” fed expectations that international jihadism was a spent force, attack activity in Europe does not only seem to persist, but as will be shown here, the region has actually faced an increase in terrorist plots over the past few years.

----------------------

The International Community's Reaction to Coups

Megan Shannon et al.
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
With ten attempts since 2010, coups d'état are surprisingly common events with vital implications for a state's political development. Aside from being disruptive internally, coups influence interstate relationships. Though coups have important consequences, we know little about how the international community responds to these upheavals. This paper explores what drives global actors to react to coups. Our theory differentiates between normative concerns (for example, protection of democracy) and material interests (for example, protection of oil exports) as potential determinants of international responses to coups. We argue that coups against democracies, coups after the Cold War, and coups in states heavily integrated into the international community are all more likely to elicit global reaction. Using newly collected data, we explore the number of signals that states and IOs send to coup states from 1950 to 2011. The analyses reveal that coups against democracies and wealthy states draw more attention. States react when democracies are challenged by coups, while IOs react to coups in Africa and coups during the post-Cold War period. We surprisingly find that heavy traders and oil-rich states do not necessarily receive more reaction, suggesting that international actors are more driven by normative concerns than material interests when reacting to coups.

----------------------

COINing a Country: Reconstruction and Relief Amid Insurgency, Afghanistan 2004–2009

Jeremy Wells
Texas State University Working Paper, July 2013

Abstract:
The reprisal of the Taliban in Afghanistan beginning in 2003 forced the occupying military forces into counterinsurgency. The release of the Afghan War Diary allowed scholars and the public to analyze trends of violence in the prosecution of the war against the insurgency; however, the effects of the more than $90 billion in U.S. aid to Afghanistan have gone untested. A substantial portion of that aid has come from the Department of Defense via the Commanders Emergency Relief Program. Including data on CERP projects provides an expanded understanding of how development and relief aid have affected counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and others a rare glimpse of how aid affects the course of a violent conflict. The number of economic development and humanitarian relief projects fosters collaboration of Afghan civilians with Western forces; interestingly however, the actual amount of money spent has a negligible effect.

----------------------

Why the Saudi Arabian Defence Binge?

David Sorenson
Contemporary Security Policy, Spring 2014, Pages 116-137

Abstract:
Saudi Arabia is one of the most proliferate military spenders in the world, and this article assesses the multiple reasons for Saudi Arabian defence spending. Possible motives include arming against external threats, buying internal loyalty, gaining national prestige, and soliciting support from important external patrons, especially the United States. The article argues that while Saudi Arabia does seek to improve its military capability through increased defence spending, and gain prestige and internal support, the most significant reason for the increased investment for arms sales is to gain political support in the United States, as Saudi military money preserves some defence sector jobs in the American defence industry, potentially replacing American employment that would otherwise drop because of expected US defence budget reductions. By contributing in a small but targeted way to the American economy, Saudi Arabia can try to leverage American support for its security and foreign policy requirements.

----------------------

Imposing Democracy to Ensure the Peace: The Role of Coercive Socialization

Paul Fritz
Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Democratic victors hoping to protect war gains by forcing the vanquished to be free must not only overcome the problems associated with imposed democracy but also ensure continued influence over and interests in the newly democratic state. To secure this dual imperative, I argue victors must coercively socialize the vanquished state. I create a framework of coercive socialization and conduct a plausibility probe of the theory by detailing the imposition strategies the United States utilized to transform the Federal Republic of Germany into a reliable democratic partner after World War II. The findings suggest imposing democracy to ensure peace and secure interests is likely to succeed only under even more limited conditions than recent scholarship on imposed democracy allows and also lend insight into why the US effort to impose democracy on Iraq is unlikely to provide the benefits policymakers sought.

----------------------

My Country, My Self: Honor, Identity, and Defensive Responses to National Threats

Collin Barnes et al.
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Honor endorsement might predict an intertwining of personal and national identities that facilitates taking country-level threats personally. If true, this could help explain why honor endorsement predicts support for defensive reactions to national provocations. In a sample of US college students (Study 1) and adults (Study 2), a latent honor variable predicted (1) personalizing national threats, and (2) defensive responses to illegal immigration and terrorism. The first of these associations was mediated by respondents' identification with the nation, and the second was mediated sequentially by national identification and the resultant tendency to personalize national threats. Together, these results highlight a mechanism by which the honor–national-defensiveness association emerges and opens the door for further research on honor and group-level processes.

----------------------

Doing Well by Doing Good: The Impact of Foreign Aid on Foreign Public Opinion

Benjamin Goldsmith, Yusaku Horiuchi & Terence Wood
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Winter 2014, Pages 87-114

Abstract:
Does foreign aid extended by one country improve that country's image among populations of recipient countries? Using a multinational survey, we show that a United States aid program targeted to address HIV and AIDS substantially improves perceptions of the U.S. Our identification strategy for causal inference is to use instrumental variables measuring the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS problem in aid recipient countries. Our finding implies that in addition to its potential humanitarian benefits, foreign aid that is targeted, sustained, effective, and visible can serve as an important strategic goal for those countries that give it: fostering positive perceptions among foreign publics. By doing good, a country can do well.

----------------------

Donor–recipient ideological differences and economic aid

Vahe Lskavyan
Economics Letters, June 2014, Pages 345–347

Abstract:
We explore the impact of donor–recipient ideological differences on US economic aid decisions. We find that the odds and the amount of aid to left-wing recipients are higher under left-wing US administrations. The opposite result is found for center-right recipients.

----------------------

Opening Yourself Up: The Role of External and Internal Transparency in Terrorism Attacks

Sam Bell et al.
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Information transparency is frequently heralded as a positive regime feature. However, does information transparency produce negative side effects such as increased terrorist activity? We theorize that freer transmission of information creates opportunities for radical dissidents to employ political violence to draw attention to their agendas. We build a theoretical argument connecting external (international) transparency to increases in transnational terrorism, and internal (domestic) transparency to increases in domestic terrorism. We find empirical support for our theory by analyzing the effects of measures of transparency on counts of terrorist attacks in as many as 144 countries for time periods as long as 1970 to 2006.

----------------------

The (in)effectiveness of torture for combating insurgency

Christopher Michael Sullivan
Journal of Peace Research, May 2014, Pages 388-404

Abstract:
It is commonly believed that torture is an effective tool for combating an insurgent threat. Yet while torture is practiced in nearly all counterinsurgency campaigns, the evidence documenting torture’s effects remains severely limited. This study provides the first micro-level statistical analysis of torture’s relation to subsequent killings committed by insurgent and counterinsurgent forces. The theoretical arguments contend that torture is ineffective for reducing killings perpetrated by insurgents both because it fails to reduce insurgent capacities for violence and because it can increase the incentives for insurgents to commit future killings. The theory also links torture to other forms of state violence. Specifically, engaging in torture is expected to be associated with increased killings perpetrated by counterinsurgents. Monthly municipal-level data on political violence are used to analyze torture committed by counterinsurgents during the Guatemalan civil war (1977–94). Using a matched-sample, difference-in-difference identification strategy and data compiled from 22 different press and NGO sources as well as thousands of interviews, the study estimates how torture is related to short-term changes in killings perpetrated by both insurgents and counterinsurgents. Killings by counterinsurgents are shown to increase significantly following torture. However, torture appears to have no robust correlation with subsequent killings by insurgents. Based on this evidence the study concludes that torture is ineffective for reducing insurgent perpetrated killings.

----------------------

Caveat Emptor: Social Science and U.S. National Security Strategy

Janeen Klinger
Comparative Strategy, Spring 2014, Pages 167-176

Abstract:
Although intuitively social science has much to contribute to strategy, this article examines the difficulty for strategists doing so. To illustrate the difficulty, the article draws on two social science theories that provided conceptual frameworks for U.S. strategy in the 1960s: deterrence/coercion theory and modernization theory. The article also draws on the cases of Project Camelot in the 1960s and the recent use of human terrain teams to illustrate the difficulty encountered by the military when it tries to use social scientists operationally.

----------------------

Workplace goals and output quality: Evidence from time-constrained recruiting goals in the US Navy

Jeremy Arkes & Jesse Cunha
Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how workplace goals affect the quality of worker output, using data from the recruiting command of the US Navy. Recruiting stations and recruiters are assigned monthly goals for the quantity of new recruits that may create an unintended incentive to sacrifice quality, especially towards the end of the month. Using data on the universe of Navy recruits from FY1998 to 2010, we find significant reductions in the quality of recruits towards the end of the contracting month, both in terms of pre-existing quality of recruits and in medium-term outcomes that reflect the quality of the job match.

----------------------

United Nations Bias and Force Commitments in Civil Conflicts

Michelle Benson & Jacob Kathman
Journal of Politics, April 2014, Pages 350-363

Abstract:
A sizeable literature has been devoted to determining the effectiveness of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping in ending civil wars. Much less work has attempted to improve our understanding of the force-level commitments made by the UN to ongoing conflicts. We systematically address the issue of UN force commitments to civil conflicts and their relation to conflict hostility. Specifically, we posit that UN force deployments are a product of UN Security Council (UNSC) bias in favor of or against individual conflict factions and the battlefield performance of those combatants. To test our arguments, we employ newly collected data on UNSC resolution bias, monthly peacekeeping personnel commitments, and dynamic monthly-conflict conditions for African civil conflicts over the 1991–2008 period. We find that bias in UNSC resolutions is an important determinant of UN troop-deployment levels when its preferred side is sustaining higher casualties. These findings have important implications for peacekeeping effectiveness.

----------------------

The Global Arms Trade Network 1950-2007

Anders Akerman & Anna Larsson Seim
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using SIPRI data on all international transfers of major conventional weapons 1950-2007, we study the relationship between differences in polity and arms trade. To study whether states tend to trade arms within their political vicinity we estimate gravity models of the likelihood of trade at the bilateral level and study the evolution of the global network over time. We find a stable negative relationship between differences in polity and the likelihood of arms trade for the duration of the Cold War, but not in recent years. In line with these results, the global arms trade network changes drastically over the sample period in several respects: it grows more dense, clustered and decentralized over time. The differences between the NATO and Warsaw Pact sub-networks that we find corroborate the common perception that the Warsaw Pact was more strongly centralized around the USSR than NATO around the UK, the US and France.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sterling reputation

Racial Stereotypes and Perceptions of Representatives' Ideologies in U.S. House Elections

Matthew Jacobsmeier
Legislative Studies Quarterly, May 2014, Pages 261–291

Abstract:
I examine the hypothesis that race affects citizens' perceptions of candidates' ideologies. In the past, systematic tests of this hypothesis have relied almost entirely on data drawn from experiments. While experimental research designs have contributed much to the analysis of political stereotypes and heuristics, the extent to which experimental research on this hypothesis is externally valid is open to question. Moreover, experimental approaches are not well-suited to estimating the magnitude of the effects of stereotypes in real-world situations, especially in the context of complex political phenomena such as election campaigns. In this article, I develop a statistical model of the effects of race on perceptions of candidates' ideologies and estimate the model using data on incumbent candidates from the American National Election Studies. The results suggest that, ceteris paribus, white citizens will tend to perceive black candidates to be more liberal than ideologically similar white candidates. In contrast, the perceptions of black respondents are not affected by the race of candidates, although black respondents' perceptions are more strongly correlated with candidates' positions on issues of particular interest to minorities than the perceptions of white respondents. I discuss the implications of these findings with respect to descriptive representation in the United States, the accountability of office holders, and the study of voting behavior.

----------------------

More Diverse Yet Less Tolerant? How the Increasingly Diverse Racial Landscape Affects White Americans’ Racial Attitudes

Maureen Craig & Jennifer Richeson
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent Census Bureau projections indicate that racial/ethnic minorities will comprise over 50% of the U.S. population by 2042, effectively creating a so-called “majority–minority” nation. Across four experiments, we explore how presenting information about these changing racial demographics influences White Americans’ racial attitudes. Results reveal that exposure to the changing demographics evokes the expression of greater explicit and implicit racial bias. Specifically, Whites exposed to the racial demographic shift information preferred interactions/settings with their own ethnic group over minority ethnic groups; expressed more negative attitudes toward Latinos, Blacks, and Asian Americans; and expressed more automatic pro-White/anti-minority bias. Perceived threat to Whites’ societal status mediated the effects of the racial shift information on explicit racial attitudes. These results suggest that rather than ushering in a more tolerant future, the increasing diversity of the nation may instead yield intergroup hostility. Implications for intergroup relations and media framing of the racial shift are discussed.

----------------------

Biases in the Perception of Barack Obama's Skin Tone

Markus Kemmelmeier & Lyssette Chavez
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
White Americans higher in prejudice were less likely to vote for Barack Obama than other Americans. Recent research also demonstrated that supporters and opponents of Mr. Obama engaged in skin tone biases, i.e., they perceive Mr. Obama's skin tone as lighter or darker in line with more positive or negative views of him. Across two studies we hypothesized that skin tone biases occur as a function of two independent sources: racial prejudice, which is always related to skin tone bias, and political partisanship, which is related to skin tone bias primarily during elections. Study 1 assessed perceptions of Mr. Obama's skin tone shortly before and after the 2008 Presidential election, and shortly after the first inauguration. Study 2 assessed perceptions in the middle of his first term, immediately prior to the 2012 Presidential election, and 1 year into his second term in office. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found that partisan skin tone bias was limited to the election period, whereas prejudice-based skin tone biases occurred independent from any election.

----------------------

Seeking Help from the Low Status Group: Effects of Status Stability, Type of Help and Social Categorization

Samer Halabi, John Dovidio & Arie Nadler
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 139–144

Abstract:
This research extended previous work on the relationship between intergroup status and helping exchanges by investigating the conditions that moderate the willingness of members of a high status group (psychology students) to seek help from a low status group (social work students). In Study 1, when participants believed that there was a threat to the stability of status relations, participants from the high status group were more willing to seek autonomy-oriented assistance, which is empowering, than dependency-oriented help, which could undermine their group’s advantaged status. Study 2 considered how reframing the nature of intergroup relations by emphasizing common superordinate group membership can influence help-seeking among members of high status groups. When separate group identities were emphasized, the results replicated. However, as predicted, when common identity as mental health professional was made salient, psychology students were as willing to seek autonomy- and dependency-oriented help across both the unstable- and stable-relations conditions. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.

----------------------

The Minority Spotlight Effect

Jennifer Randall Crosby, Madeline King & Kenneth Savitsky
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across three studies, members of underrepresented groups felt that they were the center of others’ attention when topics related to their group were discussed, and this experience was accompanied by negative emotions. Black participants reported that they would feel most “in the spotlight” when they were the only Black individual in a class in which the professor drew attention to their group with a provocative comment (Study 1). Black and Latino/Latina (Study 2) and female (Study 3) participants likewise reported that two confederates looked at them more when they heard (and believed the confederates had also heard) a recording that pertained to their group than when they heard a recording on a neutral topic — despite the fact that the confederates’ gaze did not differ across conditions. We discuss these results in light of research on solo status and targeted social referencing.

----------------------

‘Be prepared’: An implemental mindset for alleviating social-identity threat

Tara Dennehy, Avi Ben-Zeev & Noriko Tanigawa
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Stereotype threat occurs when people who belong to socially devalued groups experience a fear of negative evaluation, which interferes with the goal of staying task focused. The current study was designed to examine whether priming socially devalued individuals with an implemental (vs. a deliberative) mindset, characterized by forming a priori goal-directed plans, would help these individuals to overcome threat-induced distracting states. Participants from low and high socioeconomic status backgrounds (measured by maternal education; SESm) completed a speeded mental arithmetic test, an intellectually threatening task. Low-SESm individuals performed comparably and exhibited similar confidence levels to high-SESm counterparts only when induced with an implemental mindset, suggesting that implemental mindset priming may help to create equity in the face of stereotype threat.

----------------------

Lost in the categorical shuffle: Evidence for the social non-prototypicality of black women

Erin Thomas, John Dovidio & Tessa West
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The white male norm hypothesis (Zárate & Smith, 1990) posits that White men’s race and gender go overlooked as a result of their prototypical social statuses. In contrast, the intersectional invisibility hypothesis (Purdie-Vaughns & Eibach, 2008) posits that people with membership in multiple subordinate social groups experience social invisibility as a result of their non-prototypical social statuses. The present research reconciles these contradictory theories and provides empirical support for the core assumption of the intersectional invisibility hypothesis — that intersectional targets are non-prototypical within their race and gender ingroups. In a speeded categorization task, participants were slower to associate Black women versus Black men with the category “Black” and slower to associate Black women versus White women with the category “woman.” We discuss the implications of this work for social categorical theory development and future intersectionality research.

----------------------

Close contact with racial outgroup members moderates attentional allocation towards outgroup versus ingroup faces

Cheryl Dickter et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some research has demonstrated that White perceivers direct more initial attention to Black relative to White target faces, while other work has failed to show this relationship. Several variables have been identified that moderate early attention to racial outgroup versus racial ingroup faces. In the current paper, two studies sought to extend this work by testing whether close contact with racial outgroup members moderates the amount of initial attention directed towards racial outgroup members relative to ingroup members using a dot-probe task. In Study 1, Whites’ attentional allocation to Black versus White faces was moderated by the amount of close and meaningful contact with Blacks. Study 2 extended these findings by demonstrating that Whites’ attentional allocation to Asian relative to White faces was moderated by close contact with Asians. These findings identify close outgroup contact as an additional moderating variable in the attentional capture of racial outgroup versus ingroup faces, for groups both associated and not associated with threat.

----------------------

Making Sense of Misfortune: Cultural Schemas, Victim Redefinition, and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes

M.B. Fallin Hunzaker
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
One of the most striking features of stereotypes is their extreme durability. This study focuses on the role played by cultural schemas and perceptions of low-status others’ adversities in stereotype perpetuation. Social psychological theories of legitimacy and justice point to the role of stereotypes as one means through which individuals make sense of others’ undeserved misfortunes by redefining the victim. This study connects this work with insights from cognitive cultural sociology to propose that stereotypes act as cultural schemas used to justify others’ experiences of adversity. Consistent with this hypothesis, findings from a cultural transmission experiment show that participants include more negative stereotype-consistent content when retelling narratives with undeserved negative outcomes than with positive outcomes. Cognitive cultural sociology and the cultural transmission methodology offer tools for understanding victim redefinition processes, with important implications for the reproduction of stereotype bias and social inequalities.

----------------------

Contact and Compromise: Explaining Support for Conciliatory Measures in the Context of Violent Intergroup Conflict

Justin Pickett et al.
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Informed by intergroup contact theory, this study explores the relationships between intergroup contact, perceived out-group threat, and support for conciliatory solutions to the violent conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinians in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Methods: Regression and structural equation models analyze public opinion data collected in Israel in 2011 and 2012. The analyses assess whether quantity and quality of Israeli Jews’ contact with Israeli Arabs in day-to-day encounters are associated with their support for conciliatory policies.

Results: The quality, but not the quantity, of contact is associated with lower levels of perceived Palestinian threat and, in turn, with increased support for compromise.

Conclusion: The current study provides initial evidence that everyday interactions with Israeli Arabs, when they occur under optimal conditions, may have the potential to reduce Israeli Jews’ perceptions of Palestinian threat and, in turn, increase their support for compromise.

----------------------

Equality for all? White Americans’ willingness to address inequality with Asian and African Americans

Nida Bikmen & Kristine Durkin
Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
White Americans’ willingness to engage in dialogues about intergroup commonalities and power inequalities with Asian and African Americans were examined in two experiments. Because Whites perceive that African Americans experience greater discrimination than do Asian Americans, we predicted that they would be more willing to engage in dialogues that would interrogate injustice and inequality with them. We also explored the role of common ingroup identity (as Americans) on willingness for dialogue about inequality. In both studies, Whites were less interested in engaging in power talk with Asian Americans than with African Americans, but the difference in willingness for commonality talk was smaller. Asian Americans were perceived as experiencing lower levels of discrimination (Studies 1 and 2) and identify less with America (Study 2) both of which predicted lower willingness for power talk with them. Common ingroup identity manipulations had marginal effects on willingness for power talk with African Americans and no effect on power talk with Asian Americans. Implications for improving social disparities between various groups were discussed.

----------------------

How Diversity Training Can Change Attitudes: Increasing Perceived Complexity of Superordinate Groups to Improve Intergroup Relations

Franziska Ehrke, Anne Berthold & Melanie Steffens
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 193–206

Abstract:
When conceiving diversity training – a popular strategy to manage prejudice within organizations and educational settings – there is little reliance on social-psychological theorizing and a lack of research on training effectiveness. In line with the ingroup projection model (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999), we postulate diversity training to improve intergroup attitudes by increasing perceived superordinate-group diversity. We tested this in two experiments with control-group designs and repeated measurement. In Experiment 1 (N = 62), a 2-hour diversity intervention (covered as get-to-know activities) increased perceived diversity of the superordinate group students and improved feelings towards the gender-outgroup. In Experiment 2 (N = 51), a 1-day diversity training increased perceived diversity of the superordinate groups adults and Germans and improved subgroup attitudes regarding gender, age, and nationality. Moreover, the training had positive long-term effects and reductions of ambivalent sexism were mediated by increased perceived diversity of the respective superordinate group adults. Our findings demonstrate that the ingroup-projection model provides a suitable theoretical foundation for real-world anti-prejudice interventions such as diversity training.

----------------------

Seeing White Men: Bias in Gender Categorization

Joshua Simpkins
Gender Issues, March 2014, Pages 21-33

Abstract:
The gender system operates to place members of US society into categories, and then allocate labor and resources to those members on the basis of their category membership. In order to better understand the gender system, this study examines the methods by which members of US society use the gender system to place other members into a gender category, and how other social systems such as age and race affect gender categorization. Full and partial facial images were shown to participants, who were asked to identify the sex and/or gender of the individual in the image, indicate how confident they were in this identification, and then write a brief explanation for why they identified the individual in the image as they did. The results of this study point towards an “assumed male” bias in gender categorization. Results suggest that while age has little effect on gender categorization, race and gender do, with respondents being the most confident and “accurate” when viewing self-categorized white males.

----------------------

Sex role stereotyping is hard to kill: A field experiment measuring social responses to user characteristics and behavior in an online multiplayer first-person shooter game

Adrienne Holz Ivory et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, June 2014, Pages 148–156

Abstract:
Sex role stereotyping by players in first-person shooter games and other online gaming environments may encourage a social environment that marginalizes and alienates female players. Consistent with the social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE), the anonymity of online games may engender endorsement of group-consistent attitudes and amplification of social stereotyping, such as the adherence to gender norms predicted by expectations states theory. A 2 × 3 × 2 virtual field experiment (N = 520) in an online first-person shooter video game examined effects of a confederate players’ sex, communication style, and skill on players’ compliance with subsequent online friend requests. We found support for the hypothesis that, in general, women would gain more compliance with friend requests than men. We also found support for the hypothesis that women making positive utterances would gain more compliance with friend requests than women making negative utterances, whereas men making negative utterances would gain more compliance with friend requests than men making positive utterances. The hypothesis that player skill (i.e., game scores) would predict compliance with friend requests was not supported. Implications for male and female game players and computer-mediated communication in online gaming environments are discussed.

----------------------

The Influence of Target Group Status on the Perception of the Offensiveness of Group-Based Slurs

P.J. Henry, Sarah Butler & Mark Brandt
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 185–192

Abstract:
Two studies investigate the effects of target group status on perceptions of the offensiveness of group-based slurs. Using real-world groups as targets, Study 1 showed that the perception that a group is of lower status in society is associated with the perceived offensiveness of insults targeting that group. Experimental methods in Study 2 showed that people perceive slurs against a low status group as especially offensive, a pattern that was mediated by the expectation that low-status targets would be emotionally reactive to the insult. The results suggest that cultural taboos emerge surrounding insults against low-status groups that may be due in part to how those target groups are expected to respond emotionally to those insults.

----------------------

Reducing Implicit Racial Preferences: A Comparative Investigation of 17 Interventions

Calvin Lai et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many methods for reducing implicit prejudice have been identified, but little is known about their relative effectiveness. We held a research contest to experimentally compare interventions for reducing the expression of implicit racial prejudice. Teams submitted 17 interventions that were tested an average of 3.70 times each in 4 studies (total N = 17,021), with rules for revising interventions between studies. Eight of 17 interventions were effective at reducing implicit preferences for Whites compared with Blacks, particularly ones that provided experience with counterstereotypical exemplars, used evaluative conditioning methods, and provided strategies to override biases. The other 9 interventions were ineffective, particularly ones that engaged participants with others’ perspectives, asked participants to consider egalitarian values, or induced a positive emotion. The most potent interventions were ones that invoked high self-involvement or linked Black people with positivity and White people with negativity. No intervention consistently reduced explicit racial preferences. Furthermore, intervention effectiveness only weakly extended to implicit preferences for Asians and Hispanics.

----------------------

Racial Identity and Intergroup Attitudes: A Multiracial Youth Analysis

Jas Sullivan & Alexandra Ghara
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article examines the racial identity attitudes of white, black, and Hispanic youth and explores how these identities shape their feelings toward various racial and ethnic groups (whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Arabs, and biracial individuals).

Methods: Using the 2005 Youth Culture Survey data set, we test our theoretical expectations using descriptive statistics and multiple regression models.

Results: The relationship between racial identification and out-group attitudes varies among racial groups; specifically, racial identity variables do not have a significant impact on whites’ out-group attitudes, but they do matter for blacks and Hispanics.

Conclusion: While American society has changed in many ways (i.e., increased number of minorities and more tolerance, or at least more discussion of acceptance, for racial groups), our research finds that race still plays a consequential role in the lives of young racial minorities.

----------------------

Boundaries of American Identity: Relations Between Ethnic Group Prototypicality and Policy Attitudes

Que-Lam Huynh, Thierry Devos & Hannah Altman
Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We sought to document that the extent to which different ethnic groups are perceived as embodying the American identity is more strongly linked to antiminority policy attitudes and acculturation ideologies among majority-group members (European Americans) than among minority-group members (Asian Americans or Latino/as). Participants rated 13 attributes of the American identity as they pertain to different ethnic groups and reported their endorsement of policy attitudes and acculturation ideologies. We found a relative consensus across ethnic groups regarding defining components of the American identity. However, European Americans were perceived as more prototypical of this American identity than ethnic minorities, especially by European American raters. Moreover, for European Americans but not for ethnic minorities, relative ingroup prototypicality was related to antiminority policy attitudes and acculturation ideologies. These findings suggest that for European Americans, perceptions of ethnic group prototypicality fulfill an instrumental function linked to preserving their group interests and limiting the rights afforded to ethnic minorities.

----------------------

Seeing similarity or distance? Racial identification moderates intergroup perception after biracial exposure

Leigh Wilton, Diana Sanchez & Lisa Giamo
Social Psychology, Spring 2014, Pages 127-134

Abstract:
Biracial individuals threaten the distinctiveness of racial groups because they have mixed-race ancestry, but recent findings suggest that exposure to biracial-labeled, racially ambiguous faces may positively influence intergroup perception by reducing essentialist thinking among Whites (Young, Sanchez, & Wilton, 2013). However, biracial exposure may not lead to positive intergroup perceptions for Whites who are highly racially identified and thus motivated to preserve the social distance between racial groups. We exposed Whites to racially ambiguous Asian/White biracial faces and measured the perceived similarity between Asians and Whites. We found that exposure to racially ambiguous, biracial-labeled targets may improve perceptions of intergroup similarity, but only for Whites who are less racially identified. Results are discussed in terms of motivated intergroup perception.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The wild frontier

Does the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Grant Too Many Bad Patents?: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment

Michael Frakes & Melissa Wasserman
Stanford Law Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many believe the root cause of the patent system’s dysfunction is that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO or Agency) is issuing too many invalid patents that unnecessarily drain consumer welfare. Concerns regarding the Agency’s over-granting tendencies have recently spurred the Supreme Court to take a renewed interest in substantive patent law and have driven Congress to enact the first major patent reform act in over sixty years. Policymakers, however, have been modifying the system in an effort to increase patent quality in the dark. As there exists little to no compelling empirical evidence the PTO is actually over-granting patents, lawmakers are left trying to fix the patent system without even understanding the root causes of the system’s shortcomings. This Article begins to rectify this deficiency, advancing the conversation along two dimensions. First, it provides a novel theoretical source for a granting bias on the part of the Agency, positing that the inability of the PTO to finally reject a patent application may create an incentive for a resource-constrained Agency to allow additional patents. Second, this Article attempts to explore, through a sophisticated natural-experiment framework, whether the Agency is in fact acting on this incentive and over-granting patents. Our findings suggest that the PTO is biased towards allowing patents. Moreover, our results suggest the PTO is targeting its over-granting tendencies towards those patents from which it stands to benefit the most through allowing. Our findings not only provide policymakers with much needed evidence that the PTO is indeed granting too many invalid patents but also provide policymakers with the first empirical evidence that the Agency’s workload woes are biasing the PTO towards allowing patents. Our results also suggest that the literature has overlooked a substantial source of Agency bias and hence recent fixes to improve patent quality will not achieve their desired outcome of extinguishing the PTO’s over-granting proclivities.

----------------------

P-Curve and Effect Size: Correcting for Publication Bias Using Only Significant Results

Leif Nelson, Uri Simonsohn & Joseph Simmons
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Journals tend to publish only statistically significant evidence, creating a scientific record that markedly overstates the size of effects. We provide a new tool that corrects for this bias without requiring access to nonsignificant results. It capitalizes on the fact that the distribution of significant p-values, p-curve, is a function of the true underlying effect. Researchers armed only with sample sizes and test results of the published findings can correct for publication bias. We validate the technique with simulations and by re-analyzing data from the Many-Labs Replication project. We demonstrate p-curve can arrive at inferences opposite that of existing tools by re-analyzing the meta-analysis of the “choice overload” literature.

----------------------

The Political Development of Scientific Capacity in the United States

Andrew Kelly
Studies in American Political Development, April 2014, Pages 1-25

Abstract:
When well directed, science is the greatest agency for the welfare of mankind. John Wesley Powell, the director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), delivered this message to Congress in 1884. The purpose of Powell's testimony to Congress was not to argue for the erection of an organizational framework for American science, but to defend the one that had been put in place decades earlier. At the time of Powell's testimony, the United States had already begun to assume the mantle of the greatest scientific nation on the planet. “I have studied the question closely,” declared W. H. Smyth, the president of the Royal Geographical Society of London, “and do not hesitate to pronounce the conviction that though the Americans were last in the field, they have, per saltum, leaped into the very front of the rank.” The organizational structure at the heart of America's rapid scientific rise was initially constructed by scientists serving in the nineteenth-century American bureaucracy — by men like John W. Powell. Often seen as a source of state incapacity, in this instance, the federal bureaucracy was the most important force in American scientific development.

----------------------

The (Changing) Knowledge Production Function: Evidence from the MIT Department of Biology for 1970-2000

Annamaria Conti & Christopher Liu
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
Considerable attention has been focused, in recent years, on the role that graduate and postdoc students play in the production of academic knowledge. Using data from the MIT Department of Biology for the period 1970-2000, we analyze the evolution over time of four fundamental aspects of their productivity: i) training duration; ii) time to a first publication; iii) productivity over the training period; and iv) collaboration with other scientists. We identified four main trends that are common to graduate students and postdocs. First, training periods have increased for later cohorts of graduate and postdoc students. Second, later cohorts tend to publish their initial first-author article later than the earlier cohorts. Third, they produce fewer first-author publications. Finally, collaborations with other scientists, as measured by the number of coauthors on a paper, have increased. This increase is driven by collaborations with scientists external to a trainee’s laboratory. We interpret these results in light of the following two paradigms: the increased burden of knowledge that later generations of scientists face and the limited availability of permanent academic positions.

----------------------

The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies

Ashley Anderson et al.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, April 2014, Pages 373–387

Abstract:
Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects of online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue — namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology. We found that exposure to uncivil blog comments can polarize risk perceptions of nanotechnology along the lines of religiosity and issue support.

----------------------

Narratives of Science Outreach in Elite Contexts of Academic Science

David Johnson, Elaine Howard Ecklund & Anne Lincoln
Science Communication, February 2014, Pages 81-105

Abstract:
Using data from interviews with 133 physicists and biologists working at elite research universities in the United States, we analyze narratives of outreach. We identify discipline-specific barriers to outreach and gender-specific rationales for commitment. Physicists view outreach as outside of the scientific role and a possible threat to reputation. Biologists assign greater value to outreach, but their perceptions of the public inhibit commitment. Finally, women are more likely than men to participate in outreach, a commitment that often results in peer-based informal sanctions. The study reveals how the cultural properties of disciplines, including the status of women, shape the meaning and experience of science outreach.

----------------------

Does Online Search Crowd Out Traditional Search and Improve Matching Efficiency? Evidence from Craigslist

Kory Kroft & Devin Pope
Journal of Labor Economics, April 2014, Pages 259-303

Abstract:
Since the seminal work of Stigler in 1962, economists have recognized that information is costly to acquire and leads to “search frictions.” Growth in online search has lowered the cost of information acquisition. We analyze the expansion of the website Craigslist, which allows users to post job and housing ads. Exploiting the sharp geographic and temporal variation in the availability of online search induced by Craigslist, we produce three key findings: Craigslist significantly lowered classified job advertisements in newspapers, caused a significant reduction in the apartment and house rental vacancy rate, and had no effect on the unemployment rate.

----------------------

Learning from (Failed) Replications: Cognitive Load Manipulations and Charitable Giving

Judd Kessler & Stephan Meier
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, June 2014, Pages 10–13

Abstract:
Replication of empirical studies is much more than a tool to police the field. Failed replications force us to recognize that seemingly arbitrary design features may impact results in important ways. We describe a study that used a cognitive load manipulation to investigate the role of the deliberative system in charitable giving and a set of failed replications of that study. While the original study showed large and statistically significant results, we failed to replicate using the same protocol and the same subject pool. After the first failed replication, we hypothesized that the order our study was taken in a set of unrelated studies in a laboratory session generated the differences in effects. Three more replication attempts supported this hypothesis. The study demonstrates the importance of replication in advancing our understanding of the mechanisms driving a particular result and it questions the robustness of results established by cognitive load tests.

----------------------

Entrepreneurial innovations and taxation

Andreas Haufler, Pehr-Johan Norbäck & Lars Persson
Journal of Public Economics, May 2014, Pages 13–31

Abstract:
Stimulating entrepreneurship is high on the policy agenda of many countries. We study the effects of tax policies on entrepreneurs’ choice of riskiness (or quality) of an innovation project, and on their mode of commercializing the innovation (market entry versus sale). Limited loss offset provisions in the tax system induce entrepreneurs innovating for entry to choose projects with inefficiently little risk. The same distortion does not arise when entrepreneurs sell their innovation in a competitive bidding process to an incumbent before the uncertainty is revealed. Tax systems which systematically favor market entry of entrepreneurs can thus lead to welfare losses due to inefficient quality choices, despite leading to more competition in the product market.

----------------------

Intellectual Property Rights, the Pool of Knowledge, and Innovation

Joseph Stiglitz
NBER Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
The pace of innovation is related both to the level of investment in innovation and the pool of knowledge from which innovators can draw. Both of these are endogenous: Investments in innovations are affected by the pool of knowledge and the ability of firms to appropriate the returns to their innovative activity, itself affected by the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime. But as each firm engages in research, it both contributes to the pool, and takes out from it. The strength and design of IPR affects the extent to which any innovation adds to or subtracts from the pool of ideas that are available to be commercially exploited, i.e. to the technological opportunities. We construct the simplest possible general model to explore the resulting dynamics, showing that, under plausible conditions, stronger intellectual property rights may lead to a lower pace of innovation, and more generally, that long run effects may be the opposite of the short run effects.

----------------------

Software Obviousness: The Disconnect between Engineers and the Patent System

Robert Purvy
Google Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Software engineers overwhelmingly dislike software patents and consider nearly all of them obvious. Are they correct, or do they simply not understand the law? To answer this, we look at obviousness law in an industry whose practitioners generally accept and value patents: pharmaceuticals, and ask if there are legal principles there which should be applied to software more frequently. The author, a software engineer, argues that "obvious to try," a principle well understood in the context of pharmaceutical patents, is ripe for appropriation in the software patent context. Several cases are explored to illustrate how the concept of "obvious to try" could be applied to fit the reality of how computer science actually works.

----------------------

What is the Probability of Receiving a US Patent?

Michael Carley, Deepak Hegde & Alan Marco
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Working Paper, December 2013

Abstract:
We follow the prosecution histories of the 2.15 million new patent applications filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office between 1996 and 2005 to calculate patent allowance rates. 55.8% of the applications emerged as patents without using continuation procedures to spawn related applications. The success rate of applications decreased substantially from 1996 to 2005, particularly for applications in the “Drugs and Medical Instruments” and “Computers and Communications” fields. We discuss the policy implications of our findings.

----------------------

The Quest For Expansive Intellectual Property Rights And The Failure To Disclose Known Relevant Prior Art

Kevin Steensma, Mukund Chari & Ralph Heidl
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Expansive patent portfolios may be used by firms to fence off technological space for commercialization, impede the commercialization efforts of competitors, and enhance bargaining power in cross-licensing negotiations. Low quality patents with claims that overlap those of other patents contribute to these portfolios and patent strategies. By failing to disclose known relevant prior art during the patenting process, inventors and their firms may be granted low quality patents with intellectual property claims which would not otherwise have been granted. We find that the failure of inventors to disclose known relevant prior art increases as they gain experience with the patenting process. Such failure is also greater among inventors employed by relatively small, poorly performing firms that rely on outsourced legal counsel during the application process.

----------------------

Digital dark matter and the economic contribution of Apache

Shane Greenstein & Frank Nagle
Research Policy, May 2014, Pages 623–631

Abstract:
Researchers have long hypothesized that research outputs from government, university, and private company R&D contribute to economic growth, but these contributions may be difficult to measure when they take a non-pecuniary form. The growth of networking devices and the Internet in the 1990s and 2000s magnified these challenges, as illustrated by the deployment of the descendent of the NCSA HTTPd server, otherwise known as Apache. This study asks whether this experience could produce measurement issues in standard productivity analysis, specifically, omission and attribution issues, and, if so, whether the magnitude is large enough to matter. The study develops and analyzes a novel data set consisting of a 1% sample of all outward-facing web servers used in the United States. We find that use of Apache potentially accounts for a mismeasurement of somewhere between $2 billion and $12 billion, which equates to between 1.3% and 8.7% of the stock of prepackaged software in private fixed investment in the United States and a very high rate of return to the original federal investment in the Internet. We argue that these findings point to a large potential undercounting of the rate of return from IT spillovers from the invention of the Internet. The findings also suggest a large potential undercounting of “digital dark matter” in general.

----------------------

Information Technology and the Distribution of Inventive Activity

Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein
NBER Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
We examine the relationship between the diffusion of advanced internet technology and the geographic concentration of invention, as measured by patents. First, we show that patenting became more concentrated from the early 1990s to the early 2000s and, similarly, that counties that were leaders in patenting in the early 1990s produced relatively more patents by the early 2000s. Second, we compare the extent of invention in counties that were leaders in internet adoption to those that were not. We see little difference in the growth rate of patenting between leaders and laggards in internet adoption, on average. However, we find that the rate of patent growth was faster among counties who were not leaders in patenting in the early 1990s but were leaders in internet adoption by 2000, suggesting that the internet helped stem the trend towards more geographic concentration. We show that these results are largely driven by patents filed by distant collaborators rather than non-collaborative patents or patents by non-distant collaborators, suggesting low cost long-distance digital communication as a potential mechanism.

----------------------

Identifying the Effect of Open Access on Citations Using a Panel of Science Journals

Mark McCabe & Christopher Snyder
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
An open-access journal allows free online access to its articles, obtaining revenue from fees charged to submitting authors or from institutional support. Using panel data on science journals, we are able to circumvent problems plaguing previous studies of the impact of open access on citations. In contrast to the huge effects found in these previous studies, we find a more modest effect: moving from paid to open access increases cites by 8% on average in our sample. The benefit is concentrated among top-ranked journals. In fact, open access causes a statistically significant reduction in cites to the bottom-ranked journals in our sample, leading us to conjecture that open access may intensify competition among articles for readers' attention, generating losers as well as winners.

----------------------

Quantifying Some of the Impacts of Economics Blogs

David McKenzie & Berk Özler
Economic Development and Cultural Change, April 2014, Pages 567-597

Abstract:
Economics blogs represent a significant change in the way research on development economics is discussed and disseminated, yet little is known about the impact of this new medium. Using surveys of development researchers and practitioners, along with experimental and nonexperimental techniques, we try to quantify some of the blogs’ effects. We find that links from blogs cause a striking increase in the number of abstract views and downloads of economics papers. Furthermore, blogging raises the profile of the blogger and changes readers’ perceptions about his or her institution. Finally, we find some suggestive evidence that a blog can increase knowledge of the topics it covers for the average, but not the marginal, reader.

----------------------

Proximity effects on the dynamics and outcomes of scientific collaborations

Felichism Kabo et al.
Research Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses path overlap, an innovative measure of functional proximity, to examine how physical space shaped the formation and success of scientific collaborations among the occupants of two academic research buildings. We use research administration data on human subject protection, animal use management, and grant funding applications to construct new measures of collaboration formation and success. The “functional zones” investigators occupy in their buildings are defined by the shortest walking paths among assigned laboratory and office spaces, and the nearest elevators, stairs, and restrooms. When two investigators traverse paths with greater overlap, both their propensity to form new collaborations and to win grant funding for their joint work increase. This effect is robust across two very differently configured buildings. Implications for scientific collaboration and the design and allocation of research space are considered.

----------------------

Technological dynamics and social capability: US states and European nations

Jan Fagerberg, Maryann Feldman & Martin Srholec
Journal of Economic Geography, March 2014, Pages 313-337

Abstract:
This article analyzes factors shaping technological capabilities in USA and European countries, and shows that the differences between the two continents in this respect are much smaller than commonly assumed. The analysis demonstrates a tendency toward convergence in technological capabilities for the sample as a whole between 1998 and 2008. The results indicate that social capabilities, such as well-developed public knowledge infrastructure, an egalitarian distribution of income, a participatory democracy and prevalence of public safety condition the growth of technological capabilities. Possible effects of other factors, such as agglomeration, urbanization, industrial specialization, migration and knowledge spillovers are also considered.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Passed up

Discrimination and the Effects of Drug Testing on Black Employment

Abigail Wozniak
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Nearly half of U.S. employers test job applicants and workers for drugs. A common assumption is that the rise of drug testing must have had negative consequences for black employment. However, the rise of employer drug testing may have benefited African-Americans by enabling non-using blacks to prove their status to employers. I use variation in the timing and nature of drug testing regulation to identify the impacts of testing on black hiring. Black employment in the testing sector is suppressed in the absence of testing, a finding which is consistent with ex ante discrimination on the basis of drug use perceptions. Adoption of pro-testing legislation increases black employment in the testing sector by 7-30% and relative wages by 1.4-13.0%, with the largest shifts among low skilled black men. Results further suggest that employers substitute white women for blacks in the absence of testing.

----------------------

The Effect of Banning Affirmative Action on College Admissions Policies and Student Quality

Kate Antonovics & Ben Backes
Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2014, Pages 295-322

Abstract:
Using administrative data from the University of California (UC), we present evidence that UC campuses changed the weight given to SAT scores, high school GPA, and family background in response to California’s ban on race-based affirmative action, and that these changes were able to substantially (though far from completely) offset the fall in minority admissions rates. For both minorities and nonminorities, these changes to the estimated admissions rule hurt students with relatively strong academic credentials and whose parents were relatively affluent and educated. Despite these compositional shifts, however, average student quality (as measured by expected first-year college GPA) remained stable.

----------------------

Gender Differences in Intellectual Performance Persist at the Limits of Individual Capabilities

Robert Howard
Journal of Biosocial Science, May 2014, Pages 386-404

Abstract:
Males predominate at the top in chess, and chess is a useful domain to investigate possible causes of gender differences in high achievement. Opportunity, interest and extent of practice can be controlled for. Organized chess has objective performance measures, extensive longitudinal population-level data and little gatekeeper influence. Previous studies of gender differences in chess performance have not controlled adequately for females on average playing fewer rated games and dropping out at higher rates. The present study did so by examining performance of international chess players at asymptote and over equal numbers of rated games. Males still were very disproportionately represented at the top. Top female players showed signs of having less natural talent for chess than top males, such as taking more rated games to gain the grandmaster title. The hypothesis that males predominate because many more males play chess was tested by comparing gender performance differences in nations with varying percentages of female players. In well-practised participants, gender performance differences stayed constant even when the average national percentage of female international players increased from 4.2% to 32.3%. In Georgia, where women are encouraged strongly to play chess and females constitute nearly 32% of international players, gender performance differences are still sizeable. Males on average may have some innate advantages in developing and exercising chess skill.

----------------------

Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000

Paul Beaudry & Ethan Lewis
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, April 2014, Pages 178-194

Abstract:
Male-female wage gaps declined significantly over the 1980s and 1990s, while returns to education increased. In this paper, we use cross-city data to explore whether, like the return to education, the change in the gender wage gap may reflect changes in skill prices induced by the diffusion of information technology. We show that male-female and education-wage differentials moved in opposite directions in response to the adoption of PCs. Our most credible estimates simply that changes in skill prices driven by PC adoption can explain most of the decline in the US male-female wage gap since 1980.

----------------------

When Work Disappears: Racial Prejudice and Recession Labour Market Penalties

David Johnston & Grace Lordan
London School of Economics Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
This paper assesses whether racial prejudice and labour market discrimination is counter-cyclical. This may occur if prejudice and discrimination are partly driven by competition over scarce resources, which intensifies during periods of economic downturn. Using British Attitudes Data spanning three decades, we find that prejudice does increase with unemployment rates. We find greater counter-cyclical effects for highly-educated, middle-aged, full-time employed men. For this group, a 1%-point increase in unemployment raises self-reported racial prejudice by 4.1%-points. This result suggests that non-White workers are more likely to encounter racially prejudiced employers and managers in times of higher unemployment. Consistent with the estimated attitude changes, we find using the British Labour Force Survey that racial employment and wage gaps increase with unemployment. The effects for both employment and wages are largest for high-skill Black workers. For example, a 1%-point increase in unemployment increases Black-White employment and wage gaps for the highly educated by 1.3%-points and 2.5%. Together, the attitude and labour market results imply that non-Whites disproportionately suffer during recessions. It follows that recessions exacerbate existing racial inequalities.

----------------------

Overwork and the Slow Convergence in the Gender Gap in Wages

Youngjoo Cha & Kim Weeden
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite rapid changes in women’s educational attainment and continuous labor force experience, convergence in the gender gap in wages slowed in the 1990s and stalled in the 2000s. Using CPS data from 1979 to 2009, we show that convergence in the gender gap in hourly pay over these three decades was attenuated by the increasing prevalence of “overwork” (defined as working 50 or more hours per week) and the rising hourly wage returns to overwork. Because a greater proportion of men engage in overwork, these changes raised men’s wages relative to women’s and exacerbated the gender wage gap by an estimated 10 percent of the total wage gap. This overwork effect was sufficiently large to offset the wage-equalizing effects of the narrowing gender gap in educational attainment and other forms of human capital. The overwork effect on trends in the gender gap in wages was most pronounced in professional and managerial occupations, where long work hours are especially common and the norm of overwork is deeply embedded in organizational practices and occupational cultures. These results illustrate how new ways of organizing work can perpetuate old forms of gender inequality.

----------------------

Gender Ratios at Top PhD Programs in Economics

Galina Hale & Tali Regev
Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analyzing university faculty and graduate students data for ten of the top U.S. economics departments between 1987 and 2007, we find persistent differences in the gender compositions of both faculty and graduate students across departments. There is a positive correlation between the share of female faculty and the share of women in the PhD class graduating six years later. Using instrumental variable analysis, we find robust evidence that this relation is causal. These results contribute to our understanding of the persistent under-representation of women in economics, as well as for the persistent segregation of women in the labor force.

----------------------

Female and Ethnically Diverse Executives Endure Inequity in the CEO Position or Do They Benefit from Their Minority Status? An Empirical Examination

Aaron Hill, Arun Upadhyay & Rafik Beekun
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present competing hypotheses regarding whether gender and ethnic minority CEOs endure inequities resulting in lower compensation and higher likelihood of job exit or benefit from their valuable, rare, and inimitable minority status, resulting in higher compensation and lower likelihood of job exit. Using a longitudinal sample, we find support for the resource-based hypothesis regarding compensation that suggests CEOs benefit from their minority status to receive higher compensation than white male CEOs receive. However, we also find mixed support for our hypotheses relating CEO minority status to the likelihood of exit. We find that the effects of minority status on likelihood of exit are significantly different for female and ethnic minority CEOs such that the former relationship is negative while the latter is positive.

----------------------

Beneath the Surface: The Decline in Gender Injury Gap

Tiziano Razzolini et al.
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gender differences in the labor market are typically measured by the wage gap. In this paper, we investigate how extending the analysis to an additional job amenity, namely workplace safety, may shed new light on the evolution of gender differences. Our results show that focusing on one unique measure of the gender gap may provide a biased view of the actual progress of women in the labor market. In our data, a significant reduction in the wage gap has been accompanied by a relative increase in injury risk for some groups of workers, e.g. low skill female workers. The decreased gender wage gap for these workers does not necessarily imply an overall improvement in their labor market outcomes.

----------------------

The motherhood wage gap in the UK over the life cycle

Tarja Viitanen
Review of Economics of the Household, June 2014, Pages 259-276

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of children on female wages in the UK using the National Child Development Study. The use of a longitudinal cohort study enables to estimate of the effect of children on wages for the same sample of women throughout their life-cycle until completed fertility. This study confirms some of the negative effects of motherhood on wages as found in the previous literature. The effect of a first child is on average 8.1 % at age 23, 22 % at age 33, 4.8 % at age 42 and 0 % at age 51. The effect of a second child is 16 % on average at age 33 only. Longitudinal nature of the data also allows the estimation of long run effects and the results indicate that the negative wage gap of motherhood persists even 30 years after first entering motherhood.

----------------------

Is There a Political Bias? A Computational Analysis of Female Subjects' Coverage in Liberal and Conservative Newspapers

Eran Shor et al.
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: One possible source for the gap in media coverage between female and male subjects is the political affiliation of the media source. The objective of this present study was to test whether there is a difference between more liberal and more conservative newspapers in coverage rates of female subjects.

Methods: We used computational methods to analyze a unique large-scale data set (complied by the Lydia Text Analysis System) and compared the 2010 female coverage rates in 168 newspapers.

Results: Contrary to our expectations, we found that conservative media tend to cover female subjects no less (and even slightly more) than liberal media. However, the difference was no longer significant once we controlled for newspaper distribution.

Conclusion: The common view that liberal newspapers are more likely to cover female subjects was not supported by this study. Both conservative and liberal newspapers are much more likely to cover males.

----------------------

The Self-Expressive Edge of Occupational Sex Segregation

Erin Cech
American Journal of Sociology, November 2013, Pages 747-789

Abstract:
Recent gender scholarship speculates that occupational sex segregation is reproduced in large part through the gendered, self-expressive career decisions of men and women. This article examines the effects of college students’ expression of their self-conceptions on their likelihood of entering occupations with a high or low proportion of women and theorizes the consequences of this mechanism for gender inequality. The author uses unique longitudinal data on students from four U.S. colleges to examine how the gender composition of students’ field at career launch is influenced by their earlier self-conceptions. Students with emotional, unsystematic, or people-oriented self-conceptions enter fields that are more “female,” even net of their cultural gender beliefs. Results suggest that cultural ideals of self-expression reinforce occupational sex segregation by converting gender-stereotypical self-conceptions into self-expressive career choices. The discussion section broadens this theoretical framework for understanding the role of self-expression in occupational sex segregation and notes the difficulty of addressing this mechanism through social or policy actions.

----------------------

Can Descriptive Representation Change Beliefs about a Stigmatized Group? Evidence from Rural India

Simon Chauchard
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can descriptive representation for a stigmatized group change the beliefs and intentions of members of dominant groups? To address this question, I focus on quotas (reservations) that allow members of the scheduled castes to access key executive positions in India's village institutions. To measure the psychological effect of reservations, I combine a natural experiment with an innovative MP3-player-based self-administered survey that measures various beliefs and behavioral intentions. Results provide credible causal evidence that reservations affect the psychology of members of dominant castes. Even though villagers living in reserved villages continue to think poorly of members of the scheduled castes (stereotypes do not improve), reservation affects two other types of beliefs: perceived social norms of interactions and perceived legal norms of interactions. These changes in beliefs in turn appear to have far-reaching consequences for intercaste relations, as villagers’ discriminatory intentions also decrease under reservation.

----------------------

Recategorization into the In-group: The Appointment of Demographically Different New Directors and Their Subsequent Positions on Corporate Boards

David Zhu, Wei Shen & Amy Hillman
Administrative Science Quarterly, June 2014, Pages 240-270

Abstract:
This study advances a recategorization perspective to explain how an increasing number of directors have successfully obtained major board appointments and played important roles on boards despite their demographic differences from incumbent directors. We theorize and show that existing directors tend to select a demographically different new director who can be recategorized as an in-group member based on his or her similarities to them on other shared demographic characteristics. We further explain how a new director’s prior social ties to existing directors strengthen this recategorization process and posit that recategorization increases demographically different directors’ tenures and likelihood of becoming board committee members and chairs. Results from analyses of Fortune 500 boards from 1994 to 2006 provide strong support for our theory. This study suggests that increased board diversity on some demographic characteristics is associated with reduced diversity on others. It also suggests that some demographic characteristics, such as gender and ethnicity, would be more salient during the recategorization process than other characteristics. As a result, female and ethnic minority directors would need to be more similar to incumbents along shared dimensions than other demographically different directors (such as a young director) for them to be recategorized into the in-group.

----------------------

Small Screens and Big Streets: A Comparison of Women Police Officers on Primetime Crime Shows and in U.S. Police Departments, 1950 to 2008

Lorraine Evans & Kim Davies
Women & Criminal Justice, Spring 2014, Pages 106-125

Abstract:
This article utilizes a longitudinal approach to assess the visibility of women as police officers in primetime crime shows from 1950 to 2008 and compares these numbers for television to actual data on women who work as police officers in the United States. We find that as expected, annual labor force data and crime show data both indicate increases in the number of minorities and women working in the criminal justice system over time. Given the robust literature on the general underrepresentation of women on television, however, we did not expect to uncover that both White and minority women are overrepresented as police officers on television every year compared to the occupational reality. Implications of the findings are discussed.

----------------------

Effects of Attractiveness, Gender, and Athlete–Reporter Congruence on Perceived Credibility of Sport Reporters

Dustin Hahn & Glenn Cummins
International Journal of Sport Communications, March 2014, Pages 34–47

Abstract:
Studies examining factors that influence credibility perceptions have demonstrated the importance of a source’s gender and attractiveness. However, scholars have only begun to extend these findings to credibility in the context of mediated sports. This experiment tested the relationship that gender and attractiveness have with credibility and whether this varies as a function of the gender of the athlete in a given story. Results indicate that reporters’ gender and attractiveness and athlete gender affect perceptions of credibility such that when reporters are of the opposite gender of an athlete, they are perceived as most credible when they are less attractive. Results also reveal a gender bias such that reporters are perceived as most credible when covering male athletes, regardless of reporter gender. Explanations are offered for these findings, in addition to a discussion of the implications for news practitioners.

----------------------

Smart girls, dumb boys!? How the discourse on “failing boys” impacts performances and motivational goal orientation in German school students

Martin Latsch & Bettina Hannover
Social Psychology, Spring 2014, Pages 112-126

Abstract:
We investigated effects of the media’s portrayal of boys as “scholastic failures” on secondary school students. The negative portrayal induced stereotype threat (boys underperformed in reading), stereotype reactance (boys displayed stronger learning goals towards mathematics but not reading), and stereotype lift (girls performed better in reading but not in mathematics). Apparently, boys were motivated to disconfirm their group’s negative depiction, however, while they could successfully apply compensatory strategies when describing their learning goals, this motivation did not enable them to perform better. Overall the media portrayal thus contributes to the maintenance of gender stereotypes, by impairing boys’ and strengthening girls’ performance in female connoted domains and by prompting boys to align their learning goals to the gender connotation of the domain.

----------------------

Who Takes the Parliamentary Floor? The Role of Gender in Speech-making in the Swedish Riksdag

Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus & Jochen Müller
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Legislative speeches are an important instrument for parties and members of parliament (MPs) to signal their positions and priorities. This raises the question of who speaks when. We evaluate whether a MP’s presence on the floor depends on his or her gender. We hypothesize that female MPs give in general less speeches in parliament and that this pattern results from debates dealing with “harder” policy issues. Our expectations are supported when analyzing a new data set containing information on the number and content of speeches given in the Swedish Riksdag between 2002 and 2010.

----------------------

What makes affirmative action-based hiring decisions seem (un)fair? A test of an ideological explanation for fairness judgments

Jun Gu et al.
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Studies show that Whites tend to show the lowest level of support for affirmative action (AA) policies. Opponents of AA often argue that this is because it violates principles of meritocracy. However, self-interest (based on social identification with those adversely affected) could also explain their opposition. In three studies, we varied whether an Asian or White male is adversely affected by AA to test another explanation; namely, that Whites' fairness judgments are based on both the adversely affected person's race and the fairness evaluator's ideological beliefs. Although we found some support for the meritocratic explanation, this was not sufficient to explain why Whites view AA as (un)fair. Instead, we found strong support for our prediction that Whites who are opposed to equality perceive more unfairness when a White (vs. Asian) was harmed by AA, whereas Whites who endorse egalitarian ideologies perceive the opposite. This finding suggests that neither self-interest nor meritocratic explanations can fully account for Whites' opposition to AA.

----------------------

Parvenus and Conflict in Elite Cohorts

Michael Lindsay et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies find that greater workplace diversity leads to higher degrees of conflict in low and medium-status workgroups. This paper examines whether similar dynamics operate in elite cohorts. We use data from a survey of White House Fellows (N=475) to look at how the presence of parvenus — individuals from underrepresented groups in elite environments — change the rate at which fellows reported conflict with each other and with the director of the program. We find that there is no unified “parvenu experience.” Analysis of the interaction between race and cohort diversity reveals inflection points consistent with Kanter’s (1977) theory of tokenism, but the effects of increasing diversity diverge: for Hispanics, conflict with the director increases with diversity, while for Asians, conflict falls with diversity. While other groups’ level of conflict with their peers stays roughly constant, Asians’ reported level of conflict with their peers increases with diversity.

----------------------

Ethnic variations between Asian and European Americans in interpersonal sources of socially prescribed perfectionism: It’s not just about parents!

Marisa Perera & Edward Chang
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
To understand whether interpersonal sources other than parents are involved in socially prescribed perfectionism, a set of interpersonal sources that may represent the unrealistically high expectations of socially prescribed perfectionism (viz., parents, teachers, friends, peers, siblings, romantic partner, and culture) was tested as a predictor of socially prescribed perfectionism in a sample of Asian American and European American university students. Results indicated there are several sources involved in the expectations associated with socially prescribed perfectionism in both Asian American and European American university students. Noteworthy, beyond variance accounted for expectations prescribed by parents, expectations prescribed by peers were found to account for a large amount of variance in socially prescribed perfectionism in Asian Americans and expectations prescribed by teachers were found to account for a large amount of variance in European Americans. Implications for future research involving ethnic variations in the interpersonal sources that represent the unrealistically high expectations of socially prescribed perfectionism are discussed.

----------------------

Gender-specific differences – first results from a survey on dental surgery

Margrit-Ann Geibel & Miriam Mayer
Journal of Gender Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study focuses on dental surgery from the perspective of practicing dentists through a nationwide survey among practicing dentists in Germany. Subjects were surveyed with respect to patient care and their training in dental surgery. With respect to surgical activity, this survey confirms male dominance in the field and that female dentists may be inclined grade surgical interventions as ‘complicated and risky’. Male dentists appear to be willing to take the same risks with greater self-confidence, whereas female dentists appear to overrate their personal uncertainty by underestimating their real technical capabilities. Though dental treatment in general is increasingly dominated by women, surgery is still dominated by male dentists. This can be viewed through observed gender differences with respect to risk perception and we advocate additional professional training of risk competence as mandatory for the future.

----------------------

Guys and Gals Going for Gold: The Role of Women’s Empowerment in Olympic Success

Aaron Lowen, Robert Deaner & Erika Schmitt
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test the hypothesis that women’s empowerment correlates with women’s international athletic success. Greater gender equality (measured using the Gender Inequality Index) is associated with higher participation and medal counts in the Summer Olympic Games from 1996 through 2012. This relationship persists even after controlling for previously identified nation-level predictors of Olympic success and across alternative measures of success (such as shares of the total, percentage within each country, and medals per athlete). These results provide direct evidence for the long-standing claim that girls’ and women’s international athletic achievement is linked to women’s empowerment.

----------------------

Caregivers, firm policies and gender discrimination claims

Scott Adams, John Heywood & Laurie Miller
Review of Economics of the Household, June 2014, Pages 359-377

Abstract:
This paper explores a relatively new class of lawsuits claiming “caregiver discrimination.” Using the National Study of the Changing Workforce, it shows that claims of gender discrimination in general and caregiver discrimination in particular are more likely among women facing greater work-family conflict. Critically, firm policies that allow work from home or the use of personal time off to care for family needs are associated with reduced claims of caregiver discrimination holding all else constant. Importantly, these reduced claims are uniquely among women with greater family responsibilities.

----------------------

Gender Differences in Publication Productivity, Academic Position, Career Duration, and Funding Among U.S. Academic Radiation Oncology Faculty

Emma Holliday et al.
Academic Medicine, May 2014, Pages 767-773.

Purpose: This study aimed to analyze gender differences in rank, career duration, publication productivity, and research funding among radiation oncologists at U.S. academic institutions.

Method: For 82 domestic academic radiation oncology departments, the authors identified current faculty and recorded their academic rank, degree, and gender. The authors recorded bibliographic metrics for physician faculty from a commercially available database (Scopus, Elsevier BV), including numbers of publications from 1996 to 2012 and h-indices. The authors then concatenated these data with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding per Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. The authors performed descriptive and correlative analyses, stratifying by gender and rank.

Results: Of 1,031 faculty, 293 (28%) women and 738 (72%) men, men had a higher median m-index, 0.58 (range 0-3.23) versus 0.47 (0-2.5) (P < .05); h-index, 8 (0-59) versus 5 (0-39) (P < .05); and publication number, 26 (0-591) versus 13 (0-306) (P < .05). Men were more likely to be senior faculty and receive NIH funding. After stratifying for rank, these differences were largely nonsignificant. On multivariate analysis, there were correlations between gender, career duration and academic position, and h-index (P < .01).

Conclusions: Determinants of a successful career in academic medicine are multifactorial. Data from radiation oncologists show a systematic gender association, with fewer women achieving senior faculty rank. However, women achieving seniority have productivity metrics comparable to those of male counterparts. This suggests that early career development and mentorship of female faculty may narrow productivity disparities.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 5, 2014

Means test

Welfare Reform and Children's Early Cognitive Development

Hau Chyi, Orgul Demet Ozturk & Weilong Zhang
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we use a dynamic structural model to measure the effects of (1) single mothers' work and welfare use decisions and (2) welfare reform initiatives on the early cognitive development of the children of the NLSY79 mothers. We use PIAT-Math scores as a measure of attainment and show that both the mothers' work and welfare use benefit children on average. Our simulation of a policy that combines a time limit with work requirement reduces the use of welfare and increases employment significantly. These changes in turn significantly increase children's cognitive attainment. This implies that the welfare reform was not only successful in achieving its stated goals, but was also beneficial to welfare children's outcomes. In another policy simulation, we show that increasing work incentives for welfare population by exempting labor income from welfare tax can be a very successful policy with some additional benefits for children's outcomes. Finally, a counterfactual with an extended maternal leave policy significantly reduces employment and has negative, though economically insignificant, impact on cognitive outcomes.

----------------------

Associations of Housing Mobility Interventions for Children in High-Poverty Neighborhoods With Subsequent Mental Disorders During Adolescence

Ronald Kessler et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 5 March 2014, Pages 937-948

Objective: To perform an exploratory analysis of associations between housing mobility interventions for children in high-poverty neighborhoods and subsequent mental disorders during adolescence.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Moving to Opportunity Demonstration from 1994 to 1998 randomized 4604 volunteer public housing families with 3689 children in high-poverty neighborhoods into 1 of 2 housing mobility intervention groups (a low-poverty voucher group vs a traditional voucher group) or a control group. The low-poverty voucher group (n=1430) received vouchers to move to low-poverty neighborhoods with enhanced mobility counseling. The traditional voucher group (n=1081) received geographically unrestricted vouchers. Controls (n=1178) received no intervention. Follow-up evaluation was performed 10 to 15 years later (June 2008-April 2010) with participants aged 13 to 19 years (0-8 years at randomization). Response rates were 86.9% to 92.9%.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Presence of mental disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) within the past 12 months, including major depressive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), oppositional-defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and conduct disorder, as assessed post hoc with a validated diagnostic interview.

Results: Of the 3689 adolescents randomized, 2872 were interviewed (1407 boys and 1465 girls). Compared with the control group, boys in the low-poverty voucher group had significantly increased rates of major depression (7.1% vs 3.5%; odds ratio (OR), 2.2 [95% CI, 1.2-3.9]), PTSD (6.2% vs 1.9%; OR, 3.4 [95% CI, 1.6-7.4]), and conduct disorder (6.4% vs 2.1%; OR, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.7-5.8]). Boys in the traditional voucher group had increased rates of PTSD compared with the control group (4.9% vs 1.9%, OR, 2.7 [95% CI, 1.2-5.8]). However, compared with the control group, girls in the traditional voucher group had decreased rates of major depression (6.5% vs 10.9%; OR, 0.6 [95% CI, 0.3-0.9]) and conduct disorder (0.3% vs 2.9%; OR, 0.1 [95% CI, 0.0-0.4]).

Conclusions and Relevance: Interventions to encourage moving out of high-poverty neighborhoods were associated with increased rates of depression, PTSD, and conduct disorder among boys and reduced rates of depression and conduct disorder among girls. Better understanding of interactions among individual, family, and neighborhood risk factors is needed to guide future public housing policy changes.

----------------------

Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children's telomere length

Colter Mitchell et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 April 2014, Pages 5944-5949

Abstract:
Disadvantaged social environments are associated with adverse health outcomes. This has been attributed, in part, to chronic stress. Telomere length (TL) has been used as a biomarker of chronic stress: TL is shorter in adults in a variety of contexts, including disadvantaged social standing and depression. We use data from 40, 9-y-old boys participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to extend this observation to African American children. We report that exposure to disadvantaged environments is associated with reduced TL by age 9 y. We document significant associations between low income, low maternal education, unstable family structure, and harsh parenting and TL. These effects were moderated by genetic variants in serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways. Consistent with the differential susceptibility hypothesis, subjects with the highest genetic sensitivity scores had the shortest TL when exposed to disadvantaged social environments and the longest TL when exposed to advantaged environments.

----------------------

Job Displacement among Single Mothers: Effects on Children's Outcomes in Young Adulthood

Jennie Brand & Juli Simon Thomas
American Journal of Sociology, January 2014, Pages 955-1001

Abstract:
Given the recent era of economic upheaval, studying the effects of job displacement has seldom been so timely and consequential. Despite a large literature associating displacement with worker well-being, relatively few studies focus on the effects of parental displacement on child well-being, and fewer still focus on implications for children of single-parent households. Moreover, notwithstanding a large literature on the relationship between single motherhood and children's outcomes, research on intergenerational effects of involuntary employment separations among single mothers is limited. Using 30 years of nationally representative panel data and propensity score matching methods, the authors find significant negative effects of job displacement among single mothers on children's educational attainment and social-psychological well-being in young adulthood. Effects are concentrated among older children and children whose mothers had a low likelihood of displacement, suggesting an important role for social stigma and relative deprivation in the effects of socioeconomic shocks on child well-being.

----------------------

Impact of Welfare Reform on Mortality: An Evaluation of the Connecticut Jobs First Program, A Randomized Controlled Trial

Elizabeth Wilde et al.
American Journal of Public Health, March 2014, Pages 534-538

Objectives: We examined whether Jobs First, a multicenter randomized trial of a welfare reform program conducted in Connecticut, demonstrated increases in employment, income, and health insurance relative to traditional welfare (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). We also investigated if higher earnings and employment improved mortality of the participants.

Methods: We revisited the Jobs First randomized trial, successfully linking 4612 participant identifiers to 15 years of prospective mortality follow-up data through 2010, producing 240 deaths. The analysis was powered to detect a 20% change in mortality hazards.

Results: Significant employment and income benefits were realized among Jobs First recipients relative to traditional welfare recipients, particularly for the most disadvantaged groups. However, although none of these reached statistical significance, all participants in Jobs First (overall, across centers, and all subgroups) experienced higher mortality hazards than traditional welfare recipients.

Conclusions: Increases in income and employment produced by Jobs First relative to traditional welfare improved socioeconomic status but did not improve survival.

----------------------

How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity

Martha Bailey & Nicolas Duquette
NBER Working Paper, January 2014

Abstract:
This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the geographic distribution of spending through the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act (EOA). Using newly assembled state and county-level data, the results show that the Johnson administration systematically directed funding toward poorer and more nonwhite areas. In contrast to the distribution of New Deal spending, short-term political considerations appear to have played a minor role in distributing EOA funds. Choosing to fight poverty and discrimination rather than playing politics may help explain some of the immediate backlash against the War on Poverty programs. It also suggests that the implementation of the War on Poverty may play an important role in explaining why it is remembered as a failure.

----------------------

Jezebel at the Welfare Office: How Racialized Stereotypes of Poor Women's Reproductive Decisions and Relationships Shape Policy Implementation

Tatiana Masters, Taryn Lindhorst & Marcia Meyers
Journal of Poverty, Spring 2014, Pages 109-129

Abstract:
Current welfare scholarship lacks an analysis of how caseworkers discuss sexuality-related issues with clients. Seventy-two of 232 transcribed welfare interviews in three states included discussion of reproductive decisions and relationships. Overall, caseworkers' language reflected negative myths regarding African American women's sexuality and motherhood. By virtue of their status as welfare recipients, regardless of their individual races, clients were placed into racialized myths through workers' talk. This analysis demonstrates that though not present in every welfare interview and often veiled in bureaucratic language, negative ideas about poor women's sexuality persist in welfare policy and are deeply embedded in its day-to-day implementation.

----------------------

Deserving Poor and the Desirability of Minimum Wage Rules

Tomer Blumkin & Leif Danziger
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Working Paper, March 2014

Abstract:
In this paper we provide a novel justification for the use of minimum wage rules to supplement the optimal tax-and-transfer system. We demonstrate that if labor supply decisions are concentrated along the intensive margin and employment is efficiently rationed, a minimum wage rule can be socially beneficial by serving as a tagging device that targets benefits to the deserving poor, defined as low-skilled workers exhibiting a weak taste for leisure.

----------------------

Sex and the City: Female Leaders and Spending on Social Welfare Programs in U.S. Municipalities

Mirya Holman
Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars of urban politics often argue that cities will shy away from extensive funding of social welfare programs, as fiscal realities make developmental policies far more attractive. Despite these arguments, cities continue to fund social welfare programs. One possible explanation is that some local officials prefer funding welfare programs. This research demonstrates that the presence of a female mayor has a large, positive influence on the likelihood a city participates in funding social welfare programs and the amount of monetary resources a city dedicates to these programs. High levels of female representation on city councils and a mayor-council form of government both interact with the presence of a female mayor to increase the provision and size of social welfare programs in cities.

----------------------

Scraping by: Income and Program Participation after the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits

Jesse Rothstein & Robert Valletta
University of California Working Paper, February 2014

Abstract:
Despite unprecedented extensions of available unemployment insurance (UI) benefits during the "Great Recession" of 2007-09 and its aftermath, large numbers of recipients exhausted their maximum available UI benefits prior to finding new jobs. Using SIPP panel data and an event-study regression framework, we examine the household income patterns of individuals whose jobless spells outlast their UI benefits, comparing the periods following the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions. Job loss reduces household income roughly by half on average, and for UI recipients benefits replace just under half of this loss. Accordingly, when benefits end the household loses UI income equal to roughly one-quarter of total pre-separation household income (and about one-third of pre-exhaustion household income). Only a small portion of this loss is offset by increased income from food stamps and other safety net programs. The share of families with income below the poverty line nearly doubles. These patterns were generally similar following the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions and do not vary dramatically by household age or income prior to job loss.

----------------------

How Income Changes During Unemployment: Evidence from Tax Return Data

Laura Kawano & Sara LaLumia
U.S. Department of the Treasury Working Paper, April 2014

Abstract:
We use a panel of tax returns spanning 1999 to 2010 to provide new evidence on household experiences during unemployment. Unemployment is associated with a 27% reduction in household wage earnings. Unemployment insurance compensates for one-third of these wage losses. Households also partially compensate using a variety of income sources: capital gains, self-employment, and distributions from retirement savings accounts. More generous UI benefits crowd out household wage income and are also associated with increased distributions from retirement accounts. This combination of responses is consistent with UI benefits lengthening unemployment spells, leading to an increased reliance on retirement savings.

----------------------

What does SNAP benefit usage tell us about food access in low-income neighborhoods?

Jerry Shannon
Social Science & Medicine, April 2014, Pages 89-99

Abstract:
Current GIS based research on food access has focused primarily on the proximity of food sources to places of residence in low-income communities, with relatively little attention given to actual practices of food procurement. This project addresses this issue by using dasymetric mapping techniques to develop fine scale estimates of benefit usage for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, drawing from existing zip code level data on benefit distribution and redemptions. Based on this data, this research shows that while supermarkets receive almost all SNAP benefits in suburban areas, these stores have a smaller share of all SNAP redemptions in low-income core neighborhoods. In these latter areas, both convenience stores and mid-sized grocers (e.g., discount grocers, food cooperatives, ethnic markets) play a much larger role in residents' food shopping, even when supermarkets are also present. In addition, these core neighborhoods have a net "outflow" of SNAP dollars, meaning that residents of these areas receive more in benefits than is spent at neighborhood food retailers. This finding confirms existing research showing that low-income residents often travel outside their neighborhoods to get food, regardless of the presence or absence of supermarkets. Rather than simply increasing the number of large food outlets in low-access areas, this research suggests that efforts to improve food access and community health must take into account the geographically complex ways residents interact with the food system.

----------------------

Housing costs and child functioning: Processes through investments and financial strains

Melissa Kull & Rebekah Levine Coley
Children and Youth Services Review, April 2014, Pages 25-38

Abstract:
This study used family investment and family stress theories to illuminate mechanisms through which housing costs may affect low-income children's psychosocial and cognitive functioning. Using longitudinal data from the Three City Study (N = 1,898), path analyses found support for the investment perspective, with housing and neighborhood contexts mediating associations between higher housing costs and greater behavioral functioning and academic skills. These benefits of higher housing costs were somewhat offset by negative direct associations with children's functioning, although these were not explained by financial strain. Results revealed that receipt of government housing assistance disrupted these pathways. Few differences in patterns emerged between young children and adolescents. Policy implications and future research directions are discussed.

----------------------

The Impact of Rehabilitation and Counseling Services on the Labor Market Activity of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Beneficiaries

Robert Weathers & Michelle Stegman Bailey
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use data from a social experiment to estimate the impact of a rehabilitation and counseling program on the labor market activity of newly entitled Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. Our results indicate that the program led to a 4.6 percentage point increase in the receipt of employment services within the first year following random assignment and a 5.1 percentage point increase in participation in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work program within the first three years following random assignment. The program led to a 5.3 percentage point increase, or almost 50 percent increase, in employment, and an $831 increase in annual earnings in the second calendar year after the calendar year of random assignment. The employment and earnings impacts are smaller and not statistically significant in the third calendar year following random assignment, and we describe SSDI rules that are consistent with this finding. Our findings indicate that disability reform proposals focusing on restoring the work capacity of people with disabilities can increase the disability employment rate.

----------------------

Educational Sorting and Residential Aspirations Among Rural High School Students: What Are the Contributions of Schools and Educators to Rural Brain Drain?

Robert Petrin, Kai Schafft & Judith Meece
American Educational Research Journal, April 2014, Pages 294-326

Abstract:
An extended body of research has documented the outmigration of the "best and brightest" youth from rural areas. Some of this scholarship has suggested that rural schools and educators may be complicit in this process as they devote extra attention and resources to the highest achieving students - those most likely to leave their rural communities after high school. Using data from a national multimethod study, we find mixed support for this hypothesis. To the contrary, our data suggest that the highest-achieving rural students are among those with the greatest community attachment, and that student perceptions of local economic conditions are far more influential in shaping postsecondary residential aspirations than the advice of educators, or the poverty level of the school.

----------------------

Treat or Eat: Food insecurity, cost-related medication underuse and unmet needs

Seth Berkowitz, Hilary Seligman & Niteesh Choudhry
American Journal of Medicine, April 2014, Pages 303-310

Background: Adults with chronic disease are often unable to meet medication and/or food needs, but no study has examined the relationship between cost-related medication underuse and food insecurity in a nationally representative sample. We examined which groups most commonly face unmet food and medication needs.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of data from chronically ill participants (self report of arthritis, diabetes mellitus, cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, hypertension, coronary heart disease, or presence of a "psychiatric problem"), age ?20 years, of the 2011 National Health Interview Survey. We fit logistic regression models to identify factors associated with food insecurity, cost-related medication underuse, or both.

Results: 9,696 adult NHIS participants reported chronic illness; 23.4% reported cost-related medication underuse; 18.8% reported food insecurity; and 11% reported both. Adults who reported food insecurity were significantly more likely to report cost-related medication underuse (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.03). Participants with both cost-related medication underuse and food insecurity were more likely to be Hispanic (aOR 1.58) non-Hispanic Black (aOR 1.58), and have more chronic conditions (aOR per additional chronic condition 1.56) than patients reporting neither. They were also less likely to have Public, non-Medicare insurance (aOR 0.70) and report to WIC participation (aOR 0.39).

Conclusions: Approximately 1 in 3 chronically-ill NHIS participants are unable to afford food, medications, or both. WIC and public health insurance participation are associated with less food insecurity and cost-related medication underuse.

----------------------

The Impact of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Participation on Household Energy Insecurity

Anthony Murray & Bradford Mills
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
The impact of the low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP), the single largest energy assistance program available to poor households in the United States has received little rigorous attention. If LIHEAP participation significantly improves low-income household energy security, funding cuts or eliminating the program could negatively impact the poor. This article empirically estimates the impact of LIHEAP on household energy security. The results indicate participation in LIHEAP significantly increases energy security in low-income households. Simulations suggest that elimination of the current household energy-assistance safety net will decrease the number of low-income energy secure households by over 17%.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18   Next