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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Decision tree

When Multiple Creators Are Worse Than One: The Bias Toward Single Authors in the Evaluation of Art

Rosanna Smith & George Newman
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present studies investigate whether people perceive the same work of art to be of lower quality if they learn that it was a collaborative work (resulting from the efforts of multiple artists) versus the work of a single artist. Study 1 finds that indeed, as the number of authors increases, the perceived quality of an artwork decreases. Study 2 finds that this effect occurs because people tend to assess quality in terms of the effort put forth by each author, rather than the total amount of effort required to create the work. Study 3 further demonstrates that this bias toward single authors appears to be driven by people’s beliefs, rather than by any inherent differences between individual versus collaborative work. These results broaden our understanding of how perceptions of effort drive evaluative judgments, and are consistent with a more general notion that art is not evaluated as a static entity, but rather as an endpoint in a “creative performance.”

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Rank-Based Groupings and Decision Making: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of the NFL Draft Rounds and Rookie Compensation

Quinn Keefer
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rank-based groupings are uninformative signals of quality when the exact rank is known; therefore, they should be ignored in decision making. However, evidence is presented that rank-based groupings are used to determine the compensation of rookie players in the National Football League (NFL). The NFL draft, which largely determines rookie compensation, provides two signals of player quality, selection number, and round. However, the rounds are simply groupings based on selection number; thus, the rounds should not affect subsequent decisions. Sharp regression discontinuity design (RDD) estimates of discontinuities in rookie compensation at the round cutoffs are shown to be very large and robust. The first to second round discontinuity is −US$240,000 to −US$250,000, or 36% of the average salary of the first selection in the second round. The second to third round discontinuity is −US$60,000 to −US$70,000, or 17% of the average salary of the first selection in the third round. The results show rookie compensation, which comprises a large share of career earnings, is subject to heuristic thinking.

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The Bottom Dollar Effect: The Influence of Spending to Zero on Pain of Payment and Satisfaction

Robin Soster, Andrew Gershoff & William Bearden
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Spending that exhausts a budget is shown to decrease satisfaction with purchased products relative to spending when resources remain in the budget. Six studies, including those in which participants earn and spend real resources and evaluate real products, explore this bottom dollar effect. This research contributes to prior mental accounting research regarding how costs influence decision making (e.g., bundling, coupling, sunk costs) and to the satisfaction literature. Supporting the role of pain of payment in this process, we show that the bottom dollar effect increases as effort required to earn budgetary resources increases, decreases in the presence of windfall gains, and decreases when there is less time between budget exhaustion and replenishment. Mediation analyses further demonstrate the role of payment pain in the bottom dollar effect. Implications are discussed in the context of behavioral research, marketing promotions management, and public policy.

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Exploring Solomon’s Paradox: Self-Distancing Eliminates the Self-Other Asymmetry in Wise Reasoning About Close Relationships in Younger and Older Adults

Igor Grossmann & Ethan Kross
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are people wiser when reflecting on other people’s problems compared with their own? If so, does self-distancing eliminate this asymmetry in wise reasoning? In three experiments (N = 693), participants displayed wiser reasoning (i.e., recognizing the limits of their knowledge and the importance of compromise and future change, considering other people’s perspectives) about another person’s problems compared with their own. Across Studies 2 and 3, instructing individuals to self-distance (rather than self-immerse) eliminated this asymmetry. Study 3 demonstrated that each of these effects was comparable for younger (20–40 years) and older (60–80 years) adults. Thus, contrary to the adage “with age comes wisdom,” our findings suggest that there are no age differences in wise reasoning about personal conflicts, and that the effects of self-distancing generalize across age cohorts. These findings highlight the role that self-distancing plays in allowing people to overcome a pervasive asymmetry that characterizes wise reasoning.

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Get Up, Stand Up: The Effects of a Non-Sedentary Workspace on Information Elaboration and Group Performance

Andrew Knight & Markus Baer
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Non-sedentary work configurations, which encourage standing rather than sitting in the course of work, are becoming increasingly prevalent in organizations. In this article, we build and test theory about how non-sedentary arrangements influence interpersonal processes in groups performing knowledge work — tasks that require groups to combine information to develop creative ideas and solve problems. We propose that a non-sedentary workspace increases group arousal, while at the same time decreasing group idea territoriality, both of which result in better information elaboration and, indirectly, better group performance. The results of an experimental study of 54 groups engaged in a creative task provide support for this dual pathway model and underscore the important role of the physical space in which a group works as a contextual input to group processes and outcomes.

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When Consequence Size Predicts Belief in Conspiracy Theories: The Moderating Role of Perspective Taking

Jan-Willem van Prooijen & Eric van Dijk
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 63–73

Abstract:
People believe in conspiracy theories more strongly following consequential as opposed to inconsequential events. We expected this effect to be most pronounced among people who take the perspective of the group that is directly affected by the event. Five studies support our line of reasoning. Studies 1 and 4 reveal that participants endorsed stronger conspiracy beliefs when reading about an event with big consequences (i.e., an opposition leader of an African country died in a car crash) than when reading about an event with small consequences (the opposition leader survived the car crash), but only among participants who took the perspective of the citizens of the African country. Similar findings emerged using an individual difference measure of perspective-taking abilities, and with different operationalizations of conspiracy beliefs (Studies 2 and 3). Study 5 revealed that the effects of perspective-taking are mediated by participants’ own sense-making motivation. It is concluded that perspective taking promotes conspiracy beliefs when confronted with events that are harmful to another group.

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Learning Through Noticing: Theory and Experimental Evidence in Farming

Rema Hanna, Sendhil Mullainathan & Joshua Schwartzstein
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider a model of technological learning under which people “learn through noticing”: they choose which input dimensions to attend to and subsequently learn about from available data. Using this model, we show how people with a great deal of experience may persistently be off the production frontier because they fail to notice important features of the data that they possess. We also develop predictions on when these learning failures are likely to occur, as well as on the types of interventions that can help people learn. We test the model's predictions in a field experiment with seaweed farmers. The survey data reveal that these farmers do not attend to pod size, a particular input dimension. Experimental trials suggest that farmers are particularly far from optimizing this dimension. Furthermore, consistent with the model, we find that simply having access to the experimental data does not induce learning. Instead, behavioral changes occur only after the farmers are presented with summaries that highlight previously unattended-to relationships in the data.

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Metacognition of multitasking: How well do we predict the costs of divided attention?

Jason Finley, Aaron Benjamin & Jason McCarley
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, June 2014, Pages 158-165

Abstract:
Risky multitasking, such as texting while driving, may occur because people misestimate the costs of divided attention. In two experiments, participants performed a computerized visual-manual tracking task in which they attempted to keep a mouse cursor within a small target that moved erratically around a circular track. They then separately performed an auditory n-back task. After practicing both tasks separately, participants received feedback on their single-task tracking performance and predicted their dual-task tracking performance before finally performing the 2 tasks simultaneously. Most participants correctly predicted reductions in tracking performance under dual-task conditions, with a majority overestimating the costs of dual-tasking. However, the between-subjects correlation between predicted and actual performance decrements was near 0. This combination of results suggests that people do anticipate costs of multitasking, but have little metacognitive insight on the extent to which they are personally vulnerable to the risks of divided attention, relative to other people.

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Seeing the Math in the Story: On How Abstraction Promotes Performance on Mathematical Word Problems

Dan Schley & Kentaro Fujita
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The negative social, health, financial, and other life outcomes associated with mathematical proficiency deficits highlight the need to understand the underlying cognitive operations entailed in solving math problems. We focus specifically on mathematical word problems and propose that abstraction can enhance performance by helping people see beyond the incidental details described in word problems and to recognize instead the underlying mathematical relationships. Three studies manipulated abstraction as a procedural mind-set (i.e., inducing abstraction in one task and observing its “carry-over” effect in subsequent unrelated tasks) and observed performance on both numeric and word problems. Participants in the abstract, relative to concrete, mind-set condition were more successful in translating word problems into their analogous numeric forms, resulting in improved performance. We discuss implications of these findings for understanding individual and group differences in mathematics proficiencies, which may stem from both chronic and situational factors, and for the development of novel interventions.

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How the Consideration of Positive Emotions Influences Persuasion: The Differential Effect of Pride Versus Joy

Noam Karsh & Tal Eyal
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although pride and joy are both positive emotions, we expected their consideration to affect persuasion differently because of the different perspectives (near vs. distant) and level of abstractness they involve, with pride being more abstract than joy. Therefore, we predicted that when the attitude object is construed at a high level rather than a low level, the consideration of pride is likely to promote more persuasion than the consideration of joy. In three studies, we found that the consideration of pride, when featured in the persuasion message (Studies 1a and 1b) or incidentally (Study 2), increased persuasion more than did the consideration of joy, when the persuasion object was temporally distant compared with temporally near (Studies 1a and 1b) or construed as a high-level category compared with a more concrete individual (Study 2). These findings advance our understanding of the ways in which specific emotions may affect persuasion, beyond valence.

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Context effects produced by question orders reveal quantum nature of human judgments

Zheng Wang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1 July 2014, Pages 9431–9436

Abstract:
The hypothesis that human reasoning obeys the laws of quantum rather than classical probability has been used in recent years to explain a variety of seemingly “irrational” judgment and decision-making findings. This article provides independent evidence for this hypothesis based on an a priori prediction, called the quantum question (QQ) equality, concerning the effect of asking attitude questions successively in different orders. We empirically evaluated the predicted QQ equality using 70 national representative surveys and two laboratory experiments that manipulated question orders. Each national study contained 651–3,006 participants. The results provided strong support for the predicted QQ equality. These findings suggest that quantum probability theory, initially invented to explain noncommutativity of measurements in physics, provides a simple account for a surprising regularity regarding measurement order effects in social and behavioral science.

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Arguments, More Than Confidence, Explain the Good Performance of Reasoning Groups

Emmanuel Trouche, Emmanuel Sander & Hugo Mercier
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
In many intellective tasks groups consistently outperform individuals. One factor is that the individual(s) with the best answer is able to convince the other group members using sound argumentation. Another factor is that the most confident group member imposes her answer whether it is right or wrong. In Experiments 1 and 2, individual participants were given arguments against their answer in intellective tasks. Demonstrating sound argumentative competence, many participants changed their minds to adopt the correct answer, even though the arguments had no confidence markers, and barely any participants changed their minds to adopt an incorrect answer. Confidence could not explain who changed their mind, as the least confident participants were as likely to change their minds as the most confident. In Experiments 3 (adults) and 4 (10-year-olds), participants solved intellective tasks individually and then in groups, before solving transfer problems individually. Demonstrating again sound argumentative competence, participants adopted the correct answer when it was present in the group, and many succeeded in transferring this understanding to novel problems. Moreover, the group member with the right answer nearly always managed to convince the group even when she was not the most confident. These results show that argument quality can overcome confidence among the factors influencing the discussion of intellective tasks. Explanations for apparent exceptions are discussed.

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Profiting from Machine Learning in the NBA Draft

Philip Maymin
NYU Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
I project historical NCAA college basketball performance to subsequent NBA performance for prospects using modern machine learning techniques without snooping bias. I find that the projections would have helped improve the drafting decisions of virtually every team: over the past ten years, teams forfeited an average of about $90,000,000 in lost productivity that could have been theirs had they followed the recommendations of the model. I provide team-by-team breakdowns of who should have been drafted instead, as well as team summaries of lost profit, and draft order comparison. Far from being just another input in making decisions, when used properly, advanced draft analytics can effectively be an additional revenue source in a team’s business model.

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Wisdom or Madness? Comparing Crowds with Expert Evaluation in Funding the Arts

Ethan Mollick & Ramana Nanda
Harvard Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
In fields as diverse as technology entrepreneurship and the arts, crowds of interested stakeholders are increasingly responsible for deciding which innovations to fund, a privilege that was previously reserved for a few experts, such as venture capitalists and grant‐making bodies. Little is known about the degree to which the crowd differs from experts in judging which ideas to fund, and, indeed, whether the crowd is even rational in making funding decisions. Drawing on a panel of national experts and comprehensive data from the largest crowdfunding site, we examine funding decisions for proposed theater projects, a category where expert and crowd preferences might be expected to differ greatly. We instead find substantial agreement between the funding decisions of crowds and experts. Where crowds and experts disagree, it is far more likely to be a case where the crowd is willing to fund projects that experts may not. Examining the outcomes of these projects, we find no quantitative or qualitative differences between projects funded by the crowd alone, and those that were selected by both the crowd and experts. Our findings suggest that the democratization of entry that is facilitated by the crowdfunding has the potential to lower the incidence of “false negatives,” by allowing projects the option to receive multiple evaluations and reach out to receptive communities that may not otherwise be represented by experts.

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The Effects of Counterfactual Attacks on Social Judgments

Patrizia Catellani & Mauro Bertolotti
Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two experiments were conducted to compare the effects of different styles of verbal criticism (factual vs. counterfactual) on the perceptions of target, source, and quality of the attack. Counterfactual attacks resulted in more negative overall judgment of the target and ratings of the target’s morality than either factual attacks or no attack. Counterfactual attacks were also rated more positively than factual attacks, and the source of the counterfactual attack was rated as being less biased against the target. Regression analyses confirmed that the observed effect on overall judgment was mediated by the perceived bias of the source. The greater effectiveness of counterfactual attacks was moderated by awareness of prior hostility of the source of the attack toward the target.

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Reading Fictional Stories and Winning Delayed Prizes: The Surprising Emotional Impact of Distant Events

Jane Ebert & Tom Meyvis
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Hedonic experiences that involve real, immediate events (such as reading about a recent, real-life tragic event) naturally evoke strong affective reactions. When these events are instead fictional or removed in time, they should be perceived as more psychologically distant and evoke weaker affective reactions. The current research shows that, while consumers’ intuitions are in line with this prediction, their actual emotional experiences are surprisingly insensitive to the distancing information. For instance, readers of a sad story overestimated how much their emotional reaction would be reduced by knowing that it described a fictional event. Similarly, game participants overestimated how much their excitement about winning a prize would be dampened by knowing that the prize would only be available later. We propose that actual readers and prize winners were too absorbed by the hedonic experience to incorporate the distancing information, resulting in surprisingly strong affective reactions to fictional stories and delayed prizes.

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Predicting the Winner of Tied National Football League Games: Do the Details Matter?

Jared Quenzel & Paul Shea
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We construct a data set of all 429 tied at the half regular season National Football League (NFL) games between 1994 and 2012. We then examine whether or not the path taken to reach the tie (e.g., rushing yards, turnovers, etc.) has any ability to predict the eventual winner. Our main finding is that only the point spread is significantly predictive, although there is weak evidence to suggest that allowing more sacks reduces the chances of winning. Surprisingly, we find that the team receiving the first possession of the second half does not enjoy a statistically significant advantage. Teams should thus simply try to maximize their first half lead without expecting that first half strategies such as “establishing the run” will pay dividends in the second half.

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How emotions affect logical reasoning: Evidence from experiments with mood-manipulated participants, spider phobics, and people with exam anxiety

Nadine Jung et al.
Frontiers in Psychology, June 2014

Abstract:
Recent experimental studies show that emotions can have a significant effect on the way we think, decide, and solve problems. This paper presents a series of four experiments on how emotions affect logical reasoning. In two experiments different groups of participants first had to pass a manipulated intelligence test. Their emotional state was altered by giving them feedback, that they performed excellent, poor or on average. Then they completed a set of logical inference problems (with if p, then q statements) either in a Wason selection task paradigm or problems from the logical propositional calculus. Problem content also had either a positive, negative or neutral emotional value. Results showed a clear effect of emotions on reasoning performance. Participants in negative mood performed worse than participants in positive mood, but both groups were outperformed by the neutral mood reasoners. Problem content also had an effect on reasoning performance. In a second set of experiments, participants with exam or spider phobia solved logical problems with contents that were related to their anxiety disorder (spiders or exams). Spider phobic participants' performance was lowered by the spider-content, while exam anxious participants were not affected by the exam-related problem content. Overall, unlike some previous studies, no evidence was found that performance is improved when emotion and content are congruent. These results have consequences for cognitive reasoning research and also for cognitively oriented psychotherapy and the treatment of disorders like depression and anxiety.

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Two Reasons to Make Aggregated Probability Forecasts More Extreme

Jonathan Baron et al.
Decision Analysis, June 2014, Pages 133-145

Abstract:
When aggregating the probability estimates of many individuals to form a consensus probability estimate of an uncertain future event, it is common to combine them using a simple weighted average. Such aggregated probabilities correspond more closely to the real world if they are transformed by pushing them closer to 0 or 1. We explain the need for such transformations in terms of two distorting factors: The first factor is the compression of the probability scale at the two ends, so that random error tends to push the average probability toward 0.5. This effect does not occur for the median forecast, or, arguably, for the mean of the log odds of individual forecasts. The second factor — which affects mean, median, and mean of log odds — is the result of forecasters taking into account their individual ignorance of the total body of information available. Individual confidence in the direction of a probability judgment (high/low) thus fails to take into account the wisdom of crowds that results from combining different evidence available to different judges. We show that the same transformation function can approximately eliminate both distorting effects with different parameters for the mean and the median. And we show how, in principle, use of the median can help distinguish the two effects.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's in your wallet

Moochers and Makers in the Voting Booth: Who Benefits from Federal Spending and How Did They Vote in the 2012 Presidential Election?

Dean Lacy
Public Opinion Quarterly, June 2014, Pages 255-275

Abstract:
The 2012 election campaign popularized the notion that people who benefit from federal spending vote for Democrats, while people who pay the preponderance of taxes vote Republican. A survey conducted during the election included questions to test this hypothesis and to assess the accuracy of voters’ perceptions of federal spending. Voters’ perceptions of their benefit from federal spending are determined by family income, age, employment status, and number of children, as well as by party identification and race. Voters aged 65 and older who believe they are net beneficiaries of federal spending are more likely to be Democrats and vote for Barack Obama than seniors who believe they are net contributors to the federal government. However, the 77.5 percent of voters under age 65 who believe they are net beneficiaries of federal spending are as likely to vote for Romney as for Obama and as likely to be Republicans as Democrats. Voters who live in states that receive more in federal funds than they pay in federal taxes are less likely to vote for Obama or to be Democrats. For most of the electorate, dependence on federal spending is unrelated to vote choice.

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Educational Assortative Mating and Household Income Inequality

Lasse Eika, Magne Mogstad & Basit Zafar
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
We investigate the pattern of educational assortative mating, its evolution over time, and its impact on household income inequality. To these ends, we use rich data from the U.S. and Norway over the period 1980-2007. We find evidence of positive assortative mating at all levels of education in both countries. However, the time trends vary by the level of education: Among college graduates, assortative mating has been declining over time, whereas low educated are increasingly sorting into internally homogenous marriages. When looking within the group of college educated, we find strong but declining assortative mating by academic major. These findings motivate and guide a decomposition analysis, where we quantify the contribution of various factors to the distribution of household income. We find that educational assortative mating accounts for a non-negligible part of the cross-sectional inequality in household income. However, changes in assortative mating over time barely move the time trends in household income inequality. This is because the decline in assortative mating among the highly educated is offset by an increase in assortative mating among the low educated. By comparison, increases in the returns to education over time generate a considerable rise in household income inequality, but these price effects are partly mitigated by increases in college attendance and completion rates among women.

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Does National Income Inequality Affect Individuals’ Quality of Life in Europe? Inequality, Happiness, Finances, and Health

Krzysztof Zagorski et al.
Social Indicators Research, July 2014, Pages 1089-1110

Abstract:
This paper analyses the effect of income inequality on Europeans’ quality of life, specifically on their overall well-being (happiness, life satisfaction), on their financial quality of life (satisfaction with standard of living, affordability of goods and services, subjective poverty), and on their health (self-rated health, satisfaction with health). The simple bivariate correlations of inequality with overall well-being, financial quality of life, and health are negative. But this is misleading because of the confounding effect of a key omitted variable, national economic development (GDP per capita): Unequal societies are on average much poorer (r = 0.46) and so disadvantaged because of that. We analyse the multi-level European Quality of Life survey conducted in 2003 including national-level data on inequality (Gini coefficient) and economic development (GDP) and individual-level data on overall well-being, financial quality of life, and health. The individual cases are from representative samples of 28 European countries. Our variance-components multi-level models controlling for known individual-level predictors show that national per capita GDP increases subjective well-being, financial quality of life, and health. Net of that, the national level of inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has no statistically significant effect, suggesting that income inequality does not reduce well-being, financial quality of life, or health in advanced societies. These result all imply that directing policies and resources towards inequality reduction is unlikely to benefit the general public in advanced societies.

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How Did Distributional Preferences Change During the Great Recession?

Raymond Fisman, Pamela Jakiela & Shachar Kariv
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We compare behavior in experiments measuring distributional preferences during the “Great Recession” to behavior in identical experiments conducted during the preceding economic boom. Subjects are drawn from a diverse pool of students whose socioeconomic composition is largely held constant by the university, mitigating concerns about differential selection across macroeconomic conditions. Subjects exposed to the recession are more selfish and more willing to sacrifice equality to enhance efficiency. Reproducing recessionary conditions inside the laboratory by confronting subjects with losses has the same impact on distributional preferences, bolstering the interpretation that economic circumstances, rather than other factors, are driving our results.

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Educational Segregation, Tea Party Organizations, and Battles over Distributive Justice

Rory McVeigh et al.
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Competing visions of who is deserving of rewards and privileges, and different understandings of the fairness of reward allocation processes, are at the heart of political conflict. Indeed, social movement scholars generally agree that a key component of most, if not all, social movements is a shared belief that existing conditions are unfair and subject to change (Gamson 1992; McAdam 1982; Snow et al. 1986; Turner and Killian 1987). In this article we consider the role that residential segregation by education level plays in shaping perceptions of distributive justice and, in turn, providing a context conducive to conservative political mobilization. We apply these ideas in an analysis of Tea Party activism and show that educational segregation is a strong predictor of the number of Tea Party organizations in U.S. counties. In a complementary analysis, we find that individuals with a bachelor’s degree are more likely than people who do not have any college education to support the Tea Party; this relationship is strongest in counties with higher levels of educational segregation.

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Income Inequality, Social Mobility, and the Decision to Drop Out of High School

Melissa Kearney & Phillip Levine
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
This paper considers the role that high levels of income inequality and low rates of social mobility play in driving the educational attainment of youth in low-income households in the United States. Using high school degree status from five individual-level surveys, our analysis reveals that low-socioeconomic status (SES) students, and particularly boys, who grow up in locations with greater levels of lower-tail income inequality and lower levels of social mobility are relatively more likely to drop out of high school, conditional on other individual characteristics and contextual factors. The data indicate that this relationship does not reflect alternative characteristics of the place, such as poverty concentration, residential segregation, or public school financing. We propose that the results are consistent with a class of explanations that emphasize a role for perceptions of one’s own identity, position in society, or chances of success. In the end, our empirical results indicate that high levels of lower-tail income inequality and low levels of social mobility hinder educational advancement for disadvantaged youth.

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Social class and academic achievement in college: The interplay of rejection sensitivity and entity beliefs

Michelle Rheinschmidt & Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 101-121

Abstract:
Undergraduates, especially those from lower income backgrounds, may perceive their social class background as different or disadvantaged relative to that of peers and worry about negative social treatment. We hypothesized that concerns about discrimination based on one’s social class (i.e., class-based rejection sensitivity or RS-class) would be damaging to undergraduates’ achievement outcomes particularly among entity theorists, who perceive their personal characteristics as fixed. We reasoned that a perceived capacity for personal growth and change, characteristic of incremental theorists, would make the pursuit of a college degree and upward mobility seem more worthwhile and attainable. We found evidence across 3 studies that dispositionally held and experimentally primed entity (vs. incremental) beliefs predicted college academic performance as a function of RS-class. Studies 1a and 1b documented that high levels of both entity beliefs and RS-class predicted lower self-reported and official grades, respectively, among undergraduates from socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. In Study 2, high entity beliefs and RS-class at matriculation predicted decreased year-end official grades among lower class Latino students. Study 3 established the causal relationship of entity (vs. incremental) beliefs on academic test performance as a function of RS-class. We observed worse test performance with higher RS-class levels following an entity (vs. incremental) prime, an effect driven by lower income students. Findings from a 4th study suggest that entity theorists with RS-class concerns tend to believe less in upward mobility and, following academic setbacks, are prone to personal attributions of failure, as well as hopelessness. Implications for education and intervention are discussed.

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The Distributional Preferences of Americans

Raymond Fisman, Pamela Jakiela & Shachar Kariv
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
We measure the distributional preferences of a large, diverse sample of Americans by embedding modified dictator games that vary the relative price of redistribution in the American Life Panel. Subjects' choices are generally consistent with maximizing a (social) utility function. We decompose distributional preferences into two distinct components - fair-mindedness (tradeoffs between oneself and others) and equality-efficiency tradeoffs - by estimating constant elasticity of substitution utility functions at the individual level. Approximately equal numbers of Americans have equality-focused and efficiency-focused distributional preferences. After controlling for individual characteristics, our experimental measures of equality-efficiency tradeoffs predict the political decisions of our subjects.

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Union Strength, Neoliberalism, and Inequality: Contingent Political Analyses of U.S. Income Differences since 1950

David Jacobs & Lindsey Myers
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do historically contingent political accounts help explain the growth in family income inequality in the United States? We use time-series regressions based on 60 years to detect such relationships by assessing interactive associations between the neoliberal departure coincident with Ronald Reagan’s election and the acceleration in inequality that began soon after Reagan took office. We find evidence for this and for a second contingent relationship: stronger unions could successfully resist policies that enhanced economic inequality only before Reagan’s presidency and before the neoliberal anti-union administrations from both parties that followed Reagan. Politically inspired reductions in union membership, and labor’s diminished political opportunities during and after Reagan’s presidency, meant unions no longer could slow the growth in U.S. inequality. Coefficients on these two historically contingent interactions remain significant after many additional determinants are held constant. These findings indicate that political determinants should not be neglected when researchers investigate the determinants of U.S. inequality.

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Benefits Conditional on Work and the Nordic Model

Ann-Sofie Kolm & Mirco Tonin
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Welfare benefits in the Nordic countries are often tied to employment. We argue that this is one of the factors behind the success of the Nordic model, where a comprehensive welfare state is associated with high employment. In a general equilibrium setting, the underlining mechanism works through wage moderation and job creation. The benefits make it more important to hold a job, thus lower wages will be accepted, and more jobs created. Moreover, we show that the incentive to acquire higher education improves, further boosting employment in the long run. These positive effects help counteracting the negative impact of taxation. Through numerical simulations, we show how this mechanism can contribute to explain the better labor market performance and more equitable income distribution of Nordic countries compared to Continental European ones.

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The Scandinavian model — An interpretation

Erling Barth, Karl Moene & Fredrik Willumsen
Journal of Public Economics, September 2014, Pages 60–72

Abstract:
The small open economies in Scandinavia have for long periods had high work effort, small wage differentials, high productivity, and a generous welfare state. To understand how this might be an economic and political equilibrium we combine models of collective wage bargaining, creative job destruction, and welfare spending. The two-tier system of wage bargaining provides microeconomic efficiency and wage compression. Combined with a vintage approach to the process of creative destruction we show how wage compression fuels investments, enhances average productivity and increases the mean wage by allocating more of the work force to the most modern activities. Finally, we show how the political support of welfare spending is fueled by both a higher mean wage and a lower wage dispersion.

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Early childhood education expenditures and the intergenerational persistence of income

William Blankenau & Xiaoyan Youderian
Review of Economic Dynamics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider the extent to which cross-country differences in the intergenerational persistence of income can be explained by differences in government spending on early childhood education. We build a life-cycle model where human capital is accumulated in early, middle and late childhood. Both families and the government can increase the human capital of young agents by investing in education at each stage of childhood. Ability in each dynasty and wages per unit of human capital are stochastic. Different realizations of these values and the resultant education spending histories generate a stochastic steady-state distribution of income. Government spending can reduce persistence by weakening the link between parental income and education spending for a child. Our results show that doubling early childhood spending in the U.S. to match levels in Norway and Denmark eliminates less than 8.5 percent of the gap in intergenerational income persistence. Increased government education spending in later childhood has almost no effect on persistence. Early childhood expenditures can have a larger effect when allocated to low income families.

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Democracy, Redistribution, and Political Participation: Evidence From Sweden 1919–1938

Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich & Per Pettersson-Lidbom
Econometrica, May 2014, Pages 961–993

Abstract:
In this paper, we compare how two different types of political regimes — direct versus representative democracy — redistribute income toward the relatively poor segments of society after the introduction of universal and equal suffrage. Swedish local governments are used as a testing ground since this setting offers a number of attractive features for a credible impact evaluation. Most importantly, we exploit the existence of a population threshold, which partly determined a local government's choice of democracy to implement a regression-discontinuity design. The results indicate that direct democracies spend 40–60 percent less on public welfare. Our interpretation is that direct democracy may be more prone to elite capture than representative democracy since the elite's potential to exercise de facto power is likely to be greater in direct democracy after democratization.

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Life Satisfaction Across Nations: The Effects of Women’s Political Status and Public Priorities

Richard York & Shannon Elizabeth Bell
Social Science Research, November 2014, Pages 48–61

Abstract:
Feminist scholars suggest that improving the quality of life of individuals living in nations around the world may be more readily achieved by increasing women’s political power and by reorienting public-policy priorities, rather than focusing primarily on economic growth. These considerations raise the question of which characteristics of societies are associated with the quality of life of the people in those societies. Here, we address this issue empirically by statistically analyzing cross-national data. We assess the effects of gender equality in the political sphere, as well as a variety of other factors, on the subjective well-being of nations, as indicated by average self-reported levels of life satisfaction. We find that people report the highest levels of life satisfaction in nations where women have greater political representation, where military spending is low, and where health care spending is high, controlling for a variety of other factors. GDP per capita, urbanization, and natural resource exploitation are not clearly associated with life satisfaction. These findings suggest that nations may be able to improve the subjective quality of life of people without increasing material wealth or natural resource consumption by increasing gender equality in politics and changing public spending priorities.

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The “Business Climate” and Economic Inequality

David Neumark & Jennifer Muz
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
“Business climate indexes” characterize state economic policies, and are often used to try to influence economic policy debate. However, they are also useful in research as summaries of a large number of state policies that cannot be studied simultaneously. Prior research found that business climate indexes focused on productivity and quality of life do not predict economic growth, while indexes emphasizing taxes and costs of doing business indicate that low-tax, low-cost states have faster growth of employment, wages, and output. In this paper, we study the relationship between these two categories of business climate indexes and the promotion of equality or inequality. We do not find that the productivity/quality-of-life indexes predict more equitable outcomes, although some of the policies underlying them suggest they might. We do find, however, that the same tax-and-cost related indexes that are associated with higher economic growth are also associated with increases in inequality.

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The Financial Crisis of 1929 Reexamined: The Role of Soaring Inequality

Jon Wisman
Review of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
The financial crisis of 1929 that triggered the Great Depression has been endlessly studied. Still there is little consensus regarding what caused it. This article claims that wage stagnation and exploding inequality fueled three dynamics that set the stage for a financial crisis. First, consumption was constrained by the smaller share of total income accruing to workers, thereby restricting investment opportunities in the real economy. Flush with greater income and wealth, the elite flooded financial markets with credit, helping keep interest rates low and encouraging the creation of new credit instruments, some of which recycled the rich's surplus assets as debt to those less well off. Second, greater inequality pressured households to find ways to consume more in order to maintain their relative social status, resulting in reduced household saving, greater household debt, and possibly longer work hours. Third, as the rich took larger shares of income and wealth, they gained relatively more command over everything, including ideology. Reducing taxes on the rich, favoring business over labor, and failing to regulate newly evolving credit instruments flowed out of this ideology.

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Who Is (More) Rational?

Syngjoo Choi et al.
American Economic Review, June 2014, Pages 1518-1550

Abstract:
Revealed preference theory offers a criterion for decision-making quality: if decisions are high quality then there exists a utility function the choices maximize. We conduct a large-scale experiment to test for consistency with utility maximization. Consistency scores vary markedly within and across socioeconomic groups. In particular, consistency is strongly related to wealth: a standard deviation increase in consistency is associated with 15-19 percent more household wealth. This association is quantitatively robust to conditioning on correlates of unobserved constraints, preferences, and beliefs. Consistency with utility maximization under laboratory conditions thus captures decision-making ability that applies across domains and influences important real-world outcomes.

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Inequality of Income and Consumption in the U.S.: Measuring the Trends in Inequality from 1984 to 2011 for the Same Individuals

Jonathan Fisher, David Johnson & Timothy Smeeding
Review of Income and Wealth, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the distribution of income and consumption in the U.S. using one dataset that obtains measures of both income and consumption from the same set of individuals. We develop a set of inequality measures that show the increase in inequality during the past 27 years using the 1984–2011 Consumer Expenditure Survey. We find that the trends in income and consumption inequality are similar between 1984 and 2006, and diverge during and after the Great Recession. For the entire 27-year period we find that consumption inequality increases almost as much as does income inequality.

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Trust, Welfare States and Income Equality: Sorting out the Causality

Andreas Bergh & Christian Bjørnskov
European Journal of Political Economy, September 2014, Pages 183–199

Abstract:
The cross-country correlation between social trust and income equality is well documented, but few studies examine the direction of causality. We show theoretically that by facilitating cooperation, trust may lead to more equal outcomes, while the feedback from inequality to trust is ambiguous. Using a structural equations model estimated on a large country sample, we find that trust has a positive effect on both market and net income equality. Larger welfare states lead to higher net equality but neither net income equality nor welfare state size seem to have a causal effect on trust. We conclude that while trust facilitates welfare state policies that may reduce net inequality, this decrease in inequality does not increase trust.

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On the Relationship between Innovation and Wage Inequality: New Evidence from Canadian Cities

Sébastien Breau, Dieter Kogler & Kenyon Bolton
Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we examine the link between innovation and earnings inequality across Canadian cities over the 1996–2006 period. We do so using a novel data set that combines information from the Canadian long-form census and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The analysis reveals that there is a positive relationship between innovation and inequality: cities with higher levels of innovation have more unequal distributions of earnings. Other factors influencing differences in inequality include city size, manufacturing and government employment, the percentage of visible minority in an urban population, and educational inequality. These results are robust to the use of different measures of inequality, innovation, alternative specifications, and instrumental variables estimations. Questions are thus raised about how the benefits of innovation are distributed in society and the long-term sustainability of such trends.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wanted

Nostalgia Weakens the Desire for Money

Jannine Lasaleta, Constantine Sedikides & Kathleen Vohs
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nostalgia has a strong presence in the marketing of goods and services. The current research asked whether its effectiveness is driven by its weakening of the desire for money. Six experiments demonstrated that feeling nostalgic decreased people's desire for money. Using multiple operationalizations of desire for money, nostalgia (vs. neutral) condition participants were willing to pay more for products (experiment 1), parted with more money but not more time (experiment 2), valued money less (experiments 3 and 4), were willing to put less effort into obtaining money (experiment 5), and drew smaller coins (experiment 6). Process evidence indicated that nostalgia's weakening of the desire for money was due to its capacity to foster social connectedness (experiments 5 and 6). Implications for price sensitivity, willingness to pay, consumer spending, and donation behavior are discussed. Nostalgia may be so commonly used in marketing because it encourages consumers to part with their money.

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The inner speech of behavioral regulation: Intentions and task performance strengthen when you talk to yourself as a You

Sanda Dolcos & Dolores Albarracin
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often talk to themselves using the first-person pronoun (I), but they also talk to themselves as if they are speaking to someone else, using the second-person pronoun (You). Yet, the relative behavioral control achieved by I and You self-talk remains unknown. The current research was designed to examine the potential behavioral advantage of using You in self-talk and the role of attitudes in this process. Three experiments compared the effects of I and You self-talk on problem solving performance and behavioral intentions. Experiment 1 revealed that giving self-advice about a hypothetical social situation using You yielded better anagram task performance than using I. Experiment 2 showed that using You self-talk in preparation for an anagram task enhanced anagram performance and intentions to work on anagrams more than I self-talk, and that these effects were mediated by participants' attitudes toward the task. Experiment 3 extended these findings to exercise intentions and highlighted the role of attitudes in this effect. Altogether, the current research showed that second-person self-talk strengthens both actual behavior performance and prospective behavioral intentions more than first-person self-talk.

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The role of expressive writing in math anxiety

Daeun Park, Gerardo Ramirez & Sian Beilock
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, June 2014, Pages 103-111

Abstract:
Math anxiety is a negative affective reaction to situations involving math. Previous work demonstrates that math anxiety can negatively impact math problem solving by creating performance-related worries that disrupt the working memory needed for the task at hand. By leveraging knowledge about the mechanism underlying the math anxiety-performance relationship, we tested the effectiveness of a short expressive writing intervention that has been shown to reduce intrusive thoughts and improve working memory availability. Students (N = 80) varying in math anxiety were asked to sit quietly (control group) prior to completing difficulty-matched math and word problems or to write about their thoughts and feelings regarding the exam they were about to take (expressive writing group). For the control group, high math-anxious individuals (HMAs) performed significantly worse on the math problems than low math-anxious students (LMAs). In the expressive writing group, however, this difference in math performance across HMAs and LMAs was significantly reduced. Among HMAs, the use of words related to anxiety, cause, and insight in their writing was positively related to math performance. Expressive writing boosts the performance of anxious students in math-testing situations.

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Self-Esteem Instability and the Desire for Fame

Amy Noser & Virgil Zeigler-Hill
Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The desire to become famous was examined among individuals with stable and unstable forms of self-esteem. Participants were 181 female undergraduates who completed measures of self-esteem level and fame interest along with daily measures of state self-esteem (i.e., how an individual feels about oneself at the present moment) for seven consecutive days. Our results show that individuals who possess unstable high self-esteem reported a stronger desire to become famous than did those with stable high self-esteem. These findings suggest the intriguing possibility that individuals with unstable high self-esteem may want to become famous as a means for gaining external validation. Implications of these findings for understanding the connection between self-esteem and the desire for fame are discussed.

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Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind

Timothy Wilson et al.
Science, 4 July 2014, Pages 75-77

Abstract:
In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

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Deliberate Practice and Performance in Music, Games, Sports, Education, and Professions: A Meta-Analysis

Brooke Macnamara, David Hambrick & Frederick Oswald
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
More than 20 years ago, researchers proposed that individual differences in performance in such domains as music, sports, and games largely reflect individual differences in amount of deliberate practice, which was defined as engagement in structured activities created specifically to improve performance in a domain. This view is a frequent topic of popular-science writing - but is it supported by empirical evidence? To answer this question, we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated. We found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.

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Doing It the Hard Way: How Low Control Drives Preferences for High Effort Products and Services

Keisha Cutright & Adriana Samper
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often face situations in which their feelings of personal control are threatened. In such contexts, what role should products play in helping consumers pursue their goals (e.g., losing weight, maintaining a clean home, etc.)? Across five studies, we challenge the traditional view that low control is detrimental to effort and demonstrate that consumers prefer products that require them to engage in hard work when feelings of control are low. Such high-effort products reassure individuals that desired outcomes are possible while also enabling them to feel as if they have driven their own outcomes. We also identify important boundary conditions, finding that both the nature of individuals' thoughts about control and their perceived rate of progress towards goals are important factors in the desire to exert increased effort.

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Will you thrive under pressure or burn out? Linking anxiety motivation and emotional exhaustion

Juliane Strack, Paulo Lopes & Francisco Esteves
Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can individual differences in the tendency to use anxiety as a source of motivation explain emotional exhaustion? We examined the effects of using anxiety as a source of energy or as a source of information (viewed here as two forms of anxiety motivation) on emotional exhaustion. In Study 1, the use of anxiety as a source of energy predicted decreased emotional exhaustion one year later. Moreover, both forms of anxiety motivation buffered people from the detrimental effects of trait anxiety on later emotional exhaustion. In Study 2, an experiment, participants who were instructed to use anxiety as a source of energy reported lower emotional exhaustion following a stressful task, compared to those instructed to focus on the task or to simply do their best. These findings suggest that using anxiety as a source of motivation may protect people against emotional exhaustion.

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The Role of Instrumental Emotion Regulation in the Emotions-Creativity Link: How Worries Render Individuals With High Neuroticism More Creative

Angela Leung et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on the instrumental account of emotion regulation (Tamir, 2005), the current research seeks to offer a novel perspective to the emotions-creativity debate by investigating the instrumental value of trait-consistent emotions in creativity. We hypothesize that emotions such as worry (vs. happy) are trait-consistent experiences for individuals higher on trait neuroticism and experiencing these emotions can facilitate performance in a creativity task. In 3 studies, we found support for our hypothesis. First, individuals higher in neuroticism had a greater preference for recalling worrisome (vs. happy) events in anticipation of performing a creativity task (Study 1). Moreover, when induced to recall a worrisome (vs. happy) event, individuals higher in neuroticism came up with more creative design (Study 2) and more flexible uses of a brick (Study 3) when the task was a cognitively demanding one. Further, Study 3 offers preliminary support that increased intrinsic task enjoyment and motivation mediates the relationship between trait-consistent emotion regulation and creative performance. These findings offer a new perspective to the controversy concerning the emotions-creativity relationship and further demonstrate the role of instrumental emotion regulation in the domain of creative performance.

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Driven to Win: Rivalry, Motivation, and Performance

Gavin Kilduff
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates the phenomenon of interindividual rivalry and its consequences for motivation and task performance. Two studies of adults from the general population found that rivalry, as compared to nonrival competition, was associated with increased motivation and performance, controlling for tangible stakes, dislike, and other factors. Then, a large-scale archival study of long-distance running found that runners ran faster in races featuring their rivals, which were identified through empirical observation of demographics and prior race interactions. This research extends existing theory on competition and motivation and represents a first exploration into the consequences of rivalry between individuals.

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Predicting school success: Comparing Conscientiousness, Grit, and Emotion Regulation Ability

Zorana Ivcevic & Marc Brackett
Journal of Research in Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present paper examines validity of three proposed self-regulation predictors of school outcomes - Conscientiousness, Grit and Emotion Regulation Ability (ERA). In a sample of private high school students (N = 213) we measured these constructs along with indices of school success obtained from records (rule violating behavior, academic recognitions, honors, and GPA) and self-reported satisfaction with school. Regression analyses showed that after controlling for other Big Five traits, all school outcomes were significantly predicted by Conscientiousness and ERA, but not Grit. The discussion focuses on the importance of broad personality traits (Conscientiousness; measures of typical performance) and self-regulation abilities (ERA; measures of maximal performance) in predicting school success.

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Does Being Bored Make Us More Creative?

Sandi Mann & Rebekah Cadman
Creativity Research Journal, Spring 2014, Pages 165-173

Abstract:
Boredom has traditionally been associated with a range of negative outcomes, both within the workplace and outside it. More recently, however, it has been suggested that boredom can have positive outcomes, one of which might be increased creativity. This study addressed this proposition by examining the relationship between boredom and creative potential on a range of tasks. Two studies were carried out; the first involved 80 participants taking part in either a boring writing activity or not (control group) followed by a creative task. The second study involved a further 90 participants who varied in the type of boring activity they undertook (either a boring written activity, a boring reading activity, or a control) and the type of creative task that followed. Results suggested that boring activities resulted in increased creativity and that boring reading activities lead to more creativity in some circumstances (such as convergent tasks) than boring written activities. The role of daydreaming as a mediator between boredom and creativity is discussed and implications are outlined.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hot or not

Beauty and Status: The Illusion of Exchange in Partner Selection?

Elizabeth Aura McClintock
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have long been interested in exchange and matching (assortative mating) in romantic partner selection. But many analyses of exchange, particularly those that examine beauty and socioeconomic status, fail to control for partners' tendency to match each other on these traits. Because desirable traits in mates are positively correlated between partners and within individuals, ignoring matching may exaggerate evidence of cross-trait beauty-status exchange. Moreover, many prior analyses assume a gendered exchange in which women trade beauty for men's status, without testing whether men might use handsomeness to attract higher-status women. Nor have prior analyses fully investigated how the prevalence of beauty-status exchange varies between different types of couples. I use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health Romantic Pair Sample, a large (N = 1,507), nationally representative probability sample of dating, cohabiting, and married couples, to investigate how often romantic partners exchange physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status, net of matching on these traits. I find that controlling for matching eliminates nearly all evidence of beauty-status exchange. The discussion focuses on the contexts in which beauty-status exchange is most likely and on implications these results have for market-based and sociobiological theories of partner selection.

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Attraction to attachment insecurity: Flattery, appearance, and status's role in mate preferences

Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh, Alison Baren & Peryl Agishtein
Personal Relationships, June 2014, Pages 288-308

Abstract:
Research has shown that people select securely attached individuals as their first choice when asked to choose among secure or insecure partner prototypes. Despite this pattern, not everyone chooses a secure partner in real life. The goal of the reported studies was to examine factors that lead people to select insecure mates. Specifically, the roles of flattery, appearance, and status were assessed. In the first study, we found that flattery increased attraction to insecure partners. Study 2 showed that men preferred physical beauty over security. In Study 3, anxious women were attracted to high-status insecure men. These findings help explain why people may sometimes end up with insecure partners despite their professed preference for secure companions.

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The sweetness of forbidden fruit: Interracial daters are more attractive than intraracial daters

Karen Wu, Chuansheng Chen & Ellen Greenberger
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research on interracial dating has focused on demographic and adjustment factors while ignoring the traits most valued in romantic partners. We examined whether interracial and intraracial daters differ in the extent to which they possess various desirable attributes. In Study 1, undergraduates estimated their partners' ratings of them on 27 attributes. A factor analysis yielded attractiveness (e.g., physically attractive), cerebral (e.g., intelligent), relational (e.g., compassionate), and vibrancy (e.g., confident) attributes. Compared with intraracial daters, interracial daters reported that their partners saw them more positively on attractiveness, cerebral, and relational attributes (Study 1), rated their partners more positively on attractiveness and cerebral attributes (Study 2), and were rated by independent coders as more physically attractive (Study 3). Implications are discussed.

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Narcissism & Internet Pornography Use

Thomas Edward Kasper, Mary Beth Short & Alex Clinton Milam
Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined the relationship between Internet pornography use and Narcissism. Participants (N = 257) completed an online survey that included questions on Internet pornography use and three narcissism measures (i.e., Narcissistic Personality Inventory, Pathological Narcissistic Inventory, and the Index of Sexual Narcissism). The hours spent viewing Internet pornography use was positively correlated to participant's narcissism level. Additionally, those who have ever used Internet pornography endorsed higher levels of all three measures of narcissism than those who have never used Internet pornography.

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Sex differences in the attractiveness of hunter-gatherer and modern risks

John Petraitis et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, June 2014, Pages 442-453

Abstract:
When compared with other demographics, young males are more likely to take a variety of risks (like skateboarding, using drugs) and use risky behaviors to attract romantic partners. This study extended research on risk by assessing the attractiveness of 101 different kinds of risks performed by males and females. As predicted, factor analysis revealed that the attractiveness of diverse risks clustered around two major dimensions: risks like those faced by hunter-gatherer humans (e.g., handling fire and dangerous animals) and risks that are uniquely modern (e.g., driving without seat belts). Additionally, results confirmed that modern risks were rated as unattractive for both sexes, whereas hunter-gatherer risks were rated as especially attractive when performed by males. Discussion focuses on cultural and evolutionary explanations for the link between risk and attractiveness.

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Who Benefits From Casual Sex? The Moderating Role of Sociosexuality

Zhana Vrangalova & Anthony Ong
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Casual sex has become a normative experience among young people, raising concerns regarding its well-being consequences. Prior findings on main effects of casual sex on well-being are mixed, suggesting possible moderating factors. Using longitudinal and weekly diary methodologies, this study examined the moderating influence of sociosexuality, a stable personality orientation toward casual sex, on psychological well-being (self-esteem, life satisfaction, depression, and anxiety) following penetrative (oral, vaginal, or anal) casual sex among single undergraduates. As predicted, sociosexuality moderated the effect of casual sex on well-being on a weekly basis across 12 consecutive weeks, over one semester, and over one academic year. Sociosexually unrestricted students typically reported higher well-being after having casual sex compared to not having casual sex; there were no such differences among restricted individuals. Few gender differences were found. Findings are discussed in terms of authenticity in one's sexual behaviors.

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Body symmetry and physical strength in human males

Bernhard Fink et al.
American Journal of Human Biology, forthcoming

Objectives: Body symmetry and physical strength in males have been related to aspects of mate "quality" - women seem to prefer men who display both "good genes" (as indexed by high symmetry/developmental health) and fighting ability (as indexed by physical strength). Here we show that fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of the body and physical strength are negatively correlated.

Methods: Body FA (from 12 paired traits) and handgrip strength (HGS; a measure of muscular power and force) were measured in a sample of 69 heterosexual, right-handed men (18-42 years).

Results: There were positive correlations of body symmetry with HGS after controlling for the effect of body-mass-index.

Conclusions: We conclude that in males, body symmetry and physical strength are correlated such that symmetric individuals tend to develop higher strength, which may contribute to their success in inter- and intra-sexual selection.

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Opportunities to Meet: Occupational Education and Marriage Formation in Young Adulthood

David McClendon, Janet Chen-Lan Kuo & Kelly Raley
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Explanations for the positive association between education and marriage in the United States emphasize the economic and cultural attractiveness of having a college degree in the marriage market. However, educational attainment may also shape the opportunities that men and women have to meet other college-educated partners, particularly in contexts with significant educational stratification. We focus on work - and the social ties that it supports - and consider whether the educational composition of occupations is important for marriage formation during young adulthood. Employing discrete-time event-history methods using the NLSY-97, we find that occupational education is positively associated with transitioning to first marriage and with marrying a college-educated partner for women but not for men. Moreover, occupational education is positively associated with marriage over cohabitation as a first union for women. Our findings call attention to an unexplored, indirect link between education and marriage that, we argue, offers insight into why college-educated women in the United States enjoy better marriage prospects.

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Physical attractiveness as a phenotypic marker of health: An assessment using a nationally representative sample of American adults

Joseph Nedelec & Kevin Beaver
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evolutionary explanations regarding the differential preference for particular traits hold that preferences arose due to traits' association with increased potential for reproductive fitness. Assessments of physical attractiveness have been shown to be related to perceived and measured levels of health, an important fitness-related trait. Despite the robust association between physical attractiveness and health observed in the extant literature, a number of theoretical and methodological concerns remain. Specifically, the research in this area possesses a lack of specificity in terms of measures of health, a reliance on artificial social interactions in assessing physical attractiveness, a relatively infrequent use of non-student samples, and has left unaddressed the confounding effects of raters of attractiveness. Using these concerns as a springboard, the current study employed data from the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health (N ? 15,000; aged 25 to 34 years) to assess the relationship between physical attractiveness and various specific and overall measures of health. Logistic and OLS regression models illustrated a robust association between physical attractiveness and various measures of health, controlling for a variety of confounding factors. In sum, the more attractive a respondent was rated, the less likely he or she was to report being diagnosed with a wide range of chronic diseases and neuropsychological disorders. Importantly, this finding was observed for both sexes. These analyses provide further support for physical attractiveness as a phenotypic marker of health. The findings are discussed in reference to evolutionary theory and the limitations of the study and future research suggestions are also addressed.

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Men's, but not Women's, Sociosexual Orientation Predicts Couples' Perceptions of Sexually Dimorphic Cues in Own-Sex Faces

Michal Kandrik et al.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 2014, Pages 965-971

Abstract:
Previous research suggests that people's perceptions of own-sex individuals can change according to within-individual variation in their romantic partners' sexual strategies. For example, men are more likely to perceive other men's faces as looking particularly dominant during the fertile phase of their partner's menstrual cycle, when women tend to be more open to uncommitted sexual relationships. By contrast, little is known about how relatively stable between-individuals differences in partners' openness to uncommitted sexual relationships (i.e., their sociosexual orientation) predict perceptions of own-sex individuals. The revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI-R) assesses individuals' openness to uncommitted sexual relationships and shows high test-retest reliability over long periods of time. Consequently, we tested whether the SOI-R scores of men and women in heterosexual romantic couples predicted their perceptions of own-sex faces displaying exaggerated sex-typical cues. Men's, but not women's, SOI-R was positively correlated with the extent to which both the man and woman within a couple ascribed high dominance and attractiveness to own-sex faces with exaggerated sex-typical cues. In other words, individuals in couples where the man reported being particularly open to uncommitted sexual relationships were more likely to ascribe dominance and attractiveness to own-sex individuals displaying a putative cue of good phenotypic condition. These findings suggest that both men's and women's perceptions of potential competitors for mates are sensitive to the male partner's sexual strategy. Such individual differences in perceptions may benefit men's ability to compete for extra-pair and/or replacement mates and benefit women's mate guarding behaviors.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bull run

Ballot Access Laws and the Decline of American Third-Parties

Bernard Tamas & Matthew Dean Hindman
Election Law Journal, June 2014, Pages 260-276

Abstract:
Party and legal scholars often argue that ballot access requirements and other state-level election laws are primary reasons that third-parties have declined in importance in the United States. According to this argument, as ballot access laws got more difficult over the twentieth century, fewer minor parties were able to run, and those that overcame these onerous restrictions had few resources left to run effective campaigns. We traced the ballot access laws of each state from the enactment of the Australian ballot to the present and analyzed their impact on elections to the House of Representatives from 1890 to 2010. We found that while these laws got more difficult over the twentieth century, they had little impact on the electoral fortunes of third-parties. We conclude that these state election laws did not cause the dramatic decline of third-parties over the past 100 years.

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The Financial Incumbency Advantage: Causes and Consequences

Alexander Fouirnaies & Andrew Hall
Journal of Politics, July 2014, Pages 711-724

Abstract:
In this article, we use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the causal effect of incumbency on campaign contributions in the U.S. House and state legislatures. In both settings, incumbency causes approximately a 20–25 percentage-point increase in the share of donations flowing to the incumbent’s party. The effect size does not vary with legislator experience and does not appear to depend on incumbent office-holder benefits. Instead, as we show, the effect is primarily the result of donations from access-oriented interest groups, especially donors from industries under heavy regulation and those with less ideological ties. Given the role of money in elections, the findings suggest that access-oriented interest groups are an important driver of the electoral security of incumbents.

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Accuracy of Vote Expectation Surveys in Forecasting Elections

Andreas Graefe
Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 2014, Pages 204-232

Abstract:
Simple surveys that ask people who they expect to win are among the most accurate methods for forecasting US presidential elections. The majority of respondents correctly predicted the election winner in 193 (89 percent) of 217 surveys conducted from 1932 to 2012. Across the last 100 days prior to the seven elections from 1988 to 2012, vote expectation surveys provided more accurate forecasts of election winners and vote shares than four established methods (vote intention polls, prediction markets, quantitative models, and expert judgment). Gains in accuracy were particularly large compared to polls. On average, the error of expectation-based vote-share forecasts was 51 percent lower than the error of polls published the same day. Compared to prediction markets, vote expectation forecasts reduced the error on average by 6 percent. Vote expectation surveys are inexpensive and easy to conduct, and the results are easy to understand. They provide accurate and stable forecasts and thus make it difficult to frame elections as horse races. Vote expectation surveys should be more strongly utilized in the coverage of election campaigns.

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Looking Good or Looking Competent? Physical Appearance and Electoral Success in the 2008 Congressional Elections

Rodrigo Praino, Daniel Stockemer & James Ratis
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A whole array of studies has shown that the physical appearance of candidates running for elective office matters. However, it is unclear whether attractiveness or perceived competence is the source of such electoral advantage. In addition, the gender of candidates might interact with perceptions of physical appearance. With the help of Canadian student coders and through the use of a web-based survey, we measure the threefold link between physical attractiveness, perceived competence, and gender for all races in the 2008 U.S. House of Representatives elections. We find that both the attractiveness and perceived competence of candidates matter for candidates’ electoral successes; the former having an important effect in intra-gender races and the latter in inter-gender races.

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The cost of racial animus on a black candidate: Evidence using Google search data

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Journal of Public Economics, October 2014, Pages 26–40

Abstract:
How can we know how much racial animus costs a black presidential candidate, if many people lie to surveys? I suggest a new proxy for an area’s racial animus from a non-survey source: the percent of Google search queries that include racially charged language. I compare the proxy to Barack Obama’s vote shares, controlling for the vote share of the previous Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry. An area’s racially charged search rate is a robust negative predictor of Obama’s vote share. Continuing racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012. The estimates using Google search data are 1.5 to 3 times larger than survey-based estimates.

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The Effects of Voter ID Notification on Voter Turnout: Results from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

Jack Citrin, Donald Green & Morris Levy
Election Law Journal, June 2014, Pages 228-242

Abstract:
State voter identification (ID) laws have proliferated in the past ten years. Political campaigns remain divided about whether and how to address identification requirements when encouraging voter turnout. This article reports results from a direct mail get-out-the-vote (GOTV) experiment, conducted during the run-up to the 2012 general election in counties along the Tennessee-Virginia border and in heavily African American precincts in Roanoke and Knoxville. Results indicate that informing low-propensity voters of a new identification requirement raises turnout by approximately one percentage point. Messages providing details about ID requirements and offering to help recipients obtain acceptable ID appear somewhat more effective than messages only pointing out the need to bring proof of identification. These mailings, which have similar effects in both states, also appear to raise turnout among others in the recipients' households. Overall, we find no evidence that calling attention to voter identification requirements dissuades voters from voting.

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Attitudes Toward Blacks in the Obama Era: Changing Distributions and Impacts on Job Approval and Electoral Choice, 2008–2012

Josh Pasek et al.
Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 2014, Pages 276-302

Abstract:
Much published research indicates that voting behavior in the 2008 presidential election and evaluations of Barack Obama were importantly influenced by anti-Black sentiment. Various psychological theories made opposing predictions as to whether exposure to the first Black president during his first term would strengthen or weaken the alignment between general attitudes toward African Americans and evaluations of the president in particular. Using data from national surveys conducted in 2008, 2009–2010, and 2012, we compared the associations of prejudice toward Blacks with presidential approval in those years and with electoral choices in 2008 and 2012. As predicted by theories of individuation, attitudes toward Blacks became increasingly disconnected from evaluations of Mr. Obama and from people’s electoral choices over time. However, levels of prejudice against Blacks rose between 2008 and 2012. Because of this increased prejudice and the diminishing individual-level influence of attitudes toward Blacks on electoral choices, prejudice toward Blacks seems to have reduced Mr. Obama’s vote share in the 2012 election by about the same extent as in 2008.

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E-lections: Voting Behavior and the Internet

Oliver Falck, Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich
American Economic Review, July 2014, Pages 2238-2265

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effects on voting behavior of information disseminated over the Internet. We address endogeneity in Internet availability by exploiting regional and technological peculiarities of the preexisting voice telephony network that hindered the roll-out of fixed-line infrastructure for high-speed Internet. We find negative effects of Internet availability on voter turnout, which we relate to a crowding-out of TV consumption and increased entertainment consumption. We find no evidence that the Internet systematically benefits specific parties, suggesting ideological self-segregation in online information consumption. Robustness tests, including placebo estimations from the pre-Internet period, support a causal interpretation of our results.

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The economic determinants of U.S. presidential approval: A survey

Michael Berlemann & Sören Enkelmann
European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Even after four decades of research it remains unclear, whether presidential popularity depends on the state of the economy. While about half of all studies for the United States find a significant effect of unemployment and inflation on presidential popularity, the others do not. Additional economic issues have rarely been studied. In this survey article we study the likely causes for the inconclusive findings. While various factors have an influence on the results, especially the choice of the sample period is of crucial importance. While in the very long run we find unemployment and inflation to have a robust effect on presidential approval, this holds not true for shorter sub-periods. This result might indicate that the popularity function is instable over time. However, the findings might also be taken as an indication that the most often employed linear estimation approach is inadequate. Further research on these issues is necessary.

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Proportionality and Turnout: Evidence From French Municipalities

Andrew Eggers
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many studies find that voter turnout is higher in proportional representation (PR) elections than in plurality elections, but because the two systems differ in multiple ways and are used in different contexts it is difficult to know precisely why. I focus on municipal elections in France, where cities above a certain population threshold are required to use a PR system while those below use a type of plurality rule; this setting allows me to compare political outcomes across electoral systems while holding fixed a large set of social and political features. I find that the PR system noticeably increases turnout compared with plurality. I provide evidence suggesting that it does so in part by encouraging turnout in lopsided races and in part by inducing entry of new candidates. The findings highlight the importance of electoral proportionality in explaining cross-national differences in voter turnout.

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Attribution Error in Economic Voting: Evidence from Trade Shocks

Rosa Hayes, Masami Imai & Cameron Shelton
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article exploits the international transmission of business cycles to examine the prevalence of attribution error in economic voting in a large panel of countries from 1990 to 2009. We find that voters, on average, exhibit a strong tendency to oust the incumbent governments during an economic downturn, regardless of whether the recession is home-grown or merely imported from trading partners. However, we find important heterogeneity in the extent of attribution error. A split sample analysis shows that countries with more experienced voters, more educated voters, and possibly more informed voters — all conditions that have been shown to mitigate other voter agency problems — do better in distinguishing imported from domestic growth.

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Does Survey Mode Still Matter? Findings from a 2010 Multi-Mode Comparison

Stephen Ansolabehere & Brian Schaffner
Political Analysis, Summer 2014, Pages 285-303

Abstract:
In this article, we present data from a three-mode survey comparison study carried out in 2010. National surveys were fielded at the same time over the Internet (using an opt-in Internet panel), by telephone with live interviews (using a national Random Digit Dialing (RDD) sample of landlines and cell phones), and by mail (using a national sample of residential addresses). Each survey utilized a nearly identical questionnaire soliciting information across a range of political and social indicators, many of which can be validated with government data. Comparing the findings from the modes using a Total Survey Error approach, we demonstrate that a carefully executed opt-in Internet panel produces estimates that are as accurate as a telephone survey and that the two modes differ little in their estimates of other political indicators and their correlates.

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Dynamics in Partisanship during American Presidential Campaigns

Corwin Smidt
Public Opinion Quarterly, Summer 2014, Pages 303-329

Abstract:
Despite their potential importance, little is known about the nature and prevalence of party identification dynamics within American presidential campaigns. This study reviews existing research to propose three basic contrasting models. It then introduces multivariate state space methods that account for sampling error and survey design effects to evaluate each model’s relative support within daily national survey data of the 1984, 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential campaigns. The results indicate that the balance of party identifiers had near-certain changes during three of the four campaigns, with campaign events often being associated with these changes. These findings suggest that polls and analyses that fail to allow for sudden shifts in party identifications will mask changes in public opinion. More generally, the findings demonstrate that campaigns shape party coalitions on Election Day, and possibly thereafter.

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Uncertainty and Campaigns: The Psychological Mechanism Behind Campaign-Induced Priming

David Peterson
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Campaigns change how some people vote. How campaigns have this effect is less well understood. The prevailing view is that these effects occur by changing the content of voters’ attitudes such as partisanship or issue positions (persuasion) and by changing the weights voters applied to these determinants of vote choice (priming). Recent research has challenged this view and suggests that the support for these priming and persuasion effects is overstated. Unfortunately, no research directly specifies and tests the specific psychological mechanism responsible for campaign priming. In this article, I draw on the differences in the forms of attitude strength and demonstrate that changes in citizens’ uncertainty are responsible for these effects. The results suggest that persuasion and changes in uncertainty (but not ambivalence or importance) are responsible for the changes in voters’ decisions during the campaign. Substantively, the largest effects occur because of changes in the uncertainty voters have about the nature of the candidates’ character traits.

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The Affective Effect on Political Judgment: Comparing the Influences of Candidate Attributes and Issue Congruence

Denis Wu & Renita Coleman
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the impact of affect on candidate evaluation and voting intention by conducting an experiment using three treatments: positive, negative, and neutral nonverbal expressions of a fictional congressional office-seeker. Three issues were addressed in the TV interviews. Results show that candidate image exerts a stronger influence on viewers’ voting intention than the candidate’s stance on issues, controlling for viewers’ prior attitudes toward those issues. In addition, negative affect is more powerful than positive, reinforcing the belief that making a good impression will not help a candidate as much as a bad impression will hurt.

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Online Polls and Registration-Based Sampling: A New Method for Pre-Election Polling

Michael Barber et al.
Political Analysis, Summer 2014, Pages 321-335

Abstract:
This article outlines a new method for surveys to study elections and voter attitudes. Pre-election surveys often suffer from an inability to identify and survey the likely electorate for the upcoming election. We propose a new and inexpensive method to conduct representative surveys of the electorate. We demonstrate the performance of our method in producing a representative sample of the future electorate that can be used to study campaign dynamics and many other issues. We compare pre-election outcome forecasts to election outcomes in seven primary and general election surveys conducted prior to the 2008 and 2010 primary and general elections in three states. The results indicate that the methodology produces representative samples, including in low-turnout elections such as primaries where traditional methods have difficulty consistently sampling the electorate. This new methodology combines Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) sampling, mailed invitation letters, and online administration of the questionnaire. The PPS sample is drawn based on a model employing variables from the publicly available voter file to produce a probability of voting score for each individual voter. The proposed method provides researchers a valuable tool to study the attitudes of the voting public.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Peace be upon you

Religion in the Arab Spring: Between Two Competing Narratives

Michael Hoffman & Amaney Jamal
Journal of Politics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Did religion promote or discourage participation in protest against authoritarian regimes during the Arab Spring? Using unique data collected in Tunisia and Egypt soon after the fall of their respective regimes, we examine how various dimensions of religiosity were associated with higher or lower levels of protest during these important events. Using these original new data, we reach a novel conclusion: Qur’an reading, not mosque attendance, is robustly associated with a considerable increase in the likelihood of participating in protest. Furthermore, this relationship is not simply a function of support for political Islam. Evidence suggests that motivation mechanisms rather than political resources are the reason behind this result. Qur’an readers are more sensitive to inequities and more supportive of democracy than are nonreaders. These findings suggest a powerful new set of mechanisms by which religion may, in fact, help to structure political protest more generally.

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Taking a Leap of Faith: Reminders of God Lead to Greater Risk Taking

Kai Qin Chan, Eddie Mun Wai Tong & Yan Lin Tan
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent psychological models of religion suggest that religious beliefs provide a form of psychological control. Independently, other research has found that an increase in psychological control can lead people to adopt riskier strategies. Hence, we hypothesized that activation of God concepts increases risk taking. In three studies, we found that God primes led to take greater risk taking as though participants were literally “taking a leap of faith.” In Study 2, we presented evidence that this effect could be mediated by increased psychological control. Although consistent with psychological models of religion, the findings also contradict some survey findings that religious people are less risk seeking. This inconsistency was addressed in Study 3 by looking at how religion, morality, and risk taking are related. Implications to a relational schema approach to study the effects of God primes are discussed.

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Constitutional Islamization and Human Rights: The Surprising Origin and Spread of Islamic Supremacy in Constitutions

Dawood Ahmed & Tom Ginsburg
Virginia Journal of International Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
The events of the Arab Spring and recent military coup in Egypt have highlighted the central importance of the constitutional treatment of Islam. Many constitutions in the Muslim world incorporate clauses that make Islamic law supreme or provide that laws repugnant to Islam will be void. The prevalence and impact of these “Islamic supremacy clauses” is of immense importance for constitutional design — not just for Muslim countries but also for U.S. foreign policy in the region, which became engaged in the issue during constitution-writing in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, to date, there has been no systematic or empirical examination of these clauses. Many questions remain unexplored: Where did these clauses originate? How have they spread? Are they anti-democratic impositions? What determines their adoption in national constitutions? This Article fills this gap. Relying on an original dataset based on the coding of all national constitutions since 1789 and case studies from four countries — Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Iraq — it traces the origin and adoption of Islamic supremacy clauses since their first appearance in Iran in 1907. We make three major, counterintuitive claims: First, we argue that the repugnancy clause — the most robust form of Islamic supremacy clause — has its origins in British colonial law, and indeed, that all forms of Islamic supremacy are more prevalent in former British colonies than in other states in the region. Second, we argue that in many cases, these clauses are not only popularly demanded, but are also first introduced into their respective jurisdictions during moments of liberalization and modernization. Third, contrary to the claims of those who assume that the constitutional incorporation of Islam will be antithetical to human rights, we demonstrate that almost every instance of “Constitutional Islamization” is accompanied by an expansion, and not a reduction, in the rights provided by the constitution. Indeed, constitutions which incorporate Islamic supremacy clauses are even more rights-heavy than constitutions of other Muslim countries which do not incorporate these clauses. We explain the incidence of this surprising relationship using the logic of coalitional politics. These findings have significant normative implications. On a broader level, our work supports the view of scholars who argue that the constitutional incorporation of Islam is not only compatible with the constitutional incorporation of basic principles of liberal democracy, but that more democracy in the Muslim world may mean more Islam in the public sphere; in fact, we find that more democratic countries are not necessarily any less likely to adopt Islamic supremacy clauses. Our findings also suggest that outsiders monitoring constitution-making in majority Muslim countries who argue for the exclusion of Islamic clauses are focused on a straw man; not only are these clauses popular, but they are nearly always accompanied by a set of rights provisions that could advance basic values of liberal democracy. We accordingly suggest that constitutional advisors should focus more attention on the basic political structures of the constitution, including the design of constitutional courts and other bodies that will engage in interpretation, than on the Islamic provisions themselves.

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Religious Affiliation and Hiring Discrimination in the American South: A Field Experiment

Michael Wallace, Bradley Wright & Allen Hyde
Social Currents, June 2014, Pages 189-207

Abstract:
This article describes a field experiment in which we sent fictitious résumés to advertised job openings throughout the American South. We randomly altered the résumés to indicate affiliation in one of seven religious groups or a control group. We found that applicants who expressed a religious identity were 26 percent less likely to receive a response from employers. In general, Muslims, pagans, and atheists suffered the highest levels of discriminatory treatment from employers, a fictitious religious group and Catholics experienced moderate levels, evangelical Christians encountered little, and Jews received no discernible discrimination. We also found evidence suggesting the possibility that Jews received preferential treatment over other religious groups in employer responses. The results fit best with models of religious discrimination rooted in secularization theory and cultural distaste theory. We briefly discuss what our findings suggest for a more robust theory of prejudice and discrimination in society.

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A Call to Honesty: Extending Religious Priming of Moral Behavior to Middle Eastern Muslims

Mark Aveyard
PLoS ONE, July 2014

Abstract:
Two experiments with Middle Eastern participants explored the generalizability of prior research on religious priming and moral behavior to a novel cultural and religious context. Participants in Experiment 1 completed a sentence unscrambling task with religious or non-religious content (in Arabic) before taking an unsupervised math test on which cheating was possible and incentivized. No difference in honesty rates emerged between the two groups, failing to extend findings from previous research with similar stimuli. Experiment 2 tested the effects of the athan, the Islamic call to prayer, using the same design. This naturalistic religious prime produced higher rates of honesty (68%) compared to controls who did not hear the call to prayer (53%).These results raise the possibility that the psychological mechanisms used by religion to influence moral behavior might differ between religions and cultures, highlighting an avenue of exploration for future research. The experiments here also address two growing concerns in psychological science: that the absence of replications casts doubt on the reliability of original research findings, and that the Westernized state of psychological science casts doubt on the generalizability of such work.

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Does Adolescents’ Religiousness Moderate Links Between Harsh Parenting and Adolescent Substance Use?

Jungmeen Kim-Spoon et al.
Journal of Family Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extant literature suggests that religiousness is inversely related to adolescent substance use; yet, no systematic investigation has examined whether religiousness may be a protective factor against substance use in the presence of risk factors. We examined whether religiousness moderates the links between parents’ psychological and physical aggression and adolescent substance use directly and indirectly through adolescent self-control. The sample comprised adolescents (n = 220, 45% female) and their primary caregivers. Structural equation modeling analyses suggested that adolescents with low religiousness were likely to engage in substance use when subjected to harsh parenting, but there was no association between harsh parenting and substance use among adolescents with high religiousness. Furthermore, although harsh parenting was related to poor adolescent self-control regardless of religiousness levels, poor self-control was significantly related to substance use for adolescents with low religiousness, whereas the link between poor self-control and substance use did not exist for adolescents with high religiousness. The findings present the first evidence that adolescent religiousness may be a powerful buffering factor that can positively alter pathways to substance use in the presence of risk factors such as harsh parenting and poor self-control.

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Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds

Kathleen Corriveau, Eva Chen & Paul Harris
Cognitive Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In two studies, 5- and 6-year-old children were questioned about the status of the protagonist embedded in three different types of stories. In realistic stories that only included ordinary events, all children, irrespective of family background and schooling, claimed that the protagonist was a real person. In religious stories that included ordinarily impossible events brought about by divine intervention, claims about the status of the protagonist varied sharply with exposure to religion. Children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school, or both, judged the protagonist in religious stories to be a real person, whereas secular children with no such exposure to religion judged the protagonist in religious stories to be fictional. Children's upbringing was also related to their judgment about the protagonist in fantastical stories that included ordinarily impossible events whether brought about by magic (Study 1) or without reference to magic (Study 2). Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children's differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.

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More Like Us: How Religious Service Attendance Hinders Interracial Romance

Samuel Perry
Sociology of Religion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Religious service attendance is a consistently strong predictor of aversion to interracial romance, but intervening social mechanisms at work in this relationship have yet to be explicated. This article examines whether the persistent negative association between religious service attendance and interracial romance is mediated by a preference for religio-cultural endogamy — a form of cultural purity. Multivariate analyses of national-level survey data reveal that persons who believe it is more important that their romantic partner shares their particular religious understandings are less likely to have interracially dated, and that the initially strong effect of religious service attendance on interracial romance is completely mediated by the inclusion of desire for religio-cultural endogamy in regression models. I argue that, because the majority of American congregations are racially homogenous, more frequent attendance hinders interracial romantic engagement by embedding churchgoers within primarily same-race religio-cultural communities, and because congregational embeddedness influences members to seek romantic partners similar to the group, more embedded members are less likely to view different-race persons as sharing their religio-cultural understandings, and thus, as romantic options.

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The Role of Bridging Cultural Practices in Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Civic Organizations

Ruth Braunstein, Brad Fulton & Richard Wood
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Organizations can benefit from being internally diverse, but they may also face significant challenges arising from such diversity. Potential benefits include increased organizational innovation, legitimacy, and strategic capacity; challenges include threats to organizational stability, efficacy, and survival. In this article, we analyze the dynamics of internal diversity within a field of politically oriented civic organizations. We find that “bridging cultural practices” serve as a key mechanism through which racially and socioeconomically diverse organizations navigate challenges generated by internal differences. Drawing on data from extended ethnographic fieldwork within one local faith-based community organizing coalition, we describe how particular prayer practices are used to bridge differences within group settings marked by diversity. Furthermore, using data from a national study of all faith-based community organizing coalitions in the United States, we find that a coalition’s prayer practices are associated with its objective level of racial and socioeconomic diversity and its subjective perception of challenges arising from such diversity. Our multi-method analysis supports the argument that diverse coalitions use bridging prayer practices to navigate organizational challenges arising from racial and socioeconomic diversity, and we argue that bridging cultural practices may play a similar role within other kinds of diverse organizations.

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Religion, Motherhood, and the Spirit of Capitalism

Jeremy Reynolds & Matthew May
Social Currents, June 2014, Pages 173-188

Abstract:
Religion can help people cope with problems, but in the modern U.S. economy, it may also create problems for some women. Conservative Protestantism encourages women to avoid paid work when they have young children, but that is a preference many families cannot afford. To better understand how workplace outcomes may reflect religion, we examine whether conservative Protestant, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and non-religious women work the number of hours they prefer. We pay special attention to the interplay of religion and motherhood. We find that among new mothers, conservative Protestants are among the most likely to wish they were working fewer hours. Non-religious women, in contrast, are the least likely to want fewer hours. Among women who are not new mothers, the situation is reversed. Conservative Protestants are least likely to wish they were working fewer hours and non-religious women are the most likely to want fewer hours. These results suggest that researchers interested in the subjective side of employment should pay more attention to how religion shapes experiences of paid work.

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Shared beliefs enhance shared feelings: Religious/irreligious identifications modulate empathic neural responses

Siyuan Huang & Shihui Han
Social Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent neuroimaging research has revealed stronger empathic neural responses to same-race compared to other-race individuals. Is the in-group favouritism in empathic neural responses specific to race identification or a more general effect of social identification—including those based on religious/irreligious beliefs? The present study investigated whether and how intergroup relationships based on religious/irreligious identifications modulate empathic neural responses to others’ pain expressions. We recorded event-related brain potentials from Chinese Christian and atheist participants while they perceived pain or neutral expressions of Chinese faces that were marked as being Christians or atheists. We found that both Christian and atheist participants showed stronger neural activity to pain (versus neutral) expressions at 132–168 ms and 200–320 ms over the frontal region to those with the same (versus different) religious/irreligious beliefs. The in-group favouritism in empathic neural responses was also evident in a later time window (412–612 ms) over the central/parietal regions in Christian but not in atheist participants. Our results indicate that the intergroup relationship based on shared beliefs, either religious or irreligious, can lead to in-group favouritism in empathy for others’ suffering.

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The Religious Context of Welfare Attitudes

Tom VanHeuvelen
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, June 2014, Pages 268–295

Abstract:
This article examines the influence of three dimensions of religion — belonging (faith tradition membership), behaving (frequency of service attendance), and context (one's relationship to aggregate population characteristics) — on attitudes toward multiple forms of state-provided social protection, or welfare attitudes. To do so, this article uses data from 17 countries surveyed in the 2006 “Role of Government” wave of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP). Results from mixed effects regression show that contextual effects are highly predictive of welfare attitudes. Nations that are more religiously heterogeneous are less supportive of state protection, while nations that are more homogeneous, particularly Catholic nations, are more supportive. Results hold net of fractionalization, political institutional measures, and economic characteristics. At the individual level, all three dimensions of religiosity are predictive of welfare attitudes. These patterns suggest that in rich Western democracies, religion continues to play an important role in structuring the moral economies.

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The efficacy of religious service attendance in reducing depressive symptoms

Jianxiang Zou et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, June 2014, Pages 911-918

Purpose: To examine whether religiosity may help people ward off depression, we investigated the association between religious service attendance and depressive symptom scores in a community-based 30-year follow-up longitudinal study.

Methods: This study used data on 754 subjects followed over 30 years and evaluated at four time points. Linear mixed effects models were used to assess the association between religious service attendance and depressive symptoms development; frequency of attendance and age also were used as predictors. Demographic factors, life-time trauma, family socioeconomic status, and recent negative events were considered as control variables.

Results: Depressive symptom scores were reduced by an average of 0.518 units (95 % CI from −0.855 to −0.180, p < 0.005) each year in subjects who attended religious services as compared with subjects who did not. The more frequent the religious service attendance, the stronger the influence on depressive symptoms when compared with non-attendance. Yearly, monthly, and weekly religious service attendance reduced depression scores by 0.474 (95 % CI from −0.841 to −0.106, p < 0.01), 0.495 (95 % CI from −0.933 to −0.057, p < 0.05) and 0.634 (95 % CI from −1.056 to −0.212, p < 0.005) units on average, respectively, when compared with non-attendance after controlling for other covariates.

Conclusion: Religious service attendance may reduce depressive symptoms significantly, with more frequent attendance having an increasingly greater impact on symptom reduction in this 30-year community-based longitudinal study.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Exhausting

Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the literature: A re-analysis

Richard Tol
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
A claim has been that 97% of the scientific literature endorses anthropogenic climate change (Cook et al., 2013. Environ. Res. Lett. 8, 024024). This claim, frequently repeated in debates about climate policy, does not stand. A trend in composition is mistaken for a trend in endorsement. Reported results are inconsistent and biased. The sample is not representative and contains many irrelevant papers. Overall, data quality is low. Cook׳s validation test shows that the data are invalid. Data disclosure is incomplete so that key results cannot be reproduced or tested.

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Energy Investments under Climate Policy: A Comparison of Global Models

David McCollum et al.
Climate Change Economics, November 2013

Abstract:
The levels of investment needed to mobilize an energy system transformation and mitigate climate change are not known with certainty. This paper aims to inform the ongoing dialogue and in so doing to guide public policy and strategic corporate decision making. Within the framework of the LIMITS integrated assessment model comparison exercise, we analyze a multi-IAM ensemble of long-term energy and greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Our study provides insight into several critical but uncertain areas related to the future investment environment, for example in terms of where capital expenditures may need to flow regionally, into which sectors they might be concentrated, and what policies could be helpful in spurring these financial resources. We find that stringent climate policies consistent with a 2°C climate change target would require a considerable upscaling of investments into low-carbon energy and energy efficiency, reaching approximately $45 trillion (range: $30–$75 trillion) cumulative between 2010 and 2050, or about $1.1 trillion annually. This represents an increase of some $30 trillion ($10–$55 trillion), or $0.8 trillion per year, beyond what investments might otherwise be in a reference scenario that assumes the continuation of present and planned emissions-reducing policies throughout the world. In other words, a substantial "clean-energy investment gap" of some $800 billion/yr exists — notably on the same order of magnitude as present-day subsidies for fossil energy and electricity worldwide ($523 billion). Unless the gap is filled rather quickly, the 2°C target could potentially become out of reach.

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It's political: How the salience of one's political identity changes climate change beliefs and policy support

Kerrie Unsworth & Kelly Fielding
Global Environmental Change, July 2014, Pages 131–137

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated a striking difference in climate change beliefs and policy support between people who identify with the right-wing of politics and with the left-wing of politics. But are we destined to continue with this divergence? We suggest that there is movement around these differences based on the politicization of climate change and we conducted two experimental studies with 126 and 646 people, respectively, to examine this effect. We found that those people whose political identity was made salient were less likely to believe in an anthropogenic cause of climate change and less likely to support government climate change policies than those whose identity was not made salient; particularly when those people were aligned with the right-wing of politics. The results demonstrate the importance of the salience of one's political identity in determining attitudes and beliefs even for scientific facts such as climate change. Our research also identifies some ways forward in dealing with climate change-based on depoliticizing the issue.

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Trends in Extreme U.S. Temperatures

Jaechoul Lee, Shanghong Li & Robert Lund
Journal of Climate, June 2014, Pages 4209–4225

Abstract:
This paper develops trend estimation techniques for monthly maximum and minimum temperature time series observed in the 48 conterminous United States over the last century. While most scientists concur that this region has warmed on aggregate, there is no a priori reason to believe that temporal trends in extremes and averages will exhibit the same patterns. Indeed, under minor regularity conditions, the sample partial sum and maximum of stationary time series are asymptotically independent (statistically). Previous authors have suggested that minimum temperatures are warming faster than maximum temperatures in the United States; such an aspect can be investigated via the methods discussed in this study. Here, statistical models with extreme value and changepoint features are used to estimate trends and their standard errors. A spatial smoothing is then done to extract general structure. The results show that monthly maximum temperatures are not often greatly changing — perhaps surprisingly, there are many stations that show some cooling. In contrast, the minimum temperatures show significant warming. Overall, the southeastern United States shows the least warming (even some cooling), and the western United States, northern Midwest, and New England have experienced the most warming.

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Climate Exposure of US National Parks in a New Era of Change

William Monahan & Nicholas Fisichelli
PLoS ONE, July 2014

Abstract:
US national parks are challenged by climate and other forms of broad-scale environmental change that operate beyond administrative boundaries and in some instances are occurring at especially rapid rates. Here, we evaluate the climate change exposure of 289 natural resource parks administered by the US National Park Service (NPS), and ask which are presently (past 10 to 30 years) experiencing extreme (<5th percentile or >95th percentile) climates relative to their 1901–2012 historical range of variability (HRV). We consider parks in a landscape context (including surrounding 30 km) and evaluate both mean and inter-annual variation in 25 biologically relevant climate variables related to temperature, precipitation, frost and wet day frequencies, vapor pressure, cloud cover, and seasonality. We also consider sensitivity of findings to the moving time window of analysis (10, 20, and 30 year windows). Results show that parks are overwhelmingly at the extreme warm end of historical temperature distributions and this is true for several variables (e.g., annual mean temperature, minimum temperature of the coldest month, mean temperature of the warmest quarter). Precipitation and other moisture patterns are geographically more heterogeneous across parks and show greater variation among variables. Across climate variables, recent inter-annual variation is generally well within the range of variability observed since 1901. Moving window size has a measureable effect on these estimates, but parks with extreme climates also tend to exhibit low sensitivity to the time window of analysis. We highlight particular parks that illustrate different extremes and may facilitate understanding responses of park resources to ongoing climate change. We conclude with discussion of how results relate to anticipated future changes in climate, as well as how they can inform NPS and neighboring land management and planning in a new era of change.

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Optimal CO2 mitigation under damage risk valuation

Benjamin Crost & Christian Traeger
Nature Climate Change, July 2014, Pages 631–636

Abstract:
The current generation has to set mitigation policy under uncertainty about the economic consequences of climate change. This uncertainty governs both the level of damages for a given level of warming, and the steepness of the increase in damage per warming degree. Our model of climate and the economy is a stochastic version of a model employed in assessing the US Social Cost of Carbon (DICE). We compute the optimal carbon taxes and CO2 abatement levels that maximize welfare from economic consumption over time under different risk states. In accordance with recent developments in finance, we separate preferences about time and risk to improve the model’s calibration of welfare to observed market interest. We show that introducing the modern asset pricing framework doubles optimal abatement and carbon taxation. Uncertainty over the level of damages at a given temperature increase can result in a slight increase of optimal emissions as compared to using expected damages. In contrast, uncertainty governing the steepness of the damage increase in temperature results in a substantially higher level of optimal mitigation.

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Nonlinear permanent migration response to climatic variations but minimal response to disasters

Pratikshya Bohra-Mishra, Michael Oppenheimer & Solomon Hsiang
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 8 July 2014, Pages 9780–9785

Abstract:
We present a microlevel study to simultaneously investigate the effects of variations in temperature and precipitation along with sudden natural disasters to infer their relative influence on migration that is likely permanent. The study is made possible by the availability of household panel data from Indonesia with an exceptional tracking rate combined with frequent occurrence of natural disasters and significant climatic variations, thus providing a quasi-experiment to examine the influence of environment on migration. Using data on 7,185 households followed over 15 y, we analyze whole-household, province-to-province migration, which allows us to understand the effects of environmental factors on permanent moves that may differ from temporary migration. The results suggest that permanent migration is influenced by climatic variations, whereas episodic disasters tend to have much smaller or no impact on such migration. In particular, temperature has a nonlinear effect on migration such that above 25 °C, a rise in temperature is related to an increase in outmigration, potentially through its impact on economic conditions. We use these results to estimate the impact of projected temperature increases on future permanent migration. Though precipitation also has a similar nonlinear effect on migration, the effect is smaller than that of temperature, underscoring the importance of using an expanded set of climatic factors as predictors of migration. These findings on the minimal influence of natural disasters and precipitation on permanent moves supplement previous findings on the significant role of these variables in promoting temporary migration.

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Identifying hot spots of security vulnerability associated with climate change in Africa

Joshua Busby et al.
Climatic Change, June 2014, Pages 717-731

Abstract:
Given its high dependence on rainfed agriculture and its comparatively low adaptive capacity, Africa is frequently invoked as especially vulnerable to climate change. Within Africa, there is likely to be considerable variation in vulnerability to climate change both between and within countries. This paper seeks to advance the agenda of identifying the hot spots of what we term “climate security” vulnerability, areas where the confluence of vulnerabilities could put large numbers of people at risk of death from climate-related hazards. This article blends the expertise of social scientists and climate scientists. It builds on a model of composite vulnerability that incorporates four “baskets” or processes that are thought to contribute to vulnerability including: (1) physical exposure, (2) population density, (3) household and community resilience, and (4) governance and political violence. Whereas previous iterations of the model relied on historical physical exposure data of natural hazards, this paper uses results from regional model simulations of African climate in the late 20th century and mid-21st century to develop measures of extreme weather events — dry days, heat wave events, and heavy rainfall days — coupled with an indicator of low-lying coastal elevation. For the late 20th century, this mapping process reveals the most vulnerable areas are concentrated in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, with pockets in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone. The mid 21st century projection shows more extensive vulnerability throughout the Sahel, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, northern Nigeria, Niger, and across Sudan.

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The windy city: Property value impacts of wind turbines in an urban setting

Corey Lang, James Opaluch & George Sfinarolakis
Energy Economics, July 2014, Pages 413–421

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of wind turbines on house values in Rhode Island. In contrast to wind farms surrounded by sparse development, in Rhode Island single turbines have been built in relatively high population dense areas. As a result, we observe 48,554 single-family, owner-occupied transactions within five miles of a turbine site, including 3254 within one mile, which is far more than most related studies. We estimate hedonic difference-in-differences models that allow for impacts of wind turbines by proximity, viewshed, and contrast with surrounding development. Across a wide variety of specifications, the results suggest that wind turbines have no statistically significant negative impacts on house prices, in either the post public announcement phase or post construction phase. Further, the lower bound of statistically possible impacts is still outweighed by the positive externalities generated from CO2 mitigation.

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Probabilistic 21st and 22nd century sea-level projections at a global network of tide gauge sites

Robert Kopp et al.
Earth's Future, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sea-level rise due to both climate change and non-climatic factors threatens coastal settlements, infrastructure and ecosystems. Projections of mean global sea level (GSL) rise provide insufficient information to plan adaptive responses; local decisions require local projections that accommodate different risk tolerances and time frames and that can be linked to storm surge projections. Here we present a global set of local sea level (LSL) projections to inform decisions on timescales ranging from the coming decades through the 22nd century. We provide complete probability distributions, informed by a combination of expert community assessment, expert elicitation, and process modeling. Between the years 2000 and 2100, we project a very likely (90% probability) GSL rise of 0.5–1.2 m under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, 0.4–0.9 m under RCP 4.5, and 0.3–0.8 m under RCP 2.6. Site-to-site differences in LSL projections are due to varying non-climatic background uplift or subsidence, oceanographic effects, and spatially-variable responses of the geoid and the lithosphere to shrinking land ice. The Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) constitutes a growing share of variance in GSL and LSL projections. In the global average and at many locations, it is the dominant source of variance in late 21st century projections, though at some sites oceanographic processes contribute the largest share throughout the century. LSL rise dramatically reshapes flood risk, greatly increasing the expected number of ‘1-in-10’ and ‘1-in-100’ year events.

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World drought frequency, duration, and severity for 1951–2010

Jonathan Spinoni et al.
International Journal of Climatology, 30 June 2014, Pages 2792–2804

Abstract:
In the context of climate change characterized by rising temperature and more extreme precipitation regimes, drought is one of the most relevant natural disasters. This paper presents maps of global drought frequency, duration, and severity for the periods 1951–1970, 1971–1990, and 1991–2010, to give an overview of the respective drought hot spots. Drought frequency is defined as the number of drought events occurred, drought duration as the number of months in drought conditions, and drought severity as the sum of the integral area below zero of each event. Because drought is mainly driven by rainfall deficits, we chose the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) as the base indicator to derive drought-related quantities. SPI-12 has been calculated on a monthly basis using a Gamma distribution fitted to a 60-year baseline period (1951–2010). Global grids (0.5° × 0.5°) of the Full Data Reanalysis Version 6.0 dataset provided by the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) have been used as precipitation data input. The regions most exposed to prolonged and severe droughts during 1951–1970 were the Central United States, the Argentinian Pampas, Russia, and Central Australia; during 1971–1990 they were Southern Chile, the Sahel, and Siberia; during 1991–2010 they were the Amazon Forest, the Congo River Basin, Mongolia, North Eastern China, and Borneo. A linear trend analysis between 1951 and 2010 shows a small global increase in each drought component, but drought frequency decreased in the Northern Hemisphere. The increase in drought frequency, duration, and severity is found to be significant in Africa, Eastern Asia, Mediterranean region, and Southern Australia, while the Americas and Russia show a decrease in each drought component.

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Necessity as the Mother of Invention: Innovative Responses to Natural Disasters

Qing Miao & David Popp
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do innovators respond to the shock of a natural disaster? Do natural disasters spur technical innovations that can reduce the risk of future hazards? This paper examines the impact of three types of natural disasters — floods, droughts and earthquakes — on the innovation of their respective mitigation technologies. Using patent and disaster data, our study is the first to empirically examine adaptation responses across multiple sectors at the country level. Considering the potential endogeneity of disaster damages, we use meteorological and geophysical data to create hazard intensity measures as instrumental variables. Overall, we show that natural disasters lead to more risk-mitigating innovations, while the degree of influence varies across different types of disasters and technologies.

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Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK

Peter Scarborough et al.
Climatic Change, July 2014, Pages 179-192

Abstract:
The production of animal-based foods is associated with higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than plant-based foods. The objective of this study was to estimate the difference in dietary GHG emissions between self-selected meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK. Subjects were participants in the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. The diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters and 29,589 meat-eaters aged 20–79 were assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Comparable GHG emissions parameters were developed for the underlying food codes using a dataset of GHG emissions for 94 food commodities in the UK, with a weighting for the global warming potential of each component gas. The average GHG emissions associated with a standard 2,000 kcal diet were estimated for all subjects. ANOVA was used to estimate average dietary GHG emissions by diet group adjusted for sex and age. The age-and-sex-adjusted mean (95 % confidence interval) GHG emissions in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per day (kgCO2e/day) were 7.19 (7.16, 7.22) for high meat-eaters ( > = 100 g/d), 5.63 (5.61, 5.65) for medium meat-eaters (50-99 g/d), 4.67 (4.65, 4.70) for low meat-eaters ( < 50 g/d), 3.91 (3.88, 3.94) for fish-eaters, 3.81 (3.79, 3.83) for vegetarians and 2.89 (2.83, 2.94) for vegans. In conclusion, dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions.

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Net carbon uptake has increased through warming-induced changes in temperate forest phenology

Trevor Keenan et al.
Nature Climate Change, July 2014, Pages 598–604

Abstract:
The timing of phenological events exerts a strong control over ecosystem function and leads to multiple feedbacks to the climate system. Phenology is inherently sensitive to temperature (although the exact sensitivity is disputed) and recent warming is reported to have led to earlier spring, later autumn and increased vegetation activity. Such greening could be expected to enhance ecosystem carbon uptake, although reports also suggest decreased uptake for boreal forests. Here we assess changes in phenology of temperate forests over the eastern US during the past two decades, and quantify the resulting changes in forest carbon storage. We combine long-term ground observations of phenology, satellite indices, and ecosystem-scale carbon dioxide flux measurements, along with 18 terrestrial biosphere models. We observe a strong trend of earlier spring and later autumn. In contrast to previous suggestions we show that carbon uptake through photosynthesis increased considerably more than carbon release through respiration for both an earlier spring and later autumn. The terrestrial biosphere models tested misrepresent the temperature sensitivity of phenology, and thus the effect on carbon uptake. Our analysis of the temperature–phenology–carbon coupling suggests a current and possible future enhancement of forest carbon uptake due to changes in phenology. This constitutes a negative feedback to climate change, and is serving to slow the rate of warming.

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Dependence of US hurricane economic loss on maximum wind speed and storm size

Alice Zhai & Jonathan Jiang
Environmental Research Letters, June 2014

Abstract:
Many empirical hurricane economic loss models consider only wind speed and neglect storm size. These models may be inadequate in accurately predicting the losses of super-sized storms, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In this study, we examined the dependences of normalized US hurricane loss on both wind speed and storm size for 73 tropical cyclones that made landfall in the US from 1988 through 2012. A multi-variate least squares regression is used to construct a hurricane loss model using both wind speed and size as predictors. Using maximum wind speed and size together captures more variance of losses than using wind speed or size alone. It is found that normalized hurricane loss (L) approximately follows a power law relation with maximum wind speed (Vmax) and size (R), L = 10^c Vmax^a R^b , with c determining an overall scaling factor and the exponents a and b generally ranging between 4–12 and 2–4 respectively. Both a and b tend to increase with stronger wind speed. Hurricane Sandy's size was about three times of the average size of all hurricanes analyzed. Based on the bi-variate regression model that explains the most variance for hurricanes, Hurricane Sandy's loss would be approximately 20 times smaller if its size were of the average size with maximum wind speed unchanged. It is important to revise conventional empirical hurricane loss models that are only dependent on maximum wind speed to include both maximum wind speed and size as predictors.

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South Korean energy scenarios show how nuclear power can reduce future energy and environmental costs

Sanghyun Hong, Corey Bradshaw & Barry Brook
Energy Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
South Korea is an important case study for understanding the future role of nuclear power in countries with on-going economic growth, and limited renewable energy resources. We compared quantitatively the sustainability of two ‘future-mapping’ exercises (the ‘Governmental’ scenario, which relies on fossil fuels, and the Greenpeace scenario, which emphasises renewable energy and excludes nuclear power). The comparison was based on a range of environmental and technological perspectives, and contrasted against two additional nuclear scenarios that instead envisage a dominant role for nuclear energy. Sustainability metrics included energy costs, external costs (greenhouse-gas emissions, air pollutants, land transformation, water consumption and discharge, and safety) and additional costs. The nuclear-centred scenarios yielded the lowest total cost per unit of final energy consumption by 2050 ($14.37 GJ−1), whereas the Greenpeace scenario has the highest ($25.36 GJ−1). We used probabilistic simulations based on multi-factor distributional sampling of impact and cost metrics to estimate the overlapping likelihoods among scenarios to understand the effect of parameter uncertainty on the integrated recommendations. Our simulation modelling implies that, despite inherent uncertainties, pursuing a large-scale expansion of nuclear-power capacity offers the most sustainable pathway for South Korea, and that adopting a nuclear-free pathway will be more costly and produce more greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Cooperating with the future

Oliver Hauser et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
Overexploitation of renewable resources today has a high cost on the welfare of future generations. Unlike in other public goods games, however, future generations cannot reciprocate actions made today. What mechanisms can maintain cooperation with the future? To answer this question, we devise a new experimental paradigm, the ‘Intergenerational Goods Game’. A line-up of successive groups (generations) can each either extract a resource to exhaustion or leave something for the next group. Exhausting the resource maximizes the payoff for the present generation, but leaves all future generations empty-handed. Here we show that the resource is almost always destroyed if extraction decisions are made individually. This failure to cooperate with the future is driven primarily by a minority of individuals who extract far more than what is sustainable. In contrast, when extractions are democratically decided by vote, the resource is consistently sustained. Voting is effective for two reasons. First, it allows a majority of cooperators to restrain defectors. Second, it reassures conditional cooperators that their efforts are not futile. Voting, however, only promotes sustainability if it is binding for all involved. Our results have implications for policy interventions designed to sustain intergenerational public goods.

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Climate Change Beliefs and Perceptions of Weather-Related Changes in the United Kingdom

Andrea Taylor, Wändi Bruine de Bruin & Suraje Dessai
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public perception research in different countries has suggested that real and perceived periods of high temperature strengthen people's climate change beliefs. Such findings raise questions about the climate change beliefs of people in regions with moderate climates. Relatively little is known about whether public concerns about climate change may also be associated with perceived changes in other weather-related events, such as precipitation or flooding. We examine the relationship between perceived changes in weather-related events and climate change beliefs among U.K. residents at a time of below-average winter temperatures and recent flooding. National survey data (n = 1,848) revealed that heat waves and hot summers were perceived to have become less common during respondents’ lifetimes, while flooding, periods of heavy rainfall, coastal erosions, and mild winters were perceived to have increased in frequency and cold winters were perceived to be unchanged. Although perceived changes in hot-weather-related events were positively associated with climate change beliefs, perceived changes in wet-weather-related events were found to be an even stronger predictor. Self-reported experience of “flooding in own area” and “heat-wave discomfort” also significantly contributed to climate change beliefs. These findings highlight the importance of salient weather-related events and experiences in the formation of beliefs about climate change. We link our findings to research in judgment and decision making, and propose that those wishing to engage with the public on the issue of climate change should not limit their focus to heat.

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Steering the Climate System: Using Inertia to Lower the Cost of Policy

Derek Lemoine & Ivan Rudik
University of Arizona Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that the efficient way to achieve a climate target is to implement a carbon price that increases exponentially. We show that an exponential path is not efficient when climate targets are expressed in terms of temperature. In that case, the least-cost policy path deviates from an exponential trajectory in order to take advantage of the climate system's inertia. Carbon dioxide temporarily overshoots the steady-state level consistent with the temperature limit, and the efficient carbon price follows an inverse-U-shaped path. We find that a policy to limit warming to 2 degrees C can be 2-9 times cheaper than implied by the conventionally assumed policy path. Integrated assessment models that assume exponentially increasing carbon prices may be overestimating the minimum cost of a temperature target by billions of dollars.

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Short-Lived Climate Pollution

R.T. Pierrehumbert
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2014, Pages 341-379

Abstract:
Although carbon dioxide emissions are by far the most important mediator of anthropogenic climate disruption, a number of shorter-lived substances with atmospheric lifetimes of under a few decades also contribute significantly to the radiative forcing that drives climate change. In recent years, the argument that early and aggressive mitigation of the emission of these substances or their precursors forms an essential part of any climate protection strategy has gained a considerable following. There is often an implication that such control can in some way make up for the current inaction on carbon dioxide emissions. The prime targets for mitigation, known collectively as short-lived climate pollution (SLCP), are methane, hydrofluo-rocarbons, black carbon, and ozone. A re-examination of the issues shows that the benefits of early SLCP mitigation have been greatly exaggerated, largely because of inadequacies in the methodologies used to compare the climate effects of short-lived substances with those of CO2, which causes nearly irreversible climate change persisting millennia after emissions cease. Eventual mitigation of SLCP can make a useful contribution to climate protection, but there is little to be gained by implementing SLCP mitigation before stringent carbon dioxide controls are in place and have caused annual emissions to approach zero. Any earlier implementation of SLCP mitigation that substitutes to any significant extent for carbon dioxide mitigation will lead to a climate irreversibly warmer than will a strategy with delayed SLCP mitigation. SLCP mitigation does not buy time for implementation of stringent controls on CO2 emissions.

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Tropical countries may be willing to pay more to protect their forests

Jeffrey Vincent et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Inadequate funding from developed countries has hampered international efforts to conserve biodiversity in tropical forests. We present two complementary research approaches that reveal a significant increase in public demand for conservation within tropical developing countries as those countries reach upper-middle-income (UMI) status. We highlight UMI tropical countries because they contain nearly four-fifths of tropical primary forests, which are rich in biodiversity and stored carbon. The first approach is a set of statistical analyses of various cross-country conservation indicators, which suggests that protective government policies have lagged behind the increase in public demand in these countries. The second approach is a case study from Malaysia, which reveals in a more integrated fashion the linkages from rising household income to increased household willingness to pay for conservation, nongovernmental organization activity, and delayed government action. Our findings suggest that domestic funding in UMI tropical countries can play a larger role in (i) closing the funding gap for tropical forest conservation, and (ii) paying for supplementary conservation actions linked to international payments for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in tropical countries.

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Optimal Directions for Directional Distance Functions: An Exploration of Potential Reductions of Greenhouse Gases

Benjamin Hampf & Jens Krüger
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article explores the reduction potential of greenhouse gases for major pollution-emitting countries of the world using nonparametric productivity measurement methods and directional distance functions. In contrast to the existing literature, we apply optimization methods to endogenously determine optimal directions for the efficiency analysis. These directions represent the compromise of output enhancement and emissions reduction. The results show that for reasonable directions the adoption of best practices would lead to sizable emission reductions in a range of approximately 20% compared with current levels.

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Increased frequency of extreme Indian Ocean Dipole events due to greenhouse warming

Wenju Cai et al.
Nature, 12 June 2014, Pages 254–258

Abstract:
The Indian Ocean dipole is a prominent mode of coupled ocean–atmosphere variability, affecting the lives of millions of people in Indian Ocean rim countries. In its positive phase, sea surface temperatures are lower than normal off the Sumatra–Java coast, but higher in the western tropical Indian Ocean. During the extreme positive-IOD (pIOD) events of 1961, 1994 and 1997, the eastern cooling strengthened and extended westward along the equatorial Indian Ocean through strong reversal of both the mean westerly winds and the associated eastward-flowing upper ocean currents. This created anomalously dry conditions from the eastern to the central Indian Ocean along the Equator and atmospheric convergence farther west, leading to catastrophic floods in eastern tropical African countries but devastating droughts in eastern Indian Ocean rim countries. Despite these serious consequences, the response of pIOD events to greenhouse warming is unknown. Here, using an ensemble of climate models forced by a scenario of high greenhouse gas emissions (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), we project that the frequency of extreme pIOD events will increase by almost a factor of three, from one event every 17.3 years over the twentieth century to one event every 6.3 years over the twenty-first century. We find that a mean state change — with weakening of both equatorial westerly winds and eastward oceanic currents in association with a faster warming in the western than the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean — facilitates more frequent occurrences of wind and oceanic current reversal. This leads to more frequent extreme pIOD events, suggesting an increasing frequency of extreme climate and weather events in regions affected by the pIOD.

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Rapid subsurface warming and circulation changes of Antarctic coastal waters by poleward shifting winds

Paul Spence et al.
Geophysical Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
The southern hemisphere westerly winds have been strengthening and shifting poleward since the 1950s. This wind trend is projected to persist under continued anthropogenic forcing, but the impact of the changing winds on Antarctic coastal heat distribution remains poorly understood. Here we show that a poleward wind shift at the latitudes of the Antarctic Peninsula can produce an intense warming of subsurface coastal waters that exceeds 2 °C at 200-700 m depth. The model simulated warming results from a rapid advective heat flux induced by weakened near-shore Ekman pumping, and is associated with weakened coastal currents. This analysis shows that anthropogenically induced wind changes can dramatically increase the temperature of ocean water at ice sheet grounding lines and at the base of floating ice shelves around Antarctica, with potentially significant ramifications for global sea level rise.

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Trends in U.S. Total Cloud Cover from a Homogeneity-Adjusted Dataset

Melissa Free & Bomin Sun
Journal of Climate, July 2014, Pages 4959–4969

Abstract:
Cloud cover data from ground-based weather observers can be an important source of climate information, but the record of such observations in the United States is disrupted by the introduction of automated observing systems and other artificial shifts that interfere with our ability to assess changes in cloudiness at climate time scales. A new dataset using 54 National Weather Service (NWS) and 101 military stations that continued to make human-augmented cloud observations after the 1990s has been adjusted using statistical changepoint detection and visual scrutiny. The adjustments substantially reduce the trends in U.S. mean total cloud cover while increasing the agreement between the cloud cover time series and those of physically related climate variables. For 1949–2009, the adjusted time series give a trend in U.S. mean total cloud of 0.11% ± 0.22% decade−1 for the military data, 0.55% ± 0.24% decade−1 for the NWS data, and 0.31% ± 0.22% decade−1 for the combined dataset. These trends are less than one-half of those in the original data. For 1976–2004, the original data give a significant increase but the adjusted data show an insignificant trend from −0.17% decade−1 (military stations) to 0.66% decade−1 (NWS stations). Trends have notable regional variability, with the northwest United States showing declining total cloud cover for all time periods examined, while trends for most other regions are positive. Differences between trends in the adjusted datasets from military stations and NWS stations may be rooted in the difference in data source and reflect the uncertainties in the homogeneity adjustment process.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Using

Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving

Benjamin Hansen
NBER Working Paper, June 2014

Abstract:
Traditional economic models of criminal behavior have straightforward predictions: raising the expected cost of crime via apprehension probabilities or punishments decreases crime. I test the effect of harsher punishments on deterring driving under the influence (DUI). In this setting, punishments are determined by strict rules on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and previous offenses. Regression discontinuity derived estimates suggest that having a BAC above the DUI threshold reduces recidivism by up to 2 percentage points (17 percent). Likewise having a BAC over the aggravated DUI threshold reduces recidivism by an additional percentage point (9 percent). The results suggest that recent recommendations to lower the BAC limit to .05 would save relatively few lives, while increasing marginal punishments and sanctions monotonically along the BAC distribution would more effectively deter the drunk drivers most likely to be involved in fatal crashes.

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Cannabis depenalisation, drug consumption and crime - Evidence from the 2004 cannabis declassification in the UK

Nils Braakmann & Simon Jones
Social Science & Medicine, August 2014, Pages 29-37

Abstract:
This paper investigates the link between cannabis depenalisation and crime using individual-level panel data for England and Wales from 2003 to 2006. We exploit the declassification of cannabis in the UK in 2004 as a natural experiment. Specifically, we use the fact that the declassification changed expected punishments differently in various age groups due to thresholds in British criminal law and employ a difference-in-differences type design using data from the longitudinal version of the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey. Our findings suggest essentially no increases in either cannabis consumption, consumption of other drugs, crime and other forms of risky behaviour.

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Adolescent Drinking and Motivated Decision-Making: A Cotwin-Control Investigation with Monozygotic Twins

Stephen Malone et al.
Behavior Genetics, July 2014, Pages 407-418

Abstract:
The present study used a monozygotic (MZ) cotwin-control (CTC) design to investigate associations between alcohol use and performance on the Iowa gambling task (IGT) in a sample of 96 adolescents (half female). The MZ CTC design is well suited to shed light on whether poor decision-making, as reflected on IGT performance, predisposes individuals to abuse substances or is a consequence of use. Participants completed structural MRI scans as well, from which we derived gray matter volumes for cortical and subcortical regions involved in IGT performance and reduced in adolescents with problematic alcohol use. Drinking was associated with poorer task performance and with reduced volume of the left lateral orbital-frontal cortex. CTC analyses indicated that the former was due to differences between members of twin pairs in alcohol use (suggesting a causal effect of alcohol), whereas the latter was due to factors shared by twins (consistent with a pre-existing vulnerability for use). Although these preliminary findings warrant replication, they suggest that normative levels of alcohol use may diminish the quality of adolescent decision-making and thus have potentially important public health implications.

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Neuroendocrine and cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress are attenuated in smokers

Annie Ginty et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, October 2014, Pages 87-97

Abstract:
A number of studies have now examined the association between smoking and the magnitude of physiological reactions to acute psychological stress. However, no large-scale study has demonstrated this association incorporating neuroendocrine in addition to cardiovascular reactions to stress. The present study compared neuroendocrine and cardiovascular reactions to acute stress exposure in current smokers, ex-smokers, and those who had never smoked in a large community sample. Salivary cortisol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and frequency components of systolic blood pressure and heart rate variability were measured at rest and during exposure to a battery of three standardised stress tasks in 480 male and female participants from the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study. Current smokers had significantly lower cortisol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate reactions to stress. They also exhibited smaller changes in the low frequency band of blood pressure variability compared to ex- and never smokers. There were no group differences in stress related changes in overall heart rate variability as measured by the root mean square of successive interbeat interval differences or in the high frequency band of heart rate variability. In all cases, effects remained significant following statistical adjustment for a host of variables likely to be associated with reactivity and/or smoking. In secondary analyses, there were no significant associations between lifetime cigarette consumption or current consumption and stress reactivity. In conclusion, compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers, current smokers exhibited attenuated neuroendocrine and cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress. Among smokers and ex-smokers, there is no evidence that lifetime exposure was associated with physiological reactions to acute stress, nor that current levels of cigarette consumption were associated with reactivity. It is possible, then, that attenuated stress reactivity may be a marker for an increased susceptibility to take up and/or maintain smoking behaviour once initiated.

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Gambling with Our Health: Smoke-Free Policy Would Not Reduce Tribal Casino Patronage

Isaiah "Shaneequa" Brokenleg et al.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: To conduct a tribally-led assessment to identify the characteristics of casino patrons at Lake of the Torches Resort Casino in Lac du Flambeau WI and their preferences for a smoke-free casino.

Methods: A survey was administered from April to August 2011 to a stratified random sample of 957 members of the casino players club to assess their preferences for a smoke-free casino. These members were categorized into three groups: those who reported being likely to (1) visit more; (2) visit less; or (3) visit the same if the casino prohibited smoking. They were characterized by age, education, sex, race/ethnicity, annual income, players club level, and reasons for visiting the casino. Statistical analyses were conducted on weighted data in October to December 2011. Weighted logistic regression was calculated to control for potential confounding of patron characteristics.

Results: Of the 957 surveyed patrons, 520 (54%) patrons were likely to visit more; 173 (18%) patrons to visit less; and 264 (28%) patrons were indifferent to the smoke-free status. Patrons more likely to prefer a smoke-free casino tended to be white, elderly, middle class and above, and visit the casino restaurants. Patrons within the lower tiers of the players club, almost half of the players club members, also showed a higher preference for a smoke-free casino.

Conclusions: This tribal casino would likely realize increased patronage associated with smoke-free status while also contributing to improved health for casino workers and patrons.

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The American Temperance Movement and Market-Based Violence

Emily Owens
American Law and Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The net impact of market legality on crime is ambiguous if consumption of the illegally traded good causes violence. With modern crime data, I show that drug control policy that increases market-based violence while reducing violence associated with intoxication raises homicide rates for individuals in their 20s relative to older and younger people. Using a state-level panel of age-specific homicides from 1900 to 1940, when many states and eventually the federal government criminalized alcohol markets, I demonstrate that the spread of the temperance movement similarly compressed the age distribution of homicide victims, primarily in northern, urban states with large immigrant populations.

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Age at Menarche and Adolescent Alcohol Use

Melissa Verhoef et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, August 2014, Pages 1333-1345

Abstract:
Research has shown that early maturation is related to problematic alcohol use, yet the differential effect of early pubertal timing (i.e., younger age at menarche) on the onset of alcohol use and subsequent level of alcohol use has rarely been examined. This distinction is relevant, as younger age at menarche can have differential effects on these outcomes, which in turn can have long-lasting effects. Therefore, the present study examined the relationship between age at menarche and adolescent alcohol use among girls, hereby distinguishing between onset and level of alcohol use. In addition, the moderating effects of alcohol-specific rules, child disclosure and class gender composition were examined. Participants were 430 girls from a Dutch four-wave survey, with a mean age of 12.17 years (SD = 0.50) at the beginning of the study. Results showed that the probability of onset of alcohol use was increased by younger age at menarche, but only when girls were younger than 15. Moderation analyses showed that younger age at menarche increased the risk of alcohol onset only in low risk girls (with high levels of alcohol-specific rules and in classes with a high percentage of girls). Once adolescent girls started drinking alcohol, younger age at menarche was associated positively with alcohol consumption only for girls in classes with a moderate to high percentage of girls. These findings confirm that younger age at menarche is a risk factor for the onset of alcohol use, but strongly suggest that this effect is strongest for girls having restrictive alcohol-specific rules and in classes with a high percentage of girls. Possibly, in the absence of social factors that "push" to alcohol use, biological factors (like age at menarche) become more important. Another possibility is that adolescent girls start drinking alcohol to oppose their parents if they set too strict alcohol-specific rules.

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Hookah Use Among US High School Seniors

Joseph Palamar et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objectives: Prevalence of hookah use is increasing significantly among adolescents. This study aimed to delineate demographic and socioeconomic correlates of hookah use among high school seniors in the United States. We hypothesized that more impoverished adolescents and those who smoked cigarettes would be more likely to use hookahs.

Methods: Data were examined for 5540 high school seniors in Monitoring the Future (years 2010-2012), an annual nationally representative survey of high school students in the United States. Using data weights provided by Monitoring the Future, we used multivariable binary logistic regression to delineate correlates of hookah use in the last 12 months.

Results: Eighteen percent of students reported hookah use in the past year. Compared with white students, black students were at lower odds for use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.27, P < .0001). High parent education increased the odds for use (AOR = 1.58, P < .001), and student weekly income from a job of >$50/week (AOR = 1.26, P < .05) or $11 to $50 per week from other sources (AOR = 1.35, P < .01) also increased odds for use. Males and urban students were also at higher odds for use, as were users of alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Former cigarette smokers were at higher risk, and current smokers were at highest risk for use.

Conclusions: Adolescents of higher socioeconomic status appear to be at particularly high risk for hookah use in the United States. Prevention efforts must target this group as prevalence continues to increase.

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In utero exposure to cigarette smoke dysregulates human fetal ovarian developmental signaling

Paul Fowler et al.
Human Reproduction, July 2014, Pages 1471-1489

Study question: How does maternal cigarette smoking disturb development of the human fetal ovary?

Study design, size, duration: The effects of maternal cigarette smoking on the second trimester human fetal ovary, fetal endocrine signalling and fetal chemical burden were studied. A total of 105 fetuses were studied, 56 from mothers who smoked during pregnancy and 49 from those who did not.

Participants/materials, setting methods: Ovary, liver and plasma samples were collected from electively terminated, normally progressing, second trimester human fetuses. Circulating fetal hormones, levels of 73 fetal ovarian transcripts, protein localization, density of oocytes/primordial follicles and levels of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the fetal liver were determined.

Main results and the role of chance: Circulating fetal estrogen levels were very high and were increased by maternal smoking (ANOVA, P = 0.055-0.004 versus control). Smoke exposure also dysregulated (two-way ANOVA, smoking versus gestation weeks interaction, P = 0.046-0.023) four fetal ovarian genes (cytochrome P450 scc [CYP11A1], NOBOX oogenesis homeobox [NOBOX], activator of apoptosis harakiri [HRK], nuclear receptor subfamily 2, group E, member 1 [NR2E1]), shifted the ovarian Inhibin βA/inhibin α ratio (NHBA/INHA) transcript ratio in favour of activin (ANOVA, P = 0.049 versus control) and reduced the proportion of dominant-negative estrogen receptor 2 (ERβ: ESR2) isoforms in half the exposed fetuses. PAHs, ligands for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), were increased nearly 6-fold by maternal smoking (ANOVA, P = 0.011 versus control). A fifth transcript, COUP transcription factor 1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 2, group F, member 1: NR2F1, which contains multiple AHR-binding sites), was both significantly increased (ANOVA, P = 0.026 versus control) and dysregulated by (two-way ANOVA, smoking versus gestation weeks interaction, P = 0.021) maternal smoking. NR2F1 is associated with repression of FSHR expression and smoke-exposed ovaries failed to show the normal increase in FSHR expression during the second trimester. There was a significantly higher number of DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box polypeptide 4 (DDX4) VASA-positive (ANOVA, P = 0.016 versus control), but not POU domain, class 1, transcription factor 1 (POU5F1) OCT3/4-positive, oocytes in smoke-exposed fetuses and this matched with a significantly higher number of primordial follicles (ANOVA, P = 0.024 versus control).

Wider implications of the findings: Fetal exposure to chemicals in cigarette smoke is known to lead to reduced fecundity in women. Our study suggests, for the first time, that this occurs via mechanisms involving activation of AHR, disruption of inhibin/activin and estrogen signalling, increased exposure to estrogen and dysregulation of multiple molecular pathways in the exposed human fetal ovary. Our data also suggest that alterations in the ESR2 positive and dominant negative isoforms may be associated with reduced sensitivity of some fetuses to increased estrogens and maternal smoking.

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Drinking to Reach the Top: Young Adults' Drinking Patterns as a Predictor of Status within Natural Drinking Groups

Tara Dumas et al.
Addictive Behaviors, October 2014, Pages 1510-1515

Abstract:
In this study we examined associations between young adults' drinking patterns and social status within their natural drinking groups (NDGs) and assessed gender differences in these relationships. Same-sex NDGs (n = 104) on route to a bar district were recruited and completed a peer-nominated measure of within-NDG status. In a follow-up online survey, participants (n = 293; 174 men and 119 women) reported their usual drinking pattern within the past year. Hierarchical Linear Modeling revealed that men who engaged in more frequent heavy episodic drinking (HED) (both for 5 + and 8 + drinks in one sitting) and women who drank more frequently were nominated as occupying higher-status positions within their NDGs compared to their peers who drank less. Further, for both men and women, drinking more than one's peers during one's heaviest drinking occasion in the past year was also associated with higher within-NDG status. These findings suggest that higher social status is associated with riskier drinking patterns and have important implications for prevention programming.

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The Market for Mules: Risk and Compensation of Cross-Border Drug Couriers

David Bjerk & Caleb Mason
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses a unique dataset to examine the economics of cross-border drug smuggling. Our results reveal that loads are generally quite large (median 30 kg), but with substantial variance within and across drug types. Males and females, as well as U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens are all well represented among mules. We also find that mule compensation is substantial (median $1,313), and varies with load characteristics. Specifically, for mules caught with cocaine and meth, pay appears to be strongly correlated to expected sentence if caught, while pay appears to be primarily correlated with load size for marijuana mules, who generally smuggle much larger loads than those smuggling cocaine and meth. We argue that our results suggest that this underground labor market generally acts like a competitive labor market, where a risk-sensitive, reasonably well-informed, and relatively elastic labor force is compensated for higher risk tasks.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 7, 2014

On queue

A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson
Journal of Political Economy, June 2014, Pages 467-506

Abstract:
During the Age of Mass Migration (1850–1913), the United States maintained an open border, absorbing 30 million European immigrants. Prior cross-sectional work finds that immigrants initially held lower-paid occupations than natives but converged over time. In newly assembled panel data, we show that, in fact, the average immigrant did not face a substantial occupation-based earnings penalty upon first arrival and experienced occupational advancement at the same rate as natives. Cross-sectional patterns are driven by biases from declining arrival cohort skill level and departures of negatively selected return migrants. We show that assimilation patterns vary substantially across sending countries and persist in the second generation.

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Foreign Nurse Importation and the Supply of Native Nurses

Patricia Cortés & Jessica Pan
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The importation of foreign registered nurses has been used as a strategy to ease nursing shortages in the United States. The effectiveness of this policy depends critically on the long-run response of native nurses. We examine the effects of immigration of foreign-born registered nurses on the long-run employment and occupational choice of native nurses. Using a variety of empirical strategies that exploit the geographical distribution of immigrant nurses across US cities, we find evidence of large displacement effects -- over a ten-year period, for every foreign nurse that migrates to a city, between 1 to 2 fewer native nurses are employed in the city. We find similar results using data on nursing board exam-takers at the state level -- an increase in the flow of foreign nurses significantly reduces the number of natives sitting for licensure exams in more dependent states relative to less dependent states. Using data on self-reported workplace satisfaction among a sample of California nurses, we find suggestive evidence that part of the displacement effects could be driven by a decline in the perceived quality of the workplace environment.

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In the Belly of the Beast: Effects of Anti-Immigration Policy on Latino Community Members

Seline Szkupinski Quiroga, Dulce Medina & Jennifer Glick
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the experiences of Latino adults in South Phoenix, Arizona, during a time of changing immigration policy, through the theoretical lenses of structural vulnerability and macro- and microaggression. The analyses describe how U.S.- and foreign-born Latinos experience the effects of local immigration laws and anti-immigrant sentiment. The results suggest that while there are differences between the U.S.-born and foreign-born in perceived impacts of immigration enforcement, there are few differences in perceptions of vulnerability and no evidence of lesser psychological distress among those who are not the direct targets of immigration enforcement activities. Even if they do not feel directly at risk, most respondents express concerns for family members and others in their social networks as a result of increased attention to immigration enforcement or anti-immigrant sentiment. These shared impacts may have long-term implications for Latino communities in the United States.

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What Makes Muslims Feel French?

Rahsaan Maxwell & Erik Bleich
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, we analyze the extent to which Muslims self-identify as French. A common interpretation of Muslim political attitudes assumes that Islam fundamentally conflicts with mainstream European society and that when Muslims are more attached to their religion they will be less likely to identify as French. We examine this assumption by exploring whether Muslim national identification is more strongly related to religiosity or other factors such as socio-economic status, social networks, and immigrant integration. Our results offer some support for each explanation, but we find that religiosity is not the dominant force shaping Muslims' attitudes. Instead, factors associated with immigrant integration have the most profound relationship with Muslim identification. These conclusions are supported by the fact that religiosity and immigrant integration variables have similar effects on the national identification of Christian immigrants. Our findings suggest that focusing on religiosity is not the best way to analyze Muslims' attitudes or identities, and that tensions surrounding Muslims' self-identification with France are likely to decrease in future generations, as immigrant integration proceeds through the increased prevalence of birth in France, having French citizenship, and French language fluency.

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The immigrant paradox: Immigrants are less antisocial than native-born Americans

Michael Vaughn et al.
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, July 2014, Pages 1129-1137

Purpose: Although recent research on crime and violence among immigrants suggests a paradox — where immigrants are more socially disadvantaged yet less likely to commit crime — previous research is limited by issues of generalizability and assessment of the full depth of antisocial behavior.

Methods: We surmount these limitations using data from waves I and II of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and compare immigrants (N = 7,320) from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America to native-born Americans (N = 34,622) with respect to violent and nonviolent forms of antisocial behavior.

Results: After controlling for an extensive array of confounds, results indicate that immigrants are significantly less antisocial despite being more likely to have lower levels of income, less education, and reside in urban areas. These findings hold for immigrants from major regions of the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Conclusions: This study confirms and extends prior research on crime and antisocial behavior, but suggests that it is premature however to think of immigrants as a policy intervention for treating high crime areas.

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Culture: Persistence and Evolution

Francesco Giavazzi, Ivan Petkov & Fabio Schiantarelli
NBER Working Paper, May 2014

Abstract:
This paper presents evidence on the speed of evolution (or lack thereof) of a wide range of values and beliefs of different generations of European immigrants to the US. The main result is that persistence differs greatly across cultural attitudes. Some, for instance deep personal religious values, some family and moral values, and political orientation converge very slowly to the prevailing US norm. Other, such as attitudes toward cooperation, redistribution, effort, children's independence, premarital sex, and even the frequency of religious practice or the intensity of association with one's religion, converge rather quickly. The results obtained studying higher generation immigrants differ greatly from those found when the analysis is limited to the second generation, as typically done in the literature, and they imply a lesser degree of persistence than previously thought. Finally, we show that persistence is "culture specific" in the sense that the country from which one's ancestors came matters for the pattern of generational convergence.

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The importance of timing in the U.S. response to undocumented immigrants: A recursive dynamic approach

Angel Aguiar & Terrie Walmsley
Economic Modelling, August 2014, Pages 253–262

Abstract:
In an attempt to control the flow of undocumented immigrants, successive U.S. governments have considered large scale deportation, amnesties, expanding visa programs, and fining firms who hire undocumented workers. Using a comparative static model, Aguiar and Walmsley (2013), find that amnesties have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. However, such policies are one-time changes in the labor force, whose benefits diminish over time, and which are unlikely to stop the flow of undocumented workers or fulfill the demands of U.S. firms for cheap foreign labor. In this paper, we use a global dynamic model to investigate the long run implications of three policy scenarios: 1) a one-time amnesty for undocumented workers living in the U.S.; 2) a permanent increase in the number of foreign worker visas; and 3) enhanced border security. We find that an amnesty is much less effective than a permanent increase in the number of visas at promoting economic growth in the U.S., while enhanced border control by the U.S. has a small negative effect due to the relative size of the undocumented labor market in the U.S. Combined, the three policies offer a mechanism for supporting U.S. short- and long-term economic growth, while also benefiting suppliers of migrant workers, such as Mexico.

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Trapped in the Working Class? Prospects for the Intergenerational (Im)Mobility of Latino Youth

Veronica Terriquez
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Opportunities for upward mobility have been declining in the United States in recent decades. Within this context, I examine the mobility trajectories of a contemporary cohort of 1.5-, second-, and third-plus-generation Latino youth. Drawing on survey data from California that accounts for the precarious legal status of many 1.5 generation immigrants, I find that Latino youths' patterns of postsecondary enrollment and employment do not differ by generation since migration. Additionally, I do not find evidence of racial/ethnic barriers to Latino youths' enrollment in less selective colleges and participation in the labor market. Yet, given the low socioeconomic origins of many Latino youth and their correspondingly low 4-year college enrollment rates, only a small proportion will likely enjoy upward mobility through jobs that require a bachelor's degree. Overall, the cohort of Latino youth coming of age during the Great Recession is poised to experience working-class stagnation. This group's future access to economic and political positions of power will likely be limited by their low enrollment rates in 4-year colleges in general, but in selective postsecondary institutions in particular.

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Living in the Eye of the Storm: How did Hazleton’s Restrictive Immigration Ordinance Affect Local Interethnic Relations?

René Flores
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
As Hispanic immigrants have moved beyond traditional immigrant gateways in recent years, local restrictive immigrant ordinances have proliferated. Although scholars have studied the determinants of these policies, we still know little about their social consequences. Drawing on ethnographic and interview data with 103 white, black, and Hispanic residents, collected in 2007 and 2011 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which passed an anti-immigrant ordinance in 2006, the author found that the law motivated anti-immigrant activism, hardened native views of Hispanics (regardless of documentation status), and increased native whites’ fears of lawlessness and crime. By 2011, however, locals reported significantly lower ethnic animosity, and the Latino population, led by Dominicans, continued to grow. This research reveals the unintended consequences of symbolic exclusionary laws and also highlights their limitations. It also demonstrates the capacity that microlevel political factors have to affect immigrant incorporation and intergroup relations and shows that the recent spread of local and state immigrant restrictionist policies may negatively affect immigrants’ ability to incorporate in new destinations of settlement at least in the short term.

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The Two-Way Street of Acculturation, Discrimination, and Latino Immigration Restrictionism

Francisco Pedraza
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing research concludes that acculturation converges Latino immigration policy views with those of Anglo-Americans. Yet, polls show few Latinos support restricting immigration. This article reconciles these statements with theory and evidence. I argue acculturation is part of a broader give-and-take process, the two-way street in which the contrast between expected and perceived treatment by the receiving community shapes whether or not Latino acculturation leads to restrictionism and “convergence” with Anglos. Regression analysis of survey data shows that perceived group discrimination, but not perceived individual discrimination or Latino within-group discrimination, moderates the link between acculturation and support for restrictive policy.

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The Great Recession and Health Spending among Uninsured U.S. Immigrants: Implications for the Affordable Care Act Implementation

Arturo Vargas Bustamante & Jie Chen
Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: We study the association between the timing of the Great Recession (GR) and health spending among uninsured adults distinguishing by citizenship/nativity status and time of U.S. residence.

Data Source: Uninsured U.S. citizens and noncitizens from the 2005–2006 and 2008–2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Principal Findings: The probability of reporting any spending diminished for recent immigrants compared to citizens during the GR. For those with any spending, recent immigrants reported higher spending during the GR (27 percent). Average reductions in total spending were driven by the decline in the share of the population reporting any spending among citizens and noncitizens.

Conclusions: Our study findings suggest that recent immigrants could be forgoing essential care, which later translates into higher spending. It portrays the vulnerability of a population that would remain exposed to income shocks, even after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation.

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Gender Inequalities in the Education of the Second Generation in Western Countries

Fenella Fleischmann et al.
Sociology of Education, July 2014, Pages 143-170

Abstract:
Drawing on comparative analyses from nine Western countries, we ask whether local-born children from a wide range of immigrant groups show patterns of female advantage in education that are similar to those prevalent in their host Western societies. We consider five outcomes throughout the educational career: test scores or grades at age 15, continuation after compulsory schooling, choice of academic track in upper-secondary education, completion of upper secondary, and completion of tertiary education. Despite great variation in gender gaps in education in immigrants’ origin countries (with advantages for males in many cases), we find that the female advantage in education observed among the majority population is usually present among second-generation immigrants. We interpret these findings in light of ideas about gender role socialization and immigrant selectivity.

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The Consequences of Migration to the United States for Short-Term Changes in the Health of Mexican Immigrants

Noreen Goldman et al.
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although many studies have attempted to examine the consequences of Mexico-U.S. migration for Mexican immigrants’ health, few have had adequate data to generate the appropriate comparisons. In this article, we use data from two waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS) to compare the health of current migrants from Mexico with those of earlier migrants and nonmigrants. Because the longitudinal data permit us to examine short-term changes in health status subsequent to the baseline survey for current migrants and for Mexican residents, as well as to control for the potential health selectivity of migrants, the results provide a clearer picture of the consequences of immigration for Mexican migrant health than have previous studies. Our findings demonstrate that current migrants are more likely to experience recent changes in health status — both improvements and declines — than either earlier migrants or nonmigrants. The net effect, however, is a decline in health for current migrants: compared with never migrants, the health of current migrants is much more likely to have declined in the year or two since migration and not significantly more likely to have improved. Thus, it appears that the migration process itself and/or the experiences of the immediate post-migration period detrimentally affect Mexican immigrants’ health.

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The Land of the Free: Undocumented Families in the Juvenile Justice System

Caitlin Cavanagh & Elizabeth Cauffman
Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Approximately 8 million Latinos in the United States are undocumented immigrants, nearly half of whom are parents to a minor. Concerns over deportation may affect the way families with undocumented members perceive legal authorities relative to documented immigrant families. Yet, there have been few studies on how Latinos (documented or undocumented) interact with, and form attitudes about, police and no studies on adjudicated youth from families with an undocumented member. To address this gap, 155 pairs (N = 310) of Latina immigrant mothers and their first-time offending sons were interviewed. More than half of the mothers, and 12.3% of youth, were undocumented residents. Controlling for key contextual factors, youth whose mothers were undocumented held more negative attitudes toward the police than youth whose mothers were documented. Youth, however, did not perceive judges differently based on mother’s documentation status, suggesting that documentation status relates to police specifically rather than justice system attitudes broadly. The same pattern was noted when considering youth’s own documentation status. Because negative attitudes toward police have been associated with decreased reports of victimization and other crimes, policy related to undocumented immigration should consider the unintended effects of such laws.

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Police Arrests in a Time of Uncertainty: The Impact of 287(g) on Arrests in a New Immigrant Gateway

Katharine Donato & Leslie Ann Rodríguez
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a novel data set created from police narratives between 2005 and 2010, this article examines whether and how police reporting varies before and after the implementation of 287(g), a local enforcement program located in Nashville’s Davidson County, a new immigrant gateway city. We examine patterns of symbolic language used by police officers related to arrests of immigrants and U.S. natives, and examine whether differences emerge before and after May 2007, when the 287(g) program began. Results show significant shifts in the reasons given for arrests before and after implementation of 287(g), and characteristics about foreignness such as country of origin, language use, and legal status that became more salient after 287(g). We argue that the 287(g) program — coupled with the political climate in which it was embedded — bestowed salience on traits that, in the past, were not relevant. That is, our findings suggest that anti-immigrant laws, such as 287(g), play an important role in the social construction of legal status among police officers.

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Perceptions of Commonality and Latino-Black, Latino-White Relations in a Multiethnic United States

Betina Cutaia Wilkinson
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the extent that Latinos’ sense of social, economic, and political power shapes their perceptions of commonality with blacks and whites. In accordance with my theory, which builds on the racial threat and group position theories, I find that Latinos’ sense of power structures their perceptions of blacks and whites. When native-born Latinos feel economically threatened, they are less likely to perceive commonality with blacks. When native-born Latinos gain some political influence, they identify less with whites. Among Latino immigrants who perceive discrimination, residing in a high-threat economic setting is negatively related to perceiving commonality with whites.

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Selection, Language Heritage, and the Earnings Trajectories of Black Immigrants in the United States

Tod Hamilton
Demography, June 2014, Pages 975-1002

Abstract:
Research suggests that immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean surpass the earnings of U.S.-born blacks approximately one decade after arriving in the United States. Using data from the 1980–2000 U.S. censuses and the 2005–2007 American Community Surveys on U.S.-born black and non-Hispanic white men as well as black immigrant men from all the major sending regions of the world, I evaluate whether selective migration and language heritage of immigrants’ birth countries account for the documented earnings crossover. I validate the earnings pattern of black immigrants documented in previous studies, but I also find that the earnings of most arrival cohorts of immigrants from the English-speaking Caribbean, after residing in the United States for more than 20 years, are projected to converge with or slightly overtake those of U.S.-born black internal migrants. The findings also show three arrival cohorts of black immigrants from English-speaking African countries are projected to surpass the earnings of U.S.-born black internal migrants. No arrival cohort of black immigrants is projected to surpass the earnings of U.S.-born non-Hispanic whites. Birth-region analysis shows that black immigrants from English-speaking countries experience more rapid earnings growth than immigrants from non-English-speaking countries. The arrival-cohort and birth-region variation in earnings documented in this study suggest that selective migration and language heritage of black immigrants’ birth countries are important determinants of their initial earnings and earnings trajectories in the United States.

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Anti-Immigrant Ordinances and Discrimination in New and Established Destinations

Kim Ebert & Sarah Ovink
American Behavioral Scientist, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigrants and their children come to the U.S. in search of upward mobility, but in many contexts they experience discrimination and restrictive political climates. Contexts vary widely, however, given the growing number of new immigrant destinations. Past studies tend to focus on what immigrants and their children are (or are not) doing to adapt to local contexts, a focus that strengthens the perception that immigrants are a “problem” group. In this article, we move the debate away from more familiar economic analyses to assess how destination type and exclusionary ordinances, defined as laws that restrict the rights of and services accorded to immigrant groups, influence “subjective” outcomes, including reports of discrimination among Mexican Americans. Our results reveal three main findings that illustrate the importance of local context. First, individuals living in a county with a greater share of co-ethnics report fewer experiences with discrimination. Second, in counties with an exclusionary ordinance, share of co-ethnics increases reports of discrimination. Finally, being born in the U.S. and speaking English do not provide protection from discrimination; rather, such characteristics shield Mexican Americans from discrimination only in contexts with larger shares of co-ethnics.

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Disparities in Early Exposure to Book Sharing Within Immigrant Families

Natalia Festa et al.
Pediatrics, July 2014, Pages e162-e168

Objective: This study examined the early developmental context of children in immigrant families (CIF), measured by the frequency with which parents share books with their children.

Methods: Trends in the frequency with which parents report book sharing, defined in this analysis as reading or sharing picture books with their young children, were analyzed across immigrant and nonimmigrant households by using data from the 2005, 2007, and 2009 California Health Interview Survey. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression assessed the likelihood that CIF shared books with parents daily.

Results: In this study, 57.5% of parents in immigrant families reported daily book sharing (DBS), compared with 75.8% of native-born parents. The lowest percentage of DBS was seen in Hispanic families with 2 foreign-born parents (47.1%). When controlling for independent variables, CIF with 2 foreign-born parents had the lowest odds of sharing books daily (odds ratio [OR]: 0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54–0.68). When stratified by race/ethnicity, separate multivariate logistic regressions revealed CIF status to be associated with lower odds of DBS for Asian (OR: 0.56; 95% CI: 0.38–0.81) and Hispanic CIF (OR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.42–0.58).

Conclusions: There is an association between the lower odds of DBS and parental immigrant status, especially for Hispanic and Asian children. This relationship holds after controlling for variables thought to explain differences in literacy-related practices, such as parental education and income. Because book sharing is central to children’s development of early literacy and language skills, this disparity merits further exploration with the aim of informing future interventions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Disturbia

Honor and the Stigma of Mental Healthcare

Ryan Brown, Mikiko Imura & Lara Mayeux
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most prior research on cultures of honor has focused on interpersonal aggression. The present studies examined the novel hypothesis that honor-culture ideology enhances the stigmatization of mental health needs and inhibits the use of mental health services. Study 1 demonstrated that people who strongly endorsed honor-related beliefs and values were especially concerned that seeking help for mental health needs would indicate personal weakness and would harm their reputations. Studies 2 and 3 showed that honor states in the U.S. South and West invested less in mental healthcare resources, compared with non-honor states in the North (Study 2), and that parents living in honor states were less likely than parents in non-honor states to use mental health services on behalf of their children (Study 3). Together, these studies reveal an overlooked consequence of honor ideology for psychological well-being at the individual, social, and institutional levels.

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A Changing Epidemiology of Suicide? The Influence of Birth Cohorts on Suicide Rates in the United States

Julie Phillips
Social Science & Medicine, August 2014, Pages 151–160

Abstract:
The increases in suicide among middle-aged baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) in the United States since 1999 suggest a changing epidemiology of suicide. Using data from 1935 to 2010, this paper conducts age-period-cohort analyses to determine the impact of cohorts in shaping temporal patterns of suicide in the United States. The analysis demonstrates that age, period and cohort effects are all important in determining suicide trends. Net of age and period effects, the cohort pattern of suicide rates is U-shaped, with cohorts born between 1915 and 1945 possessing among the very lowest suicide rates. Suicide rates begin to rise with boomers and subsequent cohorts exhibit increasingly higher rates of suicide. The general pattern exists for both men and women but is especially pronounced among males. The average suicide rate over the entire period for males is about 28 per 100,000, 95% CI [27.4, 28.7]. For males born in 1930-34, the suicide rate is estimated to be 17.4 per 100,000, 95% CI [15.9, 18.8]; for males born between 1955 and 1959, the rate is essentially the same as the average for the period while for males born between 1985 and 1989, the suicide rate is estimated to be 37.8 per 100,000, 95% CI [33.1, 43.4]. The results dispute popular claims that boomers exhibit an elevated suicide rate relative to other generations, but boomers do appear to have ushered in new cohort patterns of suicide rates over the life course. These patterns are interpreted within a Durkheimian framework that suggests weakened forms of social integration and regulation among postwar cohorts may be producing increased suicide rates.

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Do Generous Unemployment Benefit Programs Reduce Suicide Rates? A State Fixed-Effect Analysis Covering 1968–2008

Jonathan Cylus, Maria Glymour & Mauricio Avendano
American Journal of Epidemiology, 1 July 2014, Pages 45-52

Abstract:
The recent economic recession has led to increases in suicide, but whether US state unemployment insurance programs ameliorate this association has not been examined. Exploiting US state variations in the generosity of benefit programs between 1968 and 2008, we tested the hypothesis that more generous unemployment benefit programs reduce the impact of economic downturns on suicide. Using state linear fixed-effect models, we found a negative additive interaction between unemployment rates and benefits among the US working-age (20–64 years) population (β = −0.57, 95% confidence interval: −0.86, −0.27; P < 0.001). The finding of a negative additive interaction was robust across multiple model specifications. Our results suggest that the impact of unemployment rates on suicide is offset by the presence of generous state unemployment benefit programs, though estimated effects are small in magnitude.

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Job loss, wealth and depression during the Great Recession in the USA and Europe

Carlos Riumallo-Herl et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Aim: To examine whether late-career job loss increased depression among older workers approaching retirement in the USA and Europe.

Methods: Longitudinal data came from the Health and Retirement Survey and the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. Workers aged 50 to 64 years in 13 European countries and the USA were assessed biennially from 2006 to 2010. Individual fixed effects models were used to test the effect of job loss on depressive symptoms, controlling for age, sex, physical health, initial wealth and socio-demographic factors.

Results: Job loss was associated with a 4.78% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.823% to 8.74%] increase in depressive symptoms in the USA compared with a 3.35% (95% CI: 0.486% to 6.22%) increase in Europe. Job loss due to a worker’s unexpected firm closure increased depression scores in both the USA (beta = 28.2%, 95% CI: 8.55% to 47.8%) and Europe (beta = 7.50%, 95% CI: 1.25% to 13.70%), but pooled models suggested significantly stronger effects for US workers (P < 0.001). American workers who were poorer before the recession experienced significantly larger increases in depressive symptoms compared with wealthier US workers (beta for interaction = −0.054, 95% CI: −0.082 to −0.025), whereas pre-existing wealth did not moderate the impact of job loss among European workers.

Conclusions: Job loss is associated with increased depressive symptoms in the USA and Europe, but effects of job loss due to plant closure are stronger for American workers. Wealth mitigates the impact of job loss on depression in the USA more than in Europe.

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Effects of college education on demonstrated happiness in the United States

Pavlo Buryi & Scott Gilbert
Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among the many documented benefits of a college education is a higher level of self-reported happiness. The present work considers instead the level of demonstrated happiness and unhappiness within groups, the latter proxied by the conditional probability of suicide within groups having a college education and those without. Those with college are not happier for it, in these terms, and actually have slightly higher rates of suicide than those without college, based on a recent US data.

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Consequences of ADHD Medication Use for Children's Outcomes

Søren Dalsgaard, Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen
Journal of Health Economics, September 2014, Pages 137–151

Abstract:
This paper estimates effects of early ADHD medication use on key human capital outcomes for children diagnosed with ADHD while using rarely available register based data on diagnoses and prescription drug purchases. Our main identification strategy exploits plausible exogenous assignment of children to hospitals with specialist physicians, while our analysis of health outcomes also allows for an individual level panel data strategy. We find that the behavior of specialist physicians varies considerably across hospitals and that the prescribing behavior does affect the probability that a given child is treated. Results show that children diagnosed with ADHD in pharmacological treatment have fewer hospital contacts if treated and that treatment to some extent protects against criminal behavior.

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Happy Twitter Tweets Are More Likely in American States with Lower Levels of Resident Neuroticism

Stewart McCann
Psychological Reports, June 2014, Pages 891-895

Abstract:
Relations between Big Five personality scores aggregated at the American state level and the happiness of Twitter tweet content emanating from each of the 50 American states were explored with the 50 states as the units of analysis. Tweet happiness correlated negatively with Neuroticism, and the relation remained when partial correlation and multiple regression adjusted and controlled for state socioeconomic status, white population percent, and urban population percent. In contrast, state levels of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Agreeableness showed no relation to state levels of the happiness of tweet content.

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Making sense of misfortune: Deservingness, self-esteem, and patterns of self-defeat

Mitchell Callan, Aaron Kay & Rael Dawtry
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, July 2014, Pages 142-162

Abstract:
Drawing on theorizing and research suggesting that people are motivated to view their world as an orderly and predictable place in which people get what they deserve, the authors proposed that (a) random and uncontrollable bad outcomes will lower self-esteem and (b) this, in turn, will lead to the adoption of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. Four experiments demonstrated that participants who experienced or recalled bad (vs. good) breaks devalued their self-esteem (Studies 1a and 1b), and that decrements in self-esteem (whether arrived at through misfortune or failure experience) increase beliefs about deserving bad outcomes (Studies 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b). Five studies (Studies 3–7) extended these findings by showing that this, in turn, can engender a wide array of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors, including claimed self-handicapping ahead of an ability test (Study 3), the preference for others to view the self less favorably (Studies 4–5), chronic self-handicapping and thoughts of physical self-harm (Study 6), and choosing to receive negative feedback during an ability test (Study 7). The current findings highlight the important role that concerns about deservingness play in the link between lower self-esteem and patterns of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Forgiveness Increases Meaning in Life

Daryl Van Tongeren et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Close relationships are a source of meaning in life. Interpersonal offenses can disrupt one’s sense of meaning within close relationships. To restore a sense of meaning, people may employ relational repair strategies such as forgiveness. We hypothesized that forgiveness is a meaning-making mechanism because it helps repair relationships, thus restoring the positive effects of relationships on meaning. Study 1 (N = 491) revealed that dispositional forgiveness and the degree of forgiveness following an offense were positively related to meaning in life. Study 2 (N = 210), a 6-month longitudinal study of romantic couples, revealed that participants who regularly forgave their partner reported increased meaning in life over time. In addition, forgiveness helped recover lost meaning among those participants reporting more frequent partner offenses. These results provide initial evidence that forgiveness recovers a sense of meaning in life after interpersonal offenses.

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Crowd-powered positive psychological interventions

Robert Morris & Rosalind Picard
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent advances in crowdsourcing have led to new forms of assistive technologies, commonly referred to as crowd-powered devices. To best serve the user, these technologies crowdsource human intelligence as needed, when automated methods alone are insufficient. In this paper, we provide an overview of how these systems work and how they can be used to enhance technological interventions for positive psychology. As a specific example, we describe previous work that crowdsources positive reappraisals, providing users timely and personalized suggestions for ways to reconstrue stressful thoughts and situations. We then describe how this approach could be extended for use with other positive psychological interventions. Finally, we outline future directions for crowd-powered positive psychological interventions.

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Suicide and the Great Recession of 2007-2009: The Role of Economic Factors in the 50 U.S. States

Julie Phillips & Colleen Nugent
Social Science & Medicine, September 2014, Pages 22–31

Abstract:
After several decades of decline, U.S. suicide rates have risen since 2005, a trend driven largely by increases among those aged 45-64 that began in 1999. A prominent explanation for this pattern relates to deteriorating economic conditions, especially the sharp rise in unemployment associated with the Great Recession of 2007-2009. We pool data from 1997 to 2010 on the 50 U.S. states to examine the role of economic factors in producing the recent rise in suicide rates. Unlike prior studies, we examine trends in the total suicide rate and in the rate disaggregated by sex, age group and time period and include a number of important confounding factors in a multivariate analysis. We find a strong positive association between unemployment rates and total suicide rates over time within states. The association appears stronger in states that had higher female labor force participation rates over the period, suggesting that the Great Recession may generate greater levels of anomie in this context. Once we consider contextual factors such as female labor force participation, we find that rising unemployment had a similar adverse effect on male and female suicide rates. A positive effect of unemployment on temporal variation in middle-aged suicide exists but not for other age groups. Other economic characteristics, such as percent of manufacturing jobs and per capita income, are not associated with temporal variation in suicide rates within states but are associated with variation between states in suicide rates. The findings suggest that the following may be important components of effective prevention strategies: 1) specifically targeting employers and workplaces as important stakeholders in the prevention of suicide, 2) disseminating information about health risks tied to un/employment, and 3) linking the unemployed to mental health resources.

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Revenge and psychological adjustment after homicidal loss

Mariëtte van Denderen et al.
Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Feelings of revenge are a common human response to being hurt by others. Among crime victims of severe sexual or physical violence, significant correlations have been reported between revenge and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Homicide is one of the most severe forms of interpersonal violence. It is therefore likely that individuals bereaved by homicide experience high levels of revenge, which may hamper efforts to cope with traumatic loss. The relationship between revenge and psychological adjustment following homicidal loss has not yet been empirically examined. In the current cross-sectional study, we used self-report data from 331 spouses, family members and friends of homicide victims to examine the relationships between dispositional revenge and situational revenge on the one hand and symptom-levels of PTSD and complicated grief, as well as indices of positive functioning, on the other hand. Furthermore, the association between revenge and socio-demographic and offense-related factors was examined. Participants were recruited from a governmental support organization, a website with information for homicidally bereaved individuals, and members of support groups. Levels of both dispositional and situational revenge were positively associated with symptoms of PTSD and complicated grief, and negatively with positive functioning. Participants reported significantly less situational revenge in cases where the perpetrator was a direct family member than cases where the perpetrator was an indirect family member, friend, or someone unknown. Homicidally bereaved individuals reported more situational revenge, but not more dispositional revenge than a sample of students who had experienced relatively mild interpersonal transgressions.

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Regulating emotion to improve physical health through the amygdala

Yiying Song et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
The opinion of mind-body interaction has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years, as exemplified by accumulating evidence indicating that physical health (body) is associated with emotion and emotion regulation (mind). Yet the neural basis linking emotion regulation with physical health remains largely uninvestigated. Here we used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural basis of this pathway in a large population of healthy young adults. With a systematic study revealing the association of self-reported physical health and emotion traits of personality and general affective experiences, we further demonstrated that, for better physical health, individuals needed to regulate their emotion more effectively. Importantly, individuals who had larger gray matter (GM) volume in the amygdala reported not only a higher ability of emotion regulation but also better physical health. Further, GM volume in the amygdala mediated the correlation between emotion regulation ability and physical health. Our findings suggest that the amygdala plays a critical role in the neural circuit through which emotion regulation may influence physical health. Therefore, our study takes the first step towards exploring the neuroanatomical basis for body-mind interaction, and may inform interventions aimed at promoting physical health by augmenting skills of emotion regulation.

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Behavior Problems After Early Life Stress: Contributions of the Hippocampus and Amygdala

Jamie Hanson et al.
Biological Psychiatry, forthcoming

Background: Early life stress (ELS) can compromise development, with higher amounts of adversity linked to behavior problems. To understand this linkage, a growing body of research has examined two brain regions involved with socio-emotional functioning- the amygdala and hippocampus. Yet empirical studies have reported increases, decreases, and also no differences within human and non-human animal samples exposed to different forms of ELS. Divergence in findings may stem from methodological factors and/or non-linear effects of ELS.

Methods: We completed rigorous hand-tracing of the amygdala and hippocampus in three samples of children who suffered different forms of ELS (i.e., physical abuse, early neglect, or low SES). In addition, interview-based measures of cumulative life stress were also collected with children and their parents or guardians. These same measures were also collected in a fourth sample of comparison children who had not suffered any of these forms of ELS.

Results: Smaller amygdala volumes were found for children exposed to these different forms of ELS. Smaller hippocampal volumes were also noted for children who suffered physical abuse or from low SES-households. Smaller amygdala and hippocampal volumes were also associated with greater cumulative stress exposure and also behavior problems. Hippocampal volumes partially mediated the relationship between ELS and greater behavior problems.

Conclusions: This study suggests ELS may shape the development of brain areas involved with emotion processing and regulation in similar ways. Differences in the amygdala and hippocampus may be a shared diathesis for later negative outcomes related to ELS.

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Experiential avoidance and well-being: A daily diary analysis

Kyla Machell, Fallon Goodman & Todd Kashdan
Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Experiential avoidance (EA) is a regulatory strategy characterised by efforts to control or avoid unpleasant thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Most studies of EA have used trait measures without considering the effects of EA on psychological functioning in naturalistic settings. To address this gap, we used daily diary methodology to examine the influence of EA of anxiety on everyday well-being. For two weeks, 89 participants provided daily reports of EA, positive and negative affect, enjoyment of daily events and meaning in life (MIL). Daily EA predicted higher negative affect, lower positive affect, less enjoyment of daily events (exercising, eating food and listening to music) and less MIL. The effect of EA on positive affect was not accounted for by the amount of negative affect experienced. Our daily measure of EA was a stronger predictor of daily well-being than a traditional trait measure (The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire). Taken together, results offer insights into the adverse effects of EA on daily well-being and suggest that EA is a context-specific regulatory strategy that might be best captured using a state-dependent measure.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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