TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Money supply

Financial Literacy, Broker–Borrower Interaction and Mortgage Default

James Conklin

Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines the relationship between broker–borrower interaction in the origination process and subsequent mortgage performance. I show that face-to-face interaction between a mortgage broker and borrower before the loan funds is associated with lower levels of ex post default. The relation between face-to-face broker–borrower interaction and mortgage performance holds only for borrowers that have characteristics associated with low levels of financial literacy. Specifically, face-to-face interaction is negatively related to default for minorities, borrowers located in areas with low levels of education, low-income borrowers and borrowers with low FICO scores. My results suggest that face-to-face interaction between the mortgage broker and borrower may reduce problems associated with financial illiteracy.

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

Discrimination in Mortgage Lending: Evidence from a Correspondence Experiment

Andrew Hanson et al.

Journal of Urban Economics, March 2016, Pages 48–65

Abstract:
We design and implement an experimental test for differential response by Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) to requests for information about loans. Our e-mail correspondence experiment is designed to analyze differential treatment by client race and credit score. Our results show net discrimination by 1.8 percent of MLOs through non-response. We also find that MLOs offer more details about loans and are more likely to send follow up correspondence to whites. The effect of being African American on MLO response is equivalent to the effect of having a credit score that is 71 points lower.

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

Crises and the Development of Economic Institutions: Some Microeconomic Evidence

Raghuram Rajan & Rodney Ramcharan

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper studies the long run effects of financial crises using new bank and town level data from around the Great Depression. We find evidence that banking markets became much more concentrated in areas that experienced a greater initial collapse in the local banking system. There is also evidence that financial regulation after the Great Depression, and in particular limits on bank branching, may have helped to render the effects of the initial collapse persistent. All of this suggests a reason why post-crisis financial regulation, while potentially reducing financial instability, might also have longer run real consequences.

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

Borrower protection and the supply of credit: Evidence from foreclosure laws

Jihad Dagher & Yangfan Sun

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Laws governing the foreclosure process can have direct consequences for the costs of foreclosure and, therefore could affect lending decisions. We exploit the heterogeneity in judicial requirements across US states to examine their impact on banks’ lending decisions in a sample of urban areas straddling state borders. A key feature of our study is the way it exploits an exogenous cutoff in loan eligibility to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) guarantees, which shift the burden of foreclosure costs onto the GSEs. We find that judicial requirements reduce the supply of credit only for jumbo loans, which are ineligible for GSE guarantees, i.e., in the nonsubsidized segment of the market. Thus, while we find a significant effect on credit supply, the aggregate impact is muted by the indirect cross-subsidy by the GSEs to borrower-friendly states.

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

Racial Differences in Mortgage Denials Over the Housing Cycle: Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Christopher Wheeler & Luke Olson

Journal of Housing Economics, December 2015, Pages 33–49

Abstract:
The cyclical movement of housing prices likely affects the supply of and demand for credit for home purchases, but little is known about how this process might influence differential access to credit between minority and non-minority borrowers. This paper uses data reported through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) over the period 1990-2013 to estimate the relationship between annual metropolitan area-level house price inflation and the extent to which Black borrowers are denied relative to ‘comparable’ White borrowers on their loan applications. The results indicate that, on average, Black borrowers are denied more frequently than White borrowers, but this difference in denial rates decreases significantly as house prices rise more rapidly. Such results demonstrate the importance of considering local housing market conditions when using HMDA data to assess lender compliance with fair lending laws.

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

Where Are All the New Banks? The Role of Regulatory Burden in New Bank Formation

Robert Adams & Jacob Gramlich

Review of Industrial Organization, March 2016, Pages 181-208

Abstract:
New bank formation in the U.S. has declined dramatically since the financial crisis, from over 130 new banks per year to less than 1. Many have suggested that this is due to newly-instituted regulation, but the current weak economy and low interest rates (which both depress banking profits) could also have played a role. We estimate a model of bank entry decisions on data from 1976 to 2013 which indicates that at least 75 % of the decline in new bank formation would have occurred without any regulatory change. The standalone effect of regulation is more difficult to quantify.

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

Ripples of Fear: The Diffusion of a Bank Panic

Henrich Greve, Ji-Yub (Jay) Kim & Daphne

The American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Community reactions against organizations can be driven by negative information spread through a diffusion process that is distinct from the diffusion of organizational practices. Bank panics offer a classic example of selective diffusion of negative information. Bank panics involve widespread bank runs, although a low proportion of banks experience a run. We develop theory on how organizational similarity, community similarity, and network proximity create selective diffusion paths for resistance against organizations. Using data from the largest customer-driven bank panic in the United States, we find significant effects of organizational and community similarity on the diffusion of bank runs. Runs on banks are more likely to diffuse across communities with similar ethnicities, national origins, religion, and wealth, and across banks that are structurally equivalent or have the same organizational form. We also find stronger influence from runs that are spatially proximate and in the same state.

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

ATM Fees at Black and Hispanic Owned Single Market Banks: A Comparative Analysis

Russ Kashian, Richard McGregory & Robert Drago

Review of Black Political Economy, March 2016, Pages 69-84

Abstract:
This paper presents evidence regarding three types of ATM fees: foreign fees charged for use of a non-bank ATM by the bank’s customers, surcharges for use of bank ATMs by non-customers, and balance inquiry charges for the bank’s own customers. It is hypothesized that, among single market banks, fees will be positively correlated with bank size, a lack of market competition, market penetration by multimarket banks, banks serving low income communities, and Black owned banks (BOBs) and Hispanic owned banks (HOBs), although banks may try to confuse depositors with fees that exhibit a low correlation, or may set low surcharges as part of a loss leader strategy. A 2013 sample of approximately 1500 single market banks, including 21 Black owned banks (BOBs) and 19 Hispanic owned banks (HOBs) is used for correlation and regression analyses. It is found that BOBs charge an average of $0.50 higher foreign fees, and are more likely to charge balance inquiry fees. We also find that larger banks tend to charge higher fees, and that banks may set higher fees where they serve disadvantaged communities of color. Surprisingly, market competition is never significantly associated with ATM fees, and there is minimal correlation across fees, and both results are consistent with banks setting fees strategically to confuse customers.

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

Decision-Making During the Credit Crisis: Did the Treasury Let Commercial Banks Fail?

Ettore Croci, Gerard Hertig & Eric Nowak

Journal of Empirical Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Limited attention has been paid to the comparative fate of banks benefiting from Capital Purchase Program (CPP) funding and less fortunate banks subject to FDIC resolution. We address this omission by investigating two core issues. One is whether commercial banks that ended up being subject to FDIC resolution received CPP funds. The other is whether the non-allocation of CPP funds made FDIC receivership more likely for viable commercial banks. Our findings show almost no overlap between CPP-funded and FDIC-resolved commercial banks, but we provide evidence that a significant number of FDIC-resolved banks could have avoided receivership if they had been allocated CPP funding. By comparing estimated funding and resolution costs we also show that bailing out more banks would have been cost-efficient. While our results do not allow for any policy suggestion on the optimality of bail-outs per se, they suggest that once a bail-out program is already on the table, it is better to err on the side of rescuing too many rather than too few banks.

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

Assessment Inequity in a Declining Housing Market: The Case of Detroit

Timothy Hodge et al.

Real Estate Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the degree to which assessment practices in the City of Detroit have created substantial inequities in property tax payments across residential properties. Two key contributions of this article include: (1) inequities created by assessment practices are examined in a collapsed real estate market, and (2) quantile regression techniques are used to determine how assessment practices have altered assessment distributions within and across property value groups. Results show that current practices have created a wide range of property tax payments across properties with similar value (horizontal inequity), and similar tax payments for properties of differing values (vertical inequity).

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

Owner Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance

Ronel Elul & Sebastian Tilson

Federal Reserve Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
We use a matched credit bureau and mortgage data set to identify occupancy fraud in residential mortgage originations, that is, borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status as owner occupants rather than residential real estate investors. In contrast to previous studies, our data set allows us to show that such fraud was broad based, appearing in the government-sponsored enterprise market and in loans held on bank portfolios as well. Mortgage borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status performed worse than otherwise similar owner occupants and declared investors, defaulting at nearly twice the rate. In addition, these defaults are significantly more likely to be 'strategic' in the sense that their bank card performance is better and utilization is lower.

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

Do Federal Reserve Bank presidents’ interest rate votes in the FOMC follow an electoral cycle?

Stefan Eichler & Tom Lähner

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
We find that Federal Reserve Bank presidents’ regional bias in their dissenting interest rate votes in the Federal Open Market Committee follows an electoral cycle. Presidents put more weight on their district’s economic environment during the year prior to their (re-)election relative to nonelection years.

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

Bank overdraft pricing and myopic consumers

Marlon Williams

Economics Letters, February 2016, Pages 84–87

Abstract:
In recent years, banks have routinely earned annual percentage rates of over 1,000 percent on overdraft services. Such returns are staggeringly high, especially in an arguably competitive industry; and consequently, consumer protection groups have been lobbying for increased oversight of bank overdraft fees (and similar fees). In the context of a model proposed by Gabaix and Laibson 2006, I find support for the argument that banks target myopic consumers – consumers who do not consider the add-on good when choosing the base product. Using demographic characteristics to proxy for the proportion of myopic consumers, I find results that are consistent with Gabaix and Laibson 2006 in the pricing of bank overdraft services.

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

Timing Is Money: Does Lump-Sum Payment of Tax Credits Induce High-Cost Borrowing?

Lauren Eden Jones & Katherine Michelmore

University of Michigan Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
One important feature of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is that many families receive a large lump-sum payment when they file their taxes each year. In this paper, we use the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) wealth topical modules from 1990 to 2008 to analyze the impact of the expansions of the EITC at the federal and state level over the last twenty years on household savings and unsecured debt. Results suggest that increases in tax credit generosity are associated with increases in both household savings and debt. Using the Consumer Finance Monthly survey (CFM), we then show a seasonal pattern of debt accumulation for low-income households that reflects the once-a-year timing of benefits structure: low-income households are much more likely to pay down their debt in the months surrounding tax filing compared to their higher-income counterparts, while there is little or no difference in their debt accumulation and payoff compared to higher-income families throughout the rest of the year. We estimate that the use of high-cost credit to finance consumption during non-EITC months results in approximately 8 percent of all EITC funds being paid in consumer interest payments.

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

What's in an education? Implications of CEO education for bank performance

Timothy King, Abhishek Srivastav & Jonathan Williams

Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Exploiting a unique hand-built dataset, this paper finds that CEO educational attainment, both level and quality, matters for bank performance. We offer robust evidence that banks led by CEOs with MBAs outperform their peers. Such CEOs improve performance when compensation structures are geared towards greater risk-taking incentives, and when banks follow riskier or more innovative business models. Our findings suggest that management education delivers skills enabling CEOs to manage increasingly larger and complex banking firms and achieve successful performance outcomes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sickening

Anger, frustration, boredom and the Department of Motor Vehicles: Can negative emotions impede organ donor registration?

Jason Siegel et al.

Social Science & Medicine, March 2016, Pages 174–181

Methods: Three studies were conducted through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. In Study 1, we randomly assigned participants to either recall a prior DMV experience or to a comparison condition. Emotions associated with the recalled experiences were the dependent variable. Study 2 assessed the correlations between nine different emotions and donor registration intentions. Study 3 randomly assigned participants to recall a prior frustrating DMV experience or to a comparison condition. Intention to register to donate was the dependent variable.

Results: Study 1 found that recalling a prior DMV experience was associated with more negative and less positive emotions than the comparison condition. Study 2 found that increased levels of negative emotion could be problematic, as negative emotions were negatively associated with donor intentions. Study 3 found that recalling a frustrating DMV experience resulted in significantly lower intentions to register as an organ donor (vs. a control condition).

Conclusion: Although not all DMV experiences are negative, these data indicated a relationship between the DMV and negative emotions; an association between negative emotions and lower donor registration intentions; and a causal relationship between negative DMV experiences and decreased registration intentions.

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

Experiencing breast cancer at the workplace

Giulio Zanella & Ritesh Banerjee

Journal of Public Economics, February 2016, Pages 53–66

Abstract:
We study a dynamic natural experiment involving nearly 3,000 American women of age 50–64 to understand how a woman’s propensity to receive an annual mammography changes over time after a co-worker is diagnosed with breast cancer. We find that in the year this event occurs the probability of screening drops by about 6 percentage points, off a base level of 70%. This impact effect is persistent for at least two years. Underlying mechanisms and implications for health policy are discussed.

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

Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study

Georgina Crichton, Merrill Elias & Ala’a Alkerwi

Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
Chocolate and cocoa flavanols have been associated with improvements in a range of health complaints dating from ancient times, and has established cardiovascular benefits. Less is known about the effects of chocolate on neurocognition and behavior. The aim of this study was to investigate whether chocolate intake was associated with cognitive function, with adjustment for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors. Cross-sectional analyses were undertaken on 968 community-dwelling participants, aged 23-98 years, from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS). Habitual chocolate intake was related to cognitive performance, measured with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests. More frequent chocolate consumption was significantly associated with better performance on the Global Composite score, Visual-Spatial Memory and Organization, Working Memory, Scanning and Tracking, Abstract Reasoning, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. With the exception of Working Memory, these relations were not attenuated with statistical control for cardiovascular, lifestyle and dietary factors. Prospective analyses revealed no association between cognitive function and chocolate intake measured up to 18 years later. Further intervention trials and longitudinal studies are needed to explore relations between chocolate, cocoa flavanols and cognition, and the underlying causal mechanisms.

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

Driving through the Great Recession: Why does motor vehicle fatality decrease when the economy slows down?

Monica He

Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Abstract:
The relationship between short-term macroeconomic growth and temporary mortality increases remains strongest for motor vehicle (MV) crashes. In this paper, I investigate the mechanisms that explain falling MV fatality rates during the recent Great Recession. Using U.S. state-level panel data from 2003-2013, I first estimate the relationship between unemployment and MV fatality rate and then decompose it into risk and exposure factors for different types of MV crashes. Results reveal a significant 2.9 percent decrease in MV fatality rate for each percentage point increase in unemployment rate. This relationship is almost entirely explained by changes in the risk of driving rather than exposure to the amount of driving and is particularly robust for crashes involving large commercial trucks, multiple vehicles, and speeding cars. These findings provide evidence suggesting traffic patterns directly related to economic activity lead to higher risk of MV fatality rates when the economy improves.

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

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in high-rise buildings: Delays to patient care and effect on survival

Ian Drennan et al.

Canadian Medical Association Journal, forthcoming

Background: Increasing number of people living in high-rise buildings presents unique challenges to care and may cause delays for 911-initiated first responders (including paramedics and fire department personnel) responding to calls for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. We examined the relation between floor of patient contact and survival after cardiac arrest in residential buildings.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study using data from the Toronto Regional RescuNet Epistry database for the period January 2007 to December 2012. We included all adult patients (≥ 18 yr) with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest of no obvious cause who were treated in private residences. We excluded cardiac arrests witnessed by 911-initiated first responders and those with an obvious cause. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine the effect on survival of the floor of patient contact, with adjustment for standard Utstein variables.

Results: During the study period, 7842 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest met the inclusion criteria, of which 5998 (76.5%) occurred below the third floor and 1844 (23.5%) occurred on the third floor or higher. Survival was greater on the lower floors (4.2% v. 2.6%, p = 0.002). Lower adjusted survival to hospital discharge was independently associated with higher floor of patient contact, older age, male sex and longer 911 response time. In an analysis by floor, survival was 0.9% above floor 16 (i.e., below the 1% threshold for futility), and there were no survivors above the 25th floor.

Interpretation: In high-rise buildings, the survival rate after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest was lower for patients residing on higher floors. Interventions aimed at shortening response times to treatment of cardiac arrest in high-rise buildings may increase survival.

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

How Effective is Population-Based Cancer Screening? Regression Discontinuity Estimates from the US Guideline Screening Initiation Ages

Srikanth Kadiyala & Erin Strumpf

Forum for Health Economics and Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We estimate the marginal benefits of population-based cancer screening by comparing cancer test and detection rates on either side of US guideline-recommended initiation ages (age 40 for breast cancer and age 50 for colorectal cancer during the study period). Using a regression discontinuity design and self-reported test data from national health surveys, we find test rates for breast and colorectal cancer increase at the guideline age thresholds by 109% and 78%, respectively. Data from cancer registries in twelve US states indicate that cancer detection rates increase at the same thresholds by 50% and 49%, respectively. We estimate significant effects of screening on earlier breast cancer detection (1.2 cases/1000 screened) at age 40 and colorectal cancer detection (1.1 cases/1000 individuals screened) at age 50. Forty-eight and 73% of the increases in breast and colorectal case detection occur among middle-stage cancers (localized and regional) with most of the remainder among early-stage (in-situ). Our analysis suggests that the cost of detecting an asymptomatic case of breast cancer at age 40 via population-based screening is $107,000–134,000 and that the cost of detecting an asymptomatic case of colorectal cancer at age 50 is $473,000–485,000.

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

Smart as a Whip and Fit as a Fiddle: The effect of a diploma on health

Lindsey Woodworth

American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the causal effect of a diploma on health using a regression discontinuity approach. During WWII, cohorts of men in the U.S. whose birthdays fell within particular intervals of time were required to register for the draft on specific dates. These policies created discontinuities in registration age, which subsequently resulted in discontinuities in graduation rates. Because mandatory registration ages fell as the war progressed, the independent variable, diploma receipt, can be measured in terms of both a high school and college diploma. The results indicate that both forms of credentialing directly improve physical wellness and increase the utilization of healthcare. These effects are larger than those estimated using ordinary least squares.

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

Double-Jeopardy: The Joint Impact of Neighborhood Disadvantage and Low Social Cohesion on Cumulative Risk of Disease Among African American Men and Women in the Jackson Heart Study

Sharrelle Barber et al.

Social Science & Medicine, March 2016, Pages 107–115

Objectives: Few studies have examined the joint impact of neighborhood disadvantage and low social cohesion on health. Moreover, no study has considered the joint impact of these factors on a cumulative disease risk profile among a large sample of African American adults. Using data from the Jackson Heart Study, we examined the extent to which social cohesion modifies the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and cumulative biological risk (CBR)—a measure of accumulated risk across multiple physiological systems.

Methods: Our analysis included 4,408 African American women and men ages 21-85 residing in the Jackson, MS Metropolitan Area. We measured neighborhood disadvantage using a composite score of socioeconomic indicators from the 2000 US Census and social cohesion was assessed using a 5-item validated scale. Standardized z-scores of biomarkers representing cardiovascular, metabolic, inflammatory, and neuroendocrine systems were combined to create a CBR score. We used two-level linear regression models with random intercepts adjusting for socio-demographic and behavioral covariates in the analysis. A three-way interaction term was included to examine whether the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and CBR differed by levels of social cohesion and gender.

Results: The interaction between neighborhood disadvantage, social cohesion and gender was statistically significant (p=0.05) such that the association between living in a disadvantaged neighborhood and CBR was strongest for men living in neighborhoods with low levels of social cohesion (B=0.63, SE: 0.32). In gender-specific models, we found a statistically significant interaction between neighborhood disadvantage and social cohesion for men (p=0.05) but not for women (p=0.50).

Conclusion: Neighborhoods characterized by high levels of economic disadvantage and low levels of social cohesion contribute to higher cumulative risk of disease among African American men. This suggests that they may face a unique set of challenges that put them at greater risk in these settings.

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

Sociodemographic Predictors of Vaccination Exemptions on the Basis of Personal Belief in California

Tony Yang et al.

American Journal of Public Health, January 2016, Pages 172-177

Objectives: We examined the variability in the percentage of students with personal belief exemptions (PBEs) from mandatory vaccinations in California schools and communities according to income, education, race, and school characteristics.

Methods: We used spatial lag models to analyze 2007–2013 PBE data from the California Department of Public Health. The analyses included school- and regional-level models, and separately examined the percentage of students with exemptions in 2013 and the change in percentages over time.

Results: The percentage of students with PBEs doubled from 2007 to 2013, from 1.54% to 3.06%. Across all models, higher median household income and higher percentage of White race in the population, but not educational attainment, significantly predicted higher percentages of students with PBEs in 2013. Higher income, White population, and private school type significantly predicted greater increases in exemptions from 2007 to 2013, whereas higher educational attainment was associated with smaller increases.

Conclusions: Personal belief exemptions are more common in areas with a higher percentage of White race and higher income.

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

The Physiological Impacts of Wealth Shocks in Late Life: Evidence from the Great Recession

Courtney Boen & Claire Yang

Social Science & Medicine, February 2016, Pages 221–230

Abstract:
Given documented links between individual socioeconomic status (SES) and health, it is likely that — in addition to its impacts on individuals’ wallets and bank accounts — the Great Recession also took a toll on individuals’ disease and mortality risk. Exploiting a quasi-natural experiment design, this study utilizes nationally representative, longitudinal data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) (2005-2011) (N=930) and individual fixed effects models to examine how household-level wealth shocks experienced during the Great Recession relate to changes in biophysiological functioning in older adults. Results indicate that wealth shocks significantly predicted changes in physiological functioning, such that losses in net worth from the pre-to the post-Recession period were associated with increases in systolic blood pressure and C-reactive protein over the six year period. Further, while the association between wealth shocks and changes in blood pressure was unattenuated with the inclusion of other indicators of SES, psychosocial well-being, and health behaviors in analytic models, we document some evidence of mediation in the association between changes in wealth and changes in C-reactive protein, which suggests specificity in the social and biophysiological mechanisms relating wealth shocks and health at older ages. Linking macro-level conditions, meso-level household environments, and micro-level biological processes, this study provides new insights into the mechanisms through which economic inequality contributes to disease and mortality risk in late life.

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

Association between maternal education and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in adolescents

Lauren Sherar et al.

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Investigating socioeconomic variation in physical activity (PA) and sedentary time is important as it may represent a pathway by which socioeconomic position (SEP) leads to ill health. Findings on the association between children's SEP and objectively assessed PA and/or sedentary time are mixed, and few studies have included international samples.

Methods: This is an observational study of 12 770 adolescents (10–18 years) pooled from 10 studies from Europe, Australia, Brazil and the USA. Original PA data were collected between 1997 and 2009. The associations between maternal education and accelerometer variables were examined using robust multivariable regression, adjusted for a priori confounders (ie, body mass index, monitor wear time, season, age and sex) and regression coefficients combined across studies using random effects meta-analyses. Analyses were conducted in March 2014.

Results: Adolescents of university educated mothers spent more time sedentary (9.5 min/day, p=0.005) and less time in light activity (10 min/day, p<0.001) compared with adolescents of high school educated mothers. Pooled analysis across two studies from Brazil and Portugal (analysed separately because of the different coding of maternal education) showed that children of higher educated mothers (tertiary vs primary/secondary) spent less time in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) (6.6 min/day, p=0.001) and in light PA (39.2 min/day: p<0.001), and more time sedentary (45.9 min/day, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Across a number of international samples, adolescents of mothers with lower education may not be at a disadvantage in terms of overall objectively measured PA.

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

The Association of Socioeconomic Status With Subclinical Myocardial Damage, Incident Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality in the ARIC Study

Anna Fretz et al.

American Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The association between socioeconomic status (SES) and subclinical cardiovascular disease is not well understood. Using data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, we sought to evaluate the cross-sectional and prospective associations of SES, measured by annual income and educational level, with elevated high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) concentrations (≥14 ng/L) using Poisson and multinomial logistic regressions, respectively. We used Cox proportional hazard models to compare the risks of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and mortality according to SES, stratified by baseline hs-cTnT concentration. Our study baseline was 1990–1992, with follow-up through 2011. We found an independent association between SES and hs-cTnT. When comparing participants in the lowest educational level group to those in the highest, the adjusted prevalence ratios for elevated hs-cTnT were 1.36 (95% confidence interval: 1.05, 1.75) overall, 1.83 (95% confidence interval: 1.23, 2.71) in blacks, and 1.05 (95% confidence interval: 0.73, 1.52) in whites (P for interaction = 0.08). Among participants with nonelevated hs-cTnT concentrations, when comparing those in the lowest income groups to those in the highest, the adjusted hazard ratios were strongest for heart failure and death. Having elevated baseline hs-cTnT doubled the risk of heart failure and death. Persons with low SES and elevated hs-cTnT concentrations have the greatest risk of cardiovascular events, which suggests that this group should be aggressively targeted for cardiovascular risk reduction.

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

Socioeconomic Status Discrimination is Associated with Poor Sleep in African-Americans, but not Whites

Miriam Van Dyke et al.

Social Science & Medicine, March 2016, Pages 141–147

Objective: We sought to examine the cross-sectional association between self-reported SES discrimination and subjective sleep quality, an emerging risk factor for disease. We further examined whether associations differed by race or SES.

Methods: We used logistic and linear regression to analyze data from a population-based cohort of 425 African-American and White middle-aged adults (67.5% female) in the Southeastern United States. SES discrimination was assessed with a modified Experiences of Discrimination Scale and poor subjective sleep quality was assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.

Results: In logistic regression models adjusted for age, gender, and education, reports of SES discrimination were associated with poor sleep quality among African-Americans (OR=2.39 95%, CI =1.35, 4.24), but not Whites (OR=1.03, 95% CI= 0.57, 1.87), and the race × SES discrimination interaction was significant at p=0.04. After additional adjustments for reports of racial and gender discrimination, other psychosocial stressors, body mass index and depressive symptoms, SES discrimination remained a significant predictor of poor sleep among African-Americans, but not Whites. In contrast to findings by race, SES discrimination and sleep associations did not significantly differ by SES.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that reports of SES discrimination may be an important risk factor for subjective sleep quality among African-Americans and support the need to consider the health impact of SES-related stressors in the context of race.

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

Time to burn (calories)? The impact of retirement on physical activity among mature Americans

Fabrice Kämpfen & Jürgen Maurer

Journal of Health Economics, January 2016, Pages 91–102

Abstract:
Physical activity is crucial for maintaining and improving health, especially at advanced ages. While retirement increases the amount of time available for physical activity, there is only limited evidence regarding the causal effect of retirement on recommended levels of physical activity. Addressing this gap in the literature, we use data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study to estimate the causal impact of retirement on meeting the federal government's 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Using official early and normal retirement ages as instruments for retirement, our causal IV analyses suggest significant positive effects of retirement on meeting the Guidelines. These effects are robust with regard to the treatment of unobserved individual-specific heterogeneity, the measurement of guideline compliance, the definition of retirement and respondents’ health insurance status. We also show that the effects of retirement on physical activity are larger for persons with higher levels of education and wealth.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 22, 2016

Where credits are due

Status-Aspirational Pricing: The "Chivas Regal" Strategy in U.S. Higher Education, 2006-2012

Noah Askin & Matthew Bothner

Administrative Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the effect of status loss on organizations' price-setting behavior. We predict, counter to current status theory and aligned with performance feedback theory, that a status decline prompts certain organizations to charge higher prices and that there are two kinds of organizations most prone to make such price increases: those with broad appeal across disconnected types of customers and those whose most strategically similar rivals have charged high prices previously. Using panel data from U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of private colleges and universities from 2005 to 2012, we model the effect of drops in rank that take a school below an aspiration level. We find that schools set tuition higher after a sharp decline in rank, particularly those that appeal widely to college applicants and whose rivals are relatively more expensive. This study presents a dynamic conception of status that differs from the prevailing view of status as a stable asset that yields concrete benefits. In contrast to past work that has assumed that organizations passively experience negative effects when their status falls, our results show that organizations actively respond to status loss. Status is a performance-related goal for such producers, who may increase prices as they work to recover lost ground after a status decline.

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

The Effects of Revenue Changes on NCAA Athletic Departments' Expenditures

Adam Hoffer & Jared Pincin

Journal of Sport and Social Issues, February 2016, Pages 82-102

Abstract:
This study uses a panel of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athletic department revenue and expenditure data from 225 public colleges and universities to empirically investigate the behavior of athletic departments over the period 2006-2011. Three empirical relationships were explored: (a) how changes in total revenue affect disaggregated expenditure categories, (b) how disaggregated revenue streams influence total expenditures, and (c) whether changes in revenue categories change the size of the athletic department's subsidy. The results show that additional athletic revenue increases expenditures for coaches 7.5 times more than direct expenditures for student-athletes, a ratio that increases for schools in power conferences. For every US$1 increase in ticket sale revenue, total expenditures can rise by US$0.83 and reduce a school's athletic subsidy by US$0.19.

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

Accounting for the Rise in College Tuition

Grey Gordon & Aaron Hedlund

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We develop a quantitative model of higher education to test explanations for the steep rise in college tuition between 1987 and 2010. The framework extends the quality-maximizing college paradigm of Epple, Romano, Sarpca, and Sieg (2013) and embeds it in an incomplete markets, life-cycle environment. We measure how much changes in underlying costs, reforms to the Federal Student Loan Program (FSLP), and changes in the college earnings premium have caused tuition to increase. All these changes combined generate a 106% rise in net tuition between 1987 and 2010, which more than accounts for the 78% increase seen in the data. Changes in the FSLP alone generate a 102% tuition increase, and changes in the college premium generate a 24% increase. Our findings cast doubt on Baumol's cost disease as a driver of higher tuition.

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

Surprising Ripple Effects: How Changing the SAT Score-Sending Policy for Low-Income Students Impacts College Access and Success

Michael Hurwitz et al.

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
A growing economics literature reveals that small and subtle policy adjustments can induce relatively large "ripple effects." We contribute to this literature by evaluating a College Board initiative, launched in the fall of 2007, which increased the number of free official SAT score reports afforded to low-income students and changed the time horizon over which these free score sends could be used. By resetting the default number of free SAT score reports from four to eight for SAT fee-waiver recipients, the College Board hoped to increase the number of college applications submitted by these students and to improve their college match. Using a difference-in-differences analytic strategy, we show that low-income students took advantage of this policy and were roughly 10 percentage points more likely to send eight or more score reports. We find that this policy achieved its intended goal of increasing college access and that it also favorably impacted college completion rates. Specifically, we estimate that inducing a low-income student to send one more score report, on average, increased on-time college attendance by nearly 5 percentage points and five-year bachelor's completion by slightly more than 3 percentage points. The policy impact was driven entirely by students who, based on SAT scores, were competitive candidates for admission to four-year colleges.

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

Do For-Profit Universities Induce Bad Student Loans?

John Goodell

Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite its great social and financial importance, little of the prior empirical research on student-loan default focuses on the role of for-profit universities. This study finds a positive association between student loan default and an institution's for-profit status - even when controlling for previously identified important factors, including graduation rates, the percentage of students who are low-income and from minority groups, and whether the institution is two- or four-year. Overall, my results are consistent with for-profit institutions systematically encouraging ill-advised loans. The results are economically significant, with default rates generally 5-6 percentage points higher for for-profit institutions.

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

Learning Job Skills from Colleagues at Work: Evidence from a Field Experiment Using Teacher Performance Data

John Papay et al.

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We study on-the-job learning among classroom teachers, especially learning skills from coworkers. Using data from a new field experiment, we document meaningful improvements in teacher job performance when high- and low-performing teachers working at the same school are paired and asked to work together on improving the low-performer's skills. In particular, pairs are asked to focus on specific skills identified in the low-performer's prior performance evaluations. In the classrooms of low-performing teachers treated by the intervention, students scored 0.12 standard deviations higher than students in control classrooms. These improvements in teacher performance persisted, and perhaps grew, in the year after treatment. Empirical tests suggest the improvements are likely the result of low-performing teachers learning skills from their partner.

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

Creating Birds of Similar Feathers: Leveraging Similarity to Improve Teacher-Student Relationships and Academic Achievement

Hunter Gehlbach et al.

Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When people perceive themselves as similar to others, greater liking and closer relationships typically result. In the first randomized field experiment that leverages actual similarities to improve real-world relationships, we examined the affiliations between 315 9th grade students and their 25 teachers. Students in the treatment condition received feedback on 5 similarities that they shared with their teachers; each teacher received parallel feedback regarding about half of his or her 9th grade students. Five weeks after our intervention, those in the treatment conditions perceived greater similarity with their counterparts. Furthermore, when teachers received feedback about their similarities with specific students, they perceived better relationships with those students, and those students earned higher course grades. Exploratory analyses suggest that these effects are concentrated within relationships between teachers and their "underserved" students. This brief intervention appears to close the achievement gap at this school by over 60%.

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

Can States Take Over and Turn Around School Districts? Evidence from Lawrence, Massachusetts

Beth Schueler, Joshua Goodman & David Deming

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
The Federal government has spent billions of dollars to support turnarounds of low-achieving schools, yet most evidence on the impact of such turnarounds comes from high-profile, exceptional settings and not from examples driven by state policy decisions at scale. In this paper, we study the impact of state takeover and district-level turnaround in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Takeover of the Lawrence Public School (LPS) district was driven by the state's accountability system, which increases state control in response to chronic underperformance. We find that the first two years of the LPS turnaround produced large achievement gains in math and modest gains in reading. Our preferred estimates compare LPS to other low income school districts in a differences-in-differences framework, although the results are robust to a wide variety of specifications, including student fixed effects. While the LPS turnaround was a package of interventions that cannot be fully separated, we find evidence that intensive small-group instruction led to particularly large achievement gains for participating students.

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

Even Einstein Struggled: Effects of Learning About Great Scientists' Struggles on High School Students' Motivation to Learn Science

Xiaodong Lin-Siegler et al.

Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Students' beliefs that success in science depends on exceptional talent negatively impact their motivation to learn. For example, such beliefs have been shown to be a major factor steering students away from taking science and math courses in high school and college. In the present study, we tested a novel story-based instruction that models how scientists achieve through failures and struggles. We designed this instruction to challenge this belief, thereby improving science learning in classroom settings. A demographically diverse group of 402 9th and 10th grade students read 1 of 3 types of stories about eminent scientists that described how the scientists (a) struggled intellectually (e.g., made mistakes in investigating scientific problems, and overcame the mistakes through effort), (b) struggled in their personal life (e.g., suffered family poverty and lack of parental support but overcame it), or (c) made great discoveries (a control condition, similar to the instructional material that appears in many science textbooks, that did not describe any struggles). Results showed that participation in either of the struggle story conditions improved science learning postintervention, relative to that of students in the control condition. Additionally, the effect of our intervention was more pronounced for low-performing students. Moreover, far more students in either of the struggle story conditions felt connected to the stories and scientists than did students in the control condition. The use of struggle stories provides a promising and implementable instructional approach that can improve student motivation and academic performance in science and perhaps other subjects as well.

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

Peer Effects in Disadvantaged Primary Schools: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Heather Antecol, Ozkan Eren & Serkan Ozbeklik

Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2016, Pages 95-132

Abstract:
Using data from a well-executed randomized experiment, we find that the average classroom peer achievement adversely influences own student achievement in math and reading in primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In addition, using a unique feature of our data, we provide tentative evidence that our focus on students in primary schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods may potentially be the driving force behind the divergence in our results and the results in the existing literature. Finally, we show that these different peer dynamics in disadvantaged neighborhoods can potentially be explained by the frame of reference and the invidious comparison models.

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

An Effort to Close Achievement Gaps at Scale Through Self-Affirmation

Geoffrey Borman, Jeffrey Grigg & Paul Hanselman

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 21-42

Abstract:
In this districtwide scale-up, we randomly assigned seventh-grade students within 11 schools to receive a series of writing exercises designed to promote values affirmation. Impacts on cumulative seventh-grade grade point average (GPA) for the district's racial/ethnic minority students who may be subject to stereotype threat are consistent with but smaller than those from prior smaller scale studies. Also, we find some evidence of impact on minority students' standardized mathematics test scores. These effects address a substantial portion of the achievement gap unexplained by demographics and prior achievement - the portion of the gap potentially attributable to stereotype threat. Our results suggest that persistent achievement gaps, which may be explained by subtle social and psychological phenomena, can be mitigated by brief, yet theoretically precise, social-psychological interventions.

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

School Vouchers and Student Achievement: First-Year Evidence from the Louisiana Scholarship Program

Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag Pathak & Christopher Walters

NBER Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
We evaluate the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP), a prominent school voucher plan. The LSP provides public funds for disadvantaged students at low-performing Louisiana public schools to attend private schools of their choice. LSP vouchers are allocated by random lottery at schools with more eligible applicants than available seats. We estimate causal effects of voucher receipt by comparing outcomes for lottery winners and losers in the first year after the program expanded statewide. This comparison reveals that LSP participation substantially reduces academic achievement. Attendance at an LSP-eligible private school lowers math scores by 0.4 standard deviations and increases the likelihood of a failing score by 50 percent. Voucher effects for reading, science and social studies are also negative and large. The negative impacts of vouchers are consistent across income groups, geographic areas, and private school characteristics, and are larger for younger children. These effects are not explained by the quality of fallback public schools for LSP applicants: students lotteried out of the program attend public schools with scores below the Louisiana average. Survey data show that LSP-eligible private schools experience rapid enrollment declines prior to entering the program, indicating that the LSP may attract private schools struggling to maintain enrollment. These results suggest caution in the design of voucher systems aimed at expanding school choice for disadvantaged students.

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

Quantile Treatment Effects of College Quality on Earnings

Rodney Andrews, Jing Li & Michael Lovenheim

Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2016, Pages 200-238

Abstract:
We use administrative data from Texas to estimate how graduating from a state flagship or a community college relative to a nonflagship university affects the distribution of earnings. We control for the selection of students across sectors using a rich set of observable ability and background characteristics and find evidence of substantial heterogeneity in the returns to quality. Returns increase with earnings among UT-Austin graduates but decline among Texas A&M graduates. For community colleges, returns are negative for lower earners but go to zero for higher earners. Our estimates also point to differences in the distribution of returns by race/ethnicity.

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

Accountability Pressure, Academic Standards, and Educational Triage

Douglas Lee Lauen & Michael Gaddis

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 127-147

Abstract:
Despite common conceptions, evidence on whether No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has had adverse effects for low achieving students is mixed. We hypothesize that the incentive to shift attention away from the lowest achieving students increases with the rigor of state standards. Using panel data from students in North Carolina, we exploit two natural experiments: increases in the rigor of standards in math in 2006 and then again in reading in 2008. We report an increase in test score gaps between low and high achievers and students near grade level. Adverse effects on low achievers are largest in the lowest achieving schools. We discuss the policy implications of our findings given the widespread adoption of more rigorous Common Core Standards.

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

Comparing public, private, and informal preschool programs in a national sample of low-income children

Rebekah Levine Coley et al.

Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Summer 2016, Pages 91-105

Abstract:
Recent research has found that center-based early education and care (EEC) programs promote gains in cognitive skills for low-income children, but knowledge is limited concerning diverse types of EEC arrangements. This paper contrasts the primary EEC arrangements (Head Start, public centers, private centers, and home care) attended by economically disadvantaged children in the US with data on 4250 low-income children from the nationally-representative ECLS-B cohort. Results found public centers and Head Start programs provided children with the most educated and highly trained teachers and with the most enriching learning activities and global quality, with private centers showing moderate levels and home EEC very low levels of quality. Nonetheless, after adjusting for differential selection into EEC through propensity score weighting, low-income children who attended private EEC centers showed the highest math, reading, and language skills at age 5, with children attending Head Start and public centers also showing heightened math and reading skills in comparison to children experiencing only parent care. No differences were found in children's behavioral skills at age five in relation to EEC type. Results support enhanced access to all center preschool programs for low-income children, and suggest the need for greater understanding of the processes through which EEC affects children's school readiness skills.

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

Head Start at Ages 3 and 4 Versus Head Start Followed by State Pre-K: Which Is More Effective?

Jade Marcus Jenkins et al.

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 88-112

Abstract:
As policymakers contemplate expanding preschool opportunities for low-income children, one possibility is to fund 2, rather than 1 year of Head Start for children at ages 3 and 4. Another option is to offer 1 year of Head Start followed by 1 year of pre-K. We ask which of these options is more effective. We use data from the Oklahoma pre-K study to examine these two "pathways" into kindergarten using regression discontinuity to estimate the effects of each age 4 program, and propensity score weighting to address selection. We find that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger prereading skills in a high-quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4. Pre-K and Head Start were not differentially linked to improvements in children's prewriting skills or premath skills. This suggests that some impacts of early learning programs may be related to the sequencing of learning experiences to more academic programming.

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

When Inputs are Outputs: The Case of Graduate Student Instructors

Eric Bettinger, Bridget Terry Long & Eric Taylor

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine graduate student teaching as an input to two production processes: the education of undergraduates and the development of graduate students themselves. Using fluctuations in full-time faculty availability as an instrument, we find undergraduates are more likely to major in a subject if their first course in the subject was taught by a graduate student, a result opposite of estimates that ignore selection. Additionally, graduate students who teach more frequently graduate earlier and are more likely to subsequently be employed by a college or university.

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

Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?

Daphna Bassok, Scott Latham & Anna Rorem

AERA Open, January 2016

Abstract:
Recent accounts suggest that accountability pressures have trickled down into the early elementary grades and that kindergarten today is characterized by a heightened focus on academic skills and a reduction in opportunities for play. This paper compares public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010 using two large, nationally representative data sets. We show substantial changes in each of the five dimensions considered: kindergarten teachers' beliefs about school readiness, time spent on academic and nonacademic content, classroom organization, pedagogical approach, and use of standardized assessments. Kindergarten teachers in the later period held far higher academic expectations for children both prior to kindergarten entry and during the kindergarten year. They devoted more time to advanced literacy and math content, teacher-directed instruction, and assessment and substantially less time to art, music, science, and child-selected activities.

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

Student Selection, Attrition, and Replacement in KIPP Middle Schools

Ira Nichols-Barrer et al.

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 5-20

Abstract:
Skeptics of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) charter school network argue that these schools rely on selective admission, attrition, and replacement of students to produce positive achievement results. We investigate this using data covering 19 KIPP middle schools. On average, KIPP schools admit students disadvantaged in ways similar to other local students, and attrition patterns are typically no different at KIPP than at nearby schools. Unlike district schools, however, KIPP schools tend to replace students who exit with higher achieving students, and fewer students are replaced in the later years of middle school. Overall, KIPP's positive achievement impacts do not appear to be explained by advantages in the prior achievement of KIPP students, even when attrition and replacement patterns are taken into account.

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

Can Incentives for Parents and Students Change Educational Inputs? Experimental Evidence from Summer School

Paco Martorell et al.

Economics of Education Review, February 2016, Pages 113-126

Abstract:
This paper examines whether incentives for parents and students can increase educational inputs, in this case, specifically, attendance. We evaluate the impact of randomly-assigned incentives for improving attendance at the summer program of a large metropolitan school district. Students were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: (1) financial incentives for parents combined with non-financial incentives for students, (2) non-financial incentives for students (no incentives for parents), and (3) control. We find that the combination of the parent and student incentives increased the daily attendance rate by 9 percent and the likelihood of having perfect attendance by 63 percent. The student-only incentives had a smaller and statistically insignificant effect on attendance. We find little evidence that these incentives affected attendance rates or standardized test scores during the regular school year following the summer program, but we do find that they increased the likelihood of re-enrolling in the district.

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

Sticker Shock: How Information Affects Citizen Support for Public School Funding

Beth Schueler & Martin West

Public Opinion Quarterly, Spring 2016, Pages 90-113

Abstract:
This study examines the role of information in shaping public opinion in the context of support for education spending. While there is broad public support for increasing government funding for public schools, Americans tend to underestimate what is currently spent. We embed a series of experiments in a nationally representative survey administered in 2012 (n = 2,993) to examine whether informing citizens about current levels of education spending alters public opinion about whether funding should increase. Providing information on per-pupil spending in a respondent's local school district reduces the probability that he or she will express support for increasing spending by 22 percentage points on average. Informing respondents about state-average teacher salaries similarly depresses support for salary increases. These effects are larger among respondents who underestimate per-pupil spending and teacher salaries by a greater amount, consistent with the idea that the observed changes in opinion are driven, at least in part, by informational effects, as opposed to priming alone.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Early on

The Paradox of Civilization: Pre-Institutional Sources of Security and Prosperity

Ernesto Dal Bó, Pablo Hernández & Sebastián Mazzuca

NBER Working Paper, December 2015

Abstract:
The rise of civilizations involved the dual emergence of economies that could produce surplus (“prosperity”) and states that could protect surplus (“security”). But the joint achievement of security and prosperity had to escape a paradox: prosperity attracts predation, and higher insecurity discourages the investments that create prosperity. We study the trade-offs facing a proto-state on its path to civilization through a formal model informed by the anthropological and historical literatures on the origin of civilizations. We emphasize pre-institutional forces, such as physical aspects of the geographical environment, that shape productive and defense capabilities. The solution of the civilizational paradox relies on high defense capabilities, natural or manmade. We show that higher initial productivity and investments that yield prosperity exacerbate conflict when defense capability is fixed, but may allow for security and prosperity when defense capability is endogenous. Some economic shocks and military innovations deliver security and prosperity while others force societies back into a trap of conflict and stagnation. We illustrate the model by analyzing the rise of civilization in Sumeria and Egypt, the first two historical cases, and the civilizational collapse at the end of the Bronze Age.

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

The phenotypic legacy of admixture between modern humans and Neandertals

Corinne Simonti et al.

Science, 12 February 2016, Pages 737-741

Abstract:
Many modern human genomes retain DNA inherited from interbreeding with archaic hominins, such as Neandertals, yet the influence of this admixture on human traits is largely unknown. We analyzed the contribution of common Neandertal variants to over 1000 electronic health record (EHR)–derived phenotypes in ~28,000 adults of European ancestry. We discovered and replicated associations of Neandertal alleles with neurological, psychiatric, immunological, and dermatological phenotypes. Neandertal alleles together explained a significant fraction of the variation in risk for depression and skin lesions resulting from sun exposure (actinic keratosis), and individual Neandertal alleles were significantly associated with specific human phenotypes, including hypercoagulation and tobacco use. Our results establish that archaic admixture influences disease risk in modern humans, provide hypotheses about the effects of hundreds of Neandertal haplotypes, and demonstrate the utility of EHR data in evolutionary analyses.

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

Early Life Conditions and Physiological Stress following the Transition to Farming in Central/Southeast Europe: Skeletal Growth Impairment and 6000 Years of Gradual Recovery

Alison Macintosh, Ron Pinhasi & Jay Stock

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Early life conditions play an important role in determining adult body size. In particular, childhood malnutrition and disease can elicit growth delays and affect adult body size if severe or prolonged enough. In the earliest stages of farming, skeletal growth impairment and small adult body size are often documented relative to hunter-gatherer groups, though this pattern is regionally variable. In Central/Southeast Europe, it is unclear how early life stress, growth history, and adult body size were impacted by the introduction of agriculture and ensuing long-term demographic, social, and behavioral change. The current study assesses this impact through the reconstruction and analysis of mean stature, body mass, limb proportion indices, and sexual dimorphism among 407 skeletally mature men and women from foraging and farming populations spanning the Late Mesolithic through Early Medieval periods in Central/Southeast Europe (~7100 calBC to 850 AD). Results document significantly reduced mean stature, body mass, and crural index in Neolithic agriculturalists relative both to Late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fishers and to later farming populations. This indication of relative growth impairment in the Neolithic, particularly among women, is supported by existing evidence of high developmental stress, intensive physical activity, and variable access to animal protein in these early agricultural populations. Among subsequent agriculturalists, temporal increases in mean stature, body mass, and crural index were more pronounced among Central European women, driving declines in the magnitude of sexual dimorphism through time. Overall, results suggest that the transition to agriculture in Central/Southeast Europe was challenging for early farming populations, but was followed by gradual amelioration across thousands of years, particularly among Central European women. This sex difference may be indicative, in part, of greater temporal variation in the social status afforded to young girls, in their access to resources during growth, and/or in their health status than was experienced by men.

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

Ancient gene flow from early modern humans into Eastern Neanderthals

Martin Kuhlwilm et al.

Nature, forthcoming

Abstract:
It has been shown that Neanderthals contributed genetically to modern humans outside Africa 47,000–65,000 years ago. Here we analyse the genomes of a Neanderthal and a Denisovan from the Altai Mountains in Siberia together with the sequences of chromosome 21 of two Neanderthals from Spain and Croatia. We find that a population that diverged early from other modern humans in Africa contributed genetically to the ancestors of Neanderthals from the Altai Mountains roughly 100,000 years ago. By contrast, we do not detect such a genetic contribution in the Denisovan or the two European Neanderthals. We conclude that in addition to later interbreeding events, the ancestors of Neanderthals from the Altai Mountains and early modern humans met and interbred, possibly in the Near East, many thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

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

Distance from sub-Saharan Africa predicts mutational load in diverse human genomes

Brenna Henn et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 January 2016, Pages E440–E449

Abstract:
The Out-of-Africa (OOA) dispersal ∼50,000 y ago is characterized by a series of founder events as modern humans expanded into multiple continents. Population genetics theory predicts an increase of mutational load in populations undergoing serial founder effects during range expansions. To test this hypothesis, we have sequenced full genomes and high-coverage exomes from seven geographically divergent human populations from Namibia, Congo, Algeria, Pakistan, Cambodia, Siberia, and Mexico. We find that individual genomes vary modestly in the overall number of predicted deleterious alleles. We show via spatially explicit simulations that the observed distribution of deleterious allele frequencies is consistent with the OOA dispersal, particularly under a model where deleterious mutations are recessive. We conclude that there is a strong signal of purifying selection at conserved genomic positions within Africa, but that many predicted deleterious mutations have evolved as if they were neutral during the expansion out of Africa. Under a model where selection is inversely related to dominance, we show that OOA populations are likely to have a higher mutation load due to increased allele frequencies of nearly neutral variants that are recessive or partially recessive.

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

Early human presence in the Arctic: Evidence from 45,000-year-old mammoth remains

Vladimir Pitulko et al.

Science, 15 January 2016, Pages 260-263

Abstract:
Archaeological evidence for human dispersal through northern Eurasia before 40,000 years ago is rare. In west Siberia, the northernmost find of that age is located at 57°N. Elsewhere, the earliest presence of humans in the Arctic is commonly thought to be circa 35,000 to 30,000 years before the present. A mammoth kill site in the central Siberian Arctic, dated to 45,000 years before the present, expands the populated area to almost 72°N. The advancement of mammoth hunting probably allowed people to survive and spread widely across northernmost Arctic Siberia.

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

Inter-group violence among early Holocene hunter-gatherers of West Turkana, Kenya

M. Mirazón Lahr et al.

Nature, 21 January 2016, Pages 394–398

Abstract:
The nature of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers remains disputed, with arguments in favour and against the existence of warfare before the development of sedentary societies. Here we report on a case of inter-group violence towards a group of hunter-gatherers from Nataruk, west of Lake Turkana, which during the late Pleistocene/early Holocene period extended about 30 km beyond its present-day shore. Ten of the twelve articulated skeletons found at Nataruk show evidence of having died violently at the edge of a lagoon, into which some of the bodies fell. The remains from Nataruk are unique, preserved by the particular conditions of the lagoon with no evidence of deliberate burial. They offer a rare glimpse into the life and death of past foraging people, and evidence that warfare was part of the repertoire of inter-group relations among prehistoric hunter-gatherers.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 20, 2016

How motivated

The Hidden Cost of Personal Quantification

Jordan Etkin

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
From sleep and energy use to exercise and health, consumers have access to more information about their behavior than ever before. The appeal of personal quantification seems clear. By better understanding their behavior, consumers can make the necessary changes to live happier, healthier lives. But might the new tools consumers are using - quantifying life - rob them of some of the benefits of engaging in those activities? Six experiments demonstrate that while measurement increases how much of an activity people do (e.g., walk or read more), it can simultaneously reduce how much people enjoy those activities. This occurs because measurement can undermine intrinsic motivation. By drawing attention to output, measurement can make enjoyable activities feel more like work, which reduces their enjoyment. As a result, measurement can decrease continued engagement in the activity and subjective well-being. Even in the absence of explicit external incentives, measurement itself can thus have similar effects. The findings have implications for measurement's use, as well as for the psychology of external incentives and intrinsic motivation.

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

Does a "Triple Package" of traits predict success?

Joshua Hart & Christopher Chabris

Personality and Individual Differences, May 2016, Pages 216-222

Abstract:
What individual factors predict success? We tested Chua and Rubenfeld's (2014) widely publicized "Triple Package" hypothesis that a tendency toward impulse control, personal insecurity, and a belief in the superiority of one's cultural or ethnic group combine to increase the odds that individuals will attain exceptional achievement. Consistent with previous research, we found in two sizable samples (combined N = 1258) that parents' level of education and individuals' own cognitive ability robustly predicted a composite measure of success that included income, education, and awards. Other factors such as impulse control and emotional stability also appeared to be salutary. But despite measuring personal insecurity in four different ways and measuring success in three different ways, we did not find support for any plausible version of Chua and Rubenfeld's proposed synergistic trinity of success-engendering personality traits.

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

When You Say Nothing at All: The Predictive Power of Student Effort on Surveys

Collin Hitt, Julie Trivitt & Albert Cheng

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Character traits and noncognitive skills are important for human capital development and long-run life outcomes. Research in economics and psychology now shows this convincingly. But research into the exact determinants of noncognitive skills has been slowed by a common data limitation: most large-scale datasets do not contain adequate measures of noncognitive skills. This is particularly problematic in education policy evaluation. We demonstrate that within any survey dataset, there is important latent information that can be used as a proxy measure of noncognitive skills. Specifically, we examine the amount of conscientious effort that students exhibit on surveys, as measured by their item response rates. We use six nationally-representative, longitudinal surveys of American youth. We find that the percentage of questions skipped during the baseline year when respondents were adolescents is a significant predictor of later-life educational attainment, net of cognitive ability. Insofar as item response rates affect employment and income, they do so through their effect on education attainment. The pattern of findings gives compelling reasons to view item response rates as a promising behavioral measure of noncognitive skills for use in future research. We posit that response rates are a measure of conscientiousness, though additional research is required to determine what exact noncognitive skills are being captured by item response rates.

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

Performance Brand Placebos: How Brands Improve Performance and Consumers Take the Credit

Aaron Garvey, Frank Germann & Lisa Bolton

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how consumption of a performance branded product systematically improves objective outcomes in a variety of contexts. Five field and laboratory studies demonstrate that this performance brand effect emerges through psychological mechanisms unrelated to functional product differences, consistent with a placebo. Furthermore, whereas this effect emerges only when there is an expectation that the performance branded product affects outcomes, consumers attribute gains to themselves. The performance brand placebo is due to a lowering of task induced anxiety, driven by heightened state self-esteem. Several theoretically relevant boundaries are revealed. Stress mindset moderates the effect, strengthening with the belief that stress is debilitating and weakening (to the point of reversal) with the belief that stress is enhancing. Moreover, those consumers lower in pre-existing domain self-efficacy beliefs exhibit more substantial performance gains, whereas for those particularly high in domain self-efficacy the placebo is mitigated.

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

The Creative Stereotype Effect

Denis Dumas & Kevin Dunbar

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Because of its fundamental relevance to scientific innovation, artistic expression, and human ingenuity, creativity has long been the subject of systematic psychological investigation. Concomitantly, the far-reaching effects of stereotypes on various cognitive and social processes have been widely researched. Bridging these two literatures, we show in a series of two studies that stereotypes related to creativity can both enhance and diminish individuals' performance on a divergent thinking task. Specifically, Study 1 demonstrated that participants asked to take on a stereotypically uninhibited perspective performed significantly better on a divergent thinking task than those participants who took on a stereotypically inhibited perspective, and a control group. Relatedly, Study 2 showed that the same effect is found within-subjects, with divergent thinking significantly improving when participants invoke an uninhibited stereotype. Moreover, we demonstrate the efficacy of Latent Semantic Analysis as an objective measure of the originality of ideas, and discuss implications of our findings for the nature of creativity. Namely, that creativity may not be best described as a stable individual trait, but as a malleable product of context and perspective.

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

Unconscious Desire: The Affective and Motivational Aspects of Subliminal Sexual Priming

Omri Gillath & Tara Collins

Archives of Sexual Behavior, January 2016, Pages 5-20

Abstract:
Sexual arousal is thought to be the result of the processing of sexual cues at two levels: conscious and unconscious. Whereas numerous studies have examined the affective and motivational responses to supraliminal (consciously processed) sexual cues, much less is known regarding the responses to subliminal (processed outside of one's awareness) sexual cues. Five studies examined responses to subliminal sexual cues. Studies 1-3 demonstrated increases in adult's positive affect following exposure to subliminal sexual cues compared to control cues. Study 4 demonstrated that the positive affect resulting from exposure to subliminal sexual cues increased motivation to further engage in a neutral task. Study 5 provided evidence suggesting that the affect and motivation found in Studies 1-4 were associated with motivation to engage in sex specifically, rather than a general approach motivation. The implications of these findings for the processing of subliminal sexual cues and for human sexuality are discussed.

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

Mating and Memory: Can Mating Cues Enhance Cognitive Performance?

Michael Baker et al.

Evolutionary Psychology, December 2015

Abstract:
The literature on sexual selection and the social brain hypothesis suggest that human cognition and communication evolved, in part, for the purpose of displaying desirable cognitive abilities to potential mates. An evolutionary approach to social cognition implies that proximate mating motives may lead people to display desirable mental traits. In signaling such traits, one can increase the likelihood of attracting a potential mate. Two experiments demonstrated that exposure to mating cues - highly attractive opposite-sex faces - led people to display enhancements in declarative memory - a process underlying a variety of abilities such as resource acquisition, intelligence, and creativity. Experiment 1 showed that men (but not women) displayed enhanced memory for details of a story that was presented during exposure to highly attractive opposite-sex faces. Experiment 2 demonstrated that heightened displays of declarative memory reflect an enhancement in retrieval rather than in encoding. Findings contribute to the literatures on human mating and cognitive performance and provide novel insight into links between social processes and basic cognition.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, February 19, 2016

With your support

National Party Division and Divisive State Primaries in U.S. Presidential Elections, 1948–2012

Paul-Henri Gurian et al.

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In presidential nomination campaigns, individual state primaries and a national competition take place simultaneously. The relationship between divisive state primaries and general election outcomes is substantially different in presidential campaigns than in single-state campaigns. To capture the full impact of divisiveness in presidential campaigns, one must estimate both the impact of national party division (NPD) and the impact of divisive primaries in individual states. To do so, we develop a comprehensive model of state outcomes in presidential campaigns that incorporates both state-level and national-level controls. We also examine and compare several measures of NPD and several measures of divisive state primaries found in previous research. We find that both NPD and divisive state primaries have independent and significant influence on state-level general election outcomes, with the former having a greater and more widespread impact on the national results. The findings are not artifacts of statistical techniques, timeframes or operational definitions. The results are consistent — varying very little across a wide range of methods and specifications.

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

Race, Interracial Families, and Political Advertising in the Obama Era: Experimental Evidence

Ethan Porter & Thomas Wood

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across two studies of race and interracial families in political advertising, this article finds that significant benefits accrue to Black candidates who present themselves as part of interracial families. These findings suggest Black candidates are more likely to succeed when they engage in displays of “racial novelty,” or counter-stereotypical behavior, provided that behavior signals closer affinity to White voters. For Study 1, we tested four original advertisements for a fictitious political candidate, in which we varied only the candidate’s race and the race of his son. The Black candidate with the White son prevailed over all other combinations, with respondents finding him the most trustworthy, most qualified for office, most likely to share their values, and most likely to care about people like them. For Study 2, we tested four new original advertisements for a fictitious Black candidate, varying only the candidate’s profession and the race of his son. We find, again, that Black candidates who display non-Black children do significantly better than Black candidates who display racially homogeneous families. However, we observe much more modest benefits for a Black candidate who practices a racially novel profession. We view these results as demonstrating that Black candidates are more likely to reap the rewards of racial novelty only when they are willing to provide a personal, rather than professional, signal of their affinity for Whites. As Study 2 shows, White voters in particular are responsive to personal (rather than professional) demonstrations of racial novelty. This affirms the logic of “New Racism,” whereby Blacks are looked favorably upon if they exhibit behavior associated with Whites, but penalized otherwise.

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

Why the Sky Didn't Fall: Mobilizing Anger in Reaction to Voter ID Laws

Nicholas Valentino & Fabian Neuner

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since 2002, 26 U.S. states have passed laws that enhance restrictions on voters who intend to register and vote. Most have been sponsored by Republican legislators and passed by states with large Republican majorities. Proponents of such identification requirements argue that they are necessary to ensure the integrity of the electoral system by reducing voter fraud. Many Democrats have cried foul, arguing these laws are motivated by crass partisanship at best, and racial bias at worst, because they disproportionately disenfranchise minorities. Surprisingly, empirical evidence for significant demobilization, either in the aggregate or among Democrats specifically, has thus far failed to materialize. We suspect strong emotional reactions to the public debate about these laws may mobilize Democrats, counterbalancing the disenfranchising effect. We find support for this conjecture in a nationally representative survey and an experiment where news frames about voter identification (ID) laws are carefully manipulated.

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

Ethnic Neighborhoods, Implicit Racial Appeals, and Public Political Behaviors: How the Racial Environment Interacts with Campaign Appeals to Shape Behavior

Hans Hassell

Cornell College Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Current demographic trends suggest that in less than 30 years the United States will have a majority non-white population. Previous work has shown that racial demography has real consequences on political attitudes and private voting behaviors. In this paper I find that the racial makeup of an individual’s neighborhood also affects public political behaviors. Using data from a congressional primary campaign, I examine the responses of white Republicans when asked to display the yard sign of a white Republican candidate in a primary race against a Latino Republican. I find that individuals in higher density Latino areas are more likely to be willing to post a sign. Using a field experiment run by the campaign, I show that the use of symbolic racism has the biggest influence on the behavior of whites living in high density Latino areas. Specifically, I show that racial demography changes the influence of implicit racial appeals and that implicit racial appeals are most influential in areas where whites are in the minority. These results show that racial diversity plays a significant role in the public political behaviors of white Americans and how the racial environment affects underlying behavioral motivations.

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

Run, Jane, Run! Gendered Responses to Political Party Recruitment

Jessica Robinson Preece, Olga Bogach Stoddard & Rachel Fisher

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many researchers point to gender inequities in party recruitment practices to explain women’s underrepresentation on the ballot. However, there has been little systematic research about how men and women respond to recruitment, so we do not know whether gender-balanced recruitment would actually lead to gender-balanced outcomes. We conduct two studies to address this question. First, in cooperation with a county Republican Party, we identically recruited 5510 male and 5506 female highly active party members to attend a free candidate training seminar. Republican women were half as likely to respond to the invitation as men. Second, we conducted a survey experiment of 3960 voters on the Utah Colleges Exit Poll. Republican men’s level of self-reported political ambition was increased by the prospect of elite recruitment significantly more than Republican women’s, thereby increasing the gender gap vis-à-vis the control. The gender gap in the effect of recruitment on political ambition among Democrats was much smaller. Together, these findings suggest that to fully understand the role recruitment plays in women’s underrepresentation, researchers must understand the ways in which men and women respond to recruitment, not just whether political elites engage in gendered recruitment practices.

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

Policy (Mis)Representation and the Cost of Ruling: U.S. Presidential Elections in Comparative Perspective

Christopher Wlezien

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The cost of ruling effect on electoral support is well established. That is, governing parties tend to lose vote share the longer they are in power. Although we know this to be true, we do not know why it happens. This research examines whether the cost of ruling results at least in part from the tendency for governing parties to shift policy further away from the average voter. It first considers differences in political institutions and how they might influence cost of ruling owing to policy drift, and then tests the hypothesis focusing on U.S. presidential elections, which is an unfavorable case to find such an effect. Results confirm a clear cost of ruling effect in these elections and demonstrate that policy misrepresentation is an important mechanism. That is, the policy liberalism of presidents from different parties diverges over time as their tenure in the White House increases, and the degree to which it does matters for the presidential vote. Policy is not the only thing that matters, and other factors, in particular the economy, are more powerful. From the point of view of electoral accountability, however, the results do provide good news, as they indicate that substantive representation is important to voters. Elections are not simply games of musical chairs.

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

Surprise Me If You Can: The Influence of Newspaper Endorsements in U.S. Presidential Elections

Agustin Casas, Yarine Fawaz & Andre Trindade

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We here evaluate the heterogeneous effects of newspaper endorsements of U.S. Presidential candidates in the 100 days preceding the 2008 and 2012 elections on the probability that they win the election. Our identification strategy relies on daily variations in the winning probabilities (obtained from the Intrade prediction market) and the fact that newspapers decide their endorsements weeks before their announcement. Endorsements that are classified as surprising and consistent have the largest effect. An endorsement is surprising when the newspaper has not traditionally endorsed the candidate's party. An endorsement is inconsistent when the newspaper leans ideologically to one party but endorses a candidate from another party.

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

A Partisan Model of Electoral Reform: Voter Identification Laws and Confidence in State Elections

Shaun Bowler & Todd Donovan

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose a model of public response to politicized election reform. In this model, rival partisan elites send signals on the need and consequences of a proposed reform, with partisans in public adopting those positions. We apply this to test how state use of voter identification laws corresponded with public evaluations of the conduct of a state’s elections. We find that the relationship between photo identification laws and confidence in state elections was polarized and conditioned by party identification in 2014. Democrats in states with strict photo identification laws were less confident in their state’s elections. Republicans in states with strict identification laws were more confident than others. Results suggest strict photo identification laws are failing to instill broad-based confidence in elections, and that the reform could correspond with diminished confidence among some.

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

The Effects of Lawn Signs on Vote Outcomes: Results from Four Randomized Field Experiments

Donald Green et al.

Electoral Studies, March 2016, Pages 143–150

Abstract:
Although lawn signs rank among the most widely used campaign tactics, little scholarly attention has been paid to the question of whether they actually generate votes. Working in collaboration with a congressional candidate, a mayoral candidate, an independent expenditure campaign directed against a gubernatorial candidate, and a candidate for county commissioner, we tested the effects of lawn signs by planting them in randomly selected voting precincts. Electoral results pooled over all four studies suggest that signs increased advertising candidates’ vote shares. Results also provide some evidence that the effects of lawn signs spill over into adjacent untreated voting precincts.

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

Information and Wasted Votes: A Study of U.S. Primary Elections

Andrew Hall & James Snyder

Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2015, Pages 433-459

Abstract:
We study whether information leads voters and donors to "waste" fewer votes and donations on candidates who do not finish in first or second place. Examining U.S. primary elections featuring more than two candidates, we compare voting and contribution behavior across offices with varying levels of information. We find that voters and donors are more likely to support the top two candidates, and less likely to waste votes or donations on lesser candidates, when information levels are higher. In addition, we find that donors consistently act more "strategically" — i.e., waste fewer donations on lesser candidates — than voters. To supplement these analyses, we isolate the causal effect of information by leveraging adjacent U.S. counties that differ in their access to politically relevant information from the media. We again find that information helps voters avoid wasting votes on candidates who are unlikely to win. The results are relevant for understanding the behavior of voters and contributors, for understanding the role of information in elections, and for the evaluation of policies like runoff primaries designed to facilitate strategic voting outcomes.

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

Partisan Social Pressure and Voter Mobilization

Meghan Condon, Christopher Larimer & Costas Panagopoulos

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social voting norms persistently impel citizens to the polls. To date, most research in this field has focused on norms coming from the community at large rather than voters’ particular social groups. But pressure to conform to in-group norms may have an even stronger effect; inquiry across disciplines repeatedly demonstrates that group identity can be an important moderator in the relationship between norms and behavior. We apply this lesson to political behavior, testing the effect of partisan social pressure on turnout. We report the results of a randomized field experiment conducted during the 2012 Iowa primary election, comparing the mobilization effects of partisan and nonpartisan direct mail messages. We test the interaction between social pressure and the partisan nature of the message and find that partisan direct mail messages alone do not effectively mobilize voters. When partisan and social pressure elements are combined, turnout increases, but no more so than when communitarian and social pressure elements are combined. We conclude that simply referencing a voter’s party does not seem to render mobilization messages more effective.

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

Challenger Quality and the Incumbency Advantage

Pamela Ban, Elena Llaudet & James Snyder

Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2016, Pages 153–179

Abstract:
Most estimates of the incumbency advantage and the electoral benefits of previous officeholding experience do not account for strategic entry by high-quality challengers. We address this issue by using term limits as an instrument for challenger quality. Studying US state legislatures, we find strong evidence of strategic behavior by experienced challengers. However, we also find that such behavior does not appear to significantly bias the estimated effect of challenger experience or the estimated incumbency advantage. More tentatively, using our estimates, we find that 30–40% of the incumbency advantage in state legislative races is the result of “scaring off” experienced challengers.

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

Turning Out Unlikely Voters? A Field Experiment in the Top-Two Primary

Seth Hill & Thad Kousser

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Those who turn out in American primary elections are a small and unrepresentative subset of the population. Why do citizens forgo participation in nominating contests yet vote in general elections? We argue that limited contact lowers participation in primary elections. We present results from a randomized field experiment with near 150,000 letters in California’s 2014 primary. Each letter went to one of the four million Californians who had participated in recent general elections but not in primaries. We find that a single letter increased turnout by 0.5 points from a base rate of 9.3 percent. This increase is more than twice the average effect calculated in a recent meta-analysis and represents a proportional increase of 5.4 percent. Our experiment shows that registrants who typically abstain from primaries — and who are thus often ignored by campaigns — can be effectively mobilized.

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

Terrorist Threat, Male Stereotypes, and Candidate Evaluations

Mirya Holman, Jennifer Merolla & Elizabeth Zechmeister

Political Research Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 134-147

Abstract:
How does the threat of terrorism affect evaluations of female (vs. male) political leaders, and do these effects vary by the politician’s partisanship? Using two national surveys, we document a propensity for the U.S. public to prefer male Republican leadership the most in times of security threat, and female Democratic leadership the least. We theorize a causal process by which terrorist threat influences the effect of stereotypes on candidate evaluations conditional on politician partisanship. We test this framework with an original experiment: A nationally representative sample was presented with a mock election that varied the threat context and the gender and partisanship of the candidates. We find that masculine stereotypes have a negative influence on both male and female Democratic candidates in good times (thus reaffirming the primacy of party stereotypes), but only on the female Democratic candidate when terror threat is primed. Republican candidates — both male and female — are unaffected by masculine stereotypes, regardless of the threat environment.

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

The Populist Style in American Politics: Presidential Campaign Discourse, 1952–1996

Bart Bonikowski & Noam Gidron

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines populist claims-making in US presidential elections. We define populism as a discursive strategy that juxtaposes the virtuous populace with a corrupt elite and views the former as the sole legitimate source of political power. In contrast to past research, we argue that populism is best operationalized as an attribute of political claims rather than a stable ideological property of political actors. This analytical strategy allows us to systematically measure how the use of populism is affected by a variety of contextual factors. Our empirical case consists of 2,406 speeches given by American presidential candidates between 1952 and 1996, which we code using automated text analysis. Populism is shown to be a common feature of presidential politics among both Democrats and Republicans, but its prevalence varies with candidates' relative positions in the political field. In particular, we demonstrate that the probability of a candidate's reliance on populist claims is directly proportional to his distance from the center of power (in this case, the presidency). This suggests that populism is primarily a strategic tool of political challengers, and particularly those who have legitimate claims to outsider status. By examining temporal changes in populist claims-making on the political left and right, its variation across geographic regions and field positions, and the changing content of populist frames, our paper contributes to the debate on populism in modern democracies, while integrating field theory with the study of institutional politics.

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

The Tech Industry Meets Presidential Politics: Explaining the Democratic Party’s Technological Advantage in Electoral Campaigning, 2004–2012

Daniel Kreiss & Christopher Jasinski

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on theories in organizational sociology that argue that transpositions of people,/ skills, and knowledge across domains give rise to innovations and organizational foundings that institutionalize them, we conducted a mixed-methods study of the employment biographies of staffers working in technology, digital, data, and analytics on American presidential campaigns, and the rates of organizational founding by these staffers, from the 2004 through the 2012 electoral cycles. Using Federal Election Commission and LinkedIn data, we trace the professional biographies of staffers (N = 629) working in technology, digital, data, or analytics on primary and general election presidential campaigns during this period. We found uneven professionalization in these areas, defined in terms of staffers moving from campaign to campaign or from political organizations to campaigns, with high rates of new entrants to the field. Democrats had considerably greater numbers of staffers in the areas of technology, digital, data, and analytics and from the technology industry, and much higher rates of organizational founding. We present qualitative data drawn from interviews with approximately 60 practitioners to explain how the institutional histories of the two parties and their extended networks since 2004 shaped the presidential campaigns during the 2012 cycle and their differential uptake of technology, digital, data, and analytics.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 18, 2016

She's got skills

The Impact of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Economic Choice and Rationality

Stephanie Lazzaro et al.

PLoS ONE, January 2016

Abstract:
It is well known that hormones affect both brain and behavior, but less is known about the extent to which hormones affect economic decision-making. Numerous studies demonstrate gender differences in attitudes to risk and loss in financial decision-making, often finding that women are more loss and risk averse than men. It is unclear what drives these effects and whether cyclically varying hormonal differences between men and women contribute to differences in economic preferences. We focus here on how economic rationality and preferences change as a function of menstrual cycle phase in women. We tested adherence to the Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference (GARP), the standard test of economic rationality. If choices satisfy GARP then there exists a well-behaved utility function that the subject’s decisions maximize. We also examined whether risk attitudes and loss aversion change as a function of cycle phase. We found that, despite large fluctuations in hormone levels, women are as technically rational in their choice behavior as their male counterparts at all phases of the menstrual cycle. However, women are more likely to choose risky options that can lead to potential losses while ovulating; during ovulation women are less loss averse than men and therefore more economically rational than men in this regard. These findings may have market-level implications: ovulating women more effectively maximize expected value than do other groups.

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

Prenatal Testosterone and the Earnings of Men and Women

Anne Gielen, Jessica Holmes & Caitlin Myers

Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2016, Pages 30-61

Abstract:
Testosterone, which induces sexual differentiation of the male fetus, is believed to transfer from males to their littermates in placental mammals. Among humans, individuals with a male twin have been found to exhibit greater masculinization of sexually dimorphic attributes relative to those with a female twin. We therefore regard twinning as a plausible natural experiment to test the link between prenatal exposure to testosterone and labor market earnings. For men, the results suggest positive returns to testosterone exposure. For women, however, the results indicate that prenatal testosterone does not generate higher earnings and may even be associated with modest declines.

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

Exposure to female colleagues breaks the glass ceiling — Evidence from a combined vignette and field experiment

Henning Finseraas et al.

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study discrimination among recruits in the Norwegian Armed Forces during boot camp. In a vignette experiment female candidates are perceived as less suited to be squad leaders than their identical male counterparts. Adding positive information leads to higher evaluations of the candidates, but does not reduce the amount of discrimination. However, randomized intense collaborative exposure to female colleagues reduces discriminatory attitudes: Male soldiers who were randomly assigned to share room and work in a squad with female soldiers during the recruit period do not discriminate in the vignette experiment.

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

Unequal Hard Times: The Influence of the Great Recession on Gender Bias in Entrepreneurial Financing

Sarah Thébaud & Amanda Sharkey

Sociological Science, January 2016

Abstract:
Prior work finds mixed evidence of gender bias in lenders’ willingness to approve loans to entrepreneurs during normal macroeconomic conditions. However, various theories predict that gender bias is more likely to manifest when there is greater uncertainty or when decision-makers’ choices are under greater scrutiny from others. Such conditions characterized the lending market in the recent economic downturn. This article draws on an analysis of panel data from the Kauffman Firm Survey to investigate how the Great Recession affected the gender gap in entrepreneurial access to financing, net of individual and firm-level characteristics. Consistent with predictions, we find that women-led firms were significantly more likely than men-led firms to encounter difficulty in acquiring funding when small-business lending contracted in 2009 and 2010. We assess the consistency of our results with two different theories of bias or discrimination. Our findings shed light on mechanisms that may contribute to disadvantages for women entrepreneurs and, more broadly, highlight how the effects of ascribed status characteristics (e.g., gender) on economic decision-making may vary systematically with macroeconomic conditions.

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

Where are the Women in Wikipedia? Understanding the Different Psychological Experiences of Men and Women in Wikipedia

Julia Bear & Benjamin Collier

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
A comprehensive survey conducted in 2008 found that only 13 % of Wikipedia contributors are women. We proposed that masculine norms for behavior in Wikipedia, which may be further exacerbated by the disinhibiting nature of an online, anonymous environment, lead to different psychological experiences for women and men, which, in turn, explain gender differences in contribution behavior. We hypothesized that, among a sample of individuals who occasionally contribute to Wikipedia, women would report less confidence in their expertise, more discomfort with editing others’ work, and more negative responses to critical feedback compared to men, all of which are crucial aspects of contributing to Wikipedia. We also hypothesized that gender differences in these psychological experiences would explain women’s lower contribution rate compared to men in this sample. We analyzed data from a sample of 1,598 individuals in the United States who completed the English version of an international survey of Wikipedia users and readers conducted in 2008 and who reported being occasional contributors. Significant gender differences were found in confidence in expertise, discomfort with editing, and response to critical feedback. Women reported less confidence in their expertise, expressed greater discomfort with editing (which typically involves conflict) and reported more negative responses to critical feedback compared to men. Mediation analyses revealed that confidence in expertise and discomfort with editing partially mediated the gender difference in number of articles edited, the standard measure for contribution to Wikipedia. Implications for the gender gap in Wikipedia and in organizations more generally are discussed.

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

Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms

Daniel Grunspan et al.

PLoS ONE, February 2016

Abstract:
Women who start college in one of the natural or physical sciences leave in greater proportions than their male peers. The reasons for this difference are complex, and one possible contributing factor is the social environment women experience in the classroom. Using social network analysis, we explore how gender influences the confidence that college-level biology students have in each other’s mastery of biology. Results reveal that males are more likely than females to be named by peers as being knowledgeable about the course content. This effect increases as the term progresses, and persists even after controlling for class performance and outspokenness. The bias in nominations is specifically due to males over-nominating their male peers relative to their performance. The over-nomination of male peers is commensurate with an overestimation of male grades by 0.57 points on a 4 point grade scale, indicating a strong male bias among males when assessing their classmates. Females, in contrast, nominated equitably based on student performance rather than gender, suggesting they lacked gender biases in filling out these surveys. These trends persist across eleven surveys taken in three different iterations of the same Biology course. In every class, the most renowned students are always male. This favoring of males by peers could influence student self-confidence, and thus persistence in this STEM discipline.

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

School Quality and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement

David Autor et al.

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Recent evidence indicates that boys and girls are differently affected by the quantity and quality of family inputs received in childhood. We assess whether this is also true for schooling inputs. Using matched Florida birth and school administrative records, we estimate the causal effect of school quality on the gender gap in educational outcomes by contrasting opposite-sex siblings who attend the same sets of schools — thereby purging family heterogeneity — and leveraging within-family variation in school quality arising from family moves. Investigating middle school test scores, absences and suspensions, we find that boys benefit more than girls from cumulative exposure to higher quality schools.

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

Demographic Characteristics of High School Math and Science Teachers and Girls’ Success in STEM

Elizabeth Stearns et al.

Social Problems, Winter 2016, Pages 87-110

Abstract:
Given the prestige and compensation of science and math-related occupations, the underrepresentation of women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics majors (STEM) perpetuates entrenched economic and social inequities. Explanations for this underrepresentation have largely focused on individual characteristics, including uneven academic preparation, as well as institutional factors at the college level. In this article, we focus instead on high schools. We highlight the influence of the intersection between race and gender of female math and science teachers on students’ decisions to major in STEM fields. Theoretically, this article extends the political science concept of representative bureaucracy to the issue of women’s and disadvantaged minorities’ underrepresentation in STEM majors. We analyze longitudinal data from public school students in North Carolina to test whether organizational demography of high school math and science faculty has an association with college major choice and graduation. Using hierarchical probit models with an instrumental-variable approach, we find that young white women are more likely to major in STEM fields and to graduate with STEM degrees when they come from high schools with higher proportions of female math and science teachers, irrespective of the race of the teacher. At the same time, these teachers do not depress young white or African American men’s chances of majoring in STEM. Results for African American women are less conclusive, highlighting the limitations of their small sample size.

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

Sex and sex-role differences in specific cognitive abilities

David Reilly, David Neumann & Glenda Andrews

Intelligence, January–February 2016, Pages 147–158

Abstract:
Sex differences in cognitive abilities are a controversial but actively researched topic. The present study examined whether sex-role identity mediates the relationship between sex and sex-typed cognitive abilities. Three hundred nine participants (105 males and 204 females) were tested on a range of visuospatial and language tasks under laboratory conditions. Participants also completed measures of sex-role identity, used to classify them into masculine, feminine, androgynous and undifferentiated groups. While sex differences were found for some but not all measures, significant sex-role differences were found for all spatial and language measures with the exception of a novel 2D Mental Rotation Task. Masculine sex-roles partially mediated the relationship between sex and a composite measure of spatial ability, while feminine sex-roles fully mediated the relationship between sex and a composite measure of language ability. These results suggest that sex-role identity may have greater utility in explaining individual differences in cognitive performance than biological sex alone.

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

Sex Differences in Mobility and Spatial Cognition: A Test of the Fertility and Parental Care Hypothesis in Northwestern Namibia

Layne Vashro, Lace Padilla & Elizabeth Cashdan

Human Nature, March 2016, Pages 16-34

Abstract:
The fertility and parental care hypothesis interprets sex differences in some spatial-cognitive tasks as an adaptive mechanism to suppress women’s travel. In particular, the hypothesis argues that estrogens constrain travel during key reproductive periods by depressing women’s spatial-cognitive ability. Limiting travel reduces exposure to the dangers and caloric costs of navigating long distances into unfamiliar environments. Our study evaluates a collection of predictions drawn from the fertility and parental care hypothesis among the Twe and Himba people living in a remote region of Namibia. We find that nursing mothers travel more than women at any other stage of their reproductive career. This challenges the assumption that women limit travel during vulnerable and energetically demanding reproductive periods. In addition, we join previous studies in identifying a relationship between spatial ability and traveling among men, but not women. If spatial ability does not influence travel, hormonally induced changes in spatial ability cannot be used as a mechanism to reduce travel. Instead, it appears the fitness consequences of men’s travel is a more likely target for adaptive explanations of the sex differences in spatial ability, navigation, and range size.

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

No Sex or Age Difference in Dead-Reckoning Ability among Tsimane Forager-Horticulturalists

Benjamin Trumble et al.

Human Nature, March 2016, Pages 51-67

Abstract:
Sex differences in reproductive strategy and the sexual division of labor resulted in selection for and maintenance of sexual dimorphism across a wide range of characteristics, including body size, hormonal physiology, behavior, and perhaps spatial abilities. In laboratory tasks among undergraduates there is a general male advantage for navigational and mental-rotation tasks, whereas studies find female advantage for remembering item locations in complex arrays and the locations of plant foods. Adaptive explanations of sex differences in these spatial abilities have focused on patterns of differential mate search and routine participation in distinct subsistence behaviors. The few studies to date of spatial ability in nonindustrial populations practicing subsistence lifestyles, or across a wider age range, find inconsistent results. Here we examine sex- and age-based variation in one kind of spatial ability related to navigation, dead-reckoning, among Tsimane forager horticulturalists living in lowland Bolivia. Seventy-three participants (38 male) aged 6–82 years pointed a handheld global positioning system (GPS) unit toward the two nearest communities and the more distant market town. We find no evidence of sex differences in dead reckoning (p = 0.47), nor do we find any evidence of age-related decline in dead-reckoning accuracy (p = 0.28). Participants were significantly more accurate at pointing toward the market town than toward the two nearest villages despite its being significantly farther away than the two nearest communities. Although Tsimane do show sexual dimorphism in foraging tasks, Tsimane women have extensive daily and lifetime travel, and the local environment lacks directional cues that typically enhance male navigation. This study raises the possibility that greater similarity in mobility patterns because of overlapping subsistence strategies and activities may result in convergence of some male and female navigation abilities.

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

Sex Differences in Exploration Behavior and the Relationship to Harm Avoidance

Kyle Gagnon et al.

Human Nature, March 2016, Pages 82-97

Abstract:
Venturing into novel terrain poses physical risks to a female and her offspring. Females have a greater tendency to avoid physical harm, while males tend to have larger range sizes and often outperform females in navigation-related tasks. Given this backdrop, we expected that females would explore a novel environment with more caution than males, and that more-cautious exploration would negatively affect navigation performance. Participants explored a novel, large-scale, virtual environment in search of five objects, pointed in the direction of each object from the origin, and then navigated back to the objects. We found that females demonstrated more caution while exploring as reflected in the increased amounts of pausing and revisiting of previously traversed locations. In addition, more pausing and revisiting behaviors led to degradation in navigation performance. Finally, individual levels of trait harm avoidance were positively associated with the amount of revisiting behavior during exploration. These findings support the idea that the fitness costs associated with long-distance travel may encourage females to take a more cautious approach to spatial exploration, and that this caution may partially explain the sex differences in navigation performance.

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

Reading the Face of a Leader: Women with Low Facial Masculinity Are Perceived as Competitive

Raphael Silberzahn & Jochen Menges

Academy of Management Discoveries, forthcoming

Abstract:
In competitive settings, people prefer leaders with masculine faces. But is facial masculinity a trait that is similarly desired in men and women leaders? Across three studies, we discovered that people indeed prefer men and women leaders who have faces with masculine traits. But surprisingly we find that people also prefer women with low facial masculinity as leaders in competitive contexts (Study 1). Our findings indicate that low facial masculinity in women, but not in men is perceived to indicate competitiveness (Study 2). Thus, in contrast to men, women leaders who rate high in facial masculinity as well as those low in facial masculinity are both selected as leaders in competitive contexts. Indeed, among CEOs of S&P 500 companies we find a greater range of facial masculinity among women CEOs than among men CEOs (Study 3). Our results suggest that traits of facial masculinity in men and women are interpreted differently. Low facial masculinity in women is linked to competitiveness and not only to cooperativeness as suggested by prior research.

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

Do They Stay or Do They Go? The Switching Decisions of Individuals Who Enter Gender Atypical College Majors

Catherine Riegle-Crumb, Barbara King & Chelsea Moore

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Drawing on prior theoretical and empirical research on gender segregation within educational fields as well as occupations, we examine the pathways of college students who at least initially embark on a gender-atypical path. Specifically, we explore whether women who enter fields that are male-dominated are more likely to switch fields than their female peers who have chosen other fields, as well as whether men who enter female-dominated majors are more likely to subsequently switch fields than their male peers who have chosen a more normative field. We utilize a sample of 3702 students from a nationally representative dataset on U.S. undergraduates, the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS 2004/09). Logistic regression models examine the likelihood that students switch majors, controlling for students’ social and academic background. Results reveal different patterns for men and women. Men who enter a female-dominated major are significantly more likely to switch majors than their male peers in other majors. By contrast, women in male-dominated fields are not more likely to switch fields compared to their female peers in other fields. The results are robust to supplementary analyses that include alternative specifications of the independent and dependent variables. The implications of our findings for the maintenance of gendered occupational segregation are discussed.

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

The gender wage gap in highly prestigious occupations: A case study of Swedish medical doctors

Charlotta Magnusson

Work Employment & Society, February 2016, Pages 40-58

Abstract:
The gender wage gap within a highly prestigious occupation, the medical profession, is investigated both longitudinally and cross-sectionally using Swedish administrative data. This is done by investigating: to what extent the gender wage gap among physicians varies between fields of medicine (within-occupation segregation) and across family status; whether there is an association between parenthood and wages among physicians and, if so, whether there is a gender difference in this association; and changes in the gender wage gap among physicians over time. The results indicate a large overall gender wage difference for medical doctors. Even when gender differences in specialization are taken into account, men have higher wages than women do. For both men and women physicians, there is a positive association between parenthood and wages. The longitudinal analyses show that the gender wage gap among physicians was greater in 2007 than in 1975.

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

The Evolution of Gender Gaps in Industrialized Countries

Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo

NBER Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Women in developed economies have made major inroads in labor markets throughout the past century, but remaining gender differences in pay and employment seem remarkably persistent. This paper documents long-run trends in female employment, working hours and relative wages for a wide cross-section of developed economies. It reviews existing work on the factors driving gender convergence, and novel perspectives on remaining gender gaps. The paper finally emphasizes the interplay between gender trends and the evolution of the industry structure. Based on a shift-share decomposition, it shows that the growth in the service share can explain at least half of the overall variation in female hours, both over time and across countries.

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

When women emerge as leaders: Effects of extraversion and gender composition in groups

James Lemoine, Ishani Aggarwal & Laurens Bujold Steed

Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Focusing on the gender of emergent leaders in initially leaderless groups, we explore contextual factors that may influence when women are likely to emerge as leaders. We take a multi-level perspective to understand and unpack the complex interplay between individual gender, group gender composition, and group personality composition. Drawing from perspectives such as social role theory and the social identity model of leadership, we theorize as to when women are most likely to emerge as leaders, even in groups composed predominantly of men. Results from two studies indicated that individual level gender does not interact with group gender composition to predict leadership emergence, suggesting that groups with more men do not disproportionally choose men as leaders, and groups with more women similarly do not tend to have women emerge as leaders. However, a three-way interaction consistently appeared in our studies when group-level extraversion was added to individual and group gender, in a pattern suggesting that group extraversion alters leader emergence patterns in groups with more men. Our findings demonstrate that women become more likely to emerge as leaders when their groups are both high in extraversion, and composed of more men than women. Implications for practice and future research directions are discussed.

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

The Impact of Losing in a Competition on the Willingness to Seek Further Challenges

Thomas Buser

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do people react to setbacks and successes? I use a laboratory experiment to determine the effect of winning and losing in a competition on the willingness to seek further challenges. Participants compete in two-person tournaments in an arithmetic task and are then informed of their score and the outcome of the competition. Participants then have to decide on a performance target for a second round: the higher the target, the higher the potential reward, but participants who do not reach the target earn nothing. Conditional on the score, winning or losing is exogenous. I find that, conditional on first-round scores, losers go for a more challenging target. Losers also perform worse, leading to lower earnings and a higher probability of failure. These results are driven by gender-specific reactions to winning and losing: men react to losing by picking a more challenging target while women lower their performance. These findings could have important implications for our understanding of individual career paths. Early outcomes could alter the probability of success and failure in the long term.

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

Conceptual Change in Science Is Facilitated Through Peer Collaboration for Boys but Not for Girls

Patrick Leman et al.

Child Development, January/February 2016, Pages 176–183

Abstract:
Three hundred and forty-one children (Mage = 9,0 years) engaged in a series of science tasks in collaborative, same-sex pairs or did not interact. All children who collaborated on the science tasks advanced in basic-level understanding of the relevant task (motion down an incline). However, only boys advanced in their conceptual understanding at a 3-week posttest. Discussion of concepts and procedural aspects of the task led to conceptual development for boys but not girls. Gender differences in behavioral style did not influence learning. Results are discussed in terms of the links between gender and engagement in conversations, and how gender differences in collaboration may relate to differences in participation in science.

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

Backlash against male elementary educators

Corinne Moss-Racusin & Elizabeth Johnson

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the existence, nature, and processes underscoring backlash (social and economic penalties) against men who violate gender stereotypes by working in education, and whether backlash is exacerbated by internal (vs. external) behavioral attributions. Participants (N = 303) rated one of six applications for an elementary teaching position, identical apart from target gender and behavioral attribution type. Male applicants were rated as more likely to be gay, posing a greater safety threat, and less likeable (but not less hireable) than identical female applicants. Perceived sexuality and threat mediated target gender differences in likeability. Unexpectedly, behavioral attributions did not interact with target gender, suggesting that providing internal attributions may not exacerbate men's backlash. Implications for backlash theory and education gender disparities are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Selling something

"Paper or Plastic?": How We Pay Influences Post-Transaction Connection

Avni Shah et al.

Journal of Consumer Research, February 2016, Pages 688-708

Abstract:
Does the way that individuals pay for a good or service influence the amount of connection they feel after the purchase has occurred? Employing a multi-method approach across four studies, individuals who pay using a relatively more painful form of payment (e.g., cash or check) increase their post-transaction connection to the product they purchased and/or the organization their purchase supports in comparison to those who pay with less painful forms of payment (e.g., debit or credit card). Specifically, individuals who pay with more painful forms of payment increase their emotional attachment to a product, decrease their commitment to nonchosen alternatives, are more likely to publicly signal their commitment to an organization, and are more likely to make a repeat transaction. Moreover, the form of payment influences post-transaction connection even when the objective monetary cost remains constant and when the psychological cost is indirect (i.e., donating someone else's money). Increasing the psychological pain of payment appears to have beneficial consequences with respect to increasing downstream product and brand connection.

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

The Effect of Priming Affect on Customer Service Satisfaction

Jelena Brcic & Gary Latham

Academy of Management Discoveries, forthcoming

Abstract:
A quasi-experiment (Study 1) and an on-line true experiment (Study 2) examined the effect of priming affect on customer service satisfaction. In Study 1, shoppers who received a "happy face" sticker on their retail receipt were more satisfied with the service they received than were those who did not receive a sticker. In order to determine whether customers were unaware of the influence of the prime on their level of satisfaction, a second study was conducted where customers were randomly assigned to conditions. Again, the results revealed that priming positive affect increased satisfaction with the store's service without a customer being aware of the influence of the prime. The results of these two studies suggest that a small change in the environment can influence customer satisfaction with the service received. A third experiment involving an exact replication, and an implicit as well as an explicit measure of affect, suggests the robustness of this finding.

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

Washing Away Your Sins? Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Social Irresponsibility, and Firm Performance

Charles Kang, Frank Germann & Rajdeep Grewal

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
We address the questions of whether and how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) relates to firm performance, and, in so doing identify four mechanisms pertaining to this relationship: (1) slack resources lead to CSR, i.e., slack resources mechanism (2) CSR improves performance, i.e., good management mechanism, (3) CSR makes amends for past Corporate Social Irresponsibility (CSI), i.e., penance mechanism, and (4) CSR insures against subsequent CSI, i.e., insurance mechanism. We seek to be integrative in our approach and incorporate the four mechanisms in our empirical model specification. Specifically, to model the interplay among CSR, CSI, and firm performance, and to test the four mechanisms simultaneously, we propose a structural panel vector autoregression specification. In support of the good management mechanism, results from our unbalanced panel dataset of over 4,500 firms and up to 19 years suggest that firms that engage in CSR are likely to benefit financially from their CSR investments. Moreover, we do not find support for the slack resources or the insurance mechanism. In contrast, and in support of the penance mechanism, often firms' CSR seems to trail their CSI. However, our results also suggest that the penance mechanism is ineffective at offsetting negative performance effects due to CSI.

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

The Limits of Reflected Glory: The Beneficial and Harmful Effects of Product Name Similarity in the U.S. Network TV Program Industry, 1944-2003

Olga Khessina & Samira Reis

Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The market fate of a product ultimately determines the success or failure of a firm. A name is a central feature of any product, yet how names affect product market longevity is not well understood. In this paper we develop a theory in which a new product's name affects the product's categorization by audiences and, as a result, impacts its survival chances on the market. We predict that the similarity of the new product's name to names of other products in the industry affects its survival probability, but the direction and magnitude of this effect depends on the popularity and status of products, to names of which the new product's name is similar. We test our predictions on the population of all TV programs that were introduced during prime time plus early evening and late night on networks in the United States from the beginning of the industry in 1944 through 2003. An event history analysis of this population supports our predictions and thus suggests the importance of names in product market viability.

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

Why do we overestimate others' willingness to pay?

William Matthews, Ana Gheorghiu & Mitchell Callan

Judgment and Decision Making, January 2016, Pages 21-39

Abstract:
People typically overestimate how much others are prepared to pay for consumer goods and services. We investigated the extent to which latent beliefs about others' affluence contribute to this overestimation. In Studies 1, 2a, and 2b we found that participants, on average, judge the other people taking part in the study to "have more money" and "have more disposable income" than themselves. The extent of these beliefs positively correlated with the overestimation of willingness to pay (WTP). Study 3 shows that the link between income-beliefs and WTP is causal, and Studies 4, 5a, and 5b show that it holds in a between-group design with a real financial transaction and is unaffected by accuracy incentives. Study 6 examines estimates of others' income in more detail and, in conjunction with the earlier studies, indicates that participants' reported beliefs about others' affluence depend upon the framing of the question. Together, the data indicate that individual differences in the overestimation effect are partly due to differing affluence-beliefs, and that an overall affluence-estimation bias may contribute to the net tendency to overestimate other people's willingness to pay.

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

Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes: New Products and the Evolution of Music Quality since Napster

Luis Aguiar & Joel Waldfogel

Information Economics and Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using comprehensive digital sales data by time and vintage on the US, Canada, and 15 European countries, we infer the evolution of music vintage quality, finding that vintage service flow has increased since 2000. We explain the result with unpredictability of music quality at the time of investment along with growing releases. Evidence shows a) products with modest prospects at release - from artists on independent labels and from new artists - occupy a growing share of the top products; and b) despite growth in the number of products, sales are growing more concentrated.

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

Boomerang Effects of Low Price Discounts: How Low Price Discounts Affect Purchase Propensity

Fengyan Cai, Rajesh Bagchi & Dinesh Gauri

Journal of Consumer Research, February 2016, Pages 804-816

Abstract:
We show that providing a low (vs. no) price discount can lower purchase propensity of low-priced products under certain conditions - when purchases are nonessential and purchase volume is small. Based on the theory of purchase value (Grewal, Monroe, and Krishnan 1998; Thaler 1983), we argue that offering a low price discount for nonessential purchases decreases perceived transaction value that in turn lowers consumers' purchase propensity. However, this boomerang effect reverses when purchase volume is larger or when the purchase is essential. We demonstrate this effect with secondary scanner panel data sets (with six different product categories) and in five laboratory experiments (with real purchases). We also document the process and delineate boundary conditions.

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

The Space-to Product Ratio Effect: How Interstitial Space Influences Product Aesthetic Appeal, Store Perceptions and Product Preference

Julio Sevilla & Claudia Townsend

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We identify and examine the effect of space-to-product-ratio on consumer response; very generally, consumers perceive products as more valuable when more space is devoted to their display. In both lab and field studies we find that this phenomenon influences total sales, purchase likelihood, and even perceived product experience (taste perceptions). More interstitial space increases perceptions of individual products as more aesthetically pleasing and the store as more prestigious. We find these effects across a variety of product categories and rule out a number of competing alternative explanations based on perceptions of product popularity, scarcity, assortment search difficulty, or messiness.

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

Sales Displacement and Streaming Music: Evidence from YouTube

Scott Hiller

Information Economics and Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper I exploit the removal of Warner Music content from YouTube in January 2009, and its restoration in October 2009, as a plausible natural experiment to investigate the impact of online content availability on album sales. I find that this blackout on YouTube had both statistically and economically significant positive effects on Warner albums, which are quickly moderated as top-selling albums are dropped from the sample. Results also show that albums that have a very successful debut face more displacement from YouTube videos, while the effect on lower debuting albums may be moderated by a promotional effect.

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

Closer to the Creator: Temporal Contagion Explains the Preference for Earlier Serial Numbers

Rosanna Smith, George Newman & Ravi Dhar

Journal of Consumer Research, February 2016, Pages 653-668

Abstract:
Consumers demonstrate a robust preference for items with earlier serial numbers (e.g., No. 3/100) over otherwise identical items with later serial numbers (e.g., No. 97/100) in a limited edition set. This preference arises from the perception that items with earlier serial numbers are temporally closer to the origin (e.g., the designer or artist who produced it). In turn, beliefs in contagion (the notion that objects may acquire a special essence from their past) lead consumers to view these items as possessing more of a valued essence. Using an archival data set and five lab experiments, the authors find the preference for items with earlier serial numbers holds across multiple consumer domains including recorded music, art, and apparel. Further, this preference appears to be independent from inferences about the quality of the item, salience of the number, or beliefs about market value. Finally, when serial numbers no longer reflect beliefs about proximity to the origin, the preference for items with earlier serial numbers is attenuated. The authors conclude by demonstrating boundary conditions of this preference in the context of common marketing practices.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Users

Smoking Response to Health and Medical Spending Changes and the Role of Insurance

Joachim Marti & Michael Richards

Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Severe health shocks provide new information about one's personal health and have been shown to influence smoking behaviors. In this paper, we suggest that they may also convey information about the hard to predict financial consequences of illnesses. Relevant financial risk information is idiosyncratic and unavailable to the consumer preceding illness, and the information search costs are high. However, new and salient information about the health as well as financial consequences of smoking after a health shock may impact smoking responses. Using variation in the timing of health shocks and two features of the US health care system (uninsured spells and aging into the Medicare program at 65), we test for heterogeneity in the post-shock smoking decision according to plausibly exogenous changes in financial risk exposure to medical spending. We also explore the relationship between smoking and the evolution of out-of-pocket costs. Individuals experiencing a cardiovascular health shock during an uninsured spell have more than twice the cessation effect of those receiving the illness while insured. For those uninsured prior to age 65 years, experiencing a cardiovascular shock post Medicare eligibility completely offsets the cessation effect. We also find that older adults' medical spending changes separate from health shocks influence their smoking behavior.

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

Impact of adolescent marijuana use on intelligence: Results from two longitudinal twin studies

Nicholas Jackson et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2 February 2016, Pages E500–E508

Abstract:
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, and use during adolescence — when the brain is still developing — has been proposed as a cause of poorer neurocognitive outcome. Nonetheless, research on this topic is scarce and often shows conflicting results, with some studies showing detrimental effects of marijuana use on cognitive functioning and others showing no significant long-term effects. The purpose of the present study was to examine the associations of marijuana use with changes in intellectual performance in two longitudinal studies of adolescent twins (n = 789 and n = 2,277). We used a quasiexperimental approach to adjust for participants’ family background characteristics and genetic propensities, helping us to assess the causal nature of any potential associations. Standardized measures of intelligence were administered at ages 9–12 y, before marijuana involvement, and again at ages 17–20 y. Marijuana use was self-reported at the time of each cognitive assessment as well as during the intervening period. Marijuana users had lower test scores relative to nonusers and showed a significant decline in crystallized intelligence between preadolescence and late adolescence. However, there was no evidence of a dose–response relationship between frequency of use and intelligence quotient (IQ) change. Furthermore, marijuana-using twins failed to show significantly greater IQ decline relative to their abstinent siblings. Evidence from these two samples suggests that observed declines in measured IQ may not be a direct result of marijuana exposure but rather attributable to familial factors that underlie both marijuana initiation and low intellectual attainment.

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

Combat Exposure, Cigarette Consumption, and Substance Use

Resul Cesur, Alexander Chesney & Joseph Sabia

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study estimates the relationship between combat exposure and several risky health behaviors: cigarette consumption, binge drinking, and drug use. We find that the U.S. active duty military personnel deployed to combat zones with enemy firefight are more likely to subsequently smoke cigarettes, consume alcohol, and use illicit drugs than their counterparts deployed to noncombat operations. Our results suggest that the mental health effects of combat can explain up to two-thirds of the estimated association between combat exposure and risky health behaviors.

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

Different digital paths to the keg? How exposure to peers' alcohol-related social media content influences drinking among male and female first-year college students

Sarah Boyle et al.

Addictive Behaviors, June 2016, Pages 21–29

Abstract:
Despite speculation that peers' alcohol-related content on social media sites (SMS) may influence the alcohol use behaviors of SMS frequenting college students, this relationship has not been investigated longitudinally. The current prospective study assesses the relationship between exposure to peers' alcohol-related SMS content and later-drinking among first-year college students. Among 408 first-year students, total exposure to peers' alcohol-related content on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat during the initial 6 weeks of college predicted alcohol consumption 6 months later. The rather robust relationship persisted even after students' and close friends drinking were accounted for, indicating that alcohol references on SMS do not simply reflect alcohol use behaviors that would otherwise be observed in the absence of SMS and be predictive of later alcohol use. Findings also illuminate important gender differences in the degree to which peers' alcohol-related SMS content influenced later drinking behavior as well as psychological mediators of this relationship. Among females, enhancement drinking motives and beliefs about the role of alcohol in the college experience fully mediated the relationship between SMS alcohol exposure and later drinking. Males, however, evidenced a much stronger predictive relationship between SMS alcohol exposure and second semester drinking, with this relationship only partially explained by perceptions of drinking norms, enhancement drinking motives, and beliefs about the role of alcohol in the college experience. Implications of these findings for college drinking prevention efforts and directions for future research are discussed.

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

Identifying the causal effect of alcohol abuse on the perpetration of intimate partner violence by men using a natural experiment

Susan Averett & Yang Wang

Southern Economic Journal, January 2016, Pages 697–724

Abstract:
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread and has substantial negative consequences. Researchers have documented a strong positive correlation between alcohol abuse and IPV. However, alcohol abuse is potentially endogenous to IPV. We deal with this problem by exploring a unique instrumental variable — the September 11 terrorist attack — in Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Ordinary least squares results confirm a strong positive correlation between alcohol abuse and IPV. However, our two-stage least squares results are statistically insignificant. These results indicate that alcohol abuse might not have a causal effect on IPV and, therefore, have important policy implications.

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

Alcohol use among native Americans compared to whites: Examining the veracity of the ‘native American elevated alcohol consumption’ belief

James Cunningham, Teshia Solomon & Myra Muramoto

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: This study uses national survey data to examine the veracity of the longstanding belief that, compared to whites, Native Americans (NA) have elevated alcohol consumption.

Methods: The primary data source was the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2009-2013: whites (n = 171,858) and NA (n = 4,201). Analyses using logistic regression with demographic covariate adjustment were conducted to assess differences in the odds of NA and whites being alcohol abstinent, light/moderate drinkers (no binge/heavy consumption), binge drinkers (5+ drinks on an occasion 1–4 days), or heavy drinkers (5+ drinks on an occasion 5+ days) in the past month. Complementary alcohol abstinence, light/moderate drinking and excessive drinking analyses were conducted using Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 2011-2013: whites (n = 1,130,658) and NA (n = 21,589).

Results: In the NSDUH analyses, the majority of NA, 59.9% (95% CI: 56.7–63.1), abstained, whereas a minority of whites, 43.1% (CI: 42.6–43.6), abstained—adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 0.64 (CI: 0.56–0.73). Approximately 14.5% (CI: 12.0-17.4) of NA were light/moderate-only drinkers, versus 32.7% (CI: 32.2–33.2) of whites (AOR: 1.90; CI: 1.51–2.39). NA and white binge drinking estimates were similar—17.3% (CI: 15.0-19.8) and 16.7% (CI: 16.4–17.0), respectively (AOR: 1.00; CI: 0.83–1.20). The two populations' heavy drinking estimates were also similar—8.3% (CI: 6.7–10.2) and 7.5% (CI: 7.3–7.7), respectively (AOR: 1.06; CI: 0.85–1.32). Results from the BRFSS analyses generally corroborated those from NSDUH.

Conclusions: In contrast to the ‘Native American elevated alcohol consumption’ belief, Native Americans compared to whites had lower or comparable rates across the range of alcohol measures examined.

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

Alcohol and tobacco consumption alter hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis DNA methylation

Meeshanthini Dogan et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, April 2016, Pages 176–184

Abstract:
Alcohol and cigarette consumption have profound effects on genome wide DNA methylation and are common, often cryptic, comorbid features of many psychiatric disorders. This cryptic consumption is a possible impediment to understanding the biology of certain psychiatric disorders because if the effects of substance use are not taken into account, their presence may confound efforts to identify effects of other behavioral disorders. Since the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is known to be dysregulated in these disorders, we examined the potential for confounding effects of alcohol and cigarette consumption by examining their effects on peripheral DNA methylation at two key HPA axis genes, NR3C1 and FKBP5. We found that the influence of alcohol and smoke exposure is more prominent at the FKBP5 gene than the NR3C1 gene. Furthermore, in both genes, loci that were consistently significantly associated with smoking and alcohol consumption demethylated with increasing exposure. We conclude that epigenetic studies of complex disorders involving the HPA axis need to carefully control for the effects of substance use in order to minimize the possibility of type I and type II errors.

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

Drug use among men by sexual behavior, race and ethnicity: Prevalence estimates from a nationally representative US sample

Neal Goldstein et al.

International Journal of Drug Policy, forthcoming

Background: Men who have sex with men (MSM) report drug use more frequently than non-MSM, however data are lacking that examine the disparity within racial and ethnic groups.

Methods: Using a nationally representative sample of men in the US stratified by race and ethnicity, we present prevalence estimates of self-reported drug use comparing MSM to non-MSM.

Results: Prevalence of self-reported drug use was greater among MSM compared to non-MSM, with the exception of heroin. White MSM reported greatest drug use overall, with amphetamine use representing the greatest disparity compared to black or Hispanic MSM. Hispanic MSM reported the greatest crack/cocaine and heroin use. Men who reported using drugs were younger then men who did not report using drugs; there were no age patterns of reported drug use among MSM.

Conclusions: Drug use is a public health concern among MSM, compounding a racial and ethnic disparity. Intersectionality is a useful framework for identifying subgroups with highest reported rates of drug use.

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

High prevalence of cannabis use among Aka foragers of the Congo Basin and its possible relationship to helminthiasis

Casey Roulette et al.

American Journal of Human Biology, January/February 2016, Pages 5–15

Objectives: Little is known about cannabis use in hunter-gatherers. Therefore, we investigated cannabis use in the Aka, a population of foragers of the Congo Basin. Because cannabis contains anthelminthic compounds, and the Aka have a high prevalence of helminthiasis, we also tested the hypothesis that cannabis use might be an unconscious form of self-medication against helminths.

Methods: We collected self- and peer-reports of cannabis use from all adult Aka in the Lobaye district of the Central African Republic (n = 379). Because female cannabis use was low, we restricted sample collection to men. Using an immunoassay for Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-11-oic acid (THCA), a urinary biomarker of recent cannabis consumption, we validated cannabis use in men currently residing in camps near a logging road (n = 62). We also collected stool samples to assay worm burden. A longitudinal reinfection study was conducted among a subsample of the male participants (n = 23) who had been treated with a commercial anthelmintic 1 year ago.

Results: The prevalence of self- and peer-reported cannabis use was 70.9% among men and 6.1% among women, for a total prevalence of 38.6%. Using a 50 ng/ml threshold for THCA, 67.7% of men used cannabis. Cannabis users were significantly younger and had less material wealth than the non-cannabis users. There were significant negative associations between THCA levels and worm burden, and reinfection with helminths 1 year after treatment with a commercial anthelmintic.

Conclusions: The prevalence of cannabis use among adult Aka men was high when compared to most global populations. THCA levels were negatively correlated with parasite infection and reinfection, supporting the self-medication hypothesis.

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

Understanding Patterns Of High-Cost Health Care Use Across Different Substance User Groups

Jan Gryczynski et al.

Health Affairs, January 2016, Pages 12-19

Abstract:
Substance use contributes to significant societal burdens, including high-cost health care use. However, these burdens may vary by type of substance and level of involvement. Using the 2009–13 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, we examined all-cause hospitalizations and estimated costs across substance use profiles for alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs. For each substance, we characterized differences between abstainers, nondiagnostic users (people who used the substance but did not meet diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder), and people with substance use disorders. In a multivariate analysis, we found that the odds of hospitalization were 16 percent lower for nondiagnostic marijuana users and 11 percent lower for nondiagnostic alcohol users, compared to abstainers. Neither alcohol- nor marijuana-specific substance use disorders were associated with hospitalization. In contrast, substance use disorders for other illicit drugs were strongly associated with hospitalization: People with those disorders had 2.2 times higher odds of hospitalization relative to abstainers. A more detailed understanding of health care use in different substance user groups could inform the ongoing expansion of substance use services in the United States.

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

Splendide Mendax: False Label Claims About High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine

Julian Alston et al.

Journal of Wine Economics, December 2015, Pages 275-313

Abstract:
Are wine alcohol labels accurate? If not, why? We explore the high and rising alcohol content of wine and examine incentives for false labeling, including the roles of climate, evolving consumer preferences, and expert ratings. We draw on international time-series data from a large number of countries that experienced different patterns of climate change and influences of policy and demand shifts. We find systematic patterns that suggest that rising wine alcohol content may be a nuisance by-product of producer responses to perceived market preferences for wines having more-intense flavours, possibly in conjunction with evolving climate.

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

Hiding in the Shadows: Philip Morris and the Use of Third Parties to Oppose Ingredient Disclosure Regulations

Clayton Velicer & Stanton Glantz

PLoS ONE, December 2015

Background: In 1996 Massachusetts proposed regulations that would require tobacco companies to disclose information about the ingredients in their products on a by-brand basis. This paper examines the strategies employed by Philip Morris to stop these regulations from being implemented.

Methods and Finding: We used previously secret tobacco industry documents and published literature to examine the activities of the tobacco companies after the regulations were proposed. Philip Morris hired a public relations firm to establish a coalition that was instructed to oppose the regulations by linking them to other industrial sectors (the slippery slope) and stating they would damage the state's economy. Philip Morris also retained a polling firm to test the popularity of specific arguments against ingredient disclosure and developed a strategic plan for opposing similar regulations in Vermont.

Conclusion: Tobacco companies have historically used third parties to form coalitions to oppose ingredient disclosure regulations. These coalitions have had success preventing regulations from being implemented after they are initially proposed by creating the appearance of local opposition. With countries around the world currently implementing ingredient disclosure regulations in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco, governments and regulatory agencies should be aware of the political strategies that the tobacco companies have used to create the impression of popular opposition to these measures.

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

Race, Ethnicity, and Exposure to Alcohol Outlets

Christopher Morrison, Paul Gruenewald & William Ponicki

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, January 2016, Pages 68–76

Objective: Prior studies suggest that Black and Hispanic minority populations are exposed to greater concentrations of alcohol outlets, potentially contributing to health disparities between these populations and the White majority. We tested the alternative hypothesis that urban economic systems cause outlets to concentrate in low-income areas and, controlling for these effects, lower demand among minority populations leads to fewer outlets.

Method: Market potential for alcohol sales, a surrogate for demand, was estimated from survey and census data across census block groups for 50 California cities. Hierarchical Bayesian conditional autoregressive Poisson models then estimated relationships between observed geographic distributions of outlets and the market potential for alcohol, income, population size, and racial and ethnic composition.

Results: Market potentials were significantly smaller among lower income Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations. Block groups with greater market potential and lower income had greater concentrations of outlets. When we controlled for these effects, the racial and ethnic group composition of block groups was mostly unrelated to outlet concentrations.

Conclusions: Health disparities related to exposure to alcohol outlets are primarily driven by distributions of income and population density across neighborhoods.

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

Effect of a “pill mill” law on opioid prescribing and utilization: The case of Texas

Tatyana Lyapustina et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, February 2016, Pages 190–197

Background: States have attempted to reduce prescription opioid abuse through strengthening the regulation of pain management clinics; however, the effect of such measures remains unclear. We quantified the impact of Texas’s September 2010 “pill mill” law on opioid prescribing and utilization.

Methods: We used the IMS Health LRx LifeLink database to examine anonymized, patient-level pharmacy claims for a closed cohort of individuals filling prescription opioids in Texas between September 2009 and August 2011. Our primary outcomes were derived at a monthly level and included: (1) average morphine equivalent dose (MED) per transaction; (2) aggregate opioid volume; (3) number of opioid prescriptions; and (4) quantity of opioid pills dispensed. We compared observed values with the counterfactual, which we estimated from pre-intervention levels and trends.

Results: Texas’s pill mill law was associated with declines in average MED per transaction (−0.57 mg/month, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.09, −0.057), monthly opioid volume (−9.99 kg/month, CI −12.86, −7.11), monthly number of opioid prescriptions (−12,200 prescriptions/month, CI −15,300, −9,150) and monthly quantity of opioid pills dispensed (−714,000 pills/month, CI −877,000, −550,000). These reductions reflected decreases of 8.1–24.3% across the outcomes at one year compared with the counterfactual, and they were concentrated among prescribers and patients with the highest opioid prescribing and utilization at baseline.

Conclusions: Following the implementation of Texas’s 2010 pill mill law, there were clinically significant reductions in opioid dose, volume, prescriptions and pills dispensed within the state, which were limited to individuals with higher levels of baseline opioid prescribing and utilization.

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

Opioid Overdose Deaths and Florida’s Crackdown on Pill Mills

Alene Kennedy-Hendricks et al.

American Journal of Public Health, February 2016, Pages 291-297

Objectives: We examined the effect on opioid overdose mortality of Florida state laws and law enforcement operations targeting “pill mills.”

Methods: We collected 2003 to 2012 mortality data from the Florida Department of Health and the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics (the comparison state) to estimate changes in the rates of death from prescription opioid, heroin, or any opioid overdose.

Results: Florida’s actions were associated with an estimated 1029 lives saved from prescription opioid overdose over a 34-month period. Estimated reductions in deaths grew over the intervention period, with rates per 100 000 population that were 0.6 lower in 2010, 1.8 lower in 2011, and 3.0 lower in 2012 than what would have been expected had the changes in mortality rate trends in Florida been the same as changes in trends in North Carolina. Florida’s mortality rates from heroin and total opioid overdose were also lower than anticipated relative to changes in trends in North Carolina.

Conclusions: Findings from this study indicate that laws regulating pain clinics and enforcement of these laws may, in combination, reduce opioid overdose deaths.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 15, 2016

Commanders in chief

The Myth of the Optional War: Why States Are Required to Wage the Wars They Are Permitted to Wage

Kieran Oberman

Philosophy & Public Affairs, Fall 2015, Pages 255-286

"Within just war theory, much has been written on the question of when states are morally permitted to wage war. Much less is written on the question of when states are morally required to wage war. In the literature that does exist, the predominant view is that while there are wars that states are required to wage and, of course, many wars states are prohibited from waging, there is also a middle category: wars that states are permitted but not required to wage. These are what we may call 'optional wars.' If a war is optional, a state enjoys moral discretion over whether or not to wage it. This article argues that there are no optional wars. States are either required to wage war or prohibited from doing so."

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

Valuing Peace: The Effects of Financial Market Exposure on Votes and Political Attitudes

Saumitra Jha & Moses Shayo

Stanford Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
Financial markets expose individuals to the risks and returns of the broader economy. Can they also lead to a reevaluation of the costs and benefits of conflict and peace initiatives? Can this happen even in the context of persistent ethnic conflict, and even affect voting decisions? Prior to the 2015 Israeli elections, we randomly assigned financial assets to likely voters and gave them incentives to actively trade for up to seven weeks. The assets included stocks of Israeli and Palestinian companies. We also randomly assigned their initial amounts and divestment dates. We find that the exposure to stocks caused systematic shifts in voting behavior and increased support for peace initiatives. These shifts appear to reflect two main channels. First, financial market exposure leads individuals to follow financial markets over time and to positively reevaluate the effects of potential peace initiatives on the national economy. Second, exposure to Palestinian stocks increases out-group empathy, reflected in higher support for inter-ethnic social integration. The effects of financial market exposure are larger for the risk averse and for inexperienced investors, who become more like experienced investors in favoring concessions for peace.

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

Casualty rates of US military personnel during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Matthew Goldberg

Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended in August 2010, nearly 3500 hostile deaths occurred among US military personnel and 32,000 more were wounded in action (WIA). More than 1800 hostile deaths occurred during Operation Enduring Freedom (in and around Afghanistan) through 2014 and about 20,000 were WIA. A larger proportion of wounded personnel survived in Iraq and Afghanistan than during the Vietnam War, but the increased survival rates were not as high as some studies have asserted. The survival rates were 90.2% in Iraq and 91.6% in Afghanistan, compared with 86.5% in Vietnam. The casualty rates varied between the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and before, during, and after the respective surges. Amputation rates are difficult to measure consistently, but I estimate that 2.6% of all WIA and 9.0% of medically evacuated WIA from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters combined resulted in the major loss of a limb. Elevated non-hostile death rates (including deaths due to accidents, illnesses, homicides, or suicides) resulted in about 220 more deaths in Iraq and about 200 more deaths in Afghanistan than would have been expected in peacetime among populations of the size deployed to those two conflicts.

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

Tweeting Identity? Ukrainian, Russian, and #Euromaidan

Megan Metzger et al.

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why and when do group identities become salient? Existing scholarship has suggested that insecurity and competition over political and economic resources as well as increased perceptions of threat from the out-group tends to increase the salience of ethnic identities. Most of the work on ethnicity, however, is either experimental and deals with how people respond once identity has already been primed, is based on self-reported measures of identity, or driven by election results. In contrast, here we examine events in Ukraine from late 2013 (the beginning of the Euromaidan protests) through the end of 2014 to see if particular moments of heightened political tension led to increased identification as either "Russian" or "Ukrainian" among Ukrainian citizens. In tackling this question, we use a novel methodological approach by testing the hypothesis that those who prefer to use Ukrainian to communicate on Twitter will use Ukrainian (at the expense of Russian) following moments of heightened political awareness and those who prefer to use Russian will do the opposite. Interestingly, our primary finding is a negative result: we do not find evidence that key political events in the Ukrainian crisis led to a reversion to the language of choice at the aggregate level, which is interesting given how much ink has been spilt on the question of the extent to which Euromaidan reflected an underlying Ukrainian vs. Russian conflict. However, we unexpectedly find that both those who prefer Russian and those who prefer Ukrainian begin using Russian with a greater frequency following the annexation of Crimea, thus contributing a whole new set of puzzles - and a method for exploring these puzzles - that can serve as a basis for future research.

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

Networks of military alliances, wars, and international trade

Matthew Jackson & Stephen Nei

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 15 December 2015, Pages 15277-15284

Abstract:
We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: Trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries' incentives to attack an ally. We present historical data on wars and trade showing that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950 is paralleled by a densification and stabilization of trading relationships and alliances. Based on the model we also examine some specific relationships, finding that countries with high levels of trade with their allies are less likely to be involved in wars with any other countries (including allies and nonallies), and that an increase in trade between two countries correlates with a lower chance that they will go to war with each other.

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

Do Sanctions Always Stigmatize? The Effects of Economic Sanctions on Foreign Aid

Bryan Early & Amira Jadoon

International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
A prevalent view among both scholars and policymakers is that economic sanctions stigmatize and isolate their targets. According to this perspective, the stigma associated with economic sanctions should signal to foreign aid donors that they should be more cautious and restrained in providing assistance to sanctioned states. We test this signaling-based theory via a large-n analysis of the impact that sanctions imposed by the United States and United Nations (UN) had on the aid flows of 133 recipient states from 1960-2000. Contrary to expectations, our results indicate that being sanctioned by the UN does not have a negative effect on target states' aid flows and being sanctioned by the United States actually has a positive effect on them. We explore two potential explanations for our puzzling findings based upon donor self-interest and donor altruism via a scoping analysis of eight sanctions cases in which target states received greater than expected aid flows. Our findings suggest that theories based upon donor self-interest represent the most promising explanations for why individual donors may increase their aid to sanctioned states.

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

It's only money: Do voters treat human and financial sunk costs the same?

Charles Miller & Benjamin Barber

Journal of Peace Research, January 2016, Pages 116-129

Abstract:
The sunk costs fallacy is an important concept in the academic and policy worlds. It has helped explain consequential national security decisions such as the escalation in Vietnam and the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan. While previous analysis of sunk costs in international relations has made no distinction between financial and human sunk costs, there is evidence in psychology that people treat human lives and financial costs differently. The consensus in the casualty sensitivity literature is that human sunk costs should lower support for a conflict, but there is as yet no evidence on whether financial costs operate in the same way. Using the Environmental Protection Agency's value of a statistical life to equalize human and financial costs, we create survey experiments through Mechanical Turk and GfK/Knowledge Networks about a hypothetical US military intervention to test if financial and human costs have the same effects on public opinion. We find that public reaction to sunk costs is contingent on the type of costs incurred. Consistent with the growing 'sunk costs skeptic' literature we find no evidence that any sunk costs induce greater commitment to a mission. Where the US contribution to the conflict is purely financial, sunk costs induce a desire to cut losses. When intervention involves US lives, sunk costs make no difference to the level of support. Finally, contrary to the implicit assumptions of past policymakers, ex ante levels of public support for sending troops and sending money are indistinguishable. These findings hold true both in situations involving high Iraq War level sunk costs and low Somalia-style costs.

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

Breaker of Armies: Air Power in the Easter Offensive and the Myth of Linebacker I and II in the Vietnam War

Phil Haun & Colin Jackson

International Security, Winter 2015/16, Pages 139-178

Abstract:
Most traditional accounts identify the Linebacker I and Linebacker II campaigns as the most effective and consequential uses of U.S. air power in the Vietnam War. They argue that deep interdiction in North Vietnam played a central role in the defeat of the Easter Offensive and that subsequent strategic attacks on Hanoi forced the North Vietnamese to accept the Paris accords. These conclusions are false. The Linebacker campaigns were rather ineffective in either stopping the Communist offensive or compelling concessions. The most effective and consequential use of U.S. air power came in the form of close air support and battlefield air interdiction directly attacking the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. The success of these air strikes hinged on the presence of a U.S.-operated tactical air control system that incorporated small numbers of ground advisers, air liaison officers, and forward air controllers. This system, combined with abundant U.S. aircraft and a reasonably effective allied army, was the key to breaking the Easter Offensive and compelling Hanoi to agree to the Paris accords. The effectiveness of close air support and battlefield air interdiction and the failure of deep interdiction and strategic attack in the Vietnam War have important implications for the use of air power and advisers in contemporary conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

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

World military expenditures and global cardiovascular mortality

Harvey Brenner

Journal of Public Health Policy, February 2016, Pages 20-35

Abstract:
Can we estimate the consequences of world military expenditures for the physical and mental health of nations that produce and purchase armaments? If anxiety and fear are promoting military expenditures, then those sentiments may well reflect poorer mental health and war-related stress as it influences cardiovascular illness rates. Further, extensive military expenditure by a society implies that other societal needs are allocated fewer resources, including nutrition, water and sanitation, health care, and economic development. We use a model focused on military expenditures to predict cardiovascular mortality in world samples of industrialized and developing countries over 2000-2011. The cardiovascular mortality model controls for economic development, smoking, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and carbon dioxide emissions. Military expenditures as proportion of gross domestic product show significant positive relations to cardiovascular disease mortality in linear multiple regression analyses, using both cross-sectional and pooled cross-sectional time-series approaches.

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

Between the hammer and the anvil: The impact of economic sanctions and oil prices on Russia's ruble

Christian Dreger et al.

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Exchange rate fluctuations strongly affect the Russian economy, given its heavy dependence on foreign trade and investment. In the aftermath of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that broke out early 2014, the Russian ruble lost 50% of its value against the US dollar. The impact of the conflict on Russia may have been amplified by sanctions imposed by Western countries. However, as Russia is heavily dependent on natural resource exports, another factor behind the deterioration could be the sharp decline in oil prices starting in summer 2014. Using high-frequency data on nominal exchange and interest rates, oil prices, actual and unanticipated sanctions, we provide evidence on forces underlying the ruble exchange rate. The analysis is based on cointegrated VAR models, where fundamental long-run relationships are implicitly embedded. The results indicate that the bulk of the depreciation can be related to the decline of oil prices. In addition, unanticipated sanctions matter for the conditional volatility of the variables involved.

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

Sanctions and Alternate Markets: How Trade and Alliances Affect the Onset of Economic Coercion

Dursun Peksen & Timothy Peterson

Political Research Quarterly, March 2016, Pages 4-16

Abstract:
Although much research has examined how third parties might affect the success of economic sanctions, scant research has considered the extent to which potential - rather than realized - alternate markets affect strategic behavior between sanctioning (sender) and target states prior to sanction use. We argue that the sender is more likely to threaten or impose sanctions against a potential target with higher trade dependence on the sender, but only under the condition that the target's ability to redirect lost trade to third parties is low. As the target's ability to redirect lost trade increases, the sender is less likely to use sanctions because it expects that the target could mitigate the intended costs of the coercion more easily. We capture potential alternate markets using a measure of the total economic capabilities held by the target's allies, finding support for our expectations in statistical tests using data on U.S. sanctions spanning 1950 to 2005. Our results affirm the importance of accounting for third parties and alternate markets as factors influencing the strategic behavior associated with the use of economic coercion.

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

Domestic Signaling of Commitment Credibility: Military Recruitment and Alliance Formation

Michael Horowitz, Paul Poast & Allan Stam

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide a new perspective on how domestic factors shape the prospects for international cooperation. Internal arms, specifically conscription, signal a willingness and suitability to be a dependable ally. Possessing ineffective military forces inhibits a state's ability to assist prospective allies and renders a state less able to deter threats on its own. This exemplifies an instance where the trade-off between arms and allies does not apply. Using new data on the military recruitment policies of states since 1816, we find that adopting a conscription-based recruitment system in the previous five years makes a state more likely to form an alliance in the current year, even when accounting for a heightened threat environment.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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