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Friday, February 13, 2015

Divisive

Trade in Polarized America: The Border Effect between Red States and Blue States

Hirokazu Ishise & Miwa Matsuo
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political and cultural polarization in the United States is widely discussed, but does it relate to any economic disconnection among states? We estimate the “border” effect between Red and Blue states using the gravity equation with a nonlinear generalized method of moments estimator to simultaneously overcome the problems associated with endogeneity, cross-state price differences, and zero-trade flow. The border effect is robustly confirmed for the 2000s, while not so robustly detected for the 1990s. Notably, in 2007, the border reduces trade between Red and Blue states to approximately 75% of the trade within each set of states. This estimated border effect is much smaller than the United States–Canada national border effect estimated by Anderson and van Wincoop (2003), and by Feenstra (2002), yet is comparable to the border effect that Nitsch and Wolf (2009) find for the former West and East Germanies approximately 10 years after reunification. While the border effect in Germany after reunification is decreasing, the border effect between the Red and Blue states is emerging. We also find the border effect is more significant for consumption, rather than intermediate, goods. The border effect is an important indicator for a potential dismantling of the economic connectivity in the United States.

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Bias in Cable News: Real Effects and Polarization

Gregory Martin & Ali Yurukoglu
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We jointly measure the persuasive effects of slanted news and tastes for like-minded news. The key ingredient is using channel positions as exogenous shifters of cable news viewership. Local cable positions affect viewership by cable subscribers. They do not correlate with viewership by local satellite subscribers, who are observably similar to cable subscribers. We estimate a model of voters who select into watching slanted news, and whose ideologies evolve as a result. We estimate that Fox News increases the likelihood of voting Republican by 0.9 points among viewers induced into watching four additional minutes per week by differential channel positions.

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Does Public Election Funding Create More Extreme Legislators? Evidence from Arizona and Maine

Seth Masket & Michael Miller
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 24-40

Abstract:
We investigate whether Maine and Arizona’s Clean Elections laws, which provide public funding for state legislative candidates, are responsible for producing a new cadre of legislators who are unusually ideologically extreme. We find that there is essentially no important difference in the legislative voting behavior of “clean” funded legislators and traditionally funded ones in either Arizona or Maine: those who are financed by private donors are no more or less ideologically extreme than those who are supported by the state. This finding calls into question some concerns about the effects on polarization of money generally and public funding in particular.

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The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)Trust Science

Erik Nisbet, Kathryn Cooper & Kelly Garrett
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 36-66

Abstract:
There has been deepening concern about political polarization in public attitudes toward the scientific community. The “intrinsic thesis” attributes this polarization to psychological deficiencies among conservatives as compared to liberals. The “contextual thesis” makes no such claims about inherent psychological differences between conservatives and liberals, but rather points to interacting institutional and psychological factors as the forces driving polarization. We evaluate the evidence for both theses in the context of developing and testing a theoretical model of audience response to dissonant science communication. Conducting a national online experiment (N = 1,500), we examined audience reactions to both conservative-dissonant and liberal-dissonant science messages and consequences for trust in the scientific community. Our results suggest liberals and conservatives alike react negatively to dissonant science communication, resulting in diminished trust of the scientific community. We discuss how our findings link to the larger debate about political polarization of science and implications for science communicators.

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Partisanship and Electoral Accountability: Evidence from the UK Expenses Scandal

Andrew Eggers
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2014, Pages 441-472

Abstract:
Why do voters support corrupt politicians? One reason is that voters care about both corruption and partisan control of government; the more voters care about which party wins, the less they can deter individual wrongdoing. I highlight this tradeoff in the 2009 UK expenses scandal, showing that electoral accountability was less effective in constituencies where the partisan stakes of the local contest were higher: not only did corrupt MPs in these constituencies suffer smaller punishments, but these MPs were also more likely to be implicated in the scandal in the first place. The findings point to an under-appreciated consequence of partisanship (and underlying causes such as strong party systems and polarization at the elite or mass level) for the electoral control of politicians.

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Fear Among the Extremes: How Political Ideology Predicts Negative Emotions and Outgroup Derogation

Jan-Willem van Prooijen et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The “rigidity of the right” hypothesis predicts that particularly the political right experiences fear and derogates outgroups. We propose that above and beyond that, the political extremes (at both sides of the spectrum) are more likely to display these responses than political moderates. Results of a large-scale sample reveal the predicted quadratic term on socio-economic fear. Moreover, although the political right is more likely to derogate the specific category of immigrants, we find a quadratic effect on derogation of a broad range of societal categories. Both extremes also experience stronger negative emotions about politics than politically moderate respondents. Finally, the quadratic effects on derogation of societal groups and negative political emotions were mediated by socio-economic fear, particularly among left- and right-wing extremists. It is concluded that negative emotions and outgroup derogation flourish among the extremes.

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The Role of Ideology in State Legislative Elections

Nathaniel Birkhead
Legislative Studies Quarterly, February 2015, Pages 55–82

Abstract:
In this article, I examine the effect of incumbent ideology on elections in 45 state legislatures, showing that ideological extremists are more likely to be opposed in the general election than are moderates and that extremists tend to do worse in challenged elections than moderates do. I also explore the intervening role of legislative professionalism, finding that in the majority of state legislatures moderation is rewarded, though in the most professionalized legislatures, incumbents are actually rewarded for extremism. These results show that despite the informational disadvantage of the electorate, the ideology of state legislators is an important factor in elections.

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Polarization without Parties: Term Limits and Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature

Seth Masket & Boris Shor
State Politics & Policy Quarterly, March 2015, Pages 67-90

Abstract:
Despite a long history of nonpartisanship, the Nebraska state legislature has polarized rapidly within the past decade. Using interviews and campaign finance records, we examine politics in the modern Unicam to investigate nonpartisan polarization. We find that newly instituted term limits created opportunities for the state’s political parties to recruit and finance candidates in an increasingly partisan fashion. Social network analysis suggests that there is a growing level of structure to campaign donations, with political elites increasingly less likely to contribute across party lines. The results offer a compelling example of parties overcoming institutions designed to eliminate them.

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Fair and Balanced? Experimental Evidence on Partisan Bias in Grading

Paul Musgrave & Mark Rom
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Is grading polarized in political science classrooms? We offer experimental evidence that suggests it is not. Many have argued that instructors’ grading in political science classrooms is skewed by the political characteristics of the instructor, the student, or an interaction between the two. Yet the evaluations of whether such biases exist has been asserted and denied with little evidence — even though prominent theories in political science suggest that the charge is not entirely implausible. Using a set of anonymous essays by undergraduates graded by teaching assistants at a variety of institutions, we test for the presence of bias in a framework that avoids the usual selection bias issues that confound attempts at inference. After evaluating the evidence carefully, we find that the evidence for bias is much weaker than activists claim.

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Does Partisanship Shape Attitudes toward Science and Public Policy? The Case for Ideology and Religion

Joshua Blank & Daron Shaw
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 18-35

Abstract:
Despite the apparent partisan divide over issues such as global warming and hydraulic fracturing, little is known about what shapes citizens’ willingness to accept scientific recommendations on political issues. We examine the extent to which Democrats, Republicans, and independents are likely to defer to scientific expertise in matters of policy. Our study draws on an October 2013 U.S. national survey of 2,000 respondents. We find that partisan differences exist: our data show that most Americans see science as relevant to policy, but that their willingness to defer to science in policy matters varies considerably across issues. While party, ideology, and religious beliefs clearly influence attitudes toward science, Republicans are not notably skeptical about accepting scientific recommendations. Rather, it seems that Democrats are particularly receptive to the advice and counsel of scientists, when compared to both independents and Republicans.

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Rationalizing Conflict: The Polarizing Role of Accountability in Ideological Decision Making

Carly Wayne et al.
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does accountability impact political decisions? Though previous research on accountability has demonstrated its potential effects in the realms of business, elections, and more, very little research has explored the effect of citizen accountability in highly ideological, intractable, and political conflicts. This article addresses this issue, looking at the unique interaction between accountability and ideology on Israeli citizens’ political attitudes regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The results of two experimental studies in Israel reveal that accountable individuals behave in significantly more ideologically partisan ways than their nonaccountable counterparts. Moreover, this polarization is dependent on the specific conflict context, with leftists more affected by the issue of negotiations and rightists by security concerns. This signals that ideological polarization under accountability may depend on the “issue ownership” each ideological group feels toward the specific conflict context and its corresponding social goal of projecting ideological consistency on these issues.

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Political Extremism Predicts Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Jan-Willem van Prooijen, André Krouwel & Thomas Pollet
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Historical records suggest that the political extremes — at both the “left” and the “right” — substantially endorsed conspiracy beliefs about other-minded groups. The present contribution empirically tests whether extreme political ideologies, at either side of the political spectrum, are positively associated with an increased tendency to believe in conspiracy theories. Four studies conducted in the United States and the Netherlands revealed a quadratic relationship between strength of political ideology and conspiracy beliefs about various political issues. Moreover, participants’ belief in simple political solutions to societal problems mediated conspiracy beliefs among both left- and right-wing extremists. Finally, the effects described here were not attributable to general attitude extremity. Our conclusion is that political extremism and conspiracy beliefs are strongly associated due to a highly structured thinking style that is aimed at making sense of societal events.

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Listening to Outsiders: The Impact of Messenger Nationality on Transnational Persuasion in the United States

Nick Dragojlovic
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does nationality disadvantage foreign actors when they attempt to persuade the American public? Using data from an online survey experiment administered to a sample of US citizens, we find that the nationality of British and French advocates only reduces persuasiveness among American Republicans with low levels of political awareness. Among American Democrats, credible French or British advocates can be more persuasive than a comparable American source. Overall, foreign messengers from friendly countries are not disadvantaged by nationality, as nationality has low political salience and other domestic characteristics (such as partisanship) dominate subjects' heuristic processing. When a foreign advocate's nationality does play a role, however, it is likely to lead to polarization in domestic audience attitudes.

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Neither Ideologues nor Agnostics: Alternative Voters’ Belief System in an Age of Partisan Politics

Delia Baldassarri & Amir Goldberg
American Journal of Sociology, July 2014, Pages 45-95

Abstract:
How do Americans organize their political beliefs? This article argues that party polarization and the growing prominence of moral issues in recent decades have catalyzed different responses by different groups of Americans. The article investigates systematic heterogeneity in the organization of political attitudes using relational class analysis, a graph-based method for detecting multiple patterns of opinion in survey data. Three subpopulations, each characterized by a distinctive way of organizing its political beliefs, are identified: ideologues, whose political attitudes strongly align with either liberal or conservative categories; alternatives, who are instead morally conservative but economically liberal, or vice versa; and agnostics, who exhibit weak associations between political beliefs. Individuals’ sociodemographic profiles, particularly their income, education, and religiosity, lie at the core of the different ways in which they understand politics. Results show that while ideologues have gone through a process of issue alignment, alternatives have grown increasingly apart from the political agendas of both parties. The conflictual presence of conservative and liberal preferences has often been resolved by alternative voters in favor of the Republican Party.

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Red States, Blue States, and Brain States: Issue Framing, Partisanship, and the Future of Neurolaw in the United States

Francis Shen & Dena Gromet
ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2015, Pages 86-101

Abstract:
Advances in neuroscience are beginning to shape law and public policy, giving rise to the field of “neurolaw.” The impact of neuroscientific evidence on how laws are written and interpreted in practice will depend in part on how neurolaw is understood by the public. Drawing on a nationally representative telephone survey experiment, this article presents the first evidence on public approval of neurolaw. We find that the public is generally neutral in its support for neuroscience-based legal reforms. However, how neurolaw is framed affects support based on partisanship: Republicans’ approval of neurolaw decreases when neuroscience is seen as primarily serving to reduce offender culpability, whereas Democrats’ approval is unaffected by how neurolaw is framed. These results suggest that both framing and partisanship may shape the future of neuroscience-based reforms in law and policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The way we do it

Hierarchical cultural values predict success and mortality in high-stakes teams

Eric Anicich, Roderick Swaab & Adam Galinsky
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 February 2015, Pages 1338–1343

Abstract:
Functional accounts of hierarchy propose that hierarchy increases group coordination and reduces conflict. In contrast, dysfunctional accounts claim that hierarchy impairs performance by preventing low-ranking team members from voicing their potentially valuable perspectives and insights. The current research presents evidence for both the functional and dysfunctional accounts of hierarchy within the same dataset. Specifically, we offer empirical evidence that hierarchical cultural values affect the outcomes of teams in high-stakes environments through group processes. Experimental data from a sample of expert mountain climbers from 27 countries confirmed that climbers expect that a hierarchical culture leads to improved team coordination among climbing teams, but impaired psychological safety and information sharing compared with an egalitarian culture. An archival analysis of 30,625 Himalayan mountain climbers from 56 countries on 5,104 expeditions found that hierarchy both elevated and killed in the Himalayas: Expeditions from more hierarchical countries had more climbers reach the summit, but also more climbers die along the way. Importantly, we established the role of group processes by showing that these effects occurred only for group, but not solo, expeditions. These findings were robust to controlling for environmental factors, risk preferences, expedition-level characteristics, country-level characteristics, and other cultural values. Overall, this research demonstrates that endorsing cultural values related to hierarchy can simultaneously improve and undermine group performance.

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Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality

Johannes Eichstaedt et al.
Psychological Science, February 2015, Pages 159-169

Abstract:
Hostility and chronic stress are known risk factors for heart disease, but they are costly to assess on a large scale. We used language expressed on Twitter to characterize community-level psychological correlates of age-adjusted mortality from atherosclerotic heart disease (AHD). Language patterns reflecting negative social relationships, disengagement, and negative emotions — especially anger — emerged as risk factors; positive emotions and psychological engagement emerged as protective factors. Most correlations remained significant after controlling for income and education. A cross-sectional regression model based only on Twitter language predicted AHD mortality significantly better than did a model that combined 10 common demographic, socioeconomic, and health risk factors, including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Capturing community psychological characteristics through social media is feasible, and these characteristics are strong markers of cardiovascular mortality at the community level.

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Children’s inequity aversion depends on culture: A cross-cultural comparison

Markus Paulus
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent work showed the presence of strong forms of inequity aversion in young children. When presented with an uneven number of items, children would rather tend to throw one item away than to distribute them unequally between two anonymous others. The current study examined whether or not this pattern is a universal part of typical development by investigating 6- and 7-year-old Ugandan children. Results revealed that the Ugandan children, in contrast to their U.S. peers, tended to distribute the resources unequally rather than to throw the remaining resource away. This points to cross-cultural differences in the development of children’s fairness-related decision making.

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Social Structure, Infectious Diseases, Disasters, Secularism, and Cultural Change in America

Igor Grossmann & Michael Varnum
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do cultures change? The present work examined cultural change in eight cultural-level markers, or correlates, of individualism in the United States, all of which increased over the course of the 20th century: frequency of individualist themes in books, preference for uniqueness in baby naming, frequency of single-child relative to multichild families, frequency of single-generation relative to multigeneration households, percentage of adults and percentage of older adults living alone, small family size, and divorce rates (relative to marriage rates). We tested five key hypotheses regarding cultural change in individualism-collectivism. As predicted by previous theories, changes in socioeconomic structure, pathogen prevalence, and secularism accompanied changes in individualism averaged across all measures. The relationship with changes in individualism was less robust for urbanization. Contrary to previous theories, changes in individualism were positively (as opposed to negatively) related to the frequency of disasters. Time-lagged analyses suggested that only socioeconomic structure had a robust effect on individualism; changes in socioeconomic structure preceded changes in individualism. Implications for anthropology, psychology, and sociology are discussed.

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“Heroes” and “Villains” of World History across Cultures

Katja Hanke et al.
PLoS ONE, February 2015

Abstract:
Emergent properties of global political culture were examined using data from the World History Survey (WHS) involving 6,902 university students in 37 countries evaluating 40 figures from world history. Multidimensional scaling and factor analysis techniques found only limited forms of universality in evaluations across Western, Catholic/Orthodox, Muslim, and Asian country clusters. The highest consensus across cultures involved scientific innovators, with Einstein having the most positive evaluation overall. Peaceful humanitarians like Mother Theresa and Gandhi followed. There was much less cross-cultural consistency in the evaluation of negative figures, led by Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein. After more traditional empirical methods (e.g., factor analysis) failed to identify meaningful cross-cultural patterns, Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) was used to identify four global representational profiles: Secular and Religious Idealists were overwhelmingly prevalent in Christian countries, and Political Realists were common in Muslim and Asian countries. We discuss possible consequences and interpretations of these different representational profiles.

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Language and Female Economic Participation

Victor Gay et al.
University of Chicago Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper explores the relationship between the use of gender in language and the gender gap in economic participation. Using the American Community Survey, we show that among female migrants to the U.S., those who speak a language which makes sex-based grammatical gender distinctions exhibit lower labor force participation, hours worked, and weeks worked during the year, with larger effects for languages with more pervasive gender elements. To account for the impact of correlated origin country influences, we employ a fixed effects strategy and obtain identification off of variation in language spoken across immigrants from the same country.

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Money vs. Prestige: Cultural Attitudes and Occupational Choices

Crystal Zhan
Labour Economics, January 2015, Pages 44–56

Abstract:
This paper studies the occupational choices of highly educated native-born American males and links their choices to cultural attitudes towards pecuniary rewards and social prestige in their ancestral countries. These cultural attitudes were reported in the World Values Survey, which surveyed individuals’ opinions on a series of subjects in various societies. The empirical analysis verifies that cultural attitudes play a significant role in occupational choices: when other factors that may be correlated with one’s opportunity and advantage are controlled for, a stronger cultural demand for pecuniary rewards leads individuals to choose more lucrative jobs, and a stronger demand for social prestige leads them to choose more prestigious jobs. The paper further explores neighborhood effects on cultural transmission and finds a positive relationship between the proportion of the population from the same ancestry in the residential area and the effects of cultural attitudes on occupational selection.

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Genetic polymorphisms predict national differences in life history strategy and time orientation

Michael Minkov & Michael Harris Bond
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 204–215

Abstract:
The existence of a genetic factor behind group-level differences in life history strategy (LHS) has long been disputed. A number of recent studies suggest that some polymorphisms in the androgen receptor gene AR, the dopamine receptor gene DRD4, and the 5-HTTLPR VNTR of the serotonin transporter gene are associated with risk acceptance versus prudence and a short-term versus long-term time orientation, which are important aspects of LHS. We integrated studies from diverse nations reporting the prevalence of these three polymorphisms for many countries. We collected national indices for each of the three polymorphisms and found that they define a strong, single factor, yielding a single LHS-related, national genetic index. As expected, this index is strongly associated with reported national measures of LHS and time orientation, even after controlling for socioeconomic variables. The genetic effect seems especially strong across societies with high socioeconomic inequality.

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The Different Behavioral Intentions of Collectivists and Individualists in Response to Social Exclusion

Michaela Pfundmair et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, March 2015, Pages 363-378

Abstract:
We investigated how participants with collectivistic and individualistic orientation cope with social exclusion on a behavioral level. In Studies 1 and 2, we found participants with more individualistic orientation to indicate more antisocial behavioral intentions in response to exclusion than in response to inclusion; however, participants with more collectivistic orientation did not differ in their behavioral intentions between exclusion and inclusion. In the third and fourth study, we replicated our findings across cultures: German and U.S. participants indicated more antisocial and avoiding behavioral intentions under exclusion than under inclusion, whereas Turkish and Indian participants did not differ in their behavioral intentions between exclusion and inclusion. In Studies 3 and 4, only German and U.S. participants were significantly affected by exclusion, showing more negative mood, which correlated with their behavioral intentions. In Study 4, the different behavioral intentions of collectivists and individualists were mediated by a different threat experience. The findings emphasize the role of self-construal and culture, as well as the self-threat inherent in exclusion.

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A Gender-Based Theory of the Origin of the Caste System of India

Chris Bidner & Mukesh Eswaran
Journal of Development Economics, May 2015, Pages 142–158

Abstract:
We propose a theory of the origins of India’s caste system by explicitly recognizing the productivity of women in complementing their husbands’ occupation-specific skill. The theory explains the core features of the caste system: its hereditary and hierarchical nature, and its insistence on endogamy (marriage only within castes). Endogamy is embraced by a group to minimize an externality that arises when group members marry outsiders. We demonstrate why the caste system embodies gender asymmetries in punishments for violations of endogamy and tolerates hypergamy (marrying up) more than hypogamy (marrying down). Our model also speaks to other aspects of caste, such as commensality restrictions and arranged/child marriages. We suggest that India’s caste system is so unique because the Brahmins sought to preserve and orally transmit the Hindu scriptures for over a millennium with no script. We show that economic considerations were of utmost importance in the emergence of the caste system.

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Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots

Caleb Everett, Damián Blasi & Seán Roberts
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 3 February 2015, Pages 1322–1327

Abstract:
We summarize a number of findings in laryngology demonstrating that perturbations of phonation, including increased jitter and shimmer, are associated with desiccated ambient air. We predict that, given the relative imprecision of vocal fold vibration in desiccated versus humid contexts, arid and cold ecologies should be less amenable, when contrasted to warm and humid ecologies, to the development of languages with phonemic tone, especially complex tone. This prediction is supported by data from two large independently coded databases representing 3,700+ languages. Languages with complex tonality have generally not developed in very cold or otherwise desiccated climates, in accordance with the physiologically based predictions. The predicted global geographic–linguistic association is shown to operate within continents, within major language families, and across language isolates. Our results offer evidence that human sound systems are influenced by environmental factors.

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Problem-Solving Effort and Success in Innovation Contests: The Role of National Wealth and National Culture

Jesse Bockstedt, Cheryl Druehl & Anant Mishra
Journal of Operations Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Innovation contests allow firms to harness specialized skills and services from globally dispersed participants for solutions to business problems. Such contests provide a rich setting for Operations Management (OM) scholars to explore problem solving in global labor markets as firms continue to unbundle their innovation value chains. In this study, we examine the implications of specific types of diversity in innovation contests on problem-solving effort and success. First, we conceptualize diversity among contestants in terms of national wealth (measured as Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDPP) adjusted for purchasing power parity) and national culture (measured using the culture dimensions of performance orientation and uncertainty avoidance) and examine how such factors influence problem-solving effort. Next, we examine how differences between contestants and contest holders in terms of the above factors influence contest outcomes. Using data from a popular online innovation contest platform and country-level archival data, we find that contestants from countries with lower levels of GDPP are more likely to exert greater problem-solving effort compared to other contestants. With regards to national culture, we find that performance orientation and uncertainty avoidance have positive and negative effects, respectively, each of which weakens with increasing levels of GDPP. Finally, our analysis provides evidence of homophily effects indicating that contestants who share greater similarities with the contest holder in terms of national wealth and national culture are more likely to be successful in a contest. We discuss the implications of the study's findings for contest holders and platform owners who organize innovation contests, and for emerging research on innovation contests.

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Expression of Anger and Ill Health in Two Cultures: An Examination of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Risk

Shinobu Kitayama et al.
Psychological Science, February 2015, Pages 211-220

Abstract:
Expression of anger is associated with biological health risk (BHR) in Western cultures. However, recent evidence documenting culturally divergent functions of the expression of anger suggests that its link with BHR may be moderated by culture. To test this prediction, we examined large probability samples of both Japanese and Americans using multiple measures of BHR, including pro-inflammatory markers (interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein) and indices of cardiovascular malfunction (systolic blood pressure and ratio of total to HDL cholesterol). We found that the link between greater expression of anger and increased BHR was robust for Americans. As predicted, however, this association was diametrically reversed for Japanese, among whom greater expression of anger predicted reduced BHR. These patterns were unique to the expressive facet of anger and remained after we controlled for age, gender, health status, health behaviors, social status, and reported experience of negative emotions. Implications for sociocultural modulation of bio-physiological responses are discussed.

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Rate of language evolution is affected by population size

Lindell Bromham et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effect of population size on patterns and rates of language evolution is controversial. Do languages with larger speaker populations change faster due to a greater capacity for innovation, or do smaller populations change faster due to more efficient diffusion of innovations? Do smaller populations suffer greater loss of language elements through founder effects or drift, or do languages with more speakers lose features due to a process of simplification? Revealing the influence of population size on the tempo and mode of language evolution not only will clarify underlying mechanisms of language change but also has practical implications for the way that language data are used to reconstruct the history of human cultures. Here, we provide, to our knowledge, the first empirical, statistically robust test of the influence of population size on rates of language evolution, controlling for the evolutionary history of the populations and formally comparing the fit of different models of language evolution. We compare rates of gain and loss of cognate words for basic vocabulary in Polynesian languages, an ideal test case with a well-defined history. We demonstrate that larger populations have higher rates of gain of new words whereas smaller populations have higher rates of word loss. These results show that demographic factors can influence rates of language evolution and that rates of gain and loss are affected differently. These findings are strikingly consistent with general predictions of evolutionary models.

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How Is Men’s Conformity to Masculine Norms Related to Their Body Image? Masculinity and Muscularity Across Western Countries

Kristina Holmqvist Gattario et al.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that men’s conformity to masculine norms (CMN) is an important correlate of men’s drive for muscularity. The present study aimed to further delineate the relationship between masculinity and men’s body image by examining various dimensions of CMN in relation to various dimensions of men’s body image (muscularity, leanness, and fitness) in a cross-national sample. Participants comprised young men from the United States (n = 192), the United Kingdom (n = 141), Australia (n = 160), and Sweden (n = 142). Multigroup path analyses showed that CMN was related to drive for muscularity, leanness, and fitness in all 4 countries, but there were differences across countries in which dimensions of CMN predicted men’s body image. Whereas conformity to the masculine norm of winning was a salient predictor across the 4 countries, conformity to the norm of risk-taking was linked to Australian men’s body image, and conformity to the norm of violence to British men’s body image. The findings support previous research suggesting that men’s endorsement of the male gender role plays a significant role in their desire for an ideal body, but the results uniquely document that this relationship may differ across countries.

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Capturing Culture: A New Method to Estimate Exogenous Cultural Effects Using Migrant Populations

Javier Polavieja
American Sociological Review, February 2015, Pages 166-191

Abstract:
We know that culture influences people’s behavior. Yet estimating the exact extent of this influence poses a formidable methodological challenge for the social sciences. This is because preferences and beliefs are endogenous, that is, they are shaped by individuals’ own experiences and affected by the same macro-structural conditions that constrain their actions. This study introduces a new method to overcome endogeneity problems in the estimation of cultural effects by using migrant populations. This innovative method uses imputed traits, generated from non-migrating equivalents observed at the country of origin, as instruments for immigrants’ own cultural traits measured at the country of destination. By construction, imputed traits are exogenous to immigrants’ host social environment. The predicted power of imputed traits over observed traits in instrumental-variable estimation captures the non-idiosyncratic component of preferences and beliefs that migrants and non-migrating equivalents share as members of the same national-origin group, that is, their culture. I use this innovative method to estimate the net exogenous impact of traditional values on female labor-force participation in Europe. I find that this impact is much larger than standard regression methods would suggest.

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It's Not Just Numbers: Cultural Identities Influence How Nutrition Information Influences the Valuation of Foods

Pierrick Gomez & Carlos Torelli
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how cultural mindsets cued by a salient identity can influence how consumers interpret seemingly benign nutrition information in foods. Results show that nutrition information can be incongruent with the cultural norm of food enjoyment distinctively associated with French (and not American) identity. This occurs because of a conflict between the motivation to enjoy foods activated by a salient French identity and the utilitarian nature of nutrition information in foods — that does not belong to a French-culture mindset. Three studies demonstrate that French (and not American) consumers with a salient cultural identity are more sensitive (i.e., perceive as riskier for their health) and evaluate more negatively foods that display (vs. not) nutrition information. Furthermore, this devaluation effect is mediated by anticipated feelings that the foods would not be enjoyable. Providing further evidence for the motivational inconsistency between the culturally-distinctive norm of food enjoyment cued by a salient French-culture mindset, French (and not American) consumers with a salient (vs. not) cultural identity experienced more disfluency when processing nutrition information in foods.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An easy sell

The Power of Repetition: Repetitive Lyrics in a Song Increase Processing Fluency and Drives Market Success

Joseph Nunes, Andrea Ordanini & Francesca Valsesia
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The majority of music people listen to in their daily lives includes lyrics. This research documents how more repetitive songs lyrically are processed more fluently and thus adopted more broadly and quickly in the marketplace. Study 1 is a controlled laboratory experiment demonstrating how lexical repetition, a feature of the stimulus and not the consequence of repeated exposures, results in greater processing fluency. Study 2 replicates the effect utilizing custom-produced song excerpts holding everything constant except the lyrics. Utilizing data from Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart from 1958-2012, Study 3 documents how more repetitive songs stand a greater chance of reaching #1 as opposed to lingering at the bottom of the chart. An analysis of #1 hits reveals increased repetition decreases the time it takes to reach #1 and increases the odds of debuting in the Top 40. This research chronicles the impact of processing fluency on consumer choice in the real world while demonstrating repetition as a stimulus feature matters. It also introduces a new variable to the processing fluency literature: lexical repetition.

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Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans

Wu Youyou, Michal Kosinski & David Stillwell
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 January 2015, Pages 1036–1040

Abstract:
Judging others’ personalities is an essential skill in successful social living, as personality is a key driver behind people’s interactions, behaviors, and emotions. Although accurate personality judgments stem from social-cognitive skills, developments in machine learning show that computer models can also make valid judgments. This study compares the accuracy of human and computer-based personality judgments, using a sample of 86,220 volunteers who completed a 100-item personality questionnaire. We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants’ Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores. Computers outpacing humans in personality judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.

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How images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions

Richard Chan & Haemin Dennis Park
Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore how product images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions. Because images are accessible, memorable, and influential, we argue that product images in a business plan will increase the likelihood of favorable judgments during screening decisions. Moreover, because red and blue automatically affect an individual's cognition in different manners such that red elicits negative associations and blue elicits positive ones from the evaluators, we predict that the use of red in a business plan will decrease the favorability of judgments during screening decisions, while the use of blue will increase their favorability. Using a quasi-experimental field study and a series of controlled experiments, we find partial support for a positive effect of product images on favorable screening decisions and a consistent negative effect of red on favorable screening decisions.

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Backlash against the “Big Box”: Local Small Business and Public Opinion toward Business Corporations

Benjamin Newman & John Kane
Public Opinion Quarterly, Winter 2014, Pages 984-1002

Abstract:
Political discourse often distinguishes “big” from “small” business, with the former cast as the insidious monolith of the present era and the latter as the virtuous incarnation of the average citizen’s participation in the American dream. Throughout the nation, this abstract juxtaposition of big and small business takes concrete form in the emerging dominance of large-scale corporate retail chain stores over locally owned small retail businesses. While studies have analyzed the economic and civic impact of corporate “big-box” store development, social scientists have yet to address the basic public opinion question of whether residing in local areas where retail commerce is dominated by big-box corporations activates hostility among citizens toward business corporations. Drawing upon two national surveys combined with Census data, this article demonstrates that citizens’ attitudes toward large corporate retailers, and business corporations more generally, are strongly linked to the vitality of small local retail business.

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Consumers' Response to Commercials: When the Energy Level in the Commercial Conflicts with the Media Context

Nancy Puccinelli, Keith Wilcox & Dhruv Grewal
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how media-induced consumer activation level impacts consumer response to highly energetic commercials. Over six studies, including a Hulu field experiment, consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion (e.g., sadness induced by a movie) find it more difficult to watch highly energetic commercials compared to consumers who are not experiencing a deactivating emotion. As a result, consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion are less likely to watch highly energetic commercials and recall the advertiser compared to consumers who are not experiencing a deactivating emotion. These same effects are not observed when consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion watch commercials that are moderately energetic or when consumers do not experience a deactivating emotion. These findings suggest that when advertisers run commercials in media that induces a deactivating emotion (e.g., sadness, relaxed, contentment) they should avoid running highly energetic commercials (e.g., with upbeat, enthusiastic spokespeople). Additionally, this research recommends that when advertisers are unable to determine the emotions induced by the media context they should run commercials that are moderate in energy. The results of a meta-analysis across the present studies shows that consumers experiencing a deactivating emotion will respond as much as 50% more favorably to moderately energetic commercials compared to highly energetic ones.

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Lifting the Veil: The Benefits of Cost Transparency

Bhavya Mohan, Ryan Buell & Leslie John
Harvard Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
A firm's costs are typically tightly-guarded secrets. However, across six laboratory experiments and a field study we identify when and why firms benefit from revealing cost information to consumers. Disclosing the variable costs associated with a product's production heightens consumers' attraction to the firm, which in turn increases purchase interest (Experiments 1-3). In fact, cost transparency has a stronger impact on purchase interest than emphasizing the firm's personal relationship with the consumer - a much more involved marketing tactic (Experiment 4). Further experiments explore boundary conditions and suggest that the benefit of cost transparency weakens as firms increase price relative to costs, and when markups are made salient (Experiments 5-6). Consistent with our lab findings, a natural experiment with an online retailer demonstrates that cost transparency improves sales. In particular, cost transparency led to a 44.0% increase in daily unit sales. This research implies that by revealing costs - typically tightly-guarded secrets - managers can potentially improve both brand attraction and sales.

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The Role and Growth of New-Car Leasing: Theory and Evidence

Justin Johnson, Henry Schneider & Michael Waldman
Journal of Law and Economics, August 2014, Pages 665-698

Abstract:
There has been substantial growth in rates of new-car leasing over the last few decades. Building on recent theoretical research, we construct a model of the leasing decision in which leasing mitigates adverse selection and reduces transaction costs, but moral hazard limits its use. In our model, the prevalence of leasing is related to new-car reliability, which suggests that the recent growth in leasing is at least partly due to improvements in new-car reliability. We use this model to derive testable implications and then conduct an empirical analysis to investigate whether the operation of the new- and used-car markets is consistent with the predictions of this theoretical approach. Our empirical results support the theoretical predictions of our model. In particular, we provide direct evidence that leasing mitigates adverse selection and that an important factor in the growth in new-car leasing rates has indeed been the growth of new-car reliability.

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Expert Opinion and Product Quality: Evidence from New York City Restaurants

Olivier Gergaud, Karl Storchmann & Vincenzo Verardi
Economic Inquiry, April 2015, Pages 812–835

Abstract:
We analyze whether consumers' quality perception and/or producer investment of New York City restaurants, measured by Zagat scores, responds to newly appearing expert opinion, measured by Michelin scores. Answering this question is of general economic interest as it applies to all markets with information asymmetries. Employing a difference-in-differences approach as well as a propensity score matching approach we find significant Michelin treatment effects on food and décor quality. Based on these changes, we find a Michelin-induced price increase of approximately 30% per Michelin star. To examine whether the improved food and nonfood quality is based on restaurant investments or is merely imagined, we analyze nonfood investments by referring to Wine Spectator wine list awards. Our analysis suggests that Michelin-reviewed restaurants are significantly more likely to invest in their wine list than others. As a result, Michelin reviewed restaurants are more likely to improve food and nonfood (esp. décor) quality leading to significant price increases. However, while restaurants that increase prices only due to décor and service improvements are more likely to go out of business, food improvements appear to secure a restaurant's survival.

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The Truth Hurts: How Customers May Lose From Honest Advertising

Praveen Kopalle & Donald Lehmann
International Journal of Research in Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of competition, brand equity, and the cost of overstating quality on optimal quality and quality claims of new products. We consider two firms simultaneously introducing a new product and making one-time decisions about its quality, price, and advertised quality. Using a two period model which allows for larger weight on future period sales, we find competition often leads firms to overstate quality unless they are constrained by high legal costs imposed by regulations or third-party legal action. More interesting, when competitors are constrained to be truthful in their advertising due to legal or other costs, optimal product quality can be lower and profits can be higher.

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Sex Really Does Sell: The Recall of Sexual and Non-sexual Television Advertisements in Sexual and Non-sexual Programmes

James King, Alastair McClelland & Adrian Furnham
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study examined memory for advertisements as a function of both advertisement content and the contextual programme content. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: in one condition, they watched a sexual programme and in the other a non-sexual programme. Embedded within each programme were the same highly sexual and non-sexual advertisements that had been matched in pairs for five products. Memory for the advertisements and involvement in the programmes was measured. It was found that on three indices (free recall, brand recognition and prompted recall), memory for the sexual advertisements was superior to that for non-sexual advertisements. There was no effect of the programme content on advertisement recall and no relationship between programme involvement and advertisement recall. The results are discussed with reference to extant literature on memory for advertisements.

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Merchant steering of consumer payment choice: Evidence from a 2012 diary survey

Joanna Stavins & Oz Shy
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, April 2015, Pages 1–9

Abstract:
This paper seeks to discover whether U.S. merchants are using their recently granted freedom to offer price discounts and other incentives to steer customers to pay with methods that are less costly to merchants. Using evidence of merchant steering based on the 2012 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, we find that only a very small fraction of transactions received a cash or debit card discount, and even fewer were subjected to a credit card surcharge. We attribute this finding in part to the merchants’ fear of alienating consumers, who may not view the steering attempts as an “acceptable norm.” Transactions at gasoline stations were more likely to receive either cash discounts or credit card surcharges than transactions in other sectors. Transactions over $20 were significantly more likely to receive a cash discount.

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Brain responses to movie-trailers predict individual preferences for movies and their population-wide commercial success

Maarten Boksem & Ale Smidts
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although much progress has been made in relating brain activations to choice behaviour, evidence that neural measures could actually be useful for predicting the successfulness of marketing actions remains limited. To be of added value, neural measures should significantly increase predictive power, above and beyond conventional measures. In the present study, the authors obtained both stated preference measures and neural measures (electroencephalography; EEG) in response to advertisements for commercially released movies (i.e. movie-trailers), to probe its potential to provide insight into individual preferences in our subjects, as well as movie sales in the population at large. The results show that EEG measures (beta and gamma oscillations) provide unique information regarding individual and population-wide preference, above and beyond stated preference measures, and can thus in principle be used as a neural marker for commercial success. As such, these results provide the first evidence that EEG measures are related to real-world outcomes, and that these neural measures can significantly add to models predicting choice behaviour compared to models that include only stated preference measures.

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Spoiler Alert: Consequences of Narrative Spoilers for Dimensions of Enjoyment, Appreciation, and Transportation

Benjamin Johnson & Judith Rosenbaum
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
As suggested by the common phrase “spoiler alert!” many people avoid spoilers for narrative entertainment. However, recent research has found that exposure to spoilers may actually enhance enjoyment. The present study sought to replicate and extend those findings with a multidimensional approach to enjoyment and by examining choice of spoiled versus unspoiled narratives. Comprehension theories suggest that spoilers should improve media appreciation, whereas excitation-transfer theory suggests that spoilers harm arousal and suspense. Additionally, media users’ conventionally held beliefs imply that respondents should choose unspoiled stories. A within-subjects experiment (N = 412) tested these hypotheses. As expected, unspoiled stories were more fun and suspenseful. Surprisingly, unspoiled stories were also more moving and enjoyable in general. No effect of media choice emerged.

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Touch and Go: Merely Grasping a Product Facilitates Brand Perception and Choice

Mathias Streicher & Zachary Estes
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often touch products, and such haptic exploration can improve consumers' evaluations of the product. We tested whether cross-modal priming might contribute to this effect. Under the guise of a weight judgment task, which served as a haptic prime, we had blindfolded participants grasp familiar products (e.g., a Coca Cola bottle). We then had participants visually identify the brand name as quickly as possible (Experiments 1 and 2), list the first beverage brands that come to mind (Experiment 3), or choose between beverage brands as reward for participation (Experiment 4). Haptic exposure facilitated visual recognition of the given brand and increased participants' consideration and choice of that brand. Moreover, this haptic priming was brand specific and occurred even among participants who did not consciously identify the prime brand. These results demonstrate that haptic brand identities can facilitate recognition, consideration, and brand choice, regardless of consumers' conscious awareness of this haptic priming.

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Substitutes or Complements? Consumer Preference for Local and Organic Food Attributes

Thong Meas et al.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines consumer preference and compares their willingness-to-pay for a host of value-added attributes of processed blackberry jam, and focuses on various organic and local production location designations. Instead of being treated as a binary attribute, three levels of USDA organic are considered: 100% organic, at least 95% organic, and made with organic ingredients (at least 70% organic). For local production, three levels are also included in the analysis: cross-state region (the Ohio Valley), state boundary (state-proud logos), as well as sub-state regions. Stated-preference data collected from a choice experiment in a mail survey in Kentucky and Ohio are used. Results from the study confirm positive willingness-to-pay for both organic and local attributes. However, consumers were willing to pay comparatively more for jam produced locally in regions smaller than the border of a state compared to organic jam. Furthermore, substitution and complementary effects between food attributes were investigated. The study found strong substitution effects between organic and local production claims, an issue that has thus far received minimal treatment in the existing literature on organic and local food willingness-to-pay studies. The results indicate a large degree of overlapping values in the willingness-to-pay for these two food attributes. In addition, the “small farm” attribute considered in the study also appears to be a substitute for organic and local attributes, which confirms the previous belief that one of the many reasons consumers purchase organic or local products is to support small or family-owned farms.

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Bowling for Dollars: Title Sponsorship of College Football Bowls

John Fizel & Chris McNeil
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Corporate title sponsorship of college football bowl games has proliferated over the past two decades, yet little analysis has been made concerning the returns to these investments. This article examines the impact that title sponsorships have had on the stock value of the corporate sponsors. Using event study analysis, we find that there was no significant change, on average, in the stock prices following the sponsorship announcements. However, a cross-sectional analysis of changes in firm stock prices relative to corporate and bowl characteristics reveals that markets view sponsorships by large and high-tech firms negatively and major bowls positively.

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Category Taken-for-Grantedness as a Strategic Opportunity: The Case of Light Cigarettes, 1964 to 1993

Greta Hsu & Stine Grodal
American Sociological Review, February 2015, Pages 28-62

Abstract:
Theories within organizational and economic sociology that center on market categories often equate taken-for-grantedness with increased constraint on category members’ features. In contrast, we develop a novel perspective that considers how market participants’ changing category-related attributions decrease the scrutiny of category offerings, opening up strategic opportunities for firms. We further argue that whether producers should be expected to take advantage of these opportunities depends on the extent to which they are incentivized to do so. We use the case of the light cigarette category to test this thesis. We argue and find evidence that increasing taken-for-grantedness of the light cigarette category created greater opportunity for tobacco firms to strategically manipulate category features.

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The Handmade Effect: What's Love Got to Do with It?

Christoph Fuchs, Martin Schreier & Stijn Van Osselaer
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the popularity and high quality of machine-made products, handmade products have not disappeared even in many product categories where machinal production is common. We present the first systematic set of studies exploring whether and how stated production mode (handmade vs. machine-made) affects product attractiveness. Four studies provide evidence for the existence of a positive handmade effect on product attractiveness. This effect is to an important extent driven by perceptions that handmade products symbolically “contain love”. This love account is validated controlling for alternative value drivers of handmade production (mere effort, product quality, uniqueness, authenticity, pride). The handmade effect is moderated by two factors that affect the value of love. Specifically, consumers indicate stronger purchase intentions for handmade than machine-made products when buying gifts for their loved ones, but not for more distant gift recipients and pay more for handmade gifts when they are bought to convey love than when buying the best-performing product.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The more you know

The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis: Drivers of Prediction Accuracy in World Politics

Barbara Mellers et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article extends psychological methods and concepts into a domain that is as profoundly consequential as it is poorly understood: intelligence analysis. We report findings from a geopolitical forecasting tournament that assessed the accuracy of more than 150,000 forecasts of 743 participants on 199 events occurring over 2 years. Participants were above average in intelligence and political knowledge relative to the general population. Individual differences in performance emerged, and forecasting skills were surprisingly consistent over time. Key predictors were (a) dispositional variables of cognitive ability, political knowledge, and open-mindedness; (b) situational variables of training in probabilistic reasoning and participation in collaborative teams that shared information and discussed rationales (Mellers, Ungar, et al., 2014); and (c) behavioral variables of deliberation time and frequency of belief updating. We developed a profile of the best forecasters; they were better at inductive reasoning, pattern detection, cognitive flexibility, and open-mindedness. They had greater understanding of geopolitics, training in probabilistic reasoning, and opportunities to succeed in cognitively enriched team environments. Last but not least, they viewed forecasting as a skill that required deliberate practice, sustained effort, and constant monitoring of current affairs.

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Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime

Julia Shaw & Stephen Porter
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Memory researchers long have speculated that certain tactics may lead people to recall crimes that never occurred, and thus could potentially lead to false confessions. This is the first study to provide evidence suggesting that full episodic false memories of committing crime can be generated in a controlled experimental setting. With suggestive memory-retrieval techniques, participants were induced to generate criminal and noncriminal emotional false memories, and we compared these false memories with true memories of emotional events. After three interviews, 70% of participants were classified as having false memories of committing a crime (theft, assault, or assault with a weapon) that led to police contact in early adolescence and volunteered a detailed false account. These reported false memories of crime were similar to false memories of noncriminal events and to true memory accounts, having the same kinds of complex descriptive and multisensory components. It appears that in the context of a highly suggestive interview, people can quite readily generate rich false memories of committing crime.

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Decision-Making Under the Gambler's Fallacy: Evidence from Asylum Judges, Loan Officers, and Baseball Umpires

Daniel Chen, Tobias Moskowitz & Kelly Shue
University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
Can misperceptions of what constitutes a fair process lead to unfair decisions? Previous research on the law of small numbers and the gambler's fallacy suggests that many people view sequential streaks of 0's or 1's as unlikely to occur even though such streaks often occur by chance. We hypothesize that the gambler’s fallacy leads agents to engage in negatively autocorrelated decision-making. We document negatively autocorrelated decisions in three high-stakes contexts: refugee asylum courts, loan application review, and baseball umpire calls. This negative autocorrelation is stronger among more moderate and less experienced decision-makers, following longer streaks of decisions in one direction, and when agents face weaker incentives for accuracy. We show that the negative autocorrelation in decision-making is unlikely to be driven by potential alternative explanations such as sequential contrast effects, quotas, or preferences to treat two teams fairly.

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Sequential Judgment Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from the National Basketball Association

Paul Gift
Economic Inquiry, April 2015, Pages 1259–1274

Abstract:
This study investigates the impact of past performance evaluations on future decisions involving judgment. I analyze the decisions of highly skilled and highly monitored referees regarding offensive fouls and violations in the National Basketball Association. After testing for equilibrium adjustments in player behavior, findings support a hypothesis of increased referee scrutiny on one team following a potentially questionable call on the opposing team. Results are inconclusive for subsequent changes in scrutiny toward the original violating team. The analysis provides a nonexperimental test of sequential bias on elite employees working under strict performance standards, and suggests a likely role for sequential judgment effects in other areas of economic activity.

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Thinking Outside the Box: Multiple Identity Mind-Sets Affect Creative Problem Solving

Sarah Gaither et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rigid thinking is associated with less creativity, suggesting that priming a flexible mind-set should boost creative thought. In three studies, we investigate whether priming multiple social identities predicts more creativity in domains unrelated to social identity. Study 1 asked monoracial and multiracial participants to write about their racial identities before assessing creativity. Priming a multiracial’s racial identity led to greater creativity compared to a no-prime control. Priming a monoracial’s racial identity did not affect creativity. Study 2 showed that reminding monoracials that they, too, have multiple identities increased creativity. Study 3 replicated this effect and demonstrated that priming a multiracial identity for monoracials did not affect creativity. These results are the first to investigate the association between flexible identities and flexible thinking, highlighting the potential for identity versatility to predict cognitive differences between individuals who have singular versus multifaceted views of their social selves.

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Decision Making and Underperformance in Competitive Environments: Evidence from the National Hockey League

Gueorgui Kolev, Gonçalo Pina & Federico Todeschini
Kyklos, February 2015, Pages 65–80

Abstract:
We find evidence of suboptimal decisions leading to underperformance in a policy experiment where two teams of professionals compete in a tournament (National Hockey League shootout) performing a task (penalty shot) sequentially. Before an exogenous policy change, home teams had to perform the task second in the sequence. After the policy change, home teams were given the choice to lead or to follow in the sequence. Home teams should move first only when this is optimal, and this should lead them to winning the tournament more often. We find that after given the choice, home teams most of the time choose to move first in the sequence, and this results in a lower winning frequency for them. Contrary to what economic theory would predict, we find that an expanded choice set can lead to worse outcomes for the agents.

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Fueling doubt and openness: Experiencing the unconscious, constructed nature of perception induces uncertainty and openness to change

William Hart et al.
Cognition, April 2015, Pages 1–8

Abstract:
Because people lack access to the many unconscious thought processes that influence perception, they often have the experience of seeing things “as they are”. Psychologists have long presumed that this “naïve realism” plays a role in driving human confidence and closed-mindedness. Yet, surprisingly, these intuitive links have not been empirically demonstrated. Presumably, if naïve realism drives confidence and closed-mindedness, then disabusing people of naïve realism should reduce confidence in one’s judgments and instill openness to change. In the present experiment, we found that participants who read about naïve realism and also experienced various perceptual illusions showed reduced confidence in their social judgments and indicated a greater willingness to change their judgments relative to participants who merely read about naïve realism and perceptual illusions, participants who received failure feedback on an earlier task, or participants left in a baseline state. Broadly, the present research provides evidence for an untested origin of human confidence and closed-mindedness and may have broad implications for decision making.

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Attenuating the Escalation of Commitment to a Faltering Project in Decision-Making Groups: An Implementation Intention Approach

Frank Wieber, Lukas Thürmer & Peter Gollwitzer
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
When groups receive negative feedback on their progress toward a set goal, they often escalate rather than temper their commitment. To attenuate such escalation, we suggest initiating a self-distancing response (i.e., taking the perspective of a neutral observer) by forming implementation intentions when, where, and how to act (i.e., making if-then plans). Implementation intentions should help groups to translate a self-distancing intention into action. In line with this reasoning, only groups that had added implementation intentions to their goal to make optimal investment decisions reduced their high levels of investment (Study 1) or maintained their moderate levels of investment (Study 2) after negative feedback. Groups that had merely formed goal intentions, however, escalated even when their decision goal was supplemented with self-distancing instructions (Study 1), and they escalated as much as control groups without such a goal (Study 2). Implications for improving group decision making by implementation intentions are discussed.

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On making the right choice: A meta-analysis and large-scale replication attempt of the unconscious thought advantage

Mark Nieuwenstein et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, January 2015, Pages 1–17

Abstract:
Are difficult decisions best made after a momentary diversion of thought? Previous research addressing this important question has yielded dozens of experiments in which participants were asked to choose the best of several options (e.g., cars or apartments) either after conscious deliberation, or after a momentary diversion of thought induced by an unrelated task. The results of these studies were mixed. Some found that participants who had first performed the unrelated task were more likely to choose the best option, whereas others found no evidence for this so-called unconscious thought advantage (UTA). The current study examined two accounts of this inconsistency in previous findings. According to the reliability account, the UTA does not exist and previous reports of this effect concern nothing but spurious effects obtained with an unreliable paradigm. In contrast, the moderator account proposes that the UTA is a real effect that occurs only when certain conditions are met in the choice task. To test these accounts, we conducted a meta-analysis and a large-scale replication study (N = 399) that met the conditions deemed optimal for replicating the UTA. Consistent with the reliability account, the large-scale replication study yielded no evidence for the UTA, and the meta-analysis showed that previous reports of the UTA were confined to underpowered studies that used relatively small sample sizes. Furthermore, the results of the large-scale study also dispelled the recent suggestion that the UTA might be gender-specific. Accordingly, we conclude that there exists no reliable support for the claim that a momentary diversion of thought leads to better decision making than a period of deliberation.

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Money, Time, and the Stability of Consumer Preferences

Leonard Lee et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers often make product choices that involve the consideration of money and time. Building on dual-process models, the authors propose that these two basic resources activate qualitatively different modes of processing: while money is processed analytically, time is processed more affectively. Importantly, this distinction then influences the stability of consumer preferences. An initial set of three experiments demonstrates that, compared with a control condition free of the consideration of either resource, money consideration generates significantly more violations of transitivity in product choice, while time consideration has no such impact. The next three experiments use multiple approaches to demonstrate the role of different processing modes associated with money versus time consideration in this result. Finally, two additional experiments test ways in which the cognitive noise associated with the analytical processing that money consideration triggers could be reduced, resulting in more consistent preferences.

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The bigger they come, the harder they fall: The paradoxical effect of regulatory depletion on attitude change

John Petrocelli, Sally Williams & Joshua Clarkson
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 82–94

Abstract:
The present research explores a new effect of regulatory resource depletion on persuasion by proposing that the experience of depletion can increase or decrease openness to attitude change by undermining perceived counterargument strength. Ironically, this openness is hypothesized to be strongest for individuals holding attitudes with high (versus low) certainty, as individuals should expect high certainty attitudes to be more resistant — an expectation the experience of depletion is hypothesized to violate. Supporting the hypotheses, three studies demonstrate that individuals expect high certainty attitudes to be stable (Study 1), the experience of resource depletion violates this expectancy and increases the openness to counterattack (Study 2), and this openness is driven by decreased perceptions of counterargument strength (Study 3). By augmenting (attenuating) the effect of argument quality for high (low) certainty attitudes, the experience of depletion on perceived counterargument performance offers insight into novel means by which resource depletion can influence persuasion.

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No pain no gain: The positive impact of punishment on the strategic regulation of accuracy

Michelle Arnold, Lisa Chisholm & Toby Prike
Memory, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have shown that punishing people through a large penalty for volunteering incorrect information typically leads them to withhold more information (metacognitive response bias), but it does not appear to influence their ability to distinguish between their own correct and incorrect answers (metacognitive accuracy discrimination). The goal of the current study was to demonstrate that punishing people for volunteering incorrect information — versus rewarding volunteering correct information — produces more effective metacognitive accuracy discrimination. All participants completed three different general-knowledge tests: a reward test (high points for correct volunteered answers), a baseline test (equal points/penalties for volunteered correct/incorrect answers) and a punishment test (high penalty for incorrect volunteered answers). Participants were significantly better at distinguishing between their own correct and incorrect answers on the punishment than reward test, which has implications for situations requiring effective accuracy monitoring.

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Reason, Intuition, and Time

Marco Sahm & Robert von Weizsäcker
Managerial and Decision Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the influence of reason and intuition on decision-making over time. Facing a sequence of similar problems, agents can either decide rationally according to expected utility theory or intuitively according to case-based decision theory. Rational decisions are more precise but create higher costs, though these costs may decrease over time. We find that intuition will outperform reason in the long run if individuals are sufficiently ambitious. Moreover, intuitive decisions are prevalent in the early and late stages of a learning process, whereas reason governs decisions in intermediate stages. Examples range from playing behavior in games like chess to professional decisions during a manager's career.

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Fear-Appeal Messages: Message Processing and Affective Attitudes

Nancy Rhodes
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theories of fear appeals suggest that fear-inducing messages can be effective, but public service announcements (PSAs) that emphasize fear do not always lead to desired change in behavior. To better understand how fear-inducing PSAs are processed, an experiment testing the effects of exposure to safe-driving messages is reported. College students (N = 108) viewed PSAs of varying message sensation value (MSV). Results indicated that messages with medium MSV resulted in intentions to drive more slowly than messages with low or high MSV. Measures of affective attitudes indicated that medium MSV messages resulted in fast driving being rated as less fun and exciting than those of either high or low MSV. These affective evaluations mediated the effect of message exposure on driving intention. Message derogation was not related to message intensity. Production of message-related thoughts decreased, and emotional thoughts increased with message intensity. This decrease in processing of message content suggested a limited capacity explanation for the effect of highly intense fear appeals.

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Anxious and Egocentric: How Specific Emotions Influence Perspective Taking

Andrew Todd et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
People frequently feel anxious. Although prior research has extensively studied how feeling anxious shapes intrapsychic aspects of cognition, much less is known about how anxiety affects interpersonal aspects of cognition. Here, we examine the influence of incidental experiences of anxiety on perceptual and conceptual forms of perspective taking. Compared with participants experiencing other negative, high-arousal emotions (i.e., anger or disgust) or neutral feelings, anxious participants displayed greater egocentrism in their mental-state reasoning: They were more likely to describe an object using their own spatial perspective, had more difficulty resisting egocentric interference when identifying an object from others’ spatial perspectives, and relied more heavily on privileged knowledge when inferring others’ beliefs. Using both experimental-causal-chain and measurement-of-mediation approaches, we found that these effects were explained, in part, by uncertainty appraisal tendencies. Further supporting the role of uncertainty, a positive emotion associated with uncertainty (i.e., surprise) produced increases in egocentrism that were similar to anxiety. Collectively, the results suggest that incidentally experiencing emotions associated with uncertainty increase reliance on one’s own egocentric perspective when reasoning about the mental states of others.

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Diverging effects of mortality salience on variety seeking: The different roles of death anxiety and semantic concept activation

Zhongqiang(Tak) Huang & Robert Wyer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 112–123

Abstract:
Thoughts about one's death can not only induce death anxiety but also activate death-related semantic concepts. These effects of mortality salience have different implications for judgments and behavior. We demonstrate these differences in an investigation of variety-seeking behavior. Four experiments showed that the anxiety elicited by thinking about one's own death decreased the variety of participants' choices in an unrelated multiple-choice decision situation, whereas activating semantic concepts of death without inducing anxiety increased it. Moreover, inducing cognitive load decreased the anxiety-inducing effect of mortality salience, leading its concept-activation effect to predominate. The accessibility of death-related semantic concepts spontaneously induces a global processing style that increases the range of acceptable choice alternatives in a variety-seeking task, and this occurs regardless of how mortality salience is induced. However, the effect of inducing death anxiety, which is driven by a desire for stability, may override the effect of semantic concept activation when participants think about their own death.

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Turning molehills into mountains: Sleepiness increases workplace interpretive bias

Larissa Barber & Christopher Budnick
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies draw from evolutionary theory to assess whether sleepiness increases interpretive biases in workplace social judgments. Study 1 established a relationship between sleepiness and interpretive bias using ambiguous interpersonal scenarios from a measure commonly used in personnel selection (N = 148). Study 2 explored the boundary conditions of the sleepiness–interpretive bias link via an experimental online field survey of U.S. adults (N = 433). Sleepiness increased interpretive bias when social threats were clearly present (unfair workplace) but did not affect bias in the absence of threat (fair workplace). Study 3 replicated and extended findings from the previous two studies using objective measures of sleep loss and a quasi-experimental manipulation of minor sleep loss (N = 175). Negative affect, ego depletion, or personality variables did not influence the observed relationships. Overall, results suggest that a self-protection/evolutionary perspective best explains the effects of sleepiness on workplace interpretive biases. These studies advance the current research on sleep in organizations by adding a cognitive “threat interpretation” bias approach to past work examining the emotional reaction/behavioral side of sleep disruption. Interpretive biases due to sleepiness may have significant implications for employee health and counterproductive behavior.

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The Role of Self-Affirmation and User Status in Readers’ Response to Identity-Threatening News

Xiao Wang, Andrea Hickerson & Laura Arpan
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that the effect of self-affirmation on readers’ responses to media messages is not uniform across groups. The present experiment examined whether self-affirmation and group/user status interacted in influencing participants’ responses to a news article with identity-threatening information related to Apple sweatshops in China. Results revealed that for non-Apple users, self-affirmation influenced their appraisal of emotional responses, led them to perceive more news slant and more negative influence of the article on neutral Americans, and lowered their future purchase intentions. The effect of self-affirmation was nonsignificant among Apple users, which could have been thwarted by Apple users’ high defensiveness. Both theoretical implications for future self-affirmation research and practical implications are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, February 9, 2015

Get busy

Marriage stability, taxation and aggregate labor supply in the U.S. vs. Europe

Indraneel Chakraborty, Hans Holter & Serhiy Stepanchuk
Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Americans work more than Europeans. Using micro data from the United States and 17 European countries, we document that women are typically the largest contributors to the cross-country differences in work hours. We also show that there is a negative relation between taxes and annual hours worked, driven by men, and a positive relation between divorce rates and annual hours worked, driven by women. In a calibrated life-cycle model with heterogeneous agents, marriage and divorce, we find that the divorce and tax mechanisms together can explain 45% of the variation in labor supply between the United States and the European countries.

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The Impact of Unemployment Benefit Extensions on Employment: The 2014 Employment Miracle?

Marcus Hagedorn, Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We measure the effect of unemployment benefit duration on employment. We exploit the variation induced by the decision of Congress in December 2013 not to reauthorize the unprecedented benefit extensions introduced during the Great Recession. Federal benefit extensions that ranged from 0 to 47 weeks across U.S. states at the beginning of December 2013 were abruptly cut to zero. To achieve identification we use the fact that this policy change was exogenous to cross-sectional differences across U.S. states and we exploit a policy discontinuity at state borders. We find that a 1% drop in benefit duration leads to a statistically significant increase of employment by 0.0161 log points. In levels, 1.8 million additional jobs were created in 2014 due to the benefit cut. Almost 1 million of these jobs were filled by workers from out of the labor force who would not have participated in the labor market had benefit extensions been reauthorized.

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Educational Expansion and Occupational Change: US Compulsory Schooling Laws and the Occupational Structure 1850–1930

Emily Rauscher
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
During the US Industrial Revolution, educational expansion may have created skilled jobs through innovation and skill upgrading or reduced skilled jobs by mechanizing production. Such arguments contradict classic sociological work that treats education as a sorting mechanism, allocating individuals to fixed occupations. I capitalize on state differences in the timing of compulsory school attendance laws to ask whether raising the minimum level of schooling: (1) increased school attendance rate; or (2) shifted state occupational distributions away from agricultural toward skilled and non-manual occupation categories. Using state-level panel data constructed from 1850–1930 censuses and state-year fixed effects models, I find that compulsory laws significantly increased school attendance rates, particularly among lower-class children, and shifted the categorical distribution toward skilled and non-manual occupations. Thus, rather than deskilling through mechanization, raising the minimum level of education seems to have created skilled jobs and raised the occupational distribution through skill-biased technological change. Results suggest that education was not merely a sorting mechanism, supporting the importance of education as an institution even around the turn of the century.

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Optimal Life Cycle Unemployment Insurance

Caludio Michelacci & Hernán Ruffo
American Economic Review, February 2015, Pages 816-859

Abstract:
We argue that US welfare would rise if unemployment insurance were increased for younger and decreased for older workers. This is because the young tend to lack the means to smooth consumption during unemployment and want jobs to accumulate high-return human capital. So unemployment insurance is most valuable to them, while moral hazard is mild. By calibrating a life cycle model with unemployment risk and endogenous search effort, we find that allowing unemployment replacement rates to decline with age yields sizeable welfare gains to US workers.

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What Explains the 2007–2009 Drop in Employment?

Atif Mian & Amir Sufi
Econometrica, November 2014, Pages 2197–2223

Abstract:
We show that deterioration in household balance sheets, or the housing net worth channel, played a significant role in the sharp decline in U.S. employment between 2007 and 2009. Counties with a larger decline in housing net worth experience a larger decline in non-tradable employment. This result is not driven by industry-specific supply-side shocks, exposure to the construction sector, policy-induced business uncertainty, or contemporaneous credit supply tightening. We find little evidence of labor market adjustment in response to the housing net worth shock. There is no significant expansion of the tradable sector in counties with the largest decline in housing net worth. Further, there is little evidence of wage adjustment within or emigration out of the hardest hit counties.

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The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment Insurance Receipt: New Evidence from a Regression Kink Design in Missouri, 2003-2013

David Card et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
We provide new evidence on the effect of the unemployment insurance (UI) weekly benefit amount on unemployment insurance spells based on administrative data from the state of Missouri covering the period 2003-2013. Identification comes from a regression kink design that exploits the quasi-experimental variation around the kink in the UI benefit schedule. We find that UI durations are more responsive to benefit levels during the recession and its aftermath, with an elasticity between 0.65 and 0.9 as compared to about 0.35 pre-recession.

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The Effect of Population Aging on Economic Growth

Nicole Maestas, Kathleen Mullen & David Powell
RAND Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Population aging is widely expected to have detrimental effects on aggregate economic growth. However, we have little empirical evidence about the actual existence or magnitude of such effects. In this paper, we exploit differential aging patterns at the state level in the United States between 1980 and 2010. Many states have already experienced high growth rates of the 60 population, comparable to the predicted national growth rate over the next several decades. Furthermore, these differential growth rates occur partially for reasons unrelated to economic growth, providing a natural approach to isolate the impact of aging on growth. We predict the magnitude of population aging at the state-level given the state’s age structure in an initial period and exploit this predictable differential growth to estimate the impact of population aging on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, and its constituent parts, labor force and productivity growth. We estimate that a 10% increase in the fraction of the population ages 60 decreases GDP per capita by 5.7%. We find that this reduction in economic growth caused by population aging is primarily due to a decrease in growth in the supply of labor. To a lesser extent, it is also due to a reduction in productivity growth. We present evidence of downward adjustment of earnings growth to reflect the reduction in productivity.

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Does Delay Cause Decay? The Effect of Administrative Decision Time on the Labor Force Participation and Earnings of Disability Applicants

David Autor et al.
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper measures the causal effect of time out of the labor force on subsequent employment of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants and distinguishes it from the discouragement effect of receiving disability benefits. Using a unique Social Security Administration workload database to identify exogenous variation in decision times induced by differences in processing speed among disability examiners to whom applicants are randomly assigned, we find that longer processing times reduce the employment and earnings of SSDI applicants for multiple years following application, with the effects concentrated among applicants awarded benefits during their initial application. A one standard deviation (2.1 month) increase in initial processing time reduces long-run “substantial gainful activity” rates by 0.36 percentage points (3.5%) and long-run annual earnings by $178 (5.1%). Because applicants initially denied benefits spend on average more than 15 additional months appealing their denials, previous estimates of the benefit receipt effect are confounded with the effect of delays on subsequent employment. Accounting separately for these channels, we find that the receipt effect is at least 50% larger than previously estimated. Combining the delay and benefits receipt channels reveals that the SSDI application process reduces subsequent employment of applicants on the margin of award by twice as much as prior literature suggests.

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Cohort Size and Youth Earnings: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment

Louis-Philippe Morin
Labour Economics, January 2015, Pages 99–111

Abstract:
In this paper, I use data from the Canadian Labour Force Surveys (LFS), and the 2001 and 2006 Canadian Censuses to estimate the impact of an important labour supply shock on the earnings of young high-school graduates. The abolition of Ontario’s Grade 13 generated a very large cohort of high-school graduates that simultaneously entered the Ontario labour market, generating a sudden increase in the labour supply. This provides a rare occasion to measure the impact of cohort size on earnings without the supply shock being possibly confounded with unobserved trends — a recurring problem in the literature. The Census findings suggest that the effect of the supply shock is statistically and economically important, depressing weekly earnings by 5 to 9 percent. The findings from the Census are supported by the LFS results that suggest that the immediate impact of the supply shock — measured about six months after high-school graduation — is also important.

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The Skill Complementarity of Broadband Internet

Anders Akerman, Ingvil Gaarder & Magne Mogstad
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Does adoption of broadband internet in firms enhance labor productivity and increase wages? And is this technological change skill biased or factor neutral? We exploit rich Norwegian data to answer these questions. A public program with limited funding rolled out broadband access points, and provides plausibly exogenous variation in the availability and adoption of broadband internet in firms. Our results suggest that broadband internet improves (worsens) the labor outcomes and productivity of skilled (unskilled) workers. We explore several possible explanations for the skill complementarity of broadband internet. We find suggestive evidence that broadband adoption in firms complements skilled workers in executing nonroutine abstract tasks, and substitutes for unskilled workers in performing routine tasks. Taken together, our findings have important implications for the ongoing policy debate over government investment in broadband infrastructure to encourage productivity and wage growth.

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Organizational Failure and Intraprofessional Status Loss

Christopher Rider & Giacomo Negro
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine variation in intraprofessional status changes for employees displaced by organizational failure. We propose that failure-related reductions in bargaining power are moderated by individual status characteristics that influence potential employers’ evaluations of job candidates and, therefore, individuals’ status loss risks. Treating a prominent law firm’s failure as a quasi-experiment, we test our arguments by analyzing 224 firm partners’ transitions to subsequent employers. Most partners regained employment at firms of lower status than the failed firm. But, independent of their demonstrated productivity, a partner’s likelihood of status loss increased with tenure in the failed firm’s partnership and decreased with educational prestige. These results suggest not only that organizational failure can diminish cumulative career advantages but also that status characteristics that enable attainment, such as education, can protect individuals against status loss.

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Minimum Wages and Gross Domestic Product

Joseph Sabia
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study is the first to explore the relationship between minimum wage increases and state gross domestic product (GDP). Using data drawn from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1979 to 2012, I find no evidence that minimum wage increases were associated with changes in overall state GDP. However, this null finding masks substantial heterogeneity in the productivity effects of minimum wages across industries and over the business cycle. Difference-in-difference-in-difference estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the minimum wage is associated with a short-run 1% to 2% decline in state GDP generated by lower-skilled industries relative to more highly skilled industries. This differential appears larger during troughs as compared to that during peaks of the state business cycle.

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Technology and Labor Regulations: Theory and Evidence

Alberto Alesina, Michele Battisti & Joseph Zeira
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
This paper shows that different labor market policies can lead to differences in technology across sectors in a model of labor saving technologies. Labor market regulations reduce the skill premium and as a result, if technologies are labor saving, countries with more stringent labor regulation, which are binding for low skilled workers, become less technologically advanced in their high-skilled sectors, and more technologically advanced in their low-skilled sectors. We then present data on capital output ratios, on estimated productivity levels and on patent creation, which support the predictions of our model.

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A Pareto-improving Minimum Wage

Eliav Danziger & Leif Danziger
Economica, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that a graduated minimum wage, in contrast to a constant minimum wage, can provide a strict Pareto improvement over what can be achieved with an optimal income tax. The reason is that a graduated minimum wage requires high-productivity workers to work more to earn the same income as low-productivity workers, which makes it more difficult for the former to mimic the latter. In effect, a graduated minimum wage allows the low-productivity workers to benefit from second-degree price discrimination, which increases their income.

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The Employment Effects of Terminating Disability Benefits

Timothy Moore
George Washington University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Few Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries return to the labor force, making it hard to assess their likely employment in the absence of benefits. Using administrative data, I examine the employment of individuals who lost DI eligibility after the 1996 removal of drug and alcohol addictions as qualifying conditions. Approximately 22 percent started working at levels that would have disqualified them for DI, an employment response that is large relative to their work histories. Those who received DI for 2-3 years had the largest response, suggesting that a period of public assistance may maximize the employment of some disabled individuals.

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The bigger the worse? A comparative study of the welfare state and employment commitment

Kjetil van der Wel & Knut Halvorsen
Work, Employment & Society, February 2015, Pages 99-118

Abstract:
This article investigates how welfare generosity and active labour market policies relate to employment commitment. As social policy is increasingly directed towards stimulating employment in broader sections of society, this article particularly studies employment commitment among groups with traditionally weaker bonds to the labour market. This is also theoretically interesting because the employment commitment in these groups may be more affected by the welfare context than is the employment commitment of the core work force. A welfare scepticism view predicts that disincentive effects and norm erosion will lead to lower employment commitment in more generous and activating welfare states, while a welfare resources perspective holds the opposite view. Using multilevel data for individuals in 18 European countries, the article finds increasing employment commitment as social spending gets more generous and activating. This was also evident for weaker groups in the labour market, although the effect was less pronounced in some groups.

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Increased longevity and social security reform: Questioning the optimality of individual accounts when education matters

Gilles Le Garrec
Journal of Population Economics, April 2015, Pages 329-352

Abstract:
In many European countries, population aging had led to debate about a switch from conventional unfunded public pension systems to notional systems characterized by individual accounts. In this article, we develop an overlapping generations model in which endogenous growth is based on an accumulation of knowledge driven by the proportion of skilled workers and by the time they have spent in training. In such a framework, we show that conventional pension systems, contrary to notional systems, can enhance economic growth by linking benefits only to the partial earnings history. Thus, to ensure economic growth, the optimal adjustment to increased longevity could consist in increasing the size of existing retirement systems rather than switching to notional systems.

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The Effects of Youth Employment: Evidence from New York City Summer Youth Employment Program Lotteries

Alexander Gelber, Adam Isen & Judd Kessler
NBER Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Programs to encourage labor market activity among youth, including public employment programs and wage subsidies like the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, can be supported by three broad rationales. They may: (1) provide contemporaneous income support to participants; (2) encourage work experience that improves future employment and/or educational outcomes of participants; and/or (3) keep participants “out of trouble.” We study randomized lotteries for access to New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), the largest summer youth employment program in the U.S., by merging SYEP administrative data on 294,580 lottery participants to IRS data on the universe of U.S. tax records and to New York State administrative incarceration data. In assessing the three rationales, we find that: (1) SYEP participation causes average earnings and the probability of employment to increase in the year of program participation, with modest contemporaneous crowdout of other earnings and employment; (2) SYEP participation causes a moderate decrease in average earnings for three years following the program and has no impact on college enrollment; and (3) SYEP participation decreases the probability of incarceration and decreases the probability of mortality, which has important and potentially pivotal implications for analyzing the net benefits of the program.

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Low IQ has become less important as a risk factor for early disability pension: A longitudinal population-based study across two decades among Swedish men

Nina Karnehed, Finn Rasmussen & Karin Modig
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Background: Low IQ has been shown to be an important risk factor for disability pension (DP) but whether the importance has changed over time remains unclear. It can be hypothesised that IQ has become more important for DP over time in parallel with a more demanding working life. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative risk of low IQ on the risk of DP before age 30 between 1971 and 2006.

Methods: This study covered the entire Swedish male population born between 1951 and 1976, eligible for military conscription. Information about the study subjects was obtained by linkage of national registers. Associations between IQ and DP over time were analysed by descriptive measures (mean values, proportions, etc) and by Cox proportional hazards regressions. Analyses were adjusted for educational level.

Results: The cohort consisted of 1 229 346 men. The proportion that received DP before the age of 30 increased over time, from 0.68% in the cohort born between 1951 and 1955 to 0.95% in the cohort born between 1971 and 1976. The relative risk of low IQ (adjusted for education) in relation to high IQ decreased from 5.68 (95% CI 4.71 to 6.85) in the cohort born between 1951 and 1955 to 2.62 (95% CI 2.25 to 3.05) in the cohort born between 1971 and 1976.

Conclusions: Our results gave no support to the idea that the importance of low IQ for the risk of DP has increased in parallel with increasing demands in working life. In fact, low IQ has become less important as a risk factor for DP compared with high IQ between the early 1970s and 1990s. An increased educational level over the same time period is likely to be part of the explanation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lean on me

Reducing Social Stress Elicits Emotional Contagion of Pain in Mouse and Human Strangers

Loren Martin et al.
Current Biology, 2 February 2015, Pages 326–332

Abstract:
Empathy for another’s physical pain has been demonstrated in humans and mice; in both species, empathy is stronger between familiars. Stress levels in stranger dyads are higher than in cagemate dyads or isolated mice, suggesting that stress might be responsible for the absence of empathy for the pain of strangers. We show here that blockade of glucocorticoid synthesis or receptors for adrenal stress hormones elicits the expression of emotional contagion (a form of empathy) in strangers of both species. Mice and undergraduates were tested for sensitivity to noxious stimulation alone and/or together (dyads). In familiar, but not stranger, pairs, dyadic testing was associated with increased pain behaviors or ratings compared to isolated testing. Pharmacological blockade of glucocorticoid synthesis or glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors enabled the expression of emotional contagion of pain in mouse and human stranger dyads, as did a shared gaming experience (the video game Rock Band) in human strangers. Our results demonstrate that emotional contagion is prevented, in an evolutionarily conserved manner, by the stress of a social interaction with an unfamiliar conspecific and can be evoked by blocking the endocrine stress response.

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The ease and extent of recursive mindreading, across implicit and explicit tasks

C. O’Grady et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recursive mindreading is the ability to embed mental representations inside other mental representations e.g. to hold beliefs about beliefs about beliefs. An advanced ability to entertain recursively embedded mental states is consistent with evolutionary perspectives that emphasise the importance of sociality and social cognition in human evolution: high levels of recursive mindreading are argued to be involved in several distinctive human behaviours and institutions, such as communication, religion, and story-telling. However, despite a wealth of research on first-level mindreading under the term Theory of Mind, the human ability for recursive mindreading is relatively understudied, and existing research on the topic has significant methodological flaws. Here we show experimentally that human recursive mindreading abilities are far more advanced than has previously been shown. Specifically, we show that humans are able to mindread to at least seven levels of embedding, both explicitly, through linguistic description, and implicitly, through observing social interactions. However, our data suggest that mindreading may be easier when stimuli are presented implicitly rather than explicitly. We argue that advanced mindreading abilities are to be expected in an extremely social species such as our own, where the ability to reason about others’ mental states is an essential, ubiquitous and adaptive component of everyday life.

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Friends First? The Peer Network Origins of Adolescent Dating

Derek Kreager et al.
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Abstract:
The proximity of dating partners in peer friendship networks has important implications for the diffusion of health-risk behaviors and adolescent social development. We derive two competing hypotheses for the friendship–romance association. The first predicts that daters are proximally positioned in friendship networks prior to dating and that opposite-gender friends are likely to transition to dating. The second predicts that dating typically crosses group boundaries and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to later date. We test these hypotheses with longitudinal friendship data for 626 ninth-grade PROSPER heterosexual dating couples. Results primarily support the second hypothesis: Romantic partners are unlikely to be friends in the previous year or share the same cohesive subgroup, and opposite-gender friends are unlikely to transition to dating.

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Can’t Buy Me Friendship? Peer Rejection and Adolescent Materialism: Implicit Self-esteem as a Mediator

Jiang Jiang et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 48–55

Abstract:
Peer rejection is closely connected to adolescent materialism, and self-esteem is a mediator of this relationship. However, most previous studies have revealed only a correlational link between peer rejection and adolescent materialism, and have emphasized explicit self-esteem but not implicit self-esteem. We conducted three studies to address this weakness. Study 1a and Study 1b verified the causal connection between peer rejection and adolescent materialism by showing that participants who recalled experiences of being rejected by peers reported higher levels of materialism than those who recalled acceptance experiences. In Study 2, participants who were rejected by peers demonstrated lower implicit self-esteem and higher materialism levels than those who were not. This study also found that implicit self-esteem mediated the relationship between peer rejection and adolescent materialism. In Study 3, after experiencing peer rejection, priming high implicit self-esteem induced a decline in the participants’ materialism levels, which further validated the mediating role of implicit self-esteem. Overall, these findings suggest that peer rejection boosts adolescent materialism by lowering implicit self-esteem and that materialism is a way to compensate for impaired implicit self-esteem.

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Locus of Control and Peer Relationships Among Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, and African American Adolescents

Hannah Soo Kang et al.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, January 2015, Pages 184-194

Abstract:
Past research has shown that locus of control plays an important role in a wide range of behaviors, such as academic achievement and positive social behaviors. However, little is known about whether locus of control plays the same role in minority adolescents’ peer relationships. The current study examined ethnic differences in the associations between locus of control and peer relationships in early adolescence using samples from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K: 5,612 Caucasian, 1,562 Hispanic, 507 Asian, and 908 African-American adolescents) and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS: 8,484 Caucasian, 1,604 Hispanic, and 860 Asian, and 1,228 African American adolescents). Gender was approximately evenly split in both samples. The results from the two datasets were highly consistent. Significant interactions between ethnicity and locus of control indicated that having a more internal locus of control was particularly important for Caucasian students’ peer relationships (ECLS-K) and social status (NELS), but less so for Asian, Hispanic, and African American students. Our findings suggest that the role of locus of control in peer relationship is contingent upon culture.

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The relation between memories of childhood psychological maltreatment and Machiavellianism

András Láng & Kata Lénárd
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 81–85

Abstract:
Machiavellianism is a hot topic in several branches of psychology. Using Life-History Theory several studies identified Machiavellianism as a fast life strategy. According to this idea, Machiavellianism should be related to childhood adversities. Using a sample of adults we investigated the relationship between Machiavellianism and self-reported memories of childhood psychological maltreatment. Participants (247 individuals, 141 female, 32.38 ± 5.43 years of age on average) completed the Mach-IV Scale and the Childhood Abuse and Trauma Scale. Results showed a relationship between neglect and Machiavellianism in general, Machiavellian tactics, and Machiavellian world view. There was also a marginally significant link between punishment and Machiavellian tactics. Results are discussed from a moral developmental perspective and through the alexithymia hypothesis of Machiavellianism.

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Social network diversity and white matter microstructural integrity in humans

Tara Molesworth et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Diverse aspects of physical, affective, and cognitive health relate to social integration, reflecting engagement in social activities and identification with diverse roles within a social network. However, the mechanisms by which social integration interacts with the brain are unclear. In healthy adults (N=155) we tested the links between social integration and measures of white matter microstructure using diffusion tensor imaging. Across the brain, there was a predominantly positive association between a measure of white matter integrity, fractional anisotropy (FA), and social network diversity. This association was particularly strong in a region near the anterior corpus callosum and driven by a negative association with the radial component of the diffusion signal. This callosal region contained projections between bilateral prefrontal cortices, as well as cingulum and corticostriatal pathways. FA within this region was weakly associated with circulating levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6, but IL-6 did not mediate the social network and FA relationship. Finally, variation in FA indirectly mediated the relationship between social network diversity and intrinsic functional connectivity of medial corticostriatal pathways. These findings suggest that social integration relates to myelin integrity in humans, which may help explain the diverse aspects of health affected by social networks.

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School mobility and school-age children’s social adjustment

Veronique Dupere et al.
Developmental Psychology, February 2015, Pages 197-210

Abstract:
This study explored how nonpromotional school changes, a potentially major event for children, were associated with 3 forms of social maladjustment: isolation/withdrawal, affiliation with maladjusted peers, and aggression toward peers. Given that school mobility frequently co-occurs with family transitions, the moderating role of these transitions was investigated. These issues were examined in 2 longitudinal samples of U.S. (N = 1,364) and Canadian (N = 1,447) elementary school children. Propensity weighted analyses controlling for premobility individual, family, and friends’ characteristics indicated that children who experienced both school and family transitions were at risk of either social withdrawal (in the Canadian sample) or affiliation with socially maladjusted peers (in the U.S. sample). These findings suggest the importance of considering both the social consequences of school mobility and the context in which such mobility occurs.

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Quality of Social Experience Explains the Relation Between Extraversion and Positive Affect

Luke Smillie et al.
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The personality trait extraversion is associated with higher positive affect, and individuals who behave in an extraverted way experience increased positive affect. Across 2 studies, we examine whether the positive affectivity of extraverts can be explained in terms of qualitative aspects of social experience resulting from extraverted (i.e., bold, assertive) behavior. In our first study (N = 225, 58% female), we found that social well-being, a broad measure of quality of social life (Keyes, 1998) was a significant mediator of the relation between trait extraversion and trait positive affect. This effect was specific to 1 aspect of social well-being — social contribution, one’s sense of making an impact on one’s social world. In our second study (N = 81, 75% female), we found that a momentary assessment of social well-being mediated the effect of experimentally manipulated extraverted behavior (in the context of 2 brief discussion tasks) on state positive affect. Furthermore, perceived contribution to the discussion tasks accounted for up to 70% of the effect of enacted extraversion on positive affect. This is the first identified mediator of the effect of enacted extraversion on positive affect. Implications and suggestions for extensions of this research are discussed.

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Network Extraversion Bias: People May Not Be as Outgoing as You Think (Unless You're an Introvert)

Daniel Feiler & Adam Kleinbaum
Dartmouth College Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Using the emergent friendship network of an incoming cohort of MBA students, we examined the role of extraversion in shaping social networks. Extraversion has two important implications for the emergence of network ties: a popularity effect, in which extraverts accumulate more friends than introverts, and a homophily effect, in which two individuals are more likely to become friends if they have similar levels of extraversion. These effects result in a systematic network extraversion bias, in which people’s social networks will tend to be overpopulated with extraverts and underpopulated with introverts. Further, network extraversion bias is greatest for the most extraverted individuals and least for more introverted individuals. Our finding that social networks are systematically misrepresentative of the broader social environment raises questions about whether there is a societal bias toward believing others are more extraverted than they actually are and whether introverts are better socially calibrated than extraverts.

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Distress of ostracism: Oxytocin receptor gene polymorphism confers sensitivity to social exclusion

Robyn McQuaid et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
A single-nucleotide polymorphism on the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), rs53576, involving a guanine (G) to adenine (A) substitution has been associated with altered prosocial features. Specifically, individuals with the GG genotype (i.e. the absence of the polymorphism) display beneficial traits including enhanced trust, empathy and self-esteem. However, because G carriers might also be more socially sensitive, this may render them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of a negative social stressor. The current investigation, conducted among 128 white female undergraduate students, demonstrated that relative to individuals with AA genotype, G carriers were more emotionally sensitive (lower self-esteem) in response to social ostracism promoted through an on-line ball tossing game (Cyberball). Furthermore, GG individuals also exhibited altered blood pressure and cortisol levels following rejection, effects not apparent among A carriers. The data support the view that the presence of the G allele not only promotes prosocial behaviors but also favors sensitivity to a negative social stressor.

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Disadvantaged Minorities’ Use of the Internet to Expand Their Social Networks

Amy Gonzales
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
An essential argument of the social diversification hypothesis is that disadvantaged groups use the Internet rather than face-to-face communication to broaden social networks, whereas advantaged groups use the Internet to reinforce existing network ties. Previous research in this area has not accounted for both online and off-line communication, has only been examined with cross-sectional data, and has primarily been studied in Israel. To address these gaps with a U.S. data set, 2,669 conversations were analyzed over 6-day periods using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Indeed, unlike participants from racially or educationally advantaged groups, participants who were from a racially marginalized group or lacked college training were more likely to broaden social networks online rather than face-to-face with interracial and weak tie exchanges. This proof of concept of social diversification theory across cultures is the first to use real-time, within-person measures of both race and tie strength.

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When social media isn’t social: Friends’ responsiveness to narcissists on Facebook

Mina Choi et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2015, Pages 209–214

Abstract:
Narcissists are characterized by a desire to show off and to obtain external validation from others. Research has shown that narcissists are particularly attracted to Facebook, because it allows them to self-promote. But do they receive the attention they crave on Facebook? This study examined Friends’ responsiveness (operationalized as number of comments and “likes”) to Facebook users’ status updates, as a function of the latter’s narcissism. Undergraduates (N = 155) filled out a narcissism scale and offered us access to their profiles, from which we extracted indicators of Friends’ responsiveness. Results show that individuals high in narcissism were less likely to receive comments and “likes” in response to their status updates than individuals low in narcissism. This effect was driven by exploitativeness and entitlement, two components of narcissism. The findings extend understanding of narcissists’ social interactions, an understudied topic, and elucidate some of the psychological factors that drive Facebook interaction.

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Oxytocin improves mentalizing – Pronounced effects for individuals with attenuated ability to empathize

Melanie Feeser et al.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, March 2015, Pages 223–232

Abstract:
The ability to predict the behavior of others based on their mental states is crucial for social functioning. Previous studies have provided evidence for the role of Oxytocin (OXT) in enhancing the ability to mentalize. It has also been demonstrated that the effect of OXT seems to strongly depend on socio-cognitive skills with more pronounced effects in individuals with lower socio-cognitive skills. Although recent studies indicate that mentalizing is related to empathy, no study has yet examined whether the effects of OXT on mentalizing depend on the ability to empathize. 71 male participants participated in a double-blind, between-subjects, placebo-controlled experiment. The Reading the Mind in the Eye Test (RMET) was used to investigate mentalizing abilities. We analyzed the effect of OXT on easy and difficult items of the RMET depending on differential empathy scores of the participants as assessed with the Empathy Quotient (EQ). Our results showed that OXT improves mentalizing for difficult but not for easy items. We generally observed increased mentalizing accuracy in participants with higher empathy scores. Importantly, however, whereas the performance in participants with higher empathy scores was comparable in both OXT and placebo condition, OXT specifically enhanced mentalizing accuracy in participants with lower empathy scores. Our findings suggest that OXT enhances mentalizing abilities. However, we also demonstrate that not all participants benefited from OXT application. It seems that the effects of OXT strongly depend on baseline social-cognitive skills such as empathy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Take the initiative

Power Gets You High: The Powerful Are More Inspired by Themselves Than by Others

Gerben Van Kleef et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Inspiration is a source of admirable creation — but where do people get it from? We propose that power allows individuals to draw inspiration from the self. Four studies involving different social settings and operationalizations support this idea. Study 1 revealed that greater power is associated with more self-derived inspiration and less other-derived inspiration. In Study 2, participants with a higher sense of power were more inspired by their own than by their partners’ stories in face-to-face conversations, whereas lower power participants were not. In Study 3, higher power people spontaneously generated more inspiring stories involving themselves than did lower power people. Finally, participants in Study 4 felt more inspired after writing about their own experiences than after writing about someone else’s, especially after having been primed with high rather than low power. These findings suggest that powerful people prioritize themselves over others in social interaction because this is emotionally rewarding for them.

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Harnessing Optimism: How Eliciting Goals Improves Performance

Aaron Sackett et al.
University of Chicago Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
We describe a field experiment in which merely asking people about their goals prior to performance improved performance among experienced but not novice individuals. Whereas most previously-studied goal interventions involve externally-induced goals, our intervention targeted self-set goals. 1,758 marathoners were either asked or not asked to provide a time goal prior to their race. Although our manipulation did not influence the proportion of marathoners who established time goals, experienced marathoners who were asked about their goal in a pre-marathon survey ran 6.75 minutes faster than those who were not asked about their goal. The effect of our goal-asking manipulation on performance was mediated by the ambitiousness of marathoners’ time goals. We suggest that our manipulation increases goal ambitiousness by interrupting the typical decline in optimism as performance approaches.

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How Backup Plans Can Harm Goal Pursuit: The Unexpected Downside of Being Prepared for Failure

Jihae Shin & Katherine Milkman
University of Wisconsin Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
When pursuing a goal, making a backup plan has many benefits including reducing the psychological discomfort associated with uncertainty. However, we suggest that making a backup plan can also have negative effects. Specifically, we propose that the mere act of thinking through a backup plan can reduce performance on your primary goal by decreasing your desire for goal achievement. In a correlational field study (Study 1), we find that having a backup plan is associated with lower performance on the primary goal. In two experimental studies (Studies 2 and 3), we find that individuals randomly assigned to think through a backup plan subsequently perform worse on their primary goal. We further show that this effect is partially mediated by a decreased desire to attain the primary goal (Study 3). This research provides a fresh perspective on plan-making, highlighting an important yet previously unexplored negative consequence of formulating plans.

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Expectations as Reference Points: Field Evidence from Professional Soccer

Björn Bartling, Leif Brandes & Daniel Schunk
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We show that professional soccer players and their coaches exhibit reference-dependent behavior during matches. Controlling for the state of the match and for unobserved heterogeneity, we show on a minute-by-minute basis that players breach the rules of the game, measured by the referee’s assignment of cards, significantly more often if their teams are behind the expected match outcome, measured by preplay betting odds of large professional bookmakers. We further show that coaches implement significantly more offensive substitutions if their teams are behind expectations. Both types of behaviors impair the expected ultimate match outcome of the team, which shows that our findings do not simply reflect fully rational responses to reference-dependent incentive schemes of favorite teams to falling behind. We derive these results in a data set that contains more than 8,200 matches from 12 seasons of the German Bundesliga and 12 seasons of the English Premier League.

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Why Do Fearful Facial Expressions Elicit Behavioral Approach? Evidence From a Combined Approach-Avoidance Implicit Association Test

Jennifer Hammer & Abigail Marsh
Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite communicating a “negative” emotion, fearful facial expressions predominantly elicit behavioral approach from perceivers. It has been hypothesized that this seemingly paradoxical effect may occur due to fearful expressions’ resemblance to vulnerable, infantile faces. However, this hypothesis has not yet been tested. We used a combined approach-avoidance/implicit association test (IAT) to test this hypothesis. Participants completed an approach-avoidance lever task during which they responded to fearful and angry facial expressions as well as neutral infant and adult faces presented in an IAT format. Results demonstrated an implicit association between fearful facial expressions and infant faces and showed that both fearful expressions and infant faces primarily elicit behavioral approach. The dominance of approach responses to both fearful expressions and infant faces decreased as a function of psychopathic personality traits. Results suggest that the prosocial responses to fearful expressions observed in most individuals may stem from their associations with infantile faces.

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Nonconscious priming of communication

Martin Pickering, Janet McLean & Marina Kraeva
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2015, Pages 77–81

Abstract:
This study investigated whether nonconscious priming can affect the communicative quality of narratives. In two experiments, narrators were primed with words associated with helpfulness or unhelpfulness, and then, in an apparently unrelated task, read and retold a short story to addressees. In Experiment 1, the narrator provided a spoken description, and we also manipulated whether the narrator retold the story to the addressee or to a microphone. In Experiment 2, the narrator provided a written description. In both experiments, narrators primed with helpful words took longer to read the story and provided retellings that were rated to be higher quality than narrators primed with unhelpful words. We propose that priming the concept of helpfulness influences the processes involved in message construction.

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Can't finish what you started? The effect of climactic interruption on behavior

Daniella Kupor, Taly Reich & Baba Shiv
Journal of Consumer Psychology, January 2015, Pages 113–119

Abstract:
Individuals experience a greater frequency of interruptions than ever before. Interruptions by e-mails, phone calls, text messages and other sources of disruption are ubiquitous. We examine the important unanswered question of whether interruptions can increase the likelihood that individuals will choose closure-associated behaviors. Specifically, we explore the possibility that interruptions that occur during the climactic moments of a task or activity can produce a heightened need for psychological closure. When an interruption prevents individuals from achieving closure in the interrupted domain, we show that the resulting unsatisfied need for psychological closure can cause individuals to seek closure in totally unrelated domains. These findings have important implications for understanding how consumer decisions may be influenced by the dynamic — and often interrupted — course of daily events.

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The power of the mind: The cortex as a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness

Brian Clark et al.
Journal of Neurophysiology, 15 December 2014, Pages 3219-3226

Abstract:
We tested the hypothesis that the nervous system, and the cortex in particular, is a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness and that a high level of corticospinal inhibition is an important neurophysiological factor regulating force generation. A group of healthy individuals underwent 4 wk of wrist-hand immobilization to induce weakness. Another group also underwent 4 wk of immobilization, but they also performed mental imagery of strong muscle contractions 5 days/wk. Mental imagery has been shown to activate several cortical areas that are involved with actual motor behaviors, including premotor and M1 regions. A control group, who underwent no interventions, also participated in this study. Before, immediately after, and 1 wk following immobilization, we measured wrist flexor strength, voluntary activation (VA), and the cortical silent period (SP; a measure that reflect corticospinal inhibition quantified via transcranial magnetic stimulation). Immobilization decreased strength 45.1 ± 5.0%, impaired VA 23.2 ± 5.8%, and prolonged the SP 13.5 ± 2.6%. Mental imagery training, however, attenuated the loss of strength and VA by ∼50% (23.8 ± 5.6% and 12.9 ± 3.2% reductions, respectively) and eliminated prolongation of the SP (4.8 ± 2.8% reduction). Significant associations were observed between the changes in muscle strength and VA (r = 0.56) and SP (r = −0.39). These findings suggest neurological mechanisms, most likely at the cortical level, contribute significantly to disuse-induced weakness, and that regular activation of the cortical regions via imagery attenuates weakness and VA by maintaining normal levels of inhibition.

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Stress Increases Cue-Triggered “Wanting” for Sweet Reward in Humans

Eva Pool et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Stress can increase reward pursuits: This has traditionally been seen as an attempt to relieve negative affect through the hedonic properties of a reward. However, reward pursuit is not always proportional to the pleasure experienced, because reward processing involves distinct components, including the motivation to obtain a reward (i.e., wanting) and the hedonic pleasure during the reward consumption (i.e., liking). Research conducted on rodents demonstrates that stress might directly amplify the cue-triggered wanting, suggesting that under stress wanting can be independent from liking. Here, we aimed to test whether a similar mechanism exists in humans. We used analog of a Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer test (PIT) with an olfactory reward to measure the cue triggered wanting for a reward but also the sensory hedonic liking felt during the consumption of the same reward. The analog of a PIT procedure, in which participants learned to associate a neutral image and an instrumental action with a chocolate odor, was combined with either a stress-inducing or stress-free behavioral procedure. Results showed that compared with participants in the stress-free condition, those in the stress condition mobilized more effort in instrumental action when the reward-associated cue was displayed, even though they did not report the reward as being more pleasurable. These findings suggest that, in humans, stress selectively increases cue-triggered wanting, independently of the hedonic properties of the reward. Such a mechanism supports the novel explanation proposed by animal research as to why stress often produces cue-triggered bursts of binge eating, relapses in drug addiction, or gambling.

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Reliance on Luck: Identifying Which Achievement Goals Elicit Superstitious Behavior

Eric Hamerman & Carey Morewedge
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often resort to superstitious behavior to facilitate goal achievement. We examined whether the specific type of achievement goal pursued influences the propensity to engage in superstitious behavior. Across six studies, we found that performance goals were more likely than learning goals to elicit superstitious behavior. Participants were more likely to engage in superstitious behavior at high than at low levels of chronic performance orientation, but superstitious behavior was not influenced by chronic learning orientation (Studies 1 and 2). Similarly, participants exhibited stronger preferences for lucky items when primed to pursue performance goals rather than learning goals (Studies 3 and 4). As uncertainty of goal achievement increased, superstitious behavior increased when participants pursued performance goals but not learning goals (Study 5). Finally, assignment to use a lucky (vs. unlucky) item resulted in greater confidence of achieving performance goals but not learning goals (Study 6).

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Enjoying the possibility of defeat: Outcome uncertainty, suspense, and intrinsic motivation

Sami Abuhamdeh, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Baland Jalal
Motivation and Emotion, February 2015, Pages 1-10

Abstract:
In two studies, the relevance of outcome uncertainty and suspense for intrinsic motivation was examined. In Study 1, participants played a competitive zero-sum video game in which outcome uncertainty during the game (operationalized as the degree of parity between player–opponent scores) was manipulated. Greater outcome uncertainty led to greater enjoyment, and this effect was mediated by suspense. Although outperforming one’s opponent by a wide margin maximized perceived competence, these games were less enjoyable than closer games with higher outcome uncertainty. These findings were extended in Study 2, which incorporated a behavioral measure of intrinsic motivation. Participants chose to play games they previously rated as relatively high in suspense but relatively low in perceived competence over games which provided higher perceptions of competence but less suspense. Performance concern moderated this effect. Implications of the findings for theories of intrinsic motivation, and possible avenues for future research, are discussed.

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Young Flames: The Effects of Childhood Exposure to Fire on Adult Attitudes

Damian Murray, Daniel Fessler & Gwen Lupfer
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Successful use of fire has been essential to survival throughout the majority of human history — an environmental pressure that may have led to cognitive mechanisms dedicated to attaining mastery of fire manipulation and control. Concordant with this hypothesis is the fact that, despite its inherent danger, the frivolous use of fire remains firmly embedded within modern societies; conversely, in societies where fire is used for utilitarian purposes, ethnographic reports suggest that fire is considered mundane. The exposure hypothesis holds that the attraction to fire in modern societies is due to the lack of adequate exposure to fire throughout childhood. Two studies — comprising North American samples that have had significantly different levels of exposure to fire — investigated the relationship between frequency of exposure to fire throughout childhood and psychological associations with fire. Psychological associations with fire were overwhelmingly positive in both samples. Study 1 found no significant association between childhood fire exposure and positive affective associations with fire. Using a more sophisticated measurement tool and in a more rural sample, Study 2 found that, contrary to the exposure hypothesis, more frequent exposure to fire in childhood was associated with more positive psychological associations with fire. Potential reasons for the discrepancies between these results and earlier ethnographic reports, and their potential implications, are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, February 6, 2015

Entering the race

What Do I Need to Vote? Bureaucratic Discretion and Discrimination by Local Election Officials

Ariel White, Noah Nathan & Julie Faller
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do street-level bureaucrats discriminate in the services they provide to constituents? We use a field experiment to measure differential information provision about voting by local election administrators in the United States. We contact over 7,000 election officials in 48 states who are responsible for providing information to voters and implementing voter ID laws. We find that officials provide different information to potential voters of different putative ethnicities. Emails sent from Latino aliases are significantly less likely to receive any response from local election officials than non-Latino white aliases and receive responses of lower quality. This raises concerns about the effect of voter ID laws on access to the franchise and about bias in the provision of services by local bureaucrats more generally.

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True Colors: White Conservative Support for Minority Republican Candidates

M.V. Hood & Seth Mckee
Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although the vast majority of minority candidates run under the Democratic label and minority voters are more supportive of the Democratic Party, in recent years a nontrivial number of minority candidates have won Republican Party nominations in high-profile elections (i.e., governor and US Senate). In this study, we assess the level of support that white conservative voters give to minority Republican candidates. We are interested in seeing whether these voters are less supportive of the Grand Old Party (GOP) standard-bearer when the candidate is not white, since the vast majority of Republican candidates and Republican identifiers are non-Hispanic whites. Our data come from the 2006, 2010, and 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) surveys-election years with minority Republican nominees for governor and US Senate. Controlling for various factors, we consistently find that white conservatives are either more supportive of minority Republicans or just as likely to vote for a minority as they are a white Republican (a null result). Although we hesitate to dismiss the presence of racial prejudice in voting behavior, in the case of white conservatives our analyses suggest that the base of the GOP does not discriminate against minority nominees in high-profile contemporary general elections. At a minimum, the level of ideological polarization in American politics masks racially prejudiced voting behavior, and at a maximum, it renders it inoperable, because white conservatives view recent minority Republican nominees as at least as conservative as white GOP nominees and their level of support reflects this.

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Race and the Tea Party in the Old Dominion: Split-Ticket Voting in the 2013 Virginia Elections

M.V. Hood, Quentin Kidd & Irwin Morris
PS: Political Science & Politics, January 2015, Pages 107-114

Abstract:
In 2013, Virginia Republicans nominated two Tea Party conservatives for statewide office: Ken Cuccinelli and Earl Walker Jackson, Sr. They differed in two significant respects: (1) Cuccinelli has more political experience, and (2) Cuccinelli is white and Jackson is black. For this article, we used this quasi-experimental opportunity to examine the racial resentment explanation for Tea Party support. We found no evidence of voting patterns consistent with this characterization of Tea Party supporters. There was no significant gap between Tea Party support for Cuccinelli and Jackson, and Tea Party supporters were far more likely to cast ballots for both candidates than they were to choose one or the other. In fact, we found that racial resentment is positively associated with support for Jackson. In this election, neither Tea Party support nor racial resentment negatively affected support for the black Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

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Ailing voters advance attractive congressional candidates

Leslie Zebrowitz, Robert Franklin & Rocco Palumbo
Evolutionary Psychology, January 2015, Pages 16-28

Abstract:
Among many benefits of facial attractiveness, there is evidence that more attractive politicians are more likely to be elected. Recent research found this effect to be most pronounced in congressional districts with high disease threat - a result attributed to an adaptive disease avoidance mechanism, whereby the association of low attractiveness with poor health is particularly worrisome to voters who feel vulnerable to disease. We provided a more direct test of this explanation by examining the effects of individuals' own health and age. Supporting a disease avoidance mechanism, less healthy participants showed a stronger preference for more attractive contenders in U.S. Senate races than their healthier peers, and this effect was stronger for older participants, who were generally less healthy than younger participants. Stronger effects of health for older participants partly reflected the absence of positive bias toward attractive candidates among the healthiest, suggesting that healthy older adults may be unconcerned about disease threat or sufficiently wise to ignore attractiveness.

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How Do Voters Retrospectively Evaluate Wasteful Government Spending? Evidence from Individual-Level Disaster Relief

Jowei Chen & Andrew Healy
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
Why do voters often reward incumbents when they receive government spending? We develop a model in which distributive spending provides voters not just with a financial benefit, but also an opportunity to observe and judge the appropriateness of government decisions. Empirically, we test the model's predictions using individual-level data on FEMA disaster relief matched to voter turnout records, precinct-level election returns, and geographic data on hurricane severity. In accordance with the model, voters in areas experiencing severe hurricane conditions respond to the receipt of FEMA disaster aid with significantly higher turnout and electoral support for the incumbent administration. In contrast, voters show little response to aid in areas that experienced little damage and that audits identified as having received undeserved FEMA spending. Politicians thus appear to be constrained in their ability to use distributive spending to win elections since voters account for the merit of the aid they receive.

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The Air War versus The Ground Game: An Analysis of Multi-Channel Marketing in U.S. Presidential Elections

Doug Chung & Lingling Zhang
Harvard Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Firms increasingly use both mass-media advertising and targeted personal selling to successfully promote products and brands in the marketplace. In this study, we jointly examine the effect of mass-media advertising and personal selling in the context of U.S. presidential elections, where the former is referred to as the "air war" and the latter the "ground game." Specifically, we look at how different types of advertising ― candidates' own ads vs. outside ads ― and personal selling ― in the form of utilizing field offices ― affect voter preferences. Further, we ask how these various campaign activities affect the outcome of elections through their diverse effects on various types of people. We find that personal selling has a stronger effect among partisan voters, while candidates' own advertising is better received by non-partisans. We also find that personal selling accounted for the Democratic victories in the 2008 and 2012 elections and that advertising was critical only in a close election, such as the one in 2004. Interestingly, had the Democrats received more outside advertising in 2004, the election would have ended up in a 269-269 tie. Our findings generate insights on how to allocate resources across and within channels.

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Talking About Congress: The Limited Effect of Congressional Advertising on Congressional Approval

Krista Loose
MIT Working Paper, September 2014

Abstract:
Public opinion of Congress is historically low: approximately 15 percent expressed approval of the job Congress is doing in the latest Gallup poll (Jones 2014). While political science research has shed light on a variety of causes (Durr, Gilmour and Wolbrecht 1997; Hibbing and Theiss-Morse 1995; Ramirez 2009) and consequences (Jones and McDermott 2009; Lipinski 2004; Wolak 2007) of low congressional approval, many open questions remain. One classical explanation for the public's attitude is that members of Congress are critical of their own institution. Indeed, Fenno's (1978) classic statement that politicians run for Congress by running against Congress has long been taken as fact by both political scientists and practitioners. However, neither the actions of congressmen nor the public's reactions to such statements have been empirically tested in a thorough manner. This study combines new data on congressional advertising during the 2000s with survey data from the same period to speak directly to Fenno's conjectures. I find that candidates only mention Congress in approximately 9 percent of their advertisements, and many do so in a neutral way. Moreover, there do not appear to be strong or long-lasting effects on congressional approval as a result of such critical ads. These observational results are born out by an experiment where I show subjects one of three mock advertisements: one critical of Congress, one supportive of Congress, and one that does not mention Congress. Subjects viewing the ad supportive of Congress were less likely to support the ad sponsor relative to the control ad, but there were no effects of either treatment on respondent's attitudes toward Congress.

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Blue City.Red City? A Comparison of Competing Theories of Core County Outcomes in U.S. Presidential Elections, 2000-2012

Joshua Ambrosius
Journal of Urban Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
The Red/Blue dichotomy describing presidential elections, while criticized, is ubiquitous: Red states vote Republican, Blue states Democratic. Locally, suburban and rural counties are often Red, urban counties Blue. This overgeneralization misses the Republican share of urban centers. This study analyzes the 2000-2012 presidential elections in core counties of metropolitan areas with populations over 250,000. Possible explanations for urban election outcomes cover three theoretical groupings: sociodemographics, culture, and economics. Several prominent explanatory variables from each are compared. Changes from 2000-2004 to 2008-2012 are highlighted given the 2008 economic crash and President Obama's race and urban identity, which permitted him to cut President Bush's core county share in half. Regression analyses find that sociodemographic and cultural features account for most variation for all elections, while economic indicators add little explanatory power. In contrast to conventional thinking, economics mattered most in 2004, culture increased in importance in 2008-2012, and urban foreclosures positively influenced McCain in 2008.

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Preference Dynamics in the 2014 Congressional Midterm Elections

Costas Panagopoulos
The Forum, December 2014, Pages 729-737

Abstract:
The vote intentions of Americans experienced meaningful change over the course of the 2014 campaign, largely to the detriment of Democrats and in favor of the GOP. Vote intention trajectories generally followed sensible and predictable patterns, reflecting forces and developments that unfolded over the course of the campaign cycle. Specifically, changes in voter sentiments were fueled primarily by assessments about the president and, relatedly, about the condition of the national economy. Higher levels of Obama approval helped Democratic contenders over the course of the 2014 midterm cycle, while Republicans appeared to benefit from improvements in the economy. Political events and assessments of congressional performance were unrelated to vote intentions in 2014.

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Balancing Act? Testing a Theory of Split-Party U.S. Senate Delegations

Christopher Donnelly
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some states elect split-party U.S. Senate delegations? Fiorina (1992) suggests that his own "balancing" theory might account for the emergence of such opposite-party pairs of Senators. Due primarily to data limitations, previous empirical assessments of whether balancing can appropriately explain the emergence of mixed delegations in the Senate have been limited to aggregate-level analysis. This paper builds on previous scholarship by offering the first individual-level examination of whether balancing theory can appropriately explain divided Senate delegations. We find that individual-level balancing is limited and that when controlling for individual and contextual factors thought to influence vote choice, there is no discernible evidence that voters are considering the makeup of their state's overall Senate delegation when choosing between Senate candidates on offer. Ultimately, our results suggest that candidate-centered campaigns, heterogeneous electorates, and idiosyncratic electoral forces are better explanations for split-party Senate delegations than is any type of strategic, non-proximate voting on the part of citizens.

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National Service and Civic Engagement: A Natural Experiment

Ryan Garcia
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Nearly all studies that seek to uncover the effects of military service on the individual are plagued with the self-selection bias that comes with studying the all-volunteer force. To solve this problem, this paper takes advantage of the natural experiment afforded by the suspension of the French National Service program to produce unbiased causal analyses of the effect of national service on a range of civic engagement measures. Results generated using Instrumental Variables estimation indicate that there is little difference in individual-level civic engagement between service participants and their non-serving peers. However, when potential mediators are taken into account, the ensuing results imply that the substantial increase in the likelihood of having children associated with national service participation has a suppressive effect on service participants' overall level of civic engagement.

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The Effect of Political Uncertainty on the Cost of Corporate Debt

Maya Waisman, Pengfei Ye & Yun Zhu
Journal of Financial Stability, February 2015, Pages 106-117

Abstract:
In this paper we bring new empirical evidence that political uncertainty is associated with higher corporate debt financing costs. Controlling for all bond and firm characteristics that could affect a firm's cost of debt financing, the uncertainty associated with the outcome of US presidential elections leads to a 34 basis point increase in corporate bond spreads, with closer campaign years associated with additional costs. Similar results hold when we use the continuous measure of the Political Uncertainty Index by Baker, Bloom and Davis (2012). The uncertainty associated with gubernatorial elections, on the other hand, has no effect on the pricing of corporate bonds.

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Election administration and perceptions of fair elections

Shaun Bowler et al.
Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars of democracy proposes an important relationship between the quality of elections and democratic legitimacy, but there are few studies of how the conduct of elections affects perceptions of elections being fair. We examine how election administration and individual-level demographic traits affect public perceptions of fair elections in the US. Since administration of US elections is largely the responsibility of individual states we are able to exploit variation in the quality of how elections are conducted to assess effects of electoral administration on public perceptions. We find evidence that administrative performance is positively and significantly related to perceptions of elections being fair. Voter identification laws, in contrast, are not associated with greater confidence in elections. We also find some evidence that speaks to the limits of these findings, as individual-level factors such as partisanship and minority status have larger effects than administration on perceptions of electoral fairness.

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Interest Group Issue Appeals: Evidence of Issue Convergence in Senate and Presidential Elections, 2008-2014

Michael Franz
The Forum, December 2014, Pages 685-712

Abstract:
Interest groups now play a prominent role in the air war. Their collective investment in election campaigns has skyrocketed in the aftermath of Citizens United. Yet questions remain about whether interest group advertising affects the content of the specific issues being discussed. Do groups enter campaigns and engage voters on the same issues as their candidate allies? Or does the presence of more advertisers introduce competitive issue streams? This paper examines ad buys in Senate elections between 2008 and 2014 and the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. A primary goal of the paper is to uncover the effect of high and low levels of "issue convergence" on election outcomes. Strategists often express concern that too many voices on behalf of a candidate can weaken the impact of ads. One might expect that as convergence between a candidate and his or her allies goes up (meaning the issue content of the ad buys overlaps across advertisers), the impact of ads on votes will increase. Ad effects should be weaker when a candidate's ads discuss different issues from allied groups and party committees. The results, however, suggest that high rates of issue convergence are only weakly related to election outcomes (and not always in consistent ways).

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More Misinformed than Myopic: Economic Retrospections and the Voter's Time Horizon

Timothy Hellwig & Dani Marinova
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Retrospective voting is often considered representative democracy's saving grace. But just how long is the retrospective voter's time horizon? Do voters make decisions by taking into account evidence accruing over the policy maker's full term in office? Or do they rely on information from the recent past alone? We address these questions through a unique survey design which leverages real-world heterogeneity in economic outcomes prior to the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our findings do not support claims that voters are myopic. Although they are able to distinguish between short- and long-term benchmarks, voters are no more accurate in assessing the former than they are the latter. The choice of time horizon also has no consistent effect on the decision to hold the incumbent to account. Our results question assumptions of voter myopia, revealing voters to be more misinformed than short-sighted.

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Primary Elections and the Quality of Elected Officials

Shigeo Hirano & James Snyder
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2014, Pages 473-500

Abstract:
In this paper we argue that the literature underestimates the value of primaries because it focuses on overall average effects. We argue that primary elections are most needed in safe constituencies, where the advantaged party's candidate can usually win the general election even if she is low quality. If the main role of elections is to select good candidates, then advantaged party primaries in open seat races are particularly consequential. We provide evidence that these primaries are especially effective at selecting high quality types. This appears to be driven both by differences in the proportion of high quality candidates competing in the primaries and also by voter behavior.

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Competition and the Dynamics of Issue Convergence

Kevin Banda
American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Issue convergence theory suggests that candidates should respond to their opponents by discussing the same issues whereas issue divergence theory posits that candidates should instead ignore each other and discuss different issues. Recent studies tend to find evidence in favor of issue convergence, but these results may be inaccurate because the analyses that generated them tested dynamic campaign behavior using cross-sectional methods. Using a dynamic modeling strategy along with television advertising data drawn from 93 U.S. Senate campaigns in 44 states, 5 election years, and on 51 issues, I show that candidates increase the attention they devote to issues as their opponents' emphasis of these same issues increases and that candidates do so to a greater extent in competitive than in noncompetitive elections. This analysis is the first to account for the dynamic nature of issue emphasis and provides support for issue convergence theory.

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Incorporating Health into Studies of Political Behavior: Evidence for Turnout and Partisanship

Julianna Pacheco & Jason Fletcher
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
We argue that research on political behavior, including political participation, public opinion, policy responsiveness, and political inequality will be strengthened by studying the role of health. We then provide evidence that self-rated health status (SRHS) is associated with voter turnout and partisanship. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and General Social Survey (GSS), we find that people who report excellent health are more likely to vote and more likely to identify with the Republican Party. Moreover, the effects of health on voter turnout and partisanship appear to have both developmental and contemporaneous components. Taken together, our findings suggest that health inequalities may have significant political consequences.

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Electoral Consequences of Political Rumors: Motivated Reasoning, Candidate Rumors, and Vote Choice during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Brian Weeks & Kelly Garrett
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Winter 2014, Pages 401-422

Abstract:
Using national telephone survey data collected immediately after the 2008 U.S. presidential election (N = 600), this study examines real-world consequences of inaccurate political rumors. First, individuals more willingly believe negative rumors about a candidate from the opposing party than from their party. However, rumor rebuttals are uniformly effective and do not produce backfire effects. Second, the probability of voting for a candidate decreases when rumors about that candidate are believed, and believing rumors about an opposed candidate reinforces a vote for the preferred candidate. This belief-vote link is not a result of the spurious influence of party affiliation, as rumor belief uniquely contributes to vote choice. The evidence suggests political rumoring is not innocuous chatter but rather can have important electoral consequences.

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Disentangling the Personal and Partisan Incumbency Advantages: Evidence from Close Elections and Term Limits

Anthony Fowler & Andrew Hall
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Fall 2014, Pages 501-531

Abstract:
Although the scholarly literature on incumbency advantages focuses on personal advantages, the partisan incumbency advantage - the electoral benefit accruing to non-incumbent candidates by virtue of being from the incumbent party - is also an important electoral factor. Understanding this phenomenon is important for evaluating the role of parties vs. individuals in U.S. elections and the incentives of incumbents and their parties in the legislature, among other things. In this paper, we define the partisan incumbency advantage, explain its possible role in elections, and show how it confounds previous estimates of the personal incumbency advantage. We then exploit close elections in conjunction with term limits in U.S. state legislatures to separately estimate the personal and partisan incumbency advantages. The personal advantage is perhaps larger than previously thought, and the partisan advantage is indistinguishable from zero and possibly negative.

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Sponsorship, Disclosure, and Donors: Limiting the Impact of Outside Group Ads

Travis Ridout, Michael Franz & Erika Franklin Fowler
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how an attack ad's sponsorship conditions its effectiveness. We use data from a survey experiment that exposed participants to a fictional campaign ad. Treatments varied the ad's sponsor (candidate vs. group), the group's donor base (small donor vs. large donors), and the format of the donor disclosure (news reports vs. disclaimers in the ads). We find that ads sponsored by unknown groups are more effective than candidate-sponsored ads, but disclosure of donors reduces the influence of group advertising, leveling the playing field such that candidate- and group-sponsored attacks become equally effective. Increased disclosure does not, however, advantage small-donor groups over large-donor groups.

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Power to the People? Psychological Mechanisms of Disengagement From Direct Democracy

Ellie Shockley & Amir Shawn Fairdosi
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The goal of direct democracy is to bring power to change laws to ordinary citizens. However, it may alienate citizens because policy language is often complex, perhaps impacting citizens' voting likelihood and support for policies. We invoke theory on processing fluency and compensatory control motivations to explain voting likelihood and policy attitude formation. Using experiments and mediational analyses, we tested theorized links between policy language complexity and these outcomes. Findings suggest that policy language complexity motivates compensatory trust in policy institutions but this does not likely explain decreased voting likelihood. We also found that low processing fluency associated with reading a complexly worded policy or a policy presented in a disfluent font led to lower voting likelihood and less positive policy attitudes, consistent with predictions. Thus, the form direct democracy often takes manipulates the amount of support garnered for policies and ironically encourages citizens to outsource legislation to institutional elites.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Birthdays

Investigating Recent Trends in the U.S. Teen Birth Rate

Melissa Kearney & Phillip Levine
Journal of Health Economics, May 2015, Pages 15–29

Abstract:
We investigate trends in the U.S. rate of teen childbearing between 1981 and 2010, focusing specifically on the sizable decline since 1991. We focus on establishing the role of state-level demographic changes, economic conditions, and targeted policies in driving recent aggregate trends. We offer three main observations. First, the recent decline cannot be explained by the changing racial and ethnic composition of teens. Second, the only targeted policies that have had a statistically discernible impact on aggregate teen birth rates are declining welfare benefits and expanded access to family planning services through Medicaid, but these policies can account for only 12.6 percent of the observed decline since 1991. Third, higher unemployment rates lead to lower teen birth rates and can account for 16 percent of the decline in teen birth rates since the Great Recession began.

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Fertility and Childlessness in the United States

Thomas Baudin, David de la Croix & Paula Gobbi
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We develop a theory of fertility, distinguishing its intensive margin from its extensive margin. The deep parameters are identified using facts from the 1990 Census: (1) fertility of mothers decreases with education; (2) childlessness exhibits a U-shaped relationship with education; (3) the relationship between marriage rates and education is hump-shaped for women and increasing for men. We estimate that 2.5% of women were childless because of poverty and 8.1% because of high opportunity cost of childrearing. Over time, historical trends in total factor productivity and in education led to a U-shaped response in childlessness rates while fertility of mothers decreased.

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Health Insurance, Fertility, and the Wantedness of Pregnancies: Evidence from Massachusetts

Maria Apostolova-Mihaylova & Aaron Yelowitz
University of Kentucky Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
Health insurance reform in Massachusetts lowered the financial cost of both pregnancy (by increased coverage of pregnancy-related medical events) and pregnancy prevention (by increasing access to reliable contraception and family planning). We examine fertility responses for women of childbearing age in Massachusetts and, on net, find no effect from increasing health insurance coverage. This finding, however, masks substantial heterogeneity. For married women aged 20 to 34 – who have high latent fertility and for whom pregnancies are typically wanted – fertility increased by approximately 1 percent. For unmarried women in the same age range – for whom pregnancies are typically unwanted – fertility declined by 9 percent. Fertility rates changed very little for other groups, in part because of low latent fertility or minimal gains in insurance coverage. Pregnancy wantedness increased in the aggregate through a combination of increasing wanted births and decreasing unwanted births.

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The Quantity and Quality Adjustment of Births When Having More is Not Subsidized: The Effect of the TANF Family Cap on Fertility and Birth Weight

Ho-Po Crystal Wong
West Virginia University Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
The family cap policy that reduces or eliminates incremental welfare benefits for additional births born to mothers already on welfare provides a strong financial disincentive for pregnancy for women on welfare. Hypothetically welfare mothers might also substitute quality for quantity in response to the family cap policy. I study the long term effect of the policy on fertility and low weight births using state-level data from 1989-2012. I find that the policy reduces state level out-of-wedlock birth rate and low weight birth rate by at least 7.5 percent and 1.8 percent respectively. The evidence suggests that the family cap policy might not just produce a deterrent effect on non-marital childbearing but also a quality effect on childbearing: those births that actually occur are endowed with better health in terms of birth weight.

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Pregnancy Intentions, Maternal Behaviors, and Infant Health: Investigating Relationships With New Measures and Propensity Score Analysis

Kathryn Kost & Laura Lindberg
Demography, February 2015, Pages 83-111

Abstract:
The premise that unintended childbearing has significant negative effects on the behavior of mothers and on the health of infants strongly influences public health policy and much of current research on reproductive behaviors. Yet, the evidence base presents mixed findings. Using data from the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, we employ a measure of pregnancy intentions that incorporates the extent of mistiming, as well as the desire scale developed by Santelli et al. (Studies in Family Planning, 40, 87–100, 2009). Second, we examine variation in the characteristics of mothers within intention status groups. Third, we account for the association of mothers’ background characteristics with their pregnancy intentions and with the outcomes by employing propensity score weighting. We find that weighting eliminated statistical significance of many observed associations of intention status with maternal behaviors and birth outcomes, but not all. Mistimed and unwanted births were still less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy than intended ones. Fewer unwanted births received early prenatal care or were breast-fed, and unwanted births were also more likely than intended births to be of low birth weight. Relative to births at the highest level of the desire scale, all other births were significantly less likely to be recognized early in pregnancy and to receive early prenatal care.

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The unintended: Negative outcomes over the life cycle

Wanchuan Lin & Juan Pantano
Journal of Population Economics, April 2015, Pages 479-508

Abstract:
We quantify the impact of abortion legalization on the incidence of unintended births. While underlying much of the literature on abortion legalization, this effect had only been approximated by previous work. We find a strong decline in the prevalence of unintended births. Moreover, we find that this decline is mainly driven by “pro-choice” women. We then propose an empirical strategy to recover the effect of being “unintended” on life cycle outcomes. We use the differential timing of abortion legalization across states interacted with the mother’s religion (which facilitates or hinders legal abortion take up) to instrument for endogenous pregnancy intention. We find that being unintended causes negative outcomes (higher crime, lower schooling, lower earnings) over the life cycle. Our paper provides an initial step towards quantifying this key mechanism behind many of the well-documented long-term effects associated with changes in reproductive health policy.

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The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing Before Roe v Wade

Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using five cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth, we estimate the effect of teen motherhood on education, labor market, and marriage outcomes for teens conceiving from 1940 through 1968. Effects vary by marital status at conception, socioeconomic background, and year. Effects on teens married at conception were limited. However, teen mothers conceiving premaritally obtained less education and had a weaker marriage market. Teen mothers of the 1940s–1950s, affected by subsequent economic and social changes, were disadvantaged in the labor market of the 1970s. In the 1960s, teens for whom motherhood would be costly increasingly avoided pregnancy.

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Race-Ethnic Differences in the Non-marital Fertility Rates in 2006–2010

Yujin Kim & Kelly Raley
Population Research and Policy Review, February 2015, Pages 141-159

Abstract:
Research in the 1980s pointed to the lower marriage rates of blacks as an important factor contributing to race differences in non-marital fertility. Our analyses update and extend this prior work to investigate whether cohabitation has become an important contributor to this variation. We use data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth to identify the relative contribution of population composition (i.e., percent sexually active single and percent cohabiting) versus rates (pregnancy rates, post-conception marriage rates) to race-ethnic variation in non-marital fertility rates (N = 7,428). We find that the pregnancy rate among single (not cohabiting) women is the biggest contributor to race-ethnic variation in the non-marital fertility rate and that contraceptive use patterns among racial minorities explain the majority of the race-ethnic differences in pregnancy rates.

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Where Have All the Young Men Gone? Using Sex Ratios to Measure Fetal Death Rates

Nicholas Sanders & Charles Stoecker
Journal of Health Economics, May 2015, Pages 30–45

Abstract:
Fetal health is an important consideration in policy formation. Unfortunately, a complete census of fetal deaths, an important measure of overall fetal health, is infeasible, and available data are selectively observed. We consider this issue in the context of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 (CAAA), one of the largest and most influential environmental regulations in the history of the United States. We discuss a model of potential bias in measuring observed fetal deaths, and present the sex ratio of live births as an alternative fetal health endpoint, taking advantage of the finding that males are more vulnerable to side effects of maternal stress in utero. We find the CAAA caused substantial improvements in fetal health, in addition to previously identified reductions in post-natal mortality.

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Surrogate mothers 10 years on: A longitudinal study of psychological well-being and relationships with the parents and child

V. Jadva, S. Imrie & S. Golombok
Human Reproduction, February 2015, Pages 373-379

Study question: How do the psychological health and experiences of surrogate mothers change from 1 year to 10 years following the birth of the surrogacy child?

Study design, size, duration: This study used a prospective longitudinal design, in which 20 surrogates were seen at two time points: 1 year following the birth of the surrogacy child and 10 years later.

Participants/materials, setting, methods: The 20 surrogates (representing 59% of the original sample) participated in a semi-structured interview and completed self-report questionnaires. Eleven surrogates were gestational carriers and nine surrogates had used their own oocyte (genetic surrogacy). Four were previously known to the intended parents and 16 were previously not known.

Main results and the role of chance: Ten years following the birth of the surrogacy child, surrogate mothers scored within the normal range for self-esteem and did not show signs of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory. Marital quality remained positive over time. All surrogates reported that their expectations of their relationship with the intended parents had been either met or exceeded and most reported positive feelings towards the child. In terms of expectations for the future, most surrogates reported that they would like to maintain contact or would be available to the child if the child wished to contact them. None expressed regrets about their involvement in surrogacy.

Wider implications of the findings: Contrary to concerns about the potentially negative long-term effect of surrogacy, the findings suggest that surrogacy can be a positive experience for some women at least. These findings are important for policy and practice of surrogacy around the world.

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Understanding Heterogeneity in the Effects of Birth Weight on Adult Cognition and Wages

Justin Cook & Jason Fletcher
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
A large economics literature has shown long term impacts of birth weight on adult outcomes, including IQ and earnings that are often robust to sibling or twin fixed effects. We examine potential mechanisms underlying these effects by incorporating findings from the genetics and neuroscience literatures. We use a sample of siblings combined with an “orchids and dandelions hypothesis”, where the IQ of genetic dandelions is not affected by in utero nutrition variation but genetic orchids thrive under advantageous conditions and wilt in poor conditions. Indeed, using variation in three candidate genes related to neuroplasticity (APOE, BDNF, and COMT), we find substantial heterogeneity in the associations between birth weight and adult outcomes, where part of the population (i.e., “dandelions”) is not affected by birth weight variation. Our results help uncover why birth weight affects adult outcomes.

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Genotype × Cohort Interaction on Completed Fertility and Age at First Birth

Daniel Briley, Paige Harden & Elliot Tucker-Drob
Behavior Genetics, January 2015, Pages 71-83

Abstract:
Microevolutionary projections use empirical estimates of genetic covariation between physical or psychological phenotypes and reproductive success to forecast changes in the population distributions of those phenotypes over time. The validity of these projections depends on relatively consistent heritabilities of fertility-relevant outcomes and consistent genetic covariation between fertility and other physical or psychological phenotypes across generations. However, well-documented, rapidly changing mean trends in the level and timing of fertility may have been accompanied by differences in the genetic mechanisms of fertility. Using a sample of 933 adult twin pairs from the Midlife Development in the United States study, we demonstrate that genetic influences on completed fertility and age at first birth were trivial for the 1920–1935 birth cohort, but rose substantially for the 1936–1955 birth cohort. For the 1956–1970 birth cohort, genetic influences on completed fertility, but not age at first birth, persisted. Because the heritability of fertility is subject to change dynamically with the social context, it is difficult to project selection pressures or the rate at which selection will occur.

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Social Discrimination, Stress, and Risk of Unintended Pregnancy Among Young Women

Kelli Stidham Hall et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, forthcoming

Purpose: Prior research linking young women's mental health to family planning outcomes has often failed to consider their social circumstances and the intersecting biosocial mechanisms that shape stress and depression as well as reproductive outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood. We extend our previous work to investigate relationships between social discrimination, stress and depression symptoms, and unintended pregnancy among adolescent and young adult women.

Methods: Data were drawn from 794 women aged 18–20 years in a longitudinal cohort study. Baseline and weekly surveys assessed psychosocial information including discrimination (Everyday Discrimination Scale), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression Scale), and reproductive outcomes. Multilevel, mixed-effects logistic regression and discrete-time hazard models estimated associations between discrimination, mental health, and pregnancy. Baron and Kenny's method was used to test mediation effects of stress and depression on discrimination and pregnancy.

Results: The mean discrimination score was 19/45 points; 20% reported moderate/high discrimination. Discrimination scores were higher among women with stress and depression symptoms versus those without symptoms (21 vs. 18 points for both, p < .001). Pregnancy rates (14% overall) were higher among women with moderate/high (23%) versus low (11%) discrimination (p < .001). Discrimination was associated with stress (adjusted relative risk ratio, [aRR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4–3.4), depression (aRR, 2.4; CI, 1.5–3.7), and subsequent pregnancy (aRR, 1.8; CI, 1.1–3.0). Stress and depression symptoms did not mediate discrimination's effect on pregnancy.

Conclusions: Discrimination was associated with an increased risk of mental health symptoms and unintended pregnancy among these young women. The interactive social and biological influences on reproductive outcomes during adolescence and young adulthood warrant further study.

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Evidence of Self-correction of Child Sex Ratios in India: A District-Level Analysis of Child Sex Ratios From 1981 to 2011

Nadia Diamond-Smith & David Bishai
Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sex ratios in India have become increasingly imbalanced over the past decades. We hypothesize that when sex ratios become very uneven, the shortage of girls will increase girls’ future value, leading sex ratios to self-correct. Using data on children under 5 from the last four Indian censuses, we examine the relationship between the sex ratio at one point in time and the change in sex ratio over the next 10 years by district. Fixed-effects models show that when accounting for unobserved district-level characteristics — including total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, percentage literate, percentage rural, percentage scheduled caste, percentage scheduled tribe, and a time trend variable — sex ratios are significantly negatively correlated with the change in sex ratio in the successive 10-year period. This suggests that self-corrective forces are at work on imbalanced sex ratios in India.

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Solar activity at birth predicted infant survival and women's fertility in historical Norway

Gine Roll Skjærvø, Frode Fossøy & Eivin Røskaft
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 22 February 2015

Abstract:
Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can suppress essential molecular and cellular mechanisms during early development in living organisms and variations in solar activity during early development may thus influence their health and reproduction. Although the ultimate consequences of UVR on aquatic organisms in early life are well known, similar studies on terrestrial vertebrates, including humans, have remained limited. Using data on temporal variation in sunspot numbers and individual-based demographic data (N = 8662 births) from Norway between 1676 and 1878, while controlling for maternal effects, socioeconomic status, cohort and ecology, we show that solar activity (total solar irradiance) at birth decreased the probability of survival to adulthood for both men and women. On average, the lifespans of individuals born in a solar maximum period were 5.2 years shorter than those born in a solar minimum period. In addition, fertility and lifetime reproductive success (LRS) were reduced among low-status women born in years with high solar activity. The proximate explanation for the relationship between solar activity and infant mortality may be an effect of folate degradation during pregnancy caused by UVR. Our results suggest that solar activity at birth may have consequences for human lifetime performance both within and between generations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Management scorecard

Managers’ External Social Ties at Work: Blessing or Curse for the Firm?

Leif Brandes, Marc Brechot & Egon Franck
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2015, Pages 203–216

Abstract:
Existing evidence shows that decision makers’ social ties to internal co-workers can lead to reduced firm performance. In this paper, we show that decision makers’ social ties to external transaction partners can also hurt firm performance. Specifically, we use 34 years of data from the National Basketball Association and study the relationship between a team's winning percentage and its use of players that the manager acquired through social ties to former employers in the industry. We find that teams with “tie-hired-players” underperform teams without tie-hired-players by 5 percent. This effect is large enough to change the composition of teams that qualify for the playoffs. Importantly, we show that adverse selection of managers and teams into the use of tie-hiring procedures cannot fully explain this finding. Additional evidence suggests instead that managers deliberately trade-off private, tie-related benefits against team performance.

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Are Sunk Costs Irrelevant? Evidence from Playing Time in the National Basketball Association

Daniel Leeds, Michael Leeds & Akira Motomura
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use playing time in the National Basketball Association to investigate whether sunk costs affect decision making. Behavioral economics implies that teams favor players chosen in the lottery and first round of the draft because of the greater financial and psychic commitment to them. Neoclassical economics implies that only current performance matters. We build on previous work in two ways. First, we better capture potential playing time by accounting for time lost to injuries or suspension. Second, we use regression discontinuity to capture changes when a player's draft position crosses thresholds. We find that teams allocate no more time to highly drafted players.

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Which comes first, organizational culture or performance? A longitudinal study of causal priority with automobile dealerships

Anthony Boyce et al.
Journal of Organizational Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research supports a link between organizational culture and performance but generally falls short of establishing causality or determining the direction of a culture–performance (C-P) relationship. Using data collected from 95 franchise automobile dealerships over 6 years, we studied longitudinal culture–performance relationships to determine whether culture or performance has causal priority, or alternatively, whether a reciprocal relationship exists. Results from cross-lagged panel analyses indicate that culture “comes first,” consistently predicting subsequent ratings of customer satisfaction and vehicle sales. Furthermore, the positive effect of culture on vehicle sales is fully mediated by customer satisfaction ratings.

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Experiential and Social Learning in Firms: The Case of Hydraulic Fracturing in the Bakken Shale

Thomas Covert
University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2014

Abstract:
Learning how to utilize new technologies is a key step in innovation, yet little is known about how firms actually learn. This paper examines firms’ learning behavior using data on their operational choices, profits, and information sets. I study companies using hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation, where firms must learn the relationship between fracking input use and oil production. Using a new dataset that covers every well since the introduction of fracking to this formation, I find that firms made more profitable input choices over time, but did so slowly and incompletely, only capturing 67% of possible profits from fracking at the end of 2011. To understand what factors may have limited learning, I estimate a model of fracking input use in the presence of technology uncertainty. Firms are more likely to make fracking input choices with higher expected profits and lower standard deviation of profits, consistent with passive learning but not active experimentation. Most firms over-weight their own information relative to observable information generated by others. These results suggest the existence of economically important frictions in the learning process.

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Timing of Kindness – Evidence from a Field Experiment

Axel Ockenfels, Dirk Sliwka & Peter Werner
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, March 2015, Pages 79–87

Abstract:
We conduct a field experiment in a naturally occurring labor environment and track whether the performance of workers responds to unexpected wage increases. Specifically, we investigate how the timing of wage increases affects efforts. We find that workers’ performance is substantially higher for the same total wage when their wage is increased in two steps as opposed to a single increase at the outset. Moreover, workers are more honest and are more willing to do voluntary extra work after surprising wage increases compared to a baseline condition without increases.

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Capability Erosion Dynamics

Hazhir Rahmandad & Nelson Repenning
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
The notion of capability is widely invoked to explain differences in organizational performance and research shows that strategically relevant capabilities can be both built and lost. However, while capability development is widely studied, capability erosion has not been integrated into our understanding of performance heterogeneity. To understand erosion, we study two software development organizations that experienced diverging capability trajectories despite similar organizational and technological settings. Building a simulation-based theory, we identify the adaptation trap, a mechanism through which managerial learning can lead to capability erosion: well-intentioned efforts by managers to search locally for the optimal workload balance lead them to systematically overload their organization and, thereby, cause capabilities to erode. The analysis of our model informs when capability erosion is likely and strategically relevant.

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Estimating Management Practice Complementarity between Decentralization and Performance Pay

Bryan Hong, Lorenz Kueng & Mu-Jeung Yang
NBER Working Paper, January 2015

Abstract:
The existence of complementarity across management practices has been proposed as one potential explanation for the persistence of firm-level productivity differences. However, thus far no conclusive population-level tests of the complementary joint adoption of management practices have been conducted. Using unique detailed data on internal organization, occupational composition, and firm performance for a nationally representative sample of firms in the Canadian economy, we exploit regional variation in income tax progression as an instrument for the adoption of performance pay. We find systematic evidence for the complementarity of performance pay and decentralization of decision-making from principals to employees. Furthermore, in response to the adoption of performance pay, we find a concentration of decision-making at the level of managerial employees, as opposed to a general movement towards more decentralization throughout the organization. Finally, we find that adoption of performance pay is related to other types of organizational restructuring, such as greater use of outsourcing, Total Quality Management, re-engineering, and a reduction in the number of layers in the hierarchy.

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Moneyball Revisited: Effort and Team Performance in Professional Soccer

Daniel Weimar & Pamela Wicker
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In Moneyball, the assumption was made that the baseball labor market undervalues specific player skills. This study investigates whether this is also the case for player effort in professional soccer which had no significant effect on players’ market values in previous research. Specifically, it examines the effect of effort on team performance in soccer using team-game day data from three seasons (N = 1,514) of the German Bundesliga. Two effort measures are applied: (1) total distance run and (2) number of intensive runs (>20 km/hr) per player and per match. The results of probit models show that both effort measures have a significant positive effect on whether the observed team won the observed match in separate estimations. In the full model, only the effect of running distance remains positive, while intensive runs become negative. Given the insignificant effect of effort on players’ market values in previous research, we suggest that there may be a Moneyball phenomenon in soccer in the sense that the soccer labor market undervalues running distance. The findings imply that decision makers in professional soccer should consult player statistics to a greater extent.

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The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organization

Nicholas Bloom et al.
Management Science, December 2014, Pages 2859-2885

Abstract:
Guided by theories of “management by exception,” we study the impact of information and communication technology on worker and plant manager autonomy and span of control. The theory suggests that information technology is a decentralizing force, whereas communication technology is a centralizing force. Using a new data set of American and European manufacturing firms, we find indeed that better information technologies (enterprise resource planning (ERP) for plant managers and computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacturing for production workers) are associated with more autonomy and a wider span of control, whereas technologies that improve communication (like data intranets) decrease autonomy for workers and plant managers. Using instrumental variables (distance from ERP’s place of origin and heterogeneous telecommunication costs arising from regulation) strengthens our results.

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Optimal Tolerance for Failure

Caspar Siegert & Piers Trepper
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2015, Pages 41–55

Abstract:
We consider the problem of an employer who has to choose whether to reemploy agents with a positive track record or agents who were unsuccessful. While previously successful managers are likely to be of high ability, they have also accumulated wealth and will be harder to motivate in the future. It may hence be optimal to retain unsuccessful managers but not successful ones. The result that the optimal tenure of a manager may not be increasing in his success is consistent with empirical studies that find a low correlation between firm success and managerial turnover.

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The Promise and Problems of Organizational Culture: CEO Personality, Culture, and Firm Performance

Charles O’Reilly et al.
Group & Organization Management, December 2014, Pages 595-625

Abstract:
Studies of organizational culture are almost always based on two assumptions: (a) Senior leaders are the prime determinant of the culture, and (b) culture is related to consequential organizational outcomes. Although intuitively reasonable and often accepted as fact, the empirical evidence for these is surprisingly thin, and the results are quite mixed. Almost no research has jointly investigated these assumptions and how they are linked. The purpose of this article is to empirically link CEO personality to culture and organizational culture to objective measures of firm performance. Using data from respondents in 32 high-technology companies, we show that CEO personality affects a firm’s culture and that culture is subsequently related to a broad set of organizational outcomes including a firm’s financial performance (revenue growth, Tobin’s Q), reputation, analysts’ stock recommendations, and employee attitudes. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research on organizational culture.

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Rose colored webcam: Discrepancies in personality estimates and interview performance ratings

Joseph Castro & Richard Gramzow
Personality and Individual Differences, February 2015, Pages 202–207

Abstract:
Companies increasingly use computer-controlled interviews as a less expensive and more efficient way to screen job applicants. Despite these advantages, this interview format may prevent evaluators from accurately judging an applicant’s personality traits, which, in turn, may influence hiring decisions. Two traits in particular, agreeableness and conscientiousness, have been found to predict performance in many occupational settings. In the current research, participants randomly were assigned to either a face-to-face (FTF) or computer-controlled (CC) mock job interview. Interviewees were rated by external observers as higher in conscientiousness and agreeableness when the interview was CC rather than FTF. In addition, observers rated interview performance more positively than did the interviewees themselves – particularly when the interview was CC. Finally, the discrepancy between self and observer judgments of the interviewees’ personality (in terms of agreeableness and conscientiousness) mediated the relation between interview format and the discrepancy between self and observer ratings of interview performance. These findings suggest that CC interviews have the potential to yield overly positive evaluations of interviewees, thereby biasing personality judgments and estimations of ultimate job performance.

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Does Seeing "Eye To Eye" Affect Work Engagement and OCB? A Role Theory Perspective on LMX Agreement

Fadel Matta et al.
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite meta-analytic evidence demonstrating that leader-member exchange (LMX) agreement (consensus between leader and subordinate perceptions) is only moderate at best, research on LMX typically examines this relationship from only one perspective (either the leader's or the subordinate's). We return to the roots of LMX and utilize role theory to argue that agreement in leader and subordinate perceptions of LMX quality has meaningful effects on employee motivation and behavior. In a polynomial regression analysis of 280 leader-subordinate dyads, employee work engagement (and subsequent organizational citizenship behavior [OCB]) was maximized (at each level of LMX quality) when leaders and subordinates were in agreement as to the quality of their LMX relationship, but these outcomes suffered when they did not see "eye to eye." Indeed, situations where leaders and subordinates both evaluated their relationship as low quality were associated with higher work engagement (and subsequent OCB) compared to situations of disagreement where only one member evaluated their relationship as high quality. Further, this effect was consistent regardless of whether leaders or subordinates evaluated the relationship highly. We conclude that to fully understand the implications of our only dyadic leadership theory, one must consider the perspectives of both members of the LMX dyad simultaneously.

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Revenue sharing and within-team payroll inequality in Major League Baseball

Nicholas Jolly
Applied Economics Letters, Winter 2015, Pages 80-85

Abstract:
Using data from the 2000 to 2012 Major League Baseball seasons, this article investigates how changes to revenue sharing in the 2007 collective bargaining agreement altered within-team payroll inequality. Results indicate that inequality within teams decreased after the 2007 bargaining agreement. This reduced inequity is concentrated among those teams that were already experiencing relatively higher levels of inequality. This indicates that changes to revenue sharing should help increase competitive balance within the league. Additionally, the reduction in inequality occurs only among hitters and not pitchers. These results highlight how collective bargaining can have heterogeneous effects on groups of workers despite there being no requirement of differential treatment.

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Risk-Averse Team Owners and Players’ Salaries in Major League Baseball

Anthony Krautmann
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article looks at the role an owner’s attitude toward risk plays in his salary bids for free agents in Major League Baseball. We show that risk-averse owners will pay a premium for consistency on the field. Our empirical results are consistent with the hypothesis that a free agent’s contract terms are negatively related to the degree of variability in his performance. To the extent that our results carry over to all players, this suggests a heretofore unrecognized factor affecting the market for talent in professional sports.

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Predicting the draft and career success of tight ends in the National Football League

Jason Mulholland & Shane Jensen
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, December 2014, Pages 381–396

Abstract:
National Football League teams have complex drafting strategies based on college and combine performance that are intended to predict success in the NFL. In this paper, we focus on the tight end position, which is seeing growing importance as the NFL moves towards a more passing-oriented league. We create separate prediction models for 1. the NFL Draft and 2. NFL career performance based on data available prior to the NFL Draft: college performance, the NFL combine, and physical measures. We use linear regression and recursive partitioning decision trees to predict both NFL draft order and NFL career success based on this pre-draft data. With both modeling approaches, we find that the measures that are most predictive of NFL draft order are not necessarily the most predictive measures of NFL career success. This finding suggests that we can improve upon current drafting strategies for tight ends. After factoring the salary cost of drafted players into our analysis in order to predict tight ends with the highest value, we find that size measures (BMI, weight, height) are over-emphasized in the NFL draft.

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Are All Spillovers Created Equal? A Network Perspective on IT Labor Movements

Lynn Wu, Fujie Jin & Lorin Hitt
University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, November 2014

Abstract:
This study aims to understand how characteristics of a labor flow network affect firm productivity using an inter-firm hiring network constructed from individual job histories. We separate IT-labor from non-IT labor and use the network measures constructed from the two types of labor flow to evaluate how they affect firm performance. We find that hiring IT workers from a diverse set of firms can substantially improve firm productivity, which is likely due to the diverse and non-redundant information provided in a network with high diversity. Interestingly, we find that the opposite is true for hiring non-IT labor. Having a cohesive network of non-IT labor hires allows frequent and repeated exposure to a common knowledge base is instrumental for implementing complementary organizational practices that are often complex and tacit. Together, these results demonstrate the importance of incorporating a network perspective in understanding the full impact of spillover effects from organizational hiring activities.

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Diabolical dictators or capable commanders? An investigation of the differential effects of autocratic leadership on team performance

Annebel De Hoogh, Lindred Greer & Deanne Den Hartog
Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Autocratic leader behavior is often seen as negative for team morale and performance. However, theories on social hierarchy suggest that autocratic leadership may also positively affect morale and performance through the creation of a psychologically appealing, hierarchically-ordered environment of predictability and security. We propose that autocratic leadership can foster team psychological safety when team members accept the hierarchy within the team. In contrast, when members challenge the hierarchy and engage in intrateam power struggles, autocratic leaders' centralizing power behaviors will clash with team members' competition for power and frustrate members, impairing psychological safety and performance. We find support for these ideas in a study of 60 retail outlets (225 employees and their managers) in the financial services industry. As expected, when team power struggles were low, autocratic leadership was positively related to team psychological safety, and thereby indirectly positively related to team performance. When team power struggles were high, autocratic leadership was negatively related to team psychological safety and thereby indirectly negatively related to team performance. These effects were also found when controlling for leader consideration.

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There Are Lots of Big Fish in This Pond: The Role of Peer Overqualification on Task Significance, Perceived Fit, and Performance for Overqualified Employees

Jia Hu et al.
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has uncovered mixed results regarding the influence of overqualification on employee performance outcomes, suggesting the existence of boundary conditions for such an influence. Using relative deprivation theory (Crosby, 1976) as the primary theoretical basis, in the current research, we examine the moderating role of peer overqualification and provide insights to the questions regarding whether, when, and how overqualification relates to employee performance. We tested the theoretical model with data gathered across three phases over 6 months from 351 individuals and their supervisors in 72 groups. Results showed that when working with peers whose average overqualification level was high, as opposed to low, employees who felt overqualified for their jobs perceived greater task significance and person-group fit, and demonstrated higher levels of in-role and extra-role performance. We discuss theoretical and managerial implications for overqualification at the individual level and within the larger group context.

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Competitive in the lab, successful in the field?

Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
A number of lab experiments in recent years have analyzed people's willingness to compete. But to what extent is competitive behavior in the lab associated with field choices and outcomes? We address this question in a setting of entrepreneurship, where we combine lab evidence on competitiveness with field evidence on investment, employment, profit, and sales. We find strong evidence that competitiveness in the lab is positively associated with competitive choices in the field (investment and employment) and weaker, but suggestive, evidence of a positive link to successful field outcomes (profit and sales). Other non-cognitive skills measured in the lab, including risk- and time preferences and confidence, and cognitive skills are less consistently associated with the field variables. Our findings suggest that the willingness to compete in the lab identifies an important entrepreneurial trait that shapes the entrepreneur's field choices and to some extent also field outcomes.

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Multinationality and opaqueness

Tom Aabo, Christos Pantzalis & Jung Chul Park
Journal of Corporate Finance, February 2015, Pages 65–84

Abstract:
We investigate whether and how multinationality affects the opaqueness of the firm. We use multiple alternative measurements of multinationality and opaqueness. Spanning nearly three decades for a large sample of US non-financial firms, we find a statistically and economically significant, positive relationship between multinationality and opaqueness. We find that this positive relationship hinges on whether or not the degree of foreign involvement is compatible with the structure of the firm's foreign operations network. Our results imply that multinationality's impact on opaqueness is alleviated when there is harmony between the size of foreign involvement and the extent of the MNC network's geographic dispersion. Previous literature has implicitly assumed a simple, positive relationship. This is the first study to explicitly address the question in a comprehensive manner.

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Regulatory fit theory at work: Prevention focus' primacy in safe food production

Ernest Park, Verlin Hinsz & Gary Nickell
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The food-processing industry emphasizes employee compliance to food-safety standards to prevent distribution of contaminated foods. Regulatory fit theory was tested to examine the applicability of self-regulation constructs as potential components of person-job fit. In contexts emphasizing safety, workers higher in prevention should experience greater person-job fit, thus prevention focus should relate to desirable outcomes. Poultry-processing workers (n = 180) completed a work-related regulatory focus scale as part of a survey including a set of outcome measures. Consistent with theory, prevention focus scores related to self-reported positive work outcomes (job effectiveness, satisfaction, efficacy, enjoyment, involvement), and relationships were statistically mediated by perceived regulatory fit. Results have implications for selection practices and suggest ways work can be structured to enhance job performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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