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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Proud Parents


Spending on Daughters Versus Sons in Economic Recessions

Kristina Durante et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although parents often try not to favor one child, we examine whether specific environmental factors might bias parents to favor children of one sex over the other. This research draws on theory in evolutionary biology suggesting that investment in female versus male offspring depends on resource availability. Applying this to consumers, a series of experiments show that poor economic conditions favor resource allocations to daughters over sons. For example, poor conditions led people to bequeath more assets to girls in their will, and to choose girls to receive a U.S. Treasury bond and a beneficial extracurricular activity. It is proposed that this happens because spending on children represents a reproductive investment, and that boys' and girls' relative reproductive value varies with economic conditions. Supporting this account, perceptions of which child will have more children statistically mediates the effect of economic conditions on preferences for girls. Consequently, the effect is strengthened as a child approaches reproductive age, and is moderated by individual differences (risk aversion and monogamy) directly related to our theoretical model. This research contributes to the consumer behavior literature by revealing how, why, and when environmental factors influence spending on girls versus boys.

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Effect of Joint Custody Laws on Children's Future Labor Market Outcomes

Abhradeep Maiti
International Review of Law and Economics, August 2015, Pages 22-31

Abstract:
In a joint custody regime, both parents are given equal preference by the court while granting the custodial rights of their children in the event of divorce. Using 50 years of census data for the United States' population, I show that growing up in a joint custody regime leads to lower educational attainment and worse labor market outcomes. My results are robust to different model specifications and apply to both males and females.

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Family Structure Instability, Genetic Sensitivity, and Child Well-Being

Colter Mitchell et al.
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1195-1225

Abstract:
The association between family structure instability and children's life chances is well documented, with children reared in stable, two-parent families experiencing more favorable outcomes than children in other family arrangements. This study examines father household entrances and exits, distinguishing between the entrance of a biological father and a social father and testing for interactions between family structure instability and children's age, gender, and genetic characteristics. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and focusing on changes in family structure by age (years 0-9), the authors show that father exits are associated with increases in children's antisocial behavior, a strong predictor of health and well-being in adulthood. The pattern for father entrances is more complicated, with entrances for the biological father being associated with lower antisocial behavior among boys and social father entrances being associated with higher antisocial behavior. Child's age does not moderate the association; however, genetic information in the models sharpens the findings substantially.

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Behavioral Resemblance and Paternal Investment: Which Features of the Chip off the Old Block Count?

Gordon Gallup et al.
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The high cost of being cuckolded has been a source of a strong selective pressure on reproductive competition among human males. Although evidence for preferential investment in offspring based on paternal resemblance is well established, men may have undergone selective pressure to take into account behavioral resemblance as well. We tested this hypothesis using 277 undergraduate university students who responded to an anonymous survey about how they were treated by their father and their physical and behavioral resemblance to him. We replicated the effect of physical resemblance on paternal investment, and found that behavioral resemblance accounted for even more variance in paternal investment than physical resemblance. Furthermore, mediation analyses revealed that both physical resemblance and behavioral resemblance acted primarily by improving relationship quality between the child and the father. These findings are considered in relation to an attempt to develop more detailed analytical categories of paternity assurance tactics (Gallup & Burch, 2006).

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Residential Mobility During Adolescence: Do Even "Upward" Moves Predict Dropout Risk?

Molly Metzger et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to investigate the impact of housing instability in adolescence on the likelihood of subsequent graduation from high school. Combining census data, self-reports, and information about respondents' residential changes, we use the variation in the number of moves and neighborhood quality to predict whether participants obtain a high school diploma. Controlling for major predictors of housing mobility, students experiencing at least one move over a 12-month period have a roughly 50% decreased likelihood of obtaining a high school diploma by the age of 25. These associations are identified regardless of whether students move to a poorer or less-poor neighborhood. Our results carry implications for the development of housing policies and interventions designed for disadvantaged populations.

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Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies

Tinca Polderman et al.
Nature Genetics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite a century of research on complex traits in humans, the relative importance and specific nature of the influences of genes and environment on human traits remain controversial. We report a meta-analysis of twin correlations and reported variance components for 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications including 14,558,903 partly dependent twin pairs, virtually all published twin studies of complex traits. Estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%. For a majority (69%) of traits, the observed twin correlations are consistent with a simple and parsimonious model where twin resemblance is solely due to additive genetic variation. The data are inconsistent with substantial influences from shared environment or non-additive genetic variation. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the causes of individual differences in human traits thus far and will guide future gene-mapping efforts. All the results can be visualized using the MaTCH webtool.

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Parental Separation, Parental Alcoholism, and Timing of First Sexual Intercourse

Mary Waldron et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2015, Pages 550-556

Purpose: We examined timing of first voluntary sexual intercourse as a joint function of parental separation during childhood and parental history of alcoholism.

Methods: Data were drawn from a birth cohort of female like-sex twins (n = 569 African ancestry [AA]; n = 3,415 European or other ancestry [EA]). Cox proportional hazards regression was conducted predicting age at first sex from dummy variables coding for parental separation and parental alcoholism. Propensity score analysis was also employed to compare intact and separated families, stratified by predicted probability of separation.

Results: Earlier sex was reported by EA twins from separated and alcoholic families, compared to EA twins from intact nonalcoholic families, with effects most pronounced through the age of 14 years. Among AA twins, effects of parental separation and parental alcoholism were largely nonsignificant. Results of propensity score analyses confirmed unique risks from parental separation in EA families, where consistent effects of parental separation were observed across predicted probability of separation. For AA families, there was poor matching on risk factors presumed to predate separation, which limited interpretability of survival-analytic findings.

Conclusions: In European American families, parental separation during childhood is an important predictor of early-onset sex, beyond parental alcoholism and other correlated risk factors. To characterize risk for African Americans associated with parental separation, additional research is needed where matching on confounders can be achieved.

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Increases in Maternal Education and Low-Income Children's Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes

Jessica Harding
Developmental Psychology, May 2015, Pages 583-599

Abstract:
Although the strong link between maternal education and children's outcomes is one of the most well-established findings in developmental psychology (Reardon, 2011; Sirin, 2005), less is known about how young, low-income children are influenced by their mothers completing additional education. In this research, longitudinal data from the Head Start Impact Study were used to explore the associations between increases in maternal education and Head Start eligible children's cognitive skills and behavioral problems in 1st grade. Propensity score weighting was used to identify a balanced comparison group of 1,362 children whose mothers did not increase their education between baseline (when children were aged 3 or 4) and children's kindergarten year, who are similar on numerous covariates to the 262 children whose mothers did increase their education. Propensity-score weighted regression analyses indicated that increases in maternal education were positively associated with children's standardized cognitive scores, but also with higher teacher-reported externalizing behavioral problems in 1st grade. The increases in externalizing behavioral problems were larger for children whose mothers had less than a college degree at baseline.

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Childhood social inequalities influences neural processes in young adult caregiving

Pilyoung Kim et al.
Developmental Psychobiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Childhood poverty is associated with harsh parenting with a risk of transmission to the next generation. This prospective study examined the relations between childhood poverty and non-parent adults' neural responses to infant cry sounds. While no main effects of poverty were revealed in contrasts of infant cry versus acoustically matched white noise, a gender by childhood poverty interaction emerged. In females, childhood poverty was associated with increased neural activations in the posterior insula, striatum, calcarine sulcus, hippocampus, and fusiform gyrus, while, in males, childhood poverty was associated with reduced levels of neural responses to infant cry in the same regions. Irrespective of gender, neural activation in these regions was associated with higher levels of annoyance with the cry sound and reduced desire to approach the crying infant. The findings suggest gender differences in neural and emotional responses to infant cry sounds among young adults growing up in poverty.

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Birth Order and Mortality: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Kieron Barclay & Martin Kolk
Demography, April 2015, Pages 613-639

Abstract:
This study uses Swedish population register data to investigate the relationship between birth order and mortality at ages 30 to 69 for Swedish cohorts born between 1938 and 1960, using a within-family comparison. The main analyses are conducted with discrete-time survival analysis using a within-family comparison, and the estimates are adjusted for age, mother's age at the time of birth, and cohort. Focusing on sibships ranging in size from two to six, we find that mortality risk in adulthood increases with later birth order. The results show that the relative effect of birth order is greater among women than among men. This pattern is consistent for all the major causes of death but is particularly pronounced for mortality attributable to cancers of the respiratory system and to external causes. Further analyses in which we adjust for adult socioeconomic status and adult educational attainment suggest that social pathways only mediate the relationship between birth order and mortality risk in adulthood to a limited degree.

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Maternal Education and the Link Between Birth Timing and Children's School Readiness

Jennifer March Augustine et al.
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This study explored whether mothers' education magnified any benefits that waiting until older ages to have children might have for their children's educational careers.

Methods: Multiple-group path modeling assessed whether and why the positive association between mothers' age at first birth and children's test scores was greater for children of college-educated women than children of other women.

Results: Older age at first birth was associated with higher math and reading test scores among the children of college-educated women via their mothers' higher income and cognitive support for children. These mediational paths were less pronounced among the children of high-school-educated women and were not observed among the children of high school dropouts.

Conclusion: Any potential effects of women's delayed fertility on their children's early educational experiences appeared to be confined to the most educated women.

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Mothers' Employment and Children's Educational Gender Gap

Xiaodong Fan, Hanming Fang & Simen Markussen
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the connection between two concurrent trends since 1950: the narrowing and reversal of the educational gender gap and the increased labor force participation rate (LFPR) of married women. We hypothesize that the education production for boys is more adversely affected by a decrease in the mother's time input as a result of increasing employment. Therefore, an increase in the labor force participation rate of married women may narrow and even reverse the educational gender gap in the following generation. We use micro data from the Norwegian registry to directly show that the mother's employment during her children's childhood has an asymmetric effect on the educational achievement of her own sons and daughters. We also document a positive correlation between the educational gender gap in a particular generation and the LFPR of married women in the previous generation at the U.S. state level. We then propose a model that generates a novel prediction about the implications of these asymmetric effects on the mothers' labor supply decisions and find supporting evidence in both the U.S. and Norwegian data.

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The Effects of Paid Maternity Leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance

Jenna Stearns
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effects of a large-scale paid maternity leave program on birth outcomes in the United States. In 1978, states with Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs were required to start providing wage replacement benefits to pregnant women, substantially increasing access to antenatal and postnatal paid leave for working mothers. Using natality data, I find that TDI paid maternity leave reduces the share of low birth weight births by 3.2 percent, and the estimated treatment-on-the-treated effect is over 10 percent. It also decreases the likelihood of early term birth by 6.6 percent. Paid maternity leave has particularly large impacts on the children of unmarried and black mothers.

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Estrangement Between Mothers and Adult Children: The Role of Norms and Values

Megan Gilligan, Jill Suitor & Karl Pillemer
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Relationships between mothers and their children are expected to be lifelong and rewarding for both members of the dyad. Because of the salience of these ties, they are likely to be disrupted only under conditions of extreme relational tension and dissatisfaction. In this work, the authors drew on theoretical arguments regarding societal norm violations and value similarity to examine the processes that lead to estrangement between mothers and adult children. To address this issue, they used quantitative and qualitative data on 2,013 mother-adult child dyads nested within 561 later life families, including 64 in which mothers reported being estranged from at least 1 of their children. Value dissimilarity was found to be a strong predictor of estrangement, whereas violation of serious societal norms was not. Qualitative data revealed that value dissimilarity created severe relational tension between mothers and adult children leading to estrangement.

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Causal effects of the early caregiving environment on development of stress response systems in children

Katie McLaughlin et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 May 2015, Pages 5637-5642

Abstract:
Disruptions in stress response system functioning are thought to be a central mechanism by which exposure to adverse early-life environments influences human development. Although early-life adversity results in hyperreactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in rodents, evidence from human studies is inconsistent. We present results from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project examining whether randomized placement into a family caregiving environment alters development of the autonomic nervous system and HPA axis in children exposed to early-life deprivation associated with institutional rearing. Electrocardiogram, impedance cardiograph, and neuroendocrine data were collected during laboratory-based challenge tasks from children (mean age = 12.9 y) raised in deprived institutional settings in Romania randomized to a high-quality foster care intervention (n = 48) or to remain in care as usual (n = 43) and a sample of typically developing Romanian children (n = 47). Children who remained in institutional care exhibited significantly blunted SNS and HPA axis responses to psychosocial stress compared with children randomized to foster care, whose stress responses approximated those of typically developing children. Intervention effects were evident for cortisol and parasympathetic nervous system reactivity only among children placed in foster care before age 24 and 18 months, respectively, providing experimental evidence of a sensitive period in humans during which the environment is particularly likely to alter stress response system development. We provide evidence for a causal link between the early caregiving environment and stress response system reactivity in humans with effects that differ markedly from those observed in rodent models.

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Parents' Beliefs Regarding Sex Education for Their Children in Southern Alabama Public Schools

Vaughn Millner, Madhuri Mulekar & Julio Turrens
Sexuality Research and Social Policy, June 2015, Pages 101-109

Abstract:
This study investigated the attitudes of parents of public school children in a conservative southern U.S. metropolitan area concerning the incorporation of a variety of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies taught in the public school curriculum. It also assessed how attitudes from parents living in high risk teen pregnancy zip codes compared to the attitudes from parents living in the larger community. A telephone survey included 402 randomly selected parents from Mobile County, Alabama and an additional 120 Mobile County parents who lived in specific regions with high rates of teen pregnancy (target group). When the participants from the entire group were asked if schools should teach sex education, almost 80 % responded affirmatively and 16.5 % responded negatively. There were statistically significant income, education, and race differences between the at-large and target groups and statistically significant differences in parents' attitudes about whether or not their children should be taught about abstinence and other methods for preventing adolescent pregnancy in public schools. More than three-fourths of both groups, however, supported an assortment of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies, a finding that could belie statistical difference in opinions between the two groups. The results suggest there is strong parental support for an approach to sex education in Alabama public schools that extends beyond abstinence-only. Informing state public policy-makers of these research findings could result in a sustained investment in the implementation of evidence-based adolescent sex education programs appropriate for the adolescents served.

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Correlates of flexible working arrangements, stress, and sleep difficulties in the US workforce: Does the flexibility of the flexibility matter?

Ryan Haley & Laurie Miller
Empirical Economics, June 2015, Pages 1395-1418

Abstract:
Using the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, we study how two forms of flextime correlate with family stress, workplace stress, and sleep difficulties. The first flextime measure is the ability to easily take time off for personal and family matters, which correlates with a statistically and economically significant reduction in workplace stress. Subsequently, we find that this same flexibility is associated with 6-10 % reduction in the likelihood of self-reported sleep difficulties for the full sample, and as high as an 11-25 % reduction in a subgroup analysis concerning unmarried females with children. The second flextime measure is the option of a compressed workweek, which also correlates with a statistically reduction in workplace stress, though the estimate is considerably smaller than for the first flexibility; a subsequent analysis finds no statistically significant relationship between this flexibility and sleep difficulties. Our findings suggest that the more flexible flexibility (i.e., more short-notice schedule flexibility) appears to be associated with larger reductions in the probability of being stressed, enough, in fact, to carry through to noticeable improvements in concomitant sleep difficulties. Thus, the first form of flextime may function, based on this observational analysis, as a tangible non-medical way to meet worker flextime desires and firm aspirations for increased safety and less absenteeism, all while potentially offering a positive public health externality. The size and significance of the flextime results prevail through bias assessments and sensitivity analyses.

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Adverse Consequences of School Mobility for Children in Foster Care: A Prospective Longitudinal Study

Katherine Pears et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few prospective studies have examined school mobility in children in foster care. This study described the school moves of 86 such children and 55 community comparison children (primarily Caucasian), living in a medium-sized metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest who were approximately 3 to 6 years old at the study start. Additionally, the effects of moves from kindergarten through Grade 2 on academic and socioemotional competence in Grades 3 through 5 were examined. A greater number of early school moves was associated with poorer later socoemotional competence and partially mediated the effects of maltreatment and out-of-home placement on socioemotional competence. This was the case only for children with poorer early learning skills in kindergarten. Implications for preventive intervention are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

States

The Nature of Conflict

Cemal Eren Arbatli, Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This research establishes that the emergence, prevalence, recurrence, and severity of intrastate conflicts in the modern era reflect the long shadow of prehistory. Exploiting variations across national populations, it demonstrates that genetic diversity, as determined predominantly during the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, has contributed significantly to the frequency, incidence, and onset of both overall and ethnic civil conflict over the last half-century, accounting for a large set of geographical and institutional correlates of conflict, as well as measures of economic development. Furthermore, the analysis establishes the significant contribution of genetic diversity to the intensity of social unrest and to the incidence of intragroup factional conflict. These findings arguably reflect the contribution of genetic diversity to the degree of fractionalization and polarization across ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups in the national population; the adverse influence of genetic diversity on interpersonal trust and cooperation; the contribution of genetic diversity to divergence in preferences for public goods and redistributive policies; and the potential impact of genetic diversity on economic inequality within a society.

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The Phoenix Effect of State Repression: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust

Evgeny Finkel
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 339-353

Abstract:
Why are some nascent groups able to organize sustained violent resistance to state repression, whereas others quickly fail? This article links the sustainability of armed resistance to a largely understudied variable — the skills to mount such a resistance. It also argues that the nature of repression experienced by a community creates and shapes these crucial skills. More specifically, the article focuses on a distinction between selective and indiscriminate state repression. Selective repression is more likely to create skilled resisters; indiscriminate repression substantially less so. Thus, large-scale repression that begins at time t has a higher chance of being met with sustained organized resistance at t +1 if among the targeted population there are people who were subject to selective repression at t‒1. The article tests this argument by comparing the trajectories of anti-Nazi Jewish resistance groups in three ghettos during the Holocaust: Minsk, Kraków, and Białystok.

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Is the Phone Mightier Than the Sword? Cellphones and Insurgent Violence in Iraq

Jacob Shapiro & Nils Weidmann
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 247-274

Abstract:
Does improved communication provided by modern cellphone technology affect the rise or fall of violence during insurgencies? A priori predictions are ambiguous; introducing cellphones can enhance insurgent communications but can also make it easier for the population to share information with counterinsurgents and creates opportunities for signals intelligence collection. We provide the first systematic micro-level test of the effect of cellphone communication on conflict using data on Iraq's cellphone network (2004–2009) and event data on violence. We show that increased mobile communications reduced insurgent violence in Iraq, both at the district level and for specific local coverage areas. The results provide support for models of insurgency that focus on noncombatants providing information as the key constraint on violent groups and highlight the fact that small changes in the transaction costs of cooperating with the government can have large macro effects on conflict.

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Financial Asset Holdings and Political Attitudes: Evidence from Revolutionary England

Saumitra Jha
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The English Parliament's struggle for supremacy against monarchical dictatorship during the Civil War (1642-48) was crucial for the establishment of representative government, yet its lessons continue to be debated. I exploit novel data on individual MPs drawn from 1842 biographies to show that the conflict was over overseas interests and other factors over which the executive enjoyed broad constitutional discretion, rather than over domestic property rights. I further exploit the coincidence of individual MPs' ability to sign legally binding share contracts with novel share offerings by overseas companies to measure the effect of overseas share investment on their political attitudes. I show that overseas shareholding pushed moderates lacking prior mercantile interests to support reform. I interpret the effect of financial assetholding as allowing new investors to exploit emerging economic opportunities overseas, aligning their interests with traders. By consolidating a broad parliamentary majority that favored reform, the introduction of financial assets also broadened support for the institutionalization of parliamentary supremacy over dictatorial rule.

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Culture, Institutions and Democratization

Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under an individualistic and a collectivist culture. The main result is that, despite facing potentially larger collective action problems, countries with an individualistic culture are more likely to end up adopting democracy faster than countries with a collectivist culture. Our instrumental variable estimation suggests a strong and robust effect of individualistic culture on average polity scores and length of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We provide evidence that countries with collectivist culture are also more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.

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Shaping Politics at Home: Cross-Border Social Ties and Local-Level Political Engagement

Abby Córdova & Jonathan Hiskey
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The dramatic rise of democratic regimes around the world has coincided with an equally significant increase in migration, characterized by an unprecedented movement of people from emerging to established democracies. Through analysis of survey data from six Latin American countries, we offer an empirical evaluation of theoretical mechanisms through which migration can shape the political behaviors of non-migrants in sending nations. We find that individuals who have strong cross-border ties that connect them with relatives living in the United States are more likely to participate in local politics, sympathize with a political party, and persuade others to vote for a party. Those effects are influenced by the positive impact of cross-border ties on civic community involvement, political interest, and political efficacy. Moreover, the evidence suggests that frequent usage of the Internet among non-migrants with strong cross-border ties results in increased political knowledge, which contributes to their greater political interest and efficacy.

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Explosive connections? Mass media, social media, and the geography of collective violence in African states

Camber Warren
Journal of Peace Research, May 2015, Pages 297-311

Abstract:
Growing evidence indicates that the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can substantially alter the contours of collective violence in developing nations. However, empirical investigations of such effects have generally been hampered by an inability to systematically measure geographic variation in ICT penetration, across multiple technologies and multiple countries. In this article, I show that geo-referenced household surveys can be used to estimate subnational differences in the spatial reach of radio and cellular communications infrastructures in 24 African states. By combining these estimates with geo-referenced measures of the location of disaggregated events of collective violence, I show that there are important differences between centralized 'mass' communication technologies – such as radios – that foster vertical linkages between state and society, and decentralized 'social' communication technologies – such as cell phones – that foster horizontal linkages between the members of a society. The evidence demonstrates that the geographic reach of mass media penetration generates substantial pacifying effects, while the reach of social media penetration generates substantial increases in collective violence, especially in areas lacking access to mass media infrastructure. I argue that these findings are consistent with a theory of ICT effects which focuses on the strengthening and weakening of economies of scale in the marketplace of ideas.

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Coups, Revolutions and Efficient Policies in Autocracies

Mario Gilli & Yuan Li
European Journal of Political Economy, September 2015, Pages 109–124

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction of two mechanisms that might constrain the power of dictators: the threat of a coup by the selectorate and a revolution by citizens. Our results help explain a stylized fact, namely that autocracies are far more likely to be either the best or the worst performers in terms of growth and public goods policies. To this end, we focus on accountability within dictatorships using a model where both the selectorate and the citizens are the principals and the autocrat is the agent. Our results highlight that both excessively strong and excessively weak dictators lead to poor economic performances, and that a balanced distribution of de facto political power is required to incentivize the dictator to choose efficient economic policies.

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The July 2012 Libyan Election and the Origin of Post-Qadhafi Appeasement

Jason Pack & Haley Cook
Middle East Journal, Spring 2015, Pages 171-198

Abstract:
The July 2012 parliamentary election in Libya was free and fair. Nonetheless, the election exacerbated various local, tribal, and religious cleavages. The National Transitional Council's policy of appeasement successfully averted widespread armed conflict, yet it inadvertently derailed Libya's future constitutional process. This article surveys the main scholarly paradigms for analyzing both Libya after the fall of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and the role of elections in societies in transition. It concludes that the outcome of the 2012 Libyan election calls into question the ability of post-conflict elections to function as tools of democratization or as mechanisms to unify social fissures, especially in societies lacking in formal institutions.

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Territorial Autonomy in the Shadow of Conflict: Too Little, Too Late?

Lars-Erik Cederman et al.
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 354-370

Abstract:
This article evaluates the effect of territorial autonomy on the outbreak of internal conflict by analyzing ethnic groups around the world since WWII. Shedding new light on an ongoing debate, we argue that the critics have overstated the case against autonomy policies. Our evidence indicates that decentralization has a significant conflict-preventing effect where there is no prior conflict history. In postconflict settings, however, granting autonomy can still be helpful in combination with central power sharing arrangements. Yet, on its own, postconflict autonomy concessions may be too little, too late. Accounting for endogeneity, we also instrument for autonomy in postcolonial states by exploiting that French, as opposed to British, colonial rule rarely relied on decentralized governance. This identification strategy suggests that naïve analysis tends to underestimate the pacifying influence of decentralization.

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China's Ideological Spectrum

Jennifer Pan & Yiqing Xu
MIT Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We offer the first large scale empirical analysis of ideology in contemporary China to determine whether individuals fall along a discernible and coherent ideological spectrum, and whether there are regional and inter-group variations in ideological orientation. Using principal component analysis (PCA) on a survey of 171,830 individuals, we identify one dominant ideological dimension in China. Individuals who are politically conservative, who emphasize the supremacy of the state and nationalism, are also likely to be economically conservative, supporting a return to socialism and state-control of the economy, and culturally conservative, supporting traditional, Confucian values. In contrast, political liberals, supportive of constitutional democracy and individual liberty, are also likely to be economic liberals who support market-oriented reform and social liberals who support modern science and values such as sexual freedom. This uni-dimensionality of ideology is robust to a wide variety of diagnostics and checks. Using post-stratification based on census data, we find a strong relationship between liberal orientation and modernization -- provinces with higher levels of economic development, trade openness, urbanization are more liberal than their poor, rural counterparts, and individuals with higher levels of education and income and more liberal than their less educated and lower-income peers.

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Varying the Un-Variable: Social Structure, Electoral Formulae, and Election Quality

Fabrice Lehoucq & Kiril Kolev
Political Research Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 240-252

Abstract:
This paper assesses the hypothesis that election quality is worse under plurality voting systems than under proportional representation (PR). We use a two-pronged research design that permits us to harness the advantages of most similar and most different approaches to limit problems of endogeneity that afflict hypothesis testing in comparative politics. We use a subnational database of more than 1,300 accusations of electoral fraud from Costa Rica (1901–1948) that uniquely varies formulae among (provincial) electoral districts. Our statistical models reveal that plurality leads to more ballot rigging than proportional systems. We also demonstrate that plurality voting systems are associated with inferior election quality in the Quality of Elections Database (QED), which covers 170 countries between 1975 and 2004. Our findings suggest that electoral formulae, a basic feature of institutional design, have as much impact as social structure on whether elections are free and fair.

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Democracy, Autocracy and the Urban Bias: Evidence from Petroleum Subsidies

Sung Eun Kim & Johannes Urpelainen
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Petroleum subsidies are economically costly and environmentally destructive. Autocracies tend to offer higher subsidies for petroleum products than do democracies. Why? This study uses a global dataset of gasoline prices in developing countries for the years 2003–9 to show that the autocratic subsidy premium stems from countries where much of the population lives in small cities. Urban riots are a major threat to autocratic political survival, and high fuel prices cause social unrest. In large cities, autocrats can use public transportation to mitigate the effects of high fuel prices, but this strategy is not practical in small cities. Therefore, autocratic rulers offer high petroleum subsidies if they have large urban populations living in small cities. These findings suggest that the exact nature of urbanization has a critical effect on the political calculus of leaders and on policy outcomes.

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World Price Shocks, Income, and Democratization

Ben Zissimos
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows how a world price shock can increase the likelihood that democratization must be used to resolve the threat of revolution. Initially, a ruling elite may be able to use trade policy to maintain political stability. But a world price shock can push the country into a situation where the elite face a commitment problem that only democratization can resolve. Because the world price shock may also reduce average incomes, the model provides a way to understand why the level of national income per capita and democracy may not be positively correlated. The model is also useful for understanding dictatorial regimes' rebuttal of World Bank calls to keep their export markets open in the face of the 2007–08 world food crisis.

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Contingent Democratization: When Do Economic Crises Matter?

Min Tang, Narisong Huhe & Qiang Zhou
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that the effect of economic crises on democratic transition is contingent on economic structure. Specifically, a high level of state engagement in the economy makes social forces dependent on the ruling elites for patrimonial interests and, therefore, the authoritarian regime liable for economic failure. Moreover, when authoritarian elites own a high share of economic assets, this aggravates the economic loss of both the business class and the masses when economic crises occur, which in turn makes defection of the business class, the revolt of the masses and the alliance of the two social classes more likely. Cross-national analyses show that economic crises trigger democratic transition only when state engagement in the economy is above a certain level.

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Pulling the plug: Network disruptions and violence in civil conflict

Anita Gohdes
Journal of Peace Research, May 2015, Pages 352-367

Abstract:
New media outlets have been deemed a vital instrument for protesters and opposition groups to coordinate activities in the recent civilian uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. But what happens when regimes respond by shutting down the internet? I argue that governments have a strategic incentive to implement internet blackouts in conjunction with larger repressive operations against violent opposition forces. Short-term intermissions in communication channels are expected to decrease opposition groups' capabilities to successfully coordinate and implement attacks against the state, allowing regime forces to strengthen their position. Network blackouts should consequently be accompanied by significant increases in military activity. Analyzing daily documented killings by the government in the Syrian civil war, I find that blackouts occur in conjunction with significantly higher levels of state repression, most notably in areas where government forces are actively fighting violent opposition groups. In addition, I estimate the number of undocumented conflict fatalities prior to and during network blackouts to test whether they are implemented to hide atrocities from outside observers, and find no support for this hypothesis. The results indicate that such network blackouts constitute a part of the military's strategy to target and weaken opposition groups, where the underreporting of violence is not systematically linked to outages.

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Natural resource extraction and political trust

Rebecca Miller
Resources Policy, September 2015, Pages 165–172

Abstract:
Do natural resources influence political trust? I provide a new answer to this question by articulating a theory of political trust that relates to within-country variation in natural resource extraction rather than the more traditional empirical context of cross-country variation. The distributional consequences of natural resources within countries have a large, positive consequences on political trust. Residents within a mining district may experience disproportionate economic benefits compared to residents living in a non-mining district. These economic benefits, in turn, influence political trust. I test these arguments using Afrobarometer public opinion data in four democratic African states, namely Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

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Lords and order: Credible rulers and state failure

Matthew Dimick
Rationality and Society, May 2015, Pages 161-194

Abstract:
Why do states fail? Why do failed states persist without collapsing into complete anarchy? This paper argues that in response to insurgency or weakened state capacity, the best way for rulers to sustain their rule may be, paradoxically, to reduce the amount of political protection they provide to clients or citizens. This behavior recognizes and helps explain a puzzling feature of failed states, namely that central government often functions even when political disorder prevails. To evaluate this argument, the paper analyzes the case of King Stephen's reign in medieval England. In response to a challenge to his succession, King Stephen dramatically decentralized government, a decision which has long puzzled historians. In addition, although far removed historically from contemporary cases, the reign of King Stephen exhibits just those characteristics of modern, failed states: insurgency, civil war, territorial fragmentation, increasing disorder and violence (even between adherents of the same side of the civil conflict), and yet the persistence of some amount of centralized rule.

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Electoral Authoritarianism and Human Development

Michael Miller
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do autocratic institutions matter for the welfare of average citizens? Despite the large literature comparing democracies and autocracies, we know little about how human development outcomes differ among autocratic types. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this article argues that contested autocratic elections promote human development by improving state accountability and capacity. Using an instrumental variables setup, I show that the presence and history of multiparty autocratic elections predict significantly better outcomes on health, education, gender equality, and basic freedoms relative to non-electoral autocracy. In fact, the effects on health and education are as strong as the effects of democracy. In contrast, legislatures and parties without multiparty elections produce slightly negative outcomes because these institutions chiefly concern elite cooptation. The results have major implications for the study of autocracy, the political economy of development, and the welfare effects of international election promotion.

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Authoritarianism, socioethnic diversity and political participation across countries

Shane Singh & Kris Dunn
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is argued in this article that threatening stimuli affect political participation levels among non-authoritarians more than among authoritarians. Focusing on socioethnic diversity, which is known to be particularly threatening to authoritarians and to relate negatively to political participation in the general public, analyses of individual- and macro-level data from 53 countries is presented which supports this thesis. Participation levels among authoritarians are largely static, regardless of a country's level of socioethnic heterogeneity, while non-authoritarians participate considerably less in countries with relatively high levels of socioethnic heterogeneity. This suggests that authoritarians participate to a proportionately greater degree in the most diverse countries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End Result

Put your plan into action: The influence of action plans on agency and responsibility

Tom Damen et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2015, Pages 850-866

Abstract:
While action plans and intentions have been considered to be important factors contributing to the personal sense of causation known as agency, the present research is the first to empirically investigate how action plans influence agency. Participants in multiple studies were required to plan or not to plan ahead their actions. Results consistently show that on trials in which participants were required to plan their actions, participants experienced reduced agency compared to trials in which participants were not required to plan their actions. These results were found for both explicit agency paradigms in which participants were asked for their experiences of causation (Studies 1 and 2), as well as in an implicit agency paradigm in which participants were asked to estimate the time between their actions and the consequences of their actions (Study 3). In addition, it was shown that the reduction in agency was smaller when plans and actions were temporally closer together (Study 4). In a final line of experiments we discovered that prior planning similarly reduced both the emotional experience of acting and feelings of responsibility in agents (Studies 5-7). However, the direction of this effect was reversed in observers, for whom cues related to planning by others increased attributions of responsibility toward those others (Study 8).

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Seeking Lasting Enjoyment with Limited Money: Financial Constraints Increase Preference for Material Goods Over Experiences

Stephanie Tully, Hal Hershfield & Tom Meyvis
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers with limited discretionary money face important trade-offs when deciding how to spend it. In the current research, we suggest that feelings of financial constraint increase consumers' concern about the lasting utility of their purchases, which in turn increases their preference for material goods over experiences. The results of seven studies confirm that the consideration of financial constraints shifts consumers' preferences toward material goods (rather than experiences), and that this systematic shift is due to an increased concern about the longevity of the purchase. This preference shift persists even when the material goods are more frivolous than the experiences, indicating that the effect is not driven by an increased desire for sensible and justifiable purchases. However, the shift towards material purchases disappears when the material purchase is unusually short-lived, further implicating concern about longevity as the key driver of the effect. Finally, the consideration of financial constraints increases preference for material purchases even when the potential memories that experiences can provide are made explicitly salient. Together, these results indicate that financially constrained consumers spend their discretionary money on material purchases as a means of securing long-term consumption utility.

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Can a Near Win Kindle Motivation? The Impact of Nearly Winning on Motivation for Unrelated Rewards

Monica Wadhwa & JeeHye Christine Kim
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Common intuition and research suggest that winning is more motivating than losing. However, we propose that just failing to obtain a reward (i.e., nearly winning it) in one task leads to broader, positive motivational effects on subsequent unrelated tasks relative to clearly losing or actually obtaining the reward. We manipulated a near-win experience using a game app in Experiments 1 through 3 and a lottery in Experiment 4. Our findings showed that nearly winning in one task subsequently led participants to walk faster to get to a chocolate bar (Experiment 1), salivate more for money (Experiment 2), and increase their effort to earn money in a card-sorting task (Experiment 3). A field study (Experiment 4) demonstrated that nearly winning led people to subsequently spend more money on desirable consumer products. Finally, our findings showed that when the activated motivational state was dampened in an intervening task, the nearly-winning effect was attenuated.

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The Impact Of Pressure On Performance: Evidence From The PGA Tour

Daniel Hickman & Neil Metz
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do large rewards lead to psychological pressure causing underperformance? Previous studies have tested this 'choking' phenomenon using the world of sports, but such studies often lack an explicit link between performance and reward. This study utilizes a large PGA TOUR dataset to more directly analyze the effect of pressure on individual performance by calculating the potential change in earnings from making or missing a putt on the final hole of a tournament. We find that as the amount of money riding on a shot increases, the likelihood that shot is made is significantly reduced.

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When pressure sinks performance: Evidence from diving competitions

Christos Genakos, Mario Pagliero & Eleni Garbi
Economics Letters, July 2015, Pages 5-8

Abstract:
Tournaments are designed to enhance participants' effort and productivity. However, ranking near the top may increase psychological pressure and reduce performance. We empirically study the impact of interim rank on performance using data from international diving tournaments. We find that competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well.

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Power Affects Performance When the Pressure Is On: Evidence for Low-Power Threat and High-Power Lift

Sonia Kang et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 2015, Pages 726-735

Abstract:
The current research examines how power affects performance in pressure-filled contexts. We present low-power-threat and high-power-lift effects, whereby performance in high-stakes situations suffers or is enhanced depending on one's power; that is, the power inherent to a situational role can produce effects similar to stereotype threat and lift. Three negotiations experiments demonstrate that role-based power affects outcomes but only when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and, therefore, pressure-filled. We link these outcomes conceptually to threat and lift effects by showing that (a) role power affects performance more strongly when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and (b) underperformance disappears when the low-power negotiator has an opportunity to self-affirm. These results suggest that stereotype threat and lift effects may represent a more general phenomenon: When the stakes are raised high, relative power can act as either a toxic brew (stereotype/low-power threat) or a beneficial elixir (stereotype/high-power lift) for performance.

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Goal projection in public places

Janet Naju Ahn, Gabriele Oettingen & Peter Gollwitzer
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies investigated the phenomenon of goal projection in everyday life considering three moderators: goal commitment, the perceived similarity of the target person, and goal attainment. Moviegoers' (Study 1) highly committed to see a particular movie projected this goal onto other movie patrons. Commuters (Study 2) highly committed to catch a certain train projected this goal onto other commuters, given that these commuters were perceived as similar. Shoppers (Study 3) projected buying a particular item when both their goal commitment and the perceived similarity of another shopper were high, and the goal was not yet attained. The results imply that goal projection is part of our everyday life and is fostered by high-goal commitment, perceiving others as similar, and ongoing goal striving.

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Goals, motivation and gender

Samuel Smithers
Economics Letters, June 2015, Pages 75-77

Abstract:
I present an experiment on non-binding goals and motivational effects. Consistent with results from psychology, I find that goals increase output. This is due to improved speed and accuracy. Men are more responsive to goals than women.

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Using High-Level Construal and Perceptions of Changeability to Promote Self-Change Over Self-Protection Motives in Response to Negative Feedback

Jennifer Belding, Karen Naufel & Kentaro Fujita
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2015, Pages 822-838

Abstract:
Diagnostic negative information presents people with a motivational dilemma. Although negative feedback can provide useful information with which to guide future self-improvement efforts, it also presents short-term affective costs. We propose that construal level, jointly with the perceived changeability of the feedback domain, determines whether people choose to accept or dismiss such information. Whereas low-level construal promotes short-term self-protection motivation (promoting dismissal), high-level construal promotes long-term self-change motivation (promoting acceptance) - to the extent that change is perceived as possible. Four studies support this hypothesis and examine underlying cognitive and motivational mechanisms. The present work may provide an integrative theoretical framework for understanding when people will be open to and accept negative diagnostic information, and has important practical implications for promoting self-change efforts.

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Saying "No" to Temptation: Want-to Motivation Improves Self-Regulation by Reducing Temptation Rather Than by Increasing Self-Control

Marina Milyavskaya et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-regulation has been conceptualized as the interplay between controlled and impulsive processes; however, most research has focused on the controlled side (i.e., effortful self-control). The present studies focus on the effects of motivation on impulsive processes, including automatic preferences for goal-disruptive stimuli and subjective reports of temptations and obstacles, contrasting them with effects on controlled processes. This is done by examining people's implicit affective reactions in the face of goal-disruptive "temptations" (Studies 1 and 2), subjective reports of obstacles (Studies 2 and 3) and expended effort (Study 3), as well as experiences of desires and self-control in real-time using experience sampling (Study 4). Across these multiple methods, results show that want-to motivation results in decreased impulsive attraction to goal-disruptive temptations and is related to encountering fewer obstacles in the process of goal pursuit. This, in turn, explains why want-to goals are more likely to be attained. Have-to motivation, on the other hand, was unrelated to people's automatic reactions to temptation cues but related to greater subjective perceptions of obstacles and tempting desires. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for self-regulation and motivation.

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Power Effects on Cognitive Control: Turning Conflict into Action

Petra Schmid, Tali Kleiman & David Amodio
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Power is known to promote effective goal pursuit, especially when it requires one to overcome distractions or bias. We proposed that this effect involves the ability to engage and implement cognitive control. In Study 1, we demonstrated that power enhances behavioral performance on a response conflict task and that it does so by enhancing controlled processing rather than by reducing automatic processing. In Study 2, we used an event-related potential index of anterior cingulate activity to test whether power effects on control were due to enhanced conflict sensitivity or action implementation. Power did not significantly affect neural sensitivity to conflict; rather, high power was associated with a stronger link between conflict processing and intended action, relative to low power. These findings suggest a new perspective on how social factors can affect controlled processing and offer new evidence regarding the transition between conflict detection and the implementation of action control.

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When Does the Future Begin? Time Metrics Matter, Connecting Present and Future Selves

Neil Lewis & Daphna Oyserman
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People assume they should attend to the present; their future self can handle the future. This seemingly plausible rule of thumb can lead people astray, in part because some future events require current action. In order for the future to energize and motivate current action, it must feel imminent. To create this sense of imminence, we manipulated time metric - the units (e.g., days, years) in which time is considered. People interpret accessible time metrics in two ways: If preparation for the future is under way (Studies 1 and 2), people interpret metrics as implying when a future event will occur. If preparation is not under way (Studies 3-5), they interpret metrics as implying when preparation should start (e.g., planning to start saving 4 times sooner for a retirement in 10,950 days instead of 30 years). Time metrics mattered not because they changed how distal or important future events felt (Study 6), but because they changed how connected and congruent their current and future selves felt (Study 7).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Love at first sight

Changes in American Adults' Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972-2012

Jean Twenge, Ryne Sherman & Brooke Wells
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the nationally representative General Social Survey, U.S. Adults (N = 33,380) in 2000-2012 (vs. the 1970s and 1980s) had more sexual partners, were more likely to have had sex with a casual date or pickup or an acquaintance, and were more accepting of most non-marital sex (premarital sex, teen sex, and same-sex sexual activity, but not extramarital sex). The percentage who believed premarital sex among adults was "not wrong at all" was 29 % in the early 1970s, 42 % in the 1980s and 1990s, 49 % in the 2000s, and 58 % between 2010 and 2012. Mixed effects (hierarchical linear modeling) analyses separating time period, generation/birth cohort, and age showed that the trend toward greater sexual permissiveness was primarily due to generation. Acceptance of non-marital sex rose steadily between the G.I. generation (born 1901-1924) and Boomers (born 1946-1964), dipped slightly among early Generation X'ers (born 1965-1981), and then rose so that Millennials (also known as Gen Y or Generation Me, born 1982-1999) were the most accepting of non-marital sex. Number of sexual partners increased steadily between the G.I.s and 1960s-born GenX'ers and then dipped among Millennials to return to Boomer levels. The largest changes appeared among White men, with few changes among Black Americans. The results were discussed in the context of growing cultural individualism and rejection of traditional social rules in the U.S.

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Preferred Women's Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years

Jeanne Bovet & Michel Raymond
PLoS ONE, April 2015

Abstract:
The ratio between the body circumference at the waist and the hips (or WHR) is a secondary sexual trait that is unique to humans and is well known to influence men's mate preferences. Because a woman's WHR also provides information about her age, health and fertility, men's preference concerning this physical feature may possibly be a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage. However, it is unclear whether the preferred WHR in western countries reflects a universal ideal, as geographic variation in non-western areas has been found, and discordances about its temporal consistency remain in the literature. We analyzed the WHR of women considered as ideally beautiful who were depicted in western artworks from 500 BCE to the present. These vestiges of the past feminine ideal were then compared to more recent symbols of beauty: Playboy models and winners of several Miss pageants from 1920 to 2014. We found that the ideal WHR has changed over time in western societies: it was constant during almost a millennium in antiquity (from 500 BCE to 400 CE) and has decreased from the 15th century to the present. Then, based on Playboy models and Miss pageants winners, this decrease appears to slow down or even reverse during the second half of the 20th century. The universality of an ideal WHR is thus challenged, and historical changes in western societies could have caused these variations in men's preferences. The potential adaptive explanations for these results are discussed.

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Good Genes, Good Providers, and Good Fathers: Economic Development Involved in How Women Select a Mate

Hui Jing Lu, Xiao Qin Zhu & Lei Chang
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men's mate values are defined based on three broad categories-good genes, good providers, both of which are selected early across the animal kingdom, and good fathers that represent the last pedigree of primate evolution and may have contributed to the human development of modernity and gender equality. Women select long-term mates based on these 3 mate values, and women's mate preference over them depends on the prevailing ecological conditions. Based on 4 samples comprising a total of 1,257 Chinese women, we found that women in general and those with high socioeconomic status in particular (Study 1), as well as women in cities compared with rural women (Study 2), preferred good-father over good-provider and good-genes attributes in long-term relationships. Similar results were obtained in an experimental study (n = 123) where, under good economic compared to poor economic and control conditions, women prioritized good-father over good-provider and good-genes attributes. These findings indicate that in modern-day economies, in which a woman spends the same amount of time and energy on education and employment and acquires approximately the same amount of resources and same extent of safety and disease protection as men, her mate preference is likely to center on good-father attributes, as her reproductive success depends on a helper at the nest increasingly more than other mate contributions.

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Student Bodies: Does the Sex Ratio Matter for Hooking Up and Having Sex at College?

Timothy Adkins et al.
Social Currents, June 2015, Pages 144-162

Abstract:
Using the Online College Social Life Survey, we examine whether the sex ratio of the student body of a college or university affects whether heterosexual students hook up, have relationships, have intercourse, or have attitudes favorable toward casual sex. The gendered dyadic power model predicts that, if men are more interested in having sex than women, as the ratio of women to men goes up, men will increasingly have the upper hand and more sex will occur. Consistent with the prediction, we find that where the ratio of women to men is higher, students of both sexes hook up more and accumulate more sexual partners, but inconsistent with it, students are no more likely to have intercourse in a given hookup where the ratio of women is higher.

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The Role of Breast Size and Areolar Pigmentation in Perceptions of Women's Sexual Attractiveness, Reproductive Health, Sexual Maturity, Maternal Nurturing Abilities, and Age

Barnaby Dixson, Melanie Duncan & Alan Dixson
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's breast morphology is thought to have evolved via sexual selection as a signal of maturity, health, and fecundity. While research demonstrates that breast morphology is important in men's judgments of women's attractiveness, it remains to be determined how perceptions might differ when considering a larger suite of mate relevant attributes. Here, we tested how variation in breast size and areolar pigmentation affected perceptions of women's sexual attractiveness, reproductive health, sexual maturity, maternal nurturing abilities, and age. Participants (100 men; 100 women) rated images of female torsos modeled to vary in breast size (very small, small, medium, and large) and areolar pigmentation (light, medium, and dark) for each of the five attributes listed above. Sexual attractiveness ratings increased linearly with breast size, but large breasts were not judged to be significantly more attractive than medium-sized breasts. Small and medium-sized breasts were rated as most attractive if they included light or medium colored areolae, whereas large breasts were more attractive if they had medium or dark areolae. Ratings for perceived age, sexual maturity, and nurturing ability also increased with breast size. Darkening the areolae reduced ratings of the reproductive health of medium and small breasts, whereas it increased ratings for large breasts. There were no significant sex differences in ratings of any of the perceptual measures. These results demonstrate that breast size and areolar pigmentation interact to determine ratings for a suite of sociosexual attributes, each of which may be relevant to mate choice in men and intra-sexual competition in women.

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The male-taller norm: Lack of evidence from a developing country

K. Sohn
HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In general, women prefer men taller than themselves; this is referred to as the male-taller norm. However, since women are shorter than men on average, it is difficult to determine whether the fact that married women are on average shorter than their husbands results from the norm or is a simple artifact generated by the shorter stature of women. This study addresses the question by comparing the rate of adherence to the male-taller norm between actual mating and hypothetical random mating. A total of 7,954 actually married couples are drawn from the last follow-up of the Indonesian Family Life Survey, a nationally representative survey. Their heights were measured by trained nurses. About 10,000 individuals are randomly sampled from the actual couples and randomly matched. An alternative random mating of about 100,000 couples is also performed, taking into account an age difference of five years within a couple. The rate of adherence to the male-taller norm is 93.4% for actual couples and 88.8% for random couples. The difference between the two figures is statistically significant, but it is emphasized that it is very small. The alternative random mating produces a rate of 91.4%. The male-taller norm exists in Indonesia, but only in a statistical sense. The small difference suggests that the norm is mostly explained by the fact that women are shorter than men on average.

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Assortative mating without assortative preference

Yu Xie, Siwei Cheng & Xiang Zhou
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 May 2015, Pages 5974-5978

Abstract:
Assortative mating - marriage of a man and a woman with similar social characteristics - is a commonly observed phenomenon. In the existing literature in both sociology and economics, this phenomenon has mainly been attributed to individuals' conscious preferences for assortative mating. In this paper, we show that patterns of assortative mating may arise from another structural source even if individuals do not have assortative preferences or possess complementary attributes: dynamic processes of marriages in a closed system. For a given cohort of youth in a finite population, as the percentage of married persons increases, unmarried persons who newly enter marriage are systematically different from those who married earlier, giving rise to the phenomenon of assortative mating. We use microsimulation methods to illustrate this dynamic process, using first the conventional deterministic Gale-Shapley model, then a probabilistic Gale-Shapley model, and then two versions of the encounter mating model.

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Gender Differences and Similarities in Receptivity to Sexual Invitations: Effects of Location and Risk Perception

Andreas Baranowski & Heiko Hecht
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the publication of the seminal paper by Clark and Hatfield (1989), there has been an ongoing discussion about their finding that men accept sexual invitations from females more willingly than vice versa. We focused on two questions that have not yet been answered: First, what happens when the same request for casual sex is made in a different setting where social pressure is lower and such a request more common? To address this issue, 6 male and 8 female average looking confederates approached 162 men and 119 women either at a university campus or in a nightclub and asked for a date or for casual sex. The gender difference remained, with significantly more men than women consenting to a sexual invitation. The second issue concerned the perceived risk for women of accepting such an offer. We made up an elaborate cover story and invited 60 male and female participants into our laboratory. They were shown 10 pictures of persons of the opposite sex and led to believe that these people either consented to date or to have sex with them. The participants then could choose from the pictures who they wanted to meet to engage in a date or sex. In this subjectively safer environment, the gender difference disappeared, with the same proportion of men and women consenting to a date or sex. However, men were more liberal in their choice in either condition, compared to the female subjects. We conclude that while gender differences remained in both experiments, women were more liberal in a subjectively safer situation.

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Sex differences in preferences for humor: A replication, modification, and extension

Liana Hone, William Hurwitz & Debra Lieberman
Evolutionary Psychology, February 2015, Pages 167-181

Abstract:
Evolutionary-minded scientists have proposed that humor is a sexually selected trait in men that signals mate quality. Indeed, women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. We replicate Bressler et al.'s (2006) findings that men prefer women who are receptive to their humor whereas women prefer men who produce humor. These findings held even after we modified Bressler et al.'s questionnaire for better conceptual validity. Furthermore, using a separate measure designed to assess trade-offs, we found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite. These results bolster the claim that sexual selection has shaped sex differences regarding preferences for a prospective mate's sense of humor and that what one means by "sense of humor" can vary.

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Resisting Connection Following Social Exclusion: Rejection by an Attractive Suitor Provokes Derogation of an Unattractive Suitor

Geoff MacDonald, Patricia Baratta & Rebecca Tzalazidis
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social psychologists theorize that individuals seek connection following rejection. However, accepting connection from a low status other may imply that one is of similarly low status, which may call into question one's prospects for future acceptance. Thus, we hypothesized that rejection would lead individuals to distance themselves from a low status other even when the low status other is accepting. In two studies, single, heterosexual, female participants received simultaneous acceptance/rejection feedback from one physically attractive man and one less attractive man. As predicted, rejected individuals derogated their rejecters as indicated by a decreased desire for affiliation and more negative evaluations. Moreover, participants rejected by the attractive man also derogated the unattractive man even when the unattractive man offered acceptance. These data may shed light on specific circumstances under which rejection leads to antisocial behavior.

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The Putative Son's Attractiveness Alters the Perceived Attractiveness of the Putative Father

Pavol Prokop
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A body of literature has investigated female mate choice in the pre-mating context (pre-mating sexual selection). Humans, however, are long-living mammals forming pair-bonds which sequentially produce offspring. Post-mating evaluations of a partner's attractiveness may thus significantly influence the reproductive success of men and women. I tested herein the theory that the attractiveness of putative sons provides extra information about the genetic quality of fathers, thereby influencing fathers' attractiveness across three studies. As predicted, facially attractive boys were more frequently attributed to attractive putative fathers and vice versa (Study 1). Furthermore, priming with an attractive putative son increased the attractiveness of the putative father with the reverse being true for unattractive putative sons. When putative fathers were presented as stepfathers, the effect of the boy's attractiveness on the stepfather's attractiveness was lower and less consistent (Study 2). This suggests that the presence of an attractive boy has the strongest effect on the perceived attractiveness of putative fathers rather than on non-fathers. The generalized effect of priming with beautiful non-human objects also exists, but its effect is much weaker compared with the effects of putative biological sons (Study 3). Overall, this study highlighted the importance of post-mating sexual selection in humans and suggests that the heritable attractive traits of men are also evaluated by females after mating and/or may be used by females in mate poaching.

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A Psychophysiological Mechanism Underlying Women's Weight-Management Goals: Women Desire and Strive for Greater Weight Loss Near Peak Fertility

Andrea Meltzer et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies demonstrated that conception risk was associated with increased motivations to manage weight. Consistent with the rationale that this association is due to ovulatory processes, Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that it was moderated by hormonal contraceptive (HC) use. Consistent with the rationale that this interactive effect should emerge when modern appearance-related concerns regarding weight are salient, Study 3 used a 14-day diary to demonstrate that the interactive effects of conception risk and HC use on daily motivations to restrict eating were further moderated by daily motivations to manage body attractiveness. Finally, providing evidence that this interactive effect has implications for real behavior, daily fluctuations in the desire to restrict eating predicted daily changes in women's self-reported eating behavior. These findings may help reconcile prior inconsistencies regarding the implications of ovulatory processes by illustrating that such implications can depend on the salience of broader social norms.

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Partner choice decision making and the integration of multiple cues

Ryan Schacht & Mark Grote
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Uncertainty about fitness-enhancing traits in a potential mate, as well as variability in social and ecological environments, favor the use of multiple cues in selecting a partner. Though how individuals respond with adaptive mating preferences is an open question. Here we investigate mate choice decision making among the Makushi of Guyana and compare two competing approaches: 1) A prioritized trait approach, in which preferences are determined by the independent evaluation of relevant partner traits; and 2) an integrative approach, in which preferences are determined by reducing multiple, interrelated traits to a few latent dimensions. Within these two approaches we measure the effects of several key factors - sex, adult sex ratio, and community-to-community variability - thought to pattern preferences. We find support for cue integration and contextual variability in preferences. Sex and adult sex ratio are weak predictors of preferences in the Makushi: preferences are best explained by unstructured community effects. These findings highlight two key issues in mate choice studies: 1) simple biologically-based models do not seem adequate to explain variation in preferences, either within or among populations; and 2) while context, generally speaking, matters in determining preferences, we lack theoretically-informed predictions about relevant contextual factors. The importance of cues, as well as what they signal in a potential partner, is likely to vary with location-specific factors that are yet unexplored.

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Creativity and aggression as ornament and armament: Intersexual and intrasexual selection on men's mating behaviors

Bin-Bin Chen & Lei Chang
Evolutionary Psychology, March 2015, Pages 266-282

Abstract:
In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that men respond to intersexual and intrasexual selection by facultatively choosing between weapon-like and ornament-like behaviors. In the first two studies, we manipulated intersexual and intrasexual selection by having male participants take part in a simulated dating game (Study 1) or imagine having a date (Study 2). In both studies, participants were told either that the target female would choose her date (intersexual) or that male suitors would nominate one another (intrasexual). Under the intersexual selection condition, men demonstrated increased creativity levels and decreased aggression levels, whereas the opposite pattern was observed under the intrasexual selection condition. Study 3 showed that individual differences in creativity and aggression as personality traits similarly predicted intrasexual and intersexual mating strategies, respectively. These extend existing evolutionary mating research by specifying the mechanism of intrasexual or intersexual selection in shaping men's weapon-like or ornament-like situational response and personality development.

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Liking a Sexual Character Affects Willingness to Have Casual Sex: The Moderating Role of Relationship Status and Status Satisfaction

Inge Boot, Jochen Peter, Johanna van Oosten
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of the present study was to investigate individual differences in the influence of the likability of a sexual female main character on women's willingness to have casual sex with a stranger. Specifically, we studied the moderating role of relationship status (Experiments 1 and 2) and satisfaction with one's relationship or with being single (Experiment 2). Women (aged 18-30), who were single or in a relationship, watched an erotic scene with a likable or unlikable sexual female main character who had casual sex. In both experiments, women in a relationship were less willing to have casual sex than single women, after they had seen a likable sexual female character. However, an unpredicted effect was found in Experiment 2. After seeing an unlikable sexual female character, women who were dissatisfied with their relationship or with being single were more willing to have casual sex than their satisfied counterparts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 22, 2015

Outsiders

Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?

Gihoon Hong & John McLaren
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most research on the effects of immigration focuses on the effects of immigrants as adding to the supply of labor. By contrast, this paper studies the effects of immigrants on local labor demand, due to the increase in consumer demand for local services created by immigrants. This effect can attenuate downward pressure from immigrants on non-immigrants' wages, and also benefit non-immigrants by increasing the variety of local services available. For this reason, immigrants can raise native workers' real wages, and each immigrant could create more than one job. Using US Census data from 1980 to 2000, we find considerable evidence for these effects: Each immigrant creates 1.2 local jobs for local workers, most of them going to native workers, and 62% of these jobs are in non-traded services. Immigrants appear to raise local non-tradables sector wages and to attract native-born workers from elsewhere in the country. Overall, it appears that local workers benefit from the arrival of more immigrants.

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Foreign-born Peers and Academic Performance

Dylan Conger
Demography, April 2015, Pages 569-592

Abstract:
The academic performance of foreign-born youth in the United States is well studied, yet little is known about whether and how foreign-born students influence their classmates. In this article, I develop a set of expectations regarding the potential consequences of immigrant integration across schools, with a distinction between the effects of sharing schools with immigrants who are designated as English language learners (ELL) and those who are not. I then use administrative data on multiple cohorts of Florida public high school students to estimate the effect of immigrant shares on immigrant and native-born students' academic performance. The identification strategy pays careful attention to the selection problem by estimating the effect of foreign-born peers from deviations in the share foreign-born across cohorts of students attending the same school in different years. The assumption underlying this approach is that students choose schools based on the composition of the entire school, not on the composition of each entering cohort. The results of the analysis, which hold under several robustness checks, indicate that foreign-born peers (both those who are ELL and those who are non-ELL) have no effect on their high school classmates' academic performance.

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Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Mary Lopez
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 598-603

Abstract:
We evaluate how intensified interior immigration enforcement impacts the likelihood that children of unauthorized immigrants will repeat a grade or drop out of school. Using a weighted index of the intensity of interior immigration enforcement at the MSA level, we find that increased enforcement has the largest impact on younger children ages 6 to 13. The estimates, which account for the non-random residential location of children and their families, reveal that increased enforcement raises young children's probability of repeating a grade by 6 percent and their likelihood of dropping out of school by 25.2 percent.

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Does Islam Play a Role in Anti-Immigrant Sentiment? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton & Amaney Jamal
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are Muslim immigrants subjected to targeted opposition (i.e., Islamophobia) on their pathway to US citizenship? Using a list experiment and a representative sample of the US population, we compare explicit and implicit opposition to Muslim and Christian immigrants. We find that Muslim immigrants, relative to Christian immigrants, experience greater explicit resistance. However, when social desirability bias is taken into account via the list experiment, we find that opposition to Christian and Muslim immigrants is the same. The explanation is that respondents conceal a significant amount of opposition to Christian immigrants. Muslim immigrants, on the other hand, are afforded no such protection. We find that religiosity or denomination do not play a significant role in determining implicit or explicit opposition. We conclude that Islamophobia, which is only explicitly expressed, is best understood as reflective of social desirability bias from which Muslim immigrants do not benefit.

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Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime

Scott Baker
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 210-213

Abstract:
I examine the effects that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, had on crime in the United States. I exploit the IRCA's quasi-random timing as well as geographic variation in the intensity of treatment to isolate causal impacts. I find decreases in crime of 3-5 percent, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization. I calibrate a labor market model of crime, finding that much of the drop in crime can be explained by greater labor market opportunities among applicants.

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The Long-Run Effect of Mexican Immigration on Crime in US Cities: Evidence from Variation in Mexican Fertility Rates

Aaron Chalfin
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 220-225

Abstract:
Using historical data on the size of state-specific Mexican birth cohorts and geographic migration networks between Mexican states and US metropolitan areas, I construct an instrumental variable that predicts decadal migration from Mexico to the United States. The intuition behind this identification strategy is that larger historical birth cohorts in Mexico yield more potential migrants once each birth cohort reaches prime migration age. I report evidence that Mexican immigration is associated with a decline in property crimes and an increase in aggravated assaults. The available evidence suggests that this is not an artifact of reduced crime reporting among immigrants.

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Identifying the Effect of Immigration on Homicide Rates in U.S. Cities: An Instrumental Variables Approach

Patrick Schnapp
Homicide Studies, May 2015, Pages 103-122

Abstract:
Studies of the effect of immigration on homicide in U.S. cities have reported mostly null or negative results. These studies suffer from a failure to weight by population size and the lack of a credible identification strategy. Using data from the Census and the Uniform Crime Reports, 146 U.S. cities in the year 2000 are analyzed using weighted instrumental variables (IV) regressions to overcome these limitations. Estimates are insignificant, and none suggest a substantial negative effect of immigration on homicide, a finding that is replicated with 1990 data. Model comparisons indicate that conventional specifications exaggerate the beneficial effect of immigration somewhat.

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Foreign and Native Skilled Workers: What Can We Learn from H-1B Lotteries?

Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
In April of 2007 and 2008, the U.S. randomly allocated 65,000 H-1B temporary work permits to foreign-born skilled workers. About 88,000 requests for computer-related H-1B permits were declined in each of those two years. This paper exploits random H-1B variation across U.S. cities to analyze how these supply shocks affected labor market outcomes for computer-related workers. We find that negative H-1B supply shocks are robustly associated with declines in foreign-born computer-related employment, while native-born computer employment either falls or remains constant. Most of the correlation between H-1B supply shocks and foreign employment is due to rationing that varies with a city's initial dependence upon H-1B workers. Variation in random, lottery-driven, unexpected shocks is too small to identify significant effects on foreign employment in the full sample of cities. However, we do find that random rationing affects foreign employment in cities that are highly dependent upon the H-1B program. Altogether, the results support the existence of complementarities between native and foreign-born H-1B computer workers.

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Voting Rights for Whom? Examining the Effects of the Voting Rights Act on Latino Political Incorporation

Melissa Marschall & Amanda Rutherford
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study applies insights from principal-agent models to examine whether and how the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Sections 203 and 4(f)(4), affect Latino representation. Using panel data from 1984–2012, we estimate two-stage models that consider the likelihood and extent of Latino board representation for a sample of 1,661 school districts. In addition, we examine how policy design as well as federal oversight and enforcement shape implementation and compliance with the language assistance provisions. Our findings not only provide the first systemic evidence that the language assistance provisions have a direct effect on Latino representation, but also link the efficacy of the language assistance provisions to the duration and consistency of coverage and the presence of federal elections observers. Overall, our study underscores the continued need for federal government involvement in protecting the voting rights of underrepresented groups, in this case, language minority citizens.

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The Impact of Large-Scale Collective Action on Latino Perceptions of Commonality and Competition with African Americans

Michael Jones-Correa, Sophia Wallace & Chris Zepeda-Millán
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans. We hypothesize that the reinforcement and politicization of in-group identities leads to greater identification and sense of commonality with other marginalized racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: This study utilizes geocoded Latino National Survey data combined with an expanded protest event data set to estimate the effect of temporal and spatial proximity to immigrant rights protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans using ordered logistic regression models.

Results: The findings suggest that respondents' proximity to marches had a positive impact on Latino perceptions of commonality with African Americans. The results also show that proximity to protests did not lead to an increase in feelings of competition with African Americans except in the case of electoral representation.

Conclusions: Examining temporal and spatial effects of protests improves our understanding of how protests can influence public opinion and how protests can influence identities and group relations.

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Ethnic Complementarities after the Opening of China: How Chinese Graduate Students Affected the Productivity of Their Advisors

George Borjas, Kirk Doran & Ying Shen
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
The largest and most important flow of scientific talent in the world is the migration of international students to the doctoral programs offered by universities in industrialized countries. This paper uses the opening of China in 1978 to estimate the causal effect of this flow on the productivity of their professors in mathematics departments across the United States. Our identification strategy relies on both the suddenness of the opening of China and on a key feature of scientific production: intra-ethnic collaboration. The new Chinese students were more likely to be mentored by American professors with Chinese heritage. The increased access that the Chinese-American advisors had to a new pool of considerable talent led to a substantial increase in their productivity. Despite these sizable intra-ethnic knowledge spillovers, the relatively fixed size of doctoral mathematics programs (and the resulting crowdout of American students) implied that comparable non-Chinese advisors experienced a decline in the number of students they mentored and a concurrent decline in their research productivity. In fact, the productivity gains accruing to Chinese-American advisors were almost exactly offset by the losses suffered by the non-Chinese advisors. Finally, it is unlikely that the gains from the supply shock will be more evident in the next generation, as the Chinese students begin to contribute to mathematical knowledge. The rate of publication and the quality of the output of the Chinese students is comparable to that of the American students in their cohort.

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Does immigration impact institutions?

J.R. Clark et al.
Public Choice, June 2015, Pages 321-335

Abstract:
The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation's institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long-run prosperity. But little is known about how immigration impacts these institutions. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a nation's policies and institutions. We find no evidence of negative and some evidence of positive impacts in institutional quality as a result of immigration.

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The Effect of Rainfall on Migration from Mexico to the U.S.

Gerónimo Barrios Puente, Francisco Perez & Robert Gitter
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been very little work on the impact of rainfall on migration from Mexico or even elsewhere. We use satellite data from NASA to examine the effect of the lagged level of rainfall relative to an area's historical average, on migration from small Mexican communities to the U.S. Controlling for the level of education, proportion married, and historic migration levels, we find higher levels of rainfall significantly reduce Mexican migration to the U.S. and a 20 percentage point higher than normal level of rainfall leads to a predicted 10.3 percent decrease in migration.

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Do Immigrants Work in Worse Jobs than U.S. Natives? Evidence from California

Madeline Zavodny
Industrial Relations, April 2015, Pages 276–293

Abstract:
In the debate over immigration reform, a common assertion is that immigrants take jobs that U.S. natives do not want. Using data from the 2000 Census merged with O*NET data on occupation characteristics, I show that the jobs held by immigrants are more physically arduous than the jobs held by U.S. natives. However, data from the California Work and Health Survey on self-reported physical job demands indicate that immigrants do not perceive their jobs as requiring more physical effort than U.S. natives. Immigrants thus have worse jobs than natives but do not view them as such.

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Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans

James Cox & Wafa Hakim Orman
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 1–8

Abstract:
Trust and trustworthiness are crucial to amelioration of social dilemmas. Distrust and malevolence aggravate social dilemmas. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to observe interactions between immigrants and native-born Americans in a social dilemma situation that can elicit both benevolent and malevolent actions. We survey participants in order to relate outcomes in the moonlighting game to demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of trust and trustworthiness and show that they are strongly correlated. Overall, we find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when they interact with native-born citizens but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables. Women and older people are less likely to trust but no more or less trustworthy. Highly religious immigrants are less trusting and less trustworthy than both other immigrants and native-born Americans.

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The Mexican Dream? The effect of return migrants on hometown development

Benjamin James Waddell & Matías Fontenla
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mexican migrants are returning to their homeland at record rates. Along with material goods, these former migrants may bring with them new ways of thinking about the world and envisioning the future. Still, relatively little is known about the degree to which former migrants affect the wellbeing of their local communities over time. This study evaluates the effect of return migrants on health, education, income, and political participation in Guanajuato, Mexico during the period 2000–2010. The findings imply that returnees may have positive effects within local economies, improving not only income, but also education, healthcare, electoral participation, and overall wellbeing. The results of this study have important implications for policy makers operating within emigration-prone regions of the world.

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Bilingualism and Status Attainment among Latinos

Jennifer Lee & Sarah Hatteberg
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research demonstrates that bilingualism is associated with positive educational outcomes. Less is known, however, about its influence on status attainment in young adulthood. In this study, we utilize data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 2000 to examine the influence of bilingualism during adolescence on educational attainment, occupation, and income among Latinos. We find that compared with English dominance, biliteracy is positively associated with high school completion and occupational prestige among Latina women and that oral and passive bilingualism are negatively associated with high school completion among Latino men. We suggest these differences reflect the gendered experiences of language. Spanish-speaking men may be stigmatized, whereas biliterate women may gain valuable skills that are rewarded in school and in the labor market.

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Birthing, Nativity, and Maternal Depression: Australia and the U.S.

Melissa Martinson & Marta Tienda
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study analyzes two birth cohort surveys, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, to examine variation in maternal depression by nativity, duration of residence, age at migration, and English proficiency in Australia and the U.S. Both countries have long immigrant traditions and a common language. The results demonstrate that U.S. immigrant mothers are significantly less depressed than native-born mothers, but maternal depression does not differ by nativity in Australia. Moreover, the association between duration of residence and maternal depression is not linear: Recent arrivals and long-term residents exhibit the highest depression levels. Lack of English proficiency exacerbates maternal depression in Australia, but protects against depression in the U.S. Differences in immigration regimes and welfare systems likely contribute to the differing salience of nativity for maternal depression.

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Marginal and happy? The need for uniqueness predicts the adjustment of marginal immigrants

Régine Debrosse, Roxane de la Sablonnière & Maya Rossignac-Milon
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marginalization is often presented as the strategy associated with the worst adjustment for immigrants. This study identifies a critical variable that buffers marginal immigrants from the negative effects of marginalization on adjustment: The need for uniqueness. In three studies, we surveyed immigrants recruited on university campuses (n = 119, n = 116) and in the field (n = 61). Among marginal immigrants, a higher need for uniqueness predicted higher self-esteem (Study 1), affect (Study 2), and life satisfaction (Study 3), and marginally higher happiness (Study 2) and self-esteem (Study 3). No relationship between the need for uniqueness and adjustment was found among non-marginal immigrants. The adaptive value of the need for uniqueness for marginal immigrants is discussed.

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Does Anti-Hispanic Bias Motivate Opposition to Non-English Languages?

Heeju Shin, David Leal & Christopher Ellison
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contemporary political debates about language policy in the United States focus on three primary policy issues: bilingual education in public schools, English-only legislation, and the access of non-English speaking citizens to political rights. Using the "Multi-Ethnic United States" module from the 2000 General Social Survey (GSS), this article tests multiple attitudinal, behavioral, demographic, and contextual hypotheses for how Anglos and African Americans view bilingual policy issues. We examine the role of linguistic contact, self-interest, group threat, and discriminatory views of Latinos, finding that the latter — as measured by the "Three Ds" (Derogation, Disrespect, and Distance) — are the strongest predictors of attitudes toward bilingualism. Distance (social distance from Latinos) is consistently significant, disrespect (doubts about Latino contributions to the United States) is mostly significant, and derogation (Latino stereotypes) is occasionally significant. Also, political ideology and knowledge of a non-English language play important roles in the formation of favorable bilingualism opinions. However, the self-interest and group threat variables were largely insignificant. Taken together, these findings indicate the importance of understanding how policy views may be structured by opinions about out-group individuals and cultures. Language can serve as a proxy for immigrants themselves, as negative attitudes toward Latinos are associated with negative attitudes toward bilingualism.

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Social Distrust and Immigrant Access to Welfare Programs in the American States

Adam Butz & Jason Kehrberg
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 256–286

Abstract:
Social trust ameliorates collective action problems by allowing multicultural societies to adopt more inclusive and equitable public policies directed toward newly arriving immigrants. However, existing research warns that increasing ethnic diversity from immigrant populations can undermine levels of social trust, hindering mass support for redistributive policies that empower low-income minority populations. This article examines the relationship between U.S. state-level social trust and immigrant access to social welfare programs using multilevel regression with post-stratification to estimate state-level attitudes of distrust. Distrust is found to be associated with reduced immigrant access to redistributive social programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid. Interestingly, patterns of distrust and strict immigrant welfare exclusion are more pronounced among low immigrant Southern states, while high immigrant states exhibit relatively inclusive and accommodative policies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Qualified minorities

Priming White identity elicits stereotype boost for biracial Black-White individuals

Sarah Gaither et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological threat experienced by students of negatively stereotyped groups impairs test performance. However, stereotype boost can also occur if a positively stereotyped identity is made salient. Biracial individuals, whose racial identities may be associated with both negative and positive testing abilities, have not been examined in this context. Sixty-four biracial Black-White individuals wrote about either their Black or White identity or a neutral topic and completed a verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) examination described as diagnostic of their abilities. White-primed participants performed significantly better than both Black-primed and control participants. Thus, biracial Black-White individuals experience stereotype boost only when their White identity is made salient.

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Two Strikes: Race and the Disciplining of Young Students

Jason Okonofua & Jennifer Eberhardt
Psychological Science, May 2015, Pages 617-624

Abstract:
There are large racial disparities in school discipline in the United States, which, for Black students, not only contribute to school failure but also can lay a path toward incarceration. Although the disparities have been well documented, the psychological mechanisms underlying them are unclear. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that such disparities are, in part, driven by racial stereotypes that can lead teachers to escalate their negative responses to Black students over the course of multiple interpersonal (e.g., teacher-to-student) encounters. More generally, we argue that race not only can influence how perceivers interpret a specific behavior, but also can enhance perceivers' detection of behavioral patterns across time. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical benefits of employing this novel approach to stereotyping across a range of real-world settings.

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Academic Undermatching of High-Achieving Minority Students: Evidence from Race-Neutral and Holistic Admissions Policies

Sandra Black, Kalena Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 604-610

Abstract:
College is a pathway to social mobility in the United States. Yet too often high-achieving students from low-income and minorities families fail to apply to selective postsecondary institutions. Our study examines the extent to which academic undermatching occurs among high-achieving minority students by analyzing the application choices of students who undergo two distinct admissions policies. We find that minority students eligible for automatic admissions and those who undergo holistic admissions are both less likely to apply to elite flagship universities than white students, despite being equally qualified based on high school performance. Instead, minorities often opt for lower tier universities.

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Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

Devah Pager & David Pedulla
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1005-1054

Abstract:
While existing research has documented persistent barriers facing African-American job seekers, far less research has questioned how job seekers respond to this reality. Do minorities self-select into particular segments of the labor market to avoid discrimination? Such questions have remained unanswered due to the lack of data available on the positions to which job seekers apply. Drawing on two original data sets with application-specific information, we find little evidence that blacks target or avoid particular job types. Rather, blacks cast a wider net in their search than similarly situated whites, including a greater range of occupational categories and characteristics in their pool of job applications. Additionally, we show that perceptions of discrimination are associated with increased search breadth, suggesting that broad search among African-Americans represents an adaptation to labor market discrimination. Together these findings provide novel evidence on the role of race and self-selection in the job search process.

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"Two souls, two thoughts," two self-schemas: Double consciousness can have positive academic consequences for African Americans

Tiffany Brannon, Hazel Rose Markus & Valerie Jones Taylor
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 586-609

Abstract:
African Americans can experience a double consciousness - the two-ness of being an American and an African American. The present research hypothesized that: (a) double consciousness can function as 2 self-schemas - an independent self-schema tied to mainstream American culture and an interdependent self-schema tied to African American culture, and (b) U.S. educational settings can leverage an interdependent self-schema associated with African American culture through inclusive multicultural practices to facilitate positive academic consequences. First, a pilot experiment and Studies 1 and 2 provided evidence that double consciousness can be conceptualized as 2 self-schemas. That is, African Americans shifted their behavior (e.g., cooperation) in schema-relevant ways from more independent when primed with mainstream American culture to more interdependent when primed with African American culture. Then, Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that incorporating African American culture within a university setting enhanced African Americans' persistence and performance on academic-relevant tasks. Finally, using the Gates Millennium Scholars dataset (Cohort 1), Study 5 conceptually replicated Studies 3 and 4 and provided support for one process that underlies the observed positive academic consequences. Specifically, Study 5 provided evidence that engagement with African American culture (e.g., involvement with cultural events/groups) on college campuses makes an interdependent self-schema more salient that increases African American students' sense of academic fit and identification, and, in turn, enhances academic performance (self-reported grades) and persistence (advanced degree enrollment in a long-term follow-up). The discussion examines double consciousness as a basic psychological phenomenon and suggests the intra- and intergroup benefits of inclusive multicultural settings.

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Skin Shade Stratification and the Psychological Cost of Unemployment: Is there a Gradient for Black Females?

Timothy Diette et al.
Review of Black Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 155-177

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to formally evaluate whether the deleterious impact of unemployment on mental health increases as skin shade darkens for black women in the U.S. Using data drawn from the National Survey of American Life, we find strong evidence of a gradient on depression between skin shade and unemployment for black women. These findings are consistent with the premises of the emerging field of stratification economics. Moreover, the findings are robust to various definitions of skin shade. Unemployed black women with darker complexions are significantly more likely to suffer their first onset of depression than unemployed black females with lighter skin shade. While in some cases, lighter skinned black women appeared not to suffer adverse effects of unemployment compared to their employed counterparts, persons with dark complexions did not enjoy the same degree of protection from poor mental health.

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The Impact of Economic Freedom on the Black/White Income Gap

Gary Hoover, Ryan Compton & Daniel Giedeman
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 587-592

Abstract:
Using state-level data from 1980-2010 we examine whether economic freedom, as measured by the Economic Freedom of North America Index, has had any impact in increasing or decreasing the ratio of median income for black households to the median income of white households. To our knowledge, there has been no research on racial income disparities and the role that economic freedom might have in alleviating or exacerbating the problem. We find evidence that economic freedom is associated with an increase in the racial income gap.

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Will you value me and do I value you? The effect of phenotypic racial stereotypicality on organizational evaluations

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 130-138

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether within-group differences in phenotypic racial stereotypicality (i.e., extent to which individuals possess physical features typical of their racial group) of ingroup members serve as social identity contingency cues for Blacks evaluating organizations. It is hypothesized that Blacks draw information about whether their social identity would be valued based on the represented phenotypic racial stereotypicality of Black organization members. Participants viewed organizations that included high phenotypically stereotypic (HPS) Black (e.g., darker skin tones, broader facial features), low phenotypically stereotypic (LPS) Black, or only White employees. Results confirmed that Black, but not White, evaluators reported more diversity, salary, desire to work, and social identity-related trust toward the HPS, compared to LPS and White, organizations. The relationships between phenotypic racial stereotypicality condition on organizational attractiveness and diversity perceptions were mediated by identity-related trust. Results suggest considering diversity at both the group level and within group level to achieve broader benefits.

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Statistical Discrimination and the Implication of Employer-Employee Racial Matches

Yariv Fadlon
Journal of Labor Research, June 2015, Pages 232-248

Abstract:
In this paper, I test the empirical validity of a statistical discrimination model that incorporates employer's race. I argue that if an employer statistically discriminates less against an employee that shares the same race (matched) than an employee who does not share the same race (mismatched), then the correlation between the employee's wage and his skill level (AFQT) is stronger for a matched employee than for a mismatched employee. Using data from the NLSY97, which includes information about the racial background of employees and their supervisors, I find evidence that is consistent with a statistical discrimination model for young male employees.

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Capturing the cardiac effects of racial discrimination: Do the effects "keep going"?

Lori Hoggard et al.
International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial discrimination negatively impacts cardiac functioning, but few studies examine the more distal cardiac effects of racial discrimination experiences. The present study examined the momentary and prolonged impact of lab-based intergroup and intragroup racial discrimination on heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) in a sample (N = 42) of African American (AA) women across two days. On day one, the women were exposed to simulated racial discrimination from either a European American (EA) or AA confederate in the lab. On day two, the women returned to the lab for additional physiological recording and debriefing. Women insulted by the EA confederate exhibited lower HRV on day one and marginally lower HRV on day two. These women also exhibited marginally higher HR on day two. The HRV and HR effects on day two were not mediated by differences in perseveration about the stressor. The findings indicate that racial discrimination - particularly intergroup racial discrimination - may have both momentary and prolonged effects on cardiac activity in AAs.

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Stereotype validation: The effects of activating negative stereotypes after intellectual performance

Jason Clark et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 531-552

Abstract:
With regard to intellectual performance, a large body of research has shown that stigmatized group members may perform more poorly when negative, self-relevant stereotypes become activated prior to a task. However, no research to date has identified the potential ramifications of stereotype activation that happens after - rather than before - a person has finished performing. Six studies examined how postperformance stereotype salience may increase the certainty individuals have in evaluations of their own performance. In the current research, the accessibility of gender or racial stereotypes was manipulated after participants completed either a difficult math test (Studies 1-5) or a test of child-care knowledge (Study 6). Consistent with predictions, stereotype activation was found to increase the certainty that women (Studies 1, 2, 4, and 5), African Americans (Study 3), and men (Study 6) had toward negative evaluations of their own test performance. These effects emerged when performance-related perceptions were stereotype consistent rather than inconsistent (Studies 1-6) and were found to be most pronounced among those who were highly identified with the stereotyped group (Study 5). Furthermore, greater certainty - triggered by negative stereotypes - predicted lowered domain-relevant beliefs (Studies 1, 2, 3, and 6) and differential exposure to domain-relevant stimuli (Studies 4 and 5).

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Race, Friends, and College Readiness: Evidence from the High School Longitudinal Study

Steven Elias Alvarado & Brian An
Race and Social Problems, June 2015, Pages 150-167

Abstract:
Close friends are likely to transmit influence on students' educational attitudes and decisions that are independent of students' own background abilities and motivations. However, previous research suggests that close friends may have uneven effects on educational outcomes by race and ethnicity. We analyze the impact of close friends who are college bound on students' college readiness using new and restricted panel data from the High School Longitudinal Study (2009-2011). Descriptive analyses suggest that having a college-bound friend is positively associated with college readiness and that these impacts are felt by racial and ethnic subgroups in separate and unique ways. Results from propensity score models suggest that while having a college-bound friend generally yields positive effects on all students, it has a more consistent effect on white students' college readiness compared with Asians, blacks, and Latinos. A formal sensitivity analysis suggests that these treatment effects are robust to the confounding influence of an unobserved confounder.

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Dynamics of the Black-White Gap in Academic Achievement

Ian McDonough
Economics of Education Review, August 2015, Pages 17-33

Abstract:
The black-white test score gap remains a measurable phenomenon in the United States. Up to this point the literature has primarily focused on the black-white achievement gap without taking into account the underlying mobility patterns of individual students as they progress from one grade to the next. However, the degree to which policy makers and educators should be concerned about the black-white test score gap should be tied to how mobile the two groups of students are through the distribution of test scores from one grade to the next. In this paper I apply two nonparametric estimators of distributional mobility to data on test scores and track black-white differences in mobility across the entire distribution of achievement. When compared to whites, blacks tend to be less upwardly mobile and more downwardly mobile for both math and reading. This pattern is particularly prominent for reading in the very early years of schooling.

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Antiegalitarians for affirmative action? When social dominance orientation is positively related to support for egalitarian social policies

Geoffrey Ho & Miguel Unzueta
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that people high in social dominance orientation (i.e., antiegalitarians) generally oppose affirmative action policies. We propose that antiegalitarians may be less opposed to strong affirmative action policies because such policies may be perceived to ultimately strengthen racial hierarchies. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that antiegalitarian individuals are less opposed to affirmative action policies, as compared to egalitarian individuals, when such policies strongly weigh minority status in selection decisions. Study 3 provides evidence that antiegalitarians lessen their opposition to strong policies only when such policies are believed to enhance racial hierarchies through the recruitment of minorities that remain at the bottom of organizational hierarchies. Theoretical, political, and organizational implications are discussed.

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Hispanics' SAT Scores: The Influences of Level of Parental Education, Performance-Avoidance Goals, and Knowledge About Learning

Brenda Hannon
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, May 2015, Pages 204-222

Abstract:
This study uncovers which learning (epistemic belief of learning), socioeconomic background (level of parental education, family income) or social-personality factors (performance-avoidance goals, test anxiety) mitigate the ethnic gap in SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores. Measures assessing achievement motivation, test anxiety, socioeconomic family background, and epistemic belief of learning were administered to 143 European American and 62 Hispanic students. ANCOVA revealed that the measures of epistemic belief of learning, performance-avoidance goals, and level of parental education each had a unique influence on combined SAT (SAT-V + SAT-M), SAT-V (verbal SAT), and SAT-M (math SAT) scores. Indeed, the statistical removal of these influences resulted in the elimination of 55% to 75% of the effect attributed to ethnic differences in SAT performance. Moreover, even when gender differences were controlled, ANCOVA revealed the same results. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that multiple factors influence ethnic differences in SAT performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At the margin

Changes in Safety Net Use during the Great Recession

Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 161-165

Abstract:
We examine how participation in social safety net programs differs by income-to-poverty levels, and how that relationship changed after the Great Recession. We define income-to-poverty based on the average of 2 years of merged CPS data, and investigate program participation among households with income less than 300 percent of poverty. We find changes in both the level and distribution of safety-net program participation during the Great Recession, with SNAP expanding most at the bottom, the EITC expanding most in the middle, and UI expanding most at the top of the income ranges that we investigate; TANF did not expand.

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Housing Policy and Urban Inequality: Did the Transformation of Assisted Housing Reduce Poverty Concentration?

Ann Owens
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poverty concentration reflects long-standing inequalities between neighborhoods in the United States. As the poverty concentration paradigm gained traction among policymakers and social scientists, assisted housing policy was overhauled. New assisted housing programs introduced since 1970 have dramatically reduced the geographic concentration of assisted housing units, changing the residential location of many low-income residents. Was this intervention in the housing market enough to reduce poverty concentration? Using national longitudinal data, I find that the deconcentration of assisted housing from 1977 to 2008 only modestly reduced poverty concentration in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The results are driven by the deconcentration of assisted housing after 2000, when policies had a greater focus on dispersal of assisted housing to low-poverty neighborhoods. My results suggest that even a substantial shift in housing policy cannot make great strides in deconcentrating poverty given the existing landscape of durable urban inequality. Assisted housing policy exists alongside many other structural forces that cluster poor residents in neighborhoods, and these factors may limit its ability to reduce poverty concentration. Moreover, new housing programs rely on the private market to determine the location of assisted units, and the enduring place hierarchy among neighborhoods may influence both where assisted housing is located and its effect on the residential choices of non-assisted residents in ways that undermine poverty deconcentration.

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Intrayear Household Income Dynamics and Adolescent School Behavior

Lisa Gennetian et al.
Demography, April 2015, Pages 455-483

Abstract:
Economic life for most American households is quite dynamic. Such income instability is an understudied aspect of households' economic contexts that may have distinct consequences for children. We examine the empirical relationship between household income instability, as measured by intrayear income change, and adolescent school behavior outcomes using a nationally representative sample of households with adolescents from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2004 panel. We find an unfavorable relationship between income instability and adolescent school behaviors after controlling for income level and a large set of child and family characteristics. Income instability is associated with a lower likelihood of adolescents being highly engaged in school across the income spectrum and predicts adolescent expulsions and suspensions, particularly among low-income, older, and racial minority adolescents.

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Social Networks and Personal Bankruptcy

Michelle Miller
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2015, Pages 289–310

Abstract:
This article examines the role of social networks in a household's bankruptcy decision. Social networks may affect a household's bankruptcy decision in many ways: they could provide information about the required paperwork, recommend an attorney, reduce the stigma associated with bankruptcy, or increase awareness of its benefits. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I exploit county and racial variation to identify network effects. My empirical strategy asks whether being surrounded by others of the same race increases bankruptcy use more for those in racial groups with high filing rates. This methodology allows me to include both county-year and racial-group fixed effects in my regressions. The results strongly confirm the importance of networks in a household's bankruptcy decision.

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The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence Katz
Harvard Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered randomly selected families living in high-poverty housing projects housing vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods. We present new evidence on the impacts of MTO on children's long-term outcomes using administrative data from tax returns. We find that moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood significantly improves college attendance rates and earnings for children who were young (below age 13) when their families moved. These children also live in better neighborhoods themselves as adults and are less likely to become single parents. The treatment effects are substantial: children whose families take up an experimental voucher to move to a lower-poverty area when they are less than 13 years old have an annual income that is $3,477 (31%) higher on average relative to a mean of $11,270 in the control group in their mid-twenties. In contrast, the same moves have, if anything, negative long-term impacts on children who are more than 13 years old when their families move, perhaps because of disruption effects. The gains from moving fall with the age when children move, consistent with recent evidence that the duration of exposure to a better environment during childhood is a key determinant of an individual's long-term outcomes. The findings imply that offering families with young children living in high-poverty housing projects vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods may reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty and ultimately generate positive returns for taxpayers.

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Living Arrangements, Doubling Up, and the Great Recession: Was This Time Different?

Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 166-170

Abstract:
The Great Recession marks the worst downturn since those of the early 1980s. A large literature considers how the public safety net responded to this shock. We instead consider the responsiveness of one dimension of the private safety net. Families can react to negative shocks by moving in with relatives or downsizing. We use across-state over-time variation to estimate the effects of cycles on living arrangements, paying particular attention to young adults. We find living arrangements are cyclical, but effects are small. Surprisingly given the press attention, we find no evidence that things are different in the Great Recession.

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Association of Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Psychological Distress

Vanessa Oddo & James Mabli
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages e30-e35

Objectives: We assessed whether households' participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was associated with improvements in well-being, as indicated by lower rates of psychological distress.

Methods: We used longitudinal data for 3146 households in 30 states, collected between October 2011 and September 2012 for the SNAP Food Security survey, the largest longitudinal national survey of SNAP participants to date. Analyses compared households within days of program entry to the same households approximately 6 months later. We measured psychological distress in the past 30 days on a 6-item Kessler screening scale and used multivariable regression to estimate associations between SNAP participation and psychological distress.

Results: A smaller percentage of household heads exhibited psychological distress after 6 months of participation in SNAP than at baseline (15.3% vs 23.2%; difference = −7.9%). In adjusted models, SNAP participation was associated with a decrease in psychological distress (adjusted relative risk = 0.72; 95% confidence interval = 0.66, 0.78).

Conclusions: Continuing support for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, may reduce the public health burden of mental illness, thus improving well-being among vulnerable populations.

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Welfare use and children's longer-term achievement

Shan-Ying Chu & Hau Chyi
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the effects of mothers' welfare use on children's longer-term performance. To address issues of improper comparison groups and the endogenous nature of welfare participation, we focus on less-educated single mothers and adopt a correction function approach. Data are drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 – Children and Young Adult from 1994 to 2010. Estimation results confirm the positive longer-term effects of mothers' welfare use. On average, a child whose mother used welfare in all 20 quarters after childbirth experiences a 0.56-point increase in their yearly high school grade point average, is 12% more likely to graduate from high school and earns $1112.76 more in the first-observed income than a child whose mother does not.

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The Effects of Location-based Tax Policies on the Distribution of Household Income: Evidence from the Federal Empowerment Zone Program

Lockwood Reynolds & Shawn Rohlin
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Location-based tax policies are redistributive as evidenced by their placement in distressed areas. However, the previous literature has focused on mean effects which can mask important effects that the program has on the distribution of households. Therefore, we extend the literature by studying changes in the entire household income distribution, in the context of the federal Empowerment Zone (EZ) program. We do not find evidence that the impoverished residents benefited from the program. Our findings are consistent with the areas becoming more attractive to high-income households. The improvements in the areas were concentrated in those portions of each zone that were relatively better-off prior to EZ designation. The results confirm the prior literature findings that the areas, on average, became more attractive but also suggest that the benefits of the program likely did not accrue to the lower-income residents of the EZ areas.

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The Success of SNAP (Food Stamps) and the Desirability of Taxing Food

Steven Sheffrin & Anna Johnson
Tulane University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most states either totally or partially exclude food at home from the general sales tax. This exclusion generates a debate between tax policy analysts with their emphasis on broad base, low-rate tax systems against the advocates for the poor who argue that the exemption for food is necessary on distributional grounds. States that do tax food at home are often singled out as having particularly regressive and punitive tax systems. What is missing from this debate is a serious discussion of the consequences of non-taxability of benefits under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps). We present evidence that the SNAP program effectively reaches the vast majority of the poor thus making the taxability of food at home much less important for individuals in lower income tiers. Based on calculations using the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we show that the non-taxability of SNAP benefits reduces the regressivity of the sales tax in states that tax food. Overall, including food at home in the sales tax base with a correspondent adjustment of the overall tax rate would be a beneficial change. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political and economic dimensions which may lead food at home to be excluded from the tax base.

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Vehicle Access and Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty: Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Program

Casey Dawkins, Jae Sik Jeon & Rolf Pendall
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The geographic determinants of social and economic opportunity have received much scholarly attention. A missing link in this body of research is an emphasis on the range of factors influencing low-income households' exposure to neighborhood poverty over time. This paper examines the dynamics of exposure to neighborhood poverty for Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program participants. Our paper is unique in its emphasis on the role of vehicle access as it shapes exposure to neighborhood poverty. We find that vehicle access is an important factor shaping residential spells and transitions to low-poverty neighborhoods over time. We also find that the combined influence of a geographically-targeted residential mobility requirement and vehicle access substantially elevates a household's likelihood of accessing and staying in a low-poverty neighborhood. These findings suggest that residential mobility programs and similar efforts to spatially deconcentrate poverty should pay particular attention to the transportation needs of low-income households.

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Economic Conditions and SSI Applications

Austin Nichols, Lucie Schmidt & Purvi Sevak
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides federally-funded income support for individuals with disabilities, and has become one of the most important means-tested transfer programs in the United States. Previous studies have examined the effects of economic conditions on growth in disability caseloads, but most focus on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Most work on SSI dates from before welfare reform, which had both direct and indirect effects on the composition of the population at risk for SSI participation. In this paper we examine the relationship between SSI application risk and economic conditions between 1996 and 2010, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) linked to the Social Security Administration's 831 file, which includes monthly data on SSI (and SSDI) application and receipt. Results from hazard models suggest that higher state unemployment rates have a large, positive effect on the risk of SSI application among jobless individuals, and our evidence suggests that female potential applicants may be more responsive to local economic conditions than men. State-level TANF policies have no effect on SSI application risk but state fiscal distress significantly increases application risk. Given the continued growth of the SSI program, understanding these relationships is increasingly important and policy-relevant.

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Given Time It Worked: Positive Outcomes From a SSDI Benefit Offset Pilot After the Initial Evaluation Period

Barry Delin, Ellie Hartman & Christopher Sell
Journal of Disability Policy Studies, June 2015, Pages 54-64

Abstract:
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Employment Pilot in Wisconsin was one of four Social Security Administration authorized pilots to test a cash benefit offset feature for the SSDI program. Those allowed to use the offset only lost US$1 of their SSDI cash benefit for every US$2 earned when their monthly earnings reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level after completing the Trial Work Period (TWP). Over the first two years following pilot enrollment, no statistically significant differences were observed in employment outcomes between the treatment and control groups. However, after these first two years, outcome trends diverged, ultimately leading to the treatment group exhibiting better outcomes. The differences between treatment and control participants were conditioned on whether participants completed their TWP by the end of 2008. Subsequently, there were statistically significant differences between outcome trends for the two groups of TWP completers. There were virtually no differences between the outcome trends for the groups with no TWP completers. These results are consistent with an interpretation that the cash benefit offset, given adequate time, can be an effective work incentive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's your life

Social Cultivation of Vaccine Refusal and Delay among Waldorf (Steiner) School Parents

Elisa Sobo
Medical Anthropology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
U.S. media reports suggest that vastly disproportionate numbers of un- and under-vaccinated children attend Waldorf (private alternative) schools. After confirming this statistically, I analyzed qualitative and quantitative vaccination-related data provided by parents from a well-established U.S. Waldorf school. In Europe, Waldorf-related non-vaccination is associated with anthroposophy (a worldview foundational to Waldorf education) - but that was not the case here. Nor was simple ignorance to blame: Parents were highly educated and dedicated to self-education regarding child health. They saw vaccination as variously unnecessary, toxic, developmentally inappropriate, and profit driven. Some vaccine caution likely predated matriculation, but notable post-enrollment refusal increases provided evidence of the socially cultivated nature of vaccine refusal in the Waldorf school setting. Vaccine caution was nourished and intensified by an institutionalized emphasis on alternative information and by school community norms lauding vaccine refusal and masking uptake. Implications for intervention are explored.

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Offsetting or Enhancing Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of Motorcycle Helmet Safety Legislation

Jonathan Lee
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study uses state-level panel data from a 33-year period to test the hypotheses of offsetting and enhancing behavior with regards to motorcycle helmet legislation. Results presented in this article find no evidence of offsetting behavior and are consistent with the presence of enhancing behavior. State motorcycle helmet laws are estimated to reduce motorcycle crashes by 18.4% to 31.9%. In the absence of any behavioral adaptations among motorcyclists mandatory helmet laws are not expected to have any significant impact on motorcycle crash rates. The estimated motorcycle crash reductions do not appear to be driven by omitted variable bias or nonclassical measurement error in reported crashes. Overall, the results strongly suggest that mandatory helmet laws yield significant changes in motorcycle mobility in the form of reduced risk taking and/or decreased utilization.

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The Consequences of Job Displacement for Health: Moderating Influences of Economic Conditions and Educational Attainment

Jessica Pearlman
Social Science Research, July 2015, Pages 570-587

Abstract:
This paper will examine the impact of worker displacement on health in the United States from 1975-2004, especially the extent to which the impact of displacement on health varies according to the economic conditions in the year of displacement and the education level of the displaced worker. Findings from ordered probit and fixed effects models suggest that the negative impact of displacement on health is exacerbated by a higher unemployment rate at the time of displacement and for displaced workers with a college degree.

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The Long-Term Impact of an Early Career Recession on Health and Health-Related Behaviors

Naijia Guo & Rong Hai
University of Chicago Working Paper, March 2015

Abstract:
Using data from the restricted-access National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we estimate the long-term impact of an early career recession on various health outcomes and health-related behaviors up to age 30 for males and females by education groups. The early career recession is measured by the unemployment rate of the graduation state in the year when the individual enters the labor market upon receiving the highest degree. Because the timing of labor market entry could potentially be affected by economic conditions, we instrument the unemployment rate when entering labor market using the state unemployment rates at age 18 and age 22. Our main findings are that first, an early career recession has an adverse impact on health outcomes and health-related behaviors in general, and second, these adverse effects are especially pronounced among lower educated individuals. In particular, an early career recession increases the probability of bad health status for high school graduates, but has no effect on college graduates; it also leads to more depression for high school graduates than college graduates among males. We also find that a higher unemployment rate at early career significantly increases adverse health behaviors such as smoking, heavy drinking, and illicit drug use among high school graduates, but there is no statistically significant impact on college graduates. In addition, different gender-education groups respond differently in time use, such as time spent on exercise, sleep, and watching TV. An early career recession also reduces daily fruit intake for all males and unskilled females.

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Four Ways Life Extension will Change Our Relationship with Death

John Davis
Bioethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Discussions of life extension ethics have focused mainly on whether an extended life would be desirable to have, and on the social consequences of widely available life extension. I want to explore a different range of issues: four ways in which the advent of life extension will change our relationship with death, not only for those who live extended lives, but also for those who cannot or choose not to. Although I believe that, on balance, the reasons in favor of developing life extension outweigh the reasons against doing so (something I won't argue for here), most of these changes probably count as reasons against doing so. First, the advent of life extension will alter the human condition for those who live extended lives, and not merely by postponing death. Second, it will make death worse for those who lack access to life extension, even if those people live just as long as they do now. Third, for those who have access to life extension but prefer to live a normal lifespan because they think that has advantages, the advent of life extension will somewhat reduce some of those advantages, even if they never use life extension. Fourth, refusing life extension turns out to be a form of suicide, and this will force those who have access to life extension but turn it down to choose between an extended life they don't want and a form of suicide they may (probably mistakenly) consider immoral.

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The Role of Education in Explaining Racial/Ethnic Allostatic Load Differentials in the United States

Jeffrey Howard & Johnelle Sparks
Biodemography and Social Biology, Spring 2015, Pages 18-39

Abstract:
This study expands on earlier findings of racial/ethnic and education-allostatic load associations by assessing whether racial/ethnic differences in allostatic load persist across all levels of educational attainment. This study used data from four recent waves of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES). Results from this study suggest that allostatic load differs significantly by race/ethnicity and educational attainment overall, but that the race/ethnicity association is not consistent across education level. Analysis of interactions and education-stratified models suggest that allostatic load levels do not differ by race/ethnicity for individuals with low education; rather, the largest allostatic load differentials for Mexican Americans (p < .01) and non-Hispanic blacks (p < .001) are observed for individuals with a college degree or more. These findings add to the growing evidence that differences in socioeconomic opportunities by race/ethnicity are likely a consequence of differential returns to education, which contribute to higher stress burdens among minorities compared to non-Hispanic whites.

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In fatal pursuit of immortal fame: Peer competition and early mortality of music composers

Karol Jan Borowiecki & Georgios Kavetsos
Social Science & Medicine, June 2015, Pages 30-42

Abstract:
We investigate the impact of peer competition on longevity using a unique historical data set of 144 prominent music composers born in the 19th century. We approximate for peer competition measuring (a) the number or (b) the share of composers located in the same area and time, (c) the time spent in one of the main cities for classical music, and (d) the quality of fellow composers. These measures suggest that composers' longevity is reduced, if they located in agglomerations with a larger group of peers or of a higher quality. The point estimates imply that, all else equal, a one percent increase in the number of composers reduces composer longevity by ∼7.2 weeks. Our analysis showed that the utilized concentration measures are stronger than the personal factors in determining longevity, indicating that individuals' backgrounds have minimal impact on mitigating the effect of experienced peer pressure. The negative externality of peer competition is experienced in all cities, fairly independent of their population size. Our results are reaffirmed using an instrumental variable approach and are consistent throughout a range of robustness tests. In addition to the widely known economic benefits associated with competition, these findings suggest that significant negative welfare externalities exist as well.

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Polling Places, Pharmacies, and Public Health: Vote & Vax 2012

Douglas Shenson et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages e12-e15

Abstract:
US national elections, which draw sizable numbers of older voters, take place during flu-shot season and represent an untapped opportunity for large-scale delivery of vaccinations. In 2012, Vote & Vax deployed a total of 1585 clinics in 48 states; Washington, DC; Guam; Puerto Rico; and the US Virgin Islands. Approximately 934 clinics were located in pharmacies, and 651 were near polling places. Polling place clinics delivered significantly more vaccines than did pharmacies (5710 vs 3669). The delivery of vaccines was estimated at 9379, and approximately 45% of the recipients identified their race/ethnicity as African American or Hispanic. More than half of the White Vote & Vax recipients and more than two thirds of the non-White recipients were not regular flu shot recipients.

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Texting and Driving: Can it be Explained by the General Theory of Crime?

Phillip Neil Quisenberry
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 303-316

Abstract:
There has been quite a bit of media attention devoted recently to the topic of distracted driving generally, and texting and driving specifically. Recent studies by scholars, as well as the Department of Transportation, have continued to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving. Previous studies have found that texting while driving reduces reaction and control times even more than drinking and driving. At least one study found that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash relative to non-distracted drivers. Tougher laws may be alluring as a deterrent to this behavior, but according to the data in this study, 96 % of respondents knew it was against the law but continued to text and drive anyway. This finding casts doubt on the effectiveness of any new distracted driving laws. The general theory of crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) posits that levels of self-control are tied to deviant behaviors such as texting while driving. Other studies have also found that levels of self-control were significantly tied to other dangerous driving behaviors such as driving while drinking and driving without using a seatbelt. The findings in this study add support to the general theory of crime by demonstrating that, among college students in this sample, higher self-control significantly reduces the amount of texting while driving.

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Sacred Values? The Effect of Information on Attitudes toward Payments for Human Organs

Julio Elias, Nicola Lacetera & Mario Macis
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 361-365

Abstract:
Are attitudes about morally controversial (and often prohibited) market transactions affected by information about their costs and benefits? We address this question for the case of payments for human organs. We find in a survey experiment with US residents (N=3,417) that providing information on the potential efficiency benefits of a regulated price mechanism for organs significantly increased support for payments from a baseline of 52 percent to 71 percent. The survey was devised to minimize social desirability biases in responses, and additional analyses validate the interpretation that subjects were reflecting on the case-specific details provided, rather than just reacting to any information.

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ACA Provisions Associated With Increase In Percentage Of Young Adult Women Initiating And Completing The HPV Vaccine

Brandy Lipton & Sandra Decker
Health Affairs, May 2015, Pages 757-764

Abstract:
Affordable Care Act provisions implemented in 2010 required insurance plans to offer dependent coverage to people ages 19-25 and to provide targeted preventive services with zero cost sharing. These provisions both increased the percentage of young adults with any source of health insurance coverage and improved the generosity of coverage. We examined how these provisions affected use of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is among the most expensive of recommended vaccines, among young adult women. Using 2008-12 data from the National Health Interview Survey, we estimated that the 2010 policy implementation increased the likelihood of HPV vaccine initiation and completion by 7.7 and 5.8 percentage points, respectively, for women ages 19-25 relative to a control group of women age 18 or 26. These estimates translate to approximately 1.1 million young women initiating and 854,000 young women completing the vaccine series.

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Comparison of asthma prevalence among African American teenage youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia and urban Detroit

Dennis Ownby et al.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, forthcoming

Objective: We sought to compare the prevalence of asthma among AA youth in rural Georgia and urban Detroit, Michigan.

Methods: The prevalence of asthma was compared in population-based samples of 7297 youth attending Detroit public high schools and in 2523 youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia. Current asthma was defined as a physician diagnosis and symptoms in the previous 12 months. Undiagnosed asthma was defined as multiple respiratory symptoms in the previous 12 months without a physician diagnosis.

Results: In Detroit, 6994 (95.8%) youth were AA compared with 1514 (60.0%) in Georgia. Average population density in high school postal codes was 5628 people/mile2 in Detroit and 45.1 people/mile2 in Georgia. The percentages of poverty and of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches were similar in both areas. The prevalence of current diagnosed asthma among AA youth in Detroit and Georgia was similar: 15.0% (95% CI, 14.1-15.8) and 13.7% (95% CI, 12.0-17.1) (P = .22), respectively. The prevalence of undiagnosed asthma in AA youth was 8.0% in Detroit and 7.5% in Georgia (P = .56). Asthma symptoms were reported more frequently among those with diagnosed asthma in Detroit, whereas those with undiagnosed asthma in Georgia reported more symptoms.

Conclusions: Among AA youth living in similar socioeconomic circumstances, asthma prevalence is as high in rural Georgia as it is in urban Detroit, suggesting that urban residence is not an asthma risk factor.

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Can Private Money Buy Public Science? Disease Group Lobbying and Federal Funding for Biomedical Research

Deepak Hegde & Bhaven Sampat
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Private interest groups lobby politicians to influence public policy. However, little is known about how lobbying influences the policy decisions made by federal agencies. We study this through examining lobbying by advocacy groups associated with rare diseases for funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world's largest funder of biomedical research. Disease group lobbying for NIH funding has been controversial, with critics alleging that it distorts public funding toward research on diseases backed by powerful groups. Our data reveal that lobbying is associated with higher political support, in the form of congressional "soft earmarks" for the diseases. Lobbying increases with disease burden and is more likely to be associated with changes in NIH funding for diseases with higher scientific opportunity, suggesting that it may have a useful informational role. Only special grant mechanisms that steer funding toward particular diseases, which comprise less than a third of the NIH's grants, are related to earmarks. Thus, our results suggest that lobbying by private groups influences federal funding for biomedical research. However, the channels of political influence are subtle, affect a small portion of funding, and may not necessarily have a distortive effect on public science.

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Internal migration, area effects and health: Does where you move to impact upon your health?

Mark Green et al.
Social Science & Medicine, July 2015, Pages 27-34

Abstract:
Evidence surrounding the importance of neighbourhood on health has been mostly restricted to observational data analyses. However, observational data are often the only source of information available to test this association and can fail to accurately draw out casual effects. This study employs a pseudo-experimental design to provide a novel test for the evidence of neighbourhood effects on health, using migration as a mechanism for assessing the role of neighbourhood. Coarsened exact matching was employed on the British Household Panel Survey (2006-2008) to analyse the association between migration (by area type, measured using a classification of mortality patterns) and health. Although an overall significant positive association between migration and health was observed, once the effect was disaggregated by location and destination it disappeared. Rather, evidence of health selective migration was found whereby individuals of poorer health migrated to areas that displayed poorer health and social characteristics (and vice versa). Migration is an important process that through the social sorting of individuals in terms of their health, contributes to the growing polarisation and inequality in health patterns. The study helps to build upon previous research through providing a new and stronger form of analysis that reduces the influence of bias on results. Incorporating this under-utilised methodology and research design in future studies could help develop public health and geographical research.

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Not a Problem: A Downside of Humorous Appeals

Peter McGraw, Julie Schiro & Philip Fernbach
University of Colorado Working Paper, February 2015

Abstract:
Public service announcements (PSAs) are traditionally designed to elicit negative emotions that spur problem-solving behavior. However, in order to improve their reach, some social marketers are forgoing traditional strategy by creating PSAs that are humorous. Because of humor's positivity and association with non-serious situations, we hypothesized that humorous appeals can decrease problem perception and problem-solving behavior. Study 1 examined problem perceptions using matched pairs of humorous and non-humorous PSAs. Respondents judged a social issue as less important to solve after viewing the humorous version of the pair. Study 2 examined problem-solving behavior through a partnership with a non-profit organization seeking to improve young adults' sexual health knowledge. Humorous PSAs were less effective than a non-humorous version at spurring people to search for health information. The inquiry revealed a previously unaddressed tradeoff: using humor to benefit a message's reach creates a potential cost to solving a personal or societal problem.

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The Perils of Marketing Weight-Management Remedies and the Role of Health Literacy

Lisa Bolton, Amit Bhattacharjee & Americus Reed
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Spring 2015, Pages 50-62

Abstract:
This research explores the impact of weight-management remedy marketing on healthy lifestyle behaviors. Three studies demonstrate that exposure to drug (but not supplement) marketing for weight management encourages unhealthy consumer behavior as a result of consumers' reliance on erroneous beliefs about health remedies. The authors explore the possible mitigating role of two dimensions of healthy literacy: nutrition knowledge and remedy knowledge. Whether measured or manipulated, the results show remedy knowledge to be more effective than nutrition knowledge at lessening the effect of weight-management drug marketing on unhealthy behavior. The authors close with a discussion of the theoretical and substantive implications of this research for consumer welfare.

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Trends in U.S. life expectancy gradients: The role of changing educational composition

Arun Hendi
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: I examined age patterns and the role of shifting educational distributions in driving trends in educational gradients in life expectancy among non-Hispanic Whites between 1991 and 2005.

Methods: Data were from the 1986-2004 National Health Interview Survey with mortality follow-up through 2006. Life expectancies were computed by sex, period and education. Age decompositions of life expectancy gradients and composition-adjusted life expectancies were computed to account for age patterns and shifting educational distributions.

Results: Life expectancy at age 25 among White men increased for all education groups, decreased among the least-educated White women and increased among White women with college degrees. Much of the decline in measured life expectancy for White women with less than a high school education comes from the 85+ age group. Educational gradients in life expectancy widened for White men and women. One-third of the gradient is due to ages below 50. Approximately 26% (0.7 years) and 87% (0.8 years) of the widening of the gradient in life expectancy between ages 25 and 85 for White women and men is attributable to shifting education distributions. Over half of the decline in temporary life expectancy among the least-educated White women is due to compositional change.

Conclusions: Life expectancy has increased among White men for all education groups and has decreased among White women with less than a high school education, though not to the extent reported in previous studies. The fact that a large proportion of the change in education-specific life expectancy among women is due to the 85+ age group suggests changes in institutionalization may be affecting estimates. Much of the change in education-specific life expectancy and the growth in the educational gradient in life expectancy is due to the shifting distribution of individuals across education categories.

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Attention, Intentions, and Follow-Through in Preventive Health Behavior: Field Experimental Evidence on Flu Vaccination

Erin Todd Bronchetti, David Huffman & Ellen Magenheim
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Preventive health behaviors like flu vaccination have important benefits, but compliance is poor, and the reasons are not fully understood. We conducted a large study across six colleges (N=9,358), with a methodology that offers an unusual opportunity to look at three potential factors: Inattention to information, informed intentions to not comply, and problems following through on intentions. We also tested three interventions in an RCT. We find that inattention to information is not the primary driver of low take-up, while informed decisions to not get the vaccine, but also lack of follow-through, are important factors. A financial intervention increased take-up and had persistent, positive effects on intentions for vaccination in future years. Two low-cost "nudges" did not increase vaccination rates, although the peer endorsement nudge increased exposure to information, especially if aligned with social networks.

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The Weaker Sex? Vulnerable Men, Resilient Women, and Variations in Sex Differences in Mortality since 1900

Mark Cullen et al.
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Sex differences in mortality (SDIM) vary over time and place as a function of social, health, and medical circumstances. The magnitude of these variations, and their response to large socioeconomic changes, suggest that biological differences cannot fully account for sex differences in survival. We document "stylized facts" about SDIM with which any theory will have to contend. We draw on a wide swath of mortality data, including probability of survival to age 70 by county in the United States, the Human Mortality Database data for 18 high-income countries since 1900, and mortality data within and across developing countries over time periods for which reasonably reliable data are available. We show that, in each of the periods of economic development after the onset of demographic and epidemiologic transition, cross-sectional variation in SDIM exhibits a consistent pattern of female resilience to mortality under adversity. Moreover, as societies develop, M/F survival first declines and then increases, a "SDIM transition" embedded within the demographic and epidemiologic transitions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shoot first, aim later

Explaining Terrorism: Leadership Deficits and Militant Group Tactics

Max Abrahms & Philip Potter
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 311-342

Abstract:
Certain types of militant groups - those suffering from leadership deficits - are more likely to attack civilians. Their leadership deficits exacerbate the principal-agent problem between leaders and foot soldiers, who have stronger incentives to harm civilians. We establish the validity of this proposition with a tripartite research strategy that balances generalizability and identification. First, we demonstrate in a sample of militant organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa that those lacking centralized leadership are prone to targeting civilians. Second, we show that when the leaderships of militant groups are degraded from drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal regions, the selectivity of organizational violence plummets. Third, we elucidate the mechanism with a detailed case study of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian group that turned to terrorism during the Second Intifada because pressure on leadership allowed low-level members to act on their preexisting incentives to attack civilians. These findings indicate that a lack of principal control is an important, underappreciated cause of militant group violence against civilians.

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Revisiting Reputation: How Past Actions Matter in International Politics

Alex Weisiger & Keren Yarhi-Milo
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 473-495

Abstract:
Policy-makers and political scientists have long believed that states must make policy with an eye to maintaining a good reputation, especially a good reputation for resolve. Recent work, however, has argued that reputations for resolve do not form, and hence that past actions do not influence observers' behavior in subsequent interactions. This conclusion is theoretically problematic and unsupported by the evidence offered by reputation critics. In particular, juxtaposing reputation for resolve to power and interests is misleading when past actions influence observers' beliefs about interests, while the common approach of looking at crisis decision making misses the impact of reputation on general deterrence. We thus derive hypotheses about conflict onset from both the arguments of reputation critics and the logic of more standard reputation arguments, which we put to statistical test. We find that past action is closely connected to subsequent dispute initiation and that the effects of reputation generalize beyond the immediate circumstances of the past dispute. Although reputation is not all-important, leaders are well advised to consider the reputational implications of policy decisions in international conflict.

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Nation-Building through War

Nicholas Sambanis, Stergios Skaperdas & William Wohlforth
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 279-296

Abstract:
How do the outcomes of international wars affect domestic social change? In turn, how do changing patterns of social identification and domestic conflict affect a nation's military capability? We propose a "second image reversed" theory of war that links structural variables, power politics, and the individuals that constitute states. Drawing on experimental results in social psychology, we recapture a lost building block of the classical realist theory of statecraft: the connections between the outcomes of international wars, patterns of social identification and domestic conflict, and the nation's future war-fighting capability. When interstate war can significantly increase a state's international status, peace is less likely to prevail in equilibrium because, by winning a war and raising the nation's status, leaders induce individuals to identify nationally, thereby reducing internal conflict by increasing investments in state capacity. In certain settings, it is only through the anticipated social change that victory can generate that leaders can unify their nation, and the higher anticipated payoffs to national unification makes leaders fight international wars that they would otherwise choose not to fight. We use the case of German unification after the Franco-Prussian war to demonstrate the model's value-added and illustrate the interaction between social identification, nationalism, state-building, and the power politics of interstate war.

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Foreign Military Interventions and Suicide Attacks

Seung-Whan Choi & James Piazza
Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examines the effect of foreign military interventions on the incidence of suicide attacks. It presents three theoretical explanations. Foreign military interventions may boost insurgent use of suicide attacks by (a) fomenting a nationalist backlash that sanctions the use of more extreme and unconventional tactics like suicide attacks, (b) providing more and better targets against which suicide attacks can be launched, or (c) prompting insurgents to use suicide tactics in order to overcome their power asymmetries and to confront better defended targets that are enhanced by interventions. We test these competing explanations using a battery of statistical tests on cross-national, time-series data for 138 countries during the period from 1981 to 2005. We find that only foreign interventions with specific features - pro-government interventions involving larger numbers of ground troops - boost suicide attacks in countries experiencing interventions. This finding suggests that by tipping the balance of power against insurgents and hardening targets in the context of assisting a local government, foreign military interventions are likely to increase the use of suicide attacks by regime challengers.

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The limits of autocracy promotion: The case of Russia in the 'near abroad'

Lucan Way
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
In recent years, observers have raised concerns about threats to democracy posed by external support for authoritarianism coming from regional powers such as Russia, China and Venezuela. This article assesses the efficacy of autocracy promotion through a close examination of Russian efforts to shape regime outcomes in the former Soviet Union. It finds that while Russian actions have periodically promoted instability and secessionist conflict, there is little evidence that such intervention has made post-Soviet countries less democratic than they would have been otherwise. First, the Russian government has been inconsistent in its support for autocracy - supporting opposition and greater pluralism in countries where anti-Russian governments are in power, and incumbent autocrats in cases where pro-Russian politicians dominate. At the same time, the Russian government's narrow concentration on its own economic and geopolitical interests has significantly limited the country's influence, fostering a strong counter-reaction in countries with strong anti-Russian national identities. Finally, Russia's impact on democracy in the region has been restricted by the fact that post-Soviet countries already have weak democratic prerequisites. This analysis suggests that, despite increasingly aggressive foreign policies by autocratic regional powers, autocracy promotion does not present a particularly serious threat to democracy in the world today.

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Measuring hard power: China's economic growth and military capacity

Peter Robertson & Adrian Sin
Defence and Peace Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
China's rapid economic growth is facilitating massive increases in its military spending and causing increased security concerns in Asia and the Western Pacific. But there is uncertainty over how large China's military spending is relative to other countries, or how fast it is growing in real terms. We address this issue by deriving a relative military cost price index based on the relative unit costs of inputs. We find that China's real military spending is much larger than suggested by exchange rate comparisons, and even larger than standard purchasing power parity comparisons. We also find, however, that the real growth of China's military spending has been smaller than conventionally thought. This is due to rapidly growing wages in China and the large share of personnel in China's military budget.

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Economic Stress and International Cooperation: Evidence from International Rivalries

Christopher Clary
MIT Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Do economic downturns generate pressure for diversionary conflict? Or might downturns encourage austerity and economizing behavior in foreign policy? This paper provides new evidence that economic stress is associated with conciliatory policies between strategic rivals. For states that view each other as military threats, the biggest step possible toward bilateral cooperation is to terminate the rivalry by taking political steps to manage the competition. Drawing on data from 109 distinct rival dyads since 1950, 67 of which terminated, the evidence suggests rivalries were approximately twice as likely to terminate during economic downturns than they were during periods of economic normalcy. This is true controlling for all of the main alternative explanations for peaceful relations between foes (democratic status, nuclear weapons possession, capability imbalance, common enemies, and international systemic changes), as well as many other possible confounding variables. This research questions existing theories claiming that economic downturns are associated with diversionary war, and instead argues that in certain circumstances peace may result from economic troubles.

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One Shield, Two Responses: Anti-U.S. Missile Defense Shield Protests in the Czech Republic and Poland

Yelena Biberman & Feryaz Ocakli
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 197-214

Abstract:
What is the role of civil society in geopolitical conflict? The crisis in Ukraine has, once again, raised questions over security in the post-communist world. This article examines the puzzling variation in the antimissile defense shield protests in the Czech Republic and Poland (2007-09) to elucidate the conditions under which civil society emerges as a significant actor in international politics. Activists in the Czech Republic staged seven times as many antishield protests as their Polish counterparts despite the two countries' similar levels of popular opposition to the project. The variation in the responses of the Polish and Czech activists resulted from the different material and legacy-driven ideological constraints faced by the civil society organizations. The findings suggest that the scholarship on contentious civic activism should take organization-level opportunities and constraints seriously when analyzing the impact of civil society on political processes.

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Are Economic Development and Education Improvement Associated with Participation in Transnational Terrorism?

L. Elbakidze & Y.H. Jin
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using transnational terrorism data from 1980 to 2000, this study empirically examines the relationships between frequency of participation in transnational terrorism acts and economic development and education improvement. We find an inverse U-shaped association between the frequency of various nationals acting as perpetrators in transnational terrorism acts and per capita income in their respective home countries. As per capita incomes increase from relatively low levels, frequencies of participation in transnational terrorism increase. However, at sufficiently higher levels of per capita income, further increase in per capita income is negatively associated with the rate of participation in transnational terrorism. Education improvement from elementary to secondary is positively correlated with frequency of participation in transnational terrorism events, whereas further improvement from secondary to tertiary level is negatively correlated with participation in transnational terrorism. We also find that citizens of countries with greater openness to international trade, lower degree of income inequality, greater economic freedom, larger proportion of population with tertiary education, and less religious prevalence participate in transnational terrorism events less frequently.

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Gender perceptions and support for compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yossi David & Ifat Maoz
Journal of Peace Psychology, May 2015, Pages 295-298

Abstract:
The goal of our study was to explore factors that underlie public support for compromise in protracted, asymmetrical conflict. We introduce a gendering for compromise model in which, in line with previous studies (Maoz & McCauley, 2008), support for compromise is determined by perception of threat from the opponent. However, innovatively, our model also presents perception of the opponent as having stereotypical feminine traits as an important predictor of willingness to compromise in conflict. This model was tested in the context of the asymmetrical, protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict using representative of Jewish-Israeli public opinion polling data (N = 511). In line with our expectations, the findings indicated that Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as threatening and Jewish-Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as having stereotypical feminine traits both made significant contributions to predicting attitudes toward compromise.

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Does Membership on the UN Security Council Influence Voting in the UN General Assembly?

Wonjae Hwang, Amanda Sanford & Junhan Lee
International Interactions, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies report that temporary members of the UN Security Council receive favorable treatment from the IMF, the World Bank, or in US foreign aid in exchange for their political support for permanent members. Nevertheless, few studies have examined whether this favorable treatment and these benefits have actually made any significant changes in the member states' voting behavior in the United Nations. To explore this question, we investigate whether membership on the UN Security Council influences a state's voting in the UN General Assembly. In the analysis of panel data for 197 countries over the period from 1946 to 2008, the empirical results show that elected members of the UN Security Council tend to behave similarly with permanent members, especially with the United States, as the number of loan programs signed with the IMF and the World Bank increases. Also, US foreign aid significantly increases temporary members' vote coincidence with the United States and other permanent members. In this regard, this article contributes to our understanding of state voting behavior and power politics in international organizations.

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Mehdi Hashemi and the Iran-Contra-Affair

Ulrich von Schwerin
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
In November 1986 a Lebanese newspaper revealed the secret arms-for-hostages deal between Tehran and Washington that subsequently became known as the Iran-Contra-Affair. The newspaper had been tipped off by friends of the Iranian radical Mehdi Hashemi who had been arrested shortly before in Iran. This article explores the link between the arrest of the ardent supporter of the then deputy leader Hossein-Ali Montazeri and the secret talks with the US government. The article will show that his arrest was not only an attempt of the then dominant faction around Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to bring the future leader Montazeri under its control, but also an attempt to eliminate a rival actor opposing the rapprochement with the USA and threatening to disrupt the arms-for-hostages deal.

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The Showdown That Wasn't: U.S.-Israeli Relations and American Domestic Politics, 1973-75

Galen Jackson
International Security, Spring 2015, Pages 130-169

Abstract:
How influential are domestic politics on U.S. foreign affairs? With regard to Middle East policy, how important a role do ethnic lobbies, Congress, and public opinion play in influencing U.S. strategy? Answering these questions requires the use of archival records and other primary documents, which provide an undistorted view of U.S. policymakers' motivations. The Ford administration's 1975 reassessment of its approach to Arab-Israeli statecraft offers an excellent case for the examination of these issues in light of this type of historical evidence. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided, in large part because of the looming 1976 presidential election, to avoid a confrontation with Israel in the spring and summer of 1975 by choosing to negotiate a second disengagement agreement between Egypt and Israel rather than a comprehensive settlement. Nevertheless, domestic constraints on the White House's freedom of action were not insurmountable and, had they had no other option, Ford and Kissinger would have been willing to engage in a showdown with Israel over the Middle East conflict's most fundamental aspects. The administration's concern that a major clash with Israel might stoke an outbreak of anti-Semitism in the United States likely contributed to its decision to back down.

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The Compellence Dilemma: International Disputes with Violent Groups

David Carter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article introduces the idea of a compellence dilemma. This dilemma arises when the domestic policies of adversaries - such as hosting violent groups - threaten states' security. Such states often consider coercive instruments to compel their adversary to change those policies. The problem? The prospect of costly punishment makes cooperation more attractive for the adversary. However, if they fail to coerce policy change, harsh punishments can reduce the adversary's capacity to enact policy change and induce harmful domestic instability. These problems are compounded by the fact that both the threatened states' incentive to use costly punishments and the costs of failed compellence increase with the severity of the security threat. The logic of the compellence dilemma applies whenever a state uses damaging coercive instruments but risks failing to achieve its immediate objectives. I analyze the compellence dilemma with a dynamic game-theoretic model of interaction among a target state, host state, and violent group, and show that it is pervasive in equilibrium. I show that the compellence dilemma causes states to refrain from using harsh punishments even when they would compel the host state to cooperate. Concerns about decreasing future host-state capacity and increasing group power drive this result.

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Estimating the Severity of the WikiLeaks U.S. Diplomatic Cables Disclosure

Michael Gill & Arthur Spirling
Political Analysis, Spring 2015, Pages 299-305

Abstract:
In November 2010, the WikiLeaks organization began the release of over 250,000 diplomatic cables sent by U.S. embassies to the U.S. State Department, uploaded to its website by (then) Private Manning, an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army. This leak was widely condemned, including by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We assess the severity of the leak by considering the size of the disclosure relative to all diplomatic cables that were in existence at the time - a quantity that is not known outside official sources. We rely on the fact that the cables that were leaked are internally indexed in such a way that they may be treated as a sample from a discrete uniform distribution with unknown maximum; this is a version of the well-known "German Tank Problem." We consider three estimators that rely on discrete uniformity - maximum likelihood, Bayesian, and frequentist unbiased minimum variance - and demonstrate that the results are very similar in all cases. To supplement these estimators, we employ a regression-based procedure that incorporates the timing of cables' release in addition to their observed serial numbers. We estimate that, overall, approximately 5% of all cables from this timeframe were leaked, but that this number varies considerably at the embassy-year level. Our work provides a useful characterization of the sample of documents available to international relations scholars interested in testing theories of "private information," while helping inform the public debate surrounding Manning's trial and 35-year prison sentence.

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The supply side of United Nations peacekeeping operations: Trade ties and United Nations-led deployments to civil war states

Szymon Stojek & Jaroslav Tir
European Journal of International Relations, June 2015, Pages 352-376

Abstract:
Peacekeeping operations have been identified as the most effective and efficient solution to the highly intractable problem of civil war recurrence; yet, only about 38% of civil wars receive peacekeeping assistance. To explain what determines whether an intrastate conflict receives a deployment of peacekeepers, we note that peacekeeping operations are costly endeavors requiring significant material investments. Focusing on the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations, we argue that because a relatively small group of states decides about (and funds) possible deployments, the supply of United Nations peacekeeping operations likely reflects the interests of these states. Specifically, we hypothesize that trade ties between the five permanent members of the Security Council and civil war states are among the factors that influence the decision to authorize United Nations peacekeeping operations. Testing the argument over the post-World War II and post-Cold War periods reveals that the economic interests of the permanent five members of the Security Council play a key role in explaining which civil wars receive United Nations peacekeepers.

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The Limits of Foreign Aid Diplomacy: How Bureaucratic Design Shapes Aid Distribution

Vincent Arel-Bundock, James Atkinson & Rachel Augustine Potter
International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does the institutional design of a state's bureaucracy affect foreign policy? We argue that institutions can moderate bureaucrats' incentives to act in accordance with an Executive's diplomatic preferences. Where the Executive can influence budgets or career paths, bureaucrats face incentives to adopt her diplomatic goals as their own. Where agencies are shielded from Executive influence, bureaucrats are free to act independently in a bid to enhance their autonomy and their reputation for competence. To test these expectations, we develop a new measure of bureaucratic independence for the 15 aid-giving agencies in the US government. We analyze how independence affects foreign aid allocation patterns over the 1999-2010 period. We find that in "dependent" agencies, foreign aid flows track the diplomatic objectives of the president. In "independent" agencies, aid flows appear less responsive to presidential priorities and more responsive to indicators of need in the recipient country. Our results highlight limits on the diplomatic use of foreign aid and emphasize the importance of domestic institutional design. Our findings yield insight into a broad range of policy domains - including international finance, immigration, and the application of economic sanctions - where multiple government agencies are in charge of implementing foreign policy.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 17, 2015

In it together

Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: Evidence from the Micro-Context

Peter Thisted Dinesen & Kim Mannemar Sønderskov
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We argue that residential exposure to ethnic diversity reduces social trust. Previous within-country analyses of the relationship between contextual ethnic diversity and trust have been conducted at higher levels of aggregation, thus ignoring substantial variation in actual exposure to ethnic diversity. In contrast, we analyze how ethnic diversity of the immediate micro-context — where interethnic exposure is inevitable — affects trust. We do this using Danish survey data linked with register-based data, which enables us to obtain precise measures of the ethnic diversity of each individual’s residential surroundings. We focus on contextual diversity within a radius of 80 meters of a given individual, but we also compare the effect in the micro-context to the impact of diversity in more aggregate contexts. Our results show that ethnic diversity in the micro-context affects trust negatively, whereas the effect vanishes in larger contextual units. This supports the conjecture that interethnic exposure underlies the negative relationship between ethnic diversity in residential contexts and social trust.

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Dopamine Modulates Egalitarian Behavior in Humans

Ignacio Sáez et al.
Current Biology, 30 March 2015, Pages 912–919

Abstract:
Egalitarian motives form a powerful force in promoting prosocial behavior and enabling large-scale cooperation in the human species. At the neural level, there is substantial, albeit correlational, evidence suggesting a link between dopamine and such behavior. However, important questions remain about the specific role of dopamine in setting or modulating behavioral sensitivity to prosocial concerns. Here, using a combination of pharmacological tools and economic games, we provide critical evidence for a causal involvement of dopamine in human egalitarian tendencies. Specifically, using the brain penetrant catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) inhibitor tolcapone, we investigated the causal relationship between dopaminergic mechanisms and two prosocial concerns at the core of a number of widely used economic games: (1) the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others, i.e., generosity, and (2) the extent to which they are averse to differences between their own payoffs and those of others, i.e., inequity. We found that dopaminergic augmentation via COMT inhibition increased egalitarian tendencies in participants who played an extended version of the dictator game. Strikingly, computational modeling of choice behavior revealed that tolcapone exerted selective effects on inequity aversion, and not on other computational components such as the extent to which individuals directly value the material payoffs of others. Together, these data shed light on the causal relationship between neurochemical systems and human prosocial behavior and have potential implications for our understanding of the complex array of social impairments accompanying neuropsychiatric disorders involving dopaminergic dysregulation.

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Power and Legitimacy Influence Conformity

Nicholas Hays & Noah Goldstein
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2015, Pages 17–26

Abstract:
Although prior research indicates that power and hierarchy illegitimacy independently decrease conformity to social norms, we demonstrate that the two interact. In five studies, we find that legitimate power decreases conformity, whereas illegitimate power increases conformity. We conducted Study 1 in a business organization and found that power was negatively related to employees’ conformity with organizational values when the power hierarchy was seen as legitimate, but positively related to conformity when the hierarchy was seen as illegitimate. In Study 2, we manipulated power and legitimacy via a recall task and found the same pattern of effects. Study 3 replicates this finding by manipulating role-based power and legitimacy and examining conformity to norms ostensibly established by others in the context of the study. In Study 4, we find that these effects are driven by increases in conformity among those who are in a state of legitimate powerlessness or illegitimate power. Finally, Study 5 demonstrates that legitimacy moderates the experience of power in part because of its effect on hierarchy stability. Our studies suggest that attributes of a power hierarchy, such as its legitimacy, can be as important in determining behavior as one’s hierarchical position.

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Leader emergence through interpersonal neural synchronization

Jing Jiang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 April 2015, Pages 4274–4279

Abstract:
The neural mechanism of leader emergence is not well understood. This study investigated (i) whether interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) plays an important role in leader emergence, and (ii) whether INS and leader emergence are associated with the frequency or the quality of communications. Eleven three-member groups were asked to perform a leaderless group discussion (LGD) task, and their brain activities were recorded via functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning. Video recordings of the discussions were coded for leadership and communication. Results showed that the INS for the leader–follower (LF) pairs was higher than that for the follower–follower (FF) pairs in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), an area important for social mentalizing. Although communication frequency was higher for the LF pairs than for the FF pairs, the frequency of leader-initiated and follower-initiated communication did not differ significantly. Moreover, INS for the LF pairs was significantly higher during leader-initiated communication than during follower-initiated communications. In addition, INS for the LF pairs during leader-initiated communication was significantly correlated with the leaders’ communication skills and competence, but not their communication frequency. Finally, leadership could be successfully predicted based on INS as well as communication frequency early during the LGD (before half a minute into the task). In sum, this study found that leader emergence was characterized by high-level neural synchronization between the leader and followers and that the quality, rather than the frequency, of communications was associated with synchronization. These results suggest that leaders emerge because they are able to say the right things at the right time.

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The monetary value of social capital

Johannes Orlowski & Pamela Wicker
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 26–36

Abstract:
The purpose of this study is to estimate the monetary value of social capital by considering its multidimensional nature. Four dimensions are conceptualized: Interpersonal trust, institutional trust, trustworthiness, and participation in civil society (formal and informal). The monetary value is obtained by including social capital in a well-being function and estimating the shadow price of social capital. The empirical analysis is based on data from the European Values Survey covering 45 European countries. A generalized ordered response model is estimated to account for possible heterogeneity of social capital indicators among the ten different subjective well-being levels. The results show that on average a one standard deviation increase in interpersonal trust (people's fairness) is worth an extra € 7,913 per year in terms of foregone income, the same increase in institutional trust is worth € 7,405, and the same increase in the importance of family is worth € 7,312. The findings indicate that social capital has significant monetary value to individuals. This should be considered when designing government policies aiming at e.g., labor market mobility that are accompanied by a decreasing social capital stock that, in turn, may negatively affect economic and political development.

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"Ingroup love" and "outgroup hate" in intergroup conflict between natural groups

Ori Weisel & Robert Böhm
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report on two studies investigating the motivations (“ingroup love” and “outgroup hate”) underlying individual participation in intergroup conflict between natural groups (fans of football clubs, supporters of political parties), by employing the Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma Maximizing-Difference game (IPD-MD). In this game group members can contribute to the ingroup (at a personal cost) and benefit ingroup members with or without harming members of an outgroup. Additionally, we devised a novel version of the IPD-MD in which the choice is between benefiting ingroup members with or without helping members of the outgroup. Our results show an overall reluctance to display outgroup hate by actively harming outgroup members, except when the outgroup was morality-based. More enmity between groups induced more outgroup hate only when it was operationalized as refraining from help.

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National identification as a function of perceived social control: A subjective group dynamics analysis

Isabel Pinto, José Marques & Dario Paez
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Based on subjective group dynamics theory (SGDT; e.g., Marques, Paez, & Abrams, 1998), we examine the effects of a group’s ability to effectively control its deviant members on participants’ ingroup identification. In Studies 1 and 2 (N = 79 and N = 173) participants were informed that the ingroup (vs. outgroup) dealt with deviant occurrences in an effective (vs. ineffective) way. As predicted, induced ingroup effectiveness generated higher ingroup identification, trust in the ingroup’s social control system, and more positive emotional climate, whereas induced ingroup ineffectiveness generated more negative emotional climate or anomie and weaker ingroup identification as compared to outgroup conditions. In Study 3 (N = 115), perceived ingroup effectiveness predicted ingroup identification, via emotional climate, ingroup anomie, confidence in the group’s social control system, and ingroup emotions. We discuss the results in light of SGDT and the role of perceived ingroup social control in promoting ingroup identification.

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Substitute or stepping stone? Assessing the impact of low-threshold online collective actions on offline participation

Sandy Schumann & Olivier Klein
European Journal of Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 308–322

Abstract:
Anecdotes of past social movements suggest that Internet-enabled technologies, especially social media platforms, can facilitate collective actions. Recently, however, it has been argued that the participatory Internet encourages low-cost and low-risk activism — slacktivism — which may have detrimental consequences for groups that aim to achieve a collective purpose. More precisely, low-threshold digital practices such as signing online petitions or “liking” the Facebook page of a group are thought to derail subsequent engagement offline. We assessed this postulation in three experiments (N = 76, N = 59, and N = 48) and showed that so-called slacktivist actions indeed reduce the willingness to join a panel discussion and demonstration as well as the likelihood to sign a petition. This demobilizing effect was mediated by the satisfaction of group-enhancing motives; members considered low-threshold online collective actions as a substantial contribution to the group's success. The findings highlight that behavior that is belittled as slacktivism addresses needs that pertain to individuals' sense of group membership. Rather than hedonistic motives or personal interests, concerns for the ingroup's welfare and viability influenced the decision to join future collective actions offline.

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When Treatments are Tweets: A Network Mobilization Experiment over Twitter

Alexander Coppock, Andrew Guess & John Ternovski
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study rigorously compares the effectiveness of online mobilization appeals via two randomized field experiments conducted over the social microblogging service Twitter. In the process, we demonstrate a methodological innovation designed to capture social effects by exogenously inducing network behavior. In both experiments, we find that direct, private messages to followers of a nonprofit advocacy organization’s Twitter account are highly effective at increasing support for an online petition. Surprisingly, public tweets have no effect at all. We additionally randomize the private messages to prime subjects with either a “follower” or an “organizer” identity but find no evidence that this affects the likelihood of signing the petition. Finally, in the second experiment, followers of subjects induced to tweet a link to the petition are more likely to sign it — evidence of a campaign gone “viral.” In presenting these results, we contribute to a nascent body of experimental literature exploring political behavior in online social media.

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Sports at Work: Anticipated and Persistent Correlates of Participation in High School Athletics

Kevin Kniffin, Brian Wansink & Mitsuru Shimizu
Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, May 2015, Pages 217-230

Abstract:
Do former high school athletes make better employees than nonathletes? Two studies examine how participation in competitive youth sports appears to be relevant for early-career job prospects as well as late-in-life outcomes. In the short run, Study 1 shows that people expect former student-athletes to display significantly more leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect than those who were active outside of sports — such as being in the band or on the yearbook staff. In the long run, Study 2 uses biodata to discover that men who participated in varsity-level high school sports an average of 60 years earlier appeared to demonstrate higher levels of leadership and enjoyed higher-status careers. Surprisingly, these ex-athletes also exhibited more prosocial behavior than nonathletes — they more frequently volunteered time and donated to charity. These findings open a wide range of possibilities regarding how one’s participation in competitive youth sports might influence the development of important skills and values beyond simply signaling the specific traits examined here. Moreover, this contributes to theoretical debates about the traits of students involved in competitive athletics, and it highlights the need for closer attention to the relevance of sports in the workplace and beyond — including late-in-life charitable giving and voluntarism.

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Mechanisms of Social Avoidance Learning Can Explain the Emergence of Adaptive and Arbitrary Behavioral Traditions in Humans

Björn Lindström & Andreas Olsson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many nonhuman animals preferentially copy the actions of others when the environment contains predation risk or other types of danger. In humans, the role of social learning in avoidance of danger is still unknown, despite the fundamental importance of social learning for complex social behaviors. Critically, many social behaviors, such as cooperation and adherence to religious taboos, are maintained by threat of punishment. However, the psychological mechanisms allowing threat of punishment to generate such behaviors, even when actual punishment is rare or absent, are largely unknown. To address this, we used both computer simulations and behavioral experiments. First, we constructed a model where simulated agents interacted under threat of punishment and showed that mechanisms’ (a) tendency to copy the actions of others through social learning, together with (b) the rewarding properties of avoiding a threatening punishment, could explain the emergence, maintenance, and transmission of large-scale behavioral traditions, both when punishment is common and when it is rare or nonexistent. To provide empirical support for our model, including the 2 mechanisms, we conducted 4 experiments, showing that humans, if threatened with punishment, are exceptionally prone to copy and transmit the behavior observed in others. Our results show that humans, similar to many nonhuman animals, use social learning if the environment is perceived as dangerous. We provide a novel psychological and computational basis for a range of human behaviors characterized by the threat of punishment, such as the adherence to cultural norms and religious taboos.

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Operationalizations of the “but you are free” technique with the word liberty and the Statue of Liberty symbol on clothes: Effects on compliance-gaining

Alexandre Pascual et al.
Social Influence, Summer 2015, Pages 149-156

Abstract:
The “but you are free” (BYAF) technique is a verbal compliance procedure which solicits people to comply with a request by telling them that they are free to accept or to refuse the request. This technique is based on the semantic evocation of freedom. In two studies, we explored another operationalization of this paradigm: the word “liberty” or a “Statue of Liberty” picture on the experimenter's clothes. The data showed that the word liberty printed on a t-shirt produced the BYAF effect whereas the Statue of Liberty picture did not. These results provide some evidence consistent with using reactance and commitment theories to explain the paradigm, contrary to other theoretical interpretations proposed in the literature such as politeness and reciprocity theories.

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Dual-Hormone Changes Are Related to Bargaining Performance

Pranjal Mehta et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies show that endogenous testosterone and cortisol changes interactively track bargaining outcomes. In a face-to-face competitive negotiation (Study 1) and a laboratory-based bargaining game (Study 2), testosterone rises were related to greater earnings and high relationship quality only if cortisol dropped. If cortisol rose, testosterone rises were related to lower earnings and poor relationship quality. Conflict between financial and social goals was associated with the financially costly hormone profile, whereas the absence of such conflict was associated with the financially adaptive hormone profile. The findings suggest that when cortisol decreases, rising testosterone is implicated in adaptive bargaining behavior that maximizes earnings and relationship quality. But when cortisol increases, rising testosterone is related to conflict between social and financial motives, lower earnings, and lower relationship quality. These results imply that there are “bright” and “dark” sides to rising testosterone in economic social interactions that depend on fluctuations in cortisol.

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How does leader humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus

Bradley Owens & David Hekman
Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using data from 607 subjects organized in 161 teams (84 laboratory teams and 77 organizational field teams), we examined how leader humility influences team interaction patterns, emergent states, and team performance. We developed and tested a theoretical model arguing that when leaders behave humbly, followers emulate their humble behaviors, creating a shared interpersonal team process (collective humility). This collective humility in turn creates a team emergent state focused on progressively striving toward achieving the team's highest potential (collective promotion focus), which ultimately enhances team performance. We tested our model across three studies wherein we manipulated leader humility to test the social contagion hypothesis (Study 1), examined the impact of humility on team processes and performance in a longitudinal team simulation (Study 2), and tested the full model in a multistage field study in a health services context (Study 3). The findings from these lab and field studies collectively supported our theoretical model, demonstrating that leader behavior can spread via social contagion to followers, producing an emergent state that ultimately affects team performance. Our findings contribute to the leadership literature by suggesting the need for leaders to lead by example, and showing precisely how a specific set of leader behaviors influence team performance, which may provide a useful template for future leadership research on a wide variety of leader behaviors.

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Damage to the insula is associated with abnormal interpersonal trust

Amy Belfi, Timothy Koscik & Daniel Tranel
Neuropsychologia, May 2015, Pages 165–172

Abstract:
Reciprocal trust is a crucial component of cooperative, mutually beneficial social relationships. Previous research using tasks that require judging and developing interpersonal trust has suggested that the insula may be an important brain region underlying these processes (King-Casas et al., 2008). Here, using a neuropsychological approach, we investigated the role of the insula in reciprocal trust during the Trust Game (TG), an interpersonal economic exchange. Consistent with previous research, we found that neurologically normal adults reciprocate trust in kind, i.e., they increase trust in response to increases from their partners, and decrease trust in response to decreases. In contrast, individuals with damage to the insula displayed abnormal expressions of trust. Specifically, these individuals behaved benevolently (expressing misplaced trust) when playing the role of investor, and malevolently (violating their partner's trust) when playing the role of the trustee. Our findings lend further support to the idea that the insula is important for expressing normal interpersonal trust, perhaps because the insula helps to recognize risk during decision-making and to identify social norm violations.

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The undermining effect of facial attractiveness on brain responses to fairness in the Ultimatum Game: An ERP study

Qingguo Ma et al.
Frontiers in Neuroscience, March 2015

Abstract:
To investigate the time course of the neural processing of facial attractiveness and its influence on fairness consideration during social interactions, event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded from 21 male subjects performing a two-person Ultimatum Game (UG). During this bargaining game, the male subjects played responders who decided whether to accept offers from female proposers, whose facial images (grouped as “attractive” and “unattractive”) were presented prior to the offer presentation. The behavioral data demonstrated that the acceptance ratio increased with the fairness level of the offers and, more importantly, the subjects were more likely to accept unfair offers when presented with the attractive-face condition compared with the unattractive-face condition. The reaction times (RTs) for five offers (1:9, 2:8, 3:7, 4:6, and 5:5) in the unattractive-face condition were not significantly different. In contrast, the subjects reacted slower to the attractive proposers' unfair offers and quicker to fair offers. The ERP analysis of the face presentation demonstrated a decreased early negativity (N2) and enhanced late positive potentials (LPPs) elicited by the attractive faces compared with the unattractive faces. In addition, the feedback-related negativity (FRN) in response to an offer presentation was not significantly different for the unfair (1:9 and 2:8) and fair (4:6 and 5:5) offers in the attractive-face condition. However, the unfair offers generated larger FRNs compared with the fair offers in the unattractive-face condition (consistent with prior studies). A similar effect was identified for P300. The present study demonstrated an undermining effect of proposer facial attractiveness on responder consideration of offer fairness during the UG.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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