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Monday, July 11, 2016

Bet on it

Trading on Twitter: Using Social Media Sentiment to Predict Stock Returns

Hong Kee Sul, Alan Dennis & Lingyao (Ivy) Yuan

Decision Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decision making is often based on the rational assessment of information, but recent research shows that emotional sentiment also plays an important role, especially for investment decision making. Emotional sentiment about a firm's stock that spreads rapidly through social media is more likely to be incorporated quickly into stock prices (e.g., on the same trading day it was expressed), while sentiment that spreads slowly takes longer to be incorporated into stock prices and thus is more likely to predict stock prices on future days. We analyzed the cumulative sentiment (positive and negative) in 2.5 million Twitter postings about individual S&P 500 firms and compared this to the stock returns of those firms. Our results show that the sentiment in tweets about a specific firm from users with less than 171 followers (the median in our sample) had a significant impact on the stock's returns on the next trading day, the next 10 days, and the next 20 days. Interestingly, sentiment in tweets from users with fewer than 171 followers that were not retweeted had the greatest impact on future stock returns. A trading strategy based on these findings produced meaningful economic gains on the order of an 11-15% annual return.

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What Do Measures of Real-time Corporate Sales Tell Us about Earnings Surprises and Post-Announcement Returns?

Kenneth Froot et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We develop real-time proxies of retail corporate sales from multiple sources, including ~50 million mobile devices. These measures contain information from both the earnings quarter ("within quarter") and the period between that quarter's end and the earnings announcement date ("post quarter"). Our within-quarter measure is powerful in explaining quarterly sales growth, revenue surprises, and earnings surprises, generating average excess returns at announcement of 3.4%. However, surprisingly, our post-quarter measure is related negatively to announcement returns, and positively to post-announcement returns. When post-quarter private information is directionally strong, managers, at announcement, provide guidance and use language that points statistically in the opposite direction. This effect is more pronounced when, post-announcement, management insiders trade. We conclude managers do not fully disclose their private information and instead message to shareholders and analysts something of opposite sign. The data suggest they may be motivated in part by subsequent personal stock-trading opportunities.

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Do Investors Use the Olympics as a Category for Investment and Should They?

Patricia Dechow, Alastair Lawrence & Mei Luo

University of California Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
There is a seven year period between the time that a country first learns that it has won a bid to host the Olympics to the playing of the games. We investigate whether investors use the Olympics as a category for investment over this time period. We examine two hosting countries: China in 2008 and the UK in 2012, and identify a set of stocks from a broad range of industries that are mentioned by media outlets as either directly or indirectly involved in the Olympics. We find that in both countries, Olympic stocks exhibit increases in comovement of returns after the Olympics are announced and declines in comovement after the games are played. We also find that Olympic stocks earn large excess returns when the stock market has performed well, consistent with investors moving funds into these stocks after observing strong past stock price performance. However, these excess returns are lost in subsequent market downturns. Further, evidence suggests that the Olympic Games have little impact on cash flows or earnings. Overall, our evidence suggests that Olympic "euphoria" is sufficient in both China and the UK to influence stock returns and valuations but the overall fundamental benefits of the Olympics are small.

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Investment Decisions Under Ambiguity: Evidence from Mutual Fund Investor Behavior

Wei Li, Ashish Tiwari & Lin Tong

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide novel evidence on the role of ambiguity aversion in determining the response of mutual fund investors to fund performance. Our analysis is motivated by theoretical models of decision making by ambiguity-averse investors. A key implication of the models is that when investors face information signals of uncertain quality, they place a greater weight on the worst signal. We find strong empirical support for this prediction in the form of heightened sensitivity of investor fund flows to the worst performance measure across multiple horizons. This effect is particularly pronounced for retail funds in contrast to institutional funds.

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Gambling Preferences, Options Markets, and Volatility

Benjamin Blau, Boone Bowles & Ryan Whitby

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, April 2016, Pages 515-540

Abstract:
This study examines whether the gambling behavior of investors affects volume and volatility in financial markets. Focusing on the options market, we find that the ratio of call option volume relative to total option volume is greatest for stocks with return distributions that resemble lotteries. Consistent with the theoretical predictions of Stein (1987), we demonstrate that gambling-motivated trading in the options market influences future spot price volatility. These results not only identify a link between lottery preferences in the stock market and the options market, but they also suggest that lottery preferences can lead to destabilized stock prices.

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Stock Returns and Future Tense Language in 10-K Reports

Rasa Karapandza

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows that firms talking less about the future in their annual reports generate positive abnormal returns of about 5% annually. I measure how much companies talk about the future in their annual 10-K reports by the frequency of the verbs will, shall, and going to. The evidence favors a risk-based interpretation: firms that use less future tense in their report offer higher returns since they are riskier. These results are consistent with finance theories stating that investors need to be rewarded for holding stocks of firms that put less information about the future in the marketplace.

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Art as a Wartime Investment: Conspicuous Consumption and Discretion

Kim Oosterlinck

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
During World War II, artworks significantly outperformed all alternative investments in Occupied France. With the surge in demand for portable and easy-to-hide (discreet) assets such as artworks and collectible stamps, prices boomed. This suggests that discreet assets may be viewed as crypto-currencies, demand for which varies depending on the environment and the need to hide value. Regarding art market valuation, this paper argues that while some economic actors derive significant utility from conspicuous consumption, others value the discretion offered by artworks. Motives for purchasing art may thus vary over time.

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Finding Fortune: How Do Institutional Investors Pick Asset Managers?

Gregory Brown, Oleg Gredil & Preetesh Kantak

University of North Carolina Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper studies how professional asset allocators such as endowments, fund-of-funds, or pension funds select fund managers for investments. We develop a simple model of their due-diligence process to motivate predictions about the timing of investment decisions. We then test these predictions using a unique dataset with detailed information on the interactions between a large institutional investor and 1,093 hedge funds over the course of 8 years. Soft information conveyed during the meetings with fund managers strongly influences the decisions. A one standard deviation increase in our proxy for positive soft information doubles the probability of fund selection and reduces the due-diligence time by 20%. Contrary to prior research, we find no evidence that relying on these subjective judgements is wasteful. Instead, in a matched sample, conditioned on the fund characteristics and past performance, the 12-month average peer-adjusted returns are 1.5% higher for the selected funds.

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Prospect Theory and Stock Returns: An Empirical Test

Nicholas Barberis, Abhiroop Mukherjee & Baolian Wang

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We test the hypothesis that, when thinking about allocating money to a stock, investors mentally represent the stock by the distribution of its past returns and then evaluate this distribution in the way described by prospect theory. In a simple model of asset prices in which some investors think in this way, a stock whose past return distribution has a high (low) prospect theory value earns a low (high) subsequent return, on average. We find empirical support for this prediction in the cross-section of stock returns in the U.S. market, and also in a majority of forty-six other national stock markets.

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Additional evidence of heuristic-based inefficiency in season wins total betting markets: Major League Baseball

Bill Woodland & Linda Woodland

Journal of Economics and Finance, July 2016, Pages 538-548

Abstract:
The large majority of sports betting papers have addressed questions of market efficiency based on the outcome of single game, such as spread (sides) or point totals wagers. This research examines the Major League Baseball (MLB) season wins total over/under betting market with respect to questions of market efficiency and profitability. Woodland and Woodland (2013, 2015) investigated the season wins total markets for the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and found significant inefficiencies. Betting rules tested in this paper parallel those proposed by Woodland and Woodland for the NFL and NBA. They aim to take advantage of the implications of the representativeness heuristic, that is, individuals expect results from a small number of games to generalize to the entire population. The MLB market is found to be inefficient, and provides opportunities for profitable wagering. We establish a tendency for bettors to overreact to a team's performance in the previous season, particularly for teams with winning records. Results are consistent with the findings for the NFL and NBA season wins totals betting markets. This may be the consequence of monetary betting limits and a structure requiring the completion of a sport's season before the bet outcome is determined, both of which could discourage some bettors from participating.

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Are Friday announcements special? Overcoming selection bias

Roni Michaely, Amir Rubin & Alexander Vedrashko

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report reduced market response to Friday announcements of dividend changes, seasoned equity offerings, share repurchases, earnings, and mergers, which is seemingly consistent with the notion of investor inattention on Fridays. However, we show that these findings are an outcome of selection bias. Firms that make announcements on Fridays experience reduced market response on any weekday and have common unobserved characteristics across announcement types. After correcting for selection bias, there is no evidence that investors pay less attention to announcements made on Fridays. The method introduced here is applicable to other studies in which an exogenous factor influencing firm performance can actually be associated with firm characteristics.

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Jim Cramer's 'Mad Money' Charitable Trust Performance and Factor Attribution

Jonathan Hartley & Matthew Olson

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
This study analyzes the complete historical performance of Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio from 2001 to 2016 which includes many of the stock recommendations made on Cramer's TV show "Mad Money". Both since inception of the portfolio and since the start of "Mad Money" in 2005 (when it was converted into a charitable trust), Cramer's portfolio has underperformed the S&P 500 total return index and a basket of S&P 500 stocks that does not reinvest dividends (both on an overall returns basis and in Sharpe ratio). These findings contrast with previous studies which analyzed Cramer's outperformance in short windows before the 2008 financial crisis. Using factor analysis, we find that Cramer's portfolio returns are primarily driven by underlevered exposure to market returns and in some specifications tilting toward small cap stocks, growth stocks and stocks with low quality of earnings. These results have broad implications for market efficiency, the usefulness of single name stock recommendations made on television, financial education, and the implementation of academic factors thematic in Cramer's portfolio.

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Does Information Intensity Matter for Stock Returns? Evidence from Form 8-K Filings

Xiaofei Zhao

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper identifies an important source of variation in U.S. firms' material information flows: their Form 8-K filing frequency. Exploiting cross-sectional variation in this novel proxy for information intensity, this paper finds that firms with higher information intensity experience lower future returns and lower future volatilities. The marginal return impact is higher at low levels of information intensity and high levels of prior volatility. On average, an information-intensity-based long-short portfolio generates a return spread of 4.3% per year. After adjusting for the Fama-French three factors and the momentum factor, the abnormal return remains 4.4% per year. These novel findings suggest that, because of the dynamic nature of information arrival, the frequency/quantity of information is an important source affecting the information environment and stock returns of public companies. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a broad class of noisy rational expectations equilibrium models and estimation risk models, and they highlight the importance of learning in financial markets with incomplete information.

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Voluntary monthly earnings disclosures and analyst behavior

Shou-Min Tsao, Hsueh-Tien Lu & Edmund Keung

Journal of Banking & Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine how voluntary monthly earnings disclosures relate to monthly analyst behavior. We focus on the number of analysts following a firm and several properties that characterize analysts' earnings forecasts for the upcoming annual earnings. We find firms that disclose monthly earnings attract more analysts, have more accurate and less dispersed analyst earnings forecasts, and have lower overall uncertainty and less commonality of information in analysts' earnings forecasts. In addition, the effect of monthly earnings disclosure on analyst behavior is more pronounced for the firms that regularly disclose monthly earnings. Our results are consistent with the notion that an important role played by a voluntary increase in reporting frequency is to trigger the generation of idiosyncratic information by financial analysts. In other words, analysts tend to complement rather than substitute for firm-provided voluntary disclosures.

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Can Analysts Assess Fundamental Risk and Valuation Uncertainty? An Empirical Analysis of Scenario-based Value Estimates

Peter Joos, Joseph Piotroski & Suraj Srinivasan

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use a data set of sell-side analysts' scenario-based equity valuation estimates to examine whether analysts can assess the state-contingent risk surrounding a firm's fundamental value. We find that the spread in analysts' scenario-based valuations captures the riskiness of operations and predicts the absolute magnitude of long-run valuation errors and future changes in firm fundamentals. We also show that analysts' assessment of fundamental risk and its predictive ability systematically improved after the financial crisis, consistent with the macroeconomic shock raising analysts' awareness of firms' systematic risk exposures.

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Loss-Averse Preferences, Performance, and Career Success of Institutional Investors

Andriy Bodnaruk & Andrei Simonov

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using survey-based measures of mutual fund manager loss aversion, we study the effects of institutional investor preferences on their investment decisions, performance, and career outcomes. We find that managers with higher aversion to losses choose portfolios with lower downside risk, increase their risk-taking more in response to poor past performance, and display a stronger disposition effect. Further, we provide evidence that managers who are more loss-averse have lower performance and are more likely to have their contracts terminated.

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Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns

Tom Chang et al.

University of Southern California Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We present evidence consistent with markets failing to properly price information in seasonal earnings patterns. Firms with historically larger earnings in one quarter of the year ("positive seasonality quarters") have higher returns when those earnings are usually announced. Analysts have more positive forecast errors in positive seasonality quarters, consistent with the returns being driven by mistaken earnings estimates. We show that investors appear to overweight recent lower earnings following positive seasonality quarters, leading to pessimistic forecasts in the subsequent positive seasonality quarter. The returns are not explained by risk-based explanations, firm-specific information, increased volume, or idiosyncratic volatility.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bummer

How Are You, My Dearest Mozart? Well-being and Creativity of Three Famous Composers Based on their Letters

Karol Jan Borowiecki

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The importance of creativity is being increasingly recognized by economists; however, the possibility that emotional factors determine creative processes is largely ignored. Building on 1,400 letters written by three famous music composers, I obtain wellbeing indices that span their lifetimes. The validity of this methodology is shown by linking the indices with biographical information and through estimation of the determinants of well-being. I then exploit the data and provide quantitative evidence on the existence of a causal impact of negative emotions on outstanding creativity, an association hypothesized across several disciplines since the Antiquity, but that has not yet been convincingly established.

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Billboard Hot 100 Songs: Self-Promoting Over the Past 20 Years

Pam McAuslan & Marie Waung

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that an increase in narcissism and individualism in contemporary Western society corresponds with greater self-focus depicted in cultural products (Morling & Lamoreaux, 2008). However, little attention has been given to popular music within this context (DeWall, Pond, Campbell, & Twenge, 2011). The current study examines changes in self-promotion (e.g., references to self, bragging, demands for respect), and the sociodemographic characteristics of both artists and audiences as they relate to self-promoting tendencies in popular music. Data were obtained using Billboard Hot 100 songs for the years 1990, 2000, and 2010. The most popular music in 2010 contained significantly more types of self-promotion than music from previous decades. This change reflects characteristics of genres (e.g., rap/hip-hop, pop, dance) that have gained popularity among younger audiences, but also corresponds to larger societal changes in individualism. Songs by male artists and African American artists were more likely to contain self-promotion than those by female or Caucasian artists. These differences are considered within the context of past theory and research related to socialization across groups more generally. Implications for parents, educators, and consumers are discussed.

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Does Variety Among Activities Increase Happiness?

Jordan Etkin & Cassie Mogilner

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does variety increase happiness? Eight studies examine how the variety among the activities that fill people’s day-to-day lives affects subsequent happiness. The studies demonstrate that whether variety increases or decreases happiness depends on the perceived duration of the time within which the activities occur. For longer time periods (like a day), variety does increase happiness. However, for shorter time periods (like an hour), variety instead decreases happiness. This reversal stems from people’s sense of stimulation and productivity during that time. Whereas filling longer time periods with more varied activities makes the time feel more stimulating (which increases happiness), filling shorter time periods with more varied activities makes the time feel less productive (which decreases happiness). These effects are robust across actual and perceived variety, actual and perceived time duration, and multiple types of activities (work and leisure, self-selected and imposed, social and solo). Together the findings confirm that “variety is the spice of life” — but not of an hour.

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Population Of US Practicing Psychiatrists Declined, 2003–13, Which May Help Explain Poor Access To Mental Health Care

Tara Bishop et al.

Health Affairs, July 2016, Pages 1271-1277

Abstract:
A large proportion of the US population suffers from mental illness. Limited access to psychiatrists may be a contributor to the underuse of mental health services. We studied changes in the supply of psychiatrists from 2003 to 2013, compared to changes in the supply of primary care physicians and neurologists. During this period the number of practicing psychiatrists declined from 37,968 to 37,889, which represented a 10.2 percent reduction in the median number of psychiatrists per 100,000 residents in hospital referral regions. In contrast, the numbers of primary care physicians and neurologists grew during the study period. These findings may help explain why patients report poor access to mental health care. Future research should explore the impact of the declining psychiatrist supply on patients and investigate new models of care that seek to integrate mental health and primary care or use team-based care that combines the services of psychiatrists and nonphysician providers for individuals with severe mental illnesses.

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Good day for Leos: Horoscope's influence on perception, cognitive performances, and creativity

Magali Clobert et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, October 2016, Pages 348–355

Abstract:
Do people treat horoscopes as mere entertainment, or does reading horoscopes have more substantial consequences? Building upon research on the expectancy effect as well as on literature highlighting the influence of astrology on individuals, we hypothesized that reading positive versus negative horoscopes would affect people's perceptions, emotions, cognitions, and creativity. Across three experiments, reading positive versus negative astrological forecasts increased positive interpretation of ambiguous events (Experiment 1, N = 195), cognitive performance (Experiment 2, N = 189), and creativity (Experiment 3, N = 193). Furthermore, positive (versus negative) horoscopes decreased negative emotions among people who believe in astrology and the effects of horoscopes on cognitive performances and creativity were stronger among people with a low internal locus of control. Opening newspapers and searching for daily horoscopes have more consequences than one may initially think.

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Narcissism is associated with weakened frontostriatal connectivity: A DTI study

David Chester et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, July 2016, Pages 1036-1040

Abstract:
Narcissism is characterized by the search for affirmation and admiration from others. Might this motivation to find external sources of acclaim exist to compensate for neurostructural deficits that link the self with reward? Greater structural connectivity between brain areas that process self-relevant stimuli (i.e. the medial prefrontal cortex) and reward (i.e. the ventral striatum) is associated with fundamentally positive self-views. We predicted that narcissism would be associated with less integrity of this frontostriatal pathway. We used diffusion tensor imaging to assess the frontostriatal structural connectivity among 50 healthy undergraduates (32 females, 18 males) who also completed a measure of grandiose narcissism. White matter integrity in the frontostriatal pathway was negatively associated with narcissism. Our findings, while purely correlational, suggest that narcissism arises, in part, from a neural disconnect between the self and reward. The exhibitionism and immodesty of narcissists may then be a regulatory strategy to compensate for this neural deficit.

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Drawing to Distract: Examining the Psychological Benefits of Drawing Over Time

Jennifer Drake, Ingrid Hastedt & Clara James

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
Individuals gravitate toward the arts during times of emotional stress. We examined the benefits of drawing over several sessions to determine whether drawing improves mood and, if so, whether it does so because it allows for emotional expression or distraction. After inducing a sad mood, we asked participants (n = 40) to draw over 4 consecutive days. Half of the participants were instructed to draw as a way to express their feelings (express condition) and half were instructed to draw as a way to focus and observe (distract condition). Mood was measured after the first and final testing session and a life satisfaction scale was administered at the beginning of the first testing session and after the final session. We found that drawing to distract improved mood more than drawing to express, both after a single drawing session and after 4 sessions. These findings are consistent with previous findings on drawing, but run counter to reports on the relative health benefits of expressive writing. We suggest drawing and writing may affect mood through different mechanisms.

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Who Can't Take a Compliment? The Role of Construal Level and Self-Esteem in Accepting Positive Feedback from Close Others

David Kille et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
One way that relationship partners express positive regard – a key variable in relationship success – is through compliments. However, some people are unable to perceive positive regard through compliments. We hypothesized that low self-esteem (LSE) individuals' relatively negative self-theories conflict with the positive information conveyed in compliments. Hence, LSEs' self-verification motives (e.g., Swann, 1997, 2012) may lead LSEs to reject the positive implications of compliments. In an initial study, we demonstrated that LSEs (vs. high self-esteem individuals; HSEs) feel greater self-related concerns and negative affect after receiving compliments, which leads them to devalue those compliments. Drawing on theories of mental construal (e.g., Libby, Valenti, Pfent, & Eibach, 2011), we reasoned that the remedy for such self-theory-driven processes is to adopt a concrete (vs. abstract) mindset: LSEs should be less likely to apply their relatively negative self-theories when they process compliments in a concrete mindset. Across three studies, we used diverse methods to induce participants to experience either a concrete or abstract mindset, and asked them to recall (Studies 2 and 3) or imagine (Study 4) a partner's compliment. We then assessed their perceptions of their partners' regard. Results confirmed that the discrepancy in LSEs' and HSEs' perceptions of positive regard following a compliment from their romantic partners was significantly reduced when a concrete mindset was induced compared to when an abstract mindset (or no mindset, Study 4) was induced.

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Current Evolutionary Adaptiveness of Psychiatric Disorders: Fertility Rates, Parent−Child Relationship Quality, and Psychiatric Disorders Across the Lifespan

Nicholas Jacobson

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study sought to evaluate the current evolutionary adaptiveness of psychopathology by examining whether these disorders impact the quantity of offspring or the quality of the parent–child relationship across the life span. Using the National Comorbidity Survey, this study examined whether DSM–III–R anxiety, posttraumatic stress, depressive, bipolar, substance use, antisocial, and psychosis disorders predicted later fertility and the quality of parent–child relationships across the life span in a national sample (N = 8,098). Using latent variable and varying coefficient models, the results suggested that anxiety in males and bipolar pathology in males and females were associated with increased fertility at younger ages. The results suggested almost all other psychopathology was associated with decreased fertility in middle to late adulthood. The results further suggested that all types of psychopathology had negative impacts on the parent–child relationship quality (except for antisocial pathology in males). Nevertheless, for all disorders, the impact of psychopathology on both fertility and the parent–child relationship quality was affected by the age of the participant. The results also showed that anxiety pathology is associated with a high-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy followed by a low-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy. Further, the results suggest that bipolar pathology is associated with an early high-quantity and a continued low-quality parenting strategy. Posttraumatic stress, depression, substance use, antisocial personality, and psychosis pathology are each associated with a low-quantity, low-quality parenting strategy, particularly in mid to late adulthood. These findings suggest that the evolutionary impact of psychopathology depends on the developmental context.

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Creativity and Habitual Sleep Patterns Among Art and Social Sciences Undergraduate Students

Neta Ram-Vlasov et al.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study aimed to explore whether creativity and visual arts practice are associated with altered sleep structure, patterns, and quality. Fourteen visual arts and 16 social sciences undergraduate students participated in this home-based study. Sleep structure was measured by Polysomnography (PSG), habitual sleep patterns were monitored by Actigraphy and assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Munich Chronotype Questionnaire (MCTQ), and creativity was measured by the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Results indicated that for the entire sample, higher visual creativity was associated with higher sleep disturbance, daytime dysfunction, and lower overall sleep quality, and that higher verbal creativity was associated with longer sleep duration and later sleep midpoint. Group comparisons showed that art students reported increased sleep disturbance and daytime dysfunction, and later sleep midpoint and chronotype, and exhibited longer sleep duration compared with the nonart students. This observational and correlative study establishes multidimensional relationships between creativity and sleep. Possible explanations for our findings are offered, acknowledging psychobiological mechanisms that are known to regulate both creativity and sleep.

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Stitching Time: Vintage Consumption Connects the Past, Present, and Future

Gülen Sarial-Abi et al.

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated a novel avenue for buffering against threats to meaning frameworks: vintage consumption. Although the appeal of vintage goods, defined as previously owned items from an earlier era, is strong and growing, this paper is among the first to examine the possible psychological ramifications of vintage consumption. Six studies found that vintage items mitigated the typical reactions to meaning threats. Four of these studies also showed that vintage consumption facilitates mental connections among the past, present, and future. As a result, people whose meaning structures had been threatened, for example by being reminded of their own eventual death, preferred vintage products more than others who had not experienced a meaning threat, and more than similar non-vintage products. These findings suggest that meaning disruptions stimulate a desire for intertemporal connections, a desire that vintage products — as existing and continuing symbols of bygone eras — seem to satisfy.

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When context matters: Negative emotions predict psychological health and adjustment

Karin Coifman, Jessica Flynn & Lavinia Pinto

Motivation and Emotion, August 2016, Pages 602-624

Abstract:
Functional theories of emotion argue for the adaptive function of negative emotions in response to specific contextual or environmental demands. However, data supporting these theories in community samples is limited and much research has suggested the opposite: negative emotions predict poor adjustment. To begin to address this discrepancy, we tested the functional association between negative emotion and psychological health and adjustment across three diverse samples: adults in intimate-partnerships, patients with chronic illness, and first-year college students. In each study we employed lab-based methods to elicit and index emotion as a multi-dimensional response system and considered contextual factors and the theorized or demonstrated function of negative emotions in that context and in relation to specific outcomes. Data analysis revealed that contextually sensitive negative emotion was adaptive, and associated with better relationship adjustment and related behaviors (Study 1), higher treatment adherence (Study 2), and adaptive responses to peer rejection (Study 3). Across samples, circumstances, and outcomes, negative emotions were positively associated with psychological health and adjustment.

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An autobiographical gateway: Narcissists avoid first-person visual perspective while retrieving self-threatening memories

Marta Marchlewska & Aleksandra Cichocka

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the role of narcissistic versus genuine self-evaluation in the retrieval of self-threatening memories. Autobiographical memories can be retrieved either from a first-person or a third-person visual perspective. Because narcissism is linked to sensitivity to psychological threats, it should predict retrieval of self-threatening memories using the third-person perspective. Genuine self-esteem, on the other hand, is resilient to threats. Therefore, it should be associated with retrieving self-relevant, even if threatening, memories from the first-person perspective. In two experiments we measured narcissism and self-esteem. Experiment 1 manipulated valence of self-relevant memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or self-boosting (proud) situations. Experiment 2 manipulated self-relevance of negative memories by asking participants to recall self-threatening (shameful) or negative, yet not self-threatening (sad) situations. Visual perspective of memory retrieval served as the dependent variable. In Experiment 1, narcissism predicted avoiding the first-person perspective and employing the third-person perspective in self-threatening memories, while self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective regardless of the memories being self-threatening or self-boosting. In Experiment 2, narcissism predicted the third-person perspective, while genuine self-esteem predicted the first-person perspective when self-threatening memories were recalled. Neither narcissism, nor genuine self-esteem were associated with visual perspective when participants recalled negative memories irrelevant to the self. Results shed light on the role of self-evaluation in processing autobiographical memories.

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Effect of Palliative Care–Led Meetings for Families of Patients With Chronic Critical Illness: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Shannon Carson et al.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 5 July 2016, Pages 51-62

Design, Setting, and Participants: A multicenter randomized clinical trial conducted from October 2010 through November 2014 in 4 medical intensive care units (ICUs). Adult patients (aged ≥21 years) requiring 7 days of mechanical ventilation were randomized and their family surrogate decision makers were enrolled in the study. Observers were blinded to group allocation for the measurement of the primary outcomes.

Interventions: At least 2 structured family meetings led by palliative care specialists and provision of an informational brochure (intervention) compared with provision of an informational brochure and routine family meetings conducted by ICU teams (control). There were 130 patients with 184 family surrogate decision makers in the intervention group and 126 patients with 181 family surrogate decision makers in the control group.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale symptom score (HADS; score range, 0 [best] to 42 [worst]; minimal clinically important difference, 1.5) obtained during 3-month follow-up interviews with the surrogate decision makers. Secondary outcomes included posttraumatic stress disorder experienced by the family and measured by the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R; total score range, 0 [best] to 88 [worst]), discussion of patient preferences, hospital length of stay, and 90-day survival.

Results: Among 365 family surrogate decision makers (mean age, 51 years; 71% female), 312 completed the study. At 3 months, there was no significant difference in anxiety and depression symptoms between surrogate decision makers in the intervention group and the control group (adjusted mean HADS score, 12.2 vs 11.4, respectively; between-group difference, 0.8 [95% CI, −0.9 to 2.6]; P = .34). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were higher in the intervention group (adjusted mean IES-R score, 25.9) compared with the control group (adjusted mean IES-R score, 21.3) (between-group difference, 4.60 [95% CI, 0.01 to 9.10]; P = .0495). There was no difference between groups regarding the discussion of patient preferences (intervention, 75%; control, 83%; odds ratio, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.34 to 1.16; P = .14]). The median number of hospital days for patients in the intervention vs the control group (19 days vs 23 days, respectively; between-group difference, −4 days [95% CI, −6 to 3 days]; P = .51) and 90-day survival (hazard ratio, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.65 to 1.38], P = .96) were not significantly different.

Conclusions and Relevance: Among families of patients with chronic critical illness, the use of palliative care–led informational and emotional support meetings compared with usual care did not reduce anxiety or depression symptoms and may have increased posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. These findings do not support routine or mandatory palliative care–led discussion of goals of care for all families of patients with chronic critical illness.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Jerks

Subjective Socioeconomic Status Causes Aggression: A Test of the Theory of Social Deprivation

Tobias Greitemeyer & Christina Sagioglou

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Seven studies (overall N = 3690) addressed the relation between people’s subjective socioeconomic status (SES) and their aggression levels. Based on relative deprivation theory, we proposed that people low in subjective SES would feel at a disadvantage, which in turn would elicit aggressive responses. In 3 correlational studies, subjective SES was negatively related to trait aggression. Importantly, this relation held when controlling for measures that are related to 1 or both subjective SES and trait aggression, such as the dark tetrad and the Big Five. Four experimental studies then demonstrated that participants in a low status condition were more aggressive than were participants in a high status condition. Compared with a medium-SES condition, participants of low subjective SES were more aggressive rather than participants of high subjective SES being less aggressive. Moreover, low SES increased aggressive behavior toward targets that were the source for participants’ experience of disadvantage but also toward neutral targets. Sequential mediation analyses suggest that the experience of disadvantage underlies the effect of subjective SES on aggressive affect, whereas aggressive affect was the proximal determinant of aggressive behavior. Taken together, the present research found comprehensive support for key predictions derived from the theory of relative deprivation of how the perception of low SES is related to the person’s judgments, emotional reactions, and actions.

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Talking About School Bullying: News Framing of Who Is Responsible for Causing and Fixing the Problem

Sei-Hill Kim & Matthew Telleen

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our content analysis examines how American news media have framed the question of who is responsible for causing and solving the school bullying problem. We identified presence of considerable victim blaming in news coverage. Among potential causes examined, victims and their families were mentioned most often as being responsible. When talking about how to solve the problem, the media were focusing heavily on schools and teachers, while bullies and their families — the direct source of the problem — were mentioned least often. We also found that liberal newspapers were focusing more than conservative papers on social-level responsibilities, while conservative papers were more likely than liberal papers to attribute responsibility to individuals, suggesting that the political orientations of news organizations can affect which level of responsibility will be highlighted. Drawing upon the notion of frame building, we discuss in detail how several internal and external factors of news organizations can affect their selective uses of frames.

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Evidence That Self-Affirmation Reduces Relational Aggression: A Proof of Concept Trial

Christopher Armitage & Richard Rowe

Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: Acts of relational aggression cause significant social and personal costs, and interventions are needed to reduce relational aggression in community as well as clinical settings. The present study used a persuasive message coupled with a self-affirmation manipulation to reduce relational aggression among a group of adolescents recruited from the community.

Method: Participants (N = 503) all received a persuasive message designed to reduce relational aggression and were randomly allocated to participate in a self-affirming or nonaffirming task.

Results: Findings demonstrated a significant reduction in relational aggression over 1-month among participants who were randomized to the self-affirmation condition (d = −0.50) in contrast with a small increase in relational aggression in the control condition (d = +0.20). Contrary to expectations, these effects were not mediated by message processing or changes in interpersonal affect.

Conclusion: The present study used the novel approach of asking pupils to self-affirm following a persuasive message and showed that it was possible to reduce relational aggression. Self-affirmation shows considerable promise as a means of augmenting the delivery of interventions to reduce antisocial behavior in addition to other social and health behaviors.

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Environmental Determinants of Aggression in Adolescents: Role of Urban Neighborhood Greenspace

Diana Younan et al.

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, July 2016, Pages 591–601

Objective: Neighborhood greenspace improves mental health of urban-dwelling populations, but its putative neurobehavioral benefits in adolescents remain unclear. We conducted a prospective study on urban-dwelling adolescents to examine the association between greenspace in residential neighborhood and aggressive behaviors.

Method: Participants (n = 1,287) of the Risk Factors for Antisocial Behavior Study, a multi-ethnic cohort of twins and triplets born in 1990 to 1995 and living in Southern California, were examined in 2000 to 2012 (aged 9−18 years) with repeated assessments of their aggressive behaviors by the parent-reported Child Behavior Checklist. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from satellite imagery was used as a proxy for residential neighborhood greenspace aggregated over various spatiotemporal scales before each assessment. Multilevel mixed-effects models were used to estimate the effects of greenspace on aggressive behaviors, adjusting for within-family/within-individual correlations and other potential confounders.

Results: Both short-term (1- to 6-month) and long-term (1- to 3-year) exposures to greenspace within 1,000 meters surrounding residences were associated with reduced aggressive behaviors. The benefit of increasing vegetation over the range (∼0.12 in NDVI) commonly seen in urban environments was equivalent to approximately 2 to 2.5 years of behavioral maturation. Sociodemographic factors (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) and neighborhood quality did not confound or modify these associations, and the benefits remained after accounting for temperature.

Conclusion: Our novel findings support the benefits of neighborhood greenspace in reducing aggressive behaviors of urban-dwelling adolescents. Community-based interventions are needed to determine the efficacy of greenspace as a preemptive strategy to reduce aggressive behaviors in urban environments.

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Seeing more than others: Identification of subtle aggressive information as a function of trait aggressiveness

Sarah Teige-Mocigemba, Fabian Hölzenbein & Karl Christoph Klauer

Social Psychology, Summer 2016, Pages 136-149

Abstract:
Researchers have long argued that aggressive individuals automatically tend to perceive hostile intent in others, even when it is in fact absent (hostile attribution bias). Wilkowski and Robinson (2012) recently showed, however, that aggressive individuals were particularly accurate in the identification of subtle cues of facial anger, indicating greater perceptual sensitivity to anger information rather than a biased perception or interpretation. We tested the generality of this finding in four paradigms with different stimuli. As predicted by Wilkowski and Robinson, the more aggressive participants were, the more accurately they identified subtle aggressive information, whereas accuracy in the identification of nonaggressive emotional information was not a function of self-reported aggressiveness. The discussion focuses on the generality and limitations of the findings.

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The Longitudinal Association Between Competitive Video Game Play and Aggression Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Paul Adachi & Teena Willoughby

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
The longitudinal association between competitive video game play and aggression among young adults and adolescents was examined. Young adults (N = 1,132; Mage = 19 years) were surveyed annually over 4 years about their video game play and aggression, and data from a 4-year longitudinal study of adolescents (N = 1,492; Mage = 13 years) was reanalyzed. The results demonstrated a longitudinal association between competitive video game play and aggressive behavior among both age groups. In addition, competitive video game play predicted higher levels of aggressive affect over time, which, in turn, predicted higher levels of aggressive behavior over time, suggesting that aggressive affect was a mechanism of this link. These findings highlight the importance of investigating competitive elements of video game play that may predict aggression over time.

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Does Trait Masculinity Relate to Expressing Toughness? The Effects of Masculinity Threat and Self-Affirmation in College Men

Stephanie Fowler & Andrew Geers

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men have higher morbidity and mortality rates than women across the life span. One potential explanation for this gap is greater pressure for men to express their masculine toughness. Situations that threaten masculinity often result in compensatory behaviors (e.g., binge drinking) geared toward proving toughness. The present research tested the hypothesis that threats to masculinity would lead men to behave in ways that express toughness to a greater extent if they were highly masculine, as measured by the Bem Sex-Role Inventory. Further, we anticipated that self-affirmation would ameliorate the compensatory responding exhibited by higher masculine men under threat. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 experimental cells in a 2 (Masculine Identity Threat: yes, no) × 2 (Self-Affirmation: yes, no) between-subjects factorial design. Results indicated that men expressed masculine toughness to a greater extent when facing a masculinity threat than when under no threat. Further, higher masculinity amplified the effect of threat in expressing toughness. Results also showed that the opportunity to self-affirm reduced expression of toughness among higher masculine men facing a masculinity threat. Theoretical contributions, implications, and future directions for this line of research are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, July 8, 2016

Lawful

Less Is More? Detecting Lies in Veiled Witnesses

Amy-May Leach et al.

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judges in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have ruled that witnesses may not wear the niqab - a type of face veil - when testifying, in part because they believed that it was necessary to see a person's face to detect deception (Muhammad v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 2006; R. v. N. S., 2010; The Queen v. D(R), 2013). In two studies, we used conventional research methods and safeguards to empirically examine the assumption that niqabs interfere with lie detection. Female witnesses were randomly assigned to lie or tell the truth while remaining unveiled or while wearing a hijab (i.e., a head veil) or a niqab (i.e., a face veil). In Study 1, laypersons in Canada (N = 232) were more accurate at detecting deception in witnesses who wore niqabs or hijabs than in those who did not wear veils. Concealing portions of witnesses' faces led laypersons to change their decision-making strategies without eliciting negative biases. Lie detection results were partially replicated in Study 2, with laypersons in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (N = 291): observers' performance was better when witnesses wore either niqabs or hijabs than when witnesses did not wear veils. These findings suggest that, contrary to judicial opinion, niqabs do not interfere with - and may, in fact, improve - the ability to detect deception.

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The Heavy Costs of High Bail: Evidence from Judge Randomization

Arpit Gupta, Christopher Hansman & Ethan Frenchman

Columbia University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Roughly 450,000 people are detained awaiting trial on any given day, typically because bail has not been posted. Using a large sample of criminal cases in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, we analyze the consequences of bail assessment and pretrial detentions by exploiting the variation in bail setting tendencies among randomly assigned bail judges. Our estimates suggest that the assignment of money bail leads to a 6 percentage point rise in the likelihood of pleading guilty, and a 4 percentage point rise in recidivism. We also find evidence for racial bias in bail setting. Our results highlight the importance of credit constraints in shaping defendant judicial outcomes and point to important fairness considerations in the institutional design of pretrial detention programs.

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Targeting young men of color for search and arrest during traffic stops: Evidence from North Carolina, 2002-2013

Frank Baumgartner et al.

Politics, Groups, and Identities, forthcoming

Abstract:
North Carolina mandated the first collection of demographic data on all traffic stops during a surge of attention to the phenomenon of "driving while black" in the late 1990s. Based on analysis of over 18 million traffic stops, we show dramatic disparities in the rates at which black drivers, particularly young males, are searched and arrested as compared to similarly situated whites, women, or older drivers. Further, the degree of racial disparity is growing over time. Finally, the rate at which searches lead to the discovery of contraband is consistently lower for blacks than for whites, providing strong evidence that the empirical disparities we uncover are in fact evidence of racial bias. The findings are robust to a variety of statistical specifications and consistent with findings in other jurisdictions.

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The Interdependence of Perceived Confession Voluntariness and Case Evidence

Rachel Greenspan & Nicholas Scurich

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research investigated the mechanisms by which perceptions of confession evidence both influence and are influenced by perceptions of other case evidence using the theoretical framework of coherence-based reasoning (CBR). CBR posits that ambiguity and uncertainty are eschewed by artificially imposing consistency between pieces of evidence through bidirectional reasoning: Inferences about evidence lead to a preferred verdict, which in turn radiates backward to influence the perception of evidence. Two studies tested the CBR account with regard to confessions. An online sample of participants evaluated confession and nonconfession evidence at pretest and posttest. Study 1 revealed that, during pretest, participants (N = 119) deemed the evidence independent and nonprobative and the confession to be voluntary. However, at posttest, in the context of a criminal trial, participants considered the same evidence interrelated and highly inculpatory or exculpatory, depending on their verdict. Moreover, participants who voted to convict deemed the confession substantially voluntary, whereas participants who voted to acquit deemed it involuntary. Study 2 experimentally manipulated the strength of the nonconfession evidence in an effort to push participants (N = 127) toward a particular verdict. The same patterns of results emerged but were conditional on the strength of the nonconfession evidence: Strong case evidence caused the confession to be perceived as more voluntary, despite the fact that the confession was held constant. These findings replicate the coherence effect in a new domain and suggest that judges conducting harmless error analysis or making admissibility decisions might underappreciate the impact of confession evidence on jurors' verdicts.

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Group Threat, Police Officer Diversity and the Deadly Use of Police Force

Joscha Legewie & Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Officer-involved killings and racial bias in policing are controversial political issues. Prior research indicates that (perceived) group threat measured in terms of population shares and race-specific crime rates are important explanations for variations in police killings across cities in the the United States. We argue that a diverse police force that proportionally represents the population it serves mitigates group threat and thereby reduces the number of officer-involved killings. Count models support our argument. They show that officer involved killings of African Americans are higher in cities with factors commonly associated with group threat, including ethnic/racial polarization and black-on-white homicides. A diverse police force, however, reduces the influence of group threat lowering the number of officer-involved killings of African Americans. The findings represent one of the first analysis of a highly relevant contemporary issue based on a recent and high-quality dataset from 2013 to 2015. By highlighting the interaction between group treat and the proportional representation of minority groups in police departments, our research advances group conflict and threat theories with important theoretical and policy implications for law enforcement and representative bureaucracies more broadly.

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The Interactive Effects of National Origin and Immigration Status on Latino Drug Traffickers in U.S. Federal Courts

Melissa Logue

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present study was an intragroup examination of noncitizen Latino drug traffickers convicted in the federal courts from 2006 to 2014. Drawing upon focal concerns theory and Sayad's state-centered perspective on the role of governments in framing the crime-immigration debate, this study assessed whether offenders' national origin conditions the effects of immigration status on the odds of receiving a downward departure (lenient sentencing) and the magnitude of the sentence discount imposed. Particular attention was paid to whether any effects worked to the detriment of Mexicans relative to non-Mexicans. The findings revealed that the effect of immigration status was contingent on offenders' national origin for the departure decision, but not the sentence discount. While being undocumented served to decrease the odds of a downward departure regardless of national origin, the effects were greater for Mexicans than for non-Mexicans. These findings indicate that contrary to the goals of the U.S. sentencing guidelines to reduce unwarranted disparities surrounding national origin, the current federal sentencing structure allows them to thrive.

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A Wise Latina or a Baffled Rookie? Media Coverage of Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Ascent to the Bench

Terri Towner & Rosalee Clawson

Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Summer 2016, Pages 316-340

Abstract:
We examine newspaper coverage of the US Supreme Court confirmation process to investigate whether Sonia Sotomayor received different coverage than other nominees due to her status as a minority woman. Sotomayor was the only justice seated over the last three decades who received extensive attention to her race and gender, and her coverage was more negatively toned than that received by other nominees. Compared to her counterparts, the press downplayed her intellectual abilities, devoted more negative attention to her judicial temperament, and suggested she would struggle to adjust to her new role. We examine explanations for why Sotomayor received different coverage and conclude that the intersectionality of ethnicity and gender best explains the media's characterization of her.

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The Perfect Match: Do Criminal Stereotypes Bias Forensic Evidence Analysis?

Laura Smalarz et al.

Law and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research provided the first empirical test of the hypothesis that stereotypes bias evaluations of forensic evidence. A pilot study (N = 107) assessed the content and consensus of 20 criminal stereotypes by identifying perpetrator characteristics (e.g., sex, race, age, religion) that are stereotypically associated with specific crimes. In the main experiment (N = 225), participants read a mock police incident report involving either a stereotyped crime (child molestation) or a nonstereotyped crime (identity theft) and judged whether a suspect's fingerprint matched a fingerprint recovered at the crime scene. Accompanying the suspect's fingerprint was personal information about the suspect of the type that is routinely available to fingerprint analysts (e.g., race, sex) and which could activate a stereotype. Participants most often perceived the fingerprints to match when the suspect fit the criminal stereotype, even though the prints did not actually match. Moreover, participants appeared to be unaware of the extent to which a criminal stereotype had biased their evaluations. These findings demonstrate that criminal stereotypes are a potential source of bias in forensic evidence analysis and suggest that suspects who fit criminal stereotypes may be disadvantaged over the course of the criminal justice process.

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The biasing effect of the "sexually violent predator" label on legal decisions

Nicholas Scurich, Jennifer Gongola & Daniel Krauss

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public fear has driven legislation designed to identify and exclude sexual offenders from society, culminating in sexually violent predator (SVP) statutes, in which a sex offender who has served his prison sentence is hospitalized indefinitely if a jury determines that he is likely to reoffend as a result of a mental disorder. Jurors rarely vote not to commit a previously-convicted sex offender as an SVP. This study tests whether the mere label of "sexually violent predator" affects these legal decisions. Venire jurors (n = 161) were asked to decide whether an individual who had been incarcerated for 16 years should be released on parole. The individual was either labeled as a.) a sexually violent predator or b.) a convicted felon, and all other information was identical between the conditions. Jurors were over twice as likely to deny parole to the SVP compared to the felon, even though they did not consider him any more dangerous or any more likely to reoffend. Demographic variables did not moderate this finding. However, jurors' desire to 'get revenge' and to 'make the offender pay', as measured by Gerber and Jackson's (2013) Just Deserts Scale, did significantly relate to decisions to deny parole. These findings suggest that jurors' decisions in SVP hearings are driven by legally impermissible considerations, and that the mere label of "sexually violent predator" induces bias into the decision making process.

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The Two Opposing Effects of Judicial Elections on Legitimacy Perceptions

Benjamin Woodson

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Judicial elections have two opposing effects on legitimacy perceptions for state supreme courts. Elections not only provide a boost to legitimacy through the chance to hold officials accountable but also involve campaign activity that decreases legitimacy perceptions. This article examines these two opposing effects using a nationally representative survey that includes items assessing diffuse support for state supreme courts. It uses multiple indicators to differentiate between states with highly active election systems involving large amounts of campaign activity and states with less active elections systems that involve little campaign activity. The results from the survey show that the legitimacy of elected courts is higher than appointed courts but only in states with little election activity. In states with high amounts of election activity, the legitimacy of elected courts is lower than appointed courts.

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Evaluating the privacy properties of telephone metadata

Jonathan Mayer, Patrick Mutchler & John Mitchell

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 May 2016, Pages 5536-5541

Abstract:
Since 2013, a stream of disclosures has prompted reconsideration of surveillance law and policy. One of the most controversial principles, both in the United States and abroad, is that communications metadata receives substantially less protection than communications content. Several nations currently collect telephone metadata in bulk, including on their own citizens. In this paper, we attempt to shed light on the privacy properties of telephone metadata. Using a crowdsourcing methodology, we demonstrate that telephone metadata is densely interconnected, can trivially be reidentified, and can be used to draw sensitive inferences.

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Magna Carta: The Rule of Law in Early Common Law Litigation

Thomas Lund

International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Activist judges are often accused of changing the rule of law into the rule of men. Some Americans are disturbed by U. S. Supreme Court decisions that create new law, invade state sovereignty, and impose recent standards for sexual conduct. The fourteenth century Court of Common Pleas invented the heretical doctrine that judges have the power to change law. The medieval court implemented new rules, ignored the plain meaning of legislation, and undermined Magna Carta guarantees. This paper explains how a head-strong judge seized power, and violated traditional respect for the rule of law. His innovations are discussed in the context of American judicial activism.

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The saliency of gestural misinformation in the perception of a violent crime

Daniel Gurney, Louise Ellis & Emily Vardon-Hynard

Psychology, Crime & Law, Summer 2016, Pages 651-665

Abstract:
Recent research has revealed that misinformation from gestures can influence eyewitness memory. However, it is still unclear whether gestural misinformation can emulate the effects of verbal misinformation on the reporting of major details in serious crimes. To investigate the salience of suggestions provided nonverbally, and how these compare to those made verbally, two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, participants watched footage of a crime scene and were presented with one of two types of gestures during questioning that suggested different interpretations of the crime. The results confirmed that the gestures influenced responses, with participants altering their interpretation of the crime according to the information gestured to them. Experiment 2 built on this to investigate how comparable gestural influence was to verbal influence. The results revealed that gestural misinformation caused participants to alter their interpretation of the crime and elicited the same effects as verbal misinformation. Across the two experiments, participants were unlikely to identify the misleading gestures or report feeling misled by them. These results reveal new insights into the strength of gestural misinformation and show that, despite their subtle nature in communication, gestures can exert a powerful influence in eyewitness interviews.

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Merchant Courts, Arbitration, and the Politics of Commercial Litigation in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire

Christian Burset

Law and History Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article offers the first explanation of why Britain, unlike other major European economic powers, did not create merchant courts in the eighteenth century, and instead chose to resolve commercial disputes either through litigation in "ordinary" courts or through arbitration. From the Restoration until the 1750s, lawyers successfully resisted the development of merchant courts in order to protect their monopoly on litigation. (Such courts did emerge in the colonies, however, where the legal profession was less powerful.) In the 1760s, the need for a merchant court became more acute, as litigation levels rose, legal costs skyrocketed, and some merchants complained that existing methods of arbitration were inadequate. But just as merchant courts offered the greatest practical appeal, political polarization impeded institutional innovation, as radical Whigs became increasing unyielding in their opposition to any new court that might undermine civil juries. Meanwhile, various improvements in common law litigation, especially the expanded use of merchant juries, reduced pressure for more fundamental reform and allowed political concerns to predominate. As a result, an enduring fiction emerged that in the Anglo-American legal tradition, litigants resolved their disputes either privately or before courts of general jurisdiction - a fiction that continues to shape our assumptions about civil litigation.

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Strategic Anticipation of En Banc Review in the U.S. Courts of Appeals

Rachael Hinkle

Law & Society Review, June 2016, Pages 383-414

Abstract:
The quest for empirical evidence of strategic judicial behavior has produced mixed results. This study finds such evidence in the decisions made while crafting an opinion. Central to any opinion is which precedents are cited and whether their scope is limited (negative treatment) or expanded (positive treatment). I look for evidence of strategic anticipation of en banc review in these decisions using an original dataset of published search and seizure cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals from 1953 to 2010. A panel is less likely to negatively treat a precedent with which the full circuit is more closely aligned. Circuit preferences also have an effect on citation itself, but only when the panel is at least moderately aligned with a precedent. Moreover, the panel's own ideology is only a significant predictor of citation when the full circuit is favorably disposed toward a particular precedent.

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The Impact of Police Deployment on Racial Disparities in Discretionary Searches

Steven Briggs & Kelsey Keimig

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large and growing body of research finds racial disparities in discretionary searches of drivers during traffic stops with Black drivers disproportionately involved in these investigations. Among the explanations for these disparities is the deployment hypothesis which suggests that as police departments increasingly adopt hot spots policing strategies, proactive traffic stops and discretionary searches may spatially cluster around crime hot spots contributing to racial disparities. The present study builds on the existing research literature by identifying hot spots using reported crime data from a police department and examining whether these crime hot spots function as a mediating factor to the relationship between driver race and discretionary searches. Findings provide partial support for the deployment hypothesis. While nearly half of all traffic stops transpired within one quarter mile of hot spots and more frequently involved Black drivers, stops involving Black drivers remained more likely to include discretionary searches and increased concomitantly with distance from the nearest hot spot.

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Police Endorse Color-Blind Racial Beliefs More Than Laypersons

Cris Hughes et al.

Race and Social Problems, June 2016, Pages 160-170

Abstract:
Racial disparities in the US criminal justice system (CJS) have been extensively documented in scholarly work. Critical race scholars have suggested that color-blind racial attitudes inform the set of beliefs that CJS practitioners use in decision making. If this is the case, factors that are related to color-blind racial attitude trends in CJS practitioners must be better understood. We focus on a single CJS practitioner - the police - to assess their color-blind racial beliefs and compare these to the broader US public. Using the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale (CoBRAS), we identified sociodemographic variables associated with high CoBRAS scores in a multiracial lay sample (N = 1401; males and females, mean age = 33.4 years). Police (N = 112) and police recruits (N = 52) CoBRAS scores were compared to CoBRAS scores of lay participants with similar sociodemographics as the police and recruit samples, (respectively, N = 451; N = 291). Police scored significantly higher on the CoBRAS than laypersons even when controlling for sociodemographic variables. Police recruits also have higher CoBRAS scores than laypersons, again controlling for sociodemographic variables. These findings suggest that police work attracts people who endorse color-blind racial beliefs. These findings make understanding the relationship between color-blind racial beliefs and discriminatory behavior of CJS practitioners imperative.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Diversification

Holistic Admissions After Affirmative Action: Does “Maximizing” the High School Curriculum Matter?

Michael Bastedo, Joseph Howard & Allyson Flaster

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2016, Pages 389-409

Abstract:
Selective colleges and universities purport to consider students’ achievement in the context of the academic opportunities available in their high schools. Thus, students who “maximize” their curricular opportunities should be more likely to gain admission. Using nationally representative data, we examine the effect of “maximizing the curriculum” on admission to selective colleges. We find that curriculum maximization has very little effect on students’ probability of college admission outside of states with affirmative action bans. Low-income students are less likely to maximize their high school curriculum, and underrepresented racial minority students are both less likely to maximize their high school curriculum and less likely to benefit from doing so when applying to colleges in states that ban affirmative action. Thus, even if widely diffused, holistic admissions practices may be unlikely to adequately reduce race or class disparities in higher education.

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Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Statistical Discrimination: A Field Experiment

Amanda Agan & Sonja Starr

University of Michigan Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
“Ban-the-Box” (BTB) policies restrict employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories on job applications and are often presented as a means of reducing unemployment among black men, who disproportionately have criminal records. However, withholding information about criminal records could risk encouraging statistical discrimination: employers may make assumptions about criminality based on the applicant’s race. To investigate this possibility as well as the effects of race and criminal records on employer callback rates, we sent approximately 15,000 fictitious online job applications to employers in New Jersey and New York City, in waves before and after each jurisdiction’s adoption of BTB policies. Our causal effect estimates are based on a triple-differences design, which exploits the fact that many businesses’ applications did not ask about records even before BTB and were thus unaffected by the law. Our results confirm that criminal records are a major barrier to employment, but they also support the concern that BTB policies encourage statistical discrimination on the basis of race. Overall, white applicants received 23% more callbacks than similar black applicants (38% more in New Jersey; 6% more in New York City; we also find that the white advantage is much larger in whiter neighborhoods). Employers that ask about criminal records are 62% more likely to call back an applicant if he has no record (45% in New Jersey; 78% in New York City) — an effect that BTB compliance necessarily eliminates. However, we find that the race gap in callbacks grows dramatically at the BTB-affected companies after the policy goes into effect. Before BTB, white applicants to BTB-affected employers received about 7% more callbacks than similar black applicants, but BTB increases this gap to 45%.

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The costs and benefits of enrolling in an academically matched college

Jessica Howell & Matea Pender

Economics of Education Review, April 2016, Pages 152–168

Abstract:
In response to increased efforts to raise college completion rates through improved academic match between students and their colleges, we examine the costs and benefits to students of following such advice as well as the impact on postsecondary institutions. We analyze data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the College Board, the National Student Clearinghouse, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to estimate the impact of improved academic match on students’ predicted net price and bachelor's completion probabilities. The results indicate that undermatching low-income students across the distribution of academic ability would experience a substantial boost in bachelor's degree completion probability – 13.5% points, on average – if they attended a college that better matched their academic credentials. Given this average effect and the number of undermatched low-income students who are minimally “treated” under our simulation, we predict that an additional 3500 low-income students per cohort would complete a bachelor's degree. We find that moving all undermatched low-income students into “safety” colleges would not overly burden this set of institutions, which, on average, would only need to increase the size of first-year cohorts by less than 1%. Moreover, such colleges would experience no change in average SAT scores and overall graduation rates. One estimate of the financial impact on colleges is substantial (i.e., on average, $6.5 M–7.5 M annually per cohort per institution that has a simulated net gain in enrollment) if institutions cover full tuition and fees for these additional low-income students.

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Teaching a lay theory before college narrows achievement gaps at scale

David Yeager et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 June 2016, Pages E3341–E3348

Abstract:
Previous experiments have shown that college students benefit when they understand that challenges in the transition to college are common and improvable and, thus, that early struggles need not portend a permanent lack of belonging or potential. Could such an approach — called a lay theory intervention — be effective before college matriculation? Could this strategy reduce a portion of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic achievement gaps for entire institutions? Three double-blind experiments tested this possibility. Ninety percent of first-year college students from three institutions were randomly assigned to complete single-session, online lay theory or control materials before matriculation (n > 9,500). The lay theory interventions raised first-year full-time college enrollment among students from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds exiting a high-performing charter high school network or entering a public flagship university (experiments 1 and 2) and, at a selective private university, raised disadvantaged students’ cumulative first-year grade point average (experiment 3). These gains correspond to 31–40% reductions of the raw (unadjusted) institutional achievement gaps between students from disadvantaged and nondisadvantaged backgrounds at those institutions. Further, follow-up surveys suggest that the interventions improved disadvantaged students’ overall college experiences, promoting use of student support services and the development of friendship networks and mentor relationships. This research therefore provides a basis for further tests of the generalizability of preparatory lay theories interventions and of their potential to reduce social inequality and improve other major life transitions.

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Preference for the Diversity Policy Label Versus the Affirmative Action Policy Label

Madeleine Fugère et al.

Social Justice Research, June 2016, Pages 206-227

Abstract:
Study 1 assessed associations with the labels “diversity policy” (DP) and “affirmative action policy” (AAP) and perceptions of potential policy components. Student and community participants (N = 143) completed a survey assessing associations with one of the policy labels. Both policies evoked similar associations such as “race/minorities” and “equality/equal opportunity,” but the AAP was more often associated with “bias/inequality/discrimination,” “unfairness,” and “racism/prejudice.” When rating potential policy components, reverse discrimination was considered more likely under the AAP. In Study 2 we explored the evaluation of equivalent policy components associated with different policy labels. Student participants (N = 126) rated the policy labeled as the DP more favorably than the AAP. Both studies suggest more favorable attitudes toward the DP label.

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Colorism and educational outcomes of Asian Americans: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

Igor Ryabov

Social Psychology of Education, June 2016, Pages 303-324

Abstract:
Using a nationally representative longitudinal data set, the current study examines the link between colorism and educational attainment of Asian American young adults. Three levels of educational attainment are used as outcomes: high school diploma, some college and a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Independent variables include skin tone, ethnic origin, parental income and education, family structure, parental involvement, family social support and others. Given the fact that colorism affects genders disparately, the analyses are conducted separately for males and females. The findings suggest that, compared to their co-ethnics with light brown skin tone, Asian American males and females with white skin are more likely to be college educated. Conversely, the odds of getting a Bachelor’s degree or higher are significantly higher for Asian Americans with light skin tone than for their co-ethnics with dark brown skin tone. All in all, the findings point to the pattern of the inverse relationship between educational attainment and the darkness of skin tone.

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Can Admissions Percent Plans Lead to Better Collegiate Fit for Minority Students?

Kalena Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 348-354

Abstract:
Why do so many students mismatch when choosing a college? A plausible hypothesis is a lack of information about the likelihood of admission. This study contributes to the literature on mismatch by testing whether public university automatic admissions policies mitigate academic undermatch and promote academic overmatch by providing some students with admissions certainty. Focusing on the interaction of admissions certainty and race/ethnicity, our results support the hypothesis that a priori admissions information can vastly improve minority access to college quality by encouraging eligible students to apply to, and more importantly, enroll in more challenging institutions.

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Blaming the Building: How Venue Quality Influences Consumer Bias Against Stigmatized Leaders

Derek Avery, Patrick McKay & Sabrina Volpone

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because stigmatized individuals are viewed as incongruent with commonly held implicit leadership theories, they are often deemed less fit to lead than their nonstigmatized counterparts (Eagly & Karau, 2002). This suggests consumers might use such views to discredit not only stigmatized leaders, but also the companies they represent. However, cognition based on social categories (1 potential form of stigma) may be more likely when there are readily available alternative factors to account for one’s decisions via casuistry. Across 2 complementary studies (field and experiment), we find that customers react negatively to stigmatized leaders only when the physical state of the company venue provides an ostensible defense to mask their biased behavior. When facilities are of lower quality, consumers appear to use a leader’s stigma to infer lower product quality, coinciding in less patronage for companies with stigmatized as opposed to nonstigmatized leaders. Thus, consumers penalize companies with stigmatized leaders only when doing so can easily be attributed to an alternative factor (e.g., a lower quality venue) not involving the leader’s stigma.

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Supply and Demand for Discrimination: Strategic Revelation of Own Characteristics in a Trust Game

Anthony Heyes & John List

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 319-323

Abstract:
In strategic settings a player may be able to influence the behavior of an opponent by revealing information about their own characteristics. They may for example aim to exploit stereotypes held by others. We provide an experimental test of this. A substantial fraction of players in a trust game exhibit a positive willingness to pay to reveal a photograph of themselves to their randomly-assigned partner. This suggests that they perceive that they can use their own characteristics to influence the behavior of others. The demand for such self-revelation depends negatively on price.

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Differences in incomes of physicians in the United States by race and sex: Observational study

Dan Ly, Seth Seabury & Anupam Jena

British Medical Journal, June 2016

Participants: The 2000-13 American Community Survey (ACS) included 43 213 white male, 1698 black male, 15 164 white female, and 1252 black female physicians. The 2000-08 Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) physician surveys included 12 843 white male, 518 black male, 3880 white female, and 342 black female physicians.

Main outcome measures: Annual income adjusted for age, hours worked, time period, and state of residence (from ACS data). Income was adjusted for age, specialty, hours worked, time period, years in practice, practice type, and percentage of revenue from Medicare/Medicaid (from HSC physician surveys).

Results: White male physicians had a higher median annual income than black male physicians, whereas race was not consistently associated with median income among female physicians. For example, in 2010-13 in the ACS, white male physicians had an adjusted median annual income of $253 042 (95% confidence interval $248 670 to $257 413) compared with $188 230 ($170 844 to $205 616) for black male physicians (difference $64 812; P<0.001). White female physicians had an adjusted median annual income of $163 234 ($159 912 to 166 557) compared with $152 784 ($137 927 to $167 641) for black female physicians (difference $10 450; P=0.17). $100 000 is currently equivalent to about £69 000 (€89 000). Patterns were unaffected by adjustment for specialty and characteristics of practice in the HSC physician surveys.

Conclusions: White male physicians earn substantially more than black male physicians, after adjustment for characteristics of physicians and practices, while white and black female physicians earn similar incomes to each other, but significantly less than their male counterparts. Whether these differences reflect disparities in job opportunities is important to determine.

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Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and National Institutes of Health R01 Research Awards: Is There Evidence of a Double Bind for Women of Color?

Donna Ginther, Shulamit Kahn & Walter Schaffer

Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Method: The authors used data from the NIH Information for Management, Planning, Analysis, and Coordination grants management database for the years 2000-2006 to examine gender differences and race/ethnicity-specific gender differences in the probability of receiving an R01 Type 1 award. The authors used descriptive statistics and probit models to determine the relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, degree, investigator experience, and R01 award probability, controlling for a large set of observable characteristics.

Results: White women PhDs and MDs were as likely as white men to receive an R01 award. Compared with white women, Asian and black women PhDs and black women MDs were significantly less likely to receive funding. Women submitted fewer grant applications, and blacks and women who were new investigators were more likely to submit only one application between 2000 and 2006.

Conclusions: Differences by race/ethnicity explain the NIH funding gap for women of color, as white women have a slight advantage over men in receiving Type 1 awards. Findings of a lower submission rate for women and an increased likelihood that they will submit only one proposal are consistent with research showing that women avoid competition. Policies designed to address the racial and ethnic diversity of the biomedical workforce have the potential to improve funding outcomes for women of color.

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Wanting to See People Like Me? Racial and Gender Diversity in Popular Adolescent Television

Morgan Ellithorpe & Amy Bleakley

Journal of Youth and Adolescence, July 2016, Pages 1426-1437

Abstract:
Media are one source for adolescent identity development and social identity gratifications. Nielsen viewing data across the 2014–2015 television season for adolescents ages 14–17 was used to examine racial and gender diversity in adolescent television exposure. Compared to US Census data, mainstream shows under represent women, but the proportion of Black characters is roughly representative. Black adolescents watch more television than non-Black adolescents and, after taking this into account, shows popular with Black adolescents are more likely than shows popular with non-Black adolescents to exhibit racial diversity. In addition, shows popular with female adolescents are more likely than shows popular with males to exhibit gender diversity. These results support the idea that adolescents seek out media messages with characters that are members of their identity groups, possibly because the characters serve as tools for identity development and social identity gratifications.

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Math-oriented fields of study and the race gap in graduation likelihoods at elite colleges

Dafna Gelbgiser & Sigal Alon

Social Science Research, July 2016, Pages 150–164

Abstract:
This study examines the relationship between chosen field of study and the race gap in college completion among students at elite colleges. Fields of study are characterized by varying institutional arrangements, which impact the academic performance of students in higher education. If the effect of fields on graduation likelihoods is unequal across racial groups, then this may account for part of the overall race gap in college completion. Results from a large sample of students attending elite colleges confirm that fields of study influence the graduation likelihoods of all students, above and beyond factors such as students’ academic and social backgrounds. This effect, however, is asymmetrical: relative to white students, the negative effect of the institutional arrangements of math-oriented fields on graduation likelihood is greater for black students. Therefore, the race gap is larger within math-oriented fields than in other fields, which contributes to the overall race gap in graduation likelihoods at these selective colleges. These results indicate that a nontrivial share of the race gap in college completion is generated after matriculation, by the environments that students encounter in college. Consequently, policy interventions that target field of study environments can substantially mitigate racial disparities in college graduation rates.

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Distribution, Composition and Exclusion: How School Segregation Impacts Racist Disciplinary Patterns

Kendralin Freeman & Christina Steidl

Race and Social Problems, June 2016, Pages 171-185

Abstract:
This paper investigates a broad two-pronged social problem: the persistent segregation and fragmentation of school districts alongside the disproportionate application of school discipline to students of color. Previous work suggests many factors within schools that contribute to the unequal application of school discipline. We use hierarchical linear modeling to move beyond this immediate school context and ask how broader social processes, specifically multiple forms of school segregation, impact the disproportionate discipline administered to black students in secondary schools. Results demonstrate that schools located in more segregated districts tend to have lower racial disparities in suspensions for black students, thus painting a complex picture of the consequences of segregated schooling for students of color. The findings suggest that racial inequality can arise in many guises and that efforts to create racially integrated schools do not release districts from other important work related to racial equity. Integrated school districts should be even more concerned with creating policies and practices to raise awareness of and reduce racial disparities, specifically in school discipline.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

They care

Achieving Kaiser Permanente quality

Matthew McHugh et al.

Health Care Management Review, July/September 2016, Pages 178–188

Background: The Kaiser Permanente model of integrated health delivery is highly regarded for high-quality and efficient health care. Efforts to reproduce Kaiser’s success have mostly failed. One factor that has received little attention and that could explain Kaiser’s advantage is its commitment to and investment in nursing as a key component of organizational culture and patient-centered care.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional analysis of linked secondary data from multiple sources, including a detailed survey of nurses, for 564 adult, general acute care hospitals from California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in 2006–2007. We used logistic regression models to examine whether patient (mortality and failure-to-rescue) and nurse (burnout, job satisfaction, and intent-to-leave) outcomes in Kaiser hospitals were better than in non-Kaiser hospitals. We then assessed whether differences in nursing explained outcomes differences between Kaiser and other hospitals. Finally, we examined whether Kaiser hospitals compared favorably with hospitals known for having excellent nurse work environments — Magnet hospitals.

Findings: Patient and nurse outcomes in Kaiser hospitals were significantly better compared with non-Magnet hospitals. Kaiser hospitals had significantly better nurse work environments, staffing levels, and more nurses with bachelor’s degrees. Differences in nursing explained a significant proportion of the Kaiser outcomes advantage. Kaiser hospital outcomes were comparable with Magnet hospitals, where better outcomes have been largely explained by differences in nursing.

Implications: An important element in Kaiser’s success is its investment in professional nursing, which may not be evident to systems seeking to achieve Kaiser’s advantage. Our results suggest that a possible strategy for achieving outcomes like Kaiser may be for hospitals to consider Magnet designation, a proven and cost-effective strategy to improve process of care through investments in nursing.

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Effect of physician disclosure of specialty bias on patient trust and treatment choice

Sunita Sah, Angela Fagerlin & Peter Ubel

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 July 2016, Pages 7465–7469

Abstract:
This paper explores the impact of disclosures of bias on advisees. Disclosure — informing advisees of a potential bias — is a popular solution for managing conflicts of interest. Prior research has focused almost exclusively on disclosures of financial conflicts of interest but little is known about how disclosures of other types of biases could impact advisees. In medicine, for example, physicians often recommend the treatment they specialize in; e.g., surgeons are more likely to recommend surgery than nonsurgeons. In recognition of this bias, some physicians inform patients about their specialty bias when other similarly effective treatment options exist. Using field data (recorded transcripts of surgeon–patient consultations) from Veteran Affairs hospitals and a randomized controlled laboratory experiment, we examine and find that disclosures of specialty bias increase patients’ trust and their likelihood of choosing a treatment in accordance with the physicians’ specialty. Physicians in the field also increased the strength of their recommendation to have the specialty treatment when they disclosed their bias or discussed the opportunity for the patient to seek a consultation with a physician from another specialty. These findings have important implications for handling advisor bias, shared advisor–advisee decision-making, and disclosure policies.

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The Determinants of Productivity in Medical Testing: Intensity and Allocation of Care

Jason Abaluck et al.

American Economics Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of research has investigated whether physicians overuse care. There is less evidence on whether, for a fixed level of spending, doctors allocate resources to patients with the highest expected returns. We assess both sources of inefficiency exploiting variation in rates of negative imaging tests for pulmonary embolism. We document enormous across-doctor heterogeneity in testing conditional on patient population, which explains the negative relationship between physicians’ testing rates and test yields. Furthermore, doctors do not target testing to the highest risk patients, reducing test yields by one third. Our calibration suggests misallocation is more costly than overuse.

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Pharmaceutical Industry–Sponsored Meals and Physician Prescribing Patterns for Medicare Beneficiaries

Colette DeJong et al.

JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional analysis of industry payment data from the federal Open Payments Program for August 1 through December 31, 2013, and prescribing data for individual physicians from Medicare Part D, for all of 2013. Participants were physicians who wrote Medicare prescriptions in any of 4 drug classes: statins, cardioselective β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ACE inhibitors and ARBs), and selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs and SNRIs). We identified physicians who received industry-sponsored meals promoting the most-prescribed brand-name drug in each class (rosuvastatin, nebivolol, olmesartan, and desvenlafaxine, respectively). Data analysis was performed from August 20, 2015, to December 15, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Prescribing rates of promoted drugs compared with alternatives in the same class, after adjustment for physician prescribing volume, demographic characteristics, specialty, and practice setting.

Results: A total of 279 669 physicians received 63 524 payments associated with the 4 target drugs. Ninety-five percent of payments were meals, with a mean value of less than $20. Rosuvastatin represented 8.8% (SD, 9.9%) of statin prescriptions; nebivolol represented 3.3% (7.4%) of cardioselective β-blocker prescriptions; olmesartan represented 1.6% (3.9%) of ACE inhibitor and ARB prescriptions; and desvenlafaxine represented 0.6% (2.6%) of SSRI and SNRI prescriptions. Physicians who received a single meal promoting the drug of interest had higher rates of prescribing rosuvastatin over other statins (odds ratio [OR], 1.18; 95% CI, 1.17-1.18), nebivolol over other β-blockers (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.69-1.72), olmesartan over other ACE inhibitors and ARBs (OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.51-1.53), and desvenlafaxine over other SSRIs and SNRIs (OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 2.13-2.23). Receipt of additional meals and receipt of meals costing more than $20 were associated with higher relative prescribing rates.

Conclusions and Relevance: Receipt of industry-sponsored meals was associated with an increased rate of prescribing the brand-name medication that was being promoted. The findings represent an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship.

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Primary Care Appointment Availability and Nonphysician Providers One Year After Medicaid Expansion

Renuka Tipirneni et al.

American Journal of Managed Care, June 2016, Pages 427-431

Objectives: With insurance enrollment greater than expected under the Affordable Care Act, uncertainty about the availability and timeliness of healthcare services for newly insured individuals has increased. We examined primary care appointment availability and wait times for new Medicaid and privately insured patients before and after Medicaid expansion in Michigan.

Methods: Extended follow-up of a previously reported simulated patient (“secret shopper”) study assessing accessibility of routine new patient appointments in a stratified proportionate random sample of Michigan primary care practices before versus 4, 8, and 12 months after Medicaid expansion.

Results: During the study period, approximately 600,000 adults enrolled in Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, representing 57% of the previously uninsured nonelderly adult population. One year after expansion, we found that appointment availability remained increased by 6 percentage points for new Medicaid patients (95% CI, 1.6-11.1) and decreased by 2 percentage points for new privately insured patients (95% CI, –0.5 to –3.8). Over the same period, the proportion of appointments scheduled with nonphysician providers (nurse practitioners or physician assistants) increased from 8% to 21% of Medicaid appointments (95% CI, 5.6-20.2) and from 11% to 19% of private-insurance appointments (95% CI, 1.3-14.1). Median wait times remained stable for new Medicaid patients and increased slightly for new privately insured patients, both remaining within 2 weeks.

Conclusions: During the first year following Medicaid expansion in Michigan, appointment availability for new Medicaid patients increased, a greater proportion of appointments could be obtained with nonphysician providers, and wait times remained within 2 weeks.

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Insurance and the High Prices of Pharmaceuticals

David Besanko, David Dranove & Craig Garthwaite

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We present a model in which prospective patients are liquidity constrained, and thus health insurance allows patients access to treatments and services that they otherwise would have been unable to afford. Consistent with large expansions of insurance in the U.S. (e.g., the Affordable Care Act), we assume that policies expand the set of services that must be covered by insurance. We show that the profit-maximizing price for an innovative treatment is greater in the presence of health insurance than it would be for an uninsured population. We also show that consumer surplus is less than it would be if the innovation was not covered. These results show that even in the absence of moral hazard, there are channels through which insurance can negatively affect consumer welfare. Our model also provides an economic rationale for the claim that pharmaceutical firms set prices that exceed the value their products create. We empirically examine our model's predictions by studying the pricing of oncology drugs following the 2003 passage of Medicare Part D. Prior to 2003, drugs covered under Medicare Part B had higher prices than those that would eventually be covered under Part D. In general, the trends in pricing across these categories were similar. However, after 2003 there was a far greater increase in prices for products covered under Part D, and as result, products covered by both programs were sold at similar prices. In addition, these prices were quite high compared to the value created by the products --- suggesting that the forced bundle of Part D might have allowed firms to capture more value than their products created.

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The Growing Integration of Physician Practices: With a Medicaid Side Effect

Michael Richards, Sayeh Nikpay & John Graves

Medical Care, July 2016, Pages 714–718

Objectives: We track the organizational landscape among all office-based US physician practices from 2009 to 2015 and document the degree of vertical integration over time. Then, we examine the implications of vertical integration on practices’ acceptance of publicly insured patients.

Research Design: We use descriptive trends and linear regression models with practice level fixed effects to capture the relationships between within-office changes in integration behavior and changes in public payer acceptance.

Results: Independent (nonintegrated) physician practices are still the most common organizational type, but their share is declining as the share of practices integrated with a health system increases 3-fold between 2009 and 2015. Although >80% of practices that are part of a health system accept Medicaid, <60% of independent practices will see these patients. Vertically integrating with a health system makes it more likely a practice will start seeing Medicaid patients.

Conclusions: Integration — and possibly consolidation — appears to be occurring and may be increasing over time in the United States. However, it also seems to increase the number of physician practices participating in the Medicaid program. This beneficial side effect has not been previously documented and should be kept in mind as policymakers weigh the pros and cons of a more integrated health care system.

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Risk-Adjustment Simulation: Plans May Have Incentives To Distort Mental Health And Substance Use Coverage

Ellen Montz et al.

Health Affairs, June 2016, Pages 1022-1028

Abstract:
Under the Affordable Care Act, the risk-adjustment program is designed to compensate health plans for enrolling people with poorer health status so that plans compete on cost and quality rather than the avoidance of high-cost individuals. This study examined health plan incentives to limit covered services for mental health and substance use disorders under the risk-adjustment system used in the health insurance Marketplaces. Through a simulation of the program on a population constructed to reflect Marketplace enrollees, we analyzed the cost consequences for plans enrolling people with mental health and substance use disorders. Our assessment points to systematic underpayment to plans for people with these diagnoses. We document how Marketplace risk adjustment does not remove incentives for plans to limit coverage for services associated with mental health and substance use disorders. Adding mental health and substance use diagnoses used in Medicare Part D risk adjustment is one potential policy step toward addressing this problem in the Marketplaces.

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Health insurance reform and part-time work: Evidence from Massachusetts

Marcus Dillender, Carolyn Heinrich & Susan Houseman

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A concern with requiring employers to provide health insurance to full-time employees is that employers may increase their use of part-time workers to circumvent the mandate. In this paper, we study the effect of the employer mandate in the Massachusetts health insurance reform on part-time work using a difference-in-differences strategy that compares changes in part-time work in Massachusetts after the reform to changes in various control groups. We find strong evidence that the Massachusetts employer mandate increased part-time employment among low-educated workers and some evidence that it increased part-time employment among younger workers. Our estimate of a 1.7 percentage point increase in part-time employment among workers without a college degree suggests that lower-skilled workers may be vulnerable to having their hours cut so that employers do not have to offer them health insurance.

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Strategic Formulary Design in Medicare Part D Plans

Kurt Lavetti & Kosali Simon

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
The design of Medicare Part D causes most Medicare beneficiaries to receive fragmented health insurance, whereby prescription drugs and other medical care are covered by separate insurance plans. Fragmentation of insurance plans is potentially inefficient since separate insurers maximize profits over only one component of healthcare spending, despite many complementarities and substitutabilities between types of healthcare. Fragmentation of some plans but not others can also lead to market distortions due to differential adverse selection, as integrated plans may use drug formulary designs to induce enrollment by patients who are profitable under Parts A & B, while stand-alone drug plans have no such incentive. We study whether the design of insurance plans in Medicare Part D reflects these two differences in incentives using data on the universe of Part D plan formularies, drug prices, and Medicare claims data. We find evidence consistent with both hypotheses. Relative to fragmented plans, integrated plans systematically design their drug formularies to encourage enrollment by beneficiaries with medical conditions that are profitable under Parts A & B. However, integrated plans also more generously cover drugs that have the potential to causally reduce medical costs. These large differences in incentives and plan design between integrated and fragmented plans are likely the precursors of substantial differential selection of enrollees, and the basic design of Medicare Part D abets this covert selection.

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Association between Temporal Changes in Primary Care Workforce and Patient Outcomes

Chiang-Hua Chang, James O'Malley & David Goodman

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the association between 10-year temporal changes in the primary care workforce and Medicare beneficiaries' outcomes.

Data Sources: 2001 and 2011 American Medical Association Masterfiles and fee-for-service Medicare claims.

Study Design/Methods: We calculated two primary care workforce measures within Primary Care Service Areas: the number of primary care physicians per 10,000 population (per capita) and the number of Medicare primary care full-time equivalents (FTEs) per 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries. The three outcomes were mortality, ambulatory care–sensitive condition (ACSC) hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits. We measured the marginal association between changes in primary care workforce and patient outcomes using Poisson regression models.

Principal Findings: An increase of one primary care physician per 10,000 population was associated with 15.1 fewer deaths per 100,000 and 39.7 fewer ACSC hospitalizations per 100,000 (both p < .05). An increase of one Medicare primary care FTE per 10,000 beneficiaries was associated with 82.8 fewer deaths per 100,000, 160.8 fewer ACSC hospitalizations per 100,000, and 712.3 fewer ED visits per 100,000 (all p < .05).

Conclusions: Medicare beneficiaries' outcomes improved as the number of primary care physicians and their clinical effort increased.

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Labor Supply Effects of Occupational Regulation: Evidence from the Nurse Licensure Compact

Christina DePasquale & Kevin Stange

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
There is concern that licensure requirements impede mobility of licensed professionals to areas of high demand. Nursing has not been immune to this criticism, especially in the context of perceived nurse shortages and large expected future demand. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was introduced to solve this problem by permitting registered nurses to practice across state lines without obtaining additional licensure. We exploit the staggered adoption of the NLC to examine whether a reduction in licensure-induced barriers alters the nurse labor market. Using data on over 1.8 million nurses and other health care workers we find no evidence that the labor supply or mobility of nurses increases following the adoption of the NLC, even among the residents of counties bordering other NLC states who are potentially most affected by the NLC. This suggests that nationalizing occupational licensing will not substantially reduce labor market frictions.

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Changes in Retail Prices of Prescription Dermatologic Drugs From 2009 to 2015

Miranda Rosenberg & Steven Rosenberg

JAMA Dermatology, February 2016, Pages 158-163

Design, Setting, and Participants: Four national chain pharmacies received surveys requesting price data on commonly prescribed dermatologic drugs in 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2015. The initial survey requested information on 72 brand-name drugs. Subsequent surveys increased to eventually include 120 additional brand-name drugs and their generic alternatives when available. Owing to the frequency of prescription, diseases treated, or unusual price increases, 19 brand-name drugs surveyed in all 4 years were selected for final price trend analysis, which was conducted from August 1 to 15, 2015.

Results: Prices of surveyed brand-name drugs increased rapidly between 2009 and 2015. Of the 19 brand-name drugs analyzed, the retail prices of 7 drugs more than quadrupled during the study period. Among these 19 drugs, the mean price increase was 401% during the 6-year survey period, with the majority of the price increases occurring after 2011. Prices of topical antineoplastic drugs had the greatest mean absolute and percentage increase ($10 926.58 [1240%]). Prices of drugs in the antiinfective class had the smallest mean absolute increase ($333.99); prices of psoriasis medications had the smallest mean percentage increase (180%). Prices of acne and rosacea medications increased a mean of 195%, and prices of topical corticosteroids increased a mean of 290% during the study period. Selected generic drugs surveyed in 2011 and 2014 also increased a mean of 279% during the 3-year period.

Conclusions and Relevance: The price of prescription dermatologic drugs rose considerably from 2009 to 2015, with the vast majority of price increases occurring after 2011. Percent increases for multiple, frequently prescribed medications greatly outpaced inflation, national health expenditure growth, and increases in reimbursements for physician services.

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Bundled Payment vs. Fee-for-Service: Impact of Payment Scheme on Performance

Elodie Adida, Hamed Mamani & Shima Nassiri

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Healthcare reimbursements in the United States have been traditionally based on a fee-for-service (FFS) scheme, providing incentives for high volume of care, rather than efficient care. The new healthcare legislation tests new payment models that remove such incentives, such as the bundled payment (BP) system. We consider a population of patients (beneficiaries). The provider may reject patients based on the patient’s cost profile and selects the treatment intensity based on a risk-averse utility function. Treatment may result in success or failure, where failure means that unforeseen complications require further care. Our interest is in analyzing the effect of different payment schemes on outcomes such as the presence and extent of patient selection, the treatment intensity, the provider’s utility and financial risk, and the total system payoff. Our results confirm that FFS provides incentives for excessive treatment intensity and results in suboptimal system payoff. We show that BP could lead to suboptimal patient selection and treatment levels that may be lower or higher than desirable for the system, with a high level of financial risk for the provider. We also find that the performance of BP is extremely sensitive to the bundled payment value and to the provider’s risk aversion. The performance of both BP and FFS degrades when the provider becomes more risk averse. We design two payment systems, hybrid payment and stop-loss mechanisms, that alleviate the shortcomings of FFS and BP and may induce system optimum decisions in a complementary manner.

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Moneyball in Medicare

Edward Norton et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
US policymakers place a high priority on tying Medicare payments to the value of care delivered. A critical part of this effort is the Hospital Value-based Purchasing Program (HVBP), which rewards or penalizes hospitals based on their quality and episode-based costs of care. Within HVBP, each patient affects hospital performance on a variety of quality and spending measures, and performance translates directly to changes in program points and ultimately dollars. In short, hospital revenue from a patient consists not only of the DRG payment, but also consists of that patient’s marginal future reimbursement. We estimate the magnitude of the marginal future reimbursement for individual patients across each type of quality and performance measure. We describe how those incentives differ across hospitals, including integrated and safety-net hospitals. We find some evidence that hospitals improved their performance over time in the areas where they have the highest marginal incentives to improve care.

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Association Between Medicare Accountable Care Organization Implementation and Spending Among Clinically Vulnerable Beneficiaries

Carrie Colla et al.

JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Importance: Accountable care contracts hold physician groups financially responsible for the quality and cost of health care delivered to patients. Focusing on clinically vulnerable patients, those with serious conditions who are responsible for the greatest proportion of spending, may result in the largest effects on both patient outcomes and financial rewards for participating physician groups.

Design, Setting, and Participants: For this cohort study, 2 study populations were defined: the overall Medicare population and the clinically vulnerable subgroup of Medicare beneficiaries. The overall Medicare population was based on a random 40% sample drawn from continuously enrolled fee-for-service beneficiaries with at least 1 evaluation and management visit in a calendar year. The clinically vulnerable study population included all Medicare beneficiaries 66 years or older who had at least 3 Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs). Beneficiaries entered the cohort during the quarter between January 2009 to December 2011 when they first had at least 3 HCCs and remained in the cohort until death. Cohort entry was restricted to the preperiod to account for potential changes in coding practices after ACO implementation. Difference-in-difference estimations were used to compare changes in health care outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries attributed to physicians in ACOs with those attributed to non-ACO physicians from January 2009 to December 2013.

Results: Total spending decreased by $34 (95% CI, −$52 to −$15) per beneficiary-quarter after ACO contract implementation across the overall Medicare population (n = 15 592 600) and decreased $114 in clinically vulnerable patients (n = 8 673 823) (95% CI, −$178 to −$50). In the overall Medicare cohort, hospitalizations and emergency department visits decreased by 1.3 and 3.0 events per 1000 beneficiaries per quarter, respectively (95% CIs: −2.1 to −0.4 and −4.8 to −1.3), and hospitalizations and emergency department visits decreased in the clinically vulnerable cohort by 2.9 and 4.1 events per 1000 beneficiaries per quarter, respectively (95% CIs: −5.2 to −0.7 and −7.1 to −1.2). Changes in total spending associated with ACOs did not vary by clinical condition of beneficiaries.

Conclusions and Relevance: Medicare ACO programs are associated with modest reductions in spending and use of hospitals and emergency departments. Savings were realized through reductions in use of institutional settings in clinically vulnerable patients.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fiscal problems

The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations

Antonio Fatás & Lawrence Summers

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
The global financial crisis has permanently lowered the path of GDP in all advanced economies. At the same time, and in response to rising government debt levels, many of these countries have been engaging in fiscal consolidations that have had a negative impact on growth rates. We empirically explore the connections between these two facts by extending to longer horizons the methodology of Blanchard and Leigh (2013) regarding fiscal policy multipliers. Our results provide support for the presence of strong hysteresis effects of fiscal policy. The large size of the effects points in the direction of self-defeating fiscal consolidations as suggested by DeLong and Summers (2012). Attempts to reduce debt via fiscal consolidations have very likely resulted in a higher debt to GDP ratio through their long-term negative impact on output.

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A Contagious Malady? Open Economy Dimensions of Secular Stagnation

Gauti Eggertsson et al.

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Conditions of secular stagnation - low interest rates, below target inflation, and sluggish output growth - characterize much of the global economy. We consider an overlapping generations, open economy model of secular stagnation, and examine the effect of capital flows on the transmission of stagnation. In a world with a low natural rate of interest, greater capital integration transmits recessions across countries as opposed to lower interest rates. In a global secular stagnation, expansionary fiscal policy carries positive spillovers implying gains from coordination, and fiscal policy is self-financing. Expansionary monetary policy, by contrast, is beggar-thy-neighbor with output gains in one country coming at the expense of the other. Similarly, we find that competitiveness policies including structural labor market reforms or neomercantilist trade policies are also beggar-thy-neighbor in a global secular stagnation.

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Millionaire Migration and Taxation of the Elite: Evidence from Administrative Data

Cristobal Young et al.

American Sociological Review, June 2016, Pages 421-446

Abstract:
A growing number of U.S. states have adopted “millionaire taxes” on top income-earners. This increases the progressivity of state tax systems, but it raises concerns about tax flight: elites migrating from high-tax to low-tax states, draining state revenues, and undermining redistributive social policies. Are top income-earners “transitory millionaires” searching for lower-tax places to live? Or are they “embedded elites” who are reluctant to migrate away from places where they have been highly successful? This question is central to understanding the social consequences of progressive taxation. We draw on administrative tax returns for all million-dollar income-earners in the United States over 13 years, tracking the states from which millionaires file their taxes. Our dataset contains 45 million tax records and provides census-scale panel data on top income-earners. We advance two core analyses: (1) state-to-state migration of millionaires over the long-term, and (2) a sharply-focused discontinuity analysis of millionaire population along state borders. We find that millionaire tax flight is occurring, but only at the margins of statistical and socioeconomic significance.

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“Dynamic Scoring”: Why and How to Include Macroeconomic Effects in Budget Estimates for Legislative Proposals

Douglas Elmendorf

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2015, Pages 91-149

Abstract:
Official estimates of the budgetary effects of legislative proposals generally include anticipated behavioral responses except for those that would alter overall output or employment. Based on my experience as director of the Congressional Budget Office and on the analysis in this paper, I conclude that such macroeconomic effects of legislative proposals should be included in budget estimates — that is, so-called dynamic scoring should be used — for major (but not minor) proposals and for proposals affecting federal spending as well as revenues. However, such macroeconomic effects should not be included when the estimating agencies do not have the tools or time needed to do a careful analysis of those effects. Current rules governing the official estimating process do not fully meet those conditions.

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Searching for a Tolerable Tax: Public Attitudes toward Roadway Financing Alternatives

Denvil Duncan et al.

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
A growing number of states are pursuing strategies to combat declining fuel tax revenue and fund road construction and maintenance, including the use of sales taxes, income taxes, and tolls; raising fuel tax rates; and adopting road mileage user fees. We use data from a nationally representative survey to compare public acceptability of a mileage user fee with each of these alternative revenue mechanisms. We find that support for the revenue options varies from 13.4 percent for income taxes to 33.8 percent for tolls, with higher gasoline tax rates, mileage user fees, and sales taxes in the middle. The evidence also points to stronger intensity of opposition than intensity of support across all alternatives. Finally, we find that, conditional on opposition to the mileage user fee, public acceptability is highest for tolls, followed by higher fuel taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes. Policy implications are discussed.

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Taxes and leverage at multinational corporations

Michael Faulkender & Jason Smith

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Empirical research has struggled to show that variation in corporate capital structure arises from variation in estimated corporate income tax rates. We argue that, in previous studies, both the tax rates applied to multinational corporations and the taxable income earned have been mismeasured. Using the Bureau of Economic Analysis annual survey sample combined with each firm's income and country specific tax rate, we find that firms do have higher leverage ratios and lower interest coverage ratios when they operate in countries with higher tax rates, as theory would suggest. The trade-off theory of capital structure continues to have empirical support.

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The Domino Effects of Federal Research Funding

Lauren Lanahan, Alexandra Graddy-Reed & Maryann Feldman

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
The extent to which federal investment in research crowds out or decreases incentives for investment from other funding sources remains an open question. Scholarship on research funding has focused on the relationship between federal and industry or, more comprehensively, non-federal funding without disentangling the other sources of research support that include nonprofit organizations and state and local governments. This paper extends our understanding of academic research support by considering the relationships between federal and non-federal funding sources provided by the National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey. We examine whether federal research investment serves as a complement or substitute for state and local government, nonprofit, and industry research investment using the population of research-active academic science fields at U.S. doctoral granting institutions. We use a system of two equations that instruments with prior levels of both federal and non-federal funding sources and accounts for time-invariant academic institution-field effects through first differencing. We estimate that a 1% increase in federal research funding is associated with a 0.411% increase in nonprofit research funding, a 0.217% increase in state and local research funding, and a 0.468% increase in industry research funding, respectively. Results indicate that federal funding plays a fundamental role in inducing complementary investments from other funding sources, with impacts varying across academic division, research capacity, and institutional control.

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The Impact of Education Earmarking on State-Level Lottery Sales

Carol Stivender et al.

B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research argues that lottery consumers consider how funds are to be used in making lottery purchase decisions. Possible explanations for this behavior include altruism as well as the desire of low-income families to provide educational opportunities within their community. This paper uses a panel of lottery sales for U.S. states covering the period 1980–2000 to test hypotheses regarding the impact of educational earmarking on lottery purchases. Our estimates suggest that states earmarking all or part of their revenue to education experience an increase in lottery sales between 11 % and 25 %, depending on the specification of state trends. Whether the propensity for earmarking to increase sales is viewed positively or negatively depends largely on one’s ethical and moral views of lotteries.

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Does Government-sponsored Advertising Increase Social Welfare? A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation

Carlos Carpio & Olga Isengildina-Massa

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, June 2016, Pages 239-259

Abstract:
The main objective of this study was to analyze the effect of advertising on social welfare in a perfectly competitive market where the level of advertising is chosen by a social planner. The theoretical model revealed that social planner-sponsored advertising that increases the equilibrium price of the advertised good can increase society's welfare if the effect of advertising in consumers' utility is higher than the consumer welfare-reducing price effect. The empirical illustration focuses on the U.S. state of South Carolina's “buy local” food products campaign. The findings suggest that this government-sponsored advertising campaign increases total welfare.

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How do corporate tax bases change when corporate tax rates change? With implications for the tax rate elasticity of corporate tax revenues

Laura Kawano & Joel Slemrod

International Tax and Public Finance, June 2016, Pages 401-433

Abstract:
We construct a new database of extensive margin changes to multiple aspects of corporate tax bases for OECD countries between 1980 and 2004. We use our data to systematically document the tendency of countries to implement policies that both lower the corporate tax rate and broaden the corporate tax base. This correlation informs our interpretation of previous estimates of the relationship between corporate tax rates and corporate tax revenues, which typically do not include comprehensive measures of the corporate tax base definition. We then re-examine the relationship between corporate tax rates and corporate tax revenues. We find that accounting for unobserved heterogeneity attenuates the relationship between corporate tax rates and corporate tax revenues, and increases the implied revenue-maximizing tax rate. Controlling for our new tax base measures does not substantively impact the magnitude of this relationship.

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Measuring Consumer Responses to a Bottled Water Tax Policy

Peter Berck et al.

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using panel data of retail purchases, we measure the effects of the introduction, and later removal, of a bottled-water tax in the state of Washington. We use a difference-in-differences approach to measure effects of the tax against untreated stores (in comparable control states) and untreated weeks (the pre-period). We further estimate triple-difference specifications comparing bottled water to juice and milk substitute products. Our results show that, when imposed, the tax causes bottled water sales to drop by nearly 6% in our preferred specification. Sales never fully recover, even after the tax removal. In terms of the heterogeneity of this effect, we find larger quantity drops in high tax rate areas and in the lowest and highest quintile income areas.

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Behavioral Interventions to Increase Tax-Time Saving: Evidence from a National Randomized Trial

Michal Grinstein-Weiss et al.

Journal of Consumer Affairs, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide new large-scale experimental evidence on policies that aim to boost household saving out of income tax refunds. Households that filed income tax returns with an online tax preparer and chose to receive their refund electronically were randomized into eight treatment groups, which received different combinations of motivational saving prompts and suggested shares of the refund to save — 25% and 75% — and a control group, which received neither. In treatment conditions where they were presented, motivational prompts focused on various savings goals: general, retirement, or emergency. Analysis reveals that higher suggested allocations generated increased allocations of the refund to savings but that prompts for different reasons to save did not. These interventions, which draw on lessons from behavioral economics, represent potentially low-cost, scalable tools for policy makers interested in helping low- and moderate-income households build savings.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, July 4, 2016

Places and times

Tolerance in the United States: Does economic freedom transform racial, religious, political and sexual attitudes?

Niclas Berggren & Therese Nilsson

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tolerance is a distinguishing feature of Western culture. Still, it varies between and within countries, as well as over time, and irrespective of whether one values it for its own sake or for its beneficial consequences, it becomes important to identify its determinants. In this study, we investigate whether the character of economic policy plays a role, by looking at the effect of changes in economic freedom (i.e., lower government expenditures, lower and more general taxes and more modest regulation) on tolerance in one of the most market-oriented countries, the United States. In comparing U.S. states, we find that an increase in the willingness to let atheists, homosexuals and communists speak, keep books in libraries and teach college students is, overall, positively related to preceding increases in economic freedom, more specifically in the form of more general taxes. We suggest, as one explanation, that a discriminatory tax system, which is susceptible to the influence of special interests and which treats people differently, gives rise to feelings of tension and conflict. In contrast, the positive association for tolerance towards racists only applies to speech and books, not to teaching, which may indicate that when it comes to educating the young, (in)tolerant attitudes towards racists are more fixed.

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See Paris and... found a business? The impact of cross-cultural experience on opportunity recognition capabilities

Peter Vandor & Nikolaus Franke

Journal of Business Venturing, July 2016, Pages 388-407

Abstract:
Internationally mobile individuals such as migrants and expatriates exhibit a higher level of entrepreneurial activity than people without cross-cultural experience. Current research suggests that this pattern is rooted in specific resources and institutional arrangements that increase the attractiveness of exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities. In this study, we provide an additional explanation: We argue that cross-cultural experience increases the ability to recognize entrepreneurial opportunities. This argument is supported by two complementary studies - a longitudinal quasi-experiment and a priming experiment. We find convergent evidence that cross-cultural experience increases a person's capabilities to recognize particularly profitable types of opportunities by facilitating the application of cross-cultural knowledge for the discovery of arbitrage opportunities and creative recombination.

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Long-run cultural divergence: Evidence from the Neolithic revolution

Ola Olsson & Christopher Paik

Journal of Development Economics, September 2016, Pages 197-213

Abstract:
This paper investigates the long-run influence of the Neolithic Revolution on contemporary cultural norms as reflected in the dimension of collectivism-individualism. We present a theory of agricultural origins of cultural divergence, where we claim that the advent of farming in a core region was characterized by collectivist values and eventually triggered the out-migration of individualistic farmers towards more and more peripheral areas. This migration pattern caused the initial cultural divergence, which remained persistent over generations. Using detailed data on the date of adoption of Neolithic agriculture among Western regions and countries, the empirical findings show that the regions which adopted agriculture early also value obedience more and feel less in control of their lives. The findings add to the literature by suggesting the possibility of extremely long lasting norms and beliefs influencing today's socioeconomic outcomes.

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The longevity of national identity and national pride: Evidence from wider Europe

Valentina Dimitrova-Grajzl, Jonathan Eastwood & Peter Grajzl

Research & Politics, June 2016

Abstract:
National pride predicts a wide range of politico-economic outcomes, yet what makes individuals proud of their nation is not completely understood. We propose and test a theory that an important but thus far unexplored determinant of contemporary national pride is the longevity of national identity. To measure the longevity of national identity, we construct an index based on responses from an original expert survey designed to trace the emergence of national identity across the polities of Europe and the former Soviet Union. We find that our National Identity Longevity Index is statistically significantly positively associated with the extent of national pride. The implied effect is robust and noteworthy in magnitude. Our results suggest that contemporary national pride inter alia reflects deep, historically rooted societal conventions which take time to emerge.

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Cultural Modes of Expressing Emotions Influence How Emotions Are Experienced

May Helen Immordino-Yang, Xiao-Fei Yang & Hanna Damasio

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
The brain's mapping of bodily responses during emotion contributes to emotional experiences, or feelings. Culture influences emotional expressiveness, that is, the magnitude of individuals' bodily responses during emotion. So, are cultural influences on behavioral expressiveness associated with differences in how individuals experience emotion? Chinese and American young adults reported how strongly admiration- and compassion-inducing stories made them feel, first in a private interview and then during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As expected, Americans were more expressive in the interview. Although expressiveness did not predict stronger reported feelings or neural responses during fMRI, in both cultural groups more-expressive people showed tighter trial-by-trial correlations between their experienced strength of emotion and activations in visceral-somatosensory cortex, even after controlling for individuals' overall strength of reactions (neural and felt). Moreover, expressiveness mediated a previously described cultural effect in which activations in visceral-somatosensory cortex correlated with feeling strength among Americans but not among Chinese. Post hoc supplementary analyses revealed that more-expressive individuals reached peak activation of visceral-somatosensory cortex later in the emotion process and took longer to decide how strongly they felt. The results together suggest that differences in expressiveness correspond to differences in how somatosensory mechanisms contribute to constructing conscious feelings. By influencing expressiveness, culture may therefore influence how individuals know how strongly they feel, what conscious feelings are based on, or possibly what strong versus weak emotions "feel like."

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Taking Turns or Not? Children's Approach to Limited Resource Problems in Three Different Cultures

Henriette Zeidler et al.

Child Development, May/June 2016, Pages 677-688

Abstract:
Some problems of resource distribution can be solved on equal terms only by taking turns. We presented such a problem to 168 pairs of 5- to 10-year-old children from one Western and two non-Western societies (German, Samburu, Kikuyu). Almost all German pairs solved the problem by taking turns immediately, resulting in an equal distribution of resources throughout the game. In the other groups, one child usually monopolized the resource in Trial 1 and sometimes let the partner monopolize it in Trial 2, resulting in an equal distribution in only half the dyads. These results suggest that turn-taking is not a natural strategy uniformly across human cultures, but rather that different cultures use it to different degrees and in different contexts.

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Culture, Fixed-World Beliefs, Relationships, and Perceptions of Identity Change

Franki Kung, Richard Eibach & Igor Grossmann

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Personal identity continuity has been a focus of much philosophical inquiry, yet lay perceptions of identity continuity and their psychological bases are not well understood. We hypothesize that cultural differences in lay beliefs about the fixedness of the world promote different intuitions about identity continuity: People from a society with rigid social systems should perceive more identity discontinuity when a person's social relationships (vs. internal traits) change, whereas those from a society with more flexible social systems should perceive the reverse. We tested this hypothesis by comparing fixed-world beliefs and perceptions of identity discontinuity in India and the United States. Results of two studies (N = 863) showed that Indians perceived more identity discontinuity than Americans when relationships (vs. internal traits) changed, which was explained by Indians' stronger fixed-world beliefs. Moreover, in Study 2, cultural differences in perceived identity discontinuity mediated cultural differences in trust when a target's relationships (vs. internal traits) changed.

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Children's Play and Culture Learning in an Egalitarian Foraging Society

Adam Boyette

Child Development, May/June 2016, Pages 759-769

Abstract:
Few systematic studies of play in foragers exist despite their significance for understanding the breadth of contexts for human development and the ontogeny of cultural learning. Forager societies lack complex social hierarchies, avenues for prestige or wealth accumulation, and formal educational institutions, and thereby represent a contrast to the contexts of most play research. Analysis of systematic observations of children's play among Aka forest foragers (n = 50, ages 4-16, M = 9.5) and Ngandu subsistence farmers (n = 48, ages 4-16, M = 9.1) collected in 2010 illustrates that while play and work trade off during development in both groups, and consistent patterns in sex-role development are evident, Aka children engage in significantly less rough-and-tumble play and competitive games than children among their socially stratified farming neighbors.

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The Evolution and Development of Inferential Reasoning about Ethnic Markers: Comparisons between Urban United States and Rural Highland Peru

Cristina Moya & Robert Boyd

Current Anthropology, June 2016, Pages S131-S144

Abstract:
Social scientists have long argued about the relationship between ethnic phenomena, symbolic markers, and cultural traits. In this paper, we illustrate the potential of functionalist cultural and genetic evolutionary models to reconcile these debates. Specifically, we argue that we must take seriously the role of cultural similarity in delineating certain category boundaries if we are to understand the origins and development of ethnic stereotyping. We examine whether symbolic markers - namely, sartorial ones - are privileged in the development of social stereotypes by comparing how children and adults in the urban United States and rural highland Peru perform a categorization task. We find that arbitrary sartorial markers motivate generalizations about novel traits in all samples except among US children, even when they crosscut body morphology, emotional expression, and socioeconomic cues. Unlike children in the United States, children in the Peruvian sample demonstrate an even stronger reliance on sartorial and work site cues than do adults of the same community. This suggests a role for early-developing evolved biases that guide learning and require appropriate cultural inputs or different niches for adults and children. We document further cross-cultural variation, in that US participants privilege socioeconomic cues to occupational status more than other cues, whereas Peruvian participants rely on sartorial cues more than other cues, indicating the importance of cognitive rules for learning locally relevant social taxonomies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Over thousands of years

Extraordinary intelligence and the care of infants

Steven Piantadosi & Celeste Kidd

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 June 2016, Pages 6874–6879

Abstract:
We present evidence that pressures for early childcare may have been one of the driving factors of human evolution. We show through an evolutionary model that runaway selection for high intelligence may occur when (i) altricial neonates require intelligent parents, (ii) intelligent parents must have large brains, and (iii) large brains necessitate having even more altricial offspring. We test a prediction of this account by showing across primate genera that the helplessness of infants is a particularly strong predictor of the adults’ intelligence. We discuss related implications, including this account’s ability to explain why human-level intelligence evolved specifically in mammals. This theory complements prior hypotheses that link human intelligence to social reasoning and reproductive pressures and explains how human intelligence may have become so distinctive compared with our closest evolutionary relatives.

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Isotopic Evidence for Early Trade in Animals between Old Kingdom Egypt and Canaan

Elizabeth Arnold et al.

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
Isotope data from a sacrificial ass and several ovicaprines (sheep/goat) from Early Bronze Age household deposits at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel provide direct evidence for the movement of domestic draught/draft and husbandry animals between Old Kingdom Egypt (during the time of the Pyramids) and Early Bronze Age III Canaan (ca. 2900–2500 BCE). Vacillating, bi-directional connections between Egypt and Canaan are known throughout the Early Bronze Age, but here we provide the first concrete evidence of early trade in animals from Egypt to Canaan.

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The mitogenome of a 35,000-year-old Homo sapiens from Europe supports a Palaeolithic back-migration to Africa

M. Hervella et al.

Scientific Reports, May 2016

Abstract:
After the dispersal of modern humans (Homo sapiens) Out of Africa, hominins with a similar morphology to that of present-day humans initiated the gradual demographic expansion into Eurasia. The mitogenome (33-fold coverage) of the Peştera Muierii 1 individual (PM1) from Romania (35 ky cal BP) we present in this article corresponds fully to Homo sapiens, whilst exhibiting a mosaic of morphological features related to both modern humans and Neandertals. We have identified the PM1 mitogenome as a basal haplogroup U6*, not previously found in any ancient or present-day humans. The derived U6 haplotypes are predominantly found in present-day North-Western African populations. Concomitantly, those found in Europe have been attributed to recent gene-flow from North Africa. The presence of the basal haplogroup U6* in South East Europe (Romania) at 35 ky BP confirms a Eurasian origin of the U6 mitochondrial lineage. Consequently, we propose that the PM1 lineage is an offshoot to South East Europe that can be traced to the Early Upper Paleolithic back migration from Western Asia to North Africa, during which the U6 lineage diversified, until the emergence of the present-day U6 African lineages.

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Early Neanderthal constructions deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France

Jacques Jaubert et al.

Nature, 2 June 2016, Pages 111-114

Abstract:
Very little is known about Neanderthal cultures, particularly early ones. Other than lithic implements and exceptional bone tools, very few artefacts have been preserved. While those that do remain include red and black pigments and burial sites, these indications of modernity are extremely sparse and few have been precisely dated, thus greatly limiting our knowledge of these predecessors of modern humans. Here we report the dating of annular constructions made of broken stalagmites found deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwest France. The regular geometry of the stalagmite circles, the arrangement of broken stalagmites and several traces of fire demonstrate the anthropogenic origin of these constructions. Uranium-series dating of stalagmite regrowths on the structures and on burnt bone, combined with the dating of stalagmite tips in the structures, give a reliable and replicated age of 176.5 thousand years (±2.1 thousand years), making these edifices among the oldest known well-dated constructions made by humans. Their presence at 336 metres from the entrance of the cave indicates that humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment, which can be considered a major step in human modernity.

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Early farmers from across Europe directly descended from Neolithic Aegeans

Zuzana Hofmanová et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 June 2016, Pages 6886-6891

Abstract:
Farming and sedentism first appeared in southwestern Asia during the early Holocene and later spread to neighboring regions, including Europe, along multiple dispersal routes. Conspicuous uncertainties remain about the relative roles of migration, cultural diffusion, and admixture with local foragers in the early Neolithization of Europe. Here we present paleogenomic data for five Neolithic individuals from northern Greece and northwestern Turkey spanning the time and region of the earliest spread of farming into Europe. We use a novel approach to recalibrate raw reads and call genotypes from ancient DNA and observe striking genetic similarity both among Aegean early farmers and with those from across Europe. Our study demonstrates a direct genetic link between Mediterranean and Central European early farmers and those of Greece and Anatolia, extending the European Neolithic migratory chain all the way back to southwestern Asia.

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The transition to foraging for dense and predictable resources and its impact on the evolution of modern humans

Curtis Marean

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 5 July 2016

Abstract:
Scientists have identified a series of milestones in the evolution of the human food quest that are anticipated to have had far-reaching impacts on biological, behavioural and cultural evolution: the inclusion of substantial portions of meat, the broad spectrum revolution and the transition to food production. The foraging shift to dense and predictable resources is another key milestone that had consequential impacts on the later part of human evolution. The theory of economic defendability predicts that this shift had an important consequence — elevated levels of intergroup territoriality and conflict. In this paper, this theory is integrated with a well-established general theory of hunter–gatherer adaptations and is used to make predictions for the sequence of appearance of several evolved traits of modern humans. The distribution of dense and predictable resources in Africa is reviewed and found to occur only in aquatic contexts (coasts, rivers and lakes). The palaeoanthropological empirical record contains recurrent evidence for a shift to the exploitation of dense and predictable resources by 110 000 years ago, and the first known occurrence is in a marine coastal context in South Africa. Some theory predicts that this elevated conflict would have provided the conditions for selection for the hyperprosocial behaviours unique to modern humans.

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Severe extinction and rapid recovery of mammals across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, and the effects of rarity on patterns of extinction and recovery

N.R. Longrich, J. Scriberas & M.A. Wills

Journal of Evolutionary Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The end-Cretaceous mass extinction ranks among the most severe extinctions of all time; however, patterns of extinction and recovery remain incompletely understood. In particular, it is unclear how severe the extinction was, how rapid the recovery was, and how sampling biases might affect our understanding of these processes. To better understand terrestrial extinction and recovery and how sampling influences these patterns, we collected data on the occurrence and abundance of fossil mammals to examine mammalian diversity across the K-Pg boundary in North America. Our data show that the extinction was more severe and the recovery more rapid than previously thought. Extinction rates are markedly higher than previously estimated: of 59 species, 4 survived (93% species extinction, 86% of genera). Survival is correlated with geographic range size and abundance, with widespread, common species tending to survive. This creates a sampling artifact in which rare species are both more vulnerable to extinction and less likely to be recovered, such that the fossil record is inherently biased towards the survivors. The recovery was remarkably rapid. Within 300,000 years, local diversity recovered and regional diversity rose to twice Cretaceous levels, driven by increased endemicity; morphological disparity increased above levels observed in the Cretaceous. The speed of the recovery tends to be obscured by sampling effects; faunas show increased endemicity, such that a rapid, regional increase in diversity and disparity is not seen in geographically restricted studies. Sampling biases that operate against rare taxa appear to obscure the severity of extinction and the pace of recovery across the K-Pg boundary, and similar biases may operate during other extinction events.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Finding someone

How Are Mate Preferences Linked with Actual Mate Selection? Tests of Mate Preference Integration Algorithms Using Computer Simulations and Actual Mating Couples

Daniel Conroy-Beam & David Buss

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Abstract:
Prior mate preference research has focused on the content of mate preferences. Yet in real life, people must select mates among potentials who vary along myriad dimensions. How do people incorporate information on many different mate preferences in order to choose which partner to pursue? Here, in Study 1, we compare seven candidate algorithms for integrating multiple mate preferences in a competitive agent-based model of human mate choice evolution. This model shows that a Euclidean algorithm is the most evolvable solution to the problem of selecting fitness-beneficial mates. Next, across three studies of actual couples (Study 2: n = 214; Study 3: n = 259; Study 4: n = 294) we apply the Euclidean algorithm toward predicting mate preference fulfillment overall and preference fulfillment as a function of mate value. Consistent with the hypothesis that mate preferences are integrated according to a Euclidean algorithm, we find that actual mates lie close in multidimensional preference space to the preferences of their partners. Moreover, this Euclidean preference fulfillment is greater for people who are higher in mate value, highlighting theoretically-predictable individual differences in who gets what they want. These new Euclidean tools have important implications for understanding real-world dynamics of mate selection.

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Shaping Men's Memory: The Effects of a Female's Waist-To-Hip Ratio on Men's Memory for Her Appearance and Biographical Information

Carey Fitzgerald, Terrence Horgan & Susan Himes

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has shown that people are better at remembering attractive faces than unattractive faces, possibly because physical attractiveness is a sign of increased mate value. However, perceivers' may rely on additional appearance cues (e.g., bodily features, dress) when assessing mate value. Thus, men may remember more about a female target when she possesses more attractive bodily features, such as a waist-to-hip ratio that approaches the optimal .70. Two studies were conducted to examine whether female waist-to-hip ratio influences the number of details men recall and recognize about a female target. Study 1 utilized a free recall method, whereas Study 2 consisted of a recognition method. Results indicated that men who viewed a female target with a waist-to-hip ratio of .50 or .90 recalled and recognized significantly fewer details than men who viewed a female target with a waist-to-hip ratio of.60, .70, and .80. These data illustrate adaptive memory, whereby perceivers better remember information of greater adaptive value to them, because this information may lead them to make better fitness-related decisions about whom to potentially mate with. Limitations regarding the realism of the photographs and generalizability of the data are also discussed.

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How gender role stereotypes affect attraction in an online dating scenario

Kelsey Chappetta & Joan Barth

Computers in Human Behavior, October 2016, Pages 738-746

Abstract:
Today, it is not uncommon to meet someone and begin a romantic relationship online. Meeting on a dating website differs from meeting in person because a dating profile is created first that allows others to review potential romantic partners. Few studies have examined romantic attraction within an online dating context, and even fewer have examined how gender roles may influence attraction. The current study1 (N = 447, 49.4% female) examined the effects of gender role congruence and physical attractiveness on romantic interest in college students. Participants viewed online dating profiles that varied in their physical attractiveness and adherence to gender role norms. Results indicated that both men and women preferred attractive and gender role incongruent dating partners over average looking and gender role congruent. Contrary to previous research, women differentiated more between profiles based on physical attractiveness than the men, especially for gender role congruent profiles. Men were especially interested in attractive, gender role incongruent profiles. After physical attractiveness, gender role incongruence was the greatest factor that determined interest in a profile. Future research may need to consider how the potential seriousness of a relationship, as defined by the expected length of the relationship, influences how online profile characteristics affect attraction and interest.

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The effect of mate value feedback on women's mating aspirations and mate preference

Simon Reeve, Kristine Kelly & Lisa Welling

Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The concept of a mating sociometer (e.g., Kavanagh, Robins, & Ellis, 2010) suggests that humans adaptively calibrate their mating aspirations in line with their mate value, drawing from relevant cues and experiences. Here we investigate the influence of acceptance versus rejection cues on a variety of mate preferences among women. Results suggest that a rejection cue from opposite-sex individuals decreases overall choosiness when rating the importance of several traits. Specifically, Cultivated traits were rated as less important by women who received a rejection cue compared to those who received an acceptance cue or no feedback. Also, Similar Ideals/Interests, Sociable, Intellectual, Pleasant, Physical Attractiveness, Kind and Understanding, and Wealthy traits were rated as significantly less important by rejected participants, but these fell short of significance after Bonferroni correction. There was no significant difference in preference for sexually dimorphic body types or in facial coloration between feedback conditions. However, participants that received an acceptance cue preferred more masculine-shaped male faces compared to rejected or control participants. Overall, results provide some support for a sociometer perspective on women's mating aspirations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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