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Sunday, January 1, 2017

The way I see it

The headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry: An availability bias in assessments of barriers and blessings

Shai Davidai & Thomas Gilovich

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2016, Pages 835-851

Abstract:
Seven studies provide evidence of an availability bias in people's assessments of the benefits they've enjoyed and the barriers they've faced. Barriers and hindrances command attention because they have to be overcome; benefits and resources can often be simply enjoyed and largely ignored. As a result of this "headwind/tailwind" asymmetry, Democrats and Republicans both claim that the electoral map works against them (Study 1), football fans take disproportionate note of the challenging games on their team's schedules (Study 2), people tend to believe that their parents have been harder on them than their siblings are willing to grant (Study 3), and academics think that they have a harder time with journal reviewers, grant panels, and tenure committees than members of other subdisciplines (Study 7). We show that these effects are the result of the enhanced availability of people's challenges and difficulties (Studies 4 and 5) and are not simply the result of self-serving attribution management (Studies 6 and 7). We also show that the greater salience of a person's headwinds can lead people to believe they have been treated unfairly and, as a consequence, more inclined to endorse morally questionable behavior (Study 7). Our discussion focuses on the implications of the headwind/tailwind asymmetry for a variety of ill-conceived policy decisions.

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Not I, but she: The beneficial effects of self-distancing on challenge/threat cardiovascular responses

Lindsey Streamer et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-distancing has been shown to lead to benefits in the face of upcoming stressors, but the process by which this occurs remains unclear. We applied the cardiovascular measures of the biopsychosocial model of challenge/threat to test two plausible explanations: whether manipulating self-distancing (vs. a control condition) (1) makes a subsequent active-performance stressor seem less personally relevant, thereby leading to lower task engagement during task performance, and/or (2) promotes more favorable evaluations of personal resources relative to situational demands, resulting in greater challenge during performance. Participants who self-distanced by using non-first-person (vs. first-person) pronouns and their own name while preparing for a speech showed cardiovascular responses consistent with greater challenge while delivering the speech. Self-distancing did not, however, influence cardiovascular responses reflecting task engagement during the speech. Moreover, the effect of self-distancing persisted in the form of relative challenge during a second speech on an unrelated topic. These findings suggest self-distancing can lead to a positively valenced experience during active-performance stressors, rather than simply muted responses based on decreasing the stressor's self-relevance.

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Hurricane Sandy Exposure Alters the Development of Neural Reactivity to Negative Stimuli in Children

Ellen Kessel et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined whether exposure to Hurricane Sandy-related stressors altered children's brain response to emotional information. An average of 8 months (Mage = 9.19) before and 9 months after (Mage = 10.95) Hurricane Sandy, 77 children experiencing high (n = 37) and low (n = 40) levels of hurricane-related stress exposure completed a task in which the late positive potential, a neural index of emotional reactivity, was measured in response to pleasant and unpleasant, compared to neutral, images. From pre- to post-Hurricane Sandy, children with high stress exposure failed to show the same decrease in emotional reactivity to unpleasant versus neutral stimuli as those with low stress exposure. Results provide compelling evidence that exposure to natural disaster-related stressors alters neural emotional reactivity to negatively valenced information.

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Let's go outside! Environmental restoration amongst adolescents and the impact of friends and phones

Alison Greenwood & Birgitta Gatersleben

Journal of Environmental Psychology, December 2016, Pages 131-139

Abstract:
Adolescents are experiencing an increasing number of psychological difficulties due to mental fatigue and stress. Natural environments have been found to be beneficial to psychological wellbeing by reducing stress and improving mood and concentration for most people. However, a number of studies have suggested that this may not be the case for adolescents perhaps because they have different social and emotional needs (to be with friends, not to be bored), although evidence is lacking. In a field experiment with 120 16-18 year olds in the UK we tested restoration of stress and mental fatigue in an outdoor or indoor environment, alone, with a friend or while playing a game on a mobile phone. The findings showed greater restoration amongst adolescents who had been in an outdoor setting containing natural elements, compared with those who had been in an indoor one. Moreover, being with a friend considerably increased positive affect in nature for this age group. The findings indicated that spending short school breaks in a natural environment with a friend can have a significant positive impact on the psychological wellbeing of teenagers.

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Non-Social Features of Smartphone Use Are Most Related to Depression, Anxiety and Problematic Smartphone Use

Jon Elhai et al.

Computers in Human Behavior, April 2017, Pages 75-82

Abstract:
Little is known about the mechanisms of smartphone features that are used in sealing relationships between psychopathology and problematic smartphone use. Our purpose was to investigate two specific smartphone usage types - process use and social use - for associations with depression and anxiety; and in accounting for relationships between anxiety/depression and problematic smartphone use. Social smartphone usage involves social feature engagement (e.g., social networking, messaging), while process usage involves non-social feature engagement (e.g., news consumption, entertainment, relaxation). 308 participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk internet labor market answered questionnaires about their depression and anxiety symptoms, and problematic smartphone use along with process and social smartphone use dimensions. Statistically adjusting for age and sex, we discovered the association between anxiety symptoms was stronger with process versus social smartphone use. Depression symptom severity was negatively associated with greater social smartphone use. Process smartphone was more strongly associated with problematic smartphone use. Finally, process smartphone use accounted for relationships between anxiety severity and problematic smartphone use.

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Methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene mediates the effect of adversity on negative schemas and depression

Ronald Simons et al.

Development and Psychopathology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Building upon various lines of research, we posited that methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) would mediate the effect of adult adversity on increased commitment to negative schemas and in turn the development of depression. We tested our model using structural equation modeling and longitudinal data from a sample of 100 middle-aged, African American women. The results provided strong support for the model. Analysis of the 12 CpG sites available for the promoter region of the OXTR gene identified four factors. One of these factors was related to the study variables, whereas the others were not. This factor mediated the effect of adult adversity on schemas relating to pessimism and distrust, and these schemas, in turn, mediated the impact of OXTR methylation on depression. All indirect effects were statistically significant, and they remained significant after controlling for childhood trauma, age, romantic relationship status, individual differences in cell types, and average level of genome-wide methylation. These finding suggest that epigenetic regulation of the oxytocin system may be a mechanism whereby the negative cognitions central to depression become biologically embedded.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kissable

She’s Not One of Us: Group Membership Moderates the Effect of Fertility Cues on Attractiveness Ratings

Natasha Tidwell, Paul Eastwick & Anita Kim

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to differentiate in-group from out-group members on the basis of symbolic cues may be unique to Homo sapiens. The current research examined whether meaningful cues of in-group status moderate ovulatory shifts — a psychological adaptation that likely evolved earlier in humans’ evolutionary timeline. Four studies demonstrated that men were more attracted to fertile than nonfertile women’s voices only when men were evaluating in-group members. In Study 1, the fertility of Caucasian, but not Hispanic, women’s voices positively predicted 92 Caucasian male students’ attraction ratings. Study 2a (N = 56) replicated this effect among older participants, and Study 2b (N = 233) included a public preregistration and replicated it again. Study 3 replicated the effect in a sample of 47 Caucasian male students, and an experimental manipulation of the targets’ school membership produced a conceptual replication. These results stress the utility of considering the phylogeny of human evolution when testing evolutionary hypotheses.

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Sexual History and Present Attractiveness: People Want a Mate With a Bit of a Past, But Not Too Much

Steve Stewart-Williams, Caroline Butler & Andrew Thomas

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of this study was to explore how people’s sexual history affects their attractiveness. Using an Internet survey, 188 participants rated their willingness to engage in a relationship with a hypothetical individual with a specified number of past sexual partners, ranging from 0 to 60+. The effect of past partner number was very large. Average willingness ratings initially rose as past partner number rose, but then fell dramatically. For short-term relationships, men were more willing than women to get involved (although the difference was not large). For long-term relationships, in contrast, there was virtually no sex difference. Thus, contrary to the idea that male promiscuity is tolerated but female promiscuity is not, both sexes expressed equal reluctance to get involved with someone with an overly extensive sexual history. Finally, participants with an unrestricted sociosexual orientation (high SO participants) were more tolerant than low SO participants of prospective mates with higher numbers of past sexual partners but were also less tolerant of prospective mates with low numbers of past sexual partners.

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Marrying Up by Marrying Down: Status Exchange between Social Origin and Education in the United States

Christine Schwartz, Zhen Zeng & Yu Xie

Sociological Science, November 2016

Abstract:
Intermarriage plays a key role in stratification systems. Spousal resemblance reinforces social boundaries within and across generations, and the rules of intermarriage govern the ways that social mobility may occur. We examine intermarriage across social origin and education boundaries in the United States using data from the 1968–2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Our evidence points to a pattern of status exchange — that is, persons with high education from modest backgrounds tend to marry those with lower education from more privileged backgrounds. Our study contributes to an active methodological debate by pinpointing the conditions under which the results pivot from evidence against exchange to evidence for exchange and advances theory by showing that the rules of exchange are more consistent with the notion of diminishing marginal utility than the more general theory of compensating differentials.

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Physical attraction to reliable, low variability nervous systems: Reaction time variability predicts attractiveness

Emily Butler et al.

Cognition, January 2017, Pages 81–89

Abstract:
The human face cues a range of important fitness information, which guides mate selection towards desirable others. Given humans’ high investment in the central nervous system (CNS), cues to CNS function should be especially important in social selection. We tested if facial attractiveness preferences are sensitive to the reliability of human nervous system function. Several decades of research suggest an operational measure for CNS reliability is reaction time variability, which is measured by standard deviation of reaction times across trials. Across two experiments, we show that low reaction time variability is associated with facial attractiveness. Moreover, variability in performance made a unique contribution to attractiveness judgements above and beyond both physical health and sex-typicality judgements, which have previously been associated with perceptions of attractiveness. In a third experiment, we empirically estimated the distribution of attractiveness preferences expected by chance and show that the size and direction of our results in Experiments 1 and 2 are statistically unlikely without reference to reaction time variability. We conclude that an operating characteristic of the human nervous system, reliability of information processing, is signalled to others through facial appearance.

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Attractive men's desirability as a long-term partner varies with ascribed excitement values

Guilherme Lopes et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, March 2017, Pages 6–9

Abstract:
Values guide behaviors and cognitively represent needs. Expressed values may provide relevant cues that affect mate selection. In particular, individuals endorsing excitement values (e.g., emotion, pleasure, sexuality) are more likely to commit infidelity. Therefore, a person's desirability as a long-term partner may be negatively affected by that person's endorsement of excitement values. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a 2 (sex) × 2 (ascribed values) × 2 (facial attractiveness) factorial design experiment. Participants were 80 individuals, aged between 17 and 48 years (M = 24.1, SD = 5.61), mostly heterosexual (93.8%). Participants rated how desirable the person depicted in the factorial scenarios is as a long-term partner, on a 6-point Likert scale (undesirable–very desirable). Attractive men's desirability as a long-term partner decreased when associated with excitement values, providing some support for evolutionarily informed hypotheses. We discuss results in light of evolutionary hypotheses of mate selection, highlighting limitations and identifying directions for future research.

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The Relationship Between Cognitive Ability and Experiences of Vaginal, Oral, and Anal Sex in the United States

Nicole Fran Kahn & Carolyn Tucker Halpern

Journal of Sex Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few studies have investigated the sexual development of populations with low cognitive abilities in the United States. This article examines the relationship between cognitive ability and various sexual experiences from adolescence (ages 12 to 18) to early adulthood (ages 28 to 34). Data were from 13,845 respondents interviewed at Waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a probability sample of adolescents in the United States followed from adolescence to adulthood. Adjusted logistic regression models were used to study relationships between cognitive ability, approximated by the Add Health Picture Vocabulary Test (AHPVT), and experiences of vaginal, oral, and anal sex. After controlling for biological sex, age, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES), individuals in the lowest cognitive ability group had significantly lower odds of experiencing each type of sex than those in the average ability group. Although individuals in the highest cognitive ability group had significantly lower odds of experiencing vaginal intercourse than those in the average ability group, this association did not remain significant when analyses were stratified by biological sex. These differences in experiences have implications for future health and warrant further study to understand policy implications for sexual health services and education.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, December 30, 2016

Landslide

Populism and the Return of the "Paranoid Style": Some Evidence and a Simple Model of Demand for Incompetence as Insurance against Elite Betrayal

Rafael Di Tella & Julio Rotemberg

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We present a simple model of populism as the rejection of “disloyal” leaders. We show that adding the assumption that people are worse off when they experience low income as a result of leader betrayal (than when it is the result of bad luck) to a simple voter choice model yields a preference for incompetent leaders. These deliver worse material outcomes in general, but they reduce the feelings of betrayal during bad times. We find some evidence consistent with our model in a survey carried out on the eve of the recent U.S. presidential election. Priming survey participants with questions about the importance of competence in policymaking usually reduced their support for the candidate who was perceived as less competent; this effect was reversed for rural, and less educated white, survey participants.

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Does negative advertising affect giving behavior? Evidence from campaign contributions

Sarah Niebler & Carly Urban

Journal of Public Economics, February 2017, Pages 15–26

Abstract:
This paper contributes to a growing literature that explains why individuals contribute to political campaigns. We build a panel dataset that follows contributors from primary to general elections to quantify the persistence of giving in political contests. Those who gave to winning candidates in the primary were most likely to contribute again in the general election. Next, we use an instrumental variable strategy to document that within party negative advertising decreases the probability that individuals contribute to their preferred party in the general election, regardless of whether they initially contributed to a winning or losing primary candidate.

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How Do Female Candidates Affect Voter Turnout? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach

Daniel Jones

University of South Carolina Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
How does the presence of a woman on the ballot impact election outcomes, aggregate turnout, and the voting behavior of particular groups of voters? Using a regression discontinuity approach, I exploit quasi-random variation in the presence of a female candidate in US House elections stemming from narrowly won primary elections between candidates of different genders. I find that the presence of a female candidate leads to lower overall turnout, but otherwise has no bearing on the outcome of the election. The change in turnout is driven entirely by male voters, which falls uniformly for (male) voters of both parties.

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The Impact of Gender Stereotypes on Voting for Women Candidates by Level and Type of Office

Kathleen Dolan & Timothy Lynch

Politics & Gender, September 2016, Pages 573-595

Abstract:
Previous research has documented that the public often views women candidates through the lens of gender stereotypes. However, as much of this work draws on experimental designs and hypothetical candidates, we have less information about whether and how voters employ stereotypes in the face of real candidates for office. This project examines one important aspect of the impact of stereotypes on the fate of actual women candidates: whether gender stereotypes have a different influence on elections for different levels and types of offices. Previous research suggests that voters are more likely to apply male stereotypes and evaluate candidates differently as the level of office increases and as we consider executive versus legislative office. The research reported here draws on new data that capture voter attitudes and behaviors in real-world elections to test a series of hypotheses related to when and how gender stereotypes affect candidates for the U.S. Congress and governorships. In general, we find little evidence to support claims that voters stereotype women candidates differently when they seek different kinds of offices.

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When You Don't Snooze, You Lose: A Natural Experiment on the Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Voter Turnout and Election Outcomes

John Holbein & Jerome Pablo Schafer

Princeton Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
In this article, we show that many citizens fail to vote because they are too tired. To do so, we leverage multiple approaches, including a unique natural quasi-experiment that exploits discontinuous decreases in sleep times on the eastern side of U.S. time zone boundaries. Our preferred model specification indicates that these exogenous decreases in sleep times depress county-level turnout in Congressional elections by about 2 percentage points. This effect is magnified in areas where obstacles to voting are greatest. Moreover, tiredness appears to exacerbate participatory inequality — depressing turnout in low propensity communities most — and push election outcomes towards Republicans. Supplementing this analysis, we conduct an observational study validating the direct relationship between tiredness and turnout. Our findings have important theoretical implications for the study of political participation. They suggest that many citizens hold the precursors to participation but lack the general, rather than expressly political, motivation to act on their intentions.

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Weather Affects Voting Decisions

Jon Jachimowicz, Jochen Menges & Adam Galinsky

Columbia University Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Election outcomes in democratic societies are predicated on rational choice models that require deliberate consideration of electoral options. The current research finds that an incidental feature to the electoral process – weather on Election Day – affects voting decisions. Specifically, we find that increases in wind speed enhance the chances of electoral options in favor of safety, risk-aversion, and continuation of the status quo. Theoretically, we present a causal model for how wind speed affects voting decisions: higher wind speed increases a psychological prevention focus that makes voters opt for low-risk options (status-quo) rather than high-risk options (change). Results of a series of archival analyses of actual elections (the “Brexit” vote, the Scotland independence referendum, 10 years of Swiss referendums, and 100 years of US presidential elections), two field studies, and four experiments support the idea that individuals exposed to higher wind speeds are more prevention focused and more likely to support electoral options that emphasize prevention-focus oriented themes. The findings bear importance for polling forecasts and the scheduling of elections.

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Swingin' in the Rain: The Impact of Inclement Weather on Voting Behavior in U.S. Presidential Elections

Erik Duhaime & Taylor Moulton

MIT Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
While political experts have long claimed that bad weather lowers voter turnout, the impact of weather on U.S. election outcomes remains unclear. The most rigorous work to date found that precipitation benefits Republicans and suggested that Florida rains influenced the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, but a more recent analysis finding that precipitation only lowers turnout in uncompetitive election states calls this claim into question. Here, we reanalyze the 1972-2000 U.S. presidential elections with a focus on supporters of non-major party candidates, an oft-overlooked contingency. We propose that bad weather affects election outcomes not through its effect on turnout — as has long been assumed — but rather, through its psychological effect on swing voters. Specifically, we find evidence that bad weather increases regret aversion among supporters of non-major party candidates in competitive elections, leading some to instead vote for their preferred two-party candidate.

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Turnout and weather disruptions: Survey evidence from the 2012 presidential elections in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Narayani Lasala-Blanco, Robert Shapiro & Viviana Rivera-Burgos

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines the rational choice reasoning that is used to explain the correlation between low voter turnout and the disruptions caused by weather related phenomena in the United States. Using in-person as well as phone survey data collected in New York City where the damage and disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy varied by district and even by city blocks, we explore, more directly than one can with aggregate data, whether individuals who were more affected by the disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy were more or less likely to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election that took place while voters still struggled with the devastation of the hurricane and unusually low temperatures. Contrary to the findings of other scholars who use aggregate data to examine similar questions, we find that there is no difference in the likelihood to vote between citizens who experienced greater discomfort and those who experienced no discomfort even in non-competitive districts. We theorize that this is in part due to the resilience to costs and higher levels of political engagement that vulnerable groups develop under certain institutional conditions.

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Paths to victory in presidential elections: The setup power of noncompetitive states

Steven Brams & Marc Kilgour

Public Choice, January 2017, Pages 99–113

Abstract:
In US presidential elections, voters in noncompetitive states seem not to count — and have zero power, according to standard measures of voting power — because they cannot influence the outcome in their states. But the electoral votes of these states are essential to a candidate’s victory, so they do count, but in a different way. We propose a simple model that enables us to measure the setup power of voters in noncompetitive states by modeling how these states structure the contest in the competitive states, as illustrated by the 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000 presidential elections. We define three measures of setup power — winningness, vulnerability, and fragility — and show how they pinpoint the advantages of the candidate who leads in electoral votes of noncompetitive states. In fact, this candidate won in all four elections.

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Why Won't Lola Run? An Experiment Examining Stereotype Threat and Political Ambition

Scott Pruysers & Julie Blais

Politics & Gender, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among the most well-documented and long-standing gender gaps in political behavior are those relating to political ambition, as men have consistently been shown to express a significantly higher level of political ambition than women. Although this gap is well established, the reasons for the differences between men and women remain largely unknown. One possible explanation is that negative stereotypes about women's political ability are responsible. Stereotype threat, as it is referred to in the psychology literature, is a phenomenon where individuals of a social group suffer cognitive burdens and anxiety after being exposed to negative stereotypes that relate to their identity. These disruptions have been shown to alter attitudes and behavior. In order to test this possibility, we employed an experimental design whereby we randomly assigned 501 undergraduate students into threat and nonthreat conditions. While men exhibited higher levels of political ambition in both conditions, women in the nonthreat condition expressed significantly higher levels of political ambition than those women who were exposed to negative stereotypes. The results of this study therefore suggest that the gender gap in political ambition may be partly explained by negative stereotypes about women in politics.

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Electoral Consequences of Welfare State Expansion: The Case of the Food Stamp Program

Vladimir Kogan

Ohio State University Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Welfare programs are hard to reconcile with the notion that politicians are motivated primarily by electoral considerations, since these programs benefit the most politically marginalized citizens. I present evidence to resolve this apparent puzzle, documenting how welfare can indeed pay dividends at the ballot box. Taking advantage of the decade-long rollout of the American Food Stamp Program, I estimate the effect of this new benefit on election outcomes. Overall, I find that Democrats gained votes in counties where the program had been implemented, primarily through mobilization of new supporters rather than the conversion of political opponents. Reflecting the implementation challenges that plagued FSP in its early years, I also show that Democrats paid an initial electoral price when the program was first introduced, but that this penalty faded quickly as Democratic candidates began to see significant, persistent gains only a few years later.

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The Demand for Bad Policy when Voters Underappreciate Equilibrium Effects

Ernesto Dal Bó, Pedro Dal Bó & Erik Eyster

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Although most of the political-economy literature blames inefficient policies on institutions or politicians' motives to supply bad policy, voters may themselves be partially responsible by demanding bad policy. In this paper, we posit that voters may systematically err when assessing potential changes in policy by underappreciating how new policies lead to new equilibrium behavior. This biases voters towards policy changes that create direct benefits — welfare would rise if behavior were held constant — even if these policies lower welfare because people adjust behavior. Conversely, voters are biased against policies that impose direct costs even if they induce larger indirect benefits. Using a lab experiment, we find that a majority of subjects vote against policies that, while inflicting negative direct effects, would help them to overcome social dilemmas and thereby increase welfare; conversely, subjects support policies that, while producing direct benefits, create social dilemmas and ultimately hurt welfare; both mistakes arise because subjects fail to fully anticipate the equilibrium effects of new policies. More precisely, we establish that subjects systematically underappreciate the extent to which policy changes affect other people's behavior, and that these mistaken beliefs exert a causal effect on the demand for bad policy.

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Are People Really Turning Away from Democracy?

Erik Voeten

Georgetown University Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
In an important and already influential 2016 article in the Journal of Democracy, Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk argue that citizens in consolidated democracies in Europe and the United States have “become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system” and “more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives” (Foa and Mounk 2016, p.7). Moreover, millennials are especially culpable. These are important and broad claims that are worthy of a systematic follow-up analysis. My purpose is not to replicate Foa and Mounk’s findings but to examine the veracity of their substantive claims more systematically. I show that there is no evidence for the first claim. Trends in overall support for democracy and its non-democratic alternatives have been flat for the past two decades. This finding is very robust to different ways of defining the countries of interest. There is some support for the second claim. Millennials are somewhat more favorably inclined towards non-democratic ways of ruling their countries even after we account for age. Nevertheless these effects primarily come from the United States. Moreover, when we look at confidence in actual democratic institutions, then the opposite pattern emerges: older people have lost faith in U.S. Congress and the Executive to a greater extent than younger people.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What you are

Gulliver's Politics: Conservatives Envision Potential Enemies as Readily Vanquished and Physically Small

Colin Holbrook et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political conservatives have been widely documented to regard out-group members as hostile, perceive individuals of ambiguous intent as malevolent, and favor aggressive solutions to intergroup conflict. A growing literature indicates that potential violent adversaries are represented using the dimensions of envisioned physical size/strength to summarize opponents' fighting capacities relative to the self or in-group. Integrating these programs, we hypothesized that, compared to liberals, conservatives would envision an ambiguous out-group target as more likely to pose a threat, yet as vanquishable through force, and thus as less formidable. Participants from the United States (Study 1) and Spain (Study 2) assessed Syrian refugees, a group that the public widely suspects includes terrorists. As predicted, in both societies, conservatives envisioned refugees as more likely to be terrorists and as less physically formidable. As hypothesized, this "Gulliver effect" was mediated by confidence in each society's capacity to thwart terrorism via aggressive military or police measures.

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The "Bad Is Black" Effect: Why People Believe Evildoers Have Darker Skin Than Do-Gooders

Adam Alter et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, December 2016, Pages 1653-1665

Abstract:
Across six studies, people used a "bad is black" heuristic in social judgment and assumed that immoral acts were committed by people with darker skin tones, regardless of the racial background of those immoral actors. In archival studies of news articles written about Black and White celebrities in popular culture magazines (Study 1a) and American politicians (Study 1b), the more critical rather than complimentary the stories, the darker the skin tone of the photographs printed with the article. In the remaining four studies, participants associated immoral acts with darker skinned people when examining surveillance footage (Studies 2 and 4), and when matching headshots to good and bad actions (Studies 3 and 5). We additionally found that both race-based (Studies 2, 3, and 5) and shade-based (Studies 4 and 5) associations between badness and darkness determine whether people demonstrate the "bad is black" effect. We discuss implications for social perception and eyewitness identification.

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Beliefs about Gender

Pedro Bordalo et al.

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We conduct a laboratory experiment on the determinants of beliefs about own and others' ability across different domains. A preliminary look at the data points to two distinct forces: miscalibration in estimating performance depending on the difficulty of tasks and gender stereotypes. We develop a theoretical model that separates these forces and apply it to analyze a large laboratory dataset in which participants estimate their own and a partner's performance on questions across six subjects: arts and literature, emotion recognition, business, verbal reasoning, mathematics, and sports. We find that participants greatly overestimate not only their own ability but also that of others, suggesting that miscalibration is a substantial, first order factor in stated beliefs. Women are better calibrated than men, providing more accurate estimates of ability both for themselves and for others. Gender stereotypes also have strong predictive power for beliefs, particularly for men's beliefs about themselves and others' beliefs about the ability of men. Our findings help interpret evidence on gender gaps in self-confidence.

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A Content Analytic Study of Appearance Standards for Women of Color in Magazines

Leah Boepple & Kevin Thompson

Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Media portrayals of Caucasian women have received a great deal of research attention. However, substantially less research exists examining media portrayals of women of color. This content analytic study examined appearance messages and standards for women of color present in popular magazines. The 17 magazines (aimed for female audiences) with the highest circulation ratings were rated. All images and text of the magazines were coded. Cohen's Kappa for all variables was .86. Ninety-six percent of Black women, 91.67% of Asian women, and 96.61% of Latina women had either light- or medium-toned skin. Sixty-three percent of Black women, 100% of Asian women, and 98.59% of Latina women had long, straight hair. Forty-two percent of Black women, 100% of Asian women, and 54% of Latina women had smaller facial features consistent with Caucasian norms. The current study is the first of its kind to examine media-based appearance standards for Asian and Latina women in magazines.

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Ingroups, outgroups, and the gateway groups between: The potential of dual identities to improve intergroup relations

Aharon Levy et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on dual identity focuses mainly on how dual identifiers feel and behave, and on the reactions they elicit from others. In this article we test an unexplored aspect of dual identity: the dual identity group's potential to act as a possible gateway between the groups that represent the respective sources of the dual identity (e.g., Israeli Arabs as a gateway between Israelis and Palestinians). We predicted that to the extent that a group is perceived to have a dual identity, intergroup attitudes and behavior of the groups comprising that dual identity will be improved. This idea was tested across four studies. Study 1a and b were real-world correlational studies which revealed positive correlations between the perception of a dual identity and attitudes towards the outgroup. In Studies 2 and 3 we demonstrated experimentally that the mere presence of a group with a dual identity leads to improved outgroup orientations. In Study 4 we demonstrated how the manipulation of perceived dual identity can help improve attitudes towards the outgroup, and also provided initial indications regarding the mechanisms underlying the process at hand. We discuss the implications of the findings for the improvement of intergroup relations, and offer an outline for future research.

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"Catching" Social Bias: Exposure to Biased Nonverbal Signals Creates Social Biases in Preschool Children

Allison Skinner, Andrew Meltzoff & Kristina Olson

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Identifying the origins of social bias is critical to devising strategies to overcome prejudice. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that young children can catch novel social biases from brief exposure to biased nonverbal signals demonstrated by adults. Our results are consistent with this hypothesis. In Experiment 1, we found that children who were exposed to a brief video depicting nonverbal bias in favor of one individual over another subsequently explicitly preferred, and were more prone to behave prosocially toward, the target of positive nonverbal signals. Moreover, in Experiment 2, preschoolers generalized such bias to other individuals. The spread of bias observed in these experiments lays a critical foundation for understanding the way that social biases may develop and spread early in childhood.

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Social projection to liked and disliked targets: The role of perceived similarity

Mark Davis

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some accounts of social projection view it as an essentially cognitive phenomenon, prompted by the need for a relatively low-effort way to arrive at inferences about others. Other accounts argue that projection is motivated by self-enhancement and self-protection concerns. This investigation evaluates these accounts by having participants make inferences about liked and disliked real-world targets. In Studies 1 and 2, participants projected more to liked than disliked targets, supporting a motivational account; however, when perceived similarity was accounted for, this difference disappeared, supporting the cognitive account. In Study 3 participants made inferences about targets who varied along both the valence and similarity dimensions; there was greater projection to all similar targets, but target valence only influenced projection if the targets were also seen as similar. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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Face-Blind for Other-Race Faces: Individual Differences in Other-Race Recognition Impairments

Lulu Wan et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report the existence of a previously undescribed group of people, namely individuals who are so poor at recognition of other-race faces that they meet criteria for clinical-level impairment (i.e., they are "face-blind" for other-race faces). Testing 550 participants, and using the well-validated Cambridge Face Memory Test for diagnosing face blindness, results show the rate of other-race face blindness to be nontrivial, specifically 8.1% of Caucasians and Asians raised in majority own-race countries. Results also show risk factors for other-race face blindness to include: a lack of interracial contact; and being at the lower end of the normal range of general face recognition ability (i.e., even for own-race faces); but not applying less individuating effort to other-race than own-race faces. Findings provide a potential resolution of contradictory evidence concerning the importance of the other-race effect (ORE), by explaining how it is possible for the mean ORE to be modest in size (suggesting a genuine but minor problem), and simultaneously for individuals to suffer major functional consequences in the real world (e.g., eyewitness misidentification of other-race offenders leading to wrongful imprisonment). Findings imply that, in legal settings, evaluating an eyewitness's chance of having made an other-race misidentification requires information about the underlying face recognition abilities of the individual witness. Additionally, analogy with prosopagnosia (inability to recognize even own-race faces) suggests everyday social interactions with other-race people, such as those between colleagues in the workplace, will be seriously impacted by the ORE in some people.

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Persuasive message scrutiny as a function of implicit-explicit discrepancies in racial attitudes

India Johnson et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown that individuals low in prejudice think more carefully when information is from or about stigmatized individuals than non-stigmatized individuals. One explanation for this effect is that the heightened scrutiny stems from a motivation to guard against potential prejudice toward stigmatized others (i.e. "watchdog motivation"). The present research tested a variation of the watchdog hypothesis based on the idea of implicit ambivalence. Specifically, we argue that among individuals low in explicit (i.e., deliberative) prejudice, it is those who are also relatively high in implicit (i.e., automatic) prejudice who will do the most processing in prejudice relevant contexts. The implicit ambivalence framework also makes a novel prediction that individuals who are relatively high in explicit prejudice but low in implicit prejudice would also engage in enhanced information processing. As predicted, people with racial implicit-explicit attitude discrepancies, regardless of the direction of discrepancy, were found to engage in greater of scrutiny of a message about the hiring of Black faculty (study 1), a message about a Black job candidate (study 2), and even when the Black concept was merely primed subliminally prior to reading a race-irrelevant message (study 3).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Coming and going

The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis

Ryan Edwards & Francesc Ortega

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
This paper provides a quantitative assessment of the economic contribution of unauthorized workers to the U.S. economy, and the potential gains from legalization. We employ a theoretical framework that allows for multiple industries and a heterogeneous workforce in terms of skills and productivity. Capital and labor are the inputs in production and the different types of labor are combined in a multi-nest CES framework that builds on Borjas (2003) and Ottaviano and Peri (2012). The model is calibrated using data on the characteristics of the workforce, including an indicator for imputed unauthorized status (Center for Migration Studies, 2014), and industry output from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Our results show that the economic contribution of unauthorized workers to the U.S. economy is substantial, at approximately 3% of private-sector GDP annually, which amounts to close to $5 trillion over a 10-year period. These effects on production are smaller than the share of unauthorized workers in employment, which is close to 5%. The reason is that unauthorized workers are less skilled and appear to be less productive, on average, than natives and legal immigrants with the same observable skills. We also find that legalization of unauthorized workers would increase their contribution to 3.6% of private-sector GDP. The source of these gains stems from the productivity increase arising from the expanded labor market opportunities for these workers which, in turn, would lead to an increase in capital investment by employers.

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The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Native Workers: Evidence Using Longitudinal Data from the LEHD

Ted Mouw

U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
Empirical estimates of the effect of immigration on native workers that rely on spatial comparisons have generally found small effects, but have been subject to the criticism that out-migration by native workers dampens the observed effect by spreading it over a larger area. In contrast, studies that rely on variation in immigration across industries, occupations, or education-based skill-levels often report large negative effects, but rely primarily on repeated cross-sectional data sets which also cannot account for the adjustment of native workers over time. In this paper, we use a newly available data set, the Longitudinal Employer Household Data (LEHD), which provides quarterly earnings records, geographic location, and firm and industry identifiers for 97% of all privately employed workers in 29 states. We use this data to analyze the impact of immigration on earnings changes and the mobility response of native workers. Overall, we find that although immigration has a negative effect on the earnings and employment of native workers, and positive effects on their firm, industry, and cross-state mobility, the overall size of the effects is small.

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The Dynamics of State and Local Contexts and Immigration Asylum Hearing Decisions

Daniel Chand, William Schreckhise & Marianne Bowers

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, January 2017, Pages 182-196

Abstract:
Immigration judges (IJs) preside over cases related to immigration law, determining whether an individual should be granted asylum. The few prior studies of IJs have focused on factors of interest to judicial politics scholars, such as characteristics of the judge or applicant in a case. Drawing from public administration literature, we add a new set of factors related to local and state context in which the IJ works. Using multilevel regression analysis, we examine the decisions of 245 IJs made from fiscal years 2009 through 2014. Indeed, it appears context is important. We find IJs grant asylum less often in communities where citizens more often vote Republican and where the local economy is poor. Judges in states where statewide agencies have opted to participate in the restrictive immigration program 287(g) also granted significantly lower percentages of asylum applications. States with Democratic governors and state legislative majorities granted asylum more often, as do IJs working in United States-Mexico border communities. With respect to traditional factors, judges with more experience and those that hear higher percentages of cases involving individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, grant significantly fewer petitions for asylum. Judges who hear high percentages of petitions from applicants with attorneys grant significantly more asylums.

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Immigrant Chinese Mothers’ Socialization of Achievement in Children: A Strategic Adaptation to the Host Society

Florrie Fei-Yin Ng et al.

Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Academic socialization by low-income immigrant mothers from Mainland China was investigated in two studies. Immigrant Chinese mothers of first graders (n = 52; Mage = 38.69) in the United States (Study 1) and kindergartners (n = 86; Mage = 36.81) in Hong Kong (Study 2) tell stories that emphasized achieving the best grade through effort more than did African American (n = 39; Mage = 31.44) and native Hong Kong (n = 76; Mage = 36.64) mothers, respectively. The emphasis on achievement was associated with mothers' heightened discussion on discrimination (Study 1) and beliefs that education promotes upward mobility (Study 2), as well as children's expectations that a story protagonist would receive maternal criticism for being nonpersistent in learning (Study 2).

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Immigration concern and the white/non-white difference in smoking: Group position theory and health

Frank Samson

SSM - Population Health, 2017, Pages 111–120

Abstract:
National data indicate that U.S. whites have a higher prevalence of smoking compared to non-whites. Group position theory and public opinion data suggest racial differences in immigration concern. This study examines whether immigration concern mediates the racial difference in smoking. Drawing on the 2012 General Social Survey, the 2012 American National Election Study, and the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study, immigration concern was associated with smoking, controlling for covariates across all three nationally representative surveys. Mediation analysis indicated that immigration concern partially mediated the higher odds of smoking among whites across all surveys. Immigration concern also presents a possible explanation for the healthy immigrant advantage and Hispanic paradox as they pertain to smoking differences.

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New Trends and Patterns in Western European Immigration to the United States: Linking European and American Databases

Elyakim Kislev

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, January 2017, Pages 168-189

Abstract:
This study explores the latest changes in Western European immigration to the United States by integrating several large databases: the U.S. census, the American Community Surveys, the European Social Survey, as well as the Human Development Index and Gini index. Findings show that the number of individuals born in Western Europe but with family origins elsewhere who have been immigrating to and settling in the United States is increasing. I divide the Western European population that immigrates to the United States into seven different subpopulations by their ancestries and explore the characteristics of these populations before and after immigrating to the United States. I also examine their relative success in terms of economic and labor outcomes in America, finding, for example, that some of the least advantaged immigrant groups have some of the best economic outcomes in the United States. The different self-selection and assimilation patterns among these immigrants have implications for U.S. public policy, which we identify and begin to explore.

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Changes in the Transnational Family Structures of Mexican Farm Workers in the Era of Border Militarization

Erin Hamilton & Jo Mhairi Hale

Demography, October 2016, Pages 1429–1451

Abstract:
Historically, undocumented Mexican farm workers migrated circularly, leaving family behind in Mexico on short trips to the United States. Scholars have argued that border militarization has disrupted circular migration as the costs of crossing the border lead to longer stays, increased settlement, and changing transnational family practices. Yet, no study has explored changes in the transnational family structures of Mexico-U.S. migrants that span the era of border militarization. Using data from the National Agricultural Workers Survey, we document a dramatic shift away from transnational family life (as measured by location of residence of dependent children) among undocumented Mexican farm workers and a less dramatic shift among documented Mexican farm workers in the United States between 1993 and 2012. These trends are not explained by changes in the sociodemographic characteristics of farm workers or by changing demographic conditions or rising violence in Mexico. One-half of the trend can be accounted for by lengthened duration of stay and increased connections to the United States among the undocumented, but none of the trend is explained by these measures of settlement among the documented, suggesting that some Mexican farm workers adopt new family migration strategies at first migration. Increases in border control are associated with lower likelihood that children reside in Mexico — a finding that holds up to instrumental variable techniques. Our findings confirm the argument that U.S. border militarization — a policy designed to deter undocumented migration — is instead disrupting transnational family life between Mexico and the United States and, in doing so, is creating a permanent population of undocumented migrants and their children in the United States.

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The immigration–unemployment nexus: Do education and Protestantism matter?

Jakob Madsen & Stojanka Andric

Oxford Economic Papers, January 2017, Pages 165-188

Abstract:
Using annual data from 1850 to 2010 for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA, this paper examines the impact of immigration and the immigrants’ educational and cultural background on unemployment. Instruments for 27 emigrating countries are used to deal with the feedback effects from unemployment to immigration. The results show that educated immigrants, in particular, and immigrants from Protestant countries significantly reduce unemployment, while poorly educated and non-Protestant immigrants enhance unemployment.

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All Politics Is Local? County Sheriffs and Localized Policies of Immigration Enforcement

Emily Farris & Mirya Holman

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Immigration enforcement and policy making has increasingly devolved to the local level in the United States. American sheriffs present a unique opportunity to evaluate decisions made about immigration policies in the local context. In dealing with immigration concerns in their counties, sheriffs act both within the confines of federal and state mandates and as local policymakers. However, little research comprehensively assesses the role sheriffs play in immigration policy making. Using data from an original, national survey of more than five hundred elected sheriffs in the United States, we provide a broad account of sheriffs’ roles in immigration enforcement and policy making. Our research demonstrates that sheriffs’ ideology and personal characteristics shape their personal attitudes about immigrants. In turn, these attitudes play a key role in influencing local enforcement decisions. Sheriffs’ immigration attitudes relate strongest to checks of the immigration status of witnesses and victims and those stopped for traffic violations or arrested for non-violent crimes. Our results demonstrate the important role of the sheriff in understanding local variation in immigration policy and the connection between the personal preferences of representatives and policy making that can emerge across policy environments and levels of government.

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The second shift: Assimilation in housework time among immigrants

Jisoo Hwang

Review of Economics of the Household, December 2016, Pages 941–959

Abstract:
Using the 2003–2014 American Time Use Survey, this paper studies the assimilation in housework time among married US immigrants. The gender gap in housework time narrows from first to one-point-five to second generation, where assimilation is driven by a decrease in housework time of women, particularly of those from countries with low female labor supply. The findings are robust to including couple’s working hours and number of children, indicating that there is assimilation in the burden of the second shift — household work — in addition to that in immigrants’ labor market outcomes and fertility rates.

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United We Stand? The Role of Ethnic Heterogeneity in the Immigration and Violent Crime Relationship at the Neighborhood Level

Feodor Gostjev

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current study makes several contributions to the extant literature on the relationship between immigration and neighborhood crime. I review classical and contemporary theories and argue that these theories make contradictory predictions regarding the moderating effects of ethnic heterogeneity on the immigration and crime relationship. Previous immigration and crime studies cannot help adjudicate between these positions because they have only considered diversity as a mediator or a control variable. I use multiple measures of diversity to conduct the first comprehensive study of the moderating effects of ethnic heterogeneity on the immigration and violent crime relationship at the neighborhood level. The results indicate that greater diversity strengthens the protective effect of immigrant residential concentration. These findings contradict the assumptions of classical theories and support the more recent immigration and crime perspectives.

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Association of Skin Color and Generation on Arrests Among Mexican-Origin Latinos

Héctor Alcalá & Mónica Montoya

Race and Justice, forthcoming

Abstract:
Arrest and interaction with the criminal justice system can have negative impacts to health and socioeconomic status. In the United States, Latinos are disproportionately arrested and jailed, when compared to their non-Latino peers. However, Latinos are not a homogeneous group. For example, generation and skin color are two factors that impact the social standing of Latinos in the United States. As a result, the present study tested if the effects of skin color on odds of arrest depended on generation among Mexican-origin Latinos living in the Greater Los Angeles County Area using data from the Immigration and International Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles (IIMMLA) survey (N = 1,226). Unadjusted analyses showed that arrest rates increased with generation. Multivariate results revealed that darker skin color was associated with higher odds of arrest, but only for the second generation. These findings suggest that the likelihood of being arrested for Mexican-origin Latinos is not uniform. Observed differences could set the stage for disparities in health and socio-economic status.

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Physical-psychiatric comorbidity: Implications for health measurement and the Hispanic Epidemiological Paradox

Christy Erving

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few studies examine the co-occurrence of physical and psychiatric health problems (physical-psychiatric comorbidity), and whether these patterns differ across social groups. Using the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication and National Latino and Asian American Study, the current study asks: what are the patterns of physical-psychiatric comorbidity (PPC) between non-Hispanic Whites and Latino subgroups, further differentiated by gender and nativity? Does the PPC measurement approach reveal different patterns across groups compared to when only physical or only psychiatric health problems are the health outcomes of interest? To what extent do sociodemographic characteristics (SES, stress exposure, social support, immigration-related factors) explain PPC differences between groups? Results reveal that compared to U.S.-born non-Hispanic White men, island-born Puerto Rican men experience elevated PPC risk. Mexican and Other Latino women and men experience relatively lower risk of PPC relative to their non-Hispanic White counterparts. Social factors explain some of the health disadvantage of island-born Puerto Rican men, but do not explain the health advantage of Mexicans and Other Latinos.

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Self-Selection and Host Country Context in the Economic Assimilation of Political Refugees in the United States, Sweden, and Israel

Debora Pricila Birgier et al.

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the interplay between host countries' characteristics and self-selection patterns in relation to refugees' economic assimilation using a natural experiment in which immigrants from one region migrated to three destinations under similar circumstances. We focus on emigrants fleeing from Argentina and Chile during the military regimes there to the United States, Sweden, and Israel. We find that those refugees show patterns of selection and assimilation similar to those of economic immigrants. Immigrants to the United States and Israel exhibit better selection patterns and consequently faster assimilation than immigrants to Sweden even considering the positive effect of the Swedish market structure.

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For You Were Strangers in the Land of Egypt: Clergy, Religiosity, and Public Opinion toward Immigration Reform in the United States

Kevin Wallsten & Tatishe Nteta

Politics and Religion, September 2016, Pages 566-604

Abstract:
Recently, a number of influential clergy leaders have declared their support for liberal immigration reforms. Do the pronouncements of religious leaders influence public opinion on immigration? Using data from a survey experiment embedded in the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we find that exposure to the arguments from high profile religious leaders can compel some individuals to reconsider their views on the immigration. To be more precise, we find that Methodists, Southern Baptists, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America leaders successfully persuaded respondents who identify with these religious denominations to think differently about a path to citizenship and about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Interestingly, we also uncovered that religiosity matters in different ways for how parishioners from different religious faiths react to messages from their leaders. These findings force us to reconsider the impact that an increasingly strident clergy may be having on public opinion in general and on support for immigration reform in particular.

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Welcoming Cities: Immigration Policy at the Local Government Level

Xi Huang & Cathy Yang Liu

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the face of continued immigration to the United States and federal policy inertia, many local governments have started to adopt their own immigrant-related policies to cope with the newcomers. Among them, welcoming cities represent a new wave of inclusive local government responses that seeks to incorporate immigrants socially and economically and deviates from the previous policies that focus on law enforcement and legal status. In this article, we explore the rationales behind these cities’ commitment to immigrant integration by examining the effect of theory-based local demographic, economic, political, fiscal, and institutional characteristics and national network organization on local governments’ policy adoption. Our results indicate that cities that have an educated, diverse, and liberal population, are more economically troubled but fiscally sound are more likely to become welcoming cities. The Welcoming America as an umbrella organization also plays an important role in facilitating the welcoming movement.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Smart money

Hedge fund politics and portfolios

Luke DeVault & Richard Sias

Journal of Banking & Finance, February 2017, Pages 80–97

Abstract:
Consistent with the well-documented relation between political orientation and psychological traits, hedge funds’ political orientations are related to their portfolio decisions. Relative to politically conservative hedge funds, politically liberal hedge funds exhibit a preference for smaller stocks, less mature companies, volatile stocks, unprofitable companies, non-dividend paying companies, and lottery-type securities. Politically liberal hedge funds are also more likely to enter new positions or fully exit existing positions, and make larger adjustments to their U.S. equity market exposure. Our results suggest that psychological characteristics can influence the portfolio decisions of even those at the very top of the financial sophistication ladder.

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WSJ Category Kings - The impact of media attention on consumer and mutual fund investment decisions

Ron Kaniel & Robert Parham

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We exploit a novel natural experiment to establish a causal relation between media attention and consumer investment behavior, independent of the conveyed information. Our findings indicate a 31% local average increase in quarterly capital flows into mutual funds mentioned in a prominent Wall Street Journal “Category Kings” ranking list, compared to those funds which just missed making the list. This flow increase is about seven times larger than extra flows due to the well-documented performance-flow relation. Other funds in the same fund complex receive substantial extra flows as well, especially in smaller complexes. There is no increase in flows when the Wall Street Journal publishes similar lists absent the prominence of the Category Kings labeling. We show mutual fund managers react to the incentive created by the media effect in a strategic way predicted by theory, and present evidence for the existence of propagation mechanisms including increased fund complex advertising subsequent to having a Category King and increased efficacy of subsequent fund media mentions.

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Discrimination, Social Risk, and Portfolio Choice

Yosef Bonaparte et al.

University of Miami Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
This study examines whether social discrimination affects the risk perceptions and, subsequently, the investment decisions of individual investors. We conjecture that minority groups such as gays/lesbians, African Americans, and women, who are more likely to experience discrimination, over-estimate their risk exposures (i.e., they experience social risk) and invest more cautiously. Consistent with our conjecture, we find that minorities with high social risk participate less in the stock market and allocate a lower proportion of their wealth to risky assets. These results indicate that non-financial risks, such as social risk, influence financial risk-taking behavior of U.S. households.

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Does Local Religiosity Affect Organizational Risk-Taking? Evidence from the Hedge Fund Industry

Lei Gao

Iowa State University Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We examine the impact of local religious beliefs on organizational risk-taking behaviors using hedge funds as a new and unique setting. We find that local religiosity is significantly negatively related to both total and idiosyncratic volatilities of hedge funds during 1996-2013, even after controlling for endogeneity using managers’ college-location religiosity. Consistent with the local preference channel, the impact of local religiosity on risk-taking is only pronounced among funds for which local managers and investors are more important, namely semi-directional, young, and small funds. Further, hedge funds located in more religious counties tend to hold less risky stocks and diversify their stock portfolios across industries, thus contributing to lower hedge fund risk-taking. Overall, our evidence suggests that local religiosity may motivate hedge fund managers to reduce risk.

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Sensation Seeking, Sports Cars, and Hedge Funds

Stephen Brown et al.

NYU Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We find that hedge fund managers who own powerful sports cars take on more investment risk. Conversely, managers who own practical but unexciting cars take on less investment risk. The incremental risk taking by performance car buyers does not translate to higher returns. Consequently, they deliver lower Sharpe ratios than do car buyers who eschew performance. In addition, performance car owners are more likely to terminate their funds, engage in fraudulent behavior, load up on non-index stocks, exhibit lower R-squareds with respect to systematic factors, and succumb to overconfidence. We consider several alternative explanations and conclude that manager revealed preference in the automobile market captures the personality trait of sensation seeking, which in turn drives manager behavior in the investment arena.

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Why Does Capital No Longer Flow More to the Industries with the Best Growth Opportunities?

Dong Lee, Han Shin & René Stulz

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
With functionally efficient capital markets, we expect capital to flow more to the industries with the best growth opportunities. As a result, these industries should invest more and see their assets grow more relative to industries with the worst growth opportunities. We find that industries that receive more funds have a higher industry Tobin’s q until the mid-1990s, but not since then. Since industries with a higher funding rate grow more, there is a negative correlation not only between an industry’s funding rate and industry q but also between capital expenditures and industry q since the mid-1990s. We show that capital no longer flows more to the industries with the best growth opportunities because, since the middle of the 1990s, firms in high q industries increasingly repurchase shares rather than raise more funding from the capital markets.

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Global Economic Growth and Expected Returns Around the World: The End-of-the-Year Effect

Stig Møller & Jesper Rangvid

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Global economic growth at the end of the year strongly predicts returns from a wide spectrum of international assets, such as global, regional, and individual-country stocks, FX, and commodities. Global economic growth at other times of the year does not predict international returns. Low growth in the global economy at the end of the year predicts higher returns over the following year. It also predicts the global business cycle. When global economic growth at the end of the year is low, investors expect a worsening of the global business cycle and increase their required returns.

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A Proposal to Limit the Anti-Competitive Power of Institutional Investors

Eric Posner, Fiona Scott Morton & Glen Weyl

University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Recent scholarship has shown that mutual funds and other institutional investors may cause softer competition among product market rivals because of their significant ownership stakes in competing firms in concentrated industries. While recent calls for litigation against them under Section 7 of the Clayton Act are understandable, private or indiscriminate government litigation could also cause significant disruption to equity markets because of its inherent unpredictability and would fail to eliminate most of the harms from common ownership. To minimize this disruption while achieving competitive conditions in oligopolistic markets, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should take the lead by adopting a public enforcement policy of the Clayton Act against institutional investors. We outline such a policy in this article. Investors in firms in well-defined oligopolistic industries must choose either to limit their holdings of an industry to a small stake (no more than 1% of the total size of the industry) or to hold the shares of only a single “effective firm” per industry. Investors that violate this rule face government litigation. Using simulations based on empirical evidence, we show that under broad assumptions this rule would generate large competitive gains while having minimal negative effects on diversification and other values. The rule would also improve corporate governance by institutional investors.

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The Relevance of Broker Networks for Information Diffusion in the Stock Market

Marco Di Maggio et al.

Harvard Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
This paper shows that the network of relationships between brokers and institutional investors shapes the information diffusion in the stock market. We exploit trade-level data to show that trades channeled through central brokers earn significantly positive abnormal returns. This result is not due to differences in the investors that trade through central brokers or to stocks characteristics, as we control for this heterogeneity; nor is it the result of better trading execution. We find that a key driver of these excess returns is the information that central brokers gather by executing informed trades, which is then leaked to their best clients. We show that after large informed trades, a significantly higher volume of other investors execute similar trades through the same central broker, allowing them to capture higher returns in the first few days after the initial trade. The best clients of the broker executing the informed trade, and the asset managers affiliated with the broker, are among the first to benefit from the information about order flow. This evidence also suggests that an important source of alpha for fund managers is the access to better connections rather than superior skill.

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Robo-Journalism and Capital Markets

Elizabeth Blankespoor, Ed deHaan & Christina Zhu

Stanford Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
In 2014, the Associated Press (AP) began using algorithms to write media articles about firms’ earnings announcements. These “robo-journalism” articles synthesize information from firms’ press releases, analyst reports, and stock performance, and are widely disseminated by major news outlets a few hours after the earnings release. The articles are available for thousands of firms on a quarterly basis, many of which previously received little or no media attention. We use AP’s staggered implementation of robo-journalism to examine the effects of media synthesis and dissemination, in a setting where the articles are devoid of private information and are largely exogenous to the firm’s earnings news and disclosure choices. We find compelling evidence that automated articles increase firms’ trading volume and liquidity. We find no evidence that the articles improve or impede the speed of price discovery. Our study provides novel evidence on the impact of pure synthesis and dissemination of public information in capital markets, and initial insights on the implications of automated journalism for market efficiency.

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Did Government Regulations Lead to Inflated Credit Ratings?

Patrick Behr, Darren Kisgen & Jérôme Taillard

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations in 1975 gave select rating agencies increased market power by increasing both barriers to entry and the reliance on ratings for regulations. We test whether these regulations led to ratings inflation. We find that defaults and negative financial changes are more likely for firms given the same rating if the rating was assigned after the SEC action. Furthermore, firms initially rated Baa in the post-regulation period are 19% more likely to be negatively downgraded to speculative grade than firms rated Baa in the pre-regulation period. These results indicate that the market power derived from the SEC led to ratings inflation.

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The Dividend Disconnect

Samuel Hartzmark & David Solomon

University of Chicago Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We show that investors trade as if they consider dividends and capital gains in separate mental accounts, without fully appreciating that dividends come at the expense of price decreases. Investors trade differently in response to each component - trading patterns such as the disposition effect are driven by price changes, with dividends being ignored or downweighted. Investors hold dividend-paying stocks longer, and are less sensitive to price changes, consistent with dividends being valued as a separate desirable attribute of stocks. The demand for dividend-paying stocks is higher when interest rates and recent market returns are lower, consistent with investors comparing dividends to other income streams and capital gains. Investors spend the proceeds of each component differently - mutual funds and institutions rarely reinvest dividends into the stocks from which they came, but instead purchase other stocks. This leads to predictable marketwide price increases on days of large aggregate dividend payouts, including stocks not paying dividends.

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Stock Market Overvaluation, Moon Shots, and Corporate Innovation

Ming Dong, David Hirshleifer & Siew Hong Teoh

University of California Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We test how market overvaluation affects corporate innovative activities and success. We find that estimated stock overvaluation is very strongly associated with R&D spending, innovative output, and measures of innovation originality, generality and novelty. R&D spending is much more sensitive than capital investment to overvaluation. Although both channels operate, the effects of misvaluation on R&D spending come more from direct catering of firms to investor optimism than via equity issuance. The sensitivity of R&D and innovative output to misvaluation is greater among growth, overvalued, and high turnover firms. This evidence suggests that market overvaluation may have social value by increasing innovative output and by encouraging firms to engage in ambitious ‘moon shots.’

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Retail Short Selling and Stock Prices

Eric Kelley & Paul Tetlock

Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using proprietary data on millions of trades by retail investors, we provide the first large-scale evidence that retail short selling predicts negative stock returns. A portfolio that mimics weekly retail shorting earns an annualized risk-adjusted return of 9%. The predictive ability of retail short selling lasts for one year and is not subsumed by institutional short selling. In contrast to institutional shorting, retail shorting best predicts returns in small stocks and those that are heavily bought by other retail investors. Our findings are consistent with retail short sellers having unique insights into the retail investor community and small firms’ fundamentals.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, December 26, 2016

More to eat

Mere experience of low subjective socioeconomic status stimulates appetite and food intake

Bobby Cheon & Ying-Yi Hong

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Among social animals, subordinate status or low social rank is associated with increased caloric intake and weight gain. This may reflect an adaptive behavioral pattern that promotes acquisition of caloric resources to compensate for low social resources that may otherwise serve as a buffer against environmental demands. Similarly, diet-related health risks like obesity and diabetes are disproportionately more prevalent among people of low socioeconomic resources. Whereas this relationship may be associated with reduced financial and material resources to support healthier lifestyles, it remains unclear whether the subjective experience of low socioeconomic status may alone be sufficient to stimulate consumption of greater calories. Here we show that the mere feeling of lower socioeconomic status relative to others stimulates appetite and food intake. Across four studies, we found that participants who were experimentally induced to feel low (vs. high or neutral) socioeconomic status subsequently exhibited greater automatic preferences for high-calorie foods (e.g., pizza, hamburgers), as well as intake of greater calories from snack and meal contexts. Moreover, these results were observed even in the absence of differences in access to financial resources. Our results demonstrate that among humans, the experience of low social class may contribute to preferences and behaviors that risk excess energy intake. These findings suggest that psychological and physiological systems regulating appetite may also be sensitive to subjective feelings of deprivation for critical nonfood resources (e.g., social standing). Importantly, efforts to mitigate the socioeconomic gradient in obesity may also need to address the psychological experience of low social status.

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Childhood Bullying Victimization and Overweight in Young Adulthood: A Cohort Study

Jessie Baldwin et al.

Psychosomatic Medicine, November/December 2016, Pages 1094-1103

Objective: To test whether bullied children have an elevated risk of being overweight in young adulthood and whether this association is: (1) consistent with a dose-response relationship, namely, its strength increases with the chronicity of victimization; (2) consistent across different measures of overweight; (3) specific to bullying and not explained by co-occurring maltreatment; (4) independent of key potential confounders; and (5) consistent with the temporal sequence of bullying preceding overweight.

Method: A representative birth cohort of 2,232 children was followed to age 18 years as part of the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study. Childhood bullying victimization was reported by mothers and children during primary school and early secondary school. At the age-18 follow-up, we assessed a categorical measure of overweight, body mass index, and waist-hip ratio. Indicators of overweight were also collected at ages 10 and 12. Co-twin body mass and birth weight were used to index genetic and fetal liability to overweight, respectively.

Results: Bullied children were more likely to be overweight than non-bullied children at age 18, and this association was (1) strongest in chronically bullied children (odds ratio = 1.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.21-2.35); (2) consistent across measures of overweight (body mass index: b = 1.12; 95% CI = 0.37-1.87; waist-hip ratio: b = 1.76; 95% CI = 0.84-2.69); (3) specific to bullying and not explained by co-occurring maltreatment; (4) independent of child socioeconomic status, food insecurity, mental health, and cognition, and pubertal development; and (5) not present at the time of bullying victimization, and independent of childhood weight and genetic and fetal liability.

Conclusion: Childhood bullying victimization predicts overweight in young adulthood.

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

Visceral adiposity and metabolic syndrome after very high-fat and low-fat isocaloric diets: A randomized controlled trial

Vivian Veum et al.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, forthcoming

Design: Forty-six men (aged 30-50 y) with body mass index (in kg/m2) >29 and waist circumference >98 cm were randomly assigned to a very high-fat, low-carbohydrate (VHFLC; 73% of energy fat and 10% of energy carbohydrate) or low-fat, high-carbohydrate (LFHC; 30% of energy fat and 53% of energy carbohydrate) diet for 12 wk. The diets were equal in energy (8750 kJ/d), protein (17% of energy), and food profile, emphasizing low-processed, lower-glycemic foods. Fat mass was quantified with computed tomography imaging.

Results: Recorded intake of carbohydrate and total and saturated fat in the LFHC and VHFLC groups were 51% and 11% of energy, 29% and 71% of energy, and 12% and 34% of energy, respectively, with no difference in protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Mean energy intake decreased by 22% and 14% in the LFHC and VHFLC groups. The diets similarly reduced waist circumference (11-13 cm), abdominal subcutaneous fat mass (1650-1850 cm3), visceral fat mass (1350-1650 cm3), and total body weight (11-12 kg). Both groups improved dyslipidemia, with reduced circulating triglycerides, but showed differential responses in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (decreased in LFHC group only), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (increased in VHFLC group only). The groups showed similar reductions in insulin, insulin C-peptide, glycated hemoglobin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance. Notably, improvements in circulating metabolic markers in the VHFLC group mainly were observed first after 8 wk, in contrast to more acute and gradual effects in the LFHC group.

Conclusions: Consuming energy primarily as carbohydrate or fat for 3 mo did not differentially influence visceral fat and metabolic syndrome in a low-processed, lower-glycemic dietary context. Our data do not support the idea that dietary fat per se promotes ectopic adiposity and cardiometabolic syndrome in humans.

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How Strongly Does Appetite Counter Weight Loss? Quantification of the Feedback Control of Human Energy Intake

David Polidori et al.

Obesity, November 2016, Pages 2289-2295

Methods: A validated mathematical method was used to calculate energy intake changes during a 52-week placebo-controlled trial in 153 patients treated with canagliflozin, a sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitor that increases urinary glucose excretion, thereby resulting in weight loss without patients being directly aware of the energy deficit. The relationship between the body weight time course and the calculated energy intake changes was analyzed using principles from engineering control theory.

Results: It was discovered that weight loss leads to a proportional increase in appetite resulting in eating above baseline by ∼100 kcal/day per kilogram of lost weight - an amount more than threefold larger than the corresponding energy expenditure adaptations.

Conclusions: While energy expenditure adaptations have often been considered the main reason for slowing of weight loss and subsequent regain, feedback control of energy intake plays an even larger role and helps explain why long-term maintenance of a reduced body weight is so difficult.

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Body Weight Can Change How Your Emotions Are Perceived

Yujung Oh, Norah Hass & Seung-Lark Lim

PLoS ONE, November 2016

Abstract:
Accurately interpreting other’s emotions through facial expressions has important adaptive values for social interactions. However, due to the stereotypical social perception of overweight individuals as carefree, humorous, and light-hearted, the body weight of those with whom we interact may have a systematic influence on our emotion judgment even though it has no relevance to the expressed emotion itself. In this experimental study, we examined the role of body weight in faces on the affective perception of facial expressions. We hypothesized that the weight perceived in a face would bias the assessment of an emotional expression, with overweight faces generally more likely to be perceived as having more positive and less negative expressions than healthy weight faces. Using two-alternative forced-choice perceptual decision tasks, participants were asked to sort the emotional expressions of overweight and healthy weight facial stimuli that had been gradually morphed across six emotional intensity levels into one of two categories - “neutral vs. happy” (Experiment 1) and “neutral vs. sad” (Experiment 2). As predicted, our results demonstrated that overweight faces were more likely to be categorized as happy (i.e., lower happy decision threshold) and less likely to be categorized as sad (i.e., higher sad decision threshold) compared to healthy weight faces that had the same levels of emotional intensity. The neutral-sad decision threshold shift was negatively correlated with participant’s own fear of becoming fat, that is, those without a fear of becoming fat more strongly perceived overweight faces as sad relative to those with a higher fear. These findings demonstrate that the weight of the face systematically influences how its emotional expression is interpreted, suggesting that being overweight may make emotional expressions appear more happy and less sad than they really are.

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Economic preferences and fast food consumption in US adults: Insights from behavioral economics

Kerem Shuval et al.

Preventive Medicine, December 2016, Pages 204-210

Objective: To examine the relationship between economic time preferences and frequency of fast food and full-service restaurant consumption among U.S. adults.

Methods: Participants included 5871 U.S. adults who responded to a survey conducted in 2011 pertaining to the lifestyle behaviors of families and the social context of these behaviors. The primary independent variable was a measure of time preferences, an intertemporal choice assessing delay discounting. This was elicited via responses to preferences for an immediate dollar amount or a larger sum in 30 (30-day time horizon) or 60 days (60-day time horizon). Outcomes were the frequency of fast food and full-service restaurant consumption. Ordered logistic regression was performed to examine the relationship between time preferences and food consumption while adjusting for covariates (e.g. socio-demographics).

Results: Multivariable analysis revealed that higher future time preferences were significantly related to less frequent fast food intake for both the 30- and 60-day time horizon variables (P for linear trend < 0.05; both). Notably, participants with the highest future time preference were significantly less likely to consume fast food than those with very low future time preferences (30-day: OR = 0.74, 95%CI: 0.62-0.89; and 60-day: OR = 0.86, 95%CI: 0.74-1.00). In comparison, higher future time preferences were not significantly associated with full-service restaurant intake (30-day: p for linear trend = 0.73; 60-day: p for linear trend = 0.83).

Conclusions: Higher future time preferences were related to a lower frequency of fast food consumption. Utilizing concepts from behavioral economics (e.g. pre-commitment contracts) to facilitate more healthful eating is warranted using experimental studies.

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The Effects of the Graduated Driver Licensing Restrictions on Teenage Obesity

Qihua Qiu

Georgia State University Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Little evidence exists on the association between driving and obesity among teenagers. In this paper, I estimate the effects of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) restrictions on obesity prevalence among adolescents aged 14 to 17 in the U.S. My findings suggest that a mandatory holding period, nighttime restriction, or passenger restriction significantly raises adolescents’ probability of being obese by 1.57, 1.04, and 0.94 percentage points respectively, corresponding to increases in obesity rate of 12.6%, 8.3%, and 7.5%. These effects are generally stronger among male or white teenagers. Overall, I estimate that nearly 24% of the rise in obesity among teenagers aged 14 to 17 in the U.S from 1999 to 2015 can be explained by less driving due to the GDL restrictions. In addition, I find that the restrictions reduce teenagers’ exercise frequency while increasing their time spent watching TV, which may help to explain the adverse effects on obesity.

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Beyond Supermarkets: Food Outlet Location Selection in Four U.S. Cities Over Time

Pasquale Rummo et al.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, forthcoming

Methods: Neighborhood-level data from four U.S. cities (Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Oakland, CA) from 1986, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011 were used with two-step econometric models to estimate longitudinal associations between neighborhood-level characteristics (z-scores) and the log-transformed count/km2 (density) of food outlets within real estate-derived neighborhoods. Associations were examined with lagged neighborhood-level sociodemographics and lagged density of food outlets, with interaction terms for neighborhood-level income. Data were analyzed in 2016.

Results: Neighborhood-level income at earlier years was negatively associated with the current density of convenience stores (β= -0.27, 95% CI= -0.16, -0.38, p<0.001). The percentage of neighborhood white population was negatively associated with fast food restaurant density in low-income neighborhoods (10th percentile of income: β= -0.17, 95% CI= -0.34, -0.002, p=0.05), and the density of smaller grocery stores across all income levels (β= -0.27, 95% CI= -0.45, -0.09, p=0.003). There was a lack of policy-relevant associations between the pre-existing food environment and the current density of food outlet types, including supermarkets.

Conclusions: Socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations may attract “unhealthy” food outlets over time. To support equal access to healthy food outlets, the availability of “less healthy” food outlets types may be relatively more important than the potential lack of supermarkets or full-service restaurants.

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Food insecurity as a driver of obesity in humans: The insurance hypothesis

Daniel Nettle, Clare Andrews & Melissa Bateson

Behavioral and Brain Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Integrative explanations of why obesity is more prevalent in some sectors of the human population than others are lacking. Here, we outline and evaluate one candidate explanation, the insurance hypothesis (IH). The IH is rooted in adaptive evolutionary thinking: the function of storing fat is to provide a buffer against shortfall in the food supply. Thus, individuals should store more fat when they receive cues that access to food is uncertain. Applied to humans, this implies that an important proximate driver of obesity should be food insecurity rather than food abundance per se. We integrate several distinct lines of theory and evidence that bear on this hypothesis. We present a theoretical model that shows it is optimal to store more fat when food access is uncertain, and we review the experimental literature from non-human animals showing that fat reserves increase when access to food is restricted. We provide a meta-analysis of 125 epidemiological studies of the association between perceived food insecurity and high body weight in humans. There is a robust positive association, but it is restricted to adult women in high-income countries. We explore why this could be in light of the IH and our theoretical model. We conclude that whilst the IH alone cannot explain the distribution of obesity in the human population, it may represent a very important component of a pluralistic explanation. We also discuss insights it may offer into the developmental origins of obesity, dieting-induced weight gain, and Anorexia Nervosa.

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Parental Misclassification of Child Overweight/Obese Status: The Role of Parental Education and Parental Weight Status

John Cullinan & John Cawley

Economics & Human Biology, February 2017, Pages 92-103

Abstract:
Childhood overweight and obesity is a major public health challenge for policymakers in many countries. As the most common supervisors of children’s activities, parents have a potentially important role to play in obesity prevention. However, a precondition for parents to improve their children’s diets, encourage them to be more physically active, or take them to see a doctor about their weight is for the parent to first recognize that their child is overweight or obese. This paper examines the extent of parental misclassification of child weight status, and its correlates, focusing on the role of parental education and the parent’s own obesity status. We find evidence that, among non-obese parents, those who are better-educated report their child’s weight status more accurately, but among obese parents, the better-educated are 45.18% more likely than parents with lower secondary education to give a false negative report of their child’s overweight/obesity; this may reflect social desirability bias.

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Social Norms Shift Preferences for Healthy and Unhealthy Foods

Emma Templeton, Michael Stanton & Jamil Zaki

PLoS ONE, November 2016

Abstract:
This research investigated whether people change their food preferences and eating behavior in response to health-based social norms. One hundred twenty participants rated a series of healthy and unhealthy food images. After each rating, participants sometimes viewed a rating that ostensibly represented the average rating of previous participants. In fact, these average ratings were manipulated to convey a particular social norm. Participants either saw average ratings that favored healthy foods, favored unhealthy foods, or did not see any average ratings. Participants then re-rated those same food images after approximately ten minutes and again three days later. After the norm manipulation, participants were given the chance to take as many M&Ms as they wanted. Participants exposed to a healthy social norm consistently reported lower preferences for unhealthy foods as compared to participants in the other two conditions. This preference difference persisted three days after the social norm manipulation. However, health-based social norm manipulations did not influence the amount of M&Ms participants took. Although health-based social norm manipulations can influence stated food preferences, in this case they did not influence subsequent eating behavior.

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From Kindergarten Through Second Grade, U.S. Children's Obesity Prevalence Grows Only During Summer Vacations

Paul von Hippel & Joseph Workman

Obesity, November 2016, Pages 2296-2300

Methods: In the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11, a nationally representative complex random sample of 18,170 U.S. children was followed from the fall of kindergarten in 2010 through the spring of second grade in 2013. Children's weight and heights were measured in schools each fall and spring. A multilevel growth model was used to estimate growth in mean BMI, overweight prevalence, and obesity prevalence during each summer and each school year.

Results: From the fall of kindergarten to the spring of second grade, the prevalence of obesity increased from 8.9% to 11.5%, and the prevalence of overweight increased from 23.3% to 28.7%. All of the increase in prevalence occurred during the two summer vacations; no increase occurred during any of the three school years.

Conclusions: The risk of obesity is higher when children are out of school than when they are in school.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Something for someone

Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships than Material Gifts

Cindy Chan & Cassie Mogilner

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Interpersonal relationships are essential to well-being, and gifts are often given to cultivate these relationships. To inform gift givers of what to give and to gain insight into the connecting function of gifts, this research investigates what type of gift is better at strengthening relationships according to gift recipients - material gifts (objects for recipients to keep) or experiential gifts (events for recipients to live through). Experiments examining actual gift exchanges in real-life relationships reveal that experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts, regardless of whether the gift giver and recipient consume the gift together. The relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the intensity of emotion that is evoked when they consume the gifts, rather than when the gifts are received. Giving experiential gifts is thus identified as a highly effective form of prosocial spending.

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Both selfishness and selflessness start with the self: How wealth shapes responses to charitable appeals

Ashley Whillans, Eugene Caruso & Elizabeth Dunn

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Wealth is associated with differences in people's self-concepts. We propose that these self-concepts should define the types of appeals that are most effective at motivating generosity. Across three field studies, we randomly assigned participants to view an appeal for a charitable organization that emphasized agency (the pursuit of personal goals) or communion (the pursuit of shared goals). When the appeal emphasized agency, wealthier individuals reported greater willingness to give and donated more money to charity. In contrast, when the appeal emphasized communion, less wealthy individuals reported greater willingness to give. These findings could not be explained by relevant demographic characteristics such as age, ethnicity, or gender. This work adds to a growing body of research suggesting that wealth does not inherently result in selfishness or generosity. By tailoring messages to fit with people's self-concepts, it is possible to catalyze giving across the socioeconomic spectrum.

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The Great Recession and Charitable Giving

Jonathan Meer, David Miller & Elisa Wulfsberg

NBER Working Paper, December 2016

Abstract:
We examine the impact of the Great Recession on charitable giving. We find sharp declines in overall donative behavior that is not accounted for by shocks to income or wealth. These results suggest that overall attitudes towards giving changed over this time period.

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Identity in Charitable Giving

Judd Kessler & Katherine Milkman

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does priming identity affect charitable giving? We show that individuals are more likely to donate when a facet of their identity associated with a norm of generosity is primed in an appeal. In large charitable giving field experiments run by the American Red Cross, appeals that prime an individual's identity as a previous donor to the charity or as a member of a local community generate more donations. The primes are more effective when they highlight a facet of the potential donor's identity that we hypothesize to be more relevant to his sense of self: priming identity as a previous donor is more effective for more regular donors and priming identity as a local community member is more effective for people in smaller communities. Together, these results elucidate the impact of identity on behavior and demonstrate how identity primes can be implemented in practice to encourage public good provision.

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No thanks! Autonomous interpersonal style is associated with less experience and valuing of gratitude

Suzanne Parker et al.

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Gratitude has been promoted as a beneficial emotional experience. However, gratitude is not universally experienced as positive. The current work examines whether an autonomous interpersonal style is associated with differential experience of gratitude. Study 1 found an inverse relationship between trait autonomy and both trait gratitude and positivity of response to receiving a hypothetical benefit from a friend. Study 2 replicated the finding that those higher in autonomy report less trait gratitude, and also demonstrated an inverse relationship between autonomy and valuing gratitude. Study 3 found that those higher in autonomy had more self-image goals and reduced compassionate goals in relationships, and that valuing gratitude mediated the relationship between autonomy and relationship goals. These results show a consistent inverse relationship between autonomy and the experience and valuing of gratitude, suggesting that degree of autonomy is one determinant of whether gratitude is experienced as positive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yuletide gay

Ethnic Identity as a Predictor of Microaggressions Toward Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic LGBs by Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics

Troy Elias, Alyssa Jaisle & Cynthia Morton-Padovano

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 1-31

Abstract:
Results of the study suggest racial differences still exist when it comes to attitudes toward homosexuality in the United States. Findings indicate Black individuals hold significantly less favorable attitudes toward lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) individuals than non-Hispanic White individuals but not Hispanics, after controlling for demographics. Hispanic individuals’ attitudes toward LGBs were not significantly different from those of non-Hispanic Whites. Despite less favorable attitudes toward LGBs, however, Black Americans display a significantly lower likelihood of engaging in LGB-directed microaggressions than both non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. Finally, the results of the study indicate that as non-Hispanic White individuals’ ethnic identity gets stronger, their likelihood of engaging in microaggressions toward LGBs increases, more so than Black or Hispanic individuals.

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

Should Mary and Jane Be Legal?: Americans’ Attitudes toward Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, 1988–2014

Landon Schnabel & Eric Sevell

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marijuana and same-sex marriage are two of the fastest changing and most widely debated opinion and policy issues in the United States. Research has examined public opinion on marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage legalization individually, but has neglected to examine these two issues together. We use General Social Survey data from 1988 to 2014 to compare four groups: (1) those who support neither; (2) those who support marijuana but not same-sex marriage legalization; (3) those who support marriage but not marijuana legalization; and (4) those who support both. This study provides four key findings: (1) marijuana and same-sex marriage attitudes have changed simultaneously; (2) most people hold these attitudes in tandem, and there has been a precipitous decline in the percentage of people who support legalizing neither and a remarkable increase in the percentage who support legalizing both; (3) attitudes toward both issues are liberalizing across all social and ideological groups, suggesting a society-wide redefinition of both behaviors as publicly accepted issues of individual autonomy; and (4) the support bases for marijuana and marriage legalization vary systematically by sociodemographic characteristics. We conclude that notions of individual autonomy may be increasingly important to the American public and their beliefs about what the government should regulate.

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

Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men)

Paula England, Emma Mishel & Mónica Caudillo

Sociological Science, November 2016

Abstract:
We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.

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

The Sexuality of Malcolm X

Christopher Phelps

Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article engages the controversy over whether Malcolm Little, who would become Malcolm X, had same-sexual encounters. A minute sifting of all evidence and claims, augmented by new findings, yields strong indication that Malcolm Little did take part in sex acts with male counterparts. If set in the context of the 1930s and 1940s, these acts position him not as a “homosexual lover,” as has been asserted, but in the pattern of “straight trade” – heterosexual men open to sex with homosexuals – an understanding that in turn affords insights into the black revolutionary's mature masculinity.

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

The Detrimental Effect of Affirming Masculinity on Judgments of Gay Men

Luis Rivera & Nilanjana Dasgupta

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
A group-based affirmation reminds individuals of important ingroup attributes and highlights positive distinctiveness. Because nonprototypical ingroup members threaten the distinctiveness of the ingroup, group-affirmed individuals may be motivated to derogate fellow nonprototypical ingroup members. Four experiments test this hypothesis by affirming masculinity in heterosexual men and examining its effect on their judgments of gay men, who are often considered nonprototypical of their gender. Consistent with the main hypothesis, heterosexual men whose masculinity was affirmed via feedback or a values writing task expressed more prejudice against gay men relative to heterosexual men who were not affirmed (Experiments 1–4). Second, affirming masculinity and threatening masculinity had the same effect—both increased antigay prejudice (Experiment 2). Third, antigay prejudice increased in response to a masculinity affirmation only when the affirmed attribute was in a domain in which gay men are considered nonprototypical (masculine toughness), but not in a domain irrelevant to gay men’s prototypicality as men (professional ambition; Experiment 3). Finally, affirming masculinity by targeting masculine characteristics important to individual male participants versus the group as a whole both increased antigay prejudice, which was mediated by social categorization (Experiment 4). Together, these findings suggest that a group-based affirmation can sometimes paradoxically increase prejudice.

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

Evaluation of the Acceptance Journeys Social Marketing Campaign to Reduce Homophobia

Shawnika Hull et al.

American Journal of Public Health, January 2017, Pages 173-179

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Acceptance Journeys social marketing campaign to reduce homophobia in the Black community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Methods: We assessed the campaign’s effectiveness using a rolling cross-sectional survey. Data were collected annually online between 2011 and 2015. Each year, a unique sample of Black and White adults, aged 30 years and older, were surveyed in the treatment city (Milwaukee) and in 2 comparison cities that did not have antihomophobia campaigns (St. Louis, MO, and Cleveland, OH; for total sample, n = 3592).

Results: Black self-identification and Milwaukee residence were significantly associated with exposure to the campaign, suggesting successful message targeting. The relationship between exposure and acceptance of gay men was significantly mediated through attitudes toward gay men, perceptions of community acceptance, and perceptions of the impact of stigma on gay men, but not through rejection of stereotypes. This model accounted for 39% of variance in acceptance.

Conclusions: This evidence suggests that the Acceptance Journeys model of social marketing may be a promising strategy for addressing homophobia in US Black communities.

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

“Under the Same Quilt”: The Paradoxes of Sex Between Men in the Cultural Revolution

Heather Worth et al.

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 61-74

Abstract:
This article describes the paradoxes experienced by homosexual men during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Interviews with 31 elderly Chinese gay men were carried out in four cities in China in 2011. Although homosexual men were terribly persecuted, chaotic situations and dislocations of youth from their families provided young homosexual men with a remarkable degree of personal freedom and the opportunity to explore same-sex relations. Analysis of this seemingly contradictory conflation of persecution and freedom will allow us to explore the conditions and effects of the coming of age of homosexual men in a unique epoch in Chinese history.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yuletide gay

Ethnic Identity as a Predictor of Microaggressions Toward Blacks, Whites, and Hispanic LGBs by Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics

Troy Elias, Alyssa Jaisle & Cynthia Morton-Padovano

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 1-31

Abstract:
Results of the study suggest racial differences still exist when it comes to attitudes toward homosexuality in the United States. Findings indicate Black individuals hold significantly less favorable attitudes toward lesbian/gay/bisexual (LGB) individuals than non-Hispanic White individuals but not Hispanics, after controlling for demographics. Hispanic individuals’ attitudes toward LGBs were not significantly different from those of non-Hispanic Whites. Despite less favorable attitudes toward LGBs, however, Black Americans display a significantly lower likelihood of engaging in LGB-directed microaggressions than both non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics. Finally, the results of the study indicate that as non-Hispanic White individuals’ ethnic identity gets stronger, their likelihood of engaging in microaggressions toward LGBs increases, more so than Black or Hispanic individuals.

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

Should Mary and Jane Be Legal?: Americans’ Attitudes toward Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage Legalization, 1988–2014

Landon Schnabel & Eric Sevell

Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marijuana and same-sex marriage are two of the fastest changing and most widely debated opinion and policy issues in the United States. Research has examined public opinion on marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage legalization individually, but has neglected to examine these two issues together. We use General Social Survey data from 1988 to 2014 to compare four groups: (1) those who support neither; (2) those who support marijuana but not same-sex marriage legalization; (3) those who support marriage but not marijuana legalization; and (4) those who support both. This study provides four key findings: (1) marijuana and same-sex marriage attitudes have changed simultaneously; (2) most people hold these attitudes in tandem, and there has been a precipitous decline in the percentage of people who support legalizing neither and a remarkable increase in the percentage who support legalizing both; (3) attitudes toward both issues are liberalizing across all social and ideological groups, suggesting a society-wide redefinition of both behaviors as publicly accepted issues of individual autonomy; and (4) the support bases for marijuana and marriage legalization vary systematically by sociodemographic characteristics. We conclude that notions of individual autonomy may be increasingly important to the American public and their beliefs about what the government should regulate.

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

Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men)

Paula England, Emma Mishel & Mónica Caudillo

Sociological Science, November 2016

Abstract:
We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.

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

The Sexuality of Malcolm X

Christopher Phelps

Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article engages the controversy over whether Malcolm Little, who would become Malcolm X, had same-sexual encounters. A minute sifting of all evidence and claims, augmented by new findings, yields strong indication that Malcolm Little did take part in sex acts with male counterparts. If set in the context of the 1930s and 1940s, these acts position him not as a “homosexual lover,” as has been asserted, but in the pattern of “straight trade” – heterosexual men open to sex with homosexuals – an understanding that in turn affords insights into the black revolutionary's mature masculinity.

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

The Detrimental Effect of Affirming Masculinity on Judgments of Gay Men

Luis Rivera & Nilanjana Dasgupta

Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

Abstract:
A group-based affirmation reminds individuals of important ingroup attributes and highlights positive distinctiveness. Because nonprototypical ingroup members threaten the distinctiveness of the ingroup, group-affirmed individuals may be motivated to derogate fellow nonprototypical ingroup members. Four experiments test this hypothesis by affirming masculinity in heterosexual men and examining its effect on their judgments of gay men, who are often considered nonprototypical of their gender. Consistent with the main hypothesis, heterosexual men whose masculinity was affirmed via feedback or a values writing task expressed more prejudice against gay men relative to heterosexual men who were not affirmed (Experiments 1–4). Second, affirming masculinity and threatening masculinity had the same effect—both increased antigay prejudice (Experiment 2). Third, antigay prejudice increased in response to a masculinity affirmation only when the affirmed attribute was in a domain in which gay men are considered nonprototypical (masculine toughness), but not in a domain irrelevant to gay men’s prototypicality as men (professional ambition; Experiment 3). Finally, affirming masculinity by targeting masculine characteristics important to individual male participants versus the group as a whole both increased antigay prejudice, which was mediated by social categorization (Experiment 4). Together, these findings suggest that a group-based affirmation can sometimes paradoxically increase prejudice.

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

Evaluation of the Acceptance Journeys Social Marketing Campaign to Reduce Homophobia

Shawnika Hull et al.

American Journal of Public Health, January 2017, Pages 173-179

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of the Acceptance Journeys social marketing campaign to reduce homophobia in the Black community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Methods: We assessed the campaign’s effectiveness using a rolling cross-sectional survey. Data were collected annually online between 2011 and 2015. Each year, a unique sample of Black and White adults, aged 30 years and older, were surveyed in the treatment city (Milwaukee) and in 2 comparison cities that did not have antihomophobia campaigns (St. Louis, MO, and Cleveland, OH; for total sample, n = 3592).

Results: Black self-identification and Milwaukee residence were significantly associated with exposure to the campaign, suggesting successful message targeting. The relationship between exposure and acceptance of gay men was significantly mediated through attitudes toward gay men, perceptions of community acceptance, and perceptions of the impact of stigma on gay men, but not through rejection of stereotypes. This model accounted for 39% of variance in acceptance.

Conclusions: This evidence suggests that the Acceptance Journeys model of social marketing may be a promising strategy for addressing homophobia in US Black communities.

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

“Under the Same Quilt”: The Paradoxes of Sex Between Men in the Cultural Revolution

Heather Worth et al.

Journal of Homosexuality, January 2017, Pages 61-74

Abstract:
This article describes the paradoxes experienced by homosexual men during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Interviews with 31 elderly Chinese gay men were carried out in four cities in China in 2011. Although homosexual men were terribly persecuted, chaotic situations and dislocations of youth from their families provided young homosexual men with a remarkable degree of personal freedom and the opportunity to explore same-sex relations. Analysis of this seemingly contradictory conflation of persecution and freedom will allow us to explore the conditions and effects of the coming of age of homosexual men in a unique epoch in Chinese history.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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