TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Offense and defense

Making it moral: Merely labeling an attitude as moral increases its strength

Andrew Luttrell et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2016, Pages 82-93

Abstract:
Prior research has shown that self-reported moral bases of people's attitudes predict a range of important consequences, including attitude-relevant behavior and resistance in the face of social influence. Although previous studies typically rely on self-report measures of such bases, the present research tests the possibility that people can be induced to view their own attitudes as grounded in moral bases. This perception alone leads to outcomes associated with strong attitudes. In three experiments, participants were led to view their attitudes as grounded in moral or non-moral bases. Merely perceiving a moral (vs. non-moral) basis to one's attitudes led them to show greater correspondence with relevant behavioral intentions (Experiment 1) and become less susceptible to change following a persuasive message (Experiments 2 and 3). Moreover, these effects were independent of any other established indicators of attitude strength.

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

Memories of unethical actions become obfuscated over time

Maryam Kouchaki & Francesca Gino

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 31 May 2016, Pages 6166-6171

Abstract:
Despite our optimistic belief that we would behave honestly when facing the temptation to act unethically, we often cross ethical boundaries. This paper explores one possibility of why people engage in unethical behavior over time by suggesting that their memory for their past unethical actions is impaired. We propose that, after engaging in unethical behavior, individuals' memories of their actions become more obfuscated over time because of the psychological distress and discomfort such misdeeds cause. In nine studies (n = 2,109), we show that engaging in unethical behavior produces changes in memory so that memories of unethical actions gradually become less clear and vivid than memories of ethical actions or other types of actions that are either positive or negative in valence. We term this memory obfuscation of one's unethical acts over time "unethical amnesia." Because of unethical amnesia, people are more likely to act dishonestly repeatedly over time.

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

Evidence for Absolute Moral Opposition to Genetically Modified Food in the United States

Sydney Scott, Yoel Inbar & Paul Rozin

Perspectives on Psychological Science, May 2016, Pages 315-324

Abstract:
Public opposition to genetic modification (GM) technology in the food domain is widespread (Frewer et al., 2013). In a survey of U.S. residents representative of the population on gender, age, and income, 64% opposed GM, and 71% of GM opponents (45% of the entire sample) were "absolutely" opposed - that is, they agreed that GM should be prohibited no matter the risks and benefits. "Absolutist" opponents were more disgust sensitive in general and more disgusted by the consumption of genetically modified food than were non-absolutist opponents or supporters. Furthermore, disgust predicted support for legal restrictions on genetically modified foods, even after controlling for explicit risk-benefit assessments. This research suggests that many opponents are evidence insensitive and will not be influenced by arguments about risks and benefits.

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

Caught Red-Minded: Evidence-Induced Denial of Mental Transgressions

Bethany Burum, Daniel Gilbert & Timothy Wilson

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We suggest that when confronted with evidence of their socially inappropriate thoughts and feelings, people are sometimes less likely - and not more likely - to acknowledge them because evidence can elicit psychological responses that inhibit candid self-reflection. In 3 studies, participants were induced to exhibit racial bias (Study 1) or to experience inappropriate sexual arousal (Studies 2 and 3). Some participants were then told that the researcher had collected physiological evidence of these mental transgressions. Results showed that participants who were told about the evidence were less willing to acknowledge their mental transgressions, but only if they were told before they had an opportunity to engage in self-reflection. These results suggest that under some circumstances, confronting people with public evidence of their private shortcomings can be counterproductive.

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

Foreign language affects the contribution of intentions and outcomes to moral judgment

Janet Geipel, Constantinos Hadjichristidis & Luca Surian

Cognition, September 2016, Pages 34-39

Abstract:
We examine whether the use of a foreign language, as opposed to the native language, influences the relative weight intentions versus outcomes carry in moral evaluations. In Study 1, participants were presented with actions that had positive outcomes but were motivated by dubious intentions, while in Study 2 with actions that had negative outcomes but were motivated by positive intentions. Participants received the materials either in their native or a foreign language. Foreign language prompted more positive moral evaluations in Study 1 and less positive evaluations in Study 2. These results show that foreign language reduces the relative weight placed on intentions versus outcomes. We discuss several theoretical accounts that are consistent with the results such as that foreign language attenuates emotions (triggered by intentions) or it depletes cognitive resources.

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

A Moist Crevice for Word Aversion: In Semantics Not Sounds

Paul Thibodeau

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Why do people self-report an aversion to words like "moist"? The present studies represent an initial scientific exploration into the phenomenon of word aversion by investigating its prevalence and cause. Results of five experiments indicate that about 10-20% of the population is averse to the word "moist." This population often speculates that phonological properties of the word are the cause of their displeasure. However, data from the current studies point to semantic features of the word - namely, associations with disgusting bodily functions - as a more prominent source of peoples' unpleasant experience. "Moist," for averse participants, was notable for its valence and personal use, rather than imagery or arousal - a finding that was confirmed by an experiment designed to induce an aversion to the word. Analyses of individual difference measures suggest that word aversion is more prevalent among younger, more educated, and more neurotic people, and is more commonly reported by females than males.

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

The Valjean Effect: Visceral States and Cheating

Elanor Williams et al.

Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Visceral states like thirst, hunger, and fatigue can alter motivations, predictions, and even memory. Across 3 studies, we demonstrate that such "hot" states can also shift moral standards and increase dishonest behavior. Compared to participants who had just eaten or who had not yet exercised, hungry and thirsty participants were more likely to behave dishonestly to win a prize. Consistent with the specificity of motivation that is characteristic of visceral states, participants were only more likely to cheat for a prize that could alleviate their current deprived state (such as a bottle of water). Interestingly, this increase in dishonest behavior did not seem to be driven by an increase in the perceived monetary value of the prize.

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

Careful Cheating: People Cheat Groups Rather than Individuals

Amitai Amir, Tehila Kogut & Yoella Bereby-Meyer

Frontiers in Psychology, March 2016

Abstract:
Cheating for material gain is a destructive phenomenon in any society. We examine the extent to which people care about the victims of their unethical behavior - be they a group of people or an individual - and whether they are sensitive to the degree of harm or cost that they cause to these victims. The results of three studies suggest that when a group (rather than a single individual) is the victim of one's behavior, the incidence of cheating increases only if the harm to the group is presented in global terms - such that the cheating might be justified by the relatively minor harm caused to each individual in the group (Studies #1 and #3). However, when the harm or cost to each individual in the group is made explicit, the tendency to cheat the group is no longer apparent and the tendency to cheat increases when the harm caused is minor - regardless of whether the victim is an individual or a group of people (Study #2). Individual differences in rational and intuitive thinking appear to play different roles in the decision to cheat different type of opponents: individual opponents seem to trigger the subject's intuitive thinking which restrains the urge to cheat, whereas groups of opponents seem to trigger the subject's rational mode of thinking which encourage cheating.

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

Effects of Culture and Gender on Judgments of Intent and Responsibility

Jason Plaks et al.

PLoS ONE, April 2016

Abstract:
Do different cultures hold different views of intentionality? In four studies, participants read scenarios in which the actor's distal intent (a focus on a broader goal) and proximal intent (a focus on the mechanics of the act) were manipulated. In Studies 1-2, when distal intent was more prominent in the actor's mind, North Americans rated the actor more responsible than did Chinese and South Asian participants. When proximal intent was more prominent, Chinese and South Asian participants, if anything, rated the actor more responsible. In Studies 3-4, when distal intent was more prominent, male Americans rated the actor more responsible than did female Americans. When proximal intent was more prominent, females rated the actor more responsible. The authors discuss these findings in relation to the literatures on moral reasoning and cultural psychology.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 6, 2016

Following the money

Clouded Judgment: The Role of Sentiment in Credit Origination

Kristle Cortés, Ran Duchin & Denis Sosyura

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using daily fluctuations in local sunshine as an instrument for sentiment, we study its effect on day-to-day decisions of lower-level financial officers. Positive sentiment is associated with higher credit approvals, and negative sentiment has the opposite effect of a larger magnitude. These effects are stronger when financial decisions require more discretion, when reviews are less automated, and when capital constraints are less binding. The variation in approval rates affects ex post financial performance and produces significant real effects. Our analysis of the economic channels suggests that sentiment influences managers' risk tolerance and subjective judgment.

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

How Do Bank Regulators Determine Capital-Adequacy Requirements?

Eric Posner

University of Chicago Law Review, Fall 2015, Pages 1853-1895

Abstract:
Regulators require banks to maintain capital above a certain level in order to correct the incentives to make excessively risky loans. However, it has never been clear how regulators determine how high or low the minimum capital–asset ratio should be. An examination of US regulators’ justifications for five regulations issued over more than thirty years reveals that regulators have never performed a serious economic analysis that would justify the levels that they have chosen. Instead, regulators appear to have followed a practice of incremental change designed to weed out a handful of outlier banks. This approach resulted in significant regulatory failures leading up to the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

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

Metropolitan area home prices and the mortgage interest deduction: Estimates and simulations from policy change

Hal Martin & Andrew Hanson

Regional Science and Urban Economics, July 2016, Pages 12–23

Abstract:
We simulate changes to metropolitan area home prices from reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). Price simulations are based on an extended user cost model that incorporates two dimensions of behavioral change in home buyers: sensitivity of borrowing and the propensity to use tax deductions. We simulate prices with both inelastic and elastic supply. Our results show a wide range of price effects across metropolitan areas and prospective policies. Considering behavioral change and no supply elasticity, eliminating the MID results in average home price declines as steep as 13.5% in Washington, D.C., and as small as 3.5% in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL. Converting the MID to a 15 percent refundable credit reduces prices by as much as 1.4% in San Jose, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Washington, D.C. and increases average price in other metropolitan areas by as much as 12.1% (Miami-Fort Lauderdale). Accounting for market elasticities produces price estimates that are on average 36% as large as standard estimates.

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

The Phillips Curve: Back to the '60s?

Olivier Blanchard

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 31-34

Abstract:
This paper reexamines the behavior of inflation and unemployment and reaches four conclusions: 1) The U.S. Phillips curve is alive and well (at least as well as in the past). 2) Inflation expectations however have become steadily more anchored. 3) The slope of the curve has substantially declined. But the decline dates back to the 1980s rather than to the crisis. 4) The standard error of the residual in the relation is large, especially in comparison to the low level of inflation. Each of the four conclusions presents challenges for the conduct of monetary policy.

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

Weather-Adjusting Economic Data

Michael Boldin & Jonathan Wright

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2015, Pages 227-278

Abstract:
This paper proposes and implements a statistical methodology for adjusting employment data for the effects of deviations in weather from seasonal norms. This is distinct from seasonal adjustment, which controls only for the normal variation in weather across the year. We simultaneously control for both of these effects by integrating a weather adjustment step in the seasonal adjustment process. We use several indicators of weather, including temperature and snowfall. We find that weather effects can be important, shifting the monthly payroll change number by more than 100,000 in either direction. The effects are largest in the winter and early spring months and in the construction sector. A similar methodology is constructed and applied to data in the national income and product accounts (NIPA), although the manner in which NIPA data are reported makes it impossible to integrate weather and seasonal adjustments fully.

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

Reactions of Equity Markets to Recent Financial Reforms

Nonna Sorokina & John Thornton

Journal of Economics and Business, forthcoming

Abstract:
We conduct event studies of broad equity market reaction to the events surrounding introduction and enactment of recent financial reform initiatives. In response to the introduction of the Dodd-Frank Act, financial firms and firms from a few other industries experience a statistically significant decrease in systematic risk, while a substantial number of industries, representing a broad cross-section of the economy, experiences a statistically significant increase in systematic risk. The systematic risk in some industries does not change. The increase in risk is concentrated in industries in which firms are dependent on external capital. The initial market reaction to Dodd-Frank indicates that it may lower the risk in financial firms, but the risk for many non-financial firms simultaneously increases.

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

What Was Bad for General Motors Was Bad for America: The Automobile Industry and the 1937/38 Recession

Joshua Hausman

Journal of Economic History, June 2016, Pages 427-477

Abstract:
This article shows that there were timing, geographic, and sectoral anomalies in the 1937/38 recession, none of which are easily explained by aggregate shocks. I argue that an auto industry supply shock contributed both to the recession's anomalies and to its severity. Labor-strife-induced wage increases and an increase in raw material costs led auto manufacturers to raise prices in fall 1937. Expectations of these price increases brought auto sales forward. When auto prices finally rose, sales plummeted. This shock likely reduced 1938 auto sales by roughly 600,000 units and 1938 GDP growth by 0.5–1 percentage point.

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

Business Microloans for U.S. Subprime Borrowers

Cesare Fracassi et al.

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, February 2016, Pages 55-83

Abstract:
We show that business microloans to U.S. subprime borrowers have a very large impact on subsequent firm success. Using data on startup loan applicants from a lender that employed an automated algorithm in its application review, we implement a regression discontinuity design assessing the causal impact of receiving a loan on firms. Startups receiving funding are dramatically more likely to survive, enjoy higher revenues, and create more jobs. Loans are more consequential for survival among subprime business owners with more education and less managerial experience.

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

Credit Rationing, Income Exaggeration, and Adverse Selection in the Mortgage Market

Brent Ambrose, James Conklin & Jiro Yoshida

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the role of borrower concerns about future credit availability in mitigating the effects of adverse selection and income misrepresentation in the mortgage market. We show that the majority of additional risk associated with “low-doc” mortgages originated prior to the Great Recession was due to adverse selection on the part of borrowers who could verify income but chose not to. We provide novel evidence that these borrowers were more likely to inflate or exaggerate their income. Our analysis suggests that recent regulatory changes that have essentially eliminated the low-doc loan product would result in credit rationing against self-employed borrowers.

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

Joint Liability Lending and Credit Risk: Evidence from the Home Equity Market

Sumit Agarwal et al.

Journal of Housing Economics, June 2016, Pages 47–66

Abstract:
Using a unique dataset of home equity credit contracts, we examine the benefits of joint liability lending. Our results show that the risk of default for joint borrowers with similar risk scores is significantly lower than the risk associated with single borrowers. However, when joint borrowers have divergent risk scores, the risk of default is higher than single borrowers. Our results indicate that the lower risk associated with joint liability is largely dependent upon the similarity of risk characteristics (profiles) of the joint borrowers. Our results suggest that joint liability lending per say does not reduce credit risk.

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

Will TLAC regulations fix the G-SIB too-big-to-fail problem?

Paul Kupiec

Journal of Financial Stability, forthcoming

Abstract:
The efficacy of the Financial Stability Board's proposed requirement for minimum “total loss absorbing capacity” (TLAC) at global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) is assessed using a stylized model of a bank holding company and an equilibrium asset pricing model to value financial claims. I identify a number of G-SIB strategies that satisfy minimum TLAC requirements but fail to reduce implicit safety net subsidies that accrue to G-SIB shareholders or increase the resources available to recapitalize a failing G-SIB subsidiary. To meet the FSB's stated goals, TLAC requirements must impose minimum TLAC at all subsidiaries and restrict how TLAC funds can be invested. An equivalent, but much simpler solution is to significantly increase regulatory capital requirements on systemically important bank subsidiaries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Outlook on life

The Relationship between Education and Mental Health: New Evidence from a Discordant Twin Study

Andrew Halpern-Manners et al.

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has documented a strong and positive correlation between completed education and adults' mental health. Researchers often describe this relationship using causal language: higher levels of education are thought to enhance people's skills, afford important structural advantages, and empower better coping mechanisms, all of which lead to better mental health. An alternative explanation - the social selection hypothesis - suggests that schooling is a proxy for unobserved endowments and/or preexisting conditions that confound the relationship between the two variables. In this article, we seek to adjudicate between these hypotheses using a relatively large, US-based sample of identical adult twins. By relating within-twin-pair differences in education to within-twin-pair differences in mental health, we are able to control for the influence of genetic traits and shared family characteristics that may otherwise bias the estimates associated with educational attainment. Results from our analyses suggest that the observed association between education and mental health is attributable to confounding on unobserved variables. This finding holds across mental health conditions, is robust to several sensitivity checks, and survives a falsification test. Theoretical implications for the study of educational gradients in mental health are discussed.

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

Neural mechanisms linking social status and inflammatory responses to social stress

Keely Muscatell et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 915-922

Abstract:
Social stratification has important implications for health and well-being, with individuals lower in standing in a hierarchy experiencing worse outcomes than those higher up the social ladder. Separate lines of past research suggest that alterations in inflammatory processes and neural responses to threat may link lower social status with poorer outcomes. This study was designed to bridge these literatures to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms linking subjective social status and inflammation. Thirty-one participants reported their subjective social status, and underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan while they were socially evaluated. Participants also provided blood samples before and after the stressor, which were analysed for changes in inflammation. Results showed that lower subjective social status was associated with greater increases in inflammation. Neuroimaging data revealed lower subjective social status was associated with greater neural activity in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC) in response to negative feedback. Finally, results indicated that activation in the DMPFC in response to negative feedback mediated the relation between social status and increases in inflammatory activity. This study provides the first evidence of a neurocognitive pathway linking subjective social status and inflammation, thus furthering our understanding of how social hierarchies shape neural and physiological responses to social interactions.

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

Views of a good life and allostatic load: Physiological correlates of theories of a good life depend on the socioeconomic context

Cynthia Levine et al.

Self and Identity, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the relationship between one's theory of a good life and allostatic load, a marker of cumulative biological risk, and how this relationship differs by socioeconomic status. Among adults with a bachelor's degree or higher, those who saw individual characteristics (e.g. personal happiness, effort) as part of a good life had lower levels of allostatic load than those who did not. In contrast, among adults with less than a bachelor's degree, those who saw supportive relationships as part of a good life had lower levels of allostatic load than those who did not. These findings extend past research on socioeconomic differences in the emphasis on individual or relational factors and suggest that one's theory of a good life has health implications.

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

Clinical neuroprediction: Amygdala reactivity predicts depressive symptoms 2 years later

Whitney Mattson et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 892-898

Abstract:
Depression is linked to increased amygdala activation to neutral and negatively valenced facial expressions. Amygdala activation may be predictive of changes in depressive symptoms over time. However, most studies in this area have focused on small, predominantly female and homogenous clinical samples. Studies are needed to examine how amygdala reactivity relates to the course of depressive symptoms dimensionally, prospectively and in populations diverse in gender, race and socioeconomic status. A total of 156 men from predominately low-income backgrounds completed an fMRI task where they viewed emotional facial expressions. Left and right amygdala reactivity to neutral, but not angry or fearful, facial expressions relative to a non-face baseline at age 20 predicted greater depressive symptoms 2 years later, controlling for age 20 depressive symptoms. Heightened bilateral amygdala reactivity to neutral facial expressions predicted increases in depressive symptoms 2 years later in a large community sample. Neutral facial expressions are affectively ambiguous and a tendency to interpret these stimuli negatively may reflect to cognitive biases that lead to increases in depressive symptoms over time. Individual differences in amygdala reactivity to neutral facial expressions appear to identify those at most risk for a more problematic course of depressive symptoms across time.

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

People Who Choose Time Over Money Are Happier

Hal Hershfield, Cassie Mogilner & Uri Barnea

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Money and time are both scarce resources that people believe would bring them greater happiness. But would people prefer having more money or more time? And how does one's preference between resources relate to happiness? Across studies, we asked thousands of Americans whether they would prefer more money or more time. Although the majority of people chose more money, choosing more time was associated with greater happiness - even controlling for existing levels of available time and money. Additional studies and experiments provide insight into choosers' underlying rationale and the causal direction of the effect.

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

The end is (not) near: Aging, essentialism, and future time perspective

David Weiss et al.

Developmental Psychology, June 2016, Pages 996-1009

Abstract:
Beliefs about aging influence how we interpret and respond to changes within and around us. Essentialist beliefs about aging are defined as views that link chronological age with inherent and immutable properties underlying aging-related changes. These beliefs may influence the experience of aging-related changes and shape people's outlook of the future. We hypothesized that people who endorse essentialist beliefs about aging report a more limited future time perspective. Two studies provided correlational (Study 1, N = 250; 18-77 years) and experimental (Study 2, N = 103; 20-77 years) evidence that essentialist beliefs about aging affect people's future time perspective. In addition, Study 2 and Study 3 (N = 174; 34-67 years) tested the underlying mechanism and provided evidence that perception of aging-related threat explains the effect of essentialist beliefs on a reduced future time perspective. These findings highlight the fundamental role of essentialist beliefs about aging for the perception of time horizons in the context of aging.

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

Respiratory sinus arrhythmia as a predictor of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among adolescents

Madeline Wielgus et al.

International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research suggests that self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITBs) may function as maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. One psychophysiological index of emotion regulatory capacity is respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). The temporal course of RSA responsivity to a stressor may be characterized by basal RSA, RSA reactivity to stressor, and RSA recovery post-stressor. RSA has been linked to both internalizing and externalizing symptoms in adolescents, but little is known about the relation between RSA and SITBs. Initial research has shown a cross-sectional relation between lower basal RSA and greater RSA reactivity to a sad mood induction and self-injury. To date no prospective research on the relation between RSA and SITBs exists. The current study aims to investigate the prospective relation between RSA and SITBs in a community sample of 108 adolescents (Mage = 12.82, SDage = 0.82, 53.70% female). At the initial laboratory visit (T1), participants completed an unsolvable anagram stressor task, during which RSA (basal, reactivity, and recovery) was measured. SITBs were assessed at T1 and at the 6-month follow-up (T2). Results indicated basal RSA and RSA reactivity did not significantly predict engagement in SITBs between T1 and T2. Poorer RSA recovery from the stressor task at T1 did significantly predict engagement in SITBs between T1 and T2, over and above depressive symptoms and lifetime history of SITBs. This suggests that adolescents with poor ability to regulate physiologically following a stressor may turn to maladaptive emotion regulation strategies like SITBs.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 4, 2016

You and I

Selfie Indulgence: Self-Favoring Biases in Perceptions of Selfies

Daniel Re et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others do. Here, we examined how these self-favoring biases manifest in a highly popular novel context that is particularly self-focused - selfies. Specifically, we analyzed selfie-takers' and non-selfie-takers' perceptions of their selfies versus photos taken by others and compared these to the judgments of external perceivers. Although selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers reported equal levels of narcissism, we found that the selfie-takers perceived themselves as more attractive and likable in their selfies than in others' photos, but that non-selfie-takers viewed both photos similarly. Furthermore, external judges rated the targets as less attractive, less likable, and more narcissistic in their selfies than in the photos taken by others. Thus, self-enhancing misperceptions may support selfie-takers' positive evaluations of their selfies, revealing notable biases in self-perception.

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

One for You, One for Me: Humans' Unique Turn-Taking Skills

Alicia Melis et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Long-term collaborative relationships require that any jointly produced resources be shared in mutually satisfactory ways. Prototypically, this sharing involves partners dividing up simultaneously available resources, but sometimes the collaboration makes a resource available to only one individual, and any sharing of resources must take place across repeated instances over time. Here, we show that beginning at 5 years of age, human children stabilize cooperation in such cases by taking turns across instances of obtaining a resource. In contrast, chimpanzees do not take turns in this way, and so their collaboration tends to disintegrate over time. Alternating turns in obtaining a collaboratively produced resource does not necessarily require a prosocial concern for the other, but rather requires only a strategic judgment that partners need incentives to continue collaborating. These results suggest that human beings are adapted for thinking strategically in ways that sustain long-term cooperative relationships and that are absent in their nearest primate relatives.

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

The Effect of Social Exclusion on Consumer Preference for Anthropomorphized Brands

Rocky Peng Chen, Echo Wen Wan & Eric Levy

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research has mainly examined the effect of social exclusion on individuals' interactions with other people or on their product choices as an instrument to facilitate interpersonal connection. The current research takes a novel perspective by proposing that socially excluded consumers would be more motivated to establish a relationship with a brand (rather than using the brand to socially connect with other people) when the brand exhibits human-like features. Based on this premise, we predict and find support in three studies that socially excluded consumers, compared with non-excluded consumers, exhibit greater preference for anthropomorphized brands (studies 1-3). This effect is mediated by consumers' need for social affiliation and is moderated by the opportunity for social connection with other people (study 2). Furthermore, socially excluded consumers differ in the types of relationships they would like to build with anthropomorphized brands, depending on their attributions about the exclusion. Specifically, consumers who blame themselves (others) for being socially excluded show greater preference for anthropomorphized partner (fling) brands (study 3).

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

The Power of the Like in Adolescence: Effects of Peer Influence on Neural and Behavioral Responses to Social Media

Lauren Sherman et al.

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated a unique way in which adolescent peer influence occurs on social media. We developed a novel functional MRI (fMRI) paradigm to simulate Instagram, a popular social photo-sharing tool, and measured adolescents' behavioral and neural responses to likes, a quantifiable form of social endorsement and potential source of peer influence. Adolescents underwent fMRI while viewing photos ostensibly submitted to Instagram. They were more likely to like photos depicted with many likes than photos with few likes; this finding showed the influence of virtual peer endorsement and held for both neutral photos and photos of risky behaviors (e.g., drinking, smoking). Viewing photos with many (compared with few) likes was associated with greater activity in neural regions implicated in reward processing, social cognition, imitation, and attention. Furthermore, when adolescents viewed risky photos (as opposed to neutral photos), activation in the cognitive-control network decreased. These findings highlight possible mechanisms underlying peer influence during adolescence.

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

Neural connections foster social connections: A diffusion-weighted imaging study of social networks

William Hampton et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, May 2016, Pages 721-727

Abstract:
Although we know the transition from childhood to adulthood is marked by important social and neural development, little is known about how social network size might affect neurocognitive development or vice versa. Neuroimaging research has identified several brain regions, such as the amygdala, as key to this affiliative behavior. However, white matter connectivity among these regions, and its behavioral correlates, remain unclear. Here we tested two hypotheses: that an amygdalocentric structural white matter network governs social affiliative behavior and that this network changes during adolescence and young adulthood. We measured social network size behaviorally, and white matter microstructure using probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging in a sample of neurologically normal adolescents and young adults. Our results suggest amygdala white matter microstructure is key to understanding individual differences in social network size, with connectivity to other social brain regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex and anterior temporal lobe predicting much variation. In addition, participant age correlated with both network size and white matter variation in this network. These findings suggest the transition to adulthood may constitute a critical period for the optimization of structural brain networks underlying affiliative behavior.

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

Social memory associated with estrogen receptor polymorphisms in women

Sara Karlsson et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 877-883

Abstract:
The ability to recognize the identity of faces and voices is essential for social relationships. Although the heritability of social memory is high, knowledge about the contributing genes is sparse. Since sex differences and rodent studies support an influence of estrogens and androgens on social memory, polymorphisms in the estrogen and androgen receptor genes (ESR1, ESR2, AR) are candidates for this trait. Recognition of faces and vocal sounds, separately and combined, was investigated in 490 subjects, genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1, four in ESR2 and one in the AR. Four of the associations survived correction for multiple testing: women carrying rare alleles of the three ESR2 SNPs, rs928554, rs1271572 and rs1256030, in linkage disequilibrium with each other, displayed superior face recognition compared with non-carriers. Furthermore, the uncommon genotype of the ESR1 SNP rs2504063 was associated with better recognition of identity through vocal sounds, also specifically in women. This study demonstrates evidence for associations in women between face recognition and variation in ESR2, and recognition of identity through vocal sounds and variation in ESR1. These results suggest that estrogen receptors may regulate social memory function in humans, in line with what has previously been established in mice.

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

Age differences in personal values: Universal or cultural specific?

Helene Fung et al.

Psychology and Aging, May 2016, Pages 274-286

Abstract:
Prior studies on value development across adulthood have generally shown that as people age, they espouse communal values more strongly and agentic values less strongly. Two studies investigated whether these age differences in personal values might differ according to cultural values. Study 1 examined whether these age differences in personal values, and their associations with subjective well-being, showed the same pattern across countries that differed in individualism-collectivism. Study 2 compared age differences in personal values in the Canadian culture that emphasized agentic values more and the Chinese culture that emphasized communal values more. Personal and cultural values of each individual were directly measured, and their congruence were calculated and compared across age and cultures. Findings revealed that across cultures, older people had lower endorsement of agentic personal values and higher endorsement of communal personal values than did younger people. These age differences, and their associations with subjective well-being, were generally not influenced by cultural values.

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

A Sense of Security: Touch Promotes State Attachment Security

Brittany Jakubiak & Brooke Feeney

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adults can be made to experience state attachment security (e.g., feel calm, cared for, and trusting) when they recall experiences, in which others were accepting and responsive. In two experiments, we tested whether receiving affectionate touch in the context of a close relationship naturally promotes state attachment security. As hypothesized, participants who imagined receiving touch had greater accessibility of secure words on a memory task (Experiment 1) and participants who physically received touch from their romantic partners self-reported greater state security (Experiment 2) than participants who did not receive touch. Neither the relationship context (romantic partner or close friend) nor the attribution for the touch moderated touch's effect on state security. However, consistent with predictions, touch promoted security more for individuals low in avoidant attachment than highly avoidant individuals. By promoting state security, touch may facilitate positive relational behaviors and cognitions to improve and protect adult relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 3, 2016

Busted

Prisoner Reentry and the Reproduction of Legal Cynicism

David Kirk

Social Problems, May 2016, Pages 222-243

Abstract:
More than 600,000 prisoners are released from incarceration each year in the United States, and most end up returning to metropolitan areas, concentrated in resource-deprived neighborhoods. To the extent that convicted criminals are distrustful of the criminal justice system, the funneling of massive numbers of former prisoners back into select neighborhoods likely facilitates the reproduction of legal cynicism in those areas. Accordingly, this study tests the effect of prisoner reentry on the culture of neighborhoods, particularly with regard to legal cynicism. Using two waves of data on the geographic distribution of returning prisoners in Chicago from the Illinois Department of Corrections combined with data on neighborhood characteristics from the U.S. Census, the Chicago Police Department, the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, and the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, I conduct a cross-lagged analysis of the effect of the concentration of returning prisoners on legal cynicism as well as the effect of legal cynicism on the geographic distribution of returning prisoners. Findings reveal that a dense concentration of returning prisoners in a neighborhood facilitates the reproduction of cynical views of the law in the neighborhood. The substantial growth in the number of releases from prison and the stark concentration of the formerly incarcerated in select neighborhoods has detrimental consequences for the culture of receiving neighborhoods.

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

Crime, the Criminal Justice System, and Socioeconomic Inequality

Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2016, Pages 103-126

Abstract:
Crime rates in the United States have declined to historical lows since the early 1990s. Prison and jail incarceration rates as well as community correctional populations have increased greatly since the mid-1970s. Both of these developments have disproportionately impacted poor and minority communities. In this paper, we document these trends. We then assess whether the crime declines can be attributed to the massive expansion of the US criminal justice system. We argue that the crime rate is certainly lower as a result of this expansion and in the early 1990s was likely a third lower than what it would have been absent changes in sentencing practices in the 1980s. However, there is little evidence that further stiffening of sentences during the 1990s - a period when prison and other correctional populations expanded rapidly - have had an impact. Hence, the growth in criminal justice populations since 1990s has exacerbated socioeconomic inequality in the United States without generating much benefit in terms of lower crime rates.

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

Are Active Shootings Temporally Contagious? An Empirical Assessment

Jason Kissner

Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, March 2016, Pages 48-58

Abstract:
"Active Shootings," which include shootings in public, confined areas such as schools, often traumatize communities and attract intense media coverage. Proposed policy responses to the phenomenon, such as concealing information as to casualty counts and even the identities of shooters, often suppose that active shootings are "contagious," in that previous occurrences can enhance the likelihood of subsequent occurrences. This study marks the first attempt at assessment of the contagiousness of the active shooting phenomenon, and deploys a statistical model - the series hazard model - that is well-suited to the substantive issue of contagion as well as the fine-grained nature of the active shooting data. Results indicate that the hazard of observed active shootings was a function of the number of active shootings that preceded them in the previous two weeks.

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

The Consequences of Knowledge about Elite Deviance

Cedric Michel, Kathleen Heide & John Cochran

American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2016, Pages 359-382

Abstract:
The present study sought to understand the consequences of knowledge about elite deviance. Four hundred and eight participants completed an online questionnaire that measured (1) their level of knowledge about white-collar crime and (2) their perceived seriousness of, and punitiveness toward, it. Results of statistical analyses suggest a positive relationship between knowledge and punitive sentiments toward crimes of the powerful. Conversely, less knowledgeable subjects, comprised disproportionately of men, politically Conservatives, Republicans, and conservative Protestants were often more lenient toward elite offenders, both in terms of perceived seriousness of the offenses and punitiveness toward them, when compared with street crime. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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

Guns, laws and public shootings in the United States

Benjamin Blau, Devon Gorry & Chip Wade

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the late 1990s, there have been increasing numbers of public shootings carried out with firearms in the United States. These tragedies continually renew the regulatory debate concerning public safety while considering civil liberties. Using a unique data set, we investigate whether laws correspond to whether an event occurs and the effects of event-specific characteristics on public shooting outcomes. In particular, we analyse how state-specific gun laws, the types of firearms, the shooting venues and the mental health of the gunman impact the outcomes of public shootings. Results show that most gun laws are unrelated to whether an event occurs. In addition, common state and federal gun laws that outlaw assault weapons are unrelated to the likelihood of an assault weapon being used during a public shooting event. Moreover, results show that the use of assault weapons is not related to more victims or fatalities than other types of guns. However, the use of hand guns, shot guns and high-capacity magazines is directly related to the number of victims and fatalities in a public shooting event. Finally, the gunman's reported mental illness is often associated with an increase in the number of victims and fatalities.

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

The Impact of Low-Priority Laws on Criminal Activity: Evidence from California

Amanda Ross & Anne Walker

Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine the impact of low-priority initiatives on criminal activity. Low-priority initiatives mandate that minor marijuana possession offenses be the lowest enforcement priority for police. Localities pass these laws because they believe if officers devote fewer resources toward minor marijuana crimes, more resources will be available to deter more serious crimes. Using data from California, we find that jurisdictions that adopted low-priority laws experienced a reduction in arrests for misdemeanor marijuana offenses. However, we do not find evidence of a consistent effect of enacting a low-priority initiative on the crime or clearance rate of other felonies.

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

When May We Kill Government Agents? In Defense of Moral Parity

Jason Brennan

Social Philosophy and Policy, Spring 2016, Pages 40-61

Abstract:
This essay argues for what may be called the parity thesis: Whenever it would be morally permissible to kill a civilian in self-defense or in defense of others against that civilian's unjust acts, it would also be permissible to kill government officials, including police officers, prison officers, generals, lawmakers, and even chief executives. I argue that in realistic circumstances, violent resistance to state injustice is permissible, even and perhaps especially in reasonably just democratic regimes. When civilians see officials about to commit certain severe injustices - such as police officers engaging in excessive violence - they may sometimes act unilaterally and kill the offending officials. I consider and rebut a wide range of objections, including objections against vigilantism, objections based on state legitimacy, and objections that violence can produce bad fallout.

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

The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy

Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra & Christopher Poliquin

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the number of fatalities. Second, mass shootings account for only 0.3% of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact of mass shootings on bills introduced is about 66 times as large as the impact of individual gun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.

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

What effect did the mob have on Chicago neighborhoods? Explicating the relationship between racket subcultures and informal social control

Hollianne Marshall & Robert Lombardo

Trends in Organized Crime, June 2016, Pages 125-148

Abstract:
This paper examines the relationship between racket subcultures and informal social control. Specifically, this paper examines the influence of traditional organized crime on informal social control in community areas while controlling for satisfaction with the police, tolerance of deviance, neighborhood and organizational ties, and neighborhood attachment. The data used in this analysis comes from the Community Survey of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. They were obtained from the Inter University Consortium of Political and Social Science Research. Ordered logistic regression was used to analyze the data. The findings indicate that racket areas reported higher levels of informal social control when compared to similar non racket areas in the city of Chicago. These findings have important implications for the study of deviance. Not only do they suggest that criminals can play an important role in controlling street crime, the findings also support differential social organization theory.

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

Reading for Life and Adolescent Re-Arrest: Evaluating a Unique Juvenile Diversion Program

Alesha Seroczynski et al.

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present results of an evaluation of Reading for Life (RFL), a diversion program for nonviolent juvenile offenders in a medium-sized Midwestern county. The unique program uses philosophical virtue theory, works of literature, and small mentoring groups to foster moral development in juvenile offenders. Participants were randomly assigned to RFL treatment or a comparison program of community service. The RFL program generated large and statistically significant drops in future arrests. The program was particularly successful at reducing the recidivism of more serious offenses and for those groups with the highest propensity for future offenses.

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

Relative Difference and Burglary Location: Can Ecological Characteristics of a Burglar's Home Neighborhood Predict Offense Location?

Alyssa Chamberlain & Lyndsay Boggess

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Neighborhood characteristics predict burglary targets, but target attractiveness may be colored by the conditions in which a potential offender resides. We test whether relative differences in concentrated disadvantage, racial/ethnic composition, and ethnic heterogeneity influence where burglars offend, controlling for distance. From a relative deprivation perspective, economically advantaged areas make more attractive targets to burglars residing in disadvantage neighborhoods, but a social disorganization perspective predicts areas lower in social cohesion are most attractive, which may be neighborhoods with greater disadvantage.

Methods: Drawing upon a unique sample of cleared burglaries in the City of Tampa, Florida from 2000 to 2012, we utilize discrete choice modeling to predict burglar offense destination.

Results: Offenders target neighborhoods that are geographically proximate or ecologically similar to their own. When accounting for relative differences, burglars from all neighborhood types are more likely to target highly disadvantaged or heterogeneous neighborhoods.

Conclusions: Burglars generally select targets that are similar to their residence. However, when suspects do discriminate, there is evidence that they target neighborhoods that are worse off relative to their own on characteristics such as residential instability, disadvantage, racial composition, and racial/ethnic diversity. These neighborhoods are associated with lower social control and lower risk of detection.

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

"Selling Smarter, Not Harder": Life Course Effects on Drug Sellers' Risk Perceptions and Management

Jamie Fader

International Journal of Drug Policy, forthcoming

Methods: This dynamic examination of apprehension avoidance strategies relies on in-depth interviews mapping out the careers of 20 drug sellers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It examines their risk perceptions and risk management strategies and techniques, exploring rationales for shifts in offending behavior.

Results: Respondents were highly risk-averse but used a narrow definition of sanctions relevant to shaping future offending behavior, typically making small adjustments in sales techniques. Rationales for these shifts included sanctions, personal preference, and life course events or circumstances. Only one attributed lasting desistance from offending to a sanction, although life course events such as parenthood and employment were associated with short-term and planned desistance.

Conclusions: The limited relevance of sanctions to offenders' thinking about risk avoidance contextualizes the widespread failure of policies designed to deter drug sales. Findings support a growing conclusion that severity of punishment is a less powerful deterrent than certainty and that adjustments in certainty after arrest are offense-specific. The relationship of life course events - especially employment - to desistance and resumed offending suggest that social policies may be more effective than criminal justice sanctions in reducing drug offending.

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

The longitudinal associations between substance use, crime, and social risk among emerging adults: A longitudinal within and between-person latent variables analysis

Gabriel Merrin et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: The reciprocal relationship between crime and substance use is well known. However, when examining this relationship, no study to date has disaggregated between- and within-person effects, which represents a more methodologically sound and developmentally-appropriate analytic approach. Further, few studies have considered the role of social risk (e.g., deviant peers, high-risk living situations) in the aforementioned relationship. We examined these associations in a group of individuals with heightened vulnerability to substance use, crime and social risk: emerging adults (aged 18-25 years) in substance use treatment.

Methods: Participants were 3479 emerging adults who had entered treatment. We used auto-regressive latent growth models with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to examine the within-person cross-lagged association between crime and substance use and whether social risk contributed to this association. A taxonomy of nested models was used to determine the structural form of the data, within-person cross-lagged associations, and between-person associations.

Results: In contrast to the extant literature on cross-lagged relations between crime and substance use, we found little evidence of such relations once between- and within-person relations were plausibly disaggregated. Yet, our results indicated that within-person increases in social risk were predictive of subsequent increases in crime and substance use. Post-hoc analyses revealed a mediation effect of social risk between crime and substance use.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the need to re-think the association between crime and substance use among emerging adults. Individuals that remain connected to high-risk social environments after finishing treatment may represent a group that could use more specialized, tailored treatments.

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

Testing the Expressive Theory of Punishment

Kenworthey Bilz

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2016, Pages 358-392

Abstract:
This article presents empirical support for the argument that punishment of a wrongdoer affects the social standing of the victim. This argument is most closely associated with the expressive theory of punishment, especially as articulated by the moral philosopher Jean Hampton (Murphy & Hampton 1988; Hampton 1992). In three experiments I show support for the basic point of Hampton's expressive theory, that punishing a criminal offender does increase the victim's social standing in the community, and failing to punish diminishes it. I show this effect across three very different types of crime: rape, credit theft, and battery. I also test some logical extensions of Hampton's expressive theory of punishment. For instance, if victims gain or lose social standing as a result of punishing, so - inversely - should offenders. In addition, different punishers should affect different sources of social standing (such as ingroup vs. outgroup standing). Finally, the effects on perceived social standing should be felt not just by victims, but by third-party observers as well. I find support for these subsidiary predictions.

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

Variation in the incarceration length-recidivism dose-response relationship

Jason Rydberg & Kyleigh Clark

Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 118-128

Methods: We approximate a large fixed panel of parolees from the National Corrections Reporting Program (NCRP) to implement a dose-response analysis of the relationship between incarceration length and the prevalence and timing of recidivism. Marginal mean weighting through stratification (MMW-S) is utilized to limit confounding effects from selection bias.

Results: We observe that incremental doses of incarceration length increase the likelihood and hasten the timing of parole revocations, and reduce the likelihood and slow the timing of new sentences. Considerable heterogeneity was observed in these effects across conviction offenses, as the direction of effects changed beyond certain thresholds, and was not constant across offender groups.

Conclusions: These results do not provide consistent support for a suppressive, criminogenic, or null effect for incarceration length on recidivism.

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

The effect of imprisonment on recommitment: An analysis using exact, coarsened exact, and radius matching with the propensity score

Gerald Gaes, William Bales & Samuel Scaggs

Journal of Experimental Criminology, March 2016, Pages 143-158

Objectives: This study examines the effect of prison versus community sanctions on recommitment to prison and compares two levels of community supervision, community control (house arrest) and probation, evaluating whether the findings are contingent on the type of matching methods used in the analysis.

Methods: Logistic regression was conducted on unmatched and matched samples. Exact, coarsened exact, and radius-matching procedures were used to create a selection on observables design. Matching variables included current offense, demographics, criminal history, supervision violations, and a rich set of Florida Sentencing Guidelines information culled from an official scoring sheet. Florida judges use this instrument to sentence offenders within the framework of the state determinate sentencing system.

Results: The results show that with exact matching, there is no effect of imprisonment on recommitment, while the other procedures suggest a specific deterrent effect of imprisonment. All four analysis methods showed that offenders under community control are more likely to reoffend than those under normal probation. Analyses between the matched and unmatched prison observations demonstrate that the matched set of prisoners is composed of offenders who have less extensive criminal records and less serious conviction offenses than unmatched offenders regardless of the matching algorithm.

Conclusions: Contrary to a prior analysis of these data, which found a criminogenic effect of prison, a null effect was found using exact matching. Comparing the matching procedures, the more precise the match the less likely there was an effect of prison. However, community control was criminogenic regardless of the matching procedure.

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

Living under surveillance: Gender, psychological distress, and stop-question-and-frisk policing in New York City

Abigail Sewell, Kevin Jefferson & Hedwig Lee

Social Science & Medicine, June 2016, Pages 1-13

Abstract:
A growing body of research highlights the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, including stop-and-frisk policing tactics. Living in a neighborhood with aggressive policing may affect one's mental health, especially for men who are the primary targets of police stops. We examine whether there is an association between psychological distress and neighborhood-level aggressive policing (i.e., frisking and use of force by police) and whether that association varies by gender. The 2009-2011 New York City (NYC) Stop, Question, and Frisk Database is aggregated to the neighborhood-level (N = 34) and merged with individual data from the 2012 NYC Community Health Survey (N = 8,066) via the United Hospital Fund neighborhood of respondents' residence. Weighted multilevel generalized linear models are used to assess main and gendered associations of neighborhood exposures to aggressive police stops on psychological distress (Kessler-6 items). While the neighborhood stop rate exhibits inconsistent associations with psychological distress, neighborhood-level frisk and use of force proportions are linked to higher levels of non-specific psychological distress among men, but not women. Specifically, men exhibit more non-specific psychological distress and more severe feelings of nervousness, effort, and worthlessness in aggressively surveilled neighborhoods than do women. Male residents are affected by the escalation of stop-and-frisk policing in a neighborhood. Living in a context of aggressive policing is an important risk factor for men's mental health.

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

Incarceration and Population Health in Wealthy Democracies

Christopher Wildeman

Criminology, May 2016, Pages 360-382

Abstract:
Everywhere you look, incarceration seems to be doing harm. Research has implicated incarceration not only in worse outcomes for individuals, their families, and their communities but also in growing inequality. Yet incarceration may not always harm society - even if it does harm those who experience it. To consider this possibility, I build an argument demonstrating how the macro-level consequences of incarceration may be distinctively harmful in the United States, focusing on the incarceration-health relationship as one indicator of a broader phenomenon. I then test my hypothesis by using an unbalanced panel data set including 21 developed democracies (N = 414) and a series of ordinary least-squares models predicting three measures of population health as a function of incarceration. Models including only a main effect of incarceration demonstrate an inverse association between changes in incarceration and changes in population health. Models including an incarceration by U.S. interaction, however, indicate that the population health consequences of changes in incarceration are far worse in the United States than elsewhere. Taken together, the results indicate that the United States is exceptional for both its rate of incarceration and its effects of incarceration, although it is unclear what drives this exceptionalism in effects.

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

Unfalsifiability of security claims

Cormac Herley

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is an inherent asymmetry in computer security: Things can be declared insecure by observation, but not the reverse. There is no observation that allows us to declare an arbitrary system or technique secure. We show that this implies that claims of necessary conditions for security (and sufficient conditions for insecurity) are unfalsifiable. This in turn implies an asymmetry in self-correction: Whereas the claim that countermeasures are sufficient is always subject to correction, the claim that they are necessary is not. Thus, the response to new information can only be to ratchet upward: Newly observed or speculated attack capabilities can argue a countermeasure in, but no possible observation argues one out. Further, when justifications are unfalsifiable, deciding the relative importance of defensive measures reduces to a subjective comparison of assumptions. Relying on such claims is the source of two problems: once we go wrong we stay wrong and errors accumulate, and we have no systematic way to rank or prioritize measures.

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

Child Access Prevention Laws, Youth Gun Carrying, and School Shootings

Mark Anderson & Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Despite intense public interest in keeping guns out of schools, next to nothing is known about the effects of gun control policies on youth gun carrying or school violence. Using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS) for the period 1993-2013, this study is the first to examine the relationship between child access prevention (CAP) gun controls laws and gun carrying among high school students. Our results suggest that CAP laws are associated with a 13 percent decrease in the rate of past month gun carrying and an 18 percent decrease in the rate at which students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property. In addition, we find that CAP laws are associated with a lagged decline in the probability that students miss school due to feeling unsafe. These results are concentrated among minors, for whom CAP laws are most likely to bind. To supplement our YRBS analysis, we collect a novel dataset on school shooting deaths for the period 1991-2013. We find that while CAP laws promote a safer school environment, they have no observable impact on school-associated shooting deaths.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The right call

Debunking the Myth of Value-Neutral Virginity: Toward Truth in Scientific Advertising

David Mandel & Philip Tetlock

Frontiers in Psychology, March 2016

Abstract:
The scientific community often portrays science as a value-neutral enterprise that crisply demarcates facts from personal value judgments. We argue that this depiction is unrealistic and important to correct because science serves an important knowledge generation function in all modern societies. Policymakers often turn to scientists for sound advice, and it is important for the wellbeing of societies that science delivers. Nevertheless, scientists are human beings and human beings find it difficult to separate the epistemic functions of their judgments (accuracy) from the social-economic functions (from career advancement to promoting moral-political causes that “feel self-evidently right”). Drawing on a pluralistic social functionalist framework that identifies five functionalist mindsets — people as intuitive scientists, economists, politicians, prosecutors, and theologians — we consider how these mindsets are likely to be expressed in the conduct of scientists. We also explore how the context of policymaker advising is likely to activate or de-activate scientists’ social functionalist mindsets. For instance, opportunities to advise policymakers can tempt scientists to promote their ideological beliefs and values, even if advising also brings with it additional accountability pressures. We end prescriptively with an appeal to scientists to be more circumspect in characterizing their objectivity and honesty and to reject idealized representations of scientific behavior that inaccurately portray scientists as value-neutral virgins.

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

Complicating Decisions: The Work Ethic Heuristic and the Construction of Effortful Decisions

Rom Schrift, Ran Kivetz & Oded Netzer

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
The notion that effort and hard work yield desired outcomes is ingrained in many cultures and affects our thinking and behavior. However, could valuing effort complicate our lives? In the present article, the authors demonstrate that individuals with a stronger tendency to link effort with positive outcomes end up complicating what should be easy decisions. People distort their preferences and the information they search and recall in a manner that intensifies the choice conflict and decisional effort they experience before finalizing their choice. Six experiments identify the effort-outcome link as the underlying mechanism for such conflict-increasing behavior. Individuals with a stronger tendency to link effort with positive outcomes (e.g., individuals who subscribe to a Protestant Work Ethic) are shown to complicate decisions by: (a) distorting evaluations of alternatives (Study 1); (b) distorting information recalled about the alternatives (Studies 2a and 2b); and (3) distorting interpretations of information about the alternatives (Study 3). Further, individuals conduct a superfluous search for information and spend more time than needed on what should have been an easy decision (Studies 4a and 4b).

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

Mitigating the Perception of Threat to Freedom through Abstraction and Distance

Sherri Jean Katz, Sahara Byrne & Alyssa Irene Kent

Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested theoretical relationships between key concepts in psychological reactance theory and construal level theory. Through a 3 x 2 x 2 experiment (n = 155), we manipulate (1) how abstractly or concretely participants are processing a message, (2) the psychological distance to the message, and (3) whether or not the message restricts choice. Dependent measures include perceptions of threat to freedom and message effectiveness. Results show that increasing abstraction and/or distance can mitigate the perception of threat to freedom that is experienced when a message restricts choice. Furthermore, this process has a subsequent influence on message effectiveness. As the first study to consider the perception of threat to freedom in the context of construal level theory, this experiment furthers understanding of key theoretical relationships. Strategies for the design of successful persuasive messages are discussed.

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

Putting the stress on conspiracy theories: Examining associations between psychological stress, anxiety, and belief in conspiracy theories

Viren Swami et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, September 2016, Pages 72–76

Abstract:
Psychological stress and anxiety may be antecedents of belief in conspiracy theories, but tests of this hypothesis are piecemeal. Here, we examined the relationships between stress, anxiety, and belief in conspiracy theories in a sample of 420 U.S. adults. Participants completed measures of belief in conspiracy theories, perceived stress, stressful life events, trait and state anxiety, episodic tension, and demographic information. Regression analysis indicated that more stressful life events and greater perceived stress predicted belief in conspiracy theories once effects of social status and age were accounted for (Adj. R2 = .09). State and trait anxiety and episodic tension were not significant predictors. These findings point to stress as a possible antecedent of belief in conspiracy theories.

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

Healthy-Left, Unhealthy-Right: Can Displaying Healthy Items to the Left (versus Right) of Unhealthy Items Nudge Healthier Choices?

Marisabel Romero & Dipayan Biswas

Journal of Consumer Research, June 2016, Pages 103-112

Abstract
Would laterally displaying a healthy item to the left versus right of an unhealthy item influence choice and consumption? The results of seven studies demonstrate that displaying healthy items to the left (vs. right) of unhealthy items enhances preference for the healthy options. In addition, consumption volume of a healthy item (vis-à-vis an unhealthy item) is higher when it is placed to the left (vs. right) of the unhealthy item. We propose that a “healthy-left, unhealthy-right” (vs. healthy-right, unhealthy-left) lateral display pattern is congruent with consumers’ mental organization of food items varying in healthfulness, which enhances ease of processing and in turn enhances self-control, thereby leading to a relatively higher likelihood of choosing healthy options. While prior studies have examined the role of several factors in influencing choices between healthy and unhealthy options, the present research is the first to demonstrate the effects of lateral display positions of healthy/unhealthy options on choice and healthful consumption. The findings of our research have important implications for designing retail food displays and restaurant menus as well as for conducting research studies involving healthy and unhealthy food displays.

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

Incentives for creativity

Sanjiv Erat & Uri Gneezy

Experimental Economics, June 2016, Pages 269-280

Abstract:
We investigate whether piece-rate and competitive incentives affect creativity, and if so, how the incentive effect depends on the form of the incentives. We find that while both piece-rate and competitive incentives lead to greater effort relative to a base-line with no incentives, neither type of incentives improve creativity relative to the base-line. More interestingly, we find that competitive incentives are in fact counter-productive in that they reduce creativity relative to base-line condition. In line with previous literature, we find that competitive conditions affect men and women differently: whereas women perform worse under competition than the base-line condition, men do not.

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

Do Professionals Get It Right? Limited Attention and Risk-taking Behaviour

Reto Foellmi, Stefan Legge & Lukas Schmid

Economic Journal, May 2016, Pages 724–755

Abstract:
Does information processing affect individual risk-taking behaviour? This article provides evidence that professional athletes suffer from a left-digit bias when dealing with signals about differences in performance. Using data from the highly competitive field of World Cup alpine skiing for the period of 1992–2014, we show that athletes misinterpret actual differences in race times by focusing on the leftmost digit, which results in increased risk-taking behaviour. For the estimation of causal effects, we exploit the fact that tiny time differences can be attributed to random shocks. We find no evidence that high-stakes situations or individual experience reduce the left-digit bias.

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

Is Popular More Likeable? Choice Status by Intrinsic Appeal in an Experimental Music Market

Freda Lynn, Mark Walker & Colin Peterson

Social Psychology Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 168-180

Abstract:
There is widespread agreement from many areas of status research that evaluators’ judgments of performances can be distorted by the status of the performer. The question arises as to whether status distorts perceptions differently at different levels of performance quality. Using data from the Columbia Musiclab study, we conduct a large-scale test of whether the effect of popularity on private perceptions of likeability is contingent on songs’ intrinsic appeal. We discover that choice status (i.e., popularity) can boost perceptions of a song’s likeability but only for songs of lower quality. In effect, the likeability halo created by popularity is one mechanism for why it is that “bad” songs can sometimes become more successful than songs that are intrinsically more appealing. But this same mechanism does not explain why “good” songs sometimes turn into superstars. This study suggests that status theories be refined to consider heterogeneous effects.

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

Smaller Crowds Outperform Larger Crowds and Individuals in Realistic Task Conditions

Mirta Galesic, Daniel Barkoczi & Konstantinos Katsikopoulo

Decision, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decisions about political, economic, legal, and health issues are often made by simple majority voting in groups that rarely exceed 30–40 members and are typically much smaller. Given that wisdom is usually attributed to large crowds, shouldn’t committees be larger? In many real-life situations, expert groups encounter a number of different tasks. Most are easy, with average individual accuracy being above chance, but some are surprisingly difficult, with most group members being wrong. Examples are elections with surprising outcomes, sudden turns in financial trends, or tricky knowledge questions. Most of the time, groups cannot predict in advance whether the next task will be easy or difficult. We show that under these circumstances moderately sized groups, whose members are selected randomly from a larger crowd, can achieve higher average accuracy across all tasks than either larger groups or individuals. This happens because an increase in group size can lead to a decrease in group accuracy for difficult tasks that is larger than the corresponding increase in accuracy for easy tasks. We derive this nonmonotonic relationship between group size and accuracy from the Condorcet jury theorem and use simulations and further analyses to show that it holds under a variety of assumptions. We further show that situations favoring moderately sized groups occur in a variety of real-life situations including political, medical, and financial decisions and general knowledge tests. These results have implications for the design of decision-making bodies at all levels of policy.

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

Single dose testosterone administration reduces loss chasing in healthy females

Yin Wu et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2016, Pages 54–57

Abstract:
Testosterone has been linked to modulation of impulsivity and risky choice, potentially mediated by changes in reward or punishment sensitivity. This study investigated the effect of testosterone on risk-taking and the adjustment of risk-taking on trials following a gain or a loss. Loss chasing is operationalized herein as the propensity to recover losses by increasing risky choice. Healthy female participants (n = 26) received a single-dose of 0.5 mg sublingual testosterone in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design. At 240 minutes post-administration, participants performed a gambling task with a high and a low risk option. In the placebo condition, participants were more likely to choose the high risk option following losses compared to wins. This effect was abolished on the testosterone session. Ignoring prior outcomes, no overall changes in risk-taking were observed. Our data indicate that testosterone affects human decision-making via diminishing sensitivity to punishment.

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

The pipeline project: Pre-publication independent replications of a single laboratory's research pipeline

Martin Schweinsberg et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This crowdsourced project introduces a collaborative approach to improving the reproducibility of scientific research, in which findings are replicated in qualified independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. Our goal is to establish a non-adversarial replication process with highly informative final results. To illustrate the Pre-Publication Independent Replication (PPIR) approach, 25 research groups conducted replications of all ten moral judgment effects which the last author and his collaborators had “in the pipeline” as of August 2014. Six findings replicated according to all replication criteria, one finding replicated but with a significantly smaller effect size than the original, one finding replicated consistently in the original culture but not outside of it, and two findings failed to find support. In total, 40% of the original findings failed at least one major replication criterion. Potential ways to implement and incentivize pre-publication independent replication on a large scale are discussed.

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

Machiavelli as a poker mate — A naturalistic behavioural study on strategic deception

Jussi Palomäki, Jeff Yan & Michael Laakasuo

Personality and Individual Differences, August 2016, Pages 266–271

Abstract:
Machiavellianism has been considered in the literature as the symbol for manipulative strategies in social conduct. However, it has been rarely studied via behavioural experiments outside the laboratory, in more naturalistic settings. We report the first behavioural study (N = 490) evaluating whether Machiavellian individuals, high Machs, deceive more than low Machs in online poker, where deception is ethically acceptable and strategically beneficial. Specifically, we evaluated Machiavellianism, bluffing patterns, and emotional sensitivity to getting “slow-played” (“stepping into a trap”). Bluffing was assessed by realistic poker tasks wherein participants made decisions to bluff or not, and sensitivity to slow-play by a self-report measure. We found that high Machs had higher average bluffsizes than low Machs (but not higher bluffing frequency) and were more distraught by getting slow-played. The Machiavellian sub-trait “desire for control” also positively predicted bluffing frequency. We show that online poker can be utilized to investigate the psychology of deception and Machiavellianism. The results also illustrate a conceptual link between unethical and ethical types of deception, as Machiavellianism is implicated in both.

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

What Is Going On Around Here? Intolerance of Uncertainty Predicts Threat Generalization

Jayne Morriss, Birthe Macdonald & Carien van Reekum

PLoS ONE, May 2016

Abstract:
Attending to stimuli that share perceptual similarity to learned threats is an adaptive strategy. However, prolonged threat generalization to cues signalling safety is considered a core feature of pathological anxiety. One potential factor that may sustain over-generalization is sensitivity to future threat uncertainty. To assess the extent to which Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) predicts threat generalization, we recorded skin conductance in 54 healthy participants during an associative learning paradigm, where threat and safety cues varied in perceptual similarity. Lower IU was associated with stronger discrimination between threat and safety cues during acquisition and extinction. Higher IU, however, was associated with generalized responding to threat and safety cues during acquisition, and delayed discrimination between threat and safety cues during extinction. These results were specific to IU, over and above other measures of anxious disposition. These findings highlight: (1) a critical role of uncertainty-based mechanisms in threat generalization, and (2) IU as a potential risk factor for anxiety disorder development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Your copay

Premium Subsidies, the Mandate, and Medicaid Expansion: Coverage Effects of the Affordable Care Act

Molly Frean, Jonathan Gruber & Benjamin Sommers

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Using a combination of subsidized premiums for Marketplace coverage, an individual mandate, and expanded Medicaid eligibility, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly increased insurance coverage rates. We assessed the relative contributions to insurance changes of these different ACA provisions in the law’s first full year, using rating-area level premium data for all 50 states and microdata from the 2012-2014 American Community Survey. We employ a difference-in-difference-in-difference estimation strategy that relies on variation across income groups, areas, and years to causally identify the role of the ACA policy levers. We have four key findings. First, insurance coverage was only moderately responsive to price subsidies, but the subsidies were still large enough to raise coverage by almost one percent of the population; the coverage gains were larger in states that operated their own health insurance exchanges (as opposed to using the federal exchange). Second, the exemptions and tax penalty structure of the individual mandate had little impact on coverage decisions. Third, the law increased Medicaid coverage both among newly eligible populations and those who were previously eligible for Medicaid (the “woodwork” effect), with the latter driven predominantly by states that expanded their programs prior to 2014. Finally, there was no “crowdout” effect of expanded Medicaid on private insurance. Overall, we conclude that exchange premium subsidies produced roughly 40% of the ACA’s 2014 coverage gains, and Medicaid the other 60%, of which 2/3 occurred among previously-eligible individuals.

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

‘Government Patent Use’: A Legal Approach To Reducing Drug Spending

Amy Kapczynski & Aaron Kesselheim

Health Affairs, May 2016, Pages 791-797

Abstract:
The high cost of patent-protected brand-name drugs can strain budgets and curb the widespread use of new medicines. An example is the case of direct-acting antiviral drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C. While prices for these drugs have come down in recent months, they still create barriers to treatment. Additionally, prescribing restrictions imposed by insurers put patients at increased risk of medical complications and contribute to transmission of the hepatitis C virus. We propose that the federal government invoke its power under an existing “government patent use” law to reduce excessive prices for important patent-protected medicines. Using this law would permit the government to procure generic versions of patented drugs and in exchange pay the patent-holding companies reasonable royalties to compensate them for research and development. This would allow patients in federal programs, and perhaps beyond, to be treated with inexpensive generic medicines according to clinical need — meaning that many more patients could be reached for no more, and perhaps far less, money than is currently spent. Another benefit would be a reduction in the opportunity for companies to extract monopoly profits that far exceed their risk-adjusted costs of research and development.

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

Outcomes are Worse in US Patients Undergoing Surgery on Weekends Compared With Weekdays

Laurent Glance et al.

Medical Care, June 2016, Pages 608–615

Research Design: Using all-payer data, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 305,853 patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass graft surgery, colorectal surgery, open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm, endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm, and lower extremity revascularization. We compared in-hospital mortality and major complications for weekday versus weekend surgery using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: After controlling for patient risk and surgery type, weekend elective surgery [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=3.18; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.26–4.49; P<0.001] and weekend urgent surgery (AOR=2.11; 95% CI, 1.68–2.66; P<0.001) were associated with a higher risk of death compared with weekday surgery. Weekend elective (AOR=1.58; 95% CI, 1.29–1.93; P<0.001) and weekend urgent surgery (AOR=1.61; 95% CI, 1.42–1.82; P<0.001) were also associated with a higher risk of major complications compared with weekday surgery.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing nonemergent major cardiac and noncardiac surgery on the weekends have a clinically significantly increased risk of death and major complications compared with patients undergoing surgery on weekdays. These findings should prompt decision makers to seek to better understand factors, such physician and nurse staffing, which may contribute to the weekend effect.

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

The Impact of Health Insurance on Preventive Care and Health Behaviors: Evidence from the 2014 ACA Medicaid Expansions

Kosali Simon, Aparna Soni & John Cawley

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
The U.S. population receives suboptimal levels of preventive care and has a high prevalence of risky health behaviors. One goal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to increase preventive care and improve health behaviors by expanding access to health insurance. This paper estimates how the ACA’s state-level expansions of Medicaid in 2014 affected these outcomes. Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and a difference-in-differences model that compares states that did and did not expand Medicaid, we examine the impact of the expansions on preventive care (e.g. dental visits, immunizations, mammograms, cancer screenings) and risky health behaviors (e.g. smoking, heavy drinking, lack of exercise, obesity). We find evidence consistent with increased use of certain forms of preventive care such as dental visits and cancer screenings but little evidence of changes in health behaviors and in particular no evidence of ex ante moral hazard (i.e., no evidence that risky health behaviors increased in response to health insurance coverage). The Medicaid expansions also resulted in modest improvements in self-assessed health and decreases in the number of work days missed due to poor health.

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

Medicare Part D and Portfolio Choice

Padmaja Ayyagari & Daifeng He

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 339-342

Abstract:
Economic theory suggests that medical spending risk affects the extent to which households are willing to accept financial risk, and consequently their investment portfolios. In this study, we focus on the elderly for whom medical spending represents a substantial risk. We exploit the exogenous reduction in prescription drug spending risk due to the introduction of Medicare Part D in the U.S. in 2006 to identify the causal effect of medical spending risk on portfolio choice. Consistent with theory, we find that Medicare-eligible persons increased risky investment after the introduction of prescription drug coverage, relative to a younger, ineligible cohort.

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

Quality of Care Provided by Board-Certified Versus Non-Board-Certified Psychiatrists and Neurologists

Anna Wallace et al.

Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: To examine associations between board certification of psychiatrists and neurologists and quality-of-care measures, using multilevel models controlling for physician and patient characteristics, and to assess feasibility of linking physician information with patient records to construct quality measures from electronic claims data.

Method: The authors identified quality measures and matched claims data from 2006 to 2012 with 942 board-certified (BC) psychiatrists, 868 non-board-certified (nBC) psychiatrists, 963 BC neurologists, and 328 nBC neurologists. Using the matched data, they identified psychiatrists who treated at least one patient with a schizophrenia diagnosis, and neurologists attending patients discharged with a principal diagnosis of ischemic stroke, and analyzed claims from these patients. For patients with schizophrenia who were prescribed an atypical antipsychotic, quality measures were claims for glucose and lipid tests, duration of any antipsychotic treatment, and concurrent prescription of multiple antipsychotics. For patients with ischemic stroke, quality measures were dysphagia evaluation; speech/language evaluation; and prescription of clopidogrel, low-molecular-weight heparin, intravenous heparin, and warfarin (for patients with co-occurring atrial fibrillation).

Results: Overall, multilevel models (patients nested within physicians) showed no statistically significant differences in quality measures between BC and nBC psychiatrists and neurologists.

Conclusions: The authors demonstrated the feasibility of linking physician information with patient records to construct quality measures from electronic claims data, but there may be only minimal differences in the quality of care between BC and nBC psychiatrists and neurologists, or there may be a difference that could not be measured with the quality measures used.

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

What is the Marginal Benefit of Payment-Induced Family Care?

Norma Coe et al.

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Research on informal and formal long-term care has centered almost solely on costs; to date, there has been very little attention paid to the benefits. This study exploits the randomization in the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation program and instrumental variable techniques to gain causal estimates of the effect of family involvement in home-based care on health care utilization and health outcomes. We find that family involvement significantly decreases Medicaid utilization. Importantly, we find family involvement significantly lowers the likelihood of urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and bedsores, suggesting that the lower utilization is due to better health outcomes.

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

Association Between Availability of a Price Transparency Tool and Outpatient Spending

Sunita Desai et al.

Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 May 2016, Pages 1874-1881

Design, Setting, and Participants: Two large employers represented in multiple market areas across the United States offered an online health care price transparency tool to their employees. One introduced it on April 1, 2011, and the other on January 1, 2012. The tool provided users information about what they would pay out of pocket for services from different physicians, hospitals, or other clinical sites. Using a matched difference-in-differences design, outpatient spending among employees offered the tool (n=148 655) was compared with that among employees from other companies not offered the tool (n=295 983) in the year before and after it was introduced.

Results: Mean outpatient spending among employees offered the tool was $2021 in the year before the tool was introduced and $2233 in the year after. In comparison, among controls, mean outpatient spending changed from $1985 to $2138. After adjusting for demographic and health characteristics, being offered the tool was associated with a mean $59 (95% CI, $25-$93) increase in outpatient spending. Mean outpatient out-of-pocket spending among those offered the tool was $507 in the year before introduction of the tool and $555 in the year after. Among the comparison group, mean outpatient out-of-pocket spending changed from $490 to $520. Being offered the price transparency tool was associated with a mean $18 (95% CI, $12-$25) increase in out-of-pocket spending after adjusting for relevant factors. In the first 12 months, 10% of employees who were offered the tool used it at least once.

Conclusions and Relevance: Among employees at 2 large companies, offering a price transparency tool was not associated with lower health care spending. The tool was used by only a small percentage of eligible employees.

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

The Deservingness Heuristic and the Politics of Health Care

Carsten Jensen & Michael Bang Petersen

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Citizens’ social policy opinions are strongly influenced by a simple heuristic: Are the recipients of social benefits deserving or not? Adding to this growing literature, we provide evidence that the deservingness heuristic does not treat all social benefits alike. Already at the level of preconscious processing, the heuristic displays a bias toward tagging the recipients of health care — that is, sick individuals — as deserving. This powerful, implicit effect overrides other opinion factors and produces broad-based support among the public for health care — across levels of self-interest, media frames, ideological divides, and national cultures. In contrast, when the deservingness heuristic is utilized for reasoning about unemployment benefits, implicit psychological constraints are fewer and political conflict erupts depending on differences in interest and worldviews. Using a variety of methodologies, we track this fundamental difference between the politics of health care and unemployment benefits from the level of implicit processing to the level of political attitudes.

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

Tort Reform and Innovation

Alberto Galasso & Hong Luo

Harvard Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
Current academic and policy debates focus on the impact of tort reforms on physicians’ behavior and medical costs. This paper examines whether these reforms also affect incentives to develop new technologies. We find that laws which limit the liability exposure of healthcare providers are associated with a 13 percent reduction in medical device patenting. Tort reforms have the strongest impact in medical fields in which malpractice litigation is more frequent, and do not seem to affect the propensity to develop technologies of the highest and lowest quality. Our results underscore the importance of considering dynamic effects in economic analysis of tort laws.

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

Are Settlements in Patent Litigation Collusive? Evidence from Paragraph IV Challenges

Eric Helland & Seth Seabury

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
The use of “pay-for-delay” settlements in patent litigation – in which a branded manufacturer and generic entrant settle a Paragraph IV patent challenge and agree to forestall entry – has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years. Critics argue that these settlements are collusive and lower consumer welfare by maintaining monopoly prices after patents should have expired, while proponents argue they reinforce incentives for innovation. We estimate the impact of settlements to Paragraph IV challenges on generic entry and evaluate the implications for drug prices and quantity. To address the potential endogeneity of Paragraph IV challenges and settlements we estimate the model using instrumental variables. Our instruments include standard measures of patent strength and a measure of settlement legality based on a split between several Circuit Courts of Appeal. We find that Paragraph IV challenges increase generic entry, lower drug prices and increase quantity, while settlements effectively reverse the effect. These effects persist over time, inflating price and depressing quantity for up to 5 years after the challenge. We also find that eliminating settlements would result in a relatively small reduction in research and development (R&D) expenditures.

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

The Effect of Physician and Hospital Market Structure on Medical Technology Diffusion

Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Robert Town & Andrew Wilcock

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Objective: To examine the influence of physician and hospital market structures on medical technology diffusion, studying the diffusion of drug-eluting stents (DESs), which became available in April 2003.

Data Sources/Study Setting: Medicare claims linked to physician demographic data from the American Medical Association and to hospital characteristics from the American Hospital Association Survey.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods: All fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries who received a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with a cardiac stent in 2003 or 2004. Each PCI record was joined to characteristics on the patient, the procedure, the cardiologist, and the hospital where the PCI was delivered. We accounted for the endogeneity of physician and hospital market structure using exogenous variation in the distances between patient, physician, and hospital locations. We estimated multivariate linear probability models that related the use of a DES in the PCI on market structure while controlling for patient, physician, and hospital characteristics.

Principal Findings: DESs diffused faster in markets where cardiology practices faced more competition. Conversely, we found no evidence that the structure of the hospital market mattered.

Conclusions: Competitive pressure to maintain or expand PCI volume shares compelled cardiologists to adopt DESs more quickly.

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

Productivity Dispersion in Medicine and Manufacturing

Amitabh Chandra et al.

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 99-103

Abstract:
The conventional wisdom in health economics is that large differences in average productivity across US hospitals are the result of idiosyncratic features of the healthcare sector which dull the role of market forces. Strikingly, however, we find that productivity dispersion in heart attack treatment across hospitals is, if anything, smaller than in narrowly defined manufacturing industries such as ready-mixed concrete. While this fact admits multiple interpretations, it suggests that healthcare may have more in common with "traditional" sectors than is often assumed, and relatedly, that insights from research on productivity and allocation in other sectors may enrich analysis of healthcare.

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

Traditional Medicare Versus Private Insurance: How Spending, Volume, And Price Change At Age Sixty-Five

Jacob Wallace & Zirui Song

Health Affairs, May 2016, Pages 864-872

Abstract:
To slow the growth of Medicare spending, some policy makers have advocated raising the Medicare eligibility age from the current sixty-five years to sixty-seven years. For the majority of affected adults, this would delay entry into Medicare and increase the time they are covered by private insurance. Despite its policy importance, little is known about how such a change would affect national health care spending, which is the sum of health care spending for all consumers and payers — including governments. We examined how spending differed between Medicare and private insurance using longitudinal data on imaging and procedures for a national cohort of individuals who switched from private insurance to Medicare at age sixty-five. Using a regression discontinuity design, we found that spending fell by $38.56 per beneficiary per quarter — or 32.4 percent — upon entry into Medicare at age sixty-five. In contrast, we found no changes in the volume of services at age sixty-five. For the previously insured, entry into Medicare led to a large drop in spending driven by lower provider prices, which may reflect Medicare’s purchasing power as a large insurer. These findings imply that increasing the Medicare eligibility age may raise national health care spending by replacing Medicare coverage with private insurance, which pays higher provider prices than Medicare does.

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

Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage in Medicaid Expansion and Non-Expansion States

Charles Courtemanche et al.

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to achieve nearly universal health insurance coverage in the United States through a combination of insurance market reforms, mandates, subsidies, health insurance exchanges, and Medicaid expansions, most of which took effect in 2014. This paper estimates the causal effects of the ACA on health insurance coverage using data from the American Community Survey. We utilize difference-in-difference-in-differences models that exploit cross-sectional variation in the intensity of treatment arising from state participation in the Medicaid expansion and local area pre-ACA uninsured rates. This strategy allows us to identify the effects of the ACA in both Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states. Our preferred specification suggests that, at the average pre-treatment uninsured rate, the full ACA increased the proportion of residents with insurance by 5.9 percentage points compared to 3.0 percentage points in states that did not expand Medicaid. Private insurance expansions from the ACA were due to increases in both employer-provided and non-group coverage. The coverage gains from the full ACA were largest for those with incomes below the Medicaid eligibility threshold, non-whites, young adults, and unmarried individuals. We find some evidence that the Medicaid expansion partially crowded out private coverage among low-income individuals.

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

Differing Impacts Of Market Concentration On Affordable Care Act Marketplace Premiums

Richard Scheffler et al.

Health Affairs, May 2016, Pages 880-888

Abstract:
Recent increases in market concentration among health plans, hospitals, and medical groups raise questions about what impact such mergers are having on costs to consumers. We examined the impact of market concentration on the growth of health insurance premiums between 2014 and 2015 in two Affordable Care Act state-based Marketplaces: Covered California and NY State of Health. We measured health plan, hospital, and medical group market concentration using the well-known Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) and used a multivariate regression model to relate these measures to premium growth. Both states exhibited a positive association between hospital concentration and premium growth and a positive (but not statistically significant) association between medical group concentration and premium growth. Our results for health plan concentration differed between the two states: It was positively associated with premium growth in New York but negatively associated with premium growth in California. The health plan concentration finding in Covered California may be the result of its selectively contracting with health plans.

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

The Affordable Care Act, State Policies and Demand for Primary Care Physicians

Marco Huesch, Truls Ostbye & Lloyd Michener

Duke University Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
The Affordable Care Act is designed to increase healthcare access nationwide. Such foreseeable new demand in the face of a fixed supply of physicians could lead to greater, and/or more intensive, recruitment of primary care physicians. We analyzed all primary care advertisements on three important national physician recruitment websites by ‘scraping’ all content on two days one year apart and parsed the content using text analytic tools. We expected greater increases in recruitment activity in those states expanding Medicaid and which partnered with the federal government to construct insurance exchanges. Contrary to hypothesis, physician labor markets did not consistently respond to foreseeable increases in patient demand by increased recruitment activities.

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

Supervised autonomous robotic soft tissue surgery

Azad Shademan et al.

Science Translational Medicine, 4 May 2016

Abstract:
The current paradigm of robot-assisted surgeries (RASs) depends entirely on an individual surgeon’s manual capability. Autonomous robotic surgery — removing the surgeon’s hands — promises enhanced efficacy, safety, and improved access to optimized surgical techniques. Surgeries involving soft tissue have not been performed autonomously because of technological limitations, including lack of vision systems that can distinguish and track the target tissues in dynamic surgical environments and lack of intelligent algorithms that can execute complex surgical tasks. We demonstrate in vivo supervised autonomous soft tissue surgery in an open surgical setting, enabled by a plenoptic three-dimensional and near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) imaging system and an autonomous suturing algorithm. Inspired by the best human surgical practices, a computer program generates a plan to complete complex surgical tasks on deformable soft tissue, such as suturing and intestinal anastomosis. We compared metrics of anastomosis — including the consistency of suturing informed by the average suture spacing, the pressure at which the anastomosis leaked, the number of mistakes that required removing the needle from the tissue, completion time, and lumen reduction in intestinal anastomoses—between our supervised autonomous system, manual laparoscopic surgery, and clinically used RAS approaches. Despite dynamic scene changes and tissue movement during surgery, we demonstrate that the outcome of supervised autonomous procedures is superior to surgery performed by expert surgeons and RAS techniques in ex vivo porcine tissues and in living pigs. These results demonstrate the potential for autonomous robots to improve the efficacy, consistency, functional outcome, and accessibility of surgical techniques.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Looking for jobs

Welfare Reform and Labor Force Exit by Young, Low-Skilled Single Males

Lincoln Groves

Demography, April 2016, Pages 393-418

Abstract:
While the labor market woes of low-skilled male workers in the United States over the past several decades have been well documented, the academic literature identifying causal factors leading to declines in labor force participation (LFP) by young, low-skilled males remains scant. To address this gap, I use the timing and characteristics of welfare-reform policies implemented during the 1990s and fixed-effects, instrumental variable regression modeling to show that policies seeking to increase LFP rates for low-skilled single mothers inadvertently led to labor force exit by young, low-skilled single males. Using data from the Current Population Survey and a bundle of work inducements enacted by states throughout the 1990s as exogenous variation in a quasi-experimental design, I find that the roughly 10 percentage point increase in LFP for low-skilled single mothers facilitated by welfare reform resulted in a statistically significant 2.8 percentage point decline in LFP for young, low-skilled single males. After conducting a series of robustness checks, I conclude that this result is driven entirely by white males, who responded to welfare-reform policies with a 3.7 percentage point decline in labor supply. Young black males, as well as other groups of potentially affected workers, appear to be uninfluenced by the labor supply response of less-educated single mothers to welfare reform. Impacts on young, single white males are large and economically significant, suggesting that nearly 150,000 males departed the formal labor market in response to directed welfare-reform policies.

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

The Enduring Employment Impact of Your Great Recession Location

Danny Yagan

University of California Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
This paper asks whether Americans were jobless in 2014 because of where they were living in 2007. In the cross section, employment rates diverged across U.S. local areas 2007-2009 and - in contrast to history - have barely converged. This "great divergence" could reflect spatial differences in human capital, rather than causal location effects. I therefore use administrative data to compare two million workers with very similar pre-2007 human capital: those who in 2006 earned the same amount from the same retail firm, at establishments located in different local areas. I find that conditional on 2006 firm-x-wages fixed effects, living in 2007 in a below-median 2007-2009-fluctuation area caused those workers to have a 1.3%-lower 2014 employment rate. Hence, U.S. local labor markets are limitedly integrated: location has caused long-term joblessness and exacerbated within-skill income inequality. The enduring impact is not explained by more layoffs, more disability insurance enrollment, or reduced migration. Instead, the employment outcomes of cross-area movers are consistent with severe-fluctuation areas continuing to depress their residents' employment. Impacts are correlated with housing busts but not manufacturing busts, possibly reconciling current experience with history. If recent trends continue, employment rates are estimated to remain diverged into the 2020s - adding up to a relative lost decade for half the country. Employment models should allow market-wide shocks to cause persistent labor force exit, leaving employment depressed even after unemployment returns to normal.

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

Can You Gig it? An Empirical Examination of the Gig-Economy and Entrepreneurial Activity

Gordon Burtch, Seth Carnahan & Brad Greenwood

University of Michigan Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
We examine how the entry of gig-economy platforms influences local entrepreneurial activity. On one hand, such platforms may reduce entrepreneurial activity by offering stable employment for the un- and under-employed. On the other hand, such platforms may enable entrepreneurial activity by offering work flexibility that allows the entrepreneur to re-deploy resources strategically in order to pursue her nascent venture. To resolve this tension we exploit a set of natural experiments, the entry of the ride-sharing platform Uber X and the on-demand delivery platform Postmates into local areas. We examine the effect of each on crowdfunding campaign launches at Kickstarter, the world's largest reward-based crowdfunding platform. Results indicate a negative and significant effect on crowdfunding campaign launches, and thus local entrepreneurial activity, after entry of Uber X or Postmates. Strikingly, the effect appears to accrue primarily to un-funded and under-funded projects, suggesting that gig-economy platforms predominantly reduce lower quality entrepreneurial activity by offering viable employment for the un- and under-employed.

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

Downskilling: Changes in employer skill requirements over the business cycle

Alicia Sasser Modestino, Daniel Shoag & Joshua Ballance

Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using a novel database of 82.5 million online job postings, we show that employer skill requirements fell as the labor market improved from 2010 to 2014. We find that a 1 percentage point reduction in the local unemployment rate is associated with a roughly 0.27 percentage point reduction in the fraction of jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree and a roughly 0.23 percentage point reduction in the fraction requiring five or more years of experience. This pattern is established using multiple measures of labor availability, is bolstered by similar trends along heretofore un-measured dimensions of skill, and even occurs within firm-job title pairs. We further confirm the causal effect of labor market tightening on skill requirements using a natural experiment based on the fracking boom in the United States, as an exogenous shock to the local labor supply in tradable, non-fracking industries. These industries are not plausibly affected by local demand shocks or natural gas extraction technology, but still show fewer skill requirements in response to tighter labor markets. Our results imply this labor market-induced downskilling reversed much of the cyclical increase in education and experience requirements that occurred during the Great Recession.

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

How Credit Constraints Impact Job Finding Rates, Sorting & Aggregate Output

Kyle Herkenhoff, Gordon Phillips & Ethan Cohen-Cole

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We empirically and theoretically examine how consumer credit access affects displaced workers. Empirically, we link administrative employment histories to credit reports. We show that an increase in credit limits worth 10% of prior annual earnings allows individuals to take .15 to 3 weeks longer to find a job. Conditional on finding a job, they earn more and work at more productive firms. We develop a labor sorting model with credit to provide structural estimates of the impact of credit on employment outcomes, which we find are similar to our empirical estimates. We use the model to understand the impact of consumer credit on the macroeconomy. We find that if credit limits tighten during a downturn, employment recovers quicker, but output and productivity remain depressed. This is because when limits tighten, low-asset, low-productivity job losers cannot self-insure. Therefore, they search less thoroughly and take more accessible jobs at less productive firms.

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

Career Interruption and Productivity: Evidence from Major League Baseball during the Vietnam War Era

Brennan Mange & David Phillips

Journal of Human Capital, Summer 2016, Pages 159-185

Abstract:
Can temporary shocks to training and early career experience permanently reduce productivity? Using detailed data on the careers and productivity of Major League Baseball players subject to the Vietnam War draft, we find that birth dates randomly drawn in the draft produce 19 percent fewer major league players. Players born on draft days who do make it to Major League Baseball produce 29 percent fewer wins than those born on nondraft days, a gap that is largest for the most productive players and persists as players age. In addition, the tendency of the draft to push men toward more schooling generates at least some of our results.

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

Beyond the labour income tax wedge: The unemployment-reducing effect of tax progressivity

Etienne Lehmann et al.

International Tax and Public Finance, June 2016, Pages 454-489

Abstract:
In this paper, we argue that, for a given overall level of labour income taxation, a more progressive tax schedule increases employment. From a theoretical point of view, higher progressivity increases overall employment through a wage moderating effect and also because employment of low-paid workers is more elastic to wages. We test these theoretical predictions on a panel of 21 OECD countries over 1998-2008. Controlling for the burden of taxation at the average wage, our estimates suggest that a more progressive tax schedule reduces the unemployment rate and increases the employment rate. These findings are confirmed when we account for the potential endogeneity of both average taxation and progressivity. Overall, our results suggest that policy-makers should not only focus on the detrimental effects of tax progressivity on in-work effort, but also consider the employment-enhancing effects.

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

The Race Between Machine and Man: Implications of Technology for Growth, Factor Shares and Employment

Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
The advent of automation and the simultaneous decline in the labor share and employment among advanced economies raise concerns that labor will be marginalized and made redundant by new technologies. We examine this proposition using a task-based framework in which tasks previously performed by labor can be automated and more complex versions of existing tasks, in which labor has a comparative advantage, can be created. We characterize the equilibrium in this model and establish how the available technologies and the choices of firms between producing with capital or labor determine factor prices and the allocation of factors to tasks. In a static version of our model where capital is fixed and technology is exogenous, automation reduces employment and the share of labor in national income and may even reduce wages, while the creation of more complex tasks has the opposite effects. Our full model endogenizes capital accumulation and the direction of research towards automation and the creation of new complex tasks. Under reasonable conditions, there exists a stable balanced growth path in which the two types of innovations go hand-in-hand. An increase in automation reduces the cost of producing using labor, and thus discourages further automation and encourages the faster creation of new complex tasks. The endogenous response of technology restores the labor share and employment back to their initial level. Although the economy contains powerful self correcting forces, the equilibrium generates too much automation. Finally, we extend the model to include workers of different skills. We find that inequality increases during transitions, but the self-correcting forces in our model also limit the increase in inequality over the long-run.

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

The Impact of Forced Migration on Modern Cities: Evidence from 1930s Crop Failures

Lauren Cohen, Christopher Malloy & Quoc Nguyen

Harvard Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
We find that a sizable portion of current city-level variation in unionization was set in place during the 1930s, and that this exogenous unionization has a real impact on city-level economic outcomes today. First, we show that the driving factor behind these city-level differences was random, and a result of substantially different rainfall levels during the Dust Bowl. We find that individuals in drought - ridden areas were significantly more likely to migrate to close-by cities. Workers in these cities - facing an influx of rural migrants - then became far more inclined to unionize than those facing less competition for their jobs. Using this rainfall (and the resultant crop failures) in surrounding counties to generate exogenous variation in city migration inflows, we show that random differences in the drought-laden 1930's rainfall predict migration patterns, and variation in union formation rates that persist through today. These exogenous events explaining a sizable percentage of cross-sectional geographic variation in current unionization challenges explanations of unionization as a necessary response to work-place conditions. Furthermore, and importantly, we show that this exogenous unionization that persists through today predicts variation in key city-level economic outcomes such as level of education, establishment growth, and the presence of high-value industries.

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

The effect of education on the minimum wage

Christos Pargianas

Applied Economics Letters, Summer 2016, Pages 765-767

Abstract:
This research shows for the first time that the level of education has a causal, negative effect on the minimum wage. I use 2SLS, with historical educational data as an instrument for the level of education in 2010, and I find that across the US states a one percentage point greater proportion of college graduates is associated with a real minimum wage that is lower by 1.5%-1.6%. Also, in order to control for state-level omitted variables, I regress the change in the minimum wage on the change in education and I find again a negative, and significantly at the 1% level, effect. Minimum wage is a policy that is chosen by governments according to voters' preferences. The results of this research imply that when the level of education increases voters prefer a lower minimum wage.

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

The Limited Macroeconomic Effects of Unemployment Benefit Extensions

Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Loukas Karabarbounis

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
By how much does an extension of unemployment benefits affect macroeconomic outcomes such as unemployment? Answering this question is challenging because U.S. law extends benefits for states experiencing high unemployment. We use data revisions to decompose the variation in the duration of benefits into the part coming from actual differences in economic conditions and the part coming from measurement error in the real-time data used to determine benefit extensions. Using only the variation coming from measurement error, we find that benefit extensions have a limited influence on state-level macroeconomic outcomes. We use our estimates to quantify the effects of the increase in the duration of benefits during the Great Recession and find that they increased the unemployment rate by at most 0.3 percentage point.

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

Minimum Wage Shocks, Employment Flows, and Labor Market Frictions

Arindrajit Dube, William Lester & Michael Reich

Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide the first estimates of the effects of minimum wages on employment flows in the US labor market, identifying the impact by using policy discontinuities at state borders. We find that minimum wages have a sizable negative effect on employment flows but not on stocks. Separations and accessions fall among affected workers, especially those with low tenure. We do not find changes in the duration of nonemployment for separations or hires. This evidence is consistent with search models with endogenous separations.

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

Local employment multipliers in U.S. cities

Jasper Jacob van Dijk

Journal of Economic Geography, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article, I show that within a U.S. city there is a significant effect of a permanent shock to employment in the tradable sector on employment in the non-tradable sector. I find that each additional job in the tradable sector will result in between 1.6 and 1.7 new jobs in the non-tradable sector. This result is robust to the specification of sector growth in the regression model. When I split the tradable sector into high- and low-wage workers, I find a larger multiplier of 2.0-2.3 for high-wage workers and no significant multiplier for low-wage workers.

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

50 is the new 30 - long-run trends of schooling and retirement explained by human aging

Holger Strulik & Katharina Werner

Journal of Economic Growth, June 2016, Pages 165-187

Abstract:
Workers in the US and other developed countries retire no later than a century ago and spend a significantly longer part of their life in school, implying that they stay less years in the work force. The facts of longer schooling and simultaneously shorter working life are seemingly hard to square with the rationality of the standard economic life cycle model. In this paper we propose a novel theory, based on health and aging, that explains these long-run trends. Workers optimally respond to a longer stay in a healthy state of high productivity by obtaining more education and supplying less labor. Better health increases productivity and amplifies the return on education. The health accelerator allows workers to finance educational efforts with less forgone labor supply than in the previous state of shorter healthy life expectancy. When both life-span and healthy life expectancy increase, the health effect is dominating and the working life gets shorter if the intertemporal elasticity of substitution for leisure is sufficiently small or the return on education is sufficiently large. We calibrate the model and show that it is able to predict the historical trends of schooling and retirement.

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

Job Mobility and Earnings Instability

Marco Leonardi

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is still no consensus on the causes of the increase in the variance of transitory earnings (earnings instability) in the United States. It is difficult to attribute the rise in instability to job mobility because there is no evidence of a concurrent increase in job turnover or separations. Using an error component model of the covariance structure of earnings on Panel Survey of Income Dynamics and Survey of Income and Program Participation data, this study shows that job mobility and the increase in the variance of wage changes upon job change accounts for a substantial part of the increase in earnings instability. The empirical evidence is consistent with the simulations of a search and matching model where an increase in the variance of productivity shocks increases on-the-job search and earnings instability among job changers while leaving job turnover approximately constant.

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

Can Genes Play a Role in Explaining Frequent Job Changes? An Examination of Gene-Environment Interaction From Human Capital Theory

Wei Chi et al.

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study examined how a dopamine genetic marker, DRD4 7 Repeat allele, interacted with early life environmental factors (i.e., family socioeconomic status, and neighborhood poverty) to influence job change frequency in adulthood using a national representative sample from the United States. The dopamine gene played a moderating role in the relationship between early life environments and later job change behaviors, which was meditated through educational achievement. In particular, higher family socioeconomic status was associated with higher educational achievement, and thereafter higher frequency of voluntary job changes and lower frequency of involuntary job changes; such relationships were stronger (i.e., more positive or negative) for individuals with more DRD4 7R alleles. In contrast, higher neighborhood poverty was associated with lower educational achievement, and thereafter lower frequency of voluntary job change and higher frequency of involuntary job change; such relationships were again stronger (i.e., more positive or negative) for individuals with more DRD4 7R alleles. The results demonstrated that molecular genetics using DNA information, along with early life environmental factors, can bring new insights to enhance our understanding of job change frequency in individuals' early career development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, May 30, 2016

Trade mission

Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure

David Autor et al.

MIT Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Has rising trade integration between the U.S. and China contributed to the polarization of U.S. politics? Analyzing outcomes from the 2002 and 2010 congressional elections, we detect an ideological realignment that is centered in trade-exposed local labor markets and that commences prior to the divisive 2016 U.S. presidential election. Exploiting the exogenous component of rising trade with China and classifying legislator ideologies by their congressional voting record, we find strong evidence that congressional districts exposed to larger increases in import competition disproportionately removed moderate representatives from office in the 2000s. Trade-exposed districts initially in Republican hands become substantially more likely to elect a conservative Republican, while trade-exposed districts initially in Democratic hands become more likely to elect either a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Polarization is also evident when breaking down districts by race: trade-exposed locations with a majority white population are disproportionately likely to replace moderate legislators with conservative Republicans, whereas locations with a majority non-white population tend to replace moderates with liberal Democrats. In contrast with much previous work in political science, we find limited impacts of economic shocks on the probability of party turnover (an anti-incumbency effect) or on the electoral vote shares of the major parties (a party realignment effect). Focusing on legislator behavior rather than on party vote counts, we find that trade exposure abets the replacement of incumbents from both parties with more ideologically strident successors.

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

Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections?

Yi Che et al.

NBER Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
This paper examines the impact of trade liberalization on U.S. Congressional elections. We find that U.S. counties subject to greater competition from China via a change in U.S. trade policy exhibit relative increases in turnout, the share of votes cast for Democrats and the probability that the county is represented by a Democrat. We find that these changes are consistent with Democrats in office during the period examined being more likely than Republicans to support legislation limiting import competition or favoring economic assistance.

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

Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: What's Trade Got to Do with it?

James Lake & Daniel Millimet

Southern Methodist University Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Using US local labor markets between 1990 and 2010, we analyze the heterogeneous impact of rising trade exposure on employment growth of 'good' and 'bad' jobs. Three salient findings emerge. First, rising local exposure to import competition, via falling US tariffs or rising Chinese import penetration, reduces (increases) employment growth of bad (good) jobs. Conversely, improved local access to export markets, via falling foreign tariffs, increases (reduces) employment growth of bad (good) jobs. Second, falling US tariff protection is substantially more important, economically and statistically, than rising Chinese import penetration. Third, globalization generates occupational polarization but not job polarization.

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

Going for the Gold: The Economics of the Olympics

Robert Baade & Victor Matheson

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Spring 2016, Pages 201-218

Abstract:
In this paper, we explore the costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games. On the cost side, there are three major categories: general infrastructure such as transportation and housing to accommodate athletes and fans; specific sports infrastructure required for competition venues; and operational costs, including general administration as well as the opening and closing ceremony and security. Three major categories of benefits also exist: the short-run benefits of tourist spending during the Games; the long-run benefits or the "Olympic legacy" which might include improvements in infrastructure and increased trade, foreign investment, or tourism after the Games; and intangible benefits such as the "feel-good effect" or civic pride. Each of these costs and benefits will be addressed in turn, but the overwhelming conclusion is that in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities; they result in positive net benefits only under very specific and unusual circumstances. Furthermore, the cost-benefit proposition is worse for cities in developing countries than for those in the industrialized world. In closing, we discuss why what looks like an increasingly poor investment decision on the part of cities still receives significant bidding interest and whether changes in the bidding process of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will improve outcomes for potential hosts.

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

On the Origins and Development of Pakistan's Soccer-Ball Cluster

David Atkin et al.

World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sialkot, Pakistan, is the world center of hand-stitched soccer-ball manufacturing. The existence of the cluster is puzzling and seems to argue against the "home market effect", since there is little local demand for soccer balls. This paper traces the development of the cluster from its origins in the late 1800s and shows that it was rooted in an initial home market effect due to the presence of British colonists. Subsequent expansion was driven by agglomeration forces and effective industrial policy. The case study underlines the importance of longer-term historical dynamics and the role of industrial policy for understanding a country's contemporaneous pattern of specialization in the world economy.

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

Corruption: Transcending Borders

Esteban Alemán Correa, Michael Jetter & Alejandra Montoya Agudelo

Kyklos, May 2016, Pages 183-207

Abstract:
Is corrupt behavior transmitted internationally? Using panel data for 123 countries from 1995 to 2012, our results suggest a positive and statistically meaningful relationship between neighboring countries' corruption levels and domestic graft. This result is robust to including two-way fixed effects, country-specific time trends, and the standard set of control variables. The effect becomes stronger as income increases, if capital cities are located closer to each other, and if countries share a common political union, such as the European Union. We find less evidence for common language or comparable institutional backgrounds (e.g., similar degrees of democracy), but some evidence for trade relationships as potential transmission channels. These findings allow two main conclusions. First, a country with corrupt neighbors will find it difficult to get rid of corruption. Second, on a more positive note, efforts aimed at decreasing domestic corruption levels could produce positive externalities in affecting neighboring countries. This could particularly hold true within a common institutional framework, such as the European Union.

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

Under One Roof: Supply Chains and the Protection of Foreign Investment

Leslie Johns & Rachel Wellhausen

American Political Science Review, February 2016, Pages 31-51

Abstract:
We argue that economic links, such as supply chains, can create a common roof that protects foreign investors in host countries that lack strong institutions to protect property rights. Supply chains link the activities of firms: when a host government breaks a contract with one firm, other firms in the supply chain are harmed. These partner firms therefore have incentive to protect one another's property rights. This leads to the key implication of our argument: host governments are less likely to violate the property rights of firms that are more tightly linked with other firms in the host economy. We test our argument with cross-national data on investment arbitration, a survey of US multinational subsidiaries in Russia, and case studies from Azerbaijan. Our findings imply that one benefit of outsourcing in developing and transition economies is the creation of a network of partner firms that protect each other's property rights.

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

The Hazardous Effects of Antidumping

Tibor Besedeš & Thomas Prusa

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the extent to which antidumping actions eliminate trade altogether. Using quarterly 10-digit HS-level export data for products involved in U.S. antidumping cases we find that antidumping actions increase the hazard rate by more than 50%. We find strong evidence of investigation effects with the impact during the initiation and preliminary duty phases considerably larger than once final duties are imposed. There are also important differences with respect to the size of duties with cases with large duties experiencing very large investigation effects. We show the antidumping (AD)-affected countries are less likely to return to the market even after the AD order is removed.

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

Size matters! Who is bashing whom in trade war?

Kaz Miyagiwa, Huasheng Song & Hylke Vandenbussche

International Review of Economics & Finance, September 2016, Pages 33-45

Abstract:
In this paper we present a dynamic model of trade wars in contingent protection. We find that "market size" matters in trade wars in the sense that countries are more likely to initiate anti-dumping cases against countries having sufficiently smaller home markets relative to their own, but less likely against countries with larger markets. We test this "selective-targeting hypothesis" using World Bank data of worldwide anti-dumping filings during the years 1995-2014, and find strong support for it. Thus, our study indicates the importance of relative market size in understanding recent patterns of anti-dumping filings and contingent protection in world trade.

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

Population Aging and Comparative Advantage

Jie Cai & Andrey Stoyanov

Journal of International Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper we show that demographic differences between countries are a source of comparative advantage in international trade. Since many skills are age-dependent, population aging decreases the relative supply and increases the relative price of skills which depreciate with age. Thus, industries relying on skills in which younger workers are relatively more efficient will be more productive in countries with a younger labor force and less productive in countries with an older population. Building upon the neuroscience and economics literature, we construct industry-level measures of intensities in various age-dependent skills and show that population aging leads to specialization in industries which use age-appreciating skills intensively and erodes comparative advantage in industries for which age-depreciating skills are more important.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Raging

Violent Video Games and Violent Crime

Scott Cunningham, Benjamin Engelstätter & Michael Ward

Southern Economic Journal, April 2016, Pages 1247–1265

Abstract:
Video games are an increasingly popular leisure activity. As many best-selling games contain hyper-realistic violence, many researchers and policymakers have hypothesized that violent games cause violent behaviors. Laboratory experiments have found evidence suggesting that violent video games increase aggression. Before drawing policy conclusions about the effect of violent games on actual behavior, these experimental studies should be subjected to tests of external validity. Our study uses a quasi-experimental methodology to identify the short-run and medium-run effects of violent game sales on violent crime using time variation in retail unit sales data of the top 30 selling video games and violent criminal offenses from both the Uniform Crime Report and the National Incident-Based Reporting System from 2005 to 2011. We find no evidence of an increase in crime associated with video games and perhaps a decrease.

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

Violence as Honorable? Racial and Ethnic Differences in Attitudes Toward Violence

Mary Rose & Christopher Ellison

Crime & Delinquency, June 2016, Pages 800-820

Abstract:
Criminologists have suggested that Latinos differ from Southern Whites in their views of violence. A sample of 1,429 Texans indicated whether they agreed that violence deserves a violent response, whether violence is necessary to prevent future violence, and whether people have a right to kill in defense of self or family. Controlling for other factors, Latinos and African Americans were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to disagree about the need for violence in preventing future harm and the right to self-defense. Less-acculturated Latinos, indicated by whether they took the survey in Spanish, were the least supportive of violence. Despite having roots in a so-called “culture of honor,” Latino immigrants, as well as those who are U.S. citizens, have distinct views on violence.

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

Going to extremes for one's group: The role of prototypicality and group acceptance

Liran Goldman & Michael Hogg

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
To explore who goes to aggressive and antisocial extremes on behalf of their group we primed perceptions of (a) group prototypicality (peripheral vs. central) and (b) ease of acceptance by the group. Participants were members of self-significant groups — fraternities and sororities (N = 218). Drawing on social identity theory, uncertainty-identity theory and the social identity theory of influence through leadership, we found, as predicted, that peripheral members who believed it was easy to be accepted were most likely to intend to engage in and support antisocial and aggressive intergroup behaviors. This effect was somewhat stronger among males than females, and strengthened among the most highly identified participants. The research's potential for understanding socially harmful intergroup violence is noted.

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

Are target-shooters more aggressive than the general population?

Thorsten Erle et al.

Aggressive Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although psychological research shows that guns are aggressive cues, proponents of liberal gun control argue that people rather than guns are to blame for gun-related violence. For instance, athletic target-shooters might classify guns as athletic rather than aggressive stimuli and thus should not be more aggressive than the general population. The present work investigated aggression and emotion-regulation in target-shooters. A longitudinal study found that initial self-reported aggression in target-shooters was higher than in the general population and further increased over 1 year. Additionally, the sample exhibited deficient emotion-regulation strategies, and this was related to self-reported aggression. In contrast, their implicit self-construct became more peaceful over time but was unrelated to all other measures. Two further cross-sectional experiments explored the causal impact of athletic target-shooting and other athletic activities (shooting a basketball) on aggression. Target-shooters and basketball players were tested before and after their regular team practice and aggressive thoughts and feelings were measured. Target-shooting but not basketball practice activated aggressive and anxiety-related thought more strongly than positive thought. Future research avenues, implications for the indirect measurement of aggression, and possible interventions to decrease aggression in target-shooters are discussed.

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

Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?

Christoph Bartneck et al.

PLoS ONE, May 2016

Abstract:
Although television, computer games and the Internet play an important role in the lives of children they still also play with physical toys, such as dolls, cars and LEGO bricks. The LEGO company has become the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Our study investigates if the LEGO company’s products have become more violent over time. First, we analyzed the frequency of weapon bricks in LEGO sets. Their use has significantly increased. Second, we empirically investigated the perceived violence in the LEGO product catalogs from the years 1978–2014. Our results show that the violence of the depicted products has increased significantly over time. The LEGO Company’s products are not as innocent as they used to be.

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

The association between intelligence and personal victimization in adolescence and adulthood

Kevin Beaver et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, August 2016, Pages 355–360

Abstract:
Intelligence has been linked to antisocial, violent, and criminal behaviors. Surprisingly, however, there is a lack of research examining whether intelligence differentially affects the risk for personal victimization. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by examining whether adolescent levels of verbal intelligence are related to the odds of personal victimization in adolescence and adulthood. This study analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). The results revealed a statistically significant and consistent association between intelligence and victimization. Persons with lower intelligence were more likely to report being victimized even after controlling for the effects of violent criminal behavior. Future research would benefit by examining more closely the association between IQ score and the risk for victimization over the life course.

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

Code of the Classroom? Social Disadvantage and Bullying Among American Adolescents, U.S. 2011-2012

Bryan Sykes, Alex Piquero & Jason Gioviano

Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming

Abstract:
Little research has explored whether social policies aimed at lessening economic hardship affect the prevalence of bullying, particularly after the Great Recession. This article investigates how the strains of neighborhood and cumulative disadvantage are associated with racial differences in bullying, and we consider whether social program participation — enlistment in needs-based social programs to attenuate poverty and disadvantage — upends race-based differences in bullying. Using probit, negative binomial, and propensity score matching methods, we show that adolescents who experience any markers of disadvantage are more likely to bully others, with Black and Hispanic adolescents being more likely to engage in bullying than Whites. Importantly, matched estimates reveal that participation in needs-based social programs eliminates racial differences in bullying.

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

The Bond That Breaks: Closeness and Honor Predict Morality-Related Aggression

Theresa Benavidez, Adon Neria & Daniel Jones

Evolutionary Psychological Science, June 2016, Pages 140-148

Abstract:
Endorsement of a “culture of honor” contributes to the belief that family honor is tied to female obedience across a variety of moral values. Violations of these moral values may lead to aggression. Male participants in studies 1 and 3 filled out a measure of cultural honor and closeness to their present wife or partner. Participants with high levels of both closeness and honor were most aggressive toward a hypothetical moral violation. In study 2, we randomly assigned men to bond or not with a female confederate who devalued his most important moral value. Participants were then given the opportunity to aggress against her in a supposedly unrelated study by choosing how much painful hot sauce she would be forced to drink. Once again, high levels of closeness and honor predicted the greatest levels of aggression. In sum, moral disagreements by women are met with increased aggression within the culture of honor, the closer an honor-endorsing male is to the woman.

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

When Is It “Manly” to Intervene?: Examining the Effects of a Misogynistic Peer Norm on Bystander Intervention for Sexual Aggression

Ruschelle Leone, Dominic Parrott & Kevin Swartout

Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Objective: The current study examined effects of the presence of a misogynistic male peer norm and masculine gender role stress (MGRS) on bystander intervention behavior for sexual aggression.

Method: Undergraduate men (N = 104) engaged in a novel laboratory paradigm in which they and 3 male confederates watched a female confederate, who reported a strong dislike of sexual content in the media, view a sexually explicit film which they could stop at any time. Prior to the female viewing the film, participants were randomly assigned to an audience manipulation wherein the male confederates set a misogynistic or ambiguous group norm.

Results: Zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) regression models indicated (a) the presence of a misogynistic peer norm decreased the odds of intervening, and (b) higher levels of MGRS significantly increased the rate of bystander intervention among participants exposed to a misogynistic, but not an ambiguous, norm.

Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of examining situational and individual level factors that may influence prosocial bystander intervention behavior to prevent sexual aggression.

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

Uric acid excretion predicts increased aggression in urban adolescents

Sylvie Mrug & Michal Mrug

Physiology & Behavior, September 2016, Pages 144–148

Abstract:
Elevated levels of uric acid have been linked with impulsive and disinhibited behavior in clinical and community populations of adults, but no studies have examined uric acid in relation to adolescent aggression. This study examined the prospective role of uric acid in aggressive behavior among urban, low income adolescents, and whether this relationship varies by gender. A total of 84 adolescents (M age 13.36 years; 50% male; 95% African American) self-reported on their physical aggression at baseline and 1.5 years later. At baseline, the youth also completed a 12-h (overnight) urine collection at home which was used to measure uric acid excretion. After adjusting for baseline aggression and age, greater uric acid excretion predicted more frequent aggressive behavior at follow up, with no significant gender differences. The results suggest that lowering uric acid levels may help reduce youth aggression.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


Previous   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19   Next