TEXT SIZE A A A

 

Findings Banner

Friday, December 2, 2016

The stand

Utopian Hopes or Dystopian Fears? Exploring the Motivational Underpinnings of Moralized Political Engagement

Linda Skitka, Brittany Hanson & Daniel Wisneski

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
People are more likely to become politically engaged (e.g., vote, engage in activism) when issues are associated with strong moral convictions. The goal of this research was to understand the underlying motivations that lead to this well-replicated effect. Specifically, to what extent is moralized political engagement motivated by proscriptive concerns (e.g., perceived harms, anticipated regret), prescriptive concerns (e.g., perceived benefits, anticipated pride), or some combination of these processes? And are the motivational pathways between moral conviction and political engagement the same or different for liberals and conservatives? Two studies (combined N = 2,069) found that regardless of political orientation, the association between moral conviction and political engagement was mediated by the perceived benefits of preferred but not the perceived harms of non-preferred policy outcomes, and by both anticipated pride and regret, findings that replicated in two contexts: legalizing same-sex marriage and allowing concealed weapons on college campuses.

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

Informed Preferences? The Impact of Unions on Workers' Policy Views

Sung Eun Kim & Yotam Margalit

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite declining memberships, labor unions still represent large shares of electorates worldwide. Yet their political clout remains contested. To what extent, and in what way, do unions shape workers' political preferences? We address these questions by combining unique survey data of American workers and a set of inferential strategies that exploit two sources of variation: the legal choice that workers face in joining or opting out of unions and the over-time reversal of a union's policy position. Focusing on the issue of trade, we offer evidence that unions influence their members' policy preferences in a significant and theoretically predictable manner. In contrast, we find that self-selection into membership accounts at most for a quarter of the observed "union effect." The study illuminates the impact of unions in cohering workers' voice and provides insight on the role of information provision in shaping how citizens form policy preferences.

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

The Ideological Nationalization of Mass Partisanship: Policy Preferences and Partisan Identification in State Publics, 1946-2014

Devin Caughey, James Dunham & Chris Warshaw

MIT Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Since the mid-20th century, elite political behavior has increasingly nationalized. In Congress, for example, within-party geographic cleavages have declined, roll-call voting has become increasingly one-dimensional, and Democrats and Republicans have diverged along this main dimension of national partisan conflict. The existing literature finds that citizens have displayed only a delayed and attenuated echo of elite trends. We show, however, that a very different picture emerges if we focus not on individual citizens but on the aggregate characteristics of geographic constituencies. Using estimates of the economic, racial, and social policy liberalism of the average Democrat, Independent, and Republican in each state-year 1946-2014, we demonstrate a surprisingly close correspondence between mass and elite trends. Specifically, we find that: (1) ideological divergence between Democrats and Republicans has increased dramatically within each domain, just as it has in Congress; (2) economic, racial, and social liberalism have become highly correlated across state-party publics, just as they have across members of Congress; (3) ideological variation across state-party publics is now almost completely explained by party rather than state, closely tracking trends in the Senate; and (4) senators' liberalism is strongly predicted by the liberalism of their state-party subconstituency, even controlling for their party affiliation and their state public's overall liberalism. Taken together, this correspondence between elite and mass patterns suggests that members of Congress are actually quite in synch with their constituencies, if not with individual citizens.

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

The Political Domain Appears Simpler to the Politically Extreme Than to Political Moderates

Joris Lammers et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
How does political preference affect categorization in the political domain? Eight studies demonstrate that people on both ends of the political spectrum - strong Republicans and strong Democrats - form simpler and more clustered categories of political stimuli than do moderates and neutrals. This pattern was obtained regardless of whether stimuli were politicians (Study 1), social groups (Study 2), or newspapers (Study 3). Furthermore, both strong Republicans and strong Democrats were more likely to make inferences about the world based on their clustered categorization. This was found for estimating the likelihood that geographical location determines voting (Study 4), that political preference determines personal taste (Study 5), and that social relationships determine political preference (Study 6). The effect is amplified if political ideology is salient (Study 7) and remains after controlling for differences in political sophistication (Study 8). The political domain appears simpler to the politically extreme than to political moderates.

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

Individual Differences in Group Loyalty Predict Partisan Strength

Scott Clifford

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The strength of an individual's identification with their political party is a powerful predictor of their engagement with politics, voting behavior, and polarization. Partisanship is often characterized as primarily a social identity, rather than an expression of instrumental goals. Yet, it is unclear why some people develop strong partisan attachments while others do not. I argue that the moral foundation of Loyalty, which represents an individual difference in the tendency to hold strong group attachments, facilitates stronger partisan identification. Across two samples, including a national panel and a convenience sample, as well as multiple measures of the moral foundations, I demonstrate that the Loyalty foundation is a robust predictor of partisan strength. Moreover, I show that these effects cannot be explained by patriotism, ideological extremity, or directional effects on partisanship. Overall, the results provide further evidence for partisanship as a social identity, as well as insight into the sources of partisan strength.

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

A House Divided? Roll Calls, Polarization, and Policy Differences in the U.S. House, 1877-2011

David Bateman, Joshua Clinton & John Lapinski

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The study of political conflict in legislatures is fundamental to understanding the nature of governance, but also difficult because of changes in membership and the issues addressed over time. Focusing on the enduring issue of civil rights in the United States since Reconstruction, we show that using current methods and measures to characterize elite ideological disagreements makes it hard to interpret or reconcile the conflicts with historical understandings because of their failure to adequately account for the policies being voted upon and the consequences of the iterative lawmaking process. Incorporating information about the policies being voted upon provides a starkly different portrait of elite conflict - not only are contemporary parties relatively less divided than is commonly thought, but the conflict occurs in a smaller, and more liberal, portion of the policy space. These findings have important implications for a broad range of work that uses elite actions to compare political conflict/polarization across time.

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

American Party Women: A Look at the Gender Gap within Parties

Tiffany Barnes & Erin Cassese

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on the gender gap in American politics has focused on average differences between male and female voters. This has led to an underdeveloped understanding of sources of heterogeneity among women and, in particular, a poor understanding of the political preferences of Republican women. We argue that although theories of ideological sorting suggest gender gaps should exist primarily between political parties, gender socialization theories contend that critical differences lie at the intersection of gender and party such that gender differences likely persist within political parties. Using survey data from the 2012 American National Election Study, we evaluate how party and gender intersect to shape policy attitudes. We find that gender differences in policy attitudes are more pronounced in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party, with Republican women reporting significantly more moderate views than their male counterparts. Mediation analysis reveals that the gender gaps within the Republican Party are largely attributable to gender differences in beliefs about the appropriate scope of government and attitudes toward gender-based inequality. These results afford new insight into the joint influence of gender and partisanship on policy preferences and raise important questions about the quality of representation Republican women receive from their own party.

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

The Curvilinear Relationship Between Attitude Certainty and Attitudinal Advocacy

Lauren Cheatham & Zakary Tormala

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do people advocate more on behalf of their own attitudes and opinions when they feel certain or uncertain? Although considerable past research suggests that people are more likely to advocate when they feel highly certain, there also is evidence for the opposite effect - that people sometimes advocate more when they experience a loss of certainty. The current research seeks to merge these insights. Specifically, we explore the possibility that the relationship between attitude certainty and attitudinal advocacy is curvilinear. Consistent with this hypothesis, we find evidence for a J-shaped curve: Advocacy intentions (and behavior) peak under high certainty, bottom out under moderate certainty, and show an uptick under low (relative to moderate) certainty. We document this relationship and investigate its potential mechanisms in three studies by examining advocacy intentions and the actual advocacy messages participants write when they feel high, moderate, or low certainty.

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

Assessing the Breadth of Framing Effects

Daniel Hopkins & Jonathan Mummolo

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Issue frames are a central concept in studying public opinion, and are thought to operate by foregrounding related considerations in citizens' minds. But scholarship has yet to consider the breadth of framing effects by testing whether frames influence attitudes beyond the specific issue they highlight. For example, does a discussion of terrorism affect opinions on proximate issues like crime or even more remote issues like poverty? By measuring the breadth of framing effects, we can assess the extent to which citizens' political considerations are cognitively organized by issues. We undertake a population-based survey experiment with 3,318 respondents which includes frames related to terrorism, crime, health care, and government spending. The results demonstrate that framing effects are narrow, with limited but discernible spillover on proximate, structurally similar issues. Discrete issues not only organize elite politics but also exist in voters' minds, a finding with implications for studying ideology as well as framing.

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

Ideological Segregation among Online Collaborators: Evidence from Wikipedians

Shane Greenstein, Yuan Gu & Feng Zhu

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Do online communities segregate into separate conversations when contributing to contestable knowledge involving controversial, subjective, and unverifiable topics? We analyze the contributors of biased and slanted content in Wikipedia articles about U.S. politics, and focus on two research questions: (1) Do contributors display tendencies to contribute to sites with similar or opposing biases and slants? (2) Do contributors learn from experience with extreme or neutral content, and does that experience change the slant and bias of their contributions over time? The findings show enormous heterogeneity in contributors and their contributions, and, importantly, an overall trend towards less segregated conversations. A higher percentage of contributors have a tendency to edit articles with the opposite slant than articles with similar slant. We also observe the slant of contributions becoming more neutral over time, not more extreme, and, remarkably, the largest such declines are found with contributors who interact with articles that have greater biases. We also find some significant differences between Republicans and Democrats.

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

Interpreting and Tolerating Speech: The Effects of Message, Messenger, and Framing

David Doherty & James Stancliffe

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We report findings from an experiment where participants read a story about a speech that sharply criticized U.S. foreign policy. The story varied how elites framed the speech, the speaker's apparent ethnicity, and the content of the speech. We assess how each of these factors affected not only tolerance judgments but also inferences about the speaker's motives and the likely consequences of the speech - considerations that play a central role in free speech jurisprudence. Troublingly, we find that the effects of elite framing and the speaker's apparent ethnicity are often comparable with the effect of the speech explicitly calling for violence. Our design also allows us to assess the extent to which the effectiveness of elite framing is constrained by "facts on the ground." However, we find little evidence that the framing effects we identify depend on the content of the speech or the speaker's ethnicity.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, December 1, 2016

No offense

The Illusion of Moral Superiority

Ben Tappin & Ryan McKay

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most people strongly believe they are just, virtuous, and moral; yet regard the average person as distinctly less so. This invites accusations of irrationality in moral judgment and perception — but direct evidence of irrationality is absent. Here, we quantify this irrationality and compare it against the irrationality in other domains of positive self-evaluation. Participants (N = 270) judged themselves and the average person on traits reflecting the core dimensions of social perception: morality, agency, and sociability. Adapting new methods, we reveal that virtually all individuals irrationally inflated their moral qualities, and the absolute and relative magnitude of this irrationality was greater than that in the other domains of positive self-evaluation. Inconsistent with prevailing theories of overly positive self-belief, irrational moral superiority was not associated with self-esteem. Taken together, these findings suggest that moral superiority is a uniquely strong and prevalent form of “positive illusion,” but the underlying function remains unknown.

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

Facial-width-to-height ratio predicts perceptions of integrity in males

Margaret Ormiston, Elaine Wong & Michael Haselhuhn

Personality and Individual Differences, 15 January 2017, Pages 40–42

Abstract:
People rapidly make attributions of others' personality, cognitive abilities, and intentions based on facial appearance alone, which in turn, can have consequential outcomes. One objective measure of facial structure, the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR), has been linked to perceptions of trustworthiness such that wider-faced men are perceived as less trustworthy than narrower-faced men. In the current study we aimed to extend our understanding of this finding by exploring how fWHR relates to three key components of perceived trustworthiness: perceived ability, perceived benevolence, and perceived integrity. We found that narrower-faced individuals were more often perceived as possessing greater integrity than wider-faced individuals, whereas neither narrower nor wider-faced individuals were perceived as possessing greater ability or benevolence. These findings have implications for research on perceived trustworthiness, facial appearance and impression management.

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

Does Repeated Exposure to Popular Media Strengthen Moral Intuitions?: Exploratory Evidence Regarding Consistent and Conflicted Moral Content

Matthew Grizzard et al.

Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have indicated that media consumption may influence moral intuition sensitivity. The present exploratory studies sought to expand on these findings by employing a three-phase, longitudinal experiment conducted over nine weeks, where participants were exposed to two genres of films (romance, action) mixed in various ratios (high = 100% romance, medium = 60% romance, low = 20% romance, none = 0% romance). Findings from the initial study indicate that repeated exposure to romantic films led to increases in sensitivity for four of the five moral intuitions (i.e., care, fairness, authority, purity); at the same time, any exposure to action films seemed to erode these changes. A follow-up post-hoc content analysis sought to confirm these findings and test an operationalization of “moral conditioning.” We discuss the results in regards to media entertainment theory and research, and the societal implications of the role of media entertainment to reinforce standards of moral judgment.

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

Political ideology predicts involvement in crime

John Paul Wright et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political ideology represents an imperfect yet important indicator of a host of personality traits and cognitive preferences. These preferences, in turn, seemingly propel liberals and conservatives towards divergent life-course experiences. Criminal behavior represents one particular domain of conduct where differences rooted in political ideology may exist. Using a national dataset, we test whether and to what extent political ideology is predictive of self-reported criminal behavior. Our results show that self-identified political ideology is monotonically related to criminal conduct cross-sectionally and prospectively and that liberals self-report more criminal conduct than do conservatives. We discuss potential causal mechanisms relating political ideology to individual conduct.

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

Moralization Through Moral Shock: Exploring Emotional Antecedents to Moral Conviction

Daniel Wisneski & Linda Skitka

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research tested whether exposure to disgusting images increases moral conviction and whether this happens in the presence of incidental disgust cues versus disgust cues relevant to the target of moralization. Across two studies, we exposed participants to one of the four sets of disgusting versus control images to test the moralization of abortion attitudes: pictures of aborted fetuses, animal abuse, non-harm related disgusting images, harm related disgusting images, or neutral pictures, at either sub- or supraliminal levels of awareness. Moral conviction about abortion increased (compared with control) only for participants exposed to abortion-related images at speeds slow enough to allow conscious awareness. Study 2 replicated this finding, and found that the relationship between attitudinally relevant disgust and moral conviction was mediated by disgust, and not anger or harm appraisals. Findings are discussed in terms of their relevance for intuitionist theories of morality and moral theories that emphasize harm.

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

Sex differences in attention to disgust facial expressions

Morganne Kraines, Lucas Kelberer & Tony Wells

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research demonstrates that women experience disgust more readily and with more intensity than men. The experience of disgust is associated with increased attention to disgust-related stimuli, but no prior study has examined sex differences in attention to disgust facial expressions. We hypothesised that women, compared to men, would demonstrate increased attention to disgust facial expressions. Participants (n = 172) completed an eye tracking task to measure visual attention to emotional facial expressions. Results indicated that women spent more time attending to disgust facial expressions compared to men. Unexpectedly, we found that men spent significantly more time attending to neutral faces compared to women. The findings indicate that women’s increased experience of emotional disgust also extends to attention to disgust facial stimuli. These findings may help to explain sex differences in the experience of disgust and in diagnoses of anxiety disorders in which disgust plays an important role.

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

The spark that ignites: Mere exposure to rivals increases Machiavellianism and unethical behavior

Gavin Kilduff & Adam Galinsky

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Rivalry is prevalent across many competitive environments and differs in important ways from non-rival competition. Here, we draw upon research on significant relationships, relational schemas, and automatic goals to explore whether mere exposure to or recall of a rival can be sufficient to increase individuals' Machiavellianism and unethical behavior, even in contexts where their rivals are not present. Across four experiments, we found that activation of the rivalry relational schema led to increased Machiavellianism (Experiments 1 and 2), false inflation of performance (Experiment 3), and deception of an online counterpart for self-gain (Experiment 4). In Experiment 4 we also observed an interaction between rivalry and moral identity such that when the rivalry relational schema was activated, moral identity no longer safeguarded against unethical behavior. This finding suggests that a rivalry mindset crowds out moral identity as a guide to behavior. Overall, the current research depicts rivalry as an important relationship that activates a unique mindset and has a more widespread influence on behavior than prior research has suggested.

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

Cheating to get ahead or to avoid falling behind? The effect of potential negative versus positive status change on unethical behavior

Nathan Pettit et al.

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 172–183

Abstract:
This research examines how being faced with a potential negative versus positive status change influences peoples’ willingness to ethically transgress to avoid or achieve these respective outcomes. Across four studies people were consistently more likely to cheat to prevent a negative status change than to realize a positive change. We argue that what accounts for these results is the enhanced value placed on retaining one’s status in the face of a potential negative change. Taken together, these findings offer a dynamic perspective to the study of status and ethics and contribute to knowledge of the situational factors that promote unethical behavior.

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

The brain adapts to dishonesty

Neil Garrett et al.

Nature Neuroscience, December 2016, Pages 1727–1732

Abstract:
Dishonesty is an integral part of our social world, influencing domains ranging from finance and politics to personal relationships. Anecdotally, digressions from a moral code are often described as a series of small breaches that grow over time. Here we provide empirical evidence for a gradual escalation of self-serving dishonesty and reveal a neural mechanism supporting it. Behaviorally, we show that the extent to which participants engage in self-serving dishonesty increases with repetition. Using functional MRI, we show that signal reduction in the amygdala is sensitive to the history of dishonest behavior, consistent with adaptation. Critically, the extent of reduced amygdala sensitivity to dishonesty on a present decision relative to the previous one predicts the magnitude of escalation of self-serving dishonesty on the next decision. The findings uncover a biological mechanism that supports a 'slippery slope': what begins as small acts of dishonesty can escalate into larger transgressions.

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

Lying About Luck versus Lying About Performance

Agne Kajackaite

University of Southern California Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
I compare lying behavior in a real-effort task in which participants have control over outcomes and a task in which outcomes are determined by pure luck. Participants lie significantly more in the random-draw task than in the real-effort task, leading to the conclusion lying about luck is intrinsically less costly than lying about performance.

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

Two- Rather Than One-Way Streets: Agents As Causal Forces In Principals’ Unethical Decisions

Long Wang & Keith Murnighan

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, December 2016, Pages 217–227

Abstract:
Models of diffusion of responsibility suggest that principals will avoid direct moral responsibility by hiring agents to act unethically on their behalf. The current research goes beyond the research on the diffusion of responsibility by investigating the influence of agents’ character on principals’ moral choices. Study 1 allowed principals to choose an honest or dishonest agent. The results indicated that having the opportunity to choose dishonest agents, regardless of the agents’ ultimate intentions for their previous lies, increased the likelihood that principals would subsequently hire the agents to lie on their behalf to harm others. Study 2 was designed to avoid potential self-selection effects by randomly pairing principals and agents; it found that observing agents telling harmful black lies or seemingly harmless white lies led to increased immoral actions by their principals. Our results contribute to the literatures on moral diffusion and principal-agent relationships by revealing some of the inherent dynamics in the principal-agent moral interactions.

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

Do beliefs about psychologists’ political biases matter? Perceived political ideology moderates how laypeople construe research on wrongdoing

Ying Tang & Leonard Newman

Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies examine a possible consequence – namely, unwanted reactions to psychological research on wrongdoing – if laypeople perceive psychologists to have liberal tendencies. Study 1 replicated previous research by showing that when psychologists presented findings demonstrating situational (compared to dispositional or interactionist) influences on wrongdoing, they were perceived as assigning less responsibility to perpetrators. Further, this effect was stronger among participants who perceived psychologists to be politically liberal. Study 2 revealed that when psychologists were explicitly identified as liberals, participants believed they would downplay perpetrator responsibility across the board, but particularly when the responsibility attributional account was situational. Psychologists should be aware that laypeople’s perception of their political leanings could lead to discrepant construal of psychologists’ actual perspectives on human behavior.

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

Blame the shepherd not the sheep: Imitating higher-ranking transgressors mitigates punishment for unethical behavior

Christopher Bauman, Leigh Plunkett Tost & Madeline Ong

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 123–141

Abstract:
Do bad role models exonerate others’ unethical behavior? Based on social learning theory and psychological theories of blame, we predicted that unethical behavior by higher-ranking individuals changes how people respond to lower-ranking individuals who subsequently commit the same transgression. Five studies explored when and why this rank-dependent imitation effect occurs. Across all five studies, we found that people were less punitive when low-ranking transgressors imitated high-ranking members of their organization. However, imitation only reduced punishment when the two transgressors were from the same organization (Study 2), when the transgressions were highly similar (Study 3), and when it was unclear whether the initial transgressor was punished (Study 5). Results also indicated that imitation affects punishment because it influences whom people blame for the transgression. These findings reveal actor-observer differences in social learning and identify a way that unethical behavior spreads through organizations.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fiscally conservative

The Macroeconomic Effects of Public Investment: Evidence from Advanced Economies

Abdul Abiad, Davide Furceri & Petia Topalova

Journal of Macroeconomics, December 2016, Pages 224-240

Abstract:
This paper provides new evidence of the macroeconomic effects of public investment in advanced economies. Using public investment forecast errors to identify the causal effect of government investment as well as model simulations, the paper finds that increased public investment raises output, both in the short term and in the long term, crowds in private investment, and reduces unemployment. Several factors shape the macroeconomic effects of public investment. When there is economic slack and monetary accommodation, demand effects are stronger, and the public-debt-to-GDP ratio may actually decline. Public investment is also more effective in boosting output in countries with higher public investment efficiency and when it is financed by issuing debt.

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

Uncertainty and the geography of the great recession

Daniel Shoag & Stan Veuger

Journal of Monetary Economics, December 2016, Pages 84-93

Abstract:
The variation in a state-level measure of local economic-policy uncertainty during the 2007-2009 recession matches the cross-sectional distribution of unemployment outcomes in this period. This relationship is robust to numerous controls for other determinants of labor market outcomes. Using preexisting state institutions that amplified uncertainty, we find evidence that this type of local uncertainty played a causal role in increasing unemployment. Together, these results suggest that increased uncertainty contributed to the severity of the Great Recession.

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

The Welfare Impact of Corporate Tax Privacy

Daniel Schaffa

University of Michigan Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Under Internal Revenue Code, Section 6103, most of the information contained in corporate tax returns is not publicly available. This paper investigates what corporations would do if they had access to other corporations' returns and what investors would do if they had access to corporate returns - the ultimate concern is how these behavioral responses would affect welfare. The analysis suggests that corporate tax preparation and sheltering technology would become more widely available as firms learned from each other's returns. This would shift investment away from firms that have relatively good tax preparation and sheltering technology and toward firms that are relatively more productive. Socially wasteful expenditure aimed at lowering effective tax rates would also fall. Tax rates would likely need to rise in order to maintain government revenue, but the increase in productivity and decrease in socially wasteful expenditures would be welfare improving. The additional information that investors would gain would improve investors' estimates of the returns and risks of investing in each corporation, which would also be welfare-improving.

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

Is it the "How" or the "When" that Matters in Fiscal Adjustments?

Alberto Alesina et al.

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Using data from 16 OECD countries from 1981 to 2014 we find that the composition of fiscal adjustments is much more important than the state of the cycle in determining their effects on output. Adjustments based upon spending cuts are much less costly than those based upon tax increases regardless of whether they start in a recession or not. Our results appear not to be systematically explained by different reactions of monetary policy. However, when the domestic central bank can set interest rates -- that is outside of a currency union -- it appears to be able to dampen the recessionary effects of tax-based consolidations implemented during a recession. This finding could help understand the recessionary effects of European "austerity, which was mostly tax based and implemented within a currency union.

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

IRS and corporate taxpayer effects of geographic proximity

Thomas Kubick et al.

Journal of Accounting and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether geographic proximity between corporate headquarters and IRS regional offices affects corporate tax avoidance and the likelihood and productivity of IRS examinations. Using geographic distance to represent information asymmetry, we find that corporations avoid more tax when located closer to the IRS unless they are close to an IRS industry specialist. This finding is consistent with taxpayers believing proximity provides them with an information advantage over the IRS. From the perspective of the IRS, we find that the Service is more likely to audit nearby companies and to assess more tax per hour from nearby taxpayers, except during constrained budget years. IRS audit likelihood and productivity are unaffected by the presence of nearby industry specialists, consistent with industry specialist proximity already constraining avoidance. Our tax compliance setting provides dual-party evidence on the proximity-information asymmetry hypothesis.

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

Is Uncle Sam Inducing the Elderly to Retire?

Alan Auerbach et al.

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Many, if not most, Baby Boomers appear at risk of suffering a major decline in their living standard in retirement. With federal and state government finances far too encumbered to significantly raise Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, Boomers must look to their own devices to rescue their retirements, namely working harder and longer. However, the incentive of Boomers to earn more is significantly limited by a plethora of explicit federal and state taxes and implicit taxes arising from the loss of federal and state benefits as one earns more. Of particular concern is Medicaid and Social Security's complex Earnings Test and clawback of disability benefits. This study measures the work disincentives confronting those age 50 to 79 from the entire array of explicit and implicit fiscal work disincentives. Specifically, the paper runs older respondents in the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances through The Fiscal Analyzer -- a software tool designed, in part, to calculate remaining lifetime marginal net tax rates. We find that working longer, say an extra five years, can raise older workers' sustainable living standards. But the impact is far smaller than suggested in the literature in large part because of high net taxation of labor earnings. We also find that many Baby Boomers now face or will face high and, in very many cases, extremely high work disincentives arising from the hodgepodge design of our fiscal system. A third finding is that the marginal net tax rate associated with a significant increase in earnings, say $20,000 per year, arising from taking a full-time or part-time job (which could be a second job), can, for many elderly, be dramatically higher than that associated with earning a relatively small, say $1,000 per year, extra amount of money. This is due to the various income thresholds in our fiscal system. We also examine the elimination of all transfer program asset and income testing. This dramatically lowers marginal net tax rates facing the poor. Another key finding is the enormous dispersion in effective marginal remaining lifetime net tax rates facing seemingly identical households, i.e., households with the same age and resource level. Finally, we find that traditional, current-year (i.e., static) marginal tax calculations relating this year's extra taxes to this year's extra income are woefully off target when it comes to properly measuring the elderly's disincentives to work. Our findings suggest that Uncle Sam is, indeed, inducing the elderly to retire.

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

Leaving Big Money on the Table: Arbitrage Opportunities in Delaying Social Security

Gila Bronshtein et al.

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
Recent research has documented that delaying the commencement of Social Security benefits increases the expected present value of retirement income for most people. Despite this research, the vast majority of individuals claim Social Security at or before full retirement age. Claiming Social Security early is not necessarily a mistake, as delaying Social Security commencement requires forgoing current income in exchange for future income. The decision to claim early could therefore rationally be driven by liquidity constraints, mortality concerns, bequest motives, a high time discount rate, or a variety of other preference related factors. However, for some individuals, delaying Social Security offers a significant arbitrage opportunity because they can defer Social Security and have higher income in all future years. Arbitrage exists for most primary earners who either purchase a retail-priced annuity or opt for a defined benefit annuity when a lump sum payout is offered, while forgoing the opportunity to defer Social Security. These individuals are essentially buying an expensive annuity when a cheaper one is available, and their decision to claim Social Security early is almost certainly a mistake. The magnitude of the mistake can reach up to approximately $250,000.

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

Further Empirical Evidence on Residential Property Taxation and the Occurrence of Urban Sprawl

Robert Wassmer

Regional Science and Urban Economics, November 2016, Pages 73-85

Abstract:
Economic theory indicates that as the effective rate of taxation on residential property rises, a negative influence on capital intensity could occur through less multi-story structures built (an Improvement Effect). Alternatively, a positive influence on capital intensity could occur through housing consumers switching to smaller houses built on smaller lots (a Dwelling Size Effect). An empirical assessment of this issue is therefore necessary; however, methodological concerns in earlier empirical analyses cast doubt on the reliability of findings. Panel data, fixed effects, regression results indicate that a higher rate of effective residential property taxation increases the amount of land used for a given population (greater sprawl).

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

Social benefit expenditures and stagflation: Evidence from the United States

J.F. Li & Z.X. Lin

Applied Economics, Fall 2016, Pages 5340-5347

Abstract:
Stagflation refers to the terrible economic malaise associated with declining growth, hyperinflation and high unemployment. Unlike previous cost-push explanations such as an overheated labour market and oil prices, this article suggests that social benefit expenditures are a potential cause of stagflation. We investigate the impact of social benefit expenditures on stagflation in the U.S. over the 1950-2014 period by employing an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) bounds testing approach to cointegration, which was developed by Pesaran, Shin, and Smith. The influence of social benefit expenditures on economic growth and inflation and unemployment rates is estimated. The empirical results from the U.S. suggest that economic growth responds negatively to social benefit expenditures, while inflation and unemployment rates are both positively associated with social benefit expenditures. Thus, government-led rigid welfare could contribute to stagflation in the U.S. Instead of increasing people's happiness, the over-burdened welfare system could push people into economic malaise. This stagflation risk shouldn't be ignored. These results are important for U.S. policymakers and can inform other governments characterized by high levels of well-being.

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

Reducing Property Taxes on Homeowners: An Analysis Using Computable General Equilibrium and Microsimulation Models

Andrew Feltenstein et al.

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
We consider a proposal that reduces by half the taxes on homesteaded properties and replaces the lost revenue by increasing the base and rate of the state sales tax. We develop a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and a microsimulation model (MSM) to analyze the economic and welfare effects of such a proposal if adopted in Georgia. The results from the CGE model suggest that the proposed reforms have a substantial negative effect in percentage terms on Georgia's economy. The MSM suggests that such a policy has no effect on the distribution of consumption by income class but increases the percentage of owner-occupied housing relative to rental housing by 20 percent in the aggregate.

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

Gentrification, Property Tax Limitation, and Displacement

Isaac William Martin & Kevin Beck

Urban Affairs Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have long argued that gentrification may displace long-term homeowners by causing their property taxes to increase, and policy makers, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have cited this argument as a justification for state laws that limit the increase of residential property taxes. We test the hypotheses that gentrification directly displaces homeowners by increasing their property taxes, and that property tax limitation protects residents of gentrifying neighborhoods from displacement, by merging the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with a decennial Census-tract-level measure of gentrification and a new data set on state-level property tax policy covering the period 1987 to 2009. We find some evidence that property tax pressure can trigger involuntary moves by homeowners, but no evidence that such displacement is more common in gentrifying neighborhoods than elsewhere, nor that property tax limitation protects long-term homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. We do find evidence that gentrification directly displaces renters.

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

Personal Income Tax Revenue Growth and Volatility: Lessons and Insights from Utah Tax Reform

Gary Cornia, Bruce Johnson & Ray Nelson

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In order to reduce the volatility of the personal income tax in Utah, review and reform efforts recommended a simple flat tax that disallowed all deductions or exemptions. Among the reasons for the recommended flat tax was the argument that it would result in a more stable year-over-year tax revenue stream. This was especially important for education financing. The tax system that was finally adopted retained exemptions and deductions through a tax credit. Using a series of simulations based on twenty-one years of tax returns, we establish that by retaining exemptions and deductions, tax reform efforts failed to appreciably reduce the volatility of personal income tax revenues. These simulations also show that the initially proposed flat income tax with no exemptions or deductions would have decreased volatility at the cost of reducing the growth rate. This study contributes insights, caveats, methodology, and potential alternatives for future individual income tax reforms by focusing on the growth and volatility of three different tax systems.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The one and only

Midpregnancy Marriage and Divorce: Why the Death of Shotgun Marriage Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Christina Gibson-Davis, Elizabeth Ananat & Anna Gassman-Pines

Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that births following the colloquially termed “shotgun marriage” — that is, births to parents who married between conception and the birth — are nearing obsolescence. To investigate trends in shotgun marriage, we matched North Carolina administrative data on nearly 800,000 first births among white and black mothers to marriage and divorce records. We found that among married births, midpregnancy-married births (our preferred term for shotgun-married births) have been relatively stable at about 10 % over the past quarter-century while increasing substantially for vulnerable population subgroups. In 2012, among black and white less-educated and younger women, midpregnancy-married births accounted for approximately 20 % to 25 % of married first births. The increasing representation of midpregnancy-married births among married births raises concerns about well-being among at-risk families because midpregnancy marriages may be quite fragile. Our analysis revealed, however, that midpregnancy marriages were more likely to dissolve only among more advantaged groups. Of those groups considered to be most at risk of divorce — namely, black women with lower levels of education and who were younger — midpregnancy marriages had the same or lower likelihood of divorce as preconception marriages. Our results suggest an overlooked resiliency in a type of marriage that has only increased in salience.

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

Prenups

Peter Leeson & Joshua Pierson

Journal of Legal Studies, June 2016, Pages 367-400

Abstract:
Before the mid-1980s, prenuptial agreements had tenuous legal standing in US state courts, which often refused to enforce them. In 1983 the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws promulgated legislation called the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) that was designed to strengthen these agreements’ legal enforcement. Since then, 26 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the UPAA, rendering prenuptial contracts reliably enforceable in their courts. This paper uses data on UPAA adoption to investigate the effect that making prenuptial contracts legally enforceable has had on divorce rates. We find that rendering prenuptial agreements legally enforceable reduced divorce rates in America. We also present the first data on persons who use prenuptial agreements and the substance of those agreements in the United States.

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

Does exposure to erotica reduce attraction and love for romantic partners in men? Independent replications of Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989) study 2

Rhonda Balzarini et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Kenrick, Gutierres, and Goldberg (1989; Study 2) demonstrated that men, but not women, in committed relationships exposed to erotic images of opposite-sex others reported lower ratings for their partner's sexual attractiveness (d = 0.91) and less love for their partner (d = 0.69) than men exposed to images of abstract art. This research has implications for understanding the possible effects of erotica on men in relationships, but has not been replicated. We conducted three preregistered, high-powered close replications, and meta-analyzed the effects of the original and replication studies. We did not find support for the original finding that exposure to attractive images of opposite-sex others affects males' ratings of their partners' sexual attractiveness or love for their partner.

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

The Earned Income Tax Credit and union formation: The impact of expected spouse earnings

Katherine Michelmore

Review of Economics of the Household, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation from 2001, 2004, and 2008 and federal and state variation in earned income tax credit generosity over time, I investigate how changes in expected household earned income tax credit benefits associated with marriage affect cohabitation and marriage behavior among low-income single mothers. I simulate a marriage market to predict potential spouse earnings for a sample of single mothers in order to estimate the potential losses or gains in earned income tax credit benefits upon marriage. Using multinomial logistic regressions, I then analyze how the anticipated loss in earned income tax credit benefits upon marriage affects the likelihood of marrying or cohabiting. Results suggest that the average earned income tax credit-eligible woman can expect to lose approximately US$1,300 in earned income tax credit benefits in the year following marriage, or about half of pre-marriage benefits. Single mothers who expect to lose earned income tax credit benefits upon marriage are 2.5 percentage points less likely to marry their partners and 2.5 percentage points more likely to cohabit compared to single mothers who expect no change or to gain earned income tax credit benefits upon marriage. Despite recent policy efforts to reduce the size of the marriage penalty embedded in the earned income tax credit structure, these results suggest that the earned income tax credit still creates distortions in marriage and cohabitation decisions among low-income single mothers.

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

Trends in Spouses’ Shared Time in the United States, 1965–2012

Katie Genadek, Sarah Flood & Joan Garcia Roman

Demography, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite major demographic changes over the past 50 years and strong evidence that time spent with a spouse is important for marriages, we know very little about how time with a spouse has changed — or not — in the United States. Using time diary data from 1965–2012, we examine trends in couples’ shared time in the United States during a period of major changes in American marriages and families. We find that couples without children spent more total time together and time alone together in 2012 than they did in 1965, with total time and time alone together both peaking in 1975. For parents, time spent together increased between 1965 and 2012, most dramatically for time spent with a spouse and children. Decomposition analyses show that changes in behavior rather than changing demographics explain these trends, and we find that the increases in couples’ shared time are primarily concentrated in leisure activities.

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

The Family Formation Response to a Localized Economic Shock: Evidence from the Fracking Boom

Melissa Kearney & Riley Wilson

University of Maryland Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
There has been a well-documented “retreat from marriage” among less educated individuals in the U.S. and non-marital childbearing has become the norm among young mothers and mothers with low levels of education. One hypothesis is that the declining economic position of men in these populations is at least partially responsible for these trends. That leads to the reverse hypothesis that an increase in potential earnings of less-educated men would correspondingly lead to an increase in marriage and a reduction in non-marital births. To investigate this possibility, we empirically exploit the positive economic shock associated with localized “fracking booms” throughout the U.S. in recent decades. We confirm that these localized fracking booms led to increased wages for non-college-educated men. A reduced form analysis reveals that in response to local-area fracking shocks, the non-marital share of births falls. But, both marital and non-marital births increase and there is no evidence of an increase in marriage rates. The pattern of results is consistent with positive income effects on births, but no associated increase in marriage. We compare our findings to the response to the Appalachian coal boom experience of the 1980s, when it appears that marital births and marriage rates increased, but non-marital births did not. This contrast potentially suggests important interactions between economic forces and social context.

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

How Implicit Theories of Sexuality Shape Sexual and Relationship Well-Being

Jessica Maxwell et al.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do people believe they can best maintain sexual satisfaction in their romantic relationships? In the current research, we draw upon the literature on implicit theories of relationships to develop and validate a scale examining 2 types of lay beliefs about how sexual satisfaction can be maintained over time. Individuals high in sexual growth beliefs think that sexual satisfaction is attained from hard work and effort, whereas individuals high in sexual destiny beliefs think that sexual satisfaction is attained through finding a compatible sexual partner. Across 6 studies (2 cross-sectional online studies, a 21-day daily experience study, 2 dyadic studies, and an experimental manipulation; N = 1,896), we find evidence that those higher in sexual growth beliefs experience higher relationship and sexual satisfaction, and have partners who are more satisfied. Conversely, the effects of sexual destiny beliefs on satisfaction are contingent upon signs of partner compatibility: When individuals high in sexual destiny beliefs experience greater sexual disagreements in their relationship, they experience lower relationship quality. These results are independent of general relationship implicit beliefs, providing evidence for the uniqueness of these 2 constructs and the importance of examining implicit beliefs in the domain of sexuality. Overall, these results provide novel evidence that individuals’ lay beliefs about maintaining sexual satisfaction are important for understanding the quality of their sex lives and relationships.

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

Sperm competition in marriage: Semen displacement, male rivals, and spousal discrepancy in sexual interest

Michael Pham, Tara DeLecce & Todd Shackelford

Personality and Individual Differences, 15 January 2017, Pages 229–232

Abstract:
Non-human males attend to the presence of potential sexual rivals in the local environment to assess sperm competition risk, and adjust accordingly the deployment of sperm competition tactics (e.g., performing semen-displacing copulatory behaviors). We extend this research to humans using data from 45 married couples who completed questionnaires in a laboratory. We found that husbands whose wife spent more time with her male coworkers and male friends (i.e., potential sexual rivals) performed more semen-displacing copulatory behaviors at the couple's most recent copulation. We also found that performance of semen-displacing copulatory behaviors correlated with a novel cue to sperm competition risk: the discrepancy between the husband's sexual interest in his wife and her sexual interest in him. We also tested and refuted an alternative hypothesis that men adjust their copulatory thrusting to facilitate their partner's orgasm. Discussion highlights the novel contributions of the current research and notes limitations that can be addressed by future research.

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

Women’s Fertility Status Alters Other Women’s Jealousy and Mate Guarding

Ashalee Hurst, Jessica Alquist & David Puts

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Across three studies, we tested the hypothesis that women exhibit greater jealousy and mate guarding toward women who are in the high (vs. low) fertility phase of their cycle. Women who imagined their partner with a woman pictured at high fertility reported more jealousy than women who imagined their partner with a woman pictured at low fertility (Studies 1 and 2). A meta-analysis across studies manipulating fertility status of the pictured woman found a significant effect of fertility status on both jealousy and mate guarding. Women with attractive partners viewed fertile-phase women as less trustworthy, which led to increased mate guarding (Study 2). In Study 3, the closer women were to peak fertility, the more instances they reported of other women acting jealously and mate guarding toward them. These studies provide evidence that women selectively exhibit jealousy and mate guarding toward women who are near peak fertility.

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

Estrogenic and Progestogenic Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives in Relation to Sexual Behavior: Insights into Extended Sexuality

Trond Viggo Grøntvedt et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's mating adaptations may vary between fertile and luteal phases, given different costs and benefits of sexual activity during each phase. Women's non-conceptive (“extended”) sexuality might function in the context of pair-bonding. The current studies examined associations between women's loyalty and faithfulness to their relationships and frequency of sexual intercourse in women using hormonal contraception. As predicted, in Study 1 estimated levels (adjusted for potency) of both synthetic estrogen and progestin delivered to women moderated the association between women's loyalty/faithfulness to their partner and frequency of intercourse: as estradiol levels diminished, and progestin levels increased, women's loyalty/faithfulness became more positively associated with frequency of intercourse. Study 2 replicated these findings in a sample of women studied over a 12 week period. Results further support claims for a possible function of extended sexuality, and speak to hormonal mechanisms affecting it. They also have important methodological and applied implications.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, November 28, 2016

Toppling

When Dictators Die

Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Erica Frantz

Journal of Democracy, October 2016, Pages 159-171

Abstract:
Eleven of the world’s 55 dictators are 69 years old or older and are in varying stages of declining health. At first blush, this paints a hopeful picture for democracy scholars who have documented a slow but steady authoritarian resurgence. Yet this article reveals that the advanced age of 20 percent of the world’s autocrats offers little hope for a reversal of this trend. Rather than creating a space for change, the passing of these leaders will likely leave in place the resilient autocratic systems they created and reinforced. While most leadership transitions generate opportunities for regime change, this article demonstrates that death in office is not one of them.

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

Did the Creation of the United Nations Human Rights Council Produce a Better 'Jury'?

Adam Chilton & Robert Golan-Vilella

University of Chicago Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
In 1946, the United Nations (UN) created a body comprised of member states known as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to promote international human rights. The CHR was consistently plagued with accusations that it was a bad “jury” because its members frequently had abhorrent human rights records. To remedy this problem, in 2006 a reform eliminated the CHR and replaced it with a new body with modified membership rules known as the Human Rights Council (HRC). It is not clear, however, whether the 2006 reform was effective. Using data on the human rights practices of all members of the UN and the relevant bodies from 1998 to 2013, we evaluate whether the 2006 reform helped fix the CHR’s membership problem. We find that the human rights records of the members of the HRC are better on average than the records of the CHR’s members were, but that the human rights records of the members of the HRC still are worse than the average UN member not on the HRC.

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

Economic Threats or Societal Turmoil? Understanding Preferences for Authoritarian Political Systems

Steven Miller

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do some individuals prefer to be governed in an authoritarian political system? One intuitive answer is that citizens prefer authoritarian rule when the economy and society are in turmoil. These are common explanations for democratic backsliding, and the emergence and success of authoritarian leaders in the twentieth century. Which of these explanations better explains preferences for authoritarian rule? Both types of threat coincide in small samples and high-profile cases, creating inferential problems. I address this by using three waves of World Values Survey data to look at individual-level preferences for different forms of authoritarian government. Using multiple macroeconomic and societal indicators, I find that economic threats, especially increasing income inequality, better explain preferences for authoritarian government. I conclude with implications for understanding the emergence of support for authoritarianism in fledgling democracies.

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

Why Not Taxation and Representation? A Note on the American Revolution

Sebastian Galiani & Gustavo Torrens

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Why did the most prosperous colonies in the British Empire mount a rebellion? Even more puzzling, why didn't the British agree to have American representation in Parliament and quickly settle the dispute peacefully? At first glance, it would appear that a deal could have been reached to share the costs of the global public goods provided by the Empire in exchange for political power and representation for the colonies. (At least, this was the view of men of the time such as Lord Chapman, Thomas Pownall and Adam Smith.) We argue, however, that the incumbent government in Great Britain, controlled by the landed gentry, feared that allowing Americans to be represented in Parliament would undermine the position of the dominant coalition, strengthen the incipient democratic movement, and intensify social pressures for the reform of a political system based on land ownership. Since American elites could not credibly commit to refuse to form a coalition with the British opposition, the only realistic options were to maintain the original colonial status or fight a full-scale war of independence.

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

National Personality Traits and Regime Type: A Cross-National Study of 47 Countries

Joan Barceló

Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Domestic theories of democratization emphasize the role of values, interests, and mobilization/opportunities as determinants of regime change. This article takes a step back and develops a model of national personality and democratization to ascertain the indirect effect of national personality traits on worldwide variation of regime type. In particular, I theorize that personality traits influence a country’s regime type by shaping citizens’ traditional and self-expression values, which, in turn, influence the establishment and consolidation of democratic institutions. Data from McCrae and Terracciano’s assessment of the five-factor model from 47 countries allow me to assess this hypothesis empirically. Results reveal that countries whose societies are high in Openness to experience tend to have more democratic institutions, even after adjusting for relevant confounders: economic inequalities, economic development, technological advancement, disease stress, climate demands, and methodological characteristics of the national sample. Although the effect of Extraversion on a country’s democratic institutions is also significantly positive, the inclusion of confounders weakens the reliability of this association. In an exploration of the mechanisms of these associations, a mediation analysis shows that the relationship between national Openness and democratic institutions is channeled through secular and especially self-expression national values. The same analysis with the effect of Extraversion on democracy indicates that the association between this trait and democracy is only channeled through national self-expression values but not national secular values. In short, this article constitutes a first step toward a more complete understanding of the cross-cultural psychological roots of political institutions.

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

Human Rights and the Individual: Cross-Cultural Variation in Human Rights Scores, 1980 to 2010

Wade Cole

Social Forces, December 2016, Pages 721-752

Abstract:
This study analyzes patterns of cross-cultural variability and convergence in two categories of human rights: bodily integrity (protection from torture, extrajudicial killing, and other forms of physical repression) and civil liberties (the freedoms of expression, assembly, movement, and religion). Countries are delineated into twelve cultural zones based primarily on predominant religious tradition and secondarily on geographical region. The core hypothesis predicts that respect for bodily integrity rights, which seeks to protect biological beings from physical harm, will vary less across cultures than respect for civil liberties, which empowers social and cultural entities to be self-determining agents. Individuals’ capacity for pain and suffering is thought to be universal, but conceptions of the bounded and autonomous actor are culturally constructed and hence variable across cultures. Statistical analyses support this hypothesis: compared with civil liberties scores, cross-cultural variation in bodily integrity scores is much lower and also less durable in the presence of control variables. Moreover, whereas civil liberties scores are substantially higher in Western countries than in the rest of the world, cross-cultural variability in bodily integrity scores is gradational rather than polarized.

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

Guns and Butter? Fighting Violence with the Promise of Development

Gaurav Khanna & Laura Zimmermann

Journal of Development Economics, January 2017, Pages 120–141

Abstract:
There is growing awareness that development-oriented government policies may be an important counterinsurgency strategy, but existing papers are usually unable to disentangle various mechanisms. Using a regression-discontinuity design, we analyze the impact of one of the world's largest anti-poverty programs, India's NREGS, on the intensity of Maoist conflict. We find short-run increases of insurgency-related violence, police-initiated attacks, and insurgent attacks on civilians. We discuss how these results relate to established theories in the literature. One mechanism consistent with the empirical patterns is that NREGS induces civilians to share more information with the state, improving police effectiveness.

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

Political Philosophy, Executive Constraint and Electoral Rules

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung

Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper explains the choice of electoral rule by the difference in the ease of implementing targeted transfer. By modeling the choice of electoral rule as a decision by the ruling rich-elite party before universal suffrage is enacted, this paper predicts that a loose constitutional constraint on targeted transfers is conducive to the adoption of proportional representation. To complete the theory, this work argues that the British empiricism and the Continental rationalism have their own views concerning the role and the power of a state, leading to differential levels of constraints on redistribution. Thus the theory explains why Anglo-Saxon countries tend to maintain majoritarian electoral rule. Employing the event history analysis with the two-stage-residual-inclusion approach, this work shows that countries with poorer executive constraints are more likely to adopt proportional representation. Meanwhile, we find evidence supporting that countries with British origin have been associated with tighter constraint upon the executive.

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

The democratic dividend of nonviolent resistance

Markus Bayer, Felix Bethke & Daniel Lambach

Journal of Peace Research, November 2016, Pages 758-771

Abstract:
Research suggests that nonviolent resistance (NVR) campaigns are more successful in deposing dictators than armed rebellions. However, ousting dictators is only the first step in the process of democratization. After deposing an autocratic regime, societies enter a transition phase where they must learn to consolidate the gains of democracy and bargain about the new rules of the democratic regime. But even if free, fair, and competitive elections are held, indicating a successful transition to democratic rule, uncertainty about its stability remains salient. In the period that follows, either democracy survives and proves to be resilient, or an autocratic backslide occurs. In this article, we analyze the effect of NVR campaigns on the survival of democratic regimes. Building on the literature on modes of transitions and nonviolent resistance, we argue that those democratic regimes that come into being as a result of a NVR campaign are less prone to democratic breakdown. The main mechanism which produces this effect is that the organizational culture of NVR campaigns spills over to the subsequent democratic regime fostering conditions favorable for democratic survival. We test the effect of NVR campaigns on democratic regime survival using survival analysis and propensity score matching. The results show that democratic regimes that experience NVR during the transition phase survive substantially longer than regimes without NVR.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Acquainted

Avoiding Extraverts: Pathogen Concern Downregulates Preferences for Extraverted Faces

Mitch Brown & Donald Sacco

Evolutionary Psychological Science, December 2016, Pages 278-286

Abstract:
Past research indicates that salient concerns with infectious disease reduce individuals' self-reporting of extraverted personality trait characteristics, an adaptive response to mitigate exposure to pathogenically threatening conspecifics. Additionally, individuals are capable of accurately inferring another person's level of extraversion from facial cues alone. Extending these findings, we hypothesized that disease concerns should result in a reduced preference for extraverts, as indexed by facial cues, given that such persons may comprise a greater disease threat due to increased contact with a greater number of conspecifics. To test this hypothesis, participants were randomly assigned to either disease or control prime conditions, reported face preferences among face pairs containing target faces manipulated to communicate extraversion or introversion, and indicated dispositional pathogen concerns. Contrary to hypotheses, acute disease activation did not influence face preferences. However, men with dispositionally higher perceived infectability (PI) demonstrated reduced preferences for extraverted female faces, whereas higher PI in women predicted a reduced preference for extraverted male faces. This relationship between higher PI and reduced preferences for extraverted faces provides partial support for the hypothesis that pathogen concerns facilitate stronger preferences for reticent individuals, an adaptive response to mitigate contact with disease vectors.

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

Reminders of Social Connection Can Attenuate Anthropomorphism: A Replication and Extension of Epley, Akalis, Waytz, and Cacioppo (2008)

Jennifer Bartz, Kristina Tchalova & Can Fenerci

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is a fundamental human need to secure and sustain a sense of social belonging. Previous research has shown that individuals who are lonely are more likely than people who are not lonely to attribute humanlike traits (e.g., free will) to nonhuman agents (e.g., an alarm clock that makes people get up by moving away from the sleeper), presumably in an attempt to fulfill unmet needs for belongingness. We directly replicated the association between loneliness and anthropomorphism in a larger sample (N = 178); furthermore, we showed that reminding people of a close, supportive relationship reduces their tendency to anthropomorphize. This finding provides support for the idea that the need for belonging has causal effects on anthropomorphism. Last, we showed that attachment anxiety - characterized by intense desire for and preoccupation with closeness, fear of abandonment, and hypervigilance to social cues - was a stronger predictor of anthropomorphism than loneliness was. This finding helps clarify the mechanisms underlying anthropomorphism and supports the idea that anthropomorphism is a motivated process reflecting the active search for potential sources of connection.

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

Instantaneous Conventions: The Emergence of Flexible Communicative Signals

Jennifer Misyak, Takao Noguchi & Nick Chater

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Humans can communicate even with few existing conventions in common (e.g., when they lack a shared language). We explored what makes this phenomenon possible with a nonlinguistic experimental task requiring participants to coordinate toward a common goal. We observed participants creating new communicative conventions using the most minimal possible signals. These conventions, furthermore, changed on a trial-by-trial basis in response to shared environmental and task constraints. Strikingly, as a result, signals of the same form successfully conveyed contradictory messages from trial to trial. Such behavior is evidence for the involvement of what we term joint inference, in which social interactants spontaneously infer the most sensible communicative convention in light of the common ground between them. Joint inference may help to elucidate how communicative conventions emerge instantaneously and how they are modified and reshaped into the elaborate systems of conventions involved in human communication, including natural languages.

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

The roles of testosterone and cortisol in friendship formation

Sarah Ketay, Keith Welker & Richard Slatcher

Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research has investigated the neuroendocrine correlates of romantic relationships, the neuroendocrine correlates of friendship formation are largely unexplored. In two conditions, participants' salivary testosterone and cortisol were measured before and after a high versus low closeness activity with another same-sex participant. In the high closeness task, participants took turns answering questions that fostered increases in self-disclosure. The low closeness task fostered low levels of self-disclosure. Dyadic multilevel models indicated that lower basal testosterone and decreases in testosterone were associated with increased closeness between recently acquainted strangers. Our results suggest that people high in testosterone felt less close to others and desired less closeness. Further, lower basal cortisol and dynamic cortisol decreases were associated with greater closeness and desired closeness in the high closeness-induction task. Finally, we found that the partners of those who had lower cortisol desired more closeness. These findings suggest that lower testosterone and cortisol are linked to the facilitation of initial social bonds and that these social bonds may, in turn, are associated with changes in these hormones.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Who you love

Why attractive women want gay male friends: A previously undiscovered strategy to prevent mating deception and sexual exploitation

Eric Russell et al.

Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although research has begun to elucidate why women form close friendships with homosexual males, little research has investigated individual differences in women's tendency to befriend gay men. Because (1) gay men do not have the motive to mate with women or to compete with them for straight male partners and (2) attractive women are more likely to be sexually and competitively targeted by heterosexual individuals, we hypothesized that attractive women place greater value on gay's men mating advice and are more likely to befriend them. In Study 1, participants indicated their likelihood of deceiving female targets. Results revealed that more attractive targets were more likely to be both sexually deceived by straight men and competitively deceived by women. In Study 2, women created their ideal group of friends by allocating “friend dollars” to individuals of different genders and sexual orientations. More attractive women allocated more dollars to gay male friends, and this outcome was mediated by their perception that gay men would value them beyond sex and could offer them valuable mating advice. These findings suggest that befriending gay men may be an important feature of women's mating strategies, especially among attractive women who face greater mating threats from heterosexual individuals.

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

Category Specificity of Self-Reported Sexual Attraction and Viewing Times to Male and Female Models in a Large U.S. Sample: Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Demographic Effects

Richard Lippa

Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research has documented large and robust sex differences in the category specificity of self-reported sexual attraction and viewing times to men and women, with men showing more polarized responses to the two sexes than women. However, this research has been limited by the use of small and restricted samples. To address this, the current study assessed a representative sample of more than 2800 U.S. adults on demographic and attitudinal variables and on two measures of category specificity: one based on self-reported sexual attraction and the other based on viewing times to male and female swimsuit models. Key findings were replicated. On average, men were considerably more category specific in self-reported sexual attraction and viewing times than women, and this was true for both heterosexual and homosexual participants. Self-identified bisexual and asexual participants tended to be lower on category specificity than other groups. Although demographic and attitudinal factors such as age, ethnicity, state and region of residence, social class, political liberalism-conservatism, and religiousness were sometimes weakly related to category specificity, sex differences in category specificity remained robust despite demographic and attitudinal variation.

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

Sexual Orientation in the Labor Market

Trenton Mize

American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most analyses of sexual orientation and earnings find that gay men face a wage gap, whereas lesbian women earn higher wages than similar heterosexual women. However, analyses rarely consider bisexual men and women as a unique group separate from other sexual minorities. I argue that such binary views of sexual orientation — treating sexual minorities as a homogenous non-heterosexual group — have obscured understandings of the impact of sexual orientation on labor market outcomes. Specifically, I predict that unequal outcomes for gay men and lesbian women are partly due to the influence of family arrangements and their effects on earnings. In contrast, I argue that bisexual men and women should be the most disadvantaged in the labor market, due to particularly disadvantaging stereotypes, perceptions of choice to their sexual orientation, and prejudicial treatment. Using data from the General Social Survey (N = 13,554) and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 14,714), I show that family arrangements explain some of the observed earnings differentials for gay men and lesbian women. Bisexual men and women, in contrast, face wage penalties that are not explained by human capital differences or occupational characteristics. Perceptions of prejudicial treatment partially explain the observed wage gaps.

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

Changes in Reported Sexual Orientation Following US States Recognition of Same-Sex Couples

Brittany Charlton et al.

American Journal of Public Health, December 2016, Pages 2202-2204

Objectives: To compare changes in self-reported sexual orientation of women living in states with any recognition of same-sex relationships (e.g., hospital visitation, domestic partnerships) with those of women living in states without such recognition.

Methods: We calculated the likelihood of women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (n = 69 790) changing their reported sexual orientation between 1995 and 2009.

Results: We used data from the Nurses’ Health Study II and found that living in a state with same-sex relationship recognition was associated with changing one’s reported sexual orientation, particularly from heterosexual to sexual minority. Individuals who reported being heterosexual in 1995 were 30% more likely to report a minority orientation (i.e., bisexual or lesbian) in 2009 (risk ratio = 1.30; 95% confidence interval = 1.05, 1.61) if they lived in a state with any recognition of same-sex relationships compared with those who lived in a state without such recognition.

Conclusions: Policies recognizing same-sex relationships may encourage women to report a sexual minority orientation. Future research is needed to clarify how other social and legal policies may affect sexual orientation self-reports.

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

Self-employment, earnings, and sexual orientation

Christopher Jepsen & Lisa Jepsen

Review of Economics of the Household, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although many studies document differences by sexual orientation in earnings and other labor-market outcomes, little is known about differences in self-employment. Our study contributes to both the self-employment literature and sexual-orientation literature by analyzing differences in self-employment rates and earnings by sexual orientation. Gay men are less likely to be self-employed than married men, whereas lesbians are equally likely to be self-employed as married women. We find that gay men earn less than married men. We do find, however, that for those gay men who are self-employed, there is little evidence of a further earnings penalty, at least among full-time workers. Lesbians earn at least as much as married women, but receive no further earnings premium — or penalty — by being self-employed, again among full-time workers.

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

Gender differences in recognition of toy faces suggest a contribution of experience

Kaitlin Ryan & Isabel Gauthier

Vision Research, December 2016, Pages 69–76

Abstract:
When there is a gender effect, women perform better than men in face recognition tasks. Prior work has not documented a male advantage on a face recognition task, suggesting that women may outperform men at face recognition generally either due to evolutionary reasons or the influence of social roles. Here, we question the idea that women excel at all face recognition and provide a proof of concept based on a face category for which men outperform women. We developed a test of face learning to measure individual differences with face categories for which men and women may differ in experience, using the faces of Barbie dolls and of Transformers. The results show a crossover interaction between subject gender and category, where men outperform women with Transformers’ faces. We demonstrate that men can outperform women with some categories of faces, suggesting that explanations for a general face recognition advantage for women are in fact not needed.

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

Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex With Men

Tony Silva

Gender & Society, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study draws on semistructured interviews with 19 white, rural, straight-identified men who have sex with men to understand how they perceive their gender and sexuality. It is among the first to use straight men’s own narratives, and helps address the underrepresentation of rural masculinities research. Through complex interpretive processes, participants reworked non-normative sexual practices — those usually antithetical to rural masculinities — to construct normative masculinity. Most chose other masculine, white, and straight or secretly bisexual men as partners for secretive sex without romantic involvement. By choosing these partners and having this type of sex, the participants normalized and authenticated their sexual encounters as straight and normatively masculine. The participants engaged in bud-sex, a specific type of male–male sex that reinforced their rural masculinity and heterosexuality. The married men framed sex with men as less threatening to marriage than extramarital sex with women, helping to preserve a part of their lives that they described as central to their straightness. The results highlight the flexibility of heterosexuality; the centrality of heterosexuality to normative rural masculinity; how similar sexual practices carry different meanings across contexts and populations; and the social construction of masculinities and sexualities by age, race, gender, time period, and place.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sales

When It Could Have Been Worse, It Gets Better: How Favorable Uncertainty Resolution Slows Hedonic Adaptation

Yang Yang, Yangjie Gu & Jeff Galak

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Thankfully, most product consumption experiences are positive. Unfortunately, however, those positive experiences are not always guaranteed to occur, and defects creep into the consumer experience. Though its assertion runs counter to most prescriptions, the current research proposes that exposing consumers to the mere possibility of these negative experiences, occurring in a consumption sequence increases consumers' happiness with those experiences overtime. Six studies demonstrate this effect and further show that this effect is driven by hedonic responses as a result of favorable uncertainty resolution. That is, with the mere possibility of a negative experience, a consumer, who actually experiences a positive outcome, is likely to feel relief or pleasantness from not having to experience the negative experience. This research enriches existing literature on hedonic adaptation and uncertainty and has significant implications for consumer behavior.

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

Intellectual Property Strategy and the Long Tail: Evidence from the Recorded Music Industry

Laurina Zhang

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Digitization has impacted firm profitability in many media industries by lowering the cost of copying and sharing creative works. I examine the impact of digital rights management (DRM), a prevalent strategy used by firms in media industries to address piracy concerns, on music sales. I exploit a natural experiment, where different labels remove DRM from their entire catalogue of music at different times, to examine whether relaxing an album's sharing restrictions increases sales. Using a large sample of albums from all four major record labels, I find that removing DRM increases digital music sales by 10%, but relaxing sharing restrictions does not impact all albums equally. It increases the sales of lower-selling albums (i.e., the "long tail") significantly (40%) but does not benefit top-selling albums. These results suggest that reducing search costs facilitates the discovery of niche products.

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

Keeping an Enemy, Happily!

Mushegh Harutyunyan & Baojun Jiang

Washington University in Saint Louis Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom suggests that more intense competition will lower firms' profits and that a firm will prefer no competition in the market if possible. We consider a market with two quality-differentiated manufacturers selling through independent exclusive retailers. Our analysis shows that a manufacturer and its retailer can actually both become worse off if their competing manufacturer and retailer exit the market. Put differently, more intense competition in the market can be all-win for the manufacturers, the retailers, and the consumers. Interestingly, the high-quality manufacturer can benefit from an increase in its competitor's quality, even if that increase is costless; in other words, a firm may prefer a strong rather than weak enemy. These results suggest that a manufacturer's profit may increase when the perceived quality of its competitor's product increases, e.g., due to favorable product reviews from consumers or third-party rating agencies, and that the manufacturer may have an incentive to help its competitor to improve product quality or to remain in the market.

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

Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?

Mathew Isaac & Kent Grayson

Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
As defined by Friestad and Wright (1994), persuasion knowledge is personal knowledge about persuasion attempts that consumers develop and use whenever they believe they are targets of persuasion. A significant majority of research on persuasion knowledge has suggested that persuasion knowledge and skepticism invariably go hand in hand, and that accessing persuasion knowledge therefore leads consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering less favorably. Across four studies, the authors demonstrate the novel effect that persuasion knowledge access can lead to greater credibility (rather than greater skepticism), a finding that they argue is theoretically consistent with Friestad and Wright's (1994) Persuasion Knowledge Model. Further, the authors demonstrate that when a persuasive agent uses a credible tactic, persuasion knowledge access can lead consumers to evaluate the agent and its offering more (rather than less) favorably. They also develop and test a new approach for increasing persuasion knowledge access in lab experiments, which can facilitate the investigation of other occasions where persuasion knowledge access increases trust and belief in a persuasive message.

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

Can offline stores drive online sales?

Kitty Wang & Avi Goldfarb

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
We use evidence from store openings by a bricks-and-clicks retailer to examine the drivers of substitution and complementarity between online and offline retail channels. Our evidence supports the coexistence of substitution across channels and complementarity in demand. In places where the retailer has a strong presence, the opening of an offline store is associated with a decrease in online sales and search; however, in places where the retailer does not have a strong presence, the opening of an offline store is associated with an increase in online sales and search. Our evidence suggests that while online and offline may be substitutes in distribution, they are complements in marketing communications. Specifically, the type of marketing communication driving complementarity seems to be information about the existence of the brand. For example, we see a large increase in new customer acquisition and sales, and little difference between fit and feel products and other products. Thus, it is the presence of the store, rather than information about the attributes of the particular products in the store, that drives complementarity.

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

Social Learning and Social Spillovers: Evidence from Movie Sales

Ryan Lampe

California State University Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
This paper uses data on exit polling during a movie's opening weekend to test for the presence of both social spillovers and social learning in movie consumption. In the presence of social spillovers, agents will see a movie if a sufficient number of their peers have seen the movie since agents derive utility from sharing the same experiences. In the presence of social learning, agents will see a movie if good word-of-mouth convinces them it is of high-enough quality. Data on 1,875 wide-release movies between 1995 and 2014 reveal evidence of social spillovers for consumers of movies appealing to younger and more mature audiences. However, these data only reveal evidence of social learning for consumers of movies aimed at mature audiences. These findings help to explain the weak relationship between movie quality and advertising expenditures, particularly for movies aimed at younger audiences.

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

Phonetic Symbolism and Memory for Advertisements

Marilyn Boltz, Grace Mangigian & Molly Allen

Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated whether phonetic symbolism within brand names influences the memory of advertisements. Participants both saw and heard brand names with front vs. back vowels paired with small vs. large products in a congruent vs. incongruent fashion. When later given several unexpected memory tasks, it was found that congruent (vs. incongruent) pairings led to enhanced brand name and product recall as well as the efficiency of both brand name and paired recognition. These findings are consistent with a theory of cross-modal processing involving perceptual unification.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Here's to your health

Consumers Prefer “Natural” More for Preventatives than for Curatives

Sydney Scott, Paul Rozin & Deborah Small

University of Pennsylvania Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Consumers value “naturalness” in some contexts more than others. For example, genetically engineered foods and vaccines are avoided in part due to their perceived unnaturalness, but genetically engineered insulin and synthetic antibiotics are widely accepted. We propose a systematic explanation for variation in the preference for naturalness. Across multiple product categories, we find that natural is more strongly preferred when it is used to prevent a problem than when it is used to cure a problem. This increased preference for natural occurs because natural is perceived as safer and less potent, and when preventing, consumers prefer safer, less potent alternatives. Consistent with this explanation, when natural alternatives are viewed as more risky and more potent, then natural alternatives are more preferred for curing than for preventing. This research sheds light on when the marketing of “natural” can be most appealing to consumers.

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

A Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012

Kenneth Langa et al.

JAMA Internal Medicine, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: We used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative, population-based longitudinal survey of individuals in the United States 65 years or older from the 2000 (n = 10 546) and 2012 (n = 10 511) waves of the HRS.

Results: The study cohorts had an average age of 75.0 years (95% CI, 74.8-75.2 years) in 2000 and 74.8 years (95% CI, 74.5-75.1 years) in 2012 (P = .24); 58.4% (95% CI, 57.3%-59.4%) of the 2000 cohort was female compared with 56.3% (95% CI, 55.5%-57.0%) of the 2012 cohort (P < .001). Dementia prevalence among those 65 years or older decreased from 11.6% (95% CI, 10.7%-12.7%) in 2000 to 8.8% (95% CI, 8.2%-9.4%) (8.6% with age- and sex-standardization) in 2012 (P < .001). More years of education was associated with a lower risk for dementia, and average years of education increased significantly (from 11.8 years [95% CI, 11.6-11.9 years] to 12.7 years [95% CI, 12.6-12.9 years]; P < .001) between 2000 and 2012. The decline in dementia prevalence occurred even though there was a significant age- and sex-adjusted increase between years in the cardiovascular risk profile (eg, prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) among older US adults.

Conclusions and Relevance: The prevalence of dementia in the United States declined significantly between 2000 and 2012. An increase in educational attainment was associated with some of the decline in dementia prevalence, but the full set of social, behavioral, and medical factors contributing to the decline is still uncertain. Continued monitoring of trends in dementia incidence and prevalence will be important for better gauging the full future societal impact of dementia as the number of older adults increases in the decades ahead.

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

Shorter lives in stingier states: Social policy shortcomings help explain the US mortality disadvantage

Jason Beckfield & Clare Bambra

Social Science & Medicine, December 2016, Pages 30–38

Abstract:
The United States has a mortality disadvantage relative to its political and economic peer group of other “rich democracies”. Recently it has been suggested that there could be a role for social policy in explaining this disadvantage. In this paper, we test this ‘social policy’ hypothesis by presenting a time trend analysis from 1970 to 2011 of the association between welfare state generosity (for unemployment insurance, sickness benefits, and pensions) and life expectancy, for the US and 17 other high-income countries. Fixed-effects estimation with autocorrelation-corrected standard errors (robust to unmeasured between-country differences and serial autocorrelation of repeated measures) found strong associations between welfare generosity and life expectancy. A unit increase in overall welfare generosity yields a 0.17 year increase in life expectancy at birth (p < 0.001), and a 0.07 year increase in life expectancy at age 65 (p < 0.001). The strongest effects of the welfare state are in the domain of pension benefits (b = 0.439 for life expectancy at birth, p < 0.001; b = 0.199 for life expectancy at age 65, p < 0.001). Models that lag the measures of social policy by ten years produce similar results, suggesting that the results are not driven by endogeneity bias. There is evidence that the US mortality disadvantage is, in part, a welfare-state disadvantage. We estimate that life expectancy in the US would be approximately 3.77 years longer, if it had just the average social policy generosity of the other 17 OECD nations.

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

Can Paid Sick Leave Mandates Reduce Leave-Taking?

Jenna Stearns & Corey White

University of California Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Since 2006, several cities and states have implemented paid sick leave mandates. We examine the effects of paid sick leave mandates in Washington, D.C. (2008) and Connecticut (2011) on leave-taking behavior. After these policies are implemented, there are significant decreases in the aggregate rate of illness-related leave taking, relative to control groups, for both those directly affected and those not directly affected by the policy. Our results suggest that such policies can provide large positive public health externalities by allowing sick workers to stay home rather than coming to work and spreading their illness to customers and coworkers.

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

Patterns of allergen sensitization and self-reported allergic disease in parents of food allergic children

Melanie Makhija et al.

Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, October 2016, Pages 382–386

Methods: A total of 1,252 mothers and 1,225 fathers of food allergic children answered standardized questionnaires about demographics, home environment, history of atopic diseases, and food allergy. Skin prick testing and sIgE serum tests were performed to 9 foods and 5 aeroallergens.

Results: A total of 66.1% of parents were sensitized to either a food or aeroallergen. Mean sIgE levels were low for all foods tested. A total of 14.5% of mothers and 12.7% of fathers reported current food allergy. Only 28.4% had sensitization to their reported allergen. Fathers had significantly higher rates of sensitization to both foods and aeroallergens (P < .01) than mothers. Logistic regression evaluating predictors of self-reported food allergy revealed statistically significant positive associations in fathers with self-reported asthma, environmental allergy, and eczema. For mothers, significant positive associations were found with environmental allergy and having more than 1 food allergic child.

Conclusion: This cohort of parents of food allergic children found higher rates of sensitization to foods and aeroallergens compared with the general population. However, food sIgE levels were low and correlated poorly with self-reported food allergy. Sex differences in sensitization to foods and aeroallergens were seen.

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

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the USA: A population-based disease burden and cost analysis

Teresa Attina et al.

Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, December 2016, Pages 996–1003

Background: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contribute to disease and dysfunction and incur high associated costs (>1% of the gross domestic product [GDP] in the European Union). Exposure to EDCs varies widely between the USA and Europe because of differences in regulations and, therefore, we aimed to quantify disease burdens and related economic costs to allow comparison.

Methods: We used existing models for assessing epidemiological and toxicological studies to reach consensus on probabilities of causation for 15 exposure–response relations between substances and disorders. We used Monte Carlo methods to produce realistic probability ranges for costs across the exposure–response relation, taking into account uncertainties. Estimates were made based on population and costs in the USA in 2010. Costs for the European Union were converted to US$ (€1=$1.33).

Findings: The disease costs of EDCs were much higher in the USA than in Europe ($340 billion [2.33% of GDP] vs $217 billion [1.28%]). The difference was driven mainly by intelligence quotient (IQ) points loss and intellectual disability due to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (11 million IQ points lost and 43 000 cases costing $266 billion in the USA vs 873 000 IQ points lost and 3290 cases costing $12.6 billion in the European Union). Accounting for probability of causation, in the European Union, organophosphate pesticides were the largest contributor to costs associated with EDC exposure ($121 billion), whereas in the USA costs due to pesticides were much lower ($42 billion).

Interpretation: EDC exposure in the USA contributes to disease and dysfunction, with annual costs taking up more than 2% of the GDP. Differences from the European Union suggest the need for improved screening for chemical disruption to endocrine systems and proactive prevention.

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

Misplaced Paternalism and other Mistakes in the Debate over Kidney Sales

Luke Semrau

Bioethics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Erik Malmqvist defends the prohibition on kidney sales as a justifiable measure to protect individuals from harms they have not autonomously chosen. This appeal to ‘group soft paternalism’ requires that three conditions be met. It must be shown that some vendors will be harmed, that some will be subject to undue pressure to vend, and that we cannot feasibly distinguish between the autonomous and the non-autonomous. I argue that Malmqvist fails to demonstrate that any of these conditions are likely to obtain. His argument involves two common errors. First, he, like many, proceeds on a mistaken understanding of how to assess harm. What matters is not the balance of costs and benefits of vending, but a comparison of potential vendors’ welfare across two possible courses of action. Second, Malmqvist's concerns about third-party pressure are predicated on an empirically unrealistic understanding of the operation of a regulated market. A widely underappreciated fact is that kidney sales will be relatively rare, and most who try to vend will be unable to. Because pressure on another to vend will not result in the desired outcome, few will exert it.

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

Modeling The Economic Burden Of Adult Vaccine-Preventable Diseases In The United States

Sachiko Ozawa et al.

Health Affairs, November 2016, Pages 2124-2132

Abstract:
Vaccines save thousands of lives in the United States every year, but many adults remain unvaccinated. Low rates of vaccine uptake lead to costs to individuals and society in terms of deaths and disabilities, which are avoidable, and they create economic losses from doctor visits, hospitalizations, and lost income. To identify the magnitude of this problem, we calculated the current economic burden that is attributable to vaccine-preventable diseases among US adults. We estimated the total remaining economic burden at approximately $9 billion (plausibility range: $4.7–$15.2 billion) in a single year, 2015, from vaccine-preventable diseases related to ten vaccines recommended for adults ages nineteen and older. Unvaccinated individuals are responsible for almost 80 percent, or $7.1 billion, of the financial burden. These results not only indicate the potential economic benefit of increasing adult immunization uptake but also highlight the value of vaccines. Policies should focus on minimizing the negative externalities or spillover effects from the choice not to be vaccinated, while preserving patient autonomy.

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

Evidence for a limit to human lifespan

Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland & Jan Vijg

Nature, 13 October 2016, Pages 257–259

Abstract:
Driven by technological progress, human life expectancy has increased greatly since the nineteenth century. Demographic evidence has revealed an ongoing reduction in old-age mortality and a rise of the maximum age at death, which may gradually extend human longevity1, 2. Together with observations that lifespan in various animal species is flexible and can be increased by genetic or pharmaceutical intervention, these results have led to suggestions that longevity may not be subject to strict, species-specific genetic constraints. Here, by analysing global demographic data, we show that improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100, and that the age at death of the world’s oldest person has not increased since the 1990s. Our results strongly suggest that the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints.

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

1970s and ‘Patient 0’ HIV-1 genomes illuminate early HIV/AIDS history in North America

Michael Worobey et al.

Nature, 3 November 2016, Pages 98–101

Abstract:
The emergence of HIV-1 group M subtype B in North American men who have sex with men was a key turning point in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Phylogenetic studies have suggested cryptic subtype B circulation in the United States (US) throughout the 1970s and an even older presence in the Caribbean. However, these temporal and geographical inferences, based upon partial HIV-1 genomes that postdate the recognition of AIDS in 1981, remain contentious and the earliest movements of the virus within the US are unknown. We serologically screened >2,000 1970s serum samples and developed a highly sensitive approach for recovering viral RNA from degraded archival samples. Here, we report eight coding-complete genomes from US serum samples from 1978–1979—eight of the nine oldest HIV-1 group M genomes to date. This early, full-genome ‘snapshot’ reveals that the US HIV-1 epidemic exhibited extensive genetic diversity in the 1970s but also provides strong evidence for its emergence from a pre-existing Caribbean epidemic. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses estimate the jump to the US at around 1970 and place the ancestral US virus in New York City with 0.99 posterior probability support, strongly suggesting this was the crucial hub of early US HIV/AIDS diversification. Logistic growth coalescent models reveal epidemic doubling times of 0.86 and 1.12 years for the US and Caribbean, respectively, suggesting rapid early expansion in each location. Comparisons with more recent data reveal many of these insights to be unattainable without archival, full-genome sequences. We also recovered the HIV-1 genome from the individual known as ‘Patient 0’ and found neither biological nor historical evidence that he was the primary case in the US or for subtype B as a whole. We discuss the genesis and persistence of this belief in the light of these evolutionary insights.

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

Eradicating infectious disease using weakly transmissible vaccines

Scott Nuismer et al.

Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 26 October 2016

Abstract:
Viral vaccines have had remarkable positive impacts on human health as well as the health of domestic animal populations. Despite impressive vaccine successes, however, many infectious diseases cannot yet be efficiently controlled or eradicated through vaccination, often because it is impossible to vaccinate a sufficient proportion of the population. Recent advances in molecular biology suggest that the centuries-old method of individual-based vaccine delivery may be on the cusp of a major revolution. Specifically, genetic engineering brings to life the possibility of a live, transmissible vaccine. Unfortunately, releasing a highly transmissible vaccine poses substantial evolutionary risks, including reversion to high virulence as has been documented for the oral polio vaccine. An alternative, and far safer approach, is to rely on genetically engineered and weakly transmissible vaccines that have reduced scope for evolutionary reversion. Here, we use mathematical models to evaluate the potential efficacy of such weakly transmissible vaccines. Our results demonstrate that vaccines with even a modest ability to transmit can significantly lower the incidence of infectious disease and facilitate eradication efforts. Consequently, weakly transmissible vaccines could provide an important tool for controlling infectious disease in wild and domestic animal populations and for reducing the risks of emerging infectious disease in humans.

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

Prenatal paracetamol exposure is associated with shorter anogenital distance in male infants

B.G. Fisher et al.

Human Reproduction, November 2016, Pages 2642-2650

Study question: What is the relationship between maternal paracetamol intake during the masculinisation programming window (MPW, 8–14 weeks of gestation) and male infant anogenital distance (AGD), a biomarker for androgen action during the MPW?

Study design, size, duration: Prospective cohort study (Cambridge Baby Growth Study), with recruitment of pregnant women at ~12 post-menstrual weeks of gestation from a single UK maternity unit between 2001 and 2009, and 24 months of infant follow-up. Of 2229 recruited women, 1640 continued with the infancy study after delivery, of whom 676 delivered male infants and completed a medicine consumption questionnaire.

Participants/materials, setting, method: Mothers self-reported medicine consumption during pregnancy by a questionnaire administered during the perinatal period. Infant AGD (measured from 2006 onwards), penile length and testicular descent were assessed at 0, 3, 12, 18 and 24 months of age, and age-specific Z scores were calculated. Associations between paracetamol intake during three gestational periods (<8 weeks, 8–14 weeks and >14 weeks) and these outcomes were tested by linear mixed models. Two hundred and twenty-five (33%) of six hundred and eighty-one male infants were exposed to paracetamol during pregnancy, of whom sixty-eight were reported to be exposed during 8–14 weeks. AGD measurements were available for 434 male infants.

Main results and the role of chance: Paracetamol exposure during 8–14 weeks of gestation, but not any other period, was associated with shorter AGD (by 0.27 SD, 95% CI 0.06–0.48, P = 0.014) from birth to 24 months of age. This reduction was independent of body size. Paracetamol exposure was not related to penile length or testicular descent.

Wider implications of the findings: Our observational findings support experimental evidence that intrauterine paracetamol exposure during the MPW may adversely affect male reproductive development.

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

Exercise during pregnancy enhances cerebral maturation in the newborn: A randomized controlled trial

Elise Labonte-Lemoyne, Daniel Curnier & Dave Ellemberg

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accumulating research indicates that the regular practice of physical exercise is beneficial to the human brain. From the improvement of academic achievement in children to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly, exercise appears beneficial across the developmental spectrum. Recent work from animal studies also indicates that a pregnant mother can transfer the benefits of exercise during gestation to her offspring’s brain. Exercising pregnant rats give birth to pups that have better memory and spatial learning as well as increased synaptic density. To investigate whether this transfer from the pregnant mother to her child also occurs in humans, we conducted a randomized controlled trial (n = 18) and measured the impact of exercise during pregnancy on the neuroelectric response of the neonatal brain with electroencephalography (EEG). Here we show that, compared to the newborns of mothers who were inactive during their pregnancy, the children of exercising pregnant women are born with more mature brains. This was measured with the infant slow positive mismatch response (SPMMR), an electroencephalographic potential known to decrease in amplitude with age. The SPMMR reflects processes associated with brain maturation via its response to sound discrimination and auditory memory. In this study, the children of the mothers who exercised throughout their pregnancy have a smaller SPMMR than the children of mothers who remained sedentary (p = .019). Our results demonstrate the impact regular exercise during pregnancy can have on the development of the human fetal brain.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What a mess

The political roots of domestic environmental sabotage

Benjamin Farrer & Graig Klein

Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper, we demonstrate that when environmentalist niche parties compete in a given constituency over a number of elections, but continually fail to win seats, then environmental sabotage becomes more frequent in that constituency. When mainstream tactics fail, radical tactics are used more frequently. Using a new data-set on the success rates of all Green Party candidates in US states, we show that environmental sabotage occurs more often when Green Party candidates fail to win even minor offices. This is true even when we control for other political expressions of environmentalism, such as interest group activity, and when we define ‘success’ through votes not seats. We discuss the implications of this for environmental politics, for social movements and democracy, and for political violence in the US.

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

The Effect of Air Pollution on Investor Behavior: Evidence from the S&P 500

Anthony Heyes, Matthew Neidell & Soodeh Saberian

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We provide detailed empirical evidence of a direct effect of air pollution on the efficient operation of the New York Stock Exchange, linking short-term variations in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Manhattan to movements in the S&P 500. The effects are substantial – a one standard deviation increases in ambient PM2.5 reduces same-day returns by 11.9% in our preferred specification – and remarkably robust to a variety of specifications and a battery of robustness and falsification checks. Furthermore, the intra-day effects that we observe are difficult to reconcile with competing hypotheses. Despite investors being dispersed geographically we find strong evidence that the effect is strictly local in nature, consistent with the high concentration of market influencers in New York. While we are agnostic as to the underlying mechanism, we provide evidence suggestive of the role of decreased risk tolerance operating through pollution-induced changes in mood or cognitive function.

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

Coal Mining and the Resource Curse in the Eastern United States

Stratford Douglas & Anne Walker

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We measure the effect of resource-sector dependence on long-run income growth using the natural experiment of coal mining in 409 Appalachian counties selected for homogeneity. Using a panel data set (1970–2010), we find a one standard deviation increase in resource dependence is associated with 0.5–1 percentage point long-run and a 0.2 percentage point short-run decline in the annual growth rate of per capita personal income. We also measure the extent to which the resource curse operates through disincentives to education, and find significant effects, but this “education channel” explains less than 15 percent of the apparent curse.

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

Does Craigslist Reduce Waste? Evidence from California and Florida

Anders Fremstad

Ecological Economics, February 2017, Pages 135–143

Abstract:
There is much discussion but little research on the environmental impacts of online platforms associated with the sharing economy. Economic theory suggests that falling transaction costs in secondhand markets increase incentives for people to exchange rather than discard used goods. This paper uses difference-in-difference methods to estimate Craigslist's effect on solid waste by exploiting a natural experiment in how the platform expanded across California and Florida. The econometric results suggest that Craigslist reduced daily per capita solid waste generation by about one third of a pound, though the estimates are not very precise. A plausibility analysis of the weight of items posted on Craigslist concludes that the 200 million annual for-sale posts created by Californians and Floridians can reasonably account for waste reductions of roughly this magnitude.

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

Vehicle miles (not) traveled: Fuel economy requirements, vehicle characteristics, and household driving

Jeremy West et al.

Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
A major concern with addressing the negative externalities of gasoline consumption by regulating fuel economy, rather than increasing fuel taxes, is that households respond by driving more. This paper exploits a discrete threshold in the eligibility for Cash for Clunkers to show that fuel economy restrictions lead households to purchase vehicles that have lower cost-per-mile, but are also smaller and lower-performance. Whereas the former effect can increase driving, the latter effect can reduce it. Results indicate that these households do not drive more, suggesting that behavioral responses do not necessarily undermine the effectiveness of fuel economy restrictions at reducing gasoline consumption.

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

The Mortality and Medical Costs of Air Pollution: Evidence from Changes in Wind Direction

Tatyana Deryugina et al.

NBER Working Paper, November 2016

Abstract:
We estimate the effect of acute air pollution exposure on mortality, life-years lost, and health care utilization among the US elderly. We address endogeneity and measurement error using a novel instrument for air pollution that strongly predicts changes in fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentrations: changes in the local wind direction. Using detailed administrative data on the universe of Medicare beneficiaries, we find that an increase in daily PM 2.5 concentrations increases three-day county-level mortality, hospitalizations, and inpatient spending, and that these effects are not explained by co-transported pollutants like ozone and carbon monoxide. We then develop a new methodology to estimate the number of life-years lost due to PM 2.5. Our estimate is much smaller than one calculated using traditional methods, which do not adequately account for the relatively low life expectancy of those killed by pollution. Heterogeneity analysis reveals that life-years lost due to PM 2.5 varies inversely with individual life expectancy, indicating that unhealthy individuals are disproportionately vulnerable to air pollution. However, the largest aggregate burden is borne by those with medium life expectancy, who are both vulnerable and comprise a large share of the elderly population.

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

Family Structure, Residential Mobility, and Environmental Inequality

Liam Downey, Kyle Crowder & Robert Kemp

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study combines micro-level data on families with children from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with neighborhood-level census and industrial hazard data to examine the association between family structure and residential proximity to neighborhood pollution. Results indicate the existence of significant family structure differences in household proximity to industrial pollution in U.S. metropolitan areas between 1990 and 1999, with single mother and single-father families experiencing neighborhood pollution levels that are on average 46% and 26% greater, respectively, than those experienced by two-parent families. Moreover, the pollution gap between single mother and two-parent families persists with controls for household and neighborhood race, ethnic, socioeconomic, and sociodemographic characteristics. Examination of underlying migration patterns reveals that single-mother, single-father, and two-parent families are equally likely to move in response to pollution but that mobile single-parent families move into neighborhoods with significantly higher pollution levels than do mobile two parent families.

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

U.S. Environmental Policy Implementation on Tribal Lands: Trust, Neglect, and Justice

Manuel Teodoro, Mellie Haider & David Switzer

Policy Studies Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigates the implementation of U.S. environmental protection laws under American Indian tribal governance. The landmark laws of the 1970s that form the core of America's environmental policy regime made no mention of American Indian tribal lands, and the subsequent research literature on environmental policy has given them little attention. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has primary implementation responsibility for environmental protection laws on tribal lands, which offers a unique opportunity to study direct federal implementation apart from typical joint state–federal implementation. Further, because Indian reservations are homes to a disproportionately poor, historically subjugated racial group, analysis of environmental programs on tribal lands offers a unique perspective on environmental justice. We analyze enforcement of and compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to compare the implementation of environmental policy on tribal lands with nontribal facilities. Analysis reveals that, compared with nontribal facilities, tribal facilities experience less rigorous CWA and SDWA enforcement and are more likely to violate these laws.

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

Potentially Induced Earthquakes during the Early Twentieth Century in the Los Angeles Basin

Susan Hough & Morgan Page

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent studies have presented evidence that early to mid‐twentieth‐century earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas were likely induced by fossil fuel production and/or injection of wastewater (Hough and Page, 2015; Frohlich et al., 2016). Considering seismicity from 1935 onward, Hauksson et al. (2015) concluded that there is no evidence for significant induced activity in the greater Los Angeles region between 1935 and the present. To explore a possible association between earthquakes prior to 1935 and oil and gas production, we first revisit the historical catalog and then review contemporary oil industry activities. Although early industry activities did not induce large numbers of earthquakes, we present evidence for an association between the initial oil boom in the greater Los Angeles area and earthquakes between 1915 and 1932, including the damaging 22 June 1920 Inglewood and 8 July 1929 Whittier earthquakes. We further consider whether the 1933 Mw 6.4 Long Beach earthquake might have been induced, and show some evidence that points to a causative relationship between the earthquake and activities in the Huntington Beach oil field. The hypothesis that the Long Beach earthquake was either induced or triggered by an foreshock cannot be ruled out. Our results suggest that significant earthquakes in southern California during the early twentieth century might have been associated with industry practices that are no longer employed (i.e., production without water reinjection), and do not necessarily imply a high likelihood of induced earthquakes at the present time.

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

Large numbers of vertebrates began rapid population decline in the late 19th century

Haipeng Li et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Accelerated losses of biodiversity are a hallmark of the current era. Large declines of population size have been widely observed and currently 22,176 species are threatened by extinction. The time at which a threatened species began rapid population decline (RPD) and the rate of RPD provide important clues about the driving forces of population decline and anticipated extinction time. However, these parameters remain unknown for the vast majority of threatened species. Here we analyzed the genetic diversity data of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 2,764 vertebrate species and found that the mean genetic diversity is lower in threatened species than in related nonthreatened species. Our coalescence-based modeling suggests that in many threatened species the RPD began ∼123 y ago (a 95% confidence interval of 20–260 y). This estimated date coincides with widespread industrialization and a profound change in global living ecosystems over the past two centuries. On average the population size declined by ∼25% every 10 y in a threatened species, and the population size was reduced to ∼5% of its ancestral size. Moreover, the ancestral size of threatened species was, on average, ∼22% smaller than that of nonthreatened species. Because the time period of RPD is short, the cumulative effect of RPD on genetic diversity is still not strong, so that the smaller ancestral size of threatened species may be the major cause of their reduced genetic diversity; RPD explains 24.1–37.5% of the difference in genetic diversity between threatened and nonthreatened species.

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

Accounting For Heterogeneous Private Risks In The Provision Of Collective Goods: Controversial Compulsory Contracting Institutions In Horizontal Hydrofracturing

Benjamin Farrer, Robert Holahan & Olga Shvetsova

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, January 2017, Pages 138–150

Abstract:
Common pool resources are frequently analyzed with a simple template: the problem is the tragedy of the commons, and the solution is political institutions. Thus the tragedy of the commons is resolved by governing the commons. In this paper we argue that there is also the possibility of a tragedy of governing the commons. If political institutions lock participants into a certain pattern of resource use, and then there is an exogenous shock − say, a technological change − that increases the risks to one group, then the situation may no longer be a classic common-pool situation and institutions may actually exacerbate, rather than ameliorate distributional conflict. We develop a general model showing that whenever there is heterogeneity in private risks, some technological innovation could potentially turn a previously stable institution into a source of conflict. We take the compelling recent example of horizontal hydrofracturing changing the welfare implications of the institution of compulsory pooling, and use a new individual-level dataset of landowners affected by compulsory pooling in New York to demonstrate the empirical support for our model.

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

Is Decoupling GDP Growth from Environmental Impact Possible?

James Ward et al.

PLoS ONE, October 2016

Abstract:
The argument that human society can decouple economic growth — defined as growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — from growth in environmental impacts is appealing. If such decoupling is possible, it means that GDP growth is a sustainable societal goal. Here we show that the decoupling concept can be interpreted using an easily understood model of economic growth and environmental impact. The simple model is compared to historical data and modelled projections to demonstrate that growth in GDP ultimately cannot be decoupled from growth in material and energy use. It is therefore misleading to develop growth-oriented policy around the expectation that decoupling is possible. We also note that GDP is increasingly seen as a poor proxy for societal wellbeing. GDP growth is therefore a questionable societal goal. Society can sustainably improve wellbeing, including the wellbeing of its natural assets, but only by discarding GDP growth as the goal in favor of more comprehensive measures of societal wellbeing.

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

Environmental Jobs and Growth in the United States

Robert Elliott & Joanne Lindley

Ecological Economics, February 2017, Pages 232–244

Abstract:
Green growth is increasingly being seen as a means of simultaneously meeting current and future climate change obligations and reducing unemployment. This paper uses detailed industry-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Green Goods and Services survey to examine how the provision of so-called green goods and services has affected various aspects of the US economy. Our descriptive results reveal that those states and industries that were relatively green in 2010 became even greener in 2011. To investigate further we include green goods and services in a production function. The results show that between 2010 and 2011 industries that have increased their share of green employment have reduced their productivity although this negative correlation was only for the manufacture of green goods and not for the supply of green services. In further analysis we investigate skill-technology complementarities in the production of green goods and services and show that industries that increased their provision of green goods and services grew more slowly, reduced their expenditure on technology inputs and increased their demand for medium educated workers, whilst simultaneously reducing their demand for lower skilled workers.

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

Egregiousness and Boycott Intensity: Evidence from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Zhongmin Wang, Alvin Lee & Michael Polonsky

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumer boycotts are triggered by egregious events, but the literature has not distinguished the level of egregiousness from consumers’ preferences or disutility associated with a given level of egregiousness, nor has the literature studied how these two components of egregiousness affect boycott intensity. We provide a model of market-level boycotts that distinguishes the two egregiousness components. Consistent with the predictions of our model, the market-level intensity of consumer boycotting of BP-branded gasoline, which was triggered by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, increased with the spill’s egregiousness level, approximated by the officially reported daily amount of oil leaked into the ocean and by other measures (i.e., the duration of the spill and the intensity of media coverage), and with consumers’ disutility from egregiousness, approximated by an area’s environmentalism and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

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

The Regulation of Combination: The Implications of Combining Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection

JoyAnna Hopper

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 15 American states, environmental protection agencies perform both pollution-control and natural resource conservation functions. In this study, I examine how this combination of functions affects the regulatory style embraced by these agencies. I find, through interviews with environmental agency workers and empirical analyses using enforcement data from 2010 to 2014, that the cooperation and flexibility with industry inherent to natural resource conservation efforts is a fundamental part of the regulatory process within these combined agencies. Great efforts are made to garner voluntary or negotiated compliance without the possible economic consequences of punitive actions. Enforcements are less frequent and less severe. The effect of this agency design choice is powerful, maintaining its effect even when controlling for political, ideological, and economical pressures. In a time where environmental protection agencies are increasingly interested in incorporating management-based regulation and voluntary compliance to supplement command and control regulation, it is more important than ever to understand the regulation that emerges from this combination.

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

Temporal displacement of environmental crime. Evidence from marine oil pollution

Ben Vollaard

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
We provide evidence for temporal displacement of illegal discharges of oil from shipping, a major source of ocean pollution, in response to a monitoring technology that features variation in the probability of conviction by time of day. During the nighttime, evidence collected by Coast Guard aircraft using radar becomes contestable in court because the nature of an identified spot cannot be verified visually by an observer on board of the aircraft. Seasonal variation in time of sunset is used to distinguish evasive behavior from daily routines on board. Using data from surveillance flights above the Dutch part of the North Sea during 1992–2011, we provide evidence for a sudden increase in illegal discharges right after sunset across the year. Our results show that even a tiny chance of getting caught and a mild punishment can have a major impact on behavior.

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

Too Burdensome to Bid: Transaction Costs and Pay-for-Performance Conservation

Leah Palm-Forster et al.

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, October 2016, Pages 1314-1333

Abstract:
In a world free of transaction costs, reverse auctions have the potential to cost-effectively allocate payment for environmental service contracts by targeting projects that provide the most benefit per dollar spent. However, auctions only succeed if enough farmers choose to bid so that the auctioneer can evaluate numerous projects for targeted funding. A 2014 conservation auction to allocate payments for practices that reduce phosphorus runoff in Northwest Ohio experienced very thin bidding. According to a follow-up survey, auction participation was deterred by the perceived complexity of the bidding process and the need to negotiate with renters. Due to low participation, the actual conservation auction made payments for phosphorus reduction that were surprisingly costly at the margin. Applying a farmer behavioral model to the Western Lake Erie Basin, we simulate participation choice and cost-effectiveness of environmental outcomes in reverse auctions and uniform payment conservation programs. Results reveal that when perceived transaction costs of bid preparation are high, reverse auctions can be less cost-effective than spatially targeted, uniform payment programs that attract higher participation.

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