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Monday, October 31, 2016

Class clowns

How You Pay Affects How You Do: Financial Aid Type and Student Performance in College

Peter Cappelli & Shinjae Won

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Students receiving financial aid pay different amounts for equivalent education and do so in different ways: Grants, which do not have to be repaid, loans, which are paid back in the future, and work-study, pay-as-you-go. We examine the effects of need-based aid independent of study ability on student outcomes – grade point average in particular – controlling for student background and attributes they had prior to college. We also analyze grades within colleges. The results suggest that students receiving need-based grants do significantly better in college than those not receiving financial aid while those paying for college with loans perform significantly worse than students receiving other forms of aid.

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Berkeley or Bust? Estimating the Causal Effect of College Selectivity on Bachelor’s Degree Completion

Shomon Shamsuddin

Research in Higher Education, November 2016, Pages 795–822

Abstract:
Many students enroll in less selective colleges than they are qualified to attend, despite low graduation rates at these institutions. Some scholars have argued that qualified students should enroll in the most selective colleges because they have greater resources to support student success. However, selective college attendance is endogenous, so student outcomes could be due to individual ability, not institutional characteristics. Previous work on college selectivity has focused on the earnings effects of attending elite private universities, overlooking both college graduation impacts and the public institutions that educate most students. I estimate the effect of selective colleges on the probability of bachelor’s degree completion using a restricted-access national dataset and an instrumental variables approach to address the endogeneity of college choice. I find that a 100-point increase in the average SAT score for admitted students is associated with an increase in the probability of graduation by 13 percentage points. In addition, I find suggestive evidence that enrolling in a selective public college has a positive effect on degree completion. The results are robust to a series of sensitivity tests and alternate specifications. The findings suggest strong benefits to enrolling in the most selective colleges that students are qualified to attend and have important implications for decisions to pursue postsecondary education in the face of high student loan debt.

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Feeling left out, but affirmed: Protecting against the negative effects of low belonging in college

Kristin Layous et al.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evaluative domains such as work and school present daily threats to self-integrity that can undermine performance. Self-affirmation theory asserts that, when threatened, people can perform small but meaningful acts to reaffirm their sense of competency. For instance, brief self-affirmation writing interventions have been shown in numerous studies to boost the academic achievement of those contending with negative stereotypes in school because of their race, gender, or generational status. The current paper tested the protective effects of self-affirmation for students who have the subjective sense that they do not belong in college. Such a feeling is not as visible as race or gender but, as a pervasive part of the students' inner world, might still be as debilitating to the students' academic performance. Among a predominantly White sample of college undergraduates, students who felt a low sense of belonging declined in grade point average (GPA) over three semesters. In contrast, students who reported low belonging, but affirmed their core values in a lab-administered self-affirmation writing activity, gained in GPA over time, with the effect of affirmation sufficiently strong to yield a main effect among the sample as a whole. The affirmation intervention mitigated — and even reversed — the decline in GPA among students with a low sense of belonging in college, providing support for self-affirmation theory's contention that affirmations of personal integrity can lessen psychological threat regardless of its source.

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Parental Resources and College Attendance: Evidence from Lottery Wins

George Bulman et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We examine more than one million children whose parents won a state lottery to trace out the effect of additional household resources on college outcomes. The analysis draws on the universe of federal tax records linked to federal financial aid records and leverages substantial variation in the size and timing of wins. The results reveal modest, increasing, and only weakly concave effects of resources: wins less than $100,000 have little influence on college-going (i.e., effects greater than 0.3 percentage point can be ruled out) while very large wins that exceed the cost of college imply a high upper bound (e.g., wins over $1,000,000 increase attendance by 10 percentage points). The effects are smaller among low-SES households. Further, while lottery wins reduce financial aid, attendance patterns are not moderated by this crowd-out. Overall, the results suggest that households derive consumption value from college and, in the current policy environment, do not generally face binding borrowing constraints.

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Will more higher education improve economic growth?

Eric Hanushek

Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Winter 2016, Pages 538-552

Abstract:
Calls for expanded university education are frequently based on arguments that more graduates will lead to faster growth. Empirical analysis does not, however, support this general proposition. Differences in cognitive skills — the knowledge capital of countries — can explain most of the differences in growth rates across countries, but just adding more years of schooling without increasing cognitive skills historically has had little systematic influence on growth.

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Supplying Disadvantaged Schools with Effective Teachers: Experimental Evidence on Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America

Hanley Chiang, Melissa Clark & Sheena McConnell

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

Abstract:
Teach For America (TFA) is an important but controversial source of teachers for hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty U.S. schools. We present findings from the first large-scale experimental study of secondary math teachers from TFA. We find that TFA teachers are more effective than other math teachers in the same schools, increasing student math achievement by 0.07 standard deviations over one school year. Addressing concerns about the fact that TFA requires only a two-year commitment, we find that TFA teachers in their first two years of teaching are more effective than more experienced non-TFA teachers in the same schools.

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School Size and Student Achievement: Does One Size Fit All?

Laura Crispin

Eastern Economic Journal, September 2016, Pages 630–662

Abstract:
I estimate value-added education production functions and control for a wide range of educational inputs associated with school size in order to establish the role of school size in the educational process. I estimate separately for urban, suburban, and rural schools to account for the distinct differences in the educational process by location. I find that for urban and rural schools, the size–achievement relationship is U-shaped, indicating that achievement is highest in the smallest and largest schools. My findings suggest that one size does not fit all, but that relatively small and relatively large schools may benefit students in most locations.

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Do high school STEM courses prepare non-college bound youth for jobs in the STEM economy?

Robert Bozick, Sinduja Srinivasan & Michael Gottfried

Education Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Our study assesses whether high school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses provide non-college bound youth with the skills and training necessary to successfully transition from high school into the STEM economy. Specifically, our study estimates the effects that advanced math, advanced science, engineering, and computer science courses in high school have on the probability that non-college bound youth will obtain employment in the STEM economy and on wages within two years of graduating from high school. Our findings indicate that STEM coursework is unrelated with the probability of securing a job in the STEM economy and is unrelated with wages two years post high school graduation.

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Can Online Delivery Increase Access to Education?

Joshua Goodman, Julia Melkers & Amanda Pallais

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
Though online technology has generated excitement about its potential to increase access to education, most research has focused on comparing student performance across online and in-person formats. We provide the first evidence that online education affects the number of people pursuing formal education. We study the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Online M.S. in Computer Science, the earliest model to combine the inexpensive nature of online education with a highly-ranked degree program. Regression discontinuity estimates exploiting an admissions threshold unknown to applicants show that access to this online option substantially increases overall enrollment in formal education, expanding the pool of students rather than substituting for existing educational options. Demand for the online option is driven by mid-career Americans. By satisfying large, previously unmet demand for mid-career training, this single program will boost annual production of American computer science master’s degrees by about seven percent. More generally, these results suggest that low-cost, high-quality online options may open opportunities for populations who would not otherwise pursue education.

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Examining the Impact of Early Childhood School Investments on Neighborhood Crime

Arelys Madero-Hernandez et al.

Justice Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study tested the hypothesis that investments in early childhood schools have short-term crime reducing effects in neighborhoods. Time series data from the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were analyzed to evaluate the effects of an early childhood school built in the neighborhood of Kendall-Whittier as part of a larger neighborhood revitalization plan, on violent and property crime. Results revealed that after controlling for city-wide crime trends and monthly fluctuations, violent crime declined significantly in Kendall-Whittier. Further analysis indicated that the possible crime-reducing effects of school investments on violent crime spread beyond Kendall-Whittier, and no displacement was found. The results for property crime were mixed. The study demonstrates the use of clustering analysis, a useful tool in neighborhood-level research to identify comparison neighborhoods. The findings shed light on the possibility that investments in early childhood schools can yield results in a shorter term than anticipated, making them a desirable component of urban revitalization.

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Public School Quality Valuation Over the Business Cycle

Stuart Gabriel et al.

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Over the years 2000 to 2013, the Los Angeles real estate market featured a boom, a bust, and then another boom. We use this variation to test how the hedonic valuation of school quality varies over the business cycle. Following Black (1999), we exploit a regression discontinuity design at elementary school attendance boundaries to test for how the implicit price of school quality changes. We find that the capitalization of school quality is counter-cyclical. While good schools always command a price premium, this premium grows during the bust. Possible mechanisms for these findings include consumers "trading down" from private to public schools during contractions as well as the effects of reduced household mobility during downturns in raising the value of the public school option.

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Born on the wrong day? School entry age and juvenile crime

Briggs Depew & Ozkan Eren

Journal of Urban Economics, November 2016, Pages 73–90

Abstract:
Kindergarten entry age is known to impact schooling outcomes. Less is known, however, about the role of school starting age on economic outcomes outside of the classroom. In this paper we use administrative data from Louisiana to analyze the effect of school starting age on juvenile crime. We find that late school entry by one year reduces the incidence of juvenile crime for young black females, particularly in high crime areas. The mediating effects of late school entry for this subgroup appear to be driven by reductions in non-felony offenses. We propose age related differences in human capital accumulation as a potential explanation for our findings.

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Weighing the Military Option: The Effects of Wartime Conditions on Investments in Human Capital

Brian Duncan, Hani Mansour & Bryson Rintala

University of Colorado Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Military service is an important vehicle through which young Americans invest in their human capital. Using internal military data, we show that county-level exposure to U.S. combat casualties during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars decreased the supply of new soldiers in that county, and changed the observable characteristics of soldiers who enlisted in that county. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that exposure to casualties at a young age (17-18) increases the probability of dropping out from high school, and decreases the probability of attaining a college degree. The results suggest that increasing access to higher education and skill training positively impacts the human capital investments of marginal students.

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The Effects of Head Start Duration on the Behavioral Competence of Socially Disadvantaged Children

Minjong Youn

Journal of Community Psychology, November 2016, Pages 980–996

Abstract:
This study examined the influence of Head Start duration on teacher-reported children's approaches to learning, behavioral problems, and cooperative classroom behaviors at the end of kindergarten. Propensity score matching was used to create comparable samples of children who experienced different durations of Head Start. Analysis of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey showed that children who attended 2 years of Head Start showed a higher level of approaches to learning (effect size [ES] = .53), cooperative classroom behaviors (ES = .35), and fewer problematic behaviors (ES = -.43) in kindergarten. The effects of 2 years of attendance of Head Start were most prominent for children raised in families with high-risk factors and for Black children, particularly with improvement in approaches to learning. This finding supports the argument that a longer exposure from an earlier age to a preschool program may contribute to improving school readiness for children from economically disadvantaged families.

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The Competitive Effects of Online Education

David Deming, Michael Lovenheim & Richard Patterson

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
We study the impact of online degree programs on the market for U.S. higher education. Online degree programs increase the competitiveness of local education markets by providing additional options in areas that previously only had a small number of brick-and-mortar schools. We show that local postsecondary institutions in less competitive markets experienced relative enrollment declines following a regulatory change in 2006 that increased the market entry and enrollment of online institutions. Impacts on enrollment were concentrated among private non-selective institutions, which are likely to be the closest competitors to online degree programs. We also find increases in per-student instructional spending among public institutions. Our results suggest that by increasing competitive pressure on local schools, online education can be an important driver of innovation and productivity in U.S. higher education.

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Performance Standards in Need-Based Student Aid

Judith Scott-Clayton & Lauren Schudde

NBER Working Paper, October 2016

Abstract:
College attendance is a risky investment. But students may not recognize when they are at risk for failure, and financial aid introduces the possibility for moral hazard. Academic performance standards can serve three roles in this context: signaling expectations for success, providing incentives for increased student effort, and limiting financial losses. Such standards have existed in federal need-based aid programs for nearly 40 years in the form of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, yet have received virtually no academic attention. In this paper, we sketch a simple model to illustrate not only student responses to standards but also the tradeoffs faced by a social planner weighing whether to set performance standards in the context of need-based aid. We then use regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference designs to examine the consequences of SAP failure. In line with theoretical predictions, we find heterogeneous effects in the short term, with negative impacts on persistence but positive effects on grades for students who remain enrolled. After three years, the negative effects appear to dominate. Effects on credits attempted are 2–3 times as large as effects on credits earned, suggesting that standards increase the efficiency of aid expenditures. But it also appears to exacerbate inequality in higher education by pushing out low-performing low-income students faster than their equally low-performing, but higher-income peers.

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Cognitive Priming and Cognitive Training: Immediate and Far Transfer to Academic Skills in Children

Bruce Wexler et al.

Scientific Reports, September 2016

Abstract:
Cognitive operations are supported by dynamically reconfiguring neural systems that integrate processing components widely distributed throughout the brain. The inter-neuronal connections that constitute these systems are powerfully shaped by environmental input. We evaluated the ability of computer-presented brain training games done in school to harness this neuroplastic potential and improve learning in an overall study sample of 583 second-grade children. Doing a 5-minute brain-training game immediately before math or reading curricular content games increased performance on the curricular content games. Doing three 20-minute brain training sessions per week for four months increased gains on school-administered math and reading achievement tests compared to control classes tested at the same times without intervening brain training. These results provide evidence of cognitive priming with immediate effects on learning, and longer-term brain training with far-transfer or generalized effects on academic achievement.

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Effects of ParentCorps in Prekindergarten on Child Mental Health and Academic Performance: Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Through 8 Years of Age

Laurie Miller Brotman et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Importance: Low-income minority children living in urban neighborhoods are at high risk for mental health problems and underachievement. ParentCorps, a family-centered, school-based intervention in prekindergarten, improves parenting and school readiness (ie, self-regulation and preacademic skills) in 2 randomized clinical trials. The longer-term effect on child mental health and academic performance is not known.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This is a 3-year follow-up study of a cluster randomized clinical trial of ParentCorps in public schools with prekindergarten programs in New York City. Ten elementary schools serving a primarily low-income, black student population were randomized in 2005, and 4 consecutive cohorts of prekindergarten students were enrolled from September 12, 2005, through December 31, 2008. We report follow-up for the 3 cohorts enrolled after the initial year of implementation. Data analysis was performed from September 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015.

Interventions: ParentCorps included professional development for prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers and a program for parents and prekindergarten students (13 two-hour group sessions delivered after school by teachers and mental health professionals).

Results: A total of 1050 children (4 years old; 518 boys [49.3%] and 532 girls [50.7%]) in 99 prekindergarten classrooms participated in the trial (88.1% of the prekindergarten population), with 792 students enrolled from 2006 to 2008. Most families in the follow-up study (421 [69.6%]) were low income; 680 (85.9%) identified as non-Latino black, 78 (9.8%) as Latino, and 34 (4.3%) as other. Relative to their peers in prekindergarten programs, children in ParentCorps-enhanced prekindergarten programs had lower levels of mental health problems (Cohen d = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.08-0.81) and higher teacher-rated academic performance (Cohen d = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.02-0.39) in second grade.

Conclusions and Relevance: Intervention in prekindergarten led to better mental health and academic performance 3 years later. Family-centered early intervention has the potential to prevent problems and reduce disparities for low-income minority children.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Team members

A Laughing Matter: Patterns of Laughter and the Effectiveness of Working Dyads

Lu Wang et al.

Organization Science, September-October 2016, Pages 1142-1160

Abstract:
Poor communication in teams has been found to result in disappointing team performance. Integrating research on team communication and laughter, we tested hypotheses about the relationship between working dyads’ patterns of laughter and their open communication and effectiveness. We examined two patterns of laughter: shared laughter occurs when both individuals laugh frequently in a dyad, and unshared laughter occurs when one individual in a dyad laughs frequently, but the other does not. Using data collected from 93 flight simulations in two aviation courses, we found that dyads engage in more open communication and are more effective when one member laughs frequently, but the other member does not. In addition, we found that the agreeableness of a dyad member reduces team effectiveness by increasing the likelihood of shared laughter. These results highlight the important role of laughter in team interactions and expand the growing literature on the role of emotions in teams.

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Making Intergroup Contact More Fruitful: Enhancing Cooperation Between Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli Adolescents by Fostering Beliefs About Group Malleability

Amit Goldenberg et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
For decades, increasing intergroup contact has been the preferred method for improving cooperation between groups. However, even proponents of this approach acknowledge that intergroup contact may not be effective in the context of intractable conflicts. One question is whether anything can be done to increase the impact of intergroup contact on cooperation. In the present study, we tested whether changing perceptions of group malleability in a pre-encounter intervention could increase the degree of cooperation during contact encounters. Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli adolescents (N = 141) were randomly assigned either to a condition that taught that groups are malleable or to a coping, control condition. During a subsequent intergroup encounter, we used two behavioral tasks to estimate the levels of cooperation. Results indicated that relative to controls, participants in the group malleability condition showed enhanced cooperation. These findings suggest new avenues for enhancing the impact of contact in the context of intractable conflicts.

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An intra-group perspective on leader preferences: Different risks of exploitation shape preferences for leader facial dominance

Troels Bøggild & Lasse Laustsen

Leadership Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that followers' preferences for dominant leadership vary according to two types of exploitation risks from other individuals within the group. Previous work demonstrates that contexts of inter-group war and peace make followers prefer dominant- and non-dominant-looking leaders, respectively. We add an intra-group perspective to this literature. Four original studies demonstrate that contexts with high risks of free-riding and criminal behavior from other group members (i.e., horizontal exploitation) increase preferences for dominant-looking leaders, whereas contexts with high risks of unresponsive, self-interested behavior from leaders themselves (i.e., vertical exploitation) decrease preferences for dominant-looking leaders. Moreover, within this framework of intra-group exploitation risks we show that followers prefer leaders from another vis-à-vis their own ethnic coalition to look less dominant, and that this difference is driven by enhanced concerns for vertical exploitation from ethnically different leaders. The findings add new insights on appearance-based voting and electoral difficulties facing minority candidates.

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Ask in person: You're less persuasive than you think over email

Mahdi Roghanizad & Vanessa Bohns

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research has found people underestimate the likelihood strangers will comply with their direct requests (Bohns, 2016; Flynn & Lake (Bohns), 2008). Here we argue this “underestimation-of-compliance effect” may be limited to requests made face-to-face. We find when making direct requests over email, requesters instead overestimate compliance. In two studies, participants asked strangers to comply with requests either face-to-face or over email. Before making these requests, requesters estimated the number of people they expected to say “yes”. While requesters underestimated compliance in face-to-face contexts, replicating previous research, they overestimated compliance in email contexts. Analyses of several theorized mechanisms for this finding suggest that requesters, anchored on their own perspectives, fail to appreciate the suspicion, and resulting lack of empathy, with which targets view email requests from strangers. Given the prevalence of email and text-based communication, this is an extremely important moderator of the underestimation-of-compliance effect.

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Competing While Cooperating With the Same Others: The Consequences of Conflicting Demands in Co-Opetition

Florian Landkammer & Kai Sassenberg

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numerous studies comparing the effects of competition and cooperation demonstrated that competition is detrimental on the social level. However, instead of purely competing, many social contexts require competing while cooperating with the same social target. The current work examined the consequences of such “co-opetition” situations between individuals. Because having to compete and to cooperate with the same social target constitutes conflicting demands, co-opetition should lead to more flexibility, such as (a) less rigid transfer effects of competitive behavior and (b) less rigidity/more flexibility in general. Supporting these predictions, Studies 1a and 1b demonstrated that co-opetition did not elicit competitive behavior in a subsequent task (here: enhanced deceiving of uninvolved others). Study 2 showed that adding conflicting demands (independent of social interdependence) to competition likewise elicits less competitive transfer than competition without such conflicting demands. Beyond that, co-opetition reduced rigid response tendencies during a classification task in Studies 3a and 3b and enhanced flexibility during brainstorming in Study 4, compared with other forms of interdependence. Together, these results suggest that co-opetition leads to more flexible behavior when individuals have to reconcile conflicting demands. Implications for research on social priming, interdependence and competition in everyday life are discussed.

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Bliss is ignorance: How the magnitude of expressed happiness influences perceived naiveté and interpersonal exploitation

Alixandra Barasch, Emma Levine & Maurice Schweitzer

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, November 2016, Pages 184–206

Abstract:
Across six studies, we examine how the magnitude of expressed happiness influences social perception and interpersonal behavior. We find that happiness evokes different judgments when expressed at high levels than when expressed at moderate levels, and that these judgments influence opportunistic behavior. Specifically, people perceive very happy individuals to be more naïve than moderately happy individuals. These perceptions reflect the belief that very happy individuals shelter themselves from negative information about the world. As a result of these inferences, very happy people, relative to moderately happy people, are more likely to receive biased advice from advisors with a conflict of interest and are more likely to be chosen as negotiation partners when the opportunity for exploitation is salient. Our findings challenge existing assumptions in organizational behavior and psychology by identifying a significant disadvantage of expressing happiness, and underscore the importance of examining emotional expressions at different magnitudes. We call for future work to explore how the same emotion, experienced or expressed at different levels, influences judgment and behavior.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Loving differences

The impact of sexuality concerns on teenage pregnancy: A consequence of heteronormativity?

Thomas Farrell et al.

Culture, Health & Sexuality, forthcoming

Abstract:
In countries such as the USA, a substantial percentage of teenage pregnancies are intentional, and desire for pregnancy increases risk. Black US Americans have been found to be less accepting of homosexuality than their non-Black peers, which may result in minority ethnic teenagers demonstrating heterosexual orientation through attempting pregnancy. Young, socioeconomically disadvantaged African Americans were surveyed longitudinally regarding attitudes about their sexuality, pregnancy intentions and other psychosocial factors. Young people who reported being somewhat concerned about their sexual orientation were nearly four times more likely to report attempting pregnancy compared to those who were not at all concerned. This relationship held true while accounting for the significant effect of religion, sense of community, hopelessness and numerous demographic factors. The current study suggests that uncertainty regarding sexual orientation, potentially due to social stigma, may impact pregnancy attempts among young Black people from disadvantaged communities.

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More Than a Game: Football Fans and Marriage Equality

Brian Harrison & Melissa Michelson

PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2016, Pages 782-787

Abstract:
Public opinion tends to be stable. Once formed, attitudes are persistent and endure over time at both the individual and the aggregate levels. Attitudes toward marriage equality, however, have changed rapidly in recent years. This article posits that this is partly due to people learning that other members of their in-groups are supporters; they then alter their own opinions to be consistent with those of other in-group members. The authors tested this theory using a set of randomized survey experiments that shared identities as fans of professional football. When fans learn - sometimes unexpectedly - that other fans or athletes are supporters of marriage equality, they are motivated to agree in order to further normalize their membership in those sports-fan groups.

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Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?

Corinne Reczek et al.

Demography, October 2016, Pages 1605-1630

Abstract:
The children of different-sex married couples appear to be advantaged on a range of outcomes relative to the children of different-sex cohabiting couples. Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, whether and how this general pattern extends to the children of same-sex married and cohabiting couples is unknown. This study examines this question with nationally representative data from the 2004-2013 pooled National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Results reveal that children in cohabiting households have poorer health outcomes than children in married households regardless of the sex composition of their parents. Children in same-sex and different-sex married households are relatively similar to each other on health outcomes, as are children in same-sex and different-sex cohabiting households. These patterns are not fully explained by socioeconomic differences among the four different types of families. This evidence can inform general debates about family structure and child health as well as policy interventions aiming to reduce child health disparities.

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No Differences? Meta-Analytic Comparisons of Psychological Adjustment in Children of Gay Fathers and Heterosexual Parents

Benjamin Graham Miller, Stephanie Kors & Jenny Macfie

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Abstract:
The field of literature on gay male parenting is small, especially compared to the number of studies on lesbian parenting. No meta-analysis has specifically compared the children of gay fathers to the children of heterosexual parents nor has any meta-analysis applied the newly developed quality-effects model to this field of research. The current study applied the fixed effects, random effects, and quality-effects models of meta-analysis to 10 studies (35 standardized mean differences) from the past 10 years to evaluate child psychological adjustment by parent sexual orientation. Studies both within and outside of the United States with a range of child ages and sample sizes were included. The quality-effects model of meta-analysis helps mitigate error caused by methodological differences in studies in addition to random error attributed to small sample sizes, making it the most appropriate model for this study. Although the quality-effects model provided results closest to our hypothesis that there would be no difference, results indicated that children of gay fathers had significantly better outcomes than did children of heterosexual parents in all 3 models of meta-analysis. These results may be attributable to potential higher socioeconomic status for gay fathers traditionally associated with dual earner households, better preparedness for fatherhood in the face of strong antigay stigma directed at same-sex families, and more egalitarian parenting roles. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.

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The impact of civil union legislation on minority stress, depression, and hazardous drinking in a diverse sample of sexual-minority women: A quasi-natural experiment

Bethany Everett, Mark Hatzenbuehler & Tonda Hughes

Social Science & Medicine, November 2016, Pages 180-190

Objective: To determine the effect of civil union legalization on sexual minority women's perceived discrimination, stigma consciousness, depressive symptoms, and four indicators of hazardous drinking (heavy episodic drinking, intoxication, alcohol dependence symptoms, adverse drinking consequences) and to evaluate whether such effects are moderated by race/ethnicity or education.

Methods: During the third wave of data collection in the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women study (N = 517), Illinois passed the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, legalizing civil unions in Illinois and resulting in a quasi-natural experiment wherein some participants were interviewed before and some after the new legislation. Generalized linear models and interactions were used to test the effects of the new legislation on stigma consciousness, perceived discrimination, depression, and hazardous drinking indicators. Interactions were used to assess whether the effects of policy change were moderated by race/ethnicity or education.

Results: Civil union legislation was associated with lower levels of stigma consciousness, perceived discrimination, depressive symptoms, and one indicator of hazardous drinking (adverse drinking consequences) for all sexual minority women. For several other outcomes, the benefits of this supportive social policy were largely concentrated among racial/ethnic minority women and women with lower levels of education.

Conclusions: Results suggest that policies supportive of the civil rights of sexual minorities improve the health of all sexual minority women, and may be most beneficial for women with multiply marginalized statuses.

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LGBT Novel Drug Use as Contextualized Through Control, Strain, and Learning Theories

Joseph Rukus, John Stogner & Bryan Miller

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examine novel drug use in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the context of social learning, self-control, and strain theories.

Methods: Based on a sample of 2,349 college students, we examine novel drug use rates of LGBT participants. We then perform a series of logistic regression models to examine factors correlated with LGBT novel drug use.

Results: We find LGBT individuals have higher rates of use for novel drugs. We find that social learning constructs partially mediate the relationship between sexual orientation and novel drug use. The data did not support the hypotheses that strain or self-control mediated or acted as a moderator in this relationship.

Conclusion: We hypothesize higher LGBT novel drug use may be related to unique cultural definitions surrounding LGBT drug use and LGBT individuals being less likely to stigmatize substance use. This finding may have implications for LGBT substance use messaging and education programs.

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Peer influence on gender identity development in adolescence

Olga Kornienko et al.

Developmental Psychology, October 2016, Pages 1578-1592

Abstract:
During adolescence, gender identity (GI) develops through a dialectic process of personal reflection and with input from the social environment. Peers play an important role in the socialization of gendered behavior, but no studies to-date have assessed peer influences on GI. Thus, the goal of the present study was to examine peer influences on four aspects of adolescents' GI in racially and ethnically diverse 7th- and 8th-grade students (N = 670; 49.5% boys, M age = 12.64) using a longitudinal social network modeling approach. We hypothesized stronger peer influence effects on between-gender dimensions of GI (intergroup bias and felt pressure for gender conformity) than on within-gender dimensions of GI (typicality and contentedness). Consistent with expectations, we found significant peer influence on between-gender components of GI-intergroup bias among 7th and 8th graders as well as felt pressure for gender conformity among 8th graders. In contrast, within-gender components of GI showed no evidence of peer influence. Importantly, these peer socialization effects were evident even when controlling for tendencies to select friends who were similar on gender, gender typicality, and contentedness (8th graders only). Employing longitudinal social network analyses provides insights into and clarity about the roles of peers in gender development.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rigging the system

Business as usual: Politicians with business experience, government finances, and policy outcomes

Brian Beach & Daniel Jones

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, November 2016, Pages 292-307

Abstract:
Are government finances and policy outcomes different under politicians with business experience? We study California city councils and implement a regression discontinuity strategy to provide causal evidence on this issue. Ultimately, we find no evidence that the election of a candidate with business experience impacts city expenditures, revenues, unemployment rates, and other outcomes. Future vote shares for candidates with business experience are also unaffected, which suggests that these politicians are not having an impact that is observed to voters but unobserved in our data.

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Partisan Preemption: The Strategic use of Federal Preemption Legislation

Mallory SoRelle & Alexis Walker

Publius, Fall 2016, Pages 486-509

Abstract:
Federal preemption by both parties has risen dramatically since the 1960s. Scholars note that Democrats and Republicans routinely employ preemption to advance partisan political goals, but we know very little about how each party uses this tool of federal power. Are policymakers from both parties employing preemption in similar ways, or do strategic partisan differences exist? Using an original dataset, we show that Democrats and Republicans systematically vary in their use of preemption. Democrats put forward preemption legislation that maximizes regulation by mandating a floor of protection across the states, particularly for policies that promote consumer protection and expand civil rights. In contrast, Republicans enact preemptions that cap regulation by utilizing ceilings that curtail the states' ability to regulate, particularly for business and commerce policy. Ultimately, both parties have enhanced federal power and limited state authority, but they do so in dramatically different ways and for vastly different political goals.

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The Privatization of Political Representation: Community-Based Organizations as Nonelected Neighborhood Representatives

Jeremy Levine

American Sociological Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
In an era of public-private partnerships, what role do nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) play in urban governance? Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Boston, this article presents a new way to understand CBOs' political role in poor neighborhoods: CBOs as nonelected neighborhood representatives. Over the course of four years, I followed nine CBOs in six Boston neighborhoods as they planned community development projects. The CBOs in my study superseded elected politicians as the legitimate representatives of poor urban neighborhoods. Private funders and government agencies legitimated CBO leaders' claims and treated them as the preferred representatives of neighborhoods' interests. Elected district representatives, by contrast, exhibited limited influence over resources and were rarely involved in community development decision-making. By reconsidering CBOs' political role in urban neighborhoods, this study uncovers a consequential realignment of urban political representation. It also identifies an important tradeoff between the urban poor's access to resources and the ability to hold their leaders democratically accountable - a tradeoff that will remain so long as governments continue to rely on private actors in public governance.

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Why do Legislators Skip Votes? Position Taking Versus Policy Influence

Adam Brown & Jay Goodliffe

Political Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A legislator's duty is to vote on legislation, yet legislators routinely miss votes. Existing studies of absenteeism have focused on the US Congress, producing useful but partial explanations. We provide added insight by examining absenteeism in American state legislatures. Our data include 2,916,471 individual votes cast by 4392 legislators from 64 legislative chambers. This rich, multistate dataset produces insights that build on and sometimes conflict with Congressional research. We use a multilevel logistic model with nested and crossed random effects to estimate the influence of variables at five different levels. In particular, we investigate whether state legislators miss unimportant votes or important votes. Contrary to what Congressional studies have found, we find that state legislators avoid participating in close or major votes, favoring reelection concerns over policy influence. We also find that state-to-state variations in legislative professionalism - in particular, the length of the session - affect absenteeism, with shorter sessions leading to higher absenteeism.

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Clerks or Kings? Partisan Alignment and Delegation to the US Bureaucracy

Christine Kelleher Palus & Susan Webb Yackee

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, October 2016, Pages 693-708

Abstract:
Scholars often assert that the delegation of policy discretion to administrative agencies is driven, in part, by partisanship. In short, the "ally principle" dictates that elected officials delegate more policy discretion to agency officials when their partisanship aligns because such an alignment reduces uncertainty about future policy choices. In contrast, we draw on insights from social identity theory to theorize that partisan alignment may, in practice, decrease the overall perceived policy discretion by agency officials. We evaluate this hypothesis using data collected across three decades of state political elections and over 6,000 American state agency heads, finding consistent evidence against the ally principle. In fact, in keeping with our theorizing, we uncover slightly lower - not higher - levels of policy discretion are associated with partisan alignment. We conclude that partisanship may play a role in narrowing the perceived policy authority available to politically like-minded agency officials.

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Socialism for Red States in the Electric Utility Industry

Richard Schmalensee

MIT Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
TVA and the other federal electric utilities were created under Democratic administrations, and their service territories were initially bluer than average. These subsidized enterprises sell cheap power preferentially to non-investor-owned distributors, so such utilities are more prominent where the federal utilities are important sellers. The political map of the U.S. has changed dramatically since the federal utilities were created. The federal utilities and non-investor-owned distributors are now more important on average in red states than in blue ones. Interest has trumped ideology: Republican policy-makers strongly opposed to socialism in principle seem happy with the important role of government enterprises in the U.S. electric utility industry.

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The Institutional Determinants of Southern Secession

Mario Chacon & Jeff Jensen

NYU Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
We use the Southern secession movement of 1860-1861 to study how elites in democracy enact their preferred policies. Most states used specially convened conventions to determine whether or not to secede from the Union. We argue that although the delegates of these conventions were popularly elected, the electoral rules favored slaveholders. Using an original dataset of representation in each convention, we first demonstrate that slave-intensive districts were systematically overrepresented. Slaveholders were also spatially concentrated and could thereby obtain local pluralities in favor of secession more easily. As a result of these electoral biases, less than 10% of the electorate was sufficient to elect a majority of delegates in four of the six original Confederate states. We also show how delegates representing slave-intensive counties were more likely to support secession. These factors explain the disproportionate influence of slaveholders during the crisis and why secessionists strategically chose conventions over statewide referenda.

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Gridlock and Inefficient Policy Instruments

Michael David Austen-Smith et al.

Northwestern University Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
Policy makers often regulate the economy using inefficient rather than efficient policy instruments. For example, externalities are typically regulated by quotas or standards even if Pigou taxes could have raised revenues and led to a Pareto improvement. This paper recognizes that, in many political systems, there are multiple veto players and the current policy defines the status quo to be used in the future. Thus, even if a player benefits from the efficient policy instrument today, it is anticipated that this instrument will be particularly hard to repeal once implemented. Less interventionist players, therefore, may prefer use of a Pareto dominated instrument that is easier to repeal when appropriate. Within a dynamic political economy model that captures this intuition, we also show, inter alia, that both relatively more and less interventionist players may propose inefficient policy interventions in equilibrium, and that access to a Pareto dominated policy instrument can be welfare improving as it mitigates inefficiencies due to legislative gridlock.

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Conflict, democracy and voter choice: A public choice analysis of the Athenian ostracism

George Tridimas

Public Choice, October 2016, Pages 137-159

Abstract:
Ostracism, the removal of a political leader from ancient Athens for a period of ten years without any additional financial sanction or other punishment, was an important and rather unique institutional aspect of the direct democracy. The present study explains the adoption of ostracism as the utility maximizing choice of a self-interested constitutional writer-cum-political actor to resolve violent political conflict and illustrates that it acted as a type of negative referendum on politicians. Using notions from game theory and spatial decision modeling, the paper goes on to attribute the infrequent use of ostracism to its two-stage decision making process wherein the decisive voter of the first stage differed from the decisive voter of the second stage.

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Three Practical Tests for Gerrymandering: Application to Maryland and Wisconsin

Samuel Wang

Election Law Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Partisan gerrymandering arises when many single-district gerrymanders are combined to obtain an overall advantage. The Supreme Court has held that partisan gerrymandering is recognizable by its asymmetry: for a given distribution of popular votes, if the parties switch places in popular vote, the numbers of seats would change in an unequal fashion. However, the asymmetry standard is only a broad statement of principle, and no analytical method for assessing asymmetry has yet been held to be manageable. Recently I proposed (68 Stanford Law Review 1263) three statistical tests to reliably assess asymmetry in state-level districting schemes: (a) a discrepancy in winning vote margins between the two parties' seats; (b) undue reliable wins for the party in charge of redistricting, as measured by the mean-median difference in vote share, or by an unusually even distribution of votes across districts; and (c) unrepresentative distortion in the number of seats won based on expectations from nationwide district characteristics. These tests use district-level election outcomes, do not require the drawing of maps, and are accessible via nearly any desktop computer. Each test probes a facet of partisan asymmetry. The first two tests analyze intent using well-established, century-old statistical tests. Once intents are established, the effects of gerrymandering can be analyzed using the third test, which is calculated rapidly by computer simulation. The three tests show that two current cases, the Wisconsin State Assembly (Whitford v. Nichol) and the Maryland congressional delegation (Shapiro v. McManus), meet criteria for a partisan gerrymander. I propose that an intents-and-effects standard based on these tests is robust enough to mitigate the need to demonstrate predominant partisan intent. The three statistical standards offered here add to the judge's toolkit for rapidly and rigorously identifying the consequences of partisan redistricting.

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One, Two, Many - Insensitivity to Group Size in Games with Concentrated Benefits and Dispersed Costs

Heiner Schumacher et al.

Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
We experimentally analyze distributional preferences when a decider chooses the provision of a good that benefits herself or a receiver, and creates costs for a group of payers. The treatment variation is the number of payers. We observe that subjects provide the good even if there are many payers so that the costs of provision exceed the benefits by far. This result holds regardless of whether the provision increases the decider's payoff or not. Intriguingly, it is not only selfish or maximin types who provide the good. Rather, we show that a substantial fraction of subjects are "insensitive to group size": they reveal to care about the payoff of all parties, but attach the same weight to small and large groups so that they ignore large provision costs that are dispersed among many payers. Our results have important consequences for the approval of policies with concentrated benefits and large, dispersed cost, as well as the analysis of ethical behavior, medical decision making, and charity donations.

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Core Values and Partisan Thinking about Devolution

Jennifer Wolak

Publius, Fall 2016, Pages 463-485

Abstract:
Why do people call for states' rights and the devolution of national authority? Are they driven by partisan motives, where they like devolution the most when the President is of the opposing party? Or are calls to shift the balance of federal power rooted in sincere support for decentralized political authority? Using survey data from 1987 to 2012, I explore how support for devolution varies across time and individuals. I find that people are not strictly partisan in how they think about devolution. While people are more likely to favor decentralization when the President is of the opposing party, they are no more likely to want devolution when their own party controls state government. Substantive considerations are also important, where those who support limited government increasingly favor the devolution of central authority as the size of the national government increases relative to the size of state and local government.

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Consistency versus Responsiveness: Do Members of Congress Change Positions on Specific Issues in Response to Their Districts?

Adam Cayton

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
While democratic theory suggests that representatives should be willing to adjust their issue positions to adapt to new circumstances, politicians face serious political risks from "flip flopping." How do members of Congress balance these risks? Using an original data set of district economic conditions and opinion from 2007 to 2010 and sets of repeated roll call votes, I leverage the exogenous shock of the Great Recession to explain position change on three major economic policies. I find that position change occurs in response to the constituency on final passage votes, but that partisan pressures exert greater influence, especially on procedural votes. This novel test of responsiveness has implications for the nature of policy representation and the mechanisms behind aggregate responsiveness.

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Electoral Institutions and Legislative Particularism

Jon Rogowski

Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
How do electoral institutions affect legislative behavior? Though a large body of theoretical scholarship posits a negative relationship between multimember districting and the provision of particularistic goods, empirical scholarship has found little evidence in support of this expectation. Using data on the provision of US post offices from 1876 to 1896, a period during which many states elected congressional representatives from at-large districts, and a differences-in-differences approach, I find that counties represented by at-large representatives received approximately 8% fewer post offices. The results have important implications for studying how electoral institutions affect incentives for legislative behavior.

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Ratio Bias and Policy Preferences: How Equivalency Framing of Numbers Can Affect Attitudes

Rasmus Pedersen

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Numbers permeate modern political communication. While current scholarship on framing effects has focused on the persuasive effects of words and arguments, this article shows that framing of numbers can also substantially affect policy preferences. Such effects are caused by ratio bias, which is a general tendency to focus on numerators and pay insufficient attention to denominators in ratios. Using a population-based survey experiment, I demonstrate how differently framed but logically equivalent representations of the exact same numerical value can have large effects on citizens' preferences regarding salient political issues such as education and taxes. Furthermore, the effects of numerical framing are found across most groups of the population, largely regardless of their political predisposition and their general ability to understand and use numerical information. These findings have significant implications for our understanding of framing effects and the role played by numbers in public opinion formation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Treats

Fast food, soft drink and candy intake is unrelated to body mass index for 95% of American adults

David Just & Brian Wansink

Obesity Science & Practice, December 2015, Pages 126–130

Methods: Using 2007–2008 Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the consumption incidence of targeted foods on two non-continuous days was examined across discrete ranges of BMI. Data were analysed in 2011.

Results: After excluding the clinically underweight and morbidly obese, consumption incidence of fast food, soft drinks or candy was not positively correlated with measures of BMI. This was true for sweet snacks (r = 0.005, p = <0.001) and salty snacks (r = 0.001, p = 0.040). No significant variation was found between BMI subcategories in weekly consumption frequency of fast food meals.

Conclusions: For 95% of this study's sample, the association between the intake frequency of fast food, soft drinks and candy and BMI was negative. This result suggests that a strategy that focuses solely on these problem foods may be ineffective in reducing weight. Reducing the total calories of food eaten at home and the frequency of snacking may be more successful dieting advice for the majority of individuals.

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Overweight and obesity among Major League Baseball players: 1871–2015

David Conroy, Kathleen Wolin & Mercedes Carnethon

Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, September–October 2016, Pages 610–612

Abstract:
Professional athletes provide high-profile role models of health and human performance. Increased body mass can be adaptive for human performance but also presents a health threat. This paper examines 145 years of data on body mass in 17,918 male professional baseball players in the United States at the time of their professional debut. Both height and weight at debut have increased over time. Controlling for age at debut, players debuting in the current decade were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than at any time in history. The prevalence of overweight and obesity increased to approximately 70% and 10%, respectively, while normal weight prevalence decreased from approximately 60% to 20% during that time. The causes of these changes over the past 25 years are not clear although they coincide with the steroid era. These trends warrant further attention because of the potential for adverse long-term health consequences in this population and those who perceive them as role models for health and human performance.

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‘Globesity’? The effects of globalization on obesity and caloric intake

Joan Costa-Font & Núria Mas

Food Policy, October 2016, Pages 121–132

Abstract:
We examine the effect of globalization, in its economic and social dimensions, on obesity and caloric intake, namely the so-called ‘globesity’ hypothesis. Our results suggest a robust association between globalization and both obesity and caloric intake. A one standard deviation increase in globalization is associated with a 23.8 percent increase in obese population and a 4.3 percent rise in calorie intake. The effect remains statistically significant even after using an instrumental variable strategy to correct for some possible reverse causality and ommited variable bias, a lagged structure, and corrections for panel standard errors. However, we find that the primary driver (of the ‘globesity’ phenomenon) is the ‘social’ rather than the ‘economic’ dimension of globalization, and specifically the effect of changes in ‘information flows’ and ‘social proximity’ on obesity. A one standard deviation increase in social globalization increased the percentage of obese population by 13.7 percent.

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Measuring Effects of SNAP on Obesity at the Intensive Margin

Lorenzo Almada & Rusty Tchernis

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
The effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on obesity have been the focus of much debate. However, causal interpretation of estimates from previous studies, comparing participants to non-participants, is complicated by endogeneity and possible misreporting of participation in SNAP. In this paper, we take a novel approach to examine quasi-experimental variation in SNAP benefit amount on adult obesity. Children of SNAP households qualify for free in-school meals, thus freeing some additional benefits for the household. A greater proportion of school-age children eligible for free in-school meals proxies for an exogenous increase in the amount of SNAP benefits available per adult. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 we show that school meals represent a non-trivial part of the food budget for SNAP households. We find that increases in SNAP benefits have no effect on obesity levels for the full sample of those who report SNAP participation. To better isolate the effects of additional benefits from other potential changes we restrict our analysis to adults living in households with at least one child under 5 years of age. In this setting, we find that additional SNAP benefits reduce BMI and the probability of being obese for SNAP adults.

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Differences in the Association of Physical Activity and Children’s Overweight and Obesity Status Among the Major Racial and Ethnic Groups of U.S. Children

Alma Guerrero et al.

Health Education & Behavior, forthcoming

Method. Data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health were analyzed to examine the relationship of daily exercise with children’s weight status. Propensity score covariate adjustment and multivariate logistic regression with survey weights were used to control for child, home, and community characteristics.

Results: Approximately 22% of all children ages 10 to 17 years engaged in daily exercise for at least 20 minutes. In the adjusted model for the entire sample, daily exercise was associated with children having a lower likelihood of being overweight or obese (odds ratio = 0.79; 95% confidence interval = 0.68-0.91). In a stratified analysis of the major racial and ethnic groups, however, while White children who exercised daily were found to have a lower odds of being overweight or obese (odds ratio = 0.70; 95% confidence interval = 0.60-0.82), this relationship was not found for most minority children.

Conclusions: Racial and ethnic minority children were not found to have the same weight status relationship with exercising daily. These findings suggest that some population-average exercise recommendations may not be as applicable to minority children.

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Rejecting Responsibility: Low Physical Involvement in Obtaining Food Promotes Unhealthy Eating

Linda Hagen, Aradhna Krishna & Brent McFerran

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Five experiments show that less physical involvement in obtaining food leads to less healthy food choices. We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; this is not the case for snacks that they perceive as relatively healthy. Further, when participants are given the opportunity to choose their portion size, they select larger portions of unhealthy foods when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; again, this is not the case for healthy foods. We suggest that this behavior occurs because being less physically involved in serving one's food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption. These findings add to the research on consumers' self-serving attributions and to the growing literature on factors that nudge consumers towards healthier eating decisions.

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Stand-Biased Versus Seated Classrooms and Childhood Obesity: A Randomized Experiment in Texas

Monica Wendel et al.

American Journal of Public Health, October 2016, Pages 1849-1854

Objectives: To measure changes in body mass index (BMI) percentiles among third- and fourth-grade students in stand-biased classrooms and traditional seated classrooms in 3 Texas elementary schools.

Methods: Research staff recorded the height and weight of 380 students in 24 classrooms across the 3 schools at the beginning (2011–2012) and end (2012–2013) of the 2-year study.

Results: After adjustment for grade, race/ethnicity, and gender, there was a statistically significant decrease in BMI percentile in the group that used stand-biased desks for 2 consecutive years relative to the group that used standard desks during both years. Mean BMI increased by 0.1 and 0.4 kilograms per meter squared in the treatment and control groups, respectively. The between-group difference in BMI percentile change was 5.24 (SE = 2.50; P = .037). No other covariates had a statistically significant impact on BMI percentile changes.

Conclusions: Changing a classroom to a stand-biased environment had a significant effect on students’ BMI percentile, indicating the need to redesign traditional classroom environments.

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Local Obesity Prevalence and Corporate Policies

Anup Agrawal & Yuree Lim

University of Alabama Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Consistent with prior findings that obese individuals tend to be more risk-averse, we find that firms headquartered in areas with greater obesity prevalence adopt less risky corporate policies. Using a dataset of obesity prevalence in US counties, we find that the obesity rate in a county is related negatively to investment, growth and profitability, and positively to stock volatility, of firms located there. We use time-varying state taxes on ‘fatty foods’ and the density of fast food restaurants in a county as instruments for local obesity to examine a causal link between local obesity and corporate policies. We provide evidence that both local managers and shareholders appear to be channels through which obesity prevalence gets transmitted to the lower-risk policies of local firms. The mechanisms underlying this transmission appear to be education, health, race, and marital status. Finally, adding to the nature vs. nurture debate, both genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to our findings.

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Impact of the Berkeley Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption

Jennifer Falbe et al.

American Journal of Public Health, October 2016, Pages 1865-1871

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in Berkeley, California, which became the first US jurisdiction to implement such a tax ($0.01/oz) in March 2015.

Methods: We used a repeated cross-sectional design to examine changes in pre- to posttax beverage consumption in low-income neighborhoods in Berkeley versus in the comparison cities of Oakland and San Francisco, California. A beverage frequency questionnaire was interviewer administered to 990 participants before the tax and 1689 after the tax (approximately 8 months after the vote and 4 months after implementation) to examine relative changes in consumption.

Results: Consumption of SSBs decreased 21% in Berkeley and increased 4% in comparison cities (P = .046). Water consumption increased more in Berkeley (+63%) than in comparison cities (+19%; P < .01).

Conclusions: Berkeley’s excise tax reduced SSB consumption in low-income neighborhoods. Evaluating SSB taxes in other cities will improve understanding of their public health benefit and their generalizability.

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The audience eats more if a movie character keeps eating: An unconscious mechanism for media influence on eating behaviors

Shuo Zhou, Michael Shapiro & Brian Wansink

Appetite, forthcoming

Abstract:
Media's presentation of eating is an important source of influence on viewers' eating goals and behaviors. Drawing on recent research indicating that whether a story character continues to pursue a goal or completes a goal can unconsciously influence an audience member's goals, a scene from a popular movie comedy was manipulated to end with a character continuing to eat (goal ongoing) or completed eating (goal completed). Participants (N = 147) were randomly assigned to a goal status condition. As a reward, after viewing the movie clip viewers were offered two types of snacks: ChexMix and M&M's, in various size portions. Viewers ate more food after watching the characters continue to eat compared to watching the characters complete eating, but only among those manipulated to identify with a character. Viewers were more likely to choose savory food after viewing the ongoing eating scenes, but sweet dessert-like food after viewing the completed eating scenes. The results extend the notion of media influence on unconscious goal contagion and satiation to movie eating, and raise the possibility that completing a goal can activate a logically subsequent goal. Implications for understanding media influence on eating and other health behaviors are discussed.

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The U-shaped association of body mass index with mortality: Influence of the traits height, intelligence, and education

Terese Sara Høj Jørgensen et al.

Obesity, October 2016, Pages 2240–2247

Methods: The study was based on a cohort of young men with data on weight, height, intelligence test score, and education from the Danish Conscription Database. In total, 346,500 men born 1939 to 1959 were followed until December 2013. The association between BMI and mortality was analyzed using Cox-regression models including interactions between BMI and height, intelligence, and education, respectively.

Results: BMI and mortality showed the U-shaped association from the start of the follow-up period, and it persisted through the subsequent 56 years. As expected, the mortality was inversely associated with height, intelligence, and education, but the U shape of the association between BMI and mortality was unaffected by the levels of these traits except at higher BMI values, where the slopes were steeper for men with higher levels of height, intelligence, and education.

Conclusions: High and low BMI was associated with higher mortality throughout life regardless of the levels of height, intelligence, and education.

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Self-identified Obese People Request Less Money: A Field Experiment

Antonios Proestakis & Pablo Brañas-Garza

Frontiers in Psychology, September 2016

Abstract:
Empirical evidence suggests that obese people are discriminated in different social environments, such as the work place. Yet, the degree to which obese people are internalizing and adjusting their own behavior as a result of this discriminatory behavior has not been thoroughly studied. We develop a proxy for measuring experimentally the “self-weight bias” by giving to both self-identified obese (n = 90) and non-obese (n = 180) individuals the opportunity to request a positive amount of money after having performed an identical task. Consistent with the System Justification Theory, we find that self-identified obese individuals, due to a preexisting false consciousness, request significantly lower amounts of money than non-obese ones. A within subject comparison between self-reports and external monitors' evaluations reveals that the excessive weight felt by the “self” but not reported by evaluators captures the self-weight bias not only for obese but also for non-obese individuals. Linking our experimental results to the supply side of the labor market, we argue that self-weight bias, as expressed by lower salary requests, enhances discriminatory behavior against individuals who feel, but may not actually be, obese and consequently exacerbates the wage gap across weight.

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Association Between Cesarean Birth and Risk of Obesity in Offspring in Childhood, Adolescence, and Early Adulthood

Changzheng Yuan et al.

JAMA Pediatrics, forthcoming

Design, Setting, and Participants: A prospective cohort study was conducted from September 1, 1996, to December 31, 2012, among participants of the Growing Up Today Study, including 22 068 offspring born to 15 271 women, followed up via questionnaire from ages 9 to 14 through ages 20 to 28 years. Data analysis was conducted from October 10, 2015, to June 14, 2016.

Results: Of the 22 068 offspring (20 950 white; 9359 male and 12 709 female), 4921 individuals (22.3%) were born by cesarean delivery. The cumulative risk of obesity through the end of follow-up was 13% among all participants. The adjusted risk ratio for obesity among offspring delivered via cesarean birth vs those delivered via vaginal birth was 1.15 (95% CI, 1.06-1.26; P = .002). This association was stronger among women without known indications for cesarean delivery (adjusted risk ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.09-1.54; P = .004). Offspring delivered via vaginal birth among women who had undergone a previous cesarean delivery had a 31% (95% CI, 17%-47%) lower risk of obesity compared with those born to women with repeated cesarean deliveries. In within-family analysis, individuals born by cesarean delivery had 64% (8%-148%) higher odds of obesity than did their siblings born via vaginal delivery.

Conclusions and Relevance: Cesarean birth was associated with offspring obesity after accounting for major confounding factors. Although additional research is needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying this association, clinicians and patients should weigh this risk when considering cesarean delivery in the absence of a clear indication.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Organized

Shady characters: The implications of illicit organizational roles for resilient team performance

Colleen Stuart & Celia Moore

Academy of Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this paper we theorize about illicit roles and explore their effects on resilient team performance. We define an illicit role as one whose occupants specialize in activity forbidden by the law, regulatory bodies, or professional societies, in the belief that doing so provides a competitive advantage. Using longitudinal data on professional hockey teams, we examine the enforcer - a player who specializes in the prohibited activity of fighting. We find that team performance is more disrupted by the injury of an enforcer than by the injury of occupants of other formal roles on the team. In addition, team performance recovers more slowly after this setback to the extent the team tries to replace an enforcer, and the performance disruptions associated with his exit are magnified as a function of his experience with his team. We use these findings to develop new theory about organizational roles that operate outside official channels and formal structures. We suggest that such role occupants are more difficult to replace than their formal counterparts, in part because to enact these roles effectively requires experience in the local social context.

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Share Capitalism and Worker Wellbeing

Alex Bryson et al.

Labour Economics, October 2016, Pages 151-158

Abstract:
We show that worker wellbeing is determined not only by the amount of compensation workers receive but also by how compensation is determined. While previous theoretical and empirical work has often been preoccupied with individual performance-related pay, we find that the receipt of a range of group-performance schemes (profit shares, group bonuses and share ownership) is associated with higher job satisfaction. This holds conditional on wage levels, so that pay methods are associated with greater job satisfaction in addition to that coming from higher wages. We use a variety of methods to control for unobserved individual and job-specific characteristics. We suggest that half of the share-capitalism effect is accounted for by employees reciprocating for the "gift"; we also show that share capitalism helps dampen the negative wellbeing effects of what we typically think of as "bad" aspects of job quality.

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Occupational Survival Through Field-Level Task Integration: Systems Men, Production Planners, and the Computer, 1940s-1990s

Steven Kahl, Brayden King & Greg Liegel

Organization Science, September-October 2016, Pages 1084-1107

Abstract:
This paper examines how occupational groups survive the introduction of a new technology and associated jurisdictional changes. We draw on a comparative historical analysis of two occupational associations' - systems men and production planners - efforts to frame their evolving tasks and relate to other occupations after the introduction of the computer into U.S. business in the early 1950s. We observe that systems men followed the path traditionally advocated in the occupations and professions literature by seeking autonomy through differentiating their task domains from other groups and by trying to get other groups to recognize their control. But they were unsuccessful and disbanded by the mid-1990s. In contrast, the successful production planners took an integrative approach through efforts to frame the interdependencies of their tasks and relate to other occupations, making them more necessary to the functioning of other groups and the organization. Our study contributes to the growing relational perspective on occupations by showing how taking an integrative approach with other occupations at the field level can help occupations survive long term.

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Policy Changes in Major League Baseball: Improved Agent Behavior and Ancillary Productivity Outcomes

Brian Mills

Economic Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Offense in Major League Baseball (MLB) has decreased substantially since 2006, often attributed to increased testing and punitive action for use of performance enhancing drugs. However, there has been concurrent policy change affecting behavior of other league agents that may have also affected game play. I therefore examine the effect of these agents, MLB umpires, on offensive production in baseball. Estimates reveal that a substantial portion of the offensive reduction from 2008 through 2014 can be attributed to changes in the size of the strike zone. Implications are further discussed in the context of firm production relevant outcomes as they relate to the labor force and supervisor performance expectations.

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Hired to be Fired: The Publicity Value of Managers

John Charles Bradbury

Managerial and Decision Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sports teams frequently fire and hire managers when they experience losing. However, determining managerial responsibility for player performance is difficult to measure. This study examines how major-league baseball players perform under different managers and estimates that managers have little effect on performance. The study further investigates whether or not replacing managers serves as a signal to fans that the team is improving, which boosts attendance. The results indicate that new managers were associated with increased attendance in the 2000s; however, such effects were not present in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Fostering Public Good Contributions with Symbolic Awards: A Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment at Wikipedia

Jana Gallus

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This natural field experiment tests the effects of purely symbolic awards on volunteer retention in a public goods context. The experiment is conducted at Wikipedia, which faces declining editor retention rates, particularly among newcomers. Randomization assures that award receipt is orthogonal to previous performance. The analysis reveals that awards have a sizeable effect on newcomer retention, which persists over the four quarters following the initial intervention. This is noteworthy for indicating that awards for volunteers can be effective even if they have no impact on the volunteers' future career opportunities. The awards are purely symbolic, and the status increment they produce is limited to the recipients' pseudonymous online identities in a community they have just recently joined. The results can be explained by enhanced self-identification with the community, but they are also in line with recent findings on the role of status and reputation, recognition, and evaluation potential in online communities.

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"Drive On": The Relationship Between Psychological Variables and Effective Squad Leadership

Todd Gilson, Melissa Dix & Marc Lochbaum

Military Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The U.S. Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC) conducts systematic assessments of cadets' leadership abilities during field training exercises (FTX) to assess their leadership abilities. While cadets in ROTC programs learn specific tactical operation procedures to augment FTX performances, much less is known about the relationship between psychological variables and squad leadership performance. To this end, 220 cadets completed self-efficacy, psychological flexibility, and grit questionnaires, which were then compared to FTX performance scores. Results underscored that only self-efficacy was significantly related to cadets' squad leadership ability. Furthermore, prior service in the U.S. Army had no effect on the performance score one attained, highlighting an interesting paradox. Therefore, while self-efficacy can be cultivated through prior experiences, it seems more prudent to educate ROTC cadets on how to apply psychological skills to bolster self-efficacy in preparation for upcoming challenging leadership experiences.

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Institutionalized Involvement: Teams and Stress in 1990s U.S. Steel

Jaren Haber

Industrial Relations, October 2016, Pages 632-661

Abstract:
Is employee involvement universally either good or bad, a "best practice" or an exploitative tool - or do its effects depend on context? To shed light on this issue, I ask the following question: Do organizational-cultural factors determine whether employees are stressed by membership in teams? By constructing mixed-effects models from a large mid-1990s survey of U.S. steel employees, I find that team membership is linked to increased stress only when implemented in cultural contexts of conflict and distrust. I conclude that the unintended consequences of institutionalized formal practices depend on organizationally specific cultural conditions.

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Failed Searches: Hiring as a Cognitive Decision Making Process and How Applicant Variety Affects an Employer's Likelihood of Making an Offer

Ming Leung

University of California Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Extant hiring research has generally focused on understanding outcomes for employees and not on outcomes for employers. I theorize on how employer cognitive hiring decision processes affect their likelihood of extending an offer of employment. I argue that greater variety in the job experiences of candidates in the applicant pool complicates employer comparison processes. Hiring is a two-stage process and I predict that comparison difficulties materialize among a winnowed down consideration set of candidates in this second stage. More experienced employers have less difficulty with variety because they have better constructed preferences. Regression analyses from an online market for contract labor on over 640,000 job postings by over 170,000 employers support my contentions. Greater variety in job experiences among job candidates in the applicant pool leads to a lower likelihood a job offer will be extended to any of them. This relationship is completely mediated by the variety in job candidates in the second stage consideration set. The more experience an employer has in hiring in a domain, the less of an issue variety becomes. Results utilizing an instrumental variable and several supporting analyses are also reported. Contributions to the study of evaluation in markets, hiring, and cognitive processes of categorization are discussed.

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The Role of Communication of Performance Schemes: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Florian Englmaier, Andreas Roider & Uwe Sunde

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In corporate practice, incentive schemes are often complicated even for simple tasks. Hence, the way they are communicated might matter. In a natural field experiment, we study a minimally invasive change in the communication of a well-established incentive scheme - a reminder regarding the piece rate at the beginning of the shift. The experiment was conducted in a large firm where experienced managers work in a team production setting and where incentives for both quantity and quality of output are provided. While the treatment conveyed no additional material information and left the incentive system unchanged, it had significant positive effects on quantity and on managers' compensation. These effects are economically sizable and robust to alternative empirical specifications. We consider various potential mechanisms, but our preferred explanation is that the treatment raised the salience of incentives.

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Customer-supplier relationships and corporate tax avoidance

Ling Cen et al.

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate whether firms in close customer-supplier relationships are better able to identify and implement tax avoidance strategies via supply chains. Consistent with our prediction, we find that both principal customers and their dependent suppliers avoid more taxes than other firms. Further analysis suggests that principal customers and dependent suppliers likely engage in tax strategies involving shifting profits to tax haven subsidiaries. Moreover, tax benefits appear to explain both principal customer firms' and dependent supplier firms' organizational decisions. Overall, our study provides evidence of the importance of tax avoidance as a source of gains from these relationships.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hazy

Changing perspectives on marijuana use during early adolescence and young adulthood: Evidence from a Panel of Cross-Sectional Surveys

Christopher Salas-Wright et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, December 2016, Pages 5–10

Method: Findings are based on repeated, cross-sectional data collected annually from adolescents (ages 12–17; n = 230,452) and young adults (ages 18–21; n = 120,588) surveyed as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2014. For each of the birth years between 1986 and 1996, we combined a series of nationally representative cross-sections to provide multi-year data strings designed to approximate nationally representative cohorts.

Results: Compared to youth born in the mid-to-late 1980s, youth born in the mid-1990s reported significantly higher levels of marijuana disapproval during the early adolescent years (Age 14: 1988 = 64.7%, 1994 = 70.4%) but lower levels of disapproval during the young adult years (Age 19: 1988 = 32.0%, 1994 = 25.0%; Age 20: 1988 = 27.9%, 1994 = 19.7%). Moreover, the prevalence of marijuana use among youth born in 1994 was significantly lower — compared to youth born in 1988 — at age 14 (1988: 11.39%, 1994: 8.19%) and significantly higher at age 18 (1988: 29.67%, 1994: 34.83%). This pattern held even when adjusting for potential confounding by demographic changes in the population across the study period.

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Substance Abuse Treatment Centers and Local Crime

Samuel Bondurant, Jason Lindo & Isaac Swensen

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
In this paper we estimate the effects of expanding access to substance-abuse treatment on local crime. We do so using an identification strategy that leverages variation driven by substance-abuse-treatment facility openings and closings measured at the county level. The results indicate that substance-abuse-treatment facilities reduce both violent and financially motivated crimes in an area, and that the effects are particularly pronounced for relatively serious crimes. The effects on homicides are documented across three sources of homicide data.

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State Medical Marijuana Laws and the Prevalence of Opioids Detected Among Fatally Injured Drivers

June Kim et al.

American Journal of Public Health, November 2016, Pages 2032-2037

Objectives: To assess the association between medical marijuana laws (MMLs) and the odds of a positive opioid test, an indicator for prior use.

Methods: We analyzed 1999–2013 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from 18 states that tested for alcohol and other drugs in at least 80% of drivers who died within 1 hour of crashing (n = 68 394). Within-state and between-state comparisons assessed opioid positivity among drivers crashing in states with an operational MML (i.e., allowances for home cultivation or active dispensaries) versus drivers crashing in states before a future MML was operational.

Results: State-specific estimates indicated a reduction in opioid positivity for most states after implementation of an operational MML, although none of these estimates were significant. When we combined states, we observed no significant overall association (odds ratio [OR] = 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.61, 1.03). However, age-stratified analyses indicated a significant reduction in opioid positivity for drivers aged 21 to 40 years (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.37, 0.67; interaction P < .001).

Conclusions: Operational MMLs are associated with reductions in opioid positivity among 21- to 40-year-old fatally injured drivers and may reduce opioid use and overdose.

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The Impact of Medical Marijuana Laws on the Labor Supply and Health of Older Adults: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Lauren Hersch Nicholas & Johanna Catherine Maclean

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We study the effect of state medical marijuana laws (MMLs) on labor supply and health outcomes among older adults; the demographic group with the highest rates of many chronic conditions for which marijuana may be an effective treatment. Using 1992 - 2012 Health and Retirement Study data to estimate differences-in-differences models, we find that MML implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adults along with improvement in health for older men and mixed health effects for women. These effects should be considered as policymakers determine how best to regulate access to medical marijuana.

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Moderate alcohol consumption after a mental stressor attenuates the stress response

I.C. Schrieks et al.

Alcohol, forthcoming

Abstract:
Alcohol is often consumed to reduce tension and improve mood when exposed to stressful situations. Previous studies showed that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce stress when alcohol is consumed prior to a stressor, but data on the effect of alcohol consumption after a mental stressor is limited. Therefore, our objective was to study whether moderate alcohol consumption immediately after a mental stressor attenuates the stress response. Twenty-four healthy men (age 21–40 y, BMI 18–27 kg/m2) participated in a placebo-controlled trial. They randomly consumed 2 cans (660 mL, ∼26 g alcohol) of beer or alcohol-free beer immediately after a mental stressor (Stroop task and Trier Social Stress Test). Physiological and immunological stress response was measured by monitoring heart rate and repeated measures of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis), white blood cells and a set of cytokines. After a mental stressor, cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations were 100% and 176% more reduced at 60 min (P = 0.012 and P = 0.001, respectively) and 92% and 60% more reduced at 90 min (P < 0.001 and P = 0.056, respectively) after beer consumption as compared to alcohol-free beer consumption. Heart rate and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were not influenced by alcohol consumption. Plasma IL-8 concentrations remained lower during the stress recovery period after beer consumption than after alcohol-free beer consumption (P < 0.001). In conclusion, consumption of a moderate dose of alcohol after a mental stressor may facilitate stress response recovery as reflected by decreasing plasma ACTH and cortisol.

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Treatment utilization among persons with opioid use disorder in the United States

Li-Tzy Wu, He Zhu & Marvin Swartz

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: The United States is experiencing an opioid overdose epidemic. Treatment use data from diverse racial/ethnic groups with opioid use disorder (OUD) are needed to inform treatment expansion efforts.

Methods: We examined demographic characteristics and behavioral health of persons aged ≥12 years that met criteria for past-year OUD (n = 6,125) in the 2005–2013 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (N = 503,101). We determined the prevalence and correlates of past-year use of alcohol/drug use treatment and opioid-specific treatment to inform efforts for improving OUD treatment.

Results: Among persons with OUD, 81.93% had prescription (Rx) OUD only, 9.75% had heroin use disorder (HUD) only, and 8.32% had Rx OUD + HUD. Persons with Rx OUD + HUD tended to be white, adults aged 18-49, males, or uninsured. The majority (80.09%) of persons with OUD had another substance use disorder (SUD), and major depressive episode (MDE) was common (28.74%). Of persons with OUD, 26.19% used any alcohol or drug use treatment, and 19.44% used opioid-specific treatment. Adolescents, the uninsured, blacks, native-Hawaiians/Pacific-Islanders/Asian-Americans, persons with Rx OUD only, and persons without MDE or SUD particularly underutilized opioid-specific treatment. Among alcohol/drug use treatment users, self-help group and outpatient rehabilitation treatment were commonly used services.

Conclusions: Most people with OUD report no use of OUD treatment. Multifaceted interventions, including efforts to access insurance coverage, are required to change attitudes and knowledge towards addiction treatment in order to develop a supportive culture and infrastructure to enable treatment-seeking. Outreach efforts could target adolescents, minority groups, and the uninsured to improve access to treatment.

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Childhood Self-Control Predicts Smoking Throughout Life: Evidence From 21,000 Cohort Study Participants

Michael Daly et al.

Health Psychology, November 2016, Pages 1254-1263

Methods: 21,132 participants were drawn from 2 nationally representative cohort studies; the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS) and the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS). Child self-control was teacher-rated at age 10 in the BCS and at ages 7 and 11 in the NCDS. Participants reported their smoking status and number of cigarettes smoked per day at 5 time-points in the BCS (ages 26–42) and 6 time-points in the NCDS (ages 23–55). Both studies controlled for socioeconomic background, cognitive ability, psychological distress, gender, and parental smoking; the NCDS also controlled for an extended set of background characteristics.

Results: Early self-control made a substantial graded contribution to (not) smoking throughout life. In adjusted regression models, a 1-SD increase in self-control predicted a 6.9 percentage point lower probability of smoking in the BCS, and this was replicated in the NCDS (5.2 point reduced risk). Adolescent smoking explained over half of the association between self-control and adult smoking. Childhood self-control was positively related to smoking cessation and negatively related to smoking initiation, relapse to smoking, and the number of cigarettes smoked in adulthood.

Conclusions: This study provides strong evidence that low childhood self-control predicts an increased risk of smoking throughout adulthood and points to adolescent smoking as a key pathway through which this may occur.

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State-Level Medical Marijuana Laws, Marijuana Use and Perceived Availability of Marijuana Among the General U.S. Population

Silvia Martins et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, December 2016, Pages 26–32

Background: Little is known on how perceived availability of marijuana is associated with medical marijuana laws. We examined the relationship between medical marijuana laws (MML) and the prevalence of past-month marijuana use, with perceived availability of marijuana.

Methods: Data were from respondents included in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health restricted use data portal 2004-2013. Multilevel logistic regression of individual- level data was used to test differences between MML and non-MML states and changes in prevalence of past-month marijuana use and perceived availability from before to after passage of MML among adolescents, young adults and older adults controlling for demographics.

Results: Among adults 26+, past-month prevalence of marijuana use increased from 5.87% to 7.15% after MML passage (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 1.24 [1.16-1.31]), but no change in prevalence of use was found for 12-17 or 18-25 year-olds. Perceived availability of marijuana increased after MML were enacted among those 26+ but not in younger groups. Among all age groups, prevalence of marijuana use and perception of it being easily available was higher in states that would eventually pass MML by 2013 compared to those that had not. Perceived availability was significantly associated with increased risk of past-month marijuana use in all age groups.

Conclusion: Evidence suggests perceived availability as a driver of change in use of marijuana due to MML. To date, this has only occurred in adults 26+ and different scenarios that could explain this change need to be further explored.

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The impact of adolescent exposure to medical marijuana laws on high school completion, college enrollment and college degree completion

Andrew Plunk et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: There is concern that medical marijuana laws (MMLs) could negatively affect adolescents. To better understand these policies, we assess how adolescent exposure to MMLs is related to educational attainment.

Methods: Data from the 2000 Census and 2001–2014 American Community Surveys were restricted to individuals who were of high school age (14–18) between 1990 and 2012 (n = 5,483,715). MML exposure was coded as: (i) a dichotomous “any MML” indicator, and (ii) number of years of high school age exposure. We used logistic regression to model whether MMLs affected: (a) completing high school by age 19; (b) beginning college, irrespective of completion; and (c) obtaining any degree after beginning college. A similar dataset based on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) was also constructed for confirmatory analyses assessing marijuana use.

Results: MMLs were associated with a 0.40 percentage point increase in the probability of not earning a high school diploma or GED after completing the 12th grade (from 3.99% to 4.39%). High school MML exposure was also associated with a 1.84 and 0.85 percentage point increase in the probability of college non-enrollment and degree non-completion, respectively (from 31.12% to 32.96% and 45.30% to 46.15%, respectively). Years of MML exposure exhibited a consistent dose response relationship for all outcomes. MMLs were also associated with 0.85 percentage point increase in daily marijuana use among 12th graders (up from 1.26%).

Conclusions: Medical marijuana law exposure between age 14 to 18 likely has a delayed effect on use and education that persists over time.

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Legal Access to Alcohol and Criminality

Benjamin Hansen & Glen Waddell

NBER Working Paper, August 2016

Abstract:
Previous research has found strong evidence that legal access to alcohol is associated with sizable increases in criminality. We revisit this relationship using the census of judicial records on criminal charges filed in Oregon Courts, the ability to separately track crimes involving firearms, and to track individuals over time. We find that crime increases at age 21, with increases mostly due to assaults lacking in premeditation, and alcohol-related nuisance crimes. We find no evident increases in rape or robbery. Among those with no prior criminal records, increases in crime are 50 percent larger; still larger for the most socially costly crimes of assault and drunk driving. This suggests that deterring criminality through increased punishments would likely prove difficult.

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A Nationwide Assessment of the Association of Smoking Bans and Cigarette Taxes With Hospitalizations for Acute Myocardial Infarction, Heart Failure, and Pneumonia

Vivian Ho et al.

Medical Care Research and Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Multiple studies claim that public place smoking bans are associated with reductions in smoking-related hospitalization rates. No national study using complete hospitalization counts by area that accounts for contemporaneous controls including state cigarette taxes has been conducted. We examine the association between county-level smoking-related hospitalization rates and comprehensive smoking bans in 28 states from 2001 to 2008. Differences-in-differences analysis measures changes in hospitalization rates before versus after introducing bans in bars, restaurants, and workplaces, controlling for cigarette taxes, adjusting for local health and provider characteristics. Smoking bans were not associated with acute myocardial infarction or heart failure hospitalizations, but lowered pneumonia hospitalization rates for persons ages 60 to 74 years. Higher cigarette taxes were associated with lower heart failure hospitalizations for all ages and fewer pneumonia hospitalizations for adults aged 60 to 74. Previous studies may have overestimated the relation between smoking bans and hospitalizations and underestimated the effects of cigarette taxes.

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The spatio-temporal relationship between alcohol outlets and violence before and after privatization: A natural experiment, Seattle, WA 2010–2013

Loni Philip Tabb, Lance Ballester & Tony Grubesic

Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Alcohol-related violence is a well-documented public health concern, where various individual and community-level factors contribute to this relationship. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of a significant policy change at the local level, which privatized liquor sales and distribution. Specifically, we explored the relationship between alcohol and violence in Seattle, WA, 2010–2013, via hierarchical spatio-temporal disease mapping models. To measure and map this complex spatio-temporal relationship at the census block group level (n=567), we examined a variety of models using integrated nested Laplace approximations and used the deviance information criterion to gauge model complexity and fit. For each additional off-premises and on-premises alcohol outlet in a given census block group, we found a significant increase of 8% and 5% for aggravated assaults and 6% and 5% for non-aggravated assaults, respectively. Lastly, our maps showed variation in the estimated relative risks across the city of Seattle.

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The Role of Program Directors in Treatment Practices: The Case of Methadone Dose Patterns in U.S. Outpatient Opioid Agonist Treatment Programs

Jemima Frimpong, Karen Shiu-Yee & Thomas D'Aunno

Health Services Research, forthcoming

Study Design: We used generalized linear regression models to examine associations between directors’ characteristics and methadone dose, adjusting for program and patient factors.

Principal Findings: The proportion of OAT programs with an African American director declined over time, from 29 percent in 1995 to 16 percent in 2011. The median percentage of patients in each program receiving <60 mg/day declined significantly, from 48.5 percent in 1995 to 29 percent in 2005 and 23 percent in 2011. Programs with an African American director were significantly more likely to provide low methadone doses than other programs. This association was even stronger in programs with an African American director who served populations with higher percentages of African American patients.

Conclusions: Demographic characteristics of OAT program directors (e.g., their race) may play a key role in explaining variations in methadone dosage across programs and patients. Further research should investigate the causal pathways through which directors’ characteristics affect treatment practices. This may lead to new, multifaceted managerial interventions to improve patient outcomes.

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Sustained reduction of diversion and abuse after introduction of an abuse deterrent formulation of extended release oxycodone

Stevan Geoffrey Severtson et al.

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, November 2016, Pages 219–229

Background: The development of abuse deterrent formulations is one strategy for reducing prescription opioid misuse and abuse. A putative abuse deterrent formulation of oxycodone extended release (OxyContin®) was introduced in 2010. Early reports demonstrated reduced abuse and diversion, however, an analysis of social media found 32 feasible methods to circumvent the abuse deterrent mechanism. We measured trends of diversion, abuse and street price of OxyContin to assess the durability of the initial reduction in abuse.

Methods: Data from the Poison Center Program, Drug Diversion Program, Opioid Treatment Program, Survey of Key Informant Patients Program and StreetRx program of the Researched Abuse, Diversion, and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System were used. The average quarterly rates of abuse and diversion for OxyContin were compared from before reformulation to the rate in second quarter 2015. Rates were adjusted for population using US Census data and drug availability.

Results: OxyContin abuse and diversion declined significantly each quarter after reformulation and persisted for 5 years. The rate of abuse of other opioid analgesics increased initially and then decreased, but to lesser extent than OxyContin. Abuse through both oral and non-oral routes of self-administration declined following the reformulation. The geometric mean difference in the street price of reformulated OxyContin was 36% lower than the reformulated product in the year after reformulation.

Discussion: Despite methods to circumvent the abuse deterrent mechanism, abuse and diversion of OxyContin decreased promptly following the introduction of a crush- and solubility- resistant formulation and continued to decrease over the subsequent 5 years.

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Controlled Substance Lock-In Programs: Examining An Unintended Consequence Of A Prescription Drug Abuse Policy

Andrew Roberts et al.

Health Affairs, October 2016, Pages 1884-1892

Abstract:
Controlled substance lock-in programs are garnering increased attention from payers and policy makers seeking to combat the epidemic of opioid misuse. These programs require high-risk patients to visit a single prescriber and pharmacy for coverage of controlled substance medication services. Despite high prevalence of the programs in Medicaid, we know little about their effects on patients’ behavior and outcomes aside from reducing controlled substance–related claims. Our study was the first rigorous investigation of lock-in programs’ effects on out-of-pocket controlled substance prescription fills, which circumvent the programs’ restrictions and mitigate their potential public health benefits. We linked claims data and prescription drug monitoring program data for the period 2009–12 for 1,647 enrollees in North Carolina Medicaid’s lock-in program and found that enrollment was associated with a roughly fourfold increase in the likelihood and frequency of out-of-pocket controlled substance prescription fills. This finding illuminates weaknesses of lock-in programs and highlights the need for further scrutiny of the appropriate role, optimal design, and potential unintended consequences of the programs as tools to prevent opioid abuse.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, October 24, 2016

Floored

Interoceptive Ability Predicts Survival on a London Trading Floor

Narayanan Kandasamy et al.

Scientific Reports, September 2016

Abstract:
Interoception is the sensing of physiological signals originating inside the body, such as hunger, pain and heart rate. People with greater sensitivity to interoceptive signals, as measured by, for example, tests of heart beat detection, perform better in laboratory studies of risky decision-making. However, there has been little field work to determine if interoceptive sensitivity contributes to success in real-world, high-stakes risk taking. Here, we report on a study in which we quantified heartbeat detection skills in a group of financial traders working on a London trading floor. We found that traders are better able to perceive their own heartbeats than matched controls from the non-trading population. Moreover, the interoceptive ability of traders predicted their relative profitability, and strikingly, how long they survived in the financial markets. Our results suggest that signals from the body - the gut feelings of financial lore - contribute to success in the markets.

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Limited Attention, Marital Events and Hedge Funds

Yan Lu, Sugata Ray & Melvyn Teo

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore the impact of limited attention by analyzing the performance of hedge fund managers who are distracted by marital events. We find that marriages and divorces are associated with significantly lower fund alpha, during the six-month period surrounding and the two-year period after the event. Busy managers who manage multiple funds and who are not part of a team are more affected by marital transitions. Inattentive managers place fewer active bets relative to their style peers, load more on index stocks, exhibit higher R-squareds with respect to systematic factors, and are more prone to the disposition effect.

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Evidence and Implications of Short-Termism in US Public Capital Markets: 1980-2013

Rachelle Sampson & Yuan Shi

University of Maryland Working Paper, July 2016

Abstract:
In this paper, we provide evidence of increasing short-termism in US equity capital markets over the period of 1980-2013. Using a ‘market discount factor’ estimated for publicly traded firms based on a capital asset pricing model, we show that US capital markets have become increasingly short-term oriented over the past thirty years. We corroborate this finding by estimating the impact of various investment behaviors and relevant ownership variables on our measure of short-termism, market discounting. We find that markets more heavily discount firms that have less financial slack, spend less on capital or R&D, or have greater analyst coverage. Consistent with prior research, we also find that public firms held by more transient institutional investors (i.e., investors that have significant turnovers of stocks) are more heavily discounted than their counterparts held by dedicated investors (i.e., investors that hold stocks for the long term). Further, firms that pay their executives proportionately more via long-term compensation packages are discounted less than firms with more short-term compensation. To examine the impact of short-term valuation on firm behavior, we also estimate the impact of short-termism on capital spending using changes in a firm’s institutional ownership type (e.g., a switch from transient to dedicated or vice versa) as an identification mechanism. We find that short-term market valuations are significantly negatively correlated with future capital investment. Overall, these results suggest that market discounting may proxy for firm short-termism. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to demonstrate economy-wide, firm-level evidence of increasing short-termism and the implications for investment behaviors by firms.

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Market Liquidity and the U.S. Government Shutdown of 2013

Ryan Ball, Venky Nagar & Jordan Schoenfeld

University of Michigan Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
This study measures the effect of U.S. Federal Government policy uncertainty on U.S. financial market liquidity. From October 1 to 16, 2013, the Government shut down. We argue that the onset and duration of the shutdown were uncertain, and view the shutdown as a liquidity-unrelated shock that increased Government policy uncertainty. During the shutdown, liquidity and price efficiency of U.S. firms significantly deteriorated relative to a control period and to control samples of foreign firms and firms with international exposure. Our results build on recent studies that argue that Government policy uncertainty has a substantial impact on financial markets.

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How persistent is private equity performance? Evidence from deal-level data

Reiner Braun, Tim Jenkinson & Ingo Stoff

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The persistence of returns is a critical issue for investors in their choice of private equity managers. In this paper, we analyse buyout performance persistence in new ways, using a unique database containing cash flow data on 13,523 portfolio company investments by 865 buyout funds. We focus on unique realized deals and find that persistence of fund managers has substantially declined as the private equity sector has matured and become more competitive. Private equity has, therefore, largely conformed to the pattern found in most other asset classes in which past performance is a poor predictor of the future.

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Herd Behavior and Mutual Fund Performance

Andrew Koch

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
I develop fund-level measures of the similarity in trading of mutual fund managers, resulting in the identification of leaders, contemporaneously herding managers, and followers. I find evidence of a persistent group of funds whose trades lead the aggregate trades of the mutual fund industry; these leader funds exhibit strong subsequent performance, consistent with informed trading. By contrast, there is no evidence that managers that trade together, either contemporaneously or with a lag, outperform. These findings suggest that managers of leader funds receive in advance private signals regarding the information upon which other funds focus.

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Short Selling Meets Hedge Fund 13F: An Anatomy of Informed Demand

Yawen Jiao, Massimo Massa & Hong Zhang

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The existing literature treats the short side (i.e., short selling) and the long side of hedge fund trading (i.e., fund holdings) independently. The two sides, however, complement each other: opposite changes in the two are likely to be driven by information, whereas simultaneous increases (decreases) of the two may be motivated by hedging (unwinding) considerations. We use this intuition to identify informed demand and document that it exhibits highly significant predictive power over returns (approximately 10% per year). We also find that informed demand forecasts future firm fundamentals, suggesting that hedge funds play an important role in information discovery.

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Can Myopic Loss Aversion Explain the Equity Premium Puzzle? Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment with Professional Traders

Francis Larson, John List & Robert Metcalfe

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
Behavioral economists have recently put forth a theoretical explanation for the equity premium puzzle based on combining myopia and loss aversion. Complementing the behavioral theory is evidence from laboratory experiments, which provide strong empirical support consistent with myopic loss aversion (MLA). Yet, whether, and to what extent, such preferences underlie behaviors of traders in their natural domain remains unknown. Indeed, a necessary condition for the MLA theory to explain the equity premium puzzle is for marginal traders in markets to exhibit such preferences. Using minute-by-minute trading observations from over 864,000 price realizations in a natural field experiment, we find data patterns consonant with MLA: in their normal course of business, professional traders who receive infrequent price information invest 33% more in risky assets, yielding profits that are 53% higher, compared to traders who receive frequent price information. Beyond testing theory, these results have important implications for efficient resource allocation as well as characterizing the optimal structure of social and economic policies.

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News implied volatility and disaster concerns

Asaf Manela & Alan Moreira

Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We construct a text-based measure of uncertainty starting in 1890 using front-page articles of the Wall Street Journal. News implied volatility (NVIX) peaks during stock market crashes, times of policy-related uncertainty, world wars, and financial crises. In US postwar data, periods when NVIX is high are followed by periods of above average stock returns, even after controlling for contemporaneous and forward-looking measures of stock market volatility. News coverage related to wars and government policy explains most of the time variation in risk premia our measure identifies. Over the longer 1890–2009 sample that includes the Great Depression and two world wars, high NVIX predicts high future returns in normal times and rises just before transitions into economic disasters. The evidence is consistent with recent theories emphasizing time variation in rare disaster risk as a source of aggregate asset prices fluctuations.

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Under-Weighting of Private Information by Top Analysts

Gil Aharoni, Eti Einhorn & Qi Zeng

Journal of Accounting Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is conventionally perceived in the literature that weak analysts are likely to under-weight their private information and strategically bias their announcements in the direction of the public beliefs to avoid scenarios where their private information turns out to be wrong, whereas strong analysts tend to adopt an opposite strategy of over-weighting their private information and shifting their announcements away from the public beliefs in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. Analyzing a reporting game between two financial analysts, who are compensated based on their relative forecast accuracy, we demonstrate that it could be the other way around. An investigation of the equilibrium in our game suggests that, contrary to the common perception, analysts who benefit from information advantage may strategically choose to understate their exclusive private information and bias their announcements toward the public beliefs, while exhibiting the opposite behavior of overstating their private information when they estimate that their peers are likely to be equally informed.

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Do Underwriters Compete in IPO Pricing?

Evgeny Lyandres, Fangjian Fu & Erica Li

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We propose and implement a direct test of the hypothesis of oligopolistic competition in the U.S. underwriting market against the alternative of implicit collusion among underwriters. We construct a simple model of interaction between heterogenous underwriters and heterogenous firms and solve it under two alternative assumptions: oligopolistic competition among underwriters and implicit collusion among them. The two solutions lead to different equilibrium relations between the compensation of underwriters of different quality on one hand and the time-varying demand for public incorporation on the other hand. Our empirical results, obtained using 39 years of IPO data, are generally consistent with the implicit collusion hypothesis – banks, especially larger ones, seem to internalize the effects of their underwriting fees and IPO pricing on their rivals.

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Labor Market Dynamics and Analyst Ability

Michael Clement & Kelvin Law

University of Texas Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
We examine whether brokerage firms can identify differences in innate ability when hiring analysts. When the local unemployment rate is high, there will be a larger pool of job candidates per analyst job. If brokerage houses are able to identify differences in ability, analysts hired during these challenging times should have higher ability than those hired at other times. Using local unemployment rate as a proxy for the supply of analysts, we find that analysts who are hired when the local unemployment rate is high are more likely to be elected all-star analysts, and obtain more all-star awards than analysts who are hired at other times. However, these high-ability analysts, who otherwise might not have chosen analysts as a profession, are more likely to leave the profession when local labor market conditions subsequently improve.

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Before an Analyst Becomes an Analyst: Does Industry Experience Matter?

Daniel Bradley, Sinan Gokkaya & Xi Liu

Journal of Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using hand-collected biographical information on financial analysts from 1983 to 2011, we find that analysts making forecasts on firms in industries related to their pre-analyst experience have better forecast accuracy, evoke stronger market reactions to earning revisions, and are more likely to be named Institutional Investor all-stars. Exogenous losses of analysts with related industry experience have real financial market implications — changes in firms’ information asymmetry and price reactions are significantly larger than those of other analysts. Overall, industry expertise acquired from pre-analyst work experience is valuable to analysts, consistent with the emphasis placed on their industry knowledge by institutional investors.

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Pay Now or Pay Later?: The Economics within the Private Equity Partnership

Victoria Ivashina & Josh Lerner

NBER Working Paper, September 2016

Abstract:
The economics of partnerships have been of enduring interest to economists, but many issues regarding intergenerational conflicts and their impact on the continuity of these organizations remain unclear. We examine 717 private equity partnerships, and show that (a) the allocation of fund economics to individual partners is divorced from past success as an investor, being instead critically driven by status as a founder, (b) the underprovision of carried interest and ownership — and inequality in fund economics more generally — leads to the departures of senior partners, and (c) the departures of senior partners have negative effects on the ability of funds to raise additional capital.

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On the hedge and safe haven properties of Bitcoin: Is it really more than a diversifier?

Elie Bouri et al.

Finance Research Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses a dynamic conditional correlation model to examine whether Bitcoin can act as a hedge and safe haven for major world stock indices, bonds, oil, gold, the general commodity index and the US dollar index. Daily and weekly data span from July 2011 to December 2015. Overall, the empirical results indicate that Bitcoin is a poor hedge and is suitable for diversification purposes only. However, Bitcoin can only serve as a strong safe haven against weekly extreme down movements in Asian stocks. We also show that Bitcoin hedging and safe haven properties vary between horizons.

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Do short sellers exploit industry information?

Zsuzsa Huszár, Ruth Tan & Weina Zhang

Journal of Empirical Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study provides new evidence about short sellers' trading strategies by showing that short sellers exploit firm information in combination with industry information in their trades. In industries with the highest aggregate shorted values, the most-shorted stocks earn about 1.535% lower abnormal returns than other highly shorted stocks in less shorted industries over the next six months. These results are likely driven by short sellers’ preference for complex industries with the highest profit potential. We also show that the aggregate shorted value at the industry level is able to predict important industry shifts, such as declines in sales and increased competition. Overall, our results suggest that short sellers help to reduce information complexity and improve economic efficiency at the industry level.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, October 23, 2016

It's a wonderful life

The dark side of meaning-making: How social exclusion leads to superstitious thinking

Damaris Graeupner & Alin Coman

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper tests a meaning-making model of conspiratorial thinking by considering how one's search for meaning mediates between social exclusion and the endorsement of conspiratorial (Study 1) and superstitious (Study 2) beliefs. In Study 1, participants first wrote about a self-selected personal event that involved a social interaction, they then indicated how socially excluded they felt after the event, and, finally, they rated their endorsement of three well-known conspiracy theories. In Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to a Social Inclusion, a Social Exclusion, or a Control condition, after which they indicated the association between improbable events in three scenarios. In addition, both studies mechanistically tested the relation between social exclusion and conspiratorial/superstitious thinking by measuring the participants' tendency to search for meaning. Both Study 1 (correlational) and Study 2 (experimental) offer support for the hypothesis that social exclusion is associated with superstitious/conspiratorial beliefs. One's search for meaning, correlational analyses revealed, mediated this relation. We discuss the implication of the findings for community-wide belief dynamics and we propose that social inclusion could be used to diminish the dissemination of superstitious beliefs and conspiracy theories.

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Material Meaning: Narcissists Gain Existential Benefits From Extrinsic Goals

Andrew Abeyta, Clay Routledge & Constantine Sedikides

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research examined how narcissism is related to perceptions of meaning derived from distinct types of life goals, namely, extrinsic and intrinsic. Although in most cases extrinsic goals are inversely associated with well-being, we propose that narcissists’ pursuit of extrinsic goals (e.g., wealth, fame) is positively linked to meaning in life. In Study 1, higher levels of narcissism corresponded with viewing extrinsic goals as more meaningful. In Study 2, focusing participants on the extrinsic, relative to intrinsic, value of their goal pursuit increased meaning among narcissists. Taken together, narcissists derive meaning from extrinsic goals.

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Spatial Proximity to Incidents of Community Violence Is Associated with Fewer Suicides in Urban California

Ellicott Colson, Jessica Galin & Jennifer Ahern

Journal of Urban Health, October 2016, Pages 770–796

Abstract:
Suicide is a leading cause of premature mortality. Aspects of the social environment such as incidents of violence in the community may induce psychological distress and affect suicidality, but these determinants are not well understood. We conducted an ecological study using California vital statistics records, geocoded to address of the decedent, to examine whether proximity to homicide was associated with the occurrence of suicide in urban census tracts. For each urban tract (N = 7194) and each month in 2012, we assessed homicides in the tract or within buffer zones around the tract with a 1-month lag. We estimated two risk difference parameters that capture how suicide risk is related to differences in homicide exposure. Proximity to homicides was negatively associated with suicide occurrence after controlling for demographic factors, seasonality, and other confounders. Estimates suggest that the absence of homicides would be associated with a 4.2 % higher number of tract-months with one or more suicides (95 % confidence interval 2.2–6.0). This relationship was stronger in tracts that were wealthier, older, and less civically engaged. Results were robust to a wide variety of sensitivity tests. Contrary to expectations, we identified a consistent negative association of proximity to homicide with suicide occurrence. It may be that a homicide deters or distracts from suicidality or that aggression or hopelessness may be expressed as inward or outward directed violence in different settings. Further investigation is needed to identify the drivers of this association.

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Embodied mood regulation: The impact of body posture on mood recovery, negative thoughts, and mood-congruent recall

Lotte Veenstra, Iris Schneider & Sander Koole

Cognition and Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous work has shown that a stooped posture may activate negative mood. Extending this work, the present experiments examine how stooped body posture influences recovery from pre-existing negative mood. In Experiment 1 (n = 229), participants were randomly assigned to receive either a negative or neutral mood induction, after which participants were instructed to take either a stooped, straight, or control posture while writing down their thoughts. Stooped posture (compared to straight or control postures) led to less mood recovery in the negative mood condition, and more negative mood in the neutral mood condition. Furthermore, stooped posture led to more negative thoughts overall compared to straight or control postures. In Experiment 2 (n = 122), all participants underwent a negative mood induction, after which half received cognitive reappraisal instructions and half received no instructions. Mood-congruent cognitions were assessed through autobiographical memory recall. Again, stooped (compared to straight) position led to less mood recovery. Notably, this was independent of regulation instruction. These findings demonstrate for the first time that posture plays an important role in recovering from negative mood.

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True self-alienation positively predicts reports of mindwandering

Matthew Vess et al.

Consciousness and Cognition, October 2016, Pages 89–99

Abstract:
Two studies assessed the relationship between feelings of uncertainty about who one truly is (i.e., true self-alienation) and self-reported task-unrelated thoughts (i.e., mindwandering) during performance tasks. Because true self-alienation is conceptualized as the subjective disconnect between conscious awareness and actual experience, we hypothesized that greater feelings of true self-alienation would positively relate to subjective reports of mindwandering. Two convergent studies supported this hypothesis. Moreover, this relationship could not consistently be accounted for by the independent influence of other aspects of authenticity, negative mood, mindfulness, or broad personality dimensions. These findings suggest that individual differences in true self-alienation are reliably associated with subjective reports of mindwandering. The implications of these findings for the true self-alienation construct, the ways that personality relates to mindwandering, and future research directions focused on curtailing mindwandering and improving performance and achievement are discussed.

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Timing matters: Endogenous cortisol mediates benefits from early-day psychotherapy

Alicia Meuret et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, December 2016, Pages 197–202

Objective: No simple way to augment fear extinction has been established. Cortisol has shown to enhance memory extinction and preliminary evidence suggest that extinction learning maybe more successful in the morning when cortisol is high. The aim was to determine whether exposure sessions conducted earlier in the day are associated with superior therapeutic gains in extinction-based psychotherapy. We also examined the role of cortisol levels as a mediator between time of day and therapeutic gains.

Method: Participants were 24 individuals meeting DSM-IV criteria for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Participants received 3 weekly in-vivo exposure sessions, yielding 72 total sessions for analysis of time of day effects. Session start times were evenly distributed across the day. The outcome measures were reductions in panic symptom severity (avoidance behaviors, threat misappraisal, perceived control, and panic disorder symptom severity).

Results: Sessions starting earlier in the day were associated with superior therapeutic gains by the next therapy session. Earlier sessions were also associated with higher pre-exposure cortisol levels, which in turn were related to greater clinical improvement by the next session. Cortisol thus was found to mediate the effect of time of day on subsequent outcome, providing a link between earlier exposure sessions and greater clinical improvement.

Conclusion: The data suggest that early-day extinction-based therapy sessions yield better outcomes than later-day sessions, partly due to the enhancing effect of higher cortisol levels.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Matching

Gender Asymmetry in Educational and Income Assortative Marriage

Yue Qian

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
The reversal of the gender gap in education has reshaped the U.S. marriage market. Drawing on data from the 1980 U.S. Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Surveys, the author used log-linear models to examine gender asymmetry in educational and income assortative mating among newlyweds. Between 1980 and 2008-2012, educational assortative mating reversed from a tendency for women to marry up to a tendency for women to marry down in education, whereas the tendency for women to marry men with higher incomes than themselves persisted. Moreover, in both time periods, the tendency for women to marry up in income was generally greater among couples in which the wife's education level equaled or surpassed that of the husband than among couples in which the wife was less educated than the husband. The author discusses the implications of the rising female advantage in education for gender change in heterosexual marriages.

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Cohort Changes in the Social Distribution of Tolerant Sexual Attitudes

Fred Pampel

Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Though many studies have described societal-wide changes in tolerance for sexual behaviors outside marriage, few have examined how the social distribution of tolerant attitudes has changed. A diffusion-of-innovations approach predicts nonlinear change in the distribution: high SES groups adopt the attitudes first, which produces a positive relationship, but diffusion to other SES groups subsequently weakens the association with SES. I test this argument using the General Social Survey from 1973 to 2014 to compare the SES determinants of attitudes toward premarital sex, extramarital sex, same-gender sex, and teenage sex across 86 cohorts born from around 1900 to 1985. Multilevel age, period, and cohort models support diffusion arguments concerning tolerance of premarital sex by demonstrating that the effects of indicators of SES first strengthen and then weaken across cohorts. Little support emerges for diffusion arguments concerning tolerance of extramarital sex and teenage sex, and preliminary but suggestive support emerges concerning tolerance of same-gender sex.

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The Risks and Rewards of Sexual Debut

Rachel Lynn Golden, Wyndol Furman & Charlene Collibee

Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The sex-positive framework of sexual development hypothesizes that healthy sexual experiences can be developmentally appropriate and rewarding for adolescents despite the risks involved. Research has not examined whether risky behaviors and rewarding cognitions actually change with sexual debut at a normative or late age. This study measured the longitudinal impact of sexual debut using 7 waves of data from 88 male and 86 female adolescents from a western U.S. city who were in the 10th grade at the study's onset. We used piecewise growth curve analyses to compare behaviors and cognitions before and after first sexual intercourse for those whose debut was at a normative or late age. These analyses revealed that sexual debut was related to rewards, including increases in romantic appeal and sexual satisfaction. In addition, internalizing symptoms declined over time after sexual debut, and substance use grew at a slower rate after sexual debut. We also examined whether differences existed among those whose debut was at an early, normative, or late age. Linear growth curve analyses revealed early sexual debut was related to risks, such as greater substance use, more internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and lower global self-worth. Rewards associated with an early debut included greater romantic appeal, dating satisfaction (males only), and sexual satisfaction (males only). Although there are some inherent risks with sexual activity, the results suggest that sexual debut at a normative or late age is also associated with a decrease in some risks and an increase in rewards.

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Marriage-Market Constraints and Mate-Selection Behavior: Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differences in Intermarriage

Kate Choi & Marta Tienda

Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite theoretical consensus that marriage markets constrain mate-selection behavior, few studies directly evaluate how local marriage-market conditions influence intermarriage patterns. Using data from the American Community Survey, the authors examine what aspects of marriage markets influence mate selection, assess whether the associations between marriage-market conditions and intermarriage are uniform by gender and across pan-ethnic groups, and investigate the extent to which marriage-market conditions account for group differences in intermarriage patterns. Relative group size is the most salient and consistent determinant of intermarriage patterns across pan-ethnic groups and by gender. Marriage-market constraints typically explain a larger share of pan-ethnic differences in intermarriage rates than individual traits, suggesting that scarcity of co-ethnic partners is a key reason behind decisions to intermarry. When faced with market constraints, men are more willing or more successful than women in crossing racial and ethnic boundaries in marriage.

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High estradiol and low progesterone are associated with high assertiveness in women

Khandis Blake et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual selection theory posits that women are more selective than men are when choosing a mate. This evolutionary theory suggests that "choosiness" increases during the fertile window because the costs and benefits of mate selection are highest when women are likely to conceive. Little research has directly investigated reproductive correlates of choice assertion. To address this gap, in the present research we investigated whether fertility, estradiol, and progesterone influenced general assertiveness in women. We recruited 98 naturally cycling, ethnically diverse women. Using a within-subjects design and ovarian hormone concentrations at fertile and non-fertile menstrual cycle phases, we measured implicit assertiveness and self-reported assertive behavior. To see if fertility-induced high assertiveness was related to increased sexual motivation, we also measured women's implicit sexual availability and interest in buying sexy clothes. Results showed that high estradiol and low progesterone predicted higher assertiveness. Sexual availability increased during periods of high fertility. Low progesterone combined with high estradiol predicted greater interest in buying sexy clothes. Results held when controlling for individual differences in mate value and sociosexual orientation. Our findings support the role of fluctuating ovarian hormones in the expression and magnitude of women's assertiveness. High assertiveness during the fertile window may be a psychological adaptation that promotes mate selectivity and safeguards against indiscriminate mate choice when conception risk is highest.

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Men's preferences for women's breast size and shape in four cultures

Jan Havlíček et al.

Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The morphology of human female breasts typical for their permanent fat deposits appears to be unique among primates. It has been previously suggested that female breast morphology arose as a result of sexual selection. This is supported by evidence showing that women with larger breasts tend to have higher estrogen levels; breast size may therefore serve as an indicator of potential fertility. However, breasts become less firm with age and parity, and breast shape could thus also serve as a marker of residual fertility. Therefore, cross-culturally, males are hypothesized to prefer breast morphology that indicates both high potential and residual fertility. To test this, we performed a survey on men's preferences for breast morphology in four different cultures (Brazil, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, Namibia). As stimuli, we used two sets of images varying in breast size (marker of potential fertility) and level of breast firmness (marker of residual fertility). Individual preferences for breast size were variable, but the majority of raters preferred medium sized, followed by large sized breasts. In contrast, we found systematic directional preferences for firm breasts across all four samples. This pattern supports the idea that breast morphology may serve as a residual fertility indicator, but offers more limited support for the potential fertility indicator hypothesis. Future studies should focus on a potential interaction between the two parameters, breast size and firmness, which, taken together, may help to explain the relatively large variation in women's breast sizes.

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A Single Session of Autogenic Training Increases Acute Subjective and Physiological Sexual Arousal in Sexually Functional Women

Amelia Stanton & Cindy Meston

Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Heart rate variability (HRV) has recently been associated with female sexual function (Stanton, Lorenz, Pulverman, & Meston, 2015). Below-average HRV was identified as a possible risk factor for sexual arousal dysfunction and overall sexual dysfunction in women. Based on this newly established relationship between HRV and female sexual function, the present study examined the effect of autogenic training to increase HRV on acute physiological and subjective sexual arousal in women. Specifically, vaginal pulse amplitude (VPA), an index of genital sexual arousal, and subjective sexual arousal were assessed in 33 sexually functional women, aged 18 to 27, before and after a short session of autogenic training. Autogenic training, a relaxation technique that restores the balance between the activity of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system, has been shown to significantly increase HRV (Miu, Heilman, & Miclea, 2009). After autogenic training, significant increases in both VPA (p <.05) and subjective sexual arousal (p <.005) were observed. Moreover, change in HRV from pre- to postmanipulation significantly moderated changes in subjective sexual arousal (p <.05) when it was measured continuously during the presentation of the erotic stimulus. This cost-effective, easy-to-administer behavioral intervention may have important implications for increasing sexual arousal in women.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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