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Friday, June 24, 2016

In or out

Legalization and human capital accumulation

Fabio Méndez, Facundo Sepúlveda & Nieves Valdés

Journal of Population Economics, July 2016, Pages 721-756

Abstract:
This paper presents new evidence regarding the effects of legalization on the training of immigrants who were granted legal status through the US Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. Our findings point to a large increase in the immigrants’ incidence of training relative to comparable groups of natives following legalization. While training gains are higher for males, wage gains are higher for females. We also show that an important part of these changes in labor market outcomes occurs through occupation changes by newly legalized immigrants.

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Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Evidence from Survey Experiments

Alexis Grigorieff, Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal

University of Oxford Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Many people in the U.S. and in Europe have biased beliefs about immigrants. In this paper, we examine whether providing information about immigrants affects people’s attitude towards them. We first use a large representative cross-country survey experiment with more than 19,000 participants to show that people who are told the actual share of immigrants in their country become less likely to state that there are too many of them. We also conduct an online experiment in the U.S., where we provide information about immigration to half of the participants, before measuring their attitude towards immigrants with self-reported and behavioral outcomes. We find that participants in the treatment group update their beliefs about immigrants, and they donate more money to a pro-immigrant charity. However, their self-reported policy preferences remain broadly unchanged, and they do not become more willing to sign a petition in favor of immigration reform. Interestingly, Republicans and people who are worried about immigration respond more strongly to the information treatment, both in terms of their views on immigrants and their policy preferences. Finally, we also measure people’s self-reported policy preferences, attitudes, and beliefs in a four week follow-up, and we show that the treatment effects persist.

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Immigration Politics and Partisan Realignment: California, Texas, and the 1994 Election

James Monogan & Austin Doctor

State Politics & Policy Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article demonstrates how the party identification of various demographic groups in California and Texas changed in response to the gubernatorial campaigns of Pete Wilson and George W. Bush. Using aggregated time series of Field Poll, Texas Poll, and Gallup data, difference-in-differences results show that Wilson’s embrace of Proposition 187 was followed by significant Hispanic movement toward the Democratic Party in California. Time series analysis substantiates that this action led to a long-term 7.1 percentage point Democratic shift among California’s Hispanics. This suggests that state-level actors can influence partisan coalitions in their state, beyond what would be expected from national-level factors.

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Fear of Ebola: The Influence of Collectivism on Xenophobic Threat Responses

Heejung Kim, David Sherman & John Updegraff

Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In response to the Ebola scare in 2014, many people evinced strong fear and xenophobia. The present study, informed by the pathogen-prevalence hypothesis, tested the influence of individualism and collectivism on xenophobic response to the threat of Ebola. A nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans completed a survey, indicating their perceptions of their vulnerability to Ebola, ability to protect themselves from Ebola (protection efficacy), and xenophobic tendencies. Overall, the more vulnerable people felt, the more they exhibited xenophobic responses, but this relationship was moderated by individualism and collectivism. The increase in xenophobia associated with increased vulnerability was especially pronounced among people with high individualism scores and those with low collectivism scores. These relationships were mediated by protection efficacy. State-level collectivism had the same moderating effect on the association between perceived vulnerability and xenophobia that individual-level value orientation did. Collectivism — and the set of practices and rituals associated with collectivistic cultures — may serve as psychological protection against the threat of disease.

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Nation-Building Through Compulsory Schooling During the Age of Mass Migration

Oriana Bandiera et al.

London School of Economics Working Paper, January 2016

Abstract:
By the mid-19th century, America was the best educated nation on Earth: significant financial investments in education were being undertaken and the majority of children voluntarily attended public schools. So why did American states start introducing compulsory schooling laws at this point in time? We provide qualitative and quantitative evidence that states adopted compulsory schooling laws as a nation-building tool to instill civic values to the tens of millions of culturally diverse migrants who arrived during the ‘Age of Mass Migration’ between 1850 and 1914. Using state level data, we show the adoption of compulsory schooling laws occurred significantly earlier in states that hosted a subgroup of European migrants with lower exposure to civic values in their home countries. We present IV estimates based on a Bartik-Card instrument to address concerns over endogenous location choices of migrants. We then use cross-county data to show that the same subgroup of European migrants had significantly lower demand for American common schooling pre-compulsion, and so would have been less exposed to the kinds of civic value instilled by the American education system had compulsory schooling not been passed. We thus provide micro-foundations for schooling laws, highlighting the link between mass migration and the endogenous policy responses of American-born voters in receiving states.

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A Declining Farm Workforce: Analysis of Panel Data from Rural Mexico

Diane Charlton & Edward Taylor

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analysis of nationally representative individual-level panel data from 1980 to 2010 reveals a significant negative trend in the agricultural labor supply from rural Mexico, which is the primary source of hired workers for U.S. farms. These findings offer an explanation for the rise over time in U.S. farm wages. Concomitants of the agricultural transformation, including growth in the non-farm economy, falling birth rates, and an increase in rural education, accelerate the transition of rural Mexicans out of farm work. Higher U.S. farm wages and increased border enforcement slow the transition, but the combined impact of these offsetting variables is relatively small. A diminishing farm labor supply has far-reaching implications for farmers, farm labor organizers, rural communities, and agricultural workers.

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The Departed: Deportations and Out-Migration among Latino Immigrants in North Carolina after the Great Recession

Emilio Parrado & Chenoa Flippen

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, July 2016, Pages 131-147

Abstract:
This article explores the impact of the 2007 recession and immigration enforcement policies on Latin American immigrants’ out-migration from the Durham, North Carolina, area — a new immigrant destination. Drawing on an original ethnosurvey collected in 2011, the analysis assesses the extent of out-migration over time, what precipitated the move, and whether individuals returned to their country of origin or migrated within the United States. We find that out-migration more than doubled after the 2007 recession and that migrants overwhelmingly returned to their home countries. While family considerations and accidents accounted for most of the departures before the recession, economic considerations became the dominant drivers of out-migration after 2007. Deportations also grew in number but accounted for a negligible share of all out-migration. Departures were more prevalent among immigrants from Mexico and those with lower educational attainment. Latin American migration, especially from Mexico, continues to be circular, and deportation is a relatively ineffective strategy for immigrant population control when compared to voluntary returns.

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Policy Popularity: The Arizona Immigration Law

Jeeyoung Park & Helmut Norpoth

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
As a maker of policy, a president or a governor invites public approval or disapproval for policy decisions. Public reaction is likely to occur for issues of great salience and clear candidate positions. We focus on immigration policy. Illegal immigration has become a hot issue in recent years, especially in Arizona. The state’s governor took a clear stance in 2010 by signing a law that gives police sweeping powers to deal with illegal immigration (Arizona SB 1070). Using an aggregate time–series model, we find that this action affected gubernatorial approval ratings. Indeed the gain in approval proved enduring enough to turn a losing race for re–election into a victory for Governor Brewer. Using individual–level survey data, we find that presidential approval also was affected by reactions to the Arizona Law among residents of the state. When elected officials take clear stances on a salient issue – Governor Brewer for, President Obama against the law - policy moves approval.

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Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration

Umut Özek & David Figlio

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We make use of a new data source – matched birth records and longitudinal student records in Florida – to study the degree to which student outcomes differ across successive immigrant generations. Specifically, we investigate whether first, second, and third generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Florida perform differently on reading and mathematics tests, and whether they are differentially likely to get into serious trouble in school, to be truant from school, to graduate from high school, or to be ready for college upon high school graduation. We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants. Among first generation immigrants, the earlier the arrival, the better the students tend to perform. These patterns of findings hold for both Asian and Hispanic students, and suggest a general pattern of successively reduced achievement – beyond a transitional period for recent immigrants – in the generations following the generation that immigrated to the United States.

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LEP Language Disability, Immigration Reform, and English-Language Acquisition

Alberto Dávila & Marie Mora

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 478-483

Abstract:
Policy might partly shape the English-language acquisition of Hispanics migrating to the U.S. mainland, particularly policies related to limited-English-language disability benefits and immigration reform. Using data from the American Community Survey, we find that island-born Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland, as U.S. citizens, may have lower incentives to learn English than Hispanic immigrants because of their higher participation in LEP disability programs. However, among Mexican immigrants, recent immigration reform aimed at interior enforcement might have increased incentives for Mexican immigrants to learn English to reduce their probability of detection, if speaking English proxies for undocumented status.

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The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills

Quinn Steigleder & Chad Sparber

Applied Economics Letters, forthcoming

Abstract:
Native and foreign-born workers with a high school degree or less education work in different types of occupations. This article exploits the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to examine whether legal status causes immigrants to work in occupations that use skills similar to those of natives. Legal status decreases the manual skill intensity of immigrants’ occupations by about two percentiles. It increases communication skill intensity by a similar amount. This reduces the skill gap between Mexican-born and native-born American workers by 11–15%.

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Mexican-American Educational Stagnation: The Role of Family-Structure Change

Richard Neil Turner & Brian Thiede

International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
High school dropout rates among Mexican Americans decline markedly between the first and second immigrant generations and, consequently, move closer to non-Hispanic white levels. However, the third generation makes little progress in closing the remaining gap with whites despite their parents having more schooling on average than those of the second generation. Utilizing 2007–2013 Current Population Survey data, we examine whether an inter-generational shift away from two-parent families contributes to this educational stagnation. We also consider the effect of changes in sibship size. The analysis involves performing a partial regression decomposition of differences between second- and third-generation Mexican-American adolescents (aged 16–17 years) in the likelihood of having dropped out. We find that Mexican third-generation teens are close to nine percentage points less likely than second-generation peers to live with two parents. The decomposition results suggest that this change in family structure offsets a substantial portion of the negative influence of rising parental education on third-generation dropout risk.

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A longitudinal analysis of cross-border ties and depression for Latino adults

Jacqueline Torres et al.

Social Science & Medicine, July 2016, Pages 111–119

Abstract:
Recent scholarship suggests a significant association between cross-border ties, or ties maintained with family and friends in countries and communities of origin, and the mental health of immigrants and their descendants. To date, this research has been exclusively cross-sectional, precluding conclusions about a causal association between cross-border ties and mental health outcomes. In the present study we undertake a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between cross-border ties and depression measured over a ten-year period for a sample of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinos. Data are from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (1998–2008), a population-based, prospective study of Latin American-origin adults 60 years and older. We find that cross-border ties reported at baseline were significantly associated with depression in subsequent study waves, even after controlling for the presence of depression at baseline, albeit with substantial differences by gender and nativity. Specifically, communication with family and friends in Latin America and travel to Latin America at baseline were each significantly associated with greater odds of depression for immigrant women, but with lower odds of depression for U.S.-born Latina women over the study period. Travel to Latin America at baseline was significantly associated with lower odds of depression for Latino men across the study. Across all models we control for depressive symptomatology at baseline to account for the reciprocal nature of depressive symptoms and engagement with social ties, including cross-border ties. Our findings suggest that cross-border ties may represent a unique source of both resilience and risk for the long-term mental health of immigrant Latinos and their descendants.

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Child support and mixed-status families: An analysis using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study

Lanlan Xu, Maureen Pirog & Edward Vargas

Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
A large body of literature documents the importance of child support for children's wellbeing, though little is known about the child support behaviors of mixed-status families, a large and rapidly growing population in the United States. In this paper, we use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to investigate the impact of citizenship status on formal and informal child support transfers among a nationally representative sample of parents who have citizen children. Probit regression models and propensity score matching (PSM) estimators show that mixed-status families are significantly less likely to have child support orders and child support receipt compared to their citizen counterparts. We found that mothers' knowledge of the child support system increases the probability of establishing paternity. However, cultural differences in knowledge of and perception about the U.S. child support system between mixed-status families and citizen families do not have an impact on the probability of getting a child support order, child support receipt, or in-kind child support. Rather, institutional factors such as collaborations between welfare agencies and child support enforcement agencies as well as state child support enforcement efforts have a significant impact on formal child support outcomes. The results are robust against different model specifications, measure constructions, and use of datasets. These findings have important policy implications for policy makers and researchers interested in reducing child poverty in complex family structures and underscore the need to revisit child support policies for mixed-status families.

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Reappraising and Extending the Predictors of States’ Immigrant Policies: Industry Influences and the Moderating Effect of Political Ideology

Margaret Commins & Jeremiah Wills

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: We examined how the preferences of firms in immigrant-heavy industries influence the enactment of immigration policies by states and considered whether political ideology, serving as an interpretive lens for such preferences, moderates the effects of industry influences. Existing hypotheses about immigrant policy predictors were also reevaluated.

Method: We coded all immigration bills enacted for years 2005–2012 and fit multilevel, mixed models to predict state-year counts of beneficial and restrictive policies.

Results: Models showed that increases in GDP and employment within the accommodations industry predicted more beneficial immigrant policies within states. The effect of construction industry variables was conditional on state residents’ political ideology. There was mixed support for extant racial and economic threat and political climate hypotheses.

Conclusion: Firms in sectors heavily dependent on immigrant labor influence state-level immigrant policy. Some of these effects are direct, and some are moderated by state residents’ political beliefs.

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Is Previous Removal From the United States a Marker for High Recidivism Risk? Results From a 9-Year Follow-Up Study of Criminally Involved Unauthorized Immigrants

Laura Hickman, Jennifer Wong & Marika Suttorp-Booth

Criminal Justice Policy Review, June 2016, Pages 378-401

Abstract:
The present study examines the long-term recidivism patterns of a group of unauthorized immigrants identified to be at high risk of recidivism. Using a sample of 517 male unauthorized immigrants, we used three measures of recidivism to assess 9-year rearrest differences between unauthorized immigrants who have and who have not been previously removed from the United States. Results indicate that prior removal was a significant risk marker for recidivism, with previously removed immigrants showing a higher likelihood of rearrest, a greater frequency of rearrest, and a more rapid time-to-first rearrest. While the present study does not establish whether previous removal is a consistent indicator of high recidivism, it suggests that this group of unauthorized immigrants may be worthy of review and policy consideration. Much potential value for law enforcement lies in the sharing of federal immigration records with academics to further study the outcomes of unauthorized immigrants.

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Global competition for scientific talent: Evidence from location decisions of PhDs and postdocs in 16 countries

Paula Stephan, Chiara Franzoni & Giuseppe Scellato

Industrial and Corporate Change, June 2016, Pages 457-485

Abstract:
We analyze the decisions of foreign-born PhD and postdoctoral trainees in four natural science fields to come to the United States vs. go to another country for training. Data are drawn from the GlobSci survey of research scientists in 16 countries. A major reason individuals report coming to train in the United States is the prestige of its programs and/or career prospects; perceived lifestyle in the United States is a major factor individuals report for training elsewhere. The availability of exchange programs elsewhere is associated with fewer PhD students coming to the United States. The relative unattractiveness of fringe benefits in the United States is associated with going elsewhere for postdoctoral training. Countries that have been nibbling at the US PhD and postdoc share are Australia, Germany, and Switzerland; France and Great Britain have gained appeal in attracting postdocs, but not in attracting PhD students. Canada has made gains in neither.

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Want freedom, will travel: Emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality

Maryam Naghsh Nejad & Andrew Young

European Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate emigrant self-selection according to institutional quality using up to 3566 observations on bilateral migration flows from 77 countries over the 1990–2000 period. We relate these flows to differences in political and economic institutions. We improve and expand upon previous studies by (i) examining decade-long migration flows that (ii) include flows not only to OECD countries but also to non-OECD countries, also (iii) utilizing an estimation method that takes into account the information in zero value migration flows and (iv) examining not only total migration flows but also college-educated and non-college-educated subsamples separately. We find that economic freedoms are a significant pull factor for potential migrants. Once economic freedoms are controlled for, measures of political institutions do not always enter significantly into our estimations. Results are similar for college- and non-college-educated subsamples. Improvements in legal systems and property rights appear to be the strongest pull factor for potential migrants.

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Mixed-Status Families and WIC Uptake: The Effects of Risk of Deportation on Program Use

Edward Vargas & Maureen Pirog

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: Develop and test measures of risk of deportation and mixed-status families on women, infants, and children (WIC) uptake. Mixed-status is a situation in which some family members are U.S. citizens and other family members are in the United States without proper authorization.

Methods: Estimate a series of logistic regressions to estimate WIC uptake by merging data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey with deportation data from U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

Results: The findings of this study suggest that risk of deportation is negatively associated with WIC uptake and among mixed-status families; Mexican-origin families are the most sensitive when it comes to deportations and program use.

Conclusion: Our analysis provides a typology and framework to study mixed-status families and evaluate their usage of social services by including an innovative measure of risk of deportation.

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Effects of the Great Recession on the U.S. Agricultural Labor Market

Maoyong Fan, Anita Alves Pena & Jeffrey Perloff

American Journal of Agricultural Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We empirically test four hypotheses regarding differences between agricultural worker earnings (wages and bonuses) during recession and non-recessionary times, between agricultural worker time use during recession and non-recession times, between outcomes for undocumented and documented workers, and between outcomes for agricultural workers versus those working in other sectors of interest. Regression analyses show that the wages of documented (legal) seasonal agricultural workers increased more during the last three recessions than did the wages of undocumented agricultural workers and low-skilled nonagricultural workers. Bonus pay and weekly hours also increased for some workers, suggesting general increases in the financial wellbeing of employed agricultural workers during recessions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Judging by its cover

On the psychological function of flags and logos: Group identity symbols increase perceived entitativity

Shannon Callahan & Alison Ledgerwood

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2016, Pages 528-550

Abstract:
Group identity symbols such as flags and logos have been widely used across time and cultures, yet researchers know very little about the psychological functions that such symbols can serve. The present research tested the hypotheses that (a) simply having a symbol leads collections of individuals to seem more like real, unified groups, (b) this increased psychological realness leads groups to seem more threatening and effective to others, and (c) group members therefore strategically emphasize symbols when they want their group to appear unified and intimidating. In Studies 1a–1c, participants perceived various task groups as more entitative when they happened to have a symbol. In Study 2, symbols not only helped groups make up for lacking a physical characteristic associated with entitativity (physical similarity), but also led groups to seem more threatening. Study 3 examined the processes underlying this effect and found that group symbols increase entitativity by increasing perceived cohesiveness. Study 4 extended our results to show that symbols not only shape the impressions people form of novel groups, but also change people’s existing impressions of more familiar and real-world social groups, making them seem more entitative and competent but also less warm. Finally, Studies 5a and 5b further expand our understanding of the psychological function of symbols by showing that group members strategically display symbols when they are motivated to convey an impression of their group as unified and threatening (vs. inclusive and cooperative). We discuss implications for understanding how group members navigate their social identities.

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Threats to Racial Status Promote Tea Party Support Among White Americans

Robb Willer, Matthew Feinberg & Rachel Wetts

Stanford Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Since its rapid rise in early 2009, scholars have advanced a variety of explanations for popular support for the Tea Party movement. Here we argue that various political, economic, and demographic trends and events – e.g., the election of the first nonwhite president, the rising minority population – have been perceived as threatening the relative standing of whites in the U.S., with the resulting racial resentment fueling popular support for the movement. This “decline of whiteness” explanation for white Americans’ Tea Party support differs from prior accounts in highlighting the role of symbolic group status rather than personal experience, or economic competition, with minority group members in generating perceptions of threat. We tested this explanation in five survey-based experiments. In Study 1 we sought to make salient the president’s African-American heritage by presenting participants with an artificially darkened picture of Barack Obama. White participants shown the darkened photo were more likely to report they supported the Tea Party relative to a control condition. Presenting participants with information that the white population share (Study 2) or income advantage (Study 3) is declining also led whites to report greater Tea Party support, effects that were partly explained by heightened levels of racial resentment. A fourth study replicated the effects of Study 2 in a sample of Tea Party supporters. Finally, Study 5 showed that threatened white respondents reported stronger support for the Tea Party when racialized aspects of its platform (e.g., opposition to immigration) were highlighted, than if libertarian ones (e.g., reduced government spending) were. These findings are consistent with a view of popular support for the Tea Party as resulting, in part, from threats to the status of whites in America.

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Prejudice Masquerading as Praise: The Negative Echo of Positive Stereotypes

John Oliver Siy & Sapna Cheryan

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July 2016, Pages 941-954

Abstract:
Five studies demonstrate the powerful connection between being the target of a positive stereotype and expecting that one is also being ascribed negative stereotypes. In Study 1, women who heard a man state a positive stereotype were more likely to believe that he held negative stereotypes of them than women who heard no stereotype. Beliefs about being negatively stereotyped mediated the relationship between hearing a positive stereotype and believing that the stereotyper was prejudiced. Studies 2 to 4 extended these results to Asian Americans and accounted for alternative explanations (e.g., categorization threat). In Study 5, the same positive stereotype (e.g., good at math) was directed to Asian American men’s racial or gender identity. Their perceptions about whether negative racial or gender stereotypes were being applied to them depended on the identity referenced by the positive stereotype. Positive stereotypes signal a latent negativity about one’s group, thereby explaining why they can feel like prejudice.

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Do You See What I See? The Consequences of Objectification in Work Settings for Experiencers and Third Party Predictors

Sarah Gervais et al.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sexual objectification is a significant problem that permeates all areas of women's lives including the workplace. This research examines the impact of sexual objectification on women in work settings by integrating objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories. We used a laboratory analogue that included undergraduate women who actually experienced objectification during a work interview (i.e., experiencers) and third-party predictors (including female and male undergraduates as well as female and male community workers) who anticipated the effects of objectification (i.e., predictors). We measured actual and anticipated emotions, performance, and sexual harassment following objectification. We found that both mild and severe objectification caused weaker positive affect, stronger negative affect, worse work performance, and higher sexual harassment judgments, but these effects were primarily driven by predictors anticipating worse outcomes following objectification compared to what experiencers actually reported. We also found that experiencers’ responses to objectification were moderated by benevolent sexism with women lower in benevolent sexism responding more similarly to predictors relative to women higher in benevolent sexism. Both experiencers and predictors evaluated interviewers who engaged in objectification equally negatively. Finally, we explored differences between predictors who were female and male undergraduate students versus community workers and found that these parties anticipated different consequences, depending on worker status and gender. Implications for sexual objectification, sexual harassment, and affective forecasting theories as well as practical implications for policy and law are discussed.

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Is President Obama’s Race Chronically Accessible? Racial Priming in the 2012 Presidential Election

Matthew Luttig & Timothy Callaghan

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
A vast literature indicates that racial animosity has a pervasive influence on the public’s evaluations of U.S. President Barack Obama. Can political communications enhance and/or defuse the link between White Americans’ racial attitudes and evaluations of Barack Obama? In this article, we report the results of an experiment conducted in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign which examines the effect of political rhetoric on the extent to which evaluations of Barack Obama are racialized. Drawing from research on attitude strength and pretreatment effects in experimental studies, we argue that the use of racial appeals in the pretreatment environment and the strength of citizens’ preexisting attitudes toward the incumbent president may produce a downward bias in average estimates of racial priming effects toward President Obama. After accounting for individual differences in the propensity to form strong attitudes with need to evaluate, we observe substantial effects of campaign rhetoric in priming racial attitudes toward President Obama, especially among individuals who are low in the need to evaluate and who tend to have more malleable political attitudes. We conclude by discussing implications for research on racial priming and the politics of racial intolerance in evaluations of Barack Obama.

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Gender-Role Portrayals in Television Advertising Across the Globe

Jörg Matthes, Michael Prieler & Karoline Adam

Sex Roles, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although there are numerous studies on gender-role portrayals in television advertising, comparative designs are clearly lacking. With content analytical data from a total of 13 Asian, American, and European countries, we study the stereotypical depiction of men and women in television advertisements. Our sample consists of 1755 ads collected in May 2014. Analyzing the gender of the primary character and voiceover, as well as the age, associated product categories, home- or work setting, and the working role of the primary character, we concluded that gender stereotypes in TV advertising can be found around the world. A multilevel model further showed that gender stereotypes were independent of a country’s gender indices, including Hofstede’s Masculinity Index, GLOBE’s Gender Egalitarianism Index, the Gender-related Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index, and the Global Gender Gap Index. These findings suggest that gender stereotyping in television advertising does not depend on the gender equality prevalent in a country. The role of a specific culture in shaping gender stereotypes in television advertising is thus smaller than commonly thought.

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Just say no! (and mean it): Meaningful negation as a tool to modify automatic racial attitudes

India Johnson, Brandon Kopp & Richard Petty

Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research compared the effectiveness of meaningful negation — “That’s wrong” — and simple negation — “No” — to alter automatic prejudice. Participants were trained to negate prejudice-consistent or prejudice-inconsistent information, using either simple or meaningful negation, and completed an evaluative priming measure of racial prejudice before and after training. No significant changes in automatic prejudice in the simple negation conditions emerged. In contrast, those trained to negate prejudice-consistent information in a more meaningful way showed a significant decrease in automatic prejudice, whereas those trained to negate prejudice-inconsistent information meaningfully showed a significant increase. Study 2 revealed that these effects were driven by participants high in their motivation to control prejudiced reactions (MCPR), as they demonstrated the greatest changes in automatic prejudice following training. Contrary to research suggesting negation training is an ineffective means to reduce automatic racial prejudice, the present research suggests negation can be effective when the negation is meaningful.

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Can White Children Grow Up to Be Black? Children’s Reasoning About the Stability of Emotion and Race

Steven Roberts & Susan Gelman

Developmental Psychology, June 2016, Pages 887-893

Abstract:
Recent research questions whether children conceptualize race as stable. We examined participants’ beliefs about the relative stability of race and emotion, a temporary feature. Participants were White adults and children ages 5–6 and 9–10 (Study 1) and racial minority children ages 5–6 (Study 2). Participants were presented with target children who were happy or angry and Black or White and were asked to indicate which of 2 adults (a race but not emotion match or an emotion but not race match) each child would grow up to be. White adults, White 9- to 10-year-olds, and racial minority 5- to 6-year-olds selected race matches, whereas White 5- to 6-year-olds selected race and emotion matches equally. These data suggest that beliefs about racial stability vary by age and social group.

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Biracial Perception in Black and White: How Black and White Perceivers Respond to Phenotype and Racial Identity Cues

Danielle Young, Diana Sanchez & Leigh Wilton

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, forthcoming

Objectives: This study investigates how racial identity and phenotypicality (i.e., racial ambiguity) shape the perception of biracial individuals in both White and Black perceivers. We investigated complex racial categorization and its downstream consequences, such as perceptions of discrimination.

Method: We manipulated racial phenotypicality (Black or racially ambiguous) and racial identity (Black or biracial) to test these cues’ influence on Black and White race categorizations in a sample of both White (n = 145) and Black (n = 152) identified individuals.

Results: Though racial identity and phenotypicality information influenced deliberate racial categorization, White and Black participants used the cues in different ways. For White perceivers, racial identity and phenotypicality additively influenced Black categorization. For Black perceivers, however, racial identity was only used in Black categorization when racial ambiguity was high. Perceived discrimination was related to White (but not Black) perceivers’ distribution of minority resources to targets, however Black categorization related to perceived discrimination for Black perceivers only.

Conclusion: By demonstrating how Black and White individuals use identity and phenotype information in race perceptions, we provide a more complete view of the complexities of racial categorization and its downstream consequences.

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The base rate principle and the fairness principle in social judgment

Jack Cao & Mahzarin Banaji

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Meet Jonathan and Elizabeth. One person is a doctor and the other is a nurse. Who is the doctor? When nothing else is known, the base rate principle favors Jonathan to be the doctor and the fairness principle favors both individuals equally. However, when individuating facts reveal who is actually the doctor, base rates and fairness become irrelevant, as the facts make the correct answer clear. In three experiments, explicit and implicit beliefs were measured before and after individuating facts were learned. These facts were either stereotypic (e.g., Jonathan is the doctor, Elizabeth is the nurse) or counterstereotypic (e.g., Elizabeth is the doctor, Jonathan is the nurse). Results showed that before individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs followed the fairness principle, whereas implicit beliefs followed the base rate principle. After individuating facts were learned, explicit beliefs correctly aligned with stereotypic and counterstereotypic facts. Implicit beliefs, however, were immune to counterstereotypic facts and continued to follow the base rate principle. Having established the robustness and generality of these results, a fourth experiment verified that gender stereotypes played a causal role: when both individuals were male, explicit and implicit beliefs alike correctly converged with individuating facts. Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that explicit beliefs uphold fairness and incorporate obvious and relevant facts, but implicit beliefs uphold base rates and appear relatively impervious to counterstereotypic facts.

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Neural pattern similarity reveals the inherent intersection of social categories

Ryan Stolier & Jonathan Freeman

Nature Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 795–797

Abstract:
We provide evidence that neural representations of ostensibly unrelated social categories become bound together by their overlapping stereotype associations. While viewing faces, multi-voxel representations of gender, race, and emotion categories in the fusiform and orbitofrontal cortices were stereotypically biased and correlated with subjective perceptions. The findings suggest that social-conceptual knowledge can systematically alter the representational structure of social categories at multiple levels of cortical processing, reflecting bias in visual perceptions.

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The robust self-esteem proxy: Impressions of self-esteem inform judgments of personality and social value

Jessica Cameron et al.

Self and Identity, September/October 2016, pages 561-578

Abstract:
People use impressions of an evaluative target’s self-esteem to infer their possession of socially desirable traits. But will people still use this self-esteem proxy when trait-relevant diagnostic information is available? We test this possibility in two experiments: participants learn that a target person has low or high self-esteem, and then receive diagnostic information about the target’s academic success or failure and positive or negative affectivity (Study 1), or watch a video of the target’s extraverted or introverted behavior (Study 2). In both experiments, participants’ impressions of the target’s traits accurately tracked diagnostic information, but impressions also revealed an independent self-esteem proxy effect. Evidently, the self-esteem proxy is robust and influences person perception even in the presence of vivid individuating information.

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Reducing prejudice and promoting positive intergroup attitudes among elementary-school children in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Rony Berger et al.

Journal of School Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current investigation tested the efficacy of the Extended Class Exchange Program (ECEP) in reducing prejudicial attitudes. Three hundred and twenty-two 3rd and 4th grade students from both Israeli–Jewish and Israeli–Palestinian schools in the ethnically mixed city of Jaffa were randomly assigned to either intervention or control classes. Members of the intervention classes engaged in ECEP's activities, whereas members of the control classes engaged in a social–emotional learning program. The program's outcomes were measured a week before, immediately after, and 15 months following termination. Results showed that the ECEP decreased stereotyping and discriminatory tendencies toward the other group and increased positive feelings and readiness for social contact with the other group upon program termination. Additionally, the effects of the ECEP were generalized to an ethnic group (i.e., Ethiopians) with whom the ECEP's participants did not have any contact. Finally, the ECEP retained its significant effect 15 months after the program's termination, despite the serious clashes between Israel and the Palestinians that occurred during that time. This empirical support for the ECEP'S utility in reducing prejudice makes it potentially applicable to other areas in the world, especially those that are characterized by ethnic tension and violent conflicts.

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Beware of “reducing prejudice”: Imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus

Keon West & Katy Greenland

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Imagined intergroup contact — the mental simulation of a (positive) interaction with a member of another group — is a recently developed, low-risk, prejudice-reducing intervention. However, regulatory focus can moderate of the effects of prejudice-reducing interventions: a prevention focus (as opposed to a promotion focus) can lead to more negative outcomes. In two experiments we found that a prevention focus altered imagined contact's effects, causing the intervention to backfire. In Experiment 1, participants who reported a strong prevention-focus during imagined contact subsequently reported higher intergroup anxiety and (indirectly) less positive attitudes toward Asians. We found similar moderating effects in Experiment 2, using a different outgroup (gay men) and a subtle regulatory focus manipulation. Theoretical and practical implications for imagined contact are discussed.

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Evaluations of Michelle Obama as First Lady: The Role of Racial Resentment

Jonathan Knuckey & Myunghee Kim

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 365–386

Abstract:
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was initially viewed as signaling a postracial era in American politics. However, since 2008, race and racial attitudes have appeared to pervade American political discourse and shape political attitudes and behavior to an even greater extent. Using data from the American National Election Studies, this article examines the extent to which white racial attitudes have shaped evaluations of perhaps the most visible African American in politics today after the president: the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Findings show that racial resentment played a large role in evaluations of Michelle Obama, even after controlling for other explanatory variables, which include partisanship, ideology, and affect toward Barack Obama.

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“Yuck, You Disgust Me!” Affective Bias Against Interracial Couples

Allison Skinner & Caitlin Hudac

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The current research expands upon the sparse existing literature on the nature of bias against interracial couples. Study 1 demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples. These findings are particularly concerning, given evidence of antisocial reactions (e.g., aggression, perpetration of violence) to dehumanized targets. Findings also highlight the role of meaningful social units (e.g., couples) in person perception, an important consideration for psychologists conducting social cognition research.

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The Effect of the Perception of an Interviewer’s Race on Survey Responses in a Sample of Asian Americans

Mingnan Liu

Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study explores how the perceived race of the interviewer in a telephone survey influences responses to race-related questions in a sample of Asian Americans, using the 2008 National Asian American Survey. Among the 14 questions examined, 5 showed significant effects of the interviewer’s perceived race in regression analysis after controlling for respondents’ demographic characteristics. When respondents perceived the interviewers as Asian American, they were more likely to show a preference for an Asian American candidate in an election and to respond that Asians shared political interests. In contrast, when respondents perceived the interviewers as non-Asian, they were more likely to admit that they had experienced discrimination. In addition, when respondents perceived the interviewers as African American, they were more likely to report that Asian Americans had things in common with African Americans. This article concludes by discussing the implications of this study and future research directions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Winning

Competing with Superstars

Manuel Ammann, Philipp Horsch & David Oesch

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effect of superstar chief executive officers (CEOs) on their competitors. Exploiting shocks to CEO status due to prestigious media awards, we document a significant positive stock market performance of competitors of superstar CEOs subsequent to the award. The effect is more pronounced for competitors who have not received an award themselves, who are geographically close to an award winner, and who are not entrenched. We observe an increase in risk taking, operating performance, and innovation activity of superstars' competitors as potential channels for this positive performance. Our results suggest a positive overall welfare impact of corporate superstar systems due to the incentivizing effect on superstars' competitors.

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Values That Shape Marketing Decisions: Influence of CEOs' Political Ideologies on Innovation Propensity, Shareholder Value, and Risk

Saim Kashmiri & Vijay Mahajan

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the influence of CEOs' political ideologies, specifically their degree of political liberalism (i.e., support for the Democratic Party relative to the Republican Party), on firms' innovation propensity (i.e., rate of new product introductions).The authors propose that CEOs' degree of political liberalism positively impacts their firms' rate of new product introductions (NPIs). This impact is weakened, however, when CEOs have low power, when a high proportion of their compensation comes from equity, when the marketing department has high influence in the top management team, and when the economy is growing. Liberal CEOs' greater rate of NPIs is associated with superior Tobin's q, but also higher stock return volatility. Findings based on observing 421 publicly listed U.S. firms between 2006-2010 provide considerable support for the authors' hypotheses. The authors also examine changes in firms' rate of NPIs and performance around CEO turnovers and find corroborating evidence for their thesis. These results highlight the role of executives' personal values in shaping firms' innovation strategy, and the risks and rewards associated with aggressive new product introductions.

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Red, Blue, and Purple Firms: Organizational Political Ideology and Corporate Social Responsibility

Abhinav Gupta, Forrest Briscoe & Donald Hambrick

Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Why do firms vary so much in their stances toward corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Prior research has emphasized the role of external pressures, as well as CEO preferences, while little attention has been paid to the possibility that CSR may also stem from prevailing beliefs among the body politic of the firm. We introduce the concept of organizational political ideology to explain how political beliefs of organizational members shape corporate advances in CSR. Using a novel measure based on the political contributions by employees of Fortune 500 firms, we find that ideology predicts advances in CSR. This effect appears stronger when CSR is rare in the firm's industry, when firms are high in human capital intensity, and when the CEO has had long organizational tenure.

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How Targeting Affects Customer Search: A Field Experiment

Nathan Fong

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
It has become common practice for retailers to personalize direct marketing efforts based on customer transaction histories as a tactic to increase sales. Targeted email offers featuring products in the same category as a customer's previous purchases generate higher purchase rates. However, a targeted offer emphasizing familiar products could result in curtailed search for unadvertised products, as a closely matched offer weakens a customer's incentives to search beyond the targeted items. In a field experiment using email offers sent by an online wine retailer, targeted offers resulted in decreased search activity on the retailer's website. This effect is driven by a lower rate of search by customers who visit the site, rather than a lower incidence of search. There are several ways this could potentially hurt retailers and consumers, such as reduced cross-selling and fewer opportunities for customers to explore new products.

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Where you say it matters: Why packages are a more believable source of product claims than advertisements

Tatiana Fajardo & Claudia Townsend

Journal of Consumer Psychology, July 2016, Pages 426-434

Abstract:
This research demonstrates that a marketing claim placed on a package is more believable than a marketing claim placed in an advertisement. In three studies, we show that the benefit of greater believability for packages is driven by perceptions of proximity. In general, consumers perceive packages, and thus the claims they offer, as closer to the product than ads and their respective claims. This perception of greater claim-to-product proximity is likely to make a claim seem more verifiable. Therefore, claim-to-product proximity is taken as a signal of the marketers' credibility, decreasing inferences of manipulative intent and thereby increasing claim believability and purchase likelihood.

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Fee or Free: When Should Firms Charge for Online Content?

Anja Lambrecht & Kanishka Misra

Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many online content providers aim to compensate for a loss in advertising revenues by charging consumers for access to content. However, such a choice is not straightforward because subscription fees typically deter customers, and a resulting decline in viewership further reduces advertising revenues. This research examines whether firms that offer both free and paid content can benefit from adjusting the amount of content offered for free. We find that firms should offer more free - and not paid - content in periods of high demand. We motivate theoretically that this policy, which we term "countercyclical offering," may be optimal for firms when consumers are heterogeneous in their valuation of online content and this heterogeneity varies over time. Using unique data from an online content provider, we then provide empirical evidence that firms indeed engage in countercyclical offering and increase the share of free content in periods of high demand.

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The effects of promotions on hedonic versus utilitarian purchases

Ran Kivetz & Yuhuang Zheng

Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because it is harder to justify hedonic purchases than utilitarian purchases, it is proposed that promotions will have a stronger positive effect on the purchase likelihood of hedonic than utilitarian products. This and related propositions are tested in multiple studies using a variety of product categories and promotions. The results demonstrate that promotions are more effective in driving purchase decisions when: (a) the product is hedonic rather than utilitarian; (b) the product is framed as more hedonic; and (c) the consumer has a hedonic rather than utilitarian consumption goal. Consistent with our conceptualization, the enhanced impact of promotions on hedonic purchases is attenuated when: (a) the hedonic product is intended as a gift for others; (b) consumers can construct justifications for their purchase ahead of time; (c) consumers are not accountable for their decisions; and (d) the promotion is contingent on purchasing additional product units (i.e., a quantity discount like "Buy 10, get 50% off"). Importantly, the present research reconciles and explains the seemingly inconsistent prior findings regarding the effects of price versus quantity promotions.

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Is Top 10 Better than Top 9? The Role of Expectations in Consumer Response to Imprecise Rank Claims

Mathew Isaac, Aaron Brough & Kent Grayson

Journal of Marketing Research, June 2016, Pages 338-353

Abstract:
Many marketing communications are carefully designed to cast a brand in its most favorable light. For example, marketers may prefer to highlight a brand's membership in the top 10 tier of a third-party list instead of disclosing the brand's exact rank. The authors propose that when marketers use these types of imprecise advertising claims, subtle differences in the selection of a tier boundary (e.g., top 9 vs. top 10) can influence consumers' evaluations and willingness to pay. Specifically, the authors find a comfort tier effect in which a weaker claim that references a less exclusive but commonly used tier boundary can actually lead to higher brand evaluations than a stronger claim that references a more exclusive but less common tier boundary. This effect is attributed to a two-stage process by which consumers evaluate imprecise rank claims. The results demonstrate that consumers have specific expectations for how messages are constructed in marketing communications and may make negative inferences about a brand when these expectations are violated, thus attenuating the positive effect such claims might otherwise have on consumer responses.

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Returns to Consumer Search: Evidence from eBay

Thomas Blake, Chris Nosko & Steven Tadelis

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
A growing body of empirical literature finds that consumers are relatively limited in how much they search over product characteristics. We assemble a dataset of search and purchase behavior from eBay to quantify the returns, and thus implied costs, to consumer search on the internet. The extensive nature of the eBay data allows us to examine a rich and detailed set of questions related to search in a way that previous structural models cannot. In contrast to the literature, we find that consumers search a lot: on average 36 times per purchase over 3 (distinct) days, with most sessions ending in no purchase. We find that search costs are relatively low, in the region of 25 cents per search page. We pursue the analysis further by, i) examining how users refine their search, ii) how search behavior spans multiple search sessions, and iii) how the amount of search relates to finding lower prices.

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What are likes worth? A Facebook page field experiment

Daniel Mochon et al.

Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite the tremendous resources devoted to marketing on Facebook, little is known about its actual effect on customers. Specifically, can Facebook page likes affect offline customer behavior, and if so how? To answer these questions, the authors conducted a field experiment on acquired Facebook page likes and found them to have a positive causal effect on offline customer behavior. Importantly, these likes were most effective when the Facebook page was used as a platform for firm initiated promotional communications. There was no effect of acquired page likes when customers interacted organically with the firm's page, but a significant effect when the firm paid to boost its page posts, and thus used its Facebook page as a platform for paid advertising. These results demonstrate the value of likes beyond Facebook activity itself and highlight the conditions under which acquiring likes is most valuable for firms.

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How Advertorials Deactivate Advertising Schema: MTurk-Based Experiments to Examine Persuasion Tactics and Outcomes in Health Advertisements

Sunny Jung Kim & Jeffrey Hancock

Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Advertorials - advertisements camouflaged as editorial material - are a pervasive advertising strategy. Presentational features of advertorials, such as a small or omitted advertisement label and useful information presented in an editorial format prior to promoting a product, are likely to give impressions to readers that the reading material is a useful resource rather than advertising material. We examined the cognitive and persuasive effects of health product-related advertorials based on a schema-laden information processing model framework. Study 1 (n = 337) found that advertorials were less likely to trigger advertising schema, especially consumer awareness of persuasive intent. Study 2 (n = 336) found that the structure presenting useful information before advertising a related product decreased consumer skepticism. Overall, readers exhibited more positive attitudes toward advertorials than they did toward traditional advertisements due to decreased awareness of persuasive intent (Study 1) and advertorials' structure (Study 2), which, in turn, increased willingness to purchase advertised products.

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Keeping Your Enemies Closer: When Market Entry as an Alliance with Your Competitor Makes Sense

Jeffrey Cai & Jagmohan Raju

Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present an analytical framework of multimarket competition and supporting empirical analysis to explain why and when competing firms in an existing market may prefer an alliance entry over independent entry into a new market. Our findings suggest that an alliance entry is more profitable than an independent entry (i) when the new market is larger relative to the existing market, and (ii) when the competition in the existing market is stronger relative to the new market. We compare these key predictions with archival data from the regional shopping center industry in the United States and find that instances of alliance formation in this industry are consistent with our model-based predictions.

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Designed to Succeed: Dimensions of Product Design and Their Impact on Market Share

Rupinder Jindal et al.

Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the relationship between product design and market share: a topic of considerable significance that has not been addressed in the published literature. Drawing from diverse disciplines such as marketing, industrial design, and engineering, authors conceptualize design as being composed of three distinct product-level dimensions - function, form, and ergonomics. Furthermore, the authors examine the interplay among these design dimensions and their impact on the market share of a product. Empirical results using integrated repeated cross-sectional data obtained from several different sources in the U.S. light vehicle industry reveal an important strategic trade-off concerning design capabilities. Firms can either design for satisfaction by investing in both function and ergonomics, or design for delight by investing in form design capabilities so as to reap share rewards. Authors also show that older generation vehicles with superior form designs do much better in terms of share than corresponding generation vehicles with higher levels of either function or ergonomics. Implications of these results for academic researchers and managers are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Maybe baby

Abortion Costs, Separation, and Non-marital Childbearing

Andrew Beauchamp

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2016, Pages 182-196

Abstract:
How do abortion costs affect non-marital childbearing? While greater access to abortion has the first-order effect of reducing childbearing among pregnant women, it could nonetheless lead to unintended consequences through effects on marriage market norms. Single motherhood could rise if low-cost abortion makes it easier for men to avoid marriage. This study estimated the effect of abortion costs on separation, cohabitation and marriage following a birth by exploiting miscarriage and changes in state abortion laws. There is evidence that norms responded to abortion laws as women who gave birth under abortion restrictions experienced sizable decreases in single motherhood and increased cohabitation rates. The results underscore the importance of norms regulating relationship dynamics in explaining high levels of non-marital childbearing and single motherhood.

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The Incidental Fertility Effects of School Condom Distribution Programs

Kasey Buckles & Daniel Hungerman

NBER Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
While the fertility effects of improving teenagers’ access to contraception are theoretically ambiguous, most empirical work has shown that access decreases teen fertility. In this paper, we consider the fertility effects of access to condoms — a method of contraception not considered in prior work. We exploit variation across counties and across time in teenagers’ exposure to condom distribution programs in schools. We find that access to condoms in schools increases teen fertility by about 10 percent. These effects are driven by communities where condoms are provided without mandated counseling.

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Peer Effects on Teenage Fertility: Social Transmission Mechanisms and Policy Recommendations

Jason Fletcher & Olga Yakusheva

American Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present instrumental variable results suggesting that the likelihood of having a teenage pregnancy is influenced by peers. We show that the instruments (peer-level teen childbearing of mothers and the average age of menarche) are plausibly exogenous across cohorts of students attending the same school. The estimates are large — a 10 percentage point increase in peer pregnancies is associated with a 2–5 percentage point greater likelihood of own-pregnancy. Peer influence is greater in environments with other policy factors that also increase teenage pregnancy rates and may operate primarily through shaping social norms rather than information or knowledge-sharing mechanisms.

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The effects of teenage childbearing on adult soft skills development

Jason Fletcher & Norma Padrón

Journal of Population Economics, July 2016, Pages 883-910

Abstract:
Research examining impacts of teenage childbearing on economic and social outcomes have focused on completed schooling and labor force outcomes. In this paper, we examine outcomes that have remained largely unexplored, soft skills and personality. We use Add Health data to construct relevant controls for teenage mothers and explore a set of measures that proxy for what is usually deemed in economics as “non-cognitive” or “soft skill” traits. We find that teenage childbearing increases impulsivity, a trait that has been found to have negative effects on a large set of outcomes and has a negative effect on other personality traits perceived as positive, such as openness to experiences. Our results remain consistent through a set of robustness checks, and we interpret our findings to suggest that adolescence may be a sensitive period for the development of soft skills and that childbearing may interrupt this process.

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Predicting Unprotected Sex and Unplanned Pregnancy among Urban African-American Adolescent Girls Using the Theory of Gender and Power

Janet Rosenbaum et al.

Journal of Urban Health, June 2016, Pages 493-510

Abstract:
Reproductive coercion has been hypothesized as a cause of unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancies, but research has focused on a narrow set of potential sources of reproductive coercion. We identified and evaluated eight potential sources of reproductive coercion from the Theory of Gender and Power including economic inequality between adolescent girls and their boyfriends, cohabitation, and age differences. The sample comprised sexually active African-American female adolescents, ages 15–21. At baseline (n = 715), 6 months (n = 607), and 12 months (n = 605), participants completed a 40-min interview and were tested for semen Y-chromosome with polymerase chain reaction from a self-administered vaginal swab. We predicted unprotected sex and pregnancy using multivariate regression controlling for demographics, economic factors, relationship attributes, and intervention status using a Poisson working model. Factors associated with unprotected sex included cohabitation (incidence risk ratio (IRR) 1.48, 95 % confidence interval (1.22, 1.81)), physical abuse (IRR 1.55 (1.21, 2.00)), emotional abuse (IRR 1.31 (1.06, 1.63)), and having a boyfriend as a primary source of spending money (IRR 1.18 (1.00, 1.39)). Factors associated with unplanned pregnancy 6 months later included being at least 4 years younger than the boyfriend (IRR 1.68 (1.14, 2.49)) and cohabitation (2.19 (1.35, 3.56)). Among minors, cohabitation predicted even larger risks of unprotected sex (IRR 1.93 (1.23, 3.03)) and unplanned pregnancy (3.84 (1.47, 10.0)). Adolescent cohabitation is a marker for unprotected sex and unplanned pregnancy, especially among minors. Cohabitation may have stemmed from greater commitment, but the shortage of affordable housing in urban areas could induce women to stay in relationships for housing. Pregnancy prevention interventions should attempt to delay cohabitation until adulthood and help cohabiting adolescents to find affordable housing.

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Unconditional Prenatal Income Supplement and Birth Outcomes

Marni Brownell et al.

Pediatrics, June 2016

Methods: This study included all mother–newborn pairs (2003–2010) in Manitoba, Canada, where the mother received prenatal social assistance, the infant was born in the hospital, and the pair had a risk screen (N = 14 591). Low-income women who received the income supplement (Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit [HBPB], n = 10 738) were compared with low-income women who did not receive HBPB (n = 3853) on the following factors: low birth weight, preterm, small and large for gestational age, Apgar score, breastfeeding initiation, neonatal readmission, and newborn hospital length of stay (LOS). Covariates from risk screens were used to develop propensity scores and to balance differences between groups in regression models; γ sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess sensitivity to unmeasured confounding. Population-attributable and preventable fractions were calculated.

Results: HBPB was associated with reductions in low birth weight (aRR, 0.71 [95% CI, 0.63–0.81]), preterm births (aRR, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.69–0.84]) and small for gestational age births (aRR, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.81–0.99]) and increases in breastfeeding (aRR, 1.06 [95% CI, 1.03–1.09]) and large for gestational age births (aRR, 1.13 [95% CI, 1.05–1.23]). For vaginal births, HBPB was associated with shortened LOS (weighted mean, 2.86; P < .0001). Results for breastfeeding, low birth weight, preterm birth, and LOS were robust to unmeasured confounding. Reductions of 21% (95% CI, 13.6–28.3) for low birth weight births and 17.5% (95% CI, 11.2–23.8) for preterm births were associated with HBPB.

Conclusions: Receipt of an unconditional prenatal income supplement was associated with positive outcomes. Placing conditions on income supplements may not be necessary to promote prenatal and perinatal health.

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The effect of prenatal docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on infant outcomes in African American women living in low-income environments: A randomized, controlled trial

Kate Keenan et al.

Psychoneuroendocrinology, September 2016, Pages 170–175

Objective: To test the effectiveness of prenatal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation on birth outcomes and infant development in a sample of African American women with Medicaid insurance and living in the city of Pittsburgh.

Design: The Nutrition and Pregnancy Study (NAPS) is a double-blind, randomized controlled trial of prenatal DHA supplementation conducted between 2012 and 2014.

Participants: Sixty-four pregnant, African American women were enrolled at 16-21 weeks of gestation and randomized to either 450 mg/day of DHA (22:6n-3)(n = 43) or a soybean placebo (n = 21). Four women (6.3%) withdrew from the study: two participants from each study arm; complete data were obtained for 49 infants (76.5%) at the 3-month assessment.

Main Outcome and Measures: Data on birth outcomes were collected from medical records. At approximately 3 months post-partum, mothers brought their infants to the laboratory where the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID-III) were administered and cortisol response to the Face-to-Face Still-Face (FFSF) paradigm was assessed.

Results: Infants of mothers who received DHA supplementation had higher birth weight (3,174 grams versus 2,890 grams) than infants of mothers receiving placebo (F [2,40] = 6.09, p = .018, eta = .36), and were more likely to have a 1-minute Apgar score greater than 8 (OR = 5.99 [95% CI = 1.25–28.75], p = .025). Infants of mothers who received DHA compared with infants of mothers receiving placebo had lower levels of cortisol in response to the FFSF paradigm (F [1,32] = 5.36, p = .018, eta = .36). None of the scores on the BSID-III differed as a function of active supplement versus placebo.

Conclusions: Infants of women living in urban, low-income environments who received DHA supplementation had more optimal birth outcomes and more modulated cortisol response to a stressor. DHA supplementation may be effective in attenuating the negative effects of prenatal stress on offspring development.

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Assortative mating and differential fertility by phenotype and genotype across the 20th century

Dalton Conley et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 14 June 2016, Pages 6647–6652

Abstract:
This study asks two related questions about the shifting landscape of marriage and reproduction in US society over the course of the last century with respect to a range of health and behavioral phenotypes and their associated genetic architecture: (i) Has assortment on measured genetic factors influencing reproductive and social fitness traits changed over the course of the 20th century? (ii) Has the genetic covariance between fitness (as measured by total fertility) and other traits changed over time? The answers to these questions inform our understanding of how the genetic landscape of American society has changed over the past century and have implications for population trends. We show that husbands and wives carry similar loadings for genetic factors related to education and height. However, the magnitude of this similarity is modest and has been fairly consistent over the course of the 20th century. This consistency is particularly notable in the case of education, for which phenotypic similarity among spouses has increased in recent years. Likewise, changing patterns of the number of children ever born by phenotype are not matched by shifts in genotype–fertility relationships over time. Taken together, these trends provide no evidence that social sorting is becoming increasingly genetic in nature or that dysgenic dynamics have accelerated.

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The Effect of Gender Norms in Sitcoms on Support for Access to Abortion and Contraception

Nathaniel Swigger

American Politics Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can ostensibly nonpolitical television programming affect policy opinions? In this article, I use a laboratory experiment to test whether the gender norms portrayed on two primetime sitcoms can alter political attitudes on gender issues, specifically access to abortion, and contraception. Though the shows in the experiment did not explicitly discuss any policy, I find that sitcoms can influence policy opinions, particularly when the show conveys a “boys will be boys” mentality toward sexual behavior. This finding has important implications for public opinion scholars because it suggests that there may not be such a thing as apolitical programming, and pop culture may have a profound, overlooked effect on public opinion.

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Austerity and Abortion in the European Union

Joana Madureira Lima et al.

European Journal of Public Health, June 2016, Pages 518-519

Abstract:
Economic hardship accompanying large recessions can lead families to terminate unplanned pregnancies. To assess whether abortions have risen during the recession, we collected crude abortion data from 2000 to 2012 from Eurostat for countries that had legal abortions and complete data. Declining trends in abortion ratios between 2000 and 2009 have been reversing. Excess abortions between 2010 and 2012 totaled 10.6 abortions per 1000 pregnancies ending in abortion or birth or 6701 additional abortions (95% CI 1190–9240) with stronger effects in younger ages. Economic shocks may increase recourse to abortion. Further research should explore causal pathways and protective factors.

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Perceived Costs and Benefits of Early Childbearing: New Dimensions and Predictive Power

Sarah Hayford et al.

Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2016, Pages 83–91

Methods: Perceptions of costs and benefits of pregnancy, as well as later experiences of pregnancy, were assessed for 701 nulligravid women aged 18–22 who entered the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life study in 2008–2009 and were interviewed weekly for up to 30 months. Bivariate t tests, chi-square tests and multivariable discrete-time event history analyses were used to assess associations of perceived personal consequences of childbearing (e.g., predicted financial costs), goals in potentially competing domains (opportunity costs) and social norms with subsequent pregnancy.

Results: Twenty percent of women reported that early childbearing would have more positive than negative personal consequences. Compared with other women, those who had a pregnancy during follow-up had, at baseline, more positive perceptions of the personal consequences of pregnancy and of their friends’ approval of pregnancy, and greater desire for consumer goods. In multivariable analyses, only the scales assessing perceived personal consequences of childbearing and friends’ approval of childbearing were associated with pregnancy (odds ratios, 2.0 and 1.2, respectively). Goals in potentially competing domains were not associated with pregnancy.

Conclusions: Young women's perceptions of consequences of early childbearing predict subsequent pregnancy. That these perceptions are distinct from childbearing desires and from other dimensions of costs and benefits illustrates the complex attitudinal underpinnings of reproductive behavior.

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A Genetically Informed Study of the Associations Between Maternal Age at Childbearing and Adverse Perinatal Outcomes

Ayesha Sujan et al.

Behavior Genetics, May 2016, Pages 431-456

Abstract:
We examined associations of maternal age at childbearing (MAC) with gestational age and fetal growth (i.e., birth weight adjusting for gestational age), using two genetically informed designs (cousin and sibling comparisons) and data from two cohorts, a population-based Swedish sample and a nationally representative United States sample. We also conducted sensitivity analyses to test limitations of the designs. The findings were consistent across samples and suggested that, associations observed in the population between younger MAC and shorter gestational age were confounded by shared familial factors; however, associations of advanced MAC with shorter gestational age remained robust after accounting for shared familial factors. In contrast to the gestational age findings, neither early nor advanced MAC was associated with lower fetal growth after accounting for shared familial factors. Given certain assumptions, these findings provide support for a causal association between advanced MAC and shorter gestational age. The results also suggest that there are not causal associations between early MAC and shorter gestational age, between early MAC and lower fetal growth, and between advanced MAC and lower fetal growth.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Monday, June 20, 2016

For your country

The Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: War Mobilization, Trade Integration, and Political Development in Medieval Europe

Lisa Blaydes & Christopher Paik

International Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Holy Land Crusades were among the most significant forms of military mobilization to occur during the medieval period. Crusader mobilization had important implications for European state formation. We find that areas with large numbers of Holy Land crusaders witnessed increased political stability and institutional development as well as greater urbanization associated with rising trade and capital accumulation, even after taking into account underlying levels of religiosity and economic development. Our findings contribute to a scholarly debate regarding when the essential elements of the modern state first began to appear. Although our causal mechanisms — which focus on the importance of war preparation and urban capital accumulation — resemble those emphasized by previous research, we date the point of critical transition to statehood centuries earlier, in line with scholars who emphasize the medieval origins of the modern state. We also point to one avenue by which the rise of Muslim military and political power may have affected European institutional development.

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Representation and Consent: Why They Arose in Europe and Not Elsewhere

David Stasavage

Annual Review of Political Science, 2016, Pages 145-162

Abstract:
Medieval Western Europeans developed two practices that are the bedrock of modern democracy: representative government and the consent of the governed. Why did this happen in Europe and not elsewhere? I ask what the literature has to say about this question, focusing on the role of political ideas, on economic development, and on warfare. I consider Europe in comparison with the Byzantine Empire, the Abbasid Caliphate, and Song Dynasty China. I argue that ultimately Europe's different path may have been an accident. It was produced by Western Europe's experience of outside invasion that replaced the Western Roman Empire with a set of small, fragmented polities in which rulers were relatively weak. Small size meant low transaction costs for maintaining assemblies. The relatively weak position of rulers meant that consent of the governed was necessary. I also suggest how these conclusions should influence our understanding of democracy today.

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The Two Sides of Magna Carta: How Good Government Sometimes Wins Out Over Public Choice

Richard Epstein

International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article examines two rival interpretations of Magna Carta. It rejects the view that Magna Carta is largely a special interest deal between the King and the Barons, and defends the proposition that by and large it works as a public-regarding document that did much to cure the defects of the feudal and judicial systems they had evolved under King John. A clause-by-clause analysis of the document, dealing with such matters as tenurial succession, marriage, courts and judicial procedures, debtor and creditor arrangements, and property rights and liberties shows that Magna Carta exhibited a high degree of technical excellence. By constantly referring back to ancient customs, Magna Carta introduced sensible reforms, some of which were peculiar to the feudal system, but others of which carry over to similar problems today. The durability of the Magna Carta is justified by its political and legal achievements.

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Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique

Jenny Aker, Paul Collier & Pedro Vicente

Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
African elections often reveal low levels of political accountability. We assess different forms of voter education during an election in Mozambique. Three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their participation were randomized: an information campaign using SMS, an SMS hotline for electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper. To measure impact, we look at official electoral results, reports by electoral observers, behavioral and survey data. We find positive effects of all treatments on voter turnout. However, only the distribution of the free newspaper led to more accountability-based participation and to a decrease in electoral problems.

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Electoral Handouts as Information: Explaining Unmonitored Vote Buying

Eric Kramon

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 454-498

Abstract:
Why is vote buying effective even where ballot secrecy is protected? Most answers emerge from models of machine politics, in which a machine holds recipients of handouts accountable for their subsequent political behavior. Yet vote buying is common in many contexts where political party machines are not present, or where parties exert little effort in monitoring voters. This article addresses this puzzle. The author argues that politicians often distribute electoral handouts to convey information to voters. This vote buying conveys information with respect to the future provision of resources to the poor. The author tests the argument with original qualitative and experimental data collected in Kenya. A voter's information about a candidate's vote buying leads to substantial increases in electoral support, an effect driven by expectations about the provision of clientelist benefits beyond the electoral period. The results, showing that the distribution of material benefits can be electorally effective for persuasive reasons, thereby explain how vote buying can be effective in the absence of machine politics.

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The return of the prodigy son: Do return migrants make better leaders?

Marion Mercier

Journal of Development Economics, September 2016, Pages 76–91

Abstract:
This paper describes the relationship between political leaders' migration experience and the evolution of democracy during their leadership. We build up an original database on the personal background of 932 politicians who were at the head of the executive power in a developing country over the 1960–2004 period. These data reveal the existence of a positive correlation between the fact that leaders studied abroad and the change in the score of democracy in their country during their tenure, for leaders who reach power in initially autocratic settings. This correlation notably appears to be driven by leaders who studied in high-income OECD countries. The main finding, confirmed by various robustness tests, adds up to the recent literature on the effects of the characteristics of political leaders. It also suggests a new channel through which migration may shape development and politics in the sending countries — namely, the political elites.

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Working for the Hierarchical System: The Role of Meritocratic Ideology in the Endorsement of Corruption

Xuyun Tan et al.

Political Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Corruption has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies, but it is widespread throughout the world. There is a question, however, as to whether corruption is endorsed as an outcome of a legitimate hierarchy and meritocracy. To address this issue, the present study examines the associations between meritocratic ideology and the indicators of corruption by performing two empirical studies with correlational and experimental designs. In Study 1, all variables were measured with scales, and the results demonstrated that meritocratic ideologies were negatively associated with corruption perception but positively associated with corrupt intention. In Study 2, meritocratic ideology was manipulated, and the results demonstrated that compared with the low meritocratic-ideology condition, the participants primed by the high meritocratic-ideology condition reported a lower corruption perception but higher corrupt intention. In both studies, the findings suggest that the meritocratic ideology that motivates people to maintain and bolster the current hierarchical structure and meritocracy leads to the endorsement of corruption. The present study explores the roles of meritocratic ideology in the perception and intention of corruption, extends the scope of the predictive power of system justification theory to corruption beyond mere injustice-related aspects of disadvantage, and also provides suggestions for interpreting and fighting against corruption.

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Democracy and Football

Ignacio Lago, Carlos Lago-Peñas & Santiago Lago-Peñas

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: This article relies on data from two samples of 47 and 49 European countries from 1950 through 2011 and 1,980 and 1,960 football domestic leagues, respectively, to explore to what extent political regimes affect the competitive balance in domestic football (soccer) leagues.

Methods: We run OLS cross-sectional regressions comparing democracies and nondemocracies and pooled cross-sectional time-series analyses conducted on the 13 countries that have experienced a transition to democracy after 1950.

Results: We find that the percentage of league competitions won by the most successful club in the country is substantially lower in democracies than in nondemocracies. Democratic transitions trigger pressures to increase the competitive balance in football leagues.

Conclusions: The link between nondemocracies and specific teams breaks when a country experiences a transition to democracy and the economic liberalization that takes place in transitions to democracy disperses resources and generates competition among descending and ascending teams.

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Reconciling after civil conflict increases social capital but decreases individual well-being

Jacobus Cilliers, Oeindrila Dube & Bilal Siddiqi

Science, 13 May 2016, Pages 787-794

Abstract:
Civil wars divide nations along social, economic, and political cleavages, often pitting one neighbor against another. To restore social cohesion, many countries undertake truth and reconciliation efforts. We examined the consequences of one such effort in Sierra Leone, designed and implemented by a Sierra Leonean nongovernmental organization called Fambul Tok. As a part of this effort, community-level forums are set up in which victims detail war atrocities, and perpetrators confess to war crimes. We used random assignment to study its impact across 200 villages, drawing on data from 2383 individuals. We found that reconciliation had both positive and negative consequences. It led to greater forgiveness of perpetrators and strengthened social capital: Social networks were larger, and people contributed more to public goods in treated villages. However, these benefits came at a substantial cost: The reconciliation treatment also worsened psychological health, increasing depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder in these same villages. For a subset of villages, we measured outcomes both 9 months and 31 months after the intervention. These results show that the effects, both positive and negative, persisted into the longer time horizon. Our findings suggest that policy-makers need to restructure reconciliation processes in ways that reduce their negative psychological costs while retaining their positive societal benefits.

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War, Inflation, and Social Capital

Sergei Guriev & Nikita Melnikov

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 230-235

Abstract:
We use weekly data from 79 Russian regions to measure the impact of economic shocks and proximity to war in Ukraine on social capital in Russian regions. We proxy social capital by the relative intensity of internet searches for the most salient dimensions of pro-social behavior such as "donate blood", "charity", "adopt a child" etc. This measure of social capital is correlated with a survey-based measure of generalized social trust. Our search-based measure of social capital responds negatively to the spikes of inflation and positively to the intensity of the conflict in Ukraine (controlling for region and week fixed effects).

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Global Power Movements, Uncertainty and Democracy in the Middle East

Selin Guner

New Global Studies, April 2016, Pages 27–48

Abstract:
Studies that examine global determinants of democracy mainly focus on factors such as global conflict, strength of global community, international organizations and the impact of democratic neighbors. This paper logically extends the global approach by considering the impact of global power shifts on democratization in the Middle East. In this paper, it is argued that global uncertainty raised by power shifts in the system is likely to impact authoritarian elite behavior leading to their concession to share political power. This article specifies the assumptions, hypothesis and the causal mechanism through which power shifts might impact democracy in the Middle East. To test the hypothesis, this article uses cross-country panel data and fixed effects GLS regression models on 878 observations, 20 countries ranging from 1815 until 2004. To clarify the argument, examples of democratization process in Iran and Turkey as well as recent 2011 Middle East uprisings are also discussed as illustrative evidence. The results support the argument that global power transfers have short term and long term impacts on democratization in the Middle East.

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Media, Protest Diffusion, and Authoritarian Resilience

Haifeng Huang, Serra Boranbay-Akan & Ling Huang

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do authoritarian governments always censor news about protests to prevent unrest from spreading? Existing research on authoritarian politics stresses the danger that information spread within the society poses for a regime. In particular, media and Internet reports of social unrest are deemed to threaten authoritarian rule, as such reports may incite more protests and thus spread instability. We show that such reasoning is incomplete if social protests are targeted at local officials. Allowing media the freedom to report local protests may indeed lead to protest diffusion, but the increased probability of citizen protest also has two potential benefits for the regime: (1) identifying and addressing more social grievances, thus releasing potential revolutionary pressure on the regime; (2) forcing local officials to reduce misbehavior, thus reducing underlying social grievances. For authoritarian governments whose survival is vulnerable to citizen grievances, allowing the media to report social protests aimed at local governments can therefore enhance regime stability and protect its interests under many circumstances. We construct a game-theoretic model to analyze the problem and illustrate the argument with examples from China.

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Are Coups Really Contagious? An Extreme Bounds Analysis of Political Diffusion

Michael Miller, Michael Joseph & Dorothy Ohl

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
Protests and democratic transitions tend to spread cross-nationally. Is this true of all political events? We argue that the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of mass-participation events are unlikely to support the spread of elite-led violence, particularly coups. Further, past findings of coup contagion employed empirical techniques unable to distinguish clustering, common shocks, and actual diffusion. To investigate which events diffuse and where, we combine modern spatial dependence models with extreme bounds analysis (EBA). EBA allows for numerous modeling alternatives, including diffusion timing and the controls, and calculates the distribution of estimates across all combinations of these choices. We also examine various diffusion pathways, such as contagion among trade partners. Results from nearly 1.2 million models clearly undercut coup contagion. In comparison, we confirm that more mass-driven political events robustly spread cross-nationally. Our findings contribute to studies of political conflict and contagion, while introducing EBA as an effective tool for diffusion scholars.

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Elite Capture: How Decentralization and Informal Institutions Weaken Property Rights in China

Daniel Mattingly

World Politics, July 2016, Pages 383-412

Abstract:
Political decentralization is often argued to strengthen political accountability by bringing government closer to the people. Social and civic institutions at the local level, such as lineage associations, temples, churches, or social clubs, can make it easier for citizens to monitor officials and hold them accountable. This article argues that strong social institutions also empower local elites who may use their informal influence to control their group and capture rents. Drawing on evidence from case studies of Chinese villages, the article shows that lineage group leaders who become village officials use their combination of social and political authority to confiscate villagers’ land. Evidence from a survey experiment suggests that endorsement of a land confiscation plan by lineage elites elicits greater compliance with property seizures. A national survey indicates that when a lineage leader becomes a village cadre, it is associated with a 14 to 20 percent increase in the likelihood of a land expropriation. The findings demonstrate how informal institutions and local civil society can be tools of top-down political control.

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The Arc of Modernization: Economic Structure, Materialism, and the Onset of Civil Conflict

Tyson Chatagnier & Emanuele Castelli

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
The onset of intrastate conflict has two requisite conditions: that prospective insurgents have an incentive to rebel, and that the state lacks the capacity to deter such a rebellion. We outline a simple rationalist argument grounded in gains from economic growth — to both individual income and state revenue — to argue that modernization has the potential to affect the likelihood of civil conflict through both of these conditions. The shift away from a rent-seeking economy affects opportunity costs for rebellion by increasing the cost of recruitment, broadening the time horizon for gain, and decreasing looting possibilities. On the state side, modernization increases state military, economic, and institutional capacity, allowing governments to deter rebellion. We construct an index of modernization from World Bank data and apply a strategic model to explore the effect of modernization on both states and rebels simultaneously. We find that the modernization process describes an arc that may increase the likelihood of unrest in the early stages, but has long-term stabilizing effects.

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Unsafe Havens: Re-Examining Humanitarian Aid and Peace Duration after Civil Wars

Philip Martin & Nina McMurry

MIT Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Does humanitarian aid delivered in the aftermath of civil conflict increase the risk of conflict resumption? And if so, under what conditions? In contrast to previous work that focuses on the terms of civil war resolution, we argue that humanitarian aid is most likely to play a de-stabilizing role when armed groups have access to territorial safe havens, either inside the country where the fighting has taken place or in cross-border refugee camps. We illustrate this argument with the cases of Liberia (1989-1997) and Sudan (1983-2005), and then test the theory using a panel dataset of civil war ceasefires between 1989 and 2004. Our results support the argument that the effect of humanitarian aid on ceasefire stability is conditional on the ability of rebel organizations to control territory and access cross-border refugee populations.

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When Do States Take the Bait? State Capacity and the Provocation Logic of Terrorism

Brian Blankenship

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

Abstract:
A prominent theory holds that groups may use terrorism in order to provoke governments into undertaking repression that alienates the population. However, virtually no studies have addressed the central puzzle of this provocation logic: why states would actually fall into this trap, if doing so can backfire. This study seeks to address this puzzle by suggesting conditions under which states would respond to terrorism with repression. I argue that states with limited bureaucratic capacity are more prone to using repression after terrorist incidents, as their ability to selectively crack down is inhibited by their more limited capability for controlling, monitoring, and collecting revenue from their populations and for collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists. Using a cross-national analysis with data from 1981 to 2011, I find it is low-capacity states which are most likely to respond to terrorism with repression, while constraints on executive authority have no clear effect.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Sunday, June 19, 2016

No duh

Physical Intelligence Does Matter to Cumulative Technological Culture

François Osiurak et al.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Tool-based culture is not unique to humans, but cumulative technological culture is. The social intelligence hypothesis suggests that this phenomenon is fundamentally based on uniquely human sociocognitive skills (e.g., shared intentionality). An alternative hypothesis is that cumulative technological culture also crucially depends on physical intelligence, which may reflect fluid and crystallized aspects of intelligence and enables people to understand and improve the tools made by predecessors. By using a tool-making–based microsociety paradigm, we demonstrate that physical intelligence is a stronger predictor of cumulative technological performance than social intelligence. Moreover, learners’ physical intelligence is critical not only in observational learning but also when learners interact verbally with teachers. Finally, we show that cumulative performance is only slightly influenced by teachers’ physical and social intelligence. In sum, human technological culture needs “great engineers” to evolve regardless of the proportion of “great pedagogues.” Social intelligence might play a more limited role than commonly assumed, perhaps in tool-use/making situations in which teachers and learners have to share symbolic representations.

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When Did Classic Composers Make Their Best Work?

Philip Hans Franses

Creativity Research Journal, Spring 2016, Pages 219-221

Abstract:
This Research Note shows that classic composers created their best works when they were at a similar age when creators in other domains did their best work, namely when they were at an age that represented around 60% of their life span. This finding is very similar to earlier results for painters and authors.

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Enhancing Working Memory Training with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

Jacky Au et al.

Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Working memory (WM) is a fundamental cognitive ability that supports complex thought but is limited in capacity. Thus, WM training interventions have become very popular as a means of potentially improving WM-related skills. Another promising intervention that has gained increasing traction in recent years is transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive form of brain stimulation that can modulate cortical excitability and temporarily increase brain plasticity. As such, it has the potential to boost learning and enhance performance on cognitive tasks. This study assessed the efficacy of tDCS to supplement WM training. Sixty-two participants were randomized to receive either right prefrontal, left prefrontal, or sham stimulation with concurrent visuospatial WM training over the course of seven training sessions. Results showed that tDCS enhanced training performance, which was strikingly preserved several months after training completion. Furthermore, we observed stronger effects when tDCS was spaced over a weekend break relative to consecutive daily training, and we also demonstrated selective transfer in the right prefrontal group to nontrained tasks of visual and spatial WM. These findings shed light on how tDCS may be leveraged as a tool to enhance performance on WM-intensive learning tasks.

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Brain white matter structure and COMT gene are linked to second-language learning in adults

Ping Mamiya et al.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adult human brains retain the capacity to undergo tissue reorganization during second-language learning. Brain-imaging studies show a relationship between neuroanatomical properties and learning for adults exposed to a second language. However, the role of genetic factors in this relationship has not been investigated. The goal of the current study was twofold: (i) to characterize the relationship between brain white matter fiber-tract properties and second-language immersion using diffusion tensor imaging, and (ii) to determine whether polymorphisms in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene affect the relationship. We recruited incoming Chinese students enrolled in the University of Washington and scanned their brains one time. We measured the diffusion properties of the white matter fiber tracts and correlated them with the number of days each student had been in the immersion program at the time of the brain scan. We found that higher numbers of days in the English immersion program correlated with higher fractional anisotropy and lower radial diffusivity in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus. We show that fractional anisotropy declined once the subjects finished the immersion program. The relationship between brain white matter fiber-tract properties and immersion varied in subjects with different COMT genotypes. Subjects with the Methionine (Met)/Valine (Val) and Val/Val genotypes showed higher fractional anisotropy and lower radial diffusivity during immersion, which reversed immediately after immersion ended, whereas those with the Met/Met genotype did not show these relationships. Statistical modeling revealed that subjects’ grades in the language immersion program were best predicted by fractional anisotropy and COMT genotype.

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The Role of Creative Potential and Intelligence for Humor Production

Raphaela Kellner & Mathias Benedek

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, forthcoming

Abstract:
The ability to come up with good puns or jokes has been variantly viewed as an indicator of intelligence or creativity. Although the empirical literature provides support for both associations, it remains unclear whether intelligence and creativity independently contribute to the production of humor. To test this notion, a humor production test was devised that asked participants (n = 151) to generate funny punch lines to six caption-removed cartoons. The results showed that intelligence and creative potential predict humor production ability independently. Specifically, divergent thinking fluency and creativity as well as crystallized intelligence explained unique variance of the funniness of humor productions. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of domain-general abilities involved in the production of humor.

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Older Adults Improve on Everyday Tasks after Working Memory Training and Neurostimulation

Jaclyn Stephens & Marian Berryhill

Brain Stimulation, July–August 2016, Pages 553–559

Background: Aging is associated with decline in executive function (EF), upper-level cognitive abilities such as planning, problem solving, and working memory (WM). This decline is associated with age-related volume loss and reduced functional connectivity in the frontal lobes. Cognitive training interventions aim to counter these losses but often fail to elicit benefits beyond improvements on trained tasks. Recent interventions pairing WM training with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have improved WM and elicited transfer to untrained EF tasks. Limitations in previous work include exclusive use of laboratory-based computer training and testing and poor characterization of the mechanism(s) of durable tDCS-linked change.

Objective/Hypothesis: To determine if tDCS-linked WM training improves performance on ecologically valid transfer measures administered in participants' homes. To explore intervention-based changes using neuroimaging (fNIRS) and genotyping (COMT val158met).

Methods: 90 healthy older adult participants completed 5 sessions of WM training paired with tDCS (Sham, 1 mA tDCS, 2 mA tDCS; 15 min). At follow-up, we assessed performance change on laboratory-based and ecologically valid tasks.

Results: All participants showed improvement on trained tasks. Importantly, 2 mA of tDCS induced significantly greater far transfer gains after 1 month without contact. Gains were observed on standard far transfer tasks along with ecologically valid far transfer tasks, and stimulation was well tolerated by all participants. FNIRS and genotyping results were less conclusive but provide promising avenues for future research initiatives.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the translational value for tDCS-based interventions in healthy older adults interested in maintaining cognitive function.

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Resting-state qEEG predicts rate of second language learning in adults

Chantel Prat et al.

Brain and Language, June–July 2016, Pages 44–50

Abstract:
Understanding the neurobiological basis of individual differences in second language acquisition (SLA) is important for research on bilingualism, learning, and neural plasticity. The current study used quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) to predict SLA in college-aged individuals. Baseline, eyes-closed resting-state qEEG was used to predict language learning rate during eight weeks of French exposure using an immersive, virtual scenario software. Individual qEEG indices predicted up to 60% of the variability in SLA, whereas behavioral indices of fluid intelligence, executive functioning, and working-memory capacity were not correlated with learning rate. Specifically, power in beta and low-gamma frequency ranges over right temporoparietal regions were strongly positively correlated with SLA. These results highlight the utility of resting-state EEG for studying the neurobiological basis of SLA in a relatively construct-free, paradigm-independent manner.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Saturday, June 18, 2016

What you want

An Audience of One: Behaviorally Targeted Ads as Implied Social Labels

Christopher Summers, Robert Smith & Rebecca Walker Reczek

Journal of Consumer Research, June 2016, Pages 156-178

Abstract:
“Behavioral targeting” is an Internet-based targeting strategy that delivers digital ads to individuals based on their online behavior (e.g., search, shopping). This research explores the unique ways in which consumers respond to ads using this type of targeting (vs. to ads that use more traditional forms of targeting), demonstrating that a behaviorally targeted ad can act as a social label even when it contains no explicit labeling information. Instead, when consumers recognize that the marketer has made an inference about their identity in order to serve them the ad, the ad itself functions as an implied social label. Across four studies, behaviorally targeted ads lead consumers to make adjustments to their self-perceptions to match the implied label; these self-perceptions then impact behavior including purchase intentions for the advertised product and other behaviors related to the implied label. Importantly, these effects only hold when the label is plausibly connected to consumers’ prior behavior (i.e., when the targeting is at least moderately accurate).

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Things happen: Individuals with high obsessive–compulsive tendencies omit agency in their spoken language

Ela Oren, Naama Friedmann & Reuven Dar

Consciousness and Cognition, May 2016, Pages 125–134

Abstract:
The study examined the prediction that obsessive–compulsive tendencies are related to an attenuated sense of agency (SoA). As most explicit agency judgments are likely to reflect also motivation for and expectation of control, we examined agency in sentence production. Reduced agency can be expressed linguistically by omitting the agent or by using grammatical framings that detach the event from the entity that caused it. We examined the use of agentic language of participants with high vs. low scores on a measure of obsessive–compulsive (OC) symptoms, using structured linguistic tasks in which sentences are elicited in a conversation-like setting. As predicted, high OC individuals produced significantly more non-agentic sentences than low OC individuals, using various linguistic strategies. The results suggest that OC tendencies are related to attenuated SoA. We discuss the implications of these findings for explicating the SoA in OCD and the potential contribution of language analysis for understanding psychopathology.

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Reducing Stereotype Threat With Embodied Triggers: A Case of Sensorimotor–Mental Congruence

Aïna Chalabaev et al.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
In four experiments, we tested whether embodied triggers may reduce stereotype threat. We predicted that left-side sensorimotor inductions would increase cognitive performance under stereotype threat, because such inductions are linked to avoidance motivation among right-handers. This sensorimotor–mental congruence hypothesis rests on regulatory fit research showing that stereotype threat may be reduced by avoidance-oriented interventions, and motor congruence research showing positive effects when two parameters of a motor action activate the same motivational system (avoidance or approach). Results indicated that under stereotype threat, cognitive performance was higher when participants contracted their left hand (Study 1) or when the stimuli were presented on the left side of the visual field (Studies 2-4), as compared with right-hand contraction or right-side visual stimulation. These results were observed on math (Studies 1, 2, and 4) and Stroop (Study 3) performance. An indirect effect of congruence on math performance through subjective fluency was also observed.

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Effect of Self-Talk and Imagery on the Response Time of Trained Martial Artists

George Hanshaw & Marlon Sukal

Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cognitive-specific (CS) mental imagery (conditional stimulus) and motivational self-talk (ST) on the response times of trained martial artists. A within-subjects and between-subjects pre–posttreatment design was applied with a power sample of more than 200 participants. The results showed that motivational ST, CS imagery, and the interaction of both significantly reduced the response times of trained martial artists. The effect size of each strategy was very large when compared with the control group. The control group, which did not receive any intervention, generally realized slower response times in the second trial.

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Loss Aversion Around a Fixed Reference Point in Highly Experienced Agents

Mathew Goldman & Justin Rao

Microsoft Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We study how reference dependence and loss aversion motivate highly experienced agents, professional basketball players. Loss aversion predicts losing motivates if the reference point is fixed and losing discourages if it adjusts quickly. We find a "losing motivates effect" so large that an average team scores like a league leader when trailing by ten points. Optical tracking of players' movements shows this effect comes through differential exertion of effort. Betting spreads and lagged score margin show that expectations do not influence the reference point, which is stable around zero, far less malleable than previously found in less experienced agents.

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“Whether I like it or not, it’s important”: Implicit importance of means predicts self-regulatory persistence and success

Clayton Critcher & Melissa Ferguson

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2016, Pages 818-839

Abstract:
To effectively self-regulate, people must persevere on tasks that they deem important, regardless of whether those tasks are enjoyable. Building on past work that has noted the fundamental role of implicit cognition in guiding effective self-regulation, the present paper tests whether an implicit association between goal means and importance predicts self-regulatory persistence and success. Implicit importance predicted markers of effective self-regulation — better grades, more studying and exercise, and stronger standardized testing performance — over and above, and often better than, explicit beliefs about the importance of that self-regulation, as well as implicit evaluations of those means. In particular, those for whom tasks were fairly taxing to complete (i.e., those for whom this self-regulation required effortful self-control) were those who most benefitted from the implicit association between means and importance. Moreover, when participants were reminded of recent self-regulatory failure that they believed could be overcome through hard work, implicit importance toward the means increased as if to prepare them to achieve self-regulatory persistence. A final study sought to reconcile the present findings with previous work showing the key role that implicit evaluations play in effective self-regulation. We reasoned that means are important precisely because they are associated with valued end-states. Consistent with this account, implicit evaluations of end-states predicted the implicit importance of means, which in turn predicted effective self-regulation.

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Brain connectivity reflects human aesthetic responses to music

Matthew Sachs et al.

Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, June 2016, Pages 884-891

Abstract:
Humans uniquely appreciate aesthetics, experiencing pleasurable responses to complex stimuli that confer no clear intrinsic value for survival. However, substantial variability exists in the frequency and specificity of aesthetic responses. While pleasure from aesthetics is attributed to the neural circuitry for reward, what accounts for individual differences in aesthetic reward sensitivity remains unclear. Using a combination of survey data, behavioral and psychophysiological measures and diffusion tensor imaging, we found that white matter connectivity between sensory processing areas in the superior temporal gyrus and emotional and social processing areas in the insula and medial prefrontal cortex explains individual differences in reward sensitivity to music. Our findings provide the first evidence for a neural basis of individual differences in sensory access to the reward system, and suggest that social–emotional communication through the auditory channel may offer an evolutionary basis for music making as an aesthetically rewarding function in humans.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, June 17, 2016

Electability

Estimating the gender penalty in House of Representatives elections using a regression discontinuity design

Lefteris Anastasopoulos

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
While the number of female candidates running for office in U.S. House of Representatives elections has increased considerably since the 1980s, women continue to account for about only 20% of House members. Whether this gap in female representation can be explained by a gender penalty female candidates face as the result of discrimination on the part of voters or campaign donors remains uncertain. In this paper, I estimate the gender penalty in U.S. House of Representatives general elections using a regression discontinuity design (RDD). Using this RDD, I am able to assess whether chance nomination of female candidates to run in the general election affected the amount of campaign funds raised, general election vote share and probability of victory in House elections between 1982 and 2012. I find no evidence of a gender penalty using these measures. These results suggest that the deficit of female representation in the House is more likely the result of barriers to entering politics as opposed to overt gender discrimination by voters and campaign donors.

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How Divisive Primaries Hurt Parties: Evidence from Near-Runoffs

Alexander Fouirnaies & Andrew Hall

Stanford Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
In many democracies, parties and their voters rely on competitive primary elections to choose nominees for the general election. Competitive primaries may help parties select higher quality candidates and advertise these candidates to voters, but they also run the risk of exposing nominees' flaws, offending losing candidates' supporters, and making the party look weak to general-election voters. Do longer, more competitive primaries help or harm parties in the general election? The existing literature on so-called divisive primaries comes to mixed conclusions, likely because of chronic issues of omitted variable bias and reverse causation. In this paper, we address these problems by taking advantage of U.S. states that use runoff primaries, second-round elections which, when triggered, create longer, more contentious primaries. Using a regression discontinuity design in primary elections close to the runoff threshold, we find large and negative effects of runoffs on the party's general-election fortune in the U.S. House and Senate. We estimate that going to a runoff decreases the party's general election vote share by 6-9 percentage points, on average, and decreases the probability that the party wins the general election by roughly 21 percentage points, on average. In U.S. state legislatures, in contrast, runoff primaries do not hurt, and in competitive contexts may in fact help, parties in the general election. The results suggest that divisive primary elections are highly damaging when salience is high but beneficial when salience is low, a pattern we argue is driven by the opposing effects of information in high vs. low salience primary elections.

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Citizens United: A Theoretical Evaluation

Carlo Prato & Stephane Wolton

Georgetown University Working Paper, June 2016

Abstract:
Following the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v FEC, interest groups engaging in outside spending can receive unlimited contributions from unions and corporations. Critics of the decision have rejected the notion, espoused by the majority opinion, that outside spending does not corrupt or distort the electoral process. Fewer, however, have examined the decision's implications under the Court's assumptions. Using a game-theoretic model of electoral competition, we show that informative outside spending from a group whose policy preferences are partially aligned with the electorate may reduce voter welfare. This negative effect is more likely to arise when the value of the interest group's information is large, or congruence between voters and the interest group is high. Further, the regulatory environment produced by the Court's decision is inefficient: the electorate would be better off if either outside spending were banned or coordination between candidates and the interest group allowed.

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Organizations, Credibility, and the Psychology of Collective Action

Adam Seth Levine & Cindy Kam

Political Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Political organizations frequently attempt to recruit sympathetic citizens to support their causes. Doing so requires communicating credibility - that is, persuading potential new supporters that they can actually achieve the goals they set out to achieve. In this article we investigate two of the predominant kinds of information that organizations might use to establish credibility: retrospective information (about past successes) and prospective information (about future plans). Using one field experiment and one survey experiment, we find that retrospective information fails to increase people's willingness to spend scarce resources supporting political organizations. We find that this occurs because information about past successes suggests that the organization can succeed without any additional help. In contrast, we find that prospective information motivates new participants to become active.

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Do Successful Electoral Outcomes Encourage Future Donations?: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

Nicolas Dumas & Kyle Shohfi

MIT Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Previous research has focused on the effect of past success on future voting behavior. We extend this analysis to the realm of political donations, combining data from state legislative elections and a database of political donations. This allows us to use a regression discontinuity design to distinguish between successful and unsuccessful participation. When an individual donates to a candidate, and that candidate wins, two mechanisms emerge which could affect her likelihood of donating again: the recipient candidate is more likely to run in the future, and the donor experiences a feeling of success, which can activate several psychological mechanisms that encourage participation. We find evidence for both of these mechanisms. Overall, we find that donors to candidates in close races are well more than twice as likely to donate if their candidate barely wins than if she barely loses.

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Clinton's Elections: Redividing Government in the 1990s

Michael Nelson

Presidential Studies Quarterly, June 2016, Pages 457-472

Abstract:
Divided government has become the norm in American national politics. But its pattern redivided beginning in the 1990s from one of Republican presidents and Democratic Congresses to one of Democratic presidents and Republican Congresses. Drawing on oral history interviews with campaign and administration officials from the Clinton administration, this article explains how Bill Clinton forged a winning strategy for Democratic presidential candidates while contributing to the weakening of the Democratic congressional party.

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Aggregate Effects of Large-Scale Campaigns on Voter Turnout

Ryan Enos & Anthony Fowler

Political Science Research and Methods, forthcoming

Abstract:
To what extent do political campaigns mobilize voters? Despite the central role of campaigns in American politics and despite many experiments on campaigning, we know little about the aggregate effects of an entire campaign on voter participation. Drawing upon inside information from presidential campaigns and utilizing a geographic research design that exploits media markets spanning state boundaries, we estimate the aggregate effects of a large-scale campaign. We estimate that the 2012 presidential campaigns increased turnout in highly targeted states by 7-8 percentage points, on average, indicating that modern campaigns can significantly alter the size and composition of the voting population. Further evidence suggests that the predominant mechanism behind this effect is traditional ground campaigning, which has dramatically increased in scale in the last few presidential elections. Additionally, we find no evidence of diminishing marginal returns to ground campaigning, meaning that voter contacts, each likely exhibiting small individual effects, may aggregate to large effects over the course of a campaign.

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Congressional Elections in Presidential Years: Presidential Coattails and Strategic Voting

Robert Erikson

Legislative Studies Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article analyzes voting for Congress in presidential election years. The national Democratic vote for the House increases with the Democratic vote for president but decreases with the Democrats' perceived chances of winning the presidency (anticipatory balancing). The evidence for coattails and for balancing become visible only when statistically controlling for the other. The aggregate evidence for coattails and balancing in presidential years is reinforced by the analysis of National Election Studies (NES) survey respondents. That analysis shows that politically informed voters are more likely to vote for Congress against the party that they believe will win the presidency.

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Presidential approval and macroeconomic conditions: Evidence from a nonlinear model

Seung-Whan Choi et al.

Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contrary to previous empirical studies that find a linear link between economic conditions and presidential approval, this study argues for and finds a nonlinear relationship. A threshold regression is used to assess potential nonlinear relationships between macroeconomic variables and presidential popularity. A quarterly data analysis for the 1960Q1-2012Q2 time period reveals that domestic factors prevail in shaping presidential approval. Most compelling is evidence of a threshold relationship involving economic conditions: When unemployment is slightly over 7%, its decline impacts significantly and favourably on presidential approval, an effect that virtually disappears below the threshold value. Change in consumer sentiment affects presidential approval in a limited way, while inflation shows no association at all. These results combine to encourage further investigation of nonlinear processes in the nexus of economics and politics.

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Off-Cycle and Out of Office: Election Timing, Incumbency, and Electoral Accountability

Justin de Benedictis-Kessner

MIT Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Democratic accountability relies on the ability of citizens to reward and punish politicians in elections. High rates of incumbent reelection in US national elections suggest that elections may not always serve this purpose well. While this incumbency advantage is well-documented in national elections, the mechanisms producing it are unclear. In this paper, I assess the the incumbency advantage and its interaction with institutions using novel data on nearly 10,000 unique mayoral candidates in medium and large cities over the past 60 years. Using a regression discontinuity design, I find that incumbency carries a substantial advantage for individual candidates. Moreover, I find that incumbents in on-cycle (concurrent) elections have a far larger advantage than in off-cycle elections. These results demonstrate one possible mechanism for the incumbency advantage, and show that off-cycle elections, otherwise criticized for their negative effects, may have an upshot for democracy.

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The Ballot Order Effect is Huge: Evidence from Texas

Darren Grant

Sam Houston State University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Texas primary and runoff elections provide an ideal test of the ballot order hypothesis, because ballot order is randomized within each county and there are many counties and contests to analyze. Doing so for all statewide offices contested in the 2014 Democratic and Republican primaries and runoffs yields precise estimates of the ballot order effect across twenty-four different contests. Except for a few high-profile, high-information races, the ballot order effect is large, especially in down-ballot races and judicial positions. In these, going from last to first on the ballot raises a candidate's vote share by nearly ten percentage points.

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Gender themes in state legislative candidates' websites

Rebekah Herrick

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Female candidates can represent women by campaigning on issues that have traditionally been the purview of women, and motivating their opponents to do likewise. Although recent research on gubernatorial and congressional elections has found relatively little difference between male and female candidates in their campaign issues, it is possible that greater differences could be found at the state level. This article examines the effects of state legislative candidates' sex and party and opponents' sex on whether candidates campaign on women's or men's issues. It does so by examining campaign websites in three states in 2012: Alaska, Colorado, and Minnesota. The article finds that female, and candidates with female opponents focus more on women's issues in their campaigns than do male candidates and those running against male candidates. In addition, it finds that although Democrats too are more likely to campaign on women's issues, party does not explain away the sex differences. Also as predicted, the article finds little sex difference in the degree to which candidates focus on men's issues, but Republicans are more likely to campaign on men's issues than are Democrats.

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Illicit Tactics as Substitutes: Election Fraud, Ballot Reform, and Contested Congressional Elections in the United States, 1860-1930

Didi Kuo & Jan Teorell

Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
What is the relationship between ballot reforms and electoral malpractice? This article contributes to the growing comparative politics literature on the causes of election fraud in democratizing countries using the case of the 19th-century United States. We examine the adoption of the Australian ballot and disenfranchisement laws, and estimate their effects on multiple types of election fraud. Using a new measure of fraud in elections to the House of Representatives from 1860 to 1930, we find that the Australian ballot and disenfranchisement measures reduced vote-buying and voter intimidation. However, we further find that the Australian ballot had an "iatrogenic effect" of increasing registration and ballot fraud. Voting secrecy therefore led to substitution of one illicit electoral tactic for another.

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Unacquainted callers can predict which citizens will vote over and above citizens' stated self-predictions

Todd Rogers, Leanne ten Brinke & Dana Carney

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 7 June 2016, Pages 6449-6453

Abstract:
People are regularly asked to report on their likelihoods of carrying out consequential future behaviors, including complying with medical advice, completing educational assignments, and voting in upcoming elections. Despite these stated self-predictions being notoriously unreliable, they are used to inform many strategic decisions. We report two studies examining stated self-prediction about whether citizens will vote. We find that most self-predicted voters do not actually vote despite saying they will, and that campaign callers can discern which self-predicted voters will not actually vote. In study 1 (n = 4,463), self-predicted voters rated by callers as "100% likely to vote" were 2 times more likely to actually vote than those rated unlikely to vote. Study 2 (n = 3,064) replicated this finding and further demonstrated that callers' prediction accuracy was mediated by citizens' nonverbal signals of uncertainty and deception. Strangers can use nonverbal signals to improve predictions of follow through on self-reported intentions - an insight of potential value for politics, medicine, and education.

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Coping with Lengthy Ballots

Drew Seib

Electoral Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Given voters' limited cognitive abilities, the learning environments voters face may have implications for how voters learn and make decisions. One prominent feature of American elections is the variation in the length of the ballot across jurisdictions and elections. This paper explores the consequences of lengthy ballots on the ability of voters to learn about candidates. Using an experimental design and a dynamic information board (Lau and Redlawsk, 2006), subjects participate in a mock election where they are asked to gather information about a single election or multiple elections. The results indicate that while voters compare more information as ballot length increases, they spend significantly less time learning about individual pieces of candidate information.

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A Spiral of Skepticism? The Relationship Between Citizens' Involvement With Campaign Information to Their Skepticism and Political Knowledge

Myiah Hutchens et al.

Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Scholars have emphasized the importance of an informed citizenry for a healthy democracy. As a result, research has examined whether campaign information fosters positive or negative democratic outcomes. This article examines the relationship between information seeking and skepticism. We also examine whether skepticism leads to democratically beneficial outcomes. We examine these relationships using survey data collected during the course of the 2012 Presidential Election. We found an over-time relationship between campaign information seeking and skepticism. We also found that skepticism leads to increased knowledge at the end of the election through information seeking.

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Following the Crowd or Thinking Outside of the Box? Saliency and Issue Consistency

Andrew Garner & Harvey Palmer

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This article examines the distinction between group-based issue opinion formation (what we term "following the crowd") and idiosyncratic or nongroup-based formation (what we term "thinking outside of the box"). The argument put forth is that issue saliency can lead citizens to think about issues in nongroup-based terms.

Method: We use heteroskedastic regression to measure the degree to which group-based variables explain issue opinions. Using group variables (demographics, party identification, etc.) to estimate respondents' issue responses means that nongroup variation is soaked up by the error term.

Results: We find that citizens who view an issue as highly salient are more likely to "think outside the box," while citizens who view an issue as less salient are more likely to "follow the crowd" by defaulting to their group memberships and identifications.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that response variability (less consistency within groups) on issue opinions is not always the result of uncertain citizens, nonattitudes, or measurement error. In some situations, greater response variability can reflect a deliberative and policy-based form of opinion formation.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Binders full of women

Gender and Competitive Preferences: The Role of Competition Size

Kathrin Hanek, Stephen Garcia & Avishalom Tor

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a series of 8 studies, we examine whether gender differences in competition entry preferences are moderated by the size of the competition. Drawing on theories of gender roles and stereotypes, we show that women, relative to men, prefer to enter smaller compared with larger competitions. Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate this effect in observational data on preferences for working in differently sized firms and applying to differently sized colleges. Studies 2a and 2b replicate the effect with real behavioral decisions in different domains. We also find empirical evidence that prescriptive gender norms and stereotypes underlie this effect. In Study 3, we find experimental evidence that women and men differ in their preferences for differently sized groups under competition, but not in noncompetitive settings. Three additional experimental studies (Studies 4, 5a, and 5b) show that perceptions of comfort in small versus larger competitions underlie women’s preferences. These findings suggest that women’s preferences for smaller competitions may be driven by an adherence to prescriptive gender norms. We discuss the implications of the current findings for gender inequalities in organizations.

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Does Gender Raise the Ethical Bar? Exploring the Punishment of Ethical Violations at Work

Jessica Kennedy, Mary-Hunter McDonnell & Nicole Stephens

Vanderbilt University Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
We investigate whether women are targets of more severe punishment than men following ethical violations at work. Using an experimental design, Study 1 finds evidence that ethical behavior is more strongly prescribed for women than for men, even when they occupy an identical professional role. Study 2 manipulates the gender of a manager in a hypothetical scenario and finds that women are punished more severely than men for ethical violations at work. It also tests the scope of our theory by asking whether women are punished more for errors in general, or only for intentional ethical violations. Using field data, Study 3 examines how severely attorneys are punished for violating the American Bar Association’s ethical rules. Female attorneys are punished more severely than male attorneys, after accounting for a variety of factors. Greater representation of women among decision-makers diminishes the gender disparity in punishment. Our research documents a new prescriptive stereotype faced by women and helps to explain the persistence of gender disparities in organizations. It highlights punishment severity as a novel mechanism by which institutions may derail women’s careers more than men’s.

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Know Your Worth: Angel Financing of Female Entrepreneurial Ventures

Sharon Poczter & Melanie Shapsis

Cornell University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
This study explores success rates in angel financing based on the gender composition of entrepreneurial teams using unique, hand-collected data from the television program Shark Tank. We find that the likelihood of a team receiving an offer from an angel investor is independent of the entrepreneurs’ gender and initial asking valuation. However, consistent with prior work, we find that female teams receive lower company valuations and less capital to finance their new ventures relative to their male counterparts and that this differential valuation depends on industry. We also discover, however, that female teams receive less funding because they initially ask for significantly lower valuations for their companies, ceteris paribus. These results hold when controlling for important entrepreneur and firm characteristics that may strongly impact the angel financing outcome, such as the size of the entrepreneurial team, company age and prior success of the firm.

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Gender bias triggers diverging science interests between women and men: The role of activity interest appraisals

Dustin Thoman & Carol Sansone

Motivation and Emotion, June 2016, Pages 464-477

Abstract:
Women leave science fields at greater rates than men, and loss of interest is a key motivator for leaving. Although research widely demonstrates effects of gender bias on other motivational processes, whether gender bias directly affects feelings of interest toward science activities is unknown. We used a false feedback paradigm to manipulate whether women (Study 1) and men (Study 2) participants perceived the reason for feedback as due to pro-male bias. Because activity interest also depends on how students approach and perform the activity, effects of biased feedback on interest appraisals were isolated by introducing gender bias only after the science activity was completed. When the feedback was perceived as due to pro-male bias, women (Study 1) reported lower interest and men (Study 2) reported greater interest in the science activity, and interest, in turn, positively predicted subsequent requests for career information in both studies. Implications for understanding diverging science interests between women and men are discussed.

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Evolution of the Marriage Earnings Gap for Women

Chinhui Juhn & Kristin McCue

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 252-256

Abstract:
Using Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panels linked to Social Security earnings records, we examine the earnings gap associated with marriage for cohorts of women born between 1936 and 1975. We compare ordinary least squares and fixed-effect estimates. We find that among women who work, the marital earnings gap has all but disappeared in fixed-effects estimates for recent birth cohorts. In fact, among women without children, married women earn more than single women, implying a diminished role for specialization when children are not present. In contrast, the motherhood earnings gap remains large even for recent birth cohorts.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Outsiders’ Perceptions of Diversity Mixed Messages

Leon Windscheid et al.

Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
To attract a gender diverse workforce, many employers use diversity statements to publicly signal that they value gender diversity. However, this often represents a misalignment between words and actions (i.e., a diversity mixed message) because most organizations are male dominated, especially in board positions. We conducted 3 studies to investigate the potentially indirect effect of such diversity mixed messages through perceived behavioral integrity on employer attractiveness. In Study 1, following a 2 × 2 design, participants (N = 225) were either shown a pro gender diversity statement or a neutral statement, in combination with a gender diverse board (4 men and 4 women) or a uniform all-male board (8 men). Participants’ perceived behavioral integrity of the organization was assessed. In Study 2, participants (N = 251) either read positive or negative reviews of the organization’s behavioral integrity. Employer attractiveness was then assessed. Study 3 (N = 427) investigated the impact of board gender composition on perceived behavioral integrity and employer attractiveness using a bootstrapping procedure. Both the causal-chain design of Study 1 and 2, as well as the significance test of the proposed indirect relationship in Study 3, revealed that a diversity mixed message negatively affected an organization’s perceived behavioral integrity, and low behavioral integrity in turn negatively impacted employer attractiveness. In Study 3, there was also evidence for a tipping point (more than 1 woman on the board was needed) with regard to participants’ perceptions of the organization’s behavioral integrity.

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Attractiveness Compensates for Low Status Background in the Prediction of Educational Attainment

Shawn Bauldry et al.

PLoS ONE, June 2016

Background: People who are perceived as good looking or as having a pleasant personality enjoy many advantages, including higher educational attainment. This study examines (1) whether associations between physical/personality attractiveness and educational attainment vary by parental socioeconomic resources and (2) whether parental socioeconomic resources predict these forms of attractiveness. Based on the theory of resource substitution with structural amplification, we hypothesized that both types of attractiveness would have a stronger association with educational attainment for people from disadvantaged backgrounds (resource substitution), but also that people from disadvantaged backgrounds would be less likely to be perceived as attractive (amplification).

Methods: This study draws on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health — including repeated interviewer ratings of respondents’ attractiveness — and trait-state structural equation models to examine the moderation (substitution) and mediation (amplification) of physical and personality attractiveness in the link between parental socioeconomic resources and educational attainment.

Results: Both perceived personality and physical attractiveness have stronger associations with educational attainment for people from families with lower levels of parental education (substitution). Further, parental education and income are associated with both dimensions of perceived attractiveness, and personality attractiveness is positively associated with educational attainment (amplification). Results do not differ by sex and race/ethnicity. Further, associations between perceived attractiveness and educational attainment remain after accounting for unmeasured family-level confounders using a sibling fixed-effects model.

Conclusions: Perceived attractiveness, particularly personality attractiveness, is a more important psychosocial resource for educational attainment for people from disadvantaged backgrounds than for people from advantaged backgrounds. People from disadvantaged backgrounds, however, are less likely to be perceived as attractive than people from advantaged backgrounds.

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Do Performance Avoidance Goals Moderate the Effect of Different Types of Stereotype Threat on Women’s Math Performance?

Katherine Finnigan & Katherine Corker

Journal of Research in Personality, August 2016, Pages 36–43

Abstract:
Stereotype threat is considered to be a robust effect that explains persistent gender gaps in math performance and scientific career trajectories. Some evidence suggests stereotype threat effects are buffered by adoption of performance avoidance goals (Chalabaev et al., 2012). With 590 American female participants, we closely replicated Chalabaev et al. (2012). Results showed no significant main or interaction effects for stereotype threat or performance avoidance goals, despite multiple controls. We conclude that effects of stereotype threat might be smaller than typically reported and find limited evidence for moderation by avoidance achievement goals. Accordingly, stereotype threat might not be a major part of the explanation for the gender gap in math performance, consistent with recent meta-analyses (Flore & Wicherts, 2015).

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Cognitive Difficulty and Format of Exams Predicts Gender and Socioeconomic Gaps in Exam Performance of Students in Introductory Biology Courses

Christian Wright et al.

CBE Life Sciences Education, June 2016

Abstract:
Recent reform efforts in undergraduate biology have recommended transforming course exams to test at more cognitively challenging levels, which may mean including more cognitively challenging and more constructed-response questions on assessments. However, changing the characteristics of exams could result in bias against historically underserved groups. In this study, we examined whether and to what extent the characteristics of instructor-generated tests impact the exam performance of male and female and middle/high- and low-socioeconomic status (SES) students enrolled in introductory biology courses. We collected exam scores for 4810 students from 87 unique exams taken across 3 yr of the introductory biology series at a large research university. We determined the median Bloom’s level and the percentage of constructed-response questions for each exam. Despite controlling for prior academic ability in our models, we found that males and middle/high-SES students were disproportionately favored as the Bloom’s level of exams increased. Additionally, middle/high-SES students were favored as the proportion of constructed-response questions on exams increased. Given that we controlled for prior academic ability, our findings do not likely reflect differences in academic ability level. We discuss possible explanations for our findings and how they might impact how we assess our students.

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Why the Gap? Determinants of Self-Employment Earnings Differentials for Male and Female Millennials in the US

Jessica Simon & Megan McDonald Way

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2016, Pages 297-312

Abstract:
We investigated gender differences in self-employment earnings for US Millennials, and whether differences could be attributed to individual characteristics, business characteristics, or factors related to household formation, such as marriage and parenthood. Using a nationally representative dataset of US youth, we found significant earnings differences favoring men and suggestive evidence of a “motherhood earnings penalty” (Budig and England 2001, p. 204–225). After controlling for business characteristics, however, the effect of gender itself was not statistically significant and the effect of motherhood only approached statistical significance, suggesting that gendered choices and paths explain earnings differences, not gender or motherhood per se. Future work would benefit from a larger dataset and should explore the role of work location and education in earnings.

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Gender Diversity on Corporate Boards: Do Women Contribute Unique Skills?

Daehyun Kim & Laura Starks

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 267-271

Abstract:
We show that gender diversity in corporate boards could improve firm value because of the contributions that women make to the board. Prior studies examine valuation effects of gender-diverse boards and reach mixed conclusions. To help resolve this conundrum, we consider how gender diversity could affect firm value, that is, what mechanisms could explain how female directors benefit corporate board performance. We hypothesize and provide evidence that women directors contribute to boards by offering specific functional expertise, often missing from corporate boards. The additional expertise increases board heterogeneity which Kim and Starks (2015) show can increase firm value.

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Late for the Meeting: Gender, Peer Advising, and College Success

Jimmy Ellis & Seth Gershenson

American University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Many male and first-generation college goers struggle in their first year of postsecondary education. Mentoring programs have been touted as a potential solution to help such students acclimate to college life, yet causal evidence on the impact of such programs, and the factors that influence participation in them, is scant. This study leverages a natural experiment in which peer advisors (PA) were quasi-randomly assigned to first-year university students to show that: (i) male students were significantly more likely to voluntarily meet their assigned PA when the PA was also male and (ii) these compliers were significantly more likely to persist into the second year of postsecondary schooling. We find no effect of being assigned to a same-sex PA on female students' use of the PA program, nor do we find any evidence that the PA program affected subsequent academic performance (GPAs).

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Do Men Advance Faster Than Women? Debunking the Gender Performance Gap in Two Massively Multiplayer Online Games

Cuihua Shen et al.

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming

Abstract:
Prior research on digital games illustrates a perceived gender gap in participation and performance, suggesting men as playing more and better than women. This article challenges the gender gap using longitudinal behavioral data of men and women in 2 MMOs in the United States and China. Results show that women advance at least as fast as men do in both games. Thus, perceived gender-based performance disparities seem to result from factors that are confounded with gender (i.e., amount of play), not player gender itself. We conclude that the stereotype of female players as inferior is not only false, but also a potential cause for unequal participation in digital gaming.

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The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture

Natalia Nollenberger, Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Almudena Sevilla

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 257-261

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effect of gender-related culture on the math gender gap by analysing math test scores of second-generation immigrants, who are all exposed to a common set of host country laws and institutions. We find that immigrant girls whose parents come from more gender-equal countries perform better (relative to similar boys) than immigrant girls whose parents come from less gender-equal countries, suggesting an important role of cultural beliefs on the role of women in society on the math gender gap. The transmission of cultural beliefs accounts for at least two thirds of the overall contribution of gender-related factors.

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Longitudinal Analysis of Gender Differences in Academic Productivity Among Medical Faculty Across 24 Medical Schools in the United States

Anita Raj et al.

Academic Medicine, forthcoming

Purpose: To examine gender differences in academic productivity, as indicated by publications and federal grant funding acquisition, among a longitudinal cohort of medical faculty from 24 U.S. medical schools, 1995 to 2012-2013.

Method: Data for this research were taken from the National Faculty Survey involving a survey with medical faculty recruited from medical schools in 1995, and followed up in 2012-2013. Data included surveys and publication and grant funding databases. Outcomes were number of publications, h-index, and principal investigator on a federal grant in the prior two years. Gender differences were assessed using negative binomial regression models for publication and h-index outcomes, and logistic regression for the grant funding outcome; analyses adjusted for race/ethnicity, rank, specialty area, and years since first academic appointment.

Results: Data were available for 1,244 of the 1,275 (98%) subjects eligible for the follow-up study. Men were significantly more likely than women to be married/partnered, have children, and hold the rank of professor (P < .0001). Adjusted regression models documented that women had a lower rate of publication (relative number = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.63, 0.81; P < .0001) and h-index (relative number = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.73, 0.90; P < .0001) relative to men, but there was no gender difference in grant funding.

Conclusions: Women faculty acquired federal funding at similar rates as male faculty, yet lagged behind in terms of publications and their impact. Medical academia must consider how to help address ongoing gender disparities in publication records.

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STEM Training and Early Career Outcomes of Female and Male Graduate Students: Evidence from UMETRICS Data Linked to the 2010 Census

Catherine Buffington et al.

American Economic Review, May 2016, Pages 333-338

Abstract:
Women are underrepresented in science and engineering, with the underrepresentation increasing in career stage. We analyze gender differences at critical junctures in the STEM pathway -- graduate training and the early career -- using UMETRICS administrative data matched to the 2010 Census and W-2s. We find strong gender separation in teams, although the effects of this are ambiguous. While no clear disadvantages exist in training environments, women earn 10% less than men once we include a wide range of controls, most notably field of study. This gap disappears once we control for women's marital status and presence of children.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Intervention

Accounting for Rising Corporate Profits: Intangibles or Regulatory Rents?

James Bessen

Boston University Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Since 1980, US corporate valuations have risen relative to assets and operating margins have grown. The possibility of sustained economic rents has raised concerns about economic dynamism and inequality. But rising profits could represent growing returns to corporate investments in intangibles instead of returns to political rent seeking. Using new data on Federal regulation and data on lobbying, campaign spending, R&D, and organizational capital, this paper finds that both intangibles and political factors account for a substantial part of the increase in profits, but since 2000 much of the rise in profits is caused by growing political rent seeking.

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Crowdsourcing City Government: Using Tournaments to Improve Inspection Accuracy

Edward Glaeser et al.

NBER Working Paper, March 2016

Abstract:
Can open tournaments improve the quality of city services? The proliferation of big data makes it possible to use predictive analytics to better target services like hygiene inspections, but city governments rarely have the in-house talent needed for developing prediction algorithms. Cities could hire consultants, but a cheaper alternative is to crowdsource competence by making data public and offering a reward for the best algorithm. This paper provides a simple model suggesting that open tournaments dominate consulting contracts when cities have a reasonable tolerance for risk and when there is enough labor with low opportunity costs of time. We also illustrate how tournaments can be successful, by reporting on a Boston-based restaurant hygiene prediction tournament that we helped coordinate. The Boston tournament yielded algorithms - at low cost - that proved reasonably accurate when tested "out-of-sample" on hygiene inspections occurring after the algorithms were submitted. We draw upon our experience in working with Boston to provide practical suggestions for governments and other organizations seeking to run prediction tournaments in the future.

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The Real Effects of Mandatory Dissemination of Non-Financial Information through Financial Reports

Hans Bonde Christensen et al.

University of Chicago Working Paper, February 2016

Abstract:
We examine the real effects of mandatory, non-financial disclosures, which require SEC-registered mine owners to disseminate their mine-safety records through their financial reports. These safety records are already publicly available elsewhere, which allows us to examine the incremental effects of disseminating information through financial reports. Comparing mines owned by SEC-registered issuers to those mines that are not, we document that including safety records in financial reports decreases mining-related citations and injuries by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, and reduces labor productivity by approximately 0.9 percent. Additional evidence suggests that increased dissemination, rather than unobservable factors associated with regulatory intervention, drive these effects. We also provide evidence that feedback effects from equity markets are a potential mechanism through which the dissemination of information leads to real effects. Overall, our results illustrate that disseminating non-financial information through financial reports can have real effects - even if the content of that disclosure is already publicly available.

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Knowing When to Quit: Default Choices, Demographics and Fraud

Robert Letzler et al.

Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study defaults in a novel setting where the optimal choice is clear: the decision to escape from fraud. A government lawsuit created a natural experiment whereby some consumers enrolled in a fraudulent subscription programme were cancelled by default, while others had to actively cancel. We find that cancelling subscriptions by default increased cancellations to 99.8%, 63.4 percentage points more than requiring active cancellation. We also find that consumers residing in poorer, less-educated Census blocks were more likely than average to cancel prior to the lawsuit, but were less likely to actively cancel when notified they could do so.

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An Economic Analysis of Requirements to Prevent Handheld Hair Dryer Water Immersion Electrocutions in the USA

Gregory Rodgers & Sarah Garland

Journal of Consumer Policy, June 2016, Pages 223-240

Abstract:
Before 1987, when handheld hair dryers were not required to protect against water immersion electrocutions, there were almost 16 such electrocutions annually in the USA. This article presents a retrospective evaluation of the benefits and costs of the 1987 and 1991 immersion protection requirements of the voluntary hair dryer safety standard in the USA. The benefits are based on estimates of the reduced risk of electrocution resulting from the requirements, and the valuation of the reduced risk derived from willingness to pay studies of the "value of statistical life" found in the economics literature. The costs were defined as the incremental costs associated with incorporating the immersion protection technology into handheld hair dryers. The study found that the requirements were highly effective and may have reduced the immersion-related mortality rate by almost 97%. The expected present value of the estimated benefits of the requirements amounted to about $4.56 per dryer in 2014 dollars and substantially exceeded the costs of about $2 per dryer. The primary outcome measure, the expected net benefits (i.e., benefits minus costs) of the requirements, amounted to an average of about $2.56 per hair dryer, over the hair dryer's expected product life. Given sales of about 23 million handheld hair dryers annually, the present value of the expected net benefits associated with 1 year's production would have amounted to about $58.9 million. A sensitivity analysis showed that the major findings were robust with respect to changes in the underlying parameters of the analysis. The study also discusses the factors leading to a high rate of effectiveness estimated for the immersion protection requirements.

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Science Use in Regulatory Impact Analysis: The Effects of Political Attention and Controversy

Mia Costa, Bruce Desmarais & John Hird

Review of Policy Research, May 2016, Pages 251-269

Abstract:
Scholars, policy makers, and research sponsors have long sought to understand the conditions under which scientific research is used in the policy-making process. Recent research has identified a resource that can be used to trace the use of science across time and many policy domains. U.S. federal agencies are mandated by executive order to justify all economically significant regulations by regulatory impact analyses (RIAs), in which they present evidence of the scientific underpinnings and consequences of the proposed rule. To gain new insight into when and how regulators invoke science in their policy justifications, we ask: does the political attention and controversy surrounding a regulation affect the extent to which science is utilized in RIAs? We examine scientific citation activity in all 101 economically significant RIAs from 2008 to 2012 and evaluate the effects of attention - from the public, policy elites, and the media - on the degree of science use in RIAs. Our main finding is that regulators draw more heavily on scientific research when justifying rules subject to a high degree of attention from outside actors. These findings suggest that scientific research plays an important role in the justification of regulations, especially those that are highly salient to the public and other policy actors.

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The Economics of "Radiator Springs:" Industry Dynamics, Sunk Costs, and Spatial Demand Shifts

Jeffrey Campbell & Thomas Hubbard

NBER Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
Interstate Highway openings were permanent, anticipated demand shocks that increased gasoline demand and sometimes shifted it spatially. We investigate supply responses to these demand shocks, using county-level observations of service station counts and employment and data on highway openings' timing and locations. When the new highway was close to the old route, average producer size increased, beginning one year before it opened. If instead the interstate substantially displaced traffic, the number of producers increased, beginning only after it opened. These dynamics are consistent with Hotelling-style oligopolistic competition with free entry and sunk costs and inconsistent with textbook perfect competition.

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Market Structure and Competition in Airline Markets

Federico Ciliberto, Charles Murry & Elie Tamer

Harvard Working Paper, May 2016

Abstract:
We provide an econometric framework for estimating a game of simultaneous entry and pricing decisions in oligopolistic markets while allowing for correlations between unobserved fixed costs, marginal costs, and demand shocks. Firms' decisions to enter a market are based on whether they will realize positive profits from entry. We use our framework to quantitatively account for this selection problem in the pricing stage. We estimate this model using cross-sectional data from the US airline industry. We find that not accounting for endogenous entry leads to overestimation of demand elasticities. This, in turn, leads to biased markups, which has implications for the policy evaluation of market power. Our methodology allows us to study how firms optimally decide entry/exit decision in response to a change in policy. We simulate a merger between American and US Airways and we find: i) the price effects of a merger can be strong in concentrated markets, but post-merger entry mitigates these effects; ii) the merged firm has a strong incentive to enter new markets; iii) the merged firm faces a stronger threat of entry from rival legacy carriers, as opposed to low cost carriers.

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Assessing Firm Behavior in Carve-out Markets: Evidence on the Impact of Carve-out Policy

Philip Gayle & Tyson Thomas

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2016, Pages 178-194

Abstract:
Airlines wanting to cooperatively set prices for their international air travel service must apply to the relevant authorities for antitrust immunity (ATI). While cooperation may yield benefits, it can also have anti-competitive effects in markets where partners competed prior to receiving ATI. A carve-out policy forbids ATI partners from cooperating in markets policymakers believe will be most harmed by anti-competitive effects. We examine carve-out policy applications to three ATI partner pairings, and find evidence more consistent with cooperative pricing in carve-out markets in spite of the policy, calling into question the effectiveness of the policy in achieving intended market outcomes.

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Protecting Buyers from Fine Print

Elena D'Agostino & Daniel Seidmann

European Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
Buyers typically do not read the fine print in contracts, providing an incentive for a monopolist to draft terms which are unfavorable to buyers. We model this problem, proving that trade must then be inefficient. We show that regulation which mandates efficient terms raises welfare. More interestingly, regulations which prohibit the least efficient terms may reduce welfare by inducing the monopolist not to offer favorable terms. We extend these results to markets in which some buyers are naive, showing that prohibiting the least efficient terms may also harm the naive buyers.

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Crowd-Out or Affordability? The Lifeline Expansion's Effect on Wireless Service Spending

Thomas Conkling

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Working Paper, April 2016

Abstract:
Public subsidization of private goods often leads to crowd-out, reducing private spending. This effect is intended for a policy like the 2008 Lifeline phone subsidy expansion, which aimed to increase affordable access to services. Using state-level timing variation, I estimate that the expansion reduced households' wireless service spending by more than 100% of subsidy payments. The expansion created a separate, competitive market for providers catering to low-income households. Consequently, higher-quality subsidized services crowded out lower-quality unsubsidized options, saving households more than an equivalent cash transfer. This highlights how market segmentation and competition can magnify a targeted subsidy's impact.

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Flying the Needles: Flight Deck Automation Erodes Fine-Motor Flying Skills Among Airline Pilots

Andreas Haslbeck & Hans-Juergen Hoermann

Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, June 2016, Pages 533-545

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of practice and training on fine-motor flying skills during a manual instrument landing system (ILS) approach.

Method: One hundred twenty-six randomly selected airline pilots had to perform a manual flight scenario with a raw data precision approach. Pilots were assigned to four equal groups according to their level of practice and training by fleet (short-haul, long-haul) and rank (first officer, captain).

Results: Average ILS deviation scores differed significantly in relation to the group assignments. The strongest predictor variable was fleet, indicating degraded performance among long-haul pilots.

Conclusion: Manual flying skills are subject to erosion due to a lack of practice on long-haul fleets: All results support the conclusion that recent flight practice is a significantly stronger predictor for fine-motor flying performance than the time period since flight school or even the total or type-specific flight experience.

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Effects of Deregulation and Consolidation of the Broadcast Television Industry

Jessica Calfee Stahl

American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper exploits deregulation in the 1990's to estimate viewership and revenue effects of consolidation in broadcast television, then finds cost effects that explain the ownership structure given viewership and revenue effects. Results suggest that consolidation greatly increased profitability in an industry with otherwise declining profitability. Groups with broader national coverage attract more advertising per station. Joint ownership of two stations within a market and network ownership both allow for significant cost savings. There is some evidence that within-market consolidation allows stations to achieve local market power. However, both within-market and across-market consolidation appear to have boosted viewership, on net.

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Freedom and gross in-migration: An empirical study of the post-great recession experience

Richard Cebula, Maggie Foley & Joshua Hall

Journal of Economics and Finance, April 2016, Pages 402-420

Abstract:
Determinants of migration, including policy variables such as tax rates, have been extensively studied by regional scientists over the past several decades. The development of the Economic Freedom of North America Index has allowed researchers to test the relationship between migration patterns and economic freedom, with recent studies finding that net in-migration is positively related to economic freedom. Using a new cross-section measure of economic and personal freedom at the state level, we investigate the relationship between gross in-migration and economic freedom on the one hand and then between gross in-migration and total freedom on the other hand. This empirical study of domestic U.S. migration during the post-Great Recession period finds clear evidence that migrants prefer to move to those states affording higher levels of economic freedom and higher levels of total freedom.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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