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Friday, May 29, 2015

The thin blue line


Fear of Obama: An empirical study of the demand for guns and the U.S. 2008 presidential election

Emilio Depetris-Chauvin
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using monthly data constructed from futures markets on presidential election outcomes and a novel proxy for firearm purchases, this paper analyzes the response of the demand for guns to the likelihood of Barack Obama being elected in 2008. Point estimate suggests the existence of a large Obama effect on the demand for guns. This political effect is larger than the effect associated with the worsening economic conditions. This paper presents robust empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that the unprecedented increase in the demand for guns was partially driven by fears of a future Obama gun-control policy. Conversely, the evidence for a racial prejudice motivation is less conclusive. Furthermore, this paper argues that the Obama effect did not represent a short-lived intertemporal substitution effect, and that it permanently affected the stock of guns in circulation. Finally, states that had the largest increases in the demand for guns during the 2008 election race experienced significant changes in certain categories of crime relative to other states following Obama's election. In particular, those states were 20 percent more likely to experience a shooting event where at least three people were killed.

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The Effect of Hawaii's Ban The Box Law on Repeat Offending

Stewart D'Alessio, Lisa Stolzenberg & Jamie Flexon
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 336-352

Abstract:
The social stigma accompanying an official criminal record hinders the ability of an individual to acquire quality and stable employment, which is problematic because of the often reported nexus between unemployment and criminal behavior. Ban the box laws that limit an employer's use of criminal background checks during the hiring process are being established across the country to help integrate ex-offenders into the labor force. The current study investigates whether Hawaii's 1998 ban the box law reduced repeat offending in Honolulu County. Logistic regression results show that a criminal defendant prosecuted in Honolulu for a felony crime was 57 % less likely to have a prior criminal conviction after the implementation of Hawaii's ban the box law. By mollifying the social stigma attached to a criminal record during the hiring process, Hawaii's ban the box law proved to be extremely successful in attenuating repeat felony offending.

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Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence on Adult Noncognitive Investments in Liberia

Christopher Blattman, Julian Jamison & Margaret Sheridan
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We show self control and self image are malleable in adults, and that investments in them reduce crime and violence. We recruited criminally-engaged Liberian men and randomized half to eight weeks of group cognitive behavioral therapy, teaching self control skills and a noncriminal self-image. We also randomized $200 grants. Cash raised incomes and reduced crime in the short-run but effects dissipated within a year. Therapy increased self control and noncriminal values, and acts of crime and violence fell 20--50%. Therapy's impacts lasted at least a year when followed by cash, likely because cash reinforced behavioral changes via prolonged practice.

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If You Build It, They Will Fill It: The Consequences of Prison Overcrowding Litigation

Joshua Guetzkow & Eric Schoon
Law & Society Review, June 2015, Pages 401–432

Abstract:
This article examines the consequences of prison overcrowding litigation for U.S. prisons. We use insights derived from the endogeneity of law perspective to develop expectations about the likely impact of overcrowding litigation on five outcomes: prison admissions, prison releases, spending on prison capacity, prison crowding, and incarceration rates. Using newly available data on prison overcrowding litigation cases joined with panel data on U.S. states from 1971 to 1996, we offer a novel and comprehensive analysis of the impact that overcrowding litigation has had on U.S. prisons. We find that it had no impact on admissions or release rates and did not lead to any reduction in prison crowding. Litigation did, however, lead to an increase in spending on prison capacity and incarceration rates. We discuss the implications of these results for endogeneity of law theory, attempts to achieve reform through litigation, and the politics of prison construction.

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Guns, Impulsive Angry Behavior, and Mental Disorders: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R)

Jeffrey Swanson et al.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law, forthcoming

Abstract:
Analyses from the National Comorbidity Study Replication provide the first nationally representative estimates of the co-occurrence of impulsive angry behavior and possessing or carrying a gun among adults with and without certain mental disorders and demographic characteristics. The study found that a large number of individuals in the United States self-report patterns of impulsive angry behavior and also possess firearms at home (8.9%) or carry guns outside the home (1.5%). These data document associations of numerous common mental disorders and combinations of angry behavior with gun access. Because only a small proportion of persons with this risky combination have ever been involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health problem, most will not be subject to existing mental health-related legal restrictions on firearms resulting from a history of involuntary commitment. Excluding a large proportion of the general population from gun possession is also not likely to be feasible. Behavioral risk-based approaches to firearms restriction, such as expanding the definition of gun-prohibited persons to include those with violent misdemeanor convictions and multiple DUI convictions, could be a more effective public health policy to prevent gun violence in the population.

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Large Capacity Magazines and Homicide

Carlisle Moody
College of William and Mary Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Recent events have resulted in calls to ban large capacity magazines (LCMs) holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Using data from a Virginia data base of crime guns seized by police between 1993 and 2013, we find that the proportion of crime guns with LCMs declined after the 1994 Federal assault weapons ban and increased after the ban was lifted in 2004. However, we can find no evidence that LCMs increased either murder or gun murder, implying that the Federal LCM ban did not have the intended effect and that LCM bans are likely to be ineffective.

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Economic Freedom and Recidivism: Evidence from US States

Joshua Hall, Kaitlyn Harger & Dean Stansel
International Advances in Economic Research, May 2015, Pages 155-165

Abstract:
This paper provides an exploratory analysis into factors contributing to differences across states in recidivism rates. We provide the first such examination that incorporates differences in economic freedom. Using a panel data set from 1998 to 2010, we find that higher levels of economic freedom within a state are associated with lower recidivism rates within that state. A one percent increase in state economic freedom is associated with a 0.47 % decrease in parolee recidivism. The relationship is stronger and more statistically significant for labor market freedom, with a one percent increase in labor market freedom being associated with a 0.67 % decline in recidivism.

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A natural experiment of the consequences of concentrating former prisoners in the same neighborhoods

David Kirk
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
More than 600,000 prisoners are released from incarceration each year in the United States, and most end up residing in metropolitan areas, clustered within a select few neighborhoods. Likely consequences of this concentration of returning prisoners include higher rates of subsequent crime and recidivism. In fact, one-half of released prisoners return to prison within only 3 y of release. The routine exposure to criminogenic influences and criminal opportunities portends a bleak future for individuals who reside in neighborhoods with numerous other ex-prisoners. Through a natural experiment focused on post-Hurricane Katrina Louisiana, I examine a counterfactual scenario: If instead of concentrating ex-prisoners in geographic space, what would happen to recidivism rates if ex-prisoners were dispersed across space? Findings reveal that a decrease in the concentration of parolees in a neighborhood leads to a significant decrease in the reincarceration rate of former prisoners.

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No-Contact Orders, Victim Safety, and Offender Recidivism in Cases of Misdemeanor Criminal Domestic Violence: A Randomized Experiment

Robert Brame et al.
American Journal of Criminal Justice, June 2015, Pages 225-249

Abstract:
Using an experimental design, this research examined the impact of proactive enforcement of court-imposed no-contact orders (NCOs) on offender behavior and victim safety in cases of misdemeanor domestic violence. The major research goals and objectives were to assess whether proactive enforcement: (1) enhanced victim safety by reducing offender recidivism; (2) increased victim knowledge about no-contact orders; and (3) reduced contact between offenders and victims. A prospective design was used to randomly assign 466 cases of misdemeanor criminal domestic violence to either systematic, proactive enforcement or to routine, reactive enforcement of the court-ordered no-contact order conditions. Treatment effectiveness was assessed by analyses of official criminal records data and victim survey data. Study results suggest that the treatment had no impact on victim safety or offender recidivism. Notably, victims in the treatment group were more likely to be aware that the no-contact order was in place, had higher level of contact with law enforcement and victim advocates, and more often viewed the contact with their batterer as stalking or harassment. Overall, findings from this study suggest important directions for future research examining the effectiveness of interventions for intimate partner violence and abuse.

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Sexual offending runs in families: A 37-year nationwide study

Niklas Långström et al.
International Journal of Epidemiology, forthcoming

Background: Sexual crime is an important public health concern. The possible causes of sexual aggression, however, remain uncertain.

Methods: We examined familial aggregation and the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to sexual crime by linking longitudinal, nationwide Swedish crime and multigenerational family registers. We included all men convicted of any sexual offence (N = 21 566), specifically rape of an adult (N = 6131) and child molestation (N = 4465), from 1973 to 2009. Sexual crime rates among fathers and brothers of sexual offenders were compared with corresponding rates in fathers and brothers of age-matched population control men without sexual crime convictions. We also modelled the relative influence of genetic and environmental factors to the liability of sexual offending.

Results: We found strong familial aggregation of sexual crime [odds ratio (OR) = 5.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.5–5.9] among full brothers of convicted sexual offenders. Familial aggregation was lower in father-son dyads (OR = 3.7, 95% CI = 3.2–4.4) among paternal half-brothers (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.5–2.9) and maternal half-brothers (OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2–2.4). Statistical modelling of the strength and patterns of familial aggregation suggested that genetic factors (40%) and non-shared environmental factors (58%) explained the liability to offend sexually more than shared environmental influences (2%). Further, genetic effects tended to be weaker for rape of an adult (19%) than for child molestation (46%).

Conclusions: We report strong evidence of familial clustering of sexual offending, primarily accounted for by genes rather than shared environmental influences. Future research should possibly test the effectiveness of selective prevention efforts for male first-degree relatives of sexually aggressive individuals, and consider familial risk in sexual violence risk assessment.

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The Benefits of Keeping Idle Hands Busy: An Outcome Evaluation of a Prisoner Reentry Employment Program

Grant Duwe
Crime & Delinquency, May 2015, Pages 559-586

Abstract:
This study evaluated the effectiveness of EMPLOY, a prisoner reentry employment program, by examining recidivism and postrelease employment outcomes among 464 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2006 and 2008. As outcome data were collected on the 464 offenders through the end of June 2010, the average follow-up period was 28 months. Observable selection bias was minimized by using propensity score matching to create a comparison group of 232 nonparticipants who were not significantly different from the 232 EMPLOY offenders. Results from the Cox regression analyses revealed that participating in EMPLOY reduced the hazard ratio for recidivism by 32% to 63%. The findings further showed that EMPLOY increased the odds of gaining postrelease employment by 72%. Although EMPLOY did not have a significant impact on hourly wage, the overall postrelease wages for program participants were significantly higher because they worked a greater number of hours. The study concludes by discussing the implications of these findings.

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The effects of state and federal background checks on state-level gun-related murder rates

Mark Gius
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The purpose of the present study was to determine whether firearm background checks are significantly related to gun-related murder rates. The present study differs from prior research in several ways. First, a large longitudinal data-set is used; data for 50 states for the period 1980–2011 are examined. Second, the effects of both federal and state background checks, including state-mandated private sales background checks, are estimated. Finally, a fixed effects model that controls for both state-level and year-specific effects is used. Results suggest that states that require dealer background checks have lower gun-related murder rates than other states. In addition, after implementation of the Brady Act, gun-related murder rates fell. However, the results also suggest that, for the entire period in question, states with private sales background checks had higher gun-related murder rates than states with no such background checks. If one only looks the Brady Act period, however, then the private sales background check variable is insignificant. These results for private sales background checks are novel and contrary to the results of much prior research in this area.

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Racial (in)variance in prison rule breaking

Benjamin Steiner & John Wooldredge
Journal of Criminal Justice, May–June 2015, Pages 175–185

Purpose: Sampson and Wilson (1995) argued that the sources of crime are invariant across race, and are instead rooted in the structural differences between communities. This study involved an examination of the applicability of this thesis to incarcerated individuals.

Methods: Random samples totaling 2,388 blacks and 3,118 whites were drawn from 46 prisons in Ohio and Kentucky. Race-specific and pooled bi-level models of violent and nonviolent rule violations were estimated. Differences between race-specific models in the magnitude of regression coefficients for the same predictors and outcomes were compared.

Results: Findings revealed that individual and environmental effects were very similar between black and white inmates, although rates of violent and nonviolent rule breaking were higher for blacks. Within prisons, black inmates were also more likely than white inmates to engage in rule breaking. The individual-level relationship between race and violence was stronger in prisons with a lower ratio of black to white inmates and in prisons where inmates were more cynical towards legal authority.

Conclusions: Findings seemingly refute the applicability of the racial invariance hypothesis to an incarcerated population.

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How Different Operationalizations of Recidivism Impact Conclusions of Effectiveness of Parole Supervision

Michael Ostermann, Laura Salerno & Jordan Hyatt
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, forthcoming

Objectives: Recidivism reduction is the primary goal of many correctional programs, and "recidivism" is the most prevalent outcome measure in related program evaluation research. Many different operationalizations of recidivism are used without a clear delineation of how these variations may impact conclusions. This study explores how the definitions of recidivism may impact research findings and resultant policy recommendations regarding the efficacy of parole.

Methods: Data from prisoners released in 2008 (n = 12,132) to parole or unconditional release are analyzed according to 10 different operationalizations of recidivism. We compare recidivism rates, time to failure, and hazard rates between groups through the presentation of descriptive statistics and the use of multivariate Cox proportional hazards survival models.

Results: Our findings indicate that parole supervision could be deemed either effective or ineffective depending on which definition of recidivism is employed. These findings are largely driven by whether technical parole violations are included into more traditional criminal outcome measures, such as rearrests, reconvictions, or reincarcerations for new crimes, and if court processing times are factored into measures of time to failure.

Conclusions: Our results raise questions about the consistency of findings within the corrections literature. These conclusions, given the role that technical violations and court processing times can play, suggest a need for increased specificity when using recidivism as an outcome measure.

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Deterrence and the Optimality of Rewarding Prisoners for Good Behavior

Mitchell Polinsky
International Review of Law and Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
In this article I examine the social desirability of rewarding prisoners for good behavior, either by reducing their sentences (granting "time off"), converting part of their sentences to a period of parole, or providing them with privileges in prison. Rewarding good behavior reduces the state's cost of operating prisons. But rewarding good behavior also tends to lower the deterrence of crime because such rewards diminish the disutility of imprisonment. I demonstrate that, despite this countervailing consideration, it is always socially desirable to reward good behavior with either time off or parole. In essence, this is because the reward can be chosen so that it just offsets the burden borne by prisoners to meet the standard of good behavior — resulting in good behavior essentially without a reduction in deterrence. While employing privileges to reward good behavior might be preferable to no reward, the use of privileges is inferior to time off and parole.

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Stealing to Survive? Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France

Vincent Bignon, Eve Caroli & Roberto Galbiati
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using local administrative data from 1826 to 1936, we document the evolution of crime rates in 19th century France and we estimate the impact of a negative income shock on crime. Our identification strategy exploits the phylloxera crisis. Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxera destroyed about 40% of French vineyards. We use the geographical variation in the timing of this shock to identify its impact on property and violent crime rates, as well as minor offences. Our estimates suggest that the phylloxera crisis caused a substantial increase in property crime rates and a significant decrease in violent crimes.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dazed and confused

Smoking and (Not) Voting: The Negative Relationship Between a Health-Risk Behavior and Political Participation in Colorado

Karen Albright et al.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, forthcoming

Introduction: Considerable evidence suggests that cigarette smokers are an increasingly marginalized population, involved in fewer organizations and activities and with less interpersonal trust than their nonsmoking counterparts. However, only two previous studies, both among Swedish populations, have investigated smokers' attitudes toward political systems and institutions. The current, cross-sectional study examines smoking in relation to voting, a direct behavioral measure of civic and political engagement that at least partly reflects trust in formal political institutions.

Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted of interview data from 11,626 respondents in the Colorado Tobacco Attitudes and Behaviors Survey. Data were collected via telephone between October 2005 and mid-April 2006 and included respondents' reported voting behavior in the 2004 national election; the participation rate was 89.7%. Balanced multiple logistic regression was used to examine associations between smoking and voting while controlling for other covariates known to be associated with both variables.

Results: In the final model, daily smokers were less than half as likely as nonsmokers to report having voted in the election.

Conclusions: The results suggest possible consonance with previous work linking smoking with political mistrust. Possible causal mechanisms are discussed. This study is the first to link a health-risk behavior with electoral participation, and provides initial evidence that smoking is negatively associated with political participation. Future research should investigate how public health might enhance tobacco control efforts by taking nonvoting behavior into consideration, or creatively combining smoking cessation interventions with voter registration and other civic engagement work, particularly among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations.

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"Fighting a Hurricane": Tobacco Industry Efforts to Counter the Perceived Threat of Islam

Mark Petticrew et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages 1086-1093

Abstract:
Islamic countries are of key importance to transnational tobacco companies as growing markets with increasing smoking rates. We analyzed internal tobacco industry documents to assess the industry's response to rising concerns about tobacco use within Islamic countries. The tobacco industry perceived Islam as a significant threat to its expansion into these emerging markets. To counter these concerns, the industry framed antismoking views in Islamic countries as fundamentalist and fanatical and attempted to recruit Islamic consultants to portray smoking as acceptable. Tobacco industry lawyers also helped develop theological arguments in favor of smoking.

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Optimal Drug Policy in Low-Income Neighborhoods

Edward Coulson, Ping Wang & Sheng-Wen Chang
Journal of Public Economic Theory, forthcoming

Abstract:
The control of drug activity currently favors supply-side policies: drug suppliers in the U.S. face a higher arrest rate and longer sentences than demanders. We construct a simple model of drug activity with search and entry frictions in labor and drug markets. Our calibration analysis suggests a strong "dealer replacement effect." As a result, given a variety of community objectives, it is beneficial to lower supplier arrests and raise the demand arrest rate from current values. A 10% shift from supply-side to demand-side arrests can reduce the population of potential drug dealers by 22-25000 and raise aggregate local income by $380-400 million, at 2002 prices.

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Alcohol Mixed With Energy Drink Use Among U.S. 12th-Grade Students: Prevalence, Correlates, and Associations With Unsafe Driving

Meghan Martz, Megan Patrick & John Schulenberg
Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2015, Pages 557-563

Purpose: The consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) is a risky drinking behavior, most commonly studied using college samples. We know little about rates of AmED use and its associations with other risk behaviors, including unsafe driving, among high school students. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of AmED use among high school seniors in the United States.

Methods: Nationally representative analytic samples included 6,498 12th-grade students who completed Monitoring the Future surveys in 2012 and 2013. Focal measures included AmED use, sociodemographic characteristics, academic and social factors, other substance use, and unsafe driving (i.e., tickets/warnings and accidents) after alcohol consumption.

Results: Approximately one in four students (24.8%) reported AmED use during the past 12 months. Rates of AmED use were highest among males and white students. Using multivariable logistic regression models controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, results indicate that students who cut class, spent more evenings out for fun and recreation, and reported binge drinking, marijuana use, and illicit drug use had a greater likelihood of AmED use. AmED use was also associated with greater odds of alcohol-related unsafe driving, even after controlling for sociodemographic, academic, and social factors and other substance use.

Conclusions: AmED use among 12th-grade students is common and associated with certain sociodemographic, academic, social, and substance use factors. AmED use is also related to alcohol-related unsafe driving, which is a serious public health concern.

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Alcohol Consumption, Deterrence and Crime in New York City

Hope Corman & Naci Mocan
Journal of Labor Research, June 2015, Pages 103-128

Abstract:
This paper investigates the relationship between alcohol consumption, deterrence, and crime for New York City. We use monthly time-series data from 1983 to 2001 to analyze the impacts of variations in both alcohol consumption and deterrence on seven "index" crimes. We tackle the endogeneity of arrests and the police force by exploiting the temporal independence of crime and deterrence in these high-frequency data, and we address the endogeneity of alcohol by using instrumental variables where alcohol sales are instrumented with city and state alcohol taxes and minimum drinking age. We find that alcohol consumption is positively related to assault, rape, and larceny crimes but not murder, robbery, burglary, or motor vehicle theft. We find strong deterrence for all crimes except assault and rape. Generally, deterrence effects are stronger than alcohol effects.

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The impact of restaurant smoking bans on dining out expenditures: Evidence from panel data

Dohyung Kim & Baríş Yörük
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Many state and local governments in the United States have laws that prohibit smoking in restaurants to protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke. The opponents of these laws have long argued that these laws may harm the restaurant industry by repelling customers who smoke on a regular basis. In this paper, using data from the confidential version of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), we estimate the impact of restaurant smoking bans on dining out expenditures of smoking and nonsmoking households. We identify the impact of these bans by exploiting the substantial variation in the implementation of these bans across different cities, counties, and states. Our results indicate that although restaurant smoking bans are associated with a 15.1 percent decrease in dining out expenditures of smoking households, they increase the dining out expenditures of nonsmoking households by 8.6 percent. Since the majority of the U.S. population does not smoke, the aggregate impact of restaurant smoking bans on dining out expenditures is slightly positive but statistically insignificant. These results imply that restaurant smoking bans do not harm the restaurant industry.

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The Unintended Consequences of Countermarketing Strategies: How Particular Antismoking Measures May Shift Consumers to More Dangerous Cigarettes

Yanwen Wang, Michael Lewis & Vishal Singh
Marketing Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Countermarketing, or efforts to reduce consumption of certain products, has become common in categories such as tobacco, junk food, fossil fuels, and furs. Countermarketing has a particularly long history in the tobacco industry. Efforts to reduce smoking have included excise taxes that increase the cost of consumption, smoke-free restrictions that make consumption less convenient, and antismoking advertising campaigns that highlight the dangers of tobacco use. This article presents an analysis of the relative effectiveness of these different strategies. We find that cigarette excise taxes are the most effective tool for reducing overall cigarette sales, followed by antismoking advertising. Smoke-free restrictions are not found to have a significant effect on cigarette sales. We also investigate how these various policy tools induce product substitution. This issue is of considerable importance because some countermarketing techniques may potentially shift consumers to more dangerous, higher nicotine and tar cigarettes. Specifically, we find that excise taxes levied on a per pack basis rather than based on nicotine levels often shift consumers to more dangerous products.

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Estimating the Price Elasticity of Demand for Different Levels of Alcohol Consumption among Young Adults

Vinish Shrestha
American Journal of Health Economics, Spring 2015, Pages 224-254

Abstract:
Understanding the effect of higher alcohol prices on alcohol demand according to one's level of alcohol consumption is crucial while evaluating the effectiveness of using alcohol taxes as an alcohol-control medium. In this study, I estimate the differential responses to alcohol prices on alcohol demand for young adults by asking whether heavy drinkers are more responsive to higher alcohol prices than light and moderate drinkers. To conduct the analysis, I use the data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97) for the years 1997 to 2008. To answer the research question on hand, I implement three different econometric methods: (1) pooled quantile regression; (2) quantile regression for panel data; and (3) finite mixture models. Findings from these methods consistently suggest that heavy drinkers respond to higher alcohol prices by lowering their alcohol intake. Since alcohol-related externalities are likely to be caused by heavy drinkers, the results emphasize the possibility of higher alcohol taxes curbing alcohol-related externalities associated with young adults by lowering the alcohol consumption among the heavy drinkers.

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A Behavioral Economic Model of Alcohol Advertising and Price

Henry Saffer, Dhaval Dave & Michael Grossman
Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper presents a new empirical study of the effects of televised alcohol advertising and alcohol price on alcohol consumption. A novel feature of this study is that the empirical work is guided by insights from behavioral economic theory. Unlike the theory used in most prior studies, this theory predicts that restriction on alcohol advertising on TV would be more effective in reducing consumption for individuals with high consumption levels but less effective for individuals with low consumption levels. The estimation work employs data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and the empirical model is estimated with quantile regressions. The results show that advertising has a small positive effect on consumption and that this effect is relatively larger at high consumption levels. The continuing importance of alcohol taxes is also supported. Education is employed as a proxy for self-regulation, and the results are consistent with this assumption. The key conclusion is that restrictions on alcohol advertising on TV would have a small negative effect on drinking, and this effect would be larger for heavy drinkers.

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Violence in Illicit Markets: Unintended Consequences and the Search for Paradoxical Effects of Enforcement

James Prieger & Jonathan Kulick
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, forthcoming

Abstract:
The textbook competitive model of drug markets predicts that greater law enforcement leads to higher black market prices, but also to the unintended consequences of greater revenue and violence. These predictions are not in accord with the paradoxical outcomes evinced by recent history in some drug markets, where enforcement rose even as prices fell. We show that predictions of the textbook model are not unequivocal, and that when bandwagon effects among scofflaws are introduced, the simple predictions are more likely to be reversed. We next show that even simple models of noncompetitive black markets can elicit paradoxical outcomes. Therefore, we argue that instead of searching for assumptions that lead to paradoxical outcomes, which is the direction the literature has taken, it is better for policy analysis to choose appropriate assumptions for the textbook model. We finish with performing such an analysis for the case of banning menthol cigarettes. Under the most plausible assumptions enforcement will indeed spur violence, although the legal availability of electronic cigarettes may mitigate or reverse this conclusion.

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Trends and characteristics of heroin overdoses in Wisconsin, 2003-2012

Jon Meiman, Carrie Tomasallo & Leonard Paulozzi
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: Heroin abuse has increased substantially during the past decade in the United States. This study describes trends and demographic shifts of heroin overdoses and heroin-related fatalities in Wisconsin and contrasts these with prescription opioid overdoses.

Methods: This study was cross-sectional using databases of emergency department (ED) visits, hospital admissions, and death certificates in Wisconsin, United States, during 2003-2012. Cases were Wisconsin residents treated for heroin or prescription opioid overdose, and residents who died of heroin-related drug poisoning. Primary measurements were rates over time and by geographic region, and rates and rate ratios for selected demographic characteristics.

Results: During 2003-2012, age-adjusted rates of heroin overdoses treated in EDs increased from 1.0 to 7.9/100,000 persons; hospitalized heroin overdoses increased from 0.7 to 3.5/100,000. Whites accounted for 68% of hospitalized heroin overdoses during 2003-2007 but 80% during 2008-2012. Heroin-related deaths were predominantly among urban residents; however, rural fatalities accounted for zero deaths in 2003 but 31 (17%) deaths in 2012. Among patients aged 18-34 years, those hospitalized with heroin overdose were more often men (73.0% versus 54.9%), uninsured (44.2% versus 29.9%), and urban (84.3% versus 73.2%) than those with prescription opioid overdose. Rates of ED visits for heroin overdose in this age group exceeded rates for prescription opioid overdose in 2012 (26.1/100,000 versus 12.6/100,000 persons, respectively)

Conclusions: An epidemic of heroin abuse is characterized by demographic shifts toward whites and rural residents. Rates of heroin overdose in younger persons now exceed rates of prescription opioid overdose.

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Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Other Correlates of Susceptibility to Smoking: A Propensity Score Matching Approach

Russell McIntire et al.
Addictive Behaviors, September 2015, Pages 36-43

Abstract:
Secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure is responsible for numerous diseases of the lungs and other bodily systems among children. In addition to the adverse health effects of SHS exposure, studies show that children exposed to SHS are more likely to smoke in adolescence. Susceptibility to smoking is a measure used to identify adolescent never-smokers who are at risk for onset of smoking. Limited research has been conducted on the influence of SHS on susceptibility to smoking. The purpose of this study was to determine a robust measure of the strength of correlation between SHS exposure and susceptibility to smoking among never-smoking U.S. adolescents. This study used data from the 2009 National Youth Tobacco Survey to identify predictors of susceptibility to smoking in the full (pre-match) sample of U.S. adolescents and a smaller (post-match) sample created by propensity score matching. Results showed a significant association between SHS exposure and susceptibility to smoking among never-smoking U.S. adolescents in the pre-match (OR = 1.47) and post-match (OR = 1.52) samples. The odds ratio increase after matching suggests that the strength of the relationship was underestimated in the pre-match sample. Other significant correlates of susceptibility to smoking identified include: gender, race/ethnicity, personal income, smoke-free home rules, number of friends who smoke, perception of SHS harm, perceived benefits of smoking, and exposure to pro-tobacco media messages. The use of propensity score matching procedures reduced bias in the post-match sample and, in effect, provided a more robust estimate of the influence of SHS exposure on susceptibility to smoking, compared to the pre-match sample estimates.

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The interest in eight new psychoactive substances before and after scheduling

Anders Ledberg
Drug and Alcohol Dependence, forthcoming

Background: In recent years the recreational use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) has increased. NPS are considered a threat to public health and the main response to this threat is to make the selling and buying of these substances illegal. In Sweden, during the last five years, 62 new substances have been classified as narcotics but little is known of the effects of making a particular substance illegal. The aim of this work is to study how legal status influences the interest in NPS in Sweden.

Methods: Forty-five thousand posts made in a Swedish Internet discussion forum (Flashback Forum) related to eight NPS (MDPV, Methylone, 4-MEC, 4-HO-MET, MXE, 6-APB, AH-7921, and 3-MMC) were used to derive time-dependent measures of interest in these substances. Intervention analyses were used to investigate the effects of legal status on the forum interest.

Results: For all eight substances the activity on the forum (measured as number of posts per day) showed a drastic decrease around the time of classification. The statistical analysis showed that in seven of eight cases, the drop in activity could be accounted for by the legal status of the substances.

Conclusions: The legal status of the substances was shown to have a substantial effect on the interest in the substances. The novel measure used to trace the interest in particular NPS could be a useful tool to follow trends in substance use in almost real-time.

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Impact of a U.S. antismoking national media campaign on beliefs, cognitions and quit intentions

Jennifer Duke et al.
Health Education Research, June 2015, Pages 466-483

Abstract:
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers, that consisted of graphic, emotionally evocative, testimonial-style advertisements. This longitudinal study examines changes in beliefs, tobacco-related cognitions and intentions to quit smoking among U.S. adult smokers after a 12-week airing of the campaign (n = 4040 adult smokers pre- and post-campaign). Exposure to the campaign was associated with greater odds of intending to quit within the next 30 days [odds ratio (OR) = 1.28, P < 0.01] and within the next 6 months (OR = 1.12, P < 0.05), and quit intentions were stronger among respondents with greater campaign exposure (OR = 1.12, P < 0.01). Campaign exposure was also associated with significant changes in beliefs about smoking-related risks (ORs = 1.15-2.40) and increased worries about health (b = 0.30, P < 0.001). Based on study change rates applied to U.S. census data, an estimated 566 000 additional U.S. smokers reported their intention to quit smoking within the next 6 months as a result of viewing campaign advertisements. Campaign effects were consistent with the theory of reasoned action and an expanding body of research demonstrating that graphic, emotional advertisements are highly effective for prompting positive cessation-related cognitions and behavioral intentions.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The sky is the limit

Does the Social Cost of Carbon Matter? Evidence from US Policy

Robert Hahn & Robert Ritz
Journal of Legal Studies, January 2015, Pages 229-248

Abstract:
We evaluate a recent US initiative to include the social cost of carbon (SCC) in regulatory decisions. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first systematic analysis of the extent to which applying the SCC has affected national policy. We examine all economically significant federal regulations since 2008 and obtain an unexpected result: putting a value on changes in carbon dioxide emissions does not generally affect the ranking of the preferred policy compared with the status quo. Overall, we find little evidence that using the SCC has mattered for the choice of policy in the United States. This is true even for policies explicitly aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. We offer some possible explanations for the patterns observed in the data.

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Federal Crop Insurance and the Disincentive to Adapt to Extreme Heat

Francis Annan & Wolfram Schlenker
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 262-266

Abstract:
Despite significant progress in average yields, the sensitivity of corn and soybean yields to extreme heat has remained relatively constant over time. We combine county-level corn and soybeans yields in the United States from 1989-2013 with the fraction of the planting area that is insured under the federal crop insurance program, which expanded greatly over this time period as premium subsidies increased from 20 percent to 60 percent. Insured corn and soybeans are significantly more sensitive to extreme heat than uninsured crops. Insured farmers do not have the incentive to engage in costly adaptation as insurance compensates them for potential losses.

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Incorporating Climate Uncertainty into Estimates of Climate Change Impacts

Marshall Burke et al.
Review of Economics and Statistics, May 2015, Pages 461-471

Abstract:
Quantitative estimates of the impacts of climate change on economic outcomes are important for public policy. We show that the vast majority of estimates fail to account for well-established uncertainty in future temperature and rainfall changes, leading to potentially misleading projections. We reexamine seven well-cited studies and show that accounting for climate uncertainty leads to a much larger range of projected climate impacts and a greater likelihood of worst-case outcomes, an important policy parameter. Incorporating climate uncertainty into future economic impact assessments will be critical for providing the best possible information on potential impacts.

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Temperature and Human Capital in the Short- and Long-Run

Joshua Graff Zivin, Solomon Hsiang & Matthew Neidell
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
We provide the first estimates of the potential impact of climate change on human capital, focusing on the impacts from both short-run weather and long-run climate. Exploiting the longitudinal structure of the NLSY79 and random fluctuations in weather across interviews, we identify the effect of temperature in models with child-specific fixed effects. We find that short-run changes in temperature lead to statistically significant decreases in cognitive performance on math (but not reading) beyond 26C (78.8F). In contrast, our long-run analysis, which relies upon long-difference and rich cross-sectional models, reveals no statistically significant relationship between climate and human capital. This finding is consistent with the notion that adaptation, particularly compensatory behavior, plays a significant role in limiting the long run impacts from short run weather shocks.

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The Effects of Temperature on Political Violence: Global Evidence at the Subnational Level

Alexander Bollfrass & Andrew Shaver
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
A number of studies have demonstrated an empirical relationship between higher ambient temperatures and substate violence, which have been extrapolated to make predictions about the security implications of climate change. This literature rests on the untested assumption that the mechanism behind the temperature-conflict link is that disruption of agricultural production provokes local violence. Using a subnational-level dataset, this paper demonstrates that the relationship: (1) obtains globally, (2) exists at the substate level — provinces that experience positive temperature deviations see increased conflict; and (3) occurs even in regions without significant agricultural production. Diminished local farm output resulting from elevated temperatures is unlikely to account for the entire increase in substate violence. The findings encourage future research to identify additional mechanisms, including the possibility that a substantial portion of the variation is brought about by the well-documented direct effects of temperature on individuals' propensity for violence or through macroeconomic mechanisms such as food price shocks.

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Climatic Effects on Planning Behavior

Yong Liu, Vassilis Kostakos & Hongxiu Li
PLoS ONE, May 2015

Abstract:
What mechanism links climate change and social change? Palaeoanthropological analysis of human remains suggests that abrupt climate change is linked to societal restructuring, but it has been challenging to reliably identify the exact mechanisms underlying this relationship. Here we identify one potential mechanism that can link climate to behavior change, and underpins many of the reported findings on social restructuring. Specifically, we show that daily weather is linked to human planning behavior, and this effect is moderated by climate. Our results demonstrate that as weather gets colder, humans increase their planning in cold regions and decrease planning in warm regions. Since planning has previously been linked to group efficiency, cooperation, and societal organization, our work suggests planning is one mechanism that can link climate change to societal restructuring.

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Future population exposure to US heat extremes

Bryan Jones et al.
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Extreme heat events are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades owing to climate change. Exposure to extreme heat depends not only on changing climate, but also on changes in the size and spatial distribution of the human population. Here we provide a new projection of population exposure to extreme heat for the continental United States that takes into account both of these factors. Using projections from a suite of regional climate models driven by global climate models and forced with the SRES A2 scenario and a spatially explicit population projection consistent with the socioeconomic assumptions of that scenario, we project changes in exposure into the latter half of the twenty-first century. We find that US population exposure to extreme heat increases four- to sixfold over observed levels in the late twentieth century, and that changes in population are as important as changes in climate in driving this outcome. Aggregate population growth, as well as redistribution of the population across larger US regions, strongly affects outcomes whereas smaller-scale spatial patterns of population change have smaller effects. The relative importance of population and climate as drivers of exposure varies across regions of the country.

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Unabated global mean sea-level rise over the satellite altimeter era

Christopher Watson et al.
Nature Climate Change, May 2015, Pages 565–568

Abstract:
The rate of global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise has been suggested to be lower for the past decade compared with the preceding decade as a result of natural variability, with an average rate of rise since 1993 of +3.2 ± 0.4 mm yr−1. However, satellite-based GMSL estimates do not include an allowance for potential instrumental drifts (bias drift). Here, we report improved bias drift estimates for individual altimeter missions from a refined estimation approach that incorporates new Global Positioning System (GPS) estimates of vertical land movement (VLM). In contrast to previous results, we identify significant non-zero systematic drifts that are satellite-specific, most notably affecting the first 6 years of the GMSL record. Applying the bias drift corrections has two implications. First, the GMSL rate (1993 to mid-2014) is systematically reduced to between +2.6 ± 0.4 mm yr−1 and +2.9 ± 0.4 mm yr−1, depending on the choice of VLM applied. These rates are in closer agreement with the rate derived from the sum of the observed contributions, GMSL estimated from a comprehensive network of tide gauges with GPS-based VLM applied and reprocessed ERS-2/Envisat altimetry. Second, in contrast to the previously reported slowing in the rate during the past two decades, our corrected GMSL data set indicates an acceleration in sea-level rise (independent of the VLM used), which is of opposite sign to previous estimates and comparable to the accelerated loss of ice from Greenland and to recent projections, and larger than the twentieth-century acceleration.

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Declining vulnerability to river floods and the global benefits of adaptation

Brenden Jongman et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 May 2015, Pages E2271–E2280

Abstract:
The global impacts of river floods are substantial and rising. Effective adaptation to the increasing risks requires an in-depth understanding of the physical and socioeconomic drivers of risk. Whereas the modeling of flood hazard and exposure has improved greatly, compelling evidence on spatiotemporal patterns in vulnerability of societies around the world is still lacking. Due to this knowledge gap, the effects of vulnerability on global flood risk are not fully understood, and future projections of fatalities and losses available today are based on simplistic assumptions or do not include vulnerability. We show for the first time (to our knowledge) that trends and fluctuations in vulnerability to river floods around the world can be estimated by dynamic high-resolution modeling of flood hazard and exposure. We find that rising per-capita income coincided with a global decline in vulnerability between 1980 and 2010, which is reflected in decreasing mortality and losses as a share of the people and gross domestic product exposed to inundation. The results also demonstrate that vulnerability levels in low- and high-income countries have been converging, due to a relatively strong trend of vulnerability reduction in developing countries. Finally, we present projections of flood losses and fatalities under 100 individual scenario and model combinations, and three possible global vulnerability scenarios. The projections emphasize that materialized flood risk largely results from human behavior and that future risk increases can be largely contained using effective disaster risk reduction strategies.

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The social cost of atmospheric release

Drew Shindell
Climatic Change, May 2015, Pages 313-326

Abstract:
I present a multi-impact economic valuation framework called the Social Cost of Atmospheric Release (SCAR) that extends the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) used previously for carbon dioxide (CO2) to a broader range of pollutants and impacts. Values consistently incorporate health impacts of air quality along with climate damages. The latter include damages associated with aerosol-induced hydrologic cycle changes that lead to net climate benefits when reducing cooling aerosols. Evaluating a 1 % reduction in current global emissions, benefits with a high discount rate are greatest for reductions of co-emitted products of incomplete combustion (PIC), followed by sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and then CO2, ammonia and methane. With a low discount rate, benefits are greatest for PIC, with CO2 and SO2 next, followed by NOx and methane. These results suggest that efforts to mitigate atmosphere-related environmental damages should target a broad set of emissions including CO2, methane and aerosol/ozone precursors. Illustrative calculations indicate environmental damages are $330-970 billion yr−1 for current US electricity generation (~14–34¢ per kWh for coal, ~4–18¢ for gas) and $3.80 (−1.80/+2.10) per gallon of gasoline ($4.80 (−3.10/+3.50) per gallon for diesel). These results suggest that total atmosphere-related environmental damages plus generation costs are much greater for coal-fired power than other types of electricity generation, and that damages associated with gasoline vehicles substantially exceed those for electric vehicles.

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Carbon Footprint Taxes

Carol McAusland & Nouri Najjar
Environmental and Resource Economics, May 2015, Pages 37-70

Abstract:
We analyze whether a carbon consumption tax is logistically feasible. We consider a carbon footprint tax (CFT), which would be modeled after a credit-method value added tax. The basis for the tax would be a product's carbon footprint, which includes all of the emissions released during production of the good and its inputs as well as any greenhouse gases latent in the product. Our analysis suggests that a pure CFT, requiring the calculation of the carbon footprint of every individual product, may be prohibitively costly. However a hybrid CFT seems economically feasible. The hybrid CFT would give firms the option to either calculate the carbon footprint of their outputs — and have their products taxed based on those footprints — or use product-class specific default carbon footprints as the tax basis, thereby saving on calculation costs. Because the CFT would be levied on all goods consumed domestically, the CFT would keep domestic firms on an even footing with those producing in countries without active climate policy, protecting competitiveness and reducing leakage.

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How to interpret expert judgment assessments of 21st century sea-level rise

Hylke de Vries & Roderik van de Wal
Climatic Change, May 2015, Pages 87-100

Abstract:
In a recent paper Bamber and Aspinall (Nat Clim Change 3:424–427, 2013) (BA13) investigated the sea-level rise that may result from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets during the 21st century. Using data from an expert judgment elicitation, they obtained a final high-end (P95) value of +84 cm integrated sea-level change from the ice sheets for the 2010–2100 period. However, one key message was left largely undiscussed: The experts had strongly diverging opinions about the ice-sheet contributions to sea-level rise. We argue that such (lack of) consensus should form an essential and integral part of the subsequent analysis of the data. By employing a method that keeps the level of consensus included, and that is also more robust to outliers and less dependent on the choice of the underlying distributions, we obtain on the basis of the same data a considerably lower high-end estimate for the ice-sheet contribution, +53 cm (+38-77 cm interquartile range of "expert consensus"). The method compares favourably with another recent study on expert judgement derived sea-level rise by Horton et al. (Q Sci Rev 84:1–6, 2014). Furthermore we show that the BA13 results are sensitive to a number of assumptions, such as the shape and minimum of the underlying distribution that were not part of the expert elicitation itself. Our analysis therefore demonstrates that one should be careful in considering high-end sea-level rise estimates as being well-determined and fixed numbers.

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A Link between the Hiatus in Global Warming and North American Drought

Thomas Delworth et al.
Journal of Climate, May 2015, Pages 3834–3845

Abstract:
Portions of western North America have experienced prolonged drought over the last decade. This drought has occurred at the same time as the global warming hiatus—a decadal period with little increase in global mean surface temperature. Climate models and observational analyses are used to clarify the dual role of recent tropical Pacific changes in driving both the global warming hiatus and North American drought. When observed tropical Pacific wind stress anomalies are inserted into coupled models, the simulations produce persistent negative sea surface temperature anomalies in the eastern tropical Pacific, a hiatus in global warming, and drought over North America driven by SST-induced atmospheric circulation anomalies. In the simulations herein the tropical wind anomalies account for 92% of the simulated North American drought during the recent decade, with 8% from anthropogenic radiative forcing changes. This suggests that anthropogenic radiative forcing is not the dominant driver of the current drought, unless the wind changes themselves are driven by anthropogenic radiative forcing. The anomalous tropical winds could also originate from coupled interactions in the tropical Pacific or from forcing outside the tropical Pacific. The model experiments suggest that if the tropical winds were to return to climatological conditions, then the recent tendency toward North American drought would diminish. Alternatively, if the anomalous tropical winds were to persist, then the impact on North American drought would continue; however, the impact of the enhanced Pacific easterlies on global temperature diminishes after a decade or two due to a surface reemergence of warmer water that was initially subducted into the ocean interior.

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The carbon implications of declining household scale economies

Anthony Underwood & Sammy Zahran
Ecological Economics, August 2015, Pages 182–190

Abstract:
In the United States, average household size decreased significantly over the past half century. From 1950 to 2010, the number of households increased 72% faster than population size. In this paper we consider how this drift toward more and smaller households, occurring alongside rising affluence, undermines efforts to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by eroding household scale economies of consumption and associated CO2 emissions. To estimate the household scaling of CO2 emissions, we link consumer expenditure data to an economic input–output life-cycle assessment model. We find that the CO2 scaling benefits of cohabitation are compellingly large, with the carbon footprint of a representative person cohabiting with others being 23% less, on average, than if that same person lived alone. Additionally, we find that household scale economies: 1) decrease in income, reflecting the rise in the percentage of household expenditures devoted to more rival goods and services; and 2) increase intuitively in household size, reflecting the direct expenditure sharing benefits of cohabitation. The combined downward pressure on scale economies from declining household size and rising incomes, typifying the trajectory of developing societies toward more and smaller households and rising affluence, places significant upward pressure on CO2 emissions globally.

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Stochastic integrated assessment of climate tipping points indicates the need for strict climate policy

Thomas Lontzek et al.
Nature Climate Change, May 2015, Pages 441–444

Abstract:
Perhaps the most 'dangerous' aspect of future climate change is the possibility that human activities will push parts of the climate system past tipping points, leading to irreversible impacts. The likelihood of such large-scale singular events is expected to increase with global warming, but is fundamentally uncertain. A key question is how should the uncertainty surrounding tipping events affect climate policy? We address this using a stochastic integrated assessment model, based on the widely used deterministic DICE model. The temperature-dependent likelihood of tipping is calibrated using expert opinions, which we find to be internally consistent. The irreversible impacts of tipping events are assumed to accumulate steadily over time (rather than instantaneously), consistent with scientific understanding. Even with conservative assumptions about the rate and impacts of a stochastic tipping event, today's optimal carbon tax is increased by ~50%. For a plausibly rapid, high-impact tipping event, today's optimal carbon tax is increased by >200%. The additional carbon tax to delay climate tipping grows at only about half the rate of the baseline carbon tax. This implies that the effective discount rate for the costs of stochastic climate tipping is much lower than the discount rate for deterministic climate damages. Our results support recent suggestions that the costs of carbon emission used to inform policy are being underestimated, and that uncertain future climate damages should be discounted at a low rate.

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Climate policy in hard times: Are the pessimists right?

Aya Kachi, Thomas Bernauer & Robert Gampfer
Ecological Economics, June 2015, Pages 227–241

Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that the state of the economy has a strong impact on citizens' appetite for environmental policies, including climate policy. Assuming median voter preferences prevail, periods of economic prosperity are likely to be conducive, and economic downturns are likely to be detrimental to ambitious climate policy. Using original surveys in the United States and Germany, we engage in a critical re-assessment of this claim. The results show that, for the most part, individuals' perceptions of their own economic situations have no significant effect on their policy support. Negative perceptions of the national economic outlook reduce support for climate policy in the US, but not in Germany. However, the magnitude of this national economy effect in the US is small. On the other hand, individuals' climate risk perceptions consistently have a statistically significant and large effect across various model specifications, and interestingly, this pattern holds for the US, whose government is among the less ambitious in global climate policy, as well as Germany, which is among the frontrunners. Our study indicates that the state of the economy may not trump climate risk considerations as conventional wisdom claims.

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Fossil fuels in a trillion tonne world

Vivian Scott et al.
Nature Climate Change, May 2015, Pages 419–423

Abstract:
The useful energy services and energy density value of fossil carbon fuels could be retained for longer timescales into the future if their combustion is balanced by CO2 recapture and storage. We assess the global balance between fossil carbon supply and the sufficiency (size) and capability (technology, security) of candidate carbon stores. A hierarchy of value for extraction-to-storage pairings is proposed, which is augmented by classification of CO2 containment as temporary (<1,000 yr) or permanent (>100,000 yr). Using temporary stores is inefficient and defers an intergenerational problem. Permanent storage capacity is adequate to technically match current fossil fuel reserves. However, rates of storage creation cannot balance current and expected rates of fossil fuel extraction and CO2 consequences. Extraction of conventional natural gas is uniquely holistic because it creates the capacity to re-inject an equivalent tonnage of carbon for storage into the same reservoir and can re-use gas-extraction infrastructure for storage. By contrast, balancing the extraction of coal, oil, biomass and unconventional fossil fuels requires the engineering and validation of additional carbon storage. Such storage is, so far, unproven in sufficiency.

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Geologic carbon storage is unlikely to trigger large earthquakes and reactivate faults through which CO2 could leak

Victor Vilarrasa & Jesus Carrera
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 May 2015, Pages 5938–5943

Abstract:
Zoback and Gorelick [(2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(26):10164–10168] have claimed that geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations is very likely to trigger large induced seismicity, which may damage the caprock and ruin the objective of keeping CO2 stored deep underground. We argue that felt induced earthquakes due to geologic CO2 storage are unlikely because (i) sedimentary formations, which are softer than the crystalline basement, are rarely critically stressed; (ii) the least stable situation occurs at the beginning of injection, which makes it easy to control; (iii) CO2 dissolution into brine may help in reducing overpressure; and (iv) CO2 will not flow across the caprock because of capillarity, but brine will, which will reduce overpressure further. The latter two mechanisms ensure that overpressures caused by CO2 injection will dissipate in a moderate time after injection stops, hindering the occurrence of postinjection induced seismicity. Furthermore, even if microseismicity were induced, CO2 leakage through fault reactivation would be unlikely because the high clay content of caprocks ensures a reduced permeability and increased entry pressure along the localized deformation zone. For these reasons, we contend that properly sited and managed geologic carbon storage in deep saline formations remains a safe option to mitigate anthropogenic climate change.

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Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields

Jesse Tack, Andrew Barkley & Lawton Lanier Nalley
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Climate change is expected to increase future temperatures, potentially resulting in reduced crop production in many key production regions. Research quantifying the complex relationship between weather variables and wheat yields is rapidly growing, and recent advances have used a variety of model specifications that differ in how temperature data are included in the statistical yield equation. A unique data set that combines Kansas wheat variety field trial outcomes for 1985–2013 with location-specific weather data is used to analyze the effect of weather on wheat yield using regression analysis. Our results indicate that the effect of temperature exposure varies across the September−May growing season. The largest drivers of yield loss are freezing temperatures in the Fall and extreme heat events in the Spring. We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures. Our analysis indicates that there exists a tradeoff between average (mean) yield and ability to resist extreme heat across varieties. More-recently released varieties are less able to resist heat than older lines. Our results also indicate that warming effects would be partially offset by increased rainfall in the Spring. Finally, we find that the method used to construct measures of temperature exposure matters for both the predictive performance of the regression model and the forecasted warming impacts on yields.

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Trade-off between intensity and frequency of global tropical cyclones

Nam-Young Kang & James Elsner
Nature Climate Change, forthcoming

Abstract:
Global tropical cyclone climate has been investigated with indicators of frequency, intensity and activity. However, a full understanding of global warming's influence on tropical cyclone climate remains elusive because of the incomplete nature of these indicators. Here we form a complete three-dimensional variability space of tropical cyclone climate where the variabilities are continuously linked and find that global ocean warmth best explains the out-of-phase relationship between intensity and frequency of global tropical cyclones. In a year with greater ocean warmth, the tropical troposphere is capped by higher pressure anomaly in the middle and upper troposphere even with higher moist static energy anomaly in the lower troposphere, which is thought to inhibit overall tropical cyclone occurrences but lead to greater intensities. A statistical consequence is the trade-off between intensity and frequency. We calculate an average increase in global tropical cyclone intensity of 1.3 m s−1 over the past 30 years of ocean warming occurring at the expense of 6.1 tropical cyclones worldwide.

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Carbon Dioxide Emission Standards for U.S. Power Plants: An Efficiency Analysis Perspective

Benjamin Hampf & Kenneth Løvold Rødseth
Energy Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced his plan to introduce carbon dioxide emission standards for electricity generation. This paper proposes an efficiency analysis approach that addresses which emission rates (and standards) would be feasible if the existing generating units adopt best practices. A new efficiency measure is introduced and further decomposed to identify different sources' contributions to emission rate improvements. Estimating two Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) models - the well-known joint production model and the new materials balance model - on a dataset consisting of 160 bituminous-fired generating units, we find that the average generating unit's electricity-to-carbon dioxide ratio is 15.3 percent below the corresponding best-practice ratio. Further examinations reveal that this discrepancy can largely be attributed to non-discretionary factors and not to managerial inefficiency. Moreover, even if the best practice ratios could be implemented, the generating units would not be able to comply with the EPA's recently proposed carbon dioxide standard.

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Dynamic thinning of glaciers on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula

B. Wouters et al.
Science, 22 May 2015, Pages 899-903

Abstract:
Growing evidence has demonstrated the importance of ice shelf buttressing on the inland grounded ice, especially if it is resting on bedrock below sea level. Much of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula satisfies this condition and also possesses a bed slope that deepens inland. Such ice sheet geometry is potentially unstable. We use satellite altimetry and gravity observations to show that a major portion of the region has, since 2009, destabilized. Ice mass loss of the marine-terminating glaciers has rapidly accelerated from close to balance in the 2000s to a sustained rate of –56 ± 8 gigatons per year, constituting a major fraction of Antarctica's contribution to rising sea level. The widespread, simultaneous nature of the acceleration, in the absence of a persistent atmospheric forcing, points to an oceanic driving mechanism.

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The impact of climate extremes and irrigation on US crop yields

T.J. Troy, C. Kipgen & I. Pal
Environmental Research Letters, May 2015

Abstract:
Climate variability and extremes are expected to increase due to climate change; this may have significant negative impacts for agricultural production. Previous work has primarily focused on the impact of mean growing season temperature and precipitation on rainfed crop yields with little work on irrigated crop yields or climate extremes and their timing. County-level crop yields and daily precipitation and temperature data are pooled to quantify the impact of climate variability and extremes on four major staple crops in the United States. Conditional density plots are used to graphically explore the relationship between climate extremes and crop yields, thereby avoiding assumptions about linearity or underlying probability distributions. Non-linear and threshold-type relationships exist between yields and both precipitation and temperature climate indices; irrigation significantly reduces the impact of all climate indices. In some cases, this occurs by shifting the threshold, such that a more extreme weather event is necessary to negatively impact yields. In other cases, irrigation essentially decouples the crop yields from climate. This work demonstrates that irrigation may be a beneficial adaptation mechanism to changes in climate extremes in coming decades.

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Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community

Stephan Lewandowsky et al.
Global Environmental Change, July 2015, Pages 1–13

Abstract:
Vested interests and political agents have long opposed political or regulatory action in response to climate change by appealing to scientific uncertainty. Here we examine the effect of such contrarian talking points on the scientific community itself. We show that although scientists are trained in dealing with uncertainty, there are several psychological reasons why scientists may nevertheless be susceptible to uncertainty-based argumentation, even when scientists recognize those arguments as false and are actively rebutting them. Specifically, we show that prolonged stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance, and a form of projection (the third-person effect) may cause scientists to take positions that they would be less likely to take in the absence of outspoken public opposition. We illustrate the consequences of seepage from public debate into the scientific process with a case study involving the interpretation of temperature trends from the last 15 years. We offer ways in which the scientific community can detect and avoid such inadvertent seepage.

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Anthropogenic contribution to global occurrence of heavy-precipitation and high-temperature extremes

E.M. Fischer & R. Knutti
Nature Climate Change, May 2015, Pages 560–564

Abstract:
Climate change includes not only changes in mean climate but also in weather extremes. For a few prominent heatwaves and heavy precipitation events a human contribution to their occurrence has been demonstrated. Here we apply a similar framework but estimate what fraction of all globally occurring heavy precipitation and hot extremes is attributable to warming. We show that at the present-day warming of 0.85 °C about 18% of the moderate daily precipitation extremes over land are attributable to the observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times, which in turn primarily results from human influence. For 2 °C of warming the fraction of precipitation extremes attributable to human influence rises to about 40%. Likewise, today about 75% of the moderate daily hot extremes over land are attributable to warming. It is the most rare and extreme events for which the largest fraction is anthropogenic, and that contribution increases nonlinearly with further warming. The approach introduced here is robust owing to its global perspective, less sensitive to model biases than alternative methods and informative for mitigation policy, and thereby complementary to single-event attribution. Combined with information on vulnerability and exposure, it serves as a scientific basis for assessment of global risk from extreme weather, the discussion of mitigation targets, and liability considerations.

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Recent reversal in loss of global terrestrial biomass

Yi Liu et al.
Nature Climate Change, May 2015, Pages 470–474

Abstract:
Vegetation change plays a critical role in the Earth's carbon (C) budget and its associated radiative forcing in response to anthropogenic and natural climate change. Existing global estimates of aboveground biomass carbon (ABC) based on field survey data provide brief snapshots that are mainly limited to forest ecosystems. Here we use an entirely new remote sensing approach to derive global ABC estimates for both forest and non-forest biomes during the past two decades from satellite passive microwave observations. We estimate a global average ABC of 362 PgC over the period 1998–2002, of which 65% is in forests and 17% in savannahs. Over the period 1993–2012, an estimated −0.07 PgC yr−1 ABC was lost globally, mostly resulting from the loss of tropical forests (−0.26 PgC yr−1) and net gains in mixed forests over boreal and temperate regions (+0.13 PgC yr−1) and tropical savannahs and shrublands (+0.05 PgC yr−1). Interannual ABC patterns are greatly influenced by the strong response of water-limited ecosystems to rainfall variability, particularly savannahs. From 2003 onwards, forest in Russia and China expanded and tropical deforestation declined. Increased ABC associated with wetter conditions in the savannahs of northern Australia and southern Africa reversed global ABC loss, leading to an overall gain, consistent with trends in the global carbon sink reported in recent studies.

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Quantifying the net contribution of the historical Amazonian deforestation to climate change

Jean-François Exbrayat & Mathew Williams
Geophysical Research Letters, 28 April 2015, Pages 2968–2976

Abstract:
Recent large-scale carbon (C) emissions from deforestation have been estimated by combining remotely-sensed land use change information with satellite-based aboveground biomass (AGB) data. However, these estimates are constrained to the satellite era while regions such as the Amazon basin have been heavily impacted by deforestation before this period. Assessing the net contribution of past tropical deforestation to the growth in atmospheric CO2 is therefore challenging. We address this lack of data by constructing two maps of potential AGB with a machine learning algorithm trained on the relationship between AGB and climate and topography in intact forest landscapes of the Amazon basin. Reconstructions converge to a current deficit of 11.5–12% in AGB or a net loss of ~7–8 Pg C of AGB in the Amazon basin compared to current estimates. This represents a net contribution of ~1.8 ppm of atmospheric CO2 or 1.5% of the historical growth.

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Amplified Arctic warming by phytoplankton under greenhouse warming

Jong-Yeon Park et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 May 2015, Pages 5921–5926

Abstract:
Phytoplankton have attracted increasing attention in climate science due to their impacts on climate systems. A new generation of climate models can now provide estimates of future climate change, considering the biological feedbacks through the development of the coupled physical–ecosystem model. Here we present the geophysical impact of phytoplankton, which is often overlooked in future climate projections. A suite of future warming experiments using a fully coupled ocean−atmosphere model that interacts with a marine ecosystem model reveals that the future phytoplankton change influenced by greenhouse warming can amplify Arctic surface warming considerably. The warming-induced sea ice melting and the corresponding increase in shortwave radiation penetrating into the ocean both result in a longer phytoplankton growing season in the Arctic. In turn, the increase in Arctic phytoplankton warms the ocean surface layer through direct biological heating, triggering additional positive feedbacks in the Arctic, and consequently intensifying the Arctic warming further. Our results establish the presence of marine phytoplankton as an important potential driver of the future Arctic climate changes.

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A spatiotemporal analysis of Midwest US temperature and precipitation trends during the growing season from 1980 to 2013

Shuwei Dai et al.
International Journal of Climatology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since late 1970s, climate warming has been widely recognized. In the Midwest, farmers cannot rely on the normal calendar anymore, and it has become critically necessary to evaluate the most recent climate trends relative to growing season in order to conduct adaptation efforts for agriculture. Based on the homogenized historical monthly temperature and precipitation records during the period of 1980–2013 from 302 observing stations in the 12 Midwestern US states, we investigate the climate trends on four timescales: monthly, early growing season, late growing season, and the entire growing season. The climate metrics include maximum temperature, minimum temperature, average temperature, diurnal temperature range, and precipitation. Nonparametric Sen's Slope together with the nonparametric Mann–Kendall test is used to estimate the decadal trend and to detect the statistical significance. The results show that growing season average temperature has increased at a rate of 0.15 °C decade−1 over the Midwest United States. Within the growing season, minimum temperature is increasing faster in the early growing season, especially in June, while maximum temperature is increasing faster in the late growing season, especially in September. Spatially, statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) growing season warming is more focused in the southern part of the region in the early growing season but in the northern part of the region in the late growing season. Over the Midwest, dominant trends in diurnal temperature range are decreasing during most months, with the exception of September. The majority of the locations show increasing trends in growing season precipitation, yet few are statistically significant. Furthermore, precipitation has been increasing in the early growing season but decreasing in the late growing season. This within-season reversing trend in precipitation is found in 8 of 12 Corn Belt states: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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Natural and Forced North Atlantic Hurricane Potential Intensity Change in CMIP5 Models

Mingfang Ting et al.
Journal of Climate, May 2015, Pages 3926–3942

Abstract:
Possible future changes of North Atlantic hurricane intensity and the attribution of past hurricane intensity changes in the historical period are investigated using phase 5 of the Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), multimodel, multiensemble simulations. For this purpose, the potential intensity (PI), the theoretical upper limit of the tropical cyclone intensity given the large-scale environment, is used. The CMIP5 models indicate that the PI change as a function of sea surface temperature (SST) variations associated with the Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) is more effective than that associated with climate change. Thus, relatively small changes in SST due to natural multidecadal variability can lead to large changes in PI, and the model-simulated multidecadal PI change during the historical period has been largely dominated by AMV. That said, the multimodel mean PI for the Atlantic main development region shows a significant increase toward the end of the twenty-first century under both the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 emission scenarios. This is because of enhanced surface warming, which would place the North Atlantic PI largely above the historical mean by the mid-twenty-first century, based on CMIP5 model projection. The authors further attribute the historical PI changes to aerosols and greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing using CMIP5 historical single-forcing simulations. The model simulations indicate that aerosol forcing has been more effective in causing PI changes than the corresponding GHG forcing; the decrease in PI due to aerosols and increase due to GHG largely cancel each other. Thus, PI increases in the recent 30 years appears to be dominated by multidecadal natural variability associated with the positive phase of the AMV.

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Biodiversity influences plant productivity through niche–efficiency

Jingjing Liang et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 May 2015, Pages 5738–5743

Abstract:
The loss of biodiversity is threatening ecosystem productivity and services worldwide, spurring efforts to quantify its effects on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Previous research has focused on the positive role of biodiversity on resource acquisition (i.e., niche complementarity), but a lack of study on resource utilization efficiency, a link between resource and productivity, has rendered it difficult to quantify the biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationship. Here we demonstrate that biodiversity loss reduces plant productivity, other things held constant, through theory, empirical evidence, and simulations under gradually relaxed assumptions. We developed a theoretical model named niche–efficiency to integrate niche complementarity and a heretofore-ignored mechanism of diminishing marginal productivity in quantifying the effects of biodiversity loss on plant productivity. Based on niche–efficiency, we created a relative productivity metric and a productivity impact index (PII) to assist in biological conservation and resource management. Relative productivity provides a standardized measure of the influence of biodiversity on individual productivity, and PII is a functionally based taxonomic index to assess individual species' inherent value in maintaining current ecosystem productivity. Empirical evidence from the Alaska boreal forest suggests that every 1% reduction in overall plant diversity could render an average of 0.23% decline in individual tree productivity. Out of the 283 plant species of the region, we found that large woody plants generally have greater PII values than other species. This theoretical model would facilitate the integration of biological conservation in the international campaign against several pressing global issues involving energy use, climate change, and poverty.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Proud Parents


Spending on Daughters Versus Sons in Economic Recessions

Kristina Durante et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Although parents often try not to favor one child, we examine whether specific environmental factors might bias parents to favor children of one sex over the other. This research draws on theory in evolutionary biology suggesting that investment in female versus male offspring depends on resource availability. Applying this to consumers, a series of experiments show that poor economic conditions favor resource allocations to daughters over sons. For example, poor conditions led people to bequeath more assets to girls in their will, and to choose girls to receive a U.S. Treasury bond and a beneficial extracurricular activity. It is proposed that this happens because spending on children represents a reproductive investment, and that boys' and girls' relative reproductive value varies with economic conditions. Supporting this account, perceptions of which child will have more children statistically mediates the effect of economic conditions on preferences for girls. Consequently, the effect is strengthened as a child approaches reproductive age, and is moderated by individual differences (risk aversion and monogamy) directly related to our theoretical model. This research contributes to the consumer behavior literature by revealing how, why, and when environmental factors influence spending on girls versus boys.

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Effect of Joint Custody Laws on Children's Future Labor Market Outcomes

Abhradeep Maiti
International Review of Law and Economics, August 2015, Pages 22-31

Abstract:
In a joint custody regime, both parents are given equal preference by the court while granting the custodial rights of their children in the event of divorce. Using 50 years of census data for the United States' population, I show that growing up in a joint custody regime leads to lower educational attainment and worse labor market outcomes. My results are robust to different model specifications and apply to both males and females.

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Family Structure Instability, Genetic Sensitivity, and Child Well-Being

Colter Mitchell et al.
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1195-1225

Abstract:
The association between family structure instability and children's life chances is well documented, with children reared in stable, two-parent families experiencing more favorable outcomes than children in other family arrangements. This study examines father household entrances and exits, distinguishing between the entrance of a biological father and a social father and testing for interactions between family structure instability and children's age, gender, and genetic characteristics. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and focusing on changes in family structure by age (years 0-9), the authors show that father exits are associated with increases in children's antisocial behavior, a strong predictor of health and well-being in adulthood. The pattern for father entrances is more complicated, with entrances for the biological father being associated with lower antisocial behavior among boys and social father entrances being associated with higher antisocial behavior. Child's age does not moderate the association; however, genetic information in the models sharpens the findings substantially.

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Behavioral Resemblance and Paternal Investment: Which Features of the Chip off the Old Block Count?

Gordon Gallup et al.
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The high cost of being cuckolded has been a source of a strong selective pressure on reproductive competition among human males. Although evidence for preferential investment in offspring based on paternal resemblance is well established, men may have undergone selective pressure to take into account behavioral resemblance as well. We tested this hypothesis using 277 undergraduate university students who responded to an anonymous survey about how they were treated by their father and their physical and behavioral resemblance to him. We replicated the effect of physical resemblance on paternal investment, and found that behavioral resemblance accounted for even more variance in paternal investment than physical resemblance. Furthermore, mediation analyses revealed that both physical resemblance and behavioral resemblance acted primarily by improving relationship quality between the child and the father. These findings are considered in relation to an attempt to develop more detailed analytical categories of paternity assurance tactics (Gallup & Burch, 2006).

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Residential Mobility During Adolescence: Do Even "Upward" Moves Predict Dropout Risk?

Molly Metzger et al.
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to investigate the impact of housing instability in adolescence on the likelihood of subsequent graduation from high school. Combining census data, self-reports, and information about respondents' residential changes, we use the variation in the number of moves and neighborhood quality to predict whether participants obtain a high school diploma. Controlling for major predictors of housing mobility, students experiencing at least one move over a 12-month period have a roughly 50% decreased likelihood of obtaining a high school diploma by the age of 25. These associations are identified regardless of whether students move to a poorer or less-poor neighborhood. Our results carry implications for the development of housing policies and interventions designed for disadvantaged populations.

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Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies

Tinca Polderman et al.
Nature Genetics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Despite a century of research on complex traits in humans, the relative importance and specific nature of the influences of genes and environment on human traits remain controversial. We report a meta-analysis of twin correlations and reported variance components for 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications including 14,558,903 partly dependent twin pairs, virtually all published twin studies of complex traits. Estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%. For a majority (69%) of traits, the observed twin correlations are consistent with a simple and parsimonious model where twin resemblance is solely due to additive genetic variation. The data are inconsistent with substantial influences from shared environment or non-additive genetic variation. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the causes of individual differences in human traits thus far and will guide future gene-mapping efforts. All the results can be visualized using the MaTCH webtool.

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Parental Separation, Parental Alcoholism, and Timing of First Sexual Intercourse

Mary Waldron et al.
Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2015, Pages 550-556

Purpose: We examined timing of first voluntary sexual intercourse as a joint function of parental separation during childhood and parental history of alcoholism.

Methods: Data were drawn from a birth cohort of female like-sex twins (n = 569 African ancestry [AA]; n = 3,415 European or other ancestry [EA]). Cox proportional hazards regression was conducted predicting age at first sex from dummy variables coding for parental separation and parental alcoholism. Propensity score analysis was also employed to compare intact and separated families, stratified by predicted probability of separation.

Results: Earlier sex was reported by EA twins from separated and alcoholic families, compared to EA twins from intact nonalcoholic families, with effects most pronounced through the age of 14 years. Among AA twins, effects of parental separation and parental alcoholism were largely nonsignificant. Results of propensity score analyses confirmed unique risks from parental separation in EA families, where consistent effects of parental separation were observed across predicted probability of separation. For AA families, there was poor matching on risk factors presumed to predate separation, which limited interpretability of survival-analytic findings.

Conclusions: In European American families, parental separation during childhood is an important predictor of early-onset sex, beyond parental alcoholism and other correlated risk factors. To characterize risk for African Americans associated with parental separation, additional research is needed where matching on confounders can be achieved.

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Increases in Maternal Education and Low-Income Children's Cognitive and Behavioral Outcomes

Jessica Harding
Developmental Psychology, May 2015, Pages 583-599

Abstract:
Although the strong link between maternal education and children's outcomes is one of the most well-established findings in developmental psychology (Reardon, 2011; Sirin, 2005), less is known about how young, low-income children are influenced by their mothers completing additional education. In this research, longitudinal data from the Head Start Impact Study were used to explore the associations between increases in maternal education and Head Start eligible children's cognitive skills and behavioral problems in 1st grade. Propensity score weighting was used to identify a balanced comparison group of 1,362 children whose mothers did not increase their education between baseline (when children were aged 3 or 4) and children's kindergarten year, who are similar on numerous covariates to the 262 children whose mothers did increase their education. Propensity-score weighted regression analyses indicated that increases in maternal education were positively associated with children's standardized cognitive scores, but also with higher teacher-reported externalizing behavioral problems in 1st grade. The increases in externalizing behavioral problems were larger for children whose mothers had less than a college degree at baseline.

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Childhood social inequalities influences neural processes in young adult caregiving

Pilyoung Kim et al.
Developmental Psychobiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Childhood poverty is associated with harsh parenting with a risk of transmission to the next generation. This prospective study examined the relations between childhood poverty and non-parent adults' neural responses to infant cry sounds. While no main effects of poverty were revealed in contrasts of infant cry versus acoustically matched white noise, a gender by childhood poverty interaction emerged. In females, childhood poverty was associated with increased neural activations in the posterior insula, striatum, calcarine sulcus, hippocampus, and fusiform gyrus, while, in males, childhood poverty was associated with reduced levels of neural responses to infant cry in the same regions. Irrespective of gender, neural activation in these regions was associated with higher levels of annoyance with the cry sound and reduced desire to approach the crying infant. The findings suggest gender differences in neural and emotional responses to infant cry sounds among young adults growing up in poverty.

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Birth Order and Mortality: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Kieron Barclay & Martin Kolk
Demography, April 2015, Pages 613-639

Abstract:
This study uses Swedish population register data to investigate the relationship between birth order and mortality at ages 30 to 69 for Swedish cohorts born between 1938 and 1960, using a within-family comparison. The main analyses are conducted with discrete-time survival analysis using a within-family comparison, and the estimates are adjusted for age, mother's age at the time of birth, and cohort. Focusing on sibships ranging in size from two to six, we find that mortality risk in adulthood increases with later birth order. The results show that the relative effect of birth order is greater among women than among men. This pattern is consistent for all the major causes of death but is particularly pronounced for mortality attributable to cancers of the respiratory system and to external causes. Further analyses in which we adjust for adult socioeconomic status and adult educational attainment suggest that social pathways only mediate the relationship between birth order and mortality risk in adulthood to a limited degree.

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Maternal Education and the Link Between Birth Timing and Children's School Readiness

Jennifer March Augustine et al.
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objective: This study explored whether mothers' education magnified any benefits that waiting until older ages to have children might have for their children's educational careers.

Methods: Multiple-group path modeling assessed whether and why the positive association between mothers' age at first birth and children's test scores was greater for children of college-educated women than children of other women.

Results: Older age at first birth was associated with higher math and reading test scores among the children of college-educated women via their mothers' higher income and cognitive support for children. These mediational paths were less pronounced among the children of high-school-educated women and were not observed among the children of high school dropouts.

Conclusion: Any potential effects of women's delayed fertility on their children's early educational experiences appeared to be confined to the most educated women.

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Mothers' Employment and Children's Educational Gender Gap

Xiaodong Fan, Hanming Fang & Simen Markussen
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
This paper analyzes the connection between two concurrent trends since 1950: the narrowing and reversal of the educational gender gap and the increased labor force participation rate (LFPR) of married women. We hypothesize that the education production for boys is more adversely affected by a decrease in the mother's time input as a result of increasing employment. Therefore, an increase in the labor force participation rate of married women may narrow and even reverse the educational gender gap in the following generation. We use micro data from the Norwegian registry to directly show that the mother's employment during her children's childhood has an asymmetric effect on the educational achievement of her own sons and daughters. We also document a positive correlation between the educational gender gap in a particular generation and the LFPR of married women in the previous generation at the U.S. state level. We then propose a model that generates a novel prediction about the implications of these asymmetric effects on the mothers' labor supply decisions and find supporting evidence in both the U.S. and Norwegian data.

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The Effects of Paid Maternity Leave: Evidence from Temporary Disability Insurance

Jenna Stearns
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper investigates the effects of a large-scale paid maternity leave program on birth outcomes in the United States. In 1978, states with Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs were required to start providing wage replacement benefits to pregnant women, substantially increasing access to antenatal and postnatal paid leave for working mothers. Using natality data, I find that TDI paid maternity leave reduces the share of low birth weight births by 3.2 percent, and the estimated treatment-on-the-treated effect is over 10 percent. It also decreases the likelihood of early term birth by 6.6 percent. Paid maternity leave has particularly large impacts on the children of unmarried and black mothers.

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Estrangement Between Mothers and Adult Children: The Role of Norms and Values

Megan Gilligan, Jill Suitor & Karl Pillemer
Journal of Marriage and Family, forthcoming

Abstract:
Relationships between mothers and their children are expected to be lifelong and rewarding for both members of the dyad. Because of the salience of these ties, they are likely to be disrupted only under conditions of extreme relational tension and dissatisfaction. In this work, the authors drew on theoretical arguments regarding societal norm violations and value similarity to examine the processes that lead to estrangement between mothers and adult children. To address this issue, they used quantitative and qualitative data on 2,013 mother-adult child dyads nested within 561 later life families, including 64 in which mothers reported being estranged from at least 1 of their children. Value dissimilarity was found to be a strong predictor of estrangement, whereas violation of serious societal norms was not. Qualitative data revealed that value dissimilarity created severe relational tension between mothers and adult children leading to estrangement.

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Causal effects of the early caregiving environment on development of stress response systems in children

Katie McLaughlin et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 5 May 2015, Pages 5637-5642

Abstract:
Disruptions in stress response system functioning are thought to be a central mechanism by which exposure to adverse early-life environments influences human development. Although early-life adversity results in hyperreactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in rodents, evidence from human studies is inconsistent. We present results from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project examining whether randomized placement into a family caregiving environment alters development of the autonomic nervous system and HPA axis in children exposed to early-life deprivation associated with institutional rearing. Electrocardiogram, impedance cardiograph, and neuroendocrine data were collected during laboratory-based challenge tasks from children (mean age = 12.9 y) raised in deprived institutional settings in Romania randomized to a high-quality foster care intervention (n = 48) or to remain in care as usual (n = 43) and a sample of typically developing Romanian children (n = 47). Children who remained in institutional care exhibited significantly blunted SNS and HPA axis responses to psychosocial stress compared with children randomized to foster care, whose stress responses approximated those of typically developing children. Intervention effects were evident for cortisol and parasympathetic nervous system reactivity only among children placed in foster care before age 24 and 18 months, respectively, providing experimental evidence of a sensitive period in humans during which the environment is particularly likely to alter stress response system development. We provide evidence for a causal link between the early caregiving environment and stress response system reactivity in humans with effects that differ markedly from those observed in rodent models.

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Parents' Beliefs Regarding Sex Education for Their Children in Southern Alabama Public Schools

Vaughn Millner, Madhuri Mulekar & Julio Turrens
Sexuality Research and Social Policy, June 2015, Pages 101-109

Abstract:
This study investigated the attitudes of parents of public school children in a conservative southern U.S. metropolitan area concerning the incorporation of a variety of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies taught in the public school curriculum. It also assessed how attitudes from parents living in high risk teen pregnancy zip codes compared to the attitudes from parents living in the larger community. A telephone survey included 402 randomly selected parents from Mobile County, Alabama and an additional 120 Mobile County parents who lived in specific regions with high rates of teen pregnancy (target group). When the participants from the entire group were asked if schools should teach sex education, almost 80 % responded affirmatively and 16.5 % responded negatively. There were statistically significant income, education, and race differences between the at-large and target groups and statistically significant differences in parents' attitudes about whether or not their children should be taught about abstinence and other methods for preventing adolescent pregnancy in public schools. More than three-fourths of both groups, however, supported an assortment of adolescent pregnancy prevention strategies, a finding that could belie statistical difference in opinions between the two groups. The results suggest there is strong parental support for an approach to sex education in Alabama public schools that extends beyond abstinence-only. Informing state public policy-makers of these research findings could result in a sustained investment in the implementation of evidence-based adolescent sex education programs appropriate for the adolescents served.

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Correlates of flexible working arrangements, stress, and sleep difficulties in the US workforce: Does the flexibility of the flexibility matter?

Ryan Haley & Laurie Miller
Empirical Economics, June 2015, Pages 1395-1418

Abstract:
Using the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce, we study how two forms of flextime correlate with family stress, workplace stress, and sleep difficulties. The first flextime measure is the ability to easily take time off for personal and family matters, which correlates with a statistically and economically significant reduction in workplace stress. Subsequently, we find that this same flexibility is associated with 6-10 % reduction in the likelihood of self-reported sleep difficulties for the full sample, and as high as an 11-25 % reduction in a subgroup analysis concerning unmarried females with children. The second flextime measure is the option of a compressed workweek, which also correlates with a statistically reduction in workplace stress, though the estimate is considerably smaller than for the first flexibility; a subsequent analysis finds no statistically significant relationship between this flexibility and sleep difficulties. Our findings suggest that the more flexible flexibility (i.e., more short-notice schedule flexibility) appears to be associated with larger reductions in the probability of being stressed, enough, in fact, to carry through to noticeable improvements in concomitant sleep difficulties. Thus, the first form of flextime may function, based on this observational analysis, as a tangible non-medical way to meet worker flextime desires and firm aspirations for increased safety and less absenteeism, all while potentially offering a positive public health externality. The size and significance of the flextime results prevail through bias assessments and sensitivity analyses.

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Adverse Consequences of School Mobility for Children in Foster Care: A Prospective Longitudinal Study

Katherine Pears et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
Few prospective studies have examined school mobility in children in foster care. This study described the school moves of 86 such children and 55 community comparison children (primarily Caucasian), living in a medium-sized metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest who were approximately 3 to 6 years old at the study start. Additionally, the effects of moves from kindergarten through Grade 2 on academic and socioemotional competence in Grades 3 through 5 were examined. A greater number of early school moves was associated with poorer later socoemotional competence and partially mediated the effects of maltreatment and out-of-home placement on socioemotional competence. This was the case only for children with poorer early learning skills in kindergarten. Implications for preventive intervention are discussed.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

States

The Nature of Conflict

Cemal Eren Arbatli, Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
This research establishes that the emergence, prevalence, recurrence, and severity of intrastate conflicts in the modern era reflect the long shadow of prehistory. Exploiting variations across national populations, it demonstrates that genetic diversity, as determined predominantly during the exodus of humans from Africa tens of thousands of years ago, has contributed significantly to the frequency, incidence, and onset of both overall and ethnic civil conflict over the last half-century, accounting for a large set of geographical and institutional correlates of conflict, as well as measures of economic development. Furthermore, the analysis establishes the significant contribution of genetic diversity to the intensity of social unrest and to the incidence of intragroup factional conflict. These findings arguably reflect the contribution of genetic diversity to the degree of fractionalization and polarization across ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups in the national population; the adverse influence of genetic diversity on interpersonal trust and cooperation; the contribution of genetic diversity to divergence in preferences for public goods and redistributive policies; and the potential impact of genetic diversity on economic inequality within a society.

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The Phoenix Effect of State Repression: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust

Evgeny Finkel
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 339-353

Abstract:
Why are some nascent groups able to organize sustained violent resistance to state repression, whereas others quickly fail? This article links the sustainability of armed resistance to a largely understudied variable — the skills to mount such a resistance. It also argues that the nature of repression experienced by a community creates and shapes these crucial skills. More specifically, the article focuses on a distinction between selective and indiscriminate state repression. Selective repression is more likely to create skilled resisters; indiscriminate repression substantially less so. Thus, large-scale repression that begins at time t has a higher chance of being met with sustained organized resistance at t +1 if among the targeted population there are people who were subject to selective repression at t‒1. The article tests this argument by comparing the trajectories of anti-Nazi Jewish resistance groups in three ghettos during the Holocaust: Minsk, Kraków, and Białystok.

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Is the Phone Mightier Than the Sword? Cellphones and Insurgent Violence in Iraq

Jacob Shapiro & Nils Weidmann
International Organization, Spring 2015, Pages 247-274

Abstract:
Does improved communication provided by modern cellphone technology affect the rise or fall of violence during insurgencies? A priori predictions are ambiguous; introducing cellphones can enhance insurgent communications but can also make it easier for the population to share information with counterinsurgents and creates opportunities for signals intelligence collection. We provide the first systematic micro-level test of the effect of cellphone communication on conflict using data on Iraq's cellphone network (2004–2009) and event data on violence. We show that increased mobile communications reduced insurgent violence in Iraq, both at the district level and for specific local coverage areas. The results provide support for models of insurgency that focus on noncombatants providing information as the key constraint on violent groups and highlight the fact that small changes in the transaction costs of cooperating with the government can have large macro effects on conflict.

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Financial Asset Holdings and Political Attitudes: Evidence from Revolutionary England

Saumitra Jha
Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
The English Parliament's struggle for supremacy against monarchical dictatorship during the Civil War (1642-48) was crucial for the establishment of representative government, yet its lessons continue to be debated. I exploit novel data on individual MPs drawn from 1842 biographies to show that the conflict was over overseas interests and other factors over which the executive enjoyed broad constitutional discretion, rather than over domestic property rights. I further exploit the coincidence of individual MPs' ability to sign legally binding share contracts with novel share offerings by overseas companies to measure the effect of overseas share investment on their political attitudes. I show that overseas shareholding pushed moderates lacking prior mercantile interests to support reform. I interpret the effect of financial assetholding as allowing new investors to exploit emerging economic opportunities overseas, aligning their interests with traders. By consolidating a broad parliamentary majority that favored reform, the introduction of financial assets also broadened support for the institutionalization of parliamentary supremacy over dictatorial rule.

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Culture, Institutions and Democratization

Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Gerard Roland
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We construct a model of revolution and transition to democracy under an individualistic and a collectivist culture. The main result is that, despite facing potentially larger collective action problems, countries with an individualistic culture are more likely to end up adopting democracy faster than countries with a collectivist culture. Our instrumental variable estimation suggests a strong and robust effect of individualistic culture on average polity scores and length of democracy, even after controlling for other determinants of democracy emphasized in the literature. We provide evidence that countries with collectivist culture are also more likely to experience autocratic breakdowns and transitions from autocracy to autocracy.

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Shaping Politics at Home: Cross-Border Social Ties and Local-Level Political Engagement

Abby Córdova & Jonathan Hiskey
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
The dramatic rise of democratic regimes around the world has coincided with an equally significant increase in migration, characterized by an unprecedented movement of people from emerging to established democracies. Through analysis of survey data from six Latin American countries, we offer an empirical evaluation of theoretical mechanisms through which migration can shape the political behaviors of non-migrants in sending nations. We find that individuals who have strong cross-border ties that connect them with relatives living in the United States are more likely to participate in local politics, sympathize with a political party, and persuade others to vote for a party. Those effects are influenced by the positive impact of cross-border ties on civic community involvement, political interest, and political efficacy. Moreover, the evidence suggests that frequent usage of the Internet among non-migrants with strong cross-border ties results in increased political knowledge, which contributes to their greater political interest and efficacy.

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Explosive connections? Mass media, social media, and the geography of collective violence in African states

Camber Warren
Journal of Peace Research, May 2015, Pages 297-311

Abstract:
Growing evidence indicates that the diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can substantially alter the contours of collective violence in developing nations. However, empirical investigations of such effects have generally been hampered by an inability to systematically measure geographic variation in ICT penetration, across multiple technologies and multiple countries. In this article, I show that geo-referenced household surveys can be used to estimate subnational differences in the spatial reach of radio and cellular communications infrastructures in 24 African states. By combining these estimates with geo-referenced measures of the location of disaggregated events of collective violence, I show that there are important differences between centralized 'mass' communication technologies – such as radios – that foster vertical linkages between state and society, and decentralized 'social' communication technologies – such as cell phones – that foster horizontal linkages between the members of a society. The evidence demonstrates that the geographic reach of mass media penetration generates substantial pacifying effects, while the reach of social media penetration generates substantial increases in collective violence, especially in areas lacking access to mass media infrastructure. I argue that these findings are consistent with a theory of ICT effects which focuses on the strengthening and weakening of economies of scale in the marketplace of ideas.

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Coups, Revolutions and Efficient Policies in Autocracies

Mario Gilli & Yuan Li
European Journal of Political Economy, September 2015, Pages 109–124

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to explore the interaction of two mechanisms that might constrain the power of dictators: the threat of a coup by the selectorate and a revolution by citizens. Our results help explain a stylized fact, namely that autocracies are far more likely to be either the best or the worst performers in terms of growth and public goods policies. To this end, we focus on accountability within dictatorships using a model where both the selectorate and the citizens are the principals and the autocrat is the agent. Our results highlight that both excessively strong and excessively weak dictators lead to poor economic performances, and that a balanced distribution of de facto political power is required to incentivize the dictator to choose efficient economic policies.

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The July 2012 Libyan Election and the Origin of Post-Qadhafi Appeasement

Jason Pack & Haley Cook
Middle East Journal, Spring 2015, Pages 171-198

Abstract:
The July 2012 parliamentary election in Libya was free and fair. Nonetheless, the election exacerbated various local, tribal, and religious cleavages. The National Transitional Council's policy of appeasement successfully averted widespread armed conflict, yet it inadvertently derailed Libya's future constitutional process. This article surveys the main scholarly paradigms for analyzing both Libya after the fall of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi and the role of elections in societies in transition. It concludes that the outcome of the 2012 Libyan election calls into question the ability of post-conflict elections to function as tools of democratization or as mechanisms to unify social fissures, especially in societies lacking in formal institutions.

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Territorial Autonomy in the Shadow of Conflict: Too Little, Too Late?

Lars-Erik Cederman et al.
American Political Science Review, May 2015, Pages 354-370

Abstract:
This article evaluates the effect of territorial autonomy on the outbreak of internal conflict by analyzing ethnic groups around the world since WWII. Shedding new light on an ongoing debate, we argue that the critics have overstated the case against autonomy policies. Our evidence indicates that decentralization has a significant conflict-preventing effect where there is no prior conflict history. In postconflict settings, however, granting autonomy can still be helpful in combination with central power sharing arrangements. Yet, on its own, postconflict autonomy concessions may be too little, too late. Accounting for endogeneity, we also instrument for autonomy in postcolonial states by exploiting that French, as opposed to British, colonial rule rarely relied on decentralized governance. This identification strategy suggests that naïve analysis tends to underestimate the pacifying influence of decentralization.

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China's Ideological Spectrum

Jennifer Pan & Yiqing Xu
MIT Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
We offer the first large scale empirical analysis of ideology in contemporary China to determine whether individuals fall along a discernible and coherent ideological spectrum, and whether there are regional and inter-group variations in ideological orientation. Using principal component analysis (PCA) on a survey of 171,830 individuals, we identify one dominant ideological dimension in China. Individuals who are politically conservative, who emphasize the supremacy of the state and nationalism, are also likely to be economically conservative, supporting a return to socialism and state-control of the economy, and culturally conservative, supporting traditional, Confucian values. In contrast, political liberals, supportive of constitutional democracy and individual liberty, are also likely to be economic liberals who support market-oriented reform and social liberals who support modern science and values such as sexual freedom. This uni-dimensionality of ideology is robust to a wide variety of diagnostics and checks. Using post-stratification based on census data, we find a strong relationship between liberal orientation and modernization -- provinces with higher levels of economic development, trade openness, urbanization are more liberal than their poor, rural counterparts, and individuals with higher levels of education and income and more liberal than their less educated and lower-income peers.

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Varying the Un-Variable: Social Structure, Electoral Formulae, and Election Quality

Fabrice Lehoucq & Kiril Kolev
Political Research Quarterly, June 2015, Pages 240-252

Abstract:
This paper assesses the hypothesis that election quality is worse under plurality voting systems than under proportional representation (PR). We use a two-pronged research design that permits us to harness the advantages of most similar and most different approaches to limit problems of endogeneity that afflict hypothesis testing in comparative politics. We use a subnational database of more than 1,300 accusations of electoral fraud from Costa Rica (1901–1948) that uniquely varies formulae among (provincial) electoral districts. Our statistical models reveal that plurality leads to more ballot rigging than proportional systems. We also demonstrate that plurality voting systems are associated with inferior election quality in the Quality of Elections Database (QED), which covers 170 countries between 1975 and 2004. Our findings suggest that electoral formulae, a basic feature of institutional design, have as much impact as social structure on whether elections are free and fair.

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Democracy, Autocracy and the Urban Bias: Evidence from Petroleum Subsidies

Sung Eun Kim & Johannes Urpelainen
Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Petroleum subsidies are economically costly and environmentally destructive. Autocracies tend to offer higher subsidies for petroleum products than do democracies. Why? This study uses a global dataset of gasoline prices in developing countries for the years 2003–9 to show that the autocratic subsidy premium stems from countries where much of the population lives in small cities. Urban riots are a major threat to autocratic political survival, and high fuel prices cause social unrest. In large cities, autocrats can use public transportation to mitigate the effects of high fuel prices, but this strategy is not practical in small cities. Therefore, autocratic rulers offer high petroleum subsidies if they have large urban populations living in small cities. These findings suggest that the exact nature of urbanization has a critical effect on the political calculus of leaders and on policy outcomes.

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World Price Shocks, Income, and Democratization

Ben Zissimos
World Bank Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper shows how a world price shock can increase the likelihood that democratization must be used to resolve the threat of revolution. Initially, a ruling elite may be able to use trade policy to maintain political stability. But a world price shock can push the country into a situation where the elite face a commitment problem that only democratization can resolve. Because the world price shock may also reduce average incomes, the model provides a way to understand why the level of national income per capita and democracy may not be positively correlated. The model is also useful for understanding dictatorial regimes' rebuttal of World Bank calls to keep their export markets open in the face of the 2007–08 world food crisis.

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Contingent Democratization: When Do Economic Crises Matter?

Min Tang, Narisong Huhe & Qiang Zhou
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article argues that the effect of economic crises on democratic transition is contingent on economic structure. Specifically, a high level of state engagement in the economy makes social forces dependent on the ruling elites for patrimonial interests and, therefore, the authoritarian regime liable for economic failure. Moreover, when authoritarian elites own a high share of economic assets, this aggravates the economic loss of both the business class and the masses when economic crises occur, which in turn makes defection of the business class, the revolt of the masses and the alliance of the two social classes more likely. Cross-national analyses show that economic crises trigger democratic transition only when state engagement in the economy is above a certain level.

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Pulling the plug: Network disruptions and violence in civil conflict

Anita Gohdes
Journal of Peace Research, May 2015, Pages 352-367

Abstract:
New media outlets have been deemed a vital instrument for protesters and opposition groups to coordinate activities in the recent civilian uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. But what happens when regimes respond by shutting down the internet? I argue that governments have a strategic incentive to implement internet blackouts in conjunction with larger repressive operations against violent opposition forces. Short-term intermissions in communication channels are expected to decrease opposition groups' capabilities to successfully coordinate and implement attacks against the state, allowing regime forces to strengthen their position. Network blackouts should consequently be accompanied by significant increases in military activity. Analyzing daily documented killings by the government in the Syrian civil war, I find that blackouts occur in conjunction with significantly higher levels of state repression, most notably in areas where government forces are actively fighting violent opposition groups. In addition, I estimate the number of undocumented conflict fatalities prior to and during network blackouts to test whether they are implemented to hide atrocities from outside observers, and find no support for this hypothesis. The results indicate that such network blackouts constitute a part of the military's strategy to target and weaken opposition groups, where the underreporting of violence is not systematically linked to outages.

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Natural resource extraction and political trust

Rebecca Miller
Resources Policy, September 2015, Pages 165–172

Abstract:
Do natural resources influence political trust? I provide a new answer to this question by articulating a theory of political trust that relates to within-country variation in natural resource extraction rather than the more traditional empirical context of cross-country variation. The distributional consequences of natural resources within countries have a large, positive consequences on political trust. Residents within a mining district may experience disproportionate economic benefits compared to residents living in a non-mining district. These economic benefits, in turn, influence political trust. I test these arguments using Afrobarometer public opinion data in four democratic African states, namely Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

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Lords and order: Credible rulers and state failure

Matthew Dimick
Rationality and Society, May 2015, Pages 161-194

Abstract:
Why do states fail? Why do failed states persist without collapsing into complete anarchy? This paper argues that in response to insurgency or weakened state capacity, the best way for rulers to sustain their rule may be, paradoxically, to reduce the amount of political protection they provide to clients or citizens. This behavior recognizes and helps explain a puzzling feature of failed states, namely that central government often functions even when political disorder prevails. To evaluate this argument, the paper analyzes the case of King Stephen's reign in medieval England. In response to a challenge to his succession, King Stephen dramatically decentralized government, a decision which has long puzzled historians. In addition, although far removed historically from contemporary cases, the reign of King Stephen exhibits just those characteristics of modern, failed states: insurgency, civil war, territorial fragmentation, increasing disorder and violence (even between adherents of the same side of the civil conflict), and yet the persistence of some amount of centralized rule.

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Electoral Authoritarianism and Human Development

Michael Miller
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do autocratic institutions matter for the welfare of average citizens? Despite the large literature comparing democracies and autocracies, we know little about how human development outcomes differ among autocratic types. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this article argues that contested autocratic elections promote human development by improving state accountability and capacity. Using an instrumental variables setup, I show that the presence and history of multiparty autocratic elections predict significantly better outcomes on health, education, gender equality, and basic freedoms relative to non-electoral autocracy. In fact, the effects on health and education are as strong as the effects of democracy. In contrast, legislatures and parties without multiparty elections produce slightly negative outcomes because these institutions chiefly concern elite cooptation. The results have major implications for the study of autocracy, the political economy of development, and the welfare effects of international election promotion.

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Authoritarianism, socioethnic diversity and political participation across countries

Shane Singh & Kris Dunn
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
It is argued in this article that threatening stimuli affect political participation levels among non-authoritarians more than among authoritarians. Focusing on socioethnic diversity, which is known to be particularly threatening to authoritarians and to relate negatively to political participation in the general public, analyses of individual- and macro-level data from 53 countries is presented which supports this thesis. Participation levels among authoritarians are largely static, regardless of a country's level of socioethnic heterogeneity, while non-authoritarians participate considerably less in countries with relatively high levels of socioethnic heterogeneity. This suggests that authoritarians participate to a proportionately greater degree in the most diverse countries.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End Result

Put your plan into action: The influence of action plans on agency and responsibility

Tom Damen et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 2015, Pages 850-866

Abstract:
While action plans and intentions have been considered to be important factors contributing to the personal sense of causation known as agency, the present research is the first to empirically investigate how action plans influence agency. Participants in multiple studies were required to plan or not to plan ahead their actions. Results consistently show that on trials in which participants were required to plan their actions, participants experienced reduced agency compared to trials in which participants were not required to plan their actions. These results were found for both explicit agency paradigms in which participants were asked for their experiences of causation (Studies 1 and 2), as well as in an implicit agency paradigm in which participants were asked to estimate the time between their actions and the consequences of their actions (Study 3). In addition, it was shown that the reduction in agency was smaller when plans and actions were temporally closer together (Study 4). In a final line of experiments we discovered that prior planning similarly reduced both the emotional experience of acting and feelings of responsibility in agents (Studies 5-7). However, the direction of this effect was reversed in observers, for whom cues related to planning by others increased attributions of responsibility toward those others (Study 8).

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Seeking Lasting Enjoyment with Limited Money: Financial Constraints Increase Preference for Material Goods Over Experiences

Stephanie Tully, Hal Hershfield & Tom Meyvis
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Consumers with limited discretionary money face important trade-offs when deciding how to spend it. In the current research, we suggest that feelings of financial constraint increase consumers' concern about the lasting utility of their purchases, which in turn increases their preference for material goods over experiences. The results of seven studies confirm that the consideration of financial constraints shifts consumers' preferences toward material goods (rather than experiences), and that this systematic shift is due to an increased concern about the longevity of the purchase. This preference shift persists even when the material goods are more frivolous than the experiences, indicating that the effect is not driven by an increased desire for sensible and justifiable purchases. However, the shift towards material purchases disappears when the material purchase is unusually short-lived, further implicating concern about longevity as the key driver of the effect. Finally, the consideration of financial constraints increases preference for material purchases even when the potential memories that experiences can provide are made explicitly salient. Together, these results indicate that financially constrained consumers spend their discretionary money on material purchases as a means of securing long-term consumption utility.

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Can a Near Win Kindle Motivation? The Impact of Nearly Winning on Motivation for Unrelated Rewards

Monica Wadhwa & JeeHye Christine Kim
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Common intuition and research suggest that winning is more motivating than losing. However, we propose that just failing to obtain a reward (i.e., nearly winning it) in one task leads to broader, positive motivational effects on subsequent unrelated tasks relative to clearly losing or actually obtaining the reward. We manipulated a near-win experience using a game app in Experiments 1 through 3 and a lottery in Experiment 4. Our findings showed that nearly winning in one task subsequently led participants to walk faster to get to a chocolate bar (Experiment 1), salivate more for money (Experiment 2), and increase their effort to earn money in a card-sorting task (Experiment 3). A field study (Experiment 4) demonstrated that nearly winning led people to subsequently spend more money on desirable consumer products. Finally, our findings showed that when the activated motivational state was dampened in an intervening task, the nearly-winning effect was attenuated.

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The Impact Of Pressure On Performance: Evidence From The PGA Tour

Daniel Hickman & Neil Metz
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do large rewards lead to psychological pressure causing underperformance? Previous studies have tested this 'choking' phenomenon using the world of sports, but such studies often lack an explicit link between performance and reward. This study utilizes a large PGA TOUR dataset to more directly analyze the effect of pressure on individual performance by calculating the potential change in earnings from making or missing a putt on the final hole of a tournament. We find that as the amount of money riding on a shot increases, the likelihood that shot is made is significantly reduced.

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When pressure sinks performance: Evidence from diving competitions

Christos Genakos, Mario Pagliero & Eleni Garbi
Economics Letters, July 2015, Pages 5-8

Abstract:
Tournaments are designed to enhance participants' effort and productivity. However, ranking near the top may increase psychological pressure and reduce performance. We empirically study the impact of interim rank on performance using data from international diving tournaments. We find that competitors systematically underperform when ranked closer to the top, despite higher incentives to perform well.

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Power Affects Performance When the Pressure Is On: Evidence for Low-Power Threat and High-Power Lift

Sonia Kang et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, May 2015, Pages 726-735

Abstract:
The current research examines how power affects performance in pressure-filled contexts. We present low-power-threat and high-power-lift effects, whereby performance in high-stakes situations suffers or is enhanced depending on one's power; that is, the power inherent to a situational role can produce effects similar to stereotype threat and lift. Three negotiations experiments demonstrate that role-based power affects outcomes but only when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and, therefore, pressure-filled. We link these outcomes conceptually to threat and lift effects by showing that (a) role power affects performance more strongly when the negotiation is diagnostic of ability and (b) underperformance disappears when the low-power negotiator has an opportunity to self-affirm. These results suggest that stereotype threat and lift effects may represent a more general phenomenon: When the stakes are raised high, relative power can act as either a toxic brew (stereotype/low-power threat) or a beneficial elixir (stereotype/high-power lift) for performance.

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Goal projection in public places

Janet Naju Ahn, Gabriele Oettingen & Peter Gollwitzer
European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies investigated the phenomenon of goal projection in everyday life considering three moderators: goal commitment, the perceived similarity of the target person, and goal attainment. Moviegoers' (Study 1) highly committed to see a particular movie projected this goal onto other movie patrons. Commuters (Study 2) highly committed to catch a certain train projected this goal onto other commuters, given that these commuters were perceived as similar. Shoppers (Study 3) projected buying a particular item when both their goal commitment and the perceived similarity of another shopper were high, and the goal was not yet attained. The results imply that goal projection is part of our everyday life and is fostered by high-goal commitment, perceiving others as similar, and ongoing goal striving.

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Goals, motivation and gender

Samuel Smithers
Economics Letters, June 2015, Pages 75-77

Abstract:
I present an experiment on non-binding goals and motivational effects. Consistent with results from psychology, I find that goals increase output. This is due to improved speed and accuracy. Men are more responsive to goals than women.

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Using High-Level Construal and Perceptions of Changeability to Promote Self-Change Over Self-Protection Motives in Response to Negative Feedback

Jennifer Belding, Karen Naufel & Kentaro Fujita
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, June 2015, Pages 822-838

Abstract:
Diagnostic negative information presents people with a motivational dilemma. Although negative feedback can provide useful information with which to guide future self-improvement efforts, it also presents short-term affective costs. We propose that construal level, jointly with the perceived changeability of the feedback domain, determines whether people choose to accept or dismiss such information. Whereas low-level construal promotes short-term self-protection motivation (promoting dismissal), high-level construal promotes long-term self-change motivation (promoting acceptance) - to the extent that change is perceived as possible. Four studies support this hypothesis and examine underlying cognitive and motivational mechanisms. The present work may provide an integrative theoretical framework for understanding when people will be open to and accept negative diagnostic information, and has important practical implications for promoting self-change efforts.

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Saying "No" to Temptation: Want-to Motivation Improves Self-Regulation by Reducing Temptation Rather Than by Increasing Self-Control

Marina Milyavskaya et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Self-regulation has been conceptualized as the interplay between controlled and impulsive processes; however, most research has focused on the controlled side (i.e., effortful self-control). The present studies focus on the effects of motivation on impulsive processes, including automatic preferences for goal-disruptive stimuli and subjective reports of temptations and obstacles, contrasting them with effects on controlled processes. This is done by examining people's implicit affective reactions in the face of goal-disruptive "temptations" (Studies 1 and 2), subjective reports of obstacles (Studies 2 and 3) and expended effort (Study 3), as well as experiences of desires and self-control in real-time using experience sampling (Study 4). Across these multiple methods, results show that want-to motivation results in decreased impulsive attraction to goal-disruptive temptations and is related to encountering fewer obstacles in the process of goal pursuit. This, in turn, explains why want-to goals are more likely to be attained. Have-to motivation, on the other hand, was unrelated to people's automatic reactions to temptation cues but related to greater subjective perceptions of obstacles and tempting desires. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for self-regulation and motivation.

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Power Effects on Cognitive Control: Turning Conflict into Action

Petra Schmid, Tali Kleiman & David Amodio
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Power is known to promote effective goal pursuit, especially when it requires one to overcome distractions or bias. We proposed that this effect involves the ability to engage and implement cognitive control. In Study 1, we demonstrated that power enhances behavioral performance on a response conflict task and that it does so by enhancing controlled processing rather than by reducing automatic processing. In Study 2, we used an event-related potential index of anterior cingulate activity to test whether power effects on control were due to enhanced conflict sensitivity or action implementation. Power did not significantly affect neural sensitivity to conflict; rather, high power was associated with a stronger link between conflict processing and intended action, relative to low power. These findings suggest a new perspective on how social factors can affect controlled processing and offer new evidence regarding the transition between conflict detection and the implementation of action control.

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When Does the Future Begin? Time Metrics Matter, Connecting Present and Future Selves

Neil Lewis & Daphna Oyserman
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
People assume they should attend to the present; their future self can handle the future. This seemingly plausible rule of thumb can lead people astray, in part because some future events require current action. In order for the future to energize and motivate current action, it must feel imminent. To create this sense of imminence, we manipulated time metric - the units (e.g., days, years) in which time is considered. People interpret accessible time metrics in two ways: If preparation for the future is under way (Studies 1 and 2), people interpret metrics as implying when a future event will occur. If preparation is not under way (Studies 3-5), they interpret metrics as implying when preparation should start (e.g., planning to start saving 4 times sooner for a retirement in 10,950 days instead of 30 years). Time metrics mattered not because they changed how distal or important future events felt (Study 6), but because they changed how connected and congruent their current and future selves felt (Study 7).

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Love at first sight

Changes in American Adults' Sexual Behavior and Attitudes, 1972-2012

Jean Twenge, Ryne Sherman & Brooke Wells
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the nationally representative General Social Survey, U.S. Adults (N = 33,380) in 2000-2012 (vs. the 1970s and 1980s) had more sexual partners, were more likely to have had sex with a casual date or pickup or an acquaintance, and were more accepting of most non-marital sex (premarital sex, teen sex, and same-sex sexual activity, but not extramarital sex). The percentage who believed premarital sex among adults was "not wrong at all" was 29 % in the early 1970s, 42 % in the 1980s and 1990s, 49 % in the 2000s, and 58 % between 2010 and 2012. Mixed effects (hierarchical linear modeling) analyses separating time period, generation/birth cohort, and age showed that the trend toward greater sexual permissiveness was primarily due to generation. Acceptance of non-marital sex rose steadily between the G.I. generation (born 1901-1924) and Boomers (born 1946-1964), dipped slightly among early Generation X'ers (born 1965-1981), and then rose so that Millennials (also known as Gen Y or Generation Me, born 1982-1999) were the most accepting of non-marital sex. Number of sexual partners increased steadily between the G.I.s and 1960s-born GenX'ers and then dipped among Millennials to return to Boomer levels. The largest changes appeared among White men, with few changes among Black Americans. The results were discussed in the context of growing cultural individualism and rejection of traditional social rules in the U.S.

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Preferred Women's Waist-to-Hip Ratio Variation over the Last 2,500 Years

Jeanne Bovet & Michel Raymond
PLoS ONE, April 2015

Abstract:
The ratio between the body circumference at the waist and the hips (or WHR) is a secondary sexual trait that is unique to humans and is well known to influence men's mate preferences. Because a woman's WHR also provides information about her age, health and fertility, men's preference concerning this physical feature may possibly be a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage. However, it is unclear whether the preferred WHR in western countries reflects a universal ideal, as geographic variation in non-western areas has been found, and discordances about its temporal consistency remain in the literature. We analyzed the WHR of women considered as ideally beautiful who were depicted in western artworks from 500 BCE to the present. These vestiges of the past feminine ideal were then compared to more recent symbols of beauty: Playboy models and winners of several Miss pageants from 1920 to 2014. We found that the ideal WHR has changed over time in western societies: it was constant during almost a millennium in antiquity (from 500 BCE to 400 CE) and has decreased from the 15th century to the present. Then, based on Playboy models and Miss pageants winners, this decrease appears to slow down or even reverse during the second half of the 20th century. The universality of an ideal WHR is thus challenged, and historical changes in western societies could have caused these variations in men's preferences. The potential adaptive explanations for these results are discussed.

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Good Genes, Good Providers, and Good Fathers: Economic Development Involved in How Women Select a Mate

Hui Jing Lu, Xiao Qin Zhu & Lei Chang
Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Men's mate values are defined based on three broad categories-good genes, good providers, both of which are selected early across the animal kingdom, and good fathers that represent the last pedigree of primate evolution and may have contributed to the human development of modernity and gender equality. Women select long-term mates based on these 3 mate values, and women's mate preference over them depends on the prevailing ecological conditions. Based on 4 samples comprising a total of 1,257 Chinese women, we found that women in general and those with high socioeconomic status in particular (Study 1), as well as women in cities compared with rural women (Study 2), preferred good-father over good-provider and good-genes attributes in long-term relationships. Similar results were obtained in an experimental study (n = 123) where, under good economic compared to poor economic and control conditions, women prioritized good-father over good-provider and good-genes attributes. These findings indicate that in modern-day economies, in which a woman spends the same amount of time and energy on education and employment and acquires approximately the same amount of resources and same extent of safety and disease protection as men, her mate preference is likely to center on good-father attributes, as her reproductive success depends on a helper at the nest increasingly more than other mate contributions.

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Student Bodies: Does the Sex Ratio Matter for Hooking Up and Having Sex at College?

Timothy Adkins et al.
Social Currents, June 2015, Pages 144-162

Abstract:
Using the Online College Social Life Survey, we examine whether the sex ratio of the student body of a college or university affects whether heterosexual students hook up, have relationships, have intercourse, or have attitudes favorable toward casual sex. The gendered dyadic power model predicts that, if men are more interested in having sex than women, as the ratio of women to men goes up, men will increasingly have the upper hand and more sex will occur. Consistent with the prediction, we find that where the ratio of women to men is higher, students of both sexes hook up more and accumulate more sexual partners, but inconsistent with it, students are no more likely to have intercourse in a given hookup where the ratio of women is higher.

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The Role of Breast Size and Areolar Pigmentation in Perceptions of Women's Sexual Attractiveness, Reproductive Health, Sexual Maturity, Maternal Nurturing Abilities, and Age

Barnaby Dixson, Melanie Duncan & Alan Dixson
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Women's breast morphology is thought to have evolved via sexual selection as a signal of maturity, health, and fecundity. While research demonstrates that breast morphology is important in men's judgments of women's attractiveness, it remains to be determined how perceptions might differ when considering a larger suite of mate relevant attributes. Here, we tested how variation in breast size and areolar pigmentation affected perceptions of women's sexual attractiveness, reproductive health, sexual maturity, maternal nurturing abilities, and age. Participants (100 men; 100 women) rated images of female torsos modeled to vary in breast size (very small, small, medium, and large) and areolar pigmentation (light, medium, and dark) for each of the five attributes listed above. Sexual attractiveness ratings increased linearly with breast size, but large breasts were not judged to be significantly more attractive than medium-sized breasts. Small and medium-sized breasts were rated as most attractive if they included light or medium colored areolae, whereas large breasts were more attractive if they had medium or dark areolae. Ratings for perceived age, sexual maturity, and nurturing ability also increased with breast size. Darkening the areolae reduced ratings of the reproductive health of medium and small breasts, whereas it increased ratings for large breasts. There were no significant sex differences in ratings of any of the perceptual measures. These results demonstrate that breast size and areolar pigmentation interact to determine ratings for a suite of sociosexual attributes, each of which may be relevant to mate choice in men and intra-sexual competition in women.

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The male-taller norm: Lack of evidence from a developing country

K. Sohn
HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In general, women prefer men taller than themselves; this is referred to as the male-taller norm. However, since women are shorter than men on average, it is difficult to determine whether the fact that married women are on average shorter than their husbands results from the norm or is a simple artifact generated by the shorter stature of women. This study addresses the question by comparing the rate of adherence to the male-taller norm between actual mating and hypothetical random mating. A total of 7,954 actually married couples are drawn from the last follow-up of the Indonesian Family Life Survey, a nationally representative survey. Their heights were measured by trained nurses. About 10,000 individuals are randomly sampled from the actual couples and randomly matched. An alternative random mating of about 100,000 couples is also performed, taking into account an age difference of five years within a couple. The rate of adherence to the male-taller norm is 93.4% for actual couples and 88.8% for random couples. The difference between the two figures is statistically significant, but it is emphasized that it is very small. The alternative random mating produces a rate of 91.4%. The male-taller norm exists in Indonesia, but only in a statistical sense. The small difference suggests that the norm is mostly explained by the fact that women are shorter than men on average.

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Assortative mating without assortative preference

Yu Xie, Siwei Cheng & Xiang Zhou
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 May 2015, Pages 5974-5978

Abstract:
Assortative mating - marriage of a man and a woman with similar social characteristics - is a commonly observed phenomenon. In the existing literature in both sociology and economics, this phenomenon has mainly been attributed to individuals' conscious preferences for assortative mating. In this paper, we show that patterns of assortative mating may arise from another structural source even if individuals do not have assortative preferences or possess complementary attributes: dynamic processes of marriages in a closed system. For a given cohort of youth in a finite population, as the percentage of married persons increases, unmarried persons who newly enter marriage are systematically different from those who married earlier, giving rise to the phenomenon of assortative mating. We use microsimulation methods to illustrate this dynamic process, using first the conventional deterministic Gale-Shapley model, then a probabilistic Gale-Shapley model, and then two versions of the encounter mating model.

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Gender Differences and Similarities in Receptivity to Sexual Invitations: Effects of Location and Risk Perception

Andreas Baranowski & Heiko Hecht
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Since the publication of the seminal paper by Clark and Hatfield (1989), there has been an ongoing discussion about their finding that men accept sexual invitations from females more willingly than vice versa. We focused on two questions that have not yet been answered: First, what happens when the same request for casual sex is made in a different setting where social pressure is lower and such a request more common? To address this issue, 6 male and 8 female average looking confederates approached 162 men and 119 women either at a university campus or in a nightclub and asked for a date or for casual sex. The gender difference remained, with significantly more men than women consenting to a sexual invitation. The second issue concerned the perceived risk for women of accepting such an offer. We made up an elaborate cover story and invited 60 male and female participants into our laboratory. They were shown 10 pictures of persons of the opposite sex and led to believe that these people either consented to date or to have sex with them. The participants then could choose from the pictures who they wanted to meet to engage in a date or sex. In this subjectively safer environment, the gender difference disappeared, with the same proportion of men and women consenting to a date or sex. However, men were more liberal in their choice in either condition, compared to the female subjects. We conclude that while gender differences remained in both experiments, women were more liberal in a subjectively safer situation.

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Sex differences in preferences for humor: A replication, modification, and extension

Liana Hone, William Hurwitz & Debra Lieberman
Evolutionary Psychology, February 2015, Pages 167-181

Abstract:
Evolutionary-minded scientists have proposed that humor is a sexually selected trait in men that signals mate quality. Indeed, women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. We replicate Bressler et al.'s (2006) findings that men prefer women who are receptive to their humor whereas women prefer men who produce humor. These findings held even after we modified Bressler et al.'s questionnaire for better conceptual validity. Furthermore, using a separate measure designed to assess trade-offs, we found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite. These results bolster the claim that sexual selection has shaped sex differences regarding preferences for a prospective mate's sense of humor and that what one means by "sense of humor" can vary.

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Resisting Connection Following Social Exclusion: Rejection by an Attractive Suitor Provokes Derogation of an Unattractive Suitor

Geoff MacDonald, Patricia Baratta & Rebecca Tzalazidis
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Social psychologists theorize that individuals seek connection following rejection. However, accepting connection from a low status other may imply that one is of similarly low status, which may call into question one's prospects for future acceptance. Thus, we hypothesized that rejection would lead individuals to distance themselves from a low status other even when the low status other is accepting. In two studies, single, heterosexual, female participants received simultaneous acceptance/rejection feedback from one physically attractive man and one less attractive man. As predicted, rejected individuals derogated their rejecters as indicated by a decreased desire for affiliation and more negative evaluations. Moreover, participants rejected by the attractive man also derogated the unattractive man even when the unattractive man offered acceptance. These data may shed light on specific circumstances under which rejection leads to antisocial behavior.

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The Putative Son's Attractiveness Alters the Perceived Attractiveness of the Putative Father

Pavol Prokop
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
A body of literature has investigated female mate choice in the pre-mating context (pre-mating sexual selection). Humans, however, are long-living mammals forming pair-bonds which sequentially produce offspring. Post-mating evaluations of a partner's attractiveness may thus significantly influence the reproductive success of men and women. I tested herein the theory that the attractiveness of putative sons provides extra information about the genetic quality of fathers, thereby influencing fathers' attractiveness across three studies. As predicted, facially attractive boys were more frequently attributed to attractive putative fathers and vice versa (Study 1). Furthermore, priming with an attractive putative son increased the attractiveness of the putative father with the reverse being true for unattractive putative sons. When putative fathers were presented as stepfathers, the effect of the boy's attractiveness on the stepfather's attractiveness was lower and less consistent (Study 2). This suggests that the presence of an attractive boy has the strongest effect on the perceived attractiveness of putative fathers rather than on non-fathers. The generalized effect of priming with beautiful non-human objects also exists, but its effect is much weaker compared with the effects of putative biological sons (Study 3). Overall, this study highlighted the importance of post-mating sexual selection in humans and suggests that the heritable attractive traits of men are also evaluated by females after mating and/or may be used by females in mate poaching.

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A Psychophysiological Mechanism Underlying Women's Weight-Management Goals: Women Desire and Strive for Greater Weight Loss Near Peak Fertility

Andrea Meltzer et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies demonstrated that conception risk was associated with increased motivations to manage weight. Consistent with the rationale that this association is due to ovulatory processes, Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that it was moderated by hormonal contraceptive (HC) use. Consistent with the rationale that this interactive effect should emerge when modern appearance-related concerns regarding weight are salient, Study 3 used a 14-day diary to demonstrate that the interactive effects of conception risk and HC use on daily motivations to restrict eating were further moderated by daily motivations to manage body attractiveness. Finally, providing evidence that this interactive effect has implications for real behavior, daily fluctuations in the desire to restrict eating predicted daily changes in women's self-reported eating behavior. These findings may help reconcile prior inconsistencies regarding the implications of ovulatory processes by illustrating that such implications can depend on the salience of broader social norms.

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Partner choice decision making and the integration of multiple cues

Ryan Schacht & Mark Grote
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Uncertainty about fitness-enhancing traits in a potential mate, as well as variability in social and ecological environments, favor the use of multiple cues in selecting a partner. Though how individuals respond with adaptive mating preferences is an open question. Here we investigate mate choice decision making among the Makushi of Guyana and compare two competing approaches: 1) A prioritized trait approach, in which preferences are determined by the independent evaluation of relevant partner traits; and 2) an integrative approach, in which preferences are determined by reducing multiple, interrelated traits to a few latent dimensions. Within these two approaches we measure the effects of several key factors - sex, adult sex ratio, and community-to-community variability - thought to pattern preferences. We find support for cue integration and contextual variability in preferences. Sex and adult sex ratio are weak predictors of preferences in the Makushi: preferences are best explained by unstructured community effects. These findings highlight two key issues in mate choice studies: 1) simple biologically-based models do not seem adequate to explain variation in preferences, either within or among populations; and 2) while context, generally speaking, matters in determining preferences, we lack theoretically-informed predictions about relevant contextual factors. The importance of cues, as well as what they signal in a potential partner, is likely to vary with location-specific factors that are yet unexplored.

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Creativity and aggression as ornament and armament: Intersexual and intrasexual selection on men's mating behaviors

Bin-Bin Chen & Lei Chang
Evolutionary Psychology, March 2015, Pages 266-282

Abstract:
In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that men respond to intersexual and intrasexual selection by facultatively choosing between weapon-like and ornament-like behaviors. In the first two studies, we manipulated intersexual and intrasexual selection by having male participants take part in a simulated dating game (Study 1) or imagine having a date (Study 2). In both studies, participants were told either that the target female would choose her date (intersexual) or that male suitors would nominate one another (intrasexual). Under the intersexual selection condition, men demonstrated increased creativity levels and decreased aggression levels, whereas the opposite pattern was observed under the intrasexual selection condition. Study 3 showed that individual differences in creativity and aggression as personality traits similarly predicted intrasexual and intersexual mating strategies, respectively. These extend existing evolutionary mating research by specifying the mechanism of intrasexual or intersexual selection in shaping men's weapon-like or ornament-like situational response and personality development.

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Liking a Sexual Character Affects Willingness to Have Casual Sex: The Moderating Role of Relationship Status and Status Satisfaction

Inge Boot, Jochen Peter, Johanna van Oosten
Journal of Media Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The aim of the present study was to investigate individual differences in the influence of the likability of a sexual female main character on women's willingness to have casual sex with a stranger. Specifically, we studied the moderating role of relationship status (Experiments 1 and 2) and satisfaction with one's relationship or with being single (Experiment 2). Women (aged 18-30), who were single or in a relationship, watched an erotic scene with a likable or unlikable sexual female main character who had casual sex. In both experiments, women in a relationship were less willing to have casual sex than single women, after they had seen a likable sexual female character. However, an unpredicted effect was found in Experiment 2. After seeing an unlikable sexual female character, women who were dissatisfied with their relationship or with being single were more willing to have casual sex than their satisfied counterparts.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Friday, May 22, 2015

Outsiders

Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?

Gihoon Hong & John McLaren
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most research on the effects of immigration focuses on the effects of immigrants as adding to the supply of labor. By contrast, this paper studies the effects of immigrants on local labor demand, due to the increase in consumer demand for local services created by immigrants. This effect can attenuate downward pressure from immigrants on non-immigrants' wages, and also benefit non-immigrants by increasing the variety of local services available. For this reason, immigrants can raise native workers' real wages, and each immigrant could create more than one job. Using US Census data from 1980 to 2000, we find considerable evidence for these effects: Each immigrant creates 1.2 local jobs for local workers, most of them going to native workers, and 62% of these jobs are in non-traded services. Immigrants appear to raise local non-tradables sector wages and to attract native-born workers from elsewhere in the country. Overall, it appears that local workers benefit from the arrival of more immigrants.

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Foreign-born Peers and Academic Performance

Dylan Conger
Demography, April 2015, Pages 569-592

Abstract:
The academic performance of foreign-born youth in the United States is well studied, yet little is known about whether and how foreign-born students influence their classmates. In this article, I develop a set of expectations regarding the potential consequences of immigrant integration across schools, with a distinction between the effects of sharing schools with immigrants who are designated as English language learners (ELL) and those who are not. I then use administrative data on multiple cohorts of Florida public high school students to estimate the effect of immigrant shares on immigrant and native-born students' academic performance. The identification strategy pays careful attention to the selection problem by estimating the effect of foreign-born peers from deviations in the share foreign-born across cohorts of students attending the same school in different years. The assumption underlying this approach is that students choose schools based on the composition of the entire school, not on the composition of each entering cohort. The results of the analysis, which hold under several robustness checks, indicate that foreign-born peers (both those who are ELL and those who are non-ELL) have no effect on their high school classmates' academic performance.

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Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Mary Lopez
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 598-603

Abstract:
We evaluate how intensified interior immigration enforcement impacts the likelihood that children of unauthorized immigrants will repeat a grade or drop out of school. Using a weighted index of the intensity of interior immigration enforcement at the MSA level, we find that increased enforcement has the largest impact on younger children ages 6 to 13. The estimates, which account for the non-random residential location of children and their families, reveal that increased enforcement raises young children's probability of repeating a grade by 6 percent and their likelihood of dropping out of school by 25.2 percent.

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Does Islam Play a Role in Anti-Immigrant Sentiment? An Experimental Approach

Mathew Creighton & Amaney Jamal
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Are Muslim immigrants subjected to targeted opposition (i.e., Islamophobia) on their pathway to US citizenship? Using a list experiment and a representative sample of the US population, we compare explicit and implicit opposition to Muslim and Christian immigrants. We find that Muslim immigrants, relative to Christian immigrants, experience greater explicit resistance. However, when social desirability bias is taken into account via the list experiment, we find that opposition to Christian and Muslim immigrants is the same. The explanation is that respondents conceal a significant amount of opposition to Christian immigrants. Muslim immigrants, on the other hand, are afforded no such protection. We find that religiosity or denomination do not play a significant role in determining implicit or explicit opposition. We conclude that Islamophobia, which is only explicitly expressed, is best understood as reflective of social desirability bias from which Muslim immigrants do not benefit.

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Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime

Scott Baker
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 210-213

Abstract:
I examine the effects that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, had on crime in the United States. I exploit the IRCA's quasi-random timing as well as geographic variation in the intensity of treatment to isolate causal impacts. I find decreases in crime of 3-5 percent, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization. I calibrate a labor market model of crime, finding that much of the drop in crime can be explained by greater labor market opportunities among applicants.

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The Long-Run Effect of Mexican Immigration on Crime in US Cities: Evidence from Variation in Mexican Fertility Rates

Aaron Chalfin
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 220-225

Abstract:
Using historical data on the size of state-specific Mexican birth cohorts and geographic migration networks between Mexican states and US metropolitan areas, I construct an instrumental variable that predicts decadal migration from Mexico to the United States. The intuition behind this identification strategy is that larger historical birth cohorts in Mexico yield more potential migrants once each birth cohort reaches prime migration age. I report evidence that Mexican immigration is associated with a decline in property crimes and an increase in aggravated assaults. The available evidence suggests that this is not an artifact of reduced crime reporting among immigrants.

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Identifying the Effect of Immigration on Homicide Rates in U.S. Cities: An Instrumental Variables Approach

Patrick Schnapp
Homicide Studies, May 2015, Pages 103-122

Abstract:
Studies of the effect of immigration on homicide in U.S. cities have reported mostly null or negative results. These studies suffer from a failure to weight by population size and the lack of a credible identification strategy. Using data from the Census and the Uniform Crime Reports, 146 U.S. cities in the year 2000 are analyzed using weighted instrumental variables (IV) regressions to overcome these limitations. Estimates are insignificant, and none suggest a substantial negative effect of immigration on homicide, a finding that is replicated with 1990 data. Model comparisons indicate that conventional specifications exaggerate the beneficial effect of immigration somewhat.

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Foreign and Native Skilled Workers: What Can We Learn from H-1B Lotteries?

Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber
NBER Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
In April of 2007 and 2008, the U.S. randomly allocated 65,000 H-1B temporary work permits to foreign-born skilled workers. About 88,000 requests for computer-related H-1B permits were declined in each of those two years. This paper exploits random H-1B variation across U.S. cities to analyze how these supply shocks affected labor market outcomes for computer-related workers. We find that negative H-1B supply shocks are robustly associated with declines in foreign-born computer-related employment, while native-born computer employment either falls or remains constant. Most of the correlation between H-1B supply shocks and foreign employment is due to rationing that varies with a city's initial dependence upon H-1B workers. Variation in random, lottery-driven, unexpected shocks is too small to identify significant effects on foreign employment in the full sample of cities. However, we do find that random rationing affects foreign employment in cities that are highly dependent upon the H-1B program. Altogether, the results support the existence of complementarities between native and foreign-born H-1B computer workers.

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Voting Rights for Whom? Examining the Effects of the Voting Rights Act on Latino Political Incorporation

Melissa Marschall & Amanda Rutherford
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study applies insights from principal-agent models to examine whether and how the language assistance provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Sections 203 and 4(f)(4), affect Latino representation. Using panel data from 1984–2012, we estimate two-stage models that consider the likelihood and extent of Latino board representation for a sample of 1,661 school districts. In addition, we examine how policy design as well as federal oversight and enforcement shape implementation and compliance with the language assistance provisions. Our findings not only provide the first systemic evidence that the language assistance provisions have a direct effect on Latino representation, but also link the efficacy of the language assistance provisions to the duration and consistency of coverage and the presence of federal elections observers. Overall, our study underscores the continued need for federal government involvement in protecting the voting rights of underrepresented groups, in this case, language minority citizens.

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The Impact of Large-Scale Collective Action on Latino Perceptions of Commonality and Competition with African Americans

Michael Jones-Correa, Sophia Wallace & Chris Zepeda-Millán
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans. We hypothesize that the reinforcement and politicization of in-group identities leads to greater identification and sense of commonality with other marginalized racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: This study utilizes geocoded Latino National Survey data combined with an expanded protest event data set to estimate the effect of temporal and spatial proximity to immigrant rights protests on Latinos' perceptions of commonality and competition with African Americans using ordered logistic regression models.

Results: The findings suggest that respondents' proximity to marches had a positive impact on Latino perceptions of commonality with African Americans. The results also show that proximity to protests did not lead to an increase in feelings of competition with African Americans except in the case of electoral representation.

Conclusions: Examining temporal and spatial effects of protests improves our understanding of how protests can influence public opinion and how protests can influence identities and group relations.

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Ethnic Complementarities after the Opening of China: How Chinese Graduate Students Affected the Productivity of Their Advisors

George Borjas, Kirk Doran & Ying Shen
NBER Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
The largest and most important flow of scientific talent in the world is the migration of international students to the doctoral programs offered by universities in industrialized countries. This paper uses the opening of China in 1978 to estimate the causal effect of this flow on the productivity of their professors in mathematics departments across the United States. Our identification strategy relies on both the suddenness of the opening of China and on a key feature of scientific production: intra-ethnic collaboration. The new Chinese students were more likely to be mentored by American professors with Chinese heritage. The increased access that the Chinese-American advisors had to a new pool of considerable talent led to a substantial increase in their productivity. Despite these sizable intra-ethnic knowledge spillovers, the relatively fixed size of doctoral mathematics programs (and the resulting crowdout of American students) implied that comparable non-Chinese advisors experienced a decline in the number of students they mentored and a concurrent decline in their research productivity. In fact, the productivity gains accruing to Chinese-American advisors were almost exactly offset by the losses suffered by the non-Chinese advisors. Finally, it is unlikely that the gains from the supply shock will be more evident in the next generation, as the Chinese students begin to contribute to mathematical knowledge. The rate of publication and the quality of the output of the Chinese students is comparable to that of the American students in their cohort.

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Does immigration impact institutions?

J.R. Clark et al.
Public Choice, June 2015, Pages 321-335

Abstract:
The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation's institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long-run prosperity. But little is known about how immigration impacts these institutions. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a nation's policies and institutions. We find no evidence of negative and some evidence of positive impacts in institutional quality as a result of immigration.

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The Effect of Rainfall on Migration from Mexico to the U.S.

Gerónimo Barrios Puente, Francisco Perez & Robert Gitter
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
There has been very little work on the impact of rainfall on migration from Mexico or even elsewhere. We use satellite data from NASA to examine the effect of the lagged level of rainfall relative to an area's historical average, on migration from small Mexican communities to the U.S. Controlling for the level of education, proportion married, and historic migration levels, we find higher levels of rainfall significantly reduce Mexican migration to the U.S. and a 20 percentage point higher than normal level of rainfall leads to a predicted 10.3 percent decrease in migration.

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Do Immigrants Work in Worse Jobs than U.S. Natives? Evidence from California

Madeline Zavodny
Industrial Relations, April 2015, Pages 276–293

Abstract:
In the debate over immigration reform, a common assertion is that immigrants take jobs that U.S. natives do not want. Using data from the 2000 Census merged with O*NET data on occupation characteristics, I show that the jobs held by immigrants are more physically arduous than the jobs held by U.S. natives. However, data from the California Work and Health Survey on self-reported physical job demands indicate that immigrants do not perceive their jobs as requiring more physical effort than U.S. natives. Immigrants thus have worse jobs than natives but do not view them as such.

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Trust and Trustworthiness of Immigrants and Native-Born Americans

James Cox & Wafa Hakim Orman
Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, August 2015, Pages 1–8

Abstract:
Trust and trustworthiness are crucial to amelioration of social dilemmas. Distrust and malevolence aggravate social dilemmas. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to observe interactions between immigrants and native-born Americans in a social dilemma situation that can elicit both benevolent and malevolent actions. We survey participants in order to relate outcomes in the moonlighting game to demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of trust and trustworthiness and show that they are strongly correlated. Overall, we find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when they interact with native-born citizens but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables. Women and older people are less likely to trust but no more or less trustworthy. Highly religious immigrants are less trusting and less trustworthy than both other immigrants and native-born Americans.

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The Mexican Dream? The effect of return migrants on hometown development

Benjamin James Waddell & Matías Fontenla
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
Mexican migrants are returning to their homeland at record rates. Along with material goods, these former migrants may bring with them new ways of thinking about the world and envisioning the future. Still, relatively little is known about the degree to which former migrants affect the wellbeing of their local communities over time. This study evaluates the effect of return migrants on health, education, income, and political participation in Guanajuato, Mexico during the period 2000–2010. The findings imply that returnees may have positive effects within local economies, improving not only income, but also education, healthcare, electoral participation, and overall wellbeing. The results of this study have important implications for policy makers operating within emigration-prone regions of the world.

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Bilingualism and Status Attainment among Latinos

Jennifer Lee & Sarah Hatteberg
Sociological Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research demonstrates that bilingualism is associated with positive educational outcomes. Less is known, however, about its influence on status attainment in young adulthood. In this study, we utilize data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 2000 to examine the influence of bilingualism during adolescence on educational attainment, occupation, and income among Latinos. We find that compared with English dominance, biliteracy is positively associated with high school completion and occupational prestige among Latina women and that oral and passive bilingualism are negatively associated with high school completion among Latino men. We suggest these differences reflect the gendered experiences of language. Spanish-speaking men may be stigmatized, whereas biliterate women may gain valuable skills that are rewarded in school and in the labor market.

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Birthing, Nativity, and Maternal Depression: Australia and the U.S.

Melissa Martinson & Marta Tienda
International Migration Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study analyzes two birth cohort surveys, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, to examine variation in maternal depression by nativity, duration of residence, age at migration, and English proficiency in Australia and the U.S. Both countries have long immigrant traditions and a common language. The results demonstrate that U.S. immigrant mothers are significantly less depressed than native-born mothers, but maternal depression does not differ by nativity in Australia. Moreover, the association between duration of residence and maternal depression is not linear: Recent arrivals and long-term residents exhibit the highest depression levels. Lack of English proficiency exacerbates maternal depression in Australia, but protects against depression in the U.S. Differences in immigration regimes and welfare systems likely contribute to the differing salience of nativity for maternal depression.

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Marginal and happy? The need for uniqueness predicts the adjustment of marginal immigrants

Régine Debrosse, Roxane de la Sablonnière & Maya Rossignac-Milon
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Marginalization is often presented as the strategy associated with the worst adjustment for immigrants. This study identifies a critical variable that buffers marginal immigrants from the negative effects of marginalization on adjustment: The need for uniqueness. In three studies, we surveyed immigrants recruited on university campuses (n = 119, n = 116) and in the field (n = 61). Among marginal immigrants, a higher need for uniqueness predicted higher self-esteem (Study 1), affect (Study 2), and life satisfaction (Study 3), and marginally higher happiness (Study 2) and self-esteem (Study 3). No relationship between the need for uniqueness and adjustment was found among non-marginal immigrants. The adaptive value of the need for uniqueness for marginal immigrants is discussed.

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Does Anti-Hispanic Bias Motivate Opposition to Non-English Languages?

Heeju Shin, David Leal & Christopher Ellison
Sociological Inquiry, forthcoming

Abstract:
Contemporary political debates about language policy in the United States focus on three primary policy issues: bilingual education in public schools, English-only legislation, and the access of non-English speaking citizens to political rights. Using the "Multi-Ethnic United States" module from the 2000 General Social Survey (GSS), this article tests multiple attitudinal, behavioral, demographic, and contextual hypotheses for how Anglos and African Americans view bilingual policy issues. We examine the role of linguistic contact, self-interest, group threat, and discriminatory views of Latinos, finding that the latter — as measured by the "Three Ds" (Derogation, Disrespect, and Distance) — are the strongest predictors of attitudes toward bilingualism. Distance (social distance from Latinos) is consistently significant, disrespect (doubts about Latino contributions to the United States) is mostly significant, and derogation (Latino stereotypes) is occasionally significant. Also, political ideology and knowledge of a non-English language play important roles in the formation of favorable bilingualism opinions. However, the self-interest and group threat variables were largely insignificant. Taken together, these findings indicate the importance of understanding how policy views may be structured by opinions about out-group individuals and cultures. Language can serve as a proxy for immigrants themselves, as negative attitudes toward Latinos are associated with negative attitudes toward bilingualism.

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Social Distrust and Immigrant Access to Welfare Programs in the American States

Adam Butz & Jason Kehrberg
Politics & Policy, April 2015, Pages 256–286

Abstract:
Social trust ameliorates collective action problems by allowing multicultural societies to adopt more inclusive and equitable public policies directed toward newly arriving immigrants. However, existing research warns that increasing ethnic diversity from immigrant populations can undermine levels of social trust, hindering mass support for redistributive policies that empower low-income minority populations. This article examines the relationship between U.S. state-level social trust and immigrant access to social welfare programs using multilevel regression with post-stratification to estimate state-level attitudes of distrust. Distrust is found to be associated with reduced immigrant access to redistributive social programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicaid. Interestingly, patterns of distrust and strict immigrant welfare exclusion are more pronounced among low immigrant Southern states, while high immigrant states exhibit relatively inclusive and accommodative policies.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Qualified minorities

Priming White identity elicits stereotype boost for biracial Black-White individuals

Sarah Gaither et al.
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

Abstract:
Psychological threat experienced by students of negatively stereotyped groups impairs test performance. However, stereotype boost can also occur if a positively stereotyped identity is made salient. Biracial individuals, whose racial identities may be associated with both negative and positive testing abilities, have not been examined in this context. Sixty-four biracial Black-White individuals wrote about either their Black or White identity or a neutral topic and completed a verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) examination described as diagnostic of their abilities. White-primed participants performed significantly better than both Black-primed and control participants. Thus, biracial Black-White individuals experience stereotype boost only when their White identity is made salient.

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Two Strikes: Race and the Disciplining of Young Students

Jason Okonofua & Jennifer Eberhardt
Psychological Science, May 2015, Pages 617-624

Abstract:
There are large racial disparities in school discipline in the United States, which, for Black students, not only contribute to school failure but also can lay a path toward incarceration. Although the disparities have been well documented, the psychological mechanisms underlying them are unclear. In two experiments, we tested the hypothesis that such disparities are, in part, driven by racial stereotypes that can lead teachers to escalate their negative responses to Black students over the course of multiple interpersonal (e.g., teacher-to-student) encounters. More generally, we argue that race not only can influence how perceivers interpret a specific behavior, but also can enhance perceivers' detection of behavioral patterns across time. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical benefits of employing this novel approach to stereotyping across a range of real-world settings.

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Academic Undermatching of High-Achieving Minority Students: Evidence from Race-Neutral and Holistic Admissions Policies

Sandra Black, Kalena Cortes & Jane Arnold Lincove
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 604-610

Abstract:
College is a pathway to social mobility in the United States. Yet too often high-achieving students from low-income and minorities families fail to apply to selective postsecondary institutions. Our study examines the extent to which academic undermatching occurs among high-achieving minority students by analyzing the application choices of students who undergo two distinct admissions policies. We find that minority students eligible for automatic admissions and those who undergo holistic admissions are both less likely to apply to elite flagship universities than white students, despite being equally qualified based on high school performance. Instead, minorities often opt for lower tier universities.

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Race, Self-Selection, and the Job Search Process

Devah Pager & David Pedulla
American Journal of Sociology, January 2015, Pages 1005-1054

Abstract:
While existing research has documented persistent barriers facing African-American job seekers, far less research has questioned how job seekers respond to this reality. Do minorities self-select into particular segments of the labor market to avoid discrimination? Such questions have remained unanswered due to the lack of data available on the positions to which job seekers apply. Drawing on two original data sets with application-specific information, we find little evidence that blacks target or avoid particular job types. Rather, blacks cast a wider net in their search than similarly situated whites, including a greater range of occupational categories and characteristics in their pool of job applications. Additionally, we show that perceptions of discrimination are associated with increased search breadth, suggesting that broad search among African-Americans represents an adaptation to labor market discrimination. Together these findings provide novel evidence on the role of race and self-selection in the job search process.

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"Two souls, two thoughts," two self-schemas: Double consciousness can have positive academic consequences for African Americans

Tiffany Brannon, Hazel Rose Markus & Valerie Jones Taylor
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 586-609

Abstract:
African Americans can experience a double consciousness - the two-ness of being an American and an African American. The present research hypothesized that: (a) double consciousness can function as 2 self-schemas - an independent self-schema tied to mainstream American culture and an interdependent self-schema tied to African American culture, and (b) U.S. educational settings can leverage an interdependent self-schema associated with African American culture through inclusive multicultural practices to facilitate positive academic consequences. First, a pilot experiment and Studies 1 and 2 provided evidence that double consciousness can be conceptualized as 2 self-schemas. That is, African Americans shifted their behavior (e.g., cooperation) in schema-relevant ways from more independent when primed with mainstream American culture to more interdependent when primed with African American culture. Then, Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that incorporating African American culture within a university setting enhanced African Americans' persistence and performance on academic-relevant tasks. Finally, using the Gates Millennium Scholars dataset (Cohort 1), Study 5 conceptually replicated Studies 3 and 4 and provided support for one process that underlies the observed positive academic consequences. Specifically, Study 5 provided evidence that engagement with African American culture (e.g., involvement with cultural events/groups) on college campuses makes an interdependent self-schema more salient that increases African American students' sense of academic fit and identification, and, in turn, enhances academic performance (self-reported grades) and persistence (advanced degree enrollment in a long-term follow-up). The discussion examines double consciousness as a basic psychological phenomenon and suggests the intra- and intergroup benefits of inclusive multicultural settings.

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Skin Shade Stratification and the Psychological Cost of Unemployment: Is there a Gradient for Black Females?

Timothy Diette et al.
Review of Black Political Economy, June 2015, Pages 155-177

Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to formally evaluate whether the deleterious impact of unemployment on mental health increases as skin shade darkens for black women in the U.S. Using data drawn from the National Survey of American Life, we find strong evidence of a gradient on depression between skin shade and unemployment for black women. These findings are consistent with the premises of the emerging field of stratification economics. Moreover, the findings are robust to various definitions of skin shade. Unemployed black women with darker complexions are significantly more likely to suffer their first onset of depression than unemployed black females with lighter skin shade. While in some cases, lighter skinned black women appeared not to suffer adverse effects of unemployment compared to their employed counterparts, persons with dark complexions did not enjoy the same degree of protection from poor mental health.

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The Impact of Economic Freedom on the Black/White Income Gap

Gary Hoover, Ryan Compton & Daniel Giedeman
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 587-592

Abstract:
Using state-level data from 1980-2010 we examine whether economic freedom, as measured by the Economic Freedom of North America Index, has had any impact in increasing or decreasing the ratio of median income for black households to the median income of white households. To our knowledge, there has been no research on racial income disparities and the role that economic freedom might have in alleviating or exacerbating the problem. We find evidence that economic freedom is associated with an increase in the racial income gap.

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Will you value me and do I value you? The effect of phenotypic racial stereotypicality on organizational evaluations

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2015, Pages 130-138

Abstract:
This paper investigates whether within-group differences in phenotypic racial stereotypicality (i.e., extent to which individuals possess physical features typical of their racial group) of ingroup members serve as social identity contingency cues for Blacks evaluating organizations. It is hypothesized that Blacks draw information about whether their social identity would be valued based on the represented phenotypic racial stereotypicality of Black organization members. Participants viewed organizations that included high phenotypically stereotypic (HPS) Black (e.g., darker skin tones, broader facial features), low phenotypically stereotypic (LPS) Black, or only White employees. Results confirmed that Black, but not White, evaluators reported more diversity, salary, desire to work, and social identity-related trust toward the HPS, compared to LPS and White, organizations. The relationships between phenotypic racial stereotypicality condition on organizational attractiveness and diversity perceptions were mediated by identity-related trust. Results suggest considering diversity at both the group level and within group level to achieve broader benefits.

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Statistical Discrimination and the Implication of Employer-Employee Racial Matches

Yariv Fadlon
Journal of Labor Research, June 2015, Pages 232-248

Abstract:
In this paper, I test the empirical validity of a statistical discrimination model that incorporates employer's race. I argue that if an employer statistically discriminates less against an employee that shares the same race (matched) than an employee who does not share the same race (mismatched), then the correlation between the employee's wage and his skill level (AFQT) is stronger for a matched employee than for a mismatched employee. Using data from the NLSY97, which includes information about the racial background of employees and their supervisors, I find evidence that is consistent with a statistical discrimination model for young male employees.

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Capturing the cardiac effects of racial discrimination: Do the effects "keep going"?

Lori Hoggard et al.
International Journal of Psychophysiology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Racial discrimination negatively impacts cardiac functioning, but few studies examine the more distal cardiac effects of racial discrimination experiences. The present study examined the momentary and prolonged impact of lab-based intergroup and intragroup racial discrimination on heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate (HR) in a sample (N = 42) of African American (AA) women across two days. On day one, the women were exposed to simulated racial discrimination from either a European American (EA) or AA confederate in the lab. On day two, the women returned to the lab for additional physiological recording and debriefing. Women insulted by the EA confederate exhibited lower HRV on day one and marginally lower HRV on day two. These women also exhibited marginally higher HR on day two. The HRV and HR effects on day two were not mediated by differences in perseveration about the stressor. The findings indicate that racial discrimination - particularly intergroup racial discrimination - may have both momentary and prolonged effects on cardiac activity in AAs.

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Stereotype validation: The effects of activating negative stereotypes after intellectual performance

Jason Clark et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2015, Pages 531-552

Abstract:
With regard to intellectual performance, a large body of research has shown that stigmatized group members may perform more poorly when negative, self-relevant stereotypes become activated prior to a task. However, no research to date has identified the potential ramifications of stereotype activation that happens after - rather than before - a person has finished performing. Six studies examined how postperformance stereotype salience may increase the certainty individuals have in evaluations of their own performance. In the current research, the accessibility of gender or racial stereotypes was manipulated after participants completed either a difficult math test (Studies 1-5) or a test of child-care knowledge (Study 6). Consistent with predictions, stereotype activation was found to increase the certainty that women (Studies 1, 2, 4, and 5), African Americans (Study 3), and men (Study 6) had toward negative evaluations of their own test performance. These effects emerged when performance-related perceptions were stereotype consistent rather than inconsistent (Studies 1-6) and were found to be most pronounced among those who were highly identified with the stereotyped group (Study 5). Furthermore, greater certainty - triggered by negative stereotypes - predicted lowered domain-relevant beliefs (Studies 1, 2, 3, and 6) and differential exposure to domain-relevant stimuli (Studies 4 and 5).

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Race, Friends, and College Readiness: Evidence from the High School Longitudinal Study

Steven Elias Alvarado & Brian An
Race and Social Problems, June 2015, Pages 150-167

Abstract:
Close friends are likely to transmit influence on students' educational attitudes and decisions that are independent of students' own background abilities and motivations. However, previous research suggests that close friends may have uneven effects on educational outcomes by race and ethnicity. We analyze the impact of close friends who are college bound on students' college readiness using new and restricted panel data from the High School Longitudinal Study (2009-2011). Descriptive analyses suggest that having a college-bound friend is positively associated with college readiness and that these impacts are felt by racial and ethnic subgroups in separate and unique ways. Results from propensity score models suggest that while having a college-bound friend generally yields positive effects on all students, it has a more consistent effect on white students' college readiness compared with Asians, blacks, and Latinos. A formal sensitivity analysis suggests that these treatment effects are robust to the confounding influence of an unobserved confounder.

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Dynamics of the Black-White Gap in Academic Achievement

Ian McDonough
Economics of Education Review, August 2015, Pages 17-33

Abstract:
The black-white test score gap remains a measurable phenomenon in the United States. Up to this point the literature has primarily focused on the black-white achievement gap without taking into account the underlying mobility patterns of individual students as they progress from one grade to the next. However, the degree to which policy makers and educators should be concerned about the black-white test score gap should be tied to how mobile the two groups of students are through the distribution of test scores from one grade to the next. In this paper I apply two nonparametric estimators of distributional mobility to data on test scores and track black-white differences in mobility across the entire distribution of achievement. When compared to whites, blacks tend to be less upwardly mobile and more downwardly mobile for both math and reading. This pattern is particularly prominent for reading in the very early years of schooling.

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Antiegalitarians for affirmative action? When social dominance orientation is positively related to support for egalitarian social policies

Geoffrey Ho & Miguel Unzueta
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous research has found that people high in social dominance orientation (i.e., antiegalitarians) generally oppose affirmative action policies. We propose that antiegalitarians may be less opposed to strong affirmative action policies because such policies may be perceived to ultimately strengthen racial hierarchies. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that antiegalitarian individuals are less opposed to affirmative action policies, as compared to egalitarian individuals, when such policies strongly weigh minority status in selection decisions. Study 3 provides evidence that antiegalitarians lessen their opposition to strong policies only when such policies are believed to enhance racial hierarchies through the recruitment of minorities that remain at the bottom of organizational hierarchies. Theoretical, political, and organizational implications are discussed.

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Hispanics' SAT Scores: The Influences of Level of Parental Education, Performance-Avoidance Goals, and Knowledge About Learning

Brenda Hannon
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, May 2015, Pages 204-222

Abstract:
This study uncovers which learning (epistemic belief of learning), socioeconomic background (level of parental education, family income) or social-personality factors (performance-avoidance goals, test anxiety) mitigate the ethnic gap in SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores. Measures assessing achievement motivation, test anxiety, socioeconomic family background, and epistemic belief of learning were administered to 143 European American and 62 Hispanic students. ANCOVA revealed that the measures of epistemic belief of learning, performance-avoidance goals, and level of parental education each had a unique influence on combined SAT (SAT-V + SAT-M), SAT-V (verbal SAT), and SAT-M (math SAT) scores. Indeed, the statistical removal of these influences resulted in the elimination of 55% to 75% of the effect attributed to ethnic differences in SAT performance. Moreover, even when gender differences were controlled, ANCOVA revealed the same results. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that multiple factors influence ethnic differences in SAT performance.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At the margin

Changes in Safety Net Use during the Great Recession

Patricia Anderson, Kristin Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 161-165

Abstract:
We examine how participation in social safety net programs differs by income-to-poverty levels, and how that relationship changed after the Great Recession. We define income-to-poverty based on the average of 2 years of merged CPS data, and investigate program participation among households with income less than 300 percent of poverty. We find changes in both the level and distribution of safety-net program participation during the Great Recession, with SNAP expanding most at the bottom, the EITC expanding most in the middle, and UI expanding most at the top of the income ranges that we investigate; TANF did not expand.

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Housing Policy and Urban Inequality: Did the Transformation of Assisted Housing Reduce Poverty Concentration?

Ann Owens
Social Forces, forthcoming

Abstract:
Poverty concentration reflects long-standing inequalities between neighborhoods in the United States. As the poverty concentration paradigm gained traction among policymakers and social scientists, assisted housing policy was overhauled. New assisted housing programs introduced since 1970 have dramatically reduced the geographic concentration of assisted housing units, changing the residential location of many low-income residents. Was this intervention in the housing market enough to reduce poverty concentration? Using national longitudinal data, I find that the deconcentration of assisted housing from 1977 to 2008 only modestly reduced poverty concentration in the 100 largest metropolitan areas. The results are driven by the deconcentration of assisted housing after 2000, when policies had a greater focus on dispersal of assisted housing to low-poverty neighborhoods. My results suggest that even a substantial shift in housing policy cannot make great strides in deconcentrating poverty given the existing landscape of durable urban inequality. Assisted housing policy exists alongside many other structural forces that cluster poor residents in neighborhoods, and these factors may limit its ability to reduce poverty concentration. Moreover, new housing programs rely on the private market to determine the location of assisted units, and the enduring place hierarchy among neighborhoods may influence both where assisted housing is located and its effect on the residential choices of non-assisted residents in ways that undermine poverty deconcentration.

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Intrayear Household Income Dynamics and Adolescent School Behavior

Lisa Gennetian et al.
Demography, April 2015, Pages 455-483

Abstract:
Economic life for most American households is quite dynamic. Such income instability is an understudied aspect of households' economic contexts that may have distinct consequences for children. We examine the empirical relationship between household income instability, as measured by intrayear income change, and adolescent school behavior outcomes using a nationally representative sample of households with adolescents from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2004 panel. We find an unfavorable relationship between income instability and adolescent school behaviors after controlling for income level and a large set of child and family characteristics. Income instability is associated with a lower likelihood of adolescents being highly engaged in school across the income spectrum and predicts adolescent expulsions and suspensions, particularly among low-income, older, and racial minority adolescents.

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Social Networks and Personal Bankruptcy

Michelle Miller
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2015, Pages 289–310

Abstract:
This article examines the role of social networks in a household's bankruptcy decision. Social networks may affect a household's bankruptcy decision in many ways: they could provide information about the required paperwork, recommend an attorney, reduce the stigma associated with bankruptcy, or increase awareness of its benefits. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), I exploit county and racial variation to identify network effects. My empirical strategy asks whether being surrounded by others of the same race increases bankruptcy use more for those in racial groups with high filing rates. This methodology allows me to include both county-year and racial-group fixed effects in my regressions. The results strongly confirm the importance of networks in a household's bankruptcy decision.

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The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence Katz
Harvard Working Paper, May 2015

Abstract:
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered randomly selected families living in high-poverty housing projects housing vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods. We present new evidence on the impacts of MTO on children's long-term outcomes using administrative data from tax returns. We find that moving to a lower-poverty neighborhood significantly improves college attendance rates and earnings for children who were young (below age 13) when their families moved. These children also live in better neighborhoods themselves as adults and are less likely to become single parents. The treatment effects are substantial: children whose families take up an experimental voucher to move to a lower-poverty area when they are less than 13 years old have an annual income that is $3,477 (31%) higher on average relative to a mean of $11,270 in the control group in their mid-twenties. In contrast, the same moves have, if anything, negative long-term impacts on children who are more than 13 years old when their families move, perhaps because of disruption effects. The gains from moving fall with the age when children move, consistent with recent evidence that the duration of exposure to a better environment during childhood is a key determinant of an individual's long-term outcomes. The findings imply that offering families with young children living in high-poverty housing projects vouchers to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods may reduce the intergenerational persistence of poverty and ultimately generate positive returns for taxpayers.

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Living Arrangements, Doubling Up, and the Great Recession: Was This Time Different?

Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes
American Economic Review, May 2015, Pages 166-170

Abstract:
The Great Recession marks the worst downturn since those of the early 1980s. A large literature considers how the public safety net responded to this shock. We instead consider the responsiveness of one dimension of the private safety net. Families can react to negative shocks by moving in with relatives or downsizing. We use across-state over-time variation to estimate the effects of cycles on living arrangements, paying particular attention to young adults. We find living arrangements are cyclical, but effects are small. Surprisingly given the press attention, we find no evidence that things are different in the Great Recession.

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Association of Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Psychological Distress

Vanessa Oddo & James Mabli
American Journal of Public Health, June 2015, Pages e30-e35

Objectives: We assessed whether households' participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was associated with improvements in well-being, as indicated by lower rates of psychological distress.

Methods: We used longitudinal data for 3146 households in 30 states, collected between October 2011 and September 2012 for the SNAP Food Security survey, the largest longitudinal national survey of SNAP participants to date. Analyses compared households within days of program entry to the same households approximately 6 months later. We measured psychological distress in the past 30 days on a 6-item Kessler screening scale and used multivariable regression to estimate associations between SNAP participation and psychological distress.

Results: A smaller percentage of household heads exhibited psychological distress after 6 months of participation in SNAP than at baseline (15.3% vs 23.2%; difference = −7.9%). In adjusted models, SNAP participation was associated with a decrease in psychological distress (adjusted relative risk = 0.72; 95% confidence interval = 0.66, 0.78).

Conclusions: Continuing support for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, may reduce the public health burden of mental illness, thus improving well-being among vulnerable populations.

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Welfare use and children's longer-term achievement

Shan-Ying Chu & Hau Chyi
Applied Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the effects of mothers' welfare use on children's longer-term performance. To address issues of improper comparison groups and the endogenous nature of welfare participation, we focus on less-educated single mothers and adopt a correction function approach. Data are drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 – Children and Young Adult from 1994 to 2010. Estimation results confirm the positive longer-term effects of mothers' welfare use. On average, a child whose mother used welfare in all 20 quarters after childbirth experiences a 0.56-point increase in their yearly high school grade point average, is 12% more likely to graduate from high school and earns $1112.76 more in the first-observed income than a child whose mother does not.

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The Effects of Location-based Tax Policies on the Distribution of Household Income: Evidence from the Federal Empowerment Zone Program

Lockwood Reynolds & Shawn Rohlin
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
Location-based tax policies are redistributive as evidenced by their placement in distressed areas. However, the previous literature has focused on mean effects which can mask important effects that the program has on the distribution of households. Therefore, we extend the literature by studying changes in the entire household income distribution, in the context of the federal Empowerment Zone (EZ) program. We do not find evidence that the impoverished residents benefited from the program. Our findings are consistent with the areas becoming more attractive to high-income households. The improvements in the areas were concentrated in those portions of each zone that were relatively better-off prior to EZ designation. The results confirm the prior literature findings that the areas, on average, became more attractive but also suggest that the benefits of the program likely did not accrue to the lower-income residents of the EZ areas.

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The Success of SNAP (Food Stamps) and the Desirability of Taxing Food

Steven Sheffrin & Anna Johnson
Tulane University Working Paper, April 2015

Abstract:
Most states either totally or partially exclude food at home from the general sales tax. This exclusion generates a debate between tax policy analysts with their emphasis on broad base, low-rate tax systems against the advocates for the poor who argue that the exemption for food is necessary on distributional grounds. States that do tax food at home are often singled out as having particularly regressive and punitive tax systems. What is missing from this debate is a serious discussion of the consequences of non-taxability of benefits under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (food stamps). We present evidence that the SNAP program effectively reaches the vast majority of the poor thus making the taxability of food at home much less important for individuals in lower income tiers. Based on calculations using the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we show that the non-taxability of SNAP benefits reduces the regressivity of the sales tax in states that tax food. Overall, including food at home in the sales tax base with a correspondent adjustment of the overall tax rate would be a beneficial change. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political and economic dimensions which may lead food at home to be excluded from the tax base.

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Vehicle Access and Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty: Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Program

Casey Dawkins, Jae Sik Jeon & Rolf Pendall
Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
The geographic determinants of social and economic opportunity have received much scholarly attention. A missing link in this body of research is an emphasis on the range of factors influencing low-income households' exposure to neighborhood poverty over time. This paper examines the dynamics of exposure to neighborhood poverty for Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program participants. Our paper is unique in its emphasis on the role of vehicle access as it shapes exposure to neighborhood poverty. We find that vehicle access is an important factor shaping residential spells and transitions to low-poverty neighborhoods over time. We also find that the combined influence of a geographically-targeted residential mobility requirement and vehicle access substantially elevates a household's likelihood of accessing and staying in a low-poverty neighborhood. These findings suggest that residential mobility programs and similar efforts to spatially deconcentrate poverty should pay particular attention to the transportation needs of low-income households.

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Economic Conditions and SSI Applications

Austin Nichols, Lucie Schmidt & Purvi Sevak
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2014

Abstract:
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides federally-funded income support for individuals with disabilities, and has become one of the most important means-tested transfer programs in the United States. Previous studies have examined the effects of economic conditions on growth in disability caseloads, but most focus on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Most work on SSI dates from before welfare reform, which had both direct and indirect effects on the composition of the population at risk for SSI participation. In this paper we examine the relationship between SSI application risk and economic conditions between 1996 and 2010, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) linked to the Social Security Administration's 831 file, which includes monthly data on SSI (and SSDI) application and receipt. Results from hazard models suggest that higher state unemployment rates have a large, positive effect on the risk of SSI application among jobless individuals, and our evidence suggests that female potential applicants may be more responsive to local economic conditions than men. State-level TANF policies have no effect on SSI application risk but state fiscal distress significantly increases application risk. Given the continued growth of the SSI program, understanding these relationships is increasingly important and policy-relevant.

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Given Time It Worked: Positive Outcomes From a SSDI Benefit Offset Pilot After the Initial Evaluation Period

Barry Delin, Ellie Hartman & Christopher Sell
Journal of Disability Policy Studies, June 2015, Pages 54-64

Abstract:
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Employment Pilot in Wisconsin was one of four Social Security Administration authorized pilots to test a cash benefit offset feature for the SSDI program. Those allowed to use the offset only lost US$1 of their SSDI cash benefit for every US$2 earned when their monthly earnings reached the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level after completing the Trial Work Period (TWP). Over the first two years following pilot enrollment, no statistically significant differences were observed in employment outcomes between the treatment and control groups. However, after these first two years, outcome trends diverged, ultimately leading to the treatment group exhibiting better outcomes. The differences between treatment and control participants were conditioned on whether participants completed their TWP by the end of 2008. Subsequently, there were statistically significant differences between outcome trends for the two groups of TWP completers. There were virtually no differences between the outcome trends for the groups with no TWP completers. These results are consistent with an interpretation that the cash benefit offset, given adequate time, can be an effective work incentive.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM


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