Kevin Lewis

June 25, 2022

Is Our Fiscal System Discouraging Marriage? A New Look at the Marriage Tax
Elias Ilin, Laurence Kotlikoff & Melinda Pitts
NBER Working Paper, June 2022

We develop, apply, and test a new measure of the marriage tax -- the reduction in future spending from getting married -- using SCF and ACS data. Our measure incorporates all major and most minor U.S. tax and benefit programs. And it assumes clone marriage -- marrying oneself -- to ensure the living-standard loss from marrying is unaffected by spousal choice. Our calculated high and highly variable marriage taxes materially reduce the probability of marriage particularly for low-income females with children.

Denigrating Women, Venerating "Chad": Ingroup and Outgroup Evaluations among Male Supremacists on Reddit
Katherine Furl
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming 

Can negative evaluations of a broad outgroup paired with positive evaluations of a broad ingroup, sustain willing affiliation with even intensely self-derogating online communities? Synthesizing concepts from masculinities scholarship, social identity theory, and self-verification theory, this study compares language from two distinctive misogynist communities active on -- Men Going Their Own Way, male separatists who positively frame members as superior to other men and men as superior to women, and Involuntary Celibates (incels), who openly derogate incel community members -- to understand what sustains misogynist incels' willing affiliation with the self-derogating incel community. Using thematic qualitative analysis, I find that while male separatists favor both their own narrower online community and the broader ingroup of men, misogynist incels engage in a patriarchal bargain, using relatively benevolent depictions of some men alongside negative depictions of all women to perpetuate broader gender inequality.


Disgust sensitivity predicts sociosexuality across cultures
Jessica Hlay et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Restricted sociosexuality has been linked to sexual disgust, suggesting that decreasing sexual behavior may be a pathogen avoidance technique. Using the behavioral immune system framework, which posits that humans experience disgust after exposure to pathogen cues, we replicate and expand on previous studies by analyzing the influence of three domains of disgust (sexual, moral, pathogen) on psychological (desire and attitude) and behavioral domains of sociosexuality (SOI) in four diverse samples: American university students (n = 155), Salvadoran community members (n = 98), a global online sample (n = 359), and a four-country online sample (US, India, Italy, and Brazil; n = 822) collected during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In contrast with previous studies, we account for shared variance in sexual, pathogen, and moral disgust by entering all three in a multiple regression to predict composite SOI. In both large samples, sexual disgust and pathogen disgust had opposing effects on composite SOI; that is, higher sexual disgust and lower pathogen disgust were associated with more restricted composite SOI. Additionally, we constructed a multi-group structural equation model (SEM) to determine the impact of each domain of disgust on each domain of SOI across all our samples simultaneously, while controlling for age and sex. Within this model we also assessed how the psychological domains of SOI -- attitude and desire -- mediate the relationship between disgust and sociosexual behavior. Pathogen disgust positively predicted SOI attitude and desire, but not behavior, consistently across all groups. SOI behavior was only predicted by pathogen disgust when mediated by SOI attitude, again across all groups, suggesting that behavior seems to be driven largely by the psychological facets of SOI. We discuss these findings in light of the behavioral immune system and the bet-hedging hypothesis, which make opposing predictions on the relationship between infection risk and sexual behavior.


Evidence of assortative mating for theory of mind via facial expressions but not language
Emily Jackson et al.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Assortative mating is a phenomenon in which romantic partners typically resemble each other at a level greater than chance. There is converging evidence that social behaviours are subject to assortative mating, though less is known regarding social cognition. Social functioning requires the ability to identify and understand the mental states of others, i.e., theory of mind. The present study recruited a sample of 102 heterosexual couples via an online survey to test if theory of mind as measured using facial expressions (Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test) or language (Stiller-Dunbar Stories Task) is associated with assortative mating. Results provide evidence of assortative mating for theory of mind via facial expressions, though there was no such effect for theory of mind via language. Assortative mating for theory of mind via facial expressions was not moderated by length of relationship nor by partner similarity in age, educational attainment, or religiosity, all variables relevant to social stratification. This suggests assortative mating for theory of mind via facial expressions is better explained by partners being alike at the start of their relationship (initial assortment) rather than becoming similar through sustained social interaction (convergence), and by people seeking out partners that are like themselves (active assortment) rather than simply pairing with those from similar demographic backgrounds (social homogamy). 

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence: Economics or Isolation?
Alexander Henke & Linchi Hsu
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2022, Pages 296-309

Recent studies estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increases reports of domestic violence in several countries. Using mobile device tracking data, city-level unemployment data, and new data on labor market conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we isolate the effects of unemployment and staying at home on incidents of domestic violence. We find that unemployment decreases domestic violence after controlling for the degree to which people stay at home. We also provide evidence that staying at home increases domestic violence. However, we find that the effects of unemployment and staying at home are concentrated right after an initial shock from mid-March to mid-June 2020. Finally, we find that some labor market conditions linked to COVID-19, such as being prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, decrease domestic violence, and these labor market effects are often gendered.

Sexual violence history predicts changes in vaginal immune parameters during sexual arousal
Kirstin Clephane et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, August 2022, Pages 171-180

Ninety-one premenopausal healthy women (ages 18 - 42) attended a single laboratory session in which they provided vaginal fluid samples before and after viewing one neutral and one erotic film. While viewing the films, participants' vaginal sexual arousal was recorded using vaginal photoplethysmography.

Of the 91 participants, 41 (45%) reported no history of sexual violence, 17 (19%) reported a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) only, 19 (21%) reported a history of adult sexual assault (ASA) only, and 10 (11%) reported a history of both CSA and ASA, with 4 participants choosing not to provide information on their sexual violence history. For women with a history of ASA but not CSA, there was a significant increase in vaginal IL-1β following arousal, while for women with a history of CSA (with or without ASA), there was a significant decrease. Women without CSA histories had a significant increase in vaginal IgA following sexual arousal, while women with CSA histories had a decrease.

I will Be Green for US: When Consumers Compensate for their Partners' Unsustainable Behavior
Aylin Cakanlar, Hristina Nikolova & Gergana Nenkov
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

In the context of romantic relationships, partners regularly observe each other's unsustainable behavior. But how do these unsustainable behaviors influence each member of the couple? This research shows that how consumers respond to their partners' unsustainable behaviors depends on the amount of relationship power they possess: high relationship power individuals compensate for their partners' unsustainable behavior by acting in a more sustainable manner relative to their baseline tendencies, but low relationship power individuals do not increase their own sustainable behavior. This effect occurs because high relationship power partners feel more responsible for the reconstruction of the couple identity after it has been damaged by the partner's unsustainable choice and, as a result, have a stronger desire to signal a positive couple identity (i.e., a positive couple sustainable identity). Consistent with this theory, this effect is attenuated for high relationship power individuals who have weak green identities. Seven studies provide evidence for these findings by measuring and manipulating relationship power and assessing hypothetical and actual sustainable behaviors. This research contributes to the sustainable behavior literature and highlights effective ways to promote sustainable behavior in households.


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