Thursday, September 21, 2017

Revenue fell under receiverships: Can Europe Run Greece? Lessons from U.S. Fiscal Receiverships in Latin America, 1904-3

Maurer, Noel and Arroyo Abad, Leticia, Can Europe Run Greece? Lessons from U.S. Fiscal Receiverships in Latin America, 1904-31 (June 13, 2017). George Washington University Working Paper, June 2017.

Abstract: In 2012 and again in 2015, the German government proposed sending German administrators to manage Greece’s tax and privatization authorities. The idea was that shared governance would reduce corruption and root out inefficient practices. (In 2017 the Boston Globe proposed a similar arrangement for Haiti.) We test a version of shared governance using eight U.S. interventions between 1904 and 1931, under which American officials took over management of Latin American fiscal institutions. We develop a stylized model in which better monitoring by incorruptible managers does not lead to higher government revenues. Using a new panel of data on fiscal revenues and the volume and terms of trade, we find that revenue fell under receiverships. Our results hold under instrumental variables estimation and with counterfactual specifications using synthetic controls.

Chimps do not “do what the others do” merely to fit in, nor suffer for attacks against non-group members

Do Chimpanzees Conform to Social Norms? Laura Schlingloff, and Richard Moore. In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds, Jul 2017. ISBN: 978-1138822887. DOI 10.4324/9781315742250.ch36

Many studies on social influences on human behavior – including the famous Asch conformity experiments (1951) – show that we change our behavior to fit in with the crowd. [...]

To investigate whether chimpanzees copy for affiliative reasons, van Leeuwen and colleagues tested whether they abandon individually learned information in favor of a majority strategy. They found that chimpanzees do not change a first-learned strategy to conform to a majority, although they will do so to gain higher rewards (van Leeuwen et al. 2013; see also Hrubesch, Preuschoft and van Schaik 2009; and van Leeuwen and Haun 2013). This suggests that chimpanzees are not motivated to “do what the others do” merely to fit in (Leeuwen and Haun 2013).

[...] In human communities, not only do individuals prefer to conform, they also uphold the principles of their group – for example, by punishing those who do not conform. In humans, third-party enforcement of arbitrary conventional norms emerges in children as young as three years (Schmidt, Rakoczy and Tomasello 2012). Humans are also willing to suffer costs in order to sanction norm violations, even if they themselves were not harmed by the violation (Fehr and Fischbacher 2004). Currently, there is no evidence that chimpanzees enforce social norms. While they punish those who harm them directly (Jensen, Call and Tomasello 2007), this is consistent with them punishing out of revenge, and not because they think group norms should be upheld. They do not seem to engage in ‘third-party punishment’. For example, Riedl and colleagues (2012) found that chimpanzees would not retaliate against a conspecific when a third party’s food was stolen.


Apes looked longer at videos of unfamiliar individuals committing infanticidal attacks than at control videos (e.g., of chimpanzees behaving aggressively towards adults). However – with the exception of one individual who performed threat displays towards the video screen – watching infanticide did not elicit negative emotional arousal. The authors interpret the findings as showing that while chimpanzees may recognize norm violations, these violations elicit strong emotional responses only when they affect group members.

Genomic Imprinting Is Implicated in the Psychology of Music

Genomic Imprinting Is Implicated in the Psychology of Music. Samuel Mehr et al. Psychological Science,

Abstract: Why do people sing to babies? Human infants are relatively altricial and need their parents’ attention to survive. Infant-directed song may constitute a signal of that attention. In Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), a rare disorder of genomic imprinting, genes from chromosome 15q11–q13 that are typically paternally expressed are unexpressed, which results in exaggeration of traits that reduce offspring’s investment demands on the mother. PWS may thus be associated with a distinctive musical phenotype. We report unusual responses to music in people with PWS. Subjects with PWS (N = 39) moved more during music listening, exhibited greater reductions in heart rate in response to music listening, and displayed a specific deficit in pitch-discrimination ability relative to typically developing adults and children (N = 589). Paternally expressed genes from 15q11–q13, which are unexpressed in PWS, may thus increase demands for music and enhance perceptual sensitivity to music. These results implicate genomic imprinting in the psychology of music, informing theories of music’s evolutionary history.

LGB respondents are more liberal than heterosexuals on 99 percent of 199 attitudinal items

Schnabel, Landon. 2017. “Sexual Orientation and Social Attitudes”. SocArXiv. August 23.

Abstract: Gender, race, and class strongly predict social attitudes and are at the core of social scientific theory and empirical analysis. Sexuality (i.e., same-sex behavior or LGB identity), however, is not as central a factor by which we conceptualize and systematize society. Using the General Social Survey, this study examines the effect of sexuality, gender, race, and education on 199 attitudinal items. Sexuality consistently and substantially predicts a broad range of attitudes. Measured by partnering behavior, sexuality significantly predicts attitudes on 137 items. On all 137 of these items, LGB respondents are more liberal than heterosexuals. Irrespective of significance, LGB respondents are more liberal than heterosexuals on 99 percent of 199 total items. These patterns are consistent with the underdog principle of marginalized identity and progressive values. Sexuality predicts attitudes at least as consistently as gender, race, and education. I argue that future work should pay more attention to sexuality as a core factor in social scientific theory and empirical analysis.

Introverts emerge less as leaders because they engage in higher levels of forecasted negative affect

The failure of introverts to emerge as leaders: The role of forecasted affect. Andrew Spark, Timothy Stansmore, and Peter O'Connor. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 121, January 15 2018, Pages 84–88.

•    Introverts are less likely to emerge as leaders compared to extraverts.
•    Forecasted affect is proposed to mediate this relationship.
•    Forecasted positive affect has no mediation effect.

    Forecasted negative affect fully mediates the relationship.

Abstract: Introverts are less likely to emerge as leaders than extraverts, however the existing literature provides little explanation as to why. To investigate the potential cause of this trait-based difference in emergent leadership, we measured trait extraversion in a sample of 184 business students and studied their leadership-related behavior in an unstructured group task. We drew from a model of forecasted affect to hypothesize that introverts would be less likely to emerge as leaders based on their belief that engaging in the necessary extraverted behavior would be unpleasant/unenjoyable (i.e. they would forecast higher levels of negative affect compared to extraverts). Consistent with this, we found that introverts were less likely to emerge as leaders, and that forecasted negative affect fully accounted for the relationship between extraversion and peer-rated emergent leadership. We therefore argue that introverts fail to emerge as leaders as often as extraverts because they engage in higher levels of forecasted negative affect and that these forecasts impede their emergent leadership potential.

Keywords: Extraversion; Introversion; Forecasted affect; Emergent leadership

Disgust and Deontology: Trait Sensitivity to Contamination Promotes a Preference for Order, Hierarchy, and Rule-Based Moral Judgment

Disgust and Deontology: Trait Sensitivity to Contamination Promotes a Preference for Order, Hierarchy, and Rule-Based Moral Judgment. Jeffrey S. Robinson, Xiaowen Xu, and Jason E. Plaks. Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Abstract: Models of moral judgment have linked generalized emotionality with deontological moral judgment. The evidence, however, is mixed. Other research has linked the specific emotion of disgust with generalized moral condemnation. Here too, the evidence is mixed. We suggest that a synthesis of these two literatures points to one specific emotion (disgust) that reliably predicts one specific type of moral judgment (deontological). In all three studies, we found that trait disgust sensitivity predicted more extreme deontological judgment. In Study 3, with deontological endorsement and consequentialist endorsement operationalized as independent constructs, we found that disgust was positively associated with deontological endorsement but was unrelated to consequentialist endorsement. Across studies, the disgust–deontology link was mediated by individual difference variables related to preference for order (right-wing authoritarianism and intolerance for ambiguity). These data suggest a more precise model of emotion and moral judgment that identifies specific emotions, specific types of moral judgment, and specific motivational pathways.

A Study of Political Candidacy Among Swedish Adoptees -- Strong transmission in candidacy status between rearing mothers and their daughter

It Runs in the Family: A Study of Political Candidacy Among Swedish Adoptees. Oskarsson, S., Dawes, C.T. & Lindgren, KO. Polit Behav (2017).

Abstract: What motivates citizens to run for office? Recent work has shown that early life parental socialization is strongly associated with a desire to run for office. However, parents not only shape their children’s political environment, they also pass along their genes to those same children. A growing area of research has shown that individual differences in a wide range of political behaviors and attitudes are linked to genetic differences. As a result, genetic factors may confound the observed political similarities among parents and their children. This study analyzes Swedish register data containing information on all nominated and elected candidates in the ten parliamentary, county council, and municipal elections from 1982 to 2014 for a large sample of adoptees and their adoptive and biological parents. By studying the similarity in political ambition within both adoptive and biological families, our research design allows us to disentangle so-called “pre-birth” factors, such as genes and pre-natal environment, and “post-birth” factors like parental socialization. We find that the likelihood of standing as a political candidate is twice as high if one’s parent has been a candidate. We also find that the effects of pre-birth and post-birth factors are approximately equal in size. In addition, we test a number of potential pre- and post-birth transmission mechanisms. First, disconfirming our expectations, the pre-birth effects do not seem to be mediated by cognitive ability or leadership skills. Second, consistent with a role modeling mechanism, we find evidence of a strong transmission in candidacy status between rearing mothers and their daughters.

Immobile Australia: Surnames Show Strong Status Persistence, 1870–2017

Immobile Australia: Surnames Show Strong Status Persistence, 1870–2017. Gregory Clark, Andrew Leigh, and Mike Pottenger. IZA DP No. 11021.

Abstract: The paper estimates long run social mobility in Australia 1870–2017 tracking the status of rare surnames. The status information includes occupations from electoral rolls 1903–1980, and records of degrees awarded by Melbourne and Sydney universities 1852–2017. Status persistence was strong throughout, with an intergenerational correlation of 0.7–0.8, and no change over time. Notwithstanding egalitarian norms, high immigration and a well-targeted social safety net, Australian long-run social mobility rates are low. Despite evidence on conventional measures that Australia has higher rates of social mobility than the UK or USA (Mendolia and Siminski, 2016), status persistence for surnames is as high as that in England or the USA. Mobility rates are also just as low if we look just at mobility within descendants of UK immigrants, so ethnic effects explain none of the immobility.

Women perceive men's limbal rings as a health cue when in mood for casual sex

Put a (limbal) ring on it: Women perceive men's limbal rings as a health cue in short-term mating domains. Mitch Brown and Donald F Sacco. Available from:

Abstract: Limbal rings are dark annuli encircling the iris that fluctuate in visibility based on health and age. Research also indicates their presence augments facial attractiveness. Given individuals’ prioritization of health cues in short-term mates, those with limbal rings may be implicated as ideal short-term mates. Three studies tested whether limbal rings serve as veridical health cues, specifically the extent to which this cue enhances a person’s value as a short-term mating partner. In Study 1, targets with limbal rings were rated as healthier, an effect that was stronger for female participants and male targets. In Study 2, temporally activated short-term mating motives led women to report a heightened preference for targets with limbal rings. In Study 3, women rated targets with limbal rings as more desirable short-term mates. Results provide evidence for limbal rings as veridical cues to health, particularly in relevant mating domains.