Thursday, December 14, 2017

Many lesbian and gay adoptive parents reported that birth parents had intentionally selected a same-sex adoptive couple

Farr, R. H., Ravvina, Y. and Grotevant, H. D. (2017), Birth Family Contact Experiences Among Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Adoptive Parents With School-Age Children. Fam Relat. doi:10.1111/fare.12295


Objective: To examine how lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents navigate openness dynamics with children's birth family across a 5-year period, when children are preschool- to school-age.

Background: Few studies regarding birth family contact have included longitudinal data as well as a sample of adoptive parents of varying sexual orientations. Thus, this study used a multiprong theoretical approach grounded in emotional distance regulation, families of choice, and gender theory.

Method: A mixed-methods approach with longitudinal quantitative survey and qualitative interview data from 106 lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parent families was employed to examine the type of contact, its frequency, who was involved, perceptions of this contact, and the extent to which formal agreements exist between adoptive and birth families regarding contact.

Results: Findings revealed variations in the status and perceptions of contact across adoptive families. We also discovered that many lesbian and gay adoptive parents reported that birth parents had intentionally selected a same-sex adoptive couple, and birth parents appeared to have distinct reasons for this choice.

Conclusion: Although some differences in birth family contact distinguished lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parent families, these families generally appeared more similar than different.

Implications: Implications—particularly a need for demonstrated competencies in adoption openness—are discussed for adoption professionals in policy, practice, and legal realms.

Exploring the Relationship between Secularity and Marital Behavior -- Male Atheists Forced to Marry Religious Women!

Exploring the Relationship between Secularity and Marital Behavior. Maryam Dilmaghani. Marriage & Family Review,

ABSTRACT: The higher religiosity of women is a longstanding feature of the religious landscape in the Western World. With the recent vibrancy of secular movements, the greater religiosity of women is reflected in a gender imbalance within the secular groups. For instance, more than three quarters of American atheists are male. Given the effects of both religiosity and secularity on worldview and lifestyle, this gender imbalance is likely consequential for marital behavior and outcomes. Using the latest cycle of the Canadian General Social Survey focused on family, this paper examines how marital behavior of individuals without any tie with religion or spirituality compares with others. Secular males are found appreciably more likely to experience marital dissolution, whereas their female counterparts are shown no different from others. This result lends support to the theories that posit religiosity as a complementary marital trait, requiring the mating of the like. The analysis also indicates that union formation behavior of secular females manifests a larger shift away from the traditional conceptions of marriage compared with secular males. Various explanations are explored.

KEYWORDS: cohabitation, divorce, gender, religiosity, secularity

Are Negative Nominal Interest Rates Expansionary? It seems not.

Are Negative Nominal Interest Rates Expansionary? Gauti Eggertsson, Ragnar Juelsrud & Ella Getz Wold. NBER Working Paper, November 2017.

Abstract: Following the crisis of 2008 several central banks engaged in a radical new policy experiment by setting negative policy rates. Using aggregate and bank-level data, we document a collapse in pass-through to deposit and lending rates once the policy rate turns negative. Motivated by these empirical facts, we construct a macro-model with a banking sector that links together policy rates, deposit rates and lending rates. Once the policy rates turns negative the usual transmission mechanism of monetary policy breaks down. Moreover, because a negative interest rate on reserves reduces bank profits, the total effect on aggregate output can be contractionary

Passionate love's function is to tell our partners that we are committed to the relationship thru signalling we are not seeking more attractive alternatives, giving assurances that we lack the will to replace, reject or cheat on the partner

Passion, Relational Mobility, and Proof of Commitment: A Comparative Socio–Ecological Analysis of an Adaptive Emotion in a Sexual Market. Junko Yamada, Mie Kito, Masaki Yuki. Evolutionary Psychology, Volume: 15 issue: 4,

Abstract: Although monogamy, the exclusive bonding with a specific partner, is one characteristic of modern human mating, long-term romantic relationships inherently possess the commitment problem, which is the conflict between maintaining a relationship with a certain partner and seeking attractive alternatives. Frank has argued that love and passion help solve this problem because they make individuals commit voluntarily to the relationship, leading the other party to also be committed with less concern over being cheated on or rejected. Combining this idea with the comparative socio‐ecological approach, we hypothesize that passion will be more pronounced in social environments in which people have greater freedom to choose and replace their partners (i.e., high relational mobility) than in societies in which relationships tend to be more stable and hard to change (i.e., low relational mobility). To test this hypothesis, we compared Americans (living in a society with high relational mobility) and Japanese (living in a society with low relational mobility). As predicted, Americans were more passionate toward their romantic partners than Japanese, and this cultural difference was partially explained by the levels of perceived relational mobility in participants’ local ecology. Moreover, more intense passion was found to lead to greater commitment behaviors in both societies. The importance of taking socioecological factors into consideration for the theory of the adaptive function of interpersonal emotions is also discussed.

Keywords: passion, commitment, human mating, socioecological approach, relational mobility

What China Gets Right About Relationships. Sam Massie. Feb 16, 2015. Extract:
Actions, Not Words

When I started dating “Jane,” I felt uneasy, because she wouldn’t say the sweet, flirtatious things I expected from a girlfriend. Once, I came home to Shanghai after a week in Indonesia, and instead of saying “I missed you!” or “so good to see you!”, she just launched into conversation as if we’d bumped into each other in the company cafeteria. When I told her I loved her, she responded with a nod and a blank face. I started to worry, did she love me back?

But meanwhile, she started to do countless little nice things for me, without calling attention to herself. She bought me shorts at Old Navy. She took a goofy picture of us with an old Polaroid camera, bought it a frame with bunny ears, and gave it to me. When I threw a birthday party, she blew up balloons and hung them everywhere, brought chips and fresh salsa from a Mexican restaurant, and even arranged a wheelchair so my friend with the sprained ankle could come. As if this wasn’t enough, she also cooked me a delicious pesto meal, complete with red wine and scented candles, and painted me an oil painting which referenced a text message I’d sent her a month before and nearly forgotten about. She had done so much, and I had worried because she’d said too little!

My Chinese teacher, Su Wei, is a master of bold, considerate actions. Once, during Christmas holiday, I took the train up from New York to see him. Even though I only had two hours, he drove 40 minutes to the train station and 40 minutes back, just so he could show me his new house. He gave me a book, a case of jasmine tea for my mom, and a giant bag of pistachios to bring back to China.

Since college, Su Wei has opened his house to his favorite students, saying “this is your home!” Whenever I visit, his wife Liu Mengjun always cooks a huge meal, and there’s always a bed made in the guest room in case I want to spend the night. Once, I casually asked for orange juice, and from then on, there was always was a quart of Tropicana in the fridge whenever I visited. Unique among my college professors, Su Wei has taken an active interest in his student’s lives, and continued to support them as a friend and mentor long after graduation. As a novelist, teacher, and poet, he is more expressive than Jane, but he still leads with his actions.

This emphasis on action goes back to Confucius. In Book IV, Verse XXIV of the Analects, he declared: “The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct.” He could easily be describing Jane or Su Wei.

Introversion and Sincerity

My Chinese coworkers prefer to stay quiet in unfamiliar social settings. The thought is, “I don’t want to go first” or “I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” This makes team lunches dreadfully boring. Our American office manager, Melissa, has tried to force employees to be social with Friday Happy Hours at the office, but instead of socializing, most employees rush to grab a beer or a popcorn and then return to their desks.

This is the near-opposite of American bluster and extroversion. Americans seem to have a script for these situations: “How’s it going.” “So, what do you do?” “Whatcha got going on this weekend?” Usually they don’t care about the answer — sorry, Mark, no one wants to hear about your bike trip — but the script forces people together, and facilitates new connections.

These two stances, introversion versus extroversion, sincerity vs. small talk, lead to different outcomes. The first stance leads to a few close friendships, the second leads to lots of acquaintances. There is no word for “networking” in Chinese. How could there be, after Confucius himself said, “Have no friends not equal to yourself”? On the flip side, small talk can open up friendships, but too often, these “friendships” get stuck in a sort of Demilitarized Zone of fake cheer and irony. Americans may be more outgoing on average, but that doesn’t make them less lonely.

Of course, China has its own insincere social rituals, but they revolve around banquets, toasting, gift-giving, and trying to one-up each other in Generosity and Actions. These rituals create, if not sincere friendship, then at least a strong bond of mutual dependency.

Friendships Are More Intimate

When I have made it past the “friend” barrier with a Chinese person, he or she has often becomes as close as a Westerner I’ve known for many years. Angela, who joined us on the trip to Yixing, is a senior HR manager, but she treats her hires like her children. She’s invited me and Dandan to go hiking with her teenage son, and regularly hosts dinner parties at her house. Su Wei, my Chinese teacher, knows more about my love life than my parents do.

My coworker Lincoln, a thoughtful digital marketer with a pirate’s goatee, has already become a swimming buddy and political debating partner. We’ll head to the Xuhui District public swimming pool, where of course, we have to strip naked to change into our bathing suits, and swim for an hour or two. Then we’ll order noodles at the Lanzhou Noodle restaurant and talk politics and history until the Shanghai Metro hits closing time.

Even Chinese-Americans like my friend Charles, who moved to Vermont when he was 8, says “yo” and “a’ight,” and is otherwise the perfect image of a Dartmouth frat boy, haven’t lost this trait. Charles won’t hesitate to spend an entire Saturday and Sunday with one of his “boys” or “girls”, drinking, eating, and telling mutually incriminating stories. The language is English and the content is American, but the format remains Chinese.

Whether it’s Angela, Su Wei, Lincoln, or Charles, they all manage to be close without resorting to the exaggerated sentimentality of my Western friends. None of them has ever said, “It’s SO good to see you!” Instead, they simply invite me into their lives and invest hours together.

As a special class of friendship, dating in China is less like a “relationship” between two individuals and more like a merger of two lives. The ideal Shanghainese boyfriend will cook his girl’s meals, fold her laundry, and of course, pay for everything — as my American roommate Jon has learned to do for his local girlfriend, Sabrina. Continuous communication on WeChat is the norm; matching “couple clothes” are not uncommon. Even the concept of “dating” itself implies a steady march towards marriage. Western hook-up culture, while spreading, remains limited to young professionals in places like central Shanghai.

The deepest bond, of course, is between parent and child. One day, Jane asked her mother what she would do if she died. Without missing a beat, without even changing her expression, her mother said, “Oh, I would kill myself.”

They tend to say less and do more, showing their care through considerate actions instead of words. The wall between strangers is higher, perhaps, but once you’ve crossed that wall, everything is shared.

Demographics and Innovation -- Younger populations are more innovative

Derrien, Fran├žois and Kecskes, Ambrus and Nguyen, Phuong-Anh, Demographics and Innovation (December 11, 2017). HEC Paris Research Paper No. FIN-2017-1243. Available at SSRN:

Abstract: We argue that a younger labor force produces more innovation. Using the native born labor force projected based on local historical births, we find that a younger age structure causes a significant increase in innovation. We use three levels of analysis in succession – commuting zones, firms, and inventors – to examine or eliminate various effects such as firm and inventor life cycles. We also find that innovation activities reflect the innovative characteristics of younger labor forces. Our results indicate that demographics increase innovation through the labor supply channel rather than through a financing supply or consumer demand channel.

Keywords: Innovation; Demographics; Age structure; Labor markets; Firms; Inventors; Patents