Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Prisons privatization is not a function of simple ideological or economic considerations; rather, has been a consequence of the administrative & legal costs associated with litigation brought by prisoners

Why Do States Privatize their Prisons? The Unintended Consequences of Inmate Litigation. Anna Gunderson, Job market paper 2019. Feb 2019. www.annagunderson.com/uploads/1/5/3/2/15320172/gunderson2019.pdf

The United States has witnessed privatization of a variety of government functions over the last three decades. Media and politicians often attribute the decision to privatize to ideological commitments to small government and fiscal pressure. These claims are particularly notable in the context of prison privatization, where states and the federal government have employed private companies to operate and manage private correctional facilities. I argue state prison privatization is not a function of simple ideological or economic considerations. Rather, prison privatization has been a (potentially unintended) consequence of the administrative and legal costs associated with litigation brought by prisoners. I assemble an original database of prison privatization in the US and demonstrate that the privatization of prisons is best predicted by the legal pressure on state corrections systems, rather than the ideological orientation of a state government.

Appendix: http://www.annagunderson.com/uploads/1/5/3/2/15320172/gunderson2019appendix.pdf

Automation always reduces the labor share in value added and may reduce labor demand even as it raises productivity; this is counterbalanced by the creation of new tasks in which labor has a comparative advantage

Automation and New Tasks: How Technology Displaces and Reinstates Labor. Daron Acemoglu, Pascual Restrepo. NBER Working Paper No. 25684, Mar 2019. https://www.nber.org/papers/w25684

Abstract: We present a framework for understanding the effects of automation and other types of technological changes on labor demand, and use it to interpret changes in US employment over the recent past. At the center of our framework is the allocation of tasks to capital and labor—the task content of production. Automation, which enables capital to replace labor in tasks it was previously engaged in, shifts the task content of production against labor because of a displacement effect. As a result, automation always reduces the labor share in value added and may reduce labor demand even as it raises productivity. The effects of automation are counterbalanced by the creation of new tasks in which labor has a comparative advantage. The introduction of new tasks changes the task content of production in favor of labor because of a reinstatement effect, and always raises the labor share and labor demand. We show how the role of changes in the task content of production—due to automation and new tasks—can be inferred from industry-level data. Our empirical decomposition suggests that the slower growth of employment over the last three decades is accounted for by an acceleration in the displacement effect, especially in manufacturing, a weaker reinstatement effect, and slower growth of productivity than in previous decades.

Experimentally-Induced Inflammation Predicts Present Focus: Levels of proinflammatory cytokines may play a mechanistic role in the desire for immediately available rewards

Experimentally-Induced Inflammation Predicts Present Focus. Jeffrey Gassen et al. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, February 19 2019. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40750-019-00110-7


Objective: Here, we provide an experimental test of the relationship between levels of proinflammatory cytokines and present-focused decision-making.

Methods: We examined whether increases in salivary levels of proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β and interleukin-6) engendered by visually priming immunologically-relevant threats (pathogen threat, physical harm) and opportunities (mating) predicted temporal discounting, a key component of present-focused decision-making.

Results: As hypothesized, results revealed that each experimental manipulation led to a significant rise in both salivary interleukin-1β and interleukin-6. Moreover, post-manipulation levels of each cytokine independently predicted temporal discounting across conditions. These results were not moderated by pre-manipulation levels of either cytokine, nor were they found using the difference between pre- and post-manipulation levels of cytokines as a predictor.

Conclusions: Together, these results suggest that levels of proinflammatory cytokines may play a mechanistic role in the desire for immediately available rewards.

Keywords: Inflammation Life history theory Temporal focus Cytokines Impulsivity

The results of the study note the ‘queen bee syndrome’, in which powerful women at the top levels of management are not supportive of female managers attempting to climb the ladder

Effects of supervisor gender on promotability of female managers. Hyondong Kim, Tong Hyouk Kang. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, March 20 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/1744-7941.12224

Abstract: In order to more fully understand the importance of same‐gender competition in female supervisor–subordinate working relationships, this study examined the effects of supervisor gender on promotion probabilities for Korean female managers with or without managerial qualifications (e.g. mentoring participation and job ranks). Using a balanced panel sample of 568 Korean female managers in each of four waves (in total, 2272 female managers over 7 years), we conducted a multinomial logistic regression analysis to estimate the promotability of female managers. Our findings showed that mentoring participation negatively affects promotion probability for female managers when they have female supervisors (vs male supervisors). Competitive interdependence can be exacerbated between female managers and female supervisors, especially when they are qualified to compete for the same resources and opportunities, which are limited for female managers and supervisors.

Conservatives & Republicans are less likely to report severe forms of sexual harassment & assault, which may explain differences in beliefs on these issues; to be determined if due to reporting biases or differential vulnerabilities

Political Differences in American Reports of Sexual Harassment and Assault. Rupa Jose, James H. Fowler, Anita Raj. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, March 22, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519835003

Abstract: Political ideology has been linked to beliefs regarding sexual harassment and assault (SH&A). Using data from the January 2018 Stop Street Sexual Harassment online poll (N = 2,009), this study examined associations of political identity and political ideology with self-reported experiences of being the victim of SH&A. SH&A experiences were coded into four mutually exclusive groups: none, non-physically aggressive harassment, physically aggressive harassment, or sexual assault. Sex-stratified logistic regression models assessed associations of interest, adjusting for participant demographics. Among women, more conservative political ideology was negatively associated with reports of sexual assault, odds ratio (OR) = 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) = [0.74, 0.98]. Among males, more conservative political ideology was negatively associated with reports of physically aggressive sexual harassment (OR = 0.85, 95% CI = [0.73, 0.98]), and greater Republican affiliation was negatively associated with reports of sexual assault (OR = 0.82, 95% CI = [0.68, 0.99]). Conservative and Republican women and men are thus less likely to report more severe forms of SH&A, which may explain differences in beliefs on these issues. Research is needed to determine if political differences are due to reporting biases or differential vulnerabilities.

Keywords: political party, political orientation, gender, sexual harassment, sexual violence

Enjoy it again: Repeat experiences are less repetitive than people think

O'Brien, E. (2019). Enjoy it again: Repeat experiences are less repetitive than people think. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(4), 519-540. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000147

Abstract: What would it be like to revisit a museum, restaurant, or city you just visited? To rewatch a movie you just watched? To replay a game you just played? People often have opportunities to repeat hedonic activities. Seven studies (total N = 3,356) suggest that such opportunities may be undervalued: Many repeat experiences are not as dull as they appear. Studies 1–3 documented the basic effect. All participants first completed a real-world activity once in full (Study 1, museum exhibit; Study 2, movie; Study 3, video game). Then, some predicted their reactions to repeating it whereas others actually repeated it. Predictors underestimated Experiencers’ enjoyment, even when experienced enjoyment indeed declined. Studies 4 and 5 compared mechanisms: neglecting the pleasurable byproduct of continued exposure to the same content (e.g., fluency) versus neglecting the new content that manifests by virtue of continued exposure (e.g., discovery), both of which might dilute uniform dullness. We found stronger support for the latter: The misprediction was moderated by stimulus complexity (Studies 4 and 5) and mediated by the amount of novelty discovered within the stimulus (Study 5), holding exposure constant. Doing something once may engender an inflated sense that one has now seen “it,” leaving people naïve to the missed nuances remaining to enjoy. Studies 6 and 7 highlighted consequences: Participants incurred costs to avoid repeats so to maximize enjoyment, in specific contexts for which repetition would have been as enjoyable (Study 6) or more enjoyable (Study 7) as the provided novel alternative. These findings warrant a new look at traditional assumptions about hedonic adaptation and novelty preferences. Repetition too could add an unforeseen spice to life.

The Sad State of Happiness in the United States and the Role of Digital Media: Changes in leasure may be a big cause

The Sad State of Happiness in the United States and the Role of Digital Media. Jean M. Twenge. World Happiness Report 2019, Mar 20 2019. http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2019/the-sad-state-of-happiness-in-the-united-states-and-the-role-of-digital-media/

Excerpts. Full text and lots of graphics in the link above.
The years since 2010 have not been good ones for happiness and well-being among Americans. Even as the United States economy improved after the end of the Great Recession in 2009, happiness among adults did not rebound to the higher levels of the 1990s, continuing a slow decline ongoing since at least 2000 in the General Social Survey (Twenge et al., 2016; also see Figure 5.1). Happiness was measured with the question, “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days—would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?” with the response choices coded 1, 2, or 3.


Happiness and life satisfaction among United States adolescents, which increased between 1991 and 2011, suddenly declined after 2012 (Twenge et al., 2018a; see Figure 5.2). Thus, by 2016-17, both adults and adolescents were reporting significantly less happiness than they had in the 2000s.


In addition, numerous indicators of low psychological well-being such as depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm increased sharply among adolescents since 2010, particularly among girls and young women (Mercado et al., 2017; Mojtabai et al., 2016; Plemmons et al., 2018; Twenge et al., 2018b, 2019a). Depression and self-harm also increased over this time period among children and adolescents in the UK (Morgan et al., 2017; NHS, 2018; Patalay & Gage, 2019). Thus, those in iGen (born after 1995) are markedly lower in psychological well-being than Millennials (born 1980-1994) were at the same age (Twenge, 2017).

This decline in happiness and mental health seems paradoxical. By most accounts, Americans should be happier now than ever. The violent crime rate is low, as is the unemployment rate. Income per capita has steadily grown over the last few decades. This is the Easterlin paradox: As the standard of living improves, so should happiness – but it has not.

Several credible explanations have been posited to explain the decline in happiness among adult Americans, including declines in social capital and social support (Sachs, 2017) and increases in obesity and substance abuse (Sachs, 2018). In this article, I suggest another, complementary explanation: that Americans are less happy due to fundamental shifts in how they spend their leisure time. I focus primarily on adolescents, since more thorough analyses on trends in time use have been performed for this age group. However, future analyses may find that similar trends also appear among adults.

The data on time use among United States adolescents comes primarily from the Monitoring the Future survey of 13- to 18-year-olds (conducted since 1976 for 12th graders and since 1991 for 8th and 10th graders), and the American Freshman Survey of entering university students (conducted since 1966, with time use data since 1987). Both collect large, nationally representative samples every year (for more details, see iGen, Twenge, 2017).

The rise of digital media and the fall of everything else

Over the last decade, the amount of time adolescents spend on screen activities (especially digital media such as gaming, social media, texting, and time online) has steadily increased, accelerating after 2012 after the majority of Americans owned smartphones (Twenge et al., 2019b). By 2017, the average 12th grader (17-18 years old) spent more than 6 hours a day of leisure time on just three digital media activities (internet, social media, and texting; see Figure 5.3). By 2018, 95% of United States adolescents had access to a smartphone, and 45% said they were online “almost constantly” (Anderson & Jiang, 2018).

During the same time period that digital media use increased, adolescents began to spend less time interacting with each other in person, including getting together with friends, socializing, and going to parties. In 2016, iGen college-bound high school seniors spent an hour less a day on face-to-face interaction than GenX adolescents did in the late 1980s (Twenge et al., 2019). Thus, the way adolescents socialize has fundamentally shifted, moving toward online activities and away from face-to-face social interaction.

Other activities that typically do not involve screens have also declined: Adolescents spent less time attending religious services (Twenge et al., 2015), less time reading books and magazines (Twenge et al., 2019b), and (perhaps most crucially) less time sleeping (Twenge et al., 2017). These declines are not due to time spent on homework, which has declined or stayed the same, or time spent on extracurricular activities, which has stayed about the same (Twenge & Park, 2019). The only activity adolescents have spent significantly more time on during the last decade is digital media. As Figure 5.4 demonstrates, the amount of time adolescents spend online increased at the same time that sleep and in-person social interaction declined, in tandem with a decline in general happiness.


Several studies have found that adolescents and young adults who spend more time on digital media are lower in well-being (e.g., Booker et al., 2015; Lin et al., 2016; Twenge & Campbell, 2018). For example, girls spending 5 or more hours a day on social media are three times more likely to be depressed than non-users (Kelly et al., 2019), and heavy internet users (vs. light users) are twice as likely to be unhappy (Twenge et al., 2018). Sleeping, face-to-face social interaction, and attending religious services – less frequent activities among iGen teens compared to previous generations – are instead linked to more happiness. Overall, activities related to smartphones and digital media are linked to less happiness, and those not involving technology are linked to more happiness. (See Figure 5.5; note that when iGen adolescents listen to music, they usually do so using their phones with earbuds).
Figure 5.5: Correlation between activities and general happiness, 8th and 10th graders, Monitoring the Future, 2013-2016 (controlled for race, gender, SES, and grade level)


In short, adolescents who spend more time on electronic devices are less happy, and adolescents who spend more time on most other activities are happier. This creates the possibility that iGen adolescents are less happy because their increased time on digital media has displaced time that previous generations spent on non-screen activities linked to happiness. In other words, digital media may have an indirect effect on happiness as it displaces time that could be otherwise spent on more beneficial activities.

Digital media activities may also have a direct impact on well-being. This may occur via upward social comparison, in which people feel that their lives are inferior compared to the glamorous “highlight reels” of others’ social media pages; these feelings are linked to depression (Steers et al., 2014). Cyberbullying, another direct effect of digital media, is also a significant risk factor for depression (Daine et al., 2013; John et al., 2018). When used during face-to-face social interaction, smartphone use appears to interfere with the enjoyment usually derived from such activities; for example, friends randomly assigned to have their phones available while having dinner at a restaurant enjoyed the activity less than those who did not have their phones available (Dwyer et al., 2018), and strangers in a waiting room who had their phones available were significantly less likely to talk to or smile at other people (Kushlev et al., 2019). Thus, higher use of digital media may be linked to lower well-being via direct means or by displacing time that might have been spent on activities more beneficial for well-being.

Correlation and causation

The analyses presented thus far are correlational, so they cannot prove that digital media time causes unhappiness. Third variables may be operating, though most studies control for factors such as gender, race, age, and socioeconomic status. Reverse causation is also possible: Perhaps unhappy people spend more time on digital media rather than digital media causing unhappiness. However, several longitudinal studies following the same individuals over time have found that digital media use predicts lower well-being later (e.g., Allen & Vella, 2018; Booker et al., 2018; Kim, 2017; Kross et al., 2013; Schmiedeberg & Schroder, 2017; Shakya & Christakis, 2017). In addition, two random-assignment experiments found that people who limit or cease social media use improve their well-being. Tromholt (2017) randomly assigned more than 1,000 adults to either continue their normal use of Facebook or give it up for a week; those who gave it up reported more happiness and less depression at the end of the week. Similarly, Hunt et al. (2018) asked college students to limit their social media use to 10 minutes a day per platform and no more than 30 minutes a day total, compared to a control group that continued their normal use. Those who limited their use were less lonely and less depressed over the course of several weeks.

Both the longitudinal and experimental studies suggest that at least some of the causation runs from digital media use to well-being. In addition, the increases in teen depression after smartphones became common after 2011 cannot be explained by low well-being causing digital media use (if so, one would be forced to argue that a rise in teen depression caused greater ownership of smartphones, an argument that defies logic). [...]

In addition, the indirect effects of digital media in displacing time spent on face-to-face social interaction and sleep are not as subject to reverse causation arguments. Deprivation of social interaction (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Hartgerink et al., 2015; Lieberman, 2014) and lack of sleep (Zhai et al., 2015) are clear risk factors for unhappiness and low well-being. [...]


Thus, the large amount of time adolescents spend interacting with electronic devices may have direct links to unhappiness and/or may have displaced time once spent on more beneficial activities, leading to declines in happiness. It is not as certain if adults have also begun to spend less time interacting face-to-face and less time sleeping. However, given that adults in recent years spent just as much time with digital media as adolescents do (Common Sense Media, 2016), it seems likely that their time use has shifted as well. Future research should explore this possibility.


Risking Other People's Money: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Incentives and Personality Traits

Risking Other People's Money: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Incentives and Personality Traits. Ola Andersson et al. The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, March 18 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjoe.12353

Abstract: Decision makers often face incentives to increase risk‐taking on behalf of others through bonus contracts and relative performance contracts. We conduct an experimental study of risk‐taking on behalf of others using a large heterogeneous sample and find that people respond to such incentives without much apparent concern for stakeholders. Responses are heterogeneous and mitigated by personality traits. The findings suggest that lack of concern for others’ risk exposure hardly requires “financial psychopaths” in order to flourish, but is diminished by social concerns.

Risk  taking  on  behalf  of  others  is  common  in  many  economic  and  financial  decisions.  Examples  include  fund  managers  investing their  clients’  money  and  executives  acting  on  behalf of shareholders. To motivate decision makers, the authority to take decisions on behalf of others is often coupledwith powerfulincentives. A basic problem with this practice is that it  is  typically  hard  to  construct  compensation  schemes  that  perfectly  align  the  incentives  of  decision makers with the interests of stakeholders. Indeed, in the wake of the recent financial crisis,  actors  in  the  financial  sector  have  beenroutinely  accused  of  taking increasedrisk  on behalf of investors.  The  introduction  of  advanced  financial  products  has  expanded  opportunities  to  hedge  risks, creating further incentives for increased risk-taking. During a public hearing in the US Senate involving the CEO of a leading investment bank, it emerged from internal e-mails that the bank had taken bets against its own clients’ investmentsto hedge their profits. [***I do not agree with this mention here, it seems the authors support the view that these bets were wrong or immoral***.] Moreover, Andrew Haldane, director of the Bank of England, argues that the banking sector’s problems arerooted  in  the  fact  that  the private risks  of  financial  decision  makers  are  not  alignedwith social  risks,  and that the  latter  areof  a  much  greatermagnitude  (Haldane  2011).In  addition, Rajan  (2006)  suggests  that  new  developments  in  the  finance  industry—such  as  added  layers  of   financial   management   and   new   complex   financial   products—have   exacerbated   the   problem. The  argumentsmadein  the  previous  paragraph  suggestthat  increased  risk  takingis undesirablefrom  a  societal  point  of  view.  However,  theoretically  one  may  argue  that  increased risk  takingis  desirable.  It is  well  knownin  the  finance  literature  that  incentive  schemes may be used to increase risk takingbeyond what is motivated by the decision makers risk preferences (Shavell 1979). The argument made is usually that the owners of capital are well diversified and thereby interested in maximizing dividends payout (risk neutrality). The decision makers, on the other hand, are not well diversified and if risk aversethey  may  take  sub-optimal decisions if the reimbursement scheme does not compensate for the difference in risk exposure  and  risk  preferences.  Such  compensation  may  come  from  incentive  schemes  thatinduce a positive risk shift (e.g., by introducing competition or bonus schemes as in this paper).An alternative motivation is that owners of capital are risk averse, and aware of it, but would  like  their  decisions  to  reflect  dividend maximization. In  particular, from  a  normative  stance  they  agree  that  risk-neutral  decisions  are  optimal, but  when  facing  actual  decisions, they  cannot  refrain  frommaking  decisions  that  depart  from  this  principle.  It  may  then  be  preferred  to  delegate  to  a  decision  maker  whois,  for  example,less  emotionally  attached.  Inboth cases,  the  increased  risk  takingis  then  optimal  from  the  capital  owner’s  and  society’s  perspective and should be encouraged.  In this paper, we do not directly address whether increased risk taking on behalf of others is  welfare  enhancing  or  not,  wesimplycompare  the  level  of  risk  taken  for  others  under different  incentive  schemes. As  a  point  of  comparison,  we  estimate risk taking on  behalf  of  others  in a  situation  without distortive(orcorrective) incentives. Hence,  when  we  refer  to  increased risk taking, we mean risk taking above thelevel decision makers takeon behalf of others in such a neutral situation. Since we find that the level of risk taking on behalf of others without distorting incentives is indistinguishable to the level of risk that individuals take when making  decisions  on  their  ownbehalf,  it  is  natural  to  view  departures  from  this  level  as  detrimental  to  the  principal. However,  it  should  be stressedthat  in  line  with  the discussion above,  we  cannot rule  out the  existence  of  emotional  and  cognitive  constraints  that  impede decision  makers  to  act  in accordance  withtheir owninterest.  That  is,  a  higher  level  of  risk taking could be desirable although decision makers do not choose this for themselves.  From  previous  literature, we  know  that  competitive  incentives  increase  risk  taking  for  individuals  working  in  the  finance  industry  (Kirchler  et  al.  2018) and  students  (Dijk  et  al.  2016). Outstanding questions are whether such behaviour is present in the general population and whether it extends to situations where the decision has consequences for other people.  The  aim  of  this  paper  isto  study  such  incentive  schemes,  with  hedging  opportunities  or  misaligned  incentive  contract,  in  a  controlled  environment  using a  large  sample  of  people  fromall  walks  of  life.  In  particular,  we  let  decision  makers  takedecisions  on  behalf  of  two  other  individuals  under  bonus  and  competitive  incentives, which  may  distort  risk  takingas well as open up for hedging opportunities depending on the dividend correlation.  A  potential  counterbalancing  force  to  increasedrisk  takingmay  bethat  decision  makers  feel  responsible  to  broader  groups  or  have  altruistic  preferences,  i.e., they  intrinsically  care  about  the  outcome  they  generate  on  behalf  of  others(Andreoni  and  Miller  2002).  Indeed,  if  such  a  concern  is  sufficiently  strong, it  may  operate  as  a  natural  moderator  of  extrinsic  incentives  to  take  on  more  risk.  Determining  the  strength  of  these  forces  is  an  empirical  question, made especially difficultbecause it is likely that behavioral responses to misaligned incentives  differ  between  individuals.  Understanding  this  heterogeneity  is  important  because  sometimes  we  can  choose  upon whom  to  bestow  the  responsibility  of  making  decisions  on  behalf of others, and we can select people according to their characteristics. To study this, we employ several measures of personality traits, both survey-based and behavioural measures. Our  focus  here  is  on  risk-taking  behaviour when  there  are  monetary  conflicts  of  interest  between  the  decision  maker  and  investors  (henceforth  called  receivers).  In  our  experiment,  decision  makers  take  risky decisions  on  behalf  of  two  receivers,  whose  payoffs  may  be  negatively or positively correlated. When the payoffs of the receivers are perfectly negatively 
correlated,  the  decision  makers  can  exploit  the  correlation  to  increase  their  ownpayoff without  increasing  their  ownrisk  exposure.  On  the  contrary,  when  payoffs  are  perfectly  positively correlated, such risk-free gains are not possible. We allow decision makers to take decisions under both regimes.  For  decision  makers, we  incorporate  two  types  of  incentive  structures  common  in  the  financial sector. First, we consider a bonus-like incentive scheme where the decision maker’s compensation   is   proportional   to   the   total   payoffs   of   the   two   receivers.   Within   our   experimental setup, we show theoretically that such bonus schemescreate material incentives for increased risk-taking if the receivers’ returns are negatively correlated. Second, we study winner-take-all competition between decision makers who are matchedin pairs. The decision maker  who  generates  the  higher  total  payoff  on  behalf  of  her  receivers  earns  aperformance fee  as  a  percentage  of  the  total  payoff  to  the  receivers,  while  the  otherdecision  makerearns nothing. Competitive incentives are commonplace in financial marketsand create option-like convex compensationschemes(Chevalier and Ellison 1997).We show theoretically that such compensation schemes create material incentives for increased risk taking, independent of the correlation structure of the receivers’ returns. The intuitionis that increasing the risk exposure increases  the  chance  of  outperforming  peers,  and  this  mechanism  trumps  any  concerns  for  individual risk-taking by the decision maker. We believe the research reported here is the first to experimentally investigate the effects of such incentives on risk-taking on behalf of others on a large scale using a random sample of the general population.  Our  experimental  study  yields  two  main  findings.  First,  ordinary  people  respond  to  powerful incentives to take risks. In particular, in line with our hypotheses, we find that bonus schemes  trigger  increased  risk-taking  on  behalf  of  others  only  when  receivers’  returns  are  negatively correlated. Hence, a bonus scheme with well-aligned risk profiles between decision makers  and  receivers  does  not  distort  risk-taking  in  our  setting.  Competition,  on  the  other  
hand,  triggers  increased  risk-taking  irrespective  of  the  correlation  structure  of  receivers’  returns.  For  the  receivers,  competition  between  the  decision  makers  thereby  always  leads  to  higher risk exposure.  Overall,  we  find  that  individual  incentives  dominate  oversocial  concerns  in  the  settings  studied  here.  However,  we  also  findconsiderable  heterogeneity  in  how  people  respond  to  such  financial  incentives.  We  have  access  to  a  large  and  heterogeneous  sample  along  with  a  wealth  of  measures  from  earlier  surveys  and  experiments.  This  unique  data  enables  us  to  identify  and  investigate  who  chooses  to  expose  others  to  risk.  We  find  that  measures  of  personality related topro-social orientation are associatedwithrisk-taking on behalf of others. Indeed,  individuals  with  more  pro-social orientations expose  receivers  to  significantly  lessrisk.  It  has  been  popular  to  decry  decision  makers  in  the  financial  industry  as  “financial  psychopaths” (see, e.g., DeCovny, 2012).We are not in a position to judge whether this is an accurate  description,  but  our  observations,  based  on  a  fairly  representative  sample  of  the  general  populationcoupled  with  individual  personality  measures,  allow  us  to  conclude  that  lack  of  concern  for  others’  risk  exposure  hardly  depends  on  “financial  psychopaths”  to  flourish.  Ordinary  people  tend  to  do  it  when  the  incentives  of  decision  makers  and  receivers  are not aligned. The general lesson is that policymakersshould become more circumspect in designing incentives and institutionsbecause they impact the risks that are takenon behalf of others. Scientific evidence on the characteristics of individuals working in the financial sector is scant.  Concerning  risk  preferences,  Haigh  and  List  (2005)  find  that  professional  traders  exhibit behaviour consistent with myopic loss aversion to a greater extent than students. In a small sample (n= 21) of traders, Durand et al. (2008) find that average Big 5 scores among traders are not significantly different from the population averages. Along similar lines, using 
a  small  sample  of  day  traders,Loet  al.(2005)  were  unable  to  relate  trader  performance  to  personality   traits.   Oberlechner   (2004)   investigates   which   personal   characteristics   are   perceived  as  important  for  being  successful  as  a  foreign  exchange  trader.  However,  the  characteristics emphasized are not directly comparable with the Big 5 inventorythat we use to measure  personality  traits.  The  closest  match  to  agreeableness  and  extraversion  (which  we  find  to  be  important  in  Table  3)  is  probably  social  skills.  Interestingly,  social  skills  were  considered  the  least  important  of  the  23  delineated  skills.Sjöberg  and  Engelberg  (2009)  compare financial economics students with a sample from the Swedish population. They find that  compared  to  the  overall  population  financial  economics  students  are  less  altruistic  (as  measured by interest in peace and the environment) and less risk averse.

Sexual Selection, Agonistic Signaling: Presence of beard increased the speed & accuracy with which participants recognized displays of anger but not happiness; & increased the rated prosociality of happy faces

Sexual Selection, Agonistic Signaling, and the Effect of Beards on Recognition of Men’s Anger Displays. Belinda M. Craig, Nicole L. Nelson, Barnaby J. W. Dixson. Psychological Science, March 25, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797619834876

Abstract: The beard is arguably one of the most obvious signals of masculinity in humans. Almost 150 years ago, Darwin suggested that beards evolved to communicate formidability to other males, but no studies have investigated whether beards enhance recognition of threatening expressions, such as anger. We found that the presence of a beard increased the speed and accuracy with which participants recognized displays of anger but not happiness (Experiment 1, N = 219). This effect was not due to negative evaluations shared by beardedness and anger or to negative stereotypes associated with beardedness, as beards did not facilitate recognition of another negative expression, sadness (Experiment 2, N = 90), and beards increased the rated prosociality of happy faces in addition to the rated masculinity and aggressiveness of angry faces (Experiment 3, N = 445). A computer-based emotion classifier reproduced the influence of beards on emotion recognition (Experiment 4). The results suggest that beards may alter perceived facial structure, facilitating rapid judgments of anger in ways that conform to evolutionary theory.

Keywords: facial hair, emotion recognition, face processing, intrasexual selection, open data

Is this perceived intuitively by soldiers? Many more soldiers than civilians wear a beard in countries like the US, where for decades the overwhelming majority of men didn't sport one.

Excerpts: Agonistic interactions between males during competition over resources, status, and mating opportunities occur across the mammalian class and have shaped the evolution of weaponry and threat displays (Darwin, 1871; Emlen, 2008; Kokko, Jennions, & Brooks, 2006). In humans, these displays are manifest in a variety of bodily and facial dimorphisms, of which beardedness is one of the most visually salient (B. J. Dixson & Vasey, 2012; B. J. W. Dixson, Lee, Sherlock, & Talamas, 2017). Beards provide an accurate indication of male sexual maturity, and bearded faces are rated as more masculine, dominant, and aggressive than clean-shaven faces (B. J. Dixson & Brooks, 2013; Muscarella & Cunningham, 1996; Neave & Shields, 2008). These effects stem from the fact that beards grow around the jaw and mouth, and thus emphasize jaw size and masculine facial structure (B. J. W. Dixson et al., 2017; B. J. W. Dixson, Sulikowski, Gouda-Vossos, Rantala, & Brooks, 2016; Sherlock, Tegg, Sulikowski, & Dixson, 2017). Beardedness has a greater influence on ratings of masculinity and dominance than does craniofacial shape or jaw size (B. J. W. Dixson et al., 2017; Sherlock et al., 2017).The enhancing effects of facial hair on judgments of men’s facial masculinity, dominance, and aggressiveness by framing components of masculine facial shape have been measured using stimuli depicting neutral facial expressions. However, faces carry multiple sources of social information, including emotional facial expres-sions that can convey internal states and intentions. Facial expressions such as displays of anger can be enacted in agonistic interactions to signal interpersonal threat (Blair, 2003; Schmidt & Cohn, 2001; Sell, Cosmides, & Tooby, 2014; Tay, 2015). It has been hypothesized that beardedness facilitates recognition of threatening displays, including displays of anger, by enhancing masculine facial features related to dominance (particu-larly jaw size; Blanchard, 2009; Goodhart, 1960; Guthrie, 1970), but to date, there have been no behavioral studies detailing whether beards influence recognition of angry expressions.Although the influence of facial hair on recognition of expressions of anger has not been directly tested, previous findings suggest that it is plausible that beards facilitate the recognition of anger. Previous research has demonstrated that people are faster to recognize anger when it is displayed on male faces than when it is displayed on female faces (Becker, Kenrick, Neuberg, Blackwell, & Smith, 2007). This influence of masculinity on recognition of anger has been partly attributed to overlap between structural cues of anger and masculinity. It has been suggested that angry facial expressions emphasize masculine facial structures, such as the prom-inence of the jaw (Becker et al., 2007; Hess, Adams, Grammer, & Kleck, 2009; Sacco & Hugenberg, 2009). Facial hair grows around the areas involved in express-ing a range of emotions, including anger, and also enhances masculine craniofacial structure and the prominence of the jaw (B. J. W. Dixson et al., 2017; Sherlock et al., 2017). These observations suggest that the pres-ence of a beard may facilitate recognition of angry expressions.To test whether beards amplify displays of anger, we presented participants with photographs of standard-ized expressions of anger and happiness posed by the same men when bearded and clean-shaven. Participants categorized the emotion displayed in each face, and we examined how facial hair affected their speed and accuracy. If participants were faster to recognize anger but not happiness on bearded than on clean-shaven faces, this would indicate that beardedness facilitates recognition of a threatening emotional expression spe-cifically and not emotional expressions more generally. After we found such a specific effect, we explored pos-sible underlying mechanisms in two behavioral experi-ments and a final experiment with a computer-based emotion classifier.