Monday, May 13, 2019

Impact of public sector salary disclosure laws on university faculty salaries in Canada: The laws reduced salaries on average, although they reduced the gender pay gap between men and women

Pay Transparency and the Gender Gap. Michael Baker, Yosh Halberstam, Kory Kroft, Alexandre Mas, Derek Messacar. NBER Working Paper No. 25834. May 2019.

Abstract: We examine the impact of public sector salary disclosure laws on university faculty salaries in Canada. The laws, which enable public access to the salaries of individual faculty if they exceed specified thresholds, were introduced in different provinces at different points in time. Using detailed administrative data covering the universe of faculty in Canada and an event-study research design, we document three key findings. First, the disclosure laws reduced salaries on average. Second, the laws reduced the gender pay gap between men and women. Third, the closure of the gender gap is primarily in universities where faculty are unionized.

Relationship between paraphilic interests, sex, and sexual and life satisfaction in non-clinical samples: Those with paraphilic interests rarely felt negatively affected

Exploring the relationship between paraphilic interests, sex, and sexual and life satisfaction in non-clinical samples. Crystal L. Mundy, Jan D. Cioe. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, May 13, 2019.

Abstract: Limited research has indicated that paraphilic interests and behaviours do not necessarily decrease sexual and life satisfaction; some research suggests such interests may actually enhance satisfaction. The present study assessed how paraphilic-associated interests and behaviours were related to sexual and life satisfaction in a sample of 173 men and 356 women. Paraphilic interest rates were similar to existing population-based studies. Men reported significantly higher levels of most paraphilic interests than women, apart from masochism. Those with paraphilic interests rarely felt negatively affected. However, those interested in criminal paraphilic interests or both criminal and legally feasible paraphilic interests had lower levels of sexual satisfaction when they did not engage in paraphilia-associated sexual behaviour. The sexual satisfaction of those interested only in legally feasible paraphilic interests was not impacted whether or not they engaged in paraphilia-associated sexual behaviour. Further analyses indicated that those without a paraphilic interest and those who have a paraphilic interest and have disclosed to their partner have higher levels of sexual satisfaction than those who have not disclosed to their partner or who do not have a stable partner. Additionally, among those who had disclosed to a partner, sexual satisfaction was not affected whether the individual engaged in the paraphilic interest with or without their partner. These results suggest a multifaceted relationship that warrants further consideration and examination.

Key Words: Gender differences, paraphilia, paraphilic interests, sexual behaviour, sexual satisfaction

Rolf Degen summarizing: Changing implicit biases did neither affect explicit biases nor actual behavior (co-authored by Brian A. Nosek, who was significantly involved in developing the IAT)

Forscher, Patrick S., Calvin K. Lai, Jordan Axt, Charles R. Ebersole, Michelle Herman, Patricia G. Devine, and Brian A. Nosek. 2016. “A Meta-analysis of Procedures to Change Implicit Measures.” PsyArXiv. August 15. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Using a novel technique known as network meta-analysis, we synthesized evidence from 492 studies (87,418 participants) to investigate the effectiveness of procedures in changing implicit measures, which we define as response biases on implicit tasks. We also evaluated these procedures’ effects on explicit and behavioral measures. We found that implicit measures can be changed, but effects are often relatively weak (|ds| < .30). Most studies focused on producing short-term changes with brief, single-session manipulations. Procedures that associate sets of concepts, invoke goals or motivations, or tax mental resources changed implicit measures the most, whereas procedures that induced threat, affirmation, or specific moods/emotions changed implicit measures the least.  Bias tests suggested that implicit effects could be inflated relative to their true population values. Procedures changed explicit measures less consistently and to a smaller degree than implicit measures and generally produced trivial changes in behavior. Finally, changes in implicit measures did not mediate changes in explicit measures or behavior. Our findings suggest that changes in implicit measures are possible, but those changes do not necessarily translate into changes in explicit measures or behavior.

It is reported that identification as a liberal or conservative shapes lifestyle orientations & behaviors; apply caution against wide‐ranging claims

How Much Do Liberal and Conservative Identifiers Differ in the United States? Clem Brooks, Adam Nicholson. Sociological Inquiry, May 12 2019.

We thank Catherine Bolzendahl, Paul Burstein, Brian Powell, Patricia McManus, and Amanda Weiss for comments.

Abstract: Recent scholarship has reported that identification as a liberal or conservative shapes lifestyle orientations and behaviors. Liberal/conservative differences with respect to such arenas as family and religion go beyond ideological identification research's traditional focus on policy attitudes and political processes. But are differences on non‐political issues as large as those relating to political ones? This question has yet to be addressed, and it is critical to putting in firmer perspective the degree to which liberal and conservative identifiers differ in the United States. We take up investigation through analysis of 106 items from the General Social Survey 2006 panel. We compare ideological identification's influence with respect to political versus non‐political orientations and behaviors. Application of Morgan and Winship's model of causal inference builds from past studies’ cross‐sectional analysis. Results extend ideological identification scholarship, while cautioning against wide‐ranging claims advanced by several public commentators.

The Influence of Ideological Identification

Established Scholarship

Traditionally, the focus of ideological identification scholarship has been on political phenomena, what we will refer to by shorthand as government, law, and politicians. In the United States, there is ample evidence that liberal and conservative identifiers tend to differ across a range of policy attitudes and with respect to their choice of candidate in national elections (e.g., Abramowitz 2013; Abramson et al. 2015; Chapter 6; Erikson and Tedin 2016, Chapter 3). Ideological identification is relevant for political behavior and attitude formation in other nations as well (e.g., Hellwig 2008; Jou and Dalton 2017; Mair 2007), albeit with variation across context.

Identification as a liberal or conservative has traditionally been viewed as a powerful and potentially self‐reinforcing heuristic (Sniderman, Brody, and Tetlock 1991; see also Lau and Sears 1986). When ideological identification is made salient by political cues in the environment, liberal identifiers form positive attitudes toward objects they associate with liberals/liberalism (e.g., government, legal activism) and oppose those associated with conservatives/conservatism (e.g., unregulated markets, traditional social arrangements) (Fuchs and Klingemann 1990; Miller and Shanks 1996). Conservative identifiers follow the reverse expectation. Ideological identification's influence can be self‐reinforcing if identifiers’ choices feed back into their perceptions (Lodge and Taber 2013; see also Granberg and Brent 1980; Merrill, Grofman, and Adams 2001).

Research on polarization among U.S. politicians is relevant to ideological identification scholarship. Poole and Rosenthal's agenda‐setting analysis of roll call voting in Congress (1997; see also McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal 2006) finds that since the 1960s, Democratic Senators and House Members have moved to the left and their Republican counterparts have moved to the right. For over four decades, American voters have formed policy attitudes and made electoral choices in an environment increasingly defined by cues regarding prototypically liberal versus conservative politicians and policies. This buttresses the established scholarly view of ideological identification as a source of influence as regards voting and policy‐attitude formation.2

Randomized experiments are criticized on ethical grounds even as similar, untested interventions are implemented without objection; aversion is also among those with higher educational attainment & science literacy & among professionals

Objecting to experiments that compare two unobjectionable policies or treatments. Michelle N. Meyer, Patrick R. Heck, Geoffrey S. Holtzman, Stephen M. Anderson, William Cai, Duncan J. Watts, and Christopher F. Chabris. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 9, 2019

Significance: Randomized experiments—long the gold standard in medicine—are increasingly used throughout the social sciences and professions to evaluate business products and services, government programs, education and health policies, and global aid. We find robust evidence—across 16 studies of 5,873 participants from three populations spanning nine domains—that people often approve of untested policies or treatments (A or B) being universally implemented but disapprove of randomized experiments (A/B tests) to determine which of those policies or treatments is superior. This effect persists even when there is no reason to prefer A to B and even when recipients are treated unequally and randomly in all conditions (A, B, and A/B). This experimentation aversion may be an important barrier to evidence-based practice.

Abstract: Randomized experiments have enormous potential to improve human welfare in many domains, including healthcare, education, finance, and public policy. However, such “A/B tests” are often criticized on ethical grounds even as similar, untested interventions are implemented without objection. We find robust evidence across 16 studies of 5,873 participants from three diverse populations spanning nine domains—from healthcare to autonomous vehicle design to poverty reduction—that people frequently rate A/B tests designed to establish the comparative effectiveness of two policies or treatments as inappropriate even when universally implementing either A or B, untested, is seen as appropriate. This “A/B effect” is as strong among those with higher educational attainment and science literacy and among relevant professionals. It persists even when there is no reason to prefer A to B and even when recipients are treated unequally and randomly in all conditions (A, B, and A/B). Several remaining explanations for the effect—a belief that consent is required to impose a policy on half of a population but not on the entire population; an aversion to controlled but not to uncontrolled experiments; and a proxy form of the illusion of knowledge (according to which randomized evaluations are unnecessary because experts already do or should know “what works”)—appear to contribute to the effect, but none dominates or fully accounts for it. We conclude that rigorously evaluating policies or treatments via pragmatic randomized trials may provoke greater objection than simply implementing those same policies or treatments untested.

Keywords: field experimentsA/B testsrandomized controlled trialspragmatic trialsresearch ethics

Acne, Human Capital, & the Labor Market: Having acne is strongly positively associated with overall grade point average in high school, grades in high school English, history, math, and science, & the completion of a college degree

Do Pimples Pay? Acne, Human Capital, and the Labor Market. Hugo M. Mialon, Erik T. Nesson. Journal of Human Capital, Volume 13, Number 1, Spring 2019.

Abstract: We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to investigate the association between having acne in middle to high school and subsequent educational and labor market outcomes. We find that having acne is strongly positively associated with overall grade point average in high school, grades in high school English, history, math, and science, and the completion of a college degree. We also find evidence that acne is associated with higher personal labor market earnings for women. We further explore a possible channel through which acne may affect education and earnings.

Sexual identity & wellbeing: Gender is found to play a significant role only for homosexuals; lesbians tend to be happier than heterosexuals; bisexuals of any gender are the least satisfied with life of all sexual groups

Sexual identity and wellbeing: A distributional analysis. Samuel Mann, David Blackby, Nigel O’Leary. Economics Letters, May 13 2019.

•    Heterosexual and sexual minority wellbeing gaps differ across sexual identities.
•    The effect on wellbeing of being a sexual minority differs across the distribution.
•    Gender is found to play a significant role only for homosexuals.
•    Lesbians tend to be happier than their heterosexual counterparts.
•    Bisexuals are the least satisfied with life of all sexual groups.

Abstract: The relationship between sexual identity and wellbeing is analysed in an unconditional panel quantile setting. There is heterogeneity across sexual identity and gender for homosexuals and, for all but lesbians, sexual minorities are less satisfied than heterosexuals below the median of the wellbeing distribution. Meanwhile, bisexuals of any gender are the least satisfied of any sexual group, and this is apparent across the entire wellbeing distribution. In contrast, the happiest individuals who report an ‘other’ sexual orientation are happier than the happiest heterosexuals.

Strange-face illusions during eye-to-eye gazing in dyads: specific effects on derealization, depersonalization and dissociative identity

Strange-face illusions during eye-to-eye gazing in dyads: specific effects on derealization, depersonalization and dissociative identity. Giovanni B Caputo. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, April 2019, DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2019.1597807

Abstract: Experimentally induced strange-face illusions can be perceived when two individuals look at each other in the eyes under low illumination for about 10 minutes. This task of subject-other eye-to-eye gazing produces the following perceptions by the subject: (i) mild to huge deformations and color/shape changes of face and facial features; (ii) lifeless, unmoving faces and immaterial presences akin to out-of-body experiences; (iii) pseudo-hallucinations, enlightened ‘idealized’ faces and personalities – rather than the other’s actual face. Dissociative phenomena seem to be involved, whereas the effects of non-pathological dissociation on strange-face illusions have not yet been directly investigated. In the present study, dissociative perceptions and strange-face illusions were measured through self-report questionnaires on a large sample (N = 90) of healthy young individuals. Results of correlation and factor analyses suggest that strange-face illusions can involve, respectively: (i) strange-face illusions correlated to derealization; (ii) strange-face illusions correlated to depersonalization; and (iii) strange-face illusions of identity, which are supposedly correlated to identity dissociation. The findings support the separation between detachment and compartmentalization in dissociative processes. Effects of gender show that strange-face illusions are more frequent in men with respect to women if dyads are composed of individuals of different-gender. Furthermore, drawings of strange-faces, which were perceived by portrait artists in place the others’ faces, allowed a direct illustration of examples of dissociative identities. Findings are discussed in relation to the three-level model of self-referential processing.

Popular version: Locking Eyes with a Monster: Staring at somebody’s face for ten minutes may give you nightmares. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik. Scientific American blog, May 7, 2019.

"Caputo asked 50 subjects to gaze at their reflected faces in a mirror for a 10-minute session. After less than a minute, most observers began to perceive the “strange-face illusion.” The participants’ descriptions included huge deformations of their own faces; seeing the faces of alive or deceased parents; archetypal faces such as an old woman, child or the portrait of an ancestor; animal faces such as a cat, pig or lion; and even fantastical and monstrous beings. All 50 participants reported feelings of “otherness” when confronted with a face that seemed suddenly unfamiliar. Some felt powerful emotions."