Sunday, May 26, 2019

Enlightened One-Party Rule? Ideological Differences between Chinese Communist Party Members and the Mass Public on gender equality, political pluralism, and openness to international exchange

Enlightened One-Party Rule? Ideological Differences between Chinese Communist Party Members and the Mass Public. Chengyuan Ji, Junyan Jiang. Political Research Quarterly, May 22, 2019.

Abstract: A popular view of nondemocratic regimes is that they draw followers mainly from those with an illiberal, authoritarian mind-set. We challenge this view by arguing that there exist a different class of autocracies that rule with a relatively enlightened base. Leveraging multiple nationally representative surveys from China over the past decade, we substantiate this claim by estimating and comparing the ideological preferences of Chinese Communist Party members and ordinary citizens. We find that party members on average hold substantially more modern and progressive views than the public on issues such as gender equality, political pluralism, and openness to international exchange. We also explore two mechanisms that may account for this party–public value gap—selection and socialization. We find that while education-based selection is the most dominant mechanism overall, socialization also plays a role, especially among older and less educated party members. Our findings caution against the simple, dichotomous characterization of political regimes and underscore an important tension between modernization and democratization in developing societies.

Keywords: ideology, mass-elite comparison, modernization, item response theory, authoritarian regime, China

Candidates presented to jobs as retail salespersons, servers, kitchen staff, janitors, or security guards: No discrimination at the callback stage against Indigenous Peoples, nor applicants from Indian reservations

Employment Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Evidence from a Field Experiment. Patrick Button, Brigham Walker. NBER Working Paper No. 25849. May 2019.

Abstract: We conducted a resume correspondence experiment to measure discrimination in hiring faced by Indigenous Peoples in the United States (Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians). We sent employers realistic 13,516 resumes for common jobs (retail sales, kitchen staff, server, janitor, and security) in 11 cities and compared callback rates. We signaled Indigenous status in one of four different ways. We almost never find any differences in callback rates, regardless of the context. These findings hold after numerous robustness checks, although our checks and discussions raise multiple concerns that are relevant to audit studies generally.

Our results from a large-scale field experiment of hiring discrimination where we sent 13,516 job applications of on-average identical applicants who were either Indigenous or white to jobs as retail salespersons, servers, kitchen staff, janitors, or security guards show a lack of discrimination at the callback stage, in net, against Indigenous Peoples. We also do not find bias against Native American applicants from Indian reservations.We do not find discrimination even when we estimate separately by city, occupation, or occupation and gender.

Don’t you want me, baby? Cardiac and Electrocortical Concomitants of Romantic Interest and Rejection: Rejection is associated with big cardiac deceleration (congruent with social pain)

Don’t you want me, baby? Cardiac and Electrocortical Concomitants of Romantic Interest and Rejection. F M van der Veen, A Burdzin, S J E Langeslag. Biological Psychology, May 25 2019,

•    Romantic rejection is associated with cardiac deceleration.
•    Romantic match is associated with enhanced P3 amplitude.
•    Online dating can be used as a tool to experimentally induce romantic rejection and match.
•    Effects of real romantic evaluation are comparable to effects of virtual social evaluation.

Abstract: Online dating has become a very popular way to find a romantic partner. In the present study, we examined whether romantic interest and rejection in such a setting would evoke differential electrocortical and cardiac responses. For this purpose a database was created, similar to a dating website, where the participants’ personal information and photos were placed. Heterosexual, single participants (N = 61) evaluated the profiles of opposite-sex potential romantic partners and decided whether they would like to date this person or not. Subsequently, participants passively viewed (34 analyzable volunteers participated in the EEG session; 10 male; mean age = 20) the pictures of the potential partners together with their own judgment about the “dateability” of the potential partner, and the potential partner’s judgment of the “dateability” of the participant. After viewing the pictures participants received the email addresses to contact their matches. Electrocortical and cardiac responses to these “match” or “non-match” judgments were measured. A significantly larger P3 response was found when participants received a positive evaluation as compared to negative evaluations. This is in line with an explanation in terms of reward. A significantly larger cardiac deceleration was found when participants received a negative evaluation as compared to positive evaluations, which is in line with an explanation in terms of social pain. Findings are discussed in terms of activation of different parts of the anterior cingulate cortex.

The Declining Labor Market Prospects of Less-Educated Men

The Declining Labor Market Prospects of Less-Educated Men. Ariel Binder, John Bound. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 33, Number 2, Spring 2019, Pages 163–190.

During the last 50 years, labor market outcomes for men without a college education in the United States worsened considerably. Between 1973 and 2015, real hourly earnings for the typical 25–54 year-old man with only a high school degree declined by 18.2 percent,1 while real hourly earnings for college-educated men increased substantially. Over the same period, labor-force participation by men without a college education plummeted. In the late 1960s, nearly all 25–54 year-old men with only a high school degree participated in the labor force; by 2015, such men participated at a rate of 85.3 percent.

In this article, we examine secular change in the US labor market since the 1960s. We have two distinct but related objectives. First, we assemble an overview of developments in the wage structure, focusing on the dramatic rise in the college wage premium. Second, we examine possible explanations for the decline in labor-force participation among less-educated men. One hypothesis has been that declining labor market activity is connected with declining wages in this population. While such a connection indicates a reduction in labor demand, we point out that the canonical neoclassical framework, which emphasizes a labor demand curve shifting inward across a stable labor supply curve, does not reasonably account for this development. This is because wages have not declined consistently over the sample period, while labor-force participation has. Moreover, the uncompensated elasticity of labor supply necessary to align wage changes with participation changes, during periods when both were declining, is implausibly large.

We then examine two oft-discussed developments outside of the labor market: rising access to Social Security Disability Insurance (DI), and the growing share of less-educated men with a prison record. Rising DI program participation can account for a nontrivial share of declining labor-force participation among men aged 45–54, but appears largely irrelevant to declining participation in the 25–44 year-old group. Additionally, we document that most nonparticipating men support themselves primarily on the income of other family members, with a distinct minority depending primarily on their own disability benefits. The literature has not progressed far enough to admit a reasonable quantification of the impact of rising exposure to prison on the labor-force participation rate, but recent estimates suggest that sizable effects are possible. We flag this as an important area for further research.

The existing literature, in our view, has not satisfactorily explained the decline in less-educated male labor-force participation. This leads us to develop a new explana-tion. As others have documented, family structure in the United States has changed dramatically since the 1960s, featuring a tremendous decline in the share of less-educated men forming and maintaining stable marriages. We additionally show an increase in the share of less-educated men living with their parents or other relatives. Providing for a new family plausibly provides a man with incentives to engage in labor market activity: conversely, a reduction in the prospects of forming and maintaining a stable family removes an important labor supply incentive. At the same time, the possibility of drawing income support from existing relatives creates a feasible labor-force exit. We suspect that changing family structure shifts male labor supply incentives inde-pendently of labor market conditions, and that, in addition, changing family structure may moderate the effect of a male labor demand shock on labor-force participation. Because male earning potential is an important determinant of new marriage formation, a persistent labor demand shock that reduces male earning potential could impact male labor-force participation through its effects on the marriage market.

Much prior research has addressed US labor market trends over the last half century, including several recent reviews of male employment (Moffitt 2012; Council of Economic Advisors 2016; Abraham and Kearney 2018). Our aim is not to review the literature, but rather to point out where we think consensus has developed and where we think important questions remain unanswered. In the synthesis that emerges, the phenomenon of declining prime-age male labor-force participation is not coherently explained by a series of causal factors acting separately. A more reasonable interpreta-tion, we argue, involves complex feedbacks between labor demand, family structure, and other factors that have disproportionately affected less-educated men.


During the last 50 years, the earnings of prime-age men in the United States have stagnated and dispersed across the education distribution. At the same time, the labor-force participation rates of men without a college education have steadily declined. While wage and participation trends are often linked for this population, we have argued that this connection cannot solely be the result of an inward labor demand shift across a stable and elastic labor supply curve. The uncompensated labor supply elasticities implied by the twin declines of wages and participation during the 1970s, 1980s, and 2000s appear too large to be plausible. Moreover, labor-force participation continued to decrease in the 1990s while wages were rising. While the increasing availability of disability benefits and the increase in the fraction of the population with prior incarceration exposure may help explain some of the participation decline, we doubt either factor can explain the bulk of the decline.

We have argued that more plausible explanations for the observed patterns involve feedbacks from male labor demand shocks, which often involve substantial job displacement, to worker adjustment frictions and to family structure. Marriage rates, and corresponding male labor supply incentives, have also fallen for reasons other than changing labor demand. Moreover, we have noted interactions between labor demand and disability benefit take-up, and between mass incarceration and family structure. These factors have all converged to reduce the feasibility and desirability of stable employment, leading affected men—who may not often be eligible for disability or other benefits—to participate sporadically in the labor market and depend primarily on family members for income support.

We attribute more free will to agents who behave immorally compared to a neutral control; also, when expectations for norm adherence are violated, we infer that an agent expressed their free will to do so

Monroe, Andrew E., and Dominic Ysidron. 2019. “Do Moral Judgements Motivate Free Will Belief?.” PsyArXiv. May 25. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Free will is often appraised as a necessary input to for holding others morally or legally responsible for misdeeds. Recently, however, Clark and colleagues (2014), argued for the opposite causal relationship. They assert that moral judgments and the desire to punish motivate people’s belief in free will. In three experiments—two exact replications (Studies 1 & 2b) and one close replication (Study 2a) we seek to replicate these findings. Additionally, in a novel experiment (Study 3) we test a theoretical challenge derived from attribution theory, which suggests that immoral behaviors do not uniquely influence free will judgments. Instead, our nonviolation model argues that norm deviations, of any kind—good, bad, or strange—cause people to attribute more free will to agents, and attributions of free will are explained via desire inferences. Across replication experiments we found no evidence for the original claim that witnessing immoral behavior causes people to increase their belief in free will, though we did replicate the finding that people attribute more free will to agents who behave immorally compared to a neutral control (Studies 2a & 3). Finally, our novel experiment demonstrated broad support for our norm-violation account, suggesting that people’s willingness to attribute free will to others is malleable, but not because people are motivated to blame. Instead, this experiment shows that attributions of free will are best explained by people’s expectations for norm adherence, and when these expectations are violated people infer that an agent expressed their free will to do so.

Need for Theoretical Reinterpretation
Study 3 presents a theoretical challenge to the motivated free will belief viewpoint. Clark et al. (2014) predicate their conclusions on the claim that observing immoral behaviors activates a desire to punish the wrongdoers, and thereby causes people to inflate their belief in free will as a means to justify their desire to punish. This critical role of a desire to punish requires that the effect on free will beliefs be unique to people’s response to immoral behaviors—other norm violations, such as strange or morally good behaviors, would not engender such a desire to punish. However, in three experiments (Studies 2a, 2b, 3) we found that the desire to punish failed to mediate the effect of immoral behavior on people’s general belief in free will. Most critically, Study 3 revealed that norm violation more generally, not immorality specifically, explained variations in people’s free will judgments. Agents who committed an immoral act, a praiseworthy act, or simply strange act were judged as having more free will than agent who performed a morally neutral act. Importantly, whereas all three norm-violating behaviors (blameworthy, praiseworthy, and strange behavior) significantly differed from the control behavior, blameworthy behaviors did not differ from the praiseworthy or the strange behavior.

Together these findings argue for a non-moral explanation for free will judgments with norm-violation as the key driver. This account explains people’s tendency to attribute more free will to behaving badly agents because people generally expect others to follow moral norms, and when they don’t, people believe that there must have been a strong desire to perform the behavior. In addition, a norm-violation account is able to explain why people attribute more free will to agents behaving in odd or morally positive ways. Any deviation from what is expected causes people to attribute more desire and choice (i.e., free will) to that agent. Thus our findings suggest that people’s willingness to ascribe free will to others is indeed malleable, but considerations of free will are being driven by basic social cognitive representations of norms, expectations, and desire. Moreover, these data indicate that when people endorse free will for themselves or for others, they are not making claims about broad metaphysical freedom. Instead, if desires and norm-constraints are what affect ascriptions of free will, this suggests that what it means to have (or believe) in free will is to be rational (i.e., making choices informed by desires and preferences) and able to overcome constraints.