Sunday, October 27, 2019

People with disabilities were just as participatory, if not more so, & reported being even more interested in politics than those without disabilities

Patterns and Mechanisms of Political Participation among People with Disabilities. Sierra Powell ; April A. Johnson . J Health Polit Policy Law (2019) 44 (3): 381-422, June 1 2019.

Context: Previous research has shown that Americans with disabilities turn out to vote at significantly lower levels than people without disabilities, even after accounting for demographic and other situational factors related to political involvement. The authors examined the potential mechanisms underlying their low turnout. They asked whether people with disabilities exhibit participatory attitudes and behaviors at levels commensurate with their other individual-level characteristics.
Methods: The present study conducted descriptive and predictive analyses on data from the 2012 and 2016 American National Election Studies.
Findings: Despite low levels of turnout in recent elections, people with disabilities were just as participatory, if not more so, when considering alternative forms of political engagement. The authors' analyses indicate that, while disability status had no bearing on political efficacy or partisan strength, those with disabilities reported being even more interested in politics than those without disabilities. Evidence is provided that depressed turnout rates among those with disabilities may be due in part to lower levels of attentiveness to the news, political knowledge, and negative perceptions of government.
Conclusions: The psychological impacts and behavioral consequences that emerge from possessing a disability and the broader role of disability in the American political context are multifaceted. This area of research would benefit from future studies that examine a variety of electoral contexts.

Keywords: disability, voting, political participation, political psychology, American National Election Study

Any “radicalization” that occurs on YouTube happens according to the standard model of persuasion: People adopt new beliefs about the world by combining their prior beliefs with new information

A Supply and Demand Framework for YouTube Politics. Kevin Munger & Joseph Phillips. Penn State Political Science, October 1, 2019.

Abstract: Youtube is the most used social network in the United States. However, for a combination of sociological and technical reasons, there exist little quantitative social science research on the political content on Youtube, in spite of widespread concern about the growth of extremist YouTube content. An emerging journalistic consensus theorizes the central role played by the video "recommendation engine," but we believe that this is premature. Instead, we propose the "Supply and Demand" framework for analyzing politics on YouTube. We discuss a number of novel technological affordances of YouTube as a platform and as a collection of videos, and how each might drive supply of or demand for extreme content. We then provide large-scale longitudinal descriptive information about the supply of and demand for alternative political content on YouTube. We demonstrate that viewership of far-right videos peaked in 2017.

2 The “Zombie Bite” Theory of YouTube
Beginning with Bridle (2017)’s viral essay about horrifying content auto-recommended to children and extended to the realm of adult politics with journalistic enterprises like Nicas (2018) and Tufekci (2018), a single narrative has emerged: YouTube audiences are at risk of far-right radicalization and this is because the YouTube algorithm that was designed to maximize the company’s profits via increased audience time on the platform has learned to show people far-right videos.6

A working paper published online by Ribeiro et al. (2019) in August 2019 is by far the most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of YouTube radicalization to date. They find compelling evidence of commenter overlap between videos uploaded by the three ideological communities: the “Alt-Lite,” the “Intellectual Dark Web,” and the “Alt-Right” (we discuss this typology and propose an alternative typology below). The paper demonstrates that many of the commenters on “Alt-Right” videos had previously commented on videos from the other camps. This is valuable descriptive information, and it enables the scholarly community to better theorize about causal relationships of interest. However, this is not itself evidence in favor of any given theory of the underlying causal process that explains Alt-Right viewership.

Ribeiro et al. (2019)’s conclusion admits as much: “Our work resonates with the narrative that there is a radicalization pipeline...Indeed, we manage to measure traces of this phenomenon using commenting users.”

The status of the “radicalization pipeline” is indeed best characterized as a “narrative,” rather than a theory. The chronological fact of people watching and commenting on Alt-Lite videos before moving onto Alt-Right videos is undeniable. But what model of the world does this call into question? Presented with the descriptive fact of “AltRight” creators with sizeable audiences on YouTube, did any theorize the existence of some kind of ideological discontinuity in the media that audience had previously consumed?

Indeed, the most plausible mechanism by which a viewership discontinuity might occur is the recommendation engine. But despite considerable energy, Ribeiro et al. (2019) fail to demonstrate that the algorithm has a noteworthy effect on the audience for Alt-Right content. A random walk algorithm beginning at an Alt-Lite video and taking 5 steps randomly selecting one of the ten recommended videos will only be recommended a video from the Alt-Right approximately one out every 1,700 trips. For a random walker beginning at a “control” video from the mainstream media, the probability is so small that it is difficult to see on the graph, but it is certainly no more common than one out of every 10,000 trips.7

In short, the best quantitative evidence available demonstrates that any “radicalization” that occurs on YouTube happens according to the standard model of persuasion: people adopt new beliefs about the world by combining their prior beliefs with new information (Guess and Coppock, 2018). People select information about topics that interest them; if political, they prefer information that is at least some what congenial to their prior beliefs (Stroud, 2017). Persuasion happens at the margins when it does happen.

The “Zombie Bite” theory is, of course, something of a straw man; no one has fully articulated and defended it. [...]

People Become More Conservative as They Age Less Frequently Than Believed; but when attitudes do shift across the lifespan, liberals are more likely to become conservatives than the opposite

Do People Really Become More Conservative as They Age? Johnathan C. Peterson, Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Hibbing. The Journal of Politics, Oct 27 2019.

Abstract: Folk wisdom has long held that people become more politically conservative as they grow older, though several empirical studies suggest political attitudes are stable across time. Utilizing data from the Michigan Youth-Parent Socialization Panel study, we analyze attitudinal change over a major portion of the adult lifespan. We document changes in party identification, self-reported ideology, and selected issue positions over this time period and place these changes in context by comparing them with contemporaneous national averages. Consistent with previous research but contrary to folk wisdom, our results indicate that political attitudes are remarkably stable over the long-term. In contrast to previous research, however, we also find support for folk wisdom: On those occasions when political attitudes do shift across the lifespan, liberals are more likely to become conservatives than conservatives are to become liberals, suggesting that folk wisdom has some empirical basis even as it overstates the degree of change.

Keywords: attitude change, liberals, conservatives, ideology, socialization

Woman’s status brand displays: Materialistic men interpret women’s conspicuous consumption as high financial mating standards & are socially deterred by women’s such consumption

Setting the bar: The influence of women’s conspicuous display on men’s affiliative behavior. Jill M.Sundie et al. Journal of Business Research, October 21 2019.

• Materialistic people pay differential attention to a woman’s status brand displays.
• Materialistic men report relying differentially on resources and status to attract women.
• Materialistic men interpret women’s conspicuous consumption as high financial mating standards.
• Materialistic men are socially deterred by women’s conspicuous consumption.
• Materialistic women are not socially deterred by a woman’s conspicuous consumption.

Abstract: Four studies provide evidence for a process by which a woman’s conspicuous consumption can serve as a deterrent to affiliative behaviors by materialistic men, via heightened perceptions of the woman’s financial standards for a romantic partner. Materialistic men report utilizing status and resources to attract women more than non-materialistic men. Materialistic men may therefore utilize information about a woman’s status-linked displays to better calibrate their financially-oriented mating efforts. Differential attention to more subtle displays of a woman’s luxury branded items appears to drive materialistic men’s disinterest in social interaction with a woman who conspicuously consumes. A woman’s conspicuous consumption causes materialistic men to rate a real interaction with that woman less favorably. For women, the opposite is observed, with non-materialistic women reacting more negatively to the interaction.

Keywords: MaterialismStatus consumptionConspicuous consumptionMatingSignaling

Economist trying to model optimal choosing, under- and over-reaction, mental accounting, rational inattention, etc., under cognitive constraints

A Theory of Narrow Thinking. Chen Lian. MIT, May 24, 2019.

Abstract: I develop an approach, which I term narrow thinking, to break the decision-maker’s ability to perfectly coordinate her multiple decisions. For a narrow thinker, different decisions are based on different, non-nested, information. The narrow thinker then makes each decision with an imperfect understanding of the others. Formally, it is as if the decision-maker is a collection of multiple selves playing an incomplete-information game. The friction effectively attenuates the degree of interaction across decisions and can translate into either over- or under-reaction depending on the environment. Narrow thinking leads to a violation of the fungibility principle and a smooth model of mental accounting. Narrow thinking also reconciles other seemingly disparate phenomena ina unified framework, suchas excess smoothness to taste shocks, the small wage elasticity of daily labor supply, and the label effect. Finally, I study an endogenous narrow thinking problem: the decision maker chooses optimally what information each decision is based upon, subject to a cognitive constraint.

Keywords: boundedrationality,narrowbracketing,incompleteinformation,multipleselves, mental accounting

7 Conclusion
Each decision maker faces multiple economic decisions, and makes these decisions separately. Nevertheless, in standard modeling practice, we implicitly assume perfect self-coordination among all these decisions. It is as if the decision maker determines all her decisions together. In this paper, I try to break such perfection. I develop an approach, narrow thinking, to capture the decision maker’s difficulty in coordinating her multiple decisions. The notion of narrow thinking is that differentdecisionsarebasedondifferent, non-nested, information. This notion is motivated by the psychological observation that the decision maker may not incorporate all the relevant information when making each decision. Under narrow thinking, each decision of the decision maker is made with an imperfect understanding of other decisions. In response to shocks to the fundamental, it is as if each decision is made caring less about the influence of other decisions. I then show how narrow thinking can provide a unified explanation to seemingly disparate behavioral phenomena, including both under-reaction and over-reaction. A general principle is: when the indirect effect works in the same direction as the direct effect, narrow thinking leads to under-reaction; when the indirect effect works in the opposite direction to the direct effect, a dampening of the indirect effect under narrow thinking leads to over-reaction. Finally, let me outline two potential avenues for future research. A first possibility is to explore the general equilibrium implications of narrow thinking. A second possibility is to conduct an experimental test of narrow thinking, along the line of the potential experiment I discussed at the end of Section 3.

1.1 Related Literature
This paper builds on, and adds to, the growing literature on rational inattention (Sims, 2003; Mackowiak and Wiederholt, 2009; Matejka, 2015, 2016; Matejka and McKay, 2015; Koszegi and Matejka, 2018)3 and sparsity (Gabaix, 2014, 2017). There, the key friction is the decision maker’s imperfect perception of the fundamental, while the decision maker perfectly knows her other decisions when making a particular decision. On the other hand, the narrow thinking approach lets different decisions be based on different, non-nested, information and captures the friction that each decision can be made with an imperfect understanding of other decisions. As the decision problem under narrow thinking is equivalent to multiple selves playing an incomplete information game, the paper also builds upon the literature on incomplete information “beauty contests” (Morris and Shin, 2002; Angeletos and Pavan, 2007; Bergemann and Morris, 2013). This literature studies linear best-response games under incomplete information. A key insightfromtheliteratureisthatincompleteinformationcanattenuatetheequilibriuminteraction (Angeletos and Lian, 2016, 2018; Bergemann, Heumann and Morris, 2017). In these works, the behavior of each individual is frictionless and the focus is on inter-personal coordination friction and macroeconomic applications. The current paper, on the other hand, focuses on intra-personal friction in coordinating a decision maker’s multiple decisions and behavioral applications. This change of focus permits me to build a bridge between the incomplete information literature and the bounded rationality literature. The paper then shows how such intra-personal frictions can deliver a novel theory to reconcile seemingly disparate behavioral phenomena. By viewing the decision maker as a team of multiple selves, the paper also connects to the literature on multiple-selves and team theory. The multiple-selves literature (Piccione and Rubinstein, 1997; Benabou and Tirole, 2002, 2003, 2004; Gottlieb, 2014, 2017) uses environments in which multiple selves have conflicted interests to model motivated beliefs and reasoning, and explores reasons why the decision maker’s beliefs and behavior can be systematically biased. The multiple selves of the narrow thinker, on the other hand, have common interests, and the focus of the current paper is about frictional behavior in response to shocks. Narrow thinking does not necessarily lead to systematical bias on average. The team theory literature (Marschak and Radner, 1972; Dessein, Galeotti and Santos, 2016), on the other hand, mostly focuses on optimal information design in an organization. Angeletos and Pavan (2007) develop a method to use team theory to find the constrained efficient allocation in an economy with dispersed information. Angeletos and Pavan (2009), Lorenzoni (2010) and Angeletos and La’O (2018) then use the method to characterize optimal policy with informational frictions. Multiple cognitive frictions can let different decisions be made based on different, non-nested, information. For example, Gennaioli and Shleifer (2010), Kahana (2012), Wilson (2014), Bordalo, Gennaioli and Shleifer (2017) and Jehiel and Steiner (2018) on bounded recall, and Tversky and Kahneman(1973)andKahneman(2011)onheuristics,biases,andselectiveretrievalfrommemory. These works therefore provide complementarity justification for the kind of frictions that define narrow thinking. Gennaioli and Shleifer (2010) use the term “local thinker” to describe a decision maker whose bounded recall follows the representativeness heuristic, and study the implication for single-decision problems. The current paper, on the other hand, focuses on the decision maker’s difficulty in coordinating her multiple decisions. On the applied side, narrow thinking provides a unified framework to explain different behavioral phenomena. Depending on the environment, narrow thinking can translate into either over- or under-reaction. Applications studied in the paper connect to the literature on narrow bracketing (Rabin and Weizsacker, 2009), mental accounting (Thaler, 1985, 1999; Heath and Soll, 1996; Hastings and Shapiro, 2013; Abeler and Marklein, 2016), excessive sensitivity to temporary income shock (Parker et al., 2013; Kueng, 2018), the small cross-price demand elasticity (Gabaix and Laibson, 2006; Abaluck and Gruber, 2011, 2016; Allcott and Taubinsky, 2015) and the small wage elasticity of daily labor supply (Camerer et al., 1997; Farber, 2015; Thakral and To, 2017). For each application, narrow thinking’s distinct economic implications and testable predictions will be discussed. Koszegi and Matejka (2018) is a recent, complementary, paper that shares the focus on an information-based theory of mental accounting. That paper stays within the rational inattention paradigm, and different decisions are based on the same, imperfect, information.

Does Childhood Religiosity Delay Death? Only for those confined to those who downgraded their religiosity

Does Childhood Religiosity Delay Death? Laura Upenieks, Markus H. Schafer, Andreea Mogosanu. Journal of Religion and Health, October 25 2019.

Abstract: This study explores the potential long-term health effects of religiosity in the childhood home. Analyses use retrospective childhood data from the MIDUS survey linked to National Death Index records from 1995 to 2014. Findings from Cox proportional hazard models suggest that children brought up in highly religious households have a higher risk of mortality than those socialized in more moderately religious households, this despite such individuals having better overall health profiles. The surprising link between high childhood religiosity and mortality was confined to those who downgraded their religiosity. Those who intensified from moderate to high religiosity, in fact, seemed to be most protected. We call for future research to more clearly specify the intervening mechanisms linking childhood religion with adult health and mortality over the life course.

Keywords: Religiosity Socialization Health behaviors Life course Mortality