Sunday, January 19, 2020

Real ideological coherence, stability of political beliefs: Results show polar, coherent, stable, and potent ideological orientations only among the most knowledgeable 20-30% of citizens

Uses and abuses of ideology in political psychology. Nathan P. Kalmoe. Political Psychology, forthcoming. Jan 2020.

Abstract: Ideology is a central construct in political psychology. Even so, the field’s strong claims about an ideological public rarely engage evidence of enormous individual differences: a minority with real ideological coherence, and weak to non-existent political belief organization for everyone else. Here, I bridge disciplinary gaps by showing the limits of mass political ideology with several popular measures and components—self-identification, core political values (egalitarian and traditionalism’s resistance to change), and policy indices—in representative U.S. surveys across four decades (Ns~13k-37k), plus panel data testing stability. Results show polar, coherent, stable, and potent ideological orientations only among the most knowledgeable 20-30% of citizens. That heterogeneity means full-sample tests overstate ideology for most people but understate it for knowledgeable citizens. Whether through top-down opinion leadership or bottom-up ideological reasoning, organized political belief systems require political attention and understanding to form. Finally, I show that convenience samples make trouble for ideology generalizations. I conclude by proposing analytic best practices to help avoid over-claiming ideology in the public. Taken together, what first looks like strong and broad ideology is actually ideological innocence for most and meaningful ideology for a few.

Keywords: ideology, polarization, knowledge, values, attitudes, methods

Immigrants to the US live disproportionately in metropolitan areas where nominal wages are high & real wages are low; they accept such wages to locate in cities that are coastal, larger, & offer deeper immigrant networks

Immigration and the pursuit of amenities. David Albouy  Heepyung Cho  Mariya Shappo. Journal of Regional Science, November 23 2019.

Abstract: Immigrants to the United States live disproportionately in metropolitan areas where nominal wages are high, but real wages are low. This sorting behavior may be due to preferences toward certain quality‐of‐life amenities. Relative to U.S.‐born inter‐state migrants, immigrants accept lower real wages to locate in cities that are coastal, larger, and offer deeper immigrant networks. They sort toward cities that are hillier and also larger and networked. Immigrants come more from coastal, cloudy, and safer countries—conditional on income and distance. They choose cities that resemble their origin in terms of winter temperature, safety, and coastal proximity.

Given that economists generally model immigrants as pursuing greater market consumption,
it is seems surprising that they live in places that are so expensive. Yet, theories of spatial
equilibrium imply that the lower real wages immigrants receive from picking such expensive
cities is compensated for by quality-of-life amenities.
In particular, immigrants seem to gravitate towards natural amenities such as sunshine and
hilly geography. Most of all, immigrants seem to care for large, often coastal cities, known
for their diversity. Native migrants, on the other hand, move to smaller cities, albeit ones that
are relatively expensive and highly educated. This supports an interesting, if ancient, pattern
whereby migrants land initially on coasts, but over time, eventually move inland. Natives do
seem to be choosy in where they move, as they too move to higher-amenity areas.
Our results highlight that the pursuit for amenities may play as much of a role in determining
where immigrants locate as jobs. In other words, factors that affect labor supply may be as
important as those that affect labor demand. This may explain the fact that many immigrants
already see enormous income gains by moving to the U.S., and care not only for market goods,
but for non-market goods as well. As our push regressions suggest, some may indeed pursue
better amenities than in their origin country. Nevertheless, immigrants also seek out amenities,
as well as people, that resemble those of their origin countries. Indeed, the amenities that
remind someone of home may be the kind of amenities most worth paying for.

CEO Pay in Perspective: A typical employee of the S&P500 firms implicitly “contributes” to the salary of his CEO on average one half of one percent on an individual salary basis

CEO Pay in Perspective. Marcel Boyer. Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations, Dec 2019.

Abstract: The CEO pay ratio, measured as the ratio of CEO pay over the median salary of a firm’s employees, is the most often quoted number in the popular press. This ratio has reached 281 this last year for S&P500 firms, the largest US firms by capitalization (as of November 21 2019). But the B-ratio I proposed here, measured as the CEO pay over the total payroll of the firm, relates CEO pay to the salary of each employee and may be the most relevant and informative figure on CEO pay as perceived by the firm’s employees themselves. How much a typical employee of the S&P500 firms implicitly “contributes” to the salary of his/her CEO? An amount of $273 on average or 0.5% of one’s salary, that is, one half of one percent on an individual salary basis. To assess whether such a contribution is worthwhile, one must determine the value of the CEO for the organization and its workers and stakeholders. The Appendix provides the data for all 500 firms regrouped in 10 industries (Bloomberg classification).

IV. Conclusion

The CEO pay ratio, defined as the CEO pay (not the total compensation of a CEO since it
typically excludes different forms of incentive bonuses) over the median salary of the firm’s
employees, is one of the most discussed topics in society today. I showed that the CEO pay ratio
for the S&P500 firms (the largest US-traded firms by capitalization) reached an average value of
281 this last year (as of November 21 2019), a median value of 170 and a weighted average value
of 185, the last two ratios being more representative of the overall distribution of the relative
CEO pay. Other ratios, clearly more informative and revealing for stakeholders (employees,
citizens, shareholders, suppliers and clients) are the CEO pay per employee (average of $1961,
median of $564, weighted average of $273) and the B-ratio, defined as the CEO pay over the
total payroll of the firm, hence the implicit contribution of each employee (as a % of his/her
salary) to the CEO pay (average of 2,30%, median of 0,88%, weighted average of 0,50%).
I discussed above the value of management (CEO) from a real options approach, which is
arguably the proper methodology to use. Whether a given CEO is worth the pay she/he is getting
remains an open question. But the difference between a good one and a bad one for employees
and other stakeholders is potentially huge.
The CEO pay debate raise two additional crucially important and related questions. First, the
question of inequalities in society, their determining factors, and their evolution over time. I
discuss that question in my forthcoming paper “Inequalities: Income, Wealth, Consumption”,
where I show the level of inequality in income and wealth have been decreasing between 1920
and 1980 but increasing between 1980 and today, while inequality in consumption, arguably the
most important form of inequality, has been decreasing over the whole period and in particular
over the last two decades. I attempt in that paper to identify and explain the determinants of those
movements. Second, the question of the social role of inequalities in income and wealth. I discuss
that question in my forthcoming paper “The Social Role of Inequalities: Why Significant
Inequality Levels in Income and Wealth Are Important for Our Prosperity and Collective Well
Being”, where I show that inequalities in income and wealth develop from two related social
needs namely the need to ensure a proper level of savings and investments and the need to induce
the proper but individually costly acquisition of new competencies, both to favor increased levels
of productivity and prosperity.

A Museum Is a Terrible Place for a Date

A Museum Is a Terrible Place for a Date. Sophia Benoit. GQ, January 16, 2020.

Strictly-enforced quiet, bright lighting, and scarce opportunities for eye contact? No thanks.

As the internet is all too eager to inform me, a lot of my opinions are wrong. I think lavender, the ubiquitous scent of relaxation products, smells both too cloying and too medical to soothe. I don’t like sourdough bread, a blasphemous thing to say in an upscale sandwich shop or around Food People in general. I’m not a fan of Succession, unlike the rest of my media comrades and many awards show voters. I’m putting this all out here because I want to be transparent that a lot of my “takes” are… simply not good. One that’s absolutely, inarguably, 100 percent correct though? The next time someone you're chatting with on Tinder suggests you two check out the new MoMA exhibit instead of grabbing drinks, playing mini-golf , or really doing just about any activity under the sun, pivot immediately. Why? Because museums are garbage date spots.

Here is where four to eight people are going to begin mentally composing aggrieved emails that say, “The best date of my entire life took place at The Met; how dare you?” And I will immediately mark them as spam, because museum dates, especially early on in relationships, are second only to poetry when it comes to being a deceitful enemy of love and horniness.

There are many reasons why people who are considering boning should not elect to spend their time before said boning in a spacious, brightly-lit room, but the main one is this: timing. No two people alive move through museums at the same rate. Personally, unless I have purchased a guided audio tour that’s giving me juicy gossip on every artist, like which relatives they slept with and which pope they sent into apoplexy, I’m the kind of person who needs Heelys to get through a museum fast enough. I have no fine art education, which is admittedly my fault, and I don’t get much enjoyment out of paintings without knowing some background. Even then, I get bored easily in quiet, deferentail spaces.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend makes a whole production of it. He can look at one singular painting for longer than it takes me to make a whole lap around the room. (What is he looking at? I’ve spent less time analyzing my best friend’s ex’s engagement photos than he spends on a little statue). He and I are extremely mismatched, yes, but it’s not just the two of us. Everyone has different museum speeds—who is supposed to adjust, and how much? Is the brisk museum enjoyer supposed to linger with the slow peruser, growing bored out of their mind, feigning interest? Or does the lackadaisical browser need to toot toot hurry up? There’s no correct etiquette, just awkwardness.

The idea, of course, is that art will provoke stimulating conversation—great in theory, but unlikely in practice. In this fantasy, you go agog at all the same pieces like the beginning of act two of an indie rom com where you both connect over an abiding love of Artemisia Gentileschi. But that simply doesn’t happen. Either you’re the kind of person who gazes at a painting, speed-reads the plaque, and decides how much you like it, or you stalk around the place with your arms joined behind your back like a Serious Art Person while you form deep, emotional connections with the artwork. This means that when two people enter a museum, one might exit feeling somewhat relaxed (museums are pretty soothing) but otherwise unaffected, while the other is reeling and trying to not think about the painting that reminded them of their estranged relationship with their father. Now what? You two are emotionally out of sync and you’ve just walked two miles, so you have to find a place to sit down pretty soon.

The problem isn’t just that museums—well, the art within them—inspire discordant emotional responses. Lots of, perhaps even most, dates involve two people feeling very differently. The issue is that museums don’t offer a particularly conducive environment to actually talk about these feelings. They’re meant for quiet reflection. There are intimidating security guards stationed at every corner, ready to yell at you the moment your face gets too close to a piece. Plus, everything you say echoes, so your uneducated critique of a classic piece of modern art is earning you glares from an art student who has spent the last two months studying the work of Wassily Kandinsky.

I will also reiterate that these mismatches are especially difficult to reconcile early on. Expressing heavy emotions to someone and getting nothing in return can quickly snuff out a romantic spark. “I loved the painting of the woman on the chair. It reminded me of all the years I felt totally isolated and alone,” being met with, “Yeah. It was nice,” is not a recipe for “happily ever after” or even, “Do you want to come back to my place?” Please reserve deep emotional trauma for date seven and beyond.

Reciprocal enthusiasm and physical touch are two of the best ways to scoot romance along, and you aren’t going to find those in museums. You don’t have to be near to your date, or even make any eye contact at all, in fact, during the entire ordeal.

I will absolutely concede that the museum date sounds romantic. I do not think anyone is a fool for being seduced by the idea of a joint edifying pursuit, of ogling masterpieces with a person you’d like to ogle naked. But unless you two were both art history majors, the reality is likely to fall far short of the expectation.

Generalized trust in others lowers mortality, mainly that caused by CVD; trust seems to acts as buffer reducing the axiety stemming from the others' behavior

Trust, happiness and mortality: Findings from a prospective US population-based survey. Social Science & Medicine, January 18 2020, 112809. Alexander Miething, Jan Mewes, Giuseppe N. Giordano. Social Science & Medicine, January 18 2020, 112809.

• Happiness and generalised trust both touted as independent predictors of mortality.
• Trust but not happiness predicts all-cause mortality.
• Trust predicts mortality caused by CVD but not by neoplasia.
• Psychosocial mechanisms might drive the association between trust and health.

Abstract: There has been an abundance of research discussing the health implications of generalised trust and happiness over the past two decades. Both attitudes have been touted as independent predictors of morbidity and mortality, with strikingly similar trajectories and biological pathways being hypothesised. To date, however, neither trust nor happiness have been considered simultaneously as predictors of mortality. This study, therefore, aims to investigate the effects of generalised trust and happiness on all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The distinction between different causes of death (i.e. cardiovascular vs. cancer-related mortality) allowed us to assess if psychosocial mechanisms could account for associations between generalised trust, happiness and mortality. The study sample was derived from US General Social Survey data from 1978 to 2010 (response rates ranged from 70 to 82 per cent), and combined with death records from the National Death Index. The analytical sample comprised 23,933 individuals with 5382 validated deaths from all-cause mortality by 2014. Analyses were performed with Cox regression models and competing-risk models. In final models, generalised trust, but not happiness, showed robust and independent associations with all-cause mortality. Regarding cause-specific mortality, trust only showed a significant relationship with cardiovascular mortality. The distinct patterns of association between generalised trust and all-cause/cause-specific mortality suggest that their relationship could be being driven by cardiovascular mortality. In turn, this supports the feasibility of psychosocial pathways as possible biological mechanisms from distrust to mortality.

Keywords: TrustHappinessAll-cause mortalityCause-specific mortalityPsychosocial pathwayCox regressionCompeting-risk regressionUnited States


This US population-based study is the first to investigate whether individual-level generalised
trust and happiness independently predicted all-cause mortality. By using cause-specific
mortality outcomes, we further sought to corroborate the hypothesis that psychosocial
mechanisms could provide a feasible pathway from low trust and unhappiness to mortality.
Our findings confirmed that individual-level trust maintained independent and robust
associations with all-cause and cardiovascular-specific mortality, even after socio-economic
and other demographic factors were considered. Results presented here thus mirror previous
empirical findings of associations between generalised trust and longevity (Islam et al., 2006;
Kawachi et al., 1997; Murayama et al., 2012).

Conversely, associations between happiness and all-cause mortality were fully attenuated
once adjusting for confounders. Several mechanisms have been proposed as to why
generalised trust may lead to better health and longevity. Some argue that trust mobilises
social support and enables greater collective action, providing greater access to those
resources needed to cope better with any potential health hazard (Elgar, 2010; Moore &
Kawachi, 2017). Others hint at the genetic aetiology of trust (Oskarsson et al., 2012; Wootton
et al., 2016), though there are currently no studies that investigate if the genetic underpinnings
of distrust/trust are also linked with known disease risk and/or protective gene variants.

That generalised trust is robustly associated with cardiovascular mortality in this study lends
further weight to the idea that psychosocial pathways are a plausible biological mechanism
from trust to health (Abbott & Freeth, 2008). To clarify further, if individual-level trust
reflects social trustworthiness, then lower levels of trust could be indicative of higher social
stressors (Giordano & Lindström, 2010; Wilkinson, 1996). From this perspective, generalised
trust acts as buffer reducing the anxiety stemming from the behaviour of others (Abbott &
Freeth, 2008). If high trust facilitates collective action (Coleman, 1988), then it is reasonable
to assume that low trust hinders this process, creating greater concern during every-day
transactions compared to those conducted within a ‘high-trust’ milieu. It has been argued that
exposure to high levels of social stressors could have a deleterious impact on the
cardiovascular system. The biological pathways through which this acts is the hypothalamic
pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the overstimulation of which leads to increased levels of blood
cortisol (Rosmond & Björntorp, 2000). Prolonged and/or repeatedly high blood cortisol levels
released under conditions of perceived stress have been shown to increase one’s risk of
atherosclerosis (Dekker et al., 2008) and coronary artery calcification over the life-course
(Hamer et al., 2012).

In this study, individuals who distrusted others had, in comparison to the trusting group, a 13
per cent elevated risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease (Table 3, Model 7 & 8).
However, from the analyses performed, it is not possible to distinguish if individual trust is an
interpretation of environmental trustworthiness (hinting at the social capital debate) or
whether it captures pathological distrust, an element of the personality trait known as cynical
hostility (Kawachi, 2018). Cynically hostile individuals are also reported to have an increased
cardiovascular mortality risk, with possible pathways from distrust to cardiovascular mortality
including socio-economic status and the same HPA-axis mechanisms previously described
(Everson et al., 1997).

Strengths & Limitations

This is the first study to independently investigate the effects of both generalised trust and
happiness on mortality outcomes, using rich US survey data that span over more than three
decades. The GSS data were prospectively linked to mortality registries from the NDI, which
provided objective and validated specific cause-of-death categories. While these pooled GSS
data are nationally representative, this study design relied on single cross-sectional
observations, which do not capture change over time. Though a study based on UK panel data
showed how individuals’ generalised trust could change (Giordano et al., 2012), individuals’
generalised trust tends to re-adapt to a certain ‘set point’ in the longer term (Dawson, 2017).
Considerable stability is also attributed to levels of happiness (Lucas & Donnellan, 2007).

While our study corroborates hypotheses linking generalised trust to longevity, our analysis
has consciously ignored important parts of the wider debate on social capital and health. We
refrained from analysing additional social capital measures for three important reasons. The
first is a simple methodological one: not enough rounds of the GSS contained the desired
measures to obtain statistically powerful samples. Secondly, while generalised trust is ‘sticky’
in adulthood (Uslaner, 2002), other important social capital proxies (e.g. membership in
(voluntary) associations and community ties are not. Our data lacked the possibility to track
individuals’ membership, networks and community social capital longitudinally, making
inferences from any estimates untrustworthy. Thirdly, using Canadian survey data, Carpiano

and Fitterer (2014) have showed that generalised trust could be conceptually different from
other social capital measures.

While survey research generally favours multiple-item scales over single-item measures, our
measures of trust and happiness belonged to the latter group. Regarding happiness, the GSS
simply lacks additional measures. As for trust, previous research highlighted that the single
item trust measure outperforms the GSS three-item trust scale in terms of reliability and
validity (Uslaner, 2015). Moreover, the standard single-item trust measure has, for a long
time, featured in a range of international survey studies. Opting for the single-item trust
measure thus increases the possibility of replication in future studies in other contexts.

We investigated cause-specific mortality in an attempt to substantiate that psychosocial
pathways were one plausible biological mechanism from generalised trust to health.
Unfortunately, there is no possibility to track health behaviour in the GSS-NDI data after
1994, as questions regarding smoking and drinking were no longer employed. We thus lacked
the opportunity to establish associations between trust and CVD mortality adjusting for risky
health behaviour. We deliberately focused on deaths caused by either CVD or by neoplasia
for two reasons. Firstly, because psychosocial pathways are purported to play a greater role in
CVD-related deaths. Secondly, they are the two most frequent causes of death in these data.
Future studies could investigate other associations between trust and cause-specific deaths,
e.g. the infamously theorised association between (a lack of) generalised trust and suicide
(Durkheim, 2005). Unfortunately, the GSS-NDI drawn for purposes of this study simply lack
the statistical power to consider further categories of cause-specific mortality. Finally, all
analyses were conducted at the individual level, which makes it impossible to ascertain
whether presented relationships with mortality are due to trust being an individual or a
contextual resource (Giordano et al., 2019).

Small associations between the amount of daily digital technology usage & adolescents’ well‐being: Unlikely to be of clinical or practical significance

Annual Research Review: Adolescent mental health in the digital age: facts, fears, and future directions. Candice L. Odgers, Michaeline R. Jensen. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, January 17 2020.

Abstract: Adolescents are spending an increasing amount of their time online and connected to each other via digital technologies. Mobile device ownership and social media usage have reached unprecedented levels, and concerns have been raised that this constant connectivity is harming adolescents’ mental health. This review synthesized data from three sources: (a) narrative reviews and meta‐analyses conducted between 2014 and 2019, (b) large‐scale preregistered cohort studies and (c) intensive longitudinal and ecological momentary assessment studies, to summarize what is known about linkages between digital technology usage and adolescent mental health, with a specific focus on depression and anxiety. The review highlights that most research to date has been correlational, focused on adults versus adolescents, and has generated a mix of often conflicting small positive, negative and null associations. The most recent and rigorous large‐scale preregistered studies report small associations between the amount of daily digital technology usage and adolescents’ well‐being that do not offer a way of distinguishing cause from effect and, as estimated, are unlikely to be of clinical or practical significance. Implications for improving future research and for supporting adolescents’ mental health in the digital age are discussed.

Key Points
.  Adolescents are early and enthusiastic adopters of digital technologies and are increasingly spending their time connecting to the online world and to each other through their devices. This constant connectivity has led to concerns that time spent online may be negatively impacting adolescents’ mental health and wellbeing.
.  We synthesized recent findings across meta-analytic studies and narrative reviews, large-scale and preregistered cohort studies, and intensive assessment studies tracking digital technology use and mental health across time.
.  Most research to date has been correlational, cross-sectional, mixed in terms of the directionality, and have resulted in small associations which leave no way of separating cause from effect.
.  We recommend that future research use experimental and quasi-experimental methods and focus on online experiences versus screen time as well as heterogeneity in effects across diverse populations of youth. Knowledge generated from this research should allow researchers and practitioners to leverage online tools to reduce offline disparities and support adolescents’ mental health as they come of age in an increasingly digital and connected world.