Sunday, August 2, 2020

Dates of birth and death for more than 1,600 CEOs of large, publicly listed U.S. firms: We estimate that CEOs' lifespan increases by around two years when insulated from market discipline via anti-takeover laws

Borgschulte, Mark and Guenzel, Marius and Liu, Canyao and Malmendier, Ulrike, CEO Stress, Aging, and Death (June 1, 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14933, Available at SSRN:

Abstract: We show that increased job demands due to takeover threats and industry crises have significant adverse consequences for managers' long-term health. Using hand-collected data on the dates of birth and death for more than 1,600 CEOs of large, publicly listed U.S. firms, we estimate that CEOs' lifespan increases by around two years when insulated from market discipline via anti-takeover laws. CEOs also stay on the job longer, with no evidence of a compensating differential in the form of lower pay. In a second analysis, we find diminished longevity arising from increases in job demands caused by industry-wide downturns during a CEO's tenure. Finally, we utilize machine-learning age-estimation methods to detect visible signs of aging in pictures of CEOs. We estimate that exposure to a distress shock during the Great Recession increases CEOs' apparent age by roughly one year over the next decade.

Rolf Degen summarizing... Contrary to an influential psychological finding, most laughs in everyday conversations were responses to something comical, and not just instances of social smoothing

What's your laughter doing there? A taxonomy of the pragmatic functions of laughter. Chiara Mazzocconi, Ye Tian, Jonathan Ginzburg. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, May 2020.

Abstract: Laughter is a crucial signal for communication and managing interactions. Until now no consensual approach has emerged for classifying laughter. We propose a new framework for laughter analysis and classification, based on the pivotal assumption that laughter has propositional content. We propose an annotation scheme to classify the pragmatic functions of laughter taking into account the form, the laughable, the social, situational, and linguistic context. We apply the framework and taxonomy proposed in a multilingual corpus study (French, Mandarin Chinese and English), involving a variety of situational contexts. Our results give rise to novel generalizations about the range of meanings laughter exhibits, the placement of the laughable, and how placement and arousal relate to the functions of laughter. We have tested and refuted the validity of the commonly accepted assumption that laughter directly follows its laughable. In the concluding section, we discuss the implications our work has for spoken dialogue systems. We stress that laughter integration in spoken dialogue systems is not only crucial for emotional and affective computing aspects, but also for aspects related to natural language understanding and pragmatic reasoning. We formulate the emergent computational challenges for incorporating laughter in spoken dialogue systems.

The Great Stagnation (the fifty-year decline in growth for the U.S. and other advanced economies) – Causes and Cures

Carr, Douglas, The Great Stagnation – Causes and Cures (July 28, 2020). SSRN:

This paper addresses the fifty-year decline in growth for the U.S. and other advanced economies.
The paper develops a growth model based upon an economy’s capital accounts and illustrates how customary growth factors such as labor and total factor productivity are embedded within investment ratios, permitting estimation of investment, that largely determines growth rate as well as the natural rate of interest, which is the capital factor share of growth. The model explains declines of these measures and finds convergence among natural interest, total factor productivity, and labor growth.

The paper identifies two investment regimes which crossed paths in the U.S. in the early 1970’s, one based upon depreciation and the other determined by the capital factor share of the private market sector. Constrictions on the private market sector from growing government spending limit the potential for higher levels of private investment necessary to offset greater depreciation from rapid obsolescence of increasingly high-tech investments.

Present trends worsen stagnation, but lifting constriction of private investment would allow full realization of benefits from technology investment’s high productivity, boosting U.S. growth to over 7% annually, and would benefit other advanced economies as well.
Keywords: Growth model, economic growth, investment, interest rate, natural rate of interest

JEL Classification: E22, E43, E44, F43, O16, O41, O47

Lay Beliefs about Meaning in Life: Examinations Across Targets, Time, and Countries

Lay Beliefs about Meaning in Life: Examinations Across Targets, Time, and Countries. Samantha J.Heintzelman et al. Journal of Research in Personality, August 1 2020, 104003.

• Meaning in life was perceived to be both created and discovered, and to be common.
• Beliefs about meaning related to experiences of meaning in life.
• Technology was perceived as both providing supports and challenges to meaning.
• There were national differences in perceptions and experiences of meaning.
• Relationships and happiness were rated as top sources of meaning across 8 nations.

Abstract: We examined how lay beliefs about meaning in life relate to experiences of personal meaning. In Study 1 (N=406) meaning in life was perceived to be a common experience, but one that requires effort to attain, and these beliefs related to levels of meaning in life. Participants viewed their own lives as more meaningful than the average person’s, and technology as both creating challenges and providing supports for meaning. Study 2 (N=1,719) showed cross-country variation in levels of and beliefs about meaning across eight countries. However, social relationships and happiness were identified as the strongest sources of meaning in life consistently across countries. We discuss the value of lay beliefs for understanding meaning in life both within and across cultures.

Keywords: meaning in lifepsychological well-beinglay beliefscross-cultural

Check also Meaning and Evolution: Why Nature Selected Human Minds to Use Meaning. Roy F. Baumeister and William von Hippel. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, Vol. 4, No. 1, Symposium on Meaning and Evolution (Spring 2020), pp. 1-18.

Also Happiness, Meaning, and Psychological Richness. Shigehiro Oishi, Hyewon Choi, Minkyung Koo, Iolanda Galinha, Keiko Ishii, Asuka Komiya, Maike Luhmann, Christie Scollon, Ji-eun Shin, Hwaryung Lee, Eunkook M. Suh, Joar Vittersø, Samantha J. Heintzelman, Kostadin Kushlev, Erin C. Westgate, Nicholas Buttrick, Jane Tucker, Charles R. Ebersole, Jordan Axt, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brandon W. Ng, Jaime Kurtz & Lorraine L. Besser . Affective Science volume 1, pages107–115, Jun 23 2020.