Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Psychological research: Guidance for systematically evaluating whether an observed effect size is practically relevant is needed to justify claims about practical relevance; that is, there is no such mechanism as of now

Anvari, Farid, Rogier Kievit, Daniel Lakens, Andrew K. Przybylski, Leonid Tiokhin, Brenton M. Wiernik, and Amy Orben. 2021. “Evaluating the Practical Relevance of Observed Effect Sizes in Psychological Research.” PsyArXiv. June 15. doi:10.31234/osf.io/g3vtr

Abstract: Psychological researchers currently lack guidance for how to evaluate the practical relevance of observed effect sizes, i.e. whether a finding will have impact when translated to a different context of application. Although psychologists have recently highlighted theoretical justifications for why small effect sizes might be practically relevant, such justifications are simplistic and fail to provide the information necessary for evaluation and falsification. Claims about whether an observed effect size is practically relevant need to consider both the mechanisms amplifying and counteracting practical relevance, as well as the assumptions underlying each mechanism at play. To provide guidance for systematically evaluating whether an observed effect size is practically relevant, we present examples of widely applicable mechanisms and the key assumptions needed for justifying whether an observed effect size can be expected to generalize to different contexts. Routine use of these mechanisms to justify claims about practical relevance has the potential to make researchers’ claims about generalizability substantially more transparent. This transparency can help move psychological science towards a more rigorous assessment of when psychological findings can be applied in the world.

Update Jul 5 2021: Collins, Elizabeth, and Roger Watt. 2021. “Use, Knowledge and Misconceptions of Effect Sizes in Psychology.” PsyArXiv. July 1. doi:10.31234/osf.io/r7vmf

Abstract: In this study, 247 psychologists were surveyed to examine effect size use, barriers to use, and effect size knowledge measured using quantitative and qualitative questions. This pre-print reports our findings.

Pay transparency leads to lower average wages when pays is not fixed in pay classes: Employers credibly refuse to pay high wages to any one worker to avoid costly renegotiations with others under transparency

Equilibrium Effects of Pay Transparency. Zoe B. Cullen & Bobak Pakzad-Hurson. NBER Working Paper 28903, Jun 2021. DOI 10.3386/w28903

Abstract: The public discourse around pay transparency has focused on the direct effect: how workers seek to rectify newly-disclosed pay inequities through renegotiations. The question of how wage-setting and hiring practices of the firm respond in equilibrium has received less attention. To study these outcomes, we build a model of bargaining under incomplete information and test our predictions in the context of the U.S. private sector. Our model predicts that transparency reduces the individual bargaining power of workers, leading to lower average wages. A key insight is that employers credibly refuse to pay high wages to any one worker to avoid costly renegotiations with others under transparency. In situations where workers do not have individual bargaining power, such as under a collective bargaining agreement or in markets with posted wages, greater transparency has a muted impact on average wages. We test these predictions by evaluating the roll-out of U.S. state legislation protecting the right of workers to inquire about the salaries of their coworkers. Consistent with our prediction, the laws lead wages to decline by approximately 2% overall, but declines are progressively smaller in occupations with higher unionization rates. Our model provides a unified framework to analyze a wide range of transparency policies, and reconciles effects of transparency mandates documented in a variety of countries and contexts.


Free women at work in the USA since 1860: Rather than a steep rise from a very low level in the female labor force participation rate, it has in fact always been high & fairly stable over time (too many unreported family workers)

Women at Work in the United States Since 1860: An Analysis of Unreported Family Workers. Barry R.Chiswick, RaeAnn Halenda Robinson. Explorations in Economic History, June 8 2021, 101406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101406

Abstract: Estimated labor force participation rates among free women in the pre-Civil War period were exceedingly low. This is due, in part, to cultural or societal expectations of the role of women and the lack of thorough enumeration by Census takers. This paper develops an augmented labor force participation rate for free women in 1860 and compares it with the augmented rate for 1920 and today. Our methodology identifies women who are likely providing informal and unenumerated labor for market production in support of a family business, that is, unreported family workers. These individuals are not coded in the original data as formally working, but are likely to be engaged in the labor force on the basis of the self-employment of other relatives in their household. Unreported family workers are classified into four categories: farm, merchant, craft, and boardinghouse keepers. Using microdata, the inclusion of these workers more than triples the free female labor force participation rate in the 1860 Census from 16 percent to 57 percent, more than doubles the participation rate in the 1920 Census from 24 percent to 50 percent, and has a trivial effect on the currently measured rate of 56 percent (2015-2019 American Community Survey). This suggests that rather than a steep rise from a very low level in the female labor force participation rate since 1860, it has in fact always been high and fairly stable over time. In contrast, the effect of including unreported family workers in the male augmented labor force participation rate is relatively small.

Keywords: WomenLabor Force ParticipationUnreported Family WorkersOccupational StatusUnpaid WorkersSelf-Employment1860 Census1920 CensusAmerican Community Survey

JEL N31 J16 J21 J82


In the workplace: A snitcher is seen as more moral, more hirable, and as having higher leadership potential; snitching on friends makes one appear disloyal and a bad potential friend

Berry, Zachariah, Ike Silver, and Alex Shaw. 2021. “Moral Paragons, but Crummy Friends: The Case of Snitching.” PsyArXiv. June 15. doi:10.31234/osf.io/r9kag

Abstract: Loyalty to one’s co-workers and friends is an important moral value that benefits and strengthens employee relationships. Yet, an employee’s loyalty-based obligations may be tested when they witness a friend engage in wrongdoing that could negatively impact their organization. Across five pre-registered studies (N = 1,089), we examine how relationship-based loyalty obligations impact how people evaluate an employee who decides to snitch or not snitch after witnessing another employee’s transgressions. We consistently find that a witness who snitches (vs. doesn’t snitch) is seen as more moral, more hirable, and as having higher leadership potential (Studies 1-4b) and that this effect is insensitive to relationship-based loyalty obligations (i.e., whether the transgressor and witness are friends; Studies 2 and 3). We also demonstrate that snitches are not seen as more moral when snitching on non-moral transgressions (Study 3) and that the benefits of snitching for perceived moral character are moderated if the witness somehow benefits from turning in the wrongdoer, suggesting that their behavior is selfishly motivated (Study 4a–4b). Of course, snitching is not costless: in all of our studies, snitching on friends makes one appear disloyal and a bad potential friend. These results highlight important instances where fulfilling loyalty-obligations is not a part of what it means to be a moral person. We discuss implications for loyalty, moral psychology, and whistleblowing, as well as the practical implications for organizations.



From 2018... Neutral, impartial, dispassionate researchers ask: How did IQ become an important means of naturalizing economic and racial inequality and supporting neoliberal visions of a fully privatized, free market society?

From 2018... Neoliberalism and IQ: Naturalizing economic and racial inequality. Andrew S. Winston. Theory & Psychology, October 9, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354318798160

Abstract: How did IQ become an important means of naturalizing economic and racial inequality and supporting neoliberal visions of a fully privatized, free market society? I show how post-WWII neoliberals and libertarians could employ ideas of “innate intelligence” to promote the reduction of government funding of social programs. For extreme libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, inequality among individuals and ethnicities was self-evident from human history and the a priori examination of the “natural order,” but IQ data could also be employed in the fight against “egalitarianism.” Any attempt to interfere in this “natural order,” such as civil rights legislation, was viewed as inherently evil. For libertarian Charles Murray and more mainstream neoliberals such as Milton Friedman, empirical research on intelligence was an effective means of influencing public perception and policy on welfare, affirmative action, and immigration. I discuss recent work on “national intelligence” in relation to neoliberal projects and enduring fears regarding reproduction and family.

Keywords: inequality, IQ, libertarian, neoliberalism, racism