Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Psychology Within and Without the State

Psychology Within and Without the State. H. Clark Barrett. Annual Review of Psychology, September 21, 2021.

Abstract: Psychological research in small-scale societies is crucial for what it stands to tell us about human psychological diversity. However, people in these communities, typically Indigenous communities in the global South, have been underrepresented and sometimes misrepresented in psychological research. Here I discuss the promises and pitfalls of psychological research in these communities, reviewing why they have been of interest to social scientists and how cross-cultural comparisons have been used to test psychological hypotheses. I consider factors that may be undertheorized in our research, such as political and economic marginalization, and how these might influence our data and conclusions. I argue that more just and accurate representation of people from small-scale communities around the world will provide us with a fuller picture of human psychological similarity and diversity, and it will help us to better understand how this diversity is shaped by historical and social processes.

Effective incentives for increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake

Effective incentives for increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Gul Deniz Salali, Mete Sefa Uysal. Psychological Medicine, September 20 2021.

Abstract: In this study, we examined the relative effectiveness of prestige-based incentives (vaccination of an expert scientist/president/politician/celebrity/religious leader), conformist incentives (vaccination of friends and family) and risk-based incentives (witnessing death or illness of a person from the disease) for increasing participants' chances of getting vaccinated with respect to their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine intention. We conducted a cross-cultural survey using demographically representative samples from the UK (n = 1533), USA (n = 1550) and Turkey (n = 1567). The most effective incentives in all three countries were vaccination of an expert scientist, followed by vaccination of friends and family members and knowing someone dying from the disease. Vaccination of an expert scientist was significantly more effective at increasing vaccine intention than any other incentive. Vaccine incentives, regardless of the incentive type, were much less effective for those who originally refused the COVID-19 vaccine than for those who were hesitant to receive the vaccine. Although the percentage of vaccine-hesitant participants was highest in Turkey, the mean effectiveness scores of incentives were also the highest in Turkey, suggesting that an informed vaccine promotion strategy can be successful in this country. Our findings have policy applicability and suggest that positive vaccination messages delivered by expert scientists, vaccination of friends and family and risk-based incentives can be effective at increasing vaccine uptake.

Industrial policy in Korea: Although output, input use, & labor productivity of the targeted industries/regions grew significantly faster, the misallocation of resources within them got significantly worse, so TFP did not increase

The Plant-Level View of an Industrial Policy: The Korean Heavy Industry Drive of 1973. Minho Kim, Munseob Lee & Yongseok Shin. NBER Working Paper 29252, September 2021.

Abstract: Does industrial policy work? This is a subject of long-standing debates among economists and policymakers. Using newly digitized microdata, we evaluate the Korean government's policy that promoted heavy and chemical industries between 1973 and 1979 by cutting taxes and building new industrial complexes for them. We show that output, input use, and labor productivity of the targeted industries and regions grew significantly faster than those of non-targeted ones. While the plant-level total factor productivity also grew faster in targeted industries and regions, the misallocation of resources within them got significantly worse, especially among the entrants, so that the total factor productivity at the industry-region level did not increase relative to the non-targeted industries and regions. In addition, we provide new evidence on how industrial policy reshapes the economy: (i) The establishment size distribution of targeted industries and regions shifted to the right with thicker tails due to the entry of large establishments and (ii) the targeted industries became more important in the economy's input-output structure in the sense that their output multipliers increased significantly more. 


Summary in Other Countries’ Industrial Policies Don’t Justify Our Own. Scott Lincicome. Cato, Sep 2021.


First, labor productivity and output did indeed rise faster in the Korean factories targeted by the HCI policies, but total factor productivity (i.e., how efficiently and intensely all inputs are utilized in production) in those industries actually declined during the HCI period. In particular, Korean government policies led to a severe misallocation of resources in targeted industries, thus negating any plant‐​level gains. As the authors put it, “resource allocation across plants within the targeted industries/​regions worsened substantially, to the point where the gains in plant‐​level productivity are completely undone by the worsened misallocation.” This misallocation was most severe among new establishments that had sprung up during the HCI period, suggesting that the government subsidies buoyed big, new, inefficient firms, not particularly nimble or productive ones. And even though Korea’s industrial policies ended in 1979, productivity in the targeted industries continued to decline through the 1980s.

Second, the same misallocation of resources did not occur in non‐​targeted industries in the 1970s. Thus, the authors conclude, productivity at targeted Korean industries would have been 40 percent higher in 1980 had no industrial policies been implemented. “In other words, the exacerbated misallocation within the targeted industries/​regions relative to the non‐​targeted ones had the effect amounting to a 2.8-percent-per-year loss in total factor productivity during this period.”

Third, Korean industrial policies increased business concentration in targeted industries, with potentially damaging implications. For example, the average size of a targeted firm more than quadrupled between 1967–1980, while the average size of a non‐​targeted firm increased to a much lesser degree over the same period (see Figure 1). Many of the ballooning establishments in the targeted industries were new entrants with the greatest misallocation of resources.

The authors speculate that Korea’s HCI drive may therefore have been instrumental in empowering the large family‐​run conglomerates, known as Chaebols, whose outsized political and economic influence has for decades been a big problem for South Korea. (Many new HCI establishments with the highest misallocation of resources were in fact owned by these Chaebols.)

Perceivers’ impressions of others are largely dictated by their individual characteristics and local environment, rather than their cultural background... it's mostly not them, nor your culture, it's mostly just you

Hester, Neil, Sally Y. Xie, and Eric Hehman. 2021. “Little Between-region and Between-country Variance When Forming Impressions of Others.” PsyArXiv. September 28. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: To what extent are perceivers’ first impressions of others dictated by cultural background versus personal idiosyncrasies? To address this question, we analyzed a globally diverse dataset containing 11,481 adult participants’ ratings of 120 targets across 45 countries (2,597,624 total ratings). Across ratings of 13 traits, we find that perceivers’ idiosyncratic differences accounted for ~29% of variance and impressions on their own and ~16% in conjunction with target characteristics. However, country- and region-level differences, here a proxy for culture, accounted for on average 3.2% (i.e., both alone and in conjunction with target characteristics). We replicated this pattern of effects in a pre-registered analysis on an entirely novel dataset containing 7,007 participants’ ratings of 100 targets across 41 countries (24,886 total ratings). Together, this work suggests that perceivers’ impressions of others are largely dictated by their individual characteristics and local environment, rather than their cultural background.

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