Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Immigrant Health Advantage: An Examination of African-Origin Black Immigrants in the United States

The Immigrant Health Advantage: An Examination of African-Origin Black Immigrants in the United States. Justin Vinneau Palarino. Population Research and Policy Review volume 40, pages895–929, Mar 20 2021.

Abstract: The immigrant health advantage suggests that, despite significant socioeconomic disadvantage, immigrant populations report better-than-expected health relative to U.S.-born counterparts. This phenomenon has been repeatedly shown in Hispanic-origin immigrant population with little focus on other racial/ethnic groups. In this study, the immigrant health advantage is examined as it pertains to overweight, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes in African-origin black immigrants (n = 2748) relative to U.S.-born non-Hispanic blacks (n = 71,320). Additionally, to investigate within-immigrant heterogeneity in health deterioration associated with duration in the United States, the health of African-origin black immigrants is compared to non-Hispanic white and Mexican–American immigrants. Analyses are conducted on adults aged 18–85 + (n = 570,675) from the 2000–2018 National Health Interview Survey using binomial logistic regressions. Findings support the notion of an immigrant health advantage and suggest that, relative to U.S.-born blacks, African-origin black immigrants are at lower odds for obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, regardless of duration in the United States. Further, when compared to non-Hispanic white and Mexican–American immigrants, African-origin black immigrants display similar probabilities of reporting overweight, obesity, and diabetes across four duration categories. These findings suggest that, despite potentially experiencing high rates of discriminatory and/or racist behaviors, African-origin black immigrants’ health does not deteriorate differently than this sample of non-black immigrant counterparts. The findings presented here provide further insight into the health of African-origin blacks immigrants, a rapidly growing proportion of both the U.S.-black and foreign-born population.

We investigate which types of legislators are more likely to gain company board service: There is a strong preference for appointing moderates to boards, regardless of strong legislative record, service on powerful committees, or networks

Extremists Not on Board: Labor market costs to radical behavior in elected office. Benjamin C.K. Egerod, Hai Tran. Oct 2021.

Abstract: Board appointments represent highly lucrative career trajectories for former politicians. We investigate which types of legislators are more likely to gain board service. Leveraging comprehensive data on the board service of former Members of Congress, we show that ideological extremists are less likely to be appointed to a board after serving in Congress. Additionally, we use a difference-in-differences design to show that when the supply of legislators who are willing to take a directorship increases, firms become less likely to appoint extremist legislators to their board. The estimates are striking in magnitude, indicating a strong preference for appointing moderates to boards. Surprisingly, we find no evidence that a strong legislative record, service on powerful committees, or networks increase the probability of board service. The results show that extremist legislators are effectively shut out of one of the most lucrative post-elective career paths, placing a cost on radical behavior.

Keywords: The revolving door; The post-elective labor market; Political incentives and selection

Those in this extreme upper tail of wealth are more educated and better-looking than the average person of the same age

“Beauty Too Rich for Use”*: Billionaires’ Assets and Attractiveness. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Andrew Leigh. NBER Working Paper 29361. October 2021. DOI 10.3386/w29361

Abstract: We examine how the net worth of billionaires relates to their looks, as rated by 16 people of different gender and ethnicity. Surprisingly, their financial assets are unrelated to their beauty; nor are they related to their educational attainment. As a group, however, billionaires are both more educated and better-looking than average for their age. Men, people who reside in Western countries, and those who inherited substantial wealth, are wealthier than other billionaires. The results do not arise from measurement error or nonrandom sample selectivity. They are consistent with econometric theory about the impact of truncating a sample to include observations only from the extreme tail of the dependent variable. The point is underscored by comparing estimates of earnings equations using all employees in the 2018 American Community Survey to those using a sample of the top 0.1 percent. The findings suggest the powerful role of luck within the extremes of the distributions of economic outcomes.

Underestimating Learning by Doing

Horn, Samantha and Loewenstein, George F., Underestimating Learning by Doing (October 12, 2021). SSRN:

Abstract: Many economic decisions, such as whether to invest in developing new skills, change professions, or purchase a new technology, benefit from accurate estimation of skill acquisition. We examine the accuracy of such predictions by having experimental participants predict the speed at which they will master an unfamiliar task. The first experiment finds systematic underestimation of learning, even after multiple rounds of performance feedback. Replicating earlier findings by psychologists, we observe an abrupt drop in confidence, from overconfidence to underconfidence, following initial task experience. The second experiment shows that underpredicting learning leads decision makers to make choices that lower average payoffs.

Keywords: learning, beliefs, forecasting

JEL Classification: C91, D83, D91

We propose that people exhibit an insight bias, such that they undervalue persistence and overvalue insight in the creative process

Lay people’s beliefs about creativity: evidence for an insight bias. Brian J. Lucas, Loran F. Nordgren. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, October 16 2021.

Abstract: Research finds that creative ideas are generated by two cognitive pathways: insight and persistence. However, emerging research suggests people’s lay beliefs may not adequately reflect both routes. We propose that people exhibit an insight bias, such that they undervalue persistence and overvalue insight in the creative process.

Keywords: creativitycreative processinsightpersistencelay beliefsjudgment

From performance to perception

What might an insight bias look like? We propose that an insight bias would be supported by evidence that people’s beliefs about creativity systematically mispredict creative performance such that people undervalue persistence and overvalue insight.

Initial evidence of an insight bias comes from research that compared people’s beliefs about the value of persistence for creativity against actual performance. After an initial period of idea generation, people predicted how many more ideas they would generate during a second round of idea generation and then they actually generated ideas a second time. This research found that people consistently underestimated how many ideas they would generate during the second round [6]. That is, they underestimated the value of persisting. Building on this finding, other research investigated people’s beliefs about how creativity changes over time. People were asked to predict the trajectory of their creativity across an ideation session and then to actually complete the session. These studies found that whereas creativity actually increased or stayed the same across the session, people consistently predicted their creativity would decline [7]. Finally, problem solving research has found that people overestimate how quickly they exhaust a problem’s solution space (i.e., the set of reasonable solutions to a problem). In one study, people estimated that they generated 75% of the solution space when in fact their ideas covered only 20–30% [8].

Other research more directly compares beliefs about insight and persistence. For instance, people believe creative ideas are more likely to be produced by cognitive processes related to insight (e.g., cognitive flexibility) than processes related to persistence (e.g., deliberate, persistent thinking) [9]. One study found that people believe creativity is stimulated more by defocusing (i.e., not working on the problem) than by focusing (i.e., deliberately working) on the task. However, when asked to recall and describe a recent idea generation experience, they reported the opposite: their idea was more often preceded by focusing than defocusing [9]. The preference for insight resonates with research on beliefs about the origins of talent. This research finds that people favor entrepreneurs whose ideas stem from innate talents (e.g., from traits related to genius and insight) over entrepreneurs whose ideas result from effort and hard work. In one study, people even preferred an innately talented entrepreneur with fewer achievements over a hard-working entrepreneur with more achievements [10].

The studies summarized above provide evidence that people undervalue persistence and overvalue insight. Understanding these (faulty) beliefs is important because they influence how people choose to engage in creative work. For instance, undervaluing persistence and believing one’s best ideas come early leads people to disengage from creative work more quickly, which limits creativity [6,7]. Valuing insight leads people to expect more creativity when in the bathtub than at one’s workstation [9] and to discount the value of others whose accomplishments draw on persistence rather than innate genius [10].

What causes the insight bias? One explanation relates to the subjective experience of idea generation itself. Specifically, the feeling of effortfulness experienced while generating ideas (also called metacognitive fluency) [11]. Generating ideas via insight feels less effortful and less mentally exhausting than generating ideas via persistence. This more pleasant experience of insight, versus persistence, leads people to think and feel more positively about insight [6,11]. For example, the research where people underestimated how many ideas they would generate while persisting [6] found that the feeling of effortfulness experienced during initial idea generation accounted for the discrepancy between predictions and performance. Similarly, people’s belief that creativity declines across an ideation session [7] was explained by people’s pessimism about the difficulty of producing ideas over time. Future research should continue to test this and other mechanisms.