Monday, June 27, 2022

How Autogynephilic Are Natal Females?

How Autogynephilic Are Natal Females? J. Michael Bailey & Kevin J. Hsu. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Jun 27 2022.

Abstract: Blanchard proposed that autogynephilia is a natal male’s paraphilic sexual arousal in response to the thought or fantasy of being a woman. Furthermore, based on evidence collected from natal males with gender dysphoria, Blanchard argued that autogynephilia is the fundamental motivation among nonhomosexual males (i.e., those not exclusively attracted to men) who pursue sex reassignment surgery or live as transgender women. These ideas have been challenged by several writers who have asserted, or offered evidence, that autogynephilia is common among women. However, their evidence was weakened by problematic measures and limited comparison groups. We compared four samples of autogynephilic natal males (N = 1549), four samples of non-autogynephilic natal males (N = 1339), and two samples of natal females (N = 500), using Blanchard’s original measure: the Core Autogynephilia Scale. The autogynephilic samples had much higher mean scores compared with non-autogynephilic natal males and natal females, who were similar. Our findings refute the contention that autogynephilia is common among natal females.

Tax the élites! The role of economic inequality and conspiracy beliefs on attitudes towards taxes and redistribution intentions

Tax the élites! The role of economic inequality and conspiracy beliefs on attitudes towards taxes and redistribution intentions. Bruno Gabriel Salvador Casara et al. British Journal of Social Psychology, June 27 2022.

Abstract: Taxation is one of the most widely acknowledged strategies to reduce inequality, particularly if based on progressivity. In a high-powered sample study (N = 2119) we investigated economic inequality and conspiracy beliefs as two key predictors of tax attitude and support for progressive taxation. We found that participants in the high economic inequality condition had lower levels of tax compliance and higher levels of conspiracy beliefs and support for progressive taxation. Furthermore, the effect of the experimental condition on tax compliance was mediated by conspiracy beliefs. Finally, conspiracy belief scores were positively associated with support for progressive taxation. Our results provide evidence that attitudes towards taxation are not monolithic but change considering the aims and targets of specific taxes. Indeed, while the perception of economic inequality prompts the desire for equal redistribution, it also fosters conspiracy narratives that undermine compliance with taxes.


In a high-powered study, we investigated economic inequality and conspiracy beliefs as two key predictors of tax attitude and support for progressive taxation.

Besides confirming previous evidence according to economic inequality increases conspiracy beliefs (Salvador Casara et al., 2022), the key novelty of our research lies in studying the impact of economic inequality and socio-economic class on both the appraisal of taxes as a value and the support for redistribution, two constructs that in the current literature have been studied in independent lines of studies. While taxation, especially if based on progressivity, is a fundamental strategy to tackle inequality, we found that people in more unequal contexts are in general more tax-averse, creating a vicious inequality-fostering spiral. However, our results suggest that this aversion is related mainly to attitude towards taxation when framed in general terms, whereas participants in the high unequal scenario were more prone to specifically support progressive taxation. These results suggest that the perceived value of taxation in general, and support for progressive taxation in particular, are distinct constructs, a distinction further corroborated by their low correlation. Specifically, the value of general taxation refers to the perceived importance and significance of paying taxes. As unequal contexts trigger conspiracy beliefs, this value is undermined, plausibly because of conspiratorial assumptions that the collected money will probably be used for negative and immoral aims. Indeed, this interpretation is in line with the observed mediated pattern of the effect of economic inequality on positive attitudes towards taxes via conspiracy beliefs. This mediational pattern was not observed for support for progressive taxation, which was directly triggered by inequality and independently associated with conspiracy beliefs. In order to try to understand these results, it is important to note that while people tend to be averse to economic inequality and that perceiving economic inequality promotes collective actions aimed to reduce economic inequality (García-Castro et al., 2020; García-Sánchez et al., 2020), it also fosters conspiracy beliefs, interpersonal and political distrust (Goubin et al., 2021; Salvador Casara et al., 2022; Uslaner & Brown, 2005). Thus, highlighting the redistributive role of taxation represents the key factor in understanding how different attitudes towards taxes are related to different psychological processes rooted in the perception of economic inequality. Specifically, when taxes are not framed as progressive and then their redistributive function is not salient, participants assume that taxes are just a penalizing cost, and conspiracy beliefs may play a role in perceiving taxes as public money wasted by a corrupted and untrustworthy élite. Differently, when the redistributive function of taxes is specifically stressed, people based their attitudes towards these policies on contextual inequality, as in the condition of high inequality all respondents tended to favour this redistribution means. This result is striking as the induced perception of inequality suppressed the association between conspiratorial beliefs and aversion to progressive taxation. In other words, even people that endorse conspiracy beliefs, and who are generally averse to taxes and with a stronger vision of taxes as a penalization, are more likely to support progressive taxation when the situation is presented as highly unequal. One possible explanation is that progressive taxations are perceived as a penalization for members of the wealthiest groups, namely the elite to be conspiratorially blamed for the unequal situation.

Indeed, the independent path that links conspiracy beliefs to support a progressive tax system is coherent with the fact that higher progressivity implies targeting élites, which are pointed to as the cause of social problems by conspiracy believers (Castanho Silva et al., 2017). Coherently, conspiracy beliefs are associated with far-left and far-right political orientation, and with populist attitudes (Castanho Silva et al., 2017; Imhoff et al., 2022), which are particularly linked to political parties advocating redistribution and anti-neoliberalism sentiment (Ganev, 2017; Hogan & Haltinner, 2015). This may suggest the necessity to disentangle economic and social conservatism when studying their relationship with conspiracy beliefs.

Finally, results did not provide evidence for an interaction between economic inequality conditions and social economic class, neither considering social class as an experimentally assigned status nor self-perceived socio-economic standing. This pattern can be interpreted in at least two possible ways. First, because conspiracy beliefs refer to theories that involve members of a small élite, it is unlikely that this élite is included in the high-class group. Thus, it is possible that even when people perceive themselves as wealthy, they still do not self-identify with the powerful and potentially conspiratorial élite. This, therefore, maintains every respondent passible of referring to the conspiratorial elite as an outgroup, leaving little space for cross-modal effects. A second process that may explain why each class is similarly affected by economic inequality regards system justifying mechanisms, which characterize both minority and majority groups (Jost et al., 2004). Previous evidence suggests that high inequality is generally associated with the tendency to justify and, therefore, maintain the status quo (Du & King, 2021; Goudarzi et al., 2020). This process may be in action across all respondents, explaining why inequality does not interact with social class.

Limitations and future directions

It is important to acknowledge that the use of the Bimboola Paradigm is not without limitations. Indeed, the fictitious society cannot accurately simulate the complexity of real-world societies. We, therefore, suggest future research to investigate this phenomenon using other research methods (e.g. big data or qualitative methods) in order to better understand these dynamics in real life. Moreover, we also recommend exploring the impact of economic inequality on conspiracy beliefs and tax preferences in countries with different levels of actual economic inequality, in order to capture the subtle nuances of this phenomenon. Another limitation related to the paradigm we implemented refers to the fact that the economic inequality condition and the assigned socio-economic class condition may not be fully orthogonal. Indeed, participants in the low- and high-class conditions had different choices among the high- and low economic inequality condition, whereas the middle class condition was the only one identical for both high- and low economic inequality conditions. However, the fact that we did not find any interaction between the assigned socio-economic class condition and the economic inequality condition suggests that the impact of the assigned socio-economic class is similar in both inequality conditions. Given the big sample we have, we were able to analyse respondents assigned to the middle class (N = 725) as an unifactorial design with two experimental conditions, inequality versus equality and inspecting the role of their perceived social standing. Results confirm that economic inequality still differently affected tax attitudes and support for progressive taxation, with social class having a main effect, and no interaction with inequality (see Supporting Information).

This paradigm also has relevant strengths. In fact, it allows us to isolate the effect of economic inequality on conspiracy beliefs and tax attitudes, and to remove potentially confounding variables that naturally covary with social status; hence this paradigm allowed us to infer a causal relationship between the investigated variables. The use of a fictional scenario also avoids ethical concerns related to giving false feedback about the level of economic inequalities. Moreover, it allows isolating effects related to potential a priori perceptions related to the actual level of inequality of a real country. Finally, the findings obtained in Bimboola are typically aligned with findings from correlational or field studies (see for example Salvador Casara et al., 2022; Sprong et al., 2019).

Given its flexibility, future studies may apply this paradigm to manipulate other societal features that have important consequences for political attitudes. For example, it would be suitable to manipulate the ethnic diversity of a fictitious society, a factor that undermines trust and support for welfare policies (Edo et al., 2019; van der Meer et al., 2020). Attitudes towards general and specific policies could, therefore, be assessed in order to extend the present findings to different domains both in terms of societal features and practical implications.

Finally, caution is necessary for the interpretation of the mediation models. Although the rationale for using them was justified in the introduction, statistical models per se cannot provide evidence for causality (see, Fiedler et al., 2018).


These findings provide important information about the challenges in tackling economic inequality. In particular, our study suggests at least two ways to effectively address economic inequality. First, increasing the awareness of inequality and presenting the entity of the phenomenon (which in our societies is closer to the high inequality than to the low inequality condition) may be an educational strategy to increase support for progressive taxation, even among people who are generally highly averse, such as people that endorse conspiracy beliefs. However, this strategy is to be cautiously applied, as the perception of high inequality also triggers conspiracy views, which fire back on taxation in general. The second type of strategy could, therefore, tackle conspiracy beliefs with indirect or direct interventions. In order to improve tax compliance in societies characterized by high levels of economic inequality, governments and institutions should aim their policies and their communication at indirectly reducing conspiracy beliefs by boosting trust (van Mulukom et al., 2020). For example, improving transparency can reduce the power asymmetry between institutions and citizens, and increase the accountability of governments, and the perceived legitimacy of their power (Brusca et al., 2018). Another intervention could be to directly tackle conspiracy theories, by both inoculating scepticism against conspiratorial narratives, and debunking conspiratorial information (Brashier et al., 2021; Jolley & Douglas, 2017; Salvador Casara et al., 2019).

Finally, it is important to consider that these strategies are likely to be safely used by a wide portion of the population, as the observed pattern was not moderated by both assigned and self-attributed socio-economic class.

Our results contribute to the understanding of the social basis that hinders inequality reduction, providing evidence that attitudes towards taxation are not monolithic, but change considering the aims and targets of specific taxes. Governments and policy-makers may take advantage of this research in order to implement context-specific tax policies that help tackle tax evasion and economic inequality.

Access to fast food has often been blamed for the rise in childhood obesity; our econometric evidence suggests that fast food exposure had no effect

Childhood obesity, is fast food exposure a factor? Peter J. Dolton, WiktoriaTafesse. Economics & Human Biology, June 26 2022, 101153.


• Access to fast food has often been blamed for the rise in childhood obesity.

• Possible links to obesity has motivated policies to curb the spread of fast food.

• Spatial and timing data on early fast food outlets from the UK from 1968-86 is used.

• Medically measured data on Body Mass Index for a British Cohort is exploited.

• Our econometric evidence suggests that fast food exposure had no effect.

Abstract: Access to fast food has often been blamed for the rise in obesity which in turn has motivated policies to curb the spread of fast food. However, robust evidence in this area is scarce, particularly using data outside of the US. It is difficult to estimate a causal effect of fast food given spatial sorting and ever-present exposure. We investigate whether the residential access to fast food increased BMI of adolescents at a time when fast food restaurants started to open in the UK. The time period presents the study with large spatial and temporal differences in exposure as well as plausibly exogenous variation. We merge data on the location and timing of the first openings of all fast food outlets in the UK from 1968 -1986, with data on objectively measured BMI from the 1970 British Cohort Survey. The relationship between adolescent BMI and the distance from the respondents’ homes and time since opening, is studied using OLS and Instrumental Variables regression. We find that fast food exposure had no effect on BMI. Extensive robustness checks do not change our conclusion.

JEL: I120I190

Keywords ObesityDiet

8. Conclusion

This paper studied the relationship between exposure to fast food and adolescent BMI using the BCS and historical data relating to the inception of fast food in Great Britain. The data on the timing of establishment and location of all fast food outlets prior to 1986 allowed us to investigate whether fast food proximity, duration since opening, as well as a generated intensity measure taking into account the the proximity and durations of multiple outlets, affects BMI. We do not find any evidence of a positive association between numerous measures of exposure in the home environment and adolescent BMI. This study has filled a gap in the existing literature which has mostly focused on the distance to ever-present fast food restaurants using American data.

Our results are robust to instrumenting for the distance to one’s closest fast food outlet with the distance to a fast food distribution centre. Additionally, one company, Wimpy, suddenly increased its number of fast food outlets which did not allow for a strategic timing and citing of their outlets. Restricting the analysis to Wimpy outlets confirms the zero results. The lack of a relationship is supported by previous research, see; Anderson and Matsa, 2011Fraser et al., 2012Lee, 2012Dunn et al., 2012 and Asirvatham et al. (2019).

There are several potential explanations for our null findings. Firstly, the effect may be highly context specific, see Dunn, 2010Anderson and Matsa, 2011Dunn et al., 2012Grier and Davis, 2013. Adolescents may have less control over food choices in their home environment compared to their school environment. Our findings might differ from studies using American data where fast food is eaten more frequently than in the UK (Fraser et al., 2012). In fact, our analysis does not find support of fast food proximity having a meaningful impact on the frequency of takeaway consumption. Alternatively, the time period of our study may not translate to large effects on obesity as only a small proportion of our sample was exposed to fast food very near their home, particularly at younger ages. Specifically, the lack of weight gain during our study period may be explained by fast food being a novelty or not being comparably cheap relative to other foods as they are today which may cause different consumption patterns (Wiggins et al., 2015). Moreover, it is uncertain how well diets and caloric expenditure during the 1980’s compare to current levels and how this may interact with access to different size and scope of fast food establishments. Additionally, the population studied might not have a large propensity to gain weight if exposed to fast food given that positive effects have been found for specific sub-groups such as ethnic minority urban youth (Currie et al., 2010Grier and Davis, 2013 and youth living in the poorest and one of the least healthy American states (Alviola et al., 2014). Our reduced sample size does not permit us to do a heterogeneity analysis.

We contribute to the existing literature, often based on data for smaller geographical areas, by using nationwide data. Our results are based on the sample of BCS respondents who did not relocate in the last 6 years and for whom anthropometric and postcode information is available. However, it should be noted that this population could differ from the overall nationally representative sample. Various types of food outlets have been shown to cluster together (Hobbs et al., 2019a). Therefore, a limitation is that we are unable model the direct effects of community determinants of body weight, such as the commercial food environment or access to exercise inducing spaces, due to limited area-level information in the BCS and the lack of supplementary historical data. Furthermore, our small sample size and rich set of controls does not allow us to control for local area fixed effects.

Keeping these caveats in mind, there is no evidence of that the introduction of fast food induced any behavioural change which resulted in weight gain amongst adolescents in the UK in the 1980s. Our overall findings are supported by there being a decrease in total calories purchased since the 1980’s (Griffith et al., 2016). Thus, we suggest that it is unlikely that the access to fast food caused the British obesity epidemic. Half of local government areas in England have enacted policies to curb takeaway food outlets which for example restrict new outlets from opening in designated exclusion zones around places used by children (Keeble et al., 2019). However, despite such policies being common, there is a scarcity of literature evaluating these effects besides Sturm and Hattori (2015) which showed that zoning interventions do not deliver the expected results (Keeble et al., 2019). Thus, our paper supplements the evidence base regarding the lack of a relationship between a changing access to fast food and childhood and adolescent obesity which suggests that complementary interventions need to be considered.