Tuesday, November 8, 2022

People in historically rice-farming areas are less happy and socially compare more than people in wheat-farming areas

Lee, C.-S., Talhelm, T., & Dong, X. (2022). People in historically rice-farming areas are less happy and socially compare more than people in wheat-farming areas. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Nov 2022. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000324

Abstract: Using two nationally representative surveys, we find that people in China’s historically rice-farming areas are less happy than people in wheat areas. This is a puzzle because the rice area is more interdependent, and relationships are an important predictor of happiness. We explore how the interdependence of historical rice farming may have paradoxically undermined happiness by creating more social comparison than wheat farming. We build a framework in which rice farming leads to social comparison, which makes people unhappy (especially people who are worse off). If people in rice areas socially compare more, then people’s happiness in rice areas should be more closely related to markers of social status like income. In two studies, national survey data show that income, self-reported social status, and occupational status predict people’s happiness twice as strongly in rice areas than wheat areas. In Study 3, we use a unique natural experiment comparing two nearby state farms that effectively randomly assigned people to farm rice or wheat. The rice farmers socially compare more, and farmers who socially compare more are less happy. If interdependence breeds social comparison and erodes happiness, it could help explain the paradox of why the interdependent cultures of East Asia are less happy than similarly wealthy cultures.

Partisan bias in false memories for misinformation about the 2021 Capitol riot: For both true and false events, participants remembered more events that favoured their political party

Partisan bias in false memories for misinformation about the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot. Dustin P. Calvillo, Justin D. Harris & Whitney C. Hawkins. Memory, Sep 28 2022. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2022.2127771

Abstract: Memory for events can be biased. For example, people tend to recall more events that support than oppose their current worldview. The present study examined partisan bias in memory for events related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot in the United States. Participants rated their memory for true and false events that were either favourable to their political party or the other major political party in the United States. For both true and false events, participants remembered more events that favoured their political party. Regression analyses showed that the number of false memories that participants reported was positively associated with their tendency to support conspiracy beliefs and with their self-reported engagement with the Capitol riot. These results suggest that Democrats and Republicans remember the Capitol Riot differently and that certain individual difference factors can predict the formation of false memories in this context. Misinformation played an influential role in the Capitol riot and understanding differences in memory for this event is beneficial to avoiding similar tragedies in the future.

Keywords: False memoryfake newsmemory biaspolitical ideology

Most people feel others’ social lives are richer and livelier than theirs

Keeping Up With the Joneses: How Cognitive Availability Biases Everyday Social Comparisons. Sebastian Marc Deri. PhD dissertation, Cornell University 2022. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/111944/Deri_cornellgrad_0058F_13102.pdf?sequence=1

Abstract: This dissertation documents the role that cognitive availability plays in distorting the conclusions that people reach about how they measure up to others in domains of everyday concern. The first chapter provides a review of the social comparison literature and an explanation of how my account of social comparison is novel. The second chapter (N=3,293, 11 studies, 3 pre-registered) documents the fact that most people feel others’ social lives are livelier than theirs, and that this is because they can’t help but to bring to mind highly social exemplars when making such comparisons. The third chapter (N= 2,747, 12 studies, 4 pre-registered) documents a robust tendency to compare to above average standards, which cannot solely be explained by motivational factors like social desirability or self-enhancement—adding a wrinkle to the standard above average effect literature by showing that, although people tend to think of themselves as above average in many domains, they also hold and compare themselves to above average standards. The fourth chapter (N=1,703, 3 studies, 1 pre-registered) documents the fact that people feel they are financially worse off than others when thinking about positive instances of wealth (e.g. having a lot in savings) and that this effect can be reversed if people are made to think of positive instances of low economic standing (e.g. having a lot of debt). The fifth and final chapter synthesizes these empirical findings, summarizes my cognitive availability account of social comparison, reviews why it is a novel contribution, and addresses any outstanding concerns.

FDA Deregulation Increases Safety and Innovation and Reduces Prices

Regulating the Innovators: Approval Costs and Innovation in Medical Technologies. Parker Rogers, October 27, 2022. https://parkerrogers.github.io/Papers/RegulatingtheInnovators_Rogers.pdf

Abstract: How does FDA regulation affect innovation and market concentration? I examine this question by exploiting FDA deregulation events that affected certain medical device types but not others. I use text analysis to gather comprehensive data on medical device innovation, device safety, firm entry, prices, and regulatory changes. My analysis of these data yields three core results. First, these deregulation events significantly increase the quantity and quality of new technologies in affected medical device types relative to control groups. These increases are particularly strong among small and inexperienced firms. Second, these events increase firm entry and lower the prices of medical procedures that use affected medical device types. Third, the rates of serious injuries and deaths attributable to defective devices do not increase measurably after these events. Perhaps counterintuitively, deregulating certain device types lowers adverse event rates significantly, consistent with firms increasing their emphasis on product safety as deregulation exposes them to more litigation.



After moving from Class III (high regulation) to II (moderate), device types exhibited a 200% increase in patenting and FDA submission rates relative to control groups. Patents filed after these events were also of significantly higher quality, as measured by a 200% increase in received citations and market valuations. These effects do not spill over into similar device types.1 For Class II to I deregulations, the rate of patent filings increased by 50%, though insignificantly, and the quality of patent filings exhibited a significant 10-fold improvement, suggesting that litigation better promotes innovation.


Down-classification yields considerable benefits, as the proponents of deregulation would predict, but what of product safety? Perhaps counterintuitively, I find that deregulation can improve product safety by exposing firms to more litigation. Despite some adverse event rates increasing after Class III to II events (albeit insignificantly), Class II to I events are associated with significantly lower adverse event rates.3 My analysis of patent texts also reveals that inventors focus more on product safety after deregulation. These results suggest that litigation encourages product safety more than regulation [...]