Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Math Gender Gap: The Role of Culture

This paper explores the role of cultural attitudes towards women in determining math educational gender gaps using the epidemiological approach. To identify whether culture matters, we estimate whether the math gender gap for each immigrant group living in a particular host country (and exposed to the same host country's laws and institutions) is explained by measures of gender equality in the parents' country of ancestry. We find that the higher the degree of gender equality in the country of ancestry, the higher the performance of second-generation immigrant girls relative to boys. This result is robust to alternative specifications, measures of gender equality and the inclusion of other human development indicators in the country of ancestry. The transmission of culture is higher among those in schools with a higher proportion of immigrants or in co-educational schools. Our results suggest that policies aimed at changing beliefs can prove effective in reducing the gender gap in mathematics.
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Download pdf of IZA Discussion Paper | Read abstract online

Teaching the Children: Wide Gaps over Teaching Faith, Tolerance, Obedience

As the public grows more politically polarized, differences between conservatives and liberals extend their long reach even to opinions about which qualities are important to teach children, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

Conservatives Prioritize Teaching Faith, Obedience; Liberals Value Tolerance People who express consistently conservative political attitudes across a range of issues are more likely than other ideological groups to rate teaching religious faith as especially important – and the least likely to say the same about teaching tolerance.

By contrast, people with consistent liberal opinions stand out for the high priority they give to teaching tolerance – and the low priority they attach to teaching religious faith and obedience.

Read the full overview | Download the complete pdf report | Download topline questionnaire

2013 American Community Survey data released 1-year estimates

The American Community Survey is the only source of local statistics for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as educational attainment, occupation, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs. The statistics are available for the nation, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, every congressional district, every metropolitan area, and all counties and places with populations of 65,000 or more.

2013 ACS 1-year estimates released September 18
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are available in American FactFinder.
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are based on data collected from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
  • 2013 ACS 1-year estimates are available for geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more.
Geography highlights
The 2013 ACS data release marks the first time estimates based on new Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (or Core Based Statistical Areas) are available. Learn more on the Geography page.
2013 ACS 1-year reference maps
These Reference Maps highlight areas that will be published in the 2013 ACS 1-year data release.
ACS briefs
For the release of the 2013 ACS 1-year estimates, the Census Bureau produced reports for the American Community Survey Briefs series--short reports on specific topics based on newly released estimates.
Comparison guidance
Guidance on comparing the 2013 ACS 1-year estimates with Census 2000, 2012 ACS 1-year estimates, and 2010 Census by subject area is now available.

(International) Archived Legal Materials from Official Gazettes Now Available Through

Description from blog post:
“The archived information includes English language summaries of laws, regulations, and related legal instruments that in turn link to the full-text PDFs that are in the official language(s) of the country. Legal items from the gazettes of the following countries are now available under the ‘Legislative’ sources list for each jurisdiction: Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, Tunisia, and United States.”

View available nations with archives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U. S. Census Bureau Facts: Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: Sept. 15–Oct. 15

From the Press Release:
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. Congress expanded the observance in 1989 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) of the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Sept. 15 is the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Read full release and access data

Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service

At least eighteen countries allow transgender personnel to serve openly, but the United States is not among them. In this article, we assess whether US military policies that ban transgender service members are based on medically sound rationales. To do so, we analyze Defense Department regulations and consider a wide range of medical data. Our conclusion is that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban on service by transgender personnel, that the ban is an unnecessary barrier to health care access for transgender personnel, and that medical care for transgender individuals should be managed using the same standards that apply to all others. Removal of the military’s ban on transgender service would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the military’s commitment to providing outstanding medical care for all military personnel.
 Source: Armed Forces & Society August 19, 2014 doi: 0095327X14545625

Download full pdf publication | Read full abstract online

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017

This report was developed by the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, in partnership with the member agencies of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and other federal agencies. The plan discusses goals and objectives and the actions that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover. 
 Source: Office for Victims of Crime

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New Data Show Child Mortality Rates Falling Faster Than Ever

From the press release:

New estimates in Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 show that in 2013, 6.3 million children under five died from mostly preventable causes, around 200,000 fewer than in 2012, but still equal to nearly 17,000 child deaths each day.
The report notes that major improvements in child survival are in part due to affordable, evidence-based interventions against the leading infectious diseases, such as immunization, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rehydration treatment for diarrhoea, nutritional supplements and therapeutic foods. The major causes of neonatal mortality – pre-term birth complications (35 per cent) or problems during delivery or birth (24 per cent) – require health interventions closely linked with protecting maternal health.

The Levels and Trends in Child Mortality 2014 report is developed annually by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, which is led by UNICEF and includes the World Health Organization, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
 Source: UNICEF, WHO, World Bank

Download full pdf report | Read full Press Release

Coached for the Classroom: Parents’ Cultural Transmission and Children’s Reproduction of Educational Inequalities

Scholars typically view class socialization as an implicit process. This study instead shows how parents actively transmit class-based cultures to children and how these lessons reproduce inequalities. Through observations and interviews with children, parents, and teachers, I found that middle- and working-class parents expressed contrasting beliefs about appropriate classroom behavior, beliefs that shaped parents’ cultural coaching efforts. These efforts led children to activate class-based problem-solving strategies, which generated stratified profits at school. By showing how these processes vary along social class lines, this study reveals a key source of children’s class-based behaviors and highlights the efforts by which parents and children together reproduce inequalities.
Source:  American Sociological Review August 25, 2014 doi: 0003122414546931

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The Disruptive Rise of Value-Based Care

The health care industry is ripe for disruptive innovation as systemic challenges continue to face the industry and stakeholders demand increased value. A successful disruptor could emerge as value–based care gains traction and providers and health plans continue to look for new ways to deliver care and utilize technology to meet the needs of health care consumers. The potential disruptor could enter the market with a low-cost solution that initially serves an unattractive segment. Powered by an enabling technology, this new solution could, in short order, meet mainstream customers’ needs so much better that the innovator unseats the market leader. This is a likely scenario in the primary care physician market, where patient visits could shift to lower-cost settings, such as e-visits, or alternative clinicians, such as nurse practitioners.

"Good for what ails us: The disruptive rise of value-based care" explores how and where disruptive innovation might occur in health care, discusses what can be learned from other industries that have faced similar disruption and outlines innovation opportunities in a post-reform world.
Source: Deloitte Center for Healthcare Solutions

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A cross disciplinary study of link decay and the effectiveness of mitigation techniques

The dynamic, decentralized world-wide-web has become an essential part of scientific research and communication. Researchers create thousands of web sites every year to share software, data and services. These valuable resources tend to disappear over time. The problem has been documented in many subject areas. Our goal is to conduct a cross-disciplinary investigation of the problem and test the effectiveness of existing remedies.

Source:  BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14(Suppl 14):S5  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S14-S5

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Related article: Website linking: The growing problem of “link rot” and best practices for media and online publishers Source: Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Younger Americans and Public Libraries: Downloading and Reading Books More Than You Think

From the Summary of Findings:
How those under 30 engage with libraries and think about libraries’ role in their lives and communities

This report pulls together several years of research into the role of libraries in the lives of Americans and their communities with a special focus on Millennials, a key stakeholder group affecting the future of communities, libraries, book publishers and media makers of all kinds, as well as the tone of the broader culture.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Download full pdf report | Read Summary of Findings

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014

Key Findings
  • Race and Ethnicity: Obesity rates remain higher among blacks and Latinos than among whites. Rates among blacks topped 40 percent in 11 states; rates among Latinos exceeded 35 percent in 5 states; for whites, 10 states had rates over 30 percent.
  • Socioeconomic Status: More than 33 percent of adults 18 and older who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared with 25.4 percent who earn at least $50,000 per year.
  • Geography: 9 out of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South.
  • Age: Baby Boomers (45-to 64-year-olds) have the highest obesity rates of any age group – topping 35 percent in 17 states.
  • Severity: More than 6 percent of adults are severely** obese; the number of severely obese adults has quadrupled in the past 30 years.
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Download full pdf publication | Learn more on RWJF website

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students?

Education policy makers have struggled for decades with the question of how to best serve high ability K‐12 students. As in the debate over selective college admissions, a key issue is targeting. Should gifted and talented programs be allocated on the basis of cognitive ability, or a broader combination of ability and achievement? Should there be a single admission threshold, or a lower bar for disadvantaged students? We use data from a large urban school district to study the impacts of assignment to separate gifted classrooms on three distinct groups of fourth grade students: non-disadvantaged students with IQ scores ≥130; subsidized lunch participants and English language learners with IQ scores ≥116; and students who miss the IQ thresholds but scored highest among their school/grade cohort in state-wide achievement tests in the previous year. Regression discontinuity estimates based on the IQ thresholds for the first two groups show no effects on reading or math achievement at the end of fourth grade. In contrast, estimates based on test score ranks for the third group show significant gains in reading and math, concentrated among lower-income and black and Hispanic students. The math gains persist to fifth grade and are also reflected in fifth grade science scores. Our findings suggest that a separate classroom environment is more effective for students selected on past achievement – particularly disadvantaged students who are often excluded from gifted and talented programs.
Source: University of Virginia and NBER

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AAUP: On Trigger Warnings

A current threat to academic freedom in the classroom comes from a demand that teachers provide warnings in advance if assigned material contains anything that might trigger difficult emotional responses for students.  This follows from earlier calls not to offend students’ sensibilities by introducing material that challenges their values and beliefs.  The specific call for “trigger warnings” began in the blogosphere as a caution about graphic descriptions of rape on feminist sites, and has now migrated to university campuses in the form of requirements or proposals that students be alerted to all manner of topics that some believe may deeply offend and even set off a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) response in some individuals.  Oberlin College’s original policy (since tabled to allow for further debate in the face of faculty opposition) is an example of the range of possible trigger topics: “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.”   It went on to say that a novel like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart might “trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more.”  It further cautioned faculty to “[r]emove triggering material when it does not contribute directly to the course learning goals.”
Source: American Association of University Professors

Read full report on the AAUP site

The Fatherhood Bonus and The Motherhood Penalty: Parenthood and the Gender Gap in Pay

For the past forty years at least, progressive advocates have been concerned about the the wage gap between working men and women in American society. Overall, never-married women in 2012 had almost closed the wage gap—earning 96% of what men earn. So why are we still concerned about the wage gap? Is this issue over? Author Michelle J. Budig clarifies this debate by looking at the wage gap in terms of the one thing that the majority of adults experience in their lifetime—parenthood.

Source:Third Way

Download full pdf publication | Read online at Third Way

The Burden and Benefits of the American Jury

There is no institution in the legal system more controversial than the American Jury. It has been praised and hated by people from all walks of life. James Madison once called it among "the most valuable" rights included in the Bill of Rights. Robert Allan Rutland, The Birth of the Bill of Rights 1776-1791, at 208 (2nd ed ., Northeastern Univ. Press 1991) (1955) (quoting 1 Annals of Cong. 755 (Joseph Gales ed., 1789)). The business community sometimes complains that it paralyzes its ability to grow. Politicians have used it as grist for their mills calling for jury reform. Television and movies have dramatized its workings so that people who have never actually served believe it to be a meaningless exercise. The public has largely rejected jury service as a major inconvenience.

One observer has reported that only about 45 percent of Americans who are sent jury notices actually appear at the courthouse. See Stephen J. Adler, The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom 220 (1994). In the internet age, websites ridicule the work of juries in an effort to show that it is a system prone to fail.
Source: Maryland Bar Journal via Social Science Research Network

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Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition

Based on the results of a new survey of more than 2,100 college students between the ages of 18 and 25, we offer the first assessment of political ambition early in life. And our results are troubling. Young women are less likely than young men ever to have considered running for office, to express interest in a candidacy at some point in the future, or to consider elective office a desirable profession. Moreover, the size of the gender gap in political ambition we uncover among 18 – 25 year olds is comparable to the size of the gap we previously uncovered in studies of potential candidates already working in the feeder professions to politics. Our data suggest, therefore, that the gender gap in ambition is already well in place by the time women and men enter their first careers.

Source: American University School of Public Affairs

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Soldiers, Spies and the Moon: Secret U.S. and Soviet Plans from the 1950s and 1960s: Declassified Documents Reflect the Covert Side of Lunar Programs

From the press release:
Forty-five years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong took his “one small step” for mankind, becoming the first person to set foot on the moon. The program that resulted in that historic event — managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — had been a very public one ever since its announcement by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Even the Soviet government had publicized aspects of its own effort.
But there were also highly secret elements to the U.S. and Soviet schemes, which are the subject of today’s National Security Archive posting of previously classified records. The documents focus on three topics — early U.S. military plans, including the possibility of conducting nuclear tests in space, the use of the moon to reflect signals for military or intelligence purposes, and U.S. intelligence analyses and estimates of Soviet missions and their intentions to land a man on the lunar surface.
The posting includes:
  • Army and Air Force studies from 1959 – 1961 on the creation of a military lunar base, with possible uses as a surveillance platform (for targets on earth and space) and the Lunar Based Earth Bombardment System (Document 1a, Document 1b, Document 3, Document 4).
  • A study on the detonation of a nuclear device on or in the vicinity of the moon (Document 2).
  • The use of the lunar surface to relay signals from Washington to Hawaii and from U.S. spy ships (Document 15).
  • Collection of Soviet radar signals after they bounced off the moon — a technique known as Moon Bounce ELINT (Document 11, Document 14).
  • The U.S. theft and return of a Soviet space capsule during an exhibition tour (Document 13).
  • A 1965 estimate of Soviet intentions with regard to a manned moon landing (Document 5).
  • Several analyses of Soviet Luna missions, including Luna 9 — the first mission to result in a soft landing on the moon (Document 6, Document 7, Document 8, Document 10, Document 16).

Source: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 479

Read more about the program and access declassified documents

The Check is in the Mail: Monetization of Craigslist Buyer Scams

Nigerian or advance fee fraud scams continue to gain prevelance within the world of online classified advertisements. As law enforcement, user training, and website technologies improve to thwart known techniques, scammers continue to evolve their methods of targeting victims and monetizing their scam methods. As our understanding of the underground scammer community and their methods grows, we gain a greater insight about the critical points of disruption to interrupt the scammers ability to succeed. In this paper we extend on previous works about fake payment scams targeting Craigslist. To grow our understanding of scammer methods and how they monetize these scams, we utilize a data collection system posting ”honeypot advertisements” on Craigslist offering products for sale and interact with scammers gathering information on their payment methods. We then conduct an analysis of 75 days worth of data to better understand the scammer’s patterns, supporting agents, geolocations, and methods used to perpetuate fraudulent payments. Our analysis shows that 5 groups are responsible for over 50% of the scam payments received. These groups operate primarily out of Nigeria, but use the services of agents within the United States to facilitate the sending and receiving of payments and shipping of products to addresses both in Nigeria and the United States. This small number of scammer organizations combined with the necessity of support agents within the United States indicate areas for potential targeting and disruption of the key scammer groups.
Source: George Mason University, Department of Computer Science

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Moving the Goalposts: How Demand for a Bachelor’s Degree Is Reshaping the Workforce

An increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree. This credential inflation, or “upcredentialing” is affecting a wide range of jobs from executive assistants to construction supervisors and has serious implications both for workers not seeking a college degree and for employers struggling to fill jobs.
Source: Burning Glass

Download full pdf report | Read key findings online and view graphics

Domestic Violence – is Further Criminalization the Answer? (UK)

The Home Office has recently launched a Domestic Violence lawbook “public consultation on whether a specific crime of domestic violence should be created in order to strengthen existing law in this area. However, is the focus on criminalization as a way to improve existing provisions to tackle domestic violence misplaced?

The Home Office published a non-statutory definition of domestic violence which highlights that a distinctive feature of this form of behavior is its coercive and controlling nature. The lack of specific legislation to address this type of behavior has been put forward as a reason to create a specific crime of domestic violence, as it would arguably make it easier for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute offenders. The benefits of such an initiative are however not straightforward.
Source: Social Science Space

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Reactions to Media Violence: It’s in the Brain of the Beholder

Media portraying violence is part of daily exposures. The extent to which violent media exposure impacts brain and behavior has been debated. Yet there is not enough experimental data to inform this debate. We hypothesize that reaction to violent media is critically dependent on personality/trait differences between viewers, where those with the propensity for physical assault will respond to the media differently than controls. The source of the variability, we further hypothesize, is reflected in autonomic response and brain functioning that differentiate those with aggression tendencies from others. To test this hypothesis we pre-selected a group of aggressive individuals and non-aggressive controls from the normal healthy population; we documented brain, blood-pressure, and behavioral responses during resting baseline and while the groups were watching media violence and emotional media that did not portray violence. Positron Emission Tomography was used with [18F]fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG) to image brain metabolic activity, a marker of brain function, during rest and during film viewing while blood-pressure and mood ratings were intermittently collected. Results pointed to robust resting baseline differences between groups. Aggressive individuals had lower relative glucose metabolism in the medial orbitofrontal cortex correlating with poor self-control and greater glucose metabolism in other regions of the default-mode network (DMN) where precuneus correlated with negative emotionality. These brain results were similar while watching the violent media, during which aggressive viewers reported being more Inspired and Determined and less Upset and Nervous, and also showed a progressive decline in systolic blood-pressure compared to controls. Furthermore, the blood-pressure and brain activation in orbitofrontal cortex and precuneus were differentially coupled between the groups. These results demonstrate that individual differences in trait aggression strongly couple with brain, behavioral, and autonomic reactivity to media violence which should factor into debates about the impact of media violence on the public.
Source: PLOS One

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The Context of Military Environments: An Agenda for Basic Research on Social and Organizational Factors Relevant to Small Units

The United States Army faces a variety of challenges to maintain a ready and capable force into the future. Missions are increasingly diverse, ranging from combat and counterinsurgency to negotiation, reconstruction, and stability operations, and require a variety of personnel and skill sets to execute. Missions often demand rapid decision-making and coordination with others in novel ways, so that personnel are not simply following a specific set of tactical orders but rather need to understand broader strategic goals and choose among courses of action. Like any workforce, the Army is diverse in terms of demographic characteristics such as gender and race, with increasing pressure to ensure equal opportunities across all demographic parties. With these challenges comes the urgent need to better understand how contextual factors influence soldier and small unit behavior and mission performance.
Source: National Academies Press

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Black–White Earnings Gap among Restaurant Servers: A Replication, Extension, and Exploration of Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tippin

There is a rich history of social science research centering on racial inequalities that continue to be observed across various markets (e.g., labor, housing, and credit markets) and social milieus. Existing research on racial discrimination in consumer markets is, however, relatively scarce and that which has been done has disproportionately focused on consumers as the victims of race-based mistreatment. As such, we know relatively little about how consumers contribute to inequalities in their roles as perpetrators of racial discrimination. In response, in this article, we elaborate on a line of research that is only in its infancy stages of development and yet is ripe with opportunities to advance the literature on consumer racial discrimination and racial earnings inequities among tip-dependent employees in the United States. Specifically, we analyze data derived from an exit survey of restaurant consumers (N = 394) in an attempt to replicate, extend, and further explore the recently documented effect of service providers’ race on restaurant consumers’ tipping decisions. Our results indicate that both white and black restaurant customers discriminate against black servers by tipping them less than their white co-workers. Importantly, we find no evidence that this black tip penalty is the result of inter-racial differences in service skills possessed by black and white servers. We conclude by delineating directions for future research in this neglected but salient area of study.

Source: Sociological Inquiry

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Male police officers’ law enforcement preferences in cases of intimate partner violence versus non-intimate interpersonal violence Do sexist attitudes and empathy matter?

This article explores male police officers’ law enforcement preferences across different scenarios of interpersonal violence, involving intimate (partner violence against women) and non-intimate relationships (between- and within-gender). The influence of police officers’ sexist attitudes and empathy on their law enforcement preferences was also analyzed within and across these scenarios. The sample consisted of 308 male police officers. Results showed that police officers prefer a stronger and unconditional law enforcement approach in cases of violence against women, both in intimate and non-intimate relationships. Benevolent sexism was linked to a preference for a more conditional law enforcement across interpersonal violence scenarios. The type of interpersonal violence scenario also conditioned the influence of hostile sexism and empathy on police preferences. Implications for training and selection of police officers are discussed.
Source:  Criminal Justice and Behavior

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AAUP faculty compensation survey: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession

From the online summary:
As is traditional in this annual report, we begin with an overview of full-time faculty compensation. For those who are interested, the report is supplemented with numerous detailed tables covering all aspects of pay, benefits, and employment status for full-time faculty members. Following the introductory section, we examine trends in the employment of administrators and in spending on administrative positions of various kinds. Administrative spending is a perennial topic, and the data reviewed here indicate that it deserves continuing attention, especially when we contrast it with declining expenditures on instruction. The final section analyzes another frequent concern of this report, the “irrational exuberance” (to borrow an apt phrase from another context) surrounding intercollegiate athletics. When we tally up the score on the economics of college sports, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that current practices are harming our academic programs.
Source: American Association of University Professors.

Download full pdf report | Read online summary
Related: Chronicle of Higher Education Interactive Tool: What Professors Make

The opportunities and challenges of online open-access publishing

From the article:
Together with SAGE, three co-editors in chief (Catherine de Vries, Bernard Steunenberg and Scott McClurg) and a large group of associated editors, I helped launch a new open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on publishing high-quality short articles quickly: Research & Politics (R&P). The idea is straightforward. Much of political science research could be relevant to policy makers, students, journalists and the educated public. Yet, it is often written up in articles that are too long, obtuse and hidden behind paywalls. Moreover, academics are frustrated by the amount of time it takes to get their research in print and by the limitations print imposes on how analytic insights and data can be presented. Blogs are too short to communicate research findings thoroughly, and they don’t cater to academic incentives, since peer-review is still valued highly (and rightly so).
Source: Washington Post
Read full article at the Washington Post

Who runs for office? A profile of the 2%

For the first time, Pew Research asked a question about who seeks out offices and found that about 2% of Americans say they have ever run for federal, local, or state elected office. With the data from this year’s polarization survey and political typology, we can provide a snapshot of who has ever placed their name on a ballot, although we don’t know how recently they did so.
Source: Pew Research Center

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More Express Sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians

From the introduction:
Most Americans say they sympathize “a lot” (34%) or “some” (32%) with Israel, while roughly a quarter sympathize with Israel “not much” (15%) or “not at all” (12%). There is less public sympathy for the Palestinians: 11% sympathize with Palestinians a lot, though 35% have some sympathy for them. Nearly half say they have little (20%) or no sympathy (27%) for the Palestinians.
Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download pdf topline questionnaire | View graphs online

How Close is Asia to Already Being A Trade Bloc?

FTA bilateral and regional negotiations in Asia have developed quickly in the past decade moving Asia ever closer to an economic union. Unlike Europe with the EU and the 1997 treaty of Rome and the 1993 NAFTA in North American, Asian economic integration does not involve a comprehensive trade treaty, but an accelerating process of building one bilateral agreement on another. For countries in Asia there is negotiation of a China-Japan-Korea agreement, a China-India agreement, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This paper uses a fifteen-country global general equilibrium model with trade costs to numerically calculate Debreu distance measures between the present situation and potential full Asia integration in the form of a trade bloc. Our results reveal that these large Asia economies can be close to full integration if they act timely in agreements through negotiation. All Asia countries will gain from Asia trade bloc arrangements except when the Asia FTA can only eliminate tariffs. These countries’ gain will increase as bilateral non-tariff elimination deepens. Larger countries will gain more than small countries. Asia FTA, Asia Union and RCEP will benefit member countries more than ASEAN+3. Global free trade will benefit all countries the most.
Source: NBER

Download full pdf publication | View abstract online at NBER

Gossip: Identifying Central Individuals in a Social Network

Can we identify the members of a community who are best- placed to diffuse information simply by asking a random sample of individuals? We show that boundedly-rational individuals can, simply by tracking sources of gossip, identify those who are most central in a network according to “diffusion centrality,” which nests other standard centrality measures. Testing this prediction with data from 35 Indian villages, we find that respondents accurately nominate those who are diffusion central (not just those with many friends). Moreover, these nominees are more central in the network than traditional village leaders and geographically central individuals.

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

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Convergences in Men's and Women's Life Patterns: Lifetime Work, Lifetime Earnings, and Human Capital Investment

The changes in women and men's work lives have been considerable in recent decades. Yet much of the recent research on gender differences in employment and earnings has been of a more snapshot nature rather than taking a longer comparative look at evolving patterns. In this paper, we use 50 years (1964-2013) of US Census Annual Demographic Files (March Current Population Survey) to track the changing returns to human capital (measured as both educational attainment and potential work experience), estimating comparable earnings equations by gender at each point in time. We consider the effects of sample selection over time for both women and men and show the rising effect of selection for women in recent years. Returns to education diverge for women and men over this period in the selection-adjusted results but converge in the OLS results, while returns to potential experience converge in both sets of results. We also create annual calculations of synthetic lifetime labor force participation, hours, and earnings that indicate convergence by gender in worklife patterns, but less convergence in recent years in lifetime earnings. Thus, while some convergence has indeed occurred, the underlying mechanisms causing convergence differ for women and men, reflecting continued fundamental differences in women's and men's life experiences.
Source: Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA)

Download full pdf publication | Link to online abstract at IZA

Smart People Ask for (My) Advice: Seeking Advice Boosts Perceptions of Competence

Although individuals can derive substantial benefits from exchanging information and ideas, many individuals are reluctant to seek advice from others. We find that people are reticent to seek advice for fear of appearing incompetent. This fear, however, is misplaced. We demonstrate that individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent than those who do not seek advice. This effect is moderated by task difficulty, advisor egocentrism, and advisor expertise. Individuals perceive those who seek advice as more competent when the task is difficult than when it is easy, when people seek advice from them personally than when they seek advice from others, and when people seek advice from experts than from non-experts or not at all.
Source: Harvard Business School Faculty Research Papers

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

“Don’t Say Gay” in the State of Tennessee: Libraries as Virtual Spaces of Resistance and Protectors of Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) People

In recent years the geographic state of Tennessee in the United States has acquired a national notoriety and shameful reputation as a toxic place on issues of sex and gender (Mehra 2011; Mehra and Braquet, in press; Mehra and Braquet, 2011; Mehra and Braquet, 2007a, 2007b; Mehra and Braquet, 2006), especially owing to the infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill that thankfully died a second death when lawmakers failed to pass the measure banning elementary and middle-school teachers from discussing sexual activity that is not “related to natural human reproduction” (Ford, 2013; McDonough, 2013; Staff eports, 2013). In the light of such failed, yet repressive and homophobic efforts, how are the state’s school, public, and academic libraries representing the needs and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in providing web access and coverage of information related to this marginalized population in a region that proudly identifies itself as the buckle of the conservative Bible – belt in the United States. This paper highlights findings from an exploratory website study to identify key trends, best practices, and case representations across different types of library environments of LGBTQ information resources, collections, programs, and services. It shows how library agencies around the state have the potential to serve as virtual spaces of resistance and protectors of human rights of LGBTQ people against the dictates of hegemonic, prejudiced, and hateful regime representatives and unjust laws.
Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

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Video Evidence: A Law Enforcement Guide to Resources and Best Practices

The purpose of this resource is to provide answers to straightforward common questions that law enforcement officers, or the agencies they represent, may have regarding properly securing, collecting, storing, and analyzing video by directing them to valuable tools and resources from experts in the field.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance
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Voting Rights Discrimination—African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American Voters More Vulnerable Than Ever

From the Summary:
On the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act and a year after the Supreme Court’s Shelby County v Holder decision gutted a vital protection of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the National Commission on Voting Rights has released a new report showing where and how minority voters continue to be harmed by racial discrimination in voting. The report, Protecting Minority Voters: Our Work is Not Done, challenges the Court’s rationale that improvements in minority citizens’ rates of voting and voter registration and the success of minority candidates indicated that the coverage formula protecting minority voters was unconstitutionally outdated.
Source: National Commission on Voting Rights

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Housing America's Older Adults— Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population

From the Press Release:
According to Housing America’s Older Adults—Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population, the number of adults in the U.S. aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000 (see interactive map). But housing that is affordable, physically accessible, well-located, and coordinated with supports and services is in too short supply.
Source: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation

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Housing America's Older Adults infographic includes report statistics

The downward spiral of mental disorders and educational attainment: a systematic review on early school leaving

Most psychiatric disorders present symptom patterns that cause severe impairment on the emotional, cognitive and social level. Thus, adolescents who suffer from a mental disorder risk finding themselves in a downward spiral caused by the reciprocal association of psychological symptoms and negative school experiences that may culminate in early school leaving. In addition to previous collective work that mainly focused on school refusing behaviour among children and was presented as an expert’s opinion, the following systematic review fills the knowledge gap by providing a structured overview of the bidirectional association between mental health and secondary school dropout based on a sound methodology and with a particular focus on mediating factors.
Source: BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:237 
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What do they know about me? Contents and Concerns of Online Behavioral Profiles

Data aggregators collect large amounts of information about individual users from multiple sources, and create detailed online behavioral profiles of individuals. Behavioral profiles benefit users by improving products and services. However, they have also raised privacy concerns. To increase transparency, some companies are allowing users to access their behavioral profiles. In this work, we investigated behavioral profiles of users by utilizing these access mechanisms. Using in-person interviews (n=8), we analyzed the data shown in the profiles and compared it with the data that companies have about users. We elicited surprises and concerns from users about the data in their profiles, and estimated the accuracy of profiles. We conducted an online survey (n=100) to confirm observed surprises and concerns. Our results show a large gap between data shown in profiles and data possessed by companies. We also find that large number of profiles contain inaccuracies with levels as high as 80%. Participants expressed several concerns including collection of sensitive data such as credit and health information, extent of data collection and how their data may be used.
Source: Carnegie Mellon Univeristy (Cylab)

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Criminalizing Revenge Porn

Violations of sexual privacy, notably the non-consensual publication of sexually graphic images in violation of someone's trust, deserve criminal punishment. They deny subjects' ability to decide if and when they are sexually exposed to the public and undermine trust needed for intimate relationships. Then too they produce grave emotional and dignitary harms, exact steep financial costs, and increase the risks of physical assault. A narrowly and carefully crafted criminal statute can comport with the First Amendment. The criminalization of revenge porn is necessary to protect against devastating privacy invasions that chill self-expression and ruin lives.
Source: 49 Wake Forest Law Review 345 (2014).

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An Exploration of the Determinants of the Subjective Well-being of Americans During the Great Recession

This paper uses data from the American Life Panel to understand the determinants of well-being in the United States during the Great Recession. It investigates how various dimensions of subjective wellbeing reflected in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Better Life Framework impact subjective well-being. The results show that income is an important determinant of subjective well-being. The unemployed and the disabled are significantly less satisfied with their lives than the working population, while the retired and the homemakers are more satisfied. The paper expands the existing evidence by showing that homeowners, registered voters and those with access to health insurance have higher levels of subjective well-being. Time spent walking or exercising is positively correlated with happiness, while working more than 50 hours per week or spending time on health-related activities is negatively correlated with subjective well-being, and higher levels of anxiety. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of United States (
Source:  Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

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An Emerging Fact-Finding Discipline? A Conceptual Roadmap for Social Science Methods in Human Rights Advocacy

Human rights advocates seek to find, interpret, and communicate facts about rights violations amidst some of the most complex social, economic, and political circumstances. To meet these challenges, fact-finders have developed research procedures that increasingly draw on a wide range of interdisciplinary tools and perspectives — with a notable expansion in the use of qualitative and quantitative methods from social science during recent years. Yet there is little discussion of investigative principles, research components, and methodological standards in the human rights field — a reality that often fuels tension and uncertainty over the extent to which social scientific research standards can and should inform evolving fact-finding conventions. As a result, fundamental questions about such standards remain unaddressed. To fill this gap, this chapter offers three core contributions. First, this chapter contextualizes the discussion by presenting data concerning the methods and conventions used by researchers at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the years 2000 and 2010. Second, this chapter interrogates the nature of social scientific inquiry and the degree of overlap between social science research and human rights fact-finding by comparing investigative principles, research components, and methodological standards. These comparisons reveal that social scientific research and human rights fact-finding share many common foundations and suggest that there is great potential for further convergence — especially in relation to methodological transparency. Third, drawing on some of the key distinctions between social science research and human rights fact-finding, this chapter highlights some of the methodological trade-offs that human rights investigators will likely confront when more directly considering social scientific strategies. This chapter ultimately cautions against the creation of a social science of human rights fact-finding, given the unique challenges and irreducible ethical commitments of human rights fact-finding. It instead calls for open and inclusive conversations about the most promising and appropriate standards for the evolving practice of human rights fact-finding.
Source: Social Science Research Network
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Why Businesses Should Serve Consumers’ ‘Higher Needs’

From the article:
Companies that serve ... higher, more intangible needs of customers are being rewarded by the financial market with higher valuations than those that serve the lower, more tangible needs of customers that include structure and sustenance. Snapchat, Airbnb and Uber are just the tip of the iceberg of $10 billion startups and $100 billion public companies.
Source: Knowledge @ Wharton

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Republicans Open Up Wider ‘Expectations Gap’ Ahead of Midterms

From the Summary:
A new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Aug. 20-24 among 1,501 adults (including 1,171 registered voters), finds that about half of voters (49%) have given “quite a lot” of thought to the upcoming elections. The amount of thought given to the elections at this point of the campaigns is in line with the attention given to past midterm elections. Divided Midterm Voting Intentions

The public’s congressional vote preference remains fairly even. Among registered voters, 47% would vote for the Democratic candidate today or lean Democratic and 42% would vote or lean Republican (11% volunteer “other” or don’t know). In surveys going back to last October, neither party has opened up a large lead in the generic ballot.
Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Consult, Command, Control, Contract: Adding a Fourth “C” to NATO’s Cyber Security

The lines between civilian and military are increasingly blurred, creating ambiguity under international law when private contractors engage in offensive cyber-security operations on behalf of states. These private security companies (PSCs) are being contracted for cyber security to engage in offensive cyber operations, but states should not contract PSCs for offensive cyber operations. The next instalment of the 2014 Jr. Fellows Policy Briefs recognizes the benefits of cyber-security contracting and maintains that a transparent distinction should be established between PSCs and state militaries, whereby private actors would only be involved in defensive and supportive operations. The authors address the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to implement a contracting protocol that delineates appropriate classifications for the tasks and personnel required for private cyber-security contracts. They conclude that establishing an oversight organization and submitting a proposal to the International Law Commission to consider the roles of private security actors would create greater transparency and accountability for contracting.

Source: Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

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Social Media, Political Issues, and the ‘Spiral of Silence’

From the summary:

A major insight into human behavior from pre-internet era studies of communication is the tendency of people not to speak up about policy issues in public—or among their family, friends, and work colleagues—when they believe their own point of view is not widely shared. This tendency is called the “spiral of silence.” Some social media creators and supporters have hoped that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter might produce different enough discussion venues that those with minority views might feel freer to express their opinions, thus broadening public discourse and adding new perspectives to everyday discussion of political issues. We set out to study this by conducting a survey of 1,801 adults. It focused on one important public issue: Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations of widespread government surveillance of Americans’ phone and email records.

Source: Pew Research Internet Project

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What Happens Before? A Field Experiment Exploring How Pay and Representation Differentially Shape Bias on the Pathway into Organizations

Little is known about how discrimination against women and minorities manifests before individuals formally apply to organizations or how it varies within and between organizations. We address this knowledge gap through an audit study in academia of over 6,500 professors at top U.S. universities drawn from 89 disciplines and 259 institutions. We hypothesized that discrimination would appear at the informal “pathway” preceding entry to academia and would vary by discipline and university as a function of faculty representation and pay. In our experiment, professors were contacted by fictional prospective students seeking to discuss research opportunities before applying to a doctoral program. Students’ names were randomly assigned to signal gender and race, but messages were otherwise identical. Faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from Caucasian males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions. Counterintuitively, the representation of women and minorities and discrimination were uncorrelated.
Authors: Milkman, Katherine L. and Akinola, Modupe and Chugh, Dolly,
Source: Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

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Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty

Nationwide in the United States, 70% of faculty members in higher education are employed off the tenure-track. Nearly all of these non-tenure-track (NTT) appointments share a quality that may produce stress for those who hold them: contingency. Most NTT appointments are contingent on budget, enrollment, or both, and the majority of contingent faculty members are hired for one quarter or semester at a time. Significant research has investigated the effects of contingency on teaching, students, departments, colleges, and universities; however, little research has focused on the psychological experiences of NTT faculty. The current study examined perceptions of workplace stressors and harm, organizational commitment, common coping mechanisms, and depression, anxiety and stress among NTT faculty using a longitudinal design that spanned 2–4 months. Results indicate that NTT faculty perceive unique stressors at work that are related to their contingent positions. Specific demographic characteristics and coping strategies, inability to find a permanent faculty position, and commitment to one's organization predispose NTT faculty to perceive greater harm and more sources of stress in their workplaces. Demographic characteristics, lower income, inability to find a permanent faculty position, disengagement coping mechanisms (e.g., giving up, denial), and organizational commitment were associated with the potential for negative outcomes, particularly depression, anxiety, and stress. Our findings suggest possibilities for institutional intervention. Overall, we argue that universities would be well-served by attending to the needs of NTT faculty on campus in order to mitigate negative outcomes for institutions, students, and faculty.
Authors: Reevy Gretchen Maria, Deason Grace    
Source: Frontiers in Psychology: Educational Psychology

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The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program” -August 20, 2014

From the introduction:
Recent clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, MO, have raised questions about the “militarization” of law enforcement. Such concerns have focused almost exclusively on the expanding role of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Congress has also turned its attention to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) “1033 Program” and what role it might play in the militarization of law enforcement.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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Work-Family Conflict: The Effects of Religious Context on Married Women’s Participation in the Labor Force

Past work shows religion’s effect on women’s career decisions, particularly when these decisions involve work-family conflict. This study argues that the religious context of a geographic area also influences women’s solutions to work-family conflict through more or less pervasive normative expectations within the community regarding women’s roles and responsibilities to the family. We use the American Community Survey linked with community-level religious proportions to test the relationship between religious contexts and women’s participation in the labor force in the contiguous United States–2054 census geographic areas. Using spatial analysis, we find that community religious concentration is related to the proportion of women who choose not to work. Communities with a higher proportion of the population belonging to conservative religious traditions also have a greater proportion of married women choosing not to work outside the home.
Authors: Rogers J, Franzen A
Source: Religions
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CDC Digital Press Kit: Ebola Outbreak – 2014

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is rapidly increasing its ongoing efforts to curb the expanding West African Ebola outbreak and deploying staff to four African nations currently affected: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.
Facts about Ebola from the CDC
Infographic from the CDC
  • This is the largest Ebola outbreak in history and the first in West Africa. The outbreak in West Africa is worsening, but CDC, along with other U.S. government agencies and international partners, is taking active steps to respond to this rapidly changing situation.
  • CDC elevated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to a Level 1 activation, its highest level, because of the significance of the outbreak in West Africa.
  • CDC is surging our response with the current challenges that we are facing. CDC is sending additional CDC disease control specialists into the four countries.
Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Learn more and view the entire press kit at the CDC

How Poor Are America's Poorest? U.S. $2 A Day Poverty In A Global Context

An important study on U.S. poverty by Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin gently challenges this assumption. Using an alternative dataset from the one employed for the official U.S. poverty measure, Shaefer and Edin show that millions of Americans live on less than $2 a day—a threshold commonly used to measure poverty in the developing world. Depending on the exact definitions used, they find that up to 5 percent of American households with children are shown to fall under this parsimonious poverty line.

This brief is organized into two parts. In the first part, we examine the welfare of America’s poorest people using a variety of different data sources and definitions. These generate estimates of the number of Americans living under $2 a day that range from 12 million all the way down to zero. This wide spectrum reflects not only a lack of agreement on how poverty can most reliably be measured, but the particular ways in which poverty is, and isn’t, manifested in the U.S.. In the second part, we reexamine America’s $2 a day poverty in the context of global poverty. We begin by identifying the source and definition of poverty that most faithfully replicates the World Bank’s official poverty measure for the developing world to allow a fairer comparison between the U.S. and developing nations. We then compare the characteristics of poverty in the U.S. and the developing world to provide a more complete picture of the nature of poverty in these different settings. Finally, we explain why comparisons of poverty in the U.S. and the developing world, despite their limitations and pitfalls, are likely to become more common. 
Authors: Laurence Chandy and Cory Smith
Source: Brookings Institution
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E-Readers Are More Effective than Paper for Some with Dyslexia

E-readers are fast rivaling print as a dominant method for reading. Because they offer accessibility options that are impossible in print, they are potentially beneficial for those with impairments, such as dyslexia. Yet, little is known about how the use of these devices influences reading in those who struggle. Here, we observe reading comprehension and speed in 103 high school students with dyslexia. Reading on paper was compared with reading on a small handheld e-reader device, formatted to display few words per line. We found that use of the device significantly improved speed and comprehension, when compared with traditional presentations on paper for specific subsets of these individuals: Those who struggled most with phoneme decoding or efficient sight word reading read more rapidly using the device, and those with limited VA Spans gained in comprehension. Prior eye tracking studies demonstrated that short lines facilitate reading in dyslexia, suggesting that it is the use of short lines (and not the device per se) that leads to the observed benefits. We propose that these findings may be understood as a consequence of visual attention deficits, in some with dyslexia, that make it difficult to allocate attention to uncrowded text near fixation, as the gaze advances during reading. Short lines ameliorate this by guiding attention to the uncrowded span.
Authors: Schneps MH, Thomson JM, Chen C, Sonnert G, Pomplun M
Source:  PLoS ONE

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Racial Disparities in Incarceration Increase Acceptance of Punitive Policies

During the past few decades, punitive crime policies have led to explosive growth in the United States prison population. Such policies have contributed to unprecedented incarceration rates for Blacks in particular. In this article, we consider an unexamined relationship between racial disparities and policy reform. Rather than treating racial disparities as an outcome to be measured, we exposed people to real and extreme racial disparities and observed how this drove their support for harsh criminal-justice policies. In two experiments, we manipulated the racial composition of prisons: When the penal institution was represented as “more Black,” people were more concerned about crime and expressed greater acceptance of punitive policies than when the penal institution was represented as “less Black.” Exposure to extreme racial disparities, then, can lead people to support the very policies that produce those disparities, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle.
Authors: Jennifer L. Eberhardt (Resource Connection Subscriber), Rebecca C. Hetey
 Source: Psychological Science via APS
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