Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Secret Behind College Completion: Girls, Boys, and The Power of Eighth Grade Grades

To see into the future, look at 8th grade. If an 8th grader gets As and Bs in school, that student will likely earn a college degree. If that same student gets only Bs and Cs, college completion is unlikely. That is one of the stunning conclusions from authors Thomas A. DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann in their report on gender, mobility, and college attainment. 
The implications of their findings are astounding, especially when girls do better than boys in school by 8th grade and continue to widen their lead over boys in education attainment. Because our economy rewards educational attainment and punishes the lack of it, could women soon become the primary economic drivers of the U.S. economy?

Source 3rd Way Next

Immigration and New York City: The Contributions of Foreign-Born Americans to New York's Renaissance, 1975–2013

This Americas Society/Council of the Americas report shows how immigration has helped revitalize New York City since the mid-1970s by making communities safer, increasing public revenue, and boosting the city’s population.

The data shows that immigration has reduced New York City’s crime rate by up to two-thirds over the last two decades, increased the city’s housing wealth by $188 billion since 1980, and significantly contributed to the city’s population growth, thereby helping the local economy to thrive and remain strong.

Using U.S. Census and American Community Survey data, Immigration and New York City: The Contributions of Foreign-Born Americans to New York’s Renaissance, 1975–2013 quantifies the impact immigrants have had on the quality of life of New York’s 8.2 million residents, providing a socioeconomic boost to areas that might otherwise have seen high vacancy rates, abandoned housing, and little economic opportunity.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Resilient Cities Research Report

The ability of cities to thrive as centres of human habitation, production and cultural development, despite the challenges posed by climate change, population growth and globalisation, is determined by their resilience. From a real estate investor’s perspective, resilience allows cities to preserve capital values and generate sustainable rental income in the long term. In human terms, cities are resilient if they absorb shocks, like Hurricane Sandy, maintain their output of goods and services and continue to provide their inhabitants with a good quality of life according to the standards of the time.

Source: Grosvenor Group

Read online description

Download pdf report

New U.S. Gov. Report & Online Data Tool: “Young Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964-2012″

From the report:
This research, which uses data from select November Current Population Survey (CPS) Voting and Registration Supplements, comprises two main sections, each of which corresponds to a major criterion for determining voting eligibility. The main difference in the two sections has to do with the population base used to calculate voting rates. The first section covers the period of 1964–2012 and focuses solely on the voting-age population, or the number of individuals who are old enough to vote legally in a given election, regardless of citizenship or other criteria.
Download pdf of Young Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964-2012

Online Data Tool:
Census Bureau released an interactive Voting Report that provides comparisons of voting and registration patterns by demographic, social and geographic characteristics for the U.S. and states.
View interactive Voting Report

Public strongly backs affirmative action programs on campus

The use of affirmative action programs in college admissions has roiled campuses and the public for years, leading to state-passed laws banning the practice and to today’s [April 22, 2014] Supreme Court ruling upholding a Michigan voter initiative banning the use of racial preferences. But while the debate and the battles continue, a new Pew Research Center poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support these programs.
Source: Pew Research Center

Read full analysis
Download methodology information and questionnaire results

Poor Black Women Are Evicted at Alarming Rates, Setting Off a Chain of Hardship

Low-income women are evicted at much higher rates than men. The reasons are varied, including lower wages and children, but one rarely discussed reason is the gender dynamics between largely male landlords and female tenants. This brief, based on an in-depth look at evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finds that women’s non-confrontational approach with landlords and their tendency to dodge the issue are two reasons why women from black neighborhoods in Milwaukee represented only 9.6 percent of the population, but 30 percent of the evictions.

Source: Harvard University [via MacArthur Foundation]

Download pdf of Research Brief

How Neighborhoods Affect Health, Well-being, and Young People’s Futures

Among the many potential factors reviewed in this brief, the evidence most consistently points to neighborhood social cohesion, informal social control, spatial mismatch, and exposure to environmental hazards, including violence, as important factors in how neighborhood affects personal outcomes.
Source: Wayne State University [via MacArthur Foundation]

Download pdf of Research Brief

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap

A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance and All Students’ College Transition

College students who do not have parents with 4-year degrees (first-generation students) earn lower grades and encounter more obstacles to success than do students who have at least one parent with a 4-year degree (continuing-generation students). In the study reported here, we tested a novel intervention designed to reduce this social-class achievement gap with a randomized controlled trial (N = 168). Using senior college students’ real-life stories, we conducted a difference-education intervention with incoming students about how their diverse backgrounds can shape what they experience in college. Compared with a standard intervention that provided similar stories of college adjustment without highlighting students’ different backgrounds, the difference-education intervention eliminated the social-class achievement gap by increasing first-generation students’ tendency to seek out college resources (e.g., meeting with professors) and, in turn, improving their end-of-year grade point averages. The difference-education intervention also improved the college transition for all students on numerous psychosocial outcomes (e.g., mental health and engagement).
Source: Psychological Science [via Stanford University]

Read Stanford University online article: First-generation college students benefit from discussing class differences
Download full pdf article: Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples

Intimate partner violence affects millions of people globally. One possible contributing factor is poor self-control. Self-control requires energy, part of which is provided by glucose. For 21 days, glucose levels were measured in 107 married couples. To measure aggressive impulses, each evening participants stuck between 0 and 51 pins into a voodoo doll that represented their spouse, depending how angry they were with their spouse. To measure aggression, participants competed against their spouse on a 25-trial task in which the winner blasted the loser with loud noise through headphones. As expected, the lower the level of glucose in the blood, the greater number of pins participants stuck into the voodoo doll, and the higher intensity and longer duration of noise participants set for their spouse.
Source: PNAS

View abstract online or read html article
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Is happiness good for your personality? Concurrent and prospective relations of the Big Five with subjective well-being

OBJECTIVE: The present research examined longitudinal relations of the Big Five personality traits with three core aspects of subjective well-being: life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect.

METHOD: Latent growth models and autoregressive models were used to analyze data from a large, nationally representative sample of 16,367 Australian residents. RESULTS: Concurrent and change correlations indicated that higher levels of subjective well-being were associated with higher levels of Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, and with lower levels of Neuroticism. Moreover, personality traits prospectively predicted change in well-being, and well-being levels prospectively predicted personality change. Specifically, prospective trait effects indicated that individuals who were initially extraverted, agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable subsequently increased in well-being. Prospective well-being effects indicated that individuals with high initial levels of well-being subsequently became more agreeable, conscientious, emotionally stable, and introverted.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings challenge the common assumption that associations of personality traits with subjective well-being are entirely, or almost entirely, due to trait influences on well-being. They support the alternative hypothesis that personality traits and well-being aspects reciprocally influence each other over time.
Source: Journal of Personality [via Colby Personality Lab]

Download full pdf publication
View Wall Street Journal article discussing research findings

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ignore your partners’ current Facebook friends; beware the ones they add!

In this study, we examined two behaviors that could evoke Facebook jealousy and cause relationship problems among romantic partners: (1) Facebook solicitation behaviors (i.e., making or accepting friend requests with romantic interests) while in the current relationship, and (2) having romantic interests on existing Facebook friends lists. In our sample of 148 undergraduates, those who had lower commitment to their partners were more likely to make and accept Facebook friend requests with romantic interests during their relationship. However, commitment was unrelated to the number of romantic alternatives contained on one’s Facebook friends list or the frequency of Facebook solicitation while single. Additionally, attachment anxiety predicted Facebook solicitation behaviors, but this relationship was mediated by Facebook jealousy. Our findings confirm that Facebook is used to solicit connections with romantic interests both while single and during committed relationships; however, it is only those connections that are made during the relationship that are markers of lower commitment. Moreover, our study adds to a growing body of research that connects face-to-face relationship theories to the virtual environment.
Source: Computers in Human Behavior

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Mental Illness Not Usually Linked to Crime

From the press release:
In a study of crimes committed by people with serious mental disorders, only 7.5 percent were directly related to symptoms of mental illness, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.  

Researchers analyzed 429 crimes committed by 143 offenders with three major types of mental illness and found that 3 percent of their crimes were directly related to symptoms of major depression, 4 percent to symptoms of schizophrenia disorders and 10 percent to symptoms of bipolar disorder.  Read more.
Although offenders with mental illness are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, psychiatric symptoms relate weakly to criminal behavior at the group level. In this study of 143 offenders with mental illness, we use data from intensive interviews and record reviews to examine how often and how consistently symptoms lead directly to criminal behavior. First, crimes rarely were directly motivated by symptoms, particularly when the definition of symptoms excluded externalizing features that are not unique to Axis I illness. Specifically, of the 429 crimes coded, 4% related directly to psychosis, 3% related directly to depression, and 10% related directly to bipolar disorder (including impulsivity). Second, within offenders, crimes varied in the degree to which they were directly motivated by symptoms. These findings suggest that programs will be most effective in reducing recidivism if they expand beyond psychiatric symptoms to address strong variable risk factors for crime like antisocial traits. 
Source: Law and Human Behavior
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Trends in Unwanted Online Experiences and Sexting


This bulletin summarizes findings from the Third Youth Internet Safety Survey (YISS‐3).
Topics include youth reports of unwanted sexual solicitations, online harassment, unwanted exposure to sexual material, and “sexting.”

Source: Crimes against Children Research Center

Download full pdf publication: Trends in Unwanted Online Experiences and Sexting

Citations of Most Often Cited Economists: Do Scholarly Books Matter More than Quality Journals?

This paper empirically investigates the determinants of citations based on the publication of the top 100 most often cited economists. The effects of publication age and author fame on subsequent citations are found to be positive and significant. Citations are also significantly affected by popular subfields in economics. However, journal quality measures, such as impact factors, download statistics and top-4 elite journals, have insignificant effects on citations. In contrast, the citation effect of scholarly books is positive and significant, and its impact is even greater than those of journal quality measures.
Source: Pacific Economic Review

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Read paper online
Download pdf of paper

Cool Tool: Open source interactive timeline creation with TimelineJS

TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually,rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS's core look and functionality.

It can pull in media from a variety of sources and has built-in support for Twitter, Flickr, Google Maps, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Dailymotion, Wikipedia, SoundCloud and more.

Tips & tricks

  1. Keep it short, and write each event as a part of a larger narrative.
  2. Pick stories that have a strong chronological narrative. It does not work well for stories that need to jump around in the timeline.
  3. Include events that build up to major occurrences — not just the major events.
Example Timline: Time Magazine used for their display of "Nelson Mandela's Extraordinary Life."

Make your own timeline and view other examples at http://timeline.knightlab.com/

United Nations Report: The Global Study on Homicide

The Global Study on Homicide 2013 seeks to shed light on the worst of crimes - the "unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person." In 2012, intentional homicide took the lives of almost half a million people. The study of intentional homicide is relevant not only because it is the study of the ultimate crime, whose ripple effect goes far beyond the initial loss of human life, but because lethal violence can create a climate of fear and uncertainty. Intentional homicide also victimizes the family and community of the victim, who can be considered secondary victims, and when justice is not served, impunity can lead to further victimization in the form of the denial of the basic human right to justice.
 Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

View report website with maps and graphics
Download full pdf report: The Global Study on Homicide 2013

Understanding the consequences of bilingualism for language processing and cognition

Contemporary research on bilingualism has been framed by two major discoveries. In the realm of language processing, studies of comprehension and production show that bilinguals activate information about both languages when using one language alone. Parallel activation of the two languages has been demonstrated for highly proficient bilinguals as well as second language learners and appears to be present even when distinct properties of the languages themselves might be sufficient to bias attention towards the language in use. In the realm of cognitive processing, studies of executive function have demonstrated a bilingual advantage, with bilinguals outperforming their monolingual counterparts on tasks that require ignoring irrelevant information, task switching, and resolving conflict. Our claim is that these outcomes are related and have the overall effect of changing the way that both cognitive and linguistic processing are carried out for bilinguals. In this paper we examine each of these domains of bilingual performance and consider the kinds of evidence needed to support this view. We argue that the tendency to consider bilingualism as a unitary phenomenon explained in terms of simple component processes has created a set of apparent controversies that masks the richness of the central finding in this work: the adult mind and brain are open to experience in ways that create profound consequences for both language and cognition.
 Source: Journal of Cognitive Psychology [via APS]

Read news item on APS: Bilingualism Alters the Way the Mind Works
Download pdf publication: Understanding the consequences of bilingualism for language processing and cognition
Read article online

Superstar or Scholar? African American Youth’s Perceptions of Opportunity in a Time of Change

Through a Multiple Marginality Framework, this exploratory case study highlights how African American male youth in an urban high school setting perceive the opportunity structure during the historic election of the first African American President. Youth optimism generated by Obama’s election gives students a sense of hope despite the persistent inequality they face in inner-city communities and schools. Findings suggest that the pervasive influence of both structural and cultural factors—such as poverty, racial ideology, racial tracking in schools, and street socialization—help explain students’ aspirations and constrained expectations to pursue professional athletics. The implications of this study call for a reemphasis on the relevancy of school and community factors and influences in improving the perceptions of opportunity for African American males
Source: UC Irvine [via eScholarship Repository]

Read abstract online
Download pdf publication of Superstar or Scholar? African American Youth’s Perceptions of Opportunity in a Time of Change

Read 10 Short Stories by Gabriel García Márquez Free Online (Plus More Essays & Interviews)

From Open Culture:
As we say farewell to one of the world’s greatest writers, we can remember him not only as a writer of “magical realism,” whatever that phrase may mean, but as a teller of complicated, wondrous, and sometimes painful truths, in whatever form he happened to find them.
Read the whole story and find links on Open Culture

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Farmworker Movement Documentation Project: Primary source accounts by the UFW volunteers who built the movement

The Farmworker Movement Documentation Project, founded in 2003 by LeRoy Chatfield, is a labor of love. The project seeks to compile and publish primary source accounts from the volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement during the period, 1962-1993.

The collection includes nine documentary films, about 13,000 photographs, several hundred hours of oral histories, essays and poems. It also features a short video of the historic 1966 march from Delano to Sacramento to draw attention to the plight of farmworkers.

Source: U.C. San Diego Library (via U.T. San Diego)

Explore the Farmworker Movement Documentation Project
Read U.T. San Diego article about the archive project

After Decades of Decline, A Rise in Stay-at-Home Mothers

From the Overview:
The share of mothers who do not work outside the home rose to 29% in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23% in 1999, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. This rise over the past dozen years represents the reversal of a long-term decline in “stay-at-home” mothers that had persisted for the last three decades of the 20th century. The recent turnaround appears to be driven by a mix of demographic, economic and societal factors, including rising immigration as well as a downturn in women’s labor force participation, and is set against a backdrop of continued public ambivalence about the impact of working mothers on young children.
Source: Pew Research Center

Read online overview
Download full pdf report

U.S. Views of Technology and the Future

From the Findings:
The American public anticipates that the coming half-century will be a period of profound scientific change, as inventions that were once confined to the realm of science fiction come into common usage. This is among the main findings of a new national survey by The Pew Research Center, which asked Americans about a wide range of potential scientific developments—from near-term advances like robotics and bioengineering, to more “futuristic” possibilities like teleportation or space colonization. In addition to asking them for their predictions about the long-term future of scientific advancement, we also asked them to share their own feelings and attitudes toward some new developments that might become common features of American life in the relatively near future.

Source: Pew Research Center

Read more of the findings online
Download complete pdf report
Download topline questionnaire

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Political Ideology and Racial Preferences in Online Dating

What explains the relative persistence of same-race romantic relationships? One possible explanation is structural–this phenomenon could reflect the fact that social interactions are already stratified along racial lines–while another attributes these patterns to individual-level preferences. We present novel evidence from an online dating community involving more than 250,000 people in the United States about the frequency with which individuals both express a preference for same-race romantic partners and act to choose same-race partners. Prior work suggests that political ideology is an important correlate of conservative attitudes about race in the United States, and we find that conservatives, including both men and women and blacks and whites, are much more likely than liberals to state a preference for same-race partners. Further, conservatives are not simply more selective in general; they are specifically selective with regard to race. Do these stated preferences predict real behaviors? In general, we find that stated preferences are a strong predictor of a behavioral preference for same-race partners, and that this pattern persists across ideological groups. At the same time, both men and women of all political persuasions act as if they prefer same-race relationships even when they claim not to. As a result, the gap between conservatives and liberals in revealed same-race preferences, while still substantial, is not as pronounced as their stated attitudes would suggest. We conclude by discussing some implications of our findings for the broader issues of racial homogamy and segregation.
 Source: Sociological Science

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Read Stanford online article
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School-based violence prevention strategy: a pilot evaluation

BACKGROUND: Violence has recently been reported among a primarily young, minority population in Nashville, Tennessee. School-based programs have been proven as effective methods of reducing violent behavior, beliefs, and actions that lead to violence among adolescents. METHODS: Investigators implemented a rigorous search for an appropriate school-based violence prevention program for Metropolitan Nashville middle school students utilizing a systematic review and discussion group with victims of violence. 27 programs nation-wide were reviewed and 2 discussion groups with African American males under the age of 25 admitted to a level 1 trauma center for assault-related injuries were conducted. Our findings led to a single, evidence-based conflict resolution program. In conjunction with educators, we evaluated the program’s effectiveness in a pilot study in a Nashville middle school with high rates of violence. RESULTS: 122 students completed the conflict resolution program and described their behavior and experiences with violence in a pre-test/post-test self-rate questionnaire. Results showed a significant decrease in violent behavior and an increase in students’ competencies to deal with violence (p less than 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that a reduction in violent behavior and beliefs among middle school students can be achieved through the implementation of a targeted violence intervention program. A larger-scale intervention is needed to develop more conclusive evidence of effectiveness.
Source: Journal of Injury and Violence Research

Read online abstract
Read online press release at Newswise
Download full pdf publication of: School-based violence prevention strategy: a pilot evaluation

Thursday, April 10, 2014

2013-14 AAUP Faculty Salary Survey

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
On average, faculty salaries rose faster than inflation for the first time in five years. Still, at some institutions, associate professors have seen their salaries stagnate over the past decade relative to those in higher and lower faculty ranks.

While pay for associate professors has grown by 5.6 percent since 2000, after adjusting for inflation, salaries for assistant professors have increased by 9 percent, according to a Chronicle analysis of data provided by the American Association of University Professors. The gap is widening even more between associate professors and full professors, whose pay has increased by 11.7 percent.

View interactive data chart of the 2013-14 AAUP Faculty Salary Survey

Also of interest is the AAUP Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Food quality and motivation: A refined low-fat diet induces obesity and impairs performance

Purified high-fat diet (HFD) feeding causes deleterious metabolic and cognitive effects when compared with unrefined low-fat diets in rodent models. These effects are often attributed to the diet's high content of fat, while less attention has been paid to other mechanisms associated with the diet's highly refined state. Although the effects of HFD feeding on cognition have been explored, little is known about the impact of refined vs. unrefined food on cognition. We tested the hypothesis that a refined low-fat diet (LFD) increases body weight and adversely affects cognition relative to an unrefined diet.
Source: Physiology & Behavior via UCLA Newsroom

Download full pdf of Food quality and motivation: A refined low-fat diet induces obesity and impairs performance

Read UCLA Newsroom article Does a junk food diet make you lazy? UCLA psychology study offers answer

The Gender Wage Gap: 2013; Differences by Race and Ethnicity, No Growth in Real Wages for Women

The gender wage gap in the United States has not seen significant improvement in recent years, and remains a reality for women across racial and ethnic groups. In 2013, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 82.1 percent, an increase of more than one percentage point since 2012,when the ratio was 80.9 percent (but still slightly lower than the 2011 ratio of 82.2 percent). This corresponds to a weekly gender wage gap of 17.9 percent. Real earnings have remained largely unchanged since 2012; women’s median weekly earnings increased by $5 to $706 in 2013; men’s median weekly earnings increased to $860, a marginal increase of $7 compared with 2012.
Source:  Institute for Women's Policy Research (via Cynthia Epstein CASBS Fellow 2014, 2005, 1978)

Download PDF of The Gender Wage Gap: 2013; Differences by Race and Ethnicity, No Growth in Real Wages for Women

Read more information about Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) online

Adolescent Indoor Tanning Use and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors

From the abstract:
Youth indoor tanning rates remain high despite the potential for increased melanoma risk. No previous study has assessed the prevalence of unhealthy weight control behaviors in both male and female adolescent indoor tanning users using a nationally representative survey.

Pooled data on high school students from the 2009 and 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey were used (n = 26,951). Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess associations between the recent indoor tanning use and recently doing the following to lose weight: fasting for more than 24 hours; taking a pill, powder, or liquid without a doctor's consent; and vomiting or taking a laxative.

Pooled data showed 23.3% of females reported indoor tanning within the past year; 6.5% of males did so as well. Adjusted multivariate results show that females who indoor tan were, on average, more likely to have fasted (odds ratio [OR], 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0–1.5), taken a pill, powder, or liquid (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.9–3.0), and vomited or taken a laxative to lose weight (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1–1.7) within the past 30 days than those who did not. Males who indoor tanned within the past year were, on average, more likely to have fasted (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.7–3.1), taken a pill, powder, or liquid (OR, 4.4; 95% CI, 3.3–6.0), and vomited or taken a laxative to lose weight (OR, 7.1; 95% CI, 4.4–11.4) within the past 30 days.

Significant associations between indoor tanning use and unhealthy weight control behaviors exist for both male and female adolescents, with a stronger association observed among males.
Source: Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

Download full pdf publication: Adolescent Indoor Tanning Use and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors

Read abstract and publication online

Public Displays of Play: Studying Online Games in Physical Settings

As research on virtual worlds gains increasing attention in educational, commercial, and military domains, a consideration of how player populations are ‘reassembled’ through social scientific data is a timely matter for communication scholars. This paper describes a large-scale study of virtual worlds in which participants were recruited at public gaming events, as opposed to through online means, and explores the dynamic relationships between players and contexts of play that this approach makes visible. Challenging conventional approaches to quantitatively driven virtual worlds research, which categorizes players based on their involvement in an online game at a particular point in time, this account demonstrates how players' networked gaming activities are contingent on who they are playing with, where, and when.

Source: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Download full pdf publication: Public Displays of Play: Studying Online Games in Physical Settings
Read abstract online

Lower-Income Individuals Without Pensions: Who Misses Out and Why?

In 2010, only 19 percent of individuals ages 50-58 whose household incomes were less than 300 percent of the poverty line participated in a pension of any kind at their current jobs, compared to 56 percent of those above 300 percent of poverty. This paper investigates this pension gap. In particular, we decompose the pension participation rate into its four elements in order to compare coverage between higher- and lower-income individuals: 1) the fraction of people who are currently working (the employment rate); 2) the fraction of workers who are in firms that offer pension benefits to at least some workers (the offer rate); 3) the fraction of workers who are eligible for pension benefits, conditional on being in a firm where it is offered (the eligibility rate); and 4) the fraction of workers who enroll in a pension plan when they are eligible (the take-up rate). We find that the substantial pension gap between higher- and lower-income individuals is driven primarily by the lower-income group’s lower employment rate and the smaller probability of working for an employer that offers pensions; when lower-income workers do have a pension plan at work, their eligibility and take-up rates are nearly equivalent to higher-income workers. We also find that the factors associated with a higher value for each element of pension participation are very consistent: higher education and income, previous pension history, and job characteristics including firm size, occupation, job tenure, and union status. Together, these findings suggest that policies such as automatic enrollment that focus on pension eligibility or take-up are unlikely to close the pension coverage gap between older, lower-income individuals and their higher-income contemporaries; instead, greater pension participation requires more jobs and, in particular, more “good jobs.”
Source: Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Download full pdf publication of Lower-Income Individuals Without Pensions: Who Misses Out and Why?

Read abstract online at Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Employment, late-life work, retirement, and well-being in Europe and the United States


Flexible work arrangements and retirement options provide one solution for the challenges of unemployment and underemployment, aging populations, and unsustainable public pension systems in welfare states around the world. We examine the relationships between well-being and job satisfaction on the one hand and employment status and retirement, on the other, using Gallup World Poll data for several European countries and the United States. We find that voluntary part-time workers are happier, experience less stress and anger, and have higher job satisfaction than other employees. Using statistical matching, we show that late-life workers under voluntary part-time or full-time arrangements have higher well-being than retirees. There is no well-being premium for involuntary late-life work and self-employment compared to retirement, however. Our findings inform ongoing debates about the optimal retirement age and the fiscal burdens of public pension systems.

Source: IZA Journal of European Labor Studies

Download full pdf publication:  Employment, late-life work, retirement, and well-being in Europe and the United States

Read abstract and full publication on the IZA website

Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants' Social Media Postings

Job applicants and incumbents often use social media for personal communications allowing for direct observation of their social communications “unfiltered” for employer consumption. As such, these data offer a glimpse of employees in settings free from the impression management pressures present during evaluations conducted for applicant screening and research purposes. This study investigated whether job applicants' (N=175) personality characteristics are reflected in the content of their social media postings. Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called “badmouthing” behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Download pdf publication: Big Five Personality Traits Reflected in Job Applicants' Social Media Postings 
Read abstract and publication information online

New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future

From the Foreword:
New York's record on school segregation by race and poverty is dismal now and has been for a very long time. The children who most depend on the public schools for any chance in life are concentrated in schools struggling with all the dimensions of family and neighborhood poverty and isolation. In spite of the epic stuggle for more equitable funding in New York, there is a striking relationship between segregated education and unequal school success. Although many middle class families of all races would like their children to be educated in successful diverse schools, there are few such opportunities.
From the Executive Summary:
In this report, we provide a synthesis of over 60 years of research showing that school integration is still a goal worth pursuing. From the benefits of greater academic achievement, future earnings, and even better health outcomes for minority students, and the social benefits resulting from intergroup contact for all students -- like the possible reduction in prejudice and greater interracial communication skills -- we found that "real integration" is indeed an invaluable goal worth undertaking in growing multiracial societies.
Source: The Civil Rights Project, UCLA [via eScholarship Repository]

Download full pdf [160 pgs] report: New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future
View online at the eScholarship Repository

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Experiences Among Middle School Youth

This study indicated that middle school-aged students are experiencing real acts of sexual violence. These findings are consistent with studies of high school and college-age students that find that sexual harassment is quite prevalent. Students who reported an upsetting sexual harassment experience often indicated that they were physically touched or forced to be kissed against their will. Sexual harassment experiences that were just verbal in nature (e.g., commentary about one’s body parts) were also common. This study indicates that middle school youth have experienced a wide range of upsetting sexual violence experiences that seem to be unaddressed by adults in these schools.

Source: American Education Research Association (AERA)

Download full pdf publication: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Experiences Among Middle School Youth

Read abstract online at AERA

Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

The use of social media during the crisis by the BPD, a longtime adopter of community policing, is an example for police departments everywhere. The success of the communication strategy can be attributed, in large part, to BPD’s previous trust-building in the community — including a longstanding, if not a more mundane, use of social media.

In Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston the authors reflect on the opportunities and challenges social media present to law enforcement as they build on the traditional concepts of community policing, bringing its theory and practice into the digital age.
Source: National Institute of Justice

Download pdf of Social Media and Police Leadership: Lessons From Boston

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Lehman Sisters hypothesis

This article explores the Lehman Sisters hypothesis. It reviews empirical literature about gender differences in behavioural, experimental and neuro-economics as well as in other fields of behavioural research. It discusses gender differences along three dimensions of financial behaviour: risk aversion and response to uncertainty, ethics and moral attitudes, and leadership. The article argues that gender stereotypes are influential in finance, constraining women to achieve top positions in banking and sustaining a strong masculine culture. At the same time the analysis indicates that the few women who make it to the top tend to perform on average better than men, in particular under uncertainty. This is explained by a combination of gender beliefs, gender stereotypes, gender identity and flexible biological processes. Although further research is necessary, the existing empirical literature would support a plea for having more rather than fewer women in financial trade, risk management and at the top of the financial sector.
Source: Cambridge Journal of Economics

Read abstract online
Download full pdf publication of The Lehman Sisters hypothesis

Thursday, April 03, 2014

ACLU launches previously secret NSA documents database

From the news release:
This tool will be an up-to-date, complete collection of previously secret NSA documents made public since last June. The database is designed to be easily searchable – by title, category, or content – so that the public, researchers, and journalists can readily home in on the information they are looking for.

We have made all of the documents text-searchable to allow users to investigate particular key words or phrases. Alternatively, the filter function allows users to sort based on the type of surveillance involved, the specific legal authorities implicated, the purpose of the surveillance, or the source of the disclosure. For example, you can have the database return all documents that both pertain to "Section 215" and "Internal NSA/DOJ Legal Analysis." We will update the database with new documents as they become available to the public.
Source: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Read more about the NSA documents database.
Direct link to documents database.

Young Americans' Affinity for Democratic Party Has Grown

From online report:
From 1993 to 2003, 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds, on average, identified as Democrats or said they were independents but leaned to the Democratic Party, while 42% were Republicans or Republican leaners. That time span included two years in which young adults tilted Republican, 1994 and 1995, when Republicans won control of Congress. Since 2006, the average gap in favor of the Democratic Party among young adults has been 18 percentage points, 54% to 36%.
Source: Gallup

Read the whole story and view charts.

America's Young Adults at 27: Labor Market Activity, Education, and Household Composition: Results From a Longitudinal Survey Summary

News Release:
These findings are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, a nationally representative survey of about 9,000 young men and women who were born during the years 1980 to 1984. These respondents were ages 12 to 17 when first interviewed in 1997, and ages 26 to 32 when interviewed for the 15th time in 2011-12. The survey provides information on work and nonwork experiences, training, schooling, income, assets, and other characteristics. The information provided by respondents is representative of all men and women born in the early 1980s and living in the United States when the survey began in 1997.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (United States)

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View data tables and more information

Older Adults and Technology Use

America’s seniors have historically been late adopters to the world of technology compared to their younger compatriots, but their movement into digital life continues to deepen, according to newly released data from the Pew Research Center. In this report, we take advantage of a particularly large survey to conduct a unique exploration not only of technology use between Americans ages 65 or older and the rest of the population, but within the senior population as well.
Source:  Pew Research Internet Project

Read main findings
Download full pdf publication: Older Adults and Technology Use

Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media

Social media has become a popular venue for individuals to share the results of their own analysis on financial securities. This paper investigates the extent to which investor opinions transmitted through social media predict future stock returns and earnings surprises. We conduct textual analysis of articles published on one of the most popular social-media platforms for investors in the United States. We also consider the readers’ perspective as inferred via commentaries written in response to these articles. We find that the views expressed in both articles and commentaries predict future stock returns and earnings surprises.

Source: Review of Financial Studies [via Social Science Research Network]

Download full text report: Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media

The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA; P.L. 89-329) authorizes numerous federal aid programs that provide support to both individuals pursuing a postsecondary education and institutions of higher education (IHEs). Title IV of the HEA authorizes the federal government’s major student aid programs, which are the primary source of direct federal support to students pursuing postsecondary education. Titles II, III, and V of the HEA provide institutional aid and support. Additionally, the HEA authorizes services and support for less-advantaged students (select Title IV programs), students pursing international education (Title VI), and students pursuing and institutions offering certain graduate and professional degrees (Title VII). Finally, the most recently added title (Title VIII) authorizes several other programs that support higher education. The HEA was last comprehensively reauthorized in 2008 by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA; P.L. 110-315), which authorized most HEA programs through FY2014. Following the enactment of the HEAO, the HEA has been amended by numerous other laws, most notably the SAFRA Act, part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), which terminated the authority to make federal student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program. This report provides a brief overview of the major provisions of the HEA.
Source: Congressional Research Service (United States)

Download full pdf publication: The Higher Education Act (HEA): A Primer

Reawakening the Public Research University

A core institution in the human endeavor—the public research university—is in transition. As U.S. public universities adapt to a multi-decadal decline in public funding, they risk losing their essential character as a generator, evaluator, and archivist of ideas and as a wellspring of tomorrow’s intellectual, economic, and political leaders. This book explores the core interdependent and coevolving structures of the research university: its physical domain (buildings, libraries, classrooms), administration (governance and funding), and intellectual structures (curricula and degree programs). It searches the U.S. history of the public research university to identify its essential qualities, and generates recommendations that identify the crucial roles of university administration, state government and federal government.

Source: University of California, Santa Cruz [via eScholarship Repository]

Read the abstract on eScholarship Repository.
Download full pdf publication (648 pages) Reawakening the Public Research University

Crisis Monitoring Report 2014: The European Crisis and its Human Cost


A study on the social impact the economic crisis and austerity measures are having on the people of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Spain. 

Source: Caritas Europa

Read about Caritas Europa

Download pdf: Crisis Monitoring Report 2014: The European Crisis and its Human Cost

Open Access Maps at New York Public Library

NYPL The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division released more than 20,000 cartographic works as high resolution downloads.
We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions.* To the extent that some jurisdictions grant NYPL an additional copyright in the digital reproductions of these maps, NYPL is distributing these images under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. The maps can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page, and downloaded (!), through the Map Warper. First, create an account, then click a map title and go. Here’s a primer and more extended blog post on the warper.
Read the full announcement on their blog.

Visit the NYPL Digital Collections page.

Some Evidence for Unconscious Lie Detection

To maximize survival and reproductive success, primates evolved the tendency to tell lies and the ability to accurately detect them. Despite the obvious advantage of detecting lies accurately, conscious judgments of veracity are only slightly more accurate than chance. However, findings in forensic psychology, neuroscience, and primatology suggest that lies can be accurately detected when less-conscious mental processes (as opposed to more-conscious mental processes) are used. We predicted that observing someone tell a lie would automatically activate cognitive concepts associated with deception, and observing someone tell the truth would activate concepts associated with truth. In two experiments, we demonstrated that indirect measures of deception detection are significantly more accurate than direct measures. These findings provide a new lens through which to reconsider old questions and approach new investigations of human lie detection.

Source:  Psychological Science

Read abstract online
Download full pdf publication of Some Evidence for Unconscious Lie Detection

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Consequences of Flexibility Stigma Among Academic Scientists and Engineers

Flexibility stigma, the devaluation of workers who seek or are presumed to need flexible work arrangements, fosters a mismatch between workplace demands and the needs of professionals. The authors survey “ideal workers”—science, technology, engineering, and math faculty at a top research university—to determine the consequences of working in an environment with flexibility stigma. Those who report this stigma have lower intentions to persist, worse work–life balance, and lower job satisfaction. These consequences are net of gender and parenthood, suggesting that flexibility stigma fosters a problematic environment for many faculty, even those not personally at risk of stigmatization. 
Source: Work and Occupations (SAGE)

Read online abstract
Download pdf of Consequences of Flexibility Stigma Among Academic Scientists and Engineers