Class Warfare

Kevin Lewis

February 01, 2011

Building the Base: Al Qaeda's Focoist Strategy

Kenneth Payne
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, February 2011, Pages 124-143

Al Qaeda has developed a coherent strategy for insurgent violence that has much in common with the focoism advocated by Che Guevara in the 1960s. In their strategic writing, explored here, key Islamist strategists stress the role of violence in creating revolution, and describe the export of committed fighters to focoist enclaves at the margins of enemy control. In contrast to some prominent themes in recent scholarship, the article argues that physical space is demonstrably important to the revolutionaries, that their development of leaderless jihad is designed to supplement not replace territorial control, and that their violence is avowedly strategic.


Marital Sorting and Parental Wealth

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Erik Hurst & Alexandra Killewald
NBER Working Paper, January 2011

Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this paper studies the degree to which spouses sort in the marriage market on the basis of parental wealth. We estimate a variety of models, including transition matrices, OLS and TSLS models to deal with measurement error in wealth reports. Our various results show that men and women in the U.S. marry spouses whose parents have wealth similar to that of their own parents; and are very unlikely to marry persons from very different parental wealth backgrounds. This effect is present in the population as a whole, within racial groups, and especially in the tails of the distribution. Our preferred estimates indicate that the correlation in log wealth between own and spouse's parents wealth is around 0.4. We show that education accounts for only one-quarter of this sorting, and also show that selection into and out marriage by parental wealth does not appreciably bias our results.


Can Rising Inequality Explain Aggregate Trends in Marriage? Evidence from U.S. States, 1977-2005

Tristan Coughlin & Scott Drewianka
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, January 2011

We investigate the hypothesis that rising wage inequality caused declines in the U.S. aggregate marriage hazard since 1970. Despite confirming previous findings that inequality accounts for much of the decline among young adults before 1990, we find that the aggregate marriage hazard became much less sensitive to inequality thereafter. Our explanation for the weakened relationship relies on the theoretical prediction, which we verify empirically, that inequality influences marital decisions of young singles much more than those of older singles. The aggregate marriage hazard thus became less responsive to inequality over this period because the unmarried population became older.


Time is tight: How higher economic value of time increases feelings of time pressure

Sanford DeVoe & Jeffrey Pfeffer
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

The common heuristic association between scarcity and value implies that more valuable things appear scarcer (King, Hicks, & Abdelkhalik, 2009), an effect we show applies to time as well. In a series of studies, we found that both income and wealth, which affect the economic value of time, influence perceived time pressure. Study 1 found that changes in income were associated with changes in perceived time pressure. Studies 2-4 showed that experimentally manipulating time's perceived economic value caused greater feelings of time pressure and less patient behavior. Finally, Study 5 demonstrated that the relationship between income and time pressure was strengthened when participants were randomly assigned to think about the precise economic value of their time.


One Dollar, One Vote

Loukas Karabarbounis
Economic Journal, forthcoming

This article revisits the relationship between inequality and redistribution in a panel of advanced OECD countries. Using panel data methods that hold constant a variety of determinants of redistributive spending, I find a non-monotonic relationship between pre-tax-and-transfer distribution of income and redistribution. Relative to mean income, a more affluent rich and middle class are associated with less redistribution and a richer poor class is associated with more redistribution. These results are consistent with a one dollar, one vote politico-economic equilibrium: when the income of a group of citizens increases, aggregate redistributive policies tilt towards this group's most preferred policies.


Being mimicked makes you a prosocial voter

Mariëlle Stel & Fieke Harinck
Experimental Psychology, January/February 2011, Pages 79-84

People's voting behavior has a great impact on the political road that is taken in our countries. The current research shows that mimicry, the imitation of nonverbal behavior, unconsciously affects our political voting behavior. Earlier research has shown that mimicry enhances prosocial thoughts and behaviors. As prosocial people are expected to be more attracted to left-wing parties, it was predicted that mimicry affects people's voting behavior. As expected, mimickees voted more often for left-wing than for right-wing parties than nonmimickees. This effect was due to a shift in mimickees' view of themselves as being more related to others. Thus, mimicry does more than making people more prosocial, it even affects their political decisions.


Genuineness matters: Using cheaper, generic products induces detrimental self-evaluations

Ying-Hsien Chao & Wen-Bin Chiou
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

People purchase generic products in an attempt to reduce costs. In this article, we showed that using generic products primes a devalued sense of self-worth manifested by increasing the likelihood of lower self-evaluations. In Experiment 1, participants were randomly assigned to use generic or genuine computer peripherals to make personal vitas for an upcoming recruitment orientation. Those using generic peripherals expected to earn a lower salary per month than the participants using original peripherals. Experiment 2 showed that the effect of using generic accessories extended to the context of interpersonal relations, influencing how participants thought others judged them in a get-acquainted task. Experiment 2 further demonstrated that the feelings of devalued self-worth primed by using compatible mobile-phone batteries mediated the effect of generic products on self-estimated attractiveness. Together these findings suggested that, even incidentally used cheaper, generic products may prime people for a lowered sense of self-worth, which would then produce disadvantageous self-evaluations.


When Your World Must Be Defended: Choosing Products to Justify the System

Keisha Cutright et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Consumers are often strongly motivated to view themselves as part of a legitimate and fair external system. Our research focuses on how individuals adopt distinct ways of defending their system when it is threatened, and in particular, how this is revealed in their consumption choices. We find that although individuals differ in how confident they are in the legitimacy of their system, they do not differ in their motivation to defend the system when it is threatened. Instead, they simply adopt different methods of defense. Specifically, when an important system is (verbally) attacked, individuals who are the least confident in the legitimacy of the system seek and appreciate consumption choices that allow them to indirectly and subtly defend the system. Conversely, individuals who are highly confident in the system reject indirect opportunities of defense and seek consumption choices that allow them to defend the system in direct and explicit ways.


Upward and Onward: High-Society American Women Eluded the Antebellum Puzzle

Marco Sunder
Economics & Human Biology, forthcoming

We analyze archival evidence on the physical stature of 19th-century female US passport applicants. Heights in this group increased markedly at a time when the rest of the population was becoming shorter. While diseases may have affected the physical stature of everyone in the society, the fact that the height of elite women did not decline (and even increased) suggests that their families were wealthy enough to shield them completely from rising price of nutrients.


Why More Intelligent Individuals Like Classical Music

Satoshi Kanazawa & Kaja Perina
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, forthcoming

The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical problem in social and behavioral sciences. The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis, derived from the Savanna Principle and a theory of the evolution of general intelligence, suggests that more intelligent individuals are more likely to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel values and preferences than less intelligent individuals but that general intelligence has no effect on the acquisition and espousal of evolutionarily familiar values and preferences. Recent work on the evolution of music suggests that music in its evolutionary origin was always vocal and that purely instrumental music is evolutionarily novel. The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis would then imply that more intelligent individuals are more likely to prefer purely instrumental music than less intelligent individuals, but general intelligence has no effect on the preference for vocal music. The analyses of American (General Social Surveys) and British (British Cohort Study) data are consistent with this hypothesis. Additional analyses suggest that the effect of intelligence on musical preference is not a function of the cognitive complexity of music.


The White (Male) Effect and Risk Perception: Can Equality Make a Difference?

Anna Olofsson & Saman Rashid
Risk Analysis, forthcoming

Previous research has shown that white males have a relatively low perception of risks, known as the "white male effect" (WME). Many of the explanations of this effect refer to the privileged position of this particular demographic group in society, adducing white males' socio-economic resources, sense of control, worldviews, etc. It can thus be argued that inequality leads women and ethnic minorities to have higher risk perception than men and the ethnic majority. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the WME in a gender-equal country, Sweden, to see if the pattern is similar to previous studies from the comparably less gender-equal United States. The empirical analyses are based on a national survey (n= 1,472) on the perception of risk conducted in Sweden in the winter of 2005. The results show that in Sweden there is no significant difference between men and women in risk perception, while people with foreign backgrounds perceive risks higher than native people. The chief finding is that there is no WME in Sweden, which we concluded results from the relative equality between the sexes in the country. On the other hand, ethnicity serves as a marker of inequality and discrimination in Sweden. Consequently, ethnicity, in terms of foreign background, mediates inequality, resulting in high risk perception. Equality therefore seems to be a fruitful concept with which to examine differences in risk perception between groups in society, and we propose that the "societal inequality effect" is a more proper description than the "WME."


Who are the Europeans that Europeans prefer? Economic conditions and exclusionary views toward European immigrants

Anastasia Gorodzeisky
International Journal of Comparative Sociology, February 2011, Pages 100-113

This article suggests that the economic standing of foreigners' country of origin may become grounds for the emergence of an inclination to exclude an out-group population from the country. Moreover, exclusionary attitudes based on the economic standing of the immigrant's country of origin may vary according to the economic conditions of the destination country. Data obtained from European Social Survey for 21 countries show that exclusionary views directed exclusively at foreigners from ‘poorer countries in Europe' or at foreigners ‘from richer countries in Europe' are quite substantial. Multi-level analyses reveal that differential preferences of immigrants from relatively rich and poor European countries indeed interact with the economic conditions of the host societies. Support for the exclusion of European foreigners from ‘poorer countries' tends to be less pronounced in economically prosperous places while support for exclusion of European foreigners from ‘richer countries' tends to be less pronounced in economically depressed places. The findings are discussed in the light of sociological literature and the context of modern European society.


Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution

Erzo Luttmer & Monica Singhal
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, February 2011, Pages 157-179

Is culture an important determinant of preferences for redistribution? To separate culture from the economic and institutional environment ("context"), we relate immigrants' redistributive preferences to the average preference in their birth countries. We find a strong positive relationship that is robust to rich controls for economic factors and cannot easily be explained by selective migration. This effect is as large as that of own household income and appears stronger for those less assimilated into the destination country. Immigrants from high-preference countries are more likely to vote for more pro-redistribution parties. The effect of culture persists strongly into the second generation.


Is There a Progressive's Dilemma in Canada? Immigration, Multiculturalism and the Welfare State

Keith Banting
Canadian Journal of Political Science, December 2010, Pages 797-820

There is a widespread fear in many western nations that ethnic diversity is eroding support for the welfare state. This article examines such fears in the Canadian context. In-depth analysis of public attitudes finds remarkably little tension between ethnic diversity and public support for social programs in Canada. At first glance, then, the country seems to demonstrate the political viability of a multicultural welfare state. But this pattern reflects distinctive features of the institutional context within which public attitudes evolve. The Canadian policy regime has forestalled tension between diversity and redistribution by diverting adjustment pressures from the welfare state, absorbing some of them in other parts of the policy regime, and nurturing a more inclusive form of identity. These institutional buffers are thinning, however, potentially increasing the danger of greater tension between diversity and redistribution in the years to come.


Income inequality in the trust game

Alexander Smith
Economics Letters, forthcoming

This paper presents an experiment measuring how lab-induced income inequality affects trust and trustworthiness. Low endowment subjects paired with high endowment subjects showed more trust than subjects in other pairs; this trust was reciprocated with high trustworthiness.


The territorial foundations of human property

Peter DeScioli & Bart Wilson
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Many animal species have morphological and cognitive adaptations for fighting with others to gain resources, but it remains unclear how humans make fighting decisions. Non-human animals adaptively calibrate fighting behavior to ecological variables such as resource quantity and resource distribution. Also, many species reduce fighting costs by resolving disputes based on power asymmetries or conventions. Here we show that humans apply an ownership convention in response to the problem of costly fighting. We designed a virtual environment where participants, acting as avatars, could forage and fight for electronic food items (convertible to cash). In two experimental conditions, resources were distributed uniformly or clustered in patches. In the patchy condition, we observed an ownership convention - the avatar who arrives first is more likely to win - but in the uniform condition, where costly fights are rare, the ownership convention is absent.


Poverty and government transfers in the United States

Dierk Herzer & Rainer Klump
Applied Economics Letters, November 2010, Pages 1565-1569

This article examines the long-term impact of government transfers on poverty in the United States using cointegration techniques. In contrast to most existing studies, we find that government transfers play an important poverty-reducing role.


The happiness-income paradox revisited

Richard Easterlin et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 28 December 2010, Pages 22463-22468

The striking thing about the happiness-income paradox is that over the long-term - usually a period of 10 y or more - happiness does not increase as a country's income rises. Heretofore the evidence for this was limited to developed countries. This article presents evidence that the long term nil relationship between happiness and income holds also for a number of developing countries, the eastern European countries transitioning from socialism to capitalism, and an even wider sample of developed countries than previously studied. It also finds that in the short-term in all three groups of countries, happiness and income go together, i.e., happiness tends to fall in economic contractions and rise in expansions. Recent critiques of the paradox, claiming the time series relationship between happiness and income is positive, are the result either of a statistical artifact or a confusion of the short-term relationship with the long-term one.


Does relative income matter for the very poor? Evidence from Rural Ethiopia

Alpaslan Akay & Peter Martinsson
Economics Letters, March 2011, Pages 213-215

We studied whether relative income has an impact on subjective well-being among extremely poor people. Contrary to the findings in developed countries, we cannot reject the hypothesis that relative income has no impact on subjective well-being in rural areas of northern Ethiopia.


Earnings Inequality and the Equity Premium

Karl Walentin
B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, November 2010

In this paper, we document a 75 percent increase in stockholders' share of aggregate labor income in the U.S. from 1962 to 2000 using data from Survey of Consumer Finances. Our decomposition of the increase in stockholders' share of aggregate labor income documents that one half is due to the equi-proportional increase in participation and one quarter each is due to the non-proportional part of the changes in stockmarket participation and changes in the income distribution, respectively. The change due to the labor income distribution is driven entirely by the increase in the share of labor income accounted for by the top labor income decile. Using a simple model with limited stockmarket participation, we present a mechanism for how the increase in stockholders' share of aggregate labor income has affected the ex ante equity premium (i.e. the discount rate applied to equity). The mechanism works through the composition of income of stockholders. The resulting decrease in the equity premium is 44 percent, which roughly coincides with the historical change in the post-1951 equity premium implied by the simple dividend growth model in Fama and French (2002).


Inequality under Democracy: Explaining the Left Decade in Latin America

Alexandre Debs & Gretchen Helmke
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, December 2010, Pages 209-241

Inequality is generally thought to affect the electoral fortunes of the left, yet the theory and evidence on the question are unclear. This is the case even in Latin America, a region marked by enormous inequalities and by the stunning return of the left over the last decade. We address this shortcoming. Our game-theoretic model reveals that the probability that the left candidate is elected follows an inverted U-shaped relationship. At low levels of inequality, the rich do not bribe any voters and poor voters are increasingly likely to vote for the left candidate based on redistributive concerns. At high levels of inequality, the rich want to avoid redistribution and bribe poor voters, causing the left candidate to be elected with decreasing probability. We find support for our hypothesis, using 110 elections in 18 Latin American countries from 1978 to 2008.


Poverty in Edwardian Britain

Ian Gazeley & Andrew Newell
Economic History Review, February 2011, Pages 52-71

This article introduces a newly discovered household budget data set for 1904. We use these data to estimate urban poverty among working families in the British Isles. Applying Bowley's poverty line, we estimate that at least 23 per cent of people in urban working households and 18 per cent of working households had income insufficient to meet minimum needs. This is well above Rowntree's estimate of primary poverty for York in 1899 and high in the range that Bowley found in northern towns in 1912-13. The skill gradient of poverty is steep; for instance, among labourers' households, the poverty rates are close to 50 per cent. Measures of the depth of poverty are relatively low in the data, suggesting that most poor male-headed working households were close to meeting Bowley's new standard.


Street-level Informal Economic Activities: Estimating the Yield of Begging in Brussels

Stef Adriaenssens & Jef Hendrickx
Urban Studies, January 2011, Pages 23-40

This article develops and applies a method to estimate the revenues of beggars in Brussels. This is relevant for three reasons. First, in the literature on the informal economy, we lack reliable empirical knowledge of informal street-level activities like begging, substantiating the expectation that beggars' income will be low. Secondly, popular representation of beggars often depicts them as criminal and wealthy. Finally, recent legislation builds on the idea of criminal organisations behind beggars. Building on an analysis of existing attempts to measure beggars' income, we aim for a triangulation with data from three different sources: observation, self-reports and quasi-experimental observations. This triangulation allows for more reliable and valid conclusions. Hypotheses based upon popular images and the criminalisation of begging are dismissed. The evidence does support the hypothesis based upon the literature on informal activities.


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