Findings

Time and Place

Kevin Lewis

March 19, 2020

Is language an economic institution? Evidence from R&D investment
Jianxin Daniel Chi et al.
Journal of Corporate Finance, forthcoming

Abstract:

Some languages encode future timing more ambiguously than others. We identify two economic channels through which more ambiguous reference to future timing leads to higher levels of R&D investment. Our empirical tests on country- and firm-level R&D investment confirm this prediction, even after controlling for an extensive set of formal and informal economic institutions and addressing endogeneity concern in multiple ways. Tests on patent generation provide further evidence that ambiguous reference to future timing leads to more innovation.


Do Languages Generate Future-Oriented Economic Behavior?
Ian Ayres, Tamar Kricheli‐Katz & Tali Regev
Yale Working Paper, January 2020

Abstract:

Languages vary in the ways in which they encode time. In some languages, like German, the same grammatical tense is used for the present and the future (weak FTR languages), while in other languages, like English, the marking of the present and the future are distinct (strong FTR languages). Studies based on survey data have shown that the usage of languages that grammatically associate the future and the present tends to be correlated with more future-oriented behavior. In this current study, we take an experimental approach to go beyond correlation and to identify the causal effect of language on future-oriented behavior which has not been identified yet. We let bilingual people who are fluent in two languages that vary in the way in which they encode time make a future-oriented economic decision: specifically, we ask participants in one of the two languages in which they are fluent to make a set of binary choices about whether they wish to be paid a certain amount of money earlier (today), or a larger amount of money later (in the following week). We then test whether the people who are randomly assigned to be asked in a strong FTR language require more future compensation than those asked in a weak FTR language. We find that being addressed in the strong-FTR language generates a higher time discount rate compared to being addressed in the weak-FTR language. In other words, participants who are addressed in languages in which the present and the future are marked more distinctly tend to value future events less than participants who are addressed in languages in which the present and the future are similarly marked.


How language shapes prejudice against women: An examination across 45 world languages
David DeFranza, Himanshu Mishra & Arul Mishra
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:

Language provides an ever-present context for our cognitions and has the ability to shape them. Languages across the world can be gendered (language in which the form of noun, verb, or pronoun is presented as female or male) versus genderless. In an ongoing debate, one stream of research suggests that gendered languages are more likely to display gender prejudice than genderless languages. However, another stream of research suggests that language does not have the ability to shape gender prejudice. In this research, we contribute to the debate by using a Natural Language Processing (NLP) method which captures the meaning of a word from the context in which it occurs. Using text data from Wikipedia and the Common Crawl project (that contains text from billions of publicly facing websites) across 45 world languages, covering the majority of the world’s population, we test for gender prejudice in gendered and genderless languages. We find that gender prejudice occurs more in gendered rather than genderless languages. Moreover, we examine whether genderedness of language influences the stereotypic dimensions of warmth and competence utilizing the same NLP method.


Sex and Terror: Is the Subordination of Women Associated with the Use of Terror?
Valerie Hudson & Kaylee Hodgson
Terrorism and Political Violence, forthcoming

Abstract:

The overwhelming percentage of the perpetrators of terrorism are male: is this noteworthy, or not? We believe that it is. More specifically, we believe there is a complex mix of sex-linked grievance for men, sex-linked training for men, and sex-linked lack of voice for women that facilitates, and may even catalyze, the perpetration of terrorism. Without knowledge of those sex-linked pathways, we argue that efforts to counter terror are less effective than they might be. We first survey the literature on the causes of terrorism, as well as the literature linking inequality between the sexes to incidence of terrorism. After laying this foundation, we next contribute a theoretical framework linking the subordination of women to the incentivizing of specifically male engagement in terrorism, and then test that framework through aggregate statistical testing on a sample of 155 nations for a variety of non-state and state terrorism outcome variables. The subordination of women, as also mechanisms of marriage market obstruction including brideprice, prove highly significant and with notable effect sizes even after controlling for several alternative explanatory variables. Finally, we probe implications of our findings for efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism.


Economic freedom and materialism: An empirical analysis
Megan Teague, Virgil Henry Storr & Rosemarie Fike
Constitutional Political Economy, March 2020, Pages 1–44

Abstract:

While economists have found a positive relationship between norms like generalized trust and economic growth, several scholars outside of economics have argued that there is a tradeoff between economic growth and morality. In particular, they argue that as markets develop, market values, e.g. a focus on money and material possessions, also increase. In this article we empirically test this claim using data from the Economic Freedom of the World project, the World Bank, and the World Values Surveys. Our findings suggest that countries with more economic freedom, i.e. those countries that embrace markets to a greater extent, are less materialistic. We also find that countries with a higher GDP per capita are correlated with less materialism.


Different worlds of contention? Protest in Northwestern, Southern and Eastern Europe
Endre Borbáth & Theresa Gessler
European Journal of Political Research, forthcoming

Abstract:

Despite the voluminous literature on the ‘normalisation of protest’, the protest arena is seen as a bastion of left‐wing mobilisation. While citizens on the left readily turn to the streets, citizens on the right only settle for it as a ‘second best option’. However, most studies are based on aggregated cross‐national comparisons or only include Northwestern Europe. We contend the aggregate‐level perspective hides different dynamics of protest across Europe. Based on individual‐level data from the European Social Survey (2002–2016), we investigate the relationship between ideology and protest as a key component of the normalisation of protest. Using hierarchical logistic regression models, we show that while protest is becoming more common, citizens with different ideological views are not equal in their protest participation across the three European regions. Instead of a general left predominance, we find that in Eastern European countries, right‐wing citizens are more likely to protest than those on the left. In Northwestern and Southern European countries, we find the reverse relationship, left‐wing citizens are more likely to protest than their right‐wing counterparts. Lessons drawn from the protest experience in Northwestern Europe characterised by historical mobilisation by the New Left are of limited use for explaining the ideological composition of protest in the Southern and Eastern European countries. We identify historical and contemporary regime access as the mechanism underlying regional patterns: citizens with ideological views that were historically in opposition are more likely to protest. In terms of contemporary regime access, we find that partisanship enhances the effect of ideology, while ideological distance from the government has a different effect in the three regions. As protest gains in importance as a form of participation, the paper contributes to our understanding of regional divergence in the extent to which citizens with varying ideological views use this tool.


Countries and Cultural Differences in the Stigma of Mental Illness: The East–West Divide
Anne Krendl & Bernice Pescosolido
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:

Mental illness is a global public health crisis. Although rates of untreated cases stand as a primary problem, stigma is a significant obstacle. Yet, global differences in levels and roots of stigma remain poorly understood. Using the Stigma in Global Context–Mental Health Study (SGC-MHS) data, we analyzed data on two components of stigma — prejudice and discriminatory potential — attached to clinically diagnostic cases of depression and schizophrenia. We examined whether stigma was higher in the East than West. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the link between prejudice and discriminatory potential in the East was due, in part, to cultural differences in the attributions about mental illness. With SGC-MHS’ nationally representative vignette data from over 11,000 respondents in 11 relevant countries (four Eastern, seven Western), analyses replicated past research of higher levels of stigma and more moral attributions in Eastern countries, particularly for depression. Moreover, prejudice-related disclosure spillover concerns predicted discriminatory potential (social distance) in the East, but not the West; this was driven by a greater emphasis on moral attributions in the East. Finally, exploratory analyses found that Western respondents endorsed higher discrimination for minority (vs. majority) group members with mental illness. In Eastern countries, the same pattern emerged for schizophrenia, but the reverse occurred for depression — greater stigma for majority as compared with minority group members. Together, these findings suggest that cultural differences in the sources of prejudice and attributions about the etiology of mental illness contribute, at least in part, to global differences in the profile of stigma.


Rearing Children of the Market in the “You” Decade: Choose Your Own Adventure Books and the Ascent of Free Choice in 1980s America
Eli Cook
Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:

Exploring some of the key tenets of neoliberal American culture, this article examines the historical forces behind the meteoric rise of interactive “Choose Your Own Adventure” (CYOA) children's books in the 1980s. Despite selling over 250 million copies worldwide and becoming the fourth most popular children's series of all time, the CYOA phenomenon has yet to be placed in its larger social, economic, historical or cultural context. When explaining the rise of interactive narratives, previous literature has mostly focused on technological change – namely the invention of video games, computer consoles and hypertext narratives. Moving away from such claims, this article demonstrates how the incredible success of solely text-based CYOA books stemmed largely from the cultural ascent of individual market choice to the heart of American notions of agency, liberty, subjectivity and selfhood in the 1970s and 1980s.


Material Incentives and Effort Choice: Evidence from an Online Experiment across Countries
Elwyn Davies & Marcel Fafchamps
Stanford Working Paper, January 2020

Abstract:

We conduct in the an interactive online experiment framed as an employment contract between employer and worker. Subjects from the US and India are matched in pairs within and across countries. Employers make a one-period offer to a worker who can either decline or choose a high or low effort. The offer is made from within a restricted and variable set of possible contracts: high and low fixed wage; bonus and malus contracts; and bonus and malus with reneging. High effort is always efficient. Self-interest predicts a fraction of observed choices, but many choices indicate conditional or unconditional cooperation instead. Indian subjects are more likely to play unconditional cooperation and provide high effort more often. US subjects are more likely to follow self-interest. Indian subjects reach a more efficient outcome than US subjects in 5 of the 6 treatments. Survey data on demographics and attitudes to incentives is unable to predict behavioral differences between the two countries, suggesting the possible existence of cultural differences in the response to labor incentives.


Gendered Appearances among Young Children and in the Media: An East-West Cultural Comparison
Brenda Gutierrez et al.
Sex Roles, March 2020, Pages 306–320

Abstract:

Many young children often exhibit a strong desire to wear extremely gender-typed clothing (appearance rigidity), reflecting their emerging gender identities. However, research on appearance rigidity largely has been limited to the United States, raising questions on whether appearance is a fundamental aspect of gender development. Studies 1 and 2 investigated whether appearance rigidity could also be observed in an East Asian culture (Hong Kong) and whether regional differences might be found. Based on cultural differences in systems of thought (e.g., more acceptance of contradictions in East Asian culture) and East Asian popular culture promoting softer forms of masculinity, we expected appearance rigidity to be greater in the United States than in Hong Kong. Indeed, although appearance rigidity was observed among children in Hong Kong, U.S. boys exhibited greater appearance rigidity than did boys in Hong Kong. Study 3 examined whether these differences among boys were represented in broader society through media representations. Coding various popular Hong Kong and American magazines revealed that men in Hong Kong magazines were depicted with more female-typed appearances than were men in U.S. magazines. Our work suggests that although appearances are important manifestations of gender identity across both American and East Asian cultures, certain cultural contexts might allow children more freedom in expressing their gender identity through appearances.

 


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