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The Causes and Consequences of Financial Fraud Among Older Americans

February 18, 2015 Comments off

The Causes and Consequences of Financial Fraud Among Older Americans
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

Financial fraud is a major threat to older Americans, and this problem is expected to grow as the baby boom generation retires and more retirees manage their own retirement accounts. We use a unique dataset to examine the causes and consequences of financial fraud among older Americans. First, we find that decreasing cognition is associated with higher scam susceptibility scores and is predictive of fraud victimization. Second, overconfidence in one’s financial knowledge is associated with fraud victimization. Third, fraud victims increase their willingness to take financial risks relative to propensity-matched non-victims.

Students’ intent to transfer could threaten broad-access institutions under proposed college ratings system — The American Freshman: National Norms of Fall 2014

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Students’ intent to transfer could threaten broad-access institutions under proposed college ratings system — The American Freshman: National Norms of Fall 2014
Source: Higher Education Research Institute (UCLA)

A college rating system proposed by the U.S. Department of Education could hurt many broad-access and minority-serving colleges and universities given that those institutions are enrolling more students who may ultimately graduate from a different college or university. According to UCLA’s annual CIRP Freshman Survey, more than one-quarter of incoming freshmen at such colleges plan to transfer to another institution.

The survey of incoming students at four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S. is part of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program and is administered by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Students enrolling at the least selective campuses are the most likely to intend to transfer: Among the least selective institutions, 30.3 percent of students at public and 29.9 percent at private colleges and universities report there is either “some” or a “very good” chance they will transfer to another institution. By contrast, just 11.8 percent of students at the most selective public institutions and 17 percent of students at the most selective private institutions express a strong intention to transfer.

Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses

February 13, 2015 Comments off

Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses
Source: Journal of American College Health
Objective:
This multisite study assessed college student’s perceptions and practices regarding carrying concealed handguns on campus.

Participants:
Undergraduate students from 15 public midwestern universities were surveyed (N = 1,800).

Methods:
Faculty members distributed the questionnaire to students in general education classes or classes broadly representative of undergraduate students.

Results:
Useable questionnaires were returned by 1,649 students (92%). The majority (78%) of students was not supportive of concealed handguns on campuses, and 78% claimed that they would not obtain a permit to carry a handgun on campus, if it were legal. Those who perceived more disadvantages to carrying handguns on campus were females, who did not own firearms, did not have a firearm in the home growing up, and were not concerned with becoming a victim of crime.

Conclusions:
The majority of students was not supportive of concealed handguns on campus and claimed that they would not feel safer if students and faculty carried concealed handguns.

Youth Tobacco Product Use in the United States

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Youth Tobacco Product Use in the United States
Source: Pediatrics

BACKGROUND: Noncigarette tobacco products are increasingly popular among youth, especially cigarette smokers. Understanding multiple tobacco product use is necessary to assess the effects of tobacco products on population health. This study examines multiple tobacco product use and associated risk factors among US youth.

METHODS: Estimates of current use were calculated for cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, e-cigarettes, pipes, bidis, kreteks, snus, and dissolvable tobacco by using data from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey (n = 24 658), a nationally representative sample of US middle and high school students. Associations between use patterns and demographic characteristics were examined by using multinomial logistic regression.

RESULTS: Among youth, 14.7% currently use 1 or more tobacco products. Of these, 2.8% use cigarettes exclusively, and 4% use 1 noncigarette product exclusively; 2.7% use cigarettes with another product (dual use), and 4.3% use 3 or more products (polytobacco use). Twice as many youth use e-cigarettes alone than dual use with cigarettes. Among smokers, polytobacco use was significantly associated with male gender (adjusted relative risk ratio [aRRR] = 3.71), by using flavored products (aRRR = 6.09), nicotine dependence (aRRR = 1.91), tobacco marketing receptivity (aRRR = 2.52), and perceived prevalence of peer use of tobacco products (aRRR = 3.61, 5.73).

CONCLUSIONS: More than twice as many youth in the United States currently use 2 or more tobacco products than cigarettes alone. Continued monitoring of tobacco use patterns is warranted, especially for e-cigarettes. Youth rates of multiple product use involving combustible products underscore needs for research assessing potential harms associated with these patterns.

What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk?

February 12, 2015 Comments off

What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Reveal about Life-Cycle Earnings Risk? (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

We study the evolution of individual labor earnings over the life cycle, using a large panel data set of earnings histories drawn from U.S. administrative records. Using fully nonparametric methods, our analysis reaches two broad conclusions. First, earnings shocks display substantial deviations from lognormality—the standard assumption in the literature on incomplete markets. In particular, earnings shocks display strong negative skewness and extremely high kurtosis—as high as 30 compared with 3 for a Gaussian distribution. The high kurtosis implies that, in a given year, most individuals experience very small earnings shocks, and a small but non-negligible number experience very large shocks. Second, these statistical properties vary significantly both over the life cycle and with the earnings level of individuals. We also estimate impulse response functions of earnings shocks and find important asymmetries: Positive shocks to high-income individuals are quite transitory, whereas negative shocks are very persistent; the opposite is true for low-income individuals. Finally, we use these rich sets of moments to estimate econometric processes with increasing generality to capture these salient features of earnings dynamics.

See: Your lifetime earnings are probably determined in your 20s (Washington Post)

Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in U.S. older adults: findings from a nationally representative survey

February 11, 2015 Comments off

Prevalence of psychiatric disorders in U.S. older adults: findings from a nationally representative survey
Source: World Psychiatry

Data on the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in late life are lacking. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by examining the prevalence of the broadest range of psychiatric disorders in late life to date; comparing prevalences across older adult age groups using the largest sample of adults aged 85+; and exploring gender differences in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in late life. Using data from Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, we examined the prevalence of past-year mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, and lifetime personality disorders in a nationally representative sample of 12,312 U.S. older adults. We stratified our analyses by gender and by older age groups: young-old (ages 55-64), middle-old (ages 65-74), old-old (ages 75-84), and oldest-old (ages 85+). The proportion of older adults who experienced any past-year anxiety disorder was 11.4%, while the prevalence of any past-year mood disorder was 6.8%. A total of 3.8% of older adults met criteria for any past-year substance use disorder, and 14.5% of older adults had one or more personality disorder. We observed a general pattern of decreasing rates of psychiatric disorders with increasing age. Women experienced higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders, while men had higher rates of substance use disorders and any personality disorder. Gender differences in rates of most psychiatric disorders decreased with increasing age. These data indicate that psychiatric disorders are prevalent among U.S. older adults, and support the importance of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders in this population.

Success is Something to Sneeze at: Influenza Mortality in Regions that Send Teams to the Super Bowl

February 9, 2015 Comments off

Success is Something to Sneeze at: Influenza Mortality in Regions that Send Teams to the Super Bowl (PDF)
Source: Tulane University

Using county-level Vital Statistics of the United States data from 1974-2009, we employ a differences-in-differences framework comparing influenza mortality rates in Super Bowl-participating counties to non-participants. Having a local team in the Super Bowl causes an 18% increase in influenza deaths for the population over age 65, with evidence suggesting one mechanism is increased local socialization. Effects are most pronounced in years when the dominant influenza strain is more virulent, or when the Super Bowl occurs closer to the peak of influenza season. Mitigating influenza transmission at gatherings related to large spectator events could have substantial returns for public health.

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