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

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Citations of Most Often Cited Economists: Do Scholarly Books Matter More than Quality Journals? (PDF)
Source: Pacific Economic Review

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.

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Culture: Persistence and Evolution

April 16, 2014 Comments off

Culture: Persistence and Evolution (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

This paper presents evidence on the speed of evolution (or lack thereof) of a wide range of values and beliefs of different generations of European immigrants to the US. The main result is that persistence differs greatly across cultural attitudes. Some, for instance deep personal religious values, some family and moral values, and political orientation are very persistent. Other, such as attitudes toward cooperation, redistribution, effort, children independence, premarital sex, and even the frequency of religious practice or the intensity of association with one’s religion, converge rather quickly. Moreover, the results obtained studying higher generation immigrants differ greatly from those obtained limiting the analysis to the second generation, and imply lesser degree of persistence. Finally, we show that persistence is “culture specific” in the sense that the country from which one’s ancestors came matters for the pattern of generational convergence.

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality

April 16, 2014 Comments off

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality
Source: Social Science Research Network

Although increases in status often lead to more favorable inferences about quality in subsequent evaluations, in this paper, we examine a setting in which an increase to an actor’s status results in less favorable quality evaluations, contrary to what much of sociological and management theory would predict. Comparing thousands of reader reviews on Goodreads.com of 64 English-language books that either won or were short-listed for prestigious book awards between 2007 and 2011, we find that prizewinning books tend to attract more readers following the announcement of an award and that readers’ ratings of award-winning books tend to decline more precipitously following the announcement of an award relative to books that were named as finalists but did not win. We explain this surprising result, focusing on two mechanisms whereby signals of quality that tend to promote adoption can subsequently have a negative impact on evaluation. First, we propose that the audience evaluating a high-status actor or object tends to shift as a result of a public status shock, like an award, increasing in number but also in diverse tastes. We outline how this shift might translate into less favorable evaluations of quality. Second, we show that the increase in popularity that tends to follow a status shock is off-putting to some, also resulting in more negative evaluations. We show that our proposed mechanisms together explain the negative effect of status on evaluations in the context of the literary world.

Taking the Long Way Home: U.S. Tax Evasion and Offshore Investments in U.S. Equity and Debt Markets

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Taking the Long Way Home: U.S. Tax Evasion and Offshore Investments in U.S. Equity and Debt Markets
Source: Journal of Finance, forthcoming (via SSRN)

We empirically investigate one form of illegal investor-level tax evasion and its effect on foreign portfolio investment. In particular, we examine a form of round-tripping tax evasion in which U.S. individuals hide funds in entities located in offshore tax havens and then invest those funds in U.S. securities markets. Employing Becker’s (1968) economic theory of crime, we identify the tax evasion component in foreign portfolio investment data by examining how foreign portfolio investment varies with changes in the incentives to evade and the risks of detection. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical evidence of investor-level tax evasion affecting cross-border investment in equity and debt markets.

Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Ethical pharmaceutical promotion and communications worldwide: codes and regulations
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine

The international pharmaceutical industry has made significant efforts towards ensuring compliant and ethical communication and interaction with physicians and patients. This article presents the current status of the worldwide governance of communication practices by pharmaceutical companies, concentrating on prescription-only medicines. It analyzes legislative, regulatory, and code-based compliance control mechanisms and highlights significant developments, including the 2006 and 2012 revisions of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) Code of Practice.

Developments in international controls, largely built upon long-established rules relating to the quality of advertising material, have contributed to clarifying the scope of acceptable company interactions with healthcare professionals. This article aims to provide policy makers, particularly in developing countries, with an overview of the evolution of mechanisms governing the communication practices, such as the distribution of promotional or scientific material and interactions with healthcare stakeholders, relating to prescription-only medicines.

Daytime sleepiness: associations with alcohol use and sleep duration in americans

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Daytime sleepiness: associations with alcohol use and sleep duration in americans
Source: Sleep Disorders

The aim of the current analysis was to investigate the relationship of daytime sleepiness with alcohol consumption and sleep duration using a population sample of adult Americans. Data was analyzed from adult respondents of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008 (N = 2919) using self-reported variables for sleepiness, sleep duration, and alcohol consumption (quantity and frequency of alcohol use). A heavy drinking episode was defined as the consumption of ≥5 standard alcoholic beverages in a day. Logistic regression models adjusted for sociodemographic variables and insomnia covariates were used to evaluate the relationship between daytime sleepiness and an interaction of alcohol consumption variables with sleep duration. The results showed that daytime sleepiness was reported by 15.07% of the subjects. In univariate analyses adjusted for covariates, an increased probability of daytime sleepiness was predicted by decreased log drinks per day [OR = 0.74 (95% CI, 0.58–0.95)], a decreased log drinking frequency [0.90 (95% CI, 0.83–0.98)], and lower sleep duration [OR = 0.75 (95% CI, 0.67–0.84)]. An interaction between decreased sleep duration and an increased log heavy drinking frequency predicted increased daytime sleepiness (P = 0.004). Thus, the effect of sleep duration should be considered when evaluating the relationship between daytime sleepiness and heavy drinking.

Last Words: A Survey and Analysis of Federal Judges’ Views on Allocution in Sentencing

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Last Words: A Survey and Analysis of Federal Judges’ Views on Allocution in Sentencing
Source: Social Science Research Network

Allocution — the penultimate stage of a criminal proceeding at which the judge affords defendants an opportunity to speak their last words before sentencing — is a centuries-old right in criminal cases, and academics have theorized about the various purposes it serves. But what do sitting federal judges think about allocution? Do they actually use it to raise or lower sentences? Do they think it serves purposes above and beyond sentencing? Are there certain factors that judges like or dislike in allocutions? These questions — and many others — are answered directly in this first-ever study of judges’ views and practices regarding allocution.

The authors surveyed all federal district judges in the United States. This Article provides a summary and analysis of the participants’ responses. Patterns both expected and unexpected emerged, including, perhaps most surprisingly, that allocution does not typically have a large influence on defendants’ final sentences. Most of the judges agreed, however, that retaining this often-overlooked procedural right remains an important feature of the criminal-justice process.

This Article also synthesizes judges’ recommendations for both defendants and defense attorneys aiming to craft the most effective allocution possible. Critical factors include preparing beforehand, displaying genuine remorse, and tailoring the allocution to the predilections of the sentencing judge.

Excess Burden of Depression among HIV-Infected Persons Receiving Medical Care in the United States: Data from the Medical Monitoring Project and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Excess Burden of Depression among HIV-Infected Persons Receiving Medical Care in the United States: Data from the Medical Monitoring Project and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
With increased life expectancy for HIV-infected persons, there is concern regarding comorbid depression because of its common occurrence and association with behaviors that may facilitate HIV transmission. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of current depression among HIV-infected persons receiving care and assess the burden of major depression, relative to that in the general population.

Methods and Findings
We used data from the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) and the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS). The eight-item Patient Health Questionnaire was used to identify depression. To assess the burden of major depression among HIV-infected persons receiving care, we compared the prevalence of current major depression between the MMP and BRFSS populations using stratified analyses that simultaneously controlled for gender and, in turn, each of the potentially confounding demographic factors of age, race/ethnicity, education, and income. Each unadjusted comparison was summarized as a prevalence ratio (PR), and each of the adjusted comparisons was summarized as a standardized prevalence ratio (SPR). Among HIV-infected persons receiving care, the prevalence of a current episode of major depression and other depression, respectively, was 12.4% (95% CI: 11.2, 13.7) and 13.2% (95% CI: 12.0%, 14.4%). Overall, the PR comparing the prevalence of current major depression between HIV-infected persons receiving care and the general population was 3.1. When controlling for gender and each of the factors age, race/ethnicity, and education, the SPR (3.3, 3.0, and 2.9, respectively) was similar to the PR. However, when controlling for gender and annual household income, the SPR decreased to 1.5.

Conclusions
Depression remains a common comorbidity among HIV-infected persons. The overall excess burden among HIV-infected persons receiving care is about three-times that among the general population and is associated with differences in annual household income between the two populations. Relevant efforts are needed to reduce this burden.

The Voice of Emotion across Species: How Do Human Listeners Recognize Animals’ Affective States?

April 14, 2014 Comments off

The Voice of Emotion across Species: How Do Human Listeners Recognize Animals’ Affective States?
Source: PLoS ONE

Voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition is the ability to understand the emotional state of another species based on its voice. In the past, induced affective states, experience-dependent higher cognitive processes or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms have been discussed to underlie this ability in humans. The present study sets out to distinguish the influence of familiarity and phylogeny on voice-induced cross-taxa emotional perception in humans. For the first time, two perspectives are taken into account: the self- (i.e. emotional valence induced in the listener) versus the others-perspective (i.e. correct recognition of the emotional valence of the recording context). Twenty-eight male participants listened to 192 vocalizations of four different species (human infant, dog, chimpanzee and tree shrew). Stimuli were recorded either in an agonistic (negative emotional valence) or affiliative (positive emotional valence) context. Participants rated the emotional valence of the stimuli adopting self- and others-perspective by using a 5-point version of the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM). Familiarity was assessed based on subjective rating, objective labelling of the respective stimuli and interaction time with the respective species. Participants reliably recognized the emotional valence of human voices, whereas the results for animal voices were mixed. The correct classification of animal voices depended on the listener’s familiarity with the species and the call type/recording context, whereas there was less influence of induced emotional states and phylogeny. Our results provide first evidence that explicit voice-induced cross-taxa emotional recognition in humans is shaped more by experience-dependent cognitive mechanisms than by induced affective states or cross-taxa universal acoustic coding and processing mechanisms.

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Finding That College Students Cluster in Majors Based on Differing Patterns of Spatial Visualization and Language Processing Speeds
Source: Sage Open

For over 30 years, researchers such as Eisenberg and McGinty have investigated the relationship between 3-D visualization skills and choice of college major. Results of the present study support the fact that science and math majors tend to do well on a measure of 3-D visualization. Going beyond these earlier studies, the present study investigated whether a measure of Rapid Automatic Naming of Objects—which is normally used to screen for elementary school students who might struggle with speech, language, literacy, and numeracy—would further differentiate the choice of majors by college students. Far more research needs to be conducted, but results indicated that college students differentially clustered in scatterplot quadrants defined by the two screening assessments. Furthermore, several of these clusters, plus a statistical multiplier, may lead to a new understanding of students with phonological processing differences, learning disabilities, and speech and language impairments.

Is Violent Radicalisation Associated with Poverty, Migration, Poor Self-Reported Health and Common Mental Disorders?

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Is Violent Radicalisation Associated with Poverty, Migration, Poor Self-Reported Health and Common Mental Disorders?
Source: PLoS ONE

Background
Doctors, lawyers and criminal justice agencies need methods to assess vulnerability to violent radicalization. In synergy, public health interventions aim to prevent the emergence of risk behaviours as well as prevent and treat new illness events. This paper describes a new method of assessing vulnerability to violent radicalization, and then investigates the role of previously reported causes, including poor self-reported health, anxiety and depression, adverse life events, poverty, and migration and socio-political factors. The aim is to identify foci for preventive intervention.

Methods
A cross-sectional survey of a representative population sample of men and women aged 18–45, of Muslim heritage and recruited by quota sampling by age, gender, working status, in two English cities. The main outcomes include self-reported health, symptoms of anxiety and depression (common mental disorders), and vulnerability to violent radicalization assessed by sympathies for violent protest and terrorist acts.

Results
2.4% of people showed some sympathy for violent protest and terrorist acts. Sympathy was more likely to be articulated by the under 20s, those in full time education rather than employment, those born in the UK, those speaking English at home, and high earners (>£75,000 a year). People with poor self-reported health were less likely to show sympathies for violent protest and terrorism. Anxiety and depressive symptoms, adverse life events and socio-political attitudes showed no associations.

Conclusions
Sympathies for violent protest and terrorism were uncommon among men and women, aged 18–45, of Muslim heritage living in two English cities. Youth, wealth, and being in education rather than employment were risk factors.

Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length (PDF)
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

This paper makes two contributions to research on the link between the social environment and health. Using data from a birth cohort study, we show that, among African American boys, those who grow up in highly disadvantaged environments have shorter telomeres (at age 9) than boys who grow up in highly advantaged environments. We also find that the association between the social environment and telomere length (TL) is moderated by genetic variation within the serotonin and dopamine pathways. Boys with the highest genetic sensitivity scores had the shortest TL when exposed to disadvantaged environments and the longest TL when exposed to advantaged environments. To our knowledge, this report is the first to document a gene–social environment interaction for TL, a biomarker of stress exposure.

See: Stressful environments genetically affect African American boys (Science Daily)

Effect of Drinking on All-Cause Mortality in Women Compared with Men: A Meta-Analysis

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Effect of Drinking on All-Cause Mortality in Women Compared with Men: A Meta-Analysis
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

Background:
Alcoholic beverages are consumed by humans for a variety of dietary, recreational, and other reasons. It is uncertain whether the drinking effect on risk of all-cause mortality is different between women and men. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of drinking on the risk of all-cause mortality in women compared with men.

Methods:
We selected cohort studies with measures of relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for all-cause mortality for drinkers versus nondrinkers by sex. Sex-specific RR and 95% CI were used to estimate the female-to-male ratio of RR (RRR) and 95% CI. Pooled estimates of RRR across studies were obtained by the fixed-effects model or the random-effects model (if heterogeneity was detected). Second-order fractional polynomials and random effects meta-regression models were used for modeling the dose-risk relationship.

Results:
Twenty-four studies were considered eligible. A total of 2,424,964 participants (male: 1,473,899; female: 951,065) were enrolled and 123,878 deaths (male: 76,362; female: 47,516) were observed. Compared with nondrinkers, the pooled female-to-male RRR for drinkers was 1.07 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.12). Subgroup analyses showed that the increased risk among female drinkers appeared to be consistent. J-shaped dose–response relationship was confirmed between alcohol and all-cause mortality in men and women, respectively. Moreover, the female-to-male RRR of all-cause mortality were 1.52 (95% CI: 1.01, 2.29), 1.95 (95% CI: 1.08, 3.49), and 2.36 (95% CI: 1.15, 4.88), respectively, for those who consumed 75, 90, and 100 g/day of alcohol.

Conclusions:
Females had an increased risk for all-cause mortality conferred by drinking compared with males, especially in heavy drinkers. The present study suggested that female drinkers, particularly heavy drinkers, should moderate or completely reduce their level of consumption to have a health benefit.

Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Networking for Philanthropy: Increasing Volunteer Behavior via Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Social networking sites (SNSs) provide a unique social venue to engage the young generation in philanthropy through their networking capabilities. An integrated model that incorporates social capital into the Theory of Reasoned Action is developed to explain volunteer behavior through social networks. As expected, volunteer behavior was predicted by volunteer intention, which was influenced by attitudes and subjective norms. In addition, social capital, an outcome of the extensive use of SNSs, was as an important driver of users’ attitude and subjective norms toward volunteering via SNSs.

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices

April 10, 2014 Comments off

The State of the Discordant Union: An Empirical Analysis of DMCA Takedown Notices
Source: Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming (via SSRN)

By conducting a census on half-a-million takedown notices and more than 50 million takedown requests in its datasets, this paper takes a detailed and systematic look at the state of the takedown process from an empirical perspective. It examines the use and issuance of takedown notices by copyright owners and reporters and the response of service providers to them. It further studies the relationship between the notices and requests and safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and identifies ways in which the takedown process can be further improved to preserve the diversity and freedom of the Internet.

Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States: Executive Summary of a Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the United States: Executive Summary of a Policy Position Paper From the American College of Physicians
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine

Firearm violence is not only a criminal justice issue but also a public health threat. A comprehensive, multifaceted approach is necessary to reduce the burden of firearm-related injuries and deaths on individuals, families, communities, and society in general. Strategies to reduce firearm violence will need to address culture, substance use and mental health, firearm safety, and reasonable regulation, consistent with the Second Amendment, to keep firearms out of the hands of persons who intend to use them to harm themselves and others, as well as measures to reduce mass casualties associated with certain types of firearms.

As an organization representing physicians who have first-hand experience with the devastating impact firearm-related injuries and deaths have on the health of their patients, the ACP has a responsibility to participate in efforts to mitigate these needless tragedies. Because patients trust their physicians to advise them on issues that affect their health, physicians can help to educate the public on the risks of firearms and the need for firearm safety through their encounters with their patients. This Executive Summary provides a synopsis of the full position paper, which is available in Appendix 1.

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites

April 10, 2014 Comments off

First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage? Characteristics of Americans Married 2005–2012 Who Met Through Social Networking Sites
Source: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Although social networking sites (SNS) have become increasingly prevalent and integrated into the lives of users, the role of SNS in courtship is relatively unknown. The present manuscript reports on the characteristics of Americans married between 2005 and 2012 who met through SNS drawn from a weighted national sample (N=18,527). Compared to other online meetings (i.e., dating sites, online communities, one-on-one communication), individuals who met through SNS were younger, married more recently, and were more likely to be African American. Compared with offline meetings, individuals who met through SNS were more likely to be younger, male, African American and Hispanic, married more recently, and frequent Internet users with higher incomes. Trends suggest an increasing proportion of individuals are meeting using SNS, necessitating further research on factors that influence romantic relational development through SNS.

Honor on Death Row: Apology, Remorse, and the Culture of Honor in the U.S. South

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Honor on Death Row: Apology, Remorse, and the Culture of Honor in the U.S. South
Source: Sage Open

The Southern United States is described as having a culture of honor, an argument that has been used to explain higher crime rates in the Southern United States than in the rest of the country. This research explored whether the combination of honor-related violence and traditional southern politeness norms is related to regional differences in the degree of remorse expressed by those who have committed violent crimes. It was proposed that different social norms regarding politeness and apologies in the Southern United States would be reflected in the narratives provided by offenders. The data came from the final statements that offenders on death row made before they were executed. Results showed that, compared with offenders executed in the non-Southern United States, offenders executed in the South more often apologized for their crimes in their final statements, but they were not necessarily more remorseful.

IP in a World Without Scarcity

April 10, 2014 Comments off

IP in a World Without Scarcity
Source: Social Science Research Network

Things are valuable because they are scarce. The more abundant they become, they cheaper they become. But a series of technological changes is underway that promises to end scarcity as we know it for a wide variety of goods. The Internet is the most obvious example, because the change there is furthest along. The Internet has reduced the cost of production and distribution of informational content effectively to zero. In many cases it has also dramatically reduced the cost of producing that content. And it has changed the way in which information is distributed, separating the creators of content from the distributors.

More recently, new technologies promise to do for a variety of physical goods and even services what the Internet has already done for information. 3D printers can manufacture physical goods based on any digital design. Synthetic biology has automated the manufacture not just of copies of existing genetic sequences but any custom-made gene sequence, allowing anyone who want to create a gene sequence of their own to upload the sequence to a company that will “print” it using the basic building blocks of genetics. And advances in robotics offer the prospect that many of the services humans now provide can be provided free of charge by general-purpose machines that can be programmed to perform a variety of complex functions. While none of these technologies are nearly as far along as the Internet, they share two essential characteristics with the Internet: they radically reduce the cost of production and distribution of things, and they separate the informational content of those things (the design) from their manufacture. Combine these four developments – the Internet, 3D printing, robotics, and synthetic biology – and it is entirely plausible to envision a not-too-distant world in which most things that people want can be downloaded and created on site for very little money.

The role of IP in such a world is both controverted and critically important. IP rights are designed to artificially replicate scarcity where it would not otherwise exist. In its simplest form, IP law takes public goods that would otherwise be available to all and artificially restricts their distribution. It makes ideas scarce, because then we can bring them into the economy and charge for them, and economics knows how to deal with scarce things. So on one view – the classical view of IP law – a world in which all the value resides in information is a world in which we need IP everywhere, controlling rights over everything, or no one will get paid to create. That has been the response of IP law to the Internet so far.

Timing and Intensity of Light Correlate with Body Weight in Adults

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Timing and Intensity of Light Correlate with Body Weight in Adults
Source: PLoS ONE

Light exposure can influence sleep and circadian timing, both of which have been shown to influence weight regulation. The goal of this study was to evaluate the relationship between ambient light, sleep and body mass index. Participants included 54 individuals (26 males, mean age 30.6, SD = 11.7 years). Light levels, sleep midpoint and duration were measured with wrist actigraphy (Actiwatch-L) for 7 days. BMI was derived from self-reported height and weight. Caloric intake was determined from 7 days of food logs. For each participant, light and activity data were output in 2 minute epochs, smoothed using a 5 point (10 minute) moving average and then aggregated over 24 hours. The mean light timing above 500 lux (MLiT500) was defined as the average clock time of all aggregated data points above 500 lux. MLiT500 was positively correlated with BMI (r = 0.51, p<0.001), and midpoint of sleep (r = 0.47, p<0.01). In a multivariable linear regression model including MLiT500 and midpoint of sleep, MLiT500 was a significant predictor of BMI (B = 1.26 SE = 0.34, β = 0.53 p = 0.001, r2Δ = 0.22). Adjusting for covariates, MLiT500 remained an independent predictor of BMI (B = 1.28 SE = 0.36, β = 0.54, p = 0.002, r2Δ = 0.20). The full model accounted for 34.7% of the variance in BMI (p = 0.01). Exposure to moderate levels of light at biologically appropriate times can influence weight, independent of sleep timing and duration.

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