Impacts of prenatal care across generations
Medicaid expansions between 1975 and 1988 enabling access to prenatal care improved health outcomes not only for babies born to newly enrolled mothers, but also for their children.
We examine multigenerational impacts of positive in utero health interventions using a new research design that exploits sharp increases in prenatal Medicaid eligibility that occurred in some states. Our analyses are based on US Vital Statistics natality files, which enables linkages between individuals' early life Medicaid exposure and the next generation's health at birth. We find evidence that the health benefits associated with treated generations' early life program exposure extend to later offspring. Our results suggest that the returns on early life health investments may be substantively underestimated.
The effects of divorce on turnout
The differential timing of divorces relative to elections reveals that divorce disproportionately reduces male turnout in Sweden, primarily due to the absence of spousal mobilization.
The absence of a gendered analysis of the effect of marriage on voting is surprising given researchers’ cognizance of the heterogeneous effects of marriage on a range of other social outcomes. In this paper, we shed new light on spousal dependency by studying the gendered effect of marital disruption, in the form of divorce, on voter turnout. First, drawing on Swedish populationwide data, we use the differential timing of divorces in relation to general elections to generate more credible estimates of the causal effect of divorce on turnout. Second, although we find that both sexes are adversely affected by divorce, we show that the effect is much more pronounced for men. Specifically, the long-term effect is almost twice as large for men. Finally, we use these data to show that the gendered effect of divorce is mainly driven by asymmetrical spousal mobilization due to higher levels of turnout among women.
Unpacking racial disparities in school discipline
An innovative video experiment reveals both that teachers are more likely to discipline Black boys for misbehavior, and that students of all races are more likely to be blamed for misbehavior in schools with large minority populations.
Bridging research in social psychology with scholarship on racialized organizations, this article shows how individual bias and organizational demographic composition can operate together to shape the degree of discrimination in schools. To understand Black and Latino boys’ higher rates of discipline that persist net of differences in behavior, I combine an original video experiment involving 1,339 teachers in 295 U.S. schools with organizational data on school racial/ethnic and socioeconomic composition. In the experiment, teachers view and respond to a randomly assigned video of a White, Black, or Latino boy committing identical, routine classroom misbehavior. I find that, compared to White boys, Black and Latino boys face a double jeopardy. They experience both (1) individual-level teacher bias, where they are perceived as being more “blameworthy” and referred more readily for identical misbehavior, and (2) racialized organizational climates of heightened blaming, where students of all races/ethnicities are perceived as being more “blameworthy” for identical misbehavior in schools with large minority populations versus in predominantly White schools. This study develops a more comprehensive understanding of the production of racial/ethnic inequality in school discipline by empirically identifying a dual process that involves both individual teacher bias and heightened blaming that is related to minority organizational composition.
Challenging the “democratic peace”
A new dynamic model of social networks applied to data on militarized disputes from 1816 to 2010 reveals two distinct blocs of democratic states, only one of which exhibits unusually low rates of conflict.
The decision to engage in military conflict is shaped by many factors, including state- and dyad-level characteristics as well as the state’s membership in geopolitical coalitions. Supporters of the democratic peace theory, for example, hypothesize that the community of democratic states is less likely to wage war with each other. Such theories explain the ways in which nodal and dyadic characteristics affect the evolution of conflict patterns over time via their effects on group memberships. To test these arguments, we develop a dynamic model of network data by combining a hidden Markov model with a mixed-membership stochastic blockmodel that identifies latent groups underlying the network structure. Unlike existing models, we incorporate covariates that predict dynamic node memberships in latent groups as well as the direct formation of edges between dyads. While prior substantive research often assumes the decision to engage in international militarized conflict is independent across states and static over time, we demonstrate that conflict is driven by states’ evolving membership in geopolitical blocs. Our analysis of militarized disputes from 1816 to 2010 identifies two distinct blocs of democratic states, only one of which exhibits unusually low rates of conflict. Changes in monadic covariates like democracy shift states between coalitions, making some states more pacific but others more belligerent. Supplementary materials for this article are available online.
Ethics debates in archaeology
The use of archaeological geophysics to detect the unmarked graves of Indigenous children prompted disciplinary conversations about the ethics of research involving human remains.
Archaeology in 2021 was characterized by a continued call to use the tools of the discipline to document the violence of settler colonialism in the past and present, pushing anthropology to reckon with its own role in perpetuating historical trauma. The tension between disciplinary reflection and reform was most clearly articulated in the use of archaeological geophysics to detect the unmarked graves of incarcerated Indigenous children who died at residential and boarding schools in Canada and the United States. The highly publicized investigation of these schools has brought renewed attention to issues of repatriation and historical reclamation for many communities impacted by settler colonialism. These discussions have reverberated throughout the discipline, prompting revisions to the Society for American Archaeology's “Statement Concerning the Treatment of Human Remains,” reopening conversations around an African American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and informing debates around the ethics of DNA research. These conversations are part of a larger movement toward decolonizing the field by using archaeological methods to explore marginalized histories and support communities most impacted by the violences of settler colonialism.
Muslim ethical traditions in colonial India
Urdu-language ethics texts produced and circulated in India between the 1870s and 1930s suggest local Muslim cultural traditions placing a high value on ethical striving.
This essay discusses Urdu-language akhlaq (ethics) texts produced and circulated in late-colonial India (1858–1947), situating them both within a classical genre of Islamic ethics and in the context of Indian vernacular print culture. It focuses on three akhlaq texts published between the 1870s and 1930s to consider contemporary Muslim ethical concerns and schema, arguing that the genre points to a widespread, everyday, and unexceptional Muslim subjectivity that placed a high value on ethical striving. The essay offers new perspectives on the history of Muslims in late-colonial India by highlighting a non-institutional, diffuse, and capacious intellectual formation whose ideas were disseminated through print in a commercial market. It also expands existing notions of Muslim authority from individuals—such as the ulama (Muslim clerical class)—and institutions—such as madrasas (religious schools and seminaries)—to include literary genres themselves. Finally, the article broadens the range of Muslim subject-positions represented in scholarship on Islam in colonial India.
Reconsidering “context” in psychological science
A new approach to studying context in psychological science proposes that psychological events emerge in ecosystems of signal ensembles, such that the psychological meaning of any individual signal is entirely relational.
This article considers the status and study of “context” in psychological science through the lens of research on emotional expressions. The article begins by updating three well-trod methodological debates on the role of context in emotional expressions to reconsider several fundamental assumptions lurking within the field’s dominant methodological tradition: namely, that certain expressive movements have biologically prepared, inherent emotional meanings that issue from singular, universal processes which are independent of but interact with contextual influences. The second part of this article considers the scientific opportunities that await if we set aside this traditional understanding of “context” as a moderator of signals with inherent psychological meaning and instead consider the possibility that psychological events emerge in ecosystems of signal ensembles, such that the psychological meaning of any individual signal is entirely relational. Such a fundamental shift has radical implications not only for the science of emotion but for psychological science more generally. It offers opportunities to improve the validity and trustworthiness of psychological science beyond what can be achieved with improvements to methodological rigor alone.