Social Studies: When bleed no longer leads, the women’s vote and military force

Tough on crime

Research from an MIT-trained economist finds that the local clearance rate for violent crime — the fraction of crimes in which a suspect is turned over for prosecution — drops immediately after a local TV station is acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, a right-leaning corporation that tends to downsize local coverage in favor of national political coverage. The effect is attributed to a reduction in police accountability, reflected in a drop in local Google searches for “crime” and “police” around the same time. The effect is concentrated in areas with older residents, who tend to watch more local news.

Mastrorocco, N. & Ornaghi, A., “Who Watches the Watchmen? Local News and Police Behavior in the United States,” University of Warwick (October 2020).

The I in diversity

Ethnic diversity, in different parts of the United States and at different points in time, is associated with an increase in individualistic family relationships (living alone, smaller families, more divorce). Likewise, in experiments, people who were randomly asked to think about socializing with more ethnically different individuals subsequently reported more individualistic values.

Huynh, A. & Grossmann, I., “Rising Ethnic Diversity in the United States Accompanies Shifts Toward an Individualistic Culture,” Social Psychological and Personality Science (forthcoming).

League of women voters

A comprehensive study confirms that women in various countries are less supportive of using military force than men. Moreover, countries were less likely to go to war after giving women the right to vote. In fact, democracies without female suffrage were about as belligerent as non-democracies.

Barnhart, J. et al., “The Suffragist Peace,” International Organization (forthcoming).

On par

At two different golf courses used for the US Open, a hole that was a par-5 in one year was re-labeled a par-4 in a subsequent year, without significantly changing the hole. Nevertheless, professional golfers averaged significantly better scores on these holes after they were re-labeled par-4. This doesn’t seem to be explained by improvement in talent, equipment, or weather, since scores on other holes didn’t see the same improvement.

Elmore, R. & Urbaczewski, A., “Loss Aversion in Professional Golf,” Journal of Sports Economics (forthcoming).

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