Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Laura A. Baker
Source: American Political Science Review
The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted for only a relatively small portion of individual-level variance in turnout behavior.However, these models have not considered the hypothesis that part of the variation in voting behavior can be attributed to genetic effects. Matching public voter turnout records in Los Angeles to a twin registry, we study the heritability of political behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results show that a significant proportion of the variation in voting turnout can be accounted for by genes.We also replicate these results with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and show that they extend to a broad class of acts of political participation. These are the first findings to suggest that humans exhibit genetic variation in their tendency to participate in political activities.
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Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category
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Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey
In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches — (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years — all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.
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U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that while many Americans are highly religious, most are not dogmatic in their approach to faith. This new analysis examines the diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political attitudes. It follows the first report of the Landscape Survey, which was published in February 2008 and detailed the size, internal changes and demographic characteristics of major religions in the United States.
Report #1 on Religious Affiliation may be found here.
Census Won’t Count Gay Marriages
Christopher Lee | Washington Post
Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as “unmarried partners” — just as they were in the 2000 census.
Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.
Health Care and Behavioral Economics
Source: Congressional Budget Office
CBO Director Peter Orszag’s presentation to the National Academy of Social Insurance
I suspect, on the basis of similar logic, that workers demand less efficiency from the health system than they would if they knew the full cost that they pay via forgone wages for coverage or if they knew the actual cost of the services being provided. I similarly suspect that making the underlying costs associated with employment-based insurance more transparent may prove to be quite important in containing health care costs. As transparency increases and workers see how much their income is being reduced for employers’ contributions and what those contributions are paying for, there may be a broader change in cost-consciousness that shifts demand. For workers and dependents with employment-based insurance, deductibles and copayments account for only about a fifth of their health care spending. The remainder comes from insurance premiums, only a quarter of which are paid directly by workers.
Indian Prime Minister denounces Abortion of Females
Amelia Gentleman | NY TIMES
April 29, 2008
Story based on an article in Lancet:
Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: national survey of 1.1 million households
Lancet 2006 (January): pages 211-218
National studies that identify the Jewish population in the United States:
“Resolute or Fearful, Many Muslims Turn to Home Schooling”
Neil MacFarquhar | NY TIMES
March 26, 2008
Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to educating their children at home.
Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest
By: Diane F. Halpern, Camilla P. Benbow, David C. Geary, Ruben C. Gur, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Morton Ann Gernsbacher
Amid ongoing public speculation about the reasons for sex differences in careers in science and mathematics, we present a consensus statement that is based on the best available scientific evidence. Sex differences in science and math achievement and ability are smaller for the mid-range of the abilities distribution than they are for those with the highest levels of achievement and ability. Males are more variable on most measures of quantitative and visuospatial ability, which necessarily results in more males at both high- and low-ability extremes; the reasons why males are often more variable remain elusive. Successful careers in math and science require many types of cognitive abilities. Females tend to excel in verbal abilities, with large differences between females and males found when assessments include writing samples. High-level achievement in science and math requires the ability to communicate effectively and comprehend abstract ideas, so the female advantage in writing should be helpful in all academic domains. Males outperform females on most measures of visuospatial abilities, which have been implicated as contributing to sex differences on standardized exams in mathematics and science. An evolutionary account of sex differences in mathematics and science supports the conclusion that, although sex differences in math and science performance have not directly evolved, they could be indirectly related to differences in interests and speci ic brain and cognitive systems. We review the brain basis for sex differences in science and mathematics, describe consistent effects, and identify numerous possible correlates. Experience alters brain structures and functioning, so causal statements about brain differences and success in math and science are circular. A wide range of sociocultural forces contribute to sex differences in mathematics and science achievement and ability—including the effects of family, neighborhood, peer, and school in luences; training and experience; and cultural practices. We conclude that early experience, biological factors, educational policy, and cultural context affect the number of women and men who pursue advanced study in science and math and that these effects add and interact in complex ways. There are no single or simple answers to the complex questions about sex differences in science and mathematics.