Uncommon Knowledge: Baby boomers, you’re fired

Baby boomers, you’re fired!

In an experiment with management students in Texas, participants considered several scenarios: whether to hire a job applicant, whether to retrain an employee, and whether to discipline an employee who made an embarrassing joke. In all the scenarios, participants reacted more favorably when the scenario described an “older” person rather than a “baby boomer.”

Cox, C. et al., “The Baby Boomer Bias: The Negative Impact of Generational Labels on Older Workers,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology (forthcoming).

Take-charge guys

In several experiments, participants were made to believe they were part of an online mixed-gender work group in which someone else was chosen to be the leader based on a leadership questionnaire. The leader was programmed to disagree with the participant more often than not. Male participants were more likely to openly challenge the leader, whether male or female, even though both male and female participants didn’t differ in their private criticism. Both male and female participants showed more deference to male leaders.

Mize, T., “Doing Gender by Criticizing Leaders: Public and Private Displays of Status,” Social Problems (forthcoming).

A premium on partisanship

Obamacare premiums have increased significantly more in Republican-leaning counties, even controlling for deductibles, median income, demographics, and health. That’s because Republicans are more inclined to avoid Obamacare until they’re sick and need it — meaning that enrollees in Republican-leaning areas will be sicker and more expensive to cover. The premium difference became particularly acute after 2016, when insurers got more information on the potential cost of enrollees and cost-sharing rules were rolled back.

Trachtman, S., “The Political Geography of ACA Marketplaces: How Political Behavior Can Help Explain Where the ACA Works, and Where It Doesn’t,” University of California, Berkeley (December 2017).

Who’s undermining whom?

In several samples of workers, women reported experiencing more incivility from female than male coworkers, even controlling for other factors. Women with a more assertive masculine style were particularly likely to experience incivility, resulting in lower job satisfaction and a greater desire to quit.

Gabriel, A. et al., “Further Understanding Incivility in the Workplace: The Effects of Gender, Agency, and Communion,” Journal of Applied Psychology (forthcoming).

Like father, like son or daughter

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Michael A. Cohen tekes on the absurdities and hypocrisies of the current political moment.

Analyzing data on babies born to single mothers in the largest US cities, economists found that purported fathers who looked more like their babies spent about 2.5 more days per month parenting. Increased father involvement was, in turn, was associated with better baby health at one year, even though there had been no difference at birth. The effect was the same for both male and female babies.

Tracey, M. & Polachek, S., “If Looks Could Heal: Child Health and Paternal Investment,” Journal of Health Economics (forthcoming).

Kevin Lewis is an Ideas columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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