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Radical right-wing voters from right and left : Comparing Sweden Democrat voters who previously voted for the Conservative Party or the Social Democratic Party

2019-08-22

As in many other European countries, the political system has undergone rapid changes in Sweden while a radical right-wing party - The Sweden Democrats (SD) - has grown from a negligible position into one of the country's largest parties. SD has been winning voters from both the right and the left sides of the political spectrum, and particularly from Sweden's two largest parties, the Conservative Party (Moderaterna, M) and the Social Democratic Party (S). The present study investigated the extent to which SD voters who previously voted for one of these two parties differ from each other, and compared these SD voters with current Conservative Party and Social Democratic voters. The results showed that 1) economic deprivation offers a better explanation for the past mobility from S, than from M, to the SD; 2) no group differences were found between previous M and S voters in attitudes connected to the appeal of an anti-establishment party; and 3) views on the profile issues espoused by the radical right, most importantly opposition to immigration, did not differ between SD voters who come from M and S. However, SD voters - particularly SD voters who had formerly voted for the Social Democratic party - differed from the voters of their previous parties in several aspects. It is thus possible that many SD voters will not return to the parties they previously voted for, at least as long as the immigration issue continues to be of high salience in the society.

When and Where Birth Spacing Matters for Child Survival : An International Comparison Using the DHS

2019-08-19

A large body of research has found an association between short birth intervals and the risk of infant mortality in developing countries, but recent work on other perinatal outcomes from highly developed countries has called these claims into question, arguing that previous studies have failed to adequately control for unobserved heterogeneity. Our study addresses this issue by estimating within-family models on a sample of 4.5 million births from 77 countries at various levels of development. We show that after unobserved maternal heterogeneity is controlled for, intervals shorter than 36 months substantially increase the probability of infant death. However, the importance of birth intervals as a determinant of infant mortality varies inversely with maternal education and the strength of the relationship varies regionally. Finally, we demonstrate that the mortality-reducing effects of longer birth intervals are strong at low levels of development but decline steadily toward zero at higher levels of development. These findings offer a clear way to reconcile previous research showing that birth intervals are important for perinatal outcomes in low-income countries but are much less consequential in high-income settings.

Divine Placebo : Health and the Evolution of Religion

2019-06-28

In this paper, I draw on knowledge from several disciplines to explicate the potential evolutionary significance of health effects of religiosity. I present three main observations. First, traditional methods of religious healers seldom rely on active remedies, but instead focus on lifestyle changes or spiritual healing practices that best can be described as placebo methods. Second, actual health effects of religiosity are thus mainly traceable to effects from a regulated lifestyle, social support networks, or placebo effects. Third, there are clear parallels between religious healing practices and currently identified methods that induce placebo effects. Physiological mechanisms identified to lie behind placebo effects activate the body's own coping strategies and healing responses. In combination, lifestyle, social support networks, and placebo effects thus produce both actual and perceived health effects of religiosity. This may have played an important role in the evolution and diffusion of religion through two main pathways. First, any real positive health effects of religiosity would have provided a direct biological advantage. Second, any perceived health effects, both positive and negative, would further have provided a unique selling point for religiosity' per se. Actual and perceived health effects of religiosity may therefore have played an underestimated role during the evolution of religiosity through both biological and cultural pathways.

Cognitive ability and fertility among Swedish men born 1951–1967 : evidence from military conscription registers

2019-05-07

We examine the relationship between cognitive ability and childbearing patterns in contemporary Sweden using administrative register data. The topic has a long history in the social sciences and has been the topic of a large number of studies, many reporting a negative gradient between intelligence and fertility. We link fertility histories to military conscription tests with intelligence scores for all Swedish men born 1951 to 1967. We find a positive relationship between intelligence scores and fertility, and this pattern is consistent across the cohorts we study. The relationship is most pronounced for the transition to a first child, and men with the lowest categories of IQ-scores have the fewest children. Using fixed effects models we additionally control for all factors that are shared by siblings, and after such adjustments we find a stronger positive relationship between IQ and fertility. Furthermore, we find a positive gradient within groups at different levels of education. Compositional differences of this kind are therefore not responsible for the positive gradient we observe - instead the relationship is even stronger after controlling for both educational careers and parental background factors. In our models where we compare brothers to one another we find that, relative to men with IQ 100, the group with the lowest category of cognitive ability have 0.56 fewer children, and men with the highest category have 0.09 more children. 

Parity and Mortality : An Examination of Different Explanatory Mechanisms Using Data on Biological and Adoptive Parents

2019-03-17

A growing literature has demonstrated a relationship between parity and mortality, but the explanation for that relationship remains unclear. This study aims to pick apart physiological and social explanations for the parity-mortality relationship by examining the mortality of parents who adopt children, but who have no biological children, in comparison with the mortality of parents with biological children. Using Swedish register data, we study post-reproductive mortality amongst women and men from cohorts born between 1915 and 1960, over ages 45-97. Our results show the relative risks of mortality for adoptive parents are always lower than those of parents with biological children. Mortality amongst adoptive parents is lower for those who adopt more than one child, while for parents with biological children we observe a U-shaped relationship, where parity-two parents have the lowest mortality. Our discussion considers the relative importance of physiological and social depletion effects, and selection processes.

Social consensus influences ethnic diversity preferences

2019-03-14

There is widespread segregation between workplaces along ethnic lines. We expand upon previous research on segregation and social influence by testing the effect of the latter on personal diversity preferences, specifically in employees' selection into hypothetical workplaces. In a survey study with 364 European American respondents in three waves, participants complied with social consensus preferences for either more or less workplace diversity. The new preference was sufficiently internalized to be retained largely unaltered a week later. Simulations suggest a self-reinforcing effect, where accurate social consensus information may be sufficient to change preferences. Given that initial choices were polarized, perceived social consensus can vary highly between people in society, and influencing this perception may feed back into greater acceptance of minorities.

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