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Social Studies: The other Great Migration; cross-cultural socializing; headstrong girls

Jasper Johns, White Flag, 1955.© 2021 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Jamie Stukenberg

Dixie diaspora

An extensive statistical analysis conducted by economists at Boston University and other universities reveals that the migration of whites out of the South in the early 20th century durably influenced the culture and politics of the places they settled. Counties that had more white migrants from the South by 1940 were more likely to vote Republican after the 1960s, to vote for George Wallace in 1968, and to memorialize the Confederacy. A one percentage point increase of these migrants in the population by 1940 is associated with about a half percentage point increase in voting for Donald Trump in 2016, even controlling for historical and present-day socioeconomic characteristics. Representatives from congressional districts that had more of these migrants were also more likely to object to tallying Electoral College votes from states that backed Joe Biden in the 2020 election.


Bazzi, S. et al., “The Other Great Migration: Southern Whites and the New Right,” National Bureau of Economic Research (November 2021).

Cross-cultural leadership

A study by a professor at MIT’s business school suggests that one reason Americans of East Asian descent are underrepresented in leadership positions is that they are less likely to socialize with members of other ethnic groups. A nationwide survey of law school students and a survey from a top business school showed that East Asians had the lowest rate of cross-ethnic socializing. The data from the business school showed this lower degree of cross-ethnic socializing partly explained why they were less likely to be nominated and elected as leaders by their classmates, even controlling for peer-rated assertiveness, verbal test scores, age, and gender.

Lu, J., “A Social Network Perspective on the Bamboo Ceiling: Ethnic Homophily Explains Why East Asians but Not South Asians Are Underrepresented in Leadership in Multiethnic Environments,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (forthcoming).


Family values

A comparison of survey responses from 30-year-olds from Minnesota and the parents who raised them, whether adoptive or biological, revealed that pure genetic inheritance explained a large fraction of the parent-child correlation in religiousness and social liberalism (regardless of overall political orientation). But parenting appeared to have a big effect on children’s political orientation and egalitarianism.

Willoughby, E. et al., “Parent Contributions to the Development of Political Attitudes in Adoptive and Biological Families,” Psychological Science (forthcoming).

Child’s pay

Researchers compared millennials’ behavior as kids (as reported by their mothers) with their earnings as adults and found that boys who exhibited more dependent behavior (demanding attention, clinging, crying a lot) and girls who exhibited headstrong behavior (arguing, losing their temper, acting disobedient) earned less as adults, even accounting for work hours, parental status, race, childhood birth order, and test scores, and their mother’s education, intelligence, and personality. There were no earnings penalties for headstrong boys or dependent girls.

Kaestner, R. & Malamud, O., “Headstrong Girls and Dependent Boys: Gender Differences in the Labor Market Returns to Child Behavior,” National Bureau of Economic Research (November 2021).

Discriminating stories

Political scientists conducted voter outreach and survey experiments to test different walk-in-their-shoes strategies for reducing prejudice against stigmatized groups. The most reliable approach was simply telling a story about the experience of a person in the stigmatized group, rather than trying to get the target of the outreach to imagine such experiences or recall similar ones.

Kalla, J. & Broockman, D., “Which Narrative Strategies Durably Reduce Prejudice? Evidence From Field and Survey Experiments Supporting the Efficacy of Perspective-Getting,” American Journal of Political Science (forthcoming).