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Uncommon Knowledge: More with her than ever

Larry Deklinski/The News-Item via AP

Hillary Clinton on Nov. 9, 2017.

By Kevin Lewis

More with her than ever

Comparing surveys taken right before and after the 2016 election, researchers found that Hillary Clinton supporters — especially women — identified more strongly with her after her loss. There was no such boost among Trump supporters after his victory. Women who supported Clinton also identified more strongly with their gender and perceived greater gender discrimination after her loss.

Gomez, E. et al., “Loss and Loyalty: Change in Political and Gender Identity among Clinton Supporters after the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” Self and Identity (forthcoming).

Keeping government out of Obamacare

A study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that individuals without access to government or employer health insurance were more likely to remain uninsured or buy plans outside the Obamacare exchanges if they were Republicans, even controlling for other factors. Overall, counties that were more opposed to Obama in 2012 saw a lower percentage of their exchange-eligible population enrolling. To see if partisan differences in enrollment could be counteracted, the researchers arranged for individuals interested in buying insurance to be randomly assigned to either Healthcare.gov or to HealthSherpa.com, which used a similar sign-up process and offered the same plans but had less government branding. Republicans assigned to HealthSherpa were 20 percentage points more likely to enroll in an exchange plan.

Lerman, A. et al., “Policy Uptake as Political Behavior: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act,” American Political Science Review (November 2017).

Racial cues in action

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A nationwide sample of white Americans read that “there have been proposals to help people who are struggling with their mortgages and may lose their homes,” next to a picture of either a white or a black man in front of a foreclosed-upon house. There was more opposition to such assistance, and a greater willingness to blame beneficiaries, when the image showed a black man — but mainly just among Donald Trump supporters, not simply among conservatives or Republicans.

Luttig, M. et al., “Supporters and Opponents of Donald Trump Respond Differently to Racial Cues: An Experimental Analysis,” Research & Politics (forthcoming).

Promoted to incompetence

The Peter Principle holds that workers are promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. According to an analysis of data from a software company that tracks sales performance for thousands of people across hundreds of firms, the best salespeople were most likely to be promoted to management. But individual performance when working as a salesperson was negatively associated with a newly promoted manager’s ability to improve subordinates’ sales.

Benson, A. et al., “Promotions and the Peter Principle,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology (October 2017).

Looking to fit in

In a series of experiments with white Americans, researchers found that Chinese and Arab faces that looked more white were perceived to be more likely to assimilate into American culture. This was also the case for faces of Hispanic immigrants whose skin was made to look lighter.

Kunst, J. et al., “White Look-Alikes: Mainstream Culture Adoption Makes Immigrants ‘Look’ Phenotypically White,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (forthcoming).


Kevin Lewis is an Ideas columnist He can be reached at kevin.lewis.ideas@globe.com.