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    Uncommon Knowledge: From helicopter to smartphone parent

    Associated Press

    The youngest generations have supposedly been raised by overly attentive “helicopter” parents, but a recent study suggests that smartphones have somewhat undermined that trend by distracting caregivers. Emergency room visits for young children increased around the time of the iPhone rollout, specifically in areas where the iPhone-linked AT&T 3G network had recently expanded. Consistent with a caregiver-distraction hypothesis, there was less of an increase for older children and for injuries in sports or on school playgrounds.

    Palsson, C., “Smartphones and Child Injuries,” Journal of Public Economics (forthcoming).

    Not all in the family

    According to a Harvard economist, daughters of self-employed fathers were significantly less likely to grow up to be self-employed themselves if those daughters had brothers. Male children were given preference in exposure to the father’s business.

    Mishkin, E., “Gender and Sibling Dynamics in the Intergenerational Transmission of Entrepreneurship,” Harvard University (November 2017).

    Stealing from China

    According to an analysis by Chinese economists, US counties with industries that experienced more import competition from China also experienced a higher crime rate, especially theft. People in these counties were more accepting of theft and were less trusting. Men used more alcohol, and inequality was greater. Chinese imports had less of an effect on crime in counties that received more government financial assistance per capita.

    Che, Y. et al., “Chinese Import Competition, Crime, and Government Transfers in US,” Journal of Comparative Economics (forthcoming).

    Picture this: less sharing


    Marketing researchers surveyed tourists taking photos at the Rocky statue in Philadelphia. Those who intended to share their photos enjoyed the experience less. Likewise, students who were asked to take photos of their Christmas experience enjoyed it less if the photos were to be shared on Facebook. In lab experiments, the researchers showed people videos of travel experiences that allowed the viewer to click on a camera button, simulating the process of taking pictures along the way. Being asked to take pictures with the goal of sharing them reduced enjoyment, especially among self-conscious individuals and when pictures were for acquaintances, not close friends.

    Barasch, A. et al., “How the Intention to Share Can Undermine Enjoyment: Photo-Taking Goals and Evaluation of Experiences,” Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming).

    Tough image won’t help her

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    In an experiment, participants viewed a campaign website for Karen Bailey or Kevin Bailey. One version of the website included images of children; another version included images of businesspeople and soldiers. Images of children had no significant effects on perceptions of the male or female candidate. Images of businesspeople and soldiers boosted perceptions of the female candidate’s competence on military issues. But when the female candidate was a Democrat, those same images significantly reduced her perceived electability.

    Bauer, N. & Carpinella, C., “Visual Information and Candidate Evaluations: The Influence of Feminine and Masculine Images on Support for Female Candidates,” Political Research Quarterly (forthcoming).

    Kevin Lewis is an Ideas columnist. He can be reached at