Research Quick Take

Here at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), our faculty have been quite busy! Here are some of the projects that our faculty have recently published.

“Religious Involvement and Substance Use Among Urban Mothers” by Dr. Amy Burdette

In her recent article, Dr. Burdette uses longitudinal data from the U.S. Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (n = 3,176) to test whether indicators of religious involvement are protective against illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse among mothers who are primarily single and of low socioeconomic status. Her results show that religious involvement at baseline is unrelated to prescription drug misuse at follow-up. Moreover, respondents who increased their level of religious attendance over the study period saw a reduction in the odds of illicit drug use.

“The Validity of the Enns and Koch, and Berry et al. Measures of State Policy Mood: Continuing the Debate” by Dr. William Berry

In his recent article, Dr. Berry compares his “state policy mood” measurement with that of Enns and Koch (2013). Dr. Berry highlights two flaws in the Enns and Koch (2013) measure. First, they claim policy mood has become more conservative in the South over time; he presents empirical evidence to the contrary: policy mood became more liberal in the South between 1980 and 2010. Second, Enns and Koch argue that an indicator’s lack of face validity in cross-sectional comparisons is irrelevant when judging the measure’s suitability in the most common form of pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis. He shows their argument is logically flawed, except under highly improbable circumstances.

“Pricing with bargain hunting consumers” by Dr. Matthew Gentry

In his recent article, Dr. Gentry examines how single-product retailers face bargain hunting consumers, whose willingness to pay incorporates sensations of gain and loss driven by differences between the observed price and prices they rationally expect. To do so, he examines the Bayesian Nash equilibrium (non-commitment) pricing solution in which (i) the retailer maximizes profit given consumers’ beliefs and (ii) consumers’ beliefs are consistent with the retailer’s choice. He shows two novel results: First, a pure-strategy, uniform-price, equilibrium does not exist when consumers are bargain hunters who value gains more than losses. Second, in this case there exists a mixed strategy equilibrium and all mixed strategy equilibria involve the same retailer profit. The equilibrium retailer profit is (weakly) lower than in the absence of reference effects.

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