Publications

Working Paper
Esteban F. Klor, Sebastian Saiegh, and Shanker Satyanath. Working Paper. “Cronyism in State Violence: Evidence from Labor Repression During Argentina's Last Dictatorship”. Abstract

This paper studies whether crony governance affects the logic behind governments’ targeting of violence, and how the deployment of violence allows politically connected firms to benefit from crony governance.  We address these issues in the context of the Argentine military junta that took power on March 24, 1976.  Specifically, we examine the logic driving the choice of firm level union representatives who were subjected to violence following the coup.  Using an original dataset assembled and digitized by us, we find that political, business and social connections to the regime are associated with an increase of 2 to 3 times in the number of firm level union representatives arrested and/or disappeared.  This is the case even after controlling for a battery of firms’ characteristics that capture alternative explanations for the targeting of violence.  The effect is particularly pronounced in privately owned (as opposed to state-owned) firms, suggesting that the correlation is driven by cronyism for financial gain rather than ideology or information transmission.  We also show that connected firms benefited from violence against union representatives by subsequently having less strikes and a higher market valuation.  Our findings highlight the pervasiveness of ties to the government, even in cases where one of the main stated goals of the regime is to curb cronyism.

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This paper examines the effect of party affiliation on an individual’s political views.  To do this, we exploit the party realignment that occurred in the U.S. due to abortion becoming a more prominent and highly partisan issue over time.  We show that abortion was not a highly partisan issue in 1982, but a person’s abortion views in 1982 led many to switch parties over time as the two main parties diverged in their stances on this issue.  We find that voting for a given political party in 1996, due to the individual’s initial views on abortion in 1982, has a substantial effect on a person’s political, social, and economic attitudes in 1997.  These findings are stronger for highly partisan political issues, and are robust to controlling for a host of personal views and characteristics in 1982 and 1997.  As individuals realigned their party affiliation in accordance with their initial abortion views, their other political views followed suit.

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Yaniv Dover and Leif Brandes. Working Paper. “Are Online Reviewers Susceptible to Unrelated, Random Events?”.
Kristoffer A. Hansen, Rasmus Ibsen-Jensen, and Abraham Neyman. Working Paper. “The Big Match with a Clock and a Bit of Memory”. Abstract

 

The Big Match is a multi-stage two-player game. In each stage Player 1 hides one or two pebbles in his hand, and his opponent has to guess that number; Player 1 loses a point if Player~2 is correct, and otherwise he wins a point. As soon as Player 1 hides one pebble, the players cannot change their choices in any future stage.

Blackwell and Ferguson (1968) give an epsilon-optimal strategy for Player 1 that hides, in each stage, one pebble with a probability that depends on the entire past history. Any strategy that depends just on the clock  or on a finite memory is worthless.

The long-standing natural open problem has been whether every strategy that depends just on the clock and a finite memory is worthless.

The present paper proves that there is such a strategy that is epsilon-optimal.

In fact, we show that just two states of memory are sufficient. 

 

15_12_2017finite_memory_bm.pdf
Yaniv Dover and Guy Kelman. Working Paper. “Emergence of Online Communities: Empirical Evidence and Theory”.
Alexei Abrahams, Eli Berman, Prabin Khadka, Esteban F. Klor, and John Powell. Working Paper. “Not a Cycle of Violence: An Episodic Analysis of the Israeli-Gaza Conflict”. Abstract

Does violent retaliation of state and non-state actors to violent attacks lead to deterrence or, on the contrary, to counter-retaliation and an increase in violence? This paper studies this issue focusing on the Gaza-Israeli conflict between 2007 and 2014 using original security reports from the United Nations. The data include all Palestinian projectile launches (over 16,000) and Israeli airstrikes (over 8,800) during the period at issue down to the five-minute interval at which the action occurred. Our findings argue against the importance of cyclical counter-retaliation as driving this persistent conflict. First, this conflict is characterized by short-lived episodes of violence separated by quiet interludes. Violent episodes tend to last less than one day and are followed by three and a half days without attacks. Second, 61% of violent episodes include an initial attack that doesn't induce a retaliation, and among the ones that do, the median number of successive counter-retaliations is only 3. Third, violent episodes are not themselves cyclically related: 91% of violent episodes are initiated by Gazan militants attacks and 84.9% of violent episodes end with a Gazan militant attack. Finally, we find no evidence that episodes with counter-retaliations (i.e., cycles of violence) induce or deter subsequent violence. The median number of days without attacks after cycles of violence (3.1) is almost the same to the median number of days without attacks for all episodes (3.4). Moreover, the type of projectile launched by Gazan militants does not seem to be affected by Israeli retaliation or the lack thereof. 

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Andrew Stephen, Yaniv Dover, Lev Muchnik, and Jacob Goldenberg. Working Paper. “Pump it Out! The Effect of Transmitter Activity on Content Propagation in Social Media”.
Yaniv Dover, Jacob Goldenberg, and Daniel Shapira. Working Paper. “Sustainable Online Communities Exhibit Distinct Hierarchical Structures Across Scales of Size”.
In Press
Aamer Abu-Qan, Muhammad Asali, and Michael Beenstock. In Press. “The cycle of violence in the second Intifada: nonlinear vector autoregressions.” Journal of Applied Econometrics.
T. Ganor and N Mor. In Press. “ Development and validation of a state-reappraisal inventory (SRI).” Psychological Assessment.
T. Duman, R Holtzman, and U. Shavit. In Press. “The effect of gravitational settling on concentration profiles and dispersion within and above fractured media.” International Journal of Multiphase Flow. arXiv preprint
Joseph Yellin, Matthew Boulanger, Michael D. Glascock, and Samuel Wolff. In Press. “Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis On Collared-Rim Pithoi from En Haggit.” Atiqot.
Igor Schapiro and Oliver Weingart. In Press. “Introduction, Festschrift in Honor of Prof. Volker Buβ.” Photochemistry and Photobiology, Pp. n/a - n/a. Publisher's Version Abstract

We are very pleased to present this Festschrift in honor of our colleague, mentor and friend Prof. Volker Buß, which was initiated to celebrate his 75th birthday. The aim of this special issue is to recollect his substantial contributions and achievements of his career in the field of Theoretical/Computational Photochemistry. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

N. Siegelman, L. Bogaerts, A. Elazar, J. Arciuli, and R. Frost. In Press. “Linguistic entrenchment: Prior knowledge impacts statistical learning performance..” Cognition, 177, Pp. 198-213. Publisher's Version Abstract

Statistical Learning (SL) is typically considered to be a domain-general mechanism by which cognitive systems discover the underlying statistical regularities in the input. Recent findings, however, show clear differences in processing regularities across modalities and stimuli as well as low correlations between performance on visual and auditory tasks. Why does a presumably domain-general mechanism show distinct patterns of modality and stimulus specificity? Here we claim that the key to this puzzle lies in the prior knowledge brought upon by learners to the learning task. Specifically, we argue that learners’ already entrenched expectations about speech co-occurrences from their native language impacts what they learn from novel auditory verbal input. In contrast, learners are free of such entrenchment when processing sequences of visual material such as abstract shapes. We present evidence from three experiments supporting this hypothesis by showing that auditory-verbal tasks display distinct item-specific effects resulting in low correlations between test items. In contrast, non-verbal tasks – visual and auditory – show high correlations between items. Importantly, we also show that individual performance in visual and auditory SL tasks that do not implicate prior knowledge regarding co-occurrence of elements, is highly correlated. In a fourth experiment, we present further support for the entrenchment hypothesis by showing that the variance in performance between different stimuli in auditory-verbal statistical learning tasks can be traced back to their resemblance to participants' native language. We discuss the methodological and theoretical implications of these findings, focusing on models of domain generality/specificity of SL.

Zulma Gazit, Gadi Pelled, Dmitriy Sheyn, Doron Cohn Yakubovich, and Dan Gazit. In Press. “Mesenchymal Stem Cells.” In Principles of Regenerative Medicine, 3rd ed. Elsevier.
H. Brice, W. E. Mencl, S. J. Frost, A. S. Bick, J. G. Rueckl, K. R. Pugh, and R. Frost. In Press. “Neurobiological signatures of L2 proficiency: Evidence from a bi-directional cross-linguistic study ..” Journal of Neurolinguistics. Abstract

Recent evidence has shown that convergence of print and speech processing across a network of primarily left-hemisphere regions of the brain is a predictor of future reading skills in children, and a marker of fluent reading ability in adults. The present study extends these findings into the domain of second-language (L2) literacy, through brain imaging data of English and Hebrew L2 learners. Participants received an fMRI brain scan, while performing a semantic judgement task on spoken and written words and pseudowords in both their L1 and L2, alongside a battery of L1 and L2 behavioural measures. Imaging results show, overall, show a similar network of activation for reading across the two languages, alongside significant convergence of print and speech processing across a network of lefthemisphere regions in both L1 and L2 and in both cohorts. Importantly, convergence is greater for L1 in occipito-temporal regions tied to automatic skilled reading processes including the visual word-form area, but greater for L2 in frontal regions of the reading network, tied to more effortful, active processing. The main groupwise brain effects tell a similar story, with greater L2 than L1 activation across frontal, temporal and parietal regions, but greater L1 than L2 activation in parieto-occipital regions tied to automatic mapping processes in skilled reading. These results provide evidence for the shifting of the reading networks towards more automatic processing as reading proficiency rises and the mappings and statistics of the new orthography are learned and incorporated into the reading system. 

neurobiological signatures_final.pdf
Joseph Yellin. In Press. “The Origin of Tel Batash-Timna Pottery of the Late Bronze Age.” In Tell it in Gath: Studies in the History and Archaeology of Israel . Essays in Honor of A. M. Maeir on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday.” Munster: Ugarit - Verlag.

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