Oliver Hahl on status and authenticity

He is on the job market from MIT, Sloan School, here is his intro, here is his home page.  Here is one of his pieces (pdf), with Ezra Zuckerman, which I found fascinating:

The Denigration of Heroes: Why High-Status Actors are Typically Viewed as Inconsiderate and Inauthentic

We develop theory and report on experiments that address the tendency for high-status actors to be deemed—even by high-status actors themselves—less considerate and more inauthentic than low-status actors.   We argue that this tendency, which potentially contradicts the fact that status is accorded on the basis of an actor’s capability and commitment, stems from two paradoxical features of typical status attainment processes: (a) The benefits of a high-status position typically carry an incentive to feign capability and commitment, thereby leading to suspicions of inauthenticity; and (b) Status is typically achieved through interaction patterns in which the high-status actor asserts its superiority and another’s inferiority, thereby leading to suspicions of inconsiderateness.  Three experimental studies are designed to validate this theory and help rule out an alternative hypothesis, whereby the negative correlation between status and morality derives from a psychological need for viewing the world as just or fair–leading evaluators to compensate those who lack status with higher attributions of morality.  Our studies, based on the “minimal group” paradigm, ask subjects to evaluate two arbitrary social categories based on members’ performance in a joint cognitive task.  Implications are drawn regarding high-status insecurity and the sources of instability in status hierarchies.

As I do every year, I have been surveying some of the more interesting papers on the academic job market.


I don't know much about superheroes, but I do recall a African-American fellow about 15 years ago who was a pilot of his own airplane, a war hero of some sort, and role model for young people. Unfortunately, he was busted for drug trafficking at the airport he flew his plane into. Apparently his high status confirmed him some sort of privilege that he was able to exploit. Before you say this is one-off, I've heard from unofficial sources that diplomats smuggle black market goods in those diplomatic pouches that are supposed to have state secrets in them and are never opened, just x-rayed, at airports. So there's an arbitrage market for reputation and high-status actors.

Why hasn't Overcoming Bias done a post on this yet?

Shouldn't they find a less ambiguous term than "high status actor?" I immediately started thinking about Daniel Day-Lewis.

Agreed. I instantly thought about Hollywood actors. Fortunately, I've read Mises' "Human Action" and could correct myself.

Reminds me of back in the 1970s when LAPD spokesmen adopted the term "actor" because "perpetrator" sounded too judgmental: e.g., "Police officers found the actor molesting the child" or "The actor was beating the old lady with a baseball bat." The Screen Actors Guild finally talked the LAPD into going back to using "perp."

"Suspect" is neutral enough methinks.

Hence the liberals' contempt for all the bitter-clingers with their high status guns and Bibles.

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