Assorted links

by on November 18, 2009 at 10:47 am in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Strange China video of the day.

2. Do men live longer if they marry smarter women? (No, I haven't checked if the original paper deals with the identification problem in a reasonable way.)

3. Another review of *The Big Questions*.

4. Daron Acemoglu in Esquire on economic growth.

5. How to get wealthy from your own life insurance (hint: Hansonian).

Neal November 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

Do men who marry smart women live longer?
I hope so – my wife is brilliant. :)

Jim November 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm

2. Do men live longer if they marry smarter women?

How about “Are smart women attracted to men who engage in fewer risky behaviors?”. Self-answering.

The authors of the paper provide zero justification for their assumption that causation runs from female education to male mortality risk and not the other way.

Working paper:

Bernard Yomtov November 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Some of the examples in Haselton’s review illustrate why I dislike Landsburg. Take the protectionist argument. It’s fine as far as it goes. But some discussions of tariffs revolve around other issues. These include the distribution of the benefits and costs, and also the conditions under which imported goods are manufactured. (Would it be irrational to favor a ban on imports produced by slave labor?) In other words, in Landsburg’s argument, the only thing that matters is the net gain to the entire US economy. It’s not so much that Landsburg (probably) doesn’t consider these other matters a concern, it’s that he is so smugly dismissive of those who disagree with him that he can’t even recognize that there just might be things not dreamt of in his philosophy.

Similarly, when Landsburg wants to argue against anti-discrimination laws he utterly ignores how discrimination really works in favor of some fairy story about Albanians.

Haselton himself recognizes the silliness of some of Landsburg’s arguments, like the one against redistribution, which is really just an argument against the whole notion of government. I think Landsburg would be more appealing if he adopted a more modest tone and admitted that he was just posing puzzles, rather than being so arrogant about his answers.

Laserlight November 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm

>How about “Are smart women attracted to men who engage in fewer risky behaviors?”. Self-answering.

Should they be, logically? Yes. Are they? No.

Cliff November 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Laserlight, I eagerly await the peer-reviewed paper you will soon be publishing on the data you meticulously gathered according to the scientific method proving that female PhDs prefer obese criminals for husbands, etc.

dearieme November 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm

“A really risk-averse guy wouldn’t get up the nerve to ask the intelligent girl out in the first place.” No need, she’ll ask him.

Dan * November 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm

She won’t know that he’s a good match.

hmmm November 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm

What is the natural rate of interest in a world full of cryonic beings ?

exhaust November 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm

it is natural to be confrontational

liberalarts November 19, 2009 at 7:29 am

hmmm has an interesting point above. If you cryonically freeze yourself, when do you request (ex ante, of course) to be thawed out and cured? When it first become technologically possible? When it becomes more reliable? When your estate is worth one zillion dollars? 2 zillion? Until the marginal product of capital has been driven to near zero through your accumulation? A revolution or the like has to be bad though for potential thawings, or for a lack of contract enforcement. Remember that we live in a world where funeral parlors routinely are busted for not ever bothering to cremate those who pay for it.

Jim November 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

If I can get a grant so I can interview lots of intelligent women, I’ll take it. Meanwhile, I’ll point out that “Good Girls are attracted to Bad Boys” may be stereotypical for a reason. I’ll add that “smart” doesn’t necessarily equal “educated” (while confessing that “good” doesn’t necessarily correlate with either). And I’d finish by pointing out that there are other categories of risk.

A really risk-averse guy wouldn’t get up the nerve to ask the intelligent girl out in the first place.

These are good points, and there is substantial evidence that more risk-taking males are sexier and have more sexual partners, but neither of these translate well into marriagability. The powerful (and increasing) effect of assortative mating by educational level swamps this when it comes to marriage. Highly educated women are overwhelmingy likely to marry highly educated men. Educational level is strongly negatively correlated to BMI, smoking, and other health risk factors, so we should expect the men these women marry to be healthier than average. Even if a highly educated women selects a mate who has a higher mortality risk than his peers (bad boy effect), because she’s probably selecting from the pool of men that are close to her educational level, there’s still a good chance that her husband would have a lower mortality risk than the total population of all men.

Which of these effects dominates is of course an empirical question. The cited article provides indirect evidence that assortative mating dominates, despite the fact that the authors mistakenly dismiss this hypothesis by assumption (without evidence or argument).

Ron George November 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I’m not an apologist for Intelligent Design (ID) theory, but Landsburg claims that he has the killer argument against it. In what follows, most will immediately notice the flaw.

“If arithmetic couldn’t have been different, it can’t have been designed. If arithmetic wasn’t designed, then at least one irreducibly complex structure exists without a designer. If an irreducibly complex structure can exist without a designer, then the Intelligent Design argument is wrong.” (page 32)

The key word is “exists.” Of course, there is an important difference between “existing” and “evolving.” ID theory (see Behe, for one) says that human life could not have “evolved” without a designer. Whatever mathematics is, it has always been that way. It is the same as it has always been. There is no puzzle as to how it might have arisen from nothing.

Of course, the key question at issue about human life is not how can it “exist” in its current form, but rather, how did it come to be in its current form? There used to be single-cell creatures, now there are complex humans. How did this happen?

Landsburg misses a fairly obvious point, but does so with bombast and assurance. When you see that on page 32, it’s tough to continue.

Paul Johnson November 23, 2009 at 3:05 am

Or to be exactly precise, there was a small fishing village on the island.

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