Intimate partner violence against women and the Nordic paradox

by on June 9, 2016 at 12:28 am in Data Source, Law | Permalink

That is the title of a new and interesting paper by Enrique Garcia and Juan Merlo, here is the (to me) rather surprising summary:

The Nordic countries are the most gender equal nations in the world, but at the same time, they also have a disproportionately high rate of intimate partner violence against women. This is perplexing because logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society. A new study explores this contradictory situation, which has been labeled the ‘Nordic paradox.’

Denmark clocks in at about 32%, Finland at 30%, and Sweden at 28%; Denmark and Finland by the way should disabuse you from blaming this phenomenon on immigrants.

My first response was to think this must be a data reporting issue.  Perhaps Nordic women are more willing to step forward, or somehow those systems are more efficient in recording such complaints.  But the paper does not support that interpretation:

…the same FRA survey provides data suggesting lower levels of disclosure of IPV [intimate partner violence] to the police by women in Nordic countries as compared to other EU countries.  For example the average percentage for the EU of women indicating that the most serious incident of IPV came to the attention of the police is 20%, whereas for Denmark and Finland is 10% and 17% for Sweden.  In any case, the ‘higher disclosure’ explanation, however, would not solve the Nordic paradox, as these more ‘reliable’ levels of disclosure would rather reinforce the paradox posited by very high levels of IPV prevalence (prevalence rates around 30% is by all means disproportionate) in countries with high levels of gender equality.

So this remains a puzzle.  Here is an earlier post on a very different form of the Nordic gender equality paradox.  And here is a recent post on (non-Nordic) brutishness.

For the pointer I thank Eric Barker.

1 ChrisA June 9, 2016 at 12:39 am

Isn’t it still possible that what is regarded as IPV is at a lower threshold in Nordic countries? So they report a lower percentage of incidents but the incidents themselves are less serious?

In any event, my research of Nordic country violence, obtained through reading Stieg Larsson, is that of a society of outward respectability combined with hidden depravity.

2 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 3:11 am

I find the study of homicide rates across places and times fairly fruitful because the data tends to be more reliable — a dead body with a hole in it generally draws attention.

Many other phenomenon that take place behind closed doors, however, are harder to compare with confidence across national lines or across generations.

3 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 3:34 am

Medical treatment has greatly changed murder rates though. A lot of people who would have died in the past, live now because the ambulances are so fast and the medical facilities so advanced.

4 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 4:26 am

Right, although that can be somewhat adjusted for by looking at woundings rather than killings. The recent spate of shootings in Chicago, for example, are noteworthy for what a high fraction of the victims survive. The New York Times recently reported:

“From Friday evening to the end of Monday, 64 people will have been shot in this city of 2.7 million, six of them fatally. In a population made up of nearly equal numbers of whites, blacks and Hispanics, 52 of the shooting victims are black, 11 Hispanic and one white.”

So, 58 of the 64 people hit by bullets in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend this year didn’t die, which is testimony to the quality of Chicago surgeons. (Let me give a shout-out to Dr. Bines of Rush Medical Center, the surgeon who diagnosed my vague ache as non-Hodgkins lymphoma 18 years ago.) I haven’t looked up the old rates, but my recollection is that being shot tended to be fatal quite a bit more often in the old days.

5 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 4:29 am

In contrast, how to adjust for changing conceptions over space and time of what represents “intimate partner violence” is trickier.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, just that it’s an obvious problem.

6 Bliksem June 9, 2016 at 4:50 am

“So, 58 of the 64 people hit by bullets in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend this year didn’t die, which is testimony to the quality of Chicago surgeons.”

Or it shows that the shooters have very little shooting skills?

7 albatross June 9, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Probably a little of both.

8 Thiago Ribeiro June 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Maybe marksmanship has got worse. Kids these days with their videogames and MTV don’t have the focus and the craftsmanship our generation had.

9 Erik Olivecrona June 9, 2016 at 6:38 am

Stieg Larsson’s books are ideological. They are based on feminist doctrine; not on any evidence-based research.

10 dearieme June 9, 2016 at 7:41 am

“logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society”: what a very stupid assertion.

11 The Other Jim June 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Absolutely agreed, but it’s really no stupider than being shocked at the idea that Nordic countries have problems.

It’s a clear sign of living deep in a bubble.

12 cxWQ June 9, 2016 at 4:20 pm

setting aside denuciation of larsson book i don’t want to get into for various reasons (including not having read them) it’s clearly annoyingly true that the american conception of nordic countries as a paradise where the political economy is all figured out with no downsides is laughably wrong

13 Steve-O June 9, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Right. If someone said, “As women become seen as equals, there was a decrease in ethic of chivalry that prevented many men from hitting women they were fighting with,” many credulous people would think “That makes sense,” and accept it.

14 Thomas Sewell June 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

Also, a study which classifies “psychological abuse” and “economic violence” might as well just be thrown out in terms of comparing violence against women in relationships.

Apparently if you encourage your female partner to take care of the kids instead of having a job, in this particular study that’s classified as domestic violence.

Insert large grain of salt here….

15 ChrisA June 9, 2016 at 7:54 am

Yes I know, it was a joke.

16 ChrisA June 9, 2016 at 7:55 am

Sorry my reply was to Erik not Dearieme.

17 dearieme June 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

Not to worry. A Swedish joke is no laughing matter.

18 Picador June 9, 2016 at 10:12 am

Yeah, Scandinavians love writing about gruesome and depraved murders at about 4,000,000% of the actual rate of depraved murder in those countries. How about a sociological study about THAT weird paradox?

As for your initial hypothesis about differing thresholds for what people consider IPV: that was my first thought too. I suspect the methodology accounts for that but I don’t see it addressed explicitly in the paper.

Alternative hypothesis: reverse the causal arrow. High levels of IPV in Nordic countries has been the driver of movements for gender equality, which have led to a culture where women aggressively stand up for their rights in reaction to high levels of IPV and governments are eager to compensate for high levels of IPV by implementing policies favourable to women. (I doubt that the data support this but maybe there’s something there.)

19 Thor June 9, 2016 at 12:19 pm

The books aren’t written for other Nordic readers, but with a view to being translated into English.

20 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 12:44 am

I do not believe this story. It is more likely to be a data reporting issue. Probably a definition problem – Scandinavian women are, I would guess, vastly more likely to claim saying that their butts do look big in that dress is domestic abuse than a random African woman.

However, assuming there is something to it, why is this a surprise? Nordic men are fed an endless diet of women who can do everything. Women who can be front line soldiers, police officers, fire fighters. Women who kick men all over the silver screen. Why would you expect a remnant of chivalry to survive? The idea that women are weak and need special protection comes from the Victorian period. Why would anyone believe it any more than they would cover their piano legs?

Add to that the fact that the best protection for women is being married. Single women are at much greater risk of violence, and marriage is on the decline in the Nordic world. This seems entirely predictable to me.

The danger for women is that the men in their lives will come to treat women the same as men. The over whelmingly majority of violence in Western societies is aimed at other men. Go to Emergency on a Sunday. It is not filled with women who have been beaten by their boyfriends.

21 TheAJ June 9, 2016 at 1:53 am

The idea that women are weak and need special protection comes from well before the Victorian period.

22 Nebfocus June 9, 2016 at 3:01 am

Well, the average woman is objectively smaller and weaker than the average man.

23 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 3:55 am

Well yes. But I have been to places in Asia where people do not form orderly lines. Instead the strongest push to the front. When I pointed out that this was not fair to women because they were smaller and weaker I was told that this was a good thing because it meant they, the men I was talking to, got to the front first. Even in Japan, where people do like being orderly, the assumption seems to be that a man has a right to cut in front of any woman.

It is unique to the West, as far as I can see, to assume that *because* women are weak they need to be protected. I doubt that this is a general assumption even in Latin cultures.

24 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 4:34 am

It’s an interesting question whether chivalry is a Social Construct.

In the 1960s, advanced thinkers assumed that romantic notions that men should protect women were invented in southern France by medieval troubadours.

But now that social constructionist idea sounds racist, so it’s largely forgotten.

25 Aapje June 9, 2016 at 8:01 am

If those men at the front are expected to hand over part of their winnings to the women, there is still protection of women. In fact, such an arrangement is far more inline with hyper/hypoagency, as it places the man in the role of the hyperagent who gets to act for the hypoagent.

26 Thiago Ribeiro June 9, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Well, I don’t know which Latin cultures you know, but I’ve never seen people cutting in front of anyone, woman or man, in Brazil, and a few months ago, I had to face a queue which took the better part of a sidewalk, then turned a corner and took the better part of another sidewalk. to renew my voter registration. There was minimal to zero supervision, most of the people in line when I got there were the poor, uneducated fellows well-off Brazilians tend to think of as natural troublemakers, most were there since 5 A.M. (that is, it would take them three hours to begin to be attended to) and their contempt of the idea of spending the better part of a morning far from work so they could renew their voter registrations amidst one of the biggest political scandals was clear, yet people waited hours and hours under a Brazilian Summer sun their turn. What can be said is that enforced equality may be bad for the weak (there were at least three fainting spells– at least two women were involved), but enforced unequality “because I’m bigger” is ridiculous. Maybe it happens in the poorest regions during droughts, when the government distributes food and water and people are literally fighting for survival for them and their families. However, since the early 1990’s, I haven’t heard of disorders linked to droughts.

27 Simonini June 9, 2016 at 9:04 am

But I can’t think of any societies that think manlets need special protection.

28 Roy LC June 10, 2016 at 7:26 am

Aside from a few frenchified aristocrats nordic men have rarely been noted for their chivalry. They have though historically been noted, in the early modern period for example by foreign observers, in way very similar to the English, for ruthless violence.

I am very suspicious of this result myself but I would note there has always been an awful lot of drunken wife beating among the Swedish and Finnish lower classes, I would assume this extended to Norwegians and Danes as well.

29 Alistair June 9, 2016 at 3:05 am

Interesting.

It would be useful to see if Nordic homosexuals in a relationship showed a similar increase in domestic abuse.

30 Jan June 9, 2016 at 6:11 am

You don’t believe this, but it makes total sense to you. Why? Because Nordic men have had their chivalry taken by women fire fighters and the only logical response is domestic violence. Got it!

31 ivvenalis June 9, 2016 at 7:13 am

He literally said that that the mechanism is men treating women like other men. You do t have to agree with that but strawmanning it as “fire women = domestic abuse lol” isn’t addressing the argument. .

Also I know it’s not quite the same thing under discussion but insisting on increasing the number of female soldiers tautologically increases the number of women at risk of violence so maybe it’s worth thinking about whether there are any other jobs like that.

32 Jan June 9, 2016 at 7:29 am

No. He equates chivalry with restraining oneself from beating a domestic partner, and said the reason that this chivalry doesn’t survive is because women can do everything, including be fire fighters. I personally don’t give a damn if women do dangerous jobs if they are capable of executing the duty.

33 (Not That) Bill O'Reilly June 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

[He] said the reason that this chivalry doesn’t survive is because women can do everything

Not “everything,” just “everything that men can do.”

If you happen to be of the opinion that men can take a beating, it logically follows from that proposition that women can too.

34 JWatts June 9, 2016 at 4:55 pm

“He equates chivalry with restraining oneself from beating a domestic partner, ”

A core tenet of chivalry is protecting the weak. This would include women, children, etc. So, if you assume that chivalry has an affect on a society and you assume that women are no longer classed as weak, then you would expect the rate of man on woman violence to converge with the rate of man on man violence.

35 Thiago Ribeiro June 9, 2016 at 5:11 pm

“This would include women, children, etc.”
Yet, traditionally “he who spares the rod spoils the children”. If women are like children (and you just need to see how many people here blame women for domestic violence saing they are so feisty and deserve a good spanking)…

36 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Except of course Jan, they aren’t capable of executing the duty and you support them anyway. So your claim is not true.

As for the rest, this looks like a willful attempt to refuse to understand what I said. Why do you think I should respond to it?

37 WTF June 9, 2016 at 8:35 am

I agree it’s probably a reporting threshold issue. My half Danish, half Jewish ex called the police to report me for trying to break up with her. The justification in her mind was that I was angry and rude that she wouldn’t admit it was over.

38 Jason Bayz June 9, 2016 at 9:57 am

Here’s the study they’re relying on, it includes questions about “psychological violence:”

http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/violence-against-women-eu-wide-survey-main-results-report

39 Chris Hansen June 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

Boom. Cold fusion etc.

40 Careless June 9, 2016 at 12:42 pm

It gets better

Some 5 % of women have experienced economic violence in their current relationship, and 13 % of
women have experienced some form of economic violence in past relationships.

41 Lord Action June 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

I had to look that up in the paper. It’s actually defined as follows:

“• economic violence: preventing the respondent from making decisions on family finances or shopping independently, or forbidding her to work outside the home;”

42 Thor June 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Chivalry isn’t that women are weak; it is that they are glorious hard-to-attain creatures possessed of many virtues and a lot of dignity.

43 John L. June 9, 2016 at 2:07 pm

“Nordic men are fed an endless diet of women who can do everything.”
What about Israelis and Americans?
“Women who can be front line soldiers, police officers, fire fighters. Women who kick men all over the silver screen.”
If women sticked to the kitchen, nothing of this would be happening…

44 Steven Reilly June 10, 2016 at 9:33 pm

The story’s predictable, but you don’t believe it?

45 Jason K. June 9, 2016 at 12:51 am

There is no paradox. Women generally choose men based on two axes; provisioning and dominance. High levels of social/economic equality flattens the supply curve for provisioning, so dominance becomes the driving factor. As dominance is the expression of power and all power is rooted in the use of force, high levels of social/economic equality increases the average level of violence in relationships.

There are never any paradoxes. The appearance of what seems to be a paradox is simply the illumination of one’s ignorance.

46 Horhe June 9, 2016 at 3:51 am

+1 for the sick burn at the end. I also like the argument.

47 Picador June 9, 2016 at 10:16 am

As reactionary as that sounds, it sounds plausible. I think a Foucaultean analysis of this “paradox” would be fruitful and probably disturbing.

48 Thor June 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm

But Foucault nowhere worked on the basis of this kind of thinking, which I call naturalism, and employ, but which radical progressives like Foucault would call essentialism, and not employ. Power for Foucault is far more social (constructed) than biological.

49 Chris Hansen June 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

The word paradox is a giant red flag. It usually means there is some settled science floating around that one is not permitted to question but that is totally wrong (e.g. the French Paradox re dietary fat).

50 albatross June 9, 2016 at 1:16 pm

A lot of times, the word paradox points to some area where two different broadly accepted and plausible models of the world give contradictory results.

51 Anon7 June 9, 2016 at 12:55 am

How can this be? Gender is socially constructed, so we can make men behave anyway we want. Then again, perhaps the social constructionists are fools and unemployed manliness has a way of expressing itself in brutish fashion.

52 John L. June 9, 2016 at 2:53 pm

“and unemployed manliness has a way of expressing itself in brutish fashion.”
Those poor brutes are victims of society who can’t be held accountable for the employment they choose for their “manliness”. Then again, perhaps non-“constructionists” are just scoundrels trying to blame unpersonal forces (“unemployed manliness has a way of expressing itself in brutish fashion” the same way apples have a way of falling) for their character flaws.

53 JWatts June 9, 2016 at 5:30 pm

“and unemployed manliness has a way of expressing itself in brutish fashion.”
…”Then again, perhaps non-“constructionists” are just scoundrels trying to blame unpersonal forces or their character flaws.”

That doesn’t look like an attempt to shift the blame to impersonal forces.

54 John L. June 9, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Well, shifting the blame to women, who do not know how to deal with impersonal forces (“unemployed manliness”) and deserve a good beating.

55 Doug Jones June 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

Binge drinking?

56 carlolspln June 9, 2016 at 2:37 am
57 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 3:15 am

There’s a reason Nordic countries tend to have strict government policies aimed at dissuading binge drinking.

58 Moreno Klaus June 9, 2016 at 4:09 am

Yes, Otherwise Scandinavia = Russia. Its cold out there folks. And the sun. I wonder how this compares to similar climates in US/Canada (outside of urban centers).

59 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 4:38 am

Finland has a quite high homicide rate for a Western European country (second in 2014 only to Belgium, which is kind of the Cicero, Illinois of Europe).

60 Jan June 9, 2016 at 6:18 am

And don’t forget the suicide rate there.

Finnish has word for getting shitfaced by yourself at your home in your underwear.

61 Careless June 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Alaska is also notorious for having high rates of that sort of thing and other violent crimes.

62 Jan June 9, 2016 at 6:15 am

This was my first thought. Drinking on the day of the incident is highly correlated with all types of domestic violence. The cause and effect is trickier, but we do not the Nordics are pretty good at hard boozing, particularly, I would assume, the younger and unmarried.

63 Steve Sailer June 9, 2016 at 1:08 am

Why do lesbians smack each other around so much?

64 duderino June 9, 2016 at 1:43 am

I’d be very curious to see if the data is separated between heterosexual and homosexual couples.

Google isn’t helping much, but it seems that the higher earning partner, regardless of gender, is more often the victim of abuse. So there seems to be a lashing out by the partner with less leverage.

65 Josh June 9, 2016 at 5:49 am

One obvious guess is that the stakes are lower. They don’t think they can hurt anyone that badly, and they don’t think they will end up in jail.

It’s hard to even iaminge punching my wife out. Maybe I’m overestimating, but it seems like I might kill her.

66 Daniel Weber June 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Men are strongly inculcated that their violence is not allowed. (That doesn’t mean it always sticks, though.) Women not so much.

67 Josh June 9, 2016 at 5:50 am

A less of guess is that lesbians tend to be angry people.

68 Greg G June 9, 2016 at 7:53 am

Have they stopped beating their wives yet?

69 Deserving Porcupine June 9, 2016 at 1:24 am

Would we expect it to drop?

I could see it either way. If men treat women more like men, that might include hitting them more since men hit men a lot more than they hit women.

70 Hannu June 9, 2016 at 1:30 am

Possible explanations:
a) Evil, whenever it goes down, sensitivity to it goes up twice the rate. Tyrants know that – ex-tyrants didn’t.
b) Tyrannized women in non-equal countries more often stay subjected without manifest violence or don’t recognize domestic violence as such.
c) Violence breeds violence: female violence against men is very common in the Nordic (in Finland, at least). Women have become not only more equal but also more male.

71 Moreno Klaus June 9, 2016 at 4:10 am

Its more common because women are relatively stronger fisically, than lets say in Spain.

72 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 1:40 am

the same FRA survey provides data suggesting lower levels of disclosure of IPV [intimate partner violence] to the police by women in Nordic countries as compared to other EU countries. For example the average percentage for the EU of women indicating that the most serious incident of IPV came to the attention of the police is 20%, whereas for Denmark and Finland is 10% and 17% for Sweden.

I am not sure they have understood what that means. Suppose there is some level of domestic violence that is guaranteed to be reported to the police. The obvious example being murder. You kill your girlfriend and the police will know. A broken bone too is unlikely not to be reported. A bruise? Well that would depend.

They seem to assume that lower rates of reporting means that many men are getting away with beating their women. I am not sure that is likely.

What this is consistent with is that most violence in the Nordic countries does not rise to the level that would be reported. That is, they may be defining what men do as domestic violence, but they do not think it is serious enough to report. It may well not be.

Although what is interesting about that link is the article next to it that points out abortion is linked to domestic violence. So obviously Roe v. Wade opened the flood gates and endangered women. See how much fun interpretation can be?

73 Jan June 9, 2016 at 6:29 am

Just to play along, the opposite could be true with some women as well. Let’s say a girl broke her arm in an IPV incident. Well, sure, she’ll go to the doctor to get it taken care of, but she may be less likely to actually say her boyfriend did it if the injury appears severe enough that she thinks he’ll get picked up by the police. She doesn’t really want him to go to jail, so she’ll make something up. If it’s just minor bruising–for the third time that year–or something she might be more willing to report it, just to teach him a lesson, without the expectation that he’ll ever be prosecuted. Fact is we have have no idea why reporting is lower in the Nordics.

74 anonymous June 9, 2016 at 1:51 am

Some (not mutually exclusive) possibilities fall into two categories:

1) The data reflect some reporting issue.

* Low threshold for IPV combined with a reluctance to report “minor” violence would explain the data. But the raw numbers are still appalling.

* Low marriage rates suggest a higher number of IP per woman per lifetime. This increases the chance that one of them is abusive.

* High overall relationship violence. Is there gender equality if there are also high levels of IPV by women against male partners.

2) The data are real and the perception of the Nordics as highly gender equal is inaccurate.

* This would suggest that Conventional gender equality “rankings” are misguided in emphasizing extended paid maternity leave and subsidized child care (which are extensive in the Nordic countries) as a marker of gender equality.

Other markers of equality, such as proportion of women in full time work, proportion of women in male-dominated professions (and vice verse), and proportion of women in senior management (where Denmark is dead last in the OECD outside Asia; NZ and US are top) suggest that the Nordics are not particularly gender equal — the “other” Nordic paradox.

The former category of markers are potential mechanisms for gender equality; the latter suggest that they may not be effective in the face of societal attitudes or affirmative action (though it so mood disaffiliates me to say it).

75 Cyrus June 9, 2016 at 1:45 pm

There is no contradiction between a gender unequal culture that regards women in a separate role from adult males, as children have a separate role from adult males; and a social policy that takes special interest in the material needs of women and children.

For that matter there is no contradiction that social policy and an elite culture that regards non elite men and all women as equally infantile.

76 duderino June 9, 2016 at 1:55 am

http://sciencenordic.com/stereotypical-picture-intimate-partner-violence-revised

“Both men and women with a higher status than their partner have an increased risk of experiencing psychological abuse or controlling partners.Additionally, women with a higher income than their partner also have an increased risk of experiencing physical abuse:”

There’s another study that states that men who make less than their wives order Viagra at hugely disproportionate rates. Our reptile brains don’t deal with western ideals.

77 PhilippeO June 9, 2016 at 2:10 am

‘Equality’ is contradictory to ‘basic nature of human’. Enforcement of equality has to be enforced with massive and powerful institution. I suspect in the long run, vigorous and very aggressive enforcement would be necessary to change male behaviour in this.

1. Men (even in equal society) is uncomfortable with equal/greater partner (money/status/job). So they lash out in violence.
2. Modern economy (especially modern post-capitalism model) is not suited to large minority of men. Need to friendly to customer, Need to higher education. Need to conformism in job. Service and Office not physical jobs. For men like this, they have no way to gain status, and lash out with violence.
3. Seconded ‘So Much For Subtlety’ theory. For large number of men, equal society in Nordic country) cause them to treat women as men, including with physical violence
4. For some, Authoritarian society is more acceptable as personal moral guidance (like chivalry). Equal Society make person with authoritarian trait become uncontrolled.
5. Seconded ‘Jason K’ theory. some women do choose dominance as quality in their men. They thus easily become victim to abusers.

78 Casey June 9, 2016 at 2:12 am

I blame the weather. Same reason they have such high rates of suicide and alcoholism. Bleak winter landscapes may please a certain aesthetic taste, but they also lead to antisocial self-destructive behavior, most likely to damage yourself and those most close to you.

Have they controlled for time of year at all?

79 Moreno Klaus June 9, 2016 at 4:11 am

Black Metal (ie, Satanic Metal) is very popular in the nordics…

80 Gabriel Chavez June 9, 2016 at 5:19 am

Canada and some parts of the US should have same rates then. They do not.

81 HH June 9, 2016 at 6:27 am

Maybe. US/Canadian genetic stock is different from its origin populations because of the selection effects.

82 Brett Dunbar June 9, 2016 at 6:43 am

Not really, Sweden is far further north than the inhabited areas of Canada. Which means a much larger seasonal variation in day length. During the middle of winter the Stockholm gets slightly over six hours of daylight and the sun doesn’t get all that high. So seasonal affective disorder is more likely to be a problem.

83 derek June 9, 2016 at 9:06 am

The further north you go in Canada the greater the social malfunction.

84 Lord Action June 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

The further north you go in Canada the greater the native fraction of the population, which introduces all sorts of confounds.

85 Careless June 9, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Alaska does.

86 Nomenym June 9, 2016 at 3:00 am

Most violence has both male perpetrators and male victims. Perhaps men are just treating women more like they treat men, which includes more often using violence to resolve conflicts. I don’t believe this myself, but it’s one obvious hypothesis.

It brings me to a question that I never see asked. When we say that men and women should be treated equally, in what way is that? Presently, there are four possibilities: treat everyone the way men treat other men, treat everyone the way men treat women, treat everyone the way women treat men, or treat everyone the way women treat women. Each one of these is going to upset or frustrate men, women, or both.

In the beginning, feminism was apparently about getting men to treat women like they treated other men. As feminists discovered how harsh, competitive, and cruel men are with each other, that has become sexist. However, it remains sexist for a man to treat a women like a woman, and that puts us in a difficult situation. It seems we are moving toward a situation where everyone treats everyone else like women treat other women, but nobody seems especially happy with that.

87 Daniel Weber June 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Typical mansplaining.

88 JA June 9, 2016 at 3:10 am

Could be a temporary phase in which the norms of behavior women expect from men have become elevated relevant to these norms in the past, and in respect to the norms that men hold for themselves. Would expect to see a dynamic tension between these norms leading to some combination of lowering of expectations on the part of women, and raising of the norms of men.

89 spandrell June 9, 2016 at 3:36 am

Obviously as the status of women in society raises, more of them make a total nuisance of themselves, and there’s only so much even a Scandinavian man can endure.

Women have better verbal ability. They’re also better at insulting and verbal violence. Scandinavian men happen to be the physically strongest on earth (they win all those championships), but they aren’t allow to exercise their comparative advantage and smack their wives around, while women are if anything encouraged.

Either I’m right, or you think Scandinavian men are more evil and impulsive than other men, which is ludicrous to everyone who knows anything about the place.

90 John L. June 9, 2016 at 2:59 pm

“Obviously as the status of women in society raises, more of them make a total nuisance of themselves, and there’s only so much even a Scandinavian man can endure.”
Evidently, they women did to themselves…

91 M June 9, 2016 at 3:47 am

I don’t really believe the story either, that report rate is lower.

Though assuming the report rate is lower, I would assume something along the lines of “sexual jealousy” + alcohol = domestic violence

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/abc-qa-germaine-greer-slams-claim-extreme-jealousy-causes-domestic-violence-20160412-go3xri.html

” “Unfortunately it’s a very complex one… but in my view the main driver of domestic violence that I saw was actually jealousy. That was the most powerful factor before there was violence,” said Dalrymple, having examined 400 women who had experienced domestic violence during his research career.

“I think the fundamental problem that I saw… was extreme jealousy,” he said.

You can have these open norms, but that doesn’t actually mean people won’t get jealous.”

Of course, I think the Nords probably have very quite low perceived sexual jealousy relative to the actual guarantees they have of relationship security, as they are trusting nations. Compared to certain places and certain cultures. It’s simply a side effect of the open society, unfortunately (as we know, libertarianism is the root of all evil).

92 Moreno Klaus June 9, 2016 at 4:14 am

In the country where i come from jealousy is in deed a big driver of most passionate crimes, though i suspected that in the Nordics, with their dont care attitude this would not be the case but ok, still makes sense.

93 Chip June 9, 2016 at 3:58 am

Lower threshold to defining abuse, greater willingness to report abuse, alcoholism, high depression and suicide rates – difficult to compare countries.

94 J.D.McTowers June 9, 2016 at 4:46 am
95 Gabriel Chavez June 9, 2016 at 5:21 am

Controversial reason: Maybe it’s because men do see women as equal. In misogynistic Mexico men are told since a very young age to NEVER hit a woman because they are such delicate and fragile creatures.

96 Moreno Klaus June 9, 2016 at 5:28 am

I would be surprised if domestic violence is lower in mexico than in the nordics…

97 Al Rio June 9, 2016 at 5:36 am

probably he mean NEVER hit a woman in public…

98 Al Rio June 9, 2016 at 5:37 am

*meant*

99 So Much For Subtlety June 9, 2016 at 7:29 pm

Latin America is the only part of the world that has domestic violence rates that approach those of the Muslim world. I don’t think Mexican boys are taught this.

Rather I would think there is a lot of evidence that Latin America’s macho culture tells boys that it is not only right and proper to hit women, but it is necessary in the right circumstances otherwise other men will think you are effeminate.

100 bjk June 9, 2016 at 5:50 am
101 bjk June 9, 2016 at 6:00 am

Maybe Nordic women aren’t worried about retaliation, that’s why they report.

102 Nebfocus June 9, 2016 at 7:17 am

This is interesting information, do you have a link to the article the graphic is from?

103 albatross June 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Why is it not plausible?

104 Josh June 9, 2016 at 5:53 am

Maybe women just expect the law to side with them more often.

105 chuck martel June 9, 2016 at 6:03 am

Curiously the fact is never mentioned that some women actually find ways to be the recipients of domestic violence. There can be several reasons for this. While a physical confrontation might be painful, something that masochists enjoy, the making up experience may be worth it. In a situation where a woman is pitted against a man, it’s her against him. By inciting violence, she acquires allies from the legal community. She can have her companion jailed or use the threat of it to extract concessions. “Go ahead, hit me, I dare you!”, said to a somewhat inebriated man might get results. Domestic violence is a far more complicated issue than slob guys whacking on their virtuous ladies.

106 Al Rio June 9, 2016 at 6:08 am

they may not be virtuous, but anyway, it is disproportionate to hit them… It is more of a fault in our part, IMHO.

107 djw June 9, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Fault isn’t really the point here. Chuck Martel’s point is that some women may be provoking violence as a strategy to extract legal concessions later. If that is indeed the case then I would expect it to be more common in societies where intimate partner *murder* is less common.

108 rayward June 9, 2016 at 6:14 am

What’s the historical data on sexual assault on college campuses? Are there more sexual assaults today than, say, in the 1950s, or are there the same number of sexual assaults (proportionate to the college population) today but more sexual assaults being reported than in the 1950s? Or is it a difference in what’s understood, today vs. the 1950s, as constituting sexual assault? I’m using the term “sexual assault” rather than “rape” because the former is much broader than the latter, although the two tend to be conflated, the recent case at Stanford being sexual assault rather than rape because the victim was penetrated with something other than the perpetrator’s penis (as I understand the facts). Of course, the same questions arise in the case of “intimate partner violence”. I sometimes comment about the social construct of the “household”, the dominant social structure in ancient Greece and Rome and that favored by none other than Mr. Jefferson. Since the household includes slaves and freedmen as well as family (though technically not the wife since she belongs to her father’s “household”), what would constitute “intimate partner violence” in the household?

109 rayward June 9, 2016 at 6:28 am

I recall an interview some years ago of Sean Connery, a model of a man if there ever was one, who explained that he roughed up his women because women like to be roughed up (and he wasn’t referring to rough sex). Of course, Connery comes from a time when men were men and women were women and they knew their respective roles. (I’m being ironic.)

110 rayward June 9, 2016 at 6:47 am

I’m old enough to remember when young men were taught to expect young women to resist because, well, that’s what women were expected to do. And this will come as a shock to some of the younger readers: there was a time there weren’t interstate highways! Shocking but true.

111 Todd K June 9, 2016 at 7:22 am

I’m not sure I believe you. If there were no interstate highways then where did they put the McDonalds?

112 rayward June 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm

When we got our McDonald’s the locals were so excited you’d have thought we had gotten our own Sears, Roebuck store. Sure, we had a Sears, Roebuck but it didn’t have any merchandise only copies of the Sears catalogue from which to order stuff. I suppose Jeff Bezos got his idea for Amazon from the Sears, Roebuck catalogue.

113 Thiago Ribeiro June 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Then, how have Americans spread throught the country before airplanes existed? How do you explain Montanans?

114 Li Zhi June 9, 2016 at 6:56 pm

I can’t tell how much of your ignorant post is serious. For those who care about the “truth” I offer the following:
The FBI’s new (2012) Summary definition of Rape is: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” (this is based on DOJ dicktat, I’m not sure why “sex organ” was used rather than the (biologically) sexually biased “penis”…what other organs would qualify?)
How old are you? Up until the late 1960’s women were ‘sequestered’ on campus: dorms and sororities had “mothers”, strict (male) visitation and curfew policies were enforced (as a generalization). I’ll let others determine the potential utility in comparing 1950’s numbers to todays.
Turner was found guilty of two counts of what would be defined as rape and one of a lesser nature. Perhaps you should consider learning the facts prior to posting your opinion about situations you seem to know nothing.

115 Doug June 9, 2016 at 6:26 am

Sunlight and seasonal-affective disorder.

116 Erik Olivecrona June 9, 2016 at 6:35 am

The research on IPV is notorious for being ideologically driven. Thus, for anyone studying this topic, critical thinking skills and an obsessive–compulsive checking of references is a must. Anyway… yes, the Nordic countries do appear to have a rate of IPV higher than one would have expected, were one to also believe that more socio-economic equality between the sexes always led to less IPV. However, there’s very little evidence or reason to believe that more socio-economic equality always leads to less IPV. In fact, women who do not marry up have are more likely to become abusive in their relationships. And the same is true of women who marry men who are “too nice”. They are especially more likely to become critical, nagging, and abusive towards these male partners around the time of ovulation.

117 rayward June 9, 2016 at 6:39 am

I think we will be okay with President Clinton since she is past menopause and won’t be attacking any countries during her time of the month. Maybe we should amend the constitution so only women past a certain age are eligible for president.

118 Erik Olivecrona June 9, 2016 at 7:37 am

I have not seen any research, that I can think of, at least at the moment, that looks at female aggression across the lifespan. But it seems very likely that aggression will, somewhat, taper off with age. However, although women in general are more prone to virtue signaling, and therefore also vote less hawkishly than men in general do, female political leaders are every bit as hawkish as their male counterparts are. In fact, in experiments where women are allowed to make their choices anonymously, they are quite often more hawkish than men. In one such study, female leaders chose to drop more bombs compared to their male counterparts. This is also true, based on what we know, historically: In the last millennium, European queens have in many respects been more hawkish than what the European kings have. Besides this, women tend to be more aggressive and abusive towards their intimate partners, compared to men. This is also the reason why there’s more abuse and violence between lesbians couples than between gay or straight couples.

119 Urso June 9, 2016 at 7:34 am

“This is perplexing because logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society”
This is a huge assertion and I just don’t see it – what is the connection between the number of women on boards of publicly traded companies and domestic violence? (ps – the women who are on the boards of publicly traded companies aren’t the ones who are getting beaten). It’s just a kind of wishful thinking – if we do this one nice thing, than naturally this other nice thing will follow.

120 Brainstorm Monkey June 9, 2016 at 9:23 am

Is it possible that Nordic women are more likely to be physically aggressive, and participate in a fight, but that domestic violence laws still protect them?

I know it is anecdotal, but I keep on thinking about the beating that Tiger Woods received from his Nordic wife. A woman who feels equal to a man and is willing to participate in a physical altercation is still protected by the law against abuse when she gets hurt. Men, in practice, not so much.

121 Ricardo June 9, 2016 at 11:45 am

In the Tiger Woods case, the wife probably would have been prosecuted except Tiger Woods did not cooperate in the investigation and stopped authorities from subpoenaing his medical records from that night. Lionel Richie’s ex-wife was arrested for assaulting him after catching him with another woman. And this was in California. The bottom line is that you may be right when it comes to a slap in the face but not if it is a serious beat-down.

122 Fiber June 9, 2016 at 9:25 am

Nothing new here really. This has been previously observed: http://www.thelocal.se/20140305/sweden-out-top-in-eu-domestic-violence-league I’ve not seen explanations that countenance the facts that the Nordic countries have the lowest rates of actual marriage and the highest rates of consensual partnerships as well as the highest rates of single member households. Men are just about as likely to raise children solo as are women. See table 1 and pages 56-60: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3217494/7089681/KS-04-15-567-EN-N.pdf/8b2459fe-0e4e-4bb7-bca7-7522999c3bfd And as mentioned above much longer tradition of same-sex unions. Also, maybe its because Scandinavian men do more housework: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111721639

123 Fiber June 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

The Scandinavian domestic arrangements situation reminds us of Alfred North Whitehead’s dictum: ““It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.” Once the standard form marriage contract is disposed of, transaction costs eat up any available gains from trade in the mating game. Fewer deals, more friction. As Tiger Woods learned to his chagrin, they are the most beautiful women in the world and for that you will pay and pay and pay.

124 Fiber June 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

But all will be reversed in a few short years when the Scandinavian countries become Islamic republics.

125 John L. June 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Sure, sure. Now, take your meds, please.

126 Fiber June 10, 2016 at 10:02 am

When will Sweden become majority Muslim? Back in 2010, before the re-Conquest, experts were predicting as early as 2040. Now? http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/europes-muslim-future

127 John L. June 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

No data about Scandinavia whatsoever…

128 Floccina June 9, 2016 at 9:27 am

Drunkenness. Same in the area of child abuse. Much lower in Italy than Denmark.
One could argue that this pushes nordic women toward demanding gender equality.

129 Todd K June 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

We know it is much lower in Italy than Denmark?

As an extreme reporting example, Japan’s first child abuse case was an official statistic from around 1991. By 2013, 70,000 cases were reported.

130 Floccina June 9, 2016 at 6:17 pm
131 Floccina June 9, 2016 at 6:18 pm

BTW Of course drunkenness is not the same as alcohol consumption.

132 Floccina June 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm
133 Erik Olivecrona June 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm

In about half of the relationships where violence occurs, the man and the woman are both violent. (Although women tend to be more aggressive and tend to instigate more fights.) Of the remaining half, in slightly more than half, the woman is the sole abuser, and in slightly less than half, the man is the sole abuser. As far as Sweden and the the Scandinavian countries go, alcohol consumption isn’t a likely explanations for the high IPV rates. Because, whereas the total alcohol per capita consumption in Denmark and Finland is comparable with that of most so-called WEIRD countries [Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic], it’s actually lower in both Sweden and Norway. True, Sweden and Denmark score pretty high on heavy episodic drinking (i.e. binge drinking); but, then again, Norway has among the lowest in world.

134 Erik Olivecrona June 9, 2016 at 2:21 pm

As far as child abuse goes, most WEIRD countries (including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Austria) have higher rates than those found in the Nordic countries. In fact, Sweden and Norway have some of the lowest rates of child abuse in the world. And those of Denmark and Finland are close to the European average. (Finland’s rate is pretty similar to that of Germany, while that of Denmark is close to that of France.) It’s not that the Nordic countries have high rates of child abuse; rather, it’s that Italy (and Spain) have exceptionally low rates.

135 Ethan Bernard June 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

Many women cover for their abusers and refuse to cooperate with police and prosecutors because they and their dependent children will be made homeless if they leave the relationship. The decision to report domestic violence to the authorities is an economic one. A functional safety net for single mothers is a big factor in this decision.

136 Art Deco June 9, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Or they cover for their ‘abuser’ because they think he’s kinda cool and, upon reflection, they’ll keep him.

137 Art Deco June 9, 2016 at 11:46 am

This is perplexing because logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society.

It ‘would be expected to drop’ according to the prejudices of the researchers, not according to ‘logic’. Perhaps encouraging women to let their inner harridan roam free has a byproduct of generating more violence-prone relationships.

138 John June 9, 2016 at 11:50 am

The Girl with the Draggon Tattoo anyone?

139 Sir Barken Hyena June 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

This is only puzzling to someone like Cowen who hasn’t got a ghost of a clue about women.

In my personal life I’ve corralled all my female feminist friends by looking them in the eye and telling them to “shove it” when they unleash their doctrinal b.s. on me. And every last one of them backed down and from there on have been sweet, nice, flirty, and friendly – even adoring! – with me.

That is how it works: the Nordic men have emasculated themselves, like all men of the West, and so the women are contemptuous and nasty to them. No studies or stats will prove this, all you have to do is exercise it in your own life and you will see for yourself

140 John L. June 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm

“And every last one of them backed down and from there on have been sweet, nice, flirty, and friendly – even adoring! – with me.”
Hahaha. I always thought a fanfic section would be a good fit here in the comments.
“No studies or stats will prove this, all you have to do is exercise it in your own life and you will see for yourself”
Those studies, stats and facts, who needs them?
“That is how it works: the Nordic men have emasculated themselves, like all men of the West”
I heard they even bath and don’t hit the same women more than twice a day!

141 Sir Barken Hyena June 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Why don’t you just try what I suggested and see what happens? Life is an experiment you can run yourself. I was not saying data and stats are not needed ever, and I really doubt you thought I was. And I’m not suggesting that you use this as a basis for a scientific paper. In other words, try descending from your pedantic perch and you might be surprised what life shows you. THEN you can go search for data with a proper frame of mind.

142 John L. June 9, 2016 at 5:40 pm

“In other words, try descending from your pedantic perch.”
Why? Wouldn’t it be much more satisfactory to make the “sweet, nice, flirty, and friendly – even adoring” women climb my pedantic perch? I really should not have to go downstairs to spank them the Swedish way, should I?

143 Sir Barken Hyena June 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

I like where you are going with that, would definitely be the shorter path and just as good a way to run the experiment. Make it happen and report back.

144 John L. June 9, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Of course, it remains to be seen if women can climb a pedntic perch. Historically, perch-climbing is a White man’s activity that allowed the White man to see far and be awesome enough to atract “sweet, nice, flirty, and friendly – even adoring” women.

145 Sir Barken Hyena June 9, 2016 at 8:44 pm

There are plenty of them up there now, no? I’m obviously not an academic but I do know that much. You haven’t been too observant, which brings us back to the point about the disadvantages of only seeing from so lofty a vantage.

So, run the experiment! You’ll be glad you did.

To be clear, I didn’t suggest you be rude to women, only that you refuse to accept their rudeness to you. A crucial distinction that the neophyte often fails to understand, so do pay attention to this point. Also, try to suppress any lingering hatred or fear of women that you might have from the past, they can tell a mile away if you are resentful. It’s a bad choice in any case, better to live in the now and move forward.

It’s not hard, it really isn’t, You’ll see. But it’ll require you overcome whatever timidity you might be hampered with, if any.

146 Sir Barken Hyena June 9, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Also, it’s important to add that there’s a complimentary process for women to limit the bad behavior of men as well. But generally women seem to be better at this then men, and they’d be the ones to speak about that not me. The basic idea is that both sexes maintain their opposites via what they have to give, and to take away. I’m not suggesting this will lead to utopia, but I think it would make things better between the sexes which is currently in a ghastly state, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I hope you can see now that I’m not some simpleton pick up artist, agree or not. My first post might come off that way, sure, but there is a lot of complexity here and it can’t just all be explained at once. In any case, the dismissive tone of your replies is undeserved, though I do like the way you write.

147 John L. June 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm

“but it’ll require you overcome whatever timidity you might be hampered with, if any”
OK, timid I am, but it is the timidity of someone who doesn’t like to ask the hours to strangers or ask favors from friends– men or women and usually doesn’t start the conversation. It is a different thing.
“To be clear, I didn’t suggest you be rude to women, only that you refuse to accept their rudeness to you.”
No one, man or woman, is, rude to me, but maybe I lead a sheltered life. Or I don’t indulge in victimism, I don’t know. Anyway, maybe some men are being beaten, dispossed, humiliated castrated and hung upside down (some surely are, I don’t intend to disregard their suffering, but I doubt it is an epidemy, I surely have not seen the data that could prove me it is some kind of universal problem), but it just doesn’t happen in my family and, one way or other, I doubt it explains why the Scandinavians are mistreating their mates, if they are.
“would make things better between the sexes which is currently in a ghastly state, I’m sure you’ll agree.”
I am not sure they were ever that different. I think there were always men who identified themselves with the old complaint “Thirty years of marrage. If I had killed her instead of marrying her, I would be a free man by now”
“I hope you can see now that I’m not some simpleton pick up artist, agree or not. My first post emight come off that way, sure, but there is a lot of complexity here and it can’t just all be explained at once.”
Fair enough, but I still don’t agree that men have been emasculated by feminism anymore than I believe Whites have been emasculated because Blacks now can vote and sit on the front row. There may be some cases, but I still think it is far from universal.
Anyway, thanks for the advice.

148 Hazel Meade June 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Higher levels of alcoholism maybe?

149 Bill June 9, 2016 at 1:42 pm

That, along with being indoors all the time and not outdoors or in groups with other people.

150 Anodyne June 9, 2016 at 3:19 pm

It seems to me that Tyler Cowen, as the current representative of the larger blogging world, may be overlooking an economic analysis aspect of the IPV issue.

The following is not meant to excuse any IPV, and for the record I do not excuse that.

It is instead to encourage a dispassionate look at the factors that go into such matters. That is proffered in the hope that a more objective review may produce some solutions to the benefit of all parties.

Look at the matter through a supply and demand perspective. While that may cause consternation, disgust or some other reaction, perhaps it may encourage new solutions.

The supply side receives the vast majority of the attention. Whether Nordic, Mediterranean or other locale, the predominantly male perpetrators are scrutinized in significant detail. (Side note, there is probably some added knowledge to be gained by looking at the non-straight world, and some commenters have mentioned the high level of IPV in the lesbian community, for example).

The demand side may provide clues as to new paths of inquiry with resulting insights. For example in the Nordic case have behaviors specific to the victim changed over time? How have those changed interpersonal dynamics to bring about an environment where there is a higher likelihood of IPV? Prior legitimate inquiries may have been stifled by claims of victim blaming. Why not take the opportunity now to understand the way that people act and react now, instead of throwing up one’s hands or dodging issues? The world may be more than a few shades of gray, and humans benefit from acknowledging that.

151 Dave June 9, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Just a note, the reported figures for IPV never accurately represent the level of domestic violence perpetrated by women against men, because it’s seen as unmanly to a) care or b) report it – by some estimates as much as 90% of domestic abuse is of that variety.

I’d hazard a guess that the explanation for the Scandinavian IPV figures being ‘anomalously’ high is simply that they have a higher rate of reporting of domestic violence, and the bit missing from the story is that if men reported violence against them at the same rate as women, there’d be no gender imbalance.

152 scout June 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm

“This is perplexing because logically violence against women would be expected to drop as women gained equal status in a society.”

the author doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “logically”

153 Diogenes Sinopeus June 10, 2016 at 6:36 am

I’d hazard that “equal rights, equal fights” might hold some water in this case.

If I view you as a boss or peer in the public and working spheres, my perception of what level of escalation I can assume with you is probably going to reflect that.

Similarly, the equal to lower level of reporting of violence might be a product of this same belief. As a woman, I think that the level of violence wasn’t inappropriate for a confrontation between two peers.

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