Does society underestimate women?

by on August 16, 2017 at 1:26 am in Data Source, Sports | Permalink

Yes.  The context is female jockeys in horse racing, and so we turn to Alasdair Brown and Fuyu Yang in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization:

Highlights

Male and female jockeys compete side-by-side in horse racing.

Betting market prices provide a window onto society’s beliefs about female ability.

Women are slightly underestimated, winning 0.3% more races than the market predicts.

Underestimation is greater in jump racing, where female participation is low.

Here is the paper link, ungated, via Michelle Dawson.

1 Bob August 16, 2017 at 1:34 am

Tiny effect size.

2 Cupid Stommet August 16, 2017 at 1:49 am

It would be much larger if jockeys weren’t so tiny.

3 prior_test3 August 16, 2017 at 1:40 am

‘Women are slightly underestimated, winning 0.3% more races than the market predicts.’

Well, that certainly seems like a knock out argument concerning how markets are unable to judge people. Does Piketty know?

4 The Other Jim August 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

Exactly. As if a 0.3% difference in the other direction would provoke a “women are over-estimated” singaling post from Tyler…

5 TheAngryPhilosopher August 16, 2017 at 8:48 pm

My suspicion is that Tyler is well aware of how tiny that is, and did this intentionally. Another question is, how did the paper spin it? A quick scan gave me a relatively favorable impression, that they didn’t devolve into grand statements or hysterics.

6 Steve Sailer August 16, 2017 at 1:57 am

There were a couple of famous female jockettes in the early 1970s. One of them, Robyn Smith, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1972 for a story about her by Frank Deford. She went on to marry Fred Astaire. Another, Mary Bacon, had a Revlon modeling contract but lost it when she gave a speech at a Ku Klux Klan rally.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/04/can-woman-win-kentucky-derby.html

So our culture has been celebrating women jockeys for about 45 years now, although there doesn’t seem to be a trend toward them getting more famous compared to how famous Smith and Bacon were during the Nixon Era.

7 Thanatos Savehn August 16, 2017 at 2:25 am

0.3%? You must have done something very un-PC to have been sentenced to public virtue twerking to the tune of mere static such as this. Come clean! Tell us what Lefty idol you offended, how many Hail Diversitys you must recite and how vigorous your twerking must be before that sin is absolved.

8 Slocum August 16, 2017 at 7:22 am

Does it occur to you that Tyler’s in on the joke and is quite aware that the result shows female jockeys equally estimated with a surprisingly tiny error of 0.3%? If you arbitrarily divided jockeys any other way (by height, by age, by ethnicity), you’d probably also find a similar tiny effect size in *some* direction.

9 Joël August 16, 2017 at 9:00 am

Slocum, right. Amazing how many people miss the joke here. I guess we all need some rest.

10 MTC August 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

A single word yes/no answer to *any* question should tip off the long time reader Tyler is probably having a bit of fun (or that you’re actually reading an Alex post).

11 The Other Jim August 16, 2017 at 9:56 am

You guys are like Trump supporters.

12 Tanturn August 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

Why “like?”

13 Pshrnk August 16, 2017 at 10:37 am

More of a Tyrone post

14 JWatts August 16, 2017 at 9:05 am

“Does it occur to you that Tyler’s in on the joke …”

+1, Straussian reading

15 Alain August 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

Note that Thanatos didn’t mention Tyler. He could easily be asking these questions of the author. Or the reviews who let such an article get published.

16 Thor August 16, 2017 at 10:51 am

This.

17 Yancey Ward August 16, 2017 at 11:19 am

This is Tyler’s version of slapstick.

18 blah August 16, 2017 at 2:49 am

One could conceive of questions asking if society overestimates female politeness or male assholery. But no one would ask these questions because research findings are required to conform to the Althouse rule.

To know who is in power, look for which people get to ask/frame the questions.

19 Todd K August 16, 2017 at 6:43 am

About 20 years ago I read a book about lying. I thought it was a “How to” book, but it instead looked at what psychologists were researching about it. One conclusion was that people underestimate the extent women lie relative to men. The way they showed this was pretty clever by using groups who took surveys years apart and using some questions that could determine lying about marijuana use, etc.

20 prior_test3 August 16, 2017 at 6:56 am

And here I was, thinking that the stereotype is women lie more than men, with the male concept of honor not having a female equivalent.

Maybe things have changed in the last couple of decades?

21 Tanturn August 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

Yep, there’s a lot of pedestalization among the younger generation of men. They see women as so much more pure and moral then men. Some even see it as a conservative, chivalrous way of thinking. It’s what happens when you mix pc guilt culture with raw, hormonal passion: the passion must be interpreted in a “non objectifying” way.

22 Labor Day August 16, 2017 at 2:58 am

Women now give birth to nearly all the children born every year. I guess men just don’t like giving birth. Sounds sexist.

23 Vivian Darkbloom August 16, 2017 at 3:06 am

One of the first things I thought when I read this summary was that bettors at horse races don’t only bet on who wins–they also bet on who will place and show (and, implicitly, the relative rankings of all horses and the jockeys who ride them). Wouldn’t the inclusion of all odds pre-race compared with all the actual positions at the end of the race be a more inclusive sample than just focusing on first place finishes and wouldn’t that therefore be a more accurate indicator of whether female jockeys are “underestimated”?

Well, it turns out that the study also did consider that more inclusive methodology including all placings. The conclusion:

“To sum up at this stage, while there is a slight underestimation of women in the full sample in terms of wins (0.3%), there is little or no effect to be found in terms of placings.”

This finding, found about two-thirds of the way down in the text of that study, somehow didn’t find its way into the conclusion or the abstract summary. What are the odds that this represents author bias?

24 Joe Torben August 16, 2017 at 4:09 am

To be fair, the fact that no effect was found in one part and a tiny effect was found in some other part, and only the tiny effect made it into the abstract sounds like run of the mill publication bias. You have to have an effect to get published, so the effect is what they push. This makes it highly likely that these findings won’t be replicated, by the way.

The publication bias and failure to replicate are very big problems indeed, but it isn’t quite fair to say that they are due to PC or author bias.

25 Vivian Darkbloom August 16, 2017 at 5:49 am

I’m being fair. The result of this kind of bias, on the part of the authors, the publication industry, or both, is that the rather misleading “conclusion” is picked up by others in the media with headlines such as “Does society underestimate women”? followed by “Yes”. The fact that this is accepted as “run of the mill” is a sad commentary on the current standards of much of the academic community.

26 Rich Berger August 16, 2017 at 5:59 am

Do studies like this one add anything to our knowledge, or is economics just busy work these days?

27 Vivian Darkbloom August 16, 2017 at 7:03 am

As a betting person, this particular study has reinforced my belief that markets are, for all practical purposes, immune to any sort of gender bias that would interfere with one’s (i.e., the bettor’s) opportunity for financial gain.

More than that, though, it has reinforced my belief that “studies like this one” have the practical effect of actually detracting from “our knowledge” (“our” being the “knowledge” of the general public) about matters that are easily politicised. You see what’s happened here? This study (and others “like it”) selectively report in the abstract and conclusion findings that (standing alone barely and dubiously) support “bias” while excluding equally compelling findings that exclude bias (not that there is anything “compelling” about the study). Then, someone who has likely only read the abstract and/or the conclusion gives us a summary of the summary that leads readers to believe, without more, that betting markets (and by extension, labor markets) discriminate against women. This, in turn, will likely be picked up by an outlet even further down the media food chain with an even more definite and misleading conclusion. And, Joe Torben (apparently a member of the academic community who is more familiar with “studies like this” than I am) feels compelled to object to my objection because this is “run of the mill” and, apparently therefore, acceptable practice for academic studies to highlight only the “findings” that are, for lack of a better term, “sensational”. *This* is completely anticipated, I’m sure, by the authors and their publishers. It gets them in the news and has the desired effect on the political discourse.

“Is economics just busy work these days”? Much of it is; but, allowing for the few inevitable exceptions, I would say, on the whole, that it’s worse. “Busy work” normally doesn’t get much notice or do much damage to anyone. For that, you need to spice up the summary and conclusion a bit.

28 JWatts August 16, 2017 at 8:42 am

“This, in turn, will likely be picked up by an outlet even further down the media food chain with an even more definite and misleading conclusion. ”

Bravo for pointing this out VD, but it’s been happening for so long that I don’t think it’s even really for the reasons stated.

“You have to have an effect to get published, so the effect is what they push. ”

No, this is bullshit. I’m convinced that if the results had been the other way (and men were biased against), the abstract would have reached the conclusion that there was no statistically significant difference. It’s part of the PC culture. It’s not some kind of artificial mechanism. It’s group think among Academics. They are putting their thumbs on the scale to support their POV along the entire Science chain. Science has become heavily politicized.

29 Anonymous August 16, 2017 at 3:56 am

What part of jockeying depends on the jockey? Having as light a body as possible? I assume the horse knows to jump over obstacles without guidance.

30 Steve Sailer August 16, 2017 at 4:20 am

A lot.

Here’s 54-year-old Willie Shoemaker (in sky blue) on 17 to 1 Ferdinand winning the 1986 Kentucky Derby:

https://youtu.be/VKAOZpekAjw?t=4m5s

At about 5:52, Shoemaker makes his famous cut from the outside to the inside to go through a narrow opening in heavy traffic.

31 Steve Sailer August 16, 2017 at 4:26 am

Here’s another video of the 1986 Kentucky Derby.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_Bp93HDqww

In the original call, Ferdinand doesn’t appear to have been mentioned by the announcer during the entire race until he’s suddenly about to cross the finish line to win.

32 Anonymous August 16, 2017 at 4:36 am

That was interesting, thanks for the links.

33 middyfeek August 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

And if that hole had suddenly closed up people would have said it was time for 54 yr. old BILL Shoemaker to retire.

34 Matt August 16, 2017 at 5:03 am

I know a lot less about thoroughbred racing than I do show jumping, but the rider in show jumping is really important. Not so important that good (but not great) rider on an excellent horse can’t beat a great rider on a merely good horse, but important enough that if the horses are of roughly similar rank, the rider makes all the difference, and that a really excellent rider can often win over a better horse if the horse has a less good rider. And, even an excellent horse will usually lose to a merely good one if the rider isn’t at least very good, if the opponent is excellent. Show jumping has more women than men in it over all, but the top ranks are closer to equal – probably a bit more women then men, but not as many as you’d expect given the higher number of women at the lower level of jumping sports. I’m not sure why that is. (It might just be that only the top men keep going.) But, the rider is a really high percentage of the difference. Even the best horse would not regularly win with a merely average (for a professional) rider. (This is especially apparent when you watch the same riders compete on different horses a number of times.)

35 Steve Sailer August 16, 2017 at 7:14 am

My experience of horseback riding is that my rented horses could sense that I was just some inconsequential loser tourist so they would do whatever they felt like.

I suspect horses didn’t feel like that with Willie Shoemaker.

36 prior_test3 August 16, 2017 at 8:03 am

He was certainly whipping his horse in the end stretch more than the other two jockeys combined, with considerably more vigor – it kind of stands out, actually.

37 Matt August 16, 2017 at 10:42 am

This is also my experience – both from riding myself (I’m not a very good rider), and from watching horses behavior under both better and worse riders. In my experience, seasoned “tourist” horses know right away whether they are going to be be able to get away with various bits of bad behavior from a rider – everything from stopping to eat grass to refusing to trot or canter to “spooking” at nothing, or “stumbling” where they otherwise wouldn’t, and throwing the rider to the ground. With a good rider, the horse knows quickly and won’t even try after a short “testing” period. With a bad rider, all of this might happen if the horse is so disposed.

38 Susana August 16, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Girls love horses. Having a horse is as wonderful as girls imagine. If feasible, get the girl a horse. The difference between your very own horse who knows you well, and a rented horse, is vastly larger then the difference between your own car and a rented car. No comparison. I had a horse from when I was 7 to 17, (my little sisters took over my horse) and it was wonderful.

39 Matt August 17, 2017 at 2:44 am

Having a horse is as wonderful as girls imagine

I like horses, but it’s well said that a horse is an animal that eats money and shits work.

40 anonymous August 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

At least when I followed this in the 1990s, part of being a better jockey was being assigned better horses: preferably underestimated horses (by the public, but not by the stable or trainer, who have the best knowledge). Local jockeys are almost certainly better at getting underestimated rides, and it is possible that the subpopulation of local jockeys that are female are even better at getting underestimated rides. If this happens even once in 200 races – the extrapolation writes itself.

41 anonymous August 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Of course it could be a wash – more favors (better underestimated rides) for the pretty young female jockeys because they are pretty and young and female, but offset by more favors (better underestimated rides) for the male jockeys because they have indirect access to, well, the sorts of things that pretty young female jockeys often don’t have as much access to …. (my limited knowledge of this sort of thing dates back to the days of the Sidney Zion columns in the NY Post and the days when Bill Clinton’s affable likable mother went to the races every day – so take what I say with a grain of salt)

42 middle aged veterinarian August 18, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Bill Clinton’s mother is responsible for the temporary popularity – decades ago now – of the word “Conformation”. I do not know anyone else in recent history of whom the same could be accurately said.

43 Asher August 16, 2017 at 4:10 am

The Bayesian in me is extremely skeptical. The null hypothesis should not be betting markets that always get things exactly right. Randomly, one in ten times you will get statistical significance in favor of one side or another, and if you go around looking for areas of human activity where men and women compete and where there are betting markets the chances that you will find one in which one side is favored is pretty high.

“Underestimation is greater in jump racing” – this is just old-fashioned p-hacking. If you take enough subgroups there will always be one where the effect you are looking for is large and statistically significance.

I am filing this in my “garden of forking paths” folder.

44 Dan in philly August 16, 2017 at 5:02 am

If I’m a betting man and I know women lose 99% of the time I might, as a shortcut, never bet on them although I know there’s always that 1%. I’m undervaluing women but for a rational reason.

45 paul August 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

What about the female horses?

46 dearieme August 16, 2017 at 6:21 am

What is this “society” that is capable of estimating anything?

47 Alan August 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

Particularly the part of society that bets the horses.

48 chuck martel August 16, 2017 at 6:28 am

In the case of horse racing, the market correctly picks the winner of a race between 30% and 35% of the time over the long haul.

49 Roy LC August 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

That is why special events such as freebie and dollar days are your friend, especially at nicer tracks and on weekends. If you see a bunch of hipsters only one of which has a racing form I suggest you go all in. I generally just aim to make parking, admission, and a few drinks, but a Discount Sunday with nice weather at a track like Golden Gate Fields and that initial twenty or forty bucks can make you hundreds by the later races.

50 Capt Obvious August 16, 2017 at 6:34 am

Its clear that the Straussian reading is no. Tyler is obviously just trolling liberals with this post!

51 Vivian Darkbloom August 16, 2017 at 7:16 am

Cut the Straussian crap. It has become, particularly here, a rather more dishonest (and more implausible) form of “plausible deniability”.

52 Cpt Obvious August 16, 2017 at 7:43 am

Yes, hence the “0.3% post”.

53 Roy LC August 16, 2017 at 8:22 am

Isn’t that the entire point?

54 JWatts August 16, 2017 at 9:06 am

“the Straussian crap” = form of “plausible deniability”.

That may be exactly the point.

55 middyfeek August 16, 2017 at 7:07 am

It’s called horse racing, not jockey racing. The horse is most important by far, then the trainer. The jockey is a poor third.

56 chrisare August 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

This reads like a nerdier version of the Onion.

57 rayward August 16, 2017 at 8:43 am

I was taking my nephew home when he was about age 14 and we passed the horse stables. He was staring at the stables, something he would see several times a day going to and from his house. I told him that I wanted to give him a little uncle advice: don’t date girls who are into either horses or decorating, and if he meets a girl into both horses and decorating, run as fast as he can. Of course, my point to my nephew is that the combination of horses and decorating has bankrupted many an unsuspecting husband. My point in this comment is that, if one visits a horse stable, most riders are girls. If my observation is accurate, and I believe it is (I don’t recall any of my clients ever mentioning that their sons being avid riders), why aren’t there more women jockeys. It’s true that most girl riders, if they compete, do so with show horses not racing horses. That may be expected since girls, being girls, like to show rather than race. But the money is in racing. Unless, of course, there’s no need for the money since somebody else (a man, perhaps) is paying the bills for the show horse. Markets in everything.

58 rayward August 16, 2017 at 9:03 am

For those who don’t understand the economics of well-bred horses and well-bred young women, let me explain. These are not ordinary horse, but massive beasts that require a ladder to mount (the horses, that is). The horses are brought over from the middle east, the horses having been bred in a culture that prizes very large horses. The cost of these horses is about the same as the cost of a Rolls Royce; heck, the cost of flying the horse over from the middle east would frighten any loving father. As for the well-bred young women who ride these beasts, their riding outfits cost far more than Donald Trump’s custom made suits; heck, the riding boots alone cost several thousand dollars.

59 Matt August 16, 2017 at 11:41 am

These are not ordinary horse, but massive beasts that require a ladder to mount (the horses, that is). The horses are brought over from the middle east, the horses having been bred in a culture that prizes very large horses.

this reads very funny to me, since the main horse from the middle east, the Arabian, isn’t a particularly big horse. (Napoleon rode one, for example.) Big horse that are not draft horses are usually “warm bloods”, typically Dutch or German. They might well have in fact been bread in the middle east, but that’s unlikely. If they were not bread in the US (many “Dutch” warm bloods are) they they were almost certainly bread in northern Europe. And you don’t need a ladder to get on them if you know how to mount properly, though it is true that a good one can cost anywhere form $100K to half a million dollars.

60 rayward August 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

When I first saw these horses, my first thought was they must come from the middle east, as I could picture some wealthy sheik riding one of them. Wealthy people do everything large, from large houses to large cars to large jets to large rings and watches, so it stands to reason that they would have large horses too. Donald Trump does everything large, except for his hands, which are small for such a large man. But I have no idea where these large horses come from. Maybe from New Jersey, since New Jersey has such a large governor. Personally, I don’t care for horses no matter how large. Never have. These horses are so large that I can’t imagine how those young women could mount them without a ladder. I should add that these well-bred young women are very polite. It’s because they are Southern. But pity the poor young men who marry them, because one day they will be (poor that is).

61 Careless August 16, 2017 at 5:56 pm

If I told you to stick to posting about things you had a clue about, well, I’d be asking you to stop posting.

62 middyfeek August 17, 2017 at 7:25 am

It’s for damn sure he knows nothing about horses or horse racing. Horses mounted using ladders? Take it down the street.

63 RaywardHowell III August 16, 2017 at 9:20 am

I was taking my nephew home in the Bentley when he was about age 14 on a trip home from the prestigious boys academy and we passed the horse stables. He was staring at the attractive riders at the stables, something he would see several times a day going to and from his mansion. I told him that I wanted to give him a little uncle advice: don’t marry girls who are into either horses or decorating and don’t ever publicly date the “hired” help, they are beneath your station. Of course, my point to my nephew is that the combination of horses and decorating has bankrupted many an unsuspecting husband. My point in this comment is that, if one visits a horse stable, most riders are attractive girls. If my observation is accurate, and I believe it is (a Howell is never wrong), why aren’t there more women jockeys. It’s true that most girl riders, if they compete, do so with extremely expensive show horses not racing horses. That may be expected since girls, being girls (frivolous and incapable of managing money), like to show rather than race. But the money is in racing. Unless, of course, there’s no need for the money since somebody else (a man, obviously) is paying the bills for the show horse. Grey Poupon markets in everything.

64 Rich Berger August 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Best comment of 2017 (IMHO). Are there more where that comes from? The comments here have been in a rut for a year or two.

65 Rich Berger August 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm

The nice thing is that you had only to introduce the Bentley.

66 anonymous August 18, 2017 at 10:19 pm

things are looking up when “Gilligan’s Island” quotes are trotted out, as they regularly should be.

67 Art Deco August 16, 2017 at 9:25 am

No.

68 Tanturn August 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

Wow Tyler, .3%? Like immigration, there are some trillion dollar bills lying on that sidewalk.

69 collin August 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

Women are slightly underestimated, winning 0.3% more races than the market predicts.

Can’t we file this under fails to disprove the null hypothesis?

70 Rich Berger August 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm

I think TC needs some time off from blogging. Maybe get Taylor Swift to fill in for six months.

71 Li Zhi August 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm

Anybody know whether the authors’ additional claims that for hurdles and steeplechasing the underestimation is even more significant came from a preregistered hypothesis (as compared to p-hacking)? If I were just a bit more interested, I’d try to find out if there’s any difference based on the first name of the jockey, and whether they controlled for number of races run/experience, and what the relationship is between family status (in a long-term relationship, trying to conceive, pregnant, recently given birth, number of children, recently divorced) and expected wins. I also wonder (I know nothing about how race-day jockey data is used) if women are more likely to have weigh-ins which vary more widely than men. Seems astonishing to me that the market has it pinned down to an insignificant 0.3% (or less).

72 Evans_KY August 16, 2017 at 6:53 pm

We often underestimate ourselves. So why would society estimate us correctly? Be quiet. Be polite. Don’t brag. Act like a lady.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/05/the-confidence-gap/359815/

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/01/30/511788585/there-arent-enough-women-in-tech-heres-why

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