Month: September 2012

Women economists see the world differently

The biggest disagreement: 76% of women say faculty opportunities in economics favor men. Male economists point the opposite way: 80% say women are favored or the process is neutral.

As for politics:

Female economists tend to favor a bigger role for government while male economists have greater faith in business and the marketplace. Is the U.S. economy excessively regulated? Sixty-five percent of female economists said ‘no’ — 24 percentage points higher than male economists.

The story is here.  The article is “Are Disagreements Among Male and Female Economists Marginal at Best? A Survey of AEA Members and Their Views on Economics and Economic Policy,” Ann Mari May, Mary G. McGarvey and Robert Whaples, Contemporary Economic Policy (forthcoming), but I can’t seem to find a copy on-line.

For the pointer I thank Daniel Klein.

Fooled by satire

An Iranian news agency has reported as fact an entirely fictitious survey carried on The Onion website earlier this week which claimed that most rural white Americans would vote for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ahead of Barack Obama.

The English-language service of Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency republished the spoof story from the satirical website word-for-word.

It even went so far as to include a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident it idendified as Dale Swidersk who claimed he would rather go to a baseball game with Mr Ahmadinejad because “he takes national defence seriously and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does”.

The story is here.

Assorted links

1. The reality vs. the rhetoric, multiple lessons in this one.

2. John Fahey documentary (trailer) on the way (Kickstarter funded), and on YouTube here is Fahey’s Poor Boy.

3. Stephanie Coontz tries to rebut claims of male decline (though I don’t think she quite confronts the “matching model” being used here).

4. The economics of video games.

5. The 2012 Gramophone Award winners.

6. Venkatesh on community policing.

Lottery Winners as Natural Experiments

The Detroit News: A Lincoln Park woman who won $1 million in the Michigan Lottery and was later convicted for still collecting state welfare died Saturday from an apparent drug overdose.

…Clayton isn’t the only Michigan Lottery winner to become notorious after making headlines.

In August, millionaire Freddie Young, of Detroit, was sentenced to 20 to 35 years in prison for fatally shooting his daughter’s landlord.

Young, 64, was convicted on second-degree murder and felony firearm charges in the May 2011 killing of Australian native Gregory McNicol.

Prosecutors said Young won an estimated $1.57 million share of a Michigan Lottery jackpot in February 2011. Three months later, he shot 45-year-old McNicol over $1,000 in back rent owed by his daughter.

Here is my previous post on this subject with more systematic data.

A cultural guide for Afghanis

After eleven years, we are trying a new approach:

“Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you,” the guide instructs.

“When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind,” it explains. “They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you’ve done. Once again, they don’t mean to offend you.”

This is news to me, though I would like to see it confirmed:

Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal disputes and misunderstandings.


NATO’s coalition is described as a “work of art.”

For my house, I might rather have a Suzani.

The culture that is Germany

Men are in particularly high demand because many parents don’t want their children looked after exclusively by women. According to a study carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Family Affairs, more than a third of mothers and fathers prefer day care facilities that have male staff. The higher the parents’ educational and income levels, the more important they consider having male child care workers.

Here is much more.

Bagel head saline injections the culture that is Japan

Here’s how it goes down: technicians insert a needle into the forehead and inject about 400 cc of saline to create a forehead-sized blob. (One bagel-ee describes it as feeling like “something’s dripping down [his] head” and a “slight stinging sensation.”) The practitioner then places his or her thumb into the blob to create the indentation.

For those of us who don’t see the appeal in any sort of forehead needles, you can’t help but wonder: why in the world would you want a bagel on in your head? A Japanese artist named Keroppy who pioneered the “modcon” body art explained to Vice back in 2009 that it’s about innovation: “People who like extreme body modification want to find their own way of doing things, and they’re always looking for new ways to do that. The more progressive the scene gets, the more these people have to experiment and go their own way.”

Luckily, the bagel-shaped injections aren’t permanent; the round protusion fades after about sixteen hours as your body absorbs the saline.

Here is more, photos included, hat tip goes to the excellent Daniel Lippman.

From the Institute for New Economic Thinking

We would like to introduce our new blog on the website of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) entitled ‘Reading Mas-Colell’, which will initially run in the fall of 2012, alongside our teaching of a course which uses the textbook on microeconomics by Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green. We hope to make a modest contribution to economic thinking by engaging in selective close reading and commentary on a very influential text, which in certain ways has become a ‘Bible’.

Our goal is to help through the blog to change the way in which economics teaching is approached at the Ph.D. level (many agree that it is limited and limiting). We hope to generate a lively conversation on how economics is taught and practiced today.

You can find the blog on the INET website at:

We very much hope that you and your readers will participate in the conversation that we hope to generate.

Best wishes,

Sanjay G. Reddy and Raphaele Chappe

A query about The Dark Knight

From Brad Allen:

I was watching the Dark Knight on a bus yesterday evening (I’m not sure how familiar you are with the movie) – there was a scene that I thought was pretty interesting to think through, and was curious how you might go about it.

There is a scene where the Joker kills a mob boss, and then gives his 3 subordinates one half broken pool cue – and basically tells them that to live, the other two have to die. You don’t see what happens, but what do you think happens? Is it advantageous to pick up the pool cue, or would that signal the other two to attack you first? Would you try to back out and let the other two fight? Or would that incent them to come after you? OR does everyone do nothing, until a last second dash like bicycle sprints?

Obviously, I’ve had fun thinking about this. Do you have any guesses?

Assorted links

1. “Warum schon die deutsche Einheit ein Fehler war,” from the excellent Wolfgang Münchau.

2. The Daily Mail on whether economics and finance students have more sex.  Guess which major offers and indeed creates (supposedly) the most promiscuous students?  The least promiscuous are majors in philosophy, education, and earth sciences, or so we are told.  Caveat emptor.

3. Lady Gaga markets in everything very negative restaurant review.

4. A more optimistic measurement of Spanish deposit flight.

5. Jazz-singing robots, and the electronic implants that dissolve inside your body.

6. Profile of new GMU President.