Tuesday assorted links

Comments

#3: Looks like reality is stranger than fiction: http://www.improbable.com/airchives/classical/articles/peanut_butter_rotation.html

Fantastic comment regarding number 1, Tyler. Couldn't agree more.

Apologies, but this age-old wisdom appears true mostly to unkempt men.

#1. Interesting model. Maybe there's something to it. The writer is pretty lame, but the comments section (especially the NYT picks) was surprisingly solid.

Saw #1 a couple days ago. I'm pretty skeptical about the whole thing. I have no problem believing that finance guys who get five or six figure year end bonuses have discussions about how much of it they're going to share with their spouses or that those spouses look forward to and gossip about how much they're going to get and what they'll spend it on, but I really really really doubt the sharing is conditional or that it's spelled out in pre/post-nuptial agreements. Simply too gauche. One of the main selling points of getting rich is you don't have to quibble about a few tens of thousands of dollars.

You're exactly right. A lot of finance guys are vulgar in the usual nouveau riche way, but the idea that they run totalitarian households where the wife is an employee is ridiculous. A large part of the social standing of older finance guys depends on being presentable and NOT being a meathead with outdated attitudes about women. Sure, most of the junior analysts are bro types, but they're generally neither married nor in a position to do the things described in the Times story.

I suspect #1 is one anecdote, one half-overheard conversation, and one thirdhand rumor, cobbled together into a trend. Good clickbait though, if that's what the NY Times is gunning for these days.

Yes, it could very well be one of those staples of tabloid journalism: the "scary new trend" piece that turns out to be based on 2-3 often over-hyped or distorted anecdotes. The Upper West Side equivalent of the butt-chugging scare story, in other words.

It works as clickbait. This showed up on the NYT "most emailed" list, to no one's surprise.

I note that the author doesn't provide a single concrete example from the other side -- no interview with a husband who explains his view of the "wife bonus". As others have commented, it makes perfect sense to share the husband's bonus from his job. Certainly when I got my annual bonus we jointly decided what we should do with it (both when she was working and when she wasn't).

I wonder if any Western group could be analyzed by an anthropologist and end up in a good light in print. That seems to be the theme: look at how odd groups of our own civilization are.

Money doesn't buy class, at least not for the generation that earns it.

Got to throw the bullshit flag at this bullshit NYT (redundant) article.

The wives don't need no stinkin' bonus. They control at least (as quick as a call to the nearest divorce lawyer) 50% of the family's net worth; 100% when the husband dies; and 100% of the coitus supply. This so-called anthropolgist's "study" is worth less than an anecdote.

And, that is why adults do not read the NYT.

If you think wall street wives control 100% of their husband's coitus supply, you don't know many wall street husbands. It sounds like you are also unfamiliar with prenuptial agreements.

You probably shouldn't be bragging about your disinclination to educate yourself.

Right, I was surprised the author claimed mistresses are not empowered, since in addition to their hourly fee they can do their own financial trading (given flexibility during the day) they can also generate a lot of revenue from selling drugs.

You and the anthropologist are both wrong.

Yes, I think the "wife bonus" is simply a percentage of the husband's year-end bonus, and the part about a "performance" component is basically a joke. It's not too unusual for UMC New Yorkers to indicate that their charitable contributions and/or the lavishness of their holiday party will depend on year-end results. The part about pre-nups is mostly off too, as most glam SAHMs with Ivy degrees are first wives who met their husbands when both were analysts at JPM or associates at Debevoise.

"The part about pre-nups is mostly off too, as most glam SAHMs with Ivy degrees are first wives who met their husbands when both were analysts at JPM or associates at Debevoise."

+1

The SAHMs in my leafy metrowest suburb are made up of former traders, McKinsey consultants, big-law associates, VP of whatever and all that. They're a pretty brainy bunch.

Is there a name for the voice this wife bonus article is written in, the unrelenting self-assurance and superiority?

5. Why are the women so ugly? And the food so bad? The relatively cheap housing in Berlin may be explained by Yogi Berra's dictum: nobody lives there because the women are ugly and the food is lousy. Maybe that also explains why Germans were so obsessed with occupying France in WWII: they were jealous of the food, wine, and, most of all, the pretty women.

Oh c'mon, none of them are so bad there! I can't comment so much on the looks you prefer, but: the wines that come from the southwestern Baden-Wurttemberg are tasty, and not so different from the French; and there's so much variety of different cuisines in Berlin that I had a hard time finding typical German food. Plus, once you have regular access to German beers you can't go back to anything else.

My nanny was a sweet, tiny German lady from Koblenz who fled Germany shortly before the war - I dearly loved her. Her German potato salad (very different from ours) was the best, as was her German chocolate cake. I agree about German beers, although American craft beers compete with German beers. Germany is known for their sweet white wines, which don't suit my palate, but I understand they are now producing more red wines. As a general matter, I don't care for German food - it's too heavy. I prefer the French approach, with the delicate sauces, or "sooces" as my beautiful French friend calls them. And she is beautiful.

German's chocolate cake is not from Germany:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_chocolate_cake

Umm, women so ugly? You can say a bunch of things about Berlin, but that's one thing I would never, ever say about that city. Plus, the saunas are coed.

Compared to the other parts of Germany I've visited, Berlin women are indeed "homely". So are the men, mind.

It's also a poor city in comparison to many parts of Germany. That affects how well people dress, how cosmopolitan their style is etc.

Perhaps it's just preference, too.

I did a two-week trip through a few European cities two summers ago. My judgment of the women:

1. Berlin - meh
2. Prague - better, but overweight
3. Vienna - now we're talking
4. Budapest - a shockingly high percentage of shockingly beautiful women. The men were equally handsome.

Concur on these ratings, Hungarian women are very good looking.

Of course, middle Europe is outclassed farther west, specifically Spanish women, the best looking on the continent.

If women in Prague are now more overweight than women in Vienna then the world really has changed. 10 years ago Prague women were much better looking than the Viennese. That said, the number of beautiful women in Czech provincial cities is still amazing.

> Why are the women so ugly?

Women in Berlin are homely in the way women in Portland are. Many of them have quite pretty features and fit bodies, but they eschew more traditional feminine looks. Besides the extremely naturally beautiful, the vast majority of attractive women will be much less striking when they dress alt. Most of those homely women in Berlin would be attractive Manhattanites if they grew their hair out, removed their tattoos, and got a makeover.

This is true...for both genders but women especially, presentation is a big part of 'looks'. I always go back to certain movies, where stunningly beuatiful actresses are made to look awful, like Cameron Diaz in 'Being John Malkovich' or Charlize Theron in 'Monster'

In re: #1 - LOL

4. Happy days in polo-land. But they are not content, they must summon the growth demon. Until they are watching a chukka with the Goodyear Blimp overhead, a Budweiser Clydesdale in their lap, and a Jumbotron in their face -- crazy Americans.

5. His other observations on Germany and Switzerland are good too. I always think that the Swiss and the Dutch are more what people in the U.S. think the Germans are. Efficient, high tech, clean etc. The Germans instead are a weird empire stuck in the center of Europe with lots of weird inefficiencies and poorer than you'd expect. More like China indeed.

Switzerland is the one European country where I saw a lot of fat people. It made me feel a bit more at home as an American.

I think its telling that on the German version of the Simpsons, the stereotypical fat Bavarian exchange student is depicted as Swiss.

Danes are the easiest people in Europe to get along with. They've got a Northern European honesty and Scandinavian egalitarianism, but an English friendliness and Italian-like charisma. Copenhagen is as nice as any other Northern European capital, but the people are much more approachable and warm than Germans or Swedes.

Maybe why they self-report as the happiest nation on earth.

People are people, bigot.

"English friendliness"? How is that a good thing? The English are notoriously cold, stand-offish, status conscious and socially awkward. The number one complaint from almost every American expat I've met from Great Britain is about how difficult it is to make real friendships with English people. Most Americans in the UK tend to end up socializing with expats from other countries. Maybe you are thinking of "Irish friendliness".

#5-"So what’s attractive about Berlin is precisely what’s missing in the cities that are beautiful. It’s not perfect and it cares not to be. Walking through its streets and thinking about the place is unsettling; you don’t know if something strange and unfortunate is going to happen next. "

Can't this be said for any number of industrial cities in China or Japan? I don't see what's particularly remarkable about unattractive cities. Not saying they can't be enjoyable, but you can find them in any country in the world. I'd like to hear some particular examples about what it is that's so interesting in Berlin.

I've been to plenty of ugly big cities in Japan (osaka comes to mind), and they can be fun, no doubt, but they don't stand out at all. When you travel, aren't you looking for something special that's hard to find elsewhere? Doesn't Frankfurt fit this same criteria?

Berlin is actually not that ugly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unter_den_Linden

I've never been to Moscow, but would be interesting to compare the two.

I'd say that the history makes it special. In the last hundred years you have traces of decadence, Nazis, communist, modern stuff all packed together. Also consider that it has attracted a lot of artists, and there are big Turkish and Vietnamese populations. It's not just any old industrial city.

In terms of particulars: Consider the monument to the Soviet soldier in Tiergarten, which also features a tank and artillery. Which other capital city has statues of its conquerors, or "liberators?" And besides, not all of it is ugly, it's just that everything clashes. Gendarmenmarkt is a beautiful square, and the buildings on Unter den Linden are all magnificent.

Just saw Ralph E's comment.

Oh and don't forget about Potsdam as a day trip. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaces_and_Parks_of_Potsdam_and_Berlin It's also where a 12 year old Clausewitz started his career as a soldier, and where he later lectured on the nature of "Kleinen Krieg," light infantry-dominated Small Wars, which he considered the essence of war.

That reminds me that U.S. Army Gen. Wedemeyer, who played a key role in defeating the Germans in WWII, studied at the Kriegsschule on Unter Den Linden in the 1930s.

Almost every American city is unattractive in the same way Berlin is. Maybe that makes Berlin feel like home for Americans.

“Whether demands for bribes for particular government services are associated with expedited or delayed policy implementation underlies debates around the role of corruption in private sector development. The “grease the wheels” hypothesis, which contends that bribes act as speed money, implies three testable predictions.”
The linkage between governmental policy implementation and private sector development is tenuous. The version of the paper I could find that wasn’t behind a pay wall is old. That version only talked about corporations attempting to build, import/export, or conduct some sort of business.
“First, on average, bribe requests should be negatively correlated with wait times.”
This would be a good testable prediction if compared to the wait times that would have been experienced by the same company requesting the same permits from the same country. The tables didn’t load on the version I found, so maybe the data was shown there. However, the prediction is poorly chosen. Bribe requests should be positively, not negatively, correlated with wait times. If wait times were not an issue, then bribe requests would be more likely ignored.
“Second, this relationship should vary across firms, with those with the highest opportunity cost of waiting being more likely to pay and facing shorter delays.”
There are other variables between companies’ willingness to bribe than just the opportunity cost of waiting.
“Third, the role of grease should vary across countries, with benefits larger where regulatory burdens are greatest.”
It could be that greater regulatory burdens typically exist in nations that have less societal tolerance for bribery. It could be that the bribery takes a different form, such as, high levels of bureaucratic employment. It could be that the regulations officially charge the same level of fees that the bribery unofficially charges. It could be that in nations that have higher regulations also have higher anti-bribery enforcement reducing the researchable numbers. It could be that nations that oppose bribery officially support paying money into politicians reelection funds.
“The data are inconsistent with all three predictions.”
Questionable choices on the framing of the predictions.
”According to the preferred specifications, ceteris paribus, firms confronted with demands for bribes take approximately 1.5 times longer to get a construction permit, operating license, or electrical connection than firms that did not have to pay bribes and, respectively, 1.2 and 1.4 times longer to clear customs when exporting and importing. The results are robust to controlling for firm fixed effects and at odds with the notion that corruption enhances efficiency.”
Unless we are examining the same nation-firm relationship, and frequently person-person relationship, how could one with a straight face claim robust controlling for firm fixed effects? Bribery is linked to relationships, and the abstract does not address how the authors controlled for the relationship side. I didn’t find this in the paper either.
I don’t think many people think that corruption enhances efficiency, just that anti-corruption efforts are asymptotic.
In a footnote, “Nonetheless, we do find weak evidence that larger firms suffer longer delays when asked for bribes, a result which may perhaps reflect the greater complexity and scale of their operations In this regard, it is very re-assuring that our main results hold when controlling for firm fixed effects.”
In a footnote, “Note also that we are not identify the overall effects of corruption on policy implementation times, but instead document the differentials in policy implementation duration associated with being asked for a bribe within an already-corrupt system.”
In a footnote “We exclude countries where information on bribes was not collected.”

Damn the text wall. Annoying that the site strips line returns.

“Whether demands for bribes for particular government services are associated with expedited or delayed policy implementation underlies debates around the role of corruption in private sector development. The “grease the wheels” hypothesis, which contends that bribes act as speed money, implies three testable predictions.”

The linkage between governmental policy implementation and private sector development is tenuous. The version of the paper I could find that wasn’t behind a pay wall is old. That version only talked about corporations attempting to build, import/export, or conduct some sort of business.

“First, on average, bribe requests should be negatively correlated with wait times.”

This would be a good testable prediction if compared to the wait times that would have been experienced by the same company requesting the same permits from the same country. The tables didn’t load on the version I found, so maybe the data was shown there. However, the prediction is poorly chosen. Bribe requests should be positively, not negatively, correlated with wait times. If wait times were not an issue, then bribe requests would be more likely ignored.

“Second, this relationship should vary across firms, with those with the highest opportunity cost of waiting being more likely to pay and facing shorter delays.”

There are other variables between companies’ willingness to bribe than just the opportunity cost of waiting.

“Third, the role of grease should vary across countries, with benefits larger where regulatory burdens are greatest.”

It could be that greater regulatory burdens typically exist in nations that have less societal tolerance for bribery. It could be that the bribery takes a different form, such as, high levels of bureaucratic employment. It could be that the regulations officially charge the same level of fees that the bribery unofficially charges. It could be that in nations that have higher regulations also have higher anti-bribery enforcement reducing the researchable numbers. It could be that nations that oppose bribery officially support paying money into politicians reelection funds.

“The data are inconsistent with all three predictions.”

Questionable choices on the framing of the predictions.

”According to the preferred specifications, ceteris paribus, firms confronted with demands for bribes take approximately 1.5 times longer to get a construction permit, operating license, or electrical connection than firms that did not have to pay bribes and, respectively, 1.2 and 1.4 times longer to clear customs when exporting and importing. The results are robust to controlling for firm fixed effects and at odds with the notion that corruption enhances efficiency.”

Unless we are examining the same nation-firm relationship, and frequently person-person relationship, how could one with a straight face claim robust controlling for firm fixed effects? Bribery is linked to relationships, and the abstract does not address how the authors controlled for the relationship side. I didn’t find this in the paper either.

I don’t think many people think that corruption enhances efficiency, just that anti-corruption efforts are asymptotic.

In a footnote, “Nonetheless, we do find weak evidence that larger firms suffer longer delays when asked for bribes, a result which may perhaps reflect the greater complexity and scale of their operations In this regard, it is very re-assuring that our main results hold when controlling for firm fixed effects.”

In a footnote, “Note also that we are not identify the overall effects of corruption on policy implementation times, but instead document the differentials in policy implementation duration associated with being asked for a bribe within an already-corrupt system.”

In a footnote “We exclude countries where information on bribes was not collected.”

#1 any financial planner worth his salt budgets his bonus. Dave Ramsey says to give every dollar a name. So If they appropriate part of their money as "wife's pocket money", that is sound personal financing. They could call it whatever they want.

#1 Is the inheritance the ultimate bonus?

FWIW, I'm not a hedge fund manager, but I do pretty well, well enough that DW doesn't work. Indeed she could not make enough to justify her working given our small children. I get a bonus each year and when I get one, so does she.
Of course she can ask for $ from me whenever she wants, but having her own funds gives her some good vibes and allows her more autonomy.
Anyway, I got kind of a vibe from the #1 article that the writer didn't really understand why these highly educated women might choose the SAHM life. I think it's pretty simple. Given their husbands income, the sky high taxes in NYC, and the prohibitave cost of good childcare, the women likely couldn't earn enough to justify it. I mean maybe they could make $100k, but after taxes that's going to be more like $60, and with 3-4 Kids that means you're working 2,000 hours a year to take home about $20-30k. Given their husbands make millions, it makes zero sense to work. It also empowers these hard driving women to have their own spending money.
I didn't get the feeling this anthropologist really understood her subjects.

Embittered feminist can't understand why some women love and trust their husbands. News at 11.

I got the feeling the anthropologist's favorite subject is herself.

That's a good point: If one spouse is in the top income bracket, the other spouse's entire income is taxed at the top marginal rate. Hmmm, are Glam STAHMs the face of the Laffer Curve?

I think more to the author's point, more than monetary imbalances are the apparent power balances of the relationships. She focuses on sex segregation within social circles as the primary indicator for the difference in power between men and women. But is a woman with an advanced degree from an Ivy League school who "chooses" to be a stay at home mom really in the same situation as a "Dogon woman in Mali’s “choosing” to go into a menstrual hut?" These Upper East Siders have serious outside options beyond being a housewife, their education and credentials would put them in a very comfortable lifestyle even if they never married, and if they chose to marry a more supportive husband their own careers would have the potential for C-level positions.

I think anyone looking at them needs to think very carefully about why they chose the lifestyle of "Glam STAHM'' out of _all the all the other options_ they had. Is this really a gilded cage, or do these tremendously well educated and motivated women actually think this is their best option?

#1 Wow. Rarely is jealousy so naked or ugly, even in the NYT. It must be terrible to go through life obsessed with power, and never having it.

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