More than one-half of all people living with HIV are women, and 80 percent of all HIV-positive women in the world live in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper demonstrates that the legal origins of these formerly colonized countries significantly determine current-day female HIV rates. In particular, female HIV rates are significantly higher in common law sub-Saharan African countries compared to civil law ones. This paper explains this relationship by focusing on differences in female property rights under the two codes of law. In sub-Saharan Africa, common law is associated with weaker female marital property laws. As a result, women in these common law countries have lower bargaining power within the household and are less able to negotiate safe sex practices and are thus more vulnerable to HIV, compared to their civil law counterparts. Exploiting the fact that some ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa cross country borders with different legal systems, we are able to include ethnicity fixed effects into a regression discontinuity approach. This allows us to control for a large set of cultural, geographical, and environmental factors that could be confounding the estimates. The results of this paper are consistent with gender inequality (the “feminization” of AIDS), explaining much of its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa.
That is from the latest American Economic Review. Here is an earlier version and related material.
I enjoyed this one, lots of real questions from Eric Wallach, not “tell us about your book” and the usual snoozefest. Here is one bit:
So you like the idea of pardons– how do you work through that one?
I don’t even firmly believe that punishment is justified morally. Maybe it’s necessary, maybe you just can’t do without it. But the mere fact that someone has wronged another, I don’t think causes them to forfeit their rights in the way that was claimed in classic, early modern political philosophy. Once you think wrongdoers still have their human rights, on what grounds do you punish them? Could be that you simply have to– either the public won’t accept another option and they would overthrow your non-punishment regime and bring in fascism, and something with a lot more punishment would come about.
I get that– I’m not saying you can just toss away the keys to all these jails. But insofar as you have options of not punishing people – who in the cases I’ve read about it seems they’re not going to go out there and continue their serial killing sprees – I think we just simply ought not to punish them. Martha Stewart, again, that seems to me a very clear case. Undo the wrong. If I were a president, I’d consider just only pardoning people and then resigning. I know I couldn’t get away with it forever, but it’s one way to think about the job.
There are other points of interest, new and interesting throughout.
You know, I love you FT, please do not go this route in your subheaders:
Can new proposed regulation curb the power of big tech companies that now control roughly 80 per cent of corporate wealth?
Here is the link itself, maybe gated for you, but I can assure you it provides no support for this “factoid” whatsoever. There is a reference to “IP-rich companies” controlling all that wealth globally — come on, that “IP-rich” designation could mean anything, and it does not correspond to how most people understand the phrase “Big Tech”…and where does that stat come from anyway? Which large companies would it not count?
Maybe so, says a new paper by Be:
Using administrative register data with information on family relationships and cognitive ability for three decades of Norwegian male birth cohorts, we show that the increase, turning point, and decline of the Flynn effect can be recovered from within-family variation in intelligence scores. This establishes that the large changes in average cohort intelligence reflect environmental factors and not changing composition of parents, which in turn rules out several prominent hypotheses for retrograde Flynn effects.
In short, IQ relates inversely to sibling order, and the basic effect is not being generated by a changing composition of married pairs over time.
In other words, we have started building a more stupidity-inducing environment. Or at least the Norwegians have. But of course the retrograde Flynn Effect is starting to pop up in the data more generally, and not just in Norway. From The Times of London:
The IQ scores of young people have begun to fall after rising steadily since the Second World War, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.
The decline, which is equivalent to at least seven points per generation, is thought to have started with the cohort born in 1975, who reached adulthood in the early Nineties.
Have a nice day!
For the pointer I thank Michelle Dawson.
3. “It is easier to own a tiger than a dog that has been labelled dangerous in the state of Texas, which could have between 2,000 and 5,000 tigers.” You also can buy a tiger on-line.
Many of you have asked what I think, so here goes:
1. There is a secret (and unenforceable) deal beneath what is reported. You may think this is good or bad, but for heaven’s sake don’t just be judging the press release.
2. If they didn’t actually agree to anything, that is fine.
3. I am reading so much yelping about how Trump “legitimized” Kim. The status quo ex ante simply was terrible, and there is no reason to think this change is for the worse. Trump’s great “virtue” in this regard was simply to be some mix of ignorant/disrespectful of the prior “expert consensus” and approach the problem afresh with a rather direct transactional and person-centered, personality-centered mentality.
4. As I tweeted: “Isn’t the whole point of the “deal” just to make them go visit Singapore? The real spectacle is not always where you are looking. And I hope someone brought them to the right chili crab place.”
The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game. We won’t know for some time whether this has succeeded. Here is good FT coverage on this point. There are in fact numerous signs that the North Koreans are considering serious reforms. Of course those could be a feint, but the probabilities are rising in a favorable direction. Economic cooperation with South Korea is increasing at an astonishing pace.
5. The chance that North Korea someday becomes an unruly version of an American client state has gone up. The chance of a kind of faux, “on paper” Korean reunification has gone up too.
6. No, North Korea isn’t giving up its nuclear weapons. The more important question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to check China.
7. How is it that Dennis Rodman played in only two All-Star games?
8. In expected value terms, this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency. Most of all, however, you should be agnostic. The negative commentary I am seeing is mostly sour grapes, misplaced frustration, and it is weak in the quality of its argumentation. Here is one of Trump’s better tweets.
Metro significantly relaxed its policies on extended hours for the Washington Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, including extending service for Thursday night’s series win without ever planning for any cash to change hands, WTOP has learned.
Since last summer, Metro has required a $100,000 deposit for each additional hour of service, and Metro suggested Wednesday that the Capitals’ parent company, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, would cover those costs for Thursday night’s game.
In fact, Thursday night’s extended service was part of a trade between the Caps and Metro that Metro valued at $100,000, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said in an email…
Revised requirements issued last year normally call for the $100,000 deposit two weeks ahead of an event for each extra hour of service. Instead, Metro is billing each of the other groups that agreed to pay for the extended service for Capitals playoff games after the fact, Stessel said…
Here is the bizarre story, via Bruce Arthur. For those of you who don’t get the joke, the D.C. Metro system shuts down too early relative to when many sporting events are likely to end.
That is the topic of my new Bloomberg column, of course I am considering only one small piece of a larger puzzle. Here is one bit:
I view the development of Singaporean civil service culture as one of the world’s great managerial and political success stories of the last 50 years, though it remains understudied and underdiscussed in the West.
Singapore also mixes many of the virtues of both small and big government. The high quality of the civil service means the country gets “good government,” which pleases many liberals and progressives. The high quality of the decision-making means Singapore often looks to market incentives – congestion pricing for the roads is one example of many – which pleases conservatives and libertarians…
Is Singapore a small government or a big government country? The correct answer is both. Government spending is about 17 percent of GDP, which makes it look small and helps hold down taxes, which is good for business and productivity. (And there are no additional state and local governments.) But if you look at stocks rather than flows, the government owns shares in many critical Singapore businesses, plus it de facto controls lucrative sovereign wealth funds. The government claims ownership of the land, although it allows for active markets for transferring rights of use. All of these resources give the government the ability and credibility to get things done.
I even take on the chewing gum caricature…do read the whole thing.
4. How captured is our economy? (CapturedEconomy.com, a new website resource from Lindsey and Teles).
7. “Thomas Schelling’s medal went on the block May 31 at a Los Angeles auction house, fetching $187,000. His family donated the proceeds to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit that fights hate and bigotry and advocates for civil rights through litigation.” Link here. And: “…his widow, Alice Schelling, says the most influential book he ever read was one for children, the 1927 Newbery Medal winner “Smoky the Cowhorse” by Will James.”
Not fundamentally, no. However terrible our current treatment of animals may be, most of us don’t seem to mind very much, and I suppose that is consistent with what a Darwinian theory would predict. Here are a few facts about the sociologically specific nature of vegetarianism:
They tend to be liberal-leftist politically: in USA, we have a 52% of liberals versus a 14% of conservatives and a 34% of self-styled “neutral” ;
They display an inclination to secular/atheist views on religion matters (e.g., Humane Research Council , where it is shown that about half of the American community of vegans/vegetarians is not religious—a percentage that is considerably higher than that of the general population).
Less predictable may be the fact that a rather high percentage of vegans/vegetarians revert to carnism after a certain amount of time (in US, according to Humane Research Council , 2% of the respondents were vegans/vegetarians, while no less than 10% were former vegans/vegetarians)…
Not by chance, of the mentioned 10%, one third dropped the lifestyle after 3 months or less, one half within a year, and therefore only less than 20% “resisted” for more than a year.
That is from a recent article
Artificial meat? Yes, yes I know. But we already have cauliflower, and drenched in yogurt sauce and green cardamom pods and garam masala that is quite delicious, and yet it doesn’t seem to matter. Vegetarian food in India already tastes better than most meat dishes consumed in the United States.
Hat tip goes to Rolf Degen.
From Pauline Grosjean & Rose Khattar, forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies:
We document the short- and long-run effects of male-biased sex ratios. We exploit a natural historical experiment where large numbers of male convicts and far fewer female convicts were sent to Australia in the 18th and 19th centuries. In areas with more male-biased sex ratios, women were historically more likely to get married and less likely to work outside the home. In these areas today, both men and women continue to have more conservative attitudes towards women working, and women work fewer hours outside the home. While these women enjoy more leisure, they are also less likely to work in high-ranking occupations. We demonstrate that the consequences of uneven sex ratios on cultural attitudes, labor supply decisions, and occupational choices can persist in the long run, well after sex ratios are back to the natural rate. We document the roles of vertical cultural transmission and marriage homogamy in sustaining this cultural persistence.
Hat tip goes to the excellent Kevin Lewis.
1. What makes a country good at soccer? (The Economist)
2. The Coasean Koreas. Important.
4. “The 43% of Democrats who say the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people is down significantly from six years ago, and Democrats remain much more negative than either Republicans or independents about the impact of a rich class.” Amazing.
5. Does “musical paralysis” set in after age 28? (not for me)