A while back, we talked about why it is that so many educated women in urban centers can’t find a man (Sexless in The City). In countries like China, where there is a huge surplus of men, finding a partner shouldn’t be difficult for women. I thought I would post a letter I received this week from Niko Bell who tells me that for Chinese women finding a man is not as easy as we might think:
Month: December 2010 (Page 1 of 2)
I am not kidding when I say this, if I had to live in a household in which my husband had more than one wife, there would have to be alcohol involved; at bare minimum a cocktail hour, but preferably an open bar. The reality is, of course, that if you are in a polygynous relationship in the developed world you are probably either of Mormon Fundamentalist or Muslim faith, both of which forbid the consumption of alcohol. I am not a religious scholar, but I suspect that the doctrine of these religions does not make a direct link between allowing multiple wives and prohibiting the occasional glass of wine. Perhaps though there is a relationship between monogamy and alcohol consumption, for example maybe having only one spouse has been driving us to drink.
Recently I have found myself in trouble twice for my choice of words. The first time was for calling sex workers “prostitutes,” and the second time was for calling prostitutes “sex workers.” Frankly, I didn’t buy either of the arguments. The first person to chew me out objected to the word “prostitute” on the grounds that it is a name that was probably invented by “some man.” As a “professor” I find that kind of reasoning a little silly (perhaps I should be an “academic worker” to rid myself of that same stigma?). The second person who objected to “sex worker” felt it gave those workers too much respect—a line of reasoning I find, frankly, offensive.
I tell my students that a good writer always keeps their audience in mind, and that when they write a paper in my class that audience is me. So, I have to wonder what was going through the head of one of my students last week when he submitted a paper with the line: “A woman over the age of forty looking for a mate is called a ‘cougar.'” Besides the fact that he doesn’t seem to have that definition quite right (and that the remark was random and unrelated to his topic) this comment did make me think about age and relationships. My own experience is that age matters and the evidence suggest that when it comes to marital stability differences in age can have large effects.
OkCupid’s dating research blog has worked hard to convince readers that they should never pay for online dating. The basis of their argument is that there are just too few subscribers on fee-for-service dating sites to make it worth the lonely single’s while. I won’t argue their point on that—after all they have a flow chart, and at one point I am pretty sure they used calculus to figure out the number of subscribers (which even I think is a bit audacious). So we will let them have that point: there are fewer potential matches on fee-for-service dating sites.
I have an idea for a Hollywood movie. An ambitious, young, heterosexual woman disguises herself as a lesbian in order to land herself the job of her dreams. Her handsome colleague takes her into his confidence and, of course, she falls in love with him. After a series of comedic events, she eventually gets her man and reconciles herself to mediocre wages, along with all the other heterosexual women. It could be a modern day “Twelfth Night.”
The most common form of domestic terrorism in the U.S. is violent attacks on abortion clinics. Between 1973 and 2003, over 300 abortion providers were the target of acts of extreme violence by anti-abortion groups. A new paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) last week asks the question: Are these attacks effective at reducing abortion rates in the areas in which they target?
Can watching the market for sex toys help economists predict a recession?
Economists at their most playful like to find interesting ways to watch the market for signs of an impending economic downturn. After we get tired of watching inventories and production capacity, we turn to other leading indicators such as hamburger sales and whether or not donut shops are moving into downtown cores.
The “Just Say No” campaign in the late 1980s increased the severity of sentencing for drug offenders in the U.S. Since that time, particularly since the mid-1990’s, incarceration rates have been steadily increasing to the point that the U.S. now has the one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.
There are two facts about HIV that are difficult to reconcile. The first fact is that the transmission rate of the disease is extremely low; the risk of being infected from an person who has the disease through vaginal intercourse is about one in a thousand or 8-12% per-partner-year.* The second fact is that the disease has an extremely high prevalence among heterosexual women in Sub-Saharan Africa; 40% of pregnant women in Botswana and 25% in South Africa are infected with the disease.