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Just great.

Fun presentation, I especially liked the Belle and Gaston contrast. There was an article in one of the psych journals about 15 years ago that looked at the stability of socially desirable gender beliefs. The experimental group endorsed the "anti-traditional" value that, e.g., men should be more emotionally expressive (other than shouting at hockey games), and women should be more assertive. However when they assessed the same group for sexual partner preferences, they overwhelmingly preferred "traditional" individuals and many were even turned off by the anti-traditional profiles. Revealed preferences.

Sina, Shangwen - thanks for your comments. That's what I love about powerpoint - pictures are such a powerful way of conveying ideas...

It was a very good talk Frances gave. Pity we didn't video it.

From my reading, "Pick-Up-Artist" blogs (and those guys are definitely (casual) empiricists and very oriented to what works in practice) say the same thing that article Shangwen remembers saying. They teach "beta" males how to act like "alpha" males, which usually means acting in ways traditionally associated with masculinity (assertive, self-confident, etc.). Because it works.

Frances said right at the end that choosing a partner is a bigger investment than buying a house (which is usually said to be the biggest investment people make). I think that's right, and that this stuff is probably more important than business cycle theory. But there really needs to be a masculinist perspective on it too. But somehow I can't see any university inviting someone like Roissy in to give a seminar!

This is an interesting story posted today in the G&M about how there is a correlation between household chore sharing and divorce:


It is an interesting adjunct. There is some speculation from one of the experts that a more contractual arrangement leads to marital breakdown. However, it would be interesting to do some more analysis from an economist's perspective. Of course, it seems that the data only shows a correlation, so we are free to speculate about causation!

Nick - you'd be great at doing the masculinist stuff - you really get feminist theory, and masculinist theory is really just an inverse function of feminist theory. (my thoughts on the pick-up artist stuff are probably better left unsaid).

whitfit - so the G&M has gone from recycling the NY Times to recycling the Telegraph? This is as close as I can find to the original story: http://www.newsinenglish.no/2012/09/26/women-still-want-to-rule-at-home/ - since the study is in Norwegian I don't imagine most of the people who are reporting on it have actually read it. If you look at the study you'll see that those surveyed are characterized by a a pretty high degree of gender equality - ie 65% of those surveyed share child care equally for example. So I wouldn't take that as license to shirk all household chores!

Nick - thanks for your kind words about the talk, too!

"pick up artists" tactics works. Though it helps if you already are an alpha... Just for fun, I sometimes use similar tactics in my (mostly female) classes. Not to pick up my students ( God forbids!) but just to show who is boss without using brute arguments about authority.

Interesting slides, Frances. A related way of convincing students economics isn't all about money: show them estimated demand curves for risky sexual encounters, where "price" is HIV+ prevalence:


Why is "electrician" a lower-status job? It is a skilled trade. Electricians both work with their hands and their brains.

Seriously, is the job viewed like that?

Given that only one of the two personal ads mentions XC skiing, I'm wondering how come the second ad even got 39 responses, assuming both ads were accessible simultaneously and thus that a choice could be made between them.

Chris F ;-) (but there definitely is some cross-over between roller-blading and XC)

Chris J - this is the way that the authors of the paper referred to the jobs. As I stressed in the presentation, I certainly don't consider being an electrician a low-status job, and I don't think Lee Badgett and Nancy Folbre would want to dismiss electricians or auto mechanics either. The idea they were trying to convey in their paper is that electrician is lower status that a male-dominated job like corporate finance, and child care is lower status than a female-dominated job like pediatrician, and it's male child care workers and female electricians who have a tough time on the marriage market (in their study. Which was based on hypothetical responses. The one female electrician I know seems to be doing just fine in her real world experience.) This is important because a lot of the jobs that our economy creates are low status female-type jobs, like personal care attendant. All of this stuff about the decline of men poses the question: Why won't men take these jobs that the economy is creating? Well, one explanation is that they're hard work and low pay, another is that if men take these jobs, it worsens their prospects in the dating market (or guys believe that their prospects in the dating market would be worsened).

Chris, thanks for that link!

Jaques Rene - the dog whisperer stuff is also effective for much the same reasons (be calmly assertive, take charge). But I'm not sure that Nick would be pleased to learn that I'm using techniques gained from the dog whisperer - "how to be the pack leader" - to communicate more effectively with him.

recounts how some of the king's sons asked their mothers how this fiece warrior behaved in his harem and were surprised to hear:" He is gentler than a lamb. We can do with him whatever we want."

Real alpha know the limit of their power.

What litterature would be without the female characters?

Something didn't post...

It looks like those videos where a baby falls into a gorilla enclosure. The silverback goes to investigate the threat, then the alpha female shoves the big lug away and takes charge...

Plumbers are low-status. As distinct from low income. Here, a pipefitter in an alumunium smelter or iron ore pellet plants earn twice as much as a college teacher. I don't begrudge them their pay, it's much harder work than mine ( though the too-low electricity rates and mining royalties play a role).
But there is a difference: my girlfriend often tells me how attractive it was to her at first that I am a powerful man. Which I always found funny. Till I realised on how many boards I sit,how often regional media ask for my opinion and how my phone calls to mayor, regional prefect, MNA and MP go through without delay. Which had been normal for me since the last two decades or so. Pipefitters on the North Shore have bigger boats. I have and am on bigger Rolodexes than the plumber.
Like the fish, I hadn't understood the water I swim in....

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