Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Daughters create lefties?

Some researches claim that families with daughters tend to vote left-wing, while families with more sons tend to lean more to the right. Interesting. This follows a bit of tortured hang-wringing (isn't it sexist to claim that women are linked to soft politics) but that sorts itself quickly by noting that maleness is one step away from mental retardation and psychopathic.
The researchers have been accused of propagating gender stereotypes, and of perpetuating the idea that women go in for softer politics than men. The feminist ire, however, is misdirected. Some of the most exciting scientific research points to a similar, intuitive conclusion? that, on the whole, men and women think and behave differently. One emerging theory of autism,? a condition that affects three times as many men than women is that autistic behaviors are extreme versions of typical male traits
.The reasons given for why women may prefer nurturing politics is also muddled:
But how and why? He frames his theory in utilitarian terms: because women tend to be more group-oriented, and to be paid less, we may expect them favorour a political system that taxes heavily and spends the taxes on communal improvements, such as creches or police patrols.
The reason women are paid less is *because* they are more group oriented. In a study of MBA graduates, they found that, controlling for occupation, women were paid ~5% less than men. They also found that men were much more likely to try and negotiate for a better offer than women, and it was this willingness to ask for more than explained the entire salary difference. Women don't like to negotiate because they feel it puts the relationship at risk. Men do not feel the same way.

If you live in a family of daughters, then the best incentives are probably emotional -- being hurt by a child's misbehavior may get you farther than punishing them. With boys though, being hurt will not do the trick (they probably will not notice).

In a large diverse population, communal ties and social pressure become less effective ways of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad. The larger, more complex, and more diverse a population is, the more you need clear disciplinary incentives to elicit the behavior you want. Less mommy, more daddy.


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