Thursday, April 14, 2011


I'm not married, but I probably should be if I am to suppress the anti-social behavior we academics seem to susceptible to. According to this twin study:

Conclusions: Results indicate an initial selection effect, whereby men with lower levels of antisocial behavior are more likely to marry. However, this tendency to refrain from antisocial behavior appears to be accentuated by the state of marriage.
I'm probably not married because I'm anti-social, I should get married to keep it from getting worse.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Here are three good links on the change in income inequality in the US.

1. Tyler Cowen

The broader change in income distribution, the one occurring beneath the very top earners, can be deconstructed in a manner that makes nearly all of it look harmless. For instance, there is usually greater inequality of income among both older people and the more highly educated, if only because there is more time and more room for fortunes to vary. Since America is becoming both older and more highly educated, our measured income inequality will increase pretty much by demographic fiat. Economist Thomas Lemieux at the University of British Columbia estimates that these demographic effects explain three-quarters of the observed rise in income inequality for men, and even more for women.2

Attacking the problem from a different angle, other economists are challenging whether there is much growth in inequality at all below the super-rich. For instance, real incomes are measured using a common price index, yet poorer people are more likely to shop at discount outlets like Wal-Mart, which have seen big price drops over the past twenty years.3 Once we take this behavior into account, it is unclear whether the real income gaps between the poor and middle class have been widening much at all. Robert J. Gordon, an economist from Northwestern University who is hardly known as a right-wing apologist, wrote in a recent paper that “there was no increase of inequality after 1993 in the bottom 99 percent of the population”, and that whatever overall change there was “can be entirely explained by the behavior of income in the top 1 percent.”

2. Terry Fitzgerald

The claim that the standard of living of middle Americans has stagnated over the past generation is common. An accompanying assertion is that virtually all income growth over the past three decades bypassed middle America and accrued almost entirely to the rich.

The findings reported here—and summarized in Chart 8—refute those claims. Careful analysis shows that the incomes of most types of middle American households have increased substantially over the past three decades. These results are consistent with recent research showing that the largest income increases occurred at the top end of the income distribution. But the outsized gains of the rich do not mean that middle America stagnated.

3. Joe Stiglitz. For a different perspective.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Staying Young

Looking younger helps:

Environmental cues that signal aging may directly and indirectly prime diminished capacity. Similarly, the absence of these cues may prime improved health. The authors investigated the effects of age cues on health and longevity in five very different settings. The findings include the following: First, women who think they look younger after having their hair colored/cut show a decrease in blood pressure and appear younger in photographs (in which their hair is cropped out) to independent raters. Second, clothing is an age-related cue. Uniforms eliminate these age-related cues: Those who wear work uniforms have lower morbidity than do those who earn the same amount of money and do not wear work uniforms. Third, baldness cues old age. Men who bald prematurely see an older self and therefore age faster: Prematurely bald men have an excess risk of getting prostate cancer and coronary heart disease than do men who do not prematurely bald. Fourth, women who bear children later in life are surrounded by younger age-related cues: Older mothers have a longer life expectancy than do women who bear children earlier in life. Last, large spousal age differences result in age-incongruent cues: Younger spouses live shorter lives and older spouses live longer lives than do controls.

From my favorite blogger/tweeter.


Faculty salaries increased on average throughout the country. Time to look for a new state to work in. According to the NYT:
This year’s results are just slightly higher than last year’s increase of 1.2 percent, which was the smallest rise reported in the survey’s 50 years.

On average, full professors at doctoral universities earned $127,296 for the current academic year, and assistant professors $72,893.

But the report found a widening pay gap between public universities, where full professors averaged $118,054 and assistant professors $69,777, and private institutions, where full professors’ average salary was $157,282 and assistant professors’ $86,189.
My favorite part is the difference between "Public" sector and "Private" sector salaries.