This is part 2 of me taking over IDinsight’s internal development link round-up.
1. This week in gender & econ
2. Two papers on p-hacking or bad reporting in econ papers
3. Mapping trade routes Tilman Graff shared some really cool visualizations of trade routes, aid, and infrastructure in several Africa countries. They were created as part of his MPhil thesis.
My annotated critique of “The Human Cost of Sweden’s Welfare State” – a poorly argued op-ed in the WSJ by psychoanalyst Erica Komisar.
Follow up research
- Andersson, 1989: “Children with early day care (entrance before the age of 1) were generally rated more favorably and performed better than children with late entrance or home care.”
- OECD report, 1999, p. 60: Acknowledges that children with poor immune systems or who are not good in group settings, could fare better at home or in home-style day cares (similar language to what the op-ed author uses). But points out that the increased feasibility of mothers staying home with young children for longer alleviates some concerns about mother-child early separation, giving parents flexibility to choose what option works best.
- Another poorly supported op-ed from the Irish Times, 2011:
“Working as a management consultant, Himmelstrand heard from women how sad they were about leaving their one-year-olds in daycare. He began to notice there were no children in the playgrounds during the day. If you walked down the street with a three-year-old toddler, people were amazed and disapproving the child was not in daycare.
He also found educational standards were slipping in Sweden, and rates of psychological distress and psychosomatic illnesses among teens had gone up dramatically, not to mention disruptive behaviour in schools.”
- Institute of Marriage and Family in Canada, 2015 blog post by Himmelstrand from a site with the tag line “Latest developments in family friendly research”: Not much research has been done on the Sweden day care system since the 70s and 80s. Highlights some staffing issues I saw mentioned elsewhere, as well, and again mentions the shaming of parents who don’t put their kids in pre-schools. Actually has citations, but most in Swedish and couldn’t follow-up on them.
- Another Himmelbrand op-ed, 2013: “A study done a few years ago showed that today even socially stable middle class families have problems with their children.” Okay… that’s literally always true of any family. What kinds of problems qualify here? He doesn’t elaborate, but uses this as supposed evidence of poor parenting skills. Research in Swedish, can’t follow-up.
- Perusing various chat boards and blogs: There does seem to be a general consensus that there’s pressure to fit in and do what other parents are doing across the board in Sweden that stands out to foreign and Swedish parents alike. And a few different posters mentioned pressure to put kids in day care, but never before age 1 unless you’re a crazy foreigner. BUT, there may be a correlation between those who post online about child care and those who feel alienated by the mainstream thought on it. So hard to judge whether the pressure is meaningful, and also whether it’s gov’t promoted or peer-enforced if it is a big deal.
A new paper by Jakiela and Ozier sounds like an insane amount of data work to classify 4,336 languages by whether they gender nouns. For example, in French, a chair is feminine – la chaise.
They find, across countries:
- Gendered language = greater gaps in labor force participation between men and women (11.89 percentage point decline in female labor force participation)
- Gendered language = “significantly more regressive gender norms … on the magnitude of one standard deviation”
Within-country findings from Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, and Uganda – countries with sufficient and distinct in-country variation in language type – further show statistically significant lower educational attainment for women who speak a gendered language.
(Disclaimer: The results aren’t causal, as there are too many unobserved variables that could be at play here.)
As the authors say: “individuals should reflect upon the social consequences of their linguistic choices, as the nature of the language we speak shapes the ways we think, and the ways our children will think in the future.”