Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Deskilling and Feminizing an Occupation

In our Social Structure class we are considering Barbara Reskin's "Labor Markets as Queues" and Warren Farrell's Why Men Earn More.

Reskin notes that an occupation draws more women when it is "deskilled." This also leads to pay going down. She treats this as evidence of discrimination against women.

Farrell notes that an occupation draws more women when the task is made easier and working conditions get better. This also leads to pay going down. He treats this as evidence of what happens when the supply exceeds the demand for a job.

In general, Reskin treats lower women's wages as discrimination against women, even though it costs employers more to hire men at higher wages.

Farrell points out that if employers could really get the same work from women, or any kind of workers, for lower wages, the employers would hire them. If it is not illegal to hire from the less-likely group, then some employers will break ranks with custom to save money and reap a competitive advantage.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Of Course Monogamy is Realistic - It is What Most Married People Have Done Through Human History

The perennial hope of the self-indulgent, especially, rich, self-indulgent men, that some moral authority will let them have all the benefits of marriage while fooling around is being fed by "science" again. But monogamy, the human norm through all times and places, is not about to fade away. Monogamy is not "unrealistic"; it is just a challenge.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The excellent Taylor Swift has a good new song that will do more good than an abstinence-only sex ed class:

You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors
It's the morning of your very first day
And you say hi to your friends you ain't seen in a while
Try and stay out of everybody's way

It's your freshman year and you're gonna be here
For the next four years in this town
Hoping one of those senior boys will wink at you and say
"You know, I haven't seen you around before"

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen feeling like there's nothing to figure out
Well, count to ten, take it in
This is life before you know who you're gonna be

You sit in class next to a redhead named Abigail
And soon enough you're best friends
Laughing at the other girls who think they're so cool
We'll be outta here as soon as we can

And then you're on your very first date and he's got a car
And you're feeling like flying
And you're momma's waiting up and you're thinking he's the one
And you're dancing 'round your room when the night ends
When the night ends

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
When you're fifteen and your first kiss
Makes your head spin 'round
But in your life you'll do things greater than
Dating the boy on the football team
But I didn't know it at fifteen

When all you wanted was to be wanted
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now

Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy
Who changed his mind and we both cried

'Cause when you're fifteen and somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them
And when you're fifteen, don't forget to look before you fall
I've found time can heal most anything
And you just might find who you're supposed to be
I didn't know who I was supposed to be at fifteen

Your very first day
Take a deep breath girl
Take a deep breath as you walk through the doors

Thanks to Smartmarriage for the alert

Monday, October 26, 2009

Serial Divorceniks Ruin the Divorce Rate for Us All.

Ten percent of Arkansans have been married 3 times or more. Five percent of all Americans have been married that much.

I think that explains the famous "50% divorce rate," which is puzzling since most marrieds never divorce. The small numbers of serial divorceniks do it so often that they bring everyone's average down to what seems like a crap shoot.

This reminds me of the solution to the statistical puzzle of the higher intercourse rate of men than women. Gay men account for a small portion of the gap. A bigger part of the gap is closed by a small number of women who have sex with many men - that is, prostitutes.

I think it would be helpful to calculate two divorce rates, one for all marrieds, and one for all marrieds except those who have divorced multiple times.

D.C. Marriage Rate Is Low Because People Leave the City When They Marry

The marriage rate in the District of Columbia is half that of the average of states - a bit over a quarter, vs. a bit over half, of all people. Newsweek blogger Katie Connolly got the explanation mostly right, but her analysis was overshadowed by her comment that D.C. is segregated by apartheid.

Connolly cited three factors that reduce the marriage rate in Washington, D.C. Most of the city residents are African American, and a high proportion of them are poor, the two groups with the lowest marriage rates in America. Second, whites who live in the city are disproportionately highly educated young, Democratic, and women - three groups who do marry, but marry late. Third, the homosexual population of D.C., at about 8%, is double the proportion you would find in a state.

The main reason the D.C. marriage rate is low, which Connolly cites but does not lean on as the main reason, is that it is a city, and a poor one at that. When black D.C. residents marry, have children, and start to move up in class, they leave the city for the suburbs, especially Prince Georges County, MD, which probably has the largest black middle class of any county in America. When white yuppies from all over come to Washington to work on public policy they find a fine city to live and work in - until you have children. Then they move to the suburbs.

Or, if you are really fortunate, and Mrs. G. and I were, you move to Danville, KY to raise your kids.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Quasquibicentennial, Presbyterian Church of Danville

Today was our 225th birthday celebration. I got to teach the Sunday School version of all of that history in 50 minutes. That kind of class requires a great deal of compression.

Danville is in the center of Kentucky (that is why Centre College is so called). Kentucky is a border state. Churches in the border states have a strong reason to pursue a moderate course on divisive issues. And no issue was more divisive for the first two hundred years of the congregation's history than racial division. Kentucky was a slave state, and some members of the church were slaveholders. The leaders of the church, and the college they created, were abolitionists, even in the 18th century. They were moderate abolitionists, for gradualism and colonization. The church split in the 1850s, partly over abolition. It stayed split through the long years of Jim Crow segregation. After the Second World War, though, the old division was largely healed among the Presbyterians of Danville. After several false starts, the two congregations reunited in the 1960s, well before the national denominations did.

The Presbyterian Church of Danville began in 1784. The northern and southern Presbyterians finally caught up with our congregation and reunited in 1983. Racism is far from over in America, and there are no doubt pockets of it still in the Presbtyerian Church (U.S.A.). But the spirit of racism is gone. The reunion of the northern and southern branches sealed that change.

I date the new era of the Presbyterian Church of Danville, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), from that date. Happy 25th, Presbyterians!