What is women bet more cautiously against men?

This is pretty interesting:

Let’s try a “Jeopardy”-style quiz: “When women bet against men, they’re more likely to be this.”

If you want to win, your question would be, “What is cautious?”

That’s the finding of a new study just published in the online version of“Economics Letters,”  which was conducted by economists Gabriella Lindquist and Jenny Save-Soderbergh of the Swedish Institute for Social Research.  Recent studies done in test situations have shown that all things being equal, gender often does make a difference in gambling situations…

In both Swedish and American Jeopardy, the first person to come up with the right question for the previous answer gets the dollar value assigned to that answer, at least temporarily, and gets to pick the next one. Hidden on the game board is the “Daily Double.” The contestant who picks the Daily Double gets to wager some or all of his or her earnings on the next answer. You can double your money, or get less, depending on your initial wager.

“The wagering decision should not be affected by the gender of the opponent,”  Lindquist and Save-Soderbergh say.  But it was.  Women playing against two men wagered 25 percent less of their accumulated earnings than when they played against a mixed group or two women.

Next question: how much socialization and how much biology?  I wonder if anyone has looked at testosterone levels, or some other physically measurable characteristic to see how that might affect the different risk profiles of men and women.

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Too many prisoners redux

John F.  asks “How about a chart which shows crime rate?”  Well, your wish is my command.  I really should have included this very important context.  This one makes the point quite nicely:

When searching for a nice chart along these lines, I also stumbled across a really nice Monkey Cage post on the topic (though, with an inferior chart).  It made some really useful points about the relationship (or lack thereof) between incarceration and crime:

One approach is to compare across the 50 U.S. states.  If incarceration is simply a reflection of crime, the states with the highest crime rates should also have the highest imprisonment rates.  Yet the careful research of Natasha Frost finds little systematic relationship between the two factors.  Some states are “over-punitive” and others are “under-punitive,” but her work shows that the levels of incarceration certainly do not account for crime rates.

A comparative perspective provides another useful way of debunking the myth about the crime-prison nexus.  A focus on crime victimization rates shows that Americans are well within the international mainstream in terms of their likelihood of being a victim of crime, even though American prison population rate per 100,000 people is vastly higher than any other country in the world, and over seven times higher than comparable democracies.

Much of Michael Tonry’s research has discredited the crime-prison argument.  In a piece with David Farrington, the authors show that the U.S. and Canada have had similar trends in crime rates over decades (see figure below, from p. 129 of Tonry’s 2004 book), yet there is “no resemblance between American and Canadian imprisonment trends.”  The incarceration rates in the U.S. have soared since the mid-1970s, while the Canadian rates have remained level—at about 110-110 prisoners per 100,000 people—over that same time period.  If the crime-prison argument were accurate, the Canadian crime rates should have gone up, rather than remaining at stable or declining levels.

Not that some people don’t deserve to be punished for their crimes in prison, but it is simply becoming ever more obvious that, as a society, we need to think much much smarter about how we deal with crime.

Too many prisoners

I recently assigned this essay from the Economist about all that ails the correctional system in America.  It’s phenomenal.  If you have any interest at all in the subject, you really should read it.  Since most of you won’t, these two charts from the article really say a lot:

We’re #1!  We’re #1!

Preschool in NC

So, just yesterday I mentioned the impressive gains to be realized from pre-school and what an amazingly cost-effective policy it is.  I argued that since most of the benefits accrue way down the road, there is, unfortunately, not much incentive for short-term-oriented politicians.  Reader/commenter John– who knows much more about NC politics had this post equally encouraging and discouraging:

Sure there are phenomenal long term benefits but the benefits are observed immediately in Kindergarten and initiatives like Smart Start and More at Four pay for themselves in cost savings from instructional and special education placement rates by the time a child reaches 3rd grade. What’s even better in my mind is that these initiatives clearly prove what America has clearly forgotten: a rising tide lifts all ships. According to your Alma Mater, spending on Smart Start and More at Four improved outcomes for ALL children living where these services were available. These are the best public policies the human race has ever created. And our shortsighted legislature just cut them by 20% EACH. A quality education is expensive but the costs of stupidity are far greater.

1) Wow– I had no idea there was research indicating that the benefits of high-quality preschool for at-risk kids could be realized so soon.  That’s awesome!  I don’t know the dollar value they spend on Alex relative to normal kids, but it’s got to be huge.  Not that anything could’ve been done in Alex’s case, but if there programs are helping kids avoid special education placement, that’s not just awesome for the kids, but awesome for the budget.

2)  This just makes the actions of the Republicans in the legislature absolutely catastrophically stupid (as well as immoral, of course).  How in the world do they justify this.  Actually, I know, they generally just go with whatever their gut and their ideology tell them and ignore the fact that things like costs/benefit analysis (unless its something trumped up by a hacktack like the Heritage foundation) exist.  Arggh!

Cocaine = car theft

Assigned a really nice CQ Researcher article to my class about the issues involved in Downsizing Prisons.  It relied heavily upon recent research from Pew on public attitudes towards crime and punishment.  Short version: the public seems to be more sensible (and not nearly so punitive) on such matters as compared to their legislators (as judged by our actual laws).  Anyway, here’s a little bit that looks at public opinion on sentencing and what struck me as the people see Cocaine possession as almost identical in severity to auto theft.  Certainly seems we treat cocaine possession much more harshly, though.  Likewise, marijuana possession is almost an exact equivalent for shoplifting.  Here’s the chart:

The larger point seems to be that Americans are actually more lenient than you’d expect towards first-time offenders– even for selling drugs– when it comes to prison time.

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