Arnold Kling  

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More Passengers on the Titanic... The Personal is Political...

Ricardo Hausmann sees the silver lining.


According to the latest gender related statistics published in the 2007 World Development Indicators (WDI) by the World Bank, the gaps between the sexes are going through a major shift worldwide. In 2006, literacy ratios of young women between the ages of 15 and 25 were higher than young men’s in 54 out of 123 countries.

If we look at secondary school enrollment, in 2004 there were 84 out of 171 countries in which girls outnumbered boys. At college level, this is also true in 83 out of 141 reporting countries.

...So, it is not just in the US that the education gender gap has reversed. This signals coming changes in the role of women in the family, the economy and in marriage.


With every silver lining, there must be a cloud. I'm sure if Krugman were here, he would say that men had it much better back in 1947-73.

Seriously, the impact of gender equality on family inequality could be quite large. As I've suggested before, when a man with high earnings potential starts to look for a wife with high earnings potential instead of a wife who can cook and clean, you are going to see fewer inter-class marriages. That raises inequality. Then the kids of the two-yuppie parents are going to start out with a lot of advantages relative to the kids of average Joe and Jane, with genetic advantages being the hardest to compensate for. That means even more inequality with each generation.

Regardless of which political party is in power.


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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution



COMMENTS (7 to date)
Lord writes:

And the upper classes will propagate and the lower classes die out, the speed determined by the inverse size of the social safety net?

Buzzcut writes:

the impact of gender equality on family inequality could be quite large.

Why do you say "could"?

I think your explanation was dead on (if nothing more than the main thesis of "The Bell Curve"). Female empowerment and meritocricy multiply together to supercharge inequality.

8 writes:

The only flaw is the numbers, because the elite do not reproduce at the rate of replacement. Unless they establish a non-democratic government, they will be an ever shrinking part of the electorate.

Buzzcut writes:

The only flaw is the numbers, because the elite do not reproduce at the rate of replacement.

But that too plays into inequality. The only child of two doctors gets a cognative and financial advantage that is concentrated in that one person. The multiple offspring of a single mother crack whore are cognatively and financially disadvantaged, and it is spread over a lot more people.

I bet if we all think about this a little bit, we could come up with an equation to show this more clearly, and show how these multiple factors (female empowerment, meritocrisy, and birth rate) multiple together to cause inequality.

Taimyoboi writes:

"[W]hen a man with high earnings potential starts to look for a wife with high earnings potential instead of a wife who can cook and clean, you are going to see fewer inter-class marriages."

Well a man could look for a wife with high earnings potential who is willing to just cook and clean.

spencer writes:

I though this was already happening and was one factor in the past decades growth in inequality.

Look at the Census data on two earner families.
Since 1975 the median real income of two earner families increased 41.5% while the mean income rose 62.2%

Jon writes:

see Mike Judge's movie Idiocracy for the opposite view of the future...

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